Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Celebrating Bengaluru's science heritage

We are unabashed fans of Namma Bengaluru. And of the Big Bang Theory. So when an opportunity came our way to do a book for the city's science museum's golden jubilee, we jumped at it.

The Visvesvaraya Industrial & Technological Museum bears the name of the most illustrious Kannadiga, an engineer and states person who has no parallel - a Renaissance man who built dams, schools and social clubs!

The VITM owes its birth to another visionary, BN Gupta, a journalist and editor of the respected and popular Kannada publication, Thayi Nadu. Supported by some of the city's rich businessmen, he built the museum and when it was ready, handed it over to the central government.

While the Birlas had already given a building in Kolkata for a science museum, here in an admirable action, these worthy people of Bengaluru built a museum dedicated to Sir MV's memory and left a legacy that lives long.

Thousands of students have been inspired by the visits and hobby club activities. Many older visitors have returned marvelling at the knowledge they gleaned.

Raintree Media is proud to have custom published '50 Glorious Years (1964-2015) VITM Stands Tall'. This marks a first for us in the area of Science & Technology, a milestone in our 11 year history. Our book offers a walk through of the museum's fascinating exhibits and displays. The print version is a limited edition but the ebook is available for free reading here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/563014

The next time you want to hang out with friends, check out the museum: the model of the Wright Brothers 1903 plane handcrafted in-house is a beautiful and technically piece. There's a Kitty Hawk flight simulator too - which lets you experience flying Wilbur & Orville Wright's epic flight in similar weather conditions! How's that for cool?

A roaring dino, quizzes galore and surprises aplenty await in this museum. The only things absent are signs that say "Quiet" "Do not touch" as VITM encourages visitors to actively engage with exhibits - touch, do, experience.

We've practically lived in the museum the past few months and believe us, if you haven't visited it for awhile, you will find many new attractions. And if you have never visited till now, well, what are you waiting for?

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Saturday, March 07, 2015

SHE is an expression of beautiful female energy

(From Left) Mishta Roy, Rajni Mishra, Shan Re, Pallavi Arun, Sandhya Mendonca, Kavitha Rajasekhar and Deepa Subramanian at the release of SHE.

Women are inching towards the glass ceiling be it in banking, IT or performing arts, and it needs the combination of supportive measures by organisations and women’s own effort to break stereotypes to achieve a transformation. That was the essence of a Q & A at the launch of SHE, a book of contemporary verses and art that was released today as part of the International Women’s Day.

SHE is an all -woman initiative with the writer, artist, graphic designer and editor all being women. SHE has verses by Kavitha Rajasekhar, art by Shan Re, is designed by Mishta Roy and is conceptualised and edited by Sandhya Mendonca. The book was released by Rajni Mishra, Chief General Manager, State Bank of India - Bengaluru Circle and Pallavi Arun, singer, actor & filmmaker, at Galerie De’Arts, owned by Deepa Subramanian.

Speaking at a Q & A anchored by Sandhya Mendonca at the event, Rajni Mishra, Chief General Manager, State Bank of India - Bengaluru Circle, said that it had taken more than 200 years for one Arundhati Bhattacharya to become the chairperson of SBI and more than 100 years for Vijayalakshmi Iyer to become CMD of Bank Of India. The robust presence of public sector banks across the country has helped women overcome the irritants of geographical dislocation. Better working conditions, a level playing field, equal opportunities and sabbaticals that enable women to focus on children and then get back to work without losing out in their careers have helped women rise in the hierarchy. Though 40 percent of women in banks are in the clerical category, with not more than 5 percent in the executive category, it remains a long journey across the sectors, not only banking. But the transformation is happening everywhere.

Pallavi Arun, singer, actor and filmmaker, said that films remained male-centric as stories are written from the hero’s perspective and women are merely eye candies. The situation is better in music and more so in theatre. There is much less money involved and hence it is more democratic. However, there aren’t enough women in the technical aspects such as of light and set designers, make–up artistes, editors, colourists or engineers colourists – all of which are considered a “man’s” job. Women editors and sound engineers are not recognised by the mainstream media. They are slowly breaking out of their stereotype and breaking the ground in all the different aspects of making a film or a play or creating music.

Kavitha Rajasekhar read out poems from SHE that resonated the feelings and experiences of women. Artist Shan Re created a work of art in front of the audience, which was bought by Shanti Baliga. All proceeds from the sale of the books and the painting are going to help feed AIDS affected children in the House of Hope*.
About SHE

SHE is an expression of contemporary women’s voices – the verses reflect the dreams and aspirations, the feminine need for love and family, the aches and disappointments, the strength and determination. The images in the book complement and enhance the verses, and the stylised graphic design makes this little book a work of art in itself. SHE is an affirmation of beautiful female energy, from concept to publication.

What inspired SHE

Kavitha Rajasekhar, Writer, says:SHE has been a passion, a transformative process and self-expression all rolled into one. It started off as a personal journey of documenting the range of my emotions and thoughts – that other women also experience every day. The book has taken a life of its own - the art that brings the words to life and the concept, colours and design bring character to the book. The end product is a work of art meeting life and a celebration of the female spirit itself. Every woman who reads it will find a poem, a piece of art or even a thought that is meant for her!”

Shan Re, Artist, says: “My women have a universal appeal and they are both poignant and lyrical…most often they are women with secrets. They look very innocent, tender but they are immensely strong. They look very sensuous, but they are highly spiritual, they have an air of romance and mystery about them, but they are compassionate, full of life, love and hope. They are silent, mysterious, deep and powerful like a frozen fire. This impenetrability and stillness does not mean of course nothing is happening below the surface; they are processing emotions all the time, and storing up impressions and experiences which will be used later.”

Sandhya Mendonca, Founder, MD & Editor-in-Chief, Raintree Media, says: “The whole project has had a serendipitous synergy. When Kavitha brought her verses to me, some of her sentiments struck a chord within me, and some others were similar to what I hear from other women. Twinning them with Shan’s works has added lyrical beauty to the poems which have a honest and simple flow. Mishta, our design collaborator, has brought a fine aesthetic sensibility in designing the book. From the very beginning, we had Galerie de’Arts in our sights as the venue for the launch because the warm elegance of the gallery and Deepa’s approach to work and art are in sync with ours”.

Mishta Roy, Graphic Designer, Drawater, says: “To be part of the special magic of women coming together and sharing their deepest thoughts and feelings, to create a book so poignant and honest and to learn what it means to be a woman, it inspired my heart, hand and mind to be as true!”

Deepa Subramanian, Founder & Creative Head, Galerie de’Arts, says: “I am happy to be the venue host for the launch of SHE. It is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the core qualities of a woman that flow harmoniously with the natural energies of life. Let us celebrate every single woman born in this world.”

About Kavitha Rajasekhar: A journalist and writer by profession, Kavitha began her career in journalism with The Financial Express in Bangalore and went on to spend the next 13 years focused on technology writing and reporting across India and the Middle East. Four years ago, she gave up her full time position as a Group Editor for Technology Publications at publishing house CPI in Dubai to set up a bespoke consulting and go-to-market practice for technology vendors based in Dubai, UAE. In her spare time, Kavitha focuses on writing poetry and painting.

About Shan Re: Shan is a versatile artist who has explored a wide array of subjects and genres in several group and solo exhibitions in India and abroad since the year 2000. Her work has been collected widely and finds pride of place in several private and corporate collections across the world. Shan's works provide the viewer with a revitalising sense of peace, stability and strong dynamic positive energy. The paintings used in this book are drawn from her series called Psycho-Pictographia (2003-05)

About Raintree Media: Headquartered in Bangalore, Raintree Media publishes the BEST OF series of international coffee table books, the Marvels of series of Destination photobooks, and other unique books in both its independent as well as custom publishing verticals. www.raintreemedia.com

*‘SHE’ supports the House of Hope:

The House of Hope gives 24-hour care through the year to over a hundred orphans who are affected by AIDS and to their siblings, aged 3 to 18 years. Forty percent of the children are HIV-positive. The proceeds from the sale of SHE is being donated to House of Hope to ensure that the children get balanced and nutritious meals. For more information about House of Hope, visit: www.hutindia.org

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Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Marvels of Karnataka & more - In the News

Monday, February 02, 2015

Q & A with Sandhya Mendonca, MD & Editor-in-Chief, Raintree Media

Sandhya Mendonca, MD and Editor-in-Chief, Raintree Media said, “There is no place like home. I also find the greatest satisfaction when we publish books that showcase our city and our state to the world.”

Q: What is this book about?

A: Marvels of Karnataka & more explores the state like never before. It covers each of the four regions of this beautiful state: North, Central, South & Coastal. Packed with information about where to go, why to go, when to go, how to go, what to eat and what to buy, Marvels of Karnataka & more is a complete guide to this state. It is a must have book for locals and visitors alike. It is a useful book to pick up before a trip and a great souvenir to take back home.

Q: What inspired you to do this book?

A: In September 2013, Raintree Media published Karnataka –A Cultural Odyssey, a coffee table book commissioned by the Governor of Karnataka. The book was released to mark the President of India’s visit to the state, and it was one of the proudest moments for our organisation, not only because His Excellency had earlier entrusted us with the responsibility of publishing a coffee table book on the history of the Raj Bhavan, but this time around we had curated a book on the culture of the entire state. It was but a natural progression after that to publish Marvels of Karnataka & more.

Q: Tell us about the Marvels series?

A: This is the second book in the innovative Marvels series of Destination photobooks, which blends the aesthetics of a coffee table book with the handiness of a paperback travel guide. The first book in the series Marvels of Mysore & more had sold out, and is now in its second print run.

Q: Packaging a whole state is a huge task. How big is the book?

A: Not to worry, it is a very light paperback in a compact and easy-to-read format. It has 160 pages, with over 120 stunning photographs from acclaimed photographers including Dinesh Shukla and Asha Thadani. India’s leading fashion guru, Prasad Bidapa, has said “This book the perfect companion on a road trip through Karnataka."

Marvels of Karnataka & more is available at your nearest bookstore and on SapnaOnline, Amazon & Flipkart . Ebook available at magzter.com and soon on Kindle

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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Raintree Media turned 10!

The who's who of the city, old friends, associates and clients joined us at Tango Calypso as we raised a toast on Dec 20 to celebrate our 10th anniversary. It was a gala evening - packaging our annual Christmas party and the birthday of our founder and Managing Director. Of course we also had to welcome in the New Year.

Bonhomie flowed along with retro music by the gorgeous Indira Srinivasan, Priya Arjun Singh, Sulaiman Jamal, Dr Thomas Chandy, with Ram Nagaraj rendering foot-tapping Hindi songs. The thoroughly enjoyable evening was attended by Dr. Rajeev Gowda, MP, Ammu Joseph and SG Vasudev, Balan Nambiar, Milind Nayak, Amita and Gurudas Shenoy, Veena and Arjun Sajnani, Vani Ganapathy, Reva, Sandeep and Gita Maini, Arundhati and Jagdish Raja, Poile and Abhijit Sengupta, Jija Hari Singh, Munira and Ashish Sen, Abhijit Saha, Christine Fernandes Jamal, Sheeba and Virender Razdan, Rubi Chakravarti and Imtiaz Sharafali, Namrata G, Aparna and Naresh Narasimhan, Nejeeb Khan and others.

SG Vasudev & Ammu Joseph with Sandhya Mendonca

Ram Nagaraj, Indira Srinivasan and Reva Maini

Abhijit and Poile Sengupta with Aditya Mendonca

Dr. Rajeev Gowda

Gurudas and Amita Shenoy

Indrajit and Nita Kembhavi

Nejeeb Khan and Dr. Mahesh Reddy

The Raintree Media team

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Marvels of Karnataka & more - Destination photobook on Karnataka launched

Starting of 2015 on a good note, we released the destination photobook Marvels of Karnataka & more, the second in the Marvels series of books. After successful book launches over the last few years in Johannesburg, Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, Chennai and other cities, our eighth book launch in our home town was very gratifying.

The Honourable Tourism Minister of Karnataka, Mr. RV Deshpande released the book at the ITC Windsor on January 21.

Mr. Deshpande said, “Books like Marvels of Karnataka & more will definitely help boost tourism in Karnataka and I congratulate editor Sandhya Mendonca on bringing out such an excellent book which comprehensively covers every region of the state."

The guest of honour iconic contemporary folk musician Raghu Dixit has said about the book: “Marvels of Karnataka & more has captured the essence of my beloved state Karnataka in all its glory and beauty, documenting its amazing history, culture, art and heritage. A brilliantly edited and beautifully packaged book that is concise, precise and full of spice!"

Vasanthi Hariprakash, radio and TV personality, took the audience on an enthralling tour of the state, as she read excerpts from the book against the backdrop of the fabulous photographs from the book.

Marvels of Karnataka & more is available at your nearest bookstore and on SapnaOnline, Amazon & Flipkart . Ebook available at magzter.com and soon on Kindle

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Monday, November 10, 2014

‘And then one day’ – we got an autographed autobiography

And then one day- a memoir’, the autobiography of Naseeruddin Shah is storming up the bookstores across the country.

At the Bangalore launch last Saturday, Shah traced the years of his growth as an actor and a human being. “You will waste total five years to study acting?”, was his father’s remark when Shah told him about his decision to join the Film and Television Institute of India after completing his study at the National  School of Drama. The father-son had a love-hate relationship, and the book shares painful incidents of being compared with his more academically inclined brothers.

Apart from his struggles in the film industry, Shah also recounts his love for the gentleman’s game cricket, equations with co-stars such as Om Puri and the problems he had with his first wife.

“It took me many years to finally come out with my autobiography; some of its thoughts had been penned down years ago” he said.

Naseeruddin Shah with his wife Ratna Pathak Shah and son Vivaan at the release of his autobiography.

The intelligent and quirky Shah declared his “love” for Bangalore and Kannada theatre, adding “the stage was, is and will be my first love”.

A thrilled crowd at the jam-backed Landmark bookstore had the pleasure of hearing eminent historian and writer, Ramachandra Guha who was also the moderator of the event. Guha called the autobiography as a ‘fun, in-depth and a brutally honest work’.

His actor wife Ratna Pathak Shah and son Vivaan who is an upcoming actor joined him as the audience jostled for selfies and autographs. We got an autographed book, and were amused to see that it was a ‘stick-on’. 

By Sreeraj TK
For Raintree Media Features

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Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Much Ado about Adakkam

Poile Sengupta with Inga
In Malayalam, just one word is enough to tell a woman what she should or should not be doing. It’s this word that had writer/ playwright and teacher Poile Sengupta in full theatrical flow at the recent launch of her book Inga.
Inga focuses on the feudalistic, deeply patriarchal and oppressive towards women in Indian society, more specifically in Kerala and the Malayali diaspora. As a writer who loves to play with words and effectively uses colloquial slangs, Poile gave a humourous demonstration of her usage of Adakkam, the Malayalam word in a satirical manner.

Having written books for children earlier, city-based Poile Sengupta says that she felt, “that to be a complete author, one must write for adults despite the fact that writing for children is way tougher”.

Inga is her debut novel for adults, but Poile has in the past written hard-hitting plays for adults: Mangalam, ‪Body blows, A woman speaks, Vikramaditya's Throne and others, all of which have been staged to appreciative audiences. She has also penned Sliced Balls, a rip-roaring comedy on golf, married as she is to golf-addict retired bureaucrat.

With Inga, Poile enters “the crowded compartment of writers for adults” in the words of Sahitya Akademi award winner Shashi Deshpande, who released the book. While Deshpande likened the book to "a thick strong coffee", Chiranjiv Singh, retired bureaucrat and former ambassador to UNESCO, who is a popular figure in the city’s cultural circles, preferred to call it "strong liquor".

Veteran theatre artist Ashish Sen read out an enthralling poem on alphabets from the book while Lekha Naidu brought in her experience in women-centred work, in reading out the dialogues of the female characters Inga, Rapa and Aunt Kuppai from the book.

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