Need to revisit the curriculum at design schools, including NIFT/NID : Be Entrepreneurial

It was a pleasure and privilege to be part of the Jury of the finals of the first All India #NIFT HG #business plan competition at @n.i.f.t national HQ in Delhi. It is indeed an honour and joy to start a new journey of contributing to the #design #education and fostering #entrepreneurship in design schools of the country.

Today, we have 16 NIFT campuses across the country. Five finalists emerged from the six month long competition that started from each of the 16 campuses. This initiative by #HarishGupta, an #NIFT alum of 1991 batch is praiseworthy and has the potential of #transforming the #design #education in #India.
In the pic include the visionaries who have given shape and are still giving to not only NIFT but also design as a edu-vertical and industry in the country. first DG Mrs Rathi (IAS) and current DG Mrs Sharda (IAS). Also seen are pioneer in #womenentrepreneurship @cwei Mrs Shashi, the founding CEO of Lacoste in India, Jayant, Harish Gupta of fashion learning, Praveen of Pincap fintech and other eminent roleholders in the NIFT fraternity Prof Sibichan, Prof Prabir, Prof Sudha, Prof Sohail…

The Jury was chaired by Mr Ganesh Natarajan, now an entrepreneurial mentor and investor, who has been known for spearheading Aptech at one point of time.

My few take aways from being part of the Jury..

A. The students taken in by the NIFT/NIDs may be creative, but the institutions need to invest in their personality transformation. You can present yourselves, create opportunities and clinch deals only if you are articulate and are convincing.

B. There is a dire need for instittutions to create a larger vision for themselves that can impact society in various ways, not limited to churning graduates. The four years of education needs to integrate with the external world. Break the insulated existence.

C. Then comes the need facilitate students to create their vision for life. Greater the integration with the external world through excercises of bringing outside world into classrooms and taking classrooms to the outsideworld, higher will be facilitation of students to have a better vision.

D. Need to foster entrepreneurial mindset as part of evolution of a student during the four years. This happens only when the institution is entrepreneurial, faculty is entrepreneurial, the processes are entrepreneurial. The institution should think of a few challenges/problems in its city as projects that could add immense value to the society, and solve them through their expertise; bring in relevant corporates to sponsor (csr), integrate these projects with the curriculum, at least in the 3rd and 4th year. Initiate the students into a structured entrepreneurial curriculum in the second year.

E. Of course embrace and institutionalize the competitions like NIFT HG business plan competition to help students participate, validate their ideas, create incubation possibilities. The funds will pour in. I am sure there are many investors like me who want to bet on the horses with potential.

F. The institutions need to tell themselves that they will incubate half a dozen endeavours/companies every year.

A stitch in time saves nine, as they say. It is time for NIFTs and NIDs to restitch in time to infuse energies.

Time to take off.

#careerlauncher

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An evening with Inspiring M S Sathyu

Thanks to my dear friend, Astha Dixit, the choreographer and lead dancer of the play Dara Shikoh, I was accorded two seats in Stein, for me and my better half, Indira. We reached the audi a couple of hours before the play commenced and I went straight to the green room to capture the candids at the back-stage. I had a wonderful time doing my captures, while listening to the interesting banters, especially in the green room of the ladies!

Dara Shikoh with his advisor

In the empty hall, an elderly gentleman, was quickly going around taking stock of the stage and then sitting in different seats on different rows at different corners of the audi checking the visibility of the stage from various directions before he headed to his place in the lights and sound room upstairs.

The play commenced and the action began with a dance sequence and quickly the entire elite audience got engrossed into the proceedings and I was deep into my clicking penance. The play was crisp as it traversed a couple of decades in the storyline before the curtains came down. The actors assembled on stage and were introducing the cast. They called the name of the Director, M S Sathyu. He was not to be seen and everyone was wondering where he was. The announcer realized that Sathyu was doing his duty today at lights, helping the apprentice. A few minutes later, the very same gentleman who took stock of the empty audi, walked in to the audi with a jhola in his hand and slowly yet surely, moved towards the stage and stood there for a couple of seconds to the grand acknowledgement with no emotions on his face. Then he walked into the audience space, took a seat by the side of an aisle and started gazing into the ceiling. That was M S Sathyu.

M S Sathyu at Stein, after the performance of Dara Shikoh

Meanwhile the audience went about congratulating the cast and shaking hands with the fellow audience. Also asking a question, ‘did you understand the dialogues completely?’  A couple of them asked me too.  The Urdu in the play made it difficult for the audience to follow the dialogues, leaving them a tad disappointed. It might not have had any impact on either the director or the producer, because they are passionate about their work..

“Dara Shikoh”, the modern classic is directed by M.S. Sathyu and written by Danish Iqbal, which encapsulates the play’s portrayal of the young Mughal prince and heir apparent to Shah Jahan. The play, being performed after three years, is once again being directed by the eminent director, stage designer and art director M.S. Sathyu and presented by Impressario Asia.

Danish Iqbal, the playwright, talking to the Hindu, attributes his knowledge about writing and stage skills to Sathyu. “He’s a grand old man of Indian theatre. He has a terrific sense of aesthetics. He makes sketches of every scene before the performance, to work out how the stage characters, headgear, beards, dresses, everything would look. He’s a very meticulous person. It’s a pleasure working with him. His art work is tremendously beautiful.” Iqbal adds that while he has indeed provided the dialogues, characters and content of the play, they’ve been given shape by Sathyu.

I slowly went and sat next to Sathyu ji, at his feet on the aisle, and started talking to him. This young man of 84 is brimming with enthusiasm, talking about his flight today to Mumbai to work with the cast from IPTA for the play scheduled on Feb 5th, at Prithvi, and then heading to Bangalore to take Dara Shikoh, on an eight town tour including Bangalore, Davengere, Bellary, Mysore etc, all in the month of Feb. He was very delighted to share that the play will be staged in a school of theatre set up by an ashram in Davengere. I also gathered that he designed around eight new arenas for theatre in Bangalore including Rang Shankara where Dara Shikoh will have three shows. His enthusiasm is infectious.

Indira and Astha with M S Sathyu

Indira interacted with Sathyu about his films as she has been a fan of his work from the days of the film “Garam Hawa.” Sathyu shared about directing Habib Tanvir and Safdar Hashmi in a play and  the discussion about his works went on…

Sathyu who started his journey as an art director, went on to design sets, lights for productions and then directing plays and finally films. In films, he has worked as an art director, camera-man, screenwriter, producer and director. His filmography includes over 15 documentaries and 8 feature films in Hindi, Urdu and Kannada.

It was an inspiring evening with M S Sathyu. as active and energetic as ever, brimming with ideas and enthusiasm even at 84. Indira and I will treasure this interaction for life time. Looking forward to meeting Sathyu again, very soon.

Sreeni’s humble journey – In Media, Books, publications, collaborations

I feel very elated and humbled at the same time, looking back at my journey as an edupreneur (educationist + entrepreneur) in the last eighteen years. This journey took me to many countries in the world, met many inspiring personalities, gave opportunity to create new businesses, initiate new endeavours that would facilitate thousands of children and youth realize their dreams, yet the most important thing has been that of discovering many more dimensions of my own journey of infinity (discovering the infinite potential within).

Ever since I returned to Delhi in 2008 after a five year stint abroad and then setting up schools in Hyderabad and Indore, I seriously started working on my passions – performing arts, fine arts, introspecting and writing, facilitating passionate artists who need support, apart from motivating youth to excel and young parents on parenting, creating exciting learning environments. I am inspired by all near and dear who have changed their gears in multiple-areas – brothers, Satya in Urdu poetry and lyrics, Param in holistic healing; My colleagues at Career Launcher : Shivku, GP, Nikhil, Sujit have been role models in many ways for their steadfastness in the endeavours they espouse; My friends who have created their own enterprises, eminent personalities and artists who are excelling in their passions have also been prodding me unbeknown to them. When I was taking stock of the outcome of these endeavours, I feel really charged and motivated to change the gears to do so much more.

The outcomes of this passionate journey has been varied, unexpectedly – publishing of my work in media, books magazines, online portals; invitations to programs, workshops on various media; eminent personalities co-opting me in their work and so on. I thought of showcasing it as a way of keeping myself motivated, apart from being a source of inspiration for many more who wish to excel. This reiterates my thought that, “If I am passionate about my work and dedicatedly persevere then the world will conspire to make it much more meaningful; and take me to places that I have never known.”

The most unexpected of the outcomes has been featuring in a book, “Young Leaders Success Code,” published by National HRD network and IMI. This chapter, dedicated to my leadership style, traces my journey from childhood to 2011…


Book - Young leaders Success Code - features R.SreenivasanBook - Young leaders Success Code - features R.SreenivasanBook - Young leaders Success Code - features R.SreenivasanBook - Young leaders Success Code - features R.SreenivasanBook - Young leaders Success Code - features R.Sreenivasan

Media – Both electronic and print have been kind enough to co-opt me, invite me to be a speaker or panelist on various programmes that address the needs of youth : Education, Careers, Parenting; Also covering my motivational tours and workshops – ‘Dream It, Do It’; ‘Think Big, Start Small’

Sreeni on GeNext on DD, April 30, 2011, 1:30pmSreeni in DD News Charcha mein Sept 03, 2011Find the leader and winner in your child - Motivational sessionEarly Childhood Education - School Leadership Conference2013 posters of Dream It, Do It! tour across the country

As I kept traveling around the world, my constant companion ‘the camera’ did enable me to capture India and the world in its kaleidoscopic spirit and colors; These splendid captures have attracted many publishers to embellish their works across the media – books, magazines, online-works etc from adorning their covers to centre-spreads!

– coffee table book by Ministry of External affairs – “The India Idea” dedicated to Indian Innovation spirit
– Three coffee table travel books published by Parragon on Jaisalmer, Rajasthan and golden triangle
– The cover of a book by Cambridge University Press
– Special issues of Femina; IIMB Alumni magazine
– Penguin’s best five – ‘India – A portrait through your lens’
– Overseas : Online magazines and their offline publications in Singapore (STORM); French publication – Linternaute; Las Vegas city guide

The India Idea – BookThe India Idea – BookThe Golden Triangle - Travel Guide features Sreeni's imagesJaisalmerRajasthan, the land of colors - Travel guidCambridge university press features Sreeni's photo on the cover of the book Devotion and Dissent in Indian HistoryLiving in Two Worlds - Femina Anniversary Issue 2011Living in Two Worlds - Femina Anniversary Issue 2011IIMB Alumni Magazine covers SPANDANIIMB Alumni Magazine covers SPANDANFrench website features my holi photos - LinternautePenguin India : 'India: A Portrait Through Your Lens' - Best 5

My passionate pursuit of performing arts – in front of and also behind the camera – yielded such a rich collection that, in 2013, I initiated my own dance photography exhibition and world dance festival, SPANDAN, that coincides with world dance day; and my annual SPANDAN calendar of Dance – a tribute to Indian dance forms emerged… glad to see the second year taking off in a very auspicious note. I owe my sincere gratitude to India Habitat Centre for being my hospitality partner for my annual exhibition and dance festival. My humble salutations to every artist who has allowed me, encouraged me to capture their performances and participated in my dance endeavours.

SPANDAN in FIRST CITYCalendars 2014 - Spandan and AIDSSpandan Calendar of Dance  - A tribute to Indian Dance Forms 2014Spandan Calendar of Dance  - A tribute to Indian Dance Forms 2014Blogged select captures

I am indebted to many eminent critiques and writers, movements like SPIC MACAY, SRISTI for co-opting me to capture their work and contribute to their cause, and also for embellishing their work in dailies and magazines…

Celebrating selfless service - THE HINDU - June 28, Three photosMedia : SPIC MACAY Coverages feature my photosSPIC MACAY 25th National Convention, in MediaSPIC MACAY 25th National Convention, in MediaMedia : SPIC MACAY Coverages feature my photos
Media : SPIC MACAY Coverages feature my photosSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK SurathkalSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK SurathkalSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK SurathkalSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK SurathkalSPIC MACAY - 27th National Convention, NITK Surathkal

Books, publications and Media, a set on Flickr.

In offing, in early 2014 : A couple of books on Indian Classical Dance forms, embellished with my photo-captures, by

a. An eminent dance critique of our country, who is a SNA Awardee and regular columnist,
b. A brilliant young dancer, SNA Yuva puraskar awardee, with an eminent culture ambassador.
c. SPANDAN dance festival and photography exhibition in April

Cambridge university press features Sreeni’s photo on the cover of the book – “Devotion and Dissent in Indian History”

The elderly gentleman sitting by the side of Ganges, staring into the deep horizon in front of him has been used by the Cambridge university press for the book – Devotion and Dissent in Indian History by prof Vijaya Ramaswamy

The photo I captured in Varanasi, features on the cover

Delighted to see Cambridge university press using my photo for the cover of one of their latest publications – Devotions and Dissent in Indian History by Prof Vijaya Ramaswamy

Moon-drenched Humayun’s Tomb with SREENI ON ROAD

Humayun’s tomb (Urdu: ہمایوں کا مقبرہ‎ Humayun ka Maqbara) is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. The tomb was commissioned by Humayun’s first wife Bega Begum (Hajji Begum)in 1569-70, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian architect. It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, and is located in Nizamuddin East, Delhi, India, close to the Dina-panah citadel also known as Purana Qila (Old Fort), that Humayun founded in 1533. It was also the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale. The tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, and since then has undergone extensive restoration work, which is still underway. Besides the main tomb enclosure of Humayun, several smaller monuments dot the pathway leading up to it, from the main entrance in the West, including one that even pre-dates the main tomb itself, by twenty years; it is the tomb complex of Isa Khan Niyazi, an Afghan noble in Sher Shah Suri’s court of the Suri dynasty, who fought against the Mughals, constructed in 1547 CE.


Moon-drenched Humayun's Tomb

Kindly visit for more of those beautiful moon-drenched photos and detailed article,
SREENI ON ROAD

Geometry – Inspired and instigated by nature : on my photoblog SREENIViews

Geometry is integral to Nature. Nature, in its myriad forms, has helped us understand and,evolve geometric patterns and constructs.

We, human beings, have adopted these constructs in a variety of ways –

a. Designing monuments and buildings,

b. Embellishing the mega-structures

c. The attires we sport

d. Accessorizing the looks of a human beings

d. To visual presentation of the food!

e. The dance forms mimic the natures patterns

The list is endless. Here, I try to give a form to the conceptual thought that has been lingering….

Colors of Nature

the flowery patterns of the roof interiors

Taj, Vrindavan and Fatehpur Sikri

For the complete geometric story that my brain imagined go ahead and just click.

Incredible India! Fatehpur Sikri – Mughal Architecture at its best (sreeni on road)

The grand entrance to the city of Fatehpur Sikhri
The grand entrance to the city of Fatehpur Sikhri

This is in continuation of the last story on road, that I shared in the previous posting. When we reached Agra with all the intention to see Taj with our kids, after the smooth, pacy and yet the adventurous ride on the new expressway, we got stuck for a couple of hours in the traffic snarls of ill-prepared Agra. Agra never witnessed such flood of vehicles ever in its history, in its narrow lanes. It could not entertain the huge rush from Delhi that took the newly inaugurated expressway. So, quickly we exited and headed towards Fatehpur Sikri, that I have never visited before. Thanks to Indira and Mallika who insisted on going there at any cost to untie the knots at the chisti’s abode that they tied a couple of years ago, praying for our second child. Now that Svwara arrived in our life, we headed to the chisthi.

Thus we reached Fatehpur Sikiri and I was flabbergasted at the expanse of Mughal Architecture and its finery. I am always astonished at the Vision, Design, Execution and craftsmanship that go into making such grand structures, that have been existing in this land of INDIA for a cover 2000-3000 years, many are still standing majestically!

The grand entrance to the city of Fatehpur Sikhri from inside
The grand entrance to the city of Fatehpur Sikhri from inside

According to contemporary historians, Emperor Akbar took a great interest in the building of Fatehpur Sikri and probably also dictated its architectural style. Seeking to revive the splendours of Persian court ceremonial made famous by his ancestor Timur, Akbar planned the complex on Persian principles. But the influences of his adopted land came through in the typically Indian embellishments. The Easy availability of sandstone in the neighbouring areas of Fatehpur Sikri, also meant that all the buildings here were made of the red stone. The imperial Palace complex consists of a number of independent pavilions arranged in formal geometry on a piece of level ground, a pattern derived from Arab and central Asian tent encampments. In its entirety, the monuments at Fatehpur Sikri thus reflect the genius of Akbar in assimilating diverse regional architectural influences within a holistic style that was uniquely his own. Built during the 16th century, the Fatehpur Sikri is one of the best preserved collection of Mughal architecture in India

For the full canvas of sreeni’s photopaintings of the Fatehpur sikri, visit travel blog link ofsreeni on road

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