was pad­ding ev­ery­where! Even in your thighs!”

Ta­man­naah’s ac­claimed di­rec­tor in Baahubali, S.S. Ra­jamouli, re­vealed with just weeks to go be­fore the sec­ond part’s much-an­tic­i­pated re­lease that his long-term dream is to do a Baahubali-scale epic cin­e­matic ver­sion of the Ma­hab­harata, an an­nounce­ment that drew cheers.

The con­clave ended on a thought­ful note, with lead­ing women pub­lic fig­ures, in­clud­ing Ki­ran Bedi, Leela Samson, Khushboo Sun­dar and Suhasini Mani Rat­nam re­flect­ing on the na­ture of bias in pub­lic life. Most had good words for how the south fared on this count. “I think there is a lib­er­a­tion of the mind here. A per­son might be con­ser­va­tive in some ways but there’s a lib­er­ated mind,” said the ac­claimed clas­si­cal dancer Samson. Bedi, now the lieu­tenant gov­er­nor of Puducherry, said she doesn’t “see women in Puducherry as be­ing as un­safe as they are in Delhi, my city. I see greater re­spect, I see them safer and walk­ing in the late evenings, Puducherry chief min­is­ter and much more at peace”.

Not ev­ery­one con­curred. Jairam Ramesh, Ra­jya Sabha MP and for­mer Union min­is­ter, struck a dif­fer­ent note the pre­vi­ous day when he said he would choose to live in north In­dia and that peo­ple were “more tol­er­ant and more cos­mopoli­tan in Bi­har, UP and Jhark­hand”. The Chen­nai-based ra­dio jockey, RJ Balaji, had a fit­ting re­sponse for him: “We would be most happy to find Mr Ramesh a house in Bi­har.” Who said they lacked hu­mour south of the Vind­hyas?

De­mon­eti­sa­tion is a thought in the right di­rec­tion, but can In­dia do it at one go? Where is the in­fras­truc­ture for a less cash econ­omy? We have 2.14 lakh ATMs for 1.3 bil­lion peo­ple.”

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