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.

Friday, December 2, 2016

School Activities

That is a look of pure admiration. May be its because his friend successfully completed the painting task given to him. 

Had been to Little Angels School (Mumbai) a couple of days ago where there was a flurry of activities going on.  In the class where Fun with colours was held, it was literally that – Fun with colours. 

The children keenly listened to the instructions given by the teachers and then proceeded to do exactly what was told.

The concentration of trying to accomplish the given task was very much visible on their faces. 

In the academics it was cooking activities, where some had to make Cake Pops while others had to make cup cookies. Crumbling the cake for making the Cake Pops was something everyone enjoyed 

I liked the way the seniors helped out the younger ones in their activities. 

They also loved to pose with the product that they made. (some even liked to taste them)

There was a section for Tangorli where the kids mixed their own drinks 

Making cookies was another challenge.

In some other classes there was this fine motor activity taking place. 

This girl was really happy whenever she could pick up a coloured ball and put it in the shimmery water.  

This little boy was cheered and encouraged whenever he could successfully  put a ball in the bottle through the hole in the side.  

I did click a lot of pictures running between the classes and all are not reproduced here. You can see more of them  in the video.

I saw this in one of the classes and was reminded of my school days. My job was exactly what Samiksha did.

At the end of the session I heard one student telling his teacher “Miss I had lots of fun today” And I think that sums up everything. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Chamraj Golden Tips

Drove down from Bengaluru to Chamraj Tea Estate in the Nilgiris, a distance of 350 kms.  
Once you cross Mysuru (Mysore) it becomes more scenic, especially when you go past the Bandipur National Park and the Madumalai National Park. 

Chamraj is famous for their “Chamraj Golden Tip”, an extra special quality of Nilgiris tea leaf always fetching a record price. Specially hand plucked Chamraj Golden Tips come from the Chamraj Estate, just west of Conoor, a property belonging to The United Nilgiri Tea Estate Ltd. 

If Chamraj was at the southwest end of Nilgiris  “Kotercherry” or Kotagherry was at the north eastern end, now known as Kotagiri. The place is simply beautiful. 

It was the first table land to be reached by the Europeans when Wish and Kindersly ‘discovered’ the cool of the jungle heights in 1819 while pursuing a band of smugglers. It was their ‘discovery’ that led John Sullivan to establish a home in Kotagiri. Of those Europeans who followed Sullivan and opened the Nilgiris, it was said, “If you live in Conoor, you live till 80, if you live in Ooty you will live till 90, but in Kotagiri you will have to be shot!” He wasn’t shot but, John Erskine lived till he was 100 after he arrived in Kotagiri. 

The tea gardens are lush with tea leaves. On a clear sky you get to see the lovely sunrise and sun set 

Spotted some coffee plants too here. 

If you have the patience you are likely to spot different species of birds 

I saw one land crab who was in two minds about staying put and carry on with his feeding (see video) 

We had those “Chamraj Golden Tip” in one of the tea stalls where it was freshly prepared for us 

and some tasty “parippu wada” after a long time. 

To reach there, we had to pass through Ooty and some of those old structures still look grand. 

The military establishments in this area are well maintained. 

On the way back, while passing through the Madumalai National Park, there was this tusker who gave us a threatening charge as we slowed down (can be seen in the video) He was probably trying to protect this little one in the herd.