Deepam Talent Hunt 2009-Anniversary Celebrations Event 2

For all those who couldn’t be there…this is what u missed.Hope to see u all next week 🙂

Deepam Talent Hunt 2009 –Olcott School
Judges: Paras and Dr Karthik
Winner: Karunakaran

Sang two numbers : Prayer song and on public request a Tami
zh Movie song
His USP over others:
Confidence and made the right choice to perform
what he was best at Deepam Talent Hunt 2009 –Nalamdana
Judges: Paras and Anuradha

Winner :Hem
esh Danced for Taxi Taxi- one of the most popular Tamizh numbers of 2008
His USP over others
: He did what he loved doing – Danced carefree and dint bother a
bout any one around.Choreography was original and appreciated by the judgesSpecial Mentions
Pavithra and Priya (Deepam Sisters )
Sang Munbe Va Anbe va – yet another famous Tamizh number sung by Shreya Ghosal
Their USP:
They complemented each other and neither overdid the sync

Group Dance by Nirmala- Rajni Troupe They displayed “Kolattam”-south Indian Dandiya for the song Mukunda Mukunda Their USP: Planned well, rehearsed well and simple choreography
Other Highlights :
Paras on the guitar and lending his vocal chords for “Orrey Nyabagam-Minnale“
Anbu singing melodiously a yester year tamizh movie number :Rasathi Unnai

Dr Karthik choosing to sing and also beautifully completing the song Mundinam from Vaarnam Ayiram
Karthikeyan (KK) at the strings bringing back the nostalgic Titan tune -a bonus for the Olcott kids
Balaji keeping up his promise and singing the number “Its amazing when you say nothing at all” Anuradha cheering every single participant and consoling the kids that there is still a good chance next year if they did not make it this year 🙂

Collaborative Painting- How ideas were spread colorfully on 5 mt of Canvas?

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” is what we at Deepam believe in and on Feb 7th and 8th of 2009 we realised how true this saying is when 40 kids who belong to the three different centre’s participated in the collaborative painting event held by Deepam

This is the story on how the kids grouped together, worked as teams , helped paint a 5 metre canvas in two hours time(1 hour on both the days ) The topics were “Singara” Chennai (Singara means beautiful in Tamizh ) and I love my COUNTRY

Team A at was led by Muthu supported by Tina and Ram.This is their completed Canvas

The team showed two different seasons Chennai ‘s hot summer and the cool rainy season. The kids came up with specific landmarks in Chennai like the local bus stops, Murugan Idly Kadai, Olcott School, Besant Nagar Beach ,St Thomas Mount and to also highlighted the presence and untiy of people belonging to all religion, caste and creed. The kids completed the painting by leaving their handprints on the canvas which was my personal favorite part of the whole painting as it showed how such small hands together completed this large canvas.

Team B was led by Balaji supported by Vijay, Mohan and Anuradha. Their completed canvas is displayed below

The team spent considerable amount of time to decide on what they would represent.Then one of the kids gave the newly constructed Khatipara junction as a landmark which became the crux of the painting. On one side of there was a group making the beach , and others were busy making temples, airport ,Chennai railways and the local Koyambedu Bus Junction.By drawing schools and factories they showed how Chennai has been developing and has become a hub in the southern India. One of my favorite was the Zebra crossing the kids drew – which we the volunteers couldn’t think of.

Team C was led by Vijay at Pudiyathor, our new centre and was supported by Sai.Their completed canvas is displayed below

The team started by drawing a huge map of India and scared the other team which hadn’t still finalized on what they would draw. They had Taj Mahal on one side ( I have visited this place more than twice and yet cant draw it anywhere close to how these kids have drawn) and the national bird and animal on the other side. One the other half of the canvas- the kids had shown how the country has developed from villages to some big cities, IT industry, schools, factories et all. My personal favorite was the whole theme of how they tried to pull in a story of a huge country through such colorful pictures and in just an hours time.

Team D was led by Anupama at Pudiyathor and supported by Noopuran.

The team had several ideas pouring in but also faced a starting problem on how and what to start first.Then finally it was decided that they will show their love for the country with a big heart that connects every other picture about it. They tried to show northern India by drawing a Taj Mahal (The kid who did this needs a big applause- beautiful pencil work with nice shading) southern India with the besant Nagr beach and the Pudiyathor Community, western India through the gateway of India and the Rajastan Pot Balancing Act, eastern India though the dense forests and also drew the national bird and the animal. They completed the canvas by drawing the signs of all the religions and saying “Unity is Strength”- This was my personal favorite.

Finally a wonderful weekend wherein we learnt how each kid thinks differently and worked together as a group and did their best. The competitive spirit helped them try to out-do the others by “Thinking Differently and Doing Differently “ There were brush strokes, finger prints, oil pastels, pencil shading, hand prints et all. Each and every kid- no matter which class they studies in participated and there was not a single kid whose idea was not considered by the others in the group. Everyone worked as a group and the end result showed on the canvas.

One more thing worth noticing was that how these kids looked at the positive side of life. Though they have not been as lucky as many of us in getting our daily needs and living in comfort they presented a very colorful picture of their city and country. None thought of the poverty, traffic, anti social activities or even the slums across India….Hats off to the future leaders of our country. Their dreams seem very positive!

Pictures Courtesy:KK (Karthikeyan) who was the official photographer on both the days.

To participate and fund for the Deepam activities and more importantly “HELP THEM DREAM” join us !

Weekend Notes..

I spent my last weekend at the besant nagar beach, playing frisbee for the Chennai team at a National Tournament. This post is not about that. But about the interesting event that happened during the games..
Some of the kids who we teach at Olcott School and at Nalamdana centre, wandered near the playing field. With the games being held under the lights and the Saturday evening attracting a lot of crowd, i spotted a couple of our kids at the game watching us play. No doubts on who and which team got the loudest cheers and support from these kids!!! and at one point, when we were trailing the opponent team, these kids were rooting for us and during the breaks they were with me, ‘offering support’ !!! 
I continue to benefit from these little kids. As Ram pointed out the other day, it would be arrogant if i claim that am ‘giving back’, as i seem to be the one who is benefitting!!!

Deepam- How it Changed “ME” :)

One of Life’s important lessons learnt from the kids who have been a part of Deepam

I suspect that the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. And especially if it’s given from the heart. When the kids are talking, expressing, there’s no need to do anything but receive them. Just take them in. Listen to what they’re saying. Care about it. Most times caring about it is even more important than understanding it. Most of us don’t value ourselves or our love enough to know this. It has taken me along time to believe in the power of simple saying, “I’m so sorry,” when someone is in pain. And meaning it. These classes have helped me do that. They have been an eye opener for me in more than one way.

When I was volunteering one of the classes at Nalamdana Perungudi I remember one child who used to have serious doubt on every sentence I was teaching them about MS Word. Initially I got a bit frustrated but later understood that the kid genuinely didn’t seem to have much knowledge and hence was inquisitive to know more. This incident was an eye opener and I learnt my lesson of being patient, listening patiently and again answering patiently.

I have even learned to respond to someone who needs help by just listening to what they have to say. In the old days I used to reach for the tissues, until I realized that passing a person a tissue may be just another way to shut them down, to take them out of their experience of sadness and grief. Now I just listen. It works the same when people are excited with something that has left them happy. Listening to all the good things they have to share and being there beside them is the best gift one can give another. I have been quite a talkative child and now teaching at Deepam has helped me to listen to all the queries, all the stories that the kids have to share. It has also made me change to certain extent at my workplace where I have started listening before I opine on something.

This simple thing has not been that easy to learn. It certainly went against everything I had been taught since I was very young. I thought people listened only because they were too timid to speak or did not know the answer. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well intentioned words.

Thanks to Deepam I have started listening ……..