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February 2016

The Barking Deer launches Shimla Golden Cider

The Indian craft beer industry is fairly new and our palates are still adjusting to the new flavour profiles, after years of gulping Kingfisher in the name of beer! Recently, Bombay’s first microbrewery launched a cider – Shimla Golden Cider, to celebrate their 3rd anniversary. That’s been one of the highlights of my week 🙂

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Happy Anniversary, The Barking Deer!

The Barking Deer has been a pioneer in the Indian craft brewing industry and it only took me one visit to the brewery  (3 years ago) to start raving about their fresh brews, and I have not stopped yet! They celebrated their 3rd anniversary with the launch of the wonderful cider along with a week long ‘League of Extraordinary Burger Festival’. Now, that’s how you kick off a celebration! A specially curated handcrafted burger menu and fresh brews – what’s not to love!

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The newly launched Shimla Golden Cider
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Cider love
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One of the extraordinary burgers

If cider is your poison, The Barking Deer is here to your rescue. The Shimla Golden Cider is made with only the choicest apples from Himachal Pradesh. Its deep, rich golden ruddy colour is that of the apples picked in their prime and its tart finish balances out the robust fruity body. Go, grab a pint! Cheers!

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Cheers to Shimla Golden Cider!

‘AtmaTrupti’ ~ Our village sojourn

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Recently, we spent a long weekend at a farm. Lived in a hut. Yes, a real hut made of bamboo and thatched roof of hay and cloth. We slept on the floor on a mattress with a blanket, woke up to the sound of birds that we couldn’t recognise and the soothing melody of the flowing river. The next night, we slept under the shimmery starry sky, feeling the cold wind on the bare parts of my skin and sighing every now and then to the sheer beauty of nature. Now, let’s put aside the romanticised version of my trip to a village and get to the real deal.

We travelled a good 7-8 hours to reach this small village nestled in Pali, Maharashtra – Uddhhar. It was all I had thought of, and more. No electricity, that meant no Snapchat or Facebook for the rest of the trip. That made me question my decision of ever wanting to come here! Nevertheless, it soon dawned upon me that I chose to be here to feel that lost sense of belonging with nature.

Now, something about Tushar Kelkar whose passion gave rise to this place that he likes to call ‘AtmaTrupti’. He just celebrated the one year anniversary of this project and he has developed a community around things he’s passionate about. Be it eco-architecture or organic farming, he’s spreading the word through social media and trying to build an open community of like minded people who’re interested in learning the nuances of these activities through practice. The people who visit his farm are either nature lovers or friends who just want to lend a helping hand to him.

When we visited him, he had just finished planting watermelon in his fields. And a few days ago, he posted the saplings that have grown beautifully and it gives me a pleasure that you’d understand only if you’ve created something on your own – grown a plant, cooked a dish, written a poem, anything!

What we loved most about our sojourn:

Nature loving: Witnessing breathtaking sunrise and sunsets with hues we hadn’t discovered yet! Waking up to the sound of birds chirping, chasing fireflies, sitting by the river bed with our feet soaked in half mud, half water, running barefoot on grass, living with the absolute bare minimum. (I now have new found respect for people living in villages, closer to nature.)

 

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Misty smoky mornings

 

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The river stream by our hut

 

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Greenery all around

 

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The melodious sound of flowing river

 

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Beauty!
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Evenings like these!

 

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Setting up our bonfire

 

Eco architecture: Tushar did a workshop with us on how to build a geo dome, from scratch. The feeling of accomplishment that followed after we saw that dome take shape and stand in the farm was incomparable!
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Learning knots

 

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Good enough

 

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Working with only ropes and bamboos

 

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Dome building in progress

 

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And it’s done! 🙂

 

The village experience:
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Living in an actual hut – Check 🙂

 

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Compost toilet and bathroom built in the farm

 

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Rise and shine

 

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The real alarms

 

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Our food being cooked in the village

 

Making friends:

 

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The cutest moment from this trip 🙂

 

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Experience of a lifetime…
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Bonfire near our hut
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Image Courtesy: Wishwasdeep Srivastav Photography

Anyone who wants to visit Tushar’s farm can get in touch with him at +91 9545675871. He will be more than happy to guide you throughout the trip and make sure you have a fun experience at AtmaTrupti.

Thank you so much for your hospitality, Tushar! 🙂

Jaipur Literature Festival – A World of Words

How does five days of literature affect one’s life? In the most overwhelmingly wonderful ways that’s sometimes expected while at other times completely unanticipated.

The gorgeous entry to the vibrant and magical world of literature

I attended the Jaipur Literature Festival this year and experienced all this first-hand. If you’re a literature lover and devour books like a monster, this place is a paradise – a world of words coupled with that old world charm of royalty and rich culture that’s a treat to all your senses. With so many eminent speakers, writers, fellow literature lovers and more, JLF immediately climbed up on the top of my life-altering experiences. The place, the decor, the people, the vibe, the sessions, the food, the chai, the stalls, the books – it all came together to form a milieu that made me lose myself in the best possible way.

From debates and discussions to poetry recitals and performances, JLF is a melange of culture and literary goodness. So, here I am – to take you to JLF with me, on a virtual tour of all things amazing at the fest. Take a look and be charmed and inspired.

Jaipur Literature Fest welcomes you!
The dreamy decor of a cafe stall, at JLF
Colours all around…
Stalls at JLF
Royal chandelier in all its shining glory

 

James Shapiro in conversation with Basharat Peer
James Shapiro in conversation with Basharat Peer
Penguin’s special editions at display – for sale. All I did was splurge here!
Poetry in motion – Kesar chai at JLF
Mind Fields – Casey Schwartz and Sudhir Kakar in conversation with Madhu Trehan
Irving Finkel in conversation with William Dalrymple
Keeping the world safe for poetry: Salil Tripati, Ashok Vajpeyi, Nirupama Dutt in conversation with Nilanjana Roy
Ashok Vajpeyi talks about Hindi literature, poetry, and politics.
A slice of beauty from JLF
The final performance before the closing of JLF – a five day literary affair!

Text and images: ©Yashnashree

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