Prince Harry, Meghan Markle join virtual poetry class to celebrate Black History Month - The Daily Guardian
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Prince Harry, Meghan Markle join virtual poetry class to celebrate Black History Month

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Washington [US], February 9 (ANI): Setting yet another surprise for their fans, the royal couple Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended a virtual poetry class via Zoom to celebrate Black History Month.
According to Us Weekly, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared their favourite poetry lines among the teenagers. Get Lit, the organisation that focuses on increasing literacy and confidence among teenagers took to their official Instagram account and announced “It was the best weekend EVER! Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were magic and kind and interested in poetry!”
“We are so grateful for their visit in honour of Black History Month. It goes down as the most epic experience in Get Lit history!!!” the post continued.
Speaking about the experience Mason Granger, a teacher at Get Lit said, “The root of them deciding to come is because at some point in their lives, they were moved by a poem. And whoever wrote that poem at some point thought to themselves, ‘Does this even matter? Is anyone even listening?’ And they shared it anyway.”
“My kids shared poems, they asked questions, the kids answered and asked questions back, they responded authentically (they actually read and learned the kids’ bios I’d sent earlier),” the teacher added.
As per Us Weekly, in April 2020, the royals rejoined the ladies of Hubb Community Kitchen in a video call to talk about their effective cookbook. After one month, the Los Angeles local and her better half slammed the Crisis Text Line association’s virtual workforce gathering to become familiar with psychological wellness promotion in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The royal duo that stepped down from the elite status lives and moved to Los Angeles and California in March with their 21-month-old son Archie focus on ‘giving back’ as their priority.
“Harry doesn’t have any regrets about leaving the royal family whatsoever and is really happy in Montecito. He and Meghan are enjoying their new life in California being a normal family and having the freedom to make their own decisions without anyone watching over them.” an insider told Us Weekly in January. (ANI)

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BABA AZMI’S UPLIFTING FILM ‘MEE RAQSAM’ ENCOURAGES US TO PURSUE OUR DREAMS

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Baba Azmi’s ‘Mee Raqsam’ was recently screened at the 3rd Azamgarh International Film Festival. The film, which was released last year on ZEE5, shares a special relationship with Azamgarh. Baba Azmi’s legendary poet father Kaifi Azmi had a deep desire to make a film in his native village, Mijwaan, situated in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. But he couldn’t realise it during his lifetime. So Baba Azmi took it upon himself to fulfil his father’s dream. And he finally realised it by making ‘Mee Raqsam’. Now, the film is not just made in Mijwaan but it also has the bragging rights of discovering its lead actor from there. Young Aditi Subedi who plays the central role of Maryam in the film was handpicked by Baba Azmi for his film during a visit to Mizwaan. For four months, Aditi was trained in Mumbai while staying with Baba and family. The training also included learning Bharatanatyam.

Aditi Subedi responds to a question from … s her father (extreme right) looks on (Photo Credit: Twenty4 Frames)

‘Mee Raqsam’, which also stars Danish Husain, Shraddha Kaul, Rakesh Chaturvedi Om, and Naseeruddin Shah in pivotal roles, revolves around a young Muslim girl who aspires to become a dancer. But hailing from a small village like Mijwaan, Maryam faces great resistance as everyone questions her dreams and choices including her aunt and grandmother. After her mother passes away, she finds great support in her father (played by Danish Husain) who backs her in this journey, only to face a great backlash from the community. A poor tailor dependent on the community for work is suddenly ostracised on the commands of a powerful religious leader named Hashim Seth (essayed by Naseeruddin Shah) who strongly disapproves of a Muslim girl’s affinity towards Bharatanatyam—a dance form he considers alien to Islam and hence unworthy to practice.

But it’s not just Maryam’s community that’s against her learning Bharatanatyam. For, there are also people on the other side of the fence who find it difficult to digest the idea of a Muslim girl getting so involved with a dance form that’s so deeply rooted in spiritual practices closely associated with Hinduism. A rich and powerful patron named Jai Prakash (portrayed by Rakesh Chaturvedi Om) is hell-bent on derailing Maryam’s journey. So on one side, there are bigots like Hashim Seth and on the other side, there are hypocrites like Jai Prakash desperately trying to snuff out her penchant for Bharatanatyam. Will Maryam succeed in overcoming these insurmountable odds? Or will she too lose this battle against bigots like all those other girls whose dreams are ruthlessly crushed by patriarchy?

Written by Safdar Mir and Husain Mir, ‘Mee Raqsam’ may not be a film that can boast a big budget but it is definitely a film with a big heart. The various performances on offer are really the film’s USP. Naseeruddin Shah as Hashim Seth is in many ways the antithesis of his progressive ‘Maulana’ character from Shoaib Mansoor’s ‘Khuda Kay Liye’. Seth is a relic of a bygone era desperate to perpetually keep his community caged in the dingy recesses of bigotry for his petty political benefits. Interestingly, Rakesh Chaturvedi Om as Jai Prakash is not unlike Mullah Saidullah, the character he essayed in Anurag Singh’s ‘Kesari’. Although the two characters are separated by their religions, their minds are united by bigotry and hate. Kudos to Rakesh Chaturvedi Om for yet again succeeding in making a highly unlikeable character look so believable. Danish Husain is also superb as Maryam’s hapless but determined father. Those who saw him play the part of Taliban’s supreme commander Mullah Khalid in the Netflix series ‘Bard of Blood’ may find it a little difficult to recognise him here. Shraddha Kaul is menacing as Maryam’s regressive aunt who believes that women are incapable of stepping out of their households. When she forces Maryam to take up stitching classes to stop her from learning Bharatanatyam, she actually feels as if she is doing a huge favour to her dead sister by preventing her daughter from going astray.

‘Mee Raqsam’ is a powerful reminder of the patriarchy-driven prejudice propagated in the name of religion which tries to prevent women from pursuing their dreams. It is also a testament to a son’s commitment to the fulfilment of his great poet father’s dream. But there is another dream that the film fulfils. That of Aditi Subedi’s father to watch his daughter on the big screen in his hometown of Azamgarh and in front of his own people. When Aditi was invited by Shobha Akshar, Assistant Editor, Pakhi on the stage as part of the film festival’s post-screening discussion, everyone present there was on their feet. Aditi couldn’t hold back her tears anymore. Her father was equally emotional seeing her daughter cast a spell on all those present with her spellbinding performance. Who says dreams can’t be fulfilled? All that’s required is a desire, and a will to fulfil that desire.

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ICHAK DAANA BICHAK DAANA

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MUSIC MUSINGS

‘DAANEDAAR!’ boomed a voice from inside me during one of my Riyaaz sessions while I was practising ‘Taans’ (a form of improvisation in Indian classical music where many notes are arranged in fast patterns). Was this a voice possibly of one of my gurus from the past, or of my perfectionist alter ego, or of the Divine Spirit itself? There was no way for me to say. But it was a powerful voice with the conviction and knowledge of someone who knew something profound.

In Indian classical music, maintaining the perfect key in each note while singing a complex fast pattern of notes, is something all of us musicians aspire for. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was known for his ‘Daanedar’ or granular Taans, and so were other greats like Pandit Jasraj and Vidhushi Kishori Amonkar. Bharat Ratna M.S. Subbulakshmi, and Vidushi M.L.Vasanthakumari exemplified this through their flawless ‘Kalpana Swaras’ in Carnatic music. This heady mix of complex notes which still maintained perfect key and were clear and granular is a big part of what makes these musicians great.

I can’t help but see the analogy with so many other things. I had read an article about the celebrated work of the famous artist Leonardo Da Vinci Mona Lisa that talked about how each layer of the painting was made with total commitment to perfection. The same is true of filigree work and delicate embroidery. It is in the perfection of each carve or each stitch that the greatness and beauty of the artist comes forth.

They say that art reflects the life and vice versa. Many spiritual leaders stress upon the importance of the present or the ‘now’ in our lives. They speak of how, if each moment is lived to the fullest, you would have a life lived to the fullest. I read a quote by Sophie Bush, ‘You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously’. And then there is the famous saying ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’.

These sayings start to make so much sense when we see a sapling or a child, for example. There is beauty and a sense of fullness in an infant or a toddler. A child or a sapling has their own unique place of completion, and are no less relevant than a fully grown adult or tree.

When we commit to a moment or a task with an attitude of fullness and wholeness no matter how small the task may be, we are, in fact creating a microcosm of perfection, ‘Daana’, or a grain in what will become a grand larger whole. This attitude brings with it a lot of benefits. Firstly, one feels a sense of complete presence and a meditative awareness of the ‘now’ that has the ability to blur out all sorrow of the past and all worry about the future. Secondly, perfection and therefore ‘success’ are easy when they are broken into small goals or tasks. Thirdly, we feel a sense of gratitude for what we already have, irrespective of what we may or may not get in the future. Because the grain, or the ‘Daana’, is complete in itself, a microcosm of the experience of the whole. A small reflection of the ‘whole’ can be as profoundly satisfying as any other ‘grand’ big thing.

This is something I will continue to remember when I go back to my Riyaaz. I will choose to be present fully in the grain of notes that come together to create the beautiful ocean of music. It is in the perfection of each snowflake that the magic of winter is hidden. And it is from the beauty of each moment that the grand stories of our lives are weaved.

‘Daanedar!’ The voice was right!

The writer is a vocalist of both Hindustani and Carnatic Classical music, with over three decades’ experience. She is also the founder of Music Vruksh, a venture to make classical accessible for its aesthetic and wellness benefits.

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PLAYING POLICE OFFICER MADE PRACHI DESAI A BIT NERVOUS

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Mumbai: Bollywood actress Prachi Desai will be seen essaying a police officer for the first time in her film ‘Silence… Can You Hear It’. She says essaying the role made her a bit nervous.

The first character poster of Prachi Desai has been unveiled. Talking about her look, Prachi said: “I play the role of a cop in ‘Silence… Can You Hear It’. My character Sanjana works in tandem with ACP Avinash, played by Manoj Bajpayee sir. She is determined, sleek, sharp-minded, with the wit of a fox that has a hunger for challenges. This is the first time that I am playing the role of a police officer, which made me a wee bit nervous but overall it was a memorable and tremendous learning experience,” she added.

The film traces the story of the mysterious disappearance of a woman. As she prepares to leave her house, a tragedy befalls following which the woman disappears only to have her corpse turn up a day later, discovered by trekkers.

Produced by ZEE Studios and directed by Aban Bharucha Deohans, the film also stars Manoj Bajpayee and Arjun Mathur in pivotal roles along with Sahil Vaid, Vaquar, Barkha Singh, Shirish Sharma, Sohaila Kapoor, Amit Thakkar, and Garima Yagnik. ‘Silence… Can You Hear It’ premieres on 26 March.

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FATIMA SANA SHAIKH TO STAR IN HINDI REMAKE OF ‘ARUVI’

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MUMBAI: Fatima Sana Shaikh has been roped in to star in the Hindi remake of the Tamil hit film ‘Aruvi’. The remake will be directed by E. Niwas, who has called the shots on films like Shool, Dum, and Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega in the past. The 2017 Tamil film starred actress Aditi Balan in the lead role. Balan’s protagonist Aruvi was deemed a progressive, post-modern symbol of feminism by most viewers. “I look forward to diving deep into the skin of the character. I am really excited to embark on this journey,” said Fatima. Director Niwas added: “‘Aruvi’ is not just a story of a hero. It’s a triumph over the labyrinths of life. It’s totally euphoric, and a privilege to explore one of the most beautiful cinematic characters I have come across. Fatima Sana Shaikh is an absolutely befitting choice.” The Hindi remake is expected to go on floors in mid-2021.

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HOW PRIYANKA CHOPRA INSPIRED NICK JONAS’ NEW ALBUM

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Los Angeles: American singer Nick Jonas who is gearing up for releasing his new album ‘Spaceman’, on Wednesday (local time) revealed that ‘missing’ wife and global star Priyanka Chopra helped him to create the music of his new album. According to People Magazine, the 28-year-old actor appeared on the famous Jimmy Fallon’s ‘The Tonight Show’, where he revealed that ‘missing’ wife Priyanka Chopra who was away filiming ‘The Matrix 4’ amid the Covid-19 pandemic helped him create his new single ‘Spaceman’ and an album of the same name.

“I sort of started writing this record back in July. My wife was over in Germany finishing up this little movie called The Matrix,” Jonas told host Jimmy Fallon. “And I was like, ‘‘You know, I feel very disconnected from the world, first of all, and now my person’. And I just dug in writing … within a couple of days I was like ‘Oh, this is a solo album’. And a few days later I was like, This is a kind of themed album,” he added.

The ‘Sucker’ star also continued to explain that his new single is based on the themes of isolation and being alone, reflecting upon the feeling that many people faced during the quarantine period around the globe.

‘The Voice’ coach said, “Giving this idea that we’ve all had this year now… but this year of being disconnected from reality, disconnected from the world, feeling like we’re on our own planet and obviously missing Chopra Jonas at that time as well.”

“And reconnecting with her and then the main theme from this album, more than anything, is just about hopefulness for the future and seeing a brighter day ahead,” he told. People Magazine reported that during a recent conversation with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Nick disclosed that much of his new album is dedicated to his wife, Priyanka. He told, “Most of the songs are pretty much just love letters, which when I can’t articulate the way I feel with my words with no music, I go to the studio, and I’m grateful to have that because it makes her happy, and that’s most important.” ‘Spaceman’ album consists of 11 new songs, including ‘This Is Heaven’, ‘Sexual’, and ‘Death Do Us Part’. Nick Jonas is ready to debut the full album on 12 March 2021.

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DELHI’S FAVOURITE BAKERY ON THE ROAD TO EXPANSION

Noor Anand Chawla

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What does it take for a neighbourhood bakery to expand throughout the city and remain successful despite the stiff competition it faces? A menu that has universal appeal yet is unique, an appealing design aesthetic, a welcoming ambience that is also distinctive, and most importantly, a reasonable price range. Honey & Dough, the chain that is often described as Delhi’s favourite coffeehouse and bakery, ticks all these boxes and more.

Started by an enterprising couple—Utsav and Aavika Chhawccharia—just four years ago, the brand already has eight standalone outlets across Delhi-NCR and offers a titillating menu with over 200 products. The founders of Honey & Dough met while studying at Hansraj College, University of Delhi. Thereafter, they pursued their Master’s degrees from Cass Business School in London, got married and began their business venture together. Between the two of them, they have prior work experience in the petrochemicals and polymers business, as well as in home furnishings.

Opening Honey & Dough was a sound business decision, born of their avid belief that there was a dearth of good bakeries and coffeehouses in the capital. Their travels around the globe were the clear inspiration behind building this brand, as they sought to re-create the epicurean delights they had personally experienced in far-flung countries. Honey & Dough seeks to provide an authentic international menu to its clientele with exquisitely crafted baked goods made by the brand›s in-house chefs.

Named after the two most-used ingredients in every bakery—honey and dough—this chain promises high-quality items at reasonable prices, making the bakery accessible to everyone. They are best known for their artisan loaves of hearty bread, buttery pastries, custom made chocolate bars, and classic desserts. Along with the baked selection, staple European dishes are popular items on the menu. Their most sought-after dishes include yummy choco chip muffins, deliciously velvety Belgian chocolate shakes, rich chocolate truffle pastries, wholesome paneer tikka sandwiches, creamy pastas, a vast variety of pizzas, melt-in-your-mouth cookies, and aromatic cappuccinos.

From sweet delicacies to savoury delights, Honey & Dough offers numerous delectable and scrumptious goodies. The international appeal of this brand is not restricted to the menu, extending further to the interior aesthetic of the coffee house as well. The delicious aroma of beans being brewed into fresh coffee and the warmth of flour being baked into a cake greets every patron that walks in. In fact, the beautifully laid-out dessert counter at the entrance, is a welcome assault for all the senses. The serene blue-toned interiors, coupled with casual laid-back vibes ensure a relaxing and approachable space for people of all ages. Even the choice of music adds value to the café’s universal appeal.

Though the dine-in café is the touchstone of this brand, it is by no means its only offering. One can order from a variety of beautifully decorated, customisable cakes, with fillings ranging from chocolate truffle to Belgian trio mousse, Nutella tarts to strawberry compotes. Honey & Dough is also making a name for itself in the occasion gifting market. Every major occasion on the calendar is marked by a specialised gifting option through combo packs filled with seasonal and festive offerings. Cheese straws, blueberry tea cakes, French hearts and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are a few of the many things included in these limited-edition gift hampers. 

As one of the fastest growing brands in the capital, Honey & Dough is certainly a favourite amongst food aficionados. After running seven successful outlets in Defence Colony, Malviya Nagar, Pacific Mall Tagore Garden, Two Horizon Centre Golf Course Road, Ambience Mall Vasant Kunj, Hargobind Enclave and Dwarka, the team behind Honey & Dough is all set to launch their eighth outlet in Cyber Park, Gurugram—continuing to grow despite the pandemic and the challenges they have faced along the way.

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