Celebrated author, educator and philanthropist Sudha Murty left a packed hall of all age groups at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) captivated and craving for more just as her books do even at the age of 72.
Her session, titled ‘Tales of Grandma’, was the highlight of the day and the organisers even had to shut the doors midway into the session after the alleys also filled up with people standing. Many trooped in a little late because there were no clear directions on the agenda.
The love and affection from the children and parents alike, clamouring for pictures, blessings and signed autographs on her books, became so overbearing that the SCRF security had to called it off fearing a stampede on the dias.
Ms Murty, awarded India’s highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan last month, regaled the audience with tales as a grandmother would. Asked to choose a favourite among her published works, she said: “It is difficult to ask a mother to choose between her children, and my books are my children.” the author of 44 books (29 in English and 15 in Kannada) acknowledged that she now releases one book a year.
To an interesting question about embracing technology through mediums such as podcasts to deliver her stories, Ms Murty gave a revealing confession. “I have always been comfortable just writing. Lately, I have been told that I need to look into new formats to share my stories. Podcasts are not for me. However, I recently requested my daughter to look into the possibility of audiobooks”.
Ms Murty’s advice to the young audience is to develop hobbies. “It can be anything, even one is fine if you pursue it in all earnest without letting your studies get affected. In fact, the hobby will help you focus on your studies, while also helping you become a better person.”
For the uninitiated, most of Ms Murty’s books are based on her real-life experiences, and hence “non-fiction to a large extent,” she said. Among her latest works has been a three-book set: Gopi Diaries. Citing the latest trilogy as an example, Ms Murty revealed that Gopi in the book is actually his dog. She also shared anecdotes of how the dog was initially unwanted, but ended up becoming “my son” within a year of entering the household.
Ms Murty is a philanthropist and wife of tech multinational Infosys head Narayan Murthy. Their daughter Akshata is married to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Recently, a video of her casual chat about Sunak went viral.
House of Wisdom visit
The author then visited the House of Wisdom (HoW), Sharjah’s iconic cultural centre and futuristic library, where she was introduced to the emirate’s efforts to promote culture, knowledge and innovation amongst the younger generation in the UAE and beyond. She sifted through HoW’s exhaustive physical and digital archives and was briefed on the various programmes and initiatives led by HoW to stimulate imaginations and boost cross-cultural understanding and exchange.
As part of her tour through HoW’s world-class facilities, Ms Murty stopped at the Little Reader section, where she was briefed on the events and workshops that are designed exclusively for children in order to develop their skills in a variety of areas. She also reviewed the wide-ranging collection of children and young adult titles in English, Arabic and other languages.
Mother Teresa International awards felicitates UAE and global achievers
The 113th birth anniversary of Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu MC, better known as Mother Teresa, was celebrated with great splendour at Conrad Hotel in Dubai by felicitating achievers in various sectors. The awards ceremony has been a regular feature in India since 2005 and has now taken an international flavour for the first time.
Recognised as Saint Teresa of Calcutta – canonised in September of 2016 – she was born on August 26, 1910, and gained fame as the initiator of the Missionaries of Charity. By 2012, this organisation had grown to include more than 4,500 sisters serving in 133 nations. Mother Teresa devoted herself to aiding the most destitute individuals and received several notable awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize.
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The narrative of the awards unfolds from the inception of the All India Minority and Weaker Sections Council, a non-political body founded by the late Prafulla Chandra Sen, former Chief Minister of West Bengal, and Anthony Biswas, accompanied by several other esteemed figures.
In the aftermath of Saint Teresa’s passing in 1997, the council established the Mother Teresa International and Millennium Award Committee. This committee was entrusted with the responsibility of annually identifying and honoring eminent personalities who have displayed excellence in various domains including Education, Science, Culture, Sports, Social Work, Medicine, Industry, and Politics within the nation. Justice Shyamal Sen, former Governor of West Bengal and former Chief Justice of Calcutta, stands as the chief patron of these awards.
The glittering awards function in Dubai on Saturday acknowledged outstanding individuals from both the UAE and around the world. Shyam Bhatia, a well-known figure in Dubai’s business scene and a cricket enthusiast, took the lead as patron of the award show. Joining him were four remarkable panelists, including Dr TH Ireland, principal of St James’ School in Kolkata and the committee chairman.
Among the illustrious panelists was the vibrant Usha Uthup, an accomplished artist whose career spans over five decades. With a close association with Mother Teresa, Uthup shared heartfelt stories of their interactions during both joyful and trying times. Her presence during Mother Teresa’s final moments showcased the depth of their bond. Another enchanting moment happened when she and Dubai-based Bollywood actor Kalpana Iyer took the stage together for a magical musical performance.
Philanthropist Ahmad Al Falasi, known as the Hope-maker of the UAE, was also part of the panel. His relentless efforts to bring medical aid to those in need around the world show his commitment to making the world better. His work in African medical facilities, including setting up dialysis centers, highlighted his dedication. Falasi’s readiness to help during the recent earthquake in Turkey showcased his humanitarian spirit.
Sacha Jafri, a well-known artist based in Dubai, added an artistic touch to the evening. In just 20 minutes, he created a touching artwork right before the audience’s eyes. Sacha Jafri was also among the awardees honoured on the night. His collaboration with NASA to place his creation on the Lunar Surface is groundbreaking. This artwork, titled ‘We Rise Together with the Light of the Moon’, represents hope and unity for humanity. With an estimated auction value of an astonishing $105 million USD, Jafri’s work is poised to set a new record.
The event was graced by Dubai’s crème de la crème, and attendees were enthralled by the captivating dance performances of the mother-daughter actor/artiste duo, Indrani Dutta and Rajnandini Paul.
In the heart of Dubai, an evening of celebration, camaraderie, and inspiration unfolded, marking a remarkable chapter in the annals of awards and accolades.
Over a span of 22 years, the award ceremony has celebrated remarkable individuals such as Dr Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister of India, Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, the distinguished musician and singer late Manna Dey, Ajit Wadekar, former coach & captain of the Indian cricket team, alongside a multitude of other notable personas.
Dubai store to hold Book Lovers Day celebration with free coffee
To mark the occasion of the Book Lovers Day (August 9), Bookends, a Dubai-based store for pre-loved books (second-hand) is bringing together avid readers and curious minds in Silicon Oasis on Saturday.
The free-to-attend event will be held on August 12 from 11am-1pm at the Bookends Store in Dubai Digital Park, Silicon Oasis with some pre-loved books as low as just two dirhams, and coffee is on the house.
The event will offer a chance to the attendees to browse through thousands of second-hand books for cheap, partake in ‘bookish’ games, discover stories hidden in pages, meet up with fellow book lovers, and more.
Author Purva Grover, who is also the Brand Ambassador for Bookends, will be hosting the event, alongside owners Grace and Somia, the heart & soul behind Bookends.
The Book Lovers Day is an occasion when everyone is encouraged to put away their smartphones and celebrate books, reading, literature, and more. The store’s aim is to make books affordable to spread the love for stories further.
Free to attend. Sat Aug 12, 11am-1pm. Dubai Digital Park, Silicon Oasis, Dubai bookends.ae (050 362 1164).
Tickets go on sale for Global T20 Canada league
Tickets sales have commenced from Monday for the highly anticipated third season of the Global T20 Canada that runs from July 20 to August 6. The marque tournament, returning after a three-year pandemic induced hiatus, is scheduled to take place at the CAA centre in Brampton.
This year, the exciting mix of teams will feature Toronto Nationals, Brampton Wolves, Montreal Tigers and Vancouver Knights along with the two debutants – Surrey Jaguars and Mississauga Panthers.
The season will see each franchise play seven matches in the group stages. In the play-off phase, the top two teams will play each other in Qualifier 1 for a coveted berth in the finals. The third and fourth-placed team from the group stages will battle it out in an Eliminator. Qualifier 2 will feature the winner of the Eliminator and the losing team from Qualifier 1, competing to register a spot in the finals.
Tickets are on sale at www.gt20.ca, ranging from $5 to $100 for the group stage matches. Tickets are also already available for the playoffs and the final. For ease of use, the platform also allows fans to pick tickets from $5, $10 and $15 categories as well. There is also an assortment of options for ardent fans with day passes available for double header match days, along with weekend passes and season passes in silver, gold and VIP categories.
Speaking on the upcoming tournament, CEO of Global T20, Richard Berridge, said: “The fan experience is vital to us. We have seen a great response in the previous editions and we are thrilled to bring an even more exciting season of the Global T20 Canada. Anticipating an incredible response, we invite fans to join us for a true cricketing spectacle in the region.”
Fans are undoubtedly in for an action packed season as this season will feature some of the finest players around the globe, including Harbhajan Singh, Tim Southee, Chris Gayle, Alex Hales, Shoaib Malik, and Shakib Al Hassan to name a few. Action picks up on July 20 when the home team Brampton Wolves will begin their campaign against new entrants Mississauga Panthers.