Devi – Devdutt Pattanaik’s introductory book on the Mother Goddess is a mythical treat

Devdutt Patnaik and his book Devi

Lately, Devdutt Pattanaik has risen as a household name for mythological books in India. Pattanaik is not just a mythologist but an illustrator, speaker, and author. His sacred lore, legends, folklore, fables, and parables are largely based on the areas of myth, religion, mythology, and management.

The author opines that “no society can exist without myth as it creates notions of right and wrong, good and bad, heaven and hell, rights and duties”. He adds that mythology “tells people how they should see the world… Different people will have their own mythology, reframing old ones or creating new ones.”

On the advent of the Goddess, we bring you Pattanik’s book on the Mother Goddess which goes by the name – Devi, The Mother Goddess: An Introduction.

This book by Devdutt is an attempt to understand the meaning of goddess worship in our time. Written in a simple narrative style, it takes us through Shakta (Devi worship) imagery, philosophy, beliefs, customs, history, folklore, and myth.

Devi reaches to young and old alike, bringing together tales of Adi-Maya-Shakti, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Parvati, Kali, Durga as well as several village-goddesses such as Kanyakumari, Vaishnav-Devi, Bahucharmata and heroines such as Anasuya, Arundhati, and Savitri.

Highlights of the book include lucid explanations and a pictorial key to numerous symbols associated with Shakta customs and Tantrik rituals, a map showing important Devi temples, a bibliography for those interested in learning more, and over 150 illustrations.

This handy book holds the power of feminity explained through the divine. It can often be confusing to encounter a contradictory collection of narratives, such as with the village goddess traditions of India, but the book does an excellent job of explaining the phenomenon.

Devdutt Pattanaik does not disappoint in his endeavors to make the infinitely exotic Hindu faith, and its myriad legends, rituals, and beliefs comprehensible and accessible to everyone.

maa durga images

“Let me meditate on the supreme goddess who is existence itself, who sits on the lotus, who rides the tiger, who plays the lute, whose divine form dazzles gods, demons and humans, whose womb contains Time and Space, who embodies cosmic energy, who holds in her hands the implements of life and the instruments of death, who spins the cycle of existence as she creates and destroys all that is, was and will be and who empowers and enriches devotees with the ability to accept and appreciate the unfathomable universe.” – Excerpts from the book.


Indian-origin poet Bhanu Kapil makes it to the shortlist of T.S. Eliot Prize


Indian-origin poetess, Bhanu Kapil, has been shortlisted among 10 artists for the 2020 T.S. Eliot Prize, named after the renowned 20th-century American-British poet.

Kapil, born in England and grown up in London, made it to the Prize with her poem – ‘How to Wash a Heart’. The poetry explores the relationship between an immigrant guest and a citizen host. It is her first poetry collection to be published in the UK and is drawn from a performance in London last year. Critics have praised it for using poetry as a mode of interrogation.

“In a time of increasing hostility against migrants, Kapil demonstrates how survival tunes the guest to its host with devastating intimacy,” quotes publisher Liverpool University Press, in reference to the work shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.

The prize is considered one of the most valuable prizes in British poetry and the only major poetry prize judged purely by established poets. It comes with a winner’s cheque worth GBP 25,000 and the shortlisted poets receive cheques worth GBP 1,500 each.

Kapil’s poem has been selected out of 153 entries. Others in the shortlist include – includes Natalie Diaz for ‘Postcolonial Love Poem’; Sasha Dugdale for ‘Deformations‘; Ella Frears for ‘Shine, Darling’; Will Harris for ‘RENDANG‘; Wayne Holloway Smith for ‘Love Minus Love’; Daisy Lafarge for ‘Life Without Air’; Glyn Maxwell for ‘How the hell are you’; Shane McCrae for ‘Sometimes I Never Suffered’; and J.O. Morgan for ‘The Martian’s Regress’.

The author/poet who has dual citizenship has spent 21 years at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and has six books of poetry and prose to her credit, including ‘The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers’, ‘Schizophrene’ and ‘Ban en Banlieue’.

She has won the Windham-Campbell Prize, in the poetry category in recognition of her literary achievements earlier this year.

The T. S. Eliot Prize was inaugurated in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society’s 40th birthday and honor its founding poet, T.S. Eliot. It is awarded every year to the author of the best new collection of poetry, published in the UK and Ireland. This year’s results are slated to be unveiled in January 2021.

Utsab: A family drama by maestro Rituparno Ghosh that captured the best of Durga Pujo

Durga Pujo is here. But this year things are not the same. The festive fervor is dull with faces covered by masks. The terror of losing one’s life is not only killing the mood but taking away millions of livelihoods.

In such a time, The Hyderabad Review has decided to re-introduce some of the best pieces of film and literature that will lift your soul from all that’s gloomy.

Pujo is an indispensable part of every Bengali’s life. Whether they are abroad or in the busy streets of Kolkata, the goddess calls upon their hearts every year magically to offer respect to her.

The film I am writing about is a masterpiece of the legendary director Rituparno Ghosh. Released exactly 20 years ago in 2000, Utsab is a story of a family that comes together every year in their ancestral Rajbari(Palace) to celebrate Durga Pujo. The word Utsab means festival which is a very apt title that Ghosh chose for his film as the film revolves around Pujo.

As per the plot, the characters comprise Bhagbati (Madhabi Mukherjee) who has four children; two sons Asit (Pradip Mukherjee), Nishit (Bodhisattva Mazumdar), and two daughters, Parul (Mamata Shankar) and Keya (Rituparna Sengupta). It is the festival time and all the children are at the house to celebrate the festival. Meanwhile, Shishir, (Deepankar De) a relative who is also a big real estate agent, is interested to buy the house. Most of the family members agree to do so. The old and traditional house does not interest anyone anymore and the members have individual problems to solve with the money, they might receive from selling it.

The movie represents the undying efforts of an entire community to hold on to its ancestry yet failing to do so with the advent of modernity. This is symbolic of the year 2000 itself which marked a new millennial era of vulnerable society. Only the goddess is constant in the entire film through which the characters pass by with their memories of Pujo.

Ghosh is unconventional and so are his films, Utsab being one of them. Though it is a family drama, it is very blunt when it comes to showing the complexity of relationships. There is no filter for the hypocrisy, pain, love, and identity crisis that the story holds. At a time when Barjatiya’s films were a hit, Ghosh was bold enough to show incest. His experiments didn’t just end there. He incorporated feminism, extramarital affairs, and domestic abuse, all in a subtle and natural manner, leaving the audience with lingering thoughts.

A brewing romance between first cousins Joy, Parul’s son, and Shompa, Nishit’s daughter, created a huge hue and cry among the critics post the film’s release.

Each of the characters exposed their vulnerabilities in the film. The family’s favorite daughter Parul confessed about her pathetic marriage. The second son Nishit disclosed that he had been laid off from his high-flying corporate job and the youngest daughter Keya came clean about her husband Arun’s alcoholism and their consequent financial distress. All the revelations were already shown as a premonition through various actions of the characters in the plot’s course.

Nothing is unnatural about the film or its narration and characters. Indian society is in denial of accepting things that do not conform to standards but that doesn’t change the reality.

If you haven’t watched the film yet, this is the best time to grab some popcorn/jhalmuri and get cozy in front of your home theatres.


Girl In White Cotton – The story of a hurt daughter and her damaged mother

Girl in White Cotton by Avni Doshi

My grandmother has been confined to her house for several years now. She wouldn’t talk to anyone, forget things, accuse everyone out of nothing, and never agree to move. None of her children except my mother takes care of her. We visit her sometimes and there are a set of people who provide her food and amenities as we pay them. So, yes I do relate with Avni Doshi’s – Girl In White Cotton.

When I held the book and read the first line – “I would be lying if I said my mother’s misery has never given me pleasure,” my soul shook. The picture of my own mother struggling to take care of her senile mom came before my eyes.

The old have always been unloved and neglected, the reason being that age makes a person difficult to deal with. It’s not just the physical incapability but the generation gap and the mental distortions – like Alzheimer’s that creeps in. The modern world has the least patience to handle all this.

Burnt Sugar or Girl In White Cotton is the story of Tara and her daughter Antara. Tara is a self-centered mother who leaves her first husband of whom Antara is born. She then lives with a Baba in an ashram who leaves her eventually. All along, Antara feels left out and holds anguish for her mother. On growing up, Antara created a heaven of her life and lived with her husband in affluence. As time passed, Antara’s anger towards her mother magnified when Tara got old and was forgetting things. Though Antara doesn’t live with her mother at that time, she soon revisits her mother’s past and gets irked by the uncanny resemblance between the two.

If you are a patriarch or believe that a mother should never care for herself but her child, then Girl In White Cotton is not the book for you. It is for those who see and respect the variety of characters that live in this vast world. And it is for those who see a woman/mother as a human with all rights to make mistakes, fail, and be reckless. The protagonist is not an ideal mother that women are expected to be. You may hate her just the way Antara did, which is perfectly fine. But what you should technically take home from this book is that it respects women not conforming to standards by portraying them as the leads.


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Thank god for black-and-white filters and @ayeshadepala (📸) #avnidoshi

A post shared by Avni Doshi (@avnidoshi) on May 8, 2019 at 5:25am PDT

Doshi in an interview expresses her own depression after delivery. Her motherhood played a part in what she wrote. She says that she at times did feel one with the narrator – Antara. Moreover, Doshi’s grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s.

These facts add more substance to what Doshi subconsciously brought out in this book. The book feels so real that I imagined Doshi to be knowing the exact characters. Though it is fiction, it surely doesn’t feel like one.

Her sensory detailing has been so vivid that the book seems like a live movie or like you as a reader are in Antara’s shoes. This seldom happens with books, and when it does, all the credits go to no one but the author.

This is a sad book delving deep into dark emotions and Avni Doshi is a marvelous writer. I have completely fallen in love with her narration and choice of words. She is unabashed in showing the rawness of damaged relationships. Though in a few of her interviews Doshi sounds surprised and humble, she totally deserved the Booker nomination. I can’t wait to hear the results coming on November 19th.

4 Reasons Why ‘Loki’ Is Everyone’s Favorite Villain In Marvel Cinematic Universe


The Marvel cinematic universe is pretty much the only thing guaranteed to get me to a movie theater on an opening night. But even though the movies are amazing, there is popular criticism that their villains are kind of weak. Yet there’s one villain that everybody seems to adore and root for – Loki, the stepbrother of Thor.

While most villains get killed off or captured after just one film, Loki has now played a major role in four films. There have been even petitions by fans to make an entire movie on him!

There are four major reasons why Loki has literally gotten away with murder and become one of the biggest fan favorites in the Marvel universe. And understanding these four things will help, so you too can get away with making mistakes or screwing up without it being something people hold against. We’re going to start with the obvious one.

Good looks with a carefree attitude

Loki is charming. He’s clever and always enjoying himself. He looks like he’s always making a joke that you don’t know yet. We envy that carefree attitude and confidence that he has.

And you know what? We all should honestly have a bit of that in us. Most of us overestimate the severity of our situations. Yet unless you’re struggling against starvation or facing a life-threatening situation, things are fine. Life is only as stressful and serious as we make it. If you have a roof over your head and food every day, and you go from sunrise to sunset without facing death, you’re doing better than 95% of humans throughout history by having fun while not doing anything to jeopardize things.

We see our low-key dejected self in Loki

A good portion of his tough exterior is fake. If something affects you and you repress it, it affects you differently. The charming charismatic people get the attention and affection of others and the majority of people go unseen or unremembered.  When you know Loki’s back story, it’s hard not to feel for him. Loki is clever, but only a little brother to Thor. And it’s clear that he’s not the favorite in his friend circle or to his father.

We can identify with him. He feels underappreciated for his gift, overshadowed by the achievements of someone he doesn’t think is any better than him. He’s a hurt son taking misguided actions to try to prove that he’s good enough and that he deserves to be loved.

Why does seeing ourselves in someone matter? That’s because most of us don’t hate ourselves completely, even when there are things we don’t like about ourselves, or when we do something we aren’t proud of. We let it be because of something in our past or our circumstances. So when a low-key person makes terrible decisions or does bad things from a situation that we can understand, we don’t hate him for it. We might hate his actions, but a small part of us feels for him, hurts with him, even roots for him to find his way back to the good side.

Tortured soul

The third reason why we love Loki is that he is a tortured soul. You sometimes get the sense that low-key doesn’t want to cause destruction. There are moments where he isn’t enjoying himself and regrets the damage he’s done. And rather than undercutting his likeability, they amplify it.

You root for him to do the right thing, he constantly disappoints you, and then he gives you hope. This happens in real life all the time. Also, he isn’t just a cocky unfeasible a-hole. He’s in pain and he shows hints that he could maybe even be redeemed if only the right person came along and helped him.

Loki is fascinating to us because he creates a wide range of emotions in us – laughter, frustration, sympathy, admiration. You never know exactly what he’ll do, which keeps you riveted to him and makes you think about him. The fact that Loki is a demigod with insane power for creation or destruction takes this and puts it on steroids.

We secretly like the flaws in him

The last trait that makes us love Loki is that you can’t keep him down. We all make mistakes, face losses, and have bad days. So if someone is perfect, we don’t necessarily like them. And when you combine that ability with his cocky charm, his deep-seated desire, just to be loved, and his tortured unpredictable nature, you end up loving the best Marvel villain of all.

Hubie Halloween: A must-watch film for kids and family this season

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Adam Sandler’s Hubie Halloween stands for these misfits who are constantly harassed. Adam plays Hubie, an underdog character who lives in Salem and has a peculiar accent. He doesn’t have any sass and doesn’t dominate or revolt against anyone around him. His kind and considering attitude sets him apart and makes him better than all. Yet the whole town folk bully him. As an audience, in many situations, I felt like shielding him and giving him a hug.

While the general perception of horror is something paranormal or supernatural, there are many of us that are scared of what’s normal. Adhering to societal norms and standards and acting all cool in the world is the hardest part. Not everyone is cut out the way the world expects them to. Moreover, if someone is different and is picked on but remains non-reactive to all the objections, they are bothered even more.

The film has proved to be a wide success after a long gap for Adam. You would be surprised to know that the film’s script has been written by Sandler himself along with Tim Herlihy. That explains how it brings out the best provided Sandler’s years-long experience with similar comic films. Though the credits technically go to the director (Steven Brill), Adam himself is actually a one-man army.

Hubie aka Adam loves the most happening woman in town – Violet Valentine played by Julie Bowen. Violet shows how we make wrong choices as teens and grow up to love the right guy- Hubie. Violet’s kids played by Noah Schnapp (Tommy), Saddy and Sunny Sandler (Danielle and Cooky) are as compassionate as their mother and side with Hubie. Even Tommy’s girlfriend Megan (Paris Belec) joins the kids. His neighbor Mr.Lambert played by Steve Buscemi also treats him well.

Rest the whole town ranging from Sergeant Steve (Kevin James) to kids like Mundi (Karan Brar) throws stuff at, and puts traps for Hubie. They all are so mean that you will feel miserable about Hubie’s state.

The only person on earth who has the courage to fight for Hubie was his sweet little crazy old mother played by June Squibb. No one, just no one can possibly imagine what’s on her mind till the end.

Now the question arises is Hubie Halloween a horror film? Well yes, it’s a horror-comedy and even more horrific for the bullies around the world. And the timeline of the film is set in Halloween as it’s the favorite festival of Hubie!

I enjoyed watching the film and wouldn’t mind rewatching – 4 out of 5 stars from my side.


The Haunting Of Bly Manor: A Ghost, correction, love story with intercepting memories

The Haunting of Bly Manor Netflix shares poster for Hill House follow up

This sequel to Netflix Original Series – The Haunting Of Hill House – which is loosely based on Henry James’s 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw caught my eyes right from its trailer and I was eagerly waiting to get spooked. But when I watched it, it turns out that it’s more than a regular ghost story.

What are ghosts anyway but the residues of the past, the bygone souls. And what does the past hold but memories. The Haunting Of Bly Manor represents these memories of the dead that haunt them.

There has been a notable criticism about the series for not being spooky enough. But well, I happened to love it. This series is for those who have loved truly and deeply and have the tendency to revisit their time with their loved ones. There are scenes that will jolt you a bit but then you won’t be actually scared of the dead.

We see a lot of interesting characters in the series and I feel that each one of them has been like Flora Wingrave (Amelia Bea Smith) says ‘perfectly splendid’. Starting with the narrator, Carla Gugino who plays the old Jamie (gardener of Bly Manor), her voice will totally mesmerize you. I felt like sitting in the same room and listening to the story just because of her tonality. And oh! She is gorgeous. I liked her clothes too!

Next, we meet the Au Pair played by Victoria Pedretti who serves as a governess to the orphaned kids at the manor. Victoria carries herself so beautifully in the character that you really feel for her. You feel her horror, her pain, her loss, her love, her sacrifice, everything. She lingers inside your mind like a memory that you root for. And again, she is another pretty lady. Her beautiful transition in finding her true orientation is worth praising.

The Au Pair is appointed by Uncle Henry played by Henry Thomas who goes by the same name in reality. Henry has done his part right and spooked me greatly with his alter ego. Don’t we have all have a hidden monster within us?


Next in line comes Owen Sharma played by Rahul Kohli. This very character is truly the one that is beautifully crafted and played. Owen is the representation of a caring, understanding, emotional man in the kitchen. #equality alert. You cannot help but fall in love with him.

Then we meet Mrs.Gross played by T-Nia Miller who takes care of the manor. One can hardly guess that she plays a ghost until the final episodes. She was very warm and great as Gross though I was jealous for Owen loved her.

Now we are going to talk about the most ‘perfectly splendid’ character – Flora played by Amelie Bea Smith. The 9-year-old carries the load of all the ghosts and their stories so bravely. Whoever watches this series is going to take home the phrase – perfectly splendid – all thanks to her. She plays such a beautiful and understanding little girl that your heart will surely melt.

Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as Miles irritates you just as his role was written. His weird actions will make you think that he has some mental problems. You need to be patient until you watch till the end to make your judgment.

Here comes the most exciting and outgoing character – young Jamie played by Amelia Eve. Amelia is the embodiment of strength in heart and character. She is a great friend, a fierce lover and you feel her. She gets to your bones literally as she doesn’t just nurture plants but souls.

Tahirah Sharif as Miss Jessel makes you doubt that she is the cause behind all the haunting. She is so convincing as the terror in the beginning. Nah…I won’t reveal the plot.

The other important character is Viola played by Kate Siegel. I first thought it was Angelina Jolie. You can find the resemblance for sure. She is who the whole manor revolves around.

Rest Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Peter makes me want to beat him. He is so convincingly selfish.

All other characters that I have missed have been so, so good.

Though you might lose a bit of patience while watching the intercepting memories, if you keep your head straight you will actually get it all. It’s a wonderful addition to the Halloween season – 4 stars out of 5, from my side.




Serious Men: A captivating satire on caste and class that will make you smirk

serious men

One can never miss a single film or series by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Of them, Netflix Original Film – Serious Men directed by Sudhir Mishra is one. The actor is once again playing a sly underdog who will keep you glued to your screens till the end. He has his way around bringing a stroke of wonder to the ordinary.

Based on the book by Manu Joseph with the same title, the film is likely to invoke lingering thoughts in one’s mind. With his years-long expertise, Director Sudhir Mishra vividly portrays the socio-political issues of Indian society in the film. He delves into several arenas and showcases a wide range of characters whose lives are interlinked. But what has been talked of the most that it’s a satire on caste and class.

From its title, one can make out that the film is about ‘serious men’. But how do you define a man being serious? Though Nawazuddin and his son played by Aakshath Das are the protagonists, the storyline equally focuses on the serious men played by Nassar who enacts as Dr.Arvind Acharya and his entire scientific team and colleagues at the National Institute of Fundamental Research. Ayyan Mani (Nawaz) is a personal assistant of Dr.Acharya (Nassar) who is treated like slime every single day. This very treatment in which Mani is undermined makes him think of the title serious men. Okay, that was a spoiler. But I am sure you would still watch the film.

The film sketches the yearning of a Dalit employee who struggles to meet his ends. It is his struggle that makes him dream to make his son a serious man. For the same, he adopts every single method that he had grasped from his observation of the serious men.

Aakshath Das has surely made his impression as a child artist with his first film. He convinces you that he is a genius in the beginning and also shows you his regular side as the film advances.

There is an avid mockery of the rash attitude of the serious men (the ones who are intelligent and powerful) in the film. One can always mimic a serious man but can they be one by doing so? You need to watch the film to find out.

Coming to the film’s focus on caste, Ayyan Mani is a shudra who lost his mother for the same reason. On growing up he terrifies people by questioning their discrimination. He never loses his self-esteem to what he is. He is blunt and ferocious. He even turns down his conversion of faith for upliftment and talks freely about his wife who belongs to a caste of sex workers. This way the storyline brings the best spirit out of the downtrodden. The film comes at a time when the nation is hit hard by the Hathras case and so it’s striking the right chords with its timing.

Indira Tiwari in the role of a Dalit mother effortlessly transforms from a docile wife to a vociferous woman convincing her part rightly. Likewise, Shweta Basu Prasad as Anuj Dhavre speaks up for the women who are subject to domestic violence. She shows that class has nothing to do with one’s mindset.

I am sure you are going to enjoy watching the film. I found it entertaining, thought-provoking, and completely out of the box. Five out of five stars from my side.


American poet Louise Glück receives Nobel Prize in Literature 2020

Louise Gluck

After several years of scandals and controversy for the world’s pre-eminent literary accolade, the Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to American poetess Louise Glück on Thursday.

The Nobel Laureate made her debut in 1968 with ‘Firstborn’ and was soon acclaimed as one of the most prominent poets in American contemporary literature. To date, she has published twelve collections of poetry and some volumes of essays on poetry.

“The 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to the American poet Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal,” the official Twitter feed of the Nobel Prize wrote announcing the results for the 2020 Nobel Prize.

Here are some facts about the poet:

  1. Louise Glück was born in 1943 in New York and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  2. She is a professor of English at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
  3. Glück seeks the entire universe, and in this she takes inspiration from myths and classical motifs, present in most of her works.
  4. The poet is not only engaged by the aberrancies and shifting conditions of life, she is also a poet of radical change and rebirth, where the leap forward is made from a deep sense of loss.
  5. In one of her most lauded collections, ‘The Wild Iris’ (1992) which received the Pulitzer Prize, Gluck describes the miraculous return of life after winter in the poem ‘Snowdrops’.
  6. The voices of Dido, Persephone, and Eurydice – the abandoned, the punished, and the betrayed – are masks for a self in transformation, as personal as it is universally valid.


Back in 2018, the award was postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy and sparked a mass exodus of members. Established by Alfred Nobel in 1895, the Nobel Literature Prize is one of six awards that also span peace, physics, chemistry, medicine or psychology, and economic sciences.



Washington DC to get world’s first museum for language – Planet Word

Planet Word

Planet Word, a revolutionary museum dedicated to the power, beauty, and fun of language and to showing how words shape the human experience, will open for the public on October 22nd. Housed in Washington, D.C.’s historic Franklin School, Planet Word will be the world’s first voice-activated museum, featuring immersive galleries and exhibits that will engage visitors in experiencing words and language from a wide range of perspectives. General admission to the museum will be free.

All precautions were taken during the construction of the museum with regard to the pandemic.

“During the corona virus pandemic, our focus has remained on the health and safety of our employees, contractors, and future visitors. We’ve continued the work of designing immersive and interactive galleries, curating content to feature in our exhibits, and revitalizing the historic Franklin School, with deference to guidance from public health officials. Now, as we prepare to open Planet Word in October, I want to again thank the Planet Word staff and all of our partners for their tireless commitment to this project. I will be thrilled to finally – safely – open the world’s first museum dedicated to bringing language to life, ” said Planet Word Founder and CEO Ann Friedman.

The mission of Planet Word is to renew and inspire the love of words, language, and reading as the foundation of a strong modern democracy. The same has resonated with supporters throughout the nation. Since breaking ground in June 2018, Planet Word has been able to meet its initial $20 million goal to cover the creation of the museum’s exhibits, experiences, and start-up operating costs. Planet Word’s generous donors include – AT&T, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Carolyn Bucksbaum, the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, Ann and John Doerr, Microsoft Corporation, and Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman. The rehabilitation and restoration of the Franklin School as a home for the museum was funded and is being overseen by Ms. Friedman herself.

The word museum plans to open on a limited basis, requiring visitors to register in advance for timed tickets. Masks will be mandatory, and access to galleries will be controlled to maintain social distancing. Stylus pens compatible with its interactive exhibits will be made available to avoid the need to touch surfaces. Ticketing information and details of Planet Word’s guidelines can be found at

Planet Word has also announced a multifaceted partnership with Shared_Studios, a global collective that creates meaningful human connections between people separated by distance and difference through transformative conversations in both immersive and virtual environments.

The museum will be home to one of Shared_Studios’ famed Portals, shipping containers outfitted as studios featuring immersive AV technology that enables visitors to converse and interact with people from around the world as if they all are in the same room. Visitors to the Planet Word Portal will make connections with others across the globe – and in doing so discover the richness of languages and how words shape our lives, our decisions, and even our relationships.

Planet Word and Shared Studios are also going to launch DIVERCITIES, a program that will explore the commonalities – and the uniqueness – of languages in cities and cultures across the world. Each month, through moderated conversations with comedians, poets, artists, journalists, educators, and activists, DIVERCITIES will connect locals with peers in cities in the Portal network, including Lagos, Erbil, Milwaukee, Mexico City, Berlin, and Dallas.