Monday, October 24, 2016

Open Day in Pune school

Had the privilege to be in Little Angels school in Pune during the open day 

It was nice to see the parents trickling in one by one, meeting the staff, and being handed over their kid’s progress report for the semester. 

I had a glance at some of the answer sheets while a parent was going through it. 

A good and simple way of testing children having ADD and ADHD

I found Mr Jehangir, (the founder of Little Angels) greeting every parent and chatting with them. 

At the venue, there was an exhibition cum sale of the items made by these children (organized by “Kalanidhi”)

Most of the items were pertaining to Diwali, as the festive season was round the corner.

Some of the kids were keenly inspecting the exhibited items

while others preferred to try out their regular activity in school, or pose for me.

While the parents were busy, I engaged Mr Jehangir in a conversation, asking him how he came up with the idea of opening a school like this. He said that he was a flight purser in Gulf air and was also helping his father in running their eatery in Colaba.
Once he happened to visit an exhibition run by Dilkush, a school for mentally challenged children. Very soon he found himself getting enrolled for a training program for teaching special kids. A male special educator was unheard of in those days. It was a tough battle for him at every step.
After completing the course he approached the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Maybe his grit and determination helped him in procuring some land from BMC at Bandra and that is how the first school of Little Angels came up in 2004.
He said his biggest challenge was to convince the parents that these children need to go to a special school where they are given vocational training.

Most of the parents are just worried about their children getting “proper education”  

According to Jehangir “These are children who have normal and sometimes very high IQ, but who have to be taught differently. They can read, write and some can do very complex mathematics” I was suddenly reminded of Dustin Hoffman’s role in the 1988 movie “Rainman”.  
picture source : internet

Coming back to the exhibition, one of the items on display was this oil free pickle and I picked it up immediately as I recollected reading about consuming oil free food for good health. The bottle could not have come at a better time

Friday, October 21, 2016

Pune Oktoberfest 2016

It is the third week of October and the Oktoberfest is over in Pune.  It is one opportunity where I get to click some good candid pictures, like this one - a special kiss: 

Or the one of this couple who were totally engrossed by the music belted out by the live band.

I tried to click this child enjoying a ride, but the parents spotted me and was quick with an appropriate smile. 

Conducted by the IGCC (Indo German Chamber of Commerce-Pune) it is held every year at the Pune Race Course premises.
Youngsters and the not the so young come for a swig and  to shake a leg: 

Some like to pose with the band while others are real quick in posing when they see that my camera is pointed at them (taking selfies has made them an expert in this field) 

In this video you can see how this guy below (in red tee shirt) got himself into this funny pose.  

Did make a few videos and uploaded them on You Tube, while some are on the FB site of Pune Oktoberfest.

If you are patient enough, you can get some profile pictures with a good dark background.

Space is the main constraint especially when it comes to dancing, and trying to capture some action in that crowd is not easy. 

Apart from the beer, there were a constant flow of some German food.

Earlier during the day, there was the horse race with some of the sponsors keen to see their horses win. 

At this enclosure, I saw this bell, probably hanging there from the British era. It may not be in use now, but I like the shine on it. 

Also saw this photographer catching a few winks while taking care of his gear too. 

Got some more footage of the dance and the band in action. Will link those videos here later, once I compile them. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Small islands on Andaman

One of the places to visit in the Andamans is the Munda Pahar. The beach is shallow and good for kids to play. They have earmarked some safe zone where you can venture out into the water. 

I liked the way they have carved out the fallen trees into some lovely sit-outs. 

We did some horsing around clicking some pictures. Setting the camera on timer and rushing back to hold the pose in 10 seconds is really a challenge. 

Earlier we had been to the Red Skin Island (from Wandoor Jetty) Before landing on the island they give you a teaser of watching the coral and the sea bed from a glass bottom boat. Photographing the coral through the glass bottom is a difficult task. 

This is a good place for guys who love and study corals. I saw some guys snorkeling in the area. 

It seems the Red Skin and Jolly Buoy are opened alternately for six months. This is to preserve the ecological balance. The ride to all these islands by the ferry always gives you some good view of the tiny islands that Andaman is made of.  

There is a light house which adds to the old world charm. 

It is said that this lighthouse can be seen on the Indian 20 rupee note.
It kept alternating between clear weather and rain, hence the angry clouds.
One of the items that I have ticked off from my bucket list is scuba diving.

North Bay Island is a good place for scuba diving, something that I thought I will never be able to do. 

They give you training for about 15 minutes and assess your confidence level. If you are convinced that you can do it, they take you further out into the sea where you can dive to about 40 feet. 

It is a wonderful world down there and one should not miss a chance to see it. Here is a video on it.

A few things to note about scuba diving, it is not necessary for you to know swimming to dive. The lead weight belt that you wear takes you down and the buoyancy compensator takes you up by releasing a knob.
On the whole, a wonderful experience.