Feel Good

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

The Story of Light Festival, Goa
Monday, 14 July 2014 11:13

Why do we salute the sun? What would life look like through the eyes of a mantis shrimp? Did you send a wave of light to your friend today? Why do we walk towards the light when we die?

All this and more illumination will come to you at The Story of Light Festival, Goa. Coming up in January 2015, but taking submissions now, this festival aims to study the different perspectives on light - in science, philosophy and culture - through art and design. Thus will come together artists, scientists and philosophers to interpret light through a series of exhibits, workshops and installations. Gleam team!

It all sounds a bit esoteric yes, but a tour of thestoryoflight.org will make it far more exciting, a gorgeous milky way of a website populated by oranges and charioteers, yogis and cats, radios, 3D glasses and butterflies.

Here Comes the Sun

Conceptualised by a group of designers, copywriters and science educators, the festival has come about to celebrate the United Nations’ International Year of Light in 2105. To be held in picturesque Panjim, the festival will involve a walking route starting from the Goa Science Centre. Here you will explore the relationship between light and life and its role in evolution; study how light affects perception; and understand the role of light in technology.

How You Can Participate

It’s too early to have a speaker line up out or pass prices, but they are currently inviting YOU to participate. Artists (“sculptors, film makers, idea smiths and other beings of light”) as well as scientists, educators and researchers can submit ideas for talks, installations, workshops and artist collaborations that best capture their interpretation of ‘light’.

So ditch the monsoon gloom for some glow on the Story of Light website, and be one of the bright bulbs in their chandelier. More watts for dim wits!

Getting there: The Story of Light Festival from January 14-18, 2015. Visit http://thestoryoflight.org/ for more festival details and participation forms.

Shelfie with Deepti Kapoor, author of A Bad Character
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 10:55

We caught up with Deepti Kapoor at the release of her novel ‘A Bad Character’ in Delhi. Deepti sends us a picture of her Goa bookshelf, from which she picks out ten of her favourite reads. A gripping surrealistic tale; Japanese detachment in narration; an encounter with forbidden love; a love affair on a trip through France; a terrifying account of madness; and the odd world of neurosis.

Deepti’s Book Recommendations

1. The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

I was trying to find an apartment in Mumbai. I flew in reading this book, I continued reading it in the rickshaw, and every other possible moment. It was more important than finding the apartment. It's such a strange novel, filled with the strangeness of the desert and our inability to escape ourselves. It has an alienating device two-thirds through as striking as Vertigo's, and the final section is just insane.

2. The Lover by Marguerite Duras

The prose is spare and luminous and the story, as such as there is one, is filled with such exquisite film-like imagery to make you swoon. Ostensibly a tale of forbidden love on the margins, it's also a meditation on memory, death and colonialism, and completely uncategorisable.

3. Asylum Piece by Anna Kavan

Kavan is an enigma. Born Helen Ferguson, she wrote six conventional novels, had a breakdown and was institutionalised. She came out of it with a new name, taken from one of her previous characters, and an outwardly new personality. The fiction that followed was radical, experimental and disturbing. Asylum Piece was the first of those works, and there's still nothing else like it. It's one of the most terrifying and compelling accounts of madness - told from the inside out - that I've read.

4. Cain's Book by Alexander Trocchi

Some books are beautiful, some have to be endured. Considered by many to be a testament to squandered talent, this one, an account of a life outside society in mid 20th century New York, is both.

5. A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter

The poise, balance, truth and seductiveness of Salter's sentences are matched only by the sense of fragility they possess, as fragile as the world they describe. This novel burns with passion and sadness. A narrator describes and imagines a love affair between an American guy and a French girl as they travel through France. It's that simple, but it contains everything.

6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

It really is the perfect novel, there isn't much else to say.

7. In the Shadow of Islam by Isabelle Eberhardt

Eberhardt was fascinating. In 1897, aged 20, she left Geneva for Morocco and travelled through the desert, dressed as a man in order to move unimpeded. Her short life was marked by spiritual restlessness and a burning curiosity, and this book is both a glorious self-examination and a work of travel writing that's marked by an intense authenticity.

8. Quicksand by Jun'ichiro Tanizaki

A triangle of love, romance, jealousy and death, the title refers to the mire of lies and deceit one can sink into so easily when obsession takes hold. And it's all told with a typical Japanese detachment, that contains something almost comical inside it.

9. Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles

Jane Bowles was neurotic. She was also one of the best writers of the last century. Her only novel is as strange as she was, and the world is all the better for it. It's hard to imagine it being published today. In theme, structure and language it's just odd, but wonderfully so, and it lingers.

10. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami

Murakami's surrealism is something I admire greatly, and though I'm not a great fan of magic realism, in Murakami's ultra-modern yet oddly historical rendering, with his pared down, conversational style, it becomes something else. This is one of those novels where each chapter just gripped me, and for the time I read it, it dominated my life.

Short Histories of Indian Brands
Thursday, 03 July 2014 20:29

What: Short histories of Indian brands by The Memory Company, view their Facebook page here.

Why: Quick, take this quiz: Where did Kwality’s first ice cream machine come from? Who published the Rapidex English Speaking Course in 1976?

Scoring a big fat zero so far? Browse through the stories behind some of India’s oldest brands like Rooh Afza, Mysore Sandal Soap, Kwality and Nirula’s via The Memory Company’s infographics, that are concise, pretty and totally shareable! History never looked more recent!

When: You want a total recall.

#bpbPhotoTrail: Instagram Pick
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 11:20

In this new space we give you one new Instagrammer to follow every week through a picture trail. We started by @bpbweekend recommending @Marissabronfman for her breakfast smoothie bowls that look like art , who recommended @aishwarya_n for her visuals of treats and travel, who picked @narresh , Creative Director of Shivan & Narresh, who then recommended @dianakakkar for her London street style photos, who said hello to  Delhi-based music producer @pagalhaina, who tipped his hat at @namansaraiya for his beautiful photos, who in turn pointed us to fellow photographer @khabrilal, who picked @mumbaipaused , who recommended artist  @bheeshoom, who welcomed @roetry to the party, who extended the invite to @sanajaverikadri, who waved to@dagguereologue, who pulled in @sensordust who picked @Joe_Cyriac, who roped in @hecanteatchicken, who picked @thebigfatminimalist.

This week, @thebigfatminimalist, picks  @Echofloat, Jeff Nelson. “He's a great friend and the reason I really got into iphone editing/instagram in the first place! His music and his art are a perfect reflection of the complex, yet simple person that he is.”

Stay tuned next week to see who @Echofloat 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.

Shelfie with Motherland Editor Vandana Verma
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 11:02

The uncensored oral history of punk; multiple personalities of Alice; gorgeous Indian recipes that will take you a lifetime to try;Benjamin Franklin’s “air baths” (also known as “sitting around naked”); and the Last Party in Britain. Today, a tour of Motherland magazine and India Tube editor Vandana Verma’s bookshelf, where she points to the spines of her ten favourites + poses for a selfie.

Vandana’s Book Recommendations

1. The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater

A year’s worth of “what’s for dinner,” The Kichen Diaries is an incredible recipe resource, obviously, but it’s also a lovely food book to read in bed. This is a journal of Slater’s meals over the course of one year, but instead of a tedious list, it is a beautiful book about flavour, farmers markets and finding inspiration everywhere. I always end up wanting to head straight into my kitchen to emulate one of his super, simple recipes, such is the power of this book. 

2. The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

I’ve followed Lebovitz’s blog for years, so couldn’t wait to get my sticky mitts on this book when it first came out. A pastry chef and an expat living in Paris, Sweet Life looks at Paris’s food, markets and social fabric, all through Lebovitz’s food-focused writing.

3. India by Pushpesh Pant

I love this book. It’ll take me a lifetime to try all the recipes, but with such a gorgeous guide, I can’t wait to try.

4. Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work by Mason Currey

Apparently Gertrude Stein could never write for more than thirty minutes (what up, Gert), Benjamin Franklin swore by “air baths” (I call it “sitting around naked”), and F. Scott Fitzgerald believed alcohol was essential to his creative process. This book’s chocka with little insights into these massive personalities and how they worked, and as a morning person, with a day job, who loves a schedule and recreational drinking, I find it both soothing and validating to know that the greats and I share some of these traits.

5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Yayoi Kusama

This has long been my favourite tale and I’ve got multiple editions, but this one, bought for me by my husband at the Tate Modern’s bookshop earlier this year, is definitely the favourite of the bunch. This is a classic given a thoroughly contemporary rework via Kusama’s dot treatment, and the current darling of my bookshelf.

6. The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock by John Harris

So good. A great look back at the Britpop movement of the ’90’s, told through a line-up of characters known to most: Blur, Oasis, Pulp, Elastica… It’s about people, pop music, politics, art and culture and the most comprehensive retelling of Britpop you’ll ever read.

7. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

It’s really unfortunate that they made that awful film, because I love this book, and it is cool, weird, moving and sexy all in one, and you should push past the terrible film associations and the awful “beach reads” cover because inside it is lush and worth all the time in the world.

8. The Angry Island: Hunting the English by A. A. Gill

I love A.A.Gill. He is funny and razor sharp, and while this book is, in actual fact, just one long rant about the English, it is also hilarious, rude and really good fun.

9. How to be a Husband by Tim Dowling

Don’t be fooled by its title, this is not a self-help book. (And even if it were, it wouldn’t be one aimed at me.) Tim Dowling is, as all Guardian readers will know, a hilarious observational columnist who writes about domestic life, and this book is essentially a collection of writings about married life that frequently make me laugh out loud.

10. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil, Gillian McCain

Entirely composed of interviews with hundreds of principal players of punk music, this book is hilarious, entertaining and full of all the nosy details that I thrive on.

#bpbPhotoTrail: Instagram Pick
Tuesday, 24 June 2014 11:01

In this new space we give you one new Instagrammer to follow every week through a picture trail. We started by @bpbweekend recommending @Marissabronfman for her breakfast smoothie bowls that look like art , who recommended @aishwarya_n for her visuals of treats and travel, who picked @narresh , Creative Director of Shivan & Narresh, who then recommended @dianakakkar for her London street style photos, who said hello to  Delhi-based music producer @pagalhaina, who tipped his hat at @namansaraiya for his beautiful photos, who in turn pointed us to fellow photographer @khabrilal, who picked @mumbaipaused , who recommended artist  @bheeshoom, who welcomed @roetry to the party, who extended the invite to @sanajaverikadri, who waved to@dagguereologue, who pulled in @sensordust who picked @Joe_Cyriac, who roped in @hecanteatchicken

@hecanteatchicken picks @thebigfatminimalist, Aniruddh Mehta "for his sparse, yet brilliant canvases and the 'art niche' he has created for himself."

Stay tuned next week to see who @thebigfatminimalist 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.

This Will Make You Ish-mile!
Tuesday, 17 June 2014 11:01

Possibly bpb’s favorite discovery this week is a website, Call Me Ishmael, where you can call in and leave a voicemail about a book that you love, and “Ishmael” will transcribe one such voicemail everyday, uploading it as a Youtube video. Poking around we found a gentleman who looked up heartache in a dictionary; a fellow who learned about racism through Dr. Seuss’ “The Sneetches”; and a lady who made a in-flight connection with a fellow passenger over “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese.

The concept is simple and powerful enough that you’ll barely notice the kinks that still need to be worked out: content could be deeper; tags could be more efficient; and most importantly, we wish they had a toll-free international number. Currently it seems like an American number from Massachusetts; and when we made the wincingly expensive call, a reassuring voice asked to leave a message and a story. It could be funny, Ishmael said, or sad or profound – but it had to be about a book, and about our life. This reviewer mentioned Daphne duMaurier’s “Rebecca” whose old and tattered copy has travelled with her. Ishmael has told us he transcribes only about one story per day, but he listens to them all, and that at the end of the day is a solace to anyone telling stories, others and their own.

Getting there: To call Ishmael, dial (+1)7743250503, view Facebook page here, or visit websiste here.

#bpbPhotoTrail: Instagram Pick
Friday, 13 June 2014 10:58

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

Why: The #bpbphototrail  has been running for 14 weeks straight! We started by @bpbweekend recommending @Marissabronfman for her breakfast smoothie bowls that look like art, and are now on @joe_cyriac an Indian documentary photography student at Pathshala in Bangladesh  who was picked for “his personal project regarding government surveillance and his exploration of social space.” See the previous trail here.

This week, Joe picks: @hecanteatchicken for his satirical doodles and distinct styles he adopts, each with a unique essence. Stay tuned next week to see which Instagrammer @hecanteatchicken introduces you to.

When: You want to know why @hecanteatchicken crossed the road.

BC/MC Zine: Thinking Outside the Bachs
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 11:06

50 Ways to Look Sexy In a Moshpit

Girlfriends of Singers/Songwriters! Who Are These People and Why Do They Hate Themselves

Step by Step Guide To Having a Conversation With A Metalhead

In some dark and lovely universe, the usual story slugs seen on a fashion magazine cover – read: how to look sexy this summer; the hottest WAGs this season – turned into delicious stories as seen above in the first issue of BC/MC, a fanzine focusing on alternative culture.

Started by freelance journalist Bhanuj Kappal, writer Rahul D’Souza and their illustrator friends, Denver Fernandes and Elvin Pereira, with writer Mohini Mukherjee and Namaah Kumar joining in for the second issue, this e-zine (with limited print copies) is about music, art, politics and culture,  and inspired by Riot Grrrl fan-zines from the 80s and 90s.

The Mothercussers: How They Began

Friends Bhanuj and Rahul put together the small magazine as a spur of the moment thing days before DIY event, Control Alt Delete III.  “The initial issue of the zine really emerged from a Facebook conversation about how excited everyone was about Control Alt Delete and how bummed I was about missing the show,” says Bhanuj.  Fascinated by the event’s crowd funded format, they wanted to use the same concept for a magazine: fan-created and cheaply produced.

The magazine now has three issues out (each one coinciding with CAD) with contributions by people in the indie scene and from a wider alt/ sub culture. Printed in black and white (often just photocopied and stapled) and with only limited copies available, BC/MC Zine features articles on music, art, politics and alternative subcultures, along with cool graphic illustrations, photographs and comics.

The idea of BC/MC stemmed from a discussion about, “what passes for music writing these days.”  Bored with “its anti-septic language and general lack of passion” Bhanuj and team decided to provide a counter narrative and created this zine.

Reasons Why BC/MC is F**king Awesome

Creative and fun BC/MC covers.

Free Download & Pay-What-You-Want Print: They let you download a free copy from their website or pay what you want for a physical copy of the magazine.

The Content: from The Gender Question by Ammel Sharon about gender, space and music and Rahul D’Souza’s piece on pornography and anarcho-porn; to fun articles on how to organise guerrilla gigs, and social media 101s for bands and indie artists. Also see Bhanuj Kappal’s editorials.

Side Note

BC/MC is looking for fans of Black Flag, Death Grips, Bikini Kill and post- Marxist Theory to contribute stories, illustrations, photographs- music-related or otherwise to help them put together the next issue. So if you think you can help, get in touch with them now.

Getting there: BC/MC, email pitches to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , see website here, view Facebook page here. Download previous editions of the zine completely free here or pay what you want for the physical copy available at the next ennuidotbom event in Delhi or follow them on Facebook to know when the next zines are available.

Our Ride on the #MumbaiMetro
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 10:55

To break someone’s heart and flee on the metro, to take the pieces far far away to a distant suburb, seems like something Murakami would prescribe.

The ticket window at the newly launched #MumbaiMetro isn’t quite as articulate, but it did tell us this: “whether it's hearts or queues, breaking them will get you in trouble."

This was our first eyeful of the Mumbai metro, if you don’t count the shaadi-style orchid arrangement at the entrance of the Versova Metro Station that we visited yesterday on Day 2 of the metro opening. Budding talent?

The Upgrade

Eager to make a round trip, we queued up and sized up the slick, clean station, complete with escalators, coffee stalls with croissants (that looked quite fresh), an ice cream stand, guards who instructed the crowd, a book shop selling a decent range of novels and Galaxy chocolate. Quite the upgrade from local train stations that Mumbai is used to.

Like the Delhi Metro and other international systems, the Mumbai Metro uses a token system, which unfortunately does not let you buy a return ticket. If you want to return from where you started, you need to stand in the line and buy another ticket- a total waste of time in patience starved city like Mumbai.

Oh well, at least it’s clean, we thought, at the same time noticing that there were hardly any trash cans around. We took our Rs 10 tickets (from Versova to Andheri),an introductory offer, and made our way to the platform.

Mind Your Ps & Queues

A spanking new metro train arrived on time, and despite vehement whistling and best efforts by the platform guards, it was Mumbai Local etiquette all over again, with people refusing to queue up and bursting through the doors as soon as they opened, to grab the best seats. The journey was smooth with regular announcements and door maps that light up, and the train was quite crowded even at 4:30 pm. And if you’ve been taking the Mumbai local train, the mixed gender compartment will take some getting used to.

Selfie Station

While we liked a lot of what we saw yesterday (big points for cleanliness and hope it lasts), there are some glaring mistakes. For instance, there isn’t a metro map of stations above the ticket counters, a lack of proper signage at exit and entry points to the Metro and other small but significant errors that only people who use the city’s infrastructure would realise.

From start to end, the shiny new metro was a backdrop for selfies yesterday – pictures that were immediately uploaded on to Twitter and Instagram and Facebook with appropriate hashtags.

Somewhere in on of those pictures, you might spy a woman, guilty and going somewhere, after just having broken someone’s heart.

Getting there: Metro runs from Versova to Ghatkhopar (20 minutes one way) from 5.30 am to 11.45 pm, Rs 10 for a ticket anywhere on the line, introductory offer for the first month.

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