Sunday, January 19, 2020

Anjali - Daksha's Excursion to Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh

The first major school excursion for Anjali was this one - to Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh. As always Daksha School did a thorough check and proposed the idea. Wild Ventures, a firm that organises these tours was the chosen one. They came and gave an orientation to the parents. To Nagpur by train, to some camp nearby for ice breaking, games, adventure sports etc. Overnight stay at camp in tents. Morning trek, activities, quizzes, bonfire. Head to forest accommodation. Early morning safari, visit to a nearby village. Safari again the next day. Head to Nagpur and back. No gadgets. Call in a given time slot. Drop and pick up from school. Sounded cool.
At school - pick up!
The kids were pretty excited. Woollens, thermals (it was pretty cold out there), last-minute shopping and Anjali was all set.
Burmah Bridge at camp
We dropped her off at school at 730 pm where a whole bunch of nervous parents and children shuffled about.
Rock/wall climbing
After a while we realised we were not helping the kids or the teachers by hanging around and left.
For the first time, Anjali would be away for five days from us. New.
Yoga with Viola

Anyway, the teachers were considerate enough to send pics on the WhatsApp group - children standing and talking to one another, queued up at the station, on their berths etc.
Nerves settled down - they didn't forget anyone behind!
Another one
On a trek

Next day onwards the pics came in a flood. The camp. Various activities at the camp. Food at the dining room. The time to call came and we found that there was no network. So WhatsApp calls etc.
Visit to local village

The same routine continued for the rest of the days.
Anjali and co did not see any tigers thought one bunch did.
Time to go - with the Wild Ventures team
In the Gypsy 
Overall they seemed to have had a lot of fun! Good show Daksha, Good show Wild Ventures. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Gudi Sambaralu - Seetha Rama Chandra Swamy Temple

Every year Parampara, promoted by Srinagi and Srimani, organise temple performances called Gudi Samabaralu. It's a wonderful concept and they rope in some fantastic performers and pick great venues. The Seetha Rama Chandra Swamy temple at Ammapally, Shamshabad is one such with a beautiful old temple and a grand venue outside for performances.
The Seetha Ram Chandra Swamy Temple, Shamshabad
Srimani sends an invite every year and I make plans to go and watch the performances - the venues are fascinating and viewing classical performances in such settings is a fine experience. This year I made up my mind to watch the performance at this venue - it's something I pass by every time I visit Choudary at his Shamshabad home - and so I set out with Shobhs, Ram and Ranjan.
The venue before the show
Lit up

Performance begins

While Shobhs and I went to the venue Ram and Ranjan occupied themselves with Choudary. The day's performances were by Pooja, Akanksha Reddy - disciples of Guru Deepika Reddy, ABHA by Punyah Dance Company and Bharatanatyam by Pashwanath Upadhye and Troupe.
A close up of the stage

Srimani was there - the gracious host - receiving everyone. The Governor of Telangana was expected so there was a lot of police.
The entire program - tomorrow's is a good one too!

We went into the temple because the program got slightly delayed. Then we saw a part of the program. It was beautiful. 

And a Thoughtful Gift - Thank You Radha!

Radhakrishna Vootla is a pal from my MBA days. These days he is a software engineer in the USA - he went there 25 years ago. Whenever he comes Radha gives out a shout and we try to meet and we end up having some interesting conversations. This time we met him and Venkataramana, another pal from the MBA days and his wife Gayatri at an impromptu coffee, beer, lunch, coffee, mirchi bajji meeting. It was great fun.
Venkataramana, me, Vishwaprasad,Vijay, Radha, Sanjay, Shobha and Gayathri
Radha messaged me saying that he had brought a pen as a gift for me. It was very thoughtful of him. We met again a day after and he gave me this lovely Cross pen.

In return I gave him a copy of 'The Men Within'.
My new Cross pen!

Thanks so much Radha. I am always bowled over by these thoughtful gestures. Now to use your pen and write some good stuff. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Irishman - Movie

Long but gripping. Al Pacino, de Niro, Joe Pesci.

Mallesham - Movie

Enjoyed watching. True story of a school drop out turned Padmasri award winner who invents a weaving machine.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Desi Modern Love - Anthology Curated by Ranjani Rao and Nandini Patwardhan

The book is an anthology of seven essays/stories - all desi and modern. The anthology is curated by Ranjani Rao and Nandini Patwardhan. It is a slim book of 52 pages and a delightful read.

'Facebook Friends' by Kalpana Mohan is about a couple who find themselves caught up in extreme Facebook faceoffs - statuses, unfriending etc - until they rediscover each other off it. Very nice. 'Your Mother in Law is a Mother Too' by Chandrika Krishnan is exactly that - a reminder that your mother in law is a mother too so be pals with her. 'One Small Step for a Man, a Giant Leap for Womankind' by Surabhi Pandey is about a career woman getting married to a husband living abroad and making excuses to not join him - until it strikes her that she should honour her commitment. I liked it. It had some strong energy, honesty. 'Second Time Around' by Ranjani Rao is a delightful story of a second marriage - well written as always by Ranjani. Again, very honest, witty, full of detail and insight. 'Acceptance' by Nandini Patwardhan is about two people meeting twenty-five years after college during which time he proposed marriage and in many ways shows how much he cares for her - and how they end up being friends who make each other happy. Subtle and nice. Well written.  'Motherhood Cleaved' by Lakshmi Iyer is about a mother with adopted children who look different - Caucasian and Asian - skin, hair colour and how she copes with the differences and the underlying love. Again well written. 'What's Love Got to do With it' by Sathya Ramaganapathy is a delightful love story that plays on words from song titles - a story about a marriage that worked out really well despite her misgivings. She has a way with words, funny, light, breezy and gets the story across well.

I found it to be a very good read. The stories are interesting and written well. Impressive writing by the contributors. Well curated.