Randhir Khare, an author, artist, educationist and poet shares details on Gyaan Adab’s literary mentorship programme, which is a wide, deep and comprehensive programme which seamlessly weaves psychological as well as literary guidance into a whole experience that draws the person being mentored into a self-healing, self-motivated state of being (use image of Randhir Khare with Aniket)
A mentor is an invisible guardian angel, friend, listener, guide, someone who helps you become yourself and in the process helps you write articulately and expressively out of the experience and process. Having had the fortune to be mentored, in a way, by a college teacher Rohinton Kapadia, distinguished academic and poet professor P Lal and powerfully expressive Kamala Das, author, artist, educationist and poet Randhir Khare realised the importance of having a mentor and recently introduced the Gyaan Adab’s literary mentorship programme in Pune. This creative counselling session has encouraged Puneites to open up to the immense potential of oneself; and through guided language skill and writing, learn to write both effectively and meaningfully.
On the idea of the literary mentorship programme, Khare says that he has been mentoring for most of his life in many different ways. He was inspired by his experience at a very young age (11 years) when he did not have any one to help him use his writing and art to express. He wanted to express and negotiate the complex life experiences he was going through.
“My mentors were an English language loving grocer down the road, a retired Anglo-Indian railway inspector of some kind, a door to door salesman who was a temporary English teacher in the school where I was studying at the time, a cigar smoking headmaster who went by the name of ‘Mr Biber’ and an over enthusiastic English teacher who kept insisting that the ultimate test of true writing skill was to successfully write a dramatised version of a James Hadley Chase novel. I reached out to them for encouragement and they responded the best they could,” said Khare.
However, when he looked around as he grew up, he discovered that there was no one around who could combine the sensitive intuition of a shaman, the gentle and soothing force of a healer and the firm, kind, instructive demeanour and approach of a genuine teacher.
The mentorship programme offers at least one face to face session a week with Khare. This a creative counselling session through which we are encouraged to open up to the immense potential of oneself. There are some people who, through the mentorship programme, develop a strong sense of self-worth and use their creativity to grow and evolve. One should be over 18 years, so there is some degree of life experience. He/She should also posses a driving urge to want to use writing to express oneself. “One may want to learn how to write short stories or craft a novel, write poetry, essays, reflections in a journal, travelogues or just write about one’s own life experiences and searching. There has to be a driving need to write and express oneself in whatever genre. Being able to write ‘good’ or ‘correct’ English isn’t a necessity,” said Khare. Often people come with half written manuscripts or incomplete poems and stories and they want to learn how to develop their work into complete and finished pieces. Sometimes, people come with the finished published work but want to push their boundaries further and improve their skills.
Mentor’s learning experience
“I have intimately shared in many of their complex life experiences, guided them to find their own unique ways of expressing themselves, witnessed them rising to their own special moments of accomplishment and helped them feel a sense of growth and accomplishment,” said Khare. The secret of effective mentorship lies in helping individuals to become who they truly want to be – believing that it is a result of their own choice and effort.He has learnt that everyone is special and possesses his/her own unique ability of creative self-expression. “I have learnt to trust in the immense potential that lies in being human and accepting one’s vulnerability. I believe that the harder you fall, the higher you rise,” added Khare.
Box 1: Varnita Bose, mentee (pic)
“I never know what to expect before a meeting and that mystery I think has been vital in keeping the mentorship interesting. Randhir weaves magical stories as we walk through our memories of our real physical and emotional journeys. These travels in the realm of imagination, folklore and fantasy have opened up possibilities for me for catharsis and healing,” said Varnita. She is exploring themes like duality (masculine vs feminine, human vs divine, higher vs lower, lighter vs heavier, emptiness vs gross, sacred vs profane), the interaction between these cross cultures through history, trying to bind her favourite mythological stories, iconic art with contemporary poetry, and Bollywood and folklore into doodles.
Box 2: What’s next?
“As it is, the programme is a wide, deep and comprehensive one which seamlessly weaves psychological as well as literary guidance into a whole experience that draws the person being mentored into a self-healing, self-motivated state of being. So, right now the Gyaan Adab literary mentorship programme has face-to-face sessions, assignments, shared experiences with select audiences, the possibility of being published as part of an anthology of new writing or authoring one’s own published book in the case of accomplished writing,” said Khare.
They do plan to include group mentorship and peer guidance and sharing at one level and at another begin to represent writers with finished work to medium and larger publishers. In some cases, they would also like to cultivate and promote playwrights and creators of film scripts. The possibilities are immense but the steps forward must always be simple, clear, firm and never losing sight of the fact that we aren’t only grooming winners but also helping people find their own creative/literary voices.