Gauri Varma on Art
Made by Tripura Devi, a senior village artist of Madhubani, Bihar, this painting ‘Kamadhenu’ (the sacred cow), draws one’s gaze with its serene circular face and hypnotic eyes. Adjacent is a richly coloured Ardhnarishwar (fusion of Shiv and Shakti), while endearing forms of deities nestle beneath. Devi paints in the Mithila Bharni (‘filled-in’) style. The colours are a mix of plant extracts, which the artist prepares herself (notably, browns from the pipal bark), local bazaar powders, and fabric paints. She’s one of the few Maithil artists who uses a ‘pihua’ (bamboo stick with cotton-wool wrapped on its tip) to fill in colours.
Varma is the founder of Lokatma
Amit Varma on Books
Scandinavian crime fiction is in fashion these days, but it really began 48 years ago, when Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö released the first in a series of 10 crime novels. Roseanna is a masterclass in storytelling, immaculately plotted and written: its protagonist, Martin Beck, is a grumpy policeman who can’t handle relationships or authority, is as much a fictional character as a template.
Varma is a Mumbai-based novelist
Tushar Prashar on Music
After getting thousands of hits on SoundCloud, London Grammar kicked off last winter with their debut track Hey Now. The London-based progressive art-rock trio also came out with two popular EPs, Metal and Dust and Strong earlier this year. Their style is a blend of ambient, ethereal and classic sounds with melancholic guitar, soaring vocals and plaintive lyrics. Hannah Reid’s powerful vocals are complemented excellently by the experimental sound styles of Dot Major and Dan Rothman.
Prashar is a Beatboxer and Music Writer
Ansh Ranvir Vohra on Film
Tamas, a controversial mini series by Govind Nihalani, stands out from the usual crop of films on Partition. Based on a book by Bhisham Sahni, the film takes focus away from the trailblazers of the nation’s freedom, and instead tells the story of an untouchable, who inadvertently becomes the cause of a riot in a small town. Nihalani’s characters are relatable, his story simple, and his treatment organic. So instead of rousing a feeling of immense patriotism, it leaves you with an unsettling feeling in the gut.
Vohra is a Mumbai-based Producer
Vandana Verma on food
Oryzza in Aundh, Pune, is as unique a place as it sounds. It’s a well-lit store with bright coloured interiors giving the place a very warm and welcoming feel. The menu offerings are pre-decided combinations or make your- own, which they call classic or make-your-own Oryzza. My personal favourite would surely be the Thai, which is basically an aromatic Thai green curry layered with garlic coriander rice and sautéed chicken. But the other varieties like Burmese, Makhani and others are equally good. They have been planning to serve more varieties of gravies and appetizers soon.
Kalbag is a Chef and owner of Mini Wok and Eat in Pune