Hira Mandi’s new avatar
Bejewelled, beautiful courtesans, a la Madhubala or Aishwarya Rai, are just an indulgence in Mughal nostalgia. Hira Mandi, once a place of culture and tradition, has now been transformed into Lahore’s brand new Food Street
Nirupama Dutt
The street has come a long way, from being home to dancing girls to becoming a foodies’ hauntW
Urdu writer Ghulam Abbas wrote a classic Urdu short story called Anandi way back in 1939, and inspired a memorable film by Shyam Benegal called Mandi in 1983, was he playing the role of a clairvoyant? Well, if one looks at the fate and fortune of Lahore’s Hira Mandi one would certainly believe so. Well prophecy does accompany major literary endeavour but it was more a case of understanding human nature and power games. The story is a satire on politics and prostitution, both professions having many common principles, in which a brothel occupied by sex workers in the heart of the city is chosen by some politicians for its prime locality.

The street has come a long way, from being home to dancing girls to becoming a foodies’ haunt. Photo: Raj Chengappa

A conversation in tones
As Jazz turns 100, it celebrates five genres of musical magic that have spread from the Mississippi to the Ganges
George Jacob
is democratic in its approach; a diatribe, a lament, a sermon, an ode, a cry, a yearning and wry humour — all are woven into its musical vocabulary to be savoured afresh each time one hears it. At its heart lies the incestuous imagination of improvisation. The choice of accents and syncopations in rhythm, melody and harmony unleashes limitless musical expression. From the traditionalists, who preferred the New Orleans energy of the pre-War diatonic blues to the hard-bop sound of the Thelonius Monk and the Charles Mingus era, to the Afro-Caribbean-Cuban influences combined with Calypso and classical elements, jazz mesmerises the ear, stirs the soul and marries the mind in an unpredictable relationship of craving and depraved fulfilment.

George Orwell museum in Bihar
writer George Orwell’s birth place at Motihari in Bihar’s East Champaran district will soon be turned into a full-fledged museum. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said Orwell’s birth place, the decrepit two-room house on the old opium campus will be preserved for tourists.

Famous by design
The pioneering, first-generation fashion designer JJ Valaya, recently celebrating 20 years in the profession, tells the story of a life devoted to fashion to Ashima Batish

turquoise bridal lehnga with intricate zari work, aesthetically used stone embellishments and the perfect silhouettes was an eye grabber. But the cost too was an eye grabber! So what does one do? Check. The doubt of how many zeroes follow the digit 9 lingers. `A0Doublecheck. Five zeros, the price tag ‘humbly’ reads Rs 9 lakh. The rationale behind the five zeroes is the label attached to the creation—JJ Valaya. The story behind it is the story of the last 20 years, of raising the bar of creativity with every season’s collection, of becoming an industry in himself. Valaya happily assumes the role of a story teller.

Failure to tackle green issues can hurt growth
Mithun Dasgupta

Indian government’s failure to formulate effective policies to address environmental issues would risk causing economic growth to lag, warn environmentalists. The world over, problems like climate change are seen as wide-ranging market failures, presenting unique challenges for economic development. India is expecting a 7.6 per cent growth rate for fiscal 2012-13. Its gross domestic product (GDP) was likely to have grown at 6.9 per cent in 2011-12.

In the city of Chopin
Warsaw was devastated by bombing during World War II. But the once ruined buildings have been reconstructed so beautifully, and lovingly, that it is hard to believe the desolation that once befell this historic city
Ranjita Biswas

. The city of Chopin. A city devastated by bombing during World War II. A destruction so poignantly brought out by Roman Polanski in his award winning film The Pianist, based on the life of a Polish-Jewish musician who survived Nazi persecution. A city from which thousands of Jews were deported during the Holocaust.

Clearing the Chinese hurdles
Saina faces an uphill task before the London Olympics
M. S. Unnikrishnan

en masse early exit of Indian shuttlers from the Badminton Asia Championship at Quingdao (China) sends an ominous message for India's chances of qualifying for the London Olympics. The Chinese and Koreans, too, continue to torment and act as stumbling blocks in India's progress. The Indian players, particularly Saina Nehwal in women's singles, and Jwala Gutta and V. Diju in mixed doubles, are striving for Olympic berths. If their performances in China are an indication, then it will be tough going for them in the qualifiers. Saina, who fell at the quarterfinals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is India's hot property, but her performances, of late. have not been very reassuring.

Summer of superheroes
Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, the Hulk, G. I. Joe and Agent J are all set to raid the theatres near you in the summer vacations. Here’s a look at the boxoffice power of Hollywood’s comic book superheroes in India
Deepa Karmalkar

Bollywood holds back its big budget releases till after the IPL tournament, Hollywood gears up to cash in on the vacation mood this summer. Letting loose a platoon of comic book superheroes, Hollywood is simply ODing (overdosing) out on hi-tech comic book movies this holiday season. Just check out the release calendar: The Avengers (May 4), Men in Black III (May 25), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (June 29), The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and The Dark Knight Rises (July 20). And, don’t you know, the internet generation keenly awaits all these films.


Food talk: Gourd times ahead
by Pushpesh Pant

consumers beware!: Cost of not flying
by Pushpa Girimaji

globoscopePotboiler of low merit
by Ervell E. Menezes

channel surferOf Didi, Modi & Zardari
by Randeep Wadehra

FITNESS MANTRA: Fruity flavours
by Ratna Bose

ULTA PULTA: Politics of caricatures
by Jaspal Bhatti

Webside HUMOUR: Divine warning
Compiled by Sunil Sharma

by Karuna Goswamy


Scripting Visual Stories
Reviewed by Aruti Nayar
Two Mothers and Other Stories
By Khalid Mohammed. Om Books International. Pages 264. Rs 295

New light on old civilisation
Reviewed by Parshotam Mehra
The Monk, the Moor and Moses Ben Jalloun 
By Saeed Akhtar Mirza. Fourth Estate. Pages viii plus 247. Rs 450

New ‘Che’ comic
The most famous photo ever taken of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara was shot by Alberto Korda in 1960, an image so endlessly reproduced it became not only a political icon but a marketing and advertising asset. That photo is the point of departure for the new graphic novel about the "Comandante," now being published in Spanish.

Cooking, the fun way
Reviewed by Seema Sachdeva
How to Feed Your Child (and enjoy it)!
Fun Recipes for Young Moms
By Tabinda J. Burney. Niyogi Books. Pages 213. Rs 395

Listening to all voices
Reviewed by Jayanti Roy
Changing Minds 
By Cole P. Dodge and Gavin Bennet. Academic Foundation. Pages 192. Rs 695

When wanderlust strikes
Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu

Alluring North
, one of four books that make up the ‘Intriguing India’ series, is neither a travelogue, nor a guide-book, nor even a retelling of ancient folklore. It is a little bit of all three. It is, in deed, the vivid journey of India’s ancient history, culture and customs, brought to life through two well-informed people who have travelled, questioned, and analysed.

Conflict novels in thick of fight for Orange Prize
Nick Clark
year's battle for the Orange Prize for fiction could be particularly brutal. Despite what judges called the "stereotype" that women can't write shortlisted titles for the (pounds sterling) 30,000 female-only award.

Cultural crusader
Critic, poet and cultural activist Ashok Vajpeyi, whose zest for life expresses itself in many forms, feels the compulsions of electoral and representational democratic structures militate against excellence in arts

Nonika Singh
as a tiger won’t change its stripes, critic, poet and cultural activist Ashok Vajpeyi will remain quintessentially himself. Candid and not the one to mince words, he cares two hoots about rubbing people the wrong way. Be it dear friends Gulzar and Javed, who he calls "overrated poets" or the art academies in the country (some of which he has been at the helm), nothing escapes his censure. In a nation that propagates mediocrity, he is dogged in his pursuit for excellence.