The Manikyavelu Mansion – A 3.5 Acre piece of heaven for Art and Culture

On the palace road in Bangalore lies a quaint old property with a nice old fashioned bungalow and two other modern structures amidst lush greenery and two fountains. Words like picturesque, beautiful, charming and attractive naturally spring to mind when one thinks of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru.

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The property is a vast space of 3.5 acres with greenery everywhere and four buildings in the premises – two modern art galleries with the cafeteria and administration in one of them, an auditorium and the Manikyavelu heritage mansion. The Manikyavelu mansion has more than what meets the eye, and a rich history, including once being owned by the Yuvaraja of the state of Mysore which goes to show that it is not just the paintings in the building which have a high cultural value, but even the building itself is very important to the heritage of the city.

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The Manikyavelu mansion is neighbored by a few other century old bungalows and mansions including the well known ‘Balabrooie Guest House’ and it is safe to assume that even this was built around that time since there is no such document in existence which can give us the exact year in which it was constructed. Records say that Vilum Manickavelu Mudaliar, the former owner of the mansion and his family lived in the mansion for some years before the house was put under auction because of defaulting of payments and was later acquired by the City Improvement trust board (Now called BDA) and then transferred to the housing board, back in the 1960s. The Ministry of culture has now sub-leased it from the Ministry of Kannada and culture who had leased it from the Housing board. The Mansion became the chosen location for the National Gallery of Modern art’s southern centre.

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Just one look at the mansion and anybody would know that, this is a piece of history, such is the radiance of the Manikyavelu Mansion. The Architecture of the building is clearly influenced by Colonial British building styles but this one has a few Indian elements to it as well. The mansion has a royal driveway in front of its main door and contrary to its past, the main door now has a Security Metal scanner in front of it. It is very clear that the building at first had stone flooring all over with just some sections of wood, but the stone floor has now been tiled after its renovation. Upon Entering the Mansion, we find a corridor with a high ceiling and two balconies looking over the corridor, exactly like one would find in many old palaces. The First Floor of the building had wooden flooring all over and the Wooden Beams everywhere are easily noticed from the ground floor.

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The Old Manikyavelu Mansion was renovated before being used as the National Gallery of Modern art and the architects and engineers have done an excellent job with the renovation. The New Indian Express has quoted Architect Naresh Narasimhan of Venkatramanan Associates, who was involved with the restoration of the building and design of the new wings as saying, “The mansion had a kitchen in the back and it was in ruins, so we took it out and built the new galleries there.” Narasimhan further went on to say, “When restoration and construction work began in 2003, Water used to seep into the Mansion and the entire building was built with brick and mud plastering.”

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The Renovation work has been done very neatly indeed, with Air Conditioning vents very intricately being installed in such an old building. The renovation also made way for the installation of adequate security measures like, CCTV Cameras at every few feet and also Motion Sensing alarm triggers on every window.

The heritage building is like a diamond in the centre of the property, with the new additions – two galleries a museum shop and the cafeteria built around it. The two new gallery blocks are designed in modern European architectural styles. The 1, 260 sq metre gallery block, where exhibitions are organised, was built right next to the 1,551 sq metre heritage building. Even though it was built maybe a century after the mansion was built, the new wing with modern architecture has been very neatly integrated into the whole picture and it is quite literally seamless. On the walls this modern building, hang works of many artists, new and old, alongside greats like Raja Ravi Varma.

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The property at #49, Palace Road, Bengaluru, also is home to a few trees which are nearly a Century old. A Banyan Tree, A Rubber Tree and A Raintree are the most prominent ones and might also be the biggest examples in Bangalore.

The gallery organizes and hosts talks on art and culture by eminent speakers, seminars, film screenings as well as workshops and guided walks throughout the year. Auditorium events organized by NGMA Bengaluru and the Art Reference Library facility is free of charge.’

-NGMA Website

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The entire experience of visiting the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore was like finding a little 3.5-acre piece of heaven amidst the chaos and traffic in the city of Bangalore.

Farmer boy Dattu Bhokanal to represent India at the 2016 Summer Olympics

A boy who grew up in the remote village of Talegaon Rohi, from the Chandwad Taluka in rural western Maharashtra, taking care of his ailing father by digging wells, tilling farmland, and grazing cattle will soon represent the nation at the 2016 Olympics, scheduled to take place in Rio De Janeiro next week. Sounds like a rags to riches story taken straight from a fairytale of sorts? Well, it is very much real, and it is the life story of India’s Olympic Rower, Dattu Bhokanal.

Dattu Bhokanal was busy with his daily life in his village until his father who was ailing with bone cancer passed away. It was when Dattu did not receive any kind of support from relatives, that he decided to Join the Indian Army at the age of 19.

He decided to play to his strengths when he realized that he would not be able to do well in the written test of the Indian Army and this strength was his physical durability which later proved to be very useful indeed. Dattu Bhokanal wanted to take up a sport while in the Army, and he had a strong determination to overcome his fears which is exactly what led him to choose Rowing, as he did not know how to swim and needed to overcome his fear of swimming.

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The physical strength and durability possessed by Dattu helped him excel in Rowing, and his superiors in the army began to notice his skill at the sport. Soon, Dattu was being coached in the sport and his Coaches had given him a target of 7 minutes and 10 seconds in order to qualify for Rio. At the Qualifying event in Incheon, Korea, he clocked an amazing time of 7 minutes and 9 seconds clinching second place.

Dattu Bhokanal is the only Indian to qualify for the Singles Sculls event at the 2016 Olympics and is currently training in Miami.

Brazilian Football Team hopeful of clinching their first ever Gold Medal at Rio 

​The Brazilian football team is known very well for their great player line up and also for their world Cup tournaments. However they have just one missing jewel in its crown, and that is exactly what they are after at the Rio Olympics next month. 

The Brazilian football team have so far won atleast one cup or gold medal in all the international football tournaments except a gold medal in the Olympics. The Brazilian football team has so far won three silver medals and two bronze medals in the Olympics and it is that elusive gold medal that they will be going after at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, their home country. Only time can tell if, playing in their home country would change their luck. 

They have other issues to worry about for now, as the Olympics format requires them to play with an U-23 team and is allowed a maximum of three over-aged players in their ranks. 

Superstar striker, Neymar has chosen to play in the Olympics game rather than the Copa America tournament and will be leading the team as their captain. 

The pressure is mounting on Brazil, particularly when they lost 7-1 to Germany in the World Cup semi finals just two years ago. 

Goalkeeper Fernando prass was quoted as saying, “The yellow shirt carries a weight but it also puts pressure on the opposition. We have to accentuate the positive” which goes to show how hopeful they really are about the Olympic Gold Medal this time. 

Roger Federer pulls out of Rio Olympics and the rest of the season

roger-federer-atp-tennis_3396787Tennis Ace Roger Federer has announced that he would not be participating in the Rio Olympics anymore.

The sports star posted a status on his official Facebook page, announcing the move and also giving the reason for it.
Federer had undergone a knee surgery earlier this year and doctors have now suggested that he should take rest if he wants to get back in form for the 2017 season.

Roger Federer said he was extremely disappointed about not representing Switzerland at the Olympics and that it was tough to miss the rest of 2016 season.

Roger Federer’s Status post on Facebook:

Dear Fans,

I’m extremely disappointed to announce that I will not be able to represent Switzerland at the Olympic Games in Rio and that I will also miss the remainder of the season. Considering all options after consulting with my doctors and my team, I have made the very difficult decision to call an end to my 2016 season as I need more extensive rehabilitation following my knee surgery earlier this year. The doctors advised that if I want to play on the ATP World Tour injury free for another few years, as I intend to do, I must give both my knee and body the proper time to fully recover. It is tough to miss the rest of the year. However, the silver lining is that this experience has made me realize how lucky I have been throughout my career with very few injuries. The love I have for tennis, the competition, tournaments and of course you, the fans remains intact. I am as motivated as ever and plan to put all my energy towards coming back strong, healthy and in shape to play attacking tennis in 2017.

Thanks for your continued support.

Roger

‘Kabali Da’ effect dies out over the weekend

Kabali. Probably the most talked about word in recent times, probably the most tweeted hashtag on twitter and definitely the best publicized movie this generation has seen. The movie, starring superstar Rajnikanth has managed to break records unlike any other movie ever released before, and the Kabali madness was not just in India, but the world over.

The movie was released on Friday, the 22nd of July, 2016 and naturally, this being a Rajnikanth starrer, the hype was all over the place, leading to a festive spirit at all the theatres across Bangalore and some waiting outside theatres early in the morning. While some put garlands on the statues of Rajnikanth, others poured milk on the statues and posters and some others danced, all reveling in the glory of being a Rajnikanth fan.

Air Asia launched special flights from Bangalore to Chennai just for Kabali, they even decked up their aircraft in special Kabali livery, an Audi in Bangalore had Kabali number plates on it(KA 8 AL 1) BMW’s, Swifts, Auto Rickshaws, Motorcycles were all found with Kabali stickering all over them. A Hyundai Dealership and Maruti Suzuki Dealership launched special edition Kabali Cars and a fan in Malaysia covered his entire Lamborghini up in Kabali Stickers. This is the kind of madness and hype that the movie had generated.

Would the same hype still be all over the place even after the weekend? Especially given the fact that the movie has received bad reviews and ratings, well, that is exactly what I set out to find on Tuesday, the 26th July. This would actually reveal the true colours of the fanfare around the movie.

Cauvery Theatre:

Expecting a filled parking lot, I parked my motorcycle a few hundred metres away and walked to the famous theatre only to find 80% of the parking space empty and only a few people. Yes, that was the scene at one of the City’s oldest and most famous Cinema theatre.

The person behind the Ticket vending counter revealed that only half of the seats were filled, for the matinee show, and the public reaction was not all that great either. The few people that I spoke to, all had the same thing to say “Rajnikanth was excellent, but that Movie was just alright”.

There was a Traffic policeman waiting outside the theatre expecting heavy movement of vehicles, but one can see that it was pretty empty inside. Even the garland on the huge hoarding was all dried up.

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Rex Theatre:

The Rex Theatre, located at one of the most happening places in the city, Brigade road, was a lot more crowded than Cauvery Theatre, but the Security guard revealed that the movie was not selling very well and only about 70% of the seating capacity was filled.

The people coming out of the Theatre did not look as thrilled as the people who were shown in News Channels and Newspapers on Friday. Almost all people here said that the movie was average and when asked about the Hype, the answer was unanimous, saying that it was the ‘Rajni Effect’.

There was a policeman here too, and for good reason. This was at Brigade road and cars had formed a queue on Brigade road waiting to get inside the theatre.

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Everest Theatre:

Everest Theatre, located in Frazer town is one of the typical local theatres in terms of Ambience, cleanliness and comfort, compared to the multiplexes frequented by most movie-goers today. I arrived here too expecting a hooting and howling crowd, but found many bored faces and few smiling faces among those coming out after watching the evening show.

Well, it certainly looks like most of the ‘Kabali’ hype has died down over the weekend, especially after the movie was rated to be average and below average by most Movie review websites and columns. All the hoopla about the movie was created by Rajnikanth’s fans who were all just waiting for a chance to see their hero on the big screen. Most of the fans would have already watched the movie on the first day itself, and it is only the Rajni fans who want to watch the movie, hence explaining the half empty theatres during the weekdays. All the theatres reported that the seats would get more and more filled up as the day goes by, with most demand coming in for the Evening and Night shows. The morning and afternoon shows are running almost empty.

Kabali has therefore proved to be a great hit amongst Ranjkanth Fans, as does every movie of his, but for movie buffs, this one is a miss.

Young Indian Golfer Aditi Ashok qualifies for Women’s  British Open 

Indian Golfer, Aditi Ashok has qualified for the Ricoh Women’s British Open. The 18 year old seems to be on a roll, as she topped the qualifying round.

Aditi had entered straight into the final qualifying round because of her high ranking in the sport. During the qualifying, Aditi was initially bogged down by a bogey at the first hole, but she immediately recovered and topped the qualifying rounds.

Aditi had said that she was looking forward to the Women’s British Open which will be played between July 28th and 31st at the Woburn-Marquess Course in Milton Keynes, England.
The young Golfer will also be representing India and teeing off at the Rio Olympics next month.

No replacement for Wrestler Narsingh Yadav if Olympic ban stays

Rio Olympics dream for Indian Wrestler Narsingh Yadav, might remain a dream after he tested positive in one of the random doping tests conducted. The wrestler has now been banned by the National Anti-Doping Agency(NADA).

The Mumbai based Wrestler who was confirmed to take part in the 2016 Olympics at Rio De Janeiro next month tested positive for Methandienone, an Anabolic Steroid banned by the International Olympics Committee. Both, Narsingh yadav and his coach, Jagmal Singh have claimed innocence in the incident and have gone on to suggest Sabotaging of food supplements taken by the Wrestler and have submitted samples of the food supplements for testing and are awaiting results of the same.

There were theories that, Yadav’s Rival, Sushil Kumar’s camp might have jeopardized Narsingh’s Rio dreams, but this has been rubbished by Indian Olympics Association President, Ramachandran Srinivasan. He went on to say that, the 18th of July was the last date to submit entries to the Olympics and Sushil Kumar had not been sent as an entrant to the Olympics, and furthermore, an entrant to the olypics can only be replaced by someone else only in case of a serious injury and not in case of a Disqualification.

India Hits back at Pakistan on Kashmir provocation

Indian and Pakistani government officials once again were engaged in an argument on Thursday, 21st July. This comes in after Pakistan observed ‘Kashmir Accession to Pakistan day’ on the 19th and ‘Black Day’ on 20th, to mark the killing of Hizbul Commander Burhan Wani in Kashmir.

The Indian Government asked Pakistan to stop supporting violence and terrorism in Indian territory, while on the other hand, Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on foreign affairs had earlier said that India was perpetrating state sponsored terrorism in Kashmir. He further went on to add that they would ask the UN to launch an investigation into the matter.

Ironically, the events held in Pakistan to mark the black day were led by UN designated terrorists in Pakistan, and the Indian government used this exact point in its defense. The Indian and Pakistani governments could go on and on, arguing about this, but what we need to realize is that these arguments would not change the situation in the state of Kashmir and the government has to take strict measures in order t curb the violence happening in the area.

Congress and Rahul take strong stand, not to offer apology

Just a day after the Supreme Court bench told Rahul Gandhi to apologize to the RSS, the whole issue has bloated to a different level, with the Congress Backing Rahul and defending him.

In one of his speeches, delivered in 2014, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi had said said, “RSS people had killed Gandhiji”. This statement had angered the members of the RSS, as the person who killed Mahatma Gandhiji, Nathuram Godse was not a member of the RSS when he killed Mahatma Gandhiji. Rajesh Kunte, an RSS worker had filed a case against Rahul Gandhi alleging Criminal Defamation. The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 19th July 2016 asked Rahul Gandhi to Apologise to the RSS. The Supreme Court further went on to state that Rahul Gandhi was categorizing all the RSS members as murderers when he made that statement. The Supreme Court told Rahul to Apologise or face trial.

Rahul Gandhi’d Counsel, Harin Raval has said that the Statement made by Rahul in his speech was based on Punjab and Haryana High Court’s Orders in similar cases before. The congress party became even more defensive, and stated that they can produce historical evidence in support of Rahul during the Trial and also went on to say that an Apology is out of the Question.

Diesel car Ban : NGT instructs NCR police and RTO’s to De-Register all 10-year-old Diesel cars

The National Green Tribunal has finally had its way after fighting a long battle with Indian Automobile manufacturers and the Society of Indian Automobile manufacturers. On Monday, 18th July 2016, they have ordered local police and RTO’s in Delhi and the NCR to De-Register all Diesel powered cars which are above 10 years old.

The NGT has instructed the Traffic Police and RTO’s in the NCR region to send notices to all the owners of the vehicles in trouble and also to the public, stating that 10 year old diesel cars are now banned. The order was first issued by the NGT in April 2015, and banned the sale of diesel vehicles above 2000cc and also diesel cars above 10 years old. Few automobile giants like Toyota, Mercedes Benz and BMW challenged the order, but the order was upheld by the Supreme Court too.

The ban was ordered in the face of rising pollution levels in the region and the local police had been trying to enforce the ban but were facing difficulties in the process, which has now been made easy by De-Registering the vehicles.

NGT Chairperson, Swatanter Kumar was quoted as saying, “the diesel cars are a huge cause of pollution and it was brought to our notice that, even during the odd-even rule implementation, pollution levels did not decrease much”

This ban will change the way Indians drive, as the NGT does not plan on stopping at the NCR, and it will soon be implemented in other major metropolitan cities too.