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Monthly Archives: April 2016

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    Meet like-minded people, colour some pictures and pick up books at the Green Minds Center’s adult colouring meetup.

    Knackered after a long day’s work? Pick up a colour pencil and fill out the outline of a flower or your favourite hero. Agreed, the benefits aren’t as ‘instant’ as quick as squeezing a stress ball or pummeling a pillow, but for millions of colouring enthusiasts the world over, this childhood hobby is a rage, spurring publishing houses to bring out colouring books for adults themed on pop culture and even cuss words!
    The seemingly simple activity requires a lot of concentration, and according to Abirambika Ravivarman, founder of Green Minds Center—which is hosting a colouring activity for adults in the city this weekend—it  can enhance our mindfulness even as it relaxes us. “Even when we meditate, our minds tend to wander. But when we have to colour a detailed work of art, we need to fully focus,” she explains, adding, “We have been using colouring as a meditative tool for adults for about a year now.” The 35-year-old developed hand-drawn, sinuous, non-repetitive patterns, along with friend Anupama Vijayakumar, and published them as colouring books. The two-hour meetup will also include a group colouring activity on a huge canvas for participants.
    Colouring is gaining acceptance as a therapeutic tool, says Saras Bhaskar, a counselling psychologist. “Studies show that it can de-stress people experiencing anxiety, pain and stress, much like music and dance. But it will work only with those who are interested in the activity,” she explains.
    For youngsters like city-based photographer Sangeetha Ramaswamy, who will be speaking at the meetup, colouring is an escape from her engagement with social media. “I had a colouring app on my phone, but I still found myself checking Facebook notifications.Colouring a book is an excellent stress buster,” she concludes.
    On May 1, at Brand New Studio (Kottur Garden). Rs 1,000. Details: facebook.com/Green-Minds-Center-103685199768022

    With more people turning to colouring books, pencil manufacturers claim they are struggling to meet the demand. In fact, according to newspaper reports, Faber Castell is running extra shifts at its factories.

    collector special

    A Game of Thrones: With season six of the fantasy drama on TV, here’s another GoT addition to your evening routine. Featuring 45 illustrations, it recreates George RR Martin’s world for fans. Rs 1,215. Details: amazon.in

    Shakuntala And Her Magic Box: If you’re in the mood for Madhubani, try this book of 16 hand-crafted arts works by Subadra Kalyanaraman  that can be pulled out and framed after colouring. Rs 1,150. Details: madrasmag.in

    Escape to Shakespeare’s World: We just celebrated the Bard’s 400th death anniversary in the city. Now, pre-order your copy of the book featuring quotes and visual representations of his plays. Rs 225. Details: amazon.in

    Secret Garden: By Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford—and designed as a treasure hunt—this is the book credited with starting the adult colouring movement in 2013. Available at Amethyst for Rs 695. Details: 45991630

    —Sharadha Narayanan

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      French bands Ottawan and Kaoma bring their brand of disco and pop.

      It’s time for a quick trip down nostalgia lane. Phoenix MarketCity’s Rewind Retro music festival is bringing to town two music bands that made a mark with their music back in the ’80s and ’90s. In their debut performance in the country, French bands Kaoma and Ottawan promise a night to remember, whether you are a fan of pop or not.
      Kaoma
      The band shot to global fame in 1989, with their hugely-popular  song Lambada. In fact, lead singer Robert Dru recalls how people “began learning the lambada dance” after it released. Performing in French and English, they promise to make you groove to the tunes from their album, Worldbeat. “Kaoma’s music is all about dance, which has no barriers in terms of age, caste or social standing,” shares Dru, who will be performing with Alex Francfort (guitar and vocals), Corine Singer (drums) and dancers Gumicio Maya and Reinaldo Reis.
      Ottawan
      They were known for their dance anthems D.I.S.C.O., Hands Up, Shalalala and You’re OK. Now, Esther de Bijl and Robert Walker will refresh our memories with a performance that will include all their classics. Though the band has not come up with anything new since 1982, they believe that fans find their “music ageless, even 20 years down the line”. Admitting that  pop music has changed over the years—with electronic sounds and gadgets taking over—de Bijl insists audiences will still “jive to our songs”.

      Tomorrow at Phoenix MarketCity, from 7 pm onwards. Entry at  Rs 250. Details: 66513008

      —Lalitha Ranjani

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        An Instagram handle is reborn as a weekend food festival, bringing both local culinary flavours and the IPL spirit under one roof.

        WITH over 80 food stalls, Taste of Madras hopes to be a big draw for families this weekend. Organised by PS Events, expect a carnival vibe with a rodeo bull ride, a bouncing castle, and more. They have also factored in IPL fans at the debut event—with live screening of the matches at the venue.
        Started by engineers and friends, Sangeetha Madhan and Prashanth Rajkumar, in March last year, city-based PS Events has been organising weddings and corporate dos. “I am a foodie by nature and I started the Instagram handle ‘Taste of Madras’ in November last year, to review and write about food. Taking inspiration from the positive response I received, we wanted to organise a food festival,” shares a delighted Madhan, managing partner of PS Events, who is expecting over 10,000 footfalls.
        Stalls have been booked by restaurants and cafes like Krispy Kreme, Nalaas Aappakadai and Costa Coffee, besides bakers like Shriram Rajendran (desserts from the Table)  and Nishant Vijaykumar (Brownie Heaven), among others.
        While there, catch up with chef Satit Chaimano of Thai Food House, as he cooks his signatures like pad Thai and Thai green curry. Meanwhile, Aasife Biriyani is set to break records with over 1,000 contestants partaking in ‘The Great Biryani Challenge’ on Sunday, in an attempt to enter the India Book of Records and Asia Book of Records.You can also snag some gifts and vouchers from Grofers.

        At YMCA Grounds, OMR. On Saturday and Sunday. 10 am – 10 pm. Entry free. Details: 8428443333

        —Lalitha Ranjani

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          A Bengaluru-based all-male ensemble finds its way to Pondy.

          This Sunday, the vaulted ceilings of the Notre Dame des Anges (on Rue Dumas) will reverberate with the strains of choruses from many moons ago. With Byrd and Bach to Handel and Schubert, the a cappella concert by Bangalore Men, will take aficionados on a musical journey spanning three centuries of composers.
          The stately church provides the right acoustics for western classical a cappella (singing without musical accompaniment), says Jonas Olsson, the Swedish-born music teacher and founder of Bangalore Men, an all-male ensemble. “We are passionate about promoting the many beautiful compositions written for all-male choruses between 1,600 and 1,800,” he says. Women were not permitted to sing in choirs then.
          Pondicherry is the only venue, outside Bengaluru, for the A cappella Through the Ages concert series, which will feature solos, duets and choruses in English, German and Italian. “We want people to get a feel of western classical music, from the relatively simpler Renaissance era to the more complex Baroque period and the dramatic Romantic age,” explains Olsson.
          The ensemble was formed this January, mostly with faculty from the Bangalore School of Music. With members aged between 22 and 39, the choir can hit a varied mix of notes—from a rich high countertenor to a booming low bass. They will soon begin training with soloist Maria Forsström for their upcoming Simply Schubert concert in Hyderabad, Mysore and Bengaluru in mid-August.

          On Sunday, from 6.30-7.30 pm. Free entry. Details: facebook.com/thebangaloremen

          — Olympia Shilpa Gerald

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            From crisp calamaris to Alfredo pasta with fresh cream, Fishlion has something for everyone.

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            SURF-WORTHY waves and a sandy beach have been the sole attractions of Thandirayankuppam. But Serenity Beach, as it is popularly known, is gradually seeing guest houses, boutiques and cafes mushrooming. The just-opened Fishlion could give visitors another reason to dawdle in the area.
            Located inside Hotel Serenity, the restaurant is barely two minutes from the beach. “Initially, we hope to attract travellers who stay at the many guest houses around here, but have to drive to Pondicherry or Auroville for lunch or dinner,” says manager/director Victor Paschal.
            Setting the scene
            The restaurant tries to marry thatched roofs, bamboo poles and straw mats with whiteboard floors, spotless linen and gleaming cutlery. The result is a sterile-looking space with glass panels on one side that allow a peek into the kitchen. “We have pulled off quite a transformation on the dilapidated gazebo that stood here earlier, but we still need to work on the decor,” admits Jean-Michel Robert, the Italian who co-owns (with wife Patrizia) JMP Robert Hospitality Pvt Ltd, which has taken over the hotel. The small but breezy alfresco space outside is ideal for a quick bite.
            The menu features a mix of Indian—the usual suspects like dal fry, gobi manchurian and fish curry—along with basic Italian. For those who love everything deep fried, the range of appetisers, from buffalo wings to tempura shrimps, are a bonus. The batter-fried calamari, crisp and tender, are lip-smacking when dipped in the accompanying sweet and spicy sauce. We overlook the grills and steaks in favour of some Alfredo pasta slathered with thick fresh cream. Our disappointment over the choice of cold beverages on a sultry night disappears when the chef sends in his special chocolate cake — an airy, nut-strewed confection coated with a sticky ganache.
            Up next
            The decision to open during the off-season is like a test-drive says Paschal, who has plans to turn the hotel into a weekend hotspot with karaoke, live music and dancing. The property, which is adding a new wing, will have seven rooms in a week’s time, including one that is sea-facing.

            Open between 12 pm and 3 pm and 7 pm to 11 pm. A meal for two at around Rs 1,000. Details: 0413 6501555

            — Olympia Shilpa Gerald

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              A workshop by Ranjini Manian helps you kickstart your life and set goals with  mentors.

              Call it what you want, empty nest syndrome or mid-life crisis, but at The Third Act workshop, life begins at 45. Based on Jane Fonda’s TED talk, The Third Act—where she explains that it is the final 30 years of life when many women lose their aim and stop growing, but that’s when they must continue to contribute to society and be themselves—the workshop is perfect if you have a dream, but don’t know how to shape it, or if you feel lost and are looking to find purpose.
              Organised by Global Adjust-ments Foundation, the workshop, which is open to women above 45, will be facilitated by the founders of the company, Ranjini Manian and Joanne Grady Huskey, who are both in their 50s. “We have almost 30 more years to contribute. What is missing is goal setting and introspection by women. This workshop will create an atmosphere where they can co-mentor each other,” begins Manian.
              It also promises to help participants reconnect with something that they had loved: a hobby, a passion or anything that can help them re-engineer their future. “The aim of this workshop is to look at your own self as a holistic person, look at your life as a sliver of a decade each—your childhood, your youth, your adult life. If you look at it like that, you will figure out at what point in your life you were most joyful. If that joy is enhanced by doing something, it can give purpose and meaning to life,” adds Manian.
              The inaugural session will be conducted by Huskey, who has also started iLIVE2LEAD, a social organisation that holds leadership programmes for young and adult women, in the USA.
              “My inspiration is Joanne. She started iLIVE2LEAD (in 2010) when in her 50s. Women are capable of so much more, they just need to have a positive mindset,” says Manian.
              May 6, at Global Adjustments, RA Puram. Rs 1,500. Limited seats.
              Details: 9840520394

              —Saloni Sinha

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                Billionaire Binod Chaudhary on his autobiography, taking brand Wai Wai forward and life lessons.

                The word ‘no’ doesn’t have a place in Binod Chaudhary’s vocabulary. He tells me he isn’t a writer, but the 60-year-old (with the help of a journalist and scattered notes, photos and souvenirs) is ready with a biography, Making it Big, which chronicles his life. Similarly, he reminisces how, at 18, when he’d taken over his father’s business in Nepal, he hadn’t let inexperience get in his way. He built it to include 14 verticals, including hospitality, electronics and beer! Today, as the Himalayan nation’s only billionaire, he is defined by more than his success or his most popular brand, the Wai Wai noodle. “You need to have certain inborn qualities to be a successful entrepreneur, but you also need to nurture those with hard work, dedication, perseverance and innovation,” begins Chaudhary, who cut his teeth in business quite young—with a tuck shop at school when he was just 10, and a nightclub called Copper Floor in Kathmandu, in his early 20s.
                Wai wai connect
                Speaking of innovation, the book reveals that the ready-to-eat noodle was born from two observations: surplus flour at their mills and imported noodles that he saw on baggage belts at the international airport. Today, Wai Wai (meaning quick, quick in Thai) holds 20 per cent market share in India, and has plans to make more inroads. “I want to make it the largest noodle brand in the country (an ad campaign with Prahlad Kakkar is scheduled to go on air soon). We are also in the final phase of starting the CG Mega Food Park in Ajmer, Rajasthan, and launching a chain of quick service restaurants, where we will create comfort dishes—derived from popular Asian favourites, and keeping global trends (like power bowls and ancient grains) in mind—but with a Wai Wai twist,” says Chaudhary, who prefers home-cooked meals, but also enjoys an occasional bowl of noodles.
                Between pages
                Now, with his three sons having taken on major roles in the company, he says he is devoting more time to his charitable pursuits—the Chaudhary Foundation built 10,000 shelter homes and 100 school buildings for people hit by last year’s earthquake in Nepal. As for his pastimes, he recently did the Rara and Dolpo trek and is paging through Andrew Duff’s Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom. And though he believes he has found his niche, he signs off stating that he will never stop “adapting and evolving”.
                Making it Big is published by Penguin. Rs 399. Details: penguinbooksindia.com

                —Surya Praphulla Kumar

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                  Scare tactics
                  For lovers of the horror genre, there is a new release this weekend. “Kalam is pure unadulterated horror and it’s crafted with a logical sensibility,” says director Robert Raj. Calling his first work ‘doubly challenging’, he explains, “Directing a supernatural flick and involving the audience in it is a difficult task. Also, the script is crafted by another and I have to do justice to his work.” The film includes newcomers in the lead.

                   Role reversalMM-Snip3
                  National award-winning Jolly LLB, the Arshad Warsi-starrer, has been adapted for the Tamil screen as Manithan. It revolves around a small-time lawyer who, desperate for fame and money, turns into a crusader for the oppressed. A courtroom drama for the most part, it’s a different role for Udhayanidhi Stalin. Directed by Ahmed, the film (releasing today) has an ensemble cast, including Hansika, Prakash Raj, Aishwarya Rajesh, Radharavi and Vivekh.

                  MM-Snip2bMaking himself heard
                  The recent Ennul Aayiram had Vincent Ashokan playing a suave cop. The release came after a long sabbatical for the actor. Ask him about it and he says, “It’s not in me to approach people and ask for chances. It’s probably because of that.” He candidly admits that he has just one movie, Evan Avan, in his kitty now. Ashokan adds that this year he has also turned a new leaf and is now meeting people. Seems like the right move for the reticent actor.

                  Malini Mannath

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                    Amazon Fashion launches a designer wardrobe for women at the office.

                    After their stunning line-up of global fashion at the 27th edition of Amazon India Fashion Week, the e-commerce platform hits the racks with Fleet Street by Nari, an exclusive workwear collection for women. Conceptualised by Narendra Kumar, creative director of Amazon Fashion, the collection offers three categories of shirts, ranging from contrast plaids to safari prints.
                    Mind the detail
                    Drawing his inspiration from London’s Fleet Street, the hub of British journalism and one of the first places to welcome women into the corporate world, Kumar’s month-old collection is anything but traditional. Encompassing spirit of modern working women, this NIFT alumnus takes care of elegance with subtle detailing like accessorising a crispy cotton white shirt with gleaming white and gold buttons. Offering over 70 chic designs, the shirts have seasonal prints, from abstracts to checks. From The Marylebone collection featuring cotton satins and checks enhanced with waist tie-ups and catchy colours like shimmery golden yellow, he moves on to The Regent collection (think checks, stripes and monochromatic safari prints) and finally a feminine array of cool cotton and georgette shirts with The Piccadilly collection. Equipped with something for everyone, Kumar’s ensemble will take you from a tough day at work to an evening office party with grace.
                    Shirts from Rs 1,299.
                    Details: amazon.in

                    — Arya P Dinesh

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                      Quality checks and authentic fabrics is Indian Handloom Brand’s USP .

                      Clocking in Rs 15 crores worth sales in the past five months is a feat worth noticing. Launched last August, India Handloom Brand, with 170 Indian Handloom producers (including weavers, cooperative societies and companies), has obviously been well received. “Quality is everyone’s monopoly but what we offer is a platform which supports weavers who otherwise have no avenues or big names for their creations,” says Alok Kumar, the Development Commissioner (Handloom) on the brand being different from handloom stores like Good Earth or Fabindia.
                      Retailing out of Central Cottage Industries Emporium, Anna Salai, saris from Mangalagiri, Balaramapuram, Pochampally including shawls and bedspreads are part of the 43 categories on offer. Expect silk, ikat, tussar in pastels and dark tones like red and blue.
                      With around 230 producers from across the country, getting onboard this brand is not easy. Once you register (online at indiahandloombrand.gov.in or at the nearest YUVA Center) and submit your product sample, a team visits your facility centre and the samples are put through thorough tests at the Textiles Committee Laboratory, Mumbai. “The final product is not only 100 per cent natural fabrics but sans any synthetic dye or yarns,” assures Kumar.
                      Between Rs 2,000 to Rs 50,000. Details: 24330226

                      Seema Rajpal

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