All posts by Ancy Abraham

Worked as Magazine and Educational Books Editor, Developed industrial websites, brochures and profiles. Writes about lifestyle topics related to health, food, shopping, etc. Presently writing for lifestyletodaynews.com. Many other life-changing projects are in the pipeline, keep reading, Enjoy!

‘Ullathu kondu onam pole’ (celebrating Onam with whatever available)

There are two proverbs about how Onam is to be celebrated. Ullathu kondu Onam pole which means celebrating Onam with whatever little is available; and Kanam vittum Onam unnanam which means one must celebrate Onam even by selling one’s property.

Onam is a harvest festival celebrated in Kerala. Onam is a time of bountiful.  There is no dearth of food commodities for serving lavish sadhyas (feast) for ten days of Onam. Therefore the term Onam is used to represent abundance. If plenty of dishes are cooked in any house throughout the year then people say ‘for them every day is like Onam’.

Onam is more about food than anything else. What you consume on each day of Onam is almost a ritual. Traditionally after the elaborate cooking on ThiruOnam (second day of Onam), there won’t be any cooking on the next day that is Munam Onam. In some places whatever is left will be consumed as Pazhamkanji (fermented rice gruel) on the fourth day of Onam that is Chadayam.

This year’s Onam for me was the actualization of the first proverb –  an Onam celebrated with whatever was available in the Kitchen

As Onam was in the middle of the week and Kids were in the Middle of their mid-term exam, we couldn’t shop for the Onam sadhya. Besides, our Malayalee uncle who supplies Kerala items at our home every week gave a miss this Onam season. We had decided to have an elaborate Onam sadhya later in the week, but, on Thiruonam day, when people started posting images of their sumptuous sadhyas on WhatsApp and facebook we changed our mind. We decided to prepare a sadhya with whatever ingredients were available in the kitchen (ullathu kondu Onam pole).

There was green gram, split chickpea, jaggery and coconut available. So I prepared green gram stir fry (Payar thoran), fried green gram curry (Payar curry), Chickpea payasam (kadala parippu payasam) and fried coconut chutney.  The accompaniments included tender mango pickle, banana and pappad. And there was ghee to flavour the brown Kerala rice.

The frugality in the number of dishes was because I was confined to the four walls of an apartment is a metropolitan city. Had I been in Kerala, even in the gravest of situation, I could prepare some more vegetable dishes by picking up leaves, roots, stems, fruits and flowers from the edible plants around my house.

If there is plantain tree then I can prepare banana fry or stir fry, Banana flower stir fry and banana stem stir fry.  Two or three taro stems will be enough for a stir fry. One or more of a variety of edible leaves like Veli cheera (sweet leaves), kuppa cheera (amaranth leaves) and chembila (colocasia leaves ) can be easily tossed into a stir fry. According to traditional medical practitioners, most of the leaves around our houses are edible and nutritious, provided they are washed thoroughly.  

Coming back to our Onam in the city this year-  it was a high-protein Onam Sadhya.  Delicious to the core and the banana leaves gave a complete feel to the Onam celebration. There were seven dishes, one-third of the number of dishes normally served for an Onam Sadhya.

Ullathu Kondu Onam Pole
A high-protein Onam

The next day Munam Onam (third day of Onam ) we received a pass for Onam Sadhya at Kerala House. It was one of the best sadhyas I had in my life. I felt like I was attending a typical Hindu wedding in Kerala during my childhood days. I was reminded of another Onam proverb Onam und ariyanam which means Onam can be experienced only by having an Onam sadhya.

Onam Sadhya at Kerala House

The perfect restaurant for an authentic Onam Sadhya in Delhi

We went to Mahabelly for a family dinner on our wedding anniversary. We waited for our turn for one hour outside the restaurant because they are very strict about serving on a first-come-first-served basis. You can either book your table online or book on the spot outside the restaurant.

 If there was any irritation about being made to wait, especially on a wedding anniversary, it was washed down by the unlimited chilled lemon juice that the waiters served to those who waited outside.

Art & Design

Onam Sadhya in Delhi
A perfect blend of the tradition and the modern

Once we went inside, what struck me was that this Restaurant stood apart from all the other Kerala Restaurants that I visited so far. Usually Kerala Restaurants give priority only to food, however, at Mahabelly there is a Kerala ambience because of the art and design of the restaurant. There is a mix of tradition and contemporary in every aspect, right from the name of the restaurant, ‘Mahabelly’.  Mahabali, the legendary king is believed to visit Kerala during Onam.

The Funny Posters

Onam Sadhya in Delhi
The funny posters attract everyone’s attention

The funny posters attract everyone’s attention because they reflect the current demography of Kerala. The bar named ‘Mala Bar’ ostentatiously displays the signboard of a Kerala Toddy Shop. And the washbasin is shaped like an Urali, traditional copper cooking vessel of Kerala.

The customers of Mahabelly are of mixed demography, “We have a mixed group of people coming here and it is not restricted to a single demography as such. We have a lot of Malayalees visiting us who are our bread and butter. Apart from them also have people from the North, the locals from here and also a lot of foreigners.” Says Zachariah Jacob, one of the three partners, of Mahabelly.

The Food

Onam Sadhya in Delhi
Tasty, authentic and attractively served

On that day, we had Kappa, fish curry, Kerala porotta and Chicken roast. The food was tasty, authentic and attractively served. Located in Upscale Delhi, the rates seem reasonable. We all were of the opinion that this is the best Kerala Restaurant in Delhi. I emailed to Zachariah, to allow me to write a review about the restaurant. He invited me to experience an Onam sadhya when there was a shooting going on by Red FM. Mahabelly has got great reviews by almost all leading media houses in India.

So this review is not a sponsored post. This is a usual lifestyletodyanews blog, written to inform and inspire you. Just to inform you that if you want to experience one good Onam sadhya in Delhi, during the Onam season, Mahabelly in Saket, is the right option in Delhi.

Onam Sadhya

Onam Sadhya in Delhi

On September 10th, 11th and 12th Mahabelly restaurant will be exclusively serving authentic Onam Sadhya, during lunch and dinner with ingredients brought directly from Kerala. There will be around 21-25 dishes, including two yummy payasams, served on original banana leaves. The rate is ₹888 per head, which is all-inclusive.

For those who cannot do without non-vegetarian even for an Onam sadhya, there are a few non-vegetarian starters also available.

Kerala Toddy

Onam Sadhya in Delhi

On being asked whether Kerala Toddy is being served, Zachariah said, “We are not serving Kerala toddy. Unfortunately, the licensing rules do not allow us to serve Kerala Toddy here. At the same time, we have a lot of other options, especially southern themed cocktails, which are specially curated for the kind of cuisine we serve.”

So this Onam, if you are in Delhi on September 10th, 11th or 12th, celebrate the visit of our beloved king Mahabali by having an authentic Kerala Sadhya at Mahabelly Saket.

HAPPY ONAM

An Important Announcement

My father says that in the olden days, in Kerala, Vaidayan (Doctors), Vaidigan (Christian Priests) and Adhayapagan (Teachers) inherited their ancestral house and were given lion share of the family landholding so that they can do their work impartially without worrying about monetary benefits. Mostly Doctors, Priests and Teachers came from wealthy families.
And for artists and sportsmen, there were aristocratic families and rich men to patronize. 

By the Grace of God, nowadays, all the above-mentioned vocations are paid well, so they can do their work without worrying about money. Once you prove yourself in sports or entertainment you can get sponsorship from various brands and government organizations. 

Nowadays, among the thousands of creator, very few manage to be successful and secure themselves financially by dedicating their life to their passion.

Lifestyle Today News is a creator, of well-researched content on health, food, travel, environment, people and technology. Apart from Google Adsense, we were looking for the right kind of partnership to generate fund for the upkeep of the website. Running the website involves a whole lot of expense. 

We were keen to take sponsorship only from like-minded parties. We were not ready to compromise on our independence in publishing in the name of sponsorship.

We are now using Patreon to generate fund. Patreon shares similar views like us about funding. There are over 10000 creators on the Patreon website, who earn a decent income every month.

From the next post of Lifestyle Today News, you can read, once you become a patron on the Patreons website. Forbes has predicted Patreon as the next billion-dollar startup.

Many well-known creators like the famous Youtuber Dhruv Rathee and Humans of New York Founder, Brandon Stanton are using Patreon. The founder of Patreon, Jack Conte, a musician turned entrepreneur, launched the startup because he had exhausted two Credit Cards making a music album. His income was low. He started making money only after starting Patreon.

Become a patron of Lifestyle Today News, on Patreon and read and watch all the up to date latest content that inspires your lifestyle. By becoming a patron you earn a whole lot of rewards too.

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Remember Priyanka’s stylist Sophia Banks, she is now a Film Director

After Priyanka Chopra’s Oscar outfit became the most googled outfit in 2016, I got a chance to interview her stylist Sophia Banks. For that interview, I contacted Ms Banks directly via email and she personally handled the communication. Two years later she is a busy director in Los Angeles, and my communication for this interview was handled by her team.

Here is the interview with Sophia Banks where she opens up about how she balances her career and family. Her achievements prove that a woman can achieve her dreams with her grit, determination and hard work. Read on to know more…

Hi Sophia, it is nice to interview you after a gap of two years. What a career growth you had in these two years. From a celebrity stylist to a Movie director, how was your transition?

Thank you so much for catching up! Two years has really flown by. So much I could say about my transition into film making but, to start, I think that I was more nervous in the beginning to make the change than I should have been. That was one of the reasons that I did not pursue this as my career, to begin with.

A lot of people might not know that I actually started in film over 15 years ago. I went to school in Sydney but was discouraged to become a filmmaker and director because I was told I “couldn’t carry heavy equipment” as a woman. There were many more reasons that I was given by my “peers” at the time not to pursue the career that I really wanted to and it was suggested that going into Costume Design would really suit my gender role more.

That is how I eventually ended up becoming a celebrity stylist in the first place, which was such an amazing experience and one I will always cherish and be grateful for.

Luckily, many years later, the industry started to make major changes and a friend of mine and I were having a conversation about it one day. She pointed out that with all of these new improvements and the public eye being aware of the problems of lack of diversity that it was perhaps my time to fulfil my true passions. That is where it all started.

How do you manage to wear many hats? What are the various roles you handle right now, apart from being a stylist and a director?

First and foremost I am wearing the role of “mom” to my amazing and beautiful 10-year-old daughter. She is the biggest inspiration for me to work hard and be a success so that I can show her that we can do whatever we set our mind to and especially as a single parent, it is important for me to balance my work life and family life.

I want her to have the knowledge that she never has to sacrifice one for the other. I also currently have projects in both Television and Film on top of the commercial work that I direct so there is always something in development or in production. Balance and consistent hard work are how to make it all successful in the end.

Sophia Banks

Tell us something about your Short Film, ‘Unregistered’?

Unregistered was my first narrative short film. It’s a Sci-Fi love story that takes place in the not-too-distant future, Los Angeles, where the Government has enacted a “one child per household” policy in order to prevent a second famine.

Our story follows a young couple in love, Rekker (Trevor Jackson of ‘Grownish’ and ’Superfly’) and Ata (Dylan Penn) who are trying to navigate through their life, school and a semblance of a normal teenage life while living in a covertly hostile environment.

All seems to be well except that Ata is hiding something from Rekker which will test his love for her when he finds out.

Unregistered made it’s World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April and has now been selected for 10 Film Festivals including the Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival this August.

How did you come up with the project?

My grandmother is a survivor of the Holocaust and as a child, she would tell me stories of the oppression that her people experienced from the Nazi regime. She told me of the horrors of losing your loved ones with no way to fight back and what it is like to not only experience for herself but to have seen others experience the complete loss of their freedom.

It struck a chord with me and her words were always ones that I wanted to tell within a story. That is why I love living in a country like America. Of course, no place is perfect but in a country like America you see that the underlying theme to a place like this is “Freedom”.

My film explores a cautionary tale of what could occur when that theme is taken away from its people if we continue in the political climate that we see today.

How well was the film received by the critiques and audience?

It was such a wonderful experience to see people from all walks of life and backgrounds in those theatres and enjoying the film. You put heart and soul (and a lot of sweat) into making something that hopefully will resonate with others.  

I could not have done it without my incredible crew (such as Co-Writer Erin Dignam and DP Paul Cameron, ASC). It also would not have been the same without the incredible cast that we were lucky to work with.

Overall, I was incredibly humbled to have received the incredible honour of being the only woman selected in the sci-fi genre section for Tribeca. From there it has only continued to gain attention. 

Are you planning to make more movies?

Yes, I am actually working on developing several projects. I am also attached to three films set to shoot one after the other here in the next few years.

I have signed with CAA (Creative Artists Agency) for my agents as well as Circle of Confusion as my management team since the release of Unregistered. We are all working as a collective team to put out some amazing new projects together which I could not be more excited about.

What other endeavours are you planning in future?

Aside from our preparation for shooting my first feature by the end of this year, I am currently working with my development team on a series for “Unregistered”.

Commercial work has always been something that I love to do in between my other projects so I am also flying out to Australia for a large commercial project there, then flying back to LA for two new projects. It has really kept me busy! 

Other than being the stylist of Priyanka Chopra’s Outfits, what other association do you have with India?

Currently not as much as I would like! When I was heavily involved as a stylist I would work with Indian designers all of the time. I love the flair and unique take on fashion in India.

Today I would love to branch out and shoot projects in India if the opportunity were to arise. The landscapes and beauty of the country are breathtaking.

As long as you persist through barriers, continue along your path no matter what comes your way and to always stay true to your vision. Thank you for reading along about my story and I hope it inspires you.

What message do you have to give for the readers of Lifestyletodaynews?

I think that the biggest message that I would like to convey is that any person who has a goal or a purpose in life has a chance to make that dream a reality.

Indie Cinema Night Celebrates moving images in all forms

Indie Cinema Night celebrates the world of animations, films with cultural references and powerful visual arts. On Sunday, May 19th, experience out of the box indie and animated films at Above The Habitat (Khar – West) in Mumbai.

Discover the upcoming media and the new generation of storytellers by experiencing their creative works in the Smartphone Cinema, Creative Visual Music, Animated Films and Independent Films at the Indie Cinema Night. The evening ties in together with carefully curated food and beverage pop-ups reminiscent of going to the movies.

According to Future Fiction, “With the Indie Cinema Night, our intent is to celebrate moving image in all its forms, the current creative energies that build the scene and emerging formats of storytelling”.

The Indie Cinema Night was born out of a need to create a space for the expression and exploration of emerging forms of film, visual art and animation from India and around. “We aim to elevate the experience for artists and create a common space for creators and explorers alike to meet, collaborate and celebrate indie cinema,” says the Future Fiction Team.

Featuring indie cinema, visual music showcases and animation shorts the programming features films across various categories:

  • 9:16 Smartphone Cinema: Exploring the creative potential of the vertical film-making format
  • Visual Music: Celebrating visuals crafted to compliment creative endeavours in music
  • Animated Films: A selection of animated works by artists from India and around
  • Independent Films: A handpicked selection of indie cinema from across the Indian subcontinent

Tickets are at Rs. 499 and are available on Insider – there’s limited seating capacity! 

The programming also offers the opportunity to view a British Council curation of British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) shorts. The BAFTA 2019 Shorts programme represents storytelling that reveals the breadth and diversity of British society, together with world-class artistic and technical flair, and featuring some of the UK’s finest acting talents.

On this Mothers day a few words about Mother Earth and her precious kid Greta Thunberg


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Today the most vulnerable mother on earth is Mother Earth herself. She has been exploited beyond repair, and if we do not pay heed to her distress signal, then another mass extinction is not far away. On this mother’s day we need to act on her behalf and that too on a war footing.

Natural calamities are common and weather changes are unpredictable. Wild fires, thunderstorms and flood are occurring on an unprecedented scale and causing mass destruction. We talk and write a lot about curbing climate change and about recycling, reusing and reducing. We talk a lot about reducing carbon footprints. But we take little action.

Mother Earth knows about our indifference to the critical issue, so she sent a kid. A Girl who speaks like no one else does and makes every adult and kid sit up, and not just listens, but take action.

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl, from Sweden, has become a global celebrity among the kids when she decided to school strike for climate change. In November 2018, she decided to bunk school and protest every Friday in front of the Swedish parliament so that action is taken to combat climate change. She wants the Swedish Government to reduce the Carbon Emission as per the Paris Agreement.

Greta is a special child. At the age of 11, she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and selective mutism. And because of her condition, she speaks only when she needs to and she can see everything black and white. Experts say that since she is on the Autism spectrum she is obsessive and quite blunt on her views.

Greta knows the data of climate change by heart. She analysis and views the future crisis is a way that climate activists have never done so far.

She is from an illustrious family. Her grandfather and father are famous actors and mother a famous opera singer. She began her activism at home first. She made her family become vegan because having meat increases carbon footprints. She told her father that owning two homes increased carbon footprints. She made her family travel on foot or bicycle.

She avoids flights because air travel is the major cause of carbon footprints. Greta declined to receive an award because she had to board a flight to attend the award function. Her mother gave up her illustrious career because she had to travel frequently by flights.

Kids on strike for action to Combat Climate Change

Gretas strikes for climate change inspired children the world over. In December 2018, 20,000 children went on strike in 270 cities. Her action has made politicians say that kids have begun to protest because adults fail to respond to the dramatic changes in the climate. Her logic for evading classes for the cause in simple. She says that what is the use for the kids to study for a future which is not there unless action is taken to reduce carbon footprints drastically.

She says we have already exhausted the carbon footprints by 1987. Our budget on earth is over. We need to act fast. All the talks and studies have been done in plenty. What is now need is action.

Thousands of species are getting extinct each year because of climate change. We need to curb our Carbon footprints and take action to bring our Mother Earth back to life.

On this Mother Day we need to have more Greta’s to protect Mother Earth and all the Flora and Fauna.

Happy Mothers Day

7 connecting features of MG Hector: India’s first Internet Car

Within a few weeks, India’s first Internet Car, MG Hector, specifically manufactured for the Indian Roads and Climatic conditions will be launched. A first of its kind, the brainy Car manufactured by MG Motors, a century-old Britsh Sports Car manufacturer, understands, commands and responds when you say something. In this age of Smart gadgets, the cars are becoming iSmart with this innovative connectivity technology.

The iSmart Next Gen Car provides an integrated solution in partnership with leading technological giants, Cisco, Microsoft, Adobe, Cognizant, Panasonic, Unlimit, Nuance, TomTom, Gaana, Accuweather, SAP and iTeligence. The iSmart consist of embedded connectivity solution, maps and navigation services, voice assistant, pre-loaded infotainment content, emergency and concierge services and built-in apps. It also supports OTA (Over the Air) updates.

The Head Unit

A prototype of the Head unit: the brain of the Car
The device is vertical because consumers prefer to use mobile devices vertically

The 10.4″ Head Unit, is the largest in its category in any cars, and bigger than any tablets available in the market. The brain of the system is installed in this head unit. The unit is preloaded with an entertainment content which will be updated OTA (Over The Air).

iSmart Mobile App

Every MG Hector owner would get a downloaded iSmart App for their mobile phone. A number of actions can be carried out by the App:
Fuel level and vehicle range.
Lock and unlock status.
Remotely switchon the Climate control on the hot day when the car has been standing in the sun.
Speed Alert
Security Alert
And many more features……………….

Hello MG: Voice Assist

The AI based Voice Assistance understands about 100 voice commands

MG Hector iSmart system comes with a cloud-enabled; AI-based Voice Assistance enabling over 100 voice commands to control the vehicle. These includes commands like “open sunroof”, “Climate Control”, “Open Window”, “Radio Control”, “search embedded songs” and “navigate to places”. Apart from accents, the system also recognised differences in semantics in speech.

E-Call: Safety and Security feature

MG cars come with an instant emergency response system. In case of an accident, if the airbags are deployed, E-call is automatically triggered. The information of the exact location of the occurrence is transmitted to the pulse hub team. They try to connect with the Head Unit, if there is no response they call the owners phone and in case there is no response they call the emergency contact number.

Music by Gaana

MG Hector is preloaded with Gaana App and premium account with ad-free music and download capability. The owner would get the largest collection of latest music, smart playlist and presonalised recommendations.

OTA (Over The Air) Updates

MG India is introducing OTA feature for the first time in India. This will make sure MG cars gets updated as and when new updates are available. Hence the system would get new look and themes periodically.

Developers and partners over time would be able to bring in many more features and services, unimaginable today. All available to MG car owners via a simple update.

Privacy and Cyber Security

Data related to driver and vehicle analytics will be stored locally in the Microsoft Azure Cloud DC in India. MG is working with Microsoft around the world to ensure the utmost standards of cybersecurity are available. #MGDriveIn

Hema Sardesai: A woman playback singer with over 60 superhit Bollywood songs

Many a time we know a melodious movie song by heart, but we do not know who sang the song. We watch a lot of Bollywood movies, and all we recognise are the actors. Most of the time we do not know who the singers or the directors of the movie. There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. We remember the actors we see, but do not remember the singers we hear.

Thanks to social media and Google, I discovered recently that many of the famous songs that we often keep humming were sung by Hema Sardesai. She has sung over 60 Bollywood songs and all of them were super hits. For instance Badal pe paon hai from Chak De India and Awara Bhanware an A R Rehman song.

She has got the rare accomplishment of singing the duet with top Bollywood superstars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Govinda and Salman Khan. One of the five songs she sang with Amitabh Bachchan is Chali Chali in Baghban. This years women’s day post is dedicated to Hema Sardesai because apart from being a prolific playback singer, she is also involved in many social causes like women empowerment and Save the Girl Child.

In 2017, She gave an audio interview for the Radio Playback India program Ek Mulakat Zaruri Hai. Here is an excerpt from the interview with Sajeev Sarathie:

How was the early stage of your singing career?

Those who work with principles and values will face difficulty in achieving anything in life. I consider my music a gift of God, and so I do not let any harm to happen to that gift. Besides, I believe in giving high status to women. Like in any other industry in the world some people see women as a sex object, and that happened with me also.

Whatever I achieved is because God wished that I achieved that in life. I have a struggled a lot in the industry. Initially, I walked out of every studio. I wanted my voice to reach everyone by doing what was righteous before God. Because God was with me, I could achieve something. I got the opportunity to sing with great singers like Sonu Nigam, Kuma Sanu, Shaan and Udit Narayanan. And by God’s grace, the more than 60 songs I have sung are all super hits.

What is the secret behind your Bubbly posture?

I give credit to my smiling face and energetic song performances to the blessings of my Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

How was you experience working with the music directors?

All of them know my mind. They knew that I will work only if I got respect. So wherever I went, I got respect.

Hema Sardesai
Listen to the complete Interview of Hema Sardesai by Sajeev Sarathie for the Radio Playback India programme Ek Mulakat Zaruri Hai

Hema Sardesai made her American debut with an International single in English ‘Power of Love’.On this Women’s Day we wish her all the best for her future endeavours in Bollywood and Hollywood.

Thanks to Sajeev Sarathi for permitting to use the complete interview for this blog post.

Unbox Festival: A Weekend of Discovery and Learning

UnBox 2019 was a weekend of discovery and learning, and allowed for unanswered questions as well as explorations. It brought together emerging and disruptive ideas from those who are pushing boundaries of their own practice. The three day festival had 100 Indian Collaborators and 32 International Collaborators.

With 328 Total Participants, the festival outcomes are both tangible and intangible. Some projects were co-created at the festival and will continue into longer projects. Here are some quick highlights from UnBox Festival 2019:  

Discussions and talks                                            

Stories, conversations, and dialogues took centre stage at UnBox Festival this year touching upon relevant topics shaping contemporary thought. Day one was loaded with talks on water resource management at the grassroots, cultures and values of learning in the present age, the importance of consent in the digital space, exploring technology for conservation, the impact of social media on India’s upcoming general elections, as well as exploring the messy futures space from a personal and human perspective. Conversations on the burgeoning city limits and its impact on infrastructure and resources, storytelling traditions that share genealogies and ecological patterns, ethics that may govern the use of AI systems, the impact of technology in the social sector, making a truly inclusive Internet, design-led innovation strategies, the need for intersectionality in design and the use of digital processes in preserving heritage, unfolded and expanded through the three days of the festival.

Workshops

UnBox 2019 curated a set of workshops conducted by experts from varied practices, for festival attendees to participate and immerse into. While some created intimate spaces to brainstorm and ideate, others got participants down to their hands and knees exploring and making. Taking on multiple tracks and formats, they led participants to experience disability to understand its needs and choices, explored emerging technologies, create a wishlist of a feminist Internet, build unique conspiracies, imagine a world of AR/VR without using it, and discussed the role of technology in craft practices. UnBox also curated workshops that used three-dimensional tensile structures to evaluate the relationships of the human body, and featured the unheard stories of the brave women of Karnataka, explored the future of consent, examined data driven investigation, and making zines.

The festival also hosted a 4-day lab, in partnership with UK-based artists collective – Invisible Flock, that focused on building meaningful, cross-disciplinary collaborations within environmental and socially engaged practices. It brought together artists, designers and writers from India, Uk & Uganda to think about technology beyond its traditional understanding, and instead as a creative medium. Outcomes from the Lab were shared in multiple formats ranging from exhibits to talks and performances.

UnBox Food Lab

UnBox Food Lab explores connections and meaningful interactions between food, its preparation, the act of enjoying it, and the people who consume it. This year the lab manifested in the form of  talks, workshops, and communal meals at the festival, with conversations on cultural appropriation in food and the future of urban farming; workshops that investigated the fascinating world of coffee through games, experience traditional fermentation processes, and explore our interconnected food ecosystems. A selection of films explored the challenges of rising food demands, while thematic culinary experiences translated into community meals that served traditional regional recipes and helped reconnect with those that grow our food.

Performances

The evenings brought together an eclectic mix of sound and visual artists. A transmedia narrative using improvised electronica and live visual programming, featured Seasonal Affected Beats, Aural Eye and Cursorama came together in Dreamswitch at the UnBox Open House on day one of the festival. UnBox After Dark was a collaborative audio-visual showcase by UnBox residents and guests at Foxtrot, Koramangala. The night combined sounds from Bombay based electronic musicians SPRYK and Echofloat, with visual interpretations from Thiruda and Cursorama from the VJing collective Alt-Q, supported by Romanian collective Aural Eye Visions Studio. The last evening of the festival brought together an indie folk trio with Abhijeet Tambe accompanied by Michael Dias and Kaushik Kumar in The Unwind Collection, at The Humming Tree in Indira Nagar. This was followed by a modern, electronic set that brought together the sound experiments of Nikhil Narendra and Shreyas Dipali.

Installations & Exhibitions

The exhibits at UnBox transformed the space of the festival into a transient gallery with projects and ideas across multiple formats. More than 18 installations and exhibitions were presented that ranged from immersive entertainment with VR film pods to a participatory installation on creating a collective scent. Others included the outcomes of mixing environmental data collection with technology, a curated set of albums that created an archive of stories from India’s countryside, an interactive installation that made visual and acoustic connections between outer space and physical spaces that surround us, and the making of both real and virtual Narkasur effigies. Music came alive through the stories of a curious crow that lit up each time a musical note played, and a transient space within an auto rickshaw that urged all to make their own music.

As reported in the Press Release of the Unbox Festival. Image Courtesy: Unbox Festival Team