Monthly Archives: September 2009

and, the school takes a break…

Yes. Nammashaale’s last day of the first term of the current academic year, just got over the day before…  *phew*

It was an eventful term – there were so many interesting things that happened – many of them having not been recorded either here on the blog or elsewhere..

Like the visits to lakeshores for bird watching, to watch flowers, to the Vishvesvarayya Industrial museum, the one to the International roaming ‘water’ film festival, book reading sessions in orchards/groves – were never captured in the blog  – there have been many more – but no point raking my pigeon brain.

There have been school visits of folks of the likes of Retired Justice Venkatachalaiah (the famous Lok Ayuktha, the scourge of those ‘possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income’  – no, not for any raid! mommieeee!!) to a few Montessori teachers from London (surprisingly all of  ’em, young males!) to fellows from Anweshana Montessori house of children…

The grand n lane highway to the Bangalore Internotional Airport is getting widened with a vengeance – and we watched with numbed senses as carcasses of giant raintrees, honge, neem and  tamarind trees got piled up along side the road. A swath of land from the school has been acquired for this widening business, but luckily, we have enough tree cover – so the damage to NammaShaale has been minimal, but there is this lingering sadness, or may be it is plain impotence…

With the relentless and inexorable ‘onward ho!’ march of ‘development,’ literally many fall by the wayside. But, enjoying the fruits of the so called development, may be I can’t really complain. People living in glass houses, remember? That’s the discrete charm of the bourgeoise, as Luis Buñuel would have loved to say!

The erdkinder (senior, 10th standard exam facing group) are steadily marching towards their exit – their mantra of learning and working being: coupez la difficulte en quatre. The other erdkinder are engaged in various activities. Am sure they would love this break too!

Hopefully, early October, the erdkinder will start their weekday stays at the school, as their ‘prepared’ environment is getting prepared; let us see.

The school is seriously considering sports activities and thanks to the enthusiasm of  Jaikumar (a NammaShaale father), we are discussing with a consultant. Subject to an array of interplaying-axes of things such as logistics, infrastructure requirement, the necessity to accommodate sports within a tight schedule and within an otherwise complete Montessori environment that we have in NammaShaale and of course ‘funds’ – we would hopefully be able to  take a decision soon on this. As of now, we are leaving this open – way too many things to handle and ponder over, here. Hear, hear.

 One of the adults in the elementary environment – young Sudha Varadarajan is moving on. I am sure her sweetness combined with professionalism will be missed – not to mention the occasional palghat (nee palakkad) delicacies that she was prudent enough to bring, to appease the wagging, ravenous tongues of her colleagues, but then…(I may be generalizing based on a sample size of one or less, but what the heck!)

We wish her all the very best for her, her husband’s and their child’s endeavors; may she get back to Nammashaale at some point of time in the (not too distant) future.

However, with the grande dame  Rama herself at the helm of affairs in the elementary environment, and other illustrious adults around, it will continue to be a smooth sail for the children. But then, what will I do for my Avial?

As usual,  the end of the term saw to it that complete exhaustion started creeping in… Most of us are taking a week off and, during the holiday-break, some of us are:

  • taking a break
  • are planning to go broke
  • are breaking even
  • breaking apart
  • broken up
  • breaking down
  • breaking away
  • breaking a new ground
  • getting a break
  • breaking ourselves in…

ha ha! gotta apply brakes, NOW!

Parents, we would ‘see’ your kids on 29th September, 2009! Happy holiday break!


daughters of fire: nammashaale reflections

The previous posts about this Vimochana event are here:

take 2: vimochana ‘Court of Women’ – August 2, 2009

daughters of fire, vimochana from dowry – July 30, 2009

We had taken the erdkinder for the ‘courts of women’ programme and subsequently planned for a workshop involving mainly the erdkinder. At this time, we were also planning to invite some folks from Vimochana.

Then, iterating over emails & discussions, we increased the scope of participants (as quite a few expressed interest in the teatime / aisle conversations) to include all staff (teaching, non-teaching/support) – at which point there were some reservations (actually ‘shyness’) that were expressed about talking ‘personal’ matters in the presence of folks that were not from NammaShaale. At this point, we decided that we will have the discussions as purely an internal matter, much regretfully – as we were interested in accommodating all the internal view points – like an open house focussed on itself!

Okay, we hope the good folks from Vimochana who we were planning to call, do not mind that.

I should not forget this – that the event was made possible, by the early departure of the elementary and primary children on 28th August – leaving the rest of us including the erdkinder in reasonable peace and reflective ambience…

first slide of the deck; if you want to download the whole powerpoint slideset, scroll down to the bottom of this post...

first slide of the deck; if you want to download the whole powerpoint slideset, scroll down to the bottom of this post...

To the erdkinder, we had circulated the following discussion pointers earlier – to jump start the process of stimulated response as opposed to a kneejerkish spontaneous response:

  • How, if at all,  did it seem different from watching a movie? What are
    the different sorts of things that were shared that day? What was
    common to all these things?
  • Do these things happen only in India? only these days? What similar sorts of things happen in other countries/cultures? In earlier times?
  • To what “sort” of people/in what “sort” of situations do these things happen?
  • Did it seem like it could happen to your friend/family? Why/Why not?
  • Why do these things happen?
  • What have those people (who talked that day) gained by talking about it there?
  • What have we gained as “audience”?
As stated earlier, if you want the ppt slideset, scroll down - a link is provided there!

As stated earlier, if you want the ppt slideset, scroll down - a link is provided there!

There were quite a few stories and interesting / enlightening discussions on that day at NammaShaale – and there were so many heartwarming / heartwrenching stories from folks amidst us. If not anything else, the discussions created an impetus in us to understand, reach out and act.

All in all, what was originally planned for a duration of 2 hours, got extended to 3.5 hours! In my opinion, it was a very useful, productive and honest discussion at many levels…

(because of the rather involved/personal nature of the discussions I have not included them here; suffice to say that the ppt deck captures the points of views generally expressed)

The power point slide set is here at; choose the ‘free’ mode – wait for a few seconds and download the deck. And, remember to give your feedback… (let me know if you have problems downloading it)

Thanks yet again, Vimochana.

some photos – indpndnc day clbratns

This is a follow up post to:

The following 4 photos, courtesy of Brinda Pathy, a NammaShaale parent – they were taken during the events of that day by her friend, who apparently was a first time visitor to NammaShaale. Brinda also mentioned that they took a lot of photos of the flora and the fauna. I now demand that my photos be shared too!

As a wag said: Each picture is worth a thousand kilobytes… Please bear with me while the photos load…

Thanks, Brinda.

a section of the children

a section of the children.. considering the fact that I am not at all in their line of vision, why are they slightly tense? some onstage 'impending doom' gripping them or what?


some aroring parents and admirable chikdren

some adoring parents and admirable chikdren; if you look close enough, you can spot some brand new, edible children...

this is a scene from the bapuji series, you can see the young karamchand with a topi...

this is a scene from the bapuji series, you can see the young mohandas karamchand with a topi...

very young ladies, admiring their and others' costumes (!) - I think they are they preparing for their madhappa dance?

very young ladies, admiring their and others' costumes (!) - are they preparing for their madhappa dance?

 In fact, I had specifically requested two young gents (who I shall not name – but may be we could just call them Vinod and Ashok, only for the purposes of this post) for photos, and I thought, they cheerfully agreed. But then, grahasthidom must be catching up with them…

I hope, they do remember and would deliver…

celebration: independence day

NammaShaale celebrated the Independence day of India (‘Whose Independence?’ – a dialogue/quote from Pratidwandi – or ‘The Adversary’ (1972)  of Satyajit Ray) a couple of days in advance – on 13th August, 2009. And as usual there was a lot of food for thought, as well as, well… food for food too.

Manjunath’s magic was once again at work and it was truly spellbounding to see his wards  giving theatrical performances with much panache and aplomb.

After the previous academic year’s last show at NammaShaale, we were left wondering whether young Manjunath would continue to work with us – as he had kept us kind of guessing. He had/has plans of working with seed saving movements – for the preservation & propagation of indigenous varieties of  desi cultivars of various grains / vegetables / fruits.

And so, it was a pleasant surprise to have him back and work with our children and adults for the past few months. Obviously he would continue to work with his passion – theatre – as well as with bheej bachao andolans.

Getting back to the celebrations, the performances of the NammaShaale children were compered by a couple of erdkinder, with the constant background music with various instruments provided by that one-man-orchestra, called Manjunath.

First on the agenda were a couple of recitals of hindi poems by the primary children; nice ones, at least one was an old hindi ‘patriotic’ film song.

Next in the line was a series of vignettes from Bapuji’s life – with minimal props but aided by oodles of imagination. I think this was totally ‘stage-managed’ by the elementary children.

It was followed by a rendition of the legend of ‘Pied Piper of Hamelin’ – I didn’t exactly get the connection between the Piper and our Independence day – but then, I thought about it – at one level, Piper actualy provided independence 1) to the townsfolk of Hamelin from rats and 2) to the souls(!) of rats from their bodies (serious) & 3) to the children from their bondage; so this play did  fit in to the celebrations, after all!

Actually the original version of Grimm brothers is rather grim, but Manjunath chose the version where the children are retrieved by the townsfolk from the Koppenberg mountain cave – after payment of a huge penalty by the townsfolk. The ‘mayor’ who earlier shortchanged the Piper also gets reformed. Happy ending. But I personally like the version where there is this mystery of missing children, who never come back  – the danse macabre. But then, I am an unabashed admirer of HP Lovecraft and his incredible stories.

The Piper was followed by a a kannada song and dance – about this farmer called Madhappa – who struggles to grow brinjal and then gets royally shafted while trying to sell his brinjal produce. This was a realistic rendition – with the vocals provided by the adults (teachers) and dance movements by elementary children. I think this piece captured the essence of the dire state of agriculture in our country, post independence, with a lilting melody. The refrain is still ringing in my ears. Nice.

The programme of the day ended with the singing of our national anthem – and was topped up with laddoos from Anand Sweets of Kammanahalli for good measure.

The End. (of laddoos, that is)

PS: As always, there were folks who were taking snaps and shooting video clips during the event; if they feel like sharing them with the rest of the parent communit, they may please contact me.

celebration: Ganesh Chaturthi

As in every year, this time too we had a nice and gala celebration at the school – on 21st August, 2009.

The earthen idol of ganesha, the elephant headed god (plain, shweet, no garish colours or stupid themes like a swineflu mask) was erected in the elementary environment and from noon the chidren got busy decorating, arranging, practising their songs,  excitedly moving about.

Practically everyone sang some song / invocation or the other,  except one person, who was compassionately concerned about the after effects and unclear fallout, in case he dared open his mouth… It was difficult for him to control himself, I understand, but he works for greater common good, at least he thinks he does!

Well, and to be honest most of the songsters and invocators were good and ebulliant – and only some were off tune. But that is fine. We require diversity and some little bit of comical undertones too! Ganesha is a god of the current times and endlessly adaptable – so he would not have majorly minded too…

Not many of us knew that young Anthony could sing well too! He belted out a nice invocation to Ganesha – later I hustled him and got to know that he regularly sings for his Church Choir – & can play on many a musical instrument… Nice!

Once the songs were over, the god was ready to leave (he must have been terribly impatient, besides the weather was muggy) for immersion. Wait,  it is NOT all that’s well that ends in a well!

Oh well. We actually took him to a nearby lake in a convoy of our vehicles and immersed him.

The erdkinder were the ones who had the honour of gingerly wading into the muddy waters of the shallow lake and immerse the idol… And it was hilarious to see them all wet their pants & salwars, in front of the whole crowd of the boisterous primary & elementary children. Sorry. Oh, how I hate this wicked English language!

We then came back to school and got to eat all kinds of sweets and savouries (‘prasaadam’), especially brought for the purpose by  Sowjanya – the in-house resource person for tasty and eclectic food, she somehow manages to source tasty and healthy stuff from all over Bangalore!

Some photos were clicked, I know, and if I could access them, they would be posted.

PS: The ganesha idol was too cute and I had half-a-mind to go right back and retrieve it back from the lake, but  then… He is also eminently recyclable.