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Hush-hush parties keep neighbours on toes

Nightclubs may still be waiting to unbolt and watering holes running dry, but that doesn’t mean the city is staying home. Despite the grim rise in cases everyday, Mumbai’s party loving folks have chosen to return to their pre-pandemic ways, ditching safety guidelines and socialising at house parties or at beaches and parks — sometimes openly or in secret, despite the risks and the backlash. Earlier this month, at a hush-hush party organised quietly behind downed-shutters of a plush restaurant

The holiday is back but it’s now called a workation

Can’t go to office but you can take your office for a holiday. Tired of being stuck in city apartments, some WFHers are opting for for long-stay breaks in beach, mountain resorts. After the pandemic forced people out of their office and strapped them to their couch for months, the idea of a ‘workation’ — previously deemed problematic for blurring the line between work and leisure — now seems like an appealing compromise.

Solo dwellers master solitude skills to beat lockdown loneliness

Rinesh got “smashed” drinking with friends across the laptop screen; Sreyashi spent four relentless hours playing online Scrabble with strangers willing to humour her next move; Olinca box-braided her hair and performed solo karaokes for her mirror; and Turna had a conversation with her pressure cooker, “because it’s the only thing that responds!” Sixty eight days into the stay-at-home mandate, as parents complain about homeschooling and couples about their partner’s annoying habits, solo dwellers have a problem that is quite the opposite — being too alone.

With ban on crowds, e-funerals are the new normal

If the Hindu shradh is a long, social goodbye packed with rites and rituals, hundreds gather at church pews to honour and eulogise their loved one at a Roman Catholic funeral mass . The rituals of saying final goodbyes run deep in every faith. But the Covid-19 pandemic has robbed families of such tradition, no matter the cause of death. Now, the new normal is a few prayers in a cemetery or crematorium attended by the barest few.

Female esports team makes a name for itself in pro-gaming

Apollonia, Hikari, Evilnut, Kiva.... No, these are not popstars or Charlie’s new angels. This quartet makes up India’s first all-female esports team called Gems. While women have long belonged in the typical genre of strategy and puzzle games online, and their numbers significantly smaller when it came to action games, today esports — previously held back by poor Internet and and also by disapproving Indian parents distraught at their children spending hours hunched over their computers — is changing.

Moo over nature, ‘Gauri Donor’ mothers better cows

Move over Vicky Donor, Gauri is here. Cows, like humans, take about nine months to carry a calf to term. At five years old, Gauri should have had two calves. But this Gir cow resting on a hot afternoon at a cattle barn in Vadgaon-Rasai near Pune has knocked it out of the park with 56 pregnancies in a span of six months without actually having to birth a single calf, thanks to the growing use of IVF technology on livestock.

Father Act: A band of priests has city parishioners shaking a leg

Sorpotel, the piquant and bright pork curry that runs in the blood of almost every East Indian and one of the great many reasons to recommend Christmas season in the Konkan belt is as pleasing to the ears as it is to the taste buds these days, thanks to this cheeky six-stanza song in the tune of a pop ballad made famous by a bunch of Roman Catholic priests in the city who occasionally swap their rosary beads for the microphone and the altar for the stage.

Sena’s in the cold, but the tutari, written off many times, may still resonate

“Yeh purane zamaney ka mobile phone hai (This is a mobile phone from yesteryears),” grins Manish Gurav, as he pulls out a crescent shaped tube out of a red bag, puckers his lips against its narrower end, and blows into it before the contraption begins to let out a series of groaning metallic sounds. What Manish calls a communication device is in reality an ancient wind horn called the sringa known more commonly as the tutari played to herald the arrival of kings or as a public address system. Kings and royal regalia may have slipped into history, but the bellow of the tutari continues to be a sonic symbol of Maharashtra.

These men are going bald happily

As a teenager, Roshan Almeida would warily eye his follically challenged uncles and wince at their glistening domes. But deep down he knew he too might have to join their ranks. And then it happened, a little too soon. Fresh out of college and on the threshold of starting a career, Roshan was on a bike when his father riding pillion pointed out a bald patch, the size of a coin, on the top of his son’s head. He waged a little war – reading, googling, slapping on hair creams made with soil from the Dead Sea and consulting a dermatologist. But his follicular struggles taught him that there was no purpose in mourning something as fickle as hair.

Sahir Ludhianvi treasure trove saved from scrap

In an ironic moment of life imitating art, legendary Urdu poet and Hindi lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi 's handwritten nazms, letters from friends and photographs from his childhood and college days were found with a scrap dealer in Juhu , reminiscent of the scenes from the classic 'Pyaasa' - for whose poet-protagonist Ludhianvi had penned songs - showing his writings sold off to a raddiwala and later retrieved from a bin.
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