Society en Wed Nov 16 12:48:48 IST 2022 making-life-easier <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>'Who will marry you?' is one of the most common questions that almost every girl gets to hear at least once in her lifetime. This question becomes even more unbearable for girls who have gone through a tragedy or are born with any kind of disability.&nbsp;</p> <p>Shatabdi Awasthi, a paralympic athlete, faced a lot of ridicule when she met with an accident in 2006, while she was preparing for armed forces recruitment.</p> <p>“I got an injury in my spinal cord and lost the sensation. While the treatment was going on, I was told that improvements will take place gradually. My relatives used to tell my parents that it would have been better if she died. Who will marry her now?,” she said at the We The Women (WTW) festival in Jaipur on March 4.</p> <p>Awasthi did go through a tough time, but she was determined to not give up. It was her dream to join the armed forces. It shattered the day she got to know that she has to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.&nbsp;</p> <p>Since she could not sit, she would lie down and study. In 2010, she got selected as a probationary officer at the State Bank of India (SBI). Nevertheless, her aspiration for joining the army kept pushing her, and she finally became the first paralympics athlete from Rajasthan.</p> <p>A resident of Sawai Madhopur, Awasthi has won several medals, including a silver medal at the international level.</p> <p>At the WTW forum, she was honoured with the Hope Empower Rise (H.E.R) award by superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter Shweta Bachchan, a columnist, author, and former model.</p> <p>Self-love is a journey, emphasised Sakshi Sindwani, a fashion content creator, who shared the stage with Awasthi. She realised the importance of self-love long after she came out of depression, the reason for which was a lot of bullying at school. It further led her to an eating disorder and she gained a lot of weight.</p> <p>“I was bullied in school, and it took me so many years to come out of it. In the later stage, I heard comments like&nbsp;<i>ladki patli sundar honi chahiye, tabhi shadi hogi</i>. So, my family members would have diet conversations during dinner which I would ignore because I was content with myself. I accepted my body the way it was,” she said.</p> <p>Today, Sindwani runs an Instagram page with more than five lakh followers and inspires people with different forms of content. She is not body-positive, but body-neutral now.</p> <p>“Education doesn't make you body-positive, awareness does. Accept your body the way it is. Be who you are, but never forget to work on yourself,” she said.</p> <p>Another woman who shared the stage with Awasthi and Sindwani was Sanjana Rishi, an Indian-American entrepreneur, who wore a pantsuit for her wedding and was criticised for the same. She didn’t want to wear a 10 kg lehenga.</p> <p>“I wasn't setting out to accomplish anything. Seeing a bride in coat-pant, I was called an anti-Indian, someone who was defaming the Indian culture. I was even asked to go to Pakistan,” she quipped.</p> <p>She also spoke about the glorification of women bouncing back post-delivery.</p> <p>“Getting into shape post-delivery is quite glorified and this bounce-back culture is toxic. As a woman, you are also told to be so controlled. We all have gone through that. However, when it comes to my daughter, I want her to know and explore the body types and the ideologies people have, and understand herself and her choices better.”</p> <p>Loving oneself and breaking stereotypes is a must for women in a male-dominated world. That is how they lead their path towards their ambitions in life, concluded the three women on the panel.</p> Sun Mar 05 16:50:00 IST 2023 kochi-biennale-artist-mithra-kamalams-installations-celebrate-the-strength-of-women <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Pepper House, a colonial-style, spice warehouse-turned-gallery, houses a room filled with mesmerising mise-en-scene, presenting paintings and sculptures, created by Mithra Kamalam that explore feminist archetypes.</p> <p>Mithra Kamalam's installation titled 'Corrective Measures - Resetting Sati; Still, is there a slippery, a fall in disguise? And here we are shivering in disgust' at Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2022-23, showcases an extension of her latest series of works called “Corrective Measures”. The title phrase was used to denote the idea of healing through repetition and address intimations of counter-narratives in her work. Kamalam's art is deeply personal and extends beyond the confines of her own practice to connect with wider historical, social, and gender positions.</p> <p>Kamalam's works can be described as journalistic and autobiographical records that combine scenes from her environment and use them to create narratives featuring partially fictional characters. These characters come together in surreal settings to perform in a dreamlike atmosphere.</p> <p>In the central painting, Kamalam referenced a 16th-century Dutch illustration, Sati from the <i>Itinerario</i> of Jan Huyghen van Lincschoten. The illustration depicted the ritual Sati, a traditional Hindu practice that was prevalent until 1987, in India where a widow was supposed to immolate herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.</p> <p>“I was drawn to the depiction of a woman who was portrayed as &quot;loose&quot; as possible with all her vulnerability exposed, voluntarily falling into the fire or man's body/corpse. By adopting this notion of &quot;fall&quot;, I aimed to explore the deeply linked connections between female sexuality and body, and positioned herself socio-politically,” said Kamalam.</p> <p>In a personal anecdote, she used two overlaid self-portraits to appropriate the gesture of this archetype and to bring a contradictory dialogue on patriarchal power structures and female autonomy. In one portrait she voluntarily submits herself to the pyre and in another, she shows restraint.</p> <p>In 'Corrective Measures', the repetition of forms that include figures of fruits (pomegranate) and flowers serves as a therapeutic expression and evokes emotions, while also connecting with female psychology, body, social, and gender positions.</p> <p>“My approach to these components follows the cathartic reasoning of one revisiting distressing occurrences with the aim of rewriting and reclaiming them from a female perspective, navigating the assigned role and gender in a traditional society,” Kamalam said.</p> <p>Kamalam's art is experimental and often extends beyond the boundaries of painting. The work also incorporates photo montages and sculptural installations to create a meta-fictional and interrupted narrative. Her work frequently interrupts the single flow of narration by overlaying multiple frames.</p> <p>The exhibition also explored militant feminist archetypes such as 'Chonnamma/Red Mother', a local Kali-like figure portrayed in Malayalam writer R. Rajasree's debut novel <i>Kalyaniyennum Dhakshayaniyennum Peraya Randu Sthreekalude Katha.</i></p> <p>The phrase 'Ms Militancy' used in one of her paintings is taken from the poem <i>Ms. Militancy 2010</i> by Meena Kandasamy, using it as a powerful and provocative piece that challenges patriarchal and sexist norms in society and celebrates the strength and resilience of women.</p> <p>Speaking about her inspiration Kamala mentioned, “I drew inspiration from folktales mostly from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, as well as contemporary literature and cinema. The references that I find are simply accidental. For my research, I usually reflect on the references I found and develop connections.”</p> <p>“My fascination with various art forms, including Mughal miniature paintings, early Arab illustrations, and folklore, has inspired me to incorporate archetypes from these traditions into my work,” she added.</p> <p>Through her art, she aims to merge these archetypes with her immediate surroundings and personal experiences, resulting in dreamlike settings featuring partially fictional characters. Although her work is autobiographical in nature, Kamalam seeks to readdress the idea of indigeneity and vernacular idiom, showcasing the interconnectedness of different cultures and traditions. Her work reflects her admiration for diverse art forms and her desire to incorporate them into her artistic expression.</p> <p>Kamalam's enthusiasm is to further explore gyno social imaginaries that include friends, family, luminaries, myths, and mystics. Her exhibition at Kochi Biennale is a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of gender, power, and healing.</p> <p>“My art is an attempt to heal the disrepair, disorder, and interruptions in society through repetition and therapeutic expression. By exploring feminist archetypes, I seek to challenge power structures that interrupt female autonomy and spread over other domains,” she said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Mar 03 16:41:00 IST 2023 kochi-muziris-biennale-artist-anju-acharyas-works-reflect-mans-bond-with-nature <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>With the ongoing Kochi-Muziris Biennale, a wide array of artworks are being acknowledged and appreciated—some for the unique concepts they convey, and others for the innovative techniques used.</p> <p>The world of flora and fauna is not new to humans. But artist Anju Acharya's works look at nature and ecosystems from a fresh perspective. In her series of paintings titled 'Lull', on display at the Aspinwall House, Acharya portrays the connection between human beings and other living organisms. Dripping with natural elements, her paintings reflect her concern for the impact of human activities on nature.</p> <p>Hailing from Kerala, Acharya is known for her distinct style of art which incorporates dyes from flower extracts, human hair, blood, beetle wings, threads, rice paper, and other natural elements.</p> <p>“According to my mom, I used to scribble in mud and books from the age of one,” says Acharya, “and the power of my drawings is all acquired from my father's designs of machine engines.” Her family has never been the stereotypical one that doesn’t let a child pursue the arts professionally and has always supported her decision to become an artist. She says she was also deeply influenced by her biology classes in high school. When I started taking drawing and art more seriously, I got inspired and found myself deeply influenced by the artworks of Japanese artist Fuyuko Matsui, German-American artist Kiki Smith, and the famous German artist Albrecht Durer,” she adds.</p> <p>Acharya is focused more on satisfying the artist in her than pleasing the audience. She says: “I never visualise my audience. My prime focus is always on the self-satisfaction the particular work gives me.” Acharya, whose works capture the themes of birth, death, and decay, says her university life in Hyderabad, with its natural atmosphere, helped her connect deeply with nature and observe life around her. Beyond the central theme, her works portray the physical and emotional changes in organisms. Her entire body of work serves as a window into her emotionality and sensitivity to the world around her. &quot;Initially, even though my subjects were mostly nature and its emotions, I preferred acrylic for drawing,” says Acharya. But the realisation that her actions and choice of medium did not sync together made her turn to nature to source materials for her artworks.</p> <p>Some of her famous exhibitions include the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi Grand Exhibition which featured Acharya's debut solo exhibition, 'Unborn', in 2019. She exhibited her work, titled 'Fantasy of Having a Trailer Wagon All to Myself', in a group exhibition curated by Tatiana De Stempel in London in 2021. Her works that were exhibited at Lokame Tharavaadu, a group exhibition curated by artist Bose Krishnamachari in 2021, grabbed eyeballs.</p> <p>As an extension of her works displayed at the Kochi Biennale, she also led a workshop titled 'Memory Book'. Guided by the aroma of leaves, fruits, buds, and flowers, the workshop allowed participants to take a trip down memory lane. They were also introduced to Tataki Zome, a Japanese technique for applying botanical dyes to cloth or paper by pounding flowers and leaves. In addition to bringing up the use of natural elements in art, this serves as a way to preserve our memories.</p> <p>The Biennale, in Acharya's words, is the only place where &quot;even people who are not into the arts are also speaking, sharing, and experiencing my works.&quot;</p> <p><i>Acharya's 'Lull' will be on display until April 10</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed Mar 01 14:42:01 IST 2023 representing-the-underrepresented-at-the-kochi-muziris-biennale <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Art has the power to shine a light on the experiences of those who are often overlooked or forgotten. In a society that perpetuates inequality, art can be a powerful tool for marginalised communities to share their stories and perspectives with the world. This is precisely what the artists at the fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2023 aim to achieve: a space where the experiences of those communities, ignored and discriminated against can be heard and seen.</p> <p>Through the exhibition by Jithinlal N.R. and Amol K. Patil at the biennale, the artists invite us to explore their experiences—from their struggles to their joys—in a way that is both personal and universal. Whether through photography, painting, sculpture, or other mediums, the artworks on display offer a window into the lives of people whose stories are often silenced.</p> <p>The literary narratives in the form of folk songs, stories and poems are transformed into visual narratives by these artists to represent the complexity of caste identity.</p> <p>As we step into the exhibition at the Aspinwall House, we are struck by the diversity of the artworks, installed by Amol, and the emotions they convey. His work—‘Politics of Skin and Movement’—explores the theme of identity, migration and movement, particularly in relation to how these ideas intersect with issues of caste, race and ethnicity.</p> <p>“My practice is rooted in questioning the conditions of labour and casteism,” says the Mumbai-based artist.</p> <p>‘Politics of Skin and Movement’ reminds us that marginalised communities are not just defined by their struggles, but by their humanity and the richness of their experiences. The mixed media installation by Amol, who comes from a family of artists, includes sculptures, kinetic works and literary works of his father and grandfather from which he derives the framework for his art.</p> <p>“These written archives of my father and grandfather had a strong impact on my understanding of the community. Later, I started using these conversations in my visual art practice,” Amol said.</p> <p>Amol’s ‘Casteist Wall’, visualised in the kinetic installation, is a metaphor for skin as land. The movements emerging from within feel as though the ground is breathing.</p> <p>Speaking to The Week, Amol said, “With the making of the ‘Casteist Wall’ as a metaphor, I wanted to bring into conversation the binary that is created between people on the basis of their caste. Here, the wall referred to an incident that happened in Tamil Nadu. A 6,000-metre-long wall was built to segregate the housing of lower and upper-caste people. Later, the structure was demolished because of protests but one can still find the residues of the wall there. The wall is also connected to the idea of the hybrid relationship between humans, the barrier created through a person’s skin or the community to which they belong.”</p> <p>The bronze ‘unfinished’ sculptures created by Amol visualise parts of a body lying apart, connected only with a line, compelling us to question the severe condition of the labours, their freedom of movement and our perception based on the texture of one’s skin. At the exhibition, the drawers creates two different space; an inside and an outside, indicating the government offices, where they keep the files. Referred to as ‘chambers’, they are a beholder of the dust or the ‘ash of hope’. The movements in the sand are symbolically made by souls fighting for their rights, trapped in the form of paperwork.</p> <p>Kochi-based artist Jithinlal’s artwork at the biennale opens the door towards the history and experience of the dalit community which was once hidden and traces of which were only visible in indigenous folk songs and tales. His work ‘Spectral Speech’ draws its narrative framework from the literary device of the same name, employed by well-known dalit author C. Ayyappan in his novel to fictionalise the complexity of caste identity.</p> <p>“In Kerala, the idea that talking about caste will encourage it, has silenced the people of the community from speaking about their experiences and sharing their stories and culture. While in college I realised that casteism still prevails and that not talking about it is not the solution. When I moved to Baroda, I began sharing the dalit identity and discovered that the discourse of dalit identity varies across India. I found art as the medium to express the confusion about identity that I experienced,” Jithinlal said.</p> <p>To engage with the theme, Jithinlal creates illustrations and comic figures, using strokes and marks, which suit to represent the oppressed rather than applying any exorbitant methods or style.</p> <p>Coming out from the dalit community, Jithinlal’s drawings and paintings investigate the modern subaltern memory to revive the harsh reality of dalit existence and challenge the normative idea of perception. The constitutive diagrams and pictograms explore the notion of transgression related to spectrality and produce forms that address caste oppression problems. His works create a new gaze, liberating the people fighting to become ‘human’ again.</p> <p>Both artists agree that it is necessary for the community to have a place in a society where they can identify themselves as they are and hence it is important to encourage art forms that talk about the marginalised and oppressed.</p> <p>“The history of the dalit community is usually presented from the colonial or Brahmanical viewpoint. My work is a historical inquiry of the movements, folk songs and poetry that concern the dalit community and seeks to present an alternate image of society through the viewpoint of the masses usually unrepresented using the work of subaltern artists like C. Ayyappan,” Jithinlal added.</p> <p>The idea put forward by theorist Stuart Hall that cultural identity is not only a matter of 'being' but of 'becoming', 'belonging as much to the future as it does to the past’, became the ground of his art style. According to Jithinlal, the dalit community lacked historical evidence for them to identify with. Therefore he tries to capture the stories of the community, present around us in the form of landscape or bodily sensation, on a canvas to fill the gap in the subaltern history of Kerala.</p> <p>Amol feels a lot of people still are unaware of the caste politics of the country. “There are always layers to how we ask questions or how things are changing. We can trace a lot of conversations that had already happened about poetry, protest, and community issues but it still exists,” he says. That is why he finds it important to bring it into this conversation.</p> <p>“I look at the young people who do cleaning jobs in the morning and do theatre practice at night. It is like a process of learning from the community and also learning from our history. It is about bringing up a futuristic conversation, a talk about changing the new times.” Amol said.</p> <p>From the bold and striking drawings of Jithinlal to the haunting sculptures and movements in Amol's work, the exhibition at<b> </b>Kochi is a celebration of creativity, diversity, and resilience, to capture our imagination and open our eyes to acknowledge and understand how societal structures impact upon ideas, identities and art.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Feb 25 13:08:36 IST 2023 kerala-cyclists-hit-the-road-to-save-the-worlds-biggest-fish <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A cycle rally set out on its journey all the way from Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod on February 19, with the goal of spreading awareness about whale shark conservation. The rally, covering the entire 589.5 kilometres of the state's coast, is conducted by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) as a part of its ‘Save the Whale Shark Campaign’.</p> <p>The 10-day-long journey, entered its third day on Tuesday, covering Kochi and heading towards Thrissur. The rally which was flagged off from Shankumugham Beach by Pradeep Kumar IFS, saw 10 participants from Cyclers Thrissur wearing campaign t-shirts and hats bearing the slogan &quot;Save The Whale Shark,&quot; and advocating for the conservation project around the coastal communities. The team set out in two batches—the first group rode from Thiruvananthapuram to Thrissur from where the second group will head to Kasaragod.</p> <p>Along the route, the participants engaged in conducting various sensitisation activities at each stop using a whale shark inflatable to raise public awareness of the threats posed by ocean plastic pollution. Supported by Oracle, the campaign throws light on the threats faced by whale sharks—listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). While whale sharks are often hunted for their meat, fins and oil, accidental by-catch in fishing nets is also a leading cause of death of the world's biggest fish.</p> <p>“The rally had a great impact and saw support from many local fishermen around the coastal areas of Kerala. We are reaching out and interacting with school students and local communities to educate them about the dangers as well as the methods to conserve the whale shark,” said Sudheer P.S., Secretary, Cyclers Thrissur.</p> <p>The campaign launched in October 2022 in Kerala yielded positive outcomes, including the rescue of a few whale sharks with the support of the local fishermen community. “This inspired us to expand our reach,” said Sreenanth K, Programme Communication Officer, WTI.</p> <p>“Though being the world’s largest fish, people are unaware of its existence and threats,” said Sajan John Programme Lead, WTI. “With whale sharks being filter feeders, it is necessary that marine waste is controlled. Through this initiative, we aim to bring this topic to the forefront and reach out to more and more people in the coastal region.”</p> <p>The fishing community's role is critical for this endeavour. Sajan adds: “Due to a lack of awareness and fear of getting into trouble, people hesitate to report to authorities if a whale shark gets entangled or trapped accidentally. It is vital to rescue the trapped fish and release it back into the ocean as soon as possible. Being the key stakeholders in such rescues, the fishing community's participation is therefore critical and it becomes important to sensitise the community about whale shark conservation.”</p> <p>The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a keystone species in the marine ecosystem, reaching lengths of up to 12 metres and weighing as much as 21.5 metric tons. Although distributed widely across tropical and warm temperate seas, limited information is available on the population trends of this species, especially along the Indian coastline.</p> Fri Feb 24 15:35:18 IST 2023 ratna-viswanathan-on-making-government-schools-joyful-places-to-learn <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the age of chatGPT, it is crucial that children imbibe good education without becoming victims of technology. This is why it becomes even more significant for social impact organisations to partner with state governments to improve the quality of teaching and learning at multiple levels. Reach to Teach, is one such organisation that champions the cause of 'good education' outcomes in Government schools. Reach to Teach works directly at a systemic level building upon its extensive work with communities at the field level over the past decade. To date, they have engaged with numerous government schools through their ‘frugal innovation’ and ‘appropriate technology’ approaches in the states of Gujarat, Haryana, and Arunachal Pradesh. In an interview with THE WEEK,&nbsp;Ratna Viswanathan<b>,</b>&nbsp;CEO, Reach to Teach and a former civil servant throws light on the many ways in which her organisation is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of children on the ground.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>How does Reach to Teach bring joy to classrooms?</b></p> <p>Government schools are treated as post offices where the teachers and the school authorities themselves have zero agency over what to teach and how to teach. They are simply asked to follow instructions. In the state of Arunachal Pradesh, where we have an agreement with the government, along with Niti Aayog, we are rewriting content from Class 1 to 12 without touching the curriculum or the syllabus. We are introducing experiential learning and activity-based learning to make the experience of learning interesting for both, students and teachers. This way we also bring agency back to the teachers. Teaching no longer becomes a monologue and becomes interactive instead. Parents are also integrated into the system to ensure we have ideal levels of enrolment of children in schools.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>In today's day and times of chatGPT, how do we ensure that actual, physical classroom teaching remains unaffected by technology?</b></p> <p>Technology is only the enabler. It does not drive learning. At the end of the day, AI (Artificial intelligence) is only an input which also comes from human learning. Digital innovations are great, no doubt in providing access to learning, but they cannot be the only way of learning. What is a smart classroom? that helps in planning better and teaching a larger audience. Human interface and interaction are extremely crucial and will always remain so. The point is that education should not be driven by technology, rather technology should enable education.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>How do you assess a student's grasp over his or her learning?</b></p> <p>We have just done a baseline assessment. So what we do is give the same question to students of classes 3, 5 and 8 and see their responses. that's how we will know whether there is grade-appropriate learning or not. We train teachers and also in every state where we work, we try to equip the state by building capacity for it to run on its own once we have exited it.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Post Covid enrollment in government schools has increased significantly. Do you think parents from the middle and upper middle classes should also consider municipal schools as good options for their wards, especially when private schools charge exorbitant fees?</b></p> <p>Definitely. A lot of parents have been shifting their children from private schools to government schools because the latter have done extremely well concerning education and facilities. It is about intuitively understanding what it is that a child wants.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>How do you put the concept of frugal innovation into practice?&nbsp;</b></p> <p>It's about what you innovate at a local level and it need not have anything too expensive, state-of-the-art classrooms, smart classes and internet connectivity etc. It is about using whatever is available to leverage and create different concepts and innovations that are frugal. They are local and coined out of what is available. For instance, in a school I went to, a headmaster had conceptualised a small tiffin box in which he asked children to put money to make them learn how money grows. They'd return the money to each child with a small interest added to it at the end of each year. In another school, the teacher kept a tray with paraphernalia including stationery and asked the children to pick up what they wanted and put the money as per the price labels on the item. Nobody was supervising but a camera was put up and none of the children knew about the camera. So 99 per cent of children honestly put the money in each time they took. Now that was a lesson in honesty. So, it's a small but crucial example of how we can teach the most basic ideas in the most profound and hands-on manner. Also, I feel the concept of frugal innovation hasn't yet been captured fully in government schools. It is important to capture local knowledge and disseminate it within the community.</p> Wed Feb 22 13:28:03 IST 2023 kochi-biennale-palani-kumars-photographs-put-the-spotlight-on-manual-scavengers <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Walking through the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) venues, one thing was clear: people need to understand that the Biennale is more than just about what's on display at the Aspinwall House or Pepper House. It is a reflection of a society that needs to be scrutinised rather than something to merely glance over.</p> <p>The TKM Warehouse, one of the venues of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2023, houses various invitation programmes; 'Communities of Choice' being one of them. 'Communities of Choice', presented by the Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation and Ffotogallery (Wales) with the support of the British Council, poses a few underlying questions and exhibits photographs and news articles of various social issues that have not received adequate acknowledgment.</p> <p>The exhibition aims to use the expression of emerging artists from India and Wales to create and develop bodies of work that explore the concepts of belonging and inclusion. It also explores themes like gender disability, politics, constructs of race/caste, identity, and sustainable community. The concept note of the invitations programme describes the exhibition:</p> <p><i>Who am I?</i></p> <p><i>Where do I belong?</i></p> <p><i>Do I belong to A community?</i></p> <p><i>Do I belong to many?</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Palani Kumar's 'Out of Breath'<i>,</i> a photo exhibition in the 'Communities of Choice'<i> </i>programme, depicts the hardships and suffering of manual scavengers in India, particularly in Tamil Nadu, and leaves many viewers feeling distressed by its portrayal of reality.</p> <p>Manual scavenging—the act of manually cleaning human excrement from drainage and sewers—and employing people to do it have been banned in India according to the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act of 1993. This law was replaced in 2013 with the Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, which outlaws the use of dry latrines as well as the manual cleaning of unhygienic latrines, pits, and open drains.</p> <p>And yet, it is still been practiced in several states of India, especially Tamil Nadu. The series of photographs portrays the harsh realities of the lives of these oppressed scavengers and their deaths. As of December 31, 2022, the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis estimates that hazardous cleaning of septic and sewer tanks has resulted in the deaths of 1,054 people since 1993. Many people do the activity of cleaning sewage and drainage systems without any protective gear, leading to the most common cause of death among them—asphyxiation due to the inhalation of toxic gases.</p> <p>“This is an everyday happening in India, but the issue has been avoided by the masses,” says Kumar, “and that is why I chose to fight for them by exhibiting photographs on the issue and showing the reality.” Despite the prevalence of reservation systems in society, finding employment outside stereotyped, long-term caste-based occupations is not easy. The hierarchical power structure plays a role in maintaining the situation by appointing and calling them for scavenger work.</p> <p>Even if people want to leave, there seem to be no other job options available to them because no one is willing to give them jobs other than those, leading to a clear case of discrimination. As a result, people are forced to scavenge to acquire food for their families, who are sometimes kept in the dark about their occupation.</p> <p>People suffer deaths due to asphyxiation because none of them have been provided with protective gear while working, even while having to fully submerge under these contaminated waters. In all of these upheavals, their children resort to and fall into these roles, and the cycle of discrimination continues.</p> <p>Kumar is ready to talk about manual scavenging anywhere and everywhere until it is acknowledged and necessary actions are taken. “We say photography has the power to change the world, and many instances have shown that,” he says, “but in India, we have to constantly fight for it to be impactful.” Manual scavengers have played a huge part in the times of the pandemic and cyclones, and yet no one recognises their work. It has been more than five years since Kumar started documenting the lives of manual scavengers and their families, and yet he points out how nothing has changed in their lives and they still continue to suffer silently.</p> <p>Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently announced that this year's budget will allocate around Rs 100 crores for the newly named NAMASTE (National Action Plan for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem) scheme and that &quot;all cities and towns will be enabled for 100 per cent mechanical desludging of septic tanks and sewers to transition from manhole to machine-hole mode&quot; as part of the announcement regarding urban sanitation in the budget for the year 2023.</p> <p>“These are ‘election duties’ of the government,” says Kumar. “We are waiting for a time when the government will actually implement the law seriously and manual scavenging is going to end.”</p> <p>“India has the power and technology to replace the work of manual scavengers with machinery and yet failed to do so,” states Kumar, and further says: “Why does the government not take murder charges against the people who employ the manual scavengers, knowing it is banned?”</p> <p>The photographs convey the question of why nothing changed in their lives. Why are there no actions taken against people who assign jobs for manual scavenging, even after knowing it is illegal? Why are people not provided with protective gear before work? Why are these people unable to find other jobs having to reluctantly rely on being manual scavengers? Why are there no machines available for the job? Or, more importantly, why is India's drainage system still reliant on manual labour and not being prioritised for improvement?</p> <p>“We are part of a web of interwoven communities. Some we have the privilege to choose, while others are simply assigned to us.” In the end, this description in the concept note seems more accurate than ever, as it captures the myriad of issues the community—which did not have a choice—had to deal with.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon Feb 20 12:44:30 IST 2023 at-india-art-fair-art-finds-forwardism-via-technology <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The India Art Fair, this year, is witnessing an amalgamation of art and technology, along with several other themes, grabbing a lot of eyeballs. Being held in the national capital from February 9-12, the fair showcases enthralling artworks of cutting-edge digital artists, along with contemporary and modern artworks, championing powerful and rising new voices from India and South Asia.</p> <p>Being held in partnership with BMW India, the fair presents 85 exhibitors, including 71 galleries and 14 institutions. It also consists of an extended studio that presents the ‘Digital Artist in Residence’ programme, which provides an online platform for digital artists to create and display new artwork. The initiative aims to aid artwork created using digital processes, exploring the boundaries of art and technology.</p> <p>In line with this, BMW’s new model, X7, which was launched in India last month, has an artwork by Devika Sundar with the theme 'going boundless.' With Sundar's art, one steps into a world of magic and inspiration. Her design perfectly captures the spirit of wonder and possibility that lies at the heart of the human experience.</p> <p>Talking about her journey of the artwork on the BMW X7, Sundar said, “I drew this art with hands first, using water colours and pen, and, then, each element was done through painting on paper. So, the background and the forms are done separately, and then, I combined them digitally and put it on the 2D render of the car. Later, it went into 3D and BMW cleared this version.”</p> <p>The digital art studio comprises the artwork of three artists; all made on iPad Pro in response to the theme ‘Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.’</p> <p>Visual artist and illustrator Mira Felicia Malhotra highlights the oddities and idiosyncrasies of the Indian family life in vibrant portraits of women titled&nbsp;<i>'Log Kya Kahenge'</i>&nbsp;(what will people say). Inspired by her own life experiences and the work of renowned psychologists and psychiatrists, she has created three family portraits, depicting conflicts that often go unseen in traditional family structures. One can view these portraits in Augmented Reality (AR) using iPad Pro to uncover the complexities of gender roles.</p> <p>In one of her paintings, that hangs on the wall, there is a family comprising a man, his wife, their daughter and an infant (whose gender is not known) – all of them smiling. However, when one sees this particular painting using the iPad Pro scanner, the visual shows the man’s angry expression instead of a happy face. The woman’s expression seems to be that of a subjugated lady, who seems to be tired of her life and is striving hard to survive in a male-dominated society. The daughter changes into a boy (representing the LGBTQ community) and the smiling baby is full of tears behind the scanner. Such is the power of technology displayed at the India Art Fair 2023. One device changes it all at the blink of an eye.</p> <p>&nbsp;Another artist, poet and writer Gaurav Ogale’s art, also created on iPad Pro, invites the audience to explore the extraordinary biographies of ordinary people through an audio-visual book anthology series 'Bestsellers'.</p> <p>One of his artworks tells and makes one hear the story of a&nbsp;<i>hijra</i>&nbsp;(transgender) on the iPad Pro itself, using earphones. Nasreen, who belongs to Mumbai, begins her day doing household chores, and while she moves her hands, one can hear the sound of her bangles, the hustle-bustle of the city, and the honking sound of the vehicles while she gets out of her home.</p> <p>Another artist, Varun Desai, has created an immersive projection room giving a glimpse of the future—one that fuses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and human consciousness.&nbsp;</p> <p>Will AI replace manpower in the future? “No, because AI is just a tool to support and enhance one’s art that comes from the heart,” he believes.&nbsp;</p> <p>Responding to the theme ‘Forwardism,’ and presenting a unique vision of a future where art, science, and fiction meet, Sundar will also design the wrap for BMW X7. She has also been awarded a special commission titled 'The Future is Born of Art.'</p> Thu Feb 09 22:51:56 IST 2023 kochi-muziris-biennale-meet-the-artist-behind-the-painting-took-to-the-skies <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>On January 27, the Air India Express’s Boeing 737-800, with a painting featured on its tail, was unveiled at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. Artist Smitha GS’s acrylic painting was selected to represent the Kochi-Muziris Biennale on the 25-foot-long tail of the aircraft.</p> <p>The vibrant artwork depicts chameleons, grasshoppers, insects, and other tiny critters set against the enormous mountains and broad landscapes in which these creatures are placed in.&nbsp;The original artwork is currently on display at the Aspinwall House, the prime venue of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2022.</p> <p>A self-taught artist from Kozhikode, Smitha's paintings were initially displayed at the 'Lokame Tharavadu' exhibition curated by Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) president Bose Krishnamachari. Her unique perspective on species that typically go unseen drew a lot of attention. Soon after, her meticulously detailed depictions of landscapes and creatures earned her a spot at this year's Biennale.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Painting has always been a passion of mine. My father encouraged me to paint, and I enjoyed it over studying. My house was surrounded by lush green forests, and I enjoyed going for walks and admiring the scenery. The setting in which I grew up has been a major source of inspiration for my works,&quot; Smitha said.</p> <p>She painted a lot throughout the pandemic lockdown, and it became more fun for her as she began using vibrant colours and delving deeper into the subjects she was passionate about. It took multiple layers of bright colours and meticulous detailing on the paintings before she was finally satisfied with her work.</p> <p>Speaking of her inventiveness, she attributes it to the picturesque surroundings she grew up in, as well as her father. &quot;He crafted toys for me with coconut leaves in my younger days, I would imagine them coming to life. As a tribute to my father, I paint my images in green. Spending time in the forest allowed me to intentionally examine the life and creatures that sometimes appear inconsequential. All of this immensely enhanced my imagination,&quot; the artist said.</p> <p>Her paintings are all tied directly to her own life, making them highly personal to her. She chose superstitions as the subject of another painting, which is also displayed at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. The artwork features many images or creatures that were deemed terrifying or harmful in Indian culture, and she believes that the painting would create a genuine impact and change in the people who view it.</p> <p>&quot;I have a lot more to do since I have so many more paintings in my mind that I want to paint. I feel art requires a clear vision, mental preparation, and time. A journey alone or a stroll helps me prepare to paint the picture that I have formed in my thoughts,&quot; Smitha said.</p> Mon Jan 30 15:29:38 IST 2023 learning-ability-dipped-in-kids-post-pandemic-educators-tell-us-why <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>There has been a dip in the learning ability of students, post-pandemic, as reported by the recently-released Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). While there is a massive surge in the number of students who have enrolled in schools after the pandemic, the learning skill deficiency caused by the pandemic and the challenges children are required to overcome to get back into learning, are at an all-time high.</p> <p>Educators THE WEEK spoke to cited multiple reasons for the dip ranging from shorter attention spans, gadget usage and reduced social skills. Besides these obvious reasons, educators also said the reduced immunity level in younger children who stayed fully indoors for two years has also affected post-pandemic schooling.</p> <p>When asked about the study's findings, an early-year educator, Chrisen Raju, reflected for a moment and answered, “Children struggle with a lot more health problems and fall sick more often because they get exposed to flu or cough. Their immune systems never got the chance to develop resistance against as they hardly left their homes and were never exposed to these because during the pandemic.”</p> <p>Explaining further, Chrisen highlights the deeper problem that directly affects children’s learning. “Their health affects their attendance, since they fall sick so often, they miss a lot of classes every other week. The children are unable to understand the portions as they miss lessons and end up struggling when they show up to class after getting better.”</p> <p>Sofia Dini, a kindergarten teacher, also had similar findings and said, &quot;There was a serious loss in the foundation for mischievous children who cleverly had their parents complete their homework. They struggled to write letters and to hold pencils.”</p> <p>Prathibha Menon, a lower primary teacher, talked about children's reluctance to adjust, shorter attention spans, and lethargy post-pandemic. &quot;Their social skills have reduced and they cannot adjust or share even with friends now. They don’t want to learn concepts guaranteed to interest them anymore&quot; she added.</p> <p>While tiny tots struggle with holding pencils properly and having trouble sitting still, the students and teachers in higher grades also face challenges. &quot;Students struggle with their psycho-motor abilities, find cognitive thinking challenging, and are unable to focus for prolonged durations. Offline classes were initially overwhelming for learners,&quot; said Roopma Anand, an educator. She also drew attention to students’ use of abbreviations even in their exams and the use of slang words in formal settings.</p> <p>“A bad network was an easy excuse for some to skip classes, while a few genuinely had trouble joining classes. Some would play games or chat with friends during class hours,” Merin Jacob, an 8th grader recalls.</p> <p>Esther Susan and Shiv Narayanan, both of them 12<sup>th</sup> graders, described getting back to offline learning as a good shift that came with problems like finding it harder to concentrate and being overwhelmed by the post-pandemic stress. A higher secondary teacher, Reyma Reji, also observed that there have been a lot of changes in the classroom behaviour of the students. She noted how teenagers feel isolated and often struggle with mental health issues more than ever.</p> <p>Chitra S. Nair, principal of Bharatiya Vidya Mandir in Kerala's Thrissur, said restlessness returned in students with a loss of focus in academics as gadgets consumed unchecked amounts of their time. “Classes one to five are managed with dynamic methods of experiential learning and loads of activities now, but the high schoolers were rather anxious to face the board exams they don’t feel prepared for,” she said.</p> <p>Both students and teachers are facing struggles in various dimensions of teaching and learning as schools are back open after the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.&nbsp;</p> Sat Jan 28 12:23:19 IST 2023 kochi-biennale-a-photo-project-puts-the-spotlight-on-nepal-womens-historic-fight-for-visibility <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>On display at Pepper House, as part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, are 8,000 photographs depicting the extensive history of women's movements in Nepal. Curated by NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati and Diwas Raja KC, the photo gallery titled 'The Public Life of Women' intends to track the path of protests to increase women's visibility in public places, education, trade, and history.</p> <p>The road was not easy, but the photo collection succeeds in showing viewers that the women of Nepal were tenacious and uncompromising in the pursuit of their goals. The photos on display were selected from a larger collection of about 1,20,000 photographs from the Nepal Picture Library, initiated in 2018.</p> <p>As personal albums were included, every unique form of protest that women used was conspicuously represented. The massive rallies—unquestionably activities that defied social conventions—translated into pathways toward better visibility for women. Women's movements for visibility were centered on marking a space for their stories in history books as well. The 'publicity' became a fundamental strategy in establishing their actions as an outcry for freedom that would not stop until it is heard. Women needed to be able to speak in public, work and earn money, obtain education, travel, and move freely in both private and public settings.</p> <p>The photo collection opens a window into a wide range of personal and public protests, right from Mangala Devi who founded the Nepal Women's Association and campaigned for women's education, to Hisila Yami who encouraged her daughter to be proud of her womanhood in a personal letter to her.</p> <p>It is impressive to see that women had started fighting for what matters to them in ways that ensured they were heard loud and clear. The numerous rallies held over 50 years were also beneficial in voicing opposition to caste concerns. The initiative urged Tharu (an indigenous ethnic group) women to rise up against landlord abuse and unite against their oppressors.</p> <p>This gallery seeks to take a thorough look at all the battles that women fought to guarantee their inclusion in the universal community. The photographs also shed light on patriarchal practices that ran deep through the fabric of society.</p> <p>The themes, nuances, and dimensions of these various movements and stories explored by the photo collection are vast, as we see that the ways by which each woman chose to protest were linked together by their common aim and how their efforts spurred progress over time. The archive stands as an encouragement, inspiration, and challenge to this day because of its truly timeless relevance.&nbsp;</p> Thu Feb 02 18:06:14 IST 2023 sufism-is-the-lost-voice-of-compassion-says-writer-moin-mir <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>-“Sit, be still and listen”<br> </p> <p>-“Patience is the key to joy”</p> <p>-“Dance until you shatter yourself”</p> <p>-“Set your life on fire”</p> <p>A cursory search on Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi mystic, throws up these sayings of his. Many of us may have received them as forwards on WhatsApp, and this is what infuriates London-based writer Moin Mir, whose latest book,&nbsp;<i>The Lost Fragrance of Infinity</i>, explores the allure of Sufi philosophy. “One does not know whether [these sayings] were actually written by him and reused in the most bizarre way,” he said at a session with historian Rana Safvi presented by THE WEEK at the Jaipur Literature Festival. “Rumi in the west became this symbol of hippie culture and he was very far from that.”</p> <p>To disabuse his readers of such misconceptions, he said, was one of the reasons why he wrote&nbsp;<i>The Lost Fragrance</i>. There were others, too. “Sufism, in many ways, is the lost voice of compassion,” he said. “And in its essence, it is not understood properly. I, too, am a student of it because it is so complex. There are various ways in which one can approach Sufism. Historians and academics look at it through the lens of history and philosophy, but I thought of looking at it through the lens of the complex mind of the Sufi. One that is fired by curiosity and that drives innovation, one that surrenders to divine love and finds itself investigating art, literature, and poetry. I took that approach.”</p> <p>It was his grandfather, Mir Khairat Ali Khan – a leading scholar of Sufism in India – who got him interested in the subject. Khan was an expert on Mirza Ghalib and Persian mathematician and poet, Omar Khayyam. Under his tutelage, Moin began exploring the byzantine alleyways of Sufism. If he got his love of books from his grandfather, he got a love of travel from his grandmother, Ziaunnissa-Ladli Begum, who spent most of her youth travelling between India, Baghdad, Cairo and the Levant.&nbsp;</p> <p>Moin himself travels extensively to research his books. In fact, going through his Instagram page is like sinking into another world, another time. He makes you see things with new eyes – like the majestic square in Palermo, the ruined city of Pompei, the quaint island of Mazara Del Vallo in Sicily, the caves and monasteries of Greece…. You don’t just see them, you see them through Moin’s eyes. He shows you how he discovered the Greek philosopher Plotinus’s teachings in Greece or was wonderstruck by the sculpture of a satyr at a museum in Sicily.</p> <p>In fact, it was while he was passing through the town of Bursa in Anatolia that he found the Sufi who would inspire the central character of the tilemaker Qaraar Ali in&nbsp;<i>The Lost Fragrance</i>. “Early in the morning, I visited a fabulous mosque with geometric tile work,” said Moin. “I found an old man sitting under an arch twirling his beads. He was a Sufi, and as the slanted rays penetrated the stained-glass windows and fell on him, I felt a pull towards him. I went and spoke with him. He asked me what I saw when I looked at the tiles. Then he told me that they represented the different castes, cultures, races and languages of mankind, and bang in the middle was the eight-pointed star, which is the star of enlightenment. Now obviously, historians and academics will have a completely different take on what geometric tile-making is, but I was struck by the simplicity of it. This ascetic sitting in this quiet mosque saying something so beautiful was amazing. And so that became the heart of my story in many ways.”&nbsp;<i>The Lost Fragrance</i>&nbsp;is set in the 18th century and is about a man who flees Delhi and on his way to Andalusia, Spain, he discovers love through Sufi philosophy. It is almost a metaphor for Moin’s own life.</p> <p>Moin says he is not a practising Sufi and hence has never had a mystic or transcendental experience. However, he has had “flashes of inspired intuition”, when he would get the surety that he was destined to write a particular line. Every good writer has perhaps had that experience, of finding perfection in a thought which would then almost write itself. Moin knows how rare such an experience is, and like the tenets of Sufism, he holds it close to his heart.</p> Wed Jan 25 12:22:00 IST 2023 revolutionaries-should-be-given-due-place-in-indias-freedom-struggle-narrative <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Acclaimed economist and author Sanjeev Sanyal is a staunch proponent of the idea that India’s history of freedom struggle must be rewritten. Sanyal, who was the Principal Economic Adviser to the Union Finance Minister till February 2022, recently released his book that talks about the revolutionaries who got neglected in the post-Independence period.</p> <p>On the sidelines of the Kerala Literature Festival, he spoke exclusively to THE WEEK on various issues related to India’s past and present.</p> <p>Excerpts:</p> <p><b>The dominant narrative about India’s freedom struggle says it had been a non-violent movement. Is your latest book <i>Revolutionaries: The Other Story of How India Won Its Freedom</i>—a book about those who took arms to fight the British—challenging this narrative?</b></p> <p>There is no doubt that the mainstream narrative of India's freedom struggle is dominated by the story of the non-violent movement. While this did have a role, it should be remembered that there was also an armed resistance [against] the British Colonial occupation of India. It is not that we have forgotten all these names like Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Sachindra Nath Sanyal or Rash Bihari Bose.</p> <p>But get the impression from the official narrative that these were some sporadic events in the fringe and that they had no real impact on the mainstream narrative. And, that is not the case. The purpose of the book is to show that revolutionaries were very much in the mainstream movement.</p> <p>They were not only important as part of the resistance against the British. They were important within the Indian National Congress itself. One cannot understand the Indian National Congress without reference to what the revolutionaries were doing. As Netaji demonstrated, the revolutionaries were capable of winning an election within the Congress for the party president against the Gandhians. So, the revolutionary movement has to be given back a correct, due place in our national narration.</p> <p><b>Recently you said there is a need to rewrite the history of India's freedom struggle. If that process happens, how do you want it to be?</b></p> <p>First of all, you need greater recognition of many of these great freedom fighters. The book is one contribution to that, but you have also seen recently the Netaji statue unveiled in Delhi. Another step is the gallery inside the Victoria Memorial Museum dedicated to the revolutionaries. So, in some ways, they are being brought back into the conversation. Of course, ultimately this has to also reflect in the school textbooks, which I hope will happen over time.</p> <p><b>During your research, you might have come across the stories of many extraordinary characters. Could you share the story of one such revolutionary whose story got neglected in the post-independence period?</b></p> <p>There are dozens of such characters. Let me tell you about one of them. Many of you may have never heard of somebody called Pandurang Khankhoje. He was an extraordinary person born in the late 19th century in Nagpur. He became part of the revolutionary movement and to escape British Intelligence, he went up to Japan. From there, he went to north America where he gained military training and made contacts with the Ghadarite revolutionaries. When World War I happened, he made his way to Iran—what was then Persia—and he created a group of Persian rebels and Indian revolutionaries and fought in the first world war backed by the Germans and the Turks against the British. Interestingly, his opponent was none other than Reginald Dyer. Dyer first gained a reputation fighting against [Khankhoje's forces] on the Balochistan-Persia border. The war ended with the British side winning and the Germans losing. So first he made his way to Russia and ultimately to Mexico where he became a very famous agricultural scientist. Many of the technologies we now know as the Green Revolution, [were developed by Khankhoje]. In the 1950s, he came back to India and introduced these technologies in India, leading to the green revolution in India as well.</p> <p>Now, here is just one character, who gave amazing contributions to the freedom fight. Just his contributions to the green revolution and changing the world's food production patterns would alone have made him an all-time great. And yet, most Indians probably have never heard of him.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon Jan 23 13:35:18 IST 2023 mainstream-pornography-porn-boring-amia-srinivasan-right-to-sex-feminism <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In 2021, Oxford professor Amia Srinivasan came out with her seminal work – a collection of essays called 'The Right to Sex: Feminism in the 21st Century' – and decimated all our ideas of what sex should be or who you should be having it with. Your sexual desires, she posited, are not just personal, but they are moulded by societal forces. In other words, we are conditioned to like whom we like. Incisive and scholarly, the essays probed the changes after #MeToo and the issue of consent, gender diversity and trans rights, pornography, and sex positivity. The book took the world by storm. It was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing and was named as Blackwell’s Best Book of the Year, along with winning a host of other awards.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“These essays are works of both criticism and imagination,” praised&nbsp;<i>The New York Times</i>, in its review of 'The Right to Sex'. “Srinivasan refuses to resort to straw men; she will lay out even the most specious argument clearly and carefully, demonstrating its emotional power, even if her ultimate intention is to dismantle it.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Most of the essays arose from discussions she had with her students at Oxford. Their take on some of the issues, such as pornography, were surprising, she said in a session at the Jaipur Literature Festival.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“I did not think my students were going to find this very interesting,” she said. “It is quite quaint, the idea of feminists arguing about whether pornography should exist or be made available, especially when porn meant going to seedy film theatres or (flipping through) graphic magazines. It is extremely outdated in this era of totally ubiquitous online pornography, to which they had all been exposed since a young age. But I was really struck by how responsive they were to these anti-porn polemics from the 1970s. They were struck by the idea that pornography has this pedagogic function where it teaches you what is important and sexually exciting. It propagates the idea that a certain dynamic of male domination and female submission is what is erotically and sexually charged. (Basically), it teaches them how to have sex. Many of my students agreed with this in a way that I found extremely disturbing.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She clarified that she is talking about mainstream pornography that is algorithmically selected for you by a company (MindGeek, which owns the four biggest porn sites in the world) whose sole interest is to make money. By feeding you this kind of pornography, the company ensures that your sexual propensities and tastes become more similar to everyone else’s. “The fundamental problem with mainstream porn is that it is so boring, so unimaginative,” she said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Srinivasan, 38, was born in Bahrain and later lived in Taiwan, Singapore, New York and London. She did her undergraduate degree in philosophy from Yale and then, a BPhil and DPhil as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. In October 2018, she joined St John’s College, Oxford, as a tutorial fellow in philosophy and in January 2020, she took over as the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at All Souls College, Oxford, the first woman and person of colour to do so.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Most of us are so streamlined into thinking a certain way about sex and gender that we often don’t question why we think the way we do, says Srinivasan. Take the example of trans rights. “I think it is important to sometimes hear what the critics and opponents of the trans rights movements are saying,” she said. “Often, what they expressing is that they are deeply anxious about their own sense of identity, gender and sexuality,” she said. “It is a profound threat to their sense of self as just straightforward men or women. As British academic Jacqueline Rose put it, ‘All of us are literally haunted in our dreams by other genders and sexual possibilities for ourselves. We are haunted by the female, male or hermaphrodite versions of ourselves. And that has to be repressed so that we can go through the social and political world that insists on us being cleanly woman or cleanly man’.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The politics of sex is not the only thing that this erudite professor is interested in. From Bulgarian folk music to octopuses, death and philosophy, there is much to keep her occupied. However, perhaps her name will go down in history as the one who dislodged one of the most potent myths about love: that the heart wants what it wants.</p> Sun Jan 22 18:33:01 IST 2023 kochi-biennale-pavilion-a-mansion-built-from-debris-is-a-symbol-of-hope <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Stone, mud, brick, thread, and debris from buildings—made from these is a graceful mansion that exposes a lot of ideas. This is the Biennale Pavilion designed by world-famous architect Samira Rathod at Fort Kochi's Cabral Yard. The stars of the night sky are visible through its roof which also lets the sun's rays in bit by bit during the day.</p> <p>The 4,000-square-foot pavilion, with a roof sans concrete, is a wonder by its design. Named the 'Container of Hope', it stands in harmony with nature. The construction, which speaks volumes of possibilities from debris and about new ideas that could be made practical, came as a result of the hard work carried out by almost 60 labourers from Kochi, Kolkata, and Delhi across 30 days and nights while weathering the unexpected December rains.</p> <p>&quot;No material which cannot be reused has been used for the construction of the pavilion, and upon dismantling this temporary construction, no waste will reach the earth. This is its significance&quot;, said Samira. The four walls of the structure are filled with stones, pieces of brick, red stone, and debris from building construction. The floor is made of granite pieces, stone, and cement from quarries. The large roof above contains a layer of transparent plastic on which stones are plastered along with soil and mud.</p> <p>&quot;It is to protect the monitors and speakers in the pavilion that plastic had to be used on the roof,” said Samira. But this plastic sheet specially stitched at the Samira Rathod Atelier—Samira's architecture and interior design establishment in Mumbai—can be reused. The most attractive feature of the pavilion is the big glass shutters fixed on the walls. Neethu Lekshmi, Fenil Soni, and Kiran Keluskar, all of them architects at the Samira Rathod Design Atelier, stayed in Fort Kochi for a month overseeing the construction of the pavilion. The support of the organisers of the Kochi Muziris Biennale was also invaluable.</p> <p>&quot;There are two thought streams behind the construction of the Biennale Pavilion,&quot; says Samira. “One is the reuse of the remains of buildings. Second is the poetic nature of the construction. We see a building in its complete form. Normally the back-filling used in the walls or basement remains hidden. We had the desire to have a transparent construction. So this back-filling is visible from the outside. Biennale literally means taking new ideas to the public through the medium of arts.</p> <p>After the Biennale, the pavilion can be completely dismantled and reconstructed at any other location according to requirements. &quot;If more studies are carried out, and proper maintenance is given, such buildings can be used for a long time,” says Samira. The studio works within the pavilion have been done by Studio Motion Works.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Jan 19 17:08:54 IST 2023 sea-is-the-centrepiece-of-this-art-project-that-explores-keralas-past-and-present <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>'Sea: A Boiling Vessel'—a phrase once used by seafarers is the title of an art project that dives deep into the role of the mighty ocean in shaping Kerala's culture and society. Exploring the ocean is a spiritual experience for sailors, as it becomes the essence of life itself. The multi-disciplinary exhibition, spearheaded by Aazhi Archives and Design Trust of India, brings this experience to the viewer through the portrayal of long-forgotten maritime histories.</p> <p>“The project's goal is to learn about Kerala's history via its own archives. This research has merely scratched the surface of our state's massive archives; there is much more beneath the surface that we are yet to explore. There is ongoing research and studies that aim to shift our perspective from a terrestrial history to an oceanic perspective,” explains Project Manager Kshema.</p> <p>Curatorial Director Riyas Komu has brilliantly curated pieces on origin narratives, slave narratives, metaphorical immortality of the ocean, migration, and many other topics. This astounding arrangement allows the audience to see the intention in the selection of pieces and the relevance of each artist and their works on exhibit.</p> <p>The show's primary location is the former Hallegua residence, where Juliet Hallegua lived for many years before leaving for Israel with her daughters.</p> <p>Late artist K.P. Krishnakumar's last sculpture, Boatman, is prominently featured in the exhibition in Kochi that features the works of 13 artists. This shrunken boatman poses as the ultimate representation of the ocean's wide contrast of absurdity and clarity.</p> <p>K.R. Sunil's photographs document the lives of the artists of Chavittunatakam—a dance-music-drama performance that originated in the coastal regions under Portuguese rule. &quot;I recall watching a five-day performance by several troupes and being enthralled by the last group from Chellanam [a coastal village in Kerala's Ernakulam district],&quot; Sunil says. They were fishermen from the village and performed after finishing their day’s work. They performed tales from the Greek Empire as well as Christian stories. Their exquisite costumes were embellished with gleaming jewelry, dazzling crowns, and more, Sunil recalls. Their performance was in Tamil, and it was brimming with enthusiasm and raw emotion. &quot;It was almost as though they were transforming into everything they couldn't be in real life,&quot; he says.</p> <p>The artists invited Sunil to their houses, where he learnt that their lives were full of struggles. Battered by the effects of climate change, their huts near the coast are frequently flooded as sea levels rise. The community struggles to make ends meet and earn even two meals a day. But even in the midst of adversity, they have held their own close and their art closer.</p> <p>A hyper-realistic painting by Parag Sonarghare is an unusual and distinctive take on the slave narrative. 'The Foot' is a larger-than-life-sized acrylic on canvas painting of a man's foot with wrinkles and scars from repeated exposure and walking on harsh terrains. Parag says he sought to capture the ordinary things that were not included in mainstream history and culture. &quot;I wanted to capture what is authentic to me. This is the reality I see in my immediate surroundings,&quot; he explains. The bodies of these marginalised individuals become the site of evidence of their life and journey. Parag carries to the canvas the fragments of elements of reality that surround him.</p> <p>Midhun Mohan responds to M.H. Illias's 'Dubai Elsewhere' project that sheds light on the theme of migration. He also discusses the Indian Ocean, along with the various objects, concepts, and individuals who traveled through oceans. &quot;I've looked through the boundless and unrestrained oceanic perspective to bring the concept into the painting,&quot; explains the artist. His paintings, such as 'Kappiri,' have also been influenced by Indian Ocean legends and motifs. His migration-themed paintings focus on the aspirations of people who traveled to the Gulf nations, which contrasted with the lifestyles that they lived there. The piece 'Man Holding His Dreams' depicts the lives, identity, and dysphoria of migrants, which caused them to imitate foreign culture in their own country after returning.</p> <p>Other notable works that contribute to the project's central concept include Sumedh Rajendran's installations and T.V. Santhosh's work focusing on the long-lasting impact of colonisation in the cultural and linguistic dimensions of our society, among many more.</p> <p>With extended events in Kozhikode,'Sea: A Boiling Vessel' hosts discussions, dialogues, and presentations simultaneously. This art event is truly an experience to discover Kerala's cultural origins from a different perspective.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Jan 19 15:06:48 IST 2023 sudha-murthy-reveals-how-the-gopi-diaries-is-based-on-real-stories-from-her-home <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Children's author and Infosys Foundation chairperson Sudha Murthy is loved for her stories that pack in humour and life lessons. In the best-selling children's book series<i> The Gopi Diaries</i>, she engages children with stories told through the eyes of a dog named Gopi. </p> <p>Speaking to THE WEEK on the sidelines of the Kerala Literature Festival, she shared about her dog Gopi, on whom the three books are based, life with her grandchildren and more.</p> <p>Excerpts:</p> <p><b>Please tell us about your book series that features your dog Gopi? How did you decide to write a children’s book based on your experiences with Gopi?</b></p> <p>Harper Collins approached me and asked if I could write something. I said I do not have any ideas right now. I do not commit to anything until I have ideas. When this meeting was going on, my dog, Gopi, came in. He [the publisher] suggested I write on Gopi. I said there are many books on dogs in the market. But they said, 'no you write something'. After they left, I thought a dog owner may write about how cute his/her dog is and things like that. But what does a dog think of its owner? That is how Gopi became the narrator. And I became Ajji to Gopi. In Kannada, ‘Ajji’ means grandmother.</p> <p>Gopi came to me through my son Rohan who brought and left him in my house. Rohan went for a week to London, but could not return due to the pandemic. So then, Gopi became mine.<b> </b>Gopi [in the book] sees Rohan as his father, Mr [Narayana] Murthy as Ajja and I am his Ajji. I started to think what Gopi would be thinking: ‘Oh this is my new home. When I talk, they call it barking and I pull Ajji’s pallu’. Through Gopi, I wrote the first book— <i>Coming Home—</i>about<i> </i>what it meant for a pup to leave his mother and adjust to a human home. And it became very popular among children. The books feature instances like Gopi going to the doctor, or getting scared. I wrote the whole book in just three and a half hours. More than one lakh copies were sold. Then I wrote part two. So all these stories [told through Gopi’s eyes] are real stories.</p> <p><b>I have heard Narayana Murthy is very scared of dogs.</b></p> <p>Yes. Because when he was a kid, he was bitten by a dog. So, he used to say: 'No dogs at home'. For 40 years, I did not get a dog even though I was very fond of them. In my childhood, we always had dogs. We had a Rajah for 14 years, then a Julie for 13 years. But Mr Murthy set a condition—no dogs at home.</p> <p><b>Was that like a marriage condition?</b></p> <p>A part of… because he was damn scared of dogs. He said if I kept a dog, he would be uncomfortable throughout the day. I said, ‘Fine’. In marriage, we have to adjust. But when Rohan got this dog, Murthy changed over a period of time. First, he used to stay in another room. Initially, he thought the dog would be at our home only for a week, and it will then go back to Rohan’s. But Rohan went to London and did not come back for eight months. So, Gopi stayed in our house all that time. And even after his father [Rohan] came, he did not go home; rather he stayed at my house. So, when Murthy realised that Gopi will be with me for a long time, he started staying in the same room—Gopi at one end and Murthy at the other.</p> <p>Slowly he realised that not every dog will bite you. Gopi is like a child and Murthy developed a friendship with him. I realised that in the last one and half years, he [reached a stage where] he will not live without Gopi. So, that is the basis of my second book, <i>Finding Love</i>, [in the series]. The third book, <i>Growing Up </i>[was released recently]. In this, Gopi has grown up now. He is a big dog. All the female dogs look at him and he selects [his pair]. He goes swimming. While swimming he meets his lady love. How he wants to impress her, how they go together, how Ajji tries to neglect that, and how he becomes a father. But he does not know how to raise a pup. And then Ajji tells him that he was also once a pup.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What are the kind of ideas you explore through your books for children?</b></p> <p>See, if it is children, and you tell them they should tell the truth and be honest, they may think it is a moral science class. So, you convert these into a story. You show two characters, one who is honest and another who is dishonest. And you tell a story in which the dishonest person is punished at the end. So the moral is told. That is the way I convert the moral into the form of a story so that children will unknowingly get the idea. In Gopi’s story also I have given some small morals. For instance, I have explored the theme of ‘sharing is caring’ in Gopi’s story.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Your son-in-law Rishi Sunak is the Prime Minister of the UK. So, how often do you get to talk to your grandchildren?</b></p> <p>Well, I go to England twice or thrice a year. They come once a year. I do spend time with them. I write chapter books also and my granddaughter, Anushka Sunak, converted those and choreographed it into a Kuchipudi dance. I also discuss history in many of my books. My eldest granddaughter, Krishna, loves history and keeps insisting she wants to visit Indian historic places. I talk to them about language, culture and love for the country. And I tell them a lot of stories.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>You have said earlier you wanted to bring up your children to know the value of money. You never wanted them to have an extravagant life. Recently, when Mr Sunak was running for elections, there were allegations that your daughter Akshata Murthy has not taken UK citizenship in order to evade taxes. The Indian media also reported the same. How did you deal with such allegations?</b></p> <p>Let them write whatever they want to. They should verify the truth and write it. I do not get into that. I do not get into any of the politics, any of the controversies.&nbsp;</p> Fri Jan 13 16:24:59 IST 2023 india-is-like-cuba-to-me-says-che-guevaras-granddaughter-after-visiting-kochi-muziris-biennale <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Granddaughter of revolutionary socialist leader Che Guevara, Estefania Guevara, visited the Kochi-Muziris Biennale on Thursday and said she was wonderstruck by the art presentations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a release, Estefania said, &quot;The exhibitions and venues are astonishing and exhilarating.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Being here is the same as being in my homeland. The ark works here are just as enticing. India is like Cuba to me,” Estefania said. Estefania is the daughter of Aleida Guevara, a social activist, and eldest daughter of Che Guevara.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sarah Kirlew, Consul General, Australia who visited the Biennale said, “The Biennale is a very attractive and brilliant exhibition of art. Creations made in response against disorder are thought-provoking.&quot;&nbsp;</p> Thu Jan 12 19:26:51 IST 2023 bridging-a-musical-gulf <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Listening to ‘Akasha’, a song released as part of the musical short film,&nbsp;<i>Metagod</i>, is a jolting experience. It starts with a classical piece that morphs into electronic music. The blending is so seamless it does not feel like you are listening to music from starkly opposite ends of the spectrum. Still, it leaves you unnerved, like you entered a portal into a different world, one that tilts dangerously on its axis and threatens to empty you into an unknown abyss. For all its dark matter, the song is liberating, perhaps because it does not follow any rules and encourages you to do the same.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“I used vocal cultural elements of western classical and Carnatic music and then sang the composition over electronic music,” says Neelakantan Indanthuruthil Krishnan, one of the composers of the song. He sang it with another vocalist, Priyyank. “Throughout the ages, music has mutated. In my opinion, its future is inside computers.” Technology, he says, has changed Carnatic music as well. “I feel like I am creating new ways of encouraging others to get into classical music,” he says.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Krishnan, 29, was born into a family of musicians. He was trained in classical music by his mother till the age of 14 and after that, by her guru. In school, he got introduced to western genres like jazz and metal. In Class VIII, he became the vocalist in Flood of Mutiny, a band he formed with his friends. When he started neglecting his studies to be part of the local music scene, he knew this was no time-pass, and that he wanted to take up music professionally. Being from a south Indian family, however, he was persuaded to first complete his bachelors and masters in political science from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Afterwards, he moved from Baroda to Mumbai and worked on small, independent music projects. It took him two years of research – when he intensely studied the works of electronic musicians from 2000 to 2015 – to understand the rhythmic patterns and melodic cycles of this genre. He would practice for three hours daily. He did not find it a struggle to move from classical to fusion. “When you think out of the box, you always take the road less travelled,” he says. “If things are getting difficult, then you know you are on the right track.”&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>‘Akasha’ happened when&nbsp;<i>Metagod’s</i>&nbsp;director and producer Paresh Vijay and Anand Iyer wanted to remix the song with an electronic focus. They got introduced to Krishnan’s music on Instagram and were impressed with the ability of his voice to straddle both eastern and western styles. He was invited for a discussion in February. It took over four months to complete the recording. The song came out on December 22.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Krishnan first performed in a concert at the age of six. He remembers an embarrassing mistake, when he sang the opening line and then forgot the rest of the lyrics. He stretched the note for two rhythmic cycles before his mother realised that he was lost. She came and whispered the next line to him. “What I remember about that incident is how quickly I made a recovery,” he says with a laugh. “The way I picked up the lyrics felt like I was an experienced singer. The mistakes I have made are the reason that I am here. They have taught me how to move ahead in life.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His creative process involves long discussions with his producer, where they might draw inspiration from anything around them, from the sound of construction to traffic. The world has moved on from being just about one character, he says. People can make music about the smallest things like buttons or keychains. To survive in this atmosphere, one must expand one’s horizons. Krishnan builds on what his producer creates on the digital audio workstation. “In classical music, you move with how the sound gravitates,” he says. “You move around the musical framework you are given, explore the tune for a while till another idea or element strikes, and you add that to the existing framework. You build on it like Lego blocks. This background helped me a lot in the improvisation process.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the future, what he wants most is to become a global ambassador for Indian classical music. In this, he is trailing musical greats like Ustad Zakir Hussain, flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia, sarod musician Amjad Ali Khan and sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar – people who “displayed their music to the world without changing their core values”. But the sonic terrain that Chaurasia or Hussain traversed is far different from the one that exists currently. Music has taken another quantum leap, so much so that ‘purity’ in music might need a rethink. That is why Krishnan is most inspired by sitar player Anoushka Shankar. He studied her discography and dynamic marking (the extent to which a note is going to be played) for months. “I love that she does not have any boundaries,” he says. “She is not limited by the belief system that you must keep music pure. Purity comes from sharing your knowledge. The more you share, the purer your music becomes.”</p> Tue Jan 03 18:47:22 IST 2023 kochi-muziris-biennale-2022-a-celebration-of-resistance <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The buzz is back. As you walk into Aspinwall House, the primary venue of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), there is constructive chaos—labourers walking hither thither, trying to bring artists’ vision to life; art mediators deep in thought or in conversation with the artists; landscape workers in action. The KMB, which was delayed by over a year due to the pandemic, will begin on December 12. The event will be inaugurated by CM Pinarayi Vijayan.</p> <p>“The theme for the Biennale curated by Singapore-born Indian artist Shubigi Rao is ‘In our veins flow ink and fire’, says Mario D’Souza, member of the curatorial team and director of programmes. “It is a celebration of an honouring of sorts, of artists’ responses to social and political situations around the world—be it of resistance and erasure, in their own context.”</p> <p>He adds: “This year we have a contingent of artists from Asia, Africa and Latin America—countries with whom we share a colonial history. We wanted to build an affinity with them, learn from each other’s contexts and make different types of excesses and injustices visible—be it through art or protest.”</p> <p>The Goa-born writer, artist and curator goes on to talk about how the artists were originally invited in 2019, but the event got cancelled and so, somewhere, a different meaning was accrued to the work. Among artists to watch out for, he says, there is “Zhanna Kadyrova, an artist from Ukraine who fled Kyiv when Russia invaded. She has used bread (a kind called palyanitsya) as a symbol for differentiating between the enemy and their own. Kadyrova’s work would be an installation of a rock collected from the bed of a Ukrainian river, sliced as bread and placed on the table as a sign of hospitality.”</p> <p>“Then we have Sahil Naik, who is talking about history the state didn’t think important to preserve,” adds D’Souza. His installation talks about a dam that was built when Goa was liberated, in 1961. When the dam was complete, the houses right under it, in one of Goa’s oldest villages—Curdi—were submerged. In 1970, however, the village re-emerged. Since then, each summer, the villagers return to the ruins and sing to the landscape.</p> <p>The youngest artist this year is 28-year-old Pranay Dutta, who is using a video game landscape to show how water would be used as currency in the future. D’Souza also talks of Joan Jonas, a New York-based performance artist who is bringing an artwork, the ideation of which was birthed in Kochi in 2016.</p> <p>Talking of sustainability, D’Souza says, “It is a given that with the climate conditions here at Fort Kochi, the materials used by artists responds to these conditions.”</p> <p>Talking about sustaining as an artist, D’Souza says it is always tough. “But, having said that we are grateful to the government of Kerala for all the support. Things are looking up—there are plans for artists' residencies and seminars in the pipeline; then there are artists supporting artists and so on. Fundraising models have improved too,” he adds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun Dec 11 12:19:30 IST 2022 from-unknown-to-in-demand-samuel-hagais-journey-as-a-self-taught-painter-to-professional-muralist <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Samuel Hagai's&nbsp;&nbsp;journey from a self-taught painter to a professional muralist is an inspiring story of hard work, determination, and risk-taking. Born in Israel to a family of modest means, Hagai had few resources to aid him in honing his painting skills. But for Hagai, this was not a roadblock but rather an opportunity to challenge himself and push his limits.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He worked relentlessly, taking odd jobs to pay for art supplies while developing his skills and providing for his family. As time passed, Hagai's skills grew exponentially, and his paintings began to receive attention in the local art circles. The local community was fascinated by his works, and the international community soon began to take notice of this young artist's talent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The life of Hagai changed drastically in 2015 when Hagai took a leap of faith and moved from his comfortable home in Israel to the United States. Hagai chose New York City as his destination, drawn by the big goals and opportunities that America offered. However, it wasn't an easy start—Hagai didn't know many people in the city and struggled to learn the language. But he was determined to turn his hobby into a full-time career, and eventually, after a year of failure and struggles, businesses started becoming interested in his work, and jobs began to come in.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With hard work, dedication, and an optimistic mindset, Hagai was able to secure large-scale mural work with clients such as Macy's and the US Air Force, as well as show his paintings at various exhibits around town. But despite his success, Hagai began to feel tired of life in New York and knew he needed a change. In 2019, he took another leap of faith and moved to Los Angeles, where he is now fully engaged as a muralist and oil painter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This risk paid off, as Hagai found the new environment stimulating and refreshing. Los Angeles provided him with a new kind of creative energy and the opportunity to collaborate with other artists and take part in the thriving local art scene. This vibrant city offers a wealth of opportunities for the artist, with art museums like MOCA, the Getty, the Broad, and LACMA, as well as beautiful downtown patios and the famous Venice Boardwalk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hagai immediately embraced the unique culture of Los Angeles, immersing himself in the city's art and cultural life. He enjoys taking his friends to stroll the canals or bike the strand, and he appreciates LA's diverse art scene. Every minute spent exploring the city reveals something new, giving him inspiration and ideas for his next project. His&nbsp;<a href=""></a><a href=""><u>murals</u></a>&nbsp;can be seen all around Los Angeles, showcasing his unique talent to transform a wall into a vibrant canvas.</p> <p><a href="">&nbsp;</a><a href=""></a></p> <p><a href=""><u>Samuel Hagai</u></a>&nbsp;has now become one of the most highly regarded and sought-after muralists in Los Angeles and all around the world. His story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of believing in oneself. He took a risk by leaving the familiar for the unknown and, through hard work and dedication, turned his hobby into a successful career. Hagai's journey from unknown to in demand is an inspiration for anyone who has ever dreamed of turning their passion into a profession.</p> Wed Feb 01 11:29:28 IST 2023 ms-supreet-raju-co-founder-onerare-talks-about-the-future-of-foodverse-and-recent-brand-collaborations <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><b>How OneRare has benefited by associating with Cornitos- A leader in the snack category</b></p> <p>OneRare’s mission is to bring the Food &amp; Beverage industry to the blockchain and our partnership with Cornitos helps us take a step forward in the right direction. Cornitos has a young and engaged target audience, something that fits seamlessly with the kind of users we see in Web3. When a leading FMCG brand launches their NFTs in the metaverse, it creates a domino effect. Working with real-world brands and creating new mechanisms for them to harness the blockchain is an exciting opportunity for us.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Future of Foodverse in India</b></p> <p>India loves food. Indians are foodies and so many families pretty much plan their day around food. We are also extremely tech savvy, we don’t take much time to grasp a new technology. Whether you look at SaaS, Social Media, or web3 — Indians have always been at the forefront of new technologies. So when we decided to bring food &amp; technology together, we were already very optimistic about it. We are building a user-friendly gaming experience for foodies that allows them to experience food in an all new avatar. Users can explore new cuisines and discover chefs &amp; restaurants from across the world. The future of Foodverse will bring a revolutionary experience to India, combining their virtual activity with real-life meals and deals.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Collaboration with the renowned Indian Chef- Saransh Golia, and Vicky Ratnani.&nbsp;</b></p> <p>OneRare is thrilled to partner with the top talent from the Food industry and start their journey on Web3. Chef Saransh and Chef Vicky are loved &amp; celebrated globally and we want to bring their signature dishes to their fans and foodies across the world. We celebrated World Food Day in 2022 by launching the first NFT Dishes of our Chef Partners - launching Tandoori Phool with Chef Saransh and Roti Tacos with Chef Vicky.</p> <p>This is the beginning of our collaboration with chefs and bringing more engaging experiences to the Foodverse. NFT Loyalty Clubs, Virtual Restaurants and Interactions, Cooking Shows and Phygital experiences - we will help them explore new avenues of marketing &amp; fan engagement.&nbsp;<b>How OneRare envisions bringing the Global Food &amp; Beverage Industry to Blockchain</b></p> <p>We are democratising food experiences for global audiences. We truly believe that food is a universal love language and the industry can benefit greatly by applying blockchain to increase their marketing and monetisation channels. The Food industry learnt a severe lesson during the pandemic and is opening up to digital channels for revenue rather than relying on purely physical sources. As we build the largest food community in Web3, food businesses can advertise their products &amp; offerings globally without setting up any physical outlet in any part of the world. This can be a powerful opportunity to discover new markets, monetise their social community, and even collaborate with other players - Imagine an NFT Membership Club started by Sushi restaurants from across the world that gives patrons benefits to discounts, experiences and more. A business can grow from a single entity to a global player by just leveraging blockchain technology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>How OneRare aims to establish the next wave of Blockchain Metaverse in India</b></p> <p>The next wave of metaverse will be driven by mass adaptation. 2023 is going to be a significant year for the blockchain industry as more use cases will come to the fore. We have always looked at ourselves as a bridge between web2 and web3 or a gateway to web3, with a lot of our community being first-time users of the blockchain. Our game is simple, user friendly and has multiple features which makes it convenient for an average internet user to access our game. You do not need to make a crypto wallet to play our game, you can simply login using your social accounts. If you don’t know how to purchase in-game tokens, we have enabled UPI and other payment methods so that you can buy tokens with INR. We are hoping that these upgrades will motivate more people to enter web3. More projects should start working towards product simplification. India already has a pool of talented builders, all we need is mass adaptation &amp; regulations for India to lead the next wave of blockchain developments.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed Feb 01 15:17:49 IST 2023 the-untold-story-of-indian-it-industry <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The IT revolution in India has led to democratisation of access to technology. The digital public goods and private innovation is a unique contribution of India to the world as the world needs new models of development that make solutions not just accessible but also equitable and affordable to the 8 billion population of the world as we are set to grow from a three-trillion dollar economy to 20 or 30-million dollar economy, said Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder of Infosys who has co-authored <i>Against All Odds: The IT Story of India</i> along with two other IT stalwarts N. Dayasindhu and Krishnan Narayanan.</p> <p>Introducing the book during the two-day Bangalore Literature Festival that concluded on Sunday, Kris shared the experience of being an insider and the effort taken to document the story of the birth and growth of the Information Technology industry in India, the ideas and thoughts of the pioneers who birthed a whole new industry while infusing global standards of work culture and ethics in the Indian DNA.</p> <p>The book came about as there was an urge to document the rich professional heritage of the IT industry, as the younger generation of IT professionals, too, seemed to be oblivious to the fascinating story.</p> <p>“We got fantastic support from all the who created this industry in India, from F.C. Kohli to Prof H.N. Mahabala, Narayana Murthy to Nandan Nilekani and Azim Premji. They gave us up to four-five hours. We documented their stories as videos and published them on the web and we decided to write the book when we realised that we needed multiple ways to steer the story. Personally, I feel we were lucky to document the stories of these heroes. There are many events that even I did not know before we embarked on this exercise,” he said.</p> <p>Recalling a lesser-known fact, Kris narrated how Dr Homi Bhabha was actually the creator of many things that are relevant to India today, including computers.</p> <p>Bhabha wrote a report at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in 1959 on the need for computer education and the need for India to embark on a computer industry.</p> <p>“In 1962, TIFR released the first digital computer for scientific applications - ‘TIFRAC’. Joined MTech computer science in 1965 when IIT Kanpur started the first computer science school. We need to recognise all these events and people and as the starting points for this industry in India,” said Kris.</p> <p>The authors give the Indian government the credit for playing an enabling role in the development of the IT industry, especially for setting up software technology parks, giving tax breaks for exports and creating parks in various states to set up world-class IT campuses.</p> <p>“Both the Centre and the state were clearly supportive and interestingly the bureaucrats responsible for making policies were also technocrats like Dr Seshagiri, N. Vittal and B.V. Naidu. The software technology parks were also the best example of a single-window clearance system, where one agency would give all approvals - from building plan to importing computers or software,” said Kris.</p> <p>Krishnan recalled how the finance secretary had been skeptical about giving concessions to the sector saying it was only a 100-million industry, but soon discovered the industry had exceeded everyone’s expectations. “Mr Vittal had just taken over as the secretary of the department of electronics and the NASSCOM was in negotiations with the government. The finance secretary put a condition that the concessions would be granted if the industry reached the 400-million mark. But within a few years, it went beyond the target. It was a gamechanger,” he added.</p> <p>The IT revolution also ushered in a new value system in the work ethics of Indian companies. “One of the fascinating aspects of the IT industry is that it was all started by professionals. What we learnt early on was like they say we all can disagree but we cannot be disagreeable to each other. The bedrock of the industry is talent, the professionals, the college-educated folks like you and me. The premium on hard work was laid very early on and people used to spend reasonably long hours at work and were doing new things till then unknown in India. Imagine a set of folks in their early twenties who have just joined a company, going and finishing a project in the US, interacting with folks, their clients and to complete the project. So all that brought in a lot of values,” said Dayasindhu.</p> <p>Kris added that the values agreed upon were not built organically but an outcome of a very conscious decision to encode the values during the training period and it was reinforced every year by identifying a value champion and rewarding him.</p> <p>“The value champions were those who had gone beyond the call of duty, demonstrated values that led to customer satisfaction or done social work or had taken initiatives to save money for the company. These values must be documented and practiced on a daily basis. The value comes from simple practices like traveling economy class for flights that take less than three hours, which holds true for the CEO down to the ranks. These are practiced not in just one company but across the industries, by large companies like Wipro, TCS as we need to build trust among our stakeholders. This is reflected when we talk to the government as a single voice and they listen to it. So, it clearly pays to do the right thing,” said Kris, adding that trust-building is crucial for entrepreneurship.</p> <p>Democratisation of wealth through the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) framework, gave a sense of ownership and participation, confided Dayasindhu, who recalls one of his most spiritual moments at Infosys global education centre in Mysore where close to 10,000 fresh college-educated recruits were being trained.</p> <p>&quot;It is when it dawns on you what this industry is all about and what it is doing to a country like India, which is moving up the event chain. The single most contribution of this industry has been to ensure a lot more people are brought into the middle class. And there are 15 million people who are indirectly working with the IT industry.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;On an average. I think India has about 20 per cent women in our workforce. But in the IT industry, it is about 40 per cent and they are qualitative jobs,&quot; added Kris, summing up the societal impact of the IT industry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon Dec 05 14:32:39 IST 2022 basant-panchami-in-dayalbagh <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><b>ऋतु</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>बसन्त</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>आये</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>सतगुरु</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>जग</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>में</b>&nbsp;<b>,</b></p> <p><b>चलो</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>चरनन</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>पर</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>सीस</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>धरो</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>री ।</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“With the auspicious season of Basant, Most Benevolent, Supremely Merciful<i>&nbsp;Satguru&nbsp;</i>manifested on this earth,</p> <p>Let us all bow our heads in homage at His Holy Lotus Feet.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the month of&nbsp;<i>maagh</i>, January/February, the auspicious day of Panchmi (the fifth day of the lunar fortnight in the Hindu Calendar), which is popularly known as Basant Panchmi, is considered as a blessed and sacred day among Hindus and is welcomed as a harbinger of joy and exuberance. With the passing of the winter season, as soon as the season of Basant commences, there is an infusion of new energy in animals as well as birds, human beings and vegetation. Saints too have compared the time for the manifestation of the Supreme Lord of All Creation on this earth with the most majestic of all seasons—Basant.</p> <p><b>देखो</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>देखो</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>सखी</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>अब</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>चल</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>बसन्त</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>।</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>फूल</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>रही</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>जहँ</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>तहँ</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>बसन्त</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>।।</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Let us, dear friend (fellow spirits) rush to get the blissful vision of Basant,</p> <p>Basant which is flowering with joy and bliss here, there and everywhere.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Basant season is of special significance for Dayalbagh, the headquarters of the Radhasoami Faith situated in the city of Agra. For the satsangis of the Radhasoami Faith, the auspicious day of Basant is one of extreme happiness and Bliss as on this sacred day, February 15, 1861, the first Revered Leader of the Faith, Param Purush Puran Dhani Huzur Soamiji Maharaj, revealed for the first time the Divine message of the salvation of all creation and mercifully opened the doors of Satsang to the general public.</p> <p><b>घट</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>में</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>खेलूँ</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>अब</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>बसन्त</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>।</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>भेद</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>बताया</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>सतगुरु</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>संत</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>।।</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“I revel in the joy and Bliss of Basant internally within the depths of my soul,</p> <p>Most Gracious, Ever Merciful, All benevolent, Sant Satguru has revealed the secret.”</p> <p>On the auspicious day of Basant Panchmi, on January 20, 1915, the fifth Revered Leader of the Radhasoami faith, Sir Sahabji Maharaj, laid the foundation of Dayalbagh, the headquarters of Radhasoami Satsang by planting a Mulberry seedling. Along with this, the foundation of a new Satsang culture was also laid. At Dayalbagh, Education and Culture or a Way of Life commenced in the form of a very beautiful and delicate plant, on January 1, 1916, with a Model School popularly known as Radhasoami Educational Institute (REI). This plant slowly and gradually grew into the vast tree that it is at present, in the form of a University, the impact of which can be felt not only on different parts of the country, but also on countries abroad. The fragrance of this tree named Dayalbagh Educational Institute, is spreading in all four directions.</p> <p><b>आज</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>आई</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>बहार</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>बसन्त</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>।</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>उमंग</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>मन</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>गुरु</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>चरनन</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>लिपटाय</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>।।</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Today, the beauty, glory, joyous splendor of Basant is here,</p> <p>With their minds filled with exuberance and Bliss, the disciple devotees embrace in adoration the Holy Lotus Feet of Ever Merciful Sant Satguru.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The day of Basant is of extreme importance to the satsangis of Radhasoami Faith. This year is the 205<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;<i>Samvat&nbsp;</i>of Radhasomi Faith. This day is celebrated with much enthusiasm and pleasure by all satsangis as they sing and praise the Glory of Ever Merciful Radhasoami Dayal. Before the arrival of Basant, the preparations for its welcome begin well in advance. From very small children to adults and seniors-- there is no limit to the enthusiasm and zeal. All get fully involved in the cleaning and decoration of houses,&nbsp;<i>mohallas</i>, in fact the entire Dayalbagh. Because of the collective efforts of all, one can get a glimpse of the most beautiful vision and luster of Dayalbagh on the auspicious occasion of Basant. The Festival of Basant is celebrated by satsangis with rituals steeped in the spirit of immense love and devotion, by expressing a deep sense of gratitude in the Holy Lotus Feet of their Beloved Sant Satguru with intense Faith in Radhasoami Dayal. With complete love and devotion, joy and Bliss, they pass this day in offering&nbsp;<i>aarti,</i>&nbsp;worship and meditation, feel Blessed and exult in their good fortune.</p> <p><b>मोहि</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>मिल</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>गए</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>रा</b>&nbsp;<b>-</b>&nbsp;<b>धा</b>&nbsp;<b>-</b>&nbsp;<b>स्व</b>&nbsp;<b>-</b>&nbsp;<b>आ</b>&nbsp;<b>-</b>&nbsp;<b>मी</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>पूरे</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>संत</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>।</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b></p> <p><b>अब</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>बाजत</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>हिये</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>में</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>धुन</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>अनन्त</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>।।</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“I have found the All-Gracious, Ever Merciful Supreme Being, the only True Ra-Dha-Sva-Aah-Mi&nbsp;<i>Satguru Sant</i></p> <p>In my heart the melodious eternal sound current reverberates in everlasting Bliss.”</p> <p>On the occasion of Basant, in Dayalbagh, a variety of programmes like baby Show, Fancy dress Show, Gymnastics and different Sports events are organized. In all these programmes, children, youth and all brothers and sisters actively participate with enthusiasm and zeal.</p> <p><b>आज</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>आया</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>बसन्त</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>नवीन</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>।</b></p> <p><b>सखी</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>री</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>खेलो</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>गुरु</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>संग</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>फाग</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>रचाय</b>&nbsp;<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;<b>।।</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Today Basant has arrived anew</p> <p>Fellow devotee spirits, let us celebrate the joy and Bliss of spring with our beloved Sant Satguru.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the auspicious occasion of Basant, in Dayalbagh and in Satsang colonies all over the country and abroad, the most glorious and attractive decorative lighting is displayed at night. For this candles and oil lamps (<i>diyas</i>) which can cause pollution, are not used. LED lights, powered by solar energy are used for this lighting decoration.</p> Thu Feb 02 11:57:09 IST 2023 from-dali-to-matisse-astaguru-forays-into-international-art-auction <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Spanish legend Salvador Dali’s surrealist vision stretched beyond his canvases and led him to venture into several unusual projects. The artist started working on a limited series of 78 custom decks of tarot cards known as ‘The Dali Universal Tarot’ during the early 1970s. The work was first commissioned to him by Hollywood producer Albert Broccoli and the tarot deck was meant to be used as a prop in the James Bond film <i>Live and Let Die</i>. However, the deal fell through, supposedly due to Dali’s exorbitant monetary demands, the artist remained intrigued with the idea and continued to work on the cards.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He blended a kaleidoscope of western art history with his unmistakable wit in these cards. They also featured some of the artist’s recurring motifs such as butterflies representing the psyche, shadowy and unclear form of human figures, and crutches which Dali believed dually represented both consciousness and the unconsciousness. In Dali’s rendition of ‘Page of Cups,' the page or the noble attendant symbolises youth and optimism. He is holding a cup with a fish inside indicating creativity and emotion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The works of Dali and other illustrious artists like French impressionist master Pierre Auguste-Renoir, Picasso and Matisse will be featured in AstaGuru's first ever exclusive international auction. The lineup of the auction is scheduled from November 28 to 29, and represents some of the most important moments in modern art history. The highlight of the auction is a beautiful painting by Renoir. &quot;Through the years, AstaGuru has been at the forefront of presenting works by eminent modern and contemporary Indian artists. We have always sought to diversify our offering by consistently introducing new categories to our portfolio. So, in line with this sentiment, we have forayed into the international art category with this first standalone auction,&quot; says Siddhant Shetty, vice president, business strategy and operations at AstaGuru.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The curation ensures that the works from these artists are revered across the world and occupy an important place in western art history. For instance, Picasso is credited with spearheading the Cubist movement towards the mid 20th century. The auction will present his works alongside Matisse, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger, Salvador Dali and others. The collection will also present works by iconic names from the canon of Pop Art like Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana apart from leading contemporary artists like Damier Hirst, Fernando Botero, and Jeff Koons.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Organising an auction in India, which is completely devoted to international artists, came with its fair share of challenges. All of the presented artworks belong to international collections from locations including New York, Paris, London, and Singapore. Therefore, the process of sourcing and finalising them had to be done by manoeuvring several logistical steps,&quot; says Shetty on the process behind AstaGuru's bold manoeuver info inviting bids for international art. &quot;Collecting bonafide provenances from past exhibitions and publishing history, as well as information about previous collections, which housed these works, was also an important aspect of the process,&quot; he adds.&nbsp;</p> Mon Nov 28 17:28:52 IST 2022 my-biggest-critic-is-myself-says-sheetal-ohri-author-the-custodial-battle <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Sheetal Ohri who is a successful and experienced entrepreneur, an accomplished communicator gives an insight in her writing journey. In this candid conversation she talks about the book, her inspiration, work life balance and a lot more.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>1. &nbsp;How was your experience writing the book? Was it challenging to go through the memories all over again?</b></p> <p>Writing the book was definitely time consuming. Sometimes, it was weeks on the same chapter, re-writing chapters, thinking and planning on chapters, numbering them, detailing and then formulating everything by doing the research etc. Challenges were in the form of writing, it was emotional, memories used to hit hard and at times I used to stop for weeks before I could continue. The memories of pain of being away from my son, injustice of court system, dealing with immigration aspects of two countries, dealing with memories of what I had to go through and then thinking and still be strong to write the book to help others who would be in my situation gave me the courage and motivation to continue to write.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>2. &nbsp;What kind of research did you do while writing the book?</b></p> <p>I went through many law books, family law data, self-help centers details for various states in the USA. There was extensive research done on the custody sharing and visitation rights, children psychological effects due to parental alienation and many other researches like South Asian Domestic Violence and or Women’s Help center details. Some of the immigration and other visa researches and other required researches to compile the book. I had to do research while writing the book and then offered this as resources for readers and people who may need this help in the book.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>3. &nbsp;Share more about your radio show ‘Making a Difference with Sheetal Ohri’ and the podcasts you have contributed to.</b></p> <p>“Making a Difference with Sheetal Ohri” is over 10 years old. It airs every Sunday on San Francisco’s largest South Asian FM radio station Bolly923FM. I started the show with just one thought in mind which was how to create a positive impact on the listeners minds and to showcase individuals, companies, nonprofits and or local and national leaders and political heads to the Radio station listenership and empower them with their stories and journeys. I believe my Radio talk show is successfully doing so.</p> <p>After I wrote the book, many known local US podcasts interviewed me and we talked about Custody, Custodial rights and many other aspects relating to my book.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>4. &nbsp;How did you find support in such difficult times?</b></p> <p>My work, restarting my life, establishing myself from the beginning while contesting for child custody made me stronger. Volunteering with local and community based Non profits and giving back in some form or way by assisting is what gave me the support and motivation to deal with the difficult times and keep moving forward.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>5. Share more about your career as an entrepreneur and the work you’ve done.</b></p> <p>My journey has been in various fields and workings. I started my career in the hospitality and travel industry in India and moved on to managing restaurants and hotels in London. For the past 29 years I have worked in top companies and name brand hotels and restaurant chains managing the departments of PR, Marketing and Sales, Operations and Facility and construction management. In the last 14 years, I have branded my own name as the CEO and founder of Sheetal Ohri Inc in San Francisco California. I have won many California State Legislative, California Senate awards for her work. She has worked with various companies and individuals from USA and India doing Media, branding, PR, consultancy work. I have had my own weekly radio talk show “Making a Difference with Sheetal Ohri '' for the last 10 years. The radio talk show started airing in 2012 on San Francisco’s largest South Asian Am radio station and has been going for over 6 years now on Bolly923Fm which is San Francisco’s largest South Asian FM radio station. I launched Silicon Valley Awards-SVA ``Making a Difference” in 2012. These awards were the first of its kind Red carpet glamorous affair awards in San Francisco. I have launched, directed and produced the first Bollywood Broadway show “Bollywood Dreamz- Journey of a Star '' in 2013, using local talent. I have recently authored a book in 2021 “Custodial Battle” which has been a reflection of issues and challenges I faced while going through my own son's custody situations due to Immigration status. I decided to write situations to help and provide resources to other immigrant parents in need of understanding the US family courts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>6. Do you plan to write another book? And what are your thoughts on taking up writing as a full time career?</b></p> <p>My second book is in the writing stages. It should be published by the end of 2023 or early 2024. I have not thought of taking writing as a full time career as of right now as I am very involved with my Entrepreneur work, philanthropic workings etc and wish to continue those duties.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>7. What were the thoughts behind writing a fictional story taking inspiration from your own, and not an autobiography?</b></p> <p>The thoughts behind writing a fictional story taking inspiration from my own was to guide and help parents who were in a similar situation as mine. Thinking if I could be the voice and bring them resources and an understanding of the family law system, then at least they could have better results than I did during the years I was going through my issues. My autobiography still has years to be published.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>8. Do you think this is a common issue faced by immigrants?</b></p> <p>Most common issues faced by immigrants are the Immigration status, then per immigration status, their rights and mostly lack of knowledge of the local and state laws. In reality, immigrants do face these issues.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b> 9. When did you start writing Custodial Battle, and can we expect another book? If Yes, when do you plan to finish it?</b></p> <p>I started writing Custodial Battle somewhere towards the end of 2018. Yes, I am working on my second book which should be out by the end of 2023 or early 2024.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>10. Who is your biggest critic? What were his/ her thoughts after reading The Custodial Battle?</b></p> <p>My biggest critic is myself. It took me a long time to finalize the book for publishing as I was never sure if the book was completed to give understanding and guidance to other immigrant’s and provide them resources via my book.</p> Fri Jan 27 15:57:24 IST 2023 author-kuldeep-jakhar-is-happy-to-write-his-debut-book-about-his-favourite-sport-cricket <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Kuldeep Jakhar has made a successful debut as an author. His book ‘Fantasy Cricket Expert’ is widely appreciated by cricket enthusiasts. Leaving everyone impressed with his maiden book, the author feels motivated by the response from the readers. It is a known fact that every home in India considers cricket as a religion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the game being loved by people of all age groups, Kuldeep has penned down the book giving an insight on how to make good bucks through fantasy cricket games. The author released his book in December 2022 and is a guide for all those wanting to ace their skills as fantasy cricket experts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Based in Hisar, Haryana, the people adhere to their cultural roots. However, Kuldeep has proved his prowess and has garnered attention for being one of the promising authors from Hisar. After the success of the book, Kuldeep is spending time learning about the fundamentals of social media.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As a passionate writer, he feels that his product can be reached a larger audience if marketed properly on the digital medium. Hence, Jakhar is putting in his best effort to understand the tactics of marketing in the digital space.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>From an early age, Kuldeep was inclined towards the game of cricket. While Kuldeep got into fantasy cricket games after competing in domestic matches, he became a pro with IPL matches. On several occasions, he has topped the table on platforms like BatBall11, Gamezy and Dream 11.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Furthermore, Kuldeep said, “Our country celebrates cricket and cinema with enthusiasm. For me, it has always been the former. I have grown up watching the sport and playing with people of all age groups. It was emotional to write a book about my favourite sport and make it a subject.” In addition, Kuldeep plans to write more books about the game of cricket in the time to come.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Besides pursuing his career as an author, Kuldeep Jakhar aims to start creating videos soon. He has a YouTube channel with more than 160K subscribers where the author has posted minimal content like riddles. Now that his book has been getting a terrific response, he is set to create informative videos on how to play fantasy cricket games skillfully. Through social media platforms, Kuldeep Jakhar is hopeful to make his voice reach a wider audience.</p> Wed Feb 01 11:26:51 IST 2023 kochi-muziris-biennale-postponed-to-december-23 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Kochi Muziris Biennale, which was supposed to open on December 12, will now be open on December 23. The landmark event, which was postponed for over a year due to the pandemic, will officially be inaugurated by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Student's Biennale will open as scheduled on December 13. Exhibits at Aspinwall House, Anand Warehouse and Pepper House will open on the said date.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Due to organizational and structural delays along with the onset of heavy rains with cyclone Mandous, we have had to take the heartbreaking decision to postpone the biennale. The site will be under repair and we appreciate your patience,” the announcement read.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In an Instagram post the foundation wrote, “With regret, we inform that the venues showcasing Kochi-Muziris Biennale artists' works will open for public view on 23rd December 2022. These include - Aspinwall House, Anand Warehouse, and Pepper House.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Biennale themed <a href="">'In our veins flow ink and fire</a>', has been curated by Singapore-born Indian artist Shubigi Rao. This is the fifth edition of the Biennale, which was first inaugurated in 2012. The event this year will feature about 90 artists from around the world. The youngest artist this year is 24-year-old Pranay Dutta who uses a video game landscape to depict how water will be used as currency in the future.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Among the several reasons being cited for the delay, one of the main reasons is the late possession of the main venue, Aspinwall House. The Kerala government has been negotiating to acquire the space from the current private owner DLF Group.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue Jan 03 17:07:20 IST 2023 unique-immersive-van-gogh-exhibition-to-make-india-debut-in-2023 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Van Gogh 360°, a sweeping multimedia, immersive art experience, will make its India debut next year, bringing the eye-popping colours of Vincent van Gogh’s most iconic works to life in a showstopper in Mumbai.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The incredibly popular multisensory exhibit – where art and technology collide – will display more than 300 of Van Gogh’s most popular works. Van Gogh 360° India digital art exhibition will invite audiences to step into the universe of the Dutch genius, where they can walk among the great artist's works, with his paintings projected against a giant space from floor to ceiling. Immersive art exhibits of such scale have been seen in shows like Emily in Paris.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prolific Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh – considered to be one of the most influential figures in the history of Western art – painted over 2,100 artworks that are housed in galleries and collections around the globe.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Immersive experiences that turn the walls and floors of an exhibition space into a kind of van Gogh dream world have popped up around the world from New York to London to Tokyo to Toronto, and Van Gogh 360° India is the first such exhibition to debut in the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Registration for the 2023 event opened on BookMyShow on November 10 at 8 am.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Using cutting-edge projection technology crafted by world-renowned audio-visual designers, Van Gogh 360° India will create an sensorial journey into the world of the legendary post-Impressionist painter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Attendees will be immersed in stunning floor-to-ceiling projections animating the masters’ oeuvre and illuminating the mind of the genius. Wandering through giant projections that highlight brushstroke, detail, and colour, the multimedia exhibit takes the attendee into a truly three-dimensional world.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Vincent van Gogh’s paintings are some of the most recognisable in the world and his art deserves to be seen and experienced by Indian audiences - especially our children and younger generation,” says former MTV VJ Nikhil Chinapa, the spokesperson for Van Gogh 360° India. “Taking art out of museums and making it accessible for audiences is imperative, and immersive exhibitions like this go a long way in introducing art in a fun and exciting way. I can’t wait to bring it to life in Mumbai!” he adds.</p> Fri Nov 11 23:02:24 IST 2022 five-books-shortlisted-for-kamaladevi-chattopadhyay-nif-book-prize-2022 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>For the fifth Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize this year, five books have been shortlisted. The books range from histories of nationalism through local voices, to analysis of an environmental movement, the portrait of a diverse community, and contemporary ideas of feminism and data – all converging towards an optimistic future.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The books shortlisted for this year are <i>Accidental Feminism: Gender Parity and Selective Mobility Among India's Professional Elite</i> by Swethaa S Ballakrishnen, <i>The Chipko Movement: A People's History</i> by Shekhar Pathak translated by Manisha Chaudhry, <i>Whole Numbers and Half Truths: What Data Can and Cannot Tell us About Modern India</i> by Rukmini S, <i>Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India</i> by Suchitra Vijayan, and <i>Born a Muslim: Some Truths about Islam in India </i>by Ghazala Wahab.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The winners will get a cash award of Rs 15 lakhs and a citation.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This year’s jury include political scientist Niraja Gopal Jayal (Chair), entrepreneur Manish Sabharwal, historian Srinath Raghavan, historian Nayanjot Lahiri, former diplomat Navtej Sarna, and attorney Rahul Matthan.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Established in 2018, the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Book Prize recognises and celebrates outstanding non-fiction writings on modern and contemporary India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This year, the Jury has selected five powerful books from the ten longlisted titles. Each shortlisted book is representative of the incredible variety and strength of the non-fiction narratives emerging from our multi-layered society. These books are each thoroughly researched and lucidly written, engender conscious conversation, and intricately blend the country’s rich history with compelling contemporary ideas.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the Jury, &quot;This year's Shortlist is extraordinary, in terms of the wide range of themes covered, and the diversity of topics and perspectives. Deeply researched and engagingly written, these books offer keen insights into the making of India today and the transitions it is currently undergoing.”<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Kamaladevi Chattopadhayay NIF Book Prize builds on the New India Foundation’s mission of rewarding exceptional scholarship on all aspects of independent India. The prize was named after Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, the great patriot and institution-builder who had contributed significantly to the freedom struggle, the women’s movement, refugee rehabilitation and the renewal of handicrafts.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Previous winners of the prize include Milan Vaishnav for his remarkable book&nbsp;<i>When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics </i>in 2018 and Ornit Shani for her scholarly work&nbsp;<i>How India Became Democratic</i>&nbsp;in 2019.&nbsp;The 2020 Prize was jointly awarded to Amit Ahuja for his outstanding debut&nbsp;<i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties Without Ethnic Movements</i>&nbsp;and Jairam Ramesh for his compelling biography of VK Krishna Menon,&nbsp;<i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">A Chequered Brilliance</i>. Dinyar Patel won the 2021 Book Prize for his scholarly biography on&nbsp;<i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism.&nbsp;</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue Nov 08 16:19:32 IST 2022 future-of-photography-shree-k-nayar <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Not often do you hear of Michel Foucault, Confucius, anaglyphs and Piet Mondrian in the span of an hour. Not often do you meet a computer scientist who wants you to look under the software, at the nuts and bolts. To touch. To feel. To put it together. To take it apart. Not often do you hear a Columbia professor calling himself an accidental academic. Shree K. Nayar is an uncommon man.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That wide grin and easygoing manner make it difficult for you to believe that this guy can make computers see. Director of the CAVE Laboratory at Columbia University, 50-year-old Nayar is also T.C. Chang professor of computer science there. CAVE and Nayar focus on “the creation of novel vision sensors, the design of physics based models for vision, and the development of algorithms for scene interpretation”. In English, it means that they help computers see better.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In school and university, Nayar played cricket and his coaches said he was good enough to turn pro. “My parents were not impressed,” he said. “I was not IPL material either.” So, he must have been an ace student. “No,” he said, “I was good enough, but not great, if you get the drift.” Conventional education and Nayar were not good friends. Throughout history, monotony has never interested seekers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But how can a “good enough, but not great” guy head a Columbia department, and get elected to the National Academy of Engineering (2008), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011)? Nayar said he was influenced by his father, R.M. Nayar: “Being with him taught me more, through osmosis, than what I learnt in classrooms,” he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nayar Sr once brought home a shell of an ancient Fiat 500 and installed it in the garage. Over the next few months, he and two others put together an engine with parts from different sources. Nayar Jr held flashlights, picked up dropped tools and, in the process, learnt a lot.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One day, Nayar Sr took the family for a drive in the bug Fiat. “Then, I did not realise the magnitude of what he had done,” Nayar said. He tapped a water glass in front of him and said, “My father would know, instinctively, how much weight this would hold. He was an engineer’s engineer.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Disastrous” is how Nayar described his initial semesters at the Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi. Then, Nayar Sr―who was about to retire as chairman, Electronics Trade and Technology Development Corporation Ltd, New Delhi―spoke his mind. “He told me that his career was coming to an end and that I would soon be on my own, and something clicked inside,” Nayar said of his Bodhi moment. In his final year, he made a robot that would go to the caller. It was the first of the many robots he would be friends with.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He did his MS at North Carolina State University and Ph.D at The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University. “At Carnegie Mellon, I realised that robotics was a much more mature field than I had imagined it to be,” he said. In 1991, he moved to Columbia University and continued research on two pet topics―robots and the physics of vision. “Our attempt was to emulate human vision on a machine,” he said. Till then, robots ‘saw’ with cameras designed for television or photography. Instead, Nayar wanted to design new cameras that would help a robot see better. This sparked off his interest in 360-degree cameras and high-dynamic range cameras, and what could arguably be the future of photography.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Philosophers like Foucault have suggested that human behaviour would change if they knew that they could be seen from all angles,” Nayar said. “Now, I am looking at you. Would your behaviour not change if I could see you from behind as well? It raises many questions in the domain of privacy, but it also answers many questions in the fields of security and robot navigation.” You could have eyes in the back of your head, literally.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>High dynamic range cameras would sense brightness and colour beyond what usual cameras can. “The future of photography lies in capturing images that are much richer in information,” Nayar said. “For this, you need to develop new optics and new algorithms―together.” The lens would capture an image that would be coded; it would appear garbled to the eye, but would be packed with information. The camera would then run the image through an algorithm (read software), decoding it and making it ready for consumption. The result would be a billion pixel or “gigapixel” image of unprecedented quality. Billion pixel images would change the way a doctor sees a medical scan or the way remote sensing satellites see the earth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hence, labs like CAVE have been focusing on computational imaging or computational photography. All major camera manufacturers send their researchers to Nayar’s lab, because the field has both consumer and scientific applications. “There is only so much you can do with the current camera obscura model,” Nayar said. So, cameras that reduce “cost, complexity and size, while offering new functions” are the future.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But, in 2008, a chance viewing of the documentary Born into Brothels moved Nayar. The documentary by Zana Brinski and Ross Kauffman had won the Oscar in 2005. Brinski, a documentary photographer, went to Kolkata to capture the lives of prostitutes, and ended up teaching photography to their children, changing their lives.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Born into Brothels, for me, reaffirms what we all know about the camera,” Nayar told a TEDx audience. “It allows us to express ourselves, it allows us to communicate with each other, and using it is an emotional experience.” An inspired Nayar set out to combine two areas he knew well―cameras and education.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He wanted the camera to come as an affordable kit, and he wanted it to offer features that other cameras do not usually offer. And, the camera must, he decided, expose the user to all the technology that was at work inside the case. This was the beginning of the Bigshot camera project.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Camera biggies backed out of the project, because they had no exposure in the area of education. And, universities are hardly the place to launch a product. “We usually demonstrate a concept, write a paper on it and move on to the next big idea,” Nayar said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So, Nayar hunkered down and designed himself a do-it-yourself camera. To make it different, he sketched a round camera. Big question: would it roll away? A triangular camera? Big question: how do you know which way is the right way up? “And, eventually, I saw the wisdom of having a rectangular camera,” he quipped. After he had tested the prototype, Hong Kong-based Edu-Science offered to make it. In India, Bigshot is sold by Croma; price in the US is $89.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The camera comes as a kit of around 35 pieces. Assemble it, and you have a three-megapixel camera that can take a regular image, a 80-degree panoramic image and a 3D image. To switch between settings, you only have to twist the “Swiss Army” lens wheel.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Powered by a lithium battery, the camera also has a dynamo which can be cranked up if you run out of power. Is this a necessary feature for a camera? No, said Nayar, but it exposes the user to the concepts of a gearbox, power generation and electromagnetic induction.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Everything in the camera is designed to teach, and nothing illustrates this better than the site,, which is an engaging, virtual physics textbook that Nayar developed with his students Guru Krishnan and Brian Smith.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A hobby painter, Nayar loves modern art. Ask for a favourite, and he names Mondrian. The Nayars―wife Kalpana, son Akash, 11, and, daughter Ahana, 8―sometimes visit museums in New York to see paintings. Recently, he saw the New Museum of Contemporary Art and the International Center of Photography, both in New York, selling the Bigshot in their stores. Nayar was overjoyed. Who would not be happy to see a piece of himself in a place he loves?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon Dec 12 22:27:28 IST 2022 monisha-mehta-on-her-journey-as-a-content-creator <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The work of a social media influencer is much more challenging than it seems to us. They have to be constantly updated with changing trends while keeping the content relevant. Among the most-followed Influencers is Monisha Mehta with over 200k followers on Instagram. She started blogging in 2017 and left her full-time job at Jio. Monisha Mehta works with some of the biggest fashion, lifestyle, and beauty brands globally and also did her contributes to giving back to society time by getting tied up with NGOs like Advitya, and Milaap Foundation, and sponsoring lunches for the specially-abled elders and kids. She was a part of Leo Club where she spent time and sponsored food for the kids surviving cancer.</p> <p>In a recent interview with Monisha Mehta, Here’s an excerpt from the conversation:</p> <p>1) How did you start your blogging journey?</p> <p>It was in my last year of college when I developed more interest in content creation and got the desire to explore it. I got the opportunity to shoot for the clothing brand “Golmaal” in Lokhandwala, Andheri. They were so happy with my work that they featured my picture on the billboard in front of their shop. It was one of the most memorable moments for me and there was no looking back since then. I started my internship in Jio but what made me happy was content creation which I started solely as a hobby. I was not able to manage and give time to my passion apart from weekends and even missed out on a few brand collaborations because of office work and timing. That’s when I decided to take the risk and explore my passion full-time. Little did I know that I would quit my desk job to explore my passion full-time. Once you find what you love, take that plunge of risk and give it your all.</p> <p>2) Tell us more about your blog?</p> <p>My blog is a mix of fashion, lifestyle, travel, and beauty. Before taking up any brand endorsements, I make sure to use the product personally to ensure my personal experience before letting my audience know about it. Talking about travel experiences, I have been to the spectacular forts of Jodhpur &amp; Jaipur enchant by the beauty of Kerala to colorful Gujarat, it has been an incredible experience. My vision is to make people’s life better and help them out in any way possible. I wear many hats at one time. Today, as a blogger, I am my stylist, my director, my production assistant, and even my photographer sometimes. I have learned to play so many roles in one and I could attribute this to my multitasking skills.</p> <p>3) How do you stay relevant where content changes so often?</p> <p>I believe in creators supporting each other and working hard. For me, it is all about creating content consistently &amp; staying true to my audience. I make content that is fun, quirky, &amp; relatable to my audience.</p> <p>4) One of your best career-defining moments?</p> <p>Every brand campaign I have done has been a good experience and I’m grateful for each one of them.</p> <p>One of the most memorable brand campaigns was collaborating with Maharashtra Tourism and going to Ratnagiri to cover the hidden gems. My content is up on their page as well. It feels good to see my content being used by big and renowned brands globally like L'Oréal, Mahendra Rise, Colors, Samsung, and many more.</p> <p>5) Who is the biggest influence in your life?</p> <p>It is my mom and sister Ruchi. There have been ups and downs in this journey and they have supported me and been there for me throughout. I have grown up looking at my mom of how she has been so independent since the start and both my parents doing business inspired me to start something of my own. My close friends Brinda, Sandhya, and Roma are also my strongest pillars in this journey.</p> <p>6) Anything that you would like to convey to the upcoming creators?</p> <p>Create your style and make sure to be comfortable and confident in it. Be consistent and keep working hard to create quality content that makes you happy and fulfilled.</p> Thu Jan 19 12:25:48 IST 2023 rakesh-raghunathans-mission-to-document-south-indian-food-history-on-television <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>From how temple <i>prasadams</i> came into being to simplifying Karnataka's famous <i>Maddur Vada</i> recipe, Rakesh Raghunathan knows how to showcase the rich culinary practices of south India in all its intricacies. He seeks to turn the spotlight on the custodians of traditional knowledge systems. A food raconteur, armed with a wealth of anecdotal history, and a deep insight into socio-cultural practices, Rakesh has taken food to the realm of the performative. His travels have taken him to far-flung nooks and corners of south India’s towns and villages, to discover a vast repertoire of indigenous food and a whole body of culinary knowledge and practices. His travels are now documented in the form of popular television shows like 'Dakshin Diaries’ and '100% South Indian' on Living Foodz and Zee Zest channels as well as 'Sutralam Suvaikalam' for News7 Tamil. The food historian speaks to THE WEEK on the release of his new show 'Highway Dreams' on Zee Zest.<br> &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>When did you decide to document the regional multi-dimensionalities of South Indian food?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The time when I decided to document the regional multi-dimensionalities of South Indian food was when I was in the US for my bachelors. I used to crave for home food that I used to have back at home. Although I had all the ingredients when I was living in the US, whenever I used to try to cook them, it never really tasted the same. And when I came back home, I started to travel to small towns and villages and documented everything that I could possibly get from each place I went to.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Several restaurants in north India, at least in the capital, have begun offering region-specific south Indian dining. Now restaurant-goers actually don't think in terms of<i> idli-dosa-sambar</i>. Still, what are some of your complaints against the way south India cuisine is served in commercial establishments of Delhi, Bombay, Kolkata? What are they missing?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In regards to this question, I wouldn't say that I have any complaints of any sort but it starts with the pronunciation first, like how people pronounce the wrong name of the dish. Also, in general if I talk about how a <i>sambar</i> is made, it is totally different from how it is made in other metropolitan cities when compared to South India. For instance, in South India there are different kinds of <i>sambar</i> for each meal like for breakfast it is made with <i>moong dal</i>, whereas for the lunch <i>sambar</i> is made with <i>toor dal</i> and will not have tomatoes in it. From my understanding, I believe that the metropolitan cities have broken the stereotypes of South Indian food but to understand the nuance behind the South Indian food is miles to go.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Tell us about your travel show 'Highway Dreams' and what it seeks to achieve for viewers who do watch several shows and YouTube videos and Instagram reels already?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>'Highway Dreams' is an eye opener for me, being a South Indian food historian who has documented recipes and culinary practices from across 4-5 southern states. After 'Highway Dreams', I am looking at my own state through various lenses that I have never seen or done in the past. For instance, I am in Chennai and Kovalam is exactly 45 - 60 minutes drive from where I live. Surfing is something that I always wanted to do but was never able to do, but because of Highway Dreams I was finally able to. Again, if I look at my home town Kodaikanal that is one of the hill stations and the avocado farming that happens there at the mid level of the hills, which I always knew, but to see an avocado plantation was something very unique for me. Adding up more to my experience, when I was bird watching at Tertanggal, that is in Ramanathapuram, a district in Tamil Nadu, and at that time I was also engaging with one wildlife enthusiast and photographer and the experience that I had there was incredible.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Can you share some interesting anecdotes you unearthed while documenting temple food in Tamil Nadu?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While documenting temple food in Tamil Nadu, I came across with the idea of temple food which has always been served according to the season and grown locally. People bring seasonal food to the temple and the people from the temple use it and give it back to the people, which we call &quot;Prashad&quot;. In today's era, we talk about sustainability and seasonal food but back in the days this was actually the norm that people used to follow, especially in the case of temple food.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Any interesting chefs you would like to highlight? Someone who would not find his/her way to the limelight but is doing incredible work?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If I talk about inspirational or incredible work then I would say it's not only limited to the chefs. I draw inspiration from the people who have been culinary custodians of the recipes that have been passed on from several generations. People who actually volunteer to give you wealth of information to whom anyone asks them or if anyone wants to document any recipe, they will help them. So it's not just chefs but the people who love cooking and are experts at it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What has been your latest outing at the intersection of food, history and memory?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The latest outing at the intersection of food, history and memory was when I was shooting for 'NEXA Journeys Presents Highway Dreams'. There are so many instances that can be shared. One thing that I still remember vividly was about Chettinad, the antiques and how it made its way into Chettinad. Although, Chettinad is one hub where all the woodwork is done. Another thing that I remember was when I was in Kovalam, Chennai, where Arun Vasu adopted the entire fishing village and gave opportunities to the fishermen community and set up a surfing school that is run entirely by the local community. I mean, there are so many things and experiences after 'Highway Dreams' and talking over one single experience won’t be justifiable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed Nov 02 23:05:17 IST 2022 shubham-tiwari-is-one-of-the-youngest-ambassadors-of-child-and-women-welfare-in-india <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Today, people have become much busier in their day-to-day tasks and need more time to pay attention to the goals of a non-government organization. The hectic lives make people forget about the socioeconomic problems in our nation. Paying attention to children has become secondary for parents. They prefer sending their kids to boarding school to make their lives easier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Under such changing conditions, Shubham Tiwari, owner of Tiwar Foundation, has put his efforts forwards to help the unprivileged children of our country. He has managed to raise 300 million in funds, offered food to 50,000 people, and contributed to the lives of 950,000 children.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As a founder, he took the initiative to begin helping the needy by offering food, education, shelter, and clothing. Today, the Tiwar Foundation has more than 1000K members assisting people across the globe. Besides children, the foundation has provided 50,000 sanitary pads to women. Shubham undertook this initiative in his native city of Bhilwara, Rajasthan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His noble initiatives helped to save the lives of more than 10,000 people during the second wave of coronavirus. The 20+-year-old Shubham has made such drastic contributions to our society while others in the same age group focus on their career goals. The shelters offered through his foundation have helped the needy to find a clean and safe place to live instead of wandering from one street to another to rest during the night.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The underprivileged in our country suffer daily through the constant weather changes and by finding jobs, tidying places to live, and raising money to support their families. Shubham's initiative of offering education to children will ensure that children of the poor receive adequate knowledge to eliminate poverty. Furthermore, the food and clothing supplies given by his foundation ensure that the poor don't suffer the drawbacks of no availability of nearby jobs and can keep their families healthy and alive.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The children in his organization receive proper education from teachers who have taught school and college students. Soon we might hear a significant contribution made by one of the students of his organization in the dailies. However, the best part of Shubham's foundation is offering a safe and secure environment for raising kids, i.e., schools and shelters. Therefore, the future of our nation will not have to undergo the challenges faced by their parents. As they grow older, such children will understand the importance of education and helping others that have become victims of a similar situation. Therefore, Shubham's foundation has uplifted the wave of helping people in our society.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Furthermore, the safety of the mothers of such children has also increased as they no longer lie on footpaths, corners, highways, or other places where strangers could attack them. Offering shelter to the parents of these children also saves them from unwarned attacks by stray animals. As a result, the parents can focus more on the growth of their children and make futuristic plans to outgrow their situation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Shubham's foundation also taught about Menstrual Hygiene Management to women and the importance of using sanitary pads instead of used cloth. The women were enrolled from rural areas of India, and many didn't know about the existence of pads. His organization's training helped women realize the dangers of reusing cloth to safeguard their sanitary well-being.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The men also changed their beliefs about sanitary after their women went for the training and told them about sanitary pads. Now the adults living in the rural area of Bhilwara, Rajasthan, have changed their mindset and no longer fear sanitary pads. It has become a hygienic well-being item for their household. The organization's food, shelter, education, and sanitary initiatives support many people's lives across countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Today, Menstrual Hygiene Management seminars are being held across India to create a similar impact. A few years ago, Akshay Kumar's starring movie Pad Man, also based on sanitary pads, cultivated the same wave. People don't remember movies and their messages. However, they recognize the advantages of using sanitary pads if they have attended an event focused on the topic. We hope Shubham's foundation keeps on taking initiatives that remove societal misbeliefs.</p> Tue Dec 13 12:02:51 IST 2022 aditya-wanwaris-donna-deli-outlet-celebrates-1st-anniversary-restaurateur-shares-the-journey <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Aditya Wanwari is Toast Inc's founder, which looks after multiple Mumbai restaurants. The 28-year-old DJ-turned-entrepreneur has taken a lot of risks in his professional life to reach this level of success. While doing music shows at several restaurants, clubs and hotels, Aditya developed a keen interest in the hospitality industry. His interest turned into a passion and, eventually, his career.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For Aditya, success didn't happen in just one night. He has to start everything from scratch, face some failure, get up again, and go on. Not all his ventures succeeded, but when he learned from his setbacks, there was no looking back. Among several restaurants that the entrepreneur handles, one of them is Donna Deli.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Aditya Wanwari's Donna Deli restaurant turned a year old. In just one year, it has become quite popular. When asked about the one-year journey, Aditya revealed that they were initially going to start the restaurant in 2019, and the name was Bloc. However, that didn't happen. In 2020, the pandemic brought everything to a standstill.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The entrepreneur shares, &quot;Thankfully, the lockdown hit and that concept of a bar was sidelined and cancelled. Donna Deli was formulated through the lockdown. I wrote the menu and concept in the first two months of the lockdown and did trials and procurement of ingredients and crockery in the midst of the peak lockdown. It was super challenging as most of the agencies were closed.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He adds, &quot;The beauty of this is that we had a lot of time to conceptualise the branding as we literally had nothing else to do through the lockdown. We also got our ingredients and equipments at sale prices as overall purchasing were down and people wanted to give off their inventory.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Donna Deli owner Aditya Wanwari calls the restaurant one of the special eateries of Toast Inc as they had to shut down all the other outlets during that time. With DD, they got a chance to rise and flourish again. As the restaurant completes the year, Aditya is thankful for the thrilling journey and all the learnings in the last year. The restaurateur also plans to open a second outlet of the same restaurant in Delhi in mid-2023.</p> Thu Jan 19 12:24:09 IST 2023 mehar-singh-tanwar-influences-people-with-his-social-work <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Not only lifestyle and infrastructure but even humanity have evolved at an unmatched pace. Don't you agree? While the multitude of today seems detached from the community and is more or less selfish, there is Mehar Singh Tanwar, who is making a mark in society with his generous heart.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yes, you guessed him right! This name is already famous in the hospitality world, and for the right reasons. Mehar Singh Tanwar is a prosperous businessman, but there's more to his ebullient persona. This young man is also actively working toward the development of our country. He has a generous heart and has often shown sheer kindness while connecting with society and its people. Of course, he had to have that benevolent heart; after all, the enthusiasm for social welfare runs through his veins.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mehar Singh Tanwar is the son of the famous politician Kanwar Singh Tanwar, who is also a parliament member from the Amroha constituency in Uttar Pradesh. During all the campaigns and each election, he stood by his father's ideologies and supported him in the upliftment of society.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mehar Singh Tanwar is a man of his word and knows to stay true to his roots. Just like a true citizen and bearer of a party flag, he went door to door to support his father. He truly believes in the development of society and amassing votes on merit. His sincerity has made him a youth's beloved, and here's what he says about it: &quot;It feels great to be people's man. I'm glad that today's generation is learning from our actions, and I hope they will seed the quality of kindness in them too.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As affluent as Mehar Singh Tanwar is, he is equally grounded. The entrepreneur leads a very luxurious lifestyle. He owns hotels like Ocean Pearl Gardenia and the H Carlton Hotel. His royal-like lifestyle also includes cars like Rolls Royce Ghost and Phantom, two Mercedes G Wagons, Lamborghini, Range Rover Vogue Autobiography, Audi, Mustang, Hummer, etc. He also owns a private helicopter and wears high-end brands. We hope that Mehar Singh Tanwar keeps up with his kind work!</p> Tue Dec 27 14:21:31 IST 2022 recreating-city-of-joy-in-the-netherlands <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A slice of Kolkata in Europe! That’s how Indians in the Netherlands are going to celebrate Durga Puja.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This is the sixth year 'Anandadhara', a Bengali club in the north European country, is celebrating Durga Puja. The theme selected for this year is 'Ek tukdo Kolkata'—the depiction of Kolkata and its surroundings. A wooden Howrah Bridge over the Hooghly river, created using lights, along with greenery of the City of Joy would be the main attractions.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Not only Bengalis, but all Indians settled in the country would be part of the grand celebration, the organisers say.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The celebration is organised at a big ground in Amstelveen. Flowers and banana tree leaves are being flown to the city by air. The idols of Duga and her sons and daughters have already been sent by Kumartuli’s famous idol maker Prashanta Paul.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The finishing touch for the celebration is going on. We, mostly IT job holders, will be on leave for five days during Durga Puja and are going to engage ourselves totally in the grand celebration,” said Sudipta Laskar, an IT professional and one of the organisers.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Laskar hails from Hooghly, a neighbouring district of Kolkata. The river Hooghly flows through most part of his district.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There will be cultural programmes in the evening of each day of Durga Puja. “The highlight of this year's cultural performances is Rabindra Nath Tagore's dance-drama Chitrangada, which will be performed by our in-house dance troupe Ananda Taranga,” said Laskar.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dinpanwita Mukherjee, who is in-charge of the show, also shared her excitement. &quot;Our troupe performing in front of over 500 audiences makes me both nervous and excited. We do rehearsals every alternate day despite our busy schedule with family and office. During Durga Puja, we are endowed with additional energy to make it all happen. Looking forward to the D-day,&quot; she said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Other performances include classical dances like Kathak, Odissi and Bharatanatyam by professional dancers, besides folk and cinematic dances. Musical shows, including vocals and instrument recitals, as well as recitation of Bengali poems have also been included.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Various games and contests have also been arranged targeting the youth. There will also be a contest to find out the best dressed couple—Shriman-Srimati—which was a hit last time, say the organisers.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Covid-19 will have nominal impact this time with almost all restrictions being lifted. “Nevertheless, we have ensured that there will be no overcrowding and safe distance can be maintained,” says Nabanita Sarkar, who hails from Asansol.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;But yes, finally we don't have to wear masks with our saris! Covid has lost its importance as it has become just a glorified 'cold',” she says.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sujit Mondal, who hails from Durgapur, is the theme artist this year. He is engaged in creating the gigantic replication of Howrah Bridge.</p> Wed Sep 28 10:24:38 IST 2022 why-this-scholars-english-translation-of-kalacakra-tantra-is-strategically-important <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>This is a made in India original. The last major Buddhist text to be written in India—<i>The Kalacakra</i>—has remained locked, lost in translation. Till now.</p> <p>Niraj Kumar—a scholar based in Delhi—has spent the past few years grappling to translate all the 1,047 verses of the <i>Kalacakra Tantra</i> into English. <i>The Kalacakra Tantra: Translation, Annotation and Commentary</i> is the first of its kind. “Several attempts were made by Western scholars in the early 19th century to translate the full text,’’ says Kumar. “This is yet to be achieved.”</p> <p>It is a massive enterprise. Kumar's first volume of this text—that is very much an amalgamation of complex mathematics, philosophy—makes Vikram Seth's<i> The Suitable Boy</i> look skinny. And this is only the first volume. The first Indian translation of <i>Kalacakra </i>was the <i>Vimalaprabha</i>, which was made in 11th century. It is this version of the text that Kumar has chosen for the translation. But it has not been easy. Like all tantra texts, it is not just a simple translation of text. “Tantra is a corpus of systemic knowledge,’’ says Kumar. There are other realms—complex mathematical formulas, algorithms, planetary philosophy, cosmology as well as astrology. For Kumar, the text was more than an academic exercise and it became not only an obsession—but also a calling. It was a path littered with mystical experiences.</p> <p>More than just a spiritual text, this translation of <i>Kalacakra</i>—which refers to three realms, the outer world; the inner world and the other world—is also essential for strategic reasons. Ask Kumar, why translate <i>Kalacakra</i>? “This Tantra was the last major work in Buddhist philosophy,’’ he says. “There has not been any other such work after this, especially in Sanskrit.” It is the text that travelled across Mongolia and Tibet. And with China laying claim on Buddhism, this is Kumar's attempt at reclaiming it back.</p> <p>In 2016, China facilitated a <i>Kalacakra</i> ceremony in Tibet under the Panchen Lama. So, Kumar's translation provides the perfect weapon—of thought—to fight this war.</p> <p>Excerpts of interview with Kumar:</p> <p><b>Why is <i>Kalacakra Tantra</i> significant today?</b></p> <p>The <i>Kalacakra Tantra</i> was the last major Buddhist tantric text written in India during the early 11th century. Tantra is a corpus of systemic knowledge. This text was monumental and combined Indian knowledge traditions of its time in a structured way.</p> <p>It is very complicated; it delves into astronomy, Eurasian geography, alchemy, aromatics, midwifery, armament technology, dramaturgy, aesthetics, the erotic, contemplative subtle neuroscience, medicine, mathematics, linguistics, coding, science of respiration, and so on. This encapsulates the Nalanda tradition. It has been rightly termed the King of Tantras. It created a philosophical basis for tantric rituals and practices too.</p> <p>Unlike majority of the world religions that claim monopoly over truth, <i>Kalacakra</i> philosophy though steeped deeply into Buddhist philosophy, propagates grand synthesis of divergent world-views and celebrated “Evam” i.e. ‘similarity”, “thusness”, “fusion”, as its leitmotif.</p> <p>In a world where there is increasing violence, instability and scarcity of resources. The <i>Kalacakra Tantra</i> envisions a planetary Shambhala—a place of abundance.</p> <p><b>Buddhist philosophy being in geostrategy by China.</b></p> <p>China is pursuing its dream of Chinese Buddhism- Zhongguo Fójiào by bringing in Chinese characteristics. For China, Buddhism is the soft power to bring together hearts and minds of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.</p> <p>India is the birthplace of Buddhist philosophy. Indian Buddhism spread India’s influence across the world.</p> <p>India was central to Buddhism. Chinese emperors would erect a memorial for forefathers at Bodhgaya. When the Forbidden City in Central Beijing , the imperial palace of China was built by the Ming Emperor Yongle, the abbot of Bodhgaya, Sariputra was present during the ceremony. Sariputra blessed the enthronement of the fourth Ming Emperor, Hongshi in 1425 and again the Fifth Ming Emperor Zhu Zhanji in 1426 AD.</p> <p>Today, China has more than 300 million Buddhist followers. Thailand, Myanmar, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Mongolia, Singapore and Bhutan have a more substantial Buddhist population. There are Buddhist republics like Buryatia and Kalmykia in the Russian Federation. Buddhism can be the glue to bind these countries.</p> <p><b>How do you see China using Buddhism?</b></p> <p>China has the largest Buddhist population. During the 19th century, when the Taiping rebellion was finally crushed in Nanjing in 1864 AD, China pursued a policy of revival of Buddhism. For the last few years, there has been a shift. China is pursuing the wider policy of Sinicization—transforming religious beliefs and faith in accordance with Chinese culture and society—of religions. In 2016, it became part of the State’s official policy.</p> <p>Buddhism's Sinicization focuses on Chinese characteristics like the ancient court system and unity with Chinese socialism. The Chinese claim that during the Tang and Sui dynasty, Chinese Buddhism decoupled from Indian Buddhism.</p> <p>Tibetan Buddhism is treated as part of wider Buddhism with Chinese characteristics. China wants to use Buddhism to serve as the bridge between people’s hearts and minds to promote economic and trade exchanges and regional economic development. As Confucius Institutes failed to take off, China believes Buddhism can be glue instead.</p> <p><b>One of the aspects of the book has been that you have found the location of Shamala, the spiritual kingdom. As well, as you have discovered the author of the </b><i><b>Kalacakra</b></i><b>?</b></p> <p>I have authoritatively established Naropa, who was an Indian Buddhist master of the author of the <i>Kalacakra Tantra</i>. This is a big discovery. I have established using calculations that Oddiyana where Padmasambhava (the eighth-century Buddhist master who is credited to have spread Buddhism to Tibet) was not in Swat, Pakistan. I have also deduced the location of Shambhala in Southeast Asia near the border of India.</p> <p>I have separated each word of the Sanskrit text to provide an explanation, which is very helpful for scholars. It is a first. Great explorers and thinkers like Hungarian Csoma de Koros, Helena Blavatsky, Helmut Hoffman, Nicholas Roerich, Rahul Sankrityayan had wished to decipher this text. It could be done by me. This is a small contribution in reowning Buddhism, that, too, Sanskrit tradition of Buddhism which does not fit into the Chinese narrative.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Sep 24 14:41:06 IST 2022 saree-run-how-women-broke-social-barriers <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The fifth edition of Saree Run held at Malleshwaram 18th cross ground turned out to be a celebration of camaraderie and togetherness; a race where everyone won.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Anyone can run irrespective of the attire,” said Jaya Sanjay of Jayanagar Jaguars, popularly known as JJs. Over the past eight years, JJs, India’s oldest and largest running group with over 30 centres in five cities, has trained over 7,500 men and women in running. “While many women have broken social barriers and become ardent runners, there is still a section that is hesitant to take up this activity because of the belief that one needs to wear running attire to run,” she said. Saree Run has been a launchpad for such reluctant runners.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dr Richa Negi, one of the run ambassadors at Saree Run, had no qualms in admitting that she took a friend’s help to drape sari. “It took us about 15 minutes to drape it,” said Negi, a dermatologist and dancer. But the experience of running with 1,700 women was well worth it, said the 27-year-old.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Negi loves running as much as looking at her collection of sarees and admiring them. “My favourite saree is the one my mom gifted me. It was her old saree and I absolutely love it. Sadly, it is back at home and so, I couldn’t wear it for the event.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“I feel saree makes me look elegant. It is the best ethnic outfit to wear,” she said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Being a woman should not stop you from chasing your dreams, said Kanchan Dinakar, an associate Partner at BSR &amp; Co, as she finished 5k, brimming with a sense of accomplishment. Dinakar finds running liberating and empowering. The highlights of her day included a selfie with RJ Shruti of 92.7 and a chance meeting with her childhood buddies Pratima and Rachna.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prathibha Rajesh from Malleshwaram, an architect and interior designer, also had a great time bonding with her friends. “I urge more women to step out into the fresh air and run for fitness,” said Rajesh, who has taken part in Pinkathon and Bengaluru Marathon earlier.</p> Wed Sep 21 21:46:06 IST 2022 there-is-no-one-saviour-of-journalism-while-we-watched-director-vinay-shukla <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The 2016 documentary, 'An Insignificant Man', tracked the spectacular political debut of Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal like a thriller. It released in theatres after winning a difficult censorship battle and ran successfully for nine weeks straight, an unheard-of achievement for a documentary in India where the format still struggles to find a theatrical release.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The docu-feature first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to a standing ovation. The makers of 'The Insignificant Man' are back with yet another suspenseful drama - a TV newsroom thriller. 'While We Watched', featuring Ravish Kumar, won the ‘Amplify Voices Award' at the Toronto International Film Festival where it had its world premiere last week. Titled ‘Namaskar! Main Ravish Kumar’ in Hindi, 'While We Watched' intimately chronicles the working days of a broadcast journalist as he navigates a spiralling world of truth and disinformation. In a phone conversation with THE WEEK, director Vinay Shukla (who co-directed 'An Insignificant Man' with Khushboo Ranka) talks about how his second documentary is essential viewing for anyone who cares about journalism or their news consumption. And why there is no one saviour for the profession. Edited excerpts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Q/ How did you convince Ravish Kumar to get on board this project? And, how difficult was it to gain access into a major newsroom and be a fly-on-the-wall for two years?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A/ It was an organic process. I have always been a fan of newsroom dramas. But when I watch the news today, it makes me angry. I feel lonely and isolated. My friends all over the world have stopped watching the news because they say it's not good for their mental health. The news is a major source of public information. It is supposed to make our lives better and yet we were cutting ourselves off from it. And I began to wonder if the people making the news are going through the same sense of isolation. Ravish is very different compared to other news broadcast people we know. Firstly, he speaks in Hindi and commands a huge audience. He does a 40-minute piece to camera while everyone else is filling up their slots with panel discussions with four to 15 guests. In his monologue, he's doesn't make claims that this is the number one debate in the country right now. What I found interesting was how he seemed like a tired hero. He was somebody who was questioning his own relevance in a new world and the new media landscape around him. He is also someone who seemed lonely. And that's when I approached him. I asked him if he would be open to me shooting and just capturing his process. And because he was going through that kind of introspection in his life, he was like, 'yeah, do whatever you want as long as you don't come in anyone's way'. So, when I came around with my camera, it was a moment when somehow things just added up. We started shooting in 2018, but it's not so much about the time. It is the story of journalists, the story of people who go against whatever the mainstream culture is. This film is applicable to people who have startups, it is applicable to people who are trying to build anything from the ground up. When you disagree with people around you, that's a lonely journey.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Q/ How does it feel to have this film out in the world at such a crucial time when the news organisation in your film is in the middle of a takeover bid? Were there hints in the film about this?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A/ I made a film about how difficult it is to believe and continue fighting in a world where everything seems to be going against you. I wasn't necessarily interested in what the business side of NDTV was vis-à-vis takeovers. I don't have visibility on that. I was chasing a very personal story of Ravish's struggle and what it means to do journalism today. Of course, by some fluke, the film is coming out at a time when NDTV itself seems to be going through a lot. But I always keep requesting people that as long as we keep thinking about one person, one institution or one government, we will always think that there is some short-term problem that needs to be solved today. Instead, this film is a cry for building better systems. How do we make sure that there can be more news organisations, more journalists, better rights, better representation, better forums. We need to build systems that allows for a fairer, more healthier dialogue. There is no one person who is the saviour of journalism. That has never been true.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Q/ Your previous film had to battle censorship in India before it released in theatres. What kind of opposition are you expecting for 'While We Watched'? Are you expecting a bigger backlash?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A/ Not really. I think very often we overestimate the risks. The last film was not so much about Arvind Kejriwal or Aam Aadmi party or Yogendra Yadav, as much as the fact that they were characters in a film about the Indian political system and how we can make our politics better. It was a dialogue around what happens when new people come into politics and are faced with challenges. It was a very real depiction and facilitated a richer understanding of Indian politics. And that's why it got a censor certificate. 'While We Watched' is my effort towards building better news. I don't see any problems with people disagreeing with me. We are living in polemical times. All of us disagree very passionately as we rightfully should. But I believe that we are all trying to build a better system. We are trying to build a better country, a better time, a better future for all of us. And for that, it's very important that we have a dialogue. I am hoping, aspiring, for a better dialogue, just like I had with my last film. So, I have a very healthy precedent to go by. And I am really looking forward to it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Q/ On social media and drawing rooms, it's very cool to dismiss journalists and media organisations who cave in to pressure or are not as &quot;intrepid&quot; as other role models. Seeing the many contradictions, conundrums and ethical choices that are made in a newsroom today, how has your view changed about journalists or the profession? How do you feel you stand corrected?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A/ I completely agree. And I think it's very, very short-sighted of people to dismiss individuals and organisations in this manner. News again, as I said earlier, is a system of public information and it has to represent the diversity of opinions. So, I am in no hurry to dismiss people because I disagree with someone or because I agree with another. But where is the system? What systems do news organisations have within themselves? Even if you want to present a monolithic view, how is it being decided? Is it being decided by just one person and what they feel? Fantastic, but what is the level of dialogue that they have within their teams? How diverse are their teams? We need a realistic assessment of these things. We have to think long-term, we have to think in systems. Again, this film is not about one organisation. It is not about some sort of saviour complex because that is a self-defeating idea. All saviours go through their own crisis, all saviours fail after a while. But systems are fantastic. In India, we have great public institutions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Q/ You have described 'While We Watched' as a docu-thriller. Can you tell us about the narrative techniques employed to show the madness of a TV newsroom?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A/ It's a classic newsroom thriller.There are a bunch of people within a newsroom who are trying to see how to make the news better. And they are struggling. My films, they flow like any other Bollywood film. I make films for my parents, cousins, friends, my family. And India has a huge film-consuming culture. So, my films speak to them in the same language that the film-consuming audiences here are used to. Just like it was with 'The Insignificant Man'. These are observational docs. There is no voiceover and there are no interviews. The idea was to get into the mind of Ravish Kumar and try and chart his inner journey and fears in the newsroom that he was in. It was an aspiration to try and track the inner life of journalists today who are working on various sides of the political spectrum or even the news spectrum. And the idea was to make it as friendly to the masses as possible.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Q/ Are there other newsroom thrillers that you would like to cite as examples or inspiration?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A/ There's a bunch of newsroom dramas or thrillers that I really like. There's Aaron Sorkin's 'The Newsroom' and Tom McCarthy's 'Spotlight'. Also, the 2019 Romanian documentary film by Alexander Nanau called 'Collective . And then this other fantastic film which I saw in my childhood called 'Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani'.</p> Tue Sep 20 23:48:07 IST 2022 nikita-harisinghani-of-chrome-hospitality-talks-about-overcoming-challenges-in-the-restaurant-industry <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Nikita Harisinghani is one of the most prestigious names in the Indian hospitality industry. Even though she started her career with an agency named, Chrome Entertainment, Nikita was always inclined toward the restaurant business. When the pandemic hit the world, she decided to get into the industry with a company named Chrome Hospitality, and the rest we know is history.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nikita's Chrome Hospitality runs 5 restaurants in Mumbai including Blah! ,Donna Deli, Eve, Shy &amp; Demy. It also consults luxury restaurants Pan-India all the way from set-up to success. So far the company has consulted over 50 restaurants.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It's always difficult and takes the better of you when you jump from one industry to another. And Nikita went through the same. But thanks to her growth-oriented and come what may approach, she didn't just survive but nailed every responsibility.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Talking about the challenges she faced, the co-founder of Chrome Hospitality tells, &quot;Restaurant Business is a competitive business and everyone needs to put forward their A-game to be able to do well. Having said that, the hospitality industry is a very male-dominated industry, and it can take time for people to take you seriously, but one needs to keep at it, to change mindsets.&quot;</p> <p><a href="">&nbsp;</a></p> <p><a href=""><u>Nikita Harisinghani</u></a>&nbsp;'s Chrome Hospitality manages multiple restaurants in Mumbai. Talking about how she manages all of them so well, she says that Running multiple restaurants do get exhausting but they have a great team that looks into every small detail. Also, they have set an endless list of SOPs at every restaurant to ensure that they can maintain the standard throughout.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She also talks about how the idea of entering the hospitality industry hit her. Nikita shares, &quot;I think post-COVID, we all had to adapt. I saw tremendous potential in the Hospitality sector and I personally felt we could build a niche for ourselves and we did exactly that. My inspiration all along this journey has been my husband and business partner, Pawan Shahri who's been in the industry for far more years than I have and is my go-to person for all my problems.&quot;</p> Tue Dec 13 11:03:37 IST 2022 drthejo-kumari-amudala-business-woman-rules-the-world-with-her-social-activities-and-love <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Dr. Thejo Kumari Amudala a known social activists and a business woman also a global peace ambassador is a woman who at this early age has achieved such a great success.This is because of her immense contribution to the fields of social services in the world at large. She is not only a successful lady but also the list of her awards proves this to the world. Recently she has been felicitated with the Jawahar Lal Nehru Global Peace Award, Indira Gandhi International seva Ratna Award-2022. Dr.Thejo Kumari Amudala has received this for her service to the world. She has proved her excellent services outstanding contribution and remarkable role in the field of social services. Let’s talk about her here, she is from a well to do family where her father is Mr Amudala Munivenkateshwarlu(Late), mother is Kinnera Prameela Devi, and Thejo kumari Amudala is a blessed daughter of these two deities. The list of awards that she has received are Powerfull Women Award, Most Inspirational woman award, Influencer Award, Indian Glory Award, Jhansi laxmi bhai queen of the public service award, Nelson Mandela NOBEL PEACE Award, Mahathma Gandhi NOBLE PEACE Award, Nari samman Award, Global Iron Lady Award, Golden Women Award, Extra Ordinary woman Award, The Real Life Super Hero Award, The Real Super Woman Award, DadaSaheb Phalke Icon Award, The Global Iron Lady Award etc.</p> <p>She is not only a social worker but also a writter and Mrs universe winner.</p> Fri Dec 09 12:43:41 IST 2022 who-was-annabhau-sathe-whose-statue-unveiled-fadnavis-moscow <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A statue of writer-activist Annabhau Sathe was unveiled by Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in Moscow on Wednesday. Sathe’s oil painting was also unveiled by Fadnavis in the Indian consulate in the Russian capital.</p> <p>Annabhau Sathe is known as Lok Shaheer in Maharashtra. Lok Shaheer means people's balladeer. His writing was influenced by communism and, more so, Russian revolution.</p> <p>Sathe was born in 1920 in Wategaon village in Satara district in south Maharashtra in a Dalit family. His family moved to Mumbai around 1930 and Sathe learned writing and reading only after he came to Mumbai. The family lived in Matunga labour camp and Annabhau went to work every day as a porter and as a helper in the cotton mills of Mumbai.</p> <p>Annabhau read Marathi translations of works by great Russian authors Lok Maxim Gorky, Tolstoy and Chekhov. He was greatly influenced by their writing.</p> <p>One of his early ballads is the famous Spanish Povada dedicated to the Spanish civil war of the late 1930s. He formed a troupe of Dalit activists that would perform outside the gates of cotton mills in Mumbai. He soon became a member of the progressive writers association and Indian Peoples' Theatre Association (IPTA)</p> <p>Sathe’s most famous literary work is the novel <i>Fakira</i>. He wrote more than 30 novels, 10 collections of short stories, plays and 11 ballads . His other famous ballad is <i>Stalingrad cha Povada</i>, dedicated to the Russian fighting spirit during the battle of Stalingrad in the Second World War.</p> <p>Sathe was a member of the Communist Party of India and he was among the few Indian writers whose works have been translated into Russian. Sathe died in 1969 in Mumbai at the young age of 49. The literary work that he has left behind continues to interest activists and scholars alike.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Sep 16 12:49:42 IST 2022 hammerzz-the-luxury-night-club-is-a-place-with-parties-for-every-mood <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Every person has their own way of relishing! Some like to party hard, and some just want to enjoy the booze and vibe. Which type of person are you? Well, it doesn't matter, because Hammerzz: The Luxury Night Club has space for every type of merrymaker.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Yes, you read it right! Situated in the heart of Goa's most lively location, Baga Beach, this luxury nightclub is spread over thousands of square feet with the best beach view. The zones of this club can be divided into three. If you are someone who would cherish their night grooving on the dance floor, then Hammerzz has a spacious dance floor with a great crowd where you can shake a leg to premium music played by leading artists from the music industry. Their DJ zone also comprises a huge LED screen and great lighting. You will go crazy!!!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Then, for those who want to create lasting memories with friends or close ones, you can use the outdoor areas at Hammerzz: The Luxury Night Club, which have some mild music, good food, dim lighting, and the origin of endless conversations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The last space is designated for couples who can use the deck on top to create some romantic memories with their partner by looking at the mesmerising backdrop of the fields, Baga Creek, or the beach. Hammerzz: The Luxury Night Club is a full-course meal for every merrymaker. They have good music, luscious food (including Goan items), and amazing cocktails in all the spaces.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Besides this, if you really want to experience extravagance in all its senses, you can take advantage of the plush VIP areas established all around the floor. You can book your table depending on how close you prefer the music and the action. Hammerzz is the place that will give you an unforgettable evening. You can also relax with friends on the open terrace and enjoy smoking high-quality sheesha with an eye-candy view.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hammerzz: The Luxury Night Club will have performances from leading DJs this weekend. They already hosted Onderkoffer recently and are planning to host an extraordinary Christmas party. Stay updated with their upcoming gigs and events by following them on Instagram.</p> Thu Dec 01 22:03:20 IST 2022 photo-portraits-frieda-kahlo-diego-rivera-celebrated-couples-mexican-art <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>When Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera married in 1929, her parents reportedly called the couple &quot;the elephant&quot; and &quot;the dove.&quot; Rivera, one of the most consequential figures in Mexican mural art, was 20 years Kahlo's senior and weighed at least three times her size.</p> <p>Both the artists painted each other and it is widely accepted that their tempestuous relationship—with its string of extramarital affairs and miscarriages, divorce and remarriage—is more than easily mirrored in their haunting portraits.</p> <p>The Embassy of Mexico in India, in association with the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (INBAL) of Mexico and Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo have curated a photo exhibition titled ‘Diego &amp; Frida: Life Chronicles’. The exhibition of 60 photo reprints is being displayed for the first time in India. The original photographs from this collection are on permanent display at the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo in Mexico. The prints will be on view at Bengaluru’s gallery g until October 10.</p> <p>Both Kahlo and Rivera helped to establish a movement which would have a definitive influence on the cultural life of 20th century Mexico. Together for almost 25 years (from their marriage until Frida's death), their relationship was defined by a myriad of events and failed encounters which transcended the realm of the private to become part of the public domain.</p> <p>The all-consuming nature of their union brought together intellectuals, politicians, and celebrities. Their home was a place of gatherings, deliberations, and intrigue within the social and political life of Mexico. The intermittent periods during which they lived in the United States, due to commissions Rivera received, helped to shape their views on capitalism, progress, and revolution, but it was also a breaking point in their personal relationship.</p> <p>Their return to Mexico marked another turning point: the couple separated towards the end of 1939 only to marry again one year later in San Francisco. This was a time of great activity and enthusiasm: Rivera was instrumental in the Mexican government's decision to grant León Trotsky's final asylum. Furthermore, the time both spent with André Breton, the founder of Surrealism, resulted in the promise of an exhibition which would take Frida Kahlo to Paris in 1939. Over the years, they created a network of artists and intellectuals who would become part of the modernising forces of the country.</p> <p>The photo exhibition is a collection of photographs of famous artists who were friends and colleagues of the couple, among them, Guillermo Kahlo, Guillermo Zamora, Vicente Contreras, and Ernesto Reyes. The images depict important moments in the lives of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. They also reflect the pain and physical deterioration of Kahlo, her political activism, including the last photograph taken of her in a politic demonstration, days before her death in July 1954.</p> Fri Sep 16 12:34:10 IST 2022 a-self-love-campaign-thats-all-about-loving-yourself-just-the-way-you-are <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Are you tired of the unrealistic beauty standards that the industry presents to the world and unable to relate to them?&nbsp;<a href=";utm_medium=content-marketing&amp;utm_source=anipti&amp;utm_content=press-release"></a><a href=";utm_medium=content-marketing&amp;utm_source=anipti&amp;utm_content=press-release"><u></u></a>&nbsp;, a popular Indian lingerie brand, has announced their self-love campaign, #IMeMyself to break the taboo by representing real women from the real world. This campaign is designed to encourage women to embrace their unique beauty and to love and accept themselves just as they are.</p> <p>In a society where conventional beauty standards reign supreme, most of us have struggled with some form of insecurity at some point in our lives. This lack of self-love robs women of their happiness and peace of mind. Through this unique and powerful initiative, wants women to break free from all that constrains them from being their true selves and embrace every aspect of who they are. The Indian lingerie company has enlisted the assistance of body-positive models from all walks of life to star in their latest campaign, which encourages women to accept themselves. From stretch marks to cellulite, these beautiful ladies proudly embrace themselves in the hopes that others will be inspired to do the same..</p> <p>Commenting on the campaign, the founder, Gopinathan Ramachandran, says,&nbsp;&quot;#IMeMyself&nbsp;is more than a hashtag for us; it’s a movement that we believe in wholeheartedly. It was made by women, of women, and for women. This is our way of giving back to all the beautiful women out there who have constantly been judged and ridiculed for not conforming to society's unrealistic standards of beauty. We hope that through this campaign we can help every woman feel beautiful and confident in her own skin.&quot; Watch the video here -&nbsp;<a href=""></a><a href=""><u></u></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Jan 06 15:43:30 IST 2023 marian-esanu-discloses-the-secret-to-capture-the-attention-of-your-target-audience <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Any personal brand around the world runs on the fuel of the trust and attention of its target audience. When there are thousands of posts on social media, your target audience needs something more than ordinary to hold their attention. Marian Esanu, an 8-figure entrepreneur, personal branding strategist, and podcaster, shares his experience of building a personal brand from scratch with people aspiring to become successful entrepreneurs. His inspirational story includes tips to create viral content that grabs and holds the attention of your target audience and inspires them to share the piece.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Social media runs on three different factors – content, music, and drama. Marian Esanu encourages entrepreneurs to leverage these factors for creating videos, reels, posts, and blogs that make their target audience stop and watch or read for a while. He insists that every entrepreneur should invest their resources (including money) in high-quality content. These content pieces can be repurposed to fit platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok for creating pieces that appeal the most to your audience on that platform.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The other way to get noticed by the target audience is by understanding their intent. Every person uses the internet for two basic reasons – searching and browsing. Marian Esanu talks about two intents through which any entrepreneur can highlight their offerings and credibility in the eyes of the target audience. The first is the “Search Intent.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“YouTube, being the second-biggest search engine in the world, owns this sector (search intent). As TikTok recently started focusing on SEO, it is gradually moving up the ladder of platforms that can help entrepreneurs in making the most of the search intent,” said Marian Esanu. According to him, the second factor is the “Interruption Intent.” This includes posting paid advertisements on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Marian Esanu is a recent recipient of the 8-figure award by Clickfunnels. With his personal experience of establishing a 7-figure business from scratch, he aims to inspire a million people to become the best and the most financially rewarding versions of themselves.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Dec 01 11:51:20 IST 2022 nathan-sanahuja-the-french-business-talent-majorly-contributions-to-growth-in-the-digital-space-as-a-21-year-old <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Nanthan sanahuja is a&nbsp;well-recognized name in the world of business as an entrepreneur, influencer strategist, and social media manager.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This young man is all about his passion and commitment to his business goals, which are spread across varied businesses and brands. Nathan Sanahuja was born on 29<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;December 2000 in Nancy, France. In 2015, while he was a teenager, he kickstarted his career and became the brain behind several successful brands an businesses, and since then never looked back. He is a young guy who always believed in his dreams and had the aim to create a robust career for himself at a very young age, and that's what he has done, living his dreams. A few years back, when he decided to build his career in business, the online space was the first sector that attracted him the most. This led him to become a founder of NS Media, a top social media marketing company today. This also helped him work along with some of the most prominent names in the influencer marketing sector, like Kourtney K.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He has enthralled all with the extensive list of businesses he runs and operates successfully. Some of them include Media Stellar, which is a marketing agency rising to the top; ERAMEDIA, another media agency for brands, ads, packaging, and the like; NS Media, which is all about influencer marketing;&nbsp;Divine Luxury Cars Rental, growing as a top luxury car rental company, The Arts Club Metz, a well-known lounge, Garden Lounge Club, another happening lounge club and also Alien Secret Society, a growing NFT club. He loves founding new companies that can add more value to the lives of the ones he aims to serve and thus has attained massive success and name so far in his career. It is no walk in the park to enter and then take over any industry today in the business space; still, it is people like Nathan Sanahuja who make all of his look effortless. He has dived deep into multiple sectors, becoming a well-known and rising multipreneur living between Dubai and Nancy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nathan Sanahuja&nbsp;(@nathan _sanahuja) is determined to bring about waves of positive change through these businesses in their respective sectors and become renowned as a sought-after multipreneur in the coming years.Mentioning a prominent mark in the world of business&nbsp;one&nbsp;cannot go without noticing the impact that young business owners had on their respective fields, and speaking of one, we saw how Nathan Sanahuja did the same with his multiple successful businesses across niches and mainly in the digital space.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Dec 01 11:51:20 IST 2022 from-celebs-to-popular-personalities-shreena-patels-paintings-receive-great-appreciation-worldwide <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A fantastic painter, sculptor and abstract artist, Shreena Patel is very passionate about her work. Shreena was captivated by paintings and colours from a young age. Patel saw to it that she had fulfilled her dream as an adult. She majored in fine art, graphics, and multimedia technology &amp; design while studying at Brunel University and the University of Arts London.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2022, artist Shreena Patel has achieved a great deal. For Diwali at the Neasden Temple, she painted more than 200 Diya lamps in a single week. For the 100th anniversary of Pramukh Swami Maharaj's birth, she even painted a 120x100cm portrait of him with the title &quot;Divine Joy.&quot; Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, also appreciated her painting when it was featured during an event. For Shreena, all this motivated her to keep putting her best foot forward.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Being an artist also entails gaining widespread acclaim and nominations for several awards. In the Arts and Culture category, the artist was up for three awards against the likes of the Bridgerton Cast and Amir Khan. Several celebrities from Bollywood and the world of sports, like Harbhajan Singh, Geeta Basra, Seema Malhotra, and others, have praised her work.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When asked how it feels to have celebs and known personalities appreciating her artwork, Shreena shares, &quot;It feels amazing to have such a scale of clientele ranging from lovely friends to homeowners to celebrities in the UK and overseas. What makes my artwork different from other artists are my ‘signature lines’ and sparkly metallics. I blend my colours in a unique way and fuse together strong metallic elements with 24 carot gold on special pieces.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you are an art and painting enthusiast and love to keep a collection of excellent artworks, you should definitely check out Shreena's work on her instagram</p> Tue Nov 29 11:47:59 IST 2022 rear-seat-belt-culture-india-road-safety <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Some seven years ago, I was gently chided for a question on seat belts. &quot;Why did you book a cab without a seat belt in the back?&quot; asked an American news editor I was assisting for a story in Uttarakhand. I was amused and appalled in equal measure. Haven't you worked here long enough to know that people hardly use seat belts in the backseat? I had wanted to retort as a comeback. But I swallowed my pride and dismissed the episode as yet another instance of &quot;white privilege&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Seeing the renewed focus on rear seal belts as national news in the wake of former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry's death in a car accident, I can only remember the backseat belt incident with a touch of embarrassment. Mistry's fatal accident took place on a precarious stretch of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway route in the afternoon of September 4 when his speeding Mercedes-Benz crashed into a road divider in Palghar district. A 54-year-old Mistry and his friend Jahangir Pandole were seated in the back and they both died on the spot. The other two occupants in the front, with seat belts on—Anahita Pandole who was driving and her husband Darius Pandole—sustained injuries and are undergoing treatment in a private hospital. The luxury car Mercedes-Benz, properly equipped with advanced safety features, had seven airbags overall, including in the back.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;There's one mind-blowing thing I did not know. The seat belt actually activates the airbag. I always thought that the airbag automatically opened in the event of an accident. It is Mr. Mistry's car accident which has pointed that out for me,&quot; says K. Manmohan, an active car enthusiast in Delhi. At 75, he says he has driven every single model of car launched in the last 15 years. Even so, he did not know that it was already mandatory for all occupants in a car to wear the rear seat belt in India (138[3] of the Motor Vehicles Act), forget about knowing that airbags get deployed only when seat belts are worn. Manmohan worked in sales and marketing for an MNC before he retired and he often helped the top management in his workplace buy high-end cars. Back then he was always impressed with their safety features. &quot;My fundamental point is that if it can happen in a Mercedes, what happens to middle-class families with cars in the lower end of the price spectrum?,'' asks Manmohan who floated a petition on the same day that he heard the news of the accident. Titled &quot;National Awareness Campaign and Heavy Fines to Ensure Seat belts are worn in the backseat too&quot;, it has garnered over 5,000 signatures.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A day after the accident, the central government decided to impose a penalty on those who don't wear a belt in the rear seat. &quot;There will be a siren (or beeper that will go off in the vehicle) if the people at the rear seat don’t wear belts like in the front seats. And if they don’t wear belts, there will be a fine,” said Nitin Gadkari, union minister for road transport and highways in an interview to NDTV. Traffic fines already actively exist if a driver and co-passenger are caught not wearing a belt. Early this year, the Centre had already made the three-point seat belts system mandatory for all cars with front-facing passenger seats.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2017, Indian automobile manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India Limited had conducted a survey called &quot;Seatbelt Use in India&quot;, covering 17 cities and some 2,500 drivers and passengers. According to the results, cities in the south fared the worst when it came to wearing seat belts. Mumbai had the highest level of adherence, followed by Jaipur and Chandigarh. But while these results applied to front seat passengers, the usage of rear seat belts was as low as 4 per cent. The death of union minister Gopinath Munde in 2014 had also ignited debate on wearing the rear seat belt when his car was hit from the side by a motorist. The health ministry had decided to kick off a campaign on road safety measures. &quot;Most people think that the rear seat belts serve only a decorative purpose. In fact, wearing them is as necessary as wearing the seat belt in the front seat. They can save lives in the event of an impact. The damage to the human body is often greater when the victim is not ejected from the vehicle. Scientific tests have proven that wearing seat belts gives them a hope of survival,” then union health minister Harsh Vardhan had said in 2014.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Akshay Kumar in a latest advertisement, tweeted by Gadkari, is shown pulling up a father for sending away his just married daughter in a car with only two airbags. The ad has been universally panned for promoting dowry. While the practice of giving dowry continues even though it is a punishable offence in India, one wonders if attempts at creating awareness on wearing backseat belts and imposing fines for non-compliance is likely to yield rule-abiding behaviour anytime soon by car passengers who find rear seat belts a source of much discomfort.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Not wearing a rear seat belt is a punishable fine almost all across the developed world, says auto expert Meraj Shah. In some Japanese brands like Lexus, the siren for not wearing the backseat belt becomes a continual drone, rising in intensity unless the call is heeded. Some of the Volvos won't even drive and will keep switching off or throw fits if the rear seat belt is ignored. &quot;Culturally in India, we started wearing seat belts in the front much later than others. But now it has become a habit. It's time the rear seat belt was taken seriously by bringing in the penalties. Because people sitting in the back hardly anticipate danger like the ones in the front do and hence get less time to react in advance. The shock is greater,&quot; says Shah. &quot;Even the front seat belts, when it came out, people complained it was claustrophobic and uncomfortable. But it is only a matter of time before people get used to it.&quot;</p> Tue Sep 13 22:44:42 IST 2022