Lakshmi Viswanatha

Lakshmi Viswanatha

I passed out of CFL in 2002 and went on to graduate in 2005 in English Literature, Communicative English, and Psychology. I then completed a Masters in Social Work from TISS, Mumbai, in 2007. Since then I have been working in the development sector and have experience in counseling, project management and documentation.

My first job at Positive People’s Company included counseling clients from various corporate companies, conducting trainings and writing for the monthly e-bulletin. I then moved on to Karnataka Health Promotion Trust, which works primarily in the field of HIV/AIDS. In the past two years, I have been responsible for managing different projects on the field, developing manuals and other documents, organizing workshops, writing papers and attending national and international conferences to present them.

My parents admitted me to CFL when I was eight years old. Coming from a conventional school with uniforms, textbooks and strict teachers, this set-up was entirely novel. While academics was an integral part of this education, it was not the only point of focus. In fact, “quiet time” and being by oneself, activities that seemed so mundane, were given much importance. Further, several co-curricular activities such as pottery and music were offered and there was freedom to do just what we wanted.

Given this context and the fact that I was then a hyper-active and restless child, CFL was liberating from the confinement of classrooms and the strict decorum that was required to be followed. I therefore, never understood the need or significance of “quiet time” and I hated the classes that were slotted for this activity. But gradually, as years went by, I began to realize that it had become an integral component of my life, and on days when it was absent, it made me feel incomplete. I also saw that responsibility and freedom were two sides of the same coin. In addition, I began to appreciate the holistic perspective with which we were being educated in this school.

While it is hard to highlight the difference(s) that CFL has made in my life, I can safely say this school has helped me discover a way of living, which I cherish. There is a sense of security, which enables me to question and respond to life and its various challenges.