Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Its Christmas Time In The City

The morning of December 9th dawned bright and festive as Raintree Media ushered in the Christmas mood with a singalong with popular musicians Stephanie and Michael Fernandes at Project Eve in Jayanagar.

Jingle Bells, Deck The Halls, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Jingle Bell Rock, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Silent Night, Joy To The World, Felize Navidad, We Wish You A Merry Christmas and many more songs had the guests on their feet.

Ms.Rajni Mishra, former Chief General Manager, SBI, Bangalore South, said, " It is a wonderful feeling to be here at this event to usher in the Christmas spirit; the festival brings the joys of sharing and giving".

From little kids to senior citizens, people of all faiths joined in the cheerful carols and favourite songs of the season. There was an infectious feeling of bonhomie and camaraderie as many voices from different walks of life sang in unison.

Nita Kembhavi, architect, who came with her 13 year old son Arnav, said, "It is a good beginning to the Christmas season; it's been a long time since I had attended a carols singalong, and I also wanted my son to come and enjoy this."

Anupama Mannar, former President of the Inner Wheel Club of Bangalore, said, "I enjoyed singing the carols; it reminded me of my school days. The ambiance was very nice."

Dr.Gertrude D'Souza said," It was a beautiful morning and the singing was superb".

Sandhya Mendonca, Managing Director, Raintree Media, said, "Christmas is more than a festival; it is a feeling and a season of joy and merriment, of love and kindness. We wanted to hold an inclusive event of merry melodies that warm the hearts and leave a smile on the lips".

Stephanie & Michael Fernandes
Sandhya Mendonca & Rajni Mishra

Shan Re

Swapna Mankani

Nita & Arnav Kembhavi
Dr.Gertrude D'Souza

Anupama Mannar

Friday, March 24, 2017

In memoriam: Ashokamitran (September, 1931 - March, 2017)

We were honoured to feature Ashokamitran, eminent author and winner of the Sahitya Akademy Award in 1995, in our book BEST OF Chennai Volume 2. Thank you Sir, for the words.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Avarekai comes to town! Food Street celebrates Avarebele Mela

 The Good City takes you to V V Puram in Bangalore where the winter special hyacinth bean, locally popular as Avarebele, has a street food festival in its honour for 17 years in row. 

Also, don't miss the quick guide to popular dishes!

Read the article & see the video* too 

The Sajjan Rao circle in Visvesvarapuram is ringed by many temples. The oldest are the Subramanya temple, which is also the most famous, the Venkataramana temple and Sathyanarayana temple.

If the devout come to offer prayers in the morning, they are equally fervent come evening.

They are headed not to a temple but to a lane that leads off Sajjan Rao Circle, Old Market Road, that has become famous as Food Street.

It is the place to savour local delicacies* like paddu, akki rotti, kodbale and a variety of dosas slathered with butter. In recent years, popular street food from other parts of India have also found their way here.

Today, we are in luck as the famous avarekai festival is going on. Avarekai or the hyacinth bean is a winter favourite and is supposed to have antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, appetite suppressant, antispasmodic and even aphrodisiacal properties.

Did you know that Avarebele has an African Connection ?

It is believed that the hyacinth bean is from Africa and was brought to India sometime between 1600-1500 BC 

Once a year, avarekai is the 'Queen' of the menu, headlining every dish. Avarekai is commonly used in popular dishes akki rotti, uppittu and saaru. For the duration of this food fest, all the familiar favourites are there but with an infusion of this bean.

The avarekai dosa - a dense utthapam-style dosa liberally sprinkled with avarekai and served with a spicy saaru, avarekai holige, avarekai jalebi, avarekai idli, avarekai vada, avarekai kodubale, avarekai nippattu, avarekai bhaath and even avarekai cutlets!

 The traditional sweets like
      holige & jalebi also have 
  avarekai  in them! The only dessert that has so far escaped avarekai is the gulkand; made from rose petals, it is as unique as this Food Street, avarekai or no avarekai.


A quick guide to popular dishes on Food Street

Paddu, also known as gulliyappa in Kannada, paniyaram in Tamil and gundponglu in Telugu, this cute little dumpling made of fermented batter of urad dal and rice is a cross between an idli and a dosa.

Akki rotti is a roti made of rice flour that is patted on to a plantain leaf and released on to hot tawa.

Uppittu or upma is made of roasted semolina, cooked vegetables and seasoned with curry leaves and mustard seeds.

Saaru is a nourishing broth made with tamarind and jaggery extract, with dal or greens or just pepper.

Holige is a sweet flatbread made with split yellow gram, plain flour, jaggery or sugar, cardamom powder and/or nutmeg powder and ghee.

The avarebele mela is on from Jan 5 - 15, 11 am to 10 pm at 
V V Puram, Malleswaram & Nagarabhavi.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

'A masterpiece- a book to be tasted, again & again'

Full text of the address by His Excellency  Dr K Rosaiah, Governor of Tamil Nadu at the release of BEST OF CHENNAI VOLUME 2, at the ITC Grand Chola, Chennai on 7.7.2016

           It is a pleasure to release the International Coffee Table Book “Best of Chennai Volume 2” published by Raintree Media and Global Village Partnerships.
            At the outset I congratulate the Raintree Media for its “The Best of Series” books published in 40 countries. I am happy that Raintree Media is doing this excellent work of showing the world the many achievements of Indians    from    different parts of the country. I am pleased to learn that the first volume of the Best of Chennai was published in 2009 and today they are bringing out the second volume. It is amazing to see the growth of this city over these years and the increasing success of its people and organizations.

          Tamil Nadu especially Chennai is known for its rich heritage and tradition. Chennaipattinam - Madras - the present Chennai is the first city of South India and the capital of Tamil Nadu. It is a historic land of ancient culture. Today Chennai is a manufacturing hub with numerous IT Parks, Automobile and Pharmaceutical companies.

‘The Best of Chennai Volume 2’ highlights the positive aspects about the city of Chennai and the state of Tamil Nadu. When I browsed the book, the unique feature which I found is that it nicely depicts the bouquet of the culture, architecture  and the commerce of Tamil Nadu especially Chennai, which speaks volume of  its greatness. The nice and cogent presentation on the achievements made by several talented people in various specialities of Chennai deserves a special mention.

 Chennai has a rich cultural tradition and the book not only says about the various art forms but also brings to light the artists, writers, musicians, film makers and actors who are part of this rich legacy. Chennai is also known for sportsmen and women of repute, who have brought pride to the state and the country in a wide range of sports like chess, tennis, squash, motorsports, watersports, football and cricket.

Apart from the beautiful and excellent photographs, there are outstanding images of artwork in the book. I am happy to learn that they are by eminent artists Achuthan Kudallur, S Nandagopal and K.Muralidharan. Above all, Chennai is known for its very successful businesses. As the 'Gateway to the South', it has had grand and eventful past. The remarkable part about this book is the information it carries about organizations in various sectors and their contribution to the economy. These establishments have created a strong foundation for the growth of the city of Chennai and the state of Tamil Nadu. I am also happy to read about the young entrepreneurs who are breaking new ground in business.

I am sure that the interviews given by many eminent people for this book, and their views will inspire the readers of the younger generation to achieve more. I appreciate the good and excellent work done by Raintree Media and Global Village Partnerships in publishing the ‘Best of Chennai Volume-2’.

            I congratulate Smt. Sandhya Mendonca, Editor-in-Chief and her entire team for bringing out this masterpiece. I am sure the “Best of Chennai Volume - 2” will be among the best international coffee table books and it will adorn every lobby and sitting room.       

I conclude with the words of Francis Bacon, English author & philosopher, “Some Books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some books are to be chewed and digested.” 
Best of Chennai Volume 2’ is one which can be tasted again and again.
                      My greetings to you all. Jai Hind.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

SHE Collective @ Casa Cottage, March 19

There were lilting verses and bold strokes of colour, there was a shared sensitivity and lifting of spirits. On this warm midsummer morning, many of the city's cognoscenti gathered to hear poems from an eminent poet and many aspiring ones, to admire the art of a celebrated painter and to encourage budding artists.

SHE COLLECTIVE's morning of art, poetry and affirmation at Casa Cottage highlighted the efforts by the Dream India Network to provide safe havens to very young girls who are in peril in this city.

“I am just a little bit of energy that adds to the universe’s glow” Kavitha Rajasekhar reading out her verses from SHE Vol 1

Artist Shan Re creating a beautiful piece of art
"As for women, the gods said, ‘Let them be strong rooted, like trees’. For it is they who shall hold the ends of the world together", eminent poet Poile Sengupta reads her works

Anindita Sengupta reads from her book "City of Water"

"You, the Son of God, Pieta draped on my lap, Look into eyes
dripping with piety." - Mini Naidoo reads her poem "Pieta"

 Dr Elizabeth Cherian Paramesh reads her poem "Avala Payana"

"Strong and resilient, yet a much gentler form", Zarine Kharas reads from her poem "I am a woman"

Musten Jiruwala, CEO, TechMust Software reads his poem "Mehez Ek"

"You seem to remain in me forever  / Just a dream - too good to be true."
- Guthi Jambunath reads from his poem "You"

“Art is poetry on canvas, Poetry is spoken art” says Sandhya Mendonca, Managing Director, Raintree Media and the catalyst of ‘Under the Raintree’ and ‘SHE COLLECTIVE’

The warm hearted Benjamine Oberoi whose heart beats for India’s disadvantaged.

Bhushan Oberoi makes a persuasive pitch to support the Dream India Network.

Sister Margaret & Father Edwards have knit together a network of safe homes
to take care of young girls at risk.

Guests in rapt attention

Art lovers are delighted at the display

Friday, March 18, 2016

Poems for the SHE Collective @ Casa Cottage

We are happy to present all the poems that have been sent for SHE COLLECTIVE’s art, poetry and affirmation event on March 19.

We feel warm and fuzzy that we have been able to meld Raintree Media’s publishing work with the Under the Raintree platform for the Arts and the SHE Collective, our social responsibility channel for women and children.

Eminent writer Poile Sengupta will recite her poems while artist Shan Re paints. The six best entries selected by Poile Sengupta and Sandhya Mendonca will be announced at the venue, and the poets would be invited to read. At this event, we would like to bring focus on safe havens for homeless young girls in Bengaluru, being provided by the Dream India Network.

On display are sculptures by Romicon Revola, upcoming sculptor, charcoal sketches by Mini Naidoo and ingenious art by Sindhu Jois, a student of Chitrakala Parishat, apart from a selection of Shan Re’s artworks. We have a selection of books to browse through too.

We welcome you warmly to a morning of affirmation and friendship at Casa Cottage, Clapham Street, Richmond Road tomorrow at 10.30 am.

A TWIST IN THE TALE ~ Antra Bhargava

A slap is enough,
To put her in her place.
A slap is enough,
There’ll be no marks on her face.
No one must know,
She’ll keep it in her chest.
I own her, she must obey,
After all, I know best.
Like it or not, It’s my right.
She’ll never put up a fight.
I made a fist, for the first time today.
I felt my voice rise, for the first time today.
The anger in my head exploded,
The fear and pain went poof.
I felt power surge through my veins,
For the first time today.
I sent my arm flying,
Right through his nose.
I saw him surprised,
For the first time today.


Avala Payana ~ Dr Elizabeth Cherian


Destiny - Thy name is Woman ~ Dr Elizabeth Cherian Paramesh

A little angel so blessed with beauty unmatched
She won hearts and brought smiles
As she grew up she knew she had to traverse miles and miles
Before she blossomed to be the lady so dainty that she was

She loved ,she lived and gave her all
To family, friends and every form of life around
She tread the rugged terrains with ease
Every step was a mystery unravelled

Now the strides were getting slow
Her feet tired and steps faltered
She had walked the path long and far
She heard the stream only when she was very close

No hand to hold nor to egg her on
She went along the pathways familiar by now
She accomplished only few of her daily goals
Sometimes missing the way on the lonely journey

Her frame grew frail and vision hazy
She longed to be held and none cared
The familiar sights and smells seemed lost on her
Is the end anywhere near?

Gone Before the First Cry ~ Shivani Gowda, Dec 2013, Age 10

The mother's cries were heard by deaf ears,
while the deed was done with cheers.

She was made to plunge into an everlasting night,
before she could see her first sight.

The baby girl would have to go,
because the parents wanted a boy to show.
Straight from her mother’s womb,
she reaches her contemptible tomb.

Not regretted is this loss,
Like a waste paper napkin to toss

O Mother India, arise,
and open your children’s eyes!

I am a Woman ~ Zarine Kharas

I tell the heart to be still
Though pain and crushed hope have left an icy chill;
And ruthlessly I still the quaver in my voice
When, as a daughter, I have to rejoice.

Each teardrop tells a story
as night rolls in and empty space beckons; without warmth or glory;
But as rays of sun tell of the approaching dawn
I smile and venture forth; as a mother I cannot mourn.

Through each day, thoughts stray and wander
Recalling dreams that died and fell asunder;
But how can I just bare the soul
For I’m a woman and that’s my role

So tall I stand to face the wind
That threatens to uproot me and rescind.
But, having weathered many a storm, I’m shaped, I’m worn
Strong and resilient, yet a much gentler form.


Intensity of Love (Shiddat-e-mohabbat) ~ Musten Jiruwala

ज़ालिम को मुंसिफ़ बनाया है मैंने
इल्ज़ाम लगाकर इंसाफ़ करेगा मेरा
दीवानो की फ़ितरत ही कुछ ऐसी है
मुंतज़िर है वो इंसाफ़ का तेरा

मोहब्बत को क़ाबिलियत मेरी क़ुबूल नहीं
मोहब्बत की चाहत का मैं क़ाबिल नहीं
इसी तरह लड़खड़ाती हुई ज़िंदगी को
ढोते घसीटते दम निकल रहा है मेरा

ज़ालिम दुनियाने निकाले है ख़ून के आँसू मेरे
वही आँसू से सजायी है इस नज़्म को मैंने
सुभानल्लाह सुभानल्लाह करेगी यह दुनिया तेरी
फिर ख़ून के आँसू रुलाएगी यह दुनिया तेरी

ग़ैरों से जीत हासिल की है हमने हर दम
कभी दोस्ती से तो कभी दुश्मनी से
अपनो की मोहब्बत से मात खायी है हमने
ना दोस्ती से ना दुश्मनी से

दम गर मेरा टूट भी जाए तो ग़म ना करना
बिखरी हुई ज़िंदगी को तुम सम्भालना समेटना
मैं था, अब नहीं हूँ उसका सुकर अदा करना
और फ़ौरन तुम मुझे भूलकर आगे निकल जाना


PIETA [Ode to Mother Teresa]~ Mini Naidoo

Come, let me pick you up
from the morass of wretched apathy;
Lift you, just a bag of bones
onto my maternal lap,
Peel away your torn and tattered rags,
Feel the parchment thin skin
barely covering your ribs,
jutting out and grazing my palms
as I run them gingerly
over your clogged-up pores;
I bathe away the stink and stench
of filthy pavements and open gutters
to reveal open, bleeding sores;
Come, let me apply balm
on your wounds,
and sing a psalm
for your wounded soul.

Come, let me hold
a glass of clean water
to your cracked, parched lips,
Feed a mouthful of gruel
into your toothless mouth
which has forgotten
what it is to be fed;
Feel it go chokingly
through your throat
and reach jerkily
into your concave belly
which has forgotten
its last meal.

Come, let me wipe your eyes encrusted,
tightly closed against cruelty,
And open them once, just once,
to see that even if
humanity has forsaken you,
there is still one human who cares.
When you leave this wretched world,
my arms will convey you directly
to the welcoming arms of God.
Come, look into the eyes of Love,
The eyes of a Godmother,
Before you close your eyes
and open them to look into God's eyes;
You, the Son of God,
Pieta draped on my lap,
Look into eyes
dripping with piety.

She ~ Vasumathi Rao

Even as a speck in the Ocean of Life
She had to fight hands that groped and scarred 
She had to fight hands that clawed and marred 

She had to fight hands that prayed for bounties absurd
She had to fight hands that granted sons unperturbed

She had to wait for leftovers off her little brother's plate
She had to wait for her place in sun hanging unto arms of Fate

She had to be better than the best, for anything less
She would be the butt of jest , ridiculed and a mess

She had to move out from the home of her childhood
She had to silently endure the ridiculing of her womanhood

She had to bear the burden of the man made barren dessert
She had to break free of shackles and chains and assert

That She would in her heart mother a girl in the Ocean of Life!


The fall of water on my being ~ Devika Thukral

The fall of water on my being,
My inner self,
I am all of these and more...

Inner light
Power Struggles
Mother Mary
Mother Teresa

So many facets, so many different views,
I am a woman
a woman is in me                                                

The Self ~ Anees Zehra Husain

The self cannot be encapsulated in a verse or book
To achieve thus, a lifetime of travails of the Masters it took
One has to imbibe, seek, follow and not merely look
Search , search deep within You, not found in any
Mountain, sea shore cranny or nook
To achieve this one must constantly battle the mind
For the evils attached to in it strange and dangerous zones
Ourselves will find
Hence seek the solitude and peace within your heart
By seeking refuge wherein Paradise lies , the negatives
Of the mind will die and depart
Cannot just be spoken of but to action every word,
Thought and deed
Like The Great Masters, hence focus on the heart
For in it lies the good seed of which is borne the
the fruit bearing and shade giving tree

Valentine’s verse ~ Deepak Joshi

under twisted trees

under a moon floating above drifting clouds,
in pelting rain, in howling storms,

through plagues and pestilences, and wars and droughts
where rotting corpses pile up to the skies,
in those desolate days, in careless sunny days,
when our cup spills joy and our laughing mouths ache,
in the blind fire of lust, in the divine ecstasy of life,
in the soft arms of angels, in the forgiving lap of God,
in the curse of daily routine
I will love you.

and many thousand years later,
after my body is long dead and gone
and my ashes become soil
and the soil becomes grass
and cattle devour the grass
and men devour the cattle
and die and become grass
and a billion more eons pass
until the sun’s final flare is spent
and all is cold and dark and lifeless
I will still love you.

Varadakshine Viruddha ~ BK Saroja


Woman ~ Meghana Gaonkar

There's many stories of her love but remain the heart of it the same.
Cannot bring it to senses or the unmistakable tame.
Call her madness..call her a bundle of dancing flame.Shall this rapture you ..shall that bring you to a mystical solved game.

Of beauty for the love that will always shineShe is pain, she is insane, she is as strong as there could be a thundering rain. Lots to complain, where there's everything to gain, she is a song you cannot explain.

Beyond all the shades of age & timeRivered forever pristine and thineAll words spoken have the same whirling divine
All things heart, all things gold, all things lifeAll the stories toldShe will be her, indescribable joy. Be it unconditional unassuming irrevocable her soul.
Call her love. Call her life. Without a she, we cannot be.
Celebrate her life, celebrate her cajolery and all that glory
With just her and her who make it an incredible being a woman journey. 
Proud as a tree, She. Me. We. Be.


You - by Guthi Jambunath

You, my half-remembered song:
I can only hum the melody
While its lyrics keep slipping by.

You, my incomplete painting:
I wish to finish but confused
My touch may disfigure your portrait.

You, my unborn utopian verse:
I can’t conceive my virgin thoughts
For they seem too tender to bear the burden.

Still, haunted by your
Vaguely elusive angelic beauty,
I daydream you in my nightmares.

You seem to remain in me forever
Just a dream - too good to be true.