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Aradhana Academy is not on the list of “elite” schools of Bangalore. But here’s our experience.

I sent this email to Rajane Prasad, Admissions Co-ordinator, and Sister Moly, the Principal of the School.

Dear Ms Rajane:

There is a FB group called

Bangalore Schools

(closed group, you may not be able to open the link)

where parents exchange information about various schools.

Here’s what Anjana (my daughter, and Kavya’s mother) posted:

I wanted to write about my experience so far with Aradhana Academy. Some of you may already know that my family has relocated from the U.S. My daughter joined Aradhana Academy for 2nd std ICSE. I have already posted about our very positive experience with the admissions process at this school (near L&T South City). She has been feeling homesick and sad and having a difficult time adjusting to being in school again without much of a summer break, so soon after our house in the U.S. got packed up and we moved to such a different environment.

Aradhana Academy has been EXTREMELY welcoming to her and our family, meeting and talking to us multiple times, giving us special attention for everything from books, to the school van to uniforms, to make sure that not just my daughter, but my whole family is comfortable with the move. We had a chance to meet her teacher beforehand and also the teacher had designated another child in the class to be a buddy for my daughter and talked to the class about her previous school and gave her a chance to talk about what it was like there. When we met her,
she even encouraged us to maybe make a poster with pictures from her old school and home and put it up in the class so she could share it with her classmates. But it was not just special treatment for us alone, I found that everyone seemed to be very nice, gentle and accommodating to all students and parents in the process of books, uniforms etc.

On Tuesday (7th June 2016…school opened on 1st June, and the weekend was 4th and 5th June) my daughter complained of a stomach ache and I was called by the school nurse to come pick her up. They correctly identified her transition anxieties. While we were in the sick room together, Sister Moly, the principal, came to talk to us and asked me to come and meet
her about perhaps changing her section where maybe more kids would understand her American accent. She connected us up personally with other parents and teachers who had spent time in the U.S. so that my daughter might meet adults and children she could connect with. She heard her concerns regarding classmates or teachers occasionally lapsing into Kannada and reassured her that she would help with that.

On Wednesday (8th June 2016), the school called me again and said that my daughter had said she was not well again (sickness of the homesickness variety). Again, the staff and teachers were all very accommodating and reassured me that it was ok for me to take her home and let her skip classes until she adjusted. Sister Moly once again met us and took us to meet the academic coordinator to discuss if there would be another section where there might be more children who may better related to my daughter. She made sure that I saved the personal numbers of the teachers,coordinator and herself as well and they all saved my numbers for us to discuss anything at anytime. Once again, I didn’t have the sense that this was about us specifically, but that the staff and teachers would be equally attentive to any child and family who needed it.

Sister Moly talked to my daughter and asked her how she was feeling and upon hearing that she was still scared and unhappy, she suggested that she could make her feel better. She took us both to the convent area attached to the school and introduced us to the Mother Superior.
There we started at the chapel where we spent some quiet time reflecting on our transition and calming ourselves, then visiting a beautiful small vineyard to see the grapes, then saw the cows, and then the bunny hutch where my 7 year old cheered up tremendously by getting to hold baby rabbits in her hands. The principal spent nearly an hour of her time, totally unscheduled, attending to our needs in a caring and committed manner.

The principal also suggested that when we had purchased a violin and when she was ready, she could perform for the school during assembly if making music would help her feel happier. Sister Moly also suggested that they will visit us at home and bridge the gap between home and school for my daughter.

I was so blown away by the caring, compassionate and amazing response by teachers, staff and school to our unique situation and my child’s transition and adjustment stress. We expected it to be difficult and expect her to have trouble for at least a month, but I did not expect this kind of flexibility and love from the school community. I truly hope that my child can see past her grief from the move and soon appreciate and thrive in the circle of warmth that she is part of. She has Karate class today, and Roller Skating class tomorrow, and activities like Theater and Abacus. Hopefully these will keep her engaged and interested in the school this week. If anyone is looking for schools in that area, I would unhesitatingly recommend Aradhana Academy based on what I’ve experienced so far.

I added:

My experience with them as the grandmother of the child, has been very positive too. From the very first application, the response has been friendly and welcoming.

In December 2015, I approached many schools when it was clear that the family could not make a visit in March for the admission (because their documentation was getting done in the US). This was the only school which promptly said that they would set up a Skype interview for the child (class teacher, assistant teacher, principal and admissions co-ordinator here, and the child WITH her whole family in the US) and determine admission based on the interview. (Other schools that we contacted were: Ekya, Kumaran’s, Samhita,Innisfree House School, St.Paul’s, St. Marks.) The other schools did not even let me meet the principals so that I could have a word about the child and her possible difficulties in relocation.

When I’d gone to pay the registration fees, I found Sr.Moly telling some other parents: “If you want an elite school, this is not the one for you. This school was started to teach the poor children of this area, and since we take children sometimes at reduced or waived fees, depending on their financial need, you will find children from different economic backgrounds here.” And after talking about various values which we hold, she added, “But so many times, in daily life, I don’t pass the test…I fail in keeping up to the standards I should keep up to.” A Principal with such humility! These two statements impressed me a lot.

We are very happy that Kavya is in the Academy! Rarely does one find a school that truly enacts the statement of an ancient carpenter: “Suffer the little children to come unto me.”

At the lake in Lalbagh, one can often find the water snakes called

Checkered Keelbacks

On one occasion, Raji and I saw one, just under the surface of the water:

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Having caught a fish too large to eat, it brought the fish out of the water in an attempt to kill the fish.

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You can see how large the fish is!

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Here it’s trying to take it back to the water, though it did not do so as long as we were there:

Another keelback comes to try its luck, is quickly repulsed and glides off:

They are very often seen in the lake:

Here’s one taking a fish into a nook in the rocks to feast:

Keelbacks’ mdiet is, obviously, the fish in the lake (and frogs too). and it was riveting to watch how these creatures eat and survive. Keelbacks, in their turn, are often prey for the birds of prey like Brahminy or Black Kites; indeed, there are two common birds of prey called the “Short-toed Snake Eagle” and the “Crested Serpent Eagle”, both known for their liking for snakes!

Mausam…monsoon…

Shy as a young bride, the monsoon hints at her presence,but does not actually come right in. I, the lover of Varsha,as enamoured as any infatuated swain, ardently wait. The grey will turn a richer hue, the clouds will boil and scud across the sky, the air will cool magically….the life-giving drops will patter upon the parched earth, and grishma ritu will lose her hold, at least for a while….

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One of the results of building flyovers to ease traffic in our city is that the spaces underneath them are often a kind of wasteland. In an effort to address this,

Jaaga DNA

the design arm of Jaaga, co-ordinated with

Brihat Bengaluru Mahangara Palike (BBMP)

to create art in the spaces under the Hebbal flyover, whereby the common citizen was both represented and asked to participate. BBMP funded the project as part of a drive to clean up the space before the Karnataka global investors meet. The art project with Jaaga(there was an earlier project at Richmond Circle) was initiated and supported at the behest of JC Sarfraz Khan, by the local councillor. The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has taken up completing the painting of all the pillars. Jaaga had been the facilitators for the art component and for involving community in creative ways to contribute to the art project.

“We have so many rules about what citizens and road users should not do on the roads,” says Archana Prasad of Jaaga. “We wanted to involve the road users and pedestrians in a positive way, and let them know what they can do to claim public spaces. We’ve carried out a similar initiative at Richmond Circle; we decided that citizens could be requested to ‘do’, instead of commanded to ‘don’t do’.”

The event consisted of shining lights on citizens of Bangalore, then outlining the shadows cast on the flyover pillars with masking tape, and painting them in various colors.

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Why silhouettes? “Painting a silhouette of a citizen makes it both particular and an abstraction,” explains Kamya Ramachandran, Director, Jaaga DNA. A particular person poses for the silhouette…but after that, the outline represents all or any of us.”

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On Saturday, the 26th of January, 2016, I went to Hebbal flyover to see what would happen. I was completely absorbed by the variety of people who participated in the event, with everyone willingly dipping paintbrushes and going to work on the silhouettes.

Prakash and Satish are two volunteers, who heard of the initiative through Chithra Kala Parishath (CKP) and came along to help out.

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Here are Guru Prasad and Unnikrishna, two more volunteers…one photographing the other painting!

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Babu and Mahesh are two professional house and sign painters from Madivala, who were asked to come and help mix the paints. “We like being part of the action rather than just painting for our livelihoods and then moving to the next site,” says Babu. “Now, whenever I pass this flyover, I’ll look at the outlines.”

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The members of the LGBTQ community, who were “working” the flyover stop lights, were also very keen on participating, and when it came to holding up a slate with suggestions on how to use the space, they enthusiastically provided suggestions, including practical ones like having a toilet and drinking water facilities there!

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Here are Lalitha and Archana , holding up their suggestions, written in Tamil, asking for greenery.

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Even the police officers who came to keep an eye on the proceedings became citizens first and policemen later, holding up their suggestions…for cleanliness and safety.

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The catering staff from BBMP did a great job of serving coffee, tea and biscuits to everyone.

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One man who was detailed to up the litter, but several of us helped!

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Of course, boys always innovate…these young men managed to roll up some masking tape into a ball and proceeded to have fun with it!

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Many people from the Government were there, too. The Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr Krishna Byre Gowda, with his wife Meena; the Joint Commissioner, BBMP,Mr J C Sarfraz Khan, and the Councillor, Ward 7, Mr Manjunath Babu were all present, as were many members of the Coffee Board, and many pourakramikas from various Wards.

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Here’s Shaona from Jaaga, inducting a young man into the nuances of photography:

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With people like Sarah from New York (a volunteer with Jaaga) added to the mix, and one got a fairly heterogenous collection of Bangalore citizens!

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It was a very enjoyable event, though it remains to be seen how the space under the flyover can truly be claimed, when access to it is through heavy, unheeding traffic. The place is also very dusty, and needs a few amenities before it can become truly usable.

When Vaibhav called me to come and guide the residents of a gated community on a bird walk in Madivala kere, I was very happy to do so. So off we went to the kere at 4pm. I first got a photo of him with the bird board that

Brickwork India

had put up. The photos of the waterfowl are all by him and Dr Sanjeev Managoli, a paediatrician who manages to follow his passion for birds and contribute to the birding community, too.

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We met up with an assorted group of adults and children.

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Sangeeta Kulkarni, who became a friend when we were neighbours, several years ago, is fourth from right. She’s the CEO of Brickwork, and definitely I’d call this organization the custodian of the lake.

Here’s Vaibhav, explaining a few points about migratory birds:

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Here are some of the birds that we saw (very few…I was concentrating on answering questions and showing the birds, not clicking them!)

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(Spot-billed Pelican, migrant)

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Spot-billed Duck, resident)

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(Grey Heron, looking to the left, and Great Egret, looking to the right)

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(Litle Egret)

Here’s the bird doing a little “umbrella fishing”, a kind of feeding behaviour that I documented with Painted Storks in my write-up on Citizen Matters,

here

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Of course, I also told them a little about the trees and plants around such as the beautiful seed pods on the Mahogany trees:

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And the beauty of the Tabebuia avellenidae blooms,heralding the hot weather:

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The Forest Department personnel came to keep an eye on us too:

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It was growing late, the last load of tourists going boating was returning…

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And the sun was sinking low.

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So we wound up the walk and dispersed, having enjoyed a pleasant evening upon one of the few remaining lakes that our city has.

Join The Run For Cancer Kids

Do Join Us for the run for Cancer Kids.

Registration Page :
https://www.townscript.com/e/roadrunners

Donations will go to KIDWAI cancer institute and from KAAA :

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3c0U623dNiwX09oTndSWlBGOTA/view?usp=sharing

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fdrive.google.com%2Ffile%2Fd%2F0B3c0U623dNiwTnJHejRTQWE3Mkg0ZWMxYUtFTlBnNHJsa2Jn%2Fview%3Fusp%3Dsharing&h=IAQGRzWSD

Runners Club – Lalbagh Track

Lalbagh running track is one of the best track available in the middle of Bangalore for the joggers / marathon practitioners. Looping of around 4.5K (that’s a good size) can be done. Track is quite bigger is size and lot of people can run in parallel. Road, brick road, and mud – all kinds of tracks are¬†available.

Entry ticket – No, till 9.30 AM and after 6 PM. Rs. 10 in between (not a time for runners :P)

At the time of Rain : Fairly good. This track can be used even after a rainy day.

Hopcoms (Vegetable/Fruit Seller) is also available inside the lalbagh which can be used for buying fruits after the run. Here is a typical track route.

My this 10K run is without shoes, which clearly depicts that its a clean place to run.

lalbagh track

Endomondo Run : https://www.endomondo.com/users/23961627/workouts/604664048

Runners club – Madiwala or BTM Lake

If you are living around Jayanagar, J P Nagar, Bannerghatta road, BTM – Its one of the best place to run. Its a mud trace with following :

  1. Track length : 1.9 km one round (up and down). [Across the lake]
  2. Opening time : 5 AM to 8 PM.
  3. Entry fee: Free till 5 AM to 9 AM and evening after 6.00 PM.
  4. People around: Quite moderate. Good place to run.
  5. Type of track: Mud (Avoid if heavy rain last night)
Sunrise at Madiwala Lake

Sunrise at Madiwala Lake

 

Here is my endomondo half marathon run track in madiwala :

https://www.endomondo.com/users/23961627/workouts/583864743

Runners club – J P Nagar Miniforest

Millions dollar questions for the runners around Bangalore where to run, which is good track and many more. I do run across many places in Bangalore and from my blog, I will try to cover some of the good running place in and around Bangalore. I will add some of the snaps which will show the track condition.

First goes, J P Nagar – Miniforest – This is one of the long stretch in J P Nagar.

One complete round comes around 1.5 Km.

Opening and Closing time: 5 AM to 8 PM.

Ticket: No Ticket.

Do drop a comment or a feedback if you are a J P Nagar Runner.

J P Nagar - Mini forest Track

J P Nagar – Mini forest Track

J P Nagar - Mini forest Track - Selfie. If you want to take Mud path.

J P Nagar – Mini forest Track – Selfie. If you want to take Mud path.

 

Here is my endomondo run :

https://www.endomondo.com/users/23961627/workouts/589007460

https://www.endomondo.com/users/23961627/workouts/588997243

Why to go Valley School ?

I have more than 100 visits of Valley School, Kanakapura Road, Bangalore but never get bored off with the place. It still have a lot to offer. Its one of the best places when you want to rest yourself.

Initial days, I used to rush at this place to cover maximum ground. But now, I just visit the place to have some birding and lot of calmness. Here are some of the snaps of the place and some of the birds, some of the butterflies around.

Oriental White Eye

Oriental White Eye

Common Gull

Common Gull

Grey Francolin

Grey Francolin

Oriental White Eye searching the nest

Oriental White Eye searching the nest

Tawny Coaster

Tawny Coaster

Orange Tip

Orange Tip

Lemon Pansy

Lemon Pansy

Common Sailer

Common Sailer

Lemon Pansy

Lemon Pansy

Red Tip in Valley School

Red Tip in Valley School

Jerdon's Bushlark in Valley School

Jerdon’s Bushlark in Valley School

Pea Blue in Valley School

Pea Blue in Valley School

Common Gull in Valley School

Common Gull in Valley School

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