Feel Good

From Cleopatra’s Spa Treatment to Green Porn, we bring you the best ways to feel good in Mumbai

Join A Queer Choir: Rainbow Voices
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 10:11


 

Vibg-yor invited!

Rainbow Voices in Mumbai is the city’s first queer choir and you have been summoned to join.

Started by Vinodh Philip and Sibi Mathen a few months ago with the help of Humsafar Trust, this queer choir – we love saying ‘queer choir’ - is looking to educate the city about the queer community.

Described to us as ‘just a motley group of bathroom singers’, the choir “is an effort to bring people together, to unite for larger causes, and of course, have fun!” says Sibi.

With their first performance just last weekend  at the Gaysi Dirty Talk event, the thirty member strong choir is raring to go, with fun ideas for their next performances featuring interesting costumes and venues, but is also on the lookout for new talent. Sibi tells us that the choir does not discriminate against anyone and that membership is open to all no matter what your sexual orientation is. There will be a singing audition though, so start practising!

With future performance plans that include songs by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Abba, we already like what we hear.

Getting There: Rainbow Voices in Mumbai, call Sibi Mathen at 9867397744, view their Facebook page here for updates about performances and auditions.

 
Can Jalebis Save the World?
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 10:10


Food and comic books. Rajkamal Aich isn't a fan of either.

And yet the Kolkata born-Delhi based artist's new series-Indian Superheroes-features half snack, half man characters like the Idli Man and Jalebi Women. "I was trying to pin down something that represents the different parts of India, and thought costumes would be too cliched. Food on the other hand is distinct, instantly relatable and of integral importance anywhere you go in the country," he says.

An art consultant for the Economic Times, Rajkamal started this project two months ago, and has a ton of work to show for this short time. “I’m really quite boring. I don’t eat out much. I stay home a lot,” he says.  You can reap the benefits of his Saturdays nights spent in, in the form of art prints that can be bought off his Facebook page.

Mishty Eyed

A flip through the work here and you’ll try and contest his “boring” claim as you meet superheroes fashioned around samosas, idlis, laddoos, jalebis and even kaju katli. Each comes with a real-life name and superpower. So Laddoo Boy for instance, is really Laltu Sen who can throw laddoos with great speed and deadly accuracy.  Or Jalebi Woman aka Mishti Bose, who dunks enemies in sugar syrup before tying them in knots. For all its silliness, the artwork is stylized, which is what makes these prints fun to own and a great addition to the kitchen wall.

Our favourite though, is the slightly gaunt, pasty-faced dhoti-kurta wearing bespectacled Bengali Vampire, a newspaper under one arm, a bag of vegetables in the other hand. Rajkamal calls him Rosomoy Ganguly and has “big plans for him”. He’s thinking graphic novel, full length animated film, maybe even merchandise, but before all that, the Indian Superheroes series has an immediate goal. “To make grown ups crack a smile and make kids more imaginative. I’d love to see a child eating mishti doi and turning the pot into a superhero!” says the Calvin and Hobbes fan.

Piece Meal

At the end, Rajkamal retreats to the food topic of discussion, talking once again about how he’s really not that into it, but through the conversation pining for a mom-cooked meal from Kolkata. So he really is into food. The kind he doesn’t at will just turn into villains in this series. “Watch out for the menacing French Fry Guy,” he says.


Getting there: Indian Superheroes, view the Facebook page here, to buy a print email Rajkamal on r This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 9871277449, prints start at Rs 300.

 
Your Highness: Bombay Hemp Company
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 09:51

 

The Secret Seven?

Avnish Pandya, Chirag Tekchandaney, Delzaad Deolaliwala, Jahan Peston Jamas, Sanvar Oberoi, Sumit Shah and Yash P. Kotak.It wouldn’t be entirely wrong to say that these college buddies-turned-colleagues are friends in high places. “Actually it would. We work with a non-narcotic form of cannabis,” Yash tells us, dashing our vision of what Bombay Hemp Company would be – an organisation lobbying for the legalisation of marijuana, among other things. 

“But listen, Cannabis Sativa is a super crop. It can save the world!” says Yash, distracting us from the day dream we had already launched into. Their Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO) may not be involved in covert activities, but their field missions are pretty exciting as well. The idea to use the hemp crop came to this bunch during an HR college project trip to rural parts of India. While they are currently in the research and testing phase, they will soon start manufacturing their own hemp products.

Crop Top

“The idea is to use one crop for roti, kapda and makaan,” Yash tells us. So the food bit involves hemps seeds and hemp seed oil, both of which will initially be imported from Australia and then manufactured in-house based on consumer reactions. “The seed, naturally nutty, is delicious. Just the other day we sprinkled it on our khao suey. You can also use the super food on salad, yoghurt, ice cream sundaes and more.”

If you prefer to be wrapped in hemp, Bombay Hemp Company is also working with a group of farmers and weavers in India to source hemp fabrics. You can currently order bales or the one Crisp White Shirt design they are selling. We’re not sure anyone over 18 or over their Anjuna phase would want to wear a shirt with a marijuana leaf logo on it, so we suggest you buy the hemp and hemp blend fabric – the advantages of these eco materials are listed on their Facebook page - and get it stitched. The shelter part – BOHECO’s clean, green building material hempcrete is still in a nascent testing phase.

The BOHECO website is currently a bit of an eye sore, but the hemp boys promise us that “tiny, genius oompa loompas” are working to over haul it as we speak. So in about 20 days, they will launch with e-commerce and food products. As of now, you can browse their e-swatch book and shirts on the website and email to order.

Cannabis-ness

At the slightest provocation, the boys can rattle off a ton of did-you-knows to rally the cause of hemp as a super crop. “Christopher Columbus’ ropes and sail were made from hemp. Henry Ford made his first car from hemp plastic…” Yash went on during a phone conversation. There was more, about how forests won’t have to be cut and everyone will be healthy if we warm up to the idea of hemp.

As for people’s reactions to what they do, education on the difference between hemp and narcotic cannabis is still required. There’s always the sly winks and the odd high five when they tell people they work with hemp. “In fact, we recently went for a college talk and one kid asked us whether he would get high if he was inside a hempcrete house that caught fire.”

“And this is why Educate, Cultivate, Elevate is our motto."

“So by elevate you mean high, right?” we ask.

“You’re doing it again,” Yash says to us patiently.

Getting there: Bombay Hemp Company, visit boheco.org, view the Facebook page here, Rs 2,487 for a hemp shirt. Food products + new website to launch in 20 days.

 
Sign Up: 1st Film Restoration Course in India
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 10:47


 

If you studied film during school or college, you’d know that India lost most of its silent movies and the first Indian talkie ever made, Alam Ara, because we failed to restore the film. Shh(ad) state of affairs!

Enter the Film Preservation and Restoration School of India. Collaborating with The Film Foundation (a non-profit founded by international filmmaker Martin Scorsese) this organization is helmed by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur. Mr. Dungarpur, who runs a production house, also set up the Film Heritage Foundation earlier this year, an organization dedicated to the education and conservation of the moving image."The essential issue is that film was only looked upon as a form of entertainment, and not an art form. So the need to preserve film, never really came up with past governments," says Dungarpur.

A filmmaker and archivist himself and director of the 2012 documentary Celluloid Man, Mr. Dungarpur has also tied up with The World Cinema Project, a program of the Film Foundation dedicated to restoration work in countries that lack the necessary resources; Cineteca Bologna; L’immagine Ritrovata, a highly specialised film lab; The National Film Archive and Films Division of India, among others.

Negative Thoughts

While the school, which will be set up at the Films Division in Mumbai, maintains a goal to create a resource that will help archivists and restorers work, the intensive week long course also looks to build talent in India for restoration, with the help of experts from the field.

Currently open to applicants from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan for their first session in February 2015, students selected for the course (a basic understanding of film and keen interest in restoration is essential) that will include screenings, hands-on classes in film repair, scanning, colour correction, sound restoration and film mastering. Post the course, students will be certified by the International Federation of Film Archives.

Finally, something with cinema scope!

Getting There: Film Preservation and Restoration School India, Applications open to India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal from September 15, 2014 at www.filmheritagefoundation.co.in. Course from February 22-28, 2015, Films Division, Mumbai. For more details see here.

 
Browse Today: Upping The Aunty
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 10:54



 

If you’re Indian in any part of the world, you probably have a million aunties. Ones who stuff your face with laddoos because you’re too skinny, those whose pretty saris deserve a festival of their own, others who engulf you in a hug so big you can get lost in it for days. There are aunties who scold, there are those decked in gold, aunties who’ve gotten as old as mold. The aunty on whatsapp, the one with the cushy lap, the one who smokes at CCI bridge sessions and just doesn’t give a crap. And then there’s the one who makes it a weekly ritual, to ask about your impending nuptials. 

Aunties are a bountiful breed, and documenting them plus their personal style is Canadian-Indian designer Meera Sethi, through an adorable Tumblr account called Upping The Aunty. Started while she was doing a month-long artist residency program in Mumbai, #UppingThe Aunty is about viewing street style differently, through aunties who are up and about.

Street Style Reimagined

On her website, Meera explains, ‘I’m interested in changing the game on fashion. Who do we think is fashionable? How do we determine what style is? Who creates cool? I am documenting aunties with swag.”

And aunties with swag it is. Browse through the Tumblr account and you’ll find  a ton of style tips, for instance, how to team a sari with a sweater a la Renuka Aunty in Toronto. In Mumbai, Joyce Aunty rocks a dress and Poonam Aunty wears fire engine red sunglasses with no apology. And our favourite: Gunalaxsmi Aunty, who on a regular day looks like she’s embarking on an adventure, with a sari, hat, bag and dog, in a Tintin-style picture. While the photographs speak plenty on their own, sometimes they have you wishing for ‘Humans of New York’ style caption so you could know more about these interesting looking women.

Submit An Aunty of Your Own

Have an aunty who’s cool? Submit a new or vintage picture to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or post it on social media with the hashtag #uppingtheaunty.

This, Meera Sethi’s “homage to the fabulousness of aunty style”, is a mixed media project, which will soon involve painting as well. Canvas-sing for the aunties!

Getting there: Visit http://uppingtheaunty.tumblr.com, view the Facebook page here, follow her on Twitter on @meerasethi.

 
This Week: Gather for Fins & Safety Pins
Monday, 01 September 2014 11:05



Japan Dolphin Day: What You Should Know

 Every year, from September through March, dolphins are herded to the shores of Taiji, a town located in Higashimuro District in Japan. Apart from being captured for sale into amusement parks and captivity, these Dolphin Drive Hunts lead to torture and killing for the production of dolphin meat products.

But you already know this. You’ve probably even watched The Cove, an Oscar winning documentary that was secretly recorded over five years that highlights the controversial dolphin killing techniques used in Taiji.

Wondering what this has got to do with you or how you can help? Brought to India by the Co-founder and Creative Director of the fashion label Koecsh, Kresha Bajaj, Japan Dolphins Day is a public event that brings dolphin lovers and supporters together from across the globe. In collaboration with the official Japan Dolphin Day campaign, Kresha and her team will be staging a peaceful protest on Marine Drive on Saturday, September 6 from 3.30pm onwards. Turn up this Saturday dressed in blue to show your support or read up more about the cause here and help prevent bottlenose neck situations like this for the future.

It’s small scale right now, but hey, it’s a start.

Getting There: Sign up for Japan Dolphins Day peaceful protest on September 6th here, watch the documentary The Cove here.


Fashion’s Night Out Is Back!

Need to fuel your own cause next?

Head to the Mumbai edition of Vogue’s Fashion Night Out (FNO) on September 4 at Palladium Mall, where you can sip on champagne and shop until midnight!

Like last year, FNO will bring luxury brands, Indian designers, makeovers, freebies and super discounts together in the same space. Also look out for limited edition FNO Thukral & Tagra t-shirts, along with the Amrapali bracelets  that have been specially crafted for the event.

Getting There: Vogue’s Fashion Night Out will be held on 4th September at  Palladium Mall, 6 pm to midnight.

 
#bpbPhotoTrail II : Instagram Pick
Friday, 22 August 2014 15:06


What: #bpbPhotoTrail II- in this space we give you one new Instagrammer to follow through a picture trail. Follow us on @bpbweekend.

Why: After nominating @turmeric design as the first person to start the second round of our  #bpbphototrail, her vote is in!

@turmericdesign picks @scissortongue, “a doctor who also draws, tells lovely little stories through words and visuals and is a simultaneously playfully, disarmingly mad character, and an easily affable one.”

Stay tuned next week to see who @scissortongue picks as his Instagrammer of the week. To nominate your favourite Instagrammers, tag them in our Instagrammer of the week post here. At the end of the month, they could be added to our list of favourites.

When: You’d like to cut to the chase.

 
Sponsored – Win A TIGI Trip to Barcelona!
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 14:40



***This post is sponsored by TIGI***

Hey narcissus, reflect on this: your vanity could actually win you a trip to Barcelona! Professional hair care & styling brand Bed Head by TIGI has launched a super contest that involves you going to your salon and getting your hair styled, and taking a selfie with your hairstylist. Upload this picture on the TIGI website here and you could win a trip for two to Barcelona, or at the very least some Bookmyshow vouchers. Happy viewing!

The selfie with the highest number of likes will increase your
chance to win the vacation, and you’ll get to wear that flower wreath you have at one of Europe’s
awesome music festivals. Plus, the most popular hairstylist will win an all-expense paid trip to London to train at the prestigious TIGI academy. Tress test!

#BedHeadThisisMe

Designed not to encourage your narcissism, but highlight your individuality, the #BedHeadThisisMe campaign is all about YOU. Haven’t quite found your own sense of style yet? Take inspiration from the TIGI ambassadors as they snip locks, twirl fire sticks, do the swing dance and build skateboards in this fun TIGI video. Here you’ll see hair stylist Savio John Pereira; psychedelic painter Sameer Hazari; pilot, surfer and skateboard maker Spandan Banerjee; fashion stylist Chandni Sareen; swing band duo Imaad Shah and Saba Azad; and poi dancer Sumaiya Sayed.

Sounds like a blast (dry) to us!

Getting there: Visit http://thisisme.bedhead.com/ to upload your selfie

***This post is sponsored by TIGI***

 
Total Recall: British Pathe’s New Collection of WWI Films
Thursday, 07 August 2014 12:12



If like this writer you’re a major history buff, then the launch of British Pathe’s definitive collection of World War One films to mark 100 years since the Great War, is the best way to spend a rainy day.

Rifle Through

Over the weekend, we deep dived into the archives and unearthed a super collection of 1029 WWI films including propaganda and press like Frank Holland’s political cartoon, Kaiser Climbing Greasy Pole, a film on the war posters, and a rather long but interesting animated film showing Britain’s war efforts; Aerial Warfare films showing RAF men preparing for missions and a bunch of Zeppelin clips and stories (including a film on the death of Count Zeppelin); 10 films on the Treaty of Versailles; and films on the Indian troops in the war plus, a category of films about the super animals in WWI.

Navigate This

Even though you’d probably need about a few days and a broadband connection fast enough to rifle through the complete collection (trust us, it’s worth it); the website is super easy to use with simple intuitive categories. But if you’re crunched for time, here’s a list of a few gems:

  1. Recreation During WWI: 28 films on off duty troop activities like baseball matches, pretty weddings, soldiers getting rum rations, garden parties and a rather sketchy film on a game of ‘bomb throwing’.
  2. Women in World War One: It has everything from clips of women baking loaves of bread in a bakery to women working in aeroplane factories.
  3. Animals in WWI: If you’re watching another cat viral video, stop. Watch these 27 short films on the animals in WWI instead.
  4. The Indian Troops: Watch King George V presenting medals to Indian soldiers at Buckingham Palace, Indian troops at the Marseilles Parade and more.
  5. Propaganda and Press: WWI posters, propaganda films and cartoons; and films on captured enemy artillery.

Happy watching!

Getting there: View British Pathe’s complete collection of World War One films here, watch collection of films on Indian Soldiers here, see websitehere.

 
#bpbPhotoTrail II : Instagram Pick
Wednesday, 06 August 2014 10:52


It's been seventeen weeks and counting of our super #bpbphototrail on Instagram,the space to find one new Instagrammer to follow every week.

With awesome recommendations ranging from fashion to food, photography and art, from our first round( see full trail here), we've decided to start a brand new trail!

Tag @turmericdesign is now it! With pretty lettering and her visual renditions of Ghalib poetry, Kriti Monga, entrepreneur, curious glutton (as per her Instagram bio) and founder of Turmeric Design, the graphic design and illustration studio in New Delhi kicks off our second round of the #bpbphototrail!

Stay tuned next week to see who @turmericdesign picks as her Instagrammer of the week. To nominate your favourite Instagrammers, tag them in our Instagrammer of the week post here. At the end of the month, they could be added to our list of favourites.


 
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