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Inside A Lady Detective’s Bag
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 19:34

Inside A Lady Detective’s Bag

Inside A Lady Detective’s Bag

Ahead of the Indian Crime Writers Festival 2015, bpb catches up with one of India’s first female detectives to scope out her office, her bag and her many, many disguises.

***

There’s no office shadowed by grey blinds, no cryptic voiceover describing trouble as his middle name; no dangerous dame standing in the doorway.

In fact, in this office, bright and sunny with a cherry red wall and shelves filled with awards, the dame is the detective. Sitting across from us as she appeared on her first interview with Doordarshan in 1988 - salwar kameez, earrings and burgundy bindi – Rajani Pandit is an amiable lady in her late 40s who claims to be the first female detective in India. “There were two mail rooms at the Doordarshan office filled with letters addressed to me after that interview was telecast,” she smiles.

“You don’t like tea,” she states, and we wondered if that was part of her observational routine. “You have to be sharp and you have to think on your feet. Besides that, there is no course or qualification required to be a detective in India."

Starting out with petty cases while still in college, Rajani has solved over 75,000 cases in a career spanning 30 years, written two books, had her share of press and is on her way to starring in a documentary.

Since she started out, technology has changed drastically – “equipment has evolved from large recording devices that couldn’t last for more than ten minutes to spy cameras the size of a button,” – but human nature hasn’t. “Cases continue to be about suspicious spouses, thefts, conducting background checks pre-marriage, investigating businesses before investing,” she claims.

 
Why You Should Take Bus No. 56!
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 09:14


Why You Should Take Bus No. 56!

Why You Should Take Bus No. 56! 

Say hello to the Parel Shiva statue at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya and then search out its stony cousin across the sea at Elephanta Caves. Stand just so at Haji Ali Juice Centre and you’ll get the best view of the sea in the city. Then, take the Number 56 bus and drive through five Koliwadas in Mumbai.

This plus 21 other adorable anecdotes tie Mumbai to its waterways in a new illustrated book that releases on December 5, titled Storycity Mumbai: Exploring A City By The Sea, put out by Kahani Designworks, a design communication firm that wants to make people in Mumbai stop taking the sea for granted.

Written by Sourav Roy and illustrated by Ruchita Madhok, partner at Kahani, the book is scattered with dreamy ink blue watercolours and text carefully researched using tomes about Mumbai, city magazines and Kahani’s intimate relationship with the city’s museums. “We work routinely with Dr Bhau Daji Lad (where the book will be sold) and individually, I have worked with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), so we know the museums inside out,” says Ruchita, who studied design at NID and Central Saint Martins in London, and worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London as well as CSMVS, Mumbai.

 
Get First Edition Novels From Christie's
Thursday, 27 November 2014 19:05

Get First Edition Novels From Christie s

Get First Edition Novels From Christie s

What: First Edition, Second Thoughts - Christie’s online auction of first edition novels, view their website here.

Why: It’s time to get hammered! Christie’s is auctioning first editions of several novels (original annotations included!) and you have until December 2 till the gavel drops. Thumb through the online catalogue, already up on their website, and you will find Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple with terse scribbles including, “I was mistaken. There is nothing more for me to say about this book”. There are also original copies of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; Tony Kushner’s Angels in America; and Patti Smith’s memoir, Just Kids (you’ll have to fight us for this one), up for grabs. The auction is open to online bidders from around the world, so get those paddles ready for brand spanking old.

When: December 2, 7 pm EST.

 
Sponsored: Party Prep with Blush Clinics
Thursday, 27 November 2014 16:41


***This post is sponsored by Blush Clinics***

The party season is here, our social calendars are fast filling and we’ve got our game face on…a radiant game face at that, with a little help from the folks over at Blush Clinics. If the name sounds familiar, it’s with good reason. Pioneered by skin care expert Dr.Jamuna Pai, they’ve been in the business of making people beautiful for over 20 years now.

Blush Clinics offer state of the art treatments, including laser hair removal, skin tightening, chemical peels, medi-facials as well as botox and fillers. And all of them are carried out by doctors (not regular technicians), so rest assured your fate…er face is in good hands.

Signature Treatments

Luxury Gold Facial: This one is our pick for the perfect party prepper. Introduced specially for the festive season, it ends with a mask made of actual gold dust! (which is believed to be ideal for cleansing, brightening and to add that glow to your face).

Laser Hair Reduction: Putting an end to the pain and the inconvenience of your monthly waxing and threading ritual, is the clinic’s laser hair reduction treatment. Hair today, gone tomorrow? Sign us up.

Advanced Skin Brightening Peel: This procedure aims to reduce any dark spots on your face. What pigmentation? The peel also brightens the skin and improves its texture.

Getting there: Blush Clinics Khar (W) 67042425, Kemps Corner 3638699, Andheri(W) 26361578, see Facebook page here, follow them on Twitter @jamunapai and Instagram on BLUSHCLINICSBYDRJAMUNAPAI .

 
Tour With Burning Man's Lotuses
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 18:49

Tour With Burning Man s Lotuses

Tour With Burning Man s Lotuses


If we told you that today’s story was about love and magic, the cynic in you would roll your eyes and scoff.

But if we were to say it’s about someone who gave a TED talk, got a Burning Man Honorarium Art Grant this year, and is on her way to harnessing the everyday magic of our lives with technology, we’ve got your attention, right?

Lean closer, dear reader, lean closer.

Bloomsday Prophecy

Say hello to Shilo Shiv Suleman – you probably already follow her pretty Instagram feed – the main driver behind Pulse and Bloom, “an interactive and social art installation” that was set up with the help of a talented team at the popular Burning Man music festival in Nevada earlier this year (see the awesome video here). Although it’s her most recent public work, we had to excavate it out from a pile of stories about fairies, love, heart beats, emotions that came up in conversation.

Twenty five year old Shilo explains to us how she used art to create one of the largest biofeedback installations of its kind, with the help of an urban designer, technology entrepreneurs and a neuro technologist.

Pulse and Bloom consists of 20 lotuses of varying heights with pulse sensors and LED lights mounted on the stem. “When you place your hand on the lotus, the stem and the flower start to beat according to the rhythm of your heart. When more than one person does it, the stem starts to pulse with each person's  heartbeat, making it possible to watch how heart rates of different people in intimate spaces start to beat in sync,” she explains.

 
Meet The Bouncer For Freelancers
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 10:58

Meet The Bouncer For Freelancers

Meet The Bouncer For Freelancers 

When we first heard about Gopal Bhai, he sounded like a vigilante, some sort of urban legend. A big, burly man with a thick moustache and a safari suit, riding a Honda Unicorn bike all around the city, making sure freelancers get paid on time. That client who has been promising to pay you “tomorrow” since forever, shudders. 

Part organiser, part collection agent and part errand boy, Gopal Bhai works at a recording studio to coordinate payments, but is also hired by freelancers to follow up on cheques and to collect them, a job he has been specialising in for 22 years now. Formerly a security guard and then a body guard for a hotel owner, Gopal Bhai isn’t a towering man – he’s 5 feet 6 inches tall – but the width of his chest is used to recover your cheque. Flex-i job, indeed!

Organised Crime Buster

While the suffix ‘bhai’ comes more from respect than gangster speak, freelancers do use the word ‘intimidating’ to describe him. “I met Gopal Bhai in 2009 and have been relying on him ever since to pick up my cheques. He's great for the job and is so intimidating that production houses volunteer to mail the cheques over themselves, requesting us to not send him to their offices!” says Kim Koshie, freelance audio producer.

While 41 year old Gopal Bhai admits that there’s something about him that makes him appear like a plain clothes cop – we think it’s the safari suit, he thinks it’s a “policewala personality”- he’s really quite the gentle giant and is exceedingly polite. “It doesn’t make sense to use force to recover money. The industry is small and everyone has to work together. If the client isn’t honouring their end of the deal, I use tough love, a combination of sweet talk and inconvenience by delaying their work, to get the job done.” The muscles, he tells us, are just a front, emphasising that beating people up or getting into fights are not part of the services he offers. “I don’t have to get to that point. Look at me!” he grins, flexing.

 
Language List: Pali Bhavan
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 11:24

Language List: Pali Bhavan

The ongoing German vs Sanskrit debate made us want to shut them all up and learn a new language. You too? What a babe(l)! Refer to our quick directory for where to learn the usual French, German and Spanish, but also Pali, Russian, Mandarin and more.

Mandarin

Register for Inchin Closer’s language course and the first thing you’ll get in your inbox is a Chinese name.  Take it to class, where teachers (from mainland China) will re-christen you, compare Mandarin and Hindi to make the language more relatable and incorporate real life situations in the curriculum. This class is endorsed by the Peoples Republic of China Consulate.

Inchin Closer:Call 9870090966, see their website here.

German 

The Goethe Institut offers intensive courses on the language and conducts half-yearly exams.

But if you’d rather have someone come over, call Saeeta Nakhoda, instructor, translator and interpreter who is willing to travel between Churchgate and Malad to teach you and your friends, and even customise a course based on your needs, profession and specifications. Geschwindigkeitsbeschrankung is her favourite German word. “It means speed restriction, and is very tricky to say out loud.”

Goethe Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan K.Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda, call 22881791, 22027542, 22027710, visit their website here; Saeeta, call 9820996875 or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Rs 1,500 for a 1.5 hour one on one session/Rs 600 per person for a larger group.


Pali

Among the many languages you can learn at Mumbai University as a non student there, one of the most unusual and sort of pointless (but there’s the fun) is Pali, the Indo-Aryan language used to inscribe Buddhist scriptures.

Mumbai University, M.G.Road, Fort, view their course list here.

Urdu

Ashraf Saab, a sweet old Urdu teacher who resides in Andheri comes over with school level grammar workbooks, but also poetry recommendations. And if you have a few minutes to spare, he’ll tell you all about his  struggle as a mill worker in Bombay.

You can also take weekend classes at Anjuman-i-Islam College at Grant Road. Pass the one year course and you will receive an Urdu diploma from Delhi University.

Call Ashraf Saab on 9323284889; see Anjuman-i-Islam course details here.

Japanese

Besides classroom sessions, The Japanese Learning even teaches the language over Skype. Also see courses at Kaizen Linguistics.

Japanese Learning, Namdar, Jeevan Vikas Kendra Road, Koldongri, Vile Parle (E), call 9833118648/022-26822779, course fee – Rs 12,000 (class), Rs 14,000 (private tuition) per month, visit their website here; Kaizen Linguistics, 338, Mastermind I, Royal Palms Estate, near Aarey Colony Goregaon (E), call 28788940, 9821844265, course fee – Rs 16,000, visit their website here.

Russian

If you go to Goa often, knowing Russian may come in handy. The Russian Center offers courses for students and business people in a center that also houses an art gallery, library, reading room, film screening center and ballet studio. Pirouette!

Russian Centre, 31 A, Dr G Deshmukh marg, Breach Candy, call 23510793. See their website here.

 
How To Be a Professional Gamer
Monday, 24 November 2014 09:53


Meet Bhavesh Nachnani. He’s almost 28 and works in sales at a German company. On his table you’ll see an MBA degree, but also a bronze medal in gaming from the Asia E-Sports Championship that he acquired in 2012.

An unlikely candidate to be a professional gamer (he doesn’t tick any cliches – teenager, tattoos, unemployed – in our heads), we spoke to many like Bhavesh, a thought spurred on by last week’s launch of MTS’s first multi-player gaming platform for India, Game God, to find out what’s it’s like to be a professional gamer, how gaming has grown in India and how you can get there, even though you’re not a kid with afternoons to waste away at a gaming zone.

A gamer for the last nine years, Bhavesh says age is just a number. While he has seen working professionals in their 20s and 30s turn pro gamers, he still doesn’t feel like the scene in India allows you to quit your job for gaming. But the landscape is slowly changing, with a growing number of gamers, and companies like MTS  investing in the scene.

If ex-gamer, and gaming event organiser Ashwin Jain is to be believed, there is great potential in India and especially Mumbai. He started out with small tournaments where the top prize was a pair of headphones, or an optical mouse. Cut to September, 2014 where he put together the first edition of Mumbai Electronic Sports Championship with a bounty of Rs 1 lakh. “I was expecting anywhere between 300-400 gamers to show up since it was the first edition, which is why I was pleasantly surprised when 2,000 of them showed up,” says Ashwin. A second season is expected soon.

Girl Power (On/Off)

Gamer and freelance graphic designer in her early 30s, Dipika Jerome confirms this in her own small way, talking about how traffic to her gaming zone in Bandra, has more than doubled in the last year. We met her last Friday at Maximum Gaming, a space pasted with black wallpaper, decked with black computers, a random advertisement hanging on the pin-board reading ‘to protect your eyes during long hours of gaming, wear xx lenses’. Dingy? We thought so, but Dipika clarified, “the place should give the feel of a den,” suggesting that the darkness is actually by design. There were a bunch of people in their early twenties playing DOTA 2  (Defence Of The Ancients 2), while a teenager yelled at a man in his 30s, his team mate, “BEHIND YOU! BEHIND YOU!” Too late to respond, both of them were killed by terrorists. The kid was angry, it was game over for both gentlemen. Escape. New Game. Enter.

Who said you live only once?

 
Riffreel Turns Your Clips Into A Video
Friday, 21 November 2014 11:25


What: Surrender your GoPro and iPhone clips to riffreel and they’ll use them to tell a story, check their Facebook page here, each video costs Rs 1,800.


Why: You’ve just captured some cool footage on your scuba diving trip to the Andamans, but don’t know what to do with it? Hand it over to the guys at riffreel and they’ll sift through your clips, edit it and add a soundtrack to create a fun story. They’ll even work with footage from smart phones and GoPros.


When: You want clip art.

 
bpb Buy: Cotton Candy Maker For Your Kitchen
Friday, 21 November 2014 11:19



What: Cotton Candy Maker by Nostalgia on Elitify.com, Rs 5,995.

Why: Coiffe pink clouds in your kitchen with this adorable cotton candy machine that turns bad days into fun fairs. It comes with two plastic cones and a sugar scoop (sugar not included) and is a great alternate to that microwave you were going to gift your just-married friend.


When: Now. It’s important to floss daily.

 
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