Posts Tagged ‘iimb’

Theatre Review: “Credit Titles” by Bangalore Little Theatre, Bangalore International Centre, 210719

July 22, 2019

It was like a rare alignment of the planets: several factors come together to pull me out of my usual Ranga Shankara ambit for watching a play.

I had not been to visit Bangalore International Centre, which opened a while ago in Domlur; Bangalore Little Theatre, as part of their “VP 80” festival, was staging “Credit Titles”; the play, written by Vijay Padaki, whose 80th birthday the festival marks, was based on a story by Vinod Vyasulu, an eminent economist whom I’ve known for a long time, as our daughters share a cose friendship dating from 1988. And last but not least, my friend Raji Hari was going to see the 3.30pm show on Saturday, July 20, 2019. So off I went to visit the Centre, and watch the play.

The Centre is a beautifully constructed building, full of indoor/outdoor spaces, airy rooms and several levels of areas that can be hired and used for many purposes; I even enjoyed the plants and trees there. Perhaps because it is still new, there was no canteen open for us to get a snack or a coffee before after the play. This is the second time my friend and I are attending a play at a venue where no food and snacks are available; it does make a difference to our theatre experience if, at the end of a long drive to see a play, we cannot have even a cup of coffee or tea before after it.

The 180-seat auditorium, an even more intimate space than Ranga Shankara, was well-appointed, and seemed to have excellent acoustics; we settled down to watch the play. I must mention here that at no other venue except Ranga Shankara have I attended productions that start on time. On this day, too, the play started twenty minutes late, with an apology for the delay.

The play has an interesting background; I will dwell on it here,because it involves another famous Bangalore institution. Both Prof Vinod Vyasulu and Vijay Padaki were colleagues at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and published work together, combining development economics and behavioural sciences. When Prof. Vyasulu wrote a short story about the question of intellectual property rights, mentioning that the Dunkel Draft international agreement might well be called the “Darkness Draft” because poor countries seemed to be in the dark about what such an agreement entailed, he asked Prof Padaki to convert it into a play. This was done, and the play submitted to the Hindu competition, recently instituted, for contemporary play scripts. Months later came the news that the play had won the award.

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The cradle of contention.

The play deals with one of several important issues arising from the Dunkel Draft. It isthe ethical-legal question of patenting life forms. In other words: who does life belong to? A couple has a baby using modern technological methods, but the question remains about this DTT (Designer Test Tube) baby…whose baby is it? The prospect of high revenue from this baby, whose genes have been customised for intelligence and success, leads several people to clamour for a share in the pie; a judge has to adjudicate in a matter where the social and the legal aspects overlap and intersect.

The scenes depicting the various issues developing around the “issue” ( a pun on both the child and the issues that his birth bring about) were well done, and there were many moments of both humour and deeper meaning. The dialogues were very meaningful. The cast brought out the ethical issues well, through the narrative, which goes from the couple’s home, where a maid takes an active role in their lives, to the doctor’s clinic, to the court of law where everyone noisily demands a share in the child. At last comes the 18-year-old human being, Vijayendra, himself, and the denouement occurs.

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The sutradharini with the technological miracle baby.

The stage design was quite elaborate, with several screens, and parts of the stage depicting the couple’s home, outdoor spaces, and the law court. Several wooden boxes, painted black, served as seats, or turned into the judge’s bench in a versatile conversion. A deck of cards, with a card game proceeding, brought others of the cast into the action. There was a lot of self-referential dialogue, with the sutradhar being changed into a “sutradharini”, with a male sidekick for a change; they, too, wove in and out of the story, commenting on the development of the play as it proceeded. As is usual in such cases, the couple who wants a baby also consults a godman; the religious, spiritual, ritualistic and scientific steps to conceive a baby went hand in hand.

The sound design was the best part of the play. The acoustics in the auditorium were excellent, and the dialogue was clearly audible (alas, so were the occasional fluffs!) The audience had no difficulty on this front.

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Much happens over a game of cards.

The lighting design did have some loopholes. Though, for the most part, the action of the play, and the characters taking it forward, were properly highlighted, there were times when the strong lights left a character’s face in shadow, even when that character was speaking. This is something that can be rectified by a member of the lighting crew sitting in the auditorium and watching the light effects carefully.

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The godman and the supplicant.

The costume design was excellent. Contemporary clothing, with ethnic wear for the sutradhars, sarees for the women and both formal and informal wear for the men, conveyed a sense of both the everyday nature and the earnestness of the topic at hand. Intellectual property rights may be decided in the refined heights of think-tank towers, but it is everyday people that they affect.

The placement, and removal, of various props (especially the black-painted wooden boxes) did take a little time, and though it did slow down the play, probably, with practice, this can be streamlined.

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All concerned demanding their legal rights.

In all, it was a production that has much promise; with some more rehearsals, and streamlining, it can be a lay that brings home to the audience the ethical and moral dilemmas that accompany today’s modern scientific and technological developments, and asks, in telling terms, what these mean in human terms. Can parenting be subject to patenting as well? is the question that the play raises.

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The 18-year-old Designer Test Tube baby with the two sutradhars.

Credit Titles, by Bangalore Little Theatre
Language: English, with occasional Hindi.
Story: Vinod Vyasulu
Playwright: Vijay Padaki
Direction: Archana Kariappa, Murtuza Khetty
Sound Design: Murtuza Khetty
Lighting: Murtuza Khetty ,Abhishek S.
Backstage: Aditya Nair, S Venkatesh
Makeup: Minti Jain
Cast:
Lalee/Laluram: Guruprerana Shabadi
Leela/Leelamma: Rashmi Vadavi
Ratna Kumar: Brinda Nair
Prabhat Kumar: Sanjeev Gadre
Mira Arora: Divya Krishna
Dr Ram Kapoor: Naveen Tater
Swami Anantanand: Anish Abraham
Judge: Shailesh Rudra
Vijendra Kumar: Jayaditya Parakh
Duration: I hr 20min, without interval
Tickets: Rs.200

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Cast taking a bow after the performance.

All photos by Deepa Mohan.

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Campus Bird Count, IIMB, 170219

February 21, 2019

Many of us who use eBird have observed the past four days (15, 16, 17 and 18 Feb, ’19) for two bird-counts: the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) and the Campus Bird Count, both of which took place all over the world.

Experts like Suhel and Praveen can give you a very good overall picture of how these two counts went, all over India; at my (amateur) level, I can confidently say that the three southern States of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu have had a lot of birders uploading lists from various spots and campuses. The most remote spot I’ve seen a bird list being uploaded from is Mizoram, in the north-east.

The campus I’d chosen to conduct a bird count at, for the past few years, is that of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, on Bannerghatta Road.

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After a terror attack several years ago, the campus had been closed to visitors other than those who had business or educational appointments. I would like to credit Prof. Shainesh of IIMB, who is a keen birder, along with his wife Leena, for opening the doors to various walks: trees, butterflies…and birds! I would also like to thank Dr Selvarajan Rajeshwaran and Vidhya Sundar, who first introduced me to IIMB, and have kept up both the IIMB and our personal friendships!

This year, the decision was made to let the Environment and Nature Society (ENS) a student organization, to take the major role in organizing the event. On the morning of 17th Feb ’19, about a dozen of us, amateur birders, entered the campus, and met Pradeep Kumar, of the ENS, who had passed the word around to students and residents at the campus. Prof. Shainesh and Leena were also there, and I was pleasantly surprised to see some second-year students who, after celebrating their placements in the corporate world, yet found time to wake up early and join the walk. I was equally happy to find some of the faculty, such as Prof. Jayaram Uparna, attending. The acquaintances made during such events are a big plus for me!

We started with the two Coral trees (Palash, Butea monosperma) trees that are now in full bloom. Rose-ringed Parakeets, Brahminy and Chestnut-tailed Starlings, House and Jungle Crows, Purple-rumped Sunbirds and Pale-billed Flowerpeckers, Spotted Doves and the lone swooping Ashy Drongo…they thronged the flowers on the trees, and we spent quite a bit of time watching all of them having a breakfast feast, sprinkling the ground below the trees with fallen flowers as a result. Meanwhile we also recorded several kinds of waterfowl, such as Black-crowned Night Herons, Little and Great Cormorants, flying overhead, heading from one lake to another.

As we moved on, the many trees and the leaf clutter yielded a variety of woodland birds, too. Cinereous Tits, and some warblers appeared. We were able to let the others listen to the calls of the White-cheeked and Coppersmith Barbets, and explain how the Drongos can imitate other bird calls.

One highlight was seeing a Shikra couple bringing in twigs repeatedly, and beginning their nest high up in a tree.

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The onlookers could hear the difference between the call of the Shikra and the other common raptors of the Bangalore skies, the Black and the Brahminy Kites.

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White-cheeked Barbet eating the fruit of the Jungli Jilebi

Almost at the end of the walk, there was an unexpected delight waiting….the white ribbons of the Paradise Flycatcher, as it flitted amongst the mango trees and the faculty quarters, delighting everyone! Praveen caught an Asian Brown Flycatcher on camera, too.

Even though it was a bird count, we could not ignore other living beings. IIMB has greened the campus which was just barren some decades ago; trees like the Jungli Jilebi (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pithecellobium_dulce) the South American trees like the Golden Trumpet Flower (Tacoma aurea), the Rain Tree (Samanea saman), the Moulmein Rosewood

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… which were once upon a time imported, but have “settled down” very well on Indian soil, and our “native” trees like the Neem ( Azadirachta indica), the various kinds of Ficus (including Peepal and Banyan) the Mango (Mangifera indica), and the Silk Cotton (Bombax ceiba) were all noted. A Calabash tree ( Crescentia cujete) had its balloon-like shiny fruits on show. We noted how many birds enjoyed frequenting the Singapore Cherry ( Muntingia calabura).

Six-footers also came in for their share of attention, especially at the flower beds, where several butterflies were nectaring and also sunning. Bees such as the common honey bee (Apis dorsata) and the Blue-banded Bee (Amegilla cingulata, also an “import” from Australia, like the Eucalyptus trees!) were busy with pollen and pollination, and occasionally fell prey to some of the birds.

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We finally wound up our bird count, after a couple of the participants sighted the resident Spotted Owlets, though we could not see the Barn Owls that are regularly heard.

ENS very hospitably gave us a lovely breakfast,

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and we dispersed, very happy at having spent a productive morning, and at the same time,being able to contribute some data in the name of citizen science.

We thank IIMB, once again, for the opportunity.The campus is now a green oasis in an increasing-by-the-day concrete jungle, and the two points of view always remain as questions: Would there be more birds in this oasis because of the greenery, or would the fragmentation of the green cover reduce the number of birds? Data that such events help to provide, will give the ornithologists a clearer picture over a period of years.

The eBird list is at

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S52805810

45+ species in an urban oasis, in the middle of a concrete jungle, where trees are being chopped down daily, is a great count indeed!

Butterflies:

Awl, Common Banded
Blue, Gram
Blue, Pea
Blue, Zebra
Brown, Common Evening
Castor, Common
Cerulean,Common
Crow, Common
Eggfly, Danaid

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Emigrant, Common
Jezebel, Common
Judy, Suffused Double-banded
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Leopard, Common
Lime, Common
Orange-tip, White
Pansy, Chocolate
Pansy, Lemon
Rose, Common
Skipper, Indian Grizzled
Tiger, Blue
Tiger, Plain

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Yellow, Common Grass
Yellow, Three-spot Grass

Looking forward to reports from other campuses and ‘backyards’,

Deepa.

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December 24, 2016

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Here’s the stunning-looking

Torch Ginger

which, in the gathering dusk of a winter evening, certainly lived up to its name.

The scientific name of this plant is Etlingera elatior, which, frankly, I am never going to remember, so I’m putting it down here. This is a star attraction on the campus of

Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore

where I’d gone to conduct a birding/nature “walk-talk” for the faculty and their families.

The showy pink flowers are used in decorative arrangements, but the plant is also used in several cuisines. In North Sumatra (especially in Karo tribe), the flower buds are used for a stewed fish is called Arsik ikan mas (Andaliman/Szechuan pepper-spiced carp). In Bali, people use the white part of the bottom trunk for cooking a chilli sauce called “Sambal Bongkot”, and use the flower buds to make a chilli sauce called “Sambal Kecicang”. In Thailand, it is eaten in a kind of Thai salad preparation.

The plant, says the wiki entry, has the highest antioxidant and antibacterial properties amongst the five species of Etlingera.

Well, I didn’t feel the need to eat this beautiful flower…I was content to photograph it and capture its beauty.

Colour and photography…

January 28, 2012

Been gallivanting as usual….Lalbagh on the 25th morning, to Gulakmale on the 26th, to Bannerghatta JLR on the 27th, to volunteer with 48 children from Vidya Niketan, Bangalore…. it’s been a wonderful time.

Here is an image of a push-cart seller from Lalbagh:

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And this one, with a shaft of sunlight:

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On the night of the 25th, I also went to “Yamini”, an all-night music and dance festival at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. Here’s a photograph of light percolating through the smoke of the mosquito-repellents:

smoke iimb 250112

In the dark, I got the colours of this Bougainvillea because of some back-lighting:

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I enjoy colours very much…and unexpected effects on my MLC!

Double Rainbow

September 15, 2008

You’re feeling down and out.You feel old.
There’s a storm about.You feel cold.
The storm clouds mass;the showers come to pass.
Suddenly, in the shrouds of grey rainclouds–
A rainbow in the sky! No…there are two!
Science can tell you why….but who
Wants to know why? Do you?
A rainbow is like life:
Full of both happiness and strife.
When there is both sun and rain,
Both happiness and pain,
There is no black and white–
Only the prism show
Of the rainbow.
When the rain is stronger, and the sun,
The rainbow comes along with another one:
A little dimmer, not as bright.
A wonderful sight.
Pain and happiness together
Bring the rainbow of Life’s weather.
Make the colours, seven-hued,
That lift the heart when they are viewed.
All I know
Is that I am lucky that my day…has a rainbow.

April 5, 2007

I was waiting for amoghavarsha to send me the pictures that I took with his camera, but I see he has already posted them to his photosite, so here goes:

On Sunday, 1st April, I got a call from Amogh that he would be giving a talk at BarCamp3 …the topic being, “Connect! Conserve!”

On this date, I was rather wary about making the trip to IIM-B and having my face blackened…but I was sufficiently convinced about the talk really happening, and I went across.

As I walked into the “Society Tech” hall, I found a most interesting discussion going on about e-governance in Karnataka. Predictably, the discussion ran on a little longer than originally scheduled, and then Amogh began his talk.

Here he is, with jace setting it up (how many Macbooks can you spot in this picture? That’s a question for noelladsa!)

It was short, but telling; he spoke of how the internet has brought information to everyone’s homes in the flash of a second, and how this could be used to further the cause of conservation. He showed several of the superb photographs that he has taken in the course of his travels; and discussed how, when people become aware of the wonders of Nature around them, they become quite committed to the cause of conservation.

Here he is, making a point and getting the right slide to do it with:

Everyone was very impressed with the examples he chose; but more than anything else, they loved the photographs. When he finished, someone remarked, “We have a few minutes more…can you show us some more of your snaps?” And he obliged!

Here’s part of the audience, listening intently:

When I often see young people who seem more interested in pubs, brands and malls, it is a refreshing change to see others, who have developed creative pursuits in spite of a demanding career…and take the time to motivate those around them similarly. Experiencing Nature and documenting her beauties for others to share…a worthwhile passion indeed.