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Kolkata cafe celebrates ‘queer’ identities over food




Kolkata, May 8: Festooned in fairy lights, far from the prying and judging eyes of the public, cafe “Amra Odbhuth” (We are Queer) provides space to the LGBTQ community members here to get together over platters of food and celebrate their identities.

What started out as a pop-up and the need for a meeting space to discuss issues and furnish a platform for queer reading and performances sans censorship, has become a movement of sorts to reclaim the word “Odbhuth” (queer in Bengali).

“Amra Odbhuth” in a renovated family home in south Kolkata, has branded itself “as a space where queer and trans voices get together, laugh, perform and celebrate identities.”

The unique cafe-collective movement was started by Upasana, Nandini Moitra, Raina Roy and Kallol Guha.

“There aren’t a lot of queer friendly spaces in the city. We just wanted to share our experiences and connect with each other, outside activism and NGO spaces. We wanted to have a concrete, physical space outside online forum. Since food culture is big in Kolkata, people always love to get together over food,” one of the founders told IANS.

The cafe-collective, more of an extension of an idea to break away and start something new, also resonates with Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore’s famous verse “Amra nutan joubaneri doot, amra chaanchol, amra odbhuth, amra bera bhangi, amra ashok bone, ranga neshay rang”.

In English it translates into “We are heralds of youth, we are restless, we are unique, we break down barriers and sway to the forest’s intoxication.”

Although it is not operational on a regular basis, the cafe comes up with rotational menus aligned with its events: queer art meet, evening of poetry with performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon and screenings.

It also unveiled a full-fledged traditional Bengali menu for the Poila Baisakh celebration last month.

Apart from the regular coffee, the popular foods here are basil ham cheese grilled sandwich, bacon salad and mandarin mojito (non-alcoholic).

The founders have expansive plants for the space, though funding is a pressing issue.

The cafe is also open to non-LGBTQ members as long as “they respect boundaries”. Some of the other house rules include a no-alcohol policy since the cafe is smack bang in the middle of a residential area.

“The concept is to ensure the members of the community feel comfortable and are able to enjoy art, cinema and performances without being judged,” the co-founder added.


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‘61% parents use social media to keep tab on kids’



New York, March 20: While social media has been associated with a negative impact on children, 61 per cent parents feel that the online medium has enabled them to keep a track of “tweens”, according to a survey. “Tweens” is a term given to children between the early elementary grades and those entering teenage.

55 per cent of parents would read their tween’s texts or social media pages to learn if their tween was invited to a boy-girl party at the home of an unfamiliar family.





Also, 39 per cent of parents reported tracking their tween’s location on their cell phone during the party.

Mothers were more likely, than fathers, to say they would use technology to monitor their tweens, according to a report from the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

“The tween stage brings new challenges for parents as they often must balance their child’s desire for more freedom and independence with supervision. It’s not an easy balancing act,” said Sarah Clark, poll co-director.

“In some families, reading text messages or social media posts might be seen as ‘spying.’ But in others, parents discuss rules including sharing passwords,” said Clark.

“Establishing family rules around the use of social media, and discussing the reasons for those rules, is an important part of parenting tweens,” Clark said, in a statement released by the varsity.

However, 91 per cent still wanted to get the information about their child via the traditional way, which includes talking with the parents of their kids’ classmates.

About one in four parents reported being very concerned about their tweens experimenting with sexual activity, marijuana or other drugs, beer or liquor, and guns or other weapons.

Importantly, two-thirds of the parents agreed that tweens need some freedom to make mistakes, and balancing freedom with supervision.

“Parents must balance their responsibility to help their tween learn to be responsible and make good decisions while ensuring their tween’s safety,” Clarks said.


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Make-up tips for a summer wedding



Wedding Makeup

New Delhi, March 16: There is nothing that sounds more beautiful than the idea of a summer wedding. What is not pretty, however, is the melting makeup, especially if its your wedding day.

Since the summer season has started, Shinjini Chawla, wedding make up expert at and Komal Kapoor, Founder at Koko Glam, compile a list of tips for makeup that does not suffer a meltdown.

* Foundation: Get the basics right!
* Apply an anti-shine product on your face just before applying the foundation.
* Hydrate your skin with lightweight essence or serum. Moisturizer cream is also great for giving a dewy look and provides a great texture to the skin
* Use a spot concealer on areas with blemishes, under the eyes or around the corners of your nose. A spot concealer stays longer than a foundation.
* Always double-cleanse as your skin produces a lot more oil and sebum. Oil cleansers are extremely beneficial to let the skin cool off first and then use the cleansing product.
* The final touch – After the application of foundation, powder your face with a brush.

* Blush: For the blushing bride
* Exfoliate the skin thoroughly- excess oil leads to more dead skin cells. For ensuring a fresh face for any outdoor celebration, sheet masks are very useful as they remove the excess impurities.
* Go for powder blushes instead of creamy formulas that will make your skin appear oily.
* The beating sun will add an extra sheen to your face anyway, so use a bronzer that does not have too much shimmer.

* Eyes: Smoky eyes or the classic look?
* Apply the concealer you have used on your face, all over your eye-lids to maintain uniformity.
* Eyeliners are a popular choice to make your eyes appear big and beautiful.
* Waterproof your eyes- Use a great eye base, then use a smudge-free eyeliner and a water-proof mascara. This will prepare you for the moments when you want to let go of yourself in the moment by shedding a tear or two.
* Finally, use a powder eye shadow and dab two layers of it, from the lash line to the brow.

* Lips: Let your lips do all the talking!
* Pick the classic summer colour according to your skin tone. Shades of pinks and nudes work best in a day wedding.
* Colour in your entire mouth with a lip pencil so your lip stick does not bleed in the heat.
* After applying the lipstick, blot it with a tissue. Apply a touch of gloss on the lips so they do not appear chapped.
* Finally, apply the lipstick concealer to seal the deal.

* Conclusively, sunscreens are a must for day events. High SPF reduces the burning and PA+++ reduce dark spots. Hence using a sunscreen that is suited to your skin is crucial.


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Salary hike correlated to ease of falling asleep: Survey



salary hike stress asleep

New Delhi, March 15: Having trouble sleeping? Your salary might be one of the reasons behind it.

There is a direct correlation between increasing salary and ease of falling asleep, according to a survey.

The India Sleep and Wellness survey, released ahead of the World Sleep Day, was commissioned by Sunday Mattresses and was conducted among 345 working professionals above the age of 25, read a statement.

The survey, conducted across Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, indicates that there is also a direct correlation between productivity and sleep.

Over two-thirds of the sound sleepers believe they are 100 per cent productive at work. whereas more than half of those who reported getting insufficient sleep, believed they were only 75 per cent (or less) productive.

People below the age group of 30 sleep better compared to those who are older. Adults over 30 are twice as likely to have sleep-related problems and adults over 45 years are three times more likely to have sleep-related issues.

Almost 40 per cent of people use an alarm to wake up. This is significantly high in Mumbai where 50 per cent of the respondents use an alarm on a daily basis.

People in Bengaluru go to bed the earliest (between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.), whereas Mumbai has the highest proportion of night owls who sleep after midnight. Bengaluru also has a better record of falling asleep as compared to Delhi and Mumbai and this is mainly attributed to relatively lower noise levels.

The research demonstrates that people who eat less than two hours before going to sleep are 50 per cent more likely to have sleep-related issues.


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