Sunday, June 19, 2011

Press coverage

A summary of the exhibition on organic lifestyle

Many of India’s farmers have lost much of their ancestral farming knowledge and ancient seed varieties since the introduction of chemical based commercial agriculture and hybrid seeds. In many areas of India and all over the world, valuable medicinal plants are becoming endangered because of indiscriminate commercial over-harvesting and other adverse collection practices that damage essential natural habitats.

Through organic agriculture, farmers learn healthy, sustainable farming practices, and are regaining the wisdom of their agricultural heritage. Organic agriculture enriches the soil season by season. It increases the long-term yield, nutrient value and potency of their crops. It allows for a naturally clean water supply, and provides overall richness, health and well-being of their families, livestock, farmlands and communities.

Hard to believe but each decision we make to purchase a product will make enormous difference to ecology in itself. Ex: If we decide to buy organic pulses we are not only benefiting our health but also the farmer who has his quality of life improved by Not exposing himself to harmful chemical pesticides, getting a fair price and better economic advantage over a long period of time. Along with that fertility of soil is improved and species beneficial to the crops thrive in the area maintaining ecological balance. A feel good factor is certainly associated with the purchases done from the following companies for umpteen reasons given.

The organizations below have strived to bring prices of organic products on par with conventional produce by reducing the intermediaries in the supply chain while maintaining the quality.

Deccan development society

DDS is a two-decade old grassroots organisation working in about 75 villages with women's Sanghams (voluntary village level associations of the poor) in Medak District of Andhra Pradesh. The 5000 women members of the Society represent the poorest of the poor in their village communities. DDS is working for food security in our country by producing organic food including millets.The produce from DDS is Organic certified.


Chetna Organic

Chetna Organic is a works with more than 8000 (predominantly tribal) farmers in the practices of sustainable agriculture and ethical trade. It is an effort to support small and marginal tribal farmers from the rain-fed regions of Andhra Pradesh (Telengana), Mahrashtra (Vidarbha) and Western Orissa (Kalahandi & Bolangir). Garments made from Chetna cotton are 100% certified Organic & Fair trade.


Center for Sustainable Agriculture

CSA is working in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Chattisgarh directly in 150 villages and provide technical support to organizations in Orissa and Karnataka. Currently working in rain fed areas with intensive cultivation of commercial crops and suffering severe ecological and economic crisis. CSA is also working on periurban vegetable production without using chemicals, village level collection centers and direct marketing in cities.

Web: is an e-commerce portal that works with several organizations to provide eco-friendly products at very affordable rates. The idea is to increase demand for fair trade goods and make them a way of life.

Invite to an event on organic lifestyle

A brief on the take-aways...

The photographs exhibited trace a picture from cotton fields back to its farms. We take you on a tour through the photographs, talking about - how organic form of agriculture benefits the consumers, the producers and the environment; fair trade practices along the supply chain; developmental work carried out in villages; etc.

Date: 4th and 5th June, 2011 (weekend / sat & sun)
Venue: Inorbit mall, Top Floor
Timings: 11am - 9pm, all day

Participants: (an ecom-portal), Deccan Development society, Chetna organics and Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Photography for AMOH orphanage - an ongoing blog

We are glad to bring you this break from everyday news, spam SMSs, and all that everyday life should not be about. Heres me taking a break, and sitting down on the floor, as a few coins trickle out making a slight clattring around me. Now I will check the pictures that children in Amoh orphanage (in Ramakrishnapuram, call Ester 9000844721 to get there) selected to be put up at their home.

In the first visit, we asked children on what kind of pictures do they want. There we requests like flowers, skies, mountains, monuments, night sky, animals, etc. Based on that I had posted a 'CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS' in flickr photography clubs (of Hyderabad). And we got about 50 submissions. A girl Eleanor Bennett from UK, aged 14, also sent about 10-15 photographs. So this is one thing, people can share over boundaries and languages - pictures. (...appreciate your effort girl Eleanor :-) keep it up).

In second visit, the children were asked to choose the ones they liked most. The selection process was a lot of fun. We switched off all the lights (it was about 7.30 pm) and displayed the pictures to children. It was very touching to see the twinkle in there eyes of laptop reflection and the reactions pictures brought out from them. They seemed very inspired. So, we used the tournament method to find the winners (that is rejecting pic in favor of more liked ones). We got down to about 20 of them, when kids could vote individually and choose their likings.

The last visit was in a hurry and I didn't take any volunteers along. Next step is to go and frame them with children.


We need volunteers and people who can teach children framing (they are good at such things already). We also need people who can come with laptops and teach children to use email (this is a special request from Ahmed, who volunteers there). Lets create such news everyday, which for a change makes people feel positive about things.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A summary of the exhibition on theme - "The weavers of Andra Pradesh"

Time now to write about the making of the staircase exhibition at Inorbit mall - the big thing for me. This happened in Feb, 2011.

My dream is to have a lot of exhibitions along staircases on arts and social issues, especially at workplaces. We could use some more creativity and expression at workplaces. We are way past the cigar and black suit days, when emotions were seen as a weakness. In fact, I have never even seen those days and can bet the young guys would hate more & more if pushed into that work environment. And even if they have to wear black suits, they wont smoke cigars or like acting stiff faced. People are more and more expressive these days. These are some things organizations accept, and once that happens, they can even utilize it to make their work culture, happier, more open and better.

Now coming back to the exhibition. It started off in December and I was facing a tough time getting through to MNC companies. I know they have their reasons and I have my causes - to make this thing happen. So someone said, buddy, you do it in malls. Well I keep hearing people asking me to do the exhibition stuff in apartments, hospitals, jewelery stores, schools etc etc. The mall thing made sense, because I wanted to do an exhibition on handlooms. An exhibition at a mall, would give me that opportunity demo my idea and also to sell products for an NGO - make social impact.

Inorbit mall agreed host our exhibition, but left us only few (9) days to get sponsors. We had a great venue, many footfalls guaranteed, an interesting concept - but the sponsors would not agree. But when its your idea, you got to make it happen, and make it happen as good as you can. So even though I didn't have sponsors, I was working with people who work very creatively, and work for making things happen (rather than making profits only). That was the prime reason that I was able to pull up such a professional exhibition, on my first go. It took a lot of effort from me, but I got an opportunity to take a lead and make it happen. You could do it in software or finance (etc) too, but its easier to see things when doing an event.

The first couple of tasks were to (1) prepare an idea on how to prepare the staircase for exhibition, (2) talk to friends/work/partner colleagues about the opportunity and find people who can provide certain deliverables, and (3) find sponsors to meet the costs. I found 3 people who were actively involved in separate tasks - Pankaj to suggest on staircase interiors, Lakshmi to curate and Ruchi to work on the posters. I worked/coordinated with each of them, and being on the job, has been a very good learning experience.

I had to face disappointment, in finding the sponsors. Though I identified companies who could partner and would benefit from a concept like mine, I could not get their support. Quite a good amount of time went into the exercise, but its all a part of learning experience. It makes me feel a little sad that I neither got the monetary support, nor a feedback on the proposal. We must have had a footfall of about 15-20K in the stall area and about 2-3K in the staircase area (besides that so many more people saw our posters). But I can only hope that, now that I have pulled up a show; the next time some pics will do the convincing. PS... some news paper interviews might help too :-)

The last days were most interesting. A day before the exhibition, we had to change the interior idea - as events unfolded. So we started off trying out the things we had at hand. We took a rope and wrapped around the staircase handle. I didnt like it very much, but something is better than nothing. Then we took another rope did some more wrapping at the other end. The middle area was ropeless but seemed okay. Pankaj got an idea to tie remaining ropes vertically, which brought out an architectural effect. Meanwhile we were helped by 2 volunteers - Anshuka and Vijay - and I cant thank them enough. I learnt an important lesson to know when not to take a break. I hope I can recall it when such a time arises again.

When everyone was leaving at 10PM, a day before the exhibition, I decided to stay back until I completed the decor. I certainly wanted it to be a damn good exhibition, and thinking of it over and over again had brought me that sense of ownership. And it was an interesting experience to stay in the mall for the whole night and work like one of others who were working there. It was funny, because the guards would come again and again, and act like big bosses - suggesting you should start cleaning now. So then I asked them what are their responsibilities and if this was one of them, etc, the bosses shrugged away. Later we made better friends (everyone appreciates hardwork), so turns out, they did not like the cleaners complaining about cleaning after people who work in nights. I did not get it completely still, but expect the cleaner to be a lady - so our Mr.Guard tell her how he bossed me. Later, I did clean the bigger stuff, like an empty adhesive tube or a can of something, etc. I completed more than of the decors around 2'clock and decided to take a break. I saw a lot of people working in the malls at night - carpenters, event managers, guards, etc.

Next day I never got the time to go home. I received the NGO and arranged tables/chairs for them. By the time I got out of the mall, it was closing 10:30am. I needed to get easels. Unluckily before I could do that, I lost phone. I went to get out a carrier, who was on a midway to another delivery. He said it would take 20 mins and I climbed up and even fell asleep for 30-40 mins in the small cabin. Thats all I slept and rested in next 12 hours. When I got the easels back, I had to carry each of them to the exhibition area and from there to different places of the mall. If figured its just easy to carry it there, then to get more mall management involved for a simple trolly, that the guy in charge wouldn't give me. So I got back and found Pankaj there. We fixed up some photographs that were falling down from the walls. I had to do this thing for entire 2 days. Better walls & tapes for the next time.

So that night I went back home past 11, took a shower after 40 hours, and slept a little later. Because of the toil of the exhibition, I call it my first marathon (done few half's earlier). I think, I must have climbed over a 100 floors, walking up and down along the pictures.

I did a few more interesting things during my exhibition.

Pressed with time before the exibition, I had taken great pains to invite the press. And they did come, only to take photograph about the stall (& salesmen) and none of the staircase exhibition. OH Boy! These press photographers are always in such a hurry, dont even spend a bare minimum time to find out whats actually going on. So I was pissed off initially, and wondered if the salesmen from the village, sneaked their photographs in and kept me out by not telling the photographer about the staircases. But I soon got over it. Well I can get in paper some or another day; there is greater advantage to keeping a secret identity. The salesmen looked cool on the newspapers and must have bragged about it to friends back home ("see wifey! got featured in not 1, but 2 very popular telgu newspapers"). :-)

I gave a lot of guided tours to people. It was fun taking to children and grownups. Since many photographs were falling off the wall, I constantly carried a scissor and a tape, to fix them while giving the guided tours. The guided tours were about how handlooms are made and with discussions about the issues faced by weavers. Such sensitization is required to preserve these skills in the longer run.

PS - the sales from the stall at the exhibition were to a tune of 43K in two days.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The weavers of Andra Pradesh

We invite you to the exhibition "Weavers of Andra Pradesh", on 12th February, 2011 at Inorbit mall. We exhibit photographs and the actual products.

Date: 12th - 13th Feb, 2011
Venue: Inorbit mall, P1 lobby
Timings: 11am - 9pm, all day

Event Brief:-

We are proposing an awareness event at Inorbit mall to promote hand-loom products. This is a very unique event, as we are doing an exhibition of photographs along the staircases - where people can walk up and see some interesting photographs of weavers.


EDEDAA is organizing a two-day event to promote hand-loom products, produced by Chenetha Color Weaves, in the premises of Inorbit mall. Chenetha Color Weaves was started with a mission to become a weavers owned company and has weavers on its executive board. All proceeds of all sales would go towards the cause.

We plan to promote handlooms in a very unique fashion - using photographs of people engaged in the weaving process displayed along the staircases. All the way along staircases from P2 (parking 2) to P1-lobby, we are putting up photographs on process of weaving and lighting them up with LEDs.

We believe that driving awareness about various aspects of hand-loom creation – such as the tedious production process, the lifestyle and economics of the industry, etc – would lead to better appreciation of the products.

People :-
  • Interior consultancy by Pankaj Acharya (
  • Executed by Naval Saini ( and Anusha & Vijay (architecture students)
  • Handloom stall by Chenetha Color Weaves (
  • Curated by Lakshmi Prabhala
  • Photographs by V.Murali, Asra Shaheen, Sarath Chandra, Khadar Mohiddin, Ashwini Vaidya and Adarsh Padegal
  • Graphics by Ruchi Agarwal
  • Special thanks to Nirmala Tammineni (Livelihoods Worker), Mayur Gada (Animator & Entrepreneur)

About EDEDAA:-

EDEDAA does art and photography exhibitions along staircase walls. We encourage people to take stairs and take interest in green & healthy ways of living. We are very actively involved in CSR also. More information at .

For more information - drop a mail to info at ededaa dot com / navalnovel at gmail dot com ...