We started off learning very simple sentences – “my name is __”, and “what is your name?”. The interactive nature of the sambhashana (conversational) style of learning meant that very quickly we were able to understand and converse in multiple simple sentences involving greetings and telling the time.
On Saturday morning, following a yogasana session given by Ramji, the classes began in earnest! At the start of every class we revised what we had previously learnt. The entire shibir we only focused on spoken Samskrit, and the style of the classes meant that everyone got involved and got speaking.
A Khel (games) session taken entirely in Samskrit also took place! Games such as Simon Says (through which we learned many imperative verb forms), Body Parts (through which we learned to name different parts of the body) and Nine Strikes Out (through which we mastered counting from one to ten in Samskrit) were played and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.
After lunch we went on a walk nearby, we managed to see a beautiful view of Birmingham and we even caught a double rainbow (IndraDhanush)! Workshops on Rasa Shastra (Ancient Indian Alchemy) and Dhanur Shastra (Ancient Indian Warfare) took place later on in the day, these involved presenting certain facts that have been researched from scriptures written in Samskrit to give a taste of the richness and variety of information that is contained within the vast Samskrit literature we will be able to study if we learn Samskrit.
Following dinner there was the manoranjanam (the evening entertainment) session in which plays and sketches were performed in sanskrit by shibirarthis (attendees) using whatever has been learned during the camp. We were treated to beautiful poems, amazing dances, and some hilarious sketches!
On Sunday, the final day of the shibir, Saradji provided a very thorough and rigorous yogasana in the early morning, enough to clear our heads for the final Samskrit class! Saraswati puja took place with everyone offering thanks to the goddess for the gift of knowledge that we have received. A samarop session, involving short talks in or related to Samskrit done by shibirarthis took place, following which the shibir drew to a close in time for lunch.
The event would never have been a success without the hard work of everyone involved, in particular our teachers Madhurimaji and Ramji. All of the food was donated by Birmingham Shakha and all of the cooking was done by local volunteers. The event itself was considerably subsidised by Samskriti Bharati UK.
Thank you to everyone who contributed time and money, as well as everyone who attended to make the event a success. We look forward to next year!