Wednesday, November 07, 2012

All the Best

All the Best , Best of India , featured in Business India's November 11th, 2012 Issue.


India's first facebook book store is featured in Business India  




Saturday, October 20, 2012

Marvels of Mysore and more


Marvels of Mysore & more, a unique contemporary book on Mysore, was released by Tourism Minister Anand Singh here today. The book that was released in time for the famed Dasara festival is published by Raintree Media and supported by the Department of Tourism, Government of Karnataka.




L to R Arvind Jadhav Tourism Secretary, Sandhya Mendonca Raintreemedia, Anand Singh Tourism Minister, Satyavathi Tourism Director

Releasing the book, Mr.Singh said, “Mysore is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in India. The city has preserved its rich cultural heritage over the years and continues to enrich the lives of Kannadigas. A contemporary book like this serves an important purpose of giving accurate information with good photographs for the benefit of readers here and from all over the world. This book is an international edition and we are sure it will be much appreciated.”

Written by Sandhya Mendonca and Anita Rao Kashi, with principal photography by Asha Thadani, Marvels of Mysore & more is a factual photobook on contemporary Mysore. The book celebrates the captivating sights and enduring charm of this heritage city.

Sandhya Mendonca, MD & Editor-in Chief, Raintree Media who has published the book said, “Marvels of Mysore & more is a contemporary book on Mysore. There are several books on this historic city that talk only about its heritage or are just guides. As the title suggests, the publication has more to offer: this book is an all-in-one: a photobook, a travel guide and a memoir of the historic city and the region around it.

Mysore and the region around it offer endless delights for locals and visitors alike and this book has descriptive information about the cultural history and the wonders of nature in the area. The contents of the book include the festival of Dasara, the colourful folk dances, the heritage buildings, the modern developments and the vast cultural diversity in this part of Karnataka. Marvels of Mysore & more shows the reader what to see, what to do, where to stay, what to buy in this city, and in the interesting tourist trail starting from Bangalore through Melkote, Ranganathittu and other places all the way to Kodagu.”

Praise for Marvels of Mysore & more

“Combination of a coffee table book with marvellous pictures and an efficient guide for tourists to Mysore and its environs.” - Shashi Deshpande, Author

“Mysore’s splendorous syncretism tingles each of our senses. Its sights, the palaces, hills, lakes, gardens, sanctuaries, are a balm for sore eyes. From the thunder of temple bells to the soft strains of Carnatic singers, its sounds take us back in space and time. It smells of the ancient and the modern through flowers and coffee, sandalwood and incense sticks. From the Mysore Pak to the Masala Dosa (and everything else in between), its taste has conquered tongues. And, as a walker’s paradise, it welcomes you to touch and feel its royal and colonial past. Sandhya Mendonca and Anita Rao Kashi open the window to see and sample the myriad marvels of India’s most beautiful city.” Krishna Prasad, Editor-in-Chief, Outlook

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Best Of India Press Release


MEDIA RELEASE
11.10.2012
Bangalore
BEST OF INDIA
International Business atlas & coffee table book launched

Mr. Ashok Soota, Executive Chairman, Happiest Minds, released the
BEST OF INDIA, part of the international BEST OF series of books, here today. He said, “The Best of India book is like a breath of fresh air. In an age of cynicism where we are bombarded with so much negativity, it is a pleasant change to have a publication which focuses on ‘positives’ and success stories.” Congratulating the Publisher & Editor –in-chief Sandhya Mendonca, Mr. Soota said, “The Best of India reinforces the India story and itself will lead to further success for the country as others pick up the message.”

Mr. Soota, who is a former President of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and former President of Manufacturers' Association of Information Technology, has also written the foreword for the book. Speakers at the event included experts who have written articles in the book: SG Vasudev on Indian art, Prathibha Prahlad on dance and Prasad Bidapa about the evolution of India’s fashion consciousness.

BEST OF INDIA showcases 62 key businesses across various verticals that drive its trade and commerce. With an aesthetic blend of beautiful photographs and cogent text, it is a microcosm of Indian success stories. This elegant copper embossed coffee table book highlights the economic and cultural dynamism of India.

The elegant book also includes valuable perspectives from well-known personalities like Suhel Seth on Brand India, Ashutosh Gowariker on cinema, Rashid Khan on music, Shanta Gokhale on theatre, K Satchidanandan on literature and Sanjeev Kapoor on cuisine.

Sandhya Mendonca, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of GVP India & Raintree Media, said, “The BEST OF INDIA is a comprehensive and compelling study of the great Indian success story. It examines the various qualities that contribute to the success of homegrown Indian companies – visionary leadership, focus on innovation, knowledge driven systems, agility, value for people, customers and partners’ customers. The book celebrates the success of sustainable companies and business models and looks to offer inspiration through the individual philosophies that power their growth.”

The book is published by Bangalore-based Global Village Publications India (GVP India) and Raintree Media, in partnership with the World Trade Centre Mumbai and the All India Association of Industries, key players in the Indian economy who promote multilateral trade and industry exchanges. It is edited by Sandhya Mendonca with principal photography by Asha Thadani.

The fourth in the India series of ‘Best of…’ books, the BEST OF INDIA vol 1 had an international launch, along with the BEST OF SOUTH AFRICA vol 7. The book was released by His Excellency, the High Commissioner of India to South Africa Virendra Gupta at the Future of Trade Africa 2012 inJohannesburg on July 16.

Facebook bookstore:

Raintree Media also announced the launch of the first facebook bookstore in India in collaboration with Bangalore-based Exprestore, India’s first f-commerce company.

Aditya Mendonca, Director, Digital division, Raintree Media said, “Facebook users can order titles published by Raintree Media & GVPI from the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/raintreemedia. F-commerce is a way by which facebook users can shop for merchandise from their favourite pages without leaving the network at any point during their transaction.”Ashish Agarwal, CEO and founder of Exprestore, said, “Facebook commerce is all set to change to way Indians shop online, compared to e-commerce.”


BEST OF INDIA

Branding a Nation and its people
Pages: 232
ISBN: 978-81-90776127
MRP: Rs. 3000/-
Published by: Global Village Publications India
Cover: Hard bound
Edited by Sandhya Mendonca

The book is available in leading bookstores and online on flipkart.com and on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raintreemedia.

About Sandhya Mendonca

CEO & Editor -in- Chief of Global Village Publications India &Raintree Media Pvt Ltd

A seasoned journalist who has worked with prestigious publications until she became a media entrepreneur, Sandhya exemplifies the convergence of skills needed for both roles that she plays in the company. She is a post-graduate in Political Science and has a PGD in Public Relations. With a keen eye for detail, she heads the editorial team and specialises in incisive copy. She has a yen for travel which she uses to put to good use by opening up new territories for the growing the GVP footprint.


About the ‘Best of…’ series
BEST OF INDIA is published by Global Village Publications India (GVP India) Pvt Ltd, in partnership with Raintree Media, under license from Global Village Partnerships, Dubai that is the worldwide franchisor for the ‘Best of…’ series of publications.
Earlier editions in the ‘Best of…’ India series include Best of Bangalore, Best of Chennai and Best of Goa. Please view e-books at www.gvpedia.com | www.proudlyasia.com

Praise for the BEST OF INDIA vol 1

“I would like to compliment your effort to showcase the growth and success of our country.”– KV Kamath, Non executive Chairman, ICICI Bank Ltd

“The book is well brought out.” - Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Aut

Praise for Best of Bangalore vol 1


“Best of Bangalore is an excellent book and captures very accurately
what makes Bangalore unique - young, aspirational, meritocratic and
truly the Intellectual Capital of India. This is an outstanding book.”
- NandanNilekani, Aadhar Unique Identification Authority of India

Praise for Best of Chennai vol 1

“Best of Chennai captures the essence of the city through articles and photographs.” - The Hindu

“This is something I would be happy to buy and distribute among my friends, especially when I travel overseas. It would be a nice way for my friends from overseas to get to know about my city Chennai.” - Ramesh Krishnan, legendary tennis champion
Praise for Best of Goa vol 1
“Best of Goa covers the nuances that give the state its exceptional quality.”
– NavhindTimes

“Here we have a high-end book by a sensitive group of persons….it not only transmits the flavour of Goa to the reader but also eloquently expresses the richness of its culture and its society…” - The Herald

MEDIA CONTACT:


HemaBhaskaran: +91 9845562370


1112.hema@gmail.com

Best of India Launch Coverage

Best of India Bangalore Launch

http://www.thisweekbangalore.com/?p=15846



Sandhya Mendonca ,MD Raintree Media & Ashok Soota , Executive Chairman , Happiest Minds with the Best of India







from L-R Prathibha Prahlad, SG Vasudev, Ashok Soota, Prasad Bidapa and Sandhya Mendonca at the launch of BEST OF INDIA book

Mr. Ashok Soota, Executive Chairman, Happiest Minds, released the BEST OF INDIA, part of the international BEST OF series of books, here today. He said, “The Best of India book is like a breath of fresh air. In an age of cynicism where we are bombarded with so much negativity, it is a pleasant change to have a publication which focuses on ‘positives’ and success stories.” Congratulating the Publisher & Editor –in-chief Sandhya Mendonca, Mr. Soota said, “The Best of India reinforces the India story and itself will lead to further success for the country as others pick up the message.”

Mr. Soota, who is a former President of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and former President of Manufacturers’ Association of Information Technology, has also written the foreword for the book. Speakers at the event included experts who have written articles in the book: SG Vasudev on Indian art, Prathibha Prahlad on dance and Prasad Bidapa about the evolution of India’s fashion consciousness.


BEST OF INDIA showcases 62 key businesses across various verticals that drive its trade and commerce. With an aesthetic blend of beautiful photographs and cogent text, it is a microcosm of Indian success stories. This elegant copper embossed coffee table book highlights the economic and cultural dynamism of India.

The elegant book also includes valuable perspectives from well-known personalities like Suhel Seth on Brand India, Ashutosh Gowariker on cinema, Rashid Khan on music,Shanta Gokhale on theatre, K Satchidanandan on literature and Sanjeev Kapoor on cuisine.

Sandhya Mendonca, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of GVP India & Raintree Media, said, “The BEST OF INDIA is a comprehensive and compelling study of the great Indian success story. It examines the various qualities that contribute to the success of homegrown Indian companies – visionary leadership, focus on innovation, knowledge driven systems, agility, value for people, customers and partners’ customers. The book celebrates the success of sustainable companies and business models and looks to offer inspiration through the individual philosophies that power their growth.”

The book is published by Bangalore-based Global Village Publications India (GVP India) and Raintree Media, in partnership with the World Trade Centre Mumbai and the All India Association of Industries, key players in the Indian economy who promote multilateral trade and industry exchanges. It is edited by Sandhya Mendonca with principal photography by Asha Thadani.

The fourth in the India series of ‘Best of…’ books, the BEST OF INDIA vol 1 had an international launch, along with the BEST OF SOUTH AFRICA vol 7. The book was released byHis Excellency, the High Commissioner of India to South Africa Virendra Gupta at the Future of Trade Africa 2012 inJohannesburg on July 16.
Facebook bookstore:

Raintree Media also announced the launch of the first facebook bookstore in India in collaboration with Bangalore-based Exprestore, India’s first f-commerce company.

Aditya Mendonca, Director, Digital division, Raintree Media said, “Facebook users can order titles published by Raintree Media & GVPI from the facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/raintreemedia. F-commerce is a way by which facebook users can shop for merchandise from their favourite pages without leaving the network at any point during their transaction.”Ashish Agarwal, CEO and founder of Exprestore, said, “Facebook commerce is all set to change to way Indians shop online, compared to e-commerce.”



BEST OF INDIA
Branding a Nation and its people
Pages: 232
ISBN: 978-81-90776127
MRP: Rs. 3000/-
Published by: Global Village Publications India
Cover: Hard bound
Edited by Sandhya Mendonca
The book is available in leading bookstores and online on flipkart.com and on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raintreemedia.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

In God’s own country


Exotic Surya Samudra in Kovalam is the destination for the perfect vacation. 


By Sandhya Mendonca

I was longing for the panorama of soothing green countryside, blue skies and waters; the sensual feel of soft sand and the balmy sea air. I was pining for Goa, not having visited it for over three months.
And there, out of the blue, came an invitation from an old friend to visit God’s own country. Rather foolishly, I demurred at first – we have been burning the midnight oil at work to get another book off to the printers- but I was persuaded to take a break. The universe must have ordained it.


It was a typical day in Kerala when I arrived, with a bundh having shut down everything. But cabs to the airport were permitted to ply, and I began soaking in the sight of the emerald green foliage on the ride to Kovalam. I was still unprepared for the sight that met me at my destination.

Suryasamudra – the name had evoked a magical image and I had heard that it was fabulous; yet, I was rendered speechless by its beauty. As locations go, one can’t ask for anything better. 


The resort sits above a natural cove with a wonderful view of the pristine blue waters and the skies. Gentle waves lap at the softest sand and banks of coconut palms adding a delightful fringe.
The palette of colours is breathtaking. I had my camera out in seconds, clicking away at a recumbent stone Ganesha (who looked like he had just had a relaxing spa treatment), the cleverly landscaped garden and walkways.
A Planter’s chair in the verandah outside my cottage, was the spot to stretch out and look at the pristine beauty of nature that the skilful architects have showcased.


The interiors sent me into another round of rapture with the pretty four-poster bed and bright silk cushions, and the charming semi-open bath area. Half of it had no roof and when a light drizzle began later in the day, I perched on the granite sill to enjoy the sight and sound of the rain.
That was later; I must confess that initially, despite the overwhelming beauty around me, I found it difficult to relax. I was too restless to read, too keyed up to nap, the mid-day sun made it too hot for the beach.
On the spur of the moment, I changed into my swimsuit and headed to the infinity pool. An inspired choice, if I ever made one. The temperature was just right, and a few lazy laps were enough to get me in the vacation mode. 

I hung on to the side, getting my fill of the stunning view of the sea and the cove. A lone eagle swooped down occasionally as I floated on my back and rejoiced in the moment.
 I really needed nothing more, but of course there was a fabulous repast – a plantain leaf meal in the local fashion for lunch. Then came a tantalizing Thai dinner; the next morning it was idiappams for breakfast and a brilliant pasta for lunch.


A visit to the Sri Padmanabha Swami temple, a kathakali show, a boat ride through the backwaters and a spa treatment –there was time for all this without feeling rushed. 
There must be something in the air in Kovalam for sure. That, and the simple, genuine warmth of the staff at Suryasamudra, (owned by Niraamaya Private Retreats), puts it at the top of my list of favourite getaways.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Cool UNK


My Bangalore  September 22

The Radha Thomas ensemble brings jazz bebop Indian
flavoured music to Goa from Bangalore.

THE COOL UNK

By Sandhya Mendonca

Doing different things and doing them well is Radha Thomas’s signature tune. I have known this spunky woman for over 15 years and always marvelled at how she can make music, write and
develop business for a publishing house with equal passion.


And now The Radha Thomas ensemble, the enigmatically named UNK, has released its first album ‘I only have eyes for you’ and is on a four -city tour to promote it. “I have been waiting for this my whole life”, says Radha Thomas, gratification coursing from her husky voice.


She is one of the early cool group of Indian musicians who skillfully adapted their training in Indian classical music to jazz. As a teenager, she was the headliner for the rock n roll band Human Bondage, India’s most popular band in the late 70s.

She trained with Kumar Gandharva at the Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya in New Delhi subsequently she learnt Drupad from Ustad Farid Ud Din Dagar of the famed Dagar Brothers before taking to jazz.

After performing at several European jazz festivals, she moved to New York.
 Here she worked the jazz club circuit for 20 years, playing at hotspots like Sweet Basil, The Bottom Line, Alice Tully Hall with musicians as John Scofield, Randy Brecker,Michael Brecker, John Faddis, Alex Blake, David Liebman, John Abercrombie, Ryo Kawasaki, Joe Farrell and others.

Back in Bangalore, she’s been performing at various clubs and festivals and holding a challenging day job as Senior Vice President of Business Development with Explocity. She recently finished writing the first of a humorous trilogy called, ‘Men On My Mind’.
She has released three albums earlier, but this is the one that is truly her own. As composer-singer-songwriter, she collaborated with yet another talented pianist from Bangalore, Aman Mahajan.
Educated in Berkelee, and a composer and arranger himself  Mahajan is the perfect counterpoint for the collaboration, with Thomas bringing in the rich maturity of experience.

Backed by a bunch of gifted musicians Max Littlewood on the sax, Mishko M’ba on bass, Ramjee Chandran on the guitar and Suresh Bascara on the drums, ‘I only have eyes…’ makes for pleasantly
soothing listening.
The flavour is a fusion of jazz, Latin, bebop, hip-hop and Indian; with Radha’s voice soaring and dropping with mellifluous smoothness. The songs include originals by Radha Thomas,Aman Mahajan, Suresh Shottam; Radha has written new lyrics to melodies like Brazilian Luiz Antonio’s Menina Moca and has reinterpreted standards like Herbie Hancock & Jon Hendricks ‘Watermelon Man’. There’s a charming video of Thomas
and Mahajan performing Watermelon Man on youtube; it moves from funky to dreamy nostalgia and leaves you humming for quite a while.

UNK  performed on Friday, September 22 in Goa at The Sol.
A must-see show

You can find the Original Article at the Oheraldo , Goa September 22nd 2012  , Saturday , Page 6

http://www.epaperoheraldo.in/Details.aspx?id=7017&boxid=2433109&uid=&dat=9/22/2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A tribute to a time that was


By Aditya Mendonca / Raintree Media Features

Delicate, haunting and evocative, Shibu Arakkal challenges himself and the viewer with his new photographs

  Artistic inspirations emerge from the most unexpected places and for Shibu Arakkal’s latest series ‘Finding Nowhere’, it stemmed from several visits he made to the countryside and lay dormant until he could not ignore that they told a story on their own.  

Shot entirely in monochrome on a film camera, the photographs capture the vanishing landscape of a rapidly growing city. It’s a tale that speaks of the artist finding shelter in the hamlet of Magadi; a town situated an hour away from Bangalore. “Whenever I tire of shooting in the city and the same old urban chaos and scenarios, I like to drive across the countryside hunting for something new and different. But look around you – Bangalore’s surroundings have all yielded to buildings!” he exclaims in frustrated disgust.


When a friend first recommended Magadi, Shibu was incredulous as Magadi Road is one of the worst traffic zones, but he was persuaded to visit the town which has become more of a hamlet really as time seems to have forgotten it. He says, “Magadi to me is such a place, one of retrospection, of things very real and of recluse. And if solace of a fading world does find you along the way, then I suppose it is somehow apposite”. 

Over the years, it became an oft-visited site for him, as the drive is very scenic and he took many photographs in and around Magadi. It slowly dawned on him that there was a series emerging from his random photos. 




Finding Nowhere is a series of 21 photographs, shot entirely on film in the old school photography black & white style. Shibu’s favourite palette is sepia. He shot the entire series on a Diana F + camera by Lomography. The plastic-bodied box camera costs just $30 and has a cult status. Using 120 roll film, most versions take 16 photographs per roll in a non-standard format of 4.2cm square using a simple plastic meniscus lens. The plastic lens helps give a diffused view adding to the romantic atmosphere of the picture. Shibu has many quirky toys; among his favourite is the Lens Baby (a freaky tilt and shift lens).  

Though Shibu has a frenzied love affair with the digital world, having picked up on Photoshop very early, when nobody wanted to touch digital manipulation, back in 98, he is puritanical when it comes to shooting with film. “Shooting in black and white is where the challenge lies “. The tone and lighting are where it all happens, even after 18 years of experience, there is so much one can learn from them, black and white leaves room for a lot of interpretation “ 


A freelance professional photographer since 1994, his travels include countries such as England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Greece, Scotland, Turkey, Russia, UAE, China, Singapore, Thailand, Bhutan, Nepal and many parts of India. His works have been awarded prestigious international awards. His previous exhibitions have focused on ‘philosophies’ (‘Themes’ sound a bit shallow, he says) on the differences between the line and the curve, Skin (human), Absence (exploration of), space and architecture of the Eiffel Tower.

A tribute to Shibu, who incidentally is the son of eminent painter Yusuf Arakall, come from Jnanapith award winning writer, the multi-talented Girish Karnad, who says, “These photographs by Shibu Arakkal of Magadi village catch the majestic contours of desolation, almost making silence visible. The perfect stillness which he has captured in the rocks, temple ponds, and deliquescent walls, all haunted by their desolation, in turn transform the viewer into elements of the photographed moment, breathless in anticipation of the next shift in the light”. 

You can find the Original article at  Oheraldo  Goa , August 30 , 2012 ,Thursday . Page 9 


 


















Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mr Adi Godrej, President, Confederation of Indian Industry and Chairman, Godrej Group, is in the BEST OF INDIA

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cycling around in Bangalore


In a city where traffic delays, pollution and road rage are all too common, we have a few beacons of hope who choose to use cycles as their primary mode of transport.

Cycles are the most eco friendly way of getting around a congested, traffic jam prone city. There have been a few organisations which have been working day and night to make Bangalore a more cycle friendly city. Among these organisations is ATCAG, which is running a pilot project in Bangalore.

ATCAG docking station at MG road, Bangalore

Their project is based on the Automated Bicycle Sharing System for Govt. of Karnataka, supported by Directorate of Urban Land Transport and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike. The pilot consists of just 3 docking stations comprising of 9 bicycles located in Central Business Districts around Bangalore. The idea behind the pilot is to get the people accustomed to the concept of Bicycle Sharing and also familiarize them with the operation of this automated transport infrastructure.

ATCAG currently does not charge anything for the use of these cycles, but will slowly graduate towards a nominal fee on an hourly basis. The response so far has been great and ATCAG has been in constant conversation with the Bangalore planning commission to chalk out specific cycling zones and lanes, all across the city. This project is currently underway and all the citizens of Bangalore are awaiting its completion with baited breath. ATCAG is also planning to install several docking stations across private campuses in hopes of reducing the carbon footprint of Bangalore’s many MNC’s.

Bike sharing process
Another organisation working towards making Bangalore cycle friendly is “The art of bicycle tours” team. Thanks to their efforts now even tourists are encouraged to use this eco friendly way to enjoy the city. Pankaj Mangal from the art of bicycle tours offers tours around Bangalore and a few other cities in India.

One of their most popular tours is the Passage to India tour. This tour takes you through heritage sites, picturesque country side roads and ends with a visit to Channapatna, a quaint little toy town that is famous for their exquisite craftsmanship.

Pit stop en route 'Passage to India' tour

When asked his views on cycling and the city, Pankaj Mangal said “Cycling could be a solution to all city problems like air pollution, noise pollution, traffic jams, health problems etc. It is a perfect antidote to a hectic city life. The current government has increased the import duty on bicycles by 30% which is highly absurd. The government should work towards promoting cycling in a city by offering income tax rebate for people who cycle to work, building cycling lanes and reducing import duty to 0% on international bicycles.”

Cycling is one of the oldest and most efficient modes of transport. You can easily weave in and out of traffic, give your credit card a breather from the increasing fuel prices and even lose a few kilos on your way to work. In today’s world of technology and modernization this wheel turning simpleton is the way to go.




By Akshaya Kapur/ Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com


Read the story on the Goa Herald:


                                                 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

In Pursuit of Passion


Art can boost tourism a lot more than tacky ads. Anyone who views Ganesh Doddamani’s richly textured images of Hampi would go there in a jiffy.

It is odd how contrary advice can be. A professor in the Davanagere art college told Ganesh Doddamani,“ Work on creating one good painting instead of ten bad pieces.”

Soon after, Doddamani visited an art mela in Bangalore and was stunned to see the skills on display by art students from Kolkata. Feeling that he could never learn to paint as well if he stayed on in his college, he dropped out and went to artist Shambhu Das in Kolkata.

Das told the young man that he wanted guru dakshina, and with great trepidation, Doddamani asked him what it entailed. “ I want 500 works of water colour from you”. Thrilled with the answer, Doddamani promptly set about painting. He soon realised that he could not paint more than three a day and that it would take him the whole year that he had planned to spend in Kolkata to complete 500 pieces.

He explained this to the master who replied, “ Exactly, by the time you are done with 500 pieces, you won’t need a master.” This was completely at variance with his earlier professor’s words but was the best advice anyone can get for any work. Practice does make perfect.

Hampi

I met Doddamani at Art Bengaluru – a fabulous concept where various art galleries display fairly affordable art across genres in a public space. Of all the artworks on display, his oil paintings of Hampi shone with a radiant charm.

He told me that he had quit his job as an exhibition assistant at the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum as the bosses did not want him to exhibit his works. Two years on, he’s quite happy with the decision. “An artist’s life is always a struggle but my works are selling fairly well and I manage”, he says.

His whole life has been a pursuit of passion. He had decided that he would study art even while he was in school; after early disappointments he joined Shantiniketan for his master’s degree.

“It changed my life. The peace and calm I experienced in that atmosphere, especially after visiting Gurudev’s meditation spot inspired me to paint the face of the Buddha. It was immediately bought by a local businessman who told me that the image gave him a sense of serenity whenever he looked at it”.

Doddamani has focused on painting only the visage of the Buddha with an attendant motif of flowers. “We recognise a person by their face and it is the Buddha’s calm face that I want people to look at when they enter a room”.

In complete contrast to the soft, minute transferred pastel colours of his Buddha series, the Hampi paintings have thick strong applications with warm and vibrant results. “I hail from Ramdurg, just about three hours from Hampi and I have visited it very often. I had long thought of painting it but the burst of creativity happened only recently”.

The focus in his artworks is not so much on the famed architecture of the place but the play of light and shade. “Each time I visit Hampi, I see it anew”, he says.

His paintings created a surge of interest from our group to revisit Hampi and it struck me that the tourism department ought to use artworks to entice visitors to the heritage city of Hampi rather than tacky ads. Would that be asking for too much?


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



Read the story on the Goa Herald


Monday, August 13, 2012

Varun Agarwal 25 and living it

Varun Agarwal is a young entrepreneur who has three companies and written his success story in his debut book that is already on its second print-run in less than three months and has sold 20,000 copies.


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

25 year old Varun Agarwal has a BE in Tele-Communications and currently runs three start-ups; Alma Mater (India's premier memorabilia company for top schools and colleges, retails online on their e-store. Their facebook page currently has over 171,000 fans), Reticular (Social Media Marketing Agency) and Last Minute Films (an Independent production company)
His debut novel titled, ‘How I braved Anu Aunty & co-founded a million dollar company’ is a hit!

His story is filled with humour, it talks about his popular start-up Alma Mater, and how he started his company with his partner Rohn Malhotra. You run into his friends , his mom , the girl he has the biggest crush on , growing up in pub city of India and yes, Anu Aunty who stands between him and his goal .
It’s got the perfect mix of how anybody fresh out of college has got dreams floating around and had to face certain obstacles before reaching the initial taste of success.
The book connects more with people who’ve grown up in Bangalore.
It’s got a chilling, goose bump reality scene and different vibe from the usual books we see hitting the market. A true reminder of the many hurdles, the Indian youth go through to start their journey to entrepreneurial success.

Here’s an interview with Varun.

Is Anu Aunty a social fad or a weapon of destruction?
She was a constant weapon of destruction, who now is a social fad.
How did the idea come up of writing your first book , based on reality ?I used to write blogs on the Alma Mater facebook page, they got famous, and somebody suggested that I write a book.
I ended up writing the book in 7 days, put it together and send it to Rupa Publishers.
One month later it was ready.
It’s very good to fail, because unless you fail, one never succeeds.
Indian society encourages one not to fail, but I disagree .I’ve learnt the most from my failures.

How I braved Anu Aunty and co –founded a million dollar company - The movie, do we see it soon? The movie is in the works, though I can’t give anymore details about it.

What advice would you give fellow entrepreneurs?
I would simply say take the leap and then think. Most ideas fizzle out because everyone spends hours just thinking about them and not doing anything .So if you have an idea just go for it.
Don’t aim at being just an entrepreneur. Rather aim at having a killer idea and having the passion and the will to execute it.

“It’s a fun read & very addictive “says Singer &  Writer Riccha Paul

This book is a reminder to our massive youth population, that if you stay focused and passionate about your dreams, you are likely to succeed. This book might well be a handbook for Indian youth to learn the ropes from the new Indian whiz kid.
You could get a really good deal if you order it from the official facebook page of the book - facebook.com/anuauntybook.

Read the story on the Goa Heraldo




You can also find the article at

http://www.epaperoheraldo.in/Details.aspx?id=6387&boxid=45623968&uid=&dat=8/13/2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mysore Manners

The palaces of Mysore are splendid and its weather several degrees cooler. But it’s the civility of its people that is utterly charming and endearing. 

Romantic, rainwashed and radically different from their nearest urban counterparts, Mysoreans are to the manner born*. A recent visit brought this realization home anew.

The city of palaces is just 120 km away from Bangalore but its people are so far removed in their disposition, one wonders whether we can truly be in the same state, speaking the same language and sharing a common heritage.


Amba Vilas Palace, Mysore

Driving through the city was such joy; not only are the roads wide and well-maintained, there’s hardly any traffic. Here in Bangalore, my office is less than a ten-minute walk from home. I often drive my car to work as I need to go out for meetings – the drive to work takes longer, there are needless bottlenecks, meaningless traffic restrictions and like every driver, I feel all others are boors who should not be given licenses. Did I mention that there are so many potholes that one feels like a frog, leaping around them?

We traversed Mysore from one end to other; we did not bother to use the GPS to find our way. How could we give up an opportunity to converse with a local? Whoever we asked for directions – cops, auto drivers (my favourites always for such help), other motorists, would pause, smile and then explain at great length. Most of the directions involved going right at the next big circle until a ‘deadened’ (not a dead-end) which amused us thoroughly.

The gentle cloak of civility soothed our jangled big city nerves, and as the day wore on, so beguiled were we by the genuine human regard of people we met that we had to jolt ourselves into remembering that we were not in a time warp.

In many ways, it is a closed society. You do need to know the right people who will connect you to their friends. But once they realise you are well-meaning, not haughty and are not going to waste their time, Mysoreans have all the time in the world to discuss the value of your proposition and share their insights.

They are modest about their intelligence and equally so about their wealth. They flaunt neither but if your antennae are up, you can sense both quite soon.

The city is not immune to change, but it happens so slowly it seems almost invisible. Without being intransigent about it, Mysoreans have held on to a way of life and their culture – by which I mean not just the arts and their treasure trove of artefacts, but a civility in daily conduct. They soon might be getting a new resident – it seems the ideal place to shift.

(*For those who wonder at my usage of ‘ to the manner born’ instead of ‘to the manor born’, I would like to point them to http://www.word-detective.com/2011/10/to-the-manner-manor-born/. The original phrase “to the manner born” was coined by William Shakespeare in Hamlet, Act I, Scene iv. In the mid-19th century the variant “to the manor born,” came to be used, meaning “born into, or naturally suited to, upper-class life”. It substituted “manor” (the house on an estate; a mansion) as a symbol of an aristocratic lifestyle for “manner” meaning simply “customs or habits.” I use the idiom in the Shakespearean sense.)

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

Read the story on the Goa Herald

               

Monday, August 06, 2012

An angry harmony, made melodious

It may be pocket-sized, it may look like a toy, but is one of the most difficult instruments to learn to play. As for the price, it ranges from a couple of hundred rupees to over two and half lakh rupees for the gold plated versions. Blow on that!

Sometimes people you meet take you by surprise. A friend who’s part of a harmonica club - apparently there are several across the country- called with an invitation to meet a ‘wizard’ and for the most part it was like encountering a fire breathing dragon.

Heading to the meeting, our heads were buzzing with the sweet melodies of yesteryear Hindi songs like Mana janab ne pukara nahin, ek ladki bheegi bhagi bhagi si, Na Jaane kyoon, Thandi hawa yeh chandni, Jeevan ke safar mein rahin. For all of which Gautam Choudury had played the harmonica.

Gautam Choudury
He looked pleasant enough but one did not even need to scratch the surface to realise that Choudury is an angry man. At times during our conversation, I felt that he was on the brink of an apoplectic fit.

What makes him angry is that the harmonica is not treated with respect in India. He says people like Raj Kapoor made the harmonica into a cheap toy by portraying it as the instrument of idlers.

He took up the harmonica as a boy in Patna and trained himself over the years. He came into his own in Kolkata, playing with many popular musicians at Trincas and Blue Fox, and had a band the ‘Bloworms’. He started playing music for films after meeting music director Salil Chowdhury, whom he regards as his mentor.

But music was only a hobby for this IT consultant; he left India as a young man to discover the world and travelled across many countries before settling down in the Netherlands.HMV produced a few of his harmonica albums that include Salil Chowdhury ‘Durer Thikana, Hindi songs of Kishore – ‘Tribute to Kishore’, ‘A Tuneful Tribute to Salil Chowdhury’.

Since retiring, Chowdury, who has created www.salilda.com as a comprehensive guide to Salil Chowdhury’s musical genius, has also produced two music albums – a passion that brings him to India annually.

Hobby though it is, the musician’s angst stems from the fact that his instrument is not taken seriously in India. “The harmonica is one of the most abused instruments in India. How do you account for the fact that there is not a single world class harmonica player from here?” he asks belligerently.

“Unlike in Europe, here there are no institutions that teach how to play harmonics; there are some self-appointed teachers but they do not teach in a methodical way.” he laments.

Playing Indian songs adds to the problem as Indian music does not have notations; the composer does not provide sheet music, everybody plays by the ear and since each person’s hearing is different, the music never sounds the same.

Choudury is perplexed at the lack of interest in a serious study of this instrument; he’s met people who learn the violin, the guitar and piano, so why not the harmonica? He hopes that musicians here access learning material from the internet and practice.

It may be pocket-sized, it may look like a toy, but is one of the most difficult instruments to learn to play. As for the price, it ranges from a couple of hundred rupees to over two and half lakh rupees for the gold plated versions. Blow on that!

Ending on a happy note, Chowdury teased us with a medley of numbers that we tried to quickly identify before he moved to the next song. Sweet music indeed.


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


Read the story on the Goa Herald

                                  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Monkey Business in the Pub


At this all-day gastropub (a space that has the essence of a pub, backed by excellent food and service at accessible prices), the music has its own buzz; but it is the thrum of talk and laughter that keeps the vibe going. So much so that it has Bangaloreans of all ages and professions in raptures and the owners perplexed at the instant success. 

Started by Chef Manu Chandra and AD Singh, Monkey Bar is very different and sets a new trend. It is a space that is welcoming, different and has it own electric charm. Rustic wood mixes with eclectic d├ęcor – with jam jars and rice pans used to service drinks and food. Retro posters, and there is even a bright Vespa, to create a carefree mood that gets people into a happy mood almost instantly.

Monkey Bar
The basement has a big secret for the first timers at Monkey Bar - a foosball table and a pool table that are in huge demand. Ask why Monkey Bar and Chef Manu says, “It is playful. We all grew up with monkey bars and jungle gyms. It has a quick recall.”

There are bartenders churning out unusual concoctions like the Aam panna cocktail with rum, and sweet lime, mint, jeera and salt — very much like chutney but with the addition of vodka. They have room for all sorts of palates and curious drinkers. Something as basic as Horlicks, is blended with banana, Nutella and made into a rave-worthy smoothie. Hangover 14/1 Wood Street is a spicy cocktail of dark rum, vodka, beer and Tabasco – tread with care as it is extremely hot. Up for grabs are the usual drinks and mocktails. Although the sad part is they do not have draught beer.

The main courses are generous. Choose from Mexican, Lebanese, Bengali, Thai, Vietnamese and ‘Chindia’. The food menu is heavily weighted in favour of non-vegetarians with the dry aged wood grilled burgers being eaten as fast as they are cooked. The menu includes Tikki of Joy, Caramelised Rib, Prawns Balchao and Galouti Killer. The food is sinful but oddly not greasy or over the top — the ingredients are used accurately and every element in the dish gets the chance to play its part. 
Monkey Bar
Mumbai meets Bangalore with the all time favourite street food like the Bombay Vada Pav served with butter and ghatti masala, which would make a good starter. For the main course, the MoBar Burger, a classic wood fired burger, wins any day. The buns are made in house and are a different size. They are served in the classic monkey bar style with fries and salad, oozing with flavour. For vegetarians, don’t worry. It is a massive burger. Not your conventional Mac burger size, but much bigger. But worth every rupee. For dessert the unique Flourless Chocolate XS Cake, a heady mix, stands out.

Monkey Bar
 Ask for Michael. He has got the best service. And if you ever have a problem the manager Nikhil should sort you out. Look out for Kunal, the gastronomy man, he will fill you up with what you should know about your food. Hop over to Monkey Bar and make your own list of what you like.

Meal for two including taxes is approx. INR 1000- 1500.

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

Read the story on the Goa Herald:


Monday, July 30, 2012

Jatin Das in the BEST OF INDIA

Eminent artist and Padma Bhushan awardee Jatin Das is in the Best of India; in the photo here with Sandhya Mendonca and Usha Subramanian.

Testimonials for the BEST OF INDIA


“I would like to compliment your effort to showcase the growth and success of our country.” – KV Kamath, Non executive Chairman, ICICI Bank Ltd

“It was a privilege to be asked to write the Foreword for the  “Best of India”. It is an excellent publication and I am sure, being received exceedingly well by critics as well as the market”. - Ashok Soota, Happiest Minds Technologies. 

“The book is well brought out.” - Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto


Thursday, July 19, 2012

BEST OF INDIA launched in South Africa

We are pleased to inform you that His Excellency the High Commissioner of India to South Africa Virendra Gupta launched the BEST OF INDIA at the Future of Trade Africa 2012 in Johannesburg on July 16.
The High Commissioner of India Virendra Gupta to South Africa releasing the BEST OF INDIA, our fourth book in the Indian series of the international 'Best of' series.
Also seen (L-R) Sven Boermeester - Chairman of GVP, Sandhya Mendonca - CEO & Editor-in-Chief of GVP India, Aditya Mendonca - Director of GVP India and Nandan Singh Bhaisora - Acting Consul General.
The High Commissioner of India Virendra Gupta to South Africa with Sandhya Mendonca - CEO & Editor-in-Chief of GVP India
The latest volume of the Best of South Africa and the Best of Soweto were also launched at the event.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Bangalore meets Berlin


The Indo-German Urban Mela at Palace Grounds saw an enthusiastic response from locals and visitors to Bangalore. From innovative and sustainable technology to performances, stilt walkers and clowns – the Mela had it all.

The Indo-German Urban Mela, a 10-day long extravaganza, started its journey in Mumbai before making a stop in Bangalore. It is the centerpiece of the Germany and India 2011-12: Infinite Opportunities’ which was kicked off in September 2011 and has brought forth a succession of cultural programmes over the past few months with a focus on ‘StadRaume – CitySpaces’.

The Mela is celebrating the German-Indian collaborations over the years while looking forward to strengthening ties and forging new partnerships. Interestingly, the Karnataka-Germany connection can be traced back to 1843 when Hermann Mogling, a German missionary considered as the father of Kannada journalism, founded the first Kannada newspaper in Mangalore called ‘Mangalooru Samachar’. Another German missionary Ferdinand Kittel compiled the first English-Kannada dictionary in 1894.

The innovative structures – 15 pavilions in various geometric shapes mimicking gemstones and designed by Markus Heinsdorff – were set against the stately Bangalore Palace.

Multi-purpose pavilions at the Indo German Urban Mela, Bangalore
It was opportunities galore for students at the Indo-German Youth University which had laid out prospects for education and research through interactive sessions with entrepreneurs and professors, along with counselling, lectures and quizzes.

The Deutsche Bank pavilion offered a peek at the projects supported by the bank as well as guest projects which included the Solar Impulse project, a solar powered aircraft and the Windowfarms hydroponic farming system by Britta Riley. The Dream:in project had set up a wishing tree, where you could tie your dream for your city which was later collected by Dreamctachers.

At the Bosch pavilion, there was a display of products for ‘cities of the future’ including a model of an Energy-Plus house while Lapp India offered safe cabling and wiring solutions. A popular stop was the Airbus pavilion which showcased a breathtaking Airbus concept plane and highlighted the current scenario in the aviation industry in an animated film.

Dream City Wall at the Indo German Urban Mela, Bangalore
Other pavilions included those of the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Goethe Lounge, Siemens, Bajaj Allianz, Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, SAP, Metro and BASF.

There was a steady stream of families, students and professionals at the Mela. It was non-stop action with seminars, workshops, teaser German classes, storytelling, theatre, film screenings coupled with music performances. There was never a dull moment, not with stilt walkers from Germany and Bornfree Art School who walked and twirled.


Clowns at the Indo German Urban Mela, Bangalore
Adding colour and smiles were the clowns, Josef Bogenfuerst (aka Jockel the clown) and Sanjay Balsaver. The interactive bamboo installation by Steffi Silbermann was another crowd puller. With flash mobs and dances, visitors could jump in and do an impromptu jig, get inked with a tattoo, try their luck quotient with the treasure hunt and a lucky draw or wield their creative vision on the Dream City wall.

Of course, a visit to any German affair is incomplete without beer and pretzels. There was plenty of that and a choice of Indian cuisine to be had at the Beergarden. A curtain raiser to the Oktoberfest by musicians from the Bavarian Reisbacher Musikanten brass band was scheduled on Jun 27.

The Mela closed on July 1 in Bangalore but will continue to travel to Chennai, Delhi and Pune.

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

Read the story on the Goa Herald:









Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Heineken Green Room debuts in India

American-born DJ/ Producer/ Electronic Artist Mux Mool inaugurated the Heineken Green Room in India, which promises unusual and exclusive music experiences. The artist, who supports digital music distribution and his pro-torrent stance, mixes head-nodding hip hop sampled rhythm with spaced-out electronic boom.

Mux Mool’s hard-to-box music is very different. Skulltaste, his sonic tour de force and recently released Planet High School, his new album. Resolutely electronic and charming, Mux Mool’s sound is a delight that has left audiences saying ‘More Please’ whether it is on YouTube or across clubs around the world.

I caught up with Mux Mool (aka Brian Lindgren) at the Green Room Session prior to his performance in Bangalore for an exclusive interview.

What is Mux Mool?
Just some made-up words that somebody suggested I should name my band and so I did. The words themselves mean different things when you Google them separately but when I chose the name I didn’t know that. I just thought it sounded really cool.

Mux Mool inaugurated the Heineken Green Room in India
How do you arrange things and how would you describe your music?
I think the difference with what I focus on and work with, and I can’t speak for everyone here, is that I want to show more feeling in electronic music. I want to use electronic music to show more feeling. A lot of times people feel that electronic music is so robotic and that’s a computer itself making all the music and it’s not like that. I’ve put a lot of feeling into my music and I’ve had a lot of feelings towards electronic songs over the course of my entire life.

Has social media has killed the star DJ?
It has and hasn’t at the same time. Social media has taken power away from the mighty and distributed it equitably among the rest of us. So while DJs used to be untouchable since they were on a pedestal until five years ago, now kids learn to play music within six months on their computers and are able to make thousands of dollars off it. But DJs like Tiesto are still stars.

Since any kid can download music for free, then what is the future of the music industry? Can you actually fight the torrent business on the Internet?
No, the torrent business cannot be fought because it is too good to be true. It is not necessarily a bad thing. The internet gives the power back to the audience. Download as you like and pay for it if you like to.

Mux Mool
As a pro-Torrent, pro-MP3, pro internet everything artist, according to you, music is and always should be free?
I can't judge if Torrent is right or wrong - but I know it has definitely been right for me. At the same time, I find it annoying that the same companies (such as AOL) that created and spread knowledge about these 'piracy' sites, have now turned around and started suing people for using them.

How, then, do you expect to make money from your art?
Being a musician has a lot to do with flexibility; while selling it has been around for a few decades, music itself is a centuries-old form of expression. So I have to find alternative ways of making money out of my music than through just putting a price label on a download or CD. One could make money at a concert via merchandising.

If you want to find Mux Mool, he is all over the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud and his website too.

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

Read the story on the Goa Herald: