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22.04.2012 18.03.2012 AND THAT’S THE WAY WE DO IT!

Our fashion shoot for the Brunch Quarterly Magazine, Issue 3, won the Silver Award for Photojournalism at WAN-IFRA Asia Media Awards 2012 held in Bali recently! Inspired by the riotously coloured classical dance costumes, we came up with Rhythm & Hues. Conceptualised by Yashica Dutt and shot by freelance photographer Anushka Menon, you can devour it on our site. Log on now!

inbox LETTER OF THE WEEK! ‘The right choice’

THE TITLE Teesra Kaun (Cover Story, April 15) was not only catchy but valid too. I agree with the trinity theory – one cannot secure a building with just two walls. You have rightly put Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma on the two vertices of the dominating triangle. Anyone from the available options can make the third angle as they all have proven their worth in some format or the other of the game. — RAJNEESH BATRA, via email Rajneesh wins a shopping voucher worth ` 2,500. Congrats!

Reaching for the stars YOUR ARTICLE Dancing With The Stars (April 15) by Amrah Ashraf was a superb read. The interview with dancer Navin threw important light on an altogether new perspective. The new breed of talented youth has the guts to follow their passion and do what they love. Kudos to their good work! – ANUPRIYA via email

Write in, the best letter every week can win you a SHOPPING voucher worth


The shopping voucher will reach the winner within five working days. In case of any delays, please contact EDITORIAL: Poonam Saxena (Editor), Aasheesh Sharma, Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Mignonne Dsouza, Veenu Singh, Parul Khanna Tewari, Yashica Dutt, Pranav Dixit, Amrah Ashraf, Saudamini Jain, Shreya Sethuraman DESIGN: Ashutosh Sapru (National Editor, Design), Swati Chakrabarti, Rakesh Kumar, Ashish Singh, Saket Misra, Suhas Kale, Shailendra Mirgal, Monica Gupta

Drop a line at or to 18-20 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001

APRIL 22, 2012


LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE Santhosh Thevar Everyone’s week start with Sunday. But my week starts with BRUNCHDAY. Deepika Piya Brunch is just marvellous!!!!! Good job guyzzz....!!!!! Jai Singh Yeah. Sometimes sudden outburst of emotions gets quite embarrassing (Spectator, April 15), especially when you’re in a group. But some stories and scenes touch us so badly that we can’t stop our tears.. can’t help;-)



@DaylePereira Sob Story (Spectator, April 15) by @seemagoswami in today’s @HTBrunch is so good! I totally identify with it. It has moments of laughter and humour. @RashmiRaga Beautiful & perfect description of Venice! (Rude Travel, April 15) Your personal experience was really just, ‘wow’!!

It was just a game. Till the whole world went absolutely bonkers about Angry Birds Variety

The objects of affection for the new generation of collectors are whimsical and downright weird


Body language expert Allan Pease helps you get fluent in bodyspeak


Siddharth Sharma Just one word, “AWESOME” :)


Cover Story


RUDE FOOD Only a genius can make the perfect French toast

14 TECHILICIOUS Although the future of technology looks bright, it could be scary

@AmritChhetriB Just like Flying Cars, driverless cars (Techilicious, April 15) will be an innovation for luxury. Fantastic column by @RajivMakhni

15 DOWNLOAD CENTRAL Sigur Ros had gone on a break. Then, a new track dropped via the Internet...

@iamlaskhmi KOHLI 100%; ROHIT 50%; PUJARA NOT SURE. INDIAN CRICKET’S NEXT TRINITY! (India’s Spunky Trinity, April 15)

16 SPECTATOR What does the woman in your life want to hear?

@Ajaythetwit Sunday morning with JJ - Dancer/ Actor/ Comedian (Personal Agenda, April 15) is a treat!



Of course the birds are angry! Everyone seems to be copying Angry Birds (for more, read the cover story)! There’s an ‘Anna Hazare’ version too (look left)! We bring you a slideshow of our favourite rip-offs and spoofs of the popular game. Log on now!

new! The Accidental Philosopher introspects Judy Balan, author of the bestseller Two Fates – The Story of My Divorce, gives her witty take on dealing with life. Read her column The Accidental Philosopher every Thursday!

Brunch Blogs This week, check out Bohemian Rhapsody by Shreya Sethuraman. Poetry is more than just words.



copies of Angry Birds downloaded to date

minutes of the game played worldwide every day

greedy green pigs killed so far

birds fired from the game’s slingshot

In two years, Angry Birds has become a global rage, made millions and hooked the world in one fell swoop. Thank your lucky stars you’re not a pig by Pranav Dixit HE LAST time a bunch of angry avians raked in millions of dollars, they were trying to rip apart a luscious ‘Tippi’ Hedren in Alfred Hitchcock’s innocuously titled, The Birds. That film grossed about 11 million dollars back in 1963. Last year, Rovio, a video game developer based in Finland, announced that revenues for Angry Birds, the hit game it launched in 2009 (which, incidentally, shares nothing with the Hitchcock flick besides, well, angry birds), jumped from $10 million to $100 million in a year. Not bad for a video game that involves colourful birds, grinning green pigs, flying debris and little else. Did we say hit? We beg your pardon. We meant eye-poppingheart-thumping-groundbreakingultra-mega-super-duper blockbuster hit, the kind that would make Aamir Khan go green with envy.

The total number of copies downloaded? About 700 million – and inching slowly but surely to the 1 billion mark. Angry Birds is now more than a teeny little video game – it’s a part of pop culture, something iconic, which only rolls by every couple of decades or so. British Prime Minister David Cameron and pop sensation Justin Bieber are fans, while author Salman Rushdie proclaims he is ‘something of a master at Angry Birds’; back home, Indian gamemakers are giving the game a desi twist with titles like Angry Anna (you launch Anna Hazare from a slingshot onto our esteemed Prime Minister) and Angry Brides (allegedly an anti-dowry game. Go figure); Angry Birds merchandise is inundating everything from

In Delhi’s Sarojini market, fake Angry Bird tees sell at 200 bucks a pop

Walmart stores across the world to Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar market (fake Angry Birds tees sell for 200 bucks a pop); also, a 52-epiode TV series is due later this year, with a full-length feature film out sometime in 2013. And this is just the beginning of the story. Rovio’s chief managing officer, Peter Vesterbacka, created waves with his recent statement that Rovio’s goal is to be “much bigger” than its role model, Disney – a $24 billion media company. “We have stopped looking at ourselves as a game company. For us, it’s about making Angry Birds available everywhere,” he declared. Why IS Angry Birds so addictive? And what – just what – is the secret sauce that made it the phenomenon that it is today?

The basic premise of the game is dumb simplistic. You use a slingshot to lob a series of kamikaze birds onto gormless green pigs

STEP 1: The brave little birds wait here to be flung onto those evil pigs. Revenge at last!

APRIL 22, 2012


who have taken refuge in easily collapsible structures made of wood, glass and stone after stealing the birds’ eggs. The end. Oh, and you rack up points, of course. There’s no plot, no characters, no sense of adventure, no nothing. Heck, those stupid little birds don’t even have wings. So… why? Much of Angry Birds’ success story lies in the timing of its release in 2009, just two years after the launch of Apple’s revolutionary iPhone with a touchscreen that changed mobile gaming forever. Angry Birds took full advantage of the iPhone’s big touchscreen. There were no controls to master, no complex instructions to follow. One swipe of the finger was all it took to start playing. “It’s all about the simplicity. You don’t have to think too much,” says Yashraj Vakil, COO of Red Digital, a digital services company that operates in platforms like social gaming among others. “Pick up a bird, aim, shoot, rinse, repeat. That’s all there is to it,” he says. This principle is true of any addictive casual game, even iconic ones like Space Invaders and Pac-Man. But getting millions of people hooked to a game takes more than just simplicity. Angry Birds manipulates basic human psychology and draws on cognitive sciences in a way that few other games do, feels Dr Sunil Mittal, chairman of the Cosmos Institute of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, New Delhi. “Let’s say you’re learning something. Driving, for instance. You need some effort and time before your brain forms a



Blue Bird

Yellow Bird

A swift, strong bird that shoots through the air at twice the original speed when you tap the screen mid-flight

Black Bird

Loses temper easily, turns red and explodes violently on impact with wood, glass, stone – or pig

“Right from the beginning, Rovio’s strategy was bang on. They didn’t want to take over the world in one giant leap. They did it gradually – one step at a time,” says Karthik Srinivasan, former head of digital strategy at a global digital PR firm. The first version of the game was iPhone-only. Vesterbacka only focused on the local market in Finland. The goal: become number one in the domestic market, then expand further. It paid off. Slowly and steadily, the game climbed to the top spot on the paid apps list in Apple’s App Store. “When that happens,” says Vakil, “you’re home and dry simply because of the immense exposure and the word of mouth you get as a result of the iPhone and the iPad’s popularity.” In 2010, a free, ad-supported version of the game was released for Google’s Android smartphone platform that is used on more than half the smartphones currently sold in the world. Rovio makes millions

911 Emergency!

Stuck on a level? Worry not, the Mighty Eagle is here! You can summon him once every hour in the game and watch him flatten everything in sight!

There’s no escaping the birds! Here are all the platforms you can play on

Green Bird Red Bird

White Bird

A large, fragile bird who kills pigs by dropping eggs mid-flight with deadly accuracy

of dollars every month through Android alone. “It wouldn’t have been as big if it had been released as, say, an online Web game first,” says Vakil. “They released at the right time on the right platforms.” What works for the game from a marketing standpoint is that it can’t be slotted into a specific genre like most other games, says Rajesh Kakkar, a media specialist in outdoor advertising. “It appeals to everyone from a seven-yearold to your boss to your grandmother.”


Your basic angry bird. Can cause great damage to weaker structures like wood but is fairly useless in advanced levels

game seems like a good way to vent your frustration. It’s important to find out what the subliminal signals are with anything that becomes a part of pop culture, you know.” Will it, though? Will we still be talking, reading, discussing, arguing, watching, playing and yes, buying Angry Birds fifty years from now? Will it take its place of pride alongside a Mickey Mouse or a Donald Duck? On its part, Rovio is certainly pushing hard – and smart. In September 2011, for instance, the Window of the World theme park in Changsha, China opened an unlicenced Angry Birds section, which featured a large slingshot that visitors used to launch stuffed versions of the birds at green pig balloons. Anyone else would have sued. Rovio didn’t. Instead, it is working with the theme park to licence the attraction. “I don’t think any brand has been able to go global so fast ever!” says Rajesh Kakkar. “The only other brand that comes close to making the social impact that Angry Birds has made, I think, is Facebook. But even they took several years.” And then, there’s

The only other brand that has come close to this kind of impact is Facebook

“I don’t know what Angry Birds is!” squawks adman Prahlad Kakkar over the phone when we call him up. We shake our heads in disbelief and proceed to let him know. “There’s a reason for an idiotic game like that to become a global frenzy!” he exclaims. “Everyone today is filled with rage, an internal sense of inadequacy of being unable to do anything about the corrupt system, bad politicians, bosses and cops. Angry Birds seems like an Orwellian world where the birds, who symbolise individuality and freedom, actually get back at the pigs, unlike in Animal Farm!” he declares triumphantly. “To me, the

A spinning bird with a special ability to change its course midflight and boomerang back to its point of origin

A tiny bird that can be split into three by touching the screen just before impact for maximum force

the fear of being stuck in a rut and dying a slow, painful death. Take the Tomb Raider franchise, for instance, which did Tomb Raider video games, Tomb Raider comic books, Tomb Raider novels, Tomb Raider movies and Tomb Raider theme park rides before the world stopped looking at anything with the words ‘tomb’ and ‘raider’ on it. Rovio might eventually have to stop milking the birds and come up with other titles. “They have shown they are very good at exploiting a hit, but it all depends on what they do from here,” says Srinivasan. “Already, I think they’ve started losing sight of what made the game so successful in the first place – the simplicity. In the latest Angry Birds Space, for example, the simple laws of physics that ruled all the previous games go out of the window. Instead you have to wrap your head around planet orbits and gravity among other things, which affect the way the birds move. It’s confounding.” On our part, we’re just going to sit back and watch as the birds take over. One step at a time.

Apple’s iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) ■ Maemo ■ MeeGo ■ HP webOS ■ Android ■ Nokia’s Symbian PlayStation Portable ■ PS3 ■ Mac OS X ■ Windows ■ XBOX 360 ■ Nintendo Wii ■ Nintendo 3DS ■ Barnes & Noble’s Nook Colour ■ WebGL ■ Windows Phone ■ Google Plus ■ Google Chrome ■ BlackBerry Tablet OS ■ Samsung’s Bada OS ■ Facebook ■ Roku Set-top box ■ ■

APRIL 22, 2012

VA R I E T Y 9

Trivial Pursuit


Ashok Singhal, 64, CEO of a travel company in Delhi, collects beer cans

Still collecting stamps? The objects of affection for a new generation of collectors are whimsical, even downright weird by Shreya Sethuraman


HEY’VE moved beyond the usual stamp, coin and currency collection phase. Nor are they obsessed with creating a trove of clothes, shoes and bags, either. Nowadays, people love to collect, well, what seems almost like junk. Whether it is match-boxes,

unopened cans, old fridge magnets or enamel advertisements from the Raj, what may look like useless junk to everybody else is more precious than gold or silver for this group of intrepid collectors. Here’s a peek into the homes and worlds of the modern-day kabadis.


Delhi entrepreneur Awini Ambuj Shanker, 39, collects enamel ad panels

the garage. “I’ve been banned from hanging them inside,” he jokes. That hasn’t deterred him from going the extra yard when a particular sign captures his fancy. For instance, the time when Shanker came across an ad for Westend watches of 1920s vintage, which had a sari-clad Indian woman adorning the signage. “I paid R2,500 for it as it was a rare advertisement, launched for the Indian market.” Shanker usually sources these signs from shops in Kamla Nagar near Delhi University. Even as friends wonder why he collects ‘such junk’, some bar owners approached him to sell his collection of colourful cigar signs. “It’s taken me 10 years to build such a diverse collection, why would I sell it?” he asks. Photo: JASJEET PLAHA


usinessman Awini Ambuj Shanker, 39, began with collecting classic cars. Then, about 10 years ago, when Shanker saw some enamel advertising signs at a friend’s place, he realised he’d discovered a new passion. “All these signs are made of baked enamel, and that’s what makes them special,” says Shanker. For the uninitiated, baked enamel advertising became popular in 1880 and the last of these signs faded out in the late 1970s. At Shanker’s residence in South Delhi’s upmarket Golf Links, more than 200 enamel signs hang on the walls at the entrance and even in

Photo: RAJ K RAJ

The Vintage Ad Collector

Here’s Looking At You, Beer


s soon as you enter Ashok Singhal’s Vasant Kunj flat in southwest Delhi, you realise how widely travelled he is and how enormous is the booty that he has brought back home with him. Assorted masks hang on the walls and the lobby has at least a dozen ashtrays on display. The sitting area has a minibar where you can find about two dozen shot glasses, souvenirs from different countries, as well as matchboxes. But the most fascinating part of Singhal’s collection is his stash of more than 150 unopened beer cans, which he displays proudly in the dining area. They have been painstakingly collected by him over 10 years, during his various trips abroad (Japan was the most recent pitstop). In July 2011, when a magazine wrote about his collection, a Namibian embassy official contacted him to enquire if he also had the iconic Namibian Windhoek lager. “When I said no, they invited me over and the first secretary presented me with a pack of six,” recalls Singhal with a smile. What began as a stamp collection

in the 1960s has today extended to shirt lapels, bottle openers, currency notes and brochures of the countries Singhal has travelled to. The CEO of a travel firm, Singhal collects just about anything and everything, yet his home doesn’t look cluttered. When he takes you on a tour of his house, you can see how well-organised he is. There are files full of airline, bus and train tickets, all arranged chronologically. Heck, even his branded T-shirt collection is arranged in alphabetical order! So addictive is Singhal’s obsession with collecting things that his wife Kavita has also got bitten by the collection bug. “Without her ability to tolerate my indulgences, I doubt I would’ve reached so far,” says Singhal. Earlier this year, at a wine and food show, Singhal came across the Polish Van Pur Super Mocne, a beer that has 10 per cent alcohol, more than the content permitted in India. When the organisers heard of Singhal’s passion for the brew, they quickly gifted a set to him.

Singhal has a collection of more than 150 unopened beer cans

APRIL 22, 2012

10 V A R I E T Y Photo: HT PHOTO

Light My Fire


ou could call him a bright spark. Secunderabad-based industrial design student Bharat Perla, 21, has been collecting matchboxes for a little more than a year now. While studying at the DJ Academy of Design, Coimbatore, he learnt to view things graphically. “A matchbox was the easiest thing to lay one’s hands on. Living in a hostel, I found a lot of them strewn across with different graphic elements and catchy names, which got me thinking about starting a collection,” says Perla. Today, Perla’s eclectic collection has 130 matchbox brands including Rooster, Joker, 505, Garud and of course, the ubiquitous Ship. Initially, Perla’s friends looked at his collection with cynicism. “But I only allow people to tell me what they think of the collection, not take it away from me,” he says. Perla says he can go to any extent to get the matchbox he hankers for. Once he found a Chhatri brand matchbox in the garbage bin at Kerala’s Shoranur Railway Station. “I put in a lot of effort to take it out and clean it carefully, even as those around me thought I was mad,” he says. Perla says every person should cultivate a hobby to collect something. “It helps one destress. Plus, the feeling of adding something to your collection is worth the effort.” We’ll just have to take his word for it – that collecting matchboxes can be so fulfilling! MATCHLESS PASSION

Consultant Meena Vaidyanathan, 39, has an eclectic magnet collection

Mad About Magnets


ocial entrepreneur and inveterate traveller Meena Vaidyanathan, 39, has been collecting fridge magnets since 1995. Her work and wanderlust have taken her to cities across the world. At every new destination, she picks up magnets as a way of bringing back memories. But Vaidyanathan picks up only those magnets that narrate a story, she says . Ask her to elaborate, and she recalls a trip to the United Kingdom, which perhaps, kickstarted her collection. “My husband and I couldn’t decide on whether to go to Glasgow or Edinburgh in the north, from London. Finally, the scenic beauty of Edinburgh won,” she recalls. “While strolling on a railway platform, I spotted a mag-

net that had a piper and a furry dog, which said Highland and Loch Ness. I felt it represented our state of mind: we couldn’t decide where to go between the two cities,” she explains. This kicked off her passion for tasteful fridge magnets. Vaidyanathan says she’s not a hoarder and each of the magnets in her 60-strong collection is special. That it is the ‘quality’ which matters to her more. “I need to feel a connect with the magnet when I see it. It could have a connect with an experience that I’ve had in the places I’ve visited,” she says. So possessive is Vaidyanathan about her collection that she doesn't even allow her 10-year-old son to go anywhere near them. “To be honest, I could do with losing jewellery, but not with losing my magnets,” she laughs. Her favourites include a magnet picked up in Paris that depicts the different kinds of breads made in Washington, Istanbul and Paris. “One gets to learn about the different cultures of these cities just from a simple magnet,” she says excitedly. One day Vaidyanathan plans to launch a business of aesthetic fridge magnets. “India has so much to offer, but unfortunately, in terms of representing our diverse culture through magnets, we’ve been rather unsuccessful,” she says.

An iconic fridge magnet shows breads made in Paris, Istanbul and Washington


Secunderabad-based design student Bharat Perla, 21, collects matchboxes


Junk Addicts, Analysed


KIMMING through vaastu columns in magazines, one notices most experts recommend keeping the home uncluttered. Can hoarders defy the logic of feng shui and vaastu? Says vaastu consultant Suresh Siddhanti: “If the northwest-north of the house is defective, there’s a possibility of collecting junk, which leads to loss of time and money.” Siddhanti, however, says collecting stamps and coins is good since it can help you make profits. The flip side of an obsession with accumulating things? Dr Pulkit Sharma, clinical psychologist, VIMHANS, says indulgences act like a distraction, to deal with anxiety. But why do people collect things like matchboxes and bottle openers? Senior consultant psychiatrist Sanjay Chugh says it perhaps,has to do with breaking away from the monotony of collecting coins or stamps. “Some people have a ‘sensation seeking’ personality trait. The adrenaline rush that they seek comes from amassing such collections,” he says. Deep down, add both Sharma and Chugh, these people might have self-esteem issues, which makes them seek attention.

JUNKYARD JUNKIES ■ Jean-Guy Laquerre of Canada has 25,104 different items of Santa Claus memorabilia ■ Jean-François Vernetti of Switzerland has collected 11,111 different ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs from hotels in 189 countries ■ Bernd Sikora of Germany has 1,482 crisp packets from 43 countries ■ Manfred S. Rothstein of USA has 675 back scratchers sourced from as many as 71 countries ■ Brent Dixon of Valdosta, Georgia, USA, has hoarded up on 41,418 nonduplicated key chains ■ Ladislav Sejnoha of the Czech Republic has 200,000 tickets from 36 countries ■ Marinus Van Doorn of the Netherlands has a collection of 33,492 bottle openers ■ Markus Drexler of Germany has an eclectic collection of 18,179 different coffee pots ■ Niek Vermeulen of the Netherlands has 6,016 sickness bags from 1,142 airlines from more than 160 countries Courtesy: Guinness World Records

“Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories.” – Walter Benjamin APRIL 22, 2012

indulge Vir Sanghvi

SLICE OF FRANCE Any fool can make an ordinary French toast but only a genius can make the perfect version


Rohit Sangwan (below), the Taj Group’s champion pâtissier, has his own take on the French toast. His secret is that he does not mix the eggs with the milk


rude food


NE OF the advantages of being a food writer is that if you like a dish you were served in a restaurant or a hotel you can usually track down the guy who made it and find out what the secret is. Unfortunately, I have never been able to track down the guy who made my favourite breakfast dish at a hotel or discover how he did it. It happened this way: in the early ’90s when I lived in Calcutta my work would often bring me to Delhi. In those days, the Taj Mahal Hotel on Mansingh Road was easily the best hotel in town and I became a regular. But there was one shortcoming. I just couldn’t get a decent breakfast. Each time I ordered French toast, it was either too dry or too soggy. I complained and suddenly from the very next morning onwards, I was served the most amazing French toast I have ever eaten. It was almost like a soufflé with a meringue-like top and it quickly became my favourite dish at the Taj. It never occurred to me, 20 years ago, that I would ever write about French toast so I never bothered to find out who the chef was or what he did to make the French toast so different and so memorable. A decade later, when I started writing Rude

APRIL 22, 2012

French toast takes the normal breakfast ingredients of milk, eggs and bread and turns them into something that is quite wonderful

Food, I tried to track down the recipe – to no avail. Though the Taj is still a wonderful hotel with excellent food, there have been so many personnel changes in the intervening years that nobody remembers who that chef could have been or what his recipe was. (If the chef who made the French toast at the Taj in those days is reading this, could he possibly mail me at and tell me what his secret was.) Ah, French toast! It’s one of those easy-to-make breakfast dishes that most middle-class families in India’s urban centres have some experience of. I know people who feed it to their children regularly because it is so easy to make. Besides, it takes the normal breakfast ingredients of milk, eggs and bread and turns them into something that is quite wonderful with a minimum of effort. In essence, French toast is no more than slices of bread dipped in a mixture of milk and eggs and then fried on both sides. You can sweeten the milk and egg mixture if you like but it seems silly to do so because maple syrup, which is now widely available in India’s cities, makes a perfect accompaniment. But as is true of all simple dishes (dal, for example), French toast is the most difficult to perfect. Any fool can make an ordinary French toast but only a genius can make the perfect version. French chefs prefer to make pain perdu which translates as lost bread and is nearly identical to French toast. It has been conjectured that it takes its name from the phrase lost bread because French housewives devised the dish as a way of using up bread that was too stale for ordinary toast (hence, the ‘lost’ of the name). And it is true that most recipes will tell you to make French toast with bread that is a day old because it holds together better during the cooking process. Pain perdu, when it is made properly, is one of my favourite desserts. Chef Nick Van Riemsdijk at Set’z makes a killer pain perdu but he serves his version as a dessert dish with ice cream. As much as I love Nick’s pain perdu, I can’t imagine eating it

Rohit’s recipe will work well with any kind of bread though obviously the better the bread the better the French toast

Photos courtesy: TAJ LANDS END, MUMBAI


13 Photos courtesy: THE OBEROI, NEW DELHI

cooks differently from the rest of the bread. When the French toast is ready, serve it with maple syrup or honey. Deep eats his own French toast with ice cream but says apologetically that this is because breakfast is a big meal with chefs who are never sure when they are going to get to eat lunch. I asked Deep if this was how the Delhi Oberoi made French toast for its guests and he assured me that it was. The slightly yellow, porous brioche he talks about is available in the pastry shop, he says. But the truth is that French toast at breakfast is never made by pastry chefs. The job always falls to the breakfast cooks who make the batter themselves and are forever being rushed off their feet by the flood of orders. So, as to whether you will get this perfect French toast at breakfast at every Oberoi hotel, well, we will just have to take Deep’s word for it. Rohit Sangwan, the Taj Group’s champion pâtissier, has his own take on French toast. For a start, his loose batter is different. He uses milk, cream, cinnamon, vanilla and 30 grams of sugar to a litre of liquid. (Everything that Rohit makes tends to require a little cream.) Rohit’s secret is that he does not mix the eggs with the milk. Nor is he as focussed on the bread as Deep is. He says his recipe will work well with any kind of bread though obviously the better the bread the better the French toast. But he insists that you must beat seven eggs per litre of liquid (the milk-cream mixture) and keep them separately. Once you have your bowl of batter and your bowl of beaten eggs ready, then you take the brioche / bread and put it first in the milk-cream mixture but for only three to four seconds on each side. Then, you take the bread out and put it in the eggs for a second on each side. It is only after this that the coated bread can go into a non-stick pan in which butter has been heated. After that, his process is much the same as Deep’s. The important difference in technique is that Deep mixes the eggs with the milk and keeps the brioche in the loose batter for longer. Rohit concedes that this is the traditional recipe but says that all too often when you dunk bread in eggs for too long, a nasty raw-egg taste sticks to the French toast. Hence his solution of separating the ingredients so that the bread spends less time in the beaten eggs. Which one is better? Which technique is cleverer? I have eaten both versions and both are brilliant. These two chefs are masters at the peak of their game. So, here’s what I suggest you do: try both versions and see which one works better for you. Because finally, you’re the one eating the French toast and it is your opinion that matters.

Deep uses a golden brioche in which the yellow colour comes from the egg yolks added to the dough


APRIL 22, 2012


According to Deep Bajaj, the Oberoi chain’s pâtissier extraordinaire, the process depends on the ingredients


Chef Nick Van Riemsdijk (below) at Set’z makes a killer pain perdu but he serves his version as a dessert dish with ice cream (bottom)

Photos courtesy: SET’Z

for breakfast every day. So what does it take to make a great French toast? How can a chef elevate this humble dish into a magnificent breakfast? If you go on the Internet you will find hundreds of recipes for French toast with whipped cream or bananas or berries or even French toast with peanut butter and jelly (a version of the dish that sent Elvis Presley to the great Heartbreak Hotel in the sky, no doubt). None of these versions seem to me to really cut it. The trick to making a good dal lies in cooking it perfectly not in tarting it up. So it is with French toast. How can you make the best possible version of the classic dish? I asked two of the best pastry chefs I know and their recipes were subtly different. According to Deep Bajaj, the Oberoi chain’s pâtissier extraordinaire, the process depends on the ingredients. Deep uses a golden brioche in which the yellow colour comes from the egg yolks added to the dough. He cuts the bread into one-inch slices (by hand, a slicer won’t do) and leaves the crusts on. Then, he makes a loose batter of whole milk and eggs (his proportions are five eggs to a litre of milk) along with a little sugar (normal sugar is fine but you can use castor sugar, flavoured sugar or molasses-rich brown sugar) and some cinnamon powder. Deep leaves the batter alone for a little while and then strains it to remove the little pieces of egg that remain. This is a tedious process, he says, but important if you want to avoid French toast with bits of fried egg stuck to it. When the batter is ready, he takes a broad pan (never a thin skillet) and heats unsalted butter in it. He then takes the pieces of brioche and puts them in the batter. He is careful not to keep them in the batter for too long because that would make the bread disintegrate during the cooking process and says that two or three minutes during which you turn the pieces of brioche around to absorb all of the batter should be long enough. (The timing is important. All too often, chefs either soak the brioche in advance to save time or they quickly dip it into the batter without letting it stay there in an effort to save time and serve breakfast quickly. Both lead to disastrous consequences, says Deep.) With the heat on low medium, you slide the pieces of brioche on to the pan and cook them on both sides until they are golden. But, says Deep, remember to make each piece also stand up in the pan because you must be sure that the crust GREAT COMPANY is perfectly Maple syrup makes a cooked and perfect accompaniment obviously, the for French toast crust


THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME Although the future of technology looks bright, it could be scary too


Project Glass adds a new dimension to having information all around you


AST WEEK I wrote about the inevitability of the driverless automated car and despite the seduction of such technology, there were pros and cons. The reaction was explosive and the debate swung both ways – how amazing it would be and yet how such advanced future technology could be a double-edged sword. But far larger than the debate on driverless cars was a brand new one. We stand on the threshold of advancement that is unprecedented. There will be more breakthrough technologies in the next 10 years than since the dawn of civilisation. Yet, this is both a celebratory and a cautionary tale. The future is all about magical yet scary technology. Here are three examples.



The giving away of virtual information in real time can be trickier than you realise

Rajiv Makhni


Ultra-small automated robots will be programmed to do one thing only with efficiency, precision and speed


Nano Technology. For years and years this is the one phrase that always seems to get people very excited. Ultra-small automated robots that will be programmed to do one thing and one thing only with efficiency, precision and speed. And finally the nano dream is turning into a gigantic reality. Why It’s Amazing: These nanobot armies can be sent into a human body to fight cancer cells, repair a damaged heart and stitch the insides without any external surgery required. These bots can be put inside machines on a factory floor to check wear and tear inside a machine and pull the plug if something isn’t going right. Imagine the possibilities inside an aircraft, a car engine, a computer or even your washing machine. Nanobots could make this world perfect. Why It’s Scary: The very reasons they can do good is also the reason they could create chaos and disorder on an unprecedented scale. Imagine nanobots that could be equipped with cameras and unleashed to spy. You wouldn’t even know they were around, and your whole life and every private moment could be photographed, recorded and broadcast. Imagine nanobots being used as weapons of mass destruction – invading armies in huge numbers and affecting vital organs.



Google’s Sergey Brin walked into a charity dinner with the future wrapped around his head. Project Glass is a piece of eyewear that has neither the bulk of virtual reality helmets nor the ridiculousness of amalgamated reality headwear. This is unobtrusive tech that adds a new dimension to having information all around you with zero effort. It adds a screen to your field of view without derailing your normal day-to-day life. Why It’s Amazing: Imagine walking down a road and a virtual overlay map giving you directions, clicking pictures by blinking your eye (the movie Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol had an amazing scene with that), looking up information on a wine as you sit for dinner, sending off an email on your evening run, playing a game of ‘words with friends’ right in the middle of a meeting, looking at an empty room and seeing it fill up with virtual furniture – and all of this without a single device being held up in your hand. In fact, the power of Project Glass is just that – everything that you can do with a smartphone or Tablet – without ever touching one or holding one up to your eyes. Why It’s Scary: The list is endless. Between information overload, health hazards of a screen so close to your eye, the serious dangers of being ‘always on’ to the fact that the human brain isn’t trained for such extreme levels of multitasking. Imagine running down the street for a taxi and getting hit by pictures appearing in front of your eyes that completely disorient you and make your turn the wrong way onto oncoming traffic. Both you and your Project Glass will be a small smear on the windshield of a big bus! APRIL 22, 2012


We’ve already seen great examples of this and it can truly be a great tool and utility. To be able to take the reality of the world around us and superimpose a layer of virtual information on top of it is one of the greatest breakthroughs of recent times. Why It’s Amazing: Point a camera down a road and a virtual map appears with clearly labelled buildings, street names and arrows to point you to your destinations; hold your phone up to a person’s face to instantly identify that person and throw up their Twitter and Facebook profiles, play a game where you steer a real toy helicopter with your mobile phone and your screen shows the helicopter entering a virtual battlefield with guns and smoke and fire, point your Tablet at a movie poster and get immediate reviews and a chance to buy tickets right there. Why It’s Scary: Reverse the situation. How is augmented reality working? It is taking the information of where you are and feeding you information of what you need. But in this process you are letting out visual information about yourself in real time. Where you are, what you’re doing, what your next step is and what you’re going to do with the information you’ve been given. In a world that is already abusing your personal information at ugly levels and building a huge database of your life, this could literally be the last nail in the coffin for privacy. For years technology has been used for both good and evil. It’s only the scale that is changing now. If the next 10 years will give us technology like we’ve never seen, it may also throw up challenges that human civilisation has never faced before. Technology is a strange beast; it comes bearing great gifts with one hand but may just stab you in the back with the other. Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at



The band that made dreamy, ethereal music had gone on a break – or so I thought. Then, a new track dropped via the Internet...

download central

I did exactly that without knowing what to expect and wasn’t prepared for what followed. Sigur Ros make music that sounds other-worldly and dreamy. They use bows to play their guitars and enlist glockenspiels, toy pianos, flutes Sanjoy and synthesizers besides the standard fare of Narayan rock bands – drums and bass guitars and keyboards and so on. The band is driven by frontman Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson whose falsetto vocals are always a compelling listen although he’s usually singing in Icelandic. In fact, sometimes he doesn’t even sing in Icelandic but in gibberish – lyrics that mean nothing, in a language that doesn’t even exist. Some people call it Hopelandic because Hope was the name of a track on which Jónsi first experimented with, well, Hopelandic. A few critics call Sigur Ros’s music post-rock and I’m not very sure what that means. For me, they make music that is really very calming, like classical western music sometimes is. If you listen to their 2005 album, Takk, which uses cellos, violins, violas, trombones and tubas in addition to guitars, drums and keyboards, you’ll see how amazingly minimalist yet satisfyingly engulfing their music can be. After a spell of overdosing on Sigur Ros – I went about listening to Ágætis Byrjun and Takk and also their most recent album, which goes by the title of Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (which, if you’re interested, means With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly) and even wrote in this column about them two years ago – I stopped. And then, I vaguely heard that the band DREAM ON was on a hiatus after giving up on making a new album. I did Icelandic check out lead singer and frontman Jónsi’s solo album, Go band Sigur Ros uses (released in 2010), which is mainly acoustic and some of the glockensongs are sung in English. spiels, toy Then, a few months back, sitting down with my daughter to pianos and watch Dreamworks’ computer animation film, How To Train flutes to Your Dragon, I thought I heard something familiar. And indeed, make it was Jónsi’s voice on one of the songs in the film’s soundtrack. music that Jónsi has composed and performed a song, Sticks and Stones, sounds for that film and a part of the lyrics are in English. It doesn’t otherworldly sound like a typical Sigur Ros song. Partly that is because of the lyrics – you can understand them – but also because it has less HAVE no idea what the lyrics in the music of Iceland’s of an other-worldly sound. I was a bit disappointed. Has Jónsi Sigur Ros mean. They sing in Icelandic and I don’t bitten the dust and turned mainstream? Is that dreamy, think this column will be read by too many people other-worldly nature of his compositions going to be a who are familiar with that language, which, incidenthing of the past? tally, is one of the few Nordic languages that have I needn’t have worried. Last week, a track dropped undergone the least degree of change from its root, via the Internet that laid to rest all such worries. It was Old Norse, the ancient language spoken by the Vikings. a new track from Sigur Ros, who, as I said, I had thought But the meaning of the lyrics is not what you should be were on a break. They’re back. The song’s called Ekki Mukk and it’s a sneak preview of a new Sigur Ros album, looking for when you spin something by Sigur Ros. I was Valtari, that is scheduled to be released towards the end pointed to the band some years back by a friend, of May. Ekki Mukk is a 7-minute plus song and is with more adventurous taste in music than more electric than anything from the band that mine, who’d slipped me a burnt disc with I have heard before. But it is dreamy, ethereal their second album, Ágætis Byrjun (which apparently means ‘good beginning’) with and other-worldly. If that is what their new album these simple instructions: “Go home. will sound like, I’m waiting for end-May to again Switch off the lights. Play this. Sit back follow the advice that I received some years and shut your eyes.” back: I shall go home. Switch off the lights. Play it. Sit back and shut my eyes.



Frontman “Jónsi” Birgisson’s falsetto vocals are always a compelling listen although he usually sings in Icelandic

To give feedback, stream or download the music mentioned in this column, go to And follow argus48 on Twitter

APRIL 22, 2012



IT’S ONLY What does the woman in your life want to hear?


Women love being told they are looking thinner. Most of them like to hear those immortal words, “Have you lost weight?”



If you’re asked to guess how old she is, don’t blurt out the first figure that comes to mind



KAY, FESS up, what is your favourite compliment? What do you most enjoy hearing about yourself? Well, if you’re like most women, the first on the list would be those immortal words, “Have you lost weight?” You can probably prove this by conducting an entirely unscientific survey among the ladies in your office. But an organisation called the Dental Care Plus Implants Centres (honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up) actually commissioned a study among 2,000 men and women to come to this staggering conclusion. Some of the other gems from this ‘study’: women like to be told that they have a great smile; but for some reason they are not happy if you suggest that they might have had dental work done to achieve it. And yes, the ladies don’t like to be told that they look like (or are beginning to look like) their mothers. So far, so predictable. But I guess when it comes to compliments, it’s not that hard to read women. And based on my 40-something years of experience here’s a ready reckoner for all you guys out there who want to please the women (girlfriends, wives, sisters, mothers, bosses, colleagues, etc.) in your lives.

Seema Goswami



Compliment a woman on stuff that she’s a bit insecure about

You know how women have this tiresome way of being cagey about how old they are? Well, be a pet and play along. The next time the tricky subject of age comes up, let discretion be the better part of honesty. If a woman confesses to being on the wrong side of 40, this is your cue to say, “You’re kidding! There is no way you are more than 35.” And if you’re asked to guess how old she is, don’t blurt out the first figure that comes to mind. How old do you think she APRIL 22, 2012

You can’t go wrong with a compliment about her kids. If she shows off pictures of her new-born, dutifully trill “What a cute baby!” It doesn’t matter if you don’t mean it. She’ll be so much in love with the mite that it simply won’t occur to her that anyone could resist that bundle of cuteness. If you can’t bear to lie so blatantly, fall back on the tried-and-tested formula of: “Gosh, he/she looks just like you.” Remember to keep your remarks gender neutral though. Nobody likes to have their girl mistaken for a boy or vice versa. And at that age, it’s hell to tell the sexes apart.

Caution: this ‘chho-chweet’ stuff should only be used on children below the age of 14. Any older than that and your drooling and cooing is just plain inappropriate – if not a tad creepy. Compliment her on stuff that she’s a bit insecure about. A beautiful woman is always being told how beautiful she is. So, don’t bother telling her that all over again. But the chances are that she feels as if nobody can see beyond her good looks. So, praise her quick intelligence, her ability to hold her own in an argument, or even her wide and varied reading. If she feels you are captivated by her brain rather than her face, she will be putty in your hands. (With a brainy but not particularly beautiful woman, reverse and repeat.)


Sadly, I have to bow down to the wisdom of the study quoted above. Women do love being told that they are looking thinner. But tread with caution. You don’t want to overdo it. There’s a difference between saying, “Have you lost weight?” and “How much weight you have lost!” The first implies that the lady in question is looking a little slimmer than she usually does. The second is just another way of pointing out what a fatty she was before she finally went off the carbs (helpful hint: you don’t want to do that).


actually looks? Now, subtract 10 from that figure. That’s the magic answer that will have her beaming for days to come.



It’s not just about who you compliment; it’s also about who you don’t. Don’t tell her that her best friend has a fantastic figure, or that her sister looks great after her new haircut, or that the new recruit at your office is quite a looker. She doesn’t need to know how you feel about other women; it’s just going to make her feel that you compare her to them (and find her wanting). In her hearing at least, compliment only her. And while we are on the subject, here’s a quick word about what a woman doesn’t want to hear. “Gosh, you look tired!” No woman wants to be told that, especially if she has made an effort for a night out. (And it is even more annoying when she is not feeling tired at all.) Actually, come to think of it, no man wants to hear that either. So if that’s all you’ve got to say, have the goodness to shut up.

5 Follow Seema on Twitter at


by Saudamini Jain


MAGINE MEETING someone who can practically read your mind. Or worse: your body. So when I was told to go meet an internationally renowned body language expert, I was nervous, very nervous. Mainly because Mr Body Language (that’s what the world calls him) would probably know more about me in four minutes, than I would about him in forty. And that is precisely what happened. Well, sort of. Allan Pease, bestselling author and body language guru, is as charming as he is clairvoyant. When I (rather awkwardly) walked up to him, I kept thinking of my posture, my eyes, my hands and “what is he thinking?” It took exactly four words to put me at ease. “What is your name?” he said. And voilà! I tilted my head to the right, gave him my best smile and the spell was broken. I even developed a mini crush on the man! I later learnt, it wasn’t the four words. It was a less-than-three-second elbow touch by him which created a momentary bond. And the many more ‘inconsequential tilts and touches’ made that lasting impression. Talking to Pease or reading any one of his books (The Definitive Book of Body Language, Why Men Don’t Listen and Why Women Can’t Read Maps to name a few) will make you realise what an amazing thing the human body is. And that deciphering its subtle signs is an art. When you are attracted to someone, your chest goes out, your stomach tucks itself in and, if they really



Palms up and MASTE? be trusted. P fingers touching means yo ick up this sign u can ! Photos: M ZHAZO

u lie as it HE LIES nose when yo cchio?) T N E E r t Pino BETW to touch you asn’t tha d n (w te r e u g o Y ig grows b actually

turn you on, your face pulls back the bags under your eyes (I found this one very hard to believe!). “You automatically start looking more attractive to the person you’re attracted to,” says Pease. But, you have to do something more to get them to like you. “This is politically incorrect but biologically correct: men have to highlight their masculinity and women need to highlight their femininity,” he says. They’re wired differently. Women, for example, have a wider range of gestures. But “men can’t read most of them!” ARRESTED BY Girls, talk with HER WRIST And male brains can do only to him. It’s a suthe inside part of your wris one thing at a time. “If you ts bmissive gest ure. Men like visible scan his brain when he’s it! watching TV, you’ll find he’s deaf,” laughs Pease. He’s not ignoring you, but you’re white noise to him. To get ‘HE DOESN’T HAVE TO him to listen, get in between the TV DO MUCH TO GET HER’ ■ Appearances matter. That’s how and him, cut off communication and she decides if you’re a dud or a stud. then talk. For more advice, read on… ■ Sit with your legs apart. It highlights your masculinity. HOW TO GET ■ Lightly touch her elbow. Do it YOUR GUY ■ Look good. Your for about three seconds. This one clothes, body, makeworks. I can vouch for that! up, all matter. So YOUR JOB INTERVIEW preen yourself! ■ Be approachable. STARTS IN THE PARKING LOT ■ Look confident in the car park. Initiate eye contact. Don’t look away when Somebody may be watching you. ■ Don’t sit down at the reception. he looks at you! ■ Keep yourself You look confident standing up. ■ Work if you have to wait. Always uncrossed. Don’t lock your fingers, don’t carry an iPad or something produccross your arms. If you cross your tive with you. When the interviewer interrupts you, raise your head and legs, cross them towards him. ■ Show him your wrist. Talk with say, “I’ll just wrap up what I’m doing the inside part of your wrist visiin a minute and be right with you.” ■ Walk at a uniform speed. If you ble; it’s a submissive gesture. ■ Touch the lower part of his arm. feel you’re shuffling, stop at the door It’s more intimate. Men like it. Very for a moment and correct your pace. ■ Shake hands the right way: Start much.

You automatically look more attractive to the person you’re attracted to


Body language expert Allan Pease helps you get a date, a job and catch a lie. It’s time to get fluent in bodyspeak



Mind Your Language!


pen G OUT! IS THIN sive. Instead, o left) H T T R e O s S th re n g ’S o g T a n E L Alla ers is fing fer to Pointing ds, palms up (re n a your h

raising your arm while walking towards the interviewer. Don’t push out your hand when you’re right in front of them. Give the same pressure you receive. Keep your hand straight (facing down seems aggressive; facing up, submissive). ■ Face your interviewer at a 45-degree angle. Face-to-face feels aggressive and confrontational. ■ Handle your hands. Holding them together shows insecurity, crossing them will make you look closed off. Talk with your fingers pressed against each other, or with your palms facing up, it shows trust.


You tend to touch your face. Blood flows to your nose, it grows bigger and you start touching it. ■ Phrases like “To tell you the truth” are usually followed by a lie. ■ Women are three times better at catching a lie (They give birth and read babies’ signals. So if you must lie to her, do it over the phone!). First impressions are made in four minutes, mostly under 10 seconds. Make yours last! ■ ■

“I don’t speak Spanish, Japanese or French. But the way that body’s talkin’ definitely makes sense” – Jesse McCartney in Body Language APRIL 22, 2012




Dal Chawal Is Even Better ThanYour Momma Told You Because it’s not just a coupling of convenience but a scientifically backed fact: Certain foods, such as dal chawal, draw out the best in each other when eaten together by Kavita Devgan


UR ELDERS did not tire of telling us to ‘eat everything’, repeatedly. Actually the point they were making was: ‘Get variety’. They followed a simple logic – our body needs all sorts of nutrients. Also, some foods are always paired with others; they are just eaten that way. But these aren’t blind pairings, there’s a method at work here, and as experts the world over are now realising, these pairings hide a simple truth – nutrient optimisation. It is clear now that instead of isolation, some foods work better – for the body – in combination with others. Every food that we eat has its own profile of nutrients, which do the body good, but when combined judiciously with other foods, the benefits get squared – thus delivering better health. The simplest example is the dalchawal combination, which has been a staple in Indian homes forever. The wisdom here is that both fill in the missing essential amino acid (protein building blocks) in the other – making the protein complete. Similarly in some parts of the world, sliced almonds are added to lentil soup (this again boosts the protein quality). These are age-old, widely practiced examples of what experts today call ‘food synergy’ or optimised food combinations. Researchers have for years been looking beyond the basic food groups (fats, carbohydrates, proteins, fibre, vitamins and minerals) to try and arrive at the perfect diet. And fortunately, along the way they have also unearthed ‘best partners’ that together maximise goodness. Here are some ‘super combinations’ for you to follow.


SALADS AND DRESSING e thought the smartest thing we W did was to switch to fat-free dressing? Well, we and the experts

were wrong then. It’s been found (in an Iowa State University study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) that eating salads with full or low-fat dressings helps absorb lutein, a micronutrient,


which prevents age-related vision loss. (Good sources: corn, egg yolks and fruits like oranges and raspberries). It’s common news that some fat is essential for efficient absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Case in point: peas, carrots, bell peppers, sweet potato and broccoli are loaded with A and E vitamins. So a drizzle of heart-friendly oil (like, say, olive) will absorb better. Or add some good fats to your salad by throwing in some nuts (great good fat source). And use butter – even if in small amounts – on roasted bhutta. Grilling your fruit with a dotting of butter makes for a healthier dessert than other calorific options. Also, tomatoes cooked with some oil help absorb the carotenoids (vitamin A when in the body) in their skin.


urmeric contains an antioxidant Tlinked called curcumin, which has been to a lower risk of some can-

cers and Alzheimer’s disease. Adding black pepper – which our mothers did to curries and other spicy dishes for years until chilli came and edged out the local pepper – may boost curcumin absorption. So switch back to kali mirch – ayurveda approves too, as its milder heat doesn’t irritate internal membranes like chilli’s capsaicin does.


o you’re a vegetarian and depend o soak up enough infection-fighthen you snack on an apple (keep S on plant sources to get your iron? T ing vitamin A, make sure that the peel on), sip green tea right W Then get ‘C’ smart. Often plant foods you have a good zinc source along after. Apples contain a flavonoid

called quercetin and green tea contains catechin. Studies show that pairing the two stops platelet clumping (trouble for your heart). You could even ditch tea for red wine (maybe try a few apple slices before that glass of wine). And the next time you’re chopping for a fruit salad, include both grapes (they have catechin) and apples. Pairing apples with dark chocolate also gives the same benefit.

APRIL 22, 2012

with it. That’s because the body cannot use the A unless there is enough zinc present. So have some Vitamin A-loaded baked sweet potato fries (instead of potato chips) along with grilled chicken, add some roasted wheat germ or sesame seeds to your lettuce and carrot salad, or simply snack on dried apricots with these crunchy seeds.

are choc-a-block with iron (such as spinach and chickpeas), but not in a readily available form. When paired with a vitamin C-rich food though, the availability improves (some studies say up to six times). So add some orange segments to your beet salad, bell pepper to your chhole (chickpea), or cook it with tomatoes, top the cereal with strawberries, make a tamarindbased curry with spinach. Uncomp licated really!





HEN THE mercury begins to soar, very few people have the urge to eat heavy meals, and as a result, many people end up either missing their meals or eating foods that upset their digestion. Here are some basic tenets to follow to eat light and healthy meals in summer. ■ Avoid the use of refined foods, which are essentially flours. ■ Remember that too much salt in the food can be dehydrating. ■ White sugar should be avoided or consumed in very small amounts. ■ Fried foods are to be avoided as they

increase the pitta of the body, leading to acidity and indigestion. ■ Avoid using elements of garam masala in the food. The sign of a healthy, well-balanced meal is that the appetite is satiated and yet there is no heaviness or discomfort. Also, there is no excessive thirst (needing to drink a lot of water with meals is a sign of a very heavy meal). Summer is the time for full-meal salads, which despite being light on digestion are great for health. Here are some options: Boiled corn and pineapple salad: Boiled corn is naturally sweet, and a whole grain – a source of niacin, vitamin C and several other B vitamins. Pineapple is excellent for digestion. Its natural sweetness balances the pitta in

Summer is the time for full-meal salads, which are light on digestion Photos: MCT

the body. Boiled black channa and potato salad with chaat masala: Black channa is a naturally low glycemic food, which is very useful for those on a weight loss diet and for diabetics. In ayurveda, black channa has been recommended for diabetics due to its cooling taasir; unlike its fried counterpart, it is not fattening. Boiled potato adds flavour to this salad, as well as fibre. Fruit and sprout chaat: Many find sprouts strange-tasting if eaten on their own, but mung sprouts with fruit make a delicious snack. One can eat the sprouts raw or very lightly steamed (not boiled as it spoils the texture of the sprouts). Then add anar (pomegranate), chopped apples, peanuts, chopped cucumber and chaat masala. This kind of snack is a storehouse of energy and health. Sprouts are a source of natural vegan protein (which is excellent as a cardio-protective and cancer-protective food item), and are rich in many minerals, including chromium, which is

good for diabetics. Apple is the famous fruit that keeps the doctor away. Anar is also rich in alkali, which makes the system alkaline and is also rich in several vitamins (according to folk traditions, anar is a medicinal fruit). Boiled sweet peas, chopped pineapple and roasted sweet potato salad: This salad contains vegan protein, digestive enzymes, vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, natural fibre, and is a good source of energy. To add a tangy, zesty flavour, add balsamic vinegar to this salad. Note: This salad is filling enough to be a complete meal by itself.




Sex Up The Salwar “Think of a neckline the way you’d conceptualise it in western wear, in dresses and tops,” says Suleman Pervez, the Lahorebased COO of Pakistani fashion brand Origins. Check out global designers’ collections and copy neck styles. If you have toned arms, go for spaghetti straps (left).

HOW TO GET A LEG UP Repeat to yourself: salwars and churidars are not the only lowers that look good with suits. You need to be imaginative with them. They can make or break a look. So try different styles, from narrow pants (right) to broad pyjamas

Experiment with straps Break the monotony by contrasting the straps with the kurta. If the suit is a plain cotton one, have the straps in pearls (above), brocade borders or lace.

Finishing touch Finish the ends of the lowers with interesting fabrics. Lace (above), velvet, satin and embroidered patches are options.

Opt for newer styles The ‘U’, ‘round’, ‘square’ and ‘matka’ necks are passé. Instead, opt for different types of halters (above), boat necks, empire and cowl necks.

Play the band Go a step further and get a band collar. It is a change from the done-to-death Chinese collars seen on suits. Have a swan neck? Embellish the band. Photos: GUL AHMED

APRIL 22, 2012

Go sheer Suits don’t always have to be modest. And cotton is not the only option for lowers. Experiment with seethrough net (left), dreamy organza, soft chiffons or playful georgettes.

Get trimmed Add interesting details to the salwar. It is a garment in itself. Deck it up with gota or colour patches (above). You can also make the salwar loose or fitted.



ments to fabrics and embroideries. So we took a few cues from Pakistani designers (who were in Delhi for an exhibition) on how to soup up the suit. The salwar kameez is their national dress and they experiment with it. A lot! “We play with it as designers in India play with sarees and those abroad with western wear,” says designer Asim Jofa.

fashion designer Nachiket Barve, “The saree movement, which kickstarted in the late ’90s, resulted in the suit taking a back seat in the Indian fashion scene.” Apart from a few designers such as Meera Ali who experiment with silhouettes, most designers (including the grand dame of Indian textiles and fashion, Ritu Kumar) stick to staid styles, limiting their experi-


by Parul Khanna Tewari


ANY INDIAN women wear ‘suits’ (kurta-patiala salwars, pyjama-kurtas, Fabindia kurta-salwars etc etc.). While there are no figures to measure its popularity, it is true that most urban women find the ‘suit’ far more comfortable than the saree. Then why is the ‘suit’ usually so indescribably dowdy? According to


The boring yet wildly popular ‘suit’ is in urgent need of a makeover. Pakistani designers reveal some smart tricks





This is a little tough. You’ll need to go through a few fashion magazines and websites. Take printouts for your tailor to ensure that he/she gets it right. You can copy a lot of western wear techniques such as side and front slits (right), pleats, box pleats, draping and pin tucks.



Get creative with silhouettes. Wear cuts that suit your body. Go for kaftans, narrow, figure-hugging, long kurtas with a hint of lowers (right) or whatever else takes your fancy.


Let it skim Tight is not always sexy. Even internationally, loose silhouettes are fashion forward. Thin or fat? For either body type, flowy silhouettes work well.

Jagged ends Innovate with hemlines. Like with the lowers, finish the kurtas with different fabrics. Have them asymmetrical or round, rather than the usual square.


Mix it Intersperse vertical panels of contrasting prints in the kurta (right). This will add volume, detailing and also colour. But be careful, it can look tacky.



Keep it long It’s a myth that long kurtas suit only tall women. Short women look equally graceful. Wear ankle-skimming kurtas. They’re a nice break from the current styles.



Layer it Layer the kurta the way you would layer western wear. Have a plain, pleated slip and layer it with a printed, lace jacket (left). You can also do it the other way round.


Merge it Rather than a kurta in one print or colour, mix several unusual prints (left). Stitch them together for a cool style aesthetic. Go for 3 or 4 prints in one kurta, and top with details.

FABRICS TO GET YOU THROUGH THE SUMMER ■ Lawn: A type of cotton, it is lightweight, tough, crisp (more than mulmul) and sheer. It can be easily dyed and printed and doesn’t wrinkle easy. ■ Cotton Net: Semi-transparent, this is a mix of fine cotton and net. It breathes and is very light on the body. ■ Cotton Satin: Has the lightness of cotton and the sheen of satin. A very interesting mix, it can be used for

dressy suits. It is the silk of summer. ■ Chiffon: Made of cotton, silk or synthetic fibre, it can be dyed in almost any shade. It breathes easy and has a good fall. ■ Mulmul: It feels like you are wearing nothing, but it crushes easily.

– Inputs by Veenu Singh

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman” – Coco Chanel APRIL 22, 2012




Harbhajan Singh if i could... I’D FLY AND TRAVEL THE WORLD WITH MY WINGS




Attended five different schools from standard 1 to 12


Jalandhar, Punjab


How much fun it would be to take those giant leaps and jump around on the moon with no gravity to pull you down


When we won the World Cup in 2011. The moment I lifted the cup, my lifelong dream was fulfilled

Your favourite IPL team besides Mumbai Indians? There is no other favourite. It’s Mumbai Indians all the way. If not a cricketer you would have been? I can’t imagine my life without APRIL 22, 2012


Leading the Mumbai Indians side in the ongoing Indian Losing my Premier League and endorsing Reebok father

Of course, Shah Rukh Khan. He is the king of romance. Jalandhar or Mumbai – what do you prefer and why? There’s no comparison as there is no better place than home. One Punjabi song that you love shaking a leg to? Apna Punjab Hove by IF YOU WERE AN ICE CREAM, WHAT Gurdas Maan. He is too good. FLAVOUR WOULD Your favourite destination? YOU BE? West Indies. The last thing you bought under `10? My favourite chocolate bar. One exercise routine you definitely follow? I follow Reebok CrossFit very diligently. After a long day, what do you love eating? Maa ke haath ka khana. Your all time favourite film? I love watching movies so this list is really long. I’ll need more space. You are closest to? My family and my buddies. The sport you love to watch? Yeh toh trick question hai. Of course, cricket. How many pairs of jeans do you own? Way too many. What will we find in your fridge right now? Milk, eggs, bread, everything you will normally find in a fridge. Your favourite gadget? My BlackBerry. One thing that you can never eat? I can never eat medicines. Just cricket. This is who I am. But if I hate them. wouldn’t have been a cricketer, I The last line of your autobiography probably would have made a would read? career in some other sport. Singh is king! Which IPL owner’s films are your favourite? — Interviewed by Veenu Singh

Chocolate in any form will do


I am passionate about wearing designer labels. To start my own will be a dream come true

against Australia in March 1998 at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium


Hindustantimes Brunch 22 April 2012  
Hindustantimes Brunch 22 April 2012  

Hindustantimes Brunch 22 April 2012