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Meet some of India's pet dogs who are popular social media influencers

Social media influencers may not necessarily have it easy considering their busy schedules, but some furry influencers out there do nothing more than act cute to lure in followers. Tucker Budzyn, a golden retriever from the US might just be the biggest star of them all. The five-year-old has around 3.4 million followers on Instagram. His pet parent, Courtney Budzyn recently shared with a US-based newspaper that one YouTube-paid post can be anywhere between $40,000 to $60,000. While the good boy has been doing this since 2018, a few city-based pet parents share how they play the influencer game. Share the cuteness Nikki with Amruta Lad and her husband Siddhesh Lad; (right) Nikki is a regular at pet festivals With 11.4 K followers on social media, it’s easy to imagine that Nikki, the golden retriever from Thane West, could be a busybody. But her pet parent, Amruta Lad mentions that all the posts on Nikki’s social media are just clips from her everyday life. “Just like any other mother, I found her adorable. People always ask us her Instagram id. So, we decided to hop on the bandwagon,” she reveals. While most of the content on the three-year-old retriever’s page is unplanned reaction videos of her, Pal agrees that they try to recreate unrecorded moments for the camera. “I don’t actually have to manage much. Even a simple photo of hers gains positive reactions from people,” she adds.  Log on to @nikki_goldenretriever You are what you eat Nifty loves to try new dog-proof recipes; (right) with Simran Punjabi  If you live in Mumbai and love to follow pets on Instagram, you might be one of the 32.2 K followers of Nifty, the Shih Tzu. Her handle is helmed by 20-year-old pet parent, Simran Punjabi from Andheri West. While three-year-old Nifty’s followers cannot get enough of her cuteness, Punjabi mentions that it is her recipe videos that gain the most traction. “We as pet parents know what is harmful for our dogs and what is not. Hence, after researching more about it, I started creating recipes that would help Nifty’s health and growth. Her honest reactions while eating helps other pet parents understand that it is safe and delicious for their dogs,” Punjabi mentions. Log on to @niftyinanutshell Travel on four paws The content on Murphy’s account focuses on travelling; (right) Murphy with Vindhya Peethambaran and Rohan Shrivastava “We started Murphy’s account two months after we brought him home during the pandemic with an intention of documenting and sharing all our fun and travel stories,” Vindhya Peethambaran, pet parent of two-year-old golden retriever Murphy or Maffu — as they call him — shares. With 112 K followers, this former resident of Powai is among the very few travel influencers in his species. Peethambaran, who moved to Bengaluru 10 months ago, mentions that while their busy schedule during the day takes priority, they reserve their weekends to shoot and edit videos. “We get a lot of reactions from people saying Murphy’s posts and stories bring a smile to their faces, and that he is like their very own therapy dog. We wish to share the gala time Maffu has while travelling,” she mentions. Log on to @thepawsomelifeofmurphy

30 May,2023 10:39 AM IST | Mumbai | Aditi Chavan
Mr Frosty, the face of the event, is a hit with the children

End your summer in a fun way with this ice-cream carnival in Mumbai

To celebrate the end of a sweltering May, about which the writer only liked guilt-free  mangoes and ice cream binging, we headed to Kurla to check out the ongoing ice cream carnival, Frostyland. We enter Phoenix Marketcity through Gate 2 where two life-size ice cream installations are a teaser into this fantasyland. En route, we spot several ice cream trucks and kiosks as part of the fiesta put up by popular platforms like Baskin Robbins and MyFroyoLand. We skip these because we feel the real treat lies ahead. The event offers various children’s activities and on-screen ice cream making-tutorials The hollering of kids acts as a guide to our destination. Soon enough we arrive at the party — a massive pink ice cream castle. We wait for another 15 minutes despite having bought the tickets beforehand; the castle is crammed with kids even at noontime. Once we’re inside, we notice parents and kids bond over various ongoing activities. While some kids are taking a slide down to the sprinkler pool that is filled with colourful sponge cubes, others are busy creating ice cream art using techniques like bubble painting and spray painting. As soon as a cute ice cream mascot steps in, the kids leave their activities and crowd around Mr Frosty.  Chocolate ice cream Next, we head to the busiest part of the castle — a small kiosk that treats all entrants to a free ice cream. We pick a chocolate chip ice cream; the tiny chunks of sprinkled dark chocolate nicely complement the ice cream. It is recommended by a kid who had managed to secure three scoops of different flavours by availing his parents’ coupons. Now, we pass through the castle’s entrance and enter a small dark pink room. Here, parents and kids are watching a video of how ice creams are made. On the walls, frames display lesser-known facts about ice cream. This festival is a strict no-go for those who don’t like the idea of being surrounded by kids on high-adrenaline rush but it’s the perfect space for parents who like to mix info-tainment with a fun treat. Till June 15; 12 pm to 8 pmAt Frostyland, ground floor, Phoenix Marketcity, LBS Marg, Kurla. Log on to insider.inCost Rs 200 (includes a free ice cream and all the activities)

30 May,2023 08:40 AM IST | Mumbai | Devanshi Doshi
The landscape that ensconces Te Aroha in Dhanachuli

This art retreat in Uttarakhand lets writers nurture creativity amidst nature

Authors and poets have written at length about inspiration. It’s the wings on which words and ideas penetrate their minds. To find a small but encouraging community of writers, artists and commentators under one roof, the organisers of Kumaon Literary Festival have been hosting art and cultural retreats since 2014. This year, with the assistance of Koral Dasgupta — author of the Sati series, they have put together a retreat in Te Aroha, a unique property sporting pre-owned furniture and art in Dhanachuli, Uttarakhand. Festival director Asha Batra shares, “While supporting art and literature, we also wanted to promote responsible tourism. The property boasts of a museum of Indian popular culture and has an auditorium which can seat 150 people.” The boutique property allows participants to read in its calming corners The theme of the retreat is — Women Power in Indian Mythology: Revisiting the Hidden Voices. “Being in the lap of the Himalayas, we thought that the property would serve as a nurturing space for thinkers,” Dasgupta notes. She further elaborates on a topic that has now become a part of her identity. “We hope to dissect women’s leadership with regard to our Indian culture from myriad perspectives. And that is why we are looking forward to hosting aspiring writers or diversity and inclusion professionals.”  Koral Dasgupta But how significant is a writer’s surroundings for their growth? Dasgupta adds, “Writing probably makes for only 10 per cent of an author’s job. The greater job they have is to devote themselves to thinking. But city life doesn’t allow us to think and read. It necessitates that we juggle multiple things; and that takes away from the practice of thinking.”   ON June 26 to 30 LOG ON TO facebook.com/KumaonLitFestival CALL 8755080735 COST Rs 56,540 for double occupancy; R38,140 for single occupancy (three nights and four days); register for free  Also check out 1. Sangam House in Bengaluru hosts global writers’ retreats.LOG ON TO sang-amhouse.org 2. Try out this Panchgani retreat for some peace.LOG ON TO panch-ganiwritersretreat.com 3. Make sense of chaos at Alekhya in Parvati Valley.LOG ON TO alekhya.co

30 May,2023 08:34 AM IST | Mumbai | Sammohinee Ghosh
A still from the first-look video that shows Devanagari typography. Pic Credit/Youtube

These superfans are ready to welcome the release of a new Spider-Man movie

In 2021, Marvel released a first-look video of Across the Spider-Verse, which had hints of Spider-Man India like the Devanagari typography, sounds from the tabla and Indian architectural motifs like minarets and finials. I read the Spider-Man India comics in 2008. It’s a short series of four comics. What was fascinating was that all the names were similar to the American names. So Peter Parker is Pavitr Prabhakar; Mary Jane is Meera Jain; Aunt May is Aunt Maya and Uncle Ben is Uncle Bhim. And did you know that Karan Soni, who will voice Spider-Man in the English version, acted as Dopinder in Deadpool? Funko Pop Iron Spider-Man bobblehead My pick: The Amazing Spider-Man, 2012 Aditya Shah, 24, student We love reading about our favourite Marvel heroes, especially Spider-Man. Everyone knows that there are multiple versions of Spider-Man across the multiverse. But we read somewhere that the creator, Stan Lee wanted to make a character inspired by an insect or a fly that could climb walls. He chose the spider, finally. But imagine if it was any other insect featuring in the same story. Maybe that will happen, too.  Our pick: We like playing Spider Fighter 3, a mobile game. Ethan and Annie Singh, 11 and 9, students Alexis’ favourite Spidey tee I did not expect the first movie to be as brilliant as it was. I hope the sequel gives us a great multiverse adventure with a lot of heart, humor and surprise cameos. Spider-Man is one of the more relatable characters that translate into various forms of media including television, games and movies. But did you know that he has the most diverse and interesting rogues’ gallery in the Marvel universe with over 200 rogues? My pick: Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018) and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales are two interactive games that offer a true Spider-Man experience. Alexis D’souza, 29, assistant manager, risk servicing in trade finance Spidey art Move your Spider-Man doodles from your notepads to a canvas with an online art session that will teach you how to draw the superhero. ON June 3 to June 17; 3 pm to 4 pm LOG ON TO insider.in COST Rs 399 onwards

30 May,2023 08:25 AM IST | Mumbai | Tanishka D’Lyma
Ed Sheeran performs on stage. Pic Courtesy/Instagram

Three mumbai-based performers share tips to overcome stammering

Aristotle had it. So did Elvis Presley and James Earl Jones. Recently, Grammy Award-winner Ed Sheeran revealed his struggles with speech impediment on The Howard Stern Show. Triggered by a traumatic medical procedure in his childhood, the singer acquired a stutter which affected his confidence. It was rapper Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP that helped Sheeran cope. “By learning that record, and rapping it back to back, it cleared my stutter,” he shared with Stern. While it may be caused by many reasons — from genetic to psychological — stuttering is more common than people think. But in a highly communicative social world, this can cause some challenges. We spoke to an opera singer, a stand-up comic and a composer who found a way past it to build a career in the spotlight. Learn ways to control it While it manifested in my childhood, I was stammering well into my early 20s. Interestingly, I never stammered when I sang. Now, I have learned that no one stammers while singing. I would often stutter at the beginning of a consonant or a vowel. This caused me trouble with introducing myself, and I would dread my first day of school. So, I was extremely quiet in my formative years, and that has become a part of my personality for which I am grateful. I grew up with a lot of love in my family. My parents got me to go to speech therapy. I remember doing breathing exercises for a couple of years. It was quite instrumental. In some ways,  I owe my singing to my stammering. With my professional training, I now know what I need to do when I am anxious. I can control it. Although, it is not easy, I practise twice as hard by breaking my lines down to each vowel and consonant, and working on breathing patterns in conjunction with the same. I think the world has changed for the better today. A lot of these issues that were problems earlier are now normalised, and that is how it should be.Amar Mucchala, 44, opera tenor Stand-up was therapeutic Although my parents were really patient and took me to speech therapy, nothing really worked out then. Growing up with a stammer, I was also bullied a lot. I suffered a massive lack of self-confidence I was also unsure if I should pursue stand up as a career. Watching Drew Lynch — a comedian with a stammer — on America’s Got Talent, gave me confidence. I began to write jokes only about stammering to address the situation. Thankfully, it went well. It was therapeutic in a sense. I would change the words to help myself speak fluently. For instance, if I have a problem with words starting with G; I would phrase it differently. Facing your fears is important. Doing stand-up regularly and interacting with strangers on stage has helped me. I realise that some people will make fun of me, but I can’t let that bring me down. Thankfully, I found supportive people to back me. Learn to accept it. People have to learn that everyone has some impediment. You learn to live with it, like you live with a scar that heals.Rueben Kaduskar, 35,  stand-up comedian Artistes are more understanding We need to understand that stammering is not a problem. We have to be open to the fact that everyone has their own quirks. I was bullied in school, but you can’t blame the kids. They only know what they see in front of them. As I grew up, I slowly started to realise that I am more than this. You have to find your people. I got through it mostly because I have incredible support from home, from my parents and my friends. Once I started composing, I met musicians and artistes who do not consider this to be a big deal. They  wait for me to finish. Look at it this way, I get to sing and make music for a career, so I guess you can’t have everything! I don’t stammer when I sing. When I keep a beat while talking, I do not stammer. As long as you don’t say anything back to interrupt my flow. At some point, you need to stand up and take charge of your own life. I am fully aware that I have had a lot of privilege in being able to do what I want to do, but I will say that it wasn’t, and still isn’t easy on some days. It largely boils down to accepting yourself as human beings like anyone else. Only then can we take a step for ourselves to do something about our speech, if we need or want to.Aditya N, 31, composer and musician 5%of all children suffer from some speech impediment according to a 2022 research by The Stuttering Foundation Stars with a stutter Hugh Grant, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe >> Winston Churchill>> Ozzy Osbourne

29 May,2023 09:20 AM IST | Mumbai | Shriram Iyengar
Representative Image

Get your hands on quirky merchandise by this humorous Marathi YouTube channel

I am there, why to fear?” This writer has often overheard this line uttered in public conversations. In our quest to explore its origins, we stumbled upon Bharatiya Digital Party (BhaDiPa), a Marathi YouTube channel,  a few years ago. We were instantly addicted to their brand of humour. To celebrate their seventh anniversary, they have re-launched their original merchandise comprising witty t-shirts, masks, tote bags and more. We were keen to include some of their trademark humour to our wardrobe, and ordered a black sweatshirt.  It arrived four days later, packed in a neat box. The soft cotton fabric and styling is ideal for casual wear and comfortable even in the high mercury levels. It was accompanied with a printed postcard with a witty poem, or prem patra (love letter) as the BhaDiPa team calls it.  As we side-eye passers-by reading the Devanagari one-liner on our sweatshirt: Coding hi ek kala aahe (coding is an art), it made us realise that we were not the only ones amused. The quirky prints available across laptop skins, stickers, tshirts,  prints, Gandhi-styled caps, hoodies, masks and other  accessories — tote bags, travel tags, sippers, diaries and phone covers — give us plenty of reason to revisit the site. Log on to: merchgarage.com

29 May,2023 09:06 AM IST | Mumbai | Aditi Chavan
Mango meal

Head to this tasting session at Soam that explores the versatility of Mango

Summer is a flavour. This writer can’t push herself to think of seasons without their produce, and smell. While winters arrive with the scent of the flowers of Saptaparni; summers come on the heels of small, pinkish mango flowers. The fruit — in different varieties and at different stages of its life cycle — keeps us company through the hot months. And casually, leaves us with redolent memories. The tasting session at Soam today will look into the versatility of the fruit, while spotlighting the memories they leave us with. Mango carrot salad About the event, Pinki Dixit, who runs Soam, shares, “The season and mangoes are so intrinsically tied, that it’s hard to not think of them in tandem.” She recollects snippets from her growing-up days when the fruit used to be bought in bulk and allowed to rest in the balcony. “One would expect them to ripen naturally over time. There was also the tradition of keeping the fruits in a bucket of water so that they could be enjoyed cool.” The session hosted by The Asiatic Society of Mumbai will be moderated by food chronicler Saee Koranne Khandekar and culinary consultant Rushina Munshaw Ghildayal. Mango chia pudding About the spirit of this afternoon gathering and the stories they would recount, Khandekar notes, “I feel the conversations should be organic. So I haven’t really picked out instances that I would like to discuss with the participants. Having said that, I feel that for a subject as evocative as this one, we should encourage attendees to contribute their memories.” The tasting menu will feature a Maharashtrian-style mango and white onion relish, apart from a range of chutneys, pickles and desserts. One unique dish is a salad that uses uncooked chana dal and grated raw mango. “The raw mango helps in digesting the uncooked chana dal.” Khandekar adds that an integral part of the session is also to let people suck on tiny mango varieties like we used to as children. “Mangoes were not meant to be chopped and eaten with a fork. As children, we were comfortable with messy eating. Kids would suck on mangoes, and it was absolutely normal.” Saee Khandekar and Rushina Ghildiyal On: Today; 4.30 pm to 6.30 pmAt: Soam, Sadguru Sadan Building, near Babulnath Mandir, Babulnath Road. Log on to: @jashnmumbai on InstagramCost: Rs 1,000; Rs 800 (for members of Asiatic Society, Mumbai) — cost includes tasting session Mango masti 1 Try out mango specialties such as fresh mango bon-bons, mango passion macaroons and mango coconut entremets, among other sweet treats at the Artisan Patisserie. On: Until the end of the season; all days; 9 am to 11 pmAt: Artisan Patisserie, Sofitel Mumbai BKC, C-57, Bandra East. Call: 91673 91130 2 For those who wish to let summer linger on their palates, La Folie’s offers mango velour — a cake made with exotic mango lime compote. It’s filled with mango cream cheese ganache, quinoa and oats lime streusel, fresh mango and lime vanilla Chantilly. Chocolate-lovers can opt for their spicy-sweet green mango and Naga chili bar.On: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 10 pm; Saturday; 10 am to 4 pmAt: Unit 8/9, First Floor, Evergreen Industrial Estate, Shakti Mills Lane, MahalaxmiLog on to: lafolie.inCall: 9167762379 3 Dig into Nara Thai’s mango, baby spinach and goat cheese salad; skewered prawns with dry mango powder and butterfly pea noodles with ripe mangoes. You can also try the dessert, mango and gianduja chocolate with raw mango sorbet.On: all days; 12 pm to 4 pm and 7.30 pm to 1 amAt: Nara Thai, Madam Cama Road, Colaba. Call: 8355878888

29 May,2023 09:05 AM IST | Mumbai | Sammohinee Ghosh
Mount Everest as captured from Drukair in Bhutan. Pics courtesy/Wikimedia commons

Discover online platforms that document the journey to Mount Everest

Top of the world Five episodes of The Explorer’s Podcast (Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay and the Conquest of Everest) deep-dive into the lives of Hillary and Norgay separately before they met each other and set out on the adventure. Over 35 minutes’ duration, the episodes offer detailed accounts of how the world affairs aligned with the issues the mountaineers faced, and why apart from extreme conditions, these became some of the primary reasons behind the many failed attempts to scale Everest.Log on to: spotify.com Straight from the horse’s mouth This 50-minute-long documentary narrates the story of Norgay and Hillary by their sons. As mountaineers themselves, they reveal lesser-known facts about their fathers and their roles as passionate climbers and family men. At one point, Peter Hillary, son of Edmund Hillary, shares how he may have posed to be one of the biggest hurdles in his father’s journey in becoming the legend he is. It inspires as well as astonishes viewers as the sons spill out secrets of the men who made history.Log on to: youtube.com Tenzing Norgay (left) and Edmund Hillary pose for a picture before they set on their history-making adventure A story for everyone Everest: The Remarkable Story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay is a novel with colourful illustrations that was initially meant for kids but is equally enjoyed by grown-ups. It not only celebrates the duo but also gives an account of over hundred individuals from different walks of life who played important roles in this historic event.Log on to: amazon.in Sneak a peak Edmund Hillary: The Conqueror of Everest is a short video that offers fascinating insights into Hillary’s life and how from being a shy man who quivered before proposing to his partner he went on to scale the world’s highest peak. The inspirational video shows us how ordinary humans became extraordinary heroes.Log on to: youtube.com

29 May,2023 09:05 AM IST | Mumbai | Devanshi Doshi
Yogesh (left) and Girish Pradhan jam on stage

This Gangtok-based metal rock band is set to open for Guns & Roses in Abu Dhabi

The ancient archetype for proteges is to first imitate, and then surpass their idols. Come June, Gangtok-based heavy metal rock band Girish and The Chronicles stand a chance to try it with their teenage idols — Guns and Roses, as they open for the latter at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. “I sang Sweet child o’mine at school and college performances,” recalls Girish Pradhan, lead vocalist for the band. While they were in talks last year, Pradhan says, “It sank in only last week. We used to cover their music, as well as Led Zeppelin and The Eagles. Playing Hotel California was proof of making it as a guitarist.” So, does playing in front of their idols sound intimidating? “The effort is always to showcase your best compositions, and doing that in front of Guns & Roses is something. But the key is the vibe of the crowd; we have to go with the flow and represent ourselves in the best way,” shares Pradhan. Growing up around a family steeped in classical and Nepali folk back in the late 1990s, Pradhan discovered rock on his visits to neighbouring Kalimpong. He followed Yogesh Pradhan, his brother and lead guitarist for the band, who first picked up the guitar. Soon, they had the early makings of a band. Girish and The Chronicles at a previous performance “It changed when I first heard Iron Maiden. I had never heard such chords before,” he shares. While the Pradhan brothers had a fondness for heavy metal, their guitarist Suraz Sun leans towards the glam metal styles of Joe Satriani and Van Halen. “It was on our first album, Back on earth (2014), that we discovered our sound as a band,” he remarks. Since then, they have shared stage with Poets of the Fall (2016), Destruction (2019) and collaborated with Lamb of God and Megadeth drummer Chris Adler during his India tour last year. Their fourth album, Hail to the heroes, came out in February 2022. “The Internet has expanded our international horizons,” he explains. Now, the vocalist also has collaborations with The End Machine lined up, a tour to Spain and Summerside Festival in Switzerland alongside Hollywood Vampires and Five Finger Death Punch. Before them, comes a meeting with Slash and Axl Rose. “I don’t know what I will say to them. I am excited, and might be dumbstruck. We will just give our best, I suppose,” he says, before adding, “Maybe I’ll ask Slash to sign a hat.”   Log on to: Girish and The Chronicles on Spotify; girishandthechronicles.com

27 May,2023 08:50 AM IST | Mumbai | Shriram Iyengar
The river Cauvery. Pic Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons

How two Mumbai-based poets strive for climate advocacy with their latest work

This writer reads Greening the Earth (Penguin Random House India) fitfully. Sometimes, in between deadlines; often, in the early hours of the day; and on occasion, before going to sleep. Every passage stirs our consciousness. They require us to review histories of ecological damage, leaving us questioning — “Where does greed end?” And in times when religious and racial divides can dictate common interests, it’s heartening to find poets across continents assembling for the need of the hour. But can poetry effect climate advocacy? Poet and author Rochelle Potkar believes in the telegraphic power of poems. “Imagine how in the earlier days, a telegram — only two lines long — could impactfully communicate good and bad news. Poems, from haiku to 40-line free verse, have similar power. In their short expanse, they can put together a galaxy of thoughts. In an age of attention deficit disorders, poems act as synopsised nuggets of wisdom that help seep through what has to,” she notes, adding, “I wish for readers to read a page patiently and connect the abstractions involved in poetry.” Sampurna Chattarji and Rochelle Potkar Potkar’s piece, Confluence, holds our hand along the banks of river Cauvery, across Uzbekistan’s Aral Sea to the Whanganui Mountains in New Zealand. Elaborating on the diverse geographic journey, she shares, “A poem, almost intuitively, witnesses the becoming of a pearl from a grain, and in the course, it strives for eco-equality. While writing Confluence, I thought that while world leaders and activists engage in climate summits, why can’t the rivers and lakes of the world come together to discuss the fact that their lives are at stake?! And if they do, they would share every little detail. Also, issues pertaining to water can’t really be contained within boundaries because a molecule of water belongs to the world as it evaporates for the river Cauvery, it might fall in rain somewhere in San Francisco. Water poetry too belongs everywhere with the concerns of a burning planet.” Another poem that hits us hard is poet and translator Sampurna Chattarji’s Highway. Ask her how she uses personal context to communicate the magnitude of loss and she says, “I think by turning the microscope onto one’s own gargantuan un-knowing is the way in which I try to do this. Loss is implicit in every life, every landscape. To work with that loss — and take it towards a place of healing is perhaps what poets try to do.” Giving us context, she adds that she wrote the poem after a car journey in Gujarat, aghast at the information her host gave her about the huge number of trees that had been felled to make room for that highway, but equally abashed by her own ignorance of the names of the crops that they were driving past.   Log on to: penguin.co.inCost: Rs 599

27 May,2023 08:37 AM IST | Mumbai | Sammohinee Ghosh
A moment from the rehearsal

'I like to entertain myself and keep things complicated', Manav Kaul

Writing, acting, or direction — what came first?I was born in Kashmir but was brought up in Hoshangabad. My schooling was in a small town. I wanted to leave that behind and see the world. I felt that acting would enable me to realise these plans and so I took up theatre in Bhopal. I acted in my first play between 1993 and ’94, and have been writing poetry and plays since 2000. When I arrived in Mumbai, I wanted to act in television shows, ads and films. But I realised that I still loved theatre the most. So I stopped everything to focus on theatre, and took up writing plays. I like to entertain myself and keep things complicated. I started my theatre company in 2004. I stopped acting for 12 years in between. I tend to do a lot so that I don’t get bored of the things I love. When I write, I can’t keep writing for long periods of time. I need to take a break to miss the art form. That’s when I act. And when I act for too long, I take a break; then, I miss acting so I can give it my 100 per cent. I wanted a life that included acting, writing, directing, travelling and writing books. Right now, I am living the life I dreamt of. Tell us about your latest play, Tumhaare Baare Mein.Art is nothing but exploring one’s own world. For example, my first play was a solo play called Shakkar Ke Paanch Daane. Had I done two more similar plays, I would be dead. I didn’t imagine that I would write a complex play like Tumhaare Baare Mein. At this point in life, I want to direct and do new and exciting things. In the case of Tumhaare…, I wanted to write a play with poetic images. Manav Kaul When I started rehearsing with six fine actors from Mumbai, I used to throw ideas at them and they would react. I would come home and write the ideas down. The next day, I would give them the scene and we would take it forward. In a month and a half, a story began to take shape. It’s like an abstract painting — where when you throw a lot of colours, you begin to see a rough, blurry image. Your views on access to venues in Mumbai for small or new theatre companies.While more venues are always welcome, it’s a great time for theatre. Aram Nagar in Andheri West is a hub for new theatre groups. People are performing a lot in smaller venues. Even five years ago, there was just Prithvi Theatre and NCPA. Now, there are many small venues that provide great opportunities. There is an audience for these venues and plays, too. It’s not like an emerging theatre group presents a play after rehearsing for a month and no one shows up. Mumbai has a culture where  people buy tickets for such performances, which I think is great. Post-pandemic, have theatre audiences returned in full strength?People seem to be done with TV screens, laptop screens and mobile phone screens. Theatre provides the audience with an opportunity to see live performances, which they weren’t able to do for nearly two years. In fact, I think theatre audiences have increased after the lull during the pandemic. Your take on the OTT boom...It’s great as long as it generates work and opportunities for talented people. So many writers have great stories. Young directors come up with good ideas, and skillful actors are plentiful. They are thriving, which is a good thing. You are an avid traveller. Does it inspire your work?Travelling is my main profession; everything else is secondary. Being an actor helps a lot because it provides the money and the opportunity to travel. I write a lot when I travel. I enjoy solo travel. I like places with fewer humans. Recently, I was in Scandinavia for two months and almost all the places were absolutely empty. In fact, I have just signed a new project that allows me to act and travel. As long as I find something that excites me for today, it is enough. On: May 27, 28; 5pm, 7pm At: Experimental Theatre, NCPA, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point. Call: 66223724 Log on to: in.bookmyshow.comCost: Rs 500 onwards

27 May,2023 08:12 AM IST | Mumbai | Suprita Mitter
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