By Dr. Jaya Parekh
The Principal, Ram Ratna International School
Entering the campus of RRIS on a usual Monday morning we saw teachers walking briskly on the corridors, toddlers skating on wheels and young adults in their classrooms debating with the teacher over some topic. Approaching the front desk for help we heard a manual bell ring at 10.30 a.m. and we were signaled to be seated quietly when instantly silence followed in the entire school for the next three minutes.
In those moments of calmness, we could sense the serene world outside mingle with the mundane routine inside. Perplexed and confounded by what we witnessed we enquired more and were told about Alpviram, a unique practice followed by RRIS. Initiated by Dr. Jaya Parekh, the Principal, Alpviram aims at encouraging mindfulness, enabling the students and staff to rejuvenate and reflect upon their acts and was welcomed by everyone in the school with open arms as they caught few precious moments for themselves. We were left in utter disbelief after seeing the three-year-old students from Pre-Primary following the practice. The main idea of this practice was to be in the moment for a while and get re-energized for the day. “It is more refreshing than niboo paani” exclaimed Shaila Pandey, Quality Control Manager.
The scenic beauty outside is truly felt in those three minutes of stillness where the unison of energy from the outer world with the inner self is experienced. One can perceive the wind passing through the leaves, the chirping of birds and the pattern of raindrops falling from the sky. Some of the staff and students reflect upon themselves inside their classrooms in a state of complete awareness, some sit and employ this time to pray, whereas others choose to stand at the corridors or close to the windows and gaze at the endless sky reaching out to the sea at the horizon on one side and opening up to a green valley on the other side. “Alpviram gives an opportunity to have few moments of peace and experience the moment as it is” Ishika Grade 9. Widely appreciated by everyone associated with the school; parents, visitors, Alpviram aims at bringing harmony between the mind and body, to achieve mental serenity. “It happened, when I imagined myself to be the enlightened ones, and started smiling during the ‘Alpviram’” expressed Ms. Anupma Diddi, PD Consultant.
It has been instrumental in generating positive changes in the behavior of the students. Students have become more disciplined, responsible, calmer, reflective and introspective. The most unique feature of Alpviram is that it doesn’t need monitoring. Everyone enjoys following it and has proven itself as an absolutely voluntary practice. It was heartening to see the little ones in Pre Primary, closing their eyes and sitting motionlessly as the bell rung. We were astonished to hear that the students follow their schedule for Alpviram at home during vacations. Alpviram is an endeavor to create a stress-free, healthier and happier environment in school and stable, conscious, reflective and merrier citizens for the society.