Luxury Life & Style March 2017|Rs100
Madhavan: Beyond cinema
The most exclusive private islands The best apps for 2017
Must-have fashion essentials
am a millennial living in Chennai, India. And like many my age, I straddle the ‘social’ world via the ether. As a child, however, I was termed ‘anti-social’ because
I buried my nose (and, often, myself) in books by Enid Blyton – think Famous Five and Secret Seven. When I went to summer school in Boston, I devoured the Harry Potter series. The world of imagination was special to me. However, I didn’t stop there – I sought out reading material wherever I went. At airport lounges and dentists’ clinics, I would often flip through the stylish magazines placed on the racks. Attractive covers of fancy homes
I aim to make Culturama Living the definitive
and fashion icons drew me like a magnet. Not that I
magazine for the new-age Indian – it will be the go-to
understood much of them but they were a visual treat.
guide for all things high-class and aspirational. A source
The sad thing about millennials is that we are not reading enough. Maybe it is time to get into a forced habit – to wrap our minds once again around the written word, to feel the pages and turn them. Literally. It was this desire that drove me to start Culturama Living. I visualise an aesthetic treat for the eyes and stimulating input for the brain. And I am proud that this exclusive life and style magazine comes to you from the house of Global Adjustments, which has made its mark for the past two decades with Culturama.
of ideas and inspiration for those looking to get the most they can out of life. It is with this hope that I present this inaugural issue to you, my readers. Share your views, suggestions and improvements – write to us at email@example.com Until the next issue…
Rohini Manian Editor-in-Chief
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 V Ramkumar vice president – Finance S Raghu Circulation anu vardhan |
dr. marshall goldsmith | Liliana silva |
preeti verma lal |
suraksha bhatla acharya |
Contributors Chennai (Headquarters) 5, 3rd Main Road, R A Puram, Chennai – 600028 Telefax +91-44-24617902 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Bengaluru No.: A2, SPL Habitat, No.138, Gangadhar Chetty Road, Ulsoor, Bengaluru – 560043. Tel +91-80-41267152, E-mail email@example.com Delhi-NCR Level 4, Augusta Point, Golf Course Road, Sector 53, Gurgaon 122002, Haryana Mobile +91 124 435 4224 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Mumbai #1102, 11th floor, Peninsula Business Park, Tower B, SB Road, Lower Parel, Mumbai – 400013 Tel +91-22-66879366 E-mail email@example.com Published and owned by Rohini manian
To subscribe to this magazine, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
at #5, 3rd Main Road, Raja Annamalai Puram, Chennai – 600028, and printed by K Srinivasan of Srikals Graphics Pvt Ltd at #5, Balaji Nagar, 1st Street, Ekkattuthangal, Chennai – 600032 Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed by writers do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s or the magazine’s.
INSIDE this issue 18
Get the Right Apptitude Calories, money or time – track them all with these fabulous apps.
In Pursuit Of...
Back to Basics Splurge on these essentials and build a classy wardrobe.
...the perfect holiday in Peru.
Curated listings for your little black book.
The Success Delusion
When your triumphs become stepping stones to stagnation.
One on one with Shankar Basu, former fitness trainer for the Indian cricket team.
Yours ign Privately re d opulence Luxury an ’s exclusive in the world nds. private isla
Man of Substance
From Jamshedpur to Blue Jay Way – Madhavan’s take on life. 6
usic of Life M e th e b d o If Fo rate a cu ddy would Sandesh Re of flavours. symphony
Home, Green Home
Coming Full Circle
Spruce up your home’s decor with a touch of nature
‘Tiger mother’ Amy Chua looks back on her journey as a parent and author.
A Feast for the Senses
Exquisite aesthetics and
flavourful delicacies come
together in perfect harmony at Hamsa, to create the
ultimate dining experience.
reated by fourth-generation jeweller, Nithin Kalkiraju, Hamsa aims to be at the pinnacle of vegetarian fine dining in the city. When it opened six months ago, the restaurant immediately captured the hearts and palates of Chennai’s food-lovers. Construction of the restaurant began in 2013, and each and every detail was meticulously designed in a tasteful manner to ensure the ultimate aesthetic and gastronomic experience. To complement the multi-faceted cuisine, skilled artisans from Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were consulted, and the finest sandstone, teak, bronze, brass, silk and other premium materials were used. The most exquisite part of Hamsa is the private dining room, named ‘chaandibagh’ or ‘silver
garden’. With the room embellished with silver wall panels and doors – and the food plated on a silver thaali – this is the ultimate in opulence. Of course, the food is just as wonderful. Hamsa serves the finest authentic vegetarian food, with rich delicacies from Lucknow, Varanasi, Old Delhi, Karaikudi, and so on. The dishes are prepared with the freshest ingredients, which are sourced locally – there is no place for artificial flavors, colours or taste-enhancers here. Signature dishes include paneer saunfiya, karara palak chaat, kamal kakdi kofteh, and anjeer adrak halwa from the North, and urulai roast, baby corn milagu perattal, vellai kuruma and idiyappam biryani from the South. The true gourmand should not miss the leaf enclosed Hamsa rice – a dish that will surely captivate all senses.
Hamsa is located at New No.40, B.Ramachandra Adithanar Road, Gandhinagar, Adyar, Chennai – 600020. Phone: +91-44-2445 9999. Visit www.hamsarestaurant.com March 2017
Substance He is known to be the chocolate boy of South Indian cinema – a man who has broken many a heart over nearly two decades. There is more to Madhavan, though. Rohini Manian shares her conversation, and some lesser known parts of his life.
have known Madhavan for more than a decade now. While most people regard him as the handsome actor with the cherubic smile, I see him as an intellectual heavyweight – a person who is unencumbered by his successes. Madhavan breaks several stereotypes that one might associate with famous actors. For example, when we met at Blue Jay Way House, the former residence of George Harrison of the Beatles – where Madhavan was staying while in Los Angeles – we talked about fitness, world affairs, relationships and all else under the sun. Hardly any part of the conversation was about his movies. Also, few people know that he was a management student – and that he is now often called to talk at prominent universities (including, recently, at Harvard). In what would be any romantic’s dream come true, Madhavan is an adoring husband and father. As we begin to chat, he tells me that he is waiting for his son, Vedant, to come back from school. He is polite, respectful and witty. Add to
Photos: Courtesy R. Madhavan
Small Talk it his natural charisma and good nature, and we have a winning combination. While Madhavan has inspired several people through the characters he has played on the silver screen, it is his real-life persona that I find more impressive. If there be a few good men left, he would be one of them. Excerpts from our conversation follow.
Your Twitter profile says you have lived a hundred lives within this one, thanks to acting. Is there any one role that you hold closest to your heart? I have always had a very unique relationship with my movies. And the role that is closest to my heart is the ones I work on currently, and it has always been that way. It is a passion and obsession. But there is a also strange aversion to that [as well]. I do not watch my own movies after the preview. So, the role closest to the heart is always the one that I am currently shooting. On one of your Facebook posts, you said, ‘I discover things about my body and mind that I had so sadly ignored all these years.’ As someone who is fit in body and mind, tell us about some things that we should be looking at seriously in our everyday life? One of the biggest problems that I have [with] the health and the fitness industry as well as the many magazines is that they keep changing the rules to what fitness really is or how to achieve it. What is good and healthy one day might be hazardous the next. These things constantly confuse a person. What we need to be aware of is that DNA plays a major role in our individual health and fitness, and we need to follow what our parents and grandparents did. Because we see them live such healthy lives, we must assume that what they did or what they consumed was right and follow it. One thing is to live with awareness – of what is normal health and optimal health. Be the best that you can be at your age. If we are able to achieve that, we are well set! When we met in Los Angeles a couple of years ago, I remember you telling me how you chew your food 42 times! [From] the shastras to the authorities on food and digestion…[all of them] will tell you that we must drink our food. When we begin to eat our food, we must sit quietly, not talk to anyone, or watch TV or be on our headphones while we eat. We have to make sure that the food we have [in our mouth] is chewed right, until it becomes liquid before you swallow it. This is far more
difficult than meditation. After people try it, they will realize how uncomfortable one is with their own silence – this tells you what a terrible state we are in. How we are so uncomfortable with just being alone, without a phone or some gadget. We almost have to swallow the food and get out of that situation ASAP – but sticking with it helps. This will help you understand yourself better. Which of your pets give you most joy? Maybe you tell us more about them? All my pets are equal – having to choose one makes me feel like I have to choose among my offspring. Ashley, my African grey parrot was abandoned by her previous owner. She was brought up in captivity and would have died if I had not rescued her. She thinks I’m her lover… She doesn’t play with me – she just cuddles and romances me. God forbid if any other woman tries to get close to me when she is around! Will she go after anyone who comes close to you? Oh YES! She will go after them. The only person who is allowed to coo-chi-coo me when she is around is her! My St Bernard, Bheem, doesn’t know his size. He still thinks he is a puppy. So, when I come home, he insists on sitting on my lap – and it’s like having a cow sit on your lap! The most responsible is my chow dog, Hulk. He looks exactly like Simba (our old chow, who passed away) but is much bigger and hairier. He’s the responsible individual in the house, and he makes sure everything is in order all the time – the door is guarded, and Bheem behaves himself. Not many people know that you were formerly a management guy – how did the switch to acting come about? What do you now do for a ‘brain massage’? It was not a conscious decision. I was walking down the road and somebody offered me a role. My management instincts kicked in and I asked them how much money – and it seemed to be a better option to the management courses I was doing! I did it for laughs and it stuck on as my career
Madhavan with his wife, Sarita and his dogs Bheem (right)and Hulk. On brain massage…The Internet! And most importantly, going out and acquiring as many moments and experiences [as] possible throughout the day or providing one of them. My stimulant – or the reason [I see] my day [as being] successful – is if I experience or learn something new, or if I contribute towards somebody having a new experience. Then, I consider that day to have been successful Tell us about your on-stage dialogue with Narayana Murthy of Infosys, when you were both in Singapore. What was your take-away from the iconic business leader? It was a nervous moment for me because he is not just an iconic person – he is also extremely successful, well read and well spoken. So I was careful not to come across as a ‘dumb actor’, which is what most of us [in the film industry] are attributed with…Even today, when people say, ‘Wow, you speak differently for an actor!’, I do not know what they mean. I think being an actor is also as keenly challenging as any other job in the world today. I was also conscious about the fact that I was an actor and they would be expecting a mix of [maybe] an actor and a person who would be aware of what is happening in the world. But Mr. Narayana Murthy and I hit it off like a house on fire! I was completely stunned by his humility. He is almost embarrassed of his popularity, but he is proud of his success. He knows that his success has come with hard work. I was reminded again that day, during our talk show, that the ability to March 2017
Small Talk remain grounded after achieving such success is completely possible – and I have tried to emulate it. A student at Warwick University told us about your inspiring talk there with Raju Hirani. What 3 Idiots takeaways did you share? Your heart knows what is best for you. And there is nothing in the world that cannot be communicated with the use of proper words, politeness and respect. If you put your case across with reverence, people will lend their nonpartial ear to you. Good manners and decency, the ability to come across respectful and respecting others, and maintaining dignity, is paramount. Raju Hirani stands for this; 3 idiots stands for this. If there is one important piece of advice for parents, what would it be? The reminder to parents is that children
Even today, when people say, ‘Wow, you speak differently for an actor!’, I do not know what they mean. I think being an actor is as keenly challenging as any other job in the world today. 14
are far more aware and smarter than you were at that age. Support them. Be the patriarch of their success. Do not be the one spearheading their movements. I don’t think we have the ability to decide for them today. Name the leaders you draw inspiration from, in India and abroad? I have always been a huge fan of Mahatma Gandhi. And I believe that some attributes of Subhash Chandra Bose are much required for this country – like his ability to be disciplined. He said, ‘Give me a little blood and I will give you freedom.’ There were a lot of messages hidden in it. You can get the freedom but you need enough sense and ability to handle it. [It is the] same in the film industry. You need a lot more strength, will power and intelligence to handle a hit as opposed to a flop. As for leaders abroad, Abraham Lincoln was one of the wisest [I know of]. Alexander the Great has
taken into being something radically different, takes away a lot from your charm.
Madhavan's wife, Sarita, and son, Vedant.
The reminder to parents is that children are far more aware and smarter than you were at that age. Support them. Be the patriarch of their success. also always been a great inspiration. Imagine – he almost conquered the world when he was 23! I respect that a lot. In a world driven by superficial impressions, what would you say to youngsters struggling with body image issues? There is no time in your life that you will have a perfect body. And it is absolutely not possible to maintain that body for an extensive period of time. Eventually, everything does catch up. The idea is to be optimally attractive in a wholesome sense – not just your body. If your profession is to be a lingerie model, you have to have a lean body. But, personally, I do not believe it is effective communication. If I see a guy with a sixpack and muscular thighs, I do not relate to it as I do not look like that. People try to become fair when they are dusky. What it tells me is not whether they are fair or not – it tells me for sure that they are not comfortable with who they are. There are people who try to be thin when their composition is of a stocky build. I am saying, don’t look unhealthy; let us strike a good balance. Do not try to be something that you are not, because the efforts 16
I am one of the prime examples, as I do not care much about what I wear. I have never been featured in big magazine covers in the last 15 years. You can count on your fingertips the number of the magazines where I have consented to be featured. And this has not affected my career at all. People only remember what you say, when you say it, and how you say it. People remember how you act and how you deal with them, and how you respect press, media, fans or a production house. And that is far more important than your physical appearance. From Jamshedpur to Blue Jay Way – tell us something about that journey. That is a journey powered by a vivid imagination and your belief to have the ability to achieve it. Jamshedpur was a small town; I was brought up in a middle-class family, with just two bedrooms, and all of us sharing one bathroom. I used to inhale books like Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and I always imagined myself in the places that I read about. Hollywood was one of them. I was a fan of the Beatles. Like Dr. Abdul Kalam says, when you get a dream one day, it is a dream. If you get the same dream another day, it is a driving force. If you get the same on the third day as well, it becomes an inspiration, your habit, and your goal. And you just have to start following it. And I think that is exactly what happened. For me, it is unreal to be sitting in Los Angeles at Blue Jay Way, a house that belonged to the Beatles…where I am privileged to be. I put on classic Tamil music and listen to it over there and – in an amazing way – dreams and reality blend together seamlessly. The view there is amazing! I have had my most memorable parties there I miss that place and have to get back there soon now that you have reminded me of it! Rohini Manian is one of the Directors of Global Adjustments Services Pte. Ltd., and the Editor-in-Chief of Culturama Living.
get the right
Apptitude From fitness to travel, personal budgets to fashion, Liliana Silva explores 10 apps that you should be downloading ASAP.
Judged as one of the ‘Best Apps for New Moms’ by TIME, a ‘Boostrapping Sensation’ by GeekWire, and one of the ‘Best Apps for Foodies’ by PC Magazine, this is a must-have for foodies everywhere. A recipe log with a few neat features that will make your life easier if you want to be a pro at the cooking game, BigOven allows you to try new recipes according to your lifestyle and dietary requirements, whilst also making grocery lists and using a meal planner. Despite it being so good, we are not giving it all five stars because there are some technical glitches with the meal prep part. For example, the grocery list kept throwing out ingredients – which made it hard to ‘prep’ for our meal! Cost: Free Available for: iOS, Android, Windows
My Fitness Pal Made for anyone looking to keep track of their diet and exercise regime, this app does what it says on the tin. It will be your fitness pal – whether you are looking to lose, maintain or gain weight. My Fitness Pal will take your current measurements and lifestyle, and calculate how many daily calories you need to consume in order to reach your ideal weight in a healthy timeframe. It helps you keep track of each meal, physical activity and even your recommended nutritional values. However, it seems to be excess exercise for the fingers because you have to keep updating it all the time! Not the best for a busy working professional. Cost: Free Available for: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows.
Wunderlist Made for the super-organised – and the aspirant – Wunderlist allows you to create, tick off your to-do lists and tasks, and even share them with colleagues or loved ones. You can also attach photos, presentations and more to your lists and set reminders, so you never forget those oh-soimportant commitments. Wunderlist also syncs the lists between all your devices so that you can access your to-dos on the go – very important if you are on the forgetful side! Much needed for those who made a New Year resolution to get on top of those lists… Cost: Free Available for: iOS, Android, Windows
Instagram We know we are talking about an ‘old’ app, but hear us out. Made for the photo- and video-sharing enthusiast, Instagram started off as a social photo app – and then added video and direct messaging. They continued to keep us hooked when they allowed us to do advanced photo editing with image correction and manipulation. Last year, they also launched Instagram stories – which Snapchat fans will surely be familiar with, thanks to the controversies surrounding that move. Yet, in our opinion, its dauntless personality makes Instagram the ‘King Of Social Media’. Cost: Free Available for: iOS, Android, Windows 20
Made for the hard-core fashion lover, this app is run by a community of fashionable women all over India, and is made to help you stay in touch with local and global fashion. We are using this app to keep up with trends, to find out where we can buy our favourite picks and to get inspired daily on what’s hot right now. Also, if you’re known for being a fashionista yourself, you can build your own ‘style profile’ by uploading your looks of the day and earning style miles, which you can then redeem at your favourite stores. Need we say more? Cost: Free Available for: iOS, Android, Windows
After curating news according to your personal interests from a number of platforms such as blog posts, news articles, display stories, videos and other pieces of news content, Flipboard offers up the smorgasbord of information in a magazine-like format. So, it lets you turn the page, literally, even as it brings you news from around the world in a clean, chic and oh-soeasy-to-use interface design.
Apple Music (via iTunes)
Apple Music is an intuitive, music streaming service that – despite the myths that surround its name – is available on a number of operating systems. You get the first three months free, but have to take up a paid monthly subscription after that. However, you will escape the ads and get access to manmade playlists, radio and musical recommendations, based on your musical preferences. Apple Music also allows you to download music, so that you can listen to your favourite artists even if you don’t have an internet connection. Cost: 3 months free (trial), followed by INR 120 / month. Available for: iOS, Android, Windows
Cost: Free Available for: iOS, Android, Windows
Goodbudget Made for the person wanting to keep track of their finance (Me. You?), Goodbudget is a money management app where you can track incomes, expenses and budgets for your household. It uses the old-school envelope system where you place money in digital ‘envelopes’ and spend from them whilst adding new transactions. Another neat attribute of this app is that you can share a household budget with a spouse or a housemate – which helps give everyone a little spending nudge if they need it. And yes, it’s free – so that’s one good ‘purchase’ you can make today. Cost: Free Available for: iOS, Android, Windows March 2017
In Pursuit ofâ€Ś Did you dream of a holiday that included rainbow-
coloured mountains, floating islands, dune bashing, andâ€Ś60 varieties of corn? Preeti Verma Lal discovers the many sides of Peru. A Quechua woman and her llama at Chinchero Weaving Centre. March Lal 2017 23 Photos: All photos by Preeti Verma
oa to Lima – 10,476 miles; 16,859.49 km; 9103.39 nautical miles. I looked at the map and baulked. A straight blue line between my home in Goa and Lima (in Peru) – the intended destination – scratched through the earth’s midriff. Almost one-third of its girth. So many miles in between the two cities. Lima was so far away. If I could be a crow and fly, it would take 30 hours. ‘Beam me, up, Scotty’ – If I were on the Star Trek spaceship, I’d say that. If I could be another Forrest Gump, I’d walk 2,811 hours (117 days) to reach the Peruvian capital. Walk? I imagined bleeding blisters, dark–as–sin tan, frazzled lungs, wobbly knees. No, walk I won’t. I am no Gump. I have no Scotty. So, I took the crow’s way and flew into Lima, muddling the clock by ten–and–a–half hours. Buckled 30 hours in an aircraft with two stops and long layovers can be daunting. So, I turned it into a classroom, picking Peru facts that tickled and flummoxed me alternately. I imagined papas. Green. Blue. Yellow. Sorrel. Long. Short. Twisted. Yes, papas roasted, mashed, boiled, grilled, sautéed. Parricide was not on my mind. I was picking Peruvian lingo. ‘Papas’ in Peruvian means ‘potato’. Peru domesticated potatoes, and now grows 4,000 varieties. Cotahuasi Canyon near the city of Arequipa is the deepest canyon in the world. Chicama boasts the world’s longest left-handed wave measuring 4km, while Mancora lays claim to hosting the largest left-handed point break in the world. Peru has the second largest segment of Amazonian rainforest. My mind oscillated between Machu Picchu and ceviche, the national dish. And before I could pick more facts, I was in Lima, one of the largest cities in South America.
ima had to wait. Machu Picchu is always the first must-do in Peru. Before I could climb those 3,000 steps in Machu Picchu – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World – I listened to the locals who urged us to chew cacao leaves to beat high-altitude sickness. I trusted their Incan wisdom and trudged up. Built nearly 80 km from Cusco, the Incan capital, Machu Picchu was a summer estate for Incan emperors and stretches an impressive five miles. Built in the 15th century, it has nearly 200 buildings arranged on wide parallel terraces around a central square. The architecture is signature Incan style of polished dry-stone walls of regular shape held together without an ounce of mortar. The nobles lived in a row of houses over the slope; the wise men in homes with reddish walls; the princesses’ quarters had trapezoid-shaped rooms. Machu Picchu was swarming with curious tourists. The sun was harsh but history was luring me into the crannies of the ruins. In the Sacred Valley, I waited for the sun to dip behind the towering stone monuments and marvel at one of the most beautiful man-made wonders.
motifs such as trees and flowers. These are the Nazca Lines, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, – where a condor is 440 ft, the spider 150 ft, the hummingbird 310 ft. The brown canvas is colossal and the ancient art riveting.
I Nazca Lines; (Top) Statue of Inca in Cusco’s Main Square
ext morning, I went further back in time. I backtracked 2,000 years and flew over the Nazca Desert. I grabbed the chopper’s window seat to peek out. Soon, magic started unfolding. A large painted canvas appeared on the brown landscape. Colossal geometric lines. A gigantic pelican. A humming bird. A tree. Llamas. Jaguars. Monkeys. Humans. Large motifs that were engraved on earth probably between 500 BC and 500 AD. Composed of more than 10,000 lines, some as wide as 30 metres and 9-kms long, there are nearly 300 different figures including hundreds of geoglyphs (geometric lines), zoomorphic designs of animals and birds, and a few phytomorphic 26
returned to Lima. Not to look at the ornate cathedrals and the beautiful balconies. Instead, for eroticism. Wait, do not be schoolmarmish about sex. Not in the Erotic Pottery Gallery of Lima’s Larco Museum. Housed in an 18th century viceroyalty-era mansion, the Gallery has several sex-themed pottery dating to pre-Columbian times. All this moulded exquisitely in clay thousands of years ago. Erotic vessels not as decorative pieces. Instead, functional hollow clay pots for holding liquid and a spout, for pouring liquid. Such imagery in the world’s largest collection of erotic pottery that were found during excavations of burial and religious sites of the Moche, a highly organized, class-based society that dominated Peru's northern coast for 800 years until about 800 AD. There certainly is more to Peru than Machu Picchu. There’s a floating island on the world’s highest navigable lake. In the floating reed island of Lake Titicaca, everything is made of reed – house, furniture, boats. Everything. Protected within the
Game, Feder er
What hap pened? Ro ger Federe trophy on r beat Rafa the last da el Nadal to y in January a grueling lift the Aus . He won a three-and-a tralian Op ft er a grim d -h en a lf h o u ing-dong b rs at Melbo So…? Fede attle that la urne Park. rer and Na sted dal are old er than mo s t o ther curren down, than t players. B ks to serio oth had be us injuries them mad . The fact en e it to the that the tw finals was o of in itself ex And…? Th traordinary is was Fed erer’s eigh . for a male teenth Gra tennis play n d S lam – a re er. cord Who said what? #F ederer: My have soup daughters in the trop said I could hy. There’s #AusOpen plenty of s pace in the re.” “This is be autiful, bu t it’s still mu Nadal, on ch better, his runnerthe trophy up cup. ,” Trivia The last Grand S lam Federe in 2012. r won was at Wimbled on March 2017
Tripster Bay of Puno, the floating islands house nearly 2,000 Uros who claim to have ‘black blood’ – hence, immune to cold.
f blood can be black, mountains can be rainbow-hued. Right? Yes. It will take at least six days to cross five passes perched between 14,000 to 17,000 ft above sea level to reach Vinicunca Mountain (Rainbow Mountain). You will beg for oxygen and the knees will creak. But if you manage the trek, it will be a once-in-alifetime walk through red mountains and marshy pampas where llamas and alpacas roam freely. At the end lie the magical mountains – painted hills stashed deep in the Andes. Peru has 84 of the 103 existing ecosystems and 28 of the 32 climates on the planet, making the country the most ecologically diverse in the world. I took the boat to Ballastas Island, a marine reserve where live countless pelicans, gulls, boobies, terns, penguins and sea lions. On a glum morning, I found handsome sea lions lazing in the sun with a harem of doting females. Penguins waddling down the slopes. There are so many cormorants on the island that the mountains turn black with the colour of their feathers. On way to Ballastas, I gawped at the gigantic candelabra geoglyph. In the evening, we went dune-bashing and, when the moon rose in the brown landscape, I settled for a picnic under the stars. In Peru, the clock gets muddled. With history. And its indelible footprints. I forgot the present to embrace the past. If I could pack back anything from Peru, I’d pick the hummingbird from Nazca Lines. I’d bring her home and perch her on my terrace amidst the A Quechua man dressed as a tribal chief
Getting Corn-y In Peru, getting ‘corny’ is as easy as counting up to 60. In this South American country, corny is not being trite or mawkishly sentimental as the dictionary defines it. Here, ‘corn-y’ is about nearly 60 varieties of Peruvian corn. Not the ordinary, everywhere yellow corn. Corn in a riot of colours – purple, black, orange, white, red, mixed. Corn used to dye wool. Corn boiled, steamed, toasted. Corn cooked as a snack, a drink, a meal. Kernels milled to bake cake and bread. Peruvians have been growing corn since 1200 BC. At the heart of Peru’s corn call is choclo, an Andean corn with extra-large, bulbous kernels almost five times bigger than North American corn. The Incans (mid fifteenth to mid-sixteenth centuries) widely toasted this corn. Called cancha, it is the ancestor of the modern popcorn.
pink and red rose bushes. And wake up to her chirps every morning. Preeti Verma Lal is a freelance writer and photographer. If God had asked her what she wanted to be, she'd tell Him to turn her into a farmer who also writes lyrically; her fingers stained with wet clay and deep blue ink. Visit www.deepblueink.com
Back to Basics W
ardrobe essentials are the building blocks of a well-rounded closet. They are investment pieces, and will carry you through years – or even decades. When you invest in highquality basics, your closet might seem less than full but you will never have a moment when you lack an appropriate choice. With a few chic accessories, you can transform your look instantly and always seem to be on–trend. The most important part is to make sure that the pieces fit you to a tee. If you can’t find any of these in your size, I would suggest getting a size bigger and getting it tailored down to size – or even getting it tailored from scratch.
If you had to spend your entire shopping budget on only five things, what would they be? Celebrity stylist Anu Vardhan shares the items you should splurge on, for a closet that stands the test of time and trends.
White dress shirt I
love how a good white shirt looks fantastic in the most rigid professional dress code, and can be carried off as part of a casual ensemble as well. This is not an item you go cheap on. You need your white shirt to hold its shape through many washes, and not become even a little bit translucent â€“ so, buy the best you can lay your hands on. Also, it is a good idea to buy one size bigger than you normally wear so that there are no awkward peeka-boo gaps around your chest. It may seem like a lot of money today, but you will thank yourself years down the line. Pair your white shirt with a pair of khaki trousers, black pants or pencil skirt, or wear it over a little black dress. Finish with a statement necklace and simple pumps or ballet flats. A white button-down shirt also goes well with denim shorts or skirt with sneakers. Geek chic lovers can wear it under a sweater or cardigan.
Little black dress
am sure all you girls know about this wardrobe staple. Yes, every girl does needs one special little black dress or LBD! All you have to do is make sure that the dress you buy is in a material that suits you, and is of high quality. Look for a classic knee-length, sleeveless, sheath dress, and make sure it is not too short and doesnâ€™t show too much cleavage. Wear it with pearls, pumps and a cardigan for a business-casual look, or team it up with stilettos, a top-knot and big earrings for an evening out. Slip on a biker jacket and boots for that grungy look, or wear it up with long chains, scarves and a cardigan to channel the bohemian spirit.
f you are going to buy only one pair of pumps in your life, let them be in nude. The colour can add an instant dash to panache to any outfit. Skip over the blacks and browns. Nude pumps will calm down even your craziest outfits – in a good way. Take note: It is important to pick a shade that is closest to your natural skin tone.
Dark washed jeans I
will never tire of saying this – dark-washed jeans are the quintessential wardrobe staple, and I personally prefer them to light-washed denims. Splurge and invest in a good pair – and make sure it fits like second skin. Team it up a casual or dress-shirt, and add a leather belt to make it über chic.
Gold sari blouse
et out there and keep looking until you find that perfectly fitted gold blouse! You can wear it with heavy Kancheepuram silks for weddings, or with chiffon saris for casual evenings. A gold blouse goes well with black, rust, white, green and brown â€“ pretty much all the basic colours. This can be a huge saving grace, especially if you have to borrow a sari at the last minute from your mom, aunt or friend. If you find a crop-top style blouse, even better â€“ you can pair that with skirts, for a glamorous look.
Must-have Accessories Statement earrings Pick a pair in a style that best suits your personality – chandeliers, studs or ear cuffs, and keep them handy at all times. If not anything else, put them on and push your hair away from the shoulders. Voila!
The style secret of stars – need we say more? Maybe just that you need to be conscious about buying a pair that suits your face structure and complexion.
A tote Store ‘em all in that spacious tote! Pick a print or colour that appeals to you and reflects your personality – and see how it adds a dash to style to all outfits.
A classic leather belt Channel old-world charm with a rustic belt – wear it with your jeans or dresses, and watch how it effortlessly pushes up your outfit by a notch or two
Canvas sneakers Keep a pair of Converse-style sneakers handy for those days when you are going allout casual and yet want to ooze style.
Colourful scarves have a way of enlivening that white shirt or LBD in a way that is hard to match! A fine silk or cotton scarf in a classic pattern can last a lifetime – and take you from formal to smart casual instantly.
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 Vijay Award for ‘Sarvvam’ and ‘Yezham Arivu’. 36
Making plans? Susan Philip has curated a list of events in Chennai that should be added to your little black book.
YOLO The first DJs in the world, Above and Beyond set records flying off the charts at New York’s Madison Square Garden, and The Forum in Los Angeles. The London-based trio then went on to make a global run of shows in 2015 that made them the highest grossing electronic act in the United States. The band holds immense pride on the song craft and they are bringing their show to Chennai – be a part of all this exhilarating experience. For more details see: https://in.bookmyshow.com/events/yolo-presentsabove-and-beyond/ET00053706#!ArtistInfo Date: March 10 | Venue: Confluence Banquets And Resorts, Chennai Time: 6 p.m onwards | Fees: Rs. 1,000
Ponniyin Selvan This theatre production is based on renowned novelist Kalki Krishnamurthi’s iconic novel Ponniyin Selvan. The twentieth-century work is loosely based on the fourth and fifth centuries’ history of South India, when the Cholas and Pandiyas reigned. It was a hugely popular story that ran into five volumes – and distilling its essence into a stage play is itself a major feat. The drama is being performed by TVK Cultural and Team. For more details, see https://in.bookmyshow.com/plays/amarar-kalki-inponniyin-selvan/ET00030106 Date: March 12 | Venue: Vani Mahal, Chennai | Time: 6.15 p.m onwards | Fees: Ticket charges range from Rs. 300 to Rs. 2000
Julliard415 led by David Hill The Juiliard415 is a premier instrument ensemble that is regularly led by major figures in the music world in performances of seventeenth and eighteenth century musical works, and stages performances in various parts of the globe. David Hill is one of Europe’s leading composers. He has served as chief conductor of the BBC Singers, musical director of the Bach Choir, chief conductor of the Southern Sinfonia and music director of Leeds Philharmonic Society, among other prestigious assignments. Hosted by Madras Youth Choir, the event features a Bach Suite, a Telemann Concerto and Rameau’s dance music. For more details see https://www.eventbrite.com/e/yales-david-hill-leadsjuilliard415-in-bach-suite-telemann-concerto-rameau-dances-tickets31735112576?aff=es2 Date: March 12 | Venue: Government Museum Theatre, Chennai Time: 7 to 9 p.m | Fees: Free (Reservations via Eventbrite)
Yogi and the bear A stand-up comedy show from the Evam Standup Tamasha stable, this avatar of the hugely popular The Yogi and the Bear has brand new content. Performed by acclaimed comedians Alexander Babu, Bhargav and Ramakrishnan, better known as ‘Baggy’, the show has already seen 25 iterations and is set to bow out. For more details see https://in.bookmyshow.com/chennai/events/evamstandup-tamasha-presents-the-yogi-and-the-bear/ET00052320 Date: March 26 | Venue: Museum Theatre, Chennai Time: TBC | Fees: Ticket cost starts from Rs. 200
Bharat marathon The Bharath Marathon is back with its third edition. The run, organized by WOW Eventz, aims to turn the spotlight on a health or social issue, and offers people an opportunity to express their solidarity and show that they care. The earlier two editions revolved around Tobacco, HIVAIDS and raising funds for the education of HIV+ children. This ‘Run of the Year’ focuses on Malini, a little girl in the fourth stage of liver cancer, and awaiting a liver transplant. The event offers prize monies. The last date for registration is March 15, 2017. For more details, see http:// bharathmarathon.com/home.html Date: April 2 | Venue: Marina Beach, Chennai Time: 4 a.m onwards | Fees: There is an entry fee of Rs. 999 per head, which comes with other charges.
The Big Picture
Privately Yours Photo: Song Saa Island 40
The Big Picture
Photo: Chevav blanc
It is no great secret that Will and Kate honeymooned on North Island in the Seychelles, but did you know about the cocoon of luxury in the Maldives, said to be owned by the people behind Louis Vuitton? Devanshi Mody looks at some exclusive spaces that are spelled ‘L-U-X-U-R-Y’.
he point about private islands is privacy. So you’d think. However, they aren’t usually for the private consumption of the owners but are often leased out to luxury hotel chains that convert them into the ultimate in honeymooning or holidaying destinations. For those who can afford it, it’s not an option – it’s a must. Because the only thing that sounds more glamorous than announcing that you’ve just honeymooned or holidayed on one is flaunting that you’ve just acquired one! And what's the point of having a private island if nobody knows about it? Yet, not everyone always does – that’s to say, not everyone always acquisitions a private island or indeed discloses that they have done so, thus conferring to private islands a certain clandestinity that augments the aura and enchantment about them. Lots of people own things mightier than a private island. Politicians own countries, so to speak, but then the polity – except the hopelessly naïve – usually knows this. However, proprietorship of private islands isn’t necessarily news circulating in the private domain. And mystery generates romance. March 2017
The Big Picture However, are private islands really so enshrouded in mystery? Ownership admittedly can be confidential but sometimes it is a marketing tool to sell the product â€“ certainly when the private island is to be hatted with a luxury resort. A classic example would be Cheval Blanc in the Maldives, whose claim to fame is that it is owned by the people behind French fashion brand Louis Vuitton. Its ownership is, essentially, its sole distinction that holds it aloof from the host of other Maldivian private islands and their resorts that it otherwise resembles. Itâ€™s the ownership and not the product that the Media pounced on and projected. Either way, this successfully created the hype around the private island. Photo: Song Sa
Photo: Anantara Kihavah 42
Photo: North Island / Georgina Johnston / Etched Space
The Big Picture
Photo: North Island / Georgina Johnston / Etched Space
It isn’t just owners and what they do with their luxury toys that bring fame upon private islands but also the guests they receive.
here are private islands, too, whose otherwise discreet owners gain celebrity status owing to their vision and work, done with far-reaching reverberations. For example, the Song Saa Private Island is a saga and had the world go gaga. Australian philanthropic couple Rory and Melita Hunter own this private island, not in the Maldives, Seychelles or Fiji, but – and would you believe it? – in the southwest archipelago of Southwest Cambodia. It wasn’t the unusual destination but what they did with it that mattered. The Song Saa Foundation is given to conservation and community development, which they have achieved in amazingly creative ways – including through the inspired ecologically-motivated award-winning design element conceived by Melita Hunter herself. They’ve also designed programmes their high-profile guests March 2017
The Big Picture
Photo: Anantara Kihavah could participate in over a luxury getaway to help protect the natural environment and enhance quality of life of local inhabitants through education, health, empowerment and so on. Locals work on the ultra-luxe private island resort whilst their children study at schools supported by Song Saa. The unprecedented and indeed unimagined originality of Song Saa propelled not just the private island resort and its owners to overnight fame but turned Cambodia into a top luxury destination where well-heeled travellers came not for Angkor Wat but to investigate the wildly wonderful experience that is Song Saa.
t isn’t just owners and what they do with their luxury toys that bring fame upon private islands but also the guests they receive. Gossip about this is rife (so much for the privacy of private islands!) and it’s no great secret that Will 44
and Kate honeymooned on North Island in the Seychelles that not only rendered the destination fashionable but also made the resort (already accustomed to receiving the likes of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt – when they were still together, that is) the most desired destination on earth. Certainly for honeymooners seeking a right royal romance. Again, are private islands really quite so private? Because if they were, the world wouldn’t be privy to where the royals and glitterati go to wed, honeymoon and holiday. Of course, it always helps to have a friend who owns a private island and receives his very private circle of friends – but such luxuries are rare. Everyone wants a revenue-generating resort on their private island. The Maldives is perhaps the priciest luxury private island holiday on earth and
Photo: North Island / Georgina Johnston / Etched Space
The Big Picture
Photo: Anantara Kihavah even its less ostentatious abodes extract USD on Desroches, I recall the thrill of arriving on a 700 a night – excluding the sea plane transfers, sea plane over vistas of blue waters and landing which are necessary unless you are a good in pristine abandon. Here, you live the high life swimmer and travelling light…Super exclusive doing little else other than lolling in villas with private islands such as Anantara Kihavah or private pools unless snorkelling, picnicking on Cheval Blanc can cost anything from USD 2,000 the beach, setting off on a sunset cruise or on to USD 20,000 a night. I remember a manager a wild boat ride to catch a shark. You return to at Anantara in the Maldives showing me around your private villa for a private romantic supper their splendid presidential villa and revealing that orchestrated by your private butler or head to during peak season around Christmas and New the island's restaurant where gourmet dinners Year’s Eve, it isn’t unusual to auction the villa to happen nightly. the highest bidder. I experienced an eye opener of a different
ill and Kate made the Seychelles a rage after their honeymoon. Fewer know that their affair with the Seychelles began when they retired to Desroches Private Island (where the owners of BMW go every summer) to mend a pre-nuptial ruptured affection. When I landed
kind when I was invited to stay at the owner’s very own just-completed new villa on Desroches – even before he did. I found at my disposal a sensational four-bedroom villa to be rented out at EUR 15,000 a night, with long beachfront lawns, grand living room and a kitchen with a March 2017
Photo: Desroches Island
The Big Picture
table for twelve. The new general manager accompanied by the resort management decided to host a gala for me in my private villa. The General Manager toasted to me. I held the glass of champagne to my lips and my private butler brought me the villa’s private phone. It was my brother from Chennai to say that there was a family emergency of the worst kind. To reach Chennai, I’d have had to charter a flight at EUR 7,500 – which I didn’t have. Anyway, the sea planes didn’t fly at night, so I had to wait until
morning, after which I would have to do the Mahe-DubaiSingapore-Colombo-Chennai route – which would have taken four days! Fortunately, fate smiled kindly, the calamity passed over and I was spared the circuitous emergency route back home. Of course, one does often wonder, how much would an island cost? It all depends, as islands are spangled all over the ocean’s vastitude, and a private island in the Maldives is pricier than one in Madagascar or Fiji. However, some private islands are more accessibly priced – for instance, a private island in Andaman would cost less than a minuscule studio apartment in London!
After reading Physics, French and Philosophy at Oxford, Devanshi Mody gallivanted about the globe and stumbled into travel writing fortuitously. Vagabond urges notwithstanding, she's ever lured back to Chennai for masala dosas! 46
Hello? Apple calling
What hap pened? Ap ple has de manufactu cided to sta ring iPhon rt e s in India. for the fac The chose tory is Ben n location galuru. So…? App le has not been able because o to open its f a law say own outlets ing foreign open retail companies stores in th can e country percent of only if at le the raw ma ast 30 te rial for the locally obta products a ined. re The lates t on this? As per pre Wistron Co sent indica rp., an App tions, le Original Manufactu Equipment rer and su p plier headq of the Silic will start a uartered in on Valley o n assembly f India aro Taiwan, u nit for iPho that a MoU u n d A nes on the p ril 2017. H has been s outskirts owever, th igned. ere is no c Who said onfirmatio what? “Ap n ple’s inten edge techn tions to m ology ecos a n u fa c y tu s tem and su re in Beng critical for aluru will fo pply chain India to co developme ster cuttin mpete glob g nt in the s ally” – Priy tate, which ank Kharge are , Karnatak a Minister for IT. March 2017
The Success Delusion
International business educator and coach Dr. Marshall Goldsmith talks about what holds us back from true success â€“ the false belief that we have already achieved it.
ny human, in fact, any animal will tend to repeat behaviour that is followed by positive reinforcement. The more successful we become, the more positive reinforcement we get – and the more likely we are to experience the ‘success delusion’. We all want to hear what we want to hear. We want to believe those great things that the world is telling us about ourselves. Our belief in ourselves helps us become successful. It can also make it very hard for us to change. Many of our delusions can come from our association with success, not failure. Successful people think… I Have Succeeded Successful people have one consistent idea coursing through their veins and brains – “I have succeeded.” You may not think that this applies to you. But look closely at yourself. How do you have the confidence to wake up in the morning and charge into work, filled with optimism and eagerness to compete? It’s not because you are reminding yourself of the screw-ups you have created and the failures that you have endured. The drawback is we all tend to reject or deny feedback from others that is inconsistent with the way we see ourselves. I Can Succeed Successful people believe that they have the capability to have a positive influence on the world – and to make desirable things happen. It’s the reason why some people raise their hand and say, ‘Put me in, coach!’ when the boss asks for volunteers – and others cower in the corner, praying that they won’t be noticed. This is the classic definition of self-efficacy, and it may be the most central belief driving individual success. I Will Succeed Successful people are optimists. Anyone who has ever been in sales knows this: If you believe you will succeed, you might not; but if you
don’t believe that you will succeed, you won’t! Optimists tend to chronically over-commit. Why? We believe that we will do more than we actually can do. This ‘I will succeed’ belief can sabotage our chances for success when it is time for us to change behavior. I Choose to Succeed Successful people believe that they are doing what they choose to do, because they choose to do it. They have a high need for selfdetermination. When we do what we choose to do, we are committed. When we do what we have to do, we are compliant. The underlying theory is simple. The more we are committed to believing that something is true, the less likely we are to believe that its opposite is true, even in the face of clear evidence that shows we are wrong. Making the Changes We Need to Make Now let’s turn the spotlight on you, because few of us are immune to the success delusion. Pick one of your own quirky or unattractive behaviours; something that you know is annoying to friends, family or coworkers. Now ask yourself: ‘Do I continue to do this because I think it is somehow associated with the good things that have happened to me?’ Examine it more closely. Does this behaviour help you achieve results – or is it one of those irrational superstitious beliefs that has been controlling your life for years? The former is ‘because of’ behaviour, the latter ‘in spite of.’ Overcoming the success delusion requires vigilance and constantly asking yourself, ‘Is this behaviour a legitimate reason for my success, or am I just kidding myself?’ The first step in achieving positive change in behaviour is to realize that it is hard for successful leaders to change – for all of the reasons that we have discussed.
Dr. Marshall Goldsmith’s ‘What Got You Here Won't Get You There’ is the Harold Longman Award Business Book of the Year for 2007. Article courtesy: http://www.marshallgoldsmith.com March 2017
s s e n t i F heck C Photos: Courtesy Shankar Basu
Shankar Basu, former fitness trainer of the Indian cricket team, speaks to Jagyaseni Chatterjee about health trends, his work and what the problem with the youth of today is.
hen it comes to fitness and related matters, Shankar Basu – the former fitness trainer of the Indian cricket team – is the best person to turn to. We meet at Primal Patterns, a gym that he established in 2009. He is warm and courteous but prefers to get right to the conversation without wasting any time. “The fitness world is divided into two. It may sound arrogant. But you have the half-baked ones and the professionals and the difference is that of
chalk and cheese. I believe [that] if one is really good at one’s work, the message automatically spreads. Focus should be on working for the goals and aspirations,” he says, as we begin our chat. Primal Patterns has four centres across Chennai, and they cater to a niche clientele that includes celebrities, sportspersons and expatriates. “All this was possible because I have struggled to follow was my passion and work harder every day,” he insists. A former athlete (he was a sprinter), Basu’s career as a fitness professional began in 1994. His major break occurred in 2003 when he was selected to be a trainer at the National Cricket Academy. He also worked with Royal Challengers Bangalore for the IPL in 2009. In 2015, he was selected by the Board Of Control For Cricket In India. When it comes to his fitness regimes, the most rewarding part of his work is “meeting different people” and the most challenging element is “to come up with a concept that people will buy.”
Basu believes in a holistic regimen that is not restricted to exercises alone. And he practices what he preaches. For example, his own meal routine consists of whey protein in the morning, veggies for noon and some soup and chicken in the night – something he advises his clients to follow as well. He adds that a good guideline is to avoid simple sugars and add good fats and protein to every meal. While he mentions that Virat Kohli is the fittest sportsman on the Indian team, an example closer to home is of his own son, Arjun, whom he took charge of when the teenager was about to go down the path of obesity. As Arjun says, “I was obese and would come last in school sports. Then, one day, we found out that I had high blood pressure. My father calmly sat down to explain me how important staying fit was including early death. I became scared and started to walk, go for tennis, practice yoga and exercises. The following year I came first in every sport in the competition.” Basu adds that a dose of psychology is needed when it comes to dealing with his clients as well. While he recommends 60 minutes of exercise every day for the modern man/woman, he adds, “The problem is [that] a large chunk of our youth is not fitness driven. How many exercises every day, walk a few miles and take a diet rich in protein? Degrees are like folders. We need to fill the folders.” To remedy this state of affairs, Basu does his part by giving leadership and motivational talks on a regular basis. Jagyaseni Chatterjee is a writer and journalist based in Chennai. Her works have appeared in the Deccan Chronicle and The Hindu, among other publications.
Are you fit and fab?
of these basic If you can tick ters, you are on fitness parame track . If not, the right fitness to rethink that may be it ’s time burger… chocolate and
I can walk 5 km I can run a mil
sh-ups and 1 I can do 10 pu ay. R pull up everyd uat 10 I can sit and sq R times a day. March 2017
Table for Two
If Food be the Music of Life…
...Sandesh Reddy would serve up a symphony of flavours.
Rukmini Vyas spends an evening discovering his food philosophy as he introduces her to his picks for the palate.
t is not every day that I start a meal with dessert, but there are no rules around Sandesh Reddy. Food can be in any form, any order – but it has to be real. No gimmicks, fancy words or rare ingredients. And his philosophy is reflected in every dish he creates. Take his tiramisu, for instance. “Not many people understand what the real tiramisu is all about. The secret lies in dark rum and espresso – not Kahlua, as everyone raves. This is the real deal,” he promises as he hands me the dessert. I can only close my eyes in ecstasy as the layers of light-as-air pastry, cream cheese and Nutella (his addition), enhanced
Table for Two by espresso and dark rum melt on my tongue. He casually adds that he learnt how to make tiramisu from an eighty-year-old lady in Rome. Sandesh’s first tryst with food was an attempt to make the perfect brownie. “I was around 12 at that time,” he adds. Not that brownies were not available back then. “The best ones were by Auntie Anita, who ran Indulgence Inc – they were sold at Amma Naana [the department store opposite the then Park Sheraton – known today as Crowne Plaza Chennai].” He wanted to tweak them to suit his palate – and this experiment led to a realization that he enjoyed working with food. That he was good at it. Today, he owns and runs some of the best-known gastronomic labels in Chennai – from Sandy’s to Old Madras Baking Company to Radio Room.
Inspiration is drawn from all over the world – and Sandesh travels often to ensure he gets enough of it. However, be the inspiration seafood pasta from Sicily or street food from Bangkok, the food served in his restaurants has its own unique twist. one – and not many people know of the former,” he nods. If you are going to get one, go early – and be sure to get one with cream cheese.
Inspiration is drawn from all quarters of the world – and he travels often to ensure he gets Sandesh’s main job is centered on food, enough of it. However, be the inspiration seafood especially recipe development. It’s all about finding an authentic recipe, respecting it and then pasta from Sicily or street food from Bangkok, working his charm on it. “Food should be visceral, the food served in his restaurants has its own unique twist, and is always it should connect with you at every level,” he tailored to match the expectations explains. Thus, it is not for nothing that he spent three years trying to find the right flour to get the of his audience. Radio desired consistency in his breads before opening up Old Madras Baking Company – a place where I have had the best bagels since my last bite in Toronto, Canada. “We do more of a Montreal bagel, not the American
Table for Two
Room’s steamed buns, which are modeled on the Taiwanese gua bao, are one such example. Fluffy white half-moon-shaped buns allow for a sneak peek of a mini domeshaped filling. I sample the shrimp and pork buns. The shrimp is cooked beautifully and the hint of spice blends beautifully with the sweet and sour flavours – a taste that reminds me of hawker centers in Singapore. Then, the pork – which is brined for eight hours and then slow cooked for four hours. What results is a melt-in-themouth pork filling that has hints of dark sugar and a smoky flavor. Is that barbecue sauce? “We use a beer and caramel sauce, not exactly a barbecue sauce.” The steamed buns act as a perfect foil to the juicy meat – airy and soft, with a chewy consistency. My drink for the evening is gin with jalapeño brine, sugar, lemon and tonic water – an on-the-spot creation. It hits the spot. Buns done, I sample the ‘parmesan chicken malai kebab’ – a blend of Italian and North Indian flavours. Tender chicken pieces that literally crumble on the tongue to give way to a delicate flavor of cheese and cream that is enhanced by the green mint-and-yoghurt-chutney I dip it into. “When I planned the menu, I wanted to serve what I would want to eat when I went to a bar with my friends – and maybe just posh it up a bit,” he says. As we talk, Sandesh shares that his latest interest is finding the best ways to smoke meat – and I make a mental note to look out for what he might create in the coming months. For dinner, I am led to try ‘curry dosa’ at Madurai Pandian – a rustic joint in Royapettah. 54
As we enter the place, the sounds of ladles hitting the pan and the hiss of water being splashed on the hot dosa stone mingle with the smells of cumin, turmeric and chilli. We are served fried fish and kola urundai (fried minced meat balls) on fresh banana leaves. The fish is well cooked and delicious with barely a hint of spices. The flecks of green chilli in the kola urundai singe my tongue slightly but not before the finely ground mutton is savoured. When the curry dosa arrives – fresh off the hot stone – I pull back the top layer to reveal a gorgeous yellow-orange chicken curry that has been simmered sufficiently for the flavor to seep into the tender chicken pieces. I have not tried this before. I doubt I will find another favourite anytime soon. “If I had to have a last meal, it would be this one,” Sandesh says. I might be inclined towards a similar choice, but I would add an order of the steamed buns. And, of course, the meal would have to end with his tiramisu. Rukmini Vyas is a writer and journalist based in Chennai.
France in the cross-hairs
What hap pened? A machete-w attacked s ielding ma oldiers on n was shot patrol at th and injured e Louvre, th So…? Fran when he e famous m ce has bee u n s e th u m in Paris. e target of years. The several terr incident in orist attac Nice in July ks over the last year, w last two hen a man deliberate lorry throu ly d rove his gh a crowd , leaving 8 dead, was 4 p eople among the deadliest. been single France has d out by th e militant State (ISIS Islamic ) for its pe rc eived effort impose the s to ideals of d emocracy, and secula fr ee speech rism in the Is la m ic countries. The lates t on this? The man b hospital ov eing held in er the Lou came to Pa vre attack identified a ris on a vis h as been s a 29-yea a obtained r-old Egyp from Duba Who said ti a n who i. what? “Abdullah [the suspe ct] was pe The suspe aceful, res ct’s friend pectful an in Egypt. d never ha rmed anyo ne.” – March 2017
Home, Green Home When we bring plants inside our home, we are bringing in a whole host of benefits. Suraksha Bhatla Acharya discusses the best ways in which you can add that touch of nature to your dwelling space.
t is common knowledge that plants look attractive. Dig a little deeper, and youâ€™ll discover that the benefits of interior and exterior landscaping go far beyond mere aesthetics. When plants surround us, buildings are quieter and more relaxed. Plants improve indoor environmental quality, and help reduce carbon dioxide levels, pollutants and air-borne dust. They increase humidity and keep air temperatures down. Also, by placing a couple of plants in the home, or adding some potted plants or green walls, you are actually saving on your medical bills, as your immune system is boosted and stress levels are lower (and, by association, your blood pressure is normalised). You may experience fewer colds and lung problems and, in the end, increase your life span. In fact, patients in hospitals benefit greatly from being more in touch with nature. Physiological benefits apart, recent scientific findings show that by looking at plants, touching them and smelling them, you can alleviate mental problems. It helps you concentrate, be more productive and recover from mental fatigue faster. On hearing these benefits, I am sure you are raring to add a green touch to your home. The next sentence I might hear is: But I donâ€™t have space for a garden or a balcony/terrace where I can house plants! With Indian cities becoming a smorgasbord of apartments of various sizes, we are no longer bound by the rules that applied to independent homes with large gardens or open spaces. If you are lacking yard space for an outdoor garden or if you simply want to bring nature inside, many design possibilities await you. Now more than ever, the art of gardening is being adapted for small spaces, from balconies and patios to interiors.
o, what is the best way to bring plants into your homeâ€™s design scheme? That would depend primarily on what you March 2017
Inside Out want to achieve, and on the function of the space. The goal is to get as many benefits from your plants as you can – with style. Let’s take your kitchen, for example. Instead of simply arranging some decorative plants in pots, you could plant some herbs that you can use when cooking – such as basil, chives, cilantro/coriander, parsley or oregano, to name a few. A simple hanging basket can be transformed into a compact herb and vegetable garden. A windowsill garden is ideal for growing herbs that need plenty of light. When it comes to bathrooms, it is best that you avoid having pots siting around on different surfaces, because of the dangers of mold and bacteria. A solution for some green love here would be a moss wall. Moss is water-loving and low maintenance, and will not grow out of proportion. Moss walls can even become a living mural in bathrooms. For the bedroom, pick plants that have a nice scent. Many indoor plants produce fragrant aromas – such as pink or white jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum), which is commonly grown indoors, and emits a sweet scent at night. Apricot, apple, lemon, mint, strawberry – these five names represent only a fraction of the
Moss walls are usually made with moss tiles – where natural lichens are made to undergo a stabilization process and then installed on tiles, using a non-toxic, waterbased resin. The tiles can be applied on any interior space with minimum 50 percent humidity. The lichen does not need daylight or water to survive, and can be installed directly onto any surface using an epoxy. The tiles give flexibility to create myriad designs, and can also be custom-made to suit the particular site or design. wonderful pelargoniums that are better known as scented geraniums. Lavender is a soothing and relaxing smell that can keep you calm and even help you sleep at night. Canary Island lavender (Lavandula canariensis) and fern leaf lavender (Lavandula multifida) are good types adapted to indoors. Don’t be afraid to put some aromatic species on the nightstand – they are certainly better than scented candles. Orchids are a popular houseplant, and for good reason. They’re easy to keep indoors, and they come in a wide variety of smells. Some have fragrances like jasmine (Aeranthes grandalena), others are more citrusy (Cymbidium Golden Elf), and some compare to vanilla (Oncidium Twinkle or Fragrance Fantasy). Whichever plant you choose, your home will have a delicious scent – provided, of course, you take care of it properly. The key to growing
the right stArt Love art but unsure of how to build your collection? Artflute.com gives you the best tips to build your art trove from scratch.
rt is all about expressing your personality. However, most of us are intimidated by the thought of buying art – given the jaw-dropping prices, unapproachable experts and intimidating exhibitions. That’s far from the truth, says Padmaja Nagarur, CEO of Artflute.com (an online marketplace for art from the world over). “Art is not unapproachable – the real place for art is on your walls and in your home where you can enjoy it every day,” she explains. It is about expressing your personality and speaks to people in a way that nothing else you own can. So, start building your collection today – and we have some useful tips to help.
Test the Grounds: Cultivating enthusiasm and curiosity about art is what makes it exciting. Krittika Narula, Delhi-based art curator and expert, advises those who are new to art to visit as many galleries and museums as they can. She says, “This exercise gets you to see as much art as possible and become visually ‘comfortable’ with the experience. This helps you figure out what your personal taste is.”
Choose Appropriately: When buying your first piece of art, remember that great art can be purchased at diverse price points – from a few thousands to lakhs. For original artworks, do set aside a budget for your first piece of art. Also, if you are buying art for a particular space, keep in mind factors such as size, texture, colours and the ambience you are looking to create. Then, the artwork becoming the centre around which the other elements in the room revolve.
Make A Connection: If a piece of art speaks to you, evokes an emotion or reminds you of something, trust your gut. If it occupies your thoughts days after you first saw it, you know it is the right pick. Karishma Walia, a recent art buyer says, “We moved into a new home and found online galleries a great place to buy art. Our artwork reflects our personal style and we looked through over a thousand works before we chose.”
Find What You Love: Figuring out what you like is the next step to take when you know nothing about art. Educate yourself on the differences between a limited edition print, an original artwork and a poster. Online galleries are a great way to browse art right from your home if art galleries intimidate you. March 2017
Inside Out indoor plants is to expose them to lots of sunlight. Use artificial light or ‘grow light’ if needed, and keep them in a cool room. A grow light or plant light is an artificial light source, generally an electric light, designed to stimulate plant growth by emitting an electromagnetic spectrum.
or the living room, the emphasis is largely on the aesthetics. Vertical gardens are the current design craze, and there are indoor options for those with bright spaces. An idea that is not solely exclusive to the modern world, green gardens that were precariously hanging onto the walls of structures have also enriched ancient times. While the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are considered one of ancient world’s greatest wonders, many modern living wall projects bring the same joy and delight in smaller packages! Many popular vertical gardens are framed, creating a contrast between lush greenery and manicured style. These modular wall panels also help in easily creating extensive living walls. Since each panel links up with the next seamlessly, your imagination is the limit here. If you desire the grand garden effect in your indoor space, sprinkle some hanging planters, and distribute large planters throughout the room, and fill them with tropical greenery. Potted palms and ferns also make a bold statement. These living works of art are especially handy for people living in small homes, where space for plants is limited, and add a splash of greenery to your space to any contemporary residence. However, getting a green wall professionally designed and installed can cost a fortune. One 60
Many popular vertical gardens are framed, creating a contrast between lush greenery and manicured style. way to achieve a cost-effective vertical garden is to use a series of green pots or the treille system to create an impact, enhance the visual lightness of a space or to emphasize indoor-outdoor interplay. Treille is a system of cylindrical vases, horizontally aligned and connected by nylon belts and height-adjustable painted stainless steel tutors. A stair set can be created, made of three containers, to hang from the ceiling or from a wall. Let’s begin by exploring how unexpected materials can result in the most unique of vertical gardens. Fix discarded plastic soda bottles,
Do’s & Don’ts
Proper watering and lighting are the most important components of indoor plant care, but humidity and temperatures also play a role. Many houseplants thrive in temperatures between 18°C to 25°C and in high humidity – around 80 percent, which isn’t very difficult to achieve in the tropics. For some plants, such as gardenias and orchids, keeping them in a bathroom or the kitchen (both places are usually more humid) can help in drier climates. The aim is to mimic the climate of the place that plant originated from.
Don’t move your plants around a lot. Plants acclimate themselves to their surroundings fairly slowly, so it’s best that you don’t move them around a lot. To prevent yourself from having to replant them often, prune your plant regularly to keep it healthy, as the roots can outgrow their pot or vase.
Signs of under-watering include slow leaf growth, translucent leaves, and premature shedding of flowers or leaves, and brown, yellow or curled leaf edges. Too much water is just as detrimental. Frequent watering forces air out from the soil and opens the door for root-killing bacteria and fungus to move in. Signs of overwatering include fungus or mold on the soil surface, mushy, brown
(foul smelling) roots at the bottom of the pot, leaves with brown rotten patches. Make sure there are drainage holes at the bottom of the pot for excess water to flow out. •
Every plant has different light requirements. Flowering plants generally do best in moderately bright light – for this reason, windows located on the south, east or west side of the house are best for potted flowering plants. A dimly lit room should suffice for plants that can survive in low light areas. Plants that need moderate light will prefer a north-facing window. Indoor plants that prefer high light will need to be in a southfacing window or under a grow light.
In the office – our second home – you may want to put some greenery around your monitor, so that you can look away from time to time and rest your eyes.
copper gutters, or old pot racks on the side of a building and use them to hold a range of potted plants. Just add soil and plants to the reclaimed pieces and you have your own unique design! An old wooden crate can be re-purposed to create a fabulous living wall by adding a salvaged soda crate, chicken wire, fine mixture of highly absorbent soil and, of course, a hint of creativity! Modern vertical gardens are often created by repurposing functional items while creating a rustic-meets-modern finished product that is commonly referred to as the pallet garden. And there are many plant possibilities when it comes to filling your pallet garden. Colourful pallet gardens can be set up by upcycling shipping pallets to grow vertical greenery, and you can choose flowers and plants as per your preference. Remember though that the plants take a while to settle in. So, if you want to get the hanging flower box ready for the festive season, better start a couple of months early.
Suraksha Acharya is the founding principal of Midori Architects, Chennai – an awardwinning firm, specializing in sustainable design. She is a cognitive member of the green architecture industry in India, champions the need to build better and more environment-friendly structures. March 2017
While you are sprucing up your home
with touches of greenery, why not take a leaf from the Buckingham Palace Garden? Team Living puts together some interesting facts about the royal grounds.
he gardens of the Buckingham Palace stretch across 39 acres, and feature a lake, a helicopter landing area, and a tennis court. It was earlier part of a wood – and, when King Henry VIII (1491–1547) wanted to create his own hunting ground, he built a wall around it. The Buckingham Palace Garden is one part of it – the only part that is private to the British monarchy. The existing layout can be attributed to William Townsend Aiton, who remodelled the garden from the original plan of Sir William Chamber. The oldest specimens include the Japanese pagoda tree with its white flowers and pea-pod fruits whose upper part has been cut to give it a grace period. The noble beech has been spreading its branches ever since it was planted by the late Fred Nutbeam (former Garden Head). The most beautiful is probably the snake bark maple and a recent planting of the aspen near the lake. Interestingly, two Italian honey bee (Apis mellifera ligustica) hives were introduced to the garden at Buckingham Palace in 2009 on an island in the middle of the lake. 62
According to the Royal Information Office, “Large pieces of wood are stacked in piles and tree stumps are left to root away naturally in the Palace grounds, which are home to the beetles, spiders and fungi and insects. One such dead tree at the bottom of the rose garden and provides a habitat for a family of woodpeckers. The use of pesticides is kept to a minimum. A weed-burning machine is used on the paths of the Buckingham Palace grounds, which breaks up the cells of living plants so that they explode through heat. This means that there is no need for chemicals which could potentially be harmful to wildlife.” Mark Lane, the Garden Manager says, “The Buckingham Palace has been recycling green waste since 1991 and also recycles waste from St James's Palace and Kensington Palace. Horse manure is collected daily from the stables at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace, and added to the garden’s compost heap.”
Fact Sheet from the Royal Collection Trust
Every Monday morning when the Queen is in residence, the Garden Manager sends Her Majesty a posy of blooms from the Palace garden.
The lake is 1.2 hectares (3 acres), and the famous Herbaceous Border is 156 m long and 5 m deep.
The garden is home to 42 species of birds, 322 types of British wildflowers, 150 mature trees and a quarter of the total British list of moths and butterflies.
The Buckingham Palace is the holder of the National Collection of mulberries.
The garden houses the oldest helicopter pad in London – it was first used as such just before Her Majesty The Queen’s Coronation in 1953.
The Last Word
C ming Full Circle When Amy Chua’s ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ was published in 2011, it launched a volley of brickbats against her recipe for strict parenting. Over the last six years, people have discovered that there is more to the book – and the author herself. Yamini Vasudevan chats with Amy Chua about her journey as a parent and writer.
n January 8, 2011, the Wall Street Journal ran an article called ‘Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior’ by Amy Chua with an excerpt from her (then) upcoming book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
In the article, Amy claims: “A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids…Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it.”
The Last Word
Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
Photos: Courtesy Amy Chua March 2017
The Last Word
“Tiger parenting works when the parent can successfully combine high expectations with just obviously conveying love to the child...the most important thing is to convey unconditional love.” What follows is a formula of sorts – discipline, discipline and more discipline, and a breakdown of the differences between Western and Chinese parents, with examples thrown in to illustrate the difference. For example, she says, “…my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their children practise their [music] instruments 30 minutes every day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three that get tough.”
he book – a memoir – was based on how Amy brought up her daughters, Sophia and Louisa (Lulu). She talks about how (then) seven-yearold Lulu was made to practice a piece called ‘The Little White Donkey’ on the piano for hours at a stretch without any breaks – not even toilet breaks. Every possible threat (donating Lulu’s doll house to the Salvation Army, no lunch and dinner, no Christmas or Hanukkah presents, no birthday parties for upto four years) was levelled, and Lulu
The Last Word was allowed to get off the piano only when she could play the piece flawlessly. Until then, few people knew of Amy Chua – Professor of Law at Yale, and author of three books on international and American policies. When Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother came out, several things happened. Her name became a household reference, her parenting methods were hotly debated in all forms of media, and her book shot to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list and stayed there for several weeks. Her inbox was flooded with angry emails from parents world over who accused her of being cruel and of abusing her children. Critics prophesized that her children would become “friendless, robotic, mentally ill, and suicidal.”
ix years down the road, the view is shifting and Amy seems to be gaining more followers. Maybe this is because her daughters gained admission to Harvard and have an active social life, apart from success in parallel pursuits (Sophia enlisted in the army as well).
Maybe it is because – once the fuss died down – people actually read the book. “I actually get these emails and letters from people saying, ‘I am so sorry. I was one of those people that posted this about you. I have finally read the book, and it is really funny!’” Amy says. When seen in its entirety, Amy’s memoir presents the trials and tribulations that every parent faces – wanting the best for their children but finding it hard to strike the balance between indulgence and discipline. She admits to having been terrified that her daughters may have ended up hating her. In fact, the book was written in a “moment of crisis”, when she had “…that kind of sudden fear that I had done everything wrong when 13-year-old [Lulu] rebelled.” In the book, “The second half is…much more thoughtful and is somehow the darker book. Where I talk about me being this crazy, crying, forty-five-year-old thinking, ‘Oh my God! Have I done everything wrong, and am I losing my daughters?’” We talk about how the very idea of ‘tiger parenting’ was completely misunderstood as being nothing but a cocktail of harsh routines and strong words with a dash of shaming techniques. “[Tiger parenting] works when the parent can successfully combine high expectations with just obviously conveying love to the child…I have seen parents that think they
Lulu ChuaRubenfeld (when she was 12) on the violin. March 2017
The Last Word
Amy and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, with their daughter Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld on the day of her graduation.
The Last Word
Amy Chua and her daughters at the 2011 TIME 100 gala. Amy was rated as one of Time's 100 most influential people that year. are doing tiger parenting, and they are being so disciplined, and the child doesn’t even think the parent cares about them. And that, I am not in favour of. I think the most important thing is to convey unconditional love,” she insists.
However, “If you look at my daughters now…some of the things that they like best are things that they first refused to do. My younger daughter, said, ‘No, I refuse to play tennis.’ Later, it became her favourite thing.” she says.
Her confidence in this technique stems from her own childhood. “My parents were so much more strict than I was. People can’t even imagine! And yet, now, I love my parents. Somehow, they did something right. I think they loosened up at just the right time. After I left the home, they suddenly switched from being strict to the most loving, supportive parents.”
n what is a telling example of how judgment should be reserved, Amy details (in the book) what follows the gruelling routine on the piano. “Then, out of the blue, Lulu did it. Her hands suddenly came together – her right and left hands each doing their own imperturbable thing – just like that…Then she played it more confidently and faster, and still the rhythm held. A moment later, she was beaming. ‘Mommy, look – it’s easy!’ After that, she wanted to play the piece over and over and wouldn’t leave the piano.” The decision to forcibly override her daughter’s initial resistance on each occasion – between the two, Lulu is said to be the rebel who fiercely stood up to her mother – was never easy.
However, references to some incidents from her younger days are – literally – lost in translation, when seen through the lens of a different culture and language. For example, she talks about how her father angrily called her ‘garbage’ in their native Hokkien dialect to tell her off for being disrespectful to her mother. The incident, when narrated in English, caused many
Amy at the Nordic Business Forum in Helsinki, October 2016. of her friends and readers to react with shock and disbelief. When talking about this gap in cultural understanding, Amy shares, “It’s been a source of frustration for me, because its not even just cultures like ethnic cultures…The Chinese have this concept of filial piety – you have to be grateful to your parents. [In] America, we have this individualistic culture. So, there are certain concepts and ideas that don’t translate well.”
In what seems to be a case of coming full circle, Amy’s daughters have said that they would follow their mother’s parenting method, but with their own mix of freedom thrown in. What advice would she give them? “You have to pay attention to the individual personalities of your [children]. At a certain point, if it is obviously not working, you have to listen. You have to change….And, I think that you should apply the most discipline and be most strict while they are very young…I think Westerners tend to underestimate how much can be absorbed during those years. My children learned Chinese without even realizing it…In places in Europe, kids are trilingual and it’s not even hard for them. I would say, don’t waste those early years.”
If anything caught the collective attention of readers worldwide, it was Amy’s list of some of the things her daughters were not
hile she admits that her parents (and she) regret the choice of some words on their offspring, Amy adds that the use of harsh words does not automatically equate to emotional scarring. “I was daddy’s girl. It was so obvious that I was the apple of his eye, and he was so proud of me. In that context, he could have practically said anything to me.”
allowed to do, as detailed in Battle
Watch TV or play computer games
When talking about taking a leaf from her parents’ book, she explains that there is a strong need for parents to set much higher standards for their children and to have a steely resolve when pushing them towards reaching it. She cites the example of Cindy, her youngest sister – who has Down syndrome – winning two International Special Olympics gold medals in swimming. “My mother was such a loving tiger mom to her. [Cindy] had very poor muscle tone, and I remember my mother trying to teach her to jump rope. I was twelve, and I thought, ‘Oh, obviously she can’t do this.’ But then, my sister could jump rope…When my sister won the Special Olympics gold…the kind of joy that radiated [from her] was so worth it for all of us.”
Choose their own extracurricular activities
Get any grade less than an A
Not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama
Play any instrument other than the piano or violin
Not play the piano or violin.
Hymn of the Tiger Mother: •
Attend a sleepover
Have a playdate
Be in a school play
Complain about not being in a school play
Despite the flood of criticisms that followed, the book was on The New York Times bestseller list from January 30 to April 10, 2011. Amy herself was named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2011. More recently, in a speech in January 2016, British Prime Minister David Cameron praised ‘tiger mums’ and stated, “No matter how clever you are, if you do not believe in continued hard work and concentration, and if you do not believe that you can return from failure, you will not fulfill your potential. It is what the Tiger Mothers' battle hymn is all about: work, try hard, believe you can succeed, get up and try again.”
Yamini Vasudevan is the Managing Editor of Culturama Living. Her former stints were at Culturama, The Hindu Business Line and Harper's Bazaar (Singapore). 70