Monday, October 27, 2014

On Haider the Film and the Many Shades of Grey in Revenge: In Kindle Magazine

Was Haider among the best to have come out from Bollywood in recent years? I certainly didn't think so. It reduced the complexity of conflict in Kashmir to a simple black and white duality. I wrote about the shades of grey in war and conflict for Kindle magazine. Read it here or see below.


Haider as a film projecting the reality of Kashmir, has coalesced multiple narratives into a simplistic choice between vengeance and peace. Deepa Bhasthi elaborates on the shades of grey which often permeate into the everyday lives of Kashmiris ….

Horatio: They bleed on both sides. - How is it, my lord?
Osric: How is't, Laertes?
Laertes: Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric; I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.
William Shakespeare’s Hamlet Act V. Scene II

The story of revenge served cold or otherwise, has never been found to be linear. Take Arjuna. Or Hamlet. Or the legend of the snake with a rage that lasts a purported 12 long years. Or the Tamils, the Sinhalese. Or Haider. Embroiled in the act of seeking revenge are complex philosophical and ethical issues that surround the means of revenge, be it cold blooded murder, calculated vengeance or thwarted desire. There are always many shades between white and black, many more than fifty. Yet, popular culture seems to insist on conveniently bracketing revenge, emotions, conflict, into water tight boxes, with no recourse of escape, no space for alternative interpretations.

That was my problem with Haider. Admittedly, it is one of the better films to come out from the B-factory in recent times. I should have known better though when everyone and their uncle recommended that this, Haider, was "true cinema." I went for the poetry, but there was hardly any. Instead I admired the Kashmiri embroidery, on everything from the blankets to waistcoats to durries in the sun room, and wished the film was half an hour shorter. The movie was not only very far from "true cinema", whatever that definition, but it also tried to reduce the Kashmir issue, and the larger question of vindication and vengeance to a simple, straightforward answer. It can never be simple, human beings are much more complicated than that.

Coincidentally, it so happened that I was midway through Samanth Subramanian's fantastic book This Divided Island - Stories from the Sri Lankan War when I went to watch Haider. Both presented an interesting juxtaposition to the issue of revenge, seeking it, being at its receiving end or fated to be a mute witness. Subramanian, a New Delhi based journalist, moved to Sri Lanka for nearly a year, traveled extensively and gathered the multiple narratives of post-war Sri Lanka. He is Tamil, so that places him on a precarious ledge. But like a true journalist, he is only the carrier of stories, the messenger who refuses, who cannot take sides.

The island has not left anyone unaffected by the decades old war that ended in a purge five years ago. How could it? Not even if you were an ostrich in the sand could something of that gravity pass you by without leaving a dent. The Tamil side was massacred, youth were, in later years, forced to pick up arms - why does a poet pick up arms? Why did Haider? Sometimes there is no choice, most times actually. Conditioned by a lifetime of an ideology, a single incident, or a slow brewing that sparks off something that is hidden in all of us, that is the philosophy we need to examine.

What is it that they say, about a little of the Satan in all of us? The Sinhalese were victims too in the tear drop country. Journalists disappeared, families were ripped apart. The monks, saffron robed and a picture of tranquility and peace, broke down mosques, and militantly continue to encroach and build upon Tamil temples, Subramanian writes. It shouldn't have shocked me, but it did. Religion has always blackmailed its devout to bring out the devil in them, Buddhism can't be any different. Yet all you see in popular culture is the calmness of a monk under a Bodhi tree, meditating for world peace. That is what manufactured consent does to you, taking away what your common sense knows to impose what someone somewhere with an agenda wants you to believe. Perhaps nothing gave me a jolt as reading passages of what the religious majority has been doing to the religious minority in that country. It shouldn't have, I almost feel foolish for being complicit with the manufactured mass opinion, but then, there is that devil in all of us.

Haider is complicit too, in feeding into and perpetrating the mass opinion of what Kashmiriyat is, reducing it to just its issue of nationalism. It is that, it is a lot of that. But Kashmir is also about every day concerns of people - of grappling with love, loss, money, success, career, modernity, effects of globalisation and the other mundane things that concern people everywhere, elsewhere. By completely ignoring the everyday of people in any non-normal conflict zone, we, as consumers of popular culture that does so, are in danger of forcing these people back into a narrow narrative, further reducing what their individual lives mean beyond cold statistics.
The greyish tone of any country's political situation is best understood in its individual case studies, those in turn facilitating wider interpretations of the whole picture. No one in a war can be wholly right, no one can be wholly wrong either. As long as those of us who have the luxury of living along unbombed roads and at a safe distance from conflict remember that there are always, always two sides to an issue, somewhere, the clinical, calculated, manipulative manufacturing of consent will be unsuccessful.

J., my Kashmiri friend, is one of those cool dudes, deliciously handsome, like most Kashmiri men are. It wasn't until some time into our acquaintance that I got to know he was from Ananthnag, one of the most heavily affected areas in the post 1989 years. J and I never spoke of it, though the journalist in me itches to hear his story. For me, he is a happy-go-lucky sort, filmy in the way he breaks into a Bollywood inspired dialogue, tehezeeb-ed and utterly chivalrous in an old world way. He must have demons too, and a cause for revenge. The last time I spoke to him, he was on the lookout for a girlfriend. He, like his counterparts in all the countries of the world, at war or otherwise, is a sum of all these parts of his, no part greater than the whole.

Vindication, vengeance and its synonyms are only available in shades of grey.
It must be the nature of disappointment. You know you will be disappointed, you anticipate it, expect that of those small expectations, yet, when it happens, every single time, it is like being scorched by a fire you have been staring at all night, slapped on the face, running into a wall, all at once.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

On the Ghost Town-ness of Chettinad Houses: In The New Indian Express

Recent travel had taken me to Tamil Nadu and to the lovely heritage town of Karaikudi in the Chettinad region. Wrote about it for The New Indian Express. Read it here or see the edited version below.

These photos below are not part of the published story.


Opulence and grandeur. Rather big words. Yet some superlatives seem inadequate when you present yourself before a Nattukottai Chettiar’s house. Each house is big—the word that immediately comes to mind when you walk and sweat through the narrow roads of Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu. The town whose name sounds like a temple for the very devout is the largest and at the heart of the Chettinad region. It is where the immensely rich bankers, industrialists and other businesspeople of the community come home to, for weddings and 60th birthday prayers—the nerve centre of nine temples, one or the other to which each Chettiar family traditionally pays allegiance to.

Globalisation had come a century early to these parts. Reminiscent of the Gulf-returnees elsewhere in later decades, the Chettiars made their fortunes trading in Burma, Malaysia, Singapore and countries of Europe and money lending in Sri Lanka and closer home. After triumphant returns every two years or so to one of the 96 native villages that formed the larger Chettinad region, they built long, grand and very big houses. They also brought in the world to occupy the halls of these edifices with marble and tiles from Italy, chandeliers and teak wood for furniture and ceilings from Burma, crockery from Indonesia, enamelware from Eastern Europe, floor-to-ceiling high mirrors from Belgium, something else from Japan, adding to the local methods of construction and architecture. One of this was where thousands of egg whites went into creating wall plaster that felt and glistened like cold marble.

But now the houses, tall and once proud, stand forlorn. Its owners live in Chennai, Coimbatore, and Madurai. Several are abroad because Karaikudi, Devakottai, Athangudi and other villages with equally rustic names are not where they can run air-conditioned offices. The weather isn’t too pretty either; the roads are dusty and the people are almost always on the verge of leaving for the cities, like in any other Indian small town.

Karaikudi seems like a place designed to get lost in. Which is just as well. If you aren’t there to sift through piles of antiques on Muneeswaran Koil Street, mansion visits are what you’d probably want to do, to admire the dysfunctional mix of styles and try to work out just how rich these families are. Which is exactly what I did, with a friend, two weeks or so ago, for two whole days.

The town is delightfully tourist unfriendly. They do get well-heeled visitors who stay in one of the expensive renovated Chettiar houses. There are pilgrims who make their way to Pillayarpatti, a 4th century temple, or any of the other residences of divinity that dot the landscape. We fall in another category and the locals don’t fully know where to bracket us.

We do some of what we are required to do—walk down the antiques street, pick up a lot of dusty things at less than quarter of what Mr B, the antiques man in Bangalore, would charge us. Then we take a trip to Athangudi, where the famous tiles are individually hand-made using the special local soil, glass plates and colours from Chennai. We pick up samples to use as wall hangings and incense stands back home. We see the excessiveness of Periya Veedu, the big house that starred in many movies until recently. We stumble upon, thanks to a nice old taxi driver, another house with a helpful guide who practices his routine with us; the house is on its way to being turned into a museum soon and he will need to spill the same spiel often. We do the touristy thing and take pictures of the blue bicycle leaning upon a cream wall holding up a latticed roof, of the narrow lanes, of the cold beer in the garden of The Bangala, the restaurant all tourists end up at. We do not take selfies.

It is all a sightseeing trip should be. But even when I am aiming the camera towards a street along which two school girls in blue checkered uniforms peddle down on bicycles the government gave them, I cannot shake off the sense that I am in a part-ghost town. The taxi driver lets on that most of those who own these mansions are too happy to lock them up for the greater part of the year. They do not need the money that could come from turning these heritage houses into heritage hotels. Several others hold on to the vestiges of Old Worldness, living in their ancestral homes surrounded by the past, the photographs and fading Belgian mirrors. We stumble upon one, with a board in Tamil. The one English phrase says ‘snacks available’. We enquire, are misunderstood, and an old man asks us to leave; his house is not up for sightseeing. All we wanted was snacks. The house around him is falling apart; maintaining what must be a white elephant can’t be easy. We imagine the tiles and window panes would soon end up on Muneeswaran Koil street, where the antiques are. It isn’t pleasant, imagining the ruins of the future.

In the villages around, where the Chettiar homes take up whole streets, it is quiet. Almost eerie is the silence, even though people are going about their business, kids are playing, a cow meditates in a corner, and tea shops send out their mixed scents. Homes of this size seem to mandate that they should bustle with the voices and footsteps of dozens of children, their mothers chasing after them, as sounds from the kitchen arrive as a familiar orchestra. But these days in Chettinad, in the halls of houses lined with tiles from Italy, silence is the loudest noise.

Monday, October 20, 2014

I have a text message from this day two years ago saved on my phone. The culture day had been wonderful. It still sometimes doesn't make sense, but it feels right, still. And that is why I am here, happy, safe, protected.

I want to say so much that I can only say little now. :) 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

On Prabhath Kalavidaru: In Indian Quarterly Magazine

I am told I sat through a play staged by the very famous Prabhath Kalavidaru when I was little. I have no recollection of it, sadly. 2014 marks the centenary birth year of their founder Gopinathdas. I spoke to his son T G Venkateshachar and grandson Harish Prabhath about the group's history, their contribution to the field of theatre and their continued relevance. The story is in the latest issue of Indian Quarterly.

All photos are courtesy of Prabhath Kalavidaru.


Raja Ravi Varma, in the late 19th century, showed us what our Gods and Goddesses looked like – heavy silks and pearls in place. A century after his works became well known, the whole theatre of Ramanand Sagar’s cult TV series Ramayana—and the equally cultish Mahabharat— perpetuated Varma’s imagery, and was to define the popular culture aesthetic of a generation: a generation, further, that was coming of age in an India between socialist policies and economic liberalisation. Perhaps it is nostalgia for who we were when these were our reference points; or, perhaps an old charm we associate with them that makes the dance ballets of Prabhath Kalavidaru as popular now as they were eighty years ago.

Based in Bengaluru, Prabhath Kalavidaru is a cultural point of reference, a pioneer in more ways than just being a good theatre group. For the last 84 years, it has influenced technical innovation on the proscenium, inspired changes in performance forms and come up with new narratives for popular culture in Karnataka and elsewhere.

It is well-known for producing dance ballets, some history-based like Karnataka Vaibhava, others fairy tales like Cinderella. Several, such as Bhagavad Gita and Shri Rama Prateeksha, are “mythological”, continuing the look and sound of the pop art-heavy 1980s and 1990s. The members of the group are also famous for the way they married classical dance forms with Western performance ideas and local folk traditions—an idea once so radical that their founder Gopinathdas was ridiculed by the puritans. This derision continued to follow him, through the technological innovations he continued to make, the fame the group accumulated and the entertainment empire that ensued.

It is Gopinathdas’ birth centenary year. A week-long festival of music and dance ballet to mark the occasion has recently concluded. I am in the drawing room of a modern, middle-class home speaking with his son TG Venkateshachar and grandson Harish Prabhath, who is also the group’s lead performer. Once upon a time, Gopinathdas, his three brothers and co-founders Karigirachar, Jayasimhadas and Dwarkanath, and their extended families lived together in an old sprawling bungalow. Their other related enterprises—a recording studio, costume and equipment rentals—were run from rooms that were added when new ventures were started and families expanded. Today, the businesses and families are divided and spread across Bengaluru.

A large portrait of Gopinathdas on the wall bears witness to our conversation. It was in 1930 that he and his three brothers, all proficient in harikathe—a traditional style of religious storytelling—started the Gururaja Vadya Vrinda, a group that staged live theatre productions. Having moved from their native town, Tumkur, to the big city, they opened the Prabhath Shishuvihara in 1947—the first of many ventures Gopinathdas would go on to found. The school, in the Basavanagudi neighbourhood, taught students theatre, music and dance. A permanent platform was built to stage the plays they devised.

With the brothers’ harikathe sessions drawing large crowds, a rudimentary microphone system was no longer enough. Mumbai was the nearest place from where they could rent a Chicago amplifier. Sensing a potential business, the family scraped together the princely sum of 3,000 rupees to import an RCA amp. When they weren’t using it, they rented it out to other theatre groups. Today, they rent out a whole range of equipment. Once, at the last minute before a show, the costume supplier backed out, remembered Venkateshachar. This gave birth to Prabhath Vastra Vaibhava, which continues to make all the costumes for the group’s productions. These are also available for hire.

To help those actors who couldn’t sing very well, pre-recorded music was introduced—a near blasphemy in theatre circles then. “It was the first time anyone was doing this in south India. There was a lot of opposition, with people saying that this was not theatre. But we recorded songs with singers like Yesudas, SP Balasubramaniam and Vani Jayaram. People would come to the studio to record jingles to be broadcast on All India Radio too,” Venkateshachar told me.

While these businesses were thriving, Prabhath Kalavidaru—named so from 1942 onwards—was introducing many changes in the theatre world. Plays were being shortened to two hours instead of five, or the then prevalent all-nighters. Unrelated comedy scenes showing while the painted screens were being changed in the background were done away with. Spotlights were brought in: a green light beamed a backdrop for a forest scene, blue for a river. “People laughed,” remembered Venkateshachar. “One side of the stage there is light, one side there is no light! ‘What is this?’ they mocked.” Gopinathdas stuck to the traditions of harikathe to stage his productions, while borrowing liberally from the technical experiments theatre groups were making elsewhere. When they began touring outside the state, songs and dialogues were recorded in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, English and even Sanskrit.

Prabhath Kalavidaru’s repertoire has about 20 productions today. Their Cinderella was staged for the 1000th time recently, and made big news. But Harish says it is the only play where they track the number of shows. “It needs very specific space dimensions and is technically very difficult, so we have kept count. Some of our other productions would have been staged some 5,000–6,000 times over the decades. We haven’t counted.”

Their popularity—and relevance—in the face of newer entertainment avenues lies, claim the father and son, in how they fall somewhere between the styles of company theatre and modern plays. “The entertainment quotient should be very high in our productions,” said Harish. “That is what will bring in both the pandita (the intellectual) and the pamara (the common man),” added his father. Audiences are more discerning these days, they explained, but almost all shows run to full houses. Those who loved Prabhath Kalavidaru’s plays in their youth come back with their children and grandchildren. Reading a story from the Ramayana might stay with a child for a fortnight, but seeing it visually will last a decade or even a lifetime, Harish’s grandfather believed. It is this premise—or perhaps the world is just big enough for all entertainers—that continues to keep Prabhath Kalavidaru’s aesthetic relevant and the group thriving.

Monday, October 06, 2014

...but I have always loved you, and if one loves anyone, one loves the whole person, just as they are and not as one would like them to be...

Anna Karenina, Lev Tolstoy

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Boiling Coffee, Burning Beirut: In The Forager Magazine's Inaugural Issue

A few months ago, someone introduced me to Mahmoud Darwish's works. Some Googling later, I started on Memory for Forgetfulness, August, Beirut 1982, some of the most powerful prose I have ever read. It was disturbing and thought-provoking, the use of language utterly gorgeous. What emerged was this piece I wrote for The Forager's inaugural issue. I edit the magazine with some friends. 

The art work for this work is by Sujith S N, an artist living and working in Mumbai.

Sujith S N, Stains of Stimuli, watercolour on paper, 44 x 58 inches, 2014


A war. The war. A war never ends you know. Even when it does, it remains. On bodies. In hearts. In past economies and future histories. War. Mine. Yours. Theirs. Yet, all of ours, this war.

From a to be or not to be to this or that to choices and clich├ęd existentialism this conflict within and without is a wake-up call. It rings at 6 every morning, precise, on the dot, like the cheap plastic clock beside your bed – a discard from an old love affair. I – the ‘I’ being you, being all of others – wake up to a bugle that announces the day’s war. Toast vs cereal. Idli vs Uppittu. Red vs blue. Lover vs spouse. Living vs existing. Mundane vs mundane.

I don an armor, a different one every day, to suit what battle has been called for that day. You have to prioritize you know. A city can be unforgiving at times like this. The metal in these buildings, the skies, in these roars is what kills you on the frontline. Even when it keeps you alive, it takes you away. The metal, garnished with your dreams and individual minds, preparing a feast for metal the master. But before I am battle ready – they don’t leave me a choice – let me have five minutes please. That is all Mahmoud Darwish asks for. That is all I need too, just five minutes, to do that one thing that matters. After that, I don’t care – they don’t leave me a choice – I will battle the day, the world, you.

I need five minutes to place this dawn, or my share of it, on its feet and prepare to launch into this day born of howling. I was born in a coffee estate. I grew up on the way it smelled. And right now I want the aroma of coffee. For it is only the aroma of coffee that I have between this morning and the chaos that will soon take over on the streets and in the nerves of my mind. The aroma of coffee so I can hold myself together, stand on my feet, and be transformed from something that crawls, into a human being. After that coffee, we can go, the day and I, looking down the streets for another place, a safe place. A safe place where someone else will fight my biggest wars for me, wear my armor and keep me safe.

For this, I need five minutes. I have no personal wish other than to make a cup of coffee. I know coffee well, just in the way I know instant coffee is not coffee, it is just branded, stamped and sold as coffee. When you know coffee, you also know that you have to make it with your own hands. It is solitary, silent. The day’s first coffee, the virgin of the silent morning will absorb any words a bearer of your cup on a tray will utter. It could be a simple greeting, yet, words burn the coffee. When you know your coffee, you know you don’t want it to burn.

Coffee is the morning silence, early and unhurried. When a war is waging outside your window, waiting for the five minutes to be up, waiting for you to pick up your gun, your mind and open the front door and let it in, the silence is all you have. Don’t be greedy now. Five minutes is more than what most people can ever fantasize about. These five minutes devoid of the shelling, the screams, the roughing up of your naked body comes with a privilege that you have acquired. Let’s not examine by what means you came upon this luxury.

In the only silence in which you can be creative, be yourself, in these five minutes, you get to pour some water into a small copper pot with a mysterious shine – yellow turning brown – and you place that over a fire. It is not a wood fire. Even with your privileges you are not allowed that. Not here, not in the midst of your wars.

The street is outside. Some wars have begun long before you were up. Peep down and you see them. Fruits and vegetables are being sold from carts by vendors; they lavish praise on the pathetic wares they peddle, hoping you, or someone like you, will pay a few coins extra. The reality of the street can wait. By now, two elements, fire coloured green and blue and water roiling and breathing out tiny white granules that turn into a fine film and grow, have made contact. I do not take my coffee with sugar, but for the man still lying across my bed by the window, fast asleep and snoring, I would add two spoons of coarse sugar. The bubbles in the pan settle down when the granules fall through, but spring up again. Only one substance will settle them now, coffee – a flashy rooster of aroma and Eastern masculinity.

Remove the pot away. The way you orchestrate the dialogue between hand and liquid will tell you the flavor of the day. Maybe you will get to stay in and escape it all, maybe you’ll have to walk into the streets, ready for life, prepared for death. They say that the hand that makes the coffee reveals the person that stirs it. Therefore, coffee is the public reading of the open book of the soul.

Is history not bribable? Asks Darwish. The history we know is full of bigger wars, of big kings and big armies and bombs that efficiently obliterate my personal history, your personal history. Who documents our wars? No one wants to forget. More accurately, no one wants to be forgotten. Some build forts to last longer than the name that will be forgotten. Some give birth, burdening children with the task of carrying a name forward. But what if one wants to forget? Forget an old identity, an old name, an old mistake?

Is there enough forgetfulness for them to forget?

But enough of this talk of the coffee shops of Beirut where identities are measured with pieces of paper. I will make my coffee now. Conquerors of my soul and my body cannot deny me the aroma of coffee, at least not the memory of it.

Take a spoon of ground coffee from the blue jar you bought, on a whim – it cost you a day’s wage – and let it fall on the spluttering surface of the boiling water. Stir, clockwise, up, down. Add another spoonful. Stir, up, down, counterclockwise. Add another spoonful. Remove the pot from the low fire between these spoonfuls, bring it back. Dip the spoon, lift up the dissolving powder, let it fall back. Smoothly.

If only wars could be melted away in a spoon of hot water.

Repeat the above. Water will begin to boil again, your blond coffee buoys on the surface, threatening to sink. Turn off the heat, let the metal scream and be crushed outside, the vegetable vendors can wait too. Pour the coffee into a little white cup: dark-coloured cups spoil the freedom of the coffee.

Then a first cigarette, flavoured with existence itself, with this first coffee.

No coffee is like another, and my defense of coffee is a plea for difference itself. There is no flavor called coffee, just like textbooks in school describe how water has no taste. Coffee is not a concept. Every house has its coffee, and every hand too, because no soul is like another. Like water it meanders and bends and sighs and runs over many surfaces. It wraps itself around me and melts with longing to go up the mountain, the way I long for you. It does go up the mountain as it disperses in the gossamer of a shepherd’s pipe taking it back to its first home.

Like the sound of drums that a dying fire carries into the faraway hills, the aroma of coffee is the offspring of the primordial. Its journey began thousands of years ago, like yours and mine.

Coffee is a place. Coffee is a breast that nourishes men deeply. A morning born of a bitter taste. The milk of manhood. Coffee is geography.

I have made my coffee. I have no other excuse now.

The war slipped through the creak in the window panel and has come into my bedroom now.


In these times of war, in Syria, Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere within each of us, this piece pins down to the making of coffee that small sense of normalcy we all seek to move on from one day to the next. The writing emerged from a reading of Mahmoud Darwish’s Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982. The sentences in italics are direct quotes from the book.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Forager Magazine Goes Live

Like in finding love, in life too, it is all about timing. Some things work, some things, however brilliant or perfect they might have been, don't, and that's all there is to it. 

One evening in mid March this year, over a Skype session between two countries, a casual conversation began to snowball into something that I will always be the most proud of having been part of. We began talking of how our lives are so centered around food. If we are not eating it, we are cooking it, or talking about it, or thinking about something around it. As a practice that lies at the very fabric of what builds human beings, food is, at once, both deeply personal and communal, frivolous and political, ritualistic and routine. In its many stages of producing, cooking, eating or talking about, food plays a communicative role that again, at once, can both bind and divide people. As an idea, food lends itself to multiple narratives, as a political tool, an economic parameter, a personal memoir, an anthropological study aid, among others.

We wanted to explore various facets of the food on our tables and facilitate conversations about the provenance of the food we eat, its significance throughout history and in contemporary life and as the most powerful medium of cultural expression available to us.

Starting from these ideas, we set about planning an online magazine. A duo grew into a team of seven. Sunday evenings began to be reserved for magazine meetings. Few weeks into April we had a name, by May a rough idea of what would not go into the magazine, by July a web developer and a design. Hundreds of email exchanges, hundreds of hours of phone calls, a lot of eating around the meetings ensued. Six months, nearly to the day, we have The Forager live online from today!

The last few weeks have been stressful. From not knowing how to make a magazine to launching an online journal at midnight today, we have come a long way. Along with creating something beautiful, we have all learnt much about each other and ourselves, bonded, and created wonderful relationships. 

The Forager is an idea that is growing bigger as the day passes, we have the world planned for ourselves. But more on that later. Tonight, in the aftermath of a very memorable launch party, all I want to do is stop working for now. But all this is too exciting, I don't want to stop. Share in my excitement, log on to and give your feedback. We are on social media too, follow us there. 

As for me, right now I shall sleep, knowing that there is something very precious that we created out there, that there is a lot of learning, beauty, love and friendship behind it. 

Baby, we actually did it.

It is yet to sink in.