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JUNE 2013







I read a sarcastic and slightly caustic report last month on a leading website about Capt. Gopinath’s failed venture, Deccan 360. One of the people quoted in the article said the serial entrepreneur failed because he lacked financial discipline. Another said the first-generation businessman was guilty of not having the right people in place to realise his vision for him. The pseudo-sympathy when the article mentioned that he stands to lose his house, was hard to miss. The article left me feeling disgusted. We would do a lot better if we could just cut back on the moralising and the fake sympathising and learn to report a failed venture as just that. Was this country built on the successes of a handful of industrialists? No. It was also built on the toil of the ones who dared to dream and couldn’t make it. For every successful businessman, there are a couple of hundred more, who tried and failed. We are who we are because of them too. Why are we as a nation, so eager to pan failure? It is quite a task to establish a business, leave alone making it succeed, because business is simply not for the faint of heart. Here’s to the people who dared to venture on the strength of their dreams, irrespective of whether they succeeded or not.


JUNE 2013




We’re buzzin’ about all that’s new this month.



A lineup of people who glammed up events last month…



We came, we saw, we captured…



A game of class and dignity, golf is much more than just a hobby. We tell you why.





Shilpa Reddy in a candid conversation on fashion, her modeling days and making women go green with envy by featuring in the Kingfisher calendar.



Here’s quite a lineup: we talk to Jayadevi Cholayil of Jullaaha, Mumbai-based designer Sonaakshi Raaj and entrepreneur Mini Bindra who has made it possible to buy Pakistani fashion in India. We also decode this month’s hottest international trends, and fish out quirky cufflinks and beautiful cocktail jewellery. Whew!


Families that do business together stay together! We show you more.

Rehane’s latest collection is super elegant!





Angelina Jolie did it. Now the whole world is curious. We bring you the lowdown on preventative mastectomy.

TAKE OFF Our writer describes her unforgettable experience of climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. JUNE 2013





Famed art entrepreneur Sharan Apparao tells you about collecting art, while Sujaya Chandran offers a dose of satire for your heart!



In our beautiful selection of world movies, book review and an interesting chat with booklover and danseuse Anita Ratnam.



Haute dining just got hauter! Find out how…



Vimmi Deepak on her idea of luxury.


To advertise in RITZ, call Praveen Kumar on 9841973090 / 044 42113871 All correspondence should be addressed to: RITZ, 7th Floor, Sigma Wing, Raheja Towers, 177, Anna Salai, Chennai 600002. Contact: 42113871 / 2 Email: or Edited and Published by Aruna R Krishnan from 7th Floor, Sigma Wing, Raheja Towers, 177 Anna Salai, Chennai 600002. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. RITZ is not responsible for unsolicited material. RITZ assumes no responsibility for the veracity and authenticity of the advertisements published herein. Readers are requested to make appropriate enquiries before incurring any expenses or acting on medical recommendations or otherwise in relation to any advertisement or article published herein. Also views in articles published herein are those of the respective authors only. RITZ does not necessarily subscribe to these views.


JUNE 2013

Wedding. A start of a new life. A day you long waited for. A day when every girl wants to look her best. Promise yourself to sweep him off his feet on this memorable day with Tejaswi. A special treatment for bride and groom, combined with medicated herbal milk bath of saffron, rose petals, chandan, etc. to improve blood circulation, giving the skin a radiant and healthy glow. So go ahead, be the prince and princess of the day. For online reservations :


Mad about mangoes? Head to the Leela Palace for a delicious spread at the cake shop all through this month. With everything from fresh mango cakes to mango, thyme, apricot and Eisella cherries and mango cheesecakes, from Alphonso Mango tarts and hazelnut crunches to mango millefuille and mango pistachios, the spread is irresistible. Don’t forget to savour the Sunday brunch at the Leela Palace’s all-day multi-specialty restaurant, Spectra, replete with unlimited sparkling wine and other spirits on offer, with a second level of the brunch comprising champagne, and the third level including a royal treat with handcrafted culinary delights and rare vintage champagne on offer! The Leela Palace, Adyar Seaface, M.R.C Nagar, Raja Annamalai Puram, Chennai. Phone: +91 44 3366 1234

For an exotic getaway this summer, head to the Leather Bar at The Park. A splendid delectation of fruit flavours – in the form of tropical drinks, frozen cocktails and fruity mocktails are all up for grabs this summer. The Leather Bar, The Park, Anna Salai, Chennai. Phone: +91 44 4267 6000


JUNE 2013


The Summer 2013 collection from Marks and Spencer provides a fresh take on your ideal wardrobe staples. The Indigo collection has neat weaves and light colours for daywear, while the Per Una collection offers bold prints and bright colours to take on a hot summer’s day. The M&S Woman line redefines the essence of checks and stripes, while Autograph is perfect for the working woman. Available at M&S stores countrywide.



JUNE 2013

Travel just got more tantalising thanks to Tumi. Presenting a breakthrough travel suitcase assortment from its Tegra-Lite, Alpha, Voyageur and Arrivé collections, there is a lot in store for the discerning busienss traveller. The Tegra-Lite travel collection is durable, impact-resistant, lightweight and easy to handle. The Arrivé is meticulously appointed with the finest aesthetic and engineering features imaginable. True to Tumi's heritage of innovation and the future of advanced travel design, the lightweight 4-wheel case from the Alpha collection combines hardside protection with modern, iconic ballistic nylon aesthetics. Available at select stores countrywide.



Tel: +91 44 2825 0274, Mob: +91 94441 02108, +91 89390 88438, E-mail: | Web:

BAB Leather Lounge: Old No.43 (No.34), Vaidyanathan Street, Nungambakkam, Chennai - 600 034

SINCE 1945

Feel the Power of Elegance...



Canali recently launched ‘Kei’, an ensemble of knitwear for dynamic men who travel the world. The line is a combination of tradition and innovation with impeccably sharp lines in light, soft and cosy garments. Versatility is introduced in the way a jacket could double up as a shirt in summer and a cardigan in winter. In Kei, thickness is reduced and shoulder pads are eliminated. With their natural lines, the shoulders become a point of focus. Interesting!


JUNE 2013

Whether you’re jet-setting to a meeting or off for some fun in the sun, Paul Smith has got you covered, and how! Replete with slim-fit jackets, formal striped shirts, leather laptop sleeves, brogues and smart laceups for that boardroom meeting, the travel collection is everything a business honcho would need. For some fun in the sun, Paul Smith has an exciting range of swim shorts in vibrant hues. Pair them with graphic print tees, sandals and retro sunglasses for some seaside style. For a dose of a city-break, pair up a checked jacket with a bright shirt and distressed denims with leather loafers. Complete the laidback, cool look with Paul Smith’s iconic mini print accessories.


01 Dolce and Gabbana’s uber chic, sexy and delightful collection for women is titled Sea, Sun and Love. Taking you into the heart of Sicily, the collection is largely inspired by the bright colours of Sicilian tradition. With classy prints bringing the ethos of the Sicilian street theatres to life on the outfits, there are some that even show off the island’s treasured repertoire of traditional ceramic vases and cartwheels. Think bold stripes akin to beach umbrellas, bright shades from sun beds on the seaside, straw, woven raffia, the Sicilian basket and just everything that spoils you Sicily... er.. silly! The dresses have neat yet wide circular hems that curve around the body beautifully. A very personal rendition of a culture and tradition that Dolce and Gabbana have known and grown into, they haven’t spared any room for creativity as their imagination filled in where culture stopped short. And so you still have the vintage cinched-flaring skirts, dresses and the dour black Sicilian lace and embroideries even if the burst of colour might seem to be doing its bit well enough. So there you have it: summer: check; holiday: check; bright: check; vintage: check!


JUNE 2013


Sujata Pai’s saris are known for their exquisite traditional designs with a contemporary twist. Her unique vision ensures each piece is a handmade, stunning work of art. “I started working with saris because they are beautiful and versatile. I take traditional pieces and add modern designs for a refreshing take on this age-old garment. I am lucky that I have a great team of weavers who give me unique pieces each time. Along with saris, I also design a wide range of stylish kurtas, tunics, anarkalis, cholis, lehangas, and bridal wear.” Each piece is customised as per the need of the client. “Everybody wants exclusivity nowadays. Chennai is a quite a small city. So a lot of people go to the same functions and end up wearing the same dress as someone else at the do. And that’s really disappointing. Because after paying so much, each client wants a dress that is one-of-a-kind. This is exactly what Ambi, my brand delivers,” she says. Sujata is also known for reinventing old saris – in fact, that is her forte. “I have many clients who bring in their mothers’ old saris which have gorgeous embellishments. I restore them in a modern way while preserving their traditional craftsmanship,” she says with a smile. Her creativity helps families reclaim sentimental pieces and pass them on to the next generation. No wonder then, in just a couple of years Ambi has built up a loyal clientele. Sujata’s creativity is inspired by the rich heritage of our country and her designs are elegant, colourful yet never over the top. “I love experimenting with kantha, aari work, kutch embroidery, bandhini, block printing, tie-dye, zardosi and the like. I have also worked with Swarovski crystals on the request of a client.” Sujata is also adding tunics and dupattas to her range. “I am planning an exhibition in July in Chennai. Along with the saris, it will also feature tunics, anarkalis, churidars and a range of colourful dupattas. Dupattas are in great demand nowadays as they are very versatile. They can help you dress up or down and can be mixed and matched with a lot of outfits,” she says. With an exhibition on the anvil and a growing customer base, Sujata has much to look forward to. And so will you, if you head to Ambi for a bit of retail therapy. Ambi is at 83, Eldams road, Alwarpet, Chennai. You can call them on + 91 98407 78558.


This summer, NAC Jewellers have redefined the Navratna Anki. Here’s a walk down that route. NAC Jewellers have long been associated with the making of the traditional Navratna Anki in gold, studded with original natural navratna stones for Goddess Sri Abirami Amman in the Sri Amirthakadeswara Swamy temple in Thirukadaiyur. The immaculate Navratna Anki boasts of intricate craftsmanship, and covers nine parts of Goddess Sri Abirami Amman including the padam, abaya hastam, varada hastam, kamala hastam, akshaya malai hastam, thiru marbu, vasthira kattu, and oddiyanam. 14 kilograms and 282.7 grams of gold have been used in making the Navratna Anki. The stones studding the beautiful Anki comprise diamonds, emeralds, rubies, kanaga pushparagam and navratna stones totalling to 21853 precious stones in all. This remarkably grand ornament took a total of 24 months to be completed. JUNE 2013





















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RAISON D’ETRE FOR CLASS The latest collection at Raisons is apt for that summer wedding as it weaves tradition, celebration and contemporary fashion together. Take a look. Zari Kotah, summer silk and Chanderi are just a few of the fine fabrics in the latest collection at Raisons comprising handwoven sarees in unique colour combinations. We loved the summer silk Benarsi saree with a uniquely crafted kalamkari pallu and another saree with contrasting borders and rich fluorescent colours. A parrot green saree with checkered patterns gets a big thumbs-up from us for its modish look. What we liked about the collection was the mélange of colours and the way the gold-plated threads of silver were intricately woven into the rich fabrics adding elegance to a woman’s wardrobe. With this collection Gaurav Rai, designer and promoter of Raisons, clearly has a winner on his hands! Price: - Zari Kotah: ` 50,000/- onwards; Chanderi: ` 15,000/- onwards; Benarsi Summer Silk: ` 15,000 onwards Available at Raisons stores at: E-4, South-Extension-2, New Delhi; and at UG-11, Grand Mall, M.G Road, Gurgaon.


JUNE 2013


03 If Vidya Balan and Aishwarya Rai made heads turn at Cannes, another superstar had us hooked. And no, we’re not talking about any of the divas; the focus of our admiration is the show-stopping Ladymatic, which made its debut on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. An incredible addition to the growing Omega De Ville Ladymatic collection, the “Diamonds and Pearls” wristwatch is an example of stunning design that blends fine jewellery with a state-of-the art mechanical watch movement. Debuting the piece was Nicole Kidman, who donned the exquisite timepiece at the jury photocall on 15 May. A truly amazing timepiece indeed!

04 Miuccia Prada’s style of fashion is all about mind games: whether it is in the tame territory or in the quirky yet vintage style. Spring Summer 2013 at Miu Miu is a mix of quirk, spunk and a dash of young ‘n’ old. The dresses have mid-calf length skirts and are worn with bejewelled flats, while gloves ruche up at the wrist. Laden with jewellery, this collection is all about the accessories. From super-flat flats to super-high pointed-toe shoes and from huge oversized coats to slender body-hugging skirts and silhouettes, the collection has something for every kind of body shape and size. In shades of pink, red, black, white and grey, the collection is elegant for a summer’s evening out. 22

JUNE 2013


I have a dream! A fashion show was held at the Ramada in Egmore, as part of Dreeamcast Studio’s annual Modelling Workshop. Students aged from four to twenty-one walked the ramp in style. Dreeamcast is a venture of celebrated photographer Karthik Srinivasan and his gorgeous wife, Hema, a former model herself.



and Kri






A time for Heroes Karuna – A Time for Heroes was an event that brought together Lucky Ali, Usha Uthup and Neeraj Sridhar. The musical musings of the talented singers mesmerised audiences at Hyderabad. Proceeds from the event were dedicated to the cause of supporting HIV-positive children.

Himi &






JUNE 2013



Sri Lekha


A fun birthday bash Koel celebrated her birthday at 10-D. A member of the Pink Club, she had invited all her close friends for the celebration. The party had its uproariously fun moments and the ladies danced away late into the night!



& Priya



Madhu Shalini



This store is forever The launch of the new Forever Store at Road No. 36, Jubilee Hills, saw many well-known names in Hyderabad’s social circuit gracing the occasion.


& Akhila


Moni A



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Gone with the wind? Bisket Srikanth invited his close friends to attend the special screening of the movie Go Goa Gone. A fun evening, the event brought a gregarious group together to enjoy the zombie comedy.

Mohsin Janki &




Jwala G anzoor


M Samia &


Alam K




Sonia & Sanjana


Yashir & Priyanka

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Dolly &


& Shaz

GLAM BRIGADE Celebrating femininity Chennai’s first outlet of Woman’s World, part of the hugely popular Kalanikethan group, was launched at the Express Avenue Mall with Parvathy Omanakuttan doing the honours of inaugurating the massive store.



hmi & P

ar, Laks

Kum Komal Karthik


Priya K Pawan Oindrila Komal

JUNE 2013



Parvathy Omanakuttan



Chandrika UB

Sudha Karthik

Priya Shenoy


SPREADING OUT IN PRIDE The inauguration of the Vadapalani store of RmKV Silks was a grand affair indeed. The event that marked the occasion was a fitting tribute to the beautiful heritage that India boasts of.

BATA’S NEW BEGINNINGS Actress Trisha Krishnan launched Bata’s new outlet at the Forum Vijaya Mall in Chennai. Although the reputed, age-old brand has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to staying in tune with the current trends in the footwear fashion industry, smiles were aplenty at the event. We wish them the best.


JUNE 2013



Muse Art Gallery at Courtyard by Marriott held a painting exhibition by well known artist Aditi Gemini. She displayed her most popular collection to an audience that included even royalty among its ranks, leaving curator Kali Sudheer with a bright smile indeed!

OPERA OPULENCE KM Conservatory presented the “Opera Scenes 2013� event in May at the Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall in Chennai. A fast-paced, visually exciting performance featuring the best students of the conservatory performing Western Operatic music, the likes of which is rarely heard in India, the event was a gala fest indeed. JUNE 2013



AND NEW INDIA IS BORN! As India proves its mettle time and again, unveiling pioneers, achievers and leaders who challenge the impossible and emerge as the inspiration that the world salutes, PowerBrands Glam and I Am For India, a Latha Rajnikanth Initiative hosted India's Night of Inspiration, an evening that saluted achievement, success, culture and heritage of India. The evening was also host to the grand unveiling of the Symbol of Brand India, with a curtain-raiser ceremony of 'Inspirational Leaders of New India.’ The evening was a grand affair, presided over by the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Dr. K Rosaiah at the ITC Grand Chola in Chennai. 32

JUNE 2013


It’s Tee Time

A class apart, the regal game of golf commands the absolute love and loyalty of many. Marcus A Clay takes a look at what the game entails


JUNE 2013

One of the biggest draws of golf is definitely the setting -- open landscapes, perfectly trimmed lawns, trees dotting the scenery and pools of water -- it’s a nature walk with a little white, dimpled ball thrown in. And, as Hemant Chordia, Managing Director of Solbaacken Business Solution Pvt Ltd, and winner of the Audi Quattro Cup 2013, puts it, “Golf is a passion, an obsession, a romance, a nice acquaintance with trees, sand and water.” What’s more, it comes with a host of add-on benefits. Ramesh Jeevarathanam of Ralco Synergy Pvt Ltd., first runner-up of the Audi Quattro Cup 2013, says he’s been playing golf for the past five years and he’s never felt more alive. Refuting the popular belief that golf does not require players to be very fit to play, he says, during every round, a player burns about 450 calories. “We walk about 7 kilometres in three-and-a-half hours. Fitness is paramount, just like any other sport, especially if you want to advance in your game,” he says, and adds, “Golf has encouraged me to be more serious about my health and physique.” A day out on a golf course is a good way to relax one’s mind. Away from the concrete jungle and black asphalt of the city roads, the lush green surroundings and open spaces provide the perfect way to break away from your everyday routine. And, the sun will definitely do you some good. The open space would help clear your mind and it might even give you a new perspective to life. The game is also a fun way to bust stress. Says Hemant, “In cities, after all the stress we face at work, the simple act of hitting the ball provides an outlet for pent up stress.” Adds Ramesh, “And, unlike any other game, you don’t have an opponent in golf and don’t have to match your strength another person’s; you are your own

competitor, allowing you to take the game at a pace you can handle.” As one of the few games that does not need a referee and is decided by the players themselves, golf provides the perfect opportunity to get together with your buddies and spend some quality time. It provides a common bond for many and is an excellent networking opportunity. “The game offers one the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebritiess and business tycoons. And, the bonding takes place in neutral and relaxed surroundings,” says Ramesh. No wonder that closing deals over a game of golf is becoming increasingly common these days. For those who are really keen, golf could also take you places. Golf tours within the country as well as to exotic locations are becoming increasingly popular. Who would know better than trainer Sanjay Goyal, who has been to at least ten countries, thanks to his putting skills. He says, “Of late, there has been a surge in the interest in golf tourism among youth in the country. India has several golf courses of international standards and people are also keen on travelling abroad for international events.” Like him, a regular on the greens, some of the best memories often relate to golf and golf trips. Traditionally know as a rich man’s hobby, the cost of taking up golf as a hobby might be a little expensive initially, but once you have the gear, it is quite affordable. Ramesh says, “A golf set can be bought for anything between ` 15,000 and ` 1.5 lakh; you can decide what suits your pocket best.” Enthused by what you’re about to begin, you may be tempted to pour out irrational sums of money picking up equipment, apparel, club memberships, and what not. The idea is to hold your guns and give yourself some time to understand where you’re headed. Focus on putting in time into your new hobby and then, depending on how you take to it, you can decide if you

want to spend more money. Remember, a big investment could turn into a big waste if you end up not sticking with the game. When it comes to learning to play, it might seem quite mind-boggling for a beginner, what with terms like bogies, eagles and birdies. But the key is not to be intimidated, because once you get to grips with it, you won’t want to put down your irons. Shiv Kapur, one of the flag bearers of Indian golf, says the sport has been growing in leaps and bounds over the last few years and Indian golfers are being recognised as competitors the world over. “My first ever pro win came in Chennai, (in Guindy) in 2004. I haven’t played in Chennai after that, but every time I’m there, I am among people who remember me and bring back those awesome memories; it’s always good to revisit those days.” As Ramesh advises, “Professional coaching is the best way to start. If you can go for about 15 courses, you would will be able to take up the game independently.” The sport is seeing a steep growth in popularity in Chennai and there couldn’t be a better time to take up the activity. Gone are the days when you needed to be a member of a club to enjoy the sport. The best golf ranges are open to guests who can pay a walk-in fee. An hour at a range can cost you around ` 600 on week days and could go up to around ` 1800 on weekends and public holidays. If you need guidance, you can get a coach to assist you for a fee of around ` 700. But, before you pick up your bag and head off for some fun in the sun, it’s best to get the basics right. While a coach would give you hands-on lessons, you could also pick up a book or surf the net to learn how to start out. But remember that anyone who decides to read about the game before starting out will be left flummoxed with the load of tips on everything from technique to equipment and everything in between. The key is to take it one step at a time, and make sure you enjoy every moment.

Golf offers one the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrities and business tycoons. And, the bonding takes place in neutral and relaxed surroundings

JUNE 2013



If you’re going to mix some pleasure with your otherwise busy schedule, what better way to do it than with some time in the sun? After all, a relaxed game on the golf green is a sure-fire way to forgets life’s blues.


To sum it up, golf provides the perfect balance of physical activity and aesthetics; you may not find another hobby that can offer as much in a single package. And, while it does cost more than a walk in a park, in all probability you won’t regret the money spent.

Rules In a Nutshell The main aim is to get the ball from the starting point into a hole on the green, which is marked with a flag. Alas, it’s not as simple as that, but it’s a good start. Golf courses have 9 or 18 holes spread over a landscape that includes a number of hazards, such as water, sand traps (known as bunkers), and trees. Play begins at the tee area, from where players drive the ball into the fairway. To complete a hole, the ball must be sunk into the actual hole. The total number of strokes used to move the ball from the tee to the hole is recorded as the player’s score for that individual hole. The winner is the player who uses the fewest strokes to complete the course. It would take about two-and-a-half hours for two people to play an 18-hole course. Shiv Kapur explains, “Having grown up in Delhi, the Delhi Golf Club course is my favourite. I’ve been playing on the course since I was nine years old. It’s not just familiarity that makes this my favourite course. I also feel that it is unique as it has a heritage feel that is refreshing. Outside of India, the Loch Lomond golf course in Scotland is my favourite. It’s always a 25 foot-putt that gives me more satisfaction than a 300-yard drive.”

Golf Etiquette


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select your club until you actually hit your shot, you should take no more than a minute. Clear up behind you – replace your divots. If the turf has exploded on impact making it impossible to replace the divot, kick in the turf around the edges of the divot and smooth the edges. After taking your shot from a bunker, rake the area you played from, as well as your footprints. On the green, remember not to step on your fellow players’ putting lines – the imaginary line that connects the ball to the hole and do not distract a player by moving around within his/her line of vision. At the end of the round, remember to shake hands with your fellow players and thank them for their company.

Chennai’s Courses TNGF-Cosmopolitan Club has an 18hole course spread over an area of 87 acres. The 18-holed link-style Madras Gymkhana Golf course is known for its unpredictable winds.

Trivia » The world’s toughest golf course is the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, United States. » Pete Dye, who designed the course, prepares courses so difficult that he’s earned the nickname “The Marquis de Sod.” » The longest golf course in the world is the par 77 International Golf Club in Massachusetts, which measures a fearsome 8325 yards.

Respect your fellow players and arrive early. This would also give you a chance to warm up.

» The highest golf course in the world is the Tactu Golf Club in Morococha, Peru, which sits 14,335 feet above sea level at its lowest point.

Don’t waste time between holes. Walk at a reasonable speed between shots. Begin planning your next shot as you approach the ball. From the time you

» The largest bunker in the world is Hell’s Half Acre on the 585-yard 7th hole of the Pine Valley Course in New Jersey.


Rehane’s Raga The inspiration for ttalented l t d designer d i Rehane's R h ' Autumn Winter 2013 collection Could Be Love, in her own words, stems from the innermost recesses of her heartfelt beliefs, love and spirituality. Seemingly echoing the plaintive cry of "Is Love God Or Is God Love”, this theme runs through the entire collection, right from the deep red roses adorning the swirling nets to the flamboyant Arabic script emblazoned across the Breton stripe bodysuits, glorifying the revered Sufi mystic Rumi's poetry. Colour themes ranging from soft greens and dusty beiges to perky teals and stunning oranges are brought to life with pitta work, textured embroidery, sequins, and floral applique. Fabric foundations of net, silk georgette, velvet, and lamé culminate into sheer tunics and dresses, flowing AngloSaracenic gowns, and slinky sheaths, all lending themselves to the beautiful spiritual journey that "Could Be Love."


JUNE 2013

Full length sheer dress in mustard with rose applique embroidery and satin inner with sheer net dupatta in chili red with pitta work border.


Orange velvet midi length dress with heavy silver pitta leaf embroidery and side slits.

JUNE 2013



Silk georgette dress in light tangerine with textured oral embroidery and Breton stripe bodysuit.

Silk georgette sleeveless tunic in teal with sequined bodice and silver thread-work with satin pants in topaz with appliqued pitta leaves.


JUNE 2013


A sheer net full length dress in dusty beige with oral applique and cut-work embroidery and pitta work with a satin in-skirt and an orange net dupatta with pearl embroidery.

JUNE 2013




Back from the May vacations and feeling blue or missed the much-needed vacation this year? Get a taste of the exotic vacation, island life and tropical flora-fauna with the glamourous, modern version that has emerged in the fashion world. Vira Shah takes you on a journey into the world of tropical fashion.

T T ra r v o e p l ic -In a s ls p



Bandeau Bikini from ZARA

Vibrant hues of tangy tangerine, turquoise blues and splashy citrus in natureinspired motifs of flowers, leaves and fruits are the key characteristics. Style these bold colours and motifs with minimal accessories for an uber-luxurious feel or wear a single statement piece of accessory for a simple chic look. Remember to make every look your own by wearing it, not letting it wear you.

Juicy Couture Spring 2013 Ready to Wear

Tropical Border Print Skirt from Forever New

Tropical floral digital Chiffon Square from Accessorize

UV floral by J BRAND from Denim Story


JUNE 2013

Quilted Tote by Manish Arora from Evoluzione

Tropical I-Pad Case from Forever new

Parrot print tank from Pepe Jeans

Pastel floral bikini from Tommy Hilfiger

Playsuit from Pepe Jeans

Paisley and floral handbag from Etro Printed Shift Dress from ZARA

Printed Mini Skirt from ZARA

Nature-inspired earrings from Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers


Nature inspired ring from Sonal’s Bijoux

Neon tunic by Pankaj and Nidhi from Evoluzione JUNE 2013



Juicy Couture Spring 2013 Ready to Wear

Nachiket Barve Spring Summer 2013

Collection from Study by Janak


JUNE 2013

Hermes Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear show

Floral cowl neck tunic from You available at Amethyst

Giambattista Valli Resort 2013 Show

Floral tank top from Tommy HilďŹ ger

Elie Tahari Spring 2013 Ready-To-Wear Show

Elie Tahari Spring 2013 Ready-To-Wear Show

Dolce and Gabbana Spring Summer 2013 show

Alice + Olivia Spring 2013 Ready-To-Wear

Brooch from Alexis Bittar Geisha Peony Silk Scarf from Accessorize

Feather earrings from Ayesha accessories ` 198

Box clutch from Anya Hindmarch JUNE 2013



Enamel leaves and owers from Zaveri & Co.

HAUTE STUFF Embroidered bird sandals from Plum Tree available at Amethyst

Checkered quilted bag from Pure Ghee available at Amethyst

Pop oral peep-toes from Mochi

Aqua Sandals from Vanilla Moon

Printed wedge sandal from DIESEL

Floral Voyageur by Anna Sui for TUMI


JUNE 2013

The demand for sustainable fashion is on the rise globally. Catering to it are the eco-friendly products of Jullaaha, the green boutique store in Anna Nagar East in Chennai. Richa Tilokani finds out what inspired its founder-designer Jayadevi Cholayil to go ethnic and organic. Jaya’s passion for everything organic and ethnic has a larger purpose. She explains, “Every venture cannot be about money. We have to think of the greater good of society. Jullaaha encourages local artisans and promotes our country’s rich design heritage.” Jaya also works with an NGO and helps stock their products onto Jullaaha’s shelves. “I work with the NGO named Annapurni Food which has adopted the Thandalan village. They make ready-toeat masalas but they had no outlet to sale from. So I offered to place them in Jullaaha at no extra cost,” she says.

Charitable in design

It was only a matter of time before Jullaaha’s brand of eco-chic garnered international acclaim. “We were one of the lucky few in India to be invited to the World Craft Council which held a symposium recently in Chennai. It was indeed a proud moment for us to stand in front of a global audience and showcase our traditional handicraft to the delegates. The response was superb,” says Jaya.

Today Jullaaha makes handcrafted dress materials, garments, saris, salwar suits, bed linen, kids’ clothes and men’s shirts in natural fabrics like cotton and silk. They also make accessories like bags and scarves, which are very popular in the USA and the UK. All their products are made using traditional designs like kalamkari, silk and mural paintings, using only organic materials and natural dyes.

Helping people comes naturally to her but managing so many ventures and people is not an easy task. “I have many roles to play but I love all of them. Design is my forte but it’s the admin work that takes a lot of my time and effort. But in the end, it is all worth it, when I see the smile on the artisans’ faces,” she shares. Tradition goes places

Her newly launched premium soap is also going places. Shares Jaya, “We recently introduced an exotic ayurvedic soap for the expat market. The soap is made with natural ingredients like shea butter and uses only natural fragrances. It smells really divine! We are very happy that it is receiving a great response abroad.” Another recent success was the dhoti pant, which her son took to the United States. “My son has made our dhoti pants famous in US. Once his friends saw him wearing it, all of them wanted a pair for themselves. So I had to send across a huge carton to him. I guess we have one more market waiting for us,” says Jaya with a smile. Designed for success That’s not all. On the anvil, is the tie-up with the Taj Group of Hotels where her products will soon be stocked and retailed. She is also looking forward to designing sarees for her exclusive clientele. She shares, “Recently, Suhasini Mani Ratnam wore one of our mural-painted sarees to a wedding in Mumbai. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who was at the same event, loved it and commissioned two pieces, for herself and her mother. It was really gratifying to receive positive feedback for our work.” With so much on Jayadevi’s plate, the future has never looked greener for Jullaaha. And that is good news for all socially responsible fashion lovers.

“Recently Suhasini Mani Ratnam wore one of our mural painted sarees for a wedding in Mumbai. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who was at the same event, loved it and commissioned two pieces”

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The elegant Jayadevi Cholayil of Jullaaha is a designer with a difference. Her handcrafted garments are famous for their indigenous kalamkari, batik and block prints, combining tradition and new age design in an eco-friendly manner. With a background in Ayurveda, Jayadevi is also the Director for Research and Development at the well-known Cholayil Group (her family business) in Chennai. No wonder then, she has carried her passion for all things organic into her design venture. “I was a science graduate but went into textile designing for fun. This gave me a chance to work with women from impoverished backgrounds and special needs backgrounds who used to come to me for help. We trained them and gave them a skill and a job. This transformed their lives and empowered them to run their households, educate their children and even organise weddings without depending on anyone else. This inspired me to expand Jullaaha’s operations,” says Jayadevi with a smile.


Mini Bindra has made Pakistani design accessible for lovers of ďŹ ne embroidery. 19 designers from across the border are showcasing their glam outďŹ ts in New Delhi in a bid to woo style addicts.


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Mini’s induction into the fashion world was a spontaneous decision. “I started a small boutique in our own store which with the passage of time has grown into now a full-fledged label, Rubaaiyat – inspired by the world-renowned Persian poet, Omar Khayyam’s poetry,” says Mini. In 2011, Mini had already tied up with the label Libas by Sehyr Saigol (chairperson of Pakistan Fashion Design Council) for exclusive marketing of the brand in the capital. “On her personal invitation I, along with my husband and daughter visited Pakistan for the PFDC-organised Pakistan Fashion Week in Lahore. To say that we were impressed by what we saw would be an understatement. The new face of Pakistani fashion was staring right at us and we decided to replicate the same for the Indian market too. We felt the need to open up our PFDC store in Delhi and would love to follow it up with many more in other cities,” she says. If India is known for its superb embroideries, zardosi and a wealth of textiles, Pakistani craftsmanship is quite unique too. However,

there is a distinction – in India, women have the option of wearing traditional as well as modern ensembles. But due to the dominant Islamic influence in Pakistan, modernity is tough to adhere to. “Pakistani designers give a contemporary twist to their traditional salwar kameez creating a fusion of the ethnic and the modern. This diffusion is very popular there and we are keen to showcase this trend in India through our PFDC store. The best example of this is their bridal jumpsuit which is a cross between the bridal lehenga and a modern jumpsuit,” she adds. Torn apart by partition, the two countries that were once one, have many style similarities. We do, after all share a common culture. Weddings are still an elaborate affair with mehendi to marriage (nikaah) and reception (walima) having different garments for the bride-to-be. Offering Pakistani prêt, diffusion and bridal wear, the store is located in South Extension Part II, New Delhi and the range starts from ` 10,000 and goes upto ` 10 lakhs. The best part about it all is that there are 19 designers you can choose from – Libas, Sanasafinaz, Karma, Umar Sayeed, Layla Chatoor, Kamiar Rokni, Fahad Hussayn, HSY, Elan, Nickie & Nina, Feeha Jamshed, Ayesha Hashwani, Asifa & Nabeel, Nida Azwer, Rizwan Beyg, Sonia Azhar, Shehla Chatoor, Sobia Nazir and Body Focus Museum. “All the designers have their own speciality and uniqueness. However, Sanasafinaz,

Umar Sayeed who are popular names in bridal wear are my personal favourites. In diffusion, Elan, Ayesha Hashwani, Asifa and Nabeel and Layla Chatoor are fabulous. In western wear, Feeha Jamshed and Fahad Hussayn are names to reckon with. Libas wins hands down where prêt is concerned!” she adds. Interestingly, Mini admits that Pakistani embroideries are far more intricate, and that there is a stronger emphasis on the use of pure and fine fabrics when compared to Indian designers. “Lawn (a fabric) is also something unique to Pakistan because of the fact that good cotton has been produced in abundance there right from the pre-partition days. The cotton belt of Faisalabad is home to all the textile mills there, so you can wear the finest and softest cotton from Pakistan,” she adds. Mini adds that Pakistani women are more biased to whites and blacks, monochromes and if you look closer, their wedding lehngas are far lighter compared to Indian brides, who wear brighter and more vibrant colours. But with cross-border tension hitting a new high, Mini hopes that the impasse in IndoPak relations will one day be resolved. Business is important to both the countries and history has shown the world that economies where commerce happens in a big way seldom fight with each other. “We have already accepted their music, it is high time we also embrace their fashion,” she concludes.


It is something that was almost impossible, some years back. A Pakistani designer retailing from India: you could never dream of wearing a Sehyr Saigol outfit with the delicate chikankari that is also the favourite of the glamorous Foreign Minister of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar. Mini Bindra has made that possible now!

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How did you begin your journey in design? I completed my graduation from SNDT University with a Bachelor’s in Apparel Manufacture and Designing. My label came into existence in 2009 when I won the University’s Best Collection Award. I bagged the first position by winning the prestigious CMAI Apex National Award for the Best Upcoming Designer of the Year. I started working with Manish Malhotra as assistant fashion designer soon after. How do you know Govinda? Did you do clothes for him? I have known Govinda since I was a kid as he is a family friend and has acted in films produced by my father Bobby Raaj.

You have dressed Alia Bhatt, Isha Sharvani, Evelyn Sharma, and Raveeena Tandon. Tell us about the experience. Yes, I have dressed these lovely ladies and more for their red-carpet appearances and photo-shoots. My garments are very feminine and perfectly compliment a women's body, and I am glad to have provided them with silhouettes that compliment their personality and figure. What do you think is your forte? Western couture. We don't have too many designers in India catering to this genre and I am glad that my style is already being so widely appreciated at such an early stage of my career.

Give us five great looks for summer that will work for urban women. a. Pastel colours – Moss greens, lavenders, apricots and oysters are the coolest shades this summer. b. Fluid silhouettes – Flowy, fuss-free silhouettes that allow you to breathe and relax yet look glamorous and elegant are perfect for this season. c. Cut-out backs – Tops, day dresses, evening wear dresses etc that have an interesting eye-catching back are apt now. The big bonus is such structures make casual outfits stand out. d. Prints – Fun, poppy prints are back with a vengeance this season. You can find them on leggings, pants, palazzos and tops. e. Bright Lips – Bright, plump lips and softer eyes is the right look that works for this season.

You are from a film family, so tell us a bit about that. My aunt is well-known actress Anita Raaj. She is my father's younger sister. We share a very close bond and a fantastic relationship, as she is such a fun person and more like my friend than an aunt. We discuss everything under the sun including friends, relationships, food and fashion. I love designing for her since she has one of the best and fittest bodies in the industry even today. My grandfather Jagdish Raaj has been featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for having done the maximum number films as a police inspector and my dad Bobby Raaj has produced a number of films in Bollywood. You are quite a stunner yourself. Are we going to see you acting soon? (Laughs) I have been asked this question many times. It is a great compliment, but I truly have no intentions of being an actress. I enjoy designing costumes for feature films and ad films. Right now, I am doing the costumes for the main leads of the movie Heropanti by Sajid Nadiadwala productions. Previously, I did costumes for ad films like Nikon with Priyanka Chopra, Sunsilk and Limca. That said, I enjoy designing for films the most.

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Sonaakshi Raaj may belong to a well-known Bollywood family, but what fascinated this clotheshorse was opulence. She launched her label hoping to create glamorous ensembles catering to women's couture needs with a design philosophy that is distinctly feminine and refined. Sonaakshi who honed her skills assisting maverick designer Manish Malhotra, combines tailoring with drapery, laying a strong emphasis on fabric, cut and colour. Here she reveals what makes her tick, designing for Sajid Nadiadwala’s Heropanti and why she chose fashion over films.


WESTERN KRISHNA We take a look at designer Megha Garg’s summer resort collection. Designer Megha Garg’s latest collection of western outfits is called Krishna. In a combination of alluring fabrics such as flat chiffon, jersey, silk and satin, the designer has made sure to keep each piece special, thus allowing for an individual streak. Colours such as pop pink, grass green, lemon yellow, blue, grey along with red and earthy tones help balance out this range. The designer has embellished each piece with metal fittings as well as "jumping" sequins and dyed feathers delicately filled into tiny fabric pockets for the draped dresses, shirts and gowns. Available at: Gyans, Shop No. 48 and 49, Ground Floor, MGF Metropolitan, Saket, New Delhi. Price: ` 7,500 onwards


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Funky Cufflinks Here is a look at some quirky but classy cufflinks for men.

Vin Diesel once famously said, "Being male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of age. But being a gentleman is a matter of choice." Certain accessories have lost their charm midway as fashion continually gives way to new eccentricities. However, unlike accessories such as detachable collars, cufflinks have made a comeback into the men’s fashion arena. That’s right. Cufflinks, people, are back in fashion! They have become quite popular and gained more attention ever since James Bond immortalised them onscreen. Indeed a gentleman’s accessory, cufflinks, when chosen carefully can add panache and flair to your outfit. offers a mind-blowing range of cufflinks to perfectly match every personality. Here’s a look at some of them: On the clock cufflinks: These rhodium-plated watch cufflinks are the perfect accessory to add a touch of quirkiness to your business suit. Plus, the working clocks may never let you run late! Honey I… cufflinks: Inspired by the honeycomb structure, these brass cufflinks with rhodium plating are the


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best accessory for pastel-coloured shirts. The miniature circles filled with vibrant colours define your different moods on different occasions. Ombre cufflinks: These gleaming rhodiumplated brass cufflinks add a dash of class to your shirts. Pick up the pair and add a dose of masculinity to your wardrobe. Blazing red cufflinks: A perfect gift for men who like to flaunt their style with accessories! These rhodium-plated brass cufflinks come with light Siam red crystals that catch the light perfectly. Ideal to pep up your formal look. Knotted cufflinks: Bind him in your love with this playfully designed rhodium-plated cufflinks showcasing a gleaming knot. Stylish and attractive, this pair will definitely lend a charming appeal to his personality. Personalised cufflinks: As the name suggests, these are perfect to add a personal touch to your ensemble. Get a memorable date or symbol engraved and you are all set to rock! Available at: Price points: ` 664/- onwards

Cocktail Classics Amaris Jewels by Prerna Rajpal has an exquisite range of cocktail earrings. Here’s a quick glimpse at the collection.


From dazzling hoops to stunning studs, don’t you just love the idea of flaunting your earrings at any occasion? Amaris Jewels by Prerna Rajpal has recently launched a captivating range of cocktail earrings crafted in diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and other exquisite gems. Look fabulous at your cocktail party, that formal evening or at any special occasion with a stunning pair of cocktail earrings by Amaris Jewels. Price Range: The range begins at ` 100,000. AMARIS Jewels Studios are at Gulmohar Park, New Delhi and at The Pinnacle, Gurgaon.

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There is more to Shilpa Reddy than her sparkling beauty. Radhika Rajamani chats with the gorgeous model-turned-entrepreneur.

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People were stunned when I was featured in the Kingfisher calendar after marriage


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Your take on cosmetic surgeries and treatments: I don’t believe in them.

I begin by asking her how she became a model despite hailing from a traditional Telugu-speaking family. Shilpa rewinds to her childhood with a laugh. “I was the black sheep in my family – the one with too many questions and the child who always tried to rebel against everything. From the beginning I always wanted to do what my parents did not want me to do. I was drawn to glamour and would watch all the Miss India competitions on television and even Miss Andhra Pradesh (at one point it was big). Plus even as a child, I used to love dressing up and dressing other people up too.” Once Shilpa decided to embark on the grooming route, she ensured she did everything right, from fitness to diet. “Then came the competitions and contests. The first one was inter school and later college. I kept winning from school onwards!” The first major title Shilpa won was Miss Andhra Pradesh. “I won it without my father’s knowledge. I took only my mother into confidence. After he learnt that I won, my father appreciated me but was quite worried. Today as a parent myself, I understand his perspective. He felt modelling was a bit too out there, and that it might be quite hard for him to protect

me. Although from his perspective it was my safety he was worried about, I felt like my dreams were being crushed. My mother has always been very encouraging. After Miss AP, I wanted to participate in Miss India as well but there were objections at home.” Shilpa dropped the idea of competing in the Miss India paegent, opting instead to do a fashion design course at the Academy of Design, Toronto, Canada. “I reasoned that this was something more substantial that I could fall back on later in life.” Shilpa married Preetam Reddy and participated in the Gladrags Mrs India (2004) pageant and won the title. From that point on, modelling offers poured in and she was seen on the ramp and on the coveted Kingfisher calendar in 2006. In many ways, her career took off post-marriage. “Modelling was never big on my list. My aim was to win pageants – I just wanted the crown on my head! Modelling happened because of the Mrs India title. My husband was extremely broad-minded. Way before our wedding, I told him I wanted to take part in Mrs India and he told me that I didn’t even have to ask him about it! That was the kind of support he offered. The titles I won paved the way for immense opportunities. I signed up with Atul Kasbekar’s agency Matrix. Atul signed me up as a model.” That ensured a lot of work for Shilpa. “Once I was associated with Atul, and Kingfisher happened, a lot more offers came my way. The thing about me is that I never really asked anyone for work. That’s why I didn’t make it that big as a model, because I just took whatever came my way. I didn’t model with ambition nor did I try to network extensively and meet people. That wasn’t my cup of tea.” Still, Shilpa has walked the

... Directors came to my college, found out my address and came home to offer me roles

What you see in young designers today: The urgency to make it big. Success takes a little bit of time, it’s a process. Everyone wants to make it big in a short span of time. Your personal style statement: Be comfortable with your body first. That’s the key to looking good. Your concept of comfort food: I love Hyderabadi biryani once in a while. I love pappu charu, papad, vadiyam, fried chillies and pickle with some ghee.

I do not practice yoga as I am not a vegetarian. I feel yoga is not a form of workout. It is a lifestyle. If somebody does yoga and ends up eating McDonalds stuff, it doesn’t gel. I do stretches and a few poses, that’s all. The way people perceive yoga is like a workout, which it is definitely not.”

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What strikes one instantly about former Kingfisher calendar model Shilpa Reddy is her personality. Tall, lissome, svelte and uber glamorous, Shilpa makes a tremendous impression as she walks in to her flagship store for this rendezvous. The radiance in her face is as arresting as the massive solitaires on her ears. Shilpa juggles several roles with élan – wife, mother, daughter-in-law and fashion designer, while also crusading for causes besides being a celebrity in her own right.

What you like about Indian clothes: Everything! The grandeur, the colour, the embroideries, the craft, the weaves… India has so much to offer.


ramp for some formidable names including Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi. As a married woman, Shilpa raised many, many eyebrows by appearing on the Kingfisher calendar in a bikini. “I got married really young. In the modelling industry, there were already women with two kids. It is only in the movie industry that people think twice if you are married. In fact, I only knew some models were married a good year or two after I had met them! Nobody talks of marriage in the modelling industry. Nevertheless, it was a jaw-dropping thing for many people when I was featured in the Kingfisher calendar after marriage. It was astonishing for people living in Mumbai too. Down South it was absolutely sensational. But right through all of this, I had my husband’s unconditional support – so I felt I only needed to answer this one person. He knows what I am.”

college, found out my address and came home to offer me roles. But my parents were absolutely closed on the aspect of acting. After marriage, I chose not to act in films, because the schedules would be erratic and would disrupt my personal life.” Then came Shilpa’s slow but steady shift from modelling to designing. “Modelling soon became monotonous, there was nothing challenging about it. See, I’m a creative person. My mind is always racing with thoughts and modelling meant putting on your make-up and waiting for hours for the show to begin. I shouldn’t be saying this, but there was a lot of negative energy around me – people constantly talking about others, drinking and smoking. I didn’t want to be around people like that. You master the trade in a year or two and after that you stagnate.”

Shilpa cruised along as a model for three years. Having always been fit and very slim, she could easily avoid crash diets and problems like anorexia and bulimia that models suffer from. “I had an edge over the others because I had a toned physique and was into fitness in a disciplined way. So I did not put in any extra effort at all. In fact that’s probably why I made it to the Kingfisher calendar. I’ve never had to train extensively or make drastic changes to my lifestyle to look like a model.”

A model’s shelf life is indeed limited. “That’s why nowadays models are trying to do other things – accessory designing, footwear designing or they are getting into the food business by opening a small joint. They work as emcees and even do travel shows. My point is that models today are doing a lot more than just modelling because it is is no more a full time career. I felt the stagnation setting in and decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided I needed to do something more substantial, something that challenges me.”

With her killer looks and showstopping figure, Shilpa could have easily entered the film industry. “Well, I did get a lot of offers before I got married. In fact there have been instances when directors came to my

At this point the fashion designing course Shilpa did in Canada came in handy. And thus the label Shilpa Reddy was born. Her designs can be defined as classy, sophisticated and versatile. Shilpa says


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that her forte “is the fit, the timelessness and versatility. I do individual pieces which can be teamed up with what you have in your wardrobe. The fit is something people keep coming back to me for. I myself enjoy wearing well-fitted outfits. Even a person who is extra large can be given a beautiful shape to the body by the way you cut the garment. Not many designers in India focus on that. They try to do something simple which doesn’t require finishing or cutting. I may take one day longer to make an outfit but I would always give a well cut, well finished garment.” Shilpa does have several high profile clients. “It is always a welcome challenge to design for all the well-travelled people who walk into my store. They understand the process of designing, the finish and the cut. And their mantra is ‘no compromise.’” She has designed outfits for Jwala Gutta, Lakshmi Manchu, Shriya Saran and Sushmita Sen. “They are my friends too.” Shilpa has not participated in Fashion Weeks. “I wanted to, but at two and a half years, my son is too young. Fashion Week can happen if not this year, the next year but I don’t want to regret missing out on the most precious moments of my son’s childhood. Once you enter the national market there is no looking back. Every season you are expected to deliver and the competition is is cut-throat. It is very challenging and people can write you off just like that. It is tough. As a designer, you cannot delegate too much. You have to be hands-on. The exact shade of a certain colour or the size of a button can make all the difference,” she explains.

Shilpa credits her success so far to the rock-solid support her husband has offered her. I ask her about her in-laws. “My momin-law is very chilled out. She was also a fashion designer (from New York). My sister-in-law Keerthi Reddy was an actress. The family is pretty broad-minded. My husband’s immediate family – my momin-law, my sister-in-law and his aunts have been very encouraging because in their time, the women in their family always broke the norms – they rode a Bullet, wore bell bottoms... They were very forward right from the beginning. So for them it was no big deal. I must say I am lucky!” Shilpa is involved with social causes too. She spreads awareness about cancer and is actively involved with Roshni, an organisation run by her husband’s aunt. “Roshni aims to help people get over their suicidal tendencies and mental stress. They get calls from students before exams saying they are going to die. Just one counsellor can talk to the student and ensure the thought of suicide can go away, show them a new light, another way. So many lives have been saved there. The work the counsellors do

is amazing. It is close to my heart. I’m the face of Roshni and I try to employ innovative methods of fund-raising. Recently we started palliative care in collaboration with MNJ Hospital. We have a team which helps terminally ill patients to manage pain. They counsel families on how to manage pain as well. I’m associated with Apollo’s Cure Foundation. We raise awareness for it every year, and I’ve been involved in the Cure Foundation for the last five years. “ Shilpa is a known fitness enthusiast. She adds, “I enjoy meditation, I do a few kriyas and am a follower of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. I feel his philosophy and ideology match the way I perceive spirituality. I do not practice yoga as I am not a vegetarian. I feel yoga is not a form of workout. It is a lifestyle. If somebody does yoga and ends up eating McDonalds stuff, it doesn’t gel. I do stretches and a few poses, that’s all. The way people perceive yoga is like a workout, which it is definitely not.” On her journey so far, she says, “I have done all that I have wanted to do, at least post-marriage. I have no complaints or regrets. As I’m ageing, I am very happy to be transforming into a wiser person, with a more refined thought process. I am enjoying adding one year to my life every year.” What has helped Shilpa is the fact that she never lost focus and always lived in the present. “I always keep my eye on the goal. There’s so much of potential energy in your mind. You may have hundreds of ideas. Don’t talk about them, execute them. Otherwise, your thought or idea however brilliant it is, has no value.”

I cannot do without: My iphone I’m used to: Drinking lots of water and herbal tea I feel sensitive about: Animals, but I am little partial to dogs My handbag contains: A lot of things – tape to measure, comb, lip gloss, small mirror, pen, hair band… I’m emotional about: a lot of things. I’m a Cancerian

I enjoy wearing well-fitted outfits

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Right now Shilpa retails from her flagship store Shilpa Reddy located in the premises of the popular N Asian restaurant. “I supply to other stores like Kimaya, Amara and Aura in Nagpur. We are in talks with Aza as well.” Shilpa also wants to sell outfits online. “There is a huge Telugu-speaking community settled in the US and hence there is a significant market there. These people understand fashion and so we want to try and do something online for them.” Shilpa’s future plans even include writing a book.


All in the family This month we show you how families that do business together, stay together! 64

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Fawad Tamkanat and Afza Tamkanat, Hyderabad Artists and art entrepreneurs

day and helps keep her grounded. “I don’t always ask him for advice but sometimes I do. He always insists that I finish my art works in a professional manner, he places a lot of importance on the finishing and presentation of a piece of work.” Like a typical youngster she doesn’t always take his critiquing of her works seriously, especially when the same works are appreciated by her peers and teachers at the Hyderabad Central University, where she is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Fine Arts. Fawad is a very well known artist. He frowns upon offers to buy his daughter’s works. Though he has in the past sold one of the ceramic plates painted by her for a few thousands, he is unwilling to sell her paintings as of now. “I believe she has to be launched professionally, with a substantial amount of work done professionally. Selling art is not a one-time thing. You have to maintain that standard. Your earlier works have to be as good as what you do later, to be fair to the buyer.”

Fawad also avoids talking about her work or promoting her in the art world. He says, “I am flattered if people call of their own accord and ask about her work or when galleries offer to hold her show. I am happy that she is far ahead compared to where I was professionally at her age. When magazines or newspapers write about her work, I think it is very positive, but when the time is right, I will launch her in the right way.” The inevitable comparisons notwithstanding, Afza’s style has been on occasion, even mistaken to be one of her father’s works. While that is a huge compliment for her, she does think that it is different from his, especially in the themes she paints. “I like painting socially relevant themes and have done one on the burkha ban in Paris, another on how war affects a soldier and a few on child labour.”

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yderabad-based artist Fawad Tamkanat and his daughter Afza are both painters. While Fawad, the son of Urdu poet Shaz Tamkanat took to painting after a Bachelor’s degree in commerce, Afza knew from the time she was a child that she wanted to paint. Luckily for her, there was parental support, though Fawad was a tad hesitant when she announced in class 9 that she wanted to be an artist. Afza recalls, “I remember sketching with crayons on walls, bedsheets and every surface I could find. My parents never stopped me or scolded me for it. When I wanted to dress up as an artist for a fancy dress competition in class 2, my mother made me a little kurta and a bag and helped me dress up as one.” Her father used the sketches she made from Class 3 onwards as greeting cards to send to family and friends. He took her to his studio where she was exposed to books on art that she browsed through when she got bored of sketching. That unconditional support continues to this


Atiya Amjad and Sunil Krishnan, Hyderabad Jointly run a boutique communications and media agency called Quilt 365


tiya Amjad is an art curator, writer and the owner of Daira, Centre for Arts and Culture. Her husband Sunil Krishnan has an ad agency background and a few years into their marriage, the couple decided to set up their own business. Their company called Quilt 365 was started in 2010. Atiya says, “Coming from the art world, this was new for me and I found it very fascinating. But since Sunil used to help me pro bono with the posters and publicity material required for Daira, I started contributing with my inputs too.” Sunil adds, “Thanks to Atiya’s contribution, I didn’t have to hire staff at the start-up stage.” Sunil is originally from Kerala and had moved to Hyderabad in connection with his job. After a few years in the line, which included a stint in the US, he was convinced he wanted to fly solo. Being a local, a lot of Atiya’s friends and


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contacts helped out. He says, “I hit it off instantly with some of her artist friends and Suresh Kuppu, who started Shloka, the first Waldorf School in the country. He connected us with Sriram who was with the ISB. We got along famously and today we do a lot of work for this reputed institution.” Quilt 365 is in fact empanelled with the ISB as one of their service providers. Working together is easy for this couple as Atiya’s sister Atika and Atika’s husband have an interior design firm, which is next door to the gallery and the Quilt 365 office. Atiya adds, “Atika was very supportive when we decided to set up the agency. She encouraged us and helped us out with the nitty-gritties.” Sunil takes his family’s help in other ways. “I bounce ideas off my brother as he is a businessman and usually gives me sound

advice. My mother too is smart and I often take her suggestions into consideration when it comes to quoting for a project.” What has helped the most perhaps is that though it is an inter-religious marriage with Atiya being a Muslim and Sunil a Hindu, neither of their families have objected or made a fuss. The unequivocal acceptance from both sides has eliminated potential tension zones and has also helped their marriage stay strong. Atiya concludes, “More than anything else, the moral support we get from both our families is the biggest source of strength for us.”


hen you watch Aparna and Philip Mathew at work together, it is uncanny how you cannot think of any other line of work that the two would excel in: the confluence is too perfect a picture to want to alter. But here’s the riddling part: the couple came to the profession from very different professional backgrounds. Aparna explains, “Luxury and lush lifestyles have always fascinated me. I studied economics in Mumbai, but followed design, whether it was in fashion or architecture, all the way from Kerala to Mumbai. While my friends veered towards movie magazines or the occasional imported Vogue, I looked forward to the monthly editions of Inside Outside. Given the early interest, it was a natural progression for me – my passion became my profession. Philip was the one who fell into this by accident. He started off being the supportive husband lending a helping hand and then realised he enjoyed it so much it became his core business! He has been an entrepreneur from age 21, dabbling in various areas from cable networking to being one of the founders of Vision Healthsource, one of the first BPO's in the country to do insurance claims processing for the US market. The experience in various fields of business has surely paid off.”

Working as husband and wife brought to the fore a grand culmination of both their talents. As Aparna puts it, “Philip is phenomenally organised. He is a man on a mission, highly driven, ridiculously energetic and very enthusiastic! I am the creative, whimsical one. We’ve found a balance where he is in charge of everything except the design decisions.” Doing business together is a breeze for the duo. Philip explains, “As with any partnership, we sometimes agree and other times, not so much. But, there is the underlying trust that cannot come in any other business partnership. If our professional differences

Aparna and Philip Mathew, Chennai Furniture designers and entrepreneurs, owners of Spacewise

lead us to not be on talking terms, there will be a personal cause that makes us break the silence. Nothing like a sick kid to get parents to unite!” Differences aside, for the both of them, working with each other is not only comforting, but something that feels absolutely right. “It gives me a lot of flexibility knowing that Philip is there to pick up where I left off when there is a personal emergency...among other things,” Aparna explains. Having married when they were still very young, the two of them literally grew up together, learning to think alike and celebrate their conflicts and differences, which are very few. “We spend a lot of time together and talk about everything – be it our kids, my shopping bills, our business

and I guess everything gets figured out in those conversations. Our business is our baby and we are constantly thinking and talking about it – whether it is design, production or clients. We reserve Sundays for the family.” Ask the duo what the best thing about the other is, and you can see the chemistry come alive. For Philip, Aparna is a powerhouse of talent and creativity. “Aparna, is a great sounding board be it for day-to-day business issues or exploring new opportunities. She pitches in with her organisational skills and logical thinking.” Aparna looks at Philip as her beacon of light. “Philip has never said no to me for any reasonable requests. His confidence and faith in me is his biggest plus!”

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Their epiphany and biggest ‘up’ was opening their first store. The couple went from ‘Aparna likes to dabble in interiors’ to ‘we really may have something here.’ Says Aparna, “From thinking up the store's name to watching Spacewise become a recognised brand was like watching our third baby grow up!” With time, Aparna and Philip expanded operations to Bengaluru, but they decided to shut shop there as they could not give it the one extra aspect they gave Spacewise Chennai: the personal connect.

FACE TO FACE All the international exposure as a student has also helped instil a passion for this business,” explains Atul. Having initiated Chennai to the concept of high fashion with Evoluzione, Atul recollects some of their initial challenges. “Convincing the designers initially to treat Chennai as a serious market and take us seriously as a brand was our first challenge.” Business-sense apart, the key to Atul and Tina’s spectacular success is their uncompromising effort to be associated with only the best. Being extremely engaged in the business, the two of them bring some unique talents to the table. Atul explains Tina’s role. “Tina is a very hands-on person and cares a lot about our customers and their personal needs. Her eye for detail and taste is impeccable and this reflects in the merchandise in the stores.” As for Atul’s part, Tina fills us in. “I am the ideator and curator of the brands and we have a great team that supports our journey in this business. We complement each other in this style of working.” Atul finishes her sentence, saying, “Tina looks into the dayto-day operations along with her team and I oversee the strategy and expansion.” Considering the business they are in, it is definitely not easy to leave work at the workplace, so naturally, some of it spills into the home. “It is always tough to switch off as we are involved in many aspects of the business. This extends to our social life as well. We have to get out of the city or the country perhaps, to get our personal time.”

Tina and Atul Malhotra, Chennai Fashion entrepreneurs, Evolv and Evoluzione


hey started out as Chennai’s fashion royalty and quickly did us proud when Evoluzione captured one of the toughest markets for fashion in the country – New Delhi. Tina’s affable, charismatic personality compliments Atul’s single-minded focus and impeccable poise. Being part of a family that has been in the garment business for a long time, it was only natural that Atul Malhotra followed suit. So while Tina studied


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Fashion Illustration with Suneet Verma at NIFT Delhi, and had her exhibitions in Delhi right out of college, Atul’s first job in the US was in the famous Filene's basement store as a floor supervisor, after which he went to work for May Dept Store International in New York as an assistant buyer for stores like Lord and Taylor. “While we have no formal training in the fashion business, we have grown up in an environment which has always been abuzz with fresh ideas.

Operating out of different locations and making the best of both of their talents, the duo finds that a conflict of ideas isn’t an impediment at all. “We have regular meetings to sort out the strategy and the day-to-day challenges of the business. Bringing in a professional Vice-President of Operations has also helped balance the personal and professional ends. This business is something we have enjoyed creating, especially the challenges of being a regional brand and then going national. We are rewarded by the respect that we get from our colleagues and the many friends that we have made in this journey,” Atul signs off.


hen Garima Satija and Richik Nandi, travelled around the country, they always found that they couldn’t get good advice on where to dine and how to make the best of their visit, where to find the best local cuisine or really, honest-to-goodness ratings of the food in a place of their choice. This gap in information gave birth to PoshVine, a portal that gives you valuable information on the best places to eat, helps you make reservations to interesting and fashionable restaurants and even gets you that exclusive discount for using their services. It even rewards you for loyalty. This was of course an idea waiting to happen, and catch on it did, turning it into a very profitable business venture. Garima says, “Richik was working with Microsoft in Marketing while I was managing Human Resources for an advertising network called Ozone Media. Between us, we had around twelve years of experience working in various sectors. Ours was an idea borne out of personal experiences. We wanted to curate the best dining experiences in a city and help people – both locals and outsiders – discover them, speak to the host of that experience, and also help book that experience in advance or real-time, directly through our platform.”

Partnering together in a business venture is difficult enough for any two people, but it is probably doubly difficult when that other person is your spouse. You have to think through issues like whether it is a good idea to work together and what you would do if the venture fails – the risk is also double, since it is like putting all your eggs in one basket. But the idea was rather new and pioneering, it even attracted the attention of a seed fund MyFirstCheque who invested in it. Garima explains how their individual skillsets worked to their benefit while partnering together. “I try and manage the business development and partnerships and also to some extent the community while Richik is

Garima and Richik Nandi, Bengaluru Entrepreneurs, PoshVine

responsible for the overall user experience, product, marketing and strategy. I think our skills are complimentary and that's good for PoshVine in the long run.” Richik feels there are certain things Garima brings to the table which are important for the success of the business. He says, “Garima has this tenacity and singleminded focus, and the ability to connect with the community at ease. All of us face roadblocks but Garima is generally the troubleshooter. Initially, I was a bit wary of a husband-wife startup, but today I think it was one of the best decisions we made. There are probably many more disagreements than I would have had with someone else. The only thing that really works is that we very clearly know what each of us is capable of. And for the

activities that we individually take up, we don't need to worry at all. But, in terms of many decisions, we have healthy debates and discussions. Ultimately, whichever side establishes their point through actual customer stories, wins!” Garima is equally complimentary of her husband while saying, “Richik’s best quality is patience and the value system he brings to PoshVine. He enables every member of the team, and that includes me, to perform to our best capability. At a personal level, he is very passionate about design and user experience which reflects brilliantly on the PoshVine product and website. Richik and I are always a tagteam for most of the problems. While he is very objective in approach, I would like to believe I work with facts.

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“When we started, we didn't think too much about the future. If we had, we would probably not have been able to do it. We just picked up a niche – which was food, something that everyone is interested in and gave people insider access to the best dining destinations in Bengaluru. It just caught on instantly because there were thousands of people who felt like us and we have grown from there,” she adds.


Prevention or


The preventative double mastectomy undergone by actor Angelina Jolie has raised huge awareness about breast cancer and its treatment. But undue focus on gene testing and surgical procedures as a one-size-ďŹ ts-all approach has many experts worried. Angelina Jolie is an icon to millions of women across the world. So when she shared the details of her preventative double mastectomy, it instantly brought gene testing, mastectomy and reconstruction surgery under immense spotlight. The superstar carried the faulty BRCA1 gene, which put her at an 87% risk of developing breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer. This along with her mother’s early death at age 56 due to cancer made her decide on a preventative double mastectomy (removal of both healthy breasts). But is this choice suitable for all women at risk of breast cancer? Kirthi Jayakumar, Minal Khona and Richa Tilokani take a look at all that it entails.


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HAWK EYE What is a preventative mastectomy? Women are vulnerable to breast cancer in general. But the risk factor increases in the event that women already have the genetic combinations that can augment its occurrence. A preventative mastectomy is also known as a prophylactic or a risk-reducing mastectomy, undertaken to remove one or both breasts to lower the risk of breast cancer. Two types of preventative mastectomy exist: a total mastectomy which involves the complete removal of the breast and nipple altogether, and a partial or subcutaneous mastectomy which removes only the breast tissue, preserving the nipple. Most often, a total mastectomy is recommended to ensure complete obliteration of carcinogenic propensities, although nipplesparing surgical options can also help achieve the same end. While science has showed that preventative mastectomy can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 90% or so, it is not a guarantee. The medical angle Dr. P. Raghuram, Director and Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon KIMSUshalakshmi Centre for Breast Diseases, Hyderabad; President of the Association of Breast Surgeons of India for the years 201516 explains the faulty gene that could cause breast cancer. “Only a very small proportion of women with breast cancer (5 to 10 per cent) will have a faulty gene (often referred to as altered breast cancer gene). The two genes that are most often found in breast cancer are called BRCA1 and BRCA2.” In Angelina Jolie’s case, the gene was identified through tests but do the tests in India throw up this faulty gene? How can it be identified? He says, “After adequate genetic counselling by a doctor with specialist training in cancer genetics, genetic testing may be an option for the woman considered to be at ‘high risk’ of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. The faulty gene can be identified through a blood test. It involves taking blood from someone in a woman’s family who has been diagnosed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer and checking this for one of the known altered faulty genes. The results from this test are usually available within two months.” Unlike in the US, where women got into panic mode and decided to take the test for a faulty gene, one that costs a few thousand dollars, Dr Raghuram reiterates that this test should only be done when


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there is a strong family history of breast cancer and a woman is part of a high risk group. He adds, “This would be a woman whose family history includes cancer in both breasts (bilateral breast cancer); both breast and ovarian cancer; cancers that developed at a young age – for example under 40 – or certain childhood cancers; a male relative with breast cancer; an ethnic background where faulty breast cancer genes are more common – for example, people with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.” He explains that “If an altered gene has been found in the person with breast cancer, it means that a genetic test is available for other relatives to see whether or not they also carry the faulty gene.” So women don’t need to panic and go for several tests? He says, “If the test [for the faulty gene] is negative, then the woman would have the same risk of developing breast cancer as any other women in the general population. If the test is positive, then the woman is more likely to develop the disease in her lifetime – although this does not mean that she’ll definitely get breast cancer. The lifetime risk for developing breast cancer in someone with a faulty gene ranges from 50 – 85 per cent and the lifetime risk for developing ovarian cancer can range from 15 – 45 per cent.” The emotional angle The impact preventative mastectomy has on the body is both physical and mental. It is known and documented that mastectomy has the tendency to lead to psychological problems that can range from a state of depression or disgust with one’s own body, sometimes constructing a negative body interest and a state of insecurity that may arrive with a perceived loss of femininity. Simple things like wearing certain kinds of clothes, or shopping for bras can spark off an emotional battle for what a woman has actually given up through the surgery. Sometimes, if there is a confluence of money, decision and medical soundness in favour, a breast reconstruction or an implant is done to ensure that there is no erosion of the female form. This may be done by either breast implants proper, or just implants of autologous tissue, or excessive tissue from other parts of the body. Having a mastectomy, even to save one’s life can have a deep psychological impact on the patient. How then is a woman likely to feel if she has to have her breasts removed to prevent cancer? Dr. Raghuram says, “The decision to have a preventative

mastectomy is not easy. The choice of whether or not to get it done is highly personal. Loss of breast can be devastating to the woman undergoing mastectomy. Counselling is most important. This is half the treatment. Being part of support groups of women who have been through mastectomies helps women connect with other women under similar circumstances.” The general understanding is that mastectomy in the aftermath may give a woman a sense of relief that her disease is no longer (likely to be) a source of trauma for her, but in a preventative mastectomy, she has only deflected what might be a possibility. The psychological effects are still fully felt by a woman who undergoes a preventative mastectomy – sometimes it is worse for her. For a woman, her breasts are a symbol of her femininity, and consequently, her sexuality. Following a double mastectomy, there is often a tendency to feel less feminine or inadequate physically. What should you keep in mind? Doctors advise caution before jumping to any hasty conclusion after reading Angie’s story. Dr Venkat, Senior Surgical Oncologist at Apollo Cancer Hospital Chennai, says, “Angelina’s case is not a common one. The BRCA1 or BRCA2 test is not something that is recommended to everyone. These genes are present in a very small percentage of the population. Along with them, the person must also have two first degree relatives like a mother and a sister who have cancer. Even then, the test is suggested only after all other mandatory tests, models and counselling have been done.” Dr Priya Selvaraj, Assistant Director of GG Hospitals says, “When one has a strong family history of cancer with a genetic mutation that increases their risks to close to 87%, they would lean towards a drastic preventive step. Although screening tests are available, in some cases the detection rates are still inconclusive and could miss the tumour mass. Self breast exams, ultrasounds and mammograms are all a part of the deal but one may still be unfortunate enough to go undetected.” Instead, she says it is best to assess one’s risks with the help of a health consultant who will help you make the right choice. “Medical facts and research do teach us about gene mutations and inheriting faulty genes so one can be made aware and perhaps delay developing cancer. This can be done by following an algorithm of screening as per risk assessment, lifestyle modifications and other therapies before

The surgery has side-effects like pain, tenderness in the breast, infection and seroma or the leaking of clear bodily fluids. Complications are also seen in patients who opt for reconstructive surgery. Many women may experience depression, anxiety and struggle with body image issues following the surgery. Is it the only option? When Angelina Jolie did it, it created quite a flutter. Imagine that: the ultimate Hollywood A-lister who regularly tops the list of most beautiful women in the world actually got rid of the very part of her anatomy that in a way defined her sexuality! A decision she arrived at in the aftermath of a genetic test, Jolie’s move to obliterate any chance for breast cancer might have been sensational. Her mother’s passing at 56 owing to breast cancer is indeed true, and that her genetic tests showed Jolie that she was vulnerable to cancer herself is also true, but it is not the only way out. While preventative surgery can lower the odds to below 5%, surgery isn’t the only option. For starters, there is close quartered monitoring which can help determine any proclivity towards cancer and nip it in the bud. This is usually more economically viable for families that do not have the juice to afford high-priced genetic testing followed by surgery, which isn’t easily affordable, either. A preventative double mastectomy is just one of the options to prevent the onset of cancer. It does reduce the risk of breast cancer by 80-90%. But it is not 100% foolproof. Explains Dr Priya, “A total mastectomy is primarily opted for when one is detected to have breast cancer that impedes the benefits of a breast-conserving one. This would be the choice that could raise the costs compared to a conventional mastectomy where the option of any reconstructive surgery for a psychological or cosmetic benefit is done at a later stage. This is done after ruling out any risk of residual disease and after any adjuvant therapy such as chemotherapy or radiation.” Defeating cancer is an uphill task, so if a patient can benefit from testing or surgery, why not? The answer lies in the fact that the cost of testing for the BRCA1 gene is very high and puts it out of reach for the common man. “The test costs about ` 40,000 in India. If a patient undergoes double mastectomy along with reconstruction, then the cost

goes up to around ` 4-5 lakhs,” says Dr Venkat. The costs are pretty high abroad as well where the cost of testing alone is around USD 3000. Also a preventative double mastectomy does not cut the risk of other cancers like ovarian which are caused by the same set of genes that cause breast cancer. Coming to the crux of the issue, does the presence of a faulty gene indicate the need for a mastectomy to prevent cancer? Dr. Raghuram says, “There are several options a woman can consider. Yes, a double mastectomy significantly reduces the risk of developing breast cancer by well over 95 per cent. But it does not however completely eliminate the risk. Some women who carry an altered gene are also at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Having the ovaries and fallopian tubes removed by surgery before the natural menopause has been shown to reduce the risk of both ovarian and breast cancer.” There are other options he lists out, besides regular check-ups such as “Tamoxifen, a recently approved drug used to treat hormone receptor positive breast cancers. Five years of tamoxifen helps reduce breast cancers occurring due to the faulty BRCA2 gene by almost half. However, this modality has not gained widespread use because of its side effects such as thrombo embolisms and small risk of endometrial cancer. If Tamoxifen is used, it is usually recommended in younger women as these potential side effects are more often seen in older women and hence avoided in women over 45.” Even among the medical fraternity, there is a clear dichotomy of opinions. On the one hand are doctors who believe that removal of the breast is inappropriate until such time that cancer develops, and on the other hand, there are doctors who don’t perceive it as an inappropriate choice at all. Some of the more useful alternatives include periodic mammograms and close surveillance to nip any possible development towards carcinoma in the bud. This can also be augmented by self-examinations. Some medications also assist in reducing the risk of breast cancer – although these are best taken only under the supervision and direction of a physician. These options are best for the masses in alternation to preventative mastectomy. The decision to go under the knife as a prophylactic measure should be arrived at only after sound justification and reasoning, and only after making an informed decision with a complete stock of all the risks and benefits.


taking on a surgical prevention,” adds Dr Priya Selvaraj.

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HARBOUR BRIDGE Sydney’s Harbour Bridge – which is also one of Australia’s best-known structures – is a legend. Fireworks are rigged and burst on New Year’s eve off its steely façade. In the summer months it is lit up with bright lights. The coat hanger as it is affectionately called is also a great source of adventure, thanks to the climb that gets you on top of the bridge for a breathtaking view of the city and the Opera House. Minal Khona shares her experiences.

“A view of the Harbour Bridge from the granite pylon with its traffic lanes and water below”


uring the six years that I lived in Sydney, I always wanted to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge but never got around to it. My last job in Sydney offered me a view of this beautiful and iconic structure and I never tired of looking at it. So when I visited my adopted country after a gap of five years, climbing the bridge was on top of my to-do list. Thanks to a generous friend who paid for my ticket, I was able to view the bridge from under its steel belly and climb its steps to the top.

Photographs Minal Khona 74

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The email with one’s ticket number requests you to be there ten minutes earlier. So while I wait for my group to be called upstairs, I browse through the bridge climb merchandise on display and pick up a couple of magnets as mementos. As I walk around, I realise I will soon be part of an elite group of people who have done the climb. Some famous pairs of legs that have walked the bridge include Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Sarah Ferguson, Pierce Brosnan, Ryan Reynolds, the cast of Glee and Twilight, Kylie Minogue and many more. At 10 am sharp, we are called upstairs. Each group of climbers cannot exceed more than 12 people and there are a variety of climbs one can choose from. I have chosen the Express Climb which lasts two-and-a-half hours and has fewer stops. The bridge climb is run by a private company called the BridgeClimb and has been operating since 1998. Earlier the tickets were cheaper but today they cost AUD 218. That is close to ` 12000 based on exchange rates. As the group assembles, a guide comes up and gives us a brief talk about requirements, rules and what we can and cannot take with us. She then gives us a form to fill up where we have to mention a few details and whether we have any ailments that are likely to get aggravated etc. A breathalyzer test checking for alcohol, a change of shoes (sneakers only, no open toed floaters or sandals) and we are handed a jumpsuit and a few necessary accessories. We all zip up and wear the suit, the harness clip, the cap and the attendant clips on a pouch with a raincoat and one with a fleece jacket onto the belt of the suit. That’s because Sydney weather can change in an instant and a bright and sunny day can suddenly become cold and rainy. We also have to wear a headset to hear the guide’s instructions and commentary. We are all given lockers to leave our purses, jewellery and jackets as we cannot wear anything that can fall off. Even those of us wearing glasses are given a little cord with a clip to fix them on. Even Cameras are not

allowed and the guide who takes you up shoots pictures that you purchase. You can buy them before the climb and choose from the lot later. That done, the guide, Richard Dzikowski, takes us through a tunnel like structure after clipping our belts onto a steel rope that runs throughout the bridge. At no point are any of the climbers able to snap it off and lean over. Climbing the world’s largest (but not the longest) bridge, especially one that I have so loved for years fills me with excitement. Though I know my knees will protest at the end of the day, I listen attentively as Richard gives us details about the bridge. It is 1149 metres long in its entirety and the arch span is 503 metres. By the way, none of the steel arches are actually curved, they are all straight. The vertical support rods that hold the arches up are placed at varying lengths to create a curved effect. The top of the arch, where we finally do end up is 134 metres above sea level. The entire steel work of the bridge weighs 52,800 tonnes and this includes the arch which alone weighs 39,000 tonnes. There are 6,000,000 rivets used all over the bridge. Initially made to allow horses to go across, today it is an arterial gateway with eight traffic lanes, two train lines, and a footway for pedestrians and even a bicycling track. We go through the tunnel and we are quite literally inside the belly of the bridge. There are narrow pathways with steel steps that only allow one person to pass through at a time. In some spots, we have to bend our heads because the passageway is short and bright yellow foam has been placed on the top so we don’t hit our heads against the steel above. In and out, up and down, our motley group of Australians, Americans and Europeans climbs the structure. We stop at various junctures, to admire the view, to get a feel of the waterfront areas around the bridge and to take in a few details about Sydney and its beloved bridge. We are told how the AMP building in the distance was the highest structure around till the Bridge came up. When the Bridge came, so did other, taller buildings. Also, the tallest sail of the Opera House is exactly half the size of the arch at its highest point. There were doubts whether the engineers could make the bridge at all, and if anything, it is today an over engineered piece of steel glory. Dr JJC Bradfield, the Chief Engineer of Sydney Harbour Bridge; he is regarded as

the father of the Bridge. It was his expertise and vision along with extensive supervision and perseverance that made the bridge a successful reality from its sketch on paper. The Bridge was officially declared open on the 19th of March 1932. So, on we go, at one time with vistas of the water below us, and fast moving traffic at another. Up and away, we keep climbing, shutting little gates behind us at various points, till finally we are up, on the arch of the bridge. I cannot stop smiling as I send up a heartfelt thanks to my generous friend, Jimmy Seervai, who made it possible for me to be up here. The views are amazing, with a cool breeze blowing even as the sun shines down upon us. We have been walking and climbing for over an hour now and Richard Dzikowski gets us all to pose for pictures – individually and in a group shot. After that we move to the centre of the bridge with the arches on either side, where there is a tiny square of space not wider than five feet. He informs us that over 70 weddings have taken place at this spot and we are given the option of having a short video clip of ourselves. No one in the group takes up the offer but I do, as I believe in making the most of every moment. The traffic zips by below and though the cars are not going over 70 kmph, it seems like they moving much faster. It is a strange feeling, to be up on the bridge when I have walked on its pavements, taken the trains that flank one side and watched it from afar, all lit up with fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Then we walk across to the other side of the bridge and begin the climb down. This part of the entire experience is much shorter as we stop only once and before we know it, the climb is over. As we take off the jumpsuits and the gear and return it to the attendant, Dzikowski hands over a copy of the group shot and individual certificates to state that we did the bridge climb. Other photographs have to be pre-ordered and purchased at the reception area before we do the climb and these are handed over on a DVD. As I walk out of the BridgeClimb office, with my pictures and mementos in hand, I look back at the bridge and thank it silently, for letting me get a closer look at its massive granite pylons, its steely structure and millions of rivets. I can only look forward to the next time I will set eyes on the world’s most famous coat hanger.

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The day I was to climb the bridge, it is a cold morning, crisp with sunlight and one of those near perfect weather days Sydney is known for. It is a cool 13.5 degrees centigrade with a wind chill factor of the same temperature. This information is displayed on an electronic board which is regularly updated as the day warms up or cools down.


Sculpting the art of collecting Sharan Apparao makes interesting points that can help you centre your art collection better.


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The idea of collecting is not new, it comes from a deep desire to identify oneself. As for the world of contemporary Indian art that is barely stepping out of its infancy, the stage is now set for good collectors to contribute to and define the trend of art and this will become visible in what one leaves behind for future generations. Art venues or galleries and promoters have deep purses and pick subjects and artists of their choice. Only the test of time will tell if these choices will make the annals of the history of art, for the relevance of the artist and the content of the art is imperative for artists to stand out, let alone make a mark in history. The main media, sadly, also has information and articles on artists who will in all likelihood not make history. Mainstream magazines and newspapers today rarely

give art priority. Their coverage of art is often by trainees and junior reporters without any art background, let alone with a sound perspective of art and its historic position. There are no real critics whose voices are heard. Hardly do you read negative pieces for the amount of garbage and holiday painters who get coverage. There are no voices in the public to warn you of rotten or bad art. This is indeed very sad. In the absence of mainstream media for art one has to depend on publications from the field, which are documentations in terms of gallery catalogues and a few trade magazines (some of which, owned by promoters and owners of art businesses, tend to be biased). Yet finding information is not difficult. Many good artists don't get their due during their lifetime. This is due to the lack of support from other quarters, as in the historic cases of Vincent Van Gogh and Vermeer. In India we don't have a museum culture. The government has no role to play in the art world. The support for art comes from the private sector. A lot of the opinion makers are private collectors and reliable galleries.

To build a meaningful collection, one needs to first identify his/her own focus of a collection. (No, you don't need a large budget or even a small budget!) You need to analyse your focus, because even a personal motivation if pursued, has a point which will be relevant.

So here are the starting points: Is it for the love of art? Is it to be stimulated by the art you want to live with? Is it to keep up with the Joneses? Is it an investment that you hope to profit on? Is it to support a trend? Is it to support a particular artist? Is it because you are passionate about art? Is it to build a historic collection that you want to leave for posterity?

All of the above are valid reasons to collect art. Once you identify what your focus is and you are “honest” about your reasons to collect then it is relatively easy. It is important to stay away from fakes and imposters. One needs to look at the current values, which are also easy today with the advent of technology. You need to do your own research and find advisers who have a history of success and honesty. Yes, you need know how to shift the wheat from the chaff. So how do you pick a winner? Who do you follow? How do you know you are heading in the right direction? Be focused, analyse your reasons and follow your heart. The reason I bring the word honest in, is to sharpen your focus. You need to ask yourself pointed questions so as to avoid the confusion. (That is a problem for ALL collectors, without exceptions). To be an independent collector and follow your own instincts one needs courage, confidence as well as some study. Like in any game you need to train yourself. Find a mentor, find sources, discover, explore and take your time. Visit exhibitions, ask gallerists about the art. Attend lectures, read art magazines. It is easy to be blinded by the glamour and money and these could

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In today's world of enormous masses of information, technological support and accessibility of art, one wonders what to collect and where to begin. An important factor is the excess information available. It is a veritable sea of art and where do you start?


be major hurdles in collecting. Following auction prices, if that is a benchmark, as it is for many, and assuming every artist is going to be as successful is misleading. Let's look at a few collectors who have built important collections. Those with very large and deep pockets have used curators and researchers while they have been building their collections. In India the two most important private museums are the KNMA and DEVI FOUNDATION both in New Delhi. In terms of private collectors in India who have been in the news recently, an important name is that of Amrita Jhaveri who sold a part of her collection. She is from a family who collected for the love of art and as a second generation collector, she was able to make studied choices. The TIFR collection, one of the most important early collections was born from a need to extend the Tata patronage for the arts. Looking at unusual collectors, Lalit Nirula in Delhi only collects works on paper, Rajive Savara of the Savara foundation only collects a handful of artists that he goes to great lengths to find. There are other collectors who focus only geographically, or thematically. Every collector wants his/her collection to be valuable at the end of the day. For a young collector with a small budget, I would advise looking at young artists who are not a clone of someone else. It is important to identify originality in an artist. One needs to gauge the passion in young artists and see if they have the intellectual


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content that will allow them to grow. Here one will need to also see whose support the artist has. It is risky to buy a new artist who does not have a support system if you want a work that will make a museum or valuable list. If a young collector if focused on art as adornment then the quality to look for is lyricism and drama. Curators and museum professionals often clash with decorators. In today's world some decorators work with "thinking” works while many tend to take the route of adornment for the sake of adornment. If a young collector is passionate about the arts and would like to collect to support the arts for the sheer love of it or to support a particular artist, then it could be truly noble as it is this passion that will grow to be a trend. When one feels strongly about something it is easy to build and grow the circle of support. Every collection with a strong focus is bound to attain significance because of the depth and attention to its focus. For those with large budgets and deep pockets, who are lost in the sea of art information, look at artists who have been successful and have attained a mark that means something to you and you won't go wrong. For those gamblers who want to smile five years from now and feel the glow of the rising price of your art, buy a great young artist with advice, or buy a blue chip work

that is underpriced for some reason, or buy a collection from among the many that are available in today's market conditions; or better still buy artists who are great and have not yet been part of the collecting trend (whose prices are still relatively lower than their peers.) Here are a few ideas on a focus for a collection or part of a collection: Photography Only artists who use new media Artists who work on the subject of humour and whose works make you smile Only drawings Only graphics School-based artists Generation-based artists Remember, collecting is about building. It is long-term and needs a direction and some dedication. It is not a business to buy and sell (that is, being a dealer). Real collectors make history and real collectors can add substantially to the making of an artist as well as to strengthening the art world. So don't be afraid to focus and support the art and build the little blocks that make the great wall of art. Yes, it is history that will tell you its relevance.

3words. Those

No, it’s not the clichéd I Love You. Read on as our guest columnist Sujaya Chandran dishes out a spoonful of satire this month about the three words that are influencing relationships and marriages today.

Now I was perfectly happy in the belief that "those" 3 words would never be something I needed to acknowledge or have any connection to. But I was mistaken. Last week, like a wolf set among the pigeons, those 3 words were thrown into my life creating irreparable damage, leaving me in a state of confusion … Surely not … but yes, there they were loud and clear. Now you must be wondering what those 3 words were that have disturbed me to such a level. Well, I met a childhood friend who hadn't got married yet and by Asian standards, had been considered to be left on the shelf or was last season as some have called it. We however have always laughed it off saying that nobody who reaches her standards has caught her eye and therefore she would hold out for the right guy, but was in no rush. Imagine my shock and horror when I ran into her shopping in the city with a quite nicelooking fellow. After our customary shrieks and hugs she introduced him to me as her fiancé whilst wagging her ring finger at me, which now seemed to be bearing

the weight of a rather hefty diamond. Now I was baffled...When was she even dating someone for her to now be engaged? I was deeply offended to have not known such an important part of my friend’s life, but I had to be composed and asked her where they had met. I heard her reply and almost fainted. She uttered the 3 words we had consistently heckled and sworn to never consider. "On the internet." I really didn’t know how to respond to this and made my excuses and rushed off. Now the news has slowly sunk in and I am still at a loss as to what made her take this decision. That evening I gave her a call and sheepishly asked her how this turn of events came about. Her reply surprised me. She told me that her parents had decided to take matters into their own hands and registered on a matrimonial site for their community. They had filtered quite a few profiles and shortlisted a few. My friend was asked to look through them and see if there were any she liked. This filtering process went on until she was left with one. Her parents contacted the profile and interacted with his parents and then the two met. "How is it possible for you to only meet your prospective life partner once both sets of parents have spoken?" I asked her. She simply told me that it made more sense to meet the guy only if it was okay with the

parents, rather than the other way around which could lead to trouble if the parents were not cool with it. I guess that does make sense when I think about it. Surely filtering and selecting a partner for life cannot be done through the internet? Or can it? I spent a few days finding out from friends who knew people who have got married through matrimonial sites, or are in relationships though online dating sites and the reactions were very much mixed. Suddenly parents have become openminded enough to select a prospective life partner for their child through the internet, but are not comfortable with their child dating a person openly in the same city. Online dating allows a lot of room for being duped and cheated into parting with money, time, privacy and security. I can to some extent understand meeting someone through friends and then communicating through social networking sites and the internet, but not vice versa. I have heard horror stories about people who have been cheated, both emotionally and financially and left as quivering messes after their internet-induced marriages. But when I look at my friend, I see she is blissfully happy. I cannot really understand her acceptance of this practice, but I guess the look of love they exchange is proof enough for me that it can work... for some.

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When I was younger, we all knew that when someone said those 3 magical words, it was a relationship changer. Today times have changed. There are 3 new magical words on the block which can strike fear into the hearts of the most brave and valiant warriors.


SMILES AHOY Debutante novelist, Ranjani Iyer Arumugam has clearly found an alternative vocation in writing, says Kirthi Jayakumar.

It’s All About Smiles is just that: it leaves you with a grin and gives you a feel-good takeaway the moment you put the book down. Right from the cover to all the nuances of the book, you can tell that Ranjani Iyer Arumugam’s ability to tell a story is not encumbered by any pretentions, but rather, is an inherent ability. A loosely autobiographical rendition of the funny and poignant side to dentistry, the book traces the trials and tribulations of a young protagonist, Aditi Raman. At the very outset, you begin the book already knowing Aditi. She is your average girl-next-door, with a simple love for life, and enjoys the idea of clean and good fun. Reverent to humour and irreverent to everything else, and a lover of life, warts and all, Aditi is the perfect example of the urban desi girl. She makes a choice at med school to pick


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dentistry over medicine because medicine is too serious to deal with, and as she views it, life is all about being light-hearted and enjoyable. The unassuming girl makes a trip to Chennai from Goa in the hope of pursuing a career of her choice, as she sets out for the first step: dentistry school. While not only opening the floodgates to the future profession, this shift also takes Aditi on a crazy journey as she discovers a completely different culture. Coming from Goa where dresses go shorter than the lab-coat, to a universe where the saree is a major must-have, Aditi chances upon a side of her life that is altruistic and compassionate. She meets a crazy girl, Indu, who would be her best friend for life since. A crazy, whacked out and absolutely funny girl, Indu is Aditi’s anchor amidst a culture shock. Enter Nick: the man who

would charm the pants off Aditi, while also making her terribly angry sometimes. The book traces Aditi’s sojourn at dentistry school, and the narrative is peppered with beautifully essayed episodes of humour, poignancy, tear-jerking lump-in-the-throat moments as each patient she meets brings forth a cache of experiences with them. The book comes in with its own slew of cartoons and hand drawn caricatures that offer a graphic interlude to the reader. It’s All About Smiles is a great read for anyone: irrespective of what your literary choices maybe. A light-hearted, quick paced and simple book, there is something in it for everyone. What sets Ranjani Iyer’s book apart from the rest of the crowd is her sweet narrative style, and the talent of presenting insider knowledge without coming across as “uppity.”

BOOKS ARE HER BFF Performer and presenter Dr Anita Ratnam shares her favorite books, authors and reading quirks in a chat with Richa Tilokani.

From one storyteller to another I exclaim that her list of favourites is neverending, and she laughs a beautiful laugh. “I am a storyteller by choice through dance and performance, so I enjoy writers who can spin fine yarn and take me through a great narrative. Those who can pull us out of our skins and transport us into alternate realities or force us to confront our own truths. That is the magic and art of great writing,” explains Anita.

Anita Ratnam’s love affair with books started when she was a little girl, reading while sitting in her father's lap. He loved reading and introduced her to Billy Bunter, Enid Blyton and all the British authors and poets. “I must have been about 4 or 5 when he read the adventures of Kenneth Anderson, the famous British hunter to me,” says Anita. This got her hooked on to reading and today she is an avid reader. She reads everything from history, parallel mythology, historical fiction, travelogues, biographies and autobiographies to even cook books. As a result Anita has many, many favourites –D H Lawrence, Oscar Wilde, Pablo Neruda, Ashok Banker, Devdutt Pattanaik, Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri, Shakespeare, Massimo Manfredi, Sam Bourne, Osho, Aurobindo, JK Rowling, Gabriel Marquez, Octavio Paz, Isabelle Allende, Clarissa Estola

This is why for the artiste in her, the reading and learning never stops. She considers herself a lifelong student and now has degrees in English literature, dance, theatre, television and women's studies. “I hold a PhD and am looking to continue my studies in the Post Doctoral area of research in parallel mythology and Asian traditions,” she shares. She also loves watching cookery shows on TV and dreams of being a food writer and a travelogue blogger, aided in good measure by her choc-a-bloc schedule that takes her traveling every month. Window to culture and countries Currently Anita is reading the Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George and has just finished the biography of Mata Hari by Pam Shipman. “Both were powerful women who caused frissons in their respective cultures and countries. They provide a fascinating insight into the lives and thoughts of unsung heroines who have usually been victims of a

one-dimensional and manipulated history,” she says emphatically. But she doesn’t identify with either of them. “Their eventual downfalls are sad and almost pitiful. In spite of their tremendously successful sexual politics and the great influence they had over the rich and powerful, they died sad and lonely deaths,” she explains. Then there are books that Anita just doesn’t like. “Fifty Shades of Grey is definitely one of them! There was so much buzz and hype around it and finally when I read it, the book was such a let down. It used the pegs of porn and sexual aberrations to create millions of voyeurs, not readers. I could not finish it,” she says. Plus she also stays away from books like scientific journals, mechanical books, gossip and celebrity magazines. Books are forever However the ones she loves, she keeps close to her heart and in her huge library which has over 2000 books. She adds with a smile, “I am currently coveting the Srimad Bhagavatam by Kamala Subramamian and Savitri by Sri Aurobindo and look forward to adding them to my collection.” As she keeps adding titles, she also donates hundreds of books to the local libraries. A true blue book lover, you will always find a book in her handbag as “I read anytime of the day and everywhere – at airports, between flights, and the last thing at night always,” says Anita. “I have six titles next to my bed and read simultaneously, instead of finishing one book at a time. I am never lonely with a book beside me!” she sums up succinctly. Indeed, a great book is like a true friend – a source of comfort and joy forever!

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Pinkes, Paulo Coelho, Pico Iyer and others. “However my latest favourite author is Aroon Raman, who writes historical fiction and is out with a stunning book, The Shadow Throne about ISI, RAW and the ancient Kushanas as villains,” she smiles.


Of Israel Urmila Pullat adds a riveting touch to our section on world movies, by reviewing two Israeli films that create a powerful and lasting impact.

Kadosh Year: 1999 Language: Hebrew Director: Amos Gitai Cast: Yael Abecassis, Yoram Hattab, Meital Barda, Uri Klauzner.

Kadosh (meaning ‘Sacred’) will give you an insight into the rigorous confines of an ultraorthodox sect of the Jewish people. The plight of women is deplorable and we are hearkened to the similar plight of women in various parts of Indian society. What comes to mind immediately would be the extreme laws of the Khap Panchayats in Haryana that force women into submission with the threat of ostracism and even death. Sisters, Rivka (Abecassis) and Malka (Barda) walk the tightrope of religion, culture and the expectations thrust on them by their extremely conservative Jewish sect. The men of the community are engaged in religious study and the film opens with Rivka’s husband, Meir thanking God in his morning prayers ….for not being born a woman. That sets the tone for the rest of the film and we have a fair inkling of where


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Kadosh might take us. The movie portrays various notions about womanhood, the ‘use’ of women and the duties of men – it is disturbing, to say the least. Rivka and Meir (Hattab) have been married ten years but don’t have children. This becomes a huge issue, and it is assumed that Rivka is barren. The Rabbi advises Meir to divorce Rivka since the only reason to have a wife is so that she can bear your sons! And what is even more revealing is that the sect has a rule that allows a man to divorce his wife if she cannot bear him children. Rivka stomachs everything silently and leaves home after the divorce. Malka, on the other hand has an inner rebel in her. She is in love with a rock musician but she is forced to marry a Talmudic scholar, Yosef. Cruel and animalistic, he is

anything but respectful towards Malka. The notion that women are mere pawns in the hands of men, to be squeezed, crushed and modeled on their specifications seems an inherent belief of the sect. Malka goes out to meet her lover, Yaakov one night and a lot ensues. Watch this movie to recognise how varying degrees of patriarchy seep through various layers of society, across borders – it is not merely an Indian disgrace. Verdict: How patriarchal can patriarchy be? This movie will tell you. Rating: 4/5 Hot: A complete insight into an ultra-orthodox sect of Jewism. Not: Very bleak.

Browntree is now open at Phoenix Market City, in Chennai. We take you through the new beginning.

Browntree’s roots have expanded further, with the new store that opened at Phoenix Mall in May this year. Abinandan of Browntree explains, “The Phoenix Mall store marks Browntree’s foray into shopping malls. We already have a store in Velachery but customer demographics are totally different at Phoenix Mall, attracting people from all over south Chennai.” The 14th store in all, Browntree now has four outlets in Bengaluru and ten in Chennai. Walk into Browntree to experience a delicious display of dry fruits, spices, organic food, health food, roasted snacks, sugar-free products, low-fat products, coffees and teas, chemical-free vegetables, juices and syrups, imported chocolates, biscuits and gift hampers. “Our variety in food is unmatched and quality is our primary focus. We have been known for providing a massive range of dry fruits and spices. We are also very proud to have been able to help customers choose with ease by giving them prompt service that exceeds their expectation,” explains Abinandan. Eager to check out the new store? Head to Shop No: 57 & 58, #142, Phoenix Market City, Velachery Main Road, Chennai-42. Phone: +91 44 30083618 /19

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Ajami Year: 2009 Language: Arabic, Hebrew Director: Scandar Copti & Yaron Shani Cast: Fouad Habash, Shahir Kabaha, Youssef Sahwani, Scandar Copti.

I chose two movies from Israel this month, having never watched the films of that region. I was curiously surprised by the sameness of experience of its people with ours and those of many other countries. Communalism, hatred and orthodoxy are everywhere. It is simply the degrees that differ. Ajami is a movie reminiscent of many such movies on poverty, hatred, anger and death that continue to fascinate me in their depiction of despondent realities that know no border, language or religion. Ajami is based in the Arab ghettos of Israel, mainly in Jaffa. Scandar Copti, the Palestinian director of this movie hails from there and just like in the Brazilian movie, ‘City of God’, the non-actors make Ajami all the more realistic. Five chapters are threaded together to form the narrative of this movie, which is narrated by the young Nasri (Habash) living in Ajami, Jaffa. His brother, Omar (Kabaha) is one of the main protagonists of this saga. His uncle is threatened at his restaurant by an operative of a dreaded


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Bedouin gang-lord’s cartel. When the uncle shoots the man in self-defence, a series of unfortunate events follows. The gang declares revenge and is out to kill anyone related to Omar’s uncle. In the first of many depressing casualties in the ruthless game of revenge and money, they kill Omar’s neighbour assuming him to be Omar. Omar’s family is in grave danger and Omar takes it upon himself to try and set things right. He approaches Abu Elias (Sahwani), a wealthy member of the community for help. Unbeknownst to Elias, Omar is romancing his young daughter and this becomes the plot for one of the five chapters in the film. Omar begins to work at Elias’ restaurant and Elias intervenes and buys the family a few days of peace. You will be amazed at how unjust the meting out of ‘justice’ can be. Justice is a luxury of the rich and powerful and certainly not something that is available to Arabs in Israel. In another chapter, Malek a young Palestinian boy illegally crosses into

Israel and begins to work for Elias. While watching this film, you will wonder how everything is connected. The film holds your attention throughout and beautifully weaves all the chapters into one sordid tale of poverty and despair. I will not spoil the experience for you by revealing more details. Ajami is a gentle reminder of how dangerous it is to play with anger. It lso shows us the sorry state of affairs of Palestinians in Israel, the rising hatred between the two communities and it showed me yet another facet of why people turn to crime. A great watch! Verdict: Confusing at times but there is never a dull moment. Rating: 4/5 Hot: The portrayal of the ruthlessness and immediacy of anger and the depths it can take one to. My insight: I watch movies like this and I am always left with a sinking feeling in my stomach – when will all this change?


Photo Credits: Abhay Kumar 86

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Haute dining rarely looked this good! This month, our guest columnist Vidya Singh got together with an eclectic group of beautiful people and headed for dinner to a city favourite – The Great Kebab Factory at Radisson Blu, GST Road. What followed was a delectable mix of great food and engaging conversations.

From left to right: Ashwin Aggarwal, Alisha Abdullah, Farah Aggarwal Vidya Singh and Chaitanya Rao JUNE 2013



It was a bunch of uber cool people meeting at The Great Kebab Factory at the Raddison Blu to have dinner, and if there are friends and food, there can only be fun! Acclaimed designer Chaitanya Rao who dresses up the biggest stars of Kollywood, had just returned from a stint in Switzerland for a shooting schedule. He is currently working on five films with Taapsee Pannu, Ajith Kumar, Karthi Sivakumar and Shruthi Haasan. Also in our dinner gang was Alisha Abdulla, the pint-sized powerhouse of muscle and the only woman motorbike racer in the country, who nonchalantly told us that she has been competing with the guys in the open category for the last twelve years! She has participated in Formula BME, the National Rotax Championship and Indian Junior Touring Cars. She exercises every day, can do sixty push-ups in a minute and leg presses up to 300 kilos! This girl is definitely my hero! The super cool Dr Ashwin Aggarwal and his beautiful wife Farah, are totally


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disciplined fitness enthusiasts. Ashwin is up with the larks every morning, running five miles at the beach, before heading out to the hospital. This morning he had completed twenty-five eye surgeries and can keep this level of work only due to his strict personal discipline. Very conscious of his food and nutrition, Farah is all admiration for her husband as she tells us about how careful he is of what he eats. We were a truly eclectic group gathered here with one commonality, that we had all eaten often at The Great Kebab Factory, that it had been some time since we had been here and that we had all loved the concept. This is a restaurant that has simplified the way to eat and I love it. We don’t need to worry at all about poring over the menu in trying to decide what we would like to eat. They bring it all out to us in an assembly line and I love the simplicity of the décor and the vibrant atmosphere that allows you to kick back, relax, join in and enjoy yourself.

Our dedicated server, almost like a sutradar of the story, will lead us through the meal, explaining in great detail what each kebab is and which sauce goes with it. He first brings us the aprons, a definitive sign of encouragement for us to use our hands and fingers and get as messy as we choose to! Then the deliciously cool Thandai, one of my favourites, is served. With it on the table is an array of sauces – the traditional mint, a yoghurt-based one almost like a raitha, with coriander and mustard, a peanut sauce and another one made with tamarind. Of course, there were the Laccha onions without which the kebabs simply cannot be eaten. Our starter was a crunchy salad that came with a strawberry vinaigrette dressing. Then came the kebabs in a seemingly never-ending line, each with its accompanying paratha, or roti. The Galoutis were the beginning and were unquestionably the best as the entire group asked for seconds. They were served with an Ulta Tawa Paratha. The vegetarian version – the Sabz Galouti –

The Kandhari Paneer Tikka was superlative, with paneer flown in from Delhi that was softer than butter and virtually melted as soon as you put it in your mouth! This came with the Peshawari Chooza that was chicken marinated with yellow chilli, cumin and cashewnut paste, resulting in a delicious blend of flavours, served with a saffron-flavoured Roti Shrimal. The Chaas (buttermilk) that came next was a welcome change of taste and prepared us for what was to follow. The Aloo Ki Chaat, which was potato wedges marinated with red chilli, tomato juice and honey, packed in quite a punch. The Nawabi Murgh Tikka was tandoor-cooked and tender, having

been marinated with cream, cheese and cashew paste. The grape sorbet that was to be a palate changer was itself so superb that some of us asked for seconds! The Bharwan Zucchini stuffed with paneer khoa and the Zaffrani Broccoli tasted refreshingly different, as did the Lamb Seekh Kebab.

the yellow Dal had a fabulous homemade taste to it. The selection of rotis included the methi paratha, a buttered naan and the garlic naan, all light and well made. The Sabzi and the Chicken Biryanis were delightfully light and well-flavoured. The Lamb Rogan Josh, I am told, is a raging favourite among the guests.

The Subzi Ki Seekh came on skewers and was quite crunchy, while the prawn marinated with red chillies and garam masala, presented as Tandoori Atishi Jingha, was quite a hit with the troops. The Bharwan Simla Mirchi offered an interesting twist, as it was made with sprouts and dried fruit. The highlight was the Jalpari Ki Taj – lobster, crab and prawn all blended together into a seafood mix.

Just when we were all sure we had eaten to our heart’s content, came the desserts. We requested our waiter to bring us just one portion of what they were showcasing to us. The little fruit platters were very welcome and just as we were beginning to feel virtuous about resisting dessert, out came the range of Kulfis. My favourite at TGKF has always been the Paan Kulfi, which has pieces of real paan in it. The classic Malaai was good as was the Mango, the seasonal choice. The Pomegranate Kheer and Gajjar Halwa were excellent, as were the Semiya Muzzafar and the Kubani Ka Meetha all of which could be reasons to return to The Great Kebab Factory very soon.

The superlative kebabs were followed by the main courses that were sent out by Chef Virgil James. There was no way we could say no to the simply outstanding Kaali Dal that was so light and delicious that we could almost eat it all on its own. Even

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was made with yam, channa dal and ridge gourd and the non-vegetarian version – the Galouti Kebab – was made with very finely ground lamb marinated in spices. The general consensus was that these were the best in the city and had definitely not changed over time in any way.


Vimmi Deepak is a connoisseur of all things classy. Ask the charming lady what her idea of luxury is, and here’s what you hear. So what does luxury mean to you? To me, it means COMFORT and it also means TIME. Time is the greatest luxury ever. What is the one luxury you cannot live without? My fully loaded iPhone. What is the one holiday destination you’d go back to in an instant? Gstaad, in Switzerland. It is one of my most favourite holiday destinations. Which luxury brands are you a fan of? Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Alexander McQueen. If you were to splurge on a surprise gift for your husband, what would it be? A private jet, because he travels a lot on work. What is a secret indulgence of yours that only a few people know about? That would be swimming in the deep sea. I enjoyed it at the Gold Coast in Australia. What according to you, is a colossal waste of money? Big fat Indian weddings. Though I enjoy attending them, I still feel they are a colossal waste of money. What inheritance would you like to leave behind for your children? My positive attitude. How would you define ‘the good life’ in your own words, and what would the best way to live it, be? To live the good life is to be able to travel as and when I want, in good health, wealth and a happy family in tow.


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Bootz Music Cds


Ritz Magazine June 2013 Issue  

I read a sarcastic and slightly caustic report last month on a leading website about Capt. Gopinath’s failed venture, Deccan 360. One of the...