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Monday, 16 February 2015

Special Children's 3-days Camp to Wagoli in Pune

Last week I made a trip to Pune. My family owns a residential home for senior citizens at Wagoli, (near Jain College at Bakodi Phata) and there are many rooms still vacant, so this was a good opportunity to take the special children of Swami Brahmanand Prathisthan for a camp for three days. I went two days prior to their visit to make the arrangements.

35 children and 15 staff enrolled for this camp. I called up my cousins, who was very happy to help. They helped me arrange for a cook and helpers that would be required on hand, since it was not possible for us to take from Mumbai. Seven large rooms were prepared for their accommodations.

The main purpose was to make children's visit as comfortable as possible. “Give them the food that they don’t eat on regular basis.” Said my cousin excitedly. We spent many hours discussing menu and shopping for the things we would require. We tried different flavors of ice-creams. A dish with cottage cheese and chinese too was planned. The menu was planned, different meals each time that included snacks, vegetarian meals, ice creams, fruits and also desserts like Gulab Jamun( that my cousin popped into his mouth, (secretly) more than it was allowed  by his doctors)

The children just loved the food and came personally to my cousin to thank him for the delicious meals. 

There was much activity in the kitchen during those three days, many volunteered during preparation of food and making snack packets for outdoor trips. The gifts kept arriving as the news spread. I had to stop many people from distributing food items (cause there is limit to eating and couldn't risk stomach upset)

Children enjoyed their road trip from Mumbai to Pune, singing and dancing in the bus and yet when they arrived in Wagoli, they didn’t look tired. That same day they spend their evening at Chowki Dhani - a Rajasthani theme park that has various activities to keep people occupied such as pottery, drama, music, singing, dancing. There were different kinds of street food at regular interval and also proper Rajasthani food for dinner.

Children were most eager to take part in all activities

and prouldly posed with their tattooed arms

The staff enjoyed too, for camel rides and many other rides.

The next two days were spent visiting different temples. They visited all the gods during those two days, seeking blessing in every form.  It turned out to be spiritual camp. Because besides visiting different temples, they were also singing and dancing on spiritual hymns. 

They loved the temple activities and came back with beautiful designs done by the priest on their foreheads.

And of course..a group photo is a must

Next day evening was spent going to Sadhu Vaswani mission and then attending a bhajan session by group of visually handicapped children.

They played outdoor games in the ashram compound whenever they were free, they took part in the organized games during late evenings after dinner. I was amazed by their energy level.

The children showed great discipline and took part in all the activities. People who met them, showered much love on them and commented that they were well behaved, much more than normal children, cause none of them were shouting or quarrelling amongst each other. It was remarkable that each child help the weaker one and everybody was alert all times of the day…..

It was the most enjoyable camp.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Rangoli Design At Puducherry

On my first day to Puducherry, I passed by the Beach Road and was surprised to see the whole road filled with Rangoli designs. There were more than 200 rangoli designs on the road. I was informed that the Rangoli competition was held during early hours of the morning whereby 200 people had participated in this event. I thought I would walk, later during the day and look closely at each design but by evening they had all disappeared. People had walked all over them.

Rangoli (also known as kolam) is the folk art, normally the geometrical designs made on the floor with colored sand, turmeric, sindoor (vermillion), rice powder and sometimes flowers too. It is normally done at the entrance of the house. It is considered very auspicious and believed to bring good luck and repel the evil from entering the house. It also has a soothing effect on the nerves and when made at the entrance of the house, it creates positive vibrations.

Some of the designs that I was able to capture from my moving car….

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