Once upon a time, in a village called Kukkundoor, a child was born to a couple. The year was 1988, the sun was in Uttarayana in Grishma ritu and it was the dark, moonless night of Amavasya, with the Punarvasu nakshatra shining bright in Mithuna raashi. Smt. Nagaratna and Shri Ranganath were over the moon at the arrival of this bundle of joy and decided to name him Manjunath.
Manju anna is a story-teller. He can tell a story at the drop of a hat! He takes children on incredible journeys through mountains and oceans, deserts and forests, caves and rivers, filled with mythical creatures and demons, fairies and sages, kings and queens. His tales are replete with magic, mystery, adventure, wit and wisdom. He weaves all these elements into such captivating narratives that even you could get lost in them! In his own words, he is a storyteller by heart, lungs, kidneys and all parts of his body!
So, it will come as a strange surprise that Manju anna was working with Mindtree Technologies, Bengaluru, as a Senior Software Engineer, before arriving here. He says that the stories he heard during his formative years and his experiences all through helped connect with his roots and bring out this innate talent that he possesses. He makes it a point to say that he is a True Blue ‘Old Bangalorean’. Though anna has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, his passion lies in languages, history and sustainable science and technology. He also has a keen interest in Bharathiya itihasa and philosophy.
While at Mindtree, Manju anna happened to meet a few like-minded people, with whom he embarked on a voyage into the world of education. And that’s when the dots began to connect. All the reading, visits to numerous schools across India and lengthy discussions with experts and mentors led him to realise that ‘Learning and Parenting’, the two most significant aspects of our life, are the most ignored and that “Only literacy is not education”. This brought him to seek answers on how to provide holistic education and lead a harmonious, sustainable lifestyle. Many of his questions were answered during his deep study of works by Shri KS Narayanacharya, Shri Ravindra Sharma, Shri Pawan Kumar Gupta, Smt. Indumathi Katdhare, Shri Rajiv Malhotra, Shri S Gurumurthy and Sir Kenneth Robinson.
In July 2016, anna left a lucrative career in the IT industry and started Vidyakshetra, with a burning desire to create a prolific space that enables joyful learning and allows children to blossom into capable human beings.
Along with his regular role as a teacher at Udhbhavaha, Manju anna is currently learning to play the tabla, besides getting trained in Kalaripayattu and yoga. In short, he is doing what he wants and loves to do, while leading a happy and content life (at Udhbhavaha, we call this being Niraala). Travelling, long-distance running and film-making are some more of his interests. Anna lives in ‘Old’ Bengaluru with his mother Nagarathna and brother Vishwanath.
Whew! What a story!