Dive into these unique accounts of culture, history, craft and crime online

04 December,2022 09:03 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Team SMD

Blomdahl takes us along with her as she stands with other villagers, with torchlights, to welcome Santa back home. Follow her right away if you want a peak into this unique life

Blomdahl’s IG post welcoming Svalbard’s freezing days



Have you ever wondered how people on a remote island close to the North Pole shop for groceries? Or what the landscape looks like during the four-month-long polar night? We hadn*t until we chanced upon Cecilia Blomdahl*s Instagram account. She lives in Svalbard, which has a population of 3,000 humans and some polar bears. Her feed has shots of her daily life, customs and routines of the Norwegian archipelago. Her latest posts show the islanders gathering to welcome Santa Claus back to their town, Longyearbyen. This is her favourite tradition. Legend says Santa Claus lives in the old mine in the mountain above their town, and every year, on the first day of the advent, he returns to the village, turns on the lights in his home, and puts out a postbox at the bottom of the mountain for children to put their lists in. Blomdahl takes us along with her as she stands with other villagers, with torchlights, to welcome Santa back home. Follow her right away if you want a peak into this unique life.
@sejsejlija, Instagram

Sparkling in the sun

Enchanted by the crystals hung outside shops in some of the city*s open markets, macrame artist from Lucknow, Nitransha Sinha has been making sun-catchers that capture the sunlight and cast a prism. We adore how it can fill mundane corners of a home with rainbow-y sunlight. The colour of the crystals, size of the hoop above which determines the size of the final product, can be customised. A piece takes an average of two days to make since Sinha must gauge in bright daylight how the crystals interact with the sun. Each creation with a hoop measuring 3.5 inches in diameter is priced at R1,100.
@nitransha, Instagram

Susegad stories


Manohar Shetty

Every so often, an anthology comes our way that is not just a sheer joy to read, but also offers an experience that*s very close to home. With roots in Goa, but raised elsewhere, this writer is always looking for stories of and about belonging. Poet Manohar Shetty*s newest anthology, The Greatest Goan Stories Ever Told (Aleph Book Company), is a grand and ambitious compilation of fiction, originally written in English, Konkani and Portuguese. In Shetty*s own words, Goa has seen better works in English and Konkani, than it has in Portuguese. That might be surprising to a few, because for nearly 400 years, Goa was part of the Estado da India. Read this book for its varied voices and sounds - the late Goan writer Laxmanrao Sardessai tells the moving riches to rag story in The gold coin; the prolific UK-based writer Selma Carvalho*s Bed Blocker No. 10 captures the diasporic experience through the prism of race and ethnicity, and then there*s the heart-rending story of 40-year-old FloRitta by Savia Veigas. Veterans and favourites Damodar Mauzo and Pundalik Naik are also part of this collection.
Available at all leading bookstores

Postcards from Siddhpur

For a long time, conservation architect Mallika Keer*s Instagram page Beyond Heritage has uncovered several hidden gems and delivered delightful trivia. For her new series, she travelled upwards to Gujarat to Siddhpur located around 103 km north of Ahmedabad. The Bohra Muslim community, writes Keer, have contributed significantly to the development of this pilgrimage town. "Their old havelis and mansions, some over 100 years old," she says, "have a markedly European flavour. A walk through ‘Bohra Vad* is like strolling down a street in London, complete with lamp lighters at dusk." Keer points out unique details that imitate Victorian architecture, such as the wood carvings. You can also order postcards made from photographs taken from her travels. A set of six costs Rs 250, 12 for R400, 18 for R500 and 24 for Rs 600.
@beyond_heritage, Instagram

Binge the smuggle

Money Mafia, a crime investigation documentary, takes you on a tour of the biggest financial frauds in the country, some of which would be a surprise to the casual viewer. Twelve episodes across three seasons, bring forth aspects of many scams from the POV of journalists that uncovered them, police officers investigating them, victims, activists etc. We enjoyed seeing all sides of the story, and that we were left to form an opinion. The first season is about the underworld of the 90s; while the second season is about money laundering. We were surprised to see one by Harshad Mehta*s right-hand-man, Ketan Parekh. The cherry on top? Discovery plus subscription comes complimentary with Amazon Prime.
Available on Discovery Plus

Curated by Jane Borges, Yusra Husain and Shreya Jachak

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