I love paper and origami. The handmade paper factory in Pondi is such an exciting place (despite the nasty sulphurous fumes, the trees cut down and the petroleum used in this polluting industry). The Aurobindo Ashram even have a brand called AuroShikha!!

By a series of folds and twists, origami turns flat 2d paper into wonderful 3d, sometimes moving, useful or beautiful objects. Though I love origami, my memory is awful and I usually need the instructions in front of me to get it going. The ONE story I can manage on my own is the captain’s hat. I learnt it from Arvind Gupta and you can too, from an easy two & a half minute youtube video. All you need is that supplement from your newspaper that you never get down to actually reading. Put it to good use.

I’ve always been a sucker for magic and magicians. I’ve stood captivated with every group of kids crowding around the magic shows that litter the South Bank in summer. Every time the real live magicians I know (Stan & John, who have my undying respect for all eternity) do their tricks, I have to force myself to clench my jaw to prevent it from dropping as coins pop out of ears and pencils get swallowed. Everytime. Sleight of hand has never been my strong point. The captain’s hat is as far as I can get with magic – but its pretty impressive too. I had a varied bunch of kids – ranging from 4th to 11th Grade of Kasam school – but they all loved it. Apparently, it was a favourite of Lillian Oppenheim, who popularised origami in the USA. If you’re Japanese, you could probably learn it from your grandparents! Arvind uncle was home last week and he had a rapt audience. He has been making toys from trash for the last fifty years, and it really really  is like magic!

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