Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Volunteering: A selfless way to promote global understanding

"We share our creative thoughts and ideas through discussions. We feel happy as we are doing something to the society. Indians are very kind and nice people, we are treated as their own here," say FSL India volunteers.
Mysore is a tourist spot and we see a good number of foreigners visiting the city daily. But here is a group of foreigners who have come all the way for a noble cause with lots of enthusiasm.
Nicky from Canada, Lisa and Ewelina from Holland, Yalseo, Sunmin and Jungme from South Korea are our foreign guests, who are doing the odd jobs of painting the wall, cleaning the house, washing vessels, tidying the hair and manicuring nails of the children at Makkala Mane in Kuvempunagar. The volunteers are in city on a ten-day camp under FSL (Field Services and Intercultural Learning – India) and are staying at the Youth Hostel. They will leave Mysore on Dec. 18.They are NGOs who are spending their personal money for all the expenditures and are working under FSL India.

What is FSL-India?
FSL is a non-profit, charitable, social and independent Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which was established in 2001 with the objective of promoting global understanding and inter-cultural learning. It was encouraged by World Peace through Youth Mobility and Volunteerism to work for togetherness. It co-operates with a large number of NGOs across India in coordinating the inter-national exchange of volunteers and by supporting the volunteer movement in India.
FSL India, with its head office in Bangalore, undertakes projects across India. It places international volunteers in local community projects to support sustainable development and to bring an inter-cultural dimension to community projects. Volunteers are assisted by local communities.
"Volunteers are the heart of our work and activities. We place the volunteers in various societies throughout the world. We fix the meeting point one month before and intimate the volunteers accordingly and also make people aware of the world in which they live in. Behaviour and dress code are culture-sensitive, especially in villages or schools," says Joy J. Carvaloh, Workshop Co-ordinator.
"The volunteer service we are promoting is a kind of non-formal education. This requires skill and fundamental education built on practical experience. We believe that we get experience by living and working with people of different cultural backgrounds. We promote understanding, respect and make them feel that we should all work responsibly for the betterment of this world," says FSL Team Leader Dinesh Kundapur.
"There is also a 24-hour hotline service for volunteers. Weekends are free and they can plan their travel or leisure time activities accordingly. Holidays during voluntary service are not allowed," adds Dinesh, who can be contacted over Mob: 99869-14581.
"Our mission is to expand horizons by organising volunteer camps throughout India with the help of national and international voluntary organisations, institutes and colleges by bringing people of different cultures, languages and regions together," adds Joy Carvaloh.
FSL India believes in the work camp principles that people in any community should be given freedom to express their solidarity with others in a practical and basic level so that the young people can discover or develop talents and skills within themselves.
FSL-India aims to increase social, cultural, educational and environmental actions in the rural and urban areas of India through national and international volunteering by means of work camps. Being an active NGO the group does not support any political or religious cause and aims to offer people in India direct contact with youth from abroad.
The living conditions in India are very different from their home town. But still these volunteers make an effort to communicate in the local language.
Besides gaining new skills of communication, practical knowledge and work experience, the volunteers become aware of the importance of being socially active. This way, they raise the level of consciousness of the society as a whole.

Science Express: A Pathway to Discover

Science is the sector which blooms and is the base of life. It fulfils the objective of triggering interest in Science and motivates one’s ambition in their career. Hence to provide beneficial information to the students an innovative Science Express - Science Exhibition on Wheels, is moving from one milestone to the next.

This sparkling white ‘Science Express’, mounted on a specially designed fully air conditioned train has 16-coaches which aims to spread scientific awareness, has arrived at Mysore City Railway Station on Platform No. 6 and was formally inaugurated by Divisional Railway Manager B.B. Verma here this morning. Public can visit the train between 10 am and 5 pm. Entry is free.

After successful completion of two tours around the country, it is embarking on its third phase. During this phase, this train will travel about 18,000 kms by covering 56 locations across India in a span of 208 days before returning back to its starting point at Gandhi Nagar in Gujarat on 27 April, 2010. It halts at each location for a few days during which it will remain open to visitors comprising mainly students.

The exhibition features more than 300 large-format visual images, over 150 video clips and multimedia exhibits which showcases extensively with cutting-edge research in science and technology. It also has working models and a laboratory. The exhibition has created four National Records and has received overwhelming response at all the halts.

Science Express is the World's largest ever mobile science exhibition and was flagged off by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel on October, 30, 2007 from New Delhi. It has been showcased in 100 cities across India in two phases and now it is its third phase. The Max-Planck Society, Germany has developed this venture in collaboration with Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC).

The Main objective of this unique venture is to nurture curiosity amongst our youth and rekindle their waning interest in Science. The exhibition seeks to address issues from micro-cosmos to macro-cosmos. It answers how scientists have uncovered our understanding of the Universe; how they are concerned about finding practical solutions for protecting our planet. It has large screen displays for audio-visual experience, interactive computers and each coach are informative and attractive too. This will fulfill the quest of scientific knowledge in the common masses and students.

“Every child in city should utilize this opportunity and visit the Science express. It’s very beneficial. It creates awareness on environments issues, the needs to protect and conserve environs. More than 40 lakh students have visited this train in this phase,” said Verma, who was very much enthusiast after viewing the exhibition.

As soon as the event was inaugurated students rushed inside to share the knowledge stored on varied issues. Thirteen of the 16 coaches showcase exhibitions on various topics.

Coach 1: On the way to the Big Bang
This coach represents the Universe according to inflationary cosmology from the smallest particles of matter, its energy, elementary particles and the fundamental forces. It also displays information on Atlas Detector, XFEL X-ray Laser, Filming a molecule, Time microscope, Super Cold atoms and ultra short light pulses.

Coach 2: Nano Cosmos
Nanotechnology is the technique of molecular manufacturing and an applied science. The basic theme of the coach is how we can systematically influence the physical and chemical foundations for better. It also informs about Synchrotron, Optoelectronics, Milling machine, scanning tunneling microscope.

Coach 3: Building Blocks of Life
This describes the story of building blocks of life, which means it reveals the facts of life. Cells are the basic unit of life; they have different kinds of interactions within the body which combines with molecular and protein interactions. It also imparts knowledge on artificial vesicle, Quantum Dots, Molecular motors, protein interaction.

Coach 4: From Gene to Organism
This coach exhibits us the details from Gene to Organism — which means how gene interaction leads to the formation of an individual. It has information on Genomics, human genome project, living antibiotic, plants in cancer research, etc.

Coach 5: Architecture of the Mind
It narrates signal transmission, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, complex communication and Neurological disorders.

Coach 6: The World of Senses
This coach tells about the world of senses, basically human evolution, speech gene, window to the brain, Tansen query by humming (Music), etc.

Coach 7: Technologies for the Future
It narrates about technologies of the future — supercomputer and teraflops, quantum geometry, dielectric resonator and sensors, etc.

Coach 8: Climate Change
This coach tell about the major over-riding environmental issues like Cause, Effect, Mitigation and the challenges facing by the modern civilization, how a tree gains weight, adaptation and mitigation, Carbon foot, Carbon hand print and promises related conserving energy like “I will walk or cycle whenever possible’, “I will use public transport”, “I will switch off fans and lights”. A 45-minute talk featuring Al Gore and video clippings on climatic changes, make the visitors, glued to the screen.

Coach 9: Global Challenges
It tells about global challenges — global warming, fusion energy, fuel cell, epidemics, recombinant DNA technology and plant protection, etc. This coach also depicts the shift of conventional energy to non-conventional energy resources. The fascinating this in this coach is the World of Language globe, where more than 7,000 languages can be heard on a press of button on globe.

Coach 10: Spaceship Earth
This coach tells about what happen when earth loses it resilient capacity, why do natural calamities occur and its magnetospheres and also informs Bacterial reef, genetic diversity, sulfur pearl, adaptation, particle Imaging detectors and aerosol.

Coach 11: Our home in the Cosmos
This coach influences about the sun on earth and our home in the cosmos — orion nebula, Alma Radio telescope, weight on other planets, solar flares, sunspot, etc.

Coach 12: The Universe
This coach describe about the Universe — it’s originate and evolve, Supernova, apex telescope, Gravitational lens, neutron Star fusion and Milky way.

Coach 13: Science & Technology in India
As India is one of the most powerful knowledge hubs, this coach focuses on India’s achievements in science & technology — inventions from ‘zero’ to launch of Chandrayaan - 1, discoveries and developments

Finally The Joy of Science – ‘Hands-on lab’
The Joy of Science (JOS) Lab has been developed by VASCSC is one of the fascinating part of this coach. It tells about children can perform practical experiments and hands on activities in physics, chemistry, biology, electronics and mathematics in the mobile lab. The 6 workstations in the lab are equipped with more than 50 exciting experiments and activities based on high school curriculum, facilitated by Science Communicators are performed here. It’s really a glorious legacy.

Each coach has two communicators (science experts) helping out children and also career counseling is also provided for those interested in science education. Over all there are 30 experts among 19 girls and 11 boys.

“It’s a golden opportunity for all the ages of people particularly children and students, research scholars for updating their knowledge and learning new things from this Science Express. Students enjoy learning about cutting-edge research in science while explained through interesting audio-visual exhibits and interactive tools,” says Communicator Charvi from Gujarat.

Teaching is a challenging profession and I enjoy it. We share the knowledge and create awareness throughout wheels, I feel very happy as I teach throughout India and I come across new persons and their languages,” said Vinith from and Rajasthan who joined here just three months back.

This exhibition strives to take modern research out of the lab and reveal just how relevant science is to everyday life. It attempts to develop scientific temper among students by encourage them to pursue careers in science. Hence Science Express is providing excellent opportunity to the students in remote and urban areas to expose them to the development of science around the world. After spreading the joy of science in Mysore, the Science Express moves to Udupi on coming. Friday.
Not allowed: mobiles, cameras, bags, match-boxes, cigarettes, beedis, tobacco, water bottles, any liquid and any sharp pointed objects.

Public views…
I am spellbound…
“The facts of science are very well described, especially for youngsters it’s an interesting and wonderful technological frontiers. I have never received such type of information in science and technology. It as developed me a scientific temper to pursue careers in science. I hope by visiting this train at least few people save the earth from climate change. All the staff are dedicated and the way express is awesome”, says Rekha a 9th standard students who was her way to Bangalore.

Organise during Dasara…
“It was a fantastic experience going through Science Express. It’s a nice and novel concept for popularization of science amongst the public. We can study each and every part of a science in a single train; it has enlightening on various, aspects of life, earth and other related issues. It was a good change for us to see what we studied in our school. We got more details from this Science Express. I request the authorities to organise these science expo during Dasara,” says Yashwanth a Science Student of JSS College.

Transmit in National languages too...
“I like the Science Express for its facts, fine and rich information. But the drawback is it can’t be understandable by a common man, as it is only transmitted in English. If the concerned authorities takes the initiatives to introduce the transmission in all the National Languages it will be very helpful”, says Mala a senior citizen.

AIDS awareness at CAVA through paintings & poems

"Majority of youth are afflicted with AIDS. They should be aware of the consequences of this deadly disease," says Dr. H.T. Chidananda.
Here is a 62-year-old social worker Dr. H.T. Chidananda, who is not just a doctor by profession but also a Professor who has successfully used the medium of painting to create awareness among people and provide information about HIV/AIDS.
Though he is not an artist by profession, he was very passio-nate about learning it. He initially began by drawing sketches. Later it occurred to him that this could be used as an effective medium to educate the public about various diseases that afflict mankind. So he started painting, focusing the theme of his paintings on diseases.
Dr. Chidananda, who had earlier served as Principal of Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences (MIMS) and Shimoga Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS), is currently working as a Professor and HoD of Pathology at KMCT Medical College in Kozhikode (Calicut). He has over 50 paintings to his credit since 2 years and majority of them are related to diseases.
At present, he is holding an exhibition of his paintings at Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts (CAVA), Mysore, under the auspices of Karnataka Lalitha Kala Academy. The expo will be open for public between 10 am and 6 pm till Dec. 9.
Of the 25 paintings on display, ten are explained through poems and others through captions, explaining the symptoms, causes and consequences of the disease, all in Kannada.

The posters depict the way the dreaded diseases spread and affect people including drug addicts using the same syringe for injection; awareness on blood transfusion; saving human lives by using condoms and indulging in safe sex; a painting depicting a HIV patient walking from light to darkness; Gonorrhea; continuing the cycle of life, the role people must play to ensure an AIDS-free society in future; a tree without leaves depicting that the person with HIV loses all characteristics of life; one man - one woman concept and pregnant mother with HIV and so on.
“The main objective of this exhibition is to create awareness amongst youth as they are more vulnerable to this disease and they should be educated in this regard. They should be made aware of the consequences of the disease. A cure for this disease has not yet been found. It is only through exhibitions such as this the public can be made aware about the disease”, says Dr. Chidananda.
“Paintings refresh my mind and help me to relax. I love creating art works that supplement the subject theme. Though in the beginning I was painting without any specific topic, during my days as a medical student, I started practising on my own the paintings related to diseases and was successful in my pursuit. Today, I paint regularly for about four hours everyday. After my retirement, I decided to create a collection of paintings all related to diseases and it has taken me two years to complete these paintings," says the doctor.
"Most people who are infec-ted with HIV do not know that they have been infected because no symptoms develop immediately after the initial in-fection. A HIV-infected person is highly infectious and can transmit the virus to another person. The only way to determine whether a person is infected or not is by undergoing a HIV test. This type of awareness camp helps the person to know on his own, whether he is infected or not," adds Dr. Chidananda.

"I feel I have succeeded in my efforts and I feel happy for exhibiting my art works here as it reaches the public. It is a very new experience for me. In future too, I will continue to create awareness by holding exhibitions of my paintings all over Karnataka, especially in the remote villages," says a beaming Chidananda, who is all set to release his book 'ROCHIKA' (ROga CHItra KAvya) next month.
He also has plans for providing guidance, information, counseling and screening facilities to people who are interested to know about AIDS. They can contact him on his Mob: 98869-53876.
The paintings which are on display here are not only informa-tive but also educate the public by telling: 'The threat from HIV virus is very dangerous.'

It's nestling time at Karanji Lake

The rush of visitors to Karanji Lake Nature Park is going steady. The Park located on the banks of the Lake has been restored of its greenery, attracting several species of winged beauties that have descended upon the Lake and begun nestling.
The nature park consists of a Butterfly Garden and a walk-through Aviary. It is an abode for many species of migratory birds like herons and egrets and a paradise for ornithologists.
The lake, situated in the heart of the city against the backdrop of the Chamundi Hill, has a total area of 90 hectares. While the water-spread area is about 55 hectares, the foreshore area measures about 35 hectares. The Zoo Authority is in charge of its maintenance.
This Lake was neglected for long, being filled with sewage and dumping of garbage. But the Zoo authorities acquired the place in 1976 and developed the Lake. Soon after the development works started paying dividends, the lake became a visiting place for nature lovers and a nestling area for variety of birds. And now, the lake is transformed into a mini bird sanctuary .
What was once only a refuge for Painted Stork, now witnesses a regular influx of varied species including the Glossy Ibis, Grey Pelican, Snake Bird, Painted Stork, Black Ibis, Bill Storks, Egrets, Purple Heron, Cormorants, Great Cormorant, Spotbill Duck etc., which are busy weaving nests on trees in the islands of the lake (see pics.)

Herons, Asian Open Bill Storks, Egrets, Red wattle lapwing, Sandpipers, Rose ringed parakeet, Black Drongo, Brown Shrike, Red-whiskered bulbul, Booted warbler, Sunbird and Greenish Warbler are some of the other species of migrant birds found here.
According to the staff at the Karnaji Lake, the recent survey of birds indicated 87 species of birds in which 12 are migratory birds. Bird migration is the regular seasonal journey undertaken by many species of birds due to changes in food availability, habitat or weather.
Bird Watch Tower
A 10-meters high Bird Watch Tower at the site enables the visitors not only to view panoramic environs of the lake but also to watch birds unhindered. Looking through the binoculars, one can see scores of nests of black-headed ibis, painted stork, spot-billed pelican, egrets and cormorants. Visitors to the lake can also enjoy boating there. One can hire pedal boats and rowboats in a designated area to watch the greenery and the birds roosting on the trees. The scenery, cool breeze, serenity and chirping of birds witnessed during the boating, makes one enchanted with the place.
Except on Tuesdays, the Karanji Lake is open on all days from 10 am to 5 pm.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A museum to promote conservation education

To create environment awareness and to promote conservation education to the entire country National Museum of Natural History decided to have regional offices in the form of Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH) in different parts of the country in a phased manner to extend its activities (NMNH) at regional and state levels. Hence, the first regional office ‘Regional Museum of Natural History’ was inaugurated on 20th May 1995 at Mysore which is undertaken by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India,
The exhibits that are displayed in the museum are made up of judicious mix of specimens, models, translates and audio visual aids. The museum authorities periodically organize workshops relating to protecting the environment, preservation of wildlife and camps for students and nature enthusiasts. They also arrange film shows on topics related to natural history.
The museum exhibits plants, animals and geology of the southern region of India. The galleries emphasize the conservation of nature and natural resources by depicting the ecological inter-relationship among plants and animal. They are displayed in a systematic manner with the objective to provide general information on the latest development about the geological wealth, flora and fauna of the state. Visually challenged students can also feel the exhibits of animals on the premises.

Mysore is a historical city. After the opening of the Regional Museum of Natural History (RMNH) it has added another landmark to its glory. This RMNH is located on the banks of Karanji lake with the backdrop of Chamundi hills.
This museum gives the information to the visitors on the natural environment, ways to conserve and protect it and an opportunity to explore and understand the nature and natural world. It uses models, audio-visual aids, and thematic, interactive and participatory exhibits to help the visitor understand the natural world. These exhibits make learning an interesting and enjoyable experience. The learning in the captivating environment of the Museum is indeed a fun and truly enjoyable.
The objectives of the Museum are:
* To develop exhibits depicting floral, faunal and geological wealth of the southern region of India.
* To depict ecological inter-relationship among man, plants and animals and to emphasis the importance of conservation through exhibits and educational activities.
* To provide special exhibits and activities to enrich children on curriculum-based studies in biology and geology with emphasis on environmental aspect.
* To organise specialized educational activities for the disabled.
* To publish popular educational materials useful for environmental education.
* To develop appropriate institutional collaborations in the Southern India

Exhibit galleries
The Museum has a gallery with many sections dealing with the Biological Diversity; Life through the Ages; Discovery Centre, Discovery Room and Bioscience Computer Room and Temporary Exhibitions. The further galleries which will be introduced are on themes of Ecology and Conservation.
Biological Diversity
This gallery projects an overall theme of ‘Biological Diveristy’ depicting the biodiversity of the Southern region of India with special emphasis on Western Ghats. This section presents the basic concepts of natural history and the reasons for diversity of geological, some endangered species of plants and animals heritage and the geography and geology of the region. The diorama of the western ghats represent the diversity of the natural heritage and its importance, influence on climatic factors like rainfall and humidity.
The section on Tropical Rain Forests signifies the importance of the rain forests in the tropics by possessing the enormous biological and genetic wealth. It also depicts the adaptations of plants and animals in this region through various themes such as insectivorous plants, camouflage, canopy levels, climbing mechanism and plants, gliding mechanism of animals, bright coloration of birds and butterflies so on. The requirement of trees and forests to our life is also shown.
The next section which enthralls is the life-like depiction of Wetlands and its associated environment captured in a diorama. The section also highlights the variety of diversity of plants and animals and their adaptation as well as usefulness. Mangrove forests are also shown.

The section on Sea depicts a diorama of a marine habitat, the adaptation of marine life and the vastness and importance of different shores, estuaries and deep seas are vividly presented. The section concludes with a scale model of the blue whale.
A huge panel on the other side of the gallery shows river Cauvery - the lifeline of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The audio-visual along with the panel explains the course of the river from its origin at Talacauvery to its joining the sea near Poompuhar. The various land marks, and the cultural, biological and geological heritage of the areas served by Cauvery are also shown. The gallery concludes with a large exhibit panel cautioning against the destruction of our natural heritage.
Life through the Ages
This section deals with the biological diversity that today’s life on earth is a result of millions of years of evolution. This fascinating fact has been presented in an interesting manner with a truly captivating environment through a walk-through tunnel, where the visitor explores the mysteries of life over time and space. The evolution of man is depicted in the tunnel and the tunnel ends with the emergence of the modern man.
Discovery Centre and Discovery Room
This is one of the attractions and interactive section of the museum, where many efforts are made to activate the visitors by choosing various senses of activities leading to discovery learning. Participants can also involve in creative activities such as painting, modeling and preparing animal masks, costumes and they can discover information contained in several discovery boxes.

The discovery room provides opportunities for children to handle examine and study specimens through participatory activities and discover information contained in several discovery boxes. A sand pit is another attraction of the Discovery Room. There are also many useful books for children’s reference.
Children will be spellbound and enthralled by the variety of toys and jigsaw puzzles provided. There is also a mini theatre, Bioscience lab, a sound booth and a mini stage which provides opportunity for puppetry, audio-visual presentations, skits, demonstrations and many other facilities will keep children engrossed learning with enjoy, fun and creative manner,
The laboratory corner provides children with facilities to become ‘young scientis’ and they can have their health cards like weighing balance, height measuring and eye-testing facilities. Timings: 10.30 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 4.30 pm.
Bioscience Computer Room
This facility is meant for high school and college students. It enables them to study biology using computers. The advanced technologies like Multimedia techniques provide the visitors with a new learning experience about nature through interactive facilities. It is open between 10 am to 12 pm and 3 pm to 4 pm.
Temporary Exhibitions
A small hall near the entrance foyer provides visitors with exhibition on various themes of contemporary interest. The themes are changed at regular intervals.
Other Resources
Library: The museum has a reference library with more than 4,000 books related to Botany, Zoology, Geology, Museology, Biology, Environmental Science, Natural History so on. It is open between 10.30 am to 12 pm and 3 pm to 4 pm.
Museum Theatre: Films related to Natural History, especially wildlife movies are screened daily between 12 pm to 1 pm and 4 pm to 5 pm. This theatre is also used for public functions.
Out door exhibits: The museum campus provides visitors ‘Nature’ in its splendour. A ‘Bird watching Tower’ to view the nearby Karnaji lake nature park where hundreds of birds come for migrating. The majestic Chamundi Hills can also be viewed from here.
Garden for the disabled - Touch, Feel and Learn
A unique learning centre - "Touch, Feel and Learn - Live plant Bioresource Centre is the first special garden museum for the visually impaired in India. It’s an effort to being the deprived to the main stream of the society and to feel them normal.
Interpretation through personal means, Braille labels and audio commentary help them to understand nature. The visitors are also allowed to touch, smell and feel leaves and other parts of the various medicinal plants available in the garden. The facility is available to persons with disabilities. This specially designed floral garden provides all basic amenities to reach the needed one.
The centre is located on the serene lawns of the museum around an half acre of land with lush green all round. And the area of the garden is divided into the two categories:
Orientation: Where the guidance, embossed drawings and labels are provided for the visually impaired.
Straight Pathway: The long pathway helps the visitors to move ahead by touching a few trees located on the side.
The RMNH also organizes awareness programs and various educational and environmental activities in collaboration with other government and non-government agencies. Modern methodology and advanced equipments are used to present the natural science in an interesting way to cater the curiosity of the visitors.
The galleries [Biological Diversity and Life through the Ages] are opened between from 10 am to 5 pm on all days except Mondays and National Holidays. Entry to the museum is free.

Kerala mural art comes to city

Kerala, the God's own country on the southwestern coast of India, has won the admiration of visitors because of its tradition and lush greenery. A study of the Kerala mural paintings will make one understand the State's art and cultural tradition.
To impart training in traditional mural painting of Kerala, the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, Mysore, has orga-nised a Museum Education pro-gramme under 'Do & Learn' series at Wellington House on Irwin Road. It will conclude on Dec. 1.
"Art in Kerala is as old as civili-sation in the region and they have gone through intensive time-tested process of alteration and development," says Koolippara Raman Babu, Faculty Member, Department of Mural Painting, Malayala Kala Graman, New Mahe, Kannur, Kerala, who is imparting training for more than 30 artists from city in mural paintings.
"Painting murals is very much different from painting smaller works. A person is completely overwhelmed and absorbed by the painting itself. It will also help in building up imagination," opines Babu.
"Basically, the students who are learning this art are painters themselves and they learn with very enthusiasm and zeal. At first, the students will be taught how to trace on a canvas cloth and then paint," says K.R. Babu.
Mural painting
Kerala holds the second place in having the largest collection of archaeologically important mural sites, the first being Rajasthan. The roots of the mural tradition of Kerala could be traced to seventh and eighth century AD. These paintings are frescos depicting mythology and legends, drawn on the walls of temples and churches in South India, especially in Kerala and bring Ajanta and Ellora paintings to one's mind.
The subjects for murals were derived from religious texts, palaces and temples with unique pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses. Flora, fauna and other aspects of nature are also taken as background. They are pain-ted using natural pigments and revived by a new genre of artists actively involved in researching and teaching mural art.
The colours selected by the artists symbolise the permutations of the psychological qualities embodied in the quasi-scientific philosophical systems of the gunas the triple division of all reality with — Satva (the noblest), Rajas (the active and middle principle) and Tamas (the dark and destructive principle) respectively.
The colour symbolism is traditionally green for Satvik, red and mixture of red and yellows for the rajasik and black (Shaivite) and white (vaishnavite) for the tamasik deities. Saffron red is the most commonly used colour of Kerala murals.
The composition factors governed are proportion, pose and background. For instance, the face will be divided into three sections with neck to one fourth of the face and length of the chest is to be equal to that of the face. There are also broad principles for the depiction of the eyes expressing different emotions. Similarly, the visualisation of animals, trees, mountains, waterfalls, rivers, fish, temples, market etc. are governed by distinct principles and rules.
Murals decorate the inner walls of the room, ceiling or other large permanent surface and it covers a variety of techniques including fresco, mosaic, stained glass and photography. An interesting type of mural is painting on canvas, which is then attached to a wall or painting directly on the wall surface itself.
Creating effective mural painting requires sturdy brushes, paint, glazing and the most important factor, your imagination. Acrylic paints are used for the actual mural painting. Brushes for painting on the walls are made of blades of certain grass and roots of some trees. Sharpened bamboo pieces are used to draw outlines of murals. The best bru-shes for use with acrylic paints are high quality synthetic ones.
Herbal and vegetable dyes, fruit juices, minerals and chemical extracted from the earth, stones, root and such natural materials are used for making the paint.
[November 27, 2009]

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fruits for longevity

Fruits should be eaten to maintain a healthy life, not as a substitute for normal food — Dr. Naveen Kumar
Among all the foods available, fruits are the most delicious and enjoyable to the senses. Fruits are rich in all the essential vitamins, minerals and water content. But very few people give much importance to them as most of them think it can not sustain a hard-working person.
According to Dr. Naveen Kumar of Dr. Naveen’s Health & Diet Care Centre, people who are obese can skip breakfast and consume fruits like Papaya, Melons, Pineapple, Grapes, Apple etc.
Fruits are rarely seen as staple food; instead they are eaten as snack or dessert. Many people consider fruits as nutritious and eat whenever they feel hungry. But the nutrition content of the fruits vary. Melons have less calories, while Bananas contain more. Eating a small cantaloupe (200 calories) can help one sustain for a short time, but eating dried fruits and nuts can sustain a person for a longer time.
Eating fruits on an empty stomach before meals are good, because fruits are rich in sugar called fructose and they don’t combine with other foods, they do not even require much digestion and hence do not stay in the stomach for long.
But if a person consumes fruits just after a meal, the fruit sugar will stay for a longer time in the stomach along with other foods and gets fermented. Especially when one consumes foods which are rich in fat, proteins and starch, it will stay in the stomach for a longer period and require more digestion causing fermentation (upset of the stomach).
This is the reason why some people experience digestion problems when they eat fruits just after consuming food and they blame it on the fruit saying it might be allergic.
Diet: Instead of skipping meals and consuming only fruits, maintain a balanced diet. Avoid rice for dinner at night; eat chapathi, ragi dosa, rava idli and ragi ball. For patients who are obese, this diet is very useful as fruits help in burning fat.
How much to eat: Chapathi - Medium size two; a small bowl of rice with vegetable curry and butter milk for afternoon meal. Later consume fruits which are less in calories. Obese people should avoid banana, dates, cherries and mangoes as they are rich in calories.
Fruits are ideal food after exercise: There is nothing better than oranges, grapes, pineapple or melons after a workout as they are rich in water content and sugar, which the body requires after an exercise. These fruits contain enough water to hydrate the body and the natural sugars are quickly absorbed to replenish the energy.
Natural sugars provide the much needed energy required by the body. When starchy foods like potatoes and bread are eaten, the digestive enzymes in the stomach have to break down complex sugar (starch) into simpler sugars. But when fruits are eaten, the body absorbs the simple sugars (fructose) directly, without need of breaking them down any further.
Fresh fruits don’t cause tooth decay as they contain lots of fiber and water along with natural sugar. The combined effect of fiber and water rinses and cleans the mouth.
But when fruits are dried, water content will be less and they stick to teeth and gums causing tooth decay. Drink juices at least once. But if you filter and drink, the natural fibers are no longer present to clean the teeth. As long as we eat entire fresh fruits with all of its natural water content and fiber, we will get the maximum benefit out of them. Diabetics are advised to get medical help.
Many people sustain only on fruits instead of meals. It’s a bad habit. Living on fruit alone will deteriorate health.
Fruit stimulates our memories: Fruits have a positive effect on the brain and makes us to recall information quickly and easily.
Fruits are free of cholesterol: Fruits don’t contain much cholesterol, unlike meat and dairy products which contain a lot of cholesterol.
Fruits help to come out of depression: If one consumes substantial amount of fresh fruits on a regular basis, one can get out of depression. Slowly but surely, eating lot of fruits has a mysterious healing effect.
Other health benefits: Lesser chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis and cancers of the bowel and lungs.
Weight control: Fruit contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, which keeps a person healthy. As they are low in fats and calories, they are ideal to keep weight in control.
Benefits of eating fruits
• Fruits are rich sources of vitamins, not available in any other food. They contains more anti-oxidants.
• A fruit is the best source of natural sugars required to produce energy needed by the body.
• Fruits are easy to digest.
• Fruits are alkaline forming, while grains, meat, fish are acid-forming.
• Fruits contain lots of fiber, which is necessary for optimum digestion.
• People who eat lots of fresh fruits live longer.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Martial Arts expert from Gujarat in city

Oliver Christopher, a Martial Arts expert from Gujarat and a student of Grand Master William Cheung (close friend of Bruce Lee), is in city to impart training in ‘Wing Chun Kung Fu’ (karate, kick-boxing) style and also self-defence for students at No. 40, 2nd Cross, Gayatripuram 2nd Stage, near PF Office from 6 to 8 am/pm till Oct. 24. He will be visiting Australia in January to learn one of the famous styles ‘Kung Fu Wing Chun’, which was popularised by Bruce Lee.Even today, actor and martial arts expert Bruce Lee is a global phenomenon and an inspiration for martial arts experts around the world. One among them is Oliver Christopher, hailing from Baroda in Gujarat.Like most boys, Christopher too went to see Bruce Lee’s hit movie Dragon in 1976 with his friends and started dreaming of becoming a martial arts expert. He turned his dream into reality when he was seven years old by practicing Karate six hours a day without any formal training.Christopher, who is a Black Belt 4th DAAN, was equally good in his studies. He has done his BE in Mechanical Engineering. With his dedication and hard work, he has won many State, National and International awards. Now he is a Karate, Kung-fu, kick boxing, martial arts, Kobudo expert.Christopher's first guru was Bipin Rathod. After some time, he started training under Rumi Mathew, a purple belt-holder and was a student of R.V.T. Mani who is believed to have introduced martial arts to India. Under Rumi’s guidance, Christopher won the Gujarat Grand Karate Championship for three successive years from 1988. He is also Va-dodara’s fir-st national Karate champion holder and he was only 17 then.Christopher has won the gold medal in All India Open Martial Arts Championship (full contact category) at Pune (1988) and at Bangalore (1994) and entered the arena in the same year.He has also bagged the gold medal in international kick-boxing championship at the Iran-India Goodwill Tournament held in 1997 at Baroda in which there were about 50 competitors, 30 of them being black belts from Iran."Due to some family problem I took a break for six years. But Bruce Lee’s poster, hung in my room, kept inspiring me to kick away my troubles and I continued practicing at home regularly," he added. "Martial arts should be made compulsory for children in schools as it is very useful for self-defence and it improves concentration and induces self-discipline," says Christopher who is concerned about the dire need of self-defence in today’s world of extreme stress and violence.Christopher added that these arts are not only meant for defence but they also help people to handle themselves in different situations. This strong man with a soft heart says he can’t see anyone in pain including animals. Christopher has trained more than 5,000 students and has given special training to Gujarat Police and Western Railways staff. He got the chance when Superintendent of Police K.S. Das decided to give martial arts training to cops. He has also trained IPS officers at National Police Academy in Hyderabad. Christopher hopes to win the world title and if given a chance, he is ready to act in movies as a stunt master. He may be contacted over Mobile: 093762-47989.
[October 20, 2009]

Bal Bhavan waiting for a makeover

The place which is supposed to be packed with children enjoying in the playground, recreation areas and entertainment center has now become an eyesore. Yes, this is how our city’s District Jawahar Bal Bhavan in Bannimantap has turned out.If you visit the Bal Bhavan once hoping you can make children play for a while, you will be definitely disappointed and hesitate to visit again as children will not get to play at the amusement park or enjoy a joy ride on the toy train, stroll on the green park, visit the doll museum, swimming pool, waterfalls etc. Instead, they will be welcomed by an open field full of weeds and a re(u)sting toy train.The sprawling 13-acre Bal Bhavan, once known as Vijaya Dashami Park, was inaugurated on Children’s Day (Nov. 14) in 1979 and it was a beehive of activities for kids. Children used to visit this place in large numbers during weekends and enjoy a joy ride on toy train. But now this toy train has become an antique piece housed in a shelter for the past nine months and the track is fully submerged with weeds.This toy train, which can accommodate 100 children, was chugging a distance of almost 1.1 km with six bogies (3 small and three large-sized bogies). Among them, two bogies are under repair for the past two years and another two are without wheels."The tracks are made of wooden sleepers, which are no longer manufactured. Now they have to be replaced with concrete or iron sleepers, which will cost around Rs. 45 lakh," says K.V. Krishnamurthy, Principal Organiser, Bal Bhavan. The toys available are also not properly maintained enough to play. The entire park, which comes under the Department of Women and Child Welfare, has never been properly maintained and it is now in a dilapidated condition. A ray of hope ? When SOM contacted MLA Tanveer Sait, under whose con-stituency this park area is located, he said, "Modernisation of Bal Bhavan will be taken up in the month of January and completed by next Dasara. Last year, MUDA sanctioned Rs.1.90 crore for the development of the park and a Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by Raydius Events & Promotions is also ready. Tenders will be invited and more facilities will be added for children’s amusement and to make it attractive." Sait added, "At any cost the work will start in January. If adequate funds are not granted from MUDA, I will start the work through grants from the MP and MLA funds."The proposed project includes an Artificial Forest, Snake & Ladder arena, Crocodile Park, Rock Climbing, Bike Rally arena, tiny-tots play arena and many more with some modern games. All this will be established to educate as well as encourage creative thinking in children. New attractions like fibre models of crocodile, lion and cubs, tiger, gorilla, zebra, tortoise, cheetah, giraffe, monkey, elephant herd, python and caves of huge rock structures are also being thought of. Construction of additional buildings, providing power and water supply, landscaping, re-introducing toy train and railway stations, erection of compound walls, artificial forest, gaming zones, open air theatre, restaurant, candy shop, ice-cream parlour, toilets, shelter are all on the anvil at an estimated cost of around Rs. 4.05 crore. All these proposed additional infrastructures are expected to be completed within 12 months from the date of final agreement with MUDA. N.R. Vijay, Deputy Director of Women and Child Welfare, said that a requsition letter has been sent to the Divisional Railway Manager seeking to reinvent the track. Many promises and plans were made for the development of Bal Bhavan but it remained only on the papers of the official document. Let's hope Bal Bhavan will get a makeover soon.Regularise Bal Bhavan staff: Right now, there are six people working in Bal Bhavan, whose jobs are not yet confirmed nor are they getting any facilities like PF and Pension. They are working as daily wagers for the past 28 years.
[October 18, 2009]

A Champion on Skates: G.V Raghavendra

Winning has become a habit for this 21-year-old city skater G.V. Raghavendra. He happens to be the first skater from Mysore to represent India in the World Short Ice-Skating to be held at Montreal, Canada from Nov. 5 to 8 and from Nov. 12 to 15 at Marquette, USA. SOM caught up with this skater, who is leaving India on November 1, and had a brief chat with him. Excerpts:"I was very fond of learning skating and my father got me a pair of skates. At first, I used to practice at home only and I learnt balancing. Later, I joined skating class," says Raghavendra, a native of Udupi.A resident of Jayanagar and a B.Com degree holder from Maharaja's College, he aspires to do his MBA.Raghavendra, who has bagged 7 gold medals, 4 silver and 1 bronze in Roller Skating and one gold medal in Ice skating, says "dedication and regular practice is very important to excel in this field." He has also won 14 State championship and 24 State-level championships and many other prizes.Expressing joy on his selection, Raghavendra, who practices for 3 hours a day, says: "It’s an altogether different feeling and a big achievement to compete in world ice-skating championship. I feel happy as only two skaters from India are participating — myself and another skater from Maharashtra."Practicing ice-skating since 2006, he was selected for his first ‘4th National Ice Skating Championship’ in Kolkata. He went there four days in advance to practice ice-skating, as there is no rink for ice-skating here. And lo, he bagged a gold medal. "As I am selected for Short Track Ice-skating championship, I am working more to excel in the event and get selected for the winter Olympic's also."Raghavendra was first trained by his late coach Sridhara Rao for four years. After his demise, he was trained by his (Sridhara Rao) brother K. Srikantha Rao, an Ekalavya awardee and a coach at Rao's and Vishwamithra Roller Skating Club, Mysore. "My family and coaches are my biggest support. My parents have provided me full co-operation. Srikantha Rao is like my god-father and I feel he is one of the best coaches in India." When SOM contacted Srikantha Rao over phone, he said "It’s really a big achievement that a city boy has been selected for world ice-skating championship." Raghavendra's parents G. Vishwanatha Somayaji and G. Nalini are proud about their son’s achievement as nobody in their family has achieved such a milestone.
[Oct. 23, 2009]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Winged guests at Karanji Lake

Don’t miss a chance to visit Butterfly Park located in the midst of the evergreen Karanji Lake, which is surrounded by a Nature Park consisting of a walk-through aviary. This is the first butterfly park in the State and these beautiful winged guests, fluttering from flower to flower all over the park, provide a glorious sight, interspersed with the chirping of birds.
The project to make Karanji Lake suitable for butterflies was formulated by the Mysore Zoo during 1999 by the then Zoo Executive Director Rajashekhar, DCF and the Butterfly Park was created on a small island of over one acre in the same year. In the initial days about 15 dif-ferent species of butterflies were let in this park, where they bred and multiplied. Now, these butterflies have descended upon the Lake and have lent colours to the environs, especially the trees, shrubs and bushes on which they perch.
Flowering plants are carefully selected and grown in the park with the help of a botanist to attract butterflies. The specially cultivated plants here are Jatropha, Crotalaria, Augusta, Poinsettia, Lemon Tree, Murraya koenigii (Karibevu). Some of these plants have been brought from hill stations and other region also.
A wide variety of butterflies like Grey Pansy, Lemon Pansy, Peacock Pansy, Yellow Pansy, Tailed Jay, Blue Mormon, Common Mormon, Crimson Rose, Common emigrant, Tawny Coster, Blue tiger, Paint tiger, Striped tiger, Danid egg fly and many more are seen dotting the park. Red Pierrot with twin heads captivates the onlookers making them difficult to drag their eyes away from them.
Butterflies are most active on warm and sunny days because they require heat of the sun to aid in their digestion. But on rainy days and gloomy atmosphere, they usually hide in the flowers and leaves and they rest their.
Many species of adult butterfly live only for one or two weeks. Some familiar species like Monarch butterfly survive for six months or even longer in the wild. Since more swarms of butterflies are expected to migrate to the lake after the monsoon.
Butterflies are seen more in the month of April and May and from October to November.

[October 22, 2009]