Return of Ms Lucy Almeda
We tried Grammarly's new tone detector to see if it actually works. Turns out: it caught our emotions just right
My long forgotten tuition teacher Ms Lucy Almeda was a perfectionist who couldn't tolerate the incorrect use of an 'a' instead of an 'an' or vice versa. She pinched our ears at every wrong use. Now that I installed the Grammarly App on my phone and MacBook last week, it feels a tech version of her has come alive. It is impeccable and concise. From where to place the commas and avoiding unnecessary ellipsis to using double periods and spelling adversaries, Grammarly is watching my every mistake and then sending it in a consolidated weekly email. Even the report cards in school were not so precise.
While I am still soaking it in; they've come up with a new 'tone detector' feature that uses Artificial Intelligence to gauge how an email sounds before you hit Send. The emoji bar at the bottom shows how friendly, optimistic, disapproving, sad, forceful the text is—without being preachy (thank you). You can contribute by letting it know whether the analysis was correct or not.
Just when you thing all this AI, Machine Learning and Data Analysis business is only here to pick your consuming pattern and making you shop even more, for once, it's good to see it do something that saves us from causing unintentional offence. This version is currently available for desktop use only.
Keeping it unfiltered
Smriti Notani, aka "real girl", is the voice behind the podcast, Real Talk with Smriti Notani on Hubhopper. The 32-year-old, whose vivacious personality comes across on line, decided to dabble in podcasting because she feels a constant need to keep it real. "I hate that women are habituated to not discuss certain topics. Starting my podcast was a natural extension of my blog and alter ego, Real Girl. She's honest, candid, potty mouthed, and hopefully, uplifting," she tells us. Notani selects the topic of discussion based on what she and her peers face in real life. From how to tackle body shaming to navigating the festive season when you're actually unhappy, she keeps it no-nonsense. "They don't always have to be serious issues. I also talk about quintessential Indian aunties and bachelorette parties. My podcast is a fun, free flowing conversation with my listeners—the way I would do it with my friends."
On Hubhopper; On Instagram @realgirlco
The proud feminists
Simran and Harsharin, two British Indian women, also collectively known as The Indian Feminist, are smashing patriarchy "one post at a time". Their Instagram is full of motivational posts that deal with issues women deal with every day—from curious questions about marriage to mental health. If you are not satisfied with just the memes and awareness, log on to theindianfeminist.com, and buy some cool merchandise to give back. We especially liked the Ain't No Wife Mug, and the Moti and Proud Tote Bag.
The pleated paper princess
Kamalrukh Gotlaseth has been a fan of the French art of decoupage. Which is why the chartered accountant decided to take a few hours out on weekends to learn a new art form every now and then. Her expertise now spans fluid art technique, coffee painting, pointillism, mosaic, dot mandala painting, zen doodling, charcoal painting and resin art, but it's paper quilling that's a favourite. Five years ago, she decided to spread the knowledge by holding her first workshop. Quilling or paper filigree is an art that involves the use of delicate strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create intricate designs. "I don't think anybody in the city teaches quilling anymore. Which is why the response to the workshops is always overwhelming," she says. Her sisters, Gulzar Govewalla and Pouruchisty Elavia, are the guinea pigs. "As soon as I learn a new design through an Internet tutorial, I get them to try it too. If they find it difficult to make within the stipulated time, I go slow with my students." Gotlaseth uses corrugated paper for quilling since it makes the process easier and faster. The papers come in a variety of metallic colours.
Ankita Ghosalkar started the Instagram page, Light Up, this Diwali after her friends encouraged her to take her hobby seriously. "I am a freelance media professional. When I have spare time on hand, I experiment with DIY crafts. That's how I came across candle-making and enjoyed the process," she says. Ghosalkar, 28, makes naturally fragrant candles, and couriers them across the country. Speaking about the ingredients she uses, she says, "I only purchase wax from the market; every other ingredient is procured from home. First, I pour wax in the tin. Just as it starts melting, I squeeze orange juice into it. This gives it a natural scent. A little later, I add rose petals, or cinnamon and sea shells. I then let the wax settle for about five hours." Ghosalkar stocks the candles in plastic-free packaging. "I use butter paper and old dupattas to gift wrap them. Each box contains six candles." The candles come in glasses you can reuse once the candle has finished its journey.
Violence and women
Mumbai-based journalist Kalpana Sharma is no stranger to gender discourse. She has been at the forefront of the conversation on women's rights through her columns. Her new book, The Silence And The Storm (Aleph Book Company), covers the period from 1985 to 2018, to discuss how the conversation around violence has changed. There has been a "growing focus on the personal and the particular," she explains. She takes us through the chilling stories of Vidya Prabhudesai, a 42-year-old typist, who was doused in kerosene and set on fire in Mumbai in 2000, and that of Munirka, 23, gangraped by six men on December 16, 2012, to illustrate the "range of realities facing Indian women". "If in the year 2000, a woman could be attacked by a spurned lover during morning hour in Mumbai, what has changed 12 years later when a young woman is gang-raped in a moving bus in India's national capital?" Nothing, unfortunately. Sharma makes another point when discussing how violence against women should not be restricted to rape, sexual assault or domestic violence. She discusses how ill-thought developmental policy and environmental destruction also affects women.
Curated by Aastha Atray Banan, Prutha Bhosle and Jane Borges
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