Monday, January 9, 2017

They are also humans

It is very rare that one gets to meet a fellow blogger (at least for me)
So it was a pleasant surprise when I got a mail about a month ago from Dr Hema Hirlekar which said “I keep reading your blogs and just love your amazing photos. I have written a book and the launch is on Saturday 7th Jan. It would be really great if you could attend the function. Attaching invitation”

So I decided to attend the book release (again a first for me)
Before the book launch, there was a flute recital by the young and budding flautist Mr Azharuddin Shaikh. I enjoyed the light music. Later while reading about him I realized that he has to his credit a six foot long flute which he himself developed, probably a first in the world. 

The crowd was an elite crowd mostly from defence background. 

There were some celebrities too. I noticed Dr Mohan Agashe sitting quietly in a corner taking in everything. 

The book that Dr Hema wrote was titled “Life of an army wife”  

After the formality of the release of the book she read out some excerpts from the book. She made the reading very short, probably not very comfortable being in the limelight. As she was reading, I recollected some of the blogs that she had written a few years ago. 

I realised that signing those books was the difficult part for her as practically every one queued up for an autograph. 

Sale was brisk and I found many taking multiple copies, probably for relatives and friends 

Hema’s husband Shridhar made sure that everything went off well as per the flow chart. He even introduced me to Dr Mohan Agashe. 

The ambiance was good, with the golf course on one side. 
I found this poster mounted on the club walls. Probably an old one (going by the truck model) but very relevant even today. 

Made a one minute video on the book release, especially for those who could not attend it.
Later at home I started reading the book and found it interesting. Some down to earth facts from the life of a defence personnel and his family, sprinkled with some light hearted humour. I liked the simple illustrations in the book. 

The book is available on Amazon.

There is this part where she goes to the border with her husband and her child. (this is in the early seventies) From across the border two jawans came. She was apprehensive. “Were they theirs or ours? What would happen now” They came forward and saluted her husband and said “Baby ko le jaye?” (can we take the baby?) She almost turned back when her husband said “Jaroor” (sure)
She was shocked and looked at her husband who nodded and indicated that she should hand over the child to them. She was too stunned to react when the child was taken from her hand. All sorts of questions went through her mind “They are our adversaries. What if they don’t bring her back?” She voiced her opinion to which he replied “don’t be ridiculous, we are not at war. They are also humans like us” 

illustration by Dr Hema Hirlekar

I paused reading. I was comparing it with the present day situation at the borders. Indeed, they are humans like us. So what made things change in a few decades. . . . . .

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Kochi and Biennale Part 2

“So what is so great about a bathroom? Maybe it looks spacious” That was my first reaction when I saw this bathroom, one of the exhibits at the Kochi Biennale. 

I was standing at a corner and peering in. A sideways glance and I realized how the bathroom was made. Each tile, each item was made by paper rolls. Scraps of paper were cut rolled and glued, forming thousands of layers that make the papier-mache habitat.  

I just stood there in awe. The amount of planning and scaling that must have gone into it.  The creator, Dia Mehta Bhupal, originally from Mumbai, now lives and works in Hyderabad.  A young girl in her early thirties, has many creative work to her credit, and when she is not rolling papers, she is busy clicking, as photography is her first passion.

Moving on I saw these drawings by Orijit Sen. I was immediately drawn towards it and started taking photos. 

Somehow I liked the line work and it reminded me of Mario Miranda and R K Laxman. The subtle humour and the reality of the everyday life in India is very much evident in the drawings. 

I wanted to click more, but most of them were in glass cases, which causes reflections while clicking.  

As mentioned in Part 1, I was impressed by these kids quietly drawing on the stage. 

Their work was exhibited for all to see, a good boost for the kids 

Outside in the shade, there was provision for any kid to take up the oil pastels and start drawing. 

I wonder if this was a participant or a volunteer, but I liked her concentration.

More in Part III

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kochi and Biennale Part 1

I was fortunate enough to be in Kochi during the Kochi-Muziris Biennale as I could attend it, or rather a part of it.
I spend some time at the Aspinwall House and I must say that a whole day is not enough to take in the creative work displayed there.

As I entered I saw this volunteer explaining the details of a mural to the visitors.   

The mural named  12 stories was huge, (11 meters x 3 meters) the work of P K Sadanandan.  

I had a chat with Sadanandan. He said that it took him more than a month to sketch out the outline of the complete drawing. Later he and his team started giving the colours. Here you can see one of them adding the colours. The distinctive difference between the coloured and the non coloured part can be seen.   

By the way it is painted with only natural colours (laterite, stone, organic pigment etc) 

Sadanandan has dedicated his life to revive and restore mural paintings in all its forms and has evolved a style that combines Kerala teachings and practices with those from across India.  His images feature icons and narratives inspired by mythology, encased within the natural elements and organic world.

12 Stories (of the 12 progeny) depicts the story of Parayi Petta Panthiru Kulam, of the twelve kulams (families) born to the Parayi, or woman of the ‘paraiah’ caste. It depicts many lessons from the value of listening, to the importance of fate, to the inequality of the caste system, to the continued role of the family and the society.
Here you can see him guiding one of his assistants. 

I wish I had more time in hand to visit the other locations.  I was told that there were exhibits at other places like David Hall, Pepper House, Durbar Hall, Cochin club, Cabral Hall and Kottapuram Fort, to name a few. Had a peep into Cabral Yard where some kids were drawing on the stage. 

I liked the stands there, created by the logs of the beetle nut tree. More on it in part II 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

And the year went by

The year went fast I must say. I feel I have just attended the last Annual sports day in this school and lo behold its time for the next one. 

Any activity at Little Angels School is something that I look forward to as I get to learn many things from these kids and the teachers.

As I entered the school compound I saw all these items neatly arranged, and I was sure things were going to move with clockwork precision.  

This girl was so happy in winning that she kept jumping and shouting “I won, I won” 

And so was this boy who did not waste time in kissing his mother right on the victory stand. 

The kids are happy to show off in front of their parents.  This boy was supposed to hoist the flag after the march past. As he walked with the flag to the designated place, he called out to his Dad – just to make sure his dad didn’t miss the act.  (you can hear it in the video

Must appreciate the school for the innovative games that they came up with and I must say there was no repeat from the games I witnessed last year. 

Technically he is yet to cross the finish line, but then that much of a lee way is allowed I suppose. 

As usual the games for the parents were exciting for the kids (and for the parents too)  

After the program I found this boy keenly observing the sound system. May be there is something in it that fascinates him. 

Managed to capture most of the action in video so that the parents and the kids can have a look at their performance.

PS: Uploaded Part II  and Part III and Part IV of the video.