Feel Good

From Cleopatra’s Spa Treatment to Green Porn, we bring you the best ways to feel good in Mumbai

Browse Today: Upping The Aunty
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 10:54


If you’re Indian in any part of the world, you probably have a million aunties. Ones who stuff your face with laddoos because you’re too skinny, those whose pretty saris deserve a festival of their own, others who engulf you in a hug so big you can get lost in it for days. There are aunties who scold, there are those decked in gold, aunties who’ve gotten as old as mold. The aunty on whatsapp, the one with the cushy lap, the one who smokes at CCI bridge sessions and just doesn’t give a crap. And then there’s the one who makes it a weekly ritual, to ask about your impending nuptials. 

Aunties are a bountiful breed, and documenting them plus their personal style is Canadian-Indian designer Meera Sethi, through an adorable Tumblr account called Upping The Aunty. Started while she was doing a month-long artist residency program in Mumbai, #UppingThe Aunty is about viewing street style differently, through aunties who are up and about.

Street Style Reimagined

On her website, Meera explains, ‘I’m interested in changing the game on fashion. Who do we think is fashionable? How do we determine what style is? Who creates cool? I am documenting aunties with swag.”

And aunties with swag it is. Browse through the Tumblr account and you’ll find  a ton of style tips, for instance, how to team a sari with a sweater a la Renuka Aunty in Toronto. In Mumbai, Joyce Aunty rocks a dress and Poonam Aunty wears fire engine red sunglasses with no apology. And our favourite: Gunalaxsmi Aunty, who on a regular day looks like she’s embarking on an adventure, with a sari, hat, bag and dog, in a Tintin-style picture. While the photographs speak plenty on their own, sometimes they have you wishing for ‘Humans of New York’ style caption so you could know more about these interesting looking women.

Submit An Aunty of Your Own

Have an aunty who’s cool? Submit a new or vintage picture to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or post it on social media with the hashtag #uppingtheaunty.

This, Meera Sethi’s “homage to the fabulousness of aunty style”, is a mixed media project, which will soon involve painting as well. Canvas-sing for the aunties!

Getting there: Visit http://uppingtheaunty.tumblr.com, view the Facebook page here, follow her on Twitter on @meerasethi.

This Week: Gather for Fins & Safety Pins
Monday, 01 September 2014 11:05

Japan Dolphin Day: What You Should Know

 Every year, from September through March, dolphins are herded to the shores of Taiji, a town located in Higashimuro District in Japan. Apart from being captured for sale into amusement parks and captivity, these Dolphin Drive Hunts lead to torture and killing for the production of dolphin meat products.

But you already know this. You’ve probably even watched The Cove, an Oscar winning documentary that was secretly recorded over five years that highlights the controversial dolphin killing techniques used in Taiji.

Wondering what this has got to do with you or how you can help? Brought to India by the Co-founder and Creative Director of the fashion label Koecsh, Kresha Bajaj, Japan Dolphins Day is a public event that brings dolphin lovers and supporters together from across the globe. In collaboration with the official Japan Dolphin Day campaign, Kresha and her team will be staging a peaceful protest on Marine Drive on Saturday, September 6 from 3.30pm onwards. Turn up this Saturday dressed in blue to show your support or read up more about the cause here and help prevent bottlenose neck situations like this for the future.

It’s small scale right now, but hey, it’s a start.

Getting There: Sign up for Japan Dolphins Day peaceful protest on September 6th here, watch the documentary The Cove here.

Fashion’s Night Out Is Back!

Need to fuel your own cause next?

Head to the Mumbai edition of Vogue’s Fashion Night Out (FNO) on September 4 at Palladium Mall, where you can sip on champagne and shop until midnight!

Like last year, FNO will bring luxury brands, Indian designers, makeovers, freebies and super discounts together in the same space. Also look out for limited edition FNO Thukral & Tagra t-shirts, along with the Amrapali bracelets  that have been specially crafted for the event.

Getting There: Vogue’s Fashion Night Out will be held on 4th September at  Palladium Mall, 6 pm to midnight.

#bpbPhotoTrail II : Instagram Pick
Friday, 22 August 2014 15:06

What: #bpbPhotoTrail II- in this space we give you one new Instagrammer to follow through a picture trail. Follow us on @bpbweekend.

Why: After nominating @turmeric design as the first person to start the second round of our  #bpbphototrail, her vote is in!

@turmericdesign picks @scissortongue, “a doctor who also draws, tells lovely little stories through words and visuals and is a simultaneously playfully, disarmingly mad character, and an easily affable one.”

Stay tuned next week to see who @scissortongue picks as his Instagrammer of the week. To nominate your favourite Instagrammers, tag them in our Instagrammer of the week post here. At the end of the month, they could be added to our list of favourites.

When: You’d like to cut to the chase.

Total Recall: British Pathe’s New Collection of WWI Films
Thursday, 07 August 2014 12:12

If like this writer you’re a major history buff, then the launch of British Pathe’s definitive collection of World War One films to mark 100 years since the Great War, is the best way to spend a rainy day.

Rifle Through

Over the weekend, we deep dived into the archives and unearthed a super collection of 1029 WWI films including propaganda and press like Frank Holland’s political cartoon, Kaiser Climbing Greasy Pole, a film on the war posters, and a rather long but interesting animated film showing Britain’s war efforts; Aerial Warfare films showing RAF men preparing for missions and a bunch of Zeppelin clips and stories (including a film on the death of Count Zeppelin); 10 films on the Treaty of Versailles; and films on the Indian troops in the war plus, a category of films about the super animals in WWI.

Navigate This

Even though you’d probably need about a few days and a broadband connection fast enough to rifle through the complete collection (trust us, it’s worth it); the website is super easy to use with simple intuitive categories. But if you’re crunched for time, here’s a list of a few gems:

  1. Recreation During WWI: 28 films on off duty troop activities like baseball matches, pretty weddings, soldiers getting rum rations, garden parties and a rather sketchy film on a game of ‘bomb throwing’.
  2. Women in World War One: It has everything from clips of women baking loaves of bread in a bakery to women working in aeroplane factories.
  3. Animals in WWI: If you’re watching another cat viral video, stop. Watch these 27 short films on the animals in WWI instead.
  4. The Indian Troops: Watch King George V presenting medals to Indian soldiers at Buckingham Palace, Indian troops at the Marseilles Parade and more.
  5. Propaganda and Press: WWI posters, propaganda films and cartoons; and films on captured enemy artillery.

Happy watching!

Getting there: View British Pathe’s complete collection of World War One films here, watch collection of films on Indian Soldiers here, see websitehere.

#bpbPhotoTrail II : Instagram Pick
Wednesday, 06 August 2014 10:52

It's been seventeen weeks and counting of our super #bpbphototrail on Instagram,the space to find one new Instagrammer to follow every week.

With awesome recommendations ranging from fashion to food, photography and art, from our first round( see full trail here), we've decided to start a brand new trail!

Tag @turmericdesign is now it! With pretty lettering and her visual renditions of Ghalib poetry, Kriti Monga, entrepreneur, curious glutton (as per her Instagram bio) and founder of Turmeric Design, the graphic design and illustration studio in New Delhi kicks off our second round of the #bpbphototrail!

Stay tuned next week to see who @turmericdesign picks as her Instagrammer of the week. To nominate your favourite Instagrammers, tag them in our Instagrammer of the week post here. At the end of the month, they could be added to our list of favourites.

Shelfie with Conde Nast Traveller India Editor Divia Thani Daswani
Tuesday, 05 August 2014 11:27

Books about lazy African summers; a signed copy of The Namesake; ones that inspire you to write and others that will quite possibly give you quite a fright (with tales of impregnation by used condoms); literature that’s enjoyable and distasteful all at the same time; a candle, a zebra and a giraffe.

Conde Nast Traveller India’s editor Divia Thani Daswani is the newest addition to our Shelfie column. She shares a snapshot of her top ten books from her shelf. Follow her on Twitter @diviathani

1. The Best American Short Stories.

I have every volume since 1998. It reminds me of why I wanted to be a writer in the first place—I love the art and craft of dealing with words and language, and short stories are its most beautiful, refined expression. Some days, re-reading them is incredibly inspiring. Other days, it makes me want to quit my job, hole up in a villa and stay there until I produce something as worthy. I adore these anthologies and read them cover-to-cover, saving my favorite authors (AM Homes, Ann Beattie, Joyce Carol Oates) till the end.

2. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

I spent a lot of time in Nigeria while I was growing up, and these stories about Lagos remind me of how much travel has influenced me since I was very little. I like to think about my childhood in Africa—the lazy summer days, spicy meat, learning to swim, my dad forcing us to watch historical films. I think we are all guilty of being a little jaded now; we grumble about flight delays and bad service and slow wifi, but we’ve forgotten just how amazing it—still—is to be flying 45,000 feet up in the clouds and landing somewhere across the planet. I love writers who immerse you into a place so successfully you can see, smell and taste it—and Adichie does just that.

3. Jhumpa Lahiri's (signed copy of) The Namesake.

If I was forced to choose just one favourite author, Jhumpa Lahiri would be it. I interviewed her in her home in Brooklyn when I was features editor at Vogue. It was an exclusive, and I had just 24 hours to file the piece. The weight of it all, the significance, of getting to meet and interview this famously reclusive author, to visit her in her own home and meet her children, eat cookies she baked earlier in the day… I knew then that I could retire from magazine journalism feeling fulfilled. (That said, it's been six years, and I'm still in it.) There are writers whose work you admire, but meeting them is often a disappointment—you build them up in your head as being superbly intelligent and charming but they end being rude, or obnoxious, or just shorter than you expected. Jhumpa Lahiri turned out to be everything I imagined—beautiful, cerebral, pensive, softspoken and a person for whom writing was about just that—the writing. It wasn't about the book tours or the prizes or the stardom. I do let friends borrow this signed copy, but only very good friends!

4. Things You Should Know by AM Homes.

I have awful taste in music—I’m very much a Top 40 kind of girl. But I experiment with writers. I’ll buy a book if it wins a literary prize, but also if I love its cover, or its title, or the name of its author, or its paper and font. I’m so very glad I discovered AM Homes. Her writing is cool, crazy, dark, deeply disturbing and laugh-out-loud funny. She’s perfect to read if you’re having a day when you’re wondering if you’re making a total mess of your life—her characters will assure you that there are others out in the world way more insane then you are. Like the one about the woman who’d try to impregnate herself with just-used condoms she’d find on the beach at night. Yeah, pretty hard to think your own mind is messed up after reading that.

5. Conde Nast Traveller India.

This is not a shameless plug; I really do have every issue since we launched in October 2010. I love that the images are beautiful enough for coffee table books, and also that we've been able to commission original stories from truly brilliant writers like Suketu Mehta, Pico Iyer, Amitav Ghosh, Fatima Bhutto, Aatish Taseer, Samanth Subramaniam and William Dalrymple. I can't help but stalk strangers who happen to be reading the magazine at the airport or at a salon. I'm so curious to see what they stop and look at, what they read closely, what they flip through. There are times I want to go over and say, "Hey! You were distracted by this beautiful Gucci ad, and you missed a really cool story on Croatia!" I don't, of course. That would be weird.

6. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

I read this novel as part of a Postcolonial Literature course at university, and it was one of the first books that I found to be simultaneously enjoyable and distasteful. It traces, of course, the journey of a European man through the Congo. Each time I look at it, it makes me think of a number of things: that Conrad wrote this in English, a language he learned only at the age of 20; that stories can be told as stories, and the meanings and messages we attach to them can be deliberate or wholly unintentional on the part of the author; that literature is history, politics, art, psychology, philosophy and sociology all at once. It’s great reading for those of us working in the media, because it reminds me that we must be thoughtful when we write and publish. There's so much focus on generating output these days, especially due to social media and the continued state of urgency we seem to live in, but it's imperative to choose our words carefully, to think about the principles and ideas we purposely or inadvertently condone, because our words will exist long after we are gone. What may sound cool and hip today might not tomorrow. We must do the best we can, write what we truly believe, and then, well, hope for the best.

7. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.

If I hadn’t become a writer, I’d have become a genetic engineer (and probably rich). I have a bit of an obsession with genetics and bioethics so I read anthologies of science writing, as well as Scientific American and anything by Atul Gawande. The Selfish Gene is a landmark book, of course, and it’s hard to imagine it’s thirty years old. I read a lot online but I’m old-fashioned when it comes to books—I buy and keep the ones I love. There’s something rich and warm about being surrounded by things you’ve spent time with and grown from. So yeah, I have a very unused, lonely Kindle.

8. Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and 9. Marquez’s A Hundred Years of Solitude.

I club these two books in my brain as well as on my bookshelf because I associate them with the same time in my life: I was a freshman in college, discovering authors from all over the world, having my mind blown a little more every day, and discussing their ideas as if our conversations might change the world. Rushdie forced me to think about India, about language, about censorship and bravery and freedom; Marquez opened me up to a whole continent of genius, mad writers like Cortazar and Borges and Allende. I haven’t re-read the two novels though, because I find them quite heartbreaking. Sort of like The Kite Runner and Maps for Lost Lovers.  Beautiful, amazing, poetic books I will keep forever but far too tragic to put myself through a second time.

10. Photographs, a candle, a zebra and a giraffe.

Home is where my bookcase is. It’s the first thing I’ve packed whenever I’ve moved homes, and it’s excruciating. I know, I’m a bit of a geek. So my very heavy bookshelves are also dotted with family photographs, vanilla-scented candles I never remember to light, and trinkets from my travels, like the toy zebra and giraffe I was gifted on a recent trip to South Africa, one of my favourite special places in the world.

#bpbPhotoTrail: Instagram Pick
Friday, 25 July 2014 11:30

What: #bpbPhotoTrail- in this space we give you one new Instagrammer to follow through a picture trail. Follow us on @bpbweekend.

Why: Run along the #bpbphototrail this week where you’ll see artist and musician @echofloat aka Jeff Nelson (See the previous trail here). passing the baton to Arani Roy. “This man captures everything from warm tones to nostalgia to deeper phases of human existence in a frame,” he says.Stay tuned next week to see which Instagrammer @arani_roy introduces you to.

When: You want to get with this click.

Shelfie: Indus Creed’s Uday Benegal
Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:41

A detective who grows orchids in mid-town Manhattan, an acid trip of a story, a picture book for grown ups and a rock star biography. In between working on new material that hits airwaves in September, singer and songwriter, Indus Creed’s  Uday Benegal takes a picture of himself and his bookshelf so you can read well tonight.

1. Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut

Kilgore Trout gets stuck in an accident of time in this one. Vonnegut is hilariously brilliant as always.

2. The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk

This is everything a Pamuk book invariably is—dense, engrossing, enriching, heavy and just fantastic.

3. The Story of My Experiments With Truth by MK Gandhi

The Mahatma will always be my hero.

4. Life by Keith Richards

I’ve never been into autobiographies. Or the Rolling Stones. But this account is one the best reads I’ve had in a long time. Keith Richards’ gonzo prose is top shelf.

5. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

From one gonzo guy to another. Bourdain’s backroom tell-all of NYC’s restaurant world is just a cover for some truly fabulous writing.

6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Want a mind blowing acid trip but hate taking drugs?

7. Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

Because it’s got pictures. And some of Rushdie’s most honest writing.

8. Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto

Here’s honesty again. Probably the most truthful story I’ve read. Outstanding.

9. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Because now is where it’s at, Kat! Everything else is figment.

10. Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout

The finest detective series I’ve ever read. Because the elephantine sleuth cracks the toughest cases while never leaving his house. And he has a gourmet chef. And grows orchids. In midtown Manhattan.

Sponsored: Lakme Absolute Salon’s Runways of The World
Friday, 18 July 2014 11:39

***This post is sponsored by Lakme Absolute Salon***

We’ve always maintained that cities are like people, and who wouldn’t want to look like New York, strut around like London or shimmer like Paris?

Starting this month, Lakme Absolute Salon does a series of looks inspired by the runways of London, Paris and New York, conceptualized by the super backstage team at Lakme Fashion Week. First up, those fashionable blokes from Britain.

The Coronation Ceremony

All this month, you can walk in to the Lakme Absolute Salon in Bandra to try their limited edition beauty packages – which are packed with oodles of London trends and will leave you looking no shorn of a sassy Londoner. Some of the services on the menu are Be Bang on Trend at the Big Ben for those retro chic bangs or Go Brown at the London Eye to give you the latest shades of ombre hair color. Other than the London Runway look, there are signature lip and eye care rituals thrown in complimentary on buying from London Menu.

There is also a great London ambience in the salon with stylists wearing London hats & English tea being served to customers, among a host of other interesting activities.

There’s a definite reason to head to Lakme Absolute Salon for the London experience. And that’s not all, if you ain’t so keen on buying services, just go for complimentary upstyles, nail art or make-up based on London’s hottest styles.

All you will need at the end of it is a crown. We’re sure the kind folks at Lakme can arrange that too.

Getting there: Lakme Absolute Salon, 227, Diamond Link, off Linking Road, opposite Shopper’s Stop, Bandra (W), Mumbai – 50, call 9819006482 for an appointment, www.facebook.com/LakmeAbsoluteSalon, follow them on Twitter @LakmeAbsolute, Prices 700 onwards

***This post is sponsored by Lakme Absolute Salon***

Ramadan Feasting : Button Masala
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 09:54


This Ramadan, feast on pav and Button Masala.

An alternative kind of recipe for clothes, Button Masala is a simple joinery system designed to use only buttons and rubber bands.

Devised by a NID graduate with a background in design and style, Anuj Sharma has been perfecting and spreading the word about his system, one that he hopes will be an alternative to stitching some day. Sew-la-la!

He devised this technique back in 2010, but recently started conducting workshops for individuals, apart from educational sessions with students.

No Stitch in Time

“It started with a wrongly buttoned shirt,” he says.  “I thought it might be an interesting way to bring fabric and design together, without any wastage”. According to Anuj, the Button Masala system allows people to be freer in the design process, because there’s no cutting of fabric and not much measurement involved. “It’s a really fluid system, so there’s really nothing to fear.”

Since its inception, Anuj has taught the Button Masala technique to over 4,000 people across the globe, has been guest faculty at several design schools and has even spoken at a TEDx event in Delhi.

How You Can Use Anuj

Apart from designing and customising clothes and apparel for every size, whim and fancy, Anuj also runs workshops to spread the word about Button Masala.

If you work in education or are creatively inclined, the technique is a great way to learn about design, innovation and sustainability. And if you don’t, it’s just a really fun thing to learn to do. Button up?

Getting there: Button Masala, view the Facebook page here, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , prices for apparel start at Rs 2,000.

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