My Book

“A BAT for All Seasons”
by Nikhil Pant

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“The chief aim of education should be to help the growing soul to draw out that in itself, which is best, and make it perfect for a noble cause.” …………SRI AUROBINDO

FROM THE AUTHOR

Every one of us seeks happiness, peace and contentment in life. The paths we choose and the journeys we travel are different. Each one is born unique – possessing different aptitudes, talents and bents of mind. Some are able to find vocations that match these inherent abilities. Others stumble into them by accident, while many are left searching. But whatever be the path and whatever be the journey, the life we live can be made a lot more meaningful, adventurous and worthwhile if we choose to embrace this world with an open mind and an attitude of tranquility. Tranquility means calm, stillness, silence and harmony. The ability to be at peace with oneself is the mission of all religions. I sincerely feel that each one of us can master the art of remaining ‘in harmony’ – both within and without – by providing a vent to the immense reservoir of compassion (‘karuna’) residing within us. This outpouring can happen only through ‘Maitreya’ or friendliness. If we adopt the ‘Religion of Maitreya,’ the flow of unconditional love and compassion in the world will make it heavenly. The result will be bliss and contentment all around.

I have chosen a BAT to share my Religion of Maitreya with all of you since bats are the only mammals that can fly. They also rest upside down in their roosts (homes). Thus, even though they are like us, they are also very different. And this is what makes them special. The Microbats communicate through echolocation (by using the reflection of sound vibrations) while Megabats have very sharp eyesight. My hero, Chim-Maitreya (Chim for Chimgaadar or bat) is able to echolocate as also see very well because he developed and mastered these skills through sheer hard work and practice under the guidance of his elders. He is a bat who lives his religion and experiences amazing outcomes. Against all odds he continues to be friendly. Finally, he wins over all his adversaries through unconditional love.

The book is in the form of a narration where Chim-Maitreya, as the aging Chim-Maharaj (the king of Bats), is telling his life story to the next generation of chims (bats) so that they can carry on living in the spirit of maitreya with all vigour and vitality.

BAT also implies ‘Basic Attitudes for Tranquility.’ I hope this book will encourage my readers to experiment with Maitreya in their daily lives. I have lived these principles to the best of my ability, and I promise you that results are assured if our efforts are sincere, selfless and genuine. These will be in the form of greater balance, peace and happiness in our lives.

I had never dreamt of writing a book for grown-up children, their parents & teachers & aspiring professional adults looking for a vocation, till about six months ago when Sri Vijay Batra, MD of Think Inc, whom I call ‘Vijay Bhai’ suddenly suggested to me to work on one. I cannot thank him enough for encouraging me and goading me on to it. The effort has been an exhilarating one and has filled me with renewed confidence and energy to pursue my chosen vocation. I thank my wife Ruchi & son Mudit who have provided me with lots of valuable insights used in this book. Ruchi has been a pillar of strength for me over the last 10 years. She is also my best friend. Mudit is a divine experience. Every moment spent with him is elevating. I thank my brother Lalit who has read through the draft and has provided valuable suggestions. Lalit has always inspired me towards perfection in whatever I do. Often, we have taken long walks discussing about topics ranging from Cricket and Football to the definition of a ‘successful’ life.

My grateful thanks are to Capt Vishwa Kant Pandey, Director, Manava Bharati India International School, New Delhi who has always encouraged me in all my endeavors ever since I joined the Manava Bharati family in 1997 as a Counsellor.

Most importantly I thank my parents. My father has been my mentor. I have learnt from him the entire philosophy of a balanced life. Throughout his service to the nation as an Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer, he made it a habit to do good to society through each and every Department/Ministry he worked for, despite all adversities. He treaded the path less traveled and kept designing, developing and implementing innovative programmes for the welfare of the people in society – irrespective of their caste, religion or creed. He suffered a massive heart attack in early 2003 as a result of the accumulated stresses that had developed within his system due to the tireless work he had been doing in his career (1961 to 1996). The discipline, simplicity and humbleness with which he conducts himself each day within the house as also outside it is quite amazing. He has contributed with great intensity in finalizing the text of my book. I cannot thank him enough.

My mother has been an epitome of dedication for the well being of the family. I cannot recall a single moment in my entire life when I have found her loose control and show disregard to my father. She has worshipped him and cared for him and the family day in and day out. And for this she has often suffered and sacrificed silently. I saw her nursing my father like a baby during the post-bypass heart surgery period. All these images have shaped my perceptions and ideologies in life. As a doctor, she worked tirelessly to implement programmes like the Pulse Polio Campaign. Her dedication for work was just as intense as it was for us in the family.

I hope and pray that every child could have parents like mine.

My friend Ish has printed this book in record time. Without his support the project could not have been completed by 20th March 2005.

My thanks are to Mrs. Abha Sharma, Mudit’s art teacher at Manava Bharati, for encouraging and guiding Mudit to design the cover of the book. Shailaja Thakur of Class X A at Manava Bharati drew the lovely sketches of bats in real quick time. My thanks to her, too.

BACK COVER

A BAT for all Seasons is a ‘Book for all Reasons.’ It is meant for people from all walks of life – students in schools and colleges, housewives, school and college teachers, corporate executives and leaders, professionals and everyone else who seeks happiness, contentment and peace in their lives.

The book has been written in the form of a story – though satirical at times – about bats and humans, and how they can co-exist despite differences in their needs and lifestyles. It describes the mission of a bat, Chim-Maitreya, to find a solution through his instinctive spirit of ‘maitreya’ (or friendliness). He is able to convey a very strong message that ‘MAITREYA IS COMPASSION IN ACTION’ to everyone who comes in contact with him. He is able to handle the most difficult situations and interact with the most complex personalities with great assurance, calm and composure. That is why he is a BAT – possessing Basic Attitudes for Tranquility!

Those who read the book are likely to view their world with a changed perspective. This might just give them a reason to listen to their inner voice, to delve deep within, and in the process discover the true meaning behind their existence. Once this happens, they would be keen to adopt a more balanced attitude towards life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nikhil Pant, 38, is a Civil Engineer by qualification. After completing his B.E. in 1991, he joined the corporate sector. He worked there till 1997. Simultaneously, he became part of REACHA, an NGO, in Delhi since 1992. Soon he got disillusioned with his job. He resigned and joined Manava Bharati School as a Counsellor in 1997. There he started his ‘experiments with maitreya’ amongst the students of classes V – X that he taught (Math and Physics). This lead to the development of SAMEER CLUBS in schools. SAMEER stands for Social Action Movement for Education and Eco-Restoration. Through these clubs, the inherent ability of every child in school can be discovered by the model of ‘learning-by-doing’. This helps each individual to grow and evolve along lines of their own genius. Later, he evolved Maitreya Clubs – which are neighbourhood specific. They, too, work on similar concepts. Here, parents share their time and talent to guide the children in their neighbourhood.

He is currently associated with corporates and schools to bring about positive social change through the energy, creativity and cheerfulness of school children, by sensitizing all concerned – school managements, teachers, parents, corporates and the masses – through the platform of SAMEER and MAITREYA Clubs. It is his strong belief that if the nations child human resource is harnessed in proportion, and in tune, to its true potential then a time will come when the whole country will be able to unleash the untapped power of its immensely creative and talented masses for its own holistic development.

Nikhil loves sports, travels a lot and is very fond of children. He lives with his wife Ruchi and son Mudit at Ghaziabad, UP, India.

REACHA – A SYNOPSIS OF ACTIVITIES

REACHA, or Research and Extension Association for Conservation Horticulture and Agro-forestry, is a Voluntary Organisation registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, under Delhi Government, since March 1992. Contributions to REACHA are exempted u/s 80G of the IT Act. It is registered with CAPART, Govt of India, and under FCRA, Govt of India, for foreign contributions.

REACHA has, over the past decade, worked extensively in the following areas:
1. AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT: provides training to farmers (at Yug Nirman Mission, Shantikunj, Haridwar, our Associate Member), government functionaries, other NGO's and individuals in Self-Help-Group (SHG) formation, mobilisation of micro-credit for local development, and rain-water harvesting through water-shed development in rain-fed areas, comprehensive rural development (with support from NABARD, under RBI), training of Rural Managers (in association with India Literacy Board, under Union Ministry of HRD, Lucknow. ILB is also our Associate Member) and greening of barren lands at Bhatti Mines near Delhi.

2. HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE: worked extensively with other NGO's for maximizing the reach of the Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme (with WHO support), Women’s Empowerment, "Health for All", and Reproductive and Child Health.

3. EDUCATION: REACHA has been providing training, guidance and support to school children (both formal and non-formal stream), school managements, teachers and parents on various aspects, —-
a) Vidya-daan Scholarships: are provided to children of war widows, marginalised workers and other exploited classes, for the furtherance of their education.

b) Vidya-Shilp School: is a non-formal school run by REACHA, in association with BEL Officers Ladies Club, Ghaziabad, where 60-70 children from the weaker sections of the society are provided primary education, with the objective of making them literate and subsequently, through vocational training, self reliant as well.

c) SAMEER Clubs: or Social Action Movement for Education and Eco-Restoration Clubs have been conceptualised by REACHA (at Manava Bharati School, New Delhi, also our Associate Member) as a means to provide a platform to school children to practice moral values in school through the method of "learning-by-doing". Educational experts from CBSE, India Literacy Board and NIEPA have recommended this approach for implementation in public schools. This concept has been adopted by a number of public schools.

d) Maitreya Clubs: have been initiated by REACHA for mobilising the constructive time and talent of parents in neighbourhoods, to share with each others' children, as a means to spread social harmony, assist in personality development of children, enhance their Social Adaptability and generate constructive synergies in society. Children’s Maitreya Clubs are successfully running at many residential colonies.

e) Week-end "Magical Colours of Maitreya (MCoM)" Workshops: to help every parent and child understand themselves better - through group discussions, brainstorming sessions, creative art and mind-mapping, personality testing, interviews, family quizzes, pranayam, adoption of a cause, and open forum.

f) Maarg-darshak Counselling: in schools to provide guidance and counseling support to students and parents.

g) NDPL Energy Club: NORTH DELHI POWER LTD (NDPL) is a joint venture between TATA POWER and Delhi Govt, for power distribution in North Delhi. REACHA is sharing its expertise with NDPL to run this club in a number of schools in North Delhi, to sensitise children, and their parents, on issues concerning energy conservation.

h) Child Development Workshops in Schools/Corporates/Residential Colonies:

REACHA HAS CONDUCTED WORKSHOPS/SESSIONS ON CHILD DEVELOPMENT AT:
* BHARAT ELECTRONICS LTD (BEL), GHAZIABAD (A MINISTRY OF DEFENCE UNDERTAKING)
* BEL OFFICERS CLUB, CHANDERNAGAR, GHAZIABAD.
* NORTH DELHI POWER LTD (NDPL), A TATA POWER AND DELHI GOVT JOINT COMPANY.
* THINK INC, A CORPORATE ORGANIZATION.
* MANAVA BHARATI SCHOOL, PANCHSHEEL PARK (SOUTH), NEW DELHI.
* MANAVA BHARATI SCHOOL, MUSSOORIE.
* CITY MONTESSORI SCHOOL, LUCKNOW.
* CRPF PUBLIC SCHOOL, ROHINI, NEW DELHI.
* PRABHU DAYAL PUBLIC SCHOOL, NEW DELHI.
* LANCERS CONVENT, NEW DELHI.
* BAL BHARATI PUBLIC SCHOOL, NEW DELHI.
* DAV SHRESHTH VIHAR, DELHI.
* APEEJAY SCHOOL, PITAMPURA, NEW DELHI.
* DELHI PUBLIC SCHOOL (DPS), AMRITSAR
* KULACHI HANSRAJ MODEL SCHOOL, DELHI
* IIT, ROORKEE (AS A JUDGE FOR THE YOUTH PARLIAMENT 2006)
* DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT STUDIES, IIT – R
* INDRAPRASTHA ENGG COLLEGE, GHAZIABAD
* INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT STUDIED, GHAZIABAD
* IMT GHAZIABAD
* IIM INDORE
* VARIOUS GOVT SCHOOLS IN DELHI
* NTPC POWER MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE, NOIDA – WITH KABIR PEACE MISSION

“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

HELEN KELLER

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