Army Corps Reorganization Would Impact Installation Support Spending Panels Say

first_imgLawmakers who negotiated the compromise military construction-Veterans Affairs spending bill weighed in on the administration’s proposal to shift the Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works program to two other agencies, the Transportation and Interior departments. “The conferees are opposed to the reorganization as it could ultimately have impacts for implementation of the military construction, BRAC and family housing programs,” they stated in the report’s joint explanatory statement.The conferees who hashed out the conference agreement for the defense and labor-HHS-education appropriations minibus went a step further, barring DOD from spending any funds to plan or carry out the proposed restructuring. Those conferees said they opposed the reorganization “as it could ultimately have detrimental readiness and operational impacts on Department of Defense functions and activities, to include USACE [Army Corps of Engineers] support to ongoing military operations, international partners and support to United States military installations around the world,” according to that report’s joint explanatory statement. Lawmakers from both chambers’ defense and milcon spending panels admonished DOD for failing to notify them about the proposal and emphasized it will require legislative language, which has not yet been proposed or requested.Army Corps photo by John Campbell Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Toy Story 4 Two new Randy Newman songs cast release date and

Share your voice Comments Pixar Breaking recordsThis may be minor as tidbits go, but could signal greater things for how well this animated film does. On Thursday, Fandango announced that Toy Story 4 had beaten the record for best first day presales for an animated title, outshining last year’s Incredibles 2.TicketsAs Disney’s Twitter account tells us, we can now buy tickets (nearly a month early) to see Toy Story 4 when it arrives in cinemas June 21. Don’t let kids with internet access beat you to the best seats! 2:28 Meet #Forky in this brand-new clip from #ToyStory4. See it in theaters June 21. pic.twitter.com/sVOSf3CZz4— Walt Disney Studios (@DisneyStudios) May 28, 2019 TV and Movies 2 Forky is the newest “toy” in town. Pixar Nine years after Toy Story 3 seemingly delivered the perfect poignant goodbye to Woody and Buzz — we’re back. Disney and Pixar have found a new story deemed worthy of unpacking the beloved characters. Put another way, this 24-year-old series returns to tell a story… about a spork. Below is everything we know about Toy Story 4 which, to be fair, radiates Pixar’s wholesome warmth. We’ve also included reminders of what happened in the previous trilogy, in case time has blurred those adorable childhood adventures. You’ve got a friend in Randy NewmanHe’s back! The man behind multiple Pixar scores as well as one of the most touching ballads between kids and their toys brings us two brand-new songs. They’re ominously titled, “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” and “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy,” and you can already get a taste of the latter and its performer, Chris Stapleton, on Spotify. Despite the seemingly glum sentiment, it’s fairly upbeat. One of the lyrics: “I just found out… what love is about,” is a stick-in-your-head winner. Meanwhile, “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” is about trying to stop Forky the spork from throwing himself into the great bin in the sky. Poor guy. Toy Story 4 trailer shows Woody and Bo Peep’s long-awaited… 23 Photos 2:19 Trailers, themes and plot Trailer 1 The official Toy Story 4 trailer plonks us right back in Bonnie’s bedroom, Bonnie being that kid Andy donates Woody and Buzz to at the end of Toy Story 3. After spending a second remembering just how much joy animated characters can bring, we’re introduced to an entirely new toy: a plastic piece of cutlery known as Forky. Forky is Bonnie’s self-made arts and craft creature built of spork, pipe cleaner and googly eyes. In a brief moment, we see Bonnie sitting alone at a school table, suggesting she’s having a hard time making friends. But not a hard time connecting with cutlery. Tickets for #ToyStory4 are now available! Get yours now and see the film in theaters June 21! https://t.co/KvxWjKwwgh pic.twitter.com/TLdEcpawVZ— Walt Disney Studios (@DisneyStudios) May 28, 2019 Everything else Teaser trailer, teaser trailer reaction, Big Game ad, TV spots: meet the many promotional videos for this film. Their most significant contribution is an intro to Ducky and Bunny, voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. They’re soft and cuddly carnival prizes who try to pick a fight with Buzz. See who fares better in that tiff. Also see Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, aka Keanu Reeves in 3D-animated form. Canada’s best stunt rider has a handle-bar mustache and undertakes awesome leaps of faith, metaphorical and otherwise. Release date Toy Story 4 will spring to life June 21, at a perfect kid-friendly runtime of 89 minutes (though it would be no surprise if 99% of each screening is filled with adults). Same filmmakers? While the first two Toy Stories were directed by Pixar stalwart John Lassater, Lee Unkrich took over for the third (he co-directed the second), and now the baton passes to Josh Cooley in his feature directorial debut. He brings a wealth of experience as a storyboard artist on The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Up and Inside Out. Note that John Lassater also helps out with Toy Story 4’s storyline, and that the original Toy Story was Lassater’s feature directorial debut. In other words, we’re in safe hands. Cast With new toys joining the original, there’s a lot of voice work going around: "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" - UK Premiere - Red Carpet ArrivalsTom Hanks returns to voice Woody. John Phillips/Getty Images Tom Hanks as WoodyTim Allen as Buzz LightyearAnnie Potts as Bo PeepJoan Cusack as JessieBlake Clark as Slinky DogWallace Shawn as RexJohn Ratzenberger as HammDon Rickles as Mr. Potato HeadEstelle Harris as Mrs. Potato HeadJodi Benson as Barbie Michael Keaton as KenJeff Pidgeon as AliensKristen Schaal as TrixieBonnie Hunt as DollyTimothy Dalton as Mr. PricklepantsJeff Garlin as ButtercupLaurie Metcalf as Mrs. DavisLori Alan as Mrs. AndersonTony Hale as ForkyKeegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Ducky and BunnyKeanu Reeves as Duke CaboomChristina Hendricks as Gabby GabbyAlly Maki as Giggle McDimplesMadeleine McGraw as BonnieRickey Henderson as Oakland Athletics bobblehead figurenuke-kaboomSay hello to Duke Caboom. Gonzalo Jiménez/CNET From the filmmakers and actors If it came as a surprise to you to hear Toy Story was coming back for a fourth time — followed by the surprise it would tell a story about a spork — director Cooley shared the same sentiment. “It was the end of Woody’s story with Andy. But just like in life, every ending is a new beginning,” he said in a press release last November. “Woody now being in a new room, with new toys, and a new kid, was something we have never seen before. The questions of what that would be like became the beginning of an entertaining story worth exploring.” Tom Hanks, who’s voiced Woody since 1995, assured us Toy Story 4 will have a huge payoff — and not just on the money side. “When I realized what they were going for, I realized, oh, this is a moment in history,” Hanks said on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show in November. Tim Allen, who’s also been there right from the beginning as Buzz, chose one of the biggest films around to sum up the impact of Toy Story 4. “[Infinity War] didn’t seem like it was going to work … and it was a lot of vignettes that all made sense,” Allen said in an interview on CBS’s The Talk last September. (Disclosure: CBS is CNET’s parent company.) “This Toy Story 4, it is so emotional, it’s so funny, it’s so big, the idea of what they’ve come up with.” Any opportunity to form a connection with a film about toys, spork or otherwise — I’m there. Now playing: Watch this: “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy” from #ToyStory4 is out now. https://t.co/XyQ3517eaS pic.twitter.com/ResOYTfM3f— Chris Stapleton (@ChrisStapleton) June 5, 2019 Note: This article is updated whenever more news rolls in. The freaky Pixar theory that could blow your mind Now playing: Watch this: Toy Story 4 trailer shows Woody on a big road trip A very Forky clipIf you’re hesitating over early tickets, maybe watch this brand-new clip that highlights the perils of toy confiscation and introduces Bonnie’s new friend, Forky. He’s a spork, in case that wasn’t clear. Understandably, Forky’s undergoing an identity crisis: he was made for soups after all. It’s up to the gang to rescue the utensil, who hits the road on a journey that will undoubtedly jump us with a profound reflection on growing up. Along the way, Woody finds his love Bo Peep in an antiques shop fending off, naturally, a hoard of ventriloquist dummies. A changed Bo, with a new under-the-cover-of-night caped persona, talks up the value of change and introduces Woody to the world of a carnival. Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t answer the question of whether Totoro comes back. We will all, I am sure, be waiting with bated breath for the adorable mute’s return. nullWoody and Bo reunited. Pixar Trailer 2 The second trailer drops a plot bombshell: Bonnie and her family are taking a vacation. In a caravan. Still fun! Forky doesn’t help himself by getting swept out the open window, another opportunity for a gang rescue exercise. On a deeper note, Woody has come a long way since the egotistical cowboy of the first film, putting himself on the line to rescue a slightly questionable toy he knows makes his kid happy. That’s character development, Game of Thrones! Tags read more

600000 Rohingya children may flee to Bangladesh

first_imgA Rohingya refugee woman sits with her two children under open sky near a new makeshift camp, in Cox`s Bazar, Bangladesh 16 September. Photo: ReutersSome 600,000 Rohingya children could flee to Bangladesh by the end of the year, a relief group said Sunday, highlighting the scale of the humanitarian crisis triggered by violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.More than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have now arrived in Bangladesh from their Buddhist dominated homeland to escape violence that the United Nations says could be ethnic cleansing.According to the UN, more than half of the refugees are children, and more than 1,100 have arrived alone after trekking mud roads and hills for days.“That number could rise beyond one million by the end of the year if the influx continues, including about 600,000 children, according to UN agencies,” Mark Pierce, the Bangladesh chief of Save the Children charity, said.The UN has also said it was possible that all the estimated 1.1 million Rohingya could flee Rakhine.Bangladesh and relief agencies are struggling to cope with new arrivals sheltering on roadsides, hills and open spaces close to existing camps around Cox’s Bazar, which borders Myanmar.Aid agencies have said thousands of Rohingya were half-starving and a major health emergency could break out.Bangladesh has announced it will build 14,000 shelters for some 400,000 refugees but has said it was also readying a desolate island where many could be relocated.A Rohingya boy carries a child after after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh, 1 September, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir HossainPierce said his group was particularly worried about the traumatised children and orphans who have arrived alone in Bangladesh.“This is a real concern as these children are in an especially vulnerable position, being at increased risk of exploitation and abuse, as well as things like child trafficking,” he said.“Some children have witnessed violence and killing. Some have been shot at, others have seen their homes set on fire. Some have reportedly watched their parents being killed,” he said.The charity said it is setting up safe spaces in the camps for vulnerable children.They would receive 24-hour support and protection while attempts are made to find family members, it said.Bangladesh authorities say they are also preparing special measures to care for Rohingya orphans.last_img

Jessore road accident kills one

first_imgMap of JessoreA man died on Thursday of his injuries sustained in a road accident at Bagacchra in Sharsha upazila of Jessore district on Wednesday evening.The deceased is Najrul Islam Naju, 45, son of a certain Dader Ali Dhabak, a resident of Dhabak para village of the upazila, reports UNB.According to eyewitness, Najrul was passing the road when a speeding motorcycle crashed into him, leaving him and two others critically injured.Later, locals rescued them and took them to Jessore Medical College where Najrul was referred to Dhaka. But he succumbed to his injuries early Thursday on the way to Dhaka.last_img read more

Yemen rebels attack Saudi airport

first_imgCars are parked in front of Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia`s mountainous resort, on 12 June 2019. A Yemeni rebel missile attack on the civil airport wounded 26 civilians today, drawing promises of `stern action` from the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Yemeni Huthi rebels. Photo: AFPA Yemeni rebel missile attack on an airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia wounded 26 civilians on Wednesday, drawing promises of “stern action” from the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels.Yemen’s Huthi rebels, who have faced persistent coalition bombing since March 2015 that has exacted a heavy civilian death toll, have stepped up missile and drone attacks across the border in recent weeks.Wednesday’s missile strike hit the civil airport in the mountain resort of Abha, which is a popular summer getaway for Saudis seeking escape from the searing heat of Riyadh or Jeddah.Eight of the wounded were admitted to hospital, coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said.The other 18 were discharged after receiving first aid, he added in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.The missile caused some damage to the airport’s arrivals lounge and flights were disrupted for several hours before returning to normal.At least one Indian and a Yemeni were among three women wounded along with two Saudi children, said Malki, adding the “terrorist attack” on a civilian target could be considered a “war crime”.- ‘Stern action’ -Malki said the coalition would “take stern action” to deter the rebels and protect civilians.The attack was also condemned by the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, whose information minister Muammar al-Iryani alleged the strike was carried out “under the supervision of Iranian experts”.The rebels said they had launched a missile at Abha airport but insisted they had the right to defend themselves in the face of more than years of Saudi-led bombing, and an air and sea blockade.”The continuation of the aggression and siege on Yemen for the fifth year, the closure of Sanaa airport and the rejection of a political solution make it inevitable for our people to defend themselves,” Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said in a statement reported by the rebels’ Al-Masirah television.A rebel military spokesman threatened to attack the airports of “countries of aggression”, referring to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and warned the public to stay away from them.There has been a spate of cross-border attacks by the rebels in recent weeks which have coincided with reports of intensified coalition strikes on rebel strongholds on the other side of the border.On Monday, Saudi air defences intercepted two rebel drones headed for Khamis Mushait.The city, not far east of Abha, houses a major airbase that has been one of the main launchpads for the coalition’s bombing campaign in Yemen.Last month, the Saudi air force shot down a rebel drone that targeted Jizan airport, on the Red Sea coast close to the Yemeni border, the coalition said.- ‘Proves’ Iran support -The rebel attacks come as Saudi state media reported the coalition was intensifying its air raids on rebel positions in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah.In May, the Shiite Huthi rebels also carried out twin drone attacks on the kingdom’s strategic east-west oil pipeline, forcing a two-day closure of the main diversionary route for Saudi exports avoiding the Gulf.Riyadh accused its regional arch foe Iran of having a hand in that attack and it levelled a similar allegation over the airport strike.The coalition spokesman said the missile hit “proves this terrorist militia’s acquisition of new advanced weapons and the continuation of the Iranian regime’s support and waging of cross-border terrorism”.The uptick in violence comes as a UN-led peace push falters despite the rebels’ unilateral withdrawal from the lifeline Red Sea port of Hodeida last month.The Yemeni government has accused UN envoy Martin Griffiths of bias towards the rebels despite the UN Security Council’s expression of renewed support in him on Monday.The coalition intervened in support of the Yemeni government in 2015 when President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled into Saudi exile as the rebels closed in on his last remaining territory in and around second city Aden.Since then, the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, relief agencies say.It has triggered what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with 24.1 million Yemenis — more than two-thirds of the population — in need of aid.last_img

Over 42000 river encroachers listed in Bangladesh

first_imgIndustries have been set up encroaching the river banks. the picture taken from the banks of Balu river near the Sultana Kamal Bridge in Demra area. Photo: Prothom AloA list of 42,423 persons has been drawn up by the National River Protection Commission, naming those who have encroached upon rivers all around the country. The list includes tradesmen who have set up small shops as well as industrialists who have set up huge factories on the rivers. The encroachers include well-known persons and politicians. The commission has submitted the list to the parliamentary standing committee of the shipping affairs ministry.The encroachers have not only taken over rivers, but canals and wetlands all over the country. The local administration has drawn up lists of these encroachers upon directives from the river protection commission.The commission has said that the list will be scrutinized further to ensure no encroacher is left out. After that, a crash programme will be taken up to remove all illegal structures from the rivers within a year. The commission, however, has said it does not have adequate funds for the drive.The river protection commission is yet to receive the list of river encroachers in 12 districts including Dhaka, Dinajpur, Panchagarh, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Jamalpur, Bagerhat, Mymensingh and Netrakona. The administration of many districts has not given complete lists as yet. The commission has urged the concerned district administrations to submit the lists immediately.The lists indicate that local persons have set up shops and houses on most of the rivers. And in areas near around the capital city, alongside the local people, big industries have also encroached upon the rivers Sitalakkhya, Turag and Balu. In the port city Chattogram, the river Karnaphuli and the Chaktai canal are entangled in encroachments.On 1 July the Supreme Court passed a verdict declaring river encroachment to be a criminal offence. Rivers were declared to be living beings and the river protection commission was given legal guardianship of the rivers.Chairman of the river protection commission, Mujibur Rahman Howladar, told Prothom Alo, for the first time a list has been reared of river, canal and wetland encroachers. The deputy commissioners in the various districts basically carried out this task. This is a continual process and the lists will be scrutinized further to check if there are any more encroachers.He said a dive has already begun to remove the encroachments. A one-year crash programme will be taken up and implemented by the district administrations. He has called upon the government for adequate funds for the purpose.Sitalakkhya swamped by sand traders and dockyardsA look through the list shows that the banks of Sitalakkhya have been taken over by a number of dockyards. These include the Saudia, Shefa, Saud Khan, Abul Hossain and Ibrahim dockyards among others.Then again, sand traders are dumping sand into Sitalkhhya and filling it. The sand traders include HI Traders, Masum Enterprise, Salek Enterprise, Biplob Enterprise, Beauty Enterprise and Jashim Enterprise. Each of these traders has filled around 4800 sq ft of the river near Rupganj.State minister for shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury has told Prothom Alo, the shipping ministry has a task force to protect the rivers. It would look after the rivers in and around Dhaka, but now, upon directives from the prime minister, it would look into all major rivers or the country.He said that the district administration has been told to take action against the encroachers, but this would require adequate funds. However, eviction has already begun in some districts.Industries on Turag, BaluThe rivers Turag and Balu on the outskirts of the capital city have also been illegally encroached upon by large industries. Anontex, Zarina Textiles, Anwar Group and other industrial groups have filled parts of the rivers and set up their structures.Karnaphuli encroachmentsAt least 777 persons have encroached upon the River Karnaphuli. Most of this has been done in the name of Bastuhara Samity (association of the homeless), by the association’s president and members. They have erected structures along the river.And another 2112 persons have occupied parts of Karnaphuli and tributaries. They have set up industries, temples and so on.Commercially important to Chattogram, the Chaktai canal has also been illegally encroached upon by at least 51 persons.And 10 persons have illegally occupied the river Banshkhali in Cox’s Bazar, by setting up fish farms there. Another 48 persons have set up bamboo houses and plantations on 13 acres of the river area. Similarly the rivers Sangu, Loharia, Laukathi, Ichhamati and others all over the country are disappearing under the establishments being set up by these illegal occupiers.Speaking to Prothom Alo about river encroachment, chairman of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), Iftekharuzzaman, said that it is a positive move that for the first time a list of river encroachers has been drawn up. More importantly, the list has been handed over to the parliamentary standing committee. The government should evict the encroachers with no discrimination or bias and also take legal action against them.* This report appeared in the print edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabirlast_img read more

I take pride in being a sensualist

first_imgQ. Sita’s Curse opens with a masturbation scene. Meera Patel relieves herself while her angry husband bangs on the closed door. While describing the scene you have written she folded up her legs like Goddess Lakshmi seated on a half-open lotus. No fear of the Religious Right getting all worked up?As I writer, my job is to write the story I believe in. Worrying about whether an opening scene or a line or a particular character will ruffle some right-wing feathers is frankly not in my nature, nor is it integral to a creative person’s integrity. Also, we’ve been conditioned to be scared – of being branded, banished, judged, criticized and eventually rejected – family, friends, publisher, peers, Right Wing, radicals, conservatives, communists… the list is endless, as is the eventual fight. Sita’s Curse being just the beginning, in my mind – of where I want the many Meeras of our country to be. Someday. One day.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Free from their desires. Freed by their desires. When we can write about marital rape with the same rousing sentiment as we scream hoarse about rape in the heart of a burgeoning national capital. When a housewife being paraded to a family Guruji, on the false pretext of religion can actually protest. Before the next Asaram Bapu scandal. When a married woman can say just like a single woman that she enjoys masturbating or watches porn. That she nurses a secret life. Enjoying being watched back, without it escalating into yet another feminist rhetoric. Sita’s Curse is not only about a married Gujarati housewife’s sexual destiny – it is a start. Of a sameness. Of a sanity. Of a sexual secularism. A world, sans halves.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix Q. After a fairly safe debut with Faraway Music, one would have expected you to stick to plain, old goodhearted romances. But you chose to write an erotica instead. Why?Actually Sita’s Curse was the third book I penned after FM, my second being a racy lad lit, out next from Hachette, a modern day reinterpretation of Shakuntalam, as retold by Dushyant. You’ve Got The Wrong Girl. Sita’s Curse I started writing as a short story about a Gujarati housewife, I saw daily, on my way to work at the Times of India office in VT from Mahim where I lived a few years ago. Sometimes hanging clothes on a flimsy plastic wire, feeding green chillies to a tota in a cheap wrought iron cage or running her hands over her full breasts, the Meera of my imagination turned into a daily obsession – a slow fire, as I began conjecturing about her daily life. Imagining her every moment.  The way she felt trapped, soulless, sad, sabotaged by the simple irony of her own life. Till the floods of July 26th, 2005 of which I too was a victim, taking three days to reach home, battling a serious viral infection I contracted, being hospitalized…later I resumed work. She was no more. Sita’s Curse is my tribute to that memory. To a life unsung. A woman with the most melancholic eyes – the color of rain. This is her story. I am but a vessel. A medium. A transit point.   Q. Those who know you personally would say there was much of you in the first book. Piya Choudhury is Sreemoyee Piu Kundu. How much is this book rooted in personal history, if at all?As I said, Meera is drawn from my personal memory. And honestly, while parallels were drawn about my first female protagonist Piya and me, I feel Meera is drawn from my own flesh and blood. I gave birth to Meera. I bear her cuts.  Q. Being an erotica many readers will savor the sex in it. But you have addressed important issues here as well. Long-standing social biases like considering a woman impure during her periods. Did the feminist in you pop up every time your penned down a sex scene?The biggest challenge for me as a writer was to constantly keep reminding myself of the real Meera in whose memory I penned this novel. And so, in writing the sexually graphic scenes, my attempt was to make it as real and as normal as possible for a woman of her social strata and experience – belonging to a small town, an everyday housewife, a woman who bears no children, in a soulless marriage. Also, as women our battles are all the same. I have myself seen and heard stories of women not being allowed to offer prayers or enter a kitchen/temple when they are menstruating, my own life changing after I made the transition from girlhood to womanhood at twelve. So, more than feminism, I think the erotic elements of the novel are rooted in a deep everyday Indian realism. Q. Another rarely discussed social reality, incest, is discussed early on in the book. Meera and Kartik, inseparable twins, grow up loving, caring, and feeling each other up. Do you think this may make Indian readers a tad uncomfortable? Incest is common in India, as it is elsewhere, in large joint families, for instance. But I am against branding feelings and boxing experiences into socially acceptable/non-acceptable labels and norms. So the relationship between Meera and Kartik is one that is elusive at one level and yet touches upon a very deep chord. Also, from the standpoint of the book, Meera and Kartik grow up in a small town, with hardly any window to the life and lights of a big city. In this insular life, sans much entertainment or luxuries, they are each others’ constant companions and soul-mates and it is a natural progression that from swimming naked in the village river as kids to sleeping on the same bed as scrawny teenagers, they begin viewing each other’s changing bodies and minds with a strange curiosity bordering between a platonic man-woman chemistry to the first dint of pleasure between two sexes, segregated and separated by social conditioning and conservatism. Q. Meera’s husband Mohan suffers from premature ejaculation. There is also inference to a certain godman her mother-in-law parades her to. Her first dance teacher scars her. Are all men in Sita’s Curse black? Surely, not all Indian men are so hopeless? Again, the book is not intended to start a woman vs. man debate. Who is stronger, fairer… who suffers more and why. Who always pays a price? The men you have quoted are not the only men in the novel, and as is true of anyone, each character carries strong shades of grey. Even Mohan’s character to me is a mystery – the dynamics and sexual politics of a marriage where from the first night the husband is intimidated by the sheer physicality and sexuality of his own wife. As for Guru Amarkant Maharaj – he is a prototype of the deep and complex relationship between sex and religion that is primordial to our Indian culture. Case in point. The epic Mahabharata. The dance teacher who shuns Meera is again typical of a weak man – and he could be anything, even a German or a man of French origin. Also, a character that you have skipped is Yosuf Ismail who sets Meera free. So this book is not just about the men in Meera’s life, but the life in her men. Each person teaching her something, even those that tainted her. Without them, Meera’s journey – both inwards and outwards would be incomplete.  Q. Sita’s Curse has masturbation, incest, lesbian love, BDSM. Yet, I have to say it does not read vulgar. How difficult is it as a writer to tackle sex in a way that the book doesn’t become another Mastram handout?Erotica is an artform which is why it’s constant cross reference to porn is an indication of how little we as modern day readers are actually exposed to erotic writing. Before I started writing SC, I delved deep into our indigenous roots of erotica – be it Kalidasa or Jayadeva’s Geeta Govinda or the 6th century Tamil poet Andal. From Kamala Das to Ismat Chugtai. My inspiration being the innate sensuality and heightened sense of mysticism that is very much pervasive to our consciousness. I hope readers will also soak in the erotic elements of SC. Relishing it as it should be, without being squeamish or stand-offish. Being an erotic writer has led to me letting go of many of my innermost inhibitions and I hope readers also can do the same. Also, today I take pride in being a sensualist and I think it’s hugely liberating. So I was always pretty sure of the clear line between Meera and Mastram.   Q. Is it embarrassing to have your parents and family elders read an erotica you have written? Or friends saying you might get branded as a porn writer? Yes and no. I have already received mails calling me a ‘whore with a disease,’ just the way I have been reached out to by many housewives and women from small towns and in urban settings, those I do not know at all, sharing with me stories of their sexual suppression, aching to find a way out. To want to stand up for their basic physical need. To speak their minds. So when I weigh the pros and cons, I know the scales are tipped in favor of Meera. Already.Q. What next? A political thriller is in the offing I hear. Right now am consumed in the promotions of SC that is a super lead from Hachette and their first erotica offering in their Indian publishing list. But yes I am hoping to start Rahula when the dust settles and I go back to my desk. As no one, but a mass of energy. Rahula is a political tragedy that is inspired by the son of Buddha and will be set against a contemporary Indian political and social milieu. But like all my other books, the story is of a man’s struggle. To be bigger than his father. To win over a shadow. And his final flight.last_img read more

The Imperial boutique gets a makeover

first_imgLuxury shopping finds a new pinnacle at The Imperial Boutique. Brimming with homegrown accessories, apparels, coasters, antiques, oils and more – it is now a one-stop shop for the discerning guests at The Imperial, urging them to take home a slice of India while they stay or visit us.Infused with new vibrancy, the boutique has now on display The Imperial memorabilia featuring cushion covers of the restaurants, aprons, pouches, leather and linen handbags, jewellery box and card holders designed by a renowned French designer Cecile Olivieri. The memorabilia is put together to bring forth the momentous elements and the iconic history, the hotel is known for. One can also explore the culture and traditions of India with the premium range of apparels, accessories, collectibles, and coasters from a celebrated Indian designer brandVayu. This goes very well with the essence of The Imperial reflecting India’s golden heritage from the days of the Raj. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfSufi, the signature spa oils are also available showing the brand’s commitment to people’s complete wellness. It includes vital ingredients drawn from Ayurvedic knowledge of plants resins and roots that treat the body holistically. They are developed to support our spa therapies and as 75% of all spa treatments are massage based it is essential to use superior quality massage oils that enrich the overall spa experience and offer something exclusive. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe boutique would be showcasing now a hand-picked range of pashmina and cotton shawls, procured originally from Kashmir. Feng shui items like brass and gem-studded Ganesha, sleeping, and blessing Buddha adds to its wide range of luxury products. Prompting the tradition of tea, there is an Indian Splendour range of natural and home-grown teas.”Indian splendor ” has a collection of Indian teas of the highest Indian and international standards, to compete with the very best in the super premium category, worldwide. The collection has a spectrum of eight, 100% pure and natural, high grade, teas from all the major tea growing regions of India. This is turn adds to the Indian-ness which the brand stands for. Vijay Wanchoo, Senior EVP and GM, The Imperial, New Delhi, says, “At The Imperial Boutique, our initiative is to bring forth not only tailored range of products but to present traditions, culture, and ethos of India like no other. We have therefore revived it with some unique Indian brands complementing the range with our signature spa oils, to enhance shopping with us. The Imperial has been known for a distinguished legacy so we have optimized and worked towards creating a value add for both our leisure and corporate travelers through our products. The brands understand global and local cultures and use that deep understanding to enrich the lives of our guests.”last_img read more