Celebrating the red berry

The annual Mapro Strawberry Festival is being held in the city from today.

Photo: K.K. Mustafah

Photo: K.K. Mustafah

Aiming to spread the taste of the succulent fruit across the country, the annual Mapro Strawberry Festival has been shifted here from Panchgnai to give it greater visibility.

Launched in 2007, the festival will now be held at Big Bazaar outlets of Phoenix Market City, Growel Mall, Nirmal Mall and R City Mall here, starting today.

The three-day long festival is organised by Mapro Foods, the manufacturer of jams, fruit beverage concentrates — crushes and squashes; and fruit bars.

“The Strawberry Festival has been a tremendous success in Panchgani for the last seven years. It is loved and enjoyed by thousands of people who visit the hill-station particularly for the festival. Taking a step further, we decided to bring the festival to Mumbai and Pune and provide them with a delightful experience,” Mayur Vora, managing director, Mapro Foods Pvt. Ltd., said in a statement.

“With this festival, our aim is to spread the sweetness of this fruit across the country and bring strawberry lovers to a common destination to indulge and win exciting goodies from Mapro,” he added.

With the theme “I Love Strawberry”, the fest will offer interactive games and goodie bags. It will also give a chance to strawberry lovers to indulge in the freshest of the fruit straight from farms of Mahabaleshwar.



Amara Raja launches two new batteries

Amara Raja Batteries Limited has launched two new variants of batteries, 12 V120AH and 12V150AH in their Quanta range for their use in UPS applications. The new products are launched in seven Indian cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune, according to a press release

‘Toy Box’ story

Shruti Shenoy (far left), Juhi Pande (centre), founders of Toy Box with some happy kids.

Shruti Shenoy (far left), Juhi Pande (centre), founders of Toy Box with some happy kids.

Two Mumbai-based professionals aim to make underprivileged children happy by donating toys and books to them.

It wasn’t just another day of their third-year college when two media students of Mumbai University, Shruti Shenoy and Juhi Pande, went around the city talking to the children of an orphanage in Bandra.

“While talking to three seven-year-old kids, I got to know how much they loved their orphanage and school but the only thing they didn’t like was that nine of them had to share one doll, they didn’t get to cuddle a toy to sleep! I came back home and this bothered me a lot. When I spoke about this to Juhi, we felt that we needed to focus on the toys, books, arts and the imagination of a child’s upbringing,” says Shruti, a Mumbai-based media professional. Similarly, Juhi who acknowledged the much-talked about rampant inequalities in mass-media classes, wanted to bring about a change, however small it would be.

The duo then thought it would be best to provide underprivileged children with toys and books in an attempt to divert their minds from hardships such as a loss of a parent, financial constraints and prolonged illness and help them build their imagination. “That’s when Toy Box was born,” say the two in unison.

The ‘Toy Box’ story began in May 2013 with a WhatsApp forward when both Juhi and Shruti formulated a message and sent it to everyone in their contact list.

“We put together a WhatsApp forward, and sent it to everyone on our contact list. And the word spread like fire. The very next day we started getting phone calls from people saying they were willing to donate toys and books and also clothes! I remember, we went to collect our first ever donation just the day after we sent out our first broadcast,” says Juhi, who is now a PR professional based in Mumbai.

Even today, what keeps the two going is the goodwill they receive from people. Every month, a forward is sent out through Toy Box and people get back with major donations about every two weeks. “By major donations, we mean a small carful of toys, books and sometimes clothes enough for 30-35 kids,” quips Shruti.

Toy Box, which has so far donated toys to more than 150 kids, believes the initiative requires research before they select a place for donation. “We donate to both institutions and underprivileged children we meet at traffic signals and those sleeping on pavements. If we are giving toys to street children, we make sure these are the children we see at the same spot regularly; we go back to them to do a kind of follow-up. Institutions need comparatively less scrutiny, but we make sure we do a follow-up, visit fairly often, just to make sure that we are fulfilling the entire purpose of Toy Box,” says Juhi.

The duo who have solely relied on social media and word-of-mouth to spread the word about Toy Box, have donated toys and books to children at St. Catherine’s orphanage, Bandra; St. Jude’s Cancer Center, Parel; Desire Society for Children suffering from AIDS in Goregaon’ Neev in Vile Parle; and street children at Bandra, Colaba, Churchgate and Charni Road across the city.

Furthermore, Juhi and Shruti are keen to work with child labourers. Currently, Toy Box is helping to set up a library for Nehru Nagar Municipal School in Kurla, in collaboration with a Teach for India fellow. To chalk out time amid their busy schedules, the duo makes sure weekends are only for Toy Box work. “We have to compromise on our social life a bit but we love it,” say the two.


Hyderabad Climbing Championships on Dec. 21

The championships will attract more than 50 top climbers.The championships will attract more than 50 top climbers.

Greater Hyderabad Adventure Club (GHAC) is organising the Hyderabad Climbing Championships-2013 at Khajaguda hillocks, Gachibowli on December 21 (Saturday). A workshop on rock climbing for schoolchildren will also be organised from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the occasion. GHAC members said the championships would attract over 50 top climbers from various parts of the country. Event director Ranga Vutukuru said the city had some of the best rock formations in the country ideal for rock climbing. “But we are still a long way in catching up with cities like Mumbai and Bangalore which have a large number of climbers,” he added. For details call 98490-11006.

Artist showcases reverse acrylic painting style

Artist Sayeeda Ali at her solo exhibition at GITAM School of Architecture.

Artist Sayeeda Ali who is popular for her unique style, reverse painting on transparent acrylic sheet, exhibited her works at GITAM School of Architecture at GITAM University on Monday.

She interacted with architecture students and took them on a colourful journey into the world of her work. She explained the techniques behind the reverse paining to the inquisitive students.

Ms Sayeeda’s works have been exhibited in galleries in India, Canada, Paris, France and USA and are a part of public and private collections across the world. She is getting ready to showcase her works at the India Art Festival in Mumbai that will be held between December 19 and 21. GITAM School of Architecture Director GVS Sai, Prof. Mohan, Student Affairs Director K. Veerabhadram were among those who appreciated her works.


The good old way

HEALTH Fight the battle of the bulge with traditional diets.

Obesity is a pressing health problem plaguing Indians and can be tackled properly by reverting to a traditional diet comprising pulses, coarse grains and vegetables, experts said.

“We should go back to a traditional diet and this can be ensured by giving up junk food items and choosing fresh vegetables and fruits,” nutritionist Anjali Mukherjee said.

She said it was up to parents to ensure their children pick up good eating habits and put pressure on schools to ensure junk food is not available in canteens.

Obesity is a pressing health problem for India and there are more and more people who are dying because they are eating excess food, she said.

According to Muffazal Lakdawala, founder, Centre for Obesity and Diabetes Surgery and head of the Department of Minimal Access and Bariatric Surgery, Saifee Hospital, Mumbai, the number of obese has doubled since the 1980s.

“Today, obesity causes more health issues than we know,” he said.

Arya M. Sharma, professor of medicine at the University of Alberta, Canada, said: “We don’t have a cure for obesity. We are still not able to understand obesity.”

Psychoanalyst and writer Susie Orbach blamed industries dealing with fitness for creating an obsession with thinness, especially among women.

“Obesity can also be seen as an eating disorder. We need to understand more why people eat when they are not hungry,” she said.

Seeking to explore the psychology behind weight issues, Orbach said, “When people are overeating or under-eating, then they are looking for solutions to their problems”.