WEEKLY MAGAZINE, APRIL31, 7, 2013 WEEKLY MAGAZINE, MARCH Free with your copy of Hindustan Times
Hindi How the nyas upa jasoosi fascinate es to continu . Meet the readers rors of e last emp pulp
Worldâ€™s finest restaurants A matter of manners
The best smartphone you can buy
B R E A K FA S T O F C H A M P I O N S Shortcut to Smart
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Hindi pulp page-turners
by Aasheesh Sharma
Zameer Ka Qaidi by Surender Mohan Pathak: In 2006, a man robbed a branch of UTI Bank, pretending to be a human bomb. When arrested, he said the plan was inspired by Pathak’s novel. “He obviously didn’t read the whole book,” says the author. “The would-be robber was caught in the book too.” Featuring Vimal, the anti-hero. ■ Bahu Maange Insaaf by Ved Prakash Sharma: Adapted for film in 1985 by Shashilal Nair with Naseeruddin Shah and Swaroop Sampat in the lead cast, it is the story of a woman tortured for dowry and finally killed. The in-laws try to pass it off as an accident. But another daughter-in-law seeks revenge saying she has been possessed by the ghost of badi bahu. Featuring Keshav Pandit, the insurance investigator. ■ Prime Minister Ka Murder by Amit Khan: The desi super sleuth rescues the Indian premier from the clutches of assassins hired by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence. Featuring Commander Karan Saxena, the patriotic superspy. ■ Shootout at the Rocks by Ibne Safi: Forensic expert by night, the investigator is a buffoonphilosopher by day who likes to quote Confucius, Ghalib and Mir. Featuring Imran, the head of the secret service. Translated from Urdu. ■ Aakhri Mohra Shatranj Ka by Reema Bharti: Narrated in the first person, it chronicles the adventures of a seductive Indian Secret Core agent as she goes hot-stepping on the trail of international arms dealers. Featuring ‘dilphenk hasina’ Reema Bharti.
by Rachel Lopez
Smart people will always throw big words around. Some are not quite what you think they mean
On The Brunch Radar
by Saudamini Jain
Bollywood’s coming of age (watch the trailer of Gippi NOW) ■ Mango season ■ Hate mail. Bring it on ■ Game of Thrones Season 3 (12.35 minutes to nudity) ■ BB creams ■
Pretty cool, right? This week’s cover story is quite awesome too. Turn to page six!
Know your ‘isms’
SHOVE IT Himmatwala ■ April Fool’s jokes ■ An almost-full inbox ■ Coordinating with people in different time zones ■ Flavoured calcium supplements ■
by Shreya Sethuraman
All that twitters ain’t gold
Anybody who is somebody tweets. Some not as well as the others. We’re not judging, we’re only handing out some free advice! Follow @HTBrunch!
Vishal Dadlani @V1SH4L: We love him, we love his music. That’s why it’s a shocker to see him raving and ranting on Twitter. Vishal, you put Charlie Sheen to shame! With anger management, we mean. TIP: GENEROUS USE OF CAPS LOCK MAKES IT SEEM LIKE YOU’RE TWEETING FROM ATOP MOUNT EVEREST. Isn’t it much nicer in lower case? Exactly. Shahid Kapoor @shahidkapoor: If you want to win a spelling bee, stay away from his tweets. (He’s forgiven because he looks the way he does.) TIP: Spell Check and a copy of the good ol’ Wren & Martin, available at all leading book stores. Poonam Pandey @iPoonampandey: Obviously Photoshop-ed nude images, wanting to strip for a “cause” only to back out at the last minute, Pandey also claims to be
Cover illustration: MALAY KARMARKAR Cover design: MONICA GUPTA
the most searched model on the Internet. Really? TIP: Read/ask someone to read you the story about the boy who cried ‘wolf’. And if you want to do something, do it. Don’t ‘declare’ it. Somya Seth saumya_seth: Seth loves herself. She’s a chronic retweeter (of only praises showered by her fans). Her only original tweets are lines from Hindi songs. Kali kali khali ratoun se hone lagi hai dosti.... TIP: Interact with your fans, maybe? And not just to tell them how very exhausted you are. Details of the episode, the shoot, something, anything! Arvind Kejriwal @ArvindKejriwal: Loves to quote Chomsky, tweets at full speed to ‘uncover’ hidden truths and declare his love for the country. TIP: Yes, it is inspiring to read your tweets, but they only show a Utopian world. They will not change the world. A short break from the microblogging site would be of great help.
EDITORIAL: Poonam Saxena (Editor), Aasheesh Sharma, Rachel Lopez, Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Mignonne Dsouza, Veenu Singh, Parul Khanna, Yashica Dutt, Amrah Ashraf, Saudamini Jain, Shreya Sethuraman, Manit Moorjani
APRIL 7, 2013
ABSOLUTISM What it’s not: The belief that one brand of vodka will make you smarter What it is: Government by a single absolute ruler or authority ADAMITISM What it’s not: Stubborn love for Hannah’s no-good ex-boyfriend on Girls What it is: Nakedness for religious reasons (Ha!) AGATHISM What it’s not: Belief that The Mousetrap is the world’s greatest play. What it is: Using evil for the greater good DUALISM What it’s not: Idea that two CASUALISM What it’s not: Jeans girlfriends are better than one What it is: Idea that the universe to work on Friday What it is: The belief is controlled by one good and one evil force that chance governs EMOTIVISM all things What it’s not: Reading every letter and punctuation mark as a facial feature on a smiley What it is: Theory that moral statements are inherently biased HOLISM What it’s not: A chance to feel up girls during the festival of colour What it is: Looking at parts of everything in relation to the whole MINIMALISM What it’s not: Wearing just your Speedo to work What it is: Encouragement for the simplest interpretation of an idea or form PANSEXUALISM What it’s not: Making out in the kitchen while the eggs are frying What it is: The idea that all thought is derived from sexual instinct TITANISM What it’s not: Belief that your wristwatch controls the universe What it is: The spirit of revolt or defiance against social conventions DESIGN: Ashutosh Sapru (National Editor, Design), Monica Gupta, Swati Chakrabarti, Rakesh Kumar, Ashish Singh
Drop us a line at: brunchletters@
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C OV E R STO RY
A noir world inhabited by rakish secret agents, heist-meisters and femme fatales, Hindi pulp fiction continues to keep its band of faithful readers riveted by Aasheesh Sharma, photos by Harikrishna Katragadda T IS 6 AM at Meerut railway station on a blustery morning. The platform is deserted except for a few passengers and stray dogs. A man clad in worn-out corduroy trousers and leather jacket walks up to a kiosk and says: “Give me the new Amit Khan novel.” Standing a few yards behind the stall is Khan, 41, the cherubic author, one of the youngest exponents of the endangered art of Hindi pulp fiction. “He was the second person this morning to ask for my book by name. I’ll post this on Facebook,” says the novelist, who is visiting Meerut from Mumbai, where he writes screenplays for television serials. Elsewhere, Scandinavian crime fiction, Frederick Forsyth and Ian Rankin may have their legions of fans. But in Meerut, Hindi pulp fiction country, it is the Surender Mohan Pathaks, Ved Prakash Sharmas and Amit Khans who top the charts. Desi pulp is India’s answer to the West’s airport novel: where the plots are outlandish, the characters over-
the-top and the titles out to grab your eyeballs. Think Katil Milega Machis Mein, Main Chanakya Tu Lomdi and 15 Bomb, Pakistan Khatam. In a time when the Internet, 24hour TV and shrinking reading habits are impacting publishers around the world, this cantonment town in Uttar Pradesh, one of the birthplaces of India’s First War of Independence, continues to be the hub of publishing for the jasoosi upanyas, a noir world inhabited by rakish secret agents, sensual femme fatales and heist-meisters. A generation of readers in India has grown up admiring the taut plots and engaging storylines of James Hadley Chase, John Le Carré and Raymond Chandler. And a significant number swears by Henning Mankell and Robert Ludlum. But the protagonists who fascinate the Hindi heartland are as far removed from Kurt Wallander or Jason Bourne as Langley is from Delhi. Whether it is the anti-hero Vimal, a victim of infidelity and circumstance, desi Mata Hari aka ‘dilphenk hasina’ Reema Bharti, legal mastermind Keshav Pandit or superspy Karan Saxena, each has acquired a cult following. Amit Khan appears to have chosen the venue of his recce to gauge the popularity of his novels well. It is at railway stations and bus terminus that a chunk of Hindi crime fiction books sell, says Khan’s publisher Rakesh Jain of Meerut’s Dheeraj Pocket Books. “Most train passengers step on the platform and get drawn in by the sensational titles and garishly illustrated jackets. Priced between R50-100, the books never burn a hole in their pockets,” says Jain.
Hindi pulp stories might be printed on bad quality paper, literally from cheap wood pulp (hence the nomenclature ‘lugdi’ sahitya) and usually priced for less than a decent cup of coffee but the readers of the jasoosi upanyas are one of the most demanding in the world, says publisher Rajkumar Gupta of Raja Pocket Books, which publishes Mohan Pathak, among other pulp staples. “They want their money’s worth. So, if the books of Pathak, one of our authors, are priced at R100 and the others at R50, they want better production quality and fantastic pageturners,” he adds. Hindi pulp publishers say profits for pulp fiction are down to just 15 per cent – a huge drop from the almost 100 per cent margins of a few decades ago. This is mostly attributed to the advent of the Internet and a declining market. But the authors tend to disagree. “If there were no market for Hindi pulp, why would our publishers continue to print us?” asks
iptwriter Javed ■ Lyricist and scr ding Ibne Safi’s rea Akhtar credits creating larghim g pin hel for els nov ains like vill id lulo er-than-life cel bo. gam Mo and gh Sin bar Gab
Pathak. “But the nucleus of publishing has shifted from Allahabad in the 1970s to less expensive Meerut in the last two decades,” says Delhi novelist Anil Mohan. A 10-minute drive from the railway station in Meerut’s upscale Kavi Nagar neighbourhood stays Ved Prakash Sharma, 58, arguably one of the highest-selling Hindi pulp writers in the country. Reclining in a leather chair in his well-appointed study, Sharma says he has no points left to prove to anybody. Over a five-decade career, he has written more than 150 books and churns out four novels a year that sell more than one lakh copies each, he claims. But Sharma has a bone to pick with the mass media. In the early 1990s, says Sharma, his blockbuster novel Vardi Wala Gunda sold more than 15 lakh copies but was never anointed a bestseller. “There is a strong English language bias in the media. When English paperbacks sell ’s novof Ved Prakash Sharma ) were a Bad Se ag els (Lalloo and Suh a KhilaBad se Sab s vie mo into made ladi respecdi and International Khi ar and Kum hay Aks g rrin sta tively,
15,000 copies or even 2,500 copies and the media say these are bestsellers, it sounds ludicrous.” Ask Sharma about the most satisfying moments of his literary journey and he digs into his reservoir of Railways anecdotes. “In 1992, my kids and I were going to Darjeeling. In the coach that we were travelling in, 39 of the 52 occupants were reading Vardi Wala Gunda. Readers ka pyaar hi ek jasoosi upanyas writer ki asli kamai hai,” says Sharma.
During the ’70s, Nanda’s books were adapted in Bollywood for celebrated movies such as Kati Patang, Khilona and Daag. In the same decade, screenplay writers such as Javed Akhtar were influenced by Ibne Safi’s Jasoosi Duniya series. “He had tremendous flair and sophistication,” says Akhtar. “Safi’s novels created an imaginary city that could have been the San Francisco of the ’60s in India. His penchant for villains with striking names like Sang Hi taught me the importance of creating largerthan life characters such as Gabbar and Mogambo.” Laura R Brueck, assistant professor of Hindi Literature at the University of Colorado, recently visited Meerut for a research project called ‘Jasoosi Upanyas: The Hindi Detective Novel in Late 20th Century India’. “I was impressed with the diversity of writing styles,” she says. “Each jasoosi novelist is individualistic. Surender Mohan Pathak’s writing, for instance, closely mirrors the nuances and complexities of vernacular speech. Ved Prakash Sharma, on the other hand, builds multiple suspenseful scenes that rapidly layer one on top of the other. His use of interjections like “parantu!” and “phir!” gives his writing a delicious cartoonish feel, like older episodes of Batman and other superhero comics,” she adds. Bangalore-based techie-turned pulp translator Sudarshan Purohit, who has translated Pathak’s 65 Lakh Ki Dacoity into English, says the writer,
It is at railway stations that a chunk of jasoosi upanyas sales take place
The heyday of the upanyas in India came in the 1960s when a crop of good writers – Rajhans, Ibne Safi, Gulshan Nanda and Ved Prakash Kamboj – was encouraged by Allahabad-based publishing houses.
hra. directed by Umesh Me g Kashyap ■ Filmmaker Anura g to be reportedly grew up wantin hchan or either actor Amitabh Bac Pathak. writer Surender Mohan
APRIL 7, 2013
C OV E R STO RY
with his James Hadley Chase-like spare prose, is a cut above the rest. In 2010, Time magazine called Pathak a pulp fiction master in their book recommendations for the season. What makes this genial grandfather the Amitabh Bachchan of Hindi pulp at the ripe age of 75? “His stories are more intelligent. He doesn’t spell out every detail from scratch,” offers Purohit. Brueck adds that she is intrigued by how Vimal, Pathak’s famous character, diverges from “a traditionally hyper-masculine noir figure in his self-doubt and occasional soft-heartedness.” Many of Pathak’s heist novels, such as Jaana Kahan, in which Vimal and his team rob an art gallery of Picasso and Van Gogh paintings and plan to sell them to a French diplomat, are set in Mumbai. Interestingly, he has never stayed in the Maximum City. “Where is the need to do so? HRF Keating, the creator of Inspector Ghote, was a British author who was published in America and wrote
numerous novels set in Mumbai but didn’t set foot in the city till the eighth book in the series,” says Pathak. Veena Sharma, the creator of Reema Bharti, which has sold more than 500 titles, says the USP of her character is her ability to use seduction as a weapon in the murky world of espionage. “When she moves in the high-octane world of spies, can she stay like a Sati Savitri? That is highly unrealistic,” she says. Pathak dismisses doomsday prophecies about the end of Hindi pulp. There is still an audience riveted by stories where one can
l Surender Singh Soha by ted a.k.a. Vimal, crea thak: Surender Mohan Pa ad, hab Alla in t tan An accoun her Sohal’s wife Surjeet Kaur and for ed jail him lover conspire to get n ma ry ina ord ‘An embezzlement. oftoo e fat by und aro kicked ten’ is how Pathak describes his laconic anti-hero. In his 30s, Vimal has already pulled off audacious crimes like the Shanta Gokuldas murder in Bombay and a 50 lakh bank van hold-up in Delhi. He also
with has a penchant of coming up ah dohas of Kabir and Bulle Sh impromptu. ted ■ Reema Bharti, crea beglo A : ma ar Sh a by Veen any to trotting spy ‘who would go n,’ lengths to achieve her missio it If ri. Ha ta Ma n Bharti is our ow ore bef my ene her ng uci means sed Seit. killing him, she is game for less cret weapon: A strip of colour fea aps str bra her h poison beneat Ka. nj tra Sha hra Mo ri tured in Akh ■ Commander Karan Amit Saxena, created by is a ena Sax er and Khan: Comm rinte ck cra to d ute dep nt RAW age ra Me national emergencies. In ed to Desh, Mere Log he is assign ist ent sci ian Ind bring back an projworking on a secret Chinese
escape the drudgery of everyday life. Is Pathak the last doyen of Hindi pulp, an icon of an era that is on its last legs? “I’ve been writing for five decades. Who knows what happens after I am gone. But till the time I am here, I’ll provide quality writing to my readers,” says the septuagenarian. Still, most of the purveyors of pulp nurse no literary pretensions. “Aaj kal ke writer ko likhne se pehle bikna aana chahiye,” says Amit Khan. “If literature is the good wife, pulp is a harlot,” sums up Pathak.
A QR CODE FOR MORE PULP Scan the code or visit hindustantimes.com/pulp for a BRUNCH EXCLUSIVE VIDEO of an interview with bestselling author Surender Mohan Pathak
ter ect. He is a jingoistic charac re cro 0 ‘10 line tag the h sold wit aur iz, Hindustanion ka muhaf dushmanon ka kaal.’ ted by ■ Vibha Jindal, crea : The ma ar Sh h as ak Ved Pr dal Jin e, pir heiress of a thriving em r rde mu the ting begins by investiga n Tee e Sad in d ban of her own hus the Ghante. Now, she takes up cases. d gle tan g vin sol of ge llen cha the bes pro dal Jin In Biwi Ka Nasha, has he s say o wh nt clie claims of a klace murdered a woman for a nec e. But wif his that he wanted to gift r inrde mu the to the wife owns up se? noo for e stead. A nos ■ Colonel Faridi a.k.a. by Colonel Vinod, created ikIbne Safi: A str ingly handsome but
his reclusive man addressed by ne. Sto rdHa her Fat deputy as s He drives a Lincoln, smoke es div the finest cigars and headlong into such daredevil t it international adventures tha pro to ie rist Ch tha Aga ed inspir y onl claim that Safi was the original detective fiction writer in Asia.
indulge Seema Goswami
If you are with people, pay attention to them. Take urgent calls only and keep them short
MIND YOUR MANNERS Turn up on time, say sorry if you’re late, and a ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ wouldn’t go amiss…
If you have made an appointment keep it; if you are running late, phone and apologise (right)
HESE DAYS, wherever I go I hear people bemoaning the demise of good manners. Just off the top of my head, these are some of the biggest bugbears: those who conduct long conversations on their mobiles while ignoring everyone else at the dinner table; those who let their kids run riot in public places without any attempt to discipline them; those who never bother to say ‘thank you’ (never mind writing a thank-you note) for a birthday present or a dinner party; those who arrive late as a matter of course and never ever bother to apologise for their tardiness. As you can see, the list is long and exhaustive. But what is most worrying is that what seems boorish and offensive to some is seen as perfectly acceptable behaviour in someone else’s book. Most of the serial offenders, when confronted with evidence of their ‘bad manners’, confess that they had no idea that they were, in fact, offending anyone. (‘Arre, what’s a 15- or 20-minute delay between friends, was the most common response.) So when it comes right down to it, what are good manners? And is there a bare minimum that we can all agree on in an effort to keep the wheels of social discourse running smoothly? Well, first off, good manners dictate that you don’t make people around you feel ill at ease, gauche, awkward or plain ignorant. It is perhaps best illustrated by the famous – and possibly apocryphal – story of Queen Victoria who was entertaining an African chief (or the Shah of Persia, depending on which book you believe) at a royal banquet. When the finger bowls were laid out at the end of the meal, for the diners to wash their fingers in rose water, the visiting potentate picked up the bowl and started drinking from it. Completely unperturbed, the Queen followed his lead, gesturing to all the other guests to follow suit, so that he wasn’t embarrassed about having done the wrong thing. Now that is what good manners are all about: making the other person feel at ease at all costs. And APRIL 7, 2013
we will all be better people if we assume them in our everyday life. Don’t snicker when the shop assistant mispronounces the name of a French label. If you really want to correct her, it’s much nicer to just repeat the name with the correct pronunciation. Do it a couple of times – with a straight face please – and she will get the message. You really don’t need to humiliate her in the process. If one of your dinner guests appears uncomfortable using cutlery to eat such tricky stuff as crab on the shell, start eating with your hands so that he can follow suit without feeling he has committed some sort of social solecism. If you can tell that the mother of a colleague is not too fluent in English, switch to Hindi halfway through the conversation. If the parents of a young child are mortified when he spills his drink on your pristine carpet, tell them it doesn’t matter; you were bored of that colour anyway. Making other people feel small is the height of bad manners; don’t do it. Be gracious; be charming; be kind. And don’t grudge the odd white lie you have to utter in the process. And while you are at it, don’t forget that the essence of good manners is treating other people’s time with the same respect as you accord your own. If you have made an appointment keep it; if you are running late, phone and apologise. If you have accepted an invitation to a sit-down dinner, turn up. And be there on time; don’t saunter in when the main course has been served and then depart before dessert can be wheeled out. A lot of effort has gone into putting the meal together. It won’t kill you to sit down and appreciate it. If you are with people, pay attention to them. If you are expecting an urgent call that you can’t possibly miss, apologise in advance. When it comes through, keep it short. Or else excuse yourself and conduct it in private. Don’t keep messaging, tweeting or Facebooking when you are in company. It is just a non-verbal way of telling those you are with that they are not important (your social media presence is). So, stop fiddling with your smartphone or staring at your iPad; invest in some face time instead. But most important of all, don’t forget that basic courtesies go a long way: saying ‘sorry’ when you tread on someone’s toes instead of just brushing past; an ‘excuse me’ when you are intruding into a conversation or someone’s private space; peppering your speech with ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. This politesse costs you nothing and buys you an enormous amount of goodwill. (And it’s even better if you can throw in a winning smile for good measure.)
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THE NO. 1 PHONE IN THE WORLD?
Picking the best phone on the planet is no picnic. In a two-part series, we make the task easier so you can choose the best of the lot THE CONTENDERS,
in random order, are (drum roll) 1. Samsung Galaxy S4 2. Sony Xperia Z 3. HTC One 4. iPhone 5 5. Nokia Lumia 920 6. BlackBerry Z10
THE WINNERS Looks 1. HTC One 2. iPhone 5 3. Nokia Lumia 920 Screen space 1. Samsung Galaxy S4 (for pulling off a giant screen into a super thin body) 2. iPhone 5 3. Sony Xperia Z Display 1. HTC One 2. Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z 3. iPhone 5 and BlackBerry Z10 Processor 1. Samsung Galaxy S4 2. iPhone 5 and HTC One 3. Nokia Lumia 920
NOT CHUGGING ALONG
The Sony Xperia Z runs on Quad Core processors
T’S TIME to wade into very treacherous territory. This may well be the sixth time (since I started writing for Brunch) that I’m doing a ‘Premium Flagship Best Phone in the World’ shootout. And it’s going to be the sixth time that I’m going to be dragged down to the village square, stripped down to my bare essentials and flogged within an inch of my life. Loyalty and tempers run very high when it has to do with something as personal as a smartphone. Each sliver of praise is gustily cheered and every shred of criticism is vociferously attacked. Defending a smartphone may well have become the modern equivalent of defending one’s own honour and pride. Does that make me a little nervous about doing today’s column? Nah! I’m going to pit what I believe are the best phones in the world right now. If you’re looking at a tech specs shootout and comparison charts of meaningless data, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m brand and OS neutral and I’m only going to get into those areas that really matter to a normal user.
importantly, for a Super AMOLED screen, they’ve managed very natural colours plus deep blacks and fantastic contrast. Sony’s Xperia Z is almost identical with a 5-inch screen and a similar PPI as well as colour range. The HTC One has the highest pixel density at 446 PPI and a very dynamic pop of colour as all that pixel density is crammed into a 4.7 inch screen. The iPhone 5 screen still remains the brightest, but the lower resolution becomes obvious when you set it out in front of the others. The BB Z10 and the Lumia 920 have lower resolution but still seem to have screens that look awesome in daily use.
PROCESSOR: THE HEART OF IT
This could be a category where I could reel off simple statistics and specifications and give the crown to the phone with most whiz-bang processor. That would be a grave injustice, as a processor and its speed and cores involved aren’t always telling the whole story. For instance, the Android OS requires more horsepower to run and even a quad core processor can be sluggish at certain tasks. Surprisingly the Windows OS chugs along like a bullet train even with a mediocre LOOKS: MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL processor while iOS and BB10 seem to whiz along Yes, looks matter. You can’t afford to be seen with blazingly fast with what the manufacturer has an ugly phone anymore and no company should even attempt to bundled in. The everyday user couldn’t care less about what’s have a design that isn’t jaw-dropping at first glance. The S4 gets ticking inside as long as the apps open fast, multi-tasking is a badly bludgeoned here as it carries on with plastic casing and a breeze and there’s no lag or screen freeze, ever. Thus let’s do this design that hasn’t changed in generations. The HTC One, with a section differently by mating the processor to the OS and then unibody aluminium chassis, is super premium. The minimalist metal give away the medals. engineered look of the iPhone is amazing but still reminds of you The S4 has created quite a stir in the tech world with its Octa of the iPhone 4 (just stretched out a bit). The Lumia 920 still gets (8) core 1.6 GHz processor, but do remember that it uses only second glances with its slick polycarbonate look and shine (the red 4 cores at a time. For light tasks, the power-efficient A7 cores is exceptional). The Sony Xperia Z is elegance understated, and the come into play and for more demanding stuff, the A15 cores rush BB Z10 pulls off a totally new BB look, which is industrial but classy. in while switching off the A7s. To those that think this is just total tech gobbledygook, you’re right. Suffice to say that LOOKING GOOD? SCREEN SPACE: ONE UP ON SIZE this switching just gives you serious power when you Design and style are one thing; ergonomics, size and The HTC One need it and battery efficiency when you don’t. The HTC form factor are what you deal with when you use your (below, left) beats One and Xperia Z run on quad core processors but can’t the Samsung phone every day. So how light, how thin and what it feels switch on and off. The BB Z10, iPhone 5 and Lumia 920 Galaxy S4’s old look in your hands on a daily basis make a huge difference. with its unibody are on dual core processors. But do remember that they The S4 is thin at .31 inches and light at 130g. The iPhone aluminium chassis run OSes that just aren’t so processor hungry. is thinner at .30 inches and lighter at 112g. The Xperia This shootout continues next week. Battery life, camZ is almost as thin but slightly heavier. era used in actual shoot conditions, video, addiThe Z10 is .35. The HTC One at .37 and tional usability features, add-ons, price and a the Lumia 920 at .42 touch the other whole lot more shall be compared. There’s plenside of the tape. ty to be tried, tested and thoroughly examined before one phone can be crowned ‘The Best DISPLAY: STARE MEISTERS Phone in the World’. But that shouldn’t stop you The display and screen on a modern from reacting to what has already been comsmartphone is now the Holy Grail pared. I’ve already stripped down to my bare feature, as this is what you’re going essentials. Let the flogging begin! Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the to stare and touch and feel all day. anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3 But the specs, PPI and resolutions only tell half the story. Colour reproduction, brightness, sharpness and MORE ON THE WEB viewing angles make a dramatic For previous columns by Rajiv Makhni, log on to hindustantimes.com/brunch. difference. The S4 has a full Follow Rajiv on Twitter at 1920x1080 HD 4.99-inch screen twitter.com/RajivMakhni with 441 pixels per inch. More APRIL 7, 2013
THE WORLD’S BEST
NOTHER MONTH, another list of the world’s greatest restaurants. Hot on the heels of the list of Asia’s Top 50 restaurants announced some weeks ago, which I wrote about, is a new list of the world’s 100 best restaurants. There is already one such list, produced out of the UK by Restaurant magazine, which has enormous impact in Europe, and which has greatly boosted the reputations of such European restaurants as The Fat Duck, El Bulli and most recently Noma. The new list (in whose compilation I have some involvement) comes out of New York and has its origins in the web. It is produced by Glam Media, which has the number one position in terms of online global search in lifestyle, and its Foodie.com site is already among the leading food verticals (around 20 million unique users a month) despite being launched only in February 2012. When the folks at Glam Media in New York called me and asked if I would be part of a jury to select the world’s top restaurants, I was sceptical and reluctant. There were many reasons for my hesitation. The first were the reservations I outlined in this column a month ago: how can I judge whether say, Bukhara is better than Noma unless I have been to both? The reason most of these Top 100 lists are a little nonsensical is because no member of the jury has eaten consistently at all the restaurants that could make it on the list and so the rankings are arbitrary. Number 52 may well be a better restaurant than Number 2 or Number 1. The jury is in no position to decide because most of its members have not eaten at those restaurants. The good thing about the Foodie Top 100 is that it makes no attempt to rank the restaurants. It just picks what it regards as the best restaurants in the world without claiming that one is better than the other. My other reservation had to do with methodology. I am never clear about how these lists are actually compiled. In some cases, the selection is made without the names of the jury being revealed and in other cases, when you do discover who did the selecting, you feel that they would have been better off not revealing the names of the people whose opinions we are being asked to respect. The Foodie Top 100 on the other hand, follows a completely transparent process. Rather than rely on 40 or so anonymous judges or assorted no-hopers per region, it lets a jury of food critics decide. These include some really big names from the
WATCH WHERE HE’S GOAN
A new list of the 100 best restaurants compiled by top food critics includes three Indian places
THE INDIA LIST Though three Indian restaurants (Bukhara, Indian Accent and Karavalli) made it to the global list of the world’s 100 best restaurants, there is also a regional list with the best restaurants in each country. These are the Indian names on that list.
Bukhara Dum Pukht Indian Accent Varq
Gajalee Thai Pavilion
THE REAL DEAL
The master chef Urbano Rego (right) is recognised for the exceptional Goan cuisine at Beach House APRIL 7, 2013
Fortunately, all three restaurants on the main list – Bukhara (above), Karavalli (right) and Indian Accent (far right) – are Indian restaurants, not mock-New York nouveau Japanese places
food journalism world. Gael Greene, Patricia Wells, Ruth Reichl, Jonathan Gold, Alexander Lobrano, Masuhiro Yamamoto, the blogger Aun Koh etc. (and at least one small name: me). The total jury has just 10 people plus three from Glam Media. So this is not an opinion poll. These are the judgements of some of the world’s best and most experienced food writers. I don’t know how the process worked once our selections got to New York but in the interest of transparency, I am going to explain what my role was. I was asked to pick 20 to 25 restaurants (mainly from India, though I was welcome to nominate places in other countries too) that I regarded as the finest in the world, to offer some comparative rating of my selections, and to write around 250 words per restaurant. My guess is that other jury members did the same and the final list consisted of the top places we had picked. But there are also regional lists and these will be published separately. There will also be a book, out later this year, that will feature all the selected restaurants. I’ve been looking at the final list and the chief difference between these selections and other such lists is that the Foodie Top 100 is not trying to be trendy or controversial. There is no attempt to cater to foodie fashions (molecular gastronomy, foraging, eating live prawns etc.) and the bulk of the list seems designed to THESE MEN MADE IT HAPPEN
Chef Naren Thimmaiah (below) runs the massively influential Karavalli; Manish Mehrotra (below right) of Indian Accent is the now most respected modern Indian chef in the foodie world
Photo: HARIKRISHNA KATRAGADDA
HAVE YOU EATEN HERE YET?
Photo: CC/CREATIVE COMMONS
Beach House from Goa (right) and Southern Spice from Chennai (below) are featured on the regional list of the best restaurants in India
IT’S ALL IN THE BAG
be authoritative rather than outrageous, which is what you would expect from a jury of heavyweights. Secondly, the bias against France and Japan, which is a feature of some lists, has been corrected. The French get 29 restaurants on the list. The Japanese get an equal number. (Though you could argue that Japan beats France if you take the line that Monte Carlo’s Le Louis XV restaurant is in Monaco and not France). Some people might regard a list in which two countries account for well over half the selections as being unfairly weighted. My own view however is that this is entirely fair. It is also roughly the view of the Michelin guide as well, where France and Japan have the most Michelin-starred restaurants. Others will object that the US gets 20 restaurants while England gets only four but having eaten at many (if not most) of the restaurants listed in both countries, I think this is okay too. New York has much better food than London. And the US is a much larger country. And though the Foodie Top 100 is meant to provide a counterpoint to Michelin (“I’ve made no secret of my long-time disappointment with the whimsies of restaurant guides. How do you lose a star one year and gain another the next?” one of the Foodie judges, Gael Greene says), I actually thought that the list echoed Michelin’s views in many areas. A large proportion of the restaurants selected have three or two Michelin stars and the list keeps with Michelin’s tendency to reward the great masters of cuisine. All three of Alain Ducasse’s three-Michelin-starred restaurants (London, Paris and Monte Carlo) make it to the Top 100 though a trendier guide would probably not have included the London outpost. (Which I like, but which British food critics have mauled). Thomas Keller gets two restaurants (Per Se and The French Laundry) on the list and the inclusion of the classic Chez Panisse and the Waterside Inn demonstrates an unwillingness to cater to current fashions and trendiness. Which brings us to the East. When nearly 70 per cent of a list focuses on France, America and Japan, there is not much room for the rest of the world. Fortunately, because this is not a British list, there is no obsession with all things Scandinavian or even
Spanish. Noma makes the list. But that is about all as far as Scandinavia is concerned. (Spain’s Arzak does not cut it.) I think that Thailand deserved at least one entry on the list but I am not shedding any tears over the failure of Dubai to make the grade and it seems to me to be entirely fair that Singapore gets only one entry. (Iggy’s, obviously). India gets three restaurants on the list (Australia gets just one; as do Germany and Austria). This is more than most lists usually give us. And fortunately, all three are Indian restaurants, not mock-New York nouveau Japanese places. The three winners include Bukhara, easily the world’s most famous Indian restaurant and therefore, a natural choice. But it is the other two inclusions that please me more. Karavalli in Bangalore, run by Chef Naren Thimmaiah, is a massively influential restaurant that has never got the global credit it deserves so I’m happy it is rated as one of the world’s best restaurants. And Indian Accent is the cuisine phenomenon of this decade. Manish Mehrotra cooks in a small hard-to-find restaurant in Delhi’s Friend’s Colony but the man is such a genius that he is now the most respected modern Indian chef in the foodie world, up there with the likes of Vineet Bhatia. There is also a regional list where Thailand gets three restaurants (including the wonderful Mezza Luna which was unfairly ignored in the slightly risible Asia Top 50) and Singapore gets six (including My Humble House). But India gets more restaurants (9) than Australia (7, which includes Brisbane’s Esquire which should really be on the main list as well). What this means is that, outside of Japan, India has the best restaurants in Asia. And who could possibly argue with that? (All the other lists, actually. They rate us much lower.) I’ve listed all the Indian winners on the regional list on these pages. I’m delighted that the master chef Urbano Rego – easily the greatest Goan chef in the world – has been recognised for the exceptional Goan cuisine at the Beach House. Congratulations are also due to the Taj group which has five out of the nine listings (plus Quilon on the regional London list) and to the always consistent Gajalee in Bombay, India’s finest sea-food restaurant. You don’t have to be fancy to be great – and Gajalee proves that.
According to Foodie Top 100, outside of Japan, India has the best restaurants in Asia
APRIL 7, 2013
Photo: STEVEN ROTHFELD; Courtesy: ALEXANDER LOBRANO.COM
All three of Alain Ducasse’s three-Michelinstarred restaurants have made it to the top 100
A LIST OF HEAVYWEIGHTS
The jury of Foodie Top 100 includes some really big names from the food journalism world, like Alexander Lobrano (above) and Ruth Reichl (right)
Photo Courtesy: RUTHREICHL.COM
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T R AV E L
Isle Be Back
Even a brief, temporal visit is enough to be seduced by the lyric physical beauty of Sri Lanka text and photos by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi
HAT STRIKES you on landing in Sri Lanka is the air, slow, thick, a kind of luxuriant sense of outcome, of waiting. Then you notice the green of the frangipani leaves, a sheen that appears almost lacquered. You imagine you are in some place familiar, yet the sense of the foreign is heightened. I was sleepy by the time I’d landed at dawn, and as I’d foolishly forgotten my wallet back in Bombay, the prospect of arranging cash in a new country had rankled me. But I went to the hotel and slept for a few hours, rising at 10am, refreshed; my sleep, dreamless but intense, was like waking after weeks of slumber. Drawing back the curtains in my room in Colombo, I was met with a view of the sea; there was boundlessness to it, a blue grey expanse ending only where the eye could no longer travel. Since it was Poya, a public holiday occurring every full moon day, there was little traffic. The seaside promenade was taken over with families; a few kite fliers had launched paper tigers into the clear blue sky. Having arranged for cash – a panic call to my manager, who made the necessary arrangements – I stepped out. My friend Farrokh had told me to check out the Colombo Dutch Hospital. A beautiful old building, it housed the usual run of
chic cafés and expensive restaurants common in most cities, these are often in neighbourhoods salvaged from obscurity, where someone with a fine eye has glimpsed possibilities, that cave where beauty hides in times of war. But these cafes and restaurants share the same intention – to disguise the disfigured city and present in its elegant environs a sameness that doesn’t console with familiarity but numb with the customary. I went onwards to Paradise Road, a store highly recommended. And with good reason: it was glorious. There were ceramic pitchers you could marry, and cement apple replicas you wouldn’t mind serving a sentence for. A friend had suggested I meet with the owner, Shanth Fernando, so I skedaddled over to his hotel, Tintagel. The pile was absurdly refined, contrast tones on walls and fine linen for delicious sofas; one immediately wanted to conduct a love affair, if only to toss the cushions to the floor
You are in someplace familiar, but the sense of the foreign is heightened
APRIL 7, 2013
The seaside town of Galle (above); the privately owned Taprobane island dwells in magnificent isolation (left)
in a fit of passion. Luckily, in Shanth Fernando’s company this impulse was quickly extinguished.
t first, I thought him an old world curmudgeon but in the process of our conversation the phrase ‘personality disorder’ sprung to mind several times. In the car ride to his café – also a Colombo favourite, housed in a building designed by Geoffrey Bawa – I asked of friends we might have in common. These were figures of public life, and easy to identify. A few names down he said, ‘I am not a
networker,’ which rang false since he had agreed to meet me, a rank stranger. He spoke of being incredibly busy managing his properties, he owned another hotel on the beach, a few other stores – this was all rather impressive, of course, except the fuss would make one think he ran an oil company. At lunch at Gallery Café – an excellent fish in splendid atmosphere, a far cry from the ghastly café society of Bombay – Fernando made some noise of how the generosities I’d encountered in Sri Lanka would extract a price. ‘There is no such thing as a free lunch,’ he said. I immediately offered to buy him lunch, to assure him I agreed with him, and to also relieve myself of whatever obligation this lunch might bear. He said, ‘I’m shocked,’ and excused himself. I let this pass thinking that Fernando had set up what were no doubt institutions, not only in Colombo but the world over. His aesthetic was singular,
twitter.com/HTBrunch admirable, luxuriant, and that I would come back not once but many times over to Sri Lanka only for Paradise Road.
hat same evening I returned to the café as a guest of Otara Gunewardene. A former model who started her massive business empire, the formidable chain of ODEL, out of the boot of her car, she was a wonderful, gregarious host. Refined, clever and fierce, she spoke of her love for animals – she sold a successful range of merchandise at ODEL, proceeds of which supported a dog shelter. We talked also of the perils of running a business in a country coming out of war but she remained upbeat, citing plans for expansion across Sri Lanka. ODEL has a whiff of Marks & Spencer or Selfridges, stocking similarly curated clothing and objects, and is a testament to the founder’s vision and ambition. Her optimism was guarded but compelling, and her keen, feline eyes were clearly gunning for a large piece of Sri Lanka’s new economy (many had pointed out to me that the government had taken such massive loans to rebuild the country it was a wonder how they were going to ever pay it back). After dinner, Channa Daswatte, one of the subcontinent’s most feted architects and trustee of the Geoffrey Bawa Trust, whisked me away for a drink. Earlier in the day, at Daswatte’s suggestion, I’d spent a few lovely hours at Bawa’s personal residence in Colombo, in thrall of the great architect’s love for contour and symmetry, clean lines and that rough and tumble with object and tapestry. Daswatte had served as Bawa’s principal, so one could glimpse strains of a familiar genius running through his mansion on the outskirts of Colombo, a neighbourhood hedged by a lake. We drank under the stars, as Daswatte’s friends spoke tenderly of betrayal and loss during the war – they volunteered affecting anecdotes, and the evening had a sombre close as the stories ended in sudden death and unexpected insanity (‘he was never quite right in the head after that bombing’). When I said the political scenario in India enraged me enough at times to want to leave, Daswatte cautioned me. ‘I could have gone anywhere, y’know,’ he said. ‘But I stayed on because I knew that only by sticking around could I bring
A VISUAL TREAT
A detail from Geoffrey Bawa’s home in Colombo (above); Taprobane island (left and below) features a white mansion with great views
about any change when the country was ready for it.’ I am glad he did, but I felt that the change he – and so many of his fine peers have ushered in Sri Lanka – was possible because of the scale: the Sri Lankan population hovers at 22 million, this is roughly the size of Bombay with a few vote bank slums thrown in. In Sri Lanka I saw the beauty of an Asian country untroubled by scale. How would anyone – be it our well-meaning but misguided intellectuals or an autocratic leader with a deathly past record – transform a country whose numbers showed no sign of abating?
he following day, on my way to the seaside town of Galle, the roads impressed me: they were built to international standards, they were clean, they had a sense of direction, someone had thought through their destiny. Reaching Galle, I witnessed distant echoes of destruction – houses done to
ground by the tsunami. I looked out at the sea, at its sheer, magnificent expanse, and imagined this land was suffering for its beauty; like a trouble genius, it oscillated between renewal and ravage. Galle Fort is overrun by expats who have taken over most of its hideaways out of which they run design stores, cafés and restaurants. There is a sense that the foreigners had recognised the wonders of Galle Fort and arrived to claim it; there was no particular mood of integration but of dainty planets of lattes and art galleries living in a larger orbit of the local cosmos. It could also be easily argued that without their prescience Galle Fort could have been any old fort by the sea; they brought to it civilisation and modern whimsy. (And yet, there was a feeling of expats banding with each other in a way they
probably never would in their own countries). I was at dinner at Sun House – voted by many as among the best restaurants in the world – whose owner, Geoffrey Dobbs, joined me. After a lively supper we agreed to meet again the following day for lunch at Dobb’s private island, Taprobane. It’s easy to see why Paul Bowles once owned it, why he wrote here, it has majestic isolation, one walks to it through pale emerald waters and reaches a white mansion of such spectacular views that one experiences a kind of death: a self that had existed before knowing Taprobane, and the self that now lives in its knowledge, of the lush tropical green, a sense of eternity across the waters. Dobbs pointed to the house of the artist Saskia Pintelon, her abode designed by Japanese maestro, Tadao Ando. I had sat for a long time before Pintelon's portrait of Taprobane, dark, heavy colours in counterpoint to the brightness that surrounded it presently, it felt like something hauled out of ancient memory, a fossil of something perfect and sublime, much like the lyric physical beauty of Sri Lanka. On my way back, I was told repeatedly about the autocratic governance – there’s an overwhelming resentment for one family running an island like a private stronghold, but hey, how different is that from India? – and that the sins of war had not been overcome by innumerable civilians (one saw the maimed victim of a landmine, and this brought tears to the eyes, the sheer space of Sri Lanka allows such injustices to register poignantly while in India these often pass into the unfeeling theatre of unending statistic). Of course, my experience of the island, its people, was brief and temporal, a summary of quick observations balanced by no lived experience, no broadside viewpoint that transcended all that was pleasing on the eye. But I would go back for this alone, beauty experienced in my sleep, and in my bones, as a kind of truth.
In Sri Lanka I saw the beauty of a country untroubled by scale
Shanghvi is the writer of books like The Last Song of Dusk and The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay facebook. com/Shanghvi
“Travel is impossible, but daydreaming about travel is easy” – B J Novak, American actor APRIL 7, 2013
How ARJUN KHANNA, hospitality entre-
by Manit Moorjani
bigger tyres Tree Cutters to slice off overhanging branches Shovel to remove mud in case the jeep gets stuck
HESE BEASTS crawl effortlessly over rock piles, streams and fallen logs. They muscle Arjun chopped off 8 through forests. They drive inches from the back swiftly over desert dunes in and 2.5 inches from Rajasthan and the foothills the front of the original body in Himachal Pradesh like no other machines can. He also installed And the incomparable larger off-roading tyres to make the charm of driving in jeep more suitable open-top jeeps in the for rough terrain middle of nowhere puts them high up on any outdoor lover’s post-retirement address both looks and performto-do list. So why wait for the grass to ance requirements. A jeep, after all, is grow when they are being made right built out of passion. “It is the ultimate next door; and can cost less than the macho symbol for many guys. It is price of your average hatchback? like a civilised beast. The thrill of driving a jeep, especially when it WAY TOO MACHO comes to adventure sports, is amazThough they all look massive and ing,” says Raj Kapoor, 49, owner of monstrous, some jeeps are built only Performance Auto, a jeep modificafor looks; other are mega performers. tion company in Noida. “Growing up, Before you get a jeep custom-made, we’ve all seen the hero in many Hindi figure out step one: why do you want movies drive a jeep, occasionally it? Do you want to show off? Or do while singing a song, and that image you want a machine that can take you remains in our heads,” he adds. across the toughest terrain without getting you into an airlift situation? A TRIBES AND GYPSIES bit of both is good to begin with. Look Back in 1938, Popeye, still the most beyond the stunning bodywork and famous sailor cartoon character of all large tyres. Investing in a best-intime, presented his girlfriend Olive class suspension is worth it only if Oyl with a ‘magical dog’ named you are on a road trip that takes you Eugene the Jeep (which could vanish as far away from the road as you can and was very smart). A few years go. Jeep modification workshops
A JEEP, REALLY?
■ When you call a Maruti Gypsy a Jeep,
what you are saying is that it is made by an American automobile company called the Chrysler Group, which is certainly not true. It has been made by Maruti (earlier Maruti Suzuki). This is because the name Jeep is a trademark owned by the Chrysler Group (which was first owned by Willys-Overland in 1950) and has traded hands every few decades to finally reach them. It’s like casually calling all musical keyboards Casios, which is
again the name of a company. Imagine a Yamaha keyboard being called a Casio! And when you call a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) such as a Toyota Land Cruiser a jeep, you are again mistaken. ■ In the early 1990s, car buyers began losing interest in station wagons (also called estate cars, where the roof of a sedan is extended till the back). So automobile companies in the US decided to put the off-roading and four-wheel drive capabilities of the Jeep into the comfort of the station wagon, and the
APRIL 7, 2013
Snorkel for the engine so that the jeep can drive even if it is 5 feet under water Matte-black paint job for body for a rugged look
New 1.5 lt Maruti Baleno engine with free flow exhaust for better performance Winch to pull the jeep out in case it gets stuck
Fib re gl as sf en de rs
Ex te rn al ro ll ca ge
preneur, got his own custom-made jeep Getting your own Original vehicle>> Gypsy 2009 model custom-made jeep Turned into>> Ultimate Off-Roader APPROXIMATE EXPENSE is easier (and less Original vehicle >> R5 lakh expensive) than Modifications >> R10 lakh you thought. Time ACCESSORIES IN THE BACK High Lift Jack to change to rev up!
later, World War II soldiers were so impressed with their new four-wheeler that they named it after him, and the Jeep was born. From then to now, we have seen the trademarked Jeep and countless other vehicles being made under licence for different countries (including Mahindra in India) . So how do you decide which jeep to get customised? And how do you get it done? To begin with, you go to the market and well… buy a jeep! There aren’t many options, but for true customisation, all you need to start with is a basic body and engine. The rest is all put together the way you want. When it comes to choosing a brand to modify, there are a few popular choices. “Although we do get a few imported SUVs like the Pajero and SUV was born. Soon, they made the interiors of SUVs luxurious, too! ■ So the Jeep is not a vehicle type, it is a company. And an SUV is not a Jeep (unless it’s made by the company Jeep, then it most certainly is!). ■ Although in very basic terms, all those vehicles we casually call the jeep are tough and strong and usually 4wheel drive. These machines are very aggressive-looking and can cover the wildest terrain with a smile. So yes, that’s a jeep!
Photos: SANJEEV VERMA
Jeep, On The Rocks!
New suspension with long range shockers and greater ground clearance (3 inches higher)
the X-Trail, as some people like the SUV-Jeep mix, the Maruti Gypsy has stood the test of time,” says Phillipos Matthais, owner of Street Sports, a jeep modification firm in Mehrauli. Giving tough competition to the Gypsy in the last few years is the Mahindra Thar, a descendant of
How KAMAL CHAUHAN, businessman, got himself a custom-made jeep Original vehicle>> Gypsy 2010 model Turned into>> A very macho-looking jeep
APPROXIMATE EXPENSE Original vehicle >> R4 lakh Modifications >> R2 lakh
Sports seats and steering to give an outdoor look (the sports steering also offers better grip) Large side view mirror from Hummer HX for that ‘big’ feel Big tyres and spacers so that the jeep is higher and broader
New rear cab store stepne also stand on
the MM550, the original jeep only Mahindra had a licence to make, back in the 1970s. In case you don’t want either a Mahindra or a Gypsy, you could get an old army vehicle. Some aficionados are even known to install a Mahindra Scorpio engine in old army jeeps.
cage f or ext ra
If you are building a jeep for rally racing, you would do the opposite of what four-wheeling needs. “A modified roll cage and bumper, rally lamps, seats, belts and fuel tank are a few essential components of a rally jeep,” advises Sarika Sehrawat, 31, one of the first woman rally drivers in the country. If you are not doing off-roading or rallying, and still want a jeep – you are obviously planning on making some friends very envious soon. As for the looks, cosmetic modifications – front grille and lamps, shiny alloys, sporty seats, gigantic tyres, a padded leather dashboard – work best. In India, the jeep culture is most prominent in cities where there is enough space to drive them, and where outdoor rocky locations are just an hour or two away. Chandigarh-based Sunny Sidhu, 37, a multiple-time Raid de Himalaya champion, for instance, grew up driving a jeep. “They bring back memories of a time when there weren’t many cars or SUVs,” he says. Delhi and Chandigarh in the north and Bangalore in the south are the hubs of jeep enthusiasts in India, says Mandeep Singh, a businessman who split open his jeep to build it for offroading in Delhi and Punjab. As Phillipos Matthais of Street Sports puts it, “People who come to us don’t care what car they drive through the week. Their minds are always dreaming of the outdoors.”
In case you don’t want either a Mahindra or Gypsy, get an old army vehicle
Larger tyres for better traction, fibreglass bodywork, a more powerful petrol engine – the list of modifications is endless. What makes the difference is the result: a higher, bigger, flashier and stronger machine. “I wanted huge tyres and a completely new macho-looking bodywork for my Gypsy. It now looks like the younger cousin of a monster truck,” says Kamal Chauhan, 36, a Noida-based businessman whose modified jeep has retained the front grill and lamps of his Hummer HX. If you plan to drive away into the ‘unknown’ (for instance, the off-road trails on the outskirts of Gurgaon) you need performance (and comfort), upgrades such as more advanced suspension, shock absorbers and air filters, a roll cage, a winch (that pulls you out of a ditch) and even a snorkel (that helps the engine breathe under five feet of water). Of course, you can come up with innovative modifications on your own, too. Hospitality entrepreneur and motorsports buff Arjun Khanna, 38, for instance, cut off eight inches from the back of his jeep and 2.5 inches from the front to give it better departure and approach angles in uneven terrain. “It has greater ground clearance and long-range shockers so that the tyres are the first things to Ne
ar cabin to tepney (you can and on the tyre)
come in contact with any rocks or obstacles. The crawl gear ratios for higher torque help my machine climb steep cliffs,” adds Khanna.
Sporty two-colour design and paint job on body
Front grille and lights from Hummer HX for monster truck look
MIND BODY SOUL SHIKHA SHARMA
OPEN SEASON Let go of the eating practices of winter and begin eating appropriately for summer
TAP INTO YOUR ELEMENTS The human body is also made up of the five basic elements. So, vata constitution types have an excess of the air element, pitta types have more of the fire element and the water element is on the higher side in the kapha body type. Our food, too, has elements of the cosmos within it. So, we have foods that have higher elements of vata such as beans, channa, rajma, cabbage and broccoli. Foods with higher elements of pitta include spices (all garam masalas) and meat products and foods which have a higher element of kapha include wheat and banana. Several small festivals signal the onset of the seasons and pave the GRAINS OF WISDOM For summer, switch to eating lighter grains like rice, sattu and barley
THE LOGIC OF FRESH Another aspect of your diet that needs to be addressed with the change of season is the freshness of food. Fresh food is light and easily digestible, which is important, because in this season our digestive capacity reduces as compared to winter. Amongst fresh foods, one can eat cereals (rice, barley, oats) fruits, salads, vegetables and chutneys. This is the season to start preparing chutneys as they can be made fresh every day and enjoyed with most meals. Traditionally, chutneys contain several ingredients that are high in digestive properties. The needs of your palate should also keep pace with the change of season. In the cold and humid winter, the taste to hanker for is sharp (spices). In the spring it is astringent (salads). In the summer it is bitter, in the rainy season sour, in the autumn salty and in the beginning of winter (during Diwali and New Year), it is sweet.
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APRIL 7, 2013
HE SEASON is changing and gradually, we can see the days become warmer and the sun sharper. During the Aadan Kaal LIGHT AND EASY (northern solstice), the sun and the Fresh foods such as salads and chutneys wind become powerful and excesare easily digestible sive heat and dryness deplete the in summer bodyâ€™s energy. Visarga Kaal (southern solstice) is the period when the way for sun and wind are milder and they changes in our eatimpart energy and strength to ing and daily routine. It is that the body. time of the year when we have to let As the season changes, we need go of the eating practices of winter to change our eating patterns and and begin eating appropriately for modify our day-to-day routine. The summer. reason these changes have to be In this new eating regimen, we made is because our bodies, the have to stop consuming foods with foods we eat and the seasons are high kapha content (such as items linked by an intricate thread called cooked and kept overnight), fried the prakriti. The prakriti is food and heavy desserts. common to everything in Avoid heavy Sweets made of khoya the universe. According and ghee should make to the Vedas, the five ba- sweets made way for lighter sweets sic elements are the of khoya and such as kheer, thandai same for everybody (air, have kheer, and fruit puddings. water, fire, earth and In the summer, the thandai and variety space). As the seasons of grain should change, these elements, fruit puddings also become lighter. So, too, change their intenswitch to easier-to-diinstead sity, strength, action and gest grains such as rice, impact. sattu and barley.
B R U N C H D AT E
“I became a costume designer by sheer fluke!”
‘Working on a film is like getting married, once you are in it, you have to make it work’
Photo: KALPAK PATHAK; LOCATION COURTESY: OUT OF THE BLUE, MUMBAI
National Award winner Niharika Khan Bhasin is on a high with Kai Po Che. But she’s ready to give it all up if she gets bored by Parul Khanna
You didn’t start out wanting to be a costume designer…
T WOULD be a mistake to judge Niharika Khan Bhasin by her looks. Perhaps, her many tattoos, piercings (tongue, chin, cheek) and bindaas attitude are a ploy to throw everyone off her serious approach to work (a National Award after just six years in Bollywood can’t be a joke). She sets tough standards for herself for sure. “I cringe when I see Amrita Puri’s manicured nails in Kai Po Che. How would a middle-class girl in Ahmedabad in the early 2000s be so prim? I should have made her remove them, but I didn’t insist,” she chides herself. As Khan relishes her salad and enjoys live music at Out Of The Blue in Bandra, Mumbai, the celebrated costume designer opens up about life, love and weight loss. Excerpts from the interview:
It was a fluke. I did a masters in public relations and HR from Seattle in the US. I began working in a corporate set-up, but hated it. I quit to take classes in jewellery design, and started working in a store. I even worked as the design head of Tanishq in Bangalore and launched my store called Purple Porcupine [which burnt down]. Then one day, a friend asked me, ‘I am doing a film with Sudhir Mishra, can you do the costumes for it?’ I had no experience in costume design, so I was like, ‘Why don’t you call bhaiya? [Her brother Arjun Bhasin did the costume design for Dil Chahta Hai and Life Of Pi]. But hiring me cost was cheaper for
FILMS SHE DID COSTUMES FOR... ■ Khoya
Chand ■Rock On! ■ Rocket Singh:
Salesman Of The Year ■ Karthik Calling Karthik
Baaja Baraat Belly ■ The Dirty Picture ■ Kai Po Che ■ Delhi
APRIL 7, 2013
the producer. So I got my start.
With no degree, experience or contacts, how did you manage?
I had my brother on speed dial. My inexperience, a negative, proved beneficial for me. I am half-Punjabi, that’s where my love for colour comes from, and the half-Parsi side is responsible for my meticulousness, plus my US education makes me good with researching characters. So I pass!
But it still might have been tough...
Yes, it was. Rock On! was a tough project. At least for Khoya Khoya Chand, which was a period drama, I had some visual clues and photographs that dated from that era. But Rock On! was contemporary. I had to create the characters’ looks from scratch.
The Dirty Picture won you a National Award... Yes, but in a lot of ways,
Delhi Belly was tougher. The movie spanned just three days, so there had to be continuity. But we weren’t shooting in a sequence. So I had 15 copies of the same shirt stitched for every character. Poor Imran Khan had to wear dirty clothes, because I couldn’t wash them.
It sounds like challenging work…
I got in, got my feet wet and realised I was loving it. I am still enjoying it. The moment I don’t, I’ll leave.
Kai Po Che was the second time you worked with Abhishek Kapoor...
Yes. Rock On! was fun too. I am comfortable with Gattu. For Kai Po Che, we were shooting in 50 degree-heat in Gujarat. I couldn’t give Omi (Amit Sadh) shoes because his father was a pujari. Every time he’d visit him in the temple he would have to take them off. So, even though he’s running a sports shop, he wears chappals. This is the kind of detail that goes into making costumes for a film.
You were linked to actor Amit Sadh…
You think I would go for someone so much younger? Amit is a friend and nutritionist whose diet plan finally helped me lose 25 kilos in a year.
Your clothes in Band Baaja Baraat were copied by tailors for weddings…
(Laughs) Yes. I had not been to a Delhi Punjabi shaadi. Ranveer Singh and I gatecrashed weddings in Delhi as part of our research. I noticed that the middle class wore more bling and as the weddings got richer, there was less colour and embroidery.
Your work-life balance trick?
I am a single parent to two kids [Niharika was married to actor Ayub Khan], so I return to Mumbai from locations and take a few days off.
Tell us about your next projects?
Rensil D’Silva’s Ungli, Danis Tanovic’s White Lies and Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Suresh Raina BIRTHDAY
SUN SIGN PLACE OF BIRTH
HIGH POINT OF LIFE
Scoring a century on my test POINT OF debut, and winning the 2011 YOUR LIFE World Cup None
Scholarship from Air India in 1999
CURRENTLY I AM...
Enjoying training in my new Adidas running shoes called Energy BOOST, and playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL
Your favourite cricket ground in India and abroad. A greeting card for my first girlfriend when Ranchi in India and Auckland abroad. I was 17. That’s all I can recall. Describe your fitness regime? The street food you can’t ignore. Living a healthy life with regulated sleep Tunde ke kebab. and eating habits, and feeling happy. One piece of advice you wish someone had given How do you work on your fielding? you 10 years ago. I believe that fitness is very That it is important to follow one’s important, and one needs heart. to be very alert and involved Who is your 3am friend? on the ground. I always Sleep! expect every ball to come One Bollywood actress you my way. Jonty Rhodes has would want to date. also been an inspiration. Sonali Bendre. She is very What exercise regime do you pretty. WHAT KIND OF CARS follow to improve your fielding? What makes your day? DO YOU LIKE? My core and glutes. After my Playing for India. Waking up surgery, I’m working a lot on in the morning, knowing that my back and hamstring I will wear the Indian jersey. along with glutes. God has been kind to me. Your favourite mate in the dressing room. What spoils it? Ravindra Jadeja. When India loses a match. The toughest bowler to face in Tests and ODIs. Your dream destination. Muttiah Muralitharan. Ibiza. Your favourite restaurants in Delhi and Mumbai? Your idea of a perfect holiday. Bukhara in Delhi and Thai Pavillion in On the beach with friends all day long. Mumbai. You get angry when... What inspires you the most? People indulge in back-biting. My passion for the game, and playing You destress with... every game thinking it will be my last Good old Hindi music – I love Kishore chance to play for the nation. Kumar songs and also those sung by Which body part would you want to insure? Mohit Chauhan. My eyes. The last line of your autobiography would read... What adventure sports are you fond of? Suresh Raina – the believer, the doer. I enjoy snorkelling, water sports and paragliding. — Interviewed by Veenu Singh The last thing you bought for under R10.
THE FILM YOU HAVE SEEN MORE THAN 5 TIMES
Sholay THE MOST OVERRATED FILM
Sex and the City, and Humraaz
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
THE MOST PAISA VASOOL FILM
Kai Po Che
APRIL 7, 2013
A MOVIE THAT TAKES YOU BACK TO YOUR YOUTH
Iqbal THE FIRST MOVIE THAT YOU SAW ON THE BIG SCREEN
Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!