Monday, September 27, 2010

Bal Bhavan – a haven for local hoodlums

Increasing eve-teasing in the City

The problems bedeviling Bal Bhavan have been highlighted time and again. But there seems to be another more serious problem that needs to be nipped in the bud.

Every Sunday, Bal Bhavan which should be a haven for children becomes instead a haven for various gangs ranging from eve-teasing youth to groups who think that the sole purpose of Bal Bhavan is to provide a place to park their cars and settle down amidst the grass and drink till drunk.

Till recently a police Garuda used to parked to deter lumpen louts but it is conspicuous by its absence. This has encouraged local gangs to make it their base to gather and make merry while making the evenings of those women and children who come here miserable.

Speaking to a cross section of the few women who were pre-sent on Sept. 26, I found that most were not keen on complaining to the police for fear that they would be targeted

Said Fatima( name changed): if we remonstrate they just comment vulgarly and blow smoke in our face. They do not care.”

Young girls who accompany their parents are another target of these gangs as they make lewd comments within the hearing of the girls.

Rashmi (name altered) who was there with her children, said that there should be frequent police patrolling of the area and there should be strictly enforced 'No smoking' ban. This place is becoming dangerous to bring children."

Others also commented that they come here because there was space for their children to play but now this is changing. I found that there are no Bal Bhavan staff on duty, no toys or the usual playground jungle gyms etc. Even the toy train was resting with weeds growing between its wheels and all along the track. The whole place looks readymade for eve teasers..

Eve-teasing also seems to have become more rampant in other parts of the City especially the City bus stand as I discovered. The entrance to the City bus stand is infested with eve teasers among whom are many auto-drivers. They make filthy obscene comments on girls entering the bus stand. Inside the bus stand, groups of youth board buses to make lewd comments at girls and women and get off before the bus starts.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How to keep smiling always

"A smile starts on the lips, A grin spreads to the eyes, A chuckle comes from the belly; But a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, Overflows, and bubbles all around." - Carolyn Birmingham

It is said that smile is a curve that sets everything straight and you are never fully dressed without a smile! Truly, that small curve of the lips, called smile, gives such a beauty to the face that it instantly brings people and hearts closer together.

Smiling reduces the tension and makes others relaxed. Whatever be the circumstance, cultivate the attitude of being humourous every moment of your lives without losing the importance of the situation.

The story goes that once Goddess Kali appeared before poet Kalidasa. Seeing her, he suddenly started laughing. Surprised, she asked him, while every other human being was afraid of her appearance, what made him laugh. He replied that when it was so difficult for a person to keep wiping his single nose if he were to catch a cold, how was it possible then for her to wipe so many noses on her numerous faces ! Impressed by his humour, Goddess Kali is said to have gifted him with the poetic talent.

Here are some tips to cultivate humour:

• Be in the company of humorous people. There are a few gifted amongst us who can always crack a joke in the nick of time about the incidents happening in the surroundings or about the subject they are discussing at the moment. They always find something funny, whatever is the occasion.

• Smiling is the precursor of laughing. Like flu, it’s contagious, when you look at someone smiling; you too invariably start to smile.

• Spend time with fun, playful people. Share funny jokes and an-ecdotes as it gives the opportunity to laugh together.

• Watch comedy movies; Visit Laughter Clubs; Create opportunities to laugh.

• Discuss with others about the funniest things that happened in the day.

• Play with children; Do silly things.

• Make some time for fun activities (golfing, bowling, karaoke).

• Chuckle, chortle, cackle or crack up (all are stress relievers).

• There are several humour programmes aired on TV which have become quite popular and some channels are exclusively dedicated to it. Children's channels like Pogo, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney are sure to make one laugh however serious his mood maybe.

Benefits of laughing

• Reduces stress and even weight (burning calories) by raising energy level.

• Strengthens immune system.

• Prevents heart disease.

• Relaxes muscles. • Lowers blood pressure.

• Improves blood circulation.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Aeromodelling calling young enthusiasts

Shreyas and Ananya holding a miniature plane they have built together before setting it on flight.

One of the most popular events organised regularly as part of Dasara every year is the Air Show at Bannimantap Parade Grounds which draws huge crowd. As the spectators keep waiting with baited breath, scanning the blue skies overhead for the big metal birds from the Indian Air Force to make their appearance, what keeps the crowd mesmerised for a few moments is a miniature remote controlled aircraft that darts all across the sky, performing loops and somersaults and sometimes even flying barely over their heads.

The curious among them, especially college and high school students, would have dreamt of building such miniature flying models on their own and watch it fly. They can now realise their dreams, thanks to two enterprising and budding engineers.

Though the city already has several amateur hobbyists as well as professionals building racing bicycles, bikes and designer cars on their own, there is no one who ventured to build miniature aircraft and also teach others, except maybe for K. Shreyas and Ananya Balasu-bramanya, Directors of International Academy of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (IAMAS).

"I had avid interest to take on to wings but couldn't fly due to optical constraints. So I thought why not fulfill our dreams by doing aeromodeling," says Ananya, an engineering student of NIE. After she met Shreyas of SJCE, both joined hands together to initiate the process of opening the miniature wings to the young enthusiasts of city.

Though both are students of two different Engineering Colleges in city, they have teamed together and taken the initiative to give wings to the flying aspirations of the youth.

Say the duo, "Aeromodelling is the art of designing and flying unmanned aircraft. The aircraft is usually a scaled down version of an actual aeroplane or one designed specially by the hobbyist. Ours is a joint initiative of Rotary Mysore Adventure Corps (RMAC), an undertaking of Rotary Mysore and IAMAS."

"Basically aeromodelling is of two types. It can be either a non-powered, uncontrolled, free-floating glider, or a multi engine, fue-lled, radio controlled aircraft having wingspans of six feet and more. Many people start off by building a free-floating glider readily available as a kit and progress to advanced models as they improve their skills," says M.M.P. Kumar, a retired NCC Associate Officer, who will be the guide for the youth who wish to give life to their designs.

Rtn. K.G. Venkatraman, President, Rotary Mysore, avers that this innovative hobby will imbibe self-confidence and stimulate interest among students to nurture and fulfill their aspirations while doing things differently.

Disclosing the details about the course, Shreyas informed that it is open for all students in the age group of 12 to 20 years and the class will be held twice a week, on Saturdays and Sundays at Rotary High School, KRS Road. Admission is restricted to only 20 students and registration will be done on a first- cum-first-serve basis.

For details, contact Shreyas on Mob: 96206-08102 /98451-16835 or Ananya on Mob: 96639-30777 between 5 pm and 9 pm. Those interested can register their names with Mahesh, Rotary Mysore Secretariat, Rotary Centre, JLB Road. Rtn. D.S.D. Solanki is the Advisor to RMAC.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


With recent advances in technology making in-roads into every walk of our lives, the traditional way of doing things are slowly giving way to mass online products at factory outlets. One such victim is the traditional clay models of Ganesha idols, that were made by hand using raw clay (not baked), being replaced by glittering Plaster of Paris(PoP) Ganeshas produced using moulds & painted.

About 35 potter families living in Kumbarageri, off Irwin Road in city, who have been traditionally making Lord Ganesha and Gowri idols every year during the festival using only raw clay are a worried lot as the demand for the idols this year has not reached their expected mark compared to previous years. Sculpting of idols usually begins several months in advance and is a time consuming job as each idol is moulded with bare hands.

Speaking to Star of Mysore, Revanna, a trader of these idols on K.T. Street, observed that the readymade idols brought from other States for sale here has affected the local artisans badly.

The Yuva Mandalis, who celebrated the festival on a grand scale by erecting Pandals and Shamiyanas near street corners, are also gradually dwindling.

They always placed orders for huge idols which in turn fetched higher profits for traders. With the number of such associations organising the event on the wane, the traders are forced to depend only on individual customers.

To add variety to the Mysore style of Ganesha idols, traders are catering to customers who insist on new designs. Based on demand, traders bring idols with various designs and styles made in Mumbai and Kolkata. In spite of local artisans from Kumbarageri catering to the bulk of the demand, many traders continue to get idols from outside. While the Mumbaistyle idols are sourced from Mumbai and Pune, traders sometimes source them from Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. Idols are also brought from Tumkur and Bangalore. Some have even ventured selling Gok-arna-style idols. The characteristic feature of Gokarna Ganesha is that it does not sport a crown. According to legend, Ganesha's crown was struck down by Ravana at Gokarna for placing Shiva’s Athmalinga on the earth.

Revanna says though he is not interested in bulk sales, he still manages to sell some idols every year, in spite of being affected by the recession. He says the Mumbai idols have their own set of customers. He claims that he is the only dealer selling idols that conform to the norms set by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB). While the idols brought by others is made of PoP, his is made of clay. The sale of clay idols has not picked up despite being eco-friendly and having religious connotations. A small percentage of his customers do not immerse the idols after the festival. They keep the idols in their house for their sheer artistic and aesthetic values. This also prevents environmental pollution to some extent, he says.

To minimise lead poisoning, Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd. (MPVL) along with the Mysore branch of KSPCB has persuaded artisans to use only lead-free paint on Ganesha and Gowri idols. Revanna said: "I paint my idols with lead-free paints supplied by MPVL. It is beneficial both for us as well as the environment. I even encourage other idol-makers to follow this."

In spite of all these odds, artisan in Kumbarageri are still continuing their tradition by bringing out new designs every year.


• It was due to the efforts of freedom fighter and social reformer Lokamanya Balagangadahar Tilak that organising Ganesha festivals attained the status of a popular public event which brought the masses together from various backgrounds turning them into a force against the British rule.

• Ganesha idols made of clay is considered to be more auspicious as according to the Puranic references the first idol of the Lord was made out of grime and mud.

• Idols made of PoP or painted with synthetic paints when immersed in local water bodies, increases the salinity of the surface water resulting in skin diseases. These PoP idols float on water and are not dissolved. Drinking such water leads to indigestion in both humans and cattle.

• Pramod Vitthal Palav, a sculptor from Kankavali in Sindhudurg, has invented an idol manufacturing process by mixing clay with fig tree juice, paper and glue. The mixture dissolves in water in less than 15 minutes.

Puja at the press of a button!

As priests are in heavy demand on the day of Ganesha Chaturthi and with the pujas lasting a couple of hours, people find it difficult to get priests to visit their homes and perform pujas. It is the same technology that has once again come to the rescue — Pre-recorded audio cassettes are available on sale that details the procedures for performing the Puja along with the relevant mantras. One has to just press the button to play this cassette and proceed with the worship!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


India is renowned world wide for its art and crafts. Art and craft fairs are held throughout the year where artisans get a chance to showcase and sell their unique art works.

The Crafts Bazaar at JSS Urban Haat in Hebbal gives one such glimpse of India's rich cultural heritage. It concludes today at 9 pm.

Mural wall hangings

Matthew Sebastian from Ban-galore, who captures your imagination through murals on wood inlays, says, "Creating effective murals often incorporate many different techniques, painting, glazing, and perspective to name a few. First trace the lines with a pencil. Next, paint the mural using high quality acrylic paints. When the painting is completed, allow it to dry thoroughly while still stapled to the wall. Then apply two coats of clear acrylic glaze to the painting to seal in the paint and make it waterproof so the paint won't be disturbed during installation."

Applique Works

Art and crafts are deeply ingrained in the very culture and traditions of Orissa. Tours & travels, crafts, everything seems to revolve around the reigning deity Jagannath. Each area in Orissa specialises in different craft forms. For instance, the village of Pipli is famous for its applique work. Though applique work is not known in other parts of India, in Orissa, specially in Pipli, the craft has a living tradition continuing over centuries.

"Applique, a French term, is a technique by which decorative effect is obtained by superposing patches of coloured fabrics on a basic fabric, the edges of which are sewn in some form of stitchery. It is distinct from what is known as patchwork in which small pieces of cut fabrics are usually joined side by side to make a large piece of fabric or for repairing a damaged fabric. As per tradition, the colour scheme of the three covers is predetermined. The stitching process comes under six broad categories like bakhia, taropa, ganthi, chikana, button-hole and ruching," says Suresh Kumar Patnaik from Pipli. "In the initial stage we stitch roughly and later we give finishing. It takes four days to complete a single work," adds Patnaik who has bagged State Award for his excellent creations.

Horn Work

West Bengal owes its skill in architectural splendour to its excellent works originated in the heartland of Bengal, its villages.

The early pages of Indian civilisation are full of descriptions of ‘horn combs’ which adorned the tresses of women in ancient times. In shining black and translucent shades of greys, Bengal horn work is still a fascinating craft.

"I make buttons, belt buckles, fashion accessories, novelties etc. from horn. I also make articles of daily use such as combs, penstands and flower vases," says Radha Gobinda Maity who is exhibiting his unique horn works accompanied by his father Nirmal Rao.

The JSS Urban Haat received an overwhelming response from the citizens and made a record collection of Rs. 15 lakh during the 10-day craft bazaar.