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Kerala is one of the most exciting culinary destinations, says chef Gordon Ramsay

Just weeks before the world was turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic, British chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay was in Coorg climbing trees of peppercorn and catching karimeen in Kannur’s backwaters. A chat with one of food television’s most recognised faces offered a glimpse of what keeps bringing him back to India, brain food, women’s place at the table and his friendly charm, a far cry from his barbed tongue. Excerpts...

Meet the Indian bat-man part of Canadian team of scientists that isolated Covid-19 virus

“I’d always told my friends, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a guy who gets called in if there’s an outbreak’.”Arinjay Banerjee, a Kolkata-born and Mumbai-bred virologist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, had prophesied some years ago before he actually got called in last month to join the team of Canadian scientists that has managed to successfully isolate a strain of the coronavirus and grown samples in a lab to help study the pathogen responsible for the global outbreak of Covid-19.

Blues do live here, because Buddy the legend says so

Buddy Guy, pioneer and last living link to the storied history of the original Chicago blues, doesn’t seem to mind when you try and tease the personal out of him. As he returns at 83 to perform at the tenth edition of the Mahindra Blues Fest, the painfully shy legend — who was born George Guy to a sharecropper’s family in a small town near New Orleans and who fashioned his first guitar out of wood and his mother’s hairpins — lets TOI in on everything from his secret debutante tears to his prefered form of liquid courage.

Sadhguru brings rally for rivers back to Maharashtra with revival plan for Waghari

Every five minutes that he looks out of the window for a bird's perspective when flying across the country "a brown desert" is what the sprawl below looks like to , the modern-day spiritual guru whose 'Rally for Rivers' cry for a green cover around the country's depleting rivers drew nationwide attention a year ago and earned a Rs 415 crore cabinet approval for the revitalisation of Waghari River in Yavatmal district . spoke to the bike-riding mystic on his visit to Mumbai on Wednesday. Excerpts...

You’re always told you can’t be queer and a politician. That needs to change, say creators of Pink List

There’s a rainbow wave sweeping the electoral map this time with a record number of LGBT individuals in the poll fray. A young trio comprising Anish Gawande, a Columbia University graduate and director of the Dara Shikoh Fellowship, journalist Devina Buckshee and freelance designer Smriti Deora have banded together to create The Pink List, a guide to candidates who have publicly supported queer rights. Anish Gawande, 22 spoke to Mohua Das about their resolve to lead change by making queer issues a political imperative.

In this age of short-term memories, it’s important to keep oral storytelling alive, says Booker-winning writer Ben Okri

It was his mother’s style of reprimanding him as a child using metaphors and oblique references that Ben Okri credits for his craft. “It used to confuse me and stir my imagination. I still haven’t figured a lot of what she used to say without actually saying it!” he laughs. At 32, the London-based Nigerian poet and novelist became the youngest Booker Prize winner in 1991. Recently in India, he gave Sunday Times a peek into the inner workings of his creative activism as well as his half-tilted beret.

Science is male dominated. To shift culture, demographics need to shift, says astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan

Some 30 years ago, a wide-eyed member of an amateur astronomers club stood behind a telescope at the Nehru Planetarium and watched the Halley’s Comet zoom by. The fascinated teenager is now a 'Black Hole Hunter' and theoretical astrophysicist at the Yale University. Priyamvada Natarajan spoke to Mohua Das at the Jaipur Literature Festival about the importance of storytelling in science.

A chance encounter shot this once-rickshaw-puller to fame

There are writers and then there are Dalit writers who challenge and break down literary conventions. So, it made for charming disruption of social etiquette when Bengali Dalit writer strolled onto the Litfest stage with his jhola of books, a gamchha coiled around his neck and announced with candid ease: “People don’t usually like to listen to stories of pain, poverty and illness. So, if you don’t like what you hear from me and if you have rotten eggs and tomatoes, please raise your hand!”

Why does the MeToo buck stop at Bollywood, asks Priyanka Chopra

‘I think I’ve regressed!’ laughs Priyanka Chopra, sitting in a Juhu hotel. Startling for an actor at the top of her game. ‘I’ve become a bit more childlike... at a point where I’m really enjoying life,’ explains the 36-year-old who’s earned a spot under the Hollywood sun and just tied the knot with singer Nick Jonas. Piggy Chops talks to Mohua Das about turning star power into social good

Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip: Transgender from Thailand recounts struggles of transition

Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip has all the attributes to pass off for a model. She is tall and slim with porcelain skin and wide-set eyes, an hour glass frame and a poise that would make you want to straighten your spine. Ask her for her secret and the 39-year-old flutters her thick eyelashes and reveals: “It’s more water, less oil, lots of sleep and loads of laughter.” If there’s anything that could give her away, it’s only the voice. “That’s something I’m never going to change. It’s me, a part of my identity,” she says in her deeply masculine tone.

My writing comes from 44 yrs of being shy, keeping my eyes open and observing people, says Shweta Bachchan-Nanda

There’s something endearing about Shweta Bachchan-Nanda. It’s a Sunday afternoon, and the newly published author of Paradise Towers walks into a room at Janak, the Bachchans’ office in Mumbai’s Juhu. Dressed in a loose tee and slacks, her hair heavily oiled, she asks with childlike curiosity: “Did you really like my book?" Rarely known to give interviews, the statuesque daughter of Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan is expressive and often self-deprecating in person, as she tells Mohua Das about writing a light-hearted book of fiction, being shy, and starting a new life at 44.

A blind musician takes the stage with a bold vision

The roads are clogged with Ganeshotsav celebrations and the traffic chaotic. Moving at a snail's pace, when you finally reach the hotel in Cuffe Parade, almost 45 minutes late, the OBE-awarded Indian multi-instrumentalist Baluji Shrivastav shows no signs of annoyance. Instead he smiles as he clutches your hand warmly and leads you to a chair next to him. OBE, for the uninitiated, stands for the much-coveted UK honour, Order of the British Empire.

He made Madonna, now he is keen to revive Rhythm House

As the yolk-like sun quietly melts into the Arabian Sea, legendary record producer Seymour Stein sits shielded inside a radiantly lit convention hall at a sea-facing hotel in Bandra. “I haven’t managed to step outdoors since I landed but once the conference is over I’m going to spend three days near the Gateway where I can take walks by the sea, visit that antique store run by a Parsi couple, my favourite place in the world —Trishna — I can’t resist the crab there, and the blue synagogue. I’m Jewish you see,” smiled Stein, one of music’s greatest A&R (Artistes and Repertoire) men – the old music showbiz name for talent scouts.

Shooting on film isn’t crazy, it’s a filmmaker’s creative right: Christopher Nolan

'People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy,’ said Bruce Wayne before he turned Batman. And just like his caped superhero, Christopher Nolan swooped down on Mumbai to dispel the dark clouds looming over celluloid. In an exclusive chat with Mohua Das, the filmmaker, who has been crusading to save film in the time of digital, spoke about going against industry trends and reconciling the past with the future.
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