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Volume 2 | Issue 11

Rendezvous with Indian Fashion High Priestess

- Ritu Kumar

Meet the “self-made” lot of Chennai Women’s Day special

– The Power list

10 coolest iPad apps The crazy

pet phenomenon

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Volume 2 | Issue 11 | March ‘11

Letter Editor-in-Chief’s









This is my last issue as the Editor in Chief of Taxi. When I began the job, I had no special agenda. I did hope to explore subjects of lifestyle that were critical to our readers. In my first few months, we ran stories from racism to body size fixation to media sensationalism. In all these months, I’ve only wanted one thing as feedback – to have kindled some thinking among the readers through the powerful words we have put forth in every one of these issues. I’ve tried to do the same in this issue of Taxi – talking about day to day issues or people who make a difference to our readers, because as I see it, I have always found Taxi’s readers to be a set of people with different yet strong opinions, intensely curious, and people who believe in writing that is deep and insightful and honest about the subject at hand. For the very first time, we have spoken of the several people who have made a difference to our city. They are the ‘selfmade’ achievers of Chennai, who through their vision have vastly contributed to the city’s upbeat lifestyle. In short, they have given the urban Chennai, a sense of definition. On behalf of Women’s Day, Taxi talks about a list of powerful women; women who have gone a long way in breaking the norms and women who aren’t exactly conformists. They’ve had a quest for life and a purpose of living. They are achievers in their own fields and have a sense of social responsibility. Meet fifteen of these powerful women. There is a lot more to this issue, but I will leave it to you to explore. As the cliché goes, some things are better left unsaid. As for Taxi, it has been a brilliant learning curve for me and has given me such fond memories to hold on to. As I am moving forward to continue my journey as a writer, I wish Taxi and its readers all the very best. At this very minute, a dialogue from the movie Annie comes to my mind - How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.


Vijetha Rangabashyam Editor in Chief


4 TAXI March 2011

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR CAN BE SENT TO The best feedback/opinion will be featured in our forthcoming issue.

Its official ! !

The Crimson Bakery has opened inside

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Come try our sandwiches, french loaf breads, pastries and dessert cakes. We specialize in bulk orders for your party events. # 13, First Crescent Road, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar, Chennai – 600 020. Office: 43504104, 24450849 | | Email:





Contents 10

Weaves of Magic Made in Chennai


Women of Power


The Language of Success


Are you living in Petocracy?


Set to Sparkle


Made in Heaven


Top 10 iPad apps


Junk in the Trunk



COVER: Photography: Sunder Ramu Cover: Lekha Washington Stylist: Vira Shah Hair & Makeup: Samantha, Page 3 Wardrobe: Forever New Venue: Parijatham Resorts

March 2011 TAXI 7

Ispahani Centre, 123/124, Nungambakkam High Road, Chennai 600 034. Tel No: 044-2833 0833/34 | E-mail:

10 TAXI March 2011

Weaves of Magic

She needs no introduction. In a time when people were looking up to Paris and New York for fashion, she began with a few hand block printers and two tables in a small village near Kolkata. Her vision when it comes to fashion has always been about bringing back the lost art of Indian crafts into the foray of textiles. Divinity lies in her detailing. Samyutha Balasubramaniam speaks to the high priestess of Indian Fashion, Ritu Kumar.

March 2011 TAXI 11

HOW DID LIVING IN DIFFERENT PLACES AFFECT YOU? HOW HAS IT CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY? Travel and education enlarges ones horizons and gives one a perspective of both life and design. My design philosophy has always been about bringing back tradition and incorporating those crafts and textiles to the younger generation. WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN FASHION?

embroidery and handloom weaving and they were disappearing. I was in a bid to keep them alive by using them in textiles. I realized that I needed an appropriate retail space to showcase them and the lack of the same at that time gave way to Ritu’s Boutique. WHAT WAS IT LIKE DESIGNING CLOTHES FOR INDIA’S ENTRIES TO INTERNATIONAL BEAUTY PAGEANTS?

I always enjoyed art and I even went to an art school. But what got me interested in fashion was my soul aim to revive traditional arts and crafts.

It was exciting and challenging. I was a judge in the panel when Sushmita and Aishwariya won and I took on a challenge of giving them a look that was inspired by our crafts and textile heritage, which would showcase our culture.



Ritu’s Boutique was an accident. When I came back to India from the U.S to do a course in Museology, I happened to explore the beauty of crafts in and around Bengal. They centered around printing,

Label signifies the move to more young silhouettes and modern day lifestyles, yet retaining indigenous way of ornamentation. It is an urban chic image that goes well with Western sensibilities.

WHERE DO YOU THINK THE FASHION INDUSTRY IS HEADED IN INDIA? I think Indian fashion has proven itself to be resilient alongside a lot of western wear which is not the case internationally, where indigenous handwriting is absent. It still has a long way to go though, to catch up to the scale of international fashion. WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FACED WHILE DESIGNING FOR INDIAN WOMEN? To keep true to what suits them, which is drape, colour and ornamentation. WHAT DO YOU FEEL FASHION MEANS TO THE AVERAGE INDIAN WOMEN TODAY? The variety and a choice of who she wants to be.

™™ Person you’d like to design clothes for – Julia Roberts ™™ Your favorite item of clothing in your wardrobe - Kurti ™™ Five things every girl must have in her wardrobe - Saree, crinkle, skirt, tunics, jeans and evening wear suits. ™™ Your favourite getaway Goa

12 TAXI March 2011

Advertiser’s Feature

Spring 2011 Line by


Think about the colours and spirit that spring evokes and you’ll see that Basics Life has got ‘down to business’ with this collection. The 3 in house brands Genesis, Probase and Basics029, each have a character of their own. ‘This Spring Basics Life has given men’s retail fashion a new face with their collection which is truly a “spring vision” ‘, says Mr.Suhail Sattar, Director of Hasbro Clothing Pvt Ltd. GENESIS The Shirts come in a range of fresh colors like green, orange, aqua and an array of vivid tones adding some spark to that formal yet stylish look. Dark colors in perfectly blended tones have been chosen for the “after dusk” collection. The design emphasizes stripes, solids, gingham’s, hounds tooth and checks. Genesis boasts of a collection of 150 options of shirts to choose from this season. The trousers are fine tailored in formal free flowing fabrics with a Polyester and Rayon blend to give it a sharp formal look. Accessorize this look with the perfect tie, handkerchief, belt and fine cotton socks which complete the look. BASICS029 Basics offers a variety of fabrics and finishes this Spring such as 100% cotton, cotton linen blends, 100% linens, cotton slubs, poplins, denims and more. Special finishes on fabrics and garments include Peach finish, Leather finish, Soft finish and more. New techniques have been launched in the roadies collection in tune with the fashion trends this spring. The collection sports 3 looks, Sporty metro, Classic Denim and The Vintage look. Attention to special finishes on fabrics, simplicity on garment construction, design play, colors and techniques are key. ‘The trousers & denims have undergone a complete makeover in styling, trim detailing including pocketing. ‘This line is so retail fashion led’, says Mr.Hanif Sattar, Director of Hasbro Clothing Pvt Ltd. Trousers have a variety of wash effects to give a soft and suede feel on the garment. Waiting in line to be launched are the 2 new denims fits, Skinny and Contour in appropriate stretch fabrics for added comfort. PROBASE Probase has experienced a 360 degree change. The new avatar is young, young, and young unlike any other offering ever witnessed. Funky shirts, t-shirts, Shorts, Three fourths, trousers, cargo pants, cool boxers and caps are a part of this Probase collection. Basics Life has always been in the limelight for its signature look be it formal, casual or just another day in the sun, and nothing’ has changed this spring.

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A Rising Star Lekha


Photography: Sunder Ramu Stylist: Vira Shah Hair & Makeup: Samantha, Page 3 Venue: Parijatham Resorts,, 9840052260

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Dress: Forever New Truck Bag: Masala Chai Umbrella: Stylist’s own Shoes: Model’s own



I had a ball shooting with everyone. The makeup, styling and the shoot as a whole could not be more perfect. ON VA QUARTER CUTTING Shot all night and every night for two months straight. I worked with some of my closest friends - Pushkar and Gayathri, Nirav on camera and Shiva and Charan as co-stars. It was a riot to shoot. I’m so glad I could be a part of something that pushes the boundaries of what one expects cinema to be. ON YOUR STINT WITH THE BIG SCREEN Cinema has always been a dream for me, and to live that dream is amazing. It’s like a drug, though, because one is always waiting for the next hit! ON YOUR CURRENT PROJECTS

Dress: Model’s own

I’m currently shooting Power with Rajkumar Santoshi, opposite Ajay Devgan. The film has stalwarts like Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt as well. It was fantastic shooting with Mr Bachchan! In my very first shot I had a whole page of dialogue to deliver and I was terrified! He was super supportive though, and the shoot was both humbling and a learning experience- not to mention, an absolute pleasure!

March 2011 TAXI 15

A LITTLE ON YOUR VENTURE WITH SCULPTING I’ve been sculpting since I was twelve and had my first exhibition when I was eighteen. Being a student of direction, my choice of media has become much wider now and I currently use everything from silicone to dried leaves to music to express myself. Hopefully you should see another exhibition coming up soon! CHENNAI VS BOMBAY Dress: Forever New Necklace: Masala Chai

16 TAXI March 2011

Chennai is home, but when one comes from Bombay, one sometimes

gets more respect in Chennai. I wonder why that is? I know Chennai like the back of my hand, and miss it a lot, but I have decided to adopt Mumbai and fight the fight. Mumbai is a larger pond than Chennai, that’s for sure, and I’m trying to swim both waters. YOUR AGENDA FOR 2011 I hope to see Power and Peter Gaya Kaam SE release and to have an exhibition of my last year’s artwork. I’d like to find my feet. I’d like to love and be loved and have a couple of laughs along the way.

RAPID FIRE WITH LEKHA Favourite heirloom My brain and heart Last two purchases My macbook pro and a trampoline! Oldest item in your closet Probably the hangers Favourite brands Way too many. Regina Spektor is playing as we speak, and Vampire weekend is on the playlist too When you want to feel sexy, you wear nice underwear! Favourite holiday destination A place I haven’t seen. Iceland anyone? Book you are reading Milan Kundera’s Immortality

Dress and Pot Mug: Masala Chai

Can’t do without gadgets My Phone and macbook pro

March 2011 TAXI 17

MADE in CHENNAI Here’s to the defiant ones, the exceptions, the rebels who quietly pushed the boundaries, bucked the trend and redefined ‘the norm’ in their area of expertise. Meet these self-made achievers of Chennai who have gone on to make a name for themselves to claim their rightful place in the recent history of the city.

HOW DO YOU RELATE TO THE CITY? I’m a Chennai boy! I came to this city with nothing, but the people adopted me here. The city and I have grown together and complemented each other. WHAT WAS THE TURNING POINT OF YOUR CAREER AS A RESTAURATEUR? The launch of Cascade. We created a sophisticated Pan-Asian restaurant with interiors designed by Parmeshwar Godrej that was different from the Chinese restaurants in the city. We discovered that the city was willing to pay more, provided there was good value. After the success of Cascade, my investors had the confidence that I could deliver.

Mahadevan M Entrepreneur/Restaurateur

Passionate food entrepreneur and Chairman of Oriental Cuisines Pvt Ltd, Mahadevan owns some of Chennai’s best restaurants. Tap the window of one of the few twenty cars lined up in front of Zara, and they’ll tell you why they love visiting the place so much. 20 TAXI March 2011



That depends on which city I am in! A typical day begins at 9.30 a.m. As an NRI, I spend 6 months of the year in India and the rest, abroad. When I am abroad, I know Chennai is in good hands. When I am here, I have to talk to my people in the US, so a working day could end well after 2 a.m.

TO WHAT/WHOM DO YOU OWE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR COMPANY? The team. While the location and the food are important, our biggest investment is in people. They have a sense of belonging with us. Our US chef went on to open 6-7 units himself! WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR EXPANSION IN THE COMING YEAR? In Chennai, we will have two brand new theme restaurants this year. We hope to increase the number of outlets of The French Loaf to 100. Internationally, we’re swimming cross-current in Dubai - the focus is on survival rather than growth. We now have 20 people in the US and the market looks very promising. We’re also taking our operations to Zambia and Tanzania. WHAT SHOULD WANNABE RESTAURATEURS BEAR IN MIND? There is money to be made in this field provided you have the commitment and self-belief. Know what you do and do what you know. And you have to be willing to put in those long hours.

We all knew what authentic pizzas taste like after Tuscana was opened in the city. Subway here was an instant success and to Vipin, the customer is his be all and end all. We definitely owe it to VipinSachdev for being one of the pioneers in introducing world cuisine to Chennai.




When I started Subway, it was such a big hit not just because it is a famous international brand, but because it was “mine”. People loved coming to Subway because I was handling the franchise, and I said to myself, if I can propagate someone else’s brand, why not my own? The decision I made that day to start my own brands was a turning point in my career. HAVE YOU HAD ANY ROADBLOCKS ON THE WAY?

Vipin Sachdev Entrepreneur/Restaurateur

In India, everyday is filled with glitches. Nothing comes easy. I have minor and major issues with my existing restaurants and with the ones I am about to open. The key is not to take them seriously, solve them and move on.

The very fact that I give my customers undue importance. I realise that they are shelling out hard earned money and what they require is of much significance to me.

I am shortly to open another branch of Tuscana in Chamiers Road. The restaurant is going to be a lot bigger and will serve a part of Kryptos menu as well. I will also be launching Burgundy, the Be Bar and Jade Walk in MRC Nagar. By 2015, I want to open my own Hotel with a fully functioning bar and restaurants. It will be a hotel which offers quality services at an affordable price. IF YOU HAD TO SHARE YOUR WISDOM TO UPCOMING ENTREPRENEURS Spend time with your employees. They are the pillars of your company and your success highly depends on them. Every leader is a manager but not every manager is a leader. Be a leader!


This is a creative field, so the timings of a corporate professional don’t apply. I’m almost always at the studio and my friends drop in there to visit me. In the mornings, I hit the gym, and then meet my clients and once work begins, it goes on till midnight. At times, I have gone for an entire week at work without sleep!

There are always challenges. People had doubts about my capabilities, probably because I was so young. I listen to people when they express themselves, but I stick to what I believe is right.


on where my work takes me, but if I’m away for too long, I miss the city and my grandmother’s cooking. Moreover, this is where my friends are.


Music Director


Undoubtedly the most hip and happening music director in Tamizh cinema who has composed for movies like Veyil, Aayirathil Oruvan, Madrasapattinam,Va Quarter Cutting and most recently, Aadukalam. He has just completed three songs for the movie Joker, a Farah Khan production.

My first break in cinema came through a jingle I had created for Radio Mirchi’s first anniversary. They asked for my show reel and when Vasanthabalan heard it, he liked it. He recommended me to Shankar Sir and that’s how I ended up creating music for Veyil.

G.V. Prakash


WHY DID YOU CHOOSE CHENNAI AS YOUR BASE? I am very attached to Chennai. It is home. I keep moving depending


ANY ADVICE FOR THOSE LOOKING TO MAKE A CAREER IN MUSIC? Be confident but look at yourself from the outside, like a mirror is being held up to you. And be truthful. WHAT IS THE SECRET OF YOUR SUCCESS AS A MUSIC DIRECTOR? Focus and the fact that I know the pulse of the audience. I am a hundred percent sure that if I enjoy hearing something, then others will love it too.

March 2011 TAXI 21


Sam Paul

Entrepreneur/Restaurateur If there’s one person who is responsible for Chennai’s hip and happening lifestyle that is Sam Paul. He has got the reputation of bringing in some of the best brands like Toni & Guy to Chennai. His restaurant Casa Piccola made the people of Chennai perceive dining in a different way. One of the most challenging tasks in running a business is to sustain quality and have people coming in consistently and Sam has undoubtedly overcome the two.

I was eating with a friend in Casapicola, Bangalore and we had a bet. He said it wasn’t possible for me to start a restaurant like Casa in Chennai. And here I am, a few years down the lane, running one of the most successful restaurants in the city. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE GLITCHES YOU’VE FACED IN ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS? They’ve always been external factors like overcoming rules and regulations and of course, the harassment of a few professionals. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE CHENNAI AS YOUR BASE AND NOT ANY OTHER CITY? Chennai is an unexplored market and there is so much more to be done

Rj-ing took a new dimension after Suchi delved into radio. Days wouldn’t begin for people without listening to her breakfast show, or even better, a horde of people wanted to become Rjs after being inspired by her. Now, she’s proving heights in playback singing and almost everyone of her song is a hit. Talk about multitasking! HAVE THERE BEEN ANY UNUSUAL CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED IN YOUR CAREER AS A SINGER? Indian singing definitely requires some amount of classical training and the playback singing industry generally prefers sweet, feminine voices for women. Being an untrained singer with a slightly unconventional voice was the biggest challenge. But somehow, the kind of songs I got to sing were stronger on tone, expression and power, which came easily to me.

Suchitra Krishna Kumar Playback Singer, RJ, Television Host

22 TAXI March 2011

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE POIGNANT MOMENTS YOU’VE HAD AS A SINGER? Poignant incidents happen all the time. Srikanth Deva actually stands up and claps if I ace a song, Mani Sharma treats

here. It is a promising city for all the entrepreneurs and there is no doubt that it will be THE city in the next few years. WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL EVERY DAY ROUTINE LIKE? We deal with a lot of IAS and IPS professionals and most of my work is done through the phone. My day goes in designating work to the people in charge. I only interfere with the finances and oversee the overall operations. WHAT ARE PLANS?



We’ve taken over Toni & Guy for the whole of South India. I’m planning to open outlets in Adyar and Anna Nagar and soon in Hyderabad as well. I’m also in talks with the concerned people to bring down a renowned international ice cream brand to Chennai. WHAT WOULD YOU ADVICE BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS? Never give up!

me like a daughter, Devisri Prasad and I bond like long-lost twins, Thaman and Dharan are wonderfully caring brothers. When Rahman Sir looked me in the eye after he heard my takes for his Telugu film ‘KomaramPuli’ and said “Sounding good, man!”, I thought I was going to faint! My years as a playback singer so far are full of gooey-warm, happy incidents! WHAT LIES AHEAD SUCHI? 2011 is a year of learning and travel for me. Apart from what I learn at Sandy’s, I go for music lessons and plan to do a teacher’s training course in yoga too. Also, I’m focusing on taking my stage concerts to the next level of showmanship. WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO ASPIRING PLAYBACK SINGERS? Like Whoopi Goldberg says in Sister Act, if you wake up in the morning and can think of nothing but singing, want to do nothing but sing, then that’s what you are meant to do and it would be a crime to not pursue it. Devisri Prasad says pretty much the same thing.

go shopping while you’re supposed to be working, and don’t switch jobs without due consideration. Of course, I often break the rules, but it’s good to have them” says Tishani Doshi, a selfmade writer, who doesn’t just write for the sake of writing. WHAT WERE SOME TURNING POINTS YOU’VE HAD ALONG THE WAY? The first turning point would be discovering a book called Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. The second turning point would be Rilke. The third would be a woman called Cathy Smith Bowers from North Carolina who encouraged and nurtured my poetic ambitions.

of income, which meant that either I lived in poverty or moved back to the family house. After 8 years of student-like poverty I decided to move back home. That was a decade ago, and I’m still here. WHAT’S LIKE?




It’s highly typical actually. I like rituals and routines, so I basically have a pattern that I follow regardless of where I am. This involves Yoga, breakfast, writing, lunch, reading, nap, tea, walking, more writing, and reading. Food is important, fresh air is important and of course, friends. WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR SECRET TO SUCCESS?

Tishani Doshi Poet/Dancer/Writer/Wanderer


“The best advice anyone ever gave me was from the American poet CK Williams. He told me to treat writing as a job. That means, don’t do anything else when you’re supposed to be at work. That means have working hours, don’t answer calls while you’re working, don’t

Well, actually, no I couldn’t have chosen to be anywhere. Madras is the city I was born in and where my parents still live. When I decided to become a full-time writer the first thing I did was to quit my job, which meant that I quit my steady source

Success isn’t actually a word I associate with my life. It reeks of corporate smugness (to me). But, I suppose I’ve been successful in engineering the kind of life I want to live and this has happened mainly because of what I think is my greatest talent: stubbornness (read, perseverance). It really does go a long way. As does a strong support system.


embellished design. I have now toned it down a little to strike a balance.

Lakme Fashion Week Mumbai 2002. It was not just about me - it was about being pitched against so many designers with their own thumb prints from across India, all under one roof. The experience reaffirmed that my designs were unique and distinct.



Rehane Yavar Dhala

When I first began in Chennai, I did simple silhouettes with excellent cuts and no embellishments. There were no takers. Sadly, even today, there are no takers for a simple wellcut trouser. It’s almost always unsold in my boutique. Nobody even tries it on. But when I wear it, people want to know where I bought it!



Her name is synonymous to fashion. She is definitely one of the first and most dynamic fashion designers to catapult the name of Chennai into the world fashion.

More is less. I decided to change my design definition and go the opposite direction - from simple, unembellished to flamboyant, over-

Belief in myself and dogged determination. Nothing on earth can stop me! I believe everything starts in the mind. So, when someone gave me a copy of Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, none of it was new to me - I already knew and practiced what was in the book. ANY WORDS OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE JUST STARTING OUT IN FASHION DESIGN? If you think it’s easy, think again. If you think just because you’re from Chennai, your collection will be accepted here, forget it. If you think making a style statement will work, you will hardly get any response beyond media labeling it as off-beat. If you’re in it for the money, you will never succeed. Few people have the gift of making money and they make the best finance professionals, not designers. And finally, you will have to twist and bend yourself - be willing to make ghaghras for brides. It can also be very interesting.

March 2011 TAXI 23

Womenof Power T Kiran Mazumdar Shaw For her innovation Recipient of the Businesswoman of the Year Award, She is the Chairman & Managing Director of Biocon Limited, a company that has been featured among Top 20 Indian companies in Forbes ‘Best under a Billion’ list.

hey are leaders of states, bankers, entrepreneurs, cultural icons and writers. They are headstrong, headlong and they are burgeoning by the day. Who comes to your mind when you think of powerful women? Is it your mother who is the epitome of multitasking? Or the humble Pratibha Patil who happens to be the first women president of our country? Powerful women have determined the course of events and the forms of human culture. They originated, founded, governed, prophesied, created great art, fought for their rights, and their people.

Shabana Azmi For her social awareness

Naina Lal Kidwai For her corporate acumen

A veteran actor who has also been actively involved in fighting AIDS, child survival and injustice in real life.

Currently the country head of HSBC Bank, India, Kidwai has also been awarded the Padma Shrifor her contribution inpromoting Trade and Industry.

24 TAXI March 2011

Kiran Bedi For her fearlessness She has been actively involved with welfare policing and is India’s first and highest ranking woman officer who joined the IPS in 1972.

Arundhati Roy For her thinking A woman of controversy, Roy is also the recipient of The Booker Prize for her novel, The God of Small things. Letting go is not in her nature.

Saina Nehwal For her dedication The first Indian woman to reach the singles quarterfinals at the Olympics and is also ranked number 5 in the world by Badminton World Federation.

I am not afraid. I am born to do this – Joan of Arc

Dr V Shanta For her healing hands The chairperson of Adyar Cancer Institute, Chennai, DrShanta’s contribution to curing cancer is boundless. She has also won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service.

Shobana For her grace

Indra Nooyi For her knowledge

Her creativity and mysticism in terms of acting and Bharathnatyam has always been alluring. She has been honoured the Padma Shri award for her contribution to Indian cinema and Bharatnatyam.

CEO of PepsiCo, Nooyi has been featured as number one on Fortune’s list of “50 most powerful women”. The Indian Government has also awarded her the Padma Bhushan for her work. March 2011 TAXI 25

Mallika Sarabhai For her expressions An exponent of Kuchipidi and Bharatnatyam, Sarabhai is also well-known for her freedom of expression.

Powerful women are those who resist and overthrow oppressive traditions and regimes and pursue their vision in spite of the personal cost. These are women who at all times have a zest for life which is what makes them quite so powerful and remarkable. For power is not just about money, looks, lifestyle or opulence. It is a quality, for some it is inherent and some it is acquired. Each woman on this list defines powerthrough their contribution to the society. Here’s Taxi’s fresh look at power and creative influence.

Nandita Das For her acting An actor with a difference, she also speaks to campaign for child survival, against AIDS, and violence against women.

Bombay Jayashri For her voice The might of her voice is identifiable from any part of the world. She is a recipient of many awards for her talent as a classical musician. 26 TAXI March 2011

o! l l e H

Hola !



of Success by Vibha Batra


earning a foreign language has long topped ‘Favourite Hobby’ lists across age groups in our country. But what was once merely a passion has evolved into something much more serious. Indeed, mastering an alien tongue is now an important tool for career advancement! CHANGING GLOBAL LANDSCAPE As it happens, language is but a tool of self-expression and communication. And with globalization being the order of the day, more and more people are turning towards foreign languages to clamber up the ladder of success. Today, fluency in foreign languages is perhaps the best way to give your CV that cutting edge. It increases your chances of netting an exciting job, getting a promotion, an overseas posting, and even going on business trips abroad.

28 TAXI March 2011




With giant multinationals setting their offices across the globe and the rapid globalization of the workforce, it becomes all important for one to know more than one language. According to a survey conducted by the Modern Langauage Association, knowing rare languages has now become a premium skill; a skill that translates into premium job opportunities and plum financial rewards. Take Rohit T., for instance. A Business Development Manager with a leading corporate house, he took to learning French as his previous job involved a short stint abroad. “Global expansion is the order of the day and corporates put a lot of premium on communication. In a competitive scenario, you need a skill-set that sets you apart. Being multi-lingual gives you a competitive advantage and boosts your career prospects.” NEWER HORIZONS Mastery over a foreign language also happens to be an effective way to broaden your horizons. It expands your target job market significantly, helping you cast a wider geographical net. This way, you can search for your dream job without being restricted to a certain region or country! Shamila of In a Word, a popular language academy in the city has this to say: “We have a large number of students enrolling in. Most of them aspire for jobs in the IT sector and feel that knowing a foreign language will help them bag exciting projects and move up the ladder.” AT HOME, ABROAD And what about those who go across seven seas in search of better job prospects? In the current global business context, relocation is the norm. Having a great command over English is simply not enough. On the other hand, learning the local language enhances one’s understanding, not to mention respect, of the new culture and people. It also helps them feel ‘settled’ in their new home. Leena Mohan, whose husband’s business project took them to Holland, was determined to learn Dutch. With the help of a tutor, she picked up enough

Dutch to understand the locals and make herself understandable. Says Leena, “When you move to a new country, learning the language helps you mesh with the local community. They accept you so much more easily if you talk and dress like them. It goes to show your interest and commitment towards your new home.”

OPENING VISTAS AND HEARTS That’s just one end of the spectrum. On the other, there are people whose jobs involve constant interaction with foreigners. In such cases, knowing the language helps them put their clients at ease. Even a smattering of words opens up hearts and sets the stage for mutually

March 2011 TAXI 29

beneficial communication. A multilingual person has an insider’s view into foreign cultures, a must for opening new vistas for business opportunities and building longterm relationships. Sushmita Prasad, who owns Akasaka, a popular Japanese restaurant in the city, echoes this sentiment. “In the hospitality industry, making people feel at home goes a long way. So, yes, knowing Japanese is a definite plus. I made a real effort to learn more about their tradition and culture and I guess it has paid off. Today, I can interact with the chef effortlessly and guests are pleasantly surprised when I address them in their own tongue!” WORTHY VOCATION Such is the draw of language that many dyed-in-the-wool professionals have given up their rewarding careers to follow their heart and pursue it. R. Srinivasan, a former corporate professional is now a language expert at Japanse Language School. He has been teaching the language for the last 7 years, a job he is really passionate about. Noting the rising demand for Japanese, he says, “There are scores of Japanese companies in the country today. And since, the Japanese don’t speak English, they expect their Indian recruits to

30 TAXI March 2011

speak their language. So much so that some companies give their new recruits a strict deadline - a little over a year to speak Japanese reasonably well! As can be expected, people then flock to the language institutes. In my opinion, this trend will only increase in the years to come.” CAREER OPTIONS GALORE Competency in a foreign language opens many a door. There has been a constant demand for multilinguists in sectors such as travel and tourism, translation, teaching and research. With the world morphing into a global village, knowledge of a foreign language puts a notch above monolingual candidates even in nontraditional domains – Information Technology, Hospitality, Education, Music and Arts, Commerce and Trade sectors, Government Services, Banking and Public Relations. A SUPPORTING ROLE Knowing a foreign language can help you in your career as a supporting element as in the case of Yuvraj G., an aviation engineer currently working for an airline company in Australia. He went to Paris for his internship where his fluency in French proved to be a veritable boon. “I always had a fascination towards French culture. I picked up the language during my

school days. Little did I know that my hobby would come so much in handy later in life!” BY POPULAR DEMAND So what languages are ruling the roost today? What languages are considered the most useful in the job market today? Remarks Shamila, “I think every language has its own demand”. We offer many language courses and every year, all our batches are full!” Swati V. of Max Mueller Bhawan feels, “French, German and Spanish retain their popularity but there is also an emerging demand among recruiters for Mandarin, and Japanese.” AN ENRICHING EXPERIENCE Learning a foreign language comes with many other advantages. It enriches the personality and adds to one’s confidence. Learning a foreign language leads to intellectual growth and enhances mental development. It generates cross-cultural awareness and makes one more sensitive to linguistic and cultural issues. So, if you have an ear for languages, and if you want to give your CV that extra zing, now is the time. Invest your time and money in learning a foreign language and get set to reap rich rewards!

Are you living in



by Subartho Battacharya

Humans have confronted autocracy, bureaucracy, meritocracy, why evenaristocracy, but nothing has been more slippery thanPetocracy! Dictators have fallen, governmentshave dissolved, geniuses have wandered away, but some pets have managed to crack the human love code so profoundly well that they’re now found on our beds, around our necks, below our sheets and inside our heads. Hitler of all people had a pet! Pets patrol our backyards, float in our water tanks, out-sniff our kitchens and invade most of the living room. Lightning struck my backbone when I found a dog with his own facebook profile! These furry sidekick family members plunder not just love and attention but a substantial amount of unclaimed territory in our lives.

32 TAXI March 2011

Imagine, just when you thought everything was hunky-dory, your sleepy-eyed dog insists you surrender yourheavenly hammock to him. Imagine you and your pet watching a movie and having to shareall of the popcorn. Now imagine your pet raising its brows in order to make an unfairclaim.Or imagine your pet dragging you with the phone cord in its mouth. If any of these are even a trifle true, you may be living in petocracy! Let me demonstrate the problem with a betterillustration. Watching a dog’sto-and-fromotion from the corner of his eyes, mytwenty-four year old friend could only check his love for the dog a woof longer. I may admit that the dog had melting eyes, but my friend’s distraction seemed

permanent. Here I was having a fulllength discussion of the deepest and the most unusual kind, and a dog stole all the space as if with a remote control. Raghu, a photographer and a NatGeo’s wildlife community buff, explains love for animals as an ‘involuntary voluntary action’.Well, one thing is for certain. Petocracy is no hypocrisy! Some specialised spa and grooming services in the cities qualify as hard bound evidence. Dogs and cats are outright chartbusters in worldwide pamper, but there are hoards of other animals baptised as pets every year as well. While being pet-friendly doesn’t have to include sharing rugs and mugs, manypet owners go beyond justthat. Some pets are known to share swimming pools, while some laze for hours in bathtubs with their owners. I even

caught someone saying “Ginger and I share things I doubt I’d share with a human”! Being over-smitten bypets is a common phenomenon. Umpteen pet owners let their cats and dogs lie with them in beds. Other intimate instances of licking, lapping, playful biting, scratching and sharing of commodities are not unheard of. Chances of waking up with bubonic plague or worms aren’t low at all to be dismissed with a whiff. Dogs can transmit Chagas disease, a life threatening cardiac and digestive showdown while cats can go a step farther and present you with the cat scratch disease, a deadly bacterial gig. There’re hoards of other common infections and allergies we’re obliviously threatened by in being intimate with pets. Sharing food with eternally hungry-eyed pets can pose a huge risk to children, but it’s not like the adults are to be spared. If animals are not new, what makes pets so lovable such that after a while they’re the ones governing us around?

Dr. Paul Fedrick of the city’s ‘Pets N Vets’ fame describes our weakness for pets as the need for unconditional love. Pets can bestow affection anywhere and anytime, and we happen to get addicted to just that. Because of this we often let them have their way with us. Dr. Fedrick also expounds that a pet’s body language is a remarkable way of communicating affection, something that we easily understand and reciprocate. “Need for vaccination and pet hygiene are essential for avoiding zoonotic diseases” is something Dr. Fedrick stresses on. When asked if a larger-than-life pedestal has indeed been granted to our pets, Dr. Fedrick thoroughly agrees to this adding, “Animals are not to be blamed for it, only humans are to be blamed for it!”

of chewing up the neighbourhood, as they get older, their unkempt behaviour becomes quite a problem and a bittoolate. Many pet owners face these problems silently, not knowing what to do. I sayit’s time to show them who’s who. If Snappy wants to occupy the head of the bed, he’ll have to learn to be happy with the foot. If Spiky is demands an untimely walk, he’ll have to hold on longer than that. If Spotty is an outright blackmailer, she better know what’s coming next. For, if our love for pets is not disciplined and authoritative, we’ll become our pets’ pets for sure!

Out of sheer emotions some of us have stopped using dog collars and being stern, but these have led to serious repercussions. Most pets don’t follow rules or growbetter at table manners. While the pups are capable

March 2011 TAXI 33

Advertiser’s Feature

Sparkle Set to

by Amrita Samant

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one. - Confucius


fter being wrapped up in layers all winter, we welcome the sunshine of spring. And what better way to welcome the season than to adorn oneself with the most prized and highly valued gemstones through this wedding season? Throughout history, they’ve been admired by royalty and worn as symbol of courage, strength and invincibility. Yet, there’s no denying that they also are a traditional symbol of romance and love. First mined in India over 4000 years ago, diamonds were used to decorate religious objects where it served as a charm against evil. The actual origin of diamonds still remains a mystery. It is known that diamonds were created by nature over 900 million years ago where the elemental forces of heat and pressure transformed carbon into diamond about 200 km below the earth’s surface. The volcanic mass in which this crystallization took place then thrust upwards and broke through the earth’s surface to cool in kimberlite pipes where diamonds are found today.

34 TAXI March 2011

It is a very difficult task to recover gem-quality and industrial diamonds. Approximately 250 tons of ore must be mined and processed from the average kimberlite pipe to create a one-carat, polished, gemquality diamond. Little did we know that the majority of diamonds mined today are used for industrial purposes. Yes, 80% of mined diamonds are used for the industrial purposes of cutting, drilling, grinding, and polishing. Chennai Diamonds, based at Mylapore, is one such brand name which embraces the luxury of diamonds of the finest quality, bridging the traditional with a touch of avant-garde feminism. Their mantra is, there is something for everyone!

Jewellery purchases mark important milestones in the journey of life. Diamonds are no longer just an object of desire. Elevated from a mere stone to express status and love, diamonds are at a whole new paradigm where they have become a necessity for a betrothal. Thus, they have an aura of a lingering love affair. There are four main factors by which the quality and value of a diamond are determined. They are color, clarity, cut and carat. Staying true to the distinctive style,

Chennai Diamonds’ new range offers an essentially classic look with a definite nod towards fashion trends. Stunning sparkles combine to form elegant pieces, whilst a rich palette of turquoise, mauve and green highlights add a refreshing burst of color to the collection. The diverse collection focuses on the current obsession for high end designer styling.The collection combines the parallel philosophies of romance and true craftsmanship as a fitting tribute to all things beautiful.

All pieces are certified and customized designs can be made to order too. Individual attention to customers is also another attractive facet.

Normally diamonds are mainly associatedwith women. The sublime love affair between the two cannot be disputed and goes a long way back to the 1930s which happened to be a bad decade for the diamond industry. The price

Chennai Diamonds is located at 46, Cathedral Road, Mylapore. Contact 4210 4050 / 51 for further details.

Today, diamonds are the most mined and carefully graded gems. They are cut with great precision and come in many shapes, degrees of quality and prices. Their beauty, mystery and magic shine for millions around the world and express all that the heart feels but cannot be put into words.

of the diamond had declined worldwide. Amidst many wars, the idea of a diamond engagement ring didn’t take hold. Then began the most brilliant advertising campaign of all time: A Diamond is forever. Hence with changing times even men have been enamored by its beauty. The exclusive section for men at Chennai Diamonds exhibits - diamond studded watches, cufflinks, tie pins, and spectacles.Simple designs preferred by the ‘gen-Y’ unobtrusively sits next to the elaborate bangles, bracelets and wedding collections.

March 2011 TAXI 35

Made in

Heaven by Saritha Rao

“I felt lost in a sea of 11,000 guests! The entire town came to a standstill. The wedding took place in an open ground where something like a movie set was erected. Hostesses wearing miniskirts, looking like they belonged to a plane rather than a traditional South Indian wedding, ushered us to our seats. The women guests wore diamond jewellery that paled in comparison to their zari-laden sarees. Everything was big, bright and blingy!” This, from a friend who recently returned from a high-profile wedding in small-town South India. The mellow modest-budgeted South Indian wedding is now firmly a thing of the past. Say hello to the big fat South Indian wedding with all the glitz of a Bollywood production! BUDGET Parents want nothing but the best for their children and wedding budgets are indeed going through the roof. But a ‘sky’s the limit’ budget

36 TAXI March 2011

doesn’t necessarily make the wedding planner’s job any easier. SaraswathiKrishnakumar, who runs a wedding planning company called Event Art with her sister Lakshmi Ravichander says, “What ends up happening is that the client expects the moon but cannot believe it comes at the price it does. If the client has some idea of a budget any budget - it is a great start point to create an interesting theme.” But does a big budget necessarily translate to a more interesting wedding? Though admittedly it does cost more to create a theme wedding, Saraswathi says, “Given a budget, any wedding can be made more interesting. The only thing that changes is the scale at which the idea gets translated and the components used. For instance, the budget will determine the flowers that go into the floral decorations as well as the musician invited to perform at the reception. It will not take away from the core idea, though.” THEME Saraswathi spoke fondly of one ‘Nischayathartham’ (engagement) as part of a wedding she had organised. “The entire function was a statement of the family’s eco-consciousness. We created a Ganesha out of leaves at the entrance to the venue and the backdrop for the ceremony was also made entirely of leaves. We had lightbulbs inside ‘kuruttu’ leaf lanterns. We avoided disposable plastic plates and cups, and served typical Tamil food on plantain leaves and coffee in ‘tumbler-davara’ sets. The return gifts were terracotta items. This also enables us to do our bit for society by sourcing some products from NGOs.” Krithika was to marry Venkat, she decided to play planner for her own wedding and added a dash of symbolism to the wedding arrangements. “We used the theme of Meenakshi Kalyanam to denote the merger of our two traditions, Iyer and Iyengar. The two symbols we used were green parrot (Meenakshi’s symbol) and red lotus (being her brother, Vishnu’s symbol).” The invitation was green with a parrot motif. Krithika’s wedding saree

blouse h a d p a r r o t s embroidered on the sleeve and the immediate family was dressed in greens and reds. The ‘thambulam’ bags had a Tanjore painting-esque rendering of MeenakshiKalyanam on them, with Tulsi saplings as return gifts. As for decorations, the florist created a ‘thoranam’ making extensive use of fresh lotuses suspended from toy parrots. As luck would have it, the wedding venue also had a ready backdrop of MeenakshiKalyanam! VENUE GeetaVasudevan was clear that when it came to her son’s wedding, a claustrophobic wedding hall or star hotel simply wouldn’t do. She picked the very ethnic DakshinaChitra. She says, “I organised everything for Prashant’s wedding. Since the bride was Punjabi, we had a Baraat complete with band and horse. It was an al fresco evening reception and a night wedding. Our 800 guests from across India enjoyed a flute and veena concert at the reception where we hosted a buffet with a mix of North and South Indian cuisine. We were surprised that 250 of our guests decided to stay on and be part of the AryaSamaj wedding at 10 p.m. During the actual wedding ceremony, thanks to the serene ambience, the ‘mantras’

were clearly audible.” “The venue lends itself so well to the heritage ambience I wanted to create, that we used only twinkling serial lights and floral ‘thoranams’ to decorate the ‘mandapam’.” says Geeta. “We could have easily gone overboard on the decorations, but that would have robbed the place of its beauty.” OTHER IDEAS Saraswathi spoke to us of one wedding she organised where the typical Punjabi concept of a Sangeet function was given a new spin. “The clients wanted a pre-wedding party, but the Sangeet concept doesn’t really exist in Tiruppur. Instead, we took the spirit of the Sangeet function and customised it.” “The couple was escorted from the temple to the mandap by traditional Nadaswaram musicians and then by traditional folk dancers. We created a performance with professional ‘therukoothu’ actors, taking inspiration from a folk song from

March 2011 TAXI 37

the old Tamil movie, Navarathri. We kept the tune intact, but used fresh voices and customised the lyrics to incorporate the names of the groom and bride and details of their families.�says Saraswathi. Just goes to prove that to have a unique and memorable wedding, one need not be limited by budget or convention!

38 TAXI March 2011

The possibilities are endless...


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Top 10


apps by Abid Hussain

The iPad is not just an e-book reader, it is not just a video player or an mp3 player, it can literally replace some peoples laptops and Desktops. So, how does the iPad do that? Its the apps of-course; some are cool and some are downright horrible. The app store for many of us is a mess. But if you are bitten by the iPad bug like we are and find it difficult to navigate through the vast app store - searching for cool apps; you are in for a treat. Taxi presents the coolest iPad apps that you could download today, right away.

ANGRY BIRDS HD There is no iOS (the operating system that powers iPhone and iPad) without the awesome Angry Birds game. The game is pretty simple - you sling a bird to hit, well-guarded pigs at a small distance. The key is the angle at which you sling the birds. It’s the game that has got almost everybody who owns an iPad addicted to. IBOOKS If you are the couch potato who reads books all the time, you should get yourselves a copy of iBooks. There is a vast collection of paid and free books that you can download. You can flip through your books like how you would flip pages on a real book to read. With iBooks around, you will never miss your books or your black and white eBook reader ever.

42 TAXI March 2011

IMDB Crazy about movies? but don’t know which one to watch? This app is an absolute must have for anyone who watches movies. Imdb. com is probably the largest usercurated website relating to movies. Information about every movie, TV show and actor is available on imdb. Some even say – “if it is not on imdb it’s not a movie”. The imdb - iPad app is a pleasure to use, it gives you all the information that you could ask for relating to entertainment. I rate this app for everybody. FLIPBOARD Do you do social – Facebook, Twitter etc? You should checkout FlipBoard. The app transforms your social networks into a cool magazine; which you can read and share anytime. If you are big on social – I recommend you check this app out. PAGES To make things even with the Desktop world, you still need to process word documents. On the iPad the best app you could get to do word documents is Pages. Made by Apple this app is an absolute pleasure to use and work with. KEYNOTE Delivering snazzy presentation on the iPad is kind of cool these days. So, how do you do delivery those lovely looking presentations to impress your boss? Another app, named after the presentation software Keynote on the Mac is here to your rescue.

Download and use this software and your promotion is a guarantee. NUMBERS Assuming that your iPad is more than just an entertainer, you should get yourself a copy of Numbers to work on those projections. With Numbers around – you would not have to worry about spread sheets anymore. VIRTUOSO PIANO FREE 2 HD If you thought the iPad is a cool gaming console, wait till you become a Maestro playing Virtuoso Piano. With this awesome app – you can play on the virtual piano just like how you would play a real piano. The best part about this piano is – once you are done you can just drop it in your satchel and carry it around. ADOBE IDEAS This app is the mother of all mindmapping software, if you have a mind that is. This one lets you draw your mind out on a simple canvas in multiple colours – all with the help of your fingers. You can save your ideas, share them and even open them in illustrator (for vector editing). WEATHERBUG If you do worry about the rains, you should think weatherbug. The app is a joy to use; it has a clean interface with the latest forecast. If you do need more than the latest weather report the app will surprise you. You can actually move back in-time and see the weather change on a map.

March 2011 TAXI 43

Art it is! Chennai saw the launch of a one of a kind Art Gallery on ECR Road - ‘Art and Soul’. The art gallery has on display, the works of some of the best artists in the country. The gallery is a venture of none other than Nina Reddy, in an attempt to promote art and artists not just in Chennai but the whole of India. With the presence of art connoisseurs from all over Chennai, Art and Soul was inaugurated by Maniratnam and Suhasini Maniratnam.

44 TAXI March 2011

Chef Brent Savage at Sheraton On the Rocks at Sheraton Park Hotel brought us a one of a kind gourmet experience pioneered by Chef Brent Savage of Bentley Restaurant, Sydney. We’ve seen him in a few nerve-wracking episodes of Master Chef Australia, where he puts the contestants in all kinds of “pressure” tests. With his sous-vide technique, he prepared a few mouthwatering treats like Smoked Potato Mousse, Parmesan Custard, Milk Braised Pork Belly, Slow Roast Duck Breast and more.

March 2011 TAXI 45

Mark your dates Wine and Dine

Theater and Art



A two hour food photography workshop with hands on photography session will be spearheaded by ace photographer Kunal Daswani. The event will be presented by, which is an integrated platform for Creative professionals, giving them a free portfolio website and access to a powerful professional network. The entire event will be organized by Chennai Food Guide, one of Chennai’s renowned online food portals. The registration starts at 9 am.

The Madras players are launching their 2011 edition with KARNA, a play on one of the great heroes of the epic, the Mahabharata. The play scripted, designed and directed by Prasanna Ramaswamy

PARATHA FESTIVAL, CREAM CENTRE, UP TO MARCH 20 Cream Centre brings to you Paratha Festival including different variety of parathas made in asli ghee, served with boondi raita, daal maharaja, makhan (Indian Butter) pickles and red onions. The options are a wide variety to choose from whole wheat parathas and roomali ka parathas. BUFFET, THE MOVIES, SPRING HOTEL, UP TO MARCH 31ST

A PLAY ABOUT DEATH, ALLIANCE FRANCAISE, MARCH 11 – 13 A typical absurdist adventure, A play about Death is an attempt to tackle humanity’s favourite topics once a g a i n . The story revolves around Peter who starts performing one play but gives up and breaks away from the script to forge his own story. PAINTINGS BY MR. C SUGUMAR, LA GALERIED’ EXPRESSION, UP TO MARCH 15 Be a part of this art exhibition, which has on display the works of C Sugumar, who has won an award from Tamil Nadu Arts and Crafts Improvement Assocation in 2009 and is a life member of the same, which is recognized by the National Lalitha Kala Academy - New Delhi. ART EXHIBITION BY ASMAMENON, DAKSHINCHITRA, UP TO MARCH 15

Come on in and feast on the scrumptious buffet and The Movies, a global-cuisine restaurant at The Spring Hotel. And if that isn’t enough, for every two people on your table, the third can feast for free. So keep it hush-hush and bring on the people. This is one case wherein three is definitely not a crowd.

Enjoy the art exhibition by AsmaMenon, which celebrates Women’s Day through art.

ALL NEW TAPAS, RHAPSODY, COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT, UP TO MARCH 31ST Make a detour to Rhapsody for a new range of delicious tapas and other delicacies. Whether your passion is for meat or fish, vegetables or shellfish, pasta or pulses - there is something for everyone and you will undoubtedly be spoilt for choice! Try them for the perfect after-work wind-down.

46 TAXI March 2011



ru n


Junk in the Trunk


ADGETS This season

Hp TouchPad

T his s e as o n

In the era of iPods, Tablets and iPhones, HP has created yet another milestone by introducing HP TouchPad. The Touch Pad is designed in such a way that it is both sleek and portable. HP TouchPad has a massive 9.7-inch capacitive touch display with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. The quality of the pictures that TouchPad delivers is simply awesome but we have a doubt whether HP TouchPad’s screen uses an IPS panel like iPad or a TN panel like most tablets. Every single tablet fully depends on the OS of it and HP TouchPad has Web OS as its powerhouse. HP TouchPad has core apps like E-mail, Web browser, photos, calendar, media playback and chat are for the best use of the large screen HP TouchPad has.The bottom line is that HP TouchPad has enough potential to compete the iPad and challenge other tablets.

Dell Inspiron One 2305 The Dell Inspiron One 2305 is a super sleek All-in-one desktop PC with a super vivid 23″ widescreen touchscreen display. The system runs on Windows 7 and an AMD processor, and is designed to be an entertainment PC that is good-looking enough to fit in anywhere, even in your living room. The system comes preloaded with Dell Stage, a special touchscreen optimized user interface running on top of Windows 7. This software offers fast access to your content as well as enabling you to quickly share the content. The Dell Stage software resides on the desktop and offers quick and easy fingertip access to your music, photos, video, stickynotes, games, documents, news, shortcuts and more.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Samsung’s assault on the tablet market has swelled to a stupefying two devices now, with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (P7100). The design of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is relatively unique – it feels quite heavy and is hard to hold in one hand comfortably. Devoid of any kind of kickstand, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a very thin device, coming in at less than a centimeter and a half at places while still packing in a high end WXGA (1280×800) resolution display. Overall, we’re averagely impressed with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – we say average as we were a little bit excited about the original Galaxy Tab, and we can’t say that gadget is ever going to be on our gadget wish list any time soon.

48 TAXI March 2011

MOVIE BLACK SWAN Sometimes, in order to play a role, the artist has to live it first. Others might take it a little further and become the role themselves. “Black Swan” is, without a doubt, a beautiful movie that sweeps you away in a dream of music and drama. Somehow, the feeling of watching a ballet is quite strong, interrupted by scenes of protagonist and her struggles with her own self. Natalie Portman delivers an amazingly powerful performance, supported by the also great Vincent Cassel as the one who drives her to discover she is capable of anything wonderful. “Black Swan” may not be the film to win the Oscar, but we all know it is a strong contestant. Besides, taking a ballet to the screen can be a tricky move as you cannot spend the whole time on the stage. Nevertheless, “Black Swan “is quite interesting from the point of view of human drama and the realization that many of the obstacles we find in our lives are imposed by us. That’s a good reminder to keep when we are chasing our dreams.

BOOK THE MEMORY OF LOVE BY AMINATTA FORNA In Sierra Leone, a sleepless doctor tends to patients wounded and broken by the civil war. He befriends a British psychiatrist who grows obsessed with an older patient with haunting memories of the country’s postcolonial years. Forna’s portrait of Sierra Leone — its citizens and the overeager expatriates who pour in with good intentions — throbs with life. Yet her intriguing characters are too often undone by an overly constructed plot and florid writing. There are many tragedies in The Memory Of Love, one of which is that there’s a beautiful story trapped inside a bloated novel.

MUSIC BORN THIS WAY After all the tweets, talk and anticipation, Lady Gaga’s first new song in over a year arrived at 6 a.m. this morning -- and if fans were looking for something big, anthemic, positive and global, they weren’t the least bit disappointed. “Born This Way” is massive in every way: It’s a huge-sounding single with a pulsating beat and a love-yourself message that’s bound to pack dancefloors and blast from cars, computers and radios for weeks to come. The song is surprisingly reminiscent of Madonna -- recalling “Express Yourself” in several places and “Vogue” in the spoken bits -- but in the best way possible. “It doesn’t matter if you love him or capital H-I-M,” Gaga says at the beginning of the song. “Just put your paws up, because you were born this way, baby.” The beat then comes crashing in and the song is off to the races, building and releasing tension in its multiple but fluid sections. A collaboration with Fernando Garibay (who co-wrote Gaga’s “Dance in the Dark,” as well as songs for Britney Spears, and Enrique Iglesias), Jeppe Laursen and DJ White Shadow, the song is a stellar preview for the album of the same name, due May 23.

March 2011 TAXI 49









1. Suspicious (5) 4. Dawdling (7) 8


8. Thefts (9) 9. State of matter (3)



10. Acerbic (5)


12. Acquire a stake (7) 13. Include (6)




14. Atmosphere of the sun (6)


18. Ruminant quadruped (7) 17 18


20. Agave (5) 21. Garland (3)


22. Female teacher (9) 24. Ssupposed felon (7) 21



DOWN 1. Leaves (7) 2. Title (3) 3. Surrendered (7)


25. Equal chances (5)


Sudoku Sudoku

4. Hands on hips (6)

Fill in the missing spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 block have all the numbers from 1 to 9.

5. Guards’ headgear (5)

Difficulty level: Mild

6. Clever (9) 7. Enthusiasm (5)


2 9

11. Rapine (9) 15. Watch (7) 16. Map books (7)


3 4 3 9


18. Obligatory principles (5)


19. Bird of prey (5)

2 3



9 4

8 1 7 2





52 TAXI March 2011



17. Pot stand (6)

23. Watch closely (3)




4 9

At Express Avenue

S# 130, 1st Floor, Express Avenue, Royapettah, Chennai 600 014. Tel : + 91 (44) 2846 4550 / 2846 4551 Email :

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Chennai's leading lifestyle magazine