Never stop chasing your dreams ! Mallika in the film!!

Never stop chasing your dreams !

A short #film of 2min. This film, ‘#Field In A Box’, features #MallikaNethraSreenivasan. Mallika gives her voice too for the film.

A #dutch conglomerate #TEN CATE,  that is known for advanced materials that make all the difference to humanity through a variety of products – advanced composites, armoury, geo-synthetics, protective fabrics, outdoor fabrics – is also a leader in laying sports #fields of artificial grass.  “Field in a box” is Ten CATE’s community development initiative across the #world through which it creates special, micro-sports-fields near their large sporting-arena projects, as an #inclusive effort, towards #marginals of the society, to #promote #sporting spirit and #nurturing #talent. This film showcases how such endeavours have #impacted the #communities and #societies and urges every #child to chase her #dream!

The talent scouting team of TEN CATE in India was looking for a fresh young girl to cast in the film, and as luck would have it a member of the team landed in one of our good friend, Smita’s home. Smita is the founder of ITIHAAS, that is big time into heritage education of children. It was just a coincidence that while Indira is an integral part of Itihaas in their walks and curriculum development team, I am on their advisory board. Smita, being a theater veteran, was against Mallika being drafted into films at such a young age, and strongly rejected her daughter Ragini’s forceful recommendation of Mallika to the scouting team. Finally Ragini with the help of her aunt, prevailed over Smita to let them approach Mallika and that’s how we got to know about this opportunity.

It was in October 2016, this scouting exercise happened over a few mail exchanges with Mallika’s portfolio that I had shot, with their specifications of looks. Then her voice test etc happened before they finalized her. The producers had some reservations about Mallika’s countenance, as She was 5’7″ at the age of 13 two years ago. Though they were looking for a 13 year old, her personality was much beyond what they had expected. What clinched perhaps is her background in theater (highest level of TIE at National School of Drama that a child can reach) and her national scholarship in classical dance, Bharatnatyam. They were delighted to hear her voice over too.

In November 2016, the filming happened over four days across the slums of Delhi and at the National Stadium, the premier olympic hockey stadium of the nation. What was most taxing for Mallika in the entire film making was the fortnight long training in understanding the basics and playing the game of hockey, under the tutelage of the national women’s hockey coach Saini sir, a Dronacharya awardee. Though Mallika is sporting enough and is a sought after athlete in the events at school, She has never had any sports training of the intensity that Saini sir put her through. Everything, from holding the stick to keeping the ball in play, to repetitive practice of the dribble for a 3-4 hours every day, was tough for Mallika.

Finally the film has been released this month, June 2018. All in all, the whole exercise of making the film gave enough insights to Mallika about the involvement that goes into making of any film – purposefulness, passion, patience, perseverance, hardwork, productivity, effectiveness in delivering in the first go etc… I am sure it will stand in good stead as she embarks upon her journey of life and career.


Cultural resonance – Manjari Sinha ji covers SPANDAN in her Statesman column

Manjari Sinha
| 02 June, 2016


The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) celebrated Africa Day on 26 May at the Azad Bhavan Auditorium. The theme India-Africa: Bound Together highlighted Africa’s diversity, success, economic potential and cultural resonance with India. The celebration comprised a panel discussion, a week-long exhibition of African costumes, paintings and artefacts, a food festival of Afican cuisine and a cultural programme.

The cultural programme opened with lively songs by the Capital City Minstrels, New Delhi, but the talented troupe from the Kingdom of Lesotho stole the show with the multi-talented African ensemble Likakapa Africa, which literally means The Legends or Crème de la crème. The lively performances by the renowned ensemble were a blend of Famo Music, Afro-Jazz, Hip Hop; that established an instant rapport with the audience. Unable to resist the vibrant rhythm and the contagious zest of the African music and dance, many were seen whistling and dancing in front of the stage.

Likakapa had two major Famo artists Rabots’o le Semanyane and Lebohang Lets’ohla, who led most of the songs backed by Tom Rakoti, the Afro-Jazz artist, and Molibeli Mokake who was both a Hip-Hop performer and a Rapper. The ensemble presented the unique stylistic music and dance, commonly seen in the streets of major towns and villages of Lesotho.

The Spandan-World Dance Evening at the India Habitat Centre the same evening, was the enthusiastic culmination of  a month long Festival of the Performing Arts and an ambitious exhibition of dance photographs, curated by R Srinivasan in the open spaces of the Habitat World on the occasion of the World Dance Day. 

 Celebrating the infinite potential in umpteen varieties of dance forms, Spandan showcased a spectacular melange of dance forms from Indian classical dances like Odissi by Arushi Mudgal, Bharatanatyam by Suhail Bhan and Kathak by Irina from Russia to contemporary dance by Neha Sharma of Sadhya, Jazz by Danceworx, Hip-Hop by the Quake Crew, Flow Art by Eshna Kutty, Tajik dance by Naseeba from Tajikistan and a mesmerising Folk Fusion by Nitisha Nanda from Banjara. The over-packed Stein Auditorium resounded with thunderous applause at the end of this extravaganza of dance, conceived by R Srinivasan of Spandan, created by Indira Ganesh and anchored by their 13-year-old talented daughter Mallika. 

Humkadam-2016 by Rachana Yadav Kathak Studio.

Rachana Yadav Kathak Studio presented Navagraha for their annual event Humkadam-2016, at the Epicentre. Based on the Hindu astrological science that says the nine celestial bodies, or Navagrahas, affect our character with their typical characteristics, when close to us, Rachana most imaginatively conceived and choreographed Navagraha, incorporating the entire repertoire of Kathak  through different groups of students portraying different Grahas, according to the characteristics of these Grahas matching the maturity or the age group of her students.

Opening with Navagraha Stuti, an ode to the nine celestial bodies, the programme started with the youngest age group, the twinkling stars, in “Jagmag deep jale…” with the basic Hastakas and simple Tode Tukde based on Sargam.

Navagraha took off with Brihaspati, the Graha for knowledge and longevity, with Guru Vandana. Venus, that stands for the feminine grace, was presented next, by a young adult batch dressed like delicate “Abhisarika Nayikas” on Shyam Kalyan Bandish “Sundar sej sanvar ke…”, interspersed with  Aamad, Tode, Tukde, Parans and Chakkardars…et al.

Mercury was depicted with Sargams in Raga Yaman; Mangal Graha had Krishna Arjun Samvad with the dancers dressed in the energetic colour red; the Shani or Saturn had the impressive Malkauns Tarana; and Rahu-Ketu portrayed by twin sisters was applauded for their remarkable pirouettes. Surya and Chandra, the climax, were danced respectively by Rachna’s senior-most students. Surya had Pramelu, Paran and the impressive foot-work in the challenging Tala Dhamaar and Chandra was depicted through a Ghazal “Pighal raha hai Chaand…”, as an Abhinaya piece, completing Kathak in its entirety.  Rachana’s imaginative choreography was enhanced with the most appropriate music composed by Samiullah Khan.


My Salutations to every woman…especially all those in my life!

Indira with Mallika and Svwara

My salutations to my mother, my sisters, my better half and my mother-in-law, my sisters-in-law, my two daughters who have always been around me, and to every woman in my life – in all phases of education, professional and passionate pursuits of performing arts and fine arts – each one contributing immensely in one way or other in my being what I am. I also salute the woman in every male, who contributed to what I am!

I pay my respects and tribute through this beautiful and touching poetry of Ms. Ashanti Holliday, that I found on the vast web! Thanks Ashanti!

A Womans Worth

© Ashanti Holliday

She gave life. She is a wife.
She is a mother and she is a friend.
She is a sister a survivor to the end.

Appreciate her, we don’t dare.
Ask her worries, we don’t care.
Wipe away her tears, they are invisible as air.

She works cooks and clean.
She laughs, helps comfort, and hides her pain.
When you struggle she pulls you through

All this is she and what do we do?
Complain and create a mess.
Provide stress and leave her feeling depressed..
Push her away and ignore her advice.
Tell her she is nothing without thinking twice.

She was raped tortured and abused.
Told she was nothing and would always be used just for pleasure forget her pain.

She swallows her pride, put her feelings aside.
Does as you need in order for you to be free.
Ignores your ignorance and tolerates your flaws.
You call her Bitch, Slut, Hoe and Tramp
She answers with pride dignity and a complete loss of self.
You call her nothing.
I call her Strong, Smart, Sensual, Caring, Giving, Surviving, Tolerant and powerful
I call her WOMAN!

An eye opener for the young and old alike – CP’s Underground Services Tunnel

Delhi, in the wake of 2010 common wealth games, had to endure inconveniences at most of the places due to ongoing infrastructural projects. The next CWG is around the corner, a few of the projects are still long way from completion, even after four years. One of the locations that was seen dug all over was the Connaught Place, which is still some way from complete recovery.

I came across an article about the CP’s new wonder, an underground services tunnel! and that it was thrown open to the public to see for seven days before it got officially commissioned, claimed to be one of a kind gift to the city dwellers who frequent to CP, a hundred-year old shopping destination in the heart of the capital.

I was keen to take the family, especially kids. After a couple of attempts, finally managed to take three young, curious minds – Mallika, Nandu and Miku – along with the very young Svwara and family. The visit was an eye-opener not only to the young brigade, but also to all adults.

The underground service tunnel

The 1.8 km underground tunnel, two story tall and 30ft wide, runs all around CP, underneath the middle circle enclosing within, various ducts and pipelines, that service this bustling market place. It is a wonderful showcase of the urban planning and development that every city across the nation can easily follow. After Delhi Metro, that has become a standard for public transport in major cities, I see this will be a standard for services maintenance and delivery.

The engineers facilitating the young brigade and the old alike

When we descended through one of the gates into the tunnel, close to Palika Bazaar, we were greeted by a couple of Engineers from Shapoorji Pallonji, the executer of the project. They were very friendly and were encouraging questions and responding eagerly too.

Our discovery –

The multi-tiered structures that carry various electric and data cables to the entire CP network

There are 8-9 tiers of neatly organized conduits of wires going through the two story high tunnel.
a. High tension wires those carry load to the transformers etc
b. supply to the consumers from these transformers
c. The data cables that carry telephony and data
All these are cleanly organized, insulated and made sure that one does not interfere with the other. Data lines are located farthest from the high tension wires. Ample precautions have been taken so that under any eventuality, any accident can be responded to immediately. For a few of the ducts, water pipelines are laid, and for a few gas and hand held fire extinguishers are provided, based on the requirement. All handy and easily executable

Then there are larger pipelines, distinctly color coded –

The color coded pipelines that carry water for various purposes – RED, BLUE and GREEN; with safety valves

A. Red colored for the fire safety network. They carry water to the network of points, located all across CP so that any fire can be doused with those outlet and one need not depend or wait for fire-extinguishers to reach the spot through crowded markets. The response could be within a few seconds
B. The second set of pipelines, color coded, blue carry fresh municipal water to all the blocks, offices, houses and shops for regular usage
C. The third set of pipes, green, carry the rain water and such for recycling and dispersal, for watering the parks and green belts within CP…

The whole complex is monitored by a high-tech control unit which keeps track of temperature, pressure variations in order spot any malfunctioning, accordingly switches on or off the systems as and when need arises. Also it takes care of cooling and air-conditioning of the whole underground tunnel.

It was an eye-opener for me and the young brigade too. They were so enamoured of the complex that they wrote interesting feedbacks in the books placed there in.

All in all, it was a wonderful exercise for one and all..

Creating the Magic in humans – Investing time with children, enabling them excel

The first fourteen years of a child’s journey is very significant. The intellectual growth of a child happens during this phase. Only when critical thinking and problem solving dimension gains a critical mass, the physiological body matures.

If I have to be more specific, by the age of three, a child’s ability to observe and analyze a particular situation, i.e. mental faculties, match 80% of an adult; by the time she is eight the match is 90% adult, by fourteen 98% adult.

The question is, as an adult or a parent, how many of us do anything during this critical phase? What is the role of a parent during this critical phase of first fourteen years?

Sorry to say, most of the childhood is neglected, as they count for nothing in a society. Not to offend any, but in the current context, working mother’s want to get back to work immediately after the child’s birth. Without office, they feel like fish out of water. Since I have been in the education space and early childhood space is one of my passions, I invest a lot of time counseling a young mother about the significance of their presence in the first 4-5 years of the child’s life. The nuclear families have house-maids and nannies. Need to really think how this would really impact a child. Yes, crèches take care of the kids! But what impact does the crowded crèche leave on the child.

I do many a workshops on parenting and facilitating a child. My sessions on ‘Multiple intelligence’ and ‘Enabling the leader in your child’ are most sought-after among the parents of school-going children. Will upload a couple of sessions online… But I just thought of sharing a couple of thoughts here….


Books are the best friends parents can ever help their children befriend with. Nothing can match books in igniting the imagination and creativity in a child. It needs a lot of investment initially – book reading, story telling, selecting and flooding home with books, oneself indulging in it regularly … Once you set them on that path, rest assured you have made their lives…

Creativity is a casualty in our school education system. Performance in the exams, marks take such an importance, that everything else is left behind. So even critical thinking and analytical skills take a beating. It is all about rote-learning and vomiting in the examination hall.

So parents and families really need to invest more time on building the ‘right brain’ – creativity and emotional intelligence. Only thing that we can give a child to really enable her excel, is time. Coming to time, any amount of time that we can give to a child is less …..

Will talk about other activities soon, that you could engage the child to excel…. till them invest time with books.

Thanks to Indira Ganesh, Mallika Nethra Sreenivasan is a book worm (;)) and Svwara imitates Mallika ….A Bookshop is the safest bet to keep both of them gainfully for the whole day, calmly and peacefully…

Photo story series : Ma..Amma..Mutter…Moeder…Majka…Madre…Mom…Mother…

No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star.
~Edwin Hubbell Chapin


The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh


The pleasure of being a mother, holding the young one, Indira and Svwara
The pleasure of being a mother, holding the young one, Indira and Svwara


Visit the full story on sreeniviews

Like my Facebook – Photo and Visual arts Page
Visit the story stream on Flickr

Gallerie Public Spaces – Interesting and Compelling Community Endeavour


Gallerie Public Spaces, a set on Flickr.

Most of the art, is confined to Galleries and Elite spaces. The artists aspire to be seen and heard in those spaces. Even the visual artist community, many of who themselves must have emerged from a very humble surroundings, does not go back to those spaces. The photo and painting world, the art world, like the fashion world, looks only in one direction – tags, visibility, rubbing shoulders with THE happening people and in HAPPENING places.

After having seen and experiencing the HAPPENING world from close quarters, I wanted to do an experiment and exploration to enliven public spaces. Unexpected and unbeknown to the regular users of a public space, I curate a painting and photo exhibition in the place, that I study thoroughly to understand its usage by people – place, time of the day and activities. When they come without any expectations and to their surprise find the display of creative works, they are taken in and inspired. I did it in three parks in and around my place of stay, Sarita Vihar.

Then I though, why not tax a little more and see how far I can go to study the acceptance of this concept. Went to Lodhi Gardens to put it up. The security stopped me from doing it and asked me to seek permission from Dept of Horticulture of NDMC as there are many ‘BIG’ officers who walk in the park and object to any form of using the park apart from walking and discussions!!

I spoke to the director of NDMC. He wanted me to give things in writing and wait for the permission. For want of time, I stopped it at there. I wish I can push a little more. I am sure I can, If I can invest time. Nothing can be gained without shifting a paradigm.

The learnings and realizations –

a. People loved it and very inspired by just a change in their existential space. It really changed their perspective of what parks can be!

b. The few works placed in the park made every one introspect about their life journey. Quite a few became emotional about what they could achieve in their lives and what they could have achieved more

c. Many a members rushed home to bring along the larger families, who came excited and found the space thrilling

d. The the discussions went on to figure out how, we can make these parks and community spaces more exciting.

This experiment has just been an extension of what I see and do in school and educational spaces. Can we not make each of these community spaces, THE HEART, of the communities.

H – Health : Spaces for health and healthy lifestyle practices

E – Education : Learning spaces for holistic development

A – Agriculture and Art spaces : for bringing interactions, sharing, Performing, learning and market spaces

R – Rural Development : Innovation, Entrepreneurship and economic development

T – Tourism, Travel : Vibrant spaces for experiences and exchanges

This concept can be compelling depending on the level to which we can take this idea and make real forays. While my endeavour continues in school space, would love to collaborate with a District Collector to make the shifts in a district and then replicate it across districts, state and the nation.

On the Gallerie public spaces front, I am going to continue my explorations. I have now plans of creating a mobile gallerie; to do a van that can go around and surprise people in park, in and around Delhi.

%d bloggers like this: