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    For actor Dhananjaya, this year will start off with a big bang as Tagaru will hit the screens on February 23. The teaser of his look as Daali went viral a while back and brought him a lot of attention. In a candid chat with Tini Sara Anien, he talks about his character and the experience of working in the movie.

    You had three releases last year. How eventful will this year be?

    Yes, last year was a fantastic one. This year starts off with the release of Tagaru. I have been listening to scripts and the movie should pave way for a successful year ahead. But, I dont want to do films for the sake of it.

    How excited are you about Tagaru?

    Everyone has high expectations for the film. The movie has the right content to make it a hit and is driving Shivarajkumar fans crazy. His role and his work by itself will get the movie all the attention it needs. Tagaru will be a turning point in my career.

    What are the highlights of the film?

    The combination of Suri and Shivarajkumar working together in a project itself is bound to impress everyone. The movie is a multi-starrer which will bring in varied movie lovers. The movie has explored a new style of screenplay.

    Tell us about your look.

    After years, I am sporting a short hair look for the movie. My character also has coloured eyes and had a bigger build for which I had to gain weight. The director wanted to present me in an entirely different avatar and Daali is just that.

    Do you connect to Daali at all?

    Daali is a rowdy. He gets violent and angry easily. On the contrary, I am a calm and soft-spoken person. If I ever have an argument with anyone, I am the first person to go and apologise.

    Did you regret chopping off your hair?

    Not at all. Though we discussed the role and its look many times, I was apprehensive to share a photograph with Suri when I got the haircut initially. But when I did, his instant response was super. Now I have realised that all my facial features are best highlighted when my hair is shorter and my beard is lighter. I look much better now.

    What has the film taught you?

    I listen more now. There were a lot of discussions during the making of Tagaru and I have learnt that giving stress to such details is important. Shivarajkumar is a big part of the project and one can learn a lot from him. He creates a comfort zone for everyone. I love his spontaneity.

    You recently wrote lyrics for a song in the film Orchestra. Tell us more about it.

    The film is a Mysuru-based film and is being made by my friends. They know me as a writer and that is how I penned a song for them. It was a brilliant experience and I will be writing all nine songs for the movie now. The best part is that the music will be by Raghu Dixit.

    What more would you like to explore?

    I would like to travel more. In a few years, I see myself directing movies too.


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  • 02/08/18--22:44: 'Prema Baraha' packs a punch
  • Actor-director Arjun Sarja prefers to let his work do all the talking. He says that when he began writing the script for Prema Baraha, he wanted to make a film that not only provided entertainment but also offered some food for thought. Well, that doesnt come as a surprise because most of Arjuns earlier projects have always come with a strong message.

    Arjuns latest offering Prema Baraha has his daughter Aishwarya Arjun play the lead opposite Chandan Kumar. Arjun says that he carefully chose the lead actors because he not only wanted them to look good together but also wanted actors who could stand up to a tough challenge. "I believe that films must add value to the viewers experience. There must be more to my films than just action and romance," says Arjun.

    Prema Baraha is a beautiful love story with a patriotic slant to it. "I was at the theatre this morning and I was overwhelmed by the reaction of the audience. They were appreciative at every scene. I felt that people could totally relate to the emotions,"
    he says.

    Talking about Aishwaryas character, Arjun, says "As a director, my job is to extract the versatility in every actor. What matters is the presentation and quality of the content. People will get to see a very bubbly Aishwarya who can also quickly switches emotions from being extremely sad to being humourous."

    Actor Chandan Kumar was hand-picked by Arjun because he perfectly fit the characterisation. "The hero must not only be good looking but must be someone who can bring quality into both the physical and emotional aspects of the character. Chandan had both," says Arjun. The director informs that the fights are something to watch out for.

    "Chandan underwent special training in a stunt called Parkour for about 15 to 20 days. It involves jumping from one building to another. In fact, this is the opening scene," informs Arjun.

    Actor Darshan has made a special appearance in the song and Arjun says that he couldnt thank him enough. "Darshan offered to be a part of the song. He is, in fact, one of the finest gentlemen that I have met so far. He has now become a part of our big family," says Arjun.

    A special screening of Prema Baraha was held at a popular multiplex a day before its release and the whos who of Sandawlood were in full attendance.


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  • 02/08/18--22:48: Virtual love packages
  • E-commerce sites are coming out with personalised packaging, unique gifts and bundle discounts for Valentines Day, which is coming up on Wednesday.

    Its convenient

    Looks like the tradition of buying a gift, wrapping it up and writing sweet notes on it is on its way out. Karthik Iyer, a software professional, wants to surprise his girlfriend Niharika with a customised watch.

    "E-commerce websites offering suggestions for the packaging and presentation of the gift is to my advantage. Although there is an additional charge for this, it is convenient and worth it," he says.

    Lacking the personal touch

    Anushraya K, an engineering student, wants to purchase aviators for her boyfriend
    Kaustubh M.

    "Online shopping has its own disadvantages. The product that we get online, with all its packaging, can never stand up to the traditional way of gifting. I hope the online site sends me the gift much in advance so that I can wrap it in my own way," she says.

    Options aplenty

    Anita Jobin, a software engineer, says, "On a special occasion like Valentines Day, it is nice to see an online platform suggesting varied gifting options and unique combinations for my loved one, especially since I tend to be a bit confused. The sites also introduce me to newer brands."

    Customisation is the name of the game. Nusrat Sheikh, a freelance writer, says, "When I am choosing gifts, I would like plenty of options and I like to customise the gifts that I give."

    The bundle offers

    Shubham Ray, a city-based graphic designer, understands that the dynamics of online gifting are different from shopping at a retail store.

    "Sometimes if you are purchasing from the same vendor, although you get bigger discounts, all your choices come in one package. Though I like gift guides and suggestions on what to buy for my partner, I like to do it my own way," he says.

    Special attention

    Saurabh Sharma, director and co-founder of aliciasouza.com, says, "Like most popular e-commerce sites, our site offers unique gifts like coasters, mugs, magnets, glass candles, personalised stamps in distinct packaging according to your choice. We can get it packed in a themed gift wrapping paper and add a personal note or greeting card to the gift."

    He adds,"Our website focuses on gifting special moments and is sporting a pink-themed look for the special day."

    Giving a Hint

    Many e-commerce sites believe that a unique and cute gift make a deeper impression than the package itself.

    Somanna Muthanna, head of marketing, Chumbak, says, "We have the option of gift wrapping also. Apart from that, we offer the customer an option to create a hamper for their loved one. Apart from these options, we have a Hint option, where a woman can let her partner know that its that time of the year to shop for her."


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  • 01/31/18--15:54: Have a strong sense of self
  • Dear Madam,

    I am a 14-year-old boy. Though I like to hang out with my friends, I get into fights very quickly. Also, if someone hurts me I get an urge to hurt him back. My mother says that this
    attitude is not good. Also, I am not comfortable sharing my feelings with anyone else except my mother because I feel that people judge me on that. Is it good or not? Please guide.

    Rahul

    Dear Rahul,

    I am very happy that you reached out to me for help. It requires a lot of courage to reach out for help, but you have absolutely done the right thing. It is quite normal for friends to fight to some extent because there will always be some disagreements and conflicts. So some fighting is normal, and you can also agree to disagree. Being friends does not mean that you have to agree about everything. However, it is important to be self-reflective and try and understand why you feel the need to fight. Is there another way of expressing your point of view without it ending up in a fight? Do you feel that you are not heard unless you talk loudly and aggressively?

    We cannot control what people say and do, to us and about us. However, we can control how we react and respond to what people do and say. When someone hurts us, we can choose to hang on to the hurt, not forgive them, and let the need to be revengeful eat us from the inside. Or we can choose to let them know that we did not appreciate their behaviour and then move on. Often we feel we should not forgive someone because we dont want to let them off the hook. But the reality is the need to be revengeful actually destroys us more than the other person.

    Also, we tend to feel hurt when someone says something about us. But most of the time what the world says to us is a reflection of what we internally feel about ourselves. And when someone says it out aloud we get hurt because we think that the world now knows our secret reality. However, if we feel strong and capable about ourselves, and believe in ourselves, then we are able to disregard what other people say because we know it is not true. Remember, just because someone says something about you that does not become the truth, unless we think that it is the truth.

    I have covered a lot and hope it has been helpful. However, if these are issues you may be struggling with, it will be helpful for you to talk to a counsellor who can help you understand this better. You could either meet someone personally, or even call the Parivarthan Counselling Helpline at 76766 02602 where you can speak to a counsellor for free.

    Dear Madam,

    I have a son who is studying in VIII standard. He is a smart boy and his IQ was also good earlier. But for the past three years, his concentration and presentation skills have become very poor. I have tried many methods to help him but it has not yielded results so far. He also gets distracted in the classes. I believe he should gain knowledge more than just getting a good score in the exams. Unfortunately, he is not showing interest in anything. Please suggest how I can help boost his confidence.

    Charitha

    Dear Charitha,

    Please take him to a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist for an assessment. This may not necessarily be something that is within his control and that he is doing willingly. Please get the help of professionals so that you can truly support him. With the right support and guidance he will be able to get back on track. I am not necessarily saying there may be a problem, just that the path forward is very different if there is a problem and if there isnt, you should know which path to go down. All the best.

    Dear Madam,

    Of late, my 14-year-old daughter has started comparing her situation with her peers - eating habits, clothing, travel plans, etc. I want to convince her that is not in good spirit as every individual is different. Please guide.

    A mother

    Dear mother,

    It is very normal for adolescents to be influenced by peers in all aspects of life. That is why it becomes so important to give them a strong sense of self and help them build their self-esteem and self-confidence. Getting her some help from a counsellor at this stage can reap rich dividends as it will help her develop a different perspective. Also, be mindful of the example you are setting for her. Children most often do what they experience and see, not what is told to them. As parents are you exhibiting similar concerns and anxieties about your peers.

    Dear Madam,

    I am a BSc student. Though I am intelligent and liked by everyone, I am very conscious about my looks. This affects my performance in the college, particularly in cultural activities. Also, I am a bit concerned if girls like me or not. Is it normal in this age?

    Akash

    Dear Akash,

    It is very normal for youth of your age to be concerned about being liked by members of the opposite sex. The important thing to focus on though is to like yourself, not worry so much about what others are thinking about you. Whether someone else likes you or not, you must like yourself. You cannot control what others think of you, and it is not important. However, you can control what you think of yourself and that is very important. The universe eventually reflects back to you what you think and feel about yourself. Also, it is way more important to be liked by others for the person that you are, rather than for your good looks. Attraction based on looks is short-lived. So, focus instead on being beautiful on the inside.

    Dear Madam,

    We have put our daughter in an open school. She asks too many questions and sometimes they sound really silly. Also, she has the habit disrupting the discussion if she has some knowledge about the topic. Many times, she doesnt contribute much to the discussion but spoils the flow. While we feel proud about her inquisitive nature many a time, we have many awkward moments as well. So far, we have always appreciated her ability to ask questions, though sometimes we have stopped her from interfering. Please guide me as to how we can go about to use her trait constructively.

    Confused parents

    Dear parents,

    I do hope your daughter does not read this column because the way your question is framed, she will feel badly judged and put down. A child does not always have to ask intelligent questions? And who are we to judge whether a question is intelligent enough or not? In the words of Carl Sagan, "There are naïve questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question." There is no stupid question because stupid people dont ask questions.

    What is the contribution that you are looking for from her? What is the flow that she is spoiling? These are questions to ask of yourself and introspect. What is holding you back from accepting her the way she is and celebrating her curiosity, her desire to participate, and her desire to understand the world. Are you able to accept her unconditionally and non-judgmentally, and if not, then why not?


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    The environment is a popular topic of discussion today, and the concept of recycling construction materials has become more important than ever before. Currently, most of the construction waste is transported by open trucks and dispersed in the nearby areas.

    We often see construction debris dumped along the roadside without any proper provision for disposal.

    For sustainable development in the construction industry, there is this massive need to reduce the diminution of natural resources, reduce disposal of construction and demolition (C&D) waste into landfills, and encourage recycling and reuse of C&D waste.

    Why recycle?

    Recycling C&D materials can bring in significant benefits for our environment. Million tons of asphalt pavements and concrete are generated annually. If recycled, it would save a lot of energy. In addition to saving energy, recycling can also keep all the debris out of the landfills. Poorly managed landfills face a number of operational hitches and groundwater contamination.Such challenges can become quite expensive in the future, but recycling construction waste can help circumvent them.

    In addition, recycling offers financial benefits for construction business owners. There are many recyclers who charge very little to accept construction waste, which can be reprocessed, particularly if it is separated from other materials. Furthermore, recycling can decrease your material transportation and dumping costs.

    Recycling is essentially transporting debris and other waste to the recycling facility; these facilities can use it for different purposes. The waste is either processed to form the same material or is re-purposed.

    So, what can be recycled? Well, the list of construction waste which can be recycled is ever-changing. Technological advancements are creating opportunities to recycle more and more C&D materials instead of sending them to landfills. Here are few options for recycling and reusing construction materials instead of discarding them:

    Concrete: Demolitions, road paving and other projects containing concrete produce thousands of tons of waste every year. Concrete can be broken down and recycled as the base course for building footpaths and driveways, and also be recycled into markets which use crushed stone.

    Asphalt: Every year, thousands of cubic yards of asphalt pavement and shingles are disposed of. Waste asphalt can be crushed and recycled into new asphalt for paved roads. Recycling asphalt pavement generates large energy savings as a result of the energy-intensive process of producing asphalt binder from oil.

    Gypsum: Gypsum recyclers remove any contaminants like screws and nails and separate the paper from gypsum. After that, it can be grounded into powder or turned into pellets, which can be sold to manufacturers who use gypsum for different applications.

    Wood: Annually, a considerable amount of waste is generated from wood framing and other wood products. Clean, unprocessed wood can be used as timber or grounded and used to produce engineered board, mulch and boiler fuel.

    Metals: Metallic waste is engendered by cut/fall-offs, which remain after materials are trimmed to fit particular areas. Metals can be melted down and converted into new metal products. They can also be sold for scrap. Common recyclable metals comprise copper, steel, and aluminium.

    How do you incorporate it in your plan?

    Recycling isnt just about putting your plastic containers or aluminium cans in the blue bin. What about the building materials in your home? Are they contributing to the environment negatively? There are several benefits for you and the construction companies if you incorporate construction material recycling into the building plan. Here are a few:

    Reduces greenhouse gas emissions: Recycling construction waste helps in reducing the production of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants by decreasing the need to extract raw materials and transport new materials to long distances.

    Saves landfill space: Recycling lessens the need for new landfills and their related costs.
    Saves energy: By eliminating the need to extract and manufacture new raw materials, a lot of energy can be saved. This also reduces the environmental impact.

    Saves money: By reducing transportation cost, disposal costs, and the cost of new construction materials, a lot of money can be saved.

    Why build green?

    The construction industry is the second largest producer of greenhouse gases and demolition waste. How do you think we pay for this loss? The answer is: with sustainable architecture. This kind of architecture strives to minimise the destructive impact that buildings are having on the environment today.

    Green buildings use less energy, natural resources and produce less waste and greenhouse gases. Such buildings are healthy for the people living or working inside as compared to the regular structures present in the country. Building green is just not about building efficiently, but its about creating buildings which optimise the use of local and recycled materials, local ecology, and most importantly, built to reduce power, material and water requirements.

    So, what are you waiting for? Lets make earth a better place! One way or another, recycling is the way of the future.

    (The author is marketing manager, Wienerberger India)


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    PadMan

    Hindi (U/A)

    Cast: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte, Sonam Kapoor

    Director: R Balki

    Rating: **


    Almost half an hour into PadMan, wife Radhika Apte asks Akshay Kumar: Why are you so trapped between a womans legs?

    He continues to be there for the whole of 2 hours 20 minutes, unabashedly focused on the 5-day monthly "shame" that poor rural women go through. And thats why PadMan is, well, PadMan.

    There is not even one scene that strays from the menstrual cycle as our man (modelled on real-life hero Arunachalam Muruganantham) pleads with the women in his life to make the hygienic switch from dirty clothes to sanitary napkins.

    And when nobody is willing to try on his version of cheap pads, Akshay buys himself a pink panties and begins his "trial and fail" method. He ends up with a bloodied trousers and there begins his renewed quest for an affordable but leak-proof sanitary pad, that later takes him to the United Nations.

    Its a familiar story by now, thanks to the buzz surrounding Indias menstrual man. But what makes the movie stand out is the earnestness with which Akshay Kumar goes about this "period" drama like nobodys business.

    PadMan falls short on entertainment quotient because it applies its soul and everything else on "chums", a word Akshay happily borrows from management student Sonam Kapoor.

    Director R Balki religiously sticks to his subject and it wont be a surprise if PadMan is bracketed just as socially-relevant movie.

    Sonam Kapoor makes a late entry, but gives some aha-moments to viewers pining for a break from the gasps of an ever-weepy Radhika Apte.

    PadMan elevates Akshay Kumar to another league. He keeps the monthly-problem moments all in place, clearly enjoying his crusader cape, err pad.


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  • 02/08/18--15:40: For some meaning
  • As one of the biggest superstars in the last 27 years, Akshay Kumar has shown, perhaps, the greatest evolution among all of them. Starting out as an action hero, he has proved his expertise and also his immense versatility through comedies, romantic films and social message films. He acts in three or four films a year, does not graphically change himself for every movie, but manages to walk the tightrope between entertainment and message-oriented films.

    Asked how he looks back on his career, Akshay smiles and says, "Its been a lovely, enjoyable journey. There have been ups and downs, but I have no regrets about anything in life and films. I have loved every bit of what I have done, and enjoyed it, and I am still enjoying what I am doing. Its been a fantastic journey and I think anyone would like to be in my shoes!"

    Reborn on the screen

    A key to his long innings is his reinvention at every step, right? Akshay nods and replies, "Yes, initially I was termed an action hero, and though I was the first choice for action films among my generation of heroes, I was getting only those roles and nothing else. I began to dislike myself until Priyadarshan visualised me as a comic hero and gave me Hera Pheri, in which I did not even have a heroine."

    From that day, the actor started testing his ground on everything. "I became a villain in Abbas-Mustans Ajnabee, did a love story in Dhadkan and even Ek Rishtaa among others. Eight years ago, I did my first film with a social message in Priyadarshans Khatta Meetha. It did not work, but if released now, it might. It was about corruption in the municipal corporations, something Mumbai people will instantly identify with even today."

    Today, Akshay Kumar is happy that the social media has taken up the issue of sanitary pads as well, with his latest awareness-raising release, PadMan. Even top stars like Aamir Khan and Alia Bhatt are supporting the cause. "Even Hollywood has never made a film on sanitary pads, though there have been movies on condoms and sperms - this seems to be a globally taboo subject," he grins. "In India, however, the dimensions are frightening. 82% of women have no access to sanitary pads - they either have no money, or there is no awareness. They are programmed to think that a wrapped cloth is much better."

    Passionately, he goes on, "Cervical cancer, infertility and infections are the results. I think that very soon, a day will come when a girl will ask her father to get a packet of pads while coming home, just like she would ask him to get a toothbrush. And the best part is that a toothbrush and the pads are available in the same shop."

    Akshay says that the issue of menstrual bleeding has also been given a needless religious and moral twist. "We were shooting for the film with two local artistes who were acting brilliantly. But on the day they were supposed to hold these pads for a sequence, they did not turn up. They ran away saying that they would not touch such sinful things."

    He proudly demonstrates two recent headlines he has stored in his mobile phone - one wherein the Supreme Court will hear all petitions on GST applied to pads, and a second one where the New Delhi Municipal Corporation is keeping pad-vending machines for free for all its female employees. "That is better," he comments. "Pads should be free for non-affording women, not GST-free."

    He adds his own bit as well. "Every film unit has a first-aid emergency kit. From now on, all my units will also have a menstrual kit, including pads and tablets for cramps for all women on my sets," he declares. "Also, it has been calculated that for the government, it will only cost a measly Rs 400 a year per woman to have basic sanitary pads free of cost. They should start with the rural women as soon as possible."

    His producer-wife Twinkle Khanna and he chose R Balki, he says, to helm the story as they wanted a sensitive and sensible director for such a subject. "We have seen his ad films and the movies he has made. In essence, PadMan is one of the biggest love stories I have seen. Whatever my character does is for his wifes hygiene - he cannot understand why she is saving money that she should spend on pads to get food and milk for the family."

    In a witty but hard-hitting aside, he says, "On a flight, we are instructed that during an emergency, we should first fit our own oxygen masks and then try and help others. What is the principle? That one should be healthy to keep others healthy around you. For decades, our cinema depicted sacrificing mothers who went hungry so that their kids would have a meal. Arey baba, pehli tu ek roti to khaa le, to tere bacchon ko sambhaal sakegi (Dear lady, first eat one roti yourself. Only if you are healthy will you be able to look after your kids)!"

    Not biopics

    Akshay does not consider his social movies (an increasing list) to be a challenge to him. "I never declare, Go watch my films! So, the films challenge not me but societal norms. I overheard four hefty men discuss my film and sanitary pads outside my vanity van. They were awestruck that I was discussing pads and holding one in my films trailer. Such a small change is enough for me. Can you imagine their parents ever doing that?"

    Akshay also remembers his meeting with Arunachalam, the man whose dramatised biopic PadMan is. "He is such an easygoing and humorous guy. I have taken over 50% of his traits in my performance."

    But why does he do so many biopics, including Airlift, Rustom, Toilet-Ek Prem Katha and this film, without making them actual biopics? "I want to give messages while entertaining people, but not with a biopic that would become a documentary," he replies. "There has to be a commercial base, songs, ups and downs and masala, and I will quietly pass the message through all that. I have to make people understand things through the medium of a commercial film. I am glad to say that even Toilet-Ek Prem Katha has brought in major changes. Politicians have also started addressing the issue in villages and showing them my film so that they can understand things faster and better."

    Akshay reveals that such stories abound in our midst. "While doing promotions for PadMan in Pune, I met this completely fascinating man with a fantastic story. I can see myself doing that role, and have taken his number and intend to meet him soon," he says.

    Two more films that are in the biopic zone for him are his new film Gold, and Kesari, the film on a historic fight for freedom, for which he has almost tonsured his head now. "But I am not on any mission to do only such films," he explains. "My next film is 2.0, in which I am the villain whose actions should not be emulated. And it is such a pleasure being beaten up by Rajinikanth-sir. I am also doing Housefull 4."


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  • 02/08/18--15:42: Laughter all around
  • If theres one thing that TV viewers always welcome with open arms, its comedy. Be it in serials or reality shows, comedy is definitely appreciated. And this becomes even more relevant in todays content-starved age of television. Riding high on this trend is the reality show of Comedy Khiladigalu on Zee Kannada. After the successful run of the first season, the makers are back with another season, which promises to be bigger, better, and full of laughs. This popular family entertainment show, hosted by Master Anand, will see director Yograj Bhat and actors Jaggesh and Rakshita return as the judges. This time, the contestants have been sourced from different parts of Karnataka such as Mysuru, Kundapura, Vijayapura and Kalaburagi.

    Here are edited excerpts from an interaction with director Yograj Bhat:

    Tell us about the show Comedy Khiladigalu. What can viewers expect from it?

    Comedy Khiladigalu will make you smile and laugh. This show will make you feel silly, stupid and thoughtful at the same time. We all know how laughter releases happy hormones in our bodies. So, this show will also make you sleep well! The tagline of the show puts it aptly: No
    Tension, Smile Please.

    How different is this season from the previous one?

    Season 2 has more talented artistes on the stage compared to S1. These contestants are more innocent; their characteristics are more like underdogs.

    Whats your take on the Kannada comedy scene in television and films today?

    It is pathetic and not at all a dependable entertainment element. It definitely has to improve. And I am very hopeful that it will happen one day.

    What do you think is key to becoming a good Kannada comedian?

    A comedian should know everything about this life; he/she has to be a wickedly enlightened person. Otherwise, people wont laugh and follow him/her.

    You started out with television in your career. How do you think television has evolved over the last 15 years?

    Today, the advertisement industry has reached its peak and ones marketing skill has become the key to success. About 15 years ago, TV had less competition. Now, other than marketing, nothing is important in the larger context. Other than competition and the numbers games, nothing else has remarkably evolved.

    How do you look back on your journey?

    To me, my journey always looks as not so fascinating. Its a mixture of significant mistakes and successful experiments.

    Comedy is a part of every film of yours. Is this a conscious decision?

    Yes, it is a conscious decision. I seriously love humour. I love sarcasm. I adore jokes. Without humour, I cant even think of my existence.

    What makes for a good director?

    A good director has to be a good human being first. He/she has to be a good mathematician as it helps to learn about film editing, camera and lens ratio. He/she must be a good reader, should be a good bathroom singer and a good listener. Also, he/she ought to be a master in convincing and confusing artistes, especially heroes.

    (Comedy Khiladigalu Season 2 airs on Zee Kannada every Saturday and Sunday at 9 pm.)


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    The history of accounting can be traced back to the ancient civilisations of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Babylon. In fact, it corresponds to the very rise of empires, development of different forms of writing and even early inventions.

    In India, the influential 2nd century BCE Sanskrit text of Arthashastra, authored by Chanakya, on aspects of statecraft, included not just treatises on economics, law and military strategies, but also contained detailed notes on the importance of maintaining accounts for a sovereign state. The text included accounting principles, bookkeeping standards and methodology, the roles and responsibilities of accountants, auditors, and the detection of fraud.

    States, merchants, traders, householders had long maintained accounting information, but it was in the late 15th century that the Venetian Luca Pacioli, regarded as the father of accounting and bookkeeping, first enunciated the system of double-entry bookkeeping in his publication Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalita. With adaptations, this system still continues to be in use even today. Simply put, the double-entry system of bookkeeping balances two corresponding and opposite entries, assets and credits with liabilities and debits.

    In India, like elsewhere in the world, much has changed with handwritten accounts, moving on to typewritten methodology, and now on to modern professional accounting on computers. But one bookkeeping system continues to remain unaltered over the centuries and that is the use of the double-entry system maintained in the traditional bahi-khata, also called pothis and chopdis in Western India.

    These accounting books are recognisable by their distinct dark-red cloth covers, a colour associated with Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. This cloth of auspiciousness and good luck is stitched on a soft cardboard, giving it strength and durability. The thick white cotton thread contrasts with the dark-red cloth giving the bahis their distinct identity. The threadwork, earlier hand-stitched and now executed on a sewing machine, is patterned in a continuous running stitch that turns onto itself in loops and straight lines without a stitch-break, thus ensuring that the bahi-khata remains hard-wearing to serve as a long-term record of money spent and received.

    Used throughout the country and across communities, castes and religions, there are several variations of bahi-khata but what remains the same as with all matters of profit and loss is that good luck is invoked with messages that resonate with the user. For the Hindus, words like Shubh Laabh (goodness & wealth) and Shri Pujanu Pano (Goddess Lakshmis prayer page) are printed on the flyleaf. Other pictures that are common features in these record-keepers are those of Lord Ganapati, the elephant-headed god of beginnings, Goddess Lakshmi, and even that of a swastika, the sacred symbol of auspiciousness and good luck.

    A new bahi-khata is started on the first day of the new year, and in many parts of North India, Gujarat and Maharashtra, that falls on the day after Diwali; in West Bengal, it falls on Poila Baisakh; while in the Islamic calendar, it falls on the Hijri Year or Misri year. In addition, the start of the khata is initiated with prayers and offerings to the deities who are being invoked for blessings and good fortune. These prayers may be privately held in home, offices, shops and karkhanas, or in the presence of priests. Some larger gatherings are publically held as is the Chopda Pujan in temples of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

    As the khatas are foldable, their sizes can vary according to the needs of the user as can the paper lengths that sometimes extend up to a yard. The binding of the khata depends on the number of sheets it contains, so it is either held together by a central stitch or by several stitches that bind sections of sheets. The white inner pages are vertically creased into columns that are divided by the standards of precision, accuracy and intelligibility required for the double accounting system.

    While these creased lines were done by hand using a metal template earlier, they are now machine-creased and often printed in a matrix-like format for the ease of entry. Likewise, in keeping with the times, the earlier hand-stitched cover is now sewed on by machine. These khatas are available in commercial markets across India from Delhis Sadar Bazaar, Mumbais Mangaldas Market to Kanpurs General Ganj, and now online.

    Bahi-khata has been immortalised in art and cinema, where vivid pictures of the extortionist money-lender maintaining his accounts comes to life. It has even been seen in the courts of the country, where a landmark judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court prevented the exploitation of farmers by commission agents, asserting that the entries in the "bahi-khata are not enough to prove that loan has been sanctioned to cultivators," further stating "that farmers cannot be convicted in cheque bounce cases for non-payment of loans entered in the bahi-khata."

    Today, bahi-khata is being widely liked not just for account purposes, but also for its retro design and long-use sturdiness and toughness. Its contemporary appeal is finding new users in students, artists, writers and more.


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  • 02/08/18--15:48: Dreaming big dreams
  • After 11-odd films where she was spotted in special appearances, songs outnumbering scenes, the talented dancer-actor Nora Fatehi has just had her first release opposite actor Sanjay Suri in debut director Samir Sonis film My Birthday Song.

    "Initially, I didnt know what I was auditioning for. I did my scenes in four or five different ways as was asked to, and that was it. It was much later that I figured out it was a film opposite Sanjay Suri and thats when I began to hope and pray that I would get the role," says the 25-year-old.

    An exciting offer

    Nora didnt have to wait too long for her prayers to be answered. She was in within the next couple of days. "Most people want to work for the right script. I wanted to work with the right people. Samir (Soni) is a great person to work with and so is Sanjay. They encouraged me all the time though it was my first big film."

    Nora plays the role of Sandy in My Birthday Song, a psychological thriller. Sandy is a smart, independent and confident woman who has a bit of mystery surrounding her. Born in Delhi, Sandy has to leave India due to some circumstances. She returns on the 30th birthday of Sanjay Suri who feels there is some connection between the two of them but cant really place it. "My character is the catalyst for everything that happens in the film," says Nora.

    Playing Sandy was not very difficult, says the lady. "Except that we were shooting in Delhi in December, often outdoors, and very late at night!" she says with a chill in her voice. "It was awful and I would be trembling most of the time just before we would go into the shot. I have never felt so cold," says the girl who is of Indo-Canadian origin. Shooting for the film was wrapped up within two months.

    Her experience with her co-actor and director of My Birthday Song has helped her, reiterates Nora. "I am someone who is still finding her feet in the industry. It isnt easy to get in here and keep getting work. Good work," she emphasises. "It is very important to do justice to the work that comes along and if you have the right sort of people around you, their guidance goes a long way. Sanjay and Samir both have a certain way of delivering dialogues and enacting a scene. Sanjay downplays a lot of things. It has been a learning experience for me," adds Nora.

    She insists that everyone on the set would keep encouraging her to the point that she began to protest. "Eventually, I had to tell everyone that they didnt have to be so nice to me," she laughs.

    Nora has won over fans largely because of her dancing skills. She has performed in Telugu films Kick 2 and in Baahubali: The Beginning. She has also been a part of Indian television with Jhalak Dikhla Jaa and Bigg Boss Season 9 (as a wildcard entry). "I hope to build a band called Nora in some years - doing songs, performing on stage, acting in films, creating digital content, be on judge panels in reality shows, doing television work - I want to be there," she says, enthusiastically.

    Meanwhile, digital content is working wonders for her. She has been part of a couple of short films made for the web and her dance videos are gaining popularity.

    Is Bollywood welcoming towards outsiders? Would she say the industry and its denizens have warmed up to her? "Its difficult to answer that question, you know. I have no friends or family in the industry, but I have been getting work. Yet, I am pretty much on my own and have to work hard to get my foot in. So, the answer to your question is actually a yes and a no!"


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  • 02/08/18--15:50: A lifetime of dance
  • Ifeel very fortunate to be living my dream of dance and choreography in India and all over the world," says Indias most sought-after choreographer, Ashley Lobo. He has more than one reason to feel lucky and blessed. Lobo brought home another laurel last year by choreographing a full-length ballet for the Chemnitz Ballet in Germany. "A first for any Indian choreographer," he beams. "So, I am not just happy. I am ecstatic."

    Ashley Lobo is a shining exponent of classical ballet, jazz and contemporary styles of dance. Blame his genes. With Celia Lobo, a renowned opera singer and theatre personality, as his mother, Lobo was bound to share her leanings towards the fine arts. During his early years in Mumbai, he got a chance to work with leading personalities from the field of theatre, including Alyque Padamsee, Karla Singh, Salome Roy Kapoor and more. He also got to hone his skills in productions like Best of Broadway, Grease, Cascades, Cabaret, Evita... Australia beckoned in 1989 and he moved to Oz to study dance at the Bodenweiser Dance Centre and then at the Sydney Dance Company.

    Meant to be

    So, his rich repertoire spans theatrical works overseas as well as in ballet, television and choreography. It wasnt easy supporting himself on foreign turf. Ashley scrubbed floors in Australia and sold consumer goods to eke out a living. Few know he is a yoga practitioner as well. But each time Ashley pursued another stream, life always brought him back to dance. Call it a karmic connection. "There is a saying: you dont choose dance, dance chooses you. I was fortunate that no matter how much I did not believe in myself and my dance, the universe did and made sure I got back to dance even when it seemed impossible. Today, I go where dance takes me. I have surrendered my life to serving dance," says Ashley.

    He has, of course, made it a point to give back on home turf as well. Having choreographed foot-tapping numbers in box office spinners like Cocktail, Guzaarish, Jab We Met and Namastey London, Ashley is busy with the productions of his baby, Navdhara India Dance Theatre as well. He founded the Danceworx Academy in Delhi, and today, there are branches across India. What about film choreography? "You choreograph for the actors in a film, not for yourself. So, it is more about smart choreography in movies. As for me, I believe the best way to show gratitude is by sharing," he says.

    "So, I work daily on sharing dance with as many as possible. Dance is my life. It defines me. I do not see it as a career. I see it as a way of life. I feel a dancers life is full of hardship and idealism. One creates the other. I have surrendered to this reality and from it comes unimaginable joy. As I always say, dream big and trust. The universe has a plan if you are willing to listen to your instincts. I think that as a dancer the work we do must reflect society and the changes needed. I try to let the contemporary work I create do that," he explains.

    With Navdharas incredible success overseas as a contemporary touring company, Ashley has helped in shaping dance dreams for many. Navdhara has toured seven countries in 2017. "This is unheard of for most companies, leave alone a contemporary dance company based out of India. Within Danceworx and Navdhara, we are constantly looking at talented youngsters to give scholarships to. We also have a project where we reach out to street kids. About three years ago, I started a project called the Going Home project. This was aimed at giving youngsters from smaller towns scholarships for professional training," shares Ashley.

    "My dream when I came to India 20 years ago was to see trained international professional dance become a reality. Today, there are dance academies all across the country. We have students all over the world teaching, choreographing and dancing. In fact, Amir, one of our students, has got a full scholarship to the Royal Ballet in the UK," he says.

    Whom does he himself admire? "The works of Bob Fosse (in jazz), Jiri Kylian (in ballet) and Ohad Naharin (in contemporary dance)."

    And whats next? "Two new films and two new dance pieces for theatre in Israel," he states. Our eyes are peeled.


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  • 02/08/18--15:52: This rocker is living it up
  • Jon Bon Jovi, 55, has been a rocker for more than three decades, but that doesnt mean he is inclined to slow down. On March 14, his band Bon Jovi kicks off a two-month tour, This House Is Not for Sale, in the United States and Canada, and on April 14, the band will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland, USA. But first, in mid-February, Bon Jovi, along with his son, Jesse Bongiovi, 22, will release a rosé wine, Diving into Hampton Water (the name is a homage to their Hamptons home). The duo collaborated with the well-regarded French winemaker Gérard Bertrand on their venture; the wine is produced in Frances Languedoc-Roussillon region, in the countrys south, and retails for $25.

    Bon Jovis family has long had an affinity for rosé and drink it frequently when on vacation. "Its a favourite in our household because you can drink it starting with lunch and into the evening, and we enjoy lots of it whenever we travel," he said.

    Over lunch at Wild, a gluten-free restaurant in Manhattans West Village where Bon Jovi regularly dines, he spoke about how he discovered a new part of France through the process of producing the wine, and about his travels in general; Jesse was there, too.

    Below, edited excerpts from a conversation with Bon Jovi:

    You and Jesse visited Languedoc-Roussillon for your wine project. What was your impression of the region?

    I have been to the Côte dAzur at least 30 times before, but never to this region, which is also in the south of France. Its a storybook area with castles and ruins and rolling hills, and I really loved the architecture - the medieval castles were in such good shape. Also, youre not really going to find any chain restaurants there. We dined at all tiny, family-run places, and I ate a lot of seafood, especially shellfish. Americans havent discovered this part of France yet, and it was a pleasure to discover. Growing up in New Jersey, Ive been preaching my whole life that you have to get out to find the beautiful places in this world.

    How much are you on the road for work?

    Rock n roll is cyclical. You do a record and you support it by going on tour, and then it could be two years before youre out on the road again.

    When youre on tour, what kind of hotels do you like to stay at?

    I dont need opulence. I need simplicity because Im in a different hotel every day so the biggest suite is a waste because I cant use it. But I do need a hotel with a gym and a humidifier for my room. I also dont want any flowers in my room because they give me allergies.

    Do you have a favourite hotel?

    The Peninsula in Chicago is my favourite in the US. Everything about it is awesome - the gym, the bar, the restaurant and the beds in the rooms.

    What are some of your favorite spots in the Hamptons where you have a home? And how do you spend your time there?

    Im one of the owners of the Blue Parrot (a Mexican restaurant in East Hampton) so thats a clubhouse for me. And theres a market called Round Swamp Farm which has fresh vegetables, great flowers and amazing homemade meals. I also love to eat at Topping Rose. We live on Main Beach (in East Hampton), and were out in the ocean and on the sand every day. The Hamptons is an outdoor life - we go on beach walks, and Im an avid runner. I also go bicycling.

    Besides the Hamptons, where else do you enjoy vacationing?

    The Caribbean. Weve been going to St. Barts for years. I actually honeymooned there in 1989. We rented a house then. Weve also gone to the British Virgin Islands, Mustique, the Caymans, St. Kitts and Turks and Caicos. In the summer, we go to Europe. Weve done Turkey and Italy and Greece. Well usually go along the coast in a boat.

    Given the hurricanes that affected the Caribbean in 2017, will you still vacation there this year?

    Absolutely. I want to support the region and the economy as much as I can. Id go to St. Barts immediately.

    The New York Times

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  • 02/08/18--15:56: She's coming into her own
  • Margot Robbie adored the script for I, Tonya, the bonkers, the ultimately dismaying film about the American figure skater Tonya Harding and the 1994 attack on rival skater Nancy Kerrigan. But the actor feared no one would let her play the title role, not least because Robbie is Australian. "I always have impostor syndrome with most of my characters," she told me in an interview at the Greenwich Hotel in Manhattan in late November. Robbie ended up serving as a producer of the picture and, of course, putting in a performance that earned her an Oscar nomination, her first, for best actress. Robbie also shared her thoughts on the 1994 scandal and the criticism of the films depiction of domestic violence.

    Here are excerpts from our chat:

    Im guessing there wasnt a lot of ice around you growing up.

    Definitely no ice. Didnt do any ice skating growing up. When I moved to America, I joined an ice hockey team, because I loved The Mighty Ducks growing up and I always wanted to play ice hockey.

    You went from zero to hockey?

    In hindsight, I was just running on the ice in skates. But you have so much padding on. I didnt know how to stop or anything, so Id just spring on the ice and then hit another player, or a barricade, or the ice to stop. That was pretty much the extent of my ice skating knowledge until the movie came around and I started training. And thats when I put on figure-skating skates, which are very different (from) ice hockey skates, I found out.

    Did you do dance or gymnastics growing up?

    I did ballet from 5 to 15 (years old). That helped a lot actually. It was just the actual ice part of it that was scary. I had to look like a very proficient skater. The first time I went to do a high kick on the ice I just flew backwards and winded myself. Fortunately, we had an amazing skate choreographer, Sarah Kawahara. She actually choreographed for Nancy (Kerrigan) a bit back in the day. I kept apologising, Oh, Im sorry youre stuck with me, like, This must be very frustrating.

    Had you heard of Tonya Harding growing up?

    I was four at the time, so I totally missed it. But once I delved into the story, I was fascinated. I kind of understood why everyone was so enthralled by it at the time. Theres always been an appetite for scandal, but this was an event that escalated and snowballed into this global phenomenon. Pinning two women against each other, categorising people into neat little sound bites and splashy headlines. I think it would have been particularly traumatic to go through that coming from the upbringing she had, not being surrounded by a support network, not having the financial resources to protect herself.

    She was the villain.

    It wasnt fair on Nancy either. She was painted like this prissy ice queen. She came from a blue-collar family. And at the end of the day, both of them are athletes. Everyones commenting on their looks. No, its not about their looks. Theyre athletes; theyre not models.

    But it did matter in the skating world.

    It did matter, and a big part of our story is that Tonya didnt fit in. She wasnt the image the skating world wanted as the face of American figure skating. She was always seeking validation, always seeking affection and love, whether it was from her mom, her husband, the media, the public, the skating association, the other skaters, whoever it was. Its tragic that she didnt get it.

    Did you spend much time with her?

    I met her two weeks before we started shooting. I had put it off until then. I wanted to do all my character prep before I met her. Theres so much footage of her. I probably did nothing but watch Tonya Harding clips and videos and interviews on repeat for six months. I put it on my iPod, and Id go to bed at night listening to her.

    Was it awkward meeting her?

    No, she was really understanding about it. (Craig Gillespie, the director) and I wanted to say, Its a strange thing that were making a film kind of about your life but kind of not. This isnt a traditional biopic, and its not a documentary, this is a feature film. I wanted to say to her, I hope you understand Im playing a character. And in my mind, you and the character are totally different. She was great about it. If I was in her position, I wouldve been freaking out. She said, I understand you guys need to do what you need to do. She was more worried about, How are you going with the skate training? and Do you need any help? I can train with you. She was so kind and understanding.

    One criticism was that the violence was minimised, in a sort of Tarantino way, almost making light of it.

    Im a huge Tarantino fan, and Ive heard him describe his violence as sensationalised violence. Thats not what we did at all. Craig had the very clever idea of breaking the fourth wall in those specific moments so that you can see her emotionally disconnect from whats happening to her physically at the time. Something that struck me most about watching all the footage was the documentary made about her when she was 15. Shes very candid and vulnerable, and insecure. Shes just looking at the camera, saying, My moms an alcoholic, and she hits me, and she beats me. The worst thing (about) a domestically abusive relationship is that its a vicious cycle. And you see her go back to (her first husband, Jeff Gillooly) time and time again. We wanted to emphasise that this is a cycle and this is so routine for her, because its happened her whole life. She can emotionally disconnect in that moment and speak to the audience, completely matter-of-factly.


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  • 02/09/18--16:40: Without fail
  • Once upon a time, there was a boy who failed a primary school test twice. He followed it up by failing his middle school test thrice, and his college entrance exam twice. He scored 1 out of 120 points on the math portion of his college entrance exam. He was rejected by Harvard 10 times. After graduating with an English major from a local college, he applied for 30 different jobs, but was rejected for them all. The man is Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce conglomerate, and the richest man in China. He fondly calls Alibaba 1001 mistakes. So, is Jack Ma a success... or a failure?

    Failure is defined as lack of success, or lack of favourable or desired outcome. However, there is no person who has succeeded without failing at one point or the other. If you are going to try anything at all, you are bound to face some failures. As Denis Waitley observed, "Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing." No treasure was found with the first swing of a pick. No empire was established by a single slash of a sword. And no great success was won at first attempt. The roles of those who have failed, and failed in an epic way, read like the whos who of the top leaders and entrepreneurs of the world.

    After the hit

    Therefore, failure itself is not bad. Then why is it so feared, loathed and reviled?

    The reason is simple: it is not failure which is the problem, but the negative emotional impact it has on most of us. You only have to look at the words associated with the word failure to understand the psychological impact of failure. Loser, inadequate, incompetent, insufficient, inept, inefficient, negligent, deficient, faulty, reject, guilt, remorse, regret - it is enough to cause a world of emotional pain, self-loathing, depression, apathy and hatred.

    So how do great achievers view failure and make it work for them, instead of letting it swamp their lives?

    Lets start off with the entrepreneur who gave the world a unique way with which to view setbacks. Thomas Alva Edison wanted to make electricity so cheap that the poor would be able to afford them, and only the rich will burn candles. He was not the first to invent the light bulb; there were 23 others who had invented the light bulb. But Edison experimented with many metal filaments, including platinum. Finally, he successfully tested a carbon filament which burned for 13.5 hours. Hence, his famous quote: "I have not failed. Ive just found 10,000 ways that wont work."

    The lesson seems to be that it is good to be open-minded when venturing to do something. So what if Plan A doesnt work out? There are 25 other letters in the alphabet! Again, in the words of Edison, "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."

    Trying more than once can yield results, but only when there is learning from failures. Somebody once said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." However, learning from failure is easier said than done because analysing our own shortcomings is emotionally unpleasant and destructive to our self-esteem. Also, failure is always stigmatised with fault-finding and punishing. And probing a failure is tantamount to accepting the blame for it, in the eyes of society. Therefore, the general tendency is to acknowledge failure in an offhand manner and then ignore it.

    Sometimes, problems go undetected due to the reluctance to probe a failure, as in the case of the horrific Columbia space shuttle disaster. NASA managers were aware that a piece of foam had broken off the left side of the shuttle at launch. However, they did not take the initiative to analyse the situation and see how they could rectify it. The result was the fatal explosion that killed seven astronauts, including our own Kalpana Chawla.

    In contrast, the Andon cord policy started by Toyota, and copied throughout the auto industry, is an excellent way of dealing with problems. Andon cords are emergency cables strung above the assembly lines that can be pulled as soon as a Toyota worker detects a problem, or even a potential problem. Immediately the problem is analysed and solved, even if it means halting production and losing revenue. This way, the problem never ends up in the final product, the car itself.

    In fact, many precious lessons can be learnt from goof-ups, making failure an essential part of innovation. Awareness of this phenomenon has led to Failure Fests, where aspiring entrepreneurs meet to discuss their experiences with failure and their takeaways from them. Did you know that the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly is famous for its failure parties? Others, such as the Tata Group, even give prizes every year for the best failed idea. There is also a unique consultancy called Fail Forward which helps businesses by showing them how to conduct blameless post-mortems and host failure fairs. There is even a Failure Magazine that looks at humankinds boldest missteps. Thus, failure is something to be embraced, not shunned.

    Another important lesson that we should learn is not to sweep the results of failures under the rug, because they could lead to a Nobel Prize someday. Indeed, such is the story of a chance discovery by a young English chemist named William Henry Perkin. In 1858, Perkin, who was 18 years old at the time, was trying to synthesise the anti-malarial drug quinine. When he was experimenting with aniline, one of the simplest components of coal tar, he obtained a black precipitate. Trying to solubilise this, he discovered that in alcohol, aniline gave a purple colour which could dye silk. At first, he called the dye Aniline Purple, but when it became an overwhelming success, it was renamed Mauve, and became one of Queen Victorias favourite colours.

    To get back to our Nobel story, a German physician, Paul Ehrlich, used Perkins synthetic aniline dyes to stain his microscopic slides, and discovered many aspects of the immune system of the body and chemotherapy. He became the Father of Immunology and co-won the Nobel Prize in 1908. All this because a young chemist didnt throw out one of his failures!

    When you hit failure, you literally come up against a wall. It is the perfect time to stop, think and change strategies. If you decide you are not cut out for something, there is no shame in deciding that it is time to change tracks. If you find your resolve is still strong, then regroup and come back with a different strategy. There can be no better example of this than the story of Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda Motors. Soichiro was obsessed with motors from an early age. In 1938, while still in school, he developed the concept of the piston ring that he wanted to sell to Toyota. Later, to perfect the design, he even pawned his wifes jewellery for the working capital.

    But when he showed it to Toyota, they told him that it didnt meet their standards. Though ridiculed for his design, he went back to redesigning his invention. The result was that he won a contract with Toyota, two years later. Now, he needed to build a factory to supply Toyota, but it was wartime, and construction materials were scarce. So he invented a new concrete-making process that helped him build the factory.

    Then the factory was bombed twice, and steel became unavailable too. Soichiro began collecting surplus gasoline discarded by US fighters, calling them gifts from President Truman, and using them to rebuild his production. This time, an earthquake destroyed his factory.

    After the war, gasoline was in very short supply, and people had to walk or use bicycles. Soichiro built a tiny engine and attached it to his bicycle. Looking at it, everybody wanted one. This time, he personally wrote letters to 18,000 bicycle shop owners for help. They then funded him and helped him make and market his small engine, the Super Cub.

    In the 1970s, when gas shortage hit America, small cars became the need of the hour. Being the experts in small engine design, Honda started making small cars and became a worldwide success. Thus, changing strategies at the face of every obstacle, Soichiro Honda proved to the world that success lies just beyond failure.

    Another great thing about failure is that it teaches us humility. When we fail, we face nothingness, a sort of death. This loss of our goal, our opinion of ourselves, and our place in the universe, exposes us for what we are, resetting our perspectives. As Carl Sagan once said, "Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people." This brings us to the realisation that we are in no way as grand as we think we are.

    Humble ears

    One form of humility is listening to people who know. When a new piston built by Honda Motors failed, it was found that old mechanics who had less book learning and more experience had not been consulted. Once their input was taken, the problem got fixed speedily. Failure also builds courage and resilience. Bill Gates once said, "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they cant lose." US Astronaut Chris Hadfield echoes his statement: "Early success is a terrible teacher. Youre essentially being rewarded for a lack of preparation, so when you find yourself in a situation where you must prepare, you cant do it. You dont know how."

    Instant success leaves us clueless about what we did right. Even worse, it makes us feel both overconfident and unsure and unworthy at the same time. While there is pride at having succeeded in the very first attempt, there is also a very understandable reluctance to try something new. What if we fail and lose our reputation as a success? Funnily enough, people who have failed a few times in life are far more confident. They have stared into the maws of failure and found that it is not the end of the world. This is a big reason why those who have played sports are more grounded and relaxed than those who only do academics. Losing in sport is commonplace, and though it is discouraging, it shows the value of sincere effort.

    Best of all, failure brings about the most unexpected results. Lets face it: in Nature, nothing is really perfect, of course, with the exception of you and me. When they reproduce, organisms do not produce exact clones of themselves every time. Random genetic errors occur all the time, causing mutations that tend to accumulate. Sometimes, these mutations help organisms adapt to prevailing conditions, and they survive. Meanwhile, others that do not have these mutations are unable to adapt, and this leads to their extinction. This is natural selection. Thus, the combination of mutation and natural selection is what leads to evolution.

    There is another extremely interesting story of failure leading to strange discoveries. In 1992, a shipping crate containing 28,000 plastic bath toys was on its way from Hong Kong to the United States when it fell overboard. Subsequently, the yellow rubber ducks began to wash up on beaches all over the world - Hawaii, Alaska, South America, Australia, the Pacific Northwest, Scotland, Newfoundland, and even frozen in the Arctic ice. What had happened was that the Friendly Floatees, as these rubber ducks became known, were borne by ocean currents that were unknown to oceanographers before this event. Now, thanks to them, scientists have learned a lot about our oceans, including how long it takes for a vortex of currents in the Northern Pacific Ocean, called the North Pacific Gyre, to complete a circuit. Here, an accident actually threw up a totally surprising result.

    However, sometimes a failure is just what it is - a screw-up with no saving grace. Being human, we are all entitled to some of these in our lifetime. However, there are some massive screw-ups in history that can make us feel better about our own. In December 2005, a broker in Mizuho Securities in Japan was trying to sell one share for 610,000 yen ($5422 or 3.5 lakh rupees). In the mother of all fat-finger keyboard errors, he mistakenly sold 610,000 shares for one yen ($0.009 or 57 rupees). This mistake shut down the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and cost Mizuho Securities at least 27 billion yen ($282 million or 1546 crore rupees).

    Nevertheless, the bottom line is that failure is imperative to success. In the words of Albert Einstein, "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." And as Confucius said, "Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail."

    In all this, the important thing to do is never worry about the opinions of others. People, in general, hate to see someone succeed, because that highlights their own failed potential and mediocrity. Often, it is the ones closest to us who will be our harshest critics, and yes, they have to be ignored.

    In short, if you want to live your life fully, if you dare to do something different, if you want to stand out in the crowd... go forth and FAIL!


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  • 02/09/18--17:08: Eloquence of objects
  • Ravikumar Kashi, who turns 50 this year, is a man of many parts: painter, printmaker, photographer, papermaker, writer, tutor, and long-time collector of objects and curios, often picked from flea markets and isolated street corners where people surreptitiously get rid of their unwanted wares.

    In a career spanning 25 years, Kashi has held more than 20 solo shows. Trained in painting (BFA, College of Fine Arts, Bengaluru/1988), printmaking (MFA, M S University, Baroda/1990), and handmade papermaking (Glasgow School of Art,UK/2001), the Bengaluru-based artist has also extensively written and published articles on art and aesthetics. His Kannada books on art appreciation, Anukta and Kannele, have received awards from Kannada Book Authority and Karnataka Sahitya Academy respectively.

    Over the years, Kashis artist books and assemblages have featured in several solo/group exhibits across the country. His one-man show, Silent Echo (Sumukha Gallery/December 2016), was almost entirely made of artworks created out of found and made objects. The show has now travelled to Mumbai (Sakshi Gallery/on until February 23).

    The central piece of the exhibition is a captivating sculptural installation in the shape of a boat (made of rusted metal mesh and handmade-paper pulp tinted with tea decoction) filled to the brim by an array of odd but identifiable objects. Its cerebral form, haunting structure and the accumulation of objects seem to point towards facets of the prevailing sociopolitical and cultural milieus. Watching Silent Echo, one is reminded of the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna, who proposed that any reading of the nature of objects is possible only in relation to the context they are situated in.

    In a freewheeling conversation, Kashi shared his ideas about art and his varying interests. Here are some edited excerpts:

    On what he sees in common objects

    While painting, printmaking and papermaking reached me through academic training, my interest in collecting objects is a self-driven passion since my childhood. Over time, I have realised that objects have several lives. From the time they are created to the time they are consumed and ultimately discarded, they undergo many stages of transformation and acquire new meanings, positions and associations. When these objects come into my possession, they are of practically no use to anyone else. But for me, these very discarded items stand out as eloquent memoirs, holding special sense and significance.

    On his assemblages

    For years, I have been collecting objects with no specific or immediate use in mind. The collection has included wooden/glass boxes, antique photographs, toys, caps, broken/cracked figurines, jars, plastic alphabets, and many other seemingly worthless things. At some point, I began playing with them, placing them one next to another, and sometimes, photographing them in small groups and arrangements. When I did that, I was astonished to discover unexpected and visually stimulating results, with hidden meanings emerging from the formations and juxtapositions. The concept of sannidhi or proximity as a tool to generate meaning worked here. That I could build visually engaging narratives through these odd objects became a revelation, which then turned into a passion.

    On his choice of mediums for artworks

    As a student of art, I was fortunate to be trained in many mediums and genres of aesthetic expression. So, when I get an idea and decide to make an artwork, all these become available. But the primary foundation for all art practice begins as a notation in my journal. That is something that binds all other interests, be it painting, printing, sculpting, or assemblages. I make notes in a diary all the time, and it consists of drawings and texts. Later, when I set out to make the actual painting or sculpture, these notations become trigger points from which the work grows organically.

    On looking back at his long and continuing career

    I think more than anything else, I have gone with the flow, never dogmatically accepting or flippantly rejecting anything that came my way. In all these years, I have never believed in sticking to one rule, one medium, one language; but have tried to retain a curiosity to understand and represent the dynamic life around me through multiple perspectives and mediums. Having said that, as a visual artist, I know that communication is very important. I am intrigued by the way one can or cannot communicate, and how one translates thoughts and intentions into images, words and action. I also observe how others communicate, or dont communicate, or miscommunicate. And how all these can go to the extent of affecting relationships.

    On recurring themes

    Aspects of personal identity, social behaviour and public morality have constantly motivated me and engaged my practice. As a normal person living in a particular milieu (which is also continually changing), I am tested as a witness, participant and responder. My experiences and observations come out in one way or another through my art. I try not to become bombastic or take moral positions, but that does not mean I can always remain neutral. Using poetic metaphors and expressive visual tools becomes vital in communicating my thoughts and feelings through my artwork.

    On Silent Echo

    This is an important exhibition for me and one which involved intense preparation of more than two years. I had to pull out all my experience as a visual scavenger while designing the artworks that consisted of drawings, paper sculptures, photographs, artist books and installations. I called the show Silent Echo because, for me, it represented a poetic but harsh reality about the times we live in. Without explicitly showing the human form or figure, I wanted to hint at the many levels of sociopolitical discourse that affects our day-to-day existence. While it can generally be seen as a critique of contemporary culture and society, I hope the content and construct of the exhibit opens up possibilities for deeper deliberation and multiple interpretations.


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  • 02/09/18--17:42: Watch them collaborate
  • Love: a word that has so many meanings and interpretations that it can be mind-boggling. And when its expressed through dance, it can take things to a new dimension.

    And Urvashi is a unique dance drama that celebrates love and womanhood through the eyes of artistes Vaibhav Arekar and Sushant Jadhav. Named after the celestial nymph who is caught in a dilemma of choosing her love or staying true to the vows, this story is of woman empowerment, too.

    First steps

    I ask the artistes what attracted them to dance and Vaibhav Arekar says, "To be honest, right from my childhood I have wanted to be on stage and dance. I do not come from a family of any artistic lineage. So how this interest developed in me is difficult to answer. One is born with it is what I feel, and for reasons unknown, I have always had a strong leaning toward classical dance."

    Sushant Jadhav says, "I always wanted to dance but did not know exactly in which style. I participated in school annual functions, but there was no one to guide me professionally. I stood at the bus stop at Khar, near (dancer) Gopi Krishnajis bungalow, listened to the sound of ghungroos and got inspired. But I had no in-depth understanding of the art or guidance at home as my parents were involved in government service and wanted me to settle down with a regular job. It was my passion and my mothers support and faith that helped me fulfil my dream."

    Cohesive chances

    In 2009, Vaibhav began to freelance and received an offer to tour Poland with his dance company. He then reached out to Sushant, whom he knew from the time the latter was pursuing his diploma in kathak at SNDT University. "I was heading the bharatanatyam department there. He gave me all the moral support and assurance to help put together a team. I gathered dancers and started training them in the nuances of the art, and Sushant began to take charge as technical manager.
    Soon I realised that he understood my work and could guide me in its design. As a dancer-cum-choreographer, its not possible for me to see my own work from an outsiders perspective, so he started to be the dramaturge for all my works. It was almost as if we had co-founded the dance company," reminisces Vaibhav.

    It helped that Sushant was associated with many dance institutes, Hema Malinis Natyavihar Kalakendra and the Sachin Shankar Ballet unit among them. "I always dreamt of creating my own work. When Vaibhav and I started working together, he, as an established artiste, always inspired me and gave me opportunities to create my identity, and also a shared space with him. He sensed my creative sensibility towards lighting and costume designing, and I started working as a dramaturge in his classical dance productions." The Mantra Foundation, which zeroed in on the story of Urvashi, invited the duo to execute the production.

    What followed was a series of discussions with the writers, and the dialogues were penned by Hemant Hazare, who also worked and directed the actors in the production. "It was after this that Sushant worked extensively with the music composer. It was done simultaneously with the choreographic ideas sorted out. Of course, the dancers of Sankhya Dance Company have been relentlessly working," says Vaibhav.

    The duos works are inspired by experiences from daily life and mythologies.

    Urvashi is a labour of hard work and passion, and has a Broadway-like approach in terms of visuals, music and production. "The story lends itself to various emotions, giving us a chance to blend theatre, dance, martial arts, folk elements and music beautifully. We wanted to create a complete experience of this celestial story with drama, magic and entertainment. It is a story that will connect with all age groups," says the duo.

    Future perfect

    How do they manage to ensure that dance remains contemporary for urban crowds? They believe its important for them to connect with their audiences. Sushant adds, "I have faith in our craft and believe that our storytelling ability will attract a diverse audience, including youngsters."


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    Santalis, the people belonging to the Santal tribe, enjoy music and dance over everything else. After a hard days work in the fields and forests, they unwind in the evening by playing music and dancing. Their traditional musical instruments include bamboo flutes called tirio, drums named tamak, ankle bells named junko, and fiddles known as banam, among others.

    Of all these musical instruments, the one that caught my attention was banam. Probably because of the interesting story behind the shaping of it. According to myths among the Santalis, there once lived seven brothers who decide to kill their sister for food, and do so. While six brothers feast over their sisters meat, one of the brothers, consumed by guilt, finds himself unable to eat the meat, and buries it in an anthill.

    After a few days, a beautiful tree grows out of the buried meat and starts emanating melodious music. A passerby, on hearing the musical notes coming from it, cuts a branch, fashions a crude fiddle, and starts playing it. That was the first ever banam. Today, banam is a popular folk fiddle played by the Santalis of North East, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and Bangladesh. A variety of banams is made, but the most common ones are the tendor banam, huka banam and dhodhro banam. It is interesting to note that these banams are classified according to their ornamentation, and not structure. One of the most attractive musical instruments of Northeast India, each banam is the result of the artistry of its maker who carves out the designs of his choice to make it unique. One common motif used in the carvings on banams is human figures. Banams are as unique as the Santalis. Being the third largest tribe in India, Santalis are known for their never-say-die attitude. Even today, they are known for the resistance they offered to the British during the British regime in India.

    Another musical instrument from the Northeast that caught my attention was pena, the traditional folk music instrument of the Meitei community of Manipur. This single-stringed instrument, known as tingtalia in Nagaland, is played using a bow. Once played only in the royal courts, this instrument soon became a part of the folk culture of Manipur.
    However, one cause for concern for the Manipuris is that the playing of pena is fast becoming a dying art. Pena owes its name-origin to the Sanskrit term vina. It comprises a body made of bamboo that is fixed to a coconut shell cut in half, and a bow made of wood with a curved metal finish at one end. The string of the instrument, which was originally made of horse hair, is now replaced by metal or wood fibre. Pena also has two more holes in the coconut shell to aid in acoustics.
    While one of the holes is covered with animal skin, the other one is left open.

    The sweet music from these instruments have to be heard to be believed!

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  • 02/09/18--19:00: Book Rack
  • Book Rack

    Facets

    Pradeep Gulati

    Notion Press, 2018, Rs 250, pp 226

    In this collection of 14 short stories, various aspects of human relationships are cleverly shown, drawing from everyday characters and incidents from around the world. These storylines have unexpected
    emotions and twists.

    Small acts of freedom

    Gurmehar Kaur

    Penguin, 2018, Rs 299, pp 188

    With an unusual narrative structure that crisscrosses the past and the present, spanning 70 years from 1947 to 2017, this book is about courage, strength and love shared between three generations of strong, passionate women who have faced the world on their own terms.

    Notes from a Spanish Diary

    Ranjita Biswas

    Niyogi, 2018, Rs 850, pp 250

    In a journalistic style, the author sets forth her chronicles of Spain. Poignant and tender, familiar and bizarre, the stories are anecdotes of a solo Indian woman traveller who discovers the aura and flavours of Spain.

    On the Road to Tarascon

    Arnab Nandy

    Niyogi, 2018, Rs 350, pp 207

    In Germany, 2011, a lovers note among a senile womans possession sets off a chain of events that could lead to the discovery of a Van Gogh
    masterpiece, a painting that was lost in World War II. In Kolkata, Neil Bose falls for Eva Schicktanz. He does not know that he is getting involved in much more than he anticipates. This is a thriller spanning continents and decades.

    The Hollow Kingdom

    Edna Fernandes

    Speaking Tiger, 2018, Rs 499, pp 254

    Through thorough research and rare interviews, this book deconstructs the founding ideology of ISIS and charts its growth: how it recruits, how it makes secret pacts with cynical governments, and how it finances itself through the sale of oil, extortion and slave trade.

    The Tale of Quarles

    Veena S Rao

    Vista, 2017, Rs 150, pp 81

    A sad Diana-Charles (Fiona and Quarles) marriage? Thats because of the curse of Wally Sampson (Wallace Simpson) who never forgave the royal family for denying her due position as queen because she was a divorcee. This play is made of four acts.

    The Audacity of Pleasure

    Brinda Bose

    Three Essays Collective, 2018, Rs 575, pp 328

    This is a good time to watch the cultural battleground of sexualities in India. The politics of sexuality in the arts, as well as the everyday in India, lies in a grey area that bristles with the sheer audacity of imagined and real pleasures.

    Dark in Death

    Nora Roberts as J D Robb

    Piatkus, 2018, Rs 1,087 , pp 384

    When a young actor is killed in a swift and violent attack at a cinema screening, that reason is hard to fathom, even for Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her team. Its only when bestselling crime writer Blaine DeLano arrives at the precinct that the shocking
    truth is revealed.


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  • 02/09/18--19:06: Hear it from her
  • If I had read Rose McGowans new memoir, Brave, in a vacuum, absent the feats of investigative reporting that took down the former Miramax head Harvey Weinstein, I would have thought it overwrought and paranoid. McGowan describes a life of almost ceaseless abuse, of falling into the clutches of one sadistic ogre after another as powerful forces conspired to crush her rogue spirit. "My life was infiltrated by Israeli spies and harassing lawyers, some of the most formidable on earth," she writes on the first page. "These evil people hounded me at every turn while I went about resurrecting the ghosts that have made up my time on earth." Come on, Israeli spies?

    Of course, we now know: Yes, Israeli spies. In October 2016, McGowan posted three tweets accusing a "studio head" of rape, using the hashtag #WhyWomenDontReport. She was referring to Weinstein, who, its since been revealed, had paid her $1,00,000 for her silence about a 1997 encounter at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. As Ronan Farrow reported in The New Yorker in November 2017, shortly after McGowans tweets Weinstein hired several private security agencies, one run largely by veterans of Israeli intelligence, to try to stop the story of his longtime sexual predation from coming out. Agents were explicitly directed to spy on and undermine McGowan. "It was like the movie Gaslight," McGowan told Farrow. "Everyone lied to me all the time."

    One of the greatest tricks that the patriarchy plays on women is to deliberately destabilise them, then use their instability as a reason to disbelieve them. Much of Brave reads like the diary of a woman driven half-mad by abusive men who assume no one will listen to her. In this case, the truth was finally - and, for McGowan, triumphantly - exposed, but reading Brave, I kept thinking about how many more women must be written off as crazy and crushed under the weight of secrets no one wants to hear.

    Even before she met Weinstein, McGowan had been through hell. She was raised in the polygamous Children of God cult, though her family fled when its leadership started encouraging sex with children. She then spent years bouncing back and forth between her cruel father and her unreliable mother, who for a time dated a vicious man who McGowan says was later charged with sexually abusing his own daughter.

    McGowan did a brief stint in rehab during junior high school and later lived as an itinerant street punk. Eventually, she made her way to Hollywood and was emancipated from her parents before she was old enough to drive.

    This bitter history clearly left a mark, and her book is furious and profane, wild and a little unhinged. "Very few sex symbols escape Hollywood with their minds intact, if they manage to stay alive at all," McGowan writes early on. Theres no glamour in Brave, and very little joy; Ive never read anything that makes being a starlet sound so tedious and demeaning.

    The book hinges on McGowans encounter with Weinstein, whom she refers to only as the Monster. Here, for the first time, she tells the story of what he did to her. Its both disgusting and, if youve followed the Weinstein coverage, very familiar. She was summoned to a morning meeting in the restaurant of an exclusive hotel in Park City, Utah. When she arrived, the restaurants host directed her to Weinsteins suite, saying he was stuck on a call. "I was certain we would be working together for many years to come, and we were here to plot out the grand arc of my career," McGowan writes.

    Instead, Weinstein pushed her into a room with a Jacuzzi and pulled off her clothes. "I freeze, like a statue," she writes. As she describes it, he put her on the edge of the Jacuzzi, got in, and performed oral sex on her while masturbating. Her experience sounds similar to the one that the actor and director Asia Argento described to The New Yorker. Like Argento, McGowan says that she feigned pleasure in the hopes of bringing the event to a quicker conclusion. "He moans loudly; through my tears I see his semen floating on top of the bubbles," she writes.

    Afterward, McGowan writes, she was taken to a photo-op with Ben Affleck, her co-star in Phantoms, a movie she was promoting. Seeing her shaken and hearing where she came from, the actor said, "Goddamn it. I told him to stop doing that." (Its unclear what Affleck meant by that statement; he has never responded to the accusation that he knew about Weinsteins abuse.) Others, McGowan writes, "counselled me to see it as something that would help my career in the long run." Wanting to press charges, she spoke to a criminal attorney who told her she would never be believed. Soon she heard that Weinstein was calling around town telling people not to hire her. "It seemed like every creep in Hollywood knew about my most vulnerable and violated moment," she writes. "And I was the one who was punished for it." Her film career was derailed.

    McGowan would eventually find success playing one of a trio of witches on the TV show Charmed. She describes working on the show as a deadening experience, a "prison for my mind." Her sense of martyrdom can be a bit much; she writes of feeling "robbed" by having to get married on TV before her real wedding. "Your entertainment comes at a cost to us performers," McGowan writes. "You should know this and acknowledge."

    Yet its McGowans profound dissatisfaction with her profession - one she seems to have fallen into rather than pursued - that has given her the freedom to gleefully burn bridges. She loathes the entertainment business, describing Hollywood as a cult worse than the one she grew up in. Though shes in her 40s, she sometimes writes with the grandiosity of an alienated adolescent whose mind was blown by The Matrix. "You may think that what happens in Hollywood doesnt affect you," she writes. "Youre wrong. My darlings, who do you think is curating your reality?"

    For most adult readers, it wont be much of a revelation that Hollywood trades in distortion and exploitation. But I hope Brave finds its way into the hands of teenage girls who may still look to women actors as they try to figure out how theyre supposed to be in the world, girls who aspire to the life McGowan once had.

    In the end, McGowan finds a measure of peace and redemption when she moves behind the camera, becoming a director and multimedia artist, subject rather than object. One of the lessons of her story is that being desired is no substitute for being powerful.


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  • 02/09/18--19:12: Witness to life
  • There are multiple encounters, stories on the nature of human thoughts and emotions unfolding under the clouds of uncertainty and change. Drawn from different segments of society, with drifting perceptions on life and belonging, the seven characters in Clouds weave a grand story of (a) city and village in the dream world of Bombay.

    The divorced Parsi psychotherapist Farhad finds love in Zahra and discovers by accident (before taking a flight to San Francisco) that Hemlata had experienced love (and marriage) as a kind of moisturiser whose effect didnt last long. Elsewhere in the city, the ailing Odia couple of Eeja and Ooi relive their golden past in the company of Rabi, who is a proxy to their son Bhagban, whose electoral battle is aimed at securing political power to lead the democratic struggle of the Cloud people from the stranglehold of a mining company. Each of these half-a-dozen characters creates stories that cast distinct reflections on life, lifestyle and survival.

    Brilliantly evocative, Clouds is an encounter with mortals, their transient loneliness, entrenched traditions, and changing cultures that cast a mesmerising spell on what one may think about life. There is nothing more beautiful than an unfinished tale called life. Life democracy is a fight that ought to be played by each one of us with all the weapons that one can find. "If you dont fight for your share, somebody else will take that they can use." As much as love and private life of human beings, religion and politics have been transformed into products that can be bartered.

    Within the moralistic, fatalistic and somewhat monotonic frame that defines most Indians, the author draws imaginative contours of regional identity amidst growing cosmopolitanism. The characters dont preach what they perceive, but they leave it for the reader to take away meanings from their stories. Built upon the scaffolding of Arzee the Dwarf, Chandrahass first work of fiction, in which a desolate young man sees the image of his own condition in the clouds that hover above, Clouds is a novelistic structure of multiple narratives trapped within the limitations of its perceptions.

    After all, mans best and even his worst is neither bright nor dark, but always in self-doubt. Life is made of a cloudy nature, of dreams and shattered realities. Within the plenitude of life, each of the half-a-dozen characters generates surprising patterns of isolation and (dis)continuity of human existence. Taking pleasure in the variety of human encounters, Chandrahas creates a fascinating mosaic of conversations that are as much real as they are reflective of human nature. His style is fresh, revealing and entertaining, intense and mild, unfolding the otherness through stories of love, sex, faith, and belief.

    Clouds offers continuity to the uncertainty of lived experiences. No wonder, under clouds the look and colour of the world is only a trick of the light. The truth of human condition lies within the horizon of its perception, whatever it be. Truth is anything but a subjective reality, caught in a time warp. Nobody can be as happy as they think they can be.

    Farhads fleeting sexual encounter with Zahra fulfils a bodily desire, and the search for happiness remains a work in progress. Hemlatas self-doubting single status deserves to be heard, engaged with, and respected; Baghban s quest for political identity comes at the cost of his ailing parents and their unstinted faith in Lord Jagannath; and, Rabis self-sacrifice in favour of the Cloud people promises a cosmopolitan future.

    Each character is a victim of his/her decisions in a world of unattainable future. It is a work of fiction that has politics and development at its core, and transformation and change viewed through the inevitability of human existence and death. In the figment of his imagination, Chandrahas draws contours of reality, and his characters tread on to understand the moods of the city, its people, and their politics.

    "Amazing how ruled, regulated, routine our lives become without us knowing it, even inside what we take to be our spaces of pleasure and freedom." In Clouds, there are footprints of an emerging new talent. If there was another kind of storytelling waiting to be discovered, Chandrahas has brought it up with his deft touch of perception and imagination. He is an author whose work will be keenly awaited.


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