20 December 2008

afforestation programme

Another response to the global warming situation here is the tree planting programme is SAAP : Sakthi Amma's Afforestation Programme. Here the local hills (you can see them in the background), which are the Kaileshgiri, home of Shiva. Since 2003 the SAAP programme has planted 100 000 trees a year...

...that makes 500 000 trees planted so far...
The hills are government land and it took a little over a year to get the approval to plant the trees.
Here's a shot of the hills close up...

plant more trees

When I was 6 or 7 years old it was one of my dreams to buy land so that I could plant trees all over it... a few years later, I had another dream which was to have some land in an urban centre and make it into a park... so when I visited the garden set up by the Green Guerillas in New York City I was gob smacked by the vision and its impact on the immediate environment.

I had an equally gob-smacking experience when, the other day I photographed Sakthi Amma's reafforestation revolution programme.. because there was the dream I had as a child! 16 000 trees planted (cannot remember over how many acres...)

This programme is Sakthi Amma's response to global warming... plant many many trees... create a green revolution...

Here is Vijayan, the very passionate tree-planting manager:

His message for the world? Plant more trees.

19 December 2008

tea cosy revolution


check out my friend, Tara's blog and her gorgeous work... inspired by australian and french tales which are lovingly told through her objects...

18 December 2008

leading up to pongal (harvest) celebrations

Yesterday morning I was surprised to see this little, precious delight ! I was told that, over the next 4 weeks there are the preparations for the Pongal (harvest) festival - and this little detail is one of them !

Drawn by hand with sand at the entrance of homes and temples and work places... this one was found inside the Sri Narayani temple in front of the doorway leading to one of the offices...

The drawings are made new everyday but it is the flowers,small clump of grass and ghee lamp which is particular to this time of the year...

16 December 2008

the gift of a coconut

I took while we were filming ...

I photographed this home on the side of the road (an isolated house surrounded by fields) as I was so taken by its satellite dish (not very clear in the image - it is to the right of the entrance). I came quite close to photograph and its owner asked (in tamil) if I was thirsty and if I wanted water.

The director's assistant translated and I replied : "no no no", embarassed that I had been caught out photographing his home.

His response?
He climbed a coconut tree, plucked two, came down and cut them open and offered me one...

It was sooooo sweet.
Now that is hospitality.

15 December 2008

unexpected visitors

Yesterday morning, we were filming on this country road, this man and his cow (not sure what type of cow... ) turned up and became a part of the scene.

I was so overtaken by their beauty and their spontaenous visit that I went up to him and asked for a photo - and in return for a few rupees put in the money box which was embroidered into the cow's headpiece, the man got me to bow down so that his lovely four - legged holy friend could bless me...

14 December 2008

Filming in Thirumalakoidi

Here is Kathir, the film director being blessed by the cast / villagers after a scene. Kathir is a really well known film maker in the Tamil speaking world - EVERYONE we met, knew him .. His films are the type which run in cinemas throughout south india for 176 days ... which means millions see them, and the sound tracks become number one hits (something that my director friends in Europe and Australia would LOVE to happen in terms of the exposure/ cinema runs of their films...)

The interesting thing of doing this documentary on Sakthi Amma who is only 32 years old today, is that all the main players in Amma's early life are still alive, the oral history is there... the characters are there... and the fact that we are filming in the village, means access to a people, costumes, props, location... it's all at hand within five minutes... I have never worked on a shoot where everything has unfolded to quickly!

I will be interested to see the result of the work.

Here is Yanan playing the 16 year old Amma, and in the blue sari is the grandmother who was a key person in the young boy's life and during the transference from boy to divine being.

it's a wrap!

08 December 2008

sri narayani ante-natal mobile clinic

Sorry I have not been attending the news on the blog but I my trip to Berlin to complete the GUARDIANS - Cultural Heritage of Sound video installation was REALLY REALLy busy... back in south india to continue the book - and commence editing the GUARDIANS project...

On the weekend I attended the ante-natal mobile clinic where the community health doctor took 16 first year nursing students (the course for auxiliary nurses to assist mid-wives was abolished by the government, so the Sri Narayani Hospital, which delivers a lot of babies has established the course as a part of the Nursing College).

Like all the mobile clinics, the nurses set up a temporary clinic in a village public hall in 10 minutes, performed a puja (prayer ceremony) to declare the space sacred and began receiving young pregnant women from the surrounding villages.

It was really impressive as the students are taught to do everything with so much respect and care... as their teacher said to me on the way back "it's so much more than just teaching them nursing skills, it's also teaching them to how to be in their work and life."