Category Archives: News

millets mela • 13-15 april • lalbagh@bengaluru

Dear all,

With reference to the above we are pleased to invite you for the” MILLETS MELA” to be held at LAL BAGH, in Banglore from 13th April to 15th April. The details are mentioned in the invitation attached. Please make it convenient  to attend with your family and friends and enjoy millets.

Looking forward to meeting you at the Mela.

In solidarity for Millets!

Dinesh

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MILLETS MELA

13 – 15 April 2012
10.00 am – 7.30 pm

Dr. Marigowda Memorial Auditorium,
Near Nursery Men’s Cooperative Society
Behind JKS Mall, LALBAGH – Bangalore
(M) 9738449133, 9481438384

Why this Mela ?

Did you know that India is home to diverse types of millets & the largest producer of millets in the world?
India, with over 60 million diabetic people, leads the world with the largest population of Diabetics – while we are bothered by the soaring medical bills and social trauma, we are yet to recognize the power of millets to manage diabetes and other chronic diseases.
You can discover more about the health benefits of millets in the mela – here is an opportunity as u can interact with experts and also the people who have benefitted with millets for their health problems – from gestational diabetes, Cardio vascular diseases, Fibromyalgia, Back Pains & the list goes on…

Come to know how Millets can help you , your family & friends

Experience all the Millets – Jola , Sajje, Raagi , Navane,  Saame,  Haaraka,  Baragu, Oodara

Learn to cook delicious & healthy Millet receipes from experts

Eat amazing Dishes & Sweets at the exclusive Millets Food Court

Interact with Millets Nutrition, Processing Technology & Cultivation Experts

Understand why Millets are missing from our mainstream

Relate to the history of these robust grains

Buy Millets regularly
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how about better parents?

Sometimes, you have to agree with even Thomas Friedman, when he makes sense – especially when, he is not making sweeping generalizations. (link thanks to Mary)

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/opinion/sunday/friedman-how-about-better-parents.html?_r=1

While what he is revealing is not earth shaking, I know that, sometimes we adults (I mean, Suppandis) read and agree with the opinions of only our erudite and ‘well known’ scholars. We don’t have respect for hometruths or bare facts. So.

But here’s what some new studies are also showing: We need better parents.

Being a parent and a teacher, I straddle both worlds, I feel dizzy at times…

To be sure, there is no substitute for a good teacher. There is nothing more valuable than great classroom instruction. But let’s stop putting the whole burden on teachers. We also need better parents. Better parents can make every teacher more effective.

I love it. I love it. I love it. (bold facing in the above quote is my contribution)

I have dealt with many parents (that of my biological children, my class children etc etc) but it is only on very very rare occasions that I have bumped in to reasonable parents – for a given value of reasonableness, I mean.

Incidentally,  I have narrated a few of my encounters with Suppandic parents earlier and hope to do a few more when my time permits it. oh how can I not tell you the stories of our cowardly Suppandis and Suppandinas and their bluster and their arrogant sense of entitlement and their phoniness… oh well.

Please check out the comments of Friedman column readers too…

breaking noose…

...Sarkaaria... Nagarwala... MISA... Bofors... Harshad Mehta... Shibu Soren... Laalu Prasad Yadav... .... Suresh Kalmadi... 2G (Raja edition)... 2G (Kanimozhi edition)... 2G (Dayanidhi edition)... Baba Ramdev... Yeddiyurappa... Anna Hazare... (to be continued...)

… what a nice feeling of déjà vu! 🙂

yet another kannada day…

Every year, it has become a practice to celebrate the ‘rajyothsava’ (read: karnataka state formation day; this is usually celebrated throughout the month of November in Karnataka) at nammashaale – generally as ‘kannada day;’ yesterday was that day at the school – with some 1.5 hours of theatricals and much else on display, by the children. All pieces were very nice, well thought out, meticulously organized and richly orchestrated as usual.

Thanks to the persistent goading, guiding, cajoling, coaxing and encouragement from Anita (of course with help from the rest of the staff) – who is the ‘chief’ kannada ‘teacher’ in the school, almost all the children participate in poetry recitations or theatrical productions or dances – during the day. Yes, even the otherwise generally reticent(!) and recalcitrant erdkinder participate.

Well, every year after such a show, I do resolve to myself that I would at least become literate in kannada, ready for the following year’s programme, to appreciate correctly what’s going on, on stage. That I would be able to read in the original, the likes of D R Nagaraj, Masti, Kuvempu, GP Rajarathnam, TP Kailasam, SL Bhyrappa, Girish Karnad et al, et al. As usual, I solemnly resolve to myself, this year too that…

I have read the translated works of these folks, but I know how difficult it is to translate the culture behind the text and linguistic nuances and the cultural richness in to a rather sterile language like english. I have read quite a few of some original pieces of real literature (in Tamil) and their rather sad translated versions (in english), and I know how much goes missing in translations. Frankly I don’t know whether there is any other way…

On the contrary, I read Marcel Proust, Italo Calvino, Albert Camus, Franz Kafka et al, et al – all in ‘translated into english’ versions, and they are delicious and mind boggling.  I think, the magic of the original is perhaps almost faithfully translated by the master translators – may be more on this, in some other post… But I still wonder how great these tomes will be, if read in their native tongues.

Now, for the reportage (finally!):

The celebration started off with a ‘free’ kannada adaptation of that well known Katha Upanishadic verse: sahana bhavatu. The ‘senior’ erdkinder along with Anita and Soujanya recited the verse. Nice. (Was informed that it is the incredible Da Ra Bendre who did the adaptation)

The primary children sang a kannada song (on ganesha, I think), unfortunately I do not remember the title. Sorry.

The elementary children did a fantastic job of the following:

  • A theatrical adaptation of the poem – ‘Kumbhakarnana Niddhe’ (Kumbhakarna’s sleep; author: Srinivasa Udupa) – an imaginatively produced, well acted one, comprising hilarious attempts at waking up Kumbhakarna. The refrain of ‘Kumbha karnanukku Goththe Illa’ is still ringing in my ears. And I continue to chuckle when I think of how Ravana’s mustache suddenly fell off and the unflapped child had to make do and continue to twist an imaginary mustache and deliver the lines… what is drama (or life) without such snafus…
  • Another adaptation ‘Puttu Kittuvina Knicker Jebu’ (In the pocket of the little one – again by the same Srinivasa Udupa) – is about some 23 items carried by a child in its pocket, including a mouse. The elementary children came armed with all these items and were busy showing them off, throughout the recitation. I was half expecting to see a display of a real mouse (the computer peripheral, I mean) but then…
  • There was this rendition of Gadagada gudugudu uralithu goli (roughly: ‘tumbled along, the rolled marble’  — Jeeva Raghunath – english version: – kannada translation: Ashvini Bhatt) by the elementary children – about all the transactions involving the exchange of a marble will all kinds of things. Memorable.

The erdkinder put up a theatrical presentation of a work of Chaucer – adapted by Bagalodi Deveraya as ‘Donney Guddhappana Akaala Marana’ (roughly: ‘The sudden death of rowdy Guddhappa’); this was quite hilarious. The adolescents love for theatre shown through. Really.

The programme ended with the distribution of  lovely (and sticky) besan laddoos from Kanti Sweets (sadly only one per head was dished out; wish I were a clone of Ravana)

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The children and the adults who were involved in organizing the event must really be congratulated for the sumptuous treat. Thanks folks!

A few parents had come for the programme and some of them were seen clicking pics – and these will be shared on the blog, if these parents choose to share them.

(a report on a previous ‘kannada day’ celebration here)

the faking of news

One of the nice things that we get to enjoy in our boondocksy life is that, there is no constant invasion of our minds by TV channels and their screaming anchors & other such asinine louse souls, no offence meant at my dear donkeys, of course.

However, one does get to ‘see’ some bits of TV here and there, especially when visiting other folks’ homes  – and sometimes I do get to occasionally discuss some excesses of the TV reportage with our impressionable adolescents at the school – now,  hold your breadth, we discussed the voyeuristic coverage (and self-righteous condemnations) of the invasions into the privacy of  ‘alleged’ young Nithyananda (who was perhaps merely affected by hormones, like it happens to the rest of us) and it was interesting to listen to the views of the adolescents. Many of them had either seen (!) the footages or had heard (!!) the details of the frames from others – and, more importantly, had their individual opinions

And NO, sirs and madams, we did not talk about the angle  of the  ‘consenting adults’ who have every right to do whatever they feel is right, as long as what they do, does not impinge on the rights and freedoms of the other individuals. Nor did we discuss the bottomless abyss of a schism that exists between the so called talking and their actual walking. So, please heave sighs of relief.

Our idea was mainly to discuss to media misrepresentations of happenings and deliberately skewed reportage. We may eventually incorporate some of Noam Chomsky’s ideas too in our future discussions, in spite of the empty rhetoric in most of his ideas and his grandiose theories with veritable holes (example: ‘the theory of universal grammar’), and the deep schism that exists between what he preaches and what he actually practices. But Chomsky is a reasonable starting point. However, the sooner one gets to go beyond Chomsky, the better it is!  (more on these and other stuff, later)

Now, here’s a very humorous ‘in your face’ kind of swipe against the news peddlers  by Charlie Brooker. Please ignore the expletives in his sarcastic takes, if you must.

The world’s most generic news report – Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe (this has embedded subtitles, just in case you needed it)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpVTUdfcEMg&feature=fvw

There are more such parodies off the same Brooker, in the same youtube page. All good quality stuff, strongly recommended.

I also recall that, in that nicely crafted film – A Wednesday – the film director Neeraj Pandey takes a delicious swipe at how the news ‘making’ happens.

Enjoy – more importantly, reflect!

more pics: 15th august, 2010

The original and offending post is here: 15th august, 2010 – this being the jaundiced coverage of the celebration of  the 63rd anniversary of Indian independence at nammashaale.

And yes, young Vinod too has uploaded his photos at: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0SauGzdwyYsS2

Thanks, Vinod!

15th august, 2010

This year too, at nammashaale, we ended up celebrating the anniversary of Indian independence from the bdastardly British Raj.

There was a de riguer flag hoisting & unfurling, distribution of the (my) dear Kanti sweets, singing of some select patriohic songs in Hindi, Bangla & Kannada (yes, even the erdkinder, our dear (oh dear!) adolescents – sang too, okay, okay – they were only slightly offkey and all that, but then their spirit counts more than anything else, eh?).

a section of the gathering (thanks, Sanjay)

The highlight, in fact, highlights of the programme were two flag hoistings – one of the national flag and the other – that of the Bharath Scouts and Guides movement.

Yes. The scout and guides (actually for bulbuls (for the little girls) and cubs (for the little boys), right now) programme was formally launched at the school – under the able guidance of the ably trained  Sudha (bulbuls in-charge) and Vasu (cubs in-charge). It was a sight to see the children wearing the uniforms, strutting about like peacocks and going thru’ the motions, cheered on by some enthu parents!  (thank God, there were no offbeat drums and offkey trumpeting and marching-past and all that racket that usually accompanies formal celebrations like this)

an impromptu marchpast (Sanjay's handiwork)

And um, it is another story as to how, during the previous week of the run-up towards the inauguration/launch, the parents were endlessly harassed by the children (nono, not by the nammashaale school) about getting the darn (not darned) uniforms from Seshadripuram, which I think is near some war ravaged godforsaken battlezone  in Iraq. The only saving grace for me was the fact that, in Iran, there was this NavaKarnataka Booksellers and I could pickup some good ol’ Russian titles on science and yes, some nice novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky! Lovely.

Well, I actually used to think that these montessori children would not condescend to even think about wearing an uniform, leave alone actually getting down to wearing them – how silly of me!

I have since been thinking a lot about this puzzling thing & the future. And, you know how difficult it is for me to think… Now, after a whole lot of  such difficult cogitation, I have come to the conclusion that – defying all Darwinism, Genetics and all the other realms of science, eventually the bulbuls will become cows and the cubs would become bulls, not. Sorry.

the chubby and cherubic chief guest, driving by on Charles SUV (Thanks, Sanjay)

Thanks to young Sanjay Nambiar of FilmCamp.TV, we have a slew of photographs at: http://gallery.me.com/sanjay_nambiar#100232&bgcolor=black&view=carouseljs&sel=0

I think, young Vinod would also eventually upload his photographs to some suitable site and let us know the url. He was seen wildly clicking away to glory, along with a few others. Vinod?

Sanjay and Vinod are both nammashaale parents. (and NO! They are happily married – but NOT to each other, sorry to spoil your wildest dreams)

arvind gupta: learners’ library on dvd

Of course, Arvind Gupta needs no introduction. However, if you must have one, then here is one version: Toying with science – Rasika Dhavse profiles Arvind Gupta, winner of the National Award for Science Popularisation.

Single handedly, he has done a million things for the propagation of science and quest for knowledge (in India) than many other erudite people, entire organizations and well funded random NGOs.

He has been compiling fantastic articles, films & books on very interesting ideas around history, science, teaching (and learning – is there any difference between these two at all?) etc etc and has delightfully put them together, giving the whole world on a platter dvd to the whole world – for a pittance (Rs. 100/- only).

Please buy the DVD.  I have read / studied / viewed most of the content via http over the past few years. The content is lovely. He must have spent months if not years on the compilation! What a religious scientific fervour! Well done, Arvind!

Many of the items are in ‘public domain’ – but, for some of the rest, they fall in the delectable gray area – Copyright? Copyleft?? All rights reserved? All rights wronged? All lefts righted? Or all rites actually reversed?? Sirs and madams, what else – I think the idea of Arvind is noble, all said and done!

Here’s a verbatim cut and paste of the promotional email from Nyla Coelho of TaleemNet (via Ramgopal Koneripalli) that I got: (and further down, details for payment)

“Dear all,

Arvind Gupta, as most know, has over the years single handedly and single mindedly put together resource and reference material for making learning fun and stress free. Most individuals with some concern or interest in education, atleast in India, have visited his website http://www.arvindguptatoys.com.

Here is a treat for all from him packed into a single DVD titled Learning Library on DVD.

Written on it are:

1000 e-books on education, peace, environment, science, math and books for children

145 short films on toys from trash

Photo Plaza- 5500 photographs of 500 science models

Love of Live (Passions of a Japanese Teacher) a NHK Award Film

Do Flowers Fly (film based on Danger School)

Story of Stuff (9-million viewers)

Story of Bottled Water

A Few deeply inspiring TED talks on Education

Can anyone ask for more?

Modestly priced at Rs. 100/- including postage, it’s a treasure for free. [It is actually 100 +  25 for postage — ramjee]

Send your order along with postal address and payment to Arvind Gupta at IUCAA, Pune University, Ganeshkhind, Pune 411 007 Maharashtra.

Email: arvindguptatoys@gmail.com Phone: 020-25604602

(P.S.: kindly include bank collection charges if paying vide cheque)

Spread the news widely.

Nyla Coelho”

Details of payment mode below (pasted from Arvind’s mail):

“Yes, it would be much easier to transfer money through electornic Bank transfer.Rs 125/- per DVD (including 25/- for Speed Post)

Name of Account Holder: Vimala Pandhe
Name of Bank: Bank of Baroda
Branch: Senapati Bapat Road, Pune
Account No. 98060100000372
IFS Code: BARB0EXTPOO
(NOTE: THE FIFTH ENTRY IS ZERO)
Nature of account: Savings Bank

Or else people can send me a cheque (at par) or D/D) payable to Arvind Gupta at Pune Address

Arvind Gupta
IUCAA
Pune University, Ganeshkhind, Pune 411007
email: arvindtoys@gmail.com
website: http://arvindguptatoys.com”

Please encourage Arvind – buy the DVD. I am absolutely sure the cost of your acquisition (at Rs 100/- per disk image + Rs 25/- for postage) won’t  begin to compensate even a zillionth of the effort put in by Arvind.  Still, a token is well, a token. And, token gestures are important too.

Thanks in advance!

erdkinder do zodiac predictions… (hic)

Move over, you ‘world famous astrologers’ such as Besan Daroowallah, go start making besan laddoos, or even start brewing liquor… But, stop making those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad horrorscopes please! Try to earn a honest day’s wages, surely it is not that very difficult…

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I pretend to ‘do’ mainly science with our ‘earth children’ – but I also drift off in various directions, to do history, geography, angrezi (hic), math and stuff. Heck, I even pretend to be a choir conductor. Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few other adults (who actually are more able & capable than yours truly) in the picture too, so there is no need to ring the alarm bells… The truth is that, they are all busy working, whereas I am busy posting blog entries!

In any case, all the ‘adults’ do all the very many things at nammashaale, where the damned (and much maligned) teacher-student ratio is not very good as per the grand understanding of the hoi polloi. However, this fact is actually very good – so, if you are surprised, you may want to read ‘student-teacher ratio’ and the rest of the ‘education faq’ series.

Now, I would admit it upfront that I hate the ‘zodiacal prediction’ columns that appear in irreparably trashy newspapers and magazines such as the ‘Times of India’ and ‘Outlook’ – from the bottom of my heart (and I love & respect the fact that ‘The Hindu’ does NOT publish these kinds of trash and is quite sensitive & sensible, but then, ‘The Hindu’ has other trappings).

It is not out of place to mention here that, every once in a while, we do things that are ‘show-off’ worthy at the erdkinder environment, so that our earth children get the feeling that they can participate in the adult world – and do a damn good job of it (among other pedagogical goals & aims, that is).

So, on a lark, we decided that we would ‘master’ the ‘art’ (actually it is more of a programming science than art) of these astrological predictions business and then deliver our pearls of infinite wisdom, on the unwary elementary children and the rest of the adults (actually adults = ‘teachers’ in Montessoriese).

This is the algorithm that we used:

  • Looking at the general stereotypes associated with zodiacal signs & individuals born in a given ‘sign’ (example: ‘scorpions sting’) and enumerating various attributes of the stereotypes.
  • Going through the rather nauseating ‘prediction’ columns from trash newspapers such as Times of India, DNA, Bangalore Mirror – for the previous one month and analyzing them for various catch phrases.
  • Analyzing them for ‘content holders’ or ‘basic types’ for any given sign, such as romance, finance, health, travel, career etc etc.
  • Each ‘astrologer’ has his or her own style – so analyzing them each for some common denominators and stylizations of expressions – such as ‘surprises await you’ and ‘travel is on the cards’ (ha ha!)
  • Noting various modes of expressions such as random contrapositives, ‘this will happen, but if you do that that will not happen’ kinds of delightful nonsense, across astrologers of various hues and skin pigmentations.
  • Deriving a set of predictions – based on the all the above. (of course after all that, correcting the speeling mushtakes in the writes-up, hic)

The result of these efforts were 4 sets of ‘predictions for the week’ – with very impressive artwork and layout designs– all very tongue in cheek and hilarious – if one had gotten wind of the background to these (pre)posters. But some folks (who were not in the know) had taken the predictions(!) rather seriously – needless to say, there have been a few children and even some adults, who have taken to these predictions, hook, line and sinker! After all it is we people who make the world! Aren’t we the microcosm of what exists at large??

Of course, sideways, we also learnt a few things about astronomy, relearned some specific constellations, what does ‘zodiac’ mean, history of our understanding of the same  & stereotypes and all that – and most of all, how easy it is to derive some respectable humour value from some popular misconceptions.

I seriously wonder, whether this would constitute an ‘occupation’ for our erdkinder within the strict Montessoriese underpinnings. Heh! Are thoroughbred Montessorians listening please?

Hmmm… A couple of children told me at the end of their rather successful exercise that, they may not want to do such things in future. I felt sad, terribly let down and all that; however, I pressed on and asked them why. They said, they didn’t realize that this is how these starry predictions are made and now they were feeling rather angry with me that I had taken out the sense of wonder away from them, at least with respect to this shade of shady astrology.

I agree, Yes, mea cupa. I have sinned. But gladly so. The children agree, of course! (that I have sinned)

And, I have plans to teach them Scheme (a delightful dialect of LISP) with which, eventually they can program a computer to get such outputs. Then, they will see how easy it is to write (or program to write) like (my pet peeve) Enid Blyton – or for that matter, our own Indian version of popular trash author such as Grand Madame Arundhati Roy (my pet nemesis). And, um, I still can’t recover from the fact that Ms Roy got a ‘man booker’ prize for her work! Sheesh!

four interesting (to me at least!) links

** Theatre doyen Ebrahim Alkazi’s (one of the finest of them) fantastic freewheeling interview.

“When I wanted to study the Mahabharata, my tutor said it’s obscene. I said I wanted to study the entire epic”

http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/271252/

I love mahabharata and Alkazi’s contributions. I think, all of us even remotely interested in theatre should read this article.

** It gives me an immense pleasure (of the perverse kind, obviously) to read that the once petty, thieving, dastardly & rapacious “East India Company” is now owned by an Indian – one Sanjiv Mehta.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/business/East-India-Company-now-has-an-Indi an-owner/Article1-508853.aspx

What an inexplicable feeling of redemption, that dangerously borders on jingoism! (not) My personal interest in this takeover would be the possible ‘free’ availability of records of transactions and archived documents of EIC.

But, we would need another Dharampalji to get the proper context and interpretation out of the mass of documents. RIP, dear Dharampal. I miss your scalpel and lucidity of thoughts.

** A voice for the sparrow –  “March 20 is World House Sparrow Day. The species is fast disappearing, but thanks to the efforts of environmentalist Mohammed Dilawar there is hope for the inconspicuous bird. Excerpts from an interview ”

http://www.hindu.com/mag/2010/03/14/stories/2010031450210500.htm

May the tribe of Mohammed Dilawars increase!

** This is a school initiative, in the ‘educationally’ vibrant smouldering cauldron that Bangalore is, by my acquaintances – Jayashree and Reshma.

“creative – a holistic learning centre for children, families & teachers”

http://thecreativeschool.org/

As (once my hero) Mao Tse-Tung said: “Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend…” A very nice and apt quote, the only thing is that the venerated Chairman said it for others to follow.

Good luck to ‘Creative’ and may it grow – in scope and impact.

** END **