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WEEKLY MAGAZINE, FEBRUARY 26, 2012 Free with your copy of Hindustan Times

In A Clear Darkness What made an acclaimed young novelist abandon big city life and move to a small forest town? Read SIDDHARTH DHANVANT SHANGHVI on life in slow motion

Wake App Sid!

E-help at your fingertips – all through the day



Oil in good taste

‘Family matters’

Power Play

How Ashish Nehra got past injury and ill health

Get smart! Cut through office politics RAJIV MAKHNI

The iPad that isn’t



India intensive sound A crime that can’t come clean



26.02.2012 inbox LETTER OF THE WEEK! Lose weight, gently

IN THE article on Kalli Purie’s dramatic weight loss (Having Lost Weight, I Feel I Can Do Anything, 19 February), it’s evident that she’s constantly thinking about food and ways to fight the urge to eat. And who can blame her, with that spartan diet that she’s outlined? But there is no need for all the struggle. When one is gentle with oneself, one can peel off the layers of fat and unearth the real reason behind the over-eating. Exercising becomes a pleasure, eating is no longer stressful. — RADHIKA OLTIKAR, via email I FOUND your article Do You Look The Same Everyday by Parul Khanna Tewari very helpful. To keep up with fashion, I sometimes over-shop and regret it, because it goes waste after a time. But after reading the article, I mixed and matched different clothes and came up with many new outfits. — DIKSHA BHARTI, via email

The big change!

TODAY WHEN I woke up, little did I know that I’ll be looking at a new Brunch. As a reader I am very particular about what fonts are used in a book, what pleases my eyes, and the first thing that caught my eyes was the sparkling font on the cover page which read ‘Brunch’ in a warm yellow colour. It was nice to see a round change! – CAROLINE SAMPSON, via email

Gear up, for every week the best letter will get a SHOPPING voucher worth


EDITORIAL Poonam Saxena (Editor), Kushalrani Gulab (Deputy Editor); Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Mignonne Dsouza, Veenu Singh, Parul Khanna Tewari, Yashica Dutt, Pranav Dixit, Amrah Ashraf, Saudamini Jain DESIGN Ashutosh Sapru (National Editor Design), Swati Chakrabarti, Rakesh Kumar, Ashish Singh, Saket Misra, Suhas Kale, Shailendra Mirgal

Write to or to 18-20 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001

FEBRUARY 26, 2012

Not Just Another Cover Story!

That’s because it’s written by acclaimed author Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, and the pictures are by screenwriter and photographer Sooni Taraporevala. Enjoy!





Aditi Sharma It’s a visual delight to see a lovely metamorphosis of dear Brunch! It really got me hooked this time


Tired of bullying colleagues? Before the office politics gets really ugly, take control


A day in the life of an app junkie (actually, a day he’d like to have)

Personal Agenda

Model/Actor Dipannita Sharma is dying for a pair of boots


Parag Singla A very happy anniversary Brunch. I Like the Change.The Article What’s your Big Plan is the best tool to tell us that change is necessary and required. Renuka Supekar The article on Long Distance Relationships was the best. No good sunday without Brunch !.

Nine To Five

12 SPECTATOR Why is rape still a crime that dares not speak its name? 14 RUDE FOOD When it’s olive oil, trust only your tongue

@Jacqueline Roach Inspired by redoing the lunch box . Got some tomatoes, roasted chicken, pita bread for lunch

16 TECHILICIOUS How will Apple hold on to the iPad name?

@shreykhetarpal I like the new Hindustantimes Brunch look... everything worked except the liposuction ads!


@harshadlagade I simply loved the cover story and ones on stress mechanisms and long distance relationships



Picture Time! Devour Them All That Autumn Blush Fresh from the recently-held Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, check out the shades you’ll mostly be wearing this autumn

Cover design: ASHUTOSH SAPRU Cover photo of Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi: SOONI TARAPOREVALA


The HT Brunch Totally Twisted, UltraDifficult Weekly Twitter Quiz! Just Linger On... Log on to see more pictures of Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi in Matheran, shot by Sooni Taraporevala

Have you read our latest blog? Award-winning writer/filmmaker Gautam Chintamani is writing a column on ‘something sensible in the senselessness of our cinema’. Don’t forget to read Split-Screen every Friday on the web!


DOWNLOAD CENTRAL Himanshu Suri’s album is sure to hook desi headbangers

The Brunch Blogs

This week, read Tied to the Screen by Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi. A masala mix of relationships and movies

Wow! Our week-long Bollywood quiz got a massive response and we loved interacting with you as much as you loved writing to us. Thank you! But don’t let the spirit die down. This week’s theme is Cricket. Log on already! Starting today, we’ll quiz you at 2pm every day for the next seven days. One LUCKY winner from the Bollywood week, chosen by random draw of lots, will be announced next week.

The lucky winner gets a SHOPPING voucher worth


Have you seen our Brunch Quarterly photoshoot with Vidya Balan yet? Log on now!



Don’t Quit! Just Play The Game Tired of bullying colleagues and whimsical bosses? Before the office politics gets really ugly, take control

lish my stand,” says Venkat. “Once I gave the evidence to my boss, my colleague didn’t know where to look. I was vindicated.”


KEEP UP THE GOOD HUMOUR It is great to be the boss’ blueeyed boy or girl, but it is far more rewarding to have great camaraderie with colleagues and subordinates. Be nice and polite with everyone. While sometimes you may need to be firm with your co-workers, make sure you never insult anyone. “Never privilege one and prejudice the other. You

by Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi

‘Play office politics like a game of strategy. But play it fair and square’


UNDERSTAND YOUR SURROUNDINGS Once in an organisation, understand its work dynamics. “This includes your work profile, colleagues, the team you’re working with and the competition, besides, of course, the company’s work culture,” says Ritesh Sinha, HR manager in an IT firm. It is important to evaluate what you’re surrounded by, working with factors such as how a certain person behaves, the expectations of your boss (and her or his boss) and how results are evaluated.

KEEP YOUR RECORDS STRAIGHT Never, ever mess up your work. Meet your deadlines and stay as honest to your job as possible. This establishes your credibility as a good worker and negates the possibility of anyone pointing fingers at you. “There are a lot of instances when people try to malign their colleagues, subordinates or even bosses,” says Mehta. “At that time, the only thing that comes to the concerned person’s defense is his/her work record. If that is fine, no one can question him or her.”


CONFRONT AND COMMUNICATE Clear communication always cuts across office politics. Be transparent and back your arguments with solid facts. “Be polite, persuasive and firmly assertive when it comes to fighting for a ‘cause’. Also, if you need to clear misgivings, it is always advisable to confront the person one-on-one instead of sneaking to a senior. It bonds the team wonderfully,” says journalist Shalini Singh.



FEBRUARY 26, 2012

DON’T BE PART OF A CLIQUE While it is necessary to maintain friendly and cordial relations with everyone, make sure that you are not looked upon as a part of a particular group or a certain person’s man. You have to be neutral and not take sides. “Forming cliques is often viewed negatively and motivates the competition to work against you even if you’re not at fault,” says Rohini Mehra.

promote yourself while putting down your coworkers. But that’s bad strategy, say experts. “Never talk about a third party. Just talk about yourself, your achievements, and problems and expectations on an individual basis,” says Mehta. “You don’t need to say ‘that person didn’t do it, but I did it’. Simply say that you did something and leave it to your senior to understand that the other person didn’t.”


PLAY ON THE FRONT FOOT If your colleagues try and put you on the spot, don’t get defensive. “The only way to handle insinuations and politics is by addressing the issues on merit,” says Neeraj Venkat, a corporate lawyer who was once put in the dock by a colleague who blamed him for a miscommunication with a client. “Thankfully, I had copies of all mails exchanged with the client. And good feedback from the client also helped me to estab-


GAME Appraisal 7 NOtimeBLAME or deadline time, the instant reaction is always to



ITCHY COLLEAGUES, whimsical bosses, annoying subordinates and a stressful office atmosphere are definitely not the newest phenomena in our lives. We’ve all faced them at some point. But how do you move past them? Get into fights at work? Rat out troublesome colleagues to your boss? Become the quintessential ‘yes boss’ dummy and lose your identity? Or simply quit your job? The answer is: none of the above. In the hugely competitive professional scenario we work in, it is only natural to come across people who’ll try to climb up the career ladder with their feet on your back. Backbiting, rear-licking, jealousy and politics at your workplace are a reality and there’s not much you can do to change that. But you don’t have to give up or simply shrug and live with it. Instead make sure office politics doesn’t turn you into a bad worker. As HR executive Sharad Mehta says, “It is best to work your way up the ladder cutting through the politics. Nothing else really makes a difference.” But how? If you’re surrounded by people trying to manipulate and pull you down, how do you climb up that ladder without being knocked off? Play office politics as though it’s a game, say experts. And play it well – but play it fair and square. “It is like a game of strategy,” says Rohini Mehra, a corporate executive who learnt this through experience. “You need to recognise and understand your resources and use them effectively without machination to achieve your goals.”

never know who at what point can become your ally,” says Sinha.

YOUR BOSS IS NO FOOL Your boss can be whimsical, irrational or great. But she or he definitively isn’t a fool. She or he wouldn’t be a boss if that was the case. So believe in your boss. Learn from his/her weaknesses and imbibe the strengths. Support her or him and let them rely on you. “You don’t need to agree with everything they say, but push your point forward with due merit. An intelligent boss will always be open to suggestions. Win your boss’s confidence and you would have killed 50 per cent of office politics,” says Mehta.



In A Clear Darkness Why did one of our acclaimed young writers trade big city life for a small forest town? Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi’s dispatches on the slow life – and lessons on loss photographs by Sooni Taraporevala


Y GROWING years in Bombay were joyous. The beach was near our house and I spent hours on the shore looking through pools for seashells coloured burnt pink; even now, the memory of a marooned silver eel on the coast frees a shock of delight through me. I remember people were adventurous, laconic, spirited, debauched in an old-fashioned way: a drinking habit, a boyfriend too many. My father’s closest friends were an aphoristic doctor and his wife, a lively feminist; loud, amusing conversations were conducted around giant mugs of beer. The camaraderie was powerful, genuine, even the occasional resentment that sprung from a friendship losing a balance of favours paled; after all, they were having such fun together. I went to school in north Bombay, trudged home down a laburnumlined gully that flooded hip-high in the monsoon. One year the local veterinarian caught a young crocodile on 12th Road, a family bred peacocks near the local gymkhana. In Church Market, the local bazaar, I bought paperback novels from Vinod Book Mart, haggling for second-hand editions of Enid Blyton, later Shakespeare, then Toni Morrison; my literary education was not as sentimental as it was dusty. In wicker baskets I brought home injured, abandoned kittens and raised a green turtle in a stone birdbath. My life was not broad or cosmopolitan, there were no visits to the opera or lessons in the French – but its depth had incomprehensible beauty. There were gulmohars to sit

under, a disregard for time, a curiosity for sex and books: it was a childhood against which adulthood registers itself as a disappointment. So when did the love affair with Bombay start to crumble? Events need their invitation, writes James Salter in Light Years, dissolutions their start. There are three chief reasons I decided to leave Bombay: the failure of aesthetic, the failure of conversation, the failure of love. The year my father was diagnosed with brain cancer, a developer bought the bungalow next to my house in Juhu, demolished it overnight, built an eight-storey building. This structure is an ode to ugliness. As my father struggled to recover from cancer, the developer put up vertical parking, so apartment owners could disembark from garages to proceed into drawing rooms. But the vertical parking was a sham for it was soon converted into living rooms, temples and gyms. Repeated complaints to the BMC eventually brought a directive that was quickly quieted by a stay order from the court. In spite of the order, work carried on. Today, I live alongside a building where the ‘garages’ have marble bathtubs and shrines to Laxmi. This building became a metaphor for Bombay’s greed, political complicity, farcical civic bodies, weak justice system, lazy neighbours and webs of intractable, genius corruption. Bombay had turned into an ugly city and I do not mean this only visually: there was so much more that there was nothing left to see. I noted the death of conversation in two opposing quarters. At Vinod Book Mart,

In the week I moved to Matheran, I found myself returning to novels, which I had come to neglect in Bombay

FEBRUARY 26, 2012

I noticed the vendor no longer discussed the next stock of books coming in, didn’t offer his tart views on a Bollywood siren or a sleazy MP. By the time I had graduated, Vinod Book Mart stocked only stationery and computer accessories. The old vendor was replaced by his young son, who spoke with me in English. I wondered about his father, and the time I had sat next to a giant black weighing scale bargaining for tattered paperbacks and he had doled out the best piece of advice I received for writing fiction: Hurry up. Recently, I went back to Vinod Book Mart, where the absence of banter struck me as sad, as if I were entering a once-familiar room stripped bare, no fabric, no console, no photographs. nother landscape where talk A ceased: Parties. The lines outside marbled washrooms were long

and restless, sometimes two or three giggling guests emerged from one booth. Naively I thought it was sex, until I was told it was better: Cocaine. I overheard things like, Mayawati is a total f*@#%ng rockstar! Or: I don’t know if I should cancel the wedding just because she died, y’know? People said to me, Have you lost weight? Where are you these days? Let’s do lunch! This newly minted lot had stepped out of the same buildings I raged against. I knew many such people who ruined conversation for me by speaking. Sometimes, late at night, on my way back from such parties, I’d recall Bombay originals like Bapsi Sabahvala, who once arrived for a ball at the Taj Mahal Hotel on a white stallion on whose back she cantered up the whorls of a grand staircase. I’d recall a family friend in Bandra, who played Chopin nocturnes, spoke fluent Sanskrit, whipped up gin and tonics that could knock you out for weeks. (“Don’t be absurd,” he told me the week he died, “we don’t get tonic water in India.”) These impetuous originals, failed writers, glamorous impressarios, sexual renegades had come through slaughter and then gone on to tap dance or ride bareback, or sit at a desk to write letters in longhand. I’d


“I’d come to Matheran chiefly to think about the nature of loss,” Shanghvi writes as he traces his life in a small forest town look out of the cab window, the Bombay air humid and exhausting, the neon lights pink and bright, the lovers on Marine Drive no longer audacious. People who live here, I reminded myself, read novels written by management school graduates. Mostly, though, I decided to leave Bombay after something like a friendship, by which I mean a kind of indefinable love, failed. This was an equal, an ally of solitude, lonesome and shy, a familiar of novels, someone who sat hunched in cafés writing, strolled through small towns and their ancient temples, forever transformed by beauty witnessed and sensed as


inextirpable truth. But such people are often desperately melancholy, resistant to all animating joy, unable to live sex as naturally as a breath. Regardless, life feels sparse in their absence. I made for the hills with a moleskine diary and tapes of Ellington, to think more clearly of who had gone away and what had been lost. atheran is a small hill station two M hours from Bombay. It is not remote, but its isolation can be terrifying: it is accessed only by foot or on horseback. After leaving the car-port, Dasturi, a forty-five minute walk brings you to the market or a hotel. Thickly forested dirt roads lead up to abrupt, vertiginous drops offering heart-halting views: a dale, the clotted

forest, an asymmetrical ridge of mountains. The paths are red of colour, a deep laterite red. The weather is cool through the year, although winter can be fierce, the monsoon delirious. Local population hovers around five thousand; local businesses include cobbling and managing horses. I put up in a small cottage close to Paymaster Park. When I originally saw it, the first level had been propped up with bamboos to prevent it from falling down. White ants had left delicate mounds of dust. Monkeys

had wrecked the roof. Snakes had overrun the garden. Slowly, as we rebuilt the house brick by brick, this gutsy little ruin came back to life. Life in Matheran is not a picnic; it’s the kind of place people visit over a weekend, rejoice in its sanguine air and gloaming light, then leave it behind. There is no real hospital to speak of, and emergency health services are a good two hours away. Cellphone reception is dodgy, Internet access is not possible where I live, I do not own a television set; at

Last year, a leopard was seen perched on a tree close to Honeymoon Point, down the road from my cottage, feasting on a kill FEBRUARY 26, 2012

sundown, darkness comes at you like a final verdict. Power cuts range between three to five hours a day. Summer brings water shortages. Last year, a leopard was seen perched on a tree close to Honeymoon Point, down the road from my cottage, feasting on a kill. In nearby Maria Cottage the caretaker’s wife lost three fingers to a rabid stray. These might sound like complaints; they are not. These are merely reasons why most people find it difficult to live here. Now I want to tell you why it is impossibly beautiful if you decide to do so. In the week I moved to Matheran I found myself returning to novels, which I had come to neglect in Bombay. I came back to the listening




shade of sentences, the solitude of their writing, as their reading, the discovery of sullen familiars and the lovely strange. I re-read classics, I read new novels, I read critical supplements, I read froth. My concentration, diluted by diversions of big city life, bound again. I became a student of literature, which is to say, a student of solitude. The fear of a lion alone was calmed by imagined lives and their choices, anxieties, failures, reprises. I felt literature had come into existence not to perform for critics but to lay bare the disquiet of fate, to parent us across the waves; it was the art of experience, collected and communed, before it was ever literary endeavour. slept early under the cold, rememIpled bering sky, and I woke early to daplight; I was alone in the forest,

and what to make of the clay of hours was ever on my mind. Time, like a harmonium, stretched out, releasing note and melody. Slowly, the days lent themselves to measure: I had books to review, a door needed fixing, lunch had to be made. My sister often asked me: Just what do you do there? I had no clear answer except that here my solitude kept me good company. If Bombay had driven me away with its ugliness, then the hills had lured me with magnificence: a palace of trees. Unlike the civilised rhetoric of art – seen in the museum or the gallery – here it was everywhere, like air itself. An empty playground; the July mist on Charlotte Lake; hundreds of bats whirring through the drawing room of an abandoned house. I tried to capture some of this in photographs; it was futile, these things are inaudible, unseen; their strength is in their occurrence and, later, in memory. The hills made me see more with my eyes closed. Sometimes in the morning, as I lay in bed, I felt ineffably calm; I came to think of this as the happiness that was reliant neither on incident nor encounter, it was the thing in itself. I had forgotten this in the city: joy that cannot be measured or named, joy inspired only by itself. In Matheran I saw it in dogs lying in the sunlight, limbs drawn tight, tail tucked, nose to brisket, somnolent gestures containing warmth, dreams, thrill. The doubt that this is how things were meant to be – slow, uncertain, true –


Walks in the forest are the evening’s principal activity. “The hills made me see more with my eyes closed” was persistent. One time I came down with the flu. Too weak to walk down to the car park I decided to ride it out. I lay in bed for days, fighting a fever, my muscles cramping. I relied on a few Chinese herbs, some kadha, a lit sigri under the bed. Here’s the key difference between suffering in Bombay and up here: I came to watch my sickness as if a witness. In the city the disease was quickly banished. In the city the disease could not be known as what it was: another life form – a bacteria, in this case, marshalling strength to survive and flourish. But surrendering to anguish, small or giant, is to fail to know it. Something about the forest, its profound, edifying stillness, gave me the cool remove to watch the pain, to see it, to be with it as if a stranger on the same train as I, going across a great distance.

One time I came down with the flu. Too weak to walk down to the car park, I decided to ride it out

had come to Matheran chiefly to Ithink about the nature of loss. People, over the years, had repeatFEBRUARY 26, 2012

ed to me trite truisms: Time heals all. You’ll get over it. All you need is closure. So I waited, I wrote, I photographed, I travelled, I took long walks. I watched obscure Iranian cinema, I cared for men around me who were dying, I sat on a bench on the seashore. In this way, time passed. But, after a few years of being unable to give up the ghost, it occurred to me I’d have to learn to live with the loss of my friend; it was to be permanent, unyielding, like a battle scar or birthmark. The idea that there was any closure, or healing, seemed repugnant, too easy to be true. What truth, after all, might be closed as easily as if it were only a door? After I had started to spend more time in Matheran – even before I moved here – I found myself being with the loss as if it were an instruction, and later, when I felt I’d taken out of it what I needed – its derivative, its meaning, its purpose – it stayed on as a reminder of how I had chosen to live my life, and the lightning bolt of love that had left it so distinctively damaged. When I

think of friends I am fond of most I see they have some sort of a nervous tic, a limp, a stammer; it seems to come from something they have given up, or something that was taken away: the impediment is a reminder of the courage of their existence in light of what has gone. They will never be the same again. Also: In the hills the enormity of the scarring became entirely known; on some days it felt giant, insurmountable, destructive. In those lightless hours I began to gather the ash of longing and offer it back to the air around me, to the trees, the night sky, as if a common prayer. That’s all I could do, really, accept that it was larger than me, summon it together, then throw it up to the big sky: this didn’t mean that it would go away, but at least now it had seen its resting place. Early in life we come to see it either as a tragedy or a comedy; great literature is a result of these choices. Speaking for myself, I veered to the tragic mode: there was consolation in the essential impermanence of things, a relief in knowing it would all come to end. The tragedy was not the end but a knowledge of the end foreshadowing all things. However, my brief time in Matheran makes me believe that life might not be as tragic as I had originally believed, but comic – possibly even a total and complete farce. For, in hindsight, the allegiances of my heart were brittle, formed from an absence of full information; my political convictions had been well meaning but quite unrealistic; all the friendships had been painfully temporary. Everything, it seems, is ultimately drowned out by a great laughter in the distance. Karen Blixen, the great Danish writer, after losing her farm in Kenya, and her lover, Denys FinchHatton, in a flying accident, returned to Denmark in 1931. She came to writing, she said, with ‘blood on her hands’. She took on a nom de plume – Isak, which in Danish means ‘the one who laughs’. Finally, this morning in Matheran, before light breaks, at this hour of a clear darkness, I know why she chose the name she did. (Shanghvi’s photography show, Postcards from the Forest, is currently on view at Sakshi Gallery in Bombay and at Seven Art Limited in Delhi. Visit

MORE ON THE WEB Catch more of Shanghvi’s Matheran life in an exclusive photogallery on



The experience of the Kolkata victim shows why rape is still a crime that dares not speak its name

The only thing that matters is that her body was violated against her will Seema Goswami



What was a divorcee with kids at home doing at a nightclub so late at night? asked a Cabinet minister

made a bad call by leaving the nightclub with a bunch of strangers. Let’s concede that she acted without a requisite regard for her own personal safety. But you know what? Even if all of this is true, none of it is at all relevant. The only thing that matters is that she was raped. She was subjected to a sexual act that she did not consent to. Her body was violated against her will. And yet, no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to wrap our heads around this simple fact: the victim is not at fault. She is not the one who has to pass some sort of ‘purity test’ set by the moral police. She is not the one who needs to account for her past behaviour or her life choices. She is not the one who is guilty. She is not the one who should be feeling ashamed. But the way things pan out in this skewered world of ours, that’s exactly what ends up happening. It’s the victim who is put in the dock of public morality and asked to explain why this should have happened to her. It’s the victim who is made to feel that she bears responsibility for the assault on her body. In the Kolkata case, when the victim finally steeled herself to go and report the rape to the police she was met with derision rather than empathy. She was asked how it was possible for someone to be raped in a moving car. Could she describe the positions exactly? One of the officers at the station even asked if they could go to the nightclub in question and get a beer together (because she was ‘that kind’ of girl, right?). Worse was to follow. The chief minister of the state, Mamata Banerjee, announced grandly that the rape charges were cooked up and were just an attempt to malign the reputation of her government. One of her Cabinet ministers then went on television to ask: what was a divorcee with kids at home doing at a nightclub so late at night? Well, Mr Minister, let me say this once again very slowly so that you get it: She. Was. Not. Looking. To. Get. Raped. Now repeat after me: She was not looking to get raped. But her experience explains why so many rapes go unreported in India. Consider this. Only one out of 10 rapes in India is ever reported. And of those reported, only one out of four cases results in a conviction. Pretty good odds if you're a rapist, right? If you are a victim, however, the dice are loaded against you from start to finish. First up, the police will refuse to take you seriously unless you fit in with their idea of a rape victim, i.e., a good girl who doesn’t drink, wear revealing clothes or flirts with men. If the case does get registered, it will be open season on everything from your wardrobe choices to your sexual history. And then, the case will drag on for years, making it impossible for you to move on or get some sort of closure. In other words, after being violated by your rapist, you will end up getting raped yet again by the system. Are you surprised then, that so few women come forward to file a complaint of rape? Which is why all of us need to salute the bravery of this 37year-old Anglo-Indian divorcee from Kolkata who had the courage to come forward and tell her story, who had the guts to take on her rapists, who refused to lie down and play dead. No matter what the outcome of the case, in my book, she’s already a winner.


Mamata Banerjee, announced that the rape charges were cooked up

O, WHAT was a 37-year-old divorcee with two children doing at a nightclub in Calcutta well past midnight? Well, I’ll tell you what she wasn’t doing. She wasn’t looking to get brutally gang-raped at gunpoint in a moving car by a bunch of vicious thugs. That’s all you really need to know. She wasn’t looking to get raped. Other than that, her sexual history, her marital circumstances, what she was wearing, how much she was drinking, how she was behaving, none of it is at all relevant. All that matters is that she wasn’t asking to be sexually violated. And yet, ever since the single mother has come forward to report a sexual assault, that’s all we’ve heard: criticism of her behaviour; barely-veiled insinuations about her ‘character’; even a bizarre claim that she is part of a ‘political conspiracy’ against the Mamata Banerjee government. Divorcee. Nightclub. Drinking. Anglo-Indian. All these words have dominated the discourse for a reason. In fact, the sub-text just leaps out and hits you in the face, doesn’t it? This was a good-time girl looking for a good time. This was no dutiful wife and mother. She was divorced from her husband. She had left her children at home while she went out partying with her friends. She was drinking. She struck up a conversation with strangers and left the nightclub with them. See where this is going? Yes, right. She was ‘asking’ for it. Why else would you interact with complete strangers at a nightclub late at night? Why would you allow them to drop you home in their car? Okay, so let’s assume for argument’s sake, that all these value statements are correct. Let’s accept that her judgement was impaired because she had been drinking. Let’s agree that she



FEBRUARY 26, 2012 Follow Seema on Twitter at


OIL IN GOOD TASTE When it’s olive oil, trust only your tongue. If you like it, then that’s all that matters. But be warned, it destroys most Asian flavours

Vir Sanghvi



Marketers and the big olive oil companies simply rebrand third rate oil as extra virgin


Cheap and nasty olive oils can be like painted whores. The good ones are like the women you fall in love with

Y OLIVE oil epiphany occurred as late as last year. I’ve been an early champion of olive oil, have cooked with it for years, and thought I knew what I was talking about. Then, last year summer in Provence, a French olive oil producer came to the hotel where I was staying with several bottles of olive oil. He wanted to organise a tasting, he said. What followed was a revelation. First of all, I discovered that I had been tasting olive oil all wrong. I used to apply the principles and techniques of wine tasting to it. This was a mistake. The thing about olive oil, I was told, is that the fat (and olive oil is really not much more than liquid fat) can fool the mouth. The trick is to go beyond the first tastes and wait till the oil hits the back of the mouth and the throat. Some olive oils will feel cheap and chemical-like at that stage. Some will seem hot (in the sense of teekha). Some will be thin and so on. Most of us who taste oil respond only to the first taste as it enters the mouth. But this taste is the easiest to fake. Cheap and nasty olive oils can be like painted whores. The good ones are like the women you fall in love with – they still remain wonderful after the first date. That epiphany has had two consequences. The first is that I now really enjoy good olive oil – one of the Provencal olive oils I bought last year has all the flavours of a spicy tapenade. The second is that I now have very little patience with second-rate olive oil – most of the stuff sold in the Indian market tastes like rancid lantern oil. At first, I kept quiet about my epiphany thinking I had turned into an olive oil snob – the sort of person who goes on and on about estate-bottled oils. Perhaps I was just being silly. Perhaps my epiphany was the equivalent of

rude food



Italy consume six lakh tonnes of olive oil. It exports four lakh tonnes but produces only three lakh tonnes

going to a Chateau Margaux tasting and then coming back and declaring that cheaper wine simply didn’t measure up. But something told me that there was more to it than mere snobbery. Even as olive oil invaded the Indian market – with multi-crore advertising campaigns and huge marketing efforts – I began to have my doubts about the stuff that was flying off the shelves. Now, an important new book, Extra Virginity – The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, which is rocking the global food industry, has made me feel that perhaps there was something to my doubts. Extra Virginity is, by no means, an expose. It is written by Tom Mueller who writes for The New Yorker, lives in Italy and loves olive oil. Much of the book is dedicated to listing the virtues of olive oil and tracing its history through the ages. But Mueller also makes another key point – and this is the bit that has drawn attention to the book – about the global boom in olive oil. Over the last two decades, olive oil has gone from being a massage oil to being marketed as the one fat that is good for you.


FEBRUARY 26, 2012


The problem with this boom, says Mueller, is that much (if not most) of what is sold as extra virgin oil is not extra virgin at all. So-called Italian olive oil is actually cheap North African rubbish. And some of the olive oil on supermarket shelves is not olive oil at all. So yes, extra virgin oil does have healthy properties. But the stuff you buy at the grocer’s may not be extra virgin oil, no matter what it says on the label. And therefore, it does not have these healthy virtues. A few dates are important in understanding the history of olive oil. Though the oil has ancient origins, the extra virgin grade was properly created only in 1960 when the European Parliament passed a law grading oils. According to the law, extra virgin oil had to be made by mechanical (rather than industrial) methods with no chemical treatments and under one per cent acidity. There were also taste criteria: extra virgin olive oil “must not demonstrate disgusting odours such as rancidity, putridity, smoke, mould, olive fly and similar.” That would have been that but in 1977, a US Senate Committee on Nutrition came out strongly against saturated fats (such as butter) blaming them for heart disease. This caused a rise in demand for unsaturated fats and olive oil became the favourite in the new health orthodoxy. In 1991, over three decades after the extra virgin grade was created, the European Union redefined the category. Now an extra virgin oil must have zero taste flaws and perceptible fruitiness. The level of free acidity was lowered from one per cent to 0.8 per cent. The problem with these guidelines was that there was no means of enforcing them. And so, as olive oil consumption soared, led by the “healthy fat” craze, the incentive for fraud grew. Genuine extra virgin oil – and pure olive oil itself – became rarer and rarer on the shelves of supermarkets. Mueller quotes some figures. Italians consume six lakh tonnes of olive oil. Italy exports four lakh tonnes. But Italy’s total production of olive oil is three lakh tonnes. So seven lakh tonnes have to come from outside of Italy. This is not necessarily a bad thing. But much of this oil (which is North African) is blended with a little Italian olive oil and sold as Italian oil. Often the oil that is imported is not even olive oil. Cheaper oil (canola, hazelnut, etc.) is chemically treated to make it smell like olive oil and then passed off as the real thing. At the extra virgin level, the fraud is greater. According to one figure that Mueller quotes, 98 per cent of the olive oil sold in Italy is not actually top grade oil. Because the demand for extra virgin olive oil is so great, even Italian consumers are fooled into buying second and third rate oils. The other problem is that most Europeans know that oil that is simply described as ‘olive oil’ (not ‘extra virgin’) can be the lowest of the low: made by chemically extracting fat from the stones of the olives and then de-odourising it through an industrial process. So, Europeans steer clear of anything that is not called ‘extra virgin’.

Marketers and the big olive oil companies know this so they simply rebrand third rate oil as extra virgin and charge only a little bit more for it than they would for ordinary olive oil. (This is why the price difference – which should be massive – is so low.) So if, like me, you like olive oil, what should you do in the face of the great marketing onslaught launched by the olive oil companies? Here are some tips, gleaned from Mueller’s book and from the man who took me through the tasting in Provence. ■ Do not pay more for olive oil (especially when you are cooking with it) only because you think it is a healthy option. First of all, the health argument is not as strong as it used to be – many cheaper oils are also healthy from a heart disease point-of-view. Secondly, good extra virgin olive oil may change when heated while refined oils remain stable. This rather defeats the argument for cooking with olive oil. Thirdly, olive oil has a pronounced taste which alters the flavour of your cooking. It can destroy most Asian flavours and I do not recommend it for Indian food. Fourthly, much of what is sold as extra virgin oil is not what it says on the label so don’t let them scam you. ■ The best argument in favour of olive oil is not health (now controversial) or country of origin (because the producers lie about this) or snobbery (which is not an argument in favour of anything). It is taste. A good olive oil should taste wonderful. Its fat content should amplify the flavours of anything you put it on. So, treat olive oil as you would any food item or as you would treat butter. Like butter, olive oil (unlike say, sunflower oil) is meant to be taken straight into your mouth, not just used as a cooking medium. So apply the same standards. Would you cook with a butter that tasted rancid or smelt odd? It is the same with olive oil. When you buy an olive oil, drink a little, swirl it around your mouth (for what they call mouth-feel) but remember that the crucial taste is the one at the back of your mouth. Then, wait a minute see what flavour lingers. A good olive oil should be fruity and peppery. It should be something you would enjoy drinking (in tiny quantities, admittedly). Only if it passes these tests should you continue to buy it. ■ And price matters. A good Italian extra virgin olive oil costs about 6 euro a bottle to produce! (Then, you can add transport, marketing costs, profit for middlemen etc.) The problem with the flood of cheap, inferior, bogus, extra virgin olive oils is that producers of quality oils have been driven out of business because their stuff costs too much. So if an olive oil is very cheap, be very suspicious. Price doesn’t always equal quality but low prices usually equal rubbish in this business. ■ So what all this means is that when marketers tell you to abandon the oils and fats you normally use and to switch to olive oil because it is fashionable, healthy, tasty etc. tell them to take a flying leap. Trust only your tongue. If you like it, then that’s all that matters. The rest is just marketing.

Like butter, olive oil is meant to be taken straight into your mouth, not just used as a cooking medium


Over the last two decades, olive oil has gone from being a massage oil to being marketed as the one fat that is good for you

FEBRUARY 26, 2012


Much of the book Extra Virginity is dedicated to listing the virtues of olive oil and tracing its history through the ages


A good olive oil should taste wonderful. Its fat content should amplify the flavours of anything you put it on


WHEN AN iPAD ISN’T AN iPAD What will Apple do to hold on to one of its most successful product names?


How is a clunky, big, fat, thick CRT monitor competition for an iPad?

(To all those who were waiting for part 2 of the wire-free challenge: the iPad trademark story took some bizarre and unexpected twists in the last few weeks and thus superseded that story. I did complete the wire-free project but did I manage it in the allocated two hours and was I completely successful? That is what I will reveal next week.)


HIS IS the story of the iPad, a wildly successful flat device that some people love more than their internal organs. It sold in the millions, setting up a new category, and fights among competing ‘iPad-killer’ devices every single week. While it has fought and won epic battles, its very identity and name is now at stake. This is a story with a cast of colourful characters and soap opera-ish twists and turns. Let’s meet the star cast first.



Rajiv Makhni

Moving to its third iteration, this Tablet device, along with its smaller brother, the iPhone, have made Apple worth $460 billion – that’s more than Microsoft and Google combined, more than the GDP of most countries and even bigger than the illegal drugs business worldwide. So it’s a critical and very profitable business for the fruity company. For this device to lose its name would have catastrophic consequences.



Proview asked for all production and exports of the Apple iPad to stop from China

Yes, Proview had an iPad much before Apple did. The name stood for Internet Personal Access Device. It was an all-in-one system built into a CRT monitor that could access the Internet, was released in 1998 and had a rather confusing marketing campaign. Consider this passage from the brochure “….The iPAD development constructs on the dream of technology founded human spirit. To make use of advance serial products... it is the strong leading trend and nobody can resist the charming of iPAD”. Not exactly Shakespearean prose – but at least an iPad existed before the iPad!


The iPad along with the iPhone (right), have made Apple worth $460 billion



This company is based in Shenzhen, China; its mainline business is


Apple bought the worldwide rights for the iPad trademark from Proview in 2006. But it didn’t buy it directly from Proview but from an affiliate company. Everything was all hunkydory till the iPad became a rather serious hit for Apple. Proview then made a claim that they did not sign off on the 2006 deal for the iPad trademark in China. In fact, they’ve even gone so far as to claim that the affiliate had no right to sell the trademark in the first place. While a Hong Kong court found that Apple owned the trademark, all hell broke loose when a court in southern China ruled that the iPad trademark was owned by Proview. It ordered local resellers and stores not to sell Apple’s iPad and also got local authorities to pick up stock of the iconic brand off the shelves.


Now emboldened, Proview asked for all production and exports of the Apple iPad to stop from China as it is illegal for Apple to manufacture a product in China by a name Proview owned. While this hasn’t happened and authorities have refused, Proview is pursuing this to the fullest. Further, it has also threatened to sue Apple for $2 billion in the USA. The further claim now is that Apple had clearly stated in its contract that it would not use the iPad name to manufacture a competing product. Just how a clunky, big, fat, thick CRT monitor with 1998 technology is competition for an iPad is a little difficult to figure out. Nonetheless, Proview seems to think its case has merit!


With the iPad 3 about to be released, Proview could do serious damage FEBRUARY 26, 2012

the manufacturing of monitors; it had made a name for itself a while back and is in financial doldrums right now ($97 million in losses in 2009); it has filed for bankruptcy, had a former CEO who resigned due to his own personal bankruptcy and a current CEO who has clearly stated that they are fighting this battle with Apple to get a settlement that will help it sort out the “big financial trouble” they are in. Not exactly a confidenceinspiring history – but then who are we to judge? So, we’ve established most of the cast and the happenings. Proview had an iPad before Apple had an iPad and Proview owned the iPad trademark. So far, so good. Then the following happened.

So there you have it. With the iPad 3 (retina display, quad-core processor, 4G connectivity are some of the rumours) about to be released, Proview could do some serious damage here. And while some backroom dealings could close this entire case in one shot, I doubt it’ll happen soon. In case Apple can’t sell the iPad as an iPad in China, what could they call it then? On Twitter, I got some great responses. Apple lovers came up with iGod, iSexy, iRajni and iCandowhatothercant. Apple non-lovers came up with iPaidtoomuch, iNeedaName, iSue and iSuck. What do you think? Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at


Sanjoy Narayan

Himanshu Suri’s album Nehru Jackets has enough Punjabi rap and Indian references to hook desi headbangers


The cover of Heems’ Nehru Jackets (below) is a parody of a well-known Indian brand of biscuits


Das Racist (below), which has two Indian origin members released Relax, its first commercial album, in 2011


download central


HEN A rapper from Queens, New York, samples a snatch of a conversation between two social activists, India’s Arundhati Roy and the late American historian and author Howard Zinn, it can make you sit up and listen. And when it’s on the first solo mixtape from Himanshu Suri, one-third of the very literate hip-hop group, Das Racist, you just cannot ignore it. Das Racist’s first two albums – Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man – were released for free downloads by the band in 2010 and won wide critical acclaim. Not surprising because the trio’s music is witty, clever and refreshingly different from the crass fare that you inevitably encounter in the genre today. Last year, Das Racist, which has two Indian origin members (besides Suri aka Heems, there is also Ashok Kondabolu), released its first commercial album, Relax, but a couple of months ago, Heems put out his free solo album, Nehru Jackets. The album is long – 74 minutes – and has 25 tracks. To be sure, it lacks the slick production quality that Das Racist’s other mixtape albums have but then Nehru Jackets is laidback and, I presume, deliberately lo-fi and it’s available for a free download courtesy SEVA, a Queens-based community non-profit organisation of which Suri is a director. All of Das Racist’s releases, mixtapes and albums have Indian references and bits of Punjabi rap. In Nehru Jackets, right



Himanshu Suri aka Heems, is one-third of hip-hop group, Das Racist Photo : GETTY IMAGES

from the title and the cover image (it’s a parody of a well-known Indian brand of biscuits) to the prodigious bunch of songs, Indian references are galore. On one track, You Have to Ride the Wave, Heems starts with a clip from the Zinn-Roy conversation (actually it’s only Roy speaking): “... and we grew up outside the realm of all protections that society chose to offer its members. And so at a very young age one was aware of the fact that you were not going to be given those protections and you... you had to constantly try to understand what was going on and how to survive in this space Uh... and how to... to go onward. You’re on your own, and then, politics is in your life. You have to ride the wave.” Yes, that’s where he got the song title. There are oodles of irony and wit too in some of the references. Before It’s the Drug I Needed, which is basically a celebratory drug-taking song, there’s the famous public service announcement by Ravi Shankar (from the Concert for Bangladesh circa 1971) exhorting the audience not to take drugs but to get high on life. Nehru Jackets has songs themed on Jason Bourne, on the brutality of NYC cops, on computers, on unhealthy eating habits, and on women. The last theme is explored on a track called Womyn, an ode to women delivered in a lazy, laidback yet funny style ending with profuse thanks to all women if, of course, they choose to bestow attention on him. Just as the Das Racist albums (Download Central has written about them in the past) touch an Indian chord, either with their overt Punjabi influences or several references to India and Indians (as well as featuring Indian language rappers), Heems’ new album is bound to resonate with Indian listeners. Some tracks, such as Chooray Lare (featuring a young Indian rapper, Lovedeep Singh) and Chakklo (featuring Ravi EAH Singh) have the potential of becoming popular staples at clubs in India, particularly in the neck of the wood where I reside. The origins of hip-hop can be traced back to the 1970s among the African-American community, particularly in New York. And, although the golden age of hip-hop (the 1980s and ’90s) is long gone, if there is ever a revival, I’m quite certain that artists such as Heems and groups such as Das Racist will be a part of it. To give feedback, stream or download the music mentioned in this column, go to download-central, follow argus48 on Twitter

FEBRUARY 26, 2012



F i gh t i n g F i t

Part 1 of a series on celebs who’ve beaten health disorders

Ashish Nehra, cricketer

“My Family Is My Biggest Support”

When ankle injuries took him out of the Indian team for two years, Ashish Nehra didn’t break down. He just got better by Veenu Singh


AKE NO mistake. It doeslong time for anyone to be out of n’t matter whether our national cricket. Fortunately, I have careers ensure that we’re learnt to take my injuries in my stay-at-home types, deskstride rather than see them as roadbound types, constantly-travelling blocks in my career.” types or always-on-our-feet types. Nehra began his career playing for All of us need to be fit and in good his hometown Delhi in 1997/98. He health most of the time, if we want made his Test debut against Sri to do well at work and in life. Lanka in 1999 and his ODI debut in But for a professional athlete, 2001 against Zimbabwe. Since he such as cricketer Ashish Nehra, was fairly successful in his respective whose career depends almost solely debuts, Nehra joined the Indian team on his body, constant injuries can be during the 2003 World Cup in South a nightmare. Africa. It was during this World Cup Nehra’s career has been plagued that he made his career-best ODI figwith successive back and ankle ures of six for 23 against England. injuries. Some were so serious that he had to drop out of the Indian DIFFICULT TIMES team for nearly two years (2005Though he’s philosophical now 2007). However, he made an about the injuries that continue to impressive comeback in 2008 when bother him (back on the national he joined the Mumbai Indians team team since 2009 and playing in the in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2011 World Cup, he was unable to and was made the Man of the participate in the historic final when Match for his performance against India won the cup because of a fracthe Rajasthan Royals. tured finger), Nehra was rather less “Cricket in our country has been cheerful when he had to drop out of given such a stature that if you pernational cricket in 2005 form well, you are on top, but if you because of a bad ankle. are out of the game, it doesn’t NEHRA’S DIET take long for peo■ Nehra starts his day with ple and the media a cup of tea, after an early to write you off,” morning shower. says Nehra as he ■ Breakfast usually consists relaxes at his of fruit (such as papaya), home in Uday carrot and beetroot juice and Park, Delhi. muesli with milk. “Considering that ■ Lunch at home is vegetarian. so many young It’s a regular meal of dal, subzi, people are waiting roti and rice. to get into the ■ Nehra enjoys chicken dishnational team, two es and Chinese and Thai years is a very cuisine when he goes out. FEBRUARY 26, 2012



“Those were bad years,” he says. “I had suffered an ankle impingement and my doctor said I needed surgery. I didn’t want surgery, but there wasn’t much choice. And after it was done, I learned that rehabilitation would take six or seven months. That was the most difficult part,” says Nehra. On crutches for six weeks after the surgery, Nehra had a lot of physiotherapy to go through. “I was basically required to do a lot of ankle exercises which I did regularly in the gym as well as at home,” he says. “I wanted to get back in shape as soon as possible. I was in Australia for six weeks and also in Germany, meeting and consulting specialised doctors for my back as well as my ankle injuries.” Though he was physically in poor shape, mentally and emotionally, he tried to stay optimistic.


Ashish Nehra with wife Rushma and their son, posing exclusively for Brunch “Injuries are an integral part of a sportsperson’s profession so we must have a very positive outlook towards life,” Nehra explains. “Also it’s not just your attitude that matters. Your willpower also plays an important role in keeping you fit and fine. I was never depressed during this period, though I admit I did feel low at times.”


It helped him to know that his injuries were not life-threatening, and Nehra also credits his family and friends for keeping him cheerful through this period in his life. “Those two years made me realise who were my true friends and who supported me,” says Nehra. “Zaheer


Khan and Virender Sehwag were always there to encourage me and help me out.” Nehra’s wife Rushma was then his girlfriend and though they had a long distance relationship – she’s originally from London – her support also helped Nehra get through that phase in his career. “I’ve known her since 2001 though we only got married in 2009,” says Nehra. “During that bad phase, Rushma made sure to have long chats with me and keep me in a positive state of mind. She’s been a great support.”


But support isn’t enough if there’s little or nothing to support you in the first place. Nehra was fit before his injury and that was a huge help. Because as anyone knows, while good luck always boosts a career, NEXT WEEK: Singer Raageshwari who patiently worked through facial paralysis




HE SEASON is changing fast and people are falling ill due to the changes in the environment. Here are some precautions you can take to avoid exposure and build immunity. ■ Avoid drinking cold water as soon as you walk into a cooler environment from the heat outside. ■ Avoid turning on the air-conditioner in your car. ■ Avoid eating ice-cream when you’re out in the sun. ■ This is the best time for citrus fruits – their sourness is good for the body. ■ To cleanse the body of accumulated kapha, take mild natural laxatives and fast once a week. Kapha tends to accumulate in the winter and can create problems like arthritis, asthma and skin and lung allergies. ■ This is the best time for medicated warm baths and steam inhalation. ayurveda gives importance to medicated steam which reaches the deeper parts of the lungs. Medicate the steam with eucalyptus and neem alternately and prevent problems like

tuberculosis and sarcoidosis. ■ A cinnamon infusion, long pepper and ginger root infusion or a herbal decoction taken twice a day will help your liver to reset its metabolism. ■ At this time it is important to avoid cereals for at least one meal. It gives your liver some rest so it can start the cleansing and rejuvenation process. ■ Your skin can take a beating because of dryness. Do abhyanga with medicated oil and help your body retain its natural glow. ■ Drink a lot of warm fluids to detoxify your system. Try vegetables juices, followed by whole fruits and soups in the evening. In this transitional time, consuming your calories in fluid form helps the body to readjust and realign to the environment. ask@


‘Zaheer Khan and Virender Sehwag were always there to encourage me and help me out’

hard work is essential and Nehra is a big believer in that philosophy. Still, he’s unable to give luck less than its due. “Cricket is a challenging game where luck also matters,” he says. “That’s why I consider myself quite lucky that even after a gap of two years, I was able to come back with a great game and surprise everyone who had written me off.” So has he any fitness secrets that help him stay in shape? “Fortunately for a fast bowler, I have a very lean body structure and have never had any weight issues,” says Nehra who enjoys watching and playing most sports, especially soccer. “But at the same time, I firmly believe in giving at least two to four hours to my body to keep it in good shape. My workout is a mix of gymming (at least five or six times a week), swimming (two or three times a week) and yoga. I am also fond of running and try and run before practice sessions or when I’m unable to go to the gym for some reason. I believe in being active both mentally and physically. If my body is in good shape, my mind will be fit too.”



A Day With

Tiny Wings (iOS, $0.99)


This is how we app junkies go through our days. And you thought YOU were addicted! by Pranav Dixit & Rajiv Arora graphic by Prashant Chaudhary

Soar over sunsplashed hills in this cheerful game that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face every morning. Wakes you up better than coffee nine out of 10 times (yes, we tested)


Ditch your alarm clock and wake up to one of more than 41,000 internet radio stations with the snazzy Radio Alarm (iOS, $0.99)! We love the interface, which is designed to mimic old radio – there’s even a static effect when the app connects to a radio stream. On Android, try Tune-In Radio (free), that, in addition to waking you up with radio stations of your choice, will help you fall asleep at night by playing sounds of gulls and babbling brooks. Trivia freak? Start your day with Today In History (iOS, free) that will show you all the major events that happened on the day!

WINDING DOWN Finally, curl up with your favourite book with the Kindle app (iOS, Android, free). If you’ve got annoyances like barking dogs or noisy neighbours, drown them out with Ambiance (iOS $2.99), an app that generates soothing nature sounds and white noise.

Where’s My Water? (iOS, Android, $0.99) Fix damaged pipes

and navigate through toxic ooze, triggers and traps to help Swampy the Alligator shower. A perfect end-of-the-day stress buster

Dear diary: Blog

away to your heart’s content with the excellent WordPress app (iOS, Android, free)


LL RIGHT, WE confess: we cannot live without our smartphones. But it’s not the phone part that we care about much (because really, it’s only when we can’t buzz someone on Facebook, send a tweet, a BBM ping, or a Google Talk instant message that we actually bother to dig out the phone number and make a call) – it’s the apps that we do. Yes, apps, those nifty little pieces of software that help us find directions, wake up, kill time, get ready, disconnect from the world in general, watch a movie, plan a date, heck, even break up with our partners. We use them pretty much every waking hour and in all possible situations, so we thought we would suggest a few of our favourites to you. Disclaimer: Android and iOS users only. If you use anything else, feel free to drop us a line about your favourite apps.

This symbol, which you will find across these two pages, stands for a game we’d like to recommend


Keep everyone in your friend list posted about your evening plans through WhatsApp (iOS, Android, free), book seats at the nearest movie theatre through BookMyShow (iOS, Android, free) or look up Zomato (iOS, Android, free), to find and compare thousands of restaurants in your city.

IN THE BAR/PUB RESTAURANT Shazam (iOS, Android), a nifty little tool, lets you instantly identify the song blasting through the pub speakers. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Tip Top: Take the guesswork out of

tipping with Tipulator (iOS $0.99, Android, free) that lets you enter the check amount, select a tip percentage and split it among as many people as you specify. Very cool!

Let It Out: Get Burrp (iOS, free) to get hundreds of reviews and reccos of the most happening events and restaurants in town

Wolfenstein 3D Classic (iOS $1.99)

Get drunk, then blow away Nazis in this perfect replica of the ’90s PC classic shooter, now available right on your iPhone!

FEBRUARY 26, 2012

Gold Miner (iOS, Android, free) On your

own? Gold Miner will keep you busy for hours



Notable Mentions:

RunKeeper, Pedometer (iOS and Android, free)

Carting your iPod Shuffle to the gym is oh-so-last-year. If you haven’t stocked your phone with at least one of these gems, well, let’s just say you’re missing out – big time. Endomo Sports Tracker (iOS and Android, free) is our pick for the best fitness app, period. Using your phone’s built-in GPS, this app tracks your fitness – running, walking, cycling, lifting weights at the gym, hiking, kayaking and pretty much anything else you can think of. Our favourite feature? Hook it up to your Facebook account and your friends can follow you live and send you pep talks in realtime – just the push you need to squeeze in that extra push-up.

Tap Tap Revenge 4 (iOS, Android, free):

Got gym blues? Bunk, we say, and jive the morning away with the best music and rhythm game of all time. Guaranteed to set the pulses racing


Hit the mute button on the TV, skip the morning paper and let Flipboard (iOS, free) and Pulse (Android, free) keep you on top of the day’s happenings. One of Time magazine’s Top 50 innovations, Flipboard grabs all your news feeds, Facebook stream, GETTING Twitter timeline and more and READY FOR creates a personalised magaWORK zine that looks pretty as heck. Pulse transforms If there’s anything more your favourite news difficult than waking up on sources into a time every morning, it is deciding colourful interacwhat to wear. But not anymore, tive mosaic. thanks to Fashion Buddy (Android, free) that helps you organise your Wonder Weather wardrobe by maintaining a list of your old Weather+ on iOS (free) and Beautiful Widgets and new purchases, which you can mix and (Android, $2.50) give you the forecast for the day betmatch on the screen to get that perfect look for ter than that pretty weather girl on your TV screen the day. Or check out Stylebook (iOS, $3.99), to import your actual clothes and track the people whose Grabatron (iOS $0.99, style you follow secretly.

Android $3.99)

Take control of a UFO with a retractable claw and destroy the puny humans. For action-packed mornings!

Hot Or Not?

Not sure if a look works? Use Thumb (iOS, Android, free) to post a picture and instantly get feedback from thousands of users across the world

Dress Up and Makeup (iOS $1.99, Android $0.99)

Guys, feel free to skip this. Girls, if you’re the sort that likes online dress-up games, you’ll love this one


At Brunch, we swear by Evernote (iOS, Android, free). When we’re busy tearing our hair out juggling stories, interviews and photo shoots, Evernote helps us stay organised by saving notes, capturing photos, creating to-do lists and adding reminders among other things, and syncing them not only across our phones but also PCs.

Also see: Documents To Go (iOS,

Android, $16), if you miss having Microsoft Office on your smartphone.

RacingMoto (Android, free) Need a break? Race at full speed, dodge traffic and get the highest score you can. Addictive!


What’s a guy (or girl) to do stuck in the morning rush hour? Use Pocket Casts (iOS, Android, $1.99) to subscribe and tune in to hundreds of podcasts, of course. Or use your time in traffic to organise your day ahead. Simply jot down your to-do list and set reminders in 2Do (iOS, $6.99), a powerful task manager that lets you focus on what’s important. Or check out Any.Do (free) on Android to quickly sync your tasks for the day with your Gmail Tasks. Being efficient couldn’t get simpler.

Trivia freak? With a zoomable multi-day view and complete sync with your Google account, Business Calender (Android, $5.75), our favourite calendar app, is something you shouldn’t miss out on.

Need For Speed Hot Pursuit (iOS $0.99, Android $6.99)

Who cares about the traffic on the roads when you can drive up to 20 precision-performance cars in adrenaline-fuelled showdowns across 24 day-and-night tracks right on your phone?

FEBRUARY 26, 2012




Dipannita Sharma if i could...

SUN SIGN Scorpio

BIRTHDAY November 2


Holy Child School (Guwahati); Indraprastha College, Delhi University




Those really were the days...

I live in Mumbai and they are in Assam, it’s really difficult



The film, 16 December (2002)

LOW POINT CURRENTLY HIGH POINT DOING OF YOUR LIFE OF YOUR LIFE Taking care of my Currently with two back-to-back film releases and my new role as an entrepreneur

The one thing you love about Bollywood? I just love the way people all over the world react to the name ‘BOLLYWOOD’! One role you wish you had played? Angelina Jolie’s in Tomb Raider. Your mantra for success? I don’t think there’s one. Success comes if you work towards it. Your favourite holiday destination? I love Greece. Or for that matFEBRUARY 26, 2012

I really hope that phase never comes

yacht venture with my husband and awaiting the release of my film Jodi Breakers

from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Good looking, hardly talks, but when he does, oh boy, intense and hot as hell! The song that always lifts your spirits? A STYLISH Chodo kal ki baatein ITEM YOU’RE kal ki baat purani. One thing about you that DYING TO isn’t generally known? OWN? I love dancing to chaloo Hindi film numbers like a complete lukkha. One thing you love about your husband? That he, in the true sense of the word, ‘GETS’ me. The best part of being a Miss India contestant? You learn how to be politically correct. The exercise routine that scares you? Lunges and squats. Phew! The one misconception about the North East you’d like to dispel? That everyone from the North East eats anything that moves. What does your name mean? Dipannita means ‘the one who brings light.’ In Assam, the first day of Diwali (Chhoti Diwali) is called Dipannita. I was born on that day. For a romantic meal, you would make... Actually, I’ve never thought romance and food could go ter, any beach destination. hand in hand. If I’m eating, my What would we find in your fridge entire concentration is on the right now? food. So for a romantic Cooked dal and chicken curry, evening, food should be the chocolates, peach juice, last thing on my mind... peanut butter and brown bread. The last line of your autobiography If you were an ice-cream, which would read? flavour would you be? Autobiography! Wow! That’s a Dark Belgian chocolate. long way down the line. Let’s The one hero/heroine from a book or cross that bridge when we movie you’d love to meet in real life? come to it. My favourite hero is Mr Darcy — Interviewed by Mignonne Dsouza

A pair of boots


I’m an ardent traveller and it would be so much easier


Hindustantimes Brunch 26th February 2012  

Hindustantimes Brunch 26th February 2012

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