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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Sunday Long Reads: Benefit of quitting, Presidents’ meals, TIFF, Manike Mage Hithe singer’s journey, and more

Check out this week's Sunday Eye stories


September 19, 2021 1:45:17 pm
eye 2021Illustration: Suvajit Dey

Why quitting is the new script for mental and physical well-being

It was perhaps in kindergarten that we first heard the story of the relentless spider, the one that tried, tried, tried again until a novice Scottish king resolved to defeat the English army. Or, perhaps, it was in primary school when we were taught that Thomas Edison failed only a thousand times (or 5,000 or 10,000) before he invented the light bulb. Maybe it was none of these legends, but the time we won a silver medal and a coach told us, “Next time, gold.” We were told that the world is our oyster, that the word “impossible” doesn’t exist in our dictionaries, that we can achieve anything we want, if only we persevere and never lose sight of the prize.

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How to Stop Running and Start Living

books, reading, listicle, book listicle, books on life, books on leading a slow life, eye 2021, sunday eye, indian express news Have you read these books? (Photos: Amazon.in)

“We live in a world where people jog for fun. Where a meditation app has to remind you to breathe deeply. Where you can buy a shrink wrapped, pre-peeled orange (No time to peel! I’m busy!). Which is why abandoning our hang-ups about laziness and taking it slow is more important now than ever before. Slowing down provides us with a ton of benefits. It’s time to reclaim laziness, take back our time and protest the rat race by staying in bed,” proclaims The Little Book of Sloth Philosophy (HarperCollins). Bestselling writer Jennifer McCartney’s book of aphorisms have garnered many loyal followers for telling people what they have always known but not been able to follow for one reason or the other: “Life is short, spend it doing things you love.”

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All the Presidents’ Meals: What is served at the First Table

Presidents' meals, meals served at the First Table, Rashtrapati Bhavan kitchen, Rashtrapati Bhavan meals, eye 2021, sunday eye, indian express news President Ram Nath Kovind’s (in blue) banquet for heads of states, including French President Emmanuel Macron, in 2018. (Photo: Courtesy Rashtrapati Bhavan Photo Archives)

When President Ram Nath Kovind hosted a reception for India’s Olympic contingent recently, the Rashtrapati Bhavan kitchen had an opportunity to express gratitude to the sportspersons for making the nation proud. When we designed the menu, we kept in mind two key elements: accommodating the athletes’ dietary requirements and presenting before them an array of regional as well as international flavours. To ensure the meal was nutritious and wholesome, exotic vegetable tortilla wraps, well-complemented delicacies such as murgh hazarvi tikka and mushroom pies. The dessert was a combination of rava kesari and pistachio baklava, a fusion of classic Indo-Western symphonies. And how could we let them go without serving the traditional, highly nutritious Indian beverage, the Punjabi power drink, kesar badam lassi?

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How COVID-19 gripped me and left me homesick for an Indian way of being

sunday eye In life, we must have one way of living, loving, caring, and thinking, one set of values that is unshakeable. (Source: Suvir Saran)

It was a triumphant feeling to have left India COVID-free in June, when the virus was wreaking havoc across the Indian map. Not because Charlie and I had been living in a cave; rather, we’d taken every precaution and care to not catch it.

My family is by no means strangers to COVID-19. We have dealt with its challenges closely. In the first wave, my mom contracted it from our family chef, who’d picked it up from one of his many hospital visits. It was a feat to keep these family members comfortable and well cared for. More challenging was the task of keeping the remaining household safe. We succeeded and were proud to have endured.

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Sri Lankan singer Yohani who sang Manike Mage Hithe

sunday eye Sinhala singer Yohani Diloka de Silva

Manike mage hithe (In my heart), the Sinhala song has broken the internet, with celebrities and common folk grooving to its lilting tune. A love song with a teen-pop aesthetic, it is an uncomplicated melody that plays on loop, a catchy folk rhythm that is club-friendly, and has a contemporary orchestration with a hint of sarangi. There is also a smattering of rap by Satheeshan Rathnayaka. Sung by Sri Lankan musician Yohani Diloka de Silva along with rapper Satheeshan, it caught Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s fancy last month. He tweeted out his obsession with the song along with a video edited by his granddaughter Navya Naveli, who’d superimposed the Sinhala song over Bachchan’s song-dance sequence Jahan teri yeh nazar hai (from Kaalia, 1981). The actor even spoke about it on his Hindi television quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati when de Silva appeared in a question.

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Man versus wild in the lawn

Ranjit lal, Ranjit lal news, animals Ranjit lal, indianexpress.com, sunday eye, eye 2021, Red Pierrot butterfly (Photo by Ranjit Lal)

In the last couple of months, there’s been war and peace in the garden. Human-animal conflict, like a never-ending cold war, sometimes culminating in brief skirmishes. To counter the infiltrations, measures had to be taken. An old kurta hung up on a frame, with a baseball cap for head, stuck at one end of the then bed of palak – the peacocks’ favourite – and dangling discarded CDs strung on ropes.

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Bruno Dumont’s France is an interesting send-up of a fame-obsessed culture: Express at TIFF

Some situations in the film make you fear for France.

The protagonist in Bruno Dumont’s France is a glamorous TV anchor-cum-intrepid reporter called France de Meurs, who knows exactly how to become the story rather than just report it. Léa Seydoux inhabits the character with great verve and conviction, always ready for action in her swish designer outfits and killer heels, brandishing her blinding lipstick as a weapon, and making France one of the most interesting films at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

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“For people who make art, it really is how they respond to the world”

At the heart of Roy’s story lies a 8 foot clay horse that Elango creates, dredged from memories of his predecessors building one for the local temple, fired by his desire to create a tribute to his beloved, and whose destruction forms the pivot of the novel. (Photo credit: Rukun Advani)

There is a moment of premonitory awareness in Anuradha Roy’s new novel, The Earthspinner (Hachette, Rs 599), when the potter Elango, one of its central characters, despairs over his love for a Muslim woman, Zohra. “He wanted this sign to bring him the only message he yearned for, one that would tell him the unbridgeable crevasse between him and Zohra would one day close, the earth would heal itself, and he would be able to walk across to the other side where she was waiting for him…

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