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WEEKLY MAGAZINE, APRIL 21, 2013 Free with your copy of Hindustan Times

Going, Going, Gone... Endangered animals, threatened forests, disappearing arts and ancient monuments – give India’s fastest vanishing treasures a chance now

indulge

VIR SANGHVI

Warm up to gourmet food

SEEMA GOSWAMI

E-books or real books?

RAJIV MAKHNI

Google Glass: good or ghastly?


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B R E A K FA S T O F C H A M P I O N S Brunch Opinion

hindustantimes.com/brunch

by Mignonne Dsouza

Going, going... gone?

Step By Step

W

e all knew India was incredible long before the tourist slogan was invented. But what’s also incredulous about our country’s splendours is how ■ Olive close some of its flora and fauna, historical monuments, ancient crafts Ridley turtles and way of life are close to disappearing, forever! So next time ■ Hampi you want a break, pack yourself off to the four corners of this nation to see, buy and experience some of its wonders – from Olive Ridley turtle nesting sites to the stone temples of Hampi and the Rogan art of Kutch. You won’t regret it.

On The Brunch Radar

Buying gifts for babies. There’s SO much to choose from ■ Chilled buttermilk ■ Flowery summer dresses ■ 111 trees for every girl child born ■ River rafting ■

LOVE IT

Losing a mobile phone is never a happy experience. But losing your contacts, SMSes and photos at the same time can be disastrous. Yet how many of us have actually backed up our data? These days, there’s no excuse not to, especially since smartphones make the whole task so simple, and in most cases, you can do it for free.

Mobile Backup by Mignonne Dsouza

■ Rogan

Art

by Shreya Sethuraman

SHOVE IT

Termites. Aargh! ■ ‘Slapgate’ redux ■ Too many deadlines. So little time! ■ ‘Fasting’ as penance ■ White chocolate. Really, how can anyone like it?! ■

ANDROID PHONES I own a Samsung Galaxy series smartphone, and here’s how I do it. Contacts: These are all saved automatically to my Google Mail. Once you log in to your Google account on your phone, you can sync your existing contacts, and then continue to save them to your account. SMS: I use an app called SMS

NOKIA LUMIA SERIES You have two options here: either back up contacts and pictures to SkyDrive, or you can individually save contacts and pictures to your Gmail account. SMSes can only be saved on certain models, where there is an option inside ‘Settings’, to back it up on SkyDrive.

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Backup that backs up my SMSes to my Gmail. Photos: These back up automatically to my Google Plus account, but are not visible to others unless I share them. This option is available on certain Android phones using the ‘Settings’ option under Google Plus. You can also save photos to a Dropbox account.

iPHONE Contacts and Photos: For all three, you connect to iTunes from your phone and configure your settings accordingly. The data is all held in your iTunes account, for free. SMS: These can also be saved to your iTunes account, and you can view it on your computer.

Free Advice

by Rachel Lopez

makeup tips with fingertips

Girls, you don’t need brushes all the time. Wash your hands and get ready

Smoke it up: Dip your little finger into a dark cream shadow or even gel liner, run it slowly along the edge of your lids (start in the centre and move to the edges). Use whatever’s left on the lower lids and off you go! Play up your eyes: Two thumbs up. Two dabs into your eyeshadow. Two eyes shut. Two simultaneous thumb swipes from inner corner to out. Layer another colour if you want. Pucker up: Lipstick from a tube will go on strong and defined. Lipstick applied with a ring

finger will soften edges, reach into more creases, apply smoother (your body heat will have warmed it up) and look more casual. Cheek them out: Pink lipstick, fuchsia lipstick, coral lipstick, red lipstick, use whatever you have as a blush. Swipe some on your middle finger, dot gently from apples to cheekbones, then gently blend it till no tide marks remain. Clean it up: Cheeks and undereye a mess after using glitter shadow? Wrap cello tape around your index finger (sticky side out), press against all the fallout. Discard tape. Get on with life!

Photos: SHUTTERSTOCK, THINKSTOCK

What’s cooking?

by Shreya Sethuraman

I’M HUNGRY INSTANTLY! Noodles Parameters

Maggi

Wai Wai

‘Claimed’ cooking time

Bas

Actual cooking time

minutes. You know it! That “sirf two-minutes” sounds pretty cute. Lies!

Taste

That of childhood. We have innumerable memories of this!

minute

Gorging on Maggi at midnight Best had when is a heavenly affair Chef's tip

The noodles ought to be between watery and dry

We tasted five popular instant noodles brands. Some we loved instantly, others were just meh. Do you agree?

Top Ramen

Cup Noodles

YiPPee Noodles

minutes

minutes

minutes

minutes

minutes. Five FULL minutes. No cheating!

minutes, and each noodle strand will be tomato red

is just enough to coat all the noodles with the masala.

minutes allow the noodles to be cooked ‘al dente’

Awesomely spicy, but too generous with salt.

Too tomatoey for my palate. The tang isn’t a welcome taste.

Too much salt, and the preservatives hit you hard.

Nothing YiPPee about it. The masala doesn’t coat the noodles

Best suited for cold winter evenings. And we don’t share

With friends, while gossiping. Multiple packets to the rescue

When there’s nothing better in the house

When you run out of Maggi and Wai Wai

Best when microwaved. Use boiling water instead of room temperature

Some like it raw. And honestly, it’s not bad raw. Not too kind on the stomach though

Fill water just below the designated line

One and a half cups of water is sufficient. Sprinkle grated cheese and chilli flakes

Disclaimer: Only the vegetarian versions were tasted for this mission

Cover imaging: MALAY KARMARKAR

EDITORIAL: Poonam Saxena (Editor), Aasheesh Sharma, Rachel Lopez, Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Mignonne Dsouza, Veenu Singh, Parul Khanna, Yashica Dutt, Amrah Ashraf, Saudamini Jain, Shreya Sethuraman, Manit Moorjani

APRIL 21, 2013

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

Drop us a line at: brunchletters@

hindustantimes.com or to 18-20 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001


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REEL WORLD

W

twitter.com/HTBrunch

Dancing Queen

E DON’T know if you’ve noticed – but Katrina Kaif can dance. You’ll see it in item numbers that outlive the movie (try recalling the name of the film that featured Sheila ki Jawani); in cameos that eclipse the heroine (Priyanka Chopra was the female lead in Agneepath, not Chikni Chameli Katrina); in sequences where her sinuous moves force even Shah Rukh Khan to keep up (Ishq Shava has some of the most complex steps in recent times); and at nearly every live act that turns her moves into talking points for days. Every major actress has crossed a dance or item number off her to-do list. Priyanka Chopra (Babli Badmaash), Kareena Kapoor (Fevicol), Sonakshi Sinha (Go Govinda) and Deepika Padukone (Dum Maaro Dum) have all strayed into what was once vamp territory. But it is Kaif’s dancing that has the audience collecting the remnants of their jaws from the floor.

Choreographers explain why Katrina Kaif is Bollywood’s No.1 hot-stepper by Yashica Dutt

Kiya? (2005). So what got her from on a couple of stage shows, says he that to this? From what we hear, it was forced to eat his words, when he was practice, practice, practice. saw her in Touch Me in Race (2010). “In Boom [2003], she was wooden Karan Malhotra, the director of Agneepath, says it’s Kaif’s hard work and had no dancing skills,” he that’s paid off. “She recalls. “Back then she found it difficult to believes that she’s not a natural dancer and puts catch the rhythm, her in extra effort to overmovements were very come that,” he explains. large and not graceful “While shooting Chikni, at all. She didn’t have that energy, like you say Katrina never once said that a step was too in Hindi, khul ke nacchtough for her. She took na. But it’s like she went 10 extra days only to inside a tunnel and GANESH ACHARYA, practice.” came out on the other choreograper Ganesh Acharya, who side, completely transchoreographed the song, formed. Now when I says that Kaif learnt as she went look at her I am blown away.” along and constantly worked on her technique. “Only Katrina could have ALL THE RIGHT MOVES done Chikni Chameli.” Lewis adds that much of Kaif’s newBut you wouldn’t have guessed JHATKA GENESIS found appeal also has to do with her that, watching her dance in earlier Kaif wasn’t always the belly-swinging, angelically pretty face, so the moves films like Jee Karda from 2008’s body-popping, ab-crunching dance never look vulgar. “In Chikni, her Singh is Kinng. Terence Lewis, who steps were very direct, but it didn’t queen she is today. In fact, she could worked with Kaif in her initial years look bad because her expressions barely control her limbs in Just Chill from Maine Pyaar Kyun weren’t over the top [no lip biting, ves mo for instance]. Her face makes her the ut abo all are ies E COMPETITION: These lad

“Only Katrina could have done Chikni Chameli ”

SCOPING TH

STUCK LIKE ‘FE VICOL’ Kareena Kapo or is all face wi th a body made fo r Bollywood da ncing

OOTH SHE GOES SM ra makes Priyanka Chop grace look easy

APRIL 21, 2013

THE STEP THAT MATTERS Deepika Padu kone too handles tough moves well

TICS ANTI-FREEZE AN a has a nh Si hi ks na So yle free, bindass st

L THE WAY A SHOWGIRL AL h, ameli, Mashalla Be it Chikni Ch if Ka na tri Ka , a Sheil Ishq Shava or e te an ar gu ng is a dancing to a so t play and instan of incessant air popularity

look sweet, no matter what she does,” he says. Bosco Martis of the choreographer duo Bosco and Caesar, who directed her in Touch Me, the song where she came into her own as a dancer, puts down Kaif’s lack of expression to the fact that she has not grown up watching Bollywood movies, so the expressions don’t come naturally. “But she needs to let go a little and loosen up,” he adds. However, Kaif ends up doing tougher steps because she has choreographers like Vaibhavi Merchant to push her. In Mashallah, from Ek Tha Tiger, she creates a curve with her body while lying down wearing a white bit of barely nothing. It is an Arabic curve called taksim maya, which Merchant says is usually done standing up, but she asked Kaif to do it supine, and from what we saw, she nailed it. Having also choreographed her in Ishq Shava, Merchant says that the song had many complex routines. “There was street dance, krumping, hip-hop, salsa and the typical Bollywood-style dance,” she points out. “Watch the long salsa shot, [it’s on YouTube]. She did it in one go.” But it takes a wee bit more than interest and hard work to become a dancing star. Kabir Khan, the director of Ek Tha Tiger, says it’s Kaif’s popularity and the way audiences respond to her as an entire package that matters. “All her ‘dance numbers’ came only in the last two-three years, since she’s become so popular. It’s about being good when the spotlight is on you.” yashica.dutt@hindustantimes.com


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C OV E R STO RY

The country we know and love won’t be around forever. Even as you read this, a tiger somewhere is being hunted for skin or for sport. A stately monument is witnessing its last few summers. A lush forest is being sacrificed in our thirst for development. But all’s not lost. Not yet. Many of our indigenous wonders still remain and are breathtaking to hold. See them now, support them now. And you’ll give them a tomorrow by Sharanya S; photo imaging by Malay Karmakar

THE INDIAN VULTURE, Uttarakhand

LAST CHANCE,

HOW MANY LEFT: About 10,000 As recently as the 1980s, vultures were so abundant in India that they were probably the most common large bird of prey in the world. But in the last decade, their population has seen almost a 99 per cent decline. “It was discovered that diclofenac, a painkiller administered to animals, left behind a residue. When vultures ate carcasses containing them, it proved fatal,” explains Issac Kehimkar of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). The birds would either die from acute kidney failure or lose their ability to reproduce. The BNHS effort to ban the drug was successful in 2006, but the battle’s still on. Diclofenac is still available for human use and people use it for cattle. The Haryana forest department and the BNHS established a breeding centre at Pinjore and the first vultures bred in captivity will be released by 2016.

THE SURANDO, Gujarat

EXPECTED TO LAST: A few years This stringed instrument is fashioned from a single piece of wood and played with a bow made from horse’s hair or gut fastened to each end of a flexible stick and is traditionally used by the Fakirani Jat community of Kutch. It has six strings – five of steel and one of copper. “Osman Jat is the last known master, and as he strums his deft fingers across the strings, this quaint art of creating music is brought to life; but might soon be extinct,” says Berenika Rozanska, producer at De Kulture Music that organised Pushkar’s Blue Lotus Festival.

■ The Surando

■ Indian Vulture

THE PANGOLIN, across India

HOW MANY LEFT: Undetermined.

They refuse to cooperate with the census team

The pangolin is a truly interesting animal. The scales on its body differ depending on the colour of the earth in its surroundings. It curls up into a ball as a form of defence. It is widely hunted for its meat. Its scales are thought to be an aphrodisiac and are also made into rings and jewellery. “The pangolin is a nocturnal animal and is very secretive, so determining its population is tough,” says Issac Kehimkar of BNHS. If you’re lucky, you can see the pangolin at Amboli in Maharashtra and in Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh.

You can try to spot the shy pangolin in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra APRIL 21, 2013

■ Pangolin

ROGAN ART, Kutch

■ Rogan Art

EXPECTED TO LAST: Not more than a decade

This traditional Kutch art form creates intricate patterns on fabric. Gummy paint is made by boiling castor oil with earth colours and mineral dyes over three days. It is then spooled on to a thin iron rod, much like a crochet needle, and the resulting trails or strands of paint are manipulated to form shapes. All designs are drawn freehand. The Khatri family in Gujarat is the last of those that are still masters of this form. “It is a very specialised sort of art, and almost looks printed, but what you get is lacquer on cloth,” says Medhavi Gandhi, founder, Happy Hands Foundation, which aims to create sustainable development opportunities for craftsmen.

HAMPI, Karnataka

EXPECTED TO LAST: One

generation

It’s called the largest open-air museum in the world. But what now lies in ruins was once the thriving capital of the Vijaynagara Empire. Located on

the banks of the Tungabhadra river, Hampi’s temples point to great wealth and superior architecture. At the Vitthala Temple, the outer pillars (also called the musical pillars) reverberate when tapped. More than 500 monuments, spread over 26 square km, fell under the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, but were taken off in 2006. “Hampi is being ruined due to encroachment and urbanisation,” says award-winning conservation architect Abha Lambah.

MAJULI ISLAND, Assam

EXPECTED TO LAST: Two decades

Majuli, the world’s largest river island, is located in the middle of the Brahmaputra river. It is a major hub of Assam’s Vaishnav culture. “All of Assam’s Hindus belong to a certain sub-sect that finds its headquarters in Majuli,” says Nandita Chalam, who lived in Assam for 25 years. Majuli is


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PHOTOS: THINKSTOCK

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■ Rakhigarhi

■ Rudravina

THE BENGAL TIGER

HOW MANY LEFT: Fewer than 2,500

■ Hampi

■ Jaisalmer Fort

■ Indian

Rhinoceros

covered with vibrant greenery and has barely any pollution since there are no factories in the vicinity. Its residents are known for their mekhla chadars (traditional garments comprising a wrap skirt, blouse and additional cloth to drape over the shoulder), and eri, a raw silk that originated there. The Shattriya Nritya, a classical Assamese dance, also finds its origins in Majuli. Sadly, the island is under threat due to extensive soil erosion from the river lashing against it. Almost a third of the island has disintegrated, and despite government efforts, it keeps getting smaller every year. “Majuli is close to the hearts of every Assamese. That’s why they are joining in the effort to save it,” says Chalam. ■ Majuli

Island

THE INDIAN RHINOCEROS

HOW MANY LEFT: About

2,500

The Indian Rhinoceros (also called the Great Asian One-horned Rhino) is second in size only to the Asian elephant. But poaching and loss of habitat mean its numbers have greatly reduced. The horn is a prized ingredient in Asian medicines, so poachers deploy methods like shooting, poisoning and even electrocution to capture them. The rhino is particularly difficult to breed in captivity. In 2009, the Cincinnati Zoo attempted artificial insemination, but the calf died 12 hours after birth. They once roamed in the lands between Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar. But today, most are confined to the Indo-Gangetic plains predominantly in Assam. “The best place to see rhinos is the Kaziranga National Park,” says Kehimkar of the BNHS.

Majuli island is a major hub of Assam’s Vaishnav culture

The tiger crisis has been well documented, but is still quite alarming. The majestic Bengal Tiger has JAISALMER FORT, Rajasthan become a rarity in India primarily EXPECTED TO LAST: Two due to hunting and loss of habitat. generations, unless restored in time “We cannot save the tigers unless we protect their habitats,” says Back in 1156, when the Bhati Bittu Sahgal, editor of Sanctuary Rajput ruler Rao Jaisal conAsia magazine. “By protectstructed Jaisalmer Fort, ing habitats with their biothe world was a different place. diversity intact, we end up The land was arid, the rains sequestering carbon from paltry, water scarce. the atmosphere and storYellow sandstone walls ing it on the ground in rose magnificently wetlands, grasslands and from endless forests. This ends up prodesert. And thus tecting our water, food and it stayed for economic security.” While almost 2,000 years. the government has been Then the tourists ■ Bengal Tiger implementing schemes came, the government built to protect our national animal, their a sewerage system and everything number continues to drop. changed. Additional water for half a Ranthambore National Park, million visitors began to overstress Rajasthan has been classified as a the drains, sewage seeped into the Project Tiger reserve and is still the clay-rich soil and weakened the founbest place to spot one. dations. Add to it the fact that increased rainfall set off more collapses, and the damage caused by the RAKHIGARHI, Haryana 2001 Gujarat earthquake, and you EXPECTED TO LAST: Two know that India’s last living fort – generations 2,000 people call it home – won’t be Rakhigarhi village, the site of a city around for long. “The problem with that was part of the Harappan civiliJaisalmer Fort is the people,” says sation, has survived the march of Kurush Dalal, who has a Ph.D in time. But it seems no match for the Archaeology and teaches at Mumbai march of urbanisation. ASI, which University’s Centre for Extra Mural has been conducting excavations for Studies. “They need to work with The 15 years, has made important disArchaeological Survey of India (ASI) coveries about this Harappan site, to preserve it.” APRIL 21, 2013


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C OV E R STO RY

including paved roads, jewellery and fire altars. But encroachment and soil erosion pose a threat to what lies beneath. “It is an amazing site and must be visited,” says Kurush Dalal, a Ph.D in archaeology who teaches at Mumbai University’s Centre for Extra Mural Studies. “The problem is about choosing between the living and the dead.”

THE RUDRAVINA, Uttarakhand EXPECTED TO LAST: A few years

The rudravina is a string instrument usually associ■ Olive ated with dhrupad, the Ridley turtles oldest surviving compositional form of Hindustani art music. It is believed to have been the most prestigious instrument during Akbar’s reign. However, during the second half of the 20th century, dhrupad lost its pre-eminent position to the khayal, leading to the decline of rudravina. “While in the last couple of decades, dhrupad has managed to stage a comeback, though not in its original form and glory, there was no place for the rudravina in its new avatar,” says Dr Suvarnalata Rao, musicologist and head of Indian music programming at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA). “Today, the instrument survives in the hands of just one or two practitioners with almost no hope of its revival.” Catch a performance soon, or recordings will be all that remain.

females come together to the same beach, winter after winter, to lay eggs in the sand and leave. When the eggs hatch 40-60 days later, baby turtles who’ve never ever seen the sea (or their mothers) somehow find their way to the water and swim away, but only if they’ve survived. Sand mining, poaching and attacks by dogs pose the biggest threat. Filmmaker Surabhi Sharma’s award-winning documentary, Aamakaar - The Turtle People, depicts how turtles in Kolavipalayam are threatened by sand mining. “Most mining occurs on river beds, but this village was affected by the fact that their estuary was being mined,” she says. “Villagers believed that this was why their beach was eroding constantly.” Local groups now keep watch and move eggs to makeshift hatcheries to save them from poachers. But as for saving the beach, no long-term measures are in place.

Olive Ridley turtle sites are under threat from dogs and sand mining

OLIVE RIDLEY TURTLE NESTING SITES, Kerala

EXPECTED TO LAST: As long as local groups guard the eggs

KUDIYATTAM, Kerala

EXPECTED TO LAST: Two

generations

This elegant form of Sanskrit theatre is believed to have originated over 1,000 years ago. ■ Kudiyattam Classical dramas are spun through dance and usually performed at temples. Some would last for hours, even days. Kudiyattam has been recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Heavy-duty stuff indeed, but Kudiyattam performers today are few and far between. Amrita Lahiri, a kuchipudi dancer who formerly headed the dance

URBAN LEGENDS Some vanishing sites are right here in your city

Addas of Kolkata Expected to last: A few more years The word adda is part of everyday conversation, but it was first Kolkata’s before it was ours. “Adda involves hanging out, and talking about current issues, literature and art,” explains Deepa Krishnan, whose company Kolkata Magic organises tours of the city. “As the city modernises, the old neighbourhoods, where everyone knew everyone, are vanishing.”

Rajaon ki Baoli, Delhi Expected to last: For a while, but minus the good bits This stepwell in Mehrauli was built by Daulat Khan in 1516. “With restoration, there is always a debate,” says Himanshu Verma, an art curator who conducts heritage walks to the well.

department at the NCPA, Mumbai, believes lack of awareness has led to its decline. “The Sangeet Natak Akademi has set up centres for the preservation of Kudiyattam in Kerala, but funds are limited. It requires decades of dedicated training to master a form like this. In order for young people to take up these rare forms as a profession, every citizen must recognise and take pride in the beauty of these traditions.”

THE GREAT INDIAN BUSTARD, Rajasthan HOW MANY LEFT: Fewer than

300

The Great Indian Bustard isn’t colourful like the peacock. But it’s one of the largest flying creatures in the world, and it was almost crowned our national bird. They used to be a common sight in the grasslands of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, but they’re vanishing fast. About 90 per cent of their population has

■ Great

The little Olive Ridley sea turtles spend their lives in the ocean; unless it’s nesting time, which is when thousands of

Indian Bustard

■ Addas of Kolkata

“While I think the fine design is what make the baoli beautiful, the restoration is focused on its structural integrity. The original designs should be seen before it’s too late.”

Irani cafés in Mumbai Expected to last: One generation Irani cafés are the stuff of Mumbai legend and advertising location dreams. In reality, these family-run businesses are on the verge of extinction. Very few children of owners want to take up the reins. Bruce Carter, a community historian from Australia, has been researching Irani cafés for years. He says their significance lies in their inclusivity: “Where else could the young couple just off the train from Karnataka have found they could work out their situation for a few rupees? Where else would dada been able to treat the grandkids without breaking the bank? At the corner Irani. And therein lies the magic.” ■ Rajaon

fallen victim to hinterland development – as fields make way for towns – and their size make them an easy target for hunters. “They are critically endangered,” affirms Issac Kehimkar of the BNHS. The BNHS organises trips where you can try to get a glimpse of the last of this breed. A few can still be spotted in Solapur (Maharashtra) and in Rajasthan.

THE GHARIAL, Uttarakhand

HOW MANY LEFT: Fewer than 1,000

The reptile native to the Indian subcontinent is not your regular croc. Its jaw is long and thin and looks like it could spear you (though it wouldn’t. The gharial’s jaws don’t accommodate large prey) and eat fish. But they are one of India’s most endangered species. Gharials are extinct in Pakistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, and most likely in Bangladesh. In India, barely 200 breeding adults remain in the wild. They’ve been hunted for their skins and for use in local medicines. But now, with rivers becoming more polluted, their habitats disappearing and illegal fishing, their survival is even more threatened. To catch a good glimpse of the gharials, head to the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand. brunchletters@hindustantimes.com

MORE ON THE WEB

■ Gharial

APRIL 21, 2013

ki Baoli

For the full story, log on to hindustantimes.com/brunch


indulge THE WRITING IS ON THE, ER, SCREEN…

hindustantimes.com/brunch

Seema Goswami

There is no denying the convenience of the e-book but it’s the real thing that still gives me a thrill

I

I set out on my travels with two brand-new titles inside my Kindle app. This was brilliant!

Photo: THINKSTOCK

A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE BOOKS

’VE ENTERED the world of the e-book rather late, but ever since I bit the bullet and downloaded the Kindle app on my iPad and Mac, I’ve gone just a little bit crazy. I stay up late trawling Amazon for titles by my favourite authors, buying a Kindle version, marvelling at the speed of the download, and at how – wait for this! – I can read them on both my iPad and Mac, syncing them so the book opens where I last left off reading on either machine. I know, I know, it’s all a bit sad. The wide-eyed wonder at the marvels of modern technology. The compulsive downloading of books with the feverish urgency of an addict. But tell me this, how could I possibly resist when I found the new titles of two of my favourite authors on Amazon just before I set off on holiday? They still hadn’t hit the shops in India. But there they were on Amazon’s shelves: Donna Leon’s The Golden Egg and Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller. The freshly-minted covers were gleaming up at me, whispering ‘Buy me, buy me NOW.’ And so, gentle reader, I did. You cannot imagine my smugness (or perhaps you can) when I set out on my travels with two brand-new titles nesting inside my Kindle app. This was brilliant, I told myself. Counting my previous downloads, I had five books on tap – and all within a tiny gadget that weighed about 650 grams. No more weighing down suitcases with tomes I had to get through on vacation. I could finally do that glossymagazine thing of travelling light. Score! But then I made the mistake of wandering into a bookstore on the first day of my vacation. And there it was: the new Donna Leon book, all mysterious black and glamorous gold, mocking me from the shop window. Ha, it said, don’t you wish you had held out for the

The freshly-minted covers were gleaming up at me, whispering ‘Buy me, buy me NOW’ real thing? And you know what? I kind of did. Now that the actual, physical book was in front of me, I wished nothing more than to possess it. It would join the 16 (or is it 17?) Donna Leons lined up on my bookshelf at home, and live happily ever after in my study where I could pull it out occasionally, re-read the odd chapter (or hell, re-read the entire book) whenever I felt like it. I would feel its heft in my hands, the pages would whisper as I turned them, and I could breathe in that new-book smell, more evocative than jasmine or lily of the valley. Of course, I couldn’t possibly do that now. The book had been downloaded on my iPad, I had already started reading it on the flight. How could I possibly justify buying the same book twice (albeit in different forms) to my frugal middle-class brain? But that night, as I lay in bed with my iPad, scrolling the pages rapidly to get to the meat of the plot, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have been happier reading this in print. Yes, there is a certain convenience to reading your books on an e-device of some sort (so long as you remember to keep it charged). And e-books are certainly a blessing for people like me who live in small apartments that are already overflowing with far too many (if there can be such a thing) books. And who can deny that there is a certain environmental argument for not felling more trees to produce paper on which books (no matter how execrable) can be printed. I see all that on a rational level. And now that I have discovered the delights – and the convenience of Amazon – I will certainly be lightening my load with e-books whenever I head out on holiday. But that said, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of holding a brand-new book by one of your favourite authors in your hands, and plunging right in.

spectator

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MORE ON THE WEB

For more SPECTATOR columns by Seema Goswami, log on to hindustantimes.com/brunch. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/seemagoswami. Write to her at seema_ht@rediffmail.com


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indulge

THE GOURMET REVOLUTION

Vir Sanghvi

The food market in India has exploded. Today consumers can go to gourmet shops and buy pretty much anything that was once only available abroad

TV’S THE GAME CHANGER

After watching such shows as the Australian Masterchef (below) and following TV chefs like Donna Hay (above) and Nigella Lawson (below right), Indian foodies want to experiment with new flavours, dishes and presentation

rude food

Photo: COURTESY FACEBOOK

I

WAS AT INDIAN Accent, trying out the newly-introduced Chef’s Table when Manish Mehrotra served some small but delicious white asparagus that he said were from Peru. I said that it seemed a long way to transport asparagus: it must be thousands of miles from Peru to Delhi’s Friend’s Colony. Well, yes, conceded Manish, but the same asparagus was now available in shops in Delhi. The problem faced by many chefs, he said, was that hotels and fancy restaurants no longer had a monopoly on expensive or fancy ingredients. As the food market in India had exploded, ordinary consumers could just go to gourmet shops and buy pretty much anything that was once only available in shops abroad. Manish is right, of course. But there is also the TV/Internet factor. Indian foodies are watching such shows as Top Chef, and the Australian Masterchef and following TV chefs like Donna Hay and Nigella Lawson. So middle-class Indians want to experiment with new flavours, dishes and presentation. I find that guests at hotel restaurants these days are often more knowledgeable than the chefs. The new (well, newish) Espresso Grill on Baba Kharak Singh Marg is designed to appeal to people who have watched foodie shows and want to try the dishes they have seen on screen. The menu is not restricted to any one part of the world but combines inspirations from all over. All this is served in a pleasant, large room at prices that are only a third of the rates charged by coffee shops at five-star hotels. I had a version of the cauliflower veloute that Gordon Ramsay made famous during his days at Aubergine (the menu describes it as ‘Gordon Ramsay’ Cauliflower Soup) and while it was not so reliant on the rich dairy products the great man is so fond of, it was delicious, with a fresh cauliflower taste. A seafood bisque with a slice of roast cod was even better. Among the mains was Bang Bang-style chicken salad with a crunchy peanut flavour. APRIL 21, 2013

Photo: HUGO BURNAND

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Espresso Grill is designed to appeal to people who watch foodie shows and want to try the dishes (like the seafood bisque above) that they have seen on screen

I also enjoyed the pork ribs, cooked Americanstyle with the tang of barbecue sauce. There were some misses: the hamburger patty disintegrated before my eyes (usually it is the bun that collapses) and the cheesecake was too stodgy. But overall, the food was terrific; one more indication of how the Masterchef-watching classes are transforming the Indian restaurant scene while the hotels watch from the sidelines. I went after the lunch service so the restaurant was half empty. But I assume it packs them in at mealtimes: it certainly deserves to. I’ve known Harmeet Bajaj, one of the partners in the Smoke House group of restaurants, for years but somehow the stars have never been right when it comes to Harmeet’s restaurants and me. Either the air-conditioning has not been working or the food has been indifferent. So I did not go to the newly-opened Smoke House Deli in Delhi’s Khan Market with very high expectations. The Smoke House group poses a particular appeal to kittyparty ladies for reasons I have never understood. At the Vasant Kunj branch of the Deli, large groups of even larger Punjabi ladies had colonised three tables on one of my visits. Even at the Khan Market branch, the table next to mine was annexed by a kitty party of fun-loving ladies of early middle age, carrying canvas designer bags of the sort where the logos are particularly conspicuous. At one stage, a young man who looked like an office assistant entered the restaurant and handed one of the ladies an envelope full of cash, which she then opened and ostentatiously counted till she came to the final figure of `27,000. As the Smoke House Deli is not expensive, I assume she needed the money to go shopping after lunch. But even if you exclude the cabaret (and kitty-party ladies can be horrifically fascinating to watch), the Smoke House Deli is fun. It is a small, first-floor restaurant with a crowded kitchen that serves sandwiches, light snacks and quite elaborate main courses. I liked the room, which is cheerful and light-filled and service was smartly efficient. (Disclaimer – I went without booking, but was spotted pretty early into the meal so I can’t generalise about service standards). I liked some of the food, though some simplification is required. I ordered the hot dog and was annoyed that it came with fancy presentation involving many artistic squiggles of sauce on the sausage so that you could not really pick it up and eat it as you should be able to do with a hot dog. The taste, though, was fine. I also had the basic hamburger (it comes with cheese, normally) which suffered from the same


15

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HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO

Smoke House Deli has the best cheesecake in Delhi of its kind. So, if you are in Khan Market and want a coffee and dessert, then this is easily the best place for you problem, it had been over-chefed. The point of a hamburger is the quality of the bun and the excellence of the meat patty. A fast food hamburger needs lots of sauce and seasoning because the patty is usually crap. But a deli burger should be about the meat. In this case, it was as though I had ordered a hamburger and salad and they had decided to put the salad into the bun along with the patty. Not only did this guarantee that the bun turned into a soggy mess within minutes of reaching the table, it also failed to compensate for the pheeka nature of the patty. But all was forgiven when the warm cheesecake arrived. This was so light, airy and delicious that I think it might well be the best cheesecake in Delhi of its kind. So if you are in Khan Market and want a coffee and dessert, then this is easily the best place for you. And with a bit of luck, they’ll handcuff their chef and stop him from throwing sauce and salad into the sandwiches. If you don’t want a hot dog or a hamburger, then what should you order? For those of us who have lived in Calcutta, the answer is clear: rolls.

Roll-Maal, a takeaway place in Defence Colony Market, does not do Nizam-style rolls (you have to go to Calcutta to get those) but the ones it does serve are very nice indeed. You order your rolls, they pack them in an insulated container and deliver them in 45 minutes or so. You also have a choice of roti for your rolls: paratha, roomali, etc. And the fillings are inventive: seekh kabab, tawa mutton, boti, Andhra-style meat, Chettinad, etc. (there are chicken and vegetarian options too, but as you can see, I only ordered the red meat!) I thought the food was very good though some people might find some of the fillings a little too liquidy with a certain sameness to the flavours. I enjoyed what they called the Bombay Frankie even though it did not taste much like the Tibbs version of my childhood and the seekh kabab roll was outstanding. A side of pindi channa was good too but the stand-out dish was not a roll: it was the excellent keema pav. I did not order home delivery but went in person to check out the place and was impressed by the systems and especially by the manager, who seemed totally on top of everything. The concept will succeed and my guess is that there will soon be clones in every Delhi colony. Which brings us back to where we started: Manish’s white asparagus. I’ve been noticing a steady move upmarket at my local Godrej Nature’s Basket as the Masterchef-watching classes get more adventurous. Last week I was astonished to find that the Defence Colony branch was selling Dom Pérignon and Tignanello, both expensive wines. (Even though the wines had been subjected to India’s prohibitive customs duties, they were cheaper at Godrej than at most five-star hotels, which import them at zero customs duty. So hotel margins must be stratospheric.) I went to the Foodhall at Delhi’s Promenade mall, which Manish had mentioned. Though they had a display sign for white asparagus, they had clearly run out that day. Even so, the range of upmarket imported products on offer was impressive though they would gain by getting rid of some of the dodgy olive oil displays and there is no merit in selling (fresh) Portobello mushrooms which look as though they are older than the Qutub Minar. Even so, the Foodhall demonstrates how India has become a market for gourmet food. A few suggestions: given how very expensive the shop is they should invest in smarter salespeople who understand the products. And it is no fun to be told at the checkout counter that you can either balance your purchases on your head or pay through the nose for a bag (`7 for a paper bag and `50 for a cloth bag). Nobody likes leaving a shop feeling that they’ve been ripped off.

BEST HAD MINCED

Roll-Maal serves very nice rolls but their stand-out dish was not a roll: it was the excellent keema pav (above)

IN PURSUIT OF TASTE

With the impressive range of upmarket imported products on offer, the Foodhall (below) shows how India has become a market for gourmet food

APRIL 21, 2013

Photo: THINKSTOCK

Hotels and restaurants no longer have a monopoly on expensive or fancy ingredients

FROM THE CORNER SHOP

Exotic ingredients like white asparagus, once the monopoly of five-star hotels, can now be easily found at gourmet stores across the country

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indulge

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THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Google Glass technology is here. But will it be a boon or curse?

MAP MY WAY

Get driving instructions and maps without ever looking down

I

Rajiv Makhni LOUD AND CLEAR

The bone conduction transducer transmits sound from the glass directly to your ear, thus eliminating the need to wear headphones evening start and the MC turns out to be a friend. I shake my head left to open my Instant Messenger app and dictate a quick message telling her that she has too much make-up on and the dress (designer rip-off from Bangkok, my glasses inform me) is way too tight. I’m sure she’ll have a fitting reply when she gets off stage. Using the eye movement tracking feature, I open my emails, get a map and driving directions for the party I have to go to next, learn how much more Infosys stock has declined by and also check some news and have the main headlines read out to me through the bone conduction transducer that transmits sound from the glass directly to my ear through my skull bone, thus eliminating the need to wear headphones. I blink my eyes twice to activate my picture blogging feature. The glasses now start to take pictures every five seconds as I zoom and scroll the entire room for the most interesting people in their candid moments. Each picture will now go on my blog and by midnight, I should have another million hits. I’ll be sure to remember to activate the discreet video filming feature when I go to the other party, as that’s going to be quite a wild one.

techilicious

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T’S A VERY high-security event with lots of politicians, businessmen and even the PM as part of the guest list. My bag, laptop as well as wallet are dumped into the scanning machine and I’m asked to take off my jacket and shoes too. They are going to hold my phone and my laptop for ‘safekeeping’ as part of the security procedure. The pat-down is fairly intrusive and very thorough and I’m asked to go through the metaldetector scan once again. The only thing I have on me, now other than my clothes, are the glasses on my face. Finally, they deem me ‘clean’ and I pick up all the rest of my stuff and move towards the seating area. As I look for my table, I touch the side band of my glasses and scan the entire area with its built-in miniature camera and a tiny screen on the glasses, the width of a pencil just slightly above my right eye level, starts to flash information – my exact GPS location, seating plans for the event, schedule for the evening as well as the bio-data of the person who has invited me. I know that it’s her son’s birthday tomorrow as, that she recently had an accident and is recovering from a fractured foot. I tap the touch pad on the glasses to initiate facial recognition and start scanning the room to locate her. The screen locks on to her and I move towards the staging area near the door, greet her, thank her for inviting me, compliment her on her dress (an Ashish Soni, my glasses inform me), ask her to extend my wishes to her son on her birthday and inquire about her foot. She is slightly perplexed as she accompanies me to my table and as she starts to introduce me to the other guests there, I interrupt by telling her that I think I know them all. I discreetly whisper into the microphone of the glasses to go back into facial recognition mode and start reeling off the names of each person along with extra information (that is flooding into my screen). I stun the lady sitting right next to me by asking her how her trip to London was, while the gentlemen on my left isn’t too happy when I ask him about the progress of the new house he’s constructing on Aurangzeb Road (one floor is illegal). The on-stage activities for the

Eye movements and simple head motions allow you to scroll through different apps

APRIL 21, 2013

FUTURE NOW

If my entire futuristic description above has you excited about the technology as well as concerned about privacy – you’re not alone. But first let’s clarify that statement. This isn’t about the future – this is now. Google Glass as well as other wearable tech has now reached the point where it’s no longer about imagining all this. This could well be our lives from hereon. Think Blade Runner, Back to the Future, Big Brother and Star Trek all coming together in a very exciting but sinister mix.

THE HOLY GRAIL

Google Glass, like the name implies, is a pair of glasses that you wear but can do what no other ‘spectacles’ can even dream of. And the specs on these specs are quite mind-boggling. It has a tiny high-resolution screen embedded right where your peripheral vision starts and because it’s that close – your eye sees it like a 25-inch screen. The glass band has a touch pad that lets you slide your fingers up and down to scroll and move though pages and you tap to select an item. The device is also fitted with a tiny speaker, microphone and motion sensors that interpret commands based on the wearer’s head movements. Eye movements can also be used to control the device and simple head motions allow you to scroll through different apps and features. Google Glass can do everything a smartphone does without you having to fish it out of your pocket or look at the screen or use your hands to control it. It can film and photograph on demand, provide real-time info at the nod of your head, plus


18

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TECHNOLOGY

These look and sound very cool, but at the end of the day, these have to have the form factor of a pair of glasses. So where does the battery go? If your current smartphone gives you 14 hours of battery life, this one may give you four, despite the claim of full-day battery power. That would mean an additional battery pack that we will have to wear on our body! This will give birth to a whole new world of wearable accessories. I think I’ll go with the purplish black GogGlas battery pack shaped like a beard and also worn like one. Storage is another issue. These are supposed to be the record keepers of your life. Photos every five seconds, video on demand, record of where you went, whom you met, what each person said – you can literally play back your entire day just like a film. But where will you store your life? Not on the glasses! The on-board 16GB will fill up in minutes and thus you will need an extra device to store it all. Plus you need to tether this to your smartphone to send all that info to and fro as this may not have Wi-Fi or 4G embedded in it. Kind of defeats the whole purpose, doesn’t it?

PRIVACY

I SEE YOU NOW

Facial recognition allows you to scan any place and locate the person you want to meet or talk to

get your driving instructions and maps without you ever looking down. Excited? You should be! This is the Holy Grail of technology.

FLIPPING THE GLASS

Just like all modern technology breakthroughs, there’s an obvious flip side to this device too. But that’s where the similarity ends. Unlike other devices, once we go down this path – there is no going back. Life, as we know it will be over. And while that may sound very profound, let me make my case.

DISTRACTION

Crossing a road with these on and you see new Facebook pictures flashing onto your Google Glass; it may well be your face plastered all over a truck the very next second. Driving a car and using this for directions – a news headline may distract you enough to make sure that it’s your mangled car that makes it the headlines the next morning.

Google Glass would be the Big Mother of them all. Privacy at all levels is compromised

DISCOMFORT

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For previous columns by Rajiv Makhni, log on to hindustantimes.com/ brunch. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com/ RajivMakhni

Wearing glasses at all times isn’t the world’s most comfortable thing. They need care and attention and these are super fragile. Plus, there will be versions for those who already wear powered glasses, so now you have two to take care of. Imagine an entire world that wears these kind of glasses as this is now your phone and heads-up info unit. Have you heard the term ‘Cyborgs’? Well, now you’re going to be one of them!

TO WEAR OR NOT TO WEAR GOOGLE GLASSES

The big one. Just how uncomfortable is it to know that anyone can look you up, recognise you, search for all your personal details and invade your life just because you’re sitting nearby in a coffee shop. Stalkers and the mildly obsessive will have a field day. As the whole world starts to wear these, an army of Google Glassians will be born. Every word you’ve said around anybody, every gesture and every action will be tagged, searched and played back by anyone who can hack or access this info. Big Brother was nothing; this would be the Big Mother of them all! Privacy at all levels will be compromised. You won’t be allowed to wear them into cinema halls (you can record a movie and ‘share it’ first day first show). Casinos won’t allow them anywhere near the tables (film your blackjack hand and get expert card counting advice), or strip clubs (!!), examination centres or nightclubs. The 5-Point Café in Seattle has already banned the use of Google Glass and has even pasted a sign that says ‘a** kickings will be encouraged for violators’ of the rule. As of now, this technology comes in the form factor of glasses to be worn and is thus easily identifiable. The next version may well be contact lenses – which may make it impossible to know when you’re being observed, studied and filmed. A London-based campaign group ‘Stop The Cyborgs’ are calling for limits on when the glasses can be used – along with guidelines to inform the public when they are being filmed. They want people to ‘actively set social and physical bounds around the use of technologies and not just fatalistically accept the direction technology is heading in’.

While it is by far the most cutting-edge innovation in a long time, it is also the most invasive technological innovation ever conceived

TWO SIDES TO THE COIN

When you look deep into what technology like this represents – it may well be the first time that a technology has come along that represents both sides of the coin in such a dramatic and drastic manner. On the one side, this is by far the most cutting-edge innovation in a very long time; on the other hand, it is also the most invasive technological innovation ever conceived. Put together it may turn the world upside down, one pair of glasses at a time. What do you think about technology like Google Glass? Are you excited by it and would love to wear a pair? If yes, would you be okay if others wore them around you and turned them on you? Write to me on Twitter using the hashtag #glassesmytake. I’ll check out your comments on my Google Glass while filming that wild party tonight. Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

APRIL 21, 2013


WELLNESS

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MIND BODY SOUL SHIKHA SHARMA

BACK FOR GOOD Don’t double over in pain – stand straight and eat right to protect your back

B

ACK PAIN is one of the commonest problems to affect people today. It occurs due to a problem at any of the three core levels of the body. These are: 1. The vertebrae 2. Soft tissues and muscles supporting the spine 3. The nerves To eliminate back pain, it is important to strengthen and support each of these levels.

Guard your bones

are the back and abdominal muscles. These support the spine and are most vital for back health. You must work out regularly to strengthen these muscles. For the proper nutrition of these muscles, eat the right kinds of protein in DIGESTIVE the correct WONDER quantities. This Natural oils should be combined with iron and essential to keep the vitamin C for the nerves best absorption healthy are and an active mefound in olives tabolism. Vegetarians should eat mung sprouts with a dash of lemon juice, boiled black chana, amla, tofu and cottage cheese. Non vegetarians can eat eggs, fish, chicken and the lean portion of meats. For correct absorption of nutrients, an acidalkali balance has to be maintained in the body. This can be attained by eating salads and green vegetables.

Nourish your bones so that there is no weakness within the vertebrae. Eat foods rich in calcium and ensure that your body has adequate stocks of vitamin D. Foods rich in calcium include ragi, sesame seeds, milk, nuts, dairy products and fish. In the absence of a well-balanced diet, take calcium supplements. Calcium is absorbed in the body through the intestine. For its proper absorption, your intestine should be healthy. Also, for calcium to be used by the body, your system needs vitamin D, which is made natGET YOUR urally by sunlight. CALCIUM It is important to HERE wake up early and Sesame seeds, ragi, step out for a jog or milk, nuts brisk walk to imand fish are prove circulation rich in and microcirculacalcium tion of calcium in Nerves of steel every part of the body. In the abThis is the third component to pay sence of this, vitamin D suppleattention to, to prevent back pain. ments are needed. Nerves are nourished by a The bones of the spinal correct balance of multivitaSPROUT cord also need flexibility to POWER mins and natural oils. These ensure the right curvature of A serving of include the B complex family the spine. For this, it is impor- mung (from B1 to B12). A lot of sprouts tant to maintain a correct people suffer from vitamin with lemon posture at all times. Use an B12 deficiency. This can be will nourish ergonomically designed chair corrected by eating yoghurt your and include exercises in your and eggs. You can also take muscles lifestyle to improve flexibility. B12 supplements in case of Yoga and tai chi have several acute deficiencies. Natexercises which help the ural oils essential to back to build flexibility keep the nerves and strength. healthy are also found in flaxseeds, walnuts, Muscle mania almonds, sunflower The next core composeeds and olives. nent to be strengthened ask@drshikha.com Photos: THINKSTOCK

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APRIL 21, 2013


HIGH NOTES

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ALL THAT JAZZ

Play On, Mr Iyer

by Anirudh Bhattacharyya

T

HE AUDIENCE at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had never experienced anything like it. At the end of a multimedia musical performance, one of the performers showered a fistful of gulal on the audience. That was filmmaker Prashant Bhargava, who went on to smear some of the magenta powder on his collaborator, 41-year-old musician Vijay Iyer. It was a fitting finale to the world premiere performance of Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi, performed to an audience of 1,000 people. It was an unusual offering by an Indian American artist. New York-based Iyer, pianist, composer and Grammy nominee, has emerged as a major jazz artist in recent years. He is making a unique mark in a quintessentially American tradition, bringing an Indian flavour to the celebration of a landmark composition in Western classical music. The Radhe Radhe project came about as 15 works were commissioned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. “I thought it would be interesting to

open the conversation a little more, so that it doesn’t just become all about Europe because springtime is a universal experience,” says Iyer. “For us, the most obvious point of reference is Holi.” He enlisted filmmaker Bhargava, who has won acclaim for his 2011 film Patang, which captures the magic of the kite festival in Ahmedabad. The result was the multimedia experience, which had its world premiere on the day of Holi. As Iyer says of the composition: “Some of it sounds like contemporary Western classical music, some of it sounds like folk music, bhajans, some of it has electronic textures in it with a lot of drumming”.

Iyer took to the piano at age six, partly to annoy his sister

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FAMILY ALBUM

Radhe Radhe is just the latest addition to a resume that Iyer has built up over nearly two decades as a musician. But his journey into music was hardly linear. His Tamil parents, Sita and Y Raghunathan, were among the first wave of professional immigrants into America in the 1960s. About seven years after their arrival, he was born in Albany, the capital of New York State. And it was in upstate New York that he was raised – in Rochester. APRIL 21, 2013

Photo: JIMMY KATZ

Vijay Iyer has emerged as one of America’s most admired jazz artists – one with an Indian touch

His father was in the pharmaceuticals industry and his mother was part of the corporate world. Unusually, for an Indian-American child, Vijay Iyer found his groove in music. His first formal instrument was the violin, but by age six, he had taken to the piano, partly to annoy his elder sister who was taking piano lessons as well. The early strains of Carnatic music wafting through his home have stayed with him, though he also appreciates popular music, especially composers like Ilayaraja and, obviously, AR Rahman. Iyer later found himself in the Ivy League, graduating in Mathematics and Physics from Yale University, before completing a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. “I was able to create my own interdisciplinary doctoral programme,” he says, referring to that doctorate in music and cognitive science, a subject he continues to write and lecture about.

HOLI HAI

Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi was a multimedia performance by Iyer

Iyer released his first album in 1995 – Memorophilia. He moved to New York City, married, and saw his career in jazz take off. Iyer’s latest album is Accelerando, released last year, the work of the trio which includes bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore. In its International Critics Poll last year, Downbeat magazine gave top honours to Iyer in an unprecedented five categories, including Jazz Artist of the Year and Pianist of the Year. The Vijay Iyer Trio’s 2009 album, Historicity, bagged a Grammy nomination, and though it didn’t win, it marked a milestone in Iyer’s emergence on the jazz scene. Which means he’s in demand. Given his hectic schedule, Iyer is “afraid to count” the number of days he toured in 2012 (“about 150,” he figures). In between he tries to make time to be home in New York, especially since he has an eight-year-old daughter. It has been a while, almost a decade, since Iyer visited India. But he collaborates frequently with Indian musicians. He often visited India earlier, traversing Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Bangalore, “visiting various relatives and seeing the sights.” As he prepares to play at that celebrated New York venue, Carnegie Hall, in late April, his first time there as a headliner, things can only get better. brunchletters@hindustantimes.com

Photo: CRAIG MARSDEN/PRASHANT BHARGAVA

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IYER’S DESI BEATS Himanshu Suri: Working on a project with this New York frontman of the alternative hip hop act, Das Racist (2013). Radhe Radhe: Multimedia performance based on the celebration of Holi with Prashant Bhargava (2013). Tirtha: A trio featuring guitarist Prasanna and tabla player Nitin Mitta (2011). Ustad Shujaat Khan and Karsh Kale: Live performance with the sitar maestro and the cuttingedge composer (2009). Raw Materials: With IndianAmerican saxophone virtuoso Rudresh Mahanthappa (2006). Manodharma: A trio with Iyer, Mahanthappa and mridangam maestro Trichy Sankaran (2001) Talvin Singh: Appeared on the Indo-Brit composer’s debut album OK (1998)


22

PERSONAL AGENDA

Actor

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Sonam Kapoor BIRTHDAY SUN SIGN PLACE OF BIRTH HOMETOWN SCHOOL/COLLEGE June 9

Gemini

Mumbai

HIGH POINT OF YOUR LIFE

Working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali; and when my father said “I’m really proud of you” after watching Mausam

Mumbai

Arya Vidya Mandir School and University of East London

LOW POINT OF YOUR LIFE FIRST BREAK

When both my grandfathers Sanjay Leela passed away within two years of Bhansali’s each other Saawariya (2007)

CURRENTLY I AM...

The brand ambassador of India International Jewellery Week

If you weren’t an actress you would have been... Bollywood’s most romantic pairs over the years. I would have been a writer and a director. Dilip Kumar and Madhubala; Anil Kapoor I will be that one day. and Madhuri Dixit; and Shah Rukh Khan Sexiest people in Bollywood. and Kajol. Farhan Akhtar and Katrina Kaif. Three skincare products you can’t do without. Whose style sense have you admired Moisturiser, Glam Shine lip gloss and White over the years? Perfect cream from L’Oreal. Internationally, I have looked A dessert that describes you. up to Elizabeth Taylor and Crème brûlée – soft from inside. Audrey Hepburn. I feel that Five musts in your wardrobe. Jaya Bachchan has a Boyfriend jeans, a little black dress, a crisp good sense of style, white shirt, a chiffon sari and a string of which she has passed pearls. on to Shweta also. AN ITEM NUMBER Your idea of a great weekend. An Indian man, apart Spending time with family and YOU WOULD from your father, who you friends anywhere away from LOVE TO DO. Mumbai. think is very stylish. My buddy, If you could ask for any talent or skill, Imran Khan. And what would it be? Amitabh I wish I could sing. Bachchan as The best thing about Delhi is... well. I love Delhi and constantly keep What kind of jewellery do you like? coming here as I have family and friends I love traditional Indian jewellery – here. I also love it for the food and the sense both necklaces as well as earrings. of space the city offers. I prefer to go in for statement Your favourite junk food to snack on in Delhi. pieces. I love going to Paranthe Wali Gali and I also Directors you want to work with. enjoy chole kulche and even dahi bhalla. Shimit Amin, Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Tell us one thing nobody knows about you. Basu and Anurag Kashyap. I’m a cleanliness freak. I am very particular One classic movie you would about the way things should be. have loved to be a part of. How do you destress? Guide. I am a huge fan of Hanging out with my dogs and spending Dev Anand and time with my nani. Waheeda Rehman. The last line of your autobiography would read… Your dream She lived life and lived every second, every destination. minute of every day. Japan.

Any of Helen’s numbers

— Interviewed by Veenu Singh

Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke

WHICH FILM BASED ON A BOOK DO YOU LIKE?

I’m not in favour of turning books into films APRIL 21, 2013

Photo: ROHAN SHRESTHA

THE MOST PAISA-VASOOL FILM?

No Entry

A MOVIE THAT WAS A PART OF YOUR CHILDHOOD?

Mr. India

my movies

THE FILM YOU HAVE WATCHED MORE THAN FIVE TIMES?


Hindustantimes Brunch 21 April 2013  

Hindustantimes Brunch 21 April 2013

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