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Luxury Life & Style May 2017|Rs100

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Anjali Lama: Fashionable Trailblazer

Make your home party-ready with savvy home bars


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EDITOR'S

NOTE

T

hank you for the overwhelming response and support for our first issue of LIVING! It was a proud moment for the entire team – and a

humbling one, too, as we realised that we now have to keep pushing the bar higher and crossing it each time. I am writing this note to you while I am en route to Warsaw, Poland, for a conference. It is amazing how we are connected from 36,000 feet, with opportunities to work remotely from literally anywhere in the globe. As the jet 380 wings its way at 900 kmph, I feel enveloped in the best of comfort. This is what defines our lives today, isn’t it? Living is about the new generation and our access to the best of technology and material luxuries. However, what is technology if not backed by the human element? No matter how connected I am, or if I have access to the world’s best software, it wouldn’t help if I could not work harmoniously with my colleagues (a corollary of the scene at home). Talking about the human element, I wish to share my learning from Marshall Goldsmith, which helped me improve my working style tremendously. I asked seven members of my team to come together and tell each

on before rushing to the next thought/topic. After the session, I focused on shutting my mouth and opening my ears more, and on working consciously to focus on one thing at a time. The benefits – enhanced productivity and smoother working relationships. You can employ this technique with your own teams, too – turn to page 46 to learn more. I hope you will enjoy reading this issue – as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you. And may our readings continue to inspire our lives for the better.

other one behavioural aspect where he/she could

Rohini Manian

change for the better. Surprisingly, more than half of

Editor-in-Chief

them told me I needed to slow down, that I should hold

rohini@globaladjustments.com May 2017

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Rohini Manian Editor-in-Chief

is online: www.issuu.com www.magzter.com

Yamini vasudevan managing Editor Anupama arvinD vice president – business strategy Prem Kumar Creative Head

To subscribe to this magazine, e-mail culturamaliving@globaladjustments.com

Ankita s Graphic designer V Ramkumar vice president – Finance S Raghu Circulation | anu vardhan | basu shanker | | dr. marshall goldsmith | kamal chhetri | | krupa G.E. | Natasha Arshad | preeti verma lal | Rukmini Vyas | Sethulakshmy nair | | suraksha bhatla acharya | susan philip | | swetha Kannan | Contributors Chennai (Headquarters) 5, 3rd Main Road, R A Puram, Chennai – 600028 Telefax +91-44-24617902 E-mail culturamaliving@globaladjustments.com Bengaluru No.: A2, SPL Habitat, No.138, Gangadhar Chetty Road, Ulsoor, Bengaluru – 560043. Tel +91-80-41267152, E-mail culturamablr@globaladjustments.com Delhi-NCR Level 4, Augusta Point, Golf Course Road, Sector 53, Gurgaon 122002, Haryana Mobile +91 124 435 4224 E-mail del@globaladjustments.com Mumbai #1102, 11th floor, Peninsula Business Park, Tower B, SB Road, Lower Parel, Mumbai – 400013 Tel +91-22-66879366 E-mail mum@globaladjustments.com Published and owned by Rohini manian at #5, 3rd Main Road, Raja Annamalai Puram, Chennai – 600028, and printed by K Srinivasan of Srikals Graphics Pvt Ltd at #5, Balaji

The cover photo was shot by Kamal Chhetri, a photographer from Kathmandu, Nepal. His areas of interest are fashion and portraits.

Nagar, 1st Street, Ekkattuthangal, Chennai – 600032 Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed by writers do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s or the magazine’s.

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INBOX Congratulations on the launch of LIVING! It really sets the bar high for a lifestyle magazine. In today’s world of never-ending social media posts that are low on content, we are really yearning for well-curated content for the new generation. Srinivas Laxman

Congratulations on the launch of the new magazine! I picked up a copy because of the cover (with Madhavan on it), then fell in love with the content. I realised that there was so much substance than I expected from a lifestyle magazine. I wish you all the success on this new venture. Sangeetha Kumar Great feel to the magazine – easy to read and definitely some good life advice to aspire to. Well done, team LIVING! Monica Sanders Glad to see an amazing new magazine from Global Adjustments, and so happy that you have released something new and contemporary. I particularly loved the piece on the private islands and can see that this magazine will become my-go to guide for all things life and style. Well done! Naima Sunny

I loved your inaugural edition of LIVING magazine and hope to see it continue to gladden and interest a large readership for many more years. The articles were quite different from the run-of-the-mill ones and the eclectic topics catered to diverse interests. Keep it rolling, please. Awaiting your next issue. Laxmi

We welcome feedback from our readers. Send your suggestions and comments to culturamaliving@globaladjustments.com

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May 2017

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INSIDE this issue 16

Click for Retail Therapy

22

No Sayonaras Here

36

Scrub It!

No time to head out? Get your shopping fix at home with our curated set of online stores.

Japan beckons – again and again.

Make your own DIY face scrubs with ingredients available in your kitchen.

40 cial meone spe Toast to so rld’s most with the wo lcohol. expensive a

What a man needs to have in his wardrobe.

46

Feed-Forward, Not Feedback

50

Breaking the Running Myths

Look ahead to effect positive change and improve working relationships.

Basu Shanker on the common misconceptions around running.

inute Italian, a la M ro Ferrari, and a

10

Put a Ring on It

May 2017

Sartorial Checklist

56

Raise the Glass

8

30

May Kom talks future plans, tackling gender bias and what India needs to produce world-class sportspeople.

Chef Mau Lunch with philosophy. his cooking chat about

60

On the House

66

#GenderNoBar

Make your home party-ready with a snazzy home bar.

Anjali Lama, India’s first transgender model, talks about her journey up to the ramp and beyond.


May 2017

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Small Talk

Put a Ring on It Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom is a trailblazer in the field of boxing – with laurels pouring in since she won the silver medal at the 2001 Women’s World Amateur Boxing Championships in the United States. Rohini Manian talks to the Olympic medallist and Padma Bhushan awardee about her thoughts on shaping the future of boxing in the country 10

May 2017


Small Talk

Photos: Mary Kom / Mary Kom Foundation

M

angte Chungneijang Mary Kom or MC Mary Kom is a household name across India today. Hailing from the Kom tribe in Manipur, Mary’s passion for boxing was inspired by boxer Dingko Singh’s Gold medal win at the Asian Games in 1998. Despite being told

that it was a masculine sport and receiving little by way of encouragement from her family, Mary travelled to the Manipur State Boxing Association in Imphal and requested coach Narjit Singh to train her. The rest, as they say, is history – many parts of which were captured in the eponymous 2014 biopic.

May 2017

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Small Talk

Mary Kom with her husband, Karung Onkholer Kom, and two of her three sons. I have personally counted on Mary as a source of inspiration. She has hoisted India’s name on the world map with her achievements – a long list with highlights that include her status as a five-time World Amateur Boxing champion, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships, and the fact that she is the only Indian woman boxer to have qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics, where she competed in the flyweight (51 kg) category and won the bronze medal. She was also the first Indian woman boxer to get a Gold Medal in the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea. And, she is all about giving back, too. In 2006, she established the Mary Kom Boxing Academy,

“If I being a mother of two can win a medal, so can all. Take me as an example and don’t give up.” gender issues and encouraging women to scale the ranks in every field – and she begins this by rightfully addressing the question of equality in her home, with her two sons. It was truly an honour to interview ‘Magnificent’ Mary. Here are some excerpts from our conversation. You have said that you are looking forward to the Asian Championships in November this year to

with a vision to create quality boxers from under-

win a medal for India. What are some other big

privileged backgrounds. In March this year, the

plans in the offing?

Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports appointed her, along with Akhil Kumar, as National Observer for boxing. In this role, she will assist the Government, Sports Authority of India and the National Sports Federations in the preparation and implementation of the long-term sports development in India, and help in implementation of action plans for Mission Olympics 2020, 2024 and 2028. Most importantly, as a woman, I have deeply admired Mary’s commitment to addressing

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May 2017

I am looking at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympics 2020. As the National Observer for Boxing in India, what are some key issues – in your opinion – that need to be fixed in order to give Indian sports the much-needed thrust? We need to deploy more qualified and efficient coaches at every centre, and institute refresher


Small Talk courses and capacitate our coaches and experts periodically (even) from foreign resources/experts, establish basic and better infrastructure at talent hub areas, and draft and update training modules with new experiments. Sports experts have to put their hearts and minds into planning, and sportspeople (boxers, athletes and others) should be given proper care and facilities. We should also keep a close vigil

“It can be disappointing to see that all of the corporate sponsorship and fan interest is moving towards a particular sport, even when

to make sure they stay on track.

other sports are doing as well...It

Tell us more about the Mary Kom Boxing

can sometimes get to you.”

Academy. And, please do share some of its key achievements. The Mary Kom Regional Boxing Foundation, a

criticism and challenges as a motivation. The three things I tell women achievers are: Believe in yourself

charitable trust, was established in a humble manner

and your abilities; work harder than you think you

by my husband, K. Onkholer Kom, and me in 2006. Our

can; and always be humble and thankful to God.

vision is to create quality boxers from underprivileged

Don’t let narrow-minded people bog you down in

potentials and create a centre of sporting excellence

gender stereotypes.

that would churn out champions for India. We aim to provide a consistent ecosystem for young talents to be identified, nurtured and trained in a conducive environment with world-class training, infrastructure and mentoring.

You are known to have written an open letter to your sons in the Hindustan Times, in which you have openly talked about being molested. What are your thoughts on the best ways

Free training under the wings of three qualified

in which we can

coaches is provided. Besides its focus on boxing,

create an equal

the foundation stretches its involvement to include

society for all?

social activities, cultural and youth-related events and training to impart life skills. Today, we have 90 students undergoing training in the academy. Since inception, we have won 20 national medals and three regional medals, besides state-level medals. You have said, ‘If I being a mother of two can win a medal, so can all. Take me as an example and don’t give up.’ What are some tips you would share with women to make the best of their lives? Cherish every situation and circumstance for there is no solution in worrying. Work hard and be determined to achieve your dream. Take May 2017

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Small Talk How would you define Mary Kom the boxer and Mary Kom the woman? As a boxer, I am aggressive and hard. As a woman, I am caring and tender, but my family may be better placed to answer! Is it frustrating sometimes, when India’s cricket craze gets in the way of support for other sports? How does that affect your morale and, therefore, your sport? It can be disappointing to see that all of the corporate sponsorship and fan interest is moving towards a particular sport, even when other sports are doing as well, if not better, for the country. If an athlete is struggling to make ends meet even after he/she is at the pinnacle of his/her sport, it can sometimes get to you. That is not to say that one is fighting for financial rewards – that is certainly not the priority – but it is an important component of an athlete’s life and his/her morale. The responsibility that comes with success is not an easy burden to carry. What do you do to keep the heady nature of success away from the essence of boxing for the sake of boxing? There is no success without hard work and sacrifice. Fortunately for me, I learnt that lesson early and imbibed it and have therefore been able to give 100 per cent to boxing, irrespective of my success. I Respecting others as you would want yourself to be…we are all gifted differently, so our purpose is based on that. We shouldn’t consider others inferior but break existing sects and classes in the society. I am not an expert in this field but I would say parents are the best and living teachers and mentors

box because I love it and because I always want to win; so while there is an element of boxing for the love of it, there is a large element of boxing to win as well. When critics write you off, what do you tell yourself to continue to stay positive? That they are wrong and I am much better than

for children. Teachers and books impart knowledge

what they think and I will prove them wrong. That’s the

but parents teach wisdom and the art of living and

initial response in the early years – after a point of

humanity. We need to be qualified and be aware of

time it matters less and less and the motivation comes

what teaching we are delivering to our children.

from within and not from outside influences.

How much of a role does gender play in a sport

If boxing hadn’t happened, who do you think Mary

like boxing?

Kom would have been?

There is no need that it should, as it is not like the two genders are competing against each other. It

A sportsperson for sure – probably an athlete. Or a singer; I love listening music and singing as well.

is unfortunate that it is looked upon as a male sport, when it is equally friendly to both genders – -that said, I think that perception is changing.

Rohini Manian is the CEO of Global Adjustments Services Pvt. Ltd., and the Editor-in-Chief of LIVING. 14

May 2017


May 2017

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Techiela

click for

Retail Therapy With the mercury soaring, who has the will to step out to shop? Instead, sit back in the air-conditioned comfort of your home and get your retail fix on the Internet – Swetha Kannan shares her picks of the best online stores 16

May 2017


Techiela

Wishing Chair

Every little item in this charming home dĂŠcor store looks like it has been lifted from the rooms of a Victorian bungalow. Replete with vintage candle stands, ornate mirrors, distressed photo frames and monochrome kilim chairs, Wishing Chair is perfect for those who seek to embellish their homes with old-fashioned yet dreamy accessories. The website design and store layout is easy on the eye, thanks to the use of muted hues (unlike many online home dĂŠcor stores that tend to be rather in-your-face). Take note: The collection on the site is exclusive and limited, so be sure to pick up that quaint wall shelf in powder blue or handmade floral rug that stole your fancy.

Nino Bambino This is a welcome site for eco-conscious mothers and fathers who want to dress up their little ones in organic clothing that is as stylish as it is guilt-free. Nino Bambino offers a range of clothing for children up to nine years old, and comprises rompers, onesies, teeshirts, kurtas, skirts and tops. The clothes are said to be soft on the skin and to offer cool comfort. Be sure to check out their collection of summer shorts for boys and girls while you are at it. However, the collection on the site is a bit limited – so, if you are looking for plenty of options to choose from, you could be a tad disappointed. We also wish their accessories section had more to choose from, besides bibs and booties.

May 2017

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Techiela

IT Depot Technology shopping can be a tedious task in some ways (for some people), given the number of feature filters and specs to be looked into. The IT Depot attempts to simplify the task somewhat, with a cross-section of gadgets and accessories, ranging from laptops, cameras and gaming products to hardware, wireless routers and peripherals. The products are categorised and organised quite neatly with detailed descriptions. The drawbacks are that the mobile phone section does not seem to be updated often enough, and the store is primarily centred around computers.

Gourmet Box

For the gastronome who is looking to explore new cuisines and tastes, this gourmet food store offers a spread of jams and preserves, sauces, syrups, herbs, pastas, artisan chocolates and cereals. Apart from gourmet and fresh food, the site also sells baking products, baking paraphernalia and gift hampers. It also lets you put together your own gift box for that special someone. The curated recipes on the site, which tell you how to whip up the perfect cold brew on a hot afternoon or make a Hawaiian poke bowl for the summer, are thoughtful additions for the culinarily inclined. The site could be better if categories such as pancakes, waffles and tortillas offered more choices. Furthermore, the section on accessories appears to be still evolving. 18

May 2017

The Label Life From polka dot dessert plates and wine-stands in gorgeous gold to rustic cake-stands, gold tassel brogues to tan ruffle layered dress and longline crepe jackets, Label Life is for who those aspire to own signature couture with inspired design. Put together by Bollywood’s style divas Suzanne Khan, Malaika Arora and Bipasha Basu and guest designers such as Malini Ramani, Rocky S., and Lekha Washington, the products – which encompass clothing, accessories and home accents – are chic and urbane. With a pleasant layout in soothing shades (and the occasional pop of colour), the site is pleasant and inviting. Whether you are looking for the next ‘It’ dress, accessory or home décor piece, or if you are in the mood for post-lunch window shopping, Label Life is a treat.


Techiela

Nykaa

Nykaa is a one-stop shop for cosmetic and beauty needs, with a mind-boggling array of products and brands (Indian and international). Think skincare, make-up, wellness, herbal, fragrance, haircare, baby and mommy – name it and they have it! The discounts and summer offers on the site will leave you piling the shopping cart high, as you flit from one deal to another. Our top picks are the nude nail enamels with luscious names like Corny Creampuff, Nougat Bar and Nutcracker Dreams. Of course, you should know your skin tone well in order to pick the right products – or be a bit daring. While the packed layout gives the feel of a bustling marketplace, it can begin to look cluttered and tire the eye after a while.

A Tailor’s Tale A fuss-free site that gives just what it promises – apparel and accessories for men and women from lesser known, novel Indian designers. Thankfully, A Tailor’s Tale doesn’t dilute its offerings with a ‘bit’ of ‘this’ and ‘that’. Whether it is the classic striped bowtie, the shirt with paper-fold birds, the midnight bucket bag, aqua-lemon lehenga, or gathered dress in pink and blue, the pieces are timeless and one of a kind. The best thing about the site is that it allows you to compare two or more products on the same page. An added appeal is the ‘tailored fit’ service. A designer’s style guide on how to put together the perfect look would have upped the site score to a perfect five.

Propshop24 Click over to Propshop24 to pick funky gifts for the hard-to-please friend, partner or boss. Be it the mug in the form of a camera lens, oh-so-adorable ladybird toothbrush holder, chocolate bar-inspired memo pad or lust-worthy phone covers, the pieces are edgy and mostly utilitarian. The site keeps refreshing its products periodically as well. It is also showcasing gourmet foods and exclusive skincare products of late. A put-off (if you prefer eco-friendly products) is the use of plastic in many of the products, although they claim to be made from high-grade ABS plastic.

May 2017

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Techiela

Pernia’s popup shop This store for fusion and ethnic wear puts together a wardrobe rich in shimmer, threadwork, lots of layers, uneven cuts and asymmetrical hemlines – from designers such as Anju Modi, Masaba and, of course, Manish Malhotra. Chunky jewellery and statement accessories complement the offerings (we especially like the maangtikkas and khaleeras). Pernia’s is the perfect place to pick out embellished lehengas and anarkalis for weddings and parties, although there are very few options for men. What we don’t really understand is the need to showcase bikinis and nightwear in the store…

Myntra One of the pioneers in online fashion retail, Myntra’s growth over the years has hinged on its ability to add every product category along its way. So, it is kind of hard to point out the one thing it really stands out for. However, Myntra makes up for its lack of exclusivity with sheer variety and discounted pricing, showcasing the best of Indian and international fast fashion brands and other lifestyle products. The store layout is just about functional, with the accent on luring buyers more than facilitating easy navigation. Then again, the site is designed to be a popular hangout for the youth and not necessarily the discerning buyer who is looking for a quiet and peaceful place to shop in.

Swetha Kannan is a freelance writer and editor who is based in Chennai. Earlier, she worked as a journalist for the Hindu Business Line. 20

May 2017


Techiela

Black Comedy What hap pened

? A BBC liv e interview of a politic al scientist impeachm on the ent of Sou th Korean hye went vi President P ral after his ark Guenchildren ga session he te-crashed was attend the Skype ing from h South Kore is home in a. The kids B u san, had to be out of the corralled a room by th nd taken eir frantic mother. So? There was a dark si de to the c interviewe omedy. Th e was Prof. e Robert Kell many view y, an Ameri ers assum c a n, and ed that the woman wh children aw o hurried th ay was the e nanny bec ause she w And? Kelly as Asian. and his wif e, Kim Jun it in their st g-a, seeme uncomfort ride, altho d to take able with th ugh Kelly a e mistaken dmitted to pitfalls ste identity issu being reotyping e. Social m and prejud edia hotly ices could d Who said e bated the lead to. what? “I’m n o t th e nanny – arguing.” – that’s the Kim Jung-a truth – so I hope the “We were w y stop orried the BBC would never call us again.” – Prof Rob ert Kelly May 2017

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Tripster

No Sayonaras here Tokyo is not a place you visit once and pack away into the

recesses of your photo albums

and memory. It is a city that will draw you back to it, time and

again, as it unveils its treasures bit by bit. Explore some of the hidden gems of the Japanese capital with Krupa G.E.

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May 2017


Tripster

May 2017

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Tripster

The ‘Sleepless Town’ in Shinjuku's Kabuki-cho district is known for its vibrant nightlife.

T

okyo is a city of many moods – one that is just as rewarding in winter as it is in spring. What’s more – in winter, even though you’ll miss spring’s beautiful bursts of

pink cherry blossoms, you’ll get to experience the city without hordes of tourists. In any case, there’s so much to see and do in this great city that you might want to take it in over several short ones. And, who’s to stop you from taking in the city’s sights in cold winter and bright spring? All said and done, the best introduction to a new place

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May 2017


Tripster

Forget the magnets –pick these Tokyo souvenirs instead - Japan is every stationery lover’s dream destination. From personalised and monogrammed notebooks from the Stalogy store to the fuss-free minimalism of Muji, there’s something for everyone. Pens, pencils, to-do lists, notepads, washi tapes (cellotape with pretty patterns)...Go nuts. - Japan is the best place for anime-themed souvenirs. Maybe a pack of cards that pays tribute to Studio Ghibli, which produces world-class cinema and gave us the genius of Hayao Miyazaki and films such as Princess Mononoke and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Or jigsaw puzzles that freeze a moment from these amazing films. - Try your hand at Gacha Gacha – vending machines with capsule toys that cater to the collectors of Japan. ‘Gashapon’, the formal name is a Japanese is of the gastronomic kind. And, our first impression of Tokyo and its delectable wonders was formed even before we landed. On our flight from Hong Kong to Tokyo, we woke up after a small nap to a warm smile and a cold, refreshing meal – zaru soba, which we had to assemble and eat. Cold sauce, fine soba noodles, delicate bits of seaweed and a hint of wasabi. Our first, ‘real’ Japanese meal was fabulous. After that, it only got better. Another Tokyo gem we were introduced to on that flight (thanks to the in-flight entertainment system), was the genius of Makoto

onomatopoeia. It comes from ‘gasha’ (or ‘gacha’) the sound the cranking of a toy vending machine produces, and ‘pon’, the sound the toy capsule makes as it drops. Gashapons typically release sets of toys in a series and people try to collect all the toys in that particular series. We picked up an antique-finish dial that pays tribute to the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and a figurine of the Buddha.

Shinkai, a film-maker whose latest film, Kimi no nawa (‘Your Name’) – a 2016 anime film about two Japanese teenagers who switch bodies

May 2017

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Tripster

The Great Buddha at Kamakura’s Kotoku-in. (Right) A winter evening in Tokyo. Photos: Swaroop Mami – is making waves not only in Japan but

end of the town. We walked around

also across the globe.

and took in the beautiful old trees and

W

warm sunshine on the cold afternoon.

ith delicious soba and delightful anime already tucked under

our ‘achievement unlocked’ list, we landed in Tokyo and took a deep dive into Shinjuku – the most happening neighbourhood in Tokyo. Nestled between skyscrapers, our hotel was in the heart of all the action. Bling, neon lights that beckoned from the distance,

Afterwards, we said ‘hello’ to what is perhaps the world’s most famous dog. The Hachiko dog statue in Shibuya is a great attraction for locals and tourists alike in the evenings. Around the statue is the world’s busiest crossing – Shibuya Crossing, where hundreds of people cross the road. What a sight it is!

young and hip people, food (so much of

Here’s a quick tip: Head to one of

it, and oh so tasty!) and drinks...That’s

the coffee shops across the road from

Shinjuku for you. It was pretty late when

Hachiko, order a lovely tall glass of

we landed and we walked through the

matcha green tea latte and head up

colourfully lit neighbourhood, wolfed

to the first floor. Tada! Vantage point

down some amazing Taiwanese food at

alert. With their high glass walls, the

a small joint and settled in for the night.

coffee shops near the Crossing offer the

The next morning, we made our way to the beautiful Meiji Shrine in the Shibuya area. The famous Shinto shrine is located in a serene 200-acre park, and is a tourist destination, although it is decidedly less crowded than the Senso-ji Temple located at the other

best views in the area. You can sip on your tea or coffee and watch the crowd crossover, and click pictures in peace.

L

Shopaholics alert! Set aside a day for the famous Yodobashistore in Akihabara. A towering nine-storey geek haven where you can pick up everything – from Wi-Fi routers to air purifiers, miniature car models to pens, and all things electronic! All state of the art, all better priced than at most places. Our picks: Calligraphy pens, washi tapes, Fujifilm’s Instax Polaroid camera or (if you already have them) film roll cases for the camera that

ater that evening, we headed to

come in different forms – black

the tiniest yet classiest watering

and white, framed, and so on,

hole in the Golden Gai neighbourhood.

miniature car models (if you’re

Throwing back Japanese whisky and

into that), and Studio Ghibli or anime products.

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May 2017


Check out the little joints that dot Shinjuku for the best sushi and ramen. great wine, with shrimp-flavoured crisps and potato sticks, while listening to jazz, we even experienced a tiny earthquake inside that exclusive first-floor wooden

A

word about Japan’s metro is, of course, a must. The metro is super-efficient in Tokyo as is the

Google Maps’ public transport version. It will tell you

bar that seats no more than six people. Golden

how to get from Point A to B as well as the fare. If you

Gai is filled with such tiny pubs and is supremely

can’t figure something out, there is always a friendly,

atmospheric – all of which makes for a great photo

helpful staff who will guide you. We took a long ride

opportunity at night. Next on our list was a laid-

to the beautiful empty Inamuragasaki Beach from

back trip to the Daikanyama area – a quiet, almost

where we saw the majestic Mt. Fuji. It’s a detour worth

residential neighbourhood, with boutique stores that

exploring before heading to see Kamakura’s Kotoku-in,

sell ceramics, books and world-class stationery. At

where the Great Buddha sits majestic and calm. In the

Stalogy, one of the shops, my husband and I got

quieter, more laid-back and old area of Asakusa is

personalised Japanese notebooks with our names

the bustling Senso-ji Temple. It’s also home to some

monogrammed in gold on the cover, and even sent

atmospheric pubs that have ‘private dining’ facilities,

postcards to each other – which will be sent to us a

where you take your shoes off, lock them up in actual

year later! Time travelling, it seemed, was possible in

old lockers and head to your low-seat booths. With

that quiet store in Daikanyama. Beautiful stores and

loud conversations and orders placed over cool

tasteful homes, in narrow, winding lanes, window sills

tablets, these restaurants offer a peek into the city’s

with delicate plants and flowers, lazy cats napping...

buzzing nightlife.

This is the place for you if, like us, you love a little quiet every once in a while. Then again, what’s a visit to Tokyo without sushi

Before we left the city, we decided to take in all of its beauty. The Tokyo Sky Tree building and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government buildings offer the best views

and ramen? Tuck into yummy hot ramen at one of the

of the city, panoramas at that. Then, we picked up

many (many!) ramen joints that dot Shinjuku and treat

souvenirs and bid adieu to Tokyo – not for too long,

yourself to some tuna nigiri. A platter of fresh cut,

though. For we know we’ll be back.

luscious, textured sashimi with seasonal fish is also high on our recommendation list.

Krupa is a writer and journalist based in Chennai. She is the Senior Editor of Culturama magazine and Founder of The Madras Mag, a not-for-profit web hub for contemporary Indian writers. She was awarded the Toto-Sangam residential fellowship and shortlisted for a Toto Prize in Creative Writing in 2016. May 2017

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Style Substance

&

Exquisite aesthetics enhance the dining

T

he brainchild of fourth-generation jeweller, Nithin Kalkiraju, Hamsa is the pinnacle of vegetarian fine dining in the city. Construction of the restaurant began in 2013 – and each and every detail was meticulously designed in a tasteful

experience at Hamsa

manner to ensure the ultimate aesthetic and gastronomic experience.

– a place where great

Purity Personified

thought has gone into

The hamsa is a swan whose coat gleams with a coat of white stardust. She swims in waters painted in cerulean and indigo, among

each and every element

faded cherries and autumn leaves. She is the perfect vahana

that was used to create

mysticism, art, purity and knowledge.

the beautiful space

or vehicle to the divine goddess, Saraswathi. She is a symbol of A bird of many mythological abilities, her name denotes the coming together of two swans, Ham and Sa, which live on the honey of the lotus of knowledge and feast on the white pearls of wisdom.

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May 2017


Ring in Wellness The beautiful bronze bells that you see at the entrance to the restaurant are hand-made, and their beauty is enhanced by the peacocks on both sides. The bells are meant to produce a distinct sound that creates unity between the left and right sides of the brain. The moment you ring a bell, it touches the seven healing centers or chakras of your body – as has been said in the Vedas. While sound encourages harmony, light symbolises knowledge. The light that shines from a lamp is powerful, spiritual and precious. The bronze lamp chandelier that adorns in the centre radiates light and spiritually uplifts you even as you enjoy your dinner. It All Adds Up The gorgeous brass wall panels that surround the restaurant are made of 18 lines – and there are six of them, thus making it a total of 108. This number is significant for several reasons, especially in Hindu mythology. The rudraksh mala that we use to mediate has 108 beads; there are 108 divya kshetras or holy pilgrimage sites for Lord Vishnu. The number 108 is also connected to the solar system. The distance between the Sun and the Earth, and the distance

between the Moon and the Earth, the way the planet rotates – all of these are connected to this number. The diameter of the Sun multiplied by 108 equals the distance between the sun and earth, and the diameter of the moon multiplied by 108 equals the distance between the earth and the moon. Elegant Touches Rich, elegant, aesthetic and lavish with a dash of vintage charm, Burmese teak is the choice of kings. Discovered by the Chettiars, whose business ventures took them to Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, Sri Lanka and other Asian countries, the wood became a part of their magnificent mansions. At Hamsa, we believe in dining like royals, and worked to ensure that our dining space reflects this. The legs of the dining tables are made of Burmese teak and draw inspiration from the plush pillars that adorn the extravagant mansions in the Chettinad region. Poetic License Inspired by poetry from Persia and the Mughals’ eye for detail, the Fatehpur Sikri Palace was a delight to the eye and senses. Emperor Akbar addressed his close ministers from the Diwan-i-Khas as he sat majestically on a throne that was built on a pillar that had geometric and floral designs on it. Our team of artisans created a replica of the pillar, which was designed between 1569 and 1585. It took seven artisans over four months to carve the details by hand. Guests will surely also love our private dining room, ‘Chandibagh’, which was designed on the lines of the silver garden that the word refers to. The silver doors welcome you into a room in which the walls are adorned with 16 silver panels. Each of these were hand-crafted by artisans from Sukra Jewellery, Chennai. Silver also has medicinal benefits – it increases our immunity, cools down our body and improves overall health. Our fine silverware will give you the much boost of health, and a touch of glamour, too.

Hamsa is located at: New No.40 (Old 71A), B. Ramachandra Adithanar Road, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar, Chennai 600020. Phone: 044 2445 9999. Website: www.hamsarestaurant.com May 2017

29


Personal Shopper

Sartorial Checklist What are the key fashion items that men should invest in? Celebrity stylist Anu Vardhan shares her list of key essentials for the stylish man

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have always enjoyed styling men, and am often asked for recommendations on pieces that men must have in their wardrobes. If you ask me, these should be things that he can wear over and over again; they should be timeless classics, yet act as basics for fashionable dressing. I personally prefer minimal

colours and classic patterns – simple is always versatile and elegant. It brings out a certain crispness to the attire. Monotones and classic cuts have always been my favourites.

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May 2017


May 2017

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Personal Shopper

White Dress Shirt

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his is the starting point of every neutral work look in the closet.

Wherever he may be from, however he may look, every man needs a fitted white button-down shirt. It can be worn with denims, chinos or even a traditional dhoti. I personally prefer a widespread collar as it is now quite popular and gives a bold look.

White tee-shirt

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his simple classic needs to fit the wearer well. The fabric needs to be

light but definitely not sheer. The sleeves not too long – just right, to expose your triceps. Again, these tee-shirts are a perfect option for a casual day out. It can be paired with shorts and loafers for a casual look or lace-up leather shoes for a smart look.

Short-sleeve button-up shirt

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good, tailored short-sleeve button-up shirt is a must. Make

sure it is simple and clean. This way, it can be used for formal and casual wear. The main focus is on the shirt’s length. It should be just right to be worn either tucked in or out.

A

Polo tee-shirt high-quality polo tee-shirt is a must. The fabric has to be nice and soft so that it

doesn’t make nasty pills after a few washes. This is business casual perfection. A dark blue or grey polo tee matched with denims and tucked in with a good leather belt will make you look and feel good.

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May 2017


Personal Shopper

Chinos

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his is a better fitting and modern version of the sloppy

khaki pants. Chinos usually come in 100 per cent cotton or cottonsynthetic blends. The latter gives a lightly stretchy feel – you can pick either one depending on your preference. A slimmer leg, low-rise and slightly tapered ankle will give a good overall aesthetic look. This is a perfect piece for a semi-casual look.

Dark wash denims

E

veryone needs a great pair of jeans. A dress-up denim can do the magic! Distressed jeans are

brilliant but you need to own one dress-up denim. It can be paired with Henleys and tees for a casual look. It looks best even with a button-down shirt and waistcoat or simple jacket. You can wear it either way, too.

Dress pants

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simple flat-front dress pants is incredibly timeless. Invest in a good one so that it doesn’t get worn out

soon. A good woollen blend which is very high quality would be the best option. Make sure the pants are not baggy or too tight near the crotch but that they fit just right. If possible, get one custom-made so that it fits you perfectly.

May 2017

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Personal Shopper

Shoes

P

eople notice your shoes – yes, they do. With the wrong shoes, even the best outfit can look like a disaster. Here are some pieces that are worth seeking out and splurging on. Be sure to invest in a dress shoe. Choose something that is neutral – like black or brown leather, with a matt finish. Now, pick a style that will go with your formal and semi-casual wardrobe. I would suggest loafers because they look nice with the casual options and formal ones. Lace-ups, cap-toes and brogues will look good with suits and business wear, but formal loafers will look good with both suits and semi-casual. Make sure the leather is not shiny – a matt look will make the shoe versatile. Leather urban lace-ups are excellent options for those casual days out.

Sunglasses

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e live in a country where summer reigns for nine months in the year. And, this is a

must-have essential. It could be a pair of aviators or wayfarers – choose one that suits your face shape.

Watch

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good watch that would go with all of your wardrobe choices. I

would personally suggest one with a black or brown leather strap and a formal face. A great piece to add to your wardrobe, it will complete any look. It is classic, timeless and one of the safest pieces of jewellery to wear.

Bag

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good bag can up your style quotient right away. Get a duffel bag – maybe in brown or black.

Leather is more versatile than canvas, and will go with most semi-formal/casual looks. It works well when you are packing for the gym, or for a weekend getaway. For office use, you could get a briefcase. There are plenty of sleek versions that can be used to carry around a laptop and other odds and ends. Try to pick one in a neutral colour so that it does not look out of place when paired with formal outfits.

Anu Vardhan is one of the most sought after costume designers in the South Indian film industry. Her famous projects include styling Ajith in ‘Billa’, and Rajinikanth in ‘Kabali’, and she has set a benchmark for suave and stylish designs. She received the State Award for her work in ‘Billa’, and the Vijay Award for ‘Sarvam’ and ‘Yezham Arivu’. 34

May 2017


A Majestic Si lence

What hap pened

? Kishori A monkar, a legend of Hindustan passed aw i classical ay at the a music, ge of 84 in Mumbai. So? With h er death, a whole gene classical m ration of In usicians is dian no more. And? Amo nkar belon ged to the In general, Jaipur-Atra Gharanas, uli Gharan or groups a. by a distin o f singers b ctive style o u n d o f music, are However, sh self-conta e learnt fro ined. m other Gh Agra, Bhen a ranas such di Bazar a as the nd Gwalior elements fr Gharanas, om these a a n d used nd her own forge an in interpretati dividual va o n s to riant of th e Jaipur st Who said squanderin yl e . what? “I p g a way of refer...maje life and sa stic isolati dhana for Trivia: Kno on to money.� – wn for her K is h o ri Amonkar te mper and face durin eccentricit g performa ies, Amonka nces, sayin r allowed n g they pre o lights on vented her her from going into a tran ce.

May 2017

35


Skin Deep

Scrub It! Ditch the store-bought products and make your own! Natasha Arshad shares DIY face scrub recipes that you are sure to love

W

ith summer at its peak, it is important to pay extra care of your skin. To get fresh, younger looking skin, you have to get rid of older, dead skin cells. Regular exfoliation helps clear the skin’s surface and unveil the young skin underneath. And, there is no need to hit the stores – we have picked some

easy recipes that can be made from ingredients available in your kitchen. Go on, get your best face on!

Vanilla and Brown Sugar What you need: 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Instructions:

1/3 cup olive oil 2 tbsp honey ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract (you could also use 5 to 10 drops of any essential oil) ½ tsp vitamin E oil

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May 2017

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until they are well combined. Then, apply the sugar scrub to your face, neck and throat. You could even apply some on your hands to slough off dry or dead skin. Run your fingers in circular motion on your forehead, cheeks, chin and neck. Be careful not to scrub it too vigorously, and avoid the area around the eyes. Rinse your face with warm water first and then a splash of cool water to close open pores. You could also use this scrub on your body.


Skin Deep

Honey and Baking Soda What you need: 1 teaspoon raw honey

Coconut Oil and Sugar What you need: 1 to 2 tbsp coconut oil (melted or semi-solid) 3 tbsp sugar (any kind of granular sugar is ok)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions: Put the honey and baking soda on your palms and rub them together for a few seconds to warm up the honey and work in the baking soda. Gently rub the mixture on your face, and massage it in for a minute or so. If you want to use it as a mask,

Instructions:

leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse

Mix the ingredients in a bowl using a spoon or with your fingers. You can melt the oil if you want but don’t make it too hot – if not, the sugar will melt away. Also, you may end up burning your skin. Use your fingertips to gently massage the mixture all over your face. Be extra gentle around the eyes (and avoid getting it into your eyes). Continue to massage for upto five minutes, then use a washcloth dipped in warm water to wipe away the scrub. Voila! Behold bright and vibrant skin! Use this mask while in the shower, and be sure to avoid spilling it on your clothes (you will not be able to get rid of the oil marks).

your face a few times with warm water, or wipe it off with a warm, wet washcloth. You'll be surprised at how easily the honey comes off! Since baking soda is alkaline, you may want to use a toner or raw apple cider vinegar to restore the skin’s pH level.

May 2017

37


Skin Deep

Oatmeal Scrub What you need: 1 tablespoon ground oatmeal 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon water

Instructions: Ground oatmeal absorbs and removes surface dirt and impurities while leaving your skin nourished and hydrated, is known to soothe and heal everything from acne to sunburn to dry, flaky skin. Combine the ground oatmeal with salt to boost the scrub’s exfoliating properties. Add some water to make a thick paste, and then gently rub it on your skin in circular motions. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes and then rinse it off.

Coffee Scrub What you need: 1 tablespoon ground coffee 1 tablespoon water or olive oil

Instructions: Coffee is a natural exfoliant – it contains caffeic acid, which has anti-inflammatory effects and can boost collagen production. To make the scrub, mix the ground coffee with water or olive oil. Apply it on the skin and massage for 3 minutes. Rinse well with water.

Natasha Arshad is a freelance writer who dabbles in lifestyle and beauty topics. 38

May 2017


Unfasten you rs turbulence ah eat belts – ead! Wh

at happen ed? An unid entified ma at Chicago n was drag ’s O'Hare In ged off a U te rn a tional Airp Airlines’ re nited Airlin ort after h quest to d es flight e refused isembark b to comply ecause the w it h the flight was alleged he overbooke was single d . T h d e out becau man, who was a doc se he was tor, and ne Chinese, sa eded to re id he incident po ach his pa sted on Tw tients. Vide it te o r s b of the y fellow tra roughly tre vellers sho ated. wed he wa s So…? While overbookin g is common a incident w mong airlin as a rare o es, this ne because seated befo the passen re they we g e rs h ad been re asked to negotiate get off. No with passe rm a lly, airlines ngers befo re they bo And? Unit ard the air asking fou ed said it h craft. r passenge ad followe rs to volun d standard they appro ta p ri ro ly c edure in give up the ached indiv ir seats. W iduals. Thre passengers hen none o e had com , including bliged, plied grud those with gingly. ‘Bu the United confirmed m p in States, bu g off ’ of seats, on o t there are verbooked rules gove Who said flights is le rning the p what? “An gal in ractice. upsetting e vent” – Osc ar Munoz, United Air lines CEO

May 2017

39


e s i a R

The Big Picture

s s a l G e th 40

May 2017


The Big Picture

Would you down several thousands of dollars with a sip of the Winston Cocktail? Or drop a million dollars on the Diva Vodka? Even diamonds would pale in front of some of the world’s exclusive poisons. Read on. And drink to your health as Preeti Verma Lal elaborates on the world’s most expensive alcohol

A

lcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy.” Not sure whether Frank Sinatra was pious, drunk or hungover when he muttered that. Perhaps he loved his pint a tonne. Perhaps he knew that all of the 16 minerals essential for human life are found in alcohol. He sure was not the only bibulous man on earth. Nearly 72 million litres of pure alcohol is consumed worldwide every 24 hours. Drink to that stat! Wait. Do not put all 72 million litres in one vat. Few can be bought off the shelf for penny change. Then, there are a handful of those that you can exchange a bottle for a dwelling in Manhattan. Some come with diamonds in their belly; others stud them on the bottle. The monied are paying heaps of money for a drink. Who cares about the price tag? The zeroes are redundant. It is all about the spirit of the spirit. Here, we pick some of the world’s most expensive alcohol.

May 2017

41


The Big Picture

The $3.5 million Pasión Azteca

G

lug the bling: Ever wanted to ditch Bacchus and steal the bling from the bottle? Perhaps the

perfect bottle heist? If the $3.5 million Pasión Azteca

Platinum Liquor

Platinum Liquor Bottle by Tequila Ley is standing stout

Bottle by Tequila

no worm in the bottle. Instead, the platinum and white-

Ley can blind you, as the platinum and white-gold bottle is adorned with 6,400 diamonds.

on your table, the bling can blind you. This tequila has gold bottle is adorned with 6,400 diamonds. The most expensive tequila in the world, contains Anejo tequila aged for four years. And the diamonds add to the taste. Or, so they say. The diamonds in Pasión Azteca are too many, the words in as much. Priced at $2 million, this cognac has more words in its name than any other alcohol. Named after a king and priced for a king, Henry IV has been aged for 100 years – which is actually legitimately cool – and has a bottle dipped in 24-carat gold and sterling platinum that contains 6,500 diamonds. Diva Vodka ($1 million) filters the bling. Rather, filters through the bling. The vodka uses semi-precious stones as part of its triple-filtering process. If that amount of bling wasn’t enough, pay attention to the bottle’s core that is made of Swarovski crystals. Gleaming crystals simply piled on top of one another. Sitting inside Royal Salute’s Tribute to Honour bottle ($200,000 – $215,000) embedded with 413 white and black diamonds, and 22 carats worth of gemstones, this Honour consists of whiskeys that have been aged for at least 45 years. One of the rarest and most expensive drinks that the world has to offer, this spirit was created in homage to the oldest jewels in the British Isles: the Honours of Scotland.

R

arest of the rare: $1 million for a coconut? No. Coconut

brandy? $1 million? That’s the price of an apartment. That’s the tag on a Mendis Coconut Brandy that is distilled in casks made from special

42

May 2017


The Big Picture Halmilla wood. Mendis was the world’s first company to

and 100 years old. The decanter mimics the original

turn the humble coconut into a pricey drink. The rare

one which had a special layering of precious metals.

tag comes from the fact that the bottle was signed, dated and numbered by the House of Mendis’ founder, WM Mendis. The Dalmore 62 ($215,000) is often touted as the

Anniversary again. This time to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth inheriting her throne in 1952. Diamond Jubilee by Johnnie Walker ($165,000) went over the top picking the best whisky they had

most expensive whisky in the world. It was released

preserved from 1952. Only three passed the test and

in 2012 after sitting in a cask for 62 years (62 years?

this was because of the way they were stored. For such

That’s nearly a senior citizen!). You will have to travel

a rare whisky, there had to be splendid decanters. Get

thousands of miles to find it – Dalmore produced only

your fastest fingers onto the hand-crafted decanters

12 bottles of this expression. If you have one, do not

created using Baccarat crystals, Britannia silver and

pop open the bottles. If someone else does, the value

studded with a half-carat diamond. Run to catch one.

of an unopened bottle soars.

There are only 60 decanters in the world.

If 62 years seems like eternity, how about a

The Winston Cocktail ($12,970 per glass) is

century in the making? Remy Martin’s Black Pearl

considered rare thanks to Salvatore Calabrese,

Louis XIII Anniversary Edition ($165,000) was created

an Australian bartender who created the Winston

to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the Louis

Cocktail by combining some of the world’s most

XIII brand. The anniversary edition of Remy

expensive liquors such as Grand Marnier Quintessence,

Martin’s one-of-a-kind cognac took over 100 years in the making, since the eau de vies used to create this masterpiece varied from between 40

Chartreuse Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolonge and Croizet’s 1858 ‘Cuvee Leonie’ cognac, which is still

May 2017

43


The Big Picture

There are only four of the Macallan 64 Year

one of the priciest liquors. Do not bother about the pronunciation, swipe your card and swirl the glass. Do not look at the price tag of Meteorito. But it

Old in Lalique in the

can crash into the Rare list and have you spaced out.

world. Each empty

6,000 years ago and winemaker Ian Hutcheon used

Like the 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite that fell in Chile

decanter weighs close

the 3-inch rock and cabernet sauvignon grapes to

to 25 pounds, and each one took over

B

17 craftsmen and 50

Armand de Brignac Midas ($215,000) bottle.

hours to create.

30-litre vat which is metal from neck

make this wine. ottle braggarts: Forget all that profound spiel about goodness lying in the inside,

not the outside. Philosophy is passe for the The bouncy champagne is housed in a down. Imagine it as a mini-human – weighs 100 pounds and is

4 ft tall. But the glory lies not in how tall, it stands on tip toe. It is the bottle. A staff of just eight people crafts each bottle of Armand de Brignac by hand at the Brignac family house, established in 1763 in Chignyles-Roses, France. The Brignac has others in the bottle braggarts brotherhood. Loosen your purse strings for the Macallan 64 Year Old in Lalique ($460,000) which was once hailed as the most expensive bottle of single-malt whisky. There are only four of these in the world, each empty decanter weighing close to 25 pounds, and each one took over 17 craftsmen and 50 hours to create. Then, there’s Bombay Sapphire Revelation ($200,000), a bottle in which Baccarat crystals are paired seamlessly with sapphires and diamonds to make the bottle stay on the shelf much after the alcohol has been quaffed. Back in 2008, the gin brand Bombay partnered with Garrard, one of London’s most well known jewellery houses, and their in-house designer Karim Rashid (Time magazine described him as the ‘most famous industrial 44

May 2017


The Big Picture

designer in all of the Americas) to create what can only be described as some of the most stylish bottles of alcohol on the market.

Statutory warning: Consumption of alcohol, especially in excess, is injurious to health.

Think of the Penfolds Ampoule ($170,000) as a masterpiece for which designer-maker Hendrik Forster, furniture craftsman Andrew Bartlett, glass artist Nick Mount and scientific glassblower Ray Leake brought together their creativity. Its unique shape means that all eyes will be on it whenever it’s in the room. Do not dismiss it as a rich man’s whim to store the world-renowned 2004 Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon. The wooden box and glass casing keep the wine in the ideal atmosphere so that it doesn’t spoil, thus prolonging its shelf life almost indefinitely.

B

eer, rum & all that stuff: And, you thought beer and rum were country cousins in the expensive list. Not quite. There’s Vieille Bon

Secours Ale ($1200) that can hold a spot down in the Bacchus merrymakers. Flavoured with toffee and anise, it is an artisanal Belgian beer produced by la Brasserie Caulier, a family brewery based in Péruwelz, Belgium. With 8% alcohol, this beer is an old man – it has been aged for 10 years. Although the world is full of expensive drinks, it’s rare that they’re expensive for political reasons. Legacy by Angostura ($25,000) is. Composed of a mixture of several rums all aged for at least 17 years, Legacy (only 20 decanters were put up for sale) was crafted specifically to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Trinidad and Tobago’s independence. Each rum comes in a case and crystal decanter that was designed specifically by Asprey’s of London.

Preeti Verma Lal is a writer and photographer. If God had asked her what she wanted to be, she'd tell Him to turn her into a farmer who writes lyrically; her fingers stained with wet clay and deep blue ink. Visit www.deepblueink.com May 2017

45


Brand Me

When we use the word ‘feedback’ to describe sharing of inputs about team members’ performance, it often elicits defensiveness and negativity. Try another tactic – that of feed-forward, says Dr. Marshall Goldsmith

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May 2017


Brand Me

Feed-forward Not Feedback P

roviding feedback has long been considered an essential skill for leaders. As they strive to achieve the goals of the organisation, employees need to know how they are doing. They need to know if their performance is in line with what their leaders expect.

Traditionally, this information has been communicated in the form of ‘downward

feedback’ from leaders to their employees. Moreover, employees can provide useful input on the effectiveness of procedures and processes, as well as input to managers, on their leadership effectiveness. This ‘upward feedback’ has become increasingly common with the advent of 360-degree multi-rater assessments. However, there is a fundamental problem with all types of feedback: It focuses on what has already occurred – not on the infinite variety of opportunities that can happen. Over the past several years, I have observed more than thirty thousand leaders as they participated in a fascinating experiential exercise. In the exercise, participants are each asked to play two roles. In one role, they are asked provide feed-forward – that is, to give someone else suggestions for the future and help as much as they can. In the second role, they are asked to accept feed-forward – that is, to listen to the suggestions for the future and learn as much as they can. The exercise typically lasts for 10 to 15 minutes, and the average participant has six to seven dialogue sessions. In the exercise, participants are asked to do the following: Pick one behaviour that they would like to change. The change should make a significant, positive difference in their lives. Describe this behaviour to randomly selected fellow participants in one-on-one dialogues, such as, ‘I want to be a better listener.’ Ask for feed-forward – two suggestions for the future that might help them achieve a positive change in their selected behavior. Participants are not allowed to give ANY feedback about the past. Listen attentively to the suggestions and take notes. Participants are not allowed to comment on the suggestions in any way. May 2017

47


Brand Me

Thank the other participants for their suggestions. Ask the other persons what they would like to change. Provide feed-forward – two suggestions aimed at helping the other person change. Say, ‘You are welcome.’ when thanked for the suggestions.

receiver and discomfort on the part of the sender. Feed-forward, on the other hand, is almost always seen as positive because it focuses on solutions. Feed-forward is especially suited to successful people. We all tend to accept feedback that is consistent with the way we see ourselves. Successful people tend to have a very positive self-image. I have observed many

Find another participant and keep repeating the process until the exercise is stopped.

W

wrong.’ This tends to defensiveness on the part of the

successful executives respond to (and even enjoy) feed-forward.

hen the exercise is finished, I ask participants

Feed-forward can come from anyone who knows about

to complete the sentence, ‘This exercise was…’

the task. One very common positive reaction to the

The words provided are almost always extremely

previously described exercise is that participants are

positive, such as ‘energising’, ‘useful’, ‘helpful’ and ‘fun’.

amazed by how much they can learn from people

We can change the future. We can’t change the past. Feed-forward helps people envision and focus on a positive future. By giving people ideas on how they

that they don’t know! For example, if you want to be a better listener, almost any fellow leader can give you ideas on how you can improve.

can be even more successful, we can increase their

People do not take feed-forward as personally as

chances of achieving this success in the future.

feedback. In theory, constructive feedback is supposed

It can be more productive to help people learn to be ‘right,’ than prove they were ‘wrong.’ Negative feedback often becomes an exercise in ‘let me prove you were

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May 2017

to ‘focus on the performance, not the person’. In practice, almost all feedback is taken personally (no matter how it is delivered). Feed-forward cannot


Brand Me

Quality communication – between and among people at all levels and every department and division – is the glue that holds organisations together. By using feed-forward, and by encouraging others to use it, leaders can ensure that the right message is conveyed, and that those who receive it are receptive to its content.

giving ideas to successful people is to say, ‘Here are four ideas for the future. Please accept these in the positive spirit that they are given. If you can only use two of the ideas, you are still two ahead. Just ignore what doesn’t make sense for you.’ By eliminating judgement of the ideas, the process becomes much more positive for the sender and receiver. Feed-forward can be a useful tool to apply with managers, peers and team members. Rightly or wrongly, feedback is associated with judgement. This can lead to very negative, unintended consequences when applied to managers or peers. Feed-forward does not imply superiority of judgement. An excellent team-building exercise is to have each team member ask, ‘How can I better help our team in the future?’ and listen to feed-forward from fellow team members (in

involve a personal critique, since it is discussing something that has not yet happened! Feedback can reinforce personal stereotyping and negative self-fulfilling prophecies. Feedback can reinforce the feeling of failure. Negative feedback can be used to reinforce the message, ‘this is just the way you are’. Feed-forward is based on the assumption that the receiver of suggestions can make positive changes in the future.

one-on-one dialogues). People tend to listen more attentively to feedforward than feedback. One participant is the feedforward exercise noted, ‘I think that I listened more effectively in this exercise than I ever do at work!’ When asked why, he responded, ‘Normally, when others are speaking, I am so busy composing a reply that will make sure that I sound smart – that I am not fully listening to what the other person is saying. In feed-forward the only reply that I am allowed to

Face it! Most of us hate getting negative feedback,

make is ‘thank you’. Since I don’t have to worry about

and we don’t like to give it. If leaders got better

composing a clever reply, I can focus all of my energy

at providing feedback every time the performance

on listening!’

appraisal forms were ‘improved’, most should be

T

perfect by now! Leaders are not very good at giving or receiving negative feedback. It is unlikely that this will change in the near future. Feed-forward can cover almost all of the same ‘material’ as feedback. Imagine that you have just made a terrible presentation in front of the executive committee. Rather than make you ‘relive’ this humiliating experience, your manager might help you prepare for future presentations by giving you suggestions for the future.

he intent of this article is not to imply that leaders should never give feedback or that

performance appraisals should be abandoned. The intent is to show how feed-forward can often be preferable to feedback in day-to-day interactions. Quality communication – between and among people at all levels and every department and division – is the glue that holds organisations together. By using feed-forward, and by encouraging others to use it, leaders can dramatically improve the quality of communication in their organisations, ensuring that

Feed-forward tends to be much faster and more

the right message is conveyed, and that those who

efficient than feedback. An excellent technique for

receive it are receptive to its content.

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith is the million-selling author of the New York Times bestsellers ‘MOJO’ and ‘What Got You Here Won’t Get You There’ – the Harold Longman Award winner for Business Book of the Year. Article courtesy: http://www.marshallgoldsmith.com/about/ May 2017

49


Health Wise

Breaking the Running Myths Going for a run? According to Basu, you should first check through the list of myths – and discard them – before putting on your running shoes

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May 2017

I

was a professional sprinter and am a living example for running and have followed many beliefs without major success. Here are a few that you should throw out right away – in order to get

the most out of your running regimen.


Health Wise

May 2017

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Health Wise

Myth #1

R

unners don’t need to resistance train. One of the most strongly held beliefs is that runners don’t need to undertake

resistance or strength training. I used to think that running is everything – if I can run, I am superior to everyone else. If you think the same way, the following points are for you to ponder over.

5. It enables us to more rapidly correct muscle imbalances, as evidenced by the fact that resistance training is the cornerstone of any good physical therapy programme (and I’ve never met a runner without imbalances). The answer is somewhat clear – it is quite obvious that runners are a superhuman race that is not subject to the normal laws of physiology like the rest of us. Now, ask yourself: 1. Do I have an endocrine system? 2. Do I have an immune system? 3. Will I get old? Do I do things that require strength and power? 4. Do I have bones? 5. Do I have muscle imbalance? As it

We

might be

know

obvious by now,

resistance training is good for general health because: 1. It enhances endocrine and immune functions (which are compromised by endurance training). 2. It maintains muscle mass (also negatively affected by endurance training). 3. It improves functional capacity in spite of ageing by maintaining maximal strength and power (both of which decrease with prolonged endurance training). 4. It builds bone density

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even if you are a runner, you are just like the rest of us. You may wear shorter shorts, but you still put them on one leg at a time. So, you need resistance training. I am sure many of my running friends are going to be posing a lot of questions after reading this article but all they have to do is look closer. If the general health benefits aren’t enough, consider these research findings: The University of Alabama’s meta-analysis of the endurance training scientific literature revealed that 10 weeks of resistance training in trained distance runners improves running economy by 8 to 10 per cent. For the mathematicians in the

(something many runners lack

crowd, that’s about 20 to 24 minutes

due to poor dietary practices, but

off a 4-hour marathon – and this is

desperately need due to the high

more likely if you’re not a well-trained

risk of stress fractures).

endurance athlete in the first place.

May 2017


Health Wise French researchers found that the addition of two weight-training sessions per week for 14 weeks significantly increased maximal strength and running economy while maintaining peak power in tri-athletes. Meanwhile, the control group – which only did endurance training – gained no maximal strength or running economy, and their peak power actually decreased. Moreover, interestingly, the combined endurance with the resistance training group saw greater increases in VO2 max (the maximum amount

Myth #2

M

achines are only as good as free weights. The next time you go running, ask

yourself how many times you’ve been seated and moving in a fixed plane of motion while you run. If the answer isn’t a resounding ‘Never!’, well…. Resistance training isn’t just about ‘feeling

of oxygen that can be consumed in one minute) over

the burn’ in your muscles – it’s about grooving

the course of the intervention. Scientists at

connections between the muscles and the nervous

the Research Institute for Olympic Sports at the

system that tells them what to do. When you plop

University of Jyvaskyla in Finland found that replacing

down on a machine and work through a fixed line

32 per cent of regular endurance training volume with

of motion, you’re allowing your nervous system to

explosive resistance training for nine weeks improved

get lazy, so to speak; it doesn’t have to recruit any

5-km times, running economy, VO2 max, maximal

stabilising muscles to ensure that you move efficiently.

20-m speed and performance on a five-jump test. With the exception of VO2 max, none of these measures improved in the control group that did just endurance training. How do you think they felt knowing that a good one-third of their entire training volume was largely unnecessary, and would have been better spent on other initiatives? Researchers at the University of Illinois found that

Machines turn you into a ‘motor moron’ and ingrain muscle imbalances that can negatively affect your running efficiency and lead to injury. Let’s take a look at an example to illustrate my point. When you do a dumbbell lunge, your body has to generate force in a single-leg stance – and, in order to generate force optimally, you need to have what is called ‘frontal plane stability’. With the lunge, this refers predominantly to the ability of the adductors

addition of three resistance training sessions for 10

(inner thigh muscles) and abductors (outer thigh/butt

weeks improved short-term endurance performance

muscles) to co-contract, working together to stabilise

by 11 per cent and 13 per cent during cycling and

your thigh so that you don’t tip over. By doing a lunge

running, respectively. In addition, the researchers

correctly, we can teach these muscles to balance each

noted that “long-term cycling to exhaustion at 80 per cent VO2 max increased from 71 to 85 minutes after the addition of strength training”. The take-home message is that running is more than just VO2 max, anaerobic threshold, and a good pair of sneakers – it’s also about localised muscular endurance and nervous system efficiency. Build a solid foundation and you’ll be a complete runner.

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Health Wise other out properly, and, by doing so, improve running efficiency and prevent problems such as lateral knee pain, anterior hip pain and lower back pain (to name just a few).

The takehome message is that running is more than

A look at the status quo, however, shows that most women will try to train their adductors and abductors with those inner and outer thigh machines that you’d only expect to see on a trip to the obstetrician. Unfortunately, the adductors and abductors never work in isolation like this, and they never work in a fixed line of motion. The adductors and abductors don’t just move the thighs in and out; they also have subtle effects on rotation of the femur, so when we’re ‘stuck’ into one plane of motion, we promote dysfunction. Factor in that the lunge also trains the hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps and core stabilisers extensively at the same time, and you’ll realise that it isn’t only safer than these machines; it also offers more bang for your buck.

just VO2max, anaerobic threshold and a good pair of sneakers – it’s also about localized

Myth #3:

Y

oga and Pilates count as resistance training. This was a titbit that a client shared:

“We need to resistance train, but it [doesn’t] matter if we use free weights, machines, or take yoga or Pilates.” I wanted to laugh (I stopped myself) before I launched into an explanation of the concept of progressive overload to my client. When we resistance train, it’s

muscular

important that we, over time, gradually

endurance and

system. If not, our body does not have

nervous system

will make the body stronger, faster or

efficiency.

increase the load that is imposed on our any reason to adapt in a manner that leaner. When you lift with free weights, you always have the option of providing progressive overload to your system; there is no ‘ceiling’ effect when you get proficient in handling your body weight.

Basu Shanker is the man behind the fitness of several top athletes, including Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Dinesh Karthik. He is also the strength and conditioning coach of the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He founded Primal Patterns, one of Chennai’s best fitness centres, in 2009. 54

May 2017


Health Wise

Good times, b ad

times

What hap pened? Liq uor baron United Kin Vijay Mallya gdom on a was arrest n extradition ed by Scotl bail within warrant by and Yard in three hours Indian auth the . He had fl orities. He e defaulting d India in th was grante on loans a e w a d ke of a slew o mounting f charges, to about R So? His arr in s. c lu 9,000 crore ding est is proo . f that the B ritish auth orities were provided b convinced y India tha by the evid t he is an e ence conomic o And? Und ffender. er the Unit e d Kingdom’s can appea laws, the w l right up to anted pers the Suprem on decision. E e Court again xperts feel st a th n a y t e ve their way, n if the Ind the extrad ian authori ition proce ties have After that, ss may take Mallya will up to 2 ye h a ve ars. to face tria Even assum l in Indian ing he’s fo courts. und guilty and jailed, pay back th getting him e money h e allegedly to owes is an Who said other matt what? er. “Till this m what Kingfi in u te, there is sher Airlin no final jud es owes to after trial.” icial determ banks and – Vijay Ma ination on what I may llya owe in my personal c apacity

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Table for Two

Italian, a La Minute When Chef Mauro Ferrari steps into the kitchen, he has only one aim – to cook and serve authentic Italian food, with minimal ingredients and fuss. Rukmini Vyas chats with him about his food philosophy as she samples some of his signature dishes

A

t first sight, it is clear that Chef Mauro Ferrari is all business. And, his business is food. He shakes my hand quickly, asks what I would like to eat and hands

me the menu. I am unable to pick from the tempting array put out there – and tell him that he should be recommending his picks. He nods and heads back to the kitchen, then turns back to ask if I like seafood. I nod back. I am offered thick squares of focaccia bread to start off with. The eponymous dish at Hyatt Regency, Chennai’s Italian restaurant, is as good as they come. Light and airy but chewy, with a delicate hint of olives and thyme. It is served with a side of olive oil and a chunky sauce with the mildest hint of garlic and basil to elevate the sweetness of fresh tomatoes. I am then served a salad of lettuce and sprouts, tossed around with grapes, smoked ricotta cheese, dried apricots and salted almonds (misticanza con uva, frutta secca e ricotta affumicata), with a light spritz of vinegar. The flavours are enchanting. The crunch of almonds and the earthy flavour of the lettuce is well balanced by the sweetness of the apricots, while the ricotta seems to add a touch of welcome creaminess.

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May 2017


Table for Two

Where is the vinegar? Apparently blended in with the sweet juice of grapes to form a delicious dressing. “I try to use, at most, five elements in each dish,” says Mauro. “This is my signature. When you eat a dish, you have to taste all the five ingredients. I don’t mix everything. The cooking is very fast, a la minute. No long procedures.” His signature has been forged over a lifetime of

Photos: The Hyatt Regency, Chennai

experience. Mauro had decided that he would become

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Table for Two such main ingredients are original, 100-per cent Italian. Vegetables, meat and seafood are sourced locally because it is important that they have to be very fresh,” he says. Seafood has its pride of place in the restaurant’s menu – with options ranging from black squid risotto with curry lobster, to pan seared seabass served with asparagus and fresh tomato. I am led to try the crab ravioli with prawn sauce (ravioli di granchio, salsa ai gamberi). The soft crab, encased in al dente ravioli, is enriched by the light sauce that captures the flavours of the sea. This is followed by tomato and garlic prawns on a bed of potato mousseline (code di gamberi con pomodorino all’aglio, patate mousseline). The creamy potato is a perfect foil for the succulent prawns that ooze flavour; the tomato and garlic feel subtle. We end the meal with – what else? – tiramisu. Ladyfingers soaked in espresso and coffee liquor, sandwiched between thin layers of cloud-like mascarpone are as authentic Italian as we can get.

Chef Mauro Ferrari a chef when he was just 10 years old; “I never changed my mind since.” A love for food and cooking runs in his family – both his parents were active in the kitchen, and Mauro talks about his earliest memories of time spent watching them cook. He recounts some of his favourites – his father’s pizza, spaghetti with anchovies and swordfish; his mother’s apple tart, which he has never been able to recreate. It was probably these early influences that led to his forming a philosophy that food should be simple – very simple – and that one does not need to overload on ingredients or flavours to impress. His experience of opening six restaurants (two

We and say our goodbyes, but not before I have

of them his own – one near Milan and the other in

promised him that I will be frequenting Focaccia quite

the Tuscany region) across the world has led him to

often in the coming weeks. He seals our deal with a

discover new flavours and favourites. Focaccia’s menu

firm handshake and a note about how he is going to

is inspired by different Italian regional favourites, as

be modelling the Saturday brunches on regional Italian

well as global cuisines – but the key is to ensure that

flavours (Sicily is up on the list, I believe). As I said, he

there is a balance of authentic Italian ingredients and

is all business.

locally sourced items. “I use everything that is available in the market. In our kitchen, the pasta, olive oil, parmesan and other

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May 2017

Rukmini Vyas is a writer and journalist based in Chennai.


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Inside Out

on the House house

60

May 2017


Inside Out

If you can’t go to the bar, the bar can come to you! Fashion your home into a haven for entertaining near and dear (and some more) with tips and tricks from Suraksha Acharya

E

very home needs a special spot – to catch up with friends, have a drink and welcome the weekend. Given our hectic lifestyles, many of us

tend to have very little time to spare, even on weekends – and may not be up to driving around to our favourite pub after a long day. Hence, for most people, parties or meet-ups are best held in the comfort of their home. The home bar offers the perfect solution by ensuring that you are never too far away from a drink. Whether you have a bar area built into the design of your home, or set out a simple tray of party essentials, here are a few tips on how you can create the perfect ambience, especially if you enjoy entertaining. With varied options available today – a bar room for dinner parties, outdoor bars for casual gatherings or even just a portable bar cart – you can treat yourself to a design that is best for your home and party needs. Before you start to explore home bar ideas, take a moment to observe your lifestyle and entertaining needs, as these will help determine the overall style of the bar at home. Start with the style of your home, and model your home bar on similar lines. A kitschy cocktail bar will look out of place in a Victorian home, as would a long white walnut home bar against a bright red contemporary kitchen. May 2017

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Inside Out

B

ar trays are the easiest way to welcome your guests in style. Add a touch of elegant luxury to your

display with mirrored and leather-finish trays. When it comes to displaying beverages, how much you set out is totally up to you. Some people prefer to show off their glasses while keeping the alcohol behind closed doors. Or place some sparkling water and citrus fruit where guests can see it – and select only one or two special bottles of liquor for display. What you set out will depend on your space, as well as your personal fondness. Bar carts provide more storage space than bar trays and, since they are (usually) mobile, they are quite the handy addition for parties. Go with a style that blends in well with your décor – vintage-style carts for

a classic look, acrylic bar carts for a modern feel or rustic pieces with wood and metal accents. Bar cabinets that open to reveal a full-service home bar can impress guests in a jiffy. Concealed casters make it easy to move the piece around, and you could even add a small counter with a couple of bar stools to turn the space to create your own mini-pub! No floor space? No problem. Look to wallmounted compact bars with hinged panel doors that flip open to provide that much-needed bar counter, and then close back up once the party is over. Given that it takes up zero floor space, this is an excellent option for smaller apartments. You can choose from walnut, oak, glass and metal finishes according to your taste. If you are not keen to add new pieces of furniture, you could turn to a simple closet and transform it into an elegant retro drinks cabinet – complete with a sink and a wine cooler with ample storage and display space! A mirror can easily lend depth and the illusion of space to this space. The best part about these hide-and-seek wonders is that you can easily close the doors once the party is over, and the furniture will blend into the background. 62

May 2017


T

he most popular location for a home bar is in or near the kitchen or dining room. If you prefer to entertain outside, think about

outdoor or poolside bars. If you are limited by space, think of cosy corners to turn into a home bar. Every home has a corner or a nook that is left underutilised because the angles are too hard to work with – and there are many ways in which you can utilise that empty corner and convert it into a suave mini bar. A small home bar is the perfect fit for this awkward niche, and the many modern spacesavers, ingenious wall-mounted cabinets and simple floating shelves can accomplish this effortlessly. A stand for all those club glasses and a trendy rack with colourful LED lighting can complete the crisp, curated makeover. Another good space for a home bar would be the top of the stairs, or under them. Once you have secured a location, decide on what functionality you want to include in your home bar – think sinks, storage, refrigeration and other accessories. If you crave a classic model, go for options such as

shelf space, so that you have a great decorating opportunity on hand.

D

on’t argue with me when I say that a bottle of wine and a nice patio are all you need for happiness – because you know I’m right (go

ahead – replace that wine with a drink of your choice). Outdoor home bars make for a cosy atmosphere that is easy to build even in a small backyard. The key is to combining various types of stone and floor tiles with some planters. Go for wooden panels or (if you are

an all-black palette accented by warm metallic fixtures

lucky enough to have them) retain the brick walls to

and lighting. And, look for a built-in bar with sufficient

add an elegant look without trying too hard. May 2017

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Inside Out

The Perfect Touch What does it take to

A

complete the look and feel of your home bar?

dding a few cool accessories is the fun part of designing your space! And this

is all it takes to transform your home bar into a unique, attention-worthy space. Add

Small touches and

a touch of glamour with designer glassware,

details that show off

ice bucket, cocktail shaker and spirit bottles.

your personal taste.

or quirky signs add a tonne of character,

Smaller items such as coasters, neon lights as do big items such as ornaments, lamps, artwork, photos and travel mementos.

F

inding the right barstool is not just about ergonomics but about letting

your guests get an insight into your personality. Add a set of stylish bar stools and upgrade the look and feel of

S

your home bar instantly. Pay attention tyle apart, practical factors play

to the material, colour and design lines,

a part in determining the kind of

and match them to your current set

entertainment space you would like

up especially if it is going to be part of

to build. Customised home bars come

another room.

with limited features, and take at least a month to build – more so for built-in bars with ornamentation and high-end features. If you cannot afford the time, or cost, look to freestanding home bars that are easier and faster to craft.

T

here is nothing like strategic lighting to up

the style quotient. Use dim under-bar lighting to create an intimate atmosphere, or

Y

ou don’t have to restrict your fancy

bar cabinet to only those times when you party. Put away the decanter, glasses and bottle opener (tuck them away in a nice basket, maybe) and use the space to display some of your fancy flowers and maybe some fresh ones, too.

spotlights to energise the mood. Chandelier-style lights give a modern treatment when contrasted with round pendant lighting. You could also repurpose empty whisky or beer bottles to house drop lights, and pair them with metallic pipes to get statement light fixtures. Pendant lighting and cove lighting are also good choices. Counter lighting is often used in design in conjunction with translucent materials like onyx to add an extra glow.

Suraksha Acharya is the founding principal of Midori Architects, Chennai – an award-winning firm, offering architecture, interior, landscape and masterplannning services. She is a cognitive member of the green architecture industry in India, championing the need to build better and more environment-friendly structures. 64

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Inside Out

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The Last Word

Photo: Kamal Chhetri

#GenderNoBar 66

May 2017


The Last Word

Anjali Lama’s story is well known now – but it is worth revisiting to remind ourselves of how change can occur

F

ashion is said to be a superficial industry – one that prizes nothing beyond the skin-deep.

Yet, it is here that some of the most common and strongly held stereotypes are broken, and the most encouraging stories to be

in the most unexpected

had. Take the cases of Winnie

of places. Yamini

vitiligo, or Khoudia Diop (the

Vasudevan chats with

Harlow, the Canadian model with ‘melanin goddess’) – both of whom have redefined beauty in their own

the transgender model

terms. What is truly inspiring is the

about her journey –

received from the industry itself

the one that led her to Lakme Fashion Week and the one stretching up ahead as well

overwhelming support they have

Photo: Kamal Chhetri

and the larger public. There is a similar feel-good story to be had in the fashion industry right here – that of Anjali Lama, a Nepali transgender who walked the ramp for the Lakme Fashion Week (February 2017) in Mumbai. As the first transgender model in India, she is not just a poster girl for motivation or determination but an agent of change for greater acceptance of people of the third gender. I contacted Anjali through her Facebook page – she has already crossed her friends’ limit, so it had to be a message. Barely a few minutes later, I heard a ‘ping’ that denoted a message. She had replied – asap. I sent her a paragraph explaining who I was and put forth my request for an interview. She replied spontaneously and in quick sentences: Yes to the interview. Could it be over phone? Here is the number. There were no caveats, no questions asked. As we began the interview, she requested that we speak in Hindi. “My English is not very good. I prefer Hindi,” she says candidly, with a chuckle. I was curious – did she face any problems because of this when she was part of the Fashion Week, or in Mumbai in general? “It did not make much of a difference. But if I had known the language, it would have been way better. Especially when we have to give interviews…yes, that is a challenge. Otherwise there is not much need to talk in front of the camera!” She laughed – an open, hearty laugh. I liked her right away.

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Photo: Kamal Chhetri

The Last Word

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May 2017


In her earlier life, Anjali Lama was born as Nabin Waiba (a boy), as the fifth of seven siblings, in Nuwakot in Nepal. She was bullied in school and forced at home to conform to acting like a boy. Her tendency to wear female clothes and hang around girls led her family – especially her father and brothers – to mock and reprimand her. At the age of 18, she moved to Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, and it was there that she figured out her true identity – even though she had been aware of her feminine nature since childhood. “In 2005, I found out that people like us are called ‘transgender’ and that I am a transgender.” She then reached out to a group of transgender people, and later contacted the Blue Diamond Society, a group in Nepal which advocates for sexual minorities. The move to call herself transgender was met with resistance and anger, especially from her family. “My relations with my family broke off [after I declared I was transgender]. My brothers stopped talking to me and… I even stopped going home.” Her friends encouraged her to try her hand at modelling, and she was even featured on the cover of a Nepali magazine called Voice of Women in 2009. She got her first big break when she modelled for Nepalese designer Subexya Bhadel, but getting into the fashion industry was no cake walk. She was rejected by Nepal Fashion Week, and then by Mumbai Fashion Week, too (after moving to Mumbai in 2016), before her successful attempt earlier this year. Anjali was part of the ‘tag-free’ show – an initiative by Lakme Fashion Week to reject labels and categories. This is one of the many initiatives in the South Asian region to create awareness about LGBT issues, and the call for greater respect and equal treatment is becoming louder and stronger – and there has been a growth in support for the cause, too. Anjali’s appearance on the ramp was her ticket to success and fame. She has since been featured by some of the biggest national and international magazines. It would seem like a story made for a movie, but the going was tough when she had to wait around, marking time between rejections. “Everyone has a talent and God has given each one a talent. I think it is necessary to know our inner quality and strength and to recognise it, [as] when I found out that I [could] become a model. You should believe in yourself and you should be [determined]. And you must never lose your strength; you must keep trying. I got selected [only] the third time,” she said when I asked her about what kept her going despite repeated rejections. She added that her mother was the main source of encouragement and motivation and that she would often reiterate that Anjali should not give up in the face of failure. She May 2017

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The Last Word

“Creating awareness about us from the ground level is the key. It will take a lot of time for people to understand, but at least there is a start to it.”

was also quick to attribute her success to her friends

family. “Yes … we talk now but things are not the same,

in Nepal and Mumbai, and to industry insiders who

and we do not talk much.”

have supported her throughout, but declined to name anyone. “There are too many of them to name. I can’t name some people and leave out others,” she insisted when I coaxed her to name her biggest supporters. However, her rise to fame has not completely

We turn to talk about her future plans. She is 32 now – and hopes to continue modelling until she is at least 40. She says she is not worried about her future – “After that, I don’t know. Let’s see what happens.” Modelling apart, she is also keen to play her part as

dissolved the stigma associated with the status of

an agent of change. “Everyone must be educated

being a transgender in her home country. “[In Mumbai,]

about us and be more aware of what and who we are....

no one has ever treated me badly or differently.

But creating awareness about us from the ground

Mostly because no one is able to make out that I am a

level is the key. It will take a lot of time for people

transgender. I faced a few problems in Nepal because

to understand, but at least there is a start to it. But

everyone knew about it.” Moreover, her success has

everyone must be made aware about it.”

not completely repaired her relationship with her

Yamini Vasudevan is the Managing Editor of Culturama Living. Her former stints as writer/editor were at Culturama, The Hindu Business Line and Harper's Bazaar (Singapore). 70

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Culturama living May 2017  

This issue is a smorgasbord of delights! Splurge on the world’s best alcohol, and make your home party-ready with snazzy home bars. Or kick...

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