Friday, March 26, 2010

'Cauvery' makes World Water Day Special

Annual exams were in full swing at the Government Urdu Higher Primary School in D J Halli, and exam fever was palpable in the atmosphere. But for over fifty students of the school, it was a day to examine something totally new. They gathered on the terrace, first to test 'Cauvery', a book brought out by Pratham Books in October 2009 and then to examine a unique but simple contraption to save water while washing one's hands.

On March 20, two days before World Water Day, Pratham Books held a book reading to introduce the children to the river Cauvery. I enjoyed reading out excerpts from the Hindi translation of the book by Manisha Chaudhary. Author Oriole Henry has put some amazing facts about the river Cauvery into the book to make it a history, geography and mythology book rolled into one. While each of Clare Arni's stunning pictures in the book could have said a thousand words, the kids had to listen to my words instead. Getting me to tell a story is easy....getting me to stop is tough! And since it was World Storytelling Day too, who could stop yours truly!

After the storytelling, Vishwanath S, founder of Bangalore's first Rainwater Club, and Aajwanti, one of his students at Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology, demonstrated the use of Tippy Tap. This is a wonderful and fun device used to dispense small amounts of water to wash hands with soap and improve hygiene.

Pratham Books then gave away prizes to the winners in the 'Cauvery' contests held to mark the publication of the book. Government Urdu Higher Primary School too was one of the winners in the contest. The contests were held alongside the 'Pratham Books-Save Our Rivers, Conserve Water' campaign. The campaign called upon students, teachers, bloggers and others to sign up to become Water Champions. Over 1, 22,000 pledges were received from people all over the country saying they would save water. The campaign was done in partnership with Arghyam, and Deccan Herald's student programme DHNIE.

Fresh-faced children (well, they used Tippy Tap to clean up their faces too on this summer day, and they did it very economically!) got free copies of our books on environment. You could say the books were literally up for grabs....check out the picture of my young colleague Balkrishna getting mobbed by the youngsters.

And its' so hot in Bangalore now, that I'm going to head for the part of Cauvery that flows close to Banglore, Hoggenkkal Falls. Would any of you want to write in and tell us what Hoggenkkal means?

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