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Saturday, 05 October 2013 13:02

BESHARAM Movie Review

What a Shame : ‘Besharmee ki bhi hadd hoti hai…!!’

After giving full bollywood masala movie “Dabangg”, Abhinav Kashyap gave his shamelessly boring film. Besharam is flooded with songs, unwanted scenes, dragging screenplay and weak story line. This Ranbir Kapoor’s movie is very far from his all best movies.

There is no spark in love story and chemistry of Ranbir Kapoor and Pallavi Sharda. It looks like Kapoor family forcefully wants to act together in one movie. First half of movie is ok with few entertaining scenes but second half is dragging and boring. Direction and camera work is very average. Music is not so great. There is not even one chartbuster song in the movie; no song that you find yourself humming while coming out of the theater.

Ranbir Kapoor is brilliant in his role as usual. He is the only show stopper of the film. Pallavi Sharda’s pairing with Ranbir is pathetic. She lacks the "Heroine" touch and is a total disaster. Rishi Kapoor and Nitu Kapoor are effortless and not notable at all. Javed Jaffery as villain has very weak role.

Climax of movie was choosy and pathetic like all other masala movies. If you are a die-hard fan of Ranbir Kapoor then go and watch Babli’s Besharmee, otherwise it is a huge disappointment…!!

Our Khidki gives 2 out of 5 knocks for this movie.

Monday, 23 September 2013 23:10

So South Cafe - Baroda

What is with every other South Indian restaurant in Vadodara claiming to be only serving authentic cuisine from down south? Alright! Agreed, Vadodara is a cultural city, but Barodians are absolutely open to the whole idea of twist in tastes too. With the ever so blossoming and blooming restaurants as well as cafe culture in Vadodara, the latest addition with a fusion kick to the long list is ‘So South! Cafe’.

Oh! Don’t worry; you don’t really have to go all the way down “so south” to taste the sumptuous selection of dosai (dosa) from appetizers to desserts. Oh yes, dosai is actually served as confectioneries at So South. Unimaginable, right! Well, you need to really taste it rather than just trying to wrap your head around the idea.

Another awesome initiative taken up So South is an “innovation lab”. Have you ever heard that a restaurant having an “innovation lab”? So South obviously has it, which makes it the perfect eatery for every foodie who enjoys indulging in experimental tastes the delicious not-so-authentic dosai. Known as the ‘taste the twist’, where different continents can come together on one platter with a selection of local delicacies i.e., dosai.

So South is finest restaurant for all those looking for dosai with a fusion kick in the taste.

Address: 101, Sapphire Complex, Near Tube Company, Old Padra Road, Vadodara

Back in the day, Indian woman with a long ghunghat were only confined to create, nurture, cook and take care of the family members. Today the modern Indian women are challenging the notions of the patriarchal system. Gone are the days when Indian women were pressured to be in the shell.

Every woman of the new generation believes in upholding the traditions with the cultural values, but at the same time are pushing the boundaries and are redefining themselves. One of the most important challenges for every woman around the globe has been about her rights.

Last month Tata tea’s “JaagoRe” campaign (http://www.jaagore.com) launched a new advertisement highlighting yet another social issue of women voting rights. Given the times these days, where the safety and security of every woman is in question, it comes completely essential for every single woman to cast their vote in order to bring about change.

This campaign concentrates on the women’s empowerment with a simple but significant statistic which people were ignorant about -- the 49% vote of women is powerful enough to make the government or break it. The whole idea behind this 35 second ad is about making every single woman aware of the power she holds which can make or break a government.

Only thing every Indian woman needs to understand is nobody gives you the power, you just have to take it and make it count. There is a possibility that you may be let down if you fail, but you are fated if you don’t even try, so make use of your voting power wisely.

As Nellie McClung very rightly said “never underestimate the power of women”, the Indian women need to use their power to vote.

Have a look at the campaign in more details at http://www.jaagore.com/power-of-49

Hello, Ms. Varia! I am grateful that you could give us time for this interview. I really feel honoured. Let’s begin with you telling us something about yourself.

I am Avni Varia. I hail from a small traditional potter’s family. I am a great admirer of the culture of India and its legacy of arts and crafts. I have over fifteen years of experience in teaching and managing art, craft and design projects. I am very keenly interested in using my extensive management skills and knowledge to enhance the status of the traditional craftsmen and artisans.405171 221870897926217 1602862845 n

Well, we will definitely touch these subjects, but before that tell us about your education. Where and what all did you study? What were your favourite subjects? And how is your education helping you in life?

Home is where the heart is. So, despite having travelled across the country, it is Ahmedabad that I call as my home, where I actually stay, and the place where I was born and brought up. I did my M.A. from London Metropolitan University, and one of my current work associations are visiting faculty and as Workshop Manager at the Varia Design centre (https://www.facebook.com/VARIADDESIGN), where I myself was a student once upon a time. I am also a Visiting Faculty at SVIT College, Architecture department and Secretary of aadhar, an organisation working towards revitalisation of traditional Indian arts and crafts. I hold a various diplomas in the field of arts and crafts.

My education helped with gaining knowledge and developing a basic understanding of the skills required in this field. Often the real life scenarios are very different from what we study in books and classes, but it is this very education that helps dissect the situations and understand them better.

My most favourite subjects were the ones that involved a lot of creativity and handwork like embroidery, photography, sketching, etc.

I do not have a bachelor’s degree due to which I often faced a lot of problems in my work, especially in the way the people in the industry looked and treated me. Determined to fight all that back and stand my ground, I decided to pursue a degree course after 12 years of professional experience. With this in mind, I applied to about 3-4 institutes in the U.K. for a bachelor’s degree. I feel proud to tell you that my biggest achievement was that all of the institutes I had applied to replied back to me and offered me a Master’s degree instead.

Fantastic, congratulations on that. If we touch upon the subject of inspiration, who have inspired you the most in life? What are the things you strongly believe in? Who did you learn them from?

My mother is a very traditional but most adaptable person. She has been a big inspiration for me. She taught me one of the most important lessons of my life, that one can make whatever one wants to by themselves and there was hardly any need to go out and buy anything. This concept has influenced me so much that if given a chance, I would love to live in a small village, with no electricity or modern facilities, among people who believe this idea that everything they need for living can be made on their own from available things in surroundings.

I am also greatly inspired by the Gandhian philosophies of Swaraj & Swadeshi. I strongly feel that we must not mindlessly focus on exports, but instead strive to make the products more local and more economical.

That is indeed very inspiring madam. I am sure you must have had a very creative and encouraging upbringing. It feels good to know that there are people like you who understand and respect the Gandhian ideas and philosophies.

Avni Varia  Avni Varia  Avni Varia

Tell us something about your current and previous work engagements?

Currently I am engaged in an ‘eco-friendly Ganesha making workshop’. I am also a visiting faculty at the SVIT, Vasad and the IIT-Gandhinagar. I also have my own ongoing research in this field. In my spare time I mentor students willing to take up projects and researches in the handicrafts field, from across the world. Technology like Skype, etc have ensured that there are never any distances and it has enabled me to mentor students anywhere in the world. I also handle the Heritage Film Festival (https://www.facebook.com/TheHeritageFilmFestival), a project by my NGOaadhar (https://www.facebook.com/pages/aadhar/221019138023545) and I am the editor for its quarterly newsletter of "Samvaad - a dialogue on heritage" (http://aadhar-india.org/NL/Samvaad-June2013.pdf).

When & How did you exactly take the plunge into this field? And is there anybody else from your family also working in this field?

I started out in the field of design in 1993-94, when I was in my Class X. At that time, I had started my own line of garments with my sister, which we would sell in Mumbai. As time passed, I grew more and more passionate about handicrafts when I started teaching, crafts and design, to the batch after me, in 1997 at the Varia Design Centre. My father is a graphic designer at the National Institute of Design and had informally trained me for years which also helped me a lot in life besides kindling my passion for handicrafts.

In a way, my entire family – my parents, my sister, my cousins, everybody was involved in some or the other way in arts and design. The fact that I hailed from a traditional potter’s family, makes it evident that perhaps I carried this passion in my genes. This made my family very supportive of my decision to join the field and encouraged me when I decided to pursue a career in heritage crafts and design.

How did you plan your approach? What is your main focus in your work? Were there any problems – strategic, financial, support, etc?

After spending around 14 years in this field, I can confidently say that I never really had to face any financial woes. My major focus has always been doing the job at hand in the best possible way and as professionally as possible. And as I went about focussing on my work, the remaining aspects just kept falling into the place for me. I can proudly claim that throughout my career so far, I have never worked on the funded grant given by government. I have always worked from my own income and the project funds.

I am currently working for my own community of potters, and am planning on how the potters can be made self-dependent and thereby, I am trying to build a mechanism for sustainable income generation for them. As for a long-term plan, or rather a dear dream, I would like to launch my own brand of Varia pottery someday, where  we keep the ethnic look and traditional values intact.

I would also like to take my research in crafts and handicrafts further and make a documentary on it. aadharis going through organisational restructuring currently and now  we are ready to take more team members to  join us. I plan to take the Heritage Festival at the international platform. My major focus is to makeaadhara platform for artisans and craftsmen and make them independent, being able to stand on their own feet, so nobody can come and exploit them or they don’t have to be dependent on somebody’s aid or mercy.

That is indeed a wonderful plan ahead. We from BK Team wish you all the very best, and would pray that you succeed and may all your dreams come true. How do people find out about you and your work?

My personal website and FB page has helped a lot of people and prospective clients and customers get in touch with me. Currently, no paid publicity is being done for my NGO –aadhar. Friends and family step in to help me out as and when they can and with whatever they can. But most importantly, work speaks for itself.

Ms. Varia, what do you feel about your progress so far in your life? Are you satisfied with it or do you think it could have been better?

Honestly, I am thrilled with my progress in my career. It is more than I had imagined.

But the path has never been milk and roses. Not being from any elite design institutes and not having a proper graduation degree, I often bore the brunt of a lot of frustration and coldness from the industry. But today, the struggle is a matter of the past, and it has only made me stronger and shine out like a diamond after being exposed to the fire.

What’s a normal working day for you? If we take a leaf out of your life, what all can we see?

Basically, I am a very spontaneous person who lives in the moment. I do not follow any ritualistic daily routines nor restrains myself to any fixed working hours. I work as demanded by the task at hand.

Do feel the pressure of being ahead of competition in your field work? How do you handle the competition? How do you create an edge over them?

I believe that there is no competition in my work. If there is somebody in the same field or somebody willing to join the field, I would love to collaborate with them. Instead of focussing on how to beat the competition, it is a lot more worthwhile to focus on the betterment of the community and work together towards it. Each person can bring some value to the table which together makes a lot of energy, which can be added for the craftsmen community.

A commendable thing to say. One last thing, what message would you like to the youth, especially the ones who are keen to work in the field of arts & crafts?

I strongly believe in following my heart, and would like to share the same message with everyone. Follow your heart, I would say, and nothing should be done because others are doing it or because it is profitable or because it appears shiny and glossy on the outside. Instead, I would ask everyone to feel the passion and take the plunge. When there will be the passion and a willing heart, one will automatically end up doing their best in the job they have taken up.

I am sure all of us will remember it and take it to our hearts. Finally, I would like to ask you, how can people get in touch with you?

People can get in touch with me any time. They can visit my website www.eternalnomad.com and find out more about me. They can write me a mail on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. anytime, or skype with me on my ID eternalnomad.

Ms. Varia, it was indeed an enriching experience to interview you. It was an honour and I am very thankful to you for agreeing for the interview and giving us some precious time. I wish you all the best for your future ventures. I also wish all the best to aadhar for its activities. May you scale a lot more acmes and succeed in your aims to better the lives of the artists and craftsmen.

579918 230456057067701 52815748 nAvni 3

Monday, 09 September 2013 16:50

Aloha - Scholarships upto 25%

Here is something to cheer up for many students & their parents. Aloha Gujarat (Whole Brain Development) has announced a scholarship scheme recently for the students who have scored more than 60% last year.

While getting in touch for further information, here is what we found out:
ALOHA Gujarat has recently completed its 9 years successfully with 96000 students registrations. Here, its needless to mention that without everyone's philanthropic support it would not have been possible. To celebrate this majestic achievement, we, from bottom of our heart would like to offer some financial benefits to our treasured ALOHIANS in form of Scholarship.

Students are eligible to get up to 25% benefits on Level Fees for specified courses of ALOHA. Students will be entitled to get the scholarships on the basis of their previous year’s final examination Report Card of School.

So we urge you not to miss this ONCE IN MILLION opportunity for your beloved ones, as this scholarship will be available for very short span from 1st September’13 to 15th september’13.

For more details you are requested to visit the centre during centre hours WITH UR CHILD’S last year’s FINAL EXAM MARKSHEET, so we can satisfy your query.

Aloha Gujarat: https://www.facebook.com/aloha.gujarat?fref=ts

Screen Slavery!

We have stepped into an age, where phones are becoming bigger (phablets) and tablets are becoming smaller. We experience the biggest screen in the form of a TV early in our life, and slowly and gradually the smaller screens penetrate in our lives and suddenly become significant portions of utility.

There are primarily two aspects of our body, the physical aspects and the mental one, and it is advisable to keep both these aspects healthy with the help of exercising. But instead, what is happening is that the focus is shifting to the mental aspect of health and the physical aspect is almost out of the picture. Thanks to the ever-evolving technology, people are naturally drawn towards such gadgets with open salivating mouth and are hence becoming slaves!

But still, today’s work-style and lifestyle largely depends on screens. Kids have phones and tablets to play with, Business honchos have tablets and laptops to fiddle with, and TV’s and gaming consoles greet the family at home! So we are virtually surrounded by screens, either for entertainment, business or mere time pass. Are you one? Oh yes! Definitely!

Written By: Azeem Topiwala, Ahmedabad

Our Forgotten Street Games! Ancient Novelty!

PSP, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, etc… These games and consoles have become the order of the day for today’s generation! Talk about anything close to this and you may find a place in the kids’ guild, or else you are outmoded material. Am I right? Oh yes I am! Technology is making the kids physically sluggish but mentally sharp. That’s not me speaking, but these are the results of surveys and researches carried out.

Kids are forgetting what games like Roomal-Daav, Thappo, Nadi-Parvat, are. These are games which require presence of mind as well as physical agility and nimbleness. But technology is giving al fresco gaming experiences, indoor within the gaming consoles and children hardly feel the need to go out and learn.

So what to do to revive these games? Hmm?!? Elders and people, who have played these games, can play a huge hand in reviving these games. People having good influence among children can take the initiative and popularize these games once again, because without any initiative, these games may become mere pages in the books of history.

Written By: Azeem Topiwala, Ahmedabad

Monday, 09 September 2013 10:38

Ganesh Chaturthi

As we ‘Gujaratis’, the ‘gathiya fafda’ loving people believe in celebrating each and every festival with high fervour and zeal. These days a walk down the street is more than enough for one to realise that the festive season is here. Every other street corner in Vadodara has a pandal being set up for Ganesh idols. Yes, it is almost time to gear up for our favourite festival season.

Even though the preparations for Ganesh Chaturthi being almost two to three months prior to the big festival where the skilled artisans beautifully craft and decorate life-like idols in various size and postures. Be it from student to storekeeper, movie producer to scientist, always begin new work assignment by praying to the god of wisdom, prudence, and salvation – Lord Ganeshason of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

Ganesh Chaturthi is believed to be one of the most auspicious festivals for the Hindus. The day is celebrated in great devotion as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. The duration of this festival usually varies from 1 day to 11 days as many devotees bring home idols of Lord Ganesha. The great enthusiasm is seen when the whole community comes together chanting with offerings of coconut, jaggery, 21 modakas (made of rice flour), 21 durva blades of grass and red flowers to worship Ganesha in colourfully done pandals.

According to the great Hindu mythology Ganesha is generally considered as one who grants intelligence (Buddhi Pradaayaka) and one who removes obstacles (Vigana Harta), which no grandmother has forgotten to tell her grandchildren. It is on the last day, when the idol is taken in a procession to be immersed in a river or the sea accompanied with joyous devotees singing Ganesha’s chants “Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya”. This is the see-off ritual which symbolises the journey of Lord towards his home in Kailash while taking away all the misfortunes.  

May Lord Ganesha fill your home with prosperity, good fortune and happiness!

Friday, 06 September 2013 12:55

Ahmedabad Haat

Location : Vastrapur
Crowd : Mostly Ladies and Art and craft loving people.
Stall : 98
Exhibition Hall : 1
Craft Gallery : 1
Amphitheatre (capacity 2000) : 1
Library : 1
Time : 10 am to 10 pm

'Ahmedabad Haat' is a place for handicrafts, where one can find various types of creative items.
Here, one can find Food Stalls, Accesories, Clothes, Artifacts, Home Decors, etc.
People from all over Gujarat come and sells traditional and creative stuff related to Friendship's Day, Traditional Day, Navaratri, Diwali, Valentine's Day, Christmas, Kitty Parties, Dance Parties, Birthday parties, etc.
Sometimes workshops are held like Pottery, Wood Carving, etc.

Ganesh Chaturthi is coming soon.. one can find "Eco-Friendly' Ganesh idols there.

Thursday, 05 September 2013 14:27

My Education Hub - Baroda

GreenBARODA----a hub for education. I’ve cleared my masters in clinical psychology and there is no other better place in the world! The campus is good... good looking crowd... and a bunch of grey head experts to help you out. I am doing my PhD here and its just awesome.

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