The Pomegranate Workshop

Creative Energies At Work

Priya Srinivasan

Originally a Journalist with over a decade of experience in print and electronic media including UTV, The Indian Express Group and The India Today Group, Priya Srinivasan was afflicted with an idea back in 2006: that the inherent potential of children is best tapped by marrying creative expression and learning processes; and that children need a space where they can let loose their imagination with all its absurdities and twisted wackiness unencumbered by the weight of questions such as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, or the dreaded ‘not good enough’. The Pomegranate Workshop is testimony to the sheer incongruity and novelty of Priya’s idea: convincing, cajoling and coaxing parents into having some faith in the creative abilities of their children is her specialty. Contact: 9892210539

Zahra Gabuji

Zahra holds an MA (honours) in English Literature from The University of Mumbai. She also has a post graduate diploma from Social Communications Media, at Sophia Polytechnic. She began her journey with Pomegranate after a brief stint at Hindustan Times in 2011. She is extremely passionate about the arts in education and is of the belief that the arts are imperative in a world that is slowly becoming so intolerant. She has a keen interest in literature, writing, documentaries, films and aesthetics. At The Pomegranate Workshop, she is Head of Content and Programming where she conceptualizes, organizes and conducts workshops. Her sessions are ‘a window to the world’ with social, political, environmental connections that encourage children to think about the world they live in. She believes that some day we will build a Pomegranate school where the arts will be used to talk about ecosystems, economics and diseases in a way never done before and there will be no right or wrong.

Advaita Mane

A dancer, storyteller and dramatist, Advaita’s aim is to infuse each session with multiple arts that awaken the magician in each child. Advaita Mane is an Odissi danseuse for over 20 years and has several performances and accolades to her credit. A recipient of the ‘Singaar Mani’ national title by the Sur Singaar Samsad, she has also received a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture, Govt of India for Odissi. Advaita plunged into storytelling at Amar Chitra Katha with a focus on Emotional Intelligence of children. A graduate in Philosophy, Advaita has been a member of The Poona Arts Theatre for the past several years and completed multiple levels of the Speech and Drama course offered by The Trinity College, London. Her love for Indian art and mythology further led her to complete a Diploma in Natyashastra from The Nalanda Institute of Dance and in Indian Aesthetics from Jnanapravah, Mumbai. At Pomegranate, Advaita works as Head of Workshop Experience and Social Sector Outreach tapping into all her skills as a dancer and storyteller to create imaginative classrooms which tap into the creative spirit in each child.

Apeksha Harsh

Apeksha Harsh holds an MA in English Literature from The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. She also has an MA in Writing from The University of Warwick, UK. During her time in the UK, she penned the Japanese folktale-based opera Kaguyahime for Operamus. She also taught creative writing to Grade 3 students at St John’s Primary School, Coventry as part of the Warwick Writing Programme in Schools (WWPS) which culminated in an anthology of creative works. Later, she worked with Writing West Midlands as an Assistant Writer for the Polesworth Write On! Writing Squad. Apeksha’s poetry and prose has been published in Under the Radar, Ambit, Fusion, Here Comes Everyone and Eunoia Review. As Head of Language Programmes & School Outreach at The Pomegranate Workshop, Apeksha puts her love for words at the forefront - she has conducted various writing workshops in international schools, government schools, Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), International Children's Film Festival (ICCFI), National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), among others. In her free time, she loves eating Asian food, singing to dogs, shaking a leg and watching Snakes in the City!

Aparna Gupta

Aparna Gupta is an Economics Graduate with an MBA in Finance. She has worked with two of India’s premier financial Institutions, namely, Shipping Credit and Investment Company of India (SCICI) and erstwhile ICICI Limited. Later she returned to her Alma Mater, S P Jain Institute of Management and Research where she was associated with the Executive MBA program. Aparna joined her long-time friend Priya to embark on the journey of Pomegranate from the very beginning as she fully believed that it addressed a gaping lacuna in the co-curricular and extra- curricular landscape of Mumbai, if not India. She endeavours to use her skills to make Pomegranate a profitable and fulfilling venture for its promoters and the team.

Chandni Shah

Chandni Shah graduated with a degree in mass communication from Mumbai University. She followed that up with a brief stint at York University, Canada where she took courses in Business and Communications as part of an exchange program. During her stay in Toronto, she frequented the local public library and chanced upon the children’s section and its many wonders, paving the way for an ever growing appetite for children’s books. Armed with this new found love, she made her way back to India where she worked as the sub-editor of Tinkle Digest, a leading comic magazine for children. At The Pomegranate Workshop, Chandni facilitates The Magic Reading Room program and manages social media communication for the company. From working behind-the-scenes — writing and editing stories for children to now telling them stories, Chandni truly believes that a good story can change the world.

Sonal Khale

Always a performer, she first set foot on stage as a dancer at the age of three and there has been no looking back ever since. Sonal is a trained Bharat Natyam dancer and CREATIVITY has continued to be her calling. Be it visual art or performing art, she believes that the arts have been a strong driving force and an inseparable of her life. Having earned a degree in Applied Art from Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art, Sonal has worked as an art director in the field of advertising for some time before making a complete transition into performing arts. She has performed in a wide range of plays in various languages, Hindi, Marathi, English and Urdu for over a decade. Through the course of her experience she has had the opportunity to work with some of the best theatre directors, with Mr. Chetan Datar being her mentor. As a facilitator with The Pomegranate Workshop, Sonal employs the strength of her voice and speech & art and drama skills to have fun and bring in focus during her sessions. She believes in creating a safe and a positive learning space for every child.

Komal Suryawanshi

Komal Suryawanshi feels ”every line is a helping line” and she encourages her students to avoid thinking about ‘mistakes’ and learn to love to what they draw. An alumni of the Thane school of Art with a focus on Printmaking, Komal credits her environment for her varied artistic work. She helps in research and class room processes for Pomegranate’s art and aesthetics programs, designs inspiring sets with the most varied materials for Pomegranate’s productions, creates posters and playbills and supports the many art programs that Pomegranate holds through the year. What she likes best at Pomegranate is that she gets the opportunity to observe so many artistic processes beyond her own specialisation – storytelling, creative writing, theatre, all of which has inspired her to try different approaches in her own art’. Komal’s styles of interest include Folk Art, Kerala style paintings, Madhubani for its elegance and art with far – eastern influences. She enjoys researching performing art, sculpture and architecture for her classroom plans .

Khadija Shiore

Khadija Shiore holds a degree in English Literature from Mumbai University. She also has a diploma in Creative Writing and Film Appreciation. She is an avid reader and a contemporary fiction enthusiast. Who is also obsessed with TV shows and has a keen interest in World Cinema. She tries to encourage curiosity and welcomes questions in her classroom. Aiming to create a safe space for children where they can speak their mind, without worrying about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Where they realise their opinions are valued. Pomegranate,she believes has kept her bubble of a very idealistic world, where change is possible alive.

Ruchika Thakkar

Ruchika holds a bachelor’s degree in Advertising. After graduating, Ruchika worked in a Public Relations Firm only to realise she wanted to do something in the education sector. The Teach For India Fellowship gave her an insight into different ways that facilitate learning in children. She strongly believes in experiential learing and that different art experiences help children develop many life skills which are essential today. “Pomegranate has given me a chance to combine my love for teaching and arts. I enjoy every moment spent sharing and learning in the classroom.”

Pranita Pandurangi

Chaser of beautiful sunsets, believer of magic, seeker of all things true and beautiful. Pranita believes the classroom is a place where children can learn not just how to read, write, draw, sing or solve math but also a place where they can learn to see and appreciate all the beautiful things in the world. Pranita finished her BA in English Literature and Anthropology from St. Xavier’s College and then spent a year teaching music, acting, singing, recording and travelling in India. The magic of stories pulled her towards The Pomegranate Workshop where she facilitates the Magic Reading Room program and the Aesthetics program. She is also pursuing her taleem in Hindustani classical and semi-classical vocal music.

Nikita Lobo

Nikita Lobo enjoys storytelling and facilitating the Reading and Creative Writing programme at The Pomegranate Workshop and its affiliated institutions. She has spent a brief but wonderful stint as a school teacher in Mumbai and in Dubai where she realised the importance of an inclusive and accepting approach in the classroom. Nikita holds a Masters in English Literature from Mumbai University, a Bachelors in Education from St Xavier's Institute of Education, Churchgate and a Bachelors of Arts majoring in History from St Xavier's College, Fort. She also enjoys papercutting, the rains in Goa, and the wonderful kids she gets to hang out with!

Yashasvi Vachhani

Yashasvi Vachhani is a writer, curator and facilitator. She completed her MA in Literature from SNDT University. She loves everything about books, stories, characters and children. She enjoys daydreaming, drinking tea, and looking for stories in the everyday things of life. At Pomegranate, Yashasvi conducts sessions for the Reading, Creative Writing and Aesthetics programmes bringing a lot of energy and excitement for the arts into her classrooms.

Anita Vachharajani

Anita Vachharajani holds two masters, one in English literature and another in Linguistics. She has written extensively for children. Anita has been published in Puffin anthologies. She has been published by a host of other publishers like Brightsparks (My Little Garden) and Scholastic (Amazing India). With IL&FS publishing, she has done books like Grasslands of the World and The Rashtrakootas. Tumbi Publishing recently launched Nonie’s Magic Quilt by Anita. She has also translated nonsense verse from Gujarati and Marathi into English for The Tenth Rasa – The Penguin Book of Indian Nonsense Verse. She has just published a book on the different states of India with Scholastic called Amazing India – A State-by-State Guide. . Anita has conducted many writing workshops for children with The Pomegranate Workshop. Anita’s works in the pipeline include books with IL&FS Educational publishing, Pratham (Nayana and The Not So Scary Owl, Translations of Aabid Surti’s Compilation of Gujrati folk stories, Ambili meets The King) and Puffin Anita Vachharajani holds two masters, one in English literature and another in Linguistics. She has written extensively for children. Anita has been published in Puffin anthologies. She has been published by a host of other publishers like Brightsparks (My Little Garden) and Scholastic (Amazing India). With IL&FS publishing, she has done books like Grasslands of the World and The Rashtrakootas. Tumbi Publishing recently launched Nonie’s Magic Quilt by Anita. She has also translated nonsense verse from Gujarati and Marathi into English for The Tenth Rasa – The Penguin Book of Indian Nonsense Verse. She has just published a book on the different states of India with Scholastic called Amazing India – A State-by-State Guide.

Chatura Rao

Once a journalist with The Times of India, Chatura Rao is the author of the children’s fantasy novel Amie and the Chawl of Colour (Puffin Books, 2004). Her short stories have appeared in various Puffin and Scholastic collections. She has also written several stories for a UNICEF project. Recently, she also published her first novel for adults, Meanwhile Upriver. Chatura raises her two small daughters by day, and writes fiction by night.

Sampurna Chattarji

Sampurna is a writer, poet and translator. Her publications include a translation of Sukumar Ray’s poetry and prose titled Abol Tabol: The Nonsense World of Sukumar Ray (Penguin/Puffin, 2004), a collection of short stories titled The Greatest Stories Ever Told (Penguin/Puffin, 2004) and four Ladybird retellings (Penguin, 2003). Her short stories feature in The Puffin Book of Bedtime Stories and The Puffin Book of Funny Stories (2005), among others. Her poetry features in several journals and anthologies including 100 Poets Against the War, The Journal of the Poetry Society, Chandrabhaga, The Little Magazine and Fifty-Six Indian Poets (1951–2005). She has also been featured for her poetry in the international documentary ‘Voices in Wartime’ as well as on RTHK Radio 4 Hong Kong. She was the winner of the Charles Wallace India Trust Creative Writing Scholarship 2005, which took her to Edinburgh. She is married, and recently published her novel Rupture.

Indrajit Prasad

Indrajit Prasad is a faculty member at Rachana Sansad Institute of Fine Arts and Crafts in Mumbai. He specializes in Printmaking and watercolour painting. His work has been part of several group shows across the world, such as ‘Imprints’, The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, Curated by Tao Art Gallery, ‘(Sub)-Urban texts, Gallery Espace, New Delhi, “Recent Works” Project-88, Mumbai, ‘Thought & Being’, the Osmosis Gallery, Mumbai.

Snehal Vadher

For the last two years, Snehal Vadher has been teaching art, writing and English to children in the Mustang district of Nepal. He was awarded the Charles Wallace Fellowship for Creative Writing in 2013. Some of his work can be found online at nthposition, Nether, Almost Island, Vayavya and Juggernaut. Our facilitators include Snehal Vadher, holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing from The University of Manchester.

Joy Fernandes

Joy Fernandes has over 25 years of theatre experience both internationally as well as nationally. His experience spans across working on stage, in films, on TV, in advertisements, writing a book, conducting workshops, conceiving, designing & directing events, writing ad copy and scripts! Joy has just completed an extremely well received tour of Merchants of Bollywood directed by Toby Gough across London and Berlin, where he played the principal character of Shantilal Merchant. The production has also toured Australia (Perth) and Singapore and had a 17 city tour of China. In A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Time Supple, Joy played the lead character of Nick Bottom and travelled successfully to perform over 250 shows (spanning more than 2 years) in UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Verona and India. Here is what The Guardian, UK has to say about Joy‘...And there is a magical moment in the play when the dying Pyramus announces ‘my soul is in the sky’ is appropriate that the line is spoken by Joy Fernandes’ Bottom, since his performance epitomises the virtues of this production. Fernandes has weight, dignity and the total dedication of the artisan turned actor...’ – Michael Billington, The Guardian, UK.

Meera Godbole Krishnamurthy

Meera Godbole-Krishnamurthywas born in Mumbai and has lived in the Philippines, France, and the United States. She studied art and architecture at Oberlin College and Columbia University and received a Masters of Architecture from the University of Virginia. In the past several years, she has participated in writing workshops at Stanford University, the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival, UC San Diego Extension and the La Jolla Writers Conference. She has been an Adjunct at the New School of Architecture and Design in San Diego. As an artist, she has sold several paintings and shown her work at exhibitions in California. Balancing Act, her first novel, published jointly by Zubaan and Penguin India was released in October 2009.

Marilyn Noronha

Marilyn is currently pursuing her first love, teaching music and creative writing, at an International Baccalaureate school in Mumbai, after working in a nationalized bank for twenty-three years. Besides being a published poet and a long standing Committee member of the Poetry Circle of Mumbai, she also writes short stories and plays for children, several of which have been published and performed.

Dr. Manjiri Thakoor

Dr. Manjiri Thakoor, who has been department head at Rachana Sansad Institute of Fine Arts and Crafts in Mumbai. She has also been a visiting faculty member at J.J School of Art among other colleges in Mumbai and India. She has also been deputy curator at National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai. She has a PhD in Buddhist Sculpture from Mumbai University. She has a wide array of professional experience, some of which includes, being consultant for the Ajanta Caves Exhibition Centre, Aurangabad , An Indo-Japanese Government venture, a cultural project. (Entire research on art and sculpture w.r.t. Ajanta from 2006-2010), Hon.Visiting Curator at Fresh Paint Contemporary Art Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel, on the invitation of Israeli Consulate in April 2016.