Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Sogetsu Group goes to Coorg

(A report by Malathi sensei. Pictures from Chitra and Venkatesh. )

The Sogetsu Study Group decided to visit Coorg as their annual travel to some nature-spot. 8 members were able to take this trip,while the other members were commited to their family engagements. With Manasi's suggestion and Ambika's help via internet and email, " Kabbe Holidays" was chosen.
Our trip begins On 24th we left on the Chennai-Mysore Shatabdi, alighted at Mysore and a taxi and Sitalaksmi's car were waiting for us, as well as Venkatesh who joined us from Tuticoron. After a small coffee break we set off by road. The highway was good till we took the turn towards Virajpet. We sighed at the thick forest on either side of the road, the mile long bamboo groves, and the signposts that read 'elephants crossway' further 'wild animals area'. Unfortunately we did not sight any wild animals on our drive.
The main bungalow at Kabbe, with one room for guests.
The cheerful mood in both vehicles slowly changed as the road was too bad for words, In Sitalaksmi's car, while she felt increasingly car sick with the pot-holed and winding road, the other passengers in her vehicle thought it best to chatter and joke, much to her astonishment! In our Innova we clung for some balance and suddenly at Gonikopal town Venkatesh spotted a girl in coorgi saree and wistfully imagined, "if only she could have been a member of our study group", not knowing what a torrent of words he will be getting from Prerana!
The Deluxe cottages

After Virajpet the road improved remarkably and our host Mr. Dilip Chengappa co-ordinated with the driver as to how to proceed and he was waiting to lead us forward to his home. As we turned it was a very welcoming sight, we entered the living room and some hot tea and coffee was ready along with biscuits and spinach murruku. The Kabbe homestay looked homely and inviting! We were taken to our rooms. Padma, I and Dally's suitcase was in the main bungalow, while the others shared 2 rooms in the adjoining annexe.
The Deluxe rooms
Surrounded by coffee!

The lovely anthuriums bordering the verandah

At nightfall we got to talking,I narrated about a National Geographic channel programme where I saw a documentary on the Sunderbans with very interesting anecdotes of encounters between Man and man-eating tigers, where both claim it is their territory, and how they develop skills to face each other and finally how the men request the officials not to harm the tigers and ' afterall for generations we have lived together, it is our territory'. After which we discussed about 'co-existing'.  

Trekking to Kabbe The Kabbe homestay in the morning looked beautiful, blanketed in mist, and we enjoyed the clear morning air with hot cups of coffee on the verandah overlooking the bed of anthuriums, growing so abundantly. The robusta coffee plantations surround the bungalow, and we caught a glimpse of the day to day activities of the plantation as well. There are leeches around too, and we needed to ensure we were not taking them into the rooms, and besides Prerana we all escaped without a bite! Dilip was kind enough to show us the tradition kodava dress too.
Next day was the trek to a hillock from where we could see the Kabbe hill and the Western Ghat ranges and we were so close to the Kerala border. Padma and Dally did not take the climb. At the topmost point the wind threatened to blow us away and we took our balance by a wide stance. Prerana had a nasty fall, which was a downer, as she was in great pain that evening. For me climbing down was very slow, but it was interesting and delightful with Trishla's and Venkatesh's company. All the meals were thoroughly enjoyed by one and all,cooked well by the chef. That evening was Prerana's Haiku reading and discussion, which could not happen, so Chitra preponed her talk on ' Tamil Culture',where she beautifully traced the culture from the Sangam Period taking on poetry, folklore. She touched on dance and had invited Venkatesh to elucidate on the mudras, which prompted me to correlate it to the technique of ikebana and to bring out the symbolism of it. Chitra then spelt out the emminent Tamil personalities in all walks of life, and the entertainment part of it was a very good quiz on Tamilnadu.
Kabbe Hill!
Chelavara falls

Talakaveri temple complex

Chelavara falls, Talakaveri and Collaborative Ikebana! Our trek on the 2nd day was to the Chelavaram Falls. Dilip had hired a vehicle and along with Sita's we left after a breakfast of' akkiroti' coorg style,with gingelly seed chutney, to be eaten with a dash of ghee and honey. The combination seemed strange, but it was very delicious! We stopped on the way to relax by the water and many photos were clicked, and we were surrounded by mountains all around, the valley and the meadows seemed so peaceful. The vehicles took us half the distance and we climbed a narrow path in single file to reach the Falls which was a very delicate one and we could reach midstream to a rock where we perched ourselves. Missed not only the absentees, but Prerana who was resting after the fall. Surprisingly, Venkatesh had quietly brought a bag of clothes to change after his swim and bath at the Falls and Dilip encouraged to this action, as the rest of us felt the water might be ' cooold 'as were all in woollens. The water was not deep, he swam and took a shower with the Falls, he was simply delighted and said it was cool and not cold, we gave him 10 minutes with this delight. In the afternoon Sita's car left for Talaikaveri, where the members saw the origin of the river Kaveri in the Western ghats. Kaveri flows through Karnataka and Tamilnadu before joining the Bay of Bengal. We visited Dilip's parents who live in another bungalow on the coffee plantation, and it was wonderful to see the senior citizens too! In the evening Padma got a brilliant idea when Chitra placed a coffee branch in a container taken from Dilip,that 'lets all put in a flower or leaf and make an arrangement.' Chitra had found a hollow brick which she used as a container. Everyone dashed off to get the next suitable stalk into the vase. It was a mental 'Homa' for the participants,the spontainiety will be remembered.
Collaborative Ikebana in a hollow brick!

Morning vistas!

Another picture of the arrangement

Time to leave We left for Mysore after breakfast the next morning to take the Shatabdi back to Chennai. Members are still carrying fresh memories of this enjoyable trip to Coorg. I may have left out many important points, please point them out in your comments. It was a very enjoyable time for all of us indeed

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Emperor's birthday

At the Taj.  Ballroom. By Malathi sensei

Taken with a mobile phone, so please forgive the quality. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

A photo a day!

A photo a day

We have a Facebook album where we will post a photo a day. Keep a watch!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October workshop

Working with linear mass.
Malathi sensei demonstrates with kora grass sticks and roses

Prerana uses subabul pods and anthuriums

Pushkala masses umbrella plant, and complements with colourful ixora

Chitra complements the wall of bleached material with ixora and leaf

Trishala highlights the design in her vase with tall carnations and slender bamboo

Venkatesh draws focus to the Cale he found at the florist!

Seethalakshmi highlights the space, as she masses up the red stalks

Molly contrasts the blue of her vase with the pink of the flowers balanced by the massed lines

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Bangalore visit of the Study Group members

The flower shop!
Dear members, Meenakshi Sarin, Prerana Mehta, Shobhaa Ramji and I visited the Bangalore Sogetsu Chapter on the 15th of September and a
programme of interaction was organised.

Upon our arrival in Bangalore, All 4 of us
picked our flowers from a wholesale outlet on our way to Lal Bagh where we were to meet the Bangalore Chapter members.  I cannot convey to all of you the awe and joy at seeing the abundance of colourful flowers!  Not only were the buckets  full of colourful flowers, there were
bunches on the floor waiting to be placed and another van of flowers was waiting outside to unload. You can imagine what a variety we had to choose from as they were half the price we pay for them herein Chennai!

We did 4 free style arrangements.

Meenu, using the coconuts with umbrella plants  jerberas

Prerana wished her arrangement to be minimalistic and used dry bamboo
and jerberas,

Shobhaa used strong stems of heliconia with streletzia

I used my garden bamboo with chryanthemums.
There was a quiz on Sogetsu and Chennai fared very well. The Bangalore Chapter has invited us to participate in their formal function to be held on 17th December. This interaction was a different style from the New Delhi one and I am glad the few members have had to see both of them. Do talk to them to get more interesting detail.

 The Bangalore members used as festive theme in their arrangements.

 From the Bangalore chapter, the Director Mrs. Nirmala
Narayanmurthy did a festive theme 'Gokulastami' bringing out the
butter bowl,'srungara rasa' as musical notes and Krishna was in a
Founder Director Mrs. Saraswati used a morimono theme for

Past-Director Mrs.
Bhargavi  did 'Gowri-Ganesa' in a vase made of bangles using red and
yellow roses as a symbol of auspiciousness

She also did an 'ukibana' as 'girls
playing hop-skotch

There were three Variation 5 arrangements as that style came in handy to display festive season. On the whole there were 20 arrangements displayed. We really enjoyed these exhibits in the Jubilee Hall of Lalbagh.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September workshop - working with unusual containers

Our September workshop was on Sep 12th at the ABK-AOTS Dosokai hall, on Nelson Manickam Road, and the them was unusual containers.

It was very nice to see three new faces, students brought by Meenu, and we do hope to see them more often.

Malathi sensei started off proceedings by quickly showing us the use of the old, discarded woven cane pieces from her home chairs, and converting them into a lovely vase!
The cane used as vases

Molly used a gift bag

The completed arrangement by sensei Malathi

Members had brought various materials and containers to work with. 
Chitra brought her child's toy train, and see below for the full arrangement

Shobhaa brought an old pickle jar, and also used a plaiting technique for the green material, details of which can be seen below.

Nirmala worked with a copper kitchen vessel

Pushkala placed a whitecoral/shell on top of an ollock measure and created a striking linear arrangment that can be seen below.

Sitalakshmi used a ceramic tea-pot

Meenu used dried coconuts as her containers

By Jennifer, one of the guests

By Jayanthi, another of the guests

By Divya, also a guest

Ambika used a pair of cardboard packing boxes, after painting them.