WEEKLY MAGAZINE, JULY 15, 2012 Free with your copy of Hindustan Times
Rajdeep Sardesai on the Eighties
The society page is not where the real movers and shakers want to be spotted any longer. Blame it on wannabe celebs, money power and media overkill
The 50 Shades trilogy is a hit in India, too. Are we surprised?
Nostalgic about Chinese
SEEMA GOSWAMI The prat race
W AT C H O U T F O R
GROWING UP IN THE ’80S The Asian Games, colour TV, Doordarshan, India’s cricket World Cup victory, the Ramayan – the ’80s were eventful years. In part three of Total Recall, RAJDEEP SARDESAI revisits the decade that gave us Michael Jackson, Bappi Lahiri and much more. Care to join us?
inbox LETTER OF THE WEEK! Gunning for Gold
YOUR COVER story (Olympian Warriors, July 8) introduced me to some of the great Indian prospects in the upcoming London Olympics. It was good to see how they have risen to such heights despite facing so many hurdles on the way. Somehow I have a feeling that this will be the best Olympics for India to date. Surely history is in the making. Looking forward to a bright Indian display at the Olympics. — VAIBHAV JAIN, via email Vaibhav wins a Flipkart voucher worth `2,500. Congrats!
With hope riding on their shoulders YOUR COVER story (Olympian Warriors, July 8) was quite intriguing, as it brought about the ideologies and hopes of our small, young but still really strong national fight club for the London Olympics. Especially the women boxers who have finally got an opportunity to leave a golden mark on the history of Indian sports. I wish all the luck to these sportspersons so that they make our country proud again! — PRAGATI GUPTA, via email
The glorious nineties THE TOTAL Recall series in Brunch is a delight to read. Your choice of Prasoon Joshi to capture the essence of the Nineties decade was most apt. Who else but an adman and contemporary lyricist could have done justice to an era where consumerism was king? The Nineties marked a radical change in the lifestyle of Indians. — SUBHASHISH CHATTOPADHYAY, via email
The best letter gets a Flipkart voucher worth R2,500!! The shopping voucher will reach the winner within seven to 10 working days. In case of any delays, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
JULY 15, 2012
LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch Rishabh Suri Brunch is a great add-on for Sunday, with informative cover stories. The delicious Techilicious, the yummy Rude Food, Spectator giving views on interesting topics; in one word – it’s AWESOME! Apoorv Srivastava Every Sunday I want two things – 1 is my tea and 2nd is my Brunch magazine. Good going!
Gulshan Kumar Arora Brunch has rightly called wrestlers and boxers the warriors of the ring as they have shown their might and guts to the world.
TWEET YOUR HEART OUT twitter.com/HTBrunch
@CoffeeChori 10 years that changed us.. 2 decades too far – The 90’s. Super memories in @HTBrunch. Must read to go down the 90’s memory lane. :) @abhishek_lad @RajivMakhni @HTBrunch even after being an Apple Fanboy, your article made me think to opt for Nexus7 :) never seen you like this :D
BRUNCH ON THE WEB hindustantimes.com/brunch
Page 3 soirées
Is Page 3 really dead? What is Page 3, really? What went wrong? And when? Why? Hear the Brunch team talk about the Page 3 buzz. Log on now!
Write choice Indian cinema, deadpan humour, sheer impudence – our columnists could give anyone a run for their money. G Khamba, Gautam Chintamani, Rajneesh Kapoor and the Fake Jhujhunwala fight it out with their words. Log on for the fun!
Page 3 now looks worse than roadkill and doesn’t enjoy the cache it did earlier City Slickers
Whoever said you were too old to have a child? Now, it’s baby time, any time
Mommy porn is on a roll with women grabbing EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey
Actress Shazahn Padamsee would love to live on pizza
@rockingboyz31 @RajivMakhni @HTBrunch A good and telling article with to much MAKKHAN :D Now I’ll have bread with makkhan for sure :) Late ‘breakfast’. @Sevenest7 Just finished reading Prasoon Joshi’s article about the 90s in @HTBrunch. Brilliantly written!
14 RUDE FOOD Chinese cuisine is now dead, murdered by Sino-Ludhianvi
16 TECHILICIOUS Super hi-tech weighing scales garner mass appeal 17 SPECTATOR Be honest with your kids. They will thank you for it one day --
DOWNLOAD CENTRAL Heave a sigh of relief readers, the column will be back next week. So let the music play!
Cover Design: PRASHANT CHAUDHARY EDITORIAL: Poonam Saxena (Editor), Aasheesh Sharma, Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Rachel Lopez, Mignonne Dsouza, Veenu Singh, Parul Khanna Tewari, Yashica Dutt, Pranav Dixit, Amrah Ashraf, Saudamini Jain, Shreya Sethuraman, Manit Moorjani DESIGN: Ashutosh Sapru (National Editor, Design), Monica Gupta, Swati Chakrabarti, Rakesh Kumar, Ashish Singh, Shailendra Mirgal
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15 Ways To Make A Baby (And Why You’re Ready To Do So)
Whoever said you were too old to have a child? Now, it’s baby time, any time
by Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi
ILL AS recently as a couple of years ago, mothers-in-law asked uncomfortable questions, intrusive relatives cast aspersions and couples hung their heads in shame for not having kids in the first few years of marriage. Not any more. Easy availability of information online has played a big role in changing old mindsets, especially in urban India. Most young people are coming around to exploring newer, more successful ways to procreate. Even as most experts stand by the view that the best and the most fun way to make a baby is inside a bedroom, people are more aware of “other ways” to procreate. “Having a baby has always been a wonderful thing. And, thank God, people are now not just discovering but also making use of and talking about the ‘other ways’ rather comfortably,” says Mumbai-based infertility specialist, Dr Aniruddha Malpani. WHO IS A DONOR? s; ed to be graduate Sperm donors ne ted tes are ey Th . ars between 20-40 ye and sperm count. for sound health to be between 20ed ne rs no do g Eg ted for sound tes are ey Th . 40 years reserve count. an ari ov the d health an
Diary of a surrogate mother
It’s never easy to give up the child you have carried for nine months and given birth to. But I do this for a living – for myself and my two sons. My own two sons. I fell in love with a boy from my village and ran away from my home in Punjab. My family disowned me. But I didn’t care. My husband took up a job as an auto driver in Delhi, we had twin boys and we were happy till a bus accident left my husband paralysed from the waist down.
Option 1: Surrogacy Actor Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao’s baby boy was born via surrogacy
Experts assert that there is a definite growth in the number of people coming in for different treatments. “We may not have exact figures but the increase in the number of fertility clinics in urban India speaks volumes of the changing trends,” says Dr Malpani. From just about five fertility clinics a few years ago, Mumbai now has nearly 1,500.
I tried working as a domestic help for some time but the money wasn’t enough. Then my neighbour introduced me to a lady doctor in a big clinic. The doctor told me that I could get decent money if I could make babies for couples who didn’t have them. I was apprehensive, but she called my husband too and explained that I wouldn’t have to do much. Just take care of the baby as long as it’s in my womb. And they (the doctor, clinic and couple) would look after all my needs during the
JULY 15, 2012
Option 2: IVF Director-producer Farah Khan delivered triplets who were conceived through IVF
Smaller towns boast of a similarly proportional increase. “In the last four years, I have seen a steady rise of nearly 30 per cent every year as far as patients are concerned,” he adds.
IN THE KNOW OF THINGS
IVF (In vitro fertilisation) specialist Dr Anup Gupta credits technology, awareness and availability of informa-
pregnancy. Only, I would not have any rights over the child. If the ‘parents’ don’t agree, I won’t even get a look at him/her. I agreed. I had my husband and children to look after. And we needed the money. Things went as promised. All medical bills, all expenses, even my saris and sometimes, gifts for my children came from the couple. Then she was born. After 12 traumatic hours of labour, she came out. The doctor asked if I wanted to see her. I re-
tion for changing mindsets. Exposure and exchange of information through more than one medium – social networking sites, online communities, blogging, etc – bring in a higher degree of comfort in talking and understanding personal problems while maintaining anonymity. “With information at your fingertips, couples in urban India are now taking conscious decisions and finding solu-
fused. “What’s the point of seeing her if I’ll never be able to see her again?” I asked. It was my toughest moment. I had two more children after that. I’ve made a decent sum but don’t know how long can I carry on. I haven’t seen any of the children; I just call for my own sons after every delivery. After all it’s for them that I am doing this. Pratibha Mishra (name changed)
facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch WHO IS A SURR OGATE MOTHE R? Most of these are have already co housewives who mpleted their fa and volunteer to be surrogate milies s to give their own children a bette r life
best options in case they fail to conceive naturally,” says Dr Malpani.
LOOKING UP TO THE STARS
Option 3: Sperm Donation Vicky (Ayushmann Khurrana) plays a sperm donor in the film Vicky Donor tions to their personal problems without any pressure,” says Gupta. Delhi-based architect Anshul Vohra agrees. He learnt about the different ways of having a baby through research on the Net and signing up with an online community on surrogacy and sperm donation. “It was only after the initial research was done and my wife and I felt in control that we went to a specialist. My wife and I decided to have a baby through sperm donation. So only the treatment was left to the specialist. And thankfully we didn’t need to involve anyone we didn’t want to,” says Vohra.
For Vohra, his wife’s opinion was equally paramount. And that, say experts, is another prime reason for this great attitude shift. “Unlike in the past, when women rarely had a say LEGAL DIARY that a , it’s essential For surrogacy that the so d, ne sig be contract at the nt is assured th intended pare the baby to er ov nd ha ll surrogate wi her birth them after his/
in matters of reproduction, more women are now taking it upon themselves to speak up on issues that have plagued them for eternity,” says Gayatri Dua, a sociologist at Delhi University. “It is one of those things that are very personal to women in general. Earlier, everyone had a say in her life. Now, she is making sure that it is only her. So she decides when to marry, when to have a child and how exactly. The only other person involved is perhaps the husband or partner,” says Dua. And with women increasingly choosing to marry late, there is a definite growth in reasons that fuel sperm or egg donation and surrogacy. “It is a medically proven fact that the best child-bearing ages for both men and women are in their late 20s and early 30s. With age, the ovulation process starts to slow down. For many couples who get married in their later years, the other ways to make a baby are the
Like with most celebrity endorsements, this trend too owes some of its popularity to filmstars. Thanks to actor Aamir Khan and wife Kiran Rao celebrating the birth of their son Azaad who was born via surrogacy or director Farah Khan happily trotting around with her IVF-acquired triplets at the age of 40, things are indeed changing. “It makes a big difference when people you look up to endorse something. It gives you a lot of confidence,” says Meenakshi Raina, a university lecturer. Raina was 38 when she decided to go in for IVF treatments motivated by Khan who had children at 40. “My husband and I figured late that we wanted to have babies,” Raina explains. “I was already 38 and failed attempts at natural conception made me realise that my biological clock had ticked away. After a point, I gave up trying. Then I read about filmmaker Farah Khan being pregnant with triplets. She was 40. I waited with bated breath till she delivered. And then it just clicked. If she could, why couldn’t I?” Raina decided to go through the IVF cycle and conceived twins on her third attempt. Today they are four years old – happy and healthy. The couple is overjoyed. “Whoever says you can’t have babies late,” she chuckles!
From just around five fertility clinics, a city like Mumbai now has nearly 1500 clinics
VICKY MADE A DIFFERENCE! From showcasing a society that cringed at words like infertile or even adoption for the longest time, the movie Vicky Donor became a trendsetter, talking about issues that were strictly bedroom topics – impotence, infertility and sperm donation. “It was a big risk to talk about sperm donation and base a film on that. But attitudes are changing. People are far more aware and open now. The fact that the film was so well appreciated speaks volumes of the change in society,” says Shoojit Sircar, director of Vicky Donor. Ayushmann Khurrana, who played Vicky in the film, says, “It made sure that everybody understands that not being able to have a child isn’t a crime and neither is using ‘other ways’ to have one.”
But it isn’t always as easy or comfortable for every couple. There are too many emotional strings attached, says Mumbai-based psychologist Dr Swapnil Mukherjee. “The very fact that a couple can’t conceive naturally is very stressful. Add to it situations such as taking a donor’s sperm or egg or both or depending entirely on a stranger to carry your baby through the nine months (in the case of surrogacy) – it can be an absolute nightmare,” says Mukherjee.
WAYS TO MAKE A BABY
1. ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION of mother with father’s sperm 2. ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION of mother with donor sperm 3. ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION with egg and sperm donors, using a surrogate mother 4. IN VITRO FERTILISATION (IVF) using egg and sperm of parents 5. IVF with Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection 6. IVF with frozen embryos 7. IVF with egg donor 8. IVF with sperm donor 9. IVF with egg and sperm donor 10. IVF with surrogate using parents’ egg and sperm 11. IVF with surrogate and egg donor 12. IVF with surrogate and sperm donor 13. IVF with surrogate using her egg, sperm from baby’s father 14. IVF with surrogate using egg and sperm donors 15. NATURALLY Make love information courtesy: www.drmalpani.com/makeababy.htm
ED? COSTS INCURR APPROXIMATE n is io at in m se in e in IUI or intrauter er low a s ha t ; bu less expensive R20,000 It costs about success rate. . sts per cycle fertilisation co IVF or In vitro . cle cy r pe 0 about R1,00,00 a e extra. This is Medications ar le cost , not a per yc per-treatment-c baby cost
Experts believe in the necessity of counselling for the couple and the family in such situations. “It is only after long counselling sessions and a thorough study of the mental makeup of all concerned that we advise further medical course of action,” says Dr Malpani. Many couples do have apprehensions, especially in case of the involvement of a sperm or egg donor, say psychologists. “We have many cases when in spite of the keenness of one partner, the other is unable to accept the fact that he or she will not be the biological parent. This generates a lot of insecurity in the partner who is keen on the procedure,” adds Malpani. The emotional turmoil often unnerves many couples. But then, with adoption laws becoming stringent, for most couples in a “stable relationship”, these are good options. firstname.lastname@example.org
“When you become a parent, you stop being the picture and become the frame” – Anonymous JULY 15, 2012
C OV E R STO RY
We mourn your loss. The really happening people and their parties have long gone. Today, we have to make do with PR-fuelled dos by Yashica Dutt
ACK IN the late 2000s, when I started out as a reporter, I loved the idea of Page 3. I thought I’d get to meet rich, stylish people, talk about their intensely exciting lifestyles and be a fly-onthe-wall as pulsating gossip was created right in front of me. But I was wrong. Page 3 had died at least half a decade before that. I
Sunday 15 July 2012
ut it wasn’t always so. In fact, B when it started in the late ’90s, the third page was the place to be
Photos: ATUL CHOWDHARY
Madhu Sapre greeted Suneet Varma post her illness and gave an epic shot
Everyone looked for the photographers. The truth was that Page 3’s golden days had long been over. Those who had once lived and died to party didn’t want to be seen doing that any more. Now everything was Page 3 material: birthday parties, mundan ceremonies, dog funerals. The real Page 3 was gone.
Ghost of Page 3 present
GHOST OF PAGE 3 PAST seen. A photograph there meant you had arrived on the social scene. Vinod Nair, group fashion editor, Hindustan Times and one of the first journalists to work on the beat, says, “It was supposed to portray the sunny side of life and give readers something aspirational in the morning.” So what if you couldn’t party like them, you BE KIND, could at least see REWIND: How what it looked like. the pictures ‘Them’ meant looked a decade celebrities like ago, with famous names appearing “Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi with regularly Robert Vadra in tow. May 7 was clearly marked as Gudda’s (Rohit Bal) birthday and was an annual feature for the page,” says Jaydeep Ghosh, journalist and founder of fashion scandal.com, part of Nair’s batch. Page 3 emerged at the end of the ’90s, when the fruits of liberalisation were just getting ripe. Indians were coming out of
realised this soon after countless encounters with Page 3 people: All of them wanted to land a role in a Bollywood movie. Middle-aged women with faux blonde hair insisted on squashing rolls of saggy shoulder fat into tight animal print dresses. Rich men with zero conversation skills clutched their whiskies and looked for girls.
s the private parties moved to A clubs and then disappeared entirely from the media glare (unless
Raghavendra Rathore and Malini Ramani were regulars at parties their phase of austerity and subtly beginning to enjoy their wealth. That was the sentiment that city supplements captured, much like the film magazines that captured the lives of movie stars. Or, as author and scriptwriter of Kahaani, Advaita Kala, points out, “It allowed us a glimpse into the glamourous lives of people who had famous day jobs. We wanted to see how they partied, what they wore, ate and drank. It was really the beginning of voyeurism.” And of a new social order, where being seen on the circuit was a good thing. Often, this kind of visibility advanced careers. “All these fashion designers and industrialists who are big celebrities today are so because they were on Page 3 once,” adds Nair, referring to people who shun press cameras today. JULY 15, 2012
there was something – a brand, a restaurant, a clothing line, a movie, a new store – to peddle), so did the party people. They were replaced by a new crop of desperate, do-anythingfor-a-photo-op wannabes who had realised what Page 3 was worth. “You open the page and see how many people you recognise. Everyone is a designer these days. Random people are featured, who don’t deserve any attention,” says a society journalist. And if earlier, style was the divine guidance, now that too has been thrown out with the bath water.
Runny, over-done makeup, tight-fitting clothes that are 10 years too old, Russian and Uzbek BUZZKILL: girls who don’t have Pages today second names are feature all sorts the cache of Page 3 of people, most today. According to former party girl and of whom you wouldn’t be able now jewellry designto recognise er Queenie Singh, people featured these days “have no sense of style and shouldn’t be looked at.” Page 3 has, if you like, become ‘democratised.’ Like restaurateur Shiv Karan Singh says, “Whenever I host a party, I invite different types of people, including our high-spending clients. And who decides if someone deserves to be on Page 3 or not? Everyone likes their picture being taken.” That negates the ‘niche club’ idea that Page 3 was initially based on.
From left: Sahib, Kanika, Dinesh, Sanchit (PR release for a hotel’s Valentine’s Day party, sent to us minus the last names)
Earlier Page 3 people were successful achievers, icons in some way. That’s not so now – QUEENIE SINGH, SOCIALITE
twitter.com/HTBrunch Sunday 15 July 2012
Money Talks, Loudly
ard to believe now, but there were days when Page 3 dictated the readership of a newspaper. Till certain publications (not this one, we hasten to add!) introduced a policy where you could buy a few columns of space on Page 3 and so let the whole world see your wife’s birthday party, friend’s wedding anniversary, son’s graduation dinner... Just like your own Facebook page, only more expensive. Once money entered the picture, everything turned rancid. Would the real A-listers want to be featured on that kind of page? No, says a socialite who didn’t wish to be named. “If you do accidentally get featured one day, then you become the laughing stock of all your peers. You don’t want to look like your life is so sad that you need to pay people to showcase it.” But there are plenty of people out there who are still keen to become Page 3 celebrities. The best
Appearing on Page 3 today is not as happening as it used to be
–TANISHA MOHAN, SOCIALITE
(From left) The page 3 darlings of today: Atul Wassan, Nida Mahmood, Sylvie, Meenakshi Dutt, Liza Varma way to do so is to organise a Page 3 party of your own (look at box, right). It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anyone. “You can hire a PR agency, which will get someone who does ‘guest relations’ like Ramola Bachchan or Thenny Mejia on board as co-hosts. These people will charge you around `10,000-20,000 per guest to fill your party with regulars,” says a Page 3 photographer on condition of anonymity. When we asked Ramola about her ‘guest relations’ work, she agreed that she “lends her expertise. It’s like any other professional service. You go to a lawyer to solve a case, you come to me to arrange a party,” she says. But when we asked about the charges for calling guests, she just repeated, “I don’t know anything about that,” several times on the phone.
WHO KILLED PAGE 3?
ike any trend that loses its charm once it goes mainstream, Page 3 too became infra dig once the exclusivity went. Puneet Nanda, managing director at apparel and fashion firm Genesis Colors Pvt Ltd, says, “Earlier there was an ego in being visible on Page 3, now there is an ego in not being visible. It’s like reverse snobbery.” Once ‘socialite’ became a dirty word and it became necessary for everyone to find a day job that wasn’t partying, Page 3 started gathering negative connotations. And after director Madhur Bhandarkar’s
clichéd representation of society in his movie, Page 3, things became worse. “Being on Page 3 is not seen in the right light these days, so most people just prefer staying at home,” says Gunjita Dhawan, former socialite and current owner of a PR firm. With the arrival of many partycentric blogs like Miss Malini and HighHeelConfidential, and magazines like Hello, OK!, People and Hi!Blitz, Page 3 doesn’t have the same equity it did earlier and the fact that you can buy it (in some publications) doesn’t help either. “The influence of Page 3
HOW TO ORGANISE A PAGE 3 PARTY
has decreased a lot over the past few years. It’s no longer the only place where you can mark your influence on the social scene. A bit like the Miss India pageant losing its title as being the only entry point in Bollywood for girls. Now it’s not so important since there are so many other ways to do that,” says author Ira Trivedi. However, any mention of Page 3
Being on Page 3 is not seen in the right light these days, so most people prefer staying at home
– GUNJITA DHAWAN, FORMER SOCIALITE AND
CURRENT OWNER OF A PR AGENCY JULY 15, 2012
parties of the past does come attached with the folklore of the glitzy, amazing booze-headedness of the bashes that made them so awesome and attendance worthy. “There were fantastic parties like ones hosted by Manish Modi, that started at 10-11 pm at his Amrita Sher-Gil Marg residence and ended with breakfast in the morning. Or the costume parties that Gautam Punj threw, for which everyone wanted to secure an invite. Even the crazy ones thrown by designers Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna were famous. Most of them don’t happen anymore, either because people have left town or simply grown up,” recalls Vinod Nair.
C OV E R STO RY
Sunday 15 July 2012
s Page 3 changed within a decade, so did the attitude of party hosts and partygoers to the press, which has gone from friendliness to suspicion. That’s also because back then, there were only a few magazines, newspapers and TV channels. Today there are literally hundreds, and they are far more aggressive. Once upon a time, no one, be it an A-list designer or an industrialist from Delhi’s Prithviraj Road, would think twice about inviting the press, even for allegedly ‘private occasions’. But today, the really private A-list parties are out of bounds for the press. Only when the concerned people want publicity for a new project or any other specific reason do they invite the press. “The atmosphere has changed a lot; now there is a general mistrust of the media,” says author Ira Trivedi. “All these raids on parties and misrepresented pictures only add to that. No one wants to get involved with the media and they treat the media with a lot of caution.” Bollywood is especially cautious. Today, photographers covering private Bollywood parties are expected to stand on the road and take pictures of guests arriving. “In Hollywood there is a red carpet, but here we have a road carpet! Earlier, we would be like any other guest, not any longer,” rues Prodip Guha, a freelance photographer.
When it began, Page 3 chronicled people of substance, so there was value in being seen there. Now that’s not so.
- AD SINGH, RESTAURATEUR
SIMPLE STEPS TO BECOME A PAGE 3 CELEBRITY (that is, if you still want to be one)
HOW TO WRITE A PAGE 3 REPORT IN 30 SECONDS ________ is in the air (Winter/Summer/Spring/Autumn) again and that means the _______ites (Delhi/Mumbai/ Bangalore) are ready to party again. And so fun, frolic and pizzazz ruled at _________’s (host) ________ (birthday/anniversary/restaurant launch/club launch/mundan ceremony/marriage reception/fashion show) bash recently. While the guests chatted and bonded over lipsmacking/delicious/mouth-watering/ scrumptious/yummy food and drinks, the revelry/rendezvous/ soirée/get-together/shindig also saw ____________ (the Page 3 regulars) having a gala/whale of a/ball of a/ marvellous/splendid time. Captions: Lady in Red/Blue/Black/Yellow/Indigo; Three Cheers; Centre of Attraction; All Smiles; Happy High; Glitterati Galore; Party Nation; Click Time
WHAT DO THESE
You’ve seen them all over Page 3, but do you know what they do for a living?
AAMIR ZAKIR, Makeup artist
BHARTI BHALLA, Designer
VANDANA VADHERA, Emcee/RJ/Musician
PREETI GHAI, Designer
NASIR ABDULLAH, Actor/Model
SALOLI (NOT SALONI), Self-Employed
The age of celebrity
ll the 25 people that I spoke to for the purpose of this story said one thing clearly. Everyone wants to be famous. Everyone wants to be photographed. And if countless albums on Facebook of people partying aren’t enough proof, then there are sites like p3p.com and mypurplemartini which are marketing the inherent need of ordinary people to be seen partying and becoming Page 3 stars. Utkarsh Bansal of p3p.com, which began as an event management company, says, “On our site everyone can feel special, without having to pay like they have to in some newspapers. All they have to do is attend the parties we throw and they might get their pictures on our Facebook group, which has more than 4,000 members,” he says. And if the i-celebrities aren’t enough, then there are the semi celebrities, who also make up a large share of Page 3 parties. “There are new celebrities being created every day, whether it is reality TV stars, radio stars, bloggers,
1 Carry a Birkin/YSL Muse in a different colour each time you gatecrash a party. Say “From Harrrods” in an exaggerated drawl every time someone asks. No one will think you JULY 15, 2012
“There are new celebrities being created every day, be it reality TV stars, radio stars, bloggers, there is always someone new getting famous” -ADVAITA KALA, WRITER
there is always someone new getting famous,” Advaita Kala tells us. It does seem like an old phenomenon is at work again: The new rich, who, just like the ones at the end of the last decade, want to show their wealth off to the world. They might have acquired the money but not the class that could put them on Page 3 without having to pay. “Prosperity has changed and so have the people who make the most money. Earlier they were the south Delhi, south Bombay, Juhu people who were the established class. Now it has shifted to those living in west Delhi, who also want to celebrate their wealth, while the snooty south Bombay types wonder why every halwai’s daughter’s birthday party is featured in the pages. It’s because the halwai has more money than you,” says Hindustan Times advisory editorial director, Vir Sanghvi.
bought them from Bangkok.
2 Go with a girl who does that.
3 Kiss everyone you know, or don’t. But turn their face away from the cameras, so only
you’re seen in the picture. 4 Stand next to the group where all men are obviously gay. Cues: Freakishly blond hair, overly done eyes or a waxed, made-up face.
So, what now? hile Page 3 looks worse than W roadkill, with parties splattered all over, this is as close to
death as the page can get. Though some journalists feel that as long as there are celebrations, or as long as there are occasions when people will need publicity for their products or their work (till the end of time, that!), Page 3 will continue. Others believe that the real Page 3 has degenerated. It has now become the home ground for those hungry for their 15 seconds of fame. But once they do get famous, will they too distance themselves from Page 3? email@example.com
5 Be an expat. 6 Be a designer. Even if all you create is crafty gossip about that rich socialite who’s photographed all the time. 7 Just buy the damn thing.
Fifty Shades Of Naughty
Why a book brimming with kinky sex is finding a loyal fan base in India
ICH, GORGEOUS man pursues ordinary college girl, has rough sex with her, and then some more. He gives her cars, flies her around in his chopper, ties her up, whips her, applies balm to her sore skin, makes sure she doesn’t waste food on her plate – in short, takes over her body and her life. This is the basic plot of the Fifty Shades trilogy, the worldwide bestseller by British writer EL James, which began as fan fiction of
WHAT IS BDSM? Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism: Sex that includes consensual restraint, fantasy power role play, light bondage, hot wax and blindfolds. The doers are called dominants and the recipients, submissives. Photo: THINKSTOCK
the Twilight vampire series. Rumour has it that Fifty Shades was James’ revenge for Edward and Bella not having enough sex in Twilight.
BIG IN INDIA
The book has become a global bestseller. And Indians aren’t immune to the trilogy either. Caroline Newbury of Random House India (which is distributing the book here) claims that 1,00,000 books have already been sold in just two months and “we are going for a reprint”. Online shopping portal Flipkart reports that the book is doing exceptionally well. “We’ve had 5,000 orders in the last 90 days which is remarkable for a debut author,” says Ankit Nagori, vice president of retail at Flipkart. Om Book Shop in Noida says it is the “most picked up book”. Clearly Indian readers aren’t squeamish about the liberal doses of sexy sex. “No!” exclaims 28-year-old freelance writer Khushboo. “It’s hardly something we don’t know about.”
WHO IS SHE? on both sides.” But Priya Kapoor, director at Roli Books, says that her friends find the book exciting. “EL James didn’t intend sending the book for the Pulitzer. So what’s the hoopla all about?” Adds author Jaishree Misra, “The writing is accessible and that gets readers.”
WHY THE CRAZE?
Every bestseller baffles publishers. Fifty Shades is no different. But a post-mortem provides some clues: Erotica in the mainstream: Not many writers in mainstream fiction have explored erotica and BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism). ‘Mainstreaming’ the theme was a clever ploy by the publishers, Vintage Books. “Fifty Shades had its proper book releases, got reviews in mainstream newspapers. Built to be a brand, it managed to titillate people’s curiosity,” says Hachette India managing editor Poulomi Chatterjee. The big escape: Women are wearing eight-inch heels? Blame it on the economic crisis. People are having bad sex lives? Blame it on the economy. Everything in the world is a result of our economic crisis. So why not the success of Fifty Shades? Misra says that the book lifted a general mood of despondency (the result of the world-
‘It’s dismaying that today’s women find an arrogant, dominating male character irresistible’
Critics and discerning readers are aghast at James’s success: The writing is so ordinary. The story is so meh. And so on. Littered with phrases like “I have never felt this way about anyone” and “my hormones are racing,” the trilogy is going through a ‘Chetan Bhagat’ moment with critics dissing its pedestrian writing. Author Shinie Antony says royalties are all that’s hot about Fifty Shades of Grey. “Christian Grey [the protagonist] is fifty shades fu***d up. By harping on his boomerang libido and Ana’s food and baths, after a point, the book reads like one page with PTO written
EL James is the author of the current international bestselling Fifty Shades Of Grey trilogy, which has sold 20 million copies (and counting) globally. Ms James is now (naturally) a millionaire.
wide recession). “I think it was a cheap way of getting some thrills. The book doesn’t cost much. It is exciting. After a long day at a lowpaying job [or no job], this book provided the great escape.” Fuelling controversy: Anything that has the potential to become a drawing room conversation has it made. Fifty Shades kicked off a worldwide debate about gender roles, romance, bestsellers and porn. Its popularity with women of a certain age has got critics to call it ‘mommy porn’. But the book has younger female readers too. And many fans feel that the book is a celebration of women’s sexual desires. Feeding stereotypes: The hero is classic Mills & Boon. He is a jet-setting billionaire, has a dark past and is ruthless and tender in turn. Says columnist Sanjay Sipahimalani: “Byronic heroes – moody, magnetic, mysterious – have been around since Victorian times. However, it’s dismaying that today’s women seem to find an arrogant and dominating male character irresistible.” The gender roles are clichéd too. “I wonder if the book would have worked, had the roles been reversed,” says author Advaita Kala. Of course not. firstname.lastname@example.org
“You. Are. Mine. Come to me baby” – Christain Grey, Fifty Shades Of Grey JULY 15, 2012
by Parul Khanna Tewari
WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CHINESE? The Chinese food I miss was the kind you got in the restaurants of Bombay and Delhi in the Sixties and Seventies, long before anyone in India had heard of Sichuan
Taj famously opened the House of Ming in Delhi and told north Indians that Chinese food could be teekha
HESE DAYS we all know the difference between real Chinese food and SinoLudhianvi. Real Chinese food is usually cooked by real Chinese people who try and recreate the restaurant experience of Hong Kong or Singapore. Sino-Ludhianvi food is usually cooked by Nepali or Pahadi chefs who slave away in restaurants that are usually owned by Punjabis who have told them what to cook and how. Real Chinese food is like Indian food – it is divided by regions. Just as a Tam Brahm has little use for gurda kapura, so a big strapping Sikh is not over-enamoured of curd rice. It is the same with Chinese food. Given that China is bigger than India and contains even more people, the range of cuisines is vast and diverse. The Muslim minority in the north of China likes its cumin, the people of Chengdu like their Sichuan peppercorns, the people of Hunan love chillies and so on. Sino-Ludhianvi food recognises no region. As far as the average Sino-Ludhianvi restaurateur is concerned, there is a place called China somewhere to the East where a billion and a half people sit down and eat hakka noodles and Chicken Manchurian every night. As for variations in the cuisine, that consists of the waiter asking you “how much chilli you want in chicken?” As the distinctions between Sino-Ludhianvi and the real thing have become clearer, the options have got even fancier. Now, we won’t just go to a ‘real’ Chinese restaurant. We’ll want to know
JULY 15, 2012
EAT WHAT YOU WANT
In the Sixties and the Seventies, as far as I can recall, there was no pressure to order both rice and noodles as there is these days what kind of Chinese food it serves. Is it a dim sum place like Bombay’s Yauatcha? Does it serve the sort of authentic Hunan cuisine you get at Delhi’s The Chinese? Does the chef cook his Peking Duck on a wood fire the way they do at China Kitchen in Delhi or China House in Bombay? Do they make a Cheung Fan that is as delicate as the version at Delhi’s Royal China? And so on. This is great but I have to admit that I do sometimes long for the days before we realised what real Chinese food was like or worked out that there were chillies and spices in Sichuan cooking. These days, because most of us know the difference, we make a deliberate decision to eat one or the other, either real or Sino-Ludhianvi. But there was a time when Chinese food in India had nothing to do with Sino-Ludhianvi. Yes, it was inauthentic. But it wasn’t a branch of Punjabi cuisine either. Till the early 1980s, Sino-Ludhianvi cuisine did not really exist. It was invented after the Taj famously opened the House of Ming in Delhi and told north Indians that Chinese food could be teekha. Once that message had sunk in, every thelawallah worked out that if you mixed ketchup and chilli sauce, you could create your own kind of Chinese menu. The Chinese food I miss was the kind you got in the restaurants of Bombay and Delhi in the Sixties and Seventies, long before anyone in India had heard of Sichuan. I still remember the restaurants of that era. In Bombay we had Fredricks, Nanking, Kamling, Mandarin, the Chinese Room at Kemp’s Corner and Gazebo Oriental in Bandra. The Bombay restaurants usually had Chinese owners (not Gazebo or Chinese Room though – or so I think) and all of them had Chinese chefs.
In Delhi, the restaurants tended to be Punjabi-owned but the kitchens were always Chinese-led: the Mandarin Room at the Janpath Hotel, Fujiya, Chungwa etc. Most of these places were not overly expensive, so middleclass families could go in and order large meals without worrying too much about the bill. I have done no research into what other people ate but my guess is that my family’s order was pretty typical: Sweet Corn Soup with Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, Garlic Prawns, Lemon Chicken and Egg Fried Rice. Dessert was usually ice cream with canned lychees. And if we felt like a starter, it tended to be Spring Rolls. If we drank liquor, it was always beer. As far as I can recall, there was no pressure to order both rice and noodles as there is these days. But we did order dishes that seem quaint now. American Chop Suey (it came with a fried egg on top) and many kinds of chow mein. There were hardly any bright red sauces. The one spicy dish used to be Chilli Chicken. (The moment you ordered it, the waiter snapped: “You want boneless?” The correct answer was always “Yes”). No Indian masalas were allowed into the kitchen. There was no tradition of garnishing everything with coriander leaves. If you wanted your food spicy, then they gave you a small bottle of so-called Chinese chilli sauce, made in Calcutta with a suitably Chinese-type name like Yung Chung Pung Sauce (okay, I’m making this up but they really did all have names like that). The great Sanghvi family tradition used to consist of staring intently at a bowl of Sweet Corn Soup and then destroying its golden complexion by adding soya sauce (which darkened it), Yung Chung Pung chilli sauce (which gave it a reddish hue) and then, like cherries carelessly strewn on top of a dessert, a few slices of chopped vinegared green chillies as a garnish. Was any of this genuine Chinese food? Probably not. Years and years later, when I started writing about food I read up on the origins of Chinese cuisine in the West. It turned out that – till the Seventies, at least – the menu of nearly every Chinese restaurant in the English-speaking world had originated in America, not China. At the turn of the century, Chinese workers who had been taken to the US to work on the railways, opened small cheap restaurants in American cities. As Americans did not like spicy flavours, the early Chinese restaurants stuck to a menu of inexpensive, starchy foods with a low meat content. Many dishes were invented in America (such as Chop Suey and later Mooshoo Pork) but were based on Cantonese cooking, among the mildest of China’s many cuisines. The Chinese who ran the Bombay and Delhi restaurants of my childhood and teenage years, had been in India for so long that most of the cooks had never been further east than Chowringhee. They knew that Indians would not like the food that they ate themselves at home, so they served an Americanstyle menu with a few local variations. Sweet Corn Soup has never been as popular anywhere in the world as it is in India. And Chilli Chicken was a bow to local tastes. But most things were of an inauthentic global standard. Then, in the Seventies, the party ended. The Taj introduced Sichuan food to India and horrified the local Chinese who had forgotten where Sichuan was and had certainly never eaten this kind of food before. To see it in context, think of an expatriate Sikh community which has lived away from India for three generations and is then suddenly confronted with dosas, appams and spicy Kerala fish curries. As far
as the sardarjis are concerned, this is certainly not the Indian cuisine they know. It might as well be Thai or Malaysian. Local Chinese restaurateurs tried hard to cope with the new unfamiliar teekha flavours. Nelson Wang invented Chicken Manchurian. (As he later admitted to me on a TV show: “If Chairman Mao had tried the dish, he would have had me executed!”) Others tried to do their own kind of Sichuan food by putting Indian masalas into thick red sauces and abandoning their old restaurant dishes. Once this happened, the game was up. Canny Indian restaurateurs worked out that our local Chinese knew as little about this cuisine as they did. So, out went the Chinese cooks. Out went the old American Chop Suey-type menus. In their place came the bogus dishes that characterise Sino-Ludhianvi. These could be cooked by anyone: a Nepali just off the bus, a thelawallah at Nariman Point, a chaatwallah in Lajpat Nagar or a mundu in a dhaba. Chinese food became Sino-Ludhianvi or just another kind of Indian restaurant cuisine, available at bhelpuri-wallahs, dosa-restaurants and, incredibly enough, at Moti Mahal! For a long time I clung to the belief that you could still get the old Chinese menus of my childhood at today’s restaurants. But that was a false hope. At most places you either get red-sauce Chinese or you get some Chinese restaurateur who has flown to Singapore or Hong Kong, checked out the food and upgraded his old Sweet and Sour Pork-Chop Suey menu to something more authentic. Even Nelson Wang now serves real Chinese food at his restaurants. So yes, I’m delighted by the Peking Duck at China Kitchen, the Cheung Fan at the Delhi Royal China and the expert stir-frying at Hakkasan. But sometimes – just sometimes – I feel a pang of regret at the passing of the simple but wonderful Chinese food of the restaurants of my childhood. That cuisine is now dead, murdered by Sino-Ludhianvi. Long may my garlic prawns rest in pieces.
Sweet Corn Soup (above) has never been as popular anywhere in the world as it is in India. And Chilli Chicken (top) was a bow to local tastes
JULY 15, 2012
WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
Today, we want to know what kind of Chinese food a place serves. Is it a dim sum place like Bombay’s Yauatcha (above)? Do they make a Cheung Fan that is as delicate as the version at Delhi’s Royal China (top)? And so on
SPICED IT UP
Nelson Wang invented Chicken Manchurian
DOMESTICATING THE BEAST Can the humble weighing scale ever be stateof-the-art technology? Yes, it can!
WEIGHING MACHINE. Not exactly the kind of device that is usually counted in the list of techie things to own, right? Wrong! The ever-moving beast of technology that consumes all in its path has road rolled over this usually neglected dust-gathering slab too – and morphed it into a machine that has more technology and features built into it than a full-blown computer. Sceptical? I was too, till my quest to change this ‘domestic’applianceinmyhouseledmeonanincredible and very fruitful quest. For a person who likes to think of himself as someone who only works with state-of the-art technology, this was an eye-opener. How did I get a new weighing machine that beat the pants off most of the other technology in my house? This is the true story of domesticating the beast.
MY NEVER-ENDING QUEST
With its chrome-encased backlight display, the Aria WiFi weighing machine is beautiful to look at
The Withings WiFi scale can share your data with 40 services
I’m on a very frustrating and mostly unsuccessful adventure on automating every part of my house (that dukh bhari dastan will follow as soon as I’m done). My goal is to have everything in my house talk to each other (other than the people who live there, which is the current status due to the chaos created by my never-ending automation project). Lights, AV equipment, air conditioning, security system, fire alarms and appliances must all sync with each other, report statuses and be controllable without any human intervention. It’s a little foolhardy and really tough to achieve – but what’s the fun if it’s easy (that’s what I try and convince myself about everyday)? Among my list of things to do was buying a weighing machine – not very exciting and thus the perfect candidate for some serious procrastination. Till it became impossible to delay it further.
A WEIGHTY MATTER
SLIM AND SEXY
A few years ago, in a misguided attempt to have a ‘techie’ weighing machine, I had bought a very odd contraption. You stood on it perfectly still, bent down, picked up this strange looking handlebar thingie that was attached to a cord and looked like a videogame controller, stood straight up again and attempted to be totally still while holding the bar like a motorcycle handle. It felt foolish, looked even more so, was super clunky and frankly impossible to do everyday. It gave your weight, BMI, body fat reading and some other stuff. Besides feeling like a fool holding the odd posture, it was also inconvenient as you had to write down the readings everyday to truly get some use out of all the stats it threw up. I wanted a machine that could distinguish between different users, give me all the necessary readings, connect to a WiFi network and upload all the JULY 15, 2012
information to a central area, which could then be used by the different programs and apps that I use to track my fitness. And it should do all of this automatically and with zero effort or intervention from my side. Yes, that’s a lot to ask for and yes, they do say that you should be careful what you wish for – sometimes, it does come true!
ARIA VS WITHINGS
I came across not one, but two machines (it seems like there are more people on foolhardy missions, not just me, thus the demand) that can do almost everything I wanted and a little bit more. First – the Fitbit Aria. This comes from a company that has made a huge name for itself in the fitness world. It came out with the Fitbit (I reviewed it in an earlier column), a small little thing that you clip anywhere on you and it tells you exactly how active you’ve been. Fitbit added to their portfolio with the Aria WiFi weighing machine. It’s beautiful to look at (white or black lacquered glass) with a round, chrome-encased backlight display, no physical buttons and a very high tech dimpled back. It connects to your WiFi network, identifies you and other users automatically, uploads all your stats instantly to your Fitbit account in the cloud and can also send it to about 12 other apps and websites (including Facebook and Twitter, if you’ve got the guts to share it). Then there’s the Withings WiFi scale that does most of this. It is also very nice-looking, has a bigger display and has more apps and services (40 the last time I counted) it can share your data with. Both send a small little electrical current through your body (totally harmless) to give you fairly accurate numbers and both have iOS and Android apps so that you can track your progress on your phone or Tablet. I went with the Aria as the setup requires no USB cable (the Withing needs it for the initial setup) and also because I find the Fitbit site much better in analytics and charts (the geek in me is a sucker for charts and graphs).
To those of you who think a weighing machine that is this hightech and costs over 6,000 bucks is overkill, well, thanks for pointing it out – I hate you for making me feel even worse about my never-ending quest for tech nirvana. But jokes aside, the very idea of perfect fitness and true good health is daily monitoring and making sure that you don’t let go of your targets. These rocket science weighing machines go a long way in achieving that almost impossible goal without making it a tedious daily task. For the rest, all you need to do is get singularly obsessed with supreme and radical automation in your home – and then, a weighing machine being overkill will be the least of your problems! Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, CellGuru and Newsnet 3.Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com /RajivMakhni
THE PRAT PACK
NOT A SONG AND DANCE
Among contestants, there are putative singers who can’t hold a tune to save their lives and dancers who seem to have been born with two left feet
AVE YOU been watching some of the Seema auditions for the so-called reality Goswami shows on Indian TV? You know the ones I mean: which promise to find the best singer in the country; the leading dancing star; or even the most talented performer across LITTLE STARS! REALLY? genres. The only people who can make children believe in Well, if you have, then you will have been just their non-existent talent are their doting parents as bemused to see some of the so-called contestants perform on these shows. There are putative that the sun, as it were, shines out of their persingers who can’t hold a tune to save their lives fect posteriors? and give the term tone-deaf an entirely new dimenThe one place that these children could have sion. There are modelling hopefuls who are short the stuffing knocked out of them is at school. But and stout and could do with a spot of dental and even there, the reigning philosophy seems to be dermatological work. There are actors who can’t to encourage children rather than bring them to act; dancers who seem to have been born with terms with a realistic appraisal of their abilities. two left feet. I could go on, if it didn’t mean that I Now, it’s all about not grading the little mites, so would rapidly lose the will to live. as to not destroy their self-esteem. It’s all about I don’t know about you, but every time I watch not keeping score in games so that nobody feels some of these abominations which make a mocklike a loser. So, medals all around for merely turnery of genuine talent, I can’t help but wonder how ing up. And everyone is a winner. some people can be so delusional about their abilExcept that they’re not. There will always be ities – or more accurately, the lack thereof. kids who are rubbish at sport (I certainly was; And now, much teeth-gnashing later, I have that sad kid always last to be picked by any team). come to a conclusion: I blame the parents. There will be children who can’t make sense of Sounds a tad harsh? Perhaps it is. But it is true physics or math (yes, me again). And there will nonetheless. Just think about it. How did these be students who can’t write a readable essay no people grow up being so deluded about just how matter how hard they try (aha, not me this time good they were about their singing/dancing/actround, thank God). And no purpose is served by ing? It can’t have been because all their chums at school told convincing the poor dears that they are actually any good at this them how brilliant they were. There is nothing like your fellow stuff, when they are patently not. students for taking the mickey out of you and telling you that Now, don’t get me wrong. I am all for nurturing the self-conyou are making a damned fool of yourself. And they certainly fidence of children, of boosting their self-esteem, of inculcating couldn’t have been encouraged by extended family or friends, a sense of self-belief in them. But let’s not kid ourselves. We are who have the necessary distance to tell the truth – and with luck, not going to achieve this by giving them a completely unrealisthe goodwill to have your best interests at heart. tic view of their own abilities and talents. In fact, you could argue The only people who could have made them believe in their that it is the duty of every parent to tell his or her child just what non-existent talent were their doting parents, who gazed on them he or she is good (or bad) at. Because sooner rather than later, fondly through those proverbial rose-tinted glasses which make these kids are going to go out into the real world where there are even the most unpromising youngster seem like a budding genius. no prizes for coming second, let alone last. Result: we have a whole set of people who have grown up So, for God’s sake, be honest with your kids as they grow up. believing in themselves despite every evidence to the Praise their achievements. But be sure to make them aware of contrary, only because mummy and daddy told them their shortcomings too. Encourage their strengths but don’t fight over and over again how brilliant they were, how so very shy of pointing out their weaknesses. They will thank you for wonderful, the absolute acme of perfection, in fact. it one day, no matter how much they hate you now. In some ways, I think, this is a generational thing. And if you don’t, then be warned. One day in the The New Age parent genuinely seems to think that not-so-distant future, it could be your kid up there the best way to bring up children is to tell them that making an absolute ass of himself (or herself) they are perfect and that they can do no wrong, no on national television. And believe me, you don’t matter how hard they try. Their slightest literary effort want that. is praised to the skies. Their sporting ability is email@example.com. Follow Seema on Twitter at gerated beyond all rational twitter.com/seemagoswami bounds. And artistic talent is thrust upon them even when there is no evidence that they possess any. These kids are told over and over again how marvellous they are; that the world is their oyster; and all they have to do is go out and conquer it, like the alpha creatures they are. Is it any wonder then that these kids grow up believing that they are absolutely fabulous? That they can do no wrong? And
Bring up your kids to believe in their nonexistent talent; and they’ll soon be making fools of themselves on national television
JULY 15, 2012
T O TA L R E C A L L REWIND The decade where political turbulence gave way to confidence and confusion 1982
India hosts the Asian Games. years Watches it unfold of on colour TV. Free neighbours with every viewing
1983 Nearly 2,50,000 mill workers join the Great Bombay Textile Strike, protesting against low wages
India wins the World Cup for the first time in the history of cricket with Kapil Dev as the captain
India wrests control of the Siachen Glacier from Pakistan, gaining 3,000 km of territory
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated at her home by two of her Sikh bodyguards. A nation is shattered
Indira Gandhi’s assassination sparks bloody anti-Sikh riots in north India. The death toll is in the thousands
Part 3 of Total Recall, our special 7-part series: The 1980s
Eventful, loud, tumultuous. No single word can describe the Eighties. The winds of change blew, but was different better?
Methyl isocyanate seeps out of Bhopal’s Union Carbide factory. Death, disfigurement everywhere
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act makes it illegal to produce or cultivate a narcotic drug
The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord is signed to resolve the ongoing Sri Lankan civil war
A historic election. Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress loses to a coalition of minority-led parties headed by VP Singh
TURNING POINT India’s World Cup victory in 1983 (with Kapil Dev as captain) changed cricket from a national passion to a national obsession
THE END OF INNOCENCE
JULY 15, 2012
Photo: DAVE CANNON/ALLSPORT/GETTY IMAGES
had slowly turned to cynicism. ONG BEFORE Mahendra Bofors was the 2G of our times, so Singh Dhoni, there was Kapil what if R64 crore appears loose Dev Nikhanj. The original change in today’s context. small-town folk hero, he of the Rajiv was never quite able to shake toothy smile, the proud moustache off the Bofors stigma, but he did and yes, of ‘Palmolive da jawaab leave a more enduring, positive nahin!’ I turned 18 in 1983, the year legacy: his passion for computers Indian cricket achieved manhood and gadgets. We still typed our artiand Kapil Dev, all pace and aggrescles, but by the end of the decade, the sion, came to symbolise a genedesktop had made an appearance in rational change in the sport. June 25, newsrooms. Rajiv may have 1983 was a defining moment, and struggled with his present, but he three decades later, we can all still did see the future. watch and admire Kapil Dev pluck ..................................................... the catch of Viv Richards that made Long before Satyamev Jayate, there us first believe we could defeat the was Ramayan and Mahabharat. mighty West Indies. Sunday mornings in the 1980s Colour television had come to the became the ultimate devotional fancountry just a year before, courtesy tasy for millions as the two eternal Asiad ’82, but it was on that summer Indian epics were played out before day in June when we first realised a genuine ‘national’ audience. Okay, the power of a live sports event on so there was no superstar like television. It marked the transition of Aamir Khan to grab eyeballs, but cricket from a national passion to there was also no remote control being at the heart of the entertainand no five-hundred-odd channels ment industry. If Gavaskar was to competing for attention. Little wonrepresent the defiance of the ’70s der then that Sita and Tendulkar the exu(Deepika Chikhalia) and berance of the ’90s, it Ram (Arun Govil) was the charismatic became the first small Kapil who was the magscreen stars. net who drew in the It was the high noon of crowds through the ’80s. Doordarshan (or should ...................................... Besides being the we say last stand?): a Long before Rahul editor-in-chief of number of tele-serials Gandhi, there was Rajiv the IBN 18 network, were rolled out that stood Gandhi. Fresh-faced and RAJDEEP SARDESAI out for their simplicity ever-smiling, his enthusialso has a law degree and middle class values: asm was infectious. A from Oxford University Hum Log, Buniyaad, reluctant politician, he Nukkad, Rajni. Yes, there was no became Prime Minister in the crubreaking news because news ellest of circumstances, his mother’s remained a government monopoly, assassination a reminder that India’s but it was in this period that we had a age of innocence was well and truly glimpse into the future with Prannoy over. For a younger India, itching for Roy’s The World This Week. The change, a 40-year-old Prime Minister world was a quieter place, but does appeared to be well-suited for the noise alone make news? times. In 1985, when Rajiv delivered ..................................................... his famous speech at the Congress Long before Salman Khan made convention in Mumbai, promising to Chulbul Pandey a national craze, rid the country of power brokers, we there was, well, Salman making his all cheered. By 1988, when I had hero debut in a 1988 romantic family become a full-time journalist, hope
drama called Maine Pyar Kiya. He didn’t flex muscles, but actually tried to play a gentle lover boy! The 1980s were a strange period for Hindi cinema: Amitabh Bachchan was still delivering hits, but they weren’t quite the ’70s classics. He was number one to 10 in Bollywood, a fact confirmed by the national outcry that followed his near-fatal accident on the film sets of Coolie in 1982. The superstar Khans were taking their first tentative steps and the rest really didn’t matter. Oh yes, there was Madhuri Dixit, the Ek do teen beauty. And yes, there was Govinda of the purple pants and Anil Kapoor out to prove that a moustache was no handicap to stardom. As for film music in the 1980s? Well, a decade that saw the decline of the legendary RD Burman must be seen as lyricist Javed Akhtar once told me, ‘a period of khatiya music, loud and, at times, downright embarrassing’. ..................................................... Long before Mukesh Ambani, there was Dhirubhai. Controversial but charismatic, ruthless but revolutionary, Dhirubhai was a beneficiary of the licence-permit raj but also farsighted enough to see the world beyond. There were no richest businessmen lists in the ’80s and those who were crorepatis were still nervous about exhibiting their wealth openly. We were still in a shortage
economy, where a pair of Levi’s was a prized possession. But the winds of change had begun to blow. The equity cult was slowly filtering through, and Dhirubhai became its high priest. May 20, 1985, when 12,000 investors attended Reliance’s AGM at the Cooperage football ground in Mumbai, was perhaps a turning point. The country was used to political rallies, but for a businessman to stage a similar event was unheard of. Manmohan was the emerging god, and India was ready to profit from its blessings. ..................................................... Long before Lady Gaga, there was Michael Jackson, he of the Thriller dancing steps, best-selling music videos, the star of India’s first MTV generation. We didn’t have any Page 3 celebrity lists, but I knew of at least two friends who attended dance classes only to learn the Jackson moonwalk! Lady Gaga, my daughter informs me, holds the record of the maximum followers on Twitter: more than 25 million. I have a small wager with her: if Twitter was around in the ’80s, Jackson would have topped the Gaga act! That’s what nostalgia for the ’80s can do: make you feel young all over again. Next week–The Seventies by Shiv Visvanathan
Video cassettes are all the rage. People rent them to watch movies. And they hear music on Walkmans and two-in-ones
THE ’80S – SHAKEN AND STIRRED The Eighties saw victories in sports; but also disasters and tragedies. Television was our balm and Rajiv Gandhi, the face of hope
India hosts the Asian Games for the second time, with better infrastructure and on a bigger scale
We get COLOUR TELEVISION!
Richard Attenborough’s GANDHI, a biopic of the Mahatma, wins eight Academy Awards. A year later, the iconic Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro releases
The then Prime Minister INDIRA GANDHI IS ASSASINATED by her bodyguards. Anti-Sikh riots erupt all over North India
Look! It’s our man in space! RAKESH SHARMA, 35, spends eight days in space aboard the Salyut 7 space station. Indira Gandhi asks him how India looks from space. He replies: “Sare Jahan Se Achcha!”
Mumbai trader DHIRUBHAI AMBANI makes the most of the licence-permit raj and cements his position as one of the most powerful people in the country
1989 Salman Khan makes his debut with Maine Pyar Kiya and becomes a heartthrob
Brands like CHARMIS,
AFGHAN SNOW and CUTICURA are
PERMED OR VOLUMINOUS HAIR, LEOTARDS, SHOULDER PADS AND BODYSUITS DEFINE THE STYLE OF THE DECADE. THE INFLUENCERS? BOLLYWOOD, OF COURSE!
the stuff of beauty dreams
DOORDARSHAN telecasts shows that inspire nostalgia even today. Hum Log, Ramayan, Buniyaad, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi and Fauji have the nation hooked to their sets
Actor Mithun Chakraborty and composer Bappi Lahiri emerge as the face and sound of disco
Remember Lalitaji, Only Vimal, Campa Cola, Hamara Bajaj, Vicks ki goli, Lakhani and the Maruti 800?
THE ‘EK DO TEEN’ GIRL. Four years after her debut with Abodh, Madhuri Dixit is finally noticed in Tezaab. There’s just no looking back for the actress with the 100-watt smile and the hot dance moves
RAJIV GANDHI BECOMES INDIA’S YOUNGEST PRIME MINISTER. HE USHERS IN THE AGE OF COMPUTERS AND NEW TECHNOLOGY JULY 15, 2012
By the end of the decade DESKTOPS appear at the workplace. Floppy discs are actually floppy. No one knows MS-DOS
T H E W AY W E A R E
All You B Single People
STRANGER THAN FICTION: THESE SINGLE BOYS AREN’T FOR REAL
UT SINGLE people on TV look so happy, you think. Carrie Bradshaw, Barney Stinson, Liz Lemon, Charlie Harper, Bridget Jones… Zooey Deschanel also plays a newly single girl in New Girl, which just premiered on Star World, you add. They party, get drunk and gain an enviable amount of sexual experience. Single is smart, savvy and ohso-sexy, you insist. Moment of truth: Pop culture is lying to you (see boxes). This is how life really works for the unattached:
...it’s time you stopped – being single that is. It’s awful. How? Let us count the ways by Saudamini Jain
1. NO SEX
Hooking up with the hot girl in a little dress or that Ivy League boy with an accent at a party happens roughly once in six months. The world isn’t full of swingers. Sex for single people is a tub of chocolate ice cream while watching The Ugly Truth.
2. THE EX
You know what can go wrong at the aforementioned drunken party? A phone call, a text or worse, a long
ALL THE SINGLE LADIES Liz Lemon in 30 Rock is married to her uber cool job, in a fromance with her boss Jack Donaghy and manages to turn a head every now and then... Too good to be true? Bridget Jones has a fling with her hot boss and then finds love with a barrister. Happily ever after. Bridget Jones’ Diary is a modern-day fairy tale
Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother is smooth, always suits up (the ladies love it) and has the best pick-up lines. In life, there is no such thing as a good pick-up line email to the ex. You can blame the vodka for drunk dialling your ex, but the truth is, it’s because you’re alone.
3. THE CUPID FAMILY
Charlie Harper, the alcoholic playboy in Two and a Half Men, gets more women than is fair. Agreed. But when he doesn’t, he gets a hooker. That’s not exactly healthy you). If you don’t find someone to hang with you when you’re hanging with them, you’ll either lose your friends or your sanity.
There’s no escape from matchmaking. “Ajay uncle’s niece is a lovely girl. She bakes also,” says your mum. “Aneeta aunty’s sister-in-law’s cousin just got a job in Bangalore. He’s an engineer and an MBA!” says your masi. Your married sister thinks that since you couldn’t find everlasting love in college (unlike her) you should meet these people and live happily ever after (like her).
5. THE SCARLET TAG
4. THE FRIENDS AND THEIR PITY
6. THE LONELINESS
Soon, you’ll reach an age when all your friends will be in serious relationships. Before you know it, you’re godfather to somebody’s scrawny newborn. And couples only talk about couple stuff. They sometimes talk in baby voices, fight in public and ignore the third wheel (that is
The ‘single’ writer has Mr Big eating out of her hands. The show is called Sex and the City for Christ’s sake!
Everything you say is a come-on. Every time you talk to a colleague/a friend/a friend’s friend of the opposite sex, the world ‘just senses’ the undercurrent of an illicit romance. Two single people cannot talk. One of them is hitting on the other. Often, the single person is hitting on the one attached. Single people are all home-breakers, didn’t you know? Like singer Rihanna woefully admits, “You don’t want to live your life and then meet someone. You want to share your life with someone. That’s what I’m missing right now.” It’s nice to have someone to talk to after a bad day at work. The rules of a relationship bind people to put up with each other. You cannot spend every evening watching reruns of The Simpsons. Meh!
7. THE DILEMMA
After every date, you wonder for hours, “Could he/she be the one?” If not, you go out there again searching for The One. Another date, “Is this one the one?”
8. THE FEAR...
...of becoming a crazy cat lady or the creepy old man who sits on benches and stares at little girls. It could be you. firstname.lastname@example.org
“All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong?” – The Beatles JULY 15, 2012
MIND BODY SOUL
DINE YOUR WAY TO HEALTH
E ALL know that life in a big city gets very hectic. Sleep deprived, hurried mornings, long office hours, endless cups of coffee, late lunch and even later dinner. In this entire routine, what suffers is your eating habit and overall nutrition. The question is how to balance healthy eating habits and our not-sohealthy lifestyle. The answer lies somewhere between making responsible food choices, planning and trying nutritious recipes, and motivating yourself and your family to take control of their health. Superfoods help in balancing the deficiencies, fasting or detoxification, at least once a week, helps cleanse your system and drinking water hydrates your system. Antioxidants help to improve digestion and metabolism. Normally, most people plan their day’s meal at breakfast. But the real planning should start at dinner time. Plan a healthy dinner and simultaneously plan your breakfast. That way you can eat a good dinner and build an appetite for breakfast.
Superfoods help in balancing the deficiencies, healing and restoring health efficiently ■ Spirulina ■ Wheat grass juice ■ Barley grass
juice ■ Aloe vera ■ Amla ■ Sprouts ■ Tulsi
HOW DINNER HELPS DIGESTION The reason why dinner time is very important is because it governs our digestion and energy levels for the next day. ■ Dinner is the only time in the day when we sit down and relax over a meal after a long day’s work. And, when we plan the next day at dinner, it usually goes off well. ■ Whatever you eat for dinner gets absorbed all night. ■ Studies have proven that heavy dinner is associated with early morning heart attacks, late night asthma attacks, accelerated obesity, increased risk of diabetes and decreased performance at workplace. ■ The body rejuvenates and repairs it-
Plan a healthy dinner and simultaneously plan your breakfast
self at night. So, eat light. When you get home from work, do not snack on packaged food which is not only unhealthy but also very fattening. ■ At dinner, opt for foods which do not have too many kapha elements. Kapha elements are found in heavy dals, oils and fat, cheese, cream, white rice, fried foods and maida. NUTRITION AND SLEEP MATTER It is important that the entire family learns how to balance health and taste. Many recipes are possible like mung sprout with bhelpuri, boiled aloo chaat, steamed brown rice idlis, steamed rice dumplings, dhokla, chatpata wheat poha and multigrain vegetable sandwich. It is also important to consume superfoods which help us to heal and restore our health efficiently. Superfoods such as spirulina, wheat grass juice, barley grass juice, aloe vera, amla, sprouts and tulsi are great for your overall nutrition. Some food combinations like mixed vegetable juice (amla, beetroot, bottle guard, cucumber, ginger ) and liver re-
GOOD FOOD CHOICES ■ Green salad ■ Brown rice idlis with mint chutney ■ Steamed mung sprout chat ■ Sautéed vegetables ■ Rice flour momos stuffed with spinach and mushrooms ■ Mung dal soup with wheat dalia poha (spiced with cumin, curry patta and lemon juice) with salad
juvenating herbs like ashwagandha and milk thistle are also important source of minerals and enzymes. Sleep is very important part of digestion and rejuvenation. People who are chronically sleep deprived are more likely to binge eat and gain weight. At least 6-8 hours of sleep is required for rejuvenation and healing. Regular exercise is also necessary for stress management and fitness. Managing stress is one of the crucial links between being genuinely healthy versus just being disease free. email@example.com
Shazahn Padamsee if i could... I’D LIVE ON PIZZAS AND DESSERTS, AND BE LAZY
PLACE OF BIRTH
HIGH POINT OF YOUR LIFE
Face of Clean and Clear
The first time I acted on stage
LOW POINT OF YOUR LIFE
JB Petit High School; Jai Hind College, Mumbai
When I got rejected for a Kit Kat commercial at 19 at the last minute
Will start working for my next film in a month
again? French Kiss. One thing you dislike about yourself? I am quite emotional and very indecisive. If life had a backspace button, what would you want to delete? Nothing, because I love my life the way it is – I don’t even want to press the forward button. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate yourself as an actress? 7. Your most comfortable outfit? What do you think Tank top and shorts with would have been your Havaiana flip-flops. perfect debut film in Three things you cannot live without? Bollywood? My BlackBerry, my mom and The debut that I had, my car. Rocket Singh, Salesman of Do you believe in fairytale endings? The Year (2009). Yes, I am a die-hard romantic. Movies or theatre, which? A fast food item you crave? Both. Lays Magic Masala chips. If you were not an actress, you What is the one thing you can’t help would be… splurging on? A lazy spoilt brat. Designer handbags. A ROLE YOU As an actress, what has You wouldn’t be caught been your best dead wearing… WISH YOU experience so far? Shoulder pads. HAD PLAYED? Getting to know The most embarrassing the cast of moment of your life? Housefull 2 since When I was going for we have all an event and my heel bonded really broke. well. Three places you love Your idea of a perfect shopping in? holiday? New York, London New York. and Bangkok. Your idea of love? What makes your day? When it happens A grilled chicken to you, it’s real. sandwich and The best gift you have a cappuccino. received so far? What brings a smile to A diamond solitaire your face? ring from my dad on my 21st Meeting friends. birthday. The last line of your The last thing you bought for under autobiography would read… R10? And she lived happily ever A Dairy Milk worth R5. after. Have you ever been on a crash diet? You are closest to… Yes, and it’s very painful. My mom. — Interviewed by Yesha Kotak A movie you have watched again and
BE INVISIBLE AND LISTEN TO WHAT PEOPLE ARE GOSSIPING ABOUT
Freida Pinto’s in Slumdog Millonaire
BUY A ROLLS ROYCE PHANTOM
WANT TO BE REBORN AS MARILYN MONROE
JULY 15, 2012