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August 2018 Vol 2 Issue 8 `150

Akanksha Hazari

Using the mobile revolution to power the aspirations of the next billion Indians

GOOD MORNING How media mogul Arianna Huffington starts her days

POETS OF INSTAGRAM Mediums change, poetry adapts: Harnidh Kaur, Megha Rao and Roohanii

FASHION RETAKE Four designers who have reinvented the Banarasi weave


contents

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06

Rise & Shine

10

11 Months

14

Bharata Natyam S’il Vous Plaît

17

From Refuse to Resource

22

Tapping India’s Potential

27

The Heiress of Emami

30

#Poets of Instagram

52

Oat Up Your Dessert

58

The Gap Year

Dreams of Banaras Four Indian designers who are reinventing the Banarasi weave

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Arianna Huffington’s morning routine

Asha’s journey in motherhood and faith

France-born Padma Shri awardee Devayani

Two Bengaluru waste-management experts

Cover personality Akanksha Hazari

It’s not been an easy ride for Priti Sureka

Three young women unafraid to speak out

5 yummy desserts made using healthy oats

Midlife couples on a break from their lives


4 | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

YOU SAID IT I happened to see your online magazine eShe.in. I applaud your efforts and that of your team for coming up with this magazine that handles issues concerning the women of today, and a place for voices of common women, compact and crisp. Well done. Dr Nupur Kohli, The Netherlands

Your anniversary issue was full of inspiring pieces as always. What struck me was your repeated emphasis on environment crusaders who are fighting to change destructive lifestyles and wasteful habits (“Knights

in Recycled Armour”, July 2018). Such women should definitely be commended for their dedication. Nirmala Pande, Noida

Nandita Das’s interview (“Habitually Fearless”, July 2018) was highly illuminating. She has always stood for feminism and has taken on bold, unconventional roles in her films, challenging norms for Bollywood actresses. We need more women like her in all fields. Ruhani Mallik, Mumbai

That was a very interesting piece on unusual, healthy workplaces (“Home @ Work”, July 2018). Offices needn’t be staid and boring! Geetika Basu, Kolkata

Write to us and win an eShe notebook! Email your feedback to mail@coralcontent. com or send by post to Coral Content, C 3/1 GF, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi 110057 Mentor: Kul Bhushan Editor and Publisher: Aekta Kapoor Marketing and Research: Nyamat Bindra (nyamat@coralcontent.com) Sales: Pankaj Sahni (North, West, East) Simran Maini (South) Brand Managers: Pallavi Pratap Malik, Amrita Nagpal Contributors: Ananya Jain, Anita Panda, Anupam Dabral, Benjamin Spall, Kay Newton, Michael Xander, Puja Singhal, Reeti Roy, Rinku Paul, Sakshi Agarwal, Sonal Rana

All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited. Printed and published by Aekta Kapoor on behalf of the owner Coral Content. Published at C3/1 GF, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi 110057, India. Phone: +91 9818166621. Printed at Modest Graphics (P) Ltd, Shop No.C-53, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase 1, New Delhi 110020. Title verified under Title-Code DELENG19647 / File No. 1322441: For queries, write to mail@ coralcontent.com. To subscribe to the free digital edition, visit eShe.in AUGUST 2018


EDITOR’S NOTE | 5

SMART PHONE

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Aekta Kapoor Founder Editor, eShe

his month I exited from a bunch of very large WhatsApp groups, populated by over 200 women each (who are all intelligent and good people, I am sure). Well-wishers advised me against the exit: why would I want to shut myself away from possible career leads and useful neighbourhood information? Well, I don’t know how much I’m losing in terms of networking or opportunities, but one thing’s for sure: it’s far more peaceful in my head, and I’m able to focus on my priorities.The constant ping of messaging apps had kept me in a state of high alert at all times, leading to burnout. It now feels like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. Mobile technology has changed the way humans think, behave and work. It has opened up an infinite number of possibilities – such as those being tapped by our cover girl Akanksha Hazari (p.22), founder of m.Paani, a loyalty programme that allows consumers to use their mobile number to collect points on daily expenses. Internet-based communication also helps women like Preeti Kumar (p.36) make a career using digital marketing while moving countries as a trailing spouse. Another benefit is how social media serves as a brilliant platform for art and poetry, as three young Instagram poets testify (p.30). But the key to happiness is always balance – between use and misuse, between convenience and compulsion, and between pleasure and pressure. Technology is meant to ease your life, not rule it. May your phone always bring you joy and growth! aekta@coralcontent.com

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PHOTO CREDIT: TWITTER

6 | SUCCESS MANTRA

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SUCCESS MANTRA | 7

RISE SHINE

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How does a media mogul start her day? Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander speak to Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and Thrive Global, about her mornings

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hether or not you have a good night’s sleep directly impacts your ability to perform (and enjoy) your morning routine to the best of your abilities, say Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander, authors of the fascinating new book My Morning Routine (Penguin Random House), in which they interview successful people from different professions in a unique way: by focusing on what they do every morning. This is what The Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington had to say about that. What is your morning routine?

Ninety-five percent of the time I get eight hours of sleep a night, and as a result, 95 percent of the time I don’t need an alarm to wake up. And waking up naturally is, for me, a great way to start the day. A big part of my morning routine is about what I don’t do; when AUGUST 2018

I wake up, I don’t start the day by looking at my phone. Instead, once I’m awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day. How long have you stuck with this routine? What has changed?

I really began to take my morning routine seriously after my painful wake-up call in 2007, when I fainted from sleep deprivation and exhaustion, hit my head on the desk, and broke my cheekbone. I’ve made small changes over time; for example, when I lived in Los Angeles, I was fond of morning walks and hikes. I am very open to experimenting – I’m sure before long I’ll learn something new I’ll want to add to my routine. What time do you go to sleep?

Most nights I’m in bed by 11:00 p.m. and my goal, as we joke in my family, is to always be in bed to catch the ‘Midnight Train’.


8 | SUCCESS MANTRA

Do you do anything before bed to make your morning easier?

I treat my transition to sleep as a sacrosanct ritual. First, I turn off all my electronic devices and gently escort them out of my bedroom. Then I take a hot bath with Epsom salts and a candle flickering nearby – a bath that I prolong if I’m feeling

novels, and books that have nothing to do with work. Can you tell us more about why you don’t use an alarm?

I love waking up without an alarm. Just think about the definition of the word “alarm”: “a sudden fear or distressing suspense caused by an awareness of danger; apprehension; fright,” or “any sound, outcry, or information intended to warn of approaching danger.” So an alarm, in most situations, is a signal that

something is not right. Yet most of us rely on some kind of alarm clock, a knee-jerk call to arms, to start the day, ensuring we emerge from sleep in full fight-or-flight mode, flooded anxious or worried about something. with stress hormones and adrenaline I don’t sleep in my workout clothes as our body readies itself for danger. as I used to (think of the mixed I also don’t believe in the snooze message that sends to our brains), button. On days when I have to use but have pajamas, nightdresses an alarm, I always set it for the last and even T-shirts dedicated to possible moment I have to get up. sleep. Sometimes I have a cup of Do you have a morning workout chamomile or lavender tea if I want routine? something warm and comforting Thirty minutes on my stationary before going to bed. I love reading bike on days when I’m home; and real, physical books especially poetry, five to 10 minutes of yoga stretches. AUGUST 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: (THIS PAGE) PINTEREST; (FACING PAGE) PENGUIN

“I TREAT MY TRANSITION TO SLEEP AS A SACROSANCT RITUAL. I TURN OFF ALL MY ELECTRONIC DEVICES AND GENTLY ESCORT THEM OUT OF MY BEDROOM”


SUCCESS MANTRA | 9

I do 20 to 30 minutes of meditation before my workout routine.

course, what makes it a routine. That said, on some days life intervenes Do you answer email first thing in the or we get off track. And when this morning? happens, I try not to judge myself or I make a point not to answer email let it negatively influence the rest of right when I wake up, and I avoid my day. the temptation by not keeping my I’m a big proponent of silencing electronic devices charging in my the voice of self-judgment and selfroom. But since I’m running a news doubt in our heads, which I call the organization, and the morning is obnoxious roommate. It’s the voice an incredibly important time for that feeds on putting us down and conversations with our editors, it’s strengthening our insecurities and important for me to be reachable. doubts. I have spent many years tryI’m on email as soon as I hit my bike. ing to evict my obnoxious roomDo you also follow this routine on mate and have now managed to relweekends? egate her to only occasional guest I follow it on weekends too! But appearances in my head!  my exercise time and meditation are Excerpted from My Morning Routine longer. by Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander What happens if you fail? with permission from Penguin Random Being committed to a routine is, of House India AUGUST 2018


10 | EXPERIENCE

11 MONTHS Asha Rajkumari had to go through an excruciating experience any mother would shudder to imagine – but her darkest nights also taught her about life’s deepest truths and the sanctity of surrender

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sha Rajkumari’s son turned nine on August 18 last year, and she had planned a party for him the next day. But it was a stressful time for her: this was the first time she and her husband would be taking a group of raucous little boys and girls to a mall without their parents.The responsibility of so many little people in their care made her deeply tense and anxious. And then, at the party, the children got into a fight. If that wasn’t enough, on the way out of the play centre, while Asha was paying for the return presents, she had a sudden out-of-body sensation. “That’s odd,” she thought. She had only ever felt that way a few times during meditation. She felt shaken out of her skin. It was just past dusk by the time the family dropped all the kids and reached their Faridabad home in the outskirts of Delhi. “Don’t open your presents tonight,” Asha warned Aadi while going to her room. “We’ll do it together tomorrow morning.” She busied herself in her room, chatting with her husband about the day. A short while later, Aadi came in, his right eye red, his face ashen white. “Mama.”

Asha looked at him, and her world stopped. orn to a Manipuri family in Kohima, Nagaland, Asha moved to Delhi as an adolescent. After graduating in English honours, she took up a job in Wipro, and worked in the corporate sector over the next 15 years. Along the way, in 2002, she met Vikas Raina, a Kashmiri Pandit, at her workplace, and the two had an

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inter-community marriage in 2007. Aadi was born a year later, followed by their second son Aarav. In 2016, Asha quit her full-time job to devote more time to her growing, demanding sons. Life was happy and purposeful. She had everything she could ever wish for: a full routine, a fulfilling spiritual practice, a loving family. There was so much to look forward to. But destiny had its own plans. here, in front of her, stood her tremulous, just-turned-nineyear-old son, with a big, menacing burst of blood in his right eye. “I can’t see, mama,” he said. Unbeknownst to her, the birthday boy had decided to open his gifts himself. Armed with scissors, he set upon a box in the semi-dark room, tugging at its seams. One of the staples holding the box together gave way, and the scissors snapped back into his face, piercing one eye. The family rushed Aadi to an eye doctor’s private clinic; he advised them to admit Aadi to All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS), as he would get the best possible care there. “My best friend Amung and her husband Dr Thejaswi Ht helped us get the admission at the Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences at AIIMS,” narrates the 40-yearold, adding thoughtfully, “Thejaswi means ‘divine light of the soul’.” The doctors said Aadi had a corneal cut and lens damage. He would need a series of surgeries, each after a gap to allow the eye to heal. He

would not be able to go to school. He may or may be not be able to see from his right eye again. It was all a matter of God’s will. And so began Asha’s true journey into God. So began nights of quiet sobs, and days of feverish prayer. Travelling 30 km every day from Faridabad to Ansari Nagar. Keeping a brave face, a rock-solid will, and making her

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L-R: Vikas Raina, Asha Rajkumari and Aadi Raina

son laugh, so that he would not lose heart. Home-schooling him so that he didn’t lag behind in his studies. Becoming super-mom, undefeated in her courage, sheltering her son from life’s pain as much as she could. Her family rallied around her, especially her father-in-law whose love and support kept them all going. Her prayer groups – with other devotees of Paramahansa Yogananda –


12 | EXPERIENCE

L-R: Aadi in hospital, ever ready with questions; wearing glasses on his first day of school after 11 months

sent her their blessings all day. In her moments alone, however, her spirit crumpled and fell at the feet of her Lord. “Let thy will be done. If he gets his eye back, I accept it as your gift and my destiny. If he loses his eye, I accept it as your gift and my destiny, too,” she repeated over and over, as the tears flowed. nd yet, in the darkness, a candle burned. Confronted with a sea of patients, appeals of desperation, the wretched face of poverty and painful cries that echoed in India’s largest hospital, Asha and her family underwent a massive lesson in humility and gratitude. “The cases we saw… hopeless ones, terrible ones… We were awed to see how the doctors turned up day after day without losing their spirit and strength,” she shakes her head.

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Never again would they begrudge their taxes, the couple decided, if it went to causes such as this. They began to pray every day – and still do – for the wellbeing of the brave doctors and healers at AIIMS. And another candle was lit. Aadi was the brightest, most curious patient any doctor could have had. He badgered his surgeons, Dr Nasik and Dr Prafulla K Maharaja, with questions. “What is an X-ray?” “What is corneal perforation?” “Why is it called cataractous repair?” “How do you replace the lens in the eye?” He played pranks on his family and narrated jokes to the other patients, asking them innocently intrusive questions, laughing in his uninhibited way. Every time he entered, it was as if the sun shone in the gloomy ward – where patients AUGUST 2018


EXPERIENCE | 13

The family together. L-R: Aarav Raina, Vikas Raina, Aadi Raina and Asha Rajkumari in their Faridabad home

lay morose, with far bigger prob- fitted with prescription glasses. He lems than his, with far lesser hope is now back in school, with his best of recovery. And yet, he made them friend Kabir, all his classmates and all smile. loving teachers by his side. “Mama, you The journey has always say everything changed Asha irrehappens for a rea- “MAMA, YOU ALWAYS vocably. The defison,” the precocious nition of happiness SAY EVERYTHING boy questioned Asha. has shifted, and the HAPPENS FOR A “So why did this parameters of a good happen to me?” Asha REASON. SO WHY DID life are forever translooked around at the formed. Her eyes now-familiar fac- THIS HAPPEN TO ME?” burn dark and dazes at the hospital, all zling as she narrates beaming at her son the events of the past benevolently. “Maybe so that you 11 months. At some parts, she stays could bring some joy to their lives,” silent, gazing intently into your eyes. she replied simply. Some things need not be said. Five surgeries later, Aadi’s eye was Through the bandaged, bruised, restored. On July 19 this year, exact- perforated right eye of her ninely 11 months after his accident, his year-old son, one suspects Asha saw bandage was removed and he was God.  AUGUST 2018


14 | PERFORMING ARTS

Bharata Natyam, S’il Vous Plaît

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hile doing her Master’s at Sorbonne University in Paris, Annick happened to see French filmmaker Louis Malle’s acclaimed documentary film Phantom India, and was bedazzled by a Bharata Natyam dance sequence in it.Already accomplished in contemporary dance and flamenco, there was something about Bharata Natyam that attracted Annick instantly. “It was as if I had found what Antonin Artaud would have called ‘a total form of art’ – it wasn’t just dance, it also had acting,

sculpture, music, poetry, mime… everything that I loved,” recalls the acclaimed dancer who now lives in Delhi. “It was a revelation.” Immediately after seeing the film, the young Annick came across a poster advertising Bharata Natyam classes in Paris and signed up. She also began doing her PhD in the classical dance form. Driven to discover more about the subject, she applied for a scholarship to learn the ancient dance art in India, and landed up on the shores of Chennai on the day of Maha Shivaratri. Over the next few AUGUST 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: RAKESH SHRESHTHA

Padma Shri awardee Devayani is one of India’s most famous Bharata Natyam dancers in today’s times – and she’s French!


PERFORMING ARTS | 15

years, she studied Bharata Natyam abhinaya and Carnatic music under the greats: from Kancheepuram Ellapa Mudaliar, to Padma Bhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan, and Padma Vibushan Dr Balamuralikrishna. And the young French girl became Devayani. Passionate and ethereally beautiful, Devayani was spotted by film director Singeetam Srinivasa Rao,

lenging,” says Devayani, her French accent intact even after decades of living in India. “Rigorous training is involved. It was very tough for me especially in the Indian summer but I adapted.” Completely taken in by the country and its ancient culture, Devayani began travelling across India for dance performances, and covered almost every state. She was frequently featured on television,

Receiving the Padma Shri award from the then President of India Pratibha Patel in April 2009

who cast her in the lead role of his Telugu film America Ammayi, which went on to become a blockbuster. “But I wanted to devote myself to my art,” Devayani shakes her head in reminiscence. So she did not take up any more offers in movies, and instead immersed herself in dance. “The life of a solo artiste is chalAUGUST 2018

and won a spate of awards. Bharata Natyam also took her worldwide, from Europe to the Far East. She gave numerous performances at The Edinburgh International Festival over 10 years, competing with 500 other topclass performances from around the world. The highlight for her is her


16 | PERFORMING ARTS

Clockwise from above: A 20 ft poster featuring Devayani striking a pose at Mahabalipuram was displayed at Times Square, New York, as part of the Incredible India ‘Real People’ campaign; during a performance at Ajanta-Ellora caves; Devayani was awarded the Pandit Jasraj 2017 Award for Cross Cultural Understanding

performances at the Algarve International Music Festival in Portugal, for which she was given the top billing along with legendary opera singer Luciano Pavarotti and the star of the Kirov Opera, Olga Borodina. “One of my dreams – to place Bharata Natyam next to the best of Western Classical music and dance in a world-class festival – had been realised,” she says. In 2009, Devayani became the first French classical dancer and foreign artiste to receive the Padma

Shri award. She was also selected by the Ministry of Tourism for their ‘Incredible India’ campaign and has represented India at several other prestigious platforms worldwide. A member of the International Dance Council (UNESCO, Paris), Devayani now teaches Indians and expats the beautiful dance she loves. “If you have a dream, follow it,” she advises. “Make it a passion, let it consume you.” For this ambitious, brilliant and gifted woman, her life itself is her message.  AUGUST 2018


SOCIAL ENTERPRISE | 17

FROM REFUSE TO RESOURCE Nothing is ever wasted in nature, but consumer culture has created a colossal crisis by generating millions of tons of waste, much of it nonbiodegradable, and dumping it on landfills and in water bodies. These two courageous Bengaluru women are trying to do something about it

PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY

By Sonal Rana

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18 | SOCIAL ENTERPRISE

WILMA RODRIGUES

Saahas

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ilma Rodrigues found herself conflicted while working as a Germanspeaking tour guide in the Department of Tourism. “Even in the early 1980s, India with its beautiful landscape and heritage monuments was grappling with incredible ugliness on its streets in the form of garbage strewn around with nobody seeming to care,” Above: Wilma Rodrigues; facing page: the sorting recalls Wilma. Almost two decades facility at Saahas later, in 2001, the thought sprouted into Saahas (Hindi for ‘courage’), a corporate organizations besides not-for-profit organization tackling managing household units. waste management. “When waste is managed at source “Back then, it was not easy to and converted to resources, we get work with waste. It did need cour- back products which are again put to age,” says Wilma of use,” Wilma explains, the reason behind calling this circular the name. Starting off “THE MINDSET OF THE economy the very in Bengaluru with basis of the ideology PUBLIC TOWARDS the State Bank of out of which Saahas India as their first big WASTE MANAGEMENT took root. Today, client, Saahas initially Saahas Zero Waste, a IS THE BIGGEST offered only on-site social enterprise that wet waste man- CHALLENGE WE FACE” evolved from Saahas, agement. Today, 17 manages 35 tonnes of years later, they offer waste per day, out of complete end-to-end services from which 90 percent is converted into consultancy design during design resources, she says. phase of the building, to waste audits Wilma admits that in her early and trainings. Saahas now lends its years things were not as easy. Family services to approximately 15 lakh and friends donned a critical eye for waste generators across Bengaluru, her apparent interest in waste and Gurugram, Surat, Chennai, Hubballi its management. But with every and Ballari, working with mammoth new customer that adopted Saahas’ AUGUST 2018


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approach and bought into their zero-waste programme, the spirits of Saahas kept rising. “Unfortunately, the mindset of the general public towards waste management is the biggest challenge we face,” adds Wilma. It is a monumental task to convince people that environmentally-friendly methods might not necessarily be financially unfriendly: “The best way of illustrating this would be by showing them a working model of a finan-

Born and raised in Mumbai, Wilma believes her adopted city Bengaluru has changed remarkably in the last 20 years. “While we do have our problems, especially around waste, there is tremendous citizen involvement, which is similar to what Mumbai was in the eighties.” Presently, Saahas provides employment to 250 people, a significant chunk of whom are women from the bottom-of-the-pyramid families. “It is satisfying to think that we have

cially friendly sustainable solution.” Saahas ensures financial stability to its customers by inviting them to Kasa Rasas, Saahas’ community waste-processing centres.This method, Wilma believes, helps customers understand the long-term benefits of their investment.

helped many families move up the ladder in terms of social and economic status,” asserts Wilma. Plans are in place to target bulk waste generators like corporate campuses, gated communities and makers of plastic and electronic products. Visit saahas.org for more. 

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20 | SOCIAL ENTERPRISE

NUPUR TANDON Pro Waste Concepts

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aste can become a resource only when it is segregated accordingly, handled efficiently and disposed off safely, says Nupur Tandon. The founder of Pro Waste Concepts Pvt Ltd, a for-profit social enterprise centred in Bengaluru, believes “waste management is not just picking up the waste and dumping it somewhere”. “Just sweeping places is deceptive cleaning,” she says. Nupur left her job at the French embassy to pursue a Master’s in environmental sciences, after following a

Initially, Nupur found herself investing her personal savings on her enterprise but over the years, Pro Waste Concepts has gained the sustainability that allows it to address waste management in a systematic,

“WASTE MANAGEMENT IS NOT JUST PICKING UP WASTE AND DUMPING IT SOMEWHERE. SWEEPING IS DECEPTIVE CLEANING” calling to do “something meaningful”. She then moved to Bengaluru in 2010 and started working with several NGOs and organizations to learn the practical aspects of waste management. She says, “I understood that to address the issue of waste management, I needed to take up a professional approach.Thus, Pro Waste Concepts came into being.”

holistic and decentralised manner. Headquartered at Bengaluru, Pro Waste Concepts works with seven large public and private institutions, including Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advance Scientific Research, Bengaluru, and Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar. One of Nupur’s most crucial targets is to achieve a future where citAUGUST 2018


PHOTO BY ALFONSO NAVARRO ON UNSPLASH

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ies are devoid of landfills. To do this, her company ensures end-to-end procedures on the scene to establish Zero Waste Zones. But the dream is still fairly far from realization. Even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has helped create awareness among the common people about cleanliness, it has not educated them about what to do with their garbage, how to segregate, recycle and dispose it. “It has not

her dedicated years of waste management services, Nupur has experienced equal resistance, if not more, from ‘the educated ones’. To tackle this apparent struggle against change, Pro Waste Concepts works relentlessly with the community at the very ground level. “Our model is people-based; effective communication with all stakeholders is the key,” says Nupur. Her company’s mission, according to Nupur, is “to change people’s

eased my work at all,” says Nupur. “Effective waste management is a long way to go.” Despite the significant lack of awareness, inefficient infrastructure and the presence of a considerable gap among bulk generators at a large scale, the toughest challenge, according to Nupur, is inducing behavioural change in people. In

habit of throwing waste, and instead segregating it and giving it to recycling centres.” This technique, says Nupur, not only helps clients reduce their spending on waste collection, but also earn from the sale of their recyclables. In the process, it is redefining waste as something that is not to be thrown, but given. To know more, visit prowaste.org. 

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22 | PERSONAL COVER STORY GROWTH

TAPPING INDIA’S POTENTIAL

With her social enterprise m.Paani, Akanksha Hazari is using the mobile revolution to help Indians earn more and spend smarter

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By Aekta Kapoor

ven as a child, Akanksha Hazari was driven by a purpose to change the world. She launched her first enterprise at 21 after graduating from Princeton University in the US, and handed it on before moving to the UK to do her MBA at University of Cambridge. “I like the idea of building things that outlast you,” says the dynamic 34-year old founder and CEO of m.Paani, a hyperlocal mass-market loyalty programme that converts day-to-day expenses into points that can be exchanged for life-changing benefits, besides empowering retailers to survive in a fast-changing business landscape. Born in Pune and raised in Hong Kong from the age of 10, Akanksha’s mother, a teacher and a runner, inculcated in her a love for sports. “My parents raised me like a tomboy,” recalls Akanksha, explaining that sports helps teenagers and especially girls develop

confidence and strength. (“There’s data to support that there’s less domestic violence in families where the woman is sporty,” she adds as an aside.) A professional athlete and squash player in her teens, a two-time Indian national champion and ranked one of the top 20 juniors in the world, Akanksha was keen to play squash at the Olympics – except it wasn’t an Olympic sport yet. In the late 1990s, she made a ‘deal’ with her parents: if squash was announced as a sport in the 2008 Olympics, she’d stick with it. Else, she’d study medicine, as her mother wanted her to. Squash wasn’t announced as an Olympic sport (it still isn’t), and so Akanksha retired from pro-squash and joined Princeton for pre-med. There, she changed her mind, and studied politics and Middle East studies instead. “My mother was disappointed but then my brother became a doctor,” she laughs. AUGUST 2018


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24 | COVER STORY

Akanksha Hazari receiving the prestigious US $1 million Hult Prize for the creation of new social enterprises

Akanksha went on to work in Palestine and UAE for a few years, developing her business skills. By the time she arrived in India at the age of 27, she had already lived and travelled in several countries around the globe. She decided to work in the field of agriculture so that she could “get to know India better”. She took up a research project on how technology could offer solutions to create value in rural areas. The next year was a remarkable journey for the young woman as she traversed the length and breadth of the country, often alone, mostly living in villages. “Our country has everything it needs: resources, beauty, history, culture, diversity. But we take it for granted,” she says, pausing before adding, “Gandhi’s

vision [of India being self-reliant] is very possible if we live that way and build our economy that way.” Modernisation doesn’t have to mean Westernisation, she adds. uring her travels, she was struck by a strange contrast: on one hand, the mobile revolution had ensured that over half the population had access to a mobile phone. On the other hand, most of the same people did not even have access to safe drinking water. Another thing that caught her attention was the ubiquitous kirana (grocery and general goods) store. “No matter how underprivileged the area, there was always a corner store offering Coca Cola or Dettol soap.” Even poor villagers had consumer power, after all, and FMCG brands had

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managed to penetrate the least connected areas on the Indian map. Infrastructure in India had a long way to go, but some things worked. It was later while doing her MBA at Cambridge that Akanksha had an opportunity to participate in the prestigious Hult Prize, competing to create a business model to solve water crises. She spent a year developing the idea and eventually won the US $1 million prize. “My problem statement was: How do you use something that’s working to solve something that’s not working?” The solution was m.Paani. The platform, launched in 2014, brings together local businesses – from

kirana stores to chemists to barber shops – and uses consumer power to offer necessary services. “Every user gets points when they purchase any goods from one of the partner stores in their neighbourhood,” she explains. “They can use these points to purchase water filters or other essential goods, and pay utility bills, even their children’s school fees.” The platform has a double impact. With just a mobile number required, it empowers the consumer whose spend goes a longer way. Alongside, it also helps small business owners – most of whom don’t have the wherewithal to resist the onslaught of ecommerce and large

Clockwise from top left: Akanksha receiving the India Rising Star Award from Google’s Gautam Gandhi; on the Hult Prize stage; Akanksha (front row, second from left) after receiving the Vital Voices 2016 Global Leadership for Economic Empowerment Award from Hillary Clinton; with former US President Bill Clinton AUGUST 2018


26 | COVER STORY

supermarket chains – to digitize operations, develop a loyalty programme and retain customers. So far, thanks to two rounds of financing from investors, m.Paani already has half a million customers, and over 5,000 retailers on board from Mumbai and surrounding areas, besides some in Delhi, Mysore and parts of Gujarat. The team, now numbering 50, has won several awards, including one from the Vital Voices Global Partnership, an NGO set up by Hillary Clinton. “We plan to scale to 20,000 retailers in tier 1 and 2 cities within the next year,” says Akanksha, who is an Ashoka Fellow. he past year has been eventful for Akanksha in more ways. Poised and professional, she nevertheless breaks into a warm, shy laugh as she shares that she recently married her

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Swedish partner, Gustaf Ericson, and is all set to have a traditional wedding with him in Stockholm this month. “He’s a consultant in private-equity and knows the difficulties of setting up an enterprise on this scale. He moved to India because I’m building a company here,” she says, adding that the two share a love for the outdoors. “We go running and cycling together. He participates in the Iron Man triathlon, and has covered more of India in trains than I have!” Having spent half her life abroad, Akanksha wears her love for her country on her sleeve, and is keen to be a stakeholder in its economic growth. “India needs the best of the old along with the best of the new,” she affirms. And with her track record and passion, she’s the right woman to make it happen. 

Above: Akanksha (front row, far right) began playing squash as a child, and won several trophies during her school years in Hong Kong; right: with her Swedish husband, Gustaf AUGUST 2018


LEADERSHIP | 27

THE HEIRESS OF EMAMI

Born into a community that barred women from family businesses, Priti Sureka’s entry into the Emami group was fraught with challenges By Rinku Paul and Puja Singhal

tially”. The market reaction was an instant thumbs down on the BSE where Emami’s share price registered a decline. It was a test by fire for Priti Sureka, daughter of Radhe Shyam Agarwal, the co-founder of Emami.This wasn’t the first time that Emami had made what was being seen as a risky acquisition. “Our strength lies in being able to identify categories Priti Sureka with high potential. We like to enter under-penetrated, niche categoune 2015. The entire indus- ries and turn them into blockbuster try was buzzing with the businesses,” says Priti. But she admits news of the acquisition of that the extent of the negative marthe hair care brand Kesh ket reactions at the time of Kesh King, the largest acquisition ever in King’s acquisition had left even her, the 40-plus year history of Emami. someone who was no stranger to At `1,651 crore, the valuation was dealing with naysayers, shocked. pegged at over five times Kesh Although the deal itself was fraught King’s sales, equivalent to about 15 with risk, it was the aftermath that percent of Emami’s `2,030-crore proved an even bigger challenge for turnover in the previous fiscal. The her. The company was saddled with deal had analysts questioning the a substantial amount of inventory “valuation for a brand whose sales that came by way of under-reported derived mostly from smaller markets stocks, which significantly impacted that too at a time when the hair care profitability in the short term. What category was not growing exponen- followed was the unusual move of

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28 | LEADERSHIP

buying back of old stocks by Emami, in an effort to stabilize the prices. All the blood and sweat paid off when Emami could report profits sooner than expected and in November 2016 the same analysts reported how Emami had put its “best foot forward to push sales of Kesh King”.The brand was reported to be contributing an estimated `7580 crore to the `584 crore Emami top line in the second quarter of the fiscal. “I personally consider turning Kesh King around one of my biggest

in the business. In turn Priti found herself increasingly fascinated by the different facets that go into building a product. “Emami has been my training ground from a very young age, my karmabhoomi so to say. I have learnt more observing my father than what a business school could have possibly taught me. The endless experimentations with formulations, the customer insight, and finally the design and marketing were all very intriguing. I got hooked to the business without even realizing it.”

L-R: Priti had been going to the Emami office since childhood; with her father Radhe Shyam Agarwal

successes in what has been a fairly long and eventful career at Emami,” says Priti. A long association it certainly has been. “I was in grade five or six when I would walk down to my father’s office right after school. To every question of what I wanted to be when I grow up, my answer was always a businesswoman.” Unlike many other business families of the time, her father didn’t discourage his daughter’s interest

Set up by Priti’s father Radhe Shyam Agarwal and his namesake and best friend Radhe Shyam Goenka, the company that started with a meager capital of `20,000 is today a diversified conglomerate with its FMCG business alone having a market cap of over `25,000 crore. A chip off the same block, there was no holding Priti back when it came to joining the family business, even though she was aware of the many challenges. The busiAUGUST 2018


LEADERSHIP | 29

ness community in Kolkata in those times, comprising largely of Marwari businesses, was a close-knit group of men who strongly discouraged their wives or daughters from joining the business. Daughters were traditionally married off early, mostly as soon as they completed graduation, and

had a very disciplined and focused approach in life. As a child, I would get up as early as 4 a.m. to complete my studies, all before the household was up and about. This left me with enough time in the evenings to spend at office.” Seeing her determination, her father did concede to

L-R: Priti Sureka figures in the book Daughters of Legacy, which releases this month; with her family

sons were groomed to carry the legacy forward. “Everyone advised my father to get me married so that I would be busy managing my home and hearth and the thoughts of joining the business would recede into the background,” says Priti. The fact that she had two brothers further gave credence to the theory of there being no need for her to be brought into the business. Priti, however, was not one to be easily deterred. “It helped that I AUGUST 2018

her decision, though she had to go through a rigorous initiation process. Priti’s early portfolios comprised the brands Gold Turmeric and then Boroplus. Later she was also given charge of a paper mill that Emami had diversified into. Today that small unit has grown into a `500 crore company that counts marquee newspaper brands among its clients.  Excerpted from Daughters of Legacy with permission from Penguin Random House India


30 | SOCIAL MEDIA

#POETS OF

INSTAGRAM Social media is a boon for today’s poets, the ones who use words to paint pictures, and pictures to embellish words. We speak to three such women

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By Ananya Jain

ver since Indian-Canadian poet Rupi Kaur burst onto Instagram and then the publishing world with her beautifully tragic poetry four years ago, Instagram poetry has been recognized as a potent tool of expression for the female Indian voice. With a

platform that offers both global reach and a safe space, more young women are writing uninhibitedly, without fear of judgment, unafraid to take on real issues even if it means courting controversy. Today’s #InstaPoets are brutally honest about their truths. Here are three of them. AUGUST 2018


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HARNIDH KAUR Born in a tiny Maharashtrian district called Bhandara, self-proclaimed ‘shaukeen’ (epicure) Harnidh Kaur has spent most of her life shuttling between Delhi and Mumbai, and continues to do so. She pursued her undergraduate degree in history at Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi, and did her Master’s in public policy at

i don’t know how to write this poem. it turns into a distress alert every time i put a word after the other. i write of spring days and how the city i’m in is meeting cherry blossoms soon and it ends up reading like the obituary of a winter with no name. instagram.com/harnidhk AUGUST 2018

St. Xavier’s, Mumbai. She currently works as a policy analyst with non profits, focusing on urban sanitation, providing basic resources to marginalised communities. The 23-year-old attributes her inclination towards poetry to her parents: while her mum was a professor of literature, her father always encouraged her to spend her money on experiences, such as reading,


32 | SOCIAL MEDIA

art and music. Later on, it proved to be a healthy channel of expression and helped her deal with depression and even anger management. In her words, poetry gave her ‘power’. She speaks highly of Instagram, where she has over 20,000 followers, and believes that social media has led to the rise of new voices and democratised the freedom of expression.The fact is that social media has taught us empathy, connected people, and helped us reach out, she says. Harnidh often makes unselfconscious statements along with her

Safety Summit earlier this year along with five other young social-media icons from around the world to talk about how “teens and technology are changing the world”. And she will be representing India as a delegate at the G(irls)20 Conference in Argentina in October this year. While Harnidh is grateful to social media for the opportunities it has created, she also encourages young

“ON TINDER, MEN ARE LIKE, WOW, YOU’RE A POET, WILL YOU WRITE POETRY ABOUT ME?” poetry on Instagram and during her slam performances – from Manipal to Washington DC – inviting attention to the fact that she’s a ‘raging feminist’ and a plus-sized woman belonging to the minority Sikh community.Yet, though most people still don’t take Harnidh’s job as a policy analyst seriously when they find out that she writes poetry (“On Tinder, men are just like, wow, you’re a poet, will you write poetry about me?”), the social-media world is taking her seriously enough. She was invited to be a panelist for Facebook’s Global

Harnidh (far left) at Facebook’s Safety Summit

writers to never let ‘likes’ or comments suppress or discourage them. “What sells the most isn’t always the best. I could give you a list of key words – collarbones, smoke – and you would surely go viral, but is that what you really want?” Instead she encourages budding poets to write, to hone their skills, practice and realise that their words matter, that their voices could someday be part of a more important history. AUGUST 2018


SOCIAL MEDIA | 33

I haven’t written in a while, I don’t know if I have run out of synonyms and metaphors or just you. All my verses find a way of tracing their steps back to you and I am yet not ready to let go. And I can only hope this poem doesn’t feel as broken as I do. instagram.com/roohanii_

feels exactly the same way. Instagram as a platform has helped Eighteen-year-old Reet was born her connect with other writers, and raised in Kanpur and is cur- collaborate with new people and rently studying psychology at make new friends. However, Reet Delhi University. Her pen name is worried and wary of the platform ‘Roohanii’, meaning ‘soulful’, is the becoming slightly pretentious, drivword she associates most with her- en by mostly likes and comments, self. She recalls how she started writ- rather than any real meaning. ing in the second grade when she The teenager idolises American discovered homophones: she wrote poet Sarah Kay, the founder and her first poem for her mum. co-director of Project V.O.I.C.E that Her Instagram page, where she uses spoken words as an educationposts both English and Hindi poems, al and inspirational tool. Reet seeks is a recent project, and she has already to add just a touch of beauty to the found that words ‘connect people’, world, in whatever way she can, and makes them realise that they aren’t believes writers should be their own alone and that someone somewhere judge and write from their hearts.

REET / ROOHANII

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34 | SOCIAL MEDIA

MEGHA RAO Megha Rao, who terms herself ‘fierce’, was born in Kerala, but spent half her childhood living in Singapore. She completed her post-graduation from the University

of Nottingham in UK and now lives with her sisters in Mumbai, where she currently works as the content lead for Terribly Tiny Tales, an app for micro-fiction. This is her first ever full-time job. But Megha is already a published AUGUST 2018


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poet and artist. She has written two works of fiction, which were published in 2015 and 2016, and her poetry often features in online magazines. She has also compiled and edited an anthology of poems, and she’s still only 22.

target and find people who appreciate her work and share the same love for art and poetry. While she does call the internet a “dark place”, she believes that it has been good for her. She chooses not to associate with the negative aspects of this

you used to tell me i had the kind of face that stopped strangers in the street, but they couldn’t look at me without feeling a little sad. i know things have died in here. i know people see it all the time. but my eyes are proof that graveyards can look beautiful. instagram.com/ _megharao

Megha began writing when she was just six, and recounts how comic books were her first attempt at writing: “I started drawing even before I wrote. But when I made these comic books, I had to fill up the speech bubbles, so I made myself write. It later turned into a hobby. And then an obsession.” With over 12,000 followers on Instagram and many others on her Tumblr account, she shares that social media helps her reach her AUGUST 2018

platform – such as stalkers and trolls – and instead uses the positives to fuel her personal growth. Rather than making it darker, she says she chooses to “spread the light”. She sees Frida Kahlo, Sylvia Plath and her mother as her biggest inspirations and appreciates passion in people. She believes writers should be honest and shameless with their art: “If you want to write, you need to get rid of inhibitions. Be brave. Your art deserves that from you.” 


36 | CAREER

THE TRAILING

SPOUSE

Women often sacrifice stable careers to follow their husbands around the world, but former corporate honcho Preeti Kumar worked out a flexi career that could go with her everywhere

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hen Preeti Kumar got married in 2013, she knew her husband had an expat profile. “In the decade preceding our marriage, he had lived in five countries. This movement was in part the nature of his work and in part his identity too,” she says. Preeti’s profile, however, was very different from his. An MBA by qualification, she had worked in various corporate roles and was by then the chief marketing officer and head of product for Dunkin Donuts in India. It was a tough call to give it

all up and become a trailing spouse. But she decided to embrace the move as an opportunity for self-enrichment, and to orchestrate her career to survive and thrive in a ‘location agnostic’ setting by up-skilling and re-skilling herself. Workforce trends indicate that more companies these days are outsourcing and offering flexible contracts to their employees and vendors. “If I could build specialized skills that were easily transferable from one company profile to another, I figured I’d have a good chance AUGUST 2018


CAREER | 37

of making it work,” she says. As media consumption and shopping has gone online, the marketing playground has rapidly moved to digital. And yet workers who have both marketing expertise as well as analytical and technical knowledge are rare. So while Preeti was in Hong Kong, she studied digital marketing at General Assembly and followed it up with a design-thinking program at Parsons New York. “The steepest learning would happen when I

roll. “Often, I signed on a project first and figured how to deliver it later!” says the 37-year-old. In late 2016, Preeti’s husband got a job in Shanghai. She immediately got a chance to work on digital marketing and innovation projects for top multinational brands and built a fantastic network of collaborators. Her company Amplify Asia acts as the China CMO for cross-border brands, helping them navigate the China digital-marketing ecosystem.

L-R: Preeti with her husband Gunjan; giving a talk on marketing; with her former partner Deepa Kamath

started to work on client projects – undoubtedly, the most crucial skillset I have learned so far is how to become a fast learner!” she smiles. After returning to Hong Kong, Preeti co-founded Amplify Digital with user-interface designer Deepa Kamath and started to work with small companies doing their website maintenance and social-media postings. Gradually she built her client AUGUST 2018

Now, it is time for the couple to move again, this time to New York. “I’ll continue to work with my clients across the globe, and I am in touch with possible collaborators in the US already,” says Preeti. By pushing the bar and developing an enterprising and giving attitude, Preeti has managed to add to her professional journey rather than restart each time.You can too! 


38 | LEGAL AID

WORKING FOR YOUR RIGHTS

These four collectives are working to ensure women’s empowerment and social participation through law and research. Reach out if you need help By Sakshi Agarwal and Anita Panda

MAJLIS, MUMBAI

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ajlis was founded in 1991 by Flavia Agnes, a feminist lawyer, and Madhusree Dutta, a filmmaker, to provide legal assistance to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. The idea is to empower women to effectively make use of Indian laws. In collaboration with NGOs, they have courses on law for women across colleges in Mumbai. They also provide gender-sensitization training to police officers as well as judges and magistrates in the state. Of late, they are in the process of reviving a program in which women were provided stipends and training to take up other women’s cases. They seek to initiate a similar ‘multiplier effect’ in the media through special courses. Website: majlislaw.com. Phone: +91 22 26662394 / 26661252. Email: majlislaw@gmail.com AUGUST 2018


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CENTRE FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH, DELHI

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entre for Social Research (CSR) was set up in 1983 by a group of social scientists. Though initially the organisation had broader objectives, it has narrowed its scope to gender-related issues with the mission to empower the women and girls of India, guarantee their rights, and increase understanding of social issues from a gender perspective. It functions through four departments, and some of their key issue areas include violence against women, prenatal sex selection, engendered governance, women and economy, gender sensitisation, and mainstreaming within all sectors of society. Learn more about CSR’s oldest and most established programme, the Gender Training Institute, at gendertraining. in. The programme focuses on identifying gendered interactions within one’s own life in varied contexts, from media to the economy, and works to facilitate women’s empowerment and social justice through capacity building and training-related activities. They are also extremely active on social media and you can reach out to them on Facebook @csrindia.org and on Twitter and Instagram @csr_india. Website: csrindia.org. Phone: +91 11 26899998 / 26125583. Email: info@csrindia.org AUGUST 2018


40 | LEGAL AID

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SWAYAM, KOLKATA

wayam, which literally translates to “oneself ”, is an organisation based out of Kolkata with the aim of providing holistic to support to victims of violence. It provides shelter, healthcare and child support, as well as vocational training referrals, career counselling and employment. In case the victim lacks the funds, financial aid for legal processes is also provided. “At Swayam we believe that not only should women be aware of their legal rights, they should also be empowered to spread this knowledge to other people,” says Gargee Guha, casework coordinator. The organisation runs drop-in centres, where women, accompanied by their children can visit and relax. Another critical part of the experience they provide is the creation of support groups, which allow women to share their experience with others; this catharsis is supported by emotional strength derived from fellow members, which reduces the sense of isolation. Additionally, they provide self-defence classes and other workshops, and run a magazine and theatre group. Website: swayam.info. Phone: +91 33 2486 3367 / 3368 / 3357. Email: swayam@cal.vsnl.net.in AUGUST 2018


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LAWYERS COLLECTIVE, DELHI

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awyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative (LCWRI) is a branch of the Lawyers Collective, which was founded in 1981 by lawyers Anand Grover and Indira Jaising. LCWRI itself was founded a decade later. It began with providing legal input to victims of discrimination and violence, ranging from assault to commercial exploitation. In the course of time, it also expanded to research and analysis of the efficacy of laws and their implementation in relation to ground realities. Eventually, they decided to pioneer reform, their most successful venture being the enactment of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act in 2005. You can even volunteer with them, from writing for their blog “The Invisible Lawyers” to research work. Website: www.lawyerscollective.org. Phone: +91-11-41666385. Email: wri. delhi@lawyerscollective.org. AUGUST 2018


42 | FASHION

Looking for an exquisite Banarasi creation for the upcoming festive season? These designers create stunning masterpieces that take craftsmanship to the next level By Anupam Dabral

Dreams of Banaras


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its collaborations with the likes of Abraham & Thakore, Play Clan and Known for its interesting rendi- Archana Rao, Ekaya has created tions of traditional Banarasi weaves, timeless pieces that have been celEkaya’s mission is to reshape the cot- ebrated over the years. One of its tage industry in Banaras and convert biggest collaborations came in 2018 them into high functioning ateliers, when the label joined hands with focused on creating the finest qual- Fédération Française de la Création ity handwoven designs. The label Couture Sur Measure (also known does not just focus on employing a as C’Couture) and created wedding number of weavers in Varanasi. With couture gowns.

EKAYA

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44 | FASHION

OHFAB

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For Aanchal and Akshita Sagar, their label Ohfab came as an opportunity to get closer to their roots. While both of them were studying and working abroad, an impromptu trip to Varanasi exposed them to the sorry state of the industry. Passion and patriotism led to the launch of Ohfab. Besides reviving the age-old Banarasi techniques, they are also concentrating on creating lighter pieces infused with a modern colour palette. Their latest offering draws a bridge between tradition and modernity fusing old-school Banarasis with Bengal’s dhakkai jamdani, and saris with classic Banarasi borders.

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46 | FASHION

PAYAL KHANDWALA

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Known for her unique cuts, Payal infuses her creations with a refined sense of luxury. Be it an interplay of fabrics or engaging in a striking palette of bright hues, she treats clothes as canvases. Payal’s take on the traditional Banarasi weave can be seen in her waistcoats, tops and jackets. While she appreciates the intricacies involved in the making of this traditional weave, she is also of the opinion that if given a slightly modern context, Banarasi can become the face of modern Indian fashion.

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48 | FASHION

TILFI

Tilfi the label, which was launched in 2016, boasts of form rooted in traditional India but infused with global motifs and sense of design. Be it their experiments with traditional dyeing techniques in their khadi georgette and spun silk saris or tie-and-dye techniques, shibori and hand-painted patterns, Tilfi is redefining the way consumers think about Banarasi weaves.

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50 | BEAUTY

IT’S RAINING

GOODNESS

Soak your skin in luxurious pampering and care this monsoon with this step-by-step regime using the best products we could find By Sonal Rana

TEA TREE SKIN CLEARING FACE WASH This face wash by The Body Shop will help prevent acne this monsoon season. Made using natural ingredients, it is suitable for use on all skin types. A friend of mine suggested this to me when my skin broke out in pimples after struggling against the wrath of hard water where I lived. I have experienced good results.The face wash has a gel-like quality and soothes acne irritation. (250 ml, `999)

PANCHPUSHP FACIAL TONER A skin toner will further cleanse the skin and shrink the appearance of pores. Panchpushp Facial Toner by Forest Essentials is a hydrosol or floral water condensed during steam distillation of five different flowers: Rose, Bela, Marigold, Kewda and Saffron. Each flower extract serves a function. Rose is naturally hydrating, Bela helps in retaining moisture, Marigold has toning qualities, Kewda helps in softening and Saffron provides a natural glow to the skin. (200 ml, `1,250) AUGUST 2018


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SOOTHING MOISTURISER One’s skin is always prone to dehydration and dryness, be it humid or not. La Roche-Posay Effaclar H - MultiCompensating Soothing Moisturiser is targeted towards people with oily skin but is equally effective on other skin types as well. It contains ceramides, a naturally occurring lipid molecule that helps skin retain its moisture. It instantly calms skin. (40 ml, `5,600)

BRIGHTENING SERUM Acure Brilliantly Brightening, Glowing Serum by iHerb is certified organic,100% vegan and free of parabens, sulphate, silicone, petroleum or mineral oil. This serum is a dose of rich nutrients including argan oil which restores moisture, borage oil which soothes the skin and pumpkin seed oils which ensure oxidant protection. After moisturizing, gently apply 1-2 pumps of the serum to the face, neck and chest for best results. (30 ml, `1,389)

ORGANIC NIGHT CREAM Gift yourself some actual beauty sleep with this certified organic Nature’s Brands Herbal Choice Mari Organic Night Cream. It is cruelty-free and contains no chemicals or petroleum-based ingredients. It works especially well for people who wish to neutralize their separate oily and dry skin. Its nourishing extracts make the skin feel softer and cooler. (50 ml, `4,588) AUGUST 2018


52 | RECIPES

OAT UP YOUR DESSERT

Oats are among the healthiest whole grains on earth. They’re gluten-free and contain vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. But did you know you can also use them in delicious desserts? Try these recipes made using Quaker Oats created by Smita Srivastava and Natasha Minocha OATS GRANOLA PARFAIT Ingredients (serves 2): For granola: 3 cups Quaker Oats ¼ cup pumpkin seeds ¼ cup sunflower seeds ½ cup sliced almonds ¼ cup flax seeds 1 tbsp vegetable oil 1/3 cup honey 1/3 cup water 1 scraped vanilla bean Salt to taste For parfait: ¾ to 1 cup granola 400g low fat yogurt hung for at least 2 hours and chilled 1 tbsp icing sugar (or honey)

¾ cup diced fresh seasonal fruit Instructions: 1. Pre-heat oven to 150°C. 2. Combine vegetable oil, honey, water, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and bring up to a simmer. 3. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients. 4. Mix well and transfer to the baking tray. 5. Bake for about 45 mins, stirring

occasionally. 6. Cool and transfer to an airtight container. Granola hardens further as it cools. Instructions for parfait: 1. Lightly beat the hung yogurt with the sugar or honey till creamy. 2. Take 2 small glasses. Layer first the yogurt, then fruit and then the granola. 3. Repeat once more and top the glass generously with granola. 4. Refrigerate for an hour before serving. AUGUST 2018


RECIPES | 53

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54 | RECIPES

OATS AND DATE TRUFFLES Ingredients (8 pieces): 4 tsp roasted and powdered Quaker Oats (roast oats for 2-3 minutes, then cool and grind in a mixer) ½ cup dates pitted ¼ cup lightly roasted almonds & walnuts

2 tsp chopped raisins, figs & apricots 2 tsp skimmed milk if required ¼ cup desiccated coconut for rolling Instructions: 1. Grind the dates till

pasty. Add coarsely ground nuts, Quaker Oats, milk and mix well. 2. Shape into 7-8 balls. 3. Roll in desiccated coconut. Serve. Tip: The truffles can be refrigerated up to a week.

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RECIPES | 55

OATS APPLE CINNAMON CAKE Ingredients (for 12): 1 cup Quaker Oats 1 cup skimmed milk ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce* 2 tbsp orange juice ½ cup brown sugar 1 grated apple 1 cup buckwheat flour 1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda 1 tsp cinnamon Salt to taste

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*Method for apple sauce: Take 1 small apple, diced, combined with 2 tbsp water. Cook till apple is completely mushy. Mash to a smooth consistency. Instructions: 1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. 2. Soak Quaker Oats in milk for 15 minutes.

3. Mix all the dry ingredients. Squeeze out all the juice from the grated apple and add to oats mixture, with apple sauce and orange juice. 4. Add another tbsp of orange juice if mixture looks dry. 5. Pour batter into a 9” greased pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.


56 | RECIPES

CHOCOLATE BAKED OATS WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS Ingredients (serves 9): 1½ cups Quaker Oats 1/3 cup sugar ¼ cup melted butter/oil Egg white from 2 eggs 1 tsp baking powder ¾ cup skimmed milk 1 tsp vanilla flavour

2 tbsp cocoa 1/3 cup chocolate chips Instructions: 1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. 2. Grease an eight-inch pan or line a cupcake

tray with cupcake liners. 3. Mix all ingredients together. 4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. 5. Slice and serve.

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RECIPES | 57

OATS MISHTI DOI Ingredients (serves 2): 5 tsp roasted and powdered Quaker Oats (roast for 2-3 minutes, cool and grind in a mixer) 1 cup low fat yogurt AUGUST 2018

3 tsp sugar 2 tsp caramelized sugar Âź tsp vanilla flavour Instructions: 1. Whisk yogurt with sugar.

2. Add powdered Quaker Oats and vanilla flavour. 3. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. 4. Serve with chopped fruits. 


58 | TRAVEL

Harry and Julie Harris

THE GAP YEAR It’s not just a term used for school-leavers; even people in their 50s these days are trying out the concept of taking a year off from their regular lives, rebooting and travelling the globe By Kay Newton

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he ‘gap year’ is virtually a rite of passage for the school leaver these days, before heading either into work or onto university. Yet, it no longer belongs to the younger generation. More and more older people are also taking a year out from their regular lives. These ‘Silver Travellers’ – many of whom are in their 50s – are healthier and wealthier than ever before and are taking travelling

during their ‘gap year’ to a whole new level. The trend has become so popular that worldwide travel agents now offer this as a specialised service for the Boomer generation and are making millions.Yet, there are so many ways to take a year out and it doesn’t need to be expensive or include following the crowds on a package holiday (or is that tourist guides with bright umbrellas?). AUGUST 2018


TRAVEL | 59

Take, for example, Julie and Harry Harris. I literally bumped into them whilst walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain in September 2017. Whilst we walked, Harry talked. He talked a lot about his yearning to go to India and he hoped Julie would enjoy it too! Thank goodness she did and the couple has enjoyed two trips so far with another planned this October. “We work to save travelling money and then go to India. It

We loved the hardcore hippie colony in Goa, and getting to know people who have been spending their European winters in the sun for 20-30 years or more,” says Harry. Goa may have a reputation as a tourist destination and cheap beer, yet there are still unknown areas there that hold that special Indian energy, he adds. “Most of all, we adored the people we met while travelling across

L-R: Julie and Harry have covered quite a bit of territory in India, from the Western Ghats to capital city Delhi

is such an amazing place, colourful, smiley, chaotic, extremely friendly and cheap,” says Julie. This couple found inexpensive lodgings on the beach in Goa, shared a house with a German yoga instructor and rented a penthouse apartment in Delhi via Airbnb for just 24 pounds sterling. “India has such a different pace of life, and there is so much to see. AUGUST 2018

India by train. Arriving at an offbeat place such as Hampi and savouring its spirituality or standing in a tea plantation in the Western Ghats is so very different from our usual life in Scotland,” he goes on. The Scottish couple both talk about the highlight of the last trip being the bustle of Delhi. They found it easy to get around on the metro. The highlight of all was an


60 | TRAVEL

Jeff and Erin Harris

invitation by a Sikh friend to visit the largest gurudwara (Sikh temple) in the city. Entering the sacred space and being part of the atmosphere was only made better by the outfit supplied for the occasion! Their next trip will include Rajasthan, giving the couple a chance to sleep out in the desert and visit the horse fair at Pushkar. Then there are the other midlifers, Erin and Jeff Wiley. In 2014, the couple – who are originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA – decided to take a gap year and travel to

Europe. I met them when they came as Workaways (a platform for budget travellers and adventure seekers) to our home in Mallorca, Spain. We have been good friends ever since. “Jeff and I had talked many times about moving to Spain for a year,” Erin tells me. “After much research, we quickly learned that moving to a foreign country for an extended period of time was not as easy with a US passport. We also learned through our research that there are ways to get around the system. We could move to Europe for a year but AUGUST 2018


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we couldn’t say in one place for an extended period of time. We would have to travel from country to country. We loved it all.” Throughout the year, Erin and Jeff used private accommodation, took care of homes and animals whilst their owners were away, visited 12

van on a 12-18 month tour of the States, chasing the sun with their 13-year-old black Labrador, Ola. With three daughters, two sonsin-law, and two grandchildren living throughout the US, the Wileys already have a few destinations in mind. (You can follow their adven-

L-R: Erin and Jeff with the writer Kay (far right) and her husband James (far left) in Barcelona; in Adra, Spain

European countries, used six different currencies, stayed in hotels for just six nights out of 365, and walked a total of 2,222 miles. “We learned so much and have so many memories; the most important were the people we met along the way.We made many new friends that we treasure,” says Jeff. “It was such a wonderful experience; we were bitten badly by the travel bug.” In October last year, the couple set off again. They took their newly restored classic 25ft Airstream caraAUGUST 2018

tures on lifeinvalhalla.wordpress.com.) The world is your oyster no matter what your age. What stands out in everyone’s memories is not just the places seen but the people they met. No matter which continent or country, there is something to learn from travel that makes you a rounder and humbler person with a zest for life. It is never too late to plan an adventure. Where will you go?  Kay Newton is a personal development coach and author. Follow her on www.Kay-Newton.com


62 | PERSONAL GROWTH

ART

Past & Present

The architecture of the Alcazar in Seville, a conversation with a modernday artist – it’s an interesting contrast of cultures for this Indian tourist hile travelling, it’s not just the places that intrigue me; I am always curious to learn about the women I meet as well: ordinary women

who appear incredible to me as a visitor from far away. One such experience occurred at the Courtyard of the Maidens in Alcazar, Seville, Spain. If the name AUGUST 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY

W

By Reeti Roy


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rings a bell, it is because the iconic film, Lawrence of Arabia was shot here. More recently, the fifth season of the Game of Thrones (a series adapted from immensely popular science-fiction novels written by George R.R. Martin) was also shot here. Any Game of Thrones aficionado will instantly recognise the extensive patios, fruit orchards comprising never-ending orange trees and the riveting aesthetic of the Alcazar.

Spanish royal family as their official residence in Seville. It is now a UNESCO world heritage site. The outstanding blend of Moorish and Mujedar architecture within the Alcazar is breathtaking. During King Peter’s reign (1350 to 1369 CE), the courtyard is said to have been at the centre of the public area, where people flocked to pay their respects. Surrounded by arches, the courtyard is made up of geometric com-

L-R: Artist Sarah Guldberg with Reeti; one of Sarah’s works on display (photo credit: Marina Maestre)

The Alcazar is a royal palace in Seville, Spain, constructed at the behest of King Peter of Castille. It was built by Castilian Christians on the site of an Abbasid palace. (Abbasid is a dynasty that is widely recognised as the Golden age of Muslim culture. The dynasty ruled the Islamic caliphate from 750 BCE to 1258 CE.) To this date, upper levels of the Alcazar are used by the AUGUST 2018

positions, plant motifs and Arabic epigraphy. Legend has it that during Moorish rule, this was a space for more than a hundred women who were brought in as ‘conquests’ for the rulers. While history presents a dastardly vision of these women simply as objects of pleasure for rulers oozing machismo, I would like to think that they forged friendships of their own in this beautiful courtyard, and


negotiated their spaces despite their All through the month of July curbed freedoms. this year, Sarah exhibited her works As I was thinking these thoughts at the upper floor (Apadaero wing) and strolling out of the court- of the Alcazar. She uses definitive, yard, I met a woman named Sarah bold brushstrokes and sheds light Guldberg displaying on a world of textile her artwork just outthrough watercoDURING MOORISH side the Alcazar. She lour and geometric RULE, THIS WAS A emanated light, and patterns. Her use of her artwork really SPACE FOR MORE THAN metallic watercolour reflected everything is particularly fasciA HUNDRED WOMEN I had seen within the nating, as every time courtyard. WHO WERE BROUGHT the light falls on any I explained to her of her paintings, the IN AS ‘CONQUESTS’ that I was fascinated image changes. As a by her work and was tourist from India, I FOR THE RULERS interested in knowleft Seville’s Alcazar ing her story. Sarah with a feeling of said she grew up in Denmark, and kinship with an incredible woman trained as a textile designer. The following her own path, a sense of geometry and patterns of Moorish wondrousness at the mastery of the architecture fascinated her so much ancient architects, and deep respect that she has been living in Spain for for the artists of the world who the past 25 years. uplift humanity.  AUGUST 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: PIXABAY

64 | TRAVEL


CONTEST | 65

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66 | SCREENSHOT

Value Creation NEERA KOHLI, 61, DELHI

M

y father was a senior police officer and my mother a homemaker. I was born in Jalandhar and raised in Delhi, fed on values of giving back to society. Considering teaching to a noble profession, I did my B.Ed, M.Ed and then two Master’s in English and political science. Once I started teaching at a Delhi school, however, teaching became a passion. After 33 years of service, I retired last year from my vice-principal’s position at a well-known public school. But there was still a lot left in me! So I launched a programme called ‘The New Me’ to empower the youth with personal development tools. Kids today are bombarded with information but not values and ways to use it. Basing my workshops on Buddhist principles of happiness and positive thinking, I began reaching out to schools and teachers. One workshop led to another through word of mouth, and in just one year, I’ve had the good fortune to conduct 20 workshops for both students and teachers. The validation for my work came when a girl in one of the happiness workshops said, “I wish your session had been longer.” We need to teach our youth to add value to each moment, each day. And we need our educators to be true role models. We don’t need a thousand people to start a revolution. As Malala Yousafzai said, “One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”  AUGUST 2018


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Profile for eShe

eShe Aug 2018  

With Akanksha Hazari, founder of m.Paani, on the cover, this issue is all about technology for life. Meet women who have used mobile connect...

eShe Aug 2018  

With Akanksha Hazari, founder of m.Paani, on the cover, this issue is all about technology for life. Meet women who have used mobile connect...

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