Magadi Days

On Boti Betta

Many of the frequented rock assemblies in our vicinity have been named by CFL children. It doesn’t take very long before a “new” haunt gets “named”. And whatever the name and however clear or curious its association with a place, the name comes to stay.

So nearby we have Cake Rock and Caterpillar Rock and Owl Rock. On the northern horizon, almost always in view, lies Bermuda Triangle. Also to the north is Mallige Betta, with its wild jasmine. These landmark rocks are often destinations for walks.

Boti Betta or Boti-like rock rises abruptly up from the scrubby land. A scramble up brings you to a lovely table top. Here you will find small rock pools, clumps of grass, ferns tucked under rock faces and a cold breeze. It is a lovely perch from which you can gaze out far in all directions. The story goes that while on a walk, children were munching tube shaped crisps called “botis”. They climbed up this yet un-named rock and decided to call it Boti Betta.

Our eleven and twelve year-old Palashas recently spent a long morning on Boti Betta. Most of the time was theirs to spend as they pleased. They had prepared a picnic breakfast, which they graciously served. They then convened in a circle to play a silent a game on the rocktop, séance-like.

And then they dispersed to their own spots from where they sketched, holding their pieces of paper down, lest they fly away.

Savandurga, our elephantine monolith, loomed in the southwest. It was named before our time. Its name is said to have various origins. One suggestion is that it was named after the Vijaynagara governor, Samantdurga. Another thought is that the artist Robert Home, who drew this rock from a distance in 1794, named it Savinadurga, fort of death.

Our Palashas, as they sat in their silent circle on Boti Betta, were beautifully placed against all of these Ancient Rocks: Mallige Betta, Bermuda Triangle and Savandurga.

~ Diba

The Tamalas In The Magadi Goat Market

On a cool billowy Friday morning, the Tamalas, our ten year-olds, found themselves in the midst of goats and sheep and vans and people, dodging mud puddles at the Weekly Animal Bazaar.

This was the final trip as part of their Magadi History Project. The earlier trips had been to successively larger settlements, starting with Varadenhalli, where CFL is located and then to Motaganahalli, a village of a thousand homes, ten minutes by road. The visits had given the children a chance to look and listen and to gain a sense of lives around us. Back at school, they recounted their time. They talked aloud about what they had seen and learned. They classified their observations into groups such as homes, water, animals, work. They asked questions about each group, they compared aspects of the two villages. They asked themselves about change in this area in the last fifty years. They wrote down their descriptions, comparisons and theories.

The Magadi Trip was dramatic. It was Friday Market Day. The streets were full. Vegetable sellers sitting on the roadside, goat muzzles on the pavement, chickens and ducks packed into a tight coop. Potsellers, flower sellers. And the Friday Goat Market, on the vast premises of Kempegowda’s Fort grounds. After being in this busy midst, we spent a quiet half an hour at the peaceful Someshwara temple. We have been here over the years, and this time, it was heartening to see that it is now under the care of the Karnataka Archaeology Department.

The children came away both with very graphic observations and descriptions as well as with questions. Here is a sampling:

You don’t have to grow lots of vegetables to sell them. You can set up a small vegetable stall on a plastic sheet and sell what you have.

How can you tell how deep a step well is? Oh, you can just look at it and follow the slope of the steps all the way down.

Why do people sell goats? And what do people do with the goats they buy? They need the money. But people who buy goats also need the money. They can sell the goats again, they can sell the milk. They can wait for more baby goats and sell those.

The artists who carved the sculptures at the Someshwara temple were both very skilled and very patient.

Apart from being in the midst of goats and flowers and earthen pots, the children saw that even a very small farmer, who may grow vegetables behind her house, can set up a small shop on the pavement. They found out, to their surprise, that the vegetables we eat and school come from these very Magadi angadis, big and small.

~ Diba

CFL Newsletter 2014

It seems so very trite to state that we humans approach our world with moral stances. Obviously, these stances, or rather nuggets of attitudes, moral tastes, make up the very core of our being. Philosophers have argued over the ages that they constitute the essence of what it means to be human. Yet our moral anchors are also deeply problematic. When my sense of what is right clashes with yours, in any realm, conflict ensues. Moral anchors can be interpreted as what may bind us together within communities, but also, and to a greater extent, what divides us as nations, religions, castes and ultimately as individuals.

Read about this and more, in our latest newsletter, Issue 20!

Banana Fibre Workshop

The middle schoolers from Varadenahalli school and CFL were happy participants in a banana fibre workshop. Friends from Sirsi:  Vidya, Nirmala and Premila, conducted the workshop. In Sirsi, they are part of an organization, Chetana, which works with children and young adults with special needs. Six adults at Chetana have taught around thirty young people the art of making stationery and boxes with waste paper and banana fibre.

Together, they spend the day in song, movement and craft. We were all impressed by the precision and neatness of the work and the finish. Our younger ones insisted on attending assembly, the next day, with their lovely banana boxes by their sides.

~ Diba

Reading Between The Lines

DSC_8010-150x150Three teachers from Swami Vivekananda youth movement, Ramkumar, Mr. Lohith and Mr. Ravi, visited CFL in mid-July. They work at the Viveka School of Excellence in Sargur and the Viveka Tribal Centre of Learning in Hosahalli. They came with an interest in learning about CFL’s Open Library. They interacted with many teachers and almost accidentally, found themselves befriended by a group of 11 and 12 year-olds.

Ramkumar’s recounts the evening with the children:

             We visited CFL to learn about the functioning of the CFL Open Library. On our first evening, we had a chance to meet a group of 12 year-old students, members of the Palasha Group. We sat together in front of their hostel and had a long conversation. It began outside, with the children enquiring about our school and our students. When they heard that we have 500 children in each of our schools, they wanted to know more. What language do your children speak? How far do they have to walk or travel to come to school? What happens in your school? Why are you visiting CFL? The children’s curiosity and interest set the platform for our conversation. As it began to drizzle, we moved into the hostel. The exchange continued. The children told us about the CFL library, about how it functions. We learned that they use the library on their own. They borrow and return books and make entries on a regular basis. We talked about the conversations they have about the books they have read and about the questions that arise. The children told us about recent books they have read. These included English books and comics and Kannada novels. I asked the children what they discuss amongst themselves, after they have read books. One child responded by saying that they are trying to “read between the lines”. I was a bit puzzled and asked them to explain. They had a variety of answers, such as: It is important to read what is not visible. I was convinced that these are serious readers who seek information beyond the text. Each of them understand the perspectives of authors in their own way.

Fantastic Funny Flip Friends

Flip-bookHere is a flip book made by our seven to nine year-olds as part of a Library Project.

There are innumerable ways of opening this book. Each page may have three authors and three illustrators.  You can actually compose your own page!

Here are some of the one-sentence accounts you may find:

Kaki the happy white and brown monkey
laughed so loud that she fell off the tree branch on
grey wonder rock.

Fantastic Funny Flip FriendsLarge eyed Lata, the slow slender loris
Laughed so loud that she fell off the tree branch
In the pond filled with mosquito larvae and frogs.

Tilley the cucumber-eating goat
Walks around
In the lush green gardens around the
Junior School at C.F.L.
In Varadenahalli.

Come find a story sentence in Fantastic Funny Flip Friends, now on the Library Projects shelf in our Library!

Diba