On a lone hill somewhere in the Western Ghats, you enter Mahadwaar; it pulls you into the magic and mystery of a United World College. A Nelson Mandela sculpture awaits your arrival in the academic quadrangle, watching you arrive. Hemmed in walls of stones, blazing winds, fields of emeralds and amidst the chirpy crowd, you find yourself following the music. Welcome to the Mahindra United World College of India. Where dreamers arise each morning to make it more than just any ‘day’; where life is not measured in minutes and hours but in chill-out sessions and exuberant laughs that fill each second; where we live by the notion that there’s no tomorrow; where people really care. Here’s your guide to knowing what this small community, much like a caravan of diverse races, nationalities and languages does.
First term into the International Baccalaureate (IB) feels like a utopian reverie that is spent in tranquility for a good four terms. To learn those 200 names of students from 58 nations is both a thrill and a gargantuan task. You’ll come across a beautifully structured pagoda with a labyrinth garden, four tree houses facing the Mulshi Valley, residential wadas, a centre for performing arts, a biodiversity reserve and the academic quarters. But, this is term II; it’s April and a crazy time for MUWCI-ites as the sun bakes the earth. The airconditioned academic area is almost always crowded with students trying to find their own place to study.
Theatre season sees some grand productions every year and is aided by the student team comprising light and sound technicians, actors, directors and make-up artists. The MUWCI Fest, Sunday Spotlight and Wada Concerts take place throughout the year, showcasing sensational talent. Fridays are highly awaited as the frustration of the week finds a vent in the college’s Paud Dance Nights. Sundays see a relaxed brunch and later, sessions over Skype with friends and family back home.
Sleep deprivation, lack of self maintenance and procrastination might be conventionally negative terms, but here, there’s a joy attached to it all. Working on your essay at 3 am you might find yourself buzzing a buddy due to the high probability of him working at that very moment!
What Makes Us Different?
Well, experience would be the best teacher, but to spell it out for you- it has to be the numerous interactions you’ll find yourself exposed to during your time here. We recently had Jessie Seiler, a development worker from Senegal who spoke to us about Kony 2012! A full-fledged experimental film and photography workshop was conducted by famed cinematographer Glauco Bermudez. Having received guests from as far as Palestine, Holland, Singapore and Mexico, we’ve only succeeded in broadening our windows to the world! The experiences here are special and all the incidents that I have mentioned are just a tiny chip of life at this college.
How We Chill
Music, jamming and cooking sessions are what we love. Just the sight of the Mulshi Lake from the tree house or a run to the village on dull evenings can lift one up. Beautiful landscapes, the pattering rain on the rooftops on an idle evening and hanging out at guitar sessions is great! We also have UWC Week twice a year, where several students put up workshops and sessions introducing their country of origin to the rest of the community.
Ceativity, Action and Sevice
This programme is just one component of the IB Diploma. Both action and creation play vital roles in students’ lives here. It’s great that we get exposed to community engagement activities. On a Wednesday afternoon, you may find yourself spending some quality time mingling with autistic kids and adults at Sanskar. Saturdays are spent working with slum kids in Pune or going down to the village to spend some quality time listening to cultural music nights or just discussing issues with locals at Mulshipedia. Here, students go far beyond this requirement and spend at least three to four afternoons a week engrossed in the Triveni Programme (extracurricular activities). Dances such as salsa, bounce, Bollywood, ballet and other activities like fitness, cooking, film appreciation and photography are popular with students.
MUWCI is a delight of sorts and the joys of life are indescribable here. A student is no less than a prince, with a heart that is free as a bird. One is full of the wine of life. One is proud. One is canny and adventurous. There is no pressure of slogging it out, no threat of caning, no dreading teachers (they’re just like family!).
You’ll never remember the stressful SATs, but you’ll always remember the times you squandered hanging out with your friends. That’s why we live for the moment and sometimes go out on a Friday when we have a paper due on Saturday, dancing till sunrise! All because work and studying never ends, but this life does.
You know you’re in MUWCI when
- You’ve taught yourself to take naps while walking to your next class.
- You clean up your room and find a bed.
- Everything you notice everywhere seems to be ‘ironic’ or ‘symbolic’ of some deeper meaning or other.
- You no longer speak English. You speak a combination of English, Hindi, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, Chinese, Norwegian, Hebrew, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, and Polish.
- You spend more time trying to decide when you’ll do your homework than actually doing it.
- You persuade your history teacher that everything you have said in that half hour presentation makes sense and has a point, even though you don’t know what that point is.
- You say the same thing over and over again, not realising you’ve said it before.
Volume 1 Issue 12