Compiled by Nabilah Ibrahim
Last year, in December, I went to the exhibition Fragments of Paradise by Denis Polge at the Alliance Française in New Delhi. Being a nature lover and dealing a lot with spirituality in my own works, I found Polge’s paintings interesting. He uses distemper techniques made with ink washes on Thai papers to demonstrate the imagery of flowers. Paul Gauguin is also an inspiring artist. He was part of the impressionist movement and then of the new style of painting known as symbolism. His use of broken rhythmical brushwork, texture and colour has fascinated me, especially in his works depicting life in islands such as Tahiti or the Marquises.
Shukla is a Delhi-based artist
I recently read Sebastian Haffner’s Germany: Jekyll and Hyde: An Eye-Witness Analysis of Nazi Germany. Haffner fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s and wrote this book in 1940. I think it is the most important contemporary critique of the time. The book is well-written, although there are some gaps in logic besides praise of the Churchill government. I also recommend Beautiful Thing, a non-fiction written by Indian reporter and writer Sonia Faleiro. The story is set in an obscure world of Mumbai’s dance bars with a reporter as the main character. The book has been written with a great deal of respect and care.
Ahmad is a Delhi-based writer
One of the films I recently watched was A Single Man by Tom Ford. I really enjoyed this story about an English professor coming to terms with daily life after his partner’s death, and the bond he develops with one of his students. Ford, who is also a fashion designer, has made a good debut film with stylish characters. My favourite filmmaker is Wong Kar-Wai. I love the mood he sets up in his movies through beautiful shots and compositions. I especially liked In the Mood for Love. The film is in its own way romantic and melodramatic, and the music is also quite fascinating.
Suri is a Delhi-based artistic director of Cine Darbaar
A musician I admire a lot is Paco de Lucía. He is a Spanish guitarist and composer of flamenco and jazz. He is literally a virtuoso of guitar. His music is captivating, especially in his fantastic album Friday Night in San Francisco with Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin. I also enjoy listening to Natalie Merchant, who is an American singer. She was part of a band, 10,000 Maniacs, and then started her solo career. She has an interesting voice, which is different from what we usually think a typical pretty voice is.
Singh is a percussionist based in Delhi
One of my favourite restaurants is Graze at the Taj Residency in Bengaluru. They serve delicious and high-quality European food. What I like the most is that they don’t arrange the dishes in an Indian way. It helps you find an authentic and fine European food. I had a good experience there, and particularly enjoyed their pan-fried John Dory, which is a fish served with two sauces. I also recommend Kubay at Koramangala, Bengaluru. This restaurant serves nice coastal seafood. The prices are affordable and the quality is excellent. I thought their Mangalorean prawn curry was delicious.
Menon is a chef based in Bengaluru