Friday, September 28, 2007

second visit to RavuGodlu

the beauty
Mr KondandaRamu's father slit the ripe tender coconut with sharp knife made in 1943 and his son was on top of coconut tree felling the green coconuts. They refused money for they said when you have made the effort of coming from city then its no effort for them and even otherwise so the monkeys would have anyways taken them away. We drank without straw and some of the water spilled over most of us.
Mr KondandaRamu's son Harsha showed the Raagi fields and Mulberry plantations and we played frisbee in open fields facing beautiful hills that are soon to be extinct by granite merchants.
Some of us drank water from open borewell that were irrigating the fields.
Evening was spent at meditation center of art of living ashram. The sun was going down horizon in the beautifully reddish orange lit skin. We ordered something else but ended up having idlies at the restaurant there.

the beast
We took a wrong turn after leaving electronics city and reached Anekal road instead of Gottigere and finally when we reached Gottigere to connect to NICE road the bikers were confused and joined after a while.
The food at Vaishanava Palace on kanakapura road was infested with cockroaches and their families and we had a little dialogue with the manager their. Post lunch one motorcycle got punctured but the mechanics and tube shop were nearby on the slope.
The road connecting the village was being piled with sharp stones for road under construction and we struggled to drive over them.

the trip
Our team of 10 decided to explore the country side as a team gateway location and we set out just before lunch time. It was a different kind of experience as most of previous outings were to horrible movie shows at PVR. We left at about 11:30PM and by the time I reached home it was 8:30 PM.
A day where we made mistakes in route selection, fought with the restaurant manager and got a puncture repaired but most of all made up by the hospitality of Mr KondandaRamu's family. We owe them our experience.

yercaud

The beauty:

Clouds appearing and flowing past you climbing the hills and blurring the vision one second and next clearing and giving a glimpse into mother nature’s beautiful creation. You are at such a height that human existence ceases to be visible. There seems to be no houses nor vehicles nor the associated noises until the sun sets and night becomes black do you realize the the golden glitter and diamond studs that humanity has created through its lighting system.

The room with view was facing the sun set and the whole world was painted in small hills, some floating in clouds and some were little grey cones. You could jump into the valley and rolled down with greenery. The winds kept talking all through the night and chill forced the hands to tightly wrap around. The clouds simply walk into rooms as uninvited guests and some decide on condense on the wooden door and some simply give a cool bath.

The flowers and leaves were in all colors and the nursery was well spaced out. There were guava trees and their beautiful bodies. There were Italian flower with a ready made bunch and the roses were big and orange, red, white …

The roads are narrow but both sides are mostly covered by coffee plantations and huge trees that has pepper wrapping around them.


The beast:

We were coming back from lady’s seat in the morning and we had the whole day to explore. The roads are narrow and the local government decided to tar that morning and the hotel forgot to inform us and we were waiting on 45 degrees slope facing the road roller and melting machine. Some common sense prevailed and the roller decided to reverse and we felt that the car was pushing it down the slope. On opening was created after a while and we whizzed passed it.

The room with view was expensive and the premium was about Rs 2K. The service and maintenance was poor too. The waiters were blunt and to the point and same for room service too. There was a team from Citi Chennai who must have come for team building exercise who played to the loud music in the disco facility provided by Sterling Resorts.



The Trip:

We left home ie., Bangalore at about 10:45 AM on friday morning and travelled along NH7 to reach Salem by afternon, had breakfast at a restaurant and the Muslim owner knew some hindi and explained us how to go to yercaud. The ghat road was steep but beautiful and a landslide was being repaired. Until a top official came and sorted road out with his stern orders we waiting on a hairpin turn for about half an hour.

We saw a hotel on edge of mountain and decided to check that out. It turned out to be Sterling resorts, a pretty expensive proposition but it was wife's birthday so money was easily flowing out of pocket.

Saturday was spent exploring Lady's/children and Gent's seat and the rose garden where we bought some beautiful plant sampling. Then we moved towards pagoda point and while returning checked out MM Inn,Grange resorts(inside coffee plantations), Shevoroys Hotel and Grand Palace located on top of hill facing the lake in front and mountains behind.

We went towards water falls but people told the way down was too risky for kid and therefore abandoned the plan with me promising to come back here next day. Coming back stopped over at one more nursery close to lake and checked in Hotel tamilnadu, a cheap but nice options except for a cockroach that kept coming back and settling in my hair. Saw the cricket match between India and Australia, a 2020 semifinal.

On sunday we did boating and went to Shevroys temple, the route was breathtaking and the temple is in cave and it it believed that the cave opens up in Talacavery in Karnataka.

We came back, had lunch at Hotel, bought few items at sunday haat and started back to Bangalore by afternoon.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

prasanna jyothi orphanage

Prasanna Jyothi is an orphanage run under Prasanna trust chaired by Swami Sukhabodhananda. Its focus is on women empowerment. The place is well maintained and children are treated as their own despite their backgrounds. All girls from LKG to 7th standard go to an English medium school in Jayanagar 7th phase and are back in home by 3:30 PM.

Current funding is through Prasanna trust and through donations. About Rs 30K is spent per child per annum and the home maintenance goes upto Rs 2 lakhs.

Key Areas of growth – self sustainability

1. Catering – Right now they cater to a company on airport road for about 100 plates. They need to reach out to more consistent order base and more exposure through dedicated counter during festival time. Also need to grow into tiffin(morning breakfast/evening dinner) space for bachelors in neighborhood. The caretakers help the grown up girls in cooking.

2. Real estate – They have a site of 30*40 which can be developed into either a training center or into more space for more girls.

3. Volunteers –To train (dance/sing/karate) and provide tuitions (academics subject) for girls. A dedicated and committed staff. In case they grow then more caretakers to manage increased girl intake.

Key contact persons

Caretakers -- Mrs Ratna – 9845391483 Mrs Sundari – 9900608306

Mr. Jitendra Joshi – 9845042053 Jitenber.jb@gmail.com

http://www.prasannatrust.org/

Location : Take the turn beside corporation school near puttenahalli lake in JP Nagar 7th phase Bangalore. Keep right and reach dead end and follow the road till the last house that has a big iron gate in front.

Promotional mail for dabba service (breakfast/dinner) – areas around JP Nagar 7th ph only

Friends,

Homely meals available through dabba at your place of residence in areas around JP Nagar 7th Phase only. The menu range is unbiased towards north/south Indian.

Please get in touch with Mrs Ratna – caretaker – 9845391483 to further this cause.

Regards,

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PS : The catering is managed by caretaker and their staff for generating funds. This will self-sustain their orphanage for destitute girls. The price you pay will nurture beautiful childhoods that most of us were fortunate to have.

Promotional mail for spread word for catering service provider.

Friends,

Prasanna Jyothi orphanage in Puttennahalli, JP Nagar 7th phase wills towards self sustainability. For same they have started catering services for office goers. They provide rich quality north/south Indian lunch and dinner prepared with motherly care and affection.

Please connect them to offices that are located in and around JP Nagar or Bannerghatta road who are willing to give catering orders/space in their premises.

Regards,

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PS: Additional info can be found at http://www.prasannatrust.org/

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

first field trip

On ganesh chaturthi day, an auspicious day in hindu calendar that happened to be a Saturday on which we decided to hit the road and explore rural beauty and innocence. We went about 25 kms on kanakapura road.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning after the day when office-goers had spent 3-6 hours reaching their 10-20 kms away homes. It was a beautiful cold morning with good cloud cover and we set ourselves for the first random right turn after a beautiful lake. Luckily the village was nearby along side road and we parked the car in front of school with few trucks nearby.

We started asking if someone knew hindi/english but people responded that they only knew kannada and telugu. We saw a guy sitting in front of a huge house on the sides of the gate and he happened to know hindi. We explained to him our mission and he asked how many people would be coming next weekend. He even suggested that we should keep a cook but we said it may not be needed as our focus was authentic rural experience.

We happened to ask him if he could take us around and he seemed to be a man of prominence so he instructed few kids who were floating around to take us through the slimy muddy lanes.

As some of us began video/photography the kids got engaged and I smattered a few words in telugu as two youths really got curious as to why we had come to there village. They were asking if we will take them to bangalore but we said that instead we will get people from city who will come here and understand your lifestyle.

We gave some money in the name of Lord Ganesha. I thought we should not give money just for the thrill of it as it would encourage children to request the same from subsequent visitors.

We had coffee and sat on sofa inside a small one room house that had open kitchen and a color television. The kids got curious and were playing around us as the house owners shooed them away as they were not leaving their chappals outside. They liked their house clean.

A small girl who had picked some English at school but could not communicate in the language suggested we write on piece of paper and express. That didn’t work and we tried sketching on paper too. She came to my side and asked who were the couple here and we said none as we were all friends.

The old women showed me her hand and I held it affection. She thought I was a Doctor but I was not.

We were on roads again and this time we said we should take a right after few kms. We did so and hit a village a few km offroad and managed to reached the edge of it before we felt the car would go deeper than the surface of the road, we decided to alight and park it on the sides.

We started enquiring about language and met a student who comes to Bangalore for his college and found he was conversant in English and said he would not be able to help us but to contact the member. Another boy on nice bicycle took us to member's house and we explained the concept to him and he grew interested as he took us inside his house.

A good house with an angaan in center and we sat on chair after switching off the small TV. We were offered coffee as he explained that he was general secretary of a political party and also ran a dairy cooperative. He mentioned that paddy is simply grown for self-consumption and they have tried their hands in vegetables etc., for alternative source of income.

He showed us the paddy fields and the hybrid cows who collectively produced 1000 litres of milk per day as he supplied them to south of bangalore. We saw sericulture for the first time and the silk worm walked on my palms. The student boy mentioned that china silk was more competitive than us. The old lady prepared herself for a photograph. And our dear friend directed us towards ashram.

spirit in cave

A yogi by name Ram Ram left his body 7 years ago. He used to dwell in a cave and shooed away deadly snaakes with little stick in hand.

We were searching for the ashram but could only see a patch of thick greenery introduced by three Shivalingas in the open. We neared the greenery and found a pathway that bifurcated and we chose one. After few careful steps we were looking at our reflection, then some construction but no sight of humans. We kept helloing for a while and a lady appeared from nowhere and asked what we wanted. Did we know what we wanted? We just mumbled ashram. She said Amma and led us to a terrace like structure which opened to the scenic beauty outside. A lady in white robe appeared in front of us and after a while a yogi made retreat as we were ushered in the room that had a pierced rock, a bed, two chairs,wall paintings and the guru patni, wife of Yogi Ram Ram.

We decided to sit on the mat and the lady in white who latter mentioned herself as Uma too sat on bare floor. The chairs were left empty.

The voice was pleasant, the meanings were deep as we had an unexpected spiritual discourse that was practical, honest and straight from heart. In minutes the suffered soul was bare in front of us and we were shown how empty we were.

It could be easy if we simply witnessed ourselves and our interactivity with the world and withdraw into a self that is everything and mostly nothing at the same time. The more we get hurt the greater we withdraw. The more we dissociate the greater is alignment with nature as we dissolve our identity to merge with that of nature.

There is divinity in all of us that enables us to better mankind and the less we expect out of deeds that we pursue the closer we could be to this divine expression of the self.

We were hungry as we got hot puranpoli and masala wada within minutes of our entry. There was no mention of food but it was offered to our starved souls without asking. We relished it as much as the sweet melody.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

what to do with ideas?

blogger for for text,youtube for video,picasa for photos,google maps along with photos for location,revenue sharing with google adwords

pick up a theme that appeals to masses like mumbai coast line and develop a story around it and do a daily update on any of social networking site

explore the open platforms like facebook/amazon, think of ideas for applications and outsource using "craiglist"

develop your personal strategy and execute a business plan conforming to it.

The only tools in this age of collaborations are broadband and laptop and you have both of them. Determine who your partners will be, who your customers and how will you sustain your vision.

simple words, requires steady clear mind with no constraints, offload your constraints to people who believe in your personality

explore ideas , they hook, they hold and they will drive you to develop your professional identity. Your personal identity is intact and preserved and you will be always loved by your parents,brothers, their wives and children

Sunday, September 09, 2007

rural homestay

A gap exists in rural and urban culture. This gap is most felt now as cities outgrow and villages (rural folklore) disappear. It is imperative that responsibility and onus of understanding the rural behavior lies with the urban dweller. Not because he has better opportunities and is more sophisticated but he needs to be sensitized to the rural innocence and culture.
The rural world needs to grow on its own.Rural innocence needs to be more widespread than before and we need to stem the rural youth exodus to urban dwellings.
One of the way out is through reverse cash flow and creating an economic opportunity landscape around rural ambience.
Thus the idea of homestay is proposed and extended to villages around you and you need to take care of them as your own and collaborate with rural folks for village room, village food, village itinerary and a village guide.
You can also join group at orkut to further this idea at "rural homestay"
or post videos at youtube group ruralhomestay ( http://www.youtube.com/group/ruralhomestay)
or discuss your ideas at http://groups.google.co.in/group/ruralhomestay.

the future of NGO

Some NGO's can become self-sustained over a period of time and then can grow and multiply.
Volunteers can focus on cause and its corrective development. The NGO then becomes for profit venture but the funds are utilized for self-growth and sustenance.
You can visit NGO around neighborhood and understand their current running/operations. If possible discuss their self-sustenance model and growth. Provide ideas from our shared learnings.
If allowed to shoot video then you can interview the volunteers/owners there. You can also shoot the activities that they do there and post them at
http://www.youtube.com/group/ngoneighbor.
Also you could develop the ideas with like minded people in orkut under community
"NGOs around you".
The same has been responded to in linkedin.
There is a group in google that is developing similar ideas at http://groups.google.co.in/group/socialentrepreneur.

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