Q. When you look back at the year gone by, how was 2020 for you?
A. 2020 has been an interesting year, difficult and exciting in some ways. It was difficult because live classes and performances were not possible but the tech platform introduced us to newer and innovative ways to teach and to perform which made it interesting. It’s given me time for myself and my family which I appreciate. Work-wise it has been difficult as two tours of the contemporary company Navdhara to France and Germany were postponed and my choreography assignment with the Linz ballet in Austria was also postponed.
Q. What was lockdown learning for you?
A. It’s important to take time out and breathe. Value the time you have spending it with people you work with and those you love. I got a chance to spend time with my family and my son which was lovely. Also, I realised some things we do out of habit and are not necessary. I worked just as much as I needed to and did not see any significant difference to the results. There are many ways to connect and reach out to other artists and dancers.
Q. What did you miss the most doing this year?
A. I missed being in the studio and the theatres, meeting friends and the dancers who are like family to me.
Q. Professionally, how was the year for you?
A. Professionally it’s been interesting as it has forced me to look at newer ways to dance, perform and teach. Though it has taken away live interactions it’s opened up possibilities of collaboration which would otherwise be difficult.
Q. What was the lowest moment for you this year?
A. I don’t think I have really had a low period as what I let go of was replaced by other things. Everything happens for a reason. In every situation, there is an opportunity to understand more about you and your craft. So the year has been different but not low.
Q. What do you believe will change in your industry after this year?
A. Learning how to translate your art to the digital medium is going to be important in the coming year. Be it teaching or performing I believe live interaction will remain a dominant playr but at some level, the digital interactive process has definitely sped up with this and so newer innovative ways will appear as an add-on.
Q. What is your New Year’s resolution?
A. To get fit and healthy and live a positive and balanced life
Q. What are your hopes as you look forward to 2021?
A. I have a couple of tours which were postponed for Navdhara which will happen in 2021 and during lockdown I got offers to create two new shows. For the Danceworx academy, we are looking to introduce an international level professional course purely for contemporary dancers.
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A must-follow skincare routine for men
A skincare routine is a series of products you regularly use to maintain good skin health. In addition, since everyone has different skin types, this routine will vary for different individuals. A skincare believer may follow a monthly or weekly regime. However, normally, men like to stick to the basics. Morning and evening are the best times for everyone to follow the routine. There was a time when skincare routines were mainly considered to be followed by females, but with such an environmental change, it’s very important for both males and females to take care of their skin to avoid many such increasing problems. From pimples to acne to wrinkles, these are the common issues faced by both males and females.
Although people are still lacking proper information because it is not necessary to complicate a proper skincare routine, it only requires picking the right product for your type of skin and using it in the right way. Most men only wash their faces, but only a few actually use the product that is suitable for their skin type.
It’s not necessary that if your favourite body wash is good for your body, it will also do good for your facial skin. You always need to follow a complete regime. Here is a complete guide for men on how to take care of their skin: It is a great skincare routine for those who are beginners.
Throughout the day, the skin sustains a lot of dirt and a layer of dead skin forms on the surface. Oil, dirt, and pollutants accumulate all around us. As a result, it is always recommended to wash your face with clean and fresh water along with the right cleanser for your skin type. You can decrease the appearance of breakouts, clogged pores, and premature ageing by regularly and properly cleansing your skin by incorporating cleansing into your morning and evening skincare routine. You can keep your skin healthy and glowing by excluding these irritants. Cleansing at the beginning of the day will allow the other products to absorb and give maximum benefits. It is best to opt for products these days that are paraben, sulfate, and phthalate-free. It is always advised to check the ingredients before choosing the right product for your skin.
Even though many people skip toning, it’s a very important step in your daily skincare regime. Toning is sort of like applying primer before painting. Also, toning is very helpful for guys who have acne, ingrown hairs or are beginning to age.
Mostly, people apply toner by rubbing a cotton pad with it and then rubbing it all over their face and neck. However, some skin specialists recommend pressing your hands together and applying the toner to the forehead, cheeks, and neck, blending as required.
Most skin cancers occur on the face, ears, neck, and chest because these parts of the body are vulnerable to environmental changes. Skin sheds cells more rapidly in these areas than in the rest of the body, so they require moisture to heal, allowing younger skin cells to be visible. Similarly, the effect of massaging the skin when applying lotion stimulates blood circulation and new tissue formation. By moisturising every day, you can reduce the likelihood of developing oiliness or extreme dryness. Excessive dryness and oily skin cause acne and other skin conditions. Avocado oil for skin is perfect for moisturising since it works even better than regular lotions. It penetrates deep and locks in moisture like no other cream.
DO NOT SKIP SUNSCREEN
According to a recent survey, using sunscreen has been three times more common among women than among men. Approximately 18% of men regularly use sunscreen before going outside for a long period of time on a hot and sunny day. Their skin can suffer severe damage from this. Regular use of sunscreen significantly reduces the chances of developing skin cancer. Apart from that, it also protects against premature aging, wrinkles, and rough skin. The deadliest type of skin cancer, melanoma, affects more men than women. You should choose a sunscreen that offers at least 30 SPF while applying it. Your skin will be protected from premature ageing and irritation by using an SPF of 30 or above.
Hopefully, this skincare routine for men and boys will help them achieve healthy skin and take care of their skin.
The writer is the founder of Mensome India.
GALLERY SREE ARTS PRESENTS THE WORK OF ARTIST ANVI SINGLA
There is no dearth of talent in our country, especially when it comes to the field of art. This is evident from the fact that every week brings a new artist into focus. This weekend, one can witness the wonderful artistic practise of artist Anvi Singla in her solo show titled “You will find me,” presented by Gallery Sree Arts, curated by Jitendra Padam Jain at the Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Française de Delhi, Indo-French Cultural Centre, 72, K.K. Birla Lane, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi.
The unique fact about this exhibition is that the artist has used handmade paper made from the ashes of parali (the lower part of the paddy crop which is left over). This show will be on preview on July 1, 2022 from 6:30 pm onwards, and will be on view thereafter till July 3, 2022, from 11 am to 7 pm.
Across cultures and countries and over time, artists have depicted the theme of nature in various ways, with the belief that it is connected to earthly life as well as celestial powers. Nature inspires artists by stirring feelings of wonder and awe. Depictions of mountains, trees, and flowers essentially express an artist’s image of nature and the cosmos. Anvi Singla shows her love for nature in this series of paintings. Her artworks are abstract depictions of nature, with fluid lines and vibrant colours that seize the play of light and shadows. She uses gold, traditionally laden with spiritual significance, to enhance the luminosity of bright hues and show her reverence for nature and, through it, spirituality. Her paintings show her reflection of the world around her, her exploration of beauty, and her joy in the elegance of nature. “Her conceptualization conveys depth and perspective and portrays philosophical thoughts and mystical wisdom,” says the curator, Jain. He himself was born in Alwar, Rajasthan in 1976 and is an acclaimed art curator and art collector who has promoted over 500 artists. For this exhibition, Jain has selected works from Singlas oeuvre that display the artists unending passion for nature.
Singla works out of her studio in Gurugram and is currently focussing her attention on art by pursuing her Senior Diploma in Painting from JJ Sanskriti School of Visual Arts, Gurugram. In this series she showcases the correlation between humans and nature in abstract form. She has used mostly hues of gold in her paintings.
When asked how this exhibition came about, Jain says, “The artist is sending messages through her art. In this series she is showcasing the correlation between human and nature in abstract form. The golden colour that she has chosen to use in her paintings highlights her unique artistic abilities, and the fact that she is working with such an unusual medium related to the paddy crop, is particularly fascinating to me as a curator. I am sure that the audience will also find it very intriguing to see the art. The fact of the matter is that nature and celestial powers have attracted humans for centuries, particularly creative souls like artists. And I personally feel that Singlas works really capture this idea well.”
Speaking about the art works, Singla adds, “My artworks show a correlation between nature and colour, and I believe that is strongly evident in all my works.” As with the elements of nature, every colour has a meaning, so the colour blue depicts water bodies and air, while the colour red depicts fire and the colour green depicts forestation. I hope I am able to convey my message of the preservation of nature through my art with the use of these strong colours. “
Jain also felt drawn to Singla’s strong use of colour, and that was the reason he was most happy to work with her. In fact, his curatorial process in selecting the art for this exhibition relied on her strong, colourful motifs and the way they attracted him. This particular exhibition has 40 art works on display, and each one is distinctive in its own right. The tremendous effort that went into making this series is evident from the fact that it took almost one year to put it together.
When asked what is next on the cards, Singla says, “I am preparing to showcase my next series in Mumbai with a new theme.” For Jain, the next step is another exhibition. He will be showcasing the work of Seema Pandey, a very senior artist in her chosen genre. This exhibition will take place at Triveni Kala Sangam in Mandi House in New Delhi.
Singla signs off by saying, “The reason I have chosen this medium is to make people aware that we should not harm nature, otherwise it will harm us.” Let’s hope people take her advice.
SOHINI ROYCHOWDHURY ON HER BOOK ‘DANCING WITH THE GODS’
‘The writing process was magical as we put together my research and my stories of the stage from women’s empowerment with the mother goddesses.’
Indian classical artists have long been the flagbearers of our country’s rich heritage. Sohini Roychowdhury, founder and creative director of Sohinimoksha World Dance and Communications, founder and director of Sohinimoksha Artes De La India in Madrid, Spain, dancer, movement director, professor of Natyasastra, Bharatanatyam Guru, and author, is one such prominent flagbearer. Currently, she is on her 30th tour of Europe, which started in May and will end in August, and is being sponsored by the Austrian Ministry of Culture. Earlier this year, she also released a fascinating book called “Dancing with the Gods” about Bharatanatyam and her practice. She speaks to the Sunday Guardian about this book and her vision for it.
Sohini with Kristina Veselinova and Farah Daoud.Sohini Roychowdhury.Sohini Roychowdhury.
Excerpts from an edited interview
Q. Please tell us about your artistic practice.
A. I grew up in Kolkata as the daughter of Sitar maestro Pandit Subroto Roychowdhury and sculptor Uma Roychowdhury. I learned Bharatanatyam from Guru Thankumani Kutty and Guru Kalamamdalam Venkitt and lived in Spain for 12 years. Currently, I am based out of Kolkata, but I travel six months of the year between the UK, Austria, Germany, Spain, and New York. I have students in 14 countries who perform at my dance operas along with me. Some of our performances have included the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas for the President of India, the opening ceremony at the Oscars at the premiere of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ for Danny Boyle, the IIFA opening, performances for UNESCO in Austria, and many others. I have performed and am a visiting professor at 18 universities in Europe, including the UK, South America, and Russia. My work on the Natyashastra and its comparison to Aristotle’s theories of Dramatic Unity is taught in various colleges on the subject of Indology and performing arts. My repertoire includes training marginalised children as budding artistes of tomorrow. This includes the children of “Little Big Help” in Kolkata, who are being trained to be Bharatanatyam dancers. I have worked towards healing with dance with the women inmates of Byculla jail and their children, the children of red-light areas under Apne Aap, and the deaf and mute abandoned girl children in Rajasthan.
Q. Congratulations on the publication of your book, “Dancing with the Gods”. How did it come about?
A. This is my first book, and my version of dance and mythology seen through the prism of humanism and empathy. I was asked to put together a coffee table book that captures the multicultural world of Sohinimoksha and its magic. The COVID lockdown seemed like the right time to do so, and that is how “Dancing with the Gods” came to be published by Roli Books. I chose this subject as it is a reflection of my world, and I put together all my seminars at various universities and cultural centres, along with photographs from our shows that feature my troupe members and students from different parts of the world. It’s my love story and my eternity, and it defines the core mantra of my work, which is ‘Connecting Civilizations.’
Q. Please tell us about your writing process from start to finish.
A.The writing process was magical as we put together my research and my stories of the stage from women’s empowerment with the mother goddesses – Durga, Kali, Santa Sarah, and Ishtar. The many moods of the Ashtanayika, the movement of dance through patriarchy and Victorian hypocrisy, and the plight of the Devadasis We worked towards breaking the myths around them, as the western world considers them prostitutes. I have also written about the LGBTQIA community by exploring the character of Shikhandi in the Mahabharata and all its counterparts in Greek and Egyptian mythology. I talk about lesser-known goddesses like Mansa, our Snake Goddess, and her Egyptian counterpart. I wrote about Shiva as Ardhanareeswarar-part man and part woman to be a complete human. I have spoken about our sacred philosophies, our sacred stories, the magic of our Vedas and Puranas and their inclusive, humane aspects that need to be understood beyond India’s exotica. My art director, with her magical and surreal vision, put together the visual aspect of the book, including the cover, the colours, in the true spirit of our Sohinimoksha World Dance operas. I made sure that all my troupe members and students from all over the world were featured in the book in their stage avatars. Writing the book was retelling and reminiscing a love story like a gypsy who travels from place to place and celebrates a connectedness, an eternal truth—that the world is one. My book ‘Dancing with The Gods’ is available at all leading bookstores like Oxford, Starmark, and all others, at Waterstones in the UK, and on Amazon, to name a few. I encourage everyone to get a copy.
Q. Please tell us about Shaktism and your relationship with it.
A.A large portion of my book is dedicated to Shaktism, and I have explored Shaktism through dance and storytelling. I speak about our mother goddesses and the need for the world to acknowledge the ills of patriarchy and bigotry. Durga stands for a woman who can choose good over evil and has the right sense to judge and choose. Saraswathi symbolises education and how it brings about the light of evolution. Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and abundance, is all about the economic empowerment of women. We refer to the Ardhanareeswarar as a man complimenting a woman without the feminisation of a man. Forgiveness is also an important part of empowerment, and in our dance production, Ma Durga doesn’t kill the bull demon Mahisasura but shows him mercy and transforms him. The Sufi philosophy, Rumi’s poetry, and Tagore’s humanism are aspects of women’s empowerment for me. I have performed themes of Shaktism with my troupe all over the world—in museums, universities, and festivals.
Q. What exciting project are you working on next?
A.Besides my dance productions, I am working on ‘Stage-Stories’, my next book, that is a comparative study of the Natyasastra in the prism of Aristotle’s dramatic theories-the core philosophy being ‘It’s one world’. I also speak of world cinema here to explain the Navarasas.
Q. A message for the audience?
A. I would like to mention the prologue of my book. It’s written from my heart and sums up my core beliefs about my art and life as follows:
To you, with a dance in your heart—the boy branded effeminate for wanting
To you, the girl who was forced to choose physics lessons over dance,
You, the 70-year-old, were made to feel too old to dance to the music.
to you, the young adult compelled to abandon dance at the altar of a god
a’serious’ career option; to you, the trans-man stigmatised out of dance; to you,
body-shamed into not swaying in public – may this dance be successful
yours – now and forever. “
Noor Anand Chawla pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog, www.nooranandchawla.com.
Salesforce Testing Tools: A Comprehensive Guide
As its commitment towards continuous improvement and innovation, Salesforce delivers hundreds of new features and functionalities thrice a year. To ensure that configurations, customizations, and critical integrations are functional and Salesforce apps are supporting your critical business processes after updates are rolled out, you need to do testing. As Salesforce is a complex application and manually testing it can be time consuming, it is recommended to use test automation tools. If you’re looking for a Salesforce test automation tool, you must be wondering which tool you should opt for as too many tools are available in the market. In this article, we’ll discuss two most popular tools i.e. Selenium and Opkey. We’ll also discuss between the two which one will be better for you. Before highlighting the pros and cons of Salesforce testing tools, let’s discuss why it is difficult to test and automate Salesforce.
- Complex Application
It is challenging to test Visualforce, Salesforce, or Service Cloud Console as custom user interfaces can be created for mobile or web apps. Furthermore, it can be integrated with third-party DevOps solutions to support internal workflows. To ensure complete coverage, you need a test automation platform that offers end-to-end testing.
- Frequent Updates
Salesforce rolls out three seasonal updates a year. These seasonal updates offer significant improvements in security, availability, and performance. However, there’s a possibility that they can introduce bugs or break existing configurations, customizations or critical integrations. Thus, necessitating testing each time the updates are rolled out. Automating Salesforce for update testing is challenging as it is a highly dynamic application. As dynamic elements which do not have a fixed ID, name, class or CSS attributes, slight change in the UI can make test scripts flaky. Thus, it requires huge effort to maintain test automation scripts.
- Classic / Lightning
Some of the enterprises have migrated from Classic to Lightning. Since Lightning is Salesforce’s new development framework, it adds up layouts, navigation, views, integrations, and workflows to the platform. So, more test cases need to be added to ensure adequate coverage. Furthermore, object properties are fluid, tabs are iFrames, and indexes and Class names are dynamic. It means that they change frequently with random tags, making it difficult to control thescreen elements. Since you’re aware of the challenges that come across while incorporating Salesforce test automation, let’s discuss the available tools. Selenium pros
- Selenium is an obvious choice for QA teams owing to the fact that it is available as open source.
- Selenium automation suite includes Selenium IDE that offers record-and-play functionality and Selenium Grid that allows you to perform parallel testing.
- Selenium is a natural choice of engineering teams due to its support for multiple technologies including C#, Java, and Python.
- Selenium uses elements’ properties like ID, Name Class, CSS, Xpath, etc to identify control on the screen and perform actions on it. Salesforce is a highly dynamic application. Selenium cannot access the content directly so it will require a lot of effort in identifying the right attributes and to create the script accordingly. Due to nested or hidden frames, it will become more tedious.
- Selenium is a code-based test automation platform. To ensure adequate coverage, you need test creation from functional consultants, business analysts, and stakeholders. Since these people are not programmers, they cannot participate in testing if Selenium is used.
- Due to dynamic elements in Salesforce, it is difficult to maintain test scripts created with Selenium. Three updates a year can offer a great maintenance burden on the QA teams.
- With Selenium, you don’t get any troubleshooting or reporting capabilities. It means that failed tests are difficult to resolve.
- Opkey is a zero code Salesforce testing platform that is easy to set up and implement.
- Since Opkey is zero code, business users can easily participate in testing and create test scripts without requiring any programming skills.
- Opkey comes with self-healing capabilities that alleviate the maintenance burden of testing by autonomously incorporating changes in the impacted test cases. This saves dozens of hours of maintenance work.
- Opkey supports multiple technology stack – 14+ ERPs and 60+ enterprise packaged applications to offer end-to-end testing.
- It is a commercial test automation platform that comes with a certain amount of fee.
5 Features of the Demat account which make it very much popular in the industry
The decision to go for free Demat account open is considered to be a great one on the behalf of people because it will be always at the forefront in terms of providing people with the opportunity of investing in shares. In this particular manner, they will be no chance of any kind of physical security in the whole process and everything will be carried out with a very high level of efficiency and smooth transactions.
Some of the very basic features of the concept of the Demat account have been explained as follows:
- Very low element of risk: At the time of dealing with physical security, risk will be very high which is the main reason that it can cause different kinds of issues in the whole process if not paid attention to. So, it is very much important for people to be clear about the element of the concept of the Demat account so that everything will be sorted out with a very high level of efficiency and further depending upon the major players in the industry is a great idea in this particular approach.
- Easy holding: The concept of the Demat account very well justifies that it will be very easy holding of the shares and other securities in the account because people can very easily access the investment and statement through net banking. Hence, everything will be easily made available to the individuals at all times and further accessibility will be improved because any kind of smart device will be helpful in terms of providing things very clearly.
- Reduced costs: Whenever the individuals will be dealing with physical securities it will be including multiple additional costs in the form of handling, stamp duty and other associated things. But on the other hand, depending on the concept of the Demat account is a great idea because all these kinds of charges will be eliminated in the whole system and there will be no scope for any kind of extra cost in the whole process. People only have to pay the brokerage which will be very well informed the advance and further, there will be no scope for any kind of problem in the whole process.
- Reduced time: The process of purchasing and selling the shares with the help of the concept of the Demat account is considered to be a great idea because it will be instant and further will be helpful in terms of providing people with a clear-cut idea of the things without any kind of issue. In this particular manner, there will be no chance of any kind of problem and the seamless technicalities will be paid proper attention to throughout the process.
- Eliminating the loss: The concept of the Demat account will be always at the forefront in terms of ensuring that all kinds of losses will be eliminated and further, there will be no scope for any kind of misplacing of the securities.
Hence, depending upon the decision to go for a Demat account from the house of experts at 5paisa is a great idea so that everything will be sorted out very successfully and dematerialisation will be taken complete advantage of in the whole process.
An event to remember
As I saw the logo of my venture, Music Vruksh, projected on to the screen while in the middle of the annual Baithak, an event we conduct for students and music aficionados, I experienced a surreal feeling.
The event was presided over by the executive director of World Trade Center, Mumbai, Rupa Naik.Nithya and team’s performance.Nithya and team Music Vruksh.
It was years ago when a friend of mine and I sat down to think of a logo that would personify everything I had dreamt of doing with my music. The logo had to symbolise Indianness; it had to convey inclusiveness and compassion. It had to tell people that Indian classical music is deep and rooted in spirituality. It had to be a logo that would tell everyone that this movement would grow; the movement to demystify and make Indian Classical music accessible to one and all for its aesthetic, spiritual, and wellness benefits. And thus came the logo of the musical tree of Music Vruksh. Incidentally, Vruksh means tree in Sanskrit. The designer had skillfully crafted the V of vruksh using the image of two taanpuras crossing each other.
Many years after that incident, as the Music Vruksh Baithak was underway last week, I indulged in emotional pride at what I, my team and Music Vruksh had achieved. It was touching to see people from age four to fifty sitting on stage with professional classical music accompanists and trying and succeeding in pulling off Indian Classical Ragas. It was even more heartening to see them enjoy themselves and feel validated by the applause and encouragement from the audience. I had done it. We had done it. Classical music had touched these people in a way that connected their souls to it. This was my dream, my vision, my deepest desire.
As the programme continued, it was the turn of the Music Vruksh team to render our professional performance. A performance that contained only my own compositions had to be learnt by my team-mates within a span of just a few weeks. They were in Raagas, which was relatively unfamiliar to them, but my team stepped up and gave their hearts to their practice. The compositions were based on pure Indian Classical music, but were composed in such a manner that they would be able to reach every soul that would be hearing them. As we finished our finale piece, it happened again! That surreal feeling, I held back tears looking at the standing ovation from lay listeners and people from all walks of life, as they applauded heartily for this erstwhile elitist form of music.
Bringing an event together is a Herculean task. Being an artist myself and leading a team that is far removed from anything to do with event management, bringing this event together was tedious. Months of effort followed by rehearsals of students, rehearsals of the team, along with meetings with sound professionals, decorators, and the stage team defined our daily routine.
In addition, managing the ticketing and logistics of the audience, which included over a hundred people, was tiring and exhausting. Logistics often took precedence over music, and we, as a team, had to wear many hats to make this work; as event managers, as teachers, and as musicians. We were worried about this shift in priorities and worried about whether the music itself would suffer.
But it has been my deep belief that no experience or effort is really wasted. At the end of it all, we managed to come around to doing what we had originally wanted. We have included many more families into the fold of classical music. We had fulfilled the yearning of all those hearts that wished to break into a song and receive the divine blessing of God as classical ragaas emerged from their vocal cords and their hearts.
In an earlier column piece, I wrote about bridging the gap between the worldly and the divine through music. Our event this year was a true case in point. From difficult negotiations with suppliers, mind-boggling logistics and all the people management we needed to do, we moved through to a divine and blissful culmination to our event. People from all parts of the world heard our music live, and were moved and touched. Our international students expressed deep gratitude at our idea to relay their performances while still giving them live accompanying support from the venue. Thanks to technology for that.
Overall, it was a divine, blissful, and happy experience for me and my devoted team. It will continue to tell us to work harder and better at our goal and to never give up. It was truly an event to remember!
The event received huge impetus with the presence of executive director of World Trade Center Mumbai Rupa Naik.
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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