Companies devising new ways to hire, retain women talent: Experts


Companies are realising that hiring women at the senior level is imperative and makes good business sense, and firms are resorting to innovative ways to recruit and retain women talent in order to ensure gender diversity, experts say.

The decision by stock market regulator Sebi to make it mandatory for every listed company to have at least one lady director on its board is likely to open thousands of boardroom position for the fairer sex.

Experts are of the opinion that it is a commendable step towards bringing in gender diversity and having companies re look at the available and future pool for scaling to senior levels.

“This means early identification, investment, training, mentoring by companies. It means a window of opportunity for future aspirants,” TeamLease Services Senior Vice-President & Co-Founder Sangeeta Lala said.

Echoing similar sentiments, Caterpillar India Country HR Director Anju Jain said “It is acknowledged that there is a gender gap at the board level. But in order to begin to close that gap, there must be a pipeline of women leaders in the middle/ senior brackets who would be good candidates to fill Board positions.”

In order to achieve, gender diversity, companies are creating forums, thinking of innovative ways of hiring/ retaining women (full-time and part-time) and removing gender bias to promote hiring women.

HR experts are of the opinion that there should be a proper mechanism in place for picking and placing these women directors. If the said positions become “ornamental,” it would beat the whole purpose of the decision, they said.

Companies need to go a level deeper in mapping out reasons, circumstances, drivers for those who are ‘stuck’ at a certain level and should allocate budgets to re-skill and retrain them for higher positions.

“Organisations are not interested in the overall gender ratio alone. They have started looking at gender ratio at all levels more closely. SEBI’s decision to make it mandatory for every listed company to have at least one lady director on its board will provide further impetus to this,” Towers Watson India Benefits Director Anuradha Sriram said.

Mentoring and Leadership Coaching is becoming a priority for most organisations, she added.

While organisations continue to develop and structure initiatives aimed at improving gender diversity, merit should also be an important guiding principle, experts said.

PTI

 

LEADING LIGHTS


#It’s not the hours you put in your work that counts, it’s the work you put in the hours – Sam Ewing

#People forget how fast you did a job — but they remember how well you did it –  Howard Newton

#Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love – David McCullough

#When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt -Henry J. Kaiser

#Genius begins great works; labour alone finishes them – Joseph Joubert

#The less their ability, the more their conceit – Ahad HaAm

#Our great weariness comes from work not done – Eric Hoffer

#There is something that is much more scarce, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognise ability – Robert Half

 

 

700-year-old handbag in London museum


Over the years it has been identified as an oriental box, a work basket, a document wallet and even a saddle bag. Now London’s Courtauld Gallery confidently believes one of its most prized possessions is really a 700-year-old handbag — probably the oldest in existence.

New research suggests that the stunning and remarkably well kept brass woman’s bag, inlaid with gold and silver, was made between 1300 and 1330 in Mosul, in what is now northern Iraq, during its Mongol-run period.

The bag has been a prized object in Courtauld’s collection since 1966. “It is one of the finest and best preserved examples of inlaid metalwork in the world,” said Rachel Ward, who has been leading research into the bag.

What was not certain was exactly what it was. “It is a fantastic object and yet it is almost unknown because there’s always been this puzzlement over what it is, who it was made for, when it was made, where it was made. So it hasn’t been used in things like general introductory books because you didn’t know what chapter to put it in.” The key to unlocking its secret is an unusual panel on the top showing a nobleman and woman and their attendants. One of those, a smiling page boy, has the bag around his shoulder.

The bag was acquired by the Victorian collector Thomas Gambier Parry in 1858 and was bequeathed to the Courtauld by his grandson in 1966. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2014

 

Winter sport


Ready to cruise:Skiers descend the snow slopes at the world famous resort Gulmarg, 55 km from Srinagar, on Sunday.– PHOTO: NISSAR AHMAD
Ready to cruise:Skiers descend the snow slopes at the world famous resort Gulmarg, 55 km from Srinagar, on Sunday.– PHOTO: NISSAR AHMAD

This coin comes apart


The two parts:'A coin has two sides,' goes a common adage but some Rs.10 coins, released in 2011, are breaking into two.— Photo: S. JamesThe two parts:’A coin has two sides,’ goes a common adage but some Rs.10 coins, released in 2011, are breaking into two.— Photo: S. James

There is complaint that the bi-metal Rs.10 coin getting detached from the outer ring

You might generally expect a head or a tail when a tossed coin lands on the ground.

But if you are using a bi-metal Rs.10 coin, beware of the third possibility of it landing down into two pieces. Ever since the introduction of these bi-metal coins by the Reserve Bank of India in 2009, some traders in the city have been complaining about the centre piece, made of a combination of copper and nickel, getting detached from the outer ring made of copper, aluminium and nickel.

They also point out that mostly coins minted in 2011 were prone to such damage.

 

Innocence of childhood


Children from Anbu Illam taking part in events that the Coimbatore City Armed Reserve Police had organised for them at the PRS grounds in the city on Sunday as part of Pongal celebration.- PHOTO: S. SIVA SARAVANAN
Children from Anbu Illam taking part in events that the Coimbatore City Armed Reserve Police had organised for them at the PRS grounds in the city on Sunday as part of Pongal celebration.- PHOTO: S. SIVA SARAVANAN

Malappuram fete


Enthralling audience:Students of Kerala Kalamandalam performing Mohiniyattom at Koottakkunnu as part of the Malappuram Mela on Wednesday evening.
Enthralling audience:Students of Kerala Kalamandalam performing Mohiniyattom at Koottakkunnu as part of the Malappuram Mela on Wednesday evening.

Music in the air


Soothing strains:Calcutta K. Vijayaraghavan delivering a Carnatic vocal recital at the Tyagaraja Aradhana festival in Kozhikode on Wednesday.— Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup
Soothing strains:Calcutta K. Vijayaraghavan delivering a Carnatic vocal recital at the Tyagaraja Aradhana festival in Kozhikode on Wednesday.— Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup

Rare Tipu coins to be auctioned this weekend


Extremely rare and unique silver coins issued by Tipu Sultan will come under the hammer in Bangalore this weekend as a Silver Double Coin, also called as “Haidari”, and a half Anna, have been put on the block by a Delhi-based collector.

These two coins are among many other rare coins from the collectors’ kitty that will be auctioned during the three-day National Numismatic Exhibition, organised by the Bangalore-based auction house Marudhar Arts, starting from Friday.

The “Haidari”, which weighs 23 grams, according to Rajendra Maru of the auction house, has come for auction in India for the first time in several decades. “The last time we heard about the coin was some years back when a fake Haidari was in circulation. There are less than 100 such coins known to be with collectors,” he added. It is being auctioned with a base price of Rs. 1.5 lakh.

The Haidari was issued on March 16, 1790 by Tipu Sultan in honour of his father Hyder Ali. The coin minted in Srirangapatna was equivalent to 32 copper coins. The other coin issued by Tipu Sultan is an extremely rare half Anna silver coin issued in 1785 that weighs just half a gram and is 7.33 mm in size.

First time

A nearly 3,000-years-old silver coin belonging to Pauravas (Kura dynasty) of Kausambi region has also come for auction for the first time and has been categorised as extremely rare. The other first timer on the block is a punch marked Gold Pagoda coin issued by King Barma Bhopala (1187 AD -1188 AD) of Toragale dynasty in Dharwad region. According to a release, Bhopala ruled for just four to five months.

A lead coin issued by the Marathas of Tanjore that is categorised as exceedingly rare is also being auctioned along with very rare Re. 1 and Rs. 5 currency note of King George VI that was in use even after independence.

The exhibition will be held at Bell Hotel, next to the Bangalore City railway station between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and entry is free.

 

In full spirit


A colourful procession being taken out to mark Shivaji Jayanti, as part of celebrations organised by the district administration and the Department of Kannada and Culture, in Mysore on Wednesday.— PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM
A colourful procession being taken out to mark Shivaji Jayanti, as part of celebrations organised by the district administration and the Department of Kannada and Culture, in Mysore on Wednesday.— PHOTO: M.A.

Winged wonder


Nature aflutter:In Nature’s enchanting backyard, a Common Jezebel butterfly makes a precarious perch on a fragrant flower, in Puducherry. —Photo: S.S. Kumar
Nature aflutter:In Nature’s enchanting backyard, a Common Jezebel butterfly makes a precarious perch on a fragrant flower, in Puducherry. —Photo: S.S. Kumar

Potter craft


Shaping Demands:Members of the Kerala Velaar Service Society holding a demonstration in front of the Kollam Collectorate on Monday in support of their long-standing demands.— Photo: C. Suresh Kumar
Shaping Demands:Members of the Kerala Velaar Service Society holding a demonstration in front of the Kollam Collectorate on Monday in support of their long-standing demands.— Photo: C. Suresh Kumar

Call of the wild


One with nature:Deepakumar Narayanan with his photographs on nature exhibited at the Museum auditorium in Thiruvananthapuram.— Photo: C. Ratheesh kumar
One with nature:Deepakumar Narayanan with his photographs on nature exhibited at the Museum auditorium in Thiruvananthapuram.— Photo: C. Ratheesh kumar

Musical offering


Kadri Gopalnath presents a saxophone recital as part of the Sivarathri celebrations at the Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur on Monday.Kadri Gopalnath presents a saxophone recital as part of the Sivarathri celebrations at the Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur on Monday.

Classically classic


A day to remember:Students performing at a school function in Kurnool on Monday.-PHOTO: U. SUBRAMANYAM
A day to remember:Students performing at a school function in Kurnool on Monday.-PHOTO: U. SUBRAMANYAM

In full bloom


Hands full:Workers plucking chamomile flowers at a farm near Vellode in Dindigul.— PHOTO: G. KARTHIKEYAN.
Hands full:Workers plucking chamomile flowers at a farm near Vellode in Dindigul.— PHOTO: G. KARTHIKEYAN.

Fragile Beauty.


Splatter of colours:A butterfly seen amidst green foliage.A scene in Tuticorin.— Photo: N. Rajesh

Splatter of colours:A butterfly seen amidst green foliage.A scene in Tuticorin.— Photo: N. Rajesh

Strange visitor


GAZE:Slender loris seen in a tree at Balakrishnapuram in Dindigul. They are found in the Western Ghats, especially in Ayyalur forests near Dindigul— PHOTO: G.KARTHIKEYAN.
GAZE:Slender loris seen in a tree at Balakrishnapuram in Dindigul. They are found in the Western Ghats, especially in Ayyalur forests near Dindigul— PHOTO: G.KARTHIKEYAN.

Yonder the destination


SOLITARY BOAT:Set for journey or waiting for riders? Perhaps, it is Arthur Rimbaud’s boat that hits one’s mind, anchored on the shores of Oussudu Lake in Puducherry._ Photo: S.S. Kumar
SOLITARY BOAT:Set for journey or waiting for riders? Perhaps, it is Arthur Rimbaud’s boat that hits one’s mind, anchored on the shores of Oussudu Lake in Puducherry._ Photo: S.S. Kumar

Bird watch


Visitors walk past a poultry pavilion on the concluding day of the Progressive Punjab Agriculture Summit at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Memorial in Mohali on Tuesday.Photo: Akhilesh Kumar
Visitors walk past a poultry pavilion on the concluding day of the Progressive Punjab Agriculture Summit at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Memorial in Mohali on Tuesday.Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

Snow walk


A pedestrian strolls down a railway track during heavy snowfall in Shimla on Saturday. Heavy snow in Himachal Pradesh cut off several areas in the upper Shimla and Kinnaur regions, disrupting road and rail links in the State.— PHOTO: AFP (Report on Page 9)
A pedestrian strolls down a railway track during heavy snowfall in Shimla on Saturday. Heavy snow in Himachal Pradesh cut off several areas in the upper Shimla and Kinnaur regions, disrupting road and rail links in the State.— PHOTO: AFP (Report on Page 9)

Meet the Seven Sisters


Northeast Traveller organises treks to North-east India

North-east India which comprises Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura is also popularly known as The Land of Seven Sisters and has a lot in store for the holiday seeker. A home to over 166 different tribes, this region has picturesque hills, green meadows and lush landscapes.

If this sounds tempting, Northeast Traveller could well be your planner.

This eco-tourism organisation conducts regular trips and treks to North-east India. These trips are conducted in collaboration with the locals in the region.

For details, log on to https://www.facebook.com/northeastraveler

 

Quit smoking, be happy


Moderate or heavy smokers who quit tobacco get a boost in mental well abeing that, for people who are anxious or stressed, is equivalent to taking anti-depressants, a recent study said.

British researchers examined 26 published investigations into the mental health of smokers.

They looked at standardised scorecards for symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and quality of life, derived from questionnaires completed by volunteers.

The smokers were 44 years old on average and smoked between 10 and 40 cigarettes a day. They were questioned before they tried to give up smoking and again after their attempt — an average of six months later.

Those who succeeded in quitting reported reduced depression, anxiety and stress and had a more positive outlook on life compared with those who continued smoking. “The effect sizes are equal or larger than those of anti-depressant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders,” said the study, published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Quitters who had been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders enjoyed a similar improvement.

Lead investigator Gemma Taylor of the University of Birmingham’s School of Health and Population Sciences said she hoped the findings would dispel a widespread misconception about smoking.

“It’s a common myth that smoking actually is good for your mental health — ‘smoking relieves stress’, ‘smoking helps you relax’, ‘smoking helps you enjoy things’ — and that common myth is really hard to overcome,” Taylor said.

But actually, the study showed that “when you stop smoking and you break the nicotine withdrawal cycle, your mental health improves.”

Taylor pointed to a mainstream theory in tobacco addiction research: that a smoker’s psychological state fluctuates throughout the day as a result of exposure to nicotine.

The sense of calm or wellbeing from a cigarette is followed immediately afterwards by classic withdrawal signs of a depressed mood, anxiety or agitation. Smokers, though, tend to misattribute these symptoms and blame them on stress or other factors. And because nicotine has a calming effect, they perceive that cigarettes improve their mental health.

Smoking is already blamed for a wide range of physical diseases and disorders, ranging from cancer, blindness and cardiac problems to diabetes, gum disease and impotence.

The UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated last July that tobacco kills almost six million people each year, a toll that will rise to eight million annually in 2030. About four out of every five deaths will occur in low- and middle-income nations, it said.

Despite a decline in smoking prevalence in some nations, in overall terms the number of people smoking today is greater than in 1980, due to population growth, according to a paper published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association . — AFP

 

Giving up smoking can boost your mental well-being, says study

 

Rocking on


Weekend special:Artists of Human Brigade band performing at the Indo-French Festival 2014 held at Alliance Francaise Colombani in Puducherry on Saturday.— Photo: S.S. Kumar

Weekend special:Artists of Human Brigade band performing at the Indo-French Festival 2014 held at Alliance Francaise Colombani in Puducherry on Saturday.— Photo: S.S. Kumar

A competition for students to develop crystals


As part of observation of 2014 as Year of Crystallography

Crystals are found everywhere, whether it is in the salt or sugar that we eat, or the diamonds that we wear.

The applications of crystals are even more. Almost every technology that we have today relies on crystals in some form or the other. The study of these crystals, or crystallography is an essential one that could change the way we live our lives. This year, there is an effort to make the community aware of crystallography, which is why the International Union of Crystallography has declared 2014 the year of Crystallography. Around the world, there are a series of programmes being conducted to get people know more about the crystals. The Pondicherry Science Forum and the Department of Science, Technology and Environment on Saturday, organised a series of lecture on the importance of crystallography for students.

 

Growing crystals is not difficult, but it can often be very challenging

 

 

Drums of India


A group performing at an event showcasing traditional drum bands of south India, on Saturday. The two-day event has been organised by Uniq at Koramangala BBMP grounds in Bangalore.— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.
A group performing at an event showcasing traditional drum bands of south India, on Saturday. The two-day event has been organised by Uniq at Koramangala BBMP grounds in Bangalore.— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

Embracing the future


Mata Amritanandamayi embracing schoolchildren at Amrita Vidyalam at Boloor in Mangalore on Saturday.— Photo: R. Eswarraj
Mata Amritanandamayi embracing schoolchildren at Amrita Vidyalayam at Boloor in Mangalore on Saturday.— Photo: R. Eswarraj

Teaching the law


B. Padmaraj, retired judge of the High Court of Karnataka, speaking at a workshop at the Karnataka Police Academy in Mysore on Saturday.— PHOTO: Anurag Basavaraj
B. Padmaraj, retired judge of the High Court of Karnataka, speaking at a workshop at the Karnataka Police Academy in Mysore on Saturday.— PHOTO: Anurag Basavaraj

It’s social media week


Social Media Week, the global event that came to India last year, is all set to be held in Bangalore over five days starting Monday.

The event that explores the economic, social, and cultural impact of social media will be held at several popular haunts in the city. Some of the locations where it will be held include Barleyz, City Bar, Fava, Hard Rock Café and The Leela Palace.

For more, log on tohttp://socialmediaweek.org/ bangalore/schedule.

 

 

Dancing horses


Colours of life:The ‘Kuthira Kali’ at Chinakkathoor Pooram near Ottappalam in Palakkad on Saturday.
Colours of life:The ‘Kuthira Kali’ at Chinakkathoor Pooram near Ottappalam in Palakkad on Saturday.

Solitary bliss


A WHITE PATCH IN A GREEN FIELD:A crane seems to be enjoying the perfect ambience of a paddy field near Gandipet on Saturday.- PHOTO: K. RAHUL KUMAR
A WHITE PATCH IN A GREEN FIELD:A crane seems to be enjoying the perfect ambience of a paddy field near Gandipet on Saturday.- PHOTO: K. RAHUL KUMAR

Green shoots


One for home:Visitors at the Horti Expo-2014 being held at the Nizam College grounds on Saturday.- PHOTO: G. RAMAKRISHNA
One for home:Visitors at the Horti Expo-2014 being held at the Nizam College grounds on Saturday.- PHOTO: G. RAMAKRISHNA

Is this we are learning at colleges?


We are like this only:In what is a recurring image, students travel on the footboard of a packed bus on the Basheerbagh-Abids stretch in front of Nizam College on Saturday.- Photo: G. Ramakrishna
We are like this only:In what is a recurring image, students travel on the footboard of a packed bus on the Basheerbagh-Abids stretch in front of Nizam College on Saturday.- Photo: G. Ramakrishna

Art has no barriers


Beyond borders:Tehrik-e-Niswan, an artistes’ group from Pakistan, performing Kathak at Ravindra Bharathi as part of the India-Pakistan Culture Connect programme on Saturday.- PHOTO: K. RAMESH BABU
Beyond borders:Tehrik-e-Niswan, an artistes’ group from Pakistan, performing Kathak at Ravindra Bharathi as part of the India-Pakistan Culture Connect programme on Saturday.- PHOTO: K. RAMESH BABU

Tryst with brush


Artist Nanditha Kancharla explaining her works put up in a one-day exhibition at her house in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.—Photo: K.R. Deepak
Artist Nanditha Kancharla explaining her works put up in a one-day exhibition at her house in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.—Photo: K.R. Deepak

In sync


Dancing feet:Participants at a classical dance programme at RGM College of Engineering in Nandyal on Saturday.– Photo: U. Subramanyam
Dancing feet:Participants at a classical dance programme at RGM College of Engineering in Nandyal on Saturday.– Photo: U. Subramanyam

Course on soft skills


G.P. Birla Centre, a constituent of B.M. Birla Science Centre in Adarsh Nagar, is conducting a weekly course on soft skills and personality development from February 17 onwards. For details, call 9032800991 or 9553192149.

 

 

 

Students’ talent to the fore at ‘Science Quest’


G. Vasantha Kumar, project coordinator of National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) and other guests at “Science Quest” organised by Sri Gowthami School have lauded the students who have participated and demonstrated their exhibits and functionalities.

Speaking at a function organised in this context, Mr. Vasantha Kumar said that the science principles and concepts developed by the students are quite interesting and thought provoking .

K. Srikrishna Sai, physics teacher in government school who attended the programme as guest of honour said that competition among the students in developing different models will give scope for new inventions which is the need of the hour. Sri Gowthami Correspondent Sunkara Ravi Kumar spoke.

 

Telugu Wikipedia ‘content and community’ expanding fast


Arjuna Rao Chavala

Arjuna Rao Chavala

Ten years after its establishment in India, Telugu Wikipedia (te.wikipedia.org) is poised to overtake the world’s largest free Internet encyclopaedia’s Hindi and Tamil versions, aided by an increasing number of active contributors.

With about 53,000 articles on diverse topics, the Telugu Wikipedia is not too far from the one in Tamil, which has roughly 58,000 articles in its kitty. Hindi leads the pack with 113,000 articles.

With an objective of expanding Telugu Wikipedia to 100,000-plus articles in the next one or two years, a team of Wikipedians are touring the entire State of Andhra Pradesh for encouraging youth to make their contributions to Telugu Wikipedia and giving them necessary training in uploading the content developed by them.

The aspiring youth are also given instructions about editing the content which they might be familiar with on the basis of authentic information.

“Given the zeal with which we are working, there is no reason why Telugu Wikipedia should not emerge as the biggest Indian language edition of the global online encyclopaedia,” said Arjuna Rao Chavala, Co-Founder of Wikimedia Foundation India Chapter and present member of its Funds Dissemination Committee.

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the Telugu Wikipedia’s 10th anniversary celebrations held at KBN College here on Saturday, Mr. Arjuna Rao expressed confidence that the Telugu Wikipedia project would achieve its goals due to the painstaking efforts being made by its contributors, who were spending their time and money out of personal interest.

It was planned to give awards in the name of Komarraju Venkata Lakshmana Rao (publisher of ‘Andhra Vignana Sarvaswam’ which was considered ‘Andhra encyclopaedia’) to the most prolific contributors. The project stood on firm ground as interested persons were coming forward from diverse fields to contribute articles and refine it on a daily basis. Ancient manuscripts and other works on wide-ranging topics were being added to the database to make it more comprehensive.

Telugu Wikipedia, a treasure trove: Mandali

Wikipedians interacting with one another at the Telugu Wikipedia's 10th anniversary celebrations at KBN College in Vijayawada on Saturday.—Photo: Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar

Wikipedians interacting with one another at the Telugu Wikipedia’s 10th anniversary celebrations at KBN College in Vijayawada on Saturday.—Photo: Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar

Andhra Pradesh Official Language Commission Chairman Mandali Buddha Prasad lauded the efforts being made for expanding Telugu Wikipedia and taking it closer to people. He promised to extend his support for that initiative while trying his best to promote the language through all possible means.

Participating in the Telugu Wikipedia’s 10th anniversary celebrations held at KBN College here on Saturday, Mr. Buddha Prasad said it was good that the founding fathers of Wikipedia shared their knowledge and lent a helping hand in setting up its local editions across the world.

Telugu Wikipedia came as a boon for Telugu-speaking people and every effort should be made for expanding its reach and enriching its content from time to time.

On his part, Mr. Buddha Prasad suggested to the Andhra Pradesh government to convert its departmental websites into bilingual ones (English and Telugu) to help the common people understand the information posted thereon.

The government was working on it under the aegis of Minister for IT Ponnala Lakshmaiah, he added. Mr. Buddha Prasad said that the Telugu Wikipedia would be a valuable database by having ancient manuscripts and other such material included in it. The government could get its Archives Department (State Archives and Research Institute) to digitise the information at its disposal and link it up with the Telugu Wikipedia. Such measures should be taken for enhancing the public knowledge and providing it as a tool for academic pursuits, he said. KBN College Committee president U. Sambasiva Rao, secretary S.V.S.M. Razith Kumar, vice-president Narayana Rao, principal P. Krishna Murthy and others were present.

 

Buddha Prasad says the Telugu Wikipedia will be a valuable database by having ancient manuscripts in it

 

 

 

An urban dweller’s guide to nature


An understandingof the natural world and our role in it is of utmost importance

An understandingof the natural world and our role in it is of utmost importance

Here are six ways to understand how nature thrives even in the midst of a bustling metropolis, says Maya Ganesan

 

Isn’t it common that when we go on a holiday or picnic to a lake, a park or to the beach we think we are in the midst of nature? And when we are in our homes, offices or at the grocery store, we somehow feel disconnected from it? Nature is omnipresent. It is in the water that flows through our taps, in the air we breathe, in the food we eat.

More people live in cities today ever before and yet, issues like climate change, soil erosion, loss of arable land, water scarcity, depletion of natural resources and so on are treated as something that affects “other people”. We are not sensitive about our connection to the health of the planet. So how do we create more meaningful and enriching connections that help orient us with larger natural systems?

l Be aware of your bio-region. Read, ask and research about the ecosystem of the city you live in- its topography, water sources, vegetation, precipitation, soil and rock varieties.

l Familiarize yourself with directions. Most urban folk cannot tell if they are facing north or south. Learn to read the directions of the wind, slope of the land and destination of the flow of rain water from your locality.

l Orient yourself with the phases of the moon. Delving further in this direction, learn to identify constellations at different parts of the year. Mark solstices and equinoxes.

l Be tuned to the seasons. Be aware of the winter winds as we draw kollams at our doorsteps, the enchanting ‘margazhi’ mists, migration of birds, availability of seasonal vegetables, the shorter days of summer, the onset of monsoons and their directions. Catch an early sunrise and sunset and celebrate the rare shower or thunderstorm.

l Grow plants and identify local species. Nurturing even a single tomato plant will help us respect the process of growth, the hard work of farming and the sheer effort of the earth to sustain us. Children should be encouraged to feel the soil, water and to understand the cycle of growth.

l Visit parks, nearby lakes, farms to observe water levels, wild plants, flowers and birds through different seasons of the year. Join bird-count groups, animal watchers club or as a clean-up volunteer for groves near temples, ponds.

An understanding of the natural world and of our role in it is of utmost importance to us – so we may leave behind cleaner, greener footprints.

Water and the art of communication


We need to know about our lakes in a much better and detailed manner, says S. Vishwanath

The lake is beautiful and full of fishes. A Pelican swims about gobbling its food merrily , tossing one fish into its pouch at a time. As you walk you observe many beautiful birds in the water. Fishermen are up and about in their round boats called coracles. As you walk the long walk you observe water flowing in briskly to a patch of green wetland. What appears to be a sewage treatment plant is whining away merrily, tossing foam into the air. The air is serene and peaceful and a gorgeous scenery unfolds itself.

As you look around you do not know where you are. You do not know the name of the lake, you do not know the names of the many beautiful birds, the boats that the fishermen use, the fish that are being harvested, the treatment plant that hums; you do not know anything about any of them at all.

The art of signage and communication is a lost science in India. Except for a desultory board here or there in rusted condition we do not care or seek to explain what we do. In this particular lake close to Rs. 500 million of public money has been spent with not a single signboard explaining anything to the common man.

Aajwanthi Baradwaj, a student of design studying at Helsinki, Finland, has come out with a beautiful package doing just that, explaining our lakes.

For her first trial, she has picked Jakkur Lake in the north of the city. A beautiful poster map explains the trail one can walk around the lake.

Around various points are highlights that one can pause and take a deeper look at.

Here is the docking point from where the fishermen set out every day. The boat they use is called a coracle.

They hunt and harvest 100 kg of fish daily, sometimes 200 kg. As you walk further you can stop at a gorgeous 100-year-old well. Notice the architecture of the well, it is special without a gram of cement or lime being used.

The well yields 100,000 litres of water daily and returns back to the level it started off with daily, thanks to the lake being full.

An audio cast on your smart phone helps you navigate your way around the lake. Click on a button there and the audio explains the functioning of the waste-water treatment plant. 10 million litres per day of sewage is picked up and treated to such a nice quality that it can be led in to the wetland portion of the lake.

As you stop and listen a clear explanation comes about what a wetland is and the various birds that can be spotted there.

As you peer around it becomes clear that the purple moorhen is up and about in the morning. All other birds and plants start having a name and you are a little bit proud of yourself.

The smart phone-based tour and a map is ready for download at http://www.jakkurlake.jux.com and will hopefully be the first in a series that will explain all our lakes and water systems in Bangalore.

As the brilliant scientist Jane Goodall said “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.”

 

Noel Badges Pugh


thank for for your greatest skills…

The Dancing Rest

Noel Badges Pugh dabbles in scientific illustration as well as artwork with a more psychedelic perspective. Inspired by nature and dreams, all’s created with an utmost appreciation for the details and structure of each subject.

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Lighthouse Award


 we were nominated for a Lighthouse Award by Barbara at Idealistic Rebel.

Sanskrit classes


Samskrita Bharati will conduct from February 13 to 22 a course in spoken Sanskrit at R.S. Puram, Saibaba Colony, Ramnagar, Ganapathy, Ramanathapuram, Peelamedu, Perur and North Coimatore.

The classes will be held from 7am to 9am at Ramnagar, 10.30am to 12.30pm at Saibaba Colony and from 6pm to 8pm at the other places, a release here has said.

No fee will be charged and there is no age restriction.

For details contact: 94433 94367/94433 94368/94433 94369.

 

Devotion in the air


Music for soul:Pandit Venkatesh Kumar performing in Mangalore.— Photo: H.S. Manjunath

Music for soul:Pandit Venkatesh Kumar performing in Mangalore.— Photo: H.S. Manjunath

Sunday turned out to be a day for music lovers to enjoy fine rendition of some devotional music. While Pandit Venkatesh Kumar kept the audience spellbound with his soulful presentation in the morning at Kadri Park, youngsters Jayateerth Mevundi and Anand Bhate, gave a spiritual performance in the evening at Venkataramana Temple.

Pt. Venkatesh Kumar began the concert around 6 a.m. He started with Ae More Ghar Aaye Piya in Raag Lalat. This was followed by Pt. Kumar’s fine combination of Aa Kar Taan and Sargam. This was also seen in presentation of composition Balam Aaye … in Dhrut rendition, which was followed by composition Ang Ang Murali Sunoon the feeling of women in Brindavan when Lord Krishna plays flute.

He then rendered Sakal Jagat Kot Paida Karan … followed by Nayana Barase More … in Raag Alaya Bilaval. Pt. Kumar presentation had good support from Narendra Nayak on harmonium, Dinesh Shenoy on tabla, Anand Patil and Nagakiran Nayak on tanpuras. Pt. Kumar then presented reformer Basavanna’s composition Swami Neenu Shaswata Neenu . He ended his concert with Purandara Dasa’s composition Sharanu Sakloddahara Asura Kula Samhara…

 

 

Ratan Tata visits Puttige Vidyapeetha


Seer plans varsity in Puttige

Ratan Tata, former chairman of Tata Group, looking at the palm leaf manuscripts at the Puttige Vidyapeetha in Udupi district on Monday. Sugunendra Tirtha Swami of Puttige Math is also seen.

Ratan Tata, former chairman of Tata Group, looking at the palm leaf manuscripts at the Puttige Vidyapeetha in Udupi district on Monday. Sugunendra Tirtha Swami of Puttige Math is also seen.

Ratan Tata, former Chairman of Tata Group, inaugurated the ‘Swagata Gopura’ of the Sri Puttige Vidyapeetha at the premises of the Moola Puttige Math here on Monday.

The Puttige Vidyapeetha imparts education in holy Hindu texts, priestly duties, astrology and ‘agama’ for six years after the students complete SSLC. The students can also pursue higher studies in Hindu texts here. The vidyapeetha is located in picturesque surroundings with the river Swarna flowing close to the math with the hills in the background.

Mr. Tata was received at the Vidyapeetha in a traditional manner with a royal umbrella. He unveiled a plaque to mark the inauguration of the ‘Swagata Gopura’. Sugunendra Tirtha Swami of Puttige Math, Ramdas M. Pai, Chancellor of Manipal University and G.K. Prabhu, Registrar of the University, were present on the occasion.

The seer took Mr. Tata around the premises of the Puttige Vidyapeetha. He showed Mr. Tata the palm leaf manuscripts which were being preserved at the Vadiraja Research Foundation at the math’s premises.

Later addressing the gathering of students, Mr. Tata said that he had met the Puttige seer by chance at the New York airport.

Thus he had come in touch with the seer. He was pleased to visit the Vidyapeetha. “It is wonderful to be here with you in your institution. I am deeply touched by your warmth and blessings,”he said.

The Puttige seer said that he planned to make Puttige village an educational centre. He wanted to establish a university here.

He was also giving priority to starting a residential school here. “We want to give modern education to the students but we would teach them about ancient values,”he said.

Vidyapeetha imparts education in holy texts, priestly duties,and astrology

 

 

Photography contest


The NGO ‘Friends of Nature’ and MBL Media School are jointly conducting a State-level photography contest in connection with National Science Day for senior secondary and college students.

The contest is being organised in collaboration with the Central Department of Science and Technology and the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment.

A contestant can send three entries, in jpeg/jpg format with not more than 10 MB, before February 25 tomediaschool.mbl@ gmail.com. A copy of the student’s ID card should also be sent along with the entries.

For further details, visit

www. naturephotocontest2014. wordpress.com,

www. facebook.com/ studentphotographycontest 2014.com

 

Great job


Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) guarding its chick at the VOC Park Zoo in Coimbatore on Monday.—Photo: M. Periasamy.Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) guarding its chick at the VOC Park Zoo in Coimbatore on Monday.—Photo: M. Periasamy.

All together now


Herd instinct:Goats placidly having their fill of water at a pond, near Mudhol village, in Sedam taluk of Gulbarga district on Monday.— photo: arun kulkarni

Herd instinct:Goats placidly having their fill of water at a pond, near Mudhol village, in Sedam taluk of Gulbarga district on Monday.— photo: arun kulkarni

 

Festival of frames


CURTAIN-RAISER:A Kalaripayattu demonstration by members of ARCHA (Association to Rejuvenate Children with Holistic Approach) at the opening of Vibgyor International Short and Documentary Film Festival in Thrissur on Monday.— PHOTO: K.C. Sowmish

CURTAIN-RAISER:A Kalaripayattu demonstration by members of ARCHA (Association to Rejuvenate Children with Holistic Approach) at the opening of Vibgyor International Short and Documentary Film Festival in Thrissur on Monday.— PHOTO: K.C. Sowmish

 

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