WEEKLY MAGAZINE, APRIL 15, 2012 Free with your copy of Hindustan Times
Virat Kohli’s (left) flamboyance and Rohit Sharma’s natural talent make them exciting prospects for the Indian cricket team
Life in the day of a Bollywood back-up dancer
When Jaaved Jaaferi brought the house down
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will be the two pillars of India’s new batting trinity. But who’s the third man? VIR SANGHVI
Cars without drivers
SANJOY NARAYAN Some for the road
SEEMA GOSWAMI Tears as catharsis
W AT C H O U T F O R
NOW ON STANDS,
15.04.2012 18.03.2012 ALL-NEW FEATURES IN 136 PAGES! Even before actors Farhan Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor got together for their first film, we checked out their chemistry in the latest issue of Brunch Quarterly. And boy do they sizzle! He’s the edgy, brooding young man, she’s the pretty, chirpy girl. It’s a fabulous read. Go, get a copy!
inbox LETTER OF THE WEEK! ‘A wish fulfilled’
I WAS, I am and I will be always fascinated by Disney characters and your article (Taking The Mickey Out Of Me, April 8) by Pranav Dixit was the best description about Disneyland that I have ever read. THANK YOU, Brunch for such an article. You have fulfilled my one wish, hope you will fulfill just one more. I am an equally big Harry Potter fan. So I request you to write a similar article about the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
— KRITI SHRESHTHA, via email Kriti wins a shopping voucher worth ` 2,500. Congrats!
An eye opener YOUR COVER story (The Shocking Truth About Star Prices, April 8) was truly an eye opener. The explanation of why Bollywood producers are not in loss even after paying such a huge amount to stars was more shocking than the sky-high price stars charge! – MILIND PAVASKAR, via email
Write in, the best letter every week can win you a SHOPPING voucher worth
EDITORIAL: Poonam Saxena (Editor), Aasheesh Sharma, Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Mignonne Dsouza, Veenu Singh, Parul Khanna Tewari, Yashica Dutt, Pranav Dixit, Amrah Ashraf, Saudamini Jain, Shreya Sethuraman DESIGN: Ashutosh Sapru (National Editor Design), Swati Chakrabarti, Rakesh Kumar, Ashish Singh, Saket Misra, Suhas Kale, Shailendra Mirgal, Monica Gupta
What else to look out for: ■ Prateik Babbar, Suchitra Krishnamoorthi and Ronit Roy on their idea of love ■ The muted voices of the courtesan singers of India ■ Ira Trivedi on a 14-day detoxification trip to the land of Ayurveda, Kerala
Dancing With The Stars
LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch Binoy Dass Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Brunchday. Dev Raj Gulati A comparative analysis of the price tags of the ‘stars’ of the regional cinema was missing in the cover story (The Shocking Truth About Star Prices, April 8). Also, there was no mention of the price tags of the ‘item girls’, who are so essential for the success of a movie in the present context.
Vijayalakshmi Narayanan Directors should choose the locations according to the script (Cut to Kolkata, April 8). It should bring out the essence of the story. But many times, filmmakers waste crores of rupees in shooting songs in foreign locations when it has no relevance to the plot. This kind of nonsense should stop.
@harshita_1995 Your cover (The Shocking Truth About Star Prices, April 8) was as stellar as usual! You guys rock, and totally liven up my Sunday :D Keep your awesomeness alive! @SavarSuri Wow!!! @PranavDixit’s article (Taking the Mickey Out Of Me, April 8) in @HTBrunch is soo awesome... It’s about disneyland... Didn’t know u were a Mickey fan bro..I wanna go there now :'( @janice_pearl Vir Sanghvi (Rude Food, April 8) worded all my fears. I’ve changed my food habits drastically this year & feel great. Only tough to find true organic :-(
BRUNCH ON THE WEB hindustantimes.com/brunch
new! The Accidental Philosopher shuts up and stays put Judy Balan, author of the bestseller Two Fates – The Story of My Divorce, writes on being ‘out there’ and doing nothing. Read her column The Accidental Philosopher every Thursday!
Drop a line at
firstname.lastname@example.org or to 18-20 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001
APRIL 15, 2012
They’re not extras. Bollywood’s background dancers chose the profession because they love it
Actor Jaaved Jaaferi loves movies the most and his typical Sunday is with his family
TWEET YOUR HEART OUT twitter.com/HTBrunch
Who’ll form Indian cricket’s next trinity after Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman?
SPECTATOR There’s nothing quite as cathartic as a good cry, is there?
16 RUDE TRAVEL There is now a touristy Venice and a real Venice 19 DOWNLOAD CENTRAL Other than light woollens, pack some good wine and a great playlist for a road trip to the hills 20 TECHILICIOUS Driverless cars are coming. But do you really need them? Cover Design: ASHUTOSH SAPRU
Rest of the best Monday night comedy with Gursimran Khamba. On Tuesday, Rajneesh Kapoor’s comic strip Rezi Vastav. The Fake Jhunjhunwala on Wednesday and Gautam Chintamani’s SplitScreen on Friday. Read ’em all!
Brunch Blogs This week, check out Booked For Life by Saudamini Jain. A love affair with everything in print
Dancing With The Stars
Don’t call them extras. Bollywood’s new breed of trained background dancers chose the profession because they love it by Amrah Ashraf
ERE’S A TEST for you – watch your favourite Bollywood song and name any background dancer you see in it. Come on, you know the song, you know the steps, you know the actors, heck, you even remember the costumes. But what about the dancers? Well, the truth is that you may recognise them by face, but you won’t know them by name. That is the biggest predicament of Bollywood dancers’ lives – they exist in the shadow of the stars. Having said that, today, most dancers in Bollywood have big dreams and are not afraid of chasing them. Yes, they are anonymous (considering most of us still don’t know them) but they are different, very different, from their predecessors. They hate the ‘extra’ label; now they are trying to reinvent the ‘backup dancer’ image as well.
Also, the earlier generation of daily wage earning Bollywood association dancers is long gone. This new breed of dancers trains hard under different choreographers, travels the world for shows and dance tours and earns well – unlike their pot-bellied predecessors. Interestingly, most dancers today are also well educated, and could have picked up any well-paying comfortable job, like most of us, but instead they chose dancing – because of their aptitude, talent and love of it. That’s the difference – today’s Bollywood dancers are dancers by choice! Our curiosity got the better of us and we chased down a young Bollywood dancer – Navin Rajaiya – to understand how different today’s Bollywood dancers are, the life that they lead, their dreams and their hopes.
The New Prototype
Navin Rajaiya, a contemporary Bollywood dancer, comes from a well-off family (they have a construction business), is trained in jazz, hip-hop and Bollywood dance. He works hard to stay fit and dreams of being a choreographer one day. Photo: SATTISH BATE
Life In The Day Of A Bollywood Dancer
HEN I got a call from a journalist saying she wanted to interview me, I didn’t believe her at first. Each time she called, I muttered some curse words and disconnected the line. But when she kept calling, I finally said, ‘Promise me you’re not joking.’ She swore she wasn’t. She asked me to write a candid account of my life as a Bollywood dancer. So here it is, a page from my diary: My name is Navin Rajaiya and I am a Bollywood dancer. I am trained in contemporary, jazz, hiphop and Bollywood dance. I have featured in many hits – including Bunty Aur Babli, Kisna, Dhoom and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. But please don’t label what I do as ‘backup dancing’ or call me an ‘extra’. Call it Bollywood dancing. I am a trained dancer and what I do cannot be replicated by anyone. Today, the profile of a Bollywood dancer has undergone a transformation. I belong to a new breed of dancers who are trained in various dance forms and take their profession seriously. Most dancers in Bollywood are now part of a choreographer’s troupe. We make sure that we take care of our physique. After all, who doesn’t like looking good on-screen? am an established dancer in choreographer IGeeta Kapoor’s troupe, but it
Unforgettables tour with the Bachchan family, IIFA Awards, Stardust Awards etc. The lack of recognition from the audience does bother me. You wouldn’t recognise me even if you see me in 100 films. But I am not going to be invisible all my life. I’ll work hard and become a choreographer. But don’t get me wrong – I am not dying for fame. I just want people to give us our due credit.
Bachchan on Navin Rajaiya with Abhishek li Bab Aur the sets of Bunty
Initially, I was paid only R800 per show. I would travel in Mumbai’s local trains from the suburbs (Mira Road) to town (Grant Road) every day and have over 12 hours of practice and rehearsals. I had no time to rest and slowly my body was giving up on me. Dancing in Bollywood seemed like a distant dream. At one point, I even quit dancing to take care of my family’s business. Those were the worst days of my life. That is when I realised that I was meant only for dancing. Determined to get back, I shed 10 kilos. That is when I got my big break with Bunty Aur Babli in 2004 as a part of Shiamak Davar’s troupe. Now, not only do I dance in films, but I have gone on many tours abroad like The
took me nearly a decade to get here. These days, dancers struggle for a year or two but in my time no one considered dancing a full-time profession, especially for male dancers. Whenever I told someone that I was a dancer, people assumed that I was good for nothing. At 16, I dropped out of junior college to pursue my dream. My sister enrolled me in Shiamak Davar’s classes, but I couldn’t concentrate on my passion. We have a family construction business and I am the only son. I knew that I would have to take care of that once my father retires. Also, I wasn’t Photo: SATTISH BATE earning enough.
thing about my job is Twithhethethebest close bond we can develop stars. My friends think it’s
a big deal. You have to see their excitement when I post a picture of mine with a celebrity online. I have worked with everyone from Vidya Balan, Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, to Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif and Shah Rukh Khan. Vidya is very down to earth. Shah Rukh talks to us like we’re his buddies. I also got to know Abhishek Bachchan personally during the Unforgettables Tour. Today I can proudly say that he’s a close friend. But most celebrities are not as humble. Today, dancers are well paid and I couldn’t be happier. Every dancer in a choreographer’s troupe is paid a monthly allowance which can vary between R15,000 to R35,000 depending on levels of expertise. On top of that, seasoned dancers charge anything between R50,000 to R90,000 per stage show and films. So, remember that you don’t have to be an engineer or management graduate to earn well these days. Just tap your feet and make some money.
‘The film industry has grown to respect dancers’ TERENCE LEWIS, Choreographer
‘TAP’ ON THE OTHER SIDE Professional dancing has seen a surge in popularity, not just amongst dancers but industrywallahs as well. “It’s a good time to dance. The film industry has grown to respect dancers,” says Terence Lewis, choreographer and a judge on Zee TV’s Dance India Dance. Even the number of professional dance companies have increased and Terence feels that’s the way forward. “Dance troupes always existed but with increasing professionalism, dancers have a better opportunity to train hard,” he says. And with the advent of companies, dancers are paid well. “Salaries can vary between R15,000 to R1 lakh, with health insurance between R1-2 lakh. Also, most dancers become assistants to choreographers or choreographers. Some get hired as trainers. Some also manage the administration of dance companies’ branches. “Dancers should also ideally be given a cut of profits. But I feel this will take a while.”
ss India, 2008 opra at Femina Mi With Priyanka Ch
He: “Can I have the last dance with you?” She: “You are having it!” – Author unknown APRIL 15, 2012
With SRK at the Colors Screen Awards, 2012
VA R I E T Y
1. LOSE WEIGHT
This should always be on the top of your list. Unless of course, you’re a skinny little thing. And if you are, you make us look bad, and that’s not nice. For those enveloped in fat, even if it is a little non-pregnant bump on your belly: lose it. You can no longer deceive anyone with your winter masquerade. Nothing will make you look five kilos lighter in the summer. Also, thin people are taking over the world, so if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Summer kills the appetite. So, if it’s creamy or oily, hate it this season. Until next winter, which is far far away.
2. DRESS HOT
It’s summer. You can get away with wearing anything. The less, the better. Wear colourful shorts, sarongs, and sheer whites. Prance around the house in a coconut bikini, or in loud, lewd boxers. Photos: THINKSTOCK
A SHORT GUIDE TO
200 DAYS OF Since the Grinch is not stealing the summer, here are five tips to get by by Saudamini Jain
3. HAVE SWEATY SEX There is nothing sexy about an air-conditioner. You don’t need it to ‘do it’ in the heat. Sweaty sex is sex in its most primal form. It’s animalistic, it’s hot and it has a string of benefits: you burn more calories, your bodies will slither against each other and oh, those sweet salty kisses! Besides, sweating cools your body down. After you’ve been consumed in steamy passion, the beads of perspiration will evaporate and you’ll be over-
come by a cool, tingling sensation. Unlike winter, you have an excuse to avoid post-coital cuddling. You can conveniently roll over to your side of the bed after sex, because it’s oh, so hot! This is the season to get it on.
4. DRINK UP
Chilled beer. Gallons of it. And colourful cocktails. Make your drinks taller – mix a little alcohol with a lot of juice and even more ice. The vitamins and minerals in the juice will not let the booze dehydrate you. Or try this: Pour some vodka in
5. PRETEND IT’S WINTER If all else fails, then this is your only option. Lock yourself up in an AC room for the weekend. Make sure it’s set to very cold. Pull out a thick razai, make yourself some hot chocolate and cuddle in bed with a book, your dog, a lover. Block the summer out for as long as you can. a watermelon (cut a small piece for an opening). Pour as much vodka as the fruit can absorb. Then, place the wedge back on the melon and put it in the freezer. Thirty minutes later, you’ll have a drunk fruit to take the edge off the heat. Eat by the chunk. So go ahead and enjoy this summer till it lasts. email@example.com
MORE ON THE WEB
C OV E R STO RY
INDIA’S SPUNKY TRINITY
The Borivali Bomber
Gritty go-getter from Delhi
If bowlers hunt in pairs, batsmen build partnerships in a trio. After Sachin-Rahul -Laxman, we think Virat and Rohit will bolster India’s middle order. The third pillar of the tripod? Cheteshwar Pujara!
by N Ananthanarayanan
ALL THEM the Three Musketeers or simply the greatest middle-order batting trinity of the generation, but Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman formed the engine room of the Indian line-up for what seemed like an eternity. Their collective and individual class, cricketing nous and a fierce determination to propel themselves and their team took Indian cricket to heights that had been unimaginable. But after 15 years, two months and a week, the curtain fell on the dream triple act when Rahul Dravid, the oldest of the golden batting trio, announced his international retirement. They were so different in their approach to their batting; Dravid’s grit wore down opposing bowlers, Tendulkar’s sheer technical brilliance subdued them, while Laxman was both the delightful wrist artist and an epitome of patient batting with the tail-enders. But they never lost sight of the fact they needed to pull the team in the same direction. One of sport’s attractions is the attempt to fix like for like replacements, in place of greats on the verge of bidding adieu. The enduring appeal of football includes resurrecting a Pele or Maradona in debates on players currently making an impact, or in golf, where, for all Tiger Woods’
greatness the debate whether he can overhaul Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major wins is still alive. As Indian cricket passes through a trough, the time has come to scour the horizon for new stars, and determine whether an emerging set of young batsmen can live up to the exacting standards set by the golden trio. With Tendulkar and Laxman
VIRAT KOHLI PROVENANCE: One of the three
children of a late Delhi advocate, Kohli led India’s U-19 team to World Cup glory in 2008.
X FACTOR: Virat, 23, batted bril-
liantly in Australia and in the Asia Cup, regaining his poise after a shaky Test debut in the West Indies. Articulate and aggressive, the Delhi batsman is not apologetic about his over-the-board celebrations which former greats like Sunil Gavaskar frown upon. As a batsman, more than his sound technique, his grit and self-belief stand out.
OFF THE FIELD: Fussy about attire and hairstyle. His favourite rest-obar is Shiro at Delhi’s Hotel Samrat. WHEELS: Like Tendulkar, Virat loves cars. Owns two, including a BMW. FOOD: Punjabi, Thai, Japanese, MUSIC: Punjabi pop. HOME: Lives in West Delhi’s
Pashchim Vihar with his family. Photo: GETTY IMAGES
APRIL 15, 2012
Photo: AJAY AGGARWAL
ROHIT SHARMA PROVENANCE: Had a modest
childhood in the Mumbai suburb of Borivali. Played in the Under-19 World Cup and was a key member of the triumphant World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007 and the 2011 one-day World Cup.
X FACTOR: His talent was first
spotted at a camp by coach Dinesh Lad when he was 11. Since then, there hasn’t been any doubt over the explosive talent that the youngster possesses. But more often than not, the big knocks have not come and Rohit, 24, has had to face questions over his attitude and fitness.
OFF THE FIELD: Likes listening to popular Hindi and English chartbusters. WHEELS: A BMW. HOME: Lives in a penthouse in
Mumbai’s trendy suburb, Bandra.
slipping into the twilight of their careers, we can ask the question – who among the young pretenders have it in them to form the new trinity? There is no doubt about the first candidate for this fresh grouping. As Dravid played in what turned out to be the final Test of his illustrious career in Adelaide, Virat Kohli, 23, put his hand up and scored a century to suggest he is one for the long haul. So, at the moment, who are the candidates likely to team up with Virat and form the new bulwark for the India team? The naturally gifted Rohit Sharma, and Cheteshwar Pujara, whose game mirrors that of Rahul Dravid, appear best equipped to guide India in Test cricket. While Tendulkar and Laxman, despite the tough time on the tour to Australia, haven’t spoken their minds about their future as India players, the time is not too far away when the dressing room will wear a different look. It is unfair to compare eras and expect players to live up to the norms laid down by the previous generation. But the current crop of players is not fazed by pressures or expectations. So, what can inject that extra energy into the young shoulders for carrying the hopes of a billion plus over the next decade? HT Brunch expects Virat, Rohit and Cheteshwar to
rekindle the nation’s hopes in the coming years, and script their own stories that can inspire a new wave of younger players. They are not alone, nor are they going to have a free run. Waiting in the wings are the likes of Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane. Suresh Raina, who lost a bit of momentum after being exposed against pace bowling on overseas pitches, is young and still very much in the equation, just like the experienced Manoj Tiwary and Wriddhiman Saha, both from Bengal. Virat, 23, captivated fans with his brilliant batting in Australia and in the Asia Cup, regaining his poise overseas after a shaky Test debut in the West Indies last year. The Delhi batsman is pretty much the product of the times. Articulate and aggressive, he is not apologetic about his over-the-board celebrations, which former greats like Sunil Gavaskar frown upon, or about the way he likes to let his hair down. As a batsman, more than his sound technique, his grit and selfbelief which helped him score his maiden Test century in Adelaide, have been impressive. The former U-19 World Cup winning captain did have a shaky start to his international career, after initially getting caught up in the glitz of the IPL, but people close to him are confident the boy who showed steely resolve to play and bolster the Delhi Ranji team before reaching home for his father’s funeral has put that teenage phase behind him. “Most kids lose focus at that age, but the point is how many get back on track in time. Virat understood quickly that he would be a ‘nobody’ if he didn't get his priorities right,” says his coach RK Sharma.
CUT TO THIRD MAN That pugnacious Pujara can lend solidity to India’s middle order is evident. But how about Suresh Raina, who has flattered to deceive on lively pitches outside CHETESHWAR India, or the stylish PUJARA Manoj Tiwary? For Solid style, straight from other promising Saurashtra batsmen who almost made it to the club of rookies vying to step into Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman’s shoes, turn to the next page
C PUJARA PROVENANCE: His father Arvind
and uncle Bipin were also cricketers who represented Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy. First made headlines when he hit three triple tons in a month. His batting is reminiscent of Rahul Dravid.
X FACTOR: Quiet and reticent, Pujara’s batting reflects his personality. After a knee surgery, has played five first class matches. Scored 70 and 71 in the semifinal and final of the Deodhar Trophy, guiding West Zone to victory.
SPEAKING HIS MIND
Virat speaks with rare maturity, taking cricket and lifestyle issues head on. “See, people give the example of those who are very disciplined and totally focused on their game. I don’t have any problem with this kind of image, it is my choice. I know that as long as I perform on the field, I will be fine.” He is also sharp enough not to fall into the comparison trap. “I don’t want the pressure to come on me thinking whose shoes I’m trying to fill. I want to play my natural game.” So, it should come as no surprise that the ambition to play the game at the highest level can be an extension of the youngster’s lifestyle. Virat, for one, shows the same sin-
OFF THE FIELD: Loves watching comedy films, is a fan of Genelia D’Souza and Amitabh Bachchan’s movies. MOBILE RINGTONE: Nirbal O Pyare. FOOD: A vegetarian who
digs his roti, sabzi and dal.
ROLE MODELS: Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly.
ON HIS BOOK SHELF: Andre Agassi’s autobiography Open. Photo: REUTERS
APRIL 15, 2012
C OV E R STO RY
...THE OTHER CONTENDERS SURESH RAINA
PROVENANCE: Youngest of four children of a central government employee. Played a crucial role in the World Cup quarterfinal against Australia. But flopped in Tests in West Indies and England last year.
PROVENANCE: The only son of a
X FACTOR: Raina, 25, is an
attacking left-hander and an electric fielder in the circle.
bank officer in Siliguri, north Bengal, coach Jayanta Bhowmick helped him shift base to Kolkata.
X FACTOR: Being a wicketkeeper,
Saha, 27, knows he’ll have to wait longer than anyone else to cement his place in a side led by MS Dhoni.
OFF THE FIELD: His quiet
OFF THE FIELD: Likes to
nature might have prompted him to shun Bengal’s captaincy and give it to Ganguly.
WHEELS: Owns an
WHEELS: Swift Dzire. HOME: Has shifted to
dress well, visits Aalim Hakim’s salon in Mumbai to get his hair styled. Audi Q7, Honda Accord and a Honda CRV.
FOOD: Lucknowi. MUSIC: Popular
an apartment in Rajarhat, near Kolkata’s IT hub.
Photo: PRADEEP MANDHANI
Photo: VIPIN KUMAR
PROVENANCE: Hails from a middle class family, his father is an official with the BEST, the Mumbai transport authority.
PROVENANCE: One of the three sons of an Eastern Railway Group D employee, Tiwary, 26, scored his maiden international 100 against the West Indies in Chennai last year.
X FACTOR: Rahane, 23, was a consistent scorer for Mumbai in the domestic circuit and made his mark during his debut in the One Day series in England last year when little else went right for India. OFF THE FIELD: Not
exactly a party animal like many of his contemporaries. Very religious, carries tiny idols of deities in his backpack.
WHEELS: Drives a Honda City.
X FACTOR: After a stint as Bengal
captain in 2010-11 he had to hand over to Sourav Ganguly because he was asked to play for India. Unfortunately, he had to sit out for 12 consecutive matches.
OFF THE FIELD: Loves the gym and the pool. Has a big following on social networking sites. WHEELS: Hyundai i20. MUSIC: Kishore Kumar’s songs.
Photo: PRAFUL GANGURDE
Photo: SUNIL SAXENA
gle-mindedness in his batting with which he constantly keeps checking his hairstyle. The second obsession has even earned him the nickname ‘Chikoo’. “Once he got his hair gelled up and asked me how he looked? I told him he looked like ‘Chikoo rabbit’ (of Hindi animation fame). The name stuck,” says Ajit Chaudhary, his under-17 state coach. What about Virat’s anger on the field? He was fined by the ICC in Australia for showing the middle finger to a group of fans who were taunting him. And then there are the over-thetop angry celebrations
that make him looking like an alpha male on steroids. Virat’s friends say anger has been part of him since childhood. “It’s just his way to celebrate. He sets targets for himself and when he achieves them, lets his emotions out,” says Delhi teammate Shikhar Dhawan. The lifestyle connect is also very much part of Rohit Sharma’s image. Ever since he was spotted by coach Dinesh Lad at a cricket camp aged 11, his natural talent has never been in doubt. But more often than not the big knocks have not come and the youngster from the Mumbai
‘When he set his mind to it, Rohit was capable of downing a few drinks, wrote Gibbs in his book’
APRIL 15, 2012
suburb of Borivali had to face questions over his injuries and attitude. Former South Africa opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs, drawing from the experience as his teammate in Deccan Chargers, wrote in his book To The Point that Rohit was capable of downing a few drinks when he set his mind to it! But coach Lad says Rohit’s wild lifestyle is a thing of the past. His world turned upside down after poor form and focus led to exclusion from last year's World Cup squad. “Today Rohit is a different person. He is focussed on his game and fitness,” says Lad. His coach agrees that the boy from a humble background could have done more in the time he spent in the India dressing room. “But I am sure he will play at least 10 years for India.” That ‘for India’ refers to Test cricket, still the yardstick to measure a great player, although for youngsters, it is the limited overs cricket that opens doors. Rohit is a product of Mumbai’s brash, urban environment. Originally from the suburb of Borivali, he has now moved into a penthouse flat in Bandra. He also likes cars. But he realises it is his wristy strokeplay, rather than his skill behind the wheel that’ll fetch him dividends.
CHIP OF THE WALL
A more correct player among the trio, Pujara is seen as the ideal replacement for Dravid, for his ability to accumulate runs and play within himself. The player from Rajkot made an impressive Test debut, scoring a match-saving 72 at Dravid’s No. 3 spot. Anxiety overshadowed his technical ability and prevented Pujara from giving his best on the South Africa tour in 2010-11, before knee trouble sidelined him for the tours of West Indies and England. Pujara underwent surgeries on both knees and is gradually playing himself back into the reckoning. A second generation cricketer – his father Arvind as well as uncle Bipin played for Saurashtra – he does not seem to be touched by the urge to live life in the fast lane. A god-fearing player, the one thing Pujara, 24, has gifted himself after being picked by Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL is a bungalow on the outskirts of Rajkot. He attributes his compact game to useful India A tours. “One of the reasons I got selected for India was because I performed well in England on the A tour,” he says. Inputs from Khurram Habib, Nilankur Das and Sharad Deep
EXPERT BISHAN SPEAK
The former India captain and coach says that the talented three batsmen will find it tough to step into the shoes of the stalwarts. He also believes that switching from limited overs to first-class and Tests would not be easy for the trio. TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW: “The three giants are products of longer duration cricket. These kids, whether it is Virat or Rohit, they have come up through limited overs cricket. So, they have to make adjustments – it will be tough to switch back and forth from shorter to longer formats.” PAST PERFECT: “In the case of Rahul and Sachin, they started Twenty20 at the fag end of their careers. They were weaned on the longer version, Test cricket, and that is how it should be.” THE IDEAL TRANSITION: “It is easier to convert oneself from a player of the longer version to the shorter version rather than the other way around.” LESSONS FROM THE VETERANS: “What can they learn? Numbers 1, 2 and 3… is consistency and then – over a period of time – displaying it in the longer version of the game. Tests are the real test, always.” THE LIFESTYLE QUESTION: “It will definitely tell on physical health. People like Sachin and Rahul – even Laxman – their discipline was impeccable. They were controlled and had discipline. I’d like to think Pujara has the capacity to mould himself to an extent on those lines.” STRIKING THE RIGHT BALANCE: “For all the exuberance of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma and their uncontrollable energy, they will have to strike the right balance. They are in the deep end of the pool and have to swim, they can’t afford not to. Their innate professional instinct has to come to the fore.”
Photo: PRABHAS ROY
SOB STORY My tears are very versatile. They can express almost every emotion across the spectrum
A MOVING OVATION
The spectacle of Barack Obama being sworn in as the first African-American President of the United States had me sobbing on my couch
EARS. THEY’RE a tricky business. Keep them all bottled up and you risk being seen as a heartless so-and-so. Turn them on whenever you feel overwhelmed and you are in danger of being dismissed as an emotional wreck. You can see tears in a hundred different ways. They are the mark of a sensitive soul. They are a sign of emotional incontinence. They are the weapon of last resort for women. They turn men into helpless puddles of contrition. They are a sign of weakness, the preserve of those who don’t know how to keep their feelings under control. Oh, and did I mention that men aren’t supposed to spill them at all. No, never ever. That is not the ‘manly’ thing to do. It doesn’t matter if their feelings are hurt or their knees badly scraped. Boys are not meant to cry unless they want to be asked, “What are you? A girl?” Well, what can I say? I am a girl and have the tear-stained handkerchiefs to prove it. I have to admit it doesn’t take much to make me cry. I well up whenever I am singing the national anthem. I get all teary watching soppy romcoms like Sleepless in Seattle. I cry with laughter while catching up with the new season of Modern Family. I blub when I hear a particularly moving bhajan. A beautiful painting or a perfect sunset can move me to tears. The spectacle of Barack Obama being sworn in as the first African-American President of the United States had me sobbing on my couch. My tears are very versatile. They can express almost every emotion across the spectrum: anger, frustration, sorrow, joy, love. Which, I concede, can sometimes get a bit overwhelming for people who are trying to figure out why I am welling up all over again. To be honest, though, sometimes I don’t quite understand the process myself either. Why is it that I can sit through a regular tear-jerker of a Hindi movie and find myself completely unmoved? And yet, the sight of a man sitting down to a lonely dinner on a
CONFESSIONS OF A NEW DAD
David Beckham’s confession that he gets all teary when he looks at his daughter, Harper Seven, makes all of us go, “Aww, how sweet!” table set for one on a TV show makes me feel all weepy? Go figure; I certainly can’t. In fact, sometimes the smallest, most insignificant thing, can set off the tears. The wizened face of a grandmother as she holds the hand of her granddaughter and helps her cross the street (or is it the other way round?). The toothless grin of a baby. The strains of a long-forgotten song. Hell, on one embarrassing occasion, I even had tears rolling down my cheeks because a bowl of chilli in a Washington restaurant wasn’t quite as I remembered it. Yes, I know, it’s silly beyond belief; but there you have it. But whatever the reason for their appearance, my tears are invariably cathartic. As the cliché goes, there’s nothing quite like a good cry to make you feel better about yourself. There is a complete cleansing of emotions; an overhauling of your nervous system that leaves you feeling both light and exhausted, both wrung out and ready to take on the world. The only problem is that crying gets a very bad rap these days – especially if you are a woman. If you are arguing with your boyfriend/husband and begin tearing up out of sheer frustration you will be accused of playing dirty. “Ah, here come the waterworks.” (Don’t bother explaining that you’re not crying on purpose; that you simply can’t help it. Nobody is going to believe you.) And don’t even think of letting the tears flow when you are at work. Not unless you want to be dismissed as a hysterical, hormonal, pre menstrual/menstrual/menopausal (choose any one that fits) cry baby. Just do the smart thing. Retreat to the ladies room whenever you feel your eyes welling and your chin beginning to tremble. Lock yourself in and let the tears flow. Then blow your nose, wash your face, re-apply your make-up and head out to face the world again. Strangely enough, though, even as women are being marked down for being emotionally overwrought and teary, men are increasingly being applauded for being in touch with their emotions when they let a tear or two escape their eyes. Clearly, political correctness has come a full circle on this one. Our hearts well up when we see our cricketing heroes like Yuvraj Singh and Sachin Tendulkar with tears flowing down their cheeks as they celebrate their World Cup victory. David Beckham’s confession that he gets all teary when he looks at his daughter, Harper Seven, is enough to make all of us go, “Aww, how sweet!” But while I am all for men being in touch with their emotions and expressing them in a honest way (and what could be more honest than tears?) one part of me is a little scared that this may just open the floodgates. Remember that Friends episode when Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) finally gets her boyfriend Paul (Bruce Willis in a hilarious cameo) to open up and express his emotions? And then has to drop him because he simply won’t stop blubbering? Well, none of us wants that now, do we?
There’s nothing quite as cathartic as a good cry, is there?
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Seema on Twitter at twitter.com/seemagoswami
APRIL 15, 2012
VENICE – LOST AND FOUND
ONE OF MANY
The Tourist with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp is merely the latest in a long line of movies set in Venice
O MATTER how often you have been there before, no matter how many photos you have seen, no matter how many movies set in the city you have watched (The Tourist with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp is merely the latest in a long line), nothing quite prepares you for your first sight of Venice as the city comes into view from the lagoon. Yes, it is beautiful – but then, a lot of Italy is very beautiful. What makes Venice special is that it is entirely theatrical, a city built by generations of production designers all seeking to impress. Part of the theatricality is the sense of timelessness. Venice is one of the few cities in the world to still be largely as it was five centuries ago. New construction is not allowed. Even to put up a sign on a building, you need to get special permission from the city council. Nor are Venetians obsessed with seeming clean or new: many buildings show their age with fading paint and crumbling walls, giving Venice its fabled combination of beauty and decay. As you wander through the narrow streets you can imagine Antonio, Portia and the rest walking down the same lanes; the Rialto that Shylock talks about is still there and it is still much the same as it was when Shakespeare wrote The Merchant of Venice. Then, there is the strange combination of land and water. Venice was founded over 1,500 years ago by early settlers fleeing from Attila the Hun. They took shelter in marshy areas made up of scores of tiny islands. Because the land was so swamp-like, they were only able to build houses on stilts, sinking wooden poles into the bottom of the lagoon and balancing their homes on these poles. More than any other major city in the world, Venice is built on water. You can’t walk for more than a few minutes without having to cross a canal and boats are the only method of transportation – all cars are banned in Venice. At first you think the city looks different only because of the canals and waterways. But when you think about it, another reason becomes apparent: there are few trees or green spaces in Venice. It is an entirely urban landscape, created by history’s greatest theatrical designers and architects. Unlike many other Italian cities where there was an aristocratic tradition with kings and courts, Venice was created by merchants and traders. It had no king and called itself a republic. It was ruled – from time to time – by a Doge who was elected by Venetians and who worked to advance the city’s commercial interests. The ethos was set by the merchants who sought to impress, who worshipped wealth and ostentation and had a particular fondness for ornamentation. In that sense, Venice was the world’s first bania republic. Nearly all of Venice’s grandest buildings and public spaces were designed for effect and intended to impress. The landmark St Mark’s Basilica was built because Venice felt that it deserved a saint of its own. When none could be found, Venetians stole the APRIL 15, 2012
There is now a tourist Venice, full of crowds of sightseers, and a real Venice, zealously guarded by Venetians, most of whom loathe tourists
More than any other major city in the world, Venice is built on water
remains of St Mark from Alexandria, reburied them in Venice and built a church in the saint’s honour. Years later, when a Venetian fleet sacked Constantinople, Venetians stole gold, artifacts and precious stones from that city and used them to renovate St Mark’s Basilica to stunning effect. The great palazzos on the Grand Canal which feature in most postcards of Venice were built by merchants eager to show off their wealth. But, because these were traders, business came first: the ground floor of each palazzo was used as a warehouse-cumoffice so that deals could be struck on the spot. In those days (till the 16th century) Venice was Europe’s Gateway to the East. (Marco Polo was a Venetian). The influence of Byzantium, then the greatest kingdom in the world, can be seen in the domes and the ornate architecture of the city, lending Venice a character that is neither particularly Italian nor especially Eastern but entirely Venetian. After Vasco da Gama discovered the sea-route to India however, Venice ceased to be the Gateway to the East. (The land route took longer and was much more dangerous than the sea route that da Gama used). But it re-invented itself as a trading centre within Europe, using Jewish expertise (the term ‘ghetto’ comes from the Jewish quarter of Venice) while emphasising its tradition of art and music (Titian, Canaletto, Vivaldi, Bellini etc.) and selling itself as the pleasure capital of the world. (Casanova was Venetian and the city’s bordellos were globally renowned). Ever since the English discovered Venice three centuries ago as the first stop on the grand tour of Europe, the city has undergone yet another re-invention: as the tourist capital of the world. These days there are only 65,000 native Venetians but the city gets upwards of 20 million tourists a year. This means that there is now a tourist Venice, full of crowds of sightseers with cameras and a real Venice, zealously guarded by Venetians, most of whom loathe tourists while recognising that the city’s economy depends on tourism. It means also that everything in Venice is outrageously expensive, that you have a greater chance of being ripped off here than in any other part of Europe, and that you will eat very badly while paying through the nose because most restaurants cater to tourists, and don’t really give a damn about the quality of food.
It is the ambition of every discerning visitor to Venice to get past Tourist Venice with its camera-carrying hordes and to discover the Venice of locals. This is a doomed enterprise because Venetians have no real interest in befriending travellers. And besides, local Venice is hard to find. In London, for instance, once you get past the West End with its throngs of foreigners, you will find real Londoners. But local Venice exists cheek by jowl with tourist Venice. You turn into a side street, cross a bridge, walk for three minutes and suddenly the whole environment has changed. There are no tourists in half pants, no shops selling so-called Venetian masks (all made in China these days) or restaurants offering Menu Turisticos. The trick, of course, is knowing which sidestreet to step into, which bridge to cross and how to avoid the tourist traps. The trouble is that this is a trick that few visitors ever master. Instead, most of us end up in a middle ground: places that cater to some Venetians but are mainly favoured by a more upmarket kind of tourist. It does not help that you can’t really go to Venice and not do the touristy things. You have to see the spectacular interiors of St Mark’s Basilica. You must have a coffee or a drink at Caffe Florian which, despite its popularity with tourists, is still the second oldest café in the world and an important part of Venice’s history. (The city’s most celebrated and elegant bordello was located one floor above Florian). And if you have any interest in food and drink, you need to pop into Harry’s Bar where both the Bellini and Beef Carpaccio were invented. I spent four days in Venice last week, two as a guest of Chanel (for the launch of a still-secret fragrance which I am writing about for Another Magazine!) and two on my own in an effort to get out of tourist Venice; one of those seemingly doomed efforts I’ve made on each of my four visits to the city with only limited success each time. I stayed at the Danieli, one of the world’s great hotels (and the location for some of the scenes in The Tourist). Because Venice has strict zoning laws, the Danieli has only been able to expand by taking over adjoining buildings. So the main hotel (where the lobby is located and which features in all the photos) is a 14th century building that was once the residence of the Doge’s family. But the Danieli also includes two other palazzos on either side which are slightly more recent (i.e the 16th or 17th century) but are fully merged with the first original building so that once you
are inside, you lose track of which building you are actually in. The Danieli is, arguably, Venice’s most famous hotel (though I imagine the Cipriani and the Gritti Palace would make the same claim) and the key to its appeal is the location. It adjoins the Doge’s Palace, is a three-minute walk from St Mark’s and makes the most of the amazing views of the lagoon that you get from the windows, terraces and balconies. (If you saw The Tourist, then be warned: the scene where Johnny Depp jumps on the roof on the hotel was shot elsewhere; the Danieli is not next to the Rialto!) Chanel did its best to show us Famous Venice without letting the trip encroach on Tourist Venice. So when we did go to Caffé Florian we were seated in a private room. When we went to St Mark’s Basilica, Chanel blocked the entire church and organised a private organ recital. Then, a guide took us to the parts of the church that tourists never see, pointing out the gold screens studded with emeralds and sapphires looted from Constantinople. Chanel also chose local restaurants whenever possible. Obviously we ended up having lunch on the terrace of the Danieli on both days for reasons of convenience but the view was so spectacular and the food so good (apparently the chef worked at the old Casa Medici at the Delhi Taj decades ago) that nobody minded. We ate dinner one night at the Osteria Santa Marina, one of Venice’s better restaurants (great seafood antipasti) which is highly regarded by many locals. For the perfume preview itself, Chanel took over the Palazzo Contarini Polignac, an old palace now owned by a French family and stuffed it with memories of Coco Chanel’s time in Venice. The big deal, however, was the small (30 people) gala dinner at another historic palace, the Palazzo Albrizzi. Apparently the Albrizzi family still lives in this glittering palace with its grand paintings and its ornate ceilings so photography was forbidden. But I’ve rarely eaten in a more spectacular location, with hundreds of candles illuminating the dining room and chefs struggling to invent canapés, each of which was more elaborate then the last: hollowedout eggs stuffed with caviar, macaroons with foie gras centres, potatoes with more caviar, tiny portions of fish and chips on skewers etc. I am sure the Albrizzis love living in the palazzo but I doubt if they’ve eaten as well as we did that night. My two days on my own were more relaxed. A few years ago, a local Venetian had taken me to a restaurant that actively discouraged tourists. A sign on the door said “No Pizza. No Lasagna. No Menu Turistico.” And everybody in the restaurant spoke Italian and seemed to be regulars. Nobody even bothered to look at the menu. The owner told them what fresh fish had come in that morning and guests chose their dinner according
These days there are only 65,000 native Venetians but the city gets upwards of 20 million tourists a year
IN REWIND MODE
For the perfume preview, Chanel took over the Palazzo Contarini Polignac, and stuffed it with memories of Coco Chanel’s (below) time in Venice
IN GREAT TASTE
For reasons of convenience, we had lunch on two days on the terrace of the Danieli. The view was spectacular and the food, very good APRIL 15, 2012
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
OUR OWN SAINT
The landmark St Mark’s Basilica was built because Venice felt that it deserved a saint of its own Photo: CC/GRUENEMANN
Venice is one of the few cities in the world to still be largely as it was five centuries ago
Caffe Florian is the second oldest café in the world
GRAB A BITE
to his recommendations. I was determined to track the restaurant down, which was difficult because I did not even remember the name. But after describing it to two or three local Venetians, I decided that it was probably the Antiche Carampane on the Rio Terra Delle Carampane. I took a vaporetto (Venice’s water bus) to a nearby stop and then blundered around for ten minutes asking for directions till I finally stumbled on the restaurant. It was as I remembered it (same rude anti-tourist sign on the door). But though nearly every table was packed with Venetians speaking in the local dialect and kissing each other (it was that sort of local restaurant, full of regulars), there was also a nice couple from Milano who explained to me, in their broken English, that friends had recommended the restaurant. And as I was leaving, a family of Americans arrived, guide book in hand. So obviously, it is now less obscure than it seemed to be when I first went. The amuse bouche was a paper cornet filled with the small sweet local shrimp fried whole. (Delicious!). Then came a course of the most amazing baby scallops I have ever tried, grilled on the shell so that they tasted of the charcoal they were cooked in and then gently softened with a buttery sauce. (The Milanese couple took one look at my plate and ordered a portion for themselves as an extra course!) My main course was a fresh John Dory buried under an avalanche of clams. Overall, it was the best meal I had in Venice. The following day I went to Acqua Pazza, a restaurant at the edge of tourist Venice (not far from the Opera house) which makes its anti-tourist stand clear by refusing to print an English menu. The food was fine (home made spaghetti with a whole lobster, fish baked in a potato crust etc.) but the standout features were a) the amazing aubergine and tomato bruschetta that went out free to every guest; b) the small beaker of limoncello (a liqueur-like drink made with fresh lemons) that was also given free with the coffee and c) the terrific location with tables out in the open on the edge of a square. Some wandering tourists did stumble in. They gave them pizzas, did not offer them the full menu and there was no question of free bruschetta or limoncello. I guess that made their policy clear enough! (How did I avoid the tourist treatment? Simple. I got a local to book me in). One of the better meals I had was at the Hotel Regina and Europa. This is also a combination of three separate palazzos facing the Grand Canal which is run by Westin. (But they have not been able to put
up a Westin sign on the Grand Canal because the city council will not let them!) It is a historic property with a great location, quieter than the Danieli (and slightly cheaper, I would imagine – but then, everything is cheaper than the Danieli), and very nice rooms. For my money, it’s the best hotel to stay in if you go to Venice and you are willing to splash out on accommodation without re-mortgaging your house. I had dinner on a table by the lagoon on a full moon night. As the water splashed against the gondolas tied to the wall of the hotel, I ate outstanding porcini raviolo and perfectly juicy beef tagliata. It is – almost by definition – Tourist Venice. But I have to say I enjoyed it. There are two must-dos in Venice these days. The first is cichette. These are small snacks that have always been served at bacarras or Venetian bars but have suddenly acquired a trendy status after a man called Russell Norman opened a series of bacarras in London (Polpo, Polpetto and Spuntino). I’m sure that there are great bacarras in Venice but sadly both the places the concierge at the Danieli sent me to were a little touristy. At least one of them, the Bancogiro, had the advantage of history – the bar is built on the location of the world’s first international bank (the transfer of money between global banks was a Venetian invention). Cichetti can take many forms but the two most common are bits of bread with things (ham, octopus etc.) placed on them (like open sandwiches) and fried meat balls made with pork, chicken etc. Both baccarras were fine. Plus, I ate out in the open, near the Rialto on the banks of a canal which sure as hell beats Russell Norman’s Soho locations. But I couldn’t help feeling that I had missed the point. Perhaps I will find better bacarras with more interesting food, the next time. The other must do in Venice is Harry’s Bar. Few bars have the kind of reputation that Harry’s does. Founded by an Italian called Cipriani with money loaned to him by an American. (the ‘Harry’ of the name), it is the place where the Bellini (prosecco and peach juice) was invented. And the bar also invented carpaccio, now one of the most famous Italian dishes in the world. (The Ciprianis have built a global restaurant empire around the Harry’s Bar menu though there is a running feud with the Cipriani hotel which is now owned by Orient Express). Though Harry’s serves meals (when the upstairs section is also available), it stays open all day, serving coffee and drinks to masses of tourists. It is an extraordinarily unimpressive room, rather like the bar on an ageing mid-market cruise ship or the bar at some fading club in an Indian hill station. But each day, it is jampacked with tourists who order the Bellinis, small tumblers of peach pulp (frozen, I guess, at this time of year) mixed with a sparkling wine of no great distinction for around 17 euro a glass, a price that represents a triumph of branding over quality. Each time I go (and I like to drop in to see if the place is still thriving), I discover that it is full of bemused English speakers who keep looking around and asking each other “Is this really Harry’s Bar? Are you sure that we’ve come to the right place?” The success of Harry’s Bar and its hugely expensive Bellinis seems to me to sum up what Tourist Venice is about. It is a bania republic where everything is theatrical and where the reputation is enough to make outsiders pay through their noses – and not mind too much. But there is also the other Venice, the Venice of history, of art, of decadence, of tradition, of beauty, of elegance and of romance. And that is the Venice that keeps drawing me back. One day I guess I’ll finally make the jump to the real Venice that only Venetians know.
If you have any interest in food and drink, you need to pop into Harry’s Bar where both the Bellini and beef carpaccio were invented
APRIL 15, 2012
WHY DON’T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD
with many other acts – Broken Bells being one of them – but this new Shins’ album, within a month after being released, had already become storied. Metacritic had compiled a healthy metascore of 72, with Pitchfork, Paste Sanjoy magazine and Mojo praising it Narayan resoundingly. Not surprising, because Mercer is very talented. MR. POPULAR His song-writing combines thoughtSoul singer Allen Stone has been fulness with popular appeal and his called the “love-child of Amy songs do the thing that most songwriters Winehouse and Stevie Wonder” would love to be able to: they sound like powerpop if you choose not to pay much attention to the lyrics but if you do, they sound like a thinking person’s pop. Port of Morrow’s 10 songs are catchy and invoke all kinds of feelings – they’re dreamy, angst-laden and hopeful. The album may not be as indie as The Shins’ older ones but it’s an album that – if you like Mercer’s falsetto – can be a good opener for a good road trip soundtrack. Or so I thought. A couple of hours into our drive, the road trip soon became pear-shaped. We got stuck on NH24 in what could quite easily be the worst traffic jam. It was a three-hour gridlock that caused reactions that began with small wisecracks and wry humour but soon turned into irritation with everything, including poor Mercer’s falsetto. I switched briefly to Alabama Shakes in the hope that Brittany Howard’s growl would make the jam a bit more tolerable. No such luck. Peremptory multiple orders from the backseat made me switch again, this time to the soul singer Allen Stone. T WAS intended to be a nice road trip. It was an extended Stone is young and white. But like many gospel and soul singers, weekend. Two men. Two women. A child (a very well-behaved notably the legendary Aretha Franklin, he began singing in his one). A great car – one of those luxury SUVs that cost more father’s church. He also went to Bible college but dropped out than what my flat did when we bought the latter. A destination and now is a soul singer who’s wowing his audiences. One critic tucked away in the upper reaches of Kumaon where email called him the “love-child of Amy Winehouse and Stevie Wonder” reaches you only in fits and bursts. It helped that both the and, indeed, he’s been compared to Wonder as well as the early men – one young and the other middle-aged – enjoyed driving with Prince. Stone is 24 and has two self-released albums under his the former being an expert driver and an information whale on belt and has already done the rounds of the prominent late-night SUVs. We had everything we would need up there in the hilly nook talk shows, performing his songs to open-mouthed audiences. we were headed for – a case of wine, light woollens and so on. The Stone went down well with the audience in the car even as we only thing left was the music we’d listen to on the way. inched out of the jam and headed slowly towards our I burnt a compilation: The Shins’ new album destination. After Stone, I put on Sharon Van Etten’s Port of Morrow (2012), their first in five years – I’d Tramp – her elegant vocals and lyrics that are pure had it for a couple of weeks but hadn’t heard it poetry brought no protests from the others in the properly; an EP from Allen Stone, the young soul car. Her songs deal with heartbreak and sadness but singer from Washington (the state not the capital) aren’t morose, probably because of her vocals and whom I’d heard of but not yet heard; I threw in her lyrics. Consider a stanza from Warsaw, one of the best tracks on Tramp: Here. Sing me yourself/ some Big Baby Gandhi, the rapper from Queens Tell me you want to be shown or/ You’ll only listen/ one of whose tracks I’d heard and liked simply to an endless sea you want to be over. because it began with a typically Bengali-accentYou’d think Van Etten would not go down well on ed intro where a guy asks: “You like song? You like a road trip in a macho SUV, which, by the time I Bangladeshi song?”; I loaded up some tracks from played her album, was doing 140 kmph. But it did. folkie-rock singer Sharon Van Etten’s new album, Tramp; and, although it isn’t exactly new, Death Cab for Cutie’s Everybody liked it. Or, rather, no one protested. Codes and Keys (2011), just in case. I carried the Treme soundFor the curious. The normally seven-hour journey took 12. But track (I know I tried to overdose you with it in this space last all the frayed tempers got assuaged in the end by the cool week and I promise this is the last time I’ll mention it) too because mountain air and, I’d like to believe, by my choice of music. it’s become an obsessive listen for me and Arctic Monkey’s Suck Postscript: on the trip back, I was not-so-subtly coerced into it and See (2011) because I’d still not heard it at all. putting on FM radio by the time we neared the plains and In short, I was (or, rather, I thought I was), fully loaded for the everyone listened to Six Pence None the Richer, Tracy Chapman road trip. It began well enough. We left a little after five in the and Eddie Vedder. My stuff stayed put in the swish CD changer. morning when it was still dark and the roads out of Gurgaon and Ah well. It could have been much worse. into Delhi and then out of it were nearly deserted. I slipped in To give feedback, stream or download the music mentioned in the compilation and The Shins’ Port of Morrow began. The Shins’ this column, go to http://blogs.hindustantimes.com/ frontman and principal songwriter, James Mercer, is associated download-central. And follow argus48 on Twitter
Things to pack for a road trip to the hills: Light woollens. Good wine. And a great playlist STILL I’M SAD
Sharon Van Etten’s songs deal with sadness but aren’t morose
Photo: DUSDIN CONDREN
I’d like to believe the frayed tempers got assuaged by my choice of music
APRIL 15, 2012
THE DRIVERLESS CAR IS HERE It will be safe and fuelefficient. But will you really want one?
All tech no hands – the best way to drive?
ON THE RIGHT PLANE
This pilotless concept car can also take to the air
The GM En-V
If Apple made a driverless car...
A SEAMLESS TRANSITION
An array of sensors, cameras and radars will be built into cars (above); And eventually they’ll look like this (below)
FINALLY find it. ‘Shivam Second Hand Super Cars’ turns out to be a dilapidated, rundown warehouse on the outskirts of town. A car salesman in a cheap polyester suit two sizes small for him approaches me while unsuccessfully trying to smoothen down the wrinkles on his shirt with a sweaty palm. I ask about the 2020 Red Roboto Car advertised and for a 10-year-old car, unit tells the car that the destination is on the left, it turns out to be in a pretty good condition. slowly braking as a red light approaches, differenI ask about the number of lasers that the car tiating between a piece of wood and a human baby is equipped with, whether the six infrared on the road and a thousand other scenarios that cameras on the front and back are all working, play out on the roads everyday. The mind boggles the number of pixels on the Heads Up windscreen to think how much information the human driver and most importantly how well the first is able to process and control without batting an generation radars work. I sit in the rear seat and eyelid – and how many sensors are required to try as the car starts to drive, I check for steering and replicate that same complex control we all have wheel encoder faults as well as how the two built into us and never think about. When hardware windshield mounted cameras are able to keep the and software take over the wheel, it may well go car on a straight road. The car’s voice command down as the greatest invention of the century. system doesn’t work well, the Wireless Net connection modules aren’t as fast as I want them to A DREAM DRIVE be – but hey – it’s a 10-year-old car! Driverless cars may be the greatest boon ever I’m amused by just how antiquatfor a country like ours. Imagine order and not ed the technology is, how risky chaos on the roads. Every car having these kind of cars were when built-in discipline, no desire to break they were first unleashed on the rules, driving only in its own lane, roads with very rudimentary safeno dimwitted macho driving, no ty features and how most of the senoverspeeding, none of the sors have delays in executing commands. sensors on the car will ever get We strike a deal and Mr Polyester Crumpled Suit drunk and drive, no cars blocking seems very pleased with my offer. Maybe I paid too much free left turns, perfect utilisation of – but that’s okay – I truly love collecting first generation REAR ENDED every inch of the road and no road rage. driverless cars and this one is a pure classic. Imagine sitting in The skill of the person behind the wheel doesn’t the back seat of this! matter, fewer accidents, better fuel consumption, better NOT WILD SPECULATION ANY MORE road usage, automated efficient parking and pure bliss! It is estiWhile all the above may sound like typical rambling when trymated that if no driver broke any rules, the number of cars on ing to paint a future scenario, it highlights an the roads could double and yet you would get to your important detail. Technology being tested today will ensure that destination in about half the time. the cars in the future will drive themselves. What started off as tests and prototypes has now evolved into very serious BREAKING THE CONNECTION technology that works. In the last few months, this category has But like I said. It’s not all good. There are technical, legal and improved by leaps and bounds and the world’s top car-makers emotional issues that haven’t been solved. If a driverless car has an as well as technology forerunners like Mercedes, BMW, GM, accident, who is responsible – the car manufacturer or you? What Ford, Continental Automotive, VW, Audi, Google, Stanford and about insurance issues or a law being broken due to a car sensor dozens of serious contenders – are vying to become the first to malfunction? You’re going to feel very let down to be issued a unveil a driverless car. Most predict that the first of such cars ‘challan’ for something you didn’t do. Then there’s the emotional will be commercially available in less than five years. And while issue. Giving up control over your car is a huge decision. For many, it sounds like a dream come true, it’s not all good. the entire connect between you and the car comes from the driving itself. To give up on all of that – the sheer pleasure of HOW IT WORKS driving – is a big one. To those who say you can take over Let’s first understand how a driverless car will work. While manually whenever you like, you’re missing the point. The perfect each company has its own approach – the basic skeleton remains world of driverless cars can only work if ALL cars are driverless. the same. The car will be equipped with a smorgasbord of A mix of human-driven, semi-robotic and pure driverless cars would sensors, radars, lasers, cameras and detection units – all of make things much worse. It’s either all or nothing! which together will make sure that the car gets information Thus the important question is – driverless cars are coming; on everything around it. This will be relayed back to a central but do you want one? command unit within the car that will then give the other systems Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, reactive commands. For instance, keeping to a designated lane with Cell Guru and Newsnet 3. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com/RajivMakhni cameras, making the steering wheel automatically turn as the GPS
APRIL 15, 2012
MIND BODY SOUL
EAT RIGHT THIS SUMMER
S WE STEP slowly towards peak summer, itâ€™s time to think of how we can balance the summer heat by consuming food items which balance the body pitta (heat) and are cooling in nature. Summer is the season of high pitta. During this time, the heat outside and inside the body increases. Also your body faces a threat of dehydration in this season. To counter these problems, you must take care of your nutrition. Some food items which calm the agni of the body are: BARLEY: They are round grains which look white after husking. Barley cools the body post digestion. It can be consumed in different forms like barley water, barley grain salad, barley flour mixed with wheat flour for chapatis and barley grass juice mixed with aloe vera juice and
tomato. Barley is not only great for the intestine and liver but is also good for the kidneys. It helps relieve water retention and swelling experienced in summers, especially by women. Just drink a glass of barley and wheat grass juice in the morning to get rid of water retention. WATER: The best way to balance the bodyâ€™s water is by drinking more more of it. Our body is made up of two thirds water and whenever there is an imbalance in the body, you can treat it by letting the wisdom of the body prevail. In order to auto-balance the body, keep a water fast for a day. During a water fast you can consume nothing but water for an entire day. Of course, you can add a few drops of lemon juice to make it more palatable (but do not turn it into a shikanji by adding salt or sugar).
The natural sugar found is fruits is cooling as well as healthy it balances the pitta of the body. Sweet rasa is one of the chief rasas to balance the agni of the body. Fruits can be consumed as whole fruit, chaat or in the form of shakes. VEGETABLES: Bitter and astringent vegetables are very cooling for pitta of the body. You can consume
vegetables in the morning as a juice comprising beetroot, tomato, bottle gourd, mint, ginger and half an apple for flavouring. You can also make fresh salads like boiled potatoes, olives, gherkins, cherry tomatoes, chopped almonds, lettuce, rocket leaves, bell peppers, etc., all tossed together in a pot with a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. HERBS: Rose water, rose leaves, saunf, elaichi and khus are some useful spices for summers. This season, you must avoid high pitta foods such as fried foods, garam masala, sesame seeds, mustard oil, non-vegetarian foods and eggs.
SUMMER FRUITS: Consume as many summer fruits as possible. Fruits have natural sugar, which unlike refined sugar, is cooling and healthy for the body as
Jaaved Jaaferi if i could...
SUN SIGN Sagittarius
BIRTHDAY December 4
I WOULD CHANGE THE POLITICS OF THIS COUNTRY SAVE TREES!
Convert Westerners from wiping to washing
HIGH POINT OF YOUR LIFE
St Teresa High School, When I got married National College, Bandra and went for Haj. Also when my kids FIRST BREAK were born Meri Jung
If you had to make a comedy film, who would you cast? Jim Carrey and myself. One role of yours that you dislike? One of my old films, Zakhmi Rooh. On what occasion would you lie? When someone would ask me to lie (down). Which living person do you most despise? I don’t despise people, I
DEVELOP A GIZMO TO UNDERSTAND WHAT WOMEN ARE THINKING YOUR FAVOURITE CARTOON CHARACTER?
Johnny Bravo and Don Karnage from TaleSpin
APRIL 15, 2012
LOW POINT OF YOUR LIFE When I visited the Dead Sea
I recently funded and co-produced a documentary. I am also working on the post production of a film I produced and trying to get two massive television properties off the ground, but I can’t disclose much at this stage
Dancers you most despise mindsets. admire? What is your idea of perWHAT’S YOUR Fred Astaire, Gene fect happiness? FAVORITE Kelly and Mikhail Perfect ignorance. Baryshnikov. What is your greatest FLAVOUR OF The one time you fear? SAUCE? brought the house That people will down? know I do not write Quite a few times... my own answers Once and that someone literally with a log else does it for me. cabin in Kulu ManMovies, dance shows or ali. TV gigs, what do you enDescribe your personal joy most? style. Movies. Clothes don’t make Your ultimate travel desa man, character tination? does... Maldives,SwitzerA cause that’s dear land. to your heart? One film dialogue you Education for love? the underprivileged It’s from Pyaasa – and food for the impover“Mujhe kisi insaan se koi ished. shikayat nahi. Mujhe What are you addicted to? shikayat hai samaaj Movies and ‘Words with ke us dhaanche Friends’ (a game on my se jo insaan se phone). uski insaniyaat The one woman you want to kiss? cheen leta hai. Can’t really say that here. I am One thing you a happily married man ;-) can’t do withThe one thing you love doing with out? your kids? Nothing. Just being with them and The time spending time doing your act whatever they are happy with. backYour mantra for success? fired Give your 100 per cent. on Success is incidental, if it stage? comes. Enjoy the effort. Once If you could change one thing about in college. yourself, what would it be? The craziest My allergies (to certain rumour you’ve people). heard about A practical joke that went off nicely? yourself? I’m not much of a practical That I took two joker. Russian girls to my Your typical Sunday? hotel room at four in It’s mostly with family. the morning in — Interviewed by Mignonne Dsouza Delhi.
Hot & sweet tomato chili sauceLahsun, adrak and lal mirch ki chutney