eShe October 2018

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|1 PERSONAL GROWTH October 2018 Vol 2 Issue 10 `150

Eina Ahluwalia

Jewellery with a message for women: “Be fierce, be fearless, be irrepressible”

K-BEAUTY REPORT Why does South Korean beauty have such a cult following in India?

FASHION SPECIAL This season’s top looks + Payal Khandwala’s feminist new collection

RIDE TO LIVE Sarah Kashyap is nailing the world’s toughest bike rallies


ON THE COVER: Eina Ahluwalia PHOTO CREDIT: Atikaa Ahluwalia



Live to Ride


The Dawn of K-Beauty


Feminist Blue


Best of Season




Casting in Kashmir


No Ordinary Reign


A Gluten-Free Lunch


The Missing Ingredient

Infinite Happiness

A visit to the Leela Kovalam is an uplifting experience


Daredevil bike rallyist Sarah Kashyap

Why Indian millennials are crazy about it

Meet fashion designer Payal Khandwala

The top looks from Lakme Fashion Week

Conceptual jewellery designer Eina Ahluwalia

A behind-the-scenes Bollywood experience

A review of Ruby Lal’s new book, Empress

Recipes for a delicious five-course meal

What led to Unsanskari Stree’s divorce




t’s that time of the year when we celebrate fashion – the beautiful, the inspirational and the fearless. There’s a lot you can learn from going through these pages besides the season’s trends. Our cover personality Eina Ahluwalia, for instance, has never bothered herself with what’s ‘in trend’. Instead, the conceptual jewellery she designs has a deeper meaning hidden inside it, which you must discover for yourself (p.32). So is the case with artist-designer Payal Khandwala, whose colour-blocked, striking creations have always stood out boldly in the over-embellished landscape of Indian fashion. She shares the empowering inspiration behind her latest collection – a feminist tribe from Africa (p.14). In our coverage of Lakme Fashion Week winter-festive 2018, you’ll find all kinds of stunning outfits and inspirations of 14 designers whose work Aekta Kapoor really impressed us (p.20). And to keep you updatEditor and Publisher ed about the latest in the world of skincare, there’s a report on K-beauty, which already has a cult following in India (p.9). All this is besides our regular programming of profiles of amazing women, relationships, spirituality, healthy recipes, authors and books. Start reading! Mentor: Kul Bhushan Editor and Publisher: Aekta Kapoor Marketing and Research: Nyamat Bindra ( Brand Managers: Amrita Nagpal, Pallavi Pratap Malik Contributors: Kaveri Jain, Kay Newton, ‘Unsanskari Stree’, Varsha Adusumilli

All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction in any manner is prohibited. Published by Aekta Kapoor from Coral Content, 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. For queries, write to To subscribe to the free digital edition, visit OCTOBER 2018

NEWS | 5

STOP PRESS A spotlight on women in the news and news of interest to women GETTING AWAY WITH ADULTERY Indignant voices have criticised the Supreme Court’s striking down of the adultery law. Fact is, this law was of no use to women: if her husband strayed, this law didn’t apply to her, and if she strayed herself, it hung like a Damocles sword over her lover’s head. The court has done right to decriminalize adultery. Those aggrieved by it can still use it in the civil court – as grounds for divorce.

TANUSHREE VS PREDATOR #MeToo has reached India where it was most needed: Bollywood. Young actress Tanushree Dutta took the bull by its horns and spoke up against top actor Nana Patekar for taking advantage of his position to touch her inappropriately on set 10 years ago. In return, she was hit with a court case by him and intimidation by a political party known for its criminal arm-twisting tactics. Very few in the industry have spoken up for her. But we hope her actions will deter male predators and encourage other survivors to speak up in future.

NO RELIGION FOR WOMEN The court has decided that women of all ages are now allowed to enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple and groups of so-called ‘devout devotees’ are upset about it, saying it is against ‘ancient rituals’ to have menstruating women inside. But the ritual of disallowing women is only as old as the 1990s. OCTOBER 2018




Sarah Kashyap is the only woman among the top 10 rallyists from India, and it’s been a tough, adrenaline-spiked journey


here she was, a five-foot nothing 29-year-old astride a Royal Enfield, riding 3,000 km over tough terrain. It was the Raid de Himalaya, considered the mecca of rallyists, the highest rally raid in the world, a race only 20 percent of drivers finish. After five days of riding in the October chill, with extremely low oxygen levels, over roads that were mostly icy river beds, sleeping in minus 25˚C, and waking up at 4 am to start off again, Sarah Kashyap confronted a roadblock of a more painful kind. She fell and broke a collarbone. But it was the last day of the race; there were only 200 km left to go. Gritting her teeth, Sarah got back on her bike and willed herself to finish the race. She became the first Indian woman to ever do so. “You hardly get to see one wom-

an among every 70 or 80 men in a rally,” says Sarah, who is used to sticking out. Born in Chandigarh, Sarah was greatly influenced by her intrepid father who loved biking cross-country on holidays and a brother who went for judo practice with her and was instrumental in her becoming a gold medallist in National Judo Championships. “My brother first taught me to ride a bike,” says Sarah of how her lifelong obsession began, fuelled by her father who coached her, “Don’t be scared. Be prepared.” She bought her first bike while working in Bengaluru several years ago. By then, she had completed her MBA, worked at Google’s UK office and spent time with her parents in Chandigarh. One day, Sarah decided to ride from Bengaluru to Chandigarh all by herself on her new bike. “It took 21 days,” she recalls. “I OCTOBER 2018





Sarah Kashyap

mostly stayed at army accommodation or hotels. It was great.”Though she hadn’t told her parents she was arriving on a bike, her father was proud to see her. “Go on, go to Ladakh now, complete your journey,” he said. And so, off she went. Soon after, she landed a job at her dream company: Royal Enfield. As part of the strategic initiatives team in Chennai, she was one of the core ride team to test new features on the legendary Indian bike. “I was one of very few women in the entire automotive industry,” she chuckles. Then Raid de Himalaya happened, and then Desert Storm, where Sarah is the only woman to be in the overall top 10 of any cross-country rally in India. Her

next target is the Dakar Rally 2019 in South America, where she aims to be the first Asian woman ever to make it to the start line. The 33-year-old has moved to Manali so that she can train in the hills. She’s also hired a crew and trains other women. “My brother asks me, why don’t you get married and live a normal life? But he’s only joking. I became a rallyist when I was nearly 30 years old, and it has transformed my life. I have learnt to be tough and to believe in myself. I used to be afraid of falling off a cliff, but now I feel no fear. I know I will keep going till my last breath.” This month Sarah is at the Raid de Himalaya again.There’s only one reason why: “This is my calling.”  OCTOBER 2018




Why does K-beauty have such a cult following in India? We head to India’s first K-BeautyCon to find out


throng of women and men from around India descended upon the Palladium mall in Chennai’s Phoenix MarketCity last month with just one keyword on their lips: K-beauty. OCTOBER 2018

They were there to participate and shop at India’s first ever K-BeautyCon, an event that included panel discussions, masterclasses with makeup artists, and blogger meets featuring some of the biggest beauty


influencers from India and the top beauty brands from South Korea. The event was a part of the mall’s month-long celebration of Asian culture including anime, Asian cinema, K-pop and eSports. But there’s no doubt that K-beauty has a cult-like following unlike any other import from the rest of Asia. In fact, if the craze among

says Nishant PK, head of sales for Limese India. Nishant’s company, which is based in India and South Korea and was launched two years ago by three former MBA classmates at Indian School of Business, not only manufactures its own beauty products under the brand name Limese, they also serve as the sole distributor for other top-selling

L-R: Klairs beauty products sold out within hours when first launched on; Limese sheet masks

well-heeled millennials on Instagram is anything to go by, it’s the next big thing for beauty junkies; Indian brands had better watch out. What is it about South Korean beauty that makes it such a natural fit for a country like India? For one, it’s because in both countries, the focus is on skincare over cosmetics,

independent Korean brands such as A. by Bom and Dear Klairs (or just Klairs), one of the highest rated beauty brands on Amazon. These brands already had a high organic demand in India due to their rumoured high effectiveness with endowing visibly fairer and flawless skin, and were being imOCTOBER 2018


ported through illegal channels way before Limese made it available officially. “The first time we listed Klairs products on (priced from Rs 1,200 to 2,100), we sold a product a minute and went out of stock within hours. It was completely unexpected,” says Kaushal Shah, head of operations for Limese. Nykaa, in fact, now has

trusted everywhere in the world. “I was so sure about their quality that I tried over 200 K-beauty brands to solve my acne and pigmentation problem,” says Shelley Nayak, a senior project engineer working in civil planning, who imported the products through Instagram sellers, and didn’t mind paying the extra customs fee.

L-R: Beauty blogger Ankita Arora (; engineer and K-beauty maven, Shelley Nayak

a dedicated section for Korean skincare offering over a dozen brands. Another reason for the success of K-beauty products among the more evolved beauty addicts is that – as a country with over 4,000 homegrown beauty labels and very stringent production values – South Korean beauty brands are highly OCTOBER 2018

Her various experiments in Korean products led to the launch of her blog, South Korea Beauty Blog from India ( and she is now quite a celebrity in the domain. “What I respect about K-beauty is that they spend their money on research and development, and not so much on marketing,”


L-R: Founders of She Skin by Seoul-Made, Kunal Puri and Noel Ham; the She Skin counter at K-BeautyCon

says the 27-year-old civil engineer K-beauty really scores,” says the who found her beauty salvation in Mumbai-based entrepreneur who brands like CosRX and Troiareuke. blogs at The “Unlike in India, K-beauty prod- 33-year-old rolls her eyes at the ucts are not celebfamed 10-step rity endorsed, and K-beauty regime, “K-BEAUTY BRANDS are marketed only though: “It’s too SPEND THEIR MONEY through word of heavy for me; it mouth by religious clogs my pores,” ON RESEARCH AND followers. They’re DEVELOPMENT, NOT SO she says, adding also very transparthat she cut down ent about their in- MUCH ON MARKETING” on the number of gredients, unlike in products and now India,” she avers. uses only about Her fellow beauty blogger Anki- four throughout the day. ta Arora agrees. “Buyers are more “K-beauty products are high on aware now; they go through in- hydration, which is good for acgredients lists and they know what ne-prone skin like mine,” says Ankiworks for their skin. That’s where ta who came upon the K-beauty OCTOBER 2018


brand Laneige while on a trip to Hong Kong and is hooked to it. She sources it now through, a leading retailer for K-beauty in India. In fact, such is the demand for Korean products in India that She Skin, a two-month old beauty label from Indo-Korean brand Seoul-

Beauty writer and K-beauty fan Kannagi Desai

Made, decided to launch it at the K-BeautyCon first. The brainchild of two friends, Noel Ham and Kunal Puri, the brand has launched a line of four products priced Rs 2,500 to 6,500 especially for the Indian market. One of them, the Micro Bubble Cleanser, uses a patented microbubble technology to avoid scrubbing the face too hard. “We use only high-quality natuOCTOBER 2018

ral ingredients and were originally making products called Dr She for plastic surgeons in Korea and Japan to help patients heal after surgery,” says Noel, a Korean American who has lived in Bengaluru for three years. “In fact, all products have 93– 95 percent concentration of natural ingredients instead of water as the primary ingredient. That makes them highly effective from the very first day of use.” Beauty writer Kannagi Desai would agree. A fan of K-beauty products ever since Innisfree made its entry into India a few years ago, she has been closely following the evolution of K-beauty in India and is pretty pleased about it. Indians are comfortable with the idea of natural ingredients in their products, says the Mumbai-based writer, especially due to our history of Ayurveda. “And K-beauty products such as sheet masks, which cost as little as Rs 100 a piece, are a great way to lure younger customers who may not be able to shell out large sums at one go,” she says. “K-beauty is also less weird than J-beauty,” Kannagi goes on with a grave, all-knowing nod, indicating that the odd ingredients and application procedures of Japanese beauty products may perhaps turn off some people in India. But that’s the stuff of another story. Until J-beauty arrives on Indian shores, K-beauty can make hay. 




Payal Khandwala’s latest collection inspired by a matrilineal African tribe is a continued ode to her old muse: the intelligent, non-conformist woman


ayal Khandwala was searching for a particular shade of blue for her new collection when she recalled an image of tribal African women she’d seen in an old issue of National Geographic. The contrast of the women’s blue abayas against the beige sand drew her, and she set out to research who these women were. What she found left her amazed. “The Tuaregs are a Muslim tribe that have survived more than 1,000 years. And today, they’re more relevant than ever,” says the 44year old artist-designer whose distinct style signature has made quite a mark in the industry just a few years after she launched her eponymous label. “It is not just that the Tuaregs are matrilineal but

Payal Khandwala OCTOBER 2018


Payal Khandwala’s latest collection ‘The New Order’ is inspired by the strength of the Tuareg women, and the men who stand behind them


women genuinely enjoy equal status in society,” she explains of her autumn-winter 2018 collection, ‘The New Order’. “They own homes and animals even after they marry. Their opinions are valued. They are allowed the same freedom as their men, and can take as many lovers as they want. These women marry later and divorces call for celebration because the women are single again.” What surprised the Ahmedabad-born designer most about the tribe was the fact that the women kept their faces uncovered and men had to veil theirs after puberty in front of most women and elders, except their wives and girlfriends. “I found this to be so intriguing,” says Payal, especially when a tribe considered ‘primitive’ is compared to the Western world that prides itself in being ‘progressive’. “The men and women there are equally invested in making sure women are empowered,” says the artist. Born the only child to a father who loved reading philosophy and a mother who hailed from a family of poets and playwrights, Payal was brought up ‘like a boy’ and encouraged to follow her creative pursuits. Having done her BFA from Parsons in New York, she went on to study another OCTOBER 2018


Suede, velvets, handwoven silks and organzas are put across in shapes that marry both structure and drape. Payal Khandwala’s signature Tachi accessories in steel borrow from the shapes and symbols of traditional Tuareg silver jewellery.


The Tuaregs are sometimes called the ‘Blue People’ because the indigo pigment in the cloth of their traditional robes and turbans stains their skin dark blue.


six months in Barcelona and moved back to India in 2002, taking up full-time painting. After her wedding in 2007, her husband encouraged her to take up fashion design “because I couldn’t find clothes I could wear.” So successful were her collections that he left his own investment banking career and took on the mantle of her business instead. Payal’s label now retails from three of their own standalone stores and almost a dozen multi-brand stores around the country. As per her original plan, Payal only makes clothes she herself would wear, clothes that are comfortable, make the wearer feel good, and have an artistic quality to them. “I gained and lost 25 kg during pregnancy. I understand women’s bodies. That helps me isolate my brand story,” she explains. Payal is concerned about the messages young children get regarding social and body norms, and teaches her nineyear-old daughter not to be enslaved by fashion. “No one should care what’s in trend,” she says. Someone recently asked her how her new collection would help the Tuaregs. She replied, “I don’t think they need our help. We are the ones who need inspiration from them. It’s time to rewrite what is ‘conventional’ and what is ‘modern’.”  OCTOBER 2018




The recent Lakme Fashion Week will set the tone for what you wear this festive season. Here’s a glimpse at the some of the best shows at the event, and the key styles to watch out for ABRAHAM & THAKORE

Abraham & Thakore presented a collection titled ‘Cocktails and Samosas’. Banarasi fabric was given a new interpretation as two shades of gold were inter-woven with black. The pieces included a brocade front wrap tie-up dress, kimono-style kurtas, peplum blouses, besides saris in gold and black brocade. OCTOBER 2018



Monisha Jaising presented the grand finale collection titled ‘Shades of a Diva’. It opened with a stunning performance by the nine artists of the world’s largest entertainment group, Cirque du Soleil. The creations included figure-sculpting silhouettes with precious elements and colourful fabrics. OCTOBER 2018



Nachiket Barve used R | Elan, a specially engineered fabric, in his ‘Millennial Maharanis’ collection. Inspired by the globetrotting Indian royalty of the twenties and thirties, he married the traditional and the modern milieu with rich yet lightweight outfits embellished with beading, appliqué and resham embroidery. OCTOBER 2018



Gaurang’s ‘Anupama’ collection was inspired by the legendary south Indian star Savitri, known for her style. Luxurious brocades, silks, organzas, hand woven sateens and chiffons came together in rich jewel tones.


Nupur Kanoi’s ‘Protea’ collection explored the eclecticism of Cape Town, with its nautical, bohemian and chic aspect. Glass beadwork was interestingly used to create optical illusion-like embroideries. OCTOBER 2018



Urvashi Joneja’s collection ‘Away’ was all about flying away and breaking through the glass ceiling. With Rhea Chakraborty as showstopper, the key look was graphics of shattered fragments appearing as birds.


Ankur and Priyanka Modi’s ‘Gypset’ collection was aimed at the jet-setting, free-spirited but sophisticated dresser. Fabrics such as silk, wool and organza were embellished with stone, leather and lush embroidery. OCTOBER 2018



Payal Singhal’s collection ‘Mu’asir’ was an ode to the modern bride, and derived its inspiration from folk art tapestry. The colour palette was varied and key looks included tiny cholis with multi-coloured embroidered lehengas, tiered shararas, layered jackets, and pre-stitched and ruffle-edged net saris. OCTOBER 2018



Arpita Mehta’s ‘La Fleur’ collection had the ‘twirl with the wind’ feel, with a focus on prints, particularly floral hydrangeas along with strong accents on geometric and linear stripes. Arpita brought in fluid kaftan capes, a sprinkling of tiered ruffled pants, some figure-contouring body suits and sexy bralettes. OCTOBER 2018



The aLL Primero x Narendra Kumar show for plus-size fashionistas featured modern athleisure, day and evening wear in fabrics like Ponte Roma, Interlock knit, moss crêpe, bright denim and sequinned satin.


Eka’s collection ‘Lived In’ continued its love affair with handspun khadi, wool, cotton and linen. The focus was on Kashmiri Soojni embroidery and on diaphanous materials layered over checked or coloured inners. OCTOBER 2018



Sohaya Mishra’s Chola label presented an esoteric, gender-neutral collection ‘Bye Felicia’, with female models in moustaches and men in lipstick. Grey, black and white dominated the colour palette.


Gen Next label Jajaabor (left) by Kanika Sachdev presented ‘The Artful Lodger’ inspired by homestay stories while Ajay Kumar Singh’s AUR (right) showed garments with illustration-inspired prints and embroideries. OCTOBER 2018



Ritu Kumar’s ‘Native Spirit’ collection was a colourful ode to nature and the great outdoors. The rainbowlike grandeur of Native American life merged with the rustic charm of the Inca civilization and a hint of the Wild West, through leather braiding, metal accents, and corduroy dungarees teamed with printed tops. OCTOBER 2018


STYLE UPDATE Here is the latest news from the world of fashion – from Harry Potter tees to bride-inscribed juttis and clutches

ONLY X HARRY POTTER ONLY is launching a special capsule collection this season, The Harry Potter collection. From hoodies of your favourite house to cute snitch tees making them the perfect ‘catch’, the collection is a must-have for Potter fans. It will hit stores on October 3rd.

PAUL ADAMS Available on, these bags bring together art and fashion. Several artists from around India are invited to create abstract paintings, which are then printed on a range of eclectic handbags, slings, laptop bags, wallets and clutches in contemporary silhouettes. OCTOBER 2018


TBZ NOW IN NOIDA Now 154 years old, TBZ The Original has launched a new store in Noida’s G-block. That takes their footprint to 38 stores operating in 27 cities. The showroom showcases a vast range of traditional and modern gold, diamond and jadau jewellery.

PUNEET GUPTA From luxury wedding invites to trousseau trunks and now bridal accessories, Puneet Gupta has become a go-to brand for Indian weddings. The latest offerings include zari-embroidered clutches for the bride and her squad.

FIZZY GOBLET Fizzy Goblet has launched Bridal Gift Box Sets with handcrafted juttis. The floral box is embossed with a gold-foiled message, “Here comes the Bride!” and has inside it a muted gold and silver pair of juttis with specially embroidered monogrammed backs with the word ‘Bride’. OCTOBER 2018


The jewellery Eina Ahluwalia designs not only defies fashion trends, it also encourages its wearers to be fierce and fearless Text by Aekta Kapoor. Photography by Atikaa Ahluwalia


tree overlooks the window of Eina Ahluwalia’s room at her Kolkata house. One day, 15 years ago, she came home early from work and it struck her that it had been four years since she’d seen that tree.“I’d be out of my house at 8 am and back home well after dark. I’d never see sunlight. I never got long breaks to go trekking with my sister. Did I really want this life?” reminisces the award-winning conceptual jewellery designer. Turned out, she didn’t. Armed with a B.Com from a girls’ college in Kolkata and an MBA in marketing from Mumbai, Eina’s short corporate career came to an abrupt end that day. She was only in her 20s; she decided to focus on things she loved. It happened to be jewellery. As a hobby, the handicraft-lover had been working with artisans to retail hand-

made jewellery after a bit of design intervention from her side. Having decided to make a profession of it, she attended various jewellery fairs and some workshops around the world to educate herself and, in 2003, she launched her own label, Breathing Space. After six years doing business by herself, she was joined by her sister Atikaa who would go on to streamline the operational side of the business. Her sister’s support left her with time to study the psychology behind jewellery and the correlation between gender and jewels. That’s when she came upon conceptual jewellery, a rage in Europe. Eina went on to train under conceptual jewellery artist Ruudt Peters in Holland, and studied at Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence. Back in India, she designed a collection using felt – pieces that OCTOBER 2018



Awake layered necklaces in 18-karat rose gold


dealt with feelings – and then made another collection, ‘Containment’, using blown glass. David Lamb, MD, Jewellery, at World Gold Council, picked her as one of the hottest talents to watch out for. But sales eluded her. “Though European buyers at Lakme Fashion Week bought those pieces as a kind of wearable art, nothing sold in India. I was so frustrated,” recalls Eina, whose curly locks have unabashed specks of grey and whose simple clothing defies the glamour of the industry she’s associated with. “The market in India just wasn’t evolved enough. Jewellery still has to be ‘pretty’ and wearable,” she learnt. That’s when ‘Wedding Vows’ came about. Considered one of Eina’s most memorable and successful collections till date, almost every woman could relate to the message in the

gold-plated silver pieces that called out words like ‘Love’, ‘Respect’ and ‘Protect’. It also included the now iconic ‘Kirpan’ necklace and Saxon-knife inspired earrings to invoke the protection of the goddesses against domestic violence. A bold assertion for Indian brides. Over the next decade, Eina experimented with various other themes – peace, personal transformation, freedom, oneness, self-worth. One collection drew inspiration from large-sized ancient goddesses – indications that size zero was only a temporary fad in defining parameters of the ideal human body. Another one drew inspiration from cross-border politics. Her business model evolved – from two fashion shows a year to an experiential exhibition to just one collection with personalised kits for key buyers and journalists every

(L-R): Dual-plated Heart of the Crown necklace, handcrafted Sword of the Light pendant and Noble brooch OCTOBER 2018


L-R: Eina on holiday in Nice, France; her new series of wearable reminders – with a cover designed by visual artist Shilo Shiv Suleman – tells women to be fierce and “stop putting up with bullshit”

year. She went from selling in multibrand retail outlets to having her own e-store. Her brand ambassadors went from models to ‘real’ women such as Rhea Gupte, a 24-year-old photographer and digital artist. And her buyers and the industry began accepting her way of doing things. “I’m not overly ambitious. I don’t seek or need fame; it’s useful but it doesn’t define happiness for me,” says Eina, who is “happiest at home in pajamas”. Somewhere in her 30s, she realised she didn’t want to marry just for the sake of it. “The baggage of marriage and kids is just too much,” she says, admitting that she can only say so now that she’s in her 40s and in a comfortable relationship. “You

feel shitty in those parts while you’re still growing out,” she confesses. “The trade-off wasn’t easy.” This year, Eina got fatigued with the pressure of coming up with a big collection every year and decided to do it differently. So, she came up with smaller collections and series including one made in collaboration with Swarovski. “I have the luxury of doing what I love and still make enough money to live a good life, while adding meaning to my craft,” says the non-conformer. She looks ahead with optimism. “You have so much more energy and time as you grow older,” she avers. The future is full of possibilities, especially for the fearless.  OCTOBER 2018


TOTA CLOTHING TOTA (‘parrot’ in Hindi) is the brainchild of the mother-daughter duo Geeta and Shivani Gandhi. Unable to find soft, handmade, Indian-inspired kids’ clothes when Shivani’s babies were born, they set out to design no-fuss designs and chic silhouettes using Ikat weaves. From kidswear, they have now launched adult-wear with the same high standard of design and execution. Shop at:


These two homegrown fashion labels were born of women’s dual needs for style and comfort, and are made with all the goodness of true love ARTISTREE Jyotsna Gokhale learnt knitting when she was five years old. She loved the craft so much that, by her teens, she was making sweaters for all her family and friends. Gradually, her passion turned into her label, ArtisTree. After 12 years of exporting to high-end kids’ boutiques in Europe, she decided to experiment with new products. Besides cardigans, ponchos, scarves and hats, she now also makes these adorable crochet sandals and barefoot beachwear. Shop at: Facebook. com/artistree1970 OCTOBER 2018


GENERATIONS AT WORK As modern technology accelerates and life expectancy increases, five different generations are now rubbing shoulders together in the workforce or the first time in history, there are now five generations within the workforce worldwide, and companies who understand and make the most of this unusual combination have the potential to become the leaders of the future. Each generation has a different set of skills, their own unique expertise and insights. Despite stereotypical

assumptions, there is a remarkable collaboration between them. The Baby Boomer Generation (1946 – 1964), for instance, was remarkably resilient about surviving difficult times in history and waves of immigration around the world. Minoo Saboori, an Iranian immigrant born in 1956, arrived in the USA in 1963, three days after AmerOCTOBER 2018



By Kay Newton


ican President Kennedy was shot. “I spoke only six words of English when I arrived, yet I went to college and obtained a degree in electrical engineering. When I graduated I joined a technology company for 13 years, where I transitioned into business development,” she narrates. Minoo then started her own business development and consulting company and has spent 30 years working with new startups, entrepreneurs and emerging technologies. She thrives in the exciting chaotic workplace, helping others find clarity in the chaos. She quotes a viral tweet by economics student Zach Wallen: “I love the Baby Boomers who write ‘kid’s don’t even know how to write cursive, in a negative way’ like ok Grandma you can’t even turn your laptop on without getting 6 viruses and wiring half your retirement money to a Nigerian Prince.” (sic) “This illustrates the concept and the opportunity before us,” smiles Minoo. “There is a massive chance to learn what you don’t know from other generations and also to impart what you do know to them, as long as we are all open to the process.” The Las Vegas-based business architect does not fit into the usual ‘modern elder stereotype’ in that she has no problem solving computer issues, yet she does have friends who cannot use a TV remote. “Boomers may be the idealists who wore OCTOBER 2018

rose-coloured glasses, yet we do relate well to the youngest generation (Generation Z, born after 1998) in the workforce. We both came of age at a time of war and financial crisis, we are both natural collaborators and realistic about challenges. Gen Z’ers are, of course, very young and need the guidance and insights that the other generations can offer, yet they have all the best traits from their predecessors.”

Minoo Saboori

After the Baby Boomers came Generation X (1965 – 1980) who are known as the grouchy pragmatists, resourceful and results-focused. This generation went to college before the internet, created the dot. com boom and bust, which led them to become level-headed bridge builders in the business. Sammy Blindell (born 1976) is a classic example. The founder and


visionary behind howtobuildabrand. org,a brand building resource for entrepreneurs of fast growth businesses, Sammy has launched seven different businesses over her working career. “Life is so very different and opportunistic today,” says the award-winning speaker, explaining that the internet allows one to work

5 GENERATIONS Traditionalists or The Silent Generation Born before 1945 The Baby Boomers 1946 - 1964 Generation X 1965 - 1980 Gen Y or Millennials 1981 - 1997 Generation Z Born after 1998 anywhere in the world doing anything one can possibly dream of. “It is our new reality; if you recognise it and leverage it, you can create a life of happiness. The sad thing is that many people think they cannot change their reality,” she adds. According to Sammy, who runs offices in Kent, UK, and Calgary, Canada, every business drip we drop into the ocean of life will impact another

person somewhere. “Any generation can create a positive impact on the rest of the world. When we choose to play all out, we will change the world. Helping others come together and impact lives is my mission,” she says, echoing the values of many of her generation. The mission of reaching out to those outside one’s own limited arenas has only become accentuated with the coming of age of Generation Y (also called the Millennials, 1981 – 1997). This generation is open-minded, confident and understands the importance of connection: digital, mobile and social. Take Delhi-based Tanya Khanna (born 1981), the owner of Epistle Communications, which provides bespoke strategic consulting services for architecture, design and planning companies.“In today’s global market, full of information overload, individuality and creativity can get lost in the deluge of data produced globally. I love being able to help others stand out,” she explains of her work. Tanya often thinks of her grandparents’ lives, and believes that there is a fine balance between staying focused and independent in thought, without rebelling or feeling confused about societal norms. “It’s not just about generation, but about the stage of life you’re at. Those who are just out of college, or those about to pursue post-graduate studies, or those recently married or OCTOBER 2018


those who are new parents… every stage has its own set of challenges,” she opines, adding that it’s important to keep developing new skill sets. “Skill-sharing takes place no matter what level is to be achieved.We never stop learning until we die.” Sammy, Tanya and Minoo all have concerns for the future workforce.

Sammy Blindell

Says Minoo: “It is important that everyone sees how vital failing is in order to move forward. Failing leads to taking stock and adjusting as you progress.” She’s also concerned about the lack of competition in schools, especially in the US. “Not everyone can be a winner. Focusing on positive test results is also harmful. It is among the losers and marks failed where the true learning is,” she avers. OCTOBER 2018

Her thoughts are echoed by Tanya, who puts it in her own context: “As a mum of a young son, I recall the intense pressure to succeed our generation faced. Yet it made us resilient and hard-working. I fear, sometimes, that we now as parents overprotect our children, and in our effort to help them lead better lives

Tanya Khanna

than ours, we give them too much and prevent them from learning the real lessons of life. If you passionately want something in life, you need to fight – not everything comes easy.” For her part, Sammy is certain that categorising and stereotyping generations is really not helpful. She sums up,“As society continues to shift, letting go of ageism, sexism and racism will be the true challenge.” 



With her new book that profiles 15 women from varied backgrounds, Varsha Adusumilli is out to create new female icons for girls around India


scientist from a village in Sikkim, a fitness coach from Surat, a flight commander from Mumbai, the Indian rugby team captain from Pune – these are some of the unlikely heroines in 29-year-old Varsha Adusumilli’s debut book, Wonder Girls (Juggernaut, Rs 299). Trained as an engineer from

BITS Pilani,Varsha, who was raised in Goa and Hyderabad, worked in Mumbai before setting up base in Bengaluru seven years ago. Her experience across industries – from a venture capital fund to a content-driven website – put her in direct contact with female role models at the pinnacle of their careers such as Vani Kola of Kalaari Capital. OCTOBER 2018


On the other hand, Varsha’s personal interactions with girls from smaller towns – such as cousins she met at a wedding in Jaipur – opened her eyes to the limited horizons of the majority of India’s young women. For many of them, Varsha herself was a remarkable being: she worked and lived by herself in a big city, took flights alone, was single, and earned her own money. “That’s when I discovered the concept of ‘relatable role model’,” recalls Varsha. “These girls couldn’t relate to women CEOs sitting far away in cyber cities, but they could relate to the ‘didi next door’, someone from their own background.” And so began Varsha’s quest for new role models, as she reached out to acquaintances for recommendations for women to write about. In the process, she found many who made it into the book, from an artist from Bangalore raised by a single mother, a particle physicist at the Indian Institute of Science, a brand marketer from Saligoan, to even a successful radio jockey who struggled to learn English in childhood. “The personal and the professional overlap at so many levels for women,” says Varsha. “And so their back story was very important, especially the definitive moments in their lives and careers.” Some of the women she interviewed backed out after the book was written, fearing backlash in their personal lives. But OCTOBER 2018

most of the others were courageous enough to put their intimate stories of defeat and victory in the public domain. “I sought women who were not necessarily famous achievers but were passionate about their work,” explains Varsha. Encouraged by her late grandfather to “do something for India”,

Varsha learnt to think independently for herself as young as 17, and opted to stay on in India instead of going abroad for higher education. Now, with this simply written, impactful debut book, she’s out to inspire a whole generation of Indian girls with new, relatable role models. Turn the page to read an excerpt.



Casting director Shoumie Mukherjee narrates a definitive turning point in her Bollywood career, when the professional became intensely personal


As told to Varsha Adusumilli

ach director I’ve worked with Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), we were is different. Anurag Kashyap is tasked with finding the little girl impulsive and improvises on who plays the Pakistani kid in the the spot. For example, it’s not film. In 2014 we conducted Inuncommon for him to add lines to dia-wide auditions for the actor. the script on the spot. The actors Five months and no luck. So my need to be receptive to his impul- colleague and I decided to go to siveness. Whereas for Kabir Khan Kashmir in September that year. It the script is the biwas the year, right ble. He won’t change when we were there a thing. As a casting FILMI FACT conducting the audirector I need to ditions, that Kashmir think deeply about was devastated by THE FEMALE–MALE my director’s needs floods.The hotel staff RATIO OF BEHINDand recruit actors acadvised us to remain THE-SCENES cordingly. There are indoors because the BOLLYWOOD STAFF times when a casting situation outside was IS 1:6.217 director will have to dangerous. My colbutt heads with the league and I didn’t director if required. If a charac- comprehend the gravity of the situter is described as a fat person and ation at the time. We ordered a ton a casting director doesn’t see why of food and stayed in. The electricthe character needs to be fat, you ity was cut off, so we were strandcan question his or her choice. But ed without television, Internet and I must be honest; it took me a cou- soon, our phones too. ple of years to muster up the confiThat evening the hotel staff indence to do so. formed us that the water levels may For Salman Khan’s blockbuster, rise any time. We didn’t believe OCTOBER 2018


Shoumie Mukherjee

them. We thought things would get better, not worse. The next day, we woke up to loud noises outside. When I opened the window, we saw that the hotel was submerged up to the second floor. My colleague and I panicked. It was only when the army rescue boats evacuated us from the hotel that I realized the full extent of the devastation. There were streets with hospitals and buildings OCTOBER 2018

that were completely under water. At the rescue camp, a temple, there were 20,000 people crammed in, waiting for help.There was no food, medical aid, blankets or any protection from the brutal cold. Everyone was waiting for a miracle. We moved from one such rescue camp to another, hoping our turn for the rescue choppers would come. Our singular focus every day was to get through the night and see light the


next day. As the days passed the situation grew even more desperate. For the first time I witnessed the human instinct for survival take over. The mood in the camps was angry and restless. And rightfully so. If you throw 25 packets of food at 20,000 people, they are going to fight like animals for it. In one of the camps I saw a 20-something woman helplessly walking around with her dead baby. It was horrific. A week later, a rescue chopper took us to Delhi. Even though I went back to work soon after that, I experienced severe trauma that lasted a few months. I would find myself going completely numb, staring at random things without any

purpose. My sister once asked me to turn on the AC, but I could not immediately register what an AC was. My doctor assured me that this was due to the shock I had been through and my lack of access to vital nutrients during that time. He said I would be alright in a few days. The funny part is that we ultimately found the perfect girl for the role in Delhi! All that pain and trauma for nothing. If you watch Bajrangi Bhaijaan you’ll never know what we had to go through to recruit that little kid. Sometimes it takes getting stuck in a flood to make a good movie.  Excerpted from Wonder Girls (2018) with permission from Juggernaut

WHO’S YOUR ROLE MODEL? Write to us at mail@ and tell us about a real-life role model who changed your life. The best entry will be published on and the winner will get a copy of Varsha Adusumilli’s new book Wonder Girls! LAST DATE FOR ENTRIES: 12 OCT 2018 OCTOBER 2018

SUBSCRIBE AND WIN A FREE GETAWAY FOR TWO! The first 3 new subscribers for the 12-month subscription to eShe magazine get a 3N/4D stay for two at Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort! Hurry! Fill up this form and send it along with your cheque or demand draft in the name of ‘Coral Content’ to: Coral Content, C3/1 Ground Floor, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi 110057, India.* Tick*:  6 months @ Rs 900

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Ruby Lal’s new book Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan is a much-needed study of one of the most legendary female icons in Indian history


iographies of women, particularly historical Indian figures, are so rare that one cannot – and must not – overlook their publication and significance. Not only is history written by the victor, it is also written by male victors, and women are more often than not considered unimportant, uninteresting players in the sagas of time. Unless they had played key roles in the shaping or undoing of a king or some other male public figure, their contribution to Indian history is limited to a few paragraphs in the history books or simply ignored. And so it was with a sense of excited anticipation that I set out to read Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan, by well-known feminist historian Ruby Lal, who has authored two more books on Indian history from the female perspective, Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World, and Coming of Age in Nineteenth Century India: The GirlChild and the Art of Playfulness. As

the author says in the introduction, Nur Jahan’s is a household name in South Asia, and has been the subject of at least eight movies, several plays, an opera and numerous historical romances in all major languages of OCTOBER 2018


the subcontinent. Tour guides and custodians of Mughal tombs extol her legendary feats. And yet, without a proper contextualizing of her achievements and remarkable reign as Empress of Hindustan, one cannot appreciate the personal courage and boldness it must taken for a Mughal woman to achieve what she did. The book narrates the life and times of Nur Jahan beginning from

Ruby Lal

the circumstances of her birth, about which multiple theories and perspectives exist in the history books. Lal presents them all in a neutral way, leaving the reader to decide which one may be closest to the truth. It OCTOBER 2018

is a technique she uses in the telling of several events in Nur Jahan’s life for which multiple historical narrations exist. It is befuddling at times to see how different some of these stories were from one another, especially since her estranged stepson Shah Jahan had many of them deleted or modified after he came to the throne. These varied narratives are also telling of the position of women in society at the time: even an Empress was not allowed an objective, holistic mention in the annals of royal history. Nur Jahan was a woman who would be extraordinary even today – she was a widow with a child when she married Emperor Jahangir; she killed tigers with shotgun; she led a battle on the back of an elephant to rescue her king; she had coins minted in her name; she issued imperial orders; and she so completely won the love and devotion of her husband that he practically turned over all matters of governance to her able hands. She rose above gender bias, social constraints and palace politics, and left a lasting architectural and feminist legacy for India. In chronicling her life, Lal has shown both academic maturity that testifies to the thoroughness of her research, and a certain muted admiration that keeps you turning the pages. A tale as awe-inspiring as Nur Jahan’s could not have had a better storyteller.  By AK


ONCE UPON A GLUTEN-FREE LUNCH... Just because you are on a gluten-free lifestyle, who says you can’t enjoy pasta or even dessert? Try this fivecourse meal at home By Kaveri Jain


gluten-free diet is recommended for people with celiac disease, gluten-sensitivity and certain skin disorders. It may also be helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome and autoimmune diseases. However, these days, a lot of people want to follow a gluten-free way of eating. It could turn out to be a healthier way to eat if you pick natural gluten-free foods such as lean meats, dairy, all vegetables and fruits, lentils, or gluten-free whole grains, such as amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, corn and rice. Here’s a simple gluten-free menu that you can make in your own kitchen.

CHILLED APRICOT AND GOAT CHEESE SOUP Ingredients: 4 medium-sized apricots 1/4 cup diced peeled seedless cucumber (plus thin slices for garnish) 1/4 cup finely diced red and yellow bell pepper

(plus more for garnish) 1 large garlic clove 4 cup diced dried apricots (plus more for garnish) 2 tbsp honey 3 tbsp fresh goat cheese

(plus more for garnish) 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for drizzling) Salt to taste OCTOBER 2018


Basil leaves for garnish Freshly ground black pepper Instructions: 1. In a bowl, toss the apricots, diced cucumber, bell pepper and dried apricots. OCTOBER 2018

2. Add the honey, goat cheese, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Stir in a teaspoon of salt. Add the garlic clove. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least for 3-4 hours. 3. Discard the garlic

clove, and puree the rest of the contents in a blender. Add water until very smooth and creamy. Add extra salt if needed. Refrigerate until chilled. 4. Pour into bowls and garnish with listed items. Serve chilled.


ZUCCHINI ROLLS Ingredients: 120 grams cream cheese 2 tbsp Caesar dressing 1 medium zucchini 8-10� Fresh vegetables (cucumber, carrots, etc) sliced into matchsticks Instructions: 1. Combine cream

cheese and Caesar dressing in a small bowl. 2. Slice zucchini lengthwise into thin strips using a sharp vegetable peeler or mandolin. Lay out on paper towel and press dry to remove excess moisture.

3. Spread the Caesar dressing-cream cheese mixture evenly but thinly on each strip. Lay the sliced vegetables on top, keeping their ends even with one long edge of the zucchini strip, and roll. 4. Serve immediately.



GLUTEN-FREE PESTO PASTA Ingredients (serves 1): 450 gm gluten-free pasta 120 gm peeled potato cut into small cubes (about 3/4 of an inch) 110 gm green beans, stems trimmed and cut 1� long 1 cup pesto sauce Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling Grated Parmigiano OCTOBER 2018

Reggiano to drizzle Salt to taste Instructions: 1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, add pasta, potato, and green beans until pasta is al dente and potato and green beans are very tender. 2. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water, and transfer pasta, potato,

and green beans to a large mixing or serving bowl. 3. Add pesto sauce to pasta along with 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Toss well. Add more pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed. Drizzle in fresh olive oil, if desired. 4. Serve with Parmigiano Reggiano on the side.


GNOCCHI IN GARLIC BUTTER AND TOMATO BASIL SAUCE Ingredients (gnocchi): 1 kg potatoes 1 egg beaten ½ cup potato starch 1 tbsp rice flour ½ tsp salt 1 tbsp rice flour, or as needed for rolling For garlic sauce: 2 tbsp butter 4 cloves garlic, minced 400 gm baby tomatoes cut into two Fresh basil leaves Salt and pepper to taste ½ tsp chilli flakes Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Bake potatoes until tender (40-50 mins).

2. Peel potatoes and mash them. 3. Make a well in the mashed potatoes with a wooden spoon and pour in egg; mix well. 4. Add potato starch, rice flour, and salt in a bowl. Add to potato mixture; stir until a soft dough has formed. Cut dough into 4 parts. 5. Dust work surface with rice flour. Roll out 1 piece of dough into a rope with 1” diameter. Cut into 1” gnocchi. Gently roll each one with the back of a fork to create ridges. Repeat with remaining dough.

6. Shake off excess rice flour and let gnocchi rest for about 5 minutes. 7. Boil a pot of salted water. Add gnocchi and cook until they float to the top, 1-2 mins. Remove from water. Instructions for sauce: 8. Heat the butter in a pan, toss in the garlic and cook till fragrant. Add the baby tomatoes and cook till tender. Throw in the basil leaves, and season with salt and pepper. 9. Toss in the gnocchi and mix. Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy hot!


BEETROOT BROWNIES Ingredients: 150 gm dark chocolate 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/3 cup honey 1 cup almond flour 2 tbsp coconut flour 2 large eggs 2 cooked and pureed beetroots 2 tsp vanilla extract 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1½ tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt OCTOBER 2018

Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8” pan with coconut oil, then dust with almond flour. Set aside. 2. In a double boiler or microwave, melt the chocolate along with the coconut oil. Add the honey, mix, keep to cool. 3. In a bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla extract. Add to the

cooled chocolate mixture. 4. In a bowl combine almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Pour in the wet ingredients and mix until fully combined. Mix in the pureed beetroots. 5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 mins, or until set. Cool before cutting. 

56 | FOOD

ADYA ORGANICS Adya Organics started as an attempt to provide the children of a boarding school in Dehradun with untainted dairy products like milk, curd, butter and paneer. Gradually, they started selling organic dairy too. Today they have 200 cows, a staff of 25, and a loyal clientele. Check out their A2 desi ghee and raw honey. Visit:


These enterprises and startups are bringing all the goodness of organic, unadulterated farm-fresh produce and dairy products to your doorstep SOW FRESH Komal Jain was always passionate about organic farming and cooking, visiting farms around the world and watching over her own farms in Manesar and Dehradun for over 20 years. This year, she launched Sow Fresh, which offers 100% organic produce directly from source to consumers all over Delhi-NCR. Subscribe to have customized weekly deliveries straight at your doorstep. They also offer seeds, cold-pressed oils, exotic produce along and A2 ghee. Call: +91 8826004406 OCTOBER 2018

FOOD | 57

THE ROOTS A Delhi family converted to an organic lifestyle a decade ago. They were so influenced by the changes in their bodies and minds that they set up The Roots Organic Lifestyle Store, becoming a retail platform for organic lifestyle products and fresh fruits and vegetables. They source products from various companies and individual retailers, ranging from food and nutrition to personal care to wellness, and healthy living. All items are carefully curated, APEDA-regulated and certified by authorities. Visit:

THE LITTLE FARM CO Tired of highly processed, highsalt and chemical-laden pickles available on market shelves? So was Niharika Bhargava. And so, she co-founded The Little Farm Co to offer additive-free pickles made with homegrown fruits, vegetables, spices and even oils, using only rock salt, unprocessed sugar, liquid jaggery, and natural vinegar. They also stick to eco-friendly packaging, and use hygienic production processes. Their ingredients are plucked ripe two hours before processing, and sun-drenched in open spaces with containers kept in an east-to-west direction, the traditional way. Visit: OCTOBER 2018


INFINITE HAPPINESS Nestled on a beach in one of the areas of Kerala untouched by floods, the Leela Kovalam should be on your holiday radar as tourism in the south Indian state picks up again




hough several parts of Kerala were ravaged by floods this monsoon, the capital city Thiruvananthapuram and some of its surrounding areas such as Kovalam remained safe and dry. As the flood waters have receded, tourism – one of Kerala’s main sources of income – is gradually picking up again. If anything, they need more visitors than ever.


One of the most recommended properties in the area is the Leela Kovalam. Set atop a sea-facing cliff that connects with the beach at its base, there is no denying the location is one of the resort’s strongest assets. If you’re staying in one of The Club rooms, you can sleep to the sound of the waves and wake to the sight of the wide open sea in the morning. Staying in The


Clockwise from top left: Broiled tuna with almond dill sauce; a Club suite overlooking the ocean; a balcony in a Club room; a therapy room in the Ayurvedic spa. Facing page: The hotel as seen from the beach

Club also assures you of a private butler 24x7. If you go for a suite, which is double the size of a regular room, you get a state-of-theart LCD flat screen TV and DVD player with a choice of movies and music, WiFi and an electronic safe. You’ll particularly love the café that’s exclusively for The Club residents, situated right next to the private infinity pool. An all-day restaurant with modern interiors, it offers European, Pan-Asian and Indian cuisines, and the view of the sea and the poolside is just phenomenal as you have your meal (lead image, previous page). You can enjoy a similar view and sea breeze a few steps up at the

open-air Sky Bar, which is romantically lit up at night. If you’re a seafood fan, head over to The Tides, a rustic-style restaurant by the beach where they catch fresh fish and cook it according to your specifications. And, of course, there’s always the all-day dining The Terrace next to the main hotel lobby, set beside a large infinity pool. You’ll find authentic Kerala specialties here besides a host of other cuisines, dance performances over dinner, and smiling, friendly servers. For those who wish to sightsee in the Kerala capital, the hotel provides luxury cab services. The main attractions are boating on the Vellayani lake and in the Karamana OCTOBER 2018


river; visits to an elephant rehabilitation camp besides several temples; a trek to the green hills in the district and so on. A trip to the Ponmudi hilltop is also recommended. Thanks to forest cover and abundant rains, many parts of Thiruvananthapuram offer you an opportunity to refill your lungs with unpolluted air. One of the main attractions at the Leela Kovalam, which was taken over by the Raviz group in 2011, is the Ayurvedic spa. A standalone spa near the resort’s entrance, it has attracted a large and devoted clientele over the past few years. Besides traditional Ayurvedic treatments, their USP is the marma therapy that is offered to all patients. An ancient


Indian practice that channels the subtle energy (prana) in the body for the purposes of healing, marma therapy is based on the utilization of 107 points in the body that access to body, mind, and consciousness. Not many spas can claim to offer this specialized therapy. The spa also employs qualified doctors who suggest treatments after an extensive interview of the client. Treatment packages here go from a few days to several weeks. It’s no wonder that guests are content to stay on for long stretches at a time – they get a five-star holiday, excellent Kerala hospitality, customized treatments, and go back home healthier and happier. 


The Missing Ingredient in My Marriage

The one thing that unravelled my marriage was not domestic violence or another woman. It was something simpler – yet more important


By Unsanskari Stree




recall a conversation a few decades ago when I had just got married.We were meeting a few friends for tea when I had casually mentioned the desire to take up a part-time job. Pat came a reply that I was lucky my husband ‘allowed’ me to do so. I myself was guilty of this tacit acceptance of boundaries. Boundaries set by my family, my husband, and many others around me. I wasn’t even aware that, as a fully functioning adult, I had legal and social rights. The rights I lived by, the graces I felt I was ‘allowed’, were attributed to the generosity of my husband, his family or mine. It took me many years to realize that I was a free and independent entity, and many more to free the shackles of my mind. As I grew older, I realized that the most important thing missing from my relationship was respect. I realize now that, as an ordinary Indian girl, I was never seen as more than a commodity, something to be delivered with hymen intact, from parents to husband. There was no effort to encourage individuality, because that would have upset the status quo. Over the years, the one thing that undermined and unravelled my marriage was not domestic violence, or another woman. It was a simple lack of respect. It wasn’t that there was no love in my marriage; there was, as well as a certain amount of companionship. OCTOBER 2018

But, there was no respect for me as an individual beyond the bounds of marriage. It wasn’t just me. I often watched qualified professional women run around husbands and in-laws, absolutely terrified of putting a wrong foot forward in the house. It was as if you could be a nuclear scientist, but your real validation came from how well you ran your home. man in our social circle once asked me if my work involved ‘naari kalyan’, and I asked him why he would ask that when he knew I worked in public relations, not women’s empowerment. It was astounding to see 20 years of professionalism and an extremely technical field placed into some strident feminazi social service just because I work in an all-women office. Disrespecting women is easy, because no remembers that they are adults with equal rights. Being loved or respected by your husband and family is considered ‘fortunate’, as if basic human rights are ‘granted’ upon wives, while the same condition doesn’t apply to husbands. I realize that for many women of my generation, especially those in their 30s and 40s, self-actualisation has been a very long journey, sometimes (not always) linked to growing financial independence. It’s sad that it takes earning our own money to be allowed basic respect in this world, but currently that is the only currency that works. 





hen Nidhi Jain, an economics graduate and a jewellery designer by training, first came across pranic healing in the mid-1990s, she decided it just wasn’t meant for her. “Mere bas ki baat nahi hai [this isn’t my cup of tea],” Nidhi told her friends. But she continued doing the Twin Hearts meditation recommended for healers until the early 2000s, when pranic healing knocked at her doors again. This time, there was no looking back.

Today, Nidhi is an acclaimed pranic healer and has conducted sessions around India. She also runs her own chain of pranic healing centres, The Ochre Tree, in Delhi, Mumbai and Faridabad, with another centre coming up in Ahmedabad. We asked some straightforward questions. Is pranic healing based on belief? You heal because you believe you will heal? It’s actually the other way around. Your belief begins to form only once you see the results. I only began having faith in this system when OCTOBER 2018


Is pranic healing really effective? And why is it always so expensive? We put some difficult questions to senior pranic healer Nidhi Jain


I saw people healing from unthinkable ailments. You don’t need belief, but you do need an open mind. If the treatment doesn’t work, is it because the healer isn’t good enough? The healer is responsible for only 20 percent of the healing, 80 percent is within the patient themselves. Is the patient receptive (open) enough? Are they following instructions and the lifestyle changes recommended by the healer? Are they comfortable about sharing important factors in their lives with the healer? You need to trust your healer. What if one doesn’t like one’s healer? Then find another one. Sometimes the energies don’t match. You need to be comfortable. Don’t worry; no one takes it personally. When is it time to go to an allopath? We always recommend using both allopathic treatment and pranic healing in tandem. One is not an alternative for the other. Healing is faster when both physical and energy bodies receive the required treatments. What is your response to people who say all this is mumbo-jumbo? That’s fine. We’re not here to convince anyone. People come to energy healers after everything else has failed. This is their last bastion of hope. Only someone who is receptive can receive. There is no sense in trying to convert the skeptics. A single session of energy healing costs `1,000 onwards. Isn’t it expensive? Healing is free. And it is priceless. OCTOBER 2018

However, we charge for the healer’s time.They have to undergo training, and be disciplined with their own exercises and meditation. The fee charged is in proportion to the healer’s time spent. Paying also ensures you don’t carry forward a karmic debt to the healer. Why do people

Nidhi Jain

avoid paying energy healers but say nothing when hospitals hand them huge bills? That said, 20 percent of our centre’s healings are done for free for the poor. If healing is within us, why do we need a healer? We also all have God within us.Why then do we need a guru? 


Open to Change



s a teenager, I was very creative and dreamt of being a famous fashion designer. My sports journalist father and teacher mother raised my sister and me in a liberal way. My father said, “If one has freedom, books, flowers and the moon, how can one not be happy?” And so my childhood was spent among books and open spaces close to nature. After graduating from NIFT and working as a fashion designer for two years, I got married and joined my husband’s advertising business – love and profession rolled into one package. Having a baby further cemented our relationship. In 2013, I lost my father, leaving a void that can never be filled. Our family moved from Delhi to Gurugram, and I was besieged by illness for months. Then my son went abroad to study and I was left with a question: What do I do next? And so, in 2015, I started my mother and baby store, Baby Station. I love being around babies, and I love being able to support pregnant women and new moms. I put my heart and soul into this business, and things fell in place. My life has been a journey with ups and downs and new directions. But I always embraced the change. As the poem goes, ‘There is more to you / that you have yet to know.’  OCTOBER 2018