Shubha Mudgal
Shubha Mudgal

For the love of the arts
The Serendipity Arts Festival returns this December to inject a sense of vibrancy to the languid environs of Goa. But before that, there will be a curtain raiser held at The Royal Opera House in Mumbai tonight. The festival itself merges different disciplines - visual, performing and culinary arts - with the aim to bring about a conversation between the practitioners of these various forms.

A host of celebrity curators are in charge of each department, such as singer Shubha Mudgal, danseuse Tanusree Shankar and chef-turned-foodpreneur Manu Chandra. Shankar says, "Being Indians, we have a cultural heritage to fall back on, but we can also be progressive and modern," giving us some insight into what the essence of the festival is all about.

The saree is like a white tee, and it's now at MoMA
Sanjay Garg has a first up his sleeve (or should we say, saree blouse?) The Delhi-based saree revivalist becomes the first Indian designer to showcase at NYC's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Garg has sent across two sarees; one, a contemporary design from the Monkey Business collection (in pic), and another rani pink Madurai saree with the parrot motif. Both are woven in Varanasi, and use the kadwa brocade technique with extra weft, and gold jaal work.

The sarees will be showcased at the Is Fashion Modern exhibition scheduled from October 1, 2017 to January 28, 2018. The sarees will share space with Levi's 501 jeans, Converse All-Stars, Calvin Klein briefs, Yves Saint Laurent Smoking and Safari suits, Vivienne Westwood's 1994 kilts and the 'God Save the Queen' tee she designed with Malcolm McLaren. It's MoMA's approach to fashion design that makes this more-than-350-piece exhibition, different.

Rather than delve into the specifics of a single idea or designer, senior curator of the department of architecture and design, Paola Antonelli and her team have investigated the larger role fashion plays in our lives.

"It's a proud moment," Garg tells this diarist. "I am happy we stuck to our guns, and looked at the saree for inspiration rather than instruction. It's an iconic garment of the world, much like the white T-shirt. And I disagree with the statement, 'the saree needs to change'. Change is not necessarily good, you know."

From 140 characters to a book
If you enjoy reading micro-fiction, you must have come across the crisp, impactful writing of under 140 characters against a black background that is now associated with Terribly Tiny Tales.

Chintan Ruparel and Anuj Gosalia
Chintan Ruparel and Anuj Gosalia

The online micro-fiction platform, which invites stories from across India and the world and publishes them daily, is now making its foray into print, with a book by the same name. "It was actually romantic to take a turn to print. We never set out to replace books. All we wanted to do was make good writing more accessible to young readers," Chintan Ruparel, who co-founded the platform with Anuj Gosalia, told this diarist, adding that the tales span all genres including love, sci-fi and nostalgia.

While some known names in the field have contributed to the book, Ruparel tells us that the real joy of these stories is that they celebrate an unheard of author who can spin a gripping piece of writing.

The globe-trotting chef's new destination
If there is one chef who believes travel is crucial to keep his food exciting, it has to be Vicky Ratnani. Known for the extensive use of exotic ingredients, Ratnani travels extensively to meet local chefs, learn new recipes and cook with local produce.

After Canada and Australia, the chef recently launched a web series that documents his food adventures in Peru. And now, he is in China, enjoying char siu-style cooked pork in a bun, which it seems will find its way to a new show. Jet lag certainly is not a word in Ratnani's dictionary.

Stand with Shankar
It's not just her soul-stirring sitar melodies that have won our hearts this time. Recently, Grammy-nominated musician Anoushka Shankar joined the team of Stolen Innocence - a documentary about human trafficking that travels undercover through India, Nepal and Bangladesh, home to 90 per cent of trafficked populations - at the Raindance Film Festival in London.

Lending her voice to the film as the narrator, she tweeted, "These stories need to be told and heard." A child abuse survivor herself, the artiste has been actively championing women's rights issues, previously with her campaign One Billion Rising, and a radio show about gender equality.

Pic/Suresh Karkera
Pic/Suresh Karkera

A shoulder to laugh on
Actor Ranbir Kapoor and celebrity photographer Avinash Gowariker share a light moment at a promotional event at a Santacruz five-star.