A picture can speak a thousand words, we have heard, and when the subject of the photograph is something that is most fundamental for life to sustain and thrive, it gets all the more interesting. For, when a photograph is that of food, it just doesn’t stop with telling the world about the dish’s existence but stirs in its audience a range of diverse emotions – from being enticed to smitten to feeling the hunger pangs. Anupama Krishnakumar attempts to demystify the charming world of food photography by speaking to food bloggers, Soma Rathore (www.ecurry.com) and Chinmayie Bhat (www.love foodeat.com) and Divya Yadava, food photographer and culinary consultant (www.divyayadava.com).
It’s highly likely you have, in the recent past, come across a lone person on the road running, earphones on, pushing themselves forward with determination. Running is fast picking up in India, and many are signing up to run in various categories that are being held regularly across various Indian cities – and some venture abroad too. Many runners also choose to tie their runs to a cause they are passionate about. Vani Viswanathan gets talking to three such runners: Ram Viswanathan, founder-president of Chennai Runners, Ajay Gupta of Team Asha, and Jessu John, who, within seven months of starting to run long distance, is getting ready to run her first half marathon and raise funds for a charity through it. Spark is delighted to support them in their cause – please see the end of the article for the fundraising links of the three runners.
WRITERS OF THE MONTH One of the biggest developments that the internet unleashed was the arrival of blogs a few years back, which grew to become great forums for showcasing talent, having discussions, exchanging ideas, making new friends and most importantly, finding an audience in a world where becoming a published author for an aspiring writer was still a formidable task. Anupama Krishnakumar speaks to Parul Sharma, author of ‘Bringing up Vasu : That First Year’ and ‘By the Water Cooler’, Judy Balan, author of ‘Two Fates : The Story of My Divorce’ and Sagarika Chakraborty, author of ‘A Calendar Too Crowded’ – all of whom began as bloggers a few years back before they became published authors. Parul, Judy and Sagarika talk about their days as bloggers, the roles that their blogs played in their writerly journey and of course their books, among a host of other blog-related things.
Anupama Krishnakumar speaks to three people who have used the power of words to inspire thousands and gets them talking about what inspires them, how they feel about the inspiration they are providing others, and more – meet Preeti Shenoy, author of ‘34 Bubble Gums & Candies’, ‘Life is What you Make It’, & ‘Tea for Two & a Piece of Cake’, Swapan Seth, author of ’This is All I have to Say’ and Varun Agarwal, author of ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-founded a Million Dollar Company.
In a freewheeling chat with Anupama Krishnakumar, Raksha Bharadia, co-author of 12 titles of the Indian Chicken Soup for the Soul series, talks about the experience of putting together the various titles, the stories that moved her, and how this opportunity changed her as a person. The stories in the series are meant to ‘open the heart and rekindle the spirit’. Find out what the person behind many titles in the series in India has to say on inspiration and human life.
SPECIAL FEATURE | Spark is proud to feature Harish Sivaramakrishnan, Lead vocalist at Agam, a Bangalore-based music band that has been around since 2003, Namita Devidayal, Journalist and Author of the acclaimed books ‘The Music Room’ and ‘Aftertaste’, Krish Ashok, popular blogger known for the humour that permeates his writing, RJ Prithvi, the highly popular Radio Jockey at Radio One 94.3 FM Bangalore and Vidya & Vandana Iyer, the music sisters whose rendition of ‘Munbe Vaa’, ‘Ashai Mugam’ and ‘Nee Nenaindal’ with clarinetist and composer, Shankar Tucker went viral on YouTube.
These six people talk about what music means to them and provide a glimpse of how this beautiful art form has become a part of their lives. Diverse that their fields are, it is interesting to note how music can be learnt, savoured and shared in such different ways. We hope you enjoy the feature!
India is a melange of many cultures – each with its own characteristics. Wouldn’t you think it is great to actually have some initiatives that help you sustain the connection with your culture, ones that take you closer to your roots? We, at Spark, looked around and found some very interesting ventures that are passionate about bringing regional culture to the fore with particular focus on Tamil culture.
It is heartening to see women making their mark in various fields, some excelling really well in their chosen area. Among them, we really are proud of those who drive change through their work. These are ladies who stand testimony to the fact that women can do well to bring about change, notably in the lives of fellow humans.
It’s their vision, their actions and ultimately the spirit of achievement that Spark salutes. Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to present four wonderful women who, through their initiatives, are striving hard to start conversations, influence mindsets and drive change in diverse and significant areas including education, human rights, feminist publishing and blogging that focuses on societal issues concerning women.
On this memorable occasion of our first anniversary, we are proud to present to you four creative visionaries – people who have, just like us, embarked on a journey to use their creative passion and their resultant ventures to bring joys to the lives of others and, in the process, have sought to derive the blissful pleasure that creativity and creation can bring to one’s own self. They are our celebrities of the month.
A few bloggers are quietly taking the internet by storm – and they are doing it anonymously. The first in a series of interviews with anon bloggers, Vani Viswanathan introduces The Cowgirl.
All the world’s a stage, said Shakespeare! How true that is! It’s just that we are so caught up in our fast-paced lives, that we hardly realize the simple truth behind that profound line! Quite ironically, it’s these guys on stage, the theatre folks, who more often than not, remind us of our absurdities and foibles, making us laugh at our own gaps and sometimes tell us what we could have been. Entertainment, Enlightenment and much more.
Bhojan! The name itself is so inviting. When I close my eyes and think of it, all I can imagine is a sumptuous meal, very Indian and tastefully and cleanly prepared! And if you are an Indian living in the U.S., close your eyes and think of this name, doesn’t it sound all the more mouth-watering?
If you thought creativity was all about music, dance, writing, theatre and painting, then think again! Here’s a woman who has gone an extra mile to pursue her passion for designing jewelry.
Music. How often we run to it like a child does to his mother! For many of us, music fills the creepy void that sometimes gobbles up our insides. And to be able to create that music, which more often than not, remains a soothing balm, is indeed a God-sent gift. Agam is one effort in this direction.
Education and learning is an important aspect of the life of any individual. But what does it mean to children or adults with mental developmental disablities? Anupama Krishnakumar speaks to the mothers of two special children – one diagnosed with Down’s syndrome and the other with autism, both at a very young age. Read on to know more about what teaching and learning has meant in the context of these children and what special education is all about.