Aditi De

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All features, stories and articles authored by: Aditi De


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Madhubani Magic of Gangadevi

Aditi De of the ‘Women’s Feature Service’ writes about a meeting she had in the 1980s, with Gangadevi, the gifted painter of Mithila. Gangadevi is largely responsible for placing an ancient art, practiced for centuries by the women of her village, in the artistic map of the world. Face to face, Gangadevi, seemed shy at first glance. She drew the pallav (the border of the sari) of her brightly coloured cotton sari over her head, and pushed her black-rimmed spectacles firmly onto the bridge of her nose....

Rabi, the Budding Poet

Rabi, the Budding Poet

When Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for his poems in Gitanjali , he was the first Asian to be so honoured. We’ve seen pictures of him with his flowing grey beard and smiling eyes, clad in a long saffron robe. We know him as the man who founded the unusual gurukula or school at Shantiniketan in West Bengal in 1901. We also know that he’s the only poet whose verses have been chosen as the national anthems of two countries – India and Bangladesh....

The Story of Indian Bronzes

The Story of Indian Bronzes

One of the most beautiful figures in Indian sculpture is that of Lord Shiva dancing the Ananda Tandava or dance of joy, one leg raised high, his face very calm, as he destroys all life until new life is born once more. Looking at the divine dancer, we can almost hear the sound of the damru or small drum that he holds in one fist. The bronze figure of this god is often seen in museums, in homes, even at crafts bazaars....

Ride the Camel

Ride the Camel

The world looks very strange from a camel’s back. On a recent trip to Rajasthan, we travelled on camel back from the city of Jaisalmer to the Sam dhani or sand dunes of the adjoining Thar Desert. We were travelling to Thar, just 42 km away, to watch its dazzling sunsets. Deoram and Raju When we set out from Jaisalmer, the desert city famous for its golden fortress, the early evening sun dazzles our eyes. Bright, beige wasteland stretches all around us for miles....

The Stockholm Effect

The Stockholm Effect

Sweden lies in the Scandinavian Peninsula in northern Europe, with Norway to the west and Finland to the northeast. Stockholm, its permanent capital since 1523, is located at the junction of Lake Mälar (Mälaren) and Salt Bay (Saltsjön), an arm of the Baltic Sea, opposite the Gulf of Finland. Due to its location, built as it is upon numerous islands, Stockholm is regarded as one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world. The Stockholm Effect [Illustration by Sudheer Nath] The Swedish capital, Stockholm, has puzzled people for ages....

Weave of Survival

Weave of Survival

To unravel the story behind the famed Kota doria sari, Aditi De of the Women’s Feature Service, travelled to Kota in Rajasthan recently. From there she went to the hamlet of Kaithoon, 15 km from Kota. Kaithoon is the real home of the legendary Kota Doria sari. The creation of each sari is a work of art, involving the labour of the entire family of the weaver. The weaving is mainly done by the daughters of the family, most of whom are small girls too busy working to go to school....

The First Notes of Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived just 35 years. But he filled those years so totally with 626 musical works that the world today recognises him as one of the greatest composers ever. Among his works were 50 symphonies and 19 operas, including much-loved works like The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute. Mozart was born in the Austrian city of Salzburg, known for its salt mines, in 1756. His father, Leopold, was the choirmaster to the Archbishop of Salzburg....

A Sojourn in Venice

A Sojourn in Venice

Venice is one of Italy’s major seaports, and capital of the province of Venezia in northern Italy. It was the greatest seaport in late medieval Europe and Europe’s commercial and cultural link with Asia. It is also one of the world’s oldest tourist and cultural centres. Aditi De writes of her visit to this most romantic of cities. Venice is such a strange city. It is built on an Italian lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has canals instead of roads, which means there are no cars or buses, no trams or trains or bicycles whizzing past us....

Pablo the Pigeon Painter

Pablo the Pigeon Painter

Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano Santisma Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso. Phew! A mouthful, but a name reckoned to be among the greatest artists of the 20th century. His paintings are worth millions and millions have seen and admired his work. A handful is fortunate to own some of his paintings. He’s better known to the world as just Pablo Picasso. To his family he is simply known as – Pablito!...

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