June 2015 By Satish Purohit Hands full of Earth’ was an event that focussed on production, music, architecture, dance and sport that is centred in the earth. Held on April 17, 18 and 19 at Koregaon Park in Pune, the event had workshops on subjects like vaastu, music and architecture, and stalls selling earthy handicrafts like catapults, gilli-danda and coloured pieces of wood used for playing langorcha, a game very popular among children before cable TV, video games and the internet changed everything. The passion for Mother Earth was on ample display at HFOE The venue –Pingale farms – was a wide green, well-maintained expanse, dotted with cottages that functioned as conference halls, and mini exhibition centres. The farm also provided ample open space for live performances under the blue sky. A brain child of couple Mayank Barjatya and Priti Bhandari, founders of Prithwe, an architectural firm that combines the principles of architecture with vaastu shastra and Western empirical understanding of bio-energy, Hands full of Earth was a festival of all activities connected to the earth. The live demonstrations included clay pottery, the opportunity to weigh oneself with unseeded cotton wool, and a short walk that allowed one to feel different textures under one’s feet. The event also showcased building of a rammed earth wall, an earth bag house and a bamboo structure by experts working in these fields. Says Amresh Hati, who held the rammed earth demonstration and is an experienced earth builder. “Ït takes 10 people working eight hours for 30 days to build a 1,000 square feet rammed earth structure. All you need to do is get a few members to attend a workshop, and learn the basics. These homes are strong, and stand tall for as long as 30 years or even more. The chances of getting out alive after an earthquake is considerably higher if you live in a rammed earth house. And when the mud house breaks you can use the debris to rebuild the same house.” Incidentally, earth bag houses popularised by Iranian architect Nader Khalili, stood up rather impressively in the face of the tremors that rocked Nepal recently. Cal Earth, Khalili’s organisation, built an orphanage in Nepal that has withstood the quake, as have several other houses. Musician Auerelio and his team held a workshop on Earth Music. They were simple, fluid and magical as they sang, played several instruments, and danced. Aurelio also had a rather intense session with around 26 Vaastu experts on the connection between vaastu and music and how music can be used to clear vaastu doshas. All in all ‘Hands full of Earth’ provided a wonderful opportunity for satsang with professionals who have decided to march to a different drummer.
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