Friday, January 31, 2014

Colorothon - 26 Jan 2014

I have been to very few social events, like note/pencil distribution to school kids with my company colleagues 2-3 years back. I feel uncomfortable and restrict myself to donations. But when BTC invited us for Colorothon event, I wanted to try it out again. More so as we were free to come by choice and just had to spend some time coloring.

To avoid last minute cancellations, (had to cancel a trek in December and infact cancelled cycling trip 25-26 weekend (I really gotta get my own cycle) which enabled me to participate for this) I didn't really inform Virander. When I reached Krishna Rao Park (about a km from Lalbagh) 15 minutes early (to 8AM), I realized late that I didn't have any BTC contact and felt lost and weird for some time! There was a political rally going outside.

Krishna Rao Park
I roamed around the very large park, noticing volunteer activity and various posters about Colorothon. The park has a separate section for elders for exercising (with very interesting machines and ropes), cricket ground, lots of space for badminton and other sports and ofcourse enough space for walkers and runners. There is even a walking club for the park! Cleanliness was good (but we sure did spread large amount of garbage by end of day, and I guess volunteers must have cleaned them up)

At one end of park, I saw agenda for Colorothon - was a whole day event, I was thinking it was all about drawing and going off. 7-8 AM for volunteers to arrange things. 8-9 AM for registrations. Flag hoisting followed by motor cycle rally. Then the main attraction - drawing. Followed by singing events, a show by IDL blind team (theme of social event - for the cause of blind), comedy show, magic show, drum show, prize distribution, etc. Chief Minister was supposed to come, but we had to be satisfied with Infosys Nandan Nilekani.

I wandered outside in search of breakfast. The road opposite the main entrance is lined on one side with various vegetable and fruit vendors (a mini market). Fortunately, there was a hotel neearby (South tindi's according to Google maps, I couldn't find name, only copper art with various kitchen utensils above the entrance). It was crowded so much as to form a queue everywhere - billing, getting food and finding a place just to keep your plate down and eat. Many ate with plate in hands only. With good cause - reasonable price (lesser than Indiranagar) for very good food. Overcrowded, but neat place.

I went back and did a bit of volunteering, despite not getting a badge :P - like carrying card-boards and water bottle packs. Volunteers were helpful and answered questions that varied from good to silly with smile and patience. Many of them were from Khushiyan and BTC. Soon I spotted Shwetha, Virander, Deepika and other BTC members and sighed breathe of relief. I was thinking I would never find them in this large gathering.

After registering (basically getting a card-board, sheet of white paper (both with ads) and form to indicate our personal info - along with pencil/rubber for drawing), we waited for events to start. After 9AM, people gathered for flag hoisting - Nilekani had come by then. There was a speech, "Vijayi vishwa tiranga pyara" and a Kannada song sung. We clapped and saluted. (Was disappointed that National Anthem wasn't sung). It was so long after that I saw flag hoisting, perhaps first since school days.

Soon, Shruthi joined us too and we went around clicking pics. On the main stage, singing events started (got to hear "Aye mere watan ke logo" (Sung by Lata more than 50 years ago!) which was followed by IDL blind band. We then moved on to finding a spot under trees to start drawing. I got a crayon set from public bucket (for elders like us :P not for kids, who had to compulsory bring their own)

I regretted sorely not getting my drawing pencils/sketches/crayons/etc (lying waste for years) and my camera. But surely a good decision to come for the event. I was struggling to find reference figure to draw (I am very poor with imagination and certainly can't draw anything other than cartoon). So, at first I tried to draw the joker on the crayon kit. It was very small and pathetic - I eventually erased it off. I spotted a kid wearing playboy t-shirt and drew that. And then another joker from drawing kit Shwetha had got. It kept me busy, though it was very funny for a late 20s guy to draw. Coloring with crayon was really good feeling. And then to keep company, simply shaded bottom of the paper and drew a simple tree. The result :D

After submitting, I got to meet other BTC members - Ajitha, Piyush, Girish, Murali. We went to see if Magic show had started. While waiting, we had some snacks - very pricy stalls. We almost missed the entire show due to confusion of stage. K S Ramesh had come to perform. Though I have seen 'The prestige', I was very awed with the tricks - pulling out pigeons (why pigeons in most magic tricks, why not any other bird?), tearing newspaper but showing it as one piece, calling kids and showing tricks with hand kerchiefs (combining many into one piece/different color/pattern, seemingly producing umbrella out of empty hankies), single rope being cut into two but fit back and finally making it a circular one by cutting off a small knot culminating in vanishing act by covering a girl and removing cloth (done so fast to seem really as magic).

We had lunch (after more photo shoots) - Bisibellabath was good and tea was decent. (Ofcouse, can't tell about the curd rice I don't eat). Lots of chit chat to the point of getting bored. We saw police men/women, NCC cadets, etc painting too. One police guy was pretty serious in drawing a peacock and his use of pencil was very good.

Many real artists (probably some were invited) were painting on canvas (like they show in films) - they were really so good. One elder was drawing a portrait of a girl. Another a many headed elephant. One fit an army man in India map. Artist Harrsha drew a pencil sketch in about 5 minutes! His painting were too good. He was in crazy demand. One drew tattoos on body (Chotta Bheem was popular demand, just like their over-sized character masks drew children throughout day). Was so good to see lot of artistic skill amongst the kids, some were simply too awesome. We signed our names on a large poster.

Missed most of prize announcement (Judges were about 10 renowned artists). As customary in filmy melas, an announcement was sad to hear about missing kid. One guy lost bike key. Later we helped pin good drawings (from those not winning or not in top 200 to be auctioned) on large green sheet running the length of park from entrance to building in middle of park. I couldn't find mine to bring home :D and gave off participation certificate too :P

Next event was drum show, but we left before it started. It was staged on other side of entrance where cricket ground was there. Lots of stalls sold variety of items like bread magnet (wonder what it was!), Indi dolls(Discover the power within :D), paintings and materials, etc. We sat for a while and left before event started. Drums were distributed to public, which were enthusiastically beaten. I really like the IDL blind band drumming them, especially one guy seemingly lost in the beauty of it all. Ofcourse, kids beating them was cute too.

Piyush dropped us back, very thankful as I was tired from lot of standing/walking throughout the day. A very feel good factor event, some 6-8k people participated, perhaps less or perhaps more. I will leave you with a very good album which captures the very essence of Colorothon, much better than my insufficient writing:

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