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November 2016 Volume 7, Issue 09

POWERED BY GLOBAL ADJUSTMENTS

Rs 40

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Remembering Nehru

A visit to the Nehru Memorial Museum that pays tribute to Jawaharlal Nehru

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Oh Happy Days A photo journey that celebrates the many joys of childhood in India


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Dear Readers, When Jawaharlal Nehru took over as the first Prime Minister of India, he saw himself rather as the first servant of India, according to a quote in the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, his former home and office, which is open to the public in New Delhi. Conveniently located in the heart of Lutyens Delhi, this lawn-enveloped home is a well-preserved heritage of free India. I only chanced upon it last month, after all the dozens of visits over the years, as my taxi driver suggested I spend my spare time there while waiting for my next appointment. It was serendipitous, as this has now become the feature story of the November 2016 issue of Culturama. We dedicate this issue to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s birth anniversary on November 14, celebrated nationwide as Children’s Day to mark Nehru’s love of them. Our cover page photo submitted by a participant of our Annual Expat Photo Competition, Nicole Alice from the United States, is a tribute to the charm and childlike innocence that we should all remember to cultivate in our adult life. Can we belly-laugh like them? Hold hands, touch and hug without reservation, share food and time easily, and ask for more, unabashedly, in our adult relationships, too? We recently brought elements of simple childlike fun activities

Editor-in-Chief Ranjini Manian Senior Editor Lakshmi Krupa Business Head Archana Iyengar Creative Head Prem Kumar VP Finance V Ramkumar Circulation S Raghu Advertising Chennai Archana Iyengar Bengaluru Meera Roy Delhi/NCR Ruchika Srivastava Mumbai/Pune Arjun Bhat To subscribe to this magazine, e-mail info@globaladjustments.com

At the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, in front of a stone on which is engraved Nehru's famous Tryst with Destiny speech.

or access it online at www.culturama.in Chennai (Headquarters) 5, 3rd Main Road, R A Puram, Chennai – 600028

into a multicultural team building programme we conducted at a Fortune 500 medical company, and it was amazing to see their global leaders from six different nationalities connect and truly bond with each another. I would like to sign off by sharing portions of Nehru’s letter to children, which he wrote on December 3, 1949, and is valid to this day (in the next page). I hope you enjoy it and the rest of this issue.

Telefax +91-44-24617902 E-mail culturama@globaladjustments.com Bengaluru No.: A2, SPL Habitat, No.138, Gangadhar Chetty Road, Ulsoor, Bengaluru – 560043. Tel +91-80-41267152, E-mail culturamablr@globaladjustments.com Delhi-NCR Level 4, Augusta Point, Golf Course Road, Sector 53, Gurgaon 122002, Haryana Mobile +91 124 435 4224 E-mail del@globaladjustments.com Mumbai #1102, 11th floor, Peninsula Business Park, Tower B,

Ranjini Manian, Editor-in-chief globalindian@globaladjustments.com

SB Road, Lower Parel, Mumbai – 400013 Tel +91-22-66879366 E-mail mum@globaladjustments.com Published and owned by Ranjini Manian at #5, 3rd Main Road, Raja Annamalai Puram, Chennai – 600028, and printed by

Culturama welcomes Liz Neisloss as a member of its advisory board. Liz is a veteran journalist and writer who has worked for CNN based from Singapore, Chennai and at the United Nations in New York. She is now based in Mumbai.

K Srinivasan of Srikals Graphics Pvt Ltd at #5, Balaji Nagar, 1st Street, Ekkattuthangal, Chennai – 600032

Disclaimer Views and opinions expressed by writers do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s or the magazine’s.


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Dear Children,

Old people have a habit of delivering sermons and good advice to the young. I remember that I disliked this very much long ago when I was a boy. So I suppose you do not like it very much either. Grown-ups also have a habit of appearing to be very wise, even though very few of them possess much wisdom. I have not yet quite made up my mind whether I am wise or not... What then shall I write about? If you were with me, I would love to talk to you about this beautiful world of ours, about flowers, trees, birds, animals, stars, mountains, glaciers and all the other beautiful things that surround us in the world. We have all this beauty all around us and yet we, who are grown-ups, often forget about it and lose ourselves in our arguments or in our quarrels. We sit in our offices and imagine that we are doing very important work. I hope you will be more sensible and open your eyes and ears to this beauty and life that surrounds you. Can you recognise the flowers by their names and the birds by their singing? How easy it is to make friends with them and with everything in nature, if you go to them affectionately and with friendship. You must have read many fairy tales and stories of long ago. But the world itself is the greatest fairy tale and story of adventure that was ever written. Only we must have eyes to see and ears to hear and a mind that opens out to the life and beauty of the world.

Grown-ups have a strange way of putting themselves in compartments and groups. They build barriers... of religion, caste, colour, party, nation, province, language, customs and of rich and poor. Fortunately, children do not know much about these barriers, which separate. They play and work with each other and it is only when they grow up that they begin to learn about these barriers from their elders. I hope you will take a long time in growing up... Some months ago, the children of Japan wrote to me and asked me to send them an elephant. I sent them a beautiful elephant on behalf of the children of India... This noble animal became a symbol of India to them. I was very happy that this gift of ours gave so much joy to so many children of Japan, and made them think of our country... remember that everywhere there are children like you going to school and work and play, and sometimes quarrelling but always making friends again. You can read about these countries in your books, and when you grow up many of you will visit them. Go there as friends and you will find friends to greet you. Jawaharlal Nehru December 3, 1949


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Cover Image

Culturama’s cover image this month celebrates the joy and innocence of childhood. Photo: Nicole Alice, USA

Advisory Board Members N. Ram is an award-winning journalist and former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu. He is Director of Kasturi & Sons Limited, publishers of The Hindu. Suzanne McNeill lived in India for seven years before returning to Scotland. She is a freelance writer and graphic designer. Liz Neisloss is a veteran journalist and writer who has worked for CNN based from Singapore, Chennai and at the United Nations in New York. She is now based in Mumbai. G. Venket Ram is an acclaimed photographer and the creative mind behind many a Culturama issue. www.gvenketram.com Annelize Booysen is a business consultant and social entrepreneur. She lived in Asia for more than a decade, which included three years in India. She is currently based in the United States. Namita Jain, founder of Jaldi Fit, is a leading fitness guru and a businesswoman who helms Kishco, a world-class cutlery brand.

Contributors Susan Philip is a freelance writer based in Chennai, and the editorial coordinator of Culturama’s various coffee table books. Eknath Easwaran (1910–1999) was a spiritual teacher, author and interpreter of Indian literature. In 1961, he founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation and Nilgiri Press in California. Sathya Ramaganapathy is a Bengaluru-based writer and runner. She is currently on a short break from running and is enjoying this phase because she can still pontificate on running, without actually having to run. She can be reached at sathyarg@gmail.com

Letters to the editor Dear Editor,

Congrats to you and your team on completing 20 years and 250 issues of Culturama. We have always admired your uncanny ability to maintain the richness of your monthly magazine. Your brilliant explanation of ‘CAKE’ in the editorial said it all. We reiterate what we said last year: ‘your editorial takes the cake’. Kumar and Pushpa Mudaliar, via email

Dear Editor,

Congratulations on 250 editions of Culturama. It is a great journey indeed, many parts of which I have witnessed. Your magazine has a lot of information and brings out the flavours of Indian culture. It serves as an important guide to a lot of foreigners visiting India. More power to your pen and the great journey ahead. Dr Srikanta K. Panigrahi, Adviser to Prime Minister on National Strategic Knowledge Mission on Climate Change

culturama – Subscribe Now! Get your copy of Culturama as a hard copy or as an e-magazine - visit www.globaladjustments.com to subscribe For other enquiries, e-mail us at culturama@globaladjustments.com or call us on +91-44-2461 7902


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Contents 30

Ten for the Road

Trivia about India’s Union Territories.

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India Now

A recap of the events and people that made news in the past month.

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Look Who’s In Town

Expats share their views about life in India.

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Calendar of Events

See what’s going on in the main cities and suburbs.

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Picture Story

This Children’s Day visit the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library that pays tribute to ‘Chacha Nehru’.

India’s Culture 10

Short Message Service

Short, engaging snippets of Indian culture.

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Festival of the Month

Guru Nanak Jayanti is an important festival for the Sikh community.

Journeys Into India

Celebrate this Children’s Day with a photo journey of expat children discovering joy in India.

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Seeing India

In Focus

The ruins of this erstwhile prosperous kingdom in Karnataka tell a story of their own.

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Holistic Living

The promise and the purpose of all spiritual disciplines is to take off the mask that hides our real face.

Cricketing icon Suresh Raina opens up about playing for India, his growing up years, fatherhood and more.

Relocations and Property

Regulars

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Property listings in Chennai.

India Diaries

At the Lakme Fashion Week, tradition met modernity with grace and elegance.

Space and the City


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by Suzanne McNeill Short cultural snippets for an easily digestible India

Art/Textile/Craft Catamaran Making

The term catamaran has come to denote a modern double-hulled boat that is swift and light. However, the original catamarans – a shaped raft made of logs – were in use along the coastline of southern India as early as the fifth century, where they were constructed by the Tamil Parava fishing community. Kattu, in Tamil, means ‘to tie’ and maram means ‘wood, tree’. To this day kattumarams are constructed from light-weight timber logs that have been seasoned in muddy water for several months, and then fully dried in the sun. The logs are trimmed and shaped to a pointed, upturned bow, lashed together with nylon or coir rope and fastened by wooden supports – the ropes are removed every day to separate and dry the logs. Simple to make, cheap to build compared to plank-built or dug-out vessels, and easy to manoeuvre, these sturdy crafts are still an essential part of India’s fishing economy.

Words Gyan

Food and Drink Kokum

‘Can you share some gyan about the word gyan?’ Let’s give it a go! The root verb of the word gyan is jna, meaning ‘to know’ or ‘to be aware of’. It comes from a Sanskrit word that means ‘knowledge’, especially referring to spiritual insight and religious wisdom, and is often used to describe elements of Indian philosophy. The colloquial use of gyan, however, is more irreverent. It means holding forth, spouting wisdom – perhaps unasked for – and is used in a tongue-in-cheek manner: ‘She is always ready to give her gyan on things!’

Kokum is a small purple fruit that grows along the western coastal regions of India from Gujarat to Kerala and is used predominantly in Konkan cuisine. The fresh fruit has a sweet juicy texture, but is rarely consumed raw. Usually the fruit is halved and dried, and the dark purple rinds are used whole as a souring agent in food, often as an alternative to tamarind. Kokum imparts a fruity, tangy flavour to Goan fish curries, adds tartness and flavour to Gujarati dal and vegetable dishes, and is used to make Kokum rasam, a thin, very spicy South Indian soup. Chilled, refreshing Kokum sherbet is a popular drink for hot summer days.


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Photo: Daniele Francois, France

Interpretation Aarti Her hand held over the flame from a piece of burning camphor, her wrist adorned with flowers, this young girl is participating in an ancient yet living ritual that takes place every day across India. Aarti (aa means ‘complete’ and rati means ‘love’) is part of a Hindu puja or act of religious worship and is always performed facing the deity. Integral to any aarti puja is the circulation of the lamp around the deity, which acquires the deity’s power. The priest then offers the lamp to the devotees, passing on the deity’s blessing. In the temples of South India, the lamp may use camphor or oil, and it is then presented to the devotees, who hold their hands over the flame and touch their hands to their eyes. This simple gesture signifies a desire for spiritual insight: “May my eyes be opened up to the knowledge of the unity of life.” The temple icons are often wrapped in silk fabric and beautified with ornaments – these offerings are another way of enhancing the relationship with the Divine, and is part

Name to Know Kicha Six-year-old Nihal Raj, known as Chef Kicha, is an Internet sensation. He has his own cooking channel on YouTube with over 12,000 subscribers, and recently was paid $2,000

of the ritual of temple worship. Here, the deities have been adorned with flowers. Flowers, fruits, leaves, even water: whatever is offered with a loving heart is accepted by the Divine. As a form of blessing, the priest may offer flowers that have been placed by the deities back to the devotees. The young girl has tied them around her wrist, whilst Indian women would promptly weave them into a thick strand of their hair. Hinduism is all-embracing in its ways, and worshippers of all faiths are welcome to partake of aarti – the bestowal of the Divinity’s complete love. by Facebook for the non-exclusive rights to one of his video tutorials in which he makes Mickey Mouse mango ice cream. Nihal lives in Kerala. He started cooking simple recipes when he was four years old, helping his mother, Ruby, in the kitchen. His father, Rajagopal, filmed him making an ice pop and shared the video with friends on Facebook. Their response led to the creation of Kichatube HD two years ago, which now features 30 of Kicha’s how-to recipe videos, ranging from tender coconut pudding and oatmeal cookies to tandoori baby potatoes. His endearing combination of confidence and cuteness led to an invitation to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in the United States in September 2016, where he cooked Kerala breakfast speciality puttu live on television, introducing the host to traditional cooking implements and correcting her on her mispronunciation! Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9i99TsMLK4


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Feature by Team Culturama

Remembering

Nehru This Children’s Day visit the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library that pays tribute to ‘Chacha Nehru’...


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The facade of the museum

A seating area from Nehru's time

Fondly called ‘Chacha Nehru’ (Nehru Uncle) by the children of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, who was the first Prime Minister of India, was a statesman par excellence. Teen Murti Bhavan in New Delhi pays rich tribute to Nehru and strives to preserve his legacy for future generations. Welcoming you in the front lawn is a large obelisk with Nehru’s famous ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech engraved onto a granite rock: ‘...when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom’. Even today standing beside it and taking selfies visitors seem to gather by osmosis, a renewed patriotism. Walking around Nehru’s home is touching. His reception room remains welcoming and well-preserved with dark wood panelled walls hinting at the grandeur of his aristocracy, yet simply furnished showing his down to earth human sentiment. Another room, his study has a large mahogany desk that seems strangely alive. It feels as if he might step in from behind it to guide us again at any moment. A booklined wall on the opposite side abounds with wisdom and

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reminds one of the importance of a lifelong learning journey. One of most touching rooms to peer into, via a glass window, is the one that says ‘He died in this room’. A rather small-sized bed with beige sheets drawn over it stares forlornly at you. And it makes you wonder about how great people, just human mortals like you and me, can leave such indelible marks on time. The many gifts he received from heads of state form a reminder of his famous suggestion that we ‘welcome people to India as guests and send them back as friends’. The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library’s website defines its vision: “Countries honour key figures in their history in a host of ways. Our institution not only honours the memory but seeks to take forward key elements of the vision of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Freedom fighter and patriot, writer and statesman, planner and orator, Nehru’s own life embodied a wider humanist vision.” The museum “seeks to give a glimpse of Jawaharlal Nehru’s life and work and of the great movement to which he gave his all, and a Centre for study and research. It also provides a record of and a glimpse into the early years of independent India. The NMML aims to contribute to a better understanding of the man and his times by succeeding generations, and thus serve as a link with the past and the future of India.” The Institution consists of three main segments: a Memorial Museum, a Library on modern India and a Centre for research in modern Indian history. “The Museum at the Teen Murti House has been primarily developed as a personalia museum. The Nehru Museum informs visitors of the achievements and life of Jawaharlal Nehru and highlights the ideals cherished by him. The Library has been planned as a research library on modern and contemporary Indian history and social sciences. Its published resources acquired for the Library include books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals and other documentary materials. The Library also has a rich collection of material on microfilms and microfiche.” The institution, spread over 45 acres, is a key heritage landmark and includes the Herbert Baker building (1928) that houses the Museum, the Library building (1974) designed by the late M.M. Rana and a 14th century hunting lodge of Firuz Shah Tughluq. Besides a sprawling garden, it preserves a historic heritage site in the heart of New Delhi.

Jawaharlal Nehru's desk


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At Global Adjustments by Team Culturama

Life lessons from sports Global Adjustments Foundation recently had an opportunity to impart life-education to students who will be sports coaches in future, and in turn will pass on life-education to their students Sports teaches life lessons such as teamwork, facing failures, overcoming challenges, thinking on the feet, courage to move on, and so on. We all loved the sports class in school and loved our physical education teacher, for playing is absolute fun. If these sports coaches in schools and colleges went the extra mile to build the inner personality and confidence of young minds, it would do wonders to our future generation. This endeavour by Global Adjustments Foundation helped students of YMC College to discover themselves, their potential and their role in creating an extraordinary next generation. This was done through a 30-hour workshop initiated by the University Grants Commission. All the students came from humble backgrounds. They wanted to converse fluently in English and enhance their self-esteem. The Foundation did both – kindling the spark to be an extraordinary coach and enabling effective English communication skills. The 80 young men and women thoroughly enjoyed the workshop for its interactive and interesting style, felt confident that they could passionately pursue sports and communicated this with poise at the

valedictory function, having overcome the fear of public speaking. Global Adjustments Foundation thanks Captain A.J. Manohar and Dr Glory Darling Margarett of YMCA College, Ramesh Raman and his team for the Spoken English sessions, Anita Krishnaswamy, President, Global Adjustments, for inspiring the students in her valedictory address and S. Ramakrishnan, CEO, Sports Mechanics, for delivering the chief guest’s address. Ramakrishnan emphasised the need to go beyond observing while coaching and using technology to precisely analyse game techniques and work on sportspersons. Yet another unique event happened at the Global Adjustments Foundation’s office. We believe that happy families build a happy nation and it begins from building it in our own family. The Foundation supports the education of deserving school students and we invited the students and their families on Vijayadasami Day in October, the day for auspicious beginnings. The children were engaged in funfilled activities while an interactive session ‘On Parenting Better’ was held for the parents.

GA Foundation imparts life skills to school and college students. Volunteers who wish to commit part-time in participating in changing society could write to foundation@globaladjustments.com.


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In Focus by Team Culturama

Raina Rising In this exclusive tête-à-tête with Culturama, cricketing star Suresh Raina talks about his growing up years, cricketing heroes and his daughter Gracia... What is your earliest memory of cricket? Who introduced you to cricket? My earliest memory of cricket is watching Sachin Tendulkar bat against Australia in Sharjah. My family, particularly my brother, encouraged me to play cricket. From a very young age I have played serious cricket. What came to you naturally in cricket? Was there anything you struggled with and worked hard to improve? I have always believed in being honest with myself and giving it the best shot, no matter what comes my


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way. Batting and fielding came naturally, but even then the results are due to routine hard work. The struggle for me has been adapting to changes. I had to bat at No. 6 and then at No. 3. When you’re playing at the national level, you have to move forward with confidence no matter what comes your way. After all, how many people are lucky enough to wear that team jersey and play? What was it like playing cricket, growing up? I played a lot of local cricket. I played for the Under 16 Uttar Pradesh team and later for the India Under 19 team. I had to struggle at every stage. I stayed in a boarding school so that I could play. It was tough living away from my family, especially my mother, while going through some of the worst bullying in those hostels. During those difficult days of ragging and bullying I would close my eyes and listen to some music, and wait for the difficulty to pass me by. I enjoy the songs of Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi, as well as Sufi music and hip-hop. Who do you look up to? In cricket and in life... Rahul Dravid! He was my first Test captain in 2005, against Sri Lanka. I love his dedication, honesty and team spirit. He works really hard. Of course, I also look up to Sachin Tendulkar and Viru (Virender Sehwag). These are people I had the good fortune to play with. Outside of cricket, it is my mother. As I said, it was a big challenge, staying away from her. But she said to me, “Wherever you go, live with dignity and discipline.” It has stayed with me to this day.


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What advice would you give to people who are struggling in life, having overcome so many struggles at such a young age? No matter what, be yourself. Never ever think of taking shortcuts. Difficulties will come, but know that they will pass. Stay positive even when someone tries to bring you down. Keep believing in yourself and gain ‘experiences’. When I went on my first foreign tournament, my father said, “Go out there and gain some good experience.” Learn from them. You played as a part of the Chennai Super Kings team in the Indian Premier League and the fans just adore you, don’t they? I love Chennai. The food, the hospitality... everything. People are so pure and clean at heart. If they love you, they just show you... They treat us so well. Whenever I have scored, I have been treated like royalty there (laughs). Recently I visited the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. How has fatherhood been? It has been precious. Priyanka (my wife) and I are happy to be with Gracia, our daughter. Priyanka has been my strength, and the past five months with our daughter have been great!

What’s a typical day in the life of Raina like? Wake up. Have green tea. Kiss my wife. See my daughter. Listen to some music. Have breakfast. Do some yoga. Plan the day. Give my daughter an olive oil massage. Practice. Practice. Practice. Best memory from the field... Winning the World Cup in 2011.

Rapid fire with Raina Strengthen your... Positivity Change your... need to look at just yourself. When you grow in life, remember to take all those around you with you. Keep your... relationships healthy. Respect your loved ones and all that they do for you.


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Every day can be a good day when you run Late one Saturday evening, as she saw me setting out my running clothes, shoes and bib for my race next morning, my daughter asked me a profound question. “Why do you run, Amma?” My (not so profound) answer: “I’m running so I can catch your father!” So that’s how it all started. A few years ago, the husband joined a local running group and suddenly the fun guy I

had known turned into the most boring person. Friday and Saturday evenings would see me eagerly planning a movie date, a family dinner or a get-together with friends, only to have the husband sheepishly beg off, insisting he had to turn in early so he could go for his run the next morning. Whether he was running away from me is a question I refused to contemplate. Sneakily, he urged me to join the group as well, trying to convince me that it would be good fun and great for my health. I signed up to train with the running group, the pulsating beat of the Eye of the Tiger in my head. The husband


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Photo: Joe, via Flickr

Sporting culture by Sathya Ramaganapathy

I’ve Got a Brand New Soul… Err Sole and I are part of the same running group. All ye people who are not convinced of the benefits of running, and especially running with a group, here’s a thought. Many a love story has blossomed within the convivial environs of our running group. There are, of course, running partners who are just that. But it is also a fact that in the past three years we have attended no less than three weddings, where the couple first met through running. Sublime Bangalore mornings, breathtaking trails, the endorphin rush, and long tête-à-têtes about negative splits, tempo pace and black toe nails. Sigh. What could be more romantic than crossing the finish line hand in hand? Running buddies discuss everything from

the Spurs’ undefeated run this season in the English Premier League, to the Trump–Clinton debate and the best joint in town for Cheese Paper Masala Dosa. Which brings me to an important reason most runners run: food. Sure, there are all those boring health benefits. But that’s nothing when you consider that, for the first time in your life, you can indulge in masala dosas dripping with ghee (one dosa has 16 gm of protein, which is only about 30% of your daily requirement), pastas (hello, carb loading) and gulab jamuns (sweet dumplings dipped in sugary syrups). No, there is nothing to justify that last guilty pleasure, but after running 10 km, you are entitled to a gulab jamun or four.


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Photo: Joe, via Flickr

Sathya Ramaganapathy

Shopping for running gear can be so much fun. Clothes, accessories, gadgets The other big benefit of running is that you can now impress people with your wide and almost professional-level knowledge. I’ve got leg pain. Said no runner ever. Have you noticed how every runner seems to be an expert on running injuries? Quads, hamstrings, glutes… words that roll off the tongue like ice golas on a warm sunny afternoon. Pain in the patella? Shin splints? Try stretches and strengthening. ITB? Don’t forget your new best friends, your ice pack and foam roller. Are you sure you’ve got Achilles tendinitis and not plantar fasciitis? Try a leg splint, compression socks, sole inserts...

Running clubs in India Mumbai Road Runners, Mumbai Runners for Life, Bengaluru Chennai Runners, Chennai Delhi Runners, Delhi

Shopping for running gear can be so much fun. Clothes, accessories, gadgets. Walk into any sports store and you will be spoiled for choice. Take just shoes, for example. With names such as Glide, Bounce, Boost, Rocket, Nimbus, Cumulus, Pegasus, they are enough to make you feel like you are Harry Potter… err Usain Bolt. Of course, for the amount spent on those shoes, you could’ve taken a vacation to the Caribbean. But let’s not talk about that. Instead, let’s talk about, arguably, the most important reason runners run. Selfies. All those pictures you can now


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Photo: Nagesh Kamath via Flickr

share on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. You’ve earned the bragging rights. Pictures of you running, you at the end of the race with a hand held up in the V-sign for victory, you biting your medal, a screenshot of your race statistics from your running app, you with your running buddies. That, and Milind Soman (model/actor who is now an advocate for women’s running). Think of the collective heartache and envy you can arouse among your friends by merely posting a selfie with the delectable poster boy for women’s running in India? The alarm rings early on Saturday morning. I look at it bleary eyed: 4.45 a.m. I curse myself, the husband, our carpool, the coaches, and for good measure I curse the husband once again, for getting me into this. But then I step out. I breathe in the city without the traffic fumes, silent without the hustle and bustle of people. As I step out onto the trail, I see the rising crimson sun as it slashes the horizon, red, orange, yellow and purple. I feel the cool morning breeze on my face. I begin to run. The steady pounding of my heart… My breath, as it becomes one with my feet. The endorphin rush, the runner’s high. Three hours later, after a long shower and a hearty breakfast, I sit down with a cup of tea and the newspaper. And then, I realise why I run. It makes me feel good. Every day’s a good day when I run.

Marathons with a twist Looking for a way to combine your love for travel

with running? Try these marathons:

Zendurance Ladakh Marathon – Run 5 km, 21

km, 42 km or even 100 km.

Auroville Marathon – Run 10 km, 21 km or

42 km.

Goa River Marathon – Run 10 km, 21 km or 42 km.


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Ten for the Road by Susan Philip

29 Indias: One Nation, published by Global Adjustments, has 10 hand-picked snippets about each of the Indian states. Read the book for free at www.globaladjustments.com. Global Adjustments has created an animated video that captures the cultural markers of all 29 states: http://tinyurl.com/m734xsm

Delhi and Union Territories

The final column of this series explores bite-size facts from Delhi and other Union Territories of India...

Delhi: Capital City

This place obviously has something going for it. It has been identified as the capital of Indraprastha, the ancient kingdom of the Pandavas, immortalised in the epic Mahabharata. Since then, several empires have left their imprints on this city – or rather cities – for Delhi is not just one city but a cluster of cities. The whole area has been categorised as the National Capital Region (NCR) while the Capital itself has been marked as the National Capital Territory. Administratively, it is like a mini-state, with its own Legislature and Council of Ministers, led by a Chief Minister. In keeping with its history, the architecture and ambience of the capital region is a charming mix of the old and the new. Stately old edifices, burnished with history, rub shoulders with gleaming, modern steel-and-glass structures. The many narrow, twisting, crowded lanes and by-lanes are as much a part of the city as the broad, arterial Rajpath, with the majestic India Gate straddling it. There is history

everywhere you turn – at the ancient Qutb Minar and Jantar Mantar, at Humayun’s Tomb and Shakti Sthal, at Raj Ghat and Parliament House. The Red Fort in the old city is from where the Prime Minister customarily addresses the nation on Independence Day. New Delhi is distinct from Old Delhi. The present-day administrative area was designed by the famed architect Edwin Lutyens. It has as its centre the sprawling, magnificent Rashtrapati Bhavan, official residence of the President of India. Shop till you drop at Chandni Chowk, take a tonga ride through the old city and then hop on to the Metro for a study in contrasts. Gorge on street food – spicy kebabs and piping hot chole bhature, nihari (a slow-cooked meat dish) and cold kulfi are among the top favourites. Foodies, do not miss the Paranthewalli Galli – you get Indian breads with a mouthwatering choice of fillings there, on this street.


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THE UNION TERRITORIES Chandigarh: Double Role Chandigarh is the capital of both Punjab and Haryana. It is a planned city, designed by French architect Le Corbusier in 1953. Look for the ‘Open Hand’ emblem that stands 85 feet tall, signifying peace, as well as the importance of both giving and receiving.

Daman and Diu: Portuguese Connection Daman and Diu bear the imprints of Portuguese colonisation. Diu is a tiny island with a balmy climate, while Daman is on the mainland. The ruins of the Dominican Seminary here are worth a visit. It once attracted Catholic scholars from distant places.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli: Meet the Lion A cluster of 72 villages, Dadra and Nagar Haveli lies in India’s western region, nestling between the states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Silvassa is the capital. The Vasona Lion Safari is a big tourist attraction.


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Andaman and Nicobar: In a Time Warp A little over 570 tropical islands in the Bay of Bengal make up the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar. Of them, only 38 are inhabited. They have been largely isolated from external influences, and are thus of great interest to anthropologists and scientists specialising in various disciplines. Some of the tribes are of great antiquity. Some are on the verge of extinction. There are just a handful of Andamanese, for example. Entry of tourists, particularly foreigners, is restricted. The Cellular Jail at the capital, Port Blair, is sacred to the memory of many freedom fighters who spent their last days there in the most wretched and inhuman of conditions.

Lakshadweep: Islands in Plenty The Archipelago of Lakshadweep is the only chain of coral islands in India. Only five of them are open to tourists, and entry of foreigners is restricted to only two. Kavaratti, the capital, has a whopping 52 mosques, and, of them, Ujra is particularly revered because of a well, the water of which is believed to have extraordinary curative powers.

Puducherry: The French Flavour The Union Territory of Puducherry, earlier known as Pondicherry, is made up of four disparate enclaves, three on one side of peninsular India, and the fourth on the opposite side. It takes its name from the largest enclave, and the French colonists had a strong presence in all four. Puducherry still has a strong Gaelic flavour, with French architecture and street names. It is the setting for a part of the Booker Prize-winning Life of Pi. And it is the home of the Aurobindo Ashram, a spiritual community founded by Sri Aurobindo.


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Runway success India Diaries by Liz Neisloss

At the Lakme Fashion Week, tradition met modernity with grace and elegance

They drifted down the runway – a sumptuous array of silks in dazzling colours. How could a collection of designer saris gracing beautiful women be anything but stunning? But what really riveted eyes here were the masterful weaves and imaginative prints of Chennai-based Tulsi Silks. Designer Santosh Parekh came to present his latest collection at Mumbai’s Lakme Fashion Week. It is a biannual event that features some of India’s most cutting-edge designers with plenty of takes on ‘Western wear.’ But Parekh’s


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sari designs gently carried off what might seem contradictory: how to innovate tradition. Tamil Nadu’s Kanchipuram silks are renowned throughout India, and for many visitors from outside India they are a ‘must-see’. But economic and social pressures have threatened the famed silks: they are costly, requiring skilled hands to devote long hours, and like much artisanal work, cannot match the low cost of machine-made silks and fast fashion. Carrying this famed Kanchipuram weaving into the present and future of fashion are the hallmark and mission of Tulsi Silks. Appreciate the art and skill, but make it relevant for a modern audience. The Indian government has recently been behind the push to boost handloom weavers. Celebrities and trendsetters have climbed on board, wearing handloom textiles and reading labels with the story of the human behind the cloth. Tulsi Silk’s show opened with a deftly edited montage of the twisting, dying and drying of the silk thread, and masters at their looms; the hard work of forging fabric that is wearable art. And then with a puff of theatrical smoke – the procession of saris began. What immediately stood out was the imaginative combination of heritage and design, rich patterns and borders that looked fresh, not heavy. One youthful version set a creamy salmon pink silk against a pallu bordered by a masterfully woven pale gold print of elephants

and traditional patterns. There was plenty of tradition on display – delicious weaves – pallus so richly woven they seemed almost stamped in gold and silver relief. But it is the painstaking work of the weaver to create such textile magic. There were bridal saris, of course – one in gold set against vivid red: traditional wedding colours, but no riot of paisley and sequins here. Instead, the skillful weave of this heavy fabric made it move fluidly – almost like molten gold. An imaginative use of animal patterns: elephants and a mythical creature called the yali – regal in gold against red and blue silks – managed to combine whimsy and elegance. The most unique prints took traditional Indian instruments – such as the veena, the tabla and the nadaswaram – tumbling down silks coloured in elegant contrasts of black on silver, silver on black and bright pink with gold. In a lesson on how to make a sari look hip, one model with a slightly tousled bun sported a tattoo peeking out from under the dori or string on the back of her black and silver blouse. If selling expensive saris to today’s globally savvy fashion market is a challenge, this would seem the solution: blend traditional grace with a strong and modern edge. The highlight for some was the appearance of stunning actress and model Dia Mirza. She came out to applause and quiet murmurs of admiration. But in this show the silk was the real star.


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Thought Leader by Team Culturama

Stories of

soft power Chinthapally Rajasekhar of the prestigious Indian Foreign Service (IFS) has spent his entire career bringing India’s soft power to the world. In this exclusive interview with Ranjini Manian, Editor-in-Chief, Culturama, he talks about his time in various corners of the world – from Japan to Cuba, bridging cultures… C. Rajasekhar, a senior official of the Indian Foreign Service, and until recently the Director General for ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations), in his diplomatic career, has particularly focused on cultural diplomacy. This is out of his firm conviction that our long, rich and diverse cultural heritage is our great strength, and that this can be leveraged to advance our national interests. He had an interesting anecdote to offer from his time in Japan, when Shashi Tharoor, the Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, who has well articulated soft power in the past, asked him if he had any actual story of ‘soft power’ or was it all just soft. Here is his story, in this exclusive with Culturama. The delayed peaceful nuclear explosion in 1974 and its sequel in May 1998 at Pokhran are significant milestones in independent India's security/foreign policy domain. Expectedly, Pokhran II got India some


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adverse attention — most notably, from Japan. The Japanese government took the job to heart, imposing economic sanctions and talking of ‘punishing' India to achieve the objective. It did not stop even there. Japan is a country known for its politeness. They elevated politeness to an art form. However, on this occasion, an exception was made. The situation came to such a pass that even invitations extended were withdrawn. It is a cardinal principle in diplomatic protocol that you cannot disinvite anyone. But the Indian Ambassador was bluntly told that he was not welcome at various diplomatic events. The Indian Mission in Tokyo was flooded with petitions and notices of protest rallies. The Japanese Foreign Office signalled clearly that there was no way of transacting business unless and until India capped and reversed its nuclear capabilities. Diplomacy is all about knowledge and patience. This episode of the exercise in soft power proves it. India remained firm that Pokhran II was necessitated by its deteriorating

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security environment. In Japan, our mission launched what can be described as a 'direct contact' with friends of India in prefectures and municipalities, universities and friendship associations, among friendly parliamentarians and party functionaries and the small but enthusiastic and patriotic Diaspora. It is no mean task to go past the local Foreign Office, and certainly in a nation as complex and well organised as Japan. I was made the nodal point for this programme, being a Japanese language speaker and the First Secretary and Head of Chancery. The fact that I was on my second posting there and had cultivated a large number of personal friends in all rungs of Japanese society well disposed towards India proved quite helpful, because their culture values friendship and past association. I went around the country making presentations and combining them with brief cultural programmes (with the help of locally present Indian/Japanese artistes), wherever feasible. The Ambassador and other Indian diplomats joined in as appropriate.


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With K. Ayyanar, Regional Director, ICCR

The central message put out to the people of Japan was that India has always been a steadfast friend of Japan. India is a peace loving country, having considerable stake in securing peace so as to focus its energy and undivided attention on development. If India had made the sovereign determination that nuclear deterrence was required, its decision needs to be respected, more so considering the political consensus behind it in an open and large parliamentary democracy. India becoming stronger, acquiring additional security capabilities can only help its friends, including Japan. The shared heritage of Buddha and the traditional cultural exchanges that enriched each other were recalled. It was also highlighted that at the Tokyo International Tribunal, post World War II, the sole dissenting voice even as the Tribunal was set to pronounce Japan guilty, was that of an Indian — Justice Radhabinod Pal. They need to see the vast synergy and potential that ties with India offer, including in the economic domain, India being home to a billion people and its economy at the takeoff stage. The core constituency of friends of India was carefully identified and co-opted. Slowly, but steadily, the tide started turning as the message spread. Japan extended an invitation to our External Affairs Minister to undertake a visit to discuss and sort out the differences. This materialised in November 1999. We could ensure that the Minister was warmly received,


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With dancer and Padma Bhushan awardee Dr . Padma Subrahmanyam

including through a civic reception hosted by the India-Japan Friendship Association, which coordinates with the Foreign Office. The then Japanese Prime Minister paid a visit to India in August 2000. (The fact that President Clinton visited India earlier helped nudge Japan that they could not afford to lag behind.) Prime Minister Vajpayee's return visit could not be realised in February 2001, due to the devastating earthquake in Bhuj, Gujarat. But by then the ice was broken. Riding on the strength of the people's support, we organised a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Japan with 50 events, and mobilised the top dignitaries of Japan (including the Emperor, Crown Prince and leading members of the Imperial Household, and the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to grace the cultural events. The fact that this was pulled off overcoming the mood of the establishment and without much financial support from India adds to the achievement. This forms an important building block for today's stronger India-Japan friendship, reflected by annual bilateral summits. Skill sets Indians need while interacting with the world: We as Indians should keep open mind to move ahead in life. Avoid being too thick skinned. Take friendly and

constructive criticism as a useful input for reflection and improvement. Likewise, don't be too thin skinned – don't feel slighted easily. What one trait do Indians need to change: Our chalta hai (anything goes) or ho jayega (it will happen eventually) attitude. I was the passport officer once and I used to say that we need not be a cause of anxiety to the receiver. Delivery is our duty; we can’t go with ho jayega. Our work culture has to be reliable. Once a Japanese taxi driver took a slightly long route to find the place I was supposed to go to. When we reached the destination and the meter showed x amount, he asked for x-y because he said, ‘It is not your fault but mine that I lost my way. I don’t want people to think Japanese are overcharging. So I will not charge you for that part which was extra because of me.’ This was an eye-opener. Friendly advice to the Indians going to work abroad: We are the goodwill ambassadors of our country and how we behave will affect how India is perceived in those lands. When they come here too we have to deliver what we say we will.


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Learn from the Bhagavad Gita by Team Culturama

Capturing the essence of the Bhagavad Gita in a single sentence, one chapter at a time; accompanied by an inspirational photograph from our Annual Photo Competition.

Chapter 6

Connect to the higher consciousness daily.

Photo: Megan Bond, Canada

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India now by Susan Philip

The month that was

As we enter a new month, we quickly recap the events, people and places that made news in the past month

the inauguration of a facility for international arbitration. Launching the Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration (MCIA), the Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the State’s arbitration policy was second only to Singapore with regard to transparency. The MCIA hopes to attract the clients who now avail of arbitration facilities in either Singapore or London for their India-related needs, as there was hitherto no international arbitration centre in the country. Did you know the MCIA’s facilities have been rated ‘world class’?

Politics and Polity Brick by brick

Scientifically Speaking A boost for a greener world Concerted efforts to control global warming were given a fresh impetus with India ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change. With this, 62 countries – together responsible for just over half of the world’s carbon emissions – have ratified the deal. It is hoped that the Agreement will come into force by the end of the current calendar year; for this, however, at least three more countries will have to ratify it, taking the collective responsibility for emission to a minimum of 55 per cent.

The BRICS Summit 2016 concluded in Goa, with Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa signing a declaration, loosely, a set of goals the five countries which make up the association will strive to achieve. The theme of the meet was Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions. The condemnation of terrorism in general formed part of the Goa Declaration. Terror attacks on Indian soil have of late captured centre stage, escalating tension on either side of the Indo-Pakistan border. On the sidelines of the BRICS Summit, India signed a multi-billion-dollar defence deal with Russia.

Q: Recently, a major landmark in the country was in the news regarding carbon emissions. Can you name the landmark and why it made news?

Did you know the acronym BRIC was first used in 2001 by Goldman Sachs in a Global Economics Paper titled 'Building Better Global Economic BRICs', much before the grouping was formalised in 2006? The original constituents were Brazil, Russia, India and China. South Africa was inducted into the association in 2010.

Power from above

Business Matters Let’s talk about it Mumbai has taken a giant leap forward in its goal of becoming an International Financial Services Centre with

A: The Indira Gandhi International Airport has become the first in the Asia-Pacific region to win the tag of being a ‘carbon-neutral’ airport. Put simply, this means that it absorbs or offsets the same amount of carbon that it generates. It has achieved this remarkable feat through various measures, including the setting up of a solar power plant.

Talking of solar power plants, the world’s largest one was recently inaugurated in Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu. Set up with an investment of a whopping Rs. 4,550 crore by the Adani Group, it has the capacity to generate 648 MW of power at a single location. This will contribute much towards achieving Tamil Nadu’s goal of generating a total of 3,000 MW of solar energy. It comprises 25 lakh solar modules, 576 inverters and 154 transformers and 6,000 km of cables, apart from other infrastructure. The facility was dedicated to the nation by


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Sports Spots Batting at No. 1

Gautam Adani, Chairman of the Adani Group. Q: India is fourth on the list of carbon emitting nations, and accounts for 4.1% of emissions. But it is way behind the top two offenders. Can you name them? A: China and the United States. Together, they are responsible for around 40% of the world’s carbon emissions. Russia is in third place.

Arty Happenings

While still on the subject of cricket, the Indian cricket team has been going great guns on the Test field. It has wiped out New Zealand with a 3-0 series win. The credit largely belongs to the magic fingers of bowler R Ashwin, who claimed a total of 13 wickets in the third and final match at Indore. He was justly named ‘Player of the Series’. Did you know that with its victory over New Zealand, India is now top of the Test Team chart.

Telling the story

End of an Era

Celluloid and willow make for a potent mix in India. Both movies and cricket are huge public entertainment in their own right. And so it is only to be expected that a combination of the two results in mindblowing mass appeal. That’s just what M. S. Dhoni – The Untold Story has going for it. Based on the life of the iconic Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Captain Cool of cricket, it has become the highest grossing biopic in the history of Indian cinema, its makers claim. The draw is not only because it is the real-life story of a small town boy who made it big but also because everyone wants to know more about the man who chooses to stay in the background, and looks at both enormous success and defeat with the same calm eyes.

HIV-AIDS fight loses a warrior

Watch the official trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=6L6XqWoS8tw And to familiarise yourself with the laid-back Dhoni’s awesome achievements, check out http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/ player/28081.html

Parmeshwar Godrej, wife of Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej, succumbed to a lung ailment at a hospital in Mumbai. She was 71. A socialite and fashionista (she made the beret a signature part of her outfits), her parties were famous. And so was her philanthropy and work on HIV-AIDS. She co-founded the Heroes project with actor Richard Gere to raise awareness about HIV-AIDS in India and was also associated with many other causes. Read She Walks, She Leads by Gunjan Jain for an understanding of how Parmeshwar and other modern Indian women are impacting many facets of this country’s development.

This and That Aiyoh! He’s talking English! It’s official. The Oxford English Dictionary has included ‘Aiyoh’ in its list of English words. This interjection, much used in southern India, conveys a wealth of meaning. Depending on the context, it can express anything from joyful amazement to shock and despair. For more information, see http://www.newser.com/story/232368/oxford-englishdictionary-quietly-adds-tamil-slang-aiyo.html


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Seeing India Text & photos Devanshi Mody

Historic Hampi

The ruins of this erstwhile prosperous kingdom in Karnataka tell a story of their own... Hampi is flung over lush expanses, above which 3.4-billion-year-old pre-Cambrian boulders billow and balance in terrific yoga poses. The granite and greenstone terrain is amongst the earth’s oldest surfaces. But above it rose one of the most prodigious and prolific expressions of poetry in stone known to mankind, the capital of the mighty Vijayanagar Empire that ruled South India for 229 years (1336–1565). Empyrean stones were, however, turned on their heads, so to


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speak, as invaders savaged the temples in the fallen bastion of Hinduism. Headless Hindu gods today preside with tragic dignity atop towering temples, their unamputated hands (if any) still raised in blessing over dispersed ruins. The Royal Enclosure was once girdled in seven robust rock walls protecting fabulous palaces. None exists now. Emperor Krishnadeva Raya integrated Indo-Islamic architecture into the structures of Hampi. Invaders who came for Hampi, however, were illiberal. They decimated every palace, sparing but structures incorporating Islamic motifs. Amongst these are the sensual Queen’s Bath with superbly sculpted domes, sandalwood-dispensing verandas and balconies from where royals were showered in roses and perfumes. In the Zenana, (enclosures for women) foundations remain of the Sandalwood Palace, presumably of Hindu architecture and thus exterminated. The twostoried Taj Mahal-esque Lotus Mahal, naturally airconditioned by water and wind (Hampi had sophisticated drainage and air-conditioning systems), has survived. Preserved too are the marvellous mosque-like domed array palaces for the Vijayanagar kings’ 16,000 consorts. These ladies, vigilantly watched over from sentry towers, were apparently the empire's most ferociously guarded treasures. I am amused at the meagre security extended to these priceless artefacts. My guide, Bhanu, says you find them lying all over Hampi. Seems you can pick up sculptures from riverbeds as you would mangoes from a tree. So what if a few were expropriated, there is plenty left. Although I would soon find many of them were jarring sati stones erected to widows who immolated themselves on their husband’s funeral pyres. Hampi comprises seven villages. Each has speciality markets preceding its temples. The erstwhile Pan Supari Market leads to the private royal shrine, the 15th century Hazare Rama Temple, a phenomenal piece of poetry in stone which chronicles The Ramayana in 1,000 intricately chiselled, extraordinarily detailed reliefs streaming around temple walls in three ribbon-like bands. Bhanu points to two facing panels on door walls, one featuring Rama, his brothers and their wives and the other featuring his parents. ‘You see, Hampi invented family photographs!’ Bhanu regrets his expressiveness that ignites the imagination when I make him decipher all 1,000 reliefs. Carvings embellish the temple’s

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exteriors too. I’d spend all day inspecting them. But the monuments sleep at dusk. A massive monolithic Nandi (India’s second largest after the one in Thanjavur’s Brihadeshwara Temple) guards Matanga Hill whose 600 rock steps lead to a lofty Shiva temple and sensational views of verdant swards, a mosaic of paddy, palm and banana encrusted with shimmering water bodies. The hill descends to the Achyuta Raya Temple. I learn that Ravana abducted Sita, who alerted Rama by scattering her jewellery in a waterside grove we pass. The surrounding rock, submerged during monsoons, have indentations to facilitate climbing. ‘The Vijayanagar kings foresaw you would visit in 2016 and installed steps on river rocks for your convenience,’ Bhanu offers obligingly. Having serendipitously discovered a splendid Ranga (Vishnu reclining on a serpent) in an incidental temple and inspected every little shrine (some two-storied) dotting the hilled riverside trek, we attain a river-perched mandapa where the great composer-singer and father of Carnatic music Purandaradasa meditated. Here all you will hear is gurgling water. Even the birds seem in silent rumination.


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temple walls tell tales, seemingly dance and even sing.

Hampi’s most celebrated structure is the staggering Vittala Temple in the courtyard of which an exquisitely crafted rock chariot enshrines Garuda. The temple’s ‘Kalyana Mandapa’ (marriage hall) has ornamental pillars – said to number 100 – bearing myriad illustrations

We meander into the unique double-storied gate to Vittala village with the famous king’s balance. He distributed his weight in gold and jewels to priests. We pass Vittapura’s horse market where Arabs traded. Indeed, temple pillars sport images of the visitors to Hampi: Mongols, Persian shepherds, Arab horsemen and hookah-smoking dreadlocked foreigners, whilst the upturned edges on shrine roofs evince Chinese influences and confirm Hampi’s cosmopolitanism. Hampi’s most celebrated structure is the staggering Vittala Temple in the courtyard of which an exquisitely crafted rock chariot enshrines Garuda. The temple’s ‘Kalyana Mandapa’ (marriage hall) has ornamental pillars – said to number 100 – bearing myriad illustrations that resonate with theistic significance. The one of Kamadeva and his wife in passionate embrace is perhaps a little less pious. The famous ‘Narasimha Hall’, with its magnificent assemblage of Narasimha sculptures, also has pillars which when tapped make music. In magical Hampi,

That afternoon we also saw the Krishnapura Temple where Vishnu’s 10th incarnation Kalki is presented as a seated horse-headed man. First, we see a monumental, desolate Narasimha grieve. He has lost his wife Lakshmi (shorn from his lap; a dainty hand alone remains) and lost face, quite literally, for it is ravaged. A neighbouring gigantic water-immersed linga survives, perhaps because it is not an idol. The colossus of a Kadalekalu Ganesh (called so as his tummy resembles a kadalekalu [Kannada for Bengal gram seed]), defaced, still thrills. But the smaller Sasivekalu Ganesh (Kannada for mustard seed), left with a truncated trunk, has a secret. Walk behind the monolith and see engraved on him the rear of a woman’s body, for this mammoth baby is seated on his mother Parvati’s lap. Access the Virupaksha Temple not through the two-tiered gold and jewellery market (which Bhanu calls a mega-mall) but via the legendsteeped Hemakuta Hill where the sun’s dramatic departures bestrew crimson shards across


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endless skies. The Shivapurana says Hemakuta is where Shiva meditated and burned to ashes Kamadeva, dispatched to disrupt his concentration. Kamadeva’s flower bow sent from a sugarcane arrow struck Shiva’s third eye which opened, giving him a strange aspect. Hence, the name Viroop Aksha, meaning ‘strange-eyed’, which gives its name to Hampi’s sole functioning historic temple where the naturally formed linga was concealed before invaders struck. As you descend the hill cascaded in shrines suddenly descrying The Ramayana depicted on random stones, before you soars the temple’s gopuram (entrance tower), plenteously sculpted. I also visited the fifth Hampi village, Pattabhirama. The devout might yet brave Anaigundi, the birthplace of Hanuman. Scale 600 steps to an ancient temple where the monkey-shaped rock deity is supposedly a natural formation. Views of Hampi, laid like a tapestry below, astonish. The bear sanctuary shelters Asia’s largest number of sloth bears. The leviathan Mahanavami Dibba, embroidered in carved laces and portraying royal processions, hunting scenes, merchants and foreigners cavorting with dancing girls, is a raised victory stage emblematic of the great Vijayanagar Empire, today pitifully razed. Nikitin, the Russian merchant, describes how Hampi burned for six months. As for the royal remnants of Vijayanagar, Bhanu finishes, ‘Once the king was killed, they left Hampi with 9,000 laden elephants carrying away their wealth and their women.’


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IN  T HIS MAGAZINE

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Look Who’s In Town Chennai

An adventure called India Emily Schmidt, an American from Grand Rapids, Michigan, who now calls Chennai home, on life in India and more... When my husband was asked by his company to move to India, his automatic response was ‘no’ because he assumed that is what I would say. We were already expats living in Germany and at the time I was pregnant with our second child. To his surprise, when he told me about the opportunity, I said ‘Let’s do it!’. We moved to India several months later with our two daughters who were two and a half years, and three months old at the time. I knew very little about India and had never even tried Indian food. What an adventure it has been. I have lived in India for almost three years now and I have learnt so much, experienced so much and made so many great friends. Then & Now In the beginning I was quite shocked and worried for the safety of my children. Everything seemed scary from riding in the car to dengue mosquitoes to unpure tap water to power cuts. Eventually I got used to it and now it all seems normal to me. India on a platter I enjoy Indian food when it is not too spicy, but I also

appreciate that I can find many other international cuisines around Chennai. I have tried dosas and tandoori food too and enjoy kebabs, especially paneer ones. Beach babies With two small children, our favorite activity is swimming in the pool and enjoying the hot weather. We have a lot of visitors and I enjoy showing them around the area. I have also learnt to love yoga. Last year, I completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training course at Yoga Raksanam in Besant Nagar; it was a great experience and a skill I will be able to take with me wherever I go next. Sightseeing With my family I have traveled to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, to Goa, Kerala and Puducherry. What I would like to change in India It is so disappointing to live so close to the beach and not be able to enjoy it. So I would keep the beach clean and safe. I am taking home... I will definitely take all of my experiences with me. They have helped me grow and become a better person.


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Calendar of events

Presenting the best of India’s events in different categories across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and nearby suburbs

Art & Exhibitions

Exhibitions Chennai

Art Tour Mumbai

Artworld Sarala’s Art Centre presents an exhibition of paintings by Amitabh Sengupta ‘Scratches and Doodles in Time’.

Mumbai fosters art, culture and creativity and this tour will familiarise you with the art and architecture of the southern part of the metropolis. The art tour hosted via SeekSherpa aims to familiarise you with how to look and perceive art and its various forms.

Date: Until November 8 Time: 1030 hrs–1830 hrs Venue: 1/12, Ganeshpuram, 3rd Street, Off Cenotaph Road, Teynampet

Date: November 1–30 Time: 1600 hrs Venue: Outside Asiatic Library, Entrance (Stairs), Fort

Art Poster Chennai Alphabetically Chennai is a series of unique posters created by architect Ravi Kumar Nair. They capture various heritage monuments and iconic monuments of Chennai, in alphabetical order, along with beautiful sketches. Venue: Chamiers, 106, Chamiers Road, Nandanam and online at https://kraftly.com/alphabeticallychennai


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Events

Play Chennai/Bengaluru

Food NCR

The award-winning, sell-out success ‘Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense’ is bringing the genius of P. G. Wodehouse to Bengaluru and Chennai! The blockbuster West End production, which wowed the Mumbai stage earlier this year, will be returning to India after a highly successful tour of Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. For details, check facebook.com/ perfectnonsenseinindia

Savour India's chaat and pakwan at the most famous and traditional eateries of India. From aloo samosa to gulab jamun to jalebi to the famous Old Delhi dahi bhalla, experience the best of all Chandni Chowk delicacies through this Street Food Tour.

Date: November 3–6 (Chennai) and November 9–13 (Bengaluru) Venue: Sir Mutha Venkata Subba Rao Concert Hall, Lady Andal Premises, Shenstone Park, # 13/1, 7, Harrington Rd, Chetpet, Chennai and St John’s Auditorium, John Nagar, Koramangala, Bengaluru

Dance Mumbai Delving into the fascinating concept of time dilation, Dhrut portrays the intricate relationship between time, space and speed. A seamless synchronisation between rapid movement vocabulary and musicality, Dhrut highlights the individual impact of pace, rhythm and motion on movement to culminate into an emulsion of the three. Date: November 3 Time: 1900 hrs Venue: Experimental Theatre, Nariman Point, NCPA Marg

Date: Until November 10 Time: 1630 hrs Venue: In Front of Jama Masjid Police Station, 1424, Meena Bazaar, Jama Masjid, Patel Gali Road, Old Delhi

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Storytelling Bengaluru

Stand-Up Comedy Chennai

Heads and Tales is a weekly story space created especially for ardent story lovers. These stories will be presented by a group of creative storytellers from the Bangalore Storytelling Society (BSS).

Evam Stand-Up Tamasha presents The Yogi and the Bear, a one-by-two stand-up comedy special featuring brand new content from Alex and Baggy. Alex – ‘The Yogi’, married, with two kids, is a practising yoga guru with a penchant for the peaceful life. It also has 'the Bear', Baggy – single, struggling, out to take on the world and without enough excuses to be a party 'animal'.

Date: November 13 Time: 1630 hrs Venue: Rangasthala Auditorium, Rangoli Art Centre, M G Road Boulevard, Near Metro Station, Shivaji Nagar, Near Anil Kumble Circle

Comedy Solo Show NCR Orthodoxically Me is a new stand-up comedy special by Praveen Kumar. The show revolves around the fact that he was brought up in a small town in an orthodox fashion and the struggles he faced to understand the culture of a big city like Bengaluru after he moved there for studies. Date: November 5 Time: 2030 hrs Venue: Akshara Theatre, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Near Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital

Date: November 5 Time: 1700 hrs and 1930 hrs Venue: Auditorium Edouard Michelin, Alliance Francaise, 24, Nungambakkam College Road, College Road


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Spotlight by Team Culturama

Pushkar Camel Fair November 8 to 15

The Pushkar Camel Fair, also known as Pushkar ka mela, is one of the world’s largest cattle and camel fairs. The event draws its name from Pushkar, a town in Rajasthan that is located near the Thar Desert. The fair takes place over five days on the banks of the Pushkar Lake. More than 25,000 camels are said to be sold every year. Apart from camels other livestock such as goats, sheep, horses and cows are sold as well. Numerous stalls that have jewelry, clothes, textiles and fabrics also attract buyers. Apart from traders, a huge number of pilgrims are in attendance every year as they look to bathe in the holy waters of the Pushkar Lake. In recent years, this fair has been very popular with tourists from other parts of India and from overseas. A camel race signals the beginning of the event and music and exhibitions follow. Various competitions are an integral part of the event – for example, the best decorated camel is declared the winner. The matka phod or the longest moustache is also a huge attraction. The best way to get to Pushkar is by road. Direct buses ply from Ajmer (30 minutes away) and Jaipur (3 hours away).


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Photo: localnewsglasgow.co.uk

Holistic living by Eknath Easwaran

Original Goodness The promise and the purpose of all spiritual disciplines is to take off the mask that hides our real face


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5 Join Us Every Saturday India Immersion Centre in Chennai facilitates a weekly spiritual fellowship group following Easwaran’s Eight Point Programme of Meditation. E-mail us for more information at globalindian@globaladjustments.com. If you are in other cities, visit www.easwaran.org for e-satsangs.

Just half an hour’s walk from my home was a lotus pond so thickly overlaid with glossy leaves and gleaming rose and white blossoms that you could scarcely see the water. In Sanskrit this exquisite flower is called pankaja, “born from the mud.” In the murky depths of the pond a seed takes root. Then a long, wavering strand reaches upwards, groping through the water towards the glimmer of light above. From the water a bud emerges. Warmed by the sun’s rays, it slowly opens out and forms a perfect chalice to catch and hold the dazzling light of the sun. The lotus makes a beautiful symbol for the core of goodness in every human being. Though we are born of human clay, it reminds us, each of us has the latent capacity to reach and grow towards heaven until we shine with the reflected glory of our Maker. Early in the third century, a Greek Father of the Church, Origen, referred to this core of goodness as both a spark and a divine seed – a seed that is sown deep in the consciousness by the very fact of our being human, made in the image of our Creator. “Even though it is covered up,” Origen explains, because it is God that has sowed this seed in us, pressed it in, begotten it, it cannot be extirpated or die out; it glows and sparkles, burning and giving light, and always it moves upwards towards God. Meister Eckhart seized the metaphor and dared take it to the full limits it implies: The seed of God is in us. Given an intelligent and hardworking farmer, it will thrive and grow up to God, whose seed it is. Its fruits will be God-nature. Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds into nut trees, and God-seed into God.

more revolutionary? Yet Eckhart, like other great mystics of the Church before and after him, does no more than assure us of his personal experience. The seed is there, and the ground is fertile. Nothing is required but diligent gardening to bring into existence the God-tree: a life that proclaims the original goodness in all creation. The implications of this statement are far-reaching. Rightly understood, they can lift the most oppressive burden of guilt, restore any loss of self-esteem. For if goodness is our real core, goodness that can be hidden but never taken away, then goodness is not something we have to get. We do not have to figure out how to make ourselves good; all we need do is remove what covers the goodness that is already there. To be sure, removing these coverings is far from easy. Having a core of goodness does not prevent the rest of the personality from occasionally being a monu - mental nuisance. But the very concept of original goodness can transform our lives. It does not deny what traditional religion calls sin; it simply reminds us that before original sin was original innocence. That is our real nature. Everything else –all our habits, our conditioning, our past mistakes – is a mask. A mask can hide a face completely; like that iron contraption in Dumas’s novel, it can be excruci - ating to wear and nearly impossible to remove. But the very nature of a mask is that it can be removed. This is the promise and the purpose of all spiritual disciplines: to take off the mask that hides our real face.

‘Its fruit will be God-nature’! What promise could be Reprinted with permission from ‘Original Goodness’, an article by Eknath Easwaran from The Blue Mountain Journal. Copyright The Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, P.O. Box 256, Tomales, CA 94971, www.easwaran.org. (Extract from http://bmcmwebsite.s3.amazonaws. com/assets/bm-journal/2015/2015Winter.pdf)


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Family time! Photo: Nicole Alice, USA

Picture story by Team Culturama

Oh Happy Days! Children's Day, in India, which falls on November 14, is a time for all of us to remember to let children be children. Give gadgets a rest and join them in some fun outdoors. Play a game, watch the birds and beasts around you, and laugh unabashedly. Happiness is sometimes found in the simplest of things and children remind us of the many blessings around us.


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Swimming in the backwaters of Kerala. Photo: Manfred Zink, Germany

Pooja for the bike. Photo: Anna Bozzi, Italy

Feeling protected. Photo: Anna Bozzi, Italy

Roaring with the lions in Kanchipuram. Photo: Jennifer Nordin, USA

Caught you! Photo: Melissa Freitas, Brazil

Seeing eye to eye. Photo: Jerome Gasser, France

Enjoying the Mumbai rains. Photo: Rinske Bloemendal, The Netherlands

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Festivals of India

November 14 Guru Nanak Jayanti Guru Nanak Jayanti is held in honour of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism and the first of the 10 gurus of the Sikh religion. This day is regarded as the day of his birth. Festivities usually start a few days earlier, with the gurudwaras or Sikh temples being grandly decorated. On the day of the festival, devotees take out an early morning procession, known as prabhat pheri, singing hymns. Starting at the gurudwara, the procession often extends to the neighbourhood as well. In addition, akhand path or a continuous 48-hour reading of the Guru Grant Sahib, Sikhism’s religious text, is held. Celebrations also include the display of sword skills and martial arts. A significant part of Guru Nanak Jayanti is the langar or the free communal meal – with the food cooked and served by devotees. This tradition was begun by Guru Nanak in the 16th century, to uphold the principle of equality between all people regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender or social status. To do: Visit a gurudwara to take part in the festivities, and have a meal at the langar. If you cannot partake of the langar have the Karah Prashad, the sacred pudding made of butter, wheat, sugar and water. If you can, do visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar – regarded as the holiest Sikh gurudwara. All are welcome to Gurudwaras regardless of race or religion, however, it is mandatory to cover one's head before entering the holy space.


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Learn a yoga pose by Namita Jain

Knee hug

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RajastHan

palaces. forts. relive the past.

milesworth holidays india • srilanka • maldives • and beyond

This comforting position resembles a knee hug and relaxes the hips and back. 1. Lie on your back with your knees bent. 2. Lift the legs off the floor and draw your knees towards your chest. Benefits: Stretches the hip and lower back. visit: www.milesworth.com Milesworth Travels & Tours Pvt. Ltd., 39 R M Towers, 108 Chamiers Road, Chennai. Tel: +91-44-24320522 / 24359554 Fax: +91-44-24342668 E-mail: holidays@milesworth.com


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Myth & Mythology by Devdutt Pattanaik

t e l l a w When t u b , s grow t r a e h not

If people grow, your organisation grows

I run an FMCG business and due to the extreme growth of the business the organisation has grown extremely fast. I have always had a philosophy that companies should grow their own timber. But what I find is that every time I promote people they change, and often for the worse. Am I going wrong in selection or there is a deeper message here? On Day 1, you hire a babysitter. On Day 2, you expect the babysitter to be a tuition teacher. Day 3, you expect the person to be a chef. Will it work? For every job you need a set of skills and these cannot be absorbed through osmosis. Yet we promote people without preparing them to take on the job and expect them to do the job brilliantly. Can they refuse; say that they will take up the job only if you give them training? They cannot. They will appear like fools. So they take up the position and perhaps even delude themselves that they can do whatever it takes, quoting ridiculous clichés like: ‘impossible is i-m-possible’. And then, like Prince Uttar in the Mahabharat, after all the bravado, when they finally face the Kaurava army, reality Art: Devdutt Pattanaik


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will dawn. They realise their stupidity and run for cover. But this running for cover takes place mentally, not publicly.

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Privately their fear is intense. They are trapped. They cannot admit to being unable to handle their situation. They cannot admit their failure. They cannot show weakness. They cannot seek help.

As organisations grow, we often think only in economic terms (Lakshmi). We do not think of the impact on emotions (Durga); the associated loss/gain of power. We do not think of the impact on imagination and thought (Saraswati). So we end up destroying past relationships and making good talent go sour and bad.

What does a cornered animal do? It snarls and bites, it snaps. Cornered humans blame the world for the problems. They do not empower or enable, because they do not feel empowered or enabled. Who will empower and enable them? Can they turn to you? But you abandoned them after promoting them, assumed the big fish of the small pond will perform as well in a big pond, not realising that in the new paradigm they are small fish.

The responsibility is yours as yajaman. You need to work with these people you promoted and help them cope with their new responsibilities. Do not expect them to cope on their own or thrive autonomously. Not everyone can do that. Not everyone is self-reliant and self-motivated. You need to reach out, not abandon them midstream. If people grow, your organisation grows. You are thinking of people’s growth quantitatively; in time, you think qualitatively too.

If you get talent from the outside, they will resent you even more. They will resent the outsider and do everything in their power to pull him down.


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Advertiser's Feature

TALKING ABOUT TOURISM at the 32nd IATO (Indian Association of Tour Operators) Annual Convention 2016, Chennai Every year IATO’s annual convention is held at different parts of the country. IATO proposed to have their annual convention to Chennai, a destination that has long been overlooked by the Indian inbound tourism industry. It was further pursued by the Tamil Nadu government and invited IATO to hold their annual convention in Chennai for the first time and subsequently Tamil Nadu Tourism was the host of the convention. It was conducted in a grand manner at ITC Grade Chola, Chennai from September 19 to 21, 2016. There was tremendous response from the tourism industry and the stakeholders, and tourism departments actively participated in the annual convention held at Chennai. There were more than 800 participants in the convention. Tamil Nadu is ranked number one in tourist arrivals in the country for the past two years (2014 and 2015). This will give a big boost to tourism growth in Tamil Nadu, thereby sustaining its number one position in the coming years too. Tamil Nadu Tourism is taking several steps to promote tourism in the state and the IATO annual convention is one of the many activities of the State Tourism Department. Commissioner of Tourism & Managing Director, TTDC


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Portrait of India by Team Culturama

Chandra or the Moon is seen in this painting with his two hands holding one lotus each, riding upon a chariot drawn by ten horses. According to Hindu mythology, he rides the chariot across the sky every night. The moon is also an important part of Hinduism as the Hindu calendar is a lunar calendar based on the waxing and waning of the moon. Painting by Sri S. Rajam. Picture courtesy ‘Art Heritage of India: A Collector’s Special’, published by L&TECC & ECC Recreation Club.


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Culturama November 2016  

This month Culturama celebrates the spirit and innocence of childhood, as it is Children’s Day on November 14! Read about the Nehru Memorial...