NEWS ARTICLES

India, Ireland and blended verse
Multiple threads tie India and Ireland together. The two national flags are alike, and the people have a similar fondness for music, dance and revelry. But not many know that poets from the two countries have quietly yet consistently been blurring demographic lines…
Published by The Hindu BusinessLine on October 9, 2020 , read full article here

Creating Slumdog musicians through the SlumJam programme
Sheikh Raj is a 14-year-old boy, bony and tall. There’s a slight lisp as he speaks of his family—father is an autorickshaw driver and mother a maid working in several homes to provide for a family of four children living in the slums of Park Circus, Kolkata. But when he deftly starts playing the keyboard—fingers moving surely and confidently, mind focused on the sounds—one can see his world shift and realign…
Published by the New Indian Express on Jan 20, 2019, read full article here

Step by step
A group of young dancers is practising in front of a mirror. A small girl watches them intently. Too small to see her full reflection in the glass, she pulls up a chair and stands on it. And then she follows the older dancers’ steps, one intricate movement after another…
Publishedby the Hindu BusinessLine on Nov 16, 2018, read full article here

The book in your hands
She was six years old, and petrified of the books that lined the walls. This was not a place she was familiar with. The little girl hid behind her siblings, peering out now and then. Gradually, she began to explore the rooms and pick up a book or two. Soon, she was not scared of books — or people — anymore…
Published by the Hindu BusinessLine on Oct 26, 2018, read full article here

The girl with the drive
Born in Yavatmal, Maharashtra, this young woman had her heart set on pursuing engineering, and joined the College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP). But little did Sayali Dhale know that her education in this college would throw open many more doors to platforms which were beyond her reach otherwise. Of course, the road was not easy but she took all the challenges with undaunted spirit and won accolades for herself as well as her college…
Published by Sakal Times on July 4, 2018, read full article here

A star in oblivion
A little over three years ago, the world held endless possibility and hope for Dulal Sarkar. He had just won the best actor award at the 2014 International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa. For a dwarf from Bengal working in regional two-bit roles, it was a success story beyond his own comprehension. Overnight he became a national sensation. But, unlike Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame, his was a short-lived media frenzy and Sarkar soon disappeared from the screens as well as memories…
Published by the Hindu BusinessLine on Jun 29, 2018, read full article here

Turning a ‘dry leaf’
Dry leaves being burnt on the roadside and in building compounds is quite a familiar sight. For us, dry leaves are a nuisance, to be thrown away by the cleaners. The only way to quickly dispose it is setting heaps of them on fire. But did you know that dry leaves are important components for composting? So collect them for the green patch in your society or the terrace garden in your flat…
Published by Sakal Times on Jun 13, 2018, read full article here

Pune-based Iranian woman biking solo across the world to break gender stereotypes
If there’s one word to describe Dr. Maral Yazarloo, it is unstoppable – whether in life or on her bike. This 36-year-old Iranian woman has been living in India for the past 15 years, calling this her home since she came to Pune for her studies in 2004. As her passion for riding grew, 14 months back she started on a world tour to cover all seven continents on her bike, riding solo with no backup or reservations ahead…
Published by DemocracyNewsLive on Jun 9, 2018, read full article here

Exercising their ‘birth’ right
In India, childbirth and motherhood are commonly projected as the most gratifying experience for a woman. At the other end of the spectrum is the scaremongering, tales of excruciating labour pains and births gone wrong, with a big share of the blame going to movies replete with scenes of ear-splitting screams, bleeding and semi-conscious mothers, and general mayhem. In a bid to gain greater agency over the birthing process, women from a certain demographic — literate, working, urban, middle class — are increasingly opting for natural, non-invasive, vaginal birthing…
Published by Hindu BusinessLine on Jun 1, 2018, read full article here

Going the vegan way
For a country like India, with all its cultural and religious aspects running riot, it is not easy to stand up for what one believes in; especially with regard to food, which is an extra-sensitive topic for most. As an advocate of veganism, Pune-based Anuradha Sawhney has been making an unlikely impact in this field, transforming not only diets but also the mindset of many urbanites…
Published by Sakal Times on May 31, 2018, read full article here

Letters of art
Connection and bonds are a major source of happiness and security for all of us. At different stages of life, we face disillusionment and loneliness, but imagine if we could write to a stranger without fear of judgment or retribution. Send a letter or photograph or any memento to share your stories with someone who will read, someone probably far across the world. This is the basic idea of the Snail Mail Project started two years ago by the then Mumbai resident Sumedha Sah…
Published by Sakal Times on May 21, 2018, read full article here

Building social consciousness
There’s a shift in corporate culture — blue-chip companies to start-ups — from looking solely at business profits to integrating social consciousness. The bulwark of such a firm lies with the leadership addressing the needs of the new, younger workforce searching for a purpose. Working within this sphere of organisation development is Mumbai-based Rukmini Iyer, who is a consultant and specialist in Non- Violent Communication…
Published by the Sakal Times on Apr 25, 2018, read full article here

Mardani khel – The dying martial art of Maharashtra
My exposure to mardani khel was from a surprising and sudden turn of events. I was strolling near the Congress Bhawan in Pune and in the dim yellow evening streetlight I saw men, women and children practising with bamboo staffs at a tiny school ground. There I met Vijay Aiwale from Kolhapur who was teaching this assorted group the performance art of Mardani Khel – Maharshtra’s very own warrior martial art form.
Published by DemocracyNewsLive on April 20, 2018, read full article here

Of shoots and childhood
The world is a stage, and for actors, this is true in a very literal way. They spend their entire lives preparing to look, act, talk, cry, fight before an audience glued to their seats and almost vicariously living a reel life through these actors. This emotional involvement is the very basis for a success story, and child actors are a sureshot formula for it…
Published by the Sakal Times on Apr 16, 2018, read full article here

Skateboarding: Rebels with an Olympic cause
As one leg pushes against the tar road, the board surges ahead. Knees bent, eyes mere slits against the dusty wind’s whiplash on a summer afternoon, and hands moving with the rhythm of balance, skateboarding is more than just a sport for 23-year old Sagar Waghela…
Published by The Hindu BusinessLine on Apr 13, 2018, read full article here

Lights, camera, magic!
Tara crashed and burned — addicted to Dendrite, a common adhesive which can be bought easily and costs little — as the drug killed her hunger, made her work longer while the mafia exploited her…
Published by the Sakal Times on Apr 5, 2018, read full article here

Saving it, drip by drip
Today, a large population has become insensitive to the suffering of others. Famine, drought, farmer suicides are just another statistic touted by TV anchors and newspapers. After the debates die down, only a handful actively take up the cause, like Amla Ruia, who was moved by the terrible droughts and famine of Rajasthan in the late ’90s. She decided to seek a solution — water harvesting…
Published by the Sakal Times on March 21, 2018, read full article here

The lathi that inmates love
Dhiman** was a young boy when he was put behind bars as an undertrial. He spent five years — the time it took for his case to be finally settled by the courts in his favour — among violent and hardened criminals. By the time he walked out free in December 2017, he had grown up, in every sense of the term — a juvenile accused who was released as an adult. As he spent his formative years waiting for the final verdict, rather than wallowing in the injustices he faced, Dhiman found a mentor in his dance instructor. He wasn’t the only one…
Published by The Hindu BusinessLine On March 16, 2018, read full article here

Learn by getting your hands dirty
The education system is the second-most crucial foundation of a child’s development, the first being the family. Yet, for generations now, learning by rote and memorisation has been the practice, instead of analytical thinking and experiential learning. Bringing about this change is the Academy for Earth Sustainability by Sukriti Gupta in Mumbai where students from different schools are taken out of their classrooms to experience environment and learn from it…
Published by the Sakal Times on March 8, 2018, read full article here

Not a drop to drink: NGO installs solar water pumps for parched wild animals
Today, water problems are very real and immediate with little sustainable options being developed. Technology can maybe find a solution to reduce the exploitation, but as population burst continues, governments can’t look beyond politics and votebanks when it comes to water distribution…
Published by DemocracyNewsLive on Feb 27, 2018, read full article here

A haven called Happy Feet Home
It kills me sometimes, how people die,’ Markus Zusak had once written in The Book Thief, resonating with the core humanity that most of us tend to lose. Some women though, like Mansi Shah, not only retain this spark but also actively try to make death, or the prospect of it, a bearable reality…
Published by the Sakal Times on Feb 21, 2018, read full article here

From streets and bylanes
Years ago, visiting a historical ruin or religious shrine would entail dealing with the pesky touts and guides. They would swarm around the visitor, often with the ignobility of being crooks and cash-greedy. Yet we would pay them to know the history and cultural value of bricks and pillars. Today, there is a growing tribe of men and women who are trying to educate the masses about the cities they have lived their entire lives in, but don’t really know of it gems…
Published by the Sakal Times on Feb 7, 2018 , read full article here

Playing with fire!
Playing with fire is quite literally the job description of 38-year-old Harshini Kanhekar, said to be India’s first female firefighter. Her career, education and her life is a curious mix of fate and passion. Born in Nagpur, her family was always on the move since her father had a government job with transferable postings. Excerpts from the interview…
Published by the Sakal Times on Jan 17, 2018, read full article here

Healthcare hurdle in India’s race for economic stardom
Vinod Vitthal Rane is a 42-year-old car mechanic, who lives with his family of seven in a one-room chawl in Juhu, having to use the public bathroom every day. Vinod, a semi-skilled labour and his wife who works in households as a maid, both combined earn roughly Rs12,000 a month…
Published by DemocracyNewsLive on Jan 18, 2018, read full article here

Stay fit with home-grown moves
Mumbai-based Kapil Mattoo always knew that exercise is the key to a healthy lifestyle. He just couldn’t muster enthusiasm for the gym, where he had been going regularly for a year, as the workouts had begun to feel mechanical and repetitive. “I wanted something more rigorous and started with hot yoga,” says the 42-year-old producer and director. Three years ago, he was introduced to Kalaripayattu, an ancient martial arts form originating in Kerala. Today, Mattoo swears by its benefits. “It shaped my life, not just helping me stay healthy and fit, but also helping me become more disciplined,” he says.
Published by Mint on Jan 15, 2018, read full article here

A holistic art form
Every culture and every zone of our diverse country has its very own martial arts and war traditions. Many ceased to be martial forms as they were no match for the British who arrived with guns blazing, quite literally. Some were then turned into dance forms, as a cover-up for their martial nature once the English rulers started a crackdown on anything and anyone carrying arms…
Published by Sakal Times on Jan 3, 2018, read full article here

Dream interpretation: Using psychoanalysis, Carl Jung’s theories to better understand the mind
“Trust in dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity,” Kahlil Gibran once wrote. The poet, the priests, the poor and the theoreticians have all tried to interpret dreams and their meaning. In the past, dreams played an important role and held much significance, unlike today…
Published by Firstpost on Jan 5, 2018, read full article here

Wrestling her way up
Girls in my village now play sports and train in the local grounds, often saying that they want to follow in my footsteps,” says Kavita Devi who is now an inspiration in the very same village which would ridicule her. After all, it’s not easy to go against convention and patriarchal traditions, vehemently upheld by men of little education and no exposure…
Published by Sakal Times on Nov 29, 2017, read full article here

‘Worst disservice to Wicca is internet’
It was 1986 when she declared herself to be a witch. There was utter frenzy as society struggled to accept this, and the media went on a dizzying overdrive. Ipsita Roy Chakraverti had burst onto the scene at a time when the conservative forces were still at play. But this young woman, who had chosen Wicca as her religion, wouldn’t bow down to pressure…
Published by Sakal Times on Nov 15, 2017, read full article here

Tell me your dreams
Remember the times when you would wake up from a nightmare, and your mother to great grandmother would interpret it differently? They would debate your future — good, bad or ugly — according to whether you saw snakes or a black cat…
Published by Sakal Times on Nov 1, 2017, read full article here

How cheesy!
When one thinks of curation, we immediately associate it with art and artefacts. From museums to exhibitions to even music, curation is now an important and unique profession to take up. Taking this a step forward and giving it an interesting twist, is this 31-year-old woman who has started an initiative called ‘The Cheese Collector’, whereby she curates various types of cheese found, made and sold in India…
Published by Sakal Times on Oct 18, 2017, read full article here

Drawing her own career ‘arch’
Did you know that there are only three to four ‘Sapt Matrika’ temples left in India, and possibly two more in Nepal?” asks Surbhi Gupta. She recently worked on the restoration and conservation of one such temple in Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh. As an architectural historian, Surbhi has come across many such relics from our traditional past, most now lying neglected, lost to ravages of time…
Published by Sakal Times on Oct 4, 2017, read full article here

India’s indigenous cheeses have crafted a savoury comeback
Kashmiri cuisine is well-known for its heady mix of spices, culture and tradition, and the streets of Jammu bear witness to this. Vendors line the roadsides selling their dishes but there’s one in particular that is a must-try — the Kalari kulcha. Few have heard of it, and fewer have tasted it…
Published by Firstpost on Oct 28, 2017, read full article here

Organic milk production: Brands in India are ignoring warning signs
According to the Economic Survey of 2015-16, India produces 146 million tonnes of milk every year, or 18.5 percent of the total worldwide output, pushing the country to the top of the global chart. Now, almost 68 percent of this 146 million tonnes was found to have adulterants – ranging from detergent, starch, urea to white paint – whereby water dilution is the least of your worries…
Published by Firstpost on Aug 16, 2017, read full article here

Christmas Special: 32 years of Stop-Gaps
It was the winter of 1972 in Chennai. A young man was living on the banks of Adyar river when it overflowed. A flood ensued which led to destruction and homelessness. This young man, almost 50 years ago, brought an entire community together to collect aid for the affected…
Published by DNA on Dec 14, 2015, read full article here

Saving whales & catching pirate ships
The thrill and the adventure of capturing rouge vessels, the romanticism of protecting the endangered and the sheer beauty of Antartica – as a Sea Shepherd; Siddharth Chakravarty’s life is that of a textbook explorer. Yet it is the passion of an activist which trumps everything else…
Published by DNA on Nov 28, 2015, read full article here

Rebuilding Life After 26/11: My kids don’t remember their father, says Momina Khatoon
Momina Khatoon was two-months pregnant with her fourth child. It was just another day when her husband left in the evening to drive his taxi at night. Nobody could foresee that it would change their lives forever…
Published by DNA on Nov 26, 2015, read full article here

Rebuilding Life After 26/11: Physical wounds have healed but the trauma remains
“I looked down at my shirt and it had turned red,” said Anil Kumar Januje Harkulkar. He is at the ticket counter in CST, with his cousin brother, waiting to go home from work. Seven years later, Harkulkar visibly struggles to talk about that night, horror and pain clearly etched in his eyes…
Published by DNA on Nov 26, 2015, read full article here

Invest in security but safeguard human rights: Benedetta Berti
Acts of terrorism are scarring the soil of almost every nation. Men, women and children are falling prey to religious warfare. Art, culture and freedom of expression are being threatened by zealots. There are only a few who can make sense of this chaos, and fewer still are as qualified and recognised as Dr. Benedetta Berti…
Published by DNA on Nov 25, 2015, read full article here

Green with Talent: Ashwika Kapur
Ashwika Kapur from Kolkata became the first Indian woman to win the prestigious Wildscreen Panda Award or the ‘Green Oscar’ in Bristol late last year. She won the wildlife photography award in the Best Newcomer category for her film Sirocco — How a Dud Became a Stud, beating lauded films Pride and We Are Rhino…
Published by DNA on Feb 1, 2015, read full article here

Game on for this virtual footballer
Eyebrows creased with intense focus, muscles taught in a race against time, pulse erratic under sheer pressure, he is bloodied and exhausted but still fighting to win. It is an arena where the battle is as real as it gets, albeit on a computer screen. Meet the Messis and gun-wielding commandos in the virtual world of FIFA and espionage…
Published by DNA on Jan 11, 2015, read full article here

Oil spill: Sunderbans face a new threat
“The short term effect of oil spill will be the immediate degradation of the sensitive biodiversity,” said 46-year-old Anurag Danda, head of the Climate Adaptation Programme and Sundarbans Landscape department of WWF, India. Ecologists and environmentalists are a worried lot over the December 9 oil spill in the Sunderbans delta, in Bangladesh…
Published by DNA on Dec 19, 2014, read full article here

Robin Hood Army takes to the streets
If you happen to see youngsters in green T-shirts roaming the streets in the dead of the night, under flyovers and in dark, unlit lanes, don’t panic. They are merely putting food on the steel, empty plates and outstretched hands of street urchins and footpath dwellers…
Published by DNA on Oct 7, 2014, read full article here

Run, Hashers, Run!
If you thought that beer was a perfect antidote to stress yet felt guilty of the paunch that would show, here’s the ‘perfect’ solution. The Bombay Hash House Harriers is the city chapter of a global organisation that loves to binge on beer after a good, ol’ sprint…
Published by DNA on Aug 24, 2014, read full article here

General who lost leg in Pak war, runs Mumbai Marathon
He sat ramrod straight at a round table, emanating an aura of authority. In an atmosphere of fluid motions and exuberant mood, this man’s calm composure set him apart. It is only after an intense scrutiny does one notice the prosthetic right leg. At 72, former Army vice-chief Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi was very much a quiet force, enjoying a meal after his run.
Published by Times of India on Jan 21, 2013, read full article here

Purple mania grips nooks and corners of ‘rival city’
Riding into town, the Kolkata team may find quite a gathering of fans at the MA Chidabaram Chinnaswamy stadium. As people are gearing up for the grand IPL finale, the Bengali community in Chennai is vying to outdo the home-crowd by sheer vocal powers and jazzy get-up, even if they lack in numbers…
Published by the Times of India on May 26, 2012, read full article here

Offences by servants on the rise in Chennai
Welcome to the world of Lakshmi. She makes food, does laundry, keeps the apartment clean and snags a bargain in the vegetable market for you. This woman — our own version of Nanny McPhee — is rare and precious.This picture-perfect story, however, has a catch…
Published by Times of India on Jan 28, 2012, read full article here

Of ‘dimer devil’ and ‘chingri cutlet’: Bengalis celebrate puja with food
A whiff of the food’s aroma can transport you back to your childhood days – the Sundays when women in the family would prepare age-old recipes handed down through generations. It is this trip down memory lane that pulls Bengalis to visit restaurants serving their cuisine during the pujas…
Published by Times of India on Oct 5, 2011, read full article here

Bengalis gear up for a dearer Durga puja
As the city moves into the festive spirit of Navarathri, Bengalis have joined the fun with Durga puja arrangements. Starting with the Shashti puja on Sunday till the immersion of the idol on dashami (Thursday) it will be a celebration for all ages. The aarti, the pushpanjali and the sindoor utsav transports one into another world where there are no textbooks or cheque books…
Published by the Times Of India on Oct 2, 2011, read full article here