With February comes a gladdening of spirits, lighter morning skies and discernibly louder birdsong. It is also the month to bid farewell to our winter cocoons (at least partially) and tune back into the world beyond our blankets. Allow us to ease the de-hibernation process, by sharing some of the things piquing our interest this month.
We’re blinging it out with:—
Streets of Gold: Mumbai – an aptly polished BBC documentary shot in Mumbai, following the lives of the city’s ultra-rich. Prepare to marvel at their eye-popping world of luxury and comfort, whilst observing its poignant contrast with the ordinary, often precarious lives of their less-fortunate neighbours.
We’re asking what ‘home’ means with:—
The Green Room Festival, curated by Soumik Datta Arts. This one-day event takes place at Rich Mix and will feature seven migrant and refugee artists using their chosen medium to explore themes of home, displacement and migration. Expect talks and discussions during the day, culminating in a landmark evening performance.
We’re eyeing up the creations at:—
Tigra Tigra – a traditional textile revival and design studio, straddling the cities of Ahmedabad and Los Angeles. Items in their eye-catching collections are made using traditional methods (such as hand-powered looms), some of which date back as far as the Mughals. A most masterful merging of old and new worlds.
We’re hearing tales of Independence with:—
Luminaries – a three-part series that uses our very own King’s Cross café(replete with original posters, photos and graffiti capturing India’s early nationhood) to narrate the story of Indian independence through live action and animation. After premiering at the UK Asian Film Festival last May, Luminaries has been released episode by episode on Dialogues of Diaspora's YouTube channel.
“Who wants to see some magic?” Chef Arun calls out. He flings the rolled out dough into the air, sending it soaring above the counter. It spins and twists, a graceful dancer in the air. The children watch its arc, their eyes wide with wonder, until it lands gently back in the chef's hands. The children shriek in delight.
January is a most divisive month. For some it heralds the hopeful turning over of new leaves; for others it is a month to trudge begrudgingly through towards the promise of spring. Whichever camp you find yourself in, we have plentiful diversions to share. See them as the cherry atop your already gleeful January cake, or a welcome distraction while you await winter’s end.
I AM HERE, dear reader, slovenly and slouched, staring into my drink at the end of the bar in our new restaurant in Battersea. My mind is still down and out, sifting around in the dregs of ’23 but of course it knows that I should really straighten my back, raise my chin and look squarely up into the cold new light of ’24. My drink – Choti’s Punch – clear and strong, sweet with a little salt, may help.
For Chef Rishi Anand Khatri, our newest café special is in fact an old family favourite. His earliest memory of eating Bhatti Chicken is aged 7 or 8, and he recalls his father – the late Khatri Saab – cooking it regularly, thanks to the tandoor on their Delhi terrace. (Bhatti refers to the scorching flame that the chicken is roasted over, until succulent).