Category Archives: Arts & Culture


Leah is 17 years old – in Grade XII, and has been playing the violin for almost 10 years now.

She joined the Suzuki School of Violin in 2010 at Mumbai’s National Centre of Performing Arts (NCPA) at the age of 6.

In April 2019 she was one of the first lot of students to successfully complete the junior course of seven years of the SOI Music Academy with a concentration in solo violin and ensemble playing.

In September 2019 Leah was one of the 5 children chosen to play with the Adult SOI Orchestra in Mumbai, the opening concert of the SOI season.

Leah Divecha continued her violin training all through the Covid lockdown periods through online sessions.

In July 2021 Leah entered the Rocky Mountain Ensemble Music Summer Festival, (a Canada- Ontario based Competition) in her age category, accompanied on the piano by her friend and fellow student of the SOI Music School, Samia Jetha.

Leah submitted her version of Franz Schubert’s  Sonatina in A-minor , Op. 137, No. 2 and her entry was the 10,716th entry in the competition under various categories.  From all these entries, Leah stood second in the Judges poll in her Ensemble category – a panel of 8 Judges from all over the world.

They also won First place for the Audience Award.

Leah will be playing at the upcoming 12th World Zoroastrian Congress 2022 in New York City with the World Zoroastrian Symphony Orchestra.

Leah is very grateful for the guidance and patience of her teachers who were also given an award for their extraordinary dedication and achievement in the field of teaching music : Ms. Gulzara Shakir and Ms. Aida Bisengalieva,  as well as to violinist and founding Director of the SOI, Mr. Marat Bisengaliev.

Duty Queens In Conversation with Rashna Gazder | Hosted by Dr. Rakhshinda

Duty Queen – Madame Rashna Gazder is originally from Mumbai, India and is happily married since 31 years in Karachi,Pakistan. She has been teaching the Piano, French and Spanish languages privately. She is a Concert Pianist and has hosted Six major fundraising concerts for needy institutes in Karachi. Her group of pupils are called Harmony In Helping Hands. Rashna is also avidly into embroidery and art. Her seventh fundraiser in mid September is for Lady Dufferin Hospital Karachi,Pakistan.
– Hosted and Conceptualized by:
Dr. Rakhshinda : Founder Apna Wallet Think Tank , Kafe Kaam ??? ??? and Chamber of Women Social Entrepreneurs | Author | Public Health and Gender Expert

Parsi Handicrafts Artisan Fair

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The members of the Bangalore Chapter of the WZCC, once again, rise as stalwarts to promote entrepreneurs. In March of 2021 we promoted Foodpreneurs. This August we are promoting Parsi Artisans involved in Handicrafts. We have focused on those entrepreneurs who lack the means to advertise and promote sales of their art and craft. In addition we have also showcased many others who are making beautiful handicrafts…embroidery, sculpture, decoupage, jewellery, paintings, etc. We are proud to showcase artisans from all over the world and are grateful to them for helping us make this a pan-global event. We count on your support to promote these entrepreneurs and spread the word about their handicrafts.

Shernaz Cama – 20 years of research in Parsi Embroidery

Please see the links below and do spare some time to listen to the Presentation of 2O years of research in Parsi Embroidery.
I need to your support & help  to take this Project forward and create a seminal book to record one beautiful aspect of this ancient culture and world heritage.
Looking forward to your response. Thanks.
Shernaz Cama

Dance pioneer Astad Deboo passes away in Mumbai

‘His works represent an important segment in contemporary dance expression in India,’ the Sangeet Natak Akademi had said.

Dance pioneer Astad Deboo passed away in the early hours of Thursday, his family said in a brief announcement. He was 73.

“He left us in the early hours of December 10, at his home in Mumbai, after a brief illness, bravely borne,” the announcement on social media said. “He leaves behind a formidable legacy of unforgettable performances combined with an unswerving dedication to his art, matched only by his huge, loving heart that gained him thousands of friends and a vast, number of admirers.”

The announcement added: “The loss to the family, friends, fraternity of dancers, both classical and modern, Indian and international, is inestimable.May he rest in peace. We will miss him.”

Deboo is noted for creating a modern dance vocabulary that was uniquely Indian.

He “has created a dance-theatre style which successfully assimilates Indian and Western techniques”, said the citation for the the Sangeet Natak Akademi he received in 1995 for his contribution to contemporary creative dance and a Padma Shri in 2007.

“He has experimented with a variety of forms, themes, concepts and performance spaces, and has collaborated with other dancers, composers and designers to create innovative works of aesthetic value,” it said. “His works represent an important segment in contemporary dance expression in India.”

Deboo, who was born on July 13, 1947, in the town of Navsari in Gujarat, began to train in kathak under Prahlad Das in Kolkata and in kathakali under EK Pannicker.

“Later, he attended the London School of Contemporary Dance, learning Martha Graham’s modern dance technique, and learnt Jose Limon’s technique in New York,” the Akademi said. “He has also trained with Pina Bausch in the Wuppertal Dance Company, Germany, attended workshops of the Pilobolus Dance Company, and attended American Dance Festival classes in the United States.”

He was noted, among other collaborations, for his work with hearing impaired people and with street children.

In an interview with Ranjana Dave in in 2018 looking back on his 50-year career, Deboo said that he drawn in influences not only from dance but other artistic disciplines too.

“My main problem was that there were no dancers who wanted to work with me,” he said. “Indian classical dancers would come to me in order to start exploring their own language, but they were always afraid of being rusticated by their gurus. So, I turned to other performing arts disciplines – puppetry, thang ta and pung cholom. I liked that they had a vocabulary of movement I could create with.”

Read the interview here:

Astad Deboo looks back on his 50 years in dance and the time he travelled on a ship with goats

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Coomi Vevaina on Cyrus Says…

This week, Cyrus is joined by the joyous Dr. Coomi Vevaina, Educator, Storyteller, Researcher & Author. She is the former head of the Department of English, University of Mumbai. On this episode, Cyrus and Coomi talk about Coomi’s career, being a naughty child, how she sees her life as a dance in four sequences, being enthralled by the power of words, how she always wanted to do things that were innovative and new, her love for teaching creatively, the importance of getting students to be passionate about what they’re learning, her two PhDs in Literature and Education, her love for literature, being a trained western classical singer, the universality of holistic knowledge, how things that are new and unexplored always excited her, and lots lots more!

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Hear the podcast here –

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