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Monthly Archives: February 2017

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“Hyderabad sucks.” “There are no good pubs in Kolkata.” “Goa is the place to be.”  The same guy comes back from the trip and says, “Goa was weird this time.”
Any of these complaints sound familiar? We all have that one friend, who no matter which city he or she is currently in, will have nothing good to say about the place. I hate it when people whine about a place.  I used to do it. I mean, I’m sure I still do it once in a while. But I would like it to stop. Ever heard the term, “Did the people make the place, or did the place make the people?” Even in a place like Hyderabad for example, I do know a bunch of people who crib about the city.

They say, “The traffic is bad, the guys aren’t cute, the girls only hang out in groups, you can’t chat with them in a bar.” Oh I’m sorry, Brad Pitt. Were you the Wolf of Wall street at all those pubs in Delhi and Mumbai? Please get real. People blame location because it’s easier than blaming themselves.
If you’re one amongst Hyderabad’s one crore population, you’re in a city bigger than Chicago. You are surrounded by techies, artists,  entrepreneurs and musicians. All smart men and women. You have gyms, eateries, clubs, bars, malls, theatres.  Whatever.  Anybody who is available in those bigger, better cities you seem to yearn for, they’re also right next to you as you crib eloquently in Starbucks.

I know it’s hard to make friends and harder when it is a new city.  But step one might just be admitting, it’s not the location.  Where you live might matter for real estate, but unless you’re in North Korea I don’t think it affects your chances of improving your social happiness. Even if you make it to New York and have all that money to blow, a magical brand new life is not going to just fall from the sky.  You’ll find something else to crib about.
If you had a more enjoyable experience in another city in the past, also try and remember why you did.  You probably had some college friends who lived there.  Perhaps a family there as a safe base to have lunch with on Sundays?

Perhaps a family there as a safe base to have lunch with on Sundays?
Life has a funny way of going in cycles, and chances are you will continue to evolve and meet newer people, and form even deeper connections. Don’t complain about the city.  Improve the person living in it.

(Sanjay is a stand-up comedian
who performs all over India. When not performing, he is an IT geek who makes funny videos )

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It is that season when we have witnessed several top honchos being fired from top posts. Some of them have been evicted gracelessly from the corner office, accompanied by a public spat, with some dirty linen being washed in public. Some went screaming and kicking – think tears, disgrace, loss, and a fall from a place of pride. Life humbles everyone, and higher the rise, the greater the pain of the fall. And no person, group, institution or any sector
is immune.
The Tata Group has had an illustrious tradition, over a century old, of respect and peaceful transition, and a record of its successor chairman taking over with humility, and yet, building a greater legacy than the predecessor. It was synonymous with trust and respectability. But things changed overnight with the ouster of former chairman Cyrus Mistry. It was a shock for the entire nation when a resolution was approved to remove him from the position.
For a long time, software biggie Infosys has prided on being a next-generation enterprise with similar high values DNA. Something is amiss, something rotten – while co-founder and mentor
N Narayana Murthy has a few questions for outsider – CEO Vishal Sikka. Earlier, Flipkart’s founder chief executive officer Sachin Bansal was removed because of his alleged underperformance and co-founder Binny Bansal took over.
Lesson number one: When you reach the top post – don’t forget that even number ones have someone higher, be it the management, board, investors, or life. Don’t take them for granted, keep them pleased, let communications be proactive and continuous, and keep asking for advice; because whatever they can do, or not, they who hired you can fire you.
Just when I thought my column could be titled, ‘Lessons Sachin Bansal, Cyrus Mistry and Vishal Sikka can learn from O Panneerselvam’, he got fired too. And how.
Lesson number two: Change is a good thing, but a drastic U-turn in personality after acquiring a post at the top for a third time in a row on a temporary basis is disastrous. OPS left the very quality which helped him rise once he perched on the Chief Minister’s post. In
all fairness, OPS did resign; a facesaver.
Lesson number three: If you think things have reached a flashpoint when they are anyway going to fire you, resign and make it look nice. Case in point – Captain Cool, the ever gracious Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
When he resigned, first as both captain and player in test matches, and subsequently as captain in the shorter versions, while continuing as player, it was met with shock and respect. He forgot the IPL check box, and the Pune team did the honours and fired him as captain.As perhaps did some top television journalists who are working towards setting up their own independent media entities.
Lesson next: Have a plan B ready for a day when you may have to go. Final lesson after you have lost the great peak position you have worked all your life to reach in a jiffy: enjoy the break. Plot a comeback. The world’s watching.

TAILPIECE: On the one hand, it is better to get to the top and lose it than never to have reached the top at all. On the other hand, voluntarily ending our stay where we will soon be unwanted by anticipating what lies ahead is a great art that few people can master.

(Sriram Karri is author of the bestselling novel, Autobiography of a Mad Nation. He writes for international media such as The New York Times and BBC besides organising debates at Hyd Park)

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With each dish looking straight out of a fairytale cookbook, the ‘Inspire me chef’ menu at Okra is a trip worth taking

This one is right out of one of those MasterChef shows on television.Inspire me chef, a newly launched table-of-the-host menu at Okra in Hyderabad Marriott Hotel and Convention Centre, can fulfill all your food fantasies with their six-course meal. What stands out about each dish
is its presentation – fluffy sorbets with an artfully crafted wafer, macaroons and desserts like The Earth that comprises contrasting colours like yellow, red and brown.“You first eat with your eyes before you actually dig in. So the visual appeal and the sense of smell is just as important as the taste,” says Yogender Pal, executive chef at the outlet.
Food art
At the start of the meal, we are served a Macaroon with a Chicken Liver Patty. For this, the chef manages to strike the right balance of flavours. The crunchy portion of the macaroon perfectly complements the rich  texture of the liver patty. Next up, for appetisers we have the Soya Glazed Chicken Terrine. The chicken is served with a slice of orange, adding to the colours. A burst of sour and sweet flavours (from the jelly used in the dish) hit your tastebuds instantly. Then a lemon, chilli and vodka sorbet, acts as a palate cleanser.  Meanwhile the Green Pea Veloute with butter-poached prawns also stands out. An ideal comfort food for a rainy day
and the ample butter gives it a creamy texture.
Flavour festfood4
Next up is Squid Ink Ravioli with tomato and seafood butter. While the hero of the dish remains the ravioli (flavoursome thanks to the squid ink), the tomato and seafood butter has a tangy flavour to it, adding a whole new dimension to the dish. The yellow and deep purple flowers used to decorate the platter would make ithighly Instagram-worthy. In the mains, try the Pan-seared Lamb Loin with red cabbage purée, fondant potatoes and baby carrots. This dish has an assortment of flavours and a perfect balance of flavours, albeit the lamb is more chewy than expected. The savoury flavour from the purée and the potatoes complements the sweetness from the baby carrots.
Sweet and sour
The menu truly saves the best for the last. The Earth, a concept dessert created by Ratheesh Unni Nair, junior sous chef, pastry, is truly remarkable. The dish is served in a mould of tempered chocolate, with citrus vanilla mousseline, sour cherry compote and chocolate inside. Even as you dig in, you don’t know what to expect. The sourness from the cherry compote perfectly blends with the smoothness of mousseline and sweetness of the chocolate. The dessert is straight out of a bestselling cookbook and makes sure you leave the table with a satisfied smile on your face.

The menu is available for dinner, every Saturday starting from February 25.
Price for two: Rs 1,500++
Details: 27522568

— Suhas Yellapantula

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The 200 artworks of Thota Vaikuntam on display at Chitramayee State Gallery of Art summarise four decades of the artist’s life

Yellow. The colour is strongly associated with Austrian painter Gustav Klimt’s canvases which unfurl sunsets and sunrises from a canvas. The yellow in his paintings is real gold. The same hue rises elsewhere on another artist’s canvas, on foreheads of the figures he paints. And this colour is as authentic as its rustic origins, the yellow of turmeric smeared on foreheads of Telangana women. The colour is the signature of celebrated artist Thota Vaikuntam, also known as ‘Jamini Roy of South’.
The opuses, the 75-year-old artist created over the past four decades, will be on display at the exhibition aptly titled ‘Bhaavanaatharangam: A Retrospective’. The pristine white walls of Chitramayee State Gallery of Art have come alive with a riot of colours dominated by yellow, warm inviting shades of the sacred condiment from the kitchens and temples of Telangana.art7
The 200 paintings up on display were first showcased at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai last November. It took four years for the curator Manvinder Dawer to collect the artworks of Vaikuntam. He says, “I had to reach out to art collectors who had his works. Almost 80 per cent of the works on display here have been obtained from them.” Vaikuntam’s signature strokes invite you inside the lines and dots with their kaleidoscopic colours. One sees sunflower yellow, hibiscus red, parrot green and royal purple ruling the palette. The rustic life of people from Telangana is resplendently expressed along with their sun-kissed complexions. The lines and dots take a smooth curvature, defining the voluptuous women decked up in silver trinkets, flowers and big bindis that stay like sunsets on their wide, bright, turmeric-smudged foreheads. Their saris have thin borders and the fabric is speckled with tiny dots. Ask the artist about this piece and he says with a smile, “These are saris from Sircilla district. In my village, the weavers used to make these beautiful saris that were light as air and can fit inside a matchbox. Now it is all fast disappearing thanks to the mills.” A look closer, and one can’t help but notice parrots sitting on the shoulders of the village folks especially the women. Explains the artist from Boorugupalli village, “This bird talks to women and knows their secrets. In villages you see parrots in many houses as womenfolk go about their daily household chores.” The women that appear in his artworks are reminiscent of his mother, who while doing her embroidery inspired the artist while he was a young boy.
One finds that his works are in sync with each other. The brush strokes flow with finesse and the influence of the folk art is evident and holds the collection together. Vaikuntam, as a young boy, was exposed to scroll drawings of folk music and narrative performance. “Markandeya Purana and Kakipadagalu influenced me as a child. I also used to copy godly figures from calendars and watched a lot of street theatre. I was so good in drawing that my teachers would often ask me to draw maps,” shares Vaikuntam, who also has a penchant for storytelling, especially tales of kings from our history. art8
One sees a paradigm shift in his works from 70’s to 80’s. There are more pencil and charcoal works infused with the interplay of sombre shades. They slowly grow finer taking brighter colours. Instead of one individual ruling the canvas, the figures take collective forms with several men and women talking to each other, sitting or playing flutes. In one of his earlier charcoal works, which is part of his music series, there is a portraiture of village folks with violins in their hands. The edge of the lines in the works seem to be eaten up by an invisible stroke. “Your style changes automatically. It’s the experiences that decide your strokes and lines. I used to learn music from an institute at Gunfoundary. I learnt till the age of 45, and decided I had to choose between art and music. And then I chose my vocation art,” says the master painter of figurative art.
He completed his studies at the College of Fine Arts and Architecture in Hyderabad and learnt print-making at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda which is where he met his mentor, the celebrated artist KG Subramanyan. He chiselled Vaikuntam’s strokes and helped him polish his thought process as well. “He was a great teacher. If I infused nativity in my works, it’s because of him. He used to say: ‘If you don’t have nativity, you can’t be an Indian artist. Be original, if you copy you are not yourself.’ He helped me find myself and my art. That’s how I chose to paint my people. I celebrate them in their darkness, hard labour, their fields, their songs, their flowers and folk tales.” His artworks glow in a brightness of their own which halo him in a way that he forever belongs to rural, rustic Telangana and in no other topography.

The works will be on display till February 27. Time: 11 am-7 pm. Details: 23520438

— Saima Afreen

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With NASA-licensed motifs on scarves and more, online portal Whitenife’s eco-friendly and quirky additions are the top picks for gifts this seasonorion_pocketsquare-nehrucoat

luxury e-portals, Whitenife is set to add an eco-friendly twist to their repertoire of brands. Considering Hyderabad has a `1 lakh crore-worth wedding market, their new additions to their exhaustive ‘ethical gifting catalogue’ in time for the wedding season has our attention. “We are a one-stop shop for all that one needs at weddings. We offer eco-friendly options, at all price points, where you can customise your gifts as well,” says Sonia Agarwal, chief executive officer and founder of the brand. In the catalogue, the buyers can expect to find vegan candles, scarves and pocket squares, chocolate truffles, cocoa-coated almonds, cruelty-free honey and symbolic silver artefacts.

Stars in silkgabriela_scarf
Some of the top picks from the brand, that can be apt gifts for space geeks, are the space-inspired scarves and pocket squares from their in-house label, MC2.“We have licensed images from NASA for the scarves. Space prints have been reproduced on the scarves and pocket squares,” says the 26-year old entrepreneur, who adds that the scarves are made of 100 per cent silk and on special request, they use Eri silk, which is a more eco-friendly option.

Fragrance fetish
Whitenife has a range of thoughtful knick-knacks, that can be paired with wedding invitation cards. Think goodies like vegan candles. These candles are made of vegetable extracts instead of paraffin, making them more sustainable. Also, they come in a range of exquisite fragrances infused with aromatic oils such as lotus-wild berry and lemon verbena.

Sweet nothings
If you need to pick up something for chocoholics, there is an array of indulgences, including those that will suit a vegan palate. “We have a chocolatier on board here and import our beans, so we don’t compromise on its quality,” says Agarwal who is also a former graduate of Babson University in the United States. The best bit? Each box sponsors meals for underprivileged children in Mumbai and Delhi.

Price: The starting range is Rs 150 and can go up to Rs 1 lakh
Details: www.ethicalgifts.com

— PS

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Sashi Vangapalli is all set to make a mark with her debut collection dedicated to feisty women

CITY-BASED designer Sashi Vangapalli with her debut show at Lakme Fashion Week has our undivided attention. Her Spring/Summer collection, Bidariya, has already garnered rave reviews. To top it all she had a stunning showstopper in Sushmita Sen who walked the ramp in an epic lilac number with an intricately embroidered peplum bodice fitted with a cascading trail. “My collection is a salute to the feisty and independent woman of today, who has the
ability to make a name for herself in her own right. That’s why, I could not think of anyone better than Sushmita Sen to be the face of my collection at LFW,” says the 29-year-old designer speaking excitedly about how the diva carried off her ensemble ‘like a dream’.img_0613
Bidri borders
After bidding adieu to software engineering three years ago, this self-taught designer made it a point to learn her craft online. Since then, she has dressed actors such as Neha Dhupia, Kajal Agarwal and Tapsee Pannu. Her present collection is inspired by the Bidri art form which originated in Bidar, Karnataka. It is a combination of Persian, Arabic and Turkish art forms. “I wanted to revive this traditional craft through my designs and add a modern twist to it,” says the designer who has woven in Bidri elements in her garments through the subtle embroidery of gold and silver tones.

Summery hues
Her garments will soon be available at Hyderabad’s fashion retail store, Mugdha Art Studio, from March 1 onwards. Expect palazzos, tunics, ponchos, capes with a jumpsuit, off-shoulder sheer tops paired with skirts, voluminous cocktail gowns and so on. The outfits come in earthy hues and pastel tones such as chocolate, ombre, mustard and off white. The embroidery add an antiquated feel to the garments that are also punctuated with khardana work. Vangapalli has used fabrics such as mul, satin and silk cotton to maintain breezy silhouettes.

Price: The range starts from `8,000 onwards for the ponchos
Details: www.facebook.com/mugdhaartstudio/

Paulami Sen

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FROM shopping fiestas to new launches, the week gone by was action packed. The much-awaited expo, Fashion Yatra, hosted by Kamini Saraf at Taj Krishna, was a hit with the fashionistas of the city. We saw them having a good time there with their girlfriends as they shopped till they dropped and browsed through the numerous counters. This was also an expo with a cause; a part of this exhibition’s proceeds will be directed towards Teach for Change.
On Friday, I visited the unveiling of a swanky tea bar at Jubilee Hills, Chit Chat Chai. Socialites like Manjula Narsa, Kosuru Sangeetha and Sirisha Mulpura were spotted bonding over their cups of oolong, chamomile and ginger tea at the launch party by Poorna Tej Valluru and his tea sommelier wife, Vidya. Apart from tea, there were sumptuous canapés, bite-size savouries and other lip-smacking desserts served at the do.
A beauty pageant, fbb Miss India was hosted in the city last Saturday at Big Bazaar, Ameerpet. The day-long audition witnessed an  overwhelming response from the enthusiastic Hyderabadi youngsters. Eighty beautiful girls, chosen from Telangana walked the ramp as fashion designer Shravan Kummar judged the contest. Lucky ladies, Simran Choudhary, Spatika Surapaneni and Shreya Kamavarapu were adjudged the finalists of the
contest respectively.

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Connoisseur’s course
February 24 | Park Hyatt Hyderabad
The much-anticipated connoisseur’s fiesta, Hyderabad Food Festival, is being hosted at The Dining Room, Park Hyatt Hyderabad. Expert chef Shashidhar will be rustling up some traditional Hyderabadi delicacies, giving you a chance to savour
Murgh Seekh Kebab and Kachche Gosht ki Biryani. Lunch starts at
`1,300 ++. Details:49491234

Bare threads
February 25 | Beyond Coffee
Here’s a chance to make a sustainable sartorial statement. Coimbatore-based organic sari revivalist Vijayalakshmi Nachiar will be hosting an exhibition of eco-friendly saris at this Jubilee Hills-based coffee shop. She will bring exquisite pieces from her brand Ethicus, which is made of the finest organic cotton woven by some skilled craftsmen. The two-day exhibition, that starts on February 24, will display handspun weaves starting from `2,000. Details: 66466778

Photo walk
February 27 | Charminar
Are you obsessed with taking snapshots of the colourful lanes of Old Hyderabad? This street photography walk is conducted by an experienced Sherpa, Abhinava, with an in-depth understanding of photography. The starting point of the tour will be at Nimrah Cafe near Charminar. Individuals have to pay around `7-arty-frat1,000 to participate. The event begins at 3 pm.
Details: 9643982934

Arty frat
March 1| Kalakriti Art Gallery
Seema Kohli’s works of varicoloured media that explore the eternal renewal of life and celebrate all things feminine will be on display at this Banjara Hills gallery. Titled ‘Golden Womb-Dawn of Time,’ this exhibition which is on till April 5, will display a collection of her paintings and sculptures. Pay a visit from 11 am onwards.
Details: 66564466

Oscar race LLL d 29 _5194.NEF
February 26 | Star Movies
La La Land or Manchester by the Sea or Moonlight – which big-ticket movie will sweep the Academy Awards this time? If you want to find out, tune into Star Movies to watch the 89th Academy Awards. If you are an early riser, you could watch it live at 5.30 am or the repeat telecast at 8.30 pm. Watch host Jimmy Kimmel and the top notch Hollywood stars in action straight from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. More on Page 8.

Karaoke nights6-karaoke-knights
February 28 | SodaBottleOpenerWala
If you like letting your hair down and singing your heart out, you could book a table at this Parsi Irani cafe. Participate in their Eena Meena Dikra Karaoke Nights as you gorge on some hearty Parsi food and cocktail. Make sure you have a list of your favourites handy before the karaoke jockey hands over the microphone. Meal for two would be around `1,300. From 9 pm onwards. Details: 68888681

Bakers special8-bakers-deligh
March 2 | Escapades Culinary Studio
An eight-day course on baking will commence at Escapades Culinary Studio in Kondapur. The course is spearheaded by well-known baker, Arundhati Rao. Baking enthusiasts can enroll for the course which is priced at `12,000.
Details: 9959202255

Doodle on
February 25 | Jubilee Hills
Head to Collab House if you are a creative soul with a penchant for doodling. A fun workshop called Art & Creativity with Garima Shukla will be organised by Shukla who is a graphic designer. From DIYs to doodling and hand lettering, learn the basics and a few secret tips. The workshop starts from 10 am onwards and the participation fee is `500. Details: 9985258603

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    A collection of artworks is up for auction to raise funds for Auroville

    AS A part of a new initiative, a group of internationally recognised artists, along with a handful of residential artists from Auroville, are joining hands to assist the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Auroville foundation in their efforts to secure the lands required to complete their long-term community project.bird-by-michel
    The mother lodemarie-claire-barsotti
    The initiative, titled Art for Auroville Land, is working to raise funds to purchase lands within the area of Auroville’s masterplan. The efforts have led to a number of artists and art lovers gifting works from all over the world, to support the cause. A team of Aurovillians and friends of Auroville have been designated to take care of the works, while all the proceeds of the auction will be used directly for the purchase, and protective fencing.
    Show of support
    The works of Priya Sundaravalli, Priti Ghosh, Pierre le Grand and Chantal Gowhra, among others, are on display at the Unity Pavilion,
    and will be up for auction this week. Alongside, there will also be a sale of photographs of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, apart from cultural
    programmes every evening, until the end of the month.

    The exhibition is on until February 28.

    The auction will be held on February 25, 3 pm. At Unity Pavilion. For details call 0413 2622098. For online bidding visit artforland.auroville.org

    —  Team Indulge

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      Golden spirals
      February 25 | That Madras Place
      City-artist Tammarah, in association with That Madras Place and Hindustan Trading Company, is organising a two-hour mandala workshop for beginners. The workshop will focus on basic strokes, creating intricate geometrical patterns and different techniques that go into designing mandalas. Limited registration. (All materials will be provided.) Rs 1,500. Details: 8939177621

      Strings attached
      February 25 | T Nagar
      The group Hansel and Gretel Kids is giving children a chance to explore their creativity at the Puppet Show Carnival. A group contest with a maximum of four participants, each entry should include the narration of a story with the use of handmade puppets and other props. Open to children aged between 4 to 8 years. From 4 pm to 6 pm. Details: 9840431549

      Kids take centrestagepuppet
      February 24 | Adyar
      Playcoop is conducting a 45-day intensive theatre workshop for children between the ages of 6 and 12 years. The course will focus on the basics of acting, voice modulation, and stress and intonation patterns. The graduating class will perform a 50-minute play, Ananandha Leela, written and directed by Playcoop, on April 17. Rs 1,250.
      Details: 9940514873.

      Strike a posewhite-rainbow-project
      February 25 | Rutland Gate
      Joshna Ramakrishnan and Holly Ann, both  certified yoga teachers, are conducting a one-of-a-kind yoga workshop. While Joshna will conduct an intense gravity-defying inversion practice session, Holly Ann’s special ‘sound bath’ is designed for therapeutic and restorative relaxation through sound waves.
      7.30 am to 9 am. Rs 1,000 per guest.
      Details: 28330280

      Broad strokes
      March 2 | Harrington Road
      Learn the fundamentals of art like drawing, painting using different mediums, and perspectives. This four-week workshop for adults, hosted by Rainbow Fish Studios, will include theoretical sessions alongside practical classes. Rs 7,000 (Inclusive of materials).
      Limited registrations.
      Details: 24470438

      Learning curve
      February 26 | Taj Coromandel
      IDP Education India is conducting an education fair for students looking to pursue higher studies in the UK, USA, Canada and New Zealand. The fair will feature over 80 universities, offering courses such as Business Management & Finance, Mass Communication, and Hospitality, among others. Entry free.
      Details: 66002827

      Hot off the pressbook-cover
      February 24 | Phoenix Marketcity
      Catch debut author Krishna Trilok from the city at the release of his first novel Sharikrida, at Starmark. A piece of fantasy fiction set in the Indian subcontinent, the novel deals with a futuristic world, where the country has been split into six kingdoms fighting for power and existence.
      From 6 pm. Details: 30083560

      Beaded dreams
      February 24 | MaalGaadi
      The White Rainbow Project’s (WRP) One Handed Clap is an initiative that will have designer Laura Eastman Malcolm unveil her latest collection of beaded scarves at MaalGaadi.
      The scarves will be sold to raise funds for WRP’s initiative in helping widows learn to upcycle beads and saris. Called Heart to Heart, the collection will be showcased at MaalGaadi from today. Details: shop.maalgaadistore.com

      A leaf out of life
      February 25 |
      Odyssey Book store
      Life coach and speaker ‘AVIS’ Vishwananthan is organising an evening of conversation featuring stage actor and director Freddy Koikaran and RJ Shyam Renganatha of Fever 91.9 FM. The event will feature inspirational stories and personal experiences from the lives of the guest speakers. Entry free. RSVP.
      Details: 24453191

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