WEEKLY MAGAZINE, MARCH 30, 2014 Free with your copy of Hindustan Times
parents are busy searching for partners for their children
singles donâ€™t want to meet potential partners through their parents
And other interesting results of the Floh-HT Brunch Single In The City Survey 2014
BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS
To read Brunch stories (and more) online, log on to hindustantimes.com/brunch. To discuss the stories (or give feedback), follow @HTBrunch on Twitter. For everything cool on the Internet, like Hindustan Times Brunch on Facebook. And for videos, check out our channel (youtube.com/HindustanTimesBrunch). by Amisha Chowbey
n Getting to interview a family with three different
Adolf Hitler was (believe it or not) apparently a good artist – though he was rejected twice by the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. Not one to take the rejection too kindly, kindly he began stealing famous artworks (to be displayed at the Führermuseum in Linz, displa Austria – Hitler’s dream project that never took dr shape). About 70 years ago, the Monuments Men, a group of people dedicated to preserving European culture, found 39 original albums cataloguing art stolen by the Nazis. We take you through some of them:
LOST: PORTRAIT OF A
around scheming in-laws n News reports terming the engagement ring barbaric! n People going gaga about their ‘first’ tweet ever n Frequent ‘Party’ defections n That people think True Detective can successfully replace the Breaking Bad void
Ab Tak Aapne Dekha
by Shaoli Rudra
YE SHAADI HOKAR RAHEGI
If you’re trying to navigate the wedding jungle, putting on a ‘I-want-to-injure-you-but-can’t’ smile to survive the “Ab toh teri baari hai!” won’t be enough. Filminess has afflicted parents and matchmaking aunties. But don’t fear! Find out what’s really happening behind the scenes of ‘that’ rishta.
YOUNG MAN – Raphael Stolen from Poland after the German invasion in 1939, this 16th century oil painting by Raphael is believed to be his self-portrait. It was ﬁrst moved to Germany but brought back to adorn the walls of the Wawel Castle and for the personal use of Hitler’s friend and Nazi ofﬁcial Hans Frank. Last seen in 1945, the hunt is still on for the work, the price of which is estimated to cross $100 million!
political affiliations. How rare is that! n Early morning walks in your neighbourhood park. You’d be gobsmacked with the variety of birds n That we’re all charged up about Election 2014 n (Re)discovering the wonders of midnight-chocochipbrownie-baking and licking the batter. Yumm! n The Shakti Mills gangrape accused were found guilty
by Shreya Sethuraman n That Hindi television serials continue to revolve
The Th Nazi Art Plunder
On The Brunch Radar
Shortcut To Smart Smar
The ‘Ab Iss Dosti Ko Rishtedaari Mein Badal Dete Hain’ species
The ‘Sundar, Susheel’ species
The most common shaadi animal to be found. It is world famous in India because dosti is clearly not enough. You must express your love for clansmen and long lost fraands by admiring their foren-return status and gifting them your offspring.
Most likely to say...
FOUND: PORTRAIT OF ADELE BLOCH-BAUER I
– Gustav Klimt Housed in the Neue Galerie in New York, this painting is nothing less than Yo created by a sizzling golden beauty cr Gustav Klimt. After Austrian artist Gusta ownership winning a long-running o battle of conﬁscated art during ba the Nazi plunder with the German government, the descendants of go painting to Bloch-Bauer sold the p Ronald Lauder (the billionaire who Ro owns Estée Lauder) for $135 million in 2006. This made it the most expensive painting of the time.
DESTROYED: THE PAINTER ON THE ROAD TO TARASCON – Vincent van Gogh This work by Vincent van Gogh was on its way to being housed in the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum in the city of Madgeburg, Germany. Destroyed due to the Allied bombings, this self-portrait of a lonely van Gogh and his looming shadow plodding on his way to work is now lost forever. Only replicas remain.
My kinsman is a man-mountain with musskals. What an eligible match! (Chennai Express) My friend lives in America. His son says ‘Aaammmaarrrikkkaaaa’. Here’s his photo. Marry that. Now go sing “I louwe my Indiyaaa’ (Pardes) “Kuch nahin badla. Bas. Keh diya na” is followed up by choosing a young lady who sings Happy Birthday seductively. Well done, sir! (Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham)
The ‘Tum Isse Toh Definitely Shaadi Nahin Kar Rahe Ho!’ species
This species is the result of evolution after “Ye shaadi nahin ho sakti” died when an asteroid hit Earth. Anyway, forbidden love is in… as is forbidding loving certain people. But boss, serious chaos hota hai. Just saying.
Most likely to say... It’s ‘You cannot marry boy of rival clan’ v/s ‘Okay we’ll just bhaag ke shaadi karo’. Bloody battles will follow. ‘Oho daith hi ho gayi!’ (Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram-Leela) We Hindu; they Muslim. Haww. Ye kahaani toh purani hai. Also followed by ‘Oho daith hi ho gayi!’ (I see a trend here) (Ishaqzaade)
The ‘Marry So My Business Can Prosper’ species
Upper-class species born when one group of companies wants to merge with another. Usually with the names Singhania or Malhotra. In some cases, there’s merging of jaydads and fields
Most likely to say...
MOST WANTED: ADORATION OF THE MYSTIC LAMB (THE GHENT ALTARPIECE) – Jan van Eyck The Ghent Altarpiece by the famed Dutch artists, the van Eyck brothers, is inarguably the most sought after artwork of the Nazi plunder and recovered by the Monuments Men in the biggest site of art tr treasure – the Altaussee salt mine in Austria. Being a p part of 13 art crimes in the 600 y years since it w was completed, the altarpiece is the most w wanted work wo in the history of art. Recovered and restored, it Re now no makes its way back to the Saint Bravo Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium. Photos: THINKSTOCK, SHUTTERSTOCK
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MARCH 30, 2014
The most commonly seen, one-and-only original, ‘mycompany-loves-your-company-so-let’s-marry-the-kids-off ’. Their opinions can go doob maro (Yaadein) Here is my business associate/ my young upstart colleague. Tum isse shaadi kar lo. Subah saath saath office jaana, haan? Petrol ke paise bachenge (Jab Tak Hain Jaan)
HOW TO READ 24 BOOKS (OR MORE) IN ONE YEAR
Cover design: SWATI CHAKRABARTI Cover image: IMAGES BAZAAR
The employers of Alok ‘Sanskari’ Nath and propounders of bharatiya sabhyata, the Barjatyas, discovered them. Also goes by ‘Mere bete ke liye toh yahi ladki sahi rahegi’
Most likely to say... You wear Indian clothes? Do pooja? Cook desi khana? I give you kangan jo maine apni bahu ke liye rakhe the. Girl in mini skirt…mere bete se door rehna! (Cocktail) Son, no paisa in my will for you till you get hitched to that girl from my ancestral village in Punjab. Run to that mandap. You can leave her in the pind after the shaadi okay? (Dulha Mil Gaya)
The ‘I’m So Desperate To Marry My Kid Off Ki Koi Bhi Chalega’ species Not common, but rears its silly head now and then. Related to “Tum isse toh definitely shaadi nahin kar sakte ho”
Most likely to say My kid is too difficult. Nobody can tolerate him/her, me included. I will not check your antecedents. Bas leke jao, bhai. Will give you double bed and scooter for free (Khiladi 786)
My kid is too old. Get them out of my house/off my back now! Eh, koi toh leke jao! (Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi)
THE BRUNCH BOOK CHALLENGE #BrunchBookChallenge
The Th Brunch Book Challenge is an @HTBrunch initiative to get readers to read at least 24 books in 2014. Read anything you like, just keep us posted. Tweet your progress to @HTBrunch with the hhashtag #BrunchBookChallenge
EDITORIAL: Poonam Saxena (Editor), Aasheesh Sharma, Rachel Lopez, Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Veenu Singh, Parul Khanna, Yashica Dutt, Amrah Ashraf, Saudamini Jain, Shreya Sethuraman
DESIGN: Ashutosh Sapru (National Editor, Design), Monica Gupta, Swati Chakrabarti, Payal Dighe Karkhanis, Rakesh Kumar, Ajay Aggarwal
Drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org or to 18-20 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001
MIND BODY SOUL SHIKHA SHARMA
SKIN AND SENSIBILITY Are you breaking out despite taking care of your skin? You might just be doing everything right... for the wrong skin type
KIN IS the largest organ and our connection to the rest of the world. It reﬂects the qualities of the rakta dhatu (blood) and the rasa dhatu (plasma tissue). So glowing skin is a sign of good quality rasa and rakta. Our skin can be classiﬁed into various kinds of prakriti.
VATA: This kind of skin is dry, rough and cold, and the tone is smoky-dark. PITTA: This kind of skin sweats a lot and has little tolerance for heat. The tone is yellowish-fair. KAPHA: This kind of skin is often oily, soft and cold, and the tone is wheatish-fair. We see typically see a combination of two or three doshas in a person.
TAKING CARE OF VATA SKIN
Vata skin needs lots of oil and moisture. Massage your skin with rich creams and lotions. Exfoliate with moong-dal paste once a week. Include seeds, nuts and grains, vegetables and fruits, milk and yoghurt in the diet.
TAKING CARE OF PITTA SKIN
Here are some habits that are a must for all skin types.
Drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated and ﬂush out all the toxins ■ Eat proteins, but in moderation ■ Rejuvenate your skin by applying a paste of honey, olive oil and a mixture of turmeric and sandalwood ■ Drink amla juice (2tsp) along with aloe vera juice (2tsp) every day ■ Take blood purifying herbs such as manjishtha, ■
sun. Pitta skin is prone to acne, blackheads, whiteheads, and has a patchy texture. Include blood-purifying foods such as green vegetables and sprouts and avoid fried foods, too much tea and coffee as they increase the toxins in the blood. Include aloe vera, amla and triphala in the diet.
TAKING CARE OF KAPHA SKIN
This skin type tends to turn reddish when exposed to harsh
NOURISH YOUR SKIN
Understand your skin type before you start treating it
Those with this skin type usually enjoy blemish-free skin. They don’t not suffer from too many problems provided the skin is not damaged with chemical-based skin products or exposed to the sun for too long. A regular balanced diet is ideal to maintain skin health. khadir and sariva ■ Abhayangam (oil massage) and udhvartan (powder massage) make your skin soft and supple ■ Avoid reﬁned foods such as white ﬂour, white rice and processed sugar. And avoid products made with these ingredients. Over-consumption of tea, coffee and colas leads to unattractive skin and premature aging. email@example.com Photos: SHUTTERSTOCK, THINKSTOCK
MORE ON THE WEB For more columns by Dr Shikha Sharma and other wellness stories, log on to hindustantimes.com/brunch MARCH 30, 2014
The Floh–HT Brunch Single In The City Study 2014 looks at what singles want – and what their parents want by Saudamini Jain
OU KNOW, five years ago, my mother threw a fit when she found out I was seeing that loser what’s-hisname,” says a thin 28-year-old girl with floppy hair. “And now, it’s, ‘koi to dhoond lo, aren’t you interested in anybody? Aren’t there any nice boys at work?’” Three friends, two young women (aged 26 and 28) and a young man (aged 26) – your typical fun, urban professionals – are huddled around a small table in a posh pub in south Delhi. “I read this article online about how even though we have a skewed sex ratio, most of the men are un-marriageable,” says the 26-year-old whose parents have recently begun pestering her about her (shaadi) “plans”. “While we were slogging in school, most men, these constantly distracted fools decided not to work on their career or personality and so we are doomed to be alone – so tell your mother, the only men qualified to work with you have wives and children or are just fat.” The lone boy tries to dispute the ‘there are no single men’ theory. He has been single for more than two years – all the interesting single women he meets are fickle, just out one of a serious relationship t some n a w n (and hence not looking for Me who anything substantial) or are planning children before you can say “hello”. But ers consid he gives up on the argument midway. This lot is happier his as single anyway. family
CASE IN POINT
MY CHOICE V/S YOUR CHOICE
turns into fervent desperation. Or so we hear. (And in some cases, experience.) And so, the second edition of the Floh-HT Brunch Single In The City Study (the first was in February last year), which surveyed 420 single men and women (between the ages 22 and 35) and 302 parents of singles in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, attempts to analyse how they think and what they want from life, love and everything in between.
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We hate to generalise but your relationship status tends to define more conversations than you may like. And if you are a day older than 22, your parents begin to obsess about it – so subtly at first, you may not even notice. But as you ease out of your 20s, that obsession
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74 per cent parents surveyed think that finding a partner for their children is a joint decision – for 14 per cent, it is solely the parents’ prerogative, 12 per cent leave it to their children. Having said that, only four per cent of all 302 parents surveyed have relinquished complete control and asked their son/daughter to look for a partner for themselves.
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The rest are keeping their eyes and ears open – scrutinising prospective partners for their single kids in their social circle, asking friends and family to keep a watch out for other singles – or they have signed their single children up on matrimonial websites and the like. Channel [V] video jockey Juhi Pande recently wrote a book, Things Your Mother Never Told You About Love. It’s part memoir and part gyaan. She
rt is sma ts respec s r e eld is sful succes looks good Photos: IMAGESBAZAAR Illustrations: SWATI
METHODOLOGY: The sample used in this survey represented 420 single men and women between the ages of 22 and 35, and 302 parents in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. All respondents are from the SEC A1 and A2 households. While analysing the data, they were grouped by gender, city and age.
is also engaged to be married. So we asked her if she thought it was okay for parents to be so intrusive. Pande feels it isn’t fair to judge parents for wanting their children married. “Nowadays people are getting divorced and separated at the drop of a hat, living together is not a big deal – we have various versions of having a partner. And marriage is not as sacred as it was. But our parents come from a generation where marriage worked nine times out of 10.” Interestingly, 75 per cent singles are resistant to the idea of meeting someone their parents want them to. Finding someone is something they want to do themselves (and would like to get by with help from their friends). A number of singles use dating apps (and it turns out, there are plenty of normal, fun, interesting people out there on these apps). But when a marriage is arranged, they’re a bit puzzled. How do you decide who to spend the rest of your life with, after just a few meetings? What are the right questions, and more importantly what are the right answers? And can you really seal the deal based on a few dates? Also, for some of them, it’s a bit of a joke. Nobody wants to be the “50 rishta girl”, the one who insists everybody wants to marry her but she’s looking for love – but within weeks, voila! Honeymoon photos with the boy of mummy’s choice.
ARRANGED V/S LOVE
There are several reasons why singles are wary of ‘arranged’ marriages. Leon Lu is a 25-year-old
employee at a creative agency in Delhi. He recently joined the dating app Tinder and says meeting someone through family is awkward. “If you meet someone through friends, it may work out, it may not and that’s just fine. But if it’s through family, you have to give an elaborate explanation on why you didn’t like them,” says Lu. Another 25-yearold lawyer, Gauri Puri, believes in the concept of arranged marriage but admits it’s not for her: “I don’t doubt my parents’ choice. But even if I have to wait till 35, I’d like to find someone myself. If it’s a mistake, it would be my mistake.” And for some singles, the aversion is because their parents (although they want the best for them) have no clue about who their kids really are. It doesn’t mean they’re bad parents. Bollywood actor Arunoday Singh (last seen in Jism 2) says it fails because parents try to play Cupid based on cultural and social factors. “So if my father tried to set me up, I’d be very, very dodgy about it,” he says. “He’s sweet but this is not really his area. If my mother would try and set me up, I’d actually think about it… she has excellent taste.” Although 63 per cent parents think arranged marriage is a great idea, they do realise it is not appreciated. For 80 per cent of parents polled, the parents’ role is “to guide and not force”. But parents take their guiding pretty seriously. Consultant Renu Gupta, 58, mother of two single 20-somethings, a girl and a boy, says, it’s better to talk them into marriage early on because eventually they’ll thank you for it. “Nobody wants to be alone. You can’t let your children be lazy about important decisions and watch them grow old
For Parents Smoking
Doesn’t want children
Overweight Poor communication skills
and lonely when all their friends get married. You don’t get good matches after 29 – maybe early 30s now – but it’s very difficult!” As many as 54 per cent parents believe that their children are single because the parents want to (but so far have not yet been able to) decide on a suitable partner for them. When we asked singles why they were single, most said they hadn’t met the right one (57 per
% 67 Men
cent) but many said it was because they value their independence too much (36 per cent) and some just have no time (29 per cent). Your 20s and 30s are also, after all, important for you to become the person you want to be, get the job you dream of, travel to that island nobody’s heard of and mingle with several people just because it’s fun. “If you’re single, you give more importance to yourself – your friends, family, things you want to do, your career,” says Puri. And, adds her mother, homemaker Anita Puri, “You know how Indian society is. Too much attention is given to ‘shaadi ki umar nikal rahi hai’. They say things like ‘if she hasn’t found a partner, there must be something wrong with the girl’. But it’s better to be single than to marry people who think like this.”
MEN V/S WOMEN
The survey also found that while 79 per cent parents think that the ideal age for a woman to be married is 22-25, half the parents
MARCH 30, 2014
surveyed think that men must be older than 26 to be married. Most parents of 30-something women we spoke to say it is especially harder for women to find someone as they grow older. ‘Men in their 30s want younger wives,’ goes the adage. But it’s not as simple as that. It is perhaps harder to get married when you’re older because by the time you’re in your 30s, you know precisely what you want and are not willing to settle for less. “And why must you?” asks Yamini Chandra, a 32-year-old graphic designer. “In your 30s, you’re doing well at work, you’re used to living a certain way and wouldn’t want too many people to interfere with that.”
OLD V/S NEW
The deal-breaker for 90 per cent of parents looking for partners for their children is someone who doesn’t want children. Proliferation of the species is, after all, our primary biological impulse. And the origins of the institution of marriage can be traced back to caring for the young ’uns. So, of course, the pressure to get married comes from your parents’ desire to have grandkids, says Arunoday Singh. “It started for me when I got close to 30, that’s when Mum said, ‘Ab boss, bohot ho gaya. Ab mujhe naate-pote chahiye.’” For 89 per cent singles and 76 per cent parents, a meeting of minds is far more important than caste and religion. Sociologist Janaki Abraham, associate professor at the Delhi School of Economics, says, “It’s because parents and singles both know that lack of compatibility can wreck marriages. And the big fear (especially for parents) is not that ‘chhod ke chali
jaayegi’ but that the couple will continue to live in the same house and be miserable. They’ve seen that happen, more than divorces they’ve seen so many households where the husband and wife lived in the same house but in separate bedrooms.” So parents are cautious about who their children marry, besides cross-over weddings are a wonderful affair. Vishal Punjabi director of The Wedding Filmer, a Mumbai film production company that makes documentary films of real weddings, has noticed that different cultures are mixing with much more ease and it's no longer taboo to marry someone outside of the community, caste, religion or country. “Before the wedding, there is still that stress. They sound like ’80s stories but it still happens – parents eventually come around and spend crores on the wedding,” he says. Parents, according to our survey, like to see their children sticking to traditional roles – women should know how to cook, men should have the higher salary. Although 81 per cent parents said they felt proud to see women going out to work, they were also proud to see them managing homes at the same time. Sometimes, parents can be downright ridiculous. Says Punjabi, “Right now, we’re doing a very sweet story. The parents wanted to introduce this boy and girl but they were hesitant and said, ‘No, no we don’t want to get married’. But they met and fell in love. They went on dates, WhatsApped and FaceTimed, and decided to get married and went to the fathers and said, ‘We love each
MARCH 30, 2014
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How they get to know you better Most people look at your Facebook proﬁle, some LinkedIn and a few check out Twitter
45% think a
Facebook friend request is not other and think their an indicator of interest want to get daughters have married to each never been in a seriother.’ But the parents ous relationship! went to the pandit and found out Of course there’s a big change. that it was a big apshagun if they There was a time when people got married and told them they dated but married only someone couldn’t. So now these two are runchosen by the parents. There were ning away and getting married!” myths about love marriages and And just a tip: most objections divorce. This generation of parin terms of caste and religion ents has seen arranged matches usually fall apart if you give it fail and are more accommodating. time. Delhi-based actor Abhinav Says Mumbai-based entrepreneur Tyagi, 28, says his parents did have Arun Kapoor who has a 30-year-old problems with some girls he dated. daughter, “In our time, you had “Now, they’re just like, ‘We don’t to listen to your parents. If you care. Get married to whoever you didn’t, it was war that sometimes want to – but just get married.’” lasted decades. We are evolving Both parents (76 per cent) and more than our kids realise.” singles (90 per cent) also acknowlBut think about this, even if edge that serious dating is imporyour parents didn’t nag you about tant before getting married. your single status, and you abso“I’m surprised so many parlutely loved being on your own ents said that,” says sociologist – which is a great thing – there Janaki Abraham. “But for a lot of will still be that monkey on your parents, serious dating is imporback. As Arunoday Singh says, tant only if it leads to a wedding. “Society thinks being in a relationIt’s like a long engagement. They ship seems to make you a better still don’t seem to be comfortperson. Or at least signify you’re able with a lot of boyfriends and worthwhile enough for somebody girlfriends.” She is right. Just over to want to spend time with you. It one-third [34 per cent] of parents isn’t fair but it takes a toll on a lot surveyed think their kids have not of people.” firstname.lastname@example.org been in a relationship in the last Follow @SaudaminiJain on Twitter two years. And 38 per cent fathers Floh is a singles' network that helps urban singles ﬁnd life partners. Every individual is screened before being invited. Online, each member has a handcrafted proﬁle and can message members or invite them for a meeting. Ofﬂine, members can meet at events hosted by Floh. Over the past three years, several members have found their life partners at Floh. It has hosted over 160 events and is now present in 15 cities and four countries. Learn more at www.ﬂoh.in
MARCH 30, 2014
Photo: SHAKTI YADAV
A TAsTe Of TwO CiTies Vir Sanghvi
From Italian to Japanese, a couple of Delhi’s restaurants are offering food worth going back for. And in Bombay, I am finally willing to name my favourite eating places
I MORE ON THE WEB For more columns by Vir Sanghvi, log on to hindustantimes. com/brunch The views expressed by the columnist are personal
T’S A MIXED bag this week. There are some surprises – in both Delhi and Bombay: a major disappointment; an old favourite, which has upped its game again; and finally, a restaurant that I’m willing to name as my favourite in South Bombay. Ask me to eat there every day and I will not complain. We’ll start with Zerruco by Zilli because it is big, new and still to settle down. You may have read about it. It occupies a vast space in The Ashok (though, thank God, it is not run by the hotel but is only a tenant) and has been much hyped in the Delhi media. I believe that a Lebanese restaurant used to occupy the same space – a large room and an open courtyard, both of which, together, should take around 120 covers. But I’m not the world’s greatest fan of Middle Eastern food so I never went. But I did try Zerruco because it is supposedly the Delhi outpost of Aldo Zilli, a popular London chef who, while he is no Giorgio Locatelli, is well regarded in England. But the Zilli connection may be a red herring. My guess is that the restaurant’s owners acquired this space and wondered what to do with it. Somebody told them to hire a celebrity chef from England and Zilli was the best they could come up with. But there is nothing very London-
MARCH 30, 2014
I liked Zerruco by Zilli at Delhi’s Ashok Hotel (above) and would gladly go back again. In Bombay, Soam in Babulnath (above left) is my favourite
like about Zerruco. It is a party place, meant for large groups, for noisy dinners under the stars and for loud, clubby evenings. It is hardly your average trattoria, or ristorante even, and the menu consists of lots of pasta, lots of pizza and a few main courses that probably have some connection to Zilli. If you are going to open a pizzeria – which, in essence, is what they’ve done – then you don’t need to pay royalties to a celebrity chef, especially when his name carries very little cachet in the Delhi market. They should have stuck with the pizzas and gone for something like tapas which is more in keeping with the spirit of the place. My guess is that Zerruco makes its money not from fine dining but from weekend clubbing. That said, I liked the restaurant and would gladly go back again. The pizzas were very good, a mushroom ravioli was light and delicate and a tagliatelle with ragu probably had the sauce-pasta balance wrong (the tagliatelle was drowned) but was delicious nevertheless. I was rumbled in about 15 minutes (despite booking under another name) so I won’t try and judge the quality of the service. This is a big, ambitious restaurant and it deserves to do well. But they need to junk the celebrity-chef idea and just have fun with the place. I reckon they are paying `50,000 a day in rent alone and they won’t make their money back by pretending to be an Italian restaurant. And, while they are at it, they need to get the desserts right. The tiramisu, pushed by the manager, was disgusting and the ‘baked cheesecake’ should have come with a hammer and chisel. Not far from Zerruco is Megu, the more glamorous rival to the Taj’s Wasabi. Despite losing two of its top chefs (Vikramjit Roy and Achal Aggarwal), Wasabi has maintained its standards, so I feared for Megu, where chefs and managers have also kept departing. But I needn’t have
Megu is no longer a Wasabi clone. It is more authentically Japanese, and easily the best restaurant of its kind in Delhi
worried. I went back for lunch after ages and found that Saito San, the restaurant’s Japanese chef has finally found his groove. He has a style of his own, quite unlike Nobu (the inspiration for Wasabi) and as the food kept coming – tuna with avocado, yellowtail tartare, kanzuri shrimp, salmon belly teriyaki – I marvelled at his skill. This is no longer a Wasabi clone. It is more authentically Japanese, and judged within that category, easily the best restaurant of its kind in Delhi. It has always puzzled me that while the Leela Palace in Chanakyapuri is one of Delhi’s great foodie hotels, the Gurgaon Leela has such patchy food quality. After an encouraging dinner at the Italian restaurant there, I began to believe that perhaps standards in Gurgaon had improved and risked having lunch at Spectra, the hotel’s coffee shop. On previous occasions, Spectra has always struck me as being a good idea – a multi-cuisine restaurant like Set’z – gone wrong. It looks like a food court at a Far Eastern mall and though there are many stations serving many different cuisines, nothing is particularly good and much of the food is terrible. I went back thinking that perhaps Spectra had finally got its act together. But though the staff are very nice, the food still sucks. The sushi consisted of cold pellets of tightlypacked rice that would have embarrassed a fast-food outlet. The grills were over-cooked to leatheriness (this after I had asked for medium rare), an appam was burnt at the edges (if it hadn’t been the Leela, which is a Malayali-owned chain, I would have wondered if perhaps the pan was wrong), the pizzas were not available (oven not working) and the chefs were clueless about the food they were serving: nobody at the grill counter seemed to know anything about the sausages on display. I didn’t try the Chinese food which was of the gobhi manchurian variety, but nothing looked promising. Plus, three Chinese children ran around the restaurant weeping loudly.
Perhaps they had tried the food. Given how high the Leela’s reputation for food quality is, I am still mystified by their failure to get Spectra right. Basically, the Gurgaon Leela trades on the reputation of Kunal Kapoor, its excellent Indian chef, and makes no attempt to improve anything else. And so to Bombay. I had given up on the Bombay Wasabi because the Delhi one has such good food but last week I wandered in on impulse. To my surprise, the menu had changed dramatically and there were many new dishes. I tried some of them: a pork kakuni with the meat a little firmer than usual, a panko lobster, clearly inspired by lobster thermidor, baby Kumamoto oysters with a delicious dressing, tuna that you cooked yourself on a hot stone and an interesting variation on beef sukiyaki. Few of these dishes have anything to do with Masahiro Morimoto, whose restaurant this is supposed to be. They have been created in-house by the team at the Bombay Wasabi and have breathed new life into a restaurant that had begun to seem a little tired and jaded. But be careful: about the only thing that has not changed about Wasabi is how outrageously priced it is. Which brings us to my favourite restaurant in South Bombay: Soam in Babulnath. In many ways, this Gujarati snacks-and-street food place is one generation removed from Swati in Tardeo. I still remember going to Swati as a child and waiting as they brought food to us in the car: batata puri, ragda pattice etc. Swati is now an institution, which means that it is packed out with tourists and first-timers. The people who used to go there – and their children – have shifted instead to Soam which does the same sort of food but, at least in my view, now does it a lot better than Swati. Soam started out as the Mahabaleshwar Fountain Hotel’s fast food operation in Bombay and still does all the old Bombay-Gujarati street food standards with aplomb: bhel, sev puri, dahi batata puri, ragda pattice etc. You won’t find a better bhel at any restaurant in Bombay. But its current claim to fame is the skill with which it reproduces home-style Gujarati vegetarian snacks. I’ve rarely had better methi theplas (a Gujarati roti), better patra (rolled colocasia leaves), better pooran poli (this, like shrikhand, is one of those Gujarati dishes that Maharashtra borrowed from us) more delicate kadhi, or more authentic vaghareli (fried) khichdi at any restaurant. I’ve been there several times now, eating my way through the menu, and was only finally rumbled last week when the owner recognised me. Each time, service has been polite, efficient and gracious. On one occasion when my table broke three glasses (don’t ask), they resolutely refused to accept any payment, saying that customers were their guests. Given that Soam is absurdly cheap for its prime South Bombay location (the theplas with a potato sabzi cost `190 and nothing costs much more than `200), I was impressed by their graciousness. People are always asking me to name my favourite Bombay restaurant and I always give an evasive reply. But it is time to come clean. My favourite North Bombay place is the Vile Parle Gajalee. And in South Bombay, Soam wins by a very long way.
The pizzas (above) at Zerruco by Zilli were very good
Photo: SHAKTI YADAV
I have rarely had a more authentic vaghareli (fried) khichdi (above) at any restaurant other than Soam
The new dishes have been created in-house by the team at the Bombay Wasabi and have breathed new life into the restaurant
MARCH 30, 2014
To my surprise, at Bombay Wasabi, the menu had changed dramatically and there were many new dishes
Teching You Places I Here’s why a car must be viewed as a device and not just a vehicle
Open your car door and the boot with just gestures
T ALL started with a talk I was to give at Auto Expo 2014 on ‘Technology in Cars’. I used clichés like “a car today has more tech in it than a roomful of computers”. At the end, the mild applause showed I hadn’t broken any new ground with my observations – but the next three hours spent at Auto Expo did! Premium and high-end car manufacturers told me a story that made my geeky heart go all warm and fuzzy. The battle for market space in high-end cars has led to a new war in an unchartered zone – the technology features arena. The Loyalty Breaker Most consumers of high-end cars make up their mind to buy a new model based on loyalty, experience as well as what they perceive the brand status to be. So customers don’t usually jump brands. That, in the last few years has seen a dramatic change. There is a new learning that the only way for a car brand to get customers to jump ship is to bring in radical new tech features. I’m not talking about things like the engine, or
techilicious AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
Discover the COMAND online control system that has a fully automated car manual
MORE ON THE WEB For previous columns by Rajiv Makhni, log on to hindustantimes. com/brunch. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com/RajivMakhni The views expressed by the columnist are personal
torque. I’m talking actual tech features, the same way we compare mobile phones. That’s a paradigm shift for cars as the buying criterion shifts from typical features to a car being evaluated like a gadget. And thus was born the idea of a new series of columns. Cars being reviewed as devices rather than motor vehicles. Once a month, I’ll bring in a super-tech specced-out car and review it based on the tech inside and out. We’ll kick things off with what many believe is the car that sets the bar very high – the 2014 Mercedes Benz S Class.
ONE OF A KIND
Don’t be surprised if the dashboard is missing. Once seated, your seat, side-view mirrors and steering wheel move to preset positions Inner Nirvana Once you open the door, you find that the steering wheel and seat are ridiculously far apart to make sure you can get in and out easily. The next shocker: there is no dashboard. It’s eerily bare till you inset the key and the car seat, side-view mirrors and steering start moving into preset positions while two giant screens in front come alive. All the car information are high-end graphics, and animation on these high-resolution screens. Burmester speakers spin out from the door. There are 24 speakers with 24 amplifier channels and a system output of 1,540 watts with sub woofers firing from the boot enclosure. Ambient lighting sets up a luxurious space with seven colour moods. People described it as sitting in the ultimate living room. Home Theatre On Wheels I next discovered the COMAND Online control system. This is where you access navigation, phone, audio, video, Internet and a fully animated car manual. Inside resides a hard disc navigation system, a DVD changer, 10GB storage for audio and video files, ports for external devices plus a rear seat entertainment system with two 10-inch displays, DVD player, two wireless headphones and remote control. What seemed like a living room was now a home theatre. Business or First Class Cars like this are built more for the person sitting behind. Thus, I parked myself on the backseat and pressed the ‘bed’ button. The seat in front disappeared down and away and out popped a footrest. Combined with the fact that my seat had moved into an almost flat position, this was as close to a bed in a car as I was going to get. The next button activated a hot stone-style massage with six programmes. There’s even a MB Touch app to activate this and almost every other car function from your smartphone. Propping myself up again, I found more buttons that turned the backset into a workspace with fold-down tables, in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, USB and 12-volt sockets and heated and chilling cup holders. Living room, to home theatre to travelling office.
The Exterior The fact that this car is brimming with tech And More Night View Assist lets your screen in front highis obvious from the outside. With the key in your pocket, light and show people and animals on the road before your the car unlocks as soon as you touch the inside of the car naked eye can spot them. Surround View cameras give you handle. Touching a contact point on the outside locks the an all-round, real-time view using four networked cameras car up tight as a drum. It’s much like using a swipe with a bird’s eye view and a full 360 degrees. And gesture on the touchscreen of a phone to unlock it. SOOTHING Active Parking Assist will automatically steer the I had great fun taking people up to the car and The car can give vehicle into a tight space on its own. telling them that this was a test of the inner soul you a hot-stoneThat was a quick look at the biggest gadget I and that the car would open ‘automagically’ only style massage have ever reviewed. The good news is that this for someone with a pure heart. technology will percolate to oth(How gullible people are!) More er cars soon. Next up are the othfun can be had with the outside er two big contenders for Techiby approaching the boot with est Car of the Year – the BMW 7 shopping bags in your hand and series and the Audi A8. Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technolswiping your foot just underogy, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell neath to open the door. No hands Guru and Newsnet 3 required.
MARCH 30, 2014
indulge Not ANother hotel CAliforNiA Because of the way Eagulls is pronounced, it conjures up the name of another band, but their sound couldn’t be more different
HEN I FIRST heard a song off the debut album from the British band, Eagulls, I wasn’t aware of the way they spelt their name. The song, Possessed, was on a podcast and I heard the announcer say their name and not mention y the spelling. For me, because of the way Eagulls is pronounced, it conjures up the name of another band and reminds me of ifta song about a certain hotel and then swiftly provokes a sharp attack of nausea. So I more was keen after listening to Possessed (more about that song later) to quickly check out what this new band was about. I was very relieved to see the way they spell their name. Eagulls are a quintet from Leeds. And they are what you’d call punk revivalists. Their sound couldn’t be more different than the cloying soft rock of that other band I mentioned.
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The pioneers of the punk rock movement of the 1970s rebelled against the established rock sounds of their time by making loud, stripped-down, unpolished music, often accompanied with equally rebellious lyrics – British bands such as The Clash and Sex Pistols from the UK, and The Ramones and Black Flag from the US. Punk was followed by post-punk, a genre that was a wee bit more polished and more experimental, but yet retained all of punk’s attributes of edginess and minimalistic employment of musical instruments. Early post-punk bands included Gang of Four, Joy Division, The Cure, and even, The Smiths. e In recent years, there ve have been bands that have w-fidelity, gone back to the low-fidelity, he hard-edged music of the
EASY ON THE EARS
Donna the Buffalo’s latest album, Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday (above) is coproduced by Robert Hunter
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
PUNK REVIVALISTS THE P
Eagulls’ music is rebellious in great, big doses. Ea Their Th self-titled first album (left) has songs with lyrics lyri that are angry or angst-ridden or both
punk era and Eagulls is one such band. It is rebellious in great, big doses. Its guitar and bass riffs verge on the harsh but enticingly so; and its songs have lyrics that are angry or angst-ridden or both. On Possessed, the first Eagulls song I heard and the one that stands out for me on the Eagulls’ self-titled first album, singer George Mitchell, sounded to me like Joy Division’s Ian Curtis. The nine other songs on the album are great too – all of them have enough going with the guitar riffs to keep you listening and Mitchell’s intense style of singing isn’t irksome at all. Eagulls played at the recently concluded SXSW in Austin, Texas. You can check out videos of their set online. I’ve read that they got into some controversy by bad-mouthing SXSW last year, but I think this is a band that I’m going to track. In terms of their genres, Eagulls couldn’t be more apart from Donna the Buffalo. Eagulls, as I said, are punk revivalists. Donna the Buffalo play laid-back folk and country rock, bluegrass and a fused form of Cajun, and blues from Louisiana called zydeco. The band is from a tiny village in New York state and it has a very dedicated following of fans who are collectively called, in keeping with the buffalo moniker, The Herd. Vocalists Tara Nevins and Jeb Puryear sing covers as well as original compositions, and the music of Donna the Buffalo is very easy going with traditional instruments such as fiddles, washboard, pedal steel guitars and organs. The band released its first album back in the late 1980s and have 10 albums out since then but its mainstay is live shows. Late last year, Donna the Buffalo released their latest album, Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday. Co-produced by the legendary lyricist of The Grateful Dead, Robert Hunter, the new record can seem unclassifiable. Lead guitar riffs blend with more traditional instruments such as the washboard, fiddle and tambourine and make for a most unusual yet appealing sound. My favourite song on the album is Nevin’s upbeat and danceable (in a hippyish sort of way!) I Love My Tribe, an ode that seems to be directed at the band’s fans, The Herd, and evocative of a long gone Sixties era. Hunter’s production work leaves its marks on the album – it’s a studio album but sounds like it’s live, something the Dead would do on some of their studio work. The only reason you find me writing about Eagulls and Donna the Buffalo in the same column is simply because I happened to listen to the Leeds band for the first time and got the new album from Donna the same week. One is new and likely to get very big; the other is old and nostalgic and may even leave you cold, unless you’re part of The Herd. Download Central appears every fortnight
MARCH 30, 2014
Photos: GETTY IMAGES
Climbing The ladder
How you define success depends on the kind of person you are
UCCESS. ONE word; with a hundred different ways to define it. Some measure it in terms of money: how much they take home every month or how much their business is worth at the end of the financial year. Others find it in the quality of life they have managed to create for themselves: how often they can take their kids on holiday, the kind of cars they drive, or even the size of the home they live in. Some define it in the context of happiness, in how much pleasure they have managed to extract from everyday, humdrum living. And others see it
BADSHAH OF SUCCESS
No matter how hard they work, no matter how much money they make, can Shah Rukh Khan’s friends ever feel truly successful when they measure themselves against him?
spectator ONLY THE TOP JOB
Both LK Advani and Narendra Modi will only feel truly successful if and when they become Prime Minister of India
ing a three-time chief minister of Gujarat – quite an achievement in itself for a man who began his political life as a humble RSS pracharak. But no, Modi too will only feel truly successful if and when he becomes Prime Minister of India. So, in that sense, success is linked to ambition. The more ambitious you are, the more it takes for you to feel like a success. Lesser beings may be content being chief minister or home minister. But for some, nothing less than being sworn in as Prime Minister will spell success. Ambition, though, is only part of the story. Your peer group also plays an important part in determining what you see as success. If the rest of your friends are high-powered corporate honchos, then you probably won’t feel much of a success if all you’ve achieved is a middle-management role. If your college mates are being courted by the best companies with six figure compensation packages, you won’t be content with any less. If you are surrounded by two-car households, then one car – no matter how fancy – won’t feel like a totem of success. Which is why I often feel for the friends of high achievers like Shah Rukh Khan. No matter how hard they work, no matter how much money they make, no matter how high they clamber up the ladder of achievement, can they ever feel truly successful when they measure themselves against their superstar friend? I think not. Unless, of course, they have mastered the art of contentment, the ability to be happy in their own skin and find pleasure in their own lives, no matter how ordinary. And resist the temptation to judge themselves by the achievements of others. Now that, as far as I am concerned, is the true definition of success.
The more ambitious you are, the more it takes for you to feel like a success
in more intangible terms; in whether they have succeeded in living life on their own terms, and enjoyed themselves while doing so. How you define success in the end depends on the kind of person you are. If you are the kind who sees the world in purely materialistic terms, then you measure success by money and all the stuff it can buy. And the more money you earn and spend, the more successful you feel. But if, on the other hand, you define success on the basis of emotional, even spiritual well being, then you only feel truly successful if you achieve some measure of it in your own life. And then, there are those people who are so driven that they never feel truly successful no matter how much they achieve. In their view, success is an ever-moving goal post that recedes further and further the more they try to close the gap. And no matter how far they get down that road, they can never quite grasp that glittering prize. Just take a good long look at LK Advani. Anyone else would feel that his was a life well spent. Here is a man who single-handedly revived the fortunes of his party with his Rath Yatra and the Ayodhya movement. He stepped back at the crucial time to allow AB Vajpayee, a more conciliatory figure, to form the government, but became the secondmost powerful man in the country nonetheless. After the NDA was voted out of power, you would have thought that he would accept that his time in the sun was over and make way for a new generation. But no, the dream of being Prime Minister survives even a decade later, because anything less than that seems like an anti-climactic end to his political career. Not that Advani is the only one to measure his success in terms of the top job. Narendra Modi, his erstwhile protégé and current bête noire, is also not content with just be-
MARCH 30, 2014
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Jacqueline Fernandez BIRTHDAY SUN SIGN PLACE OF BIRTH HOME COUNTRY June 2
HIGH POINT OF YOUR LIFE
SCHOOL/COLLEGE University of Sydney
LOW POINT OF YOUR LIFE
Being jobless in India for a year despite two Winning Miss Sri Lanka releases. It was so hard that I wanted to leave
CURRENTLY I AM...
Unveiling The Love Diet, a book by Shonali Sabherwal
If not an actress, you’d have I’m asleep at 3am. A YESTERYEAR Your favourite way to unwind. been... STAR YOU A documentarian. Cooking. ADMIRE. Your first crush. A piece of advice you wish I don’t remember his someone gave you when you name, but I was in Class 2. were 14 years old. The best thing about being Don’t be afraid to admit Jacqueline Fernandez. what your dreams are. I get to travel a lot. A Bollywood actor you are Sri Lanka, Canada, dying to work with? Bahrain, Australia and You’ll know. I’m already now India, which country working with that somedo you prefer? one at the moment. Sri Lanka because Your favourite gadget at the my family lives there. moment. But now, India is pretty A kitchen appliance - a much home too. dehydrator that turns Modelling or Bollywood, vegetables into chips. which is easier? You never leave the gym I think acting is easier without... for me because I am My water bottle. more passionate about it. Your favourite hangout in What’s the hardest part about Mumbai. making it in Bollywood, also since you’re an Pali Village Cafe. outsider? One thing we don’t know about you. Not being able to speak Hindi I never hide anything. fluently. The last line of your autobiography would Your recent tweet said you did 5,000 read... squats! Did you really? It would be an Instagram picture. That was a joke! If you could insure a part of your body, which would it be? FIRST MOVIE I SAW ON THE BIG My eyebrows. Which is more embarrassing to reveal SCREEN. – your diary, WhatsApp chats or music playlist? My music playlist. THE MOST OVERRATED FILM. A chef, a mathematician, head of a nation or a Bollywood actor – choose your date. A chef. FILM I’VE WATCHED THE MOST A food item you just can’t resist. NUMBER OF TIMES. Milk and rice. Three things a man should bring along while on a date with you. He must have good table manners, a great sense BOLLYWOOD FILM I RECOMof huMEND TO EVERY FOREIGNER. mour and be chivalrous. A FILM I WISH I ACTED IN. One thing you’re obsessive about. Cleanliness. Who is your 3am — Interviewed by Pooja Biraia friend?
Jurassic Park (1993)
I enjoy most movies
Gone with the Wind (1939) Devdas (2002) Om Shanti Om (2007)
MARCH 30, 2014