Lifestyle en Thu Dec 03 16:07:23 IST 2020 india-first-bottled-mulled-wine-touch-of-traditional-flavour <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>It is believed that mulled wine became a festive fixture because of Sweden. Although it was invented by the Greek father of medicine Hippocrates as a health tonic and subsequently became a Roman tradition to help stay warm in the bitter cold months, the popularity of wine mixed with herbs, fruits, spices and honey dwindled in 17th century Europe. Except in Sweden.</p> <p>The Nordic country retained a variation of it called the 'Glogg'. In the late 19th century, the Swedes shipped bottles of glogg with images of Santa across Europe and since then it's hard to dissociate Christmas with mulled wine.&nbsp;</p> <p>But store-bought mulled wine with flavours ranging from fiery jalapeno to semi-sweet apple pie? To many, it may seem like scrimping on a homely tradition, disrespecting a glorious ritual celebrated in books and films, like cheating. In Dickens'&nbsp;<i>Christmas Carol</i>&nbsp;Scrooge assures Bob Cratchit thus "...we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop!" a kind&nbsp;of mulled wine made in Victorian England with port, red wine, lemons, Seville oranges, sugar and spices.</p> <p>Bloggers and food reviewers this time of the year rapturously educate the world on how to blend&nbsp;this perfect Xmas punch----not too sweet or bitter, or god forbid, how not to obliterate the alcohol.&nbsp;</p> <p>But now there is an option for lazy drinkers, raging workaholics or just curious, gamely consumers.&nbsp; Next week one of&nbsp;India’s leading wine-makers, Grover Zampa Vineyards, will launch&nbsp;One Tree Hill Mulled Wine Kadha in several metros. They are calling it India's first-ever bottled mulled wine. It takes inspiration from&nbsp;traditional Indian Kadha recipes. So,&nbsp;the wine is infused with spices like black peppers, cinnamon, cloves, ginger,&nbsp;<i>tulsi</i>, cardamom, and lemon topped with star anise, parsley, fennel, cumin seeds, orange peel, and kapok buds. "A warm concoction of spices and wine,&nbsp;mulled wine&nbsp;is the ideal&nbsp;Christmas&nbsp;companion and is sold in quantities during the season in European markets. Hence this wine is not restricted as a make-at-home drink. Bottled mulled wines of various brands are available in Europe as well," says&nbsp;Sumit Jaiswal, AVP, Marketing and Exim at Grover Zampa Vineyards, on the feasibility of selling packaged mulled wine in India.</p> <p>&nbsp;"The One Tree Hill Mulled wine has a perfect balance of herbs and spices also called traditional Indian spices with its true aromas. It’s a premium bottled mulled wine and like all Grover Zampa wines, we are sure that it will appeal to the palates of consumers," adds Jaiswal.&nbsp;</p> <p>Priced at Rs650 a bottle, Grover's Mulled Wine Kadha will hit the shelves in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi, Goa, Haryana and West Bengal this month. Be it hot toddy, mulled wine or Kadha, the health benefits of the spices used in them have been all too well reinforced in a pandemic year which has trained us to glug copious amounts of Kadha, and the winemaker has inevitably tapped into this trend.</p> <p>"There's a necessity to make wine-drinking easier in India and this mulled wine seems to do just that. The price and packaging seem lucrative and coming from the house of Grover Zampa is surely of bankable quality," says Gagan Sharma, a Delhi-based sommelier.&nbsp;</p> <p>Ankush Singh, a 32-year-old pharma professional based in Gurugram, is not too convinced. "I don't think I will buy it. It is a vanity product for one time of the year. I'd rather make my own stuff."&nbsp;</p> Sat Dec 19 14:33:48 IST 2020 moments-in-motion-a-unique-exhibition-on-motion-pictures-and-vehicles-in-motion <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Dilip Kumar raced his tonga with a bus, a seminal ‘Man vs Machine’ moment, in 1957's Naya Daur, while Fearless Nadia movie posters always had a steam engine in the background. And who can forget the many unforgettable film scenes featuring cars, either in the thrill of the chase, or anchoring the charismatic romantic credentials of the hero?</p> <p>Motion pictures and vehicles in motion have been in a romantic liaison ever since their advent. Now, an exhibition in the national capital region lets you relive those golden moments from the silver screen through a collection of film posters, lobby cards and memorabilia.</p> <p>‘Moments in Motion’ is India’s first exhibition of its kind, where original Indian movie posters and lobby cards featuring modes of transport that were part of the storyline of a movie and important enough to have found a place in their advertising. The exhibition at the Heritage Transport Museum, an hour’s drive away from Delhi in Gurgaon, runs till end of January and features more than 60 posters and over 100 lobby cards — the oldest is ‘Hunterwali ki Beti (1943)’ while the youngest is 1982’s ‘Chalti ka Naam Zindagi.’</p> <p>There’s a reason why. “All the posters we have on display are painted posters only, drawn by hand by poster artists and then printed. Post-1982, digitalisation started coming in and the art of drawing posters by hand started going down. You don’t find it anymore,” explains Tarun Thakral, founder of the Museum. “We are paying a tribute to the art also, and a tribute to the creativity of those poster artists, a lot of whom lost their jobs (when digitisation came in),” he adds.</p> <p>Thakral came up with the theme after realising that visitors to his one lakh sq feet museum found the famous car from the nineties hit ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’, one of the permanent exhibits there, “fascinating.” He quips, “Bollywood is something that connects with every Indian visitor.”</p> <p>With the museum’s seventh anniversary coming up and faced with a financial loss after the museum had to be shut down for five months due to the lockdown, Thakral decided on one stone to kill two birds — a Bollywood themed special exhibition to celebrate the anniversary, as well as bring the crowds back.</p> <p>Luckily, the logistics were already sorted out. “I had this huge collection of Bollywood memorabilia pertaining to transport, collected over a period of time,” Thakral points out.</p> <p>The exhibition is equally a celebration of cinema and its association with modes of transport (there’s even a poster with a goat cart from an old film on display!), as well as poster art. “Over the years, its aesthetics, importance and the meaning it transmits has gone through several transitions,” says a note from the Museum, “These cultural artefacts allow us to trace the history of popular art, political and cultural norms, and our ineffable relationship with the theatre of dreams.”</p> <p>Though the exhibition closes in end-January, it may not be the last of it. Enquiries are pouring in, right from the National Rail Museum to even the London Transport Museum. “These posters hark back to the masses and tastes of a particular period. How the artists changed, how movies evolved…,” explains Thakral. “And of course, Bollywood is big everywhere!”</p> Fri Dec 11 11:30:48 IST 2020 how-lipsa-hembram-is-modernizing-santali-sarees <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A few years ago, when fashion designer Lipsa Hembram heard her mother complain about the short length and coarseness of traditional Santali sarees, the idea of Galang Gabaan was born.</p> <p>It was in 2014 that Hembram started her label for contemporizing Santali sarees, after she returned from Hyderabad where she earned her degree at NIFT. Galang Gabaan in Santal could be translated as 'creating something with utmost care and devotion'.</p> <p>Just before the label was about to be launched, Hembram eschewed conventional models for promotional images on social media and got her mother and aunt to flaunt the chequered drapes in red and white. Today, the six-year-old label, based in Bhubaneswar, retails modern Santal sarees in cotton, linen and silk to patrons across the country.</p> <p>In her latest project, Hembram has mounted a sumptuous installation of the traditional Santali costume at the 18th-century, Victorian-style Belgadia Palace in Mayurbhanj . The garment exhibit is part of a campaign called 'The Karkhana Chronicles', undertaken by three erstwhile royal families to engage with the history of textiles and karigari in their respective regions, namely Jaisalmer, Gwalior and Mayurbhanj. The exhibits, created in the last two months by local artists and craftspeople, are showcased at the historic properties of the royal families and will be open for three months for public viewing from 27 November.</p> <p>In a tastefully done backdrop of 150-year-old brass pots, or 'pitol ghagara' which were used in a Santal household to fetch water from ponds and wells, Hembram has a tall, upright mannequin wear the original phuta jhala or saree along with a kacha, a variation of a dhoti drape. The saree is again re-purposed into a long flowing cape in new linen and ghicha silk with cotton. "This is to show how a yardage of fabric can be converted into dhoti, saree and a cape at the same time. Sustainability is not just about recycling or up-cycling. It is also to show the quiet evolution of the Santal saree whose essence has remained the same even though the yarn has changed," says Hembram who sourced the original phutu jhala from her native place in Rairangpur in Mayurbhanj district. Sans blouse, indicative of the choice Adivasi women make in the way they adorn their sarees, the installation is strikingly bedecked with ancient Dokra neckpieces.</p> <p>The last time Hembram sartorially dissected her Santali heritage was at the Lakme Fashion Week in 2017 when she remodeled her traditional saree into a skirt and top. But she now likes to play around with the yarn and design and let the saree be. Flowers, houses, birds, animals and leaves frolic in smooth and soft linen monochromes. Prices range anywhere from Rs 6,000 to 10,000.</p> <p>Hembram's Instagram page is also flecked with odds and ends of Santal heritage and personal history like wood carvings done by her maternal grandfather on panelled doors or her ancestral home in Dandbose, the birthplace of Raghunath Murmu, the inventor of the Ol-chiki script which is the official Santali writing system. Who knows these alphabets might also feature in her beguiling sarees soon.&nbsp;</p> Fri Nov 27 17:52:09 IST 2020 sania-mirza-writes-emotional-ode-to-all-mothers <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Tennis player Sania Mirza has written a moving “ode to all mothers&quot; and shared the post on Instagram along with beautiful pictures on Wednesday.&nbsp;She said that she was inspired by the journey of tennis player Serena Williams.</p> <p>Sania said that her pregnancy has changed her as a human being. “…pregnancy is something that I had experienced for the first time in my life. I thought about it and I think we all have a certain picture about it but once you experience it you really understand what it means. It absolutely changes you as a human being,” she wrote.</p> <p>Sania dedicated the note to all the mothers 'who have dared to dream': She wrote: &quot;I want to dedicate my words to all the wonderful and strong mothers who have dared to dream and each day have strived to maintain a balance between motherhood and their professions. To a world that stereotypes women as homemakers it often comes as a surprise if one succeeds in fulfilling her dreams and career with sheer grit and determination.&quot;</p> <p>In her note, Sania said she was not sure if she would ever get back to playing tennis. “Having put-on around 23kgs during my pregnancy, I wasn't sure if I was ever going to get back to being fit and playing tennis again. However, I lost around 26 kilos with a lot of workout regimes and very strict diets and came back to tennis because that's what I know, love and do. Finally, when I won at Hobart after coming back it was pretty amazing,” she wrote.</p> <p>She added: “&nbsp;Serena's efforts to be a perfectionist on the court and off it as well, motivate us all. She has taught the world that you can have it all if you work hard and don't give up on your dreams!”</p> <p><i>&nbsp;</i></p> Wed Nov 25 17:17:32 IST 2020 gin-and-tonic-in-the-cloud <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In a reusable burlap &quot;potli&quot;, there are seven samples of Indian gin. The pint-sized bottles with the transparent spirit—as part of a gin tasting kit from the Institute of Wine and Beverage Studies—-are labelled as A,B,C,D, E and F. The seventh one, though, is a Joker with no letter.</p> <p>Each of the 82 attendees on the zoom call are first instructed to smell and sip the Joker from their tasting kit. The organisers lead the guests in decoding the character of this nameless gin: no juniper which is a signature botanical; it can be spun into a dry martini or an old Tom Collins; a sugar sweetened, cold compounded gin which is of an inferior quality, artificially essenced with a neutral spirit and made without distillation. It is important to be disappointed with the joker in order to appreciate the finer variants waiting to be sampled. And to get a sense of the commendable journey homegrown gins have traversed in recent years. The cold compounded gin is later revealed to be the fuddy-duddy Blue Moon, still wrapped in a comfortable blanket of nostalgia.</p> <p>But that is set to become once in a Blue Moon, with an exciting array of new Indian gins ushering in a revolution. The virtual tasting event, titled The Great Indian Gin Trail, by IWBS, on November 18, was a neat affair with patrons from Delhi joining in with their kits filled with samples of craft gins, a bunch of Indian junipers sourced from famed spice market Khari Baoli, bottles of premium tonic water from Sepoy and Co.,and plenty of zing. &quot;Basically, the point was to have an evolved conversation around the great variety of gins that are now available in India—over 10 local gins and the fact that their quality is at par with international gins,&quot; says Gagan Sharma, educator at IWBS and one of the tasting guides at The Great Indian Gin Trail.</p> <p>Meant to be an &quot;academic exercise&quot; with observations to be written down on a scaled sheet, the online tasting event unspooled a spice box that is the ongoing Indian gin efflorescence. From Greater Than to the artisanal Terai to Stranger &amp; Sons (now available in Delhi) to small batch Pumori, Hapusa Himalayan Dry Gin and Samsara, the homegrown brands are part of a constellation of craft gins coming out of India in recent years by young, under-30 entrepreneurs. They were all part of the tasting kit and acquired varied levels of intensity when taken neat or splashed with tonic. Aromatic, herbaceous, vigorous, earthy or wholesome, the hosts of the evening Gagan Sharma and Magandeep Singh, led the audience through a dazzling range of expressions with botanical infusions from tulsi, fennel, coriander, gondhoraj lebu, raw mango to cardamom and clementines.</p> <p>The tastings and reveals were followed by brief introductions by the makers of the respective gins, their distinctive characters and how they are to be appreciated—what is a sipping gin, how to have it by the glass, the youngest entrant in the Delhi market being Stranger &amp; Sons, Goa's enduring prominence as the capital of craft gins and how Delhi is an expensive, complicated market for small-batch alcohol producers. A tasting event from the comfort of our homes is just the tonic one needs.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Thu Nov 19 20:18:04 IST 2020 radha-and-krishna-at-dags-online-viewing-room <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>On a Reddit thread for the 1915 painting 'Radha and Krishna' by M.V. Dhurandhar, a user comments,&quot;Petty awesome but... Why do Radha and Krishna look European?? Like Greeks or something.&quot;</p> <p>To which another user remarks, &quot;Maybe the colonists had an influence? The room looks Greek as well, or at least inspired by the Greeks.&quot;</p> <p>The oil-on-canvas in the Western academic style of painting where Radha looks at the viewer with a garland in her hand with Krishna seated behind her with a flute is now on view at DAG's online sale and exhibition called 'The World Will Go On'. Here 88 lots and 127 works of fine art have been virtually mounted as part of the exhibition 'The World Will Go On'. It features rare paintings from the 19th century onwards when European and Indian art met to create a hybrid vocabulary.</p> <p>The virtual preview started on 25 October through a seamlessly accessible online viewing room on the gallery website. The works are also on display at the DAG at The Claridges till November 12, 2020. The 'World Will Go On' celebrates India’s visual language of pre-modern and modern art. Leading the sale will be two series on the Ramayana—the first, a set of accomplished prints by the artist Chittaprosad, and the other a complete set of water-colour paintings by Laxman Pai.</p> <p>'Radha and Krishna' uses the naturalistic portrayal of &quot;bhava&quot; or emotion and achieved academically precise delineation by Dhurandhar who was known to use photographs as reference. Born in Kolhapur and trained at the JJ School of Art in Mumbai, Dhurandhar was also an accomplished postcard artist and created illustrations in oil, watercolour and pencil in his time that ranged from bazaar prints and ethnographic postcards to books and cartoons for magazines and posters. He was inspired by Raja Ravi Varma.</p> <p>Rather apolitical, Dhurandhar was more attracted to the female form and exquisitely captured their varying moods and gestures. He was awarded a British Government Award in 1892 for a painting titled 'Women At Work'.</p> <p>Radha, in the 1915 painting, has a faraway look on her face, while Krishna's eyes are on her. A peacock in the foreground also stares at Radha. Both Radha and Krishna are much admired subjects in Indian art for centuries; here they have a more modern, realistic appearance.</p> <p>This painting is expected to fetch the highest price in the exhibition which also has works featuring modernists like S.H. Raza, M.F. Husain, Krishen Khanna, Jehangir Sabavala, K.G. Subramanyan, P.T. Reddy, Natvar Bhavsar, G.R. Santosh, Biren De, Sohan Qadri, and a host of others.</p> Tue Nov 10 11:58:04 IST 2020 the-skipping-sikh-this-74-yr-old-british-sikh-makes-fitness-his-life-mission <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>When he was in his 60s, Rajinder Singh—now more popular as Skipping Sikh—could pull off 5,000 jumps in a day with his rope. Now the septuagenarian Sikh from Harlington in west London can clock two hundred jumps in a minute. On October 23, Amritsar-born Rajinder Singh will turn 74. "I will go to the gurdwara first, then go do a skipping challenge with Khalsa primary school kids and teachers in Slough. Later, (I will) take some cake and food to the homeless shelters," says Singh over email, two days before he celebrates his birthday in a year which has turned out to be quite special for the senior Skipping Sikh.</p> <p>On October 10, Rajinder Singh Harzall was featured in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2020 that felicitates recipients for their "outstanding contribution to British society". This list has 1,495 honours and 13 per cent of the awardees are from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities. Harzall received an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his services to health and fitness in a pandemic. In the early months of the UK lockdown, Harzall started posting videos of himself skipping to inspire the elderly to stay fit. In the process, he also raised over £12,000 for the NHS.</p> <p>Harzall has been skipping since he was six years old. His father, Makhan Singh, was in the British Indian Army as a Naik (corporal) and served in the second World War. Harzall was born at Devi Das Pura in Amritsar in the year India got its Independence. "My father would always tell me how skipping was something he enjoyed. It was a way for him to keep busy and stay out of negative thoughts," says Harzall who imbibed his father's fitness streak. He hopes to run a marathon like British Sikh centenarian Fauja Singh who, in 2011, became perhaps the oldest person to have run a marathon.</p> <p>"I have always been into sports. I have never gone to a gym. I made my own fitness plans and skipping has always been part of my life. I have run marathons and most charity events which involve some exercise," says Harzall who moved to England from Punjab in the 1970s. Harzall, a former Heathrow Airport driver, received a letter of appreciation from UK PM Boris Johnson in June this year. He was inspired to take up the skipping challenge from the 100-year-old army veteran Tom Moore, who raised more than 100 million pounds for the NHS. Moore walked 100 laps of his garden in April with the help of a walking frame in the lead up to his 100th birthday in April. The World War II veteran became a national hero and received a knighthood in July.</p> <p>"I would like to do more workshops in schools and community centres and encourage everyone regardless of age that you can keep fit and active. Age in nothing but a number," says Harzall on how he hopes to use his MBE to further promote fitness. "I have lived through other pandemics and to be honest, I always think the best way to tackle anxiety is to pray and be positive. Why worry when we are not in control?"</p> Thu Oct 22 21:04:49 IST 2020 a-case-for-churros-con-choco-with-coffee-for-breakfast <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Machan, Delhi's vintage 24x7 jungle-themed restaurant and cafe at the Taj Mahal Hotel, reopened this month after its third ever renovation since it began life in 1978. The year-long extensive renovations have discarded the easy, uncomplicated giveaways of protruding tusks and antlers with images of hunting scenes and leopards. The restaurant is more elegantly and subtly forest-wild. In the dense leafage of the wallpapers, the tiger is always watching even though the patrons may not spot it. Old favourites like Chicken Montecarlo and Bull’s Eye seamlessly coexist with new entries in the menu like Ocean Turns Purple and Lamb Agnolotti. But if there's one crackling idea which comes out a winner, it's the old and new duet played at the end of the meal: Machan's classic Kona Coffee with the delicately crunchy Churros, a breakfast favourite in Spain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The concept we were exploring began by looking at the world's best breakfast dishes which we could include in the new menu," says sous chef Siddhartha Saharoy at the hotel. "South Indian breakfast, including idli and filter coffee, is appreciated around the world. We wanted to recreate similarly resonant global breakfast staples. And Churros with coffee is a great idea and relatively under-explored in India," says Saharoy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This ancient fried dough pastry has sketchy origins, with China, Spain and Portugal as equal claimants. One theory attributes the invention to Spanish shepherds."High up in the mountains freshly baked goods were not available. So the shepherds came up with a cylindrical daily staple, which could easily be fried in a pan over an open fire. They named the fritter after Navajo-Churro sheep, as the horns of these sheep look similar to the fried pastry," writes Ira de Reuver in Roads and Kingdoms. But they were most definitely introduced in South America during the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th century. It was around this time that the Spaniards returned to Europe with cacao which they began to sweeten with sugarcane. The tradition of dipping churros in chocolate still hasn't been tampered with.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The tubular fritters speckled with cinnamon sugar is a popular walk-around snack around the world. There are multiple Churros-only outlets in Indian metros today, including The Bombay Churros and Chocolateria San Churro in Delhi. For the breakfast lovers divided between camps of sweet and savoury, one may wonder why eating fried white flour soaked in sugar first thing in the morning is a great energy booster. "Don't forget we also love our jalebis for breakfast. In fact, I feel we may have copied some version of churros to make jalebis," jokes Saharoy, who stands by the classic combination of Churros served alongside caramel and chocolate sauce, undercut with a pot of black coffee. But dishing out golden brown <i>churros con chocois</i> not exactly a cakewalk, using just flour, water and sugar in the mix. Cooked right it is warm, soft and crunchy dusted with snowy flecks of sugar. Here, Saharoy shares the recipe of the cylindrical sweet as it is prepared in Machan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Churros hazelnut, chocolate and caramel</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>1. Eggs golden yolked</p> <p>2. Butter</p> <p>3. Maida</p> <p>4. Sunflower oil</p> <p>5. Mawana breakfast sugar</p> <p>6. Cinnamon powder</p> <p>7. Fresh cream</p> <p>8. Dark chocolate (Callebaut)</p> <p>9. Chocolate filling caramel (Callebaut)</p> <p>10. Chocolate filling hazelnut paste (Callebaut)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Method</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the coating, whisk together sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish and set it aside. Add water, butter, sugar and salt to a large saucepan, bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Add flour, reduce heat to a medium-low and cook and stir continuously with a rubber spatula until the mixture comes together and is smooth. Add egg to the flour mixture, then blend immediately with an electric pedal and add eggs one by one for a smoother mixture. Transfer to a piping bag and carefully pipe the mixture into the preheated oil. After its fried, transfer to paper towels to dry and soak extra oil. Later, coat with cinnamon sugar mixture kept aside. Serve hot with chocolate sauce and coffee.&nbsp;</p> Sat Oct 17 22:40:17 IST 2020 opinion-does-detachment-mean-having-no-ambition-breaking-the-myth <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><i>“Just as an aimless task is futile so also is a task with which we get totally attached to.”<br> </i></p> <p>Let’s understand the importance of detachment and how it can help us become more aware and productive in our area of work.<br> </p> <p>Detachment to a task doesn’t take you away from focusing on it, rather it helps you function more effectively. Never take detachment as having no ambition. Our intentions give rise to desires and desires in turn produce ambition. Thus, intentions are the essence of any outcome in our life and they manifest results influencing our action.</p> <p>Detachment is essential to empower our intentions. In order to create a meaningful outcome, we need to be free of all emotions. For example, a sense of fear or pleasure deludes us to either live in the past or imagine about the future outcome. In the outcome, we lose on the present moment thereby impacting the main task on hand.</p> <p>Both these emotions of fear and pleasure while performing a task take us behind the real moment, as it exaggerates our thought on them and grabs our attention on magnifying them. Once the attention is gone to that thought of fear or pleasure it’s then like catching up with a moment that has already passed, but what is demanded of us is a constant race to keep pace with the present reality.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Synchronizing our thoughts to present actions can materialize through detachment of the outcome, failing which, we are left with semi-finished work or half-hearted attempts; it happens because our attention was not in the present moment, it got left behind and stuck in a thought, which is either of past or future, but not relevant to that very moment. The outcome of this would be an ordinary result through our efforts.</p> <p>Hence, we are never a hundred per cent with our task in hand. In order to use our full concentration in the task and to work with our inner spontaneity, we need to be completely in sync with time and be in the present moment. This process where our actions are completely in harmony with the present moment creates a flow which makes the task effortless and error-free. This seamless state of flow can only be achieved by remaining detached to unnecessary thoughts or emotions.&nbsp;</p> <p>Our inner spontaneity can blossom only when we are free from all the attachments pertaining to the outcome of the task in hand. Attachment to the outcome produces thoughts which break our concentration to stay in the present moment, and as long as attachment persists, it becomes impossible to ignite our spontaneity. That is the reason practice of detachment becomes all the more important.<br> </p> <p>How to practice detachment? We need two attributes to be completely detached from the outcome of our task in hand: Enhancing our concentration with a complete focus on the task and a calm mind with no distracting thoughts.</p> <p>When these twin attributes, which result in detachment are achieved, these become a natural invitation for our spontaneity to take charge of the task.<br> </p> <p>We can increase our concentration and an ability to stay focused to the task with the help of activities like meditation, playing any sport which enhances our concentration, or by getting involved into any activity we are passionate about, that can help us get completely engrossed in the task by the sheer love for it. Such activities include reading, writing, music and art. These activities require a high level of focus and our passion makes it easier to practice concentration through them. Our second attribute—a calm and composed mind—can naturally be achieved, when we give our mind an object of engagement to focus on a task. Consciously giving our mind an object of engagement to focus keeps it busy; disturbing thoughts come only when we lack concentration and focus on the task.<br> </p> <p>Detachment puts us in a position where we are one with our task with complete focus on it. The end result is perfection, which leads to accomplishing our ambition or task by perfecting our actions. Let’s not take the word ‘detachment’ by its literal lexicon meaning. From a spiritual context, the word has the potential to bring some magical results in our life.<br> </p> <p><b><i>Kartikeya Vajpai is an MBA and a practising lawyer in the Supreme Court of India. He runs a YouTube Channel by the name ‘Your thoughts and You by Kartikeya Vajpai’ Where he shares ideas and thoughts on spirituality and positive thinking based on his upcoming book; a fiction book where he will use his experiences and exposure of spiritual practices; transcendental meditation, Buddhist Mahamudra meditation, Advaita Vedanta and Kriya Yoga to touch some deep questions on life pertaining to career, happiness, and purpose of life.</i></b></p> Sun Sep 27 16:38:43 IST 2020 cheez-badi-hai-mask <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>When wearing a mask is inevitable, all we can do is make the most of it. And that’s exactly what many among us have been doing in our different ways. For political activists, masks come in handy as they go about discharging their day-to-day responsibilities, viz., roughing up citizens who dare to ‘like’ a social media post which they themselves don’t like.&nbsp; In the bad old days, they had to disguise themselves by wrapping their faces in turbans before getting into the act. Masks are such a labour saving device!&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now, a Shashi Tharoor may describe a mask as a sartorial accoutrement to impede the ingress of viral organisms, and preserve a salubrious state of being. But you and I will say, tsk – a mask is a mask is a mask.&nbsp; But we are wrong, and Mr. Tharoor is right. If there’s a new normal, masks are its status symbol. The old ways of flaunting your wealth and place in society don’t work anymore. There’s no point dunking yourself in J’adore or Paco Rabanne if there’s nobody around within sniffing distance of those expensive odours. Also, what’s the use of getting yourself a Lamborghini if it’s going to sit under your stilt parking all day long?&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Enter, the high fashion mask—the kind that you can depend upon in these Covid times to trigger thy neighbour’s envy. Major cosmetic manufacturers are graduating from mascara to masks and, as we speak, are coming out with their winter collection. Louis Vuitton has introduced an haute couture range of photochromatic face shields, designed to get everyone’s attention and make them go ‘oooh’. The only thing is that the oohing and aahing comes at a price. The price tag on these products is such that I am calculating whether the friends I will win and the influence I can wield with those exotic face covers are worth the money.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let’s say then that you settle for a plain cotton mask that is just a grade above the good old gamcha. It may look like a piece of cloth, but to the advertising eye, this could be a platform for strategic product promotion. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a mask is worth a thousand slogans.&nbsp; Imagine seeing ‘Amul Doodh Peeta Hai India’ straddling the mouth of a toddler. Or better still, it could be the way for Chanel to promote lipstick that doesn’t leave a tell-tale trail. You can’t get more strategic positioning! The CSR wing of a leading IT company in India has already come out with masks featuring Warli Art—it does a lot for your face value.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bollywood is of course one of the mass consumers of masks, for our stars need to be different people at different times. There is one mask that actors and actresses wear when the klieg lights come on, another when they are being interviewed by a fawning media and yet another when they go off on those deep inner journeys to find ecstasy or escape. As we now know, the practice is rampant—hero and heroin (oops, heroine) and the producer to boot. Tollywood and Kollywood, I am sure, are going to find material here for a story. And before long, Kerala will continue its long tradition of mixing social commentary with comedy and come up with a rib-tickling satire titled ‘The Three Masketeers’!&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For a country used to cover-ups, everyone should have taken to masks without a second thought. Yet there are still people who choose not to wear them or wear it half-mast below the chin. Such disregard for public safety and the rules of the game demands a stern reprimand best expressed in vintage Bambaiya– ‘ Yeh kya ho raha hai - mask hai ya maskari?’</p> Sat Sep 26 23:12:06 IST 2020