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SUNDAY MAGAZINE, NEW DELHI, AUGUST 7, 2011 Free with your copy of Hindustan Times

Ajay Devgn as police inspector Bajirao Singham in Singham

Ghajini, Wanted, Dabangg and now Singham‌ the masala action potboiler is back with a vengeance!

2011 E, JULY 31, SUNDAY MAGAZIN Times copy of Hindustan

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What happens when a traditional Kerala home is transplanted to a Haryana farm? How was it done? Who did it? Buy the latest Brunch Quarterly to find out!

Lights, Camera, Action!

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Larger-than-life heroes. Larger-than-life villains. Raw action. Song and dance. With hits like Dabangg, Ghajini, Wanted and Singham, the masala action potboiler is back with a vengeance!

Saroj Pradhan Rajiv makhni surely a tech master, got to know tech myths Animesh Kar your add on health supplement was nice !!!!!

Ruchika Kathpalia an eye opening article.....must read for techno dumbs.....very much lukin forward for next week's article:)) Thanks Rajiv sir. Chhavi Arya The bust of tech myths is absolutely stunning...waiting for the Part-3 ! Tanushree De awesome awesome awesome article....thanks Mr. Makhni for busting some myths we always knew and some that were news! Rahul Jain Sundays couldn’t be better without Brunch.

Calling All Tweeple @ahmed_farhan Today's @HTBrunch 's Monsoon edition was awesome. Can't wait for the rain to happen, so I may implement those ideas. @arun_singh_ The best thing up on a sunday morning : a new issue of @HTBrunch @darmyster Brilliant Article! Can't wait for next weeks’s column by @RajivMakhni @shwetamz Now reading @htbrunch perfect topic in this weather... Take the Plunge .. All about monsoon. And a power nap after .. @Durish Was really glad to see a thick copy of @HTBrunch today!!! Dejected to see maximum pages were advertisements/promotional messages.



Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam reveals how she started writing SIP STYLE FILE 24 In Deep Waters The hard facts on the trend of drinkWhy Do only-water Women Like Love it, hate it but you just can’t ignore it




The hunky actor on why Krishh is his favourite superhero, why 3 Idiots made him cry, what love means to him and much more


Mobile Phones: Legends, Lore And Fantasy

The last of a mobile myth busting series LIVE

Better Late Than...

In India, time is an elastic concept – get used to it LISTEN

Gone Too Soon

Amy Winehouse’s death got me thinking about Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain


EXCLUSIVE: Our resident foodie decides to treat us with very special ‘Buffalo Wings’ as she remembers jumping off a ledge just to prove that she wasn’t chicken! HOT OFF THE Munch on! OVEN!

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‘It was unlikely that I’d be an academic’


oons? rainy aftern you read on connection? ● What should h-Bollywood the bhutta? ● What is the baaris on without you’re wet? be a monso ● Can there le to look elegant when ● Is it possib

Forgotten gems

How a house travelled over 2,000 km from Kerala to Haryana is a story that began on a convivial evening in Delhi less than a year ago when Delhi-based architect Pradeep Sachdeva was at a friend’s dinner.

Yashvir Chawla Mr. Sanghvi's "Back with a Bang" was really a BANG!

FEED BACK POINT, CLICK, SNAP! The HT Brunch Photo Contest

Your ‘Bazaars’ were so enchanting, that we never want to come back. So, here’s our theme for next week: ‘Saris’. Visit for details. And for Turn those eagerly waiting for to page 6 the results of ‘Perfect the winne for rs Pets’ theme, check inHT Brunc of The h Photo side for results! Contest! Plus the most hilarious blogs from the Tweet-o-sphere written by Gursimran Khamba, Rajneesh Kapoor, Thhe Fake Jhunjhunwala and Rahul Roushan. Along with an all-access pass to this and previous Brunch issues! EDITORIAL: Poonam Saxena (Editor), Kushalrani Gulab (Deputy Editor); Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Mignonne Dsouza, Veenu Singh, Parul Khanna Tewari, Pranav Dixit, Yashica Dutt

DESIGN: Ashutosh Sapru (National Editor Design), Swati Chakrabarti, Rakesh Kumar, Ashish Singh, Saket Misra


BEING A Bollywood enthusiast, I especially loved the ‘cinema’ part of It’s Raining Books (31 July) by Kushalrani Gulab where writer Anupama Chopra described and compared the three mega Khans of Bollywood (their respective strengths and qualities). I literally cried with joy when I saw that she had mentioned Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa as one of Shah Rukh Khan’s must-see films. That’s because the character (Sunil) that he played in that film is the one I can relate to the most! I also believe that instead of Aamir’s Rangeela, Ghulam is essential Aamir viewing because it had a fabulous story, great thrills and of course an unforgettable character (Aamir Khan as Sidhu). Reacting to Seema Goswami’s Double Trouble (31 July), I would like to say that while the Beckhams did try again and again for a baby girl and have now finally got one, in our country when a girl child is born, some people still react as if a sin has happened! With so much Westernisation, we need to take a bit of inspiration in such matters too. — AMAN TUTEJA, via email

Radio’s a shining star

I WISH the old radio (band switches at the bottom, bulb behind the net, tuning and on/off switches on both sides) would make a comeback like the old gramophone record player has (The Net is the New Radio, 31 July). The charm of the old radio set is irresistible, even though one can surf the net to listen to lakhs of radio stations all over the world. Remember, in the olden days, when a one-band (medium wave) small pocket radio was in vogue, it was a status symbol. Then came two-band radios (MW/SW), followed by 12-band radios (MW,FM, and 10 SWs). Apart from the net, one can get radio stations on Doordarshan’s dish antenna, useful in remote hilly areas like Jammu and Kashmir, and the North East. Radio sets can never go out of circulation, as mobile phones only have FM, and the use of a sim card is essential. A small radio set of 8 bands is the cheapest, costing just R200 and more. A wrist watch is also available with a built-in radio. The photo of the old radio published in the article was proof that you also found the charm of the old radio set irresistible. After seeing that photo in Sanjoy Narayan’s column, I could not resist the urge to write on the subject. — DEENDAYAL M LULLA, Mumbai

Cover design: Prashant Chowdhury

POINT, CLICK, SNAP! s of The r e


t! Winn tes


OR THE second week running, our Facebook page was steamrolled with entries for POINT,

CLICK, SNAP!: The HT Brunch Photo Contest – clearly, we all LOVE our pets! Hindustan Times National Photo Editor, T Narayan, had a tough time choosing the winners from the hundreds of entries that were posted but after much deliberation (and a steaming mug of chai), he selected the five best pictures and named the five best photographers for this week – Divya Gupta, Manu Bhatia, Jyoti Yadav, Rajive K Das and Pragnya Singh. Congratulations! We will soon contact the winners who will receive a subscription to Brunch Quarterly for one year. The rest of you can log on to to post pictures on this week’s theme: Saris. Also, we will choose a grand prize winner from all winning entries! So, snap!


DIVYA GUPTA OPEN FOR MORE Small kitten, big yawn


NUTCRACKER A friendly squirrel gives its best pose

WHO’S THE BEST An adorable lab snoozes with a couple of his pals

RAJIVE K DAS THE SWAN FAMILY Perfectly graceful pets


FRIENDS FOR LIFE Foes turn friends for the camera

oto Con Ph



Brunch Date


‘It was unlikely that I’d be an academic’ Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam had never planned to write novels. But once she got an idea, she was hooked by Kushalrani Gulab


AHMIMA ANAM had been warned. Do not go to Mumbai, she was told. The traffic is terrible. So the 30-something Bangladeshi author whose second book, The Good Muslim, has just been released, wants an explanation for the emptiness of the roads when she arrives at 022, the all-day dining restaurant at the Trident Bandra Kurla for breakfast with Brunch. Well, you tell her. It’s Sunday. On Sundays, the city that never sleeps prefers not to wake up early in the morning. But, you add, if she were to go out in the evening, then she’d see the terrible traffic of Mumbai. Even on a Sunday. But alas, Anam has a flight to catch and needs to be at the airport by 12.30 pm. Thus missing not only Mumbai’s famous terrible traffic, but also 022’s famous Sunday lunch, the one several people had recommended to her at dinner last night. “It only starts at 12.30?” she asks our server. “Aww. I was looking forward to it.” Over chamomile tea then, followed by an excellent masala dosa (“I love dosas”), Tahmima Anam chats about Bangladesh, books, writing and saris. Your first book, The Golden Age, was set around the Bangladesh war of 1971. What about it fascinates you so? I grew up listening to stories about the war and I was always fascinated by them. My father worked for the UN and we lived abroad, but whenever I went home, I’d hear the stories of my parents’ generation


– the student politics, leftists and so on. Then I learned that my grandmother had sheltered people during the war. Her house was used as a safehouse and was raided by the police. It tied in with a research project I was doing, and that’s why my book was about the war. Also, it’s very difficult for people to get past 1971. It was violent, but, it was also a moment of possibility – a new country was born, a place that had never existed before. There was a sense of ownership and of creating something new. Had you always wanted to be a writer? I studied anthropology in college and I remember thinking that I wanted to write a novel. I decided I’d only do that if I had a story to tell. I do remember feeling, though, that it was unlikely I’d be an academic. I wrote one little short story that was collected in an anthology published in London. An editor read it and suggested that I write a novel, so that short story became the first chapter of my first novel. What’s it like writing a second novel? It’s always easier the first time because



you really have no idea of what you’re doing. The second time round, you’re more self-conscious about how you’re writing. I don’t know what the third time is going to be like. Does it bother you to be classified as a subcontinental writer? I’m proud to be part of the sub-continent. Of course, in western bookshops, your books are placed in the Asian section rather than the fiction section, but readers are also aware that there are good books in the Asian section. And if you go to a publisher with a book about the sub-continent, it tends to be more easily accepted. There isn’t much writing out of Bangladesh in English. So we don’t really know what the country is like. What is it like? Dhaka is a very bustling, exciting, growing city. When you land there, you feel a kind of energy, a buzz. Of course, the city is bursting at the seams, but you’d be surprised by the sense of possibility you feel. You may think of Bangladesh as a poor country, but you also feel that with good leadership, that could change. There are changes already. Did you know that Bangladesh is the third largest manufacturer of garments in the world? And the micro-credit schemes are making a difference. The only question remains, will we get good leadership?


YOU WORE A LOVELY SARI AT THE BOOK LAUNCH YESTERDAY... I only wear Bangladeshi saris. Bangla pride, you know! If you’re interested, it’s an example of Endi work and I got it at Kaycraft in Dhaka



camera Larger-than-life tough heroes. Larger-than-life vicious villains. Raw action. Song and dance. The masala action potboiler is back! by Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi Movie: Singham Scene: Hero Ajay Devgn, a strapping police

inspector, is standing with his subordinates in a minister’s office. After an argument, Ajay decides to show the corrupt and criminal minister what a real cop is made of. Ajay: “Tujhe aisi jagah maroonga ki aaj ke baad is kursi pe toh kya, kahin nahi baith payega.” He then kicks the minister on his butt, and his junior officers follow suit. Audience reaction: A standing ovation and wolf whistles. After nearly two decades, coins or ‘chillar’ are thrown at the screen to show the audience’s appreciation.


t’s been nearly two decades since we last saw an audience throw coins at a screen in appreciation of a film. Which means it’s been almost 20 years since we last saw a film hero actually play a hero. Complete with muscles, raw power and attitude, in a movie that’s a full-fledged, hardcore, masala potboiler – just like Hindi movies are supposed to be. But in the last few years, we’ve watched Ghajini. Wanted. Dabangg. Singham. Could it be that the action masala movie is back? “It looks like it,” says an exultant Rohit Shetty, director of Singham. Going by trade reports, Singham seems to have broken all sorts of box office records and even surpassed the collections of Golmaal 3, also a Rohit Shetty film. “The audience is loving the return of masala films,” says Shetty.


Once upon a time, masala action films were all the films there were. The target audience was uncompromising: the masses. And heroes played right to the gallery. Amitabh Bachchan was the baap of all heroes (remember the line ‘Rishte mein toh hum tumhare baap lagte hain’) in films like Deewar, Zanjeer, Shahenshah and Agneepath. Dharmendra had a


MOVIE: SINGHAM HERO: AJAY DEVGN Ajay’s mean, macho, muscled Marathi cop act + full-on desi flavour = blockbuster


great thirst for blood (think ‘Kutte, main tera khoon pee jaoonga’) in Sholay and many other films. And then there was Sunny Deol and his ‘dhai kilo ka haath’ in Ghayal, Ghatak and Gadar. None of these heroes could ever have been called boys next door. They were heroes – in every sense of the word. Whatever they did, whether it was serenading the heroine or dealing with the villains, it was always larger than life. The hero’s looks, the way he spoke and what he said, the songs he sang and the way he fought… every move and emotion shouted for attention. And he got it. Somewhere in the early ’90s, however, things changed. With films like Maine Pyaar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Koun? and the biggest of them all, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ), the hero became the soft, sensitive, boy next door. Shah Rukh Khan’s Raj in DDLJ epitomised the suave but sensitive NRI who, though brought up abroad, had a heart that was purely Indian. And the trend was set. From the angry young man who would do anything to challenge the system, the hero was now was just another guy. He talked, walked and even cried like us. Nothing about him was grand or larger than life. Everything was cool, casual and oh! so natural. And so, even the action changed in Hindi films. No one fought with sticks and hands any more. The fights became slick, urbane and refined. Dialogues no longer had the attitude of masala flicks. They might have been ‘real’, but they were not filmi. In the last nearly 20 years, the action potboiler all but vanished. Then, in 2008, Ghajini came. Though a huge hit, many people dismissed it as a one-off. Till Boney Kapoor decided to produce the Salman Khan starrer, Wanted. Soon enough, films such as Dabangg and Singham followed. Each a bigger hit than the other.

MOVIE: WANTED HERO: SALMAN KHAN Salman’s portrayal of a ruthless undercover agent + great songs-dances = big hit


be shown their place, he explains. “I wanted to be different,” says Boney Kapoor of his “The angry young man phenomenon reflected decision to produce the Hindi remake of the Telugu the mood of society at a certain point in time,” says film Pokiri that had all the ingredients of a Shetty. “Then Shah Rukh Khan’s Raj reflected the Bollywood potboiler. globalised India of the ’90s. Now people are once “The audience in general had been starving for a again sick of corruption and the couldn’t-care-less masala flick,” says Kapoor. “And in the industry, attitude of the powerful. They really want somepeople seemed to have forgotten thing to be done. The scene in how to make pan-India films. Just Singham where the minister is like multiplex theatres, the induskicked on his butt has become a try had become divided, making huge hit. People love it.” films that alienated one kind of audience or another. It was really WATCH YOUR STEP HAD time to come out of the niche and For the last 10 years or so, any FORGOTTEN make something that, at a certain argument about Hindi films has level, clicked with everyone. centred on the multiplex phenomHOW TO Wanted did just that. It opened enon. There is a certain ‘multiplex MAKE PANthe gates once more.” sensibility’, we were told, which The urban, urbane Hindi film of means that mass audiences don’t INDIA FILMS the last few years had also become matter any more. What matters is elitist, adds poet and story-screenthe niche. That’s why we don’t play writer Javed Akhtar. “We were making films have action films the way we used to. that only connected with the middle class (who had Boney Kapoor agrees with that, but only to an an urban exposure) and the elite,” he says. “And extent. “Don’t forget that the multiplex audience even when we looked at the India living in villages was not the same everywhere,” he points out. “The in films like Peepli Live, we looked at them from the taste of a multiplex audience in Amrawati is very urban perspective.” different from the taste a multiplex audience in There’s another angle here that may have influNariman Point, Mumbai.” enced the return of the masala action flick, says But Rohit Shetty demolishes the multiplex arguRohit Shetty. Just as the audience in the ’70s ment altogether. “For me, multiplexes are a myth,” responded to the larger than life action heroes of he says. “The same people who watched films on a Hindi films because those heroes were constantly single screen a few years ago are watching films on challenging a system that favoured the rich, cormultiplex screens today. Except for a small section, rupt and powerful, the audience of today, the audiences have more or less the same tastes in 2000s, also wants the rich, corrupt and powerful to terms of appeal, entertainment, likes and dislikes.



MOVIE : DABANGG HERO: SALMAN KHAN Salman as Chulbul Pandey + crowd-pleasing songs-dances + heavy duty action = superhit 11

C OV E R S TO RY DIALOGUEBAAZI: GETTING THE RIGHT PUNCH One of the most important factors in a Bollywood action flick is getting the dramatic dialogues right. “Language and dialogues set the tone of the film,” says dialogue writer Niranjan Iyenger who points out that it is only the dialogues – apart from songs – that generate a film’s repeat value. “And potboilers need exaggerated punchlines,” he adds.


In kutton ke samne mat nachna Basanti – Dharmendra in Sholay Hum jahan pe khade ho jaate hein, line wahin se shuru hoti hai – Amitabh in Kaaliya Yeh dhai kilo ka haath jab kisipe padtha hai na… toh admi utthta nahi uth jaata hai - Sunny Deol

in Damini

Rishte main to hum tumhare baap lagte hain, naam hai Shahenshah – Amitabh in Shahenshah Jali ko aag kehte hai, bujhi ko raakh kehte hai... aur jis raakh se barood bane.. use Vishwanath kehte hai! – Shatrughan Sinha in Vishwanath Main ek baar commitment kar deta hun to phir apni bhi nahi sunta – Salman Khan in Wanted Body mein itne ched karoonga ki samajh mein nahi aayega ki saans kahan se le or p*** kahan se – Salman Khan in Dabangg

Deol in Gadar, feels it takes a lot of machismo to play MOVIE: GHAJINI an action hero role. “You HERO: AAMIR KHAN need to have the physique and the attitude to carry off Aamir’s six pack abs + graphic the persona of an action hero,” he says. “You cannot violence + sadistic villain + look like a boy next door and play a strapping policemelodrama = hit action film man ready to take on the villains with bare hands.” Looks apart, the essenAnil Sharma, however, sees it purely as a cyclic tial image of a hero also makes a lot of difference. trend that was brought in by sheer boredom on “For instance, Ajay Devgn had made his debut with the part of filmmakers and the audience alike. Phool Aur Kaante as an action hero. So even “Too many action films came back to back. Then though he last did a hardcore action film some 10suddenly there was Maine Pyaar Kiya and that 12 years ago and had to work on his physique to be convincing as a cop for Singham, he had the intrinchanged the direction for filmmakers,” he says. sic attitude of an action hero. It came naturally to “Then, for the next 20-25 years, all that we saw OUR HERO him and was accepted by the public,” says Shetty. were softer films that were more modern in That’s the key factor in any action flick. The hero. Image also works for Salman Khan. “He has a approach and feel. And now that is boring, so we More precisely, a superhero. certain image of a ‘dada’ with a heart,” says really enjoy films like Dabangg and Singham.” “The world over, people want to see superSo does this mean that this too shall pass? Boney Kapoor. “The kind of fan following that heroes,” insists Anil Sharma who directed Sunny Certainly, say filmmakers. After some time, Salman has at the mass level is unparalleled. No Deol in Gadar. “From Robin Hood to Rambo and another phase of filmmaking will come in. But, one even comes close. So when he plays the from Shahenshah to Chulbul Pandey, every hero adds Shetty, with some amount of intelligent hanRobin Hood or Chulbul Pandey sort of roles, had a strong pull. People like to see one figure dling, this time round action films may not disappeople go crazy.” who stands up and fights against the odds and pear as completely as they had earlier. emerges victorious. And if this figure comes from TURNING POINT For the moment though, for the genre to really amongst them, nothing could appeal more.” So if the audience is so hooked to action films, regain its former popularity, a slight upgrade is Agrees Javed Akhtar, “People love to believe in why did they ever go out of style? Akhtar explains required, says action director Sham Kaushal who someone who is an authority unto himself. There it as an equal-and-opposite-reaction syndrome. has worked on an eclectic mix of films like Ravan, is a psychological bond with a figure like that. He “It was a reaction to melodrama,” he says. “We Rajneeti, Kameeney, New York and Om Shanti makes the audience believe that anyone can cope suddenly became averse to too much drama. We Om among others. “Today the action quality is far with any challenge.” perceived unabashed display of any feelings as better,” says Kaushal. “With heroes doing their But filmmakers assert that not every actor can unreal. Expressing emotions became ‘uncool’. own stunts, it is more honest and convincing than play this kind of role. Anil Sharma, who directed Whether love or hate, we stopped shouting from ever before. So in a way, it is a mix of ‘real’ and Dharmendra in films like Hukumat and Sunny the rooftops.” ‘masala’ that works better today.” And one thing that will really help the action film to survive? THE ORIGINAL ACTION HEROES Well, it’s the multiplex. (The same thing that IRON MAN: Amitabh MUSCLE MAN: GUN MAN: A tough Kapoor and Shetty dismissed.) A wider variety of Bachchan played a Dharmendra as the Sunny Deol fought for films are being made now, so the audience has costumed vigilante in African Yakut in Razia justice in Ghayal plenty to choose from and the risk of boredom is Shahenshah Sultan somewhat averted. “For now though, reverse snobbery is sure to work,” says Javed Akhtar. “While there will be enough and more takers for realistic and modern films like Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, there will be enough and more from that very same crowd who will find a Singham or Dabangg really ‘cool’.” Naturally, when they get something they enjoy that they haven’t got in years, they’ll flock to it. Films like Dabangg and Singham are the biggest examples. The only difference multiplexes have made is that now, people who don’t like this kind of film, can choose not to watch it.” Shetty counts himself as a ‘typical’ Bollywood movie goer. Though he likes the Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar kind of films because “they offer a real connect”, for him a real Bollywood movie is the kind of film he grew up with. “Dance, action, and emotions, all pitched high, are what make a movie for me,” says Shetty. “So when I decided to make an action film, there was no other way to do it than the old way. Yes, the Dhooms and the Races with all their slick action and super bikes were good. But for me, it had to be a basic bike with a real superhero.”






Sleeping beauty


LEEP IS something that we try to fight off as young adults. As a result, later in life, sleep eludes us and we have to retrain our bodies to get a good night’s sleep.


Down with the monsoon virus? Here’s how to cope by Dr Vikram Jaggi


HIS IS the season for viral fevers. Cynics may say: “Which season is NOT?” Yes, it is true that viral PHOTO: THINKSTOCK fevers have become more common these days, than say, two decades ago. Viruses attack us more easily when our immunity is lowered water, tea and coffee is CONSULTATION due to faulty eating habits, helpful. Clear chicken soup The doctor must overwork, overcrowding is particularly useful. be consulted and stress. Ginger water and honey in the following But viruses have a seahelps. These help the cough situations: sonality, and the monsoon much more than cough ■ Very young children or is one time when viral syrups. elderly patients fevers are very prevalent. If there is too much ■ Existing diseases like Viral respiratory infecwheeze, broncho-dilators diabetes or severe heart or tions are the commonest may be required. These lung disease cause of viral fever. The could be taken orally ■ Shortness of breath or (tablets or syrups) or with viral fever that has currentchest pain inhalers or nebulizers. ly gripped various cities in ■ Mental confusion Nebulizers are often India causes typical ‘flu-like’ ■ Very high fever required for very small chilsymptoms like fever, body ■ Fever not settling in 5 days and headache, throat pain, dren or elderly people. a runny nose and cough. In Also remember that a usual case, the fever subsides in three to antibiotics are not required for viral fevers. five days, weakness in a week and cough in They cannot kill the virus. But they do kill two weeks. the bodies’ good bacteria. However, cough with congestion can Overuse of antibiotics also causes drug really take a very long time to recover. It resistance. High fever or severity of sympis very annoying, but it is a part of this toms alone is no reason to start on a course viral syndrome. If you are expecting it, it of antibiotics. We all are so overworked and is easier to accept it. Antibiotics are can’t afford to take leave and take rest, so we usually not required. The old adage that often pester the doctor to give us ‘strong with a flu you will recover in a week if you medicine’ or antibiotics with the hope that take antibiotics and in seven days if you this will make us better faster. That really don’t, is very true. does not help. But things get more troublesome when the patient has an allergic tendency. (Dr Vikram Jaggi is medical director at In this situation, the fever usually is not Asthma Chest Allergy Centres, Delhi) higher nor remains longer. Nor are viral infections more common in an allergic AVOID INFECTION patient. But there is much more coughing, ■ Frequently wash your hands. Use soap wheezing and shortness of breath. The and water or alcohol-based hand gels. cough and wheeze produced by the virus in Viruses are transmitted to the mouth by an allergic person can last between four and touching infected surfaces. They do not eight weeks. This tires him out and really have wings and don’t float around or fly or tests his patience. remain suspended in air for a long period.


The treatment is supportive. There is no specific medicine to ‘kill’ the virus. Anti pyretics (like Crocin or Combiflam) are required to control the fever and body aches. Drinking plenty of warm fluids like warm


■ Use

separate hand towels. a safe distance from anyone who has a viral fever. ■ Flu vaccine helps, but only against particular strains of a single virus. Ask your doctor if you require a flu vaccine. ■ Keep

1. Set a sleep schedule, and make it part of a natural habit. 2. Switch off TVs, laptops, iPads and smartphones an hour before going to bed. 3. Try to not pick an argument before going to sleep. 3. Set a sleep routine – brushing teeth, making the bed, etc. 4. Avoid reading disturbing things at night. 5. Avoid sleeping during the day.


NUTRITION 1. Eat a light dinner. Consume food in moderation, as a good night’s rest depends upon a balanced food intake. Dinner should be eaten a minimum of two hours before sleeping. 2. Consume alcohol in moderation. Alcohol may initially help you to get sleep, but eventually spoils your sleep pattern. 3. Drink chamomile or jasmine tea. 4. Eat nuts and oilseeds as snacks. 5. Drink a glass of warm milk to aid sleep. 6. Cut down on stimulants like excessive tea or coffee. 7. Avoid overconsumption of nicotine and pan masala. 8. Avoid drinking too much water before bedtime. 9. Take a bath before going to sleep.



HERBS FOR SLEEP: Take these any time during the day CHAMOMILE: Chamomile oil can be put in bath water (5-6 drops) to soothe nerves, or diluted to 2 per cent to make a massage oil, or used as an inhalant. Dose: Tea, 1 cup, 2-3 times daily; tincture, 30 drops, 3 times daily. LAVENDER: Add a few drops of lavender oil to a bath before bedtime. Or the oil may be used as a compress or massage oil or simply inhaled to alleviate insomnia. Dose: Tea, 1 cup, 2-3 times daily; essential oil may be inhaled, massaged into the skin (use 10 drops essential oil per 15 ml of vegetable oil), or added to baths (3-10 drops). TAGARA: A useful herb for insomnia. VALERIAN: An excellent herbal sedative. Dose: Tea, 1 cup, as needed; Lavender tincture, 2-5 drops, 2-3 times daily. blossom



progressive relaxation techniques and follow the steps to relax all parts of the body. ■ Listen to soothing music. ■ Meditate for a few minutes and release the negative


emotions of the day. ■ Chant any sound or mantra depending on your faith. ■ Do alternate nostril breathing while listening to soothing music.

indulge sip

rude drink

Vir Sanghvi

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In Deep Waters

Does drinking a lot of water help you lose weight? Get gorgeous skin? And can you drink too much of it? The hard facts on the trend of drink-only-water

WATERWORLD In India, we drink a lot of water. There are always water glasses on the table at meal times


NYBODY WHO has grown up in a middle-class household is familiar with the rituals surrounding drinking water. We drink a lot of water. There are always water glasses on the table at meal times and in some households – mine, for instance – there is even a superstition about drinking a glass of water before you leave the house. Because tap water in India is rarely drinkable, all of us have our own methods of purifying the stuff that comes out of the tap. In Bombay, in the Sixties and Seventies, the water was always boiled and sometimes, when there seemed to be too many impurities suspended in it, a filter was used to remove them. The boiled water was allowed to cool down and then decanted into bottles (in my house, old empty bottles of whisky or sherbet) and kept in the fridge for drinking. When I was young, I assumed that the rest of the world shared our attitude to water. But as I travelled abroad, I discovered that other countries had their own methods. For a start, you didn’t always find water on the dining table at meal times in England and you rarely found it on the Continent. In France or Italy, if you wanted water with your meal, you had to order it, rather as you would order a Coke, and they would charge for the bottle – sometimes even more than they would charge for a Coke. Nobody I met abroad had bottles of drinking water in their fridges. In England and America at least, you drank water straight from the tap. If the weather was very hot (which was rarely the case in England) then you put some ice into your water glass. Over the years, that began to change. The English-speaking world followed the experience of the Continent and began serving bottled water in restaurants. People started buying bottles of water (often described as ‘mineral’ or even ‘vitamin-enriched’) to keep at home. Though the tap water was still safe to drink (mostly), a new



MAKE IT SAFE Because tap water in India is rarely drinkable, all of us have our own methods of purifying it 18



indulge generation grew up thinking of water as something that you bought the gibberish spouted by self-appointed health experts who, in turn, in a bottle, not the sort of thing that you could get at home for free. are fed this nonsense by the bottled water companies. The rise in the popularity of bottled water was accompanied by Last month, Emine Saner, in The Guardian, took apart the myths a new drink-more-water orthodoxy. Any woman who has read a surrounding water. Her conclusions: fashion magazine will know that beauty editors swear by water. ■ There is absolutely no scientific basis for the view that water Readers are advised to drink gallons of water every day. Celebrities improves your skin. claim that the reason they have such good skin is because they ■ There is no connection between water and weight loss. No matdrink lots of water. ter how much water you Now, the dieticians have got drink, it will not help you lose in on the act. One way of losing weight. weight we are told is to drink ■ The average adult man lots of water. It will clean out needs 2.5 litres of water a your insides. It will suppress day and a woman needs 2 appetite. And you have a slightlitres. These are not excesly contrary school of thought: sive quantities and up to 20 some dieticians say you should per cent of our water intake drink lots of water but never comes from food anyway. during meals “because it dilutes ■ If you take your fluids in the digestive juices.” tea, coffee, drinks etc., that’s I have watched the cult of fine too. It does not have to water grow with a sense of be pure water. mounting horror. Regular read■ The claim that lots of ers of this column will be aware water “flushes out toxins” of my campaign against restaufrom your body has no medrants and hotels which push you ical foundation at all. into ordering overpriced min■ The idea, promoted by eral water when you would be bottled water companies, QUENCH IT! just as happy with normal water. that our bodies are conDrink when you are thirsty. Drink when you like – in the middle of a meal if you In my home, we use a RO stantly on the verge of dehywant, no matter what dieticians may say device (which works on reverse dration is rubbish. When our osmosis), sort of like an upgraded Aquaguard, to purify the tap bodies need water, we feel thirsty. If you don’t feel thirsty, it is usuwater and don’t bother with mineral water. In fact, the only reason ally because you do not need water. that I can think of for drinking bottled water in India is that it is ■ Bottled water companies tell us that it is beneficial to drink usually clean. In a slightly dodgy place where you are not sure of five litres of water a day. It is beneficial – but it is beneficial to the hygienic standards, it makes sense to ask for bottled water. bottled water companies who make money from selling more of But the global boom in bottled water is not based on concerns their over-priced product, not to you and me. We will just pee the about cleanliness. It is based on the claim that lots of water is good extra water out and feel lighter in the bladder and the wallet. for your health. ■ Watch out for so-called “enriched” waters, which make bogus Up to a point this is clearly valid: all of us need to be rehydrathealth claims. Many “vitamin waters” contain sugar. It does not ed. But doctors advise us to drink lots of fluids while beauty edimatter if the water comes from a stream, a glacier or an oasis in tors, dieticians and so-called health experts stick to the view that the Sahara desert. Your body does not care – it is just a fluid. only water will do; other fluids, we are told, cannot do the work of ■ The most idiotic profession of the last 20 years is the “water water. sommelier”, a guy who recommends waters to suit your food Every doctor I’ve consulted has told me that this is nonsense. If as though they were fine wines. Yes, different bottled waters do you drink a litre of say, Diet Coke rather than a litre of water, you have different tastes but 99 per cent of us cannot tell the differmay or may not have problems with the other constituents of the ence. Diet Coke (aspartame, caffeine etc.), but as far as the body is conWhenever I am in the mood to humiliate an F&B professional, I cerned, it has received a litre of fluid. The notion that the body will organise a blind tasting of bottled waters. They always fail – because, refuse to accept Diet Coke and hold out for mineral water to quench truth be told, the differences are not so massive and few of us have its thirst is so absurd that only a beauty editor at a glossy any water-memory. magazine could possibly believe it. So what should you do? Fortunately, there is now a backlash against the trendy mantra Here’s my view. Drink when you are thirsty. Drink when of drink-only-water. Doctors and scientists are speaking out against you like – in the middle of the meal if you want, no matter what dieticians may say. Do not pay for water unless you have no choice. If you are not sure of the safety of the water available, then do buy a bottle of ‘mineral’ water. Otherwise, do what our parents used to: purify your tap water using one of the many devices now available (most of which were not around when our parents used to get the water boiled every day). And the next time somebody lectures you on the advantages of the minerals in expensive water or tells you how five litres of water will make your skin glow, tell them to take a flying jump. The one thing we have always understood in India is how to purify our own water and when to drink it. We do not need to fall victim to the marketing patter of bottled water companies or to follow the fads of the West. OPEN IT UP In this – as in so many other things – our parents In a slightly dodgy place where you are not sure of hygienic standards, it knew best. makes sense to ask for bottled water





GOOD FOR YOU? The global boom in bottled water is not based on concerns about cleanliness. It is based on the claim that lots of water is good for health

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Rajiv Makhni

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Mobile Phones: Legends, Lore And Fantasy Cooking eggs, bringing down aeroplanes, opening car doors and yes – unlocking that secret battery buried deep within your phone (finally!)

The mobile phone is driving the most dramatic behaviour transformation in history. ■ There are 6 billion mobile phones being used across the world. That's more than all the PCs and TVs put together. ■ 3,070 new mobile phones are sold every second. ■


STOUNDING STATEMENTS and incredible numbers. Yes, the mobile phone is the most significant and most groundbreaking technology in the history of the world. And yet, it’s also the most berated, vilified and maligned of them all. The number of myths and legends around that small little piece of plastic in your hand is as astounding as the product itself.

your car itself. Loose wiring and a faulty fuel pipe can do some major damage. It’s still advisable that you get off your phone while at a petrol pump – to make sure you get the amount of fuel you’re paying for. Getting ripped off at petrol pumps is NOT a myth!


Of course your mobile phone emits radiation and of course long term exposure can turn out to be harmful. Thus anything IT’S A NUCLEAR PLANT AND THEN SOME you can do to reduce that exposure is a good thing. Thus Videos exist all over the net that show – without a you now have some fantastic new inventions like shieldshadow of a doubt – that two mobile phones can cook ed cases, bufferpads, antenna covers, absorber chips an egg (hard boiled or sunny side up is your choice) and radiation armour. Sound good, seem to make sense, and that about six of them in a circle can pop popare nice and expensive and useless as hell. All that this corn. That’s because of the radiation and heat that is going to do is heat up your phone more, increase its they emit which makes them the smallest and most transmission power and reduce battery life. Anything portable microwave ovens ever. Absolute hoax. that ‘shields’ your phone means that the phone will LET IT HANG Those videos are as fake as the claim. The maxistruggle to catch a signal and reduce its operational All that shielded cases mum power a phone can generate is about efficiency. You don’t want a phone encased in some and bufferpads do is 0.25W. Compare that to the ma silly metal jacket that is sweating its pants off. Leave heat up your phone and gnetron in a microyour phone be and switch to a bluetooth headset, reduce battery life wave which runs at reduce the number and length of calls and try and about a 1,000 watts. use the phone in areas of good reception. It will save All you can cook with a mobile your life and and your phone’s too. phone is your own goose. OIL SPILL It’s smoking, not using your mobile phone at a petrol pump, that’s more likely to blast it to bits 20


Using a mobile phone while getting your vehicle refuelled can cause a spark as the EMF Field, static electricity and the current passed by the battery is enough to blast the fuel station to bits. Super crap. Your phone doesn’t have the kind of energy to actually emit a blazing spark. All this comes from an email hoax from the ’90s. In fact, the things that can cause an accident are smoking, lighting a match and most importantly,


How I wish this one wasn’t true. Unfortunately most studies have proven that keeping a cell phone in your front pocket (jeans are the worst) and even too much usage can hit sperm count big time. Yup, the swimmers will be slower and dead if you’re taking too long to chat her up on the phone. The scary part is the incredible usage of mobile phone at an early age. I see most school children have mobile phones and the starting age now seems to be as early as 10 years old. By the time the boys in this category are ready to fire, their firing squad may have taken a major hit.


indulge DAVID VERSUS GOLIATH Can a puny little mobile phone really interfere with the million dollar machinery inside an aircraft? The answer is highly debatable

SAVE THE SWIMMERS Most studies, unfortunately, have proven that too much mobile phone usage can hit sperm count big time NO GO No, your mobile phone cannot – cannot – open your car doors


The number of people who actually claim they’ve done this and that it works is quite amazing. In fact, in the last one week just on Twitter, I’ve heard about 20 people say they do it all the time. The claim is this: if you’ve locked yourself out and have an extra remote key for your car at home, call and ask someone to hit the open button while keeping the remote next to their mobile phone and voila, your mobile phone kept close to the car door will grant your entry. To all those who’ve done it and do it ‘all’ the time, I have only one thing to ask. What are you smoking and do you know that such strong hallucinatory drugs can be harmful? There is no way that can ever work as your remote works on radio frequency and not sound! You can hold your mobile phone next to your car for a million years and it’s still not going to open the door. Stop fooling around, take a taxi, go home and get the your extra RF remote.


It’s the first thing they ask you to switch off as soon as you are about to take off. Can a puny little mobile phone really interfere with all that amazing million dollar high-tech machinery inside an aircraft? It’s highly debatable and unproven till now. After all, how many people leave their active phones in their stowed away carryon bag and how many put them in the front pocket of their seat and forget about it? No aeroplanes have come down yet due to these forgetful ninnies. And now that they have onboard WiFi and mobile phone calls on some airlines (at ugly prices), it all seems like a myth that got stuck in urban legend land. Still, switch it off anyway. Save some battery life and concentrate on those safety instructions.


This one is quite a mystery. All the hospitals have these big signs outside ICUs that forbid any mobile phone usage. And yet all the

doctors seem to use their cellphones in and out of the ICU and all the nurses carry cordless phones which are more high powered. Are those special phones for special doctors and nurses? Not at all. The idea may well be that a hospital environment doesn’t need the clatter of a thousand people shouting down their mobile phones. A blanket ban on mobile phones may then be a better idea – rather than making us feel guilty that our one-minute call killed three patients.


And now for the big daddy, and the most persistent myth for years. Even if your phone dies, has nada battery life, all you have to do is press a secret code and your phone will spring to life as it activates a secret battery hidden deep in the recesses of your phone. While it’s a great idea, it is unfortunately going to get filed once again in the category of pure crap. The idea originates from some old phones where pressing *3370# or some other code enhanced or decreased voice quality and thus battery life went up or down. It has nothing to do with a dead phone. Once it’s dead, you can pound away at the keyboard with as many codes, prayers and chants as you want – it’s not going to ‘rise from the ashes’. I would think I’ve only scratched the surface as there are many more mobile phone myths. Maybe I’ll visit this space once again after a few months. By the way, your phone can be used as a nuclear missile launcher, as a portable x-ray machine and as a teleportation device. And no, I’m not starting a new myth ;). Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at





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In India, time is an elastic concept - get used to it


AST SATURDAY, on the eve of Delhi’s Slut Walk, I was invited to participate in a BBC Radio programme to discuss the issue with one of the organisers (who shall remain nameless for reasons that will rapidly become clear). So, I duly turned up at the studio at the appointed hour to meet the thoroughly charming Akanksha Saxena, a researcher for the BBC, who was going to coordinate the chat between Delhi and London. She led me to the studio, sat me down, explained the process, and then we settled down to wait for the other guest to arrive. Ten minutes passed. Another five went by. The producer from London called up to ask what was wrong. We are still waiting for the second guest, he was told. Another five minutes ticked past. Akanksha finally called the lady in question on her mobile. “Oh, I’m just five minutes away,” she announced airily. So, we waited. Another ten minutes ticked past. London called again, the producer sounding abjectly apologetic about making me wait. Another call was made to the lady. Mysteriously, she was still five minutes away. And then, a good 48 minutes after the appointed time the Slut Walk organiser finally walked into the studio and the discussion began. It lasted about 20 minutes, which was less than half the time that we had been kept waiting. But what struck me most after the event was not the discourtesy inherent in making so many people wait while you casually saunter in nearly an hour late. What made more of an impact on me was how resigned and philosophical Akanksha and I were about the delay as compared to the two Englishmen on the other end of the line in London. They were absolutely mortified about the fact that one of their guests was cooling her heels in the studio and couldn’t stop apologising. But as Indians, we regarded this sort of behaviour as pretty much par for the course (though that’s not to say that Akanksha didn’t apologise as well!). But that’s the honest truth isn’t it? Time-keeping isn’t something that we take at all seriously in this country. Everybody regards an appointment as an approximation and turns up pretty much when they feel like it. And no matter what, if you call up to ask how long they will be, the answer invariably is, “Oh, I’m just five minutes away.” This somewhat cavalier attitude to time is apparent in other areas as well. Try and get some repair work done in your home. The contractor will assure you it will take two days at the most. Two weeks later, the workers will still be driving you insane with the noise they make. Order a new piece of furniture in a store. The salesman will

INDIAN STRETCHABLE TIME Time-keeping isn’t something that we take at all seriously in this country

assure you it will take two weeks tops to deliver. Of course it will be two months before it actually arrives at your door-step. Call in the electrician/plumber to deal with some crisis. They will assure you they will be there in the next 10 minutes. Consider yourself lucky if they turn up even three hours later. There is a word for this sort of behaviour. In most civilised societies it would be called lying. But we brush it aside as just one of those things – even standard business practice. After all, you’re not actually supposed to take somebody seriously when it comes to time – by now you should know that in India it is more an elastic concept than an absolute measurement. Perhaps that accounts for the fact that people you know only professionally think nothing of calling up on your mobile at 10 pm to extend an invitation to a dinner or ask you to attend a fashion show or a book event. And when you don’t take the call, they call again and again and again – until you’re forced into putting the damn thing off just to get rid of them. Turn the phone on again in the morning and you’ll find that you have a dozen missed calls from them, between the hours of 11 pm and midnight and 7-9 am. Task them with being rude and intrusive and they will act as if you're the one who’s lost it. After all, what does it matter what time they call; you’re still awake right? Then why can’t you take the call? This sort of elemental discourtesy and disregard of time extends well into our social lives as well. I defy you to organise a sit-down dinner in India and actually have people sit down to dinner at the appointed time. When you finally corral them into a restricted space, confiscate their drinks, and physically guide them to their chairs a good hour or two later, 20 per cent of them will remember they have another engagement and decamp, another 20 per cent will announce that they can only stay for the first course, and another 10 per cent will simply get up and leave before dessert can be served on the grounds that they've stuck around long enough. And then, there’s the other extreme. You arrive at a dinner party at what you consider to be a reasonable time (i.e. an hour after the time specified on the card) only to find that you’re one of the first people to turn up. Slowly the other guests will trickle in, get stuck into their liquor and canapés, and dinner won’t be laid out till well after midnight – by which time you’re longing for bed rather than biryani. As I said, time is an elastic concept in these parts – get used to it. PHOTOS: THINKSTOCK


Seema Goswami


IN SWEET TIME Call in the electrician/plumber and consider yourself lucky if they turn up even three hours later


22 Follow Seema on Twitter at


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Gone Too Soon


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Sanjoy Narayan

Amy Winehouse’s death last month got me thinking about another musician who died at 27: Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain


AST MONTH after we’d heard the news of British singer Amy Winehouse’s untimely death at 27, the media quickly zeroed in on that particular number, citing the names of other rock and pop stars who had lost their lives when they were as old as Winehouse was when her body was found at her London residence. Winehouse was probably the most talented of the current crop of British women singers many of whom are, like she was, at the forefront of a revival of soul music. Winehouse’s voice – a deep contralto – belied her frail appearance and her two albums, particularly the second one, Back to Black, are compelling listens. This column is not about Winehouse and her music. Nor is it an obituary. There are dozens of those that have already been written (the best that I read was on New York magazine’s culture website, Vulture). After I got the news of Winehouse’s death, it was that number – 27 – that got me thinking about another musician who died (actually took his own life) at the same age: Nirvana’s late frontman, Kurt Cobain. Why did I think of Cobain and not the other famous musicians who died at 27? Such as Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin, or the not as famous – blues musician Robert Johnson who also died at 27 in 1938 and, when he was alive, didn’t get even a small fraction of the recognition or the fame that the other members of what has come to be called the 27 Club did. Well, I thought of Cobain simply because I was alerted to a fact that came as a bit of a surprise: Next month will mark the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind, the Seattle-based band’s best studio album (although I also like their mainly acoustic 1994 release, MTV Unplugged in New York). I didn’t realise that it’s already been 20 years since Nevermind, with its iconic cover showing a naked infant boy and a dollar bill both seemingly under water, was released. Time certainly flies. Two years after the release of Nevermind, Cobain died, apparently shooting himself in the head. And that was the end of Nirvana, again like Winehouse’s death, the premature end for a musician and a band that had held huge promise. Just as the news of Winehouse’s death led to a rekindled interest in her music (sales of Back to Black spiked posthumously) and I re-heard the album, enjoying not just the very popular tracks, Rehab and You Know I’m No Good, but also others, such as Tears Dry On Their Own, Wake Up Alone and the title track, Back to Black, the alert on Nevermind’s upcoming 20th anniversary revived my interest in Nirvana’s music. I looked for the album at home – I know I have a CD – but couldn’t find it in the disorganised mess that is my collection in conventional format. The mp3 versions, always better organised, were there on my player and, after ages, helped me immerse



SHOOTING STAR Two years after the release of the Nevermind album with its iconic cover (right), Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain (above) apparently shot himself in the head and died

myself into those 13 songs. Smells Like Teen Spirit , the first track on Nevermind , hooks you from the very first notes of the chord progression and when the drums enter. I remember when I first heard Smells Like… it woke me up on the very first listen and I knew this was a band I would like. The best thing about Nevermind is that each one of its 13 songs is as great. There is no faff happening on any track. But that isn’t what makes it a classic and timeless piece of work. Many people have described Nirvana’s music about being dark and depressing and angry and overly influenced by Cobain’s own personal problems that led to his subsequent suicide but I find Nevermind to be a great record – a curious amalgam of punk, metal and even melodic pop. That’s probably why I was elated when I learnt that SPIN magazine’s August issue would pay tribute to the 20th anniversary of Nevermind. Not just that. Before the issue hit the stands, SPIN put online a free download of a tribute, called Newermind, by 13 artists covering their version of each of the album’s songs. The musicians ranged from indie rockers and punk bands to metalheads and pop bands. Two of the bands are among those that Cobain loved – Meat Puppets and The Vaselines. Nirvana has covered songs by both those bands and on the SPIN release they’ve now returned the favour. Meat Puppets do Smells Like Teen Spirit and the Vaselines Lithium, both great songs that are done great justice by their cover versions. The SPIN download has all the 13 tracks in sequence and, besides Meat Puppets and The Vaselines, has artists including Butch Walker, Titus Andronicus, Amanda Palmer and Telekinesis, covering them. A great tribute to a great album and if you’re going to download it, I’d suggest you listen to the original and then this one. Back to back To give feedback, stream or download the music mentioned in this column, go to, follow argus48 on Twitter or visit our website:



Style File


Why do women like



When it comes to wardrobe decisions, not everybody looks at things with rose-coloured glasses. But though haters might hate, the colour pink will always have its eternal fans by Yashica Dutt


HINK OF colours as a bunch of high Hates being called school kids. If black is the goth loner, ‘Pinky’ and doesn’t care blue your average jock, orange – what people think of her (ping) nerd alert, then pink has got to borderline obsession with pink be the most popular chick on the campus, right? Think about it, what else has its Owns about 30 outfits, at least own theme song (Aerosmith’s Pink), its own city five pairs of shoes and (Jaipur), a trademarked pop diva (P!nk), signifies many accessories, compassion and caution (breast cancer and female all in pink reproductive health mascot) and is the focal point of more surveys than any other colour can dream of? What else but pink! I think I like it because I have grown A slightly intricate and precise shade of pink (honeysuckle) up being surrounded by this colour. was even named the colour of the year by Pantone LLC, the Right from my frocks, cots, hair clips world’s leading colour authority, officially making 2011 the year and even diapers, everything was pink,” of the pink! Designers like Jil Sander, Nanette Lepore, Peter laughs 22-year-old intern Prabhleen. Som, Christopher Kane and Marc Jacobs liberally used it in And she isn’t kidding – there is a childtheir Spring-Summer collections and Pantone called it “somehood photograph hanging above her thing to lift our spirit, a captivating, stimulating colour that gets bed, depicting her exactly like that. Her the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues.” mum, who enjoyed dressing her daughBut despite its instant association with Barbie and nauseatter in pink when she was a baby, chips ing cotton candy, pink spawns as many hate clubs as fans. in, “She had a beautiful complexion and Many loathe the colour because of its clingy, controlling, such pink cheeks, everyone suggested princessy associations. Nevertheless, the colour maintains a that she should wear pink more since it vice-like grip on most women’s wardrobes, sometimes taking suited her the best.” over completely. So we raided the rooms of a few such pink-lovAs she lays out one pink outfit after ing girls and asked them to defend their much maligned choice another, along with matching laptop, of colour. iPhone case, makeup bag, countless nail





paints, lipsticks, a pink pen and a diary and even a pink tea set, we ask Prabhleen about being stereotyped during her growing up years. “I have never thought so, in fact most of my friends consciously gift me items in pink. A friend even gave me a pink stone dug out from under his home during construction, which has been immensely lucky for me,” she answers. Coercing her father to dress in pink on casual Fridays, Prabhleen says she’d also love to see footballers in hot pink jerseys. “I think it’s a better colour than red, which is way more aggressive. I can’t imagine someone not falling in love with it,” says this pink champion.

Loves the movie Legally Blonde and wouldn’t mind owning Reese Witherspoon’s wardrobe


And with 30 T-shirts and ten pairs of shoes in different shades of pink, she’s almost there



“I have always loved pink more than any other colour. But when I was doing my Masters, I realised I had little else apart from pink in my wardrobe. So I decided to give it a break. But then how long can you stay away from such a lovely colour?” grins Shweta, an account executive in a private firm. Recounting how she fell back in love with the colour, Shweta says it happened when she was

working in the UK. “There were so many amazing things available in pink that I couldn’t resist choosing them, completely forgetting why I had stopped wearing the colour in the first place.” Siding with the popular opinion of pink being a girly colour, Shweta admits that it makes her feel more feminine. “I am a girly-girl and pink really helps me to express myself. Although I am not a typical delicate darling, I have grown up loving my



She was also bitten by the pink bug since childhood and her most distinct memories are of a bright pink doll’s house. “I think it has a lot to do with the pink Barbie and her pink mansion with which I used to play,” recalls 25-year-old Sonya. “Also, I think my family had a role to play as my room was painted pink and I was made wear the colour quite often.” She might be older now, but pink remains her colour of choice – even when it comes to her profession. “I make a lot of clothes in pink. In fact, I recently designed a range of pet clothes for my best friend’s pet shop, and pink is dominant there as well,” she says. The colour seems to have lent some of its characteristics to her personality

pink things and don’t see anything wrong in that,” she says, sitting surrounded by pink shower gels, creams and hair accessories. So is her choice in the cosmetics too driven by her favourite colour? “Well, it so happens that I like creams and gels that come packaged in pink. And when it comes to fragrances, I like fruity scents and they are usually in pretty pink bottles too. Now you tell me, what can I do about it?” she giggles.

Forget Sonya, her best friend too is in love with the hue

as well: Sonya says she is a soft Thinks people shouldn’t and gentle person. “Pink is assostereotype others on the basis ciated with being cute and sweet of colour; one should be free and I think I am like that in many to wear whatever colour ways. After all, pink does generate one wants a lot of happy and positive vibes,” she says with a smile. But she’s not all girly when it comes to her sense of personal style. “I wear shades of neon pink and sometimes pair it with black, which lends a gothic touch to the colour,” she points out. Also, Sonya says, men can look equally good in pink. “A lot of guys don’t wear pink despite wanting to because it’s so strongly related to being feminine. I think colours shouldn’t be categorised like that,” she tells us. PHOTO: KALPAK PATHAK




Is a closet tomboy but still firmly believes in the classiness of pink Fifteen per cent of her entire wardrobe is filled with this colour even though she insists it’s not her favourite



Rubbishing the romantic overtures of red, Manmeet considers pink to be the ultimate symbol of romance. “It’s just the way my body reacts to the colour. I think it brings out a softer aspect of my personality. Even though it doesn’t define who I am, it certainly highlights a very important aspect of me,” she says, as she relaxes in her bedroom which has one wall painted in a dark shade of fuchsia, an exact match with her dress.


SAIF ALI KHAN Among the first


men on Indian celluloid to make wearing pink not seem effeminate (Kal Ho Naa Ho). Not only did he carry off that pink shirt with élan and manage to look hot, he made it acceptable too. The Kantaben act aside of course.


ever get over the floral shirt with a matching summer muffler in pink, which he wore with a scruffy, trimmed beard in Dostana? While we won’t debate whether he pulled it off or not, he

Working for a luxury fashion brand, Manmeet believes it’s not necessary to look like a clown while wearing pink. If styled well, it is more flattering than any other colour. “I have never been associated with too much pink since I always balance it well. There are many ways to tone down its effects with other neutral and solid colours,” she says. Refusing to be pigeonholed, Manmeet says that she isn’t a big ‘softie’ the way girls who

did make an impression for sure.


suits, he is mostly seen teaming black with pink shirts. And we have also seen him wear a floral blush pink scarf and we don’t need to tell you that he looks darn good!

DAVID BECKHAM It doesn’t get

manlier than this. But this new daddy and forever hot, well, hottie has never shied away from this so-called colour of cute feminity. And that is absolutely droolworthy.

favour pink are supposed to be. “I am equally interested in sports and outdoor activities and I love doing a lot of so-called non-girly things. But that doesn’t add to or take away from my liking for pink,” she says. She points out that this colour’s star is only rising higher. “I went to shop at Zara a few days ago and managed to grab the last pink bag! And before I could even reach the counter, at least ten girls had asked me about it,” she smiles.

BRAD PITT Remember his all-

pink suit at Cannes which was lambasted by the fashion police? Well, he clearly didn’t give a damn, choosing to wear it again. And that kind of dare-devilry is not only macho but also very sexy.

AKSHAY KUMAR We knew he wasn’t subtle but when he boldly announced his love for the colour by wearing a hot pink vest over a white shirt during a promotional tour for Singh is Kinng, we were impressed.





WHITE NIGHTS IN The majestic city of St Petersburg, with its romantic bridges and canals, takes on an ethereal quality on midsummer nights by Geetika Jain. Photos by Arjun Jain

3 RIVER RUN 1. Buildings along the canal, bathed in golden light; 2. St Isaac’s Cathedral lit up; 3. A newlywed couple posing outside The Church on Spilled Blood; 4. The opening of the Palace Bridge; 5. The Church on Spilled Blood, a Byzantine-style cathedral; 6. The interior of the Winter Palace, which became part of the Hermitage museum



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WHEN TO VISIT: May to September. Late June and early September to experience the ‘White Nights’ STAY AT: The Kempinski Hotel Moika: The terrace has great views. The Astoria: A Rocco Forte hotel facing St Isaac’s Cathedral. Taleon Imperial Hotel: Set by the canalside. W St Petersburg: An oasis of luxury. GUIDES: Natalia Slavyanskaya:; Tatyana Rubashkina: EAT AT: Mansarda: Overlooks St Isaac’s cathedral. Terassa: Views of Kazan Cathedral. Teplo: Cosy, serves local fare. The Idiot: Feels as though you are in a Russian house having homecooked vegetarian food. 82, Moika Emb, 315 16 75.




The Hermitage Museum at Palace Square has the world’s largest collection of art and objects from around the world. The Church on Spilt Blood, a Byzantine-style Eastern Orthodox cathedral built on the spot where Czar Alexander’s blood was spilt. Take a boat tour and sail around the city exploring its waterways, bridges and architecture. 812-971 84 39. The Museum of the Siege illustrates the story of how the locals held out against Hitler’s men for 900 days, enduring tremendous hardship. FURTHER AFIELD: Visit Peterhof, the Versailles-like palace of Peter the Great, known for its gardens of tumbling fountains. It’s 45 minutes by road or a hydrofoil ride on the Neva River from St Petersburg. Or drive 45 minutes to Catherine the Great’s Summer Palace at Pushkin.


E’RE IN a boat gliding on St Petersburg’s endearing rivers and canals, taking in the classical and baroque facades of the buildings, and lowering ourselves every now and then to pass under a landmark bridge. The extraordinary thing is that it is 10.30 pm, and the sky is bright blue. A bewitching golden glow lights up the peach and ochre buildings. Couples stand on the sides of bridges, holding on to drinks. They wave when they see us. Groups of teenagers pass by on boats, screaming and waving with both arms at strangers. It is July 21 and at 60 degrees north, the day is being celebrated for its longevity. In late June and early July, people come to St Petersburg to celebrate the ‘White Nights’, when the sun barely sets. This beautiful imperial Russian city was built by Peter the Great three

with other factors, defeated the Nazis. Natalia loves living in Piter despite the six months of dank darkness. When she is away from home she misses driving around the beautiful buildings on the River Neva’s embankment and having her favourite food – borscht, a beetrootbased soup, beef stroganoff, blinis (pancakes) with caviar and veriniki and ravioli stuffed with savoury and sweet ingredients. The evening is only just starting. At midnight, we arrive at the enormous Palace Square, and the defiant skies are pale blue with wispy white clouds. The green and gold façade of the Hermitage is beautifully lit. I point to daredevil motorcyclists speeding whilst standing up, but my 19-year-old son is capturing the winsome pouts of bridesmaids who pose for his camera. The newlyweds then release an enormous bunch of helium balloons into the air.

ST PETERSBURG centuries ago and there isn’t a more picturesque backdrop to enjoy the lingering light. A lot is packed into these few weeks: Newlywed couples are everywhere, surrounded by friends carrying flowers and bunches of balloons. Brides and grooms like to include the city in their festivities, stopping to take photos against their favourite landmarks – Palace Square and the Hermitage, St Isaac’s Cathedral, The Church on Spilled Blood, Peter the Great’s statue… Following a local tradition, they leave a lock with their names on the ironmongery of a bridge or lamppost, symbolising their own status of being locked in matrimony. Natalia, our guide, tells us, “Here in Piter, we all do the same thing. All our wedding pictures look exactly the same.”


Natalia’s connection with her city is a strong one. Her grandmother survived Hitler’s 900-day siege of the city (the city was known as Leningrad then). Two-thirds of three million people did not make it. The siege started 70 years ago to the day. She spoke of hard times when every available piece of soil was used to grow cabbage and potatoes. Her grandmother had to drink stew made of carpenter’s glue and leather belts to survive, as the daily ration was only a tiny piece of bread. Intense pride stems from this spirited resistance, which, along

and the clouds wield their artistry in the sapphire sky. Starting at 1.30 am, the bridges along the river will lift open one by one, to allow passage to the large cargo ships into the Baltic Sea beyond. People crowd the decks of large boats that will sail under the bridges as they open. Flotillas of smaller motorboats, many packed with screaming teens, join them. The air is rife with anticipation. It is 1.30 now, we are standing next to the Palace Bridge, and the cross-bridge traffic has ceased. Lights below the bridge blink like fireflies, and two central panels of road lift up vertically. There is a loud cry as everyone watches the spectacle. Two distant bridges to the right and left have opened as well, and the silent, businesslike freight ships make their crossing. We wonder if their crew has woken up in the middle of the night to enjoy the phenomenon. We walk up to the bridge; the tarred road looks bizarre standing upright. Although we walk back to the Astoria Hotel, the streets of Piter will remain animated as the sun will rise before long. The next day we walk along the canals of Piter, taking in the low-rise, imposing city that was conceived as a ‘Window to Europe’. Its enchanting ensemble of European style edifices often collide with the Byzantine churches and their onionshaped domes which came later. I quite like the blend as it introduces a welcome Russian flavour.


POINT OF VIEW People lined up along the Neva River at 1.30 am to see the bridges go up


Tomorrow we’ll return to the Hermitage to admire the world’s largest collection of art, started by Catherine the Great, but for now everyone is heading to the embankment around the corner. The atmosphere is heady, hundreds of people stand along the coping of the Neva River, milling around the musicians, flame-throwers and food stalls. There are babushkas wearing scarves and clunky shoes, their Slavic eyes smiling. Tripods are steadied and cameras focused. The buildings on both sides of the river are lit like wedding homes

Natalia weaves in anecdotes from the lives of Tchaikovsky who composed Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty here and Dostoyevsky, who set Crime and Punishment in these very streets. The yellow painted palace along the Moika canal is where Rasputin the mystic, who cured Tsar Nicholas’s haemophiliac son, was finally assassinated after being poisoned, shot, stabbed and drowned in icy water. Around here, they like to see a job completed. It was here that Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky introduced Marxism to Russia from Germany and started the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, leading to seven decades of misery. Putin too is from Piter, and he allocated enormous funds for its 300th year facelift in 2003. The beautified city will party on for days on end. When the birds head south, the mood will be very different. Reading a book out in the open at midnight will be replaced with driving under streetlights at midday. For now, Piter is ethereally beautiful; the prolonged gloaming has a magical quality. Sleeping is an utter waste of time.


KUNAL KAPOOR Though he started his Bollywood career as an assistant director for the film Aks, Kunal Kapoor had a keen interest in acting and trained under theatre veteran Barry John. He made his acting debut opposite Tabu in Meenaxi: A Tale Of Three Cities. But it was the film Rang De Basanti that catapulted Kunal to instant stardom. Even though his next few films – Hattrick and Laga Chunri Mein Daag – failed to make much of an impact, Kunal’s popularity didn’t dwindle. His last film, Lamhaa, earned critical acclaim and now Kunal is all set for Don 2

One word that describes you best? Tall. That’s the only thing that’s constant.

If a traffic constable hauls you up, what will you do?

The one law you would break if you could get away with it? The law of gravity. Just take off when you feel like it.

Do what any self respecting gentleman would. Plead, argue, bawl and beg to be let off.

A place where you would like to be lost for a month?

What makes you feel sexy?

Somewhere deep in the recesses of my head.

A good workout, where I’m soaked to the bones.

Earth’s crowded and full of trash. Choose another planet. There used to be a cheesy series called Planet X Chromosome. It’s about a planet that has only women. That’s where I would like to be, even if it was crowded.

Your first kiss was... It was like a prize fight. Let’s see who can knock out whose teeth first!

A tune you can’t get out of your head? Dhinka chicka dhinka chicka from Ready. If you could have chosen your own name, what would you have chosen? Google. Silently patent it and then demand royalty for the rest of my life.

Share a secret with us… you can trust us, we’ll only print it!

The last movie that made you cry? Three Idiots. I cried because I was not a part of it.

Love is... Never, ever forgetting to lift the toilet seat.

You are late for work and all the roads are jammed. Choose a mode of transport: a cycle, a horse or a skateboard. Why? Horse. Can you think of anything cooler than entering a movie set on a horse?

What is the weirdest thing that ever went into your mouth? My foot. It’s constantly there.

What makes your day? A good idea. An interesting conversation. A smile from someone you love.

What screws it up?

Certainly. Nrrtt mythhg kjuhy76 ih hgngtr yhbgtr ij uh ytrgr. I’m sure I can trust you to decipher the code as well.

Bad food.

Your favourite freedom fighter?

Figure out a way of self-procreation. A sort of Adam and Eve rolled into one.

Ashfaqullah Khan. I would not have been in Rang De Basanti if it were not for him.




If you were the last person left on earth, what would you do?

— Interviewed by Priyanka Jain






Hindustantimes Brunch 07 August 2011  
Hindustantimes Brunch 07 August 2011  

Hindustantimes Brunch 07 August 2011