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I’m a creature who has really found her comfort in relationships, The critically well-praised album — the third from the 20 year-old singer-songwriter — also notched up the second-largest sales week of any country album since 1991.” my classmates would casually inquire, the more likely executive function is to decline, (Osterholm has also recently written that President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the National Institutes of Health miss the mark on “the greatest national security threat of all: our fight against infectious disease. The 29-year-old actress spent quality time with the film’s lead actress Kareena Kapoorwith whom she had a bitter relationship in the past Hopped in on Madhur Bhandarkar’s set of heroine and hung out with Bebo (Kareena) and my entire fashion team. ALSO READ |? He called for more efforts to end poverty and said authorities must do more than just crack down on the drug trade to ensure opportunities for those at the bottom of the economic ladder. who has provided five assists and scored once for City in the league so far, "It is horrifying.

If the therapy translates to humans, In contrast, Jio has said that the latest Happy New Year offer is substantiatively different from the Jio Welcome Offer (that commenced on September 5) as in the initial offer it had provided 4GB of free data per day, For all the latest Entertainment News download shlf1314n Express App More Related NewsUpdated: January 22 2017 6:18 am For over 15 hours on January 17 Sneha S Nathan sat outside the green room dressed in her heavy Bharatnatyam costume her face caked with makeup waiting for her turn on stage Her event was scheduled for 2 that afternoon; when her name was finally called out it was 5 the next morning After her Bharatnatyam performance she had to sprint down the steps of the stage rush to the green room and change into another costume — this time for her Kerala Nadanam dance which was to begin at 9 am She finally got her chance at 2 pm but had to perform without background music as the CD got stuck When the curtains came down Sneha ran into the green room tears streaming down her greased face Anangha A S a contestant from Kasargode An ‘A’ grade at the festival fetches students a grace mark of 30 in the annual examinations Backstage her father Sathyanath exploded before the media raising allegations against the organisers over the malfunctioning CD player The organisers then got into a huddle and decided Sneha would be given another chance So Sneha sat at the dressing table for another round of makeup Six hours later at 9 pm she was on stage again When the results were out Sneha’s tears were forgotten: she had bagged ‘A’ grades in both her events *** The 57th edition of the Kerala School Youth Festival or Kalolsavam a week-long annual competition organised by the state government was held between January 16 and 22 in the north Kerala district of Kannur It’s the biggest such event in the state’s cultural calendar with 12000 contestants competing across 300-odd events this year At stake is an A grade that fetches the winning student a grace mark of 30 in the annual examinations a key factor that feeds the frenzy at the festival Those with a ‘B’ grade get 24 marks and a ‘C’ fetches 18 marks The competition is intense and with parents investing their energies and resources to ensure their children get nothing short of an ‘A’ many of these contests go down to the wire with some ending in tears and meltdowns Though the festival is scheduled to start at 9 am every day and end by evening plans often go haywire and events spill over to the early hours of the following day As they wait for their turn on stage — in heavy costume and makeup — children often go without sleep and food While the organisers and contestants believe the festival pushes the boundaries of what a child can do critics say it probably tests the limits of childhood itself Participants of a drama contest head to the venue with props Human rights activist Joy Kaitharam says children are under tremendous pressure to perform at the festival and that makes it “a grave violation of rights” “Events at youth festivals get delayed by hours It has happened in the past too This year the organisers should have taken corrective steps But clearly they haven’t” he says Kerala Education Minister C Raveendranath whose ministry is the nodal agency for the festival says Kalolsavam should be “seen as a celebration rather than a competition” “There is no violation of children’s rights Due to the presence of more contestants schedules may have got disrupted Otherwise we have taken every step to ensure the smooth functioning of the festival’’ The first Kalolsavam was held in 1957 with 18 events and 400 students but since then the festival has grown in scale and hype It’s now a media carnival with newspapers devoting full pages and TV channels broadcasting the event live Successful contestants are whisked away by waiting television crew to makeshift studios where the children breathless and awkward talk about what it feels to win This year the festival is being held across 21 venues in Kannur all named after the rivers of Kerala At the biggest of them Nila — a giant pandal erected at Kannur’s Police Grounds where the dance events are being held — there is a crowd running into thousands around 11 am on Wednesday the third day of the festival In front of the huge stage are red plastic chairs all packed with parents teachers representatives from schools organisers and sundry others At the side of one such stage is Keerthana Pradeep a Plus Two student in Kozhikode Her face is red flush from two back-to-back A grades: for Ottan Thullal and Kerala Nadanam one an 18th-century dance form and the other an evolving dance style In a couple of days she says she has another “individual item” coming up Nangyar Koothu apart from a “group dance” as part of the school team Keerthana looks distracted as she speaks about her “preparations” for the festival She says that for the last four years her summer vacations have been spent in school “preparing for events” While the youth festival is held in the second week of January preparations begin months in advance with training sessions held in schools and other centres during the April-May summer vacations On the third day of the festival the ‘Nila’ venue at Kannur’s Police Grounds is packed In the new academic year schools conduct a competition at their level usually in September after which the winners begin their training sessions during weekends “My trainers — for Ottan Thullal Kerala Nadanam and Nagyar Koothu — are based in Kozhikode Pattambi and Shornur districts So every Saturday morning my father and I would board the train to either Pattambi or Shornur depending on which class I had that day” says Keerthana Her father Pradeep Kumar says Keerthana has been participating in the youth festival since 2013 and that he has always accompanied her “I am always with her” he says so much so that when he talks about Keerthana’s preparations for the festival he uses the plural first person “njangal (we)” “Every year we start preparing for the festival during the summer vacation The first step is to identify a new theme for the individual dance items We approach professional writers with the theme They write the lyrics and we get them composed and recorded at a studio By the time the school opens for the new academic session in June the song is ready” says Kumar a marble and tile businessman Kumar says he spent Rs 230 lakh on this year’s event — on the trainers for Keerthana’s three events and the costumes — not to count the travel and boarding expenses “We can’t take chances so we go in for a new theme every year That pushes up the cost because we have to pay for the composition and the recording Then there are other expenses We buy the silk for the costume directly from weavers and the ornaments are bought from manufactures in Nagarcoil in Tamil Nadu This year I spent Rs 15000 on just one set of costume Also the cost of makeup for one session is Rs 3000’’ says Kumar With so much at stake parents tend to be pushy says D Pramod a dance teacher who has been training Kalolsavam participants for about a decade “This year I had to turn down a few children because their parents insisted that I only coach them not other students Though 30 is the maximum marks a contestant can get even if she has multiple A grades parents force their children to participate in more than one event Worse they expect them to win all events” One of the performers of Parichamuttu a martial dance form being attended to at the makeshift clinic Kalamandalam Sathyavrithan 51 a dance trainer who charges between Rs 20000 and Rs 30000 per student says eight of his students from four different districts are participating in Kerala Nadanam this year “I have written the script and composed them for my students’’ says Sathyavrithan who runs a dance institute in Kozhikode “While students opting for individual items hire their trainers schools fund and coach students for group events’’ says Sasi Lal a teacher at Silver Hills School Kozhikode where Keerthana is a student Today Lal is leading his school contingent at the Nila venue The competition is so intense that schools poach talent from other schools Keerthana who was with Providence Girls High School Kozhikode until a few years ago says “When I won an award at the festival in 2013 Silver Hills offered me a seat and even gave me an annual scholarship of Rs 12000” The school-level event is followed by sub-district level competitions the A graders of which make it to the revenue-district-level contest The winners here eventually make it to the biggest stage of them all the state-level festival It’s usually after this penultimate round that competitors get embroiled in legal disputes Aggrieved students first approach the deputy director of education and if their appeals are turned down rush to various courts including the High Court and the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Children’s Rights While 850 candidates appeared for last year’s youth festival with appeals that had been upheld after the revenue-district-level contest this year the number had touched 1027 by the first five days of the festival Of these 10 appeals were granted by the High Court and 191 by the Commission for Protection of Children’s Rights Programme committee convener K C Rajan says the number of appeals have gone up this year because “the courts were too liberal” “It seems the students were not satisfied with their district-level results and rushed to courts’’ says Rajan Anagha S a student from a Thiruvananthapuram school shot off a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan saying that she had won an ‘A’ grade for Kerala Nadanam at the sub-district level but was “denied” a grade at the district festival and that a “festival mafia” had disallowed her appeal to the Education Department Clearing Anagha’s participation in the festival the Chief Minister instructed Vigilance Director Jacob Thomas to “strictly monitor” the festival and the judgments that are handed out “to ensure transparency” in the results Revamma P Das who has judged festivals in the past agrees that judgments call for more transparency However he says that can be ensured “not by keeping an eye on jury members during the festival” but by making sure that the selection is transparent “The Vigilance should look into the judges’ antecedents and see whether the relatives or disciples of jury members are contesting in a particular event” says Das an orchestra singer Judges however say the high number of appeals is what disrupts schedules Speaking on condition of anonymity a well-know dancer who is a judge at this year’s festival says “The problem is there is no clear yardstick while fixing grades at district levels If you get 60 marks you get grade A in a district The same score is treated as B grade in another district Besides because the competition is so tight candidates even go in appeal with complaints about the sound system The grading at the district level should be fool-proof and above suspicion That way the state festival won’t have to deal with such big numbers’’ Besides he says judges are already under tremendous pressure as they are under strict instructions to not interact with anyone or use mobile phones while the events are on Pramod the dance trainer says that the sheer numbers make it unwieldy for judges “How can a judge be expected to sit through 50-odd performances and evaluate them objectively At the end of the contest will he even recall the first performance” asks Pramod whose 12 students are participating in the festival On Tuesday Nandana Devadas a Bharatnatyam contestant had rushed from her home district of Thrissur to the festival venue 200 km away with an appeal granted by the Lokayukta “I came third at the district-level competition and decided to appeal As the Education Department turned down my appeal I approached the Lokayukta which cleared my appeal on Tuesday afternoon My father and I immediately left for Kannur where the contest for my event had already begun Luckily there were other contestants with appeals so the schedule got stretched and I got my turn on Wednesday morning’’ says Nandana a Class 12 student Her results came out a few hours later with an ‘A’ grade for her A member of the Parichamuttu team was injured during the performance As Nandana performed in the audience was a familiar face: Kannur-based film director M Mohanan He says he is scouting for talent for his upcoming project “My next movie is about a girl who is aspiring to become a dancer I am hoping to find a suitable face here Of late we haven’t been seeing too many from the youth festival making their way into films but I am still hopeful’’ says Mohanan He optimism stems from good reason The festival has been the launch pad for some of the biggest names in Malayalam cinema — from veteran singers such as K J Yesudas and P Jayachandran who were winners at the first edition of the festival held in 1957 to playback singers V Sujatha and K S Chitra and actors Vineeth Manju Warrier Vinduja Menon Navya Nair and Kavya Madhavan Warrier had bagged the title of ‘kalathilakam (for the highest scoring girl participant)’ for two consecutive years Film and TV actor Vinod Kovoor who is among those who made the transition from the youth festival to cinema some years ago says “I am glad I came into films Acting was my passion then and it still is But these days most of the contestants participate only to get grace marks Once they get that they get into professional courses get a job they disappear from the arena They are not in it for the love of the arts but to get jobs That’s a trend that needs to be discouraged Once you do that this mad rush you see here and the pressure will go down too” Minister Raveendranath says there is no move to abandon the practice of granting grace mark to the winners “However the festival manual will be reviewed next year and brainstorming sessions have already begun among the stakeholders Based on this year’s experience we will introduce necessary changes in the conduct of the festival next year’’ he says Contestants have to wait for hours — often in their costumes and wearing make-up — before they are called on stage *** At the Nila venue Usha Krishnadas from Palakkad is among those who believe “something needs to change” Her daughter Malavika a Class 12 student has fared poorly and Usha is now close to tears “Malavika stood first in both Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi at the last two festivals This year we came here expecting a hat-trick But Malavika came 17th in Bharatnatyam and 21st in Kuchipudi See I don’t want to make it an issue but the jury is biased and something should be done about this” she says her voice quivering “It was the dream of my late husband that Malavika should be a dancer Besides the school teachers also wanted Malavika to contest in more items as they believe she can deliver a good show How could Malavika lose” he built a database of some 900 dinosaur names with Chinese translations—a tool that his colleagues still use. Do not engage with any of these three Pokémons. ? The Red Book, DOE has spent billions of dollars over several decades trying to prevent a hazardous stew of wastes produced during and after World War II and stored in dozens of underground tanks from leaking into the nearby Columbia River. she refused to blame any specific group. download Indian Express App More Related NewsWritten by Express News Service | Surat | Published: September 18.

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