Beauty is Only Skin Deep

People often get distracted. They start paying attention to the flimsy and the mundane aspects of life which are fleeting by nature. This can prove to be a great impediment in achieving one’s target.

A story from the Shiva Purana highlights the importance of staying focused and also reiterating the fact that intrinsic beauty is a combination of truth and humility.

Once when the self-declared celibate Rishi Narada was wandering through the universe, he was smitten by the extraordinary beauty and grace of princess Shrimathi. He was seized by a sudden desire to marry her. Hence he decided to attend her Swayamvara. The sage realised that he could marry Shrimathi only if she chose him as her groom.

Since he had always led an austere life, he wondered whether the princess would choose him over the royal, youthful, good-looking kings and princes who had come to seek their luck. All the same, Narada felt that he could not pass up the opportunity. He appealed to Maha Vishnu to bestow him with Harimukha.

When he was granted the boon he went to the Swayamvara happily. Narada seated himself confidently because he knew that the princess could not reject him as he was endowed with the handsome face of Hari. The Swayamvara began.

When the princess entered with the garland, Narada stood up eagerly. The court laughed in unison. Narada was annoyed and disappointed when the princess walked ahead and garlanded a striking suitor.

When he expressed his displeasure, he was asked to look into the mirror. When he did so, he was aghast to see that he was monkey-faced. When he confronted Maha Vishnu furiously, he was told that he was bestowed with Harimukha as desired. Then the Lord clarified that Hari also meant monkey.

Besides, the Lord had to play a seemingly cruel joke on his most ardent devotee to awaken him from his disillusionment. Though Narada was hurt and angry, he understood that he was beleaguered by distractions that would serve him no purpose in the long run.


Published in EDUVERSE- JNANADEGULA special supplement of DECCAN HERALD on Saturday 26th May 2018


Well, the students of the present day can dare to dream and transform their passions into their professions. If you are the kind who has not spent a day of your life without watching animated cartoons and similar shows, and have ruminated on the details and have mentally added variations to the show, you might as well consider making a career out of it.

Those of you who have creativity in your beings and have completed their board exams at the tenth and twelfth standards and have a flair for drawing can explore the world of animation through structured study. Once the basic requisites are ticked, you will need to check on your working knowledge of English, that is because, it happens to be the medium of study. There are several institutes in all the major cities of India like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Trivandrum have emerged as the country’s major animation hubs which cater to the specific needs of these students for a period of six months to eighteen months depending on the module chosen by the student.

If you want to do a full-fledged undergraduate course, well, options also exist both in our country. Students have to attend a basic entrance test that checks their English language skills and arithmetical ability. A group discussion round evaluates their ability to think differently and creativity. The candidates who clear these rounds are admitted to the course.

Students who join the course will be led through the fundamental aspects of animation like using computers, drawing, sketching, model making and film making. They will be exposed to the history of the subjects and worldwide samples of classical and innovative animation. Slowly and surely the students will be taught and guided through several projects both theoretically and practically till they become industry ready.

Animation techniques are incredibly varied and difficult to                       categorize. Techniques are often related or combined. Hence the project guide of the individual student or the group takes up the responsibility of going that extra mile to help any new technique that the student may like to experiment with.

At the end of even the shortest course the institutes make sure that the students are familiar with the basic concepts of animation by making each student submit a project in place of exams. This frees prospective employers of these students of anxiety because the fundamentals imbibed during the course will help them to learn any new technique that they may have to use later on while on the job.

It is interesting to note that these students are picked up by experts and moguls in the field well before the completion of their courses as assistants and interns.

The world has realised that India has yet another talent for animation and its rich history culture and mythology has a lot more in store for the world than the eye can see. The runaway success of animated shows of Chota Bheem, Hanuman, Tenali Raman and Krishna among others has rejuvenated a renewed interest in India.  The Indian films with their special effects have not been missed by the discerning eye of the connoisseurs of the art either. This global recognition has led several Indian entrepreneurs to make mileage of the situation and as a result we have several reputed institutes like, MAAC, Arena, ANTS, Animaster, Toon School which have carved a niche for themselves in a rather short period.

Most good schools of Animation have a state of the art infrastructure, with an ultra modern production theatre with the latest equipment. The fact that the titans of the industry like Walt Disney, Imax, Warner Brothers and Sony are signing up huge contracts with Indian animation companies speaks in volumes of the impending boom in the industry.

The time has come when it has become essential for parents and teachers to analyse the latent potential of children who fill up the last pages of notebooks, their desks, the walls in their arms distance and any other canvass within their reach with sketches and doodles of incomprehensible characters. Perhaps it is time to analyse the minds that expend undue interest in cartoon shows and animated games with renewed interest and awaken the budding animation expert in them.

Multimedia in Animation:

Animation has brought many imaginary characters and stories to life. From Mickey Mouse’s endearing antics to Lara Croft’s edge-of-the-seat adventures, generations have grown up admiring this magic. In India alone, 300.000* professionals by 2008 are expected to be employed in the animation Industry. Animation Application Areas include Entertainment (Movies, Television). Business (Marketing Demos, Product Promotions), Sales (Presentations), Education (CBTs/WBTs), Tourism (Kiosks), Publishing (Graphics & Printing), Web Design, Virtual Reality for Simulations in Defense, Engineering. Advertising (Commercials, Print Ads), Interiors and Fashion Design.

  • “Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement.” In other words drawings and sketches are mobilised using technology to give it the feel of movement.
  • Students are given a lot of practice in drawing and sketching which is technically known as 2D skills. As the student progresses he or she is introduced into skills of visualizing and mastering 3D Animation, besides learning Character Design and Morphing.




The Annual Vocabulary Workshop

The annual vocabulary workshop in English will be conducted by me this year also, please pass on the information to your local contacts



Sixty games aimed at improving spellings, grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary will be played out by children of specific age brackets.

Score sheets will be maintained and the highest scorer of each day

will be rewarded.

Who is eligible?

JUNIOR Batch : Children between the age group of eight to ten.

SENIOR Batch : Children between the age group of eleven to thirteen.


JUNIOR BATCH: From Monday 2nd April 2018

 to Wednesday 11th April 2018

SENIOR BATCH: From Monday 16th April 2018

 to Wednesday 25th April 2018

SENIOR  BATCH : From Monday 30th April 2018

 to Wednesday 9th May 2018


10 am to 12 noon(on everyday including weekends)


65, ITI layout , Off new BEL road, Bangalore-560054

 How to contact ?

 Phone 080- 23603636


When to Register?

As soon as you think you are interested in the camp. 

Naama Ramayanam sessions which are a combination of singing and storytelling will be conducted from Monday 2nd April 2018 to Monday 30th April 2018 between 4.30PM to 5.30PM everyday with the exception of weekends.

Venue: As given above

Contact details : As given above




Brace Yourself For The Post Party Syndrome


Calm after the storm

The two-faced Roman god Janus is ready to usher in the new year, while earthlings are partying hard. What many of us do not know is that we are working ourselves into as state of frenzy in the name of unwinding. This is true of those who organise parties as well as those who attend them.

A lot of meticulous planning, precious time and hard-earned money is ploughed into these events by hoteliers and owners of restaurants, bars and pubs besides individuals. Painstakingly decorating the party space, arranging enough food and drinks to go around and organising entertainment programmes takes several months of hard work and networking. Needless to say, this puts a great strain on their nerves.

It’s easy to assume that the party hoppers are a jolly lot, but that is far from the truth. They, for their part, are stressed about what to wear, whose company to seek, how to fit in at the party and get home safely afterwards.

Back to the grind

While all the music, dancing and socialising is fun while it lasts, the morning after generally brings along a hangover or worse, depression and loneliness. The post-party syndrome can encapsulate a lot of issues. You might feel lazy, fatigued and reluctant to get on with your work and normal routine. The late nights, gorging on calorie-rich food and aerated or alcoholic drinks can take a toll on the intestines and the liver. The lack of sleep will affect your cognitive function.

While none of these are reasons to pass on the merriment, by taking a few smart measures, you can save yourself from the physical and emotional stress that is likely to bog you down.

Catch up on some sleep every now and then so that you’re not caught yawning in company during the party. Loss of sleep can be telling on the countenance and general health of the individual in the long run. You would do well to have plenty of salad, fruits and juices during the day to offset the heavy food that you might eat at night.

Following an exercise regime will help you burn off the calories you gained binge-eating and drinking over the past few weeks. It is wise to keep tab on the amount of liquor that you consume in order to avoid embarrassment, untoward incidents and accidents.

The emptiness you’re left with

Psychologists point out that people who throw or attend many parties could experience a sense of loss, emotional numbness and anxiety once the gala time is over. This usually happens because they might have run into people whom they no longer care for or simply wish to avoid. They might have lost track of important days in all the frenzy. Even as they pretend to be happy and confident, they might be upset and despondent.

Putting the past behind and learning to live in the moment is the way to deal with these painful emotions. New year parties are, after all, about ringing out the old and ringing in the new. When you run into someone you dislike or have complicated emotions for, flash an affable smile, offer a kind word and move on. Try to forgive and forget for your own peace of mind.

You must understand that anything that brings you happiness must be good and genuine for it to last long. Refrain from hypocrisy and try to be earnest in terms of behaviour and attitude. Good manners and courteous behaviour has never killed anyone. A dollop of unadulterated enthusiasm can spread chirpiness and good cheer all around.

If you think your emotional wounds are still raw or that you may not be able to handle nasty surprises, pre-empt the guest list. If it is not to your liking, excuse yourself from attending the party. This can save you a lot of trouble and unpleasantness.

The most telling sign of the post-party syndrome is the lacuna created by the sudden lack of activity, which could lead to boredom, frustration and irritability.

Once you understand that parties are for enjoyment, socialising and rejuvenating your spirits, you can spend the days after the party organising contact numbers and addresses for future use. You can redeem your promise about keeping in touch by sending flowers or cards to renew your friendship with those you like.

If you hear of good or bad things happening to those you care for, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and get talking. An unexpected friendly gesture can not only cheer them up but will also make you feel happy. Once you learn the art of coping with the post-party syndrome, you will find yourself looking forward to more such good times!

Memory games to Jog Your Brains

Simple memory games and word building activities can help senior citizens stay mentally alert and challenged. Radha Prathi works with senior members at Nightingale’s Elders Enrichment Centre at Sanjay Nagar and writes about simple mental exercises for seniors.

As people grow older, memory often starts failing them and so do their motor skills. Medical science has proved that it is possible to prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease if we keep our brains exercised on a regular basis. While physical exercise helps the body, a daily dose of Sudoku or Crossword can do the needful for the mind. However not everyone can play these games for various reasons. They may simply not have the taste or knack for it, or may not be equipped with enough language or mathematical skills to play the same. Similarly, one may not have enough stamina or a conducive health condition to keep their hands flexible. Here are a few ideas to help the grey cells to exercise and to hone your motor skills while resting in an arm chair.

Word Building

Word Building is one of the oldest and commonest ways to learning words and their spellings. It also serves as a test of memory when played in large groups, because if a word is repeated then it will result in loss of points for the player. Usually, this activity needs at least two people to keep the game going and a little tweak can be added to it. It can be played in the written form, where you have to form a word chain on the principles of word building within a given time span. At the end of the session the chains could be evaluated by a friend or a member of the family in terms of rules, spelling and repetitions. The word chain could break at any point of time rendering the player with points as long as he/she maintains the chain. Keeping a score of the chains will see your points increasing magically over a period of time.

Family Tree

Sometimes family and friends may find it difficult to appreciate your oft repeated stories retold with great gusto. Nevertheless, they will be happy if you document the same stories for posterity and for the the extended family that is usually scattered across the globe these days. Jog your memory, take it back as far as you can and design a family tree. Pepper the characters with one or two well known anecdotes to make the person come alive. The exercise will involve getting in touch with people for procuring photographs, sharing memories and insights. This delightful project can not only help you spend your time in a pleasurable way but will also leave you with a sense of fulfillment for having done something productive. If you are computer savvy key in the details. If not, it is never too late to learn. S Thiagarajan, a veteran photographer featured in Silver Talkies, is creating his Family Tree at 97! You can too!


Make a list of all the places that you have lived in or visited right from the day you were born. Rummage your shelf for the atlas you had stowed away. Get hold of an outline map of our country or the world based on the region of your travel. Trace the journey of your life. If you want, you can make brief notes about the place and your personal impressions and memories associated with the place. It would turn out to be a fun exercise and you can involve your grandchildren too!

Thematic Vocabulary

Buy a nice new notebook. Write out a theme on alternate pages. The themes could be listing out fruits, vegetables, animals, birds, places, metals, colours, professions, subjects, and language or for that matter anything under the sun. Then jot down the names that come to your mind. Initially, you might be able to fill a few lines immediately. The challenge begins only when you start trying to recollect all those other words stored in the backburner of your memory. The same Thematic vocabulary can be converted into a multilingual task. This game can prove to be a reality check of finding out how many equivalents you know for Okra or Butterfly!

Name, Place, Animal, Thing

The game called Name, Place, Animal, Thing, which filled you with joy as a kid is perfectly capable of unfolding its magic once again. Play it with your gang of friends, correct each other’s books and have fun all over again. Just in case you have forgotten the rules of the game you can consult children in and around your home. Yes, children of Gen X also play this game occasionally.

Note down new words in a journal every day. Photograph courtesy:  Anonymedu43, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons


If taking a dictation of grocery and laundry list has bored you, take a dictation of a different sort. Tune into your spouse’s favourite soap when he or she is away and note down all the key dialogues and punctuate them with suitable emoticons. Try creating some of your own, who knows you might get a patent for it. This is also an opportunity to exercise you ability to write in vernaculars.

Movies and serials

Make a list of all the movies you have watched. Try to recall the story line, the artists, songs and memories associated with it and document them in the form of short essays. If you find that you are shortchanged for memory, it will prove to be a good excuse to watch the movie again.

These are but a few ideas to help a senior citizen keep failing memory at bay and keep their brain challenged. It could be suitably improvised and worked upon according to the needs and tastes of the individual or groups. The ideas suggested does not hold good only for a specific language. The task can be carried out in a language you are familiar with. If you spend half an hour on these exercises, you are sure to keep your mind sharp and occupied.



Tangram Fun

Tangram is an ancient Chinese puzzle consisting of seven geometric shapes cut out of a single sheet of square paper. Apart from providing fun as a game it is an interesting tool to familiarise children with geometrical shapes.

If you happen to be a student or teacher of geometry and you are finding it difficult to grasp or put across the properties of geometrical shapes respectively, perhaps playing an ancient game of Chinese origin will give you a fresh insight into some of the basic concepts of the subject.

The ones who do not belong to either category may find the absorbing brain game fascinating. For the readers who are still in the process of guessing the name of the game – here are a few leading clues.

Let us assume that you are given just one sheet of paper and no other item of stationery, are you likely to have fun besides being educated on the basics of geometry? Eight out of ten people are likely to experiment with your paper folding skills and make paper boats or boxes or any other model you are familiar while those who lack imagination are prone to simply tear the paper into little bits out of sheer frustration. If you have still not arrived at the answer, well, it is the “Tangram”.

Tangram is an ancient Chinese puzzle, consisting of 7 geometric shapes, cut out of a single sheet of square paper. It consists of five congruent triangles inclusive of two identical pairs along with one square and one parallelogram in all.
If you are under the impression that their lives must have been dreadfully boring for want of creativity and excitement then you are awfully wrong. These seven pieces kept people absorbed and occupied in an era sans any technical aid when they went on to compile images of people, animals, geometrical shapes and things in a hundred thousand ways. They followed some ground rules while playing the game. The seven pieces of the puzzle were always based on the same model, albeit in different proportions.

If you follow the instructions carefully and cut the paper along the lines of the picture illustrated, your basic puzzle will be ready in no time.

You will need a square sheet of paper – (any paper of any size will do) and a pair of scissors to see you through the exercise. Determine the sides as ABCD as shown in the figure to make the process easier. Fold the sheet diagonally along CB and cut the sheet into two equal triangles.

Take triangle ABC and fold it by half along OA and cut along the line to make two equal triangles. Now the first two pieces of the tangram are ready.

Take triangle BDC and fold the paper from point D in such a way that it touches the centre point of CB at O and cut out the triangle PQD.

Now you will be left with quadrilateral CBPQ on paper. Fold it by half at points OR, and cut it into two.

Work on quadrilateral ORBQ. Measure OR and consider it to be the length of the side of a square and cut out a square such that the other three sides also measure the same. You will find the remainder paper BYQ in the form of a triangle.

In the quadrilateral ORPC, place triangle BYQ and cut out a triangle ORX. This will leave parallelogram XRPC which will constitute to the seventh piece of the tangram.

Once you have all the seven pieces ready, it is important to remember the rules of the game.

*All the seven pieces must be ideally used while making a model.

*Extra puzzle pieces from another puzzle should not be used as it will defeat the wholeness of the game.

*If you want to create more than one model at a time, you can use pieces of another puzzle in its entirety.

*If you try out some of the models as shown in the pictures in column one it will serve as a launch pad to your creativity.

Though the rules of the game appear to be very constraining once the player imbibes them, nothing on earth can keep him from trying out new designs even if he only has a scrap of paper like a bus ticket on him.

Even mere babies attending Montessori and kindergarten classes can be introduced to the world of tangrams made of more durable material like unbreakable plastic or metals. Primary school students can be guided through the procedure of making a tangram by parents and teachers all the while helping them to get familiar with the features of geometrical shapes and the rules of playing the game.

Once you develop a fascination for the tangram puzzles, not only will you revel in the joys of geometry but will also be left wondering whether Shakespeare’s observation of Cleopatra when he said, “Age cannot wither her nor custom stale her infinite variety” could be true of tangrams too.