To China and Back – A Journey of a Thousand Miles

A journey of a thousand miles starts with one single step. Everyone in his/her life time has a dream of travelling the world at least once. Since my childhood I have dreamt of visiting every corner of the globe which is kind of a paradox as the world itself is round. The Global Immersion Programme (GIP) to China did not fulfil my entire dream but helped me cover a bit of it.

CHINA a place where most people dream of visiting was the destination I went with seven other students and two teachers from SAI International School. As the Vice President of the Going Global Junior Club it has been my ambition to travel and pioneer a GIP of the school. When the opportunity to go to China came I was the first to sign up. Over the years I have witnesses club members visiting Singapore, UK and my own sister forge the way as a participant in the first GIP to the United States of America in April 2015.

Our journey started on May 28, 2017. A few tears slipped from my eyes as we left our parents and waved goodbye at the Biju Patnaik International Airport. The realisation of leaving our parents became a plunt reality. Going somewhere without our family makes us realise the importance of them in our lives but Jessica ma’am was the one who did not even let us feel that we are away from our dear parents and looked after us as if we were her own children. We really cherished minute of our lives in that 11 days which is ingrained as a great memory deep in our hearts forever.

On the morning of May 28 we left Bhubaneswar and reached Kolkata and went to the famous City Centre Mall 2 and spent nearly 6-7 hrs there. We shopped for some time in the mall and then played UNO in the Cafe Coffee Day. Soon we left for dinner at the residence of Mr. Ma, Consul General of the Peoples Republic of China in Kolkata. He had invited us to dine with him before our incredible journey started. As we sat around his enormous dining table he told of the history between China and India, how the two cultures are intertwined in trade and cultural heritage for hundreds of years. We learned how to use chop sticks, he showed us useful tricks on how to hold them properly and pick up food. After dinner and many goodbyes we headed for the airport and checked into our overnight flight.

We reached Kunming early in the morning and were very delighted to see the scenic beauty of the hills, the surroundings, the  railways, everything around us looked so beautiful that we did not we did not even want to blink encase we were to  miss something. Our first experience was at the Yunnan Nationalities Village which is located in the southwest suburb of Kunming City, Yunnan Province. As a window displaying the various cultures and customs of 25 minorities in Yunnan, it has been honoured the “Class AAAA (highest rank) Scenic Spot” of China. We had a good look at traditional ethnic-featured buildings and colourful costumes showing off the different minorities of China. We even had the opportunity to dress up in different ethnic costumes of the Yi and Ma people. The next day was an incredible visit to the Stone Forest,  a UNESCO world heritage site that lies about 80 miles to the southeast of Kunming. Our final day in Kunming was spent at the Kunming No.8 High School where we met many students and learnt a few Chinese words like Xai Xai (shi shi) means “thank you” in Chinese. We learnt some Chinese calligraphy including how to write our names by a famous local calligrapher and arts Mr. Wang. We also played soccer with our hosts they taugh us some some tactics to play the game of soccer. Again with teary eyes we were left Kunming and also our so lovely tour guide Salina.

Our next destination was one of the oldest cities in China, Fuzhou. We started off with a visit to Fuzhou Foreign Languages High School and signed a Memorandum of Understanding between SAI International School and the Fuzhou Foreign Languages School. We also gave a presentation on Indian culture covering seven states of India.  I represented Panjab. The following day was a trip to “Three Lanes and Seven Alleys”, one of China’s oldest national heritage sites located in the heart of Fuzhou City. This national treasure is around 2,200 years old and home to hundreds of well known historical Chinese historical figures and heroes. It is a famous place for shopping. Nana our Fuzhou tour guide was like our sister.  She was really upset when we left her and boarded our flight to our final destination Beijing. In Beijing we visited “Tiananmen Square” which has a history that had a great impact in each and every Chinese person. Then we went to the “Forbidden City” home to 26 Imperial families and Emperors of both the Ming and Qing Dynasties.  The city was a humungous residence for the Emperor and his family no one was allowed in the city besides the royal family and their caretakers for centuries, until the 1950s. That is where the name “Forbidden City” was derived from. The city is a rectangle, with 961 metres from north to south and 753 metres from east to west. There are 9,999 rooms according to legend.

The next day we went to the Great Wall of China which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Its scenic beauty was really beyond our imagination and it was a breathless journey climbing the wall to the fourth tower on the north side. After the great wall we headed to the the Summer Palace which had nearly 14,000 paintings along the longest corridor in the world. .

Our last Day in China was spent travelling from Beijing to Kunming, then to Kolkata and then finally to our own city of Bhubaneswar. I was really delighted to see my parents but at the same time very sad that now we would separate and return back to our daily routine. It is really very easy to say that finally we reached hone after so many days but this trip is unforgettable. It will remain etched in our memory for life until the day we die. I think everyone should take such a trip it really helps us to improve ourselves in many ways. During this trip I faced a few challenges and was able to overcome them. I performed in front of students in China and became more confident in myself. I got to try new things including food and even a new language. This was my first trip without my parents and it was a great opportunity to grown-up and become more independent. I would like to thank Jessica Ma’am for everything she did for us. Sarat Sir also helped us enjoy the trip. This trip would not have been as extraordinary without each team member with me. Lastly I would like to thank Dr. BK Sahoo, our beloved Chairman Sir for giving us such a great opportunity to go overseas and learn so many things. This trip allowed us to grow as a more globally polished person. Without his foresight trip like these would not be possible.  Participating in the Global Immersion Programme in the school has been a great benefit to me and all who participate. I am fortunate that this programme is offered at SAI International School. I cannot wait for my next adventure. I would like to leave you with a quote from the famous Chinese Guru, Confucius. It has become my travel motto.

“无论你走到哪里,全心全意地去”

“Wúlùn nǐ zǒu dào nǎlǐ, quánxīnquányì dì qù”

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart”

– Confucius

By: Palak Seth
Class-X

My Experiences during the Study Tour to UK

It was finally 3rd of June. Since the day my parents allowed me to apply for the study tour, I had been waiting for this day. I was very excited about the visit to UK, along with my friends. I knew this was going to be an interesting learning phase of my life, especially due to many fascinating stories that my father had told me after his visit to UK, long back.

As if I was walking in a dream, the long-cherished moment of my life was finally here! We all reached the airport at about 7:00 pm on 3rd June and boarded the flight to Delhi at about 9:30 pm. Frankly speaking, for the first time, I happily bid good-bye to my parents & my younger brother, which I usually don’t do. We reached Delhi at about 11:30 pm. We then checked into a hotel and woke up early at about 5 o’clock next morning. We got ready quickly, went to the airport and boarded the flight for Doha. I was so excited that I didn’t even realise we hadn’t slept for even four hours the previous night! But, soon the jet-lag started sinking in when we reached Doha, which was 2 hours behind Indian Standard Time. I knew sleep-debt was taking over but the excitement of the tour simply washed it all away.

After reaching Doha, we boarded the flight to London. I must have dozed off into deep sleep, for I didn’t realize we were flying over London when one of my friends nudged me calling loudly, “look down, there it is – we are flying over London”. I looked down from the airplane window. London really looked majestic! It was only when we touched London that I realised we were 5 hours 30 minutes behind Indian time. But that didn’t matter to me. All that mattered was that the weather was cool & pleasant, something that I had always wanted to be in.

We then took a bus from London for Gloucester. During the journey, we travelled through the lush green countryside which UK is so famous for! I had only read about it in books, but here it was before my own eyes. I must admit, till then I had never seen nature in its true magnificent form. When we reached Gloucester, we went to the Partner School, ‘the Chosen Hill School’. From there, Archit & I went to our host’s house. Our host was from 9th class. His name was James Benett. The next day, we went around the Chosen Hill School and then went to the Drayton Manor, an amusement park. Drayton had roller coasters and many other amazing rides. It was really a rollicking-frolicking amusing fun time. Thereafter we had our lunch and went back to our host’s house where we played a lot of exciting outdoor games with him.

In the next two days, we went to the Gloucester Cathedral, Oxford University and the host school, again. I interacted with the local people in all these places and took a lot of pictures with them. I was really awestruck with the art & architecture of the Cathedral and the Oxford University, which I had always longed to visit.

Time really moves so quickly! Finally, it was time to leave Gloucester. We bid goodbye to our hosts with a heavy heart and with parting gifts that I had packed before leaving India. It was a mixed feeling for I was also happy realising that we were going to Birmingham, a city I had heard so much about, especially the Cadbury World. So obviously, the moment we reached Birmingham city, we kept our luggage in the hotel and went to see, of course, the Cadbury World. One has to be there to believe it – the Cadbury World was simply out of this world! After spending lavishly on buying chocolates and having them too, I did bring some for my parents & my younger brother. We then went to Birmingham University had our dinner and slept away.

The next day, we woke up and got ready to leave for London, the city of my dreams! When I reached London, it appeared to me as if I had always known this city as I tried to connect to all the places that I had read & heard about. The most exciting visit for me was to Madame Tussauds, where we took photos with several celebrities. It was like a dream come true! After Madame Tussauds, we went to Oxford street for shopping and had our dinner.

The next day, we went to London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge and a cruise ride on the River Thames. By now, I must admit, I was very tired. When we went back to the hotel, I quietly had my dinner and just dozed off! The next day was again exciting as I realized I was going to meet my family & friends back in India. Unmatched happiness, home after all is always ‘sweet and caring’. We boarded our flight to Doha and then to Delhi. Surprise, however was still in store when at Delhi Airport I saw my parents and younger brother who had come to receive me. I realized we were now going off to Jaipur, Rajasthan to spend time with my cousins. I was so excited that the first thing I did was to share all my reminiscences with them. Truly, this was really the most unforgettable and cherished moments of my life and so will it remain as one of my fondest memories.

By: Amod Meherda
Class-IX-D

Global Immersion Programme to UK

This summer holidays were a lot of fun. I went on a school trip to the United Kingdom. It was really a great exposure for us. We got to see many world famous monuments like the Big Ben, London Eye, London Bridge etc. We could take photographs with famous celebrities made of wax at Madam Tussauds.

First we went to our partner school, Chosen Hill School in Gloucester. They were very warm and hospitable. The students are very friendly. My experience of staying with my host family was very nice. When we were in Gloucester we visited Gloucester Cathedral and the Docks. We enjoyed in the theme park Drayton Manor for one whole day. We were also taken to the Oxford University where we saw several famous colleges like the Trinity College, the Queen’s College etc.

A day’s stay in Birmingham was an amazing experience as we could visit the Cadbury World and saw the history of the Cadbury World through different rides and also a 4d movie. We were taken to one of the most famous and reputed Universities of the world, the University of Birmingham. The entire trip was amazing. This was one of the best holidays I ever had.

By: Lavanya Singh
Class-VIII-G

OPEN AT THE CLOSE

All good things must come to an end. The inevitability of ends is what make them so overwhelmingly consequential. At the end of a conclave such as SAIMUN, one doesn’t only take home memories and experiences. They take back a sense of achievement, wilful learning of immense vastness, a broader mindset, sharper knowledge of global affairs and most of all, a purpose.

The Closing Ceremony which also includes the valedictorian ceremony of SAIMUN 2016 took place on July 30, 2016. The pouring rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the General Assembly. They were high on energy after three days of deliberation and multicultural exchanges. The event was graced by the presence of Shri R. Balakrishnan, IAS.

A melodious musical performance by the SAIoneers set the tone for the day which highlighted the words ‘Together We Can Change The World’. Next, the gathering witnessed a highly energetic cultural performance by the students from The Kingdom Of Buganda.

The dignitaries on the dais unveiled ‘THE SAIMUN TRIBUNE 2016’ along with the International Press Chief, Photographer-In-Chief and the Editors. After motivating and encouraging all the participants to have a global outlook, the much deserved awards and certificates were bestowed upon the delegates and International Press members. The entire assemblage applauded the efforts put in by the winners and the other participants took it in good spirits, determined to work harder.

Tearful goodbyes and heartfelt congratulations were offered as SAIMUN 2016 drew to a close. Participants could be seen hustling to take those last few pictures to be added to their cluster of memories. Some could be seen rushing to their Executive Board members for last minute feedback and comments, anxious to improve. There were celebrations and deliberations that continued even after the final sessions of the committee. This edition of SAIMUN was declared close but it lit in the hearts of all its participants a fire that would remain ignited incessantly.

By: Akankshya Acharya

‘LAKSHYA’ by Mr. Akash Gautam

“Khush rehna ek aadat hai; jisko hai, usko hai. Jisko nahi – woh kuch bhi kar le; wo khush nahi reh sakta”. SAI Model United Nations 2016 was not just about debates and deliberations but was something sort of a lifetime experience. The guest lecture was delivered by Mr. Akash Gautam, a well-known motivational speaker and corporate trainer.

Mr. Akash Gautam has been addressing students since a long time. He also mentioned about how he has been coming across many intellectual personalities, a category of people who do everything correct. According to him, we should live our life forward, but understand it backward. The session circled around what it takes to create ‘Lakshya’. He also stated that how the life of students till Class-VIII was very smooth-sailing, and how parents say to their kids “Ab tu bada ho gaya hai, samajdhar ho ja.” He then added that “samajdhar toh hum sab hai, sirf deewani jagane ki jarurat hai.”

He also quoted from the film 3 Idiots indirectly that “success ke piche maat bhago, kamyabi ke piche bhago. Success toh saala jhaak mar ke piche aayegi.” He mentioned about certain norms such as mobile phones, day dreaming, TV, relationships, over eating/under-eating, funny emotional issues that have put a handbrake in a student’s life. He too mentioned about the communication revolution that has been swayed away by things like smartphones, WhatsApp, Facebook, 3G, music/songs etc.

He quoted that “woh kaam hi kyun karna, jiski karne ki jarurat hi nahi hai” which was repeated quite numerous times in the session. He believes that there are people who have everything good in their life. Happy and energetic students who have learnt “How to concentrate” are super successful.

He then informed the students that what this session is all about that is to try and demolish a huge mountain of delusions that lies in front of us. He then explained the five magic tricks to ‘lakshya’. The first is to be high energy which means to save energy for useful things in life. He also mentioned some influential quotes such as “you’ll never be seen and heard, if you follow the scene and herd” and “you are bound to feel useless, if you use it less.” The summary that was drawn from this was that just do not allow the energy that belongs to you to slip into people’s traps. Rather use that energy to become awesome in life.

The second trick was to progressively keep on reducing the mithya. Habits prevent us from doing what we want to do. The summary that was drawn from this is that, it all boils down to ‘what you do between 7PM and 7AM. The third trick was to learn the art of conscious concentration. He gave the example of toppers of competitive exams who are people with keen concentration. The fourth trick was regulatory/commitment to self-discipline. Regularity is the biggest key. Never think if to study or not, just sit down and do it and make the supreme effort. He then asked the students to make the 3 hour study that they devote to studies to be counted and it must make a solid difference to their preparation. He urged the students to work with solid concentration. The fifth trick was to remain free spirited.

Father’s Day

This father’s day, my dad had gone to work

He was out of the house before I even awoke.

I’d planned to surprise him with breakfast in bed

But sadly that thought remained as a dream in my head.

At first I was furious and fuming about

On this special day, why did he have to go out?

All my preparations and plans went down the drain

All because my father had a meeting to attend.

At least he’ll be back before lunch, I hoped

But was I right? Well…let’s see…nope!

He still had paperwork to fill and complete

And some special clients he was required to meet.

And all that time, I simply sat at home,

Waiting for him to come back soon.

I waited and waited for hours upon end,

And yet, he had several more emails to send.

I cried a bit, out of pure frustration

We were supposed to celebrate this special occasion!

It was a day for us to be together

To forget the world and spend time with each other.

It was father’s day, for heaven’s sake

How could he plan to be home so late?

I’d tried so hard but it all was a waste,

The fruit of my efforts, he couldn’t taste.

I felt hurt and angry and mad and sad,

I felt oh-so, very terribly bad.

As evening rolled by, I got even more upset with him,

I decided never to forgive this sin.

I planned to shout and throw a tantrum,

About how his job ruined my day because of its silly problems.

That I had such high hopes but they all crashed down

And that I was angry with him for making me frown.

So I spent the rest of the day crushing the dreams I had built,

Waiting for him to feel immense guilt.

When he finally came home it was already time for bed

So he peeked into my room, where I was sitting with a drowsy head.

And with a gentle smile and apologetic eyes,

He sat beside me and let out a soft sigh.

“Happy father’s day,” I whispered, trying my best to frown

But I couldn’t because his mere presence had turned my mood around.

I realized how hard he always tried

To make sure our family never cried.

And I realized how much he meant to me

And that I’d gotten upset over something really silly.

I realized that he’d also looked forward to this day

And now that it was over, he didn’t know what to say.

He felt terrible for disappointing me

And I felt the same because of my stupidity.

I shouldn’t have gotten mad over trivial things like this

Because all I really wanted was to see that beautiful smile of his.

What really mattered was that he was now there with me

After a day of working hard to care for and support me.

He was alive and well and able to laugh

And he was strong and protective and very, very tough.

I was lucky to have him, I slowly understood

And to get mad at him for doing his job, simply made me a fool.

And anyway, who cared if that one day was wasted?

For us, plenty more days definitely awaited.

I didn’t need that one single day

To show him how much I appreciated his ways.

I could celebrate father’s day whenever I wanted

Simply by telling my dad how much I loved him.

So in that moment, when he carefully embraced me

I forgave him for all of that day’s misery.

And then, when I said, “Dad, I love you.”

He just chuckled and replied, “Darling, I love you too.”

By: Ananya Mahapatra, IX-G

International Yoga Day

Yoga can be defined as the union of body, mind and soul. Yoga can help us in many aspects of our life. I had never tried to learn yoga but this International Yoga Day I joined my mother and my sister in their meditative yoga session. I was wonder struck to feel the beautiful affect of yoga in my body. I felt more calm, I had clear thoughts and a peaceful mind. I also found that I was able to concentrate more in my studies than any other day. Most of all I was amazed to find scientific explanation to yoga postures made by yoga masters. I feel that yoga can bring transcendental changes in people. I was inspired by one of the yoga masters Sadhguru who runs an institution called Isha Foundation to help people learn yoga, his videos and interviews have inspired me to learn more. I feel that everyone should try yoga and feel this transcendental changes in their own body.

By: Kartik Dhawan, X-E

Father’s Day

It was Sunday, a day when I like to prolong my sleeping time and wake up late. But this Sunday I was woken up by my annoying little cousin brother. “Guess what is today? Guess what is today?”, he shook me and asked excitedly, hopping on my bed and making it all the more untidier than it already was. “Let me sleep, Om”, I requested, but he continued to shake me. “Let me sleep!”, I said irritated. But he continued in his excited voice, “Guess what is today? Guess what is today?”

“What is so special about today?”, I asked angrily, as I woke up to find that it was just 6 o’clock, whereas I was supposed to sleep till at least 8 o’clock on a holiday. “It’s Father’s Day!”, he said in a rather hurt tone. “I just wanted to show you the card that I made for dad. Please tell me if it looks okay.”

“It’s beautiful, Om”, I said, without even throwing a glance at the card, and went back to sleep. I woke up at about 9AM (with the entire house yelling at me, of course). Then I got involved in my daily routine, and forgot that this day was any different from any other. The next time when I was reminded that it was ‘Father’s Day’ was when I opened my facebook account in evening, which was literally flooding with ‘Happy Father’s Day’ posts. I wondered if I could do something for my dad, but no idea occurred to me. I thought of making a card like Om, but then the job of card making appeared too laborious to me.

Now it was 7 o’clock (PM), and I had completed my homework and household chores. But I still had not done anything for my dad. The needles of the clock ticked away and it soon became night. Now it was 10.30pm and my dad had come back from office. When I saw him, I felt really guilty. I felt like a very bad daughter who could not take out even a little bit of time from her selfish life to do something for her father, not even on Father’s Day. Dad took his dinner and I prepared the bed. When he came to bed, I told him, “Sorry dad, I haven’t done anything for you on Father’s Day”. “No problem. Is it Father’s Day today?”, he asked me, “Well, I didn’t know that”. Lalalala hahahaha hmhmhmhm I’m singing. I’m swinging in the air. “Yes it is. And as I don’t have anything to present to you, I’ll just wish you – A Happy Father’s Day, dad!”

“Oh, dear, Thank you! What can be a better present for me than that? Now don’t look sad like that. Even I don’t do anything on Daughter’s Day, do I? I don’t even know when the daughter’s day is”. “Yeah, but I should have done something for you”, I said. “I am a very bad daughter, ain’t I?” “Of course, you aren’t. Now tell me why is there a father’s day? It’s just a sign of love for your father. Now you don’t have to prove that you love me and care for me if you really do”, he explained. “Do you know what the greatest gift you can give to me is?” “What?”, I asked. “Your smile”, he replied simply. With a gleeful smile, I flung my arms around him and whispered in his ear, “You are my hero, dad. I love you.” Dad hugged me closer and whispered back, “And you are my princess. I love you, too”.

 3929  By: Jijnasa Sahani, X – D

Friends

Nothing compares to the stomach ache you get from laughing with your friends, isn’t it? Yesterday while my classmates and I were discussing about the probable topics, we realized that this might be our last assembly of our school life.

Friendship begins with simple talks. It blooms in to a long and deep conversation and the next thing you know is that you begin to care so much. In this last year of our school, when we 12thers look back to these 14 years of school life, we realize how many friends we made, how many friends we left and how many friendships we preserved. I guess that the most common topic amongst us these days is about our friends, either about the ones we have lost or the best friends that we have. My heart somewhere sinks when I think that these people, whom I call my friends today, might just not exist in my life 5-6 years later. Friends are like stars, they come and go, but the ones that stay are the ones that glow. For most of us here, we perhaps now realize the value of relations that we’ve built so far. We now look back to the days when we went for out first hangout posing as adults, the first time we shared our Tiffin and realized how good our mothers are as cooks or for that matter our very first exam. It’s sad to realize that the most cherished part of our life is about to end, your routine will change, there will be no uniform, no fear before growing nails or not shaving and no excitement before summer vacations. We’ll certainly be in contact with our close friends, but then, there will be no planning for taking a leave together or discussing about the things to get on Teachers Day. The relations we have built so far are your partners in weirdness and your crime partner and they make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger and live a little better.

And I would like to end by a note for every best friend from his best friend:

20 years from now,

I will look back and remember that you were that one person who could turn every frown in to a smile in a few simple words,

that person who lifted my head when I was losing hope;

that one person who carried tears on her shoulders after every fight, every death;

that one person who knew who I really was and that one person that made the biggest difference in my life.

…. My best friend.

  5439  Madhurima Bhattacharya, XII-C

Summer Camp Begins @SAI

To make the summer vacations an enriching experience filled with amusement, new friends and an opportunity to pursue their interests, SAI International School holds the summer fiesta with the purpose of rejuvenating the kids from the usual stress of daily routine and explore new horizons. The ten day long much awaited summer camp which began today i.e. Wednesday, May 4, 2016 is being held in the school campus with an objective of providing a stimulating environment while encouraging cultural, social and physical growth of the participants.

Over 100 students have registered for this mega summer fun called the “Summer Fiesta 2016”. The camp will include activities like swimming, aerobics and dance and will provide ample scope for keeping their physical fitness and agility in check. It will also include activities like SAI TV, to give the students, a feel of the celluloid world with their ‘Lights, Camera and Action’ experience and gain an insight into the basics of video production. Summer Fiesta 2016 will also enrich the children with the core values of a strong, moral individual by teaching them about ethics, honesty, caring, respect, discipline and responsibility through the various activities conducted.

Scientific activities based on Physics, Chemistry and Biology has been arranged in the camp which will take the learning beyond the classrooms. Students will have a scope to attend classes on etiquettes and table manners. They will be given an opportunity to meet the well known chefs across the state and get indulged in an activity called ‘Master Chef’ where they will be taught some cookery skills.