Archive for June 2011

A Picture's Worth: Answers And A Little More

Thanks to those six people who took the trouble of taking the quiz :) Here I was thinking I would be flooded with answers. That'll teach me! So here are the answers:

Most of you guessed this correctly. It is indeed Misha or Mishka or The Olympic Mishka. The Russian Bear that was the mascot of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games. If you look carefully, the Olympic rings are seen on his belt.

My research on the net reveals some interesting tidbits of information about this cute fella.

The name Misha is the diminutive for the Russian name Mikhail. Apparently most bears in Russian fairy tales have this name because of its similarity to the Russian word for bear - Miedvied (beats me how this sounds like Mikhail. But thats what Wikipedia says!) - and the diminutive form for this word is Mishka. Ergo, Misha.
A competition for drawing the bear was held in 1977 by the organising committee. Victor Chizhikov, a children's books illustrator's entry was chosen winner and the rest, as they say, is history.

Misha was the first mascot to achieve commercial success in terms of merchandising. Loved by children, many of us tried to draw him with varying degrees of sucess. When you see him you automatically say 'awww! cho-chweet!! Did you know, in the closing ceremony of the Games, he even shed a tear?


In 1982, the 9th Asian Games were held in Delhi. The mascot was Appu, a baby elephant, known in real life as Kuttinarayanan. At the age of 3, Appu was gifted by a devotee to the temple at Guruvayur. At the age of 5, he was chosen to lead a team of 35 elephants to the Asian Games at Delhi. This playful elephant gathered a lot of attention at the Games, including that of the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.

Appu's story however ends sadly. At the age of 7, he stepped on a septic tank and fractured his leg. A wound from which he never recovered. Appu breathed his last on 14th May, 2005. RIP Appu.

India's first amusement park, Appu Ghar was named after this guy. Unfortunately, even this has not survived. The land came under dispute and the park was finally closed in February 2008.

Veera, is an Ongole bull and the official mascot of the 32nd National Games held in Hyderabad in 2002. Veera is supposed to signify the spirit of sports with his intelligence, strength, passion, confidence and endurance. The choice of an Ongole bull as mascot of the games was strategic. Ongole is a town in Andhra Pradesh and famous for its breed of bulls that have been exported to other countries. For eg. the Brahmana Bull in America is supposed to be an off shoot of the Ongole bull. The Ongole bull is seen in sculptures of Nandi in Shiva temples. Ongole bulls are prized, among other reasons, for their resistance to mad cow disease. In recent times there have been scandals of biopiracy and illegal acquisition of genetic material to breed these bulls. Read more about it at A Load of Bull

In 2002, Indian Railways celebrated its 150th year. And Bholu the Guard was its official mascot. Elephants are big and reliable, carrying huge weights and are also friendly. Indian Railways wanted to project this image for itself. Hence we have Bholu.

I remember there was a HUGE blimp of Bholu tied down in front of Rail Nilayam, the headquarters of South Central Railways in Hyderabad. My dad and I used to go past it for walks along with my (then) four year old niece. Every time she saw Bholu, her face would light up and smiling she would cry out 'Bolu!' - pronouncing it the Tamil way. And my dad, railwayman first, last and always, would fairly swell with pride at that!!

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
Ah! Now you remember! You must have seen it painted on umpteen government school buildings. This is the logo of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). I just love how it has been conceived. One speaks of how children, especially those that go to govt. schools, hate studying and how it is such a drag. I feel this logo tries to dispel that and show how school can be FUN. The girl sitting at the front of the pencil is an indication of how girls' education is still lagging behind. Putting her at the front sends a strong message of the need to put girls in the front. The boy and girl sitting on a pencil, to my mind, speaks of how education can be a driver for equality, for change.

While on the subject, have you seen this lovely video about the SSA by Kanika and Bharatbala? 

And the winner is......Sudeshna! You got all the answers right. Something special coming up when I see you next. And for the rest of you, this......


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A Picture's Worth

Today, as I was browing through some random sites, I chanced upon the logo of the International Year of Forests 2011. Set me thinking about the various logos and mascots I've seen over the years. Logos and mascots convey so much - they identify a cause, a brand, an event - with just a few strokes of the pen. And their appeal is universal.

So here's what I'm gonna do. I'll post images of some famous logos and mascots ,and you identify it. If possible, tell me what it is associated with. These may seem like no brainers to many - particularly those of the bearded variety that are quiz mad (you know who you are!). This is just a cub attempt and a gateway to thoughts and personal experiences that these logos and mascots represent for me.

For people of my generation, who grew up in the 80s and 90s, the following pictures and their associations should not be that difficult to guess. So here goes....

Who's this cute  bear? What is his name?
There is a clue in the  picture.
 This guy is of desi origin. A well loved mascot from the 80s. India's first amusement park is named after him. Who's he?

 This is Veera - his name is on his vest. Who is he and what is his claim to fame? 

These elephant mascots just get cuter and cuter. Who's this chap? 

A very common logo for a lofty cause. Can you guess which one?
Leave your guess in the comment box. Those who guess correctly, will get something special!

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