Taking poetry live online
If you don't manage to catch Nirmika Singh host a AurSuno Shamiyana poetry session over samosa and chai, you can still enjoy her verses on video at home.
When we first witnessed Hindi poetess Nirmika Singh perform, it was a poem that spoke of a love gone by. Her clear diction and sensitive retelling of everyday emotions, in crisp Hindi was an emotional experience. She now helms a video series titled Aur Suno, on YouTube, where she performs poems in spoken-word style, adding a touch of solo theatre. Our favourite poem (and hers)—Kuch aise badley duniya —goes something like this: "Kuch aise badley yeh duniya, ki meri kala meri soorat ban jaaye". Another video, that saw her discuss the reasons she writes, hit a million views.
It's possible that this success prompted Singh to take her poems offline, in AurSuno Shamiyana. "I took AurSuno offline because poetry is best performed and experienced live. I also wanted the environment to be intimate and warm, instead of a 'show'. Which is why I chose shamiyana-style floor seating and passed samosa and chai around before the recitation. Since AurSuno chronicles the shades and stages of my life, I wanted to first recite my poems in front of an audience of friends who have inspired me. We sold only 30 tickets. The rest of the seats were for them," says Singh, 32.
Now that she has begun to release the videos from AurSuno Shamiyana online, things seem to have come full circle. "Taking the project to other cities is my resolution for 2020."
Herbal hit to hangovers
Siddhesh Sharma, president of ayurvedic brand Baidyanath, knows the value of a energy beverage. While pursuing engineering at the University of Nottingham, he played competitive tennis and experienced the benefits of hydrating drinks. On returning to India, he saw a gap in the market for herbal energising drinks. "I decided I'd do something whenever the time was right," says Sharma, 34. Shunya, a herbal infusion that he has been developing for four years at an innovation centre in Singapore, is now here. Sharma says it is naturally sweetened and contains ashwagandha, brahmi, khas and kokum. "Ashwagandha helps relieve stress, brahmi is good for mental strength, khas is a natural coolant and kokum a natural digestive," he adds. He has also introduced ARMR (pronounced armour) a herbal anti-hangover potion. Packaged it in a shot glass and comprising 15 herbs, the drink is best had before you hit the bar.
At: Supermarkets and online grocery stores
Price: Shunya for Rs 75 (400 ml), ARMR for Rs 100 (60 ml)
By women, for women
Both Indians but settled abroad, best friends Bettina Tauro and Ninorah Brookshire started NRI Woman as a Facebook community page in 2017. It was meant to be a forum for South Asian women. "It was to talk about marriage, what's it like to assimilate into another culture, and the need to talk about mental health, the lack of a support system, raising kids as a single parent, addiction, etc, openly," says Tauro. A year later, they started the NRI Woman Podcast.
Fifty-four episodes have aired so far. "We've chatted with amazing women across the world, from Australia to the US," Brookshire says.
He takes you back in time
If you are a fan of The Beatles, The Carpenters and Abba, singer-songwriter Zarir Marfatia's new song, Eyes Half Closed, is one you may want to listen to. The simple, snap-along number is reminiscent of the '70s, heavy on guitar, and with sweet, romantic lyrics. Marfatia's writing is hopeful, with a touch of melancholia and is packaged in an upbeat ditty. His voice has a raw quality, that is not typical, but not harsh. With Eyes Half Closed, he will become a fresh edition to the city's English music scene.
Eyes Half Closed is available on Apple Music and Spotify
Kiddie cool cottons
Raina Shariff, Viinii Doshi and Poonam Sanghvi realised the dream every group of best friends harbours at least once in their lives, when two years ago, they launched Oui Oui, a kids clothing line. "We have known each other since childhood. So after we quit our jobs to take care of our babies, we decided to start our own business," says Viinii.
Their chic kidswear has an Instagram page that flaunts star kids Inaaya Kemmu and Aaradhya Bachchan sporting the label's tastefully designed, made-to-order dresses. "We target the one to seven group and our style is smart casuals," she says.
The trio chose the name of the brand wisely. Raina cannot help chuckling when she says, "Oui Oui is French for 'yes yes.' It has a positive vibe. Also it matches the impromptu way in which our venture began."
Eat like the Rushdies
It's very rare that a cookery book, and that too, a classic, finds its way to bookstores again. Thanks to Picador USA, Sameen Rushdie's Indian Cookery (Rs 450), a collection of recipes from the Rushdie family kitchen, is now available in paperback, 30 years after it was first published. It's like a primer of sorts, not just on Kashmiri-Punjabi cuisine, but everything from spices to seasoning and flavour. There is a detailed guide on the equipment and utensils needed, and the kind of spices you should stock up on, complete with health benefits, how to pick the right one and store it, too. We liked the chapter on planning an Indian meal, with several sample menus. Right from nargissi kofta, to chapli kebabs to panchporan aloo and lal masoor ki daal ka bhurta, made from leftovers of lentils, this one is a treat.
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