Knowledge Whiteboard Library

Ever so often I come across an initiative, an organisation, a person or a group of people, a book, a film, an article, a piece of music… that leaves me feeling enthused. Since it also leaves me wondering why I haven’t heard of it before, I set off on an eager and happy quest to find out more about it. When such an initiative is that of a friend, it leaves me a little shocked. Pleasantly and happily shocked, I must hasten to clarify, as it happened when I heard of the Knowledge Whiteboard Library. Let me elaborate.

It all began with a telephone conversation a couple of months back with Rajshri Mahtani, founder of Knowledge Whiteboard (KW), and also a friend and a former colleague. Somewhere during our conversation Rajshri casually mentioned something about a library at the KW and the growing collection of books. I was intrigued and was left thinking… library? What library? How come I don’t know anything about it?

I decided to visit the KW office, which is located Santacruz in Mumbai and find out more about the library for myself. Sometime last month that is just what I did and sure enough, there was an interesting story waiting for me. :)

Knowledge Whiteboard Library

Dr. Rajshri Mahtani

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Book Review: Sirens Spell Danger

Self-published books are not my choice of reading material. In fact, I would prefer not to read them at all as my experience of reading such books has not been a very happy one. I know it sounds like a sweeping statement, not to mention prejudiced, but…

Now consider this scenario. A fellow blogger and a friend, Suresh Chandrasekaran, whose writing I admire and like very much, comes out with a self-published book. This leads to a dilemma or what can even be called a “situation”: I really want to read the book, but the self-published tag is a big deterrent of sorts. While I am mulling over this, Suresh (who I think is aware of my views on self-published books) requests for my feedback on the book. I agree, buy the book, read it and one afternoon over a long FB chat give him feedback on the book. This happened about 6 months back.

Sirens Spell Danger, ebook, Suresh C

Recently, I participated in an excellent discussion on “Self-Published Books” (do click on the link to read more about the discussion) at The Sunday Book Club (TSBC). It was an enlightening discussion and one that spurred me to to convert the feedback I gave Suresh on the book, Sirens Spell Danger, into a full-fledged book review.

Sirens Spell Danger (2013, Amazon eBook) is a collection of three longish short stories edited by Suresh. As the title suggests, all the stories in the book have women or “sirens’ as the pivot.

The sirens are not necessarily the protagonists of the stories; instead, they are characters without whom there would have been no story in the first place.

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A blog anniversary, giveaways and YOU

Wow ! I sure didn’t expect so many people to participate in the giveaways. I had thought that I would be doing an “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” to select a winner. Instead, I put all the eligible participants’ names on a slips of paper and had my mother draw the names of the winners of the Giveaways. And they are: :)

Giveaway 1: Sapna (@dreamysap)

Giveaway 2: Poonam (@poonamc)

CONGRATULATIONS, Sapna and Poonam ! Since both of you are on Twitter, please DM your contact details to me :)


Earlier this week, this blog of mine celebrated its 4th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, I decided to have a special and exciting event on the blog, something that has never been attempted before here.

And that something, dear reader, is the First. Ever. Giveaway. on My Favourite Things. Did I say Giveaway? Correction. It should be Giveaways as there are two of them. Details with regard to what they are, how you can participate and win them, and the Terms & Conditions are given below.

GIVEAWAY 1

Giveaway 1 is a bundle of 4 books: The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz;  Land of Seven Rivers; A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal; Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair; and Renaissance Art: A Very Short Introduction by Geraldine A. Johnson (see photograph below). The books are not new, but are in excellent condition.

Blog Giveaway

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4 years, 346 posts, 2,65,417 words…

…later, a milestone has been crossed. Yes4th Blogversary, dear reader, the blog celebrates its 4th anniversary today. :)

Its time to write that anniversary post, which will be a reflection of the journey undertaken so far and hopes and plans for the future. But first, let me share with you some of the highlights of my 4th year of blogging.

  • It was a year of travel — Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Aurangabad. While I have finished writing about my visits to the first two states, I still have to write about the latter two.
  • This was also the year of exploring my city, Mumbai, and writing about it as well. Its art scene, its neighbourhoods, its rich and varied heritage, its public transport, its forts… all found their way into the blog. I think my blog url of “thatandthisinmumbai” has finally lived up to its name. :-D
  • I started getting invites for blogger events. The first was a FAM trip to Suryagarh, near Jaisalmer; the second to a Google+ event to celebrate World Photography Day; and the third (and most special one) was an invitation to be part of an art trail in Mumbai.
  • Two new series were introduced on the blog — Photostory and “Neighbourhoods of Mumbai” — and I’m really excited about them. Right now there aren’t many posts in the series yet, but by next year (fingers crossed!) there will be.
  • One of my earliest posts, Meenakshi’s Lamp, got featured (with slight modifications), in The Deccan Chronicle and The Key Bunch. Similarly, part of my post on Pallankuzhi, a traditional board game, was included in the DKS Learning Centre’s blog.
  • I finally started a Facebook Page for the blog. If you haven’t ‘liked’ me yet on FB, this is where I humbly fold my hands and request you to do so. I promise I will never spam your TL with inane or too many posts. :)

After reading the above highlights, would you believe that I began my 4th year seriously contemplating whether I should continue with or stop blogging altogether. :-/

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Neighbourhoods of Mumbai 1: Matunga

Neighbourhoods of Mumbai is a series that will explore the different areas of Mumbai, their history, their sub-cultures, their architecture, the changes sweeping through them, and what makes them tick.

How difficult can it be to write about a place that I have known all my life? I would have said not very, till I sat down to write this post on Matunga, a central suburb of Mumbai. Read on with advance warning that it is a long post ! :)

Matunga is where my mother grew up, where I spent a part of my childhood, and a place that is so much part of me and my memories that I’ve never given it a second thought. So when I heard about a guided walk of Matunga conducted by a fellow blogger and friend, Rushikesh of Breakfree Journeys, I was surprised and intrigued. Surprised, because someone found it interesting enough to conduct a walk, and intrigued because I wanted to know what exactly was being covered in the walk and if they would look at Matunga the way I saw it and do it justice.

On a Saturday evening earlier this month I went on the 2-hour walk that took me through the history of Matunga, its development, the different communities that are resident here, its architecture, it unique sub-culture, its eateries, the changes sweeping through it… Some of what I learnt on the walk was new to me, some of it was a literal walk down memory lane, and some of it was seeing the same place through new eyes. Join me as I take you on that Matunga walk and also share my memories and thoughts about the place.

Matunga 1

My maternal grandparents’ home … somewhere in Matunga

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Travel Shot: The elevator with the pink seat

The elevator dings its arrival and the doors slide open noiselessly. I step in and look in fascination at the elevator’s interiors.

I am at Hotel Suryagarh, a luxury boutique hotel near Jaisalmer, and am being escorted to my second floor suite by a hotel attendant after completing the usual registration formalities.

“Why don’t you sit down, Ma’am?” the hotel attendant urges me.

This might have been a strange question considering we were in an elevator. But since the elevator had a large, cushioned seat upholstered in a velvet of bright pink, it really wasn’t that strange a question.

Hotel Suryagarh, Boutique Hotel, Luxury, Elevator

I politely decline as I feel a little stupid to sit down for a trip of two floors. But I do notice that the elevator speed is quite slow and discover later that this has been done deliberately to encourage guests to relax and sit down.

And over the over the two days that I spend at the hotel and the numerous trips that I make between my room and wherever I was headed to, I would use the elevator. Get in. Sit down. Relax. Take pictures. Normally, I would have used the stairs, but not this time.

Hotel Suryagarh, Boutique Hotel, Luxury, Elevator

To this day, the luxurious elevator with the pink seat at Hotel Suryagarh remains unique. I have never come across anything like this before, and doubt it I will.

Have you come across unique hotel elevators? Do share.