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WEEKLY MAGAZINE, MARCH 4, 2012 Free with your copy of Hindustan Times

That’s the name of the awards we decided to give TV characters we actually like (yes, believe it or not, there are a few of them). And of course, the ones we hate...

Raaga’s high notes

Singer Raageshwari fought facial paralysis to get back her life & her songs

Inked forever?

Sorry, but the cool quotient of your tattoos just dropped



The restaurant wars

How to succeed Best-selling author Rashmi Bansal’s five top secrets


Music of your choice, on air


Chocolate or broccoli?




04.03.2012 We love Hindi serials. No, really!

Why else would we willingly take on the painful task of trying to find something good in all that’s bad on TV? After hours of youtubing at work and inane watching at home, we managed! Here are the Sari, Sindoor & Glycerine awards. But you won’t be crying, we promise!

Closer to reality

SIDDARTH DHANVANT Shanghvi’s (In a Clear Darkness, 26 February) disillusionment with Mumbai and his move to Matheran touched my heart as it echoed some of my own sentiments. But, leaving a city and moving to a remote place is a luxury affordable to super rich or super creative people. I became disenchanted with life in Delhi and moved to a small village in Chamoli, Uttarakhand. While I could survive without the comforts of city life, my small business could not. I have to live in Delhi, it is the reality of life for ordinary folks like me. — VINOD KUMAR, via email

Suneel Thomas The olive oil article by Vir Sanghvi completely blew my mind. Any brand recommendations?

Keep writing in; every week the best letter will get a SHOPPING voucher worth


EDITORIAL: Poonam Saxena (Editor), Kushalrani Gulab (Deputy Editor); Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Mignonne Dsouza, Veenu Singh, Parul Khanna Tewari, Yashica Dutt, Pranav Dixit, Amrah Ashraf, Saudamini Jain DESIGN: Ashutosh Sapru (National Editor Design), Swati Chakrabarti, Rakesh Kumar, Ashish Singh, Saket Misra, Suhas Kale, Shailendra Mirgal

Write to or to 18-20 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001

MARCH 4, 2012


Serious about getting ahead? Ask yourself these questions

Personal Agenda

Actor Asin Thottumkal invites Lady Gaga and Gandhi for dinner


Jay Bhatt Loved the updated version of Brunch. Kudos to the editorial and the designing team for doing that week



@pujabhalla14 Oil in Good Taste is a complete revelation of Olive Oil. If Italy is victim of buying fake oil, then so are we. @VidushiKhera I couldn’t have been happier. As a reader my heart has yearned to lay eyes on Shanghvi’s words.


Apps on my mind

– PRITHU SUREKA, via email

Trawling the Net for body art inspiration? It might not be your ticket to cool anymore

14 SPECTATOR What if chocolate was diet food; and broccoli fattening?

– GISELLE ANDRADE, via email

I READ your article A Day With Apps (Tech Talk, February 26), and liked the fact that it didn’t stereotype apps with the likes of Angry Birds. I use a lot of the apps you mentioned, and the others are now on my wish list. Two apps I particularly like are: Whats On India, a TV guide app and Air Control, a game app.


Style File

Aryasheel Jadhav The new design looks great but what’s up with the font? Times new roman, really? It just doesn’t compliment the modern feel. Even Helvetica looks better.

@sachdeva_pankaj A poignant story where Mr. Shanghvi comes to terms with the sense of loss. Thank you.

CONGRATULATIONS ON the inaugural Fighting Fit health series (26 February). The media makes celebs seem invincible. Thanks for showing us their human side. Like us, they too have limitations and temptations. But their undying spirit triumphs in the end.



Vinod Kumar wins a shopping voucher worth `2,500! Congrats!

Undying human spirit


Think You’re An Oscar Know-All? We challenge you to read the most exhaustive coverage of the Oscars ceremony held last week! Behind-the-scene action, after-party merriment, winning speeches and an India special edition! Could it be better? Log on to get all the dope!

Split-Screen will split your mind! At least the portion that controls Bollywood. For award-winning writer/filmmaker Gautam Chintamani is writing this week on ‘Do we hate politicians because the movies taught us to?’ Read Split-Screen every Friday online!


The Brunch Blogs

This week, read One Bite At A Time by Mignonne Dsouza. Food, recipes and all that’s good to eat!

DOWNLOAD CENTRAL Find your music of choice, on BBC’s Radio 1 or USA’s NPR

18 RUDE FOOD More good restaurants have opened in Bombay than Delhi -

TECHILICIOUS Rajiv Makhni has injured himself. Read his column next week!

Cover design: ASHUTOSH SAPRU Cover illustration: PRASHANT CHAUDHARY

The HT Brunch Totally Twisted, Ultra-Difficult Weekly Twitter Quiz! Cycle 3: Indian Mythology Boy, do we love quizzing! That’s why we can’t wait for it to be 2 pm everyday and test your wits! And this week we’d like to challenge your knowledge of Indian Mythology. Bali and the Ocean of Milk author and mythology expert Nilanjan P Choudhury will craft mind-bending questions that go beyond what tele-serials taught us. So, grab your encyclopedias already! One LUCKY winner from the Cricket week will be announced on Twitter tomorrow!

The lucky winner gets a SHOPPING voucher worth


Have you seen our Brunch Quarterly photoshoot with Vidya Balan yet? Log on now!


Those Who Don’t, Tattoo

Trawling the Net for body art inspiration? Think before you ink. It might not be your ticket to cool anymore by Yashica Dutt


S A kid, one of my few (read only) duties was to ferry milk from the milkmaid to the kitchen, preferably before spilling most of the liquid. It was something I invariably failed at, for I just couldn’t get the inky green ‘Ghanshyam’ (her husband’s name) writ deeply on the milkmaid’s inner forearm, out of my head. ‘That must hurt!’ ‘How can someone allow someone else’s name to be pierced on their arm?’ ‘Wait, is that permanent?’ were only some of the questions that tormented my young brain about her ‘godna’, a practice still popular in Rajasthan. But a few years later, when Saif Ali Khan decided to get ‘Kareena’ tattooed on the exact same spot, close on the heels of David Beckham’s wrongly spelt ‘Victoria’ tattoo, my predicament had long been replaced by a celebrity-infused ennui. From a primitive practice to the hipster symbol of rebellion, tattoos were tracing the same trail inked by many popular trends of the past. First, a tiny, fashionable clique discovers/adapts a new trend, then it quickly grows as a symbol of the latest ‘it-thing’. Soon, percolating into the mainstream, it’s seen in street markets and on your friendly neighbourhood electrician; by now it’s heading straight for the red-flagged ‘out’ zone. And tattoos, buzzing in no less than 195 parlours in Delhi alone, and probably as many in other cities, have had ‘mainstream’ street-cred for a while.

needle are far from the usual suspects. No testosterone-fuelled, tribal-motif-toting burly boys or cupidcavorting-cohort of giggly girls here. “It’s more of a fashion statement now and a lot of Delhi aunties come to get tattoos from us,” says Lokesh, barely hiding his glee over the telephone line.


A design that eloquently reveals spiritual altitude with sartorial savvy on an off-shoulder dress or a body-fit tee, a tattoo is the certain, albeit slightly dated, lingua franca for many. “It’s no more a question of whether, but where,” admits Abhinav Tripathi, senior creative director at McCann Erickson, who proudly sports no less than five different tattoos. “And that’s made tattoos something barely noticeable.” Harmeet Bajaj, a former professor at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, and a fashion and lifestyle consultant, supports that. “It’s now like an accessory, something like jewellry that people can decorate their bodies with. And over the years, it’s become an accepted social norm, rather than a sign of ‘rebellion’. Tattoos hardly




It’s a decision that will stay for the rest of your life, so putting a little thought into it always helps VJ JUHI PANDE

The process has become more famous than the product; it’s not about getting a tattoo but tattooing

Lokesh Verma, owner of Devilz Tattoos in Delhi, ranked the Best Tattoo Studio Chain in India by a lifestyle magazine recently, agrees. “When I started from a studio in Vasant Vihar more than eight years ago, I inked about 15-20 clients a month. Now that figure is between 250300.” And those lining up for the


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raise the same eyebrows as they did a couple of years ago.” “It’s a must-have, like the new phone or the latest car. Most of my colleagues have tattoos and even more are getting them. It’s almost like the piercing fad a few years ago,” says Tripathi, who got inked for the first time in Goa in 2006, and considers his tattoos similar to Aamir Khan’s amnesiac character’s in Ghajini. “For me they are reminders, kind of milestones of personal achievements. Not many people were getting tattooed when I first did, and I remember it achieving instant cooler-talk fame in office. People would come and ask me to show it to them. And even though I want more, the only reason I haven’t gone under the machine in the last two-three years is because I have nothing new to add.”


Needless to say, the party capital of the country, Goa, was the first to get access to safe and hygienic tattoo artists, attracting enthusiasts like Tripathi from around the country. Professor A K Kapoor from the department of anthropology, Delhi University, who did extensive research on the tattoo patterns among tribes in various states, says that tattoos have long been the symbols of identifications for tribes

Portraits have more personal meaning than random motifs have obliterated. “It shouldn’t be like a trend, or buying a pair of shoes, which can easily wear off. I get tattoos because I am really fond of body art and view it as a personal, even if permanent choice. It’s a decision that’s going to stay with you for the rest of your life and a putting a little thought into it helps,” says Juhi. And the absence of that thought infuriates Rohit Kant, proud flaunter of 13 tattoos, and a practitioner of hand-painted product art. “You wake up, select your favourite band on the iPod, have a coffee and decide to get a tattoo! The process has become more famous than the product; it’s not about getting a tattoo now, but tattooing,” he says. Directing his ire at those who want tattoos so that others can see them rather than themselves, Rohit adds, “Somehow, a lot of people want tattoos where they can’t see them, but that defeats the whole purpose of getting one. You should want to see it every day and be inspired. And that can happen only if it means something to you and isn’t a random design from the Net.” As a sure-fire guide on whether your tattoo could be a mistake, Rohit offers, “If you have already thought about getting it clicked and figured the details of the post on Facebook, then think hard about SPELLCHECK your reasons for getBeckham’s misspelt ‘Victoria’ ting a tattoo. And never tattoo raised many laughs get one when

in rural India and urban tattoos also developed as a emblem of belonging to an elite outfit, thriving initially in tourist-inhabited areas like Goa. Juhi Pande, a popular VJ for Channel V, who has gone under the machine nine different times and is planning a repeat soon, says that higher accessibility is another reason for tattoos going mainstream. “In the early 2000s, the popularity of tattoos suddenly hit India but good artists weren’t easily available, unlike today. You had to wait to travel abroad to get a tattoo if you really wanted one,” she says. And it was that really badly wanting of the tattoos that made one search one’s soul for the apt symbol of self-expression, something that today’s there-by-thedozen tattoo parlours with their competitively lower prices, seem to


Saif Ali Khan’s tat has long been tabloid fodder



WORST CELEB TATTOOS ■ Rihanna’s chart-topping

numbers might have crowned her the First Lady of Hip-Hop, but her recent tattoo of ‘Thug Life’ in pink ink on her knuckles gets her the top spot on this list.


Rihanna’s pink ink is being called the ‘Worst Tattoo Ever’

■ Rapper Gucci Mane tat-

tooed a three-scooped icecream cone right on his cheek

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(the face!) to tell the world he is ‘ice cold’. ■ Couple tattoos seldom see

a happy ending, but when tattoo artist Kat Von D got serialcheater and Sandra Bullock’s ex Jesse James’ portrait as a 10-year-old child tattooed on her torso, it took them to a new level altogether. ■ Famous for being famous,

Katie Price obviously didn’t think her tattoo through when she got ex-hubby’s name ‘Pete’ inked on her wrist. When they broke up, she simply had it crossed out!

intoxicated, it hardly ends happily.” So what do Rohit’s 13 tattoos display? Portraits of his entire family and his adopted dog, along with designs of paint brushes.


When Johnny Depp converted his ‘Winona’ tattoo (for his then girlfriend Winona Ryder) to ‘Wino’ and Pamela Anderson changed her ‘Tommy’ of ex-hubby Tommy Lee Jones to ‘Mommy’, they brought the aftermath of the hasty tattoo into public consciousness. And if you wonder why Deepika Padukone grins and bears with her ‘R’ tattoo, a symbol for ex-boyfriend Ranbir, the reason could well be the effort behind the process. Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra, dermatologist at Skin Alive Clinic, Delhi, explains: “Depending on the kind of ink used, the process of tattoo removal could take anywhere between three and eight months. Even though a world-class laser technique is involved, which ensures minimal pain, you have to wait for one or two months between each session for the removal to be effective.” When e-detoxes are becoming all the rage, friend lists are getting trimmer than waists, and a noFacebook status the new-status symbol, it’s clear that the age of anti-establishment is well upon us. No one wants to be doing as their neighbour does, and tattooing ranks high on that list. Fashion trend analyst and blogger Harilein Sabarwal declares the trend officially over. “India is a country of herd mentality and follows fads. Once it reaches the masses, it’s as quickly discarded. You can see a tattoo guy along with a local maalish walla on the beaches of Bandra. So, it’s no more a niche thing to do.” ■ Britney That’s not to say that it Spears not only won’t follow the complete messed up her cycle of a fashion trend Chinese symbol and make a comeback which now reads after it’s completely ‘strange’ instead of ‘mysterious’ but also out. We only hope the Kabbalah symbols she that if it does, it does tattooed on her neck. They so as a classic. are now a garbled mess instead of reading ‘healing’ as they were meant to.






Sari, Sindoor & Glycerine Awards...

THE MILLS & BOON AWARD Characters/Serial: Arnav and Khushi, Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon (Star Plus) This couple has such crackling chemistry, the TV screen could combust. In a landscape littered with effete men and meek women, Arnav and Khushi stand out. He is rich, powerful, cruel, heartless (a simmering Barun Sobti). She is poor, self-respecting, soft-hearted, spirited (a very pretty Sanaya Irani). They claim to hate each other but are secretly in love. Unfortunately, their story plays out in a typical TV family, full of evil mamijis and nonstop pujas. Some things never change do they?



ATCHING TV is not our favourite thing to do. True, the jerky camera motions that gave us migraines have gone and the Ekta Kapoor kind of saas-bahu show has departed, so you might think we’ve become converts. But no. TV has changed, but not enough. While we have interesting story concepts, they’re given the same old saas-bahu treatment. So we still hate watching TV. But since everyone and his goldfish seems to be glued to their screens, we figured there must be something to the idiot box that we missed. So we decided to seek the ‘kamal in the kichad’. This meant spending an excruciating 100-plus hours channel-surfing, but we were courageous (we are journalists after all) and after nights of torture, we finally managed to compile a LIKE list. Because it’s true. There actually are a few characters, played by wonderful actors, who are pure delight to watch. Which is such a miracle that we decided to present them with our own, highly coveted Brunch Sari, Sindoor & Glycerine Awards! PS: We also have a loathe list. Heh.

THE NEAR-NORMAL BAHU AWARD Character/Serial: Archana Manav Deshmukh, Pavitra Rishta (Zee TV)

THE M-I-L WITH A AWARD Character/Serial: Badi Maa, Sasural Genda Phool (Star Plus) To be fair, Supriya Pilgaonkar, the eldest daughter-in-law of the sprawling Kashyap family, has every reason to be like the curmudgeonly Dadisa in Balika Vadhu: her husband deserted her for another woman years ago and then whizzed off to the US of A. But since a ‘Badi Maa’ could hardly be shown walking out of the marriage and hooking up with someone else, she lives up to her title and becomes the backbone of the family, which is more than you can say for most TV Saasu Maas.

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Ankita Lokhande is a pleasant change from the overdressed, terribly tortured, silent, suffering bahus on television. Sure, Pavitra Rishta and its attendant melodrama (the mother-in-law’s constant manipulations aimed at driving a wedge between the ‘beta aur bahu’) can get a bit much. But Archana is pleasant (in her brocade blouses, cotton sarees, no jewellery), affable, stern when required and has a mellow voice. She almost (yes, it is true) seems normal!

Character/Serial: Bhairav, Balika Vadhu (Colors) Rather handsome for a father-in-law, Anup Soni is quite good at playing the character. Serious, sombre but very strong and supportive of the women of his house, Bhairav is not involved in kitchen politics, but isn’t a wimp either.

THE F-I-L WITH A AWARD He has a mind and speaks it when it’s necessary. He is respectful enough of his tyrannical mother, but doesn’t buy into her demands if he thinks they don’t have merit. The best part though, is his evident support to the women in the house. We could do with more men like him on the small screen.


THE BAD COP MOM AWARD Character/Serial: Sweety Ahluwalia, Parvarrish – Kuchh Khattee Kuchh Meethi (Sony) Shweta Tiwari is the loud Punjabi mummy you can’t help but like (but are secretly glad she’s not yours). She constantly fusses over her kids, is a disciplinarian and tends to go a little over the top. But that’s what Indian mothers do and after all, she means well. She bickers often, talks animatedly, and rolls her eyes, but she’s Mamma, and mammas are comforting. Even if they name you Rocky and Ginny.


Character/ Serial: Ram Kapoor, Bade Achche Lagte Hain (Sony)

Character/Serial: Shiva, Devon ke Dev – Mahadev (Life OK) We rarely see good-looking men on TV, let alone Gods. But this Shiva makes our hearts somersault. And not just because Kashmiri modelturned-actor Mohit Raina is incredibly hot. His character in this mythological love saga is the apotheosis of raw animalism – the tigerskin robe, a serpent wrapped around his neck. Bhaang is the poison of his choice. And he’s the most powerful man (er, God?) to have walked on earth (er, universe). Plus, the rest of the cast isn’t aesthetically appealing, so that makes him stand out.

He is fat, eats too much, lives on medicines, (Tablet Kapoor is what his wife calls him), is cranky most of the time and loves his step-family unconditionally (to his wife and friend’s peril), but he is adorable. He is no romantic but at least makes an effort to realise his wife’s silly fancies. Ram Kapoor is just the right mix for a husband. He has money, is busy so doesn’t interfere too much, but is also attentive and caring. Even with all his imperfections, he is a perfect 10. We want more of him!

THE CHALK ‘N CHEESE AWARD Characters/ Serial: Pratigya and Krishna Thakur, Mann kee Awaaz Pratigya (Star Plus)




Character/ Serial: Chandramukhi Chautala, F.I.R (Sab TV)

Character/ Serial: Mona Singh, Kya Huaa Tera Vaada (Sony)

Have you seen Kavita Kaushik in that uniform? Need we say more? We like a lady who makes a khaki uniform ‘werq’. And who thought a Haryanvi accent could be that unannoying and hot! Never mind that the characters in that show are more retarded than the entire Indian television industry put together, Chandramukhi’s timely slaps are a respite from the five-retakes thappads that are the benchmark of our TV serials. Hang around for her punchy dialogue delivery.

Ever since Mona Singh debuted as Jassi, she has been our heroine. In this serial, she’s a housewife and a mother of three kids, playing the role with ease and conviction. We love the way she is shown working in the kitchen, fretting over what to put in her kids’ tiffin boxes and also for her remark “Biwiyon ko sab pata hota hai”. What we love best: her friendly banter with the husband, her ‘never’ nagging, ‘never’ making him to be the ‘pati parmeshwar’ attitude. Plus, Mona Singh is Mona Singh.

Pooja Gor not only looks educated but also acts it. She manages to stand for what she thinks is right. Arhaan Behl’s shiny maroon shirts, hairstyle from the days of Rajesh Khanna and ‘chalbo’, ‘e liyu’ dialect all add up to make him an interesting character. Totally mawali, very volatile, he dotes on his wife – but doesn’t quite know how to get across to her. Intense, confused, cute – he is fun to watch. And oh! He does side with Pratigya.


Character/ Serial: Advocate K D Pathak, Adaalat (Sony) Good looking and, for a change, intelligent. (He doesn’t make statements like “yahan par laash hai, iska matlab yahaan khoon hua hai!” like ACP Pradyuman in CID.) K D Pathak is quite a delight to watch as he solves bizarre cases on Adaalat. That most of his women clients fall for him adds to the masala of this courtroom drama. Ronit Roy stays cool and applies logic (surprise, surprise). He actually has a sense of humour! And we never did mind watching him.





THE CALM DOWN, WILL YOU? AWARD Character/Serial: Mona, Ram Milaayi Jodi (Zee TV) Sara Raza Khan won the Star Parivaar Award for ‘Best Patni’ in 2009. We would like to take that away from her and blow her a big, wet raspberry for being an extra-bubbly, extra-vivacious (had enough of them in movies) and extra-irritating loud-mouthed Punjabi girl. She is so over the top that we can’t help but think of that as the key reason why her (in-serial) husband kicked the bucket recently. Calm DOWN, woman!

THE PLEASE BREAK UP AWARD Characters/Serial: Dr Ashutosh and Dr Nidhi Verma, Kuch Toh Log Kahenge (Sony) The silent older man, the bubbly much younger girl… everybody’s secret fantasy. How can this go wrong? Enter life-saving surgeon (Mohnish Behl) and fresh-out-ofmed-school (Kritika Kamra). Exit viewers. He’s a good actor and she’s fairly pretty, but they have less chemistry than shampoo and a toothbrush. Mr Behl, the doctor thing is done to death. Sing, dance, cook but give up surgery. It’s not becoming anymore.

THE GUTKA KING AWARD Character/Serial: Thakur Sajjan Singh, Pratigya – Mann Kee Aawaaz Pratigya (Star Plus) Anupam Shyam, the gutka-chewing, limping sasur, makes you want to sign up with the women’s liberation movement and then run amok with a stick the moment you set eyes on him. A ‘typical’ patriarch, he treats women the worst way.

Character/Serial: Moniya, Dekha Ek Khwaab (Sony)


Priyal Gor has taken the description ‘bubbly’ too seriously. She shouts, is hysterical and overthe-top. Also, can she please stop shaking her head all the time? It’s as though every word she says has an instant and (vigorous) opposite head reaction. And shouldn’t she dress in something nicer than those beige rags?

THE LOCK HER UP AWARD Character/Serial: Savita Damodar Deshmukh, Pavitra Rishta (Zee TV) Usha Nadkarni is soooo vicious that she puts most other mothers-inlaws on TV to shame. She’s the kind of saas your saas should be prevented from knowing. She never has anything humane to say about her bahu. She lies, mollycoddles her son, throws her bahu out of the house. Every wife’s nightmare.

THE GET A LIFE AWARD Character/Serial: Anandi, Balika Vadhu (Colors) Okay. Balika Vadhu has been a path-breaking show in more ways than one and Pratyusha Banerjee has topped the charts as the ideal bahu. But come on, there has to be a limit to her goodness! Her husband marries another girl and she stays martyr-like, in the hope that one day Jagya will realise his mistake and return to her. She’s the sacrificial lamb all the time and that’s too much to digest every single day. There’s got to be a limit to everything, even martyrdom!

THE TWO-TIGHTSLAPS AWARD Character/Serial: Shipra Sharma, Bade Achhe Lagte Hain (Sony) She’s the kind of mother you want to sell on eBay, except there would be no buyers. Renuka Israni is the female lead’s mother. So thankfully, she doesn’t have much screen time. She practically forced her daughter to marry a rich, fat boy (whom we adore) and loves her spoilt daughter-in-law for her money. But she constantly yells at her middle class family. You may forgive her for being a loud golddigger. But every time she whines, you want to do something violent.

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THE I-WILL-NEVERSMILE AWARD Character/Serial: Gopi Bahu, Saath Nibhana Saathiya (Star Plus) Being a subservient bahu is the order of the day. But even if you light up every bulb in each over-bright palace mansion, we bet our heaviest sari-gown you’d be unable to find someone as meek as Jiaa Manek. It’s not only the irritating deer-stuck-in-the-headlights expression (the only one she has) but that her endurance for trauma borders on the inhuman! PS: Do you see the devil when your husband calls to inquire about your broken limbs, eh Gopi ‘Vahu’?

THE WALK-ALLOVER-ME AWARD Character/Serial: Ichchha, Uttaran (Colors) Need to repay a debt? Check out Tina Dutt’s School of Endless Giving. Ichchha makes her own life miserable. If after losing your boyfriend, husband, second husband and child, you continue being a meek, forgiving cow, we have only one word for you: MASOCHIST!




Healthy food we hate

All the stuff that you can barely hold down: broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, oats, etc are all good for you


NE OF the more infuriating, immutable laws of nature – which Newton never paid much attention to – is that everything that feels good is bad for you while anything that feels bad is good. Think about it. All those things that bring you pleasure: butter, chocolate, cream, cookies, cake, chips, pizza, parathas, mithai. Yes, all bad for you. All the stuff that you can barely hold down: broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts, barley, oats, dalia. Yes, all good for you. Clearly, God was in a humorous mood when he cooked up the dietary principles that would rule our lives, delighting in playing some sort of cosmic joke on us mortals. Or else how can you explain that both sugar and salt are bad for us (one is implicated in diabetes and the other in high blood pressure). Or that deep-fried food actually clogs your arteries instead of cleansing them. And that red meat is bad for your cholesterol levels while Unhealthy karela is good for your system. food we love Now, where’s the justice in that, Dear Lord? What’s worse is that His perversity is not restricted to food alone. It extends to almost all areas of our life. Staying up late at night, reading in bed or watching a DVD, with a brandy by your bedside. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But no, it is, in fact, very bad for you. Getting up early, on the other hand, and heading out for a jog to wake up your system and get your heart pumping. Now that’s very good for you – even though it sounds like the stuff of nightmares (well, my nightmares, at any rate). Snuggling deep into a couch: bad for you. Sitting up straight as a ramrod in a stiff-backed chair: good for you. Driving INJURIOUS to work comfortably in a nice air-conditioned car: bad TO HEALTH for you (and for the environment). Getting all sweaty All those things that and breathless as you cycle to work: good for you (and bring you pleasure: yes, the environment). butter, chocolate, I could go on (and on) but I think you can just take cream, cookies, it as given that if you enjoy something – whether it pizza, etc, are all is scoffing a triple sundae or wearing impossibly bad for you high heels – then it will inevitably be bad for you. And if you detest something with all your life – the rowing machine at the gym or the Isabgol that your mother makes you drink every night – it will be good for you. Of late, however, I have been wondering whether it is human perversity that is to blame here, rather than the Almighty’s. Is it really that everything that tastes or feels good is bad for us? Or is it simply that we are programmed to hanker after the forbidden, to love what we should not? And it is that dichotomy in our nature that makes everything that is bad for us seem so bloody good. In other words, if broccoli was in fact, fattening, would we be hankering for it like we do for chocolate instead of scraping it off our plates when no one is looking? If butter was a diet food, would it taste half as good? Or would we be gagging even as it coated our taste buds? This perversity that seems to characterise human nature –


What if chocolate was diet food; and broccoli was fattening?



MARCH 4, 2012


and behaviour – extends further. Anything that is cheap and readily available seems to lose value in our eyes; while anything that is prohibitively expensive and hard to find becomes infinitely desirable. In 18th century England, for instance, when oysters were plentiful and cheap, they made up the staple diets of the poor. In those days, no prosperous person would think of serving them up for dinner guests. Now that they are expensive, they have been transformed into a luxury food item. But surely, they tasted much the same no matter what they cost? It’s just our perception of them that has changed, not the oysters themselves. But the more things seem out of our reach, the more attractive they become to us. I’m sure if caviar wasn’t so prohibitively expensive, there’s a good chance that it wouldn’t have the cachet it does. Ditto champagne and first-growth wines. And white truffles. Or any other high-priced ingredient that you can think of. I guess Shakespeare was right when he said that nothing was either good or bad; but thinking made it so. But if that is really true, then could we really re-think our perceptions of what is good or bad for us? And could we possibly redefine the rules instead of allowing them to define our choices? Well, a girl can dream, can’t she? I know how things would be in my ideal world. The healthy breakfast option would be parathas rather than muesli. Full-fat milk would be better for you than that horrid skimmed version. Desserts would push your metabolic rate up. Exercise would be very bad for your health. Staying up late at night would increase your energy levels (while getting up early would sap them). Dieticians would insist that you had five servings of caffeine every day (rather than those dreary fruits and vegetables). And as you grew older, your waistline would get thinner while your hair got thicker (instead of the other way around). If you ask me, that would be a world worth living in – and surviving to a ripe old age. Follow Seema on Twitter at



Photo Courtesy: FANFARLO

Sanjoy Narayan

download central

my new friend no doubt does)? They have a podcast. They have interviews, reviews, chats and more. It can, indeed, be a tough choice choosing from the buffet that NPR has but if you want to stay abreast of what’s happening in contemporary music no matter what the genre, it’s the place to look. And if you have NPR Music’s iPhone or iPad app, it can make you incredibly happy. It gives you radio 24/7, previews of latest albums, a host of its regular programmes, concerts and blogs – all whenever you want and wherever you want it, although in my experience a WiFi environment is the best place to explore the app. Last week I heard the still-to-be-released new album, Rooms Filled With Light, by London’s indie band, Fanfarlo, days before it was actually launched. By the time you will be reading this, that album will be out and the stream most likely off the NPR website but if you wanted a preview you’d have got it. Fanfarlo fuse rock and FUSION FIRST pop and folk and use mandolins, violins and Indie band Fanfarlo fuse rock and pop and folk clarinets as well as the usual guitars and drums and use mandolins, violins and clarinets as well and keyboards that are the fare of rockers and as the usual guitars and drums and keyboards make music that is joyful and full of energy. Frontman Simon Balthazer sings from the heart and Fanfarlo’s music is melodic and full of hooks. There’s drama, enthusiasm and emotion. If you’re jaded with the fare you get from chart-topping bands and repeated-to-death FM-radio fare while commuting on Indian roads, reach for Fanfarlo. I’d heard the band’s first album, Reservoir, three years back, and was struck by how they tend to Your music of choice, either on America’s do pop songs but in a literate way – songs that National Public Radio or the BBC’s Radio 1 have clean and simple melodies and yet come with layered music – trumpets and an orchestra and T’S ALWAYS nice to meet someone who shares your tastes great rhythm. NPR described Fanfarlo’s music as a “hug-and-ain music. You exchange notes, swap a CD or two or a few handshake” music and I can’t think of any better way of describzipped files of new albums, maybe just exchange tips and ing this charming band. leads on what blogs to follow, which bands to watch, or even bitch about musicians whom most others think are fabulous he legendary British disc jockey, the late John Peel, whose but you just want to avoid like the plague. But as you grow older shows on BBC’s Radio 1 made history and who is credited and have less time to meet too many new people and often are for discovering and promoting a host of bands, had an annual finickier about who you meet, such encounters become rare. list called the Festive Fifty – the best tracks of the year. The list So I was pleasantly surprised last month when I met a new colwas based on listener’s votes but in 1991, it was cancelled league in Mumbai who was not only as much of a podcast addict ostensibly because of the paucity of votes. But a couple of years as I am but also a great fan of the NPR podcasts of which he is later, in 1993, Peel revived the list and played a song from it every also an obsessive listener. Of course, although his taste in music week. The topper on that list, which got named the Phantom Fifty, was Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. Nirvana’s Kurt and mine do intersect somewhere, he’s more loyal to Latin jazz, Cobain died in 1994 and Peel himself ten years while my interests veer more towards rock. after that, but if you want to hear the Phantom Still, when we met for a drink recently in his Fifty, it’s compiled together and is on a podtown, we forged an instant bond about widgcast. I did and I’d recommend a quick ets, apps and downloads from the NPR webdownload of #keepingitpeel (at http://keepinsite and of how our commutes have become LAST MAN so much more bearable. STANDING The thing about NPR (America’s National The legTo give feedback, stream or download the music mentioned in Public Radio) is that it isn’t just free but stradendary disc this column, go to dles a range of genres that is mind-boggling. jockey John download-central, follow argus48 on Twitter Peel’s shows You want blues? They have blues. You want to discover new artists? They have them. You want on BBC’s MORE ON THE WEB Radio 1 made a sneak preview of a new album in its entirety? They stream it. You want Alternative Latin (as history





If you want to stay abreast of what’s happening in contemporary music, no matter what the genre, NPR is the place

MARCH 4, 2012



The differences between both cities are narrowing quickly. But it is fair to say that more good restaurants have opened in Bombay over the last year than have opened in Delhi


S I wrote some weeks ago, I’m never sure which side to take in the great Bombay vs Delhi food debate because my loyalties are divided between both cities. When I’m in Bombay, I listen sympathetically to friends who tell me that Delhi restaurants Vir Sanghvi are too fancy, too expensive and too full of rich and powerful people intoxicated by their own wealth and importance. And when I’m in Delhi, I smile politely as restaurateurs and hoteliers complain that the clientele in Bombay consists either of vulgar vegetarians or of Botoxed women with dyed hair, coloured contact lenses, expensive but tasteless handbags and wads of their husbands’ money. In truth, both caricatures are probably unfair – but not entirely inaccurate either. Yes, there are a lot of self-important people in Delhi. And there are a lot of vulgar people in Bombay. But my guess is that the differences between both cities are narrowing more quickly than either side is willing to admit. As people get richer and richer in India (and sometimes I am astonished by how much money people – and kids, even – are willing to spend on food and wine these days), conspicuous consumption becomes the great leveller. That said, both cities have their strong points. For instance, I like Delhi chaat but I cannot bring myself to love it. For my money, there is nothing to beat Bombay bhelpuri or other street food. (Though both Delhi and Bombay lose out in the panipuri/golgappa category to Lucknow or even Calcutta). Equally, most North Indian food in Bombay is rubbish. You can’t get good Avadhi food unless you SETTING pay through your nose (at Dum Pukht or at Rahul Akerkar’s THE RIGHT Neel). And, almost by definition, Delhi, as the de facto capital of STANDARD past-Partition Punjab, has the best Punjabi food. At Yauatcha, Where Bombay does score is in the South Indian/coastal food the service area. But even here, the city is oddly disappointing. You would issues have been (largeexpect to find small joints serving good Goan food in every locally) resolved ity. Malvani food is a Maharashtrian cuisine so you would think and the food that it would be as ubiquitous in Bombay as Punjabi food is in now Delhi, but good Goan or coastal (or even South Indian) restauapproaches rants are few and far between and most people swear by Trishna, the standards possibly the only tourist trap in the world that is also patronised of the Lonby locals because they don’t know any better. don original That said, the Bombay restaurant scene is looking up though

rude food


The Table has the best desserts in all of Bombay. I doubt if I will eat a better cheesecake (below) this year




The talents of the chef Alex Sanchez (above) intrigued me enough to go back and try his full menu at The Table (right) MARCH 4, 2012


the top new entrants are nearly all in the international category. This time I went to 212, a popular new restaurant in Worli that is much loved by locals. I was nobbled from the moment we wandered in for lunch so I won’t comment on the service but I liked the room and was impressed by the wine list. The food was ambitious and interesting if occasionally heavyhanded. A dish of baked Camembert worked well but a small pizza with truffles failed because the base was a little too limp and soggy. (I scraped off the top and put it on a piece of bread as a topping and it worked much better.) A porcini risotto was okay if a very dairy-rich risotto is your thing but speaking for myself, I prefer a lighter dish where the starch is derived from the rice itself and not from a nearby cow. The chef recommended the Bistecca, a steak dish that is associated with Florence where huge slabs of beef are cooked on an open fire but which, in most restaurants these days, is essentially a sliced T-bone steak. The best such steak in the country is at Le Cirque in Delhi. Given that this version is cheaper, I lowered expectations and thought it was fine though everybody else at my table found it unevenly cooked. Desserts were boring (profiteroles, a raspberry cheesecake-type thingy) and not particularly good. Overall, I thought the restaurant was nice but hardly the huge culinary breakthrough that people in Bombay seem to think it is. I have been to The Table once before but that was for lunch and the talents of the chef Alex Sanchez intrigued me enough to go back for dinner and try his full menu. (Lunch is more small plates and burgers.) I was glad I went. The Table is a nice twostorey restaurant near Apollo Bunder which draws a Thai Pavilion-type crowd – decent, sophisticated people who want to eat out on their own money, not on expense accounts and don’t have access to wads of undeclared cash. Plus there is usually a smattering of vaguely high-profile or glamorous people in attendance. (The first time I went I was hosted by Mukul Deora. This time Conde Nast Traveller’s Divia Thani Daswani held court downstairs.) I must have eaten the whole menu (we were a table of five) and here’s what I liked: white asparagus in a sauce, Brussels sprouts, a salad of lentils (masoor dal to you and me), lobster and shrimp cakes, kohlrabi cooked in the style of a Boeuf Bourguignon (the waiters called it ‘Kolaveri’ but I think it was probably shalgum or a close relative), excellent French fries, a lamb shank, a crab risotto in which every mouthful tasted of crab and the best desserts in all of Bombay. (I doubt if I will eat a better cheesecake this year.) Here’s what I didn’t like: the wine list (because I had to struggle to find two bottles I wanted to order – but wine lists are a subjective business at the best of times), the pork belly (not crisp enough), the rib-eye steak (cooked to the texture of a semi-moist artificial sponge) and the service. In fact, the service is probably the most pressing issue. The waiters are helpful, decent sorts but there aren’t enough of them. The upstairs room needs at least one more server given that the restaurant is always full. Plus waiters need to be taught how to open bottles of wine. I felt like reaching out and hugging our poor server who looked distraught as he struggled for several minutes, in full public view, to extract a single cork. And somebody should teach the waiters to write down orders and to not commit them to memory – that way they won’t get confused.

If The Table is the restaurant of choice for people who want good food at prices that are not excessive, then Vetro, at the Oberoi, is the canteen for Bombay’s rich and famous. The night I went, a procession of expensively dressed people kept arriving, greeting Rohan, the manager, by name and ordering bottles of pricey wine, each of which cost as much as a whole meal at The Table. But, in this case, at least, the rich know what they are doing. Vetro is one of the Oberoi chain’s two collaborations with Rome’s Hassler Hotel and – as of now – the food is better than at Delhi’s Travertino. The chef, a jolly Luca Brasi-lookalike called Vincenzo Di Tuoro, knows his ingredients: delicious bacon, wonderful farm-fresh eggs with orange yolks, light homemade pasta and a thick Dutch veal chop. The flavours are authentic too. My lamb shank in an intense wine reduction came with textbook-perfect risotto. But the single best dish was an orange souffle so light that you feared that it might float up and hit the ceiling. The last time I went to Yauatcha, I thought it was a work in progress. I’m glad to say that the restaurant has finally reached its target. The service issues have been (largely) resolved and the food now approaches the standards of the London original. Though the cooking at Yauatcha’s sister restaurant Hakkasan is still better, this is the place that I think will really take off. Prices are not as stratospheric as in Hakkasan, the vibe is happy and cheerful, the room is bright, airy and stunningly designed and the idea of an all-day restaurant where you can drop by for an excellent Chinese meal at four or five pm is an appealing one. If I have a criticism it is about the menu’s over-reliance on chicken for the dim sum. If I want a char siu cheung fan, I want it made with pork. And as much as I love the Bombay’s Yauatcha’s riff on the original venison puff, I would prefer it if they didn’t make it with chicken. That said, the food was good this time. The dumplings are finally coming out as they should: little balls of delicately flavoured meat wrapped in a translucent skin. The stir-frying is as good as ever: we had beef in black pepper, double cooked pork and Singapore/Malaysian style street noodles. Kishore Bajaj who is the Indian franchisee for both Hakkasan and Yauatcha (and is one of Bombay’s greatest foodies with a passion for gastronomy that verges on the obsessive) now plans to open a large Italian/Mediterranean informal restaurant next to Yauatcha. The Bandra-Kurla complex is crying out for a good European restaurant so I don’t see how Kishore can fail – though this venture is his own outside of the Hakkasan umbrella. So, where does that leave us on the great Bombay-Delhi divide? I am still not taking sides but I think it is fair to say that more good restaurants have opened in Bombay over the last year than have opened in Delhi.

The dumplings at Yauatcha are finally coming out as they should: little balls of delicately flavoured meat wrapped in a translucent skin

MARCH 4, 2012



At 212 (top), the food was ambitious and interesting if occasionally heavyhanded. A dish of baked Camembert (above) worked well


The food at Vetro (above) in Bombay is, as of now, better than at Delhi’s Travertino (below)



F i gh t i n g F i t

Part 2 of a series on celebs who’ve beaten health disorders

Raageshwari, singer


‘Problems Are Like Stepping Stones’

Nothing stoped singer Raageshwari from smiling. Not even a semi-paralysed face by Veenu Singh


E KNOW her as a pop singer, an actress, a model, a TV anchor, a VJ and a yoga expert – but primarily as a person with a huge love for life and an attitude so positive, it can take your breath away. In fact, when Raageshwari (fondly known as Ragz) participated in the latest season of Bigg Boss, her fellow contestants nicknamed her ‘Positive Raaga’ and referred to her as the messenger of peace. So it’s hard to believe that there was a time when Raageshwari couldn’t so much as smile. And that had nothing to do with her attitude. It was the result of an affliction called Bell’s Palsy that paralysed the left side of her face and left her with a slur in her voice. Yet, there’s no sign of that pain on her face today. That famous smile is back, and even during that one year when it was physically difficult to produce one, she just kept smiling. “Problems are like stepping stones,” says Raageshwari. “You can easily find your way out of bad situations if you approach them with a positive attitude, hope and faith.”


Bell’s Palsy is caused by a dysfunction of the facial nerves, resulting in the inability to control facial muscles on the affected side. What causes this nervous dysfunction no one knows – according to doctors, several conditions, such as a brain tumour or a stroke, can cause facial paralysis. But if no specific cause can be identified, then the condition is known as Bell’s Palsy. This is the most common cause of acute facial nerve paralysis, characterised by the fact that partial or complete palsy often occurs overnight. For people who’ve overcome Bell’s Palsy, this would be something to forget. But Raageshwari is comfortable talking about it. “Things could have been worse, but by God’s grace, I didn’t have to suffer much,” she says.

It all started in the year 2000. Excited by the switch from the 20th century to the 21st, Raageshwari had planned to work on an album with her father, music composer Trilok Singh Loomba, dedicated to the new millennium titled Y2K Saal Do Hazaar. “I had malaria, but despite that I shot for the video of one of the songs from the album,” she recalls. “Then on January 7, I woke up, meditated for a while, and then got up to brush my teeth. While brushing, I realised that I couldn’t hold water in my mouth and that the left side of my face wasn’t responding. Surprised, I tried to yell out to my parents, but my voice was slurred and my mouth seemed to touching my ear.” Raageshwari’s parents were equally stunned and rushed her to a doctor. After a thorough examination, the doctor diagnosed Bell’s Palsy and recommended a course of electric stimulation and steroids, as well as a meeting with a neurologist

‘Faith and hope are two of the most important aspects of our lives, and can help anyone overcome any obstacle in their path’ MARCH 4, 2012


Positive thinking saw Raageshwari through a bad bout of Bell’s Palsy for the slur. But he couldn’t tell her how long it would take her to get back to normal. “I couldn’t believe what the doctor told me, but I tried to be as normal and composed as I could,” says Raageshwari. “But my mother was inconsolable. So I decided to be as strong as possible.” There was only one thing that made her sad. Her old school was celebrating its centenary and she had promised to do a charity show for them. “My only prayer to God was to give me back my voice. I wasn’t that worried about my face, but my voice… I wanted it back,” says Raageshwari.


The treatment took some getting used to. While her mother removed all the mirrors in her room so she wouldn’t be startled by her face, her father persuaded her to keep her chin up. “I didn’t like going to the hospital for treatment, the way people looked at me made me uncomfortable,” says Raageshwari. “But my father told me to go out and face the world. Soon I became brave enough to answer people’s ques-


tions. And at the hospital, I saw some women who couldn’t move an entire side of their bodies. That made me realise how small my problems were.” That positive attitude helped Raageshwari through the next few months. Though she couldn’t sing, she wasn’t ready to give up. She decided to look at different professions to keep herself busy. “I also started doing yoga with Namita Jain and took cooking lessons from Asha Khatau,” she says. “And then I started doing shows on television to stay in touch with my fans. Shows like Ek Do Teen and Baar Baar Dekho on MTV; Kuch Kehti Hai Yeh Dhun on Sony; Quest for BBC and One on One With Raageshwari on Ten Sports kept me alive in public memory.” Meanwhile, therapy and rehabilitation continued. She went for physiotherapy, electrical stimulation and yoga, and trained in classical music to heal her vocal chords.


It took her nearly six months to get back to some kind of normality. “It

RAGZ’S DAILY DIARY Raageshwari believes in doing things in moderation and never lets her body crave for anything. So, for instance, if she feels like eating chocolate, she allows herself to have it but also makes sure she works out. MORNING: Water and fruits such as apples or bananas, or dry fruits like almonds, walnuts or dates. This is followed by workouts like circuit training or squats and crunches, after which she does yoga and the five Tibetan rites. After that comes riyaaz for 45 minutes to an hour.

BREAKFAST: She loves eggs. So breakfast consists of two eggs (either an omelette, sunny side up or scrambled) with two slices of brown bread and a glass of milk or orange or apple and celery juice. Then she’s off for rehearsals.

took that long before I finally became comfortable enough to go out and meet people,” she says. “Even the closest of my friends in showbiz weren’t aware of my condition, and those who were didn’t know what to say to me. I realised that even if you have people supporting you, it is your fight in the end. I started spending a lot of time with kids, reading to them and even blowing up balloons which was a good way to keep my mouth active.”




geing is a part of life, yet no one wants to age before time. Fortunately, ayurveda has many procedures, nutrition plans and herbs to delay the signs of ageing and keep the body youthful. NUTRITION Foods have different effects on the body. Some can have an inflammatory effect which causes the body to age and develop disorders. The second type of foods gives energy and some degree of regeneration. But it is not very effective, and hence ageing

MID-MORNING SNACK: A glass of nimbu paani, a slice of some fruit or dry fruits and a small portion of jaggery or peanuts. LUNCH: One or two rotis, lots of veggies and dahi.

EVENING SNACK: Between 5 and 6 pm, she either has homemade paneer or a slice of cheese, or a sandwich along with an energy bar, or dry fruits or til ladoos and green tea. DINNER: This is eaten before 8 pm, and generally includes rajma or any other dal and lots of veggies.

While Raageshwari struggled to get the paralysed side of her face under control, her eye was still a problem. It wouldn’t close on its own and she’d have to tie something to it to keep it shut. Eventually, she conquered the paralysis and has been working on several projects since, including an album of Sufi music. “I just completed a wellness DVD on the Five Ancient Tibetan Rites that are mostly practiced by Tibetan monks,” says Raageshwari.

continues. The special third kind of foods (coupled with therapies) slows down ageing. Foods that cause accelerated ageing: Sugar, refined foods like maida, cornflour, sooji, other refined carbohydrates, alcohol, too much salt, dairy products with oxytocin, nonvegetarian foods, fried foods, and packaged foods. Certain lifestyle traits such as sleep deprivation and stress result in ageing. NUTRITION FOR REJUVENATION The foods that aid in slowing down ageing work by replacing old cells with better cells. These include all foods that are highly alkaline in nature after digestion. Some examples of such foods are: Herbal plants: Aloe vera juice, amla juice, seabuck-

“They work on our seven key chakras and the endocrine system, slowing down the ageing process. I have been religiously practicing these rites and the results are for all to see in this inspiring film.” NEXT WEEK: Chef Vikas Khanna once couldn’t walk straight because of misaligned legs


thorn, rhododendron, barley grass juice, wheat grass juice, harar. Spices and condiments: Ginger, cinnamon, saunf, elachi and cumin seeds. Seeds and nuts: Flaxseed, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, pinenuts. General foods: Mung and wheat sprouts, fruits, vegetable juices. Foods that are free of preservatives and organically grown. Meal times: Fixed meal times should be followed. Ideally between 7 am and 6 pm. Seasonal foods: Try to avoid non-seasonal foods. Food combinations: Certain food combinations produce toxins and should be avoided, such as dairy and fruits, fruits and cereals, melons and citrus fruits and non-vegetarian food and fruits. (To be continued)



The Secret Of Success Serious about getting ahead? Ask yourself these five tough questions by Rashmi Bansal


here is a story about a young man, who – like all young men – wants to become a millionaire. So, he goes to see a wise guru. “Meet me at the beach tomorrow at 4 am,” says the wise guru, “And I will reveal the secret to success.” So the next morning, the young man shows up on the beach at 4 am, wearing a suit and tie. The guru is already in the water and reluctantly, the young man wets his feet. “Come out further,” the guru says. “This is an expensive suit,” the young man replies, “I came here to learn the secret to success, not the secret to swimming.” “The secret must be told in this water. It is your choice to learn the secret or not,” replies the guru. So the young man goes waist-deep. “Further,” the guru says. So the young man wades deeper, until the water is up to his neck. “Now tell me the secret,” the young man demands. “Sure,” says the guru, and suddenly forces the young man’s head under the water. The fellow resists and tries to push the guru off, but can’t. Just before the young man loses consciousness, the guru pulls him back up and asks a question: “When your head was under water, what did you want to do?” “I WANTED TO

BREATHE,” the young man sputters. “When you want success as much you wanted to breathe just now, then, and ONLY THEN, will you have success.” The difference between people who are successful in life and those who aren’t can be summed up in one sentence: Successful people are always willing to get their suits wet. A ‘suit’ is just a metaphor for your comfort zone. A belief or an idea that you hold dear. Perhaps you wanted to become an artist but you were conditioned to think: artists can never make money. To earn my living, I must be a doctor or engineer. So that’s what you do with your life. You might make a lot of money. You might even be seen as ‘successful’ by the world. But deep inside your heart you know. This isn’t what you wanted. And if you didn’t get to live your life the way you wanted to, how the hell can it be a success? You are merely sitting on the shore, watching the waves of possibility. You accepted the role of an ‘extra’, when you could have chosen to be a star. But it’s never too late, to rewrite the script. Because the movie that’s playing out is your life. If you want success, you need to start by asking yourself some tough questions. Here are five of the most important ones.

you snap out of it and come back to ‘reality’. That’s not good enough. Whatever your project, your plan, your idea – it must be a burning desire. You must want it so badly that it becomes a reality – at least in your own head. When you hold a vision of that magnitude within you, it gives you courage. The courage you need to leave the safety of the shore, and wade into the unknown.

eyes and ‘Success’ will be standing there, in front of you.

4. How does it make me feel? Anything worth having takes blood, sweat and toil. But anything worth having also feels very good. And I don’t mean when you actually have it, but even as you sweat for it. A life is enjoyed in its living, and not in some distant future moment of achieve-Rashmi Bansal, Author ment. When you lose yourself in what you do, 2. How far am I wiling to go? every moment is a luminous pearl. You have a vision in your head, that’s Success is visible when you’ve great. But other people don’t see strung all those pearls together, when what you see. Can you deal with that? the necklace is ‘complete’. But the The world is full of cynics and process of creation is the real miracle. know-it-alls (and parents) who 5. How much further do you want believe that things should remain to go? just the way they are. You will have You have name, fame, money, to turn your back on them all, knowlifestyle and ‘success’ in your chosen ing that you know better. field. Everything you ever dreamed You have always been rewarded for of has come true, now what? ‘good behaviour’. Now, learn to seek Yesterday you were nobody, today out and stand up for your own good. you have something to lose - your market cap, your popularity, your 3. How long will I hold out? Success doesn’t come in a day, in a ‘price’ in the market. month, or in a year. Rishis and The trouble is, the more you try munis stood on the mountain tops, to hang on to things outside of you, on one leg, until Gods descended the more they weigh you down. from the heavens. Success is ultimately about lightChoose your mountain and choose ness of being. About peace and quiet, which leg to stand on. Then be there, internal joy. with utmost devotion and sincerity, If you were to ‘lose it all’ – for as long as it takes. That is can you still preserve that tapasya – the passion for your work. state of mind? One day, you will open your Then you too will be a wise guru, beckoning young men and women into the water. To make their millions, then look back and laugh. Because what you thought was ‘success’ is no big deal, after all.

‘Whatever your plan or idea, it must be a burning desire’

– Rashmi Bansal is the bestselling author of Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish and I Have A Dream. You can connect with her on rashmibansal

1. How much do I really want it? So you daydream about how your life could be or should be. But then


MARCH 4, 2012



Stay Grounded, Stay Cool If you’re successful, you’re a star. But mishandle it, and things could come crashing down by Mignonne Dsouza


T A MEDIA interaction at the Hindustan Times office, actor Aamir Khan memorably recounted his experience of achieving overnight fame after the success of his debut movie Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (QSQT). “I used to play cricket in the building, and would always get yelled at by the watchman, who would tell me that the other residents didn’t want their cars damaged,” said the superstar. “But after QSQT released, those same residents would instruct that watchman that if I wanted to play cricket, they would move their cars so that I could play in peace.” Khan’s anecdote provides just one insight of how life can change for people once they achieve fame. But while there are many books on how to handle failure, success can also bring with it an equal number of challenges – which need to be dealt with.


Experts agree that it can be equally important and difficult to handle success. Says Mumbai-based psychiatrist Dr Seema Hingorrany, “Even successful people come in for therapy.” According to Dr Kersi Chavda, consulting psychiatrist at Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai, a sudden burst of fame is often accompanied by insecurity. “There is this near constant paranoia about whether their friends and people close to them are with them because they really like them or because they want something from them. That is what often brings them in for therapy,” he adds. Hingorrany also feels that one of the problems successful people face is that once the desired goal is


‘Once success is achieved, the person’s tone, manners, clothes change, and that can cause friction’ achieved, it tends to go to their head. “It is important to keep your arrogance levels down,” she explains. According to her, while people are pursuing their dream, they are very driven, and can lose many friends as they cannot compartmentalise their life. “Once success is achieved, the person’s tone, manners, clothes change, and that can cause friction,” says Chavda. At such a time, the successful person must remember that they need to show discretion and wisdom, and in effect always take a few steps forward first. “You must say ‘good morning’ first,” adds Hingorrany.

HOW TO STOP BEING USED One side effect of your success is that you may get into a situation where family and friends begin to take advantage of you. This is actually a very common problem, says Mumbai-based psychiatrist Dr Seema Hingorrany. “It is hard for people to maintain a balance, especially if in the first flush of having money, they have bought expensive gifts for people close to them. The secret is to not be afraid to put your foot down if a person become too demanding.”

MARCH 4, 2012


Singer Meiyang Chang, who first shot to fame when he attained the fifth spot in Indian Idol 3 in 2007, acknowledges that staying grounded is very necessary. “It’s easy to get carried away when people flatter you,” says the TV host and actor. “I was determined not to let anything change me, but a little bit of corruption did seep in. However, you have to keep monitoring yourself, since no one else will do that for you. The other day, on the sets of a show, I threw a fit about something, but in retrospect, I thought how childish I had been and was sorry about it.” It’s the support of friends and family that many famous people come to count on. Says Chang, “I’m lucky to have my family and friends, and also I tend to undervalue myself. It’s not a defeatist attitude, but it does stop me from building castles in the air.” Pooja Dhingra, the owner of Mumbai-based French patisserie Le15, says that it is very easy to be consumed by success. “When I started Le15 two years ago,” she says, “I worked 365/7, and came close to burning out. I then realised that it was important to achieve a

balance, and have learned to take a step back, and delegate responsibilities sooner than later.”


Along with the hard work came some envy. “There were people who would say that all the success was a fluke,” says Dhingra. “They would say – we’ve been working for 20 years and she has just been working for two. My strategy is to work harder and ignore them.” Dr Hingorrany says that successful people need to recognise why people are jealous and not get affected by it. “Even a person’s family and spouse are not immune from such feelings,” she reveals. “They see you changing – and that is not acceptable to many. This can drain a successful person, but the important thing is to recognise that jealousy is natural and give them time.” According to Hingorrany, the saying that it’s lonely at the top is too true. “Since successful people are always in the limelight, people take them for granted,” she explains.


Both Chang and Dhingra say that one way to deal with success is to “stay a little hungry,” as Chang puts it. “You must hanker for more creative satisfaction,” he explains. According to Dhingra, if you get complacent, “You will get stagnant.” You need to set new goals, she adds.




Asin Thottumkal if i could...


That would be so cool

SUN SIGN Scorpio

BIRTHDAY 26 October




Naval Public School, Kochi, St Teresa’s College for Women, MG University, Kochi Actor


In Bollywood,Ghajini

When I won my first Filmfare Award

LOW POINT CURRENTLY OF YOUR DOING LIFE The new Mirinda TVC with When my godmother passed away

three flavours directed by Raju Hirani. Shooting for Bol Bachchan and Housefull 2


Down the Zanskar Valley



Specially from Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado, USA, since it is 1,053 feet high

Your first acting assignment? A BPL mobile TVC. The longest you have worn heels? Day in and day out on shoots. If you weren’t an actor, you would’ve been? I would have joined the civil services. One Hindi word/sentence you’re still struggling with? I am quite comfortable with the Hindi language. Who is on your mind these days? My boyfriend Subhaan who proposed to me. (He is the nine-year-old son of Sajid Nadiadwala.) After a long workout, you love to gorge on? A high protein snack. If you could turn producer, what would your dream cast be like? My favourites Rishi Kapoor and MARCH 4, 2012

When did you last have a bad hair Madhuri Dixit. What a lovely day? pair! Thanks to my team, I don’t If you could have chosen to make have one at all. your Bollywood debut with a classic If you could invite five people for Hindi film or a blockbuster, which one dinner – living or dead, who would would it have been? you call? I think Ghajini was a perfect launch pad. Mahatma Gandhi, James The last line of your autoDean, Jim Carrey, biography would read? Lady Gaga and Oprah THE LOVE OF Winfrey. A good mix See you on the other YOUR LIFE… side! of people. What touches your heart What could you live in? the most? Jeggings and T-shirts. Acts of kindness. One thing you can never What makes your day? eat? A surprise visit from Gizzards, hearts and my dear friends. intestines of animals. What spoils it? Has anyone every strugWhen my phone gled with your last name? hangs. Yes, a lot of people in the North You are closest to… really find it hard to pronounce. My parents. — Interviewed by Veenu Singh

My iPad

Hindustantimes Brunch 4th-March-2012  

Hindustantimes Brunch 4th-March-2012