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Showing posts from 2018

Rajasthan Rhyme : A tribute to our wonderful time

Didi didi, this train is so packed! Be happy you have at least half a seat, so many others are all stacked! Actually I’m glad no one has taken our half seat, In fact, the other passengers protect it even when I’m away to eat. Speaking of food, just look at all the food Sidh’s uncle and aunt have got, Yummm! That vada pav is so good and tasty and hot.
Hey why don’t we too sell some stuff on the train , Origami! Awesome! Everyone gets excited by the sight of a paper plane. Come one, come all! There is flowers, purses, cranes and even a ball! It’s all over; everyone has taken it with so much joy, So many smiles and laughs all because of a small toy.
Ah! Finally it’s Shivganj! What a lovely little town, Guys, food is served can you all please come down. Mancha, Punchi, thank you so much, the food and sweets are so great. And we ate ... and we ate ... and we ate ... and we ate! Karuna bhua, we have squeezed the lemon juice but have one doubt, What to do with the peels just throw them out? It’s like magic; …

Shop Shop

It was shop time at Shibumi on Thursday, Oct 4th and it was the turn of the Malhars and Bihags to set up
shop.  Well laid out plans were showing in the way each stall was put out; painstakingly prepared,
tastefully arranged, ready to be sold. But then, who hasn’t heard that the best-laid plans can go awry.
Rain arrived half-way through. Mid afternoon rain has a mind of its own. It pours, then stops, you step out,
it changes its mind and comes down again. Thankfully, the children were unaffected by it.
All in all it was great fun. We posed a few questions to the shopkeepers and this is what they had to
say about playing ‘shop shop’.

1. How did you get the idea?
I got it from my mother.We were inspired by food stalls on the roadside. 2. Were you able to implement your ideas? We couldn’t implement Marvel theme because we felt the youngest children might not understand.We planned to have more items but it didn’t happen.Three shopkeepers didn’t turn up making it difficult for the rest of the te…

Ta-ki-ta Ta-ka-dhi-mi

The first week of July started off on a musical note with Ranjani Sivakumar, a Carnatic vocalist, spending four days at Shibumi conducting a music workshop.


The children huddled around Ranjini and enjoyed the sessions with her. She would bring our attention to listening by patiently tuning the tanpura at the start of the session. Asking the children to listen and participate by telling her if the notes of the string sounded lower or higher. This naturally lead to conversations and questions about the instrument, the tension in the string and sounds that are soothing.

For most part of the session we were learning the Sarali varisai, the fundamental sequences. This allowed us to get a feel for the melody and the rhythm. The sequences follow a logical order - ascending and descending, up to the 7th varisai. We learnt with her the first three patterns and sang them at different speeds.


She had a playful way with the younger children (Lalit and Todi groups), when understanding the ' ta…

Seeds for an interaction

Ramavatar ji, an avid cyclist and self-made naturalist, visited Shibumi last week. He hails from a farming family in Rajasthan. He conducts cycling trips for people who are interested in immersing themselves into the daily life of rural India. On these trips, people cycle around from place to place carrying a limited amount of resources, interacting with local communities, doing small jobs for them, in exchange for meals and stay.

Over the years, Ramavatar ji, has also used jewellery making using seeds as a way of interacting with the communities. It was only natural then, to invite him to do a session in seed jewellery making as a way of fostering an interaction between him and the Bihags (the oldest group at school).
The art of seed jewellery making, in its essence, is very simplistic, as are the tools used. An instinctive minimalist, Ramavtarji, is economical in his words and expressions, even while instructing a group on a new activity. In his introduction he made a pointed refer…

The Geodesic Dome Project

Over the past few months the words ‘Geodesic Dome’ have gone around Shibumi quite a lot. It’s unlikely there’s anyone who hasn’t heard the words. And in recent times we have had a strange structure sitting outside Bijitsu. Often you would find some of the youngest children climbing and playing on it. But what is a geodesic dome? And why has it become so popular at Shibumi? The Reporters club at Shibumi got together the group of students working on it to answer their questions...
Who all are involved in this project? Geodesic Group (GG): Srishti, Asba, Gautam, Varun, Yashwant, Das and Kumaran uncle.
How did you get started on it? GG: We had a choice between puzzles, triangulation and the geodesic dome. We chose this one because it was more hands-on.
What is a geodesic dome? GG: A geodesic dome is any dome made only out of straight lines. (on the dome surface) The Geodesic Dome is the strongest structure for any curved surface.
What are some difficulties you have faced in assembling it? GG: Pou…

Clubs come alive

This summer term different clubs were formed by the teachers and children of the three younger groups (Tulsi, Ketaki and Palash). The clubs then came together three times a week for the whole of the term.
Here are some snippets from all the fun and learning.


Stitching club

The stitching group was a delightful threesome, Mahiti ,Vibha and I; joined in the last few sessions by Nikhit. They came, all excited about using the sewing machine; but after the first two sessions of exploration decided on projects and determinedly dived into cross stitch embroidery. While finishing the pattern seemed to take "forever" they soldiered on, enjoying creating patterns with colours. Finally on the last day the zip pouch and little sling bag were machine stitched. And Nikith had a decorated elastic hairband to create his ‘puff’. - Roopa









Toys from Trash club
The group (Dia, Dhatri and I) came together to make simple toys with junk materials such as balloons, straws, ice-cream sticks and plastic bott…

Turtle Walk in Chennai

When news that the olive ridley turtles had started to nest in the beaches of Chennai reached us, at the beginning of last week, we quickly put together a plan for our visit. Tickets were booked and calls were made to our friends at The School for a place to rest, Tholkappia Poonga for a visit and to our friends at SSTCN (Chennai Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network) for the overnight walk to watch the nesting. We set off on a Friday morning reaching Chennai by noon. After a quick lunch, we visited the Tholkappia Poonga.
Tholkappia Poonga is an ecological park in the Adyar estuary area. It is an amazing example of restoration of freshwater eco-systems in the heart of a city! We were introduced to the history, the restoration process and the flora and fauna found in the park by Mrs.Gomati. Her energy, passion for ecological restoration, and determination to carry forward the good work shone through in her interactions with us. We recommend it as a must see place for people visiti…

Celebrating Holi at an Art Museum

Some of us spent Holi at National Gallery of Modern Art yesterday. We had gone to see the exhibition by Balan Nambiar. The exhibition had drawings in Indian ink, charcoal, pastels and paintings in watercolour and oils. On display were also his indoor and outdoor sculptures in bronze, mild steel and stainless steel.
Being welcomed by the magnificent trees at NGMA, one was immediately touched by to a sense of quiet and beauty. Everything seemed like 'art' in this atmosphere.
Enthusiastically we wandered into the large mansion that housed the works of Balan Nambiar. The works created a pause and questions. A game started between the children to see how quickly they could find his name on the work. Then there was also reading the little label to his work and placing it in the timeline that makes most sense to them. 
'He did this before I was born!' 'I was 1 year old when he made this' 'Hey! I was born when he made this!' 'My mother was born, when he made this…