On the very first page of Ruskin Bond’s ‘A Book of Simple Living’, is a very beautiful and serene illustration of a trail of ants. Even before I can immerse myself in the soothing words of this book, my mind goes back a decade in time. My now-tween then-toddler and I were in a park, staring at a long line of ants that he spotted. We had all the time to ‘stand and stare’ at the busy ants. I still remember feeling so calm and at ease, and experiencing a sense of solidarity with nature, even as the world around us went buzzing by. This is exactly the kind of feeling that reading ‘A Book of Simple Living” evokes.
Ruskin Bond has written a lot about nature. This book has crystallised nuggets which all stem from his relationship with the natural world. “Live close to nature and your spirit will not be easily broken, for you will learn something of patience and resilience. You will not grow restless and you will never feel lonely,” he rightly says.
But, is it really only nature that he talks about? As you read the short passages in the book, varied themes come out- the futility of war, the delicacy of love, sights and sounds that tickle the senses, the many pleasures of gardening, his take on collections and ‘hoarding’ stuff, work, vocation and creativity. Occasionally, a poem creeps in and these simple verses are equally enchanting. In short, these are his philosophical musings that will make our busy and wired lives happier.
This book will make you savour simple pleasures of life and the joy of little things. It is a way to detox mentally. Read it from the first to last page or just open up a random page and devour it. The writing is short, brief and simple, thus being accessible to the most busy or reluctant of readers.
If you have read other books by Ruskin Bond you will find that this book is a microcosm of his world. If you have never read a book by Ruskin Bond, this is probably the best one to begin with. And, if reading this book kindles any desire to express a few thoughts of your own, be sure to check out our post on a journal written by Bond- https://www.bookedforlife.in/reviews/ruskin-bonds-words-hills-collectors-delight/. This journal merges spectacular artwork and beautiful snippets from Bonds works, to inspire you to pen down your own thoughts.
Ruskin Bond’s ‘A Book of Simple Living’ is a book you may want to add to your collection. What is says remains timeless!
Title: A Book of Simple Living
Author: Ruskin Bond
Publisher: Speaking Tiger
A lot has been written and discussed about manifesting your destiny. The concept of visualising your life the way you want it to be and thereby manifesting your destiny has gained trajectory in the recent years. Yes, the publication of the bestselling book, The Secret may have had a role to play. But, the truth is that a lot more people have taken to living more consciously than they did before and believing that they have a more active role to play in their lives.
Create your dream life now: A workbook and guide for manifesting your destiny written by Darren Marc and illustrated by Joan Coleman is a workbook that guides people in a step-by-step manner to manifest their destiny.
Section 1, Let’s Start Creating gently leads the reader into birthing their dream by talking about intentions and goals, and then moving on to creating vision boards, Since this is a workbook there is enough space to write down your goals. There is space to note down goals related to different aspects of life: Personal, health, family and romance, fun, career, finance and spirituality.
Section 2 concerns Daily Spiritual Practice. Goals have been set, but one needs to achieve them! This is where daily habits come in. This section illuminates some active meditations, affirmations and creative visualisations, that aid the process of fulfillment of the goals. The section on affirmations is also quite comprehensive, with a few good affirmations to incorporate in your daily practice.
The book also emphasizes on the role of meditation in manifesting your desires. It talks about white light meditation, mantra meditation, japa meditation and mindfulness medication with a brief introduction to these. On the same lines it talks about yoga. At first, I could not comprehend why meditation (or even yoga) should be an integral part of a workbook that talks about manifesting your destiny. However, the premise of the authors, as they explain here, is that meditation cultivates mindfulness that ultimately filters into daily life and enables the person to consciously choose thoughts and actions that support specific goals in life.
Once the reader understands these concepts, the reader is led to write down his or her morning and evening rituals, which obviously are based on the concepts explained so far. This is the action sheet that ensures that the reader puts into practice what he or she has learnt from the exercise. To supplement these rituals, there are also some well-defined health tips given, which will work along with the spiritual habits and rituals for more holistic development.
Section 3 contains the 12 Keys of Conscious Creation. These are philosophical concepts that have been defined ‘operationally’ in this book. Then, there is space to note down how exactly the reader will imbibe these concepts and make them a part of his or her life. For example, one of the key concepts of conscious creation is being in the present. The book defines what that means. Then, it nudges the reader to write down how he or she will be in the present at all times. This activity kind of orients the reader towards the ‘keys’ being expressed, and encourages the reader to imbibe these in his or her consciousness.
Section 4, A Little More Inspiration adds on some more practical tips, and then eases the reader to now start independently applying the concepts learnt in the book.
I like to think of this workbook as a medium of gentle handholding in the path of setting and achieving goals. It is also visually quite delightful. If you’re buying the e-book, you’ll need to print it out since the book requires participation from the reader in terms of writing and noting down some points as the reader reads along. It is a record book as well, which you can keep going to from time to time in the journey of manifesting your destiny.
Author: Darren Marc
Illustrator: Joan Coleman
Publisher: Health communications, Inc.
A strong woman looks at a challenge in the eye…and gives it a wink! This pretty much sums up Daughters of Legacy by Rinku Paul and Puja Singhal. Published by Penguin books, it chronicles the lives of twelve fascinating women from Indian business families on managing legacy businesses.
If a woman faces the glass ceiling in a Corporate environment- in a traditional Indian legacy set up, she might as well have an ice glacier to get around! Most Indian legacy businesses are passed on to sons. With this deep-rooted patriarchal mind set, it is refreshing to read a story which talks about daughters of the house being given equal opportunities as sons.
It talks about the pressure that comes up with having a famous surname and how being the boss’s daughter or an ‘heiress’ is not always an enviable position to be in. There are various common challenges that these women faced – including ‘not been taken seriously’ or having to hear things like ‘Oh – she is here only for time pass, till she gets married’
The book is divided in to 12 chapters with each chapter telling the story of one unique woman and her journey in to the world of entrepreneurship. The women covered are Ashni Biyani, Meher Pudumjee, Manasi Kirloskar amongst others. The authors have covered women from different business sectors such as retail, real estate, logistics, textiles as well as from different stages of business legacies. While some are second generation entrepreneurs, someone like Lavanya Nalli of Nalli group is a 5th generation entrepreneur covered in the book.
One of the best things about this book is that the narrative is focused on bringing out the leadership skills, decision making abilities and pitfalls faced by these remarkable women from a business perspective- the things shared by them include their struggles to be accepted by the board, facing failure and bouncing back.
At no point does the book turn into a cliché on work life balance, but has some extremely straight forward advice on hard work, team building, taking calculated risks and not becoming a victim of your own success. There are several interesting anecdotes on the lessons that these women learnt by observing how their parents ran their business- especially on trusteeship and being responsible for the lives of people who work for you. At the end of each chapter is letter from the parents of the entrepreneur which is heart-warming to read.
Title: Daughters of Legacy
Author: Rinku Paul & Puja Singhal
Publisher: Penguin Books
Klaus Ferlow, author of Neem – Nature’s Healing Gift To Humanity, is no stranger to the powerful potential of the neem tree. He is the founder of Ferlow Botanicals, Vancouver, B.C. and NEEM RESEARCH, West Vancouver, B.C, and has been involved in intensive research on this miraculous versatile medicinal neem tree for over 25 years. His company manufactures Ayurveda herbal personal neem care products with no harmful ingredients in Canada. His connections and collaborations with neem experts in India is also very strong.
In his book, Neem – Nature’s Healing Gift To Humanity he shares his personal story and experience with neem about the benefits and healing power of this tree.
Bookedforlife chats with him about the multitude of benefits that neem offers….
Your love affair with herbs has been rooted in your childhood where you had access to fields and forests. In your book you also mention that study of herbs was a part of the curriculum. Unfortunately, we don’t see that kind of access today. How can one change this scenario?
I grew up attending school from 1945 – 1955 and learning about the benefits and healing power of herbs. It was part of life and the education I received from my grandmother and my parents, especially from my mother. Knowledge about herbs and healing was passed on from generation to generation, and also while attending school. We are living now in an information age where the digital system offers educational value on what Mother Earth has to offer.
Whether herbs as a curriculum is available in schools, I am not sure. However, many colleges over the years are now offering holistic herbal medicine courses and huge public and commercial health shows are taken place. A growing number of the population at large seem to get the message and want to get back to basics and learn more about what Mother Earth has to offer, staying away from harmful prescription drugs.
I found the chapter on skin care quite interesting. The skin care regimens and products you prescribe are easy to follow and understand. However, when I contrast it with what many popular magazines say today, I find one difference. You do not talk about sunscreen. I personally feel that the conceptualization of sunscreen as indispensable under all circumstances (purported by popular media) seems questionable. I wanted to know your thoughts on the same.
From my personal experience and many tests, I can tell you that two of our herbal creams work wonders when it comes to preventing sunburns and they also work on severe skin problems and insect bites. But, we are not allowed to promote it to the consumer because the government supports the commercial sunscreens with SPF factors, some of which are loaded with harmful synthetic chemicals, which in fact do not work in most cases and are not effective and can create severe skin problems, even cancer!
You mention in the book that modern medicines geared towards symptom relief are about sickness while there is another approach about wellness. How can the common man bring balance the two, in this age of information overload where one often hears conflicting views?
I would say it is mis-information overload! It is a fact that big pharmacy companies have been able to influence (corrupt?) even governments. When people have absolute no knowledge about the benefits and healing power of herbs and herbal remedies it would not work for them because the body, mind and spirit have to go together as a belief system. However, experience shows that when people with health problems using prescription drugs arrive “at the end of the rope”, many of them switch over to herbs expecting a miracle cure over night…which of course does not work either. I have told people over and over again that herbs and herbal remedies work over time if you are patient, using them daily and believe that they might help you because the body is the best healer!!
What is the solution? Kids in kindergarten and in schools should have curriculum about the benefits and healing power not just for health problems, but also for using in their day to day life.
Your company has been manufacturing herb based products for many years now. Have you observed a change in consumer mind-set when it comes to using natural products? Any information you may want to highlight?
There is a continuing trend for consumers to be concerned about the potential side-effects of the many artificial and harmful synthetic chemical substances used in skin care products such as paraben preservatives, petrochemicals, toxins and so on. Increasingly consumers look for “green approved’ products that do not harm the skin and are also kind to the environment and society.
Raising trends of the use of natural, chemical-free ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products is observed among various manufacturers as well. The trend caters to the ever increasing demand for natural and organic (there is also a lot of cheating going on using the words “natural” and “organic”) products among consumers. The highest demand is in Asia-Pacific area, North America, Western Europe. Men increasingly are also demanding quality cosmetics without harmful ingredients and increasing the elderly population become a force for these products.
My understanding is that sustainable neem products have made major inroads with farmers around the globe but the powerful manufacturers of poisonous chemicals with their lobbyists will do everything to discredit the movement of natural products for the agriculture industry. But at the end I believe common sense will prevail.
Sadly, corporations are still able to find new customers with their “brainwashing advertising and promotion” because people don’t read the labels!
Today, the marketplace is flooded by products that claim to be ‘natural’. How can a consumer make the right choice? Any tips from your side?
Consumers these day have unlimited sources to educate themselves and to my knowledge the middle class income earners are becoming more and more aware to avoid any cosmetics, especially loaded with synthetic cheap fragrances than can cause many health problems. I think that if consumers read the ingredients on the labels of the products and they are unable to pronounce it…it’s a chemical and they need to avoid! They also should ask questions and if they can’t get a proper explanation which they understand they should not buy products. By not buying the products with harmful ingredients, consumers can force the manufacturer to change their formulas. Beware also of the use of the word “natural” which has basically no meaning and the word “organic” which means ingredients without toxic herbicide, pesticides spraying and pesticides fertilizers.
India has always been harnessing the benefits of Neem and the tree has a place in our collective consciousness as one offering much to us. But, as we get caught in the plethora of choices for personal care products, (especially with so many international brands to choose from), it may help to reflect on the fact that Nature’s Healing Gift To Humanity lies right in our backyard.
BOOKS BY KLAUS FERLOW
Title: Neem – Nature’s Healing Gift To Humanity
Author: Klaus Ferlow
The transformative power of fashion is well-known. Fashion is not frivolous anymore. It is, instead, a tool to express our very unique personalities. But, how can one harness the power of true style? Here are some books that have their unique practical take on how a woman can express herself at her fashionable best. Are you ready to look at some style files?
Brenda Kinsel plays your fashion Fairy Godmother in this book. It is a practical makeover guide. If you follow the book to the T here is what you will learn in just a month: how to identify your own style, tame your closet, shop for what you need, work on your hair and makeup…….and basically at the end of it all, bring out your inner diva!
Read it if: You want a step by step how to guide to bring out your inner diva.
This book comes from the makers of a popular TV show that focused on fashion. It basically answers the question- what to wear when and where? How do you dress for different occasions? How do you pack/ shop/ buy right ? Some of the topics such as “Cubicle Couture,” “Editing Your Closet,” and “Become Your Own Stylist” are also quite helpful.
Read it if: You want practical advice on dressing stylishly for a variety of occasions.
This book is filled with style secrets for real women with real bodies. Yes, let’s accept that the wonderful women we see on the ramp and on the screens may not reflect the larger part of the population. The book devotes a good amount of space to discussing different body types and what looks good on them. There are also plenty of tips and tricks on how to dress right for different occasions.
Read it if: You want some quick fashion hacks and tips especially on dressing right for your body type.
How can you stay chic and shop smart? Yes, shopping and staying stylish do go hand in hand, but that does not necessarily mean that you need to break the bank for staying fashionable! This book takes the reader through three questions: what do I have, what do I need and what do I want. Based on this contemplation, the reader will form her own style strategy. I love the way the book is peppered with fashion and style quotes, little bits of information about fashion in the past, and handy tips.
Read it if: You want tips on how to buy less, choose well and mix it up!
This is a book packed with style tips in a very comprehensive manner. I would say it is like an all-rounder when it comes to books on fashion. It covers all that one needs to know: what is style, what to wear for your body type, how to shop smart, what to wear when, how to use accessories and accents and so on. The highlighted tips on every page are also quite useful. There is also an Indian angle to the book and thus it takes into account unique situations and requirements of being fashionable in the context of a specific culture and locale.
Read it if: You want a compact and comprehensive introduction to elements of style
With these books you can open a new chapter in your style files and bring out your inner aesthetic with ease!
It was a dark and stormy night in the midst of ferocious monsoons. The setting was just right. It seemed to be an apt occasion to read “Frankenstein” to my 10-year old who yearned for fantasy fiction from the times of my childhood. So, I turned to Mary Shelley’s great work of fiction to enthrall my son. I remembered being awe-struck as a child when I first read Frankenstein. When I re-read it with my son in tow, I realized that the novel continues to entice and interest even now. It is in effect a part of what I call timeless literature.
We live in different times than the one Mary Shelley lived in and the world she had imagined. But oddly, Frankenstein seems so plausible even today. Don’t people still struggle with the dilemma of how much is too much when it comes to defying the laws of nature? The sad distance between the creator and the creation- born out of bafflement and misunderstanding is also true of our world today. “The Creature” in Frankenstein, who is unloved for no fault of his own and turns therefore to destruction, echoes the sentiments of millions of people who suffer abandonment thanks to the actions of somebody else- somebody powerful, somebody in control. It is no wonder then, that the appeal of Frankenstein continues even 200 years after it was first published.
My thoughts turn to another beloved writer who marked her 200th death anniversary last year- Jane Austen. In an age where marriage and relationships have changed drastically, her hero, Mr. Darcy, from Pride and Prejudice, remains every woman’s dream man. Elizabeth Bennet continues to be the quintessential ‘ideal’ woman. We still identify with the emotional nuances of her characters across all her stories, no matter how rooted they are to the times she wrote in. Even 200 years on, Austen’s stories seem relevant to our times. They touch a chord somewhere in our hearts and we can identify with the rich inner life of the characters.
Coming to darker works, anyone who has read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens would testify that it reflects the inequalities of the current times. The prison scenes described in the book could well describe a modern prison that inflicts psychological damage. Oliver Twist may evoke horror at the way children are treated and the plights of the poor. Is it different today when child labour is still so rampant? The 1837 novel may well reflect realities of 2018. Scrooge from The Christmas Carol also echoes the apathy of the common man today.
I have been interested in the story of Italian Renaissance artist Artemisia Gentileschi (1592-1653). She survived the unimaginable- rape, social ostracism and scandal. In a world where women were not known for ‘work skills’ she emerged as a gifted artist. Her story has been fictionalized in a few books. But, I find a striking resemblance with the current state of women in many parts of the world. The struggles she faced as a woman- being sexually abused, having to prove her talent in a male-dominated world and so on are shockingly true even today!
I recently met my school teacher, Rati Wadia, who is an authority on Shakespeare. She spoke about the timeless appeal of the bard’s themes and his characters. The themes of revenge and hatred are well showed in The Merchant of Venice. Racial discrimination and inter-racial hatred also form a crux of the play. Does it sound familiar to the situation today? Or perhaps the story of absolute power and how it corrupts in Julius Caesar? These themes transcend the individual and reflect society. However, the more personal themes which apply to the individual are also equally relevant. He talks about love in most of his works, jealousy (in Othello), greed and guilt in Macbeth and so on. This insight transcends time- yes, even 400 years after his death!
When I look at all these instances together, I feel that the role of literature in our society and our day to day life, is probably not given the importance it should be given. Literature mirrors what humankind is and what it can be. It is indeed a reflection pointing to the past and the future. It reflects what we were and what we can be. It describes….and it warns. Why do we not have systems then to take timeless literature more seriously as a tool for change? Perhaps these revelations of timelessness indicate that maybe, after all, some things can never change!
On 1 January 1818, Frankenstein, a novel that gained phenomenal success was published. The thrilling page turner was written by Mary Shelley. The book caught on immediately. It was so successful that people thought a man had written it…outrageous as this may sound right now! The appeal of Frankenstein still continues 200 years after its publication. Why is that so?
Let’s rewind back into the year 1816, the year when this classic was first conceptualized. It was on a night in 1816 that a group of young Romantic poets gathered together and read ghost stories. One can well imagine the scenario that took place by the shores of Lake Geneva on this dark stormy night. The setting was the salon of Lord Byron. Lord Byron, the famed poet, Byron’s doctor John William Polidori, poet Percy Shelley and his wife Mary Shelley sat talking about philosophy and life. Byron suggested that each of them write a ghost story. The rest, as they say is history.
The story is about Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who is determined to defy nature. He takes the process of creation into his own hands and creates a living being from dead tissue. This nameless being is called ‘The Creature’ in the novel. What ensues is a saga that is as relevant to humanity today as it was 200 years back. What happens to the creature? What is his relationship with his creator? Does this feat turn into a great scientific contribution or does it spiral into something else? The exciting storyline keeps the reader enthralled till the very end.
Even 200 years after the book was published, readers are enthralled by this novel. What is the reason for this timeless appeal of Frankenstein? I believe that humans are constantly at odds with nature. As science seeks to unravel the mysteries of nature and take things in its own hands, nature springs new surprises. We human beings have always used science as a tool to further our progress. We use science to understand natural phenomenon and to control things that were originally beyond our control. Though the world has seen much scientific progress, and though we have spiraled to great heights in terms of scientific advancement, we have still not been able to master death. This conflict of control between science and nature- the control that we seek over nature, will always remain. Till then, any body of work that addresses this conflict will never lose its charm!
Mary Shelley: How Frankenstein is linked to her life
It is very tempting to seek parallels between the life of an author and her work. More often than not, one does find that there are some surprising similarities. Mary Shelley’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, a writer and feminist in her own right, died giving birth to her. The separation of the creator and the created echoes in the book as well. Victor Frankenstein’s mother also dies early. Moreover, after giving life to “the creature” Frankenstein is repulsed by it- maybe echoing the feelings that Mary Shelley’s father had when he lost his wife and was left to care for little Mary. The feelings of anger and loss so prevalent in her tumultuous life also find expression in Frankenstein.
Have you read Frankenstein?
Coming back to the novel in question, we can safely say that Frankenstein remains a timeless work. It is so popular and has pervaded our collective consciousness so much, that the dictionary actually has a meaning for the word “Frankenstein”! It means (and you guessed right) a thing that destroys its creator.
The Frankenstein magic continues 200 years on. This is probably a great time to read or reread the classic. The appeal of Frankenstein will not diminish!
Bollywood is a part of the Indian psyche. It is firmly entrenched in our collective consciousness. However, in a country where collectors appreciate beautiful and unique things, Bollywood memorabilia used to be largely ignored. That is, until OSIAN, India’s pioneering Arts Institution and Auction House earnestly attempted to collect and preserve Indian and World cinematic heritage.
It all started with the landmark auction ‘The Historical Mela – ABC: Art, Book and Cinema’. This event pioneered a new and refreshing viewpoint- that of looking at film memorabilia with a collector’s eye. Two other auctions firmly strengthened the demand for Indian film memorabilia. Osian’s auction of Rare & Vintage Indian Film Memorabilia in September 2014 and consequently in June 2017 wooed collectors and film enthusiasts with priceless pieces of film history.
Film memorabilia can play a major role in the education of many subjects beyond film and media studies. Given the fact that Indian cinema itself is well over 100 years old, it provides crucial references from a historical point of view. “It is not very far away when the finest scholars and researchers will flock to India to understand the profound role the cinematic and related arts have played in developing culture and a thousand influences thereon. The auctions have facilitated this journey just like Film Festivals facilitate a film appreciation culture. One has to only see the growth of the Hollywood memorabilia market to understand the vast energies that get energized when the film fraternity, media and the public work in unity to respect one’s history, and hence one’s current creativity,” explains Founder Chairman, Neville Tuli.
The Greatest Indian Show on Earth is the catalogue pertaining to Osian’s auction of Rare & Vintage Indian Film Memorabilia. The two catalogues artfully present the rich and diverse treasure of Bollywood memorabilia that Osian has collected, salvaged, sourced and preserved over years.
The catalogues are works of art in themselves. Akin to a bespoke coffee table book they bring out the rare and precious moments and milestones of Indian cinema that would otherwise be lost. Flipping through the pages will take you down the Bollywood memory lane.
The enticing cover depicting Dilip Kumar & Meena Kumari in their famous embrace in Yahudi tempts the viewer to delve inside. One of the very first images in the catalogue is a painting by Arpana Caur. It depicts the famous song ‘Pyaar hua, Iqraar hua’ showcasing the legendary under the umbrella song scene of Raj Kapoor and Nargis from the film Shree 420. While nothing can beat holding the actual painting, viewing it in the catalogue is grand enough and sets the tone for a nostalgic journey. This catalogue is packed with such artfully done posters, prints and photographs.
It showcases some of the earliest films made by Prabhat Film Company. It then moves on to the Kapoors- India’s first family of films. Right from Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Rishi and Randhir Kapoor to the Manish Malhotra costumes worn by Karisma Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor inspired art by artist-fan Nitin Utge, the catalogue depicts in finesse rare cinematic moments. It also features vintage and rare Bengali & Classical Music Cover Designs with inspiration drawn from artists such as Jamini Roy with Paritosh Sen actually designing record covers for Rabindra Sangeet and his plays.
The iconic images of superstars such as Dharmendra, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Raaj Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan among a host of others appear as one browses ahead. Of course, how can one forget the enigmatic leading ladies? Right from the gorgeous Madhubala, to Hema Malini (along with her brand campaigns), Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi, Aishwariya Rai and more, the beautiful belles of Bollywood make an appearance here. Pictures depicting international locations, information about collectibles, pictures of some veritable collectibles like show cards, tickets, rare music records and so on also add to the element of interest.
While the visual delight on browsing the catalogue is definitely a key feature, the nuggets of information that appears along with the artworks and photographs is also very interesting, and highly educative. These little bits of information and some rare stories make for some great trivia which will be of interest to anyone who loves Indian cinema.
This catalogue continues the enthralling depiction of Bollywood at its finest. This one is also quite informative, with a lot of text to complement the images and enhance understanding of Indian cinema. It starts with a depiction of the early years of Indian cinema- 1925 to the 1940s. Again, there is a focus on the Kapoors with a depiction of photographs, movie posters and artwork. There is a section on Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Helen and Amitabh Bachchan as film legends. Mughal-E-Azam, one of the greatest Indian films ever made, also gets a dedicated section. Besides the movie posters and photographs, it is interesting to see paintings on the same by M.F.Hussian. The catalogue also explores Satyajit Ray as a draughtsman and artist. These are but a few highlights.
In essence, both the catalogues provide a visual feast for anyone who loves Indian cinema. The explanatory text that accompanies the images, gives a context to them. It also presents vital information and trivia. These auction catalogues have helped increase awareness regarding the history of Indian cinema. This has also complemented other major platforms of Osian, such as the Library and Archives and the Osian’s-Cinefan film festival, which aims to nurture a cinematic culture rather than just being content with a love for cinema. India still truly lacks a great cinematic culture, despite having so much passion for cinema.
It may not be possible for all Bollywood lovers to obtain and own such a vast collection of Bollywood memorabilia. Osian’s auction catalogues which describe the collections that were up for auction, are quite relevant for a Bollywood enthusiast and collector. These catalogues provide a detailed glimpse into a rich treasure trove of pictures and informational nuggets about Bollywood. They constitute in themselves a rich compilation of Bollywood memorabilia.
Today, we see that the market for India’s film memorabilia has evolved considerably. However, it is a long journey ahead before we can call it a mature market. Osian’s auctions have placed Bollywood memorabilia at par with modern and contemporary fine art and rare books. This in itself is a fait accompli. The show will go on!
Note to readers: Many items of interest are documented on www.osianama.com. Anyone interested in Bollywood memorabilia, film memorabilia and publicity material pertaining to Indian and World Cinemas can contact:
Ms Attreyee Roy Chowdhury
Senior Vice President-Communications
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +91 22 6156 3108
We are all familiar with a rich text environment. Look into any primary classroom and you will see that it has some elements of a print rich environment.
Way back in 1989, researchers Neuman and Roskos conducted a study. They made a classroom environment more print rich. They studied the children before and after this change. They found that after the experience of print, children used twice as much print in their play than they did prior to the changes!
Parents can benefit from this knowledge and turn their children’s rooms into havens for learning by creating a rich text environment.
A rich text environment means much more than having books all around!
Here is how you can design a home environment to make it rich in text.
A space for displaying words, text and pictures
Every child will benefit from good display space. This is also the best way to create a print rich environment since you can display any kind of print you want here. Ideas for what to include here- age appropriate charts, labels, signs, timetables, quotes, written text and work by the children.
Soft boards, magnetic boards, white boards and chalk boards are the common ways to provide a space for display. Nowadays we also get chalkboard and magnetic paint. Use them on any blank wall or even the wardrobe doors!
Having boards on the wall is not in the only way to display texts and posters. Display spaces can be created quite innovatively. One can use colourful strings and ribbons across the room and display stuff on fancy pegs. Other spaces that could be utilised for display include the back of the door and the space above the study table.
It is also important to ensure that children are able to interact with the display. For example, a child is more likely to look at a chart that is placed at their height.
When a child starts recognizing letters, it is the perfect time to label stuff in the room. This enhances and stimulates their interest in reading. However, one must make sure that the print is clear. Labelling is a classic example of how something small makes a big difference. If labelling is combined with images, it would have the maximum impact.
Playing around with colours for the labels is a good idea. For very young kids it is better to use solid colours like red or black for labelling their stuff. Later on, you can experiment with the numerous options that the markets are crowded with.
Well, this is something that obviously goes into making a space a rich text environment. A little reading corner will give the best advantage of a print rich environment. A good book-nook should be well lighted. Ideally, a child should be able to access books by himself. Books must be well organized. A seating space for cuddling up with a book is not so bad either! Rotate books regularly to ensure freshness.
Today, the market is filled with great wall décor options. For instance, wallpapers that have informational text or maps are great for a child’s room. Interactive wall décor through reusable wall stickers is another option. These come very handy there as they are repositionable. They can be peeled off as soon as the child outgrows a learning phase. They do not leave any damage to the walls. For example, an alphabets wall display can be easily converted to nursery rhymes or an animal recognition chart the following year. They are also versatile and can be used on everything from painted walls, furniture, glass, windows, and doors to bathroom tiles – so one can be creative with their display options. This is a great way to personalise a room and turn it into an interactive play area.
While map wallpapers are a good idea, map prints themselves work great. Maps look great in a child’s room and they have so much packed into them. In addition to all the print on the map, they open up literally a world of possibilities for discussion. Another subtle touch is to add a globe. It’s a great accessory to have.
The above changes can be incorporated in your child’s room or your own if you share space with your child. One can keep these factors in mind while redesigning or creating a new room. But, the most important thing to make these design ideas work is to use them for the way they are intended.
Different children respond to print-rich environments differently. For some merely having the stuff there is enough. For others, parents need to help the child interact with the room to benefit from it. A reading nook will work if your child actually sits there and reads as would a display space, if your child actually looks at what is put up there! As always, design works for those who help themselves! Well, here’s to a rich text environment then!
Here is a selection of posters for younger children:
India is known as the land of diversity. Delving into the storytelling traditions of India is expectedly a Herculean task! But, in Lore of the land: Storytelling traditions of India, Nalini Ramachandran takes up this challenging task.
Storytelling is one of the most basic cultural activities of any group of people. Storytelling can be through words, dance or music. It could be oral, written or enacted. This book is an introduction to the beautiful world of stories in India.
Story of storytelling
The book begins with an incident involving Mohini- a young girl who is born into a family of storytellers. Well, it would be more appropriate to say, a family of exceptional storytellers. But the story of Mohini begins with a failed performance, where she is not able to narrate a proper story. Disappointed, she decides to run away from home following this humiliating performance. As she sets off she encounters a book loving spirit, aptly named Katha, who takes her on a captivating journey through the world of stories.
Each chapter takes Mohini and Katha, the story loving ghost to a different part of India. They manage to cover the length and breadth of this gigantic country! They take their time, taking in the beauty of the place and its unique culture. They then delve into the storytelling traditions of that place- how these stories originated, how they changed over the years and what they are now.
Katha happily imparts all this information to Mohini in form of a story. Interspersed with this narrative are side boxes that outline facts about the traditions of the area. Most importantly, the actual age old lores that have been passed down generations are also narrated. Well, a story within a story…that’s always fun!
The book outlines 38 storytelling traditions of India in most of its states. It is also like a crash course in Indian traditions and rituals! After all, most storytelling traditions in India have roots in the agrarian lifestyles of people or are linked to mythology and religion. They are also closely interwoven with the art and music traditions of the state. Hence, a dive into the world of stories of a particular state reflects not only its stories but also its art, culture and music.
Storytelling traditions of India are not just about stories alone. They are also linked to art and craft traditions. Hence, when we read about the puppetry performances of Andhra Pradesh for instance, we learn also about the intricate puppets crafted from leather. In Arunachal Pradesh a local dance performed by a tribe captures traditional stories. Or, how Mithila and Madhubani forms of art are interwoven with storytelling traditions.
The book is quite detailed and comprehensive. However, reading it is never overwhelming because the information is broken into different headers and sidebars and also colour-coded. This makes the text easy to navigate.
To top it, there are lots of illustrations to complement the texts. The illustrations by Abhishek Choudhury bring out the story and the stories within the story in a very vibrant manner. The illustrations are apt for the story as well. For example, in the chapter describing the Madhubani traditions, one of the illustrations is depicted in the Madhubani style, thus adding authenticity to the story.
But, the most important theme that emerges from the book is the fact that stories can be told in many ways and that there is never a single story for a single thing. Mohini learns that different versions of stories exist and “people believe what suits them”.
When I think about this theme of the book, I recall a popular lecture by Novelist Chimamanda Adichie who spoke about the danger of a single story. It is with pride that I recognise that storytelling traditions of India have always incorporated multiple viewpoints.
As Katha puts it in the book:
“Why should there be only a single story about anything? “Katha asked. “There is always room for interpretation and imagination. A story can be told in a zillion ways!”.
There are many more storytelling traditions in India than have been described in the book. But, the book talks about key ones that people need to be aware of. Some of them flourish, but most of them are dying out. Maybe this beautiful storytelling attempt will open people’s eyes and ears to the wonderful world of stories that exists in our own country.
This is a book packed with information and stories, as well as stories within stories. It is a captivating and detailed introduction to the storytelling traditions of India. It has many legendary stories woven with stories of the origins of many myths and traditions. The book is written in a manner that appeals to young adults and adults. Anyone with an interest in stories and storytelling traditions in India will find the book to be a worthy addition to their library.
Author: Nalini Ramachandran
Illustrator: Abhishek Choudhury
Age group: Adults and Young adults