Monthly Archives: April 2015

Minogame: turtle tales

Minogame the ancient turtle is so old that he carries a beard of seaweed wherever he goes. Minogame, the ancient turtle If you or I are ever in the kingdom of the sea people where the purple sea grasses grow … Continue reading

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Warli designs, not merely art.

This morning, a friend’s post on Facebook reminded me of the various influences our many tribal designs have had on the sarees that urban Indian women wear. For us they may be designs that help make us stand out in a … Continue reading

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Johann Zoffany, cockfighting, a transvestite magistrate and that “Last Supper”

Johann Zoffany was one of those men who fulfill every suspicion ordinary people might have about the freewheeling nature of artists in general. He was a German artist who moved to England in 1760 as a 27 year old. His … Continue reading

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A tenner for the manuscript of Paradise Lost, 27th April 1667

When Paradise Lost was ready for publication, John Milton sold it for 10 pounds on the 27th of April, 1667. Blind, impoverished, and jobless, he started to dictate the poem in 1663 to his family. His purpose was to ‘justify … Continue reading

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Seedpods and other ephemera

Up and down our street the jacarandas are shedding seed pods and raining woody bits on carport roofs and cars parked on the street. If you stood at the start of the street two months ago, you would have seen … Continue reading

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The First Battle of Panipath, 21st April 1526

Picture this: You are a farmer turned soldier taken from one of the villages surrounding Delhi for yet another battle. You are better with the plough and driving the neelgais and sparrows from your field of bajra with a slingshot … Continue reading

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Happy New Year! Or, Poyla Baishakh!

From today the sun moves into the region of the heavens where the Bisakha nakshatra or constellation holds court and the month of Baishakh starts. This is the first month of the Bengali and other Indian calendars. In ancient times … Continue reading

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Amar kathati Phurolo and other folk phrases

A phrase has been spinning in my head since the morning… ‘Amar kathati phurolo, notey gacchti muRolo’ etc. This is a refrain that accompanies folk tales once the story teller or kathak thakur has finished telling them in Bengal. The … Continue reading

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Jonas Salk: ‘Can you patent the sun?’

I haven’t been part of any wars or events that will end up being considered momentous but for one. When my twenty year old was still a toddler, he was part of the Pulse Polio campaign in India in 1995-1996 … Continue reading

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8th April, 1820: Venus rising

A peasant called Yorgos Kentotas was digging in a field on the island of Milos in the Aegean sea on this day in 1820. Suddenly he finds a statue of a beautiful woman, six feet eight inches tall, her left … Continue reading

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