Feel Good

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

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.

Yudh: Should You Watch the New Amitabh Bachchan TV Show?
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 10:59

To say that Amitabh Bachchan towers taller than the steely buildings that make up the landscape of Yudh, the new fictional TV show that debuted on Sony Entertainment Television last night, won’t surprise you. As owner of a construction company, Mr Bachchan plays angry and humble, ill and warring, all with lock-jaw restraint.

Now we never write about television on bpb, but as people who’ve whined about how this lifetime isn’t long enough to watch all the brilliant TV fiction coming out of the West, while the Indian box gives us nothing, we had to tune in. Plus the show’s credits include Anurag Kashyap as Creative Director and Shoojit Sircar as Creative Consultant; and the cast besides Amitabh Bachchan playing Yudh or Yudhishtir, also features Kay Kay Menon, Sarika, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Now that’s a lot of fodder for intrigue. Alert: spoilers ahead.

Episode One

We tuned in last night at 10.30 pm to meet Yudh, who owns a construction company plus two wives (played by Sarika and Ayesha Raza), and has a child from each. Still, episode one shows him in a positive light, as someone who takes on unethical competitors and warns corrupt cops. Halfway through the episode his illness (Huntington’s Disease) and illegitimate daughter are revealed, but so are the following: a brother-in-law who has just returned from jail, a son who defends his need to play video games, politicians, competitors, PR people and side kicks. It’s only episode one and Mr Bachchan is already saving falling buildings and belles, which makes you wonder, what drama is left for episode two.

It’s probably this that made our room of four viewers feel like the story and Yudh’s character arc might have peaked too soon. But it’s too early to judge a show from a single one-hour episode. We can however, tell you this: the first episode sees an interesting story treated with jumpy editing. There seemed to be little flow in the story, with the plot quickly hopping from situation to another. If this was supposed to be a technique they intentionally employed, it didn’t come through. 

The camera also switches to random city stock shots while dialogues are mid-sentence, which is quite distracting. This is probably in keeping with the theme of ‘city’ and ‘construction’, but the execution seems slightly forced.

What We Liked

The story is interesting enough to make you want to tune in to the next episode, and the appearances by Kay Kay Menon as the corrupt police commissioner with a neck brace (hence his reference to the fact that someone else’s neck would have to be on the line since his isn’t available) and Tigmanshu Dhulia are brief but memorable.

Our night ended with a mixed view around the room on whether episode two would be watched. Meanwhile, absent-mindedly, Sony remained on in the background, and Sunny Deol’s special appearance on the hilarious this-should-be-a-spoof-but-it’s-not CID came on right after. This broke up the debate, lightened the mood, and everyone decided Yudh is worth another shot.

Getting there: Yudh plays out from Monday to Thursday at 10.30 pm on Sony Entertainment Television.

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.

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