Spark – September 2016 Issue

This month, Spark is all about lessons – from school, college, work and life! Our “Pedagogy: On Education and Learning” issue explores the art/science of teaching, education methodologies, and teachers and their experiences. The issue is an interesting mix of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Our feature for the month is an interview with Bindu Subramaniam and Ambi Subramaniam from SaPa, a school that teaches Carnatic and western classical music.

Midsummer Fairies

In Midsummer Fairies, Deepti writes about a young woman faced with stage fright and battling her worst insecurities during a school event. She is gently but firmly guided through her terror by an understanding spirit and a guiding light. This, it dawns on her, is the truest example of excellent mentorship.

Teaching Music the SaPa Way: In Conversation With Bindu & Ambi Subramaniam

Anupama Krishnakumar interviews singer, songwriter and Dean of the Subramaniam Academy of Performing Arts (SaPa), Bindu Subramaniam, and violinist and Associate Dean of SaPa, Ambi Subramaniam, about SaPa’s approach to teaching music, its vision, its curriculum and SaPa’s flagship program, SaPa in Schools (SiS).

Vignettes from a Boarding School

Suresh Subrahmanyan delves into his boarding school experiences and finds considerable merit in a way of life and learning which is all but lost now.


Indu Parvathi’s poem captures a hilarious, real life moment from a morning assembly.

Are Teachers Ready to be there for the Students?

Google has content and lessons. For the rest, students need teachers. Are teachers ready to be there? Priya Gopal is an educator and explains the need for emotional pedagogy in school classrooms.


Parth Pandya writes a set of eight haikus, each capturing a moment in time from school right up to college in terms of experiences one goes through.

Learning at Work

The word “learning” evokes memories of school and life lessons, but what about work, where adults spend such a large part of their days? Vani Viswanathan shares some personal learnings from working at an NGO.

Snapshots in Sepia

The Karuppaiah Vathiyar featured in this story is Vaishnavi’s grandfather and this piece is a work of fiction to write not about the grandfather that she misses but about the man she’s heard he was and the simple but powerful legacy he left behind.

A Life Fully Lived

Parminder Singh writes a story of a teacher who takes an unusual path while giving fodder of gossip over tea to many, and enlightenment to some.

A Complete Entertainer

THE LOUNGE | TURN OF THE PAGE Ananya Sarkar reviews Manu Bhattathiri’s short story collection, ‘Savithri’s Special Room and Other Stories’. The review explores various aspects of the book and elaborates on the overall experience of reading this debut work of the writer.