Sunday, September 30, 2007

Screening Toys for Lead!

"Toymaker Fisher Price is to recall almost one and a half million Chinese-made toys over fears that their paint contains too much lead"

This news hit the world close to 2 months back with
Fisher Price, a subsidiary of US toy giant Mattel Inc, announcing on 2 August that it would be recalling some of Lee Der's [Mattel's sub-contractor] Chinese-made toys, affecting 83 product-types sold around the world.

Consumers all over started to worry as many of these toys were either already sold or ready to be sold in the markets. Mattel has apologized for the same and has promised to intensify their testing standards. Mattel has also answered few basic quests and given safety recall facts on its site.

While all this was in my mind for a few days now, I stumbled upon a google ad on my blog which directed me to a page on

Niton has devised a product - a
Handheld NITON x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, which provides quick and easy screening of toys and other consumer goods for lead, cadmium, mercury and other toxic metals. Niton has a distributor in India. Find the contact info here.

Lets assume that you've now tested your child's toys. I
n future whenever you buy a toy how would you identify and make sure if your child's toy contains lead? Here are some tips I found which might be useful for parents to have a check if their child is in a no-danger zone while playing with a toy.

Check out for -
  • Dull, grey-looking metal.
  • Pieces that seem heavy for their size.
  • If you rub a piece of jewelry against a sheet of paper and it leaves a grey line, it's probably made of lead.
  • Bright colors, especially orange and red.
  • Soft plastics, as lead is used as a stabilizer to help keep the plastic soft.
Find more information and tips here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Toys, Toys and MORE Toys!

You have to check out these pics to believe what an awesome toy collection drive we had today at Raheja Residency!

Toybank thanks -

  • all those people who spent some time to dig their wardrobes for some toys which their kids would have thrown away long back!
  • all those moms who got their kids along to our stall, and when their kids started feeling sad about giving their toys away, they consoled them saying "beta, you promised me that you'll give these toys, now other children will play with them".
  • people who have now moved out of Raheja, but still came all the way to give toys after getting an email on the Raheja group.
  • Friends and volunteers who managed to get the carton boxes, stationery, packaging tape in place for this drive.
Thanks everyone!!

Soft toys - cho cute!

Toddler toys!

I have to still figure out what this one is!

We've skaters too!

Toybank stall... no one's there though... he he he :)

Educational toys!

Friday, September 21, 2007

So here we come...

Join us for the 2nd toy collection drive in Bangalore this weekend!

Date and Time: 22nd Sept, 10 AM - 1 PM
Venue - Club House, Raheja Residency, Koramangala 3rd Block, Bangalore

You can help Toybank -

  • To arrange a Toy Collection Drive in your neighborhood, schools, apartments, corporate offices.
  • As Volunteers in collecting the toys, segregating them according to different age groups of the children and also in gift-wrapping them.
  • In "helping us find their lost childhood" and in spreading the word around.
For any queries and suggestions, write to us at
Also Join Toybank at

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Idol worship or idle worship or ideal worship?

I came across a thought-provoking post in my organization's discussion board which happens to be a forwarded email. Posting the same here. I am not able to get the pictures from the forward posted here, so will give you just the "irony".

IDOL worship? Or IDLE worship? Or IDEAL worship?

The plight of Ganesha a day after immersion...!

Would you like your Gods bulldozed like garbage?
Left to rot for scavengers to feast... ?

Would you like your Gods to be maimed? Desecrated? Dumped?

And you create a hue and cry when some statue in your city gets ‘desecrated’?

You burn down buses and call for bandhs?

Was that statue a GOD?


Is this GOD only a Statue?

You decide.

Wake Up!

Recently I had read about the various ways to prevent environmental pollution, to save earth which is already suffocating because of the deeds we humans have done and are doing.

I feel instead of looking at what are the ways of a doing a Visarjan so that it doesn't cause any environmental menace, I would rather try to look at the contradictory views people have in the society we live in. People in India don't mind leaving their God away into the waters causing all kinds of environmental hazards to the water-bodies everywhere. If asked, they'd say "it's Visarjan! After few days of worshiping Ganesha, god has to be immersed!

Ask the same people how they feel when their gods get bulldozed like garbage, you wouldn't find anybody answering!! But when they find someone break their Gods down elsewhere; they make such a BIG fuss about things. Ya, because it's normal people who have done that, but in the former case it's just the Municipality officials doing their JOB!

Can't forget to quote the "burning down of a Chennai-bound bus" on Hosur Road in Bangalore 2 days back, just because TamiNadu CM Karunanidhi made a statement about the God Rama's existence. He didn't go break down any God anywhere, so why was the bus burnt down then?? 2 innocent people were charred to death because of this disgusting act! Should we call such people Hooligans or mere idiots who themselves don't know what they are doing?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ram ram :)

Saturday, 8th of September - Yet another memorable day!

I will always remember this day for loads of happiness, life, excitement, josh and high doses of energy around me!

Thanks to the kids from Asha Kirana Nele -
angels with beaming eyes!

We reached the venue near Gottigere, Bannerghatta Road well before the scheduled time, met up with the staff at Nele. With in 5-10 mins the little ones marched into their home with heavy school bags. We waited for all of them to come back from school so that we could start off our Teacher's Day toy distribution event for Toybank. Trust me, I couldn't wait any longer!

Center in-charge, A S Patil was telling us that the identified kids are brought to the Nele Home and they are given a 3 month bridge course to help them get used to going to school. And later, they are admitted into a school. We were so happy when we heard that this Govt School was right beside the home.

By 11 30, all the kids were back from school. We had an 'Intro Please' game with all the kids. We asked them to say their name, class in which they are studying and yes, along with this we asked them to sing a song or give us a dance performance. What happened next? You should have been there with us to enjoy all that what happened after that!!

My visits to NGOs in the past had me see an average of 60% of the kids who are very enthu and energetic but still there's always this remaining 40% group which remains shy and reserved! But how can ALL the kids at Nele be superrrrrrr talented, superrrrrrrrr smart, full of discipline and have a lot of cultural values which exactly mirrors Nele's vision statement!

Also I observed a very nice thing that all the smaller kids in the home greet all the elder ones when they meet each other.

We had told the kids not to repeat any song in the “Intro Please”. And guess what… there were 32 kids and each one sang us a different song!! Even if any of the kids sang a song which was already sung and we stopped them, they didn’t back out!! They went ahead and sang us a brand new poem/song. 2 groups gave us dance performances for songs about the nation and the state.

Only one kid sang “Anisuthide yaako indu” from Mungaaru Male, a recent blockbuster in Kannada Film Industry and one sang from Sivaji – a Tamil blockbuster. This took us by surprise coz these were the only “film songs” the kids sang, rest all of them being Kannada poems taught to them in school.

We had planned a 2 hour event with the kids, but seeing their immense talent and excitement we pushed it close to 3 hours as we wanted all children to get a chance to showcase their talent. We didn’t have to plan any games and organize any fun activities. We were already having so much of FUN! There was absolutely no need to plan any more games to entertain the kids.

After the Intro Please, we distributed chocolates to the kids and then happened the 2ndtoy distribution event” for Toybank. We gave around 30 toys to the home which included soft toys, kitchen toys, cars, bikes, etc.

There are these other toys, something we have termed the ‘teacher toys:) which we give it to the teachers/care-takers at an NGO, so that they make all the kids play/use them for group games. Nele had a play space, now it'll have a 'toy space'. All these toys will now go to the 'toy space' in Asha Kirana Nele where all kids can play with them.

The kids went on to dedicate a song to their teachers at Nele giving them all the respect they deserve!

It was wrap-up time… we started bidding bye to all the tiny tots at Nele. Suddenly 5 kids came up to me and held my hands and said...

akka neevu nam jote bandu oota maadi…ondu sari banni…banni akka… [“Sis come and have lunch with us…just one time…please come sis”].

I was happy, excited and yes speechless! :).

I am sure all the people who know me the best want me to stay ‘speechless’ all the time :P. Jokes apart…this emotion can never be expressed in just a few words!

Few seconds later I came out of my world of happiness, I told them that definitely I’ll join them another time. I am sure that’ll happen very soon! :)

After a quick 'say cheeeeeeeeeeese' photo session, the children bid us goodbye and at Nele you wouldn’t hear a ‘bye’ from anyone…it's ‘ram ram:)))

Catch glimpses of the event here :)

Friday, September 07, 2007

This time it's 'Nele' !

After the superb start of its Bangalore Chapter with MakkalaJagriti last month, Toybank is back with a bang! Toybank has its 2nd distribution event this Saturday, this time with kids from ‘Nele’.

Here's a little trivia about Nele for you-

For many children in India, streets are their homes. In Bangalore there are more than 80000 children picking rags and living on roadsides. Here's an organization 'Nele' which has experimented on a humble idea of providing a shelter and nurturing the growth of the child at the same time inculcating cultural values in these children. Nele seeks to help children help themselves. Nele's vision is to ensure physical, mental and moral soundness and well-being of the homeless children.

So what does Nele do to achieve its vision -

Nele identifies street children, rag pickers and neglected children and bring them to its home. Nele has five homes - Narendra Nele for boys and Nivedita Nele for girls, and also 3 more homes Namma Mane, Asha Kirana and Nele Premanjali. These homes provide food, shelter, education and health supervision.

Also Nele,

  • Arranges for formal education and related needs
  • It facilitates training in skills, crafts and arts.
  • Counsels families
  • Creates awareness on consequences of smoking, alcoholism and drugs

This Teacher's Day we plan to bring smiles to kids from Asha Kirana Nele and make it a memorable day for them and am sure it'd be an unforgettable day for all of us too!

If you are from Bangalore and want to donate toys or If you have any queries about Toybank, write to us at

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Eureka! I found it...

All I could think of was...

'I read that in the TOI newspaper on a Sunday after 25th of Aug or I'd say precisely a day after Kilikili's event. I must somehow find it'.

Having this thought on my mind I have been doing a lot of digging into the pile of newspapers which is in the corner of my room. But couldn't find this newspaper there, though Aug 26th is like less than 2 weeks back!

But all thanks to 'www', I found what I wanted on the TOI website. I have never had a chance to visit this site before because I generally check the bbc or ibnlive from office for sometime in the morning. And when am back home, I hardly check any news on the net coz I manage to watch the important ones on TV.

Oh...! Oops didn't I still tell u what I found? :D .. Here u go...

"The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions or a clash of civilizations...It’s a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another that belongs to the 21st century"

I don't know why I was searching for this for more than a week now. I still don't know. I am just happy that I found it!!

I'd read the complete article 10 days back, but these 2 lines made my mind get lost in thoughts. It may be because I could relate things that have been happening recently with me and around me...with just these 2 lines.

I'm happy I found it! Eureka!! :)