City’s landmarks in sketches

Exhibition of sketches and paintings by T.C.Rajan ‘Reminisence of My City’ in Ganesam, Thycadu in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. | Photo Credit: S.GOPAKUMAR

ISRO official T. C. Rajan has put up 30 sketches of iconic buildings of the city

Sketches of some of the most iconic structures in the city attest to the State capital’s rich tradition and culture.

Artist T.C. Rajan has captured the beauty of many a landmark building in his sketches in Indian ink that are on display at an exhibition at Ganesam, Thycaud.

Padmanabhaswamy temple, Kuthiramalika, VJT hall, Napier Museum, Central station, Cliff House, LMS church, Kowdiar Palace…all of these come alive in Mr. Rajan’s works.

A senior project assistant (Accounts) at the Indian Space Research Organisation, Mr. Rajan has put up 30 sketches and 18 paintings at the exhibition, his 50th.

It took him almost an year to get the works ready. “I wanted to capture the beauty of different parts of the city. There are many changes happening, and I wanted the future generation to know how the city was.” he says.

Wherever he was denied access, he sketched using photographs. For instance, for the sketch of the Kowdiar Palace, he was presented with a photograph showing an overhead view of the palace, and drew it from that. For Kuthiramalika, he received special sanction and was able to sketch the structure.

Eighteen of his oil and acrylic works are also on display. These too capture the beauty of places such as Chirayinkeezhu, where often it gets obscured by filth. He says he is constantly experimenting.

The use of various colours to depict water in his painting of children on a beach come from years of experience, he says.

Director of the Kerala Chitrakala Parishad, he has also been conducting painting camps for Soorya for years.

A national basketball player, Mr. Rajan has been drawing since he was a child. On spotting his talent, his father used to take him to various exhibitions. Even when he was pursuing sports, he kept alive the connection with art. Though he never learnt painting formally, he learnt from taking part in various camps conducted by the Lalithakala Akademi and from interactions with artistes having different styles.

On of the most memorable moments in his life has been the portrait he presented to the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam when he came to ISRO. “He was not President then. He then wrote me a letter asking me to draw Veli and ISRO together. I drew that and presented it to him when he visited ISRO after becoming President. He then wrote me an appreciation letter for the work,” he says.

He recently drew a 6 ft portrait of Vikram Sarabhai that has been displayed at ISRO.

Mr. Rajan mostly paints landscape, his travels inspiring him to paint nature in all its glory. Contemporary issues such as problems faced by children also find expression in his works. “The challenge in such a work is to present it in such a way that viewers understand it, even if it is abstract,” he says.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by R.K. Roshni / Thiruvananthapuram – November 17th, 2017

A fitting tribute for a master playwright


The year-long birth centenary celebrations of renowned playwright and critic C J Thomas had an apt beginning in the capital city on Wednesday, with the city-based theatre group Natyagruham staging CJ’s masterpiece ‘Aa manushyan nee thanne’ (You are that man).

Natyagruham theatre group stages C J Thomas’s masterpiece ‘Aa manushyan nee thanne’ at VJT Hall in T’puram on Wednesday

The staging of CJ’s drama written in 1955 and depicting the sinful love between Biblical King David and Bathsheba, at the VJT Hall, also marked the 36th anniversary of city-based theatre group – ‘Natyagruham’ – which has promised a series of events for another year to celebrate CJ’s birth centenary.

Directed by S Sajanachandran and with Pradeep Ayiroopara as the art director, this most popular drama by CJ, which broke all conventional dramaturgy, was staged before an enlightened audience comprising both youngsters and those from older generations. Taking the theatre beyond realism, CJ had tried to satirize the vulgarity of human response to others’ sufferings through this work.

Time calls for reviving the writers and artists of yesteryears for whom the art remained a life-long passion, said Malayalam writer George Onakkoor, who inaugurated the launching event. “CJ was a miracle, both as a human being and as a playwright. He enriched the language, the society and culture during the short span of his life (CJ had died in 1960 at the age of 42),” said Onakkoor, who had also penned a biography on CJ – ‘Manalkaattinte Sabdam’ (The voice of sandstorm).

Besides elaborating on other works of CJ including ‘Avan veendum varunnu’ (1949) and ‘1128-il crime 27’ (1954) Onakkoor also remembered CJ as a man inspired by revolutionary ideas and recalled his great contributions to modern literary movements in the state. “With a prophetic voice, he traversed this world ahead of his time,” he said.

Natyagruham chairman Prof Aliyar, who presided over the ceremony, said CJ’s works had passed the test of time. “The drama ‘Aa manushyan nee thanne’, had been staged only on a few occasions in Thiruvananthapuram or elsewhere in the state. However, this masterpiece is still relevant to be staged for the contemporary audience,” he said. tnn

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Thiruvananthapuram News / TNN / November 16th, 2017

Kritya International Poetry Festival begins

CM inaugrates Kritya International Poetry Festival on Thursday


Kerala stands out from other states in the country for its tradition, said poet and critic Ashok Vajpeyi. He was delivering the presidential address at the Kritya International Poetry Festival at Bharat Bhavan on Thursday.

“Kerala organizes international events like Biennale and short film and documentary festivals and here tradition, orthodoxy, innovation and boldness co-exist. It is important that the state maintains this tradition at a time when voices of dissent are being supressed,” said Vajpeyi, managing trustee, Raza Foundation.

Organized in association with Raza Foundation, New Delhi, the three-day festival was inaugurated by the CM. The eleventh edition of the festival pays tribute to late poet O N V Kurup.

Pinarayi Vijayan said that poetry was a torch during the dark ages. “Writers fall victim to religious fundamentalism even in this millennia. Secular values, scientific temper and rational thinking are threatened by communal forces and fascists. The attempt is to stifle dissenting voices, but we should reaffirm that we stand by secular values till our last breath. Progressive writers, poets and dramatists became the torch bearers of the great social and cultural renaissance of Kerala,” said Vijayan.

The function was attended by Turkish poet Ataol Behramoglu, Estonian poet Doris Kareva, managing director of Poetry International Rotterdam Bas Kwakman, poet Prabha Varma and member secretary of Bharat Bhavan Pramod Payyanur.

Poets from Estonia, Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, Canada, Egypt, Mongolia, South Africa, Botswana, Belgium and Wales and Indian poets will recite their poems in the festival. The festival will conclude on November 11.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News>  Thiruvananthapuram News / TNN / November 10th, 2017

Amid ruins stands the last king of Travancore

Chennai :

Conflict among Hindus, divided by caste, over the right to worship their preferred deity can be found all over modern Indian history. But at the height of Indian independence struggle,  the last Maharaja of Travancore,  Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama  Varma, stunned the rest of the country with a royal proclamation.

The decree, issued on November 12, 1936, removed restrictions on dalit entry to Hindu temples. The announcement had a profound impact on the Madras Presidency, where despite the efforts of Dravidar Kazhagam founder Periyar E V Ramasamy entry for dalits into temples was still not a reality.

Three years later, to commemorate the radical declaration, a statue of Chithira Thirunal was erected near Esplanade Road. Funded by public subscription, the statue was sculpted by M S Nagappa, then the official sculptor to the British Crown. On October 28, 1939, then Governor of Madras Lord John Erskine unveiled the statue.

“It is the only statue erected for a king in Chennai,” said historian R Venkatesh. A park around the statue was taken up for Broadway bus terminus expansion, leaving the statue exposed to the elements. The Travancore royal passed away in 1991, and a few years later the statue was shifted to the Sree Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple in Gandhi Nagar, Adyar by well-wishers.

Today, 81 years since the decree, the statue stands among discarded materials in the corner of the temple premise, having lost its place and significance in transition. “The Maharaja’s decree brought out reformist tendencies in Hindus. It is another thing that the decree did not find favour among dalit leaders like Ambedkar and Rettamalai Srinivasan who only saw it as an appeasement, and not a solution,” said political commentator D Ravikumar.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Chenna News / by Pradeep Kumar / TNN / November 14th, 2017

Biennale founders among ‘Power 100’

They first entered the list in 2015

Artists Riyas Komu and Bose Krishnamachari, founders of the Kochi Muziris Biennale (KMB), have figured on the list of 100 most influential people in the world of art for the third year in a row.

The ‘Power 100’ is an annual ranking compiled by the Art Review magazine on the world’s topmost contemporary artists and influential figures. Mr. Komu and Mr. Krishnamachari have been placed 84th on the list that includes Chinese artist Ai WeiWei, who participated in the first edition of the KMB in 2012; Germany’s Wolfgang Tillman; French conceptual artist Pierre Huyghe; Hans Ulrich Obrist, the artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries; Bernard Arnault, founder of the Foundation Louis Vuitton; and Italian fashion house designer Miuccia Prada.

Two more Indians

Germany’s artist-as-theorist Hito Steyerl heads the 2017 ranking which only has two other Indian entries: the Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective (39) founded by Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, and well-known art collector Kiran Nadar (99).

Mr. Komu and Mr. Krishamachari first entered the list in 2015 after the second Kochi-Muziris Biennale that ended in March.

Their individual success as artists was also acknowledged by the magazine, which said “Krishnamachari’s first solo exhibition in four years, Colour Code, took place in July at Gallery G, Bangalore, for ‘one polychromatic week’”.

“Komu has been continuing to promote contemporary Indian art through URU Art Harbour, a cultural hub housed in an old warehouse in Kochi that he opened in November,” it noted. “He recently launched a two-month inaugural exhibition titled ‘Mattancherry ‘– named after the historic quarter in Kochi in which URU Art Harbour is based – bringing together 13 artists and research collectives to reclaim the site from the tourist gaze.”

  • ‘Power 100’ is an annual ranking compiled by the Art Review magazine
  • Riyas Komu and Bose Krishnamachari have been placed 84th on the list

source : / The Hindu / Home> National> Kerala / Special Correspondent / Kochi – November 11th, 2017

A platform for budding entrepreneurs

Tapping talent: Students showcase their skills at the Vadakara Regional Vocational Expo at Meenchanda VHSS in Kozhikode on Tuesday . | Photo Credit: S_RAMESHKURUP;S_RAMESHKURUP –

Exhibits in most innovative category focus on management of energy

Schoolchildren seem to be well aware that food is profitable business in Kozhikode. Most of the stalls in the most-profitable category at the Vadakara Regional Vocational Expo, which began at Government Vocational Higher Secondary School, Meenchanda, on Monday, featured food and were hosted by girls.

The vocational expo, organised as part of the Kozhikode Revenue District Science, Social Science, Mathematics and IT Fest, was where youngsters from the vocational higher secondary schools of Kozhikode and Wayanad districts showcased their entrepreneurial skills. The competition was in categories such as most innovative, most marketable, most profitable and curriculum-related. Most of the exhibits in the most innovative category focused on efficient management of energy and natural resources.

Irrigation system

The host, GVHSS, Meenchanda, developed an automatic irrigation system based on the water content in the soil. The technology can also be adapted to be used in households to automate the water pumping system completely.

The GVHSS Kinasseri team came up with a wireless doorbell while the Government Sarvajana VHSS in Sulthan Bathery came up with the model of a semi-aquaponic integrated farm that suits small spaces such as apartments. It was a concept in which pisciculture, a bird farm and vegetable garden go hand in hand. The Technical Higher Secondary School team from Sulthan Bathery developed a simple home automation system that enables a person to switch on or off all electronic and electrical devices in a house through a mobile application with the help of a website.

The Sarvajana team won the first prize in the category while Rahmania VHSS, Kozhikode, bagged the first prize in the curriculum-related category as well as the most marketable category. K.K.M. VHSS, Orkatteri, bagged the first prize in the most profitable category. The expo concluded on Tuesday.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kozhikode / by Staff Reporter / Kozhikode – November 08th, 2017

Entrepreneurs who found meaning in failures

Andrine Mendez, founder trustee of The Kitchen, a not-for-profit organisation, at TiEcon Kerala in the city on Friday.

‘Failure Lab’ at TiEcon Kerala features businesspeople who changed tacks to relish success

Nowhere does the maxim ‘success has many fathers, failure is an orphan’ holds more relevance than in the world of entrepreneurship where failures are at best glossed over.

So, while start-up labs and FabLabs have mushroomed across the State, no one had heard about a Failure Lab before one appeared at TiEcon Kerala, a convention of entrepreneurs, which got under way here on Friday.

Failures take place often

“Failures need to be discussed as much as successes, so that people aspiring to venture into entrepreneurship do not repeat the same mistakes,” said Andrine Mendez, founder trustee of The Kitchen, a not-for-profit organisation connecting big and small businesses and professionals alike, which organised the first-of-its kind initiative in Kerala.

Fifteen persons, either entrepreneurs or professionals who had to face failures at some point in their careers and consequently recovered or changed tacks, featured in the lab. Mr. Mendez himself was one of the participants, as he candidly confessed he had to close down two companies, a web TV and loyalty-based discount card venture, in one-and-a-half years before succeeding in his third venture, a digital advertisement company that was eventually acquired by a French company.

Similarly, Rafeek Kavanur’s experiments with the marketing of banana chips failed owing to a combination of flawed pricing and trade union issues. Mukesh Dev had an even more spectacular failure when he entered the entrepreneurial world with the hope of striking gold by making every Indian purchase India-made handicrafts.

He amassed a team, collected handcrafts from across the country and put them up for sale on the online market. Only, no one bought into his idea or the handicrafts. Fortunately, he eventually had success with his third venture based on education.

“It was not easy to persuade people to talk about their failures for obvious reasons. Even TiE Kerala was initially sceptic about the concept of Failure Lab before eventually supporting it wholeheartedly,” said Mr. Mendez who now plans to make it a regular feature of the monthly event being organised jointly by The Kitchen in association with TiE Kerala.

source: / The Hindu / Home> Cities> Kochi / by M P Praveen / Kochi – November 11th, 2017

Meet Kochi’s own Ironman

With half and full marathons becoming commonplace, Kerala now witnesses endurance sports events every other weekend.

Joby Paul, a 35-year-old IT entrepreneur from Kochi, shows what the new breed of runners and fitness enthusiasts might be aiming at next. Joby is just back after completing the ‘Ironman’ triathlon — one of the toughest sports events in the world, in which Malayali names, especially of non-NRKs, have hardly figured. A ‘runversation’ with Joby gives a glimpse into how he swam, cycled and ran towards the Ironman title!

“A couple of Malayalis have done this triathlon before, but they were not based in Kerala. I had spoken to a few of them for training tips,” says Joby, who came into endurance sports as a runner, only in 2015. “I was always a fitness freak, enjoyed watching sports and have been way too competitive. I did my first half marathon in November, 2015 in Kochi,” he says. Full marathons followed and slowly, endurance sports became his passion. “In the past two years, I did 20-odd half marathons and five fulls, and race by race, I could see an improvement in my timing. My first marathon took 4.45 hours and my best one is 3.43, in a span of two and a half years,” the sportsman recalls.

Joby started cycling and swimming to reduce running injuries and for cross training. “Meanwhile, the thought of a triathlon struck me as it’s the event in which you have to do swimming, cycling and running, without a break.” He also felt the need to do something new and challenging, which demands discipline and dedication. “When I found that Ironman is one of the most challenging endurance events, I decided to try being one,” Joby says.

His running buddies also encouraged him and Joby registered for a half Ironman event in Bahrain, in December, last year.

“It went well. In the meantime, I also did five full marathons (42.2 km) in different cities in India including Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi.” He also bagged a medal for completing the 5 km sea swimming in Goa swimmathon in April 2017. “That was a big confidence booster for the full Ironman triathlon and so, I registered for the Florida Ironman event,” he says.

However, the path towards being an Ironman was hardly easy. “It was important that I balance the three disciplines with a well-structured workout, six days a week.

I had to wake up at 4 am on most days, and sometimes, even at 3.30 am for long workouts. There were a couple of weekends where I was out for more than seven hours, sometimes, all by myself. This was definitely hard — physically and mentally. Training for this long is, quite frankly, boring and draining. With all of these, there was no proper work-life balance either,” says Joby.

Added to that was the extreme diet control. However, self-motivation was the key, he says. “On many of the days it was very hard for me to wake up and train. But the finish line thoughts would pull me out of bed,” he says. In September, he participated in Thonnur Triathlon in Mysore, which was a half iron distance triathlon and got a podium finish.

But all the training and events helped him get a proper heads-up for the Florida Ironman. “Still, it was no cakewalk. I had a taxing 15 kilometres during the 42.2 km marathon. There was also extreme mental pressure thinking of the length and on many occasion you feel like quitting. But I was sure that somehow I would finish.”

Right now, everything, from the hard training to packing the bags for the event have turned golden memories for him. But the most precious moment was the one where he crossed the finish line – “I crossed the line with an Indian flag, amid the cheering and the announcement, ‘Joby Paul, you are an Ironman!” that was the best!

So, what next? “I want to do more events to secure an entry to the Ironman world championship held in Hawaii. So, I am now planning my next race. I also have a couple of marathons and swimmathons queued up,” he says.

Joby hails from Onakkoor, a village near Piravom. His wife Sweety is an IT professional and the couple has a daughter and a son.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kochi News / by Deepa Soman / TNN / November 10th, 2017