Culturama May 2018

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Luxury Life & Style May 2018|Rs100

African amour A journey through Tanzania

Luxury on waves Breathtaking yachts

Huma Qureshi

On working with superstar rajinikanth


May 2018




person I look up to told me success does not bring happiness, but happiness brings success. These wise words have stuck in my mind ever since. It got me thinking – what is happiness? Is it feeling good

all the time? Is it being able to afford what you want? Or is it the final destination? None of these scenarios are a good definition of happiness. Happiness is most accurately how satisfied you are overall with your life, and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis. So, how do you remain happy — given that moods fluctuate and lives are constantly changing? You can achieve this with consistent effort. Think of it as a regimen to lose weight — if you eat as you are currently eating and are at the same activity level, your weight will be pretty constant. If you eat less and move more, your weight will most likely adjust and then reduce. If this new diet and exercise regimen becomes a part of your everyday life, then you will remain at this new weight. If you go back to eating more as you were doing earlier, your weight too will return to where you started. It is the same with happiness. You have the ability to control how you feel. With consistent awareness and practice, you can form life-long habits for a more satisfying and fulfilling life. Your future self will thank you for this effort. So, dear readers, let's commit to consistent happiness in our lives going forward. On this note, I present our May edition to you which covers all the tips you need to adjust your happiness quotient!

Rohini Manian Editor-in-Chief

INBOX Hello Team,

is online: To subscribe to this magazine, e-mail For advertisement Call : 98416 28335

Love the black and white cover of your April edition. It's a simple yet intriguing picture. Well done! Nishant Appari, Hyderabad Dear Editor, Really enjoyed reading the History of Bata in previous issue. The pictures of the unseen ancient footwear was a great addition. Prashant Nair, Chennai Hello, I'm writing to check whether you will accept any stories or a column on pets for publication in the future. I really liked your pet story from one of your old issues. It'll be great to have few more. Shiba John, Mumbai Rohini Manian


DEEPA KALUKURI managing Editor Anupama arvinD vice president – business strategy Paneer selvam business head Prem Kumar Creative Head Dorothy martin Graphic designer P DEVARAJ CIRCULATION Contributors Ishani vellodi reddy | Antara kothari | Dr marshall goldsmith Sruthi RAvinder | zainab khan | seoyoung park arunima das | sheila verghis

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Cover Photography: Abhishek Verma Hair: Sanky Evrus | Make up: Lemi S Stylist: Abhishek P Chatterjee

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May 2018

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this issue


48 African Amour A journey through the forests of Tanzania.

The High-spirited Dreamer Huma Qureshi gears up for Kaala


Designer of Dreams Celebrating 70 years Dior



Yachting on Royal Waves A look at the world’s most expensive yachts.

Happy Mom, Happier Child This Mother’s Day, reflect on happiness.


LIVING: Events Viswa & Devji celebrate their 10th anniversary.


Terrace Bloom Bring the garden home this summer.


May 2018

May 2018


Small Talk


May 2018

The High-spirited Dreamer Born in Delhi, Huma Qureshi walked in with dreams in her eyes and made her way through Mumbai, a city that has welcomed millions with open arms. With multiple award nominations and critically acclaimed films, she has proved that acting is her forte! In a chat with Team LIVING, Huma opens up about shooting with superstar Rajinikanth in the upcoming and most awaited movie Kaala.

Photography: Abhishek Verma May 2018



hen Anurag Kashyap’s blockbuster Gangs of Wasseypur 2 released, the audience was introduced to an actor who had an incredible chemistry with her co-star

Nawazuddin Siddiqui and gave a performance that was real and believable on screen. Huma Qureshi may have had her ups and downs in her six-year career in the movie industry, but she’s making sure that with every movie she leaves an impact. Although she’s known for her performances in Bollywood, she will soon share the screen with superstar Rajinikanth in the mostawaited Tamil film, Kaala. With her first regional film up for release, it’ll be interesting to see how she wins

over the audiences down South. Tell us when you decided to sign Kaala and the experience of shooting with superstar Ranjinikanth? It was a really special feeling and there was a lot of excitement. When I signed Kaala, I was very excited to work with Rajini sir. No matter what the anticipation was, the actual experience of shooting with him for this movie was even better. He is somebody definitely I’ve learnt a lot from. You've been in the film industry for over six years. When did you decide to enter movies and what was the biggest challenge? I always wanted to be a part of the movie industry. Since a young age, I think I wanted to be an actress. But I didn’t know anyone in the industry, so it took me a while to make it. The biggest challenge was the decision to move to Mumbai, which was really scary and I was very apprehensive. I didn’t know what to expect and I always thought that Mumbai was this ‘big bad city’ that would gobble me up. But it turned out to be far from that. It has been lovely, welcoming and has made me who I am today. Are you planning to do more movies in the southern film industry? I am definitely open to doing more films in the South, and I would love that. The movie industry here makes some really fascinating and beautiful films with lovely scripts and strong characters. How do you deal with haters online? I just block them and delete them. I don’t need 14

May 2018

Photography: Abhishek Verma

Photography: Rohan Shrestha

Small Talk

RAPID FIRE Style icon My mum Rajinikanth Super duper star unnecessary negativity in my life. It really doesn’t bother me! Tell us about your future releases? I’m still working on Kaala and don’t have official announcements of my future projects yet. What are the three style tips that you would like to give your fans? I have only one style tip that I want to share with my fans. It is to be yourself, that is, be original and don’t be a copy. What do you do when not shooting? When I am not shooting, I like to read. I also like to get out of Mumbai and see the world. Do your parents watch your movies and give their opinion on your roles?

Mother’s Day Overrated. Everyday should be Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Parents’ Day. Favourite co-star They all are my favourites. Favourite Destination Any place with a beach Of course, my parents watch all my films and they give me their opinion. It really means a lot to me when they enjoy my films and performances. Their appreciation means everything to me! How do you feel about your brother (Saqib Saleem)’s performances? So proud and happy! He makes all of us super proud whenever we watch him on screen. Photography: Abhishek Verma May 2018



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May 2018 April

May 2018



Designer of Dreams Robert Piguet’s workshop in Paris is most often underrated. Not many know that three creative legends worked under him and gave us decades of elegance packed on the runway. For generations to come, Monsieur Dior, Pierre Balmain and Hubert de Givenchy will be remembered by all those who live and breathe fashion. Deepa Kalukuri visits the Dior exhibition in Paris to celebrate 70 years of ‘Christian Dior, Couturier du Rêve’. Monsieur Dior 30

May 2018

The n



s winter continues to cover the city of love in blankets of snow, one exhibition leaves a mark. Set in an old museum, Musée

des Arts Décoratifs on the streets of Rue de Rivoli was thralling with couture enthusiasts. It was 9.30 a.m. and the temperature was down to 8 °Celsius. The harsh winds made no difference to the visitors who lined up for over 4 hours to watch a dream unfold. As soon as we entered the exhibition, there was Christian Dior’s iconic, ‘New Look’ bar dress, to give us a glimpse of what unfurled at the Dior workshop over 70 years. Junon Dress 1949 May 2018


Couture From Dior’s first fashion show to his first sketches, it was a magical display of his creativity. One cannot ignore that after the untimely demise of the founder of the luxury brand, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simmons and

Original Dior sketches

the current creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri gave it all to make sure the House of Dior stood the test of time. Christian Dior’s dream continues to realise every season as the fashion world watches with bated breath. The exhibition brought together Dior’s collections in glass chambers decorated with medieval to modern art. More than 300 haute couture gowns Maria Grazia Chiuri

Yves Saint Laurent John Galliano

Vintage royalty collection


May 2018


Musée des Arts Décoratif


were on display, including the ones worn by Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth II. The exhibition set a record by logging in more than 700,000 visitors in just six months. The lavish display of Dior’s couture clothing was a luxurious voyage into the history of Christian Dior’s success. Christian Dior was born into a wealthy French family of his teenage years, and this exhibition was proof of his fine taste. Most of his collection was inspired by ancient and Renaissance paintings. The curators, Florence Müller and

Bar suit: New Look

businessmen and bureaucrats. He was inclined towards art since

Olivier Gabet, set up the collections in chronological order. Some with a common colour pattern, some with the line-up of Dior’s creative directors and the rest with modern collections designed by the brand’s first female director, Maria Grazia Chiuri. Covering a space of 3,000 square metres, the exhibits were digitally Princess Margaret in a Dior ball gown May 2018


Marc Bohan's and Raf Simmons' collections enhanced to display videos and the behind-thescenes action of the Dior workshop. As soon as you enter the ‘white hall’ you see all of the first cuts of Dior’s gowns displayed as if they were sewn days ago. If you love everything about the brand, you’ll witness the first of firsts in those glass chambers – Dior’s first perfume, his first shoe design and many other accessories that will take you back to the 1950s. There was a special section dedicated to Dior’s most celebrated red carpet gowns. The walls were projected with dream lights in glittery sequence. It’s indescribable how you feel when you see the most celebrated ‘Junon’ gown from Christian Dior’s 1949/1950 Fall/Winter collection. From Rihanna

Hanging garden

Fenty’s white Cannes gown to Charlize Theron’s

lessons of luxury. After all, he was chosen by the

ruffled gown, the fine array of flamboyance was on

dream couturier himself to lead the fashion house.

display in the ‘dream hall’ . Right across the staircase at the end of the

Marc Bohan’s and Raf Simmons’ designs were all about comfort, whereas John Galliano’s were edgy

dream hall, hundreds of magazine covers adorned

and full of punk. Right at the end of the museum hall,

by Dior’s haute couture gowns are exhibited on the

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s most popular ‘We should all be

walls. Christian Dior was known for his love of fabric

feminists’ collection was set up in an array of modern

and layers. His idea of style was different from that

art. If you plan to visit the exhibition in another part

of his contemporaries. Of all the creative directors of

of the world this year, do not forget to buy the book

the House of Dior, the sense of style most identical

at the museum workshop that has prints of Monsieur

to Dior was that of Yves Saint Laurent. His haute

Dior’s sketches and letters. Of course, take along

couture collection was inspired by Christian Dior’s

some tissues in case you cry out of happiness!

Deepa Kalukuri is the Managing Editor of LIVING and an alumna of the Asian College of Journalism. She's a Mumbaikar and a Hyderabadi who loves the Nizami charm, Irani chai and a spicy Vada Pav at the Marine Drive. 34

May 2018

w w w. a i s c h e n n a i . o r g In the high school physics class, students are engaged in a Guided Design Lab to understand motion and its dependence on mass and force. Here a student investigates the relationship between the different physical quantities as described by Newton’s Laws of Motion. He had to re-design the experiment using his understanding of the Laws to get the desirable outcomes by bringing in modifications.


May 2018


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The Big Picture

Miles and miles of ocean waters, a palatial liner... and the feeling is akin to being king of the water world. A luxury yacht is all about fine taste, sheer elegance and, of course, a lot of money! Team LIVING picks some of the most coveted yachts owned by the masters of luxury and lavishness.


May 2018


mbarking on a journey that brings together the seas and the skyline is one experience you will never forget. Some of the world’s richest people have turned their dreams into reality by investing in private yachts. These larger-than-life boats are not only some of the most expensive in

the world but also a beacon of flamboyance and flair!

The Rising Sun Designed by Jon Bannenberg, the Rising Sun was built in 2004 for Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and is currently owned by entertainment mogul David Gellen. The 138-metre yacht can fit 18 guests and was built by German shipyard Lürssen Yachts. It requires a staff of at least 55 members and comes with a basketball court. The yacht has famously hosted a bevy of celebrity guests like Oprah Winfrey, the Obamas, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen and Leonardo Dicaprio! That’s quite a luxe ride!

Price: $590 million Owner: David Gellen

May 2018


The Big Picture

The History Supreme When was the last time you visited a store with precious gems, sparkling diamonds and shining yellow gold? The History Supreme is one yacht that’ll overtake that sight. Made out of a whopping 100,000 kg of gold, this yacht rules the ocean empire. The anchor, dining table and most of the furnishings are

Price: $4.8 Billion Owner: Anonymous Malaysian businessman

made of pure gold. It was designed by and commissioned for UK-based designer Stuart Hughes. It was bought by an anonymous billionaire from Malaysia in 2011. The sleeping quarters are made of platinum and the wall feature of shaved genuine Dinosaur bone from the raptor T REX! As we said, it’s painfully gorgeous! To this day, it’s the most expensive private yacht in the world. However, because of the anonymity of the buyer and doubts about the ability of a solid gold boat floating in the sea, many have expressed their disbelief about the existence of the History Supreme.

The Azzam A list of the most luxurious and no mention of the Emirati royal family is next to impossible. The Emir of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan owns one of the biggest yachts in the world. Named the Azzam, this vessel, also built by Lürssen Yachts, is said to have the most challenging design. The Azzam is the largest yacht in the world and measures 180 metres. Not only is this the largest but it is also one of the fastest yachts in the world and can go up to 35 miles per hour. Christophe Leoni, the primary designer of the yacht, made sure it reflects the asset of a royal kingdom!


May 2018

Price: $600 million Owner: Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Emir of Abu Dhabi

The Big Picture

The Eclipse Russian businessman Roman Abramovich needs no introduction! He’s one of the most popular billionaires in the world. His private yacht, the Eclipse, comes with 24 cabins, 2 helipads and 2 swimming pools. It is the second most expensive yacht in the world and measures 162.5 metres in length. Constructed by Blohm+Voss, it is equipped with a submarine! The unique feature of the Eclipse is its security system. It is equipped with a missile defense system and – guess what? – an anti-papparazzi system! Seventy crew members take care of the guests and, of course, no one knows how extravagant the parties are on this yacht, especially due to the antipapparazzi system. Price: $1.9 billion Owner: Roman Abramovich May 2018


The Big Picture

Streets of Monaco Yacht Island Design has finished the final proposal for the world’s most unique yacht, Streets of Monaco. As the name suggests, this design is a replica of the exotic city of Monaco and features popular spots like the Monte Carlo Casino, Hotel de Paris and La Rascasse. The yacht’s living quarters are designed after the famed suites of luxury hotels in Monaco. The Atrium will include a reception hall and many bedrooms. The yacht will be able to accommodate 16 guests and 70 crew members. Now that’s the kind of luxury that will cost millions each year to maintain. The Yacht Island Design has not disclosed if there’s a buyer already! This project will surely leave Chelsea owner and businessman Roman Abramovich a tad jealous. Price: $1 billion Owner: Unfinished project 42

May 2018

May 2018


Brand Me

How to get rid of the disease to please? Many of us have the toxic habit of pleasing people around us. However, is it always the right thing to do? Dr. Marshall Goldsmith tells you why and how to get rid of this virulent habit. With inputs from Sally Helgesen.


May 2018


e humans are not perfect. Trying

easily swayed. It can distract you from your purpose,

to be the perfect person is a

squander your time and talents, and contribute to

trap, which can lead to all sorts

your general ‘stuckness’.

of negative behaviours like being

controlling, procrastinating until the “job can be done right,” and so on.

Trying to be “wonderful” is also a trap. The desire to be wonderful in all circumstances—to be thoughtful and nice and make everyone around us feel good—is known among coaches as the “disease to please”. If you’re a chronic pleaser, chances are you know it. You may even talk about it, usually in an apologetic tone. You are probably aware of how it holds you back. Maybe you routinely say yes to tasks and jobs that you know will eat up your time and bring you little benefit. Maybe you spend hours commiserating with people who seem to enjoy complaining, and then wonder what you do to attract them. Maybe you get enmeshed with colleagues who have a knack for creating dramas, and whom others seem to skilfully avoid. You resolve to keep away from them, but end up getting sucked into their toxic orbit. The disease to please can undermine your ability to make clear decisions because you’re always trying to split the difference among competing needs in hopes of creating consensus or avoiding giving offense. This can impair your judgement and leave you vulnerable to manipulation by people who know how to use guilt to get others to accommodate their needs. It can rob you of the capacity to act with authority for fear of disappointing others or making them even temporarily unhappy. It can make you

The disease to please is anything but pleasant and it can be positively poisonous for your career. How can you break the habit? Push back. Coaches we work with report that not only do they find the disease to please more commonly displayed by women, it is becoming more problematic because expectations are constantly ratcheting up. It’s a difficult habit to break and is an unspoken elephant in the room at many of the women’s conferences we attend, where programs on “achieving balance” have become a standard part of the repertoire. On the one hand, women are urged to “go for it” and aspire to leadership at the highest level. On the other, they’re warned about the consequences of missing virtually any activity involving their kids. The fact that balance is now more often described as “work–life integration” doesn’t change the basic message, which is that women can “have it all,” and they are fatally flawed if they do not. To retain any serenity in this ramped‑up environment, you need to think carefully about your priorities. Not what would please others, not what would make everyone think you’re the most wonderful person they’ve ever worked with or met, but what you in your heart want to be and achieve in your life. Given all the distractions and pressures you face and the multiplicity of paths to feeling guilty, pushing back against the disease to please is more essential than ever.

an unreliable advocate or ally because you are so

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: May 2018



10th Anniversary Celebrations I

t was an evening filled with celebrations as Viswa & Devji celebrated their 10th anniversary of creating sparkle and shine. Brought together by the Global Adjustments team, the evening of April 8 witnessed Chennai expats walking

down the runway with elan. Expats from across the globe, who now call the city home, wore some of the most dazzling jewels from the store’s latest diamond collection. Aishwarya Guptaa, Associate Director of Viswa & Devji, explained to the esteemed guests how the collection was designed, the unique ideas and cultural inspirations. It was inspiring to witness the milennial power couple Aishwarya Guptaa and Anirudh Grandhi work in tandem yet with such ease. They are undoubtedly two of the best hosts in the city. Among the guests were Michael and Isabelle Benz, Naomi and Eric, Sarah, Rehan and many other jewellery enthusiasts. The guests spent the evening touring the store and shopping from the dazzling collection of Viswa and Devji.


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Gelada Baboons


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“As I was packing up, my thoughts kept going back to this one moment that was exciting, gruesome and unforgettable�.

Wildlife Photo Credits: Sheila Verghis


May 2018

May 2018



Happy Mom, Happier Child!

Mothers are more than nurturers, carers and life-givers! Their happiness is directly proportional to the wellbeing of a child. As the world marks Mother’s Day this month, Antara Kothari speaks about how mothers inspire and make the world a happier place.


May 2018


have always been a person who plans. If

This was a lesson learnt that I have always been

someone were to ask my family and close

inclined to spread to all mothers out there. There

friends to describe me in a few words, one

was an enormous amount of mom guilt that I faced

of those words would, without a doubt, be

the initial few weeks back at work. I constantly felt

‘planner’. Nothing in my life till date has been left to

that my place was at home with my son and I asked

spontaneity and knowing what I want to do and how

myself incessantly if I was a bad mother for leaving

to do it is usually a part of my personality; whether

his side. However, the benefits of being away with

it’s the big or small things. So, imagine when I found

focused time on something that was just mine far

out I was pregnant with my elder son, I had visualised

outweighed the guilt I felt. There is no rule set in

and planned out the next few years step by step. I

stone that women should not go back to work or

imagined the first few years of my kid’s life with me

follow their dreams once they become mothers.

by his side at least for a major part of the day. I knew

Every single person is passionate about something

when I would start him on solids, when I would start

and that passion does not ever need to take a back

potty-training him and when he would start pre-

seat. It goes without saying that challenges and

school. Motherhood was something I had wanted for

obstacles will present themselves in some form – be

a very long time, so I had planned to sit back and

it a lack of family support, lack of confidence and

enjoy all the cuddles, gurgles and kisses my son

direction, financial resources, and so on. With grit,

threw at me for as long as I possibly could. As we all

perseverance and sprinkles of inspiration, nothing is

know, our perception of motherhood and the reality


of it is often very different, and our wants and needs as mothers change constantly. Mine surely did. The joy and peace that we mothers feel when

In an effort to spread this message far and wide and encourage mothers to take that next step they have been wanting to, a fellow blogger Moina

we look at our kids sometimes goes hand in hand

Memon and I recently launched our new initiative

with a feeling of being overwhelmed and a certain

– InspirED Moms. We brought together strong mom

mental saturation level which most of us reach at

achievers from various fields onto a panel to interact

some point during the day, on most days. Regardless

with the participants and share their parenting and

of how old our kids are, motherhood is challenging:

entrepreneurial journeys with a larger community.

small kids – small problems; big kids – big problems.

The wonderful range of panelists included Mahima

What I told myself repeatedly was that it was okay to

Poddar – The Kindness Project, Kavita Saraf –

be overwhelmed, but that I needed a way to release

aLphabet School, Shvetha Jaishankar – author of

those feelings as well.

Gorgeous – Eat Well, Look Great, Puja Puneet – Life

Aside from the fact that I could feel myself becoming human again, it took going back to work to push me to acknowledge the void that I had been feeling but had not able to put my finger on. It was the thought of putting my life as a working woman

by Design and Meghana Narayan – Slurrp Farm. The keynote speaker was actor Sriya Reddy. The event was attended by 100-plus mothers from all walks of life with stories of their own. There is a quote that I came across recently

on hold; and if this pause continued for long enough,

which is in sync with my belief – “You have brains

it may even have been permanent. The decision to

in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can

push myself to get back out there and apply my mind

steer yourself in any direction you choose”.

at non-baby-related activities was a giant step in my

– Dr. Seuss.

regaining a sense of self. It also proved to be just what I needed to be a happier mother. After all, a happy mom guarantees a happy child.

Antara is a mother of two and is the founder of a parenting blog, The Bubbly Blogcast. She writes about everyday challenges moms face and uses her blog as a platform for global discussion on parenting. May 2018



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Inside Out

Terrace Bloom!


May 2018

Greenery is no longer confined to your backyard or your garden; that’s a thing of the past. Today, terrace gardens are a huge trend. Creating and owning a terrace garden in your home, right in the midst of a densely populated urban area is a blessing. Zainab Khan speaks to Kavya Vaideeswaran and tells you all you need to know about creating a terrace garden!

May 2018


Do’s 1. Plant dwarf evergreen shrubs for a good long-lasting garden. 2. Choose drought-tolerant plants to reduce frequent watering. 3. Have lightweight pots so that they can be moved easily. 4. Provide good sunlight while growing a garden from seeds. 5. Have the necessary gardening tools. 6. Check the nature of the plants or the seed packs to know if they are suitable for terrace gardening. Don’ts


1. Do not under- or overwater the plants. ardening is said to be highly therapeutic and reduces stress and anxiety; and what’s better if it can be done in the comfort of your own home! In 2018,

terrace gardens are set to become both a haven and a laboratory as people seek refuge from their

Bonsais, cacti or other thorny plants can grow with moist soil, whereas some plants need daily watering. 2. Do not expose leafy plants to harsh sunlight. 3. Do not grow any plant that can grow tall

demanding lives in this stress buster activity. With

and dense beside a plant which takes a

the current increase in stylish, unique and modern

longer time to grow.

homes, restaurants and entertainment arenas, there is always the need for creativity and good taste in design. Such gardens are not a luxury anymore. Setting up a terrace garden is easy and economical. With the rise in popularity of terrace gardens, interior designers have come up with novel ideas to do up the green space. Here’s everything you need to know about it!


May 2018

4. Do not pour any kind of acids/ chemicals as that will stop the growth of the roots and kill the plant in no time. 5. Do not use same-sized pots for every plant. Some plants have a wider spread of roots and these will need different pot sizes.

Inside Out Choose your type There are two main types of terrace gardens, vertical and horizontal. These two types mainly depend on the methods employed and the use and purpose of gardening. The other types are edible (vegetables and fruits), decorative, flowering, woody, bonsai, and, of course, the simple garden (which is generally followed). Edible terrace gardens have fruits and

ponds, decorative arches, well-carved structures, statues, or sometimes even a swimming pool. The purpose is to balance the look of the concrete structure with a generous amount of greenery using small trees, evergreen shrubs, creepers and climbers to create a comfort zone. Flowering terrace gardens are the most common, because they are attractive and also help maintain the balance of the environment. Any and all

vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, lady’s finger, strawberries and cherries. The best method is to grow them in well-sized pots or raised beds with adequate amount of sunlight, water and fertile soil. Decorative terrace gardens are mainly preferred in hotels or posh apartments where a balance can be maintained between the beauty of the plants and other accessories such as small Go Green 101 1. Check the roof for leaks or dampness. After starting the terrace garden, keep an eye on the ceiling (below the roof) to see if there is any dampness because that might be a sign of cracks or poor waterproofing on the terrace. 2. Set up a good system to maintain proper draining of water. 3. While planning, look out for proper plants as per the place you live in. 4. Have proper structures built to provide the right amount of sunlight and shade. 5. Ensure the correct soil is used as that gives proper nutrients to the plants. Also, procure the necessary manure. 6. If you wish to beautify your green space, add furniture and tiny lights to enhance the area. 7. Make sure to add a focal point to the

types of flowers can be grown on the terrace after a proper study of the nature of the plants and ways to grow them. Keep in mind to balance the flowering plants with some shrubs or leafy bonsais. At the same time, look out for a wild plant growing near a blooming plant because cross-pollination may take place or it may stop the growth of the flowering plant. Of the common styles of hydroponic, vertical and earthen pot gardening, the most trending is the soil-less terrace gardening called hydroponics. This is most interesting and a good DIY method in which organic vegetables like cherry tomato, cucumber, spinach and lettuce and herbs like basil and coriander can be grown.

entire space. A particular plant or a unique artefact would do the trick.

May 2018


The Last Word

A Strong Heart, Stronger Deeds Giving up is always the easy way out, but it was never an option for Malvika Iyer. At the age of 13, she lost both her arms and severely injured her legs in a bomb blast. She speaks to Sruthi Ravinder on how she bounced back and has set an example for women across the country. 62

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fter the tragic accident, Malvika was bedridden for 18 months. However, that didn’t stop her from achieving her goals. She emerged as a state topper in her

tenth grade, which was a shock to many considering she was in hospital and had to prepare when she was bedridden. It was just the beginning of a successful and inspiring journey. She has been travelling across the globe to give motivational speeches and has inspired millions of people. In a candid chat she shares all about her journey. Congratulations on being awarded the Nari Shakti Puraskar Award 2018. How did it feel when you received the honour? It was surreal. It was just a series of goosebumps moments right from the time I got the call that I’m receiving the highest civilian award for women. Most of the awardees were in their late 40s or 50s. I was perhaps the youngest to receive it this year and it was something I felt very proud of. I also got an opportunity to meet our Prime Minister at his residence after the award ceremony and spoke to him personally. He told me that I was a phenomenal woman. All this was just too much to take in and it definitely marked the proudest moment of my life. A social worker, a PhD scholar, an international motivational speaker, a disability rights activist, a Global Shaper and so much more. How different would have things turned up if not for the incident? What did you aspire to become when you were a kid? I think about this a lot of time. I feel very strongly that this accident was just meant to happen. They say ‘everything happens for a reason’, and in my case, I strongly believe it did. I personally suffered a lot of loss, the accident in terms of physical disability is a setback to me. I think I would have grown up to be a dancer. I was a trained Kathak dancer and I loved to dance. I still can’t stop my body from moving when there is good music. I also love craft. I was a creative kid; any extracurricular activity in school and I would be there. Both dancing and art involve a lot of hand

May 2018


The Last Word

movements, which I could not pursue after the accident. Art was really my passion. There are a few days when I wish I can do these two; but at night when I read messages from people around the globe who take me as their inspiration, it makes me focus on the bigger picture. I think I’m living a much more meaningful life today. Do you think India is differently-abled friendly? How much is our country progressing? We are progressing, but at a very slow rate. Progress, I believe, should be made in terms of people’s mindset and attitude. Even today what hurts more than my physical disability are the sympathetic glances. This unequal attitude towards the differently abled is a barrier and it really does affect me even now. The barrier of attitude is the biggest barrier and I’m still a victim of it. In terms of accessibility, I really wish our country progressed better. Commute through public transport should be made possible; it’s expensive to catch a taxi every time. A universal design in recreational spots like the


May 2018

The Last Word

beach, or even at schools, offices, public spaces, and so on to ensure accessibility is very important and has to be done. Who’s your inspiration? My mother is the one who taught me the most in life. She taught me how to look past failures and how to take success and failures in the same spirit. My family is my strength, and the reason I have a very positive approach towards life. Also, all strong women who do not give up on life inspire me. Because I know giving up is an easy way out but never an option for me. Your take on feminism? Feminism for me is a big picture. A fight for being able to make my own life decisions and my personal choices. It’s about my voice being heard clearly! These days, it always keeps coming down to smaller things. Like on the Internet, a post or a tweet gets viral; and it might be a trivial issue that makes a lot of noise. Something about a woman showing off her legs or her choice of clothing; these kinds of issues end up masking the bigger picture. People should stay away from distractions and fight for a meaningful cause. Favourite series you binge watch? Your hobbies? My go-to series is definitely ‘Friends’, it’s almost my anti-depressant. If I have a bad day, a tub of ice cream and Friends will definitely cheer me up. My hobbies are taking care of Miah, my cat that I love very much. I also like gardening. I used to write poetry

May 2018


The Last Word

but now that I’m getting to talk about my emotions it’s on hold. Tell us about your experience in talking at the United Nations The UN is perhaps the biggest platform I’ve spoken at. New York is such a fascinating place and to be in the UN headquarters with activists from all over the world was very exciting. I got a standing ovation after my speech, and the response I got throughout was just wonderful. I was representing India at the top level, and this platform gave me confidence. It was an amazing experience and it was an honour to share my story on such an international platform. You topped your school, college, walked the ramp and spoke at the UN. You definitely surprise people. Do you surprise yourself? Absolutely! Today, my close circle of friends has gotten used to my achievements. Every time I do


May 2018

something, achieve something, I still get surprised. Maybe it’s because I feel that life has given me a second chance. I remember the traumatic three years where there was just pain, blood and medicines around me. First, it was whether I’ll survive, then if they’ll save my leg, then it was whether I’ll be able to walk. I’ve been in situations where it was almost life or death. Ever since I’ve healed and started getting back on my feet, every achievement big or small is precious to me. When I look back, I always feel proud that I took the right path in life. Every experience in my life is special to me, and I find happiness in the smallest of things.

May 2018