Month: October 2002

The Winning Click

The Winning Click

Photography has come a long way since the word was made popular by Sir John Herschel in 1839. From optical-chemical processes of the 19th century to the digital imaging of the 21st century, photography has successfully captured moments that are lived and relived.

Thane based Foto Circle Society is an organisation that promotes the purpose of photography by providing a platform to professionals and amateurs. Created four years ago, the society has a singular aim: To encourage photographers of all kinds and to enable them to develop their photographing skills. To achieve this, the society regularly organises seminars, workshops, public exhibitions and competitions.

Each year, the society organises an annual exhibition cum competition that brings together photographers from around the Thane district and allows them to present their skills. Primarily there are two categories: Amateur and Professional. To facilitate the process of judgement, the participants are given themes to choose from. President Sanjog Hate says proudly, "We always settle on themes that are topical and relevant to the society we live in. The first year, we decided on Clean City Thane as one of the themes. The next year it was child labour. Last year, the theme was women at work."

One of the Winning Shots: an old village lady cooking food, blowing air into chula, a rather primitive form of stoveThis year, professionals could pick from four themes viz. wedding moments, water, senior citizens and stage (performing arts), while the amateurs were given two themes: child and landscape.

Judging from the response, the annual event is quite a hit. The society received 600 entries from Thane and neighbouring towns of Kalyan, Dombivli, Virar, Vasai and Bhayander. Yet, it’s not the quantity but the quality of entries that has left the organisers overwhelmed. The competition was tight and prominent photographers Shyam Manchekar and Vinay Parelkar, who judged the event, obviously had a tough time selecting the first among equals. Finally the judges followed the advice of Irving Penn, one of the World’s 10 Greatest Photographers, who believed that, "A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective".

The winning entries certainly deserve all the praise. For instance, one of the winning photos (in the professional category) captured the problem of water scarcity in an interesting scene: A thirsty sparrow with it’s beak inside the tap, trying to search water. Another winner shows an old village lady cooking food, blowing air into chula, a rather primitive form of stove.

There’s little use trying to explain the intensity that these photographs capture. One has to see it to believe it. In the words of master photographer Ansel Adams, "A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words". Fortunately, residents of Thane city have the opportunity to see these photographs as they are being displayed at the photo exhibition being held between October 25 and October 27, 2002 at the Gadkari Rangayatan.

The winners will be honoured on October 27, 2002 at Gadkari Ranayatan by Advocate Adhik Shirodkar, a nature and wildlife photographer.

Train Travails

Train Travails

Mumbai suburban network is probably the densest in the world. Average peak hour loading of trains is in excess of 4500 passengers per train compared to a "design capacity" of about 1800 per train and "crush load capacity" of 2600 per train. Rush hour panic is a common sight. So is battling and wrestling by passengers who somehow want to get into the train. Jam packed compartments are a way of life and most regular travellers have become accustomed to the appalling conditions that they are subject to, twice a day. Yet, despite the sordid state of affairs, most passengers have learnt to keep their cool and maintain their sense of compassion.

Consider this. Last week, in an overcrowded CST-bound fast local Thane, people were grumpy as the trains were running late and the October heat was taking its toll. It was about 11 in the morning and there was hardly any place to stand. As the train began its journey, a middle aged man, who had boarded the train just before it left the station, collapsed. Noticing the man collapsing, the fellow travellers forgot all about their discomfort and tried to accommodate this ailing man. What followed were amazing gestures of compassion and kindness. First, the man was quickly offered a window seat, so that he could breathe some fresh air. Some people started speculating about the cause of his collapse. What if he has collapsed because of low sugar level?   Out came a candy from within the crowd. The man, who was still not speaking, was given the candy. Maybe it was due to dehydration, someone suggested. So bottles of water were offered. Finally, people even asked if there was a doctor or a medical student around, who could perhaps check for symptoms of heart problem or blood pressure. Within minutes, everyone in the compartment showed concern. What was heartening was the way in which an act of kindness by one spread contagiously and more people joined in to offer help.

The man finally got off at Masjid station, but not without thanking everyone for their timely help. One could make out that his gratitude was genuine. But then, so was the help of his fellow passengers.

Grandma and Grandpa Day

Grandma and Grandpa Day

Someone once said, "Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting". Blessed are those children who have grandparents. Grandparents always have time to listen; tell fairy tales and put you to sleep. A grandparent mends clothes, keeps a candy handy, goes to the store with you even if he doesn’t need anything, sits with you while you do homework, reads stories with his eyes closed, takes you to the doctor even when you cry, plays games he can’t win, holds your hand at just the right times, and reminds parents that they were once little children.

With so many virtues, there ought to be day dedicated to grandparents. The teachers and students of Hiranandani Foundation School at Thane seem to agree.

On October 08, 2002, the pre-primary section of the School celebrated Grandparent’s day. It was a lovely sight as sweet little toddlers were accompanied by their grandmas and grandpas.

The event began at 10 in the morning with the customary prayers by the students. This was followed by some interesting performances by kids, all in honour of their beloved grandparents. Historical items, dance numbers and mythological plays – all featured.

Then, followed what was perhaps most thoughtful gesture of all. A student randomly picked any grandparent in the hall and presented him/her with a greeting card, with a message, "Happy Grandparents Day! We love you grandparents." All cards were created by the kids themselves.

After this, a game specially designed for grandparents, was played. A tray with several objects was circulated among all the oldies. All they had to do was to remember as many objects as they could and write that down on a piece of paper they were given. The one who recollects the maximum number of articles would be the winner. The nana-nanis and dada-dadis were struggling to scribble as time was running out. Finally it was Grandma Asha Gupta who walked away with the prize as she wrote down as many as 17 out of the 20 objects.

After a short tea break, it was time for grandparent to put their public speaking abilities to test, as they were invited to come to the podium and utter a few words about their grandchildren. It was an emotional moment as the senior moms and pops expressed how special their grandchildren were to them. One grandpa said, "My grandson keeps me busy and adds meaning to my old age" while a grandma declared, "Aditya is such an adorable child. He loves me and I love him".  

As the event came to closing stages, the grandparents were visibly moved with the way it was organised. There was joy and happiness in the air. And why not? Grandparents are always delighted to be around their grandchildren. Like Doug Larson once said, "Few things are more delightful than grandchildren fighting over your lap"

The programme ended with a recital of the national anthem and a vote of thanks by the teachers of the school.

Rhythm of Life

Rhythm of Life

Respect for culture and tradition literally flows through the veins of our city, which is full of enthusiastic residents. We never lose an opportunity to celebrate cultural events, especially those with literary and artistic significance.

On October 1, when communities throughout the world celebrated the International Music Day (IMD), Thane city too participated in its own way. City based music institute, Nada Brahma, in association with Sanskar Bharti, organised a musical event called "Keyboard Workshop", at Sahyog Mandir.

The event, which aimed at spreading awareness about keyboard instruments, was graced by none other than the music maestro Naushad Ali. In a career spanning over six decades, Naushad has created some extraordinarily memorable music and won many prestigious awards including the Dadasaheb Phalke award in 1982 and Padma Bhushan in 1992.

During the show, great composer revealed some interesting tales from his eventful life, one of which really touched the audience.

Many years ago, when the musician was in London and was out of work for a few years, he faced a nervous breakdown. He consulted a therapist, who recommended a break from the city life. Naushad heeded the advice dutifully and decided to proceed to the woods, to spend some time with nature. The soothing ambience of the wild had a tranquilising effect on him and he found his rhythm coming back to him. It was during this sabbatical, that Naushad encountered his life’s most dreadful dilemma, face-to-face. One evening basking in the rays of setting sun, and immersed in ragas, the great musician suddenly found himself staring at the king of the jungle. Mercifully, he was armed with a gun, which he quickly removed from the case. But it wasn’t easy for him to pull the trigger. The musician in him wouldn’t let him "kill", yet his "evil self" was urging him do exactly that. In the end, his evil self triumphed, and he shot the lion. The musician confessed that though he was not a professional hunter, this episode helped him come out of the depression that he had been hounding him for months. "Perhaps, my deeply curbed emotions found an outlet. That was a line of treatment", said Naushad almost apologetically.

Little Flowers
Since the last 20 years, Garden School, a pre-primary school situated at Cherai, celebrates Gandhi Jayanti in a unique way.

The school teacher identifies a child who looks similar to the Mahatma. This child is then dressed like Gandhiji, complete with dhoti, round rimmed glasses, a clock at his waist and a stick. Once dressed, the little Mahatma is taught about the great man’s manners – his style of walking, speaking and interacting with people. This child then acts like Gandhiji while the teacher comments on all the principles that Gandhiji stood for. While his attire endorsed simplicity, the waist-watch signified the importance of time. His powerful messages always promote love over hatred.

Berneditt Pimenta, the school’s founder-principal said, "The children of today are so lost that they need a role model like Mahatma Gandhi. This celebration is a small effort on our part to instil in our children the love and respect for the father of the nation." Fortunately, parents too have been quite encouraging. Pimenta adds, "Some parents are so enthusiastic that the shave their child’s head for this one day."

In Gandhiji own words, children are the "flowers of God’s garden". The Garden School is doing a fine job of nurturing these "little flowers".