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CITYBUZZ - Bengaluru, April 8, 2011

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Poetry all the way
Poetries Online has announced its new contest - the winners will not only be feted at their next National Poets Meet, but will be published in their fifth poetry anthology
SONALI DESAI

dmit it, you too have fancied yourself a poet in high school. Or at least scribbled a few lines on an old notebook that you secretly flip through now and then. Then it will surely gladden your poetic heart to know that a new poetry website, Poetriesonline.com is holding a contest whose 100 winning entries will be published as compilation. According to the website, their editorial board will select the best 100 poems from the entries, with a maximum of two entries for each poet, which will be published in Indus Valley, the fifth volume of their poetry anthology series in 2012. The anthology is expected to be released at their third National Poets Meet scheduled to be held around the new year of 2012, although the details of the event are yet to be confirmed. The contest is open to all, although contestants will need to register as a free member on the website, where they can post their entries under the category

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Indus Valley. As the theme indicates, the poems may cover anything that portrays our mother land and its true spirit, but is not restricted to purely nationalistic. Only English language poems are eligible, and each poem can have a maximum of 25 lines. The last date of submission is August 31, 2011, and they have received about 50 poems so far and are looking forward to active participation from poets across the country as well as abroad. Gopakumar Radhakrishnan, managing editor of Poetries Online told City Buzz, “The idea is to show India in the form of poetry to the outside world. It is going to be about India, its culture and heritage.” He also added that based on the poems chosen for Indus valley, the editorial board will select the three best poets from the series who will be honored for their achievement by their community of poets. Mr Subramanian who is one of the members from the Selection board says, “The theme based on depicting the history of India, right from the prehistoric days. We have still not short listed the

poems, as we are waiting for more participation.” Aruna Kumar Tripathy from Hyderabad, who joined the website nearly three years ago, said he is planning to submit an entry for the contest that is based on nature, the core theme of all his poetry. Mayank Sharma, a member from Delhi says, “I have not yet started to jot down my poem for this anthology but I think the subject is very good. While the poets express their feeling for the country, it will help them and their readers discover various hidden aspects of the nation and its culture.” Ashima Gulati says that a broad theme such as Indus Valley would help bring out the best from poets of all age groups, and adds, “Every age group thinks so differently and especially youngsters' poetry will naturally be different. Earlier we have had topics that had only a single word like 'change,' which was often abstract, and our thoughts would revolve around this one word. But having a topic like Indus Valley would draw many more perspectives from poets across the country.”

Poetries Online’s earlier anthology of poems, Change

Skylarks to D

RADHIKA VITLA

the rescue
Formed by young techies, Singing Skylarks wants to make a difference to people’s lives – through music

ALL FOR A CAUSE: Members of Singing Skylarks, a charitable organisation started in 2006 by a bunch of musically inclined techies.

eepa, a second PU student, lost her parents at a young age. Her only support was her grandmother, who at the age of 65 supported her grandchild by working as a house maid in their native Erode in Tamil Nadu. It was a daily struggle and her grandmother soon found that she could not continue to educate Deepa. That's when she heard of Singing Skylarks, and to her relief, the organisation agreed to fund 30 percent of Deepa's educational expenses. This is just one of the many heartwarming examples that form the track record of Singing SkylarksMusic for Cause; an organisation started in 2006 by a bunch of music enthusiasts working in different software firms in Bengaluru. The Singing Skylarks band came into being after these twenty musically inclined techies came together with the idea of doing music concerts for charity, with the proceeds going to different causes and charity organisations. After they made their presence felt at concert venues across the city, the band started attracting different artistes, volunteers and donors who wanted to be part of their cause. The group gradually grew to around 50 members in two years and now it has reached the impressive number of 165; with the core group of seven members at the heart of its operations, and others pitching in for projects or causes

that interest them. Skylarks now works on different social projects including sponsoring the education of slum children, counselling children addicted to alcoholism and drugs, planting trees in and around Bengaluru and so on. Their volunteers also visit villages and the outskirts of cities on weekends to identify children who need education and help those who are employed in hotels, shops etc to pursue education by the side. Once they identify a cause, they then go about raising funds for it, mostly by performing at corporate events or shows. Venkatesan, the founder of Singing Skylarks, is a 28-year-old who works in a consulting firm. He recalls with pride incidents where they really could make a difference. “One of these was of a child who was addicted to smoking and drinking at the early age of 12 years. After we got to know about him, we counseled him to quit smoking and drinking and arranged regular visits for the child and parents to Nimhans' tobacco de- addiction center. Very soon, the child showed signs of recovery and quit the habit. It was really a very happy moment for us.” One of the recent projects of Skylarks is at the Sristi Special Academy, where they provide counselling for physically disabled children and sponsor 30 percent of the school/ college fee of second PU students. Venkatesh says that women's empowerment is a focus

area for them, so they place special emphasis on girls who are talented but cannot afford to pursue studies. In 2001, Skylarks volunteers repeatedly visited a village named Kere Thanda near Hospet in North Karnataka which lacked basic amenities, providing them with books, geometry boxes, pencils, Rings, skipping ropes, chess boards etc, and holding counseling sessions for the local students. Recently, they have initiated a project for teaching dance to students in government schools. The project, which was started by Skylarks volunteer who has learned Bharatnatyam for around 10 years, has started its first training programme teaching nearly 25 students in a government school near Hebbal. The Skylarks are also active in the environmental movement, recently rejuvenating and beautifying an almost dead lake near Bagmane Tech Park with the help of volunteers from Motorola India. In appreciation of their efforts, they were awarded the CEO award for volunteerism 2009 by Motorola foundation. Apart from Venkatesh, the other core members of Singing Skylarks are Ganapathy Ayyappan vice chairman, Gunasekaran - president, Sagar Aurovind- general secretary, Jeyakumar- treasurer, Satya Prakash Patil - joint secretary and Pradeep - convener. For more information visit: www.singingskylarks.co.cc

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