Descriptive writing is a trap and can drive the reader mad

By Bikram Vohra

Many of us want to be writers (poor and oppressed) and share our words with the world. Except that words are like insidious little landmines liable to blow up in your face. Most people write badly and that even includes some teachers of the English language. This is largely because they were taught bad habits by amateur teachers and parents and relatives when they were young, and the pastiche of tongues they created at home led to the wreckage.

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Bhanu Athaiya is the reason I watch the Oscars every year

By Sujata Assomull

The awards season is in full swing. The BAFTAs are done and the Oscars are up next (March 4). I never miss the broadcast as I adore the world of pomp and circumstance. You can escape for three and a half hours. The first Oscars telecast I watched was when I was nine years old. Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi won an overwhelming number of awards. That year, 1982, also marked India’s first win at the Oscars: Bhanu Athaiya for Costume Design in Gandhi shared her award with John Mollo. That moment is why the Oscars have become an annual habit for me.

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The return of millets is great, and not just for your health

By Shauravi Malik & Sohini Dey

Suddenly, millets are everywhere. Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt swears by ragi chips. Gourmet chefs now add millets to their recipes — from pakode and biryani to risotto and brownies. Mothers swear by ragi (finger millet) as the best weaning food. And this week, at Gulfood 2018 in Dubai, the India section had several millet-based products on display. A long crusade by Byre Gowda, the “Millet Man of India” — and initiatives by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and the government of Karnataka — appears to be paying off.

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Don’t underplay the power of a spin doctor in a democracy

By Afzal Hasan

Dear Eager Aspirant of Public Office,

Take heart. Even if you are someone who is a feral village bumpkin, with ideas about his legendary importance to the world that might be better passed off under the category of ‘Hallucinations’, we can transform you. Prepare to become a colourful city slicker, suitably equipped with all known clichés and stereotypical views, for swift political ascendancy! Continue reading Don’t underplay the power of a spin doctor in a democracy