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.

7 Main features of Blog Compass

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers
Google has come up with Blog Compass, an app for the bloggers. The App which can be downloaded on the iPhone and the Android has much more than analytics to offer.

One thing common with all bloggers is that they want to measure the reach of their activity on the blog.  They want to know how many views their blogs have received. And a sincere feedback of the content.

Blog Compass is a must-have App for the bloggers. The app has a number of features that range from providing the analytics of the published posts to giving suggestions on topics to write about.

Here are the 7 main features of the Blog Compass

Every feature of Blog Compass is equally essential for the bloggers. While planning the day ahead, the Blog Compass provides lots of inputs on improving the content of the blog.

Blog CompassHome

The Home Page of the App contains the highlights of the rest of the 6 pages on the App.

  • There is a graph illustrating the number of views on the website.
  • Mention of trending topics.
  • The number of latest comments.
  • Overviews of Google Analytics.
  • A suggestion of what to learn at the Learning Centre.
  • And the number of badges earned for the posts.

Activity

The Activity page includes the Visitors Overviews, Traffic Source, Search queries and Details of the top posts. You can check the above-mentioned information for a week, month, 3 months or a year.

Topics

An outstanding feature of Blog Compass is the topic suggestions to write about. Following are the categories of the topic:

  • Your Picks: Possibly these topics are based on the google search made by you.
  • Trending: These are the topics that are trending on the internet.
  • For you: Based on the topics that you have posted on your blog.

Badges

The highlights of Blog Compass is the Badges provided for reaching a certain milestone. There are badges like bronze and silver. You can view the badges collected so far.

You can share the badges on the Social Media. I shared one time and the response from the readers was as if received an Oscar.

The badges are given for Page View, Unique Visitors and number of posts written each month.

Posts

The posts can be viewed in different ways: post by date, post by last modified, post by the number of views and posts by title. Under each post, you can view the number of views so far and the number of comments.

Comments

You can view the number of pending and approved comments separately. You can also directly approve or remove the comment through the app.

Learning

A plethora of subjects is provided in the learning centre. Ranging fro SEO starter guideline to how to advertise on your blog. You can click on the subject you wish to get educated about. The learning centre is a help not just for the beginner but also for seasoned bloggers.

Overall Blog Compass is a must-have App for the blogger. Until now the bloggers could only get to know the number of views based on country and demography. Blog Compass provides an in-depth insight into the performance of the posts. And the badges provide lots of encouragement.

Blog Compass is just a few months old and currently available only in India. It is more compatible with Android.

Google is still improving on the App and in future blogger can expect more useful features.

5 ways for #CuttingPaani usage at home

Every Mumbaikar knows the meaning of, ‘Cutting Chai’. For the rest of the world, a cutting chai means half a cup of tea that is cheaper than a full cup’ yet enough to get refreshed. Now Livpure has started a campaign #CuttingPaani to spread awareness about the rising shortage of potable water globally. #CuttingPaani means if thirst is little, then drink only half a glass of water.

A small but impactful campaign to make each person responsible to take steps to preserve drinking water.

When one hears of the water crisis, the first picture that comes to mind is of the viral news of the water shortage in Cape Town. A city with 4 million people provides just 50-litre water per day for a person. In the US a person gets 350 litres of water per day. And very soon, a ‘zero-day’ will arrive in Cape Town when one million households in the city will not get any running water.

What is happening in Cape Town, is a bleak story of what every city in the world can expect. Interestingly, one reason for the water crisis according to reports is ‘poor water management’ and ‘insufficient preparation’.

We fear there will be Zero-day in Bengaluru. According to reports if the rainwater is harvested properly, the water crisis in Bengaluru can be managed. Which means if we manage our water we can avoid the zero-day.

#Cuttingpaani is the first initiative in the direction of saving water. We can save water by #cuttingpaani in a number of our activities at home.

Drink less water in the night

#Cuttingpaani

One must drink 3 to 4 litres of water in a day. But the majority should be consumed in the daytime. Having more water in the night may lead to kidney and other ailments.

No water-thirsty plants at home

#Cuttingpaani

You might have indoor plants, outdoor plants and kitchen gardens at home. Some plants like Cactus family and aloe vera require very little water. Some plants and soils require water only to be sprayed. Keep only those plants at home that requires hardly any water.

Avoid using tap water directly

#Cuttingpaani

For bathing use bucket and mug. For brushing and shaving use water in a mug. Wash dishes by taking water in a small basin. Avoiding tap water usage directly saves a lot of water.

Handwash some clothes

#Cuttingpaani

Handwashing requires only that much water as is required in the first round of washing in a washing machine. For a washing machine, at least 12 to 15 buckets of water is for three rounds – one washing and two rinsing sessions. Whereas in hand wash the whole activity will be over in 3 buckets of water.

Mop the veranda floor, do not wash

#Cuttingpaani

A common view in Indian cities is to see hose pipe with running water being used to clean veranda. Mostly maids just waist the water pouring the water on all the vehicles, plants, gates and so on. Using a hosepipe to clean is an easy but a water wasting method of cleaning. Mop the veranda floor to save water.

If we use our resources more reasonably and more collectively we can avoid a zero-day.

Also, sing the petition for #CuttingPaani to spread the awareness to fill the glass with only as much water as you have thirst. Watch the video to know more about the campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few Exotic Cars from the Auto Expo 2018

There was a huge crowd at the Greater Noida Auto Expo 2018 on the first day for the public. A long and harrowing journey to the venue from Delhi, yet people visited the Auto show with family and Kids.

If you have not yet visited, here is a glimpse of some of the cars at the venue.

Here are some the latest and futuristic Cars displayed by world-renowned brands

BMW

Auto Expo 2018
BMW Convertible Car

TATA

Auto Expo 2018
TATA 45X

Auto Expo 2018
TATA’s Sports Car – Racemo

HONDA

Auto Expo 2018
NewVConcept and SportsEVConcept

TOYOTA

Honda Yaris

Auto Expo 2018
Toyota I-Read, a futuristic gearless car with one seat. Two wheels in front and on in the rear.

Auto Expo 2018
A future car which we use H2 as fuel

KIA

Auto Expo 2018
KIA Stinger

HOTWHEELS

Auto Expo 2018
Two life-size cars depicting the toy cars of Hotwheels

SPORTS CARS

RENAULT

Auto Expo 2018
Renaults Electric Concept Trezor

Indian diet 50% short of high-quality Protein

After food shortage in India was resolved by the green revolution, nutrition experts in India found that the Indian diet was inadequate in the intake of good quality protein. According to experts, the diet should be balanced including carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Protein is an essential component for every stage of life.

During pregnancy, the vegetarian mother should take milk for high-quality protein. After birth, the requirement of protein is very high in 0-2 age group and Adolescence. In the old age, people consume less food and proportionately the consumption of protein is also reduced. During the old age, the amount of protein should not be lowered.

There is a misconception in India that protein is for body building only. Protein is required in every stage of human life. On the other hand, if you have a protein only diet and do not exercise then the protein will go out of the body with urine. You must have a balanced diet of high-quality protein, carbohydrates and fats.

For instance, you can have idli with sambar, rice with rajma and a glass of milk. All the three meals in a day and the two snack must include a high-quality protein food. Milk, poultry and meat are sources of high-quality protein which is digestible. Vegetables are less digestible compared to the nonvegetarian sources.

Nutrition experts say that cereals are a good source of protein, and the ideal ratio of consumption of cereals and proteins is 60:40. Too much or too little protein is not good for health. During the healing process of some diseases, protein is essential.

To maintain a healthy lifestyle we must follow the right ratio of protein, energy and exercise.high-quality protein

In order to increase the awareness of protein among the Indians and to clarify the misconceptions, Indian DIetetic Association (IDA), Delhi Chapter on 18th July declared 24th-30th July 2017 as ‘The Protein Week’. Dr B Sesikeran, renowned nutritional pathologist said,  “In India, there are many myths around the sources of protein, people are confused about their dietary protein intake and often assume that it is for body builders only, however, protein is a fundamental nutrient across life stages that helps in maintaining good health and active ageing.”

The initiative is supported by Protein Foods Nutrition Development Association of India (PFNDAI). Protein intake impacts every life stage. “Our vegetarian diets are already deficient in protein both in quantity and quality, so we need to supplement with protein which not only fills up the gap but is high quality enough to ensure our cereal and pulse-based protein quality would be elevated,” said Dr J S Pai, Executive Director, PFNDAI.

Speaking at first such initiative in the country, to spread awareness and discuss myths and realities of protein, Ms Anuj Agarwala, Nutritionist, Department of Pediatrics, AIIMS and Former President, IDA Delhi Chapter, said “It is important to begin early and focus on a protein rich diet right from the start, which should be continued through all the life stages of development and growth. Children particularly have high protein demand to propel their growth during growing years, as they grow in spurts. Demands for protein among children is particularly high during preteen and teen phases of growth spurts.”

During The Protein Week, IDA with PFNDAI, will hold educational seminars across the country to spread awareness and discuss myths and realities of protein.

Start-up Stories of 24 entrepreneurs by a start-up author for start-up aspirants

In this age when most employees nurture a dream of starting a business of their own, and search for inspiring stories and ideas to begin a venture, Renji George Amballoor wrote a book about 24 successful start-up entrepreneurs in Goa. All of them conceptualised and began their unique business ventures before the start-up became a buzzword in India.  Renji George, a Professor in a Start-up college wrote the start-up stories to inspire student to take up start-up ventures. Since parents are unenthusiastic to allow their children to take a plunge into the risky start-up ventures, Amballoor felt the book will give the parents the courage to support their children. He put in lot of effort to meet the 24 entrepreneurs and to write about their success stories. Here is an interview with the author of ‘Driven by Passion’Renji George Amballoor, about the writing of the book and about start-ups in India:

Tell us something about yourself

Myself, Dr. Renji George Amballoor is a non resident Keralite (NRK), currently associated as Associate Professor & HoD, Department of Economics, with   Government College, Quepem, Goa, for last 26 years. Has a Doctorate degree in Economics from M G University, Kottayam and an Executive MBA from Goa Institute of Management (GIM). Was appointed as the officiating principal of a start-up Government College for setting up the institution.  I am also the recipient of the D D Kosambi Research Fellowship-2013 ( Sr. Category) awarded by Department of Art & Culture, Govt. of Goa & Dempo Research Fellowship- 2008  awarded by Vasantrao Dempo Education & Research Foundation, Goa.

What is the book about; and how did you start writing the book?

In all the stories, entrepreneurship grew out of their passion and dream to do something different.

The book is about 24 first generation entrepreneurs of Goa for sectors from sectors like agriculture, dairy farming, hospitality, drama, music, health care, culture, artwork, waste management, industrial designing, manufacturing, corporate training, information enabled services, etc. None of them had any family background in business. In all the stories, entrepreneurship grew out of their passion and dream to do something different. Their underlying philosophy is that of determination, positive attitude, simplicity and creativity. The narratives of almost all of them highlight the need for creative out-of the box thinking for transforming their challenges into new business opportunities. The objective of this book is to motivate and infuse students and youth into a culture of entrepreneurship & start-ups with local stories from their catchment areas.

After interacting with most of the students, who were first time learners, as the officiating principal of a start-up Government College, I felt the need for pushing them into the mainstream. Internship programme was something close to my heart and decided to implement it. It was easy assignment to convince the students into internship but the stumbling block was their parents. Their argument was that their ward had to travel additional 10 to 15 kms to avail the internship. The dissenting parents were made the champions of internship programme by identifying and narrating the local success stories. In a short period of five years, I had lot of stories to entertain the parents. With these stories in my inventory, I felt the need for documenting these stories for deeper penetration and wider reach.

Driven by passion Book by Ranji George Amballoor

Who are your target audience?

My target audience includes students and youth who generally queue up in front of government offices, industrial estates and foreign embassies. Many a times, they end up being employed at places, institutions and departments with no scope for expressing their creativity. By introducing them into the world of start-ups and entrepreneurship, the optimal utilization of demographic dividend can be ensured.

Give an example of one of the entrepreneurs from this book?

Stories of all the 24 first generation entrepreneurs are interesting but the outstanding among them is that of Late Prashant Shinde.  After securing a Diploma in Production, joined Pentair as an engineer, but his aim was to go to US. But his dreams were shattered with India test firing the Pokhran-II nuclear bomb.

Many times, he would be the delivery boy riding on the two-wheeler. As time passed by, he had clientele including Trans-National Corporation and today provides livelihood to about 54 families.

Disappointed at the turn of the events, he decided to do something of his own. Along with his friend Supriya, who later on became his life partner, carried out an extensive market survey and zeroed in on packaging industry but both were clueless about the sector. Prashant took a train to Dharavi, which had lot of informal packaging unit. He got employed in one of them as helper with an objective of mastering the machinery and its process. Impressed by his enthusiasm and efficiency, the owner of the unit made him an operator. After spending six months in Dharavi, he returned back with rich experience and exposure.  With a small bank loan, he purchased machinery but had to search for about 3 months to get a place to install it.  Along with his assistant, he started taking labour jobs for other printing units.  Many times, he would be the delivery boy riding on the two-wheeler. As time passed by, he had clientele including Trans-National Corporation and today provides livelihood to about 54 families.

He later became the president of Verna Industries Association, a period during which the infrastructural facilities expanded in the industrial estate. He was also instrumental in organising the first edition of business idea contest- ‘Kaun Banega Udyogpati’. He became a star campaigner for entrepreneurship awareness programme in colleges. His energy and dynamism would force students to wake from their deep slumber and on many occasions, he was asked to continue speaking which always extended into a standing ovation.

He had also expanded his business into areas like real estate, mining, etc. He had to wind up his dream project of constructing a low-income housing township. Without remaining disappointed, he continued his entrepreneurial journey with greater vigour and determination. While celebrating his 38th birthday, he had a massive heart attack and the state of Goa lost a champion of   entrepreneurship. Today, his legacy is carried forward by his wife Supriya Shinde.

Driven by passion Book by Ranji George Amballoor

Did they all begin their venture before the beginning of start-up culture in India?

The 24 entrepreneurs in my book started their entrepreneurial journey even before the winds of start-up culture could be felt. They started at a time when the thinking was orthodox and the society did not accept entrepreneurship as a viable source of employment.

What is the situation of start-up culture in Goa?

The start-up culture is slowly building up in Goa but the eco-system needs to be more conducive. The start-up culture which is getting popular in professional colleges should percolate into conventional non-professional campuses.

The schools should include success stories of entrepreneurs along with chapters on Saints, Scientists, Social Reformers & Political Leaders for inculcating the values of entrepreneurship from early ages.

The establishment of Centre for Incubation &  Business Acceleration (CIBA) at two locations, BITS Pilani Campus in Goa, Goa Engineering College &  Goa Information Technology Innovation Centre (GITS) have enhanced and nurtured the incubation facilities in Goa especially for the IT sector.

Policy reforms needs to be made to ensure our academic process and faculty are more start-up friendly. Incentive system and mentoring facility needs to be built in to our curriculum for attracting students into start-ups.

The schools should include success stories of entrepreneurs along with chapters on Saints, Scientists, Social Reformers & Political Leaders for inculcating the values of entrepreneurship from early ages.

What is the future of start-ups globally & particularly in India?

According to the Economic Survey released in 2016, India has 19,000 technology enabled start-ups. The future of start-ups is bright in India. With a population of more than one billion, the opportunities for start-ups are many. Over the census period, the rate of urbanization has skyrocket. With the increasing urbanization, problems have also witnessed an amoebic expansion. Problems needs solutions and this opens the floodgates of opportunities for start-ups.

The captains of the industry should come forward to mentor and guide start-ups into sustainable take-off. Further, it has become a craze among youngsters to tell that they are into start-ups without any tangible outcomes. Such a trend is also dangerous.

The global slowdown can actually boost the start-ups. With low and negative economic growth in many countries, the consumers are giving up their costly life style and looking for alternatives. The surge for options can fuel the start-ups globally.

You are the principal of a start-up college, a start-up writer writing about start-up and published by a start-up publishing? Was it a coincidence?

After interacting with most of the students, who were first time learners, as the officiating principal of a start-up Government College, I felt the need for pushing them into the mainstream. Internship programme was something close to my heart and decided to implement it. It was easy assignment to convince the students into internship but the stumbling block was their parents. Their argument was that their ward had to travel additional 10 to 15 kms to avail the internship. The dissenting parents were made the champions of internship programme by identifying and narrating the local success stories. In a short period of five years, I had lot of stories to entertain the parents.

At that point I felt the need of documenting them for reaching a wider audience and in the process became a start-up writer. Very soon, I realized that these stories were about how the entrepreneurs made their start-ups sustainable.

While scouting for a publisher, it was observed that their terms and conditions were unfavourable to start-up writers. A start-up writer is ignored, neglected and squeezed by established publishers. At home, almost every day we used to discuss my interactions with the entrepreneurs, their business model, problems, creative solutions, etc. Excited about the stories, my son decided to publish my book through his start-up – Rean Publication.

At the end of this journey, I strongly feel that it is a mere coincidence that the entire assignment revolved around start-ups.

What are your future plans?

The joy, satisfaction and a new identity emerging from writing the book is great. Writing takes one into a new world of networks and challenges.

Writing this book was a part of my academic social responsibility to the state of Goa and its institutions which has showered me with opportunities and nurtured me into what I am today. As a part of giving back to the society, my next venture will be to document the first time women entrepreneurs of Goa.

Around the world in a wheelchair -Nadia Clarke

You might know children with cerebral palsy, who is the child of your friend, relative or a neighbour, who is bed ridden and you sympathise with the family which is taking care of the child. Nadia could have ended up simply lying in a corner of her house had it not been for the determination of her parent and the will power of Nadia herself. Her parents ensured that she studied in a regular school with her 9 siblings, for which they had to change locations.

Nadia Clarke has cerebral palsy and she is deaf from her birth. At the age of 5, she got a wheelchair and a communication aid implanted on that. Her communication aid is her voice which she uses to communicate. Using the communicative aid is not easy.  When she is talking to someone, her support staff communicates to her using signs. Then she makes sentence using the communication aid. Her communication aid consist of hundreds of words. It takes couple of minutes for Nadia to form a simple sentence.

The process of communicating with the aid is lot of hard work for Naida and her support staff, and sometimes a bit boring for the listeners because of the  long gap in between the communication. But that doesn’t stop Nadia from communicating and globe trotting.

The Guardian Newspaper describes Nadia’s mother as someone with turbo energy which she has passed on to her children. Her parent were determined that she studied in a normal school, hence they had to shift to different localities to send Nadia to schools that accepted her along with her brothers and sisters.

Nadia completed high school and level 2 in health and social care. Here next aim is to attend the university.

Nadia has got indomitable spirit and she is supported by an organisation 1 voice. She has travelled  around the world to Europe, US, Asia, Australia, etc.  She blogs about all her experiences in her blog.  One of her dream destination was India, and so now she was in India and she is quiet excited to visit Taj Mahal.

When she came to India she visited Anchal-Centre for differently abled children. She interacted with the children and their parents using her communication aid and her interpreters Samantha Jayne Green and Tanya Louise Perry. Sibi, a student of Anchal refused at first to dance because she thought her costume was too long and she might fall. But the teachers and parents convinced her to dance. Before leaving Aanchal Nadia called Sibi and congratulated her for being so brave to overcome the obstacle.

Nadia is all smiles always from her childhood picture upto now. She goes around the world and encourages children like her to move ahead in life and to explore opportunities. She says her biggest  gift in life was the communication aid. She says for deaf and dumb people the aid protects them from abusers, because they can always communicate.

When asked about the secret of her evergreen smile she said that her mother told her to wake up with a smile and to remain positve always.

5 verses from BOOK OF LAMENTATIONS and CLIMATE CHANGE

While reading Lamentations Chapter 5, in the Bible, I felt that if we do not mend our lifestyle now, coming generations will again have to write another book of Lamentation.

In the book of lamentation, prophet Jeremiah laments the destruction of Jerusalem which was caused by the sins of their ancestors. And he prays to God for redemption.

In the present context, climate change is causing destruction of the world bit by bit. More and more resources are being spent on resisting global warming and to protect the environment. Instead of human resource development, now protecting natural resources has become a matter of urgent concern.

With immediate effect, if we do not make amendments in our lifestyle, in the coming days, Climate Change will cause greater destruction in the world. More than what we are witnessing today.

In 2018-19, according to reliable sources, 2400 Indians lost their lives due to extreme weather events. Wildfires destroyed forests in Amazon and California. News reports say that almost all the Koala Habitat could be lost in the Australian bush fire.

Sensing the hardships that they are going to face in the future, kids (students) like Greta are out on the streets asking us, the grownups, to mend our way. They find it unnecessary to study for a tomorrow which wont be there because of Climate Change.

The Book of Lamentation, written 4000 years ago, has Verses of Agony faced by the then generation because of the vices of their ancestors. Those verses resemble the situation our descendants, in the near future, may have to experience if climate change is not dealt with properly.

Some of the verses from Lamentations Chapter 5, that our kids might find relevant, if the climate change is not revoked, are as follows:

# Lam 5: 7 : “Our fathers sinned and are no more, but we bear their iniquities.”

The millennial kids are the ones who are making the above statement, we the adults, those born before 2000 are blamed for the climate crisis. Until a few years back we had lavish consumerism.

We consumed and lived in comfort. Making life easier and finding ways to make our life successful was the ultimate motive of our lives. Yes we were thrifty and irresponsible.

Until our kids grew up to be teens and youths, and they realised that their parents lifestyle cannot be followed. They understood that there need to be radical shift in how we live and treat the environment.

So children like Greta Thunberg asked their parents to sell their additional houses. Plus she took the extreme step to not to fly by air.

# Lam 5:4:”We pay for the water we drink, and our wood comes at a price.”

The climate change is going to effect the food security. Because of the floods and droughts and the global heating, the yield of crop is getting effected.

In the coming days the prices of food are going to increase due to difficulty in production. And the water is going to be a precious commodity.

Now itself many cities are facing crisis for potable water so they are buying water from other places.

#Lam 5:9 :“We get our bread at the risk of our lives, because of the sword in the wilderness.”

Please replace ‘wilderness’ with ‘wildfire’. The farms and vineyards escaped the wildfire this time.

But we need to take steps to prevent such massive wildfires in the future. In India, Our work should be prevent the destruction of crops due to the environment hazards.

#Lam 5:10: “Our skin is hot as an oven, because of the fever of famine.”

If not famine, the rate of global hunger has been increasing according to UN’s FAO ( Food and Agricultural Organisation). A paper presented by FAO warns that the number of hungry people will increase if “countries fail to tackle climate change and build resilience to its unavoidable impacts”.

#Lam 5:21:”Turn us back to you, O Lord, and we will be restored; renew our days as of old.”

In today’s context, the above prayer, is a request to restore earth in all her glory. We can bring back Earth in her clean , green and productivity. We need to have the will power to change.

3 Climate Change repellents

If we do the following steps we can call contribute a bit from our side to resist climate change:

  • Reduce wants
  • Follow a zero waste lifestyle
  • Spare a minute before doing anything to find out how my action is going to effect the environs and the global community.

Change is happening everywhere because of the gravity of the consequence of Climate Change. Media Giant ‘The Guardian’ has redefined their language on reporting climate matters.

They have replaced ‘Climate Change’ with ‘Climate Emergency’. They made a number of other relevant upgrade in style guide so as to communicate clearly about Climate Change with readers.

What is the change that you would bring so that your children do not end up writing a book on lamentations and climate change. Lamenting about you being the reason for the destruction of their environment and habitat? Please comment below about how you will repel climate change.

‘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.

Click here to become a patron of Lifestyle Today News on Patreon.

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.

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