Feel Good

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

#bpbPhotoTrail: Instagram Pick
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 09:27


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. This week, Marissa recommends her favourote Instagrammer, who will pick her favourite the week after, and the #bpbPhotoTrail will continue.

@Marissabronfman Picks @aishwarya_n (F&B head for The Leela Group of Hotels)

“I love Aishwarya Nair’s Instagram feed for her mix of pictures - healthy and delicious Amai treats (her own health food label), her adorable dog Theo, great travel photos and more. She's a Moxie Media Women in Media panelist, and all around an amazing woman.”

We agree. Bpb’s favourite reason to follow @aishwarya_n are her constant references to Wes Anderson and Dita Von Teese.

Stay tuned next week to see who  @aishwarya_n  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.

 
#bpbPhotoTrail: Instagram Pick
Tuesday, 14 January 2014 11:52



 

Tag. @Marissabronfman is it! Check into this space to find one new Instagrammer to follow every week. We start with @Marissabronfman - for her breakfast smoothie bowls that look like art. Next week, The Canadian raised -Mumbai resident will pick her favourite Instagrammer, who will pick his/her favourite the week after, and the #bpbPictureTrail will continue.

This Week's Pick

Berries and nuts arranged in breakfast bowls with a mathematical neatness, topped with chia seeds.  Salads with boiled eggs that look like little suns, and blueberry and banana pancakes stacked on a plate with swishing palm trees.

Far from the annoying food Instagrammer, @MarissaBronfman’s pictures of her DIY smoothie bowls filled with organic prettiness, will make you want to put a rush on that 2014 resolution. Founder of social and digital media agency Moxie Media (@moxiemediaco), this Canadian now in Mumbai, also travels a fair bit, which makes her around-the-world food pictures the organic cherry on top of her own recipes. See for instance her ‘Egg Fried Rice Art' picture from a Toronto restaurant that looks like an edible Rorschach ink blot test.

While stalking her kitchen cool, we stole a quick recipe for her Super Food Smoothie:

Ingredients:

Two scoops of protein powder (she uses two scoops of goji and acai powder)

2/3 cups frozen berries

1 large banana 

Blend with water for desired consistency. Top with sliced banana and sprinkle with organic bee pollen, organic goji berries and acai powder. 

Stay tuned next week to see who @Marissabronfman 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. 


 
Three Ways Meet: Best of The Web
Monday, 06 January 2014 09:33



In this weekly column, filmmaker Danish Aslam will be your purveyor of the finest quality random facts, useless trivia and other esoterica from the world wide web. He lives mostly behind a keyboard and may or may not be a wizened old green man who speaks in grammatically incorrect aphorisms. You can find more on his home page http://about.me/danishaslam

Road Bike Party 2

In 2012, mountain bike trials legend Martyn Ashton created a video called Road Bike Party . For those of you who haven’t heard of this, you’re in for a treat. It’s basically one man, a bike and all the various surfaces he can make that bike do some incredibly crazy stuff on, all around the UK. But what’s even more spectacular is the sequel that he released this year. And that’s because on September 1, he suffered an accident that left him a paraplegic. But, with the help of friends and fellow bikers Danny MacAskill & Chris Akrigg, he’s not only managed to release the sequel this year, he’s in it, riding away without a care in the world! Presenting Road Bike Party 2 , it’s worth the wait.

How Netflix Reverse-Engineered Hollywood

“Conspiracy Slashers Based on Bestsellers From the 1980s About Trucks, Trains, & Planes For Ages 0 to 4.” Now while that may not sound like a genre of movies that you want to start getting into (or even exists), if you believe Alexis Madrigal from The Atlantic, that may just be something you see up on Netflix sometime in the near future. In this excellent long read , he explores how the world’s premiere movie streaming service created more than 76,000 movie micro-genres in order to best suggest movies for it’s subscribers to watch. And then goes on to crack that algorithm to understand how it works. The result is a fascinating look into how Netflix reverse-engineered Hollywood to categorise it in a way that has never been done before. According to Madrigal, not only do they have every genre possible listed, they also now know what the American audience is looking for in the future and can tailor the shows that they now produce according to what they know will work. 

The Islands That Time Forgot

We don’t really have much of a notion of what remoteness really feels like, living as we do in the maximum cities of the world. But two pieces about two unrelated but equally unique islands popped up on my newsfeed this week, and both make me want to travel. First up, Socotra, a small Yemeni archipelago in the Indian Ocean. This ‘lost world’ island separated from mainland Africa about 6-7 million years ago and, as a result, has developed completely indigenous flora & fauna (about 700 species), out of which about 1/3rd are endemic i.e., they can’t be found anywhere else on the planet. What that translates into is this: it looks like an alien world. As you can see in this photo gallery. The second story is that of Palmerston, tiny Pacific island 9 days boat-ride away from Tahiti and inhabited by 62 people, all descended from the man who settled the place 150 years ago. Thomas Martienssen from BBC News Magazine made the trek, however, and found an idyllic paradise with no shops, 2 toilets and one main road (so to speak). And in this piece for the site, finds perhaps the solution to world peace in the words of his guide: “….all the people fighting wars should just come to Palmerston and go for a swim, play some volleyball.”

Aningaaq

And now, a little something to remind us of what was probably the best movie of 2013: Gravity. For those of you that watched the movie obsessively, you might remember the conversation that Sandra Bullock’s character Ryan Stone has with someone on the radio. Except that the person can’t understand her and vice versa. Well, Jonás Cuarón, Alfonso’s son & the co-writer of Gravity, decided to show us the other side of that conversation in the form of this short film called Aningaaq . This is the story of the Inuit fisherman camping over a frozen fjord in Greenland, who is the only person on the planet who connects to a dying astronaut and has a conversation that neither understand. It’s a nice short in itself, but, for those of us who obsess about completion (guilty), it also helps round up the experience of Gravity beautifully.

The Best Music Awards Playlist of 2013

And, to round things up, a best of 2013 list that doesn’t have the usual suspects that we’ve gotten tired of seeing in various avatars. One of Reddit’s most active sub-reddits, Listentothis, promotes music that you wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to be exposed to. And this year, they’ve come up with a Listentothis Music Awards Playlist, their way of mocking the serious awards shows and also giving the world categories like ‘Best Song To Get Over Your Ex’ & ‘Jitterbug Award For Song Most Likely To Cause Apeshit Dance Mania’. And when the ‘Best Music Video Of The Year’ award goes to Commander Chris Hadfield’s most excellent take on David Bowie’s Space Oddity, you know this is a playlist you want to peruse at length. And the YouTube videos helpfully linked to each category are an added bonus.

PS: If you’re really into dissevering obscure music that’s off the beaten….charts, then this list from the same subreddit should keep you busy for a few….months.








 
Three Ways Meet: Best of The Web
Thursday, 26 December 2013 11:37



In this weekly column, filmmaker Danish Aslam will be your purveyor of the finest quality random facts, useless trivia and other esoterica from the world wide web. He lives mostly behind a keyboard and may or may not be a wizened old green man who speaks in grammatically incorrect aphorisms. You can find more on his home page http://about.me/danishaslam

’Tis the season for the litany of the lists. Oh wait, did we do this already? Fair reader (& I mean that in the classical sense, not whatever pseudo-racist-let’s-rant-on-twitter-about-this connotations might be attached to that today), I apologise. Despite the seemingly sarcastic stance (I love alliteration) I might have displayed last week towards end-of-the-year lists and recaps of all the various ways in which every form of media tries to define the 365 days-that-were, I, too, have succumbed. There’s just too many of them. So in the greatest traditions of sloths and politicians everywhere, since beating ‘em is just too hectic, let’s join ‘em.


The 13 Best Non-Fiction Books Of 2013

I know. I’ve already posted the New York Times’ list of the best books of the year last week. But bear with me, this is different. Maria Popova and her most excellent blog, Brain Pickings , has long been a favourite of mine for her ceaseless crusade to increase the general intelligence level of this planet - a task almost certainly doomed to fail. But the optimist in me hopes and keeps clicking, while the pragmatist within tells me that I’m never going to actually buy anything from that ever-increasing Flipkart wishlist of books I *should* be reading (current value of said list: Rs. 83,250). Having said that, this year’s list of the best books of year had me scrambling to find them online all over again. Perhaps it’s the way she writes about them, almost enticing you to read something meaningful for a change. Perhaps it’s because books like ‘On Looking’ (on walking through the same city block with 11 different experts ranging from a geologist to a  dog) or ‘This Explains Everything’ (the question “What is your favourite deep, elegant or beautiful explanation?” answered by 192 of the finest minds) just seem so damned interesting. In any case, here’s me attempting to feel good about myself by promoting this. Best of luck.


The Best Articles Of 2013

To add to the list of books you’re probably not going to read this year, here’s a list of longreads you’re probably never going to get to either. The annual list of the best articles of the year, put up by Longform, is always a treasure trove of some of the best writing of the year. And this year has stories ranging from the decline of Don King to the real program used to sabotage Iran’s nuclear facilities.

What A Year!

And, on the flip side, this one’s for those of you who think reading is an activity enjoyed by kids being tortured in school or 80-plus senior citizens reminiscing about the days gone by in retirement homes. JibJab, the California-based studio that made a name for itself with the 2004 video of Messrs Bush & Kerry singing ‘This Land Is Your Land’ has put up their annual recap of things gone by, complete with song, dance and animated heads. Featuring almost everyone from the Pope to Nelson Mandela, this is a funny and quick take on the year that was.

The Year’s Biggest Discoveries In Science

But, all is not lost. Things like science and the people who practise it still carry on with their quest to make things better for humanity, hopefully in the form of a new iPhone model soon. But when they’re not busy figuring out how to make a bendable phone, scientists have made some giant strides forward, as listed out in this National Geographic article . For example, did you know that Voyager 1 has finally reached interstellar space, which makes Christopher Nolan’s next a whole lot more relevant? See? There’s a pop-culture reference for everything.                       

Zeitgeist 2013

We may not have a conclusive Theory Of Everything, but the work done by the people over at Google are probably the closest thing we’ll ever have to something resembling that. Which is why they really can’t be far behind when it comes to, well, anything. And definitely not year-end lists. So here’s the now-pretty-famous Google barometer of what everyone in the world was interested in through 2013: Google Zeitgeist 2013 . Featuring just about everything, from Walter White to deep space to Batkid. And very nicely made.          

People Are Awesome

Remember ‘People Are Awesome’, the series of videos featuring people doing incredibly amazing and mostly dangerous things created by Hadouken to essentially promote their albums? The video went viral and nobody really cared too much about the band apart from that. The concept has now got so many imitators that you really can’t tell which one is official anymore. But, who cares? I, for one, love this 41 minute compilation created by YouTube user CzarMichal. And not just because he has a section with bikini-clad women in the water. Apparently, just the act of doing that qualifies you as ‘Awesome’.     

Filmography 2013

So many movies, so little time. That’s what comes to mind when you see this very elegant mashup of the movies of 2013 created by Gen Ip. Taking 300 movies and compressing them into a 7-minute clip is no mean feat, but it’s done beautifully here. Definitely worth a dekko, if only to realise how much more there is left to see.    

Top 10 Everything Of 2013

And to end this list, here’s the motherlode. TIME magazine, firm believers in the “let’s just load it up with everything so that nobody ever clicks on another lick again from now till the end of…..time” policy, have put out their ginormous meta-list . And short of ‘Top 10 Bowel Movements Of 2013’, this list pretty much contains everything that you might need to classify the year that was. And it’s so neatly categorised, my OCD-riddled heart skips a beat with joy every time I gaze upon it.

 
I Share To Care: Do You?
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 23:23



Ever made an online donation to a social cause, and wondered if it’s reaching the intended recipient at all? Us too. Which is why Delhi-based entrepreneurs’ Naman Govil and Rishab Jain’s branchild I Share To Care seems like a good idea.

Hope Floats

The guys began with wanting to kickoff “a crowd funding platform to support creative and social pursuits, with an aim to incentivise people doing good work,” and thus was born I Share To Care. Instead of asking people to directly donate money to charity, they hold social and cultural events with artists across town in collaboration with a select list of NGOs.

In practice, it works with people purchasing something they can consume on a regular basis, proceeds of which then go to their desired cause. And they said shopping was wasteful. For instance, their pilot project was supported by HKV’s Maati – India, Made by Hand - A Pen for a Pen, where for every pen someone bought (for Rs 20), children at care homes across town (among them Naz Foundation) received a pen for their schoolwork. Planning to launch a similar project with school bags, (in collaboration with designers from Delhi – A Bag for a Bag), I Share To Care hopes to bridge the gap between the average detached donor and the rare involved consumer.

The art, design and commerce model of I Share To Care also intends to research and profile people who’ve been involved with successful social projects, after putting them through rigorous background checks. The focus areas include education, childcare, women’s empowerment, health, animal care and environment, so  pick one which speaks to you. Further details are going to be up on their website soon, but until then you can follow their work here.

Walk for (Loose) Change

The team is currently busy organising events across New Delhi. Recently, the children from the Kusumpur Pahari Learning Center were taken for a day-long picnic at the Lodhi Gardens. People were invited to bring along toys and chillar, which were collected in earthen piggy banks. Raising Rs 770 from coins, they are planning to make this into a regular event. Penny Lane?

On December 15th, a jazz musical performance by two accomplished Global Music Institute teachers along with the Music Basti team was organized, on popular demand.

Animal Farm

This is to be followed by a special day event planned to create awareness at an animal farm on Christmas Eve. Parts of the ticket sales will go towards the general upkeep of the farm, and people will have the option of adopting dogs to take home, or sponsoring the animals financially as well.

The idea is to attend and spend time with the animals, so they can connect with their benefactors on an organic, more personal level, and have a spot of fun while you’re at it. “I bet you’d lose in a staring contest with an emu, those birds are so darn intimidating!”

Go on then, don’t be shy. Make some I contact.

Getting There: View their Facebook page here, email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call him at 9810855881. 

 
Three Ways Meet: Best of The Web
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 12:17



In this weekly column, filmmaker Danish Aslam will be your purveyor of the finest quality random facts, useless trivia and other esoterica from the world wide web. He lives mostly behind a keyboard and may or may not be a wizened old green man who speaks in grammatically incorrect aphorisms. You can find more on his home page http://about.me/danishaslam

The Best Scenes Of 2013

’Tis the season for the litany of the lists. And while I’m sure there will be many, many of these in the weeks to come, I don’t mind featuring some of them. At least the ones that make you realise that there’s so much that you’ve missed in the last year. Like this one put up by The AV Club of ‘The Best Film Scenes of 2013’ . Sadly, most of these movies have not (& probably will not) release in our fair country. But that shouldn’t prevent us from using any and all means of our choice to get them. Anything for a good watch.

The Map Of The Trains

Some other things that we don’t have in this city that we live in: a comprehensive map of the railway system. Unlike the iconic New York subway system design that has now been transmuted into T-shirts, mugs and other merchandising paraphernalia (eat that, marvel), the average Bombay rail commuter has forever had to rely on rickety pseudo-electronic signs & the wisdom of the passenger on the seat next to yours. Until now, that is. Thanks to communication design students Jaikishan & Snehal, there now exists a detailed map of the Bombay Suburban Rail Network. Available on the page is a link to download the PDF as well as a comprehensive look at the process they followed & the various prototypes they went through before coming up with the final iteration.

One iPad & 5 Fingers

The iPad has come a long way. And generic statements like that notwithstanding, this work of art (I don’t think it deserves categorisation as anything less than that) by artist Kyle Lambert is truly mind-boggling. Using nothing else but an app called Procreate, Lambert created a photo-realistic painting of Morgan Freeman’s face that I defy you to describe as anything less than a professionally taken photograph. And for the doubters (like I was, initially), the time-lapse video after the jump should shut your doubting mouths. Or leave them open in disbelief.

The Mogul Gift Guide

Technology. The end of the year. Lists. Since that seems to be the theme of today’s blog post, here’s something that ties all of that together with one neat hoilday-themed ribbon: The Mogul Gift Guide by Uncrate. Described as ‘What to get the successful guy who thinks he has it all”, this is pretty much the ultimate list of things that most of us will never be able to afford but can always dream of buying. Although if I had this kind of buying power, I would NOT be using it buy anything on this page for other people, that’s for sure.  Case in point: Steve McQueen’s Pioneer Moon Ranch with a neat price tag of $7,40,000.

The Last Tribes

A gift that would look nice on most coffee-tables this year though is this lovely large-format book by photographer Jimmy Nelson called ‘Before They Pass Away’. A collection of photographs of the world’s last indigenous tribes, this is not just a necessary anthropological documentation but also a beautifully shot book that showcases dying cultures from all around the world in a series of beautifully captured images. And it’s available on Flipkart. Beautiful stuff. 

The Best Books Of 2013

Before we bid goodbye, one more list. And this one is from the doyen of all the book lists - the New York Times. No introduction required, really. Here’s the ‘100 Notable Nooks of 2013’, as per The Grey Lady.

 
Sponsored: Nature's Basket's Christmas Hampers
Saturday, 14 December 2013 12:05


***This post is sponsored by Nature's Basket***

What: Festive Hampers for Christmas at Nature’s Basket, buy at a Nature’s Basket stores or online on http://www.naturesbasket.co.in, call +91-22-2642 5050 for more information, start at Rs 500.

Why: It’s that time of the year again. When people use ’Twis and ’Twas and support a cause, and expect a lovely Secret (or not so secret) Santa present. Let’s see what we have in stock-ing for you. Gourmet store Nature’s Basket is doing adorable holiday hampers that are curated by experts and wrapped by stylists. Check out Christmas Delectable with candy canes, ginger bread cookies, honey roasted planters and more; Santa’s Treat that includes among other things, jujubes and candles and Christmas Stollen; Holiday Surprises with fruit cake and truffles;  and our favourite that comes packed in a stocking. Besides these, there are other festive hampers that include exotic teas, Japanese treats and Italian goodies. See full list here.

When:  You want to spread the cheer(s).


***This post is sponsored by Nature's Basket***


 
Sponsored: Free Makeovers At Lakme Absolute Salon
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 14:30


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

What: Lakme Absolute Salon and StyleCracker Hood’s Style Experience at Lakme Absolute Salon, 227, Diamond Link, off Linking Road, opposite Shopper’s Stop, Bandra (W), call 9819006482, FREE.

Why: You might have a metallic dress, but that won’t necessarily put you at the top of the Christmas tree. Be the star with Lakme Absolute Salon and StyleCraker Hood’s Style Experience. Come dressed in any of the top five colour trends this season - black, white, metallic, wine and navy – and you will get a free makeover by Lakme Absolute Salon’s experts. Also get a chance to hang with fun accessory designers behind labels like Peahen, Tipsie Toes, ANQI and Fancy Pants. Baubelle! Plus, get free styling advice on hair, skin and nails by Lakme experts;  20% off on products like Lakme Absolute , Moroccan Oil and select TIGI products; and book an appointment for any service worth Rs. 1,000 or more and get a free wash and blow dry.

When: Wednesday, December 11 from 5 pm to 10 pm.

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


 
Crowd Sourced Library: Booked
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 11:23



Bombay can be quite a lonely city. But when you can't run around to make new friends, a book will always give you company” was Pushpendra Pandya's conclusion after conversations he had with the regulars while working at the Rani Baug Zoo at Byculla.


Copywriter by day, librarian-superman by night (including Sundays), Pushpendra Pandya has been reading books and swapping them with his friends for as far back as he can remember, which is how the idea of a crowd sourced library first came into being.


Bookie


He first started out by giving his own books and newspapers to people he would meet at the Rani Baug zoo, and when they kept coming back for more, realised that the idea could take wings across the city, and maybe even across the country! A Facebook page, a website, and a couple of book drives later, Pushpendra’s virtual library has 1,700 titles, and there’s 200 more scheduled for pickup this Sunday. His weekends usually involve taking a cab to people’s houses to pick up donated books or to deliver books to members. “I feel like a coolie most Sundays doing pickups and deliveries, so am currently looking for a low cost courier service instead!”


Book of Love?


The library charges a minimal membership fee of Rs 250 per month, Rs 500 for three months, Rs 900 for six months, and Rs 1900 for a whole year. Up to 52 books can be availed yearly (one per week). Their online registration and payment interface should be complete soon, till then keep that cash handy. If you’re a slow reader, borrowing time can be extended based on timely requests, although Pushpendra’s shares that his house is currently overflowing with books. The book list has popular titles like (Jeffery Archer, John Grisham, Dean Koontz, and the inevitable Bhagat/Meluha), graphic novels (This Side That Side), autobiographies (Joseph Anton), classical literature (Shakespeare), political manifestos (Marx’s Capital) and even comics (wisdom from Peanuts, anyone?).


Pushpendra plans to throw in cool discounts if you're broke but have a clean referral check. Once they get a sizeable number of members, they’re planning a coffee meet-up as well. With the Bangalore branch going live last week, Coimbatore and New Delhi are also in the works. With a book lover in town committing 2,000 books to the cause, this might be your window to book your good deed for the day.


Getting There: To register, log on to their website, to donate books, drop an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and view their Facebook page here.


 
Sponsored: Standard Chartered’s Good Deed Marathon
Sunday, 08 December 2013 12:11


***This post is sponsored by Standard Chartered’s Good Deed Marathon***

A bpb staffer watched Sean Penn’s Into The Wild and donated all her furniture and a TV set to those who needed it more. If a movie with an insane soundtrack doesn’t motivate you to do a good deed, this should:

Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon has launched the Good Deed Marathon. Bring your wide smile and your wider wallet or great ideas and additional time of day, to do a good deed and make Mumbai a kinder city.

The first 2,000 people to register (sign up here http://bit.ly/1bqAJBL) will get a Good Deed Marathon starter pack home delivered by Mirakle Couriers, a National Award winning courier agency that employs low income hearing impaired adults. And their charity partner is United Way Mumbai, part of United Way Worldwide that is present in 41 countries with 1800 local affiliates.

Here’s how you can play:

1.    Do one good deed. It could be huge or it could be so small that only one person notices.

2. Tell Standard Chartered what you did by submitting it on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/StandardCharteredIN/)  or mobile app, tweet it out with the hashtag #GoodDeedMarathon, or even Instagram a picture with the same hashtag.

3.   After that? Pay it forward. Give your band to a friend, a colleague, a stranger - anyone, and tell them to do the same.

Through this, Standard Chartered hopes to create a chain reaction of good deeds, making the city a nicer place to live in.

 Also, if your deed is gooder than good, maybe the best, it could win you a bunch of prizes.

Twice as nice!

Getting there: Get the Good Deed App on iOS: http://bit.ly/1jg8H2G and on Android: http://bit.ly/1jg8ZXv . view the Facebook page here, follow them on Instagram on instagram.com/GoodDeedMarathon , and view the Good Deed Marathon video here http://youtu.be/ZGN-RT4OHhc

 
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