Plan: A summer trek
Summer treks in Uttarakhand’s high Himalayas are among the highlights for the trekking enthusiast. While Garhwal usually gets all the glory, Kumaon has some great treks too. Most are severely restricted because they swing so close to the Tibetan border but there remain some high glacier treks which can be approached from the southern face of the Great Himalayan Range, mostly up the Pindar river valley and its tributary valleys. The Pindari, Sunderdhunga and Kafni glaciers on the southern face of the Nanda Devi National Park each lead to high passes that require serious mountaineering chops. You can trek to the three glaciers in two officially mandated windows this year. Right now, you have till 15 June; the second window is post-monsoon, from 15 September-15 October. So what are you waiting for?
Listen: Design for life
Design is, and has always been, omnipresent. The very squiggles and symbols you are looking at now, as you read this, are a result of design decisions, by creators and users, to achieve a certain tone and ease of reading. Similarly, if your back isn’t forcing you to rethink the chair you are sitting on, you have a designer to thank. In Designed This Way, podcast host Kawal Oberoi talks to Indian designers whose work we tend to take for granted.
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The latest episode is a conversation with Parimal Parmar, a typeface designer who has worked with the Indian Type Foundry and is responsible for typefaces like ITF Gujarati and Lava Devanagari. Older episodes have veterans such as Singanapalli Balaram, who drafted the curricula for various design schools and has designed products ranging from tongue cleaners to bicycles. So far, Oberoi has recorded over 30 episodes—a good archive of long conversations glimmering with insights into creative lives.
Available on Soundcloud, Apple Music and Spotify
Explore: Your favourite authors
The Jaipur Literature Festival has released all its author sessions on its YouTube channel. Held in the Pink City from 5-15 March, these are conversations on language, fiction and non-fiction. There is a discussion with Sanjiv Saraf, founder of the Urdu literary organisation Rekhta, on his year-old book, Love Longing Loss, where he explores romance through the prism of Urdu couplets by great poets. A discussion with Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee about his recent recipe book, Cooking To Save Your Life, underlines how anecdotes and examples from economics lend cooking perspective. One of the most riveting sessions is with Sohaila Abdulali, who speaks about reclaiming her story of being gang-raped and underlines the need to tell more stories, across the spectrum. If you want to know which books to read, listening to authors speak about them is a good place to start.
Read: A story of space in the future
Named after one of the seas of the Moon—Mare Tranquillitatis, where Neil Armstrong performed his giant leap for mankind—this new novel by the best-selling author of Station Eleven tells a story so grand in scope that it, fittingly, aims to tell the story of all humanity. Sea Of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel shuttles between the early 20th century and hundreds of years in the future when human beings have colonised space and the Moon.
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At the heart of the novel are characters whose lives crisscross—a device the author uses often, to great effect. It also uses the device of a novel-within-a-novel (one of the characters is a writer who has just written a pandemic novel) to articulate certain truths about the pandemic we are still living through. If Station Eleven was often called prescient in the early days of covid-19, this, then, is the post-pandemic novel we have been waiting for, told in Mandel’s magical voice and with an urgent plot that will keep you turning pages breathlessly.