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My dream III - Bhittiya mele kanasa bittalu matte banni

posted May 11, 2011, 1:34 AM by Unknown user   [ updated May 11, 2011, 3:00 PM by Vivek Shivaprabhu ]

Bhittiya mele kanasa bittalu matte banni (Come again to sow dreams on this canvas)

Hurray!!! another milestone in the journey of ‘My Dream’. Our first campaign outside Bangalore was realized on the banks of Tungabhadra river in the holy/enlightened Jangamakshetra Linganayakanahalli, Hoovinahadagali Taluk, Bellary District. And what a realization it was ! We could not have asked for anything more than what we experienced in these two days of absolute splendor that mother nature and the serenity of the Matha had to offer us.

Linganayakanahalli is a hamlet located in one of the remotest corners of Bellary district on its border with Haveri District. It has a beautiful matha on the river bank and inhabited by 20 families, far from all that is remotely urban. One has to travel a minimum of 20kms to buy even as small an item as matchbox. I hope you’ve framed the picture in your mind now. ‘Halli Matha’ as it is referred to by is lead by the young, spirited, socially concerned with scientific outlook Shri Channaveera Swamiji.

The annual summer camp ‘Arivu Achara Vyaktitva Vikasana Tarabeti Shibira’ is the result of the Swamiji’s constant search for events and activities to enlighten people many neighboring places added with the zeal and thoughts of my father Dr. Shivanand S, HOD, Dept. of Kannada, Vijayanagar College, Hospet. In its third season this camp has been aiming to expose the rural kids to overall personality development, philosophy and new thoughts along with all that a camper gets to learn. Being the daughter of the man behind the idea of this camp it was a cake walk for us to get a slot for ‘My Dream’ in this year’s camp itinerary (not exactly, my father, though assured of our motives and the kind of work we do did watch few of our films to ascertain we were worth the slot).

We reached the camp in 2 teams on April 30 and were thrilled by the location. After a sumptuous meal few of us got busy in going through our preparation under the shade of the tamarind tree on the river bank and the rest jumped into the river. The evening dawned very soon and with it came a heavy downpour with hailstones n thunderstorm, which meant there was a power cut! We all were a little tensed about carrying out the evening program ! But there was no time to be lost; the children were briefed about the essay competition and handed out papers to pour in their dreams. Yes, the topic for the essay competition was ‘Nanna Kanasu’. Though tensed about the program all of us indulged in the nature whose beauty was intensified by the rain, what an experience! The essay papers were collected but the rain showed no signs to stop. We decided the rain gods were really happy. Amidst the high pitch of the rain drops I began, of course in a higher pitch with the introduction of our team and our journey so far followed by Nirantara’s introduction by Vinay. My father gave a very strong and moving speech about our societal commitment, aspirations and the kind of service our teams are committed to.

What a respite, double in that. The rain stopped and the weather was amazing. There was pin drop silence, the invocation added a very pleasing effect. Amar and Bharath took over the Short film screening starting with ‘Signal’. I am short of words to portray the aura that evening. The aura, the sound effect and the rapt audience took our short films to an altogether different level. All of us felt as if we were watching these films for the first time. The scenes that we’d seen it from conception till end product held different meaning that evening. The discussion before and after each short films were eye openers. The children’s response, understanding and presentation in such candid and clear words jolted us. This was something none of us had dreamed to encounter. Hats off to those children, their parents and the teachers who’ve shaped their thought processes so well. The confidence and the clarity in thoughts exhibited by some of these kids was exceptional. Even when it came to feedback, their ideas and suggestions were mind blowing. We could not resist but thanked them profusely for enriching our experience. The event that was supposed to be wrapped up in about an hour went on for 2.5 hours !

One of the many points that made our evening came from a 8th standard girl ‘such screenings and experiences are widely available to city dwellers, bringing it to such a remote place and exposing the village kids to this format and idea was such a commendable job. We thank the camp organizers and your entire team for this opportunity’. Short film screening was followed by a presentation and discussion by Bharath on ‘The process and techniques involved in making Shot films’. The keen audience had many queries and received prompt and useful insights from Bharath and the team.

We all thought we were full and content by the way the evening had gone by, but the aroma of the food made us all hungry. The yummy kheer, rice and the simple sambar were amazing. Each of us surely ate couple of extra servings followed by the delicate and delicious home grown betel leaves.

That night we’d another encounter with the creativity and the thought process of these campers as we sat down to read through the essays. Our initial plan was to give 3 prizes but the quality of few essays made it difficult to pick winners and we ended up declaring 6 prizes. If couple of these were hands down winners, few others required rounds of debates to understand those essays and appreciate their ideas. It was midnight when we slept breathing in that pure breeze that blew over the now calm river.

We were woken by the gong at 5 am the next morning as the campers gathered for the morning prayer followed by the Yoga class. After hours of swimming in the river and a sumptuous breakfast we and campers gathered for the Quiz program at 9.30. four teams were formed, given a name and a leader identified to speak out the answers. Keeping in line with ‘Education through Visuals’ most of the rounds in the Quiz were based on visual clippings of famous personalities, monuments and symbols. Other rounds included questions on proverbs and riddles. I was the quiz master, Ullas -the scorer, Ashok-the time keeper and we were ably assisted in managing the teams and capturing the moments by Bharath, Vinay, Shivu, Amar, Vishwanath and the camp volunteers. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the quiz. We’d another first wrt Quiz. There was a tie for the second place, which was resolved by a rapid fire round. All the participants received books as gifts. Many said it was the first time they’d received a prize and in that a book. Each of us were satisfied looking at the kids rejoice on receiving these books.

In a small wrap up function that followed Bharath expressed our collective review on the essays. Shri Channaveera Swamiji gave away the prizes for the winners of essay competition. Another first for few of us followed. We were all felicitated by coconuts, mementos and shawls !! It was heartening to hear when the swamiji said we all were part of that matha and the camp organizing committee, that we must book a slot for our program every summer to mingle with the campers and spread our dream. We’d received an open invitation to conduct any program there. Dr. Shivanand summed up the events of the past two days in a very effective and heart touching way. He spoke about the role of dreams and how they shaped a person’s life. He gave an example of a young girl, widowed days after her marriage went on to live with her in laws and by her wish toiled in the 1 acre land year after year and reaping success. She attended various trainings and workshops on eco farming and is now a success story. This real life story portrayed how dreams, when teamed with the right amount of thoughts, training and efforts result in unmatched success and set examples for others to follow. We do not need heroes from across the country or from our books. It can do us good to draw lessons from such simple and determined people around us. Could we’ve asked for a better covering words for our event !? In kannada he said ‘e bhittiya mele (referring to the wall on which we screened the short films) kansa bittalu matte banni’, which loosely translates to Come again to sow dreams on this canvas. We are no fools to miss the opportunity and the experience. We hope others will join us next year to savor the nature and interact with another batch of astonishing kids.

I could go on writing about the experiences in this camp. But that would be overdoing it. I hope to’ve conveyed the breakpoints effectively. Let us know.

Statistics: It was My Dream’s first campaign outside Bangalore. My Dream III reached 85 children and distributed 187 books.

~ Ashwini Shivanand