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ThE art of LOVE 1 Does The Perfect Relationship exist?

weaving magic 1 The ultimate style space

for Chennai’s hottest upcoming designers.



The art of

reinvention The Passion. The Vision. The Life - Hot Shot Photographer G.Venket Ram reveals all.

Volume 01 Issue 03 April 2010 ISSN 0975-5055

Imagine Initiate Innovate

Imagine Initiate Innovate


Production Ashwath V Hanumanth LR


Concept and creativES Alan Hadle Hamilton







Thalabathi SS Venkatakrishnan G Ravikiran Vissa

Marching Ahead

Italian Bliss

Trisha Mukherjee

Aparna Ghosh

Marketing Pragash VM Lohith Reddy C

Going Global Vinay Dora

Mind Over Matter Entrepreneurs Who Dared Madhura Raju

Small Dreams Big Bucks Madhumitha Madhavan

The Art Of Love


Praveen Chander

Anand D


Reproduction in whole or part of any text, photography or illustrations without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs and illustrations. Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publication and accordingly no liability is assumed by the publisher thereof. Advertising copy and artwork are the sole responsibility of the advertisers.

The Real Of Life Of An MC Seema Farheen

Cover Story The Art Of Re-invention Gayatri Kalyanaraman

Health and Fitness The Secret To Looking Beautiful Yamuna Matheswaran

Contact us :

Fashion Weaving Magic


Education Spanish Anyone Madhumitha Madhavan

Gadgets Celebrating Innovation Swati Narasimhan

Games Top Games Of The Season Abhi Maruthu

Reviews The Best Of All Worlds Swati Narasimhan

Travel The Perfect Chill Nandita Nair

Activity A Walk To Remember Yamuna Matheswaran

Seema Farheen



Praveen Chander  

Racing Ahead Of Time Shrawan Raja


A Taste Of Fine Wine

1 editorial The year 2009 was a year of change –America welcomed Barack Obama as their first African-American president, Sri Lanka’s long years of war against the Tamil Tigers came to an end, and the world slowly showed signs of recovering from global financial crisis. Chennai too had come a long way – the city reflected favourable winds of change in public opinion with over six hundred people marching along the Marina to stress the importance of Gay rights and revoking the controversial section 377 of the IPC. We also rode high on A.R Rahman’s Oscar wins for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. But that wasn’t all – A snap of other major business events go on to show that there is still a lot we have to catch up on.


Cover Story

With the number of graduates coming forward with brilliant ideas, it is no surprise that the city is suddenly witnessing a surge of young entrepreneurs. Thinking of starting a business but worried about the risks involved? Don’t fret- why? Simply because the recession has a nicer side! Employees are cheaper to hire and there are plenty

of them available. Costs are comparatively lower and valuations aren’t sky high so investors can get better deals for the money. So if you have a clear cut, concise business idea that you wish to showcase to the world, string on those shoes and get your act together. This month, IQUBE’s pages feature Chennai’s wellknown Photographer G. Venket Ram, who stands as an inspiration to those who are afraid of stepping forward and following your heart. In addition to this, we have included a special section for the city’s fashion design graduates to showcase their styles. Think you might fit the bill? Write in to us with samples of your work. Trust me, no one is as interested than we are to hear from you! Let us celebrate the spirit of innovation with more attitude than ever. Have a great year ahead !

Meera Managing Editor

Columns Trisha Mukerjhee

Marching Ahead Today’s generation is marching ahead with more drive than ever before. Trisha Mukerjhee steps behind and takes notice.


ctivism is the latest India’s youth are indulging in. Be it in the field of environment, politics, utilization of public spaces, public awareness or securing the rights of the underprivileged, India’s youth brigade is everywhere. Millions of India’s young may be shunning politics for more reasons than one but clearly today’s youth have not given up on social causes. The commitment and determination to do larger good is evident from the way both students and young professionals are taking up various causes - especially toward climate change and fighting for the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy. India is witnessing a resurgence in youth activism and youth are coming up in large numbers to contribute for the greater good of the society. Activist Sudarshan Rodriguez who has been working with the fishermen along the coast of Tamilnadu and Kerala and Gujarat for the past ten years says there has been an increase in the number of youth who have been working with his organisation.

They take activism as a full-fledged career option and work towards certain goals and objectives just like any other job. ‘Activism is my way of expressing a certain community and myself, we are a democracy and by being active and voicing our opinions we are exercising our democratic rights’, says Rodriguez. Another young activist Nityanand Jairam works with the youth for causes such as agitation against forcible land acquisition by the government for SEZs and the land rights of the tribals. According to him mass awareness is the only way these social issues can be dealt with and the youth who comprise 70% of India’s population have to participate in it to bring about a change. Climate change causes have particularly caught the attention of youth presently. Youth from all over the country are organizing protest marches, awareness campaigns, candle light vigils etc to propagate the issue. One such Chennai based, youth sponsored organisation ‘350 degrees’ that has been fighting against climate change, have also been organizing rock concerts, meeting and candle light vigils to spread awareness on climate change. ‘Many people ask us how rock concerts are helpful’, but our answer to that is this is the only way the a large section of the youth can come together and get to know about the harmful effects of climate change’ says Naved of 350 degrees. Youth activism that was at its peak during the independence movement is picking up, as more and more youth are willing to play an active role and want to make a difference. Let us sit up and take notice.

Photo Courtesy : Ravikiran Vissa


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Excellent Communication is the key to progress. Yet, in a country where over a hundred languages are spoken, why do Indians still struggle to articulate well? asks Vinay Dora.

Mankind has made it big due to their ability to communicate, an attribute that enables us to articulate our thoughts and actions well. Be it communicating through signs during the pre-historic era or in today’s chat lingo, it is those with good articulation who have always held the advantage. Haven’t you envied the ability of a certain friend to engage others in interesting conversations? Or a colleague, who may seem less intelligent but is able to paint a rosy picture to superiors? Successful or not, people have often played with words in order to get things done in their favour. From a school-going kid asking for a playstation in return for good academics, or countries like the US offering incentives to nations toeing their line, communication of objectives have often yielded amazing results. Several leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Atal Bihari Vajpayee have been able to cast a spell on listeners through their skillful choice of words. This ability to ‘articulate’ and express thoughts in a ‘coherent verbal form’ is still lacking in India. The media have always liked covering good speeches and have often been guilty of overusing sound-bites from such speeches. There have been situations where speeches have won people’s support and accolades. Obama being voted

the President for the USA and his subsequent Nobel Peace Prize can be attributed more to what he has to talked about rather than his work. Yet, it’s not about world leaders, but personal articulation that one should care about. Quite often the US President has spoken about the need for American children to buckup in order to compete against the Indian and Chinese kids for future jobs. There are several factors that make Indian children more competitive but we shall skip them here. The fact is, if there’s a weak-link in India’s armory against the west, it’s possibly the ability to articulate. With a few exceptions, whether it’s conveying feelings, or as children, convincing parents or describing a situation, westerners seem to be more at ease. And how do they do it? The art of articulation is not too difficult and does not require one to be a chatterbox or an extrovert. Young children in the west are a good example as they are taught to express themselves more through words than just emotions. Whether they like, dislike or have a suggestion about something, words have always been free-flowing. This practice is not followed in India and Therefore new parents find it difficult to communicate with their children. Being articulate may soon become a necessity than a special skill and it’s time one took notice. Improving verbal skills is easier than one would imagine- all it requires is a few more words, some energy and most importantly the removal of certain preconceived notions. It’s time you spoke your way to glory!


nthropologists around the world have cited ‘intelligence’ to be the reason behind this vast expanse of development and knowledge gain. As we already know, the human race has grown rapidly and stepped several notches ahead of all other species. But is mankind’s superiority solely because of its ability to think? Think again.

Photo Courtesy : Creative Commons

Going Global


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Mind over matter Madhura Raju

Entrepr Bill Gates founded Microsoft when he was 21 years old. A Harvard drop out who obtained a honorary doctorate after 33 years, he masterminded the deal with IBM to pay a one time fee for DOS and make it fully owned by Microsoft. The rest as they say ‘is history’. Bill Gates when he was in the sixth grade was sent to a psychologist, because his parents found something wrong about him. But the doctors proved the parents wrong and concluded that he was an extremely intelligent kid.

He dropped out of Reed College but stayed to sit in classes for another year. He used to sleep on his friend’s dorm and walked 7 miles every Sunday night for a free meal at the Hare Krishna temple. He even visited India seeking spiritual enlightenment and returned a Zen Buddhist. Here’s something you don’t know - Macintosh was the first computer to have beautiful fonts, which he claims wouldn’t exist now, if he didn’t go for this calligraphy classes at Reed. He became a millionaire at 25.

A first generation entrepreneur, Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel, started his first business in April 1976 at the age of 18, with a capital investment of Rs 20,000 (U$500) borrowed from his father. His first business was to make crankshafts for local bicycle manufacturers. In 1984, he started assembling push-button phones in India. In 1992, he successfully bid for one of the four mobile phone network licenses auctioned in India. He was one of the first Indian entrepreneurs to identify the mobile telecom business as a major growth area. His plans were finally approved by the Government in 1994 and launched services in 1995. Sunil is superstitious about the number 23 and married on 23rd and was also born on the 23rd. He is all set to bring Wal-Mart to India.

Photo Courtesy : Creative Commons

Who Dared

reneurs Warren Buffet filed his first income tax return when he was 13, deducting his bicycle and watch as a work expense for $35 for his work as newspaper delivery boy. He became a billionaire through sheer investments and calculations and was at one point the richest man in the world. ‘Berkshire Hathaway’, his organization holds stakes in a vast variety of companies from Coca Cola to private rental jets. This man is ready to even go the jail, if he has the right set of people who can play the Bridge game with him, in his cell. He loves playing Bridge and plays often with Bill Gates.

Indian–born Lakshmi Mittal was sent to Indonesia to sell a family steel plant that was not profitable, but instead of selling it, he made it profitable and went on to establish the biggest steel empire the world has ever seen. A trifle about him is that he owns the world’s costliest house at Kensington Palace Gardens, London. More interestingly he spent 50 million pounds for his daughter’s wedding at Paris for which he rented the enormous Versailles Chateau.

The son of two computer science professors, Larry Page started Google with his partner Sergey Brin, when he was 25. His groundbreaking paper on the Google PageRank algorithm changed the Internet once for all. He is still on a leave of absence from Stanford and has not obtained his doctorate yet. At the tender age of twelve, Larry page built an inkjet printer from LEGO Bricks. He also claims to be the first kid in his high school to turn in an assignment from a Word Processor. * The writer extends thanks to Deepak Santhanam.

Young Entrepreneurs who dared to take the first leap and make it big in life Let us be inspired says Madhura Raju.

Small Dreams, Big Bucks Who said that a 9-5 is the only way to make money? Madhumitha Madhavan shares tips on making big bucks out of your hobby.


ver the year, the economic slowdown has made pink slips and pay cuts the norm of the day in almost every major industry. This has come as a huge blow to an entire generation of compulsive workaholics that is entirely success driven. Monetizing your hobby to augment your primary income is a great way to overcome this problem. And all you need is some creativity, a vision and a little capital! From writing blogs to fixing cars, painting to collecting stamps, converting just about any eccentric hobby into a regular cash flow is no longer a wishful pipedream. Bursting with ideas already? Here are a few tips to tap your entrepreneurial side. First love The first, and the most obvious step is to identify the hobbies that could generate a steady income. However before you come up with a grandiose plan, remember that monetizing any hobby requires a considerable amount of skill and passion. For instance, if you enjoy writing, start writing a Blog. Try and generate enough interest among its followers. Of course, make sure you are a good writer. Chart out a plan Identify how you can convert your hobby into money. Get creative and come up with wacky ideas. If books are your world, you could start a library with enough funds, crank it up a notch and open a rare books shop! Cash in the stash Most ventures require an initial capital investment. Chalk out all the expenses you could incur and make sure you have enough cash stashed out in case of emergencies. Look for any hidden costs. If you enjoy

whipping up exotic recipes in your kitchen, a small catering business from home would be great! Apart from the cost of ingredients your expenses could include travelling, delivery, packaging, storage etc. Start snipping Executing the plan could prove to be a little difficult if you do not have the experience. But help is always at hand. You could take the help of a consultancy if necessary. Conduct proper research to get an idea of market trends before you launch your products. Also be aware of your competition and the products they have to offer. Try their products and services to find out what you are up against. Scream, shout and sell The three S’s of business. Be sure to promote and advertise your products and services so that it reaches the right consumers. if you enjoy gardening and decide to start up an organic food store, ensure that the medium you use for your advertisements reaches people who are health and environment conscious. Advertising in an eco-magazine would be a great idea. There are a large number of hobbies that can be converted into successful business ideas. Like to cook? Think of a catering business or a specialty restaurant. Collect pens? Become a dealer and hunt down collectors who would buy them. Enjoy the company of kids? Get involved in a day care centre or franchise a play school that is already successful. There is simply no end to the ideas you can get. So what are you waiting for? Get those creative juices flowing and make some dough out of it!

THE ART OF LOVE Does ‘The perfect relationship’ exist? It could, says Praveen Chandar

The art of love is not about giving and taking but in giving alone, but, in essence, giving alone. Expectation, ego and possessiveness are some of the elements we have habitually associated with love. Ironically, yet not surprisingly, these elements have only made the way of love more complicated to understand and practice, in its true sense. Expectation is what leads to misunderstandings in any relationship. If you expected anything at all by loving someone, you are already handicapping the strength of your love. Expectations are nothing but conditions set on others selfishly. It will only create an opportunity for disappointment, which can slowly but definitely restrain your love for that person. Possessiveness is a traditional misnomer when you love someone ‘too much’. ‘If you love something, let it go, if it comes back to you, it is yours forever, if it does not, it was never meant to be’ is a saying that I swear by. The intention of loving someone is not to have them bonded to you. Give them love, and give them space, they will come back to you, closer this time. This is human nature. Ego, opposed to common belief, does have some constructive use here. It is your ego that can constantly work on making you feel important. Our ego is hurt when someone makes us feel less important. If we do not feel important, we lose all love for ourselves. And, you cannot give what

you do not have. The art of love, thus quintessentially, begins with oneself. Let your ego only cttyze this process in you, nothing more or less. Love is something that cannot be traded fairly, like cotton or sugar. It is the unfair trade of love that can keep a relationship ringing, by each of them constantly trying to give more love than they can take. Love is the only accepted form of insanity. And, maybe that is why they say ‘All is fair in love’, it must be unconditional. The art of love is a long forgotten old school lesson and What better time to be reminded of it than now. If we all learn to love, soon, there will be no one without love. Let us bring love out of the churches and temples, and give it to everyone. Great people have always told the world to learn to love, but we never did learn, as if to prove that we always waited for them to die before we can listen. ‘We are the world, we are the children, we are the ones who make the world a better place so lets start giving’ We probably heard that a million times, let us listen to it for once.

‘The art of love is not about giving and taking but in giving alone’

Photo Courtesy : Creative Commons


ove is a ubiquitous feeling that we have known all our life, yet it is a feeling misunderstood and misinterpreted. What can possibly be so complicated about learning this basic human emotion?

The Real Life of an


“ If your work is good, you get noticed. It’s as simple as that! ”

It is a universal truth that college students are always short of cash. With all our expenses - right from restaurants and movie tickets to clubs, and those stilettos you can only dream of buying the list is endless. The solution could be to get a part-time job in the event management field! To be an M.C. or ‘Master of Ceremonies,’ could be exciting career prospect. Melbin Joe Mathew, one of Chennai’s more popular free-lancing MCs feels that if you are one for the stage— quick-thinking, enjoy interacting with people and love the limelight-- MCing is an interesting option to make good money, while having great fun! As one of the city’s upcoming MCs, Melbin was competing with top pros who had been in the field for years in a couple of months! Right now, with plenty of students willing to work for less pay, I ask him how hard it was to make a mark, and he confidently states, ‘If your work is good, you get noticed. It’s as simple as that!’ And boy, did he get noticed! By event managers, who were willing to vouch for him over women hosts who are generally preferred by the industry. Melbin has hosted a variety of events ranging from corporate events, product launches, commentaries for races and stage events. When asked about his technique and the preparation involved, Melbin tells me there are two kinds of MCs, the spontaneous kind and the ones with a strategy mapped out. According to him, ‘Finding out the crowds interests, their ‘needs’, tripping onto something on-the-spot and making a joke of it...basically catering

to the crowd with something fresh!’, are the traits of a ‘spontaneous’ MC. This is perhaps why stage events are his favourite, as it’s challenging to think of something witty hardly seconds after the performance. The perks are several, apart from just the pay. The most prominent one being that you get to involve in the major happenings in town and meet celebrities. A novice may do a day job for about three to five thousand, while a seasoned pro like Melbin gets paid abut seventy five thousand to a Lakh for just a few hours on a special night like New Years’ eve. Gift vouchers and entries to the coolest parties in town only add icing to the cake! Ask him how hosting events has helped him grow as a person and Melbin says, ‘It gives a lot of confidence in the way you handle people, and helps understand different perspectives about life. You’re always growing as an MC!’ He certainly has learnt a lot from the time he fell off the stage in an overenthusiastic performance! Currently he not only hosts his own events but has progressed to into hosting events but has progressed on to hosting his own show on the prime time slot on the only English radio station in Chennai. He has future plans of hosting and producing his own show and later moving on to television. This just goes to prove how stepping into an MC’s shoes could prove the platform for success. At the end of the day, meeting people, hanging out and learning while earning quite a bit of dough the whole time sounds like a fun deal, doesn’t it?

Photo Courtesy : Thalabathi SS

A Prime time show-host, entertainer, or a performer? What’s life like for an MC? Seema Farheen finds out


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Cover Story

Gayatri Kalyanaraman

The art of reinvention What does it take to capture life in its purest form? Gayatri Kalyanaraman asks Chennai’s well-known photographer G. Venket Ram about his journey to the unknown.


ome people find their passion but fail in translating it into a career. Most people jump into the cliched career bandwagon and never unearth their passion. But here is a man who found his passion and literally framed people with his talent! G. Venket Ram, a name synonymous with film and advertisement photography for more than a decade now has indeed carved a niche for himself. Hailing from a family of doctors and engineers, he initially followed suit and joined an engineering college in Pune to pursue a degree in Production Engineering. But the surrounding forests fascinated him more than classrooms and he fared better in subjects like engineering drawing than thermodynamics. It was then that he realized a career in engineering was not for him. Cinematography on the other hand was suddenly in the picture. He then discontinued his degree and came to Chennai in order to pursue his new found passion. This naturally did not set well with the extended family. Then Loyola introduced the Visual Communication course and

he was part of the first set of VISCOM graduates of Loyola. Venket Ram’s first film break happened in 98’and there has been no looking back since then. Apart from movies he has done more than 1000 ads so far and as a result of which Kodak India chose him to shoot for their 2002 calendar. In a nutshell – you name the brand and he has worked with them! After being thrown into the limelight for ‘Boys’ he has worked the industry biggies including Mani Ratnam and Rajnikanth. From ‘Boys’ to ‘Vettaikaran’ every big Tamil film bears his name in the credits!

‘Megapixels don’t make Mega pictures’ Photo Courtesy : G Venkat Ram

‘Photography is not about following the textbook’


here is more to this man than just his accolades. His attitude towards life, be it work or personal, is just refreshing. To him photography is not a profession, it’s a hobby. ‘The minute it becomes a profession you start the downward spiral’ he quips with a grin. According to him, being a successful photographer or a cinematographer is a challenge because you have to constantly keep in mind the changing interests of the youth. ‘When you are 25 you have to keep your taste in mind but as you grow older it gets harder and you have to make sure you don’t fade away with cultural shock’. Personally he enjoys the scope for creativity that movies provide but advertisements on the other hand have strict requirements and do not offer much scope for improvisation. On the negative, advertisements offer recognition while in movies you are just another part of the huge technical crew that puts the movie together. So what constitutes a perfect picture? According to him its three things – blend of colors, appropriate makeup and the proper expression. Without any of these the picture falls flat. ‘Photography is not about following the textbook. Every picture has different requirements and following a constant pattern never works’. His favorite so far is the work he did with Director Ameer for the film ‘Parutheeveran’. He fondly reminisces the dusky overtone and the rural feel to the whole shoot and how well it translated on screen even though the initial promos and the actual movie were shot in completely different locations. On a personal level, this man is the best role model a youngster can ask for- cheerful and poised and at the same time confident and assertive. Fame can do horrible things to people, especially if you are the best in what you do but this man chooses tor remain grounded and think about his next shoot than bask in the glory of his past. The one motto he swears by – Megapixels don’t make mega pictures! That’s G Venket Ram for you!


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Health & Fitness Yamuna Matheswaran

The Secret To

Looking Beautiful What does beauty cost us these days? Yamuna Matheswaran finds out.

Photo Courtesy : Thalabathi SS

What does beauty cost us these days? Yamuna Matheswaran finds out. ‘Young people must avoid over indulging in cosmetics’ Dr. Maya Vedamurthy

A lot of young people are opting for cosmetic surgery today. What is your opinion on this as a doctor? People have started to realize that appearance is very important in any walk of life, be it for a housewife or an aspiring businessperson. People are trying to look their best. So it is catching up now. Many people are getting cosmetic surgery done at a very young age. Does this cause any adverse effects? It depends on the kind of treatment involved. For example, a person may take cosmetic treatment for pimples at a young age, and this is not a problem at all. People also seek laser hair removal treatment, and treatment for scars. In fact, that is the age when they want to look good, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. So to a certain level it is permitted no matter how old they are. But there are always limits. After the cosmetic procedure, what are the precautions or changes one must make in order to aid the healing process? This depends on the type of procedure you opt for. We have some aggressive and invasive procedures, while some of them are non-invasive procedures and we call them the ‘lunchtime’ procedures, such as Botox injections. During their lunchtime they can drop by, get the procedure done and return to their offices. Only very minor changes need to be made after these procedures, whereas invasive procedures such as laser treatments and others will require some care and precaution, such as photoprotection for a few days and restraining from smoking. Smoking and drinking are generally very harmful for the skin. Smoking ruins the skin, promotes pimples and increases hair loss. What is the most common procedure that young people opt for when they come to you? One of the most common procedures that young people opt for are the Chemical Peels, which are used to treat pimples and skin blemishes. The other treatment that is

popular among the youth is Laser Hair Removal, since excess facial hair causes a lot of distress What about procedures such as Liposuction? People above the age of 20 choose to undergo Liposuction. Excess deposits of fat are removed by this method. This is done only post-adolescence. Can you give us some advice on how to maintain healthy skin? The skin is the mirror image of the condition of the insides of our bodies. The state of the inner system depends on a variety of factors, such as a balanced diet, sufficient water and fluid intake, and less amounts of fat in the diet. Avoid cigarettes and alcohol, and limit excess sun exposure. Avoid overindulging in cosmetics. Both external as well as internal care must be taken. You mentioned that cosmetics should be avoided. These days, a lot of brands offering various products are on the market, and youngsters are wearing a lot of make-up. What is your take on this? I’m actually against using too many cosmetic products. I always feel that less is better. Excess make-up will only do more harm to your skin than good. And people are opting for facials very often these days. I don’t recommend facials at all. Daily, simple care is enough, and is better than indulging in facials. People nevertheless go in for facials. Would it be okay at any age? If they must, then 40 and above. If they go earlier, they will just spoil their skin, because facials only offer a temporary change causing the skin to become rosy pink. It appears to glow and seem fairer. But these facials make the skin very sensitive. This will only cause the skin to age faster. Excess of anything is harmful.

Dr. Maya Vedamurthy is a consultant dermatologist at Apollo Hospitals, Chennai.

With an alarming increase in youth opting to go under the knife, we are forced to ask - Is cosmetic surgery the only way to looking good? Having been in clinical practice for the past 20 years, Dr. Maya Vedamurthy dispels a few myths in an interview.

Design Courtesy : AXES

Photo Courtesy :, Flickr,,


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Fashion Seema Farheen

Weaving Is fashion simply about walking the runway? Seema Farheen asks upcoming designer Sharon Vardon.


rt isn’t about following the laid down patterns of our ancestors. We may look at their work, study it, understand and appreciate it, but we do not have to necessarily implement it. ‘True Art is creation, and Fashion I believe, is an Art’ says Sharon Vardon. Born and raised in Chennai, Sharon spent her schoollife in the beautiful hills of Ooty and later gained a degree in Economics before opting for her Masters in the Product Merchandising course in Pearl Academy of Fashion Technology. It was her childhood in Ooty, and the life there that influenced her to pursue a passion for hand knitting. It isn’t merely stitching clothes but giving them form and personality by adding life to a spool of thread, or as in her case - a ball of wool! After studying and experimenting with various stitches – right from basic cross-stitches to more complicated patterns, Sharon decided that simple stitches worked best with a slightly different treatment. Later, by adding her own touch she infused a quiet elegance to clothes she worked on. Being simple is a statement Sharon swears by. She recently altered the hem of a skirt by making waves, giving the impression of a frill by using simple hand-knit stitches. Mixing the right colors in calculated proportions, she makes subtle differences to ordinary pieces, instantly giving them a designer look.

‘ True Art is creation, and Fashion I believe, is an Art ’

Magic Sharon Vardon For those who love halter-necks and spaghettis, Sharon recently designed a unique neck-piece, inspired from stoles, but without the hassles they involve. This piece adds a casual yet chic look. Sharon designs for the 1525 age group, as she feels her customers must be willing to experiment, so anyone who’s keen on making a fashion statement-this is your chance!

Mrs. Menaka Ram Kumar Hair Stylist FRIZZ DA SALON

Photo Courtesy : Thalabathi SS

Sharon intends to plunge into the fashion business - beginning by tempting friends and family, before moving into deeper waters. Currently, working as a Visual-Merchandiser, she feels that Fashion is something special that adds value to things.



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Food Aparna Ghosh

he beginning of a new year generally means lots of shopping, lots of outings and the final list of new year resolutions. Since I am on a presumably high alert for good food for the coming year, I visited Tuscana on Khader Nawaz Khan Road. Tuscana has a simple and tastefully decorated, bright dining area. There were many people deep in conversation at their tables. The fact that the crowd was varied – elderly couples, families, businessmen, and young college goers made it apparent that Tuscana had already won the hearts of many across the city. I was touched by the way I was ushered in, and pleasantly surprised when a polite waiter walked me through the purely Italian menu card. The menu seemed quite difficult to decipher so I suggest that if you visit, you ask the guidance of the waiters. The Minty Strawberry Fizz that I opted for was made in a niche very close to my table, where the drinks are generally mixed. It was pink, sweet-sour, minty and coldtastic! A splendid drink for the ladies. For starters I opted for the Focaccia Ripena, four slices of soft bread filled with blue cheese and olives was a delicacy by itself. I followed this with a Pizza and Lasagna for my main course. Ruspante, the 12 inch

authentic thin crust pizza was topped with smoked chicken and mozzarella cheese and enough to take anyone out of the world. The Lasagna Classica, made of layers of pasta and tenderloin was mercilessly coated with cheese and something I still cannot get my mind off. The layers of pasta of beef were a splendid blend. Or should I say Delizioso? Though the food at Tuscana is rather filling, I knew it would hurt my conscience if I walked away without trying anything on their Dessert menu. I ordered two, so I can take back a portion of both for my little brother. The Tiramisu, a generally over rated Italian dessert was one of my choices. The creamy rich pastry with layers of coffee and cake was truly worth the rave reviews. My second option, The Panna Cota , was a cooked cream dessert , distantly evolving from the jelly family, was a bit strange to the palette - The only thing that made it sweet was the Blueberry jam, it was served with. After eating so much and experimenting with a lot on the menu, I dreaded the thought of the bill. But I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised at the sight of a simple three-digit entry. All is well that ends well. My tag line: Attention every foodie in town, Tuscana will never make you frown!

Italian Bliss Tuscana Simple and elegant, Aparna Ghosh visits this hidden food gem in Nungambakkam.


No.19, 3rd Street, Wallace Gardens, Nungambakkam,, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600034. Phone :044 4503 8008 Photo Courtesy : Thalabathi SS

Photo Courtesy : Nestor Galina


f you were to look up the word ‘Atelier’ in the dictionary, this is probably what you might come across: ATELIER – A Workshop or Studio for an Artist or Designer. If most of you were wondering what it had to do with a gymnasium or ‘fitness studio’, I wouldn’t blame you; so was I. Until I entered the hallowed portals of sheer fitness that is Ateliers, Chennai’s fastest growing chain of fitness studios. The first thing that struck me about their brand new branch in Sembakkam (near Tambaram) is that it is huge and spaciously laid out. With an impressive 11,000 sq. ft. dedicated to body fitness the clutter-free environment in the Velachery Studio also guarantees a peaceful mind during your daily work out. The second thing that was quite apparent was the presence of healthy and extremely cheerful clients working out and interacting with the ever-helpful trainers. It is clear that customer satisfaction is one of their strongest selling points. Apart from being the city’s largest centre of its kind, Ateliers offers a comprehensive set of workouts and routines. This second studio was opened after the fabulous response received at their flagship fitness studio at Velachery. You don’t have to pinch yourself, it is true. So pick up your exercise kit and head straight to Ateliers. Ateliers boasts of state-of-the-art equipment in both the Cardio & Strength segments with certified personal trainers. I have noticed, where most studios prescribe fitness routines that will require strict dieting and fasting, at Ateliers they advocate “healthy caloric dieting” which is ideal if you enjoy various cuisines and love eating! They have nutrition specialists who are flexible enough to check the client’s progress while maintaining diets that aren’t all too strict. Each diet chart is tailor made for the customer after taking into consideration their likes and dislikes, their lifestyle and their height, weight, BMI & fat percentage. Acclaimed physiotherapists, are also an option in case you need that niggling back pain or aching joints eased up in no time at all. I found it interesting that they have this system of grading fitness levels. Initially most people including myself would have found it uncomfortable to get a fitness level graded, because no one like being told they’re unhealthy, especially not by well toned Ex-Mister India gents like Mr Arasu, Fitness Advisor. The difference is, the way they do it is that you are graded in a way that tells you how easy the way ahead is and not how much over the red line on the weighing scale you are. Every client is given a Fitness Schedule; these vary according to an individual’s muscle flexibility, cardio endurance, muscle endurance and personal fitness goals. If you aren’t much for weight lifting and cardio, you can be up for some good news! Ateliers offers calisthenics workouts which means you will have to barely move a muscle... OK maybe a few but that will be just about it. Fitness never was THIS easy! Ateliers banks so much on customer gratification that they use “sports art strength equipments”. The big deal here is that even if you happen to accidentally push the wrong button or operate the equipment incorrectly, your muscles will never be injured. Besides, the trainer ensures that you have their undivided attention for specific time intervals.

Ateliers is managed by Mr.Mounaguru ( Ex. Veteran Sportsman ) Mr. M.Arasu ( Mr.India ) who is the Honorable Chief Advisor in Weight Management & Fitness and Mrs. Sushila ( CEO ) Address : Sembakkam - 100 A, Velachery Main Road, Sembakkam Velachery - 37, Velachery Main Road, Vijay Nagar Contact : 42184141 / 42184142

Fitness was never FUN until i began working out at Ateliers. With all the stamina required for soccer its a pleasure coming in to trained professionals who always wear a smile. Hats off! - p k madhavan MD, vijay nichole/dir- f4 football academy

Going to the gym was always a tedious experience, until i rediscovered it, thanks to ATELIERS. Its a real pleasure to work out here because its almost like unwinding, especially after a long day’s work - R Kavitha Proprietrix, Vintech Business Solutions

get into shape

the ateliers way

HIGHLIGHTS OF ATELIERS FITNESS - Strength Training - Cardio, Aerobics - Dance (Kids and Adult) - Ladies Fusion Fitness - Tummy Reduction Program - Core Strengthening - Flexibility improvement - Slim kit - Bodybuilding - Steam bath - Valet parking - Physio clinicz - Nutritionist Advice - Sports Training & Supplementation - Calisthenic workouts with special packages & discounts for senior citizens and students. What’s best is that all these facilities don’t cost you more than they should, considering that they are a five star rated centre. Your good health awaits you. You can drink to that, but please... stick to fresh juices!


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Education Madhumitha Madhavan Photo Courtesy : Creative Commons Design Courtesy : AXES


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Gadgets Swati Narasimhan

Celebrating Innovation Over the past decade, technology has become an integral part of our lives. Let us celebrate the spirit of innovation says Swati Narasimhan


oday, innovation and improvisation has changed our lifestyle dramatically and we realize that the only thing that is permanent is change. Stepping into the tenth year of this millennium, I want to look back at the fag end of the previous millennium and smile - The decade when they thought, ‘if there emerges a computing device that could fit in our back pockets, it won’t be on this planet!’ Oh, but that was a sweet twenty years ago!

ones Cell Ph

1 Then: Motorola DynaTAC This was the gadget revolutionized communication. It is technically the first commercial cell phone. Developed by Martin Cooper, Manager at Motorola, its prototype was taken from Nippon’s cell phone-like creation. Nippon later went on to make batteries and other gadgets, while Motorola derived from it and commercialized it. The first phone call from this mobile was known to have been made in April 1973 by martin cooper to his rival Joel Engel at Bell labs. Its talk time was thirty minutes and it was priced $3,995 in 1983 US. It came with an 8-hour standby time and took 10 hours to recharge.

Now: Vertu Constellation Ayxta Here’s bringing you one of the latest luxury phones by Vertu. The Ayxta’s predecessors have been ruling the bevy of royals in the market single handedly with the Ascent, Signature series. The Constellation series stands without an equal, though it faces fierce competition from Tag Heuer, Dolce and Gabbana, Lamborghini etc. Its stunning design with a body of Polished stainless steel, black ceramic keys, black leather makes it as desirable as its diamond-crested mates. Vertu phones have been endorsed by Jean Todt, Michelle Yeoh, Andrea Griminelli, Zhang Yimou and Ma Yansong. The world’s largest piece of cosmetic sapphire and first use of carbon fibre on phones was created by Vertu. Vertu’s own concierge service puts you directly online with a customer service representative without any hold.




Then - Sony Walkman

The Sony walkman was the device that brought music to us. Akio Morita designed the First Portable Cassette Player for Sony and named it ‘Walkman’. Today, the name has come to represent the product itself. The model had only the play option but no efficient record. Akio thought it won’t be a success, but it turned out to be a rage. Especially with teenagers who were hooked with having their music around them wherever they went.

Now - IPOD Nano Apple has again given us one of their sexiest creations. The latest Nano comes with features that are sure to be envied. With Nano’s FM radio with Live pause, built- in microphone with voice memo (record voice reminders), built-in Voice over, we certainly have music enslaved. If you like to work out, check this out- Apple joins with Nike to give you the Pedometer. It counts the number of steps you’ve taken and the calories that you’ve burnt.




Then - Seiko Quartz Astron 35SQ We have had timekeepers since the sundial times. Innovation has added better features to improve comfort and accuracy. Seiko gave us the first quartz watch. Unveiled first in Tokyo on Dec 25th 1969, this then-luxury item was a limited edition of just 100pieces. It was priced 1250$(450,000 yen), the amount you had to pay to get yourself a medium sized car then. Accurate to within about 5 seconds a month, and a minute a year. Now - Ulysse Nardin Royal Blue Tourbillon

Presenting Ulysse Nardin Royal Blue Tourbillon with jawdropping beauty - A platinum 950 case Studded with 12 rich blue sapphire baguettes and about 200 diamonds, this fellow leaves you craving for him. This precious piece has to be wound manually. It has a power reserve that lasts 100hours. It is also a limited edition of only 99 pieces. Photo Courtesy : Creative Commons Content Courtesy Websites of Britannica, Nintendo, Nike, Seiko, Smithsonian, Ulysse Nardin.

Top Games of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II Publisher: Activision Developer: Infinity Ward Genre: First Person Shooter Platform: PS3 X360 PC ESRB: Mature Rating: 4/ 5 stars

Assassins Creed II Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Genre: Historic Action Adventure Platform: PS3 X360 ESRB: Mature Rating: 4.5/ 5 stars Bartender Desmond Miles is back and this time as Ezio, a privileged young noble in Renaissance Italy who has been betrayed by the rival ruling families. His vengeful quest lures players into a long, satisfying and beautiful adventure. This sequel has a lot more to offer than its predecessor. The graphics picture bigger, better and beautifully realized versions of cities of Florence, Venice and more. There are a number of new game-play additions such as The Dual Hidden Blades with which the player can perform double assassinations and gain the ability to swim. There are also a greater variety of missions, weapons, and stealth techniques. While the original had a disappointing end, the climax of this game will be an explosive and memorable one that will leave the player eager for the third part. Overall, this is an amazing game with great visuals and sound design making this one of the best games of all time.

Infinity ward has done it once again. This new campaign is great with all its intense action and dramatic moments, but disappointingly short. Though the plot is a bit of a mess, it still keeps one on the edge of the seat. If you are really good at first person shooters, try the veteran mode for a more challenging experience. The new Special Ops mode (both solo and co-op play) is a new addition with campaign-style missions rating you based on completion time and difficulty level. The core being the highly competitive multiplayer mode is back and better than ever with lots of new elements and perks make it more strategic, and more rewarding. Modern Warfare II is a definitely a must-play game of this year.

the season Abhi Maruthu

Dragon Age: Origins Publisher: Electronic Arts Developer: Bioware Genre: Role-playing Platform: PS3 X360 PC ESRB: Mature Rating: 4.5/ 5 stars Play as a human, an elf or a dwarf in the fictional world of Ferelden to fight against a horde of demonic creatures in this amazing fantasy role-playing game. Like any RPG the player has different classes to choose from each race and progresses to use more skills, weapons, armors, magic and so on. This is a brilliant story that changes with every race, class through game actions. There are plenty of quests, places to explore, and loads of creatures to kill. Though it is addictive, this game is rather long. The player will definitely want to play it over and over again for a new experience every single time. The controls and graphics of the PC version is slightly better than the other two platforms.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Publisher: SCEA Developer: Naughty Dog Genre: Action Adventure Platform: PS3 ESRB: Teen Rating: 4.5/ 5 stars Treasure Hunter Nathan Drake takes off on another adventure to find the lost city of Shambhala (Shangri-La) in search of the legendary Cintamani stone, a ‘wish-fulfilling jewel’ of Buddhist mythology. The action is fast paced, engaging and thrilling. Good storyline, impressive visuals with beautiful scenery and breathtaking sights. The game involves lots of new weapons and varied combat techniques. It also offers an intense co-op mode and a very addictive multiplayer action with perks system. A few flaws like the cover system and linear platform sections can be slightly disappointing. But otherwise, this game is a complete package of fun and will keep you engaged throughout. MOST AWAITED GAMES OF 2010 GOD OF WAR III (PS3) - Release: March, 2010 MAX PAYNE 3 (PC/PS3/X360) - Release: Q3, 2010 TOM CLANCY’S SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION (PC) Release: Feb 23, 2010 STARCRAFT II: WINGS OF LIBERTY Release: Q2, 2010 (second quarter) Photo Courtesy : Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy : Creative Commons Design Courtesy : AXES


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Travel Nandita Nair

The Perfect Chill Searching for the perfect getaway this month? It’s time to re-visit the hills, says Nandita Nair

Cozily perched in the Annamalai range, Valparai is a blissful 3,500km above sea level on the Western Ghats. Surrounded by unique grass forests aptly named ‘The Green Hills’, it gently envelops you in its misty, mysterious aura. The Parambikulam, Aaliyar, Nirar, Soliyar dams, the Monkey Falls and tea and coffee estates around Valparai all make interesting places to visit. However it was the Elephant Safari at the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary that made my trip. At Rs 300 for a 30-minute ride in the woods, it truly is a once in a lifetime experience. We also got to stay at one of the many tree houses built in the sanctuary. These tree houses are great to stay during the day and offer a scenic view of the lake. Valparai’s location is perhaps one of its best attributes and its ready to help locals more than make up for its lack of facilities, making you feel welcome and at home straight away. But the crowning glory? Breathing in gallons of herb scented clean air, minus the carbon monoxide!

Accommodation Valparai has few decent hotels to say in. It is better to stay with someone you know or book an accommodation at Annamalai’s Club or one of the smaller guesthouses that dot the hills. A decent hotel could cost you anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 1000 a day. However, if you are looking for luxury, head out to The Stanmore Bungalow, which is a sprawling 7,500 square foot British Structure. You could alternatively stay in Pollachi, the nearest town and drive up to Valparai for a truly out-of-the-world experience, provided you are ready to take on the 40 hairpin bends you have to encounter to get there! How to get there The nearest town in Pollachi, some 64kms away. The drive is pleasant and exotic, a true feast of greenery for your eyes. From Chennai, you could catch a flight, train or bus to Coimbatore and a bus to Pollachi from there.

Travel Tips: One can indulge in trekking and safari tours at the sanctuaries. If lucky, you could even spot a tiger! This place is perfect for camping. The nights are beautiful and all you need is a wonderful bonfire to get you going. If you have a barbeque grill, tow it along. You will find ample opportunity to use it.

Photo Courtesy : G Venkatkrishnan

Contact Thalabathi SS +91 9884884907


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Chrono Praveen Chandar


ine making is as old as civilization itself. It has a long and varied past steeped in both fact and supposition. The metamorphosis that wine making has gone through in several thousand years till today presents a fascinating history to explore.

6000 B.C

1700 A.D

Wild vines and olives were first cultivated for the purpose of wine making in Mesopotamia. Egyptians harvested vines on the walls of their tombs, and were the first to store them in bottles, which were buried with pharaohs so that they may entertain guests in their afterlife. During the Roman Era, wine became more popular throughout society. Wine bars were set up in almost every street. Romans exported wine and wine making to other parts of Europe. Soon, the production and quality of wine in other parts rivaled with Rome herself.

The history of wine would be incomplete without Dom Perignon, a Benedictine monk, who worked for 47 years in Marne (France) on creating, perfecting and establishing the reputation of what would later be known as the ‘Champagne’ method. This sparkling wine was made by inducing secondary fermentation to effect carbonation. Sparkling wine produced in the district of Champagne in France is popularly known as Champagne today. It was served in specialized stemware. French Kings bestowed luxury and power on the Champagne. This wine that stirred a revolution in winemaking, became the iconic beverage of the Aristocrats under King Louis XV. This lifestyle earned the 18th century the reputation of being ‘The Age of Pleasure’. By the end of the 18th century, wine trade soared, especially in France, where Bordeaux became the preeminent producer of fine wines.

1200 B.C With the rise of the new Assyrian empire, extensive wine production was observed near the foothills of the Taurus Mountains in Mesopotamia. The inhabitants of Egypt mostly consumed wine made from dates, and stored wine in huge cellars. The city of Memphis, due to high soil fertility and the cooling effect of the Mediterranean, flourished in wine production in the first millennium B.C. Besides grapes, wine was also made from pomegranates, olives and dates. 92 A.D After the fall of Rome, wine continued to be produced in the Byzantine Empire in the Eastern Mediterranean region. It spread eastward to central Asia along the Silk Route. Early attempts to establish European wine varieties in America proved to be a failure. The Atlantic and Gulf coasts were found inhospitable to the cultivation of vines. Grape wine had moved to China by the end of the 8th century. 900 A.D The wide spread of Islam largely extinguished the wine industry in North Africa and the Middle East. Whilst in Europe, wine making reached new highs in production and popularity. During this period stronger, more fullbodied wines replaced their sweeter ancient predecessors. During the renaissance, the quality of wine began to be discussed and appreciated by more sophisticated wine drinkers. France gave wines an international brand quality and established several large-scale industries.

1900 A.D Ohio became the first region to cultivate grapes for wine making in America. Soon, California eclipsed the American wine trade, followed by other regions. Several states in Australia sported wine establishments making huge exports to the United Kingdom (1384gal in 1854). During World War II, the critical shortage of beer saw an all time high in the consumption of wine in the US and Australia. Post WW2 migrants introduced the culture of enjoying wine with food in restaurants and homes. 2000 A.D till Today Wine making has become a global industry with most countries making indigenous wines. Modern viticulture science has ensured that the resulting produce meets uniform standards. In 2005, Chardonnay became the most popular white varietal to be sold (26% of wine sold was Chardonnay). Chardonnay wines are fermented in oak barrels which render its unique complex flavor. Today, several varieties of wine are produced and exported all over the world which include blends, stills, fortified, sparkling, varietals, white, red, rose, sherry, port and desserts.

A Taste of Fine Wine

Photo Courtesy : Thalabathi SS



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A Walk To Remember

Yamuna Matheswaran

Devoted to an environmental cause? Yamuna Matheswaran discusses how Turtle-walking has become a popular eco-tourism activity.

There was a time when we lived in harmony with the birds and beasts of the world, and all was good. About 200,000 years have gone by, and we find ourselves today in a fast-paced, technologically superior planet, with no trace of the Caspian Tiger or the Western Black Rhinoceros, among countless other animals. Critically endangered species are defined as those that have an extremely high risk of becoming extinct in the wild or completely in the immediate future. The magnificent animals that we’ve endangered include the Asiatic Cheetah, Pigmy Hippopotamus and the smallest marine turtles – the Olive Ridleys. ‘Panguni Aamai’ Olive Ridleys get their name from the olive green colour of their shells. These turtles are known for mass nesting (called ‘Arribada’) at certain beaches across the world, including those in Costa Rica and Mexico, and the coast of Northern India. Thousands of females nest simultaneously in a portion of the beach, and an adult female is known to lay around 100 eggs at a time. In India, their major nesting grounds are the east coast of Orissa and the Tamil Nadu coastline. The Olive Ridleys nest in the month of Panguni – January, February and March – hence the Tamil name Panguni Aamai. The Walk Trawl nets that trap turtles, poaching, water pollution, building of ports, and the erosion of beaches contribute to the deteriorating numbers of Olive Ridley turtles. The Bhitarknika Wildlife Sanctuary in Orissa is the world’s largest breeding ground for Olive Ridleys. Once the eggs

hatch, the baby turtles are known to move towards the sea guided by the brightness of the moon and stars. But with eternally lit seafronts distracting the fledgling turtles, they tend to venture towards the city, obliterating their already slim chances of survival. ‘Turtle Walks’ are steps taken by a concerned community, where volunteers scour the coastline for eggs, collecting and transferring them to a safe, enclosed hatchery. These eggs are vigilantly monitored and, once hatched, released carefully into the cerulean waters of the Bay of Bengal. Apart from the nobleness of the cause, the experience of walking along the beach at midnight is simply breathtaking! The Sands of Chennai The nests of these magnificent creatures can be found on the pristine sands of several beaches like Besant Nagar’s Elliot’s Beach. On moonlit nights in the months of January to April, concerned citizens from every walk of life, right from students and corporate executives to the local fishermen participate in these walks. They generally begin at around midnight at Neelankarai, and end 7 kilometers away at Elliot’s beach, usually at anytime between four and five am. As you near the end of the walk, with the sky tinged with pink from the gently rising sun, and slowly trudge home and back to the monotony of city life, you can’t help but feel that little twinge of satisfaction at being able, in your own little way, to have made a difference.

Photo Courtesy : Creative Commons

iqube magazie april 2010  

Youth magazine in chennai

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