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On Women’s Day, read stories of real, unapologetic women



Ahead of the International Women’s Day on March 8, two collections of short stories of flawed, rebellious and most importantly real women, are set to be published by Penguin.

The new titles — “Women Who Misbehave” and “Impetuous Women” — are stories of women who step across the Laxman Rekha, who are unapologetic, strong and unconventional but always flawed.

“Women Who Misbehave” is written by Sayantani Dasgupta, an assistant professor of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and much like the women within its pages, contains multitudes and contradictions. At a party to celebrate her friend’s wedding anniversary, a young woman spills a dangerous secret. A group of girls mourns the loss of their strange, mysterious neighbour. A dutiful daughter seeks to impress her father even as she escapes his reach. A wife weighs the odds of staying in her marriage when both her reality and the alternative are equally frightening. An aunt comes to terms with an impulsive mistake committed decades ago.

In this wildly original and hauntingly subversive collection of short stories, Sayantani Dasgupta brings to life unforgettable women and their quest for agency. They are violent and nurturing, sacred and profane. They are friends, lovers, wives, sisters and mothers. Unapologetic and real, they embrace the entire range of the human experience, from the sweetest of loves and sacrifices to the most horrific of crimes.

“Impetuous Women” by Shikhandin (the nom de plume of an Indian writer who writes for adults and children) is about women who step across the Lakshman Rekha, whose transgressions fly in the face of the establishment, the patriarchy, often their own families and loved ones.

From two housewives who play a potentially lethal game of keeping up to an expert baker who serves revenge with chocolate sprinkles on top; from a stern hostel warden who examines her relationship with the teenagers she must surveil to a grouchy widow shuts out the world; From a couple madly in love and desperate for a bit of privacy to a tender bond between a husband and wife, these stories create an unforgettable portrait of modern-day India and the experiential realities of being impetuous, of being women.

This darkly comic, thrillingly tragic collection of stories is sensuous, bittersweet and whimsical by turns, and always wildly, subversively original.

source: The statesman

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Rahul, Priyanka urge govt to reconsider conducting CBSE exams amid steep hike in COVID cases



Wayanad MP and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has asked the government to reconsider the decision to hold the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) board exams in view of the rising COVID19 cases.

Rahul Gandhi also advised the government to consult all stakeholders before taking a decision.

Rahul Gandhi in a tweet, said, “In the light of the devastating Corona second wave, conducting #CBSE exams must be reconsidered. All stakeholders must be consulted before making sweeping decisions.”

“On how many counts does GOI intend to play with the future of India’s youth?” he added.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had earlier in the day written to Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on the same issue. She said that it’s ‘shocking’ that the CBSE has decided to go ahead with exams despite parents expressing fears and ‘apprehensions’ about assembling at exam centres in the middle of the second wave of the pandemic. She said these ‘apprehensions’ are not ‘unreasonable’, so exams should be cancelled.

In her letter, she had said, “It will be practically impossible to ensure the safety of students at large and at crowded exam centres. Additionally, given the nature and the spread of the virus, it is not just the students who will be at risk but also their teachers, invigilators and family members who are in contact with them. Aside from this, by forcing the children to sit for these exams during a raging pandemic, the Government and the CBSE board will be held responsible in the event that any of the exam centres prove to be hotspots at which large numbers of children become infected with the disease.

source: The Statesman

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This Limca Book of Record holder made saree using 25 natural fibres



 C. Sekar, a third-generation weaver from Chennai’s Anakaputhur had entered the Limca Book of Records in 2011 after he made a saree using 25 natural fibres including banana, jute, bamboo, pineapple and others and even got the appreciation from Prime minister Narendra Modi during his recent Chennai visit.

Anakaputhur is a suburb of Chennai which lies beyond the International airport, on the banks of river Adayar. The place was once noted for its weavers and had a minimum of 5,000 handlooms with each home having at least 5 to 10 of them, but today, due to a competitive industry and failure in marketing, the number of handloom and weavers have declined.

Sekar and his family were traditional weavers, and in the 1970’s it was thriving business with the products being exported mainly to Nigeria in Africa. Checked Madras fabrics were the major product the Anakaputhur weaves were exporting from Chennai and with the change in political climate in Africa there was a ban on imports to that country leading to massive losses to the Anakaputhur weavers.

With the demand for natural products and sustainable products increased and turned into a fashion statement, Sekar thought of transforming his industry into the sustainable mode and tried to make sarees out of banana fibre.

Sekar and his Anakaputhur weavers cluster, which has around 100 people working with a majority of women self-help groups, made yarn out of banana fibre to start with. Bananas and plantains are in abundance in South India and Sekhar uses this large volume of banana plants to convert its fibre to yarn.

The dynamic weaver whose family, including wife S. Padma and Children S. Karthik, S. Mahendran and S. Mohan in the industry, told IANS said, “Indeed, it was a challenge and there was no model, but we worked on it and we created yarn from banana fibres extracted from banana stems. In the past few years, we have sold hundreds of these sarees made out of yarn produced from banana fibre.”

Even though banana stems are available in large volumes, the process of manually extracting fibre out of the stem is a time consuming one and the stem of banana or pineapple has to be dried and then fibres are manually extracted to make yarn.

Natural dyes are used here and mainly turmeric and indigo are used for making these natural dyes.

Sekar says, “The yarn is then treated in various herbs, spices and even cow dung for their antibacterial properties. Medicinal herbs like Tulsi and Mint are also used ensure that skin allergies are at a bay for the users of these clothes including sarees.”

It takes two weavers two days to make a saree and if a single weaver is working on it 4 to 5 days will be required for that. Each Saree costs anywhere between Rs 1,800 to 10,000 but Sekar said that even though there is high demand, the Covid-19 has taken a toll on his business leading to joblessness.

The weaver, who wants to continue with the traditional weaving methods is certain that the quality of the product will see him through the bad times, but is expecting support from the Union Ministry of Textiles and Handloom, which has several programmes for the support of handloom weavers.

Sekar has ambition to take his product to all parts of the globe and to open a retail outlet of his saree in each city of the world and he wants to take a cue from Prime minister Narendra Modi’s vision of taking the “Make in India” tag global.

source: The Statesman

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Books & Authors

HR-turned-Author, Jyoti Jha Releases Cover of her Upcoming Masterpiece!



Books are not only a source of inspiration but also an act of escapism into a parallel world. However, there are certain books, that speak to their readers through the realities of life. ‘The Realms of Human Emotions’ by Jyoti Jha is one such book that provides an immersive experience to the readers impactfully drawn from the spheres of human emotions from regular living.

Emotions define us as human beings and influence our existence around the relationships we dwell with. One that can be dealt with various aspects of feelings, perceptions, attitudes, and intentions, and intricate relationships entangled around those. Through this book and the compelling and captivating stories, the author is all set to entrance the readers exploring those emotions.

An HR-turned-Author, Jyoti Jha who has recently signed a deal with Literia Insight is delighted to release the cover of her upcoming masterpiece ‘The Realms of Human Emotions’. The artistic portrayal of colours and the succinct title are prepared to intrigue the readers to delve into the layers of human sentiments through various stories, setups, characters, and incidents.

Talking at the eve of the release of the book cover, Jyoti Jha shared her insights on the central theme around which the stories in the book revolve. In the words of the author Jyoti Jha-

“Emotions that compel our actions and influence our decisions, and yet we often have uncertainty around expressing our emotions and acknowledging our feelings.

With this book, I attempt to explore the layers of human emotions and communicate to the readers through different characters drawn from some factual accounts and diverse figments of imagination sketched across the stratum of the human psychosomatic canvas.

The stories in the book intend to portray human experiences that continually strive to find a balance between the outer hurricane of sentiments and an inner vortex of fervours.  At the same time endeavouring to align individual emotions that delicately blend with the relationships around them.”

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