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WEEKLY MAGAZINE, AUGUST 21, 2011 Free with your copy of Hindustan Times

For the Internet generation, travel is more about the journey than the destination

14, E, AUGUST Times WEEKLY MAGAZIN copy of Hindustan


Free with your

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Who says high fashion needs to be confined to the glossiness of the ramp? We took it to the dusty lanes of Old Delhi for Brunch Quarterly’s fashion shoot. Grab it now!

Filmi home truths

On a blazing hot day in the gallis of Purani Dilli, a romance ignites between the latest of fashion trends – hot colours – and the shades of the area’s Mughal past. The combination? Fiery! Take a look.

The New Travellers

We’re Logged On Sarah Khan Dis week’s cover story.truly awesum.unity in diversity+a depict of india's progress.hats off!!! Arjumand Shayan Liked the article " Whose India is it anyway?" by Jonathan Gill......really amazing to describe the changes in a decade by two Movies..



Swati Dhawan I fully agree with Seema Goswami. Almost every dance/singing show, children are treated with sexualisation. their dressing gets attraction immediatly. nd most dirty mind people also look for these stuff in children around them. Ali Naqvi Toufiq Rashid's article on 'The committed Indian' was great .It shows that there are people who follows that religion which they want to, lives at place where they want and also do social work for youth. Joe Mann Happy Independence Day, Jai Hind!

Calling All Tweeple @mrrajatkapoor The Brunch article i was talking about is by Jonathan Gil Harris.. It has some rare insights. @idis16 today's edition of brunch was exciting!!!!! had great fun reading completed my day!!! @iamlaksmi Brunch has become Health conscious and Beauty conscious! @Mittermaniac Did you get a chance to see today's HT Brunch? India wants to visit North East! @_nirmalya @RajivMakhni exactly my reason for optin out of blackberry. Wakeup call for BB @vishaltaunk @RajivMakhni Excellent peice of article of love mobiles .please review BBB 4


It’s The Tote That Counts

You know about choosing clothes to flatter your figure. But what about your bag? PERSONAL AGENDA


More Than A Drink

A synonym for good life, champagne is more rewarding when had as a wine PLAY



UltraBooks – A Story Of Betrayal, Danger, Risk And World Domination It’s ambitious and dazzlingly dangerous

The celebrity fashion designer talks about his impatience, an alternate name and why he feels his body is not sexy enough!


Jiving With Gypsies

A ‘demented’ band named Gogol Bordello, indie rock and punk-laced pop LIVE

Pink or Blue

It’s now possible to tell the sex of a foetus at 7 weeks – should we be checking?

BRUNCH ON THE WEB Check out our weekly bloggers! POINT, CLICK, SNAP! The HT Brunch Photo Contest

The Weekly Khamba: RJ’s Secret Dossier: Raving, ranting and more. The myth, the icon, the Watch out – he bites avenging force

Pagal Papers: Comic Relief: Incisive insights from Fak- ‘Rezi Vastav’ by comic ing News’ Pagal Patrakar artist Rajneesh Kapoor!

Even though we WE declared the photo contest over last week, LOVED IT your tremendous response TOO! on Facebook is heartening. So, as we declare the last results, we sign off with a promise of more exciting developments in the future. Log on to for more! Turn to page 6 for last week’s winners

And an all-access-pass to your favourite stories from this and past Brunch issues!

Write to For marketing and ad-related queries, contact Suresh Tripathi 09818899646




Sightseeing? Shopping? Those are outdated reasons to travel, says the Internet generation. Now, going on holiday is all about the‘experience’.

EDITORIAL: Poonam Saxena (Editor), Kushalrani Gulab (Deputy Editor); Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Mignonne Dsouza, Veenu Singh, Parul Khanna Tewari, Pranav Dixit, Yashica Dutt, Amrah Ashraf

THE BRUNCH Independence Day issue contained some of the most interesting features I have come across in a magazine and I would like to congratulate the team for being able to put in such thought-provoking articles in just 22 pages! I especially liked the way in which Jonathan Gil Harris (Whose India Is It Anyway, Aug 14) used Aamir Khan’s films as a kaleidoscope for a fresh look on how India has changed in the last decade. The analysis on the changing outlook of India’s middle and upper classes towards the less privileged by using scenes from the movies was quite original. And probably we would have never noticed this trend unless it was put so succinctly by the writer. All in all, this edition of Brunch provided great reading and I am sure many of your readers will carry these thoughts in their minds as India celebrates its Independence Day! — SAIKAT CHAKRABORTY, Ghaziabad THE ARTICLE by Prof. Jonathan Gil Harris titled (Whose India is it anyway, Aug 14) was very engaging in terms of the sociological interpretation it etched. The sociological highlights concerning the characters, their implications on society and films, and the changing societal norms over the past decade were simply superb. I especially liked his commentary of the last scene from Peepli Live. His article highlights the changing sociology vis-à-vis the rules of urban development, dynamics in the class structure, the divide and influence of multiplexes and single-screen theatres versus the class structure of moviegoers, etc. Such social commentaries on our films vis-à-vis Indian society are few and far between. My compliments to Prof. Harris — RITUPARNA MAJUMDAR, via email

Family drama

I ENJOYED reading the cover story (Being Indian, Aug 14). It got me under the skin of various families, from different regions and rich backgrounds. It was like reading a novel with beautifully etched, interesting characters, accompanied by a compelling story to tell. A picture speaks a thousand words, and rightly the pictures helped the story telling in such a way that I kept on looking at them whilst reading the stories, and totally envying them. Well written. Loved it. — SNEHA MASELKAR, via email

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


Cover design: Ashutosh Sapru Cover image: Thinkstock



CARRY ON A fitting accessory to beautiful saris

MOSAIC MUSINGS Dull red canvas gets lit by saris





his contest has worked as a wonderful bridge between us and you. You invited us into your homes and lives by sending us your beautiful pictures, and they certainly brightened up our Facebook page! And while some of you expressed disappointment at the decision of ending the contest, we’re equally sad to see it end. For the last time, Hindustan Times National Photo Editor, T Narayan, sat down to choose the final five winning entries for ‘Saris’ – Rohon Ghosh, Virag Gokhale, Akhilesh Raj, Mansi Parekh and Nilesh Shah. Congratulations! Winners, send your addresses to to receive your annual subscription to Brunch Quarterly and become eligible for the grand prize! VIRAG We will be contacting all of you soon and GOKHALE the grand prize winner will be declared STANDING TALL next week. So, keep checking Grace and poise to pose together know what’s coming next! 6


MANSI PAREKH FLY AWAY Six yards, as carefree as they can be

AKHILESH RAJ SPREAD OUT Displayed in all its colourful glory





the new

ON THE ROAD: Exoterra’s driving holidays include accommodation

Sightseeing? Shopping? Those are outdated reasons to travel, says the Internet generation. Now, going on holiday is all about the ‘experience’ by Kushalrani Gulab


S YOU read this, Mahek Shahani, a partner at the handbag label Princesse K, is probably running around like a maniac, packing for her longheld dream: a trip to Argentina and Peru. The 25-year-old Mumbaikar will leave in a few days to put a Latin-American spin on the Spanish she’s been learning in Mumbai, and also to twirl and twist, Buenos Aires street-style, in less formal versions of the Latin ballroom dances she’s also been learning. Because for Shahani, Argentina means more than just a holiday. It’s meant to be a learning experience too – literally. “Peru will be more of a backpacking holiday, but in Argentina, I’ve signed up for classes in Spanish – I want to learn a new aspect of the language – and classes in social dancing,” says Shahani, bubbling over with excitement. “The tango originated in Argentina; I want to dance it the way they do. So I’m also staying at a tango-themed hotel. Aside from the décor, it also organises classes and workshops.”


LOCAL FLAVOUR: Avani Patel of Broken Compass with the ladies of Jodhpur

Like Shahani, all across the country, a new kind of traveller is emerging. This person is usually in his 20s or early 30s; she usually thinks of travel as more about doing and participating than merely seeing; he is usually curious about other cultures and ways of living; she usually wants to take herself out of her comfort zone and see what else she can find out about herself; he knows what he’s interested in and looking for and goes all out to focus on that on his travels; she would commit suicide if you called her a tourist and not a traveller – that’s after killing you first. We’ve said ‘usually’ a lot in the paragraph above. That’s because it’s impossible to generalise and say that everyone thinks of travel like this these days. But enough people (usually committed travellers themselves) have noticed that travel seems to have acquired a new dimension in the last few years, and these people have responded by putting their money, effort and time where their beliefs are. So in the last few years, a huge variety of small travel companies have come up,

SAY CHEERS! The group that travelled on a Trips to Click photography holiday to Ladakh

catering to the new traveller. Which means that, these days, you could take off to the Himalayas not only to trek, raft or mountain climb, but also to star gaze, accompanied by someone who’ll make the skies meaningful for you. Or you could whizz into the jungles not only to track big cats, but also to watch swarms of fireflies dance. Or… anything. You could do on your holiday anything you desire, whether you’re travelling alone, travelling with friends, or travelling with family, whether you’ve got money to burn or you’re more broke than a mirror that’s fallen off the wall.









Set up by Harshit and Anjani Merchant, Exoterra organises driving holidays through some of the country’s most gorgeous places. It’s group travel, but you go in your own car in a loose convoy, and the company organises everything from accommodation when there’s nothing suitable on the road, to snacks while driving and breakdown services

travellers IT’S A SNAP!: Ladakh as seen by Parthiva Nag of Trips to Click

The key word, however, is ‘do’. Because the new traveller isn’t interested only in seeing. She or he wants to make travel an experience of some sort, so outside exploration also turns into an inward journey.


NO WORRIES: Keith Menon lives the AWOL life in Bhandara


“As a kid, I only went on package holidays with my parents,” says 26-year-old Smriti Ahuja who works on social projects and is a co-founder of Absent With/out Leave (AWOL), a venture that encourages young people to travel across the country, living only on R1,000 a week – inclusive of everything. “Even now, my parents prefer that kind of holiday. But I get no sense of place from a package tour, so I began to travel on my own.” Ahuja has backpacked in India and abroad, and prefers to go places with minimal planning – she’d rather just arrive somewhere and take things from there. It’s a great way to really get to know a place, she says, because you have to find your own way around and so you notice everything. That’s the thinking behind AWOL, which she set up together with 25-yearold social entrepreneur Keith Menon, also a relentless traveller who likes to take off around the country, living on as

DRIVING FORCE Harshit and Anjani Merchant of Exoterra take a road trip break in Himachal Pradesh

little as possible to experience a way of life that is out of the ordinary for the middle class. AWOL is not a travel company. In fact, it’s another of Menon’s social concerns (Menon is also a co-founder of the eco-awareness campaign, Batti Bandh). Low budget travel, they believe, can be therapeutic, and so every month, AWOL plans to equip two young travellers suffering from quarterlife crises with R1,000 a week, a laptop and Internet connection and a mobile phone, so they can take off for three months, explore any part of the country they like and

blog about it as they go. “Living on a small budget really takes you to another place,” says Menon. “You have to get out of yourself and ask other people for help – ask for lifts, ask for a place to stay, ask for advice. You have to survive with what you’ve got, and if you’ve spent all you’ve got already, then you have to get by somehow. If you manage to get by, then you know something more about yourself than you probably did when you set off.” Knowing something about yourself is precisely what drives 25-year-old Akshai Narian, a former corporate executive who now works with the Teach for India foundation in Delhi, to travel. In fact, it was all his introspective travel – including volunteering at the Osho Ashram in Pune rather than signing up for a ‘work as meditation’ course, and staying at Buddhist monasteries in Thailand, that inspired Narain to give up the corporate life and seek another way of living. “Like most people, I travelled as a child with my parents who were complete opposites in what they wanted from a holiday,” says Narain. “On our vacations my mother would insist on going to all the tourist spots and my father would say, ‘we’re here to relax’ and not want to move out of the hotel.








Having planned holidays for friends and family for years, travel enthusiasts Manjari Verma and Avani Patel finally quit their day jobs and set up Broken Compass that customises travel for you based on your travel profile (gauged from a questionnaire they ask you to fill), your budget and your time, wherever you want to go and whatever you want to do

More and more people are taking up photography as a hobby because they can show off their pictures on social networking sites. Professional photographer Parthiva Nag saw the opportunity and set up Trips to Click which organises photography group tours to places like Ladakh and Pushkar, where Nag shows the group how to take great pictures

This is not a travel company, more of a social concern, set up by Keith Menon and Smriti Ahuja to help people aged between 21 and 28 get through their quarterlife crises. Absent With/out Leave sorts through applications from youngsters, and every month, selects two people to take off on three-month trips within the country, living only on R1,000 a week 9

Over time, I realised that neither of these extremes suited me. If I’m going out, it’s because I want to know about the place I’m in. I should experience the place in a way that makes me understand myself. And that’s how I started my kind of travel.” In his first year of college, Narian revisited a small hill town he’d earlier gone to with his parents. He went alone and stayed for 10 days. “I just roamed around and let things soak in,” he says. “It was the first time I was really on my own, and I learned about the real world. Wandering around an unfamiliar environment, I also understood my own familiar environment, things about my life that I hadn’t valued earlier. It made me go back home with a greater sense of belonging.”

BRIGHT LIGHTS & BEER Trips Gone Crazy take travellers clubbing and to places with festivals and events like the Oktoberfest in Munich


Travel however, is as much about personality as anything else is, and so the low-budget life isn’t attractive to everyone. Certainly not to Sohil Modi, owner of a textiles business, who usually travels abroad and enjoys adventure sports, but who was intrigued enough by the premise of the brand new travel company, Trips Gone Crazy, to sign up with his fiancée and two other couples for a party holiday. “It seems interesting to go on a holiday that’s not about regular sightseeing, but about nightlife and clubbing,” says Modi. “We’ll be going to Barcelona and Ibiza. In Barcelona, people usually go and see the famous church, but that’s not why we’ll be there.” Trips Gone Crazy was co-founded by young Mumbai-based businessmen Akhilesh Lakhotia and Chirag Khandelwal, both of whom went to college in the UK and were very taken by a nightlife scene that included vacations to places like Ibiza only for the clubbing. “Youngsters in the West usually have a party holiday once a year, and we saw a big market for that in India,” says





It’s all about partying and nightlife for this brand new travel company set up by Akhilesh Lakhotia and Chirag Khandelwal. Trips Gone Crazy organises group trips to places known for nightclubs, such as Ibiza and Berlin, and also takes in festivals like Germany’s Oktoberfest 10

Khandelwal. Adds Lakhotia, “The concept of clubbing is opening up here – lots of international DJs perform in India, there are festivals like Sunburn and performances at live music places like Blue Frog. People are very aware of world music, and know who the best DJs are. So why not go to a place like Ibiza, where the world’s best DJs play at massive clubs which are the best in the world?” Trips Gone Crazy’s first trip is taking off next week to Ibiza. On the cards are other trips, such as to Munich for the Oktoberfest followed by clubbing in Berlin. “Though we don’t specify any age


group, we expect that 90 per cent of the people who will sign up for our trips will be aged between 21 and 35,” says Khandelwal. Adds Lakhotia: “These days people are looking for different things when they travel. We have spending power in India now, and so people are looking at party trips, bachelor trips and all kinds of trips.”


This attitude to travel couldn’t have come about if it weren’t for the Internet, says Keith Menon of AWOL. “Everything is on Google these days,” he says. “There are very few areas you can’t find out anything about, and that opens up travel for everyone.” The Internet is how Mahek Shahani put together her tango trip to Argentina and Peru. And the Internet is what makes 33-year-old Jigmar Parmar, who


And here’s the interesting thing. Sharing experiences on the Net has led to another kind of holiday option altogether – travel for the purpose of photography. And professional photographers have spotted this as a good opportunity – you can lead a group of amateurs keen on photography on a tour of a scenic place, mentor them along the way – and get to travel yourself. That’s what 24-year-old film school graduate and professional photographer Parthiva Nag has done with his travel company, Trips to Click. “I’ve always loved travelling, ever since I can remem-



— MANJARI VERMA, co-founder, Broken Compass

ber, so I put two and two together and came up with Trips to Click,” he says. “Most people take pictures when they travel and like to post them on the Net, so even as a hobby, they want to take good pictures. Ten years ago, something like Trips to Click couldn’t have existed – there was no platform to share pictures with friends. But today, photography is a great motivator for travel.” Of course, not everything is about sharing. Akshai Narain doesn’t travel to blog or tweet, he travels because he loves to. Mumbai-based HR professional and filmmaking aspirant Anand Sirwani so loves the idea of knowing the world and everything around him that he

takes off whenever he can, on one occasion even motorcycling to Ahmedabad in a day. “And when I can’t, I buy the R25 all-access bus pass in Mumbai and explore the city,” he grins. And that’s Sirwani’s point. For the new traveller, travel is about exploring. It could be about trying to see something already familiar to you – such as the city you live in – from a different perspective. Or it could be plain old-fashioned exploring. Just curiosity to see where this road you’ve never been on could lead you, says Harshit Merchant, co-founder of Exoterra which organises driving holidays in your own car, complete with everything, including tents for camping out at places where no hotels are available. This is not only for business, but because Merchant loves driving and exploring. “India really has tremendous stuff,” he says. “But you don’t see it till you get off the highways, take the bad roads and go through villages. People want to go to Goa, but if you want a beach holiday, I can tell you of beaches so secluded, you could go skinny-dipping.” If travel is all about the experience, how is an ‘experience’ defined? Here’s what Merchant has to say: “If you were interested in visiting Leh, Ladakh, you could fly there. You could stay at the same hotel as I will, you could rent a car and drive on the same roads that I do. But if I went to Leh, I’d drive there, from Delhi or Chandigarh. When you enter Ladakh by road, you see things you’d never have seen from the air. You experience the journey as well as the destination.” And you remember it, all of it. That’s an ‘experience’. That’s what the new travellers are after.


— SMRITI AHUJA, cofounder, Absent With/out Leave (AWOL) PHOTO: KEITH MENON


works in real estate, really happy when he’s planning holidays with his wife and baby daughter. “I do a lot of online research when I plan our trips, on the place, things to do, restaurants and so on, and I have to say, I love the research almost as much as I love the actual travel,” he says somewhat sheepishly. “Travel for us is more than just see, see, shop. I want to experience the culture, the food, wine, people,” he says. “I’m also a certified scuba diver and love adventure sports, so I make it a point to do one crazy thing every time I travel. It’s all about pushing myself to the limit. And then, when I’m tired, to relax with an excellent meal with local wine, in a place that’s all about local flavour.” Curiosity is what motivates Parmar to travel – there’s a big world out there and he wants to see as much of it as he can. And it’s people just like Parmar – experimental travellers – who motivated 20something travel enthusiasts Manjari Verma, a former advertising professional, and Avani Patel, a former marine biologist, to stop dreaming about it and actually set up their own travel company – Broken Compass, a company that customises travel for you, exactly the way you want it, wherever you want to do it, whatever your budget. “Both of us often planned holidays for family and friends, and we’d get really irritated to see people go off to the typical places and do typical things,” says Verma. Adds Patel: “And when we’d come back with our trips with photos and experiences, the same people would say, but how? How have you come back with this?” How Patel and Verma ‘came back with this’ is a combination of openmindedness and research. “There’s keenness and curiosity about travel, but a great lack of knowledge,” says Verma. “Sometimes people ask us to organise a trip to the US or Switzerland, and then when we tell them what else they could do, there is keenness. People are open to experimenting with holidays now.” And that’s where the Internet comes in again, says Patel. When people like the Broken Compass duo post photos and write blogs about their travels, they attract people who had no idea that they could also travel like that. This creates interest, so more people travel, and more people share their experiences on the Internet, which gets other people interested in travel and so on.


– PARTHIVA NAG, photographer and founder, Trips to Click



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More Than A Drink

A synonym for the good life and the taste of luxury around the world, champagne is far more rewarding when you drink it as a wine


rude drink

Vir Sanghvi

CHEERS! Champagne is an idea, much more than it is a drink

GOOD STUFF Salon, owned by Laurent Perrier, is among the best Blanc de Blancs


ORE THAN any other wine, champagne is an idea, much more than it is a drink. Over the centuries, it has been imbued with so many mystical qualities that it is sometimes hard to separate the myth from the wine. It has become a synonym for the good life (“a champagne lifestyle”), for celebrations (we pop champagne at birthdays, wedding etc.), and the taste of luxury around the world. Because of all this, we often forget that – shorn of all the hype – champagne is essentially just a wine. The champagne growers themselves never forget this, of course. And so champagne is subject to the strictest controls. By law (accepted in most of the world) the term champagne can only be applied to a sparkling wine, fermented in the bottle, made in the Champagne region of France. If you were to make wine in exactly the same way, using exactly the same grapes in say, Australia, you would not be allowed to call it champagne. And even in France, if you made the same wine in Lyon, it would not be champagne but a mere sparkling wine. Despite the fanaticism of the Champagne industry in protecting the name and despite

the nature of celebrations associated with champagne, it is actually worth looking at the wine itself. Though we, in India, don’t often treat champagne as anything more than a pop at a party, it is actually an exceptional wine, made with care, patience and skill. Certainly, making champagne is much more difficult than making a normal red or white still wine. And while most French wine wisdom is about terroir (the soil, the exact location of the vineyard, the micro-climate etc.) champagne is about method and blending as much as it is about terroir. The making of champagne itself is almost absurdly complicated. There are about 80-85,000 acres of vineyards, of which 80-90 per cent are owned by 15,000 small growers. The champagne houses include the huge famous names (Moet et Chandon, Mumm, Canard-Duchene, Laurent Perrier, Louis Roederer etc.) but also dozens of small, artisanal producers who few people have heard of. Some houses own their own vineyards (Roederer makes a majority of its champagne from its own grapes) but most (Moet et Chandon, for instance) buy grapes from outside producers. Most champagne is a blend of three grapes, one of them white – Chardonnay – and two of them black: Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. (To make white wine from black grapes – usually used for red wine – you simply limit the contact the wine has with the grape skins.) The grapes are ferIT’S PARTY TIME The big boy, Moet et Chandon, makes millions of bottles of largely indifferent wine that few French wine-lovers would order out of choice


indulge BEST WORK At Louis Roederer (makers of Cristal), quality and excellence are paramount

COLOUR ME PINK My favourite Rose of all, Laurent Perrier, gets its delicate brilliance from maceration


mented individually in steel vats (usually, wood can be used too). When the sugar has turned into alcohol, the wine is blended and put into bottles along with small quantities of sugar and yeast. The wine then ferments again in the bottle with the yeast giving it the aromas and character we associate with champagne. But because the yeast leaves a sediment, each bottle is carefully rotated (by hand or machine) for several days till the yeast sediment gathers at the neck. Then, the neck of the bottle is dipped in an ice-cold solution of brine. This causes the yeast sediment to freeze; the cap is opened; the frozen sediment is removed; a liquid called the “dosage” consisting of wine and sugar is added; and the bottle is re-corked with the distinctive champagne cork and wine cage. All champagne is then aged in the bottle for anywhere from 15 months to 20 years before being sold. If you think that sounds complicated, there’s more. When you buy a bottle of non-vintage champagne (the normal kind) you expect it to taste the same as a bottle of the same brand that you bought two years ago. But the quality of grapes changes with each harvest. So how is a champagne house to ensure the same quality and style year after year? The answer lies in the skill of the wine-maker. Each year, he makes a similar wine relying on “reserve wines” or wines from previous vintages which are stored in the cellar and then mixed with the new harvest to create a blend that never varies. All this costs money and takes time; one reason why champagne is so expensive. I had been to Champagne years ago but when I went back last week, I was surprised by how much things had changed. I visited as many houses as I could pack into three days: Moet et Chandon,




Laurent Perrier, Canard-Duchene, Louis Roederer, Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot and Lancelot-Pienne. What struck me was how much champagne had become a marketed global product. The big boy now is Moet et Chandon which makes millions of bottles of largely indifferent wine that few French wine-lovers would order out of choice but which is perfectly acceptable (and drinkable) if offered at a party or a reception. Its stable-mate, Veuve Clicquot, makes wine that is marginally better (though I was very disappointed by its prestige cuvee Grande Dame) but is sold mostly on the basis of marketing all over the world to people who do not know a great deal about champagne (which was not true two decades ago). On the other hand, there are large houses which have clung on to their traditions. I tasted many of his family house’s offerings with Clovis Taittinger and was impressed by the mixture of tradition and innovation. Such houses as Taittinger have hit the export market without relying on marketing to make up for poor quality and have focused on making great wine. At Louis Roederer (makers of Cristal), it was like visiting a Michelin-starred restaurant: quality and excellence were paramount even though Roederer has to cater to a disparate market ranging from Russian oligarchs to rappers. (There is a great story in the marketing of very expensive nightclub champagne – but I’ll do another full column on it.) Houses that were once regarded as so-so have suddenly upped their game. When LVMH (owners of Moet, Clicquot, Dior, Givenchy and nearly everything else!) ran Canard-Duchene, they treated it as their supermarket brand. Now, under new owners, Canard has gone upmarket. I tried its range of Charles VII wines and was astonished by the quality of many of them. I discovered also that champagne is broadening its range. Once upon a time, we focused only on the basic non-vintage (say Moet et Chandon Brut Imperial) and the prestige cuvee (in Moet’s case, Dom Perignon), but now, houses are paying more attention to Blanc de Blanc and Rose champagne because consumers are educated enough to go beyond the basics. While traditional champagne blends three grapes, Blanc de Blanc is a lighter style made with 100 per cent Chardonnay. It is more refreshing and can be excellent (Salon, owned by Laurent Perrier, is among the best Blanc de Blancs). At Roederer, they make very little Blanc de Blanc and sell it directly to gastronomic restaurants giving it a rarity value. At Canard, I enjoyed a Charles VII Blanc de Noir made only from black grapes (70 per cent Pinot Noir and 30 per cent of Meunier) with no Chardonnay at all. Unlike Blanc de Blancs which makes a wonderful aperitif, Blanc de Noirs are serious wines to drink with food. (I think they work with Indian food.) Rose champagne had its highs (as pink champagne) in the 20th century and then fell out of flavour. Now, it is back with a bang. There are two ways of making it, both entirely legitimate. The wine-maker either simply adds a little still red wine (which gives the champagne its colour) to the champagne. Or he keeps the wine in contact with the grape skins for just long enough to give it a delicate pink tinge and flavour, a process that is called maceration. The simpler Rose, which is made by blending still red wine with champagne, can range from drinkable (Moet Rose) to very good. But my favourite Rose of all, Laurent Perrier, gets its delicate brilliance from maceration. Louis Roederer Rose, also made by maceration, can be excellent. There are, I think, two ways of drinking champagne. You drink it for the idea (in which case, it doesn’t matter what you drink: Moet or Clicquot are fine) or you drink it as a wine. If you choose the latter course, then your path is more difficult because – as I discovered last week – there is so much to learn and appreciate. But it is also more rewarding.


A GOOD MIX I tasted many of his family house's offerings with Clovis Taittinger (below) and was impressed by the mixture of tradition and innovation

NEW AVATAR Under new owners, Canard-Duchene has gone upmarket. I tried its range of Charles VII wines and was astonished by the quality of many of them

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UltraBooks – A Story Of Betrayal, Danger, Risk And World Domination


Rajiv Makhni

FIVE STAR Ultrabooks have top notch features like glass trackpads and chicklet keyboards

Taking on opponents like the Tablet and the Netbook, the UltraBook is sweepingly ambitious and dazzlingly dangerous


HERE COMES a time in every company’s life, when you need to take the bull by the horns. Playing safe is not an option, a safety harness must be dispensed with and almost everything that you do is fraught with blinding danger. Such is the gamble with the UltraBook. It’s the creation of a new breed, a completely new category of computing. And it’s taking on formidable opponents. It’s trying to take down the Tablet market, the large-screen smartphone, the Netbook and also the ultra-thin Notebook. Like I said – it’s sweepingly ambitious and dazzlingly dangerous.


There’s a story to tell here and a story that has all the elements. Friendship, loyalty, betrayal, losses, risky manoeuvres and an ambitious world domination plan. Let me start from the start. Intel and Microsoft have always been friends, in fact more like friends with benefits, and have been sleeping together for a long, long time. Having hitched an extremely profitable ride together on the Windows PC platform, they both missed the bus completely on smartphones and Tablets. Intel took the worst hit as it was completely left out to dry as Microsoft repeatedly screwed up on Tablets and made mistake after mistake on the Windows Mobile platform. Intel rivals AMD and ARM sucked up this space and basically Intel had nothing to show for it. Tablets and smartphones then started phase II of this; both up and started to cannibalise the very market Intel had dominated. Sales of Netbooks and Notebooks were being eroded in favour of the dazzling power of the Tablets and the continued onslaught of the smartphone. Intel needed to break this albatross gathering around its neck.


Enter the UltraBook, a from-the-ground-up reinvention of the Notebook. This is a serious piece of equipment and Intel owns it all. Intel announced a new platform, a new category, with specifications set only by it, a name trademarked only to it, a category that would use only its processors and a barrage of hardware manufacturers that would sing only to Intel’s tunes. The UltraBook would have the features of a Tablet, beat the lightness of the MacBook Air, dramatically reduce the price of premium ultra-thins and have the power of a desktop.


Intel’s specifications for an UltraBook are jaw-dropping. It has to be ultra-thin (less than 20 mm and around 17 mm, which beats the pants off anything in the market right now), have amazing response time (thus requiring a Solid State hard drive, finally making SSDs mainstream), will have the instant-on capability of Tablets and a


resume of two seconds or less (eventualCOMPETITION CRUSHER ly it wants it to be instant flash on like The UltraBook would have smartphones). Battery life is a full day’s the features of a Tablet, and will hit around 14 hours or so and the beat the lightness of the processor used will be the all-new uberMacBook Air, dramatically powerful Sandy Bridge now, and even reduce the price of premimore high-power-low-voltage iterations um ultra-thins and have in the future. Unlike current Notebooks the power of a desktop where you power on and then wait for things to update, ultraBooks will have an always connected experience where everything happens even when it’s asleep. Thus your emails, your Facebook notifications, Twitter messages – all will be downloaded in the background and ready for you as soon as you hit the resume button. Form factor and build and materials used are all top notch. Glass trackpads, magnesium alloy bodies, backlit chicklet keyboards, full ports like USB 3.0 and HDMI – this is pretty much a super sweet machine. Then Intel completes the last piece of the puzzle. Prices will have to be kept below the magic $999 to start with and brought down to $599 in about a year or so. Intel then predicts that ultraBooks will own 40 per cent of the market. For so much machine and those specs and looks – I find that a very easy target and market share to achieve.


But (yes, there is a major but here) there are roadblocks to these ambitions. Roadblocks that can derail the entire UltraBook dream. Specifying and owning a category doesn’t mean that hardware vendors will fall in line and do as you bid. This is where Intel had brainwave number two and set up a $300 million fund to assist in the R&D and development of the UltraBook. Yet, that may not be enough. Building these ultraBooks will be a costly proposition in the beginning and most of the brands want a share of marketing and subsidisation to be paid by Intel, as well as a lowering of the cost of the CPU. Another issue comes from the aggression of the Netbook market. Intel can’t ignore its earlier commitments and price points of $199 are on the cards for Netbooks with the new Intel Atom processors. This can hurt the UltraBook. Then there is the vicious onslaught from its rivals who also have similar plans and ambitions. These guys have tasted blood in other categories and are all set for the kill in the Notebook world too. This is a mouth-watering new category and one that must see the light of day. It’s a consumer dream machine and an idea whose time has come. Intel must continue to not only take the bull by the horns, but also wrestle it to the ground. From the dust of that battle shall emerge the next generation of computing. The UltraBook! Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at




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UNITED WE STAND The nine-member Gogol Bordello band has elements of East European gypsy music, western punk and alternative rock

Jiving With Gypsies

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Sanjoy Narayan

A ‘demented’ band named Gogol Bordello, indie rock, spunky punk-laced pop and more


F YOU’VE ever heard Gogol Bordello play, particularly at one of their adrenalin charged live concerts, the last thing you’ll do is classify them as folk musicians. This nine-member band from New York’s gritty Lower East Side is raucous and boisterous and I’ve seen them described somewhere as “demented”. After listening to a couple of live recordings, I wouldn’t dream of calling their gypsy infused, non-stop, high-energy performances folk music, at least not by the conventional yardstick of what that genre represents. Their music has elements of East European gypsy music, western punk and alternative rock. Not surprisingly, Gogol Bordello, led by frontman and singer Eugene Hütz, an Ukrainian-American, is described as a gypsy-punk band. I’ll tell you why I mentioned the folk music genre in a few seconds but first a bit about Gogol Bordello. Gogol Bordello frequently put on bizarre costumes and put up ribald, even debauched, acts. Hütz has fiddlers, guitarists, accordionists and drummers and percussionists to provide the fast-paced background to his often surreal lyrics and rambunctious stage shows – one of them featured immigrant Ukrainian vampires armed with supernatural powers! Two good albums from Gogol Bordello to try out: Live from Axis Mundi and Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strikes. And two songs to listen to (they’re on those albums): Alcohol and Think Locally, Fuck Globally. Both typify the swagger and exuberant fun that these guys have. Now for that folk thing I mentioned at the beginning. On the last weekend of July, Gogol Bordello played at this year’s Newport Folk Festival, a historic folk music fest that has been on for the past 52 years. Newport has a hoary past: not only has it catapulted legends such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez to fame, it has also had the dubious distinction of seeing a booing audience of enraged purists when Dylan turned electric on stage in 1965. It is a similar breed of purists that has been lamenting what they think is the dilution of the ‘folk DUALITY quotient’ at Newport every year in Twins Tegan & the past decade. That reaction isn’t Sara are a surprising because in recent years, spunky punkthe picturesquely set Newport fest laced pop band has hosted indie rock and pop musicians, making for a more eclectic mix of genres rather than sticking to the strictly folk. Purveyors of blues, rock and even punk are not uncommon on the stages that make up Newport’s two-day oeuvre of gigs. This year, Gogol Bordello may have rocked the stage with their characteristic offering of punk laced with East European gypsy music but they

MELTING POT Middle Brother is a sort of super folk band that is made up of members drawn from three bands – Dawes, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit

weren’t alone. The Decemberists, Portland’s indie rockers, were back, as was veteran punk rocker Elvis Costello. But there were also the veterans. Pete Seeger, who’s probably never missed a single year (he’s 92), and Earl Scruggs (87) were there, on occasion even sitting in with musicians a quarter of their age! I wasn’t in Newport. I was nowhere near that Rhode Island destination, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. But thousands of miles away, thanks to the Internet, I caught many of the archived concerts of this year just a few days after the festival. It was a treat filled with discoveries. I got to hear so many new artists. The sweet harmonies of Joy Williams and John Paul White who call themselves The Civil Wars; or the folk with a kick delivered by Middle Brother, a sort of super folk band that is made up of members drawn from three bands – Dawes, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit; I heard Tegan & Sara, twins from Canada, who are actually a spunky punk-laced pop band but who held the Newport audience in thrall. I discovered so many other new outfits: Brown Bird, an unknown band who may get their recognition after their stellar performance at Newport – they blend Americana with Eastern European sounds (ahem, but they’re miles away from the raucousness of Gogol B!); rustic sounding The Cave Singers; the high-speed sound of punkish bluegrass band (and what a name they have!), Trampled By Turtles – if you like The Avett Brothers, you will surely like these guys. There were so many more. And they’re all out there for you to explore. Just visit Martha’s Vineyard Radio or NPR (links on the web version of Download Central) and you can have a blast. To give feedback, stream or download the music mentioned in this column, go to, follow argus48 on Twitter or visit our website:




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EQUAL STATUS What I wish for is a cultural change in our society so that we value all children, regardless of gender, equally


LL OF us in India are familiar with those signs that hang in ultrasound clinics and hospitals and warn expectant parents that it is illegal to enquire about the sex of their baby. Sex determination – either through ultrasound or amniocentesis – is illegal in India, where the practice of female foeticide is endemic. But clearly, many people manage to get around this little legal hurdle, or else the male to female ratio in so many areas of our country would not be so skewed. Some of them go to flyby-night operators who have no ethical problems with telling them the sex of the baby; or organising an abortion if it’s a baby girl that’s gestating in Mummy’s tummy. Some go to otherwise reputable clinwedding and a spectacular dowry. It’s a mug’s game, isn’t it? ics that use code words to convey the sex: Jai Mata Di if it’s a girl and How much better to have a son, who will repay the investment you Jai Shri Ram if it’s a boy, according to one account. And yet others make on his education by supporting you in your old age. Not to menhave a ‘family doctor’ or a doctor in the family who can tell them tion, the nice, big dowry he will score when he finally gets married – whether it’s ‘pink’ or ‘blue’. and brings a girl into your home to play general drudge, baby-making Whatever the methods adopted, the end is invariably the same. The machine, and additional source of income all rolled into one. female foetus is aborted. Sometimes this happens in the second or third Well, that’s the theory, at least. It’s another matter that these days pregnancy, when the parents are desperate for a boy to ‘complete’ their it is difficult to find a bride in such communities because, by some family. And on occasion, it even happens in the first pregnancy with remarkable twist of fate, everyone just has sons in the family. And that families who don’t want to be ‘burdened’ with a girl child. And shockmany of these sons have little time or money – or even the inclination ingly, this kind of sex selection takes place even among educated, mid– to support aged parents either financially or emotionally. dle-class or even upper-class families who really should know better. Which brings me to my question for today: should we allow Indians Well, these people are in luck because a new medical test now makes to use this test to determine the sex of the foetus, given that anyone sex determination even easier. A test who asks for such a test would likehas been developed which can tell ly abort a girl child at the earliest? you the sex of the foetus with about Well, at the risk of sounding 95 per cent accuracy at seven weeks. heartless and incurring the wrath A blood sample of the expectant of many, I have to admit that my mother is taken at the time and testanswer to that question is, tragied for the presence of the Y chrocally, yes. Before the brickbats start mosome. If it is present the baby is in earnest, perhaps I should explain a boy. If it isn’t then the baby is probwhy I feel this way. ably a girl (though it could also mean Let’s assume for a moment that that there was no fetal DNA in the you deny such sex-determination sample). tests to expectant parents, thus In the West, this test is used when ensuring that they had daughters there is a danger of a gender-spewhether they liked them or not. WELL-INFORMED CHOICE cific disease being passed on to the What kind of a life do you suppose Shockingly, sex selection takes place even among educated, baby. For instance, Duchenne this little girl would have to look middle-class or even upper-class families who really should know better Muscular Dystrophy only forward to, with parents who would affects boys, so a girl foetus would not be at risk and further have gladly killed her in the womb? intrusive testing is not required. But tellingly, some compaDo you think she will be loved and cherished? I think not. Do you nies refuse to sell this test in India and China for fear that it believe that she will be valued for herself? No, she will probably be will be misused in countries where there is a strong cultural reminded at every turn that she is not that longed-for son. Will she be preference for a boy. raised with every advantage that money can buy? On the contrary, I have no doubt that were this test readily available in every expense incurred on her account will be grudged. India more people would end up aborting female foetusWill she be resented as an extra drag on the family’s resources? You es rather than end up being ‘stuck’ with a daughter. In the bet she will. Will she be mistreated and regarded as a burden? Without view of people like these, a daughter is nothing more than a doubt. Will her parents make it clear that they wish she’d never been an endless strain on their resources. You first spend born? All the time. Now why would you wish that kind of life on anymoney bringing her up, educating her, making one? I know I wouldn’t. What I would wish for is a cultural change in her presentable enough to make a good marour society so that we value all children, regardless of gender, equally. riage – at which point you have to liqAnd I wish that change comes about sooner rather than later. uidate all your savings to give her a grand Follow Seema on Twitter at PHOTOS: THINKSTOCK


Seema Goswami

A new test makes it possible to tell the sex of a foetus at seven weeks – but should we use it?






You know running is good. You have read all about it. But if you think it’s too wet and muggy to start, it’s time to do a rain check by Rahul S Verghese


UNNING IS great for burning calories, for weight management, cholesterol, BP and blood sugar management, and has also been found to reduce the incidence of cough, cold, flu, sinusitis, asthma and many more ailments. Running has not been found to be detrimental to the joints, and people of all ages can, and do run. Let’s get past a few excuses.


I know that’s what’s rushing through your mind as you read the headline – but starting to run is like starting a diet, or eating a chocolate for that matter – you can do it any time of the year, and the best time to start

that, like most things, is now. This is a time when appetites are still a bit suppressed, and if we start exercising a bit more (like adding a bit of running into our walking) the impact would be visible sooner. Here are a few quick lines on the benefits of running, just to perhaps tilt the balance in favour of now, rather than later.


Anil Ambani, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, N Chandrasekaran and others run. Running a conglomerate, a huge IT behemoth or a country, must


be a time-consuming task. How do these folks make the time? They have at various times stated that running is the only ‘my time’ that they get in their day, sometimes it is used as a time to focus on the issues of the day and to go over a plan for a critical meeting. When I started running at 40, I would focus on the priorities for the day or a sticky meeting and therefore it did not eat into my work time – it actually helped me manage some of my time and meetings more efficiently. You can make the time. This is the time for you to invest in yourself – to feel and look better. In a long-term study conducted at Stanford University, researchers tracked nearly 1,000 runners and healthy non-runners for 21 years. It found that the runners’ knees were no more or less healthy than the non-runners’ knees. And it didn’t seem to matter how much the runners ran. The study also found that runners experienced less physical

disability and had a 39 per cent lower mortality rate than the nonrunners. There goes the myth that running is bad for the knees.


At the runs we organise across seven States/UTs in the country, we have people from 5 to 80 years finishing a 5 km run, with some running and walking as and when required. Fauja Singh started running in his late 80s and at 89 ran his first marathon (ie 42.2 km), and now at 100, he still maintains a running regimen – and when he was checked by doctors in the UK they said his bones were like that of a 40 year old.


This is getting to be uncomfortable reading as you are probably sweating and thinking of the next good reason. And there you have found it – “Aha! and my work hours are crazy.” I started running in the











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Running has been found to keep you younger and fitter, with an improved memory and longer life. Need I say more? I hope you’re now chomping at the bit, and maybe wondering what’s the best way to start, and writing out a long list of what you need to buy and kit yourself out for day 1. Actually you don’t need anything for day 1 – just your attitude. That’s all. No matter which part of the country and which part of the city you live in, you can make your start tomorrow, from your house. No need to look for the best park, or that elusive jogging track or join a group – just get out early morning tomorrow, and while the rest of the house is asleep, as would be most of the neighborhood, go out and run and walk from your doorstep for 15 minutes.


■ Resist the urge to turn over and

put off the alarm – you owe this to yourself. ■ Carry a small bottle of water


Enjoy the ride! And keep a diary for the first three months. Then look back and congratulate yourself on your achievement, as what you have been able to accomplish is what millions of others have not yet been able to start. But then perhaps, you will find yourself an evangelist and a role model for some, and spread the running bug. Look forward to running into you soon. The writer switched gears from a 25-year corporate career with Unilever, Nestle and Motorola post IIMA to start a venture – Running And Living Infotainment – which focuses on making running into a brand activation platform


The real truths


ERE ARE a few health myths that need to be broken.

All nuts and oily seeds have cholesterol No plant food contains cholesterol because cholesterol is manufactured only by animals. So all nuts and oil seeds are cholesterol-free.

Low-fat margarine is healthy because it has no cholesterol Several brands of margarine carry transfats that are much worse for the body. Transfats can raise cholesterol levels in the body and spoil liver functions. So it is better to eat natural butter – in small quantities.

All oils contain cholesterol Any oil made from plants is always naturally cholesterol-free.

If we eat cholesterol, it will raise our blood cholesterol Any rise in the body’s cholesterol level depends on how the liver is able to process it.

Milk is a complete food Mother’s milk is a complete food for a baby till it is six months old. After that, the child needs additional foods, though mother’s milk can be continued as long as the mother is comfortable. Milk from other animals is another food altogether. Milk mostly available in the markets is buffalo milk, which is heavier than cow’s milk and more prone to causing phlegm build-up, mild intestinal intolerance, cholesterol deposits and weight gain.


evenings over my first Chicago winter when posted there, as I was definitely not a morning person. But then I started finding that I could not sleep early as I was energised after those short runs in the evening. I tried sleeping a half hour earlier and getting up 45 minutes earlier and running a short while in the mornings. That was a fantastic change for me, as it kept me charged through the day and got me a good night’s sound sleep. I could go on and on but I guess the main myths or worries or blocks regarding running are covered.

with you. ■ Run on the pavement or the side of the road facing incoming traffic. ■ Run on a side road where there is less traffic. ■ If it’s raining or it’s wet, shorter steps reduce the chances of slipping. ■ When you get out of breath – walk, when you feel normal again – run. ■ Do a bit of gentle stretching when you finish. ■ At the end of the run, come back home, have your chai, read the headlines and tell everyone at home about your run. ■ Tell your friends and colleagues about your run. Ask some neighbours to join you. ■ Definitely do the same the next day – this is critical. ■ And then feel proud of the start you have made. ■ Buy a non-cotton quick dry T-shirt, get yourself a pair of running shoes. ■ Find a running group next to you or a park which is not too far from where you stay – so that you can go there a few times a week. ■ Sleep another 15 minutes earlier and get up 15 minutes earlier. Make gradual changes – nothing sudden or extreme. ■ You are now hooked. ■ Come and run in one of our 5 km runs that we do across multiple cities, and target to train for a 5 km run over 3 months.

Commercial milk preparations are reconstituted with additional fat and protein from other sources. So, commercial milk is not a mandatory portion of a healthy diet.

A vegetarian diet provides inadequate protein for growing children Vegetarian diets at any age are very healthy. For children, they are complete in all respects. Even in later years, vegetarians have a better nutrition composition. Foods from plant sources have less of a predisposition to cause cardiovascular disorders, arthritis or cholesterol disorders. (Provided transfats and fried foods are eaten in moderation or completely avoided.)

You must eat concentrated protein for adequate protein intake Proteins need not be concentrated in a food because you want more protein intake. The body extracts just the right amount of protein that it needs and is capable of absorbing. Eating a variety of foods is far better than drinking concentrates. People who are building their bodies can get adequate protein from sprouts of mung, channa and moth, as well as soyabeans, tofu, dry fruits and paneer. While eating proteins, eat fruit to allow for protein metabolism and liver health.

Taking multivitamins is essential after a certain age Multivitamins only feed on our insecurity of not eating well in the first place.

There is a magic pill, potion or lotion for weight loss There is no such thing.

Style File You may know all about choosing clothes to flatter your figure. But what about your bag?


by Dhanishta Shah

NOW HOLD THIS: A clutch or fancy purse works well for parties


HATEVER ITEM of clothing you consider, there’s usually a slew of advice to go with it. Thus, large size people are cautioned not to wear horizontal stripes, and shop assistants will steer slimmer people away from skinny jeans that would make them look even more like a beanpole. But when it comes to handbags, fashionistas focus more on the brand name and desirableness of the current ‘It’ bag to even consider if it goes with their shape. What kind of question is that?


A very good one to ask, say experts. “We may not think about what the shape and size of our bag has got to do with the way we look. But, yes ladies, let’s face it, it does,” explains designer Sabah Khan, who retails under the label Sabashe. “If you are petite, it does not make sense to wear large bags,” adds bag designer Pinky Saraf. “Women with a slim frame can add curves to their look by picking a slouchy, rounded hobo or softbody satchel,” suggests designer Prabhat Kumar. However, Kumar cautions curvy or plussize women against wearing slouchy and round bags. “Look for bags that are boxy instead. Also avoid prints that are too big or too small. Small prints will make you look bigger than you are, while large prints will draw attention to your size,” he says. “Medium-sized bags and regular clutches are best, because anything overpowering will again add volume for plumper women,” adds Saraf. “Tall slim women have an advantage. Most bags look good on them. They can go in for a tote for day wear or an envelope clutch for evening” says Saraf. “If you are tall and slim, you may use a



rounded bag like a hobo or an unstructured bag, or even oversized bags, since they balance the proportion. This will complement your figure as it will provide a sharp contrast to your body,” says Khan. What about shorter women? “Wide totes can make short women look even shorter. Instead, select a bag that is longer vertically to elongate the appearance of your torso,” advises Kumar. Before you take the plunge, you need to pay heed to the length of the bag. “If the bag ends at your hip or half-hip, then that becomes the focus as the eyes are drawn towards it. So, naturally it’s a better option to decide the length according to your body type,” says Khan. Thus, as Kumar says, “Pear-shaped women should look for bags that hang to the upper torso in order to draw the eyes away from problem areas. Satchels and bowler bags are fashionable options. Avoid bags that hit at the hip. Thick-waisted or top-heavy women should do the opposite. They should choose a handbag with a longer handle, avoiding those that finish around the bustline or mid-section. A hiplength crossbody bag is a nice choice.” So is there a basic golden rule to follow? Khan puts it simply: “The size of the bag should complement your size, while the

GRAB FACTOR: Where evening bags are concerned, the vote goes to clutches, say designers PHOTO COURTESY PINKY SARAF

shape needs to be proportionate to your structure.” “Indeed, it’s all about proportions. If you get these simple visual tricks right, you will be able to make a bag flatter your personality,” concludes designer Rachana Reddy.


Does that mean that we are doomed to carry only certain types of bags? “There are many factors that are important when you carry a bag. Your lifestyle needs to be considered. Are you constantly out and need to carry a lot of stuff? In that case, a tote would be ideal. However, if you are petite, balance it out with a medium-sized bag,” says Saraf. Designer Malini Agarwalla emphasises that attitude has got a lot to do with how good bags look on us. “I have seen some flamboyant tiny ladies look great with oversize clutches and bags,” she asserts. So, if your heart is set on a bag and it does not go with the ‘rules’, make sure you match it to your attitude instead.


Reddy advocates “a nice structured bag” for work. “It looks stylish and holds all your essentials well in place,” she adds. “For casual wear, sling bags are really in. Or, a tote (in lots of different colours) if you need to fit in more stuff. They will stay light and let you relax,” says Reddy. Saraf adds that sling bags incorporate an element of safety, besides adding a cool factor to the outfit. “They are most convenient while shopping and travelling,” she believes. Designer Bhavna Shah from the label Twines, has seen a steady rise in demand for denim bags for casual wear. “These are very popular, especially among the college-going crowd. I made small denim clutches recently and








FRINGE BENEFITS: Choose your bags wisely, instead of just blindly following a trend


It’s easy to fall in love with a bag. But before you take the plunge, do consider a few factors. “One of the biggest mistakes women make when they buy a bag for regular use is not correctly assessing how many and what kinds of things they want to put in the bag,” says Shah. Shah describes simple requirements, such as having a provision for the mobile phone on the outside of the bag. Moreover, nothing looks uglier than an overstuffed bag. Shah advises trying out clutches too. “It should fit in the bare essentials that you would carry such as a mobile, keys and money. Check if all the stuff fits and the clutch closes properly,” she advises. “Many women carry these really tiny clutches which can barely hold a lipstick, only for effect. If that is the case, be aware that you are compromising on the functional bit for style,” says Saraf. Agarwalla advises women to consider their lifestyle before they buy an expensive evening bag. “For a lady who mostly wears saris, a beautiful gold potli would be most

versatile for evening. For a western clothes lover, a black clutch with a touch of crystals is fabulous. For a younger person who wears a lot of colour, a bronze evening bag goes well,” she says. She also adds that the most common mistake is that women tend to follow trends without bothering to see whether a particular one suits them or not.


You would never wear knits in summer, right? Bags too have their own materials that suit the seasons. Bright breathable materials and jute rule the summers, and Shah cautions against carrying cloth and leather bags in the monsoon. Winters are all about richer materials. Khan mentions that her Fall collection at Lakme Fashion Week has made generous use of suede and velvet. Leather is another material that works for winter bags.


In order to carry a bag with style and let it look good on you, there are a few rules to follow. “Women must carry a bag the way


they sold like hot cakes!” she adds. Clutches seem to be trickling in as convenient day wear too, albeit only at places where you need not carry a lot of stuff. Reddy’s collection of clutches comes with a detachable chain handle and the design aesthetics are such that they can be transformed from day to evening by pairing them with a suitable outfit. “A clutch with an option of a chain is indeed most versatile,” says Khan. Where evening bags are concerned, the vote goes to clutches. “A clutch or a fancy purse works well for parties,” says Reddy. Saraf agrees that clutches are versatile and here to stay. “Those in neutral colours such as gold, silver, bronzes and antique finish move the most,” she claims.

it is meant to be carried – handbags in the hand and shoulder bags on the shoulder,” says Kumar. His penchant for designing bags with futuristic and unusual shapes makes him emphasise strongly on the ‘matching’ factor. “Never carry a sporty bag with formals and vice versa. Do take care of styling and don’t ever mismatch the look,” he states. Khan believes that “a bag works as an accessory as well as a utility item. It can jazz up an outfit. Even a proportionatelysized coloured sling bag on a basic white tee and blue denims can be a style statement.” “A simple outfit can be made to look not only special but different each time it’s worn depending on the handbag and accessories,” says Agarwalla. Bags can indeed work wonders for your sense of style. As Saraf puts it, “When you carry a bag, you are not carrying a bag alone. You are carrying your personality and your attitude as well. Ultimately, the bag has to gel with you in totality.”



– SABAH KHAN, handbag designer





A Bollywood makeover specialist, Manish Malhotra was the man behind Karisma Kapur and Urmila’s Matondkar’s sizzling and stylish avatars in Raja Hindustani and Rangeela. And since then there hasn’t been a dull fashion moment in Hindi Cinema. From designing Preity’s minis, Kajol’s lehengas to Kareena’s sarees, Manish has become a recognisable brand. He even hosted a talk show once. A regular crowd and star puller at fashion weeks, Manish will be the Grand Finale Designer at the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai today

One word that describes you best?

I love food and I live to eat.

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

You are late for work and all the roads are jammed. Choose a mode of transport: a cycle, a horse or a skateboard. Why?


I would try to talk him out of it.

Your first kiss was… ...It happened in a disco when I was just 17 years old.

I would prefer to walk.

Earth’s crowded and chock full of trash. Choose another planet. Maybe Mars.

What makes you feel sexy?

If you could have a star perform at your wedding, who would it be and why?

My face, definitely not my body.

You get high on… ...A fruitful day.

The colour ‘pink’ for you is… Fun.

A tune you can’t get out of your head? Bin Tere from the movie I Hate Luv Storys. What did you do with your first paycheque?

I got it for an ad in 1987; it was for R2,000 and I gave it to my parents.

The one law you would break if you could get away with it? I wouldn’t dream of breaking one.

I’m not getting married and even if I do, all my friends would definitely dance for me. That includes Kajol, Kareena, Karisma and Karan.

If you could be born either rich or intelligent, which one would you choose? You can’t say both. Intelligent.

What makes your day? Good work.

What screws it up?

Do you love Luv Storys?

A bad work day.

I love them!

Your favourite freedom fighter?

Choose: Air India or Indian Railways? Air India.


The last time you rode on a bus?

It was many, many, many years ago.

Love is… ...Life!

If you could have chosen your own name, what would you have chosen?

Life in the fast food lane: Choose your menu.

What is the weirdest thing that ever went into your mouth?

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

Definitely not Manish! Though I like my surname a lot.

For me it is beef, which is too chewy, so I don’t like it.

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

I love all kinds of Indian fast food.

Rejoice on being the last one around.

— Interviewed by Veenu Singh









Hindustantimes Brunch 21 August 2011  

Hindustantimes Brunch 21 August 2011

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