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FROM THE EDITOR

Editor-in-Chief CHANDAN MITRA EDITORIAL BOARD Chief Executive Officer Abhishek Saxena 09818600128 EDITORIAL Editor-in-Charge Rinku Ghosh Assistant Editor Saimi Sattar Chief Designers Anand Singh Rawat & Satish Jakhmola Production Manager Syed Nawab Raza Staff Photographer Pankaj Kumar SALES & MARKETING Vice President Jetender Rawat 9810404096 General Managers Kumar Gurudutta Jha & Sweety Verma Senior Managers Madhukar Saxena & Divyesh Kothari Managers Bharat Singh Sajwan, Prabhakar Pathak & Barun Choudhary Media Coordinator Neelu Sharma MUMBAI OFFICE General Manager Devendra Adhikari KOLKATA OFFICE Vice President Suzanna Roy HYDERABAD OFFICE V Sunil Kumar General Manager (Circulation) Rajeev Gautam Printed and published by Chandan Mitra for and on behalf of CMYK Printech Ltd, printed at JK Offset Graphics (P) Ltd, B-278, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-1, New Delhi-110020 and published at No. 6, Behind Gulab Bhawan, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi-110002. Editor: Chandan Mitra. Entire Contents Copyright (C) 2006 CMYK Printech Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction or translation in any language in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Requests for permission should be directed to CMYK Printech Ltd. Opinions carried in Exotica are the writers’ and not necessarily endorsed by CMYK Printech Ltd. The publisher assumes no responsibility for the return of unsolicited material or for material lost or damaged in transit. All correspondence should be addressed to CMYK Printech Ltd; F-31, Sector-6, NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh-201301 Phone: 0120-4879800 & 4879900 Email: exoticapioneer2016@gmail.com

CALL OF THE CUCKOO

A

few years ago, I had embarked on a cross-country journey, from Delhi to gorgeous Gangtok. The start of the journey from Delhi will be etched in my mind for an entirely unconnected event. Not being a morning person, I couldn’t get much sleep the night before, as I had to wake up at 5 am. From 4 am, however, a persistent cuckoo started its mating call. As I stood on the balcony sipping tea before daybreak, its melodious cry seemed to acquire even greater urgency. From spring till September the cuckoo calls for a mate, then mischievously lays eggs in a crow’s nest and recalls the babies once they are of flying age. Koels, interestingly, followed us through the journey. Despite the congested commercial centre of Allahabad, the bird was very much there, hiding in some stand-alone tree. Despite the massive erosion of habitat, global warming, disappearance of the house sparrow, the koel’s cry seemed to have told me all was not lost. Indeed, all is not lost. Next to my house in Delhi’s Sainik Farms lives a family of querulous and rather noisy peacocks. The peahen lays eggs on the ground but keeps watch from a high branch of a tree through night and day, foraying occasionally to grab a bite. This is to protect its eggs, and later new-born peakids, from being snatched away by birds of prey, particularly kites. But the eggs are equally in danger from stealthy cats on the ground. The poor mother can’t do much as it is conditioned not to leave the perch once it is dark. Our security guards do their best to ward off some stray cats and, on occasion, our dogs bark sufficiently to scare the feline. However, a number of pea-kids, the size of a chicken, do scurry around. Peacocks have a fiercely shrill cry — quite the opposite of koels — but their babies’ voices are yet to mature. So in the middle of the night, they start harassing their parents in a cracked tone, rather like human adolescents! The more you get to observe other living beings, the more you tend to fall in love with nature and wildlife. I wish everybody to have similar experiences, for that would go a long way to save our planet’s biodiversity and wildlife. Arguably, winter is not the best time for sighting wildlife, especially in national parks, as animals tend to retreat into the deep interiors. But October onwards is park tourism season. And the forests have their own charm; silence is probably the most penetrating sound in the universe and you get to hear it only miles away from civilisation. The sky is alight with a myriad stars; even on a moonless night it is possible to navigate with the help of the faint glow emanating from these celestial bodies. The intense calm is periodically shattered by the roar of a tiger, calling upon one of its kind to saunter across for mating. At Haldu Parao forest, we were once woken up around three each morning by the shrill trumpeting of elephants, while sambar, chital and other varieties of deer conversed animatedly among themselves. The therapeutic effect of a few days cut off from the overwhelming preoccupations of city life can hardly be exaggerated.

[CHANDAN MITRA] Editor-in-Chief


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[p28] Globe trotter On a spirited journey: Portugal [p16] On two wheels and a prayer: Thailand [p28] It’s a smile. It’s a kiss. It’s a sip of wine: Azerbaijan [p34] Bold & beautiful [p24] Swara Bhaskar

I N S I D E

[p40]

AUGUST 2019 VOLUME 13 NO 10

[p24]

COVER: MUD VOLCANOES PHOTO COURTESY: AZERBAIJAN TOURISM BOARD

Fashion forward [p40] Tinseltown collectibles Mane magic [p44] Twist, curl and tease: Hair Art frat [p48] Eternal love Photo gallery [p62] Shower of blessing

CONTRIBUTORS Bharat Thakur [p52] FITNESS: Circle of life Sri Sri Ravi Shankar [p54] GURUSPEAK: Intention, attention and manifestation Kushan Mitra [p58] HOT WHEELS: Do the numbers add up? Sanjay Jumaani [p73] NUMBER GAME: Count your fate

TOTAL NUMBER OF PAGES 76 INCLUDING COVER

Follow us on:

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OUR PARTNER HOTELS Send us your feedback at exoticapioneer2016@gmail.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/Exotica-394686670715776


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TRAVEL NEWS

PAINT YOUR IMAGINATION AT THE SUVRETTA HOUSE IN ST MORITZ

AMID

a high alpine landscape, the Suvretta House in St Moritz looks like a fairytale castle in upper Engadin. It is organising the Suvretta Art Week where guests can discover their artistic talent under the guidance of an internationallyacclaimed painter and art teacher, Nicki Heenan. Based on the theme of The natural landscape, the art classes are open for both amateur and experienced painters. The drawing lessons will take place at the open-air terrace of the hotel and will emphasise the use of oil and acrylics. Charges for the drawing lessons for one day, including rental material are CHF (Swiss Franc) 100 per person. The art classes will be on till September 1.

EXOTICA [8] AUGUST 2019


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REJOICE TO THE LEGALLY BLONDE MUSICAL AT THE KEEGAN THEATRE

THE

Keegan Theatre in Washington, DC is closing out its 22nd season by bringing back the funny and energetic, award-winning musical Legally Blonde, based on the emponymous hit starring Reese Witherspoon (2001). It features music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and a book by Heather Hach. The DC premiere production is directed by Ricky Drummond with music direction by Helen Hayes Award-winner Walter “Bobby” McCoy and is choreographed by Ashleigh King. Ticket holders can avail a 20 per cent discount on lunch and dinner at the neighbouring restaurant, Firefly. It is also offering a special selection of pink cocktails inspired by Elle Woods’ fearless love of the colour which will be available from September 1 for $22. The musical stars Gabriella DeLuca (as Elle Woods), Melrose Pyne Anderson, Rachel Barlaam,

Victoria Clare, Selena Clyne-Galindo, Robbie Duncan, Lawrence Hailes, Noah Israel, Amanda Kaplan, Julia Klavans, Emily Madden, Solomon Parker III and MK Sagastume, apart from others. Dupont Circle’s two dogs — Lucas, the Yorkshire terrier and Roux the French bulldog — are among the two special features. It’s on till September 1.

BENGALURU AND MUNICH FLIGHT BY LUFTHANSA

LUFTHANSA

has announced the introduction of a new flight on the Bengaluru-Munich route. IT will fly out from Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru five times a week, starting from Munich on March 31, next year. Lufthansa will operate their latest, state of the aircraft A350-900 with a configuration of 48 seats in Business Class, 21 seats in Premium Economy Class and 224 in Economy Class. This new route would form a strong link between two important regional hubs, providing South India a direct connection with another important gateway to the European mainland. The

development underlines Lufthansa’s strong India focus. With the operational expansion in Bengaluru, the airline aims to cater to the growing international traffic to Europe with its most premium travel experience for aspiring travellers from Bengaluru, the rest of Karnataka, as well as Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Lufthansa’s decision to launch an additional flight on the Bengaluru-Munich route was taken after considering not just the growing passenger traffic but also the capabilities of Bengaluru Airport, in terms of connectivity beyond the city and commercial viability of the operation.


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MAKE WAY FOR EXPERIENCES WITH UAE SEAWINGS

THE

only luxury seaplane tour operator, Seawings, in the Middle East, is offering scenic aerial tours, charters and magical experiences within the United Arab Emirates. Guests can create memorable itineraries and book private seaplanes for quick getaways, day excursions and mini holidays with friends and family. It can be a perfect holiday option for the evolved travellers who are constantly on the go, looking for one-of-a-kind experiences. Whisking passengers to 1,500 feet, the route soars past the iconic city skylines, offering sublime views of the country’s architectural marvels. The seaplane’s fleet matches to five Cessna 208 amphibian aircrafts. Taking off from the Dubai Creek comes as a bonus. Travellers can also avail an adventurous vacation offer, Ultimate Family Adventure Holiday, which includes exciting rides such as a free entry to the Warner Bros World, Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, a tour of Louvre Abu Dhabi, The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a private city tour of Abu Dhabi and the Wildlife Safari at Sir Bani Yas Island. The offer also includes a two nights-stay at Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel and two nights at Sir Bani Yas Island Anantara. There is the option of two lunches or two dinners at the Desert Island. It includes one way seaplane transfer + return road transfer. The package is priced at AED 19, 500 (`3,63,891) for two adults and two children. The offer is valid till November 30.


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TREAT YOURSELF WITH MALDIVIAN VACATION

CHARACTERISED

by blue waters, schools of fish swimming in the Indian Ocean, surreal weather and delicious food, Maldives has always been the choicest holiday destination for beach lovers. This white sand beach haven has a plethora of activities to offer to travellers who love outdoors. While most activities entail being in the warm turquoise waters, there are various other tropical marvels to explore in this destination. Further endorsing the coral retreat and encouraging travellers to explore the island, in a first, India and Maldives have agreed to launch a passenger cum-cargo ferry service from Kochi in Kerala to the Maldivian capital, Male. Listed below are a few fun and rejuvenating activities to dive into when in Maldives. BOOK A LUXURY HIDEAWAY FOR SOME INTIMATE AND AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE: The remote archipelago has number of resort islands that offer intimacy and peace. There are water, pool and ocean tree house villas like Shangri-La's Villingili Resort & Spa. This resort offers 132 villas with private pools, 9-hole golf course, a six-km run, three large lakes, with 17,000 palm trees on the island. You can also spot Manta-rays and whale sharks on the island all around the year. CONTRIBUTE TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY AND THE NATURAL HABITAT: Embrace the local way of life and explore the farm to plate with local farmers

and fishermen. Understand the coral life and immerse in Eco Tours and Coral Planting. While in Maldives you should also opt for the fauna/flora tour of the Addu Atoll island and experience the lush green jungle with 17,000 coconut trees and an abundance of untouched marine life. The island teems with immersive cultural experiences that allow an insight into the country and its residents. INDULGE IN RECREATIONAL AND ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES: With soothing sounds of the ocean waters at the backdrop, Maldives is ideal for a spa treatment. Travellers across the globe often pick these islands to relax and rejuvenate with therapeutic massages and spas. Some resorts and spa centres offer unusual settings, along with other wellness activities such as sun rise and sunset yoga, ayurveda, acupuncture and more. If you are an avid golfer then Maldives can be the perfect getaway to the greens. Discover the ocean through diving, sea excursions and surfing. SATIATE YOUR TASTE BUD WITH DELECTABLE MALDIVIAN CUISINE: Hang out at the local food joints or go on a food walk. Authentic Maldivian food is served at Dr Ali’s Restaurant. The restaurant pays tribute to a much loved Maldivian doctor called Dr. Ali who delighted everyone with his enticing recipes. Those whose idea of a holiday is just lazing around can find a cosy corner with a strategically placed hammock and enjoy the sea breeze.

EXOTICA [13] AUGUST 2019


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GET, SET, JUMP AT JUMPIN HEIGHTS, GOA

FOR

the bungy-jumping enthusiasts who had to mkae their way to Rishikesh to experience the thrilling adventure, there is some great news. Jumpin Heights and the Bungy People are all set to bring their expertise to Goa. The highest bungy jumping platform will be set up in Goa on August 27. The project, supported by the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC), has set up 55 metres bungy jump over the stunning Mayem Lake, giving special attention to International Safety Standards.

TWO NEW FLIGHTS BETWEEN INDIA AND PORTUGAL

QATAR

Airways and Emirates recently announced the launch of year round services between Portugal and India. Qatar Airways started its new route from its global network from Doha to the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. There are seven times weekly services in summer 2019 and five times weekly service in winter 2019/2020 between Doha and Lisbon from June. Porto became Emirates’ second destination in Portugal after its capital, Lisbon, which the airline currently serves with two flights a day. There are four times weekly services by Emirates between Dubai and Porto which will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays which became operational from July 2.

EXOTICA [14] AUGUST 2019


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BARIG SUPPORTS PROPOSALS FOR IMPROVED CLIMATE PROTECTION

THE

Board of Airline Representatives in Germany (BARIG), the mutual representation of interests of more than 100 airlines in Germany, supported the proposals for improved climate protection by the German Aviation Association (BDL). Besides German airlines, BARIG’s members are international airlines that operate flights from and to Germany. The main measures include the following: o Enable reduction of CO2 emissions related to air traffic through the replacement of fossil kerosene with renewable fuels, for example by using the “power-to-liquid” procedure which is currently viewed as the most suitable option in an ecological sense. o Compensation of flights’ climate impact Although the possibility to compensate the climate impact of flights at a surcharge already exists today, this offer is currently used only by few passengers. Additional and new incentives such as tax deductibility need to be created here. o Reducing CO2 emissions in European air space: The urgently required development of a “Single European Sky” would also substantially contribute to climate protection. A Europe-wide optimisation of flight routes allows for the saving of around 10 per cent of fuel and emissions.

o Investments in energy-efficient air traffic: The airlines aim to continue and intensify their investments into energy-efficient aircraft by purchasing innovative aircraft. Today already, German airlines for example consume only 3.58 litres per 100 passenger kilometers on average which is significantly less compared to the figure of 6.3 litres in 1990. o Strengthen the railway network for enhanced intermodality: Even though the share of German domestic air traffic in the total German CO2 emissions is only 0.3 percent at the moment, more traffic could still be shifted to rail. However, this requires an improvement of infrastructure so that passengers can reach their international flights on time. In this context, long-distance rail connectivity at major hubs is an indispensable target and must be urgently implemented, for example, in Munich. o Climate protection must be coordinated internationally: National solo efforts in the primarily international air traffic business are absolutely the wrong approach since they merely lead to a shift of transport operations, thereby sometimes even increasing CO2 emissions. Instead, cross-border and competitively neutral solutions such as emissions trade must be supported.

EXOTICA [15] AUGUST 2019


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GLOBE TROTTER

ON A SPIRITED JOURNEY


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Embark on a wine trail in Portugal to get a deeper glimpse into its culture and history


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PORTUGAL

has a strong wine tradition and their excellent quality is recognised across the world, with numerous awards and distinctions won in international competitions. There’s nothing like visiting the regions where they are produced as it could also be an excellent excuse to discover the landscapes, heritage, culture and its people. The country offers opportunities for wine tourism, often associated with rural tourism and boutique hotels in prime locations. Besides the wines, you can also enjoy other farm-produced products, such as fruits and jams, cheeses, olive

oils, traditional sweets and the local cuisine itself. Don’t be mistaken by the rustic appearance of the hotels as they’re modern with wineries and cellars that have invested in advanced technology, some designed by internationally-acclaimed architects. The Douro and Alentejo regions are where you will find the largest number of places dedicated to wine tourism including some production units which are popular with visitors all over the country, including the Algarve. To have a deeper insight into the vineyards and the wineries, why not stay overnight and explore the surrounding area too? It is in the Alto Douro Wine Region, created in 1756, that Port wine, which has always been


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intended for export, is produced. They follow a centuries old tradition of welcoming visitors and sharing with them the best that the region has to offer. To start with, there’s the superb scenery of the Douro valley, where man built terraces to plant vines on the region’s rugged slopes. A landscape, classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, was populated by farms traditionally linked to wine. Porto, where the Port Wine Lodges are located, are a good way to discover the region. Board a cruise ship and visit some of the most iconic sites linked to the production of fine wines from the Douro and Porto. The foundation of Portugal started in the north, the cradle of the oldest noble families who

helped our kings in the conquest of the territory. This is why the North, which is the home of Vinho Verde, boasts so many palaces and manor houses displaying their coats of arms, in which the hospitality is in the best aristocratic tradition. You can stay in many of these houses and farms, where you can have wine tasting and other experiences, such as visits to other features of their heritage. This region also has several historical cities such as Braga, Guimarães, Viana do Castelo, and many others on the coast and in the interior, some of them on the banks of rivers that add extra freshness and fascination. The central region contains historic cities like Viseu, Coimbra — recently included on the World


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Heritage list — and Aveiro on the coast, and other charming places like Buçaco with its century old spa. You will also find excellent wine tourism units, some of which are owned by old Portuguese wineries, although they have all kept up with current trends in wine production and use the most modern production methods. The Alentejo is a fertile region in wine tourism units, and it is here that one can find several leading national producers, its quality is appreciated worldwide and was considered the best wine region in the world to visit. The wine producing quintas (farms) and herdades (estates) lay within this landscape of vast horizons and they are also renowned for their hospitality and cuisine. At their centre is Évora, another World Heritage city, whose beautiful, serene historical centre will leave you enchanted. You can also participate in the grape harvest and observe the different stages in the making of a wine. Highlight also goes to Reguengos de Monsaraz, which in 2015 was the European city of the wine and proposes many initiatives which are not to be missed such as astronomical observations with wine tasting, harvesting of grapes to create a commemorative wine, themed events and food and wine dinners. The other side of the Atlantic highlight goes to the Madeira wine that has gained fame and prestige in all four corners of the world, a real “treasure” which was appreciated by kings, princes, generals and explorers in the 18th century. Amongst the more than 30 different varieties, emphasise is placed on the finest — Sercial, Boal, Verdelho and Malvasia, the latter representing sweet wine, full-bodied with an intense perfume and red colour. The vines arranged in terraces supported by stone walls, resemble stairs, which in some parts of the island connect the sea to the mountain boasting breathtaking landscapes.


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C E L E B TA L K

Bold & Beautiful Actress SWARA BHASKAR tells AYUSHI SHARMA that most brands are on board the feminist bandwagon for their promotion campaigns because it sells and they have begun to realise that

FEELING

good in your lingerie is imperative, regardless of whether anyone else will sneak a peek of you in it or not. It has always been a very personal and practical item. In 1913, Mary Phelps Jacob got crafty with some handkerchiefs and ribbons to create the first modern-day bra. It was more for utilisation and as a protecting garment for breasts. However, today, lingerie is defined by a sales pitch dependent on the male gaze — something that is only meant to be seen by your partner; something that is to be worn for someone else. But it is as usual as other clothes and also a great health guard. In a black bralette paired with an all-beige blazer and trousers, actress Swara Bhaskar celebrates the first anniversary of Clovia, a luxury lingerie brand. She feels that lingerie is as normal and regular as anything else. We have been always hush-hush about it because we “shy.” But it’s been around since the beginning. “We have been watching in advertisements since childhood — ‘yeh andar ki baat hai,’ ‘yeh toh bada toing hai,’ ‘crafted for fantasy’ and what not. If we can celebrate the comfort of men’s innerwear as we have been doing for so many decades, why can’t we do the same for women’s? What is the big deal

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there? Why do we have to shy away from it? Why do we have to cover it in a black polybag while selling it?” she questions. Well, indeed, lingerie should be considered as a means of uplifting women themselves. “Innerwear is something that should be for the women to feel bold and beautiful,” says the Veere Di Wedding actress. Swara is known for how she puts forth her strong opinions. She says, “It’s important to be confident in everything that you do. And it’s okay to be noisier about the things that you want and you know are right.” It’s a commonly-known fact that women have multiple personalities and disparate emotions. And, Swara believes, “Lingerie lets us express all of that when we don’t want to project them to the outside world.” She goes on to add about the new trends that brands are keeping in mind while creating them. “The most satisfying thing about lingerie brands today is that they have become quite aware that there is no one body type. The perfect type for women hasn’t always been a size zero. The model that you see on the cover of magazines is not the only body type or colour. Now brands are catering to everyone,” says she. The actress feels that to have a brand which caters to women’s needs is so important. She says, “To have a comfortable innerwear and clothes that can actually enable you to get going is so vital. Innerwear is something that we don’t value enough. But lingerie brands are doing a great job. It feels good to see that women now have the liberty to make a choice of what will look best on them. I love to wear something that is comfortable yet full of colours and something that can enhance what you already have. It’s nice to see more lingerie brands not getting scared by an opinionated woman.” Ask Swara why so many brands are associating their

I LOVE TO WEAR SOMETHING THAT IS COMFORTABLE YET FULL OF COLOURS AND SOMETHING THAT CAN ENHANCE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE. IT’S NICE TO SEE MORE LINGERIE BRANDS NOT GETTING SCARED BY AN OPINIONATED WOMAN


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ONE DEFINITELY DOES A BASIC CHECK OF WHAT IS AVAILABLE AND WHAT PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THE BRAND. HOWEVER, I DON’T THINK THAT YOU CAN HOLD CELEBRITIES RESPONSIBLE FOR THE THINGS THAT ARE NOT IN PUBLIC promotional strategies with campaigns based on women empowerment, the most recent example being Fire Within Me by Levis, and she says, “Brands have realised that it is important for them to be in touch with the aspirations and emotions of their consumers, especially women, who, in our country, are now becoming more vocal. They are much more aware about their rights now. The brands are just catching on to that. And because media has become so sensitive to gender issues, being feminist is the new cool. Everyone is on board the feminist bandwagon because it sells and brands have begun to realise that. It’s wonderful to see brands putting their name behind a good cause. So why not support them?” The actress believes that freedom is something that has to be earned, protected and sort of reearned constantly. Women empowerment for her is the freedom to make her own choices and to have the opportunity for self growth.

“Empowerment comes in many forms, we must recognise and appreciate it constantly,” says she. Is a background check important for Swara before associating herself with any brand? She says, “As a public figure, I can do a background check on the information that is available in the public realm. But I don’t have access to any greater information than the rest of the people. One definitely does a basic check of what is available and what people know about the brand. However, I don’t think that you can hold celebrities responsible for the things that are not in public.” She feels that if you are wearing something and constantly twitching it, “don’t wear it” just for the sake of wearing it because life is lived out of Instagram these days. “After the post, you still have to be in that outfit and move around. You have to feel good to look good. It has been proven that when you feel your best is when you are at your best,” says she as she walks out in style.

EXOTICA [27] AUGUST 2019


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GLOBE TROTTER

ON TWO WHEELS AND A PRAYER

Bikepacking in Thailand can be an incredible experience provided you keep some things in mind. KANISHKA PODDAR gives a lowdown on the essentials


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SOUTH

east Asia is gradually turning into one of the most preferred destinations for travellers who love to explore one place at a time, especially on a bicycle. Places like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos are preferred by travellers for their diversity, rich culture, tropical weather, beaches, great food, amazing people, low cost of travel, land connectivity and relaxed visa norms which make it easier for cyclists to move between countries in Asia. KHAO SOK NATIONAL PARK In the past few years, I have bikepacked extensively through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. I will be specifically talking about cycling in the first, highlighting points which will probably help you in making your bikepacking trip an experience to cherish forever. PLACES TO STAY: Spinning Bear Hostel & Cafe: If you are starting your trip in Bangkok, head straight to Spinning Bear which is a hostel cum cafe for and by the cyclists. The owner Immu and

Py Py are bicycle routers themselves and love hosting cyclists. Immu especially knows Thailand like the back of her hand. Please take her recommendations on routes and places to see as these places are bound to be incredible. The hostel has space to store your bike box and repair your bike in the workshop. You can also buy accessories for your tour and meet other cyclists as well which is always fun. Besides this, while you are on tour, there are ample guesthouses and hostels around the country, which are pretty cheap. When I am not camping, these guesthouses offer the best kind of luxury in the world. CAMPING: If you google camping in Thailand, several options pop up. Every small and big forest has been classified as a National Park and each of these has their own camping ground. You can sleep in the tent or can pitch your own for a small fee. Pro tip: Most of these camping grounds have beautiful views and if you decide to pitch your own tent, you just need to buy a ticket for camping which is pretty nominal. You don’t need a ticket for the National Park while you are camping.


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KHLONG PHANON NATIONAL PARK Beside National Parks, you can camp for free in Temples and Police Station. You just need to go and ask them and they will not take much time to show you the place where you can camp. Pretty easy, right? I camped at the Police Station once and it was pretty cool. They even offered me food, water and just made me feel at home. FOOD: I love Thai food as it is simply incredible. Thai people do not believe in messing up with their food so whatever you have, it will be scrumptious. From Noodle soups to Pad Thai and Raw papaya salad, you’ll love them all. Here are some basic terms in Thai, which will help you understand Thai cuisine better and make your life easier. Fish = Pla; Pork = Moo; Chicken = Gai; Beef = Neau I’m vegetarian = Chan gin mang sa virat Spicy = Phed; Not spicy = Mai phed Apart from that, it might sound awful, but you have 7/11 literally everywhere in Thailand and they have the best chicken and Ham toasties. They are just divine. These are certainly a must try. LANGUAGE: If you really want to experience

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the hinterlands of a foreign country, understand its people and culture and savour its food to max. You should learn the basic local language, which helps you make conversations with people. Because that is when soul connects with the place and people. Here are some basic Thai words and phrases which will be helpful to you while you tour there. Hello = Sawasdee; Thank you = Khob khun Please / End sentence politely = Krab (for men) & Ka (for women) Goodbye = Bye bye / Laew pob gun / Lagorn Good night = Rati sawas; Good luck = Chok dee You're welcome = Mai pen rai; Yes = Chai No = Mai chai; Sorry/ Excuse me = Koh tod I don't understand = Mai kao jai Nice to meet you = Yin dee tee dai roo jak Delicious = Aroi; Bicycle = Jakkrayan I love you = Chan rak khun Where's the toilet? = Hong nam yoo tee nhai Where's the hotel / guesthouse? = Rongram / guesthouse yoo tee nhai How much is it? = Tao rai / Raka tao rai Can you reduce the price? = Rod raka dai mhai Can we tent here? = Gang tent tee nee dai mhai Any bicycle shop near here? = Taew nee mee raan jakkrayan mhai For me, even the translator option in the Hostel World mobile app does wonders. It lets two people talk as if they both understand each other’s languages. ROUTES: The two most common routes in Thailand are from Bangkok to Krabi in the south and from Chiang Mai in north to Bangkok. The route to Krabi is all about beaches as you ride through both west and east coast of southern Thailand covering approximately 800 km wherein the ride from Chiang Mai is all about mountains, mainland and culturally-rich province of Thailand covering approximately 800 km as well. I recently rode from Bangkok to Trat in this east which is also a beautiful route to ride on with a bit of coastal route, mountains and paddy fields. People generally use this route to enter into Cambodia from Southern border at Had Lek, Trat which is approximately 600 km from Bangkok. This section of Thailand is little untouched with tourism and that adds to the beauty of the place and people.

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PROPOSED ROUTE —– BANGKOK TO KRABI BICYCLES ON RENT: There are plenty of bicycle travel companies which gives bicycles on rent but I would highly recommend Velo Thailand in Bangkok and Hua Hin Bike Tours in Hua Hin. Velo Thailand rentals are the cheapest in Bangkok and they give away decent bikes for weekly, fortnightly and monthly rentals. You can even rent pannier bags, tool kits and allied spares from them as well. Hua Hin Bike Tours is a touring company but also gives away bicycles on rent which are pretty cheap. The bikes are of well-known brands and are always well maintained with regular upkeep. They have a fleet of 75+ bikes and regularly sell their old bikes to bring in new ones in their fleet. The old bikes are worth buying, which can easily be sold of at the same price by the end of your tour. I recently purchased by Marin Larkspur CS3 from them and am totally loving it. Besides that, there are a plenty of second hand bike stores in and around the Khao San Street, Bangkok. You might just get lucky there with some decent bikes and good deal. MAPSME: I've a love-hate relationship with MapsMe. If you tend to be more adventurous, stick

to the routes suggested by mapsme. It will avoid highways as much as possible, take you through smaller city and village lanes, sometime through farm lands, waterfalls and beaches too. Since MapsMe is an open source Map, you will find plenty of recommendations on it through other travellers and cyclists which is a big one. DOGS: I love dogs but cycling and dogs in Thailand never go hand-inhand. I hated them. At some point, even a sense of them being in close proximity would give me goosebumps. They will chase cyclists for at least half a mile and nothing works on them. From keeping a stick to dog food or even me barking back at them, nothing works. Not even if I go slow. So just beware of them while you are cycling in Thailand. Every time I would come across one, I would slow down and the moment they start chasing and barking fiercely, I would race off. CONNECTIVITY: There are a plenty of options to stay connected and most telecom company would have huge amount of data for a small price. ACS is perhaps the most recommended one while you are in smaller places and gives good data and calling options. Other one I would recommend is True SIM, which is great with WiFi in big cities.

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GLOBE TROTTER

Azerbaijan’s viticulture dates back to more than 5,000 years and greatly influences the way any traveller experiences this country

‘IT’S A SMILE. IT’S A KISS. IT’S A SIP OF WINE’


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Iran, Russia and Georgia, Azerbaijan is an Eastern country with a Western outlook. With a stunning coastline along the Caspian Sea, it has a rich history that dates back 5,000 years and a composite culture that has evolved with time. Once home to thousands of travellers through the Great Silk Road, its cuisine is influenced by many cultures and tells a tale of its versatile past as well as its generous climate, which grows some of the most delicious fruits, vegetables and grains. Azerbaijan’s wine tradition came to the fore when in 1962, an archeological excavation of a 65th century BC historical site, Shomutepe near Agstafa discovered remains of different plants, including grape seeds. However, this was not all. Grape seeds, vessels and stone tools used in winemaking were discovered in excavations around Uzerliktepe near Agdam, in Khanlar district and in Nakhchivan, which are evidence of the role viticulture played in the lives of local tribes during

the bronze age. These vessels with wine were placed near a deceased person during funeral rituals. If more proof was needed, in addition to the remains of grapes and jugs, the excavations also discovered the instruments used in horticulture (hoes, knives, pressing stones, clippers, chopping knives and so on) and crockery (vessels, jugs, wineglasses, bowls, and more). The seeds discovered in Uzerliktepe are over 3,500 years old and, according to specialists, belong to grapes for table use. The seeds are of different sizes, the biggest being 6.5 mm long. There were buried grape clusters from the depth of centuries in a dry and semi-decomposed condition. A few surviving grapes had been placed in jugs and were preserved in their form and size. Following the discovery, it became obvious that the history of viticulture in Azerbaijan is at least seven millennia long. Moreover, the excavations near the Ganjachay river have revealed that the local population was


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also engaged in horticulture and viticulture in the bronze age. The excavation in the Borsunlu village of Terter district in 1982 revealed a large earthenware boiler with a hole at the bottom. It has been proven that the boiler was used for pressing grapes in the late second millennium BC. EARLY HISTORIC PERIOD excavations are supplemented by written history where wine was seen as one of the products which was taken as tax from the people of North-Western media in the early historic times. In 714 BC, at the time of the arrival of Sargon II (722-705 BC), the Mannaeans greeted his warriors with flour and wine. Sargon, an intense ruby wine with a hint of violet shade and a distinct aroma of wild flowers, herbs and berries, along with notes of blueberry, blackthorn and blackcurrant, can trace its origin to this. Describing the farming activity of ancient Azerbaijan population, in early years of the first century, Strabo highlighted the role of viticulture. “Vineyards there (Caucasian Albania) are not covered. Vine ends are cut every five years, new plantations produce crops in the second year, while old vineyards yield so much produce that much of it stays unharvested.” According to him, “Albanians bred sheep, engaged in horticulture, agriculture (using wooden ploughs) and viticulture.”

THE

BRANDS

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MEYSARI: There are three types of wine named

Sadaf, Marjan and Makhmari, which are produced under Meysari. o Sadaf is a dry white wine produced by mixing the Marsanne, Roussanne, Clairette and Grenache Blanc grape varieties. It has a sophisticated and balanced scent that contains flavours of pear, cedar and bay leaf. o Marjan, a dry red wine produced by mixing the Marselan, Grenache Noir, Cinsault, Carignan and Mourvèdre grape varieties, has a complex and balanced scent that contains flavours of blackberry and blackcurrant. o Makhmari is a premium dry red wine produced by mixing the Carignan and Grenache Noir grape varieties. It has a sophisticated and balanced scent that contains the flavour of green walnut and red currant.

SHIRVAN WINES:

Established in 2014, it produced the first organic wines in Azerbaijan, which distinguishes it from other local producers. It got EU’s organic certification in 2015. The Shirvan wines, unite rich tradition with modern technology to make wine from local and foreign grape varieties, grown in Meysari village, and are known for their unique taste and aroma.


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SAVALAN WINES: At Savalan Wines, it is the pure,

crystal-clear water cascading down from the Caucasus mountains, which suffuses the sun-bathed vines and gives the grapes and the wine a particular taste. The company, founded in 2007, was united and brought together in Azerbaijan and Italy. Seedlings are germinated in the southeast of the Caucasus mountains at an altitude of 400 m above sea level. Surrounded by the river, the Savalan plain has an average temperature, amount of precipitation and the ratio of sunshine hours and days per year, which create favourable conditions for cultivating grapes. The company currently produces 16 wine varieties under the brand Savalan as well as Grappa and Cognac. For those who want to go beyond the drinking, there are wine tours of the factory and vineyards available throughout the year.

CHABIANT WINES: The winery positions itself not in an

alcohol business but rather in that of promotion of the wine culture. Chabiant wines has a long history of wine-making dating back to 1980s, when there was old wine Sovhoz with Sovietstyle methods of grape processing. At 750 m altitude, the vineyards benefit from the natural rain-fed hills and the proper temperature swing between sunny days and chilly nights. Since 2016, the winery is seeking out lost or abandoned grape varieties,

MIDDLE AGES often makes an appearance in Azerbaijani literature. The prominent 14-15th century Azerbaijani geographer and historian Abdurrashid Bakuvi described the development of viticulture in and around Baku. Merchants and travellers would take the best varieties of grapes to distant countries. Geographer and traveller Adam Olearius wrote that first grape clusters were brought to Astrakhan from Shirvan. In his notes about Azerbaijan he also pointed to the presence of around 600 varieties of wine here. Many medieval Azerbaijani writers and poets wrote on

WINE

talking with institutes and universities around the country, that possibly have little collection of these to revive and replant those to bring local aromas and unique characteristics.

FIRELAND: The Fireland Vineyards is the place where Azerbaijani traditions of viticulture and wine-making intertwined with modern European technologies. It has an unusual terroir at the Absheron Peninsula off the coast of the Caspian sea and the foothills of the Greater Caucasus which give a particular specificification to the grape varieties grown. The vineyard itself is located between two salt lakes and the proximity of mud volcanoes reflects the richness of the local soil with minerals. Therefore, the usual and familiar tastes of grapes in the Azerbaijani version acquire truly explosive and fiery structures and taste qualities. GOYGOL WINERY: The 150-year-old Goygol Wine

Plant, OJSC is the oldest wine producer in Azerbaijan and its foundation was laid by Swabs, the Germans who settled in the region called Yelenendorf in 1860. The company specialised in producing brandy, as well as, white, red, sparkling and port wine. At the end of the 19th century, it was producing most of the wine products in Azerbaijan. As per the statistics of 1926, 48 per cent of grapes harvested in Azerbaijan were processed here. During that period, 6,70,000 buckets of wine were stored in 13 wine cellars of the enterprise. Presently, in addition to brandy and wine products, they have various types of vodka products as well as non-alcoholic soft drinks for local and international markets. Wine degustation is organised at the wine cellar where tourists can taste more than 15 types of wine and brandies.

wine and its use in the daily life. In Nizami Ganjavi’s works, according to an arrangement of the troops of Alexander the Great with local ruler Nushaba, a part of the local population’s tribute was paid in grapes. “There is no greater virtue than reason and sobriety, nor any evil worse than recklessness and hard drinking,” wrote Nasir-al-din Tusi (1201-1274), the famous Azerbaijani scientist and founder of the Maragha observatory in Southern Azerbaijan (in present-day Iran). The medieval epic poem Kitabi Dada Gorgud (book of Dada Gorgud), developed between the 7th-11th centuries AD, describes scenes of wine-

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making, “There are gardens in our mountains where branches of black grapes grow. We squeeze the juice from these grapes and make red wine. Those who drink this wine can get drunk.” Two other sources can be used to dig in deep to highlight the history and traditional heritage of wine in the country. Farid Alakbarov has been studying the medical manuscripts in Arabic script, which are archived at Baku's Institute of Manuscripts. His research shows that in medieval times, the use of the different mixtures of wine with spices and different herbs was spread across all territories of Azerbaijan. The second source are the foreign travellers and diplomats who passed through Azerbaijani territories in the Middle Ages and described the wine-making and consumption, despite the fact that Islam forbade it. MODERN WINE-MAKING viticulture in Azerbaijan developed in two main directions. Until the first half

THE

of the 19th century, it was mainly part of subsistence farming, but when Azerbaijan joined the Russian market, the demand dramatically increased, which further bolstered the development of viticulture. Industrial winemaking began developing in the 1860-70s. But the modern period of wine production has its origins in the arrival of Germans from Württemberg, who were settled in the region by tsar Aleksandr I in 1817-18 as a part of St Petersburg’s effort to tighten its grip on what was then one of its Southern provinces. In the course of the 19th century, German firms took the lead in developing both wine and brandy and shipped them North to Russian markets. Following the Bolshevik revolution, these firms were nationalised and continued to produce wines and cognacs. It is not surprising then that renowned Russian writer Maxim Gorky, during a visit to Baku in 1936, tasted Azerbaijani wine and made no secret of his admiration.

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Azerbaijan’s wine industry was nearly destroyed by Mikhail Gorbachev's anti-alcohol campaign, the Armenian occupation of 20 per cent of the country and the political and economic disorders of the early 1990s. However, it is rapidly recovering both in terms of output and quality. Azerbaijan's viticulturists developed many valuable varieties, each of which was adapted to the soil and climate conditions in different parts of the country. These varieties were named for different qualities: o Colour — Black, White, Yellow, Sarigilya, Violet, Gek Gezendan, Karaserme and so on o Aroma — Gilabi Kishmishi, Shekeri, Tembei, Shirei and Kerimgandi o Appearance and size of berries — Gushuren, Misgali, Tulkuguyrugu, Deveguzu, Tuleguzu, Kesimemesi-inekemdzhei and Galinbarmagikhatinbarmagi

o The names of some varieties come from places, such as Beylagani, Tabrizi, Shabrani, Derbendi, Ordubadi, Shirvanshahi, Tatli, Merendi, Medrese, Shakhtakhti o Thickness of peel — Dash uzum, Galingabig and Nazikgabig o Seed size and shape of the cluster — Saplalurmaz, Khachabash, Bendi and Teberze o There are even some varieties named after their breeders Khalili, Husseini, Askeri, Sakina Khanum, Mukhtari, Agadai, Melei and so on Azerbaijan’s grape-growers have learned to adapt imported varieties to the local climate. But the traffic is two-way as some valuable ones are exported to Central Asia, Crimea, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and other countries. There are many regions in Azerbaijan where there is a perfect combination of sunlight and heat to grow grape varieties with the lowest sugar content, which is suitable for producing wines and grape juices.

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F A S H I O N F O R WA R D

TINSEL TOWN COLLECTIBLES Designer LECOANET HEMANT’s Autumn-Winter collection, Cinema of Genes, brought back prints, sequined tuxedos, breezy kimonos and tunic dresses, embarking upon a journey to the classic Hollywood era, says AYUSHI SHARMA

IT

almost felt like I was walking the red carpet while entering the venue for Lecoanet Hemant’s show, which premiered their Autumn-Winter collection, Cinema of Genes. Imagine a wide, dark garage-like space, which gives an elegant car showroom-like vibe, where every corner features theatrical props to get Instagram-worthy pictures and pays homage to the classic age of

Hollywood through some vintage posters — sounds a fun place for a fashion show, isn’t it? After arriving just in time at the cocktail hour, I sipped the red wine, nibbled on some mushroom nuggets and gazed at the black and white tuxedo-like wallpaper in a corner, waiting for the show to begin. I found my comfortable space near the stairs, which were not too far away from the ‘supposedly’ main


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arena, where stood a silver Mini Cooper. But as the show began, much to my surprise, the first model, wearing a tunic-dress, walked down the stairs directly towards the audience. It’s only then when I understood that rather than other usual ramp shows, it was an intimate affair. Also, the stairs were not the only medium they climbed down through. They would just emerge from behind your back that it would take a minute for you to realise — where did they suddenly appear from? The Cooper though, acted only as a decor prop as two models sat in the car while other models would hover around in between the groups of people. There were tunic-dresses with tapered ribbon detailing, tailored suits with wide-legged pants, breezy kimonos with tape accents over slim-fitting pants, crisp shirts layered over short-sleeved dresses and sequined tuxedos. All designed in monochromatic hues — black, pristine white and slate grey — each outfit in the collection was

enhanced with simple yet striking accents of burnt orange, pillar box red, amethyst and aubergine. A range of embellished cross-body bags in geometric shapes, trendy fannypacks and stardom totes playfully complemented the collection. The evening presented the collection as seen through an inspired, cinematic lens. It took inspiration from the classic Hollywood iconography — the mise en scène of vintage posters, the distinct design of Art Deco and dramatic visuals full of elegance and emotion, and effortlessly blends them to accent modern fashion. Designer Hemant Sagar said, “It was just a dream. We are surrounded by a society that’s obsessed with films. We just thought it was a great idea to have something which comes from the past and inspires the present. It took 18 months of hard work. Genes Lecoanet Hemant was launched in 2015 with a practical yet pertinent desire to give the Indians a local fashion label with an

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international appeal. The collection delves deeper into glamour and celluloid as a state of mind, the cause, rather than the effect, of an attitude.” Use of vintage posters and modern, everyday fashion appears to be quite like an oxymoron. So how has he blended the two opposites? “Well, the idea was to find something extremely contemporary. There is nothing historic about the collection, it’s just vintage. We have tried to be as sustainable as possible. We have used classic materials, which are casual but have a hint of glamour. We have come out with details such as trims on the trousers, accessorise it in terms of the contrast you build in using print on print technique and embroidery in print. The prints are still very much in fashion,” said he. “I have adapted to the modern times. Since there are always new aspects coming in, it’s always a problem for a designer where you just have to keep adapting to it and engage. You also have to propagate the feeling of novelty to make people understand that you have brought something new,” added he. In an already glamourous gala, actress Radhika Apte walked the not-so-called ramp as a showstopper, wearing a black-sequined long gown with a soft, fluid silhouette, embellished with 3D motifs and symbols, while her hair were tossed in a neat bun. A neck piece, studded with coloured gemstones and Swarovski crystals, was the only jewellery she wore. Asked Hemant about the inspiration behind Radhika’s outfit? He said swiftly, “There was no inspiration. She is the inspiration itself. She just jumped in the outfit and it fitted perfectly without any alteration.” Radhika felt that the clothes have a very universal appeal because they are elegant yet very simple. It’s something you could just pick up and wear anytime and that’s the whole idea that you don’t have give a second thought to what you are wearing but you still look very graceful and chic yet manageable. “My real life fashion is black and white. The rest is coloured,” she said. Among the list of must-haves from Hemant’s collection, there were suave suits in a regal Prince of Wales check and fine-wool pinstripes. For men’s formal wardrobes, there were tunics and lusciously soft, cotton shirts, layered with pants in bright hues and dramatic prints along with voluminous, logo jackets.

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MANE MAGIC

TWIST,CURLANDTEASE

Texture and voluminous hair are here to stay as India changes its outlook on how to treat the mane organically, says CHAHAK MITTAL

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hair is certainly like a crown that can never be taken off our heads. And it is very much a part of our identities and self-image. With the growing focus on sustainability in our lifestyles today, people are increasingly heading towards a more organic approach when it comes to hair management. They do not merely wash and style their hair anymore but also hydrate, protect and put efforts to strengthen it. And many of them are looking to do so with healthy and wholesome ingredients and products with few or no chemicals. A report from 2011 reveals that there has been a 15 per cent decline in the sales of hair care products after the advent of organic and green products in the market. Well, this does explain why the sales of everyday hair care products are falling flat after new products come to the fore, which appeal to the changing demographics in the country. The same approaches are being initiated in hair salons too. In a bid to promote sustainability and create space for an eco-friendly business model for all global beauty brands and salons across the

country, Maison D' Auraine, a luxury and premium beauty brand has introduced ‘Project Green Salon’ which uses hair colours extracted from “bamboo” sticks. So how can we make salon spaces greener? Just alter the use of almost everything — from plastic, hair colours with chemical and metal cans — to biodegradable options and natural ingredients. The question of what the new, futuristic hair would be like in India is a deliberative one. Especially for international hairstylist Marcelo Pedrozo, who looks at the Indian hair type as bouncy and wavy. He points out that its future is just taking rounds like a merry-go-wheel. And this year, it went back to the Eastern way of experimenting with hair in the 80s. “Everything is going back and also getting accepted. The trends in those decades were quite ahead of their time. I believe, in every season, some of the decade becomes a trend. Previously, there was fluffiness in hair and so many finger waves in the 40s. Today, it has again become the top trend.” Wavy, curly and straight hair types are the most common ones in the country. However,

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straight has been commonly looked at as the ‘ideal’ one. Women with curly hair had often been, due to the society’s perception and cinema projections of them, looked at as rebellious and wild. They are bullied through words like ‘noodles and poodles.’ Even men with curls are seen as felonious and undisciplined. However, Pedrozo points out towards how “curly, voluminous and texture” hair have also been taking the lead today. “The West has a wide market for curly hair. The global curly girl (CG) community has been very much appreciative of the curly trend. However, much to the surprise of Indians, there is an active CG

community in the country as well, which is only growing,” he says. Well, yes, Instagram and Kangana Ranaut are evidence. For him, it was only in India that he realised what the “beauty of hair” is. He tells us, “I started my hair styling journey 12 years ago. But I hadn’t understood what the beauty of hair was until I came to India. I observed how they take care of their hair here. Indian hair has huge waves and are shiny, healthy and bouncy. People want more volume and bounce in their hair to make it look alive. But in India, it is ever-present. The texture of their hair is so perfect, smooth and strong. It’s

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great as a hairstylist to experiment with their hair and with more techniques. And now with no chemicals, their stuff would be even greater than ever.” When advertisements go like, ‘In search of one of the most trusted, natural solutions for your hair?’ Pedrozo’s answer would be, “Keratin.” It is certainly one of the most sought after treatments for the hair. And it’s the reason why it’s becoming a growing trend here. “Keratin is very good and healthy for hair. It keeps their shine element

intact. It works great even in different kinds of weather like India. For example, Mumbai’s weather can make your hair dry. So you also need some moisturising. And what’s better than keratin?” says he. However, one of the most evergreen trends that have been followed, since hair experimentation first begun, is hair colouring, irrespective of the place it happens in. Pedrozo believes that hair colour has more to do with a person’s identity and self perception than just style. He points out, “It has a lot to do about our personal image. People colour their hair to feel new about themselves. For example, three years ago, I’d see my hair and say to myself, ‘Ah! I am tired. I want to see my hair in another shade! I want a change.’ So, it is also a part of your identity. Women change their hair colour because they want to look good and experiment with something new. It’s fun to keep colouring. Though you could also be harsh on your hair if you keep using colours regularly without moisturising it often.” And this is why, he says, there is a need for more herbal and organic products for hair to be introduced in India. He adds, “It is very important, especially because there is no count of how many chemicals we consume on a daily basis, unknowingly. And for me, styling is important but breathing is more than that, for which we need to discard all plastic-based and chemical-infused products and shift to greener alternatives. It is very important to take care of the hair organically before talking about its styling.” There would also be a special focus on “waste management” techniques at salons. “We are creating fume extractors in which we take all the toxic gases, harmful chemicals and fumes out of the salon infrastructure. We are also installing salon bins, which will have five-bin structure inside salons. Each one would be dedicated to different materials — metal, paper, hair, plastic things and cans. We will also be working closely working NGOs to educate more people about this to create a new future of hair in India,” says Arpit Jain, founder-director of the beauty brand.

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A R T F R AT

WILLIAM

love ETERNAL

Shakespea re and Rabindran ath Tagore might have lived in two different contexts and eras but their language of exploring the depth of human psychology and emotions has been more or less the same — and ever-relevant. They both have touched the core of universal emotions and been recreated through the times. Even if one would try to quote some of their words penned ages ago, it might seem as if they were written just yesterday. However, just as Shakespeare has been globalised, reinvented and reinterpreted over the ages, director and playwright Kaushik Bose feels that Tagore hasn’t been redone to the same level. But apart from Bengalis, “who won’t let him go that easily,” he belongs to everybody. Which is why Bose

Director KAUSHIK BOSE recreates Tagore’s Shesher Kobita as a play and weaves into the plot some unuttered musings, verbalises them through dance movements and examines numerous ideas of relationships in society. By CHAHAK MITTAL

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has adapted the writer’s classic Shesher Kobita (1929), the most stirring rendition of modern love, into a stage play as Poem of An Ending. “This is not just a stage adaptation of the classic, but also an attempt to present Tagore in a new-age format and take him to a wider audience that the Nobel laureate deserves. Also, this story has never been done on stage, which was a challenge as well. And of course, never in English. It was made into a radio play a long time ago. But Shesher Kobita is a timeless story that has stayed with me over the years and since the time I first read it. Everything — from the story to its multi-layered ideas of love and human emotions,

and the various styles of all its characters — the book still lives. So why not Shesher Kobita?” says he. The story, which examines man-woman relationships and the institution of marriage in India, revolves around Amit Ray, a barrister educated at Oxford, whose intellectualism turns so self-destructive that it, in turn, makes him stand against all forms of tradition and social institutions. When he meets Labonya in a car accident, their romance later builds up in the misty hills of Shillong. Through a series of dialogues and poems, it blends their two disparate worlds — Amit’s iconoclasm and Labonya’s sincerity and simplicity. But the question remains, will these

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two worlds finally meet? The play, hence, explores the realities of love as romance and marriage in the Indian society. The plot is also supported by Ketaki, Shovon and Yogmaya who play critical roles in this story of love and class conflict. Bose says that the story presents an unfathomable number of ideas about love. “Amit is a flighty kind of a guy who looks at love like a 360degree high arc. He has a sense of ‘I’ in him, which makes him forget the other, which is why it leaves Labonya feeling cast aside. On the other hand, she is far more dedicated but keeps her eye open rather than falling head-over-heels with Amit. And the terms of love have an altogether different meaning for her. While Ketaki believes that everything is fair in love and war, Shovon, on the other hand, is far more calmer character for whom love is more like a

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sacrifice and an offering to god,” he says and goes on to add that this is the biggest factor that makes the story relatable even today. Why do love stories remain eternal, he asks, irrespective of their language. “Because love has a very universal definition and meaning. The ways of expressing it might be manifold and everevolving today as compared to the yesteryears, but the idea of love never changes. Emotions remain the same throughout. Hence, love stories stay evergreen. And here, all the protagonists have also remained relevant because you can easily come across all these characters even today.” One of the biggest advantages (as well as disadvantages) of being the first-time presenter of a story that has never been staged before is that it gives you the freedom to experiment and at the same time leaves you clueless about how to begin. However, turning the tables around, Bose’s “original” and “creative” element in the play was to weave dance movements into the plot in order to take it ahead and explain some things which are better left unsaid. The director, who believes in writing his own scripts and allowing himself a sense of creative freedom through that, says, “The play is presented in a format where every lead character is represented by an actor and a dancer. Each of these characters are blended into each

other yet are distinct. So it is their unspoken personal musings that the dance in the play aims to verbalise. And irrespective of the characters, all the dancers are women.” But why? It’s because the feelings, which do not need words to be uttered, need a more gentler way of expression. “And that could only be done by women,” he says with a smile and adds that the combination acts as a metaphor for love and represents it as “genderless and universal.” Hence, the stage is set in a multi-level structure, one where the dances acquire the space and the other where the transition of different phases of each character takes place — from London to Shillong and from love to marriage. For Bose, the enactment certainly was more of a challenge than his previous directions — one of them being an adaptation of Devdutt Pattnaik’s The Pregnant King. “The play has no major dramatic element or conflict in it. The premise of the entire story is very humane and realistic. Hence, it leaves no room for exaggeration. And adapting a book into a play is certainly challenging given its theme. So it had to be subtle yet valiant. I even rewrote Ketaki’s character a bit differently than the one in the book to keep it ageless as I felt it won’t relate as much with the current generation. I changed some of her characteristics,” he says.

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FITNESS

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MOST

Bharat Thakur is a yoga guru and founder of Artistic Yoga

Strengthened and activated chakras lead to better health, attitude and self-expression

people have heard about Chakras but don’t know much about them. This is a fairly complex area but let’s look at a simple overview of what chakras are and what they do. There are seven main chakras that control different parts and functions of the body and mind. These are Mooladhara (root chakra), Swadhishthan (sacral chakra), Manipura (naval chakra), Anahata (heart chakra), Vishuddhi (throat chakra), Ajna (eyebrow centre) and Sahasrara (crown chakra). These are linked to major nerve plexuses and endocrine glands in the body. The two lower-most — Mooladhara and Swadihistana — control the genitorurinary systems in our bodies. Mooladhara is located at the perineum/cervix. It is a centre of primal energy and its main concern is to fulfill our basic needs. Swadhisthana chakra, two fingers below the navel, is linked to personal pleasure and sensory needs and experiences through food, drink, sex and so on. Manipur chakra is in the navel area and governs our digestive system and glands and linked to our drive to assert ourselves and achieve. Anahata chakra, in the centre of the chest, controls the heart, lungs and our cardiovascular and respiratory system. It affects our capacity to accept other people as they are. Vishuddhi chakra is at the back of the neck, behind our throat pit. It governs our vocal cords, the larynx, thyroid and parathyroid glands. It is linked to becoming more aware, understanding and discriminating, learning to flow with life and experiencing the world as an integrated whole. Ajna chakra is behind the eyebrow centre and often called the third eye. It controls the secretions of the pineal gland in the brain. This is where we learn to focus and strengthen our mind, develop wisdom and intuition. Sahasrara chakra is located at the top of the head. It is a point of consciousness that you reach when all the chakras are activated. All yoga postures impact the chakras, glands and the areas of body they are linked to. For example, Salabhasana (locust) impacts on Mooladhara chakra while Bhujangasana (cobra) affects Vishuddhi chakra. Matsyasana (fish) affects the Vishudhi, Manipura, Anahata chakras. Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) impacts the Vishuddhi chakra and the thyroid gland. When you hold a posture and focus on a particular chakra, the effect is more powerful. How we experience our chakras and express them depends on the nature of each individual. Chakras can become weak or blocked and this affects our physical and mental health and our attitudes. The practice of yoga can strengthen and activate the chakras, helping us into better health, attitudes and self-expression.

CIRCLE OF LIFE


E

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MATSYASANA (FISH POSE) o Lie on your back, legs and feet together, arms by your side BENEFITS: o Press down on your elbows o Stretches and strengthens neck, o Slowly lift the head, arch the chest and upper body shoulder muscles and respiratory o Bend your head backwards, resting top of head on floor system o Place your hands on your thighs o Increased blood flow to the neck, o Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, breathing deeply face and head, revitalises them, o Slowly relax the head, use your elbows to return to start position leaving a healthy glow o Relax the body o Regulates the thyroid and thymus o Mental focus on Vishudhi chakra – throat area glands, improves the immune system ASHWACHANCHALAN ASANA

MERUDANDASANA

(SPINAL COLUMN POSE) o Lie on your back, arms outstretched o Place your right foot on your left knee o Inhale, then exhale as you drop the right knee to the left towards the floor, face turned in opposite direction o Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, breathing normally o Repeat on the other side o Mental focus on Manipur chakra — four inches above the navel BENEFITS: o Massages the internal organs in the abdominal area o Puts gentle pressure on the pancreas and stimulates the production of insulin o Helps with spinal flexibility o Stretches the sciatic nerve, helps sciatic pain

(EQUESTRIAN POSE) o Feet together, bend forward, place palms of hands flat on floor on either side of the feet o Inhale, keeping both palms on floor, bend the left knee and stretch right leg back o Keeping arms straight, arch your back, tilt head up and focus on the eyebrow centre o Hold 10 to 30 seconds, breathing normally o Mental focus on Ajna chakra, the eyebrow centre BENEFITS: o Massages and improves the functioning of abdominal organs o Stretches and strengthens leg muscles o Induces balance in the nervous system

SALABHASANA (LOCUST POSE) o Lie flat on stomach with chin on floor o Make fists with both hands, place (palms down) under your thighs, keep legs together, elbows straight o Inhale as you raise lower body as high as you can o Hold for a few seconds, exhale as you bring body down o Repeat twice o Relax till breathing becomes normal o Mental focus on Mooladhara chakra BENEFITS: o Stimulates the whole autonomic nervous system o Strengthens the lower back, pelvic area o Tones the sciatic nerve helps lower back pain o Improves functioning of liver and abdominal organs


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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Spiritual Guru

Repeatedly associating an object with a particular sense makes you want it more

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Intention, attention and manifestation

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THE

association of a particular sense with an object over and over again creates a sense of craving. If you are used to drinking coffee every morning, then even though you are not born with a coffee fixation, you have begun a habit within you that has created a craving. How did it all start? The habit of drinking coffee didn’t happen in one day. Addiction starts with a repeated experience of a particular object. It becomes a habit — and its nature is that it does not give you joy. It gives pain. Therefore, drinking coffee will not carry you to heaven but if you don’t have it, it can give you hell. The repeated experience or association of a particular sense with an object makes you want it more. You think about it and it creates a sensation of wanting more. Whenever you put your attention to the nervous system, the craving for it begins. With association comes desire. And with desire comes anger. Whenever a person is angry, behind it is a longing. Whether fulfilled or unfulfilled, desire leads to anger. So you get angry with somebody. The next step is that you get attached. Now, whoever you are angry with, sooner or later you will regret it. That brings more attachment. By regretting, you do not move away from the person or situation, in fact you move into it. All this happens in a subtle way. Have you ever observed that whoever you are angry with or hate, you think of that person more than yourself? And as you think of this person, you get agitated or distressed. On the other hand, if you think of someone you love,

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you feel nice and your nervous system assumes that form. When your nervous system assumes either of the forms, it becomes like that and you get drawn to those kind of people. This is entanglement. Therefore, an obsession brings anger which in turn brings entanglement. Entanglement clouds intellect. Your wisdom and judgment are lost; your ability to understand and access the situation gets lost. This is a chain reaction and it happens in such a subtle manner that you don’t even realise it. Entanglement, whether out of craving or aversion, clouds the intellect. And a distorted intellect doesn’t let you be at peace. Such an intellect does not even bring up the emotions — the subtle feelings within you. Any feeling you get will be gross and will make you heavy. With a clouded intellect, the memory of pleasant things is lost. Life has two sets of memories: memories of pleasant things and those of unpleasant things. Children often have more pleasant than unpleasant memories. That’s why they are so cheerful. But as we grow up and lose our innocence, our unpleasant memories increase. Spiritual practices help bring back more agreeable memories and reduce unpleasant ones to almost an insignificant amount. Therefore, it is important to meditate regularly. Once the memory of "Who am I" is lost, the memory of "What do I want in my life," the "reality" and “seeing life in context with the universe" is lost as is wisdom. Then there is no happiness and peace. The role of meditation and other spiritual practices is to withdraw the mind from the sense objects and take it back to its source. This is critical for success in life. The knowledge of coming back to the self, the referral value of consciousness makes it rich, energetic and beautiful. Pull back your attention from the object of the senses to the senses themselves and then to the source of mind. This journey within will give you the strength and endurance to go through all the ups and downs of life. Wherever you put your attention, that will start manifesting in your life.

If you put attention on anger, anger will manifest. If you put attention on lust, lust will come to the forefront. Focus on love, and it will surround you. When you make imperfection the hub, it is what you can see all around you. Observe the intention, and put your attention on whatever you want to grow in life. Intention, attention and manifestation — is how the universe manifests.

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SCALE THE ZENITH OF EXCELLENCE

Driven by its commitment to provide quality technical education, the AJAY KUMAR GARG ENGINEERING COLLEGE has become one of the best engineering institutions in Uttar Pradesh

THE

Ajay Kumar Garg Engineering College (AKGEC), Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh is approved by AICTE and affiliated to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow. The college was established in 1998 and offers B.Tech Courses in seven disciplines of Engineering. The college also offers postgraduate courses in Computer Application (MCA) and M.Tech in five engineering disciplines. The college is accredited by NAAC. AKGEC has excellent infrastructure with state-of-the-art laboratories, computing facilities, automated library with e-journals, modern well-furnished hostels for 1,500 students and faculty residences on its wi-fi enabled 40 acres campus. The college also has highly qualified and experienced faculty lead by its director, Dr RK Agarwal, who is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur, CIT, UK and IISc Bangalore with vast teaching, research and administrative experience. The college has been consistently maintaining excellent results and has 18 students in the 2017-18 top 10 AKTU merit lists with three Gold, one Silver and two Bronze medals. The college students have also received the Chancellor’s Gold Medal for best performance across all B.Tech branches for three consecutive years, since its inception. The college also conducts a number of industrially relevant programmes to make its students globally competitive. During the year 2017-18 over 650 students have been placed in reputed companies like Infosys, Cognizant, Ashok Leyland, HCL, Hero Motocorp, HSBC Software, TCS, Tech Mahindra, Wipro, Samsung Research Institute, NIIT Technologies. The college has established a number of Centres of Excellence in collaboration with eminent multinational industries. These include Industrial Robotic Training Centre in collaboration with Kuka Robotics, Centre of Competence in Automation Technologies with Bosch Rexroth, LabVIEW Academy with National Instruments,

Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) Centre with Siemens, Drive & Control Lab with Mitsubishi Electric, Industrial Pneumatic Knowledge Centre with Janatics India and a Competency Development Centre in Integrated Automation with Automation Industries Association and industry partners like Pepperl & Fuchs, B&R, Festo and Siemens. The primary objective of these centres is to provide industrially relevant training in these inter-disciplinary state-of-art technologies to bridge the gap between academic curriculum and industry needs. These centres also promote research and industrial consultancies. To expand the outreach of this facility and to align its objective with “Skill India Mission,” AKGEC Skills Foundation has been established as a funded training partner of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), under Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship. Under this programme Advance Welding Technology and Advance Manufacturing Centres have been established. The college has the unique distinction of receiving the Academic Excellence Award for Best Engineering College in UPTU for two successive years from His Excellency the Governor of UP. The college is also the recipient of ‘Best Industry Institute Interface’ from the Minister of Science & Technology, UP Government, as well as from Royal Academy of Engineering, UK. The college has been honoured with the prestigious STEM awards for ‘Excellence & Innovation in Robotics Education’ by All India Council for Robotics & Automation. AKGEC believes in setting audacious goals and infusing fresh ideas to achieve the same. The college plans to promote collaborative industry relevant projects, R&D, and consultancy to raise the overall academic standard as well as to bridge the gap between academic curriculum and industry requirements to make its students globally competitive.


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HOTWHEELS

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DO THE

Kushan Mitra Auto & tech expert

NUMBERS ADD UP?

The Hyundai Kona Electric is the first long-range electric vehicle launched by a mass-market manufacturer in India. But does it make any sense?

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has ambitious electric vehicle plans for India and the first step in that vision is the Hyundai Kona, a Creta-sized Sports Utility Vehicle. When you first glance at it, it sure looks like an SUV that has been lightly grazed by the future. It looks quite normal and that is one message that car designers are trying to send to potential buyers. The future does not have to look very different, even though it might drive quite differently. Hyundai India had arranged a short three-lap run with the Kona around the Buddh International Circuit, more for logistical reasons than for performance reasons. The track is not the natural home of the Kona, with its low rolling resistance tyres and the fact that

it is a SUV makes it slightly skittish, although like in all electric cars with a decent battery, the acceleration is linear. While the Indian version of the car has a slightly smaller battery than the American and European variants, it can still do a decent rate of knots, and can do it reasonably quickly as well at just under ten seconds. The interiors are pleasant, a bit more advanced than your regular Hyundai interior, with a full digital display replacing the instrument panel, buttons and the traditional gearbox. I have to note that in the other cars that I have driven with such button gears, reversing can be a bit of a pain if you need to nudge forward a couple of times. On the race track, where you are always driving forward though, this was not an issue. But let us get to the crux of the matter when it comes to electric cars. The Kona costs `25.3 lakh and will come in a single specification. In addition, this is the price as of now when electric cars incur a GST rate of 12 per cent although a potential decline of the

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rate to five per cent has been proposed by the Finance Minister in her budget, which could bring down prices by up to `1.5 lakh. On top of that, some states have been fairly progressive and removed road tax and registration fees for electric vehicles. So for the Kona, in Delhi and some other states, all you will pay will be the ex-showroom price plus insurance. We will get to the matter of costs and whether the Kona makes sense from an economic point of view in a bit. But first, the issue of range and charging time. Hyundai India says that the Automotive Research Association of India has certified the car with a range of 452 kilometers from its 39.2 Kilowatt-Hour (KwH) battery and that has led to some questions. The ARAI does not currently have a standard to measure electric range properly in a combined cycle and comparing the Kona to other vehicles with a 40 KwH battery, a more reasonable range while using the air-conditioner and other creature comforts, would be under 300 km. The BMW i3s that I drove recently claimed battery usage at 12.9 KwH per 100 km, but the Kona is a bit bigger and heavier, so will likely consume a bit more. It is not always accurate to multiply a per-KwH economy into a total range because electric vehicles do generate a significant amount of power from regenerative braking, and the Kona has three-levels of such braking. At the highest L3 level, you can really drive without the brakes if you

want to, such is the braking action when you lift your foot off the throttle. Weirdly, in urban conditions with a lot of braking, an electric car could have a slightly greater range than constant speed highway driving with minimal regeneration. But the Kona should be able to get from Delhi to Chandigarh or Jaipur in one charge of electricity. How long does the Kona take to charge? Well, if you use your regular wall socket, which you can use in a pinch, it will take more than 16 hours to fully charge. Hyundai is proving the car with a wall socket that will use accelerated Alternating Current charging from your meter and the car can be fully charged in six hours or so overnight. At the same time, there are some Direct Current fast charging station as well, Hyundai is establishing a few of these in collaboration with Indian Oil at major petrol pumps, the Indian Oil pump on Niti Marg, Chanakyapuri in Delhi being one of the first. This fast-charger will allow the Kona to get to 80 per cent full charge within 15 minutes. Given the price of the Kona, it is more than likely that buyers will have a proper parking slot for the car, so using the high-amperage wall box will be the standard way to charge it, and given a daily commute of 50 kilometres, a single charge should last a week quite easily. But does the Kona make sense? It certainly makes sense if you are worried about air


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pollution, and even if sceptics point out that a majority of India’s power is generated from coal-fired plants, an electric motor is more efficient from a carbon perspective. It is, however, slightly less carbon-efficient than a plug-in hybrid in India at the current time. Also keep in mind, this is the current maths given India’s present energy-mix, which is changing with more wind and solar plants going forward, the carbon impact of electric cars will be much lower than it is today. But from a money point of view? As said, the Kona is more or less the same size as the Hyundai Creta, which is an extremely popular car. Therefore, to compare the Kona against the top-end petrol Automatic variant of the Creta, which costs just above `16 lakh, all-inclusive in Delhi. The Kona, with insurance, will cost just above `26 lakh (unless GST rates go down), a ten lakh rupee difference. But electric cars are far cheaper to run, the BMW i3s delivered, in the city, a running cost of 96 paise a km. But can you make back the additional ten lakh you spend on a Kona over the 1,60,000 km, eight-year guaranteed life of the battery? This is a bit tricky, because petrol prices are just shy of `75/litre and India is just one Iranian conflagration away from `100/litre petrol. But at current prices, taking petrol at `75/litre and the Creta’s fuel economy at around 12 km a litre, reasonable in urban conditions, the fuel operating

costs of the Creta are `6.25 per km. The Kona, again using Delhi’s peak rate residential power charge of `7.75 per unit (not amortising the fixed cost of the power connection here) and an economy of 14 units per hundred kilometers, the per km running cost is `1.1, a difference `5.15 per km, assuming all other costs are more or less the same after the battery’s warranty runs out. You would have saved `8.24 lakh. Now, if fuel prices go up significantly and power prices remain more or less steady as they have for years, the maths can change but you would still have saved substantially. The problem is that after eight years, when the battery’s rated cycle-life of 2,000 cycles is over you will need to replace it, and batteries are expensive, so what will your asset be worth then? You will get some money back for the battery, but on vehicles like the Kona, the battery is over two-thirds of the cost. That said, if fuel prices hit `100/litre, and the GST on electric cars comes down to five per cent and your savings hit `7/km, the numbers change positively for the electric car. One is also assuming that batteries will become cheaper with mass manufacturing by the likes of LH, Panasonic and Samsung and this will be coupled with more energy-dense batteries with potential future technologies like Lithium-Sulphur and Solid State batteries and who knows. As of today? I really do not know as yet, but I am willing to be persuaded.

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PHOTO GALLERY

When the sky opens up and lets itself go after the hot scorching summer, not just the parched earth but the weather-beaten individuals too have a reason to celebrate. No wonder then, that the season is deified in literature where odes are written in both prose and poetry. Artists have depicted the season with flair and shutterbugs to capture the frames that show monsoon in its full glory

blessing SHOWERS OF


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A plainclothes policeman requests people to move away from the shores of the Arabian Sea as monsoon clouds fill the sky. Authorities were bracing for a severe cyclone gathering strength that was expected to make landfall in the western state of Gujarat as India's second major storm of the season. In the financial capital of Mumbai, police tweeted that people should not venture into sea and should keep safe distance from shoreline because of the high winds, heavy rainfall and lightning expected. (Inset): A puddle of water reflects the images of tourists after rainfall at the landmark Gateway of India in Mumbai


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(Clockwise from left): Rain clouds circle above a small village on a hill slope in Dharamshala; house sparrows sit on a cable against a backdrop of Himalayan cedar trees on a rainy day in the hill station and a Verditer Flycatcher finds shelter in a tree from a heavy downpour

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(Clockwise from left): A group of girls stand on the shores of the Arabian Sea as monsoon clouds fill the sky in Mumbai; a woman farmer sows cotton seeds in the outskirts of Hyderabad and children splash about in a flooded street


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(Clockwise from right): A man takes cover under an umbrella to save himself from the onslaught of rains in Hyderabad; a woman walks with one in Mumbai and pedestrians scamper through the rain in Jammu

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(Clockwise from top left): This is one of the times in the year that you want to walk along the Arabian Sea; a man sells candy floss on the banks of the River Ganga as monsoon clouds hover over the region in Prayagraj; a street vendor is silhouetted against a grey sky at sunset in Hyderabad and kanwarias walk near the banks of the River Ganga in Prayagraj


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EVENT

KHUSRAU-KABIR India has been blessed by the presence of several poet-saints through centuries. Among the most revered and popular from north India are Hazrat Amir Khusrau and Saint Kabir. Banyan Tree has conceived a concert to celebrate the rich legacy of the two poets whose works continue to guide us even today. Where: Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, Janpath, Mandi House, Delhi When: August 3 FRESHER THOUGHTS BY KUNAL KAMRA After seeing him take over the internet with his extremely edgy humor, he is back in your city with his latest show. Yet another YouTube breaking video, a genre-defining podcast and troll bashing worthy of history books, Kunal Kamra is back with new jokes, insights and truth bombs. Where: Kedarnath Sahni Auditorium, J.L Nehru Marg, SKD Basti, Press Enclave, Ajmere Gate, Delhi When: August 16

SNEAKPEEK BAS KAR BASSI This is a show where Anubhav Singh Bassi will tell an honest story about his career choices and his lifestyle. He thinks life has given him everything that he never asked for. This is what he said to himself when he was fired by his last boss, it simply means he can't do a regular job. Where: The Flying Dutchman, 5th Floor Sector 32, Logix City Centre Mall, Noida When: August 18

HAZRAT-E KRISHNA It is perhaps the first-ever Urdu play on the life, times and philosophy of Shri Krishna, performed in the Dastaangoi. Another unique feature is the portrayal of “Old Krishna”, reflecting upon his life, thoughts, and deeds on his death bed. The play re-records more than 100 years of the social, spiritual, cultural and political life of ancient India. Where: Shri Ram Centre, 4, Safdar Hashmi Marg, Delhi When: August 25

DREAMZ – SEHAR It is the story of Prof. Sanjeev Mishra who visits Kasauli and encounters a mysterious woman named Sehar on his morning walk. She is looking for her sister Nisha who has eloped with her boyfriend. The professor is drawn towards her and gets entangled into tumultuous events when Sehar calls him in the middle of the night for help. After spending a night together, Sehar leaves the professor with a confusing letter reminding him of a meeting 15 years ago. Where: Sirifort Auditorium, August Kranti Marg, Asian Games Village Complex, Gautam Nagar, Delhi When: August 30


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Sanjay Jumaani Numerologist

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COUNT YOUR FATE

NUMBER 1 (Those born on the 1st, 10th, 19th and 28th of any month) People planning to start their own business or entrepreneurial activities might probably find an outlet for their dreams. Try to focus on one goal and you might accomplish things faster. Family life might be smooth and relationships might flourish. Singles might also come across someone interesting in their life.

NUMBER 4 (Those born on the 4th, 13th, 22nd and 31st of any month) Creative people might come across individuals who will be able to propel their dreams and serve as a catalyst for realising their aim. Be objective in judging people in distress or hardships. Try to tolerate their extreme reactions. Decide, analyse and then act as this might minimise your chances of criticism.

NUMBER 7 (Those born on the 7th, 16th and 25th of any month) Experiences might sometimes have be pulled out from the past to get a better insight in present Keep communication open to benefit from the advice of colleagues and seniors at work. Friends might also provide some interesting opinion that might be useful. Loved ones might also encourage your enterprises.

NUMBER 2 (Those born on the 2nd, 11th, 20th and 29th of any month) Sometimes trials bring out your hidden capabilities, allowing one to explore limits. Avoid escaping challenges in life and learn to take risks. These might not only assist you in putting into perspective many things but also help you overcome your inhibitions. Spend time with loved ones to relax.

NUMBER 5 (Those born on the 5th, 14th and 23rd of any month) Life looks a bit more structured and in sync than it was a few weeks back. There might be clarity in professional matters. However, personal matters might need some time before you actually see things in a more definite manner. Financial issues might get settled, which would result in cash in hand.

NUMBER 8 (Those born on the 8th, 17th and 26th of any month) You are probably more productive when there’s less stress and competition. Professionally there might be no complications but personal disagreements might affect you. Ignore things that irritate you or make you negative. Look at the bright side of the circumstances and move ahead with conviction.

NUMBER 3 (Those born on the 3rd, 12th, 21st and 30th of any month) You might be able to redefine certain relationships and this will give you peace of mind. Old friends might also get in touch which will give you joy. Colleagues might try to undermine your efforts but seniors will see through things and accord you the appreciation that you might deserve.

NUMBER 6 (Those born on the 6th, 15th and 24th of any month) Your compassion might help in building new relationships. However, boredom might creep in making you seek new ways of communication and networking. Avoid being too idealistic about certain relationships in life and accept things the way they are. People might also agree with your altered approach to life.

NUMBER 9 (Those born on the 9th, 18th and 27th of any month) It might be the right time to celebrate relationships. Rejoice in the faith people have in you and your capabilities. Try not to take people for granted. Look at the situation positively and you might find a new meaning. Professional projects might occupy you but try not to let this affect your personal life.

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SIGN-OFF

By RINKU GHOSH

W

PROJECT AQUA ith the NITI Aayog predicting Day Zero for 21 Indian cities, the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT’s) clearance of the ambitious Yamuna flood plain natural water storage project has come as a gulp of survival. This certainly will go a long way in resolving Delhi’s water woes and perhaps lay the urban template for other riverine cities to build reserves for the future. What the Arvind Kejriwal-led government aims to do is encourage rainwater harvesting by digging small ponds along the Yamuna flood plains, which in turn will become natural water reservoirs from accumulated rainfall and the overflowing river. This infusion of water, which would otherwise trickle out as runoff or wastewater, will also recharge the river bed and groundwater tables. Sixty per cent of the water supplied by Delhi Jal Board comes from the Yamuna, around 34 per cent from the Ganga and the rest from groundwater. So this project is expected to directly impact volumes. Significantly, this green nod exemplifies bipartisan politics over a common concern as Union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat speeded up processes. The conservation project will run along 22 km of the Yamuna flood plains, beginning at Palla, where the river enters Delhi, to the other end in Wazirabad. Of course, there is still another hurdle, of acquiring land from farmers for the purpose, with the Delhi government planning to rent it at a rate of `77,000 per acre. Question is whether the farmers, who have been growing seasonal crops here for years and living on it, will be ready to give up their rights on payment of an annual rent? That needs practical workarounds. But at least a beginning has been made. A river’s flood plain must be excluded from human habitation and settlement and just allowed to be as it absorbs the most water that recharges the city’s aquifer. But as Delhi went through an infrastructural overhaul over the decades, the sustainability of the development process was compromised in the name of erecting modern monuments to the city’s pride, namely the Akshardham temple and Commonwealth Games Village that completely dried out the groundwater and allowed no space for seepage or recharge. The bells had tolled way back then but its gong is being heard a tad too late. Yet, as they say, better late than never.

A fact profile of Delhi, despite being situated on the banks of the Yamuna, reveals a glaring crisis. About 18 per cent of its population does not have piped water supply. Yet, it has one of the highest percentages of households with piped water among India’s 35 states and Union Territories. The only way we can make good the deficit is by replicating rainwater harvesting models across the city’s, beginning with what history has gifted us, a series of heritage baolis that need recharging, besides lakes, pavilions and moats. The city has lost at least 200 natural water bodies due to encroachment and reclamation, illegal and even legal ones with the connivance of a multiplicity of local authorities and land developers. This is also the reason that a horribly silted up city today caves in at the slightest shower. Existing water bodies lie in utter neglect, filled with sewage, garbage and effluents that make them unfit for use. While the groundwater levels have kept falling with the city’s growth, the increasing number of bore-wells and tube-wells have been vacuumising the deeper aquifers as well, causing all kinds of slurry and trickling toxic sludge to be sucked in. India is the world’s largest user of groundwater, drawing one-fourth of the global reserves every year, and it is time the government clamps down on overdrawal with some kind of rationing permits. Also, though rainwater harvesting is compulsory on paper, there are no compliance checks or implementation. This has now got to be implemented on a war footing at the community level. The biggest problem is with builders who tout rainwater pits as a virtue to get sanctions for their housing societies but never install systems. They even try to get past a “completion certificate”, which is subject to inspection and monitor if there has been a congruence from drawing board to reality. Complementary water-saving measures need to be looked at too, like planting native tree species to strengthen the city’s catchment area, recycling water and ensuring compliance of zoning residential and commercial use norms. One also needs to create a water map to assess requirements across localities and rationing supplies accordingly.

EXOTICA [74] AUGUST 2019

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Exotica Magazine August 2019  

Exotica is an exclusive, up-market, trendy monthly magazine on travel, wellness & leisure from the Pioneer Group that is available in every...

Exotica Magazine August 2019  

Exotica is an exclusive, up-market, trendy monthly magazine on travel, wellness & leisure from the Pioneer Group that is available in every...

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