15 Dec 2016

Mileage Through Millets

mccIt’s a beautiful day, not sunny, not dull, and just about right. I sit in the cab watching the trees outside, waiting for the traffic to clear. This part of the city has lush green cover and I then realize why Bangalore is the Garden City. Soon, we drive into Mount Carmel College; E Week banners, posters, charts and notices are everywhere—on the walls, on the pillars, even on trees! Little alphabets of E and W representing E-Week hang from trees; the atmosphere is that of a mini-carnival, festive.

Students are running around arranging events, putting up more posters, making announcements and giving everyone E-Week stickers. The buzz is great, and for a moment you feel drained seeing so much energy around you. I feel the urge to capture every moment, every frame.

Initium, the E-Cell of Mount Carmel has over 150 members and 12 heads; they have five pods for internship, socio entrepreneurship, marketing, communication and event management. They form an effective team when it comes to organizing and managing events. You can easily see that the E-Cell members are enterprising and committed. You feel ecstatic seeing the E-Week taking off so well, this is almost near ideal—innovation is happening, students are involved; they are coming up with brilliant ideas with feasible resources.

We are told that every year, one of the departments comes up with major events for the E-Week and this year the department chosen was the Home Science.
We loved the Innovative Millets event where millet cuisine was showcased; we got to taste some amazing millet cakes, millet dosas, millet cookies among many others. This is one of their prized innovations—to bring the millets back. In a country where malnutrition is rampant, millets serve as an amazing solution—they have got all the nutritional value, and they don’t need much attention as crops. And tada! You have a practical substitute for wheat and rice or when one can’t afford wheat or rice. It is wonderful listening to students talk about it—why not have nutritional junk food? All the food items are prepared by sixteen final year Home Science students who dared to think different—why do the routine presentations and assignments when we could something real? This thought coupled with the ready support they got from their faculty, Mrs. Sundaravalli made it possible for them to do proper research and come up with about forty recipes. Mrs. Sundaravalli wrote a recipe book incorporating all these ideas and one of the major events for the day was the book release—“Innovative Merry Millets”.

The book release happens under the canopy of the iconic Tamarind tree of the campus. The venue is simply resplendent—there’s something very singular in having an open event where you reach slews of people and if the place is scenic, it just adds.

What is admirable is the amount of socio entrepreneurship the college is targeting at—they have a sanitary napkin production unit which produces napkins using biodegradable plastic. These napkins are provided for free in rural areas for the girl children who otherwise skip school on those special days. I’m told that the practice showed 90% increase in attendance. The unit has been set up in 2010 and every year inputs go in to make more sustainable. They also help empower some women by showcasing their products such as cloth bags for sale in their campus.

Scores of events fun and entrepreneurial are happening—there’s the presentation by students to pitch their ventures and get a seed capital of 10k. The event is conducted and sponsored by the MEDC, Mentoring and Entrepreneurship Development Center which is unique to MCC alone. There was a debate going on with the topic—FDI in Retail. Link Up, a quiz on Bollywood, fashion, brands and sports also was happening in parallel. Richa, one of the E-leaders was briefing up about the events in the E-Cell room when we hear shouts and screams and then a huge around applause. They were from the pantomime that happened. We hurry to catch it but feel disappointed to see the show done. I talk to one of the performers, who’s clearly exhausted by the performance, she’s in drenched in sweat and is in short of breath. She quickly explains how they related the theme Innovating for India to Wind Energy.

There are many campus companies including those for book binding, candle making, bakery, paper bags, etc. We are given candles the students prepared as parting gifts and we leave the campus satisfied that another institute is having its E-Week to its fullest.

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