Thursday, August 23, 2012

Teen going green with a passion

When boys his age prefer to be lost in technology, U Ramnath Shenoy is nurturing his passion- farming. All of sixteen, he has a full-fledged garden on his terrace where he grows a variety of vegetables. It all began when he attended a programme in school  about agriculture. “The session was so interesting that I could not imagine another hobby other than agriculture,” Ramanath says.

He attributes his successful vegetable garden to the sessions at school. “There were prizes given away for those who maintained their garden well. Every activity included in the programme at school ignited my interest,” he says

Ask him why he opted for terrace farming, and he says that since they do not have enough space in the compound, the rooftop was the only option left. Three years from then, Ramnath’s garden now abounds in various kinds of vegetables like egg plant, okra, spinach and various kinds of gourds. Ramnath’s garden has already become a rage. He also distributes vegetables from his garden to his relatives and neighbours.

To sustain the garden, Ramnath has shunned artificial fertilizers and pesticides. “I make the requisite manure in my home. A concoction of turmeric and garlic and a decoction of tobacco are a prerequisite in this regard.

Concoction of turmeric and garlic is easy to make. Though decoction of tobacco is available in the market, I prefer it home made,” he says. Apart from that, Ramnath also makes use of vermi compost.

He feels his dream would not have been possible if he not received support from his parents. Occasionally, his younger brother Sreevyas also lends a helping hand in maintaining the vegetable garden on his terrace.

Ramnath’s father Umesh Shenoy says that watering the plants during his exams is the only kind of help they give their son. “There are many concoctions and blends which has to be made. We still do not know how to make all those. It has been three years since he started taking care of his garden. We hardly interfere, and only give occasional help. But he has our moral support,” Umesh says.

U Ramnath Shenoy who is a student of Saraswati Vidya Niketan, Elamakkara lives with his parents Umesh Shenoy and Preetha Shenoy and younger brother Sreevyas Shenoy.

published in The New Indian Express

The Virtual Musical Sweep

The mantra that music has no barriers holds really true for Iftikar Ali, who is all set to bask in the success of his innovative and debut online album ‘Patchwork’. In what can be called the first of its kind album in Kerala,  that took two years to complete, it has brought together twenty nine artists and forty nine technicians from nine countries including Pakistan.

Not just that, Iftikar has also roped in ace musicians like Lucky Ali, Shruthi Hassan, Rahul Raj and the like. Iftikar has lent music to 17 songs in the album and most of the videos feature him.

One of the videos that has released on Youtube has been drawing rave reviews from all quarters. The album of course has every local and international flavour to satiate the hunger of music lovers. Iftikar Ali, who is obviously thrilled with the response says that the video has garnered 7000 views so far. “This is definitely a sign of encouragement,” he says.

The album also deserves special mention as it has given a smashing entry for Arabic rap in India. “Though an attempt in this regard has been made earlier, it could not be released. Thankfully, we got the golden opportunity to introduce it first time through this album,”  says a jubilant Iftikar. In the album, Arabic rap occurs in the theme song which also has Tamil and various other blended raps. Artists like Anaitha Nair (Chak De! India fame), Andrea Jeremiah (Vishwaroopan fame), Jyotsana Balakrishnan, Harish Sivaramakrishnan have lend their voices.

One of the highlights here is that Iftikar met almost all the artists and technicians who worked on the album online.

He developed an acquaintance with Moilim Yacoub, who has mixed most of the songs in the album, online. “Yacoub wished to do a song and was on the look out for a musician. Accidently, he came across my site.

He liked some of my music demos and invited me to do a song titled ‘Show me Love’ which is included in the album,” he says.

Tony Joseph Thomas, executive producer of Tune 4, which has produced the album, says that the videos were shot in 30 studios across the globe.Iftikar and Tony who have produced this album attribute its success to networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Orkut. “We too met online and since then the association has been going strong,” says a pleased Tony.

Though they have worked with twenty nine artists and forty nine technicians, they have met only three of them in real life.

“We are so happy that we could associate with people from US, Canada, Netherlands, Egypt, UAE, Bangladesh, Pakistan. ‘Teri Ankhen’, ‘Elements’,  ‘Serendipity’,  ‘Khwabon Mein’, ‘Freedom’ are some of the songs in the album. The album was released on World Music Day, June 22 by music composer Rahul Raj.

published in ' The New Indian Express'