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

By Dolly D N/ Raintree Media Features/

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

Saturday, December 17, 2011


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/

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

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/

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

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 m├ętier, 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:

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

Read the story on Goa Herald on the link below:

A high five from Innovate Publishers

If you needed to meet the most brilliant minds in Bengaluru, well, you had to be at the Innovate Bengaluru Festival on 11/4/19, at WeWor...