Friday, December 30, 2011

Twist to unwind

a1000yoga is a yoga studio that not only teaches the ancient art of yoga but also makes it interesting and upbeat.

It is all calm at a1000yoga studio. A stroll down the 1st cross, near Jyothi Nivas College, leads you to this oasis of bliss, worlds apart from the cacophony outside. The studio exudes a stillness, a sense of calm and an awareness that engulf you even as you step across its threshold.

Pradeep Govind G, the founder of a1000yoga, was all of seven years old when he first got a taste of yoga. Under his father’s tutelage he learnt the classical asanas and later devoted himself to studying yoga full time. A graduate from Bihar Yoga Bharathi in M.Sc. Applied Yogic Science with a university gold medal, Pradeep has been teaching yoga in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Colombo. Unassuming and nonchalant about his expertise, Pradeep is completely in sync with what he teaches. It is perhaps an indication of the humility and peacefulness which comes from years of practicing this art. 

a1000yoga studio
The need for yoga could not have been greater than it is now. Unlike the 60s generation that relied on good old home chores and leisurely walks, the last few generations need a much more centred and holistic approach where health is concerned.

Awareness is the key and most people today are high on fitness regimes, health food and fads. This growing want has given rise to gyms, alternate healing, spas and massage centers offering care for not just the body but the soul as well.

At a1000yoga studio, the instructors themselves are practicing ‘yogis’, adhering to certain tenets and norms. They take into consideration varying aspects like the doshas or the inherent physiological persona of an individual before recommending the best yogic course for them. 

a1000yoga studio
The highlight of this studio is ‘Hot Yoga’, a sinuous sequence of asanas that is practiced in a heated studio of 40 degrees Celsius. If that is too hot to handle, you could try ‘Power Vinyasa’, a flow based session with a well-choreographed sequence of asanas. Busy executives and go-getters can get the most they can out of ‘Corporate Yoga’. Or one can get their daily dose of this centuries-old discipline through the contemporary ‘Power Yoga’ or the rigorous ‘Iyengar Yoga’.

The studio has also brought in a qualified baby sitter to mind children while their parents work out, and one can breathe easy without worrying about having to rush back home.

Its unique name is drawn from the Sahasrara chakra which is represented by a 1000 petal lotus and is also an indication of the various styles of yoga and schools of yoga that are taught at the studio. Apart from the regular classes, Pradeep also holds workshops and will be hosting an International Yoga Teachers training in January 2012. You can reach Pradeep on pradeep@a1000yoga.com.

By Dolly D N/ Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com

Read the story on the Goa Herald on the link below:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

BEST OF COLOMBO

Sandhya Mendonca, CEO, GVP India with Pravir Samarasinghe, CEO, WTC, Colombo .JPG              Sandhya Mendonca, CEO, GVP India, presents the BEST OF BANGALORE to
Pravir Samarasinghe, CEO, WTC, Colombo, Sri Lanka

From Serendip to New Delhi

Some words have a meaning that is as good as they sound and vice versa. Serendipity is one such word, and it means, ‘the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident’. English author Horace Walpole coined this word based on the old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip in his work, The Three Princes of Serendip.

After a recent visit to Sri Lanka, I had to make a quick dash to Delhi. The people I met there led me to think most bonds that we forge are all the result of serendipitous encounters.

This is the premise of the movie starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale; the romantic comedy features the pair meeting while reaching out for the same pair of gloves as Christmas gifts.

Serendipitous Sri Lanka
Out there in our national capital, having taken the precaution to arrive a day ahead of important meetings, I had time enough to catch up albeit briefly with a few friends.

One of them was dancer Prathibha Prahlad, who has just organised the Delhi International Arts Festival to much acclaim. Sipping green tea at the India International Centre, she talked about several highlights of the show. As we stepped out in to the night that was just beginning to be enveloped up with cold, a voice piped out from a dark corner.

It turned out to belong to the bewhiskered catlike artist Jatin Das. He insisted that we join him and we ended up listening to him spellbound for close to an hour.

Artist Jatin Das
Jatin Das has been painting for 50 years. Born in Orissa, India, he has achieved international acclaim for his painting, murals and sculptures. While his works feature in several public and private collections in India and abroad, Jatin has a large personal collection of traditional arts and crafts and has set up the JD Centre of Arts on the outskirts of Bhubaneshwar. Designed by the eminent architect B.V. Doshi, JDCA is a repository of tribal, folk, classical and contemporary art. It also features his unique ‘pankha’ collection – of hand fans in the Indian subcontinent.

Much before the Centre came up, Jatin had started a 'Meet the Artist' programme which has run uninterruptedly since September 2001. On the second Saturday of every month, a scholar, artist or craftsperson is invited to present their work to an audience. The programme has embraced a broad definition of the term ‘artist’, encompassing sessions on the preservation of temple murals, town planning in Orissa, the origin, evolution and use of script. 

Jatin Das' collection at JDCA

Jatin’s passion for arts and crafts started when his grandmother bought him a terracotta toy at a street fair in Mayurbanj. He says, “Traditional folk and tribal objects still hold high energy for me. I want them to share the same space as a Chola bronze or a Brancusi: to dissolve the boundaries that keep the so-called fine art separate from the work of India's master artisans.”

Later this month, he is starting shooting at JDCA for a series of programmes for Doordarshan. With his deep voice and wealth of experience, the series will be eminently watchable. He has lectured at Harvard amongst several other universities and museums, and anchoring the programme will be as effortless for him and enjoyable for us as it was listening to him over hot kebabs on a cold winter night. 

By Sandhya Mendonca (Sandhya Mendonca writes a weekly column for the Herald Goa)

Read the story on Goa Herald on the link below:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Non-Stop Tully

BBC’s Chief of Bureau New Delhi for 22 years and an author, the Indian-born Sir Mark Tully has developed the “gaze of an insider”, evident in his new book, Non-Stop India, published by Penguin India. The book, which covers a range of topics from Naxalites to tigers and the growing use of English, is a warning against complacency. Following are excerpts from an exclusive interview with Raintree Media and his remarks at the book launch.

Non-Stop India begins with the concept of ‘jugaar’ that Tully finds deeply ingrained in Indians, the attitude that everything will work itself out at the end. While he believes complacency is dangerous, Tully says, “I have come to have a strong conviction that life is 90% fate or luck or what have you and 10% freewill or our own doing. I often say to myself leave it to fate. Usually it turns out all right.”

He talks about the criticism of his book that he is not angry enough and is too soft on India. “Everything you do need not be critical, pugnacious and attacking. Journalism is not about me, it is the story of the person I am writing about. It is much better to let the people you meet speak.” 

Non-Stop India book launch at Landmark, Bangalore
Looking back over the years, Tully says, “The major turning point which held India back was Indira Gandhi’s version of bureaucratic socialism which she adopted as a way of differentiating herself from the Congress politicians who split from her, and appealing to the poor. The ending of the licence-permit raj was the beginning of the era of rapid growth. But that was not just a sudden turning point in 1991. Under Rajiv Gandhi, measures to relax the grip of the licence-permit raj were taken.”

“Today India’s ambition should be to become a country where everyone has enough. There is no need to have too much. The biggest misconception the world had of India was that it is irredeemably mired in poverty. It is now that India has joined the club of wealthy nations. It is extraordinary how images always swing from one extreme to the other, which is so un-Indian. India stands for the middle road,” he says. 

Sir Mark Tully
Non-Stop India is for Indians who want to see things in a slightly unusual light, to be shaken out of some of their certainties to question their views, and foreigners who may have so far seen a stereotyped India. There is a real possibility that Indians will pick up the baton of governance. I have tried to make the point that corruption is a symptom of bad governance and hope that my book will do something to convince Indians that corruption cannot be cured without an improvement in governance. I hope it will convince foreigners that the facile picture of India’s prospects, the picture which portrays India as motoring on a straight road to becoming the world’s largest economy, does not portray the whole truth. Yes there are grounds for optimism but there is a lot that needs to be done if India is to fulfil its potential.”

He explains, “The phenomenal role of NGOs, the rise of entrepreneurs after the end of the licence-permit raj, and the change in the attitude in the Dalit community are reasons to feel optimistic.” 

Sir Mark Tully at Landmark
On his books on religion, Tully says, “To me a life without belief in God seems to miss a whole element.”

As for his future he says, “At 76, I leave that in the hands of God. I am often asked whether I will continue to live in India. All I can say is I have no plans to go. If you say something will never happen in life it very soon does happen. As for professional prospects I can say that I would like to continue with my BBC Radio 4 programme, Something Understood.”

By Anuradha Prasad/ Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com

Read the story on the Goa Herald on the link below:

http://119.82.71.95/herald//Details.aspx?edorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=9&boxid=3325968&id=2807&eddate=12/16/2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Are you ready to run?

Sharath Raju, founder of High Line Retail and certified Barefoot Lifestyle coach, is all geared up to get folks hooked on the barefoot way of living and running.

It is quite a feeling, isn’t it? Feet on the ground yet that feeling of flying in the air? What is on your feet is what counts and no one knows this better than 28-year-old Sharath Raju, the founder of High Line Retail, the only distributor in India for minimalist gear, barefoot being one. He is also the only Indian certified coach to train people on the Barefoot Lifestyle.

The philosophy behind Barefoot Lifestyle is that we can tap into the natural benefits in our feet, with anything that provides sensory stimulation. Raju trained under Lee Saxby, the only representative who coaches the Barefoot technique, in London. He has a three year license, signed by Lee and Harvard Biomechanics. 

Sharath Raju, Founder of High Line Retail
Armed with an MBA, Raju worked with HP and IBM, and later Decathlon Sports India where he was the brand manager for Btwin cycles. A penchant for fitness kept Raju running and cycling for three years and the passion is still on. He switched tracks earlier this year in June 2011, after reading Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run, which inspired him to experience the concept first hand in an effort to improve his running techniques. This is when he decided to start High Line Retail.

With this venture, Raju hopes to acquaint Indians with sports gear that is enhanced with advanced technologies that not only help improve skills and performance but also make the sports they play enjoyable activities. Their customers are those who are not averse to trying their hand at diverse sports like minimalist running, triathlon and cycling. High Line has tied up with Vivobarefoot and it also has an ecommerce website allowing people to buy directly from there. 


He believes that a marathon is an endurance sport and injuries due to wrong techniques of running and wrong shoes are inevitable. He hopes to reach out to runners by helping them learn the new technique, to be part of his running clinic, and maybe even try out the new shoes and go the barefoot way!

So, if you are a runner and you are looking for new shoes apart from the regular padded shoes, look no further. Those running marathons can consider an EVO 2 high performance shoe, highly breathable, designed for people in endurance sports. One of the runners who will be at the Goa River Marathon 2011, Neel Sengupta, swears by the Vibram FiveFingers with a 4 mm sole which he uses for short runs but for the bigger main runs he is still very comfortable with the regular well padded shoes.

Raju’s advice for runners is, “Wherever, whenever possible a runner should get their shoes off and be barefoot, basically for a person’s feet to re-activate to natural surroundings.”

By Aditya Mendonca/ Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com

Read the story on the Goa Herald on the link below:

http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspxedorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=27&boxid=33856906&id=2711&eddate=12/01/2011

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Eiffel on your wall

The subject of what holds an artist’s interest is itself worthy of note. Shibu Arakkal, the son of renowned painter Yusuf Arakkal who has chosen photography as his métier, is fascinated with design.

“Anything related to design fascinates me – it could be any kind of design - my mind works like a graphic designer’s,” he says. From photographing the reflection of light on the headlights of his car to a water tap, Shibu interprets reality as he sees it.

Shibu Arakkal's Eiffel O'Seven
Exploring the language of design, he once worked on a series titled ‘Abstract notions’. The question that he sought the answer to was ‘why do people choose the curve as opposed to the line?’ The answer - which seems innately simple to me (why the need for research, I quip) - was that the curve is attractive as it mimics the form of the female hip. Referring to a photograph of a bulb in this series, Shibu insists that the shape of a light bulb is not a functional need; one of his photographs may well be taken for the picture of a feminine hip.

After showing a series that dealt with the curve as a form, in his next series, he presented straight lines and architectural forms with mirrored montages and graphic renditions.

Continuing with his interest in interpreting design, he has photographed great architecture from around the world like the Colosseum in Rome, the Notre Dame in Paris, the Emirates Towers in Dubai, among several other buildings. He spent over two years in creating a visual study of the famed Eiffel Tower, inspired by traditional Japanese print making and influenced by early twentieth century art deco.

Shibu Arakkal's Eiffel O'Seven
The style he employs is extremely simplistic; relying on pure black and white line drawings to create an avante garde series that has met with critical success.

Shibu is a regular in the Indian contemporary art shows circuit. He has had several solo and group shows nationally and internationally and his works are collected by seasoned art collectors.

He has now launched the calendar for 2012 - Eiffel O'Seven which is based on this series. There are only 250 copies priced at Rs.500 each, so if you would like a stunning visual of the Eiffel on your wall, write to him at: email@shibuarakkal.com

By Sandhya Mendonca (Sandhya Mendonca writes a weekly column for the Herald Goa)


Read the story on Goa Herald on the link below:


http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspxedorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=15&boxid=41310343&id=2184&eddate=10/31/2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

A nutty thanksgiving

My favourite place to visit in Singapore is the Long Bar at the Raffles; it’s a remarkable experience to sip on the famed Singapore Sling, munch on peanuts and gleefully toss the shells on the floor. Not quite proper behaviour in upmarket establishments but this is a time-honoured tradition at the gorgeous colonial-style hotel.

This is the time of the year that Bangalore goes nuts too. Literally so, with mounds of the brown pods piling up for a few days. This is the season of the annual Kadalekai parashe – the groundnut or peanut fair.

The fair is centred around the Bull Temple in Basavanagudi. Legend has it that the statue was built in homage to a bull that used to rampage through these areas when they were farmlands. When the bull defied all attempts to stop it, the farmers resorted to prayers. They promised to offer the first groundnut harvest to the bull each year if it would leave the crop unharmed. The bull acquiesced and the tradition continues with the mammoth stone bull being bedecked with a garland of groundnuts after the harvest.

Another version says that the bull turned into stone when an angry farmer flung his club at it. It kept growing in size even as the penitent farmers built a temple to enshrine it. The people prayed to Lord Shiva who stopped its growth by piercing a trident through its head.

Bull Temple
Whichever version suits your fancy, the tradition of local thanksgiving continues with grateful farmers from far and beyond making a special trip to the Dodda Basava (big bull) temple with their crop during the Kartika masa (in November – December).

The accompanying fair becomes a playground for parents and kids alike. Suffused with a carnival spirit, kids have plenty of games to play and adults browse through several stalls to purchase knick-knacks.

The Bull temple and adjacent well-maintained park has been a favourite picnic spot through the years at other times of the year as well. An adventure sequence in a Kannada film in which I acted as a kid was shot here. Armed with badminton racquets, a group of kids thrashed villains and freed our kidnapped friend. Hurray! Another bit of personal nostalgic trivia hinges around the fact that my mother visited the fair on the evening before I was born. Perhaps that explains why I am so fond of peanuts.

Kadalekai Parashe
Along with the games and shopping, it’s a treat to eat a variety of peanuts – plain, salted, boiled, roasted not just from different parts of Karnataka but also from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Over the years, the fair has been growing in scale and there are vendors of chaat and dosas; yet it’s a festival that takes this growing urban sprawl to its rural roots. The kadalekai parashe is a quaint custom relived complete with the old system of measuring the quantity by the cylindrical ‘paav’ and ‘litre’ instead of grams and kilos.

By Sandhya Mendonca (Sandhya Mendonca writes a weekly column for the Herald Goa)

Read the story on Goa Herald on the link below:

http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspx?edorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=10&boxid=193551984&id=2057&eddate=11/26/2011


Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Southern Storm

‘Kolaveri Di’ by Dhanush is a viral hit
Wondering what people have been posting as their status updates? They are saying “Why this kolaveri di?”

This is the song that has got India rocking in a tizzy and is making not only Tamil Nadu but the world trip on it, thanks to the YouTube clip. 

Sung by Dhanush, son-in-law of superstar Rajnikanth, the music is composed by newcomer Anirudh Ravichandar from the upcoming Tamil movie ‘3’ directed by Dhanush’s wife Aishwarya. It stars Dhanush and Shruti Hassan. 
Dhanush recording 'Kolaveri di'
“The soup song”, as the singer calls it, was a spontaneous burst of funny lyrics. Anirudh had composed the tune which Dhanush picked up in the recording studio and simply started singing what came to his head. 

The result is a happy song set and catchy lyrics in Tam-English; the team had so much fun with it that they recorded it straight away and uploaded the video on YouTube. Within a few days, it has become the new addictive taste and there are different versions coming up each day as a tribute to it including a Carnatic version where the whacky lyrics are sung in perfect tempo to a raga. 

‘Why this kolaveri di?’ can be loosely translated as, ‘why are you killing me, woman?’ This is one song that isn’t killing softly; it has grossed one million hits and more on its YouTube page, a record for any Indian song and especially the Tamil music industry. Tamil songs have ruled the roost in the South with both soulful and peppy original compositions; Ilayaraja and AR Rehman are of course legends in their own time with international repute. 
The team behind 'Kolaveri di'
Kolaveri’s composer Anirudh Ravichandar is 21. This Chennai lad is one of the youngest music directors to enter the film Industry. ‘3’ is his debut and a brilliant kick-start to his career. 

What are you doing still reading this? Go catch the song on YouTube. 

Lyrics of Kalaveri Di:

Hello Boys.. I am Singing Song…Soup Song.. Flop Song..

Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di? Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di? Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Dee? Why This Kolaveri? Di..

Distance’la Moon’nu Moon’nu Moon’nu Color’ru White’tu White’tu Background Night’tu Nigth’tu Night’tu Color’ru Black’ku

Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Dee? Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di?

White’tu Skin’nu Girl’lu Girl’lu Girl’lu Heart’tu Black’ku Eyes’su Eyes’su Meet’tu Meet’tu My Future Dark’ku..

Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di? Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Di?

Mama, Notes Eduthuko..Apdiye Kaila Snacks Eduthuko..Papapa Papapapa Papapa Pa Pa..Šeriya Vaasi..Šuper Mama Ready.. Ready 1 2 3 4..What A Change Over Mama Agaim Mama.. Nøw Tune Change’ju..

Kaila Glass’su.. Only Ènglish’sa..Hand’la Glass’su Glass’la Šcøtch’chu Èyes’su Full’la Tear’ru Èmpty Life’fu, Girl Cøme’mu Life’fu Reverse’su Gear’ru Løve’vu Løve’vu Oh My Løve’vu Yøu Šhøw Tø Me Pøw’vu Cøw’vu Cøw’vu Køzhi Cøw’vu I Want Yøu Here Nøw’vu Gød I am Dying Nøw Šhe Is Happy Høw’vu? This Šøng’gu Pass Tø Bøys’su We Døn’t Have Chøice’su

Why This Kølaveri Kølaveri Kølaveri Di Why This Kølaveri Kølaveri Kølaveri Di Why This Kølaveri Kølaveri Kølaveri Dee Why This Kølaveri Kølaveri Kølaveri Di

Fløp Šøng..

- Aditya Mendonca/Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com
Read the story in the Goa Herald on link below
 http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspx?edorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=9&boxid=53848953&id=2663&eddate=11/24/2011 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Reaching for the skies

Sublime Galleria, a sky gallery designed to ‘inspire awe’ is the versatile Uzma Irfan’s latest offering to art lovers in Bangalore.

On a late winter afternoon, the narrow bridge connecting the towers of UB City cuts a striking picture. Newly converted to host the Sublime Galleria, the breathtaking location is the latest art space in Bangalore. Its founder, Uzma Irfan, hopes to make it a platform for young, upcoming artists.
It is light and airy with generous sunlight streaming through the glass windows, the unframed art work suspended along its length. Outside, the muted hustle and bustle of city life flows on. As dusk nears, the LED lights, that cast no shadow on the artwork, come on. 

“UB City has been a destination for art lovers for many years now, with dedicated events such as Art Bengaluru, which has helped put the city on the global art scene. Hence, this was a natural choice to introduce India’s first ‘Sky Galleria’, overlooking the spectacular panorama of the Garden City. It aims to be a refreshing concept, providing visitors with a unique experience of being suspended in mid-air while browsing through Fine Art,” says Irfan, who is also the Executive Director of Corporate Communications for the Prestige Group. 
Her previous associations with art have included organising the Art Bengaluru festival. She has also handled solo art shows and aspired to do something more to promote the artists and keep them motivated. Her father, Irfan Razack, Chairman and Managing Director of Prestige Group, suggested a gallery would be just the thing. 

She says, “Sublime Galleria was created with a vision to support young and upcoming artists and I believe that this has been achieved to a large extent over the last year. The new-look Sublime will cater to a wider selection of artists with their artworks being on display around the year.” 
Irfan hopes that the Galleria will evolve into a space where artists and art lovers can gather to discuss art or to muse or to simply seek inspiration. 

Right now, the Galleria has on board eighteen artists and photographers on a contract for three months. During this time, they will be mentored to help bring out their best. 

It is an eclectic collection that greets you at the gallery, ranging over diverse art media. Farah Ahmed’s ‘Negative Aesthetics’ was a happy accident on Photoshop. Srividya GS’s choice is watercolours while Amina Shazi finds her expression in digital art. Photographer Ashish Parmar captures a pair of ants in the Chorla Ghats in ‘Macro Love’ and Manoj Masand works his magic with ‘Seed Chemistry’ and ‘Rhythmic Texture’. Another artist, Pragya Jain describes her work, “The core of my art is energy. Each of my works contains a colour story, and the story at all times is a cheerful one.” 
Uzma Irfan
Experimental and individualistic, every artist stands out and holds his own at the gallery. As Irfan rightly says, “At the Sublime Galleria, the artist is the hero.” 

Anuradha Prasad/ Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com 
Read the story in Goa Herald on link below:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A musical conclave: India Music Week

Over 40 Indian and European artists are ‘celebrating the spirit of pure music’ across three cities.
As an exciting festive winter chill blows across the country, India Music Week (IMW) has set the ball rolling for a brilliant season of live music. 

Featuring over 40 acts, the line-up combines a mix of some of the biggest names in the Indian indie scene and an eclectic collection of European jazz/electronica artists. 

In addition to the performances, the festival’s inaugural edition features a two-day music conference at Delhi’s Eros Hotel. 
The Raghu Dixit Project, Soulmate, Thermal And A Quarter, Motherjane, Ska Vengers, Menwhopause, KK and Parikrama are among the Indian artists, while French Reunion Island chanteuse Stephanie Thazar, German electronica trio Jahcoozi, Norwegian electro-soul producer Mathias Stubø, German swing band BuJazzO and Norwegian eclectic pop duo Mari & Stein make up the European leg of the event. 

The festival also features some interesting Indian-tinged electronica from acts like Sattyananda Electro-Classical, Hamza & Lateef, Hari & Sukhmani, Shantam as well as some of Indian electronica’s most famous beat junkies like Teddy Boy Kill, Ma Faiza, Arjun Vagale & Ashvin (Jalebee Cartel) and B.L.O.T. 
Amit Saigal
As Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi rock to some amazing tunes, we bring you an exclusive interview with Amit Saigal of Rock Street Journal [RSJ], the owner and promoter of IMW:

Q. How does it feel organizing such an amazing festival across the country?
It is exciting! And at the same time, it is quite a task in terms of managing the logistics of several gigs happening simultaneously across Delhi , Mumbai and Bangalore each day between the 16 and 20 of November. But right now, there is this great anticipatory buzz!

My first gig was on November16 with Jaff Lang & Bobby Singh and Soulmate playing at Lodi in Delhi. 

Q. Three cities – Bangalore, Mumbai & Delhi – amazing venues and amazing artists. What goes into the R&D of getting the right bands on your gig list?
I have personally curated this festival with the best artists that I thought should be on it! So I actually think they are all fantastic in their respective styles and genres.. Jeff Lang for sure...he is amazing. Mimetic, Raghu Dixit, Soulmate, Stephanie Thazar...actually, why am I even trying to pick bands...!

Q. Being the pioneers of creating and pushing Independent rock music in India, how does it feel now in 2011 at RSJ?
Things are coming of age in India. The scene is maturing, and many credible, interesting artists are emerging. The time is just right for a project like India Music Week to present this melting pot of diverse independent artists in one mega festival

Q. This year's line-up has a wide range of genres. Can we have your take?
I personally listen to and like many different styles of music, and I think that is what is also happening in the scene in India as well.


For a detailed schedule with dates, venue details and acts, go to India Music Week’s Facebook page or log onto www.indiamusicweek.com

-Aditya Mendonca/ Raintree Media Features / www.raintreemedia.com 


Read the story published in the Goa Herald on link below:
http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspx?edorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=9&boxid=64858375&id=2611&eddate=11/22/2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A sensory journey

With the first thrill of winter’s chill gently upon us, there’s a tangible buzz of Christmas cheer already.

A fun activity that has caught the fancy of most top hotels is the mixing of the Christmas cakes and puddings. I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the ITC Windsor as, donning caps, aprons and gloves (looking like Masterchef aspirants), we poured mountains of sultanas, walnuts and other assorted dry fruits and casks of liquor on to tables with generous chunks of butter.

I felt a tad guilty for not going to the ITC Gardenia’s cake mix and auction but one can’t be whizzing around to all the parties in town. Writing and editing is hard work, though it might not appear so!

Not wanting to play favourites between the two hotels, I decided to take my custom to the Gardenia’s spa. Six hours later, I came out feeling a new woman and two young men said to me that I must visit spas more often. Was I damned with faint praise or did the marvelous Mia and her assistants work a miracle? Read on.

Mia Munshi, the Spa Manager, is from Singapore and has worked extensively with global luxury resorts and hotels. She gave up a high profile career in advertising, when on a holiday in India she came across aromatherapy. “I found my calling,” she told me and went on to explain how she learnt all about picking jasmine buds to extract the right scent and the healing power of massage. She lectures in spa academies and is on TV and radio sharing her experience, techniques and demonstration.

The spa Ayurveda room
The expertise and attunement to the senses of touch and smell is what made my session at Kaya Kalp one of the best in my life. Like with all guests, Mia consulted me for my preferences. Then she guided me to treatments and the products that would suit my skin before leaving me in the safe hands of her staff who were trained at the spa academy in Agra.

My mind boggled at the choice of traditional Indian and international therapies, and I finally opted for a pomegranate body scrub – made all the more exotic with the rich red fruit picked from Himachal Pradesh.

The ITC Gardenia caters to high-end business travellers and offers 30 different treatments and therapies. One of the highest selling treatments is a half hour tension reliever massage that concentrates on the back, neck and shoulders, excellent for a pre or post business meeting. I wanted more, and asked for a ninety minute de-stressing aromatherapy massage and a combination skin facial using products from the luxury brand Pevonia.

Kaya Kalp
I was assured that the products were botanical extracts that do not contain perfume or artificial ingredients. The finale was a pedicure that was a complete sensory delight pedicure, again with products and nail polishes free of harmful ingredients. As if the going so far was not great already, my chair had a built-in massager to boot.

The name Kaya Kalp is coined from the Sanskrit words kaya which means ‘the physical self, body or skin’, and kalp which means ‘to rejuvenate, invent or change’. The aim is to give ‘rejuvenation of mind, body and soul’.

If you want a similar spa journey of relaxation and rejuvenation, you could check into the ITC Gardenia. One of the finest ‘green’ hotels in the world, its vertical gardens and naturally cooled spaces make it a remarkable experience in responsible luxury.

By Sandhya Mendonca (Sandhya Mendonca writes a weekly column for the Herald Goa)

Read the story on the Goa Herald on the link below:

http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspx?edorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=10&boxid=43849781&id=1985&eddate=11/19/2011

Celebrating Indi music

The Bacardi NH7 Weekender, that celebrates the best bands from India, looks set to become India's premier music festival.

Pune’s pleasant weather and happy people once again play host to the Bacardi NH7 Weekender’s Happiest Music Festival in its second year; its organiser, OML has joined hands with UTV Interactive this year. The festival packs a whole lot of tunes into a three-day blast, promising to keep folks moving to the rhythm of music.

An impressive number of bands will take to the stage this year; over 60 bands will keep the music alive. Spread across multiple stages - the Bacardi Black Rock Arena, the Dewarists Stage and the Eristoff Wolves Den - the festival features performances by artists from India and around the world, from underground artists that usually feature on your playlist to award-winning artists you have been waiting to see on Indian soil.


 Jalebee Cartel’s Ash Roy says, “I am really looking forward to playing there. I am going to enjoy the whole experience as an artist as well as an audience because there are so many other brilliant artists performing.”

Dualist Inquiry a.k.a Sahej Bakshi is equally thrilled about the range of artists that are part of the festival. He says, “This is one of the most exciting events on my calendar this year. The awesome lineup caters to every kind of music lover and provides a platform for Indian artists to play alongside their international counterparts.”

It is not all about the music. In between acts you can mosey around and maybe even get a tattoo or body art at a tattoo convention that is taking place on the sidelines.

Shaa'ir+Func
Ask him how happy is the happiest festival and Vishal Dadlani from Pentagram says, “NH7 is one of the happiest festivals I have ever been too. It is not just a PR spin. There is real love and joy in the air. The fact that it is in its second year, means that they got it right. Hopefully, it will grow even more, from here. OML is doing a killer job, their hearts are in the right place!”

Randolph Correia of Shaa’ir + Func concurs and promises that “if last year was super, this year will be supersonic.”

For more details, tickets and line-up, visit www.nh7.in/weekender

By Aditya Mendonca / Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com 

Read the story on the Goa Herald on the link below:
 
http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspx?edorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=10&boxid=43710437&id=1985&eddate=11/19/2011


Friday, November 18, 2011

Eternal spring in Goa

Bangalore-based artist Shan Re debuts in Goa with her latest collection in aid of Tara Trust, this Saturday.

In a colourful mélange celebrating the different hues of life, Shan Re will unveil her most recent collection, ‘The Eternal Spring’ in a 200-year-old colonial structure whose name translates as ‘rainbow’ in Portuguese, in aid of Tara Trust, an NGO which works for underprivileged women and children (www.taraforchildren.com), this Saturday.

The Bangalore-based artist could not have chosen a better location or a better collection or a better cause to espouse for her Goan debut.

The splendid Arco Iris boutique homestay
The elegantly restored Arco Iris boutique homestay which is built on a sprawling 1.5 acre property in Curtorim in South Goa and ensconced in lush greenery overlooking a beautiful lake, will be the setting for the blissful burst of colours of Re’s ‘The Eternal Spring’. For Re, this series inspired by nature and spirituality is a metaphor for preservation of inner peace in a time of chaos and conflict.

Re is known for her soulful exploration of a variety of subjects and genres from abstract expressionism and minimalism to figuration and geometric abstraction. Her works don the private collections of His Highness Srikantadatta Wodeyar, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and actress Jackie Collins, to name a few, and she has held exhibitions in India and abroad.

A painting by Shan Re from the Eternal Spring collection
The artist whose work is ‘guided purely by flashes of intuition’, talks about her debut show in Goa:

Q. How did the idea for a charity show come about?

Over the years, I’ve participated in several charity art shows. Since art is often associated with the privileged few, it would be great if the resources of the artist, art collectors and art lovers could be channelled to contribute to the underprivileged in our society.

Q. Why did you choose Tara Trust?

I heard from my friends in Goa about the good work that Tara Trust has been doing in support of women and children. They are a non profit organisation with a mission to educate and empower the underprivileged. Since this is a cause that is close to my heart I decided to contribute in my own small way as an artist.

Shan Re
Q. Have you done similar charity shows before?

Yes, I’ve participated in art shows in support of HCG Foundation, Christel House, Concern India and Mallige Foundation, and I would always be interested in being involved in a charity art show.

Q. Any particular reason for choosing the 'Eternal Spring' for this particular show?

The venue for the show is Arco Iris, a heritage bungalow set in a beautiful landscape so this series would fit in well with the ambience. Secondly, ‘The Eternal Spring’ is a series that exudes positive energy and is rendered in vibrant colours and this seemed apt for a charity show in Goa. This is my most recent collection. It has been my endeavour to portray a kind of eternal beauty and to capture tranquillity, silence and light in a simple yet powerful poem that invokes the glory of nature.

A painting by Shan Re from the Eternal Spring collection
Q. Is this your first exhibition in Goa?

Yes, this is my first show in Goa and I’m looking forward to the experience.

Q. How was the response to your last show, the retrospective 'The Unfolding of the Self' in Bangalore? Do you plan to hold the show anywhere else in the near future?

The show was very successful. It was well received by critics, art lovers and buyers. I consider this show an important milestone in my career. I’m hoping to take this show to Delhi in the near future.

The exhibition will be on till December 3. For details, contact: Bennita +919604964482 / www.shanre.in 

By Remuna Rai/Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com

Read the story on the Goa Herald on the link below:

http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspx?edorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=9&boxid=51533750&id=2561&eddate=11/18/2011

Good will hunting

Touted by SAP Labs as the fastest product to be developed and released in India (it took all of 90 days!), the online portal, www.charitra.in, went live on 19 October in India and was launched in Madrid on 10 November. ‘ChariTra’ is abbreviated from ‘charity transformation’ and also means ‘character’. VR Ferose, Managing Director, SAP Labs India, says it was created with the intent ‘to convert needs to action and to build a bridge between systems of giving’.

Ferose goes back to a year ago when they were brainstorming about how to provide computer education to 100,000 children, free of cost and in a sustainable way, and how this became possible when they matched the excess to the needs. 

SAP Labs India Managing Director VR Ferose
They did what they do best – used the technology they have for a good cause. And what’s more, they now have 1.7 lakh customers with assets, and this customer base covers a wide spectrum of businesses from airlines to pharmaceuticals. Ferose points out that with Corporate Social Responsibility becoming a legal necessity, the website would be an ideal environment for connecting business networks.

A core team of 12 were brought together, headed by Ganapathy Subramanian, Vice President of Design & New Applications, to get the project off the ground. Subramanian explains how they used ‘design thinking’ and took inputs from volunteers at every stage to make the website more user friendly. The website is supported by SAP HANA, a high speed analytical application.

As a volunteer you can register on the website and based on your skills, time and interests, make a commitment to the social causes being promoted by non-profit organisations. You can also network with like-minded volunteers.

ChariTra, the online portal
When a non-profit organisation creates a cause it is moderated and published on the website within 24 hours. Currently, they have an unofficial tie-up with Bangalore Care to moderate activities being posted. Financial transactions on the website are a big no-no.

Subramanian recalls the speedy response that they received when a visually challenged girl required a laptop for a banking exam. She got one within two days of the cause being posted on ChariTra. The website also served as the default platform for the ‘Joy of Giving’ week when it registered a high volunteer activity as well as the ‘Month of Service’ at SAP, part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility.

The online portal continues to evolve as new features are being added to make it more accessible and user friendly. They plan to customise recommendations based on each user’s profile and to stay connected through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

The website has 6000 users at present and 4000 promises have been met; the company’s intent to run the world in a better way is gathering momentum with ChariTra. And what does ChariTra bring back to the company? “The biggest value we get is good will,” says Ferose.

By Anuradha Prasad/ Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com


Read the story on the Goa Herald on the link below:

http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspx?edorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=9&boxid=51346687&id=2561&eddate=11/18/2011



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Framing the tree of life

A documentary on eminent artist SG Vasudev is a celebration of light and colour and explores the personal life of the artist and his artistic development. 

On a perfect Bangalore day crisp with the winter sun and in the company of intelligent people, the National Gallery of Modern Art was the perfect venue to watch a film on one of my favourite artists and local heroes, SG Vasudev, especially as he was instrumental in setting up the gallery.

‘The Open Frame’ is a simple and warm film; it tells the story of a boy from Mysore who journeys to Madras (Chennai) and grows to become one of the founders of the famous Cholamandal art village.

The early stirrings of his talent, sketches hidden from his farmer father and housewife mother, the encouragement from a discerning art lover are traced through black and white stills. Young Vasu meets KCS Panicker, the doyen of the Madras School of Arts, wins a national scholarship and his art blooms, nurtured in the fertile environment of fellow artists, writers and musicians. Love flowers too, when he meets a young Parsi artist, Arnawaz.

SG Vasudev
The narrative gently blends the story of the young couple setting up home in the Cholamandal commune, the birth of their son and tragically, Arnawaz succumbing to cancer. Vasu moved to Bangalore but goes back to paint at times in Cholamandal. The Arnawaz Vasudev Charities Trust keeps her memory alive by encouraging young artists.

New beginnings bring new inspirations, new love in the form of journalist Ammu Joseph and the new homes that the couple have built; Vasu’s quiet and simple expression of love for both his wives is heartwarming.

Enlivening the narrative with his piquant humour, writer Girish Karnad ribs, “All men seek the qualities of their mothers in the women they marry, apparently, and I feel it’s been the case with Vasu as I find the same strong independent and forthright qualities in both Arnawaz and Ammu.”

Copper relief of Tree of Life by SG Vasudev
Compatriots from Chennai and Bangalore add nuances and depth to Vasu’s character, fleshing out the persona of the artist who draws his inspiration from literature and music. At times, conversations bring in sepia tones of nostalgia but the powerful vitality of his art pre-dominates. As he paints, carefully structuring layers of colour, strains of his favourite Indian classical music flow around the studio.

Dr. Lata Mani, who has handled the research and interviews, captures an easy flow of speech. The cinematography is by Navroze Contractor with original music by Prasanna. Chetan Shah, the director, is another old friend of Vasu from Chennai and says he has deliberately refrained from dealing with Vasu’s artistic oeuvre; the hour-long documentary is a companion piece to the art shows.

The film starts with Vasudev contemplating a blank canvas and the narrative weaves in and out as the canvas progresses and ends with him finishing a painting. The film segues to the processing of his famed copper reliefs and tapestries as he collaborates with master craftsmen. Working on one such piece in his farm, Vasu mulls over the trajectory of his life – of a farmer’s son coming back to the land. Characterised by such uncomplicated and honest statements, ‘The Open Frame’ is a simple story, told simply.

By Sandhya Mendonca (Sandhya Mendonca writes a weekly column for the Herald Goa)

Read the column on the Goa Herald on the link below:
http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspx?edorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=9&boxid=63026125&id=2438&eddate=11/12/2011 

 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Colour me orange!

Quite literally a house of treasures and quirky to boot, The Orange Bicycle woos the imaginative and the free-spirited.

Frangipani decked tresses, curious coquettish eyes, and orange cycles wheeling their way across - that is what stops you in your tracks as you pass by what would otherwise be an ordinary house in Indiranagar, a neighbourhood in Bangalore.

Stepping out of the bright glare of the afternoon into the cool store, you feel like Alice, transported to a whole new utterly, deliciously crazy realm, the beautifully crafted wonderland that The Orange Bicycle is. And for a moment you are that girl again, sunburnt cheeks with windblown hair careening wildly on an orange bicycle down a road flanked by golden fields, carefree and unrestrained.

The Orange Bicycle
It is a mixed bag of merchandise that has you squealing with delight as you dash from the über-cool bags and clutches to the coasters and mugs, and then again to the jewellery and paintings, and oh, the dresses and the wraps! Elvis Presley, Audrey Hepburn, Amitabh Bachchan and even a Mughal emperor or two peer out at you from cushion covers and bags. You can even take home a miniature bicycle.

Clutches at The Orange Bicycle
The store, which completes one year in November, was started by four women with an eye for the unusual. Gunjan Khaitan Shahbadi, one of the partners comes with a background in Marketing Communications. She talks about how they started out, by word of mouth. A few feelers were sent out to friends from NID and NIFT and before long, they had 70 suppliers!

The Orange Bicycle
 For a brand to make the cut and be sold at The Orange Bicycle, it has got to be quirky, unique, with a story behind it. There are clothes by Prink Tonic and Vani, jewellery by Sanchali and Sylver String, home décor by Kaji, Vineeta Nair and Soul Kitchen, accessories by Anek Designs, and furnishings by CCube, Raj Boori and Nir Home Studio. These are just a few of the 90 suppliers who are adding their colour and story to the store.

So why The Orange Bicycle? Shahbadi says, “We wanted a colour in our name that would signify our core competency. Orange fit the bill. It is fresh, tangy and young. And as for bicycle, we wanted to tell women to come and take a ride with us and discover happiness.”

The Orange Bicycle
Shahbadi adds, “The store is for a person with an aesthetic appeal; someone who wants to look different, make a style statement, loves experimenting with colours, and likes to try out new things.”

The store’s growing fan base have a lot to look forward to as the year draws to a close – more swoon-worthy merchandise that may include products under The Orange Bicycle label, and a new display to keep the orange-ness alive and to keep the wheels turning.

By Anuradha Prasad/ Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com

Read the story on the Goa Herald on the link below:
http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspx?edorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=9&boxid=54615828&id=1959&eddate=10/21/2011

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A journey in space

What happens when art meets technology and wants to make a nomadic home in a city choking for space? The answer is as simple as Jaaga, which in Kannada, means ‘space’.

Back in 2009, a structure draped in tarpaulin popped up almost overnight on Rhenius Street. Its neighbours driven by curiosity took a few tentative steps towards it. Two years later, the nomadic Jaaga has found a new home on KH Road and has grown into something more than just a passing curiosity, into a living work of art and innovation.

Jaaga’s co-founders and directors, Archana Prasad with a background in Fine Arts, and Freeman Murray, an angel investor and technologist, sought to create a space to engage the community in innovative efforts revolving around art, technology and social activism. ‘Jaaga’, a Kannada word, translates to ‘space’.

It is no ordinary space. Jaaga is designed ‘to engage and exist without weighing heavily on the earth’s limited natural resources’. It is like a DIY kit which can be assembled in less than a day and dismantled as easily. Pallet rack shelving, paper honeycomb walls, plywood flooring, tarpaulin, and recycled and reusable material are the core materials that make up this modular structure. A green wall and a sculpture greet you at first glance.

  
Jaaga
On what she expects out of Jaaga, Prasad says, “I am really interested to learn how a prototype like Jaaga, when made and used, will challenge the artists-designers working in it, the neighbourhood it is located in, and eventually challenge the notion that permanence is desirable.”

Murray says, “My trajectory is clearly pointing towards finding that environment in which we can be optimally productive and happy at the lowest cost. I believe it will involve pallet racks, the internet, yoga and local organic leafy green salads.”

Prasad and Murray are backed by their team, Naresh Narasimhan, the Chairperson, Sean Blagsvedt, Advisor and Kiran DSilva, Facilities Manager, and a host of volunteers, collaborators and visiting artists.

Since its inception, true to form, Jaaga has played host to numerous innovative, community-based projects and exhibitions by artists. The Neighbourhood Diaries sought to capture the history of Bangalore neighbourhoods and started with Whitefield. Prasad collaborated with Krupa Rajangam of Savthu on this project. Urban Bengaluru was a photography exhibition while Jaaga Sound & Lights was a lighting and sound installation by German sound and theater artist, Tobias Rosenberger.

Jaaga Media Centre seeks to promote digital media and Jaaga also opens its doors to media students interested in interning with experts and invites expert collaborators and fellows.

  
Jaaga's green wall
Some recurring events include Poetry Across Borders, Pecha Kucha (Japanese for ‘chit chat’), Media Mayhem and Hackathon. Conceived in Japan, Pecha Kucha nights are for architects. It is a presentation of 20 slides for 20 seconds each and Jaaga has partenered with Venkataramanan Associates to bring the Pecha Kucha nights. Poetry Across Borders are poetry readings, where poetry circles from Bangalore, Melbourne and Berlin come together through a live exchange.

You can also look in on organic markets, the Second to None flea market (the next one is said to be scheduled for Nov 12), and browse through the neat Jaaga Stuff. Jaaga today is registered as a Public Charitable Trust.

French artist and Expert Fellow at Jaaga, Clemence Barret blogs, “In spite of its heterogeneous components, Jaaga has a uniqueness due to its personality: non-judgmental, it is in search for an alter-modernity; happy and warm, it is longing for re-inventing a creative, common world made by local as well as global exchanges.”

By Anuradha Prasad/ Raintree Media/ www.raintreemedia.com

Read the story on the Goa Herald on the link below:
http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspx?edorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=9&boxid=34330796&id=2389&eddate=11/09/2011

 

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The painter of lotuses

"I have lived much of my life as a recluse, shunning the glitter associated with the art world. I have made every conscious attempt to avoid getting labeled as an artist. 

I prefer the anonymity of my doodles and my silent pursuit of colour and forms. Naming them or intellectualising the process of these simple acts would certainly be an act of lying to myself," Milind Nayak.

One day, while visiting friends in good old Malleswaram, one of the pockets of old Bangalore, my late husband Allen scooped up a bowl of water cresses from their garden. We went on to a tiny house with a garden in Koramangala that was Milind Nayak’s studio for sometime.

Milind Nayak
We found that Milind had painstakingly dug out a pond and was busy filling in water. The pond became the new home for the watercress and they proliferated along with the lotuses that joined them. The rest of the garden bloomed too, and was for all of us a creative retreat, where we sipped jasmine tea and inhaled the heady smells of paints wafting from the open doors of the studio, sometimes talking, sometimes just sitting in quiet solitude.

Milind says he had always dreamt was of having a garden with lotuses from when he was a child. Growing up in Udupi, he was smitten by the sight of lush paddy fields in which lotus flowers bloomed. He studied the pond with great intent whenever he had free time.

Painting by Milind Nayak
The childhood fascination continued to enthrall him. As the plant in his pond started blooming, he discovered many facts about the life of a lotus plant. He photographed it extensively and has now completed over 20 paintings that are being shown for the next three weeks at the Gallerie D’Arts here before hopefully winging their way across other cities.

The exhibition titled ‘Lotus Pond’ comes after a three-year hiatus during which Milind has battled a fractured leg and amputated toe along with melancholy.

Painting by Milind Nayak
It was art that has brought cheer to his life again; though he harrumphs, “Well, what else could I do but paint when I was stuck in front of the easel, unable to move?”

Over the years, Milind has evolved a technique of using digital art and photographs in his creative process. He begins by sketching, photoshops the sketches and places them alongside his formidable collection of photographs he takes of places and nature that inspire him. It’s only then that he begins to paint.

Painting by Milind Nayak
The finished paintings have no semblance of the photographs or the digital outputs; he says though that they are important in helping them make the paintings 'tighter and more structured'.

The new collection is of oil paintings; four years ago, he had painted the same theme in pastels and the whole collection was bought by a collector, who requested him not to use the theme for three years. Now here they are and priced modestly between Rs.50,000 and Rs.2,50,000, look set to be gobbled up quickly.

"I am not out to make a fast buck. My paintings are ways of expressing myself," he tells me when I quiz him about the cost.

Milind, whose oeuvre includes abstracts, makes no bones about wanting to paint beautiful things, "Landscapes are a neglected medium today and critics especially look down upon good looking paintings. I’m in search of beauty…a tree is so beautiful, I try to explore its facets."
    
By Sandhya Mendonca (Sandhya Mendonca writes a weekly column for the Herald Goa)

Read the story on the Goa Herald on the link below:
http://74.127.61.178/herald//Details.aspx?edorsup=Main&queryed=9&querypage=9&boxid=41812593&id=2293&eddate=11/05/2011



A Slice of Old Bangalore

Take a step back in time at Basava Ambara to rediscover the spirit of good old Bangalore amidst lush greenery, while browsing through handcrafted merchandise or relishing a bowl of fig salad, at an unhurried pace

It is a mad, mad city out there, in a hurry to get everywhere. Lost in transit are the days when Bangalore was all about being laidback and taking in life at a leisurely pace under leafy trees and jacarandas. And it is this missing piece that Basava Ambara brings back.

Located in one of Bangalore’s oldest neighbourhoods, Basavanagudi (which lent its name to RK Narayan’s ‘Malgudi Days’), Basava Ambara is housed in the outhouse of the Mahadevan’s 19th century heritage home.


Time stops for you as you stroll down the walkway engulfed by greenery, courtesy the garden store, ‘Hybiscus’, run by Anita Shah who travels across the world to bring together the very best garden products from hammocks and planters to the ceramic that is imported from Vietnam.

The path leads to Basava Ambara, set up in 2009 by Jaya Mani who has been a part of the art scene for 30 years with an interest in crafts and textiles. Back in 1984, Mani opened Gallery Dravidam in Delhi to promote south Indian artists. She moved base to Bangalore in 1997 and Dravidam promoted contemporary artists with a grounding in traditional arts. She hosts an art show in Delhi annually.

The first Ambara store took root in Indiranagar eleven years ago and later moved to Ulsoor, where it continues to draw a loyal clientele. Mani wanted to promote arts, crafts and weaving traditions through Ambara. The second store is larger and the product range includes furniture and children’s clothing.


You cannot ask for a better setting to browse through the handpicked selection of sarees, dupattas and stoles that have been sourced from over 40 suppliers but are not mass produced. Unhampered by the unsolicited attention of the staff, one can linger over the textiles, stopping to admire the paintings and art work by artists like Suresh Muthukulam, Ramesh Gorjala and JMS Mani, and battle (or not) a desire to splurge on the gorgeous jewellery, handcrafted leather bags, and the newest addition to the collection, laquerware lamps with silk shades.

It is a tantalising spread with brands like Rehwa, Terra, Bailou and Reeth Mumbai showcasing their exclusive merchandise. This November, shoppers can look forward to an exhibit and sale by Arnav known for its fabulous antique jewellery or an exhibition of traditional sarees by the Delhi-based Utsav.


The outdoor space, another rarity in Bangalore, is put to good use. Basava Ambara has hosted book readings like Shilo Shiv Suleman’s ‘Pampasutra’ and Pepita Seth’s ‘Heaven on Earth’, and looks forward to bringing in dance, music and theatre performances.

Once your shopping bag is full, you can retreat to the al fresco restaurant, ‘The Rogue Elephant’, run by Sheila Appa and Anand Chettur. Their Continental menu boasts of comfort food like Moroccan stew, classic Kolkata-style katti rolls and roast chicken. Wrap up the meal with a yummy banana walnut cake. Or quench your thirst with a glass of freshly-squeezed nimbu paani. Tucking into freshly cooked food, with Appa making the desserts herself, you feel right at home.

As Sushma Desai, a fashion designer, says, echoing Basava Ambara’s many clients, “A store in an old house is a brilliant idea. The old world charm is all encompassing. It makes you want to stay forever.” At Basava Ambara, ambience is everything.

By Anuradha Prasad/ Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com

Read the story on the Goa Herald on the link below: