Feel Good

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

Sponsored – Win A TIGI Trip to Barcelona!
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 14:40

***This post is sponsored by TIGI***

Hey narcissus, reflect on this: your vanity could actually win you a trip to Barcelona! Professional hair care & styling brand Bed Head by TIGI has launched a super contest that involves you going to your salon and getting your hair styled, and taking a selfie with your hairstylist. Upload this picture on the TIGI website here and you could win a trip for two to Barcelona, or at the very least some Bookmyshow vouchers. Happy viewing!

The selfie with the highest number of likes will increase your
chance to win the vacation, and you’ll get to wear that flower wreath you have at one of Europe’s
awesome music festivals. Plus, the most popular hairstylist will win an all-expense paid trip to London to train at the prestigious TIGI academy. Tress test!


Designed not to encourage your narcissism, but highlight your individuality, the #BedHeadThisisMe campaign is all about YOU. Haven’t quite found your own sense of style yet? Take inspiration from the TIGI ambassadors as they snip locks, twirl fire sticks, do the swing dance and build skateboards in this fun TIGI video. Here you’ll see hair stylist Savio John Pereira; psychedelic painter Sameer Hazari; pilot, surfer and skateboard maker Spandan Banerjee; fashion stylist Chandni Sareen; swing band duo Imaad Shah and Saba Azad; and poi dancer Sumaiya Sayed.

Sounds like a blast (dry) to us!

Getting there: Visit http://thisisme.bedhead.com/ to upload your selfie

***This post is sponsored by TIGI***

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.

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.

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