The hardest thing for me is to define who or what I am. Each time I try to define myself, I discover something new about me. How tedious and insipid it would be if we could pinpoint what we are… I would rather say your presence in my world defines me better and I would look forward to the way you would see me and my world.Life with its undefinable, ever renewing novelties is what drives into thoughts and activities whether photography, travelling, teaching, acting, philosophy. It is a vast canvas endlessly splashing new colours, strokes, and collage of moments and experiences. And in my activities, I am passionately trying to pace up with the creative magic of the invisible artist. I would like to be known for my multifaceted identity – the actor in me as a teacher, the writer and photographer in me as a traveller.
According to the words of a friend… “Santhosh Kumar Kana is a multi-talented, multi-passionate, versatile, and a very creative human being. He is a dynamic and innovative teacher, blogger, writer, traveller, motivational speaker, singer, anchor, and actor and each talent opens up a new dimension of his personality. He might at times appear outlandish but I have always felt there was a deeper meaning, something more philosophical to this eccentricity. And he always carries an element of grace and dignity with a little bit of mystery in that. The trait of seeking novelty is one of the prime forces that keeps him going. I would not be wrong if I say he is a free spirit that wanders with the most vibrant imaginations, someone who builds masterpieces no matter what task he is given. He has a constant thirst to see the world and spend time on experiences rather than materialistic objects. He balances his extroversion by diving into his own mind with introspective thoughts. He shows an intense eagerness to all his subjects of interest, a force that is powerful enough to inspire everyone around him.”
Bio Mr Santhosh Kumar Kana is a dynamic teacher with over 17 years of experience having worked in different parts of the country and also abroad. He has been working as a Post Graduate Teacher of English for Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, since 2002. He is currently working for a Kendriya Vidyalaya in Kochi. A polyglot and an eclectic, he meaningfully integrates his wide range of knowledge and exposure effectively in teaching. With innovative strides in teaching making fruitful and creative implementation of technology and theatrical skills, he has carved a niche for himself in the profession. The short films he made with students adopting the lessons prescribed for study have become a rich resource for students, teachers, educationists and academicians. He was a columnist for the English daily The Deccan Herald, where he wrote a series of articles on grammar titled “Grammar is no Hammer on the Head” in the DH Education supplement in 2008 and 2009. He published his first book Kallavandi in 2015, and it is a collection of 41 poems in Malayalam. The book was published by Lipi publications and features poems that create a sweet hypothesis of love, confession, loneliness, satire, travels, and creativity. His second book Kathmandu, published in 2016 becomes Malayalam’s first exclusive travelogue about Kathmandu. This is a travelogue and a handbook which includes chapters on different places in Kathmandu There are chapters on music, art, culture, festivals, movies of that country. In fact, this book helped him gain recognition as a traveller. His poems and articles have appeared in magazines and journals in English and Malayalam.
Conversing with Vibrant Minds
Teaching offers me a dais for the performer in me, and the classroom is my performing space- a dynamic space that opens new visions and challenges. I had a lot of stage exposure in different forms since childhood. This removed my basic inhibitions and fear and helped me become comfortable with an audience. Teaching involves a mutual communication, an interaction with vibrant minds. A teacher should renew and evolve continuously to be successful. Just how a book gets life from both the writer and the reader, the classroom gets life through the teacher and the students. A teacher is never the centre of the classroom, but a catalyst that helps in evoking brilliant ideas in the minds of students. Every time I cross the threshold of the classroom, there is some invisible energy that gets into me and takes my thought and words to a higher level of communication. I think it might be the presence of my students, their curious eyes, and the positive vibe they exude in the classroom. You can never step into the same river twice, similarly, you cannot step into the same classroom twice. A classroom is in a state of flux and it comprises of young minds. Furthermore, I believe that you need to break the patterns in learning, instead of contributing to monotonous, habituated patterns of conditioning. While teaching, I always see myself through the eyes of the learner. I learn the classroom and the students before they learn from me.
Journeys of Self-Discovery
I believe that the basic human instinct to travel arises from the desire to experience novel visions, an escapade from the daily boredom of life. I also like a bit of adventure, be it my journeys or my life as such. Luckily for me, my job required me to travel from one place to another. And travel is not just a physical journey. It also offers a mental rejuvenation which in turn refreshes our soul. Out of my journeys, the unplanned ones had been more rewarding than the planned ones; they say one destination leads us to a better destination. I like to break the usual travel itineraries and patterns and wander off to discover new places and sights. And travel is much more than that, it is about interacting with the local crowd, learning about the exotic and ethnic culture, music, and the heritage. Architectural shapes, elements, and decors also attract me. I have cherished the travels that came with a zing of adrenalin, with activities like paragliding, raft sailing, and trekking.
Stories beyond Words
Visual intelligence works a lot for me, and that explains why I am fond of photography. I have always been captivated by visuals and each visual represents a frame, something that already exists and the camera is a simple tool to capture it. Perhaps that is why I call my photography, ‘My Sensitive Camera’. The world presents an infinite scope of photography and it is our perception that creates good images. I believe that a good picture is one that has an essence of emotion and a story to tell. Light and darkness blending in a golden hue speak on its own in my pictures. I have also been inspired by the sky. The sky provides an infinite canvas with an endless source of possibilities, an entity that keeps changing forever. I admit I am not an expert in the technical aspects of photography, that way you can call me an illiterate photographer. My photo editing is limited to simple cropping and subtle enhancements; most of the photographs are raw and untouched
Dissolution of Ego
Either there or not there a lone and long journey, a discovery of what you are not (ego), ultimately dissolving the ego. I believe that the more you are eloquent about it, the more you drift away from it. The funniest part is that ego is an illusion that makes you feel what you are ‘not’ is what you are, and it is actually ignorance. Ego bounces off the enlightened omnipresent around you, like pitter-patter raindrops hitting on yourself every time. An ego is searching for what you are not. Spirituality is the U-turn to actuality from what you are not. A halo or an aura is a visual representation of one’s consciousness. The higher the level the brighter the aura. Spirituality is opening the door to life, a life energy that is unleashed, it’s awakening, and it’s consciousness. Or in other words, ego is an accumulation of unwanted baggage in life, while spirituality is the dissolution of that luggage
Imbibing another Self
My initiation into the theatre and art happened in my childhood when a professional theatre group in my village (in North Kerala) approached me to play the role of Raja Harischandra’s son Lohitaksha. They had seen me acting in some amateur stage performances in the village with some of my friends for every important festival or occasion. I agreed and was fortunate to come into touch with artists of varied calibre and nature. I remember, we used to travel to far off places to stage the drama. At college, I once again came into contact with theatre lovers and kept getting a variety of roles in various theatre competitions. I was also very fond of mime where I felt the potential of an actor is put to the utmost challenge. It was while doing post-graduation in English at Pondicherry University that I got the best training in theatre. The drama department of Pondicherry University called SOPA (Shankaradas Swamigal School of Performing Arts) with exponents of Therukoothu and folk arts as faculty. Some of them had acted in films too. A friend once planned to make a stage adaptation of Herman Hesse’s renowned novel, Siddhartha and I played Buddha. It was an unforgettable experience as it blended music and stage movement so effectively to create the impact of a river on stage, the most abiding presence in the novel. It is here I started getting the initial insight into stage techniques. I later started experimenting on stage with humorous skits and serious themes, thus discovering my flair for writing and direction. I staged a musical adaptation of Edassery’s “Poothappattu” in my village along with a group of my friends, and there I learned more about direction and script writing from stage experience. The learning process continued when I started working in my school where I slowly discovered good sets of actors and technicians to give life to my ideas on stage.
Writing I write what I feel and feel what I write. Writing should come from within, it should be a feeling, a deeper call and my writings are my soliloquies since childhood. The range of my writings manifests their crescendo and pitch in terms of emotions and thoughts. At times heavy, at times like a sprinkle. Words are quite sensitive and must be handled sensitively. I use words to discover their innate silence. 1586
Vocal Odyssey I love doing anchoring for amateur to high profile functions. Compering is finding the silence between words. It is not a self-projection, it is about being less of yourself and creating maximum impact. I have also done voice narration for a documentary, recitation for a music programme and dubbing for a feature film. Oration is another field of my interest. Most of my speeches on various occasions are available online as texts or videos.