Monthly Archives: March 2014
From sampling wines to living like a local, Winelands ecotourism gives a heady introduction to South Africa
The prides of lions and herds of zebras still beckon, but tourists to South Africa are discovering a taste for something new: Winelands ecotourism. In their hunt for the perfect glass of wine, visitors are exploring the country’s vineyards—indulging in fine dining, gourmet wine pairings and elaborate tastings, while there—and taking an interest in conservation efforts, farmers’ lives and sustainability measures.
Biking and bouquets
Much of South Africa’s vineyards are in Cape Winelands, a short drive from Cape Town. “Not only can you enjoy mountain biking, full-moon hikes, literary festivals and rock concerts, you can also harvest grapes, spend a day at a local village and learn how to prepare traditional food,” says Evelyn Mahlaba, regional director (Australasia) for South African Tourism.
On the trail
For oenophiles and gastronomes, there are several options to choose from. Like the Green Mountain Eco Route, the world’s first biodiversity wine route, where you can explore farms, hike among the fynbos (indigenous shrubland vegetation), go bird watching, besides sampling local food and wine. Then there’s Darling Stagger, which takes you through wine and olive farms right up to the coast—perfect for biking.
“If you want more, go on the Franschhoek Wine Valley’s community tourism route, which includes a number of sub-routes like culture, cuisine and archeology. You can try cooking in a home kitchen, learn pottery and even sample 40 flavours of chocolates,” says Mahlaba.
-Surya Praphulla Kumar
Liven up your weekend with a dance boot camp, a food festival, photography workshops and more
Learn basic footwork, body movements and styling at Brazilian Zouk Bootcamp, organised by Zouk India and Salsa4Fun India. The workshop will be conducted by Delhi-based Anuj Gupta, who left his career in engineering, to follow his passion and is now a professional Zouk and Salsa dancer. He trained under international artistes in Brazil, Europe, USA and Hong Kong. At Auroville, March 28-30. From 6.30 pm onwards, at Rs. 1,500. Details: zoompondy.com
Get close to nature with this free photography workshop, organised by Pondy Photo 2014. Participants will get to learn light and texture through macro photography. The workshop will be conducted by French photographer, Virginie Sueres, who has worked on this theme for magazines. At Auroville Botanical Gardens. Tomorrow, at 6.30 am and 4 pm. Details: 9791944182
Relish a full course meal with rich, spicy dishes at Buzz, The Gateway Hotel IT Expressway. Their Andhra Food Festival has dishes like masala punugulu, majjiga pulusu, muvva vankai, kadappa chicken curry and crab masala. Also choose from a variety of dosas like egg and prawn dosa along with rice combinations such as pulihora and nimmikai anam. For dessert, they have pesara pappu payasam, kesari and kulfi. Buffet costs Rs. 950. Till Sunday, 6 pm onwards. Details: 66802500
Manal Magudi Theatre Land, from Kovilpatti, is visiting Indianostrum theatre to host the play Kuhaimaravaasigal— Dwellers of Cave Tree. The Tamil play portrays the lives of nomads who dwell in caves. The actors are from Madurai. At Indianostrum, today and tomorrow. At 7 pm. Details: 0413 2341435
Shoot for a cause
Get camera-happy in and around Pondicherry. Learn how to present a subject related to a social issue, through a documentary image, with this free photography workshop. Also fine tune documentation of social issues with Amirtharaj Stephen from Tamil Nadu. All you need is a camera and a 150-word paragraph about a local issue that you think is important. At Kasha Ki Aasha. Tomorrow and Sunday, 9.30 am onwards. Details: 0413 2222963
DakshinaChitra is organising a workshop on Cheriyal paintings, a stylised version of Nakashi art, which is rich in the local patterns of the Telangana region. These paintings are created in the Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh. Learn this art along with professional cheriyal painters. At DakshinaChitra. Tomorrow and Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm. At Rs. 1,500. Details: 24462435
-Team Indulge (email@example.com)
Cane O Cane adds a new range of furniture that makes best use of the weed
IT’S EASY to miss this tiny store on the busy East Coast Road. But at Cane O Cane, R Narendran has almost 15 people working under him—fashioning furniture out of cane, water hyacinth and bamboo. Started in 2010, the store offers furniture— like sofa sets, dinner tables and garden furniture—and home décor like boxes. For those who like intricate designs, Narendran also does some cane weaving. Quite the inventor, he recently designed his own handloom machine for weaving cane strips. “My bamboo furniture comes from Assam so I started a unit there with three workers. I saw people using machines for wooden furniture and designed my own machine,” he says.
Why the interest in furniture? “My uncle had a furniture store in Anna Nagar, but it shut. I trained under him and then I started this one,” says the Chennai native. Besides ordering from a catalogue (which boasts of Japanese designs), one can customise furniture. “I had a French client who wanted a wooden easy chair and a cot with cane weaving,” says Narendran, who learnt six languages through his clients.
“I have worked in Europe and Sri Lanka and have French and Telugu clients, so I learnt the language.” Nothing seems impossible for the 40-year-old, who sources water hyacinth from local ponds in Neelankarai. “We get about 20 kilos of the weed with which we can make one sofa set and one chair. These are more expensive.” But he reassures us that the furniture is low maintenance. “Regular dusting and cleaning is enough. But don’t expose the furniture to the elements,” he concludes
A bamboo sofa set costs from Rs. 15,000 onwards. The water hyacinth furniture costs Rs. 40,000 onwards. Details: 64548882
Six-month-old DeFine Nature, on East Coast Road, offers cane room partitions and antique telephones
STRIKING cane partitions and starfish-shaped furniture are just some of the unusual home décor products you will find on display at DeFine Nature on Vettuvankeni, East Coast Road. The store is a sea of cane and wooden furniture, paintings, show pieces, antiques and more. Started by J P Guna, the furniture store is part of Jayabharatham (JFA), a small family business started in 1937. “My grandfather started designing cane furniture back then. I have always had a keen interest in furniture and learned my skills from him,” says Guna, 45.
While there are two other stores in Royapettah under JFA, DeFine Nature was started six months ago and has a niche clientele. “The furniture falls in the luxury segment. We generally have designers, architects and resort owners coming in. The furniture here is bold and classy,” says the owner, pointing out that the cane furniture here is fast moving when compared to the Royapettah store. DeFine Nature has a tie up with international brands such as Don Carolis from Sri Lanka, Marco Furniture from Malaysia and Wisanka from Indonesia. “We generally prefer low cost furniture and gift products from China. The paintings, laughing Buddha telephones, bicycles, statues, etc, are all from China,” says Guna. When it comes to wooden furniture, the store specialises in teak and mahogany. They also have leather sofa sets and furniture made of seagrass. “The cane furniture is all handmade. We have about 500 people working on it,” he says. A large part of their furniture is also exported to different places like Europe, the US and Canada.
Guna looks forward to his new warehouse, which spreads across an area of one and a half acres, in the next three months. “The new warehouse will house all the imported furniture.We are also looking to joining hands with brands from Italy and Vietnam,” he says. The factory outlet will allow customisation. “Customers can have all imported furniture at one place, and a lot of it can be customised,” says Guna. As for the craze for imported furniture, he is of the opinion that there is a slowdown. “People were mad about imports at one point. Now only the people who have resorts and bungalows choose to have expensive furniture,” he concludes.
A cane garden set will cost from `7,500 to a lakh rupees and the imported furniture starts at Rs. 18,000. Details: 65444546
Jennifer Connelly on Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic, Noah, and her favourite collaborators
Two Oscar winners, an atheist director and a $130 million budget—that’s what’s gone into the making of what director Darren Aronofsky often calls the “the least biblical biblical film ever made”. Despite the flood of criticism Noah has received (Christian religious groups claim it is a loose interpretation of a sacred script), its female lead, Jennifer Connelly, says that “while it is very creative, bold and complex, it’s true to the spirit of the story in the Bible.” The 43-year-old, who recently made news for the jewel-encrusted Givenchy gown she wore to the film’s premiere in Mexico, will be seen next in Shelter (directed by husband Paul Bettany) and Winter’s Tale with Colin Farrell. For now, she tells us about Noah, how it was working in extreme conditions:
Why did you say ‘yes’ to this role? Was it the chance to work with Darren Aronofsky again?
Well, I’ve worked with both Darren and Russell (Crowe) before and each of them were very important experiences for me. I’m a fan of both of their work.
Had you all changed in your approach to work since you last collaborated?
Yes, the circumstances of our lives are now very different than they were the last time we worked together. This film and the dynamic between our characters is very different, and yet there was something very familiar about it, too. It was amazing to see Darren at the helm of this big epic film. I think he handled it so well. And I love working with Russell, too. As an actor he’s so engaged with the material and with the actors he is working with.
Did you draw on your own experiences as a wife and a mother?
Well, I think it’s inevitable that you do… because being a mother is a huge part of who I am. Naameh is the same; she is fiercely protective of her family. So I drew on the love and the fear of loss I have at a very gut level—that’s where the emotions come from.
The film uses CGI. But Darren also built a lot of sets.
Having amazing sets like that is an enormous help. We didn’t use real animals in the film. But in the ark, we had these models and they were unbelievable. It was better than any natural history museum that I’ve ever been to. I took my kids to the set for a field trip.
You were working in some extreme conditions.
I think you pretty much sign on for that when you do a movie called Noah. There’s going to be water (laughs). We had a lot of different temperatures to contend with. We started working in Iceland for the exteriors. And then we were shooting in the summer on Long Island and the actors were drenched with sweat, it was so hot.
Noah is scheduled to release today.
Do your rock-climbing by the sea, thanks to a new wall by Adventure n Nature
Twelve-year-old Adventure n Nature is on a mission to bring outdoor activities to the heart of the city. Their wall in The Royal Madras Yacht Club stands 30 feet tall and is a few metres away from the point where the Cooum joins the ocean. The sea-facing wall makes for a great workout for your brawn and your brain, as there is more than one route to the top. Dipankar Ghose, director of Adventure n Nature, says that Delhi-based expert Mohit Oberoi (who has built similar walls for defence establishments), is the architect behind the project. Safety features include helmets and a full check of the harness, ropes, etc, before each climb. They have already been getting enquiries from trekking clubs and hope to attract families, corporates and students too. On weekends, at Rs. 150 for two climbs. Details: 9940355521
“From April, we will have summer camps consisting of aqua-terra activities, environmental studies through arts and crafts, and trips to the harbour, where eight to 16-year-olds will learn to sail on wind-powered boats,” says Ghose. ‘Dairiyam,’ a new concept for outdoor learning and leadership, is being targetted at schools and colleges. And in June, they will be tying up with the Coast Guard and The Royal Madras Yacht Club for an overnight sea expedition for corporates (for World Environment Day) where they will sail with the top brass.
Ahead of his Yarn Club talk at Apparao Galleries, Wiebe Bijker shares why handloom is a science
It’s been two years since Wiebe Bijker’s last trip to India, and the first thing he recalls is the Margazhi festival. “I am a big fan of Carnatic music. But I am just an amateur,” says Bijker, a professor at the Maastricht University in Netherlands. His travels are usually connected to research, and his current visit has him stopping in Hyderabad, Delhi and Pune before landing in Chennai this weekend. “My research is about the relationship between technology and society and knowledge,” shares Bijker, who is preparing for a talk on handloom and technology at Apparao Galleries.
“One of my students, Annapurna Mamidipudi (who will also be speaking at the gallery), is writing a PhD thesis on handloom weaving. She is discovering that there’s a lot of innovation happening in handloom. But people prefer not to call it that because of the heritage associated with it,” he says. The purpose of Mamidipudi’s project is to prove that handloom is not outdated and can provide a livelihood.
“Indian states should fund projects helping weaving cooperatives and master weavers to innovate: find environment friendly ways of dyeing, socially responsible ways of producing the handloom, and cleverly turn classic motifs into new designs,” says Bijker, adding that this would enhance the value of our handloom. The talk is on March 29, at 6 pm. Details: 9941012382
Air Crash Mysteries , Magic of Science and Lorraine’s Fast, Fresh and Easy Food
April promises a lot of couch action, as drama, science, and some tasty treats take over your telly. Our pick
IF you are tired of the usual drama or comedy offerings on your telly, choose from some interesting programmes coming up next month. Besides the drama series set in the decadent 60s, Mad Men season 7, check out Kalki Koechlin’s style gyan in Style and the City 2. Meanwhile, Blue Bloods, the Emmy-nominated American police drama series, is to be aired on AXN (time to be announced), and promises a lot of action. Here are some of our picks from the April line-up.
Style and the City 2
Mad Men, Star World Premiere HD: The drama continues with season seven of Mad Men, as Star World Premiere brings you the story of the advertising world’s head honcho, Don Draper (Jon Hamm), and his life in and out of office. Catch this Emmy winning series, which saw season six ending with Draper forced to take time off due to his deteriorated state of mind.Premieres on April 14, on Star World Premiere HD, at 10 pm.
Air Crash Mysteries, NGC: Tune into National Geographic Channel to find out the truth about some of the most shocking air crashes from around the world. Each episode focusses on finding out what might have led to the tragedies and if the situations could have been prevented. Premieres on March 28, on National Geographic Channel, at 11 pm.
Lorraine’e Fast, Fresh and Easy Food, TLC: Lorraine Pascal, a former British model, turns chef as shewhips up some yummy treats for us on TLC. The show is themed on stress-free cooking. Premieres on April 7, on TLC, at 6.30 pm
Style and the City 2, Fox Traveller: Get set for a new season of Style and the City on Fox Traveller. The show brings together big names from Bollywood and the fashion industry like Shamita Shetty, Kalki Koechlin, Yami Gautam, Rocky S, Nikhil Thampi, and Shantanu and Nikhil. The team will travel to cities like Surat, Pune and Kohlapur to find inspiration. Premieres on April 16 , on Fox Traveller, at 10 pm.
Magic of Science, Discovery Channel: If you have little ones at home, Magic of Science could be made into family time. Watch how science can be used to create illusions in the second season. One of the magicians taking part in the show is Billy Kidd, a Canadian illusionist. Premieres on April 7, on Discovery Channel, at 8 pm.
Learn to dress like a celebrity, courtesy Get the Look on NDTV Good Times
Who doesn’t aspire to look like their favourite star? Get the Look on NDTV Good Times—the new, revamped version of the show I’m too Sexy for My Shoes—lets you do that and meet the star, too. “All those who get a makeover will get to meet their celebrity style icon,” says Ambika Anand, the show’s host. The series has an added advantage: one lucky participant will get to go to London for a makeover.
“It is no longer about giving a makeover in a room. People are brand conscious and, therefore, are taken to meet designers to choose outfits. They get tips from the designer that they can use after the show too,” she says, adding that star factor was included as “it creates connectivity for the viewers.” According to Anand, the hottest make up trend of the season will have to be white eye liner, red lips and nude make up. As for summer style, the spunky anchor swears by white cotton pyjamas and asymmetric cotton tunics.
Get the Look airs Thursdays on NDTV Good Times at 7 pm.
TV actor Kritika Kamra takes stock of her internet addiction, online safety issues and more
That unknown guy who pings you every time you are online may not be as harmless as he seems. Webbed, a mini-series by MTV on cyber crimes—that looks into cyber stalking gone wrong and more—is back with season two. This time, television actor Kritika Kamra is the anchor. We get talking to Kamra, a self-confessed internet addict, on the pros and cons of the internet.
Hooked for good
Kamra, known for her roles in television serials like Kitani Mohabbat Hai and Kuch Toh Log Kahenge, agreed to anchor the show on cyber crime because, “I am an internet addict. I am very active on social networking sites and you will find me online mostly at night.” The internet is very informative and interesting, she admits, adding, “you need to be aware and alert.” The show, a series of episodes based on real life incidents, aims to create awareness and caution the youth about using the internet. “Anything can go wrong online—whether you are dating or have just developed a friendship. You never know who is on the other side,” Kamra says.
A sticky situation
On the show, Kamra will initiate friendly chats with viewers on the highs and lows of using the internet. “Just how I’d talk to my younger brother,” she says. The actor, who hasn’t been a victim of cyber crime in real life, adds, “People have misused my pictures, made fake accounts on social networking sites and have even mailed me asking for pictures by posing as casting agents. But I’ve been wary and not fallen into any traps.
” The problem with cyber crime, according to her, is that, while screen shots and print outs are all you need to go to a cyber crime branch to file a complaint, “there is no one we can really point fingers at. They are in a way protected by ‘anonymity’.” Kamra hopes the show will make people aware about the different kinds of crimes that take place in cyber space.
Premieres on April 4 on MTV India, at 7 pm
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