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Meet the TRR Crew

Meet the team!

Archana Gopinath

Archana Gopinath

Archana is an entrepreneur, TedX Speaker, and Storyteller. She’s the founder of The Reading Room, Trivandrum, and the CEO of TRR Consultancy. After 12 years as an expert in project management, undertaking both private and government projects, Archana now inculcates the art of communication, storytelling, and community in youngsters.

Sid

Sid

The ten-year-old, in-house kids rep and advisor on everything kid-related, he grew up on books, superheroes, mythology, music, and asking tough questions.

Gayathri R N

Gayathri R N

Reader. Poet. Storyteller. Book Hoarder. An Economics graduate, Gayathri plans to pursue a career in the Publishing Industry in India. An aspiring writer, she also plans to publish her collection of poems very soon. Her preferred genre is Fantasy and she would give anything to be able to fly a broomstick one day.

Madhuri Rajkumar

Madhuri Rajkumar

Queen of Bandannas. Mother of Playlists. Interested in Psychology and hopes to pursue it as a career. Wants to travel the world, with or without people. An old soul trapped inside a teenager, occasionally wants to time travel back to the 80s, and quite the enigma.

The Reading Room Trivandrum Instagram Page June 2020

Sign Up For Online Sessions + New Website Coming Soon!

Hope you all are keeping safe. We have some exciting news! We’ll soon have our new website up!

A. Given that COVID19 restrictions are in place, we have transitioned to Online Sessions. Find us on our social media for more updates.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Hey guys! Registrations are open for Story Hour Online! Do contact us at +91 9447129654 to register! Thank you so much for all your love and support over these months as we took our sessions online ❤️. Story Hour Online! is a session for kids that focuses on skill development through books, stories & creative expression! We focus on soft skill development via public speaking and creative writing exercises to create confident and empowered young leaders & thinkers! ⠀⠀ Each session will require individual registrations. However, you may also register for multiple sessions in advance. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ • • • • • • • • • • • • • • ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Tags: ⠀⠀ #thereadingroom #thereadingroomkids #kidsactivities #kidsspace #childrenslibrary #personalitydevelopment #writingfun #writingprompts #childrensliterature #onlinesessions #storytime #storyteller #storytelling #kids #love #children #family #fun #instagood #happy #instakids #kidsofinstagram #photography #quarantineactivities #kidsactivities #funstuffforkids #kidssessions #childrensspace #futureleaders #youngleaders

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 B. We are moving to a new website with advanced capabilities. We’ll update you soon on that!

For any information in the meantime, reach out at:

> e-mail:     [email protected]
> phone:      +91-9447-129-654

Other Media: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and YOUTUBE

While you wait, please check out our story on YouTube:

 

Take care. Regards, The Reading Room Team.

 




 

Cajon Workshop: The Reading Room

An Introduction to Percussion with Nithin M Vinayan

The Reading Room has become my home in the past several months. A place of solace; my sanctum. I walked in that day as I did like always for the sheer joy of being there. But that day was different. The atmosphere was electric. Music filled the air. The rhythmic beats echoed through the rooms. I followed the trail of music… greetings came along the path I took, familiar faces and unfamiliar faces filled the Event Room, with a Cajon master, Nithin M Vinayan, teaching eager students the art of playing a Cajon at the centre.

Crowd at The Reading Room's Cajon Workshop

The music was pure synchronisation of beats. A couple of Cajon were placed in the middle of the room, Nithin was standing and instructing two kids who seemed around the age of 10. They were following the suggestions to the beat. And the result? Toe-tapping music.

Ever since I was little, I wanted to learn to play an instrument. I’ve only heard how they’re your constant companions. I’ve heard that music becomes your friend through them. But until I met Nithin, I never understood that everything they say about music is true.

Nithin has grown up with a soul filled with music that he wants to share with the world. He wants the world to connect with the music he plays. He is striving towards his goal one step at a time with his band ‘Meraki’. The workshop was another stepping stone.

Nithin's passion for music: Cajon Workshop

Under the fairy-lit room of The Reading Room, Nithin passed on his passion to the young minds gathered there. Not to mention, he gave hope to the ones who considered themselves too old to follow the path of music. Yes, it was a Cajon workshop to teach people the basics of a Cajon and how to play it, but in the end, it evolved into something so much bigger.

He showcased the magic of music to connect the hearts of people. Everyone in the room was connected in the beats that slipped off the tips of his fingers like words to a speaker. He made the art of playing easy. Nithin made the crowd believe it was easy. He sparked the fire of hope in the minds of everyone gathered that maybe it didn’t matter how old you were, maybe all it took was a single beat to start.

A father who dreamt of following the path of music as a percussion artist brought his son along with his Cajon symbolising his lost dream to The Reading Room that day. Life got in the way of his dream but he wouldn’t let his son have the same fate. But that day Nithin helped him relive his dream in the room filled with people, who came together for their love of music, with a jamming session.

Cajon Workshop: The Reading Room

I had walked in mid-way to Nithin’s show, but I could see how the audience were captivated with his knowledge and passion. I could feel how some dreams were revived while some had just begun.

As the evening came to a close, my heart was happy to know that there existed a place in the world where learning anything and everything is fun.  The workshops we hold are more than just technical learning. It isn’t just about teaching the ones who come. It’s about showing them the passion and encouraging them to follow their own. It’s about unlocking the potential that’s hidden beneath the surface, ignored by an education system that focuses on memory power than interest and passion.

The Reading Room: Cajon Workshop

That day was another reminder of why The Reading Room became my home and why we all do what we do. It was an encouragement to keep doing it. After all, all we can ever hope to do is follow our passion to the very end.

Writer: Vani Vinod ([email protected])

Picture credits: Adithya Jayaram ([email protected])

Artist: Nithin M Vinayan (@le_mudiyan; +91 87144 86850)

Madhuri Rajkumar: The Reading Room

Open Your Heart

It was my college orientation phase last week—a preamble to the next three years of my life. A lot of inspirational speeches were given, rules and regulations were dictated, and mountains of promises were made. But among all that talk about responsibilities and more importantly, being a ‘grown-up’, a line spoken by one of the teachers caught my attention, ‘Open your heart,’ the teacher said to the crowd of excited students. The minute she said this, a million questions popped up in my head.

Open my heart to whom?

How do I open it?

Is this some kind of medieval torture technique?

 

It took me a while to figure out what she was talking about. And finally, it hit me that it was something I’ve been trying to do my whole life.

 

When your heart’s open and ready to try out new experiences, you learn way more than what is simply being taught to you. You take in a lot more from the universe than just the things that someone else is trying to put in your brain. Most people, especially those who have gone through difficult times, often keep their hearts closed off because they think it’s easier that way.

Open your heart! Sure, it may seem easier to not put yourself in an emotionally vulnerable situation, one where you could feel disappointed or upset. But, by doing so, you also miss out on the most wonderful things this world has to offer. By not putting yourself out there and by not taking any risks, you are preventing yourself from stepping out of your comfort zone. And that is the region where the most transformative, and therefore, beautiful experiences of life are usually found.

The reason I’m part of The Reading Room crew today is because I had the courage to get out of my safe zone during a difficult time, to meet new people and live out new experiences. Had I not done that, I would’ve still believed that I couldn’t write well or even hold a normal conversation with people. And more importantly, I would’ve never met so many open-minded people—people who have become my friends, confidantes, and guides—making me more confident than I ever was. It took me a while to unlock my heart, but in the end, I was able to become a better person because of it.

So, for those of you racking your brains wondering how to open your hearts, I suggest a self-devised and very easy method which I call, ‘A Step A Day’.

What to Do?

First, keep a diary or a journal. At the end of each day, write down one new and exciting thing you did. Open your heart, and write. It could be as simple as treating yourself to a nice meal, trying a new cuisine or dish, or having a first-time conversation with your neighbour. Or, it could be something like joining an NGO or giving that audition you have been dreaming about.

Each day you will celebrate one achievement of yours—fear you conquered, a problem you solved. Some days, you may have more than one, and that’s great! By writing it down, you’re basically giving yourself a pat on the back. Soon, you will realize that taking up new challenges seem to get easier each time—a sign that your heart and your mind is opening wider each day, with each new entry.

This is what worked for me. And this is what made my transition to a college and hostel life much easier than I thought it would be. I just thought to open my mind and put this thought out to the world, in case it helps anyone else.

The Reading Room: Open Your Heart

Writer: Madhuri Rajkumar ([email protected])

The Reading Room: Panel Discussion

S for Success: A Panel Discussion

Things have changed, haven’t they?

Women can get educated today.

We can go to work!

Oh! We can even vote now.

It is true that women have reached places we were never expected to. We are in boardrooms, in the CEO’s office, in the forces, and on stage…

But wait. We are the lucky few; the privileged.

If we start a conversation regarding the ones who do not have this ‘privilege’—the privilege of making a choice—that discussion could go on forever. So, this conversation was not about the privileges we have and haven’t been “granted’’. This was about shaming. Because, no matter if you have reached the stars, the movie screens, the boardrooms or the cabinet, your privilege to disagree hangs by the thin thread of your ‘moral character.’ Say something they don’t want to hear, and they call you names.

No. They never intended to debate the difference in opinion. The fact that you have an opinion itself is the problem.

This discussion was about character assassination being the weapon of cowards when faced by a woman who doesn’t agree to their views—be it about a popular actor, a political opponent or from a female boss.

In a one-of-a-kind panel discussion held at The Reading Room, Trivandrum, women and men from all walks of life came together to share their thoughts and opinions on this pressing issue we face today.

Our panel consisted of four amazing women with years of experience in their respective fields:

  • Atheetha R.S., Lawyer and heir to a successful business;

The Reading Room: Panel Discussion

  • Devi R. Das, Clinical Psychologist;

The Reading Room: Panel Discussion

  • Abhirami Suresh, Artiste, Singer and Performer of the band Amrutham Gamaya, and

The Reading Room: Panel Discussion

  • Archana Gopinath, Civil Engineer and Project Manager, and a social entrepreneur.

The Reading Room: Panel Discussion

The discussion, moderated by Film Director and Producer Parthan Mohan, was a real eye-opener to the issues faced by women all over the world.

The Reading Room: Panel Discussion

Why do some people think shaming is the easiest way to shut down smart, successful and assertive women? This was the central theme of the evening.

Initiating the discussion, Devi R. Das talked about how family plays an important role in shaping a child’s values and prejudices. According to her, people who find satisfaction in shaming others are simply manifesting their own insecurities. Shaming, after all, is just another kind of bullying. And we all know that bullying is the weapon of the weak.

A number of thought-provoking questions were raised by the audience regarding how to raise their children’ right’ and what could be done to give them the right values. Devi ma’am’s suggestions on modelling the right behaviour starting at home, with mothers and fathers displaying equality and mutual respect, were very poignant.

‘The role teachers and the media plays in modelling gender roles and weaknesses have a huge impact on the little minds as well,’ she stated.

The Reading Room: Panel Discussion

What about social media? Has it made life easier for women?

A well-known artist, who is highly influential in the social media landscape, Abhirami Suresh shared with us the horrible online abuse successful women have to face every day. She shared with the audience very shameful instances of social-media shaming and the ways in which she handled all the crude judgemental remarks that are constantly made about her and all other women artists.

Hearing her speak about how she has not allowed it from affecting her dreams and aspirations was a great inspiration to the crowd. Parthan, through his skillful moderation, involved everyone in the discussion, asking the right questions and creating quite a lively atmosphere throughout the evening.

The Reading Room: Panel Discussion

Bringing up children

As Atheetha and Archana, both shared various experiences from their professional lives, where women are constantly looked down upon—from everything based on what they wear to the office, to a million other situations they face while working in a male-dominated profession like construction—a number of working professionals in the audience, both men and women, shared their own experiences based on relatability.

Since both ladies are also mothers trying to bring up sensitive and kind little boys, they shared a number of experiences on how some of the seemingly harmless casual remarks from adults could impact a child’s mind. From “boys don’t cry” to “do not hit a girl”, they pointed out how, without immediate intervention and the right guidance from home, these remarks can colour the child’s mind forever.

There were a number of questions from the audience regarding why women could not just ignore these remarks and move forward. To which the panelists, as well as a number of men from the audience, responded vehemently with, ‘But the whole point is that they shouldn’t have to!’

The Reading Room: Panel Discussion

The threat is real

Also, to the question, if the threat we feel is real or perceived, a very sensible and poignant debate followed opening a few eyes as to why such a threat is perceived in the first place. The support and pertinent examples from the audience, especially men, were one of the biggest highlights of the day.

One of the more important points that were raised by the audience was how women could make and break this precedence. A lot of experiences shared by the audience was regarding women shaming each other, while on the other hand, a number of experiences of how a woman standing up for another helped to put an end to such shaming immediately.

Overall, the evening saw an extremely lively, participative and informative discussion in the quiet beach city of Thiruvananthapuram. We sincerely hope that all the change-makers who were at the session—parents, teachers, other seniors, and mentors—took back some basic and simple solutions to curb such problems even before they occur in the future. Moreover, we hope this discussion spurs more dialogue surrounding the topic so that we can contribute our bit to the betterment of society.

-Archana Gopinath

[email protected]

 

 

 

Khyrunnisa Ma'am Tells a Tale

Butterfingers! A fun Ride With Author Khyrunnisa A.

There is reading…

And then there is storytelling.

However, above all that—in an altogether different plane—is the experience of hearing stories straight from the author. Especially when the author is as fun, full of warmth and life, and friendly and sweet as Khyrunnisa ma’am.

On this beautiful Saturday afternoon, The Reading Room was in this parallel universe where the creator of Amar and his friends took us along to their world. Not only did ma’am talk about her writing journey and development of characters, but took us through the story setting and interesting snippets from each of the books.

 

She read out the most fun and interesting portions from the book stopping just in time to say, ‘and to know more, you need to read.’

 

As this happened, book after book for 6 titles, the rush of children running to get their books, get them signed and start reading was beyond comprehensible.

The beauty of the evening was to hear the expressions and the dialogues straight from the writer; to hear exactly how they sound in the writer’s head is the luckiest experience ever. As the room burst out laughing with each sentence ma’am read, what was spectacular was how the children and adults enjoyed and immersed themselves in the experience as a whole.

The best thing is how warm, friendly and conversational both Khyrunnisa ma’am and her husband Vijayakumar sir are, as they patiently met and spoke to everyone who queued up with questions and conversations.

 

Conversations about books, reading, and books about reading, went on long after the session ended and everyone, and their children, reluctantly left The Reading Room this night.

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