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Vatika UK Launches #UntieYourFears Campaign

Heritage, South Asian Hair Care Brand, Vatika UK, launches #UntieYourFears campaign to raise awareness around public sexual harassment. A feature for Asian Lite International by columnist Riccha Grrover.

Continuing to advocate women empowerment and to challenge sexist and misogynistic behaviour patterns that have become normalised in society, heritage, South Asian hair care brand, Vatika UK, has launched a new campaign that aims to highlight and initiate conversations around public street harassment, entitled #UntieYourFears.

Public Street harassment (PSH) is a form of harassment that is directed at someone in a public space without their consent. 75 per cent of girls in the UK, some as young as 12, have experienced some form of public harassment in their lifetime. 97 per cent of 18-24 year olds have been sexually harassed in public, while 80 per cent of women of all ages in the UK have experienced public sexual harassment.

Public street harassment is not limited to actions or comments that have sexual connotations. It often includes homophobic and transphobic slurs and hateful comments regarding disability. Recipients include people of all genders but women are more commonly victims of harassment by men.

Furthermore, South Asians frequently experience various forms of abuse, including insults based on their race, religion or ethnicity. However, reporting rates in South Asian communities are statistically lower due to a number of cultural norms that exist, inhibiting people from coming forward. There is also a clear lack of awareness and understanding of what constitutes harassment and sexual abuse and when it manifests in casual forms we often let it pass as a societal norm.

Common forms of street harassment include unwanted sexualised comments; provocative gestures; staring; stalking; beeping the horn; wolf-whistling; indecent exposure; persistent sexual advances ;and touching or grabbing by strangers. The impact and consequences of public sexual harassment can often be long term for the victims, feeling fear, anxiety, panic and depression after long periods of being exposed to harassment. This often forces victims to change habits by avoiding night time socialising; changing their clothes to look more masculine; wearing their hair up; and even changing jobs or moving home.

The British government has now backed a law that will criminalise sexual harassment in the streets, introducing a bill that will make it a specific offence.

#UntieYourFears marks the next chapter to follow Vatika UK’s award-winning and visionary
 #BeVisible and #StrongerRoots campaigns, which signified game-changing moments in the South Asian personal care industry that aim to empower women. The #UntieYourFears campaign features four videos specifically highlighting common forms of public sexual harassment: catcalling, usually sexual in tone and manner, that is a form of objectification and intimidation; unwanted touching of a person’s hair, body or clothing; intrusive staring or persistent leering that is sexual in nature; and unwanted pressing against another person in a sexual manner and unwanted physical contact.

The campaign’s central message is to empower women; raise awareness to identify different scenarios of street harassment; encourage women to share their experiences; start conversations; and advocate the public call out this behaviour when witnessed on the streets. It has been conceptualised and created by award-winning, brand marketing agency, Ethnic Reach.

Speaking about the #UntieYourFears campaign, Zakir Mansoori, Business Head UK & Europe, Dabur International says, “Women empowerment and gender equality are central brand missions for us at Vatika UK. It is unacceptable that, in modern society, public harassment targeting women or persons based on their race, religion, ability, sexual or gender identity is as commonplace and normalised as it is. Our aim with the #UntieYourFears campaign is to call out public harassment that has become so casually entrenched in daily life. Its consequences can be long term and far reaching for victims, and perpetrators need to know that this is intolerable behaviour. As a society, we need to call out this behaviour when we see it; we need to stand in solidarity with women and recipients of public harassment; and we need to start having these conversations to bring a stop to this behaviour.”

Roshni Singh, Marketing Manager UK & Europe, Dabur International, says “Women and all victims of public harassment need to feel secure and empowered through societal solidarity and support. Each and every one of us has a duty to condemn this behaviour when we witness it on our streets. Women and any group in society should never have to adjust their public appearance or behaviour to avoid unwarranted and unsolicited attention and harassment. It is the perpetrators that need to stop this behaviour. Enough is enough! We hope that our #UntieYourFears campaign will help shed further light on this issue and for people to start having these conversations to ensure we work towards eradicating public harassment from our streets.”

About Vatika UK

Vatika is a Hair care brand which truly believe that every strand tells a story and Vatika believes in nourishing, embracing and empowering these stories. They are proud members of the Dabur Group, a world-leading ayurvedic and natural products company founded over 135 years ago.
Their expertise lies in South Asian hair. South Asian women are known for their long, luscious locks because they know the secret to healthy hair. The secret is nature. Nourishing hair with ingredients available in the natural world leads to luxurious hair, which is why Vatika products are made using natural ingredients.

India News Lite Blogs Restaurant Reviews

Olive Qutub: A multi-award winning restaurant extraordinaire

Olive Qutub: A multi-award winning restaurant extraordinaire. An exclusive feature by FnB columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International

The story began 20 years ago, when the people of Delhi first came upon a delightful Mediterranean haveli set in the shade of the majestic Qutub Minar. Here, dappled sunlight fell on soft armchairs in a pebbled courtyard; and laughter and conversation flowed steadily in-between courses of delicious food and fine wine. Here, food, wine, art, culture and music fuse together in a delightful melting pot, to create an unforgettable Mediterranean mosaic. Worlds collide and time stops in this Mogul mansion with a beautiful Banyan, home to warm and casual elegance.

Over the years, restauranteur AD Singh has introduced the capital to a long list of innovative, culinary firsts. The menu by Chef Dhruv Oberoi comprises a progressive European and Mediterranean cuisine that celebrates the abundance of nature. Serai, an award-winning culinary cocktail bar with house-made tequila infusions and signature sorbet GinTos by Lead Mixologist Harish Chhimwal has been in the forefront of the beverage revolution in the city. 

There is little doubt that connoisseurs across the country have recognised Olive Qutub as the gold standard in restaurants. They have been listed as one of the best new restaurants in the world by Condé Nast Traveler, and their ever-popular Sunday brunch has been rated the best in the country.  

The bar, Serai pours culinary cocktails, house-made tequila infusions, teq tonics and signature sorbet GinTos

A few firsts of the many at Olive Qutub from over the years:

Olive Qutub is a multi-award winning restaurant with chefs having won Best Western European Cuisine, Chef of the year, Best Mediterranean, Best brunch in the country, Best Pizzas and a space so stunning that the Conde Nast Traveler rated it as one of the world’s best new restaurants in the first year of its opening, 2004.

Olive Qutub has always been a trendsetter whilst being the first restaurant to introduce to Delhi:

· The farm to fork concept 10 years ago

· The concept of a pop-up with a restaurant thus working with different chefs, menus and partners

·A 16 course degustation menu (Tasting Menu) in 2006

· Molecular gastronomy; one of the hottest international food trends back in 2006 and 2007

·The Tasting Lab; a concept based on extensive research with local produce, and traditional and modern Indian techniques in Western and European cuisine

·Cult recipes like soufflé, chocolate fondant, truffle risottos, wood fired thin crust pizzas (including an ultra-thin 18” Milano pizza); and more!

Olive Qutub is a big proponent of sustainability – working with local farms, healthy produce, fresh cooking, zero wastage and minimal usage of plastic, thus reducing the carbon footprint. 

At Olive Qutub, indulgence is their specialty. A meal starts with a delicate amuse-bouche. A refreshing palate cleansing sorbet flows between courses, with joyous petit fours served at the end. All with compliments of Olive.

Olive introduced the concept of changing menus influenced by the summer and winter; seasonal ingredients, new trends and techniques as well as eating habits that change with the season.

Olive was the first restaurant to think beyond food and beverage and give a wholesome experience complete with fashion, culture and design. Thus culminating into nights around people and achievers (Med Mosaic nights), Flea by Nite, Spa Lunches, Crisp Sundowners, The Sunday Wine Picnic Brunch!

Olive has been host to the best in the world from state guests, industrialists, to glitterati and literati alike.

Olive Qutub is a charming Mediterranean restaurant. The service here is impeccable, the vibe is delightful, the cuisine delectable and the meal experience is wonderfully unforgettable! Casual elegance with its beautiful white walls, a vast Banyan canopy, and a stunning, star-lit, and a tree-top terrace bar under the shadow of the Qutub Minar makes it one of the most coveted restaurant in Delhi. Highly Recommended!

Food Lite Blogs

‘Ghost Chef’ a perfect choice for summer dinners

Delivering all across Mumbai, this new entity aims to customise customers’ needs and offer a restaurant-style experience in the comfort of their homes…reports Asian Lite News

In Mumbai, the weather has begun to heat up and get muggy, therefore it is advised to consume light, fresh meals. With their robust meal selections to carry you through hot summer days and nights, The Ghost Chef is the perfect choice for summer lunches and dinners.

The Ghost Chef, a recently established cloud kitchen company, operates three brands under its name: Namak, Alas, and IL Sale, which translate to salt in Hindi, Greek, and Italian, respectively.

For those looking for a traditional Lebanese and Greek menu with influences of Turkey, can try out their Cold Mezze and Hummus dips from ‘Alas’. The menu has a wide range of Mezze options such as a variety of Labneh including Spicy Labneh, Garlic Labneh, Avocado Labneh and Labneh Za’atar.

A Mediterranean menu is incomplete without hummus, and Alas has a selection to choose from. In addition to the traditional version, one will also find Spicy Moroccan Hummus, spicy Moroccan chilli scented spicy hummus; Green Pea & Truffle Hummus, truffle scented roasted green peas churned with tahini cream; and Avocado Hummus, fresh avocado and chickpeas blended with garlic and tahini, and topped with roasted seeds and smoked paprika.

The Italian menu ‘IL Sale’ highlights includes, Salads such as Millenial, Feta Crumble, Mix Lettuce, Roasted Cherry Tomato, Mushroom, Sun Dried Tomato, Radish, Cucumber, Mint & Apple Cider Vinaigrette; Roast Sweet Potato, Chickpeas & Roast Sweet Potato, Olives, Avocado Mush, Kale, Mix Seeds, Almond Flakes, Tahini Tzatziki dressing; ABC, Mix Lettuce, Fresh Apples, Roast Beetroot, Candied Walnuts, Feta, Balsamic Vinaigrette; and more. These healthy salads are wholesome enough to be the main course. They are not only light and refreshing, but also filling and satisfying which makes them perfect for summer dinner ideas.

Choose from their lip-smacking Riso in Quinoa or Cauliflower, the options include, Ratatouille, Herbed Spicy Tomato Sauce With Confit Garlic, Mixed Bell Peppers & Courgettes; Pesto, Sweet Basil & Mix Nut Pesto and more, and prepare yourself for a whole host of healthy dishes to overcome your guilty indulgences and makes a tasty light lunch/dinner during the season.

Everything is freshly prepared without the use of any premade or ready-made ingredients. If you need catering, It has a system that lets you order the individual ingredients and put the dish together yourself at home by following clear, simple video instructions. The kitchen has carefully chosen competent chefs who use the best ingredients and uphold high standards of hygiene, always putting the comfort of the patrons first.

Delivering all across Mumbai, this new entity aims to customise customers’ needs and offer a restaurant-style experience in the comfort of their homes.

Orders can be placed via Thrive, Zomato and Swiggy.

ALSO READ-Recipe: Pistachio rose petals ice cream

Arts & Culture Lite Blogs

Resilience: Stories of Women Inspiring Change

The exhibition features showcase a selection of stories, awarded in the World Press Photo Contest from 2000 to 2021, the stories of women who have worked tirelessly to achieve their goals and make a difference in the lives of others…reports Asian Lite News

A 21-day photo exhibition called Resilience – Stories of Women Inspiring Change is on at the India Habitat Centre, Delhi until March 23 as a tribute to the struggles of the feminine through the stories of women from various nations around the world.

Brought to India by the Netherlands Embassy in collaboration with World Press Photo Foundation, this travelling exhibition shows photographs sharing the real-time challenges of women and celebrates their unflinching zeal in breaking the barriers and overcoming hurdles.

Tribute to the struggles of the feminine.(photo:IANSLIFE)

The exhibition features showcases a selection of stories, awarded in the World Press Photo Contest from 2000 to 2021, the stories of women who have worked tirelessly to achieve their goals and make a difference in the lives of others.

The photography exhibition was inaugurated by Dr Bahia Tahzib-Lie, Human Rights Ambassador of the Netherlands in the presence of Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture of India and Marten van den Berg, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to India, Nepal and Bhutan. After the capita, the show will go to Bengaluru and Mumbai.

Tribute to the struggles of the feminine.(photo:IANSLIFE)

“We are thrilled to showcase the resilience and strength of these remarkably brave women,” said Dr Bahia Tahzib-Lie, Ambassador of Human Rights, “Their personal and impactful stories are an inspiration to us all and remind us of the power we all have to make a positive difference in our world.”

This exhibition is a visual testimony of multiple voices, documented by 17 photographers of 13 different nationalities from 15 countries, offer insights into issues such as sexism, gender-based violence, reproductive rights, and access to equal opportunities. The different stories explore how women and gender issues have evolved in the 21st century and how photojournalism is finding ways to portray them.

Tribute to the struggles of the feminine.(photo:IANSLIFE)

The exhibition includes photographs by: Forough Alaei (Iran), Jonathan Bachman (USA), Daniel Berehulak (Australia), Anna Boyiazis (USA), Fulvio Bugani (Italy), Maika Elan (Vietnam), Jan Grarup (Denmark), Terrell Groggins (USA), Robin Hammond (New Zealand), Olivia Harris (United Kingdom), Heba Khamis (Egypt), Diana Markosian (USA), Catalina Martin-Chico (France/Spain), Finbarr O’ Reilly (Canada), Pablo Tosco (Argentina), Magnus Wennman (Sweden) and Irina Werning (Argentina).

ALSO READ-‘I believe in constructing fantastic versions’

Lite Blogs

Let them play to reduce negative effects of screen time

The findings come amid persistent concerns over the adverse effects of smartphone use by children, particularly due to the recent Covid-19 lockdowns, which led to more screen time and less outdoor time for kids…reports Asian Lite News

Reducing the negative effects of screen time on little minds might be as simple as encouraging kids to play outside, suggests a study by Japanese researchers.

If you have young children, you’re likely worried about how much time they spend staring at a screen, be it a tablet, phone, computer, or television.

New study by researchers at Osaka University indicates that more screen time at age 2 is associated with poorer communication and daily living skills at age 4 — but when kids also play outdoors, some of the negative effects of screen time are reduced.

Specifically, almost one-fifth of the effects of screen time on daily living skills were mediated by outdoor play, meaning that increasing outdoor play time could reduce the negative effects of screen time on daily living skills by almost 20 per cent.

In the study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, the researchers also found that, although it was not linked to screen time, socialisation was better in 4-year-olds who had spent more time playing outside at 2 years 8 months of age.

“Taken together, our findings indicate that optimising screen time in young children is really important for appropriate neurodevelopment,” Tomoko Nishimura, from the varsity said.

The findings come amid persistent concerns over the adverse effects of smartphone use by children, particularly due to the recent Covid-19 lockdowns, which led to more screen time and less outdoor time for kids.

The World Health Organisation also recommends that 2-year-olds should not be exposed to sedentary screen time — which is defined as activities such as watching TV and playing computer games — for over one hour a day.

For the study, the team followed 885 children from 18 months to 4 years of age. They looked at the relationship between three key features: average amount of screen time per day at age 2, amount of outdoor play at age 2 years 8 months, and neurodevelopmental outcomes — specifically, communication, daily living skills, and socialisation scores — at age 4.

Involve your kids in happier activities to reduce screen time.(photo:IANSLIFE)

“Although both communication and daily living skills were worse in 4-year-old children who had had more screen time at age 2, outdoor play time had very different effects on these two neurodevelopmental outcomes,” explained lead author Kenji J. Tsuchiya, Professor at Osaka University.

“We were surprised to find that outdoor play didn’t really alter the negative effects of screen time on communication — but it did have an effect on daily living skills,” Tsuchiya added.

ALSO READ-Screen time for kids need to be controlled

Arts & Culture Lite Blogs

‘I believe in constructing fantastic versions’

My body of work shows the close bond man has with nature, a union that helps him regain his lost innocence, enjoying a solace that can be derived from the peace and quiet of our environment…reports Asian Lite News

I take in the full range of our world with receptive thought, comprehension, and a lighthearted approach to my keen impressions. I visualise the point where the abilities of imagination and foresight collide with thinking delusions. My vibrant images, for which I am regarded as the leading practitioner of the L’Art Naif style, are a manifestation of the peculiarity of the Indian situation, wherein westernisation occurred without displacing fundamentally traditional characteristics of identity that form the foundation of Indian society.

Through my brightly coloured paintings with figures looking straight out from the canvas, I bring a contemplative mirror effect in the viewer’s mind, in which the duality of observer and observed gradually disappears. Another chief element of my work is multiple narrations in one frame with vivacious depiction of visual symbols of everyday life, intricate patterns and details where I present a picture within a picture to indicate toward the experiential perplexity rooted in the multiplicity of reality.

I believe in constructing fantastic versions of accessible scenes, both rural and urban utopias. A picture of the moment is built in which whole histories and relationships are made visible. My work is all about time and through my paintings, time is movement held still.

A Tryst with Destiny.(photo:IANSLIFE)

One can grasp the complexity and nuance of my vision only after abandoning society’s typical notions and then keenly observing the relationships and components at play. The projected images serve as a veneer, behind which an infinite number of experiences and interpretations are possible.

A Tryst with Destiny.(photo:IANSLIFE)

Behind the pedantically accurate and yet often misjudged, the world is so true, naked and ludicrous that we gasp as we recognise it. In spite of the lure of the luxurious comforts of home, man embraces nature. Ideas flow, senses come alive, and we come to terms with our existence.

My body of work shows the close bond man has with nature, a union that helps him regain his lost innocence, enjoying a solace that can be derived from the peace and quiet of our environment.

Although a number of the paintings are set indoors, trees, foliage and birds are skillfully integrated, the works evoke the light and sensation of wandering in an ornamental garden,” says Nayanaa Kanodia.

A total of 35 works will be on display, medium being oil on canvas and mixed media on paper. Part of the proceeds will be going to CPAA (Cancer Patients Aid Association)

ALSO READ-Healthy breakfast options for fresh start

Food Health Lite Blogs

Stay energised during Ramadan

Fasting for longer periods can make you feel tired and low on energy, during the day. To avoid this, add a short workout session and 5 -10 minutes of meditation will do wonders…reports Asian Lite News

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar wherein people go on a spiritual journey.

Abstaining from food and water during sunlight hours, fasting is supposed to cleanse the body and teach self-discipline. Abstaining from indulgences, meditating on God and encourage acts of generosity feeds the soul. During the holy month of Ramadan, one wakes up before dawn for ‘suhoor’ and then has ‘iftar’ in the evening, a feast celebrated with friends and families. 

While fasting, it is very important to start your day with healthy and nutrient rich food that will help keep you nourished through the day.  Eat healthy snacks in order to avoid stomach/gastro issues. As people across India celebrate Ramadan, here are some tips that to help you plan your meals better, and stay energised:

Opt for Healthy Meals 
The most important element during fasting for long periods is mindful eating. Prepare a plan for your meals; include food that is high in nutrients, proteins, and fiber such as fruit or nuts to keep the body as well as mind energised during the day. One food to definitely add to your Ramadan diet, if you haven’t already, is almonds.

Not only are almonds a good dose of nutrient value, as they are rich in essential nutrients like protein, vitamin E, Zinc, etc. Almonds also have satiating properties that promote feelings of fullness and keeps hunger at bay. So make sure to include a handful of almonds as a part of your meal at dawn.

Create a sleep routine for yourself 
Since you have to wake up early for the first meal of the day, try to adjust your sleep pattern accordingly. With everyone under lockdown, working from home can be exhausting at times, eventually delaying your time to sleep. However, during Ramadan, ensures outlining a scheduled time to sleep, and close all work tasks within that period while also accounting for in-between breaks. As a part of that schedule, make sure to account for at least 7 – 9 hours of sleep. A healthy sleep pattern and regime are an important indicator of your overall health and well-being and helps in increasing productivity as well. 

Make sure to include a workout session followed by some meditation 
Fasting for longer periods can make you feel tired and low on energy, during the day. To avoid this, add a short workout session and 5 -10 minutes of meditation will do wonders. These need not be high intensity workouts, and can instead be basic exercises like breathing, low intensity yoga, stair climbing or even just stretching. This will calm your mind and rejuvenate the aura around you. 

Divert your mind with your favourite novel
During this time, days might feel longer and tiresome than usual.A good way to avoid feeling like this is to plan your day in advance, and allocate time for all sorts of activities beyond work. Invest your time in reading; this is especially great for people who aren’t working from home these days.  Reading a good novel will also help strengthen your vocabulary, brain health and memory as well as relieve stress

Invite the little ray of sunshine! 
Being in the sun improves your metabolism and induces a refreshing feeling in the body. Your mood will lighten up and that will give you the energy to be more productive. Open up the windows and let the sunlight brighten up not only your home but also your mood. 

Try to follow these simple steps to keep yourself energised during the day and focus on self-care during Ramadan. Do not push your body or stress yourself with minor things, instead immerse yourself in doing what you love during the month. 

ALSO READ-Mashroo unveils top Ramadan ’23 collection

Books Lite Blogs

Banish your boredom with fantastic books

Now that you’re down with spring cleaning, its time to reward yourself and curl up with a nice book. This month, we have a few authors writers who will change the way you view the world and people. Create your list and banish your boredom with these fantastic books…reports Asian Lite News

What Have We Done, by Alex Finlay

Five teenagers forged an unbreakable connection while residing at Savior House, an abusive group home for troubled teenagers, 25 years ago. Despite the fact that they lost touch, they all went on to lead fulfilling lives. When group members start dying, they are compelled to have a reunion that none of them wanted in order to track down the murderer.

Hello Beautiful, by Ann Napolitano

After growing up without any attention from his family, William Waters finds solace in hoops in college. William rapidly integrates into the close-knit Padavano family after meeting Julia Padavano, a vivacious girl who is very close to her parents and three sisters. William never thought he’d be the one to break the family apart, despite the fact that cracks are beginning to show in the family.

Evil Eye, by Etaf Rum

Yara believes she has successfully escaped her traditional Palestinian upbringing when she marries a charming businessman and relocates to the suburbs. Even so, Yara doesn’t seem to be fulfilled by even her ideal family and ideal work. However, as Yara’s world starts to fall apart, she learns that the upbringing she believed she had left behind has finally had an impact on her and her daughters.

Stateless, by Elizabeth Wein

Stella North is delighted to be participating in the first air race for young adults in Europe in 1937 as the only female pilot. The world is searching for something encouraging to follow in the wake of the Spanish Civil War and the rise of the Fascists. But when one of the pilots is killed, the competition rapidly turns savage because each of them has a dark past they must keep hidden.

Hang the Moon, by Jeannette Walls

Author of the popular memoir The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls also wrote a book about a tough young woman living through Prohibition in Virginia. Sallie Kincaid, despite having a comfortable upbringing, was expelled from her family after her counsel caused her younger half-brother Edie to have a mishap. Sallie, who is currently working as a bootlegger, is determined to reclaim her position in the family.

Fear and Other Stories (Translated by Hemang Ashwinkumar)

Fear and Other Stories is a reminder of the inherent dangers of the Dalit life, a life subjected to unimaginable violence and terror even in its most mundane moments. In this collection of short stories, veteran Gujarati writer Dalpat Chauhan narrates these lived experiences of exasperation and anger with startling vividity. His characters chronicle a deep history of resistance, interrogating historical, mythological and literary legends, foregrounding the perspectives of the disenfranchised.

Epic Tales of Wisdom, by Nityananda Charan Das

Epic Tales of Wisdom takes children on an exciting, enlightening, vivid and imaginative adventure through the epics. The stories bring to life a world inhabited by gods and goddesses, sages and saints, demons and monsters and others. This precious treasury of stories helps them evoke interest in the scriptures and sets the foundation of love for God’s creation.

Retold by godman Nityanand Charan Das in a child-friendly manner the stories allow kids to explore, perceive, comprehend and inspire their curious minds. The subtle lessons in the book capture timeless wisdom from Indian mythology and offer valuable insights on how to get through the rough and tumble of life. Nirzara Verulkar’s illustrations add zing to this book of educative, entertaining and enlightening tales that aspires to make kids spiritually richer and morally and socially stronger.

LAB HOPPING: a Journey to find India’s women in science, by Aashima Dogra & Nandita Jayaraj)

From Bhopal to Bhubaneswar, from Bangalore to Jammu, Aashima Dogra and Nandita Jayaraj engage in thought-provoking conversations with renowned scientists like Gagandeep Kang, Rohini Godbole, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Prajval Shastri, as well as researchers at earlier stages of their scientific careers. These dialogues about the triumphs and challenges faced by women offer fresh perspectives on the gender gap that continues to haunt Indian science today.

Pineapple Street, by Jenny Jackson

This unputdownable debut follows three women in an old Brooklyn Heights clan: one who was born with money, one who married into it, and one who wants to give it all away.

Darley, the eldest daughter in the well-connected, carefully guarded Stockton family, has never had to worry about money. She followed her heart, trading her job and her inheritance for motherhood, sacrificing more of herself than she ever intended. Sasha, Darley’s new sister-in-law, has come from more humble origins, and her hesitancy about signing a pre-nup has everyone worried about her intentions. And Georgiana, the baby of the family, has fallen in love with someone she can’t (and really shouldn’t) have, and must confront the kind of person she wants to be.

Shot through with the indulgent pleasures of life among New York’s one-percenters, Pineapple Street is a smart, escapist novel that sparkles with wit. Full of recognisable, loveable – if fallible – characters, it’s about the peculiar unknowability of someone else’s family, the miles between the haves and have-nots, and the insanity of first love – all wrapped in a story that is a sheer delight.

The Love Wager, by Lynn Painter

After yet another disastrous date, Hallie Piper decides it’s time to grow up. She gets a new apartment, a new haircut, and a new wardrobe. But when she logs into an app to find new love, she matches with none other than Jack: the guy the wrong kind of sparks had flown with just weeks earlier.

Agreeing that they are absolutely not interested in each other, Jack and Hallie realise that they’re each other’s perfect wing-person – and join forces in their searches for The One. They even place a wager on who can find romance first.

But when they agree to be fake dates for a wedding, all bets are off.

Because as they pretend to be a couple, they struggle to remember why dating for real was a bad idea to begin with . . .

Old Babes in the Wood, by Margaret Atwood

Atwood’s first new fiction publication since The Testaments, this deeply personal collection includes a stunning sequence that follows a married couple as they travel the road together, the moments big and small that make up a long life of love — and what comes after. The stories explore the full warp and weft of experience, from two best friends disagreeing about their shared past, to the right way to stop someone from choking; from a daughter determining if her mother really is a witch, to what to do with inherited relics such as World War II parade swords.

They feature beloved cats, a confused snail, Martha Gellhorn, George Orwell, philosopher-astronomer-mathematician Hypatia of Alexandria, a cabal of elderly female academics, and an alien tasked with retelling human fairy tales. The glorious range of Atwood’s creativity and humanity is on full beam in these tales, which by turns delight, illuminate and quietly devastate.

Dirty Laundry, by Disha Bose

Keep your friends close and your neighbours closer…

Ciara has it all – a loving husband, well-behaved children and an immaculate home. But behind the filters, her reality is far from what it seems. Mishti is stuck in a loveless marriage, raising her daughter in a country that is too cold, among children who look nothing like her. Lauren is mostly happy, despite being judged for letting her kids run naked, wild and free. Then Ciara is found murdered in her pristine home and suddenly everyone is a suspect. Hushed whispers, secret rendezvous and bloody betrayals . . .

Everyone has their dirty laundry, but this goes beyond gossip. This is all-out war.

A deliciously scandalous page-turner about the dark side of suburbia that peels back the layers of Ciara’s insta-perfect life to reveal friendships gone rotten, manipulation masquerading as love and families riddled with lies…

Mastering Uncertaint, by Matt Watkinson & Csaba Konkoly

What separates the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and business tycoons from the rest? It’s not their superhuman intelligence. It’s something more fundamental: they understand how to turn uncertainty to their advantage. We all know that the future is inherently unknowable, and yet we behave and plan as though it is. Once we truly understand the nature of uncertainty, though, we can take practical steps to make the most of the opportunities that come our way.

In Mastering Uncertainty award-winning author Matt Watkinson and investor and entrepreneur Csaba Konkoly offer a masterclass on the workings of luck and probability. They show how to calculate when to make big bets and when to pull back. And they offer supremely practical advice on how we can improve our odds, whether through maximising our networks, learning how to read warning signs, or assessing where best to place our energies.

The unforeseen always occurs. Mastering Uncertainty shows you how to prepare for it and make the best use of it.

Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity, by Peter Attia.

This is the ultimate manual for longevity.

For all its successes, mainstream medicine has failed to make much progress against the diseases of ageing that kill most people: heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and type 2 diabetes. Too often, it intervenes with treatments too late, prolonging lifespan at the expense of quality of life. Dr Peter Attia, the world’s top longevity expert, believes we must replace this outdated framework with a personalised, proactive strategy for longevity.

This isn’t ‘biohacking,’ it’s science: a well-founded strategic approach to extending lifespan while improving our physical, cognitive and emotional health, making each decade better than the one before. With Outlive’s practical advice and roadmap, you can plot a different path for your life, one that lets you outlive your genes to make each decade better than the one before.

The Letters I Will Never Send, by Isabella Dorta

Embrace honesty and heal beautifully.

In the letters i will never send, TikTok poet Isabella Dorta urges you to leave nothing unsaid and take comfort in moving poems on love, heartbreak, mental health and self-discovery.

With beautiful line illustrations and over 100 poems written in the form of confessional letters addressed to the most influential figures in your life:

Your younger self

Your future self

Your lover

Your body

Your family

and more

Take the ultimate step. Read, rip out, burn or send the letters out into the world. Write your own and share them with the people in your life. Just don’t hold back!

Eat to Beat Your Diet, by Dr William Li

Lose weight by eating more of what you love

Dr William Li’s first book, Eat to Beat Disease, showed us how eating the right foods can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, while also extending our lifespan and improving our overall health. Building on this groundbreaking work, Dr Li now brings us Eat to Beat Your Diet, a revolutionary, science-based approach to weight loss. Eating more of the right foods and adopting a “MediterAsian” diet (combining the best of Mediterranean and Asian diets) can promote fat loss and improve our metabolism in as little as 21 days.

Rooted in new science, Eat to Beat Your Diet offers a simple plan providing leading research on how supplements, sleep and exercise can help us defend the body against excess fat. With clear lists of fat-fighting foods and recipes, including a week-long detox and 3-week weight-loss protocol, this book empowers readers to lose 10-20 pounds healthily – all while enhancing enjoyment of food.

The Tools, by Phil Stutz & Barry Michels

Change can begin right now. Learn to bring about dynamic personal growth using five uniquely effective tools- from psychotherapist Barry Michels and psychiatrist Phil Stutz, subject of the Netflix documentary Stutz, directed by Jonah Hill.

Can you imagine what your life would be like if you could tap into a new source of power – one that has been inside you all along – to solve your own problems and become the master of your life?

The Tools is an extraordinary psychological model based on the proven methods of Hollywood’s greatest psychotherapists. Phil Stutz and Barry Michels have over 60 years of psychotherapeutic experience between them. Together they have helped their A-list clients work through whatever has held them back be it insecurity, trauma, anger, lack of willpower, negativity or avoidance – to achieve their greatest work and find a deep level of fulfilment.

Now, at last, the acclaimed clinicians are sharing their methods in this eye-opening and empowering book. Introducing their five simple techniques, namely The Reversal of Desire, Active Love, Inner Authority, The Grateful Flow and Jeopardy, the authors clearly explain what they are plus how and when to use them. Astonishingly effective and beautifully simple – once you’ve learned a tool it takes only three to five seconds to use it – this book will give you everything you need to propel yourself forward to achieve your ambitions and be who you were born to be.

Why Politics Fails, by Ben Ansell

Why do the revolving doors of power always leave us disappointed? In Why Politics Fails, award-winning Oxford professor Ben Ansell shows that it’s not the politicians that are the problem, it’s that our collective goals result in five political ‘traps’.

Democracy: we all want a say in how we’re governed, but it’s impossible to have any true ‘will of the people’. Equality: we want to be treated equally, but equal rights and equal outcomes undermine each other. Solidarity: we want a safety net when times are tough, but often we care about solidarity only when we need it ourselves. Security: we want protecting from harm, but not if it undermines our freedoms. Prosperity: we want to be richer tomorrow, but what makes us richer in the short run makes us poorer over the long haul.

You’ve probably noticed a pattern here, which is that our self-interest undermines our ability to deliver on our collective goals. And these traps reinforce one another, so a polarized democracy can worsen inequality; a threadbare social safety net can worsen crime; runaway climate change will threaten global peace.

Drawing on examples from Ancient Greece through Brexit and using his own counterintuitive and pathbreaking research – on why democracy thrives under high inequality, and how increased political and social equality can lead to greater class inequality – Ansell vividly illustrates how we can escape the political traps of our imperfect world. He shows that politics won’t end, but that it doesn’t have to fail.

Letters to a Writer of Colour, by Deepa Anappara & Taymour Soomro

Filled with empathy and wisdom, personal experiences and creative inspiration, this is a vital collection of essays on the power of literature and the craft of writing from an international array of writers of colour.

‘Electric essays that speak to the experience of writing from the periphery… a guide, a comfort, and a call all at once’ Laila Lalami, author of Conditional Citizens

‘A whip-smart collection’ Kamila Shamsie, author of Best of Friends.

The Path to Ananda, by Swami Avadheshanand Giri

There are as many conceivable responses to these questions as there are people in this world. While happiness is a very individual concept, it is most often seen as containing a measure of health, prosperity, social status, professional or creative satisfaction, a loving family and friends. The problem is that all of these are transitory phenomena.

Through 101 short, workable capsules, The Path to Ananda: A Mystic’s Guide to Unlimited Happiness offers readers that knowledge again. This is a mystic’s guide for those who like following practical, easy-to-follow advice, knowledge that makes a difference, and wisdom that’s practical.

Nilavukkum Nerupendru Per (Rajesh Kumar)

Bhuvanesh and Tarun race towards the RS Puram Vinayagar temple. It’s a big day for Bhuvanesh. Today he will marry his long-time girlfriend Mukila at the temple, without letting their families know. Mukila has already called him to say she is on her way in a cab, but when she doesn’t arrive, Bhuvanesh, Tarun and a cop apprehend the cab she was in, in whose backseat, broken pieces of bangles are scattered. When the cab driver’s claims of dropping her at a flower market check out, Bhuvanesh, Tarun and others are alarmed. Where could Mukila be?

Qaidi (Commander Karan Saxena Series)

Gangadhar Mahant, the chief at RAW, sends Agent Karan Saxena on a secret mission to Beijing to rescue an Indian scientist who joined the Chinese government out of greed.

Working in a lab there, he has contributed to major advancements in the field of medical science in China. But now he has sent an SOS to be extracted to India. This is no cakewalk because the Chinese Secret Service always has its eyes on him.

With the help of other agents and informers working undercover-Prof. Koirala from Nepal, the drug peddler Hoshang and Neelkanth aka Kripashankar Bishnoi who can poison opponents in an instant-Commander Karan Saxena sets out on one of his most dangerous missions yet.

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Big Interview Lite Blogs


Vipparthi Adimurthy is a former Satish Dhawan Professor and Dean of Research at the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST). He is known for his contributions to the rocket technology and space dynamics. He is a recipient of Padma Shri from the Government of India. Murthy is the Mission Concept Designer, for India’s Mars Orbiter Mission. On the occasion of his Golden Jubilee association with ISRO, Khushboo Agrahari interviewed on his 50 years of successful journey.

Here’s the excerpt of the Interview taken:

You are known for your contributions to the rocket technology and space dynamics. You have been part of all major projects of the ISRO over the decades, including the Chandrayaan I. Tell us about your journey as a successful space scientist?

In March 1973, after finishing my Ph D from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, I joined ISRO Space Science and Technology Centre (now called, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre) in Trivandrum. I have a mutually fulfilling technical pursuit of five decades with ISRO. Even post-retirement, I continue my tasks as an ISRO Honorary Distinguished Professor.

I made very satisfying contributions in aerodynamics, flight dynamics, trajectory optimization, space-debris mitigation and interplanetary mission design, with significant impact on all our Indian space launches, starting from the very first satellite launch of SLV-3 led by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, to Chadrayaan-1, Mangalyaan, and beyond. The space travel continues, as there is more to achieve in bringing the benefits of space to the development of mankind. A Vision for Indian Solar System Exploration till 2060s was formulated in 2017 by a Team led by me.

Tell us about your childhood.  Was there anything at a very early age that nudged or pointed you toward an interest in science?

I was born on 5th May 1946 in Rajahmundry, an ancient town on the banks of Godavari. My parents, Suryanarayana Rao and Venkata Seetha Rajyam, had five children with me in the middle, after two elder brothers and followed by two younger sisters. I studied in schools in Gudivada, Guntur, Vijayawada and Rajahmundry because of father’s transferable job. During primary classes I got double promotions, and I finished 12th standard from Government Multipurpose School in Rajahmundry, when I was about to reach 15 years of age. The school had to get a special approval for me to sit in the board-examinations because of my under-age. Interestingly, I got State Rank No.2.

Teachers, throughout my life gave me great encouragement and inspiration; and even today I gratefully remember each one for their profound contributions to my knowledge base, and thinking process.

Noble thoughts come from many sides. At home I was encouraged by my parents to read many books; like Ramayana and Mahabharata and Telugu Translations of novels by Saratchandra Chattopadhyay. As a boy, I wrote a detective novel in which some culprits escaped to Moon in a rocket; the detective followed them in another rocket, and nabbed them on the moon

You often broadly speak on science and technology developments in Modern India with a particular focus on the space endeavors. What got you into Space Sciences?

The infinite glory and beauty of the cosmic panorama is a source of perennial happiness, curiosity and inspiration to us humans over the ages of our evolution on the planet Earth. Right from childhood we look at the moon and the stars and get fascinated by their presence. Every language has a lot of lullabies centered on moon. As already mentioned above, some of the books I read as a boy (for example the book by Joules Verne) gave me the initial inspirations on space and beyond. During my late teens, when I was pursuing my MSc course at Andhra University, the Comet Ikeya-Seki appeared in the sky. It was supposed to be one of the brightest comets seen in the last thousand years. Watching it was an inspiration that additionally enhanced my interest in space science and technology. The initial discoveries, which are the result of the new technological endeavors from the mid-twentieth century, point to the vast potential that exists for boundless knowledge and immense resource around our own solar system and beyond. Humanity has to continuously pursue this.

What you enjoyed the most and the least throughout your career as a Space Scientist?

Essentially, there is nothing like the most and least enjoyable aspects of my work. All scientific activities are equal stepping stones to move forward. During the five decades of association with the Indian Space Research Organization, I made contributions in aerodynamics, flight dynamics, trajectory optimization, space-debris mitigation and interplanetary mission design; and published more than 150 research papers in these fields.

As already indicated above, I contributed as a key member of India’s path-breaking Chandrayaan-1 mission. I successfully defended, in International Academy of Astronautics competitive process for Laurels for Team Achievement Award to Chandrayaan-1; and on behalf of ISRO team received the award in 2013 at Beijing. I also made significant contributions to Mangalyaan Mission, as Senior Advisor (Interplanetary Missions). Like this the activity list continues. All are of equal importance to me; and are equally and continuously enjoyable.

All these successes have not come without a learning process from our early faltering steps. Tell us about one of your best failures, that became a stepping stone for future successes from your career?

The launch vehicle technology is initially mastered in the learning and experimental phases involving SLV-3 and ASLV launch vehicles. All these successes have not come without a learning process from our early faltering steps. I can say that one of our best failures that was a stepping stone for future successes was our ASLV-D2 failure in July 1988. Up to 50 seconds after liftoff, the launch vehicle was moving upwards exactly as expected. But then in a matter of less than one second, the upper portion of the launch vehicle appeared to take a bend like the shape of an umbrella handle and broke up into pieces. There are a number of complex processes that influence the path of a satellite launch vehicle as it lifts off from the launch pad and in a few minutes time injects the satellites into orbit.All successful satellite launches are alike; but each failure of a launch is due to some specific and unique reason. The key to success is then to remove all possible sources of failure. This is the essence of Anna Karenina Principle. This is the essence of success in space endeavors.

Who inspires you? If you could have a dream job, what would that be?

I am ably supported by leaders in space technology who have inspired me with profound scientific interactions; and also, by colleagues and co-researchers with whom I worked over decades in the joint pursuit of making space endeavors contribute to universal progress of life and environment.

I have mentioned earlier about Tagore-Einstein Meetings. When Rabindranath Tagore and Albert Einstein met in 1930 at Einstein’s residence in Caputh near Berlin, Dimitri Marianoff, a colleague of Einstein, manually recorded their conversations. After their discussions, Marianoff described Tagore as: “the poet with the head of a thinker” and Einstein as:  “the thinker with the head of a poet”.I am already in the job I dreamt about, no need to change.

What advice would you offer someone who wants a career like yours?

“Go ahead and do your best.  Take up what interests you most, and handle it with utmost seriousness that is commensurate with your background. Doing your own best is doable, it is within your reach, and it is always a pleasure to reach it. But it requires will, concentration and planning.”

What accomplishment are you prouder of that’s not Space Science related?

I am a book-lover, lover of Nature, art lover, and generally admirer of anything that is extraordinary as well as ordinary in human endeavor. I try to perceive the complexity of everything that surrounds us, in the realms of the macrocosm and the microcosm. The unity of this complexity everywhere fascinates me. Many times, I feel that globally everything is the same; and at the same time all things are different in detail. This is a perplexing duality; but it may be indeed true. There are no specific accomplishments from me to high light and be proud of; but it is only the existence of a continuous thought process to acknowledge.

What’s your favorite space image?

There are many favorite images.  I shall highlight here two of them.  I very much like the concept of the Pale Blue Dot image of our Earth. This image was taken at the suggestion of Carl Sagan, by Voyager 1 on 14th February 1990. Voyager 1 was about 6.4 billion kilometers away when it captured this portrait of our Earth. I am also fascinated by the full-disk images of Mars and the images of Deimos (one of the two natural satellites of Mars) taken by our Mars Orbiter Mission MOM. This represents an important initiation of our planetary mission exploration.

What is your idea of Self- Perfection for people who follow their own hearts and make their own rules and sacrifices, to achieve higher and higher goals?

When you have a noble and lofty aim in your mind, you will not spare any trouble, hurdle or difficulty to reach towards your goal. Your body, mind and spirit will help you to make the rules and regulations that you have to make to achieve the stipulated end with a single-minded focus. This state of mind is the root of self-perfection. Many times, to achieve such goals, the ways and rules of life that are normally followed may not be sufficient. That is why our own rules and special sacrifices may have to be made. This is the path way to achieve excellence in all domains of life, be it science, social service, sports or any field you can conceive.

In the realm of Space Science and Technology, you often quote lines from the Poem “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Who is your favorite Poet? Tell us something about your interest in Poetry and Literature. Do you also like Telugu literature?

Great poems are available in every language and every culture. I read many inspiring poems in my school curriculum and beyond. “A Psalm of Life” is one of them.

In space endeavors, like in any other field, one has to learn from the knowledge discovered by great scholars of the past, and go forward following their footsteps and enhance the knowledge base further by our own little steps, based on the inspiration we derive from the previous efforts. This is succinctly focused in one of the stanzas of the psalm of life:

“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;”

Poetry and literature in general have the innate capacity to inspire. They also touch upon the many diverse aspects of life’s journey. As I already mentioned, every language had a great repository of literature. So, it is but natural that I am also in touch with literature in Telugu, which is my mother tongue. Almost continuously every day, some part or other, from this memory of literary influence, comes to the mind, to augment the current stream of thought process. I may also add that at home we have a personal library of a thousand and odd books of various genre, mostly in Telugu and English.

As the famous line goes “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” What are your views on connection between Space Science and Spirituality?

This quotation is from the very famous book for children “The Little Prince” written originally in French (“Le Petit Prince”) by Antoine de Saint Exupery. More than a children’s book, it is a great philosophical novel, with a specific emotional influence on space travel. This is one of the most powerful and most translated books in the world; and is about the Little Prince who lived on the asteroid B612.  A recent translation of this book in the year 2012 was into Sanskrit by Prof. Gopabandhu Mishra of Banaras Hindu University, which he did when he was a Visiting Professor of Sanskrit in Paris.

Any serious pursuit, be it in space science, or social science, or literary creativity, or in any other noble activity we have taken up, requires concentration of body, mind and soul with the target we have set. We have to set aside all other diversions, and fully concentrate on the aim we are pursuing. In this respect, it is no different from spirituality.

Do you believe that some of the planets in our solar-system holds the secrets of our past and the possibilities of our future to see? Also tell us if there is a place in the solar system where humans can colonize outside the Earth, what place would that be?

For the past generations covering several millennia, we and our forefathers lived on Earth, and hence it is but natural that we psychologically look at space from the point of view life and environment on our planet Earth. Looking from a vast cosmological perspective, and from the great observations that modern science and technology has allowed us to make in the recent decades, it appears obvious to me our planet is but one of the several millions of systems that exist. Their coexistence is a complex cosmological process with several dimensions and possibilities of commonality and variability. Life must exist elsewhere.  It is statistically improbable that life, in various forms of primitive and advanced evolutionary levels does not exist elsewhere in the cosmos. Observations and material analysis of other planetary bodies will certainly give us more insights of these processes in the coming decades and centuries. Human colonies outside the Earth are also most likely to happen, out of curiosity in the initial phases, and in due course out of necessity as our Earth resources dwindle. Present studies in the world indicate that initial experiments in this direction may take place on Mars, and/or floating colonies over Venus.

Sir you hail from Rajahmundry, East Godavari joined the ISRO in 1973 and has been living in Kerala for last 50 years. Is there anything that you always miss about your native place? What’s that one thing you like about Kerala?

Trivandrum and the rest of Kerala is a uniquely beautiful place. We are comfortable with this environment; and we have no problem in continuing to live here. People of Kerala are in general friendly and have good history of mixing and living with people of other states and countries. And this psychology of co-existence is very useful.

We do visit our native place as often as possible or whenever needed. We also travel to many other places in the country, as well as outside, as the opportunities and necessities arise. So, there is no basic problem.

Sir you are quite well-known for your passion for cycling. You cycled all the way from your Thiruvananthapuram home to Sabarimala.  Since when you fell in love with this pursuit?

Naturally, I learnt cycling as a boy. I remember the person who taught me cycling in Rajahmundry. His name was Mr. Yeleswara Rao; he was working in my father’s office. I also remember that unfortunately he died at a young age a few months after his marriage in a road accident, when a heavy vehicle crushed him to a wall while walking near the office. Statistically, I continue to observe that life is full of accidents. I regularly went to school on a cycle. While studying at IIT Kanpur, I used the cycle on the campus. Few years after taking the job with ISRO, at Trivandrum, I initially started using a cycle to go to office on holidays, instead of asking an office vehicle to come to residence and pick me up. It soon occurred to me that it would give me more freedom to work by going to office every day on cycle. For more than 35 years I do this, each day covering a distance of 16km or more. Even now, at the age of 76 years, I continue this. This is primarily my personal strategy for independence in daily travel and flexibly for work. Health and environmental benefits are secondary derivatives I receive.

Space debris is a huge concern. We have a list of satellites that poses danger to space missions as well as human lives. What strategy can be devised to tide over this crisis?

The last five decades of international space initiatives have left behind a multitude of space objects that no longer serve any useful function, but pose risk to space operations. Thus, space debris becomes an important subject for all space faring nations in particular and humanity in general. Space debris includes non-operational spacecraft, spent rocket bodies, material released during planned space operations, and fragments generated by satellite and upper stage breakup due to explosions and collisions. After 50 years of international space operations, nearly 40,000 objects have been catalogued. Catalogued objects are objects larger than 10-20 cm in diameter in Low Earth Orbits (LEO) of up to 2000 km altitude and 1 m in diameter in geosynchronous orbits; and they are regularly tracked and their orbital elements maintained in a database. Even much smaller debris objects can cause problems to space operations

The Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee, has identified two Protected Regions: Low Earth Orbit (or LEO) Region – and the Geosynchronous Region. This International body has also identified and recommended specific mitigation measures to contain the growth of space debris. Limiting Operational debris, reducing on-orbit break-ups, post-mission disposal into what are called as grave-yard orbits and on-orbit collision prevention are some of the major mitigation themes. Depending on the size and relative velocity of the impacting piece of debris, it can cause various degrees of damage to an operational spacecraft ranging from damage to the viewports, space suits, thermal protection system tiles etc. In critical situations, close-monitoring of the debris trajectory, and debris-avoidance manoeuvres by the spacecraft have to be done. In future, one will have to seriously consider active removal of debris from space.

What according to you are the future challenges in Human Interplanetary Habitat Missions?

The great departed genius, Prof. Stephen Hawking had very aptly stated the possibility and need for future of human colonies:  “It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species. Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as an asteroid collision, sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of. But once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe.”

While his prediction is most likely to happen for the stated reasons, and also possibly for more extended reasons; there are many scientific, technical and humanitarian issues to be addressed and resolved appropriately. Some of the broad areas of that we should deeply research and find satisfying solutions are the fields of: 1) handling long-term radiation hazards, 2) Effects of long-duration isolation and confinement, 3) near-permanent separation from the familiar scenarios of planet earth, 4) Long term effects of micro-gravity, and 5) possible hostilities specific to the new planetary environment. As we move towards due solutions to these types of issues, we may also face new and presently unknown issues to be addressed.

Infinity is an abstract concept used to describe something that is endless or boundless. As I quote the lines from Ishavasya Upanishad:

The Concept of INFINITY.

That is WHOLE, This is WHOLE,

Form the WHOLE, emanates the WHOLE

When the WHOLE is taken out of the WHOLE

The WHOLE still remains the WHOLE.

What is your concept of Infinity. How you relate Infinity with SpaceScience?

The concept of infinity is something that I picked up soon after my high school days. As I already mentioned earlier, I happened to read during that period, ‘Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy’ by Bertrand Russell, and “One, Two, Three …Infinity” by George Gamow. From the poems of Tagore as well, I got a poetic perception of the endless (“On the seashore of endless worlds is the meeting of children”).

From the understanding of vastness of space from the new discoveries in the field of space science, one can get a glance of the infinite. Let us take the speed of light. In one second, light can cover a distance of more than seven times earth’s circumference; from earth to moon, it takes 1.25 seconds, from Sun to earth 8.3 minutes, from Sun to next closest star 4.24 years; across our milky way galaxy around 100,000 years; to the closest Andromeda galaxy about 2.5 million years; and to reach the limit of observable universe from earth, light takes around 13.8 billion years. How vast is this universe! Is it infinite? Infinity is bigger and it is endless.

An Infinite Set is a set which has a one-to-one correspondence with a proper subset of itself. Cantor had shown that some infinite sets are greater than others. These mathematical concepts on infinity are really very interesting and understandable.

My perception and fascination of infinity, which started very early in my life, have increased and got firmed up with my exposure to space science and technology in the ways I have described above.

Is there any particular experience you would call your defining moment in space?

My journey is a continuously happy, invigorating and satisfying one.  On thy way there are many challenges, inspirations and solutions. I have taken them in my own style and enjoyed the trials and tribulations; as well as the rewards and admirations. In the long perspective, I can say all moments are defining moments, and are determined by the paths taken in the past; and the requirements perceived for the future. There are always some statistical uncertainties which make the journey somewhat more challenging. While deeply engrossed in the present, I have always kept the broad picture of life and contributions in the mind. So, I can say that there are no specific defining moments; but at the same time every work is a defining work.

To highlight this, I give here the translation I made of a great poem by noted Telugu poet, writer and Padma Bhushan and Jnanpith Awardee C Narayana Reddy who passed away on 12 June 2017. I translated his poem on the day his departure news has come. His original poem has continuously inspired me for several decades:

The Contrasts of Life

All around me darkness,

And I stand in the middle;

My heart is full of the garlands

I weave with flowers of light.

With brightness all round me

I stand in the middle;

My mind envisions the darkness

Of a million Amavasyas.

Standing at the bottom of the valley

I look up at the heavens above

And reckon that I live

On par with the lofty Pole star.

Sitting on the peak of the mountain,

I watch the universe around;

And imagine that I am falling down

The deep crevice of the netherworld.

This darkness and this light,

These peaks and these valleys,

I strangely entwine

Into the fabric of my life.

Translation made by me on 13 June 2017 from Telugu Original of the inspiring poem by C Narayana Reddy  

A lot of the astronomical knowledge goes all the way back to the Vedic literature to the Samhitas and the Brahmanas. Do you think that Space is divine? Space is God’s presence in the world. In a way, Space is God?

The Vedic literature certainly embodies an excellent knowledge base. While I have a broad idea of their all-encompassing coverage, I did not have the opportunity to read and assimilate them in detail. As far as the concept of all pervading God, and the divinity of space; I agree with the idea of divinity of everything that exists, in all the levels of the macrocosm and the microcosm.


India News Lite Blogs UK News

Indian Diaspora expresses solidarity at the HCI

More than 200 community members have gathered outside the HCI waving Indian flags and chanting Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata ki Jai, and celebrating their belongingness and pride…reports Ragasudha Vinjamuri

“You try to take down one, and there will be hundreds and thousand raising” was the strong message non-verbally communicated by the Indian Diaspora members at a mega show of strength and unity in front of the High Commission of India on 21 March.

Scores of Indian origin people have congregated in Aldwych, London to show massive support to the flag-cause demonstrating the community spirit, patriotic fervour and love for the nation they originate from. It demonstrated “Jhanda ooncha rahe hamara” in real sense. This outpour follows the attempt to bring down and vandalise the Indian tricolour on the HCI building on Sunday, 19th March which was foiled immediately by the security officers present on the premises at the time.

The attempt caused global outrage, has hurt and angered the huge diaspora living outside India, while  the Indian government called British Diplomats for an emergency meeting express dismay over the lack of police presence and pointed out the absence of security- as per Vienna Convention.

More than 200 community members have gathered outside the HCI waving Indian flags and chanting Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata ki Jai, and celebrating their belongingness and pride. Before dispersing, they rendered the national anthem.

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