Off the Cuff


The Theotokos Greek Orthodox Girl’s Orphanage was started in 1999 by Ignatios, the Bishop of Madagascar, and Sister Nektaria Paradisi, the orphanage’s current director. The orphanage provides food, shelter, love and education for over 100 Indian girls. In just the past year, it has adopted many girls, sent four to college and also opened a boy’s orphanage.
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A ‘love story’ of a Greek nun that just happened 




When Milan Bihlmann and Muammer Yilmaz  set out on a Journey across the world in 80 days, they didn’t have a penny in their pockets but a rich vision. And they owe their success to a large extent to the hundreds of kind hearts and helping hands that kept them going.  Abhijit Ganguly speaks to them during their stopover at Kolkata.
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Kind hearts, not coronets helped them make it. Travelling around the world without a penny 


Marissia Obando Razak, the grand daughter of Abdul Rezak, has been in Kolkata in search of her roots. Marissia elaborates,“ My grandfather came to Costa Rica with only one bag, a pair of pants and some shoes. He had no money and didn’t  get any financial help.
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Bengali by ancestry, Costa Rican by nationality, and in search for her roots


How often we have taken Chinese food. How often we have visited Chinese beauty parlours. How often we have visited Chinese dentists. How often we have bought shoes from Chinese footwear shops. 
We always use their services. But how many of us,  or how often,  care to know how they live,their settlements, what are the features what matters to them most as a community, how have they as a migrant ethnic community assimilated into Kolkata’s culture and society?

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The year: 2004. Angus Denoon, British and a chef, came to Kolkata as a tourist. He wanted to do a  short documentary on the city’s famed street food  and the faceless men  and women who run the business. The jhal muriwallah topped the  list of the  people he was keen to meet. To him, he looked more That non-descript man (or woman) was  like a human machine standing (and sometimes sitting) for hours moving his arms in a seemingly mechanical routine.
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A jhal-muriwallah in King Arthur’s Court!



Murray Molloy Sword Swallower Extraordinaire from Ireland has been performing and traveling all over the world from Australia to Laos and Portugal to Fiji, for more than fifteen years. He has performed on the street, in bars, clubs and festivals, in front of tribal chiefs and in the legendary Jim Rose Circus in America and the Edinburgh fringe festival. 
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My show is based on audience participation, I constantly push the crowd to react and interact with me - Murray Molloy


In 1978, Shiva invented email, while a 14-year-old high school, working as a research scholar at a small college in Newark, NJ.
Shiva invented and defined “email” as we all know and use today when he created a computer program which replicated electronically all of the functions of the interoffice paper-based mail system: Inbox, Outbox, Memo, Address Book, Attachments, Folders, etc. --- 
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A United Nations report in July said that India has the sixth highest prevalence of child marriage with one in every three child brides living in India.
In patriarchal societies like that of India, a girl child is often perceived as a burden by her family because she is not seen as a financial contributor and that her family has to be pay dowry to get her married. The cost of dowry can devastate a family financially; so many families do what they can to avoid paying a large dowry. 
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Roberto D’Andrea was a Melbourne tram conductor, Now he is the Director of The Connies, aperformance troupe, which has travelled back and forth between India and Australia forging a cross-cultural commitment to trams— not just as a practical means of transport, but as a way of life. Robertoshares his views with  Abhijit Ganguly.

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Ralph Simon is widely recognized as one of the founders of the modern global mobile entertainment and content industry. He has been a prominent mobile visionary, trailblazer and innovator for the past decade, helping in the growth of the world-wide mobile/wireless content and entertainment industries, and playing a central role in helping an international array of companies, start-ups, technologists and creative innovators grow their mobile applicability in the established and fast-developing international markets. 
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The Father of the Ring Tone’ rings an upbeat note


Over 30 years of professional experience in Europe, Asia, Brazil, Hollywood and New York in all genresof film and television, Prof. Karl  Bardosh  of  New York 
University has been an award-winning director, producer, writer, editor of features, shorts, television series and documentaries. He had  initiated the  world’s  first  network  television  educational  series  on  the Aesthetics  of  Film (Hungary, 1967). 

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Karen Lee is the numismatic curator at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research facilities and is administered by the United States government. 

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How important is India as a source market for South Africa? Where does it stand?
The importance of India as a source market for South Africa cannot be emphasized enough as India is an emerging travel market with massive growth potential. India’s economic growth is also expected to continue over the next 40 years and by 2050, India is expected to be among the top-three global economies.
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She lost four siblings to malnutrition and poverty and spent nine months living on the streets of Kolkata and under staircases. Then she found a home in the slums of Kidderpore where she grew up. Later on she moved to Delhi, did a secretarial course, and joined the Bank of America. She was made the President of the Charity Network, and was accorded a special package that allowed her to migrate to the UK. 
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An English millionaire from the slums of Kolkata



Sam Cawthorn’s personal life journey changed dramatically in October 2006 when he was involved in a major car accidentand died. He was resuscitated;but he had to live with an amputated right arm and a permanent disability in his right leg. He was hospitalized for over five months and confined to a wheelchair for close to a year.
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Guru Susanto Das Founder of the KSATRIYA MARTIAL ARTS SANGAM. Susanto Das is Auricular Acupuncturist, Psychotherapist Hypnotherapist NLP, and alternative/complimentary herbal medicine and healing massage therapist and Guru Martial Arts, Raja/Hatha Yoga instructor. He speaks to Abhijit Ganguly.
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Promoting the beauty and rich heritage of Indian Vedic and related Martial Arts


Jenny Balfour-Paul, Honorary Research Fellow at Exeter University, UK, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Royal Asiatic Society and  the Explorers Club and President of the UK Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, is author of two books on Indigo.
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"Indigo is the world’s only natural blue dye" - Jenny Balfour-Paul



At 2l, Captain Tan has become the youngest person to fly solo around the world, completing a journey of more than22,000 nautical miles in 50 days. Capt Tan’s historical flight – in a single-engine Cessna 2l0 Eagle – took him to 20countries. He shares his experience with Abhijit Ganguly.
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A single engine Cessna, the globe, and a 21-year old daredevil




Martine Batchelor spent ten years in a Korean monastery studying Zen Buddhism. She works as a lecturer and spiritual advisor, and her books include Principles of Zen, Walking on Lotus Flowers, and Buddhism and Ecology. She lives in the South of France. She speaks to Abhijit Ganguly.
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"Many people are using mindfulness in the workplace and benefiting from it" - Martine Batchelor





Chef Pasqualino Barbasso is a man with a mission-to make high quality Italian pizza and do it in the most entertaining way. This 36 year-old pizzaiolo is among the most skilful, famous masters of acrobatic pizza-making. In the last ten years, Pasqualino has travelled around the world offering his stunning performances to enhance the quality and taste of Italian pizzas made according to true Italian tradition.
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"Acrobatic pizza–maker" - Chef Pasqualino Barbasso


Maria Amor Torres, eldest daughter of HRH Tuangku Dr. Datu Camad Ali, princess of the Royal House of Balo-i, also known as H.H. Queen Maria IV, one of the governess queens of the Queen Shebah’s Council of the Federation of the South Kingdoms is the Founder and President of the We Care for Humanity, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide education, health and empowerment to the underprivileged and under served women and children.
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A princess who serves humanity



Alan is an ex-national President of Mountaineering Ireland. He has done first ascents of numerous rock climbs in Ireland and edited the 2001 rock climbing guide to Donegal. Recently, he was in Kolkata as a guest speaker for the second Sujal Mukherjee Memorial Lecture. Abhijit Ganguly speaks to him.
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The last four decades of chaos and warfare have had a devastating effect on Afghanistan. To help in post-war rehabilitation and reintegration, the Cultural and Empowerment Organization for Afghans (CEOA), was established in 2011. It is a develop-oriented, non-partisan, non-profit, body which has focused on its projects in various close and remote provinces of the country apart from Kabul, its capital.

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" We wanted to serve the war-affected people. War-affected children need help the most."- Farooq Yaqoobi


I first learned of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) as a university student on an overseas internship. I spent a few months pushing papers, but the papers that came across my desk were not the kind one easily forgets. The organization I worked with dealt a lot with transnational illicit trade: guns, drugs, and other illegal goods. Then, one day, there was this photo that came to my desk - a woman, a teenager really, who had gone missing. The photo was overtly sexual, an advertisement found on some back-channel illegal website. She was strikingly beautiful and her pose bespoke confidence, a celebration of sensuality.
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"No society or culture teaches the commodification of human beings without economic impetus to do so."


Giddy Perez is an international touring spoken-word poet, teaching artist and Cultural Ambassador. She is originally from Brooklyn, New York, currently residing in Tampa, Fl. Some of her competition accolades include ranking 10th in the world at the Women of the World Individual Poetry Slam in 2014 and placing 2nd with her team in 2011 and 2013 at Southern Fried Poetry Slam, the 2nd largest poetry slam competition in the country. 
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"Spoken word is a powerful tool for self-expression, empowerment, and activism."



Carole Poirier is a politician in the Canadian province of Quebec, and was elected to represent the Hochelaga- Maisonneuve district in the National Assembly of Quebec in the 2008 provincial election. She is a member of the Parti Québécois (PQ). Carole, in her role as the official spokesperson for the Official Opposition in the Quebec Assembly for matters related to International affairs, has the opportunity to interact with representatives from other nations.
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"Women in positions of power strive towards social justice and egalitarianism"





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