Test Your Creativity!




Addas of Kolkata

Kolkata Addas

Coffee House, College street, Kolkata

Kolkata has long enjoyed a reputation for its cheerful street culture, languid afternoons, and creative spirit. The city has embraced both intellectual curiosity and geniality as a way of life ever since its days as the early capital of British India, and nothing demonstrates this better than the very Bengali pastime of addas. 

Addas are best described as communal discussions that are informal, unrestrained by time, and usually conducted over several cups of tea/coffee. An adda can be either impromptu or pre-planned, meandering, or moderated, cerebral, or trivial, and therefore demonstrates the power to bring together different themes and groups of people. Topics of discussion at an adda could range from anything between familial rants to Iranian foreign policy. As Kolkata’s history and famous Bangla songs might indicate, these ritualised hang-outs have contributed greatly to the city’s cultural life. Whether they happen at a roadside tea stall or a coffee shop, they tend to remain at the heart of residents’ memories and experiences.

Today, as a result of rapidly evolving lifestyles and restrictions on physical meetings, addas have evolved too. Some rendezvouses now occur on Zoom, while many others simply have to wait. But as an undeniable part of Bengali cultural heritage, there’s no doubt that the spirit of adda is very much around, biding time for its next cup of tea.


Coffee Dates

The traditional dallah of coffee in Dubai.

If you thought the qahwa was a Kashmiri tea drink, prepare to have your mind blown.

The qahwa (also known as gahwa) is also an Arabic coffee drink prepared by brewing ground beans with cardamom pods (also other spices sometimes). It is bitter in taste, as opposed to the sweet tea variant, and is therefore always served with dates. 

Coffee first emerged in the Arab world around the 15th century. The story goes that a few hundred years earlier, a goatherd in Ethiopia noticed that his goats would get especially frisky after chewing on a specific kind of red berry. The monks in Yemen were also able to stay awake through the night prayers after sipping a brew of the same fruit. Soon, this miraculous discovery found its way to the ports of the country, and the rest, as they say, is history (guess the OG G.O.A.T. were goats indeed!).

Today, coffee is a big part of the culture in the UAE. If you visit Dubai (which is scheduled to allow entry of flights from India in two weeks), you’ll likely be greeted with this drink, poured from a traditional brass coffee pot into ornate ceramic cups with no handles. The servings are small but constantly topped up until you indicate otherwise, by shaking your cup.

Dubai also has a museum to celebrate UAE’s rich history of coffee – something to do (other than shopping) the next time you’re there!



Half of My Heart is in Havana


On the colorful streets of Havana, Cuba

From Chevy Bel-Airs to Ford Fairlanes, you see an almost candy-like assortment of cars on the streets of Cuba.

Wondering why these old, colourful cars line its streets? Up until the early 1950s, Cuba was one of the largest buyers of American cars. But soon after it fell into a communist regime, a trade embargo was imposed, and Cuba stopped importing new cars. So, over the years, old cars have been revamped and Cuba is now said to live in an "automotive time warp"!


Mist-ical Springs of Japan

A Japan sojourn is, in all likelihood, incomplete without a trip to one or more of its legendary onsens, or hot water springs, situated in the midst of absolutely stunning scenery.

The nation is home to more than 27,000 such springs, many of which are revered for their mystical, beneficial properties. And for centuries, it has been believed that bathing in the water of these onsens cures the body as well as the soul. As most of them are of volcanic origin, the water is rich in minerals that have many curative effects: Not only are they effective in treating aches and pains of all kinds, they have also been widely regarded as an important part of the skincare and beauty regime of the Japanese, especially Japanese women.



Test Your Creativity!

A Burst of Colours Around Face

“Hustle” and “get creative”. These are the two most common phrases used in the professional space these days. While there’s much to be said about the first, researchers from McGill University, Harvard University, and the University of Melbourne have come up with something very interesting for the latter. 

This international cohort of researchers has devised a  four-minute test that could reveal the creative potential that lies within each participant.

How do you do it? Just think of 10 “wildly unrelated” words – in definition, category, or concept – and input them on their website (linked above). The algorithms will compute the degree of divergent thinking you are able to showcase and give you a score. It will also tell you what the score means, and where you rank in terms of other participants.

But keep in mind, this test only checks a particular type of creativity– divergent thinking (the other kind being convergent thinking, which allows us to come up with the best solution taking a variety of things into consideration).

“According to Jay Olson, the creator of the Divergent Association Task, that’s just a ‘sliver’—but it’s the first step toward understanding creativity more broadly, and subsequently, how it might be cultivated in the minds of the next generation,” an article in  Fast Company noted.

We tried it. It’s super quick, fun, anonymous and will definitely leave you wanting more! 

Image credits: lbb.kolkata/Instagram, henryfaun/Instagram, visitjapan_uk/Instagram

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