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    Dated : Saturday, April 08, 2017
 

Tipriti & Her Soulmate: Music

Lights, Camera, Music! With the first stroke of the guitar chord, you will feel your blood rushing through your veins. Next: you will feel the vibration in your body and your heart thumping with delight, whenever she sets her vocals and starts crooning. She has a magical voice that will take you the world of wonders and amuse you with the warbles, trills, and intense yet strategic quavers throughout her performance. Playing with the modulations, and music, is all that she has championed in her over-a-decade career in music. She sings the blues like a phoenix that emerges from the ashes. Her voice comes from her soul (as she describes) and is immensely infectious, making you ask for more, like an addict.

Introducing Tipriti Kharbangar, lead female vocalist of Shillong-based blues band Soulmate who can easily drive her audience intoxicated with her singing. She is one of the finest female singers of the Northeast India. This Khasi girl (of Kharbangar tribe) lives in Malki, Shillong. Tipriti aka Tips sees her reflection in Shillong. Shillong has inspired her musical-self in numerous ways. Probably, it has also served as an invisible strength in her that led her to pick her passion, rather than opting for conventional ways of living. Her stints at the Dr. Graham’s Homes School, Kalimpong, West Bengal were the initial catalysts that heightened her morale and dedication towards music. 
When she was asked about choosing between the two lives: one that a stable government job would render, and the other one that her passion for music would offer; she showed utter seriousness for her ardor. Though there is nothing wrong with the former option, but Tips could settle and relate herself more with emoting the feel of blues through music.
This powerful singer has performed covers by artists like Alanis Morissette and Whitney Houston, in addition to a popular number with Khasi folk musicians. Let us learn how she has been unwinding the spirit of her love for music, and yodels with an overwhelming and enchanting force, with the passage of time.
Tell us about your family.
My family is very simple and God fearing sort of family. And, we go by the holy book of our teachings. But my first footstep towards music comes from my family, which is inclined towards music. My father has a huge collection of music, he used to sing them too and my cousins are also singers. I was a part of the Malki Presbyterian church choir. Together, we love to laugh, sing and have a good time, every time. 
At what age were you musically-struck?
At a very tender age of six, as far as I can recall, I started playing the guitar. I also used to try mimic my dad and the songs he and his friends used to play when they used to hang out on weekends at our home.
What led you to pursue music as your profession? 
For the love of it, I guess. I didn’t know that I was going to make a career out  of music.
Did your family approve of it?
My family had never stopped me from doing what I love. But it was only later when I started touring and taking music more seriously. My mother raised the question as to whether I’m going to do this for the rest of my life or am I going to find a government job, which offers a stable and steady life. But I chose my way. I followed my heart and the passion for music that resides in it.
Have you worked with any other band before?
I have fooled around a lot with many musicians who I gel with, but never had I taken music as seriously as after joining the band, Soulmate. This band has been a constant source of inspiration and learning. I feel incomplete without this band; it is my soul mate in real sense.
How you met Rudy Wallang and how your association with him have been a cornerstone of your career?
I met Rudy when I was recording a gospel album at his studio. After he heard me sing on that album, he asked me if I want to sing backup for the band Mojo? I was waiting for my tenth board results that time. I thought why not give it a chance! After that, there was no looking back.
Which genres of music you have tried so far and which one is your favourite?
While growing up I have listened to everything in 90’s, as that was the sound I was familiar with because my older cousins would play them often. But my dad and his friends would play songs from the 60’s and I’m pretty familiar with that too! But as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter what genre of music to try out. I am a person who always plays with my heart, so I like everything that hits me at the centre. 
What genre of singing you are planning to experiment with?
No experimentation, as of now. We might be doing a Khasi folk concert in the future, but can’t say much about it till all is confirmed.
You have performed in so many places. Tell us about the most memorable ones.
It has been more than fourteen years that we have performed in numerous music concerts all over the world. Each and every one of them have been memorable, but playing with Carlos Santana has to be the number one on the list. Then, Jamming with Joss Stone, Keb Mo, Robert Randolph and others at the Mahindra Blues concerts have been memorable too. The audiences in Russia, Malaysia and Indonesia are also fantastic!
How many concerts or shows you do, a year?
I perform somewhere in between 25 to 60 concerts a year on an average. But nothing is fixed.
Since you are Khasi, have you ever tried blending your music composition to have that native touch with the Khasi music? 
A few years ago, we did one of our songs called Set Me Free together with a few Khasi folk musicians, which was broadcasted on Fox Traveller.
It was well received and appreciated by our friends and fans. Memorable indeed!
What inspires you to create a good music?
Life and its situations have always been at the core of my creativity.
To what extent your birth place has some influence on your music or career in music?
If I wasn’t born in Shillong, I guess I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today. Shillong is a part of who I am and what my music is about. It is a major source of my inspiration.
Tell us about your ambition.
My ambition is to be able to carry on with music professionally (running 15 yrs now) and build a home for my family without any loan. That will be my biggest achievement in life!
Given a chance, who would you like to perform a duet with?
I would like to work with Herbie Hancock.
When are you planning to launch your next album?
Well, it is not yet decided. But whenever we decide to record a new album, we will notify everyone.
Somewhere we have read that the power of shouting at your younger brother, actually strengthens your voice. Tell us about your rapport and support for each other.
Hahaha! My brothers used to play out in the forest and my mother always used to ask me to look for them, especially at lunch and tea time. And since, I was too lazy to go out and look for them, I would just call them out loud at the entrance of the forest. It made my life easier! Even if they didn’t hear me, their friends who used to play closer can, so they would spread the word around and the two little brothers would come running home! Well, that shouting strengthened my vocal power, ha ha! We share a good rapport, and are always close to each other.
Which is your favourite musical instrument, and why?
Hmm.. It’s tough to choose one though, but I will have to say that the guitar is my favourite musical instrument as it touches the centre of my heart the most. But I also appreciate anything played nicely and soulfully by a human being.
What do you in your leisure time, apart from singing or composing?
Well, I love to spend time with family when I get back from my tours. I like to stay at home; watch a movie; and sip my coffee – my part of bliss. I also love the company of good friends at my home, one on one for a few hours and then I love my space once again! 
Your favourite band and singer? 
The band has to be Soulmate, and my all time favourite singer is Ella Fitzgerald. 
Your favourite book? 
If I have time I don’t mind reading my favourite comic book Tinkle. 
Your favourite colour: Turquoise 
Your favourite Actor or Actress: Denzel Washington and Susan Sarandon. In Bollywood, I love watching Shabana Azmi a lot! 
Your style statement: I really don’t have a constant or fixed style that I follow. My style depends on the weather. I have clothes and shoes for all seasons and I prefer comfort over everything.
Your motto of life: Live and Love fearlessly
A few words for the women: This goes out to and for all the women. We have the power to give birth to a new life and that’s the most beautiful gift of the entire human kind. If we take a good step in raising our children there is a chance for a better world somewhere. Listen to your heart and what it wants to say.

 
 

Celebrating Bihu and Womanhood

By Indrani Medhi

Bihu marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year which signifies the advent of the spring season. It is celebrated over a period of seven days, each day being devoted to a special and auspicious custom which largely revolves around the preparation of special food items, fasting, feasting, wearing new clothes, greeting each other and sharing fellowship meals, singing, dancing and merry making is a common feature. Both men and women take part in a rhythmic celebration and the vibrant Bihu style of dance is unique in every sense of the word. Even the Assamese diaspora around the world celebrates Bihu as it is touted as the most important festival of the state.
Women and Bihu have always been an inseparable duo. From making pithaas to dancing Bihu along with the beats and rhythm of dhol and pepaa, it is always the women folk doing the most. Donned in the rich and traditional Assamese Muga silk attire teamed up with goudy and heavy ethnic jewellery, the energetic dance steps and quick hand movements of the dancers define the Bihu dance of Assam. While the men create the traditional rhythm and music on dhol, pepaa, taal, takaa, xutuli, gaganaa and baanhi, the women seem to be dances 'like cork upon the waves', recites and cherishes the happiness and heritage of the Assamese people. The sway and grace of the danseuses emphasise the flavour of Bihu. During Bhogali Bihu, women prepare savouring delicacies made of coconut, rice flour, til (sesame seeds), gur (jaggery), chiraa (flattened rice) or muri (puffed rice). It is none but women always who have wielded the dheki (an old style rice mill usually made of hard wood, having a fulcrum supporting a weight) to grind rice to rice flour or to separate the rice from the golden brown husks - a common scenario of every household during or just prior to the Bihu festivities.
Not just for Bihu alone, women are indispensable part of every Indian festival without whom celebrations are incomplete. Pongal, Onam, Ugadi, Gudi Padva, Baisakhi or any other Indian festival is incomplete without the participation of women. From preparing traditional food items and sweets to making colourful rangoli (the traditional Indian art of floor decoration), women not only add vivid hues to the celebrations, but are believed to bring in happiness and prosperity to the home and well-being to the family. Typically a rangoli is always drawn at the early sunrise by the lady of the house in. In earlier traditions, the leading lady or the mother of the house used to create the rangoli early in the morning immediately after taking bath and prayer. Over the passage of time it just passed on to any young lady at home. While creating rangoli, women usually sing or chant sacred mantras with a belief that it would guard them from evil forces. Rangoli is the origin of spirituality of art in India carried forward by none but women.
Women of Assam are said to weave fairy tales on their looms. The rhythmic 'click-clock' of the taat-xaal (loom) of Assam has reverberated everywhere and has even reached worldwide. Every house has a loom and in it the xipini or weaver weaves exotic mekhela chaadar, the traditional Assamese attire with an adept hand. Weaving is an art and in Sualkuchi, Assam this is ingrained in a child's curriculum and given as much importance as going to school. In earlier times, the skill to weave was considered the primary qualification of a young girl for her eligibility for marriage. This perhaps well explains why Assam today has the largest concentration of handlooms and weavers in India.
Let's consider our very own rowani (sower) and daawani (reaper). She endures the sun and the wind, sows the seeds, reaps the paddy, partakes in the winnowing, de-husking and the entire process of harvesting. A global survey shows that women represent a substantial share of the total agricultural labour force in India. It is said that it was woman who first domesticated crop plants and thereby initiated the art and science of farming. During the primitive days, when men went out hunting in search of food, women started gathering seeds from the native flora and began cultivating. Since then, women have played and continued to play a key role in crop production, livestock production, horticulture, post harvest operations, fisheries, etc.
Women have been playing an inevitable role in upholding the rich culture and traditions of India. Yet, the family and society at large consider women as second class citizens, despite the progress women have made in the last several decades. Women are forced to deal with different forms of discrimination because the patriarchal society usually reflects a 'son-preference' ideology. No matter how much we campaign promoting inspirational women empowerment videos, hold marathons, rallies and events wearing 'pink', promoting 'pink', at the end of the day a woman is a mere object to be harassed, molested and raped. No matter how much we celebrate the glory of the feminine spirit as mothers, warriors or lovers, they are the endangered species of human beings with an imbalanced ratio with their male counterparts. No matter how much we honour and respect her as the goddess, she'll be aborted as a foetus or killed as an infant or burnt as a bride because she is considered as a burden to her family. If she starts making her own choices she's considered to be provocative.
The world today is full of disillusioned people who have lost their moral compass and respect towards women. But it is all about changing our very own mindsets. Unless we set our minds free of patriarchy, we can never bring a change. It is all our thoughts that matter. Let us give women, their individual liberty, physical equality and personal fulfilment. Let us listen to their voice. Let them celebrate their femininity with a sense of superiority. Let them bloom in full expanse like the fragrant natural flowers as contrasted with the artificial ones. Let us make our women rise above everything else.

 
 

A FLASHBACK (ICONIC WOMEN)

Bette Davis
Warner Bros’ girl Bette Davis (Ruth Elizabeth Bette Davis) was a popular name in the Hollywood. This American actress has worked in the theater, small and big screens. She was identified for her choice of characters – unsympathetic, less humane and sardonic. She has also shown a high level of versatility by working in different genres of films, melodramas, contemporary, periodic, et cetera. Her romantic dramas have been more successful and widely admired. 
Her story is all about perseverance and progressing all the way. She had a lot of hit and trials. Bette appeared in Broadway Plays, further which she planned to move to Hollywood. Her early movies were for Universal Studios, which  were not that successful. She failed in her first screen test; however, she was used in various screen tests for other actors. Her second test was for A House Divided (1931),  she could make a mark in that as well. The head of Universal Studios wanted to terminate her contract, but Karl Freund, the cinematographer, suggested to retain her for her lovely eyes that seemed suitable for Bad Sister (1931), which was however, not a success. Followed by Seed, the same year. 
Her contract was renewed  by Universal for three months, before she was lent to Columbia Pictures for The Menace and to Capital Films for Hell’s House, in 1932. She was planning to return to New York, when she got chosen for the lead female role in The Man Who Played God (1932), a Warner Bros. Picture. In 1932, she collaborated with Warner Bros., then her career took a spree. 
Bette worked on her role in Marked Woman (1937), as a prostitute in a contemporary gangster drama, which was inspired by the case of Lucky Luciano. This movie got her the Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival (1937). Her next assignment was Jezebel in 1938. During the production of this movie, Bette got into a relationship with the love of her life, Director, William Wyler. Her marriage with Ham Nelson failed due to several circumstances, including her sexual relation with Howard Hughes, which lead to divorce and a lot of despair. She converted her despair into  acting in Dark Victory (1939). The film became one of the blockbuster hits and  highest-grossing films of that year. Her role as Judith Traherne (which later became her favourite role) brought her an Academy Award nomination.  
Three other films of Bette that massively hit the box office in 1939 were: The Old Maid, Juarez, and The Private Lives of Elizabeth Essex. The Private Life of Elizabeth Essex was her first and only colour movie during the height of her career in Hollwood. She played the elderly Elizabeth I of England, for which she shaved her hairline and eyebrows.
Her most financially successful movie was  All This and Heaven Too (1940) at that point of her career. Followed by another block-buster hit, The Letter (1940). Bette starred in three movies in 1941, the first being The Great Lie, opposite George Brent and the last one being Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes (RKO, 1941). Her fame continued for four more decades.
Bette was the first woman president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress (twice). She was also the first person to accrue ten Academy Award nominations for acting, and the first woman to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.
After filming the pilot episode of Hotel, a television series, Bette was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent amastectomy. Two weeks later to her surgery, she suffered from four heart strokes and became paralytic. This April child lived for 81 years (1908- 89).

 
 

?Fashion is an Extension of Your Personality?

Actress Athiya Shetty, who has been lauded for her style statements many a times, says she is not a fashion conscious person and added that fashion is an extension of an individual's personality.
"I think fashion is an extension of your personality. While I like to have fun with clothes, I would not call myself a fashion conscious person, Athiya said.
The 24-year-old actress says she chooses her "outfits as per my mood". 
“If I am feeling girly, I'll just wear a dress. If I want to be super comfortable, I'll just put on a T-shirt and jeans," she added.

 
 

Yoga to beat heart stroke

Heart is an important organ of our body that pumps blood through the blood vessels continuously. It is the only organ working ceaselessly since the time of birth. The beating of our heart that tells us that we are still alive. 
Symbolically, ‘heart’ is expressed as emotion, hence, it is extremely important to take care of it. But, shockingly the number of deaths due to heart diseases is increasing with passing years. High BP, high cholesterol, stress, anxiety, poor diet, lack of physical exercise are few factors of heart diseases leading to heart strokes. 
The practice of Yoga is known to improve many risk factors for heart diseases. Yoga is a physical exercise that brings awareness of the body, mind and emotions, allowing a practitioner to become more in tune with their physical and mental health. Here are a few Yoga postures and Pranayamas that will keep you away from heart diseases.
Big Toe Posture (Padangushthasana)
How to perform:
. Step the feet hip width apart, parallel.
. While exhaling, fold it forward and grip the big toes with the index and middle finger of each hand, palms facing inward. Bend the knees as much as you need to, holding onto the toes firmly.
. Extend the spine forward to lengthen. 
. Stay for a few breaths. 
. To release, on an inhalation, let go of the toes and slowly come back to standing posture
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
How to perform:
. Lie down with your back on the floor.
. Draw your feet inwards towards the hips.
. Your feet should be parallel to each other.
. Now lift yourself up with your stomach going towards the ceiling, along with your back, hip and thighs.
. Chin and chest should be locked.
. You can either keep your hands sideways or engage them in supporting your back. You can also clasp them under your back and stretch. Inhale while going up, hold, exhale while coming down.

 
 

Get Your Jewellery Right!

It is important to choose the right jewellery for occassions like wedding as one wrong selection and the entire look will go for a toss. Try for large emeralds studded among diamonds in white gold for that cocktail look or opt for gold or yellow gemstones.
Bride can stand out with the classic choice of yellow gold and green gemstones jewellery as it won’t get camouflaged with her red bridal outfit which gives her a graceful look. For the reception and cocktail evening, one can go for large emeralds studded among diamonds in white gold. Green is also a common choice for cocktail rings with large gemstone in the centre, surrounded by rows of diamonds. With blue wearing outfit, accent your green jewellery with a few aquamarines or tanzanite. The blue, green contrast is a sure-shot eye-catcher. Jewellery studded with green gemstones complements most of the outfits in tones of reds, pinks, yellows, blues and even blacks. One needs to give attention to minute details like cut of the gemstones, metal colour it is being studded in, colour of the outfit and its embroidery.

 
 

Pick Right Outfits According to Body Type

The key to dress well is to understand your body proportions and use fashion to highlight your best feature. While people with broad shoulders should wear V-neck T-shirts, structured blazers are ideal for people with both broad shoulders and hips.
A few tips and tricks to choose an outfit that will flatter your body type:
. The average built: Such people have broad shoulders and narrow waist. Since the whole body is in perfect proportion, most styles fit and suit this body type. If you are dressing for casual outing, then bold pattern and different styles will add the spark to your look. For formal outing, you can keep it simple with tapered trousers.
. The inverted triangle built: Average built and triangle-shaped built are almost similar body shapes except for the shoulders. Shoulders in V-shaped built are broader than the shoulders in average body shape. For such structures, it's important to maintain the balance between the upper and lower body shape.
V-neck shirts are recommended for people with such structures. They must avoid the tapered trousers as those will make their body appear more imbalanced. So, wear double breasted jackets with a V neck T-shirt. Shirts with horizontal stripes are also the best alternative to keep it formal and classy.
. The rectangle built: People with such body types have equally broad shoulders and hips. Dressing for such body structures is difficult as you have to create the illusion of a V-shaped body.
A structured blazer is the best option for this body shape. Wear blazers that are padded in the shoulder which will give a heavy look to your shoulder, and your waist will appear narrow. Also avoid wearing double breasted jackets as they will highlight the rectangular shape of your body.
Layer your clothes with blazers or jackets as they will make your chest appear broad and your waist look narrow. If you are willing to go for a cool look then reach out for trendy scarfs.

 
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A heart without dreams is like a bird without feathers.
— Suzy Kassem
 
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