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Chetan Bhagat’s Audio Drama: A Journey into Modern Storytelling

I always tell people to read and reading allows for a lot of absorption, but next to that, or almost the same as that, is listening to an audio format. Whether it is a podcast, audiobook or an audio drama, because that also allows you to absorb content better…N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

Looking back at his childhood, Chetan Bhagat remembers the time when the radio was the primary source of entertainment. He recounts the sense of anticipation with which people awaited simple yet captivating audio dramas that held their listeners spellbound.

Modern audio dramas, according to the best-selling author, have undergone a remarkable transformation, benefiting from advances in music production technology and heightened creative efforts. He contends that productions today are exponentially richer in content compared to audio dramas of the past.

Bhagat, who recently launched an audio drama adaptation of his acclaimed book ‘The Girl in Room 105’ on Audible, told that the forthcoming rendition of the novel isn’t just a typical audiobook with a single narrator. Rather, it resembles a cinematic experience without visuals.

Bhagat explained the intricacies of producing the audio drama adaptation and the future of the audio drama business. Excerpts from the interview:

Q. What inspired the decision to adapt ‘The Girl in Room 105’ into an audio drama format?

Chetan: I try to always stay connected to the youth of India. I think the young are continually evolving. They have different ways in which they consume their stories. Human beings have always consumed and liked stories, but the medium has changed. I want to be in the most modern medium possible and audio dramas are the future.

Audio dramas have wonderful spaces where you can listen to them anytime and anywhere with a lot of flexibility. You can listen to them while folding your clothes or taking a walk and at the same time they give you almost a movie-like experience.

I wanted to be in this space. I do not want to limit myself to being a writer, but to move on to movies, television, newspapers and motivational talks on stage.

Audio books is another fascinating area that is coming up. I wanted to be the early ones doing this, so I grabbed the chance Audible gave me.

Q. How do you assess the effectiveness of conveying messages through reading versus listening?

Chetan: I always tell people to read and reading allows for a lot of absorption, but next to that, or almost the same as that, is listening to an audio format. Whether it is a podcast, audiobook or an audio drama, because that also allows you to absorb content better.

Sometimes what happens with videos is that while you get absorbed in watching, it doesn’t retain very well.

For example, you may have watched half an hour of Instagram reels today, but do you remember any of them? You probably don’t! But you’ll remember a good speech or good audio instructions; you’ll also remember if you read something.

Reading as well as audio are two excellent ways to learn things and that’s how, if you have noticed, we are taught. We are taught to read books and listen to lectures. These are the two ways how maximum learning and absorption of information happens and it’s a fantastic medium for that.

Q. What trends do you think are shaping the audiobook industry? How are authors like you adapting to it?

Chetan: I realised quickly that I’m not in a paper business or the ink business, I am in the storytelling business. The more new ways and new technologies enable the telling of these stories, the more we need to try and become a part of them. I think this is a very important part for writers who share their ideas with the world and this is an excellent way to do so.

Q. Can you walk us through the production process of the audio adaption of ‘The Girl in Room 105’? What role does Chetan Bhagat play in it?

Chetan: The book itself has a small cameo if you can see by Chetan Bhagat, although it is a work of fiction. I often do this cameo situation where the hero of the story or the protagonist needs the author and the book is written to enable that to happen.

So I played myself, I did a little bit of that, but otherwise, there is a whole cast here. This is not just an audiobook that one person narrates. It is pretty much the same process as making a movie. The only difference is that there is no camera and make-up and all that because you’re not seeing them.

But other than that there’s a whole casting process, there’s scripting, shooting, editing, background sound, music, everything. There’s a full team and that is why the experience is going to be very wholesome or maybe unlike anything you may have experienced before.

Q. In what way does the audio drama explore stereotypes and political issues of contemporary India because that’s something which is always a part of your stories?

Chetan: Although this book is a murder mystery, it is about somebody who is in IIT but not very happy with his career. He is teaching in coaching classes and he is trying to solve the mystery of the death of ex-girlfriend, with whom he is still in love with.

So it brings out the frustration that people experience when they don’t have anything meaningful in their job, nor see a purpose in it. For someone like Keshav, he finds the true purpose of solving this mystery, he believes that nothing absorbs him like trying to solve this case, even though he is not a detective.

The second thing is that it brings out the Kashmir issue, it brings out the stereotypes that exist in our heads and how that confuses the story. I do not want to reveal too much because we have a preconception about Kashmir and the girl is Kashmiri. The mystery hits a certain path, which is often realised as a stereotype. It is often called an unloved story.

We have so many love stories out there, but it is important to learn to unlove because love doesn’t often last forever. People break up and sometimes don’t even get words, and this is pretty much the case in contemporary India and the world. How does one learn to unlove somebody that’s never discussed so I think this book also brings that out.

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DUBAI EVENT: Rebirth in Water

After a stress-filled week, Dubai’s expats look forward to a weekend filled with community healing experience. This week ANQA is unveiling a Somatic Sound Experience to soothe the soul into sereneness … writes Soniya Kirpalani; Images: Santosh Rai

Stress levels in Dubai, particularly among expatriates, have shown significant concern, as a substantial 90.6% of expats in the UAE reported experiencing stress, markedly higher than the people in their home markets.

Fabian – International Water Healer

Despite the great facilities and lifestyle, the security and comforts of Dubai, and the competitiveness in professional environments is allegedly pressuring expats. This have intuitively given growth to a burgeoning wellness industry in keeping with global trends. As a hub for diverse nationalities and lifestyles it offers a diverse range of wellness-related services. This is supported by government-led health initiatives, has fueled this growth, making the wellness market, a key area of development within Dubai’s broader economic landscape.  ANQA is an app which invites some of the leading holistic wellness, experts to host this experiential, exclusive events to help reduce the stress levels of both local and expatriate communities.

Raya – Sound Healer

On May 11th 2024, Rosa Ayun, the founder of ANQA is hosting their pioneering full day transformational retreat titled Rebirth in Water: Somatic Water Therapy & Sound Meditation Retreat” at Rixos on the Palm, from 8:30 AM to 7.00PM.

Rosa Aygun

Inviting Dubaites into one of their premiere experiences, into the soothing depths of Group Water Therapy, this is a groundbreaking experience with renowned international water therapist, Fabian Carlos-Ghu. Supporting their transformation with an integrative lineup of holistic healers like Art Therapy by Faith, Nassib – Sound Healer & Alchemist, – Breathwork & Meditation with founder Rosa Aygun and Wave Motion Yoga expert Atul Verma Rajput. Besides these enriching activities, there are specially curated nourishing meals, and serene moments by the pool and beach at Rixos, Palm Jumeriah.

EVENT: Rebirth in Water: Somatic Water Therapy & Sound Meditation Retreat

VENUE: Rixos on the Palm, from 8:30 AM to 7.00PM.

DATE: May 11th 2024

FOR MORE DETAILS: Rosa Agyun . ANQA 0506442676

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‘What Went Wrong With Capitalism’ Set to Challenge Standard Narratives

Sharma, a Shri Ram College of Commerce alumnus, first drew attention to the breadth of his vision with his debut book, Breakout Nations (2012), which made the journal ‘Foreign Policy’ rank him as one of the top global thinkers…reports Asian Lite News

The ‘New York Times’-listed bestselling author and head of the Rockefeller Capital Management’s international business, Ruchir Sharma, will be out with his new book, ‘What Went Wrong With Capitalism’, on June 16.

It will be the ‘Financial Times’ columnist’s fifth book after ‘The 10 Rules of Successful Nations’, published in 2020.

Making the announcement, the publishing house, Penguin Random House UK, said that in the upcoming book, Sharma “rewrites the standard histories, which trace today’s popular anger to the anti-government rebellion that began under Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.”

A book that promises to help us understand the growing popular anger in the capitalist world (at the moment expressing itself in the protests raging across US campuses), its fundamental argument, according to the press statement from the publisher, can be summed up in this statement: “Four decades of downsizing government — cutting taxes, spending, and regulations — left the financial markets free to run wild, fuelling inequality, slowing growth — and alienating much of the population.”

Sharma, a Shri Ram College of Commerce alumnus, first drew attention to the breadth of his vision with his debut book, Breakout Nations (2012), which made the journal ‘Foreign Policy’ rank him as one of the top global thinkers.

In his upcoming book, Sharma, according to the publisher’s press statement, “exposes the story of a shrinking government as a myth”. The statement adds: “With a historical and global sweep, [Sharma] shows that the government has expanded steadily as a regulator, borrower, spender, and micro-manager of the business cycle for a century. Working with central banks, particularly in the last two decades, governments created a culture of easy money and bailouts that is making the rich richer, and big companies bigger.”

In an observation that may explain the appeal of the left-of-centre US Senator Bernie Sanders among young Americans, Sharma says “progressive youth are partly right that capitalism has morphed into ‘socialism for the very rich’.”

Sharma notes: “The broader issue, however, is socialised risk for the poor, the middle class and the rich; the government is trying to guarantee that no one ever suffers economic pain by borrowing heavily to prevent recessions, extend recoveries, and generate endless growth.”

“The result,” he adds, “is rapidly rising debt and declining competition — exactly the environment in which oligopolies and billionaires do best.”

Says the book’s blurb, “This rare capitalist critique of capitalism offers a timely warning. To a surprising degree, politicians on both the right and left now assume that popular anger with capitalism arose in a period of shrinking government, and so offer answers that involve more government — more spending, or regulation, or walls and barriers.”

The blurb goes on to note, “If their historical assumptions are incorrect, their proposed fixes are likely to double down on what went wrong in the first place. There is no returning to the 19th century when the government did little more than deliver mail, but the balance has shifted too far towards state control, leaving too little room for economic competition.”

No matter whether your politics are progressive or conservative, Sharma argues, the answer has to be less government and more cautious central banks.

Commenting on his “most ambitious book yet”, Sharma says, “This book is a pandemic baby, conceived in that dark period when governments were both locking down businesses and spending trillions to support people shut in at home.

“Though many saw this crisis as entirely novel, what I saw was the logical culmination of all that has gone wrong with capitalism, namely, decades of increasingly interventionist government, narrowing the scope of individual freedom and initiative and economic freedom.”

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A Fusion of Dreams and Realism

In ‘Vriksha’, the artist has merged her web design style with normal brush strokes…reports Asian Lite News

Subtle yet tantalising, the paintings of Shiva, Saraswati playing the veena, a glimpse of Venice, and yesteryear’s actor Madhubala with her bewitching smile — artist Poonam Bhatnagar’s solo exhibition in the national capital will encompass all that and more.

Brushed with a delicate mix of colours, Bhatnagar’s 24 paintings under the title ‘Between Dreams’ will be exhibited at the Bikaner House from April 12 to 17.

A trained textile designer, she brings a peculiar style into her work using minute strokes and a delicate palette of colours.

“I call this ‘web cast’ — inspired by a spider’s web,” says Bhatnagar.

Preferring to work on large canvases, the artist feels she has much to say and show.

“That is why most of my works are huge,” she adds.

Preparing for this exhibition for the past two years, her painting of Saraswati is a 6×4 feet canvas showing the goddess playing the veena, while ‘Shiva Shakti’, done on a 4.5×4 feet canvas, has a three-dimensional effect, as the vertical and horizontal geometric lines merge with the squares and waves.

While she has participated in several group shows before, this is her first solo wherein through the series ‘Cityscapes’, she encapsulates her experiences of the sights of London, Venice, Zurich, and Ladakh, among other places.

In ‘Vriksha’, the artist has merged her web design style with normal brush strokes.

Bhatnagar’s ‘Pensive Portrait’ series includes portraits of yesteryear’s actors — Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Suchitra Sen, and Madhabi Mukherjee, done mostly in black and white.

Talking about the web-like design style, the artist points out, “Initially, the lines used to be thicker but now they have become finer, intricate, and ‘closer’. The style has evolved.”

Bhatnagar says the painting ‘Ladakh’ is “completely covered with webcast”, with the fine lines raised, giving it a three-dimensional effect.

“You can feel it. Photos do not really do justice to my paintings,” she adds.

Talking about the artist’s unique style, curator Uma Nair says, “Not texture, but illusion would be the right word to describe her work. Looking at her paintings in the ‘Mythos’ and ‘Cityscapes’ sections from a distance, the multiple layers create a peculiar visual experience.”

The exhibition presented by Masha Art will be inaugurated by noted filmmaker Muzaffar Ali.

ALSO READ-‘Beyond The Frames’ in 15th Solo Exhibition

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‘Beyond The Frames’ in 15th Solo Exhibition

With the knack of blending traditional techniques with modern sensibilities, Devnatha’s style deeply resonates with his understanding of the artistic medium…reports Asian Lite News

With a forte of realistic art and thematic portraits, renowned figurative artist Kamal Devnatha will showcase his latest art piece, “Beyond The Frames” in his 15th solo exhibition. The exhibition will commence from 1st May to 5th May at the Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi.

Devnatha’s 15th solo showcase promises to captivate art enthusiasts with a distinctive semi-figurative style that is uniquely his own.

With the knack of blending traditional techniques with modern sensibilities, Devnatha’s style deeply resonates with his understanding of the artistic medium.

Featuring over 55 captivating artworks, each a testament to his mastery of both acrylic and oil colours, the exhibition will display the artist’s figurative work and contemporary art, characterized by delicate, feminine figures rendered in pastel colours, all within his signature unique style.

The exhibition will allow the guests to delve deeper into the world where art transcends traditional boundaries, inviting intense interpretation and introspection where his commitment shines through in each meticulously crafted piece, offering a glimpse into his creative process and boundless imagination.

Devnatha’s artistic journey is permeable with a deep musical influence that echoes his oeuvre. Drawing inspiration from nature and the rhythms of life, the art genius infuses his canvases with vibrant colours and fluid strokes, creating a visual symphony that resonates with joy and happiness.

ALSO READ-Ompal Sansanwal’s ‘Jiva’ Exhibition Opens in Delhi

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Ompal Sansanwal’s ‘Jiva’ Exhibition Opens in Delhi

The painting bear Ompal’s trademark style — with the long, sinuous tree roots and the dense foliage merging to give shape to the stories he tells — whether of gods and goddesses, or from Indian mythology, or just take on human-like forms as they clasp each other in an embrace, or even dance…writes Sukant Deepak

Trees take on myriad forms — Krishna holds aloft the Govardhan hill, Christ’s Last Supper and Shiva as Nataraja, for instance — at National Award-winning artist Ompal Sansanwal’s solo exhibition of 60 paintings that opens in the national capital on Friday.

The exhibition, titled ‘Jiva’, showcases Sansanwal’s intricately crafted paintings of trees that he has worked on for the past 15 years. The paintings comprise mostly acrylic and pen and ink on canvas or watercolours and pen and ink on canvas.

Curated by Uma Nair, the week-long exhibition opens on April 27, and continues till May 3, at Bikaner House. ‘Jiva’ is being hosted by Black Cube Gallery, which marks its debut at Bikaner House with Sansanwal’s collection of paintings. For the artist, it will be his first solo outing after a hiatus of 15 years.

The painting bear Ompal’s trademark style — with the long, sinuous tree roots and the dense foliage merging to give shape to the stories he tells — whether of gods and goddesses, or from Indian mythology, or just take on human-like forms as they clasp each other in an embrace, or even dance.

“When I draw the trees, they come out in a meditative form,” Sansanwal said. “As I begin drawing, I have no idea what form the painting will take. It just takes shape on its own. I am unconscious of what I am doing, and always get too absorbed in the work.

Referring to his painting of Rabindranath Tagore, he says: “Like Tagore gave enlightenment to the world, the tree too is giving enlightenment to the world from eons ago.”

Trees have fascinated Sansanwal from his childhood and he would spend hours gazing at the peepul, banyan, mango, guava and jamun trees in the ‘baghichi’, or garden, behind his house in south Delhi’s Mehrauli neighbourhood. And as he gazed at them, the trees would take on the shape of humans and he would try to look for the eyes and mouth.

“In my trees you will find faces, human figures. I have not copied any tree; these shapes come from within me,” Sansanwal adds.

Sansanwal’s works have been featured in several solo exhibitions previously, including at the Museum Gallery, Mumbai, and the LTG Gallery and Shridharani Gallery, New Delhi, and in group shows held at the Nehru Centre in London and in the former Yugoslavia.

Elaborating on his style, Uma Nair, the curator, said, “As an artist, Sansanwal is a pilgrim who walks miles to find trees of his own sensibility and sensitivity. When you look at his works you sense a deep spiritual aura that fulfils him. His prowess for branching threaded twigs and leaves and berries and birds all become a rhythm.”

Born in 1964, Ompal received the National Award in 2002. The Rajasthan Lalit Kala Academy had also feted him back in 1991.

‘Jiva’ will be inaugurated by Ratish Nanda, leading Indian conservation architect and CEO of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). He will also launch Sansanwal’s book titled ‘Meditations on Trees’.

ALSO READ-M.K. Raina’s Memoir: A Journey Through Kashmir’s Complexities

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Unveiling the Life of Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi

The exhibition will also showcase a collection of photographs of Maharani and her life, narrated visually in different chapters. An oil painting by Maharani’s first granddaughter, Bharani Thirunal Rukmini Bayi Thampuran, who’s also the Chairperson of the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, will be on display as well…reports Asian Lite News

On the occasion of the 176th birth anniversary of Raja Ravi Varma, the Travancore royal and artist designated as a national treasure, the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation will present ‘Daughter of Providence’ — a first-of-its-kind exhibition on the life and times of Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi (1895-1985), the last ruling queen of Travancore and the artist’s eldest granddaughter.

The exhibition will be on display from April 29 (the artist’s birth date) to May 30 at the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation in Bengaluru.

Backed with research and documentation by the historian and author of the award-winning book, ‘The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore’, Manu S. Pillai, the show’s centrepiece will be a never-before-seen original oil painting of Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi as a three-year-old child, painted by her grandfather Raja Ravi Varma as a gift to her.

The exhibition will also showcase a collection of photographs of Maharani and her life, narrated visually in different chapters. An oil painting by Maharani’s first granddaughter, Bharani Thirunal Rukmini Bayi Thampuran, who’s also the Chairperson of the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, will be on display as well.

Talking about the exhibition’s significance, Gitanjali Maini, Managing Trustee and CEO of the Foundation, said, “The focus of the Foundation remains on documentation and preservation of Raja Ravi Varma’s work, but we often come across paintings by the artist that have never been seen, researched, documented or published before they reach our hands.

“This painting of Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi as a three-year-old girl is one such work that needs to be spoken about and shared with anyone who has a love for Raja Ravi Varma and his work.”

The exhibition, with this painting being the highlight, showcases the life of the Maharani from infancy to her last days, which she spent peacefully at Richmond Road, Bengaluru. While she ruled Travancore and created history through reforms and wise governance, she also chose the city to spend her years once she gave up the throne

ALSO READ-M.K. Raina’s Memoir: A Journey Through Kashmir’s Complexities

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M.K. Raina’s Memoir: A Journey Through Kashmir’s Complexities

For someone who believes art cannot be made in isolation, and must reflect contemporary social and political realities, he insists that even till date he reads the society to make his theatre…writes Sukant Deepak

He makes it clear that the memoir is not about his theatre journey, nor the making of some of the finest theatre productions he has brought on stage, but in fact, about India and the many shades he has been a witness to.

Theatre director M.K. Raina’s memoir ‘Before I Forget’ (Penguin) starts from his childhood in Kashmir, the time when Sheikh Abdullah was arrested, his work as an activist post the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the killing of theatre personality Safdar Hashmi, and his work with ‘bhands’ in Kashmir.

It was important for him to put it out all there — for these are vivid tales from a complex land where nothing is linear. He smiles, it is this aspect of India he has been a witness to, that precipitated the writing of the book.

“During the pandemic-induced lockdown, I sat back and recalled my life, and yes, was very surprised by whatever I encountered during all these years,” he told IANS. You may take the questions anywhere, but Raina will ultimately come back to Kashmir — the home he was forced to leave like his fellow Pandits.

For someone who believes art cannot be made in isolation, and must reflect contemporary social and political realities, he insists that even till date he reads the society to make his theatre.

“The Westernised version of ‘isolation’ is not for me. I can never do a play that has no socio-political relevance and does not reflect the echoes of the present times,” Raina said. OK, we are back in Kashmir now.

It was at the beginning of 2001, at a time when the Valley was burning, that Raina quietly went there to hold workshops and work with ‘bhands’. That was also the time when ‘bhands’ were completely prohibited by militants from performing. Even at weddings, there was no singing, no sarangi too.

“They had not performed for 10 years,” Raina recalled. “When I met them, they burst out crying, almost howling. I kept looking at them. There was so much inside them waiting to come out.”

Deemed un-Islamic, it was not easy to revive theatre in Kashmir’s countryside at a time when no auditoriums were functioning and colleges and universities were shut.

But Raina knew he had to make a start somewhere to reclaim the Valley’s cultural fabric, which in many ways is very egalitarian. “I had to enter through the needle hole quietly, otherwise, they would have shot me dead,” he said.

His friend suggested a hostel at an agriculture university deep inside forests and orchards, where he started taking a month-long theatre workshop attended by people from across districts, including those in South Kashmir. “It was almost a Gandhian way of living. We cooked together, cleaned dishes and washed our clothes,” he remembered.

During their rehearsals, people from around the village would start coming in as spectators. Slowly, word got out that a performance was being prepared. “On the day of the show,” Raina recalled, “hundreds of people in buses arrived. I was stunned. But it was also a hint for me to continue my work there.”

For a long time, he kept holding at least three workshops every year in the Valley. Stressing that it was not to make productions, but also a way to use theatre as a healing tool, Raina added, “There were traumatised children and women, the psychological damage in the society was so evident. I just hope I was able to do something through this great art form.”

For someone who trained 300 youngsters in theatre in Kashmir who went to make their theatre groups in different districts of the UT, Raina now points out that he did not want to come to the forefront, and explains precisely why he stayed away from the media during those times. “I did not want to be the hero,” he said. “Everything was done for a larger cause.”

Be it working in jungles, orchards or in an unfinished hospital, Raina remembered that hints were dropped that the militants were unhappy with what he was doing. He continued: “But then some people told them it was all for culture, and not some political cause — we never heard from them, considering the ordinary people were with us.”

Talk to him about art in a conflict zone and Raina stresses that he had to look over his shoulders 24×7.

“I was caught in stone pelting, a police raid, threats from militants … But what I learnt was a great lesson in patience, and in being reasonable. You cannot afford to lose your temper. Slowly, everybody started supporting us — villagers and traders in the Anantnag area especially,” Raina said.

When he did ‘Badshah Pather’, the adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’, he would work in a clearing surrounded by mountains where people sat to watch the rehearsals. Remembering the setting reminiscent of a primitive Greek theatre, he said, “Those moments opened my eyes to that many possibilities that theatre can offer.”

Lamenting that the lack of funding has made him less active in Kashmir, Raina said, “Half of my life has gone into trying to garner resources. Besides the India Foundation for the Arts, nobody has come forward. What more can I say?”

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The Art of Unlearning

Too often, we attribute our professional challenges to external factors—the current workplace culture, our managers, or the industry itself. Yet, true growth requires introspection and a willingness to unlearn ingrained behaviours that no longer serve us…writes Prasad Shejale

As seasoned professionals, we often pride ourselves on our expertise and accumulated knowledge. However, what if some of that knowledge is holding us back? What if the habits we’ve developed over decades are actually hindering our progress rather than propelling us forward? My own journey in unlearning, particularly through the lens of my experience with swimming, sheds light on the importance of breaking free from ingrained habits and embracing change in our professional lives.

Allow me to share a personal anecdote that resonates deeply with the concept of unlearning. Despite my passion for swimming, I found myself struggling to improve for over four decades. It wasn’t because of a lack of effort or determination, but rather because I had learned the wrong techniques at an early age. Swimming alongside friends in a river, I absorbed habits that stuck with me throughout my life, hindering my progress despite my best intentions.

Finally acknowledging the need for change, I enrolled in a beginner’s swimming course. The process of unlearning was arduous; it required me to confront not only physical challenges but also the mental resistance to change. Watching others progress while I struggled to undo years of ingrained habits was a humbling experience. Yet, with perseverance and dedication, I began to see incremental improvements.

The parallels between my swimming journey and professional life are striking. Just as I had unknowingly absorbed detrimental habits in swimming, so too can we pick up negative behaviours in our careers. Our first job, our initial experiences with bosses and colleagues—they all shape our professional identity. Yet, over time, some of these habits can become obstacles to growth and success.

Too often, we attribute our professional challenges to external factors—the current workplace culture, our managers, or the industry itself. Yet, true growth requires introspection and a willingness to unlearn ingrained behaviours that no longer serve us. It’s about challenging the status quo, breaking free from the comfort of familiarity, and embracing the discomfort of change.

Unlearning is not a one-time event but an ongoing process—one that demands resilience, humility, and self-awareness. It requires us to confront our own limitations and biases, to question long-held assumptions, and to embrace new perspectives and ways of working. It’s about recognizing that the path to success is not always linear, and that failure is an essential part of the learning process.

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the ability to unlearn and relearn is more critical than ever. The skills and knowledge that brought us success in the past may not be sufficient to navigate the challenges of tomorrow. By embracing the art of unlearning, we open ourselves up to new possibilities, innovation, and growth.

Business leaders, I urge you to reflect on your own professional journey. What habits and beliefs are holding you back? What do you need to unlearn in order to reach your full potential? Embrace the discomfort of change, for it is through unlearning that we truly evolve and thrive in an ever-changing world.

ALSO READ-Santanu and Sunita Dinda’s Artistic Ode to Indianness

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Embracing a Timeless Legacy of Arts at SIFAS Festival of Arts 2024

Established in 1949, SIFAS has been a cornerstone of Indian cultural heritage in Singapore, fostering art and cultural appreciation through its diverse disciplines…reports Asian Lite News

As the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society (SIFAS) commemorates its 75th year of enriching Singapore’s cultural landscape, the much-anticipated SIFAS Festival of Arts, continues to captivate audiences till May 1, 2024, in Singapore.

The celebration by SIFAS is jointly organised with SIFAS Productions Limited (SPL) and will feature enthralling performances by leading Indian classical artistes Ranjani and Gayatri (RaGa Sisters), Jayateerth Mevundi, Abhishek Raghuram and dance drama by Kalakshetra Foundation in collaboration with SIFAS.

Established in 1949, SIFAS has been a cornerstone of Indian cultural heritage in Singapore, fostering art and cultural appreciation through its diverse disciplines.

2024 marks SIFAS’ Diamond Jubilee, a significant milestone for the non-profit organisation committed to nurturing talent and promoting Indian fine arts in the region. As Singapore transitions into a global arts hub, SIFAS continues to uphold its mission of preserving and promoting Indian cultural heritage while embracing multiculturalism. 

The SIFAS Festival of Arts 2024, an iconic event in SIFAS’ cultural calendar, celebrates the institution’s legacy as the heart and hub of Indian arts in Singapore. Themed ‘Virasata: Celebrating a Timeless Legacy of Arts,’ this year’s festival also serves as a curtain-raiser to SIFAS’ 75th anniversary celebrations that will extend throughout the year.

With over 75 programmes of classical Indian music, dance, and visual arts, the festival promises a mesmerising journey through the rich tapestry of Indian arts. From traditional Kathak and Bharatanatyam performances and soul-stirring renditions of Hindustani and Carnatic vocals and instrumentals to a visual arts exhibition and arts and craft workshops, the festival showcases the depth and diversity of Indian cultural heritage.

“We are thrilled to present the SIFAS Festival of Arts as a tribute to SIFAS’ illustrious journey over the past 75 years,” said K V Rao, President, SIFAS. “This festival not only celebrates our heritage but also embraces the future of Indian arts, showcasing the talents of both emerging artists and iconic maestros.”

“The 75th Anniversary milestone is being celebrated with SIFAS collaborating with organisations as well as leaders in the arts industry, both locally and globally, especially from India,” said Menaka Gopalan, Executive Director, SIFAS. “We have also made a conscious effort with our outreach towards different communities, including the underrepresented, to promote arts and mental well-being.”

Scheduled at the SIFAS Stage and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, the festival promises an unforgettable experience for art enthusiasts of all ages. Through its immersive programmes and vibrant performances, the SIFAS Festival of Arts 2024 invites audiences to celebrate the enduring legacy of Indian arts and culture in Singapore. Air India is the official carrier for the SIFAS Festival of Arts, enhancing the cultural journey for attendees from around the world.

In addition to the milestone anniversary, SIFAS also celebrates 20 years of the SIFAS Festival of Arts this year. The SIFAS Festival of Arts has been an eminent platform for showcasing the best in Indian fine arts in Singapore. Evolving with each year since 2003, they have collaborated with Esplanade since 2005 to bring both internationally renowned and emerging local talent to the forefront. This year, the festival marks two decades of cultural brilliance and community engagement. Through the festival, a year-long celebration from May 19, 2024, to May 19, 2025, and a series of events and activities, SIFAS aims to underscore its enduring legacy and its vision for the future of Indian fine arts in Singapore.

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