Volume III Issue 8
CHENNAI CAFÉ LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE
AUGUST 2009 II ANNIVERSARY EDITION
Editors note ‘Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.’ John Jakes One of the high points of being in the business of publications is the association you form with the subject you pursue. Chennai is a city breathing with life and to indulge in what it offers everyday endears us to the place we call ‘home.’ At Frappe we have been doing it for two years now and loving every moment of it. There are others who have been sharing the same passion for many years before us, and this month’s issue celebrates their creativity. This cover story is dedicated to our city’s prominent editors and publishers who have worked towards the development of literal appeal. We really weren’t able to predict the response we would get for proposing a concept of conception. To our surprise, our encounters with all the editors and publishers turned out to be an experience we will hold on to, throughout our learning in this business. We sure regret not being able to feature a wider pool of literary personalities this city has to offer. This edition is in complete dedication towards celebrating ‘writing’ and a few of the people who contributed to the same. The team has thoroughly enjoyed composing Frappe for you 24 times. We are passionate about improving our aesthetics to make every page appeal. We have managed to find stories where others find pictures, we find colours in simplicity and we find joy in what others find work and that has helped us stand out. Have an August you will never forget! Cheers,
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If Frappe boasts of the cutting edge, then one must thank this man. It can be rightly said that Amit is a walking encyclopedia of creativity, for once you get him talking about a design, then out comes the artist in him! The first week of every month, one can see the man immersed in his den, diligently pouring over stories and pictures, making sure that everything is in place for the magazine to roll out on time. But he is as passionate about music, filmmaking and photography as he is about his work in the print media. Keeping work aside, Amit is known for his big-heart and genuine soul. His slap-onthe-back-buddy attitude makes everyone comfortable, the moment they meet him. He dreams big. And he dreams to take designing to the next level, earnestly believing that original designs are the focal points for a creative revolution.
She is a kitty of surprises. More than being a shopholic, she’s known for setting the trend for the month, thanks to her column in Frappe. She started working with frappe in 2007 with her Shopping with Urmilla column and soon moved to styling Frappe covers. The lady has also assisted other national brand campaign shoots.
Never for once referring to her column as ‘work,’ her passion elevates to an interesting level, the moment she decides what to pick for the pages of the magazine and thus define the trend for the month in Chennai. From picking what’s fit for her own wardrobe and that of others, to even shopping for her husband, Adil and lending her helping hand to her friends as they dress up for parties, through decorating her own house with a blend of Indian and contemporary (sans professional help) and also painting her heart away, she’s done it all. And her secret plan is to style pets! She has already experimented styling her Shih Tzu dog "tiger" and her pug "hulk". Working with the stylist is a sure party, for her sense of humor can leave you crawling on the floor. It’s said, laughter is contagious, and it sure is exemplified with Urmilla around.
Zoom in to Sunder. You can catch him discerning the world around him with the intense eyes of a photographer. Frappe has learnt and grown so much from the man that his name has become in sync with the magazine. His cover concepts and ideas are all very impulsive, and interestingly, he takes just a few minutes to come up with a truck load of ideas, all of which are hard to resist! A man full of dreams and a driving passion to make this world a better place, his work is not bound to just a city. Sunder’s works have been nationally proclaimed and now he is set on making his Sunder Photography world renowned. A perfectionist who still drives towards more perfection is perhaps what can better describe the man! He goes by the checklist, when it comes to work. And he also thinks sleeping is a waste of time! But that doesn’t make him one of dull temperament, for he loves to travel and see the world burgeoning with life. He is also a self-confessed football freak. He says his parents have been pillars of support and he admits they have a wonderful bond.
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Contents 16 Priceless Words Dinner for Two 18 Upper Deck 22 Coffee Diary 24 Vidya Singh’s Fitness Mantra Buzz About Town 26 EV: A new Beginning 28 Visvarupa 32 Balkan Food Festival 34 Salsa Congress 36 The Ramp Sparkles 38 Bengal on Canvas 40 Mizan
44 44Materia Materia 48 48Notes Notesfrom fromaaTravTraveler eler 51Cover 51Coverstory story 86 86Shopping Shoppingwith with Urmi Urmi 90 90Fitted FittedBy ByCollage Collage 92 92Home HomeField FieldAdvanAdvantage tage 94 9470MM 70MM 95 95Book BookReviews Reviews 96 96What Whatthe? the? 98 98Gibran’s Gibran’sColumn Column
42 The Sparkle of Fine Jewels
Editor: Hema Sethuraman Published & Owned by: Hema Sethuraman Creative Head: Amit Naik
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Office Address: Frappe Publications #7 Balaji Nagar, 6th cross street, Chennai- 600097. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Content Edited by: Nisha Susanmani Copywriter: Krithika Sukumar
51 Special Feature Contributions: Vidya Singh, Gayathri Short, Chetna, Manav Futnani, Neeti and Gibran. Chief Photographer: K Vijayakumar
Cover Story Photography: Sunder Photography Stylist: Urmila Thomas
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EVENT CALENDAR FILM & CONCERTS Dakshin Chitra Documentary Film Fest: on 27th, 28th and 29th August screening films on renowned contemporary painters of India alongside Indian traditional painters. Films on MF Hussain, Dhiraj Chowdry, Yusuf Arakkal and many others will be shown in the forenoon session on all three days between 11 am to 1pm Films on Traditional artists: like Madhubani, Kerala Murals, Pattachitra and Kalamkari will be screened in the afternoon sessions from 2 pm to 4 pm Alliance Française de Madras Documentary Film Festival: ‘Home’ – a film by Yann Arthus Bertrand HOME is an ode to the planet's beauty and its delicate harmony – on 14th August at 6.30 p.m at the Alliance Française de Madras Gallery/ Contact - 28279803/ 28271477 ‘One Billion Eyes’ – documentary on Ecology, Earth & Environment on 15th August at 5 pm and 16th - 19th August, 4 - 6pm & 7 - 9pm at the Alliance Française de Madras Gallery ‘Chennai Day Documentary films’ - to celebrate the history, heritage, color and uniqueness of this city focusing on its people, the places, civic issues and its heritage These films have been taken by amateur/trained cinematographers on 23rd August Films on Human Rights: Tue 25th August: Medley of shorts on Human Rights Wed 26th August: Les Petits Soldats Thurs 27th August: La Liste de Carla
ART EXHIBITIONS Dakshin Chitra Photo exhibition: Chennai and Independence Movement - from the 1st - 31st August – displaying exhibits from the Roja Muthaih Library Painting Exhibition: From August 16th – 23rd Dakshina Chitra art gallery will exhibit paintings of Chennai based painters like Santhanam, Gayathri, Gita, and Mark Vinayaga Chathurthi exhibition: August 21st – 31st an exhibition of Lord Ganesha by Stella Maris Students at Ambur house art gallery Alliance Française de Madras Photographic Exhibition: ‘Images of Chennai’ by C V Ramanujan. Traditional yet contemporary, Chennai tugs at your heart strings with its own charm of temples, markets and new age architecture from 3rd to 20th August at the Alliance Française de Madras Gallery/ Contact - 28279803/ 28271477 12 | Frappé August 2009
FOR AUGUST 2009 ‘Temples of Chennai’ from 20th – 30th August at the Alliance Française de Madras Gallery
BAR NIGHTS Fisherman’s Cove Anchor Bar/Sunburst bar: ‘spring water harvest’ - experience the taste of natural spring waters from four countries and hydrate yourself naturally from 11am to 11 pm from 1st to 31st August. Asiana i-Lounge: The Lounge Bar - Buy any one bottle of Domestic Wine & get the 2nd bottle at half price. AUGUST - SEPTEMBER SPECIALS Distil: Ladies night get two free drinks and special ladies Nite gift every Friday Desi night – one on one with DJ Ashok Bajaj and DJ Karan – third Saturday every month Liquid Buffet - Wednesday & Thursday every week / 8 pm – 11 pm/ Unlimited select Spirits at Rs. 999 Nett Taj Mount Road Blend Date Event 19th Aug Wham Bam 14th AugMartini Fridays 21st Aug Martini Fridays 28th AugMartni Fridays
Artist Darbuka Shiva and DJ Regnal DJ Dominic DJ Vijay DJ Charlie
Promotion Sangria Shots Stylish Martinis Stylish Martinis Stylish Martinis
August - September Specials Taj Coromandel Anise: Independence Day Buffet on the 15th PREGO: Sunday Brunch with unlimited Moet Chandon Champagne and cocktails from 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm. Express Business Lunch at Rs. 950 nett with a 3 course table’d’hote menu handcrafted by the Master Chef Giovanna every day for lunch. Champagne Sunday Brunch at the Anise with free flowing Moet Chandon Champagne Taj Connemara Verandah: Chinese and Indian buffet - Every Friday Buffet featuring Chinese and Indian dishes with a live wokery and tawa counter with complimentary unlimited kingfisher beer priced at Rs. 850 incl. of taxes Weekdays Dinner buffet - Monday to Thursday - 7.30 – 10.45 pm Buffet dinner at verandah with unlimited select spirit (royal challenge, Romanov, Old Cask, Blue Riband, kingfisher beer) Priced at Rs.888 Incl. of taxes and Rs. 666 inclusive of taxes (food only) Frappé August 2009 | 13
Days of the Raj - 5th August – 14th August Experience the grandeur of the British era and get nostalgic with the magic of Anglo Indian cuisine. Independence Day Lunch - 15th August, 12.30 – 3.0pm Special Indian buffet lunch at Verandah featuring regional specialties HIP ASIA Chefs Must Be Crazy – Saturdays/Lunch/12.30 – 2.45 pm Hip Asia presents a complete new experience where in our chefs turn out unending dishes, with unlimited Mojitos @ Rs. 888 incl. of tax RAINTREE Weekend Buffet with Meen Market- Every Saturday Chettinad buffet spread featuring fresh catch of the day cooked to your choice in an array of marinades and curry. Priced at 888 incl. of tax Parottas and Curry - 21st -30th August. Different parottas of south in combination with wonderful curries of the Chettinad TAJ MOUNT ROAD Club House Event Charges Description Saturday Brunch 950++ Sunday Brunch 950++ Special Kids Activities Late Night Luxury Buffet 200++ Lavish Spread of desserts, varities of ice creams, cold coffees and hot tea and coffees 400++ Includes Pasta / Risotto / Sandwich plus the late night luxury dessert buffet Beyond Indus Event Charges Description Express Business Lunch – Monday to Friday 600 nett Presenting the 3 course Express Business Lunch, perfectly served within 45minutes for Rs 600 per person Brew Event Charges Description When Time Themed Hi teas 350 nett Delectable selection of mouth watering treats with single origin coffees and Specialty teas alongside your favourite tunes Wednesday to Friday 4pm to 6.30pm Tea Tasting Rs. 200 An evening sipping on some exotic teas from herbal to enlivening stimulus teas. Six varities of delectable teas to be tasted from 4 to 6pm. Sundays 4pm to 6pm Fisherman’s Cove Seagull: ‘Autonomy to overindulge’ - Celebrate the freedom of the chef ’s ideas and taste the special brunch on Independence Day, August 15th from 12.30 to 3.00 pm. And ‘Onasadya’ - Onam treats in an array of traditional Kerala delicacies from 12.30 to 3.00 pm on September 2nd Asiana Caramel: Chef's all new dinner buffet at Caramel - Starting August 1st
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Enjoy a lavish dinner buffet with over 50 delicious dishes & live station. Complimentary cake for special occasions Special promotion until 31st October - Take 15% off on food bill for a group of 10 or more. From7.00 pm to 10.30 pm. Priced at Adult: Rs 650 + taxes Children: 5-12 @ Rs 350 + taxes Children 4 & Under: Free Wild Fire: Enjoy International grills and steaks, to fire up your soul. Introducing new executive choice menu 2 Courses - Rs.750 (Non-Veg) & Rs.650 (Veg) and 3 Courses Rs.1,000 (NonVeg) & Rs.900 (Veg). Pay only Rs.1,000 for a bottle of Domestic white or red wine or Rs.2,000 for a bottle of Australian white or red wine. Open for Dinner Only. Bytes: The Patisserie - Save 50% on all our displayed pastries daily from 6pm to 9pm. Open daily from 10am to 9pm. Room Specials: Business Saver - A complete package to suit all your business travel needs at only 6,500 nett. - Includes: elaborate breakfast buffet in Caramel restaurant, complimentary Wired & Wi-Fi internet access & complimentary scheduled airport shuttle service. Offer valid until 30 September 2009 Asiana Sunshine - Asiana summer allows you & your family to dip in the open terrace pool & chill out with our irresistible offers. Weekend packages start from Rs 9,999 nett per couple per night to Rs 14,999 nett per couple for 3 days/2 nights.Weekday package is priced at Rs 8,888 nett per couple per night. Prana: The spa â€“ Restore the radiance of your skin with ancient Thai herbal scrub of Thai clay, galangal, turmeric and bergamot. This gentle scrub will refresh, stimulate and tighten your skin. Let your entire body feel totally relaxed with our popular Swedish massage, a deep revitalizing massage. The massage soothes the muscles, relieve tensions and improve circulation to create a total sense of relaxation. This 90 minutes treatment valued at Rs. 3,500 + taxes is now only priced at Rs 2,500 + taxes for the month of August.
OTHERS Dakshin Chitra Independence week: 10th - 14th August - Swaraj and Swadeshi work shop conducted by V.R Devika. Dussehra Celebrations: Dussehra at Dakshina Chitra is a celebration of Karnataka's Tradition and Culture. The heritage houses at Dakshina Chitra will showcase Golu or doll arrangements in keeping with Tamil Nadu tradition of Navarathri celebrations Social Celebration: of the Girl Child from the 5th - 13th September 2009 Work shops for Children: Wheel pottery 1st August 2009 Rs. 400 Card Modelling 26th September 2009 Rs. 500 Work shops for Adults: Kerala Mural Painting 7th,8th & 9th August 2009 Rs. 1500 Pattachitra 8th & 9th September 2009 Rs. 750 Peekaboo Patterns Garima Agarwal invites you for Tea & Cookies with designer Neha Jalan from Kolkata to present to you a stationary range designed for boys & girls. From frames, pen holders, lamp shades, hobby boxes, bins etc. Bhavna Jasra displays her beautiful range from first impressions and foto concepts on 29th August 5pm onwards.
HOLIDAY PACKAGES Singapore Grand Prix: Catch your favourite F1 team scorching the roads in Singapore. Viman Travels, a city-based travel partner, will take care of all aspects of your trip - ticket booking, visa processing, local transfers, F1 race tickets, hotel accommodation as well as special sight-seeing packages. Book before 20th August for the best deals. For more information visit Shop 7 & 8, Taas Mahal Complex , # 10, Montieth Road, Egmore, Chennai 600 008 or call: 45580004/5 or email email@example.com
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You either have a passion for books or you don’t, but the avid reader in me would like to believe there is a time in every one’s lives when books entertain them, captivate them and take little ones away to magical places before bedtime. The most expensive book in the world is Leonardo Da Vinci’s Codex Leicester. This is more of a manuscript or notebook printed by hand rather than machine and filled with unique illustrations, drawings and scientific writings by Da Vinci himself. Microsoft’s Bill Gates bought this for US$ 30.8 million in 1994. This is how he explained his purchase during one of his launch events: "I feel very lucky that I own a notebook. In fact, I remember going home one night and telling my wife Melinda that I was going to buy a notebook; she didn't think that was a very big deal. I said, no, this is a pretty special notebook; this is the Codex Leicester, one of the Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. And I personally have always been amazed by him because he personally worked out science on his own, and he understood things that no other scientist of that time did. And his work is amazing. He would work by drawing things and writing down his ideas. So he built these notebooks about how light worked, how water worked, how weapons would work. Of course he designed all sorts of flying machines, like helicopters, way before you could actually build something like that. So every one of these notebooks is amazing documents – they're kind of his roughdraft notes of texts that he eventually wanted to put together.”
In case you didn’t know what Gates did after this acquisition, he had its pages scanned into digital image files, some of which were later distributed as screen saver and wallpaper files on a CD-ROM, called Windows 95 Plus. A comprehensive CD-ROM version (simply titled Leonardo da Vinci) was released by Corbis in 1997. So just what gives a book its value? The first factor is rarity. Since many valuable books end up in permanent museum collections, rarity is determined not just by the number of copies in existence, but by the actual number of prints that are still trading hands in the marketplace. Only a handful of copies of most of these books are in private hands, and collectors know that when they come up for sale, it might be their only chance to own a piece of history. The second factor is cultural and historic importance. Some of the most expensive rare books in the world are among the most significant in their field. For example, Christianae religionis institutio (Institutes of the Christian Religion) by theologian John Calvin was sold for US$720,000. It’s easily one of the most influential books in history and yet until 2006 most collectors never even had a chance to own one. The condition of the book and changing tastes in literature also play a role in a book's value. For instance, early editions of Ernest
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Hemingway are more popular than works by his contemporary Joseph Conrad, simply because Hemingway is more widely read today. British colonial author Rudyard Kipling, very popular among literary collectors in the 1920s, fell out of favour for many years, but now copies of his work are rising in price again. Here’s a quick glance at some of the priciest collections sold in the last few years: Comedies, Histories & Tragedies (aka First Folio) By William Shakespeare, printed in London in 1623. Price: $5.1 million The First Folio may be the most important book in English literature. This first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays includes more than a dozen plays that survived nowhere else. Cosmography (Cosmographia) By Ptolemy, printed in Bologna in 1477. Price: $4 million The first printed atlas based on the work of the second-century mathematician and geographer. Only two copies are in private hands.
Atlas By Gerard Mercator, printed in Duisburg in 1595. Price: $781,000 The great cartographer gave us the Mercator projection, the technique still used today to convert the curved surface of the earth into a flat map. There is yet another book which has touched the lives of millions and is the world’s bestselling book….The Bible. Translated into over 2000 languages, The Bible is also the world’s most widely distributed book. It is estimated that more than 6 billion copies have been sold in the last 200 years and this I believe speaks for itself. I personally can’t bear to throw a book away no matter how many times I’ve read it and would rather pass it on to someone who shares a mutual appreciation. The next time you come across an old diary or book in your home, it may be worth your while to preserve it or share it with a loved one not just because it could be a valuable trinket but also just for the simple pleasure of reading. Sources: www.wikipedia.com www.forbes.com
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Dinner for two
Food Fetish Upper Deck at Taj Fisherman’s Cove has launched its new menu to enhance new experiences to its patrons. Celebrating the finest fresh seafood, meats and other exotic delicacies, the serene alfresco contemporary dining experience has gone a notch higher. The new additions in the menu walks around the South Eeast coasts of the Mediterranean and the emphasis is on presenting the classics as classics and the contemporary with the master chef ’s discretion on the urban taste bud pleasers. The addition to the likes of classic falafel served with muhammara, garlic fluff and hummus, courgettes with labna and house salad, grilled foie gras with apple tabouleh and champagne grilled scallops with spiked flying fish roe as appetizers are worth giving a try. The mains are done with a perfect balance of seafood and meats with highlights being dark cherry glazed duckling with potato mash, Angus a bardine on wilted spinach, caraway and coriander rubbed Atlantic salmon, swirled porcini with potato gnocco, four cheese zucchini , eggplant rulatini etc. Subtle lemon scented seafood risotto or wild mushroom and baby artichoke risotto with concocted pastas like calabarese, aglio olio e pepperoncino and pesto Genovese with handmade trofie and torchetti pastas justifies why the risottos and pastas are being put as a section of their own. The most interesting part of the menu is the ‘put yourself in the hands of the Chef ’ option wherein the guests can just let the Chef know about their preferences and the chef would then choreograph an exclusive three to four course menu to please the taste buds of the discerning aficionados In addition to ever popular desserts like melting chocolate cake to finish the splendid meal, the pastry masters have added a sugar and egg free triple Decker panacotta with banana caramel ice cream, the great classic tiramisu and bonafi pie with layered banana and toffee topped with bailey’s caramel cream.
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Dinner for two
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Hello friends and welcome to another edition of coffee musings. Only this time it’s not just the aroma of a fresh cuppa that sets the mood for spicy conversations but also the whiff of pure mountain air that seems to create the scandalous mood. Don’t mean to leave you guys out in the woods but I’m actually writing this piece from a café in Dharamshala. Situated up north in Himachal Pradesh this piece of paradise is the residence in exile of His Holiness Dalai Lama. Interestingly, it is home not just to Tibetans but also many Israelis. So while the sight of red robed monks and the monasteries set against the enigmatic mountains evoke a sense of calm within you, the cafés with their Israeli delicacies as well as patrons create the mood for mischief and euphoria. Anyways coming back to the chosen brew of the day, it is about a woman’s wish list for her prince charming, the reality of relationships in today’s times and the soon to be outdated concept of compromise. But first let me introduce the cast of this story and give you a little background. Three single women (including yours truly) on the prowl for eligible bachelors and one recently married gal, all discussing the complete dearth of marriageable material as well as the truth behind living as Mr. and Mrs. At the end of this tête-à-tête I realized that we (men and women alike) are walking on a double edged sword – becoming unreasonable out of fear of settling for less on one hand and on the other being left with no choice but to settle for less because we passed up the good stuff thinking there was something better ahead. It all started when a group of married couples seated themselves at the only available table near the entrance. The women clad in demure salwar kurtas with a handful of traditional bangles called chooda sat quietly on one side whispering amongst each other, not really daring to utter a word towards their spouse seated on the opposite side. The men on the other hand were the exact opposite, dressed in tight jeans accessorized with pot bellies chatting at a decibel that was definitely above the permitted levels. And to my luck facing them on our table was Meghna who by the way is the most eager to get hitched considering the great pundits of arranged marriage (read: mothers and aunts) have declared her to be crossing the age barrier at the speed of light. You see in this ancient system of finding your perfect match any girl over the age 25 has passed her prime, is definitely loaded
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with unacceptable flaws and will now be stuck with the leftovers (read: old, fat, balding men with meagre incomes). To be fair I must clarify that guys who wish to enter an alliance through this system also face equally stringent rules for eligibility. ‘Look at those women on that table.’ she said, ‘I mean I’d much rather be single than get married to somebody like those men or in a setting even remotely similar to that!’ All of us turned. To our surprise they beat us to it; we were being stared at by four women and by the looks of it, they seemed quite shocked. 'Oh, look at them whisper. I’m sure they are wondering what kind of loose women we are, sitting alone in a cafe filled with hippies and strange men,’ declared Mili, our married friend. ‘Nah! I think they are jealous.’ retorted Tina, ‘They must be thinking ‘What fun! Wish we could be like them.’ I couldn’t help laughing. ‘Look at you women dissecting those poor ladies. God alone knows if they even had a choice and for all you know their mommies must have told them to strictly keep it shut when in front of their “Pati Parmeshwar”,’ I said. By now we were all cracking up at the absurdity of this thought; seemed like it was straight out of a Saas-Bahu serial. ‘So Meghna you have seen a few guys, right?’ I said looking at Meghna, ‘Tell me some funny experience. I’m sure you’ve had a few of them.’ Meghna was grinning away to glory as she replied, ‘Oh! I’ll tell you about the very first guy that I saw. The guy had no neck. I think he had a decent job and stuff. And I don’t really remember much about his nature or anything. Because the only thing that really struck me was that he had no neck. His chin literally was resting on his collar bone. Look I’m not asking for some drop dead gorgeous Greek God. I mean if that happens nothing like it, but I definitely don’t think my expectations are unreal if I want a man that looks presentable.’ ‘So what did you do?’ asked Mili ‘Nothing! I went back and told my mom and aunts, that this isn’t happening and there is no way this “rishta” is acceptable to me.’
‘And you are telling me they just agreed?’ I retorted. ‘Are you mad? You cannot believe the grief I was put through. I mean one aunt of mine actually said, “Big deal. You girls shouldn’t be so picky. I have seen the guy and he is quite ok. Besides he is well settled also. So what if he isn’t good looking. Not that you are some beautiful angel. You too have flaws”’ ‘Oh God!’ said Tina in a totally exasperated tone, ‘What do they mean by saying “don’t be picky?” C’mon why should I compromise on something like this and if I don’t like a guy, I just don’t. Just because they didn’t have an option, why restrict us?’ Now I must warn you here, that Tina is quite the activist by nature. So her reaction was one of total frustration and almost as if she was ready to wage war on the senior ladies in her life. ‘Besides,’ she continued, ‘these boys seem to have surely lost the plot lately. They and their parents are definitely not on the same page when it comes to this whole marriage thing. I’ll tell you this one experience I had. The boy’s mother really liked me and was quite keen. So she spoke to my mother and fixed a meeting where she insisted her husband wanted to be present and also was adamant on bringing along his brother. Here itself I was put off because I simply wasn’t willing to be paraded once again. I mean his mom had seen me and she was happy so I didn’t see the need for his father to make such a big issue about meeting me that day itself. Anyways, I reach the venue and meet the entire clan including the boy. Then the guy and I are ushered to a different table where we are obviously expected to interview each other, exchange numbers and hopefully murmur sweet nothings before we bid adieu.’
‘Firstly, he should be presentable. Like I said earlier, I’m not asking for drop dead gorgeous. But at least we should make a good pair. Then he should be understanding and sensitive towards me. He should be able to handle my “nakras.” And oh yes, I come from a family where the women rule. So I’m obviously strong headed. So I think I need someone who will take my opinion before taking any decisions. Lastly, he could also have the usual traits of honesty and sense of humour, etc.’ By now I was laughing. Not that I thought she was being too picky or anything but I was not sure if such a man existed in today’s day and age. I know they used to make many that would fit such a description once upon a time, but not anymore. That’s when I told them of a scene from the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. You know where the girl is talking to her mother about how her father is being unreasonable in not accepting her choice just because of religion. The mother looks at her daughter and says, ‘He may be the head of the family. But I am the neck and he can’t turn an inch without me.’ Simply put, Meghna would like a guy who would treat her as an equal and respect her opinions. I don’t believe that is being picky but it does place guys on a sticky wicket. So this is my advice to all the guys out there. Be smart and let the woman be the head while you become the neck. This way you will have your way and you won’t get into trouble either. I hope you enjoyed this month’s Coffee Diary and if any of you have been in similar situations do write in and let me know all about your experience. Ciao!!
We were really laughing by now because we knew exactly how uncomfortable and furious Tina must have been at that moment. Anyways she continued, ‘Ok, there we are sitting alone with all eyes from the previous table trying to sneak a peek at us every three seconds. As if that wasn’t bad enough the guy says, ‘So how come a girl like you hasn’t already found someone? I mean why are you here?’ he said. I just had this blank look because what kind of a question is that? I’m obviously here because I want to have an arranged marriage. So what is so difficult to understand in that? Anyways the next statement was even better. He then says how he doesn’t believe in arranged marriage and how his parents have forced him into coming to this meeting. Well, that did it for me. I smiled and told him that we should head back to the other table now without reacting to his statement. No numbers were thankfully exchanged in spite of my mom going on and on about it. And that my friends were the end of it.’ ‘Thank God my parents haven’t even tried to get me to meet any guy in an arranged setting yet,’ I said to which Mili added, ‘You bet. I’m so glad I found my own match. You girls should really get out there and find yourself someone. But tell me Meghna what are you looking for in a guy?’ ‘Ok, before I disclose my list, promise me none of you all will tell me I’m too demanding,’ she said as we all giggled and nodded our heads in the negative.
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Ditch Your Scale
It’s only a Number!!
Vidya Singh’s Fitness Mantra
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Vidya Singh’s Fitness Mantra
Remember Have you ever stepped on a weighing scale and almost toppled off in horror? Did you ever stepped onto a scale very carefully; thinking that getting on gently may make a difference? Are there times when you have taken your shoes and then proceeded to shed most of your clothes before looking at the numbers? How many times have we weighed ourselves, early morning and been marginally happier? Friends, all of the above can be accounted for, as making a huge difference to those numbers that show up. So many factors which have nothing to do with either body fat or the accuracy of the scale can make a difference. Your weight can actually vary by several pounds, not just from day to day, but even depending on the time of the day that you choose to step up. It is just a number, so many of the factors that don’t occur to us make a difference If you have drunk a bottle of water, remember that water has no calories, but has weight. It eventually gets absorbed and passed out = Up If you have done a hard workout and have sweated it out, you will be burning some calories, which will show up on the scale = Down A night out on the town, having one too many drinks, can deplete your body of water, as it acts as a diuretic = Down Caving in to a salt craving and reaching for that bag of chips can make you feel bloated. Certain foods with a high salt content are water retentive and can make your body retain water = Up Drink a few too many Cappuccinos, Frappes or Iced Teas and your weight can actually go down a couple of pounds. Caffeine works as a mild diuretic and causes the body to rid some of the water content = Down The scale will register a rise if you haven’t been regular with the toilet. Low carb diets, skipping meals and not getting enough fluids into your system do have an effect on the body’s ability to rid itself of waste matter. = Up What you are wearing when you step on the scale will show up in the numbers. Needless to say that in your birthday suit you have only yourself to blame! = Down
The scale cannot tell if you are healthy. Your weight can vary from scale to scale. Develop a positive body image of yourself. This can boost you self-confidence levels and make you feel good about yourself. Do not have a preconceived idea of what you ought to weigh. Fat takes up five times the space of muscle. The more muscle you have, the smaller and leaner you will look. Do stock up on low fat snacks and remember reaching for protein will negate your carb craving. Choose a snack or food that has a low glycemic index as it will keep you feeling full for a few hours. It is absolutely ok to allow yourself a treat if your diet is largely made up of healthy food choices.
Things to do if the numbers creep up: Write down everything that you eat. Call a friend and talk about it. Don’t internalize the problem. Get off that couch and get on the treadmill or track. You definitely need to do a cardio session at least six days a week to burn those calories. Try to workout at least one hour, walking, swimming, bicycling or running. The more regular the workouts are, you will find a higher energy level within yourself. Control your appetite and try to reach for healthy snack and food choices. Do not eat three large meals a day; this is way too much food for any of us. Have a couple of meals that are very light and only one larger meal at either lunch or dinner. Add a couple of weight training sessions a week and you will find that your body will become more efficient at burning off that fat, as the lean muscle content in your body increases. Keep yourself hydrated, as the water going through the body will flush out the toxins and prevent water retention and bloating. Try to be more active even in your everyday life. Walk everywhere you can. Avoid using the lifts and take the stairs instead and add to your daily calorie burn. Keep a pair of jeans that fit you right. This should be your benchmark. The days when it feels a little snug, you may have gone up a couple of pounds. Ditch the scale; it is the inches that count anyway.
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Buzz about town
Evoluzionea new beginning. Evoluzione unveiled its new identity at the launch of its new store on 10th July 2009, marking a significant milestone in the history of one of the most recognized curators of design in Chennai. Evoluzione.Design.Style, a fashion movement, is associated with the biggest names in the Indian fashion industry. Nurtured with a passion for style by Tina Malhotra and Atul Malhotra for over 9 years, Evoluzione has evolved into a byword for the finest in fashion and style. The new identity endeavours to strengthen existing connections with customers and designers as well as build new and rewarding relationships.
Created by Illum Design Project New Delhi, the new identity involves visuals that represent a journey of ‘inspiration.’ Black and White, with accents of the original orange, the graphics depicts the progression of an idea that starts to take shape with inspiration and results in the creation of something beautiful and extraordinary. The visual language is present in the space, print communication and online. The 7000 sq. ft. space, that seeks to inspire, is divided seamlessly into three levels and has been envisioned and executed by Chennai’s interior designer Vikram Phadke. Each level of the store follows an individual colour story to create distinct environments that enhance the customer’s experience. Showcasing the best of Indian fashion, Evoluzione’s fast-growing list of design labels includes- A Small Shop by Jason Anshu, Abishek Gupta, Abraham and Thakore, AMPM by Ankur and Priyanka Modi, Anamika Khanna, Anand Kabra, Anju Modi, Anupama Dayal, Balance by Rohit Bal, Cue by Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, and so on. (Ekru, Gaurav Gupta, Gauri and Nainika, H2O by Rohit Gandhi, Malini Ramani, Manish Arora, Manish Malhotra, Meera Muzaffar Ali, Monisha Jaising, Nachiket Barve, Nakul Sen, Namrata Joshipura, Nandita Basu, Pankaj and Nidhi Ahuja, Priyadarshini Rao, Puja Nayyar, Raghavendra Rathore, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rasa, Ravage, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Surily Goel, Taika, Tarun Tahiliani, Tulsi by Neeru Kumar, Varun Bahl, Vineet Bahl and Zubair Kirmani.) add this only if you have space. Its kinda insignificant...adding all the designers names An interesting mix of new and upcoming designers being introduced includes Abhijeet Khanna, Anuj Sharma, Manish Gupta, Myoho, Pallavi Mohan, Ridzyn, Savio John and Varun Sardana. Also to be seen are accessories by Amritahans, Crimzon, Curio Cottage, Design Temple, Vanilla Moon and a few surprise international brands. 26 | Frappé August 2009
Buzz about town Evoluzione also houses accessories by â€“Amishi, Amrapali, Art Apparels, Basta, Curio cottage, Design Temple, Ice Accessories, Kan, Kokommo, Malaga, Meera Mahadevia, Play Clan, Stoffa, Suhani Pittie, Vasundra and Veruschka. Evoluzione.Design.Living a partnership with Vikram Phadke, complements Evoluzione.Design.Style and showcases lighting and living space accessories from international design houses such as Fontana Arte, Foscarini, Brand Van Egmond, Gloria Srl, Luce Plan, LEDS, Ingo Maurer, Aqua Creations and Baltensweiler. Furniture Brands include B&B Italia, Baleri Italia, Poliform, Driade, Kartell, Ligne Rosete and De Sede to name a few. Experience the all new Evoluzione at the beginning of another Vanguard journey! Timings10:30am to 7:30pm Monday to Saturday.
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Buzz about town
Taj on Mount Road, Chennai in collaboration with Smt. D Gayatri Reddy of Studio Indigene, a centre for Art and Design, presented recent works by Smt.Koeli Mukherjee Ghose in an exhibition titled Visvarupa which showcased 12 works in the medium of Acrylic on canvas. Smt. D Gayatri Reddy has been involved in art awareness, appreciation and promotions for the past ten years. Smt. Koeli received B.F.A, specialization in painting from KalaBhavan, Santiniketan, Visva-Bharati and later received her Master’s degree in History of Art from Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta. The notion of Visvarupa emerges from the artist’s awareness of evolution and change, resultant of an amalgamation of concerns for the environment and her young daughter. She finds relevance and connection in peering into the young child’s mouth to inspect her tonsils and be reminded of Yashoda and Krishna and Yashoda’s vision of the Universe contained in the mouth of Krishna. Koeli defines Visvarupa as Krishna’s integration of knowledge and its dissemination. The interdependence of elements in nature, this participation brings about a plethora of simultaneous activity inducing constant evolution and change. Koeli believes that the notion of decoration in India is a simulation of celebration. Embellishment is not for consumption as per the western notion but a sense of preparation to receive good tidings, enlightenment, vision and union with the all-pervading. Adherence to measurement, symmetry, perfection are associated with indigenous art practice in India that has been broadly categorized as craft after the colonization of India and continues to be convincing enough for the Indian mind. Art making has allowance for all attitudes. It accommodates disjunctive juxtapositions, the logic of being skill-less and incoherent when
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Buzz about town
it is necessary for impregnating the image with the idea, it is then considered as a language sign. The contrary use of skill in rendering as a language by itself is overlooked in contemporary art and is associated with craft. It is largely due to the perceptions of the occident towards indigenous art practices of the Orient. The discussion here is relevant as the temple carvings with all its signs and significations have lost its power of communication under the label of being a decorative craft. Koeli has arrived at this awareness in the course of her art practice and travel within the country. In Koeli's work, experiences are developed into motifs as an esoteric, inner abstract struggle is expressed with a design quality. The forms are ethereal in character. A dialogue between the artist and the surface is revealed through a process of creativity and consequently images appear on the surface as an intricate lacework of ideas, impressions, emotions and convictions. One enjoys the delightful play of vibrant colours and the play of lines drawn with quill. The entire act of harmonizing has been envisaged by freezing the experience into two-dimensional crystalline forms as things and creatures are transformed into motifs. Although the forms blend into each other, they still remain distinctive. One also feels the energy and force within the forms. A strong adherence to the eastern sensibility is reflected in the undercurrent of sensuality, expressed as a spiritual elation. Remaining works of the Visvarupa series are available at the below address: Studio Indigene 23/38, Tranquil Nowroji Road Chetpet, Chennai 600031 Ph: +91 44 26401779, +91 99402 09732 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Buzz about town
Balkan Food Festival VV Giri, Raintree's new CEO hosted a Balkan food festival with Chef Vita. The Balkan cuisine is known for the variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits. Famous for its rich salads required at every meal, Bulgarian cuisine is also noted for the diversity and quality of dairy products and the variety of wines and local alcoholic drinks. This sure was a buffet marked on every social calendar.
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Buzz about town
Salsa Congress 2009 The Kingfisher 4th India International Salsa Congress 2009 The 4th India International Salsa Congress, hosted by Lourd Vijay from the 7th to 9th Aug, was a one of a kind dance vacation created for salsa enthusiasts and learners. Lourd Vijay is the principal promoter of Latin American culture in India and has been conducting the Salsa Congress for the past four years. Kingfisher Premium has been the Title Sponsor, supporting the Salsa Congress in India since its inception. The associate sponsors were Times Card and Clarks Exotica. A salsa village kind of feel was created at Clarks Exotica, near Devanahali Airport, where the instructors and participants from India and all over the world were staying. The festival unfolded with a pool party and over 700 people attended the workshops. Salsa Congress boasted of 30 International instructors and four international DJs, all under one roof. Some of the big names were: Gian Carlo & Masha, New Zealand, Alex & Kim, USA, Terry & Cecile, France, Luba, Russia, DJ Javed, Hong Kong, Joseph Enin, UK, Richard Tholoor, India and so on. A host of workshops for beginners and amateurs, ranging from Salsa, Bachata, Zouk, Hip Hop to Bollywood dancing were conducted to improve their dancing skills. The air was buzzing with excitement and there was an atmosphere of festivity around. The performers were busy rehearsing for the All India Salsa Championship, which was conducted on 8th Aug for two categories- the Amateur category and the professional category. With Isha Singh and Indrajeet Singh stealing the first place in the Amateur Category and Bindu Prasanna and Atish Khan heading to first place in the Professional Category, the show was a big success. There were quite a few other entertaining performances apart from Salsa, like the Beat boxing act by The Black Eye team, Hip Hop by The Salsa India team and Taal by The LVDS troupe. Over 1200 people attended the performances and the party at Lalit Ashok. Salsa Congress supports a noble cause with the proceeds from the Congress going to the Street kids. A Street Dance initiative has been started to support the street children by teaching them dancing, to enable them to find their own place in the world. 34 | FrappĂŠ August 2009
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Buzz about town
Sparkles Music, people, models and the most glittering collection of jewellery is what people were treated to at the Joyallukas show held at the Taj coromandal earlier this month. The jewellery was divided into several sequences such as pearls, diamonds, bridal and cocktail jewellery. The entire collection of stunning ensembles for the fashion show was the work of Chennai based designer Sidney SS. Brazillian models Olga,karla, Lydia, simone etc were flown down for the show. The show stopper featured Chennai model medha in a blue and black ensemble. The show was conceptualised by Chitra and choreographed by Medha Raghunath.
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Buzz about town
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Buzz about town
Bengal on Canvas Sanjay Sood hosted an evening of Live painting from renowned artists from West Bengal. Names like Dhiren Sasmal, Biswaroop Halder, Subrata Ghosh, Ashok Ganguly, Rajib Bhattacharjeeand Pradip Das showcased their art.
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Buzz about town
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Mizan By Nazia Syed
Her debut show at distil glamorised socialites and friends of Nazia and choreographer Karun Raman. A good show definitely deserved a better invite list and flair.
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Jewels… When you talk of fine jewellery, what first comes to mind? Exquisite blood red Burmese rubies rubbing shoulders with forest green Columbian Emeralds. Sparkling Diamonds set in polished white gold to enhance their brilliance. The magical swish and swirl of sunshine yellow Topaz. Champagne Diamonds jostling for space with midnight black Diamonds. The magic of cascading, creamy South Sea pearl droplets. Welcome to a virtual treasure trove… What also comes to mind is a name long associated with fine jewellery, Rakyan’s, where every piece of jewellery reflects creativity and expertise! Savour the fusion of elegant designs, master craftsmanship and international appeal. Rakyan’s prides itself with a firm commitment towards impeccable quality, service and an infinite range of tempting jewellery. Now, to Delhi-ites, Rakyan’s needs no introduction. Rakyan’s has carved a niche for itself, crafting and designing fine jewellery for almost five generations. Even though this is a family owned business, each member is a qualified expert. The siblings, Priyanka and Varun are both trained at the renowned GIA (Gemmological Institute of America). While Varun’s expertise lies in gemmology, Priyanka has trained her eye for design. Chances are if you are visiting their store in the up-market M Block market, Greater Kailash-I, you are unlikely to leave it for a while! Unlike other jewellery stores, Rakyan’s offers uncluttered and sophisticated interiors, with an array of elegant jewellery you would love to linger over. You could well be in a high-end European jewellery store! Their team of in-house designers, Delhi based manufacturing unit and their eye for detail has conjured up a magical collection and selection. Expect the extraordinary! The designs are contemporary and their signature line is ‘bold’ and innovative jewellery: go for wide cuffs encrusted with twinkling Diamonds sprinkled with pomegranate Rubies, or a 42 | Frappé August 2009
large oval Ruby brooch with Diamond claw setting. If you find chandelier earrings irresistible, then go right ahead and succumb to temptation! Take your pick from Rubies encircled with Diamonds, edged with dewdrop pearls or get mesmerized by the baguettes encircling a pair of perfectly oval Emeralds, edged with twinkling Marquise. You can add panache to your dressing with a big, bold cocktail ring- a wide Ruby band, studded with a stately Emerald, and outlined with Diamonds. Rakyan’s has been a trendsetter and is all about catering to changing tastes. Having exported fine jewellery for several years, they also have the distinction of having designed bespoke pieces for royalty in the Gulf. This international exposure has gently permeated into their design philosophy. Their ‘red carpet’ jewellery is inspired by what you see celebrities wearing at international events. Rakyan’s also has the distinction of flexible jewellery, where you can attach a piece or detach a droplet to create a totally new piece. This way, for the price of one piece of jewellery, you get several pieces. The fiery mystique of a Solitaire has fuelled passions for centuries. Solitaires are the purest, most pristine, most brilliant and the most enduring natural symbol of eternal love. Rakyan’s boasts of a fine collection of Solitaires from three carats upwards for the discerning. Polki jewellery is hot on the fashion scene these days. What Rakyan’s offers is not the usual run-of-the-mill! They have infused traditional Polki jewellery with their innovative spirit. Large polki pieces are set to create magical designs that are both contemporary and wearable. These can be well coordinated with ethnic wear, cocktail dressing or fusion wear for an evening out If you are fascinated by coloured Diamonds, then Rakyan’s is the place for you. A bewitching array of Champagne Diamonds, black Diamonds and coloured Diamonds are used in eye-catching designs to create masterpieces. Rakyan’s clientele consists of the discerning connoisseur, the collector, the well-heeled and well travelled. It is not unusual for them to customize jewellery according to client specifications or for an occasion. What sets Rakyan’s apart is the all important, personal touch. They may sell jewellery, but at the same time, they are also building bonds of trust, with returning customers. If there’s a new style in jewellery, where in Delhi do you think you would find it? Obviously at Rakyan’s! Now we are going to let you into a little secret! Rakyan’s is planning a jewellery exhibition in namma Chennai very soon! So get set to see an eclectic mix of international designs, style, elegance and sophistication on home ground! Radhika Mohan
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Sajid, Hameed , Izaath ,Amith , Sakshi , Akash and Sneha
Launch of the new design studio Chennai saw a revolution in the city during the last month of July with the launch of the first of its kind design studio MATERIA. Materia showcases an interesting mix of materials from different parts of the world fulfilling the demand of the designers and all the end-users. Materia also offers interesting options like custom wallpapers to fabrics to acrylics, metals, wood, stone, tile, glass etc. providing opportunities and choice towards exploring new interiors and exteriors. Materia is directed towards new fashions providing innumerable introductions along with new materials and concepts to follow frequently in the long run. On the 29th of July Materia launched itself with a bang to the public. Guests were seen enjoying the studio and the inspiring interiors. They looked with awe at the new concepts over some mocktails and knick knacks.
)Ashish, Deepal, Amith, Shivani and Sakshi
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Mr Hameed and Mr Vikram Phadke
Notes from a traveler
One could be forgiven for imagining that travel within the continent (in my case Europe), would be less stressful than long-haul travel. But the frequent-flyer knows that this is not the case. Short haul travel typically involves a very early morning flight, travelling in work clothes, a soggy sandwich for breakfast and a late night return on the same day, exhausted. Long haul travel on the other hand, during the day or the night starts with a few glasses of champagne in the departure lounge, an in-flight meal and movie with a comfortable hotel room on the other side in which to sleep, shower and work-out. Luckily for me, most of my travel is long haul, even if it is to slightly off-beat destinations like Riyadh, Sana'a or Karachi. As you can imagine, I was far from thrilled when it emerged that I needed to attend meeting in to Hamburg and Rome. I write this piece while waiting for my return flight from Rome to London, having landed at this airport only 6 hours ago. The drive from the airport to the centre of Rome is possible the best anywhere in the world. You go right past the walls of the Vatican, the ruins of the Coliseum and numerous other fabulous buildings. It is almost like the Italians designed their road system to ensure that even those of us here for a quick visit doesnâ€™t miss a preview of the best that Rome has to offer. Italians, in general, take life very seriously. Everyone makes an effort to look good - they dress well, their shoes are always 48 | FrappĂŠ August 2009
polished and everything is perfectly matched and accessorised. From the secretaries to the CEOs, they all take their appearances very seriously and the outsider cannot help but admire their effort. Italians also take pride in the detail - from their clothing to their cooking. Even a simple dish like spaghetti with tomato sauce is made perfectly with the pasta cooked for just the right amount of time, al-dente, as it should be. The street side coffee shops, the Italian equivalent of the chai-kadai, will pour you the most divine espresso in exchange for a â‚Ź1 coin with an efficiency that will allow you to order, pay, drink and leave in about 2 minutes. The same level of efficiency is not reflected in the lunch culture - the AngloSaxon concept of a quick sandwich at the desk is utterly alien to the Italian, who would rather show up 30 minutes late to a meeting than skip a hot meal. When you watch Italians enjoy these simple things, it is easy to wonder if it is the rest of us who have got the formula completely wrong. It is almost impossible not to love this country and its people. The Trevi fountain, arguably the most beautiful fountain on the planet is conveniently located on the path between my office and the office of the Government agency I was here to visit. Legend holds that if a visitor throws a coin into the
fountain, they will return to Rome. Considering the frequency of my visits to the city, nor normally a fixture on the average banker's itinerary, this has certainly proven true! I threw the only coin in my pocket and hoped that the Roman gods would not discriminate against British currency! I am happy to be leaving this evening since most hotels in Rome are terrible and furiously expensive. The only place I've found with decent sized rooms is the Hilton Cavalieri, which also boasts a 3 Michelin starred restaurant on the rooftop and spectacular views of St. Peter's cathedral - but this hotel is located too far from the town centre. The InterContinental De Ville is in the heart of town at the top of the Spanish steps but the rooms are about the same size as the average coffin. If you are travelling solo, stay in the latter property, wake early and jog the streets of central Rome before the tourists wake up - it is much nicer than once the streets get filled. Luckily for me, I get to sleep in my own bed tonight. I spent yesterday in Hamburg. Itâ€™s one of the few major cities in Europe that I have not visited and was keen to go, even if my sightseeing experience would be limited to the taxi ride to and from the airport. The architecture is varied throughout the city but very tasteful and has a more airy and luxurious feel than other big German cities. Hamburg has more bridges inside its city limits than any other city in the world, more than Venice and Amsterdam combined. A large proportion of waterside roads and buildings make it a lovely city at this time of the year. The city's importance is mainly due to its port, which is the second largest in Europe (after Rotterdam) and the 9th largest in the world. My meetings were in an interesting 'new' part of town - previously an industrial estate, all the factory buildings and warehouses have been refurbished and converted into boutique hotels and swanky corporate and government offices. Given that I had just one night in the city,
I elected to trek to the centre of town after my meetings and stay at the Park Hyatt. Like all Park Hyatt properties, the hotel is luxurious but has its own unique character and hardly feels like a chain hotel. After my customary hour in the gym, the concierge recommended visiting the port area where she managed to secure us an outdoor table at a lovely restaurant. This establishment, and several other upmarket places like it, occupy buildings that must have previously been warehouses or factory sheds on the side of the port. Most have tables pouring out on to the quayside, spitting distance from a busy waterway where some of the largest vessels in the world passed us by every few minutes, the crew waving to the diners before hitting the isolation of the ocean. The weather was on my side and the steak was perfectly cooked. I could have spent a few more hours sitting at my table and watching the ships go by but I did have an early flight this morning and decided to return. The drive back took us through the Reeperbahn, Hamburg's second most famous attraction - one where you certainly would not want to be spotted walking around! Given that this is a Port city, such a neighbourhood was bound to exist I guess! Since there are no direct flights between Hamburg and Rome, I needed to wake up at an insane hour this morning to fly to Munich and get a connection to Rome. Notwithstanding that I have already spent half the day on a plane; I am thrilled that my flight back to London has just been announced. I must go now, so will leave you until next month - arrividerci !
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THE WRITTEN WORD Chennai now is home to quite a few publishing houses and we have seen a tremendous increase in the number of magazines and supplements supporting the power of print to produce marvellous works. Two years of being in the publishing business has taught us ‘Frappe’ites a great deal. Friends made, acquaintances strengthened and experiences cherished, we have successfully completed one more milestone in the writing world. What better way to say thanks and celebrate than to applaud the strength of the written word by honouring those associated with writing? From N Ram of The Hindu and Cho of Thuglak, to the vivacious and hardworking amateurs, this issue of Frappe credits all those writers, editors, journalists and authors who have been in the field for a much longer period and who have carved a niche in Chennai...those who have made the strength of the writing word so much more powerful. With strong plots and intriguing stories depicting their experiences, their struggles in the initial stages and the impact of the changes they have brought about in the publishing scene, has been captured in the best possible ways. What each and every one of them has planned for an even more dominating and brighter future and how they have managed to keep their businesses flourishing with excellent new ideas and concepts also form part of the interesting interviews the Frappe team has put together. In spite of their busy schedules, these icons have taken time off to give Frappe an insight into their worlds filled with words and creativity. We would also like to take this opportunity to appreciate the works and involvement of the several others like Ranjini Manian from Global Adjustments, Geeta Wolf from Tara, TT Rangarajan of Frozen Thoughts and other fellow writers, who, unfortunately due to their busy schedules weren’t available for interviews. We have not forgotten your contribution to the print medium. So here’s a toast to those who love the written word and to those who have made a lasting impression in the field of publishing and print media.
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Narasimhan Ram, Editor in Chief of The Hindu on his ascent to the top spot of the 131 year old daily, why Communism will not die as long as injustice exists and how The Hindu is India’s national newspaper in every sense of the word, despite being an indelible part of the city’s identity… Tall, neatly stacked piles of books – thick and thin - and heavy sheaves of loose paper almost completely fill his office, small curios line a wooden shelf and an MF Husain original hangs on the wall opposite about half a dozen framed cartoons hand-drawn by R K Laxman. N Ram talks about The Hindu’s plans to spruce up their existing website to a Beta format, how M F Hussain, a dear friend, is nothing short of secular and a wronged victim of malevolent communal elements and recounts how R K Laxman was denied a job at The Hindu decades ago because he did not know short-hand. He seems to effortlessly fit into the roles of a veteran journalist with abundant stories of times forgotten and a contemporary editor, lightning-paced to suit changing times. Commenting on the changes in journalism over the past few decades, he says that the media markets stand split into two different worlds. While the Western world is losing out on the battle to keep newspapers alive, and has turned to the internet in desperation – despite there being no viable revenuemodel worked out for online newspapers- other markets like India are still in their developmental stage and the print media is flourishing. We have the advantage of being able to foresee the age of new media. ‘The reading habits of the younger generation, especially those between 16 to 25 years of age are a cause for worry. That’s why we’ve tried to bring in younger supplements like the Metroplus. The newspaper also underwent a layout and design change a few years ago,’ he says, adding that, as a newspaper primarily functions as an instrument of accurate record (of events), the oldest English daily in the city continues to abide by that rule to date.
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‘Chennai is definitely our stronghold. It may be the paper most people here pick up in the mornings and read as they sip filter coffee, but we have never used that to our advantage. We are a national newspaper. Our outlook has always been national,’ he says. Born into one of the families that laid the founding blocks of The Hindu, for N Ram too, joining the family business was an idea driven into him from a young age. But his ascent to the top spot wasn’t a swift one. He was ‘put through the mill,’ working his way up from being Associate Editor, to Foreign Correspondent from Washington, and later as Editor of first Frontline, then The Sportstar and Business Line, before becoming Editor in Chief of The Hindu in June 2003. His climb was gradual, and he accumulated several awards on the way up, including a Padma Bhushan in 1990, and The Asian Investigative Journalist of The Year award the same year, for his contribution to unearthing one the country’s most talked about scandals – The Bofor’s expose. His evolution as a journalist has ‘been gradual,’ and he says there aren’t any singularly defining points in his career as a journalist though there are several stories he immediately recalls in fond light, including a story on IMF funds worth 16$ during his days as a Washington correspondent for the Hindu, and several others involving the Sri Lankan-LTTE disputes. The Hindu’s evolution to the paper it is today - an indelible part of the ethos of Chennai- too is a story with no abrupt beginning or ending. But over the decades of its existence, the paper has slowly turned into a morning can’t-do-without for many in the city. But N Ram says that the newspaper has purposely avoided using that to their advantage, especially in projecting themselves in their advertisements. ‘Chennai is definitely our stronghold. It may be the paper most people here pick up in the mornings and read as they sip filter coffee, but we have never used that to our advantage. We are a national newspaper. Our outlook has always been national,’ he says. N Ram admits to having personal sympathies for Marxism. A leaning that sparked off during his university days at Columbia, where he pursued a course in Comparative Journalism in 1967-68, influenced by the zeitgeist of times when equality was the greatest virtue, the question of civil rights raged, injustices fought against and Hendrix rang out riffs of The Star Spangled Banner on his guitar. Students were a force to reckon with, and N Ram actively participated in student politics. He returned to his home country and was vice-president of the SFI (a student organisation politically linked to the CPI –M) during its formation in 1970. For him, communism still has a place in today’s India or the globe. ‘As long as there is injustice, communism will not be redundant,’ he says. His political views have caused a few disruptions, but everything had been amiably settled, he says, reiterating that his political views are his own, and that the line is drawn there. ‘I have not let my personal views influence the paper. This is a secular paper, free from any leanings and does not support any single community,’ he says. And that, we agree is the stuff that ‘India’s national newspaper’ has to be made of!
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FROM CHENNAI, DISPATCHED C S S Latha, Bureau Chief of Magna Publishing has strived to put Chennai’s Who Who on the national media radar. C S S Latha wishes she could have met few people: yesteryear actor, Shivaji Ganesan being one of them. For most, meeting larger-thanlife personalities whose faces adorn glossy magazine covers and light up on television is little more than a distant dream. But during her career as a journalist, spanning decades, C S S Latha has quite an extensive list of big-wig celebrities she has met: the light-eyed pin-up boy of yesteryear cricket - Kapil Dev, the musical maestro whose words on choosing love over hate ring as loud as his Oscar winning music – A R Rahman, movie stars who have managed to weasel votes out of adoring fans – Vijayakanth and Sarath Kumar, and lithe-footed danseuse Shobana, to name a few. She recounts one of her most memorable interviews: that of the Dalai Lama, a scheduled 20 minutes that turned into a 40 minute one with the man whose vibrant energy is legend, a religious doyen forced to provide his people a lead on a political front. ‘When he saw the list of questions I had in hand, he said he had to be careful what he said to me. But he spoke so openly on so many relevant issues regarding Tibet. At the end of the interview, he gave me a Buddha statuette to keep and that was like taking a bit of his energy back with me,’ says Latha, who offers a flower to the figurine every day. For Latha, there have been hundreds of celebrity interviews before and after The Dalai Lama: and she began looking at them more as human beings and less as a mere reflection of their celluloid image, writing their stories in magazines of national repute.
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Chennai is grossly ignored by most national magazines. It’s a long-standing mindset that Chennai is not relevant to the rest of the country. Luckily my editors at Magna have been supportive, and helped me publish stories of achievers from this city, she says. Born into a family that published the Krishna Patrika (a 1960’s film magazine) from Andhra Pradesh, Latha showed a natural affinity for writing on film and film stars. She has published an only-ever interview of Basivi Rama Tharakam, wife of the late N T Ramarao. Pursuing Literature in college, and later a master’s degree in Journalism, Latha gradually began publishing interviews in various media houses. She has worked with The Indian Express covering sports, and later as Chief Producer at Sun TV under Kalanidhi Maran, ‘an astute media baron, relentlessly building his empire.’ After that, she joined Magna Publishing in 1996, writing about celebrities who were thick in the glare of the media, looking at them with a different perspective; and all the while striving to put achievers from Chennai in the pages of the national magazines published by that media house, including Savvy, Society and Stardust. ‘Chennai is grossly ignored by most national magazines. It’s a long-standing mindset that Chennai is not relevant to the rest of the country. Luckily my editors at Magna have been supportive, and helped me publish stories of achievers from this city,’ she says. Her choice of celebrities is varied: actors Trisha, Asin, Khushboo, Gautami, Suhasini, Lakshmi Rai, fashion designer Rehane, Indian Terrain’s Anjali Rajagopal, danseuse Shobana – and she worded their stories for Savvy’s ‘I Believe.’ Her efforts have paid off: an appreciative editor who considers her a pillar at Magna, and the sparking off of a trend that will ensure that Chennai too is noticed in the eyes of the national media. Latha has also coordinated fashion shoots for Savvy. ‘My experience with the print media and with the electronic media has helped me develop an eye for fashion shoots. I enjoy putting together fashion shoots and have published some that have been acclaimed by the Mumbai fashion circuit, with the likes of Deepika Padukone, Swetha Jaishanker and Joe Mathew to name a few,’ she says.
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BLAFTING THROUGH! Blaft Publications have brought out wacky novels that will leave your eyes wide open… Booker prize winners aren’t always professional masters of the art of storytelling, as a rule. Sometimes the better novels are not written by seasoned authors of measured language, and cannot boast of twisted plots that reel the mind, or grander ideas swept between words. Some of the best fiction disregards conventions, stepping past invisible lines drawn by authors and publishers, to present writing of originality: their setting maybe different, their authors of diverse backgrounds, but an original novel will stand out starkly, and it will never leave you yawning. It’s this sort of originality that the publishers at Blaft keep their eyes open for, when sifting through the increasing number of manuscripts they receive every month. Their mantra is admirably simple: ‘what we look for in a novel is: it has to have writing that will not let you put the book down. It has to hold your interest,’ says Kaveri Lalchand, one among the trio who brought Blaft Publications to Chennai last May. Ruth Devanesan and Rakesh Khanna, who complete Blaft along with Kaveri, agree. Their reading tastes are diverse: romance, mystery, graphic novels, or whatever the flavour of the day may be; but the only rule a well-written book has to satisfy is that it can hold the reader’s attention, they say. ‘A lot of publishing houses don’t pay attention to authors if they aren’t established already. But they have to start somewhere, and we’ve found so many first-time authors who are brilliant,’ says Lalchand.
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Their dossier is eclectic and original: from their first publication – The Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction, its cover complete with a buxom sari-clad illustrated lady holding a gun - to later ones like short stories by first-time author Kuzhali Manickavel in her book, Insects Are Just Like You And Me, Except Some Of Them Have Wings and a translation of Tamil folktales by Rajanarayanan (Where Are You Going, You Monkeys). Blaft has also published Zero Degree by Charu Nivedita, Heroes, Gundas, Vamps & Good Girls – a collection of Hindi pulp fiction and a book of drawings by popular Chennai artist, Natesh (published under the title When This Key Sketch Gets Real Tongue Is Fork Hen Is Cock When This Key Sketch Gets Real My Baby Eagle's Dream Comes True. ‘There is so much good writing around, that hasn’t been published or translated,’ says Ruth Devanesan, ‘and our books have done extremely well, both in India and abroad, although we haven’t focused on distributing abroad too much. We’ve been told our books are out of stock at several bookstores and they’re moving fast.’ It’s not surprising, considering the books at Blaft are like a welcome breath of fresh air: books that make you love reading for its own sake, and feel like you’ve been hit by a bolt of something completely new and out of the blue, once you’re at the last page of the novel. So what’s next for Blaft? To continue publishing unique and spunky reads, of course. On the cards now are a graphic novel, and a book of nano-fiction (2 - 3 line fiction stories) to be published in the coming months. Looks like they intend to continue having a Blaft! And what do the trio do when it’s not Blaft time? Kaveri is a theatre personality, and runs an art-gallery-tea kadai-store that houses unique jewellery and her line of clothes. Ruth Devanesan is an independent film maker of repute and Rakesh Khanna is an IIT graduate, who had edited Math textbooks, and finds working with Blaft a welcome change indeed!
There is so much good writing around, that hasn’t been published or translated says Ruth Devanesan
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GALA-TTA Shakthi Girish can make you believe that putting together a magazine is nothing less than a party. The editor of Galatta Cinema speaks on the reel world and the written word, and Galatta’s vision to connect the common cinema goer to his favourite movie stars
The first thing Shakthi Girish notices about anyone she meets is the shoes they wear. Probably a habit that remained even after her stint designing shoes with Gabor in Germany. For Shakthi, who comes with a background in leather technology, running Galatta Cinema has been about moulding fresh clay, in more ways than one. In her words, every day at Galatta Cinema has been exciting and fun. ‘There is nothing quite like print and paper,’ says Shakthi, who has been at the helm of Galatta Cinema magazine, ever since the brand, that previously functioned only as an online portal for fans of South Indian films, set its eyes on a newer avenue – print. They noticed that while there was no dearth of red-hot headlines and sassy pictures doing the circuit in glossy film magazines, it was rare to see a mention of stars from the South Indian film industry. When her husband, Girish Ramdas president of galatta.com, came to her with the magazine, just a fledgling idea, Shakthi jumped at the chance. ‘The South Indian film industry is so exciting. Our technology is advanced, our films vibrant; but this industry goes largely unnoticed by national film magazines. So, there really was a large untapped market for the magazine, and I thought what are we waiting for? They wanted someone who is completely immersed in what they do; and I always get very involved in whatever I do, so I was asked to take over as editor of Galatta Cinema,’ says Shakthi, brightly. Ever since, every day at the magazine has been about learning something new, she says with enviable energy and an infectious grin.
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So, she set about recorder and pen in hand, doing interviews for the first time with the eyes of a common cinema-goer, and eventually stacking up wonderful memories of an industry that is rumoured to leave anyone who becomes part of it disillusioned. ‘Everyone says negative things about the film industry. But there are some very inspiring people. S P B Charan is one such person, who is constantly giving out of his own pocket to promote lesser known directors,’ says Shakthi. Her magazine mirrors the same perspective, highlighting lesser known names and sunny stories. But Shakthi is suave enough to admit that sex sells. As so do big names from the screen whose personalities are larger than life. ‘It’s been a great challenge to balance glamour and substance. I have tried to stay away from the usual mantras film magazines use, and made everything in the magazine look and read classy. It’s also sometimes a challenge to get stars talking. In the South Indian film industry, people are very tight-lipped about sex or relationships, though there are exceptions – I remember an interview of Nayantara for our Valentine’s Day issue, where she spoke about relationships so openly and it came out sounding classy and sexy at the same time. But on the whole, it’s not like Bollywood, where any publicity is good publicity. Actors here are conservative,’ she says. Both Shakthi and Girish are regulars at film parties and screenings and getting through to actors has obviously been a tad easier for Shakthi; but this is only one side of the coin. ‘So many actors are our friends and their support has been instrumental in getting the magazine’s name noticed. So we do tone down things we write sometimes, as we can’t hurt them,’ she says, laying the cards on the table with honesty. Well done, we say, and this reference alludes most to a magazine that is the first of its kind in concept. But Shakthi says Galatta Cinema is only one spindle of a larger vision of connecting the common man to his favourite movie stars from the South Indian film industry by integrating different media. With galatta.com becoming a favoured destination for fans of South Indian films both in India and abroad, and the magazine gaining reputation, they plan to extend their vision to other media like the radio as well. Watch this space. Shakthi also takes care of content for Sathyam Cinemas’ S magazine and runs G3, the supplement for Chennai’s Page 3 regulars.
In the South Indian film industry, people are very tight-lipped about sex or relationships, though there are exceptions
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Aruna Krishnan, Editor of Ritz on her magazine completing a full circle. Her story is the stuff that fairytales are made off. When Trichy bred Aruna Krishnan packed her bags and headed to Chennai in a deluxe bus, with only two hundred rupees in her purse, she knew she was on her own. Staying in a hostel in the city, Aruna pursued a degree in Literature at Ethiraj College, while supplementing her savings with part-time jobs. She taught spoken English at Speak Easy, read the English news on Sun TV, did voice over and played the role of compeer; and her bank account fattened. When, by chance, her employer at Speak Easy mentioned that the centre was making little profit and was looking for a quick buyer, little did he foresee that Aruna herself would buy her first business then. The deal was closed for a whopping six figure amount, that was paid for entirely from her savings, doing part-time and odd end jobs, she says. And with that, Aruna had bought her first business a few months after she graduated. ‘You are either a business person, or you are not. I instinctively knew what was wrong with the business I bought. When that was set right, we began making profits from the second month onwards’ says Aruna. This is not really where the story end, but rather where it begins; the story of Ritz started at the brightly-lit, wooden-benched rooms of Speak Easy. ‘I was flipping through a national fashion magazine, when I noticed it was all Bombay and Delhi; the Southern cities rarely got a mention. And that’s when I decided to start a lifestyle magazine for the South,’ she says. Her focus has always been beyond the confines of the city the magazine was born in; a national outlook and an
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‘I was flipping through a national fashion magazine, when I noticed it was all Bombay and Delhi; the Southern cities rarely got a mention. And that’s when I decided to start a lifestyle magazine for the South,’ she says.
efficient distribution that reaches the Southern metros, as well as some destinations abroad. From its start-up beginnings five years ago in August 2004, the magazine can boast of having stood their ground and seen the burgeoning of the local magazine industry. ‘Ritz is the first lifestyle magazine from Chennai. But there has been a boom over the last couple of years. Today there is room for everyone; and yet there is still so much untapped potential in the market,’ she says. While the cut-throat competition in the magazine circuits has brought out glossier magazines and more chic covers, Aruna says there is a darker side to this as well: players not playing on level fields, under cutting prices and of course, imitation. ‘Ritz has always printed full colour. But several other Tamil magazines were printing half colour and half black and white back then. Today even that is changing, almost all magazines in the city print full colour,’ she says, adding that what the evolving magazine circuit needs most at the moment is quality content. To her, the magazine is as much a business of numbers, as it is a means to fire readers’ imagination. ‘We had written once about a temple in the outskirts, that was settling into ruins and had absolutely no funds. A reader donated 10 lakhs after reading the article. That’s when the magnitude of the whole things struck me,’ says Aruna. She is refreshingly matter of fact about the potholes on the way to her fairytale success. ‘It’s been a challenge running Ritz. There have been tough times: I did one issue – cover to cover – all by myself. And the market wasn’t open when we started. Failure is not an option for me. We kept at it, and we have just completed five years. It’s truly been a full circle,’ she smiles.
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Latitudinal Tidings Inbox 1305’s story started over a cup of coffee and will become a magazine favoured by Chennaiites across the globe, says Kiruthiga Udayanidhi, Editor of the magazine and wife of the current Chief Minister’s grandson. Wondering why ‘1305’? It’s simple. Chennai’s latitude on the globe stands at 13.05. The beginning of this magazine that now graces shelves in busy bookstores and elegant cafes equally lacks complication. Kiruthiga, who worked as a freelance copywriter earlier, says that Inbox 1305 happened over a cup of coffee. As a freelancer, she rarely experienced Monday morning blues, or the daily humdrum of office life. Deadlines existed, without a doubt, but there were many lazy days and work was nothing close to being labelled taxing. Work wasn’t really serious business and stopped at earning enough pocket money. ‘My friend Jayanthi and I were sitting over cups of coffee, when the fact that many of our days lacked ambition hit us squarely. We both felt an urge to move onto more challenging things and she brought up the idea of starting a lifestyle magazine. It was a point in my life when I was stagnating, and the magazine came as a welcome streak of lightning. There has been no looking back since,’ she says with a smile.
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And so they entered a market that was flooded with magazines, and an increasing number at that, bringing with them a certain amount of audacity. In a market that caters to every kind of reader: the woman who buys Gucci and Chanel, the women who are happier with better bargains, teens, adolescents getting there, children not yet past grade 5 and the grown man, Inbox 1305 landed with a vision rather different. ‘We want to be a magazine that anyone can pick up and read. Our topics are informative, yet provide light reading. We don’t want to be trapped in any particular genre or call ourselves a women’s, teen or men’s magazine.’ Since their inception, the magazine has been garnering regular readers who come back to stores every month to pick their copy of Inbox 1305 – and if you can prompt one person to buy your magazine month after month then you have arrived, claims Kiruthiga. Kiruthiga says the magazine industry in the city has a long way to go. There is a lack of professionalism, working ahead of schedule and layout and design are things that lag behind here, she counts off her fingers. ‘But running a magazine in Chennai is very tough. You are faced with competition from the national and international circuits,’ she says. Despite that, Kiruthiga sees a distinctive advantage in the fact that they provide information that is closer to home. For those who want to know the buzz in town, the magazine is a perfect pick. Perhaps, even for those who are miles away from home and want a taste of the city. And that is why Kiruthiga has set her sights on moving onto greater things - national and international distribution. ‘There will be quite a few Chennaiites around the world who will be happy to pick up a magazine that talks only about home,’ she says. Also on the cards for Inbox 1305 is their soon to be launched website. For Kiruthiga, this means mounting excitement. ‘The magazine has opened my mind to a great deal of things, and every new step we take that just grows,’ she says.
If you can prompt one person to buy your magazine month after month then you have arrived
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COMMENT For close to 40 years now, Thuglak has been Cho Ramaswamy’s trusty messenger of his political and social observations… For years now, the media has taken note of Cho Ramaswamy’s comments with sharpened pencils and pricked ears. His incisive criticisms of the crafty wiles of reigning politicians and the clamour of the politics of post-Independence India is as delightfully derisive and respected today, as it was four decades ago. His wit is legendary and his ability to spring back with fitting comment, a thing of dinner party discussions; his insight is well regarded among both gung-ho activists and apathetic citizens. But Cho Ramaswamy’s reputation as a political commentator of standing has been built upon a combination of factors and over time. A lawyer by qualification, Cho has played comedian in several yesteryear movies, and has penned several plays – his script writing career beginning with rib-tickling comedies and eventually graduating to social and political themed ones – the best recognized among them being his political satire, Muhammad Bin Thuglak. ‘Most things have just happened for me. I started writing plays after I won a college competition with a first-attempt script.’ Plays happened, movies followed, and all the while Cho was becoming increasingly opinionated about government and politics; it started with his plays and continued with the beginnings of Thuglak magazine in January 1970. ‘I started the magazine because I felt the need to share my views on political and social issues with others and that same urge sustains even today,’ he says.
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For Cho there is no dilly-dallying. He has always been known to take a stand and relentlessly stick to the point and his sharp wit never comes before thought, whether it has been in voicing out his apprehensions against Narayana Murthy being nominated for the post of President of India, or the Maran-DMK equations. His voice is heard through not just one editorial every issue, but at almost every juncture in the magazine’s content. ‘Thuglak echoes my own observations about the political and social scenarios of the day. It is very personalized content,’ he says with frankness and what role does the magazine have to play in influencing the common man, or perhaps even his vote? ‘People discuss politics in coffee shops and on the streets with others. This is no more a means of influencing voters than one person discussing his political views with another in a restaurant,’ he says. His magazine has carried a completely black cover only twice in its 39 years of publication: the first occasion being during the declaration of national emergency by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and the demolition of the Babri Masjid. In a country of murky politics and deep communal disturbances, what singles out these two events for Cho? ‘For me, these two events have been the biggest transgression of basic fundamental rights. On both occasions journalists, politicians and activist have been jailed, and voices silenced, and basic fundamental rights taken away,’ he answers. Cho Ramaswamy’s prowess as a political commentator also landed him a Rajya Sabha seat from November 1999-2005. Even today, his commentaries have brought him readers from near and afar. Keeping in tune with the demands of the internet age, the magazine is up for purchase online, and readers abroad can subscribe to it for a fee of about $ 20 approximately, and gather news from their home country. Cho continues to pen editorials for Thuglak and make strikingly insightful remarks on the political issues of the day.
I started the magazine because I felt the need to share my views on political and social issues with others and that same urge sustains even today
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Shopping with Urmilla Guess
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Retailed out of COLLAGE
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Three years ago, at the height of the real estate boom, the wealthiest team in baseball persuaded the city of New York to help it build a luxurious and expensive ballpark. The city provided land for the stadium rent-free. It issued bonds to pay for the park’s construction and convinced the Internal Revenue Service to waive any taxes associated with the project. And when Yankees management needed more money to put the finishing touches on their luxe new marvel (to install, among other things, 1,100 flat-screen televisions), they came back to the city and got what they wanted. Viewed through the dark lens of our current recession, the Yankees deal seems absurdly lavish. Certainly, at a time when America’s largest city is bleeding jobs and slashing services, there are better uses for its money than coddling A-Rod and one of the richest teams in professional sports. But the stadium plan is more instructive now than ever. What happened in the Bronx is reminiscent of what’s happened between teams and towns all across the country in the past decade or so, albeit on a less expensive scale. And it was, in a way, an early illustration of the flawed philosophy that has marked the recent bailout binge: If we open the public coffers to private industry, the thinking went, bounty will follow. Since then, the notion of public funding chasing private companies has become national policy, and the fallout grows uglier by the day. Wall Street received big bailout money (and was dragged before Congress to justify how it managed to pay bonuses even as consumer lending continued to stagnate). Detroit CEOs jumped on the bandwagon too, submitting their own restructuring plans in exchange for government money they hoped would stave off the insolvency of the American auto industry
Nationals Park (Washington DC) : Total cost1: $693 million : Year of opening: 2008 The District of Columbia put up most of the money for the ballpark, funding it with a bond issue to be paid off through a series of ballpark tax hikes coupled with rent payments from the team
So far, none of the bailouts seem to be working. Federal handouts meant to translate into increased lending appear only to have kept the banks from collapsing; Detroit’s bailout money looks like it will just delay the inevitable. Much like this string of bailouts, the Yankees plan was a lavish infusion of public funds into private hands; and much in the same way the banks did, the Yankees secured their funding by way of promises and threats. Yankee officials seemed to argue that playing in their old stadium put them at a competitive disadvantage, and that they wouldn’t build a new one without government help. And if they didn’t get what they wanted, Yankees management said that they might pick up and leave the city altogether. In return, the project would create 1,000 new jobs, they said, bringing economic stimulus to an area of New York where it is
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Unnamed cowboys stadium (Dallas) : Total cost1: $1.1 billion : Year of opening: 2009 Taxpayers put up $325 million for the new stadium. The rest of the money was shouldered by the Cowboys. Team owner Jerry Jones says it’s costing him $1 million a day
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Up Synopsis: From Disney Pixar comes Up, a comedy adventure about 78-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America. But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell. From the Academy Award nominated director Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc.), Disney Pixar’s Up invites you on a hilarious journey into a lost world, with the least likely duo on Earth. Consensus: Another masterful work of art from Pixar, Up is an exciting, hilarious, and heartfelt adventure impeccably crafted and told with wit and depth. Genre: Comedies Rating: 97%
G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Synopsis: Johnny Depp and Christian Bale emerge from two of the biggest blockbuster series of all time (Pirates of the Caribbean and Batman, respectively) to star in this crime drama from HEAT's Michael Mann. Depp stars as legendary gangster John Dillinger, while Bale plays FBI agent Melvin Purvis.
Synopsis: Paramount Pictures and Hasbro, whose previous collaboration was the worldwide blockbuster “TRANSFORMERS,” join forces with Spyglass Entertainment for another extraordinary action-adventure “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” From the Egyptian desert to deep below the polar ice caps, the elite G.I. JOE team uses the latest in next-generation spy and military equipment to fight the corrupt arms dealer Destro and the growing threat of the mysterious Cobra organization to prevent them from plunging the world into chaos. “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” is directed by Stephen Sommers
Consensus: Michael Mann's latest is a competent and technically impressive gangster flick with charismatic lead performances, but some may find the film lacks truly compelling drama Rating: 67% Genre: Dramas
Consensus: While fans Hasbro toy franchise may revel in a bit of nostalgia, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is largely a cartoonish, over-the-top action fest propelled by silly writing, inconsistent visual effects, and merely passable performances. Genre: Action/Adventure Rating: 39%
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The Girl Who Played with Fire By Stieg Larson
Unmasked By Ian Halperin
My Friend Sancho By Amit Varma
Lisbeth Salander is a wanted woman. Two Millennium journalists about to expose the truth about sex trafficking in Sweden are murdered, and Salander's prints are on the weapon. Her history of unpredictable and vengeful behaviour makes her an official danger to society - but no-one can find her. Mikael Blomkvist, editor-in-chief of Millennium, does not believe the police. Using all his magazine staff and resources to prove Salander's innocence, Blomkvist also uncovers her terrible past, spent in criminally corrupt institutions. Yet Salander is more avenging angel than helpless victim. She may be an expert at staying out of sight - but she has ways of tracking down her most elusive enemies.
In late December 2008, Ian Halperin told to oldd the world that Michael Jackson had only onl ny six months to live. His investigations into Jackson's failing health made headlines around the globe. Six months later, the King of Pop was dead. Friends and associates paint a tragic picture of the last years and days of his life as Jackson made desperate attempts to prepare for the planned concert series at London's 02 Arena in July 2009. These shows would have earned millions for the singer and his entourage, but he could never have completed them, not mentally, and not physically. Michael knew it and his advisors knew it. After an intense five year investigation, New York Times bestselling author Ian Halperin uncovers the real story of Michael Jackson's final years, a suspenseful and surprising thriller.
My Friend, Sancho is a short novel set in contemporary Mumbai. Abir Ganguly, a young journalist on the crime beat, is asked by his editor to write a profile of Mohammad Iqbal, the victim of a police encounter. In the course of writing about another manâ€™s life, his own is transformed. The reason is Iqbal's daughter, Muneeza or Sancho, as her father used to call her. Short, very funny but heartbreaking, the novel is a romance that will easily satisfy both the literary and commercial readership.
Genre: Fiction Price: Rs299/-
Genre: Fiction Price: Rs195/-
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Touring for the
Chennai gave the Bangalore theatre buffs the thrill of their lives. Evam produced ‘An Idiot For Dinner’ an English adaptation of the French play Le Dîner de cons. Though this adaptation was along the same lines as the popular Hindi flick Bheja Fry, the script of ‘An Idiot’ was still fresh and funny, and since both were based on the French play the comparisons weren’t uncommon either. However this production was special as it had to its credit a young, enthusiastic cast and crew, a highly motivating Director Michael Muthu and an audience at the Ranga Shankara, Bangalore waiting to be charmed. We started our expedition aboard Mike’s Camper, equipped with all essentials for the best road trip ever. We had Mike at the wheel while the rest of us made as much noise as we possibly could crooning off key to Classic Rock of the 80’s. After countless coffee breaks along the scenic National Highway we finally made it to the Garden City. We were working well as a unit, well rehearsed and confident of putting up a great play. It was show time!! Bangalore can be proud of itself for having a space exclusively dedicated for theatrical dramatics. Ranga Shankara is a gift from Arundathi Nag to all theatre lovers in memory of her late husband the famous Kannada Actor Shankar Nag. The novelty of this enterprise is that it manages to captivate you with minimalistic style and design. Ranga Shankara provides the best ambience for multi-lingual plays and the fact that it is booked every day of the week is an achievement not many theatres can boast off.
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Performing at the Ranga Shankara was a treat, the entire experience was enlightening. The facility made us visitors feel at home with the Café churning out the best homemade Akki Roti and Lassi. The bookstore always looked welcoming and the gallery never stopped buzzing. The production kept getting better with each of the six house full shows. This brought an end to the inspiring weekend, leaving us actors and the audience asking for more.
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