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WEEKLY MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 7, 2012 Free with your copy of Hindustan Times

Old Monks

A walk through Leh’s enchanting Hemis Festival

Heavy Duty

How hormones affect body weight

‘Pint by pint’

Why Sidhartha Mallya wants to beer it

indulge

Production houses aren’t just making movies these days – they’ve morphed into managers, minders and marketers of new kids on the Bollywood block

VIR SANGHVI

Of yoghurt and libido

SANJOY NARAYAN Ocean’s rhythm

RAJIV MAKHNI

Add-ons to subtract

SEEMA GOSWAMI

Who are these people?


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

hindustantimes.com/brunch Brunch Opinion

The step-by-step guide to...

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IT’S THE LOVE BETWEEN TWO GUYS

We got actors Ali Fazal and Vivaan Shah to tell us about their bromance (among other fun things). Their what? Bromance is essentially the best-friendship between boys. In this issue of BrunchQ, we explore male friendships: the loyalty and the laughter. Every man needs a bro. Get a copy and you’ll see why.

Aamir Khan, Sunny Leone, Sushama Reddy, Sushant Singh, Monica Dogra... and we’ve only just begun. There’s much more in BrunchQ, a fuller, jazzier version of Brunch. GRAB YOUR COPY

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IVORY COAST White: crisp, minimal and refreshing. We tell you how to wear India’s favourite (non) colour. Flip through the March-May ’12 issue of Brunch Quarterly or log on to hindustantimes.com/ brunch for a photoshoot that’s not a washout

THE ANATOMY OF GREY’S ANATOMY

by Parul Khanna Tewari

Brunch is divided: To Grey’s Anatomy or not to Grey’s Anatomy. Here’s why I watch it (the initial seasons at least) and here’s why I’ll stop

PROS

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ON STANDS,

Why I’m Watching What I’m Watching

Add 1 cup of milk

Cut up 200g of bittersweet chocolate into small bits and add to the mix. Stir till the chocolate melts Final touches: Cool the cake, cut into two layers and pour ganache onto each layer. Let it sit till it sets. Decorate with colourful sprinkles.

Yashica Dutt, Amrah Ashraf, Saudamini Jain, Shreya Sethuraman, Manit Moorjani

OCTOBER 7, 2012

1990? That explains why you’re such a child of liberalisation

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by Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi

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deal with their 50 million minders and managers! (Okay, that was an exaggeration.) And with this new trend of every facet of stars’ (even the rookies’) lives being regulated by production houses, this issue’s cover story was just waiting to happen. From the clothes they wear to the movies they sign, the new stars are being watched every second. Claustrophobic? They sure aren’t! Read on...

F GETTING the stars to Itedious interview or shoot wasn’t enough, now we

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Brunch Soirees

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LETTER OF THE WEEK!

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HelIo to the new metrosexual man THE COVER story (The manicure men, September 30) has beautifully adorned the blooming of metrosexual men. The comments and quotes of big celebs are convincing and evoke mass acceptance of so-called feminine things or salon treatments for a common guy. The article also covers the modest comments of guys who have accepted and propagated the need of grooming regime in both their personal and professional lives. In fact, the article promotes the equality of the genders in their grooming and as well as in their emotional needs. — VIJAY ANGRISH, via email Vijay wins a Flipkart voucher worth `2,500. Congrats!

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CONS

■ Meredith Grey: Her McDreamy, McDreamy, McDreamy: Puppy-faced, confused, great hair, sleepy eyes, I-am-lost-inyou can drown in his eyes. And he’s a surgeon too! the-woods look and whiny attitude. ■ The medical part: Interestingly layered. It’s ■ Keeping track bizarre (a man swallows doll heads to escape loneliness), seriof who slept with ous (it’s a hospital, after all) and funny (porn as painkiller). whom (when and ■ The montage: This, and the voiceover at the end of the show why), who died (when and (though not a new idea, even Desperate Housewives had it) why) and who joined the cast is a mean feat. ■ Those hideous hospital gowns ties the episode to an idea. The one about ‘pain’, I love. ■

Cover Design: PRASHANT CHAUDHARY EDITORIAL: Poonam Saxena (Editor), Aasheesh Sharma, Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Rachel Lopez, Mignonne Dsouza, Veenu Singh, Parul Khanna Tewari, Cover Photo: NATASHA HEMRAJANI Location Courtesy: Springwel Mattresses Pvt Ltd

MIND IT!

Photos: THINKSTOCK

by Angela Zonunpari

NOW

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

The best letter gets a Flipkart voucher worth R2,500!!

The shopping voucher will reach the winner within seven to 10 working days. In case of any delays, please contact chirag.sharma@hindustantimes.com

Drop us a line at:

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C OV E R STO RY

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HOT OFF THE FACTORY

Scripts, endorsements, clothes, grooming and launching – production houses are taking complete charge of a debutant’s life by Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi

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N 2008, when actress Anushka Sharma made a dream debut in Aditya Chopra’s Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, the media, critics and the general public alike couldn’t believe her luck. In fact, even Anushka was surprised. A very routine audition in which she enacted the famous Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge scene that she’d seen a “million times” got her the debut most movie aspirants can only fantasise about. “It was the scene where Kajol asks her dad if she could go to Europe and realise a long-cherished dream. I didn’t think that while doing the scene, I would realise my dream too,” says Sharma. Her dream run didn’t end there. Producerdirector Aditya Chopra signed her for a threefilm contract and took it upon himself to turn her into a brand by managing, minding and taking charge of everything she did – from finishing the first two of the three contracted Yash Raj films, to signing new endorsements; from making appearances, to the clothes she wore, even the photos she got clicked – steadily pushing her up the path to be the Next Big Star. This set the trend of finding new actors and creating stars out of them. “Identify, groom/nurture, launch and monetise was a complete 360-

degree approach that we introduced with the launch of actress Anushka Sharma,” says Ashish Patil, vice president, Y Films, Brand Partnerships and Talent Management, YRF. “The vision was not just to introduce someone but make sure he/she becomes a force to reckon with. The agenda is clear. You don’t take the foot off the gas till they are ready to pop! The earlier norm of launching a new face and then leaving them to their own fate had to be modified,” adds Patil.

THE HOLLYWOOD MODEL

This module of Bollywood’s big production houses mentoring new talent, also helped launch actors Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra, among others. Other production houses such as Dharma, Excel, Illuminati and John Abraham Entertainment, too, seem to be seeing merit in the “launch and manage” module of showbiz. “It is a very Hollywood way of functioning. The studio concept and its management have been popular in the West for long. We are going the same way. The difference is, in India, we have production houses and not studios,” says Ritesh Sidhwani, producer and co-owner Excel Entertainment, which is work-

The studio concept has been popular in the West for long

OCTOBER 7, 2012

A GUPTA Imaging: MONIC

ing out a career path for actor Pulkit Samrat, being launched in their production Fukre. Director-producer Karan Johar, who decided to launch, direct and manage rank newcomers Sidharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt in the soon-to-release Student of the Year, sees it as a natural progression. “Hindi cinema has taken a quantum leap in every aspect of its functioning,” says Johar. “Considering that stars form the most essential component of the film industry, it is only a good idea to chart out their careers more professionally,” he adds.

THE HUNT FOR NEW TALENT

In many ways, the identify-groomlaunch-monetise model turns pro-

duction houses into major power centres, feels Patil. But the mentors are aspiring for more than just increasing their own power. For filmmakers, launching newcomers and hand-holding them to the top also works brilliantly in doing away with the domination of a few big stars. Besides, it helps unearth some real talent that would otherwise get overlooked in the conventional celebration of star kids, or the few Khans, Kumars and Kapoors. “After all, there are just as many


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people who are big and up there. So unless we take the onus, and leverage our position to create new stars, we’ll be running dry soon. I have never worked with newcomers before. But I realised it was time and took up the challenge,” says Johar.

A CUT ABOVE

Nurturing newcomers might add to Bollywood’s talent pool, but the production houses are not doing it out of altruism. It also spells good business. After all, once the new star is launched, with every endorsement deal signed and every appearance made by the star, the production house makes a very decent cut. The bigger the star appeal, the more is the money. “Of course it is a fantastic opportunity and big money. But the production-cum-management agency ensures that the actor signs

only those brands or makes appearances at events that suit their image and character,” points out Patil. “Now, actress Parineeti Chopra does not have a ‘sexy’ image. She can be playful, sensuous and vivacious, but definitely NOT sexy. So all her promotions, advertisements, PR and media image have to suit that,” he says. Not that the youngsters are complaining! Actor Varun Dhawan, making his debut with Student Of The Year, remembers how director Karan Johar asked him to cut his hair before giving him work as his assistant while directing My Name Is Khan. “Yes, I used to sport this Jim Morrison look with long hair and stuff. When I went to meet

Karan to get a job as an assistant director, he told me to cut my hair and then come to work,” he says. “Now, it is all the more enhanced. Karan is very particular about the final presentation. From the clothes to the haircut, to the way we present ourselves, to the next assignments that we take up, he’ll have a piece of advice on all aspects. And why shouldn’t he? After all, it is as much his image as ours that we are selling,” says Dhawan. “It is this careful branding and image managing that gets the stars to make their money and the management agency takes its cut. Fair and square,” explains Patil.

MAKING OF A STAR IDENTIFY: Scout, audition, pick GROOM: Clothes, look, style, attitude LAUNCH: with a big film CONTRACT: 2-3 films MANAGEMENT ■ Business developers: Get endorsements, contracts (films, roles, scripts), contacts etc ■ Talent PRs: Look after media relations and image, shoots for magazines, appearances etc ■ Managers: Maintain day-to-day calendars of the star – the what, when, how, why etc.

“Acting is working with people who invite you into their dreams and trust you with their being” – Catherine Deneuve, French actress OCTOBER 7, 2012


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C OV E R STO RY THE CONTRACT KILLERS

So, does it always turn out to be a fair deal for the newbies? What of the two-or-three film contracts that production houses tend to lock in before launching them? Isn’t that stifling and restrictive? “I think it is a very bizarre concept,” says Atul Kasbekar, CMD, Bling, a talent management agency that has groomed and launched stars such as Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone and Angela Jonsson. “These three-film contracts put undue pressure. The onus of making films is the filmmaker’s. In case a talent’s debut film doesn’t fare well, the actor shouldn’t be made to suffer,” says Kasbekar. Quoting instances where contracts have been dishonoured, Kasbekar says, “A leading producer signed up a new actress for a threefilm contract but after the debacle of the first film, never did another film with her.” Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who has launched big stars such as Anupam Kher in the past and Bipasha Basu, John

Abraham and Emraan Hashmi more recently, doesn’t believe in signing contracts. “I have discovered new faces who have gone on to become big faces for the longest time, but I’ve never made anyone sign a contract. Why should I? Actors are not paid slaves. I leave the choice to them to decide if they want to work with me in one film or two or six. If they have the talent, they will make it even without being managed by anyone,” says Bhatt.

BANKING ON THE X-FACTOR

The deal clincher then, industry watchers agree, is inherent talent. “You can gloss up whatever, if you don’t have the talent, you won’t last,” says actor Ranveer Singh, who had bowled over the entire YRF clan in his first audition itself. “I had never imagined that my learning the Delhistyle Hindi from my friends in the US where I was studying and then my 15-day interaction with the autowallah on a trip to Delhi would get me my first film,” laughs Singh, who played a Delhi boy in his debut film Band Baaja Baraat, which won him most of the best debut awards in 2010. “But now, I am doing three other films, two of which are outside YRF. These big filmmakers definitely haven’t picked me just because I have been managed well,” he says. Actress Parineeti Chopra recalls the rigorous screentests and auditions that she underwent not just before her first but also second film with YRF. “They launched me al right. But in spite of all the best debut awards

for Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, Aditya (Chopra) auditioned me for nearly two months before casting me in Ishaqzaade. They made me lose weight, enact various scenes, cry, laugh, make faces, what not! So yeah, it isn’t easy at all. And no talent, no success,” she says with a smile.

GOTTA HAVE FAITH...

Surprisingly, it is this very “talent” that production houses involved in management of stars cite when confronted with binding the actors in contracts. “We have complete confidence in the talent of the person we are launching and we are ready to sign and invest in them in more than one film and not just drop them off. It only speaks volumes of the intention of not just making money but finding real talent,” says Sidhwani. Most actors agree that although a three-film contract sounds tedious, it is mutually beneficial. And as long

as it doesn’t stop them from working on other projects, they stand to only benefit. Actor Ayushmann Khurrana, who made an impressive debut with Vicky Donor, agrees. “As long as the contract doesn’t stop you from working with other production houses, why should it be bad?” he asks. Actor Arjun Kapoor buys both the talent and confidence arguments. “The fact that someone is actually putting their money on you reflects the faith they have in you. Forget three films! At least they’ve dared to give us our first film! And if they are sorting your life out, why not?” he says. Soon-to-be-launched actor Sidharth Malhotra laughs out aloud at the suggestion that debutant actors are bonded labourers, “Please see for yourself how we do in Student Of The Year and post that, spread the word. Yes, we are free to sign up with whoever signs us up.” tavishi.rastogi@hindustantimes.com

“I am not a conventional Hollywood star. I’ve never really been marketed by the big studios.” – Laura Dern, actress OCTOBER 7, 2012


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THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE INDIAN CURD

THICK OF THINGS?

Photo: REUTERS

Ms Cartland owed her longevity and relatively good health to frequent doses of Bulgarian yoghurt

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EARS AND years ago, whenever I read articles about the romantic novelist (ie she wrote romantic novels, not that she was particularly romantic herself; but then, who knows?) Barbara Cartland, I was startled by the repeated references to Bulgarian yoghurt. The profile writers always suggested that Ms Cartland owed her longevity and relatively good health (she lived to be 98 and kept churning out trashy books almost till the bitter end) to frequent doses of Bulgarian yoghurt. It was also suggested very discreetly – these were the 1970s, after all – that the aforementioned yoghurt also kept the old dear in top sexual condition. For those of us who had grown up on yoghurt – the entire population of India, in fact – these references to the magical properties of yoghurt were puzzling. We ate some form of yoghurt nearly every day. And, we were not in particularly better health than the rest of the world. And as for the Bulgarians who, presumably had their fair share of the yoghurt that originated on their shores, well they were hardly renowned for their sexual prowess, were they? Years later I came to terms with the fact that the West had a very different attitude to yoghurt than we did. Indians grew up on yoghurt, or curd as we called it. We liked dahi, we loved shrikhand, we enjoyed a good raita and we drank lassi and chaas. But no, we didn’t think there was anything terribly special or magical about them. The West, on the other hand, hardly understood yoghurt. Partly, this was because it only reached many Western countries relatively late. For instance, America only learnt about yoghurt in the first decade of the 20th century. But, it wasn’t till the second half of the century that yoghurt became easily available – usually in small tubs at grocery stores with added fruit flavours. And when the fashion for frozen yoghurt (sold as a kind of lowfat ice-cream) took off in the 1970s, most Americans still did not know what yoghurt really was. Western Europe had a slightly clearer idea of the true nature of yoghurt. But England, where Miss Cartland ate her Bulgarian yoghurt, continued to regard it as an exotic foreign food unless it came in those artificiallyflavoured supermarket tubs. Some of this had to do with the route by which yoghurt entered Europe – through Turkey and the Balkans (The word yoghurt derives from the Turkish name.) Even today, many Westerners regard yoghurt as a Middle-Eastern specialty food. All this came as a surprise to me. When I was at nursery school in Bombay, we had read about little Miss Muffet eating her curds

THE BIG DEAL WITH YOGHURT

When the fashion for frozen yoghurt (sold as a kind of low-fat ice-cream) took off in the 1970s, most Americans still did not know what yoghurt was OCTOBER 7, 2012

Photo: DINODIA

As the rest of the world is discovering the benefits of natural yoghurt, we have forgotten that our parents made their antibiotics at home

Vir Sanghvi

rude food

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and whey and had assumed that she was eating dahi. (What was whey? Perhaps it was the liquid that sometimes separated from the dahi in the home-made version, we speculated.) Actually, as I was later to discover, the word ‘curd’ does not mean ‘yoghurt’ in English. It refers to a milk solid, and curds and whey are merely products that emerge along the way in the cheese-making process. I was particularly intrigued by the references to Bulgarian yoghurt in that pre-Viagra era. (For academic purposes only, as you, of course, understand). What was all that about? It transpired that a legend had grown up around the longevity of certain Bulgarians and it was suggested that the thick yoghurt they consumed kept them young. The legend acquired a new dimension when attempts to recreate Bulgarian yoghurt in laboratory conditions in the West tended to fail. It took many years for scientists to get to the bottom of this. As we all know, yoghurt is created by the introduction of bacteria into milk. Scientists identified the principal yoghurt-making bacteria and discovered that these bacteria varied from country to country. In Bulgaria, it was hypothesised, microorganisms from the atmosphere also assisted in the process of turning milk into yoghurt. So, to make proper Bulgarian yoghurt, you had to make it in the Bulgarian air. Newer studies have cast doubt on the view that Bulgarian yoghurt can make you live longer – the current view is that the yoghurt is just one of many contributory factors to longevity. On the other hand, you do have the example of Barbara Cartland, who wrote bodice-ripper after bodice-ripper and did live to be 98. As for why the Bulgarians were not sexual athletes, I found that out too. No study has ever suggested that the consumption of any kind of yoghurt turns you into a stud or vixen. That was just the feverish imagination


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hindustantimes.com/brunch

Photo: DINODIA

FOREIGN FLAVOURS

Potatoes, chillies, tomatoes and even maida did not get to India till the medieval or modern periods. In contrast curd is almost as old as India itself Photos: THINKSTOCK

THE UNDERDOG

THE ONE THAT UNITES

If North Indians need lassi and raita, so South Indians need curd-rice or just curds by themselves of the profile-writers of the British press, who had to wait another two decades for Viagra to be invented to elevate their gin-sodden libidos. While the West treats yoghurt with curiosity, Indians have always regarded it as being an integral part of our tradition. Just as French cuisine would collapse without butter and the cuisines of Japan and China would be finished without the soya bean, so Indian cuisine would be nothing without dahi. It is the one indigenous ingredient that unites the North and the South. If North Indians need lassi and raita, so South Indians need curd-rice or just curds by themselves. Meats are marinated in curd by all communities. We think of curd-marinades as being a Muslim innovation but the food historian KT Achaya points out that curd-based marinades are mentioned in the Arthashastra, which was written long before either Jesus Christ or the Prophet Mohammed were born. In fact, says Achaya, the importance of curd in Indian cuisine dates back to prehistoric times. The Rig Veda mentions a curd rice dish. In Vedic times, curds were eaten as an accompaniment to rice. The first references to shrikhand came around 500 BC (or even before the birth of the Buddha.) By 1000 AD, curd was regularly used in cooking. A fairly complex dish of vegetables cooked in spices and dahi and then finished off with a vaghar (baghar) of spices fried in oil is described as part of a banquet. Though the first references to dahi-wadas appear in the 12th Century, Achaya suggests that the dish may have originated even earlier. To realise the significance of these dates, you have to remember that many of the ingredients we now consider integral to Indian food: potatoes, chillies, tomatoes and even maida, did not get to

India till the medieval or modern periods. In contrast, curd is almost as old as India itself. Which leaves us with the big question: why were Indians so adept at using curd when the West had no idea what it was? Some of this has to do with heat and cold. In Western countries, milk products that could be heated, such as cream were more popular. In India, on the other hand, we needed cooling foods to help us cope with the heat. So curd, which is not usually heated, was more useful than cream, which hardly features in Indian cooking. But there is a second reason. In India, the healing power of foods has long been regarded as important and our diet incorporates many medicinal elements. I doubt if our ancient ancestors understood what bacteria were, but I imagine they had worked out that yoghurt helped with digestion. We know now that this is because the bacteria that turn milk into yoghurt also help fight infections in the intestine. In a hot country like India where stomach bugs were easy to pick up, yoghurt acted as an ancient antibiotic. That was why we rarely heated it (heat kills bacteria) and ate it as close to room temperature as possible. That is a lesson that survived the millennia but one we now seem to be forgetting. Just as the rest of the world is discovering probiotics and the benefits of natural yoghurt, we have forgotten that our parents always made their own antibiotics. Fewer and fewer of us bother to make dahi at home any longer. Instead we buy the pasteurised (ie all bacteria destroyed) version from shops, not realising that this has zero medicinal effect. It has got to the stage where foreign companies are even trying to flog us natural bacteria-filled yoghurt at inflated prices because they know that we have turned our backs on our own traditions. So, do yourself a favour. Remember what your parents taught you and make your dahi at home. You’ll end up with good Indian yoghurt, not some fancy Bulgarian version that will make you live till 100 or turn you into a sex god. But at least it will keep you healthy. And it will keep you in touch with the oldest Indian culinary tradition of them all.

Make your own dahi at home. You’ll end up with good Indian yoghurt, not some fancy Bulgarian version

Photo: DINODIA

OCTOBER 7, 2012

Indians drank lassi and chaas. But no, we didn’t think there was anything terribly special or magical about them

IT’S ALL SET

Just as French cuisine would collapse without butter, Indian cuisine would be nothing without dahi WORD PUZZLE

I was later to discover, the word ‘curd’ (in Little Miss Muffet) does not mean ‘yoghurt’ in English

Photo: CC/WILLIAM WALLACE DENSLOW


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THE ADD-ON FAD Yes, you lust after add-on equipment for your gadgets, but did you know they could also indicate a failure of technology?

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AM IN God’s own market. At least for most techies there is no other way to describe it. This is Akihabara, a sprawling electronics marketplace in Tokyo, Japan, that is spread across thousands of small shops, back alleys, side roads, shacks as small as a cupboard – each teeming with devices and gadgets of various shapes, sizes and functions. Each sells at cut-throat price discounting, it’s impossible to ask for something and not get it, there are things here that you’ve only dreamt of and there’s a thriving trade in second hand electronics (iPad 1/16GB/Wifi – selling for R6,000). I’m almost dumbfounded at the richness of the wares and the range on display. AV equipment, battery packs, USB drives, accessories, chargers, docks, ultrabooks, tablets – it’s the most concentrated per square foot retail of technology I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m in heaven!

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW

STORE AND CHARGE

If prices for flash storage are falling at such a fast rate – then why are we still living with 8GB and 16GB in-built storage for phones and tablets?

Rajiv Makhni

GOD’S OWN MARKET

Every techie’s ‘circle of life’, Akihabara in Tokyo is a must visit if you love add-ons for your gadgets

techilicious

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Or am I? Suddenly, it hits me. The maximum display and sales is for add-on equipment. Things you buy after you’ve bought your main device. Products you add to your main gadget to complete the eco-system. And that’s when it really dawns on me. I wonder how I’ve missed this connection before? Maybe it’s because I’m seeing state-of-the-art technology and hard core add-ons being sold together in unprecedented fish-market conditions. All this amazing technology that we buy as aftermarket add-ons, are also the greatest proof of the failure of technology! I’ve got you confused, right? Let me explain with three examples.

BATTERY PACKS

WIRE ART THOU?

Wireless charging devices are something that should have come years ago

Electrifying: Awesome stuff. Small, well-built little packs. Charge them on their own and they can boost your mobile phone, tablet or laptop battery when they are dying out. Carry one with you everywhere and you’ll never ever have a dead gadget again. Prices are really low and battery capacity is getting denser on them by the second. This is a great invention! Blackout: But why do we even need it? Why is there such a worldwide growing demand for these? Why is everyone buying them in droves? This one gadget underlines the failure of battery technology. Why should we buy an add-on pack? We’ve already paid for a device WITH a battery, why are we expected to shell out more? Battery life continues to be the greatest weakness on most devices. Think about it. How many times have you abandoned using a gadget due to its very sucky battery life only to move on to something that sucked even more? This device is us paying twice to keep our gadgets running and this is battery makers getting paid twice to power up the same device. Where are the fuel cells and once a week charging phones and laptops that run a straight three days? Every time you buy an add-on battery pack – it underlines the absolute failure of battery makers.

ADD ON STORAGE

Awesome: USB thumb drives, small SD cards, Portable USB hard drives. Amazing how this market has evolved. Look at the pricing and look at what all we can store. You can pick up a tiny little 64GB thumb drive for 2,000 bucks – that’s how much we paid for a 512MB thumb drive just a few years ago. SD cards are dirt cheap and have serious storage, non-powered USB hard drives are hitting the 2TB mark. You can practically store your life on these little things. And yet they signify the collective failure of multiple categories. OCTOBER 7, 2012

The Nexus: Why are we all buying these? Shouldn’t the device have it built in? If prices for flash storage are falling at such a fast rate – then why are we still living with piddly 8GB and 16GB in-built storage for phones and tablets? Why is the price difference between a 16GB and a 64GB device almost double? Is this a nexus between manufacturers and device makers? Our storage requirements have hit an all-time high. We want our songs in HD audio like FLAC, we want our photographs shot by storage-hungry 21-megapixel cameras, we want our videos in 1080P HD. So, why haven’t storage makers kept up with the demand of technology? And don’t get me started on those little USB drives! Why should I have to have one with me all the time? Wasn’t cloud storage and 3G on-the-move mobile broadband supposed to take care of all that? Why should we constantly transfer files to fiddly little USB sticks and carry them and plug them in and keep them up to date? Why?

CHARGERS

Whoopee: Clever little things. Our device chargers. They’ve become much smaller, very efficient, more intelligent, they switch off when your phone is fully charged, most companies have gone with a single standard plug, they do double duty as your USB cable to connect to your computer. Good stuff here! Unplug the suckers: Is it really? What the hell are we doing with this ancient piece of technology in 2012? An unwieldy plastic box with a cumbersome wire and a godforsaken plug that needs to be found behind the table and untangled from other wires and chargers? What happened to the whole wireless charging dream we were shown? One little charging plate on one side of the room, all devices kept on it would charge automatically, you would have one in your house and one in the office, each hotel would have one, every car would have one built in! I saw my first working, fully usable wireless charging system in 1998. That was a freaking 14 years ago! 14! What happened? It’s just easier for companies to throw in a charger that costs them pennies than to work towards a real wireless solution. It needs more effort and it needs every company to sit and work out one universal standard. The only reason that you and I don’t have EVERY portable device of ours charging wirelessly today is due to pure laziness and a lack of will on the part of device makers. Nothing more! There are many more such gadgets that on the surface seem like amazing tech but actually represent innovation failure – but that’s fodder for a future column. For the moment, I’m going to end on a much more positive note on Akihabara and other stuff. Read about that in my column next week – ‘Five things that totally blew my mind in Tokyo’. At least those five don’t have a sad twist in the tale. Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com/RajivMakhni


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WHO KNEW R&B HAD SOUL?

CEREBRAL DEBUT

Frank Ocean, originally from New Orleans, breaks the stereotype of contemporary R&B

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B

Sanjoy Narayan

T’S BEEN nearly three months since Frank Ocean’s debut album Channel Orange was released and I find myself going back to it over and over again. In fact, Channel Orange is well on its way to finding a berth on my best albums’ list of the year. It’s not as if I’m the biggest fan of R&B – indeed, the current crop of R&B stars such as Usher, Chris Brown, Mariah Carey and Beyonce, don’t do it for me. In theory, contemporary R&B is an amalgam of R&B (of course) and funk and soul and hiphop, but much of today’s R&B music, with its mandatory pounding beats and formulaic dance-friendliness really is like a substitute for erstwhile disco music. The music is often repetitive and clichéd and the lyrics unmemorable – not my cup of beverage whatever that might be. Frank Ocean is classified as a contemporary R&B artist. I’ve also learnt that he’s been a ghost-writer of songs for Justin Bieber, John Legend and Brandy, artists who are not on my A-list. Or, for that matter, on any of my lists! Had I known about this Bieber, Legend or Brandy connection before I’d picked up Channel Orange, I probably wouldn’t have done that, i.e. attempted to listen to his stuff. But I’m glad I did. Channel Orange is not predictable or formulaic as other contemporary R&B albums. Its songs and tunes are unconventional. There’s psychedelic rock, funk, jazz and soul and more but all of it in unexpected twists and bursts. But best of all, there are the lyrics. There are dark, unsavoury characters, dialogues from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, guest appearances by artists such as John Mayer and more. Ocean, originally from New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina destroyed his studio and he relocated to Los Angeles, breaks the stereotype of contemporary R&B and, although I am sure you can dance to Channel Orange, makes his debut album a more cerebral piece of work than most of what I’ve recently heard in the genre. In Pyramids, he sings about a girlfriend in the avatar of Cleopatra who is dressing up in slinky clothes, make-up and six-inch high heels to go and work in a strip club; Crack Rock is about a crack addict black sheep in the family; in Super Rich Kids he sings about wealthy African American youngsters in southern California in what is the Black equivalent of Beverly Hills; and in Bad Religion, he is havPhoto:

download central

Even though I’m not the biggest fan of R&B, Channel Orange might find a berth on my best albums’ list of the year

THE JUKEBOX

rooklyn’s indie rockers, Grizzly Bear, have a unique sound that uses instruments that range from the traditional (banjos, guitars) to the electronic (synths, omnichords, keyboards). I’d heard two of their albums, Yellow House (2006) and Veckatimest (2009) before Shields (2012) dropped, last week. Their music is characterised by vocal harmonies and all the albums I’ve heard are super. Shields did several Grizzly Bear rounds on my playlist last week. And will probably do a couple more before I switch to something else.

NOT A SIMPLE EQUATION THIS

Channel Orange is not predictable or formulaic like other contemporary R&B albums

ing a conversation about religion and love with a taxi driver. Besides Mayer, there are others who make an appearance on Channel Orange – rappers André 3000 and Earl Sweatshirt, the latter a co-member with Ocean in the alternative hip-hop ensemble Odd Future. Ocean has deep roots in hip-hop and yet, a few weeks before his album dropped, he created quite a stir in the world of rap and hip-hop by publishing a letter online where he outed himself as a bisexual, talking for the first time about his first love, a man. In Channel Orange too, there are references that can be interpreted to indicate his bisexuality. Why this became such a big deal is because by and large the R&B and hip-hop community has traditionally been conservative when it comes to sexuality – just listen to hip-hop lyrics and you will get the drift. In fact, Ocean’s associated act, Odd Future, has songs that could even be interpreted to be homophobic. Yet, surprisingly, the reaction to his revelations have largely been positive or, at least, not negative. But coming as they did, so close to the launch of the album, they distracted attention from the actual songs on Channel Orange, although I do think they served to whip up some hype about Ocean. Channel Orange doesn’t need extra props to get more attention. The album is quite brilliant even sans the controversy that Ocean’s statements about his love life may have created. I find myself reaching out for Channel Orange when I’m in various kinds of moods – happy, angry, a bit sad or exhausted or whatever – and it always seems to have the elixir to lift up your spirits regardless of the circumstances. After a good five or six listens to the album, I turned to another of Ocean’s albums, a mix–tape that he’d self–released for free last year. It’s called Nostalgia, Ultra and has songs that sample several well-known tracks – by Coldplay, by Radiohead, by MGMT and, even the Eagles’ famous Hotel California. Ocean’s mixes are playful and witty, his lyrics are laced with hip-hop colloquialism and yet are thoughtful and his attitude refreshing. In a way, I think, Frank Ocean can make a difference to the genre he’s classified in – contemporary R&B, which otherwise has become boringly jaded and overly commercial. To give feedback, stream or download the music mentioned in this column, go to http://blogs.hindustantimes.com/download–central, follow argus48 on Twitter

GETTY IMAGES

OCTOBER 7, 2012

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indulge

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HOW WHY WHAT

Seema Goswami

An examination of some of the abiding mysteries of life

Y

TIME MANAGEMENT

How do some women have the energy to undertake the three-step cleansing routine twice a day?

EROTICA FIX

All those women who find Fifty Shades of Grey ‘erotic’ really puzzle me

OU KNOW all those abiding mysteries of life that people lie awake and think about? As in: how did the world come into being? Why are we here? What is it all about? Is there such a being as God? Well, I don’t really waste much sleep over them. Instead, I am constantly mystified by people and the baffling things some of them get up to. I mean, how do you explain the fact that there are some women who apply toner after cleansing their faces and before moisturising? Who are these women and how do they have the time – not to mention the energy and the patience – to undertake this three-step cleansing routine twice a day? I feel incredibly pleased with myself for smearing on a spot of sunscreen in the morning and managing to clean my teeth before collapsing into bed. And there are apparently women out there who actually manage to not just cleanse and moisturise, but also ‘tone’ their skin? I know these mythical creatures must exist (or else how would you explain the sales of toner?) even though I have never met any of them. But I can’t help being mystified by their devotion to cleansing rituals nonetheless. Of late, I have been puzzling over another abiding mystery of our time. Who are all these women who find Fifty Shades of Grey (not to mention Fifty Shades Darker and whatever the other Fifty-something book is called) so ‘erotic’ that they have turned it into the best-selling title of all time, outselling even JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series? No matter where you go these days – the bookstore, the supermarket, the grocery shop, the airport – you find a wall of bluegrey covers staring balefully at you, daring you to pick up your daily dose of porn in full view of the public. But even if you ignore the troublesome issue of the mainstreaming of pornography as it were, how do you explain that enough people find this kind of puerile writing sexy and exciting? As someone who has tried reading the book and given up after 100 pages (yes, even before the ‘sexy’ bits begin), I certainly can’t. How could anyone find this risible prose remotely arousing? And yet, astonishingly enough, they do. And while we are on the subject of kinky sex, are there really any women out there who are applying ‘whitening’ and ‘tightening’ creams to their lady bits in the hope of improving their sex life? Actually, on second thought, even if these creatures do exist, I really don’t want to know. As the cliché goes, it takes all sorts to make up the world but even so, there are some people – and some kinds of behaviour – that remain unfathomable (to me, at least). Those folks, for instance,

Photos: THINKSTOCK

GIVE IT A THOUGHT

spectator

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There are people who, after their early morning jog spend the day on an ‘endorphin high’ (above) while some intrepid souls function in vertigo-inducing high heels

who actually enjoy getting up at the crack of dawn, pulling on their sneakers, and pounding the pavements until the sun comes up, and then spend the day banging on about their ‘endorphin high’. If you ask me, never mind their hamstrings, it’s their heads that need examining. Then, there are those strange creatures that our fashion glossies write for. You know the ones I mean. Those who are happy to junk their wardrobes every few months or so and run off to stock up on the ‘new season’ look. Those who spend hours stuffing tissue paper into the sleeves of their jackets and dresses before packing them so that they don’t crease (have these people not heard of a steam iron? Or laundry services?). Or those who treat a summer vacation as an excuse to exfoliate, wax and embark on a new diet. And don’t get me started on those intrepid souls who dare to negotiate the perils of airport check-ins and air travel in vertigoinducing high heels. Do these women have no pain threshold? Have the soles of their feet no sensation left after years of systematic abuse? Or have they been brainwashed by Fifty Shades of Junk to believe that pain equals pleasure? There are many things that mystify me when I check into a hotel. But at the top of the list is the horror known as the mini-bar. No matter where in the world I am, the prices listed on the mini-bar list leave me dumbstruck. Who can possibly afford to pay these rates? And yet, apparently, there are people who do just that. Drop the equivalent of a cool R500 for a miniature bottle of whiskey. Spend around R150 for a bottle of water. Or R200 bucks for a packet of crisps. Or R300 for a packet of peanuts (I’m sorry, but that’s just plain nuts!) While we are on the subject of crisps, though, who are these people who can open a packet and then just stop at one, two or even ten? Do they really exist? Or are they just the stuff of urban legend? And don’t even get me started on those who can stop at the last chapter of a spy thriller or a good murder mystery, slip in a book-mark, turn off the lights and then go off to sleep. Don’t they want to know how the damn thing ends? How can anyone drift off to sleep without reading the denouement, especially when it is just a few pages away? Quite honestly, it beggars belief.

It takes all sorts to make up the world but some people remain unfathomable

OCTOBER 7, 2012

seema_ht@rediffmail.com. Follow Seema on Twitter at twitter.com/seemagoswami


WELLNESS

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MIND BODY SOUL

BLAME GAME

SHIKHA SHARMA

Weight and watch

Hormonal imbalances can make you gain weight

Watching what you eat and hitting the gym regularly, but finding it tough to lose weight? Blame it on your fluctuating hormones

H

ORMONES CONTROL many functions in our bodies through a delicate mechanism, and are also the link between emotions and the body. So when they go off-kilter, they can affect your weight, especially in women.

INSULIN

Insulin controls how well we are able to digest and metabolise carbohydrates. When this hormone is in balance, we can eat carbohydrates like bread, pasta and rice without feeling bloated. But when it does not function optimally, then even a small amount of carbohydrates will lead to weight gain. Diabetics can have severe insulin fluctuations, and the sugar levels in

the blood can even reach dangerous levels. The children of diabetics, especially girls, may find that insulin inefficiency can show up as polycystic ovarian syndrome. When this happens, sugar levels in the blood are fine, but when we test the insulin levels in blood, we find out that they are out of balance. Girls with this condition will experience a lot of weight gain, especially around their abdomen, pimples (acne) and increased hair growth on the chin and face.

Girls with insulin imbalance experience weight gain around their abdomen

TO BALANCE INSULIN LEVELS ■ Avoid breads, pasta, rice, potatoes and sweets. ■ Consume more whole grains like porridge (salted dalia with vegetables) and eat more dals and lentils like chana, lobhia, mung. ■ Also, consume herbs like fenugreek, vegetables like karela, spices like cinnamon and neem leaves. They help keep insulin in check.

TESTOSTERONE

This is found in women in small quantities, and needs to be present in the right amounts in both men and women to maintain body weight. An imbalance of testosterone leads not only to weight gain but also infertility and hair fall. The culprits triggering such an imbalance are usually pesticides in the food, chemicals in junk food and packaged food and chemicals in water and air pollution. TO COUNTER HIGH TESTOSTERONE LEVELS ■ Avoid packaged foods, a lot of cheese, creamy and fried foods, eggs and most non-vegetarian foods for a few months. ■ Instead, eat more greens in any form like salads, vegetable juices,

GREEN DRIVE

DIET MUST-HAVE

Eat more dals and lentils like chana, lobia and mung

SAY NO TO CARBOHYDRATES

Breads, rice, pasta, potatoes and even sweets need to be avoided

Go high on greens with salads and vegetable juices

Photos: THINKSTOCK

wheat grass juice and barley water. (To prepare barley water, take a tablespoon of barley, soak it overnight and the next day crush it and boil in water till the water level reduces by half. Cool this water and consume a glass daily). ■ Herbs to balance testosterone include aloe vera – two tablespoons taken with an equal amount of water. ■ Ashwagandha is another herb which is very good for balancing the hormones, especially in women.

ask@drshikha.com

TAKE IT EASY

Avoid cheese, eggs, and even non-vegetarian foods to lower testosterone levels

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T R AV E L

Journey To The Centre Of Beauty...

Hosted amid rugged Himalayan ranges, the Hemis Festival in Leh is a walk through the pages of history, culture and tradition by Shreya Sethuraman

T

HE FIRST thing that people do when you tell them you’re flying to Leh is to coax you to travel by road. Naturally, everyone wants you to breathe in the natural beauty that you’ll get to view on the drive. But I flew to Leh and the road trip had to be put on the back-burner. However, even the view when you’re about to touch down is breathtaking. And when you finally land, you are stunned by the stark beauty of the snow-capped mountains that surround Leh. We were greeted with sweet masala tea at our hotel, and after breakfast, advised to sleep. This helps your body acclimatise to the high altitude. As evening set in, we

decided to explore the local market. The people of Leh are among the friendliest I’ve come across anywhere. Happy with my acquisition of a Buddhist prayer bell, I returned to my hotel looking forward to visiting the Hemis monastery the next morning. Founded in 1630 by Lama Stagsang Raspa, the monastery was the venue of the Hemis Festival held earlier this year on June 28 and 29. In 2013, it will be organised in the third week of June. Following a rushed breakfast, we

When you touch down, you are stunned by the stark beauty Leh has to offer

COLOUR, CULTURE AND FAITH

Monks dressed in colourful costumes and beautifully painted masks dance in slow movements to rhythmic sounds at the Hemis festival

got ready for the twohour trip to watch Leh’s carnival of spirituality.

ROAD TO SALVATION

Due to the huge crowd at the festival, we had to get down at, what felt like, a tiny hill’s distance away from our destination. After what seemed like a Herculean task, we reached the monastery. Since there was still some time before the festival began, we visited the Hemis museum, a treasure trove of memories and stories. Visiting the museum was like walk-

DIVINITY IN SPIRIT

The festival marks the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, revered for spreading Tantrayana Buddhism ing through the pages of history, with carefully maintained costumes and ornaments worn by monks while performing religious ceremonies. Soon, it was time for the festival to commence and we occupied our seats, eagerly waiting for the monks to perform to the sounds of horns and drums. The Hemis festival commemorates the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche), the eighth century monk revered for spreading Tantrayana Buddhism. The festival is traditionally celebrated by Drukpa Buddhists who are believed to follow

GETTING THERE

Photos: SHREYA SETHURAMAN

BY AIR: There are regular flights to Leh from Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu and Srinagar. BY ROAD: Try the Kashmir valley via the 434-km Srinagar-Leh road, which remains open for traffic from early June to November. ■ The J&K State Road Transport Corporation (J&KSRTC) operates regular bus services between Srinagar and Leh. ■ The 473-km Manali-Leh road is another approach to Ladakh and is open for traffic from around mid-June to early October. ■ The Himachal Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation and J&KSRTC run bus services between Manali and Leh.

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All dances involved similar steps, that of slow stomping and turning

the Mahayana tradition passed down from the Indian saint Naropa.

DANCE OF FAITH

As the performance began, monks dressed in colourful costumes and

beautifully painted masks danced in slow movements to sounds emanating rhythmically from cymbals, trumpets and drums. Almost all the dances (there were eight in all) involved similar steps, that of slow stomping and turning. The first dance, called Setting Limits, or the 13 Black Hat Dancers, was enacted by 13 monks dressed in black hats. It is believed that with their spiritual power, they cut off evil spirits, thus setting a physical boundary so that no entity may bring obstacles. Consecration, the second performance, had 16 dancers wearing copper gilded masks. Their objective was to invoke blessings of Guru Padmasambhava. This was followed by recreating the eight different avatars of the guru in the dance. I felt fortunate and blessed to witness the performance, which does leave one feeling spiritual. We decided to skip the lunch

served at the monastery, and couldn’t wait to head to a shack that was serving Maggi and tea. Trust me, there’s nothing like this killer combination in the mountains! During the trip I learnt that in Ladakhi, thank you, goodbye and good-day can be expressed by saying just one word: Julley. In the evening, we visited the Druk White Lotus School, best known for the filming of 3 Idiots there. Our second day at Leh was spent sightseeing. Though just one day wasn’t enough to admire the ‘moonscape’ beauty that Leh has to offer, exploring the place itself was an adventure. From visiting the Hall

of Fame museum, which is sure to make anyone feel patriotic, to a destination called Sangam, which is the meeting point of the Indus and the Zanskar rivers; from crossing a river in a makeshift wagon, to savouring tea and Maggi – Leh was exhilarating enough to make me not to want to go back to city life. As I prepared to bid adieu to the snow-capped mountains, I could muster just enough to say, “Until next time, julley!” The writer’s trip was sponsored by the Drukpa Lineage shreya.sethuraman@hindustantimes.com

BACKPACKER’S GUIDE ■ Keep the first day free, so as to acclimatise to the region and altitude ■ Take warm clothes, mufflers, warm socks and covered shoes ■ Pack sunscreen and sunglasses ■ Take medicines for nausea, headaches and nose bleeds ■ If you are asthmatic, consult a doctor ■ Drink enough water ■ Avoid oily food

“When you recognise the nature of mind, fabrication and effort are naturally freed” – Guru Rinpoche PROMOTION


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VA R I E T Y

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What’s hotter than a tattoo? A woman holding the drill. Meet the women making their mark on Indian skin by Kasturi Gandhi

She’s Got a Gun!

A

S KIDS, while most of us were busy saving every penny in our piggybanks for a doll or a remote-controlled car, Samiyah Saud was toying with a different idea. She wanted to jam needles into other people’s skins, and for that she needed a tattoo drill. But she could never save enough cash. “I remember when I took my savings to the women selling tattoo drills at the Bandra Fair, they turned me away,” recalls Saud. “They wanted a thousand bucks! Dejected, I returned home and forgot about it.” But, fate had other plans for her. Working as a journalist in 2007, she met someone who changed her life forever. “I met Rick Strickland, a California-based tattoo artist, on the Internet. I told him that I always wanted to learn the art, and he promised to send me a tattoo drill,” she says. Obviously, Saud didn’t expect to get a freebie from across the seas, but one evening, she received her gift. “I was so stoked! I knew, at that moment, that tattooing is my true calling.” Today, Saud (aka Sam) is a professional tattoo artist at Mumbai’s TattooStar Collective. She’s one of a growing number of women who’ve begun drilling their way into the maledominated universe of Indian tattoo art. Anita Alva, a tattoo artist with Mumbai’s Al’s Tattoo Parlour, believes that very soon, female tattoo artists

are going to give men a run for their money. “Many young girls enquire about our training programmes,” she reveals.

INK SPELL

It’s clear. Women want to learn how to drill and most professional tattoo artists feel that the best way to go about it is to learn the art under someone. Had Saud not trained under Swapnil Gawde, owner and tattoo artist at Mumbai’s TattooStar Collective, she says she wouldn’t have made it as a professional artist. “The training period is crucial because that way we can assess your experience in tattooing and also get to know you,” says Gawde. Samir Patange, owner and mentor at Kraayonz, stresses how learning tattooing is tougher than painting. “There’s no erasing or using a new page,” he says. Anita Alva seeks inspiration from her brothers, Al and Arun of Al’s. She would spend time with her brothers at the parlour when she was not at her “boring” corporate job at Stream International. Within months, she made Al’s her full-time office and became a tattoo artist. “Watching my brothers express themselves through tattoos was what drove me to try it.”

DRAWN TO THE TRADE

Panda (top left) feels fortunate to work with other artists; Sharma (top right) got drilling thanks to her husband; Alva (above) is a reputed artist in Mumbai

“The idea of an armed woman doesn’t unsettle male clients”

Photo: THINKSTOCK

EYE OF THE NEEDLE

The idea of an armed woman doesn’t unsettle male clients. In fact, it’s helpful. For Denver D’Abreo, a bartender with a luxury liner, getting his tattoo from a woman was a treat! “It was so distracting that I felt no pain!” he says. For female clients, the idea of having a woman tattoo them is a more comfortable experience. Wanda Quadros, a Mumbai student who recently got a tattoo on her back, says, “I’m glad I knew the guy tattooing me. If it were a complete stranger and a man at that, it would’ve been awkward.” Tanushka Kitt, a fashion designer, has had men and women tattoo her. “A girl’s hand is lighter and that reduces the pain, I think,” she says. Sadly, the picture isn’t so cheery for the artists themselves. “I’m pretty sure my first client let me practise tattooing on him so he could ask me out eventually,” says Shyamli Panda, tattoo artist at Devilz Tattooz in Delhi. “Barring that, I feel fortunate to work with such

amazing artists,” she says.

BREAKING STEREOTYPES

People still think of tattoo parlours as hippie-infested, drug peddling haunts. But things have changed. For 29-year-old Ranjita Sharma, it was her husband who suggested that she should try her hand at tattooing. “We had gone to Goa where we got our first tattoos. After that, I enrolled for training at KDz Tattoo in Delhi,” she says. And if you walked into TattooStar Collective, Bandra, you would find a little girl immersed in her world of colours. Saud’s three-year-old daughter Sitarah loves visiting the parlour to watch her mother. “I was tattooing when I was pregnant and even after. Now, Sitarah makes tattoos for friends with a pen, making the drilling sound for effect.” Saud also plans to take the tattoo industry further, inking clients in the comfort of their home. “Like tattoos delivered at your doorstep,” she says. Sharma has big plans too. “Work is already underway for the studio I’m going to run with my husband in Assam!” brunchletters@hindustantimes.com

“I’m from a nice, suburban, middle-class family, but my tattoos remind me where I’ve been” – Tom Hardy OCTOBER 7, 2012


VA R I E T Y

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MEGAPIXELS

The bigger the number, the clearer the picture. But why? For the answer, you’ll need to know what a pixel is. You know how a picture sometimes breaks up into little squares when you try to blow it up to a large size? Each of those squares is a pixel. Pixel actually stands for PICture ELement and they’re stacked horizontally and vertically to make up your image. One megapixel equals one million pixels – the more the megapixels, the more densely packed the data in the image, allowing for images that you can make bigger and bigger.

Does this mean your photos will necessarily be sharper?

Unfortunately, no. Sharp images have more to do with steady hands than megapixels. Most casual-use cameras have 5 or 6 megapixels, enough for photo frames, a baby poster, and 300 shots for Facebook. Buy a camera with higher MP and all you’ll be doing is saving larger image files and compromising on space for nothing.

DONGLE

It’s more than a bit of plastic jutting out from the side of your laptop. The dongle is a little device that plugs into your USB port to ensure that only authorised users can access certain software apps (like paid Internet). A plugged-in dongle is like a key in a lock. Unlike a regular flash drive, it’s not just a storage device, it’s actually a passkey.

ADY HDTV VERSUS HDbeRE tween an HD-

ce What’s the differen evision set? tel TV HD an d an dy rea s at Croma. Okay, Roughly 5,000 buck in seriously, the ma that’s a joke. But o boils down tw the n ee tw be difference in question has a to whether the TV which is known as er, built-in digital tun -ready TV means HD an ATSC tuner. An a ble of displaying that the set is capa e provided from tur pic ion nit efi high-d is e or set-box that some tuning devic . elf its set the external to

RETINA DISPLAY

Apple products have been advertising retina display and it’s had everyone excited. Here’s what it doesn’t mean: “The picture pops out of the screen, dude!” It actually means that the pixel density – 326 per inch – is so high that the human eye can’t spot pixelation (or the little squares that make up the image) at a typical viewing distance. This basically means that your texts, pictures and graphics look smoother and photos look more realistic. It does not mean that Apple has managed to replicate a human eye’s clarity of vision. That is near impossible.

GINGERBREAD, HONEYCOMB, ICE CREAM SANDWICH AND JELLY BEAN

An image in non Retina display pixel density looks blocky (top), the same image on Retina display appears finer (above)

Dessert in your technology? Hardly. Banana Bread, Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, HoneyComb, Ice Cream Sandwich and now Jelly Bean are versions of operating systems for Android phones and tablets. Google’s latest, HOW Jelly Bean, means your phone will DO YOU KNOW boot faster, your widgets can reWHICH ONE IS THE size and make room for new NEWEST? ones automatically, the notificaThe systems release tion window is multipurpose, alphabetically and rumour your transitions are buttery has it that that next smooth and the overall performone will be called ance of your phone is better. Key Lime Pie.

It’s Only Words The next time you’re at a gadget store, don’t play blonde when new names, new specs and new terminology crop up. Here’s what it all means by Amrah Ashraf

GORILLA GLASS

Drop it, throw it, shoot it with an air gun, stamp on it and chances are you won’t even scratch it. That’s why Gorilla Glass, a thin, light, almost indestructible kind of material, makes mobile, tablet and laptop-users weak in the knees. Gorilla Glass first showed up on the iPhone, but the technology, apparently, has been around since the 1960s. Today, about 20 per cent of mobile handsets worldwide use the glass, and early this year, the glassmakers Corning, even released a new version Gorilla Glass 2 – thinner but with the same scratch resistance.

CLOUD OR SKY DRIVE

When someone tells you they’ve saved their file “in the cloud,” they’re not referring to a cumulous mass in the sky where an angel is waiting with a pen drive. Cloud storage (iCloud, Sky Drive and the like) simply refers to a third party hosting your data along with that of others via a network (like the Internet) on storage servers somewhere on Earth (on land, not in the sky!). Think of it as a virtual briefcase that stores all your data and lets you access, save, delete and otherwise manipulate it via your email, a cloud storage gateway or the Web, so you never have to carry all your data around with you all the time.

OPTICAL ZOOM AND DIGITAL ZOOM

You’ll encounter some confusion when buying a camera. The specs will boast high zoom capabilities, but often it doesn’t mean what you think it means. Digital cameras can zoom in two ways – with an optical zoom and a digital zoom. THE OPTICAL ZOOM lens will actually move you closer to a distant subject, letting you take as complete an image from far away as from close range. So whether the Corbett tiger is right next to your safari jeep or hidden behind those trees at the edge of the forest, your image will have the same quality. Think of the optical zoom as a telescope – it takes you closer to the distant object. DIGITAL ZOOM, on the other hand, works more like a microscope. The camera will see a panoramic image, let you crop into the section you want and magnify that area to fit the whole frame. You lose quality this way, since you’re not looking at a whole image, just a blown-up part of it. So if you’re likely to take distance shots, a high optical zoom is what you should be looking for. If not, digital zoom is perfectly fine for closeups of the birthday cake, the college gang and the family holiday. amrah.ashraf@hindustantimes.com

LCD, LED AND PLASMA

These three terms that get thrown up every time you want to buy a TV. LCD: A traditional TV used a cathode ray tube to display images on the screen. LCD TVs use cold cathode fluorescent lights (CCFLs) to illuminate the screen. These TVs are usually the most popular and are most suitable for brightly lit rooms. LED TVs: This is the new technology – a TV that uses light-emitting diodes (LED) to create the picture we see. LEDs are typically the most energy efficient and are the thinnest TVs out there. Plasma TV: This was the best kind of TV you could hope to own, but it’s being sidelined now by LCDs and LEDs. A plasma TV display is an array of tiny gas cells sandwiched between two sheets of glass. Each cell acts like a mini fluorescent tube, emitting ultraviolet light which then strikes red, green and blue spots on the screen, which glow to build a picture. Plasmas are the heaviest of all three options, and use more power as well.

OCTOBER 7, 2012

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PERSONAL AGENDA

20

Businessman

Sidhartha Mallya SUN SIGN

if i could...

Taurus

BIRTHDAY

I’D BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO COULD EAT FOREVER WITHOUT PUTTING ON WEIGHT

May 7, 1987

HOMETOWN

Right now, airports

SCHOOL/COLLEGE

Wellington College, UK, and Queen Mary, University of London

PLACE OF BIRTH Los Angeles

HIGH POINT OF YOUR LIFE

LOW POINT OF YOUR LIFE

Crossing the finish line in a marathon in When I left my 3 hours and 40 mins life in England.

CURRENTLY DOING

The hunt for the Kingfisher Calendar Girl, 2013. I’m a jack of all trades – and master of them all too!

possible for the sender to know How many beers can you down if their text had been read… at one go? If you could go through life wearing It’s funny. The body can only only one kind of outfit, what would hold four pints at a time before you wear? you throw it all up. So I guess I’d just go naked. four pints. But I could keep Your best feature. drinking them over and over. My eyes. Depending on how When did you last get drunk? it’s catching the light, one eye I don’t drink often. But last might look green, the other, Saturday, we ended up jumpbrown. So when I’m talking to a ing into the pool fully clothed. girl, I’ll always make sure the One woman who you’d want to see on light is shining in my eyes. the Kingfisher calendar. One big plan for the future. There was already one woman. I enjoy writing a lot. So I will And she was already on it. And write a book. I don’t know what I already saw her. No more I’ll call it, but it will be my memclues. Let’s leave it at that. oirs. I actually did keep a daily A person from the past you’d give record of my time anything to meet. at the last IPL – My grandfather what I saw, what I [Vittal Mallya]. I’ve A SUPER POWER heard so much YOU WISH YOU HAD. heard, what I was up to. I hope to about him but I publish parts of it never got to meet in 50 years. him. I believe we One part of your body would have got that you’d never get along. We’re quite tattooed? similar. I don’t think any And one person from the part of my body is future… off limits. Probably My son! on the face. But Is it hard to live with a only because the famous last name? less flesh there is on a Sort of. I prefer my first name. certain part of the body, the If you woke up and realised you’d more it will hurt. turned into a woman… A movie that you wish you were a I’d give myself a good grope! part of or can’t get out of your head. It’s your one month anniversary and Top Gun. Top Gun. Top Gun. you need to be your cheesiest best on I want to be Lieutenant Pete a greeting card. What do you say? Mitchell aka Maverick. I’m not one for cheese. But I am Maverick in my own this happened with a friend. way. I don’t want to be His girlfriend wrote on his Goose, or Iceman. It’s Maverick Facebook wall: “One year, one all the way. month, one day, one hour.” It The last thing you spent R10 on. was the most ridiculous thing I cannot remember! I’d ever seen. What would the last line of your One lie you often get away with… autobiography read? “Oh, I didn’t get your text.” “Oh, …And that’s how it all ended. I didn’t see your message”. But BlackBerry went and made it — Interviewed by Rachel Lopez

GO BACK TO BOARDING SCHOOL – I HAD SO MUCH FUN THERE!

Photos: THINKSTOCK

The ability to fly. Like Superman

GO TO SPACE – NOT VISIT ANY PLANET PARTICULARLY, JUST LOITER AROUND THE MOON FOR A BIT OCTOBER 7, 2012


Hindustantimes Brunch 07 october 2012  

Hindustantimes Brunch 07 october 2012

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