How you write is as important as what you write, says this calligraphy artist specialising in antique font styles.
Minjal Kadakia was introduced to lettering at 12 when her mother signed her up for a workshop. At 40, she continues to enjoy calligraphy. "I want to share [the joy] with others," she says. Her most recent workshop was a three-day session that introduced participants to Gothic calligraphy skills. They were provided with Staedtler pens and paper, and learnt about letterform construction as well as word and sentence structures. Kadakia integrated the script into decorative applications including greeting cards and envelopes so that participants were able to test the techniques they learnt. They went home with an instruction booklet designed by her to practice what they learnt. "Everyone enjoys being reacquainted with alphabets. They cherish the chance to slow down, work with simple materials, and tune into their playfulness," says Kadakia, who plans to host the next series at the end of this month.
Cost: Rs 3,500 (materials included)
Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Freny Jariwala's interest in soap making comes from the family business. She decided she'd continue the legacy, with an all-natural thrust. She says some brands, despite claiming to be organic, do end up using preservatives and chemicals. The one-year-old venture, The Secret Ingredient, produces only natural soap, serum, scrub and lip balm to address dead skin, open pores, tanning and poor skin texture. "These have no chemicals, no parabens, and no additional fragrances," she assures. She adds that the products are cruelty-free, SLS/SLES-free and formulated for the Indian weather.
"We believe in sustainable business practices and conserving the environment. Which is why I don't use plastic in the packaging."
Price: Rs 220 onwards
Paint while you party
Four years ago, when Snehal Patil hosted her first painting party for a friend, she had no idea that it was the start of a colourful adventure. "I wanted to do something different from the usual eat-drink-gossip routine. I love art, so I thought we should paint, instead," she remembers. The next few parties that she hosted attracted a steady stream of painting enthusiasts, encouraging Patil to launch Bombay Drawing Room in 2015. The painting parties are held at restaurants and provide a break for adults. Talking about the variety of techniques she employs, the artist says, "We wish to make techniques from other parts of the world accessible to Indians."
Chicken soup for the soul
Sheena Dabholkar, 33, editor and communications professional, is candid in admitting that she has struggled with a childhood trauma, anxiety and depression. This made her naturally drawn to integrated, holistic healing practices leading to setting up Mindful and Body, a mental health platform that focuses on self care and mindfulness. "Mental healthcare is more than just traditional psychotherapy. People deserve to understand how much autonomy they have in their own recovery and growth," she says.
In order to propagate her philosophy of preventive and pro-active mental well being, Dabholkar has designed e-courses on gratitude and self-care. Both are self-paced, email courses that span five days of learning via self-reflection exercises and journaling prompts. The first, 10 Ways to Think About Gratitude, focuses on helping people adopt a daily gratitude practice. The second, Self Care for Artists and Creatives, is developed to offer mental health support to people in the arts. "Those who have completed the course write in with their experiences," says Dabholkar.
Cost: Rs 800
Manage money like a pro
"The educated also need the right kind of resources to be fiscally responsible," says Akruti Agarwal, trainer and business developer at Wealth Café. The decade-old firm that started off providing personal, financial advisory services has begun conducting workshops to spread financial literacy two years ago. One of their popular sessions is titled Be a Fe-money-ist, specially designed for women. "Women are stereotyped as spendthrifts and dismissed as bad with numbers. But they are instinctively organised and intuitive, both qualities that work well in the financial world," Agarwal believes.
Cost: Rs 999
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Star author guides your writing
Roxane Gay, the best-selling author of Bad Feminist, Difficult Women and Hunger is offering a master class to help writers craft impactful, personal essays. The one-hour session hopes to help you translate your personal journey into a powerful essay, using actionable methods. There are a total of eight videos to guide you from developing an idea to polishing the piece for publication. The main steps which Gay will coach you through include helping you find a purpose to tell your story, connecting your work with salient themes, conducting research to support the essay, navigating through memories to glean the core truth, writing and revising the essay, and submitting it. You need to create an account on skillshare to access this course, where the first few sessions are free. You will have to shell out R373 per month after that.
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