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Dog’s day

Here’s one lady who’s gone to the dogs. Actress Indrani Haldar is clearly concerned about the street dogs of Calcutta. “There is a pressing need to empathise with their plight,” she says. Indrani feels the city corporation and animal welfare organisations catching dogs for sterilisation should use more humane methods in dealing with the canines. “It is inhuman and cruel to capture them with tongs and throw them into cages as they do now,” she says. Haldar thinks that the city’s strays need good homes. “I wish I could adopt all of them.” A lot of fans, we hear, are going bow-bow.

Eyes wide shut

Trouble sleeping? Warm milk not working? Godwoman Anandmurti Gurumaa has the answer to insomnia. She has just launched a CD which showcases the ancient method of “sleeping consciously” — or the ‘Yog Nidra.’ “This is a power tool available to each and every individual who wants a happy, tranquil and healthy life,” says the yoga expert, who argues that when people sleep they carry their frustrations, conflicts and pain with them. Sleep, therefore, does not rub out tensions in the mind and body. ‘Yog Nidra,’ on the other hand, leads to physical, psychological and mental relaxation, she argues. Did we hear someone going zzzz?

Verse and better

“I’m not just in a minority wherever I go, I am in a multiple minority wherever I go. In Denmark, I’m among the coloured people, the minority of immigrants; and among Muslims in India and elsewhere, I belong to the middle class with strong liberal values,” says writer-poet-academic Tabish Khair, whose new book has just been released by Vitasta Publishers. In a way, he says, his book — Muslim Modernities: Essays on Moderation & Mayhem, a compendium of essays and articles — is an articulation of that position. “By and large, the media, both here and in the West, paint Islam in Manichean terms. They tend not to see that there is a strong moderate voice within Islam as well. This collection is an addition to that viewpoint,” says the Denmark-based academic. But, we quiz him on his first love — poetry. Has the muse let him down? “Oh no,” he says, “I’m working on two collections in one go.” Once a poet, always a poet.

Loud is lovely

After Pakistani pop star Nazia Hassan created a storm with Aap Jaisa Koi, it’s the turn of Atif Aslam to whisk up a tempest. The boy from Lahore, still best remembered for Woh Lamhe, rocked at the annual festival of the International School of Business and Media in Calcutta recently. And now we hear that Aslam may soon be seen in a new Mahesh Bhatt production, though the singer refuses to say anything on the subject. “I am getting offers but at the moment music is the top priority,” he says. “But if I get a good offer I might grab it.” Despite the ruckus created by the spoilsport local residents — who complained that the music was too loud — Aslam was all praise for the city. “It was a wonderful crowd and I loved performing here,” he says. “I would love to come back,” he says with a smile. Ear plugs, anybody?

Kabul calling

What does diplomat Rakesh Sood do when he’s not chewing on complex foreign policies? Drop by at New Delhi’s India Habitat Centre, and you’ll know. Come February 5 and a collection of striking photographs taken by Sood — India’s man in Afghanistan — and his friend Aly Mawji will come to roost in the capital, showcasing the innate beauty of the Central Asian nation. Titled Footloose in Afghanistan, the exhibition is a result of the lengthy sojourns of Ambassador Sood and Aga Khan development network representative Mawji in the former Taliban land, spurred by a great many Cohiba cigars along the way. The Bamyan valley seen from the perspective of the Buddha that’s no more, the dance of the breeze in the Wakhan corridor, and the hazel eyes of robust Afghans — the photographs have got them all. And you thought Afghanistan was only about Stinger missiles and women in burkhas?

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