Why V for Wood

I'm constantly asked, "Why V for Wood?". In the beginning I didn't understand the question; I mean, there are so many classes, workshops and weekend activities out there and I'm just one more, aren't I? And then it hit me one day, its the way I introduce who I am, I say, "I teach adult woodworking classes."

The word adult immediately catches the attention, adult means, no children, adult mean, no schools or colleges. And the immediate implication of that is, "Why V for Wood." Why have you started something that doesn't cater to children or teenagers? what on earth are adults going to do with this knowledge?

So here's the deal. I started V for Wood to change the world or at the very least change India. I believe that deep down we are a very intelligent, innovative and hard working people. And it is our education system that has to be changed. There is nothing really wrong with the education system, its just that there is an over reliance on our memory, on rote learning, on marks. Our children aren't encouraged to ask why and how. Ask a question and you are treated like a pariah. It's a rare teacher who isn't frustrated by the system, the rare one who isn't thinking, "If I repeat this a hundred times, they will memorise it and then repeat it verbatim in the exams and my job will be done." Do you honestly believe that teachers study so hard, just to think this!

But marks do matter, infact nothing matters more than marks, in my time if you got 98% you tried to become a doctor, 95% an engineer, 80% - science graduate, 70% - commerce graduate and below that, the arts student. life mattered little if you became an arts student. An why? because parents no society had somehow come to these conclusions, Instead of saying, hey you could do engineering, it became... Hey you MUST do engineering. Where is the fault though? I mean who at 18, really knows what they want to do with the rest of their lives, I still don't. And I'm not trying to answer that question. All I'm trying to say is, "There is more out there." More things to make you happy, real happy,  satisfied happy not spending money happy. I believe in dreams and I believe in making dreams a reality.

I believe that each one of us is capable of looking at a problem and thinking up some kind of solution to it. We are all innovative, at least we were all innovative, we all had dreams and then 10th standard happened and society crushed our dreams. No wait, our dreams were crushed far before that... Have you watched a child play, they are imaginative, innovative, they see differently from the jaded adult. They see a sofa in a cardboard carton, they see a race track in dirt. I saw it too, I remember, and so did you. But the very few of us could act on these dreams, we had no way, as children, to shape our surroundings, we didn't even know how to make a nesting box for birds. So now I come to the point, if children are allowed to dream, to innovate, they change the world around them, If these children are allowed to keep this quality, they grow up and apply these same strange and wonderful ideas and dreams to the adult world. The world can only benefit from this. But there are 2 points in life when children begin to be stifled, when their dreams are slowly suffocated. First is a continuous process of negative feedback, they dream, nobody can help them create and they learn that there is no point in dreaming. and two, the dreaded 10th standard, every parent's nightmare.

I can't do jack squat about the 10th, I look forward to it with trepidation. But what I can do something about is change the prospects of the 10 kids in my colony. I am the "maker wala uncle." I am the "cycle repair wala uncle". They watch, they learn and they never ask me again, they graduate to simply asking for the required tool.

All I need is one maker wala uncle or aunty in every colony and I'll have done my little bit to change the world. AND hence, my dear people, I give you V for Wood. Dedicated to the memory of lost dreams and foundationed on the premise that everyone has an idea, they just need to make it real.