Smoke In The Gardens


THEY are playing with fire and smoke in Bournemouth this week.

The fire is courtesy the Carabosse Company, a French performance collective, which has transformed the Lower Gardens into a magical fiery landscape. They really have done that. Its cosy warm and I have not seen so many people having a wonderful time in the Gardens, ever.

And the smoke? Thats from Fuel, a fantastic group of free-runners and dancers, who are performing in a 360-degree open air theatre by the pier. I was too cheap to pay the £15 to go in, so I climbed some stairs and watched from the back of the set.

The performance was of a composition called The Roof. Lots of running around and circusy jumps across tight ledges set high on a circular set that hissed with coloured smoke. It was all astonishingly well timed and spectacularly colourful. The audience stood and watched in the middle of the set, listening to surround sound through headphones. It looked like a lot of fun.

I did go in the next day, and it was fun, which prompted me to do a bit of digging around. Fuel, I have come to know, is funded by the Arts Council England, and is London-based. Check out The Roof here. And for a glimpse of the performance, heres a video:

As for Carabosse, what they do is impressive. They take over large spaces—gardens, towns, that sort of thing—and set fire in a public space, while guaranteeing free circulation, making it vibrate with the closeness of our work to the spectator. Given the healthy and safety mania in England, how they managed to get the required permission to do something of this scale is even more impressive than their artistry. Anyway, click through to their artistic aim to know more. And heres a YouTube video I found, a reportage on how they actually go about creating their amazing show. Enjoy!

Great Organic Gardening Tricks From The Pros

Nobody really wants to think about about what would happen if they invest time and money into an organic garden and it doesn’t grow. Still, if you want your own organic garden to grow, then it’s important to know what you need and what you need to do. That’s what the tips below are for.

Combining different selections of plants in a garden area holds the interest and adds to the enjoyment of the viewer. Merge contrasting plants to craft interesting combinations. Add big leaf plants with fine leaf plants and combine them with plants different in texture and color to create the most eye catching and interesting landscape garden.

If you are planting vegetables, choose varieties that don’t require processing in order to keep. For example, sweet potatoes and onions will keep for months as long as they are kept cool and dry, without any additional work on your part. This reduces the amount of time you have to spend after harvesting.

There are home solutions available to combat the powdery mildew you may find on your plants. Plain water with a bit of liquid soap and baking soda will do the trick. Spray this solution on plants once weekly until the mildew is gone. Baking soda is not harmful to your plants and will take care of the issue as well as any other treatment.

If your green thumb starts to wilt during those long winter months when your garden is buried beneath a foot of snow, learn how to grow microgreens to provide yourself with fresh, healthy salads, sandwich toppings and garnishes all year round. Microgreens require very little sunlight and are easy to grow indoors. Some common microgreens include kale, dill, basil, spinach, and chard.

Store your seeds well. If you do not store your seeds properly, they will not last long. A great place to store your seeds in a dark spot that is cool and has low humidity. You could even use a refridgerator. You can use zip bags to hold the seeds themselves.

Clean your garden tools before you put them away. It seems strange to worry about keeping a gardening tool clean, but it’s actually very important for the health of your plants. Tools that are put away while coated in dirt can harbor microbes and even insects that can be deadly to your plants.

A useful solution to keep pests like bugs and flying insects away from your garden is to put basil, garlic or parsley plants as trim plants around your garden. These plants have the ability to deter pests, while still being quite useful in your kitchen! If a splash of color is more your style, marigolds have a similar effect.

A wonderful treat for your indoor houseplants is to take them outside periodically and let them bask in the glory of a summer rainstorm. You will be treating them to higher humidity and longer hours of daylight that far surpasses the stale conditions they may be getting indoors! You will want to minimize too much direct sunlight and make sure your plant containers have good drainage holes so that extra rainwater doesn’t collect to cause root rot. Some quality time in the outdoors will pay off with lush, healthy plants year-round!

Install a sprinkler system to water your garden. It can be difficult to find the time to water your plants each day, particularly if you work outside of the home. Proper hydration is essential to the success of your garden, so putting in a simple sprinkler system can save you time and energy.

Be careful when applying mulch. Too much can suffocate a plant’s roots and prevent moisture from penetrating deeply into the soil. Too little will not be able to suppress weed growth, effectively. An appropriate amount is 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch. Always keep mulch away from a plant’s crown or stems.

Organic gardening is a great way to get exercise, as well as, a way to relieve stress. There are many healthful benefits you will reap, especially if your organic gardening efforts reward you with a plentiful harvest. Do yourself a favor and follow the tips in this article so that you can grow a healthy organic garden.…

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Dateline Hastinapur

BEEN THINKING, a lot, about how the media narrate war how war stories play out on front pages and television screens.

Been thinking, a lot, also about Epicretold  suppose, just suppose, there were newspapers then, the equivalents of The Times of India and The Sun and The New York Times and the BBC. How would they have narrated the Kurukshetra war and the events that led to it?

I guess my interest in such a narrative is driven in the main by my fascination with ‘war journalism’. It is not difficult to see war coverage as serialised storytelling: episode after episode of drama, over weeks and months and years, with conflict, escalation and resolution, the same major characters weaving in and out accompanied by the same minor actors – all coming together to form an overarching narrative, which, I dare say, pretty well follows the shape of Freytag’s pyramid.

Interesting to think, then, of how the Mahabharata can be told as news. Can the story be strung together as a series of media reports? Would such storytelling make sense to a reader, particularly one not familiar with the storyline? Would it help him/her create own narrative of that reality?

Solely in the spirit of experiment, here’s a take. I see this as appearing in an ‘international’ newspaper  call it what you will (and drop me a line if you come up with an interesting name):

Pandu family returns
King welcomes Kunti, sons with open arms

By Our Royal Correspondent

HASTINAPUR:  The family of King Pandu, the renunciant royal who died in the Shatashringa forests in a mysterious accident last week, returned yesterday to a grand ceremony that spilled out on to the streets of the capital city.

The royal widow Kunti and her sons – Yudhishtira (7), Bhima (6), Arjuna (5) and the twins Nakula and Sahadeva (4) – were met at the city gates by Bhishma, the patron of the royal clan, and driven through the high street in a chariot drawn by seven horses at the head of a ceremonial procession.

Accompanied by a select group of palace officials and personal maids, Queen Gandhari welcomed Kunti at the palace gates.

“It is good to be in Hastinapur again,” Kunti said, wiping away tears. “My sons are finally back where they belong.”

At the palace, the family were taken straight to King Dhritarashtra for a private meeting. A palace official present on the occasion said the king was overcome with “tears of joy”.

“I welcome my brother’s family with open arms,” the king said in a statement released later. “This is their kingdom and I am glad they have returned. Now I have five more sons.”

While reports about the cause of Pandu’s death remain sketchy, palace sources confirmed that Madri, his second wife, had opted for the practice of Sati, stepping into his funeral pyre, as “befitting a princess and loving spouse”.

Pandu, though second in line to the Hastinapur kingdom, had ascended the throne 11 years ago, superseding his elder brother Dhritarashtra, who, owing to his blindness, had been deemed unfit by his elders. However, seven years ago, for reasons not yet clear, Pandu had renunciated the kingdom while on a hunting trip to the Shatashringa forests.

He had lived there since, fathering five sons – Yudhishtira, Bhima and Arjuna with Kunti, and Nakula and Sahadeva with the younger Madri.

The Kuru Kingdom, which lies north of the Vindhyas bordering Panchala, is one of the largest in the region, and has been traditionally ruled from Hastinapur, ‘the city of elephants’. Though under King Dhritarashtra the kingdom has seen relative stability and peace, his ability to rule has always been questioned. The king, born blind, is seen as ‘unfit to rule’ by many, including Bhishma, his grandfather. Queen Gandhari’s self-imposed blindness – since the day she found out her betrothed was blind, the former princess of Gandhara has chosen to wear a black blindfold – has not helped his case.

The death of King Pandu and the unexpected return of his family have brought a feeling of unrest in the palace. A highly-placed source, who did not want to be identified, said the king had to be persuaded by Bhishma to invite Kunti and sons to Hastinapur.

“The royal politics is likely to be murkier in the coming years, the source said.

Treat this as the equivalent of an ‘establishing’ shot, the beginning of this narrative. The next take could be from a Hastinapur-based newspaper – a human interest story perhaps, on the five little boys, the Pandavas. And, yes, there could a political commentary or a news analysis, which would expand on the last quote of the report above.

Guess I will be back with more.…

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