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    June 25th, 2011adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    An artist collaborates with a snake rescuer, a farmer-artiste, a new media artiste, a man who loves aquariums and a ‘sparrow man’ to document the transformation of Jakkur lake with an exhibition, Lake Tales, that opens today


    From left: Deepak R, Kushal Kumar, Deepak D L, Surekha, Chaitra Puthran and Naganagouda Patil

    With more than 200 years of history shaping the life of an entire community and eco-system, Jakkur Lake has been dubbed as a ‘birds’ paradise’. In fact, it can be called the North Star of Bangalore.

    Located about 15 km from the city’s centre, it is closer to Yelahanka with a township, Jakkur, to its west and a village, Sampigehalli, to its east. Currently undergoing a transformation and restructuring from a natural lake to an artificial one, the water body is in the throes of a larger scheme of things called ‘City Beautification’ and ‘Lake Development Project’, conducted by Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) as part of the urban development project of Bruhat Bengaluru.

    Surekha, an artist, decided to record the happenings in and around the lake through photographs and videos after she heard of the Lake Development Authority (LDA) project. “I have pictures of the lake dating back more than 15 years (her husband is from Jakkur). But in 2009, when I heard of the project, I started interviewing the locals, BDA officials, contractors and, apart from taking pictures, shot extensive video footage of the lake,” says Surekha.
    ‘Jakkur-Lake’ Project
    Surekha’s artistic documentation of the history of the lake is construed through photographic images, video interviews and archives, collecting oral recordings of anecdotes by local dwellers (farmers/activists), environmentalists, ornithologists as well as BDA contractors. Surekha’s fervent hope is that the lake regains its healthy environment along with its flora and fauna.

    She says, “This project has been a fantastic learning process for me. In the beginning, I didn’t know much about it, but today I am deeply involved with its progress. Contractors or BDA officials call me when there is something interesting taking place. They alerted me when they had drained the water. I have walked on the lake bed. The feelings are too deep to express. I have seen the authorities taking painstaking steps to develop the lake properly by taking inputs from environmentalists and wildlife experts. I have seen dead fish recovered from the lake. I have seen birds going to other lakes nearby because this one was not ready. I now know how lakes are formed and how there is a chain formation of other lakes nearby. This project is not a commitment for a year or two, but for a lifetime. The lake and its impact on the community are too intense to be taken lightly. In fact, without a water body or a lake, there is no life in the vicinity.”

    Surekha tied up with five young artistes who were not the ‘typical artistes but had an ecological connection’. The artists — a snake rescuer, a farmer-artiste, a new media artiste, an aquarium hobbyist and a ‘sparrow man’ — have given an interesting perspective to an urban bane.
    Chaitra Puthran was once afraid of snakes, but is now called to rescue snakes. In fact, her complaint is that there are fewer calls now than before. “I just hope that people rescue snakes rather than kill them. Except cobras, there is no mercy shown to any other snakes, however harmless they are,” she says. The first snake that she rescued was a rat snake. Since then, she has done intense research on snakes. “Without knowledge of snakes you can’t handle a snake,” she says. “My contribution to the project will be to present the factors causing changes in the snake’s population with respect to the changing face of the lake. There will be a handwritten diary, drawings, illustrations and pictures of snakes. I will be glad to answer any queries about snakes during the course of the exhibition.”
    Deepak D L has worked on natural sounds in and around the lake. A keen interest in the environment led to him pairing up with Surekha for the project. He says, “I have collected sound footage from in and around the lake and manipulated it to make a new sound. I have archived the project in sound and made an audio library in a digital format of all sounds related to the project.”
    In addition to the environment and birds, Deepak R is passionate about fishes and aquariums. A childhood passion for creating ecosystems for fish has led him to create micro-ecosystems with aquatic plants. The largest tank he has created measures 7’ X 4’ X 2’. According to him, after the lake is filled, the ecosystem will get better than before as ‘plenty of work and thought has gone into it’. “I am going to talk to the local authorities and research the types of local fish that can be released into the lake,” he says. He wishes that people won’t release species like the Jalebi fish, Catfish or the American Turtle Red Ear Slider into lakes as these upset the local ecosystem because they breed fast and consume a lot of food.
    “I became involved with the project after Surekha told me about the dead fish during the dewatering process. My role is to recreate an ecosystem similar, but not identical to Jakkur lake’s. The tank that I have come up with, which is about 2’ X 2’ X 15”, has an island as well.”


    Kushal Kumar has been working on the migratory tendencies of sparrows keeping the background of the lake in mind. He finds sparrows in his native Doddaballapur but very few in Bangalore, which has more wireless towers and pollution. “Along with these two factors, global warming has caused sparrows to migrate elsewhere. From about a hundred birds four years ago, the population has halved,” he says. For the lake project, he will display a gigantic 3’ X 4′ nest with a huge mobile phone that will have a monitor to play a seven-minute video on sparrows. “I have used the mobile phone as a symbol to show its impact on the birds,” he says.
    Naganagouda Patil is not from Jakkur, which is why his land is intact. “I have seen the land around the lake. It is very fertile and good for cultivation,” he says. “In my childhood, I used a soft thermocol-like material sourced from the maize stem to make farm equipment similar to what my father and uncles used. We used to play with them. Today, traditional hand-made equipment are vanishing just like the land around the lake. For this project, I have created farm equipment that are slowly becoming obsolete using the same material that I used as a child.”

    The Lake – Past, Present and Future
    PAST: Until recently, the lake was surrounded by a lush green belt. The livelihood of the villagers and the farming community were dependent on the lake. “A 90-year-old farmer told me how, in the olden days, a girl’s family would give their daughter in marriage to a boy only if his village had a lake,” says Surekha. Birds flocked to the lake. From October to April, migratory birds came from Australia and European countries. A thriving ecosystem made Jakkur lake a paradise for both birds and its watchers. The community around the lake used the water for domestic purposes and farming.

    PRESENT: The announcement of the Akravathy Layout changed the lives of an entire community with sites being formed at the edge of the lake. Farmers protested at the poor compensation and took the government to court. With their farmland now under dispute and no other means of support, farmers have now become potters and bricklayers. The natural access to the lake has been fenced. This is to keep encroachers at bay, but is a hindrance to the local community too. During the dewatering process, the entire lake looked like a battlefield with trucks and other vehicles marking the lake from within. The desilting process was monitored by the BDA. Nagarajappa, a farmer-activist from Jakkur, rued the loss of livelihood for a generation of farmers. BDA is engaged in transformation rather than preservation. A sewage treatment plant has been built to treat water coming from Yelahanka before it is released into the lake. Wetlands have been created.

    FUTURE: It is a wait-and-watch process. Three years after the resurrection of the lake began, only one-tenth of the water has returned. The local and migratory birds are punctual in their arrival though ornithologist Harish R Bhat says that 30 per cent of the birds have left. But, Deepak R says, “I am sure that in about three years, we will see a better ecosystem with plenty of fish and birds in the area.”
    Lake Tales: Focusing the urban rural margins – Jakkur lake
    Dates: June 5-15
    Venue: Bar1, 69/3, Mission Road

    source: / Special / by Jayanthi Madhukar / Saturday Jun 04th, 2011

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    A visiting card that grows into a plant. That’s what an NGO founder hands her clients and expects them to sow and grow them into plants. In what is perhaps one of the most eco-friendly visiting cards, Janet, the founder of city-based NGO, ‘treesforfree’, hopes to drive the green message.
    Pongemia (Honge) seeds are used as visiting cards. It contains Janet’s name and telephone number on one side and a message advocating planting of trees on the other. “Thank you in advance for planting this seed and healing the earth,” reads the message. 

    N Ramesh, the executive creative director of Meridian Communications, came up with this seed-cum-card concept. “The idea was conceptualised and executed in one day. It is the first time in the country that a seed is being used as a visiting card.”

    He said treesforfree had so far been carrying out a paper-less campaign for its programmes and it did not want to use paper. That’s how this idea was born.

    A water-proof CD marker is used to inscribe on the card. “Even if recipient throws the card somewhere, the seed will start growing. All it needs is some sunlight,” said Ramesh.

    “When I was young, there were honge trees all around MG Road and OMBR Road. But there are none of these now. I hope this campaign helps bring more trees in the city. This is not a copyrighted idea. Anyone who wants to avoid the use of paper or ordinary visiting cards can embrace the idea,” he said.

    Janet said when she handed her first card to the CEO of Harley Davidson, he was taken aback, but he appreciated the idea. / Environment / by M K Ashoka / Wednesday Dec 16th, 2009

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    Top space scientist Murthy Remilla cycles to office every day and cajoles others to do the same. We owe it our children, he says

    While 163 nations slug it out in Copenhagen about how much carbon each of them won’t emit, closer home, a scientist at ISRO is doing his own mite not to add to the greenhouse effect. Murthy L N Remilla, who is currently the deputy director of business development at ISRO, has been using a bicycle to commute to work for the last 18 months.

    Murthy is entitled to an official car and owns a Swift Dzire. At first, he faced ridicule from his own children when he started using a bicycle. For six months, starting March 31, 2008, Murthy travelled between home and office, a distance of five kilometres, on his son’s bicycle “to test myself.”

    “My family members were surprised and did not like the idea. My two children thought it was undignified and found it odd, but I persisted. Six months later, I gave back the bicycle to my son when a friend of mine sent me a new one from USA,” Murthy said.

    Murthy Remilla on his cycle


    The tree-covered New BEL Road was the trigger for Murthy to start cycling. After spending three years in Sriharikota and nine years in National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad, Murthy shifted to Bangalore in 2000.

    “The road from Sadashivanagar police station to our office is tree covered. It looks like the Nehru Tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir. I had spent time doing my PhD in the IISc campus and it was common for people to use bicycles there. One fine day, I started to use the bicycle and have not stopped since,” the 44-year-old says.


    Murthy has inspired other staff in ISRO to follow his lead. Whenever he has a break from marketing ISRO’s remote sensing data across the world, he can be found persuading his colleagues and subordinates to do their bit for the environment. His subordinate Ravindra HS has taken to cycling and so has A S Sudarshan, personal assistant to the ISRO director.

    “We used to talk about environmental issues. But when we actually saw the senior scientist doing his bit, we knew our time has come to contribute,” Sudarshan said.

    Murthy’s environmental concern does not stop at the office parking lot. He makes sure that printing paper used in the office are printed on both sides and lights are switched off when not needed. “The printing cartridge and electric waste are not bio-degradable. I am rude with people who waste paper, power and petrol. As individuals, we can do what is possible at our level to protect whatever is left of the environment,” said the Electronics and Communications engineer.


    The scientist is often tempted to take his car to office. “It takes me 20 minutes to cycle the five kilometres from home to office. It takes more in a car most of the times. But sometimes, I am tempted to take the car. But in those few seconds, I steel myself and shut the garage door. We cannot have the kind of roads we have in China or Japan and we cannot do the job for BBMP. But bicycles are good for our health and wealth, even if we don’t think about the country or the world,” Sudarshan said.

    “For me, it is the condition I leave behind for my daughter and son that concerns me,” he added. Hoping that the Metro would be a boon, he said, “The Vajra bus system has inspired many to take to public transport. Earlier, travelling by bus was like purchasing tickets to a new movie on Friday. The Metro should also boost public transport,” Sudarshan hopes.

    source: / Environment / by S Shyam Prasad / Wednesday Dec 16th, 2009

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    June 25th, 2011adminBusiness & Economy

    IT major Wipro Technologies has acquired the oil and gas information technology practice of US-based Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for $150 million (about Rs 670 crore). It’s Wipro’s second biggest acquisition in the IT space, the largest being its $600 mn takeover of Infocrossing.

    SAIC is a $10-billion scientific, engineering, and technology applications company. It has a subsidiary in India that operates in Noida and Bangalore. SAIC’s oil and gas information technology practice provides consulting, system integration and outsourcing services to global oil and gas majors involved in upstream activities. 

    The acquisition will be funded through internal cash resources. The acquisition entails the acquisition of SAIC’s assets in the US and equity in its UK and Indian subsidiaries.

    SAIC’s oil and gas information technology practice has revenues of around $188 million. It is said to be servicing around six global-500 oil and gas majors. The integration is expected to be complete by the first quarter of next fiscal after which it will start getting reflected on Wipro’s books.

    All 1,450 employees of the acquired division will transition to Wipro across North America, Europe, India and the Middle East. Around 450 of them are based in India.

    Wipro hopes to combine its IT services capabilities with the consulting expertise and oil and gas domain skills offered by SAIC’s arm to offer more comprehensive solutions. Wipro’s oil and gas business is part of its energy, natural resources and utilities strategic business unit (SBU). Currently around 5% of the oil and gas revenues comes from upstream IT services. However, subsequent to the latest acquisition, this will go up to 17.5%.

    Anand Padmanabhan, senior VP of Wipro’s energy, natural resources and utilities SBU, said that upstream work typically involves higher value and margin work as compared to downstream ones.

    Upstream work of oil and gas companies typically involves work related to exploration, transportation etc which requires higher elements of innovation. Downstream involves retail and distribution.

    “This SAIC practice addresses the IT needs of the upstream segment by offering domain capabilities in the areas of digital oil field, petro-technical data management and petroleum application services,” Padmanabhan said.

    He added that IT spend in this sector is expected to grow as customers increasingly look to grow newer streams of revenues, optimize their operational cost and find better ways to become environmentally conscious. The addressable market size in the upstream IT services segment is expected to touch $19 billion by 2013 growing at 10% CAGR.

    The energy and utilities sub unit currently contributes around 9% of Wipro’s revenues. With this acquisition, the company expects the sub-unit to contribute 11% of earnings going ahead.

    Wipro has made about 17 acquisitions in the past decade. Unlike Infosys, which has sat on huge cash reserves for long, Wipro has been steadily using its reserves to make acquisitions to close technology gaps – a move that company chairman Azim Premji once described as ‘a string of pearls’ strategy.

    The latest acquisition is the first one post the recession. The last big one was that of Citi Technology Services for $127 mn in December 2008.

    source: / Business / TNN / Saturday Apr 02nd, 2011

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    Taking his last bow at the Infosys AGM on Saturday, chairman and chief mentor N R Narayana Murthy talks of his 30-year legacy and of what it means to dare to hope


    There is an almost Jesuit sense in the way N R Narayana Murthy sees the role of luck in life. The man, who has come to personify the phenomenal success story of India Inc, has repeatedly dwelt on how turning points in life are often fortuitous events though, to make the most of it, one’s response to it is anything but.

    At the 30th Annual General Meeting of Infosys on Saturday, in effect his last working day before he formally retires as chairman of the board on August 20, NRN spoke of his three-decade experience leading his company with a seed capital of $250 to one that generated a revenue of $6.1 billion in 2011, as “both exhilarating and humbling”. In his valedictory speech, he went on to speak of how his story is one of what any average person anywhere is capable of doing, but behind the aspartame phrases, one could detect the grit that made him, over the years, take the life and death decisions his co-founders often shied away from.

    Twenty years ago, on a blustery Saturday afternoon not very different from the one yesterday, in a small office in a leafy lane in Bangalore, NRN, by his own account, sat without saying a word for four hours. After nine years of unremitting, often despairing, work Infosys had finally begun to make some money.  The company, defying the doomsayers, had proved that it cannot be written off, and more importantly a foreign investor was willing to shell out a million US dollars to buy it. His six co-founders – including the likes of Nandan Nilekani, Kris Gopalakrishnan and Shibulal – debating the offer in the room, to a man wanted to sell.

    Then NRN spoke and he provided an entirely different perspective on the Indian economy’s liberalisation that was just kicking in, of the possibilities it afforded and of which the buy-out offer itself was a small encouraging sign. He spoke passionately but to the point, and in half an hour he had won new converts and the company has since then never looked back. He was the real progenitor of Friedman’s ‘flat world’ though the credit, at least for its conceptualisation, goes to the more articulate Nilekani. On Saturday, at the AGM, NRN, untypically, allowed a little triumphalism to creep into his speech when he pronounced, “I have always been the No 1 actor in every decision this company has made.” It was sharp and unambiguous, and it was fully merited.

    As a student in the district headquarters town of Mysore in the mid-1960s, NRN’s dream was to become a “junior engineer in a hydroelectric project in the new temples of Nehru’s India.”  The most he would he concede to his ambition was the “macho” one of building a generator for the power plant. But then, life began to give him chances, unlooked for, unforeseen.

    Narayana Murthy’s wife Sudha with son Rohan and daughter-in-law Lakshmi Venu at the Infosys AGM

    From Kanpur IIT where a fortuitous meeting with an American academic revealed to him the magic of computers and his stint in IIM-Ahmedabad, to his now mythologized hitchhike from Paris to India, rudely interrupted by 72 hours in a Bulgarian prison that rid him of his Leftist sympathies forever, NRN learnt to see both triumphs and trials as tacit lessons for continuous improvement. “Learning from experience, however, can be complicated. It can be much more difficult to learn from success than from failure. If we fail, we think carefully about the precise cause. Success can indiscriminately reinforce all our prior actions,” he said at a pre-commencement address in 2004 for students of New York University’s Stern School of Business.

    It is this relentless rigour that saw him lead the Infosys turnaround in the late nineties and make it the first-ever Indian registered company on the Nasdaq. He was the main architect  when it pioneered such things as stock options for employees, internal transparency, a fun-filled workplace ethic and global delivery model that made Infosys, all of which became the industry norm for corporate governance and, far more importantly, showed the world what was capable with just brain power and sweat equity.

    Of late, Infosys has slipped to second place in the IT sector behind main rival TCS in terms of net profits, and its last quarter results were not particularly favourable, a point that came in for some criticism on the part of the shareholders at the AGM. From August 20, when NRN turns 65 and will be divested of all official roles in the company he founded, a new leadership, many of them his trusted protégés, will take over. The jury, as it indeed is in such cases, is out on what they will be able to do the company in the long term, but NRN apparently has ensured that his main legacy that he bequeathed in the form of casually dressed men and women seen loitering in Infosys campuses, often the best and the brightest, who, when confronted with a problem and its even more outrageous solution, retort ‘why not’?

    At the AGM towards the end, as the pathos-filled lyrics of Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna livened up a power-point presentation, NRN, seated on the dais, was a study in concentration. In the reticence, and the slightly sagging shoulders, however, one imagined a little pensiveness. But the man, as always, has his future decoded and ready. As he has said: “I believe that we have all at some time eaten the fruit from trees that we did not plant. In the fullness of time, when it is our turn to give, it behooves us in turn to plant gardens that we may never eat the fruit of, which will largely benefit generations to come. I believe this is our sacred responsibility, one that I hope you will shoulder in time.” Those words, like the man’s name, are bound to endure for a long time.

    source: / Cover Story / by Anil Nair / Sunday Jun 12th, 2011

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    Roopa Iyer has taken on the job of representing the state at the World Kannada Conference in London in August this year. Will this be another contentious event?

    Yet another Kannada conference at yet another venue. Coming up in London on August 27 and 28 is the World Kannada Conference 2011 — Europe. It is being organised by Sangama, an association of NRIs living in Europe. As Karnataka representative for the conference Roopa Iyer, classical dancer, actor and filmmaker, will decide on participating artists and the culture extravaganza.The sammelana has listed some serious aims too. It will explore how non-resident Kannadigas of Europe can contribute to the economic growth of Karnataka. It will raise funds to build Kannada Bhavana in UK and support Kannada schools at Karnataka. So far, Puneeth Rajkumar and Ramya have been roped in as brand ambassadors. We spoke to Roopa on being part of the event.

    There have been many Kannada sammelanas — small and big — of late. How will this be different?
    This will be the first of its kind in Europe. And we have good causes —the Kannada Bhavana will act as a centre for spreading Kannada art and culture and also house a library of Kannada books. We will give a boost to Kannada schools in the state. Also, we will target youngsters as it’s the younger generation which carries forward a legacy.

    Showcasing Karnataka’s art and culture effectively is a tough job.
    We are bringing together the State’s senior-most artistes in films, literature, sports, dance and music — people who are truly responsible for building the current-day culture of Kannada. We are not going to project only young celebrities.

    Often such conferences are fraught with rivalry and bickerings. There is also criticism that accomplished artists who are not aggressive about self-promotion tend to lose out in the race for representation.
    Proper planning, time-management and taking care that each guest gets due respect, sufficient time and a proper platform will avoid such problems. As for artists, we are looking out for genuine achievers, grassroots workers and unselfish personalities who have contributed to the richness of Kannada culture.

    Many Indian cultural events held abroad (this one’s in London) are viewed as an excuse for a foreign jaunt rather than serious promotion of art.
    I agree, this happens. We can’t question such people if they come as part of the audience. But our guests — people whom we will invite and take with us — will be genuine achievers. We will invite about 400 persons. Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and his son Raghavendra have already agreed to support and attend the sammelana.

    source: / by Aruna Chandaraju / Wednesday Mar 23rd, 2011

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    June 25th, 2011adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    A K Ramanujan strode both the English and Kannada worlds of literature with equal ease. Coming up is a collection of his works in Kannada


    Is it more than that or is it only my love of words/when his photos move and words cry/ and the coffee house acts as the centre stage where folks make love eating apple pie/and his absent presence defines silence that speaks.

    This is one of the poems I wrote while trying to come to terms with A K Ramanujan’s sudden, shocking death on 13 July 1993. His ‘absent presence’ continues to define silence. And he taught me to listen when  silence speaks.

    Thirteen years later, Manohara Granthamala has brought out his Collected Works in Kannada (686 pages, Rs 500).

    That’s almost 10 years after his Collected Works and Unpublished Works was released in English. In 2003, poet and close friend of AKR, Aravind Krishna Mehrotra, explored Looking for A K Ramanujan in the book A History of Indian Literature in English.

    I remember sharing with Mehrotra that with AKR, there is NO language divide; his poems, writings, translations in English and Kannada are one continuous thread and some ideas first taking birth in one language, then take form in another language. Just as some thoughts stayed with him through time and one can see him pondering over it, again and again, and finally coming to a totally different conclusion.  In fact, it gives me a sense of freedom to pick up a thought from my Kannada poem and present it in a totally different dimension in English.

    Never a translation
    When they ask me at poets’ meets to name the ‘original’ Kannada poem whose translation I am reading, I feel at a loss because it is not a ‘straight’ translation of the Kannada poem but something totally new. AKR’s poems are like that. For instance, if he is talking about a Jain monk in a Kannada poem, in English he would present it in a different manner. It can never be termed a translation.

    Hence, the Collected Works of A K Ramanujan should include English and Kannada works, where they speak to one another, reflect, support or start a dialogue of sorts. That is how he wanted a collection to be. He had once told me to “arrange the poems in a collection where the poems engage in a dialogue and each page is a continuation of the previous one even though they carried different poems. The different poems are nothing but pauses in a conversation.”

    We wrote letters to each other in poems. Those were the pre-internet, pre-satellite phone era and after writing a letter and posting it, one had to wait for seven days for it to reach and another seven days to get a reply. If he was travelling, it would take another couple of weeks more. The pauses were longer than the conversations. But they were definitely intense.

    Way ahead
    Reading AKR now would make many a younger poet feel he was way ahead of his time in terms of thought, style, structure and use of language.  That is precisely why the Collected Works is much needed. His collections were sold out so quickly that even in those days, one had to look for a copy and came away disappointed many times. There was nothing flashy about his books. They were just like him – simple and elegant.  His Hokkulalli Hoovilla (No Flower in the Lotus), Mattu itara kategalu (And Other Poems),  Kuntobille (Hopscotch) and a novella Mattobbana Atma Charitre (Someone Else’s Autobiography) were not bulky in size but massive in content.

    They called him ‘the hyphen in the phrase Indo-American.’ His colleague Walter Hauser described AKR as ‘a man of rare gentleness, of a deep and sensitive humanity.’  It is just one accurate description. There are several others.  Professor U R Ananthamurthy always refers to AKR as his ‘Guru’.  AKR invited Chandrashekhar Kambar to Chicago.

    Right start
    Once he read a poem of mine which was published in a Deepavali special edition,  much appreciated by others, and pointing his finger somewhere after 10 lines, he said, “Your poem starts here!”

    In his last letter, he had written a poem about death. He wondered “who knew the electricity would go just as we were beginning to look into each other’s faces.”  We are still grouping in the dark.

    Collected Works : A K Ramanujan will be launched in the first week of July in Bangalore by Manohara Granthamala


    source: / by Prathibha Nandakumar / Lounge / Fri Jun 24th, 2011


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    Wockhart doctors perform rare operation that helps 13-year-old girl’s left ventricle pump more blood to the body


    Looking at her sitting with quiet dignity, facing the glare of harsh lights, you would never guess what her tiny heart has been through.

    Indira, 13, a farmer’s daughter from Kodagu, was born with her heart on the right side of her body, while the heart’s pumping chambers and arteries had got inter-changed.

    She got a ‘new life’ after Dr Devananda from Wockhardt Hospital and his team performed three surgeries her – all within a year which has worked miracles for the child.

    Ever since she was a year old, Indira used to fall sick frequently. She made trips to many hospitals, where she was prescribed medicines for for ailment. When she grew older, she had difficulty in breathing and used to turn blue after even after a little work.

    Options open

    Fortunately, Dr Devananda met her and explained to her family that surgery was the only chance for her survival.
    Indira’s heart was unable to pump blood to the entire body as her ventricles had got interchanged. The right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs and the left ventricle to the rest of the body. As her left ventricle wasn’t strong enough to pump blood at required pressure, doctors had to train her heart by creating obstructions in the blood flow to increase blood pressure.

    There have been only a handful of cases in the world where the ventricle has been trained to pump blood after the age of 12. As her parents could not afford the surgery, the Needy Heart Foundation stepped in along with Wockhardt Hospitals to facilitate the same. The final step, the ‘double switch’, was completed successfully. The girl was on artificial ventilation for two weeks as she had developed pneumonia after her surgery, on May 26 this year. Before the final surgery, doctors had given her a 25-50 per cent chance of survival. But Indira insisted she wanted the surgery and her parents relented.

    Dr Prakash Vemgal, who monitored her after surgery till her discharge, spoke about how, after the tubes were removed from Indira’s mouth and she could speak, she told doctors that her birthday was on June 16.  A surprise party was arranged for her and she cut the cake.

    After speaking to the press, she quietly left with her mother in an autorickshaw.

    source: / Bangalore Mirror Bureau / Monday, Sept 22nd, 2008


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    A photo of an Asian Open-bill Stork by Nikitha. 

    A photo of an Asian Open-bill Stork by Nikitha.

    The Royal Photographic Society (RPS) of London has picked N.V. Nikitha from Mysore for a fellowship for her skills in the nature category.

    The honour is doubly special for Nikitha because her father, N.T. Vijayakumar, a forest official, who is the Deputy Director of the Chamarajendra Zoological Garden (Mysore zoo), got an RPS fellowship a year ago.

    “I would never have become a photographer, but for my father’s encouragement,” Nikitha, who has finished her final B.Com examination, told The Hindu.

    More than 15 pictures of birds shot by her were sent to the RPS by an agency of the RPS in Bangalore in January 2011. And, on March 23, 2011, she was informed that she had been chosen for the honour.

    The distinction that young Nikitha has got is laudable also because only 11 persons in the world are chosen by RPS for it.

    This year, of the 11, four from Karnataka have got the RPS honour, and Nikitha is one of them. The other three are Siddarth Malik, Ramu Mastaiah and Hanumantha Ramakrishnaiah.

    Mr. Vijayakumar said that Nikitha was only the third woman photographer from the country in the nature category to have won the RPS honour. The others were Devi in the late 1970s and Asha Jaykumar in 2000.

    Nikitha attributes her passion for nature photography to her father. When Mr. Vijayakumar was the Assistant Conservator of Forests at Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary in 2003, Nikitha started watching birds.

    Then in 2005, she followed it up with bird photography.

    There was no stopping her afterwards as she went on a photography spree from 2005 to 2010 touring Hesaraghatta in Bangalore, Attiveri Bird Sanctuary in Haveri district, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near here, various parts of Kodagu and the Karanja Nature Park here.

    About the international recognition for her photography skills, she says, “It is again my father who coaxed me to apply for the international recognition.”

    Nikitha has taken the pictures of Asian Open-bill Stork, Black Kite, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Spoonbill, Great Cormorant, Kestrel, Great Thick-knee, Little Egret, Paddyfield Pipit, Little Grebe, Pied Kingfisher, Purple Swamphen, River Tern, Spot-billed Duck and Spot-billed Pelican.

    Nikitha, besides pursuing her passion for photography, also wants to take up MBA.

    Her father got the Royal Photographic Society fellowship a year ago

    source: / by Jeevan Chinnappa /National / Karnataka / Mysore / Jun 08th,2011

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    June 20th, 2011adminArts, Culture & Entertainment
    A lake, in the vicinity of a temple built for the Pandavas and Draupadi in Sullia taluk, is surrounded by many legends, dating back to episodes from the Mahabharatha. The area also makes for a great getaway, reports Ronald Anil Fernandes
    Epic connotations: The 31 forms of the serpent god found near the serene ‘Yaksha Sarovara’.  Photos  by the authorTemples for gods and demi-gods dot the districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. The coastal region has umpteen structures dedicated to a plethora of gods and goddesses. 

    Apart from many temples dedicated to a variety of gods (devasthanas), the region is well-known for temples dedicated to demi-gods (daivasthana). The region has a temple dedicated to Koti-Chennaiah (also known as garadis), a temple for the sun god and one for Mahatma Gandhi too.

    A unique daivasthana is the temple where the Pancha Pandavas and Draupadi are worshipped. Idols of the five Pandavas (Yudhishtira, Bheema, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva) and Draupadi are worshipped at the temple.

    All the six idols, a satya kallu (the stone of truth), yaksha peeta (the seat of yaksha) and 31 nagana kallu (various forms of the serpent god carved in stones) were found in the same area just a few years ago.

    Localites chanced on the idols when they were working in an arecanut plantation. They found three stones dedicated to the serpent god. When they dug up the place, they found a total of 31 stones pertaining to the serpent god, two stones pertaining to the yaksha peeta, the stone of truth and six idols. Then they decided to hold an ashtamangala prashne following which a daivasthana was constructed in 2008.

    ‘Yaksha kere’

    Though the Sri Krishna Yaksha Pandava Nagabrahma Kshethra at Keddotte (‘kedu’ means tank and ‘oate’ means a kind of bamboo) in Kunthoor village (believed to be the village where Kunthi lived), about eight kms from Alankar on Uppinangady-Subrahmanya road, was constructed in 2008, a lake located next to the Kshethra has a long history.

    The lake, which once measured 60 acres, has today been reduced to 11 acres, because of silt accumulation. Localites Vishwanath and Shivaprasad point out that here is a belief that those who are suffering from skin diseases will be cured if they use the water.

    Legend has it that when the Pandavas lived in the forest adjacent to the lake, a deer took away the stick used to make fire from a sage’s home (also in the forest) with its antlers. Then, he requested the Pandavas to trace the deer and get back the stick. The Pandavas followed the hoof marks of the deer throughout the day and strayed deep into the forest.

    Yudhishtira , the eldest of the Pandavas, wanted to drink some water before carrying on the chase any further. Sahadeva, the youngest brother volunteered to fetch the water.

    He spotted a lake nearby. When he approached the lake, he heard a voice (of a Yaksha) which told him that he would die if he drank water without answering his questions.

    However, Sahadeva did not bother and drank the water from the lake and died. The other brothers too are said to have died in a similar manner. On seeing that all his four brothers were missing, Yudhishtira went in search of his brothers, to find them all dead.

    However, as he answered all the questions that the Yaksha posed to him, he is believed to have brought back all his four brothers alive. Hence the name ‘Yaksha Sarovara’ (also known as Visha Sarovara).

    There are other stories too pertaining to this lake, and according to one such story, there is a treasure in the lake and the snakes guard it.

    Though the State government has promised Rs one crore to de-silt the lake and spruce up the area around it, villagers feel that it may require around Rs five crore to safeguard the lake and retain its historical significance.

    Fear of submergence

    Till not so long ago, Kurumbi Anekattu Parisaravadigala Horata Samithi President Padmanabha Gowda and the rest of the villagers were worried that the lake may be lost if the proposal to construct a dam across River Kumaradhara is implemented. Following the recent High Court order against hydel power projects in Western Ghats, their fears have been allayed.

    The river, Kumaradhara, flows about one kilometre away from this lake and the region is filled with huge rocks. There is a long black mark on one of the rocks and villagers believe that it was an impression made by Draupadi’s saree when she dried her saree there.

    Perabe Gram Panchayat’s Vasanth Gowda said that a lot of fish (kari meen) are found in the lake at certain times of the year. Apart from the many legends around the lake, the surroundings of the ‘Yaksha Sarovara’ (Visha Sarovara, Keddotte) as well as the banks of River Kumaradhara, make for a great place to unwind. You can lose yourself in the backdrop of the lake and the chirping of birds and the sounds of the breeze.

    The region once ruled by Ballals and later occupied by Malekudiyas is today peopled by local Gowdas. There are 14 houses in the vicinity and all the families are related to each other.

    How to get there

    Travel via Uppinangady (60 kms from Mangalore and 300 kms from Bangalore) and take a turn towards Subrahmanya. You will reach Alankar, a small town, about seven kms from the highway (NH-48). Continue on the same road for about four kms till you get a small board that indicates the way to Keddotte. If you travel for four kms on the bumpy, mud road in the dense forest, you will arrive at a fork.

    The path to the left takes you to the Yaksha Sarovara and the daivasthana while the one on the right takes you to River Kumaradhara. Take the help of local people, or chances are you might get lost in the forest.

    source: / by Ronald Arun Fernandes / supplements / Spectrum / Travel /

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