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          History and Culture Stories

Healing Deities : Sitala Devi to Aids Amma!

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Times have changed. Medical Science has progressed. And yet faith and belief hold strong. Healing Deities have been prevalent in cultures across the world. And would you believe it, they continue to thrive. And whats more? New goddesses like Aids Amma join the ever-growing pantheon!

 

The Wisdom of Kabir for the Modern Age

Na Mandir mein; Na Masjid mein;

Na Kaaba Na Kailash mein!

Moko Kahan dhoonde re bande?

Main toh tere paas re!

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​The wise words of Kabir live on, relevant and poignant as they are, even today. Bringing his wisdom to life to a modern urban audience in a language they can understand, is Kabir Cafe, a new-age music band carrying the bard’s words to people who need it most.

 

 

 

Women’s Architecture : A Unique Tradition 

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Often, architecture is about Men, Power and War. Taking a break from convention, this form of architecture is a celebration of Women, Water and Life. Step into the Step-wells of Gujarat if you haven’t done before. A fascinating world awaits your discovery!

 

 

Tribal Music : Persuasive Tones, Compulsive Rhythms

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Jarring Sounds. Continuous Repetitions. Absence of the 7 note scale. The Music of Indian Tribes is a world unto itself. And yet, is it so simple and primitive? Or can one find, hidden within its rustic outwardly form, a more evolved essence?

 

 

Busting Breast Myths

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From Soorpanakha’s mutilation to Kannagi’s angst, Mythology and Literature have plenty of references to the Female Breast. Literature mirrors Life and perhaps examining the tales may reveal societal attitudes and biases.

 

 

The Wisdom of India at Hazrat Nizamuddin

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Not amongst intellectuals hollaring opinions in television newsrooms, not in editorial columns in newspapers, not emanating from pulpits and certainly not in the divisive agendas of the politically motivated, but amongst the ordinary people of the country, will you find the eternal wisdom that sustains this nation. As I found at Hazrat Nizamuddin.

 

The Secrets of Elephanta Islands

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The Gharapuri Islands, popularly known as Elephanta, off the coast of Mumbai were a centre of the Pasupata cult of ancient India. Little is known about the secrets of this entreport, that served as a site for Buddhist and Shaivite cultures, before the Portuguese smashed its beautiful sculptures in the medieval period. A visit with a historian unravels more.

 

Ancient Martial Arts becomes Modern Day Fitness Routine

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Kalarippayattu from Kerala is considered to be the most ancient form of martial arts. It has lived through centuries, surviving bans and cultural challenges and continues to enjoy popularity in metros today as a modern fitness routine. Join me as I explore the history of this fascinating art form and its present day urban avatar.

 

Challenging Conditioned Notions in the Islands of Hawaii

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Primitive and Modern are words that carry a baggage of judgement and prejudice. The beautiful islands of Hawaii, a window to the striking majesty of nature, become the starting point for a quest to unravel the conditioning of the modern mind.

 

The Scent of Spirituality

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Of all our senses, the sense of Smell is perhaps the most ignored. And yet, ancient civilizations across the world have acknowledged and paid remarkable attention to the olfactory organ. From the Ongee people of the Andaman who believe their souls reside in the nose to the ancient people of Babylon, this piece takes a journey across time and space to discover man’s experiments with the sense of smell.

 

Taking Religion out of Mythology

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Mythology is a window to discover the past. Yet in today’s India, it has become so inextricably linked with Religion, that it has become almost impossible to do so. Yet, two groups in Mumbai are attempting to dis-entangle one from the other and look at Myths more objectively.

 

Travel Stories

Children on the Rooftop

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Those visiting Ladakh have many questions. About altitude, weather, travel plans and so on. But if one is visiting with children, the dynamics change completely. Here’s a peek into what you need to know if you’re visiting the Rooftop of the World with kids.

Jaye He to Mumbai

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Showcasing over 5000 artifacts created by over 100 craftsmen and artists over 6 years, with collections spanning 8 centuries, Mumbai Airport’s Jaye He Museum is a fitting gateway to India. Come and take a look!

 

 

Into the Chola Heartland

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The Cholas of Tamil Nadu ushered in new forms of crafts and architecture, that are regarded to this day as enduring legacies of their times. In a day’s trip, one can catch a glimpse of them both. Come…Revisit the glory of Chola Arts and Crafts!

 

 

Discovering Women’s Architecture

Exquisitely carved side wall of Rani ni vaav (photo by Mallika Iyer)

Architecture is mainly the preserve of men – from palaces to temples – they are commissioned to showcase the king’s position. Take a welcome break and step into the stepwells of Gujarat that echo with the songs of Women, Water and Life.

 

 

The Greenest Capital in the World!

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Polluted. Congested. Crowded. Dirty. Call it what you will…but New Delhi is also said to be the Greenest Capital City of the World!! And if you amble into the Lodhi Gardens – you will stumble upon a delightful green haven. Add to that Pradip Kishen’s Trees of Delhi : A Field Guide – and you couldn’t ask for more!

 

 

High in Hawaii

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Primitive and Modern are words that carry baggage of judgement and prejudice. The beautiful islands of Hawaii, a window to the striking majesty of nature, become the starting point for a quest to unravel the conditioning of the modern mind.

 

 

A Night in New Delhi

Qawali Nizamuddin

Enjoy the Qawwali at Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi through my eyes. The uplifting voice of the qawwal, the faith of the crowds, the blend of Hinduism and Islam. They all come together in India’s capital city.

 

 

Time Travel from Mumbai 

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The Gharapuri Islands (Elephanta), off the coast of Mumbai was a centre of the Pasupata cult of ancient India. Little is known about the secrets of this entreport, that served as a site for Buddhist and Shaivite cultures, before the Portuguese smashed its beautiful sculptures in the medieval period. Discover it’s secrets with an expert.

 

 

People Stories

Getting the LGBTQ into the Mainstream With Pride

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​Pride Month is when we celebrate the beginning of a defining movement. Here’s a peek into how some organizations are putting their best foot forward to make workspaces more inclusive for the LGBTQIA community.

 

Butterfly Gardeners and Tree Walkers

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​Usha Desai, Renee Vyas and Sandeep Athaley spread the Green Joy by sharing with Mumbaikars, stories and legends, experiences and more about Trees, Insects and Butterflies. 

 

 

 

 

 

Driving the Future : Woman on Wheels

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When women like Heena Sheikh take to the wheel – they don’t drive just a car. They drive the future! Find out more about the inspiring story of a lady taxi driver – a rarity on Indian streets!

 

 

 

Breaking Traditions on the Streets of Mumbai

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One doesn’t often find lady rickshaw-drivers on the streets of Mumbai and driving one was not a conscious career choice for Sheila. Yet, she smiles and makes the most of it. Breaking the norm, Sheila tells her story matter-of-factly. Her daughter is proud of her and she is happy, yet there is something else that will make her truly contented.

 

Green Warriors of the City

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Five ordinary women rise up the might of the Administration in saving the green lungs of Mumbai! Read more about the Save Rani Baug Committee and the tenth year of their persistent struggle.

 

Busting Breast Myths

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The Female Breast has been the subject of several tales in Indian literature. And Literature mirrors Life. Find out what societal notions are about the Breast and how those notions have a deep impact on Life.

 

 

 

Colour Me Red!

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Two bastis of Mumbai wear a different look today and people are visiting from all over the world! A young group of people want to colour the city and make it vibrant. Find out what makes them so snazzy!

 

 

Tree Stories

Walk the Red Carpet under Showers of Gold!

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Summer is here! Not just the Alphonso but there is much more to cheer! Come and walk down the Red Carpet…the real one! And sprinkle yourself with showers of Gold! Discover India’s Summer Blooms.

 

 

 

The Greenest Capital in the World!

lodi-garden-sheesh-gumbad

Polluted. Congested. Crowded. Dirty. Call it what you will…but New Delhi is also said to be the Greenest Capital City of the World!! And if you amble into the Lodhi Gardens – you will stumble upon a delightful green haven. Add to that Pradip Kishen’s Trees of Delhi : A Field Guide – and you couldn’t ask for more!

 

 

Spreading the Green Joy

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While wide-spread Development and rampant Construction choke the city, tree-planting and tree walks help to keep the balance. Here’s a look at some movements to spread the Green Joy.

 

Green Warriors of Mumbai

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A group of ordinary women rise up to the might of the administration to save Mumbai’s green lungs. And in the tenth year of their epic struggle, they persist and they prevail.