Krya organic detergent India

Krya Detergent Review – Organic Detergent Powder In India

Krya detergent review

I have been on the constant lookout for reducing the total toxic waste that we generate in our homes on a daily basis. Detergents, cleaning products, soaps and so many chemicals generate plenty of non recyclable waste water. Cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad often reel under the pressure of water crisis during the hot summer months. Wouldn’t it be nice if we used eco-friendly organic detergent powder and other cleaning products that would double up as compost for plants too?

That’s when I found Krya! A casual search at www.amazon.in for  “organic detergent powder India” displayed Krya right at the top.

Krya All Natural Organic Detergent Powder – India

Krya Detergent Review

Ingredients

Indian Soapberry or Reetha is the main constituent of this organic detergent powder. These soapberries are certified organic. Usually most of the chemical detergents available in the market use petroleum as a base. This 100 percent natural detergent powder is made from the fruit of soapnut trees. It works great in both front-load and top load washing machines.

How to use Krya detergent?

The detergent powder comes with a small cotton pouch. For a full load of clothes, add 1 – 2 tablespoons of the detergent powder into the pouch and securely tie its mouth with a double knot. Put it in the washing machine along with the clothes to be washed.

To wash off tough stains, make a thick paste of this organic detergent powder and scrub the area lightly with a brush.

I usually soak dirty clothes in a bucket of warm water along with some detergent tied within the cotton pouch. After 30 minutes or so, I put them into the washing machine. The clothes come out sparkling clean and smell so fresh. The grey water that remains behind in the bucket, I use for watering plants.

Why Krya?

The Krya Classic detergent powder is a non toxic, green cleaning product that is a safe alternative to other polluting synthetic detergents. It is suitable for all kinds of delicate fabrics and normal fabrics like wool, linen, silks, and naturally dyed fabrics.

Krya helps your clothes stay brighter, retains their colour and prolongs their life. This is the best choice for those who are allergic to synthetic detergents. Baby clothes and cloth diapers can be washed clean too.

The Krya Classic detergent is free from Enzymes, LABSA, Bleaches, Phosphates, Fragrance and other Additives since it is made from carefully harvested, sun dried organic, whole soapberries. No other extracts, additives or chemicals like lye and baking soda are used in the detergent.

My experience with Krya

I used Henko before Krya. It was the best but weighed heavy on my conscience as it was definitely not green. I have replaced it with Krya classic detergent powder. It works great. I spread the soapberry residue left in the cotton pouch over the base soil inside my plant pots. The water left over from soaking the clothes is used for watering the plants in my balcony. It is a small but important step towards contributing towards a greener environment.

succulent decor - cool ideas for the lazy gardener

SUCCULENT DECOR – For the lazy gardener!

Succulents are gorgeous, fleshy plants that survive with little or no maintenance and are practically impossible to kill. So if you are a lazy gardener, these plants are just for you. Take a look at these creative ideas for succulent decor  that are more than enough to get you started.

Succulent Decor – Cool Ideas

Succulent Terrariums

Whether you DIY or buy these online, terrariums create an illusion of a small, different, green world right in the middle of your living space.

Experiment with different shapes of glass terrariums. Hanging terrariums look enchanting in the passageways and balconies. Couple these with some pendant lights to create an air of fairy magic in your front porch, dining area or balcony.

via shopterrain

Mini Zen Garden

Go Spiritual. Develop a mini Zen garden replete with a serene Buddha figurine in a meditative pose. Place this Zen garden in your yoga room / study room or office. Add pebbles, sand and a few rocks to give it a natural look.

DIY Succulent Coffee Table

Coffee tables with luscious succulents in the centre exuberate warmth and joy. A bit of outdoors on your coffee table is an instant energy booster. succulent decor

Succulent Wall Planters or Shelves

Forget expensive wall accents and wall coverings. Bring a plain, boring, drab wall to life with these plant pods or wall planters. It is not only easy on your pocket but also serves the purpose of making that particular wall a focal point of a particular room. It also leaves your floor space or counter space free for other uses.

succulent decor - succulent wall planter
via small garden ideas

Succulent Bookend Planters

I love these double role bookends. What a suave idea for a succulent planter!

via theliterarygiftcompany

A head full of succulents

Ideal for outdoor gardens, a succulent head is a lovely riot of colourful succulents growing wildly in a head shaped planter. This one is definitely pleasing to the eye.

head shaped planters for succulents

via amazon.com

 

 via Mill Gracias

This cute face planter looks great with a wide grin. It sure looks pleased with its succulent head!

Lantern Planters

Succulents look ravishing in a Plantern. Team a few succulents, preferably of the flowering variety with a tiny solar light. Place these in an old fashioned lantern. This glows at night, highlighting the colours of your succulents. It sure is a swell idea to make your balcony garden look fabulous.

diy succulent lantern

via happyhourprojects

Succulent Initials

Grow succulents in carved out spaces of your initials or names. Put these up on your front gate or main doors. Looks trendy. Looks Natural.
succulent_initials

via Amazon.com

Quirky faces

Check out these quirky yet cute animal shaped planters. Don’t they look absolutely adorable? You can get creative. Paint funny expressions/ faces with acrylic colours on ceramic planters. Plant succulents in them and you’re done.

animal_succulent planter

By roogo

cermaic face succulent planters

 

tatsuya tanaka

Tanaka Tatsuya Miniature Worlds – Amazing!

 tanaka tatsuya miniature

Wait a minute! Is that a tree or broccolli? This photograph of a Tanaka Tatsuya miniature world sets your imagination on fire.

Isn’t it an absolutely captivating piece of art? Imagine Gulliver’s flabbergasted expression when he gets washed ashore a foreign land occupied by tiny people. Everything is so teensy weensy and yet so beautiful!

Tanaka Tatsuya miniature worlds or dioramas

Miniature worlds or Dioramas can be created out of everyday objects like paper clips, books, broccoli florets, bread and what not. These everyday objects when placed strategically along with miniature people, birds and animals can get transformed into a totally different world altogether.

That’s exactly what Japanese artist Tatsuya Tanaka had in mind when he started his Miniature Calendar project in 2011. Every day since 2011, he has been painstakingly developing miniature dioramas like a forest made of broccoli, or a railway train made of bread. It could even be a horse grazing away at the bristles of a scrubbing brush etc. His imagination knows no bounds. Careful planning, design and execution has made the miniature calendar project what it is today.

Tatsuya’s interpretation of miniature worlds using dioramas are depicted beautifully through his photographs. Every day one such photograph makes its way into the calendar.
Just check out a few of his best diorama styled miniature worlds.

WALTZING AWAY IN THE MAGICAL FOREST!

 

SWIMMING IN THE COLOR POOL

 

SO THE HORSE ATE YOUR GRASS?

 

BEETHOVEN’S SYMPHONY ON IC CHIPS!

 

SUN KISSED IN MY MAKEUP KIT!

 

WHOA! POTATO CHIP DESERT!

 

STAPLER OBSTACLE RACE…

 

STREET LIGHTS STAND TALL!

 

HIDE AND SEEK? CAUGHT YA!

 

GOOGLING AWAY!

 

OH MY! THAT’S SO  VERY HIGH!

 

SCOTCH TAPE RESTAURANT

 

Upside Down Gardening Ideas – For the Urban Gardener

I happened to visit an aunt’s place last week. She is an avid gardener, fond of all things green. I entered her veranda and there it was! I thought, “Things couldn’t get weirder than this!”
There was this beautiful hanging planter that had luscious plants from both the ends; top and bottom! The pot was a lovely yellow with fresh, green spinach hanging below it and a gorgeous crown of mint at the top! Many more hanging pots in bright colours grew lots of stuff both ways, making good use of vertical space and leaving her floor space practically free.

 

upside down gardening ideas

“What a swell idea!”, I thought. I went right ahead and prodded her for answers. Over tea, she patiently answered all my ‘How Tos’ and ‘What Nots’. So here you go with all the information she gave me on Upside Down Gardening Ideas.

 Upside Down Gardening Ideas

So what is this all about?

The USP of this gardening approach is to make maximum use of the available space when the ground space is less. This looks great for urban apartments with small balconies. The floor space can be utilised for keeping foldable chairs and a tiny foldable coffee table. You can hang the planters from the ceiling or fix them on a wall vertically with wrought iron holders. With plants growing both ways, you can double your harvest in minimum available space.

Upside Down Gardening

Things required for Upside Down Gardening

  • Hooks to hang planters from the ceiling And/ Or
  • Planter holders fixed to the walls vertically
  • Hanging pots or baskets
  • Plants
  • Potting Soil with compost

The actual process

First decide what to plant

The plants that go into the bottom can be those that grow a bit tall like maybe tomato, cucumber , lemons etc. Then you could plant parsley, mint or some small herbs or flowering plants on the upper side of the planter.

The reason behind this is that fruits and vegetables tend to make the stem bend with their weight when the plant grows upwards. Here, we have no reason to worry. The plant hangs upside down so the fruits / vegetables will not touch the ground or make the stem bend.

Size of the planter

If it’s a vegetable / fruit bearing plant it’s better to use a slightly bigger hanging planter like a small bucket or a basket. For a two colour combination of flowering plants; above and below you could use a normal decorative hanging pot. Same goes for two herbs/ two shrub combination of plants.

How to plant

Stuff some coco fibre upto 1 inches from the top of the pot.  Invert the pot on a tray. Drill a 1.5 inch hole at the bottom of the planter depending on the size of the stem and roots that need to go through.

Add potting soil slowly into the container, through the 1.5 inch opening. Continue adding soil till you reach  the top. Next insert the roots of the sapling to be planted and fix it firmly into the soil. Press well.

Allow this to stay for a few days till the plant has fixed itself firmly into the soil. After a few days, invert the pot. Remove the coco fiber. Add some potting soil. Put in a few seeds of low growing plants like mint, parsley etc. and cover it with some more soil.

Hang this planter from the ceiling or place it in a wrought iron holder fixed to the wall.

buy upside down planters online

You can altogether avoid all this and buy a ready to use upside down planter also called a sky planter from Amazon or from your local gardening supplies store.

Upside Down Gardening Dos and Don’ts

Choose your plants carefully. The water, soil and sunlight requirements of plants that go together in a pot, must be taken into consideration. Two plants that go into the same pot must have similar requirements.

You cannot have two plants with opposite requirements for sunlight and water.

Do not over water the plants as soon as you’ve planted them. The soil may get washed out.

Use organic fertilizers and pesticides as much as possible.

Why is Upside Down gardening good for the Urban Gardener?

Urban gardening spaces like apartment balconies and terraces have space constraints. Urban gardeners may have time constraints as well. This two way method of gardening saves up on space and time.

Hanging planters can be made to hang at your chin level. You do not have to bend or sit on your knees to dig up or to add some extra potting soil or to water the plants. This is an excellent method to grow veggies and lovely herbs and flowers at the same time!

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

Picture credits: garden365.com
grow.spogagafa.com
thewhoot.com

disadvantages of multitasking

Why I ain’t MULTITASKING anymore!

Less is more‘ doesn’t sound cliché if you know how evil multitasking can be…

It’s 5 a.m. .I jump up from bed as soon as the alarm goes off; all set to face a new day. I keep some black tea on the stove to brew and set off to brush my teeth, all the while checking WhatsApp and my inbox. By the time this is over, it is time to prepare breakfast, lunch, and pack my son off to school and so on… In the meanwhile, I start the washing machine, water the plants and turn off the stove for 15 minutes so that I can pack a little morning walk in between. Phew!

disadvantages of multitasking

Here is Why you shouldnot multitask

All this gets over by 9am. All work has been done but the feeling of mental exhaustion is enormous. And its time for a few more not so happy realizations. The black tea turned out to be way too strong. I couldn’t consume it more than a few sips. I had accidentally kept the salt in the refrigerator. So I had to waste a good 15 minutes to find it in the first place. This had an impact on the pace of tasks that followed. I couldn’t finish cooking lunch on time. The better half goes off in a huff complaining that he is late. Clothes had been put in the washing machine without sorting them. Turns out that the red from my son’s tee decided to play around with my husband’s white sports shorts. I realise the Jade and the Aloe did not need watering today. And I have drenched them to the core. Though I did accomplish so many tasks, the quality of work was not up to the mark.

Next, I have to print a few worksheets for my English grammar class. I put the paper in the printer, answer a few emails, pin a few interesting pins on balcony gardens and supervise my maid. The printing is on. A few sheets overlap and get stuck. Ouch! Again I waste my precious time. I remove the sheets that are stuck. I place fresh sheets of paper in the printer and start all over again.

By now I pick up my third bag of potato chips. All this multitasking has made me feel hungry. Mind you it’s not my stomach that asks for food. It’s my mind. Multitasking plays with your mind. It can turn you into a glutton. To hell with weight loss is what it tells you. It cooks your brain on a slow fire. By the time you realise the damage, it’s too late.

The next time around I make sure that printing is the only thing I do while it’s on.
By the time I sit down to write something, I’m so mentally exhausted that ideas simply refuse to ply into my mind. It’s more like an invisible fog clouding my brain. Nature has wired your brain in such a way that it can do a single task much better than performing many tasks simultaneously. In the long run, doing multiple tasks at the same time can lower your IQ and make you forgetful.

Benefits of NOT multitasking

So here I go again. LESS IS MORE. Do ONE THING AT A TIME if you want to:

1. Be More Productive
2. Get rid of Brain fog
3. Stay Mentally alert always
4. Make few mistakes
5. Maintain an ideal body weight
6. Stay away from Alzheimer’s and Dementia

And while you are reading this, be at it and nothing else…

Image courtesy Marcolm via freedigitalphotos.net

mirror design ideas - how to decorate your home with mirrors

10 Gorgeous Mirror Design Ideas – How To Decorate Your Home With Mirrors

“MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL…WHO IS THE FAIREST OF ‘EM ALL?” That’s how the SnowWhite fable starts off! What about you asking your wall mirror , “ Which is the best home of them all?” Don’t get flabbergasted when your mirror actually replies! It will, without any doubt, say that your home is of course the best looking one in the entire world! Mirror design ideas can drastically change the look and feel of your living space. They reflect light, making your home look larger, well lit and ventilated. Place decorative wall mirrors strategically to reflect beautiful wall accents, eclectic wall clocks, lovely vases and other home decor accessories.

Mirror Design Ideas – Home Decor Using Mirrors!

Imagine a simple, plain, pastel coloured wall that needs some sprucing up to be done.  Mirrors reflect what they see…that is one aspect which can make dull walls come alive!

Mirror Wall

Mirrored wall in the living room

Design an entire mirror wall! It will look fabulous in a contemporary room decor setup. Take a close look at this Bohemian living room with an entire wall made of mirrors. Doesn’t it look elegant and royal?

 

Mirrored Kitchen Wall

This mirror wall in a kitchen makes it look infinite! The kitchen appears as if its large!

 

Mirrors Add Depth

Mirrors make a room appear long. It adds a lot of depth to a small room. Don’t believe me? Check this out. This mirror on the dining room wall reflects the opposite seating area, making it appear so roomy and spacious.

 

You can opt for a similar effect by installing a huge rectangular or square mirror above the fireplace.

courtesy Babble

 

 

Mirrored Window Pane

This beautiful window with mirror windowpanes looks appealing, reflecting the space before it and adding depth. The fresh yellow sunflowers make it look more charming.

 

Look at this huge, ornate mirror courtesy wallmirrors. It lends an aesthetic appeal to an otherwise boring wall. Team it up with a dressing table, a few books, a photo frame and you’re done!

Mirror Design Ideas For Your Home

Mirrors – A Visual Treat!

So you have a lush, green, garden outside? Show off with a beautiful oval or circular mirror. Look at this arrangement by HouseBeautiful

mirror design ideas

 

Carved Wooden Mirrors

carved wooden mirror india

Add a generous dose of tradition and carved wood to your wall with this intricately carved wooden masterpiece mirror courtesy tradeindia! It’s looks stunning with lovely roses and a compact jewellery box by the side.

Peacock Mirrors

 

Mirror designs with peacock motifs and peacock plumage look royal and magnificent on walls. These are typical Indian preferences.

Mirror Furniture

Using mirrored furniture is one of those unique mirror design ideas that trick the eyes. You feel that there is no furniture; that it is rather hidden behind mirrors. However, you should plan this one a bit carefully. You wouldn’t want too much of glare at night when all lights are turned on. Check these mirror cabinets courtesy asamonitor

mirror furniture

Use these mirror design ideas to transform your living rooms, kitchens, patios and front porches. Unleash the artist inside you. Think and use mirrors effectively to highlight accents or to create an illusion of depth and light.

diy photo frame

DIY Photo Frame – Gorgeous Ideas For Kids Rooms

A total makeover of my son’s bedroom got me thinking on how exactly I could reuse his old toys and other stuff to create an absolutely adorable look for the walls. That’s when I thought of cute photo frames for kids. A quick Google search tells me of this absolutely adorable DIY photo frame that I can make from old Hot Wheels cars which my pre-teen hardly even looks at. It is such a lovely way to repurpose and reuse stuff that’s been lying around for years. All you need to do is to find undamaged old toys or things belonging to your child that you no longer need. Then get an old photo frame or make a simple cardboard picture frame and paste these decorations neatly or in a cute pattern all over it.

DIY Photo Frame – 7 Adorable Ideas

You will find millions of ideas for a DIY photo frame pasted all over the internet. I liked to shortlist these as they make wonderful ideas for kid’s bedroom decor. There are many more made of popsicle sticks, old CDs, Book cover cardboards etc. but these are not durable and look cheap on walls. The ones made of old, repurposed wooden pallets look great but take quite some time to give them the perfect vintage look.
So here are a few of my favourite ideas that look great and do not take much of your precious time.

What you need for a DIY photo frame

1. A wooden photo frame or a plastic one would do great. Avoid cardboard ones as they are not durable and can get mouldy over time since they absorb moisture easily.
2. Small, old cars
3. Crayons
4. Hot glue gun
5. Egg Cartons
6. Lego pieces
7. A clock making kit
8. Pages from a glossy magazine
9. Clear Liquid Glue
10. A coloring brush

Hot wheels Photo Frame

Paint your photo frame with a nice, bright colour. Clean and keep your Hot Wheels car collection ready. Glue them on to the frame one by one with a hot glue gun. Place a generous amount of glue with the hot glue gun. You don’t want the cars falling off. Also, choose small, cute cars that the frame can support easily.
diy photo frame

via Hot Wheels

Super Hero Photo Frame

Catch hold of a nice comic book or take a colour print from an online comic book superhero series. Cover an old photo frame with this neatly. Apply a coat of clear liquid glue all over this. Allow it to dry. What you get is a simple, eye –catching superhero decoupage picture frame. Insert a picture of your child wearing a superhero costume into this frame.

diy picture frame

So what do you think of this  Captain America comic book themed photo frame from Etsy? Doesn’t it look great?

pciture frames for children's bedroom

This Batman photo frame is a cool photo frame for kids. You just need to paste a few additional painted  cardboard cutouts to the photo frame – Silhouettes of buildings, the Batman Logo and a cute Batman. Cover these with a single coat of colourless glue, once the paint dries.

Egg Carton Flower Frame

egg carton flower frame

 

This DIY photo frame is for cute and pretty girl bedrooms. Looking at this one, I was surprised to see how egg carton flowers could look so lovely! Though this tutorial is for a mirror frame, you can easily make one for your photographs too.
Via wonderfuldiy

Paper Quilling Photo Frame

diy paper quilling photo frame

Come up with some very pretty paper quilling artwork to cover a basic wood photo frame. Use lovely, vibrant coloured paper quills to make flowers, leaves, butterflies and what not. Check out this amazing DIY frame tutorial paper quilling art by Instructables. A paper quilling photo frame is a must on a girl bedroom wall.

Crayon Photo Frames

crayon photo frame

If you have school going kids, you ought to have dozens of packets of wax crayons at home. You either buy them or get them as return gifts at birthdays. In any case, make good use of these by crafting a clever crayon photo frame. Check out how Katie makes this lovely crayon DIY photo frame at  sweetrosestudio

crayon picture frame for kids bedroom
This is another crayon photo frame with a nice bow and the kid’s name pasted on top with some modelling clay.

Lego Photo Frame

lego photo frame

Lego is an all time favourite with boys. Use Lego blocks to create a simple, colourful and elegant photo frame for your boy’s bedroom. Top it with Lego characters. Vanessa has made this lovely DIY Frame and she tells you how at her blog See Vanessa Craft

Photo Frames Wall Clock

diy photo frame wall clock

 

Use about twelve photo frames to create an awesome wall clock. Let this be the focal point of your kid’s bedroom or even your bedroom. Try different coloured frames. Experiment with different sizes. Use black and white photographs or colour prints. Make a custom clock in the centre of your wall. Nail these twelve frames on the wall such that they depict various hours according to the hands of the clock.
Here is a detailed instruction set at photojojo

Magazine Photo Frame

magazine paper photo frame

Tear pages from old glossy magazines. Using thin sticks to roll these papers as tightly as possible. Stick the outer edges once done. Paste these magazine paper sticks onto an old wooden / plastic frame. Do this in a beautiful pattern of your choice. Check this out at craftstylish

Let me know if you have any more ideas for a cool DIY photo frame.

antique hanging brass lamps of kerala

Vintage Brass Lamp – Light up the traditional way!

Vintage brass lamps from India have always intrigued me! Especially those from Kerala, South India. They seem to be part of a mysterious era gone by, speaking immensely about the rich heritage and culture of Kerala. In fact, Kerala brass lamps come in myriad shapes, sizes and designs. Each of these is meant for a specific ritual or function.

The hanging brass lamps are called Thooku Vilakku while the floor lamps are called Nilavilakku which represents the Shivalinga at the top. One more form, the Kuthu vilakku symbolises the beautiful AnnaPakshi and is also used for Poojas.

However, for adding a touch of elegance and tradition to living rooms / front porch and Pooja rooms, I prefer beautifully carved and sculpted, hanging brass lamps or thooku vilakku.

Vintage brass lamp – Thooku Vilakku or hanging lamp

Hanging brass lamps have been a significant part of every traditional Kerala home. Made of brass, copper or other metals, a hanging lamp is suspended by means of an intricately carved chain. These lamps have five grooves meant for lighting five cotton wicks immersed in linseed oil or ghee. Traditional hanging brass lamps usually adorn the main entrance, the front porch and the Pooja room.

The lady of the house lights the lamp early in the morning and just before dusk in order to dispel darkness and negative energies. The light symbolizes knowledge whereas darkness is ignorance. Knowledge dispels ignorance. Knowledge brings in wealth and prosperity. The reasons and beliefs may be many. However, if you are one of those who is always in favor of traditional home decor, then this lamp is an absolute must have.

There are so many beautiful versions of a traditional thooku vilakku.

Gajalakshmi Thookuvilakku

gajalakshmi thooku vilakku - antique brass lamps of india

This version shows Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, sitting gracefully in a full bloomed lotus surrounded by elephants.

 

 

Nritya Ganesha Thooku vilakku

Nritya Ganesha hanging lamp - antique brass lamps of India

This one is my personal favourite. It features an intricately carved version of Lord Ganesha in a dancing position.

Annapakshi Thookuvilakku

anna pakshi thooku vilakku - swan faced hanging brass lamp

This one features the Indian mythical bird, Annapakshi standing proudly. It has the calm and beautiful face of a swan with the rich plumage of a peacock. The bird holds a wine in its beak which signifies wealth and abundance.

Use them to enhance the focal points in your living room and pooja areas. You can also keep a hanging lamp in your backyard garden or balcony. These make your garden and balcony look very attractive when lit in the evening.

P.S. If you happen to visit Kerala, buy these hanging vintage brass lamps from any handicraft or Pooja accessories store. These are reasonably priced from Rs.600 onwards. Or better still; buy one from any Kerala store in your city. Thooku Villaku are usually over priced when buying online. So be vary.

Gajalakshmi thooku vilakku and Nritya Ganesha thooku vilakku  – Via The Indian Weave
Kuthira vilakku – via Flickr

speech competition for kids

Speech Competition – Why Education goes beyond books!

Here is a speech on Why Education Goes beyond books, for children from grade 6 and beyond. I wrote it for my son. The speech duration is of 10 minutes and it is composed of 1030 words approximately. Please feel free to use it for educational purposes.

Why education goes beyond books

Introduction

Picture this! A teacher is describing the ancient stone sculptures of Ajanta and Ellora to a class full of curious students with the help of a textbook. The kings who commissioned the construction of these caves, the intricate stone carvings and the exact location of the caves, their relation to ancient Indian history – all these facts are being explained from the text book. Students are listening to her, trying to grasp all that she explains. But the students may still wonder about so many facts! How tall are the sculptures? In an era when there was no electricity, how did they even manage to carve out rocks in the dark? What about cranes and lifts? How did they move huge boulders?

On the other hand, when students actually visit the site, they get spellbound by the enormity of the stone sculptures, the mathematical calculations behind the perfect alignment of the body, hand and facial features of these sculptures, the stories behind the wall paintings at Ellora, etc. The children get an idea of the immense efforts put in by the skillful craftsmen of an era gone by, who did not even live to enjoy the credits of their exquisite art work.

The imagination of every child is limitless like the universe. He will have many questions several of which may remain unanswered if there is limited interaction with the subject at hand. So it is indeed safe to say that Education extends beyond books and in fact beyond the classroom too.

Body

All over the world, there is a growing feeling that our education systems need to be mended. Technology is moving ahead at lightning speed. Books cannot cope up with this information overload. The environment around us is constantly changing. Sadly revised editions of books are not released as often. Books merely summarize and encapsulate a lot of information in a nutshell often leaving out important facts which have to be grasped by observation or interaction. Books give us a brief idea of the subject at hand. More often than not students memorize these facts and appear for exams, scoring good marks. But they do not understand the practical aspects of what they learn thru books. Consider this extremely simple principle of colour theory – Our art book states that when blue and yellow is mixed we get green colour. But unless you try it out yourself, you will not know the exact proportion in which blue and yellow colours are to be mixed to get that perfect shade of green.

Education can be procured from the unlikeliest of places. It can be obtained from local guides at historical sites shedding light on facts that have not been documented before. You can learn the importance of maps by asking for directions at a local shop. You can learn about unknown wild fruits and medicinal herbs from local farmers or tribals. These different sources of knowledge are constantly educating us.

You can teach a child stories on generosity, courage and many other moral values. However, unless the child comes across a situation where he is supposed to help somebody or protect himself from harm, he wouldn’t be learning these valuable life lessons in a correct manner.

Today’s education system needs a 360 degree approach that would contribute to the holistic development of a child or even an adult for that matter. This can be achieved in so many different ways. Movies, documentaries, audio visual clips, field trips, involving students in project work, group discussions etc. can all go a long way in extending education beyond books.

Another interesting fact is that not all students learn by the read-write method. Some are visual learners, some are auditory and some are kinaesthetic learners. It would be extremely uninteresting for such children to read books for gaining knowledge. This lays stress on the fact that education must encompass knowledge gained via means other than books without which a child would be like a frog in the well, with extremely limited knowledge.
It is often seen that many children hate maths. Such kids will fare poorly if they are made to simply solve problems from a textbook. However if you educate them about the usefulness of maths outside school, they would love to do Maths. For e.g. ask a child to calculate the cost of ten packs of his favourite biscuits. In the car, ask him how long it would take to reach a particular place if the speed is so and so and the distance is so and so kilometres. Ask him if his pocket money would be sufficient to buy a certain toy. Ask him to design a house on paper using geometrical patterns.

Conclusion

Education must enable a child to keep humanity knitted together. It should teach children to strive for a better world. The best example is that of Malala Yousoufzai. She would not have known the importance of courage, peace, humanity etc. if she had just read about courage from text books. A tryst with a militant’s bullet almost proved fatal for her. This militant organization expected her to succumb to fear and give up learning. But she was determined to prove them wrong. She left her home, her country and continued her education. Her book ‘I am Malala’ is one of the best selling works of this century. She was able to pen the book based on her experiences and not by reading another book on how to write a book. Do you think she would have accomplished so much by reading books alone? No.

Education needs learning using different audio visual media, interaction with the society and environment, exploring places, trying out different cuisines and a lot more. Only then can you soak in knowledge like a sponge does. Of course books are needed to get your basics in place. However they do not mark the end of the road to education and knowledge. Hence, we must all accept the fact that Education is and will always go beyond books.
Thank you.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

camp noel resort review

Camp Noel Munnar – A Perfect Holiday Destination

Every year we plan a get together with close friends and family to not so oft-visited places. This summer was no different. We zeroed in on Camp Noel Munnar, which is a solitary mountain resort located in the serene wilderness of Western Ghats at 7000 feet above sea level, in Idukki district, Kerala.

Camp Noel Munnar – A perfect getaway from home

How to reach here

I was in for a minor disappointment though when I heard of route and accessibility details. As it is we were to drive all the way from Karunagapally to Munnar, covering at least 600km, taking 8 hours. This place is a further 2 – 3 hour journey from Munnar town, near Pazhathottam village. It is advisable to travel in your own private vehicle instead of a tourist bus. Also note that, Idukki is not connected to other parts of Kerala by rail. We had a good lunch at SN restaurant at Munnar before going on our way.

national_park_pambadum_shola

mattupetty dam

The drive from Munnar to Camp Noel is breathtaking! You can get scenic views of tea plantations, the river along Mattupetti Dam, Kundalae Dam and the final stretch right through Pampadum Shola National Park. Roads are in good condition, except for a couple of turns with slopes when you reach Camp Noel. Make sure you get your vehicle refuelled at Munnar itself as this place is isolated and it takes you a good 2 hour trip downtown for fuel refill.

Camp Noel, Finally!!!

camp noel review
I looked around in awe and soon felt that the place was worth every effort taken to reach there. It took a few seconds to let the immense feeling of peace and calm sink in.

Camp Noel is definitely unlike the typical Munnar hotel; teeming with tourists. Here you can actually listen to the sound of silence! There are well furnished 8 double bedroom and 4 single bedroom cottages dotting the lush green landscape on a hilly terrain. There is a rustic elevated cottage or hunter’s cabin for those who favor adventure. Proud stately trees, flowering shrubs, succulents and terrace farms adorn the entire scenery. If you’re lucky, you can spot wild bison roaming around the place at night. We managed to spot one that night, right near the single bedroom cottage. We also spotted rare birds and a few woodpeckers on trees near the farms.

Cottage Interiors at Camp Noel Munnar

one_bedroom_cottage_camp_munnar

camp noel munnar

Each cottage has tastefully done up interiors with wooden flooring and elegant, pure wood furniture that adds a certain warmth and comfort to the ambience. We booked the one bedroom cottage while our friends booked the two bedroom one. A rustic stone fireplace adds an old world charm to the living space. The housekeeping staff is friendly and has kept the place well maintained. They had a nice collection of travel and fashion magazines laid out on the tea tables.

What to do at Camp Noel

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You can pick fresh strawberries from farms nearby or feast on passion fruit. Camp Noel is a botanist’s dream destination. Lots of flowering plants and shrubs like the dancing girl, peace lily can be spotted here. You can go trekking in the surrounding forest, visit Chinar wildlife sanctuary nearby, Munnar botanical garden or shop for spices and memorabilia in the town area. Matupetti dam also offers scenic views. You can hire a sightseeing guide at the camp.

bison_hall

We just spent the entire day lazing around and exploring the place. Totally disconnected from the world with no mobile network and wi-fi (free wifi is available at the reception desk only!) we played cricket, football and badminton alongside our kids.

camp fire at camp noel
camp fire and cottage interiors image via www.campnoel.com

You can enjoy campfire in the evenings with music, with prior intimation. Camp Noel Munnar has very good facilities for conference meetings.

The night sky is equally spectacular with zillions of stars sparkling away to glory. You can watch fireflies fluttering around adding a certain enigma to the nocturnal panorama.

Food is fresh, simple and delectable. They offer complimentary breakfast. However, you need to pre order lunch and dinner as they need to get a few supplies from downtown sometimes.

Note

The only issue is hot water supply. You have to stick to their schedule. Hot water is not available 24 hours. Also, mobile networks totally conk off around here. You can access free wi-fi at the reception or use the landline available in your rooms to get in touch with your family or office if needed.

Do carry a few warm clothes as the nights can get pretty chilly at times. The best time to visit Camp Noel would be from September to May. The rainy season (June, July and August) is best avoided.

Do check out the Camp Noel Resort website for more details.

Would I recommend Camp Noel?

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Camp Noel Munnar has my whole hearted recommendation as a must visit holiday for everyone out there who need to totally de-stress and isolate themselves from their day to day mundane and super-fast routine. This place actually heals your mind, body and spirit. It deserves a proud thumbs up!

Mattupetty Dam By കാക്കരOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20104660

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