If you could summarise someone’s personality in two words, you’d need to write a fat novel for Mr. Mann. His warm reception, his fascinating style of storytelling & making you travel with his imagination is just overwhelmingly difficult to explain.
The beauty of The Mann School loudly invites you to sit and stare at little things that are paid attention to. After meeting with Mr. Mann, we realized how the idea of little things flows from the top. For example, a gesture to name their famous Karhi after their ex- chef “Netaji” hence famous as “Netaji Ki Karhi.” Little things can make your life a bliss and the other way. When we were trying to schedule a meeting to see Mr. Mann, our call somehow went unanswered. When shared with Mr. Mann, he couldn’t believe it. That’s extremely rare, he said. On any given day, there is always someone who will take your message at the very least. Turns out, the lines were out for a few hours. We got the sense of the culture we’re going to see in the school just after we entered the gates of the school. We were greeted by everyone with folded hands. A 30 minutes planned meeting obliviously lasted for 3 hours. If there is one word that we will never forget is “grooming.” We’ll talk more about that in a bit.
The Mann School since 1989 proudly stands for the overall holistic development of the children. Mr. Mann himself is a strong advocate of discipline and creativity. It indeed shows in his way of life as went through the pictures he very generously showed us while we were sipping tea. In response to my question on learning about the core values he’d like his students to have, Mr. Mann explained the importance of the overall development of the child. From learning to make your own bed, that inspires discipline, to respecting tidiness across the school to participate in sports, liberal arts, music, philosophical ideas. Of course, the school is well equipped with all the facilities you might ask for. The school is famous for horse riding and well-groomed horses. Many researches have revealed the psychological benefits of horse riding. In his early life, Mr. Mann candidly shared how he started his career at Taj as an F&B manager. Despite having a choice to go to the army and other career options. He found that his experience from Taj has immensely contributed to running the school smoothly as residential school shares so much with the hospitality industry.
I mentioned the word “grooming” earlier, and the word generously encapsulates the grooming of one’s character and appearance as they both are equally important. Maybe one over another. During our conversation for 3 hours, Mr. Maan shared numerous stories from his personal life where each story gave proved that having a strong moral character and well grooming of your attire and personality can set you apart and can take you far ahead in life. Students participate in an annual event called COE (Celebration of Excellence) A day that rewards the spirit of sportsmanship, arts and all kinds of achievements students have throughout the year.
One of the critical components of character building is giving back, as Mr. Mann explained. Every year the students engage with the local community and give spare books and other things. The sense of giving back has strongly been related to greater self-worth & self-love by many studies. Learning for doing is what he advocates than only learning on the board. Another interesting concept that we learned is the community lunch where the leaders and students serve lunch to the employees like the bus driver, janitors, and everyone in nonacademic roles, and then the teachers sit on the ground while the students serve. This is a strong way to build a great relationship with the teachers and the student. During the pandemic Mr. Mann explained that not one single person was let go, almost full salaries were paid, the kitchen was always running and they took care of each one of their employees.
Importance of Character Strength
In response to our favorite question about discovering the core strength of a child, Mr. Maan explained how exposing the child to a variety of sports and other activities and lets the teachers and students work together and discover the core strengths. His idea is to expose the children to the possibilities they otherwise might not be aware of. That interestingly opens children’s minds to what they can do. I learned how Mr. Mann’s first encounter with a musical instrument was not very much voluntary and how he thankful he is today to his first music teacher who inspired him to play the guitar. Today Mr. Mann plays piano well enough and most importantly he plays a melody of life that fortunately we enjoyed for hours.
No wonder with Mr. Mann’s leadership the school has ranked # 8 in All India Co-Ed Day cum Boarding Schools.