Thursday, October 20, 2011

Epigraphy Class inauguration on Oct 2nd 2011

We had an encouraging number of students from various walks of life registering themselves as students for the third batch of class on Tamil epigraphy, and 8 of them braving the ordeals of time management of doing the advance course in epigraphy, learning 'Grantha'! 30 plus was the final figure for the Tamil epigraphy class!

The inauguration was at Ramakrishna Mission school, at Dandapani street, off. Burkit Rad, T.Nagar on October 2nd.

being Gandhi Jayanthi we had invited students from the nearby Thakkar Baba Vidyalaya, students who are taught Gandhian philosophy, to render the invocation, but sadly, they didn't turn up! May be they were busy in the function in their own school!

We had student - member Mrs. Janaki coming to our aid and singing the Saraswathi song for invocation.

As usual Dr Satyamurthy's welcome address was a thought provoking lecture cum invitation, which made our chief guest sit up and listen carefully.

Swami Yathunatha Nanda of RK Mutt graced the occasion and delivered his blessing lecture.

The Chief guest eloquent speech in Tamil was the high light of the day. He elaborately spoke in length the various names he had deciphered from the sangam literature linking them with those of Harappa finds and insisted that knowledge on language, its script and then site excavations threw new light on the longevity of the Tamil age, proving beyond doubt in ancient nature and insisted that the sangam literature were not mere literature but the history etched well in time, for us to research out more.

Epigraphy teacher Ramachandran was again at his best, bringing out various quotes from various sangam literature as well as epigraphs and reinforced Mr. Balakrishnan's idea.

The students were enthralled to be amidst an an august, learned gathering and were sure that the classes to commence would enrich their knowledge further.

The surprise package for the day was introduction of Mr. Vinoth Rajan, done by PRO J. Chandrasekaran, the teacher for grantha classes! Even though he was absent on the inauguration day, it was revealed that Mr. Vinod was an I.T guy, 26 year old wiz-kid who had specialized the unicoding and scripting various Indian fonts and putting them on the global net map! Writing various scripts for him is a child's play. When we tried to get a teacher for Grantha, most of them 60 plus, they denied travelling or making upto the classes every week end. Vinod turned up as saviour when PRO Chandra requested him to take the grantha classes and now it is learnt from the students that the next 2 Sundays were met with good response from the Grantha students, as they were happy to freely discuss with their young teacher and shred their inhibitions of learning a language so late in their lives!

Thanks Vinoth Rajan for making it sound easy to them!

The photos of the inauguration are here for us to see.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

World tourism day 29th August 2011

Thanks dear ITDC, Tourist guide federation and the kids from Thiruthandalam, you made us feel that we are really close to our motto of making the rural villagers getting educated on heritage (Rural education And Conservation of Heritage is our real long name, which is abbreviated to R.E.A.C.H !)

It was really a memorable day for many NGOs and organizations like us.

ITDC wanted to spend the world tourism day in an useful manner and Mr.P.Asoka called us to put the plan in action.
He asked, can we bring in some children to go around Chennai, in 5-6 hours time?

I said, "Why not? but not city bread children, but children from Rural village who might not even crossed the highway from their village!"

"Great" he exclaimed. Said, "Chanrda bring them to ITDC office on 29th August, World tourism day. ITDC will sponsor the bus, we will pay for the lunch and you may..."we'll pay for their tickets," I promised without a second thought!

I called upon Tree Natesan of exnora, to help me out scouting the right school and children. Government high school from Thiruthandalam, responded positively, thanks to their correspondent. He arranged the exams running concurrently for another day and managed to send the kids from 8th standard. He said, This is a life time opportunity for the kids! I couldn't resist," he said. He came all the way to Koyambedu, the point of drop and pick up, we have committed to Parveen Travelks, who had sent the bus at the behest of ITDC. Mr. Gopal of ITDC was in constant touch. So was Mr.Asoka, the Tourist Federation president, even though he was on a tour. Natesan, , me and the correspondent of the school Mr.Ramachandran, gave a real test for the connectivity of all the mobiles in odd hours!

The D-Day came and the well behaved kids from the village landed spot at the Koyambedu bus stand. After few moments of silence and hesitation, they were on full throttle once the flagging of the bus was over! Songs, dance and discussing frantically among themselves, they seemed to enjoy and grasp what best they could. Mrs. Esther Rani from the federation was an able guide and many were asking her who know her in the museum, "What did you leave you job and join as a teacher?".

I had announced some prizes for the kids for writing an essay or a poem, painting a scene etc. after they reach their homes. I promised them that after their exam holidays, I would make a sudden trip to their school and check the entries and give them away the prizes. That turned out to be more challenging as they posed questions to me and got answers. In museum, Mr. Balu the senior curator had arranged from a nearby canteen some 'spicy' food, for which the tourist' federation footed the bill and after the Egmore museum, it was the wish of the Correspondent that they be shown the Birla science planetarium. After the planetarium visit, all children demanded a visit to the beach. Looking into the paucity of time and that they had to reach their village as early as possible, I took them to the nearest Besant Nagar beach, from the planetarium at Kotturpuram. They were thrilled and all proudly pulled out their pocket money (most of the parents had given Rs.100/- to each kid!) to buy some eatables in the beach. They shouted when they dipped their feet in the water, till their voices turned hoarse! Back, with loads of memories, they made themselves happy and of course all who made this day possible, a happy one too.!


J. chandrasekaran

The pictures are here for you to see