Lifestyle en Wed Nov 16 12:45:47 IST 2022 the-rising-premiumisation-of-liqour-in-india <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A characteristically unique spirits market, informed, curiosity-driven experimental consumers, and niche consumption patterns evolving to the tune of every month – this is what the cards have in store for the Indian alco-bev space in 2024. Today, India is the fifth-largest player in the global alcoholic beverages market, with an indicative projection to take the country to the third-largest market in the upcoming years. Here’s what is fuelling India’s high-spirited growth trajectory in the space:<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Premiumisation is here to stay&nbsp;</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If 2023 is any indicator, the Indian spirits market is experiencing an unprecedented increase in the premium category. While it was a broad theme given much prominence in the past year, the culture of premiumisation is solidifying as a behavioural tendency for Indian consumers. Driven by curiosity and a steadily rising disposable income, young India is now responding to homegrown spirits with a resounding ‘YES’, at par with any international label.</p> <p>As the evolving Indian consumer is increasingly seeking premium liquor that offers a distinctive taste, high quality, and a sense of craftsmanship; the demand for craft spirits is equalizing its supply. There’s an affinity to catch up and stay on par with global trends, and alco-bev is heralding the phenomenon of bringing the world into India. More than just a passing trend, premiumisation is becoming deeply ingrained in the Indian psyche, representing a lifestyle choice towards a culture of embracing products and services across categories. The steady rise in the sale of spirits retailing above ₹2,000 per bottle highlights India's evolving spirit consumption habits, as indicated by the CIABC Report 2023.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The spirit forecast&nbsp;</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The global gin wave struck the country only six to seven years after it took the world over, however, at present, the power of social media communities comes through in such a manner that the international tequila and mezcal wave struck the country within one year of its inception. The velocity with which India is catching onto global trends is catapulted by its value-driven and knowledge-seeking consumers who are picking up global cues at a faster pace. Combine this with informed choices and a willingness to spend to acquire best-in-class products, the coming year will see niche demands for premium, boutique spirits. As agave spirits will top charts and prioritize shelves for 2024, artisanally produced gins will deepen their stronghold into Tier II and III cities – with a forecasted pan-India penetration. Within the spirits market, data indicates India remains a brown spirits market, with whisky (66.7 per cent), brandy (18.8 per cent), and rum (12.1 per cent) together accounting for more than 98 per cent of the spirits industry.* While Indian artisan whisky catapults ahead, rum will revel in a new spotlight, as more consumers begin to experiment with craft and premium rums that were once in the back seat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Conscious consumption and ‘come-home’ culture</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With 10-12 million people expected to attain the legal drinking age each year, India is poised to have one of the largest populations of liquor consumers in the world. The spirit community in the country increasingly demonstrates the maturity of its consumers, who are no longer differentiating between Indian and foreign-produced liquor, rather, are embracing each spirit for its pedigree story. Premium is no longer dictated by an elaborate price tag – what consumers truly look for is a stand-out, world-class story behind the spirit, its true-to-roots approach, the qualitative focus in each ingredient and process – undercurrents that Indian consumers are discernably taking note of while indulging in purchases.</p> <p>Brands and producers must take note of and appeal to the microscopic changes in consumer behaviour, mapping and addressing each niche with the respect it deserves. India’s ‘come-home’ culture where hosting guests and gatherings at one’s ease is a priceless component of its alco-bev consumption culture. Forming an atmosphere that is unique to India, this culture of hosting is a huge driver of premium and ultra-premium spirit purchases. The drive to connect with and lead a lifestyle that is of international repute is a need that propels the Indian consumer towards premium choices.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Indian spirit community is at its point of convergence – where consumers are driving evolution forward with their informed demands, and calling onto brands to keep up! With spirit houses realizing the power of premiumisation, they now need to step up and leverage the consumer intent of deriving value from each consumption. With a growing resonance of restaurants and bars stepping up the mantle with dedicated beverage programs, housed by award-winning mixologists with tidbits of global pop-ups, the Indian alco-bev space is making waves in providing channels of engagement and experimentation for the new-age consumer. With a 5x increase in the number and variety of spirit brands available in India, to the extent of limited-edition releases selling out in under 24 hours, it is not far behind where we observe spirits produced on local soil, possibly taking over global markets.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b><i>Keshav Prakash is the founder and curator of The Vault Festival. All opinions expressed in the article are solely of the writer.</i></b></p> Fri Feb 16 17:18:44 IST 2024 kari-apla-review-a-warm-medley-of-kerala-and-maharashtrian-cuisines <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Kari Apla is a warm and cosy space that offers elaborate flavours by bringing together the best of Kerala and Maharashtra in its well-curated menu, which seems to have been put together after much thought. Novelty is the main point at this young restaurant that offers clever seating in its limited space - there are high stools as well as a few tables laid out in the dining area, divided by a glass door that gives a good view of the humdrum of live kitchen inside, as a couple of chefs go about doing their job of fixing sumptuous food in record time.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This restaurant tries to expand our notions of what a blend of Maharashtrian and Kerala cuisines might contain, as it dives straight into traditional foods, starting with favourites like steamed ambemohar rice, chilli parotta, Karwari Prawn curry and moilee with vattayappam - which means a prawn curry made from coconut milk and soft and spongy cake-like bread made with rice and coconut based batter that is first fermented and then steamed.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The menu is short, crisp and straightforward; here adjectives and nouns do not spin in a crazy vortex. The menu here provides a totally perfect and reliable description of what actually will come to the table. Both, the Mangalorean kori sukka and the coconut bhakris that accompanied it, stood true to expectations - there was the hint of coconut in the bhakris, which are otherwise made to suit a bland palette and the kori sukka was in fact, a ghee roast, as I had requested. However, the Madurai mutton cutlets, which were served with the pachadi sauce and onion salad which was nothing but plain onion rings, was a disappointment.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I was struck by how very far from awesome the dish was. We thought the Mutton cutlets, which are considered a popular snack made using minced lamb, mashed potatoes, spices and herbs would be a perfect start to the four- course meal we had planned to indulge in, but it failed to set the momentum. While the taste was okay, the texture of the cutlet did not feel right - it was flaky, although not crumbly, and was served with a sweet sauce instead of a nice green chutney that would elevate the taste further. Especially because the cutlets weren't chilly either. Thankfully the meat was tender and flavourful and did not taste like chewy air. The iced latte, the only drink that accompanied our food, was perfectly chilled; it fired our appetite further. Our coconut pudding was just a little over the size of a standard scoop, could have been more? Yes, please.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But why such small portions in every meal, we want to ask founding couple and young chefs Mathew Varghese and Ebaani Tewari, who started the venture in October last year. The vattayappam that came with the moilee were just two in number and were so melt-in-your-mouth soft that they got over in seconds without filling us up at all. </p> <p><br> I think for that dish to be filling enough for someone with a modest appetite like mine, we'd have to order at least ten to 12 of them to go with that one bowl of curry. Same with the rice and coconut-based bhakris that accompanied our chicken - they were extremely thin, lovingly soft and surprisingly insufficient. With the couple offering us such flavourful food, we wish they would increase the portion size for us to be happily content and smiling. Do visit this fantastic place, which has a warmth that makes it an oasis against the already bustling and noisy stretch of Mumbai's Khar-Pali road.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue Feb 13 16:49:55 IST 2024 modern-dating-terms-explained <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Navya Naveli Nanda and her mom Shweta Bachchan with her grandmom Jaya Bachchan, in a recent episode of What The Hell Navya, attempted to understand modern dating terms like breadcrumbing, snack, love bombing and more. Our team was totally flummoxed on hearing these terms. The Gen-Z, who have been dating mostly through apps, have been using these new terms, which have left the Millennials and Gen X feeling confused. If you are confused too, we've got your back. Here are some of the most common terms, explained.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Situationship:</b> As the name suggests, this one is more of an arrangement-- but, where neither party is yet clear about what the other person means to them. It could be sexual or not. The duo involved are definitely more than friends but are figuring out where the relationship stands. Situationships can be confusing and hard to navigate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Breadcrumbing: </b>This is when you have a love interest and you keep them hooked by paying them attention now and then, taking them on last-minute dates, and even sending flowers intermittently. You just lead them on, but not ready to make a commitment yet. They give just enough for you to think they're interested, followed by long silences.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Ghosting: </b>This term is applicable to friendships too. This is when one suddenly stops any form of communication with someone they have been dating, matched online with, or even a friend they don't want to have in their life. This is akin to ending a relationship cold turkey, without warning. It can cause much emotional trauma for the person at the receiving end of ghosting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Love-bombing:</b> If not looked at carefully, love-bombing could be a red flag, which would mean the potential partner could be a possessive/ jealous lover. Love-bombing means showering a new romantic interest or a potential love interest with grand gestures, gifts, a lot of attention and so on. With love-bombing, one risks upping the expectations of the other person and later disappointment when the expectations aren't met.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Snack: </b>Calling someone a snack or a snacc, is borderline objectifying the person. It means the person is so sexy and attractive, you just want to gobble them up like a snack.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Rizz: </b>Rizz is the term used for someone with an attractive personality; a personality one cannot resist. It is used to describe a potential love interest with irresistible charisma.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Soft launch: </b>Slowly introduce the idea that you and the person you are dating are a couple. This involves posting a discreet picture of the two of you on social media, like clasping hands. You want to announce your relationship, but want to hide your partner's identity so that things are less messy when it doesn't work out.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Submarining: </b>Submarining is similar to ghosting. Except, the person you are dating or matched up with, will resurface after months with a text or a call. This can make the person at the receiving end feel anxious and insecure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Orbiting: </b>Orbiting can mean two things. It can be observing a crush or someone you want to date without making contact-- observing their online behaviour. Orbiting is also when a person has stopped all forms of communication with the other person and has made it clear that they aren't interested, but, maintains contact on social media via likes.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Cookie- jarring: </b>This term refers to someone seeking a relationship with a person as a backup plan. An analogy of sorts for, when a person reaches for a cookie jar for an instant snack-- the person seeking out the backup, in case their first option falls out.</p> Thu Feb 15 10:37:13 IST 2024 opinion-indian-whiskies-and-the-unspoken-risks-by-hemant-rao-of-single-malt-amateur-club <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As Indian whiskies find themselves in the glare of the spotlight: captivating discussions, and sparking enthusiasm, it's crucial to pause amidst the fervour and shed light on the obscured risks that lie beneath the surface. While the spotlight illuminates the successes, it often casts shadows on the challenges that demand our attention.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One such challenge is the availability of authentic expertise in the intricate domains of distillation, maturing, and blending. In India's whisky landscape, the scarcity of seasoned professionals often leads to the unfortunate trend of entrusting crucial roles to amateurs: a result of inadequate resources and training opportunities. This practice jeopardises the artistry and quality that discerning enthusiasts seek in their whisky experiences.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The recurring phenomenon of luring foreign experts, particularly from Scotland or Ireland, to establish manufacturing plants in India hasn't consistently delivered the anticipated outcomes. The complexities spanning cultural adaptation, climatic variations, and work environment disparities pose formidable obstacles. Lessons drawn from the beer industry's evolution highlight the impracticality of mirroring such methods in whisky production. Adding to the intricacies is the rush of manufacturers leaping into single malt whisky production, drawn by others' triumphs without meticulous groundwork. Often overlooked are critical aspects such as material accessibility, costs, extended gestation periods, and multifaceted factors crucial to assessing Return on Investment (ROI). The allure of emulation blinds many to the nuanced realities that define sustainable success in this realm.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Equally misleading is the reliance on market statistics showcasing India as the largest importer and consumer of Scotch whisky. However, the variance in product segments and price points within the market renders this statistic insufficient to gauge the true demand accurately. The diversity in preferences and consumer behaviour warrants a deeper understanding beyond superficial statistics.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Amidst the growing prominence of Indian whiskies, there's a poignant risk concealed in the absence of a robust governing body tasked with safeguarding and defining the essence of Indian-made whisky. Present regulations predominantly revolve around food safety or revenue, devoid of a comprehensive qualitative standpoint. This gaping void poses a substantial threat to the identity and standardisation of Indian whiskies. The absence of stringent qualitative benchmarks exposes the industry to a potential dilution of quality, compromising the essence that aficionados seek. Unlike their Scottish counterparts, whose identity and excellence are fortified by stringent regulations, Indian whisky operates within a framework that prioritises fiscal and safety concerns over the nuanced aspects of quality and authenticity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Without a dedicated governing body overseeing and safeguarding the integrity of Indian whisky, the risk of misleading practices and deviations from established benchmarks looms large. The absence of defined standards and guidelines exposes the industry to unregulated variations, casting a shadow on the credibility and consistency of Indian whisky on the global stage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The trajectory of Indian whiskies toward global acclaim necessitates not only entrepreneurial zeal and technological advancements but also a steadfast commitment to qualitative excellence. It is through the collaborative efforts of industry stakeholders, regulatory bodies, and passionate enthusiasts that the true potential of Indian whiskies can be realised.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b><i>Hemanth Rao is the founder of Single Malt Amateur Club. The views expressed are personal</i></b></p> Tue Feb 13 12:35:51 IST 2024 how-to-achieve-self-love-and-self-acceptance <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Suhana Khan's line, 'I always have fun with me', as Veronica Lodge from <i>Archies,</i> may have made you cringe. But, making yourself a priority is not only important for yourself but also for the sake of others. When there's a lot to be done, taking some time to take care of your needs might come across as counter-intuitive, selfish even. But, in our quest to get stronger, better and healthier, we usually don't think about being kind to ourselves. It therefore becomes difficult to break away from the narrative, stop self-sabotage and stop being destructive or wasting energy on self-pity. Read on to learn how to break the cycle.<br> </p> <p><b>Draw boundaries</b></p> <p>“The First step to self-love is drawing boundaries-- saying no when you have to and doing things you love; carving out me-time,” says Delhi-based clinical psychologist Dona Singh. Saying 'no' might be tough. But, once you get the ball rolling, there's no turning back. Prakriti Poddar, counsellor and global head of mental health at Roundglass Living says, “One of the first steps towards self-love is self-acceptance. Practice speaking to yourself with kindness and compassion, just as you would to a friend.” and adds that self-love is a life-long journey.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She also recommends eating healthy, moving your body throughout the day, and prioritising getting enough sleep at night. “Recognise that inner negative dialogues are nothing but thoughts and thoughts are baseless without actions. Counter the thoughts with positive actions and past positive experiences,” says Singh.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Acknowledge negative thoughts</b></p> <p>“It’s critical not to suppress negative thoughts. You want to acknowledge them without dwelling on them endlessly,” Poddar says. But she also points out that focusing on negative thoughts accelerates body ageing and leads to lasting inflammation, potentially increasing your risk of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Singh recommends using Discipline as a tool, more than motivation. “Discipline helps you remain consistent so that it becomes a part of your life. Working out and being disciplined is effortless for me now, but it took lots and lots of practice and patience,” she says. “I am a mom of a 7-year-old. It is never easy to juggle work, home and workouts. But we need to take out time for what is important to us,” she adds. This can be anything that makes you feel good-- painting, meditating, going for a walk, a short session of yoga or a dance class.</p> <p><b>Accept your flaws</b></p> <p>Yoga instructor Abhilasha Kale says, “If you keep yourself physically, mentally and emotionally healthy, you are in a better position to help others.” We equate this to putting on your own oxygen mask during turbulence before helping your kid. She also says, “Self-love isn't the sum of what you do for yourself or others, but accepting your shortcomings. Accepting your flaws and the negative emotions you feel like anger, guilt or envy is one of the important aspects of self-love.” Journaling is known to be a good tool to deal with the many emotions you feel.</p> <p><b>One day at a time</b></p> <p>Sonia Lulla, pilates and functional fitness trainer and health writer says, “When I first tackled obesity and shed 30 kilos of excessive weight, I told myself, I would never gain weight again. Obviously, that didn't happen. In the last 20 years, I did gain and lose weight. And it was frustrating, but, I realised that enjoying life was crucial and getting angry at myself for enjoying life was silly.”&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“My weight loss journey taught me a lot-- it taught me that there's immense joy in being fit-- being able to move freely and efficiently and have the energy to get through the day without getting exhausted. We think about fitness with an all-or-nothing approach. The magic will not happen only when you lose 10 kilos, it will also happen when you lose two, five or seven kilos. So every bit of effort you make is worth the benefits you can reap.” She suggests that one shouldn't look at getting fit as a Herculean task, but, focus on approaching each day as it comes. “Tick off each day you exercise on a calendar and see how many days of exercise you've packed in in a month. Then, try to improve on that.” to get a fairly easy start on things, Lulla recommends trying dance workouts.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Fake it till you make it</b></p> <p>Poddar says that the fake it till you make it approach, when it comes to cultivating confidence does work to an extent. “Techniques such as visualization and positive affirmations can be powerful tools for stepping into a more confident and empowered mindset. With time and practice, that confidence can become effortless. Rather than “faking it till you make it,” I prefer to think of it as remembering and reinforcing the confidence and authenticity that has always been within you.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed Feb 07 16:35:23 IST 2024 offbeat-places-in-india-to-explore <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Not that we need an excuse to pack our bags, but, it is National Tourism Day. Now, Tuscany, Normandy or the Berlin Wall and the Louvre might be on your bucket list, and we would be thrilled to visit these places as well, why not take a closer look home? From the mountains of Leh-Ladakh to the beaches of Goa and Kerala, our country offers a variety when it comes to terrain, language, culture and food. Here are offbeat destinations to explore.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Tirthan, Himachal Pradesh</b></p> <p>Himachal has a lot more to offer beyond Shimla and Manali. Head to Tirthan Valley, with lush greenery and snow-capped mountains. There are several multi-day treks to explore or you could choose a single-day hike. Also, Tirthan is situated right in the middle of the Great Himalayan National Park, which is spread across three valleys. Tirthan is close to both Shimla and Manali. So, take a pick and make a trip of it!<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Ziro Valley, Arunachal Pradesh</b></p> <p>Known for its natural beauty and hills, Ziro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is home to the Apatani tribe. Head to Pine Grove with some snacks and a book for some quiet time or visit the Kile Pakho ridge, where you can view different landscapes at once-- the lush Ziro plateau on one side and the snow-clad Himalayas on the other. Don't miss visiting the Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Kachchh, Gujarat</b></p> <p>The white sands of Rann of Kachchh definitely have a mystique about them. While here, you could visit Vijay Vilas Palace, Aaina Mahal, Kutch Museum and several other cultural sites. Make sure to plan an evening with some downtime to enjoy the desert in the moonlight. Then there's the Fossil Park, where you'll find sea fossils.</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;"><br> Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands</b><br> </p> <p>If you are a beach bum, look no further than Havelock Island or Swaraj Dweep. There are several activities you could do like snorkelling, scuba diving or kayaking through the mangrove forest. Or you could just sip on a cocktail and lie in the sun. or then, visit Barren Island to see India's only active volcano.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Mussoorie, Uttarakhand</b></p> <p>Yes, yes, Mussoorie isn't exactly offbeat. But you could still choose to do offbeat things, like a trek at Nag Tibba. Another trek you could go for, near Mussoorie, is, Benog Tibba, a trek that could take 12 hours to and fro.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Halebid, Karnataka</b></p> <p>Halebid is a town in Hassan district, Karnataka. It is a historical site, where you will find remains of the Hoysala Dynasty, which ruled the region for 150 years. Belur and Shravanabelagola are close by, where you'll find beautiful Jain monuments. Or, if is an adventure that you seek, head to Chandragiri Hills, a little over an hour away, for a trek.&nbsp;</p> Thu Jan 25 16:06:25 IST 2024 books-to-empower-and-educate-little-girls <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In a world of Peppa Pig,&nbsp; Ben and Holly and Nastya, reading has become a rarity among tiny tots. but, when they do show an inkling towards the written word, here are a few books that educate and inspire them.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Ikru's First Day of School by Sunaina Coelho: </b>This book takes you on a visual experience of what's to be expected on the first day of school. The board book which is mostly illustrations, captures the essence of real-life experiences. Great for the tot, who is about to begin school. Reading age: 3-7</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Kalamata's Kitchen by Sarah Thomas: </b>This is the tale of Kalamata and her magical kitchen table, which with the help of her special friend Al Dente, can be transported anywhere. It transports her to a fascinating world of ingredients, that teach her food can comfort us. Reading age: 4-8</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Ammu's Bottle Boat by Niveditha Subramaniam: </b>This story follows that of Ammu, who sets out her plastic boat onto the sea. Where might the boat end up? Inside a whale's belly, will it meet interesting sea creatures? Reading age: 3-7</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Indian Women Who Broke The Rules by Neha J Hiranandani:</b> Entrepreneurs, scholars, scientists-- this book is an anthology of inspiring stories of 50 Indian women, who were change makers. Reading age: 8-12</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Asha and the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan: </b>Asha, who lives at the foothills of the Himalayas, misses her father, who works in the city. One day, her father stops sending wages and the landlord ransacks Asha's home. How will Asha overcome this time of adversity? Reading age: 8-12</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The Girl Who Was a Forest by Lavanya Karthik:</b> this is the story of little Janaki, who wanders into the forest. It shows her the way to a secret world away from rules. Reading age: 6-9</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Jamlo Walks by Samina Mishra:</b> It's the pandemic, the world is under a lockdown. The book explores how the lockdown impacted young minds, through young Jamlo. Reading age: 7-9</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Little Girls Are Wiser Than Men by Leo Tolstoy: </b>Two little girls get into an argument. Soon, the whole village gets involved in it. This is a story of conflict resolution. Reading age: 6-12</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed Jan 24 16:56:46 IST 2024 nutrition-tips-to-make-2024-your-healthiest-year-yet <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>There are enough diets out there to make your head spin-- Keto, intermittent, Atkins, the Mediterranean diet, the Blue Zone diet-- phew! As tempting as it might be, instead of trying the diets and falling into diet traps, try these tips to keep your weight in check.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Eat Whole Foods:</b> According to Mumbai-based clinical nutritionist Maithili Kelkar, Eating whole foods, in their most natural form, is the best way to improve your wellness. “I would say, opt for fruits instead of juices and eat at least one vegetable that can eaten raw each day; this will naturally increase your fibre intake too.” Another tip she suggested was to opt for sweeteners that are close to nature, like honey and jaggery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Have one detox drink every day: </b>“Drink either aloe juice, lemon or ginger tea, or water with cucumber every day. One such drink a day can aid in flushing toxins,” Kelkar says.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Improve your gut flora:</b> “Eat a variety of fibre-rich foods like seasonal vegetables and opt more for locally grown millets like foxtail millet and barnyard millet in south India and jowar and ragi in the north,” Kelkar says.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Spice it up:</b> “Adding spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon etc. not only enhances flavour but also offers several health benefits,” says Mumbai-based clinical nutritionist Nishita Satra. For example, turmeric is high in antioxidants and cinnamon helps to burn fat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Stay away from the fizz: </b>“Quench your thirst with drinks like coconut water, lime juice and buttermilk instead of the colas and sodas,” Satra says.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Iron and vitamin C:</b> “This dynamic duo are like Jai and Veeru from the movie Sholay,” says Satra, as combining the two is an efficient approach to improving your iron intake. “Pair spinach or lentils with a squeeze of lime to improve your body's ability to absorb the iron in these plant-based foods better,” she adds.&nbsp;</p> Tue Jan 02 17:06:11 IST 2024 resolutions-to-take-in-2024-to-improve-your-mental-health <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>It is almost 2024. With the new year, comes the pressure to start anew, make resolutions, and so on. Well, instead of taking the same old New Year's resolutions, which often tend to be hard to keep, why not make some steps or make some promises to yourself to improve your mental health this year?<br> </p> <p><br> “Train yourself to find and cherish the small moments. Simple things contribute to our general happiness more than big moments of achievements,” says Dr Prerna Sharma, Associate Professor, Clinical Psychology, IHBAS, Government of Delhi and NCT.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mental health is a very important aspect of our health. Yet, it often gets sidelined, buried under a pile of other priorities. Here are other steps to take, so that our mental health doesn't take a backseat this year.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Prioritise clearing your baggage. We as human beings always tend to attach emotions to all our social dynamics. Most of it helps us and we don't get affected much. But the key is to identify, what was hurtful, what was generating guilty feelings or emotional pain. And state it clearly-- the cause and effect. Naming that feeling and saying that I'm choosing to let go of this feeling is one way of letting go of emotional baggage. Another way you can let go of emotional baggage is art, dance-- choose your own creative method to do it.”</p> <p>“Increase the ask-- a lot of problems can be solved, if people are just able to ask. Be it from the smallest thing to bigger things. For example in a social or private setting, if you need something to make yourself or others feel more comfortable, you can ask for it. For example, at your workplace, if you notice a person is angry at you. Just walk up to the person and say, “Hey, is everything okay? Have I done anything wrong?” This clarification will help you. Simply increase the ask-- it will improve your mental health. I would also say, identify your thought pattern-- a single thought pattern. Sometimes identifying a thought pattern in itself will help you navigate through situations where similar emotions or thoughts come up,” says Aji Joseph, Psychotherapist for ALMONDIN, Bengaluru.<br> <br> </p> <p>“Value slow living,” says Sharma.&nbsp;<b>“</b>Living at your own pace; having an attitude of collaboration than competition can bring more harmony and peace,” she adds.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Have clarity about measurable purpose. Instead of thinking about big goals, focus on one doable thing. For example, one task-- sleep well. Read about how sleep is beneficial for you, habits you need to change to optimise sleep hygiene and so on. This will help your mental health. For someone with acid reflux would be to manage his diet better. Another example can be as simple as deciding to smile more,” Joseph says.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Tap into knowing yourself more, and understanding your capabilities and limitations will help safeguard your mental health to a large extent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Also understand your spirituality (not religious in any way; but to understand a better way of self-understanding, about the world and others. Look at how your life is largely meaningful. For some, maintaining calm can be their journey towards spirituality. For someone else it could be being engaged in a hobby-- something they find creative and calming,” Joseph advises.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Forgive, forget and let go,” says Sharma.<b>&nbsp;</b>&nbsp;It is important to remind ourselves to be humble and grounded. So let us be sympathetic to our unfriendly neighbour, our cold coworker or a petty relative. The shared pain of humanity should bring us closer and fill us with gratitude and kindness. “Be kind to oneself,” she further says. Being self-critical is crucial for our development and growth but it can also be self-punishing at times. At such times when we struggle with criticism, we must offer ourselves the same level of loving kindness that we would give to our own children or parents. Is this thought kind enough? Am I being kind to myself? Can lead to feelings of expansion or openness, moving away from criticism to holding myself with utmost grace.&quot;</p> Sun Dec 31 16:40:12 IST 2023 hanging-onions-to-smashing-plates-at-doorstep-6-weird-unique-ways-world-welcomes-new-year <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>New Year is just three days away and looking for unique ways to welcome 2024 other than just partying till midnight? How about smashing plates at friends’ doorstep wishing good luck or wearing red underwear on New Year hoping to find love? Here are six unique New Year traditions in practice across the world.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>SPAIN</p> <p>At the stroke of midnight, the people of Spain eat 12 grapes; each grape represents a month of the year. One should eat all 12 grapes before the clock stops chiming. If so, it is considered good luck. The practice began during the late 19th century. Also according to Spanish tradition, wearing red underwear on New Year’s Day will make Cupid, the God of desire, help you find love.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>JAPAN</p> <p>The Japanese begin the New Year with a bowl of soba noodles. The origin of this tradition goes back to the Kamakura period. Noodles were served to the less fortunate people at a Buddhist temple. The noodles symbolize breaking away from the previous year. The non-westernized locations in Japan prefer a noiseless and peaceful welcoming of the New Year. Apart from ‘Joya no Kane’, a tradition of ringing the bell at the Buddhist temple 108 times by the monks, the place is silent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>DENMARK</p> <p>In Denmark, throwing plates at the doorstep of the homes of family and friends is considered a way of bringing them good luck. According to tradition, it is believed that the more broken plates a person has at their doorstep, the more good luck awaits them. Danish skies are filled with fireworks during this time of the year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>PHILIPPINES&nbsp;</p> <p>On New Year’s Eve, similar to Spain, Filipinos eat 12 round-shaped fruits like grapes, plums and apples. Each fruit represents a month of the year. This practice is believed to bring them good luck for all the 12 months ahead. Filipinos also hold the superstition of bringing bad luck if they clean their homes on New Year’s Day.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>GREECE</p> <p>It is a tradition in Greece to hang an onion outside the door. This is done after coming back from the New Year’s Day church service. It is considered to bring good luck and a new beginning to life. The onions represent fertility and growth. Among the ancient Greeks, it was also considered as a symbol of rebirth.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>COLOMBIA</p> <p>A tradition called &quot;agüero&quot; is practised on New Year’s Eve in Colombia. Families place three potatoes under each person’s bed. One of the potatoes will be peeled, the other will be half peeled and the last potato will be unpeeled. Everyone blindly picks a potato. The potato a person chooses predicts their financial state in the upcoming year. The unpeeled potato is believed to represent a good financial year ahead, whereas a potato that is fully peeled represents a bad year financially.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>ITALY</p> <p>It is common in Italy to welcome the New Year by wearing red underwear. It is believed that this practice will bring love and good luck to the person in the upcoming year. The origin of this tradition can be traced back to medieval times, when men protected and hid their ‘family jewels’ from the witches by using a red drape over their groin.</p> Thu Dec 28 16:56:56 IST 2023 the-exciting-history-of-christmas-trees-carols-and-plum-cakes <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>What fun is Christmas sans the delightful customs and traditions... Christmas trees, lights, Secret Santa games, singing Christmas carols out loud, baking cakes and making gingerbread make the celebration complete. It is indeed the coming together of these little traditions that bring joy.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Here are some interesting facts that you should know about the history of Christmas trees, carols and cakes -- three unavoidable ingredients of the celebrations in India like anywhere else across the world.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Origin of Christmas Trees</b></p> <p>The first recorded instance of a Christmas tree dates back to around the 15th and 16th centuries in Germany. It is believed to have become a Germanic custom as the trees started to show up in households across the European country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Christmas tree remained a royal custom under Queen Charlotte of Great Britain and Ireland but it was strengthened in 1840, by her granddaughter Queen Victoria after her marriage to her German cousin, Prince Albert. This resulted in the spread of Christmas trees worldwide.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, most Americans rejected this idea first because they believed it was part of pagan belief. The surge in immigration from Germany gradually brought a change as the US witnessed a wider German cultural influence.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>German settlements, especially in Pennsylvania started to decorate community trees in the 18th century.&nbsp; In 1848, they even printed illustrations of King Albert and Queen Victoria around the Christmas trees.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 1850, the Christmas tree trade became profitable in the US. It became a tradition in houses big and small and it goes on to this day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Origin of Christmas carols</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Carols were not always about Christmas. The history of caroling commenced in medieval England. The term 'carol' referred to songs with a certain form; those with a burden (refrain) and verses (stanzas). The burden was repeated after each verse. The social context of these early carols was sacred and secular.</p> <p>Most people believed that the English carol was connected to the French carol, a type of monophonic dance song with choreography which was popular in the mid-12th to 14th century. These medieval carols were musically simple.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By the 15th century, carols became polyphonic (multiple melodic lines are sung or played at once and each verse could be sung to different music) and covered a wider range of topics from demonstrating religious devotion to declaring the ills of the society and even celebratory drinking songs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The popularity of carols declined through reformation and they were not revived until the 19th century. By then, carols lost their connection to medieval counterparts and became similar to strophic hymns with Christmas texts although many still had refrains.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The folk music movement in the 20th century inspired music publishers to collect old carols and the Oxford Book of Carols was published. It included various works such as medieval carols and Christmas songs from different countries and therefore, the term carol began to mean Christmas songs.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Origin of Christmas cakes</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The plum cake which we eat today was not the original form of Christmas cake. It started in the form of “plum porridge” when fasting for weeks leading up to Christmas was a widespread ritual at that time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Over time, they started adding more ingredients such as fruits, oats and honey so that it would represent something like plum pudding. By the 16th century, oats got replaced by eggs, flour and spices. Later, rich families started to decorate them with icing, and marzipan and even began to bake them -- the first known predecessor of the modern-day Christmas cake!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Christmas cake was known as the “Twelfth cake” back then because they were served on the Twelfth Night, ending the twelve days of Christmas on January 5th. However, they stopped celebrating the Twelfth Night as part of the Industrial Revolution as people had to work immediately after Christmas day. That’s how the Twelfth cake became Christmas cake.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Other sources say that the Twelfth-day tradition was officially banned by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in the 19th century as she believed it was not a Christian festival. So, they reinvented the Twelfth Night cake by decorating the cakes for Christmas celebrations and the modern-day Christmas cake was born.&nbsp;</p> Fri Dec 22 19:58:39 IST 2023 world-sari-day-check-out-5-traditional-draping-styles-from-indian-states <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Saris have been a part of Indian culture for over 5,000 years. The long, unstitched garment is a well-established traditional attire worn by women. The garment is conventionally draped around the lower body forming pleats and then secured at the shoulder.</p> <p>Saris, however, are no longer seen as just traditional attire. They are also worn on red carpets, at fashion shows, and have now sealed their spot as work attire too. In short, there are no limitations on how and where one wants to wear a sari.</p> <p>India’s diversity does not only extend to physical features, languages, and food. Different states from India have unique weaves and draping styles. Here is a quick look at some of these unique styles.</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">1. Kodagu style ( Karnataka): </b>Also referred to as the Coorgi saree, the Kodava women of Coorg tuck the front pallu over their shoulders and push back the saree pleats. The unique style of draping is to ensure easy movement and convenience for them to work in the hilly areas. Traditionally, the sari was made out of cotton but upon the arrival of the British, many varieties of materials such as satin and silk were used by the Kodavas. The saree is often accompanied by a jacket or a blouse and a veil called the ‘musuk’. Kodava brides wear a red Kodagu style sari paired with a red blouse and a red head scarf known as ‘vastara’.</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">2. Nauvari sari (Maharashtra): </b>The sari is called Nauvari due to its nine-yard length instead of the conventional six-yard long sarees. It is traditionally worn by Maharashtrian Brahmin women and is draped to form a trouser-like appearance and the pallu is put over the left shoulder. This style of draping was invented by women who would assist the men during times of war and ensured that the draping would provide them comfort during the physical movements. The sari, originally cotton, is now available in many other materials such as silk, which gives the attire a royal appearance.</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">3. Mundum Neriyathum (Kerala) : </b>The oldest style of sari draping in Kerala, this is sometimes referred to as the Namboothiri style. Unlike other saris, this style does not involve a pallu. The ‘Mundum Neriyathum’ is a two-piece which comprises of a bigger piece, the mundu, which is draped around the lower body while the smaller piece, also called as neriyathu, is draped around the upper body and is tucked into the blouse. While this traditional style of draping is no longer common within the state, a lot of folk dancers drape their saris in this style.</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">4. Mekhela Chador (Assam): </b>This type of sari also consists of two pieces—the ‘mekhela’ or the bottom garment and the ‘chador’, the upper garment. The mekhela is draped around the waist after being folded into pleats and one end of the chador is tucked into the upper portion of the mekhela while the other end is draped around the upper body. Unlike the more common draping styles where the pleats are folded to the left, the pleats of the traditional Assamese draping are folded to the right side.</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">5. Seedha Pallu drape (Gujarat):</b> While the name itself suggests how the sari is draped, it is also referred to as the ‘maharani style’ drape. The pallu, which usually falls behind the shoulder, comes from behind the right shoulder and is pinned diagonally, on the waist near the left arm. Upon tracing the origins of this drape, it is known that it was traditionally worn by the upper class, specifically the women hailing from royal families. This style of draping is also found in neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other princely states.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Dec 21 16:29:51 IST 2023 book-corner-five-contemporary-romance-novels-that-you-should-read-before-2023-ends <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>There is no particular season or reason to dive into a romance novel. They are evergreen, just like the emotion. Clean and wholesome, new adult, meet-cutes -- the contemporary romance genre is thriving with all its sub-genres. Little wonder, since all you need is a cosy corner and a piping hot beverage to escape into the fantasy world.&nbsp;</p> <p>As we are set to welcome 2024 and the host of new releases it brings, here are some swoon-worthy romance novels that you can read before the year ends.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br> </p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">1) 'The Spanish Love Deception' by Elena Armas</b><br> </p> <p>A self-confessed romance lover, Elena Armas has mastered the trick with best-selling works, including the recently released <i>The Long Game</i>. But, it was her 2021 release<i>&nbsp;The Spanish Love Deception</i>&nbsp;that drew in the TikTok generation.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p><i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">The Spanish Love Deception</i>&nbsp;introduces us to two main characters, Catalina Martin, the stubborn protagonist, and Aaron Blackford, her condescending colleague. Lina needs a fake date to attend her sister’s wedding in her hometown and Aaron volunteers. They do not see eye-to-eye but life has a surprise in store for Catalina.<br> </p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">2.</b>&nbsp;<b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">'Twisted Series' by Ana Huang&nbsp;</b><br> </p> <p>The 'Twisted' series by Huang has the most popular trope; the billionaire boyfriend. They are dark, spicy and, importantly, steamy. No wonder Huang is the star of Bookstagram, the Instagram community of readers.All four in the series - <i>Twisted Love; Twisted Games; Twisted Hate and Twisted Lies</i> - follow the lives of four friends Ava, Bridget, Jules, and Stella and their love lives. They cover a lot of tropes, including possessive, jealous MC and fake dating. Her favourite trope, though, is 'grumpy- sunshine', so expect a lot of it in Huang's next books.</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">3. 'A Thousand Boy Kisses' by Tillie Cole&nbsp;</b><br> </p> <p>Tillie Cole has written over 15 novels and is a prominent name in the TikTok (read BookTok!) community, thanks to her alpha male leading man and strong female characters. <i>A Thousand Boy Kisses</i> follows the story Rune and Poppy, their childhood love and heartache as one of them leaves for Norway. A tear-jerker, <i>A Thousand Boy Kisses</i> is riddled with cliches and familiar tropes.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>Watch out:&nbsp;<i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">A Thousand</i>&nbsp;<i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Broken Pieces,</i>&nbsp;the sequel to<i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">&nbsp;A Thousand Boy Kisses&nbsp;</i>is coming out in June 2024</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">4. 'Better Than Movies' by Lynn Painter</b><br> </p> <p>A major star of Bookstagram, Lynn Painter<b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">&nbsp;</b>is a huge fan of &quot;happily ever after&quot;.&nbsp;<i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Better Than Movies</i>&nbsp;is a story of 2 teenagers, Wes and Liz Buxbaum, who are neighbours with nothing in common between them. Until Liz wants Wes to help her catch the attention of her childhood crush Michael.&nbsp;Going by reviews, Painter's bestseller is &quot;sweet&quot; (and corny at certain parts) but is breezy and full of life. She has also thrown in enough pop culture references from&nbsp;<i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Taylor Swift</i>&nbsp;to&nbsp;<i style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Harry Met Sally</i>.</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">5. 'Secretly Yours' by Tessa Bailey&nbsp;</b><br> </p> <p>Tessa Bailey is a New York Times bestselling author and a TikTok favourite. <i>Secretly Yours </i>is a funny, breezy and fast-paced rice that follows the life of Hallie Welch, a small-town gardener and her relationship with a starchy professor. While readers love <i>Secretly Yours</i> for its relatable characters and cheesy love-angle, a lot of fans didn't shy away from expressing their disappointment at &quot;problematic&quot; steamy scenes.<br> </p> Mon Dec 18 09:33:38 IST 2023 cook-up-bibimbap-heres-how-to-make-most-goggled-korean-dish-of-2023 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Bibimbap, the most searched recipe on Google this year, has its roots in Korea. Though the origin of the dish can be tracked back to 1,000 years, its fame evolved over a period of time. This Korean dish gained popularity in the West during the late 20th century due to its cheap cost.</p> <p>With a combination of rice, fresh vegetables and meat, Bibimbap offers a unique package of nutrition and flavor. The low calorie dish can be made by using ingredients that are readily available at a household.</p> <p>Along with its simplicity and the delicious taste, the Korean wave around the world—in music, drama, and lifestyle, is one of the main reason for its recent popularity.</p> <p>The traditional version of the dish is cooked with raw egg yolk, raw meat and other vegetables. But there is also a cooked version of this dish.</p> <p><b>Ingredients required to make Bibimbap</b></p> <p>MEAT AND MEAT SAUCE</p> <p>- 100g / 3.5 ounces beef mince</p> <p>- 1 tablespoon sesame oil</p> <p>- 1 tablespoon soy sauce</p> <p>- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic</p> <p>- 1 teaspoon brown sugar</p> <p>VEGETABLES AND OTHERS</p> <p>- 100g of shiitake mushroom</p> <p>- 120g of carrots</p> <p>- Fine sea salt</p> <p>- Serving portions of steamed rice</p> <p>- Eggs (depending on the serving portion)</p> <p>- Some toasted seasoned seaweed, shredded (long thin cut)</p> <p>- Some cooking oil</p> <p><b>Ingredients for making Bibimbap sauce:</b></p> <p>- 2 tablespoon of gochujang</p> <p>- 1 tablespoon of sugar</p> <p>- 1 tablespoon of water</p> <p>- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil</p> <p>- 1 teaspoon of vinegar</p> <p>- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic</p> <p>- 1 tablespoon of roasted sesame seeds</p> <p>. One can also use other vegetable options like Korean cucumber side dish, Bellflower root, gosari, daikon radish salad or any other salad of a person’s choice.</p> <p><b>How to cook Bibimbap</b></p> <p>· Mix the meat sauce with the beef mince. Soak the meat for about 30 minutes.</p> <p>· Add cooking oil into the frying pan and cook the meat on medium to high heat. It takes about 5 minutes to cook it thoroughly.</p> <p>· Mix the ingredients of Bibimbap sauce together.</p> <p>· Peel and rinse the carrots, add some cooking oil to a pan, then add 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt and cook the carrots on medium to high heat for about 3 minutes.</p> <p>· Clean the shiitake mushrooms and slice them thinly. Add some cooking oil to the pan and add 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt to it. Cook the mushrooms on medium high to high heat for about three minutes.</p> <p>· Make some fried eggs.</p> <p>· Serve some rice into a bowl and add the meat, vegetables, toasted seasoned seaweeds, Bibimbap sauce, and add the egg on top of the rice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bibimbap is now ready to serve!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue Dec 12 14:30:00 IST 2023 foodies-have-you-tried-these-5-authentic-indian-christmas-delicacies <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Christmas won’t be scintillating without exquisite food. Let us go through the Christmas delicacies which are exclusively made in some Indian states. This December, try out these scrumptious dishes to make Christmas even merrier!&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>1. Kerala</b></p> <p><b>Dish: Kallappam</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Being an Indian version of pancake, the Kallappam is a common Christmas breakfast, traditionally prepared by grinding fermented rice, grated coconut, cumin, shallots, a few cloves of garlic and sugar. These are ground along with the traditional toddy (“kallu” in Malayalam) which is the raising agent, and the batter is put aside for fermenting before it is cooked.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There are also other variants of Kallappam, namely “vellappam” and “vattayappam”, all with slight variations in the making.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>2. Arunachal Pradesh</b></p> <p><b>Dish: Zan</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Christians of Arunachal Pradesh celebrate Christmas with their special dish named “Zan”. Zan is a popular porridge recipe of Arunachal that is prepared using fresh herbs, vegetables, ghee, smoked meat, spices and the millets, which is the state’s famous produce. This nutritious and spicy porridge is generally served with a glass of Cantaloupe juice.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>3. Nagaland</b></p> <p><b>Dish: Smoked pork curry and Naga Doughnuts</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The people of Nagaland have the tradition of including the smoked pork curry made with smoked pork, potatoes, tomatoes, green chillies and the locally available spice called “Mongmong jang” in their Christmas feast. This finger-licking curry is served along with plain rice as the main course followed by the dessert, “Naga doughnuts”.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Naga doughnuts, paired with a hot cup of tea, are different from other doughnuts as these are not as soft and fluffy as the regular ones. Cooked over the wood fire, this dessert has a charred appearance and a smoky flavour.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>4. Mizoram</b></p> <p><b>&nbsp;Dish: Kaukswe with mini chicken bites.</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is an elegant treat for the noodle lovers this Christmas. The kaukswe is the savoury Christmas meal of the beautiful and hilly state of Mizoram with a Christian population of almost 87%. While most of their Christmas dishes consist of beef and pork, the kaukswe with chicken bites is a much-loved dish that stands out.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A kaukswe refers to the traditional Burmese dish of mound egg noodles onto which a rich, coconut milk curry is poured over. The main difference that comes in kaukswe is in the preparation of the rich coconut milk curry. The mini chicken bites gravy is made by frying sliced garlic and shallots and adding them on to the sautéed chicken along with chickpea flour, red chillies and turmeric onto which the coconut milk is poured. Once the gravy is prepared it is then served by placing some noodles and a sliced egg in a bowl and pouring the curried chicken over it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">5. Goa</b><br> </p> <p><b>Dish:&nbsp;Bebinca&nbsp;</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the bonne bouche, one can include the Goan Bebinca this Christmas. The Bebinca is a Goan dessert made primarily with eggs, coconut milk, butter, flour and sugar. A fluffy cake or pudding, it conventionally has 7-16 layers and is especially popular in Goa during the Christmas season. This sugar delight is made by making a batter with coconut milk, flour, sugar, nutmeg and egg yolks and by baking them into layers.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun Dec 10 17:03:44 IST 2023 active-volcanoes-you-can-visit <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Seismic activity and underground lava flows intensified on the Reykjanes peninsula near the capital Reykjavik, Iceland over the weekend. This has sparked fears that the Fagradalsfjall volcano in the southwest of the country could erupt. Scientists have said that an eruption at some point is likely. About 4,000 people were evacuated from Grindavik over the weekend and authorities have dispatched bulldozers to dig trenches to minimise damage caused in case of eventual eruption.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The fear factor aside, certain active volcanoes are popular tourist attractions. Here are a few that could give you the adrenaline rush.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Kamchatka, Russia: </b>The Kamchatka peninsular in far east Russia is not only scenic but is also home to the volcanoes of Kamchatka, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The peninsular is also home to several lakes, rivers, geysers and glaciers. The rivers are great for rafting and fishing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Mount Teide, Spain: </b>This active volcano on the Tenerife island, is also the highest peak in Spain. Tenerife is also a great place to put your feet up-- walks along the beach and dolphin watching are a few of the activities you can do on the island. One could also walk a trail in the lush forests.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Cotopaxi, Ecuador:</b> Cotopaxi is the world's highest active volcano. You could also visit the explore the Cotopaxi National Park. The volcano last erupted in January 2016. Biking and hiking are two activities you could do at Cotopaxi</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Etna, Italy: </b>Etna is located on the east coast of Sicily and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Besides Etna, tourist attractions in Sicily include archaeological sites like the Agrigento's Valley of the Temples. Another attraction is the varied flavours one can try like dessert cannolis, salted ricotta cheese and seafood. Then there are luxurious beaches with golden sands and turquoise waters.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Taal Volcano, Philippines:</b> This one is the second-most active volcano in the world. Besides this, the Philippines has beautiful beaches you can visit. It is also home to six UNESCO World Heritage sites and home to one of the 7 Wonders of Nature, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Nov 17 17:15:08 IST 2023 diwali-gift-ideas-for-everyone-in-the-family <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Worried as to what to get for each quirky, endearing, annoying member of your family this Diwali? Here are fail-safe gifts that would instantly make you the family favourite.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Travel jewellery organiser:</b> Your jet-setting cousin or sister-in-law will surely appreciate this. It will let her accessorise without fuss as all her jewellery will stay untangled. There are several options available on Amazon, that come with removable dividers and a mirror.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Monogram phone case: </b>This will definitely be a hit with your sassy aunt or uncle. You could get one at Dailyobjects or Themessycorner.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Wireless charging tray: </b>You could get a charging tray with or without an extension to hold knick knacks or one that comes with a stand for charging a smart watch. Either way, a win-win gift for your dad or brother, to proudly display at their workplace. Several options are available at Amazon.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Curated tea samplers: </b>Looking for something for your mom-in-law? A carefully assembled tea hamper with different flavours is just perfect! The Gourmet Box and The Tea Trunk have great options.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Bluetooth speakers: </b>What would the sibling who loves working out love? Speakers to play their workout jam of course! Look no further than Amazon for options.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Korean beauty products:</b> Your best friend just started watching K-Dramas? Look no further than Korean beauty products from Belif or CosRX.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Massage gun:</b> For the chacha or your father-in-law who enjoys gardening, a massage gun will surely be a great gift, which will help heal their sore muscles after hours of toiling in the sun, giving their precious plants much-needed TLC. The sports supply store or Decathlon around the corner would have one.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Personalised luggage tag: </b>Your best niece/nephew with a taste for all things nice and loves to travel, this is the perfect gift. You could find one at Themessycorner.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Bookends: </b>Your book nerd aunt or uncle who would rather curl up with a thriller than attend the Diwali dinner-- this is for them. Take your pick from either Kalaakari Haath or the Wishing Chair.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Themed merchandise: </b>For your son or daughter who is a Harry Potter/ Captain Marvel fan, pick up a piece of merchandise or a bobblehead from Tinyminymo or Souledstore.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Nov 09 17:04:46 IST 2023 world-sandwich-day-fun-trivia-and-how-to-celebrate-with-friends <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Who doesn't like a good sandwich, right? An entire mean in itself, it can sometimes be served as finger food or hors d'oeuvres. Then, there are a variety of fillings to experiment with.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In honour of World Sandwich Day, here are some interesting facts about the food that is quite often a lunch box or a picnic staple. The invention of the sandwich can be credited to John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, who invented the dish. In 1762, Montagu was playing cards and did not want to leave the table to eat. So, he ordered for pieces of roast beef to be placed between two slices of bread, so he could eat with his hands.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sandwiches, have since then become a popular dish, which then, people and chefs all around the world have improved with innovation. Combinations of different meats, breads, vegetables, spreads and sauces have gone to make a variety of sandwiches.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To mark World Sandwich Day, gather your friends and family to assemble sandwiches.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Here are some fun combinations you can try:</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If something sweet is what you crave for, put together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; add a sliced banana into the mix, to make it a complete breakfast sandwich.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Opt for the grown-up version of a sweet sandwich by putting together slices of pear and fig between bread. Add some cheddar cheese or mozzarella shavings to turn it into a gourmet meal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A simple omelette sandwich can turn into a meal if layered with ham and topped with melted cheese.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Channel tea party energy and make finger sandwiches with cream cheese and cucumber slices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Egg, bacon, avocado-- need we say more? Perfect for a packed lunch or a quick dinner.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Looking for something really unusual? Try roasted pumpkin on caramelised onions, and goat cheese on slices of sourdough bread. Add some dill and chilli flakes to season.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Some fun facts:</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The world's largest sandwich weighed 5,440 pounds (2,467 kg).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were initially considered a delicacy and were enjoyed only by the upper class.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 1927, MGM's lion survived a plane crash-- it survived on water, milk and sandwiches.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Italian BMT is actually named after a subway transit route-- Brooklyn Manhattan Transit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At least 60 kinds of sandwiches originated from the US.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a research by the Newcastle University, a bacon sandwich can cure a hangover.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>How do you like your sandwich? Let us know!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Nov 03 15:54:29 IST 2023 looking-at-hilsas-significance-in-bengali-culture <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The onset of monsoons marks the season to eat hilsa, and Bengalis rejoice over shared meals prepared with the 'queen of fish' from head to tail so says my friend, who hails from Durgapur. The indigenous variety of herring, which is easily every Bengali's favourite fish, is in the news after the Bangladesh government announced it has permitted traders to sell nearly 4,000 metric tonnes of hilsa to India ahead of the festive Durga Puja season, officials said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hilsa plays a very important role in Bengali culture. In the past, it was customary for families of grooms to present hilsa wrapped in a red sari to the bride’s family. Bengalis consider fish to be very auspicious and lucky. During<i> Jamai Shoshti,</i> celebrated in May or June, mothers-in-law buy hilsa at exorbitant prices and playfully bully their sons-in-law into feasting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hilsa plays an important part during Saraswati puja too, when the Hindu goddess of learning is worshipped, pairs of the fish are presented to the deity as a sacred offering.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hilsa also often features as a centrepiece in festivities like Poila Boishakh (Bengali New Year) and Durga Puja. Hilsa is quite literally considered a symbol of wealth too, as it is more expensive. So, serving one's wedding guests would mean you're making quite a statement.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now Bangladesh's decision to allow trade of 4,000 metric tonnes of hilsa has historic significance too. Bangladesh was once part of Bengal under undivided India. The partition separated the Hindu-majority West Bengal from East Bengal, which later became Bangladesh. This also displaced several families-- a lot of Hindus were forced to migrate to West Bengal, while a lot of Muslims migrated to East Bengal.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Families divided by the border to this date argue, which side possesses the better-tasting hilsa. Is the one caught from the Padma river in Bangladesh better tasting or possess a better texture than one caught from the Ganga in West Bengal?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Where most brahmins in other communities shun away from meat or fish, Bengali brahmins gladly devour fish and meat. So, it isn't surprising that any kind of fish, especially hilsa plays an important role in one the most significant festivals of Bengalis, Durga Puja. Hilsa is prepared in a variety of ways from<i> jhol</i> (simple curry) to <i>pulao </i>and <i>bhapa ilish</i> or the steamed variety.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The cultural significance of the fish extends to literature, art and folklore-- renowned Bengali poets and writers, such as Rabindranath Tagore and Jibanananda Das, have penned verses dedicated to hilsa.&nbsp;</p> Thu Sep 21 16:15:23 IST 2023 for-the-love-of-chocolate-how-a-hyderabad-brand-is-changing-the-taste-of-cacao-farmers-in-godavari-region <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In a tastefully designed cafe in Hyderabad, a flutist plays a tune facing an audience dressed in all green. The music is meant to enliven that tall spectator. It may not sway or clap, but it is standing tall, and that’s what matters to the musician.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At Manam Chocolate Karkhana, a newly opened craft chocolate store at Banjara Hills in Hyderabad, chocolate is taken seriously. The audience comprises a lone cacao tree, planted aesthetically inside the indoor seati&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;ng space, and music therapy is applied to ensure the tree survives the unfavourable terrain.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district, known for having the highest cacao production in the country, farmers and workers adhere to strict protocols. Manam sources cacao from a select group of progressive farmers who agreed to work according to their preferences. Men and women sing songs to foster a sense of unity while carefully breaking the cacao pods with wooden clubs instead of sickles, as it could damage the beans inside. Once again, Manam takes every step of its chocolate-making process very seriously.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Hyderabad-based brand, founded by entrepreneur Chaitanya Muppala doubles up as an R&amp;D factory of chocolates where extreme care is taken, right from scientifically nurturing cacao trees to unconventionally developing chocolates, all aimed at enriching the flavour and taste of their diverse range of end-products.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Unlike Charlie, who had to win a golden ticket to enter Willy Wonka’s fantasy chocolate factory in ‘Charlie and Chocolate Factory’ movie, Manam (which translates to ‘We’ in Telugu) Kharkana (factory) is more realistic, yet equally fascinating and accessible to everyone.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The entrance to the outlet is in the form of a giant chocolate tablet, and customers are warmly welcomed by the sight of a thick chocolate fountain. Once inside, you will notice the hand-casted terrazzo flooring inspired by cacao plantations. Adorning the walls is a clear message about the philosophy of the team behind Manam—they are farmers, fermenters, chocolatiers and storytellers, all rolled into one.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the colourful shelves are Manam’s tablet collections, which includes 43 different varieties. Most notable among them is the ‘Single farm series’. Simply turn the bar around, open your camera and scan the code and voila! You are transported to the farm from which the chocolate’s cacao beans were sourced. It includes the farmer’s name and photos of the farm as well as the process involved in it. This is one way Manam wants to recognise and appreciate its farmers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In West Godavari district, Manam, through its sister concern Distinct Origins, has partnered with 100 farmers cultivating over 1,500 acres of cacao farms. The majority of other farmers in the region are involved in supplying cacao to industrial-scale production by multinationals. Chaitanya, the founder of Manam and District Origins, invested close to three-four years to study the market and has initiated a movement to focus on improving the genetics of the cacao farms in this part of the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Farms associated with Manam broadly undergo five distinct steps, which constitute an elaborate exercise compared to the traditional way of mass cultivation and processing followed by other farmers.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The first step is harvesting where each tree-ripened pod is cut only at the peak of its flavour. Each cacao tree is capable of producing 20-30 pods. The next step involves breaking the pod to separate the outer shell from the healthy beans. From here, the seeds go into the exclusive fermentery of Distinct Origins. The beans and its surrounding white pulp extracted from a pod are placed in wooden boxes lined with banana leaves and jute bags. Over a 6-8 day period, the beans undergo a series of biochemical reactions to develop aroma and flavour. Post that, the beans are dried, alternating between exposure to sun and shade, to remove excess moisture for a period of one to two weeks. The final stage involves sorting and bagging, where defective seeds are separated, and only the high-quality beans are bagged and dispatched to the Manam Chocolate Karkhana in Banjara Hills.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The rest of the journey unfolds here. Batches of dried beans are roasted, cracked, milled, couched and tempered through various machines that are on display in transparent enclosures at the store. The customers can observe these processes to get a better understanding of what goes into making chocolates. Once the fine chocolate is ready it lands up on the table of head chef, Ruby Islam and her team, who transform the main ingredient into craft chocolates and confections.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the menu are bonbons, truffles, fudge, brownies and cubes made with various combinations including local banana varieties like Chekkar Keli. Additionally, there are chocolate snacking options like crispy clusters and barks, which are hand-broken chocolate slabs. One of their products recently won an award at the International chocolate awards as well.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Still craving knowledge about chocolate? Then head to Manam classroom, where workshops are held for tasting sessions and knowledge exchange on the topic. There’s also a corner where one can order a customised chocolate tablet, similar to ordering a Subway, share your name, pick your ingredients and in a few minutes you have your own chocolate bar printed with your name. Manam has indeed set the chocolate ‘bar’ really high for its competitors.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon Sep 04 22:46:13 IST 2023 amritsari-makhan-machi-is-finding-love-in-pune <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>If you have been on an Amritsari culinary trail, Makhan Machhi is one dish you could not have missed. Much like its chole kulche, makhan machhi finds takers almost everywhere in the city of food lovers. Every restaurant in the city too has introduced it in its menu, adding their twist and variations to its recipe. But makhan machhi, which is a fried sole fish, is no longer limited to the borders of Punjab but has found lovers many thousand miles away.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chef Prabhjeet Singh, Chef De cuisine, Zeera, Conrad Pune, who hails from Amritsar says that their traditional preparation of the fish has made it very popular among Pune folks as one would find many Punjabis living in Pune. For making makhan machhi, the chef shares that sole fish is used, which is easily found in Pune as well and the best season to have makhan machhi is during the monsoons or the winters. “We have a lot of Punjabi visitors at the restaurant who know the taste of the Amritsari makhan machhi, that is why we have kept the original taste and recipe intact,” he says. Makhan machhi is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Chopped ginger, green chillies, gram flour, coriander, and corn flour is used in the preparation and it is fried in mustard oil and served with pickle, onions and chutney.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The chef recalls having makhan machhi in Amritsari when he would go on fishing trips as a child. Apart from his fish, the chef proudly calls his butter chicken the ‘best in the country’ but also says that it is a misconception that Amritsar and Punjabis only love non-vegetarian food. “We have a wide range of vegetarian food as well which we serve at the restaurant. These include paneer tikka masala, paneer makhani, pindi chole, Amritsari chole with kulchas and exotic vegetables.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Indian grill fine dining restaurant Zeera at Conrad Pune which serves north Indian vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines has a 65 per cent menu inspired from Lucknow and the rest 35 per cent from Amritsar. There are a variety of North Indian and Punjabi cuisines to explore as the city finds many dwellers from the northern region of the country.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue Aug 15 17:12:49 IST 2023 reclaiming-lost-recipes-of-rajasthan <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>When ker berries and sangri beans come together to be cooked in Rajasthani households, it makes for an aromatic pairing with almost anything. The desert vegetable comes from the arid regions of Rajasthan and thus, made its way popularly into the kitchens of the dry state.</p> <p>Chef Pannalal Kumar who hails from Chittorgarh introduced Delhi to the flavour and aroma of this lesser known slow-cooked recipe that is becoming a rarity even in cities in Rajasthan. “It takes a lot of time to cook. Both ker and sangri come from different plants and are dried for a year. They need to be soaked for 12 days and cleaned and later soaked in buttermilk and boiled. A blend of spices is then made to cook 'ker sangri' which has several health benefits.” He says slow-cooked traditional Rajasthani recipes are easily made and found in villages in the state as people cook them early in the morning and even share them with their neighbours unlike in cities where families prefer quick recipes and purchase readymade pickles and dishes from the market.</p> <p>Chef Pannalal learned the art of cooking from his grandfather and became a chef himself after his elder brother, too, chose the profession. His mother’s cooking style and recipes also greatly influenced his own style. “When in Delhi, I wanted to give people more than just dal bati churma from Rajasthan, so, I prepared a buffet of different and lesser-known Rajasthani cuisines and the response has been phenomenal,” he says. </p> <p>His recipes include mattera hara pyaaz, bharwan kaccha tamatar, Rajasthani chaats, ghewar, badam halwa, moong dal halwa, methi papad sabzi, pyaaz and moong dal kachori, khoba wali roti, gluten-free breads like jowar roti, missi roti, bajra roti and so on.</p> <p>To present his Rajasthani spread in Delhi, the chief ingredients had to be sourced from Rajasthan as some ingredients like ker and sangri, cannot be found in Delhi’s local markets. “We also sourced bajra from Rajasthan as it has a unique flavour, different from that of Delhi,” he says. He says that all Rajasthani food is preferably cooked in mustard oil while the desserts are cooked in ghee. Kumar who works at Raffles Udaipur also had a unique twist to the popular dal bati churma. While the batis are popularly laced with ghee, his batis were found dipped and floating in a bucket full of ghee for the flavour. “We usually cook batis on chulha using cow dung as the cooking fuel for retaining its true flavour,” he says.</p> <p>The culinary trip to Rajasthan can be experienced at Novotel Delhi, Aerocity’s Food Exchange till July 23.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Jul 22 16:02:49 IST 2023 using-chatgpt-to-create-workout-plans-experts-advise-caution <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In recent years, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionised various aspects of our lives. One remarkable development in this field is ChatGPT, a sophisticated language model designed by OpenAI. Originally created to assist users with their queries and generate coherent responses, people have started incorporating ChatGPT into their daily routines.</p> <p>People worldwide have been utilising ChatGPT to assist in various tasks like coding, scriptwriting, and even cooking. However, there is now a new endeavour where some individuals are using ChatGPT to generate workout plans. As the bot guides &nbsp;people&nbsp;through daily tasks, it is now being used as a cheaper replacement to personal trainers.</p> <p>Fitness experts, however, have a word of caution for those blindly following exercise and diet regimes suggested by AI chatbots.</p> <p>Ritu Paul, fitness trainer with Bollyfit, a dance and cardio workout studio in Kochi, says that there are no cheap alternatives when it comes to trainers and workouts. “When you rely on chatbots for fitness exercises, you are missing out on the most important element – human connection. Every body might need&nbsp; different attention, exercise and time period of workout. Chatbots cannot assure to heal injuries through exercise,” she said. “Not everybody who comes to workout has the same goals or is physical result-oriented. Some come for human interaction, mental health and general well-being and that is where personal trainers and group fitness classes come into play,” she added. Human interaction and personal training are of greater important to physical fitness than a ‘no figure, no identity’ anonymous bot helping you with exercise, she concluded.</p> <p>Ritu does not encourage instant weight loss tips given by bots. “Weight loss journey must be natural and healthy. Going for shortcuts might be detrimental in the long run,” she said, adding that consistency is key.</p> <p>Dr Senthil Kumar, a pediatrician, echoes Ritu's words when he says every body requires a different fitness routine which cannot be taken care of by AI. “Physical trainers can ensure lesser injuries keeping in mind the muscle weaknesses and physique structure of every individual. Online bots can be used as a referral guide but looking to it for personal training is not advisable,” he said. Instant weight loss is not going to help but in fact worsen the condition resulting in nutrition deficiency, dehydration and so on. AI bots like ChatGPT might be useful for educational purposes, he said, but at the end of the day it cannot take the place of a personal trainer.</p> <p>Abhinav Shankar Narayan, former cricket player with the Karnataka state team, who also later served as<b> </b>strength and conditioning coach for the team, said ChatGPT-generated regimes can only work on two ends of the spectrum—for complete beginners looking for a mere start and people who already know a good deal about workout looking for a guidebook to work on. Abhinav, founder of the Namma Crossfit<i> </i>gyms in Bengaluru and Chennai, also blamed the lack of qualified professional trainers for the situation while pointing out the biggest risk of using chatbots for fitness suggestions—lack of accountability. “No one can be blamed in case of an injury during the workout,” he said.</p> <p>With its vast knowledge base and ability to access information quickly, ChatGPT serves as a virtual encyclopedia on demand. However, it is essential to remain cognisant of the ethical implications and potential challenges associated with excessive reliance on AI. As we continue to explore the possibilities offered by AI-driven assistants like ChatGPT, it is crucial to strike a balance that maximises their benefits while giving personal care and attention to ourselves and our bodies.&nbsp;</p> Wed Jun 28 17:53:37 IST 2023 chef-katherine-chung-is-on-a-mission-to-revive-the-hakka-tradition <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When one thinks of Hakka in this part of the world, noodles come to mind. But very few know that Hakka is a tradition, a tribe, a whole culture. In Kolkata Tangra region, a shrinking tribe of the Hakka resides. Their population ran into thousands a few decades ago but now they are only a handful of hundreds. Chef Katherine Chung, whose grandparents had migrated from China and settled in India, is on a mission to revive the food culture of the Hakkas before it becomes invisible.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The chef travels to places across the country and even abroad and talks about the fading tradition, the food practices and curates dishes from the traditional Hakka recipes, but, with her own touch and locally available ingredients. Her most recent stop was at 'Honk by Pullman' in Delhi’s Aerocity where she put together a Hakka Tradition menu.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the unversed, Hakkas are a Han Chinese subgroup and the word 'Hakka' literally means ‘Guest families’ as it referred to Northern Chinese migrants fleeing social unrest, upheaval and invasions in northern parts of China during the Qing dynasty.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As for Chung, she was born in Amritsar, where her grandparents had first moved when they came and settled in India. She later moved to Kolkata as a teen and since has been living in Kolkata’s China Town. “It is very surprising to know that my grandmother was a chef in the Airlines Hotel in Amritsar in the 1940s-50s, a time when women chefs were unheard of and my grandfather was also an amazing cook. My uncles and elder brother, all are professional chefs who have worked in India and abroad,” she says.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She grew up observing her mother trying to bring the Hakka traditions to the dinner table - she made her own soy milk, tofu, pickled own mustard greens, made own Chinese sausages, Chinese bacon, and egg noodles. This is what fueled Katherine’s thirst to learn. She now cooks for both – her family and as a profession in various pop-ups, restaurants in India where she adapts the ancient Hakka recipes and uses locally available ingredients. For instance, when in Mumbai, she uses gobindobhog rice (Bengali rice) to make traditional Hakka rice cakes. In Pune, she used the chonak fish (giant sea perch) instead of bhetki fish that she uses in Kolkata. She sums up her style as ‘bringing in internationally acclaimed dishes and tweaking them in her own style'.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For her Hakka menu at Pullman’s Honk, she presented dishes like roast crackling pork, whole fish steamed with ginger, scallion and sichuan peppercorn and steamed prawns on glass noodles for non-vegetarians and soy braised tofu sliders and king oyster mushrooms with rice wine and more for vegetarians.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She tweaked the ingredients with the locally available ones rather than sticking to the original Hakka ingredients which are a rarity in India. “Hakkas are people who have migrated and have been pushed out and persecuted and have never had something of their own. They have adapted to the places they have lived at and made that culture their own. I am documenting their recipes because they will soon be lost,” she says, highlighting that Hakkas have been migrating out of Kolkata.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When asked if Hakka menu finds a permanent space in their homes, she says only on special occasions, otherwise it is the usual dal-chawal.&nbsp;</p> Tue Jun 27 21:51:06 IST 2023 spains-tapas-culture-has-found-its-foot-in-india <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They say: speak English, kiss French, drive German and dress Italian – but with many countries adopting the Spanish Tapas culture, ‘eat Spanish’ is likely to be added to the adage soon. Tapas in Spain is not just food, but indeed a culture. It is a way in which the Spanish enjoy the company of their friends and loved ones over drinks and tapas – which are essentially small food servings that accompany a drink.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It offers a great opportunity to experience Spanish gastronomy since one can enjoy a wide range of dishes in small quantities. Owing to its popularity, a host of restaurants in India have begun celebrating the Tapas culture by introducing a specially curated Tapas menu which includes small snacks accompanied by drinks to be enjoyed with friends and family for a long time.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Legend has it that Tapas custom began when the bar keepers in the 13th century (under King Alfonso X ‘The Wise’ of Castile’s rule), began covering their customers' drinks with a slice of bread, ham or cheese to stop flies and dust from entering. ‘Tapa’ literally means an appetiser or snack in Spanish.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In Delhi, chef Ankur Gulati of Sevilla, The Claridges put together a 10-day special menu to celebrate the culture.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chef Ankur Gulati, executive chef, of The Claridges, New Delhi agrees that there is a deep curiosity among Indians to indulge in Tapas culture. They have a penchant for experiencing different cuisines and exploring diverse palates, making it a popular choice among many restaurants, he says. He calls the Indian palate ‘exploratory’ and says the guests are always open to experimenting with international cuisines and seek to savour the true essence of diverse culinary traditions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to him, the Spanish Embassy provided their expertise and guidance and with their assistance; dishes that authentically represent the essence of Spanish cuisine were curated.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The set menu at the restaurant features patata bravas, shallow-fried potato smothered in a smoked pepper mojo, Hongos, wild mushroom croquettes served with garlic aioli, while the pimientos del piquillo rellenos de queso offers a blend of goat cheese-filled Spanish green pepper fritters. For seafood enthusiasts, the pan-roasted prawns with garlic, chilli, and fresh thyme, known as gambas, makes its place on the menu. The main course options include Cochin sea bass with seasonal vegetables, confit Potato, and lemon caper sauce, Josper grilled New Zealand lamb loin with ratatouille and lamb jus, and so on.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For a sweet conclusion to the menu, the traditional tiramisu or the Spanish saffron-infused crema catalana, an irresistible custard flavoured with saffron and a hint of cinnamon, topped with caramelised sugar, delight the visitors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The most popular dish from their menu remains the patata bravas and the delectable green peppers filled with goat cheese.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Seeing a positive response to the menu, Sevilla is likely to collaborate with the Spanish Embassy on an annual basis to celebrate World Tapas Day and its culture, informs the chef.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 10-day special Tapas experience at Sevilla, The Claridges, New Delhi ends on June 20th. The Tapas menu was curated by Sevilla in collaboration with Spain Tourism Office in India to celebrate the Tapas culture.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun Jun 18 15:35:30 IST 2023 foreigners-want-to-try-indian-cuisine-as-they-consider-it-to-be-something-unique <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It's raining awards for India. After RRR's Oscar win, celebrity chef Shipra Khanna recently won World Influencers and Bloggers Awards at Cannes for 'Most influential personalities in social media world'.&nbsp;</p> <p>From a very young age, Shipra Khanna was passionate about cooking. The MasterChef India Season 2 title winner has to defy societal biases to build her brand in the culinary industry. Shipra talks to THE WEEK about her journey, her struggles and her passion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Congratulations on winning the WIBA award. What was your first reaction when you learnt you had won?</b></p> <p>Firstly, thank you so much. Secondly, I went there with a positive mindset, it was an international platform and there weren't other Indians. So, I didn't know the chances; the permutation combination of me winning. And, when I actually won, it was an unbelievable moment for me. I don't think I can verbalize it. The feeling was so overwhelming. I don't think it hits you when you know you're there and actually experiencing it. I think it sinks in slowly. Before the award, I had to give a speech for about 10 minutes, followed by a Q&amp;A session.</p> <p>Since the attendees were all foreigners, they wanted to know more about India, Indian food and Ayurveda. They were really interested in doing the Q&amp;A session. But, just being there, being on that stage... was a victory (to me), I felt like I had effectively conveyed what I had set out to convey.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>So you were the title winner of MasterChef season 2. Can you share about your journey before MasterChef? How did you get into this field?</b></p> <p>I was inclined towards cooking from a very young age. I started cooking when I was nine years old. Not that I cooked the best dish, but my whole interest in cooking and being in the kitchen and doing something started at that age. I just picked up things from the refrigerator and cooked something that my father would really like. But I wasn't actually aware of what I was preparing, I just wanted to make something nice. Whenever my parents weren't around, I would sneak into the kitchen to cook in my own style. My father was always cautious about me going into the kitchen due to the potential accidents that could occur. So my father used to say, “When the time comes, you will eventually land in the kitchen, but right now, you're a kid, you're young and you can let it be.”&nbsp;</p> <p>I got married at a very young age. I had my first child when was 19. Later, I started cooking for my daughter as doctors advised she shouldn't be offered outside food. My daughter and I are foodies so that again attracted me to cooking. When I look back and introspect, (I believe) that was the main reason to start cooking.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>&nbsp;In the world of haute cuisine, how do you see Indian cuisine evolving and gaining recognition?</b></p> <p>So we do have a position out there, many foreigners are interested in trying out Indian cuisine because they consider it to be something very unique. I know everybody is a chef at heart and after the pandemic, so many people have become 'chefs'. But, frankly speaking, food is not just about cooking, its more than that.&nbsp;</p> <p>For example, during the pandemic when everybody was cooking, I actually wrote a book called 'Health Unlimited' because I felt as a chef, it's my responsibility to reach out to people and tell them to build their immunity, to eat food which is healthy and save someone's life, your life, your family's life, because we were 'losing our loved ones like its nobody's business'. The book is based on the principles of Ayurveda and how you can make food healthy, with quick and easy-to-follow recipes.&nbsp;</p> <p>So, my job involves a lot of travelling internationally and I host several H&amp;I dinners.&nbsp; I curate menus, host pop-ups in Michelin star and high-end restaurants, and clubs. I served Indian cuisine-based lunch for 180 people in a 180-year-old gentleman’s club. I had hosted several dinners in Pittsburgh, which was for Duchesses, Dukes, for royal family members and multi-millionaires.&nbsp;</p> <p>Whenever I travel abroad, the general imagery people had about Indian cuisine was just gravy and food lumped on a plate. After cooking, I would always explain to the guests what they are eating. I wouldn't do the regular Dal Makhani and Butter Chicken; I prepare more signature-style food which is well-plated, very polished, that could be paired with wine and champagne. I once prepared dinner for Mukesh Ambani and his delegates.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Could you share some of your learnings, techniques that inspired you in other cuisines?</b></p> <p>There are quite a lot of them. I am a guest faculty at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. It's one of the best (culinary school) in the world and I made sure all these French people eat my handsome biryani (she chuckles). I inaugurated the tandoor there. That school is really close to my heart. They never had a tandoor nor did they know how to use it. I was like, 'Come on, I am doing it, this has to be okay'.</p> <p>In Japanese cuisine they do a lot of flambé, which is a technique to cook food with the torch, another technique is smoking. Then we have Brazilian cuisine where they grill pineapple and it's a part of the meal.&nbsp;</p> <p>My father and I love Mexican food, they have different styles of serving margaritas and different taco fillings. I just feel lucky to have witnessed and gone to like so many Caribbean restaurants to just eat those delights. They have fish which is cooked in citrus. It's like an 'amuse-bouche' that cleanses your palate with amazing flavours and textures. Then there's something called 'tepache', it's a Mexican way of making kombucha, but it is made with citrus again.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Is there any particular Indian food ingredient or technique that you feel is underrated?</b></p> <p>See, I think Indian cuisine, it's so vast. For example, I'm a Himachali. I was born in Himachal, I love my state and the cuisine. But the cuisine is a virgin cuisine because it's unexplored. We stay in extreme temperatures and we cure meat, duck and fish. Because during the summers or winters, there is nothing to eat, so we cure the meat, we smoke the meat and its called 'chha meat'. These are the same techniques that the French used. They cure duck, lamb, and pork. Many techniques of foreign cuisine are also practised by us, just that they do it in a polished way.&nbsp; I think our cuisine hasn’t gained popularity.</p> <p>Outside India, there is a wide world and what really matters is that to whom you are reaching out to. What made me entirely happy about winning this award is that I could reach out to the right audience who wanted to know about Indian cuisine and how different it is to eat at restaurants, how different it is when you serve it, and how different it is to organise these dinners.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>How do you balance between innovation and tradition when creating a new dish?</b></p> <p>I represent myself in my food. It's very simple. When people see me, they assume I'm some trending model, a happening person, always well-dressed. But once they really meet me, they understand I'm really traditional. I respect elders, I love my culture and tradition. People who supported me since the start of my career are really proud of me; it makes me feel that I’ve achieved something in my life. I think the food is just a reflection of who I am.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What advice would you give to aspiring chefs?</b></p> <p>Frankly speaking, I never thought I would be in such a position. Maybe I am paving a path for them to follow. It's not easy to get here because consistency, hard work, resilience everything matters.&nbsp;</p> <p>Initially, I struggled to build my brand. Then there are factors like gender bias, age, position, power, experience, opportunities... everything becomes a factor to grow yourself and your career. But I still remember, I would pray to God to just age me faster. In my industry, people do not respect you because of your (young) age and think you are inexperienced.</p> <p>So yes, definitely hard work, resilience and consistency are the keys to success. So whoever is looking to follow their dreams, they really have to have all of this.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>You are an author, host, content creator and ambassador. How do you manage to wear all these hats at once?</b></p> <p>It comes from passion. I love what I do and I believe in the YOLO (You Only Live Once)concept. Why not explore, why not break barriers, widen your is full of abundance.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What are your upcoming projects?</b></p> <p>I have a new cookbook titled 'Sinfully Yours Too' coming out. I'm also working on a television show. I am also a health and well-being ambassador with the health ministry where I promote healthy food.&nbsp;</p> Tue Jun 06 18:45:19 IST 2023 this-summer-a-chef-experiments-with-traditional-mango-recipes-from-kerala-and-kolkata <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A sweet and sour, tangy, coconut-based curry made with the season’s best ripe mangoes, tempered with mustard seeds and red chillies—this traditional mango curry recipe finds its roots in Kerala. Often, for the seafood-loving population of the state, the mango curry is given a tweak with the addition of fish or prawns. </p> <p>They say June best serves as the mango month with varieties of mangoes flooding the markets, making their way into Indian kitchens to be made into pickles, curries, aam pannas or desserts. When Chef Agnibh Mudi, corporate chef of one8 Commune, was customising his summer special mango menu this month for the resto-bar in Delhi, Kolkata and Pune, he not only derived inspiration from Kerala’s traditional curry recipe but from his hometown Kolkata, too, while also keeping in mind the north Indian recipes.</p> <p>“In the mango season, Kerala does mango curries, Kolkata famously does mango dal, Gujarat loves the aamras curry. Everyone likes to utilise the seasonal fruit in one way or the other. Our 'Kerala Mango Fish Curry' and 'Mango &amp; Summer Vegetable Curry' have been curated keeping in mind the north Indian palette. It is not very sweet,” he said. The base of the vegetarian and the fish curry remains the same—cooked in coconut milk and with a south Indian tempering. Chef uses raw and sweet mangoes as ingredients in the vegetarian curry. Both the curries are served with rice and Mudi insists that it makes for the perfect side pairing.</p> <p>For starters, chef Mudi has curated the mango kerabu salad and mango and sprout salad, using different varieties of mangoes for different textures and flavours. Chef Mudi also made sure the pairing with the tacos was mango-inspired and he replaced tomato salsa with tangy mango salsa.</p> <p>What strikes in the menu is the fact that mango finds its way into dishes that have never been paired with the fruit. As unusual as it may sound, the sushi, too, is not spared. Yet in this menu, a mango and avocado or salmon sushi is a fulfilling and unique experience.</p> <p>The traditional mango barfi, too, finds a culinary twist as it has been made in creamy textures and served as a side pairing with mango tiramisu. “We topped the barfi with some coconut and did not make it very sweet. Traditional mango barfis sold at sweet shops are very sweet. Though the barfi comes as a side pairing with the mango tiramisu, it was my personal favourite and we loved the idea of serving it as a separate sweet altogether,” the chef said.</p> <p>The 'Summer Vacations' mango menu is being served at one8 Commune in June.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon Jun 05 17:32:21 IST 2023 10-sustainability-influencers-inspiring-us-to-live-greener-lives <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>We live in a world that gives so much emphasis on skincare routines and fashion trends. Do we focus on giving our environment the same importance? Here are some influencers who will motivate you to go green and lead a sustainable lifestyle. They use Instagram as a platform to publish their content and spread the word.</p> <p>Whether it's calling for waste reduction, reducing consumption, or making greener choices feel more accessible, these influencers are simply crushing it. We highly recommend giving them each a follow; you may even find yourself making better, good-for-the-earth decisions!</p> <p><b>1. Nayana Premnath (@nayana_premnath)</b></p> <p>She has gone from being a practicing architect, to a content creator and now a low- waste practitioner. Nayana discovered a zero-waste journey on her journey as a beauty and lifestyle YouTuber. The shift to low-waste happened in 2019 and as she shares, is still in progress. Nayana is the one to follow if you love having access to multiple resources. Along with her Instagram page, Nayana has her own website and YouTube channel. “The menstrual cup was what led me to a rabbit hole of information on sustainability and zero-waste living,” she says. All her offerings do not just showcase her low-waste journey but also her experiments with a vegan diet including some delicious recipes. You can also get your hands on a quick guide on easy zero-waste swaps that you can implement immediately.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>2. Vani Murthy (@wormani)</b></p> <p>Vani Murthy is a 60-year-old homemaker-turned-changemaker who goes by Worm Rani on Instagram, inspiring youngsters to compost and manage waste sustainably in urban spaces through her short and informative videos. “Urban farmer” and a “composting enthusiast” Vani co-founded the Bengaluru branch of the Solid Trash Management Round Table, an organisation devoted to solving the waste issue in cities. What can you do with the scraps from your kitchen? Use it to nourish the soil and grow your own healthy vegetables, says Vani Murthy who constantly addresses through her page.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>3. Mrudula Joshi (@ullisubymrudula)</b></p> <p>Although she comes from a fashion background, her habit of saving up made her discover a zero-waste lifestyle. Her endeavour is thus called “Ullisu” which in Kannada stands for “save”. Mrudula is not just a zero-waste influencer but also an entrepreneur. As part of her professor’s research, she had taken up the #NoStitchSeptember Challenge where she opted for drapes instead of stitched clothes to reduce carbon footprints. She made dresses, tops, skirts, and sarees from drapes. The pursuit brought out her creative side and the best part was that these styles were apt for all body shapes and sizes. She recently launched Ulisu Zero-waste Store, where you can buy zero-waste products and get them delivered pan-India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>4. Kopal Nanda (@witch_crafts)</b></p> <p>Who would say no to an urban garden? This gardener's page is completely green, almost like a virtual nursery. One of India's emerging &quot;plantfluencers,&quot; Kopal, speaks about different plants and demonstrates how to cultivate and care for them in an apartment garden. You will gain knowledge about both veggie gardening and decorative plants. She also gives you lessons on different varieties of hoyas, glimpses of a blooming cabbage patch, and her expertise on how to change the settings for the plants’ environment when the weather changes. Following her is a good idea if one of your aims is to become a green thumb.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>5. Ripu Baman Bevli (@plogmanofindia)</b></p> <p>Ripu introduced the idea of plogging in India by planning clean-up campaigns around Mumbai. He focuses on raising awareness about trash reduction and aspires to make India free of litter. By planning clean-up campaigns around Mumbai, Ripu introduced the idea of plogging to this nation. He works hard to raise awareness about trash reduction and aspires to make India free of litter. You may find hundreds of short films about sustainability and how to live a waste-free life on his Instagram page, which can inspire you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>6. Soumya (@greenfeetcleanfeet)</b></p> <p>She is a sustainable lifestyle blogger and creates content that mostly deals with low consumerism and she began the “No Buy Challenge” on her page. She attempts to motivate people to stop buying things that were unnecessary, and thus reduce some amount of waste generation. In addition to this, she also speaks of sustainable hacks.<br> <br> </p> <p><b>7. Saif (@thesustainabilityguy)</b></p> <p>The handle says it all. He is ‘the’ guy if you want to know about sustainability.</p> <p>If you would like to know more about ‘identification codes on plastic items’, check out careers in sustainability, or find out about how you can cut down your food wastage, his reels are the answer. With a varied range of topics and extremely entertaining reels, Saif makes sure that learning about sustainability is extremely engaging. He has posted engaging content centered around learning more about a sustainable lifestyle. If you would like to know more about ‘identification codes on plastic items’, check out careers in sustainability, or find out about how you can cut down your food wastage, these reels are the answer.</p> <p><b>8. Pankti Pandey (@zerowasteadda)</b></p> <p>Her Instagram is truly a zero-waste adda of resources. From video tutorials to product swaps, easy practices, and useful guides you name it. Pankti is an advocate for not just zero-waste living but also slow fashion and minimalism. Her content is perfect for Indians as it celebrates age-old sustainable practices we have been doing and about what more can be done. She also shares natural skincare methods that were passed down in her family. Don’t forget to check out her highlights for deeper insights into all her zero-waste endeavours.</p> <p><b>9. Kamana Goutham (@mycocktail_life)</b></p> <p>Kamana is a nutritionist who adopts the “sustainable parenting” approach and implements sustainability in every aspect of her family’s life. She educates her children about how growing food is important in contrast to ordering it from a restaurant and teaches them about their roots, as well as concepts such as harvesting, while urging other parents to do so as well. She believes that in this day and age, it is very important to think about our environment when you consider being a parent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>10. Pallavi (@modaninja)</b></p> <p>She is a fashion blogger and nature enthusiast whose Instagram explores the fashion industry and attempts to raise awareness of ingrained colonial exploitation and unsustainable practices. Her page consists of resources for learning how fast fashion functions and what the possible alternatives are in addition to being visually calming because it offers a glimpse of fashion via nature.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><br> <br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon Jun 05 16:58:08 IST 2023 environment-day-edible-landscapes-a-step-towards-green-living-in-urban-spaces <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In the face of increasing urbanization and environmental concerns, the concept of edible landscapes has gained significant traction as a way to transform unused city spaces into productive gardens. Urban farming initiatives and passionate individuals have embraced this movement, promoting sustainable and localised food production while simultaneously enhancing the beauty and functionality of urban environments. These edible landscapes not only provide fresh, nutritious food but also contribute to sustainable food production and reduce the carbon footprint associated with long-distance food transportation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By growing food locally, urban farmers minimize the use of pesticides and herbicides, promote biodiversity, and reduce food waste. In addition, these projects help combat food insecurity by increasing access to fresh produce in undeserved urban communities, where nutritious options are often limited.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Urban farming has taken various forms, ranging from community gardens and rooftop farms to vertical gardens and hydroponic systems which doesn’t involve the presence of soil for plants to grow. These initiatives demonstrate the ingenuity and resourcefulness of individuals who are determined to make a positive impact on their communities and the environment. By repurposing underutilized spaces such as vacant lots, rooftops, and even walls, these urban farmers are turning concrete jungles into vibrant oases of green.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Urban Leaves</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One inspiring example of an edible landscape is the 'Urban Leaves' led by Preeti Patil, catering officer with the Mumbai Port Trust (MBPT).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By converting 3,000 sq. ft of terrace space into an urban garden, she found a unique solution to the problem of waste generated in the MBPT kitchen. Earlier in 2000, the central kitchen of MBPT, which caters to departmental canteens in the docks, used to generate 30 kgs of vegetable waste daily.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When Patil, who is a Btech graduate in Food Science and Catering Technology, faced issues regarding the disposal of this waste, she decided to recycle it through terrace farming.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Inspired by the works of S.A. Dabholkar and the Prayog Pariwar Natueco Farming methodology, she started experimenting on the rooftop of the kitchen. The canteen's staff happily volunteered their spare time to be a part of this project.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Over time, the terrace transformed into a highly productive food forest, creating a lush green cover amidst the concrete surroundings. The presence of beneficial bugs, birds, bees, and butterflies further enhanced the ecological balance of the area. This innovative approach not only addressed the waste management issue but also provided a sustainable source of fresh produce for the canteens and added natural beauty to the surroundings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2009, Preeti Patil founded 'Urban Leaves', a non-profit organization driven by volunteers. The main objective of 'Urban Leaves' is to raise awareness about organic food cultivation in urban environments by recycling organic materials and kitchen waste. Since its establishment, 'Urban Leaves' has expanded its operations and currently oversees the management and maintenance of two rooftop community farms. These farms not only serve as productive spaces but also function as educational centres, providing valuable learning opportunities for volunteers from various age groups and professional backgrounds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Green Souls</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>'Green Souls' is an organization based in Mumbai that goes beyond spreading ecological awareness. They have created a 30,000-sqft urban farm in Kharghar where they introduce organic farming, composting, and sustainable living. They also conduct workshops in building societies and schools, reaching out to over 7,000 people.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The unique aspect of 'Green Souls' is that the produce they grow on their farm is distributed to cancer patients and their families. By composting 150 tonnes of biodegradable waste, they are actively reducing the environmental impact of waste disposal. The group was initiated in 2012 by Julius Rego, with a strong focus on community support and involvement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition to their adult programs, 'Green Souls' has designed special programs for children and teenagers. They aim to educate and engage young minds in ecological practices, making it a fun and interactive experience.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>'Green Souls' addresses the issue of waste management in Mumbai, a city that produces a staggering amount of waste daily. They emphasize the importance of composting organic waste to create useful compost and prevent fires in dumping grounds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While they acknowledge that their mission is a long-term endeavor, Green Souls is determined to make a difference by involving volunteers and conducting workshops to raise awareness and foster sustainable practices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Edible Routes</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>'Edible routes' is an organic farming company that offers organic farms, edible landscapes and create products to nurture the earth. They set up kitchen gardens, rent out farmland for urban growers, conduct workshops on organic farming and sustainability and sell natural farming products.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The company strives to reduce environmental effects and protect the integrity of natural ecosystems while promoting efficient resource utilization. By doing so, they empower individuals to cultivate their own organic and sustainable food in terrace gardens, balconies, and residential spaces.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The benefits of edible landscapes extend beyond food production and environmental sustainability. They have been shown to improve mental health and well-being by creating green spaces that offer respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. These urban oases foster a sense of community, providing opportunities for social interaction and skill sharing among individuals with a shared passion for growing food and connecting with nature.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Edible landscapes are not just a means to grow food; they represent a visionary approach to re-imagining and reinstalling the lost greenery of the world.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sun Jun 04 16:35:56 IST 2023 working-with-waste-carleigh-bodrug-and-her-scrappy-cooking-ideas <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>As the world (with a little nudge from the wondrous invention called the internet) grows increasingly aware of the current climate crisis, the responsibility has fallen on everyone's shoulder to do their part in healing the ailing planet. Carleigh Bodrug, through her Instagram (@plantyou) account, has become quite a celebrity with her innovative ways to help reduce kitchen waste.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This Environment Day, let's take a look at some of her scrappy cooking ideas to lessen kitchen waste.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ol> <p><b>Onion peel powder</b></p> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><p>Collect onion peels, discard the unsalvageable ones.</p> </li> <li><p>Wash the peels.</p> </li> <li><p>Soak it in water for 30 minutes.</p> </li> <li><p>Drain and rinse.</p> </li> <li><p>Pat dry with a clean cloth.</p> </li> <li><p>On a dehydrator sheet or parchment paper lined baking sheet set it out in the sun for 24 hours or in the oven at the lowest setting for 3 hours.</p> </li> <li><p>Grind the dehydrated peels into a powder.</p> </li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Use:</p> <p>Onion peel powder, like garlic powder and dried herbs, enhances flavour.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ol> <p><b>Homemade apple cider vinegar</b></p> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><p>Add the leftover apple scraps into a clean glass jar.</p> </li> <li><p>Add warm water and sugar.</p> </li> <li><p>Cover the top with a cloth and secure it.</p> </li> <li><p>Put it away in the pantry for two weeks.</p> </li> <li><p>Strain the scraps.</p> </li> <li><p>Allow the liquid to ferment for another two weeks.</p> </li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Use</p> <p>Can be used in salad dressing, as a marinade or a substitute for white vinegar.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ol> <p><b>Corn cob broth</b></p> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><p>Place the cobs in a vessel.</p> </li> <li><p>Add poultry seasoning/Italian seasoning, bay leaf, garlic, onion skins and black pepper.</p> </li> <li><p>Set it to boil.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Use</p> <p>Can be used like vegetable stock.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ol> <p><b>Candied orange peels</b></p> </ol> <p>(4:2 ratio – 4 oranges to 2 cups of sugar)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><p>Peel the oranges and freeze.</p> </li> <li><p>Slice the orange peels into thin strips.</p> </li> <li><p>Bring water to boil, and allow the orange peels to simmer for approximately 15 minutes.</p> </li> <li><p>Drain and rinse with cold water.</p> </li> <li><p>In the same pot, bring equal parts water and sugar to a boil to make a simple syrup.</p> </li> <li><p>Whisk until combined.</p> </li> <li><p>Add the orange peels back in, and set the heat low. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, until the orange peels candies.</p> </li> <li><p>Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and allow to cool for 4 hours. It lasts for a month.</p> </li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ol> <p><b>Ginger ice cubes</b></p> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><p>Peel the ginger and juice the lemon.</p> </li> <li><p>Add both, and water, to the blender.</p> </li> <li><p>Blend it at a high speed until the ginger gets pureed.</p> </li> <li><p>Pour into an ice cube tray and wait till it freezes.</p> </li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ol> <p><b>Fruit leather</b></p> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><p>Preheat the oven to 79.4 °C.</p> </li> <li><p>Line a baking pan with a silicone sheet or baking parchment. (note: when using a parchment, make sure it is laid flat on the baking sheet)</p> </li> <li><p>Blend the berries with chia and maple syrup. Using a spatula, spread the mixture in the baking sheet as evenly as possible.</p> </li> <li><p>The layer must be thick enough to bind together, but at the same time thin enough to dehydrate properly.</p> </li> <li><p>The leather tends to shrink once water is removed. Leave this in the oven for two and a half hours, before turning it and let it dehydrate for a couple more hours.</p> </li> <li><p>When the fruit leather easily slips off, it is ready.</p> </li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A dehydrator can be used instead as well; simply leave it in for 8-12 hours depending on the water content.&nbsp;</p> Sat Jun 03 16:19:11 IST 2023 environment-day-5-indian-brands-championing-sustainable-fashion <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In recent years, the fashion industry has witnessed a significant shift towards sustainability and ethical practices. With growing concerns about the environmental impact of fast fashion and the exploitation of workers in the supply chain, consumers are now seeking out clothing brands that prioritise sustainability. These brands not only concentrate on designs but also on good working conditions and preserving local craftsmanship.</p> <p>A quick look at five Indian brands promoting responsible fashion:</p> <p><b>1. Doodlage</b></p> <p>Doodlage is renowned for its original approach to upcycling and waste reduction. The modest supply chain has been expertly selected by Kriti Tula, a 33-year-old fashion designer. Doodlage is renowned for repurposing leftover fabric and textiles to make inventive new patterns, hence minimizing the amount of waste that would have otherwise ended up in landfills. But why the name Doodlage? A pun on the word &quot;doodles&quot; or the practice of doodling. Every piece created at Doodlage includes extra doodles made by the artist during the creative process to address a problem specific to their composition. The origin of the brand's name, Doodlage, and its significance demonstrate how distinctive it is.</p> <p><b>2. Nicobar</b></p> <p>A company that believes in culture as much as commerce and that journeys are usually as worthy as destinations. Nicobar was born when Raul Rai and Simran Lal noticed how the fast fashion pendulum was swinging and yearned for products that are designed to last, and are inspired by natural design and materials. They aim to create a line that champions easy, effortless style, clothing that can be worn for years, and homeware that is with you for life. Even with their packaging style, they show how earnest they are about the idea of sustainable fashion. They use crumbled paper and egg trays instead of air and foam pouches to package fragile items.</p> <p><b>3. Upasana</b></p> <p>For the past 20 years and more, Upasana has been focused on grassroot movements centered around fashion, sustainability, ecology, weavers and artisans. To Upasana, design is just creative problem solving. “I consciously do not view fashion from the prism of beauty or vanity,” says the 50-year-old founder of Upasana, Uma Prajapati. They support organic farmers and their families by enabling them to switch to organic agricultural practices. However, Upasana states that “organic in itself does not mean necessarily mean sustainable’’. Uma is now exploring using only locally-made fabric.</p> <p><b>4. Okhai</b></p> <p>This is one the finest sustainable fashion brands with an exclusive selection of handcrafted dresses, handcrafted kurtas, hand-embroidered sarees, and many more. Okhai’s apparel includes heritage crafts like Ikat, Jamadani, and Ajrakh. Over the years, Okhai has expanded its reach to bring more rural communities into the fold. The members of the self-help groups formed by Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD) are the backbone of this handicraft project. Okhai helps in sustaining various crafts in India by partnering with different craft-based organizations and providing them with an online platform to sell their products.</p> <p><b>5. B Label</b></p> <p>This Mumbai-based company that showed us how it is high time we rethink our fashion choices and opt for sustainable clothing. The brand uses hemp which is better than other fabrics in many ways. It is stronger than any natural fabric and is hypoallergenic, moisture absorbent, fire retardant, and a good insulator while being one of the few fabrics that breathe. B Label is<b> </b>India’s first hemp-based clothing and lifestyle brand line that focuses on creating fashion and accessories “unbound by time and season”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Jun 03 12:47:23 IST 2023 pride-month-2023-events-to-watch-out-for-in-indian-cities <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>It is that time of the year when the world gets ready with rainbow flags and goes all out with elaborate costumes, makeup, and, of course, glitter in order to commemorate Pride Month. Pride Month is an entire month dedicated to the uplifting of LGBTQ+ voices, celebrating their culture and supporting their rights.</p> <p>The rainbow aptly signifies the colourful activities and flavour of this month-long celebration. These include massive rallies, pride parades, parties, workshops, concerts, and many more LGBTQ+ events to attract participants from all over the world.</p> <p><b>How Pride Month came about</b></p> <p>The month is dedicated to those who were involved in the Stonewall Riots, series of gay liberation protests in 1969. The Stonewall Inn which is a popular gay bar in NYC was raided by police in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. This was not unusual for the time, but on this particular evening, the patrons of the bar fought back, starting the Stonewall Riots that went on for days and ignited a long struggle to bring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people into the American mainstream guaranteeing their rights. After a long history of protests and proud resilience, it was only in 1999 that former US president Bill Clinton officially proclaimed June as “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month''. It was later in 2011 that president Barack Obama underlined and emphasised the inclusive nature of the Pride movement by re-titling it as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month and also declared Stonewall Inn a historic one in 2016.</p> <p><b>Pride Month in India</b></p> <p>The onset of the Pride movement in India is associated with the discourse around Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, an antiquated impact of the British era that criminalised homosexuality. The impact continued in spite of Independence and the implementation of Article 24 which promises equality to all. The first protest for gay rights in India took place on August 11, 1992, outside police headquarters in Delhi’s ITO area. The protests were led by AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan (ABVA), in opposition to the police who had arrested men from Central Park in Connaught Place on the suspicion of homosexuality. Thereafter in 1994, ABVA filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the constitutional validity of Section 377 of IPC in the Delhi High Court and this is considered to be one of the first legal protests against the government repression of the LGBTQIA+ community in India.</p> <p>In 2014, transgenders were officially recognised as a “third gender,” and in 2017, the Supreme Court recognized sexual orientation and was protected under the fundamental right to privacy. After this, a revolutionary ruling struck down a colonial-era law and decriminalised homosexuality in 2018. In 2022, the top court ruled that unmarried or same-sex couples were entitled to welfare benefits. Furthermore, in 2023 the Supreme Court is actively hearing petitions that seek to legally validate same-sex marriages.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Pride Parades around India</b></p> <p>On July 2, 1999, India held its first Pride Parade in Kolkata— “The Kolkata Rainbow Pride Walk” which was also the first-ever Pride march in South Asia. Post this event, Pride marches have been conducted in over 21 cities in India. In 2008, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru saw their first parades. The following year Bhubaneswar and Chennai held their first marches. Kerala held the first such event in 2010 followed by Pune in 2011. The first Pride Walk in the northeast was held in Guwahati in 2014. As late as 2017, Awadh, Bhopal and Dehradun organised their first Pride marches, with Jamshedpur following the trend with its own event in 2018.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The Pride Flag</b></p> <p>The rainbow-coloured flag was created by artist Gilbert Baker and the design was introduced during the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade celebration on June 25th, 1978. Its design was chosen specifically by Baker as a symbol of hope that has been used throughout history for the LGBTQ pride with each colour on the flag having its own meaning. In the six-colour flag, red is symbolic of life, orange is for healing, yellow is sunshine, green represents nature, blue indicates harmony and purple stands for spirit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>2023 Pride Month Theme</b></p> <p>The celebration of Pride month is based on a different theme every year that helps people to engage in discussions and raise awareness about key issues that people of the community continue to face. The 2023 theme is Rage and Resilience, reflecting the current global climate with the resurgence of anti-LGBT bills and laws.</p> <p><b>Pride events to look out for around India</b></p> <p>This year Pride month is getting more colourful with some wonderful events spread across different cities. So watch out and save the dates!</p> <p><b>1. KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival</b></p> <p>This is the first LQBTQ+ film festival in India to be held in a mainstream theatre and the first queer festival in India to receive clearance from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 2023 marks its 14th edition and will be held as an in-person festival from June 7 to June 11 followed by an online festival whose dates are to be announced. The theme of KASHISH 2023 is 'BE FLUID, BE YOU!', giving wings to the aspirations of the contemporary generation that is fluid in their thoughts, actions and sexualities; which is expressed through films, art and poetry that is universal in its appeal.</p> <p><b>2. The LGBT Pride Summit in Mumbai</b></p> <p>This summit is scheduled to take place on June 21 in Mumbai’s ITC Maratha from 9am - 6pm and is focusing on the top professionals across the industry to discuss why diversity is important, discussing diversity as a top priority for an organisation's development.</p> <p><b>3. Queer Made Weekend: A Pride-worthy celebration in Delhi</b></p> <p>Tinder India and Gaysi Family’s curated Queer Made Weekend happening from the June 17-18 at DLF Promenade in Delhi. One is invited to mingle with, peruse and shop from queer entrepreneurs and small business owners at a dedicated space for all things queer-made!</p> <p><b>4. Chennai Rainbow Pride</b></p> <p>Chennai marks the 15th year of Pride in the city in June-July. Events this season celebrate the visibility of alternate sexualities and gender identities and affirm the notion of self-respect as a key goal of the movement. This year's Pride march will take place on June 25, subject to police permission. The venue is yet to be finalised. It was in 2009, that local groups and collectives working in the areas of sexuality, gender identity, human rights and health/HIV came together under the banner of Chennai Rainbow Coalition, and organised a series of events in the city culminating in the first march on the last Sunday of the month.</p> <p><b>5. Legends And Divas - Pride Edition in Mumbai</b></p> <p>Be part of the only musical in India to be staged in support of the LGBTQ+ community! The hosts will take us down memory lane, creating a one-of-a-kind experience while giving an insight into the times of Legends and Divas such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Andrea Bocelli, Adele along with scintillating drag acts and much more. The roles of the Divas and Legends will be played by the best musical talent in the country. Spanning a period of more than five decades, this theatrical presentation is supposed to leave its audience mesmerised with dazzling performances, state-of-the-art lighting and sound effects, LED backdrops and stunning costumes that are sure to keep you wanting more at the end of this performance!</p> <p><b>6. Pridesio Bazaar in Pune</b></p> <p>Get ready to show your pride at the Pride Bazaar LGBTQ+ all-day fest! From flea markets to opening on June 3, from 11 am onwards at the F. C. Road Social in Pune for a day of shopping, music, and celebration with incredible performances by some of the most talented queer artists around<b>.</b></p> <p><b>7. Satrangi Mela (Pride Edition), Indiranagar SOCIAL, in Bengaluru</b></p> <p>India's first all-day queer festival by a hospitality chain, Satrangi Mela, is all set to launch its third Bengaluru edition this Pride month on June 18 at 12pm in the Indiranagar Social, Bengaluru. Dedicated to promoting queer talent and queer-owned businesses, Satrangi Mela is nothing less than a celebration of queer folks, for queer folks and by queer folks. Their inclusion-oriented approach shifts the spotlight from a tokenistic rainbow flag to the more pressing and under-represented aspects of the queer experience, evidenced by their drag showcase in Pune and an LGBTQ-exclusive floor in Bengaluru. Given the raging success of the second edition in the city and on popular demand, the Mela is coming back to celebrate Pride this time with a bigger line-up and more events planned throughout the month.</p> Mon Jun 05 16:22:55 IST 2023 this-mixologist-draws-inspiration-from-north-indian-kitchens-to-curate-cocktails <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Imagine finding the local Indian herb ‘mulethi’, used for treating cough, in your cocktail. This was the scene at Taj Palace’s Loya when mixologist Hemant Pathak took over the bar. A cocktail with a purpose and an ode to culture of the northern part of the country was what the bar takeover was all about.</p> <p>Pathak’s philosophy for Loya’s cocktail menu was simple and rooted in ‘panjj or paanch’, meaning ‘five’, with the five tenets being — Harmony, Experimentation, Authenticity, Reverence, and The Spirit that come together to signify the HEART of the North. Hailing from Uttarakhand, he sought inspiration from the north’s botanical abundance, time-honoured techniques and heirloom ingredients to curate a unique concoction of cocktails—vintage paloma, mulethi (mulethi-flavoured gin cocktail), gulab (blended with vodka), masala whisky which is a blend of bourbon whisky, house masala syrup, orange bitters and smoked star anise, and himalayan negroni which is infused with gin, campari and timbur.</p> <p>A mixologist/bar manager at Junoon, a New York-based restaurant redefining Indian gastronomy, Pathak says, “Loya is a project dedicated to the heart of north India, from the Hindu Kush to the north west frontier and the foothills of the Himalayas. Since I am from Uttarakhand, it was easy for me to think about what ingredients from this region feature in history and then come up with a menu.”</p> <p>The mixologist takes cues from traditional home kitchens and their long-lasting bond with spices and herbs. “Our entire mixology is based on spices, herbs and exotic fruits. For the first cocktail menu at Loya, when we were doing the research about the north, two ingredients stood out for me. The first is mulethi, which my mother used to give as an antidote to cure mild cold and cough. The second is gulab (rose) which has been blended with cardamom, vodka and citrus for a sour cocktail.”</p> <p>Talking about Delhi’s cocktail palate, he says, “Delhi, certainly has a very sophisticated palate and I have served in Delhi for five years between 2007-2012. Delhites are well-traveled and know exactly what they want.”</p> <p>The ode to the northern part of the country is not limited to the cocktail menu. The food menu at Loya, the restaurant brand of Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), is a culinary tour through ingredients, dishes and cooking techniques from Punjab to the Kangra Valley and the Garhwal hills. The restaurant’s subtle yet ancient grandeur takes one back to the simpler times when cooking was slow and sustainable. The seating arrangements remind one of the ‘khatias’ of northern villages and the chefs use slow cooking techniques to keep the flavours intact. The menu draws heavily from the cuisines of the soldiers of the north, the native tribes, and warriors.</p> <p>To add to the appeal, the restaurant recently launched its own album created by musician Shreyas Patkar, which is a collection of classical, indie, and instrumental sets.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu May 25 15:12:39 IST 2023 couturier-mayyur-girotra-collaborates-with-google-for-pride-month <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>As the same-sex marriage debate rages in India with many eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision, couturier Mayyur Girotra is quietly but creatively making a statement. His latest collection ‘Aikya’ is his first luxury pret line that is debuting at an exclusive showcase that will kickstart Pride month.<br> <br> The collection is a fusion of western silhouettes with Indian embroidery and techniques. Girotra says it blends colours and emotions that represent the LGBTQIA+ community worldwide. For the showcase, the designer has collaborated with Google and the Indus Google network Employee Resource Groups by being a concept partner for runway representation that includes various gender identities and sexual orientations.</p> <p>Shilpa Maniar, Leader of the Indus Google Network in New York says they are excited about the collaboration and hope ‘to extend the conversation beyond conventional boundaries.’ The collection will be showcased to celebrate New York Pride 2023 on June 2 at Ave – Soho NYC agianst a backdrop of historic photographs of queer people from India.</p> <p>Excerpts from the interview:</p> <p><b>Tell us about your new collection Aikya.</b></p> <p>It has been going on since the last two-four months. It is all about South Asian communities celebrating pride, but we wanted to keep the language of the brand intact which is traditional embroidery, non-binary, gender fluid fashion. Every garment of mine on the runway is gender fluid. This collection is luxury pret but acceptable in all forms. ‘Aikya’ means unity and it is dedicated to pride.</p> <p><b>How is your gender fluid collection different from other gender fluid lines coming up?</b></p> <p>My collection is all about Indian traditional culture, arts, embroideries, traditional heritage based mirror works, <i>resham</i>, Kashmiri<i> aari </i>work; very boho chic yet speaks in the light of India.<br> <b><br> Do you also hope to make a statement through your collection in the light of the marriage equality debate?</b></p> <p>My statement has always been clear. You have the right to love and marry whomever you want to. It is a personal choice and love cannot be defined. Gender fluidity has been there since humanity. Vedas and shastras, too, talk about it. How this positioning has arrived with us going to court is not clear but love has to win and will win. All my collection screams LGBTQIA because I am all about pride. I come from a Punjabi family and have gone through hell as a closeted, confused kid. I have seen so many lavender marriages happening because of family pressure. Things are changing in the metros but what about small cities where there is no education and many do not know what they are dealing with. There is a long way to go. I feel proud and soulful about this collection and I am attached to every piece.<br> <br> <b>On your collaboration with Google.</b></p> <p>The team loved my work. One of the leaders from Google network contacted me and was very supportive. They gave me full freedom of to conceptualise the show and runway and it was a very smooth sailing.</p> <p><b>With so many Indian designers going global, how has the perception of India changed on the runway?</b><br> India is centrestage now. A lot of international brands are getting embroideries done here, archiving our stuff, using mood boards with Indian concepts. I retail from New York, New Jersey and California and live between New York and India and have many international clients now. Many like to pair my lehengas with crop tops or jackets and sport a very boho chic look. Men like to wear my short kurtas with denims. My designs are no longer restricted to Indian or South Asian communities.<br> <br> <b>Are there any international collaborations on the cards?</b></p> <p>Nothing is closed as such but something good should come up hopefully.</p> <p><b>What is your next collection about?</b></p> <p>It is going to be out in September. It is the Indian wedding couture and I am working on it. The collection is inspired by my trip to Istanbul and Cappadocia in Turkey. I had initially gone there for three days but then extended it for 12 days and ended up archiving everything and making mood boards. So, in my next collection, from the design inspirations to fabrics, everything has its inspirations from Turkey.</p> Fri May 19 16:46:18 IST 2023 varun-bahls-ss23-collection-is-an-ode-to-nature <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>More than two decades in fashion and Varun Bahl’s retail network stretches to over 20 outlets, including his three flagship stores – two in Delhi and one in Mumbai. His work marries the beauty of heritage Indian handcrafted embroideries with a modern colour sensibility.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His clothes range from traditional saris and lehenga ensembles to contemporary separates like trousers, tunics, jackets, and dresses and the designer is known for the lightness of his fabrics. Owing to his love for floral motifs that he explores in each of his collections, he is labelled as the ‘couturier of flowers’.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The designer derives inspiration from the Art Nouveau period and blends that with his innovative design aesthetics to create a series of vintage floral stories. He prefers playing around the lines for romanticism, Victorian textures and extravagant embroideries. Regency classicism has been one of the important aspects of his design as from that the forms and motifs have been derived keeping in mind ancient Greece and Rome. He has dressed celebrities like Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Kangana Ranaut, Parineeti Chopra, Bipasha Basu, Huma Qureshi, Kajol, Madhuri Dixit, Amitabh Bachchan, and so on.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This love for flowers continues in his latest Spring/Summer 2023 collection titled ‘Secret Garden’. Bahl has derived inspiration from the summer sun, the warmth of summer and the joy of spring, the burst of colour, the vibrance of nature, the reds from roses, hot pink hibiscus and delicate pastels of blooming daisies. The collection features bridal lehengas, breezy styles, and playful silhouettes that complement the season. The ensembles are adorned with delightful summer blossom-inspired corsages, and elements like seashells, and feathers to bring forth the presence of nature as an inspiration.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Daytime styles include ivory embroidery on shades of peaches where natural pieces like seashells come into play. The collection also features unique two tones in patchwork, with ‘summer bright’ which has pastel shades of lehengas, yellow to bring in the summer sun, and peach shades to add a sense of freshness. Bridal tones, red, and hot pinks with traditional zardozi embroidery have also been incorporated. He says the bold floral motifs are a refreshing reminder of a season where everything flourishes and that each element is handcrafted, from intricate florets to vivid blossoms.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Excerpts from the interview:&nbsp;</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>How is your collection different from your other floral collections?</b></p> <p>'Secret Garden' gives a whole new dimension to my statement embroideries. In this collection, I have used my exotic floral artworks in form of appliqué work and 3-dimensional elements and corsages combined with delicate silk thread work.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What colours are likely to dominate this wedding season and what colours have you worked with in the latest collection?&nbsp;</b></p> <p>Brides are more into experimenting with newer colour combinations instead of traditional colours. So, among bursts of colours with shades of red and berry pink, Secret Garden also features pastel colours such as mint greens, lemon yellow and ochre teals which I believe would be at the forefront for this summer wedding season.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Sustainable patchwork is your staple, what does it entail</b></p> <p>My statement upcycled multi-patchwork plays on the idea of sustainability because I believe that’s definitely the future of the fashion industry. My Spring Summer’23 collection also features unique two-toned patchwork embroideries, with bright hues of yellow to bring in the summer sun, as well as shades of pink to add a sense of freshness.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What next collection are you working on, and what’s the inspiration?</b></p> <p>The next collection that I am currently working on is the Winter Couture’23. We are experimenting with a diverse range of fabrics and newer dramatic silhouettes along with our classics.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>India has seen a number of fusion saree brands come up. Since you too have showcased saree collections in the past, do you think you would like to do a saree-only collection unique to your sensibilities?&nbsp;</b></p> <p>Definitely, going forward in the current season, I would artfully incorporate my signature drapes in saris which would also include modern and contemporary silhouettes.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Does your latest also include men’s wear, if yes, what has it been designed keeping in mind?</b></p> <p>Yes, we are including menswear. It is an extension of our womenswear floral design aesthetics reflecting the same vivid language.</p> Sat Apr 01 20:44:07 IST 2023 how-sports-helps-develop-a-childs-personality <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Covid-19 changed our lives in unimaginable ways, be it the way we greet each other, or travel, or eat, or even play. In fact, outdoor sports and games came to a standstill, and one of the most affected by it were the children. The days and months they would otherwise had spent in the dusty streets or on muddy fields, passed away within the confines of their houses. And, with outdoor activities dwindling, children started looking inwards.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Online gaming grew by leaps and bounds and spending hours in front of screen – mobile, tablet PCs or TVs - became the norm, as parents, too, became helpless. Even the classes were held online. The habits picked up during this period spilt over to the post-pandemic months and years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So, where does this leave our children?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The best way for any child to grow up is by physically indulging themselves in activities like sports, and steering clear of sedentary activities,” says Muneer, an archery coach in Kerala.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dr Nanaki J. Chadha, a Chartered Sport and Performance Psychologist under the British Psychological Society (BPS), agrees. “Engaging in any kind of physical activity results in the release of endorphins, which are natural mood boosters and helps to reduce stress and anxiety.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chadha says that sports can add an element of fun in a child’s life and help them deal better with their stress and anxiety.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sports also has the potential to provide a framework for learning values, thereby aiding in the development of a child’s personality, she says.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dr Vipin Roldant, a sports psychologist in Kerala, says that sports can help with physical, muscular, and mental development, as well as hormonal balance in the body. It also acts as a form of communication between others and, at times, between ourselves. Roldant identifies sports as “an excellent expression of emotions&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hockey player Sarange Mohan, 23, says the game allowed him to achieve focus in life and to think practically and rationally. Meanwhile, basketball player Sheethal feels the game has allowed her to be independent in life.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Also, sports have rules and regulations that one has to follow, which helps a child develop a sense of discipline. Though individual games and sports have their positive aspects - like how the game of chess can help in the cognitive and intellectual development of a child - playing a team or a group sport helps in the personality development of the child.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Friendships are an essential part of a child’s development, and sports helps build connections,” says Chadha.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She also emphasises on the importance of sports in schools and colleges, and the need to have the necessary infrastructure in place.&nbsp;</p> Sat Feb 25 13:31:50 IST 2023 how-to-avoid-online-scams-this-valentines-day <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>This Valentine's, you might be celebrating with your better half, fiance, beau or gal-pals. Whichever route you choose, don't let e-scammers get to you. Here's how you can protect yourself against fraudsters.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Valentine's season is when retailers offer chocolates, roses, all things heart-shaped and other related merchandise. It is available in stores and websites around the world.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As per a Check Point research, in 2022, email-delivered-attacks reached a record of 86 per cent of all file-based in-the-wild attacks. As per the research, there's been a 54 per cent increase in the number of new Valentine’s Day-related domains, compared to previous months and since the beginning of February, 1 in 1,000 Valentine's Day-related emails are found to be malicious or suspicious.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 12,441 new domains were registered to contain the terms 'love' or 'valentine' in their names since January and approximately 1 out of 10 of these domains were found to be potentially risky.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These sites often phish for user information by manipulating users to install malicious files, clicking malicious links, or divulging sensitive information. Phishing content can be delivered via any medium, but, emails are most common. Phishing attacks are often combined with malware, code injection, and network attacks.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Scammers also tend to launch 'free' campaigns-- campaigns offering free goods with messaging like 'Your valentines day reward has arrived!'. These are usually sent out from unused domains and/or from multiple users. The domain might have already been used to collect user or payment information.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>AI or artificial intelligence can be used as a tool to trick people into giving sensitive information or opening malicious emails. Chatbots can be programmed to send messages that appear to be from a trustworthy source. Domains can be designed to look legitimate. For example, instead of the email address, a phishing email may use ‘’.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chatbots can also be programmed to impersonate potential romantic partners. Or to send automated messages that appear to be from friends or family members.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Phishing emails might also contain suspicious attachments. For example a zip file of an invoice for flowers or a gift sent to your significant other. The attachment most probably could contain malicious content. Many-a-times, phishing emails contain grammatical error or is written in language that sounds wrong. Phishing emails, which, in most cases try to steal money, might demand sensitive information.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So, what to do if you get a phishing email?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Delete any suspicious mail. Also, don’t reply, click links, or open attachments from such emails.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue Feb 14 16:55:33 IST 2023 beyond-pizza-pasta-risotto-spaghetti-or-lasagna-as-we-know-it <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Just like in India where food habits and culture change every 200km, Italy, too, experiences a shape-shifting culinary identity from one region to another. Often considered the greatest mecca for food, Italian cuisine is beautiful and highly complex. But globalisation has ensured that some its greatest culinary exports—pizza, pasta, spaghetti or gelato—now belong to the world, often in not so savoury ways. To showcase its rich and deeply rooted food culture which champions a field-to-fork ethos, the Embassy of Italy organised the seventh edition of the 10-day World Week of Italian Cuisine in India spread across New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. Apart from introducing agri-food products like Red Gold tomatoes from Europe, there are Michelin-starred chef demonstrations from the likes of Cristina Bowerman and Adriano Baldassarre.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As the World Week comes to an end on December 10, Vincenzo de Luca, the ambassador of Italy to India, speaks to THE WEEK on the lamp-bulb shaped Tomato San Marzano, its alternative nutritional labelling scheme and the many Italian dishes India can easily embrace beyond pizza, pasta, risotto, spaghetti or lasagna.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Q/ What makes the seventh edition of World Week of Italian Cuisine in India special compared to previous iterations? What does it hope to achieve?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A/ The World Week of Italian Cuisine (WWIC) was launched in 2016, one year after Expo Milan, by the Italian government in order to celebrate and promote excellence not just of the food and wine traditions abroad but the Italian agri-food chain as a whole. This year we celebrate the 7th edition of WWIC specifically focused on its conviviality, innovation and sustainability. With this edition, we hope to demonstrate how Italian cuisine is suitable for Indian palates, how it is healthy and sustainable, how it is fitting not only for starred chefs but also for everyday family cooking. We also aim at showing how the quality of its ingredients matter. We know that often some dishes like pizza, spaghetti and meat-balls prevail in the collective imagination in versions that we would never find in Italy. We want to showcase the real essence and the incredible variety both in terms of ingredients and dishes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Q/ In terms of exchange of agri-products, which Italian ingredients are set to enter the Indian market in larger numbers? There's already been the formal launch of canned tomatoes from EU. Can you elaborate more on how this particular variety of tomatoes is special and which market category would most benefit from it?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A/ Canned tomatoes that have been shown both in our events and at SIAL represent the basis for many of our dishes. They are cultivated and processed in Italy in the most sustainable way, meaning there is low use of chemicals, optimisation of water-use through very advanced satellite-based systems and reduced wastes. There is not only of one kind. You can find, for instance, the most known lamp bulb type – The San Marzano, which is very juicy and excellent for pizza-making. Or the red and yellow cherry tomatoes of which many varieties exist. All are tasty, easy-to-use and healthy as they are rich in vitamins and low on calorie content. Moreover, our cheeses represent a very interesting product for Indian consumers but their import for the most part is not possible at the moment because of non-tariff barriers in place. In addition, we consider wines an essential accompaniment for a good meal. We also believe that our good wines play a large part in shaping our most loved landscapes—from Tuscany to the Prosecco hills in the northeast which is one of the UNESCO sites in Italy. Good wines have nothing to do with heavy drinking but at the moment they face both high import tariffs and heavy taxes. Citrus fruit could also be another product that Italy can be exported in massive quantities. And going into processed food, Italy has a good performance worldwide in not just cereal derivatives like pasta but also baked and confectionary products.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Q/ In what way is Italy championing the cause of sustainable food practices through the Milan Charter? What are some examples or the ways in which it is being realised?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A/ I have already given the example of the use of smart technologies for water use for tomatoes but there are many others. About one fifth of our land area is organic and we have a 25 per cent target by 2030. Organic pastures are very important for our dairy products such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana and Pecorino, just to quote the most known ones. We have 53 cheeses with denomination of origin that constitute the excellence of our production. These products are sustainable because they are based on the rich biodiversity of pastures in our mountain and hill regions. They also benefit the rural communities to which they belong. Besides organic pastures, our agriculture is oriented to smart input use and we are helping farmers substitute their tractors with new ones based on precision methods. Sustainable innovation is the keyword in agri-food processing, too. This is increasingly based on renewable energy, water-recycling and zero wastes. Many advanced bio-products can be obtained from tomato processing, such as films, biomolecules that are used in the chemical and pharmaceutic industries, bio-fertilisers and many others. And this concept applies to the whole Italian food processing industry from wine and olive oil to processed cereal products, fruits and vegetables.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Q/ Could you elaborate on defending alternative nutritional labelling schemes to expose mechanisms that penalise the Mediterranean diet and traditional European industry?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A/ There is a discussion going on in Europe on the best way to inform consumers on how healthy the stuff they eat is via the front-pack label. Our position in proposing the NutrInform battery system is that we have to look at the diet more than a single ingredient. A varied and balanced diet is a fundamental requirement for good health and that individual foods have relative importance in the context of the diet as a whole. The application of nutrient profiles as a criterion is intended to avoid situations where the nutrition or health claims obscure the overall nutritional value of a given product and can therefore mislead the consumer who seeks to make healthy choices within the framework of a balanced diet. Our scientifically-based “Guidelines for a healthy diet” specify that there is no &quot;complete&quot; food, containing all the necessary substances and in the right quantity and capable of satisfying all our nutritional needs. For this reason, an adequate and balanced diet can be achieved with a combination of different foods, each with distinct nutritional characteristics, which ensures all the necessary nutritional elements and energy intake. These principles are at the core of a typical food model under a Mediterranean diet recognised as intangible UNESCO heritage. No food, with exception made for allergies and intolerances, should be excluded from a proper diet.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Q/ Which lesser-known Italian dishes do you feel should rule the global culinary landscape?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A/ By showing our tomatoes, we have celebrated here the Eggplant parmigiana, a much loved dish in Italy, and also the rice suppli’, one of the most celebrated street foods in Italy. All our dishes can be loved by Indians. Risotto and pasta are the basis for an infinite number of plates and we make it with all sort of vegetables or with seafood. Also, our soups, for example the Ribollita from Tuscany or the Acquacotta are vegetarian dishes that Indians would love. All our stuffed pasta, tortellini, agnolotti and ravioli need to be mentioned here. Also, we must not forget our incredible variety of dessert—from the traditional Panettone and Pandoro, very popular around Christmas that come from the north of Italy, to the cannoli from Sicily and a lot more. I also think Indians would love Italian ice-creams made with fresh, natural ingredients.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Q/ How do you feel Indian and Italian food are similar in their sensibilities?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A/ Definitely, they have some commonalities and potential for cross-pollination. Our cuisine is based on seasonal products and there is a strong vegetarian basis in the form of wheat flour, rice, tomatoes, all the vegetables. Then there is the way food is prepared at home with love and passion. Finally, the way food is consumed both at home and in restaurants with friends and family without any rush. Slow food was born in Italy. Conviviality – together with sustainability - is one of the keywords of the seventh edition of World Week of Italian Cuisine.</p> Fri Dec 09 16:30:06 IST 2022 a-gifting-guide-for-the-boozehound-this-holiday-season <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>From rum produced in Caribbean countries to homegrown tipples from Goa, beer inspired from the House of the Dragon to a prestige whisky, here's our round-up of alcohol gifts to indulge in this festive season.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Diwali Vintage Scotch Ale</b></p> <p>India’s first Scotch Ale, Diwali Vintage, is a malty and rich beer with mild sweetness from the dark malts, balanced delicately with the spicy bitterness of noble hops. The beer gets its robust flavour from the dominant smoky aromas of peated malts used in the best Scotch whiskeys. The Diwali Vintage is a beer for sipping slowly by the fireplace and celebrating the year gone by. The Scotch Ale is part of a portfolio called Imagined-in-India series where the premium beer company has three new limited-release beers---Fest Oktoberfest Lager, Fireworks Hoppy Wheat, and Diwali Vintage Scotch Ale---launched specially for this festive season.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Price:</b>&nbsp;Karnataka - Rs 150 a pint || Mumbai - Rs 190&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Plantation 3 Stars&nbsp;</b></p> <p>3 Stars is a blend of aged and unaged rums from three primary terroirs: Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica. While Barbados delivers a rich and balanced palate, Trinidad adds finesse, and Jamaica provides an emphatic structure. The final product is filtered to remove colour making it a smooth-tasting white rum that blends well with cocktails. A perfect rum for Daiquiris.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Price:&nbsp;</b>Goa - Rs 2,985 || Mumbai - Rs 3,400</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Short Story Dry Gin</b></p> <p>Short Story—the latest from Goa-based Third Eye Distillery—aims to drive the conversation homeward on creating a benchmark for quality spirits. At the helm of the brand is Pankaj Balachandran as the brand director of Short Story—a well-known figure in the beverage industry. Their gin is an 11-botanical blend of traditional, pot-distilled London dry gin (Juniper, Coriander, Bitter orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, cubeb berries, long pepper, anjelica, hazelnut, black cardamom and star anise). It has a strong and vibrant citrus and juniper foundation on the palate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Price:&nbsp;</b>Maharashtra - Rs 1,850 || Karnataka - Rs 1,950 || Goa - Rs 1,050</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Trading Tides - Coastal Dry Gin</b></p> <p>With Australian lemon myrtle, anise myrtle and river mint and the Indian flavours of mangosteen, kokum and tamarind—Stranger &amp; Sons crafted Trading Tides, a coastal dry gin, is an ode to this rather strange trade. Trading Tides Gin is a bright bouquet of citrus notes that’s vibrant with a refreshing hint of mint and a soft, spiced finish.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Price:</b>&nbsp;Goa, Bangalore and Mumbai - Rs&nbsp;3,500</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Ardbeg Traigh Bhan (19 Years)</b></p> <p>Ardbeg is soon to debut in India a limited edition expression from its prestige range. The fourth bottling of its permanent 19-year-old expression, Ardbeg Traigh Bhan (pronounced tri-van) will be made available in the country exclusively via Duty-Free retail outlets in Mumbai and Delhi airports. Produced in small batches and released year-on-year, Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Years Old Batch 4 is a rare and ever-changing whisky, drawing its inspiration from Islay’s Traigh Bhan beach, known locally as the Singing Sands. Matured with a higher proportion of Oloroso Sherry casks, Batch Four takes on more flavours of chocolate and raisin, alongside a distinctive mentholic character.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Price:</b>&nbsp;Available in travel retail outlets at Mumbai and Delhi International Airports for Rs 24,000</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Hapusa-Distiller's Cut</b></p> <p>Hapusa meaning juniper in Sanskrit is the first gin to be made with the Himalayan juniper berry. Found near the snowline in the Himalayas, the elusive juniper berries provide a beautiful structure to the gin while the turmeric and the delectable raw mango make Hapusa, a unique contemporary gin. Nao spirits recently launched a special variant of Hapusa Himalayan dry gin in New Delhi called Distiller’s Cut. Bottled at a higher alcohol strength of 47 per cent ABV, this Gin is able to retain and showcase some of the more delicate notes of its botanicals like raw mango and turmeric resulting in a taste experience that is familiar, yet richer and even more complex than the original.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Price:</b>&nbsp;Delhi - Rs 3,000</p> Sat Oct 22 18:57:54 IST 2022 international-coffee-day-shruti-shibulal-talks-coffee-and-responsible-hospitality <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>It was in 2012 that Shruti Shibulal, CEO and director of Tamara Leisure Experiences, started her first coffee plantation resort at Coorg. Ten years later, The Tamara Coorg, which is spread over 180 acres at 3,500 feet above sea level in the Kabbinakad estate, regularly features as one of the top luxury retreats for all coffee lovers.</p> <p>Daughter of SD Shibulal, co-founder of IT giant Infosys, Shruti found her calling in the hospitality industry after an internship stint at the Shangri-La in Hong Kong. Named a &quot;Young Global Leader&quot; in 2017 by the World Economic Forum, the 36-year-old has carved a niche in the realm of eco-tourism with properties from Kodaikanal to Germany. An industry historically associated with high pollution, Shruti has been one of the leading figures in rethinking hospitality in India as a responsible endeavour.</p> <p>Her company added three new properties in the first fiscal year of 2021 including an ayurvedic retreat in Alleppey, a 147-room hotel in Coimbatore and Moxy Bremen, a 128-room hotel in Germany, the fourth acquisition in the country. But it was in Coorg, India's own coffee bowl country, where the journey started. The Tamara Carnival this year in October-November will feature acts like multi-Grammy award-winning music composer and environmentalist Ricky Kej.</p> <p>On International Coffee Day, Shruti talks to The Week about growing coffee, responsible tourism and the several waterfalls flowing through the estate.</p> <p>Edited excerpts:</p> <p><b>As an eco-resort trying to minimise your environmental footprint, what are some of the practical challenges of keeping up with commitments to sustainability? Could going on a luxury-leisure stay really protect the environment considering the demands for comfort and several other amenities?</b></p> <p>Our offerings are authentic and harmonious with social and environmental well-being. For instance, our properties in Coorg and Kodai feature wildlife-sensitive LED lighting which preserves the natural ecosystem of both native and migratory species. This feature makes both estates a haven for rare and beautiful varieties of birds. Bird watching is among the most popular guest experiences we offer. In Coorg, rainwater harvesting tanks with the capacity of around 90 lakh kilo litre allow conserving rainwater which is used for resort operations and landscaping. Our guest experiences include plantation walks, cardamom and Rudraksha trails, etc., and learning about the process of coffee making from blossom to final brew.</p> <p><b>What are the challenges of running a coffee estate resort, as Tamara Coorg is spread across 180 acres?</b></p> <p>Considering the resort is built on steep terrains, we have Maccaferri walls for soil enforcement to prevent landslides. Cottages are constructed at varying heights on wooden stilts. In keeping with our ethos we have battery-operated buggies ferrying guests to their rooms and across the property. We have ensured not to divert natural water bodies flowing through the estate, rather have developed around them, to ensure their natural flow. Fencing around the property is created such that it provides a path for wild animals away from the property rather than hurt them in any way. Rainwater harvesting measures have been installed with a capacity of 1 lakh KLD which ensures self-reliance in running the plantation and for guests, without burdening the natural water table or communities downstream. These are just some of the many innovative ways we run a coffee estate resort.</p> <p><b>Any outward collaboration was done to promote the coffee&nbsp;</b><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">at Tamara Coorg?</b></p> <p>At Tamara Coorg, we follow regenerative and sustainable farming practices like maintaining soil fertility and bio-diversity and cultivating coffee in a shade-governed environment to differentiate our coffee. Sustainable and organic cultivation processes like using bio-fertilisers, bio-pesticides and composts nurture and nourish the precious topsoil, the loss of which is of grave concern today. We have entered into knowledge-sharing and collaborative initiatives with renowned coffee brands in the country to share organic coffee farming practices and enhance how guests can engage hands-on with our coffee and plantation.</p> <p><b>Can you tell us about some of the new initiatives introduced to help attract guests from a younger demographic slice?</b></p> <p>Millennial and GenZ travellers are notably the most informed and conscious. Since their preferences align closely with our own values we find that our offerings across the board are meaningful to the younger demographic. With the rise in popularity for nature-centric, wellness and mindful travel, we’ve been able to experiment further with the experiences we curate.</p> <p><b>Any new initiatives that you would like to highlight in the run-up to International Coffee Day?</b></p> <p>A flagship experience on offer at The Tamara Coorg is the Blossom to Brew coffee experience where our coffee professionals take guests through every step of how coffee reaches us in a cup. One of the highlights is the seasonal cherry blossom picking. The experience culminates at The Verandah, our coffee bar and souvenir store on the property. Our focus will remain on promoting the Indian coffee brew experience.</p> Sat Oct 01 13:26:52 IST 2022 this-designer-resort-goa-tribute-indus-valley-civilsation <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The tourism industry was one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic. But even in the midst of crisis, there are those who try to tread a new path and explore options.</p> <p>Experts say that experiential tourism is the way forward, and many properties in Goa, like 3102bce, a designer boutique resort, are gaining traction post Covid. It is more than a resort—it is also an extraordinary tribute to the legacy of the Indus-Saraswati civilisation.</p> <p>Since it started operations just before the Covid-19 outbreak, the property was only able to serve domestic customers. “We now have a visitor ratio of 90:10, which means that 90 per cent of the visitors are from India, and 10 per cent are from other countries,” said Ishaan Bhutoria, operation director of the property group.</p> <p>Despite the fact that Goa is presently experiencing its off-season, Bhutoria was fascinated by the level of interest in the Goan hospitality industry. “I expected hotel occupancy to be around 60 per cent during the off-season, but to my surprise, the facility is currently at over 90 per cent,” he said.</p> <p>The key factor that makes a resort stand out is that urban dwellers nowadays are in search of immersive experiences. “Today’s travellers expect more than just five-star accommodations; they like being immersed in the natural beauty, cerebral connect and ethnic flavours even as they indulge in delectable cuisines they have not experienced much. They are mostly interested in expeditions and experiences, the lesser-known and unknown places and legends, and developing a deeper connection with local culture and nature,” said Bhutoria.</p> <p>Speaking about choosing a rather unusual name for the resort, Bhutoria said it is a tribute to India's culture and philiosphy. “Inspired by the prehistoric Vedic era, our designer boutique resort offers an experiential experience that lies beyond the boundaries of an average hospitality experience. The Indus-Saraswati civilisation-themed resort pays homage to the sublime culture, philosophy and legacy of India’s ‘itihas’. This enabled us to provide our guests that cerebral link to the timeless heritage of this ancient culture,” he said. He added: “Nestled in the proximity of Vagator, Mini-Vagator and Anjuna beach of North Goa it is also very strategically located.”</p> <p>To provide an immersive experience and evoke the purity and grace of a bygone era, the architectural team took cues from the Indus-Saraswati culture. The rooms are adorned with replicas of figurines uncovered during archaeological excavations. While we ensured that all the rooms feature modern facilities and comforts, the interiors were designed to give the impression of being transported to the ancient world, he said. The resort was given a rustic feel throughout, with Harappa-style city walls and a Great Bath-style structure right in the middle. “Each of the 37 rooms of the resort are associated with seven Chakras that hold the key to our physical well-being, thus a guest is never short of a new experience,” Bhutoria added.</p> <p>Hailing from a family of hoteliers, Bhutoria takes inspiration from his father, Rahul Bhutoria, who has already created a name for himself in the field with ‘The Lindsay Group’.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue Jun 28 23:08:06 IST 2022 trends-and-predictions-for-the-future-of-mental-health <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>As the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic looms large, life restriction could enhance more trouble for working class of India. The pandemic has emphasised the importance of mental health and has altered the healthcare landscape.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During the pandemic, demand for mental health services skyrocketed. Recent trends in the healthcare community show that there has been a substantial increase in the online education sphere with increased access to healthcare. Needless to say, both are proportionately increasing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2021, Olympic athletes, celebrities, and other public figures came forward about their mental health, helping to reduce stigma. As we enter the third year of the pandemic, mental health is expected to remain a top priority in 2022, say experts.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While mental health technologies exploded during Covid-19, the trend had already begun before the pandemic. In 2019, there were over 10,000 mental health-related smartphone apps available to assess the behavioural techniques of the patients.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the rise of mental health technologies during Covid-19, the trend is gaining traction and becoming less stigmatised with increased health screenings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"According to recent trends in mental health, personal hygiene patterns have shifted as depression, anxiety and PTSD, and even sensory processing disorders have an impact on our personal hygiene," said a senior doctor in Kolkata.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Furthermore, children and the elderly have been affected by the pandemic, resulting in the loss of relationships and social networks. Many children have been abused at home, leaving them psychologically vulnerable and traumatised. Many are now struggling academically as a result of increased exposure to pornography, violence, and video games, which has impacted young children. Many paediatric neurologists asking the same questions to every child visiting them, "What is the progress report of your wards?"</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Aside from that, adult people are looking for geographic flexibility and, in some cases, a return to in-person office work since 'work from home' has been isolating and anxiety-inducing for many.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the research of a psychotherapist in Kolkata, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is caused by a genetic-environmental interaction. The stress of Covid-19 is likely to trigger or worsen OCD in people who have a genetic predisposition to some forms of OCD (for example, contamination obsessions and cleaning compulsions). Unless they receive appropriate mental health treatment, some of these people will develop chronic germophobia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People’s “money mindset” has shifted, and they now want to invest in “meaningful activities”, which is more spending and less hoarding. There is a trend toward reconnecting with friends and family. Some are even suffering from social anxiety as a result of being isolated and used to being alone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is critical for parents to learn about attachment parenting and work on their relationships with their children, which provide them with opportunities and space to express their feelings on a daily basis. Buying books on emotions for young children and reading to them every few days, as well as discussing it with the child, is an activity highly recommended. Teens need a lot of help because many of them have struggled during the pandemic. Instead of pressuring children to become pandemic-ready, acknowledge the changes that have occurred and collaborate with the child to help them cope.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“It is critical to acknowledge that the pandemic had an impact on all of us in some way. We must stop striving for pre-pandemic state and instead focus on current challenges and strengths, as well as how we can shape our lives to accommodate the changes that have occurred,” says Mansi Poddar, certified Psychotherapist and founder of Mansi Therapy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“People’s fear of death and loss is a major issue in the mental health field, in my opinion. This is what we are left with as a result of the trauma. It is necessary to work with such fears, but will we ever be completely free of them? No. As a result, therapy is critical. And it must be treated in the same manner as physical treatment. As a necessity”, she added.</p> Sat Jun 04 22:45:37 IST 2022 bees-sentinels-wild-ecosystems-rajani-mani <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Unlike 'cute' mammals like pandas and tigers, insects such as wild bees are often not given the importance they deserve. <i>Colonies in Conflict</i>, Rajani Mani's feature length documentary deals with the state of wild honey bees in a fast changing ecosystem.</p> <p>In an interview with THE WEEK, Mani talks about the major threats faced by the wild bees, how climate change spells disaster for them, and also ways to increase awareness about the species we share urban spaces with.</p> <p>Excerpts from the interview:</p> <p><b>Why are wild bees declining?</b></p> <p>Wild bees are on the decline due to several reasons like loss of habitat, air pollution, introduction of invasive species, heavy use of pesticides in agricultural areas, light pollution and climate change.</p> <p><b>How does climate change affect wild bees?</b></p> <p>Insects are perhaps more sensitive to changes in climate patterns than we know. More so as they depend on floral resources for their forage, and climate change is altering the weather and temperature causing trees to bloom sooner or later than they normally would and this could be disastrous to migratory bee species such as Apis dorsata for example. Different species of wild bees inhabit temperate and tropical areas, and many of these species have a specific temperature range required for their survival, unless they adapt or evolve to match anthropocene changes, species decline or extinction is almost certain.</p> <p><b>How does the decline of wild bees impact the environment?</b></p> <p>We don't know how it would specifically impact us, but generally speaking it would most certainly adversely affect nutritional security. The diversity of fruits and vegetables that humans are used to consuming and that our children require for their growth and well being will become rarer. But to me the most important impact would be on our forest systems. Bees are the sentinels of wild ecosystems, pollinating trees, shrubs, and providing a vital link in the food chain.</p> <p><b>Are there any measures that can be taken in urban areas in order to protect and preserve pollinators? If so, what are they?</b></p> <p>The first would be to increase awareness about the species that we share urban spaces with. Bengaluru for example is home to a wide variety of birds, insects, reptiles and small mammals. Most of these creatures have adapted to live alongside their human neighbours and are tolerant towards us, we too should reciprocate similar ethics to our wild neighbours.</p> <p>One of the ways to do this is to find time to spend in nature, visit neighborhood parks and lakes, take an interest in urban wildlife and share it with children. Manicured lawns for example are a favourite in apartment complexes, instead allow some wild spaces, low growing shrubs, indigenous trees that bees love to nest on. Avoid mosquito smogging, adopt herbal equivalents for mosquito control. Do not be in a hurry to remove a beehive by spraying pesticide, contact a humane beehive remover, or better still, leave them alone for 3 months.</p> <p>Rockbees are migratory and will leave once the floral season is over. By observing nature around you, over time patterns will emerge and we can better predict our surroundings and the creatures that inhabit our neighbourhood.</p> <p><br> <br> </p> Sun Jun 05 21:24:35 IST 2022 how-taro-is-teasing-the-taste-buds-of-fine-diners-in-india <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The root vegetable taro, or the humble <i>kochu</i> in Bengali, is used for all intents and purposes in China—as a flavour-enhancing element, as a bottled drink, a bun or a stew in a hot pot. It is also fashioned into a nest in traditional Chinese cuisine where grated taro (which is, in fact, <i>arbi</i> in Hindi) is fried to a delicate crisp and is later used as a base for fillings. The beautifully frizzled nature of its outer shell found a perfect expression in taro dimsums, part of the menu at the splendidly redesigned House of Ming in central Delhi.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Reopened last month after a year of full-scale renovation, House of Ming at the Taj Mansingh Hotel in Delhi has a gastronomical confluence of the old and the new where Sichuan, Cantonese and Hunan cuisine are celebrated in a timeless manner. It was also the capital's first five-star Chinese restaurant when it opened in 1978. In its latest iteration, the legend of the mysterious Ming princess floats like a shimmering dream over the restaurant. They are realised in chandeliers which hang down like her expansive, star-studded hair bun and light fixtures which could well be her beaded pendants. An Indian painter who is supposed to have spotted the elusive princess only by her intricately decorated hair bun once produced her possible likeness in a painting. A version of that mysterious painting is rendered as a striking intro to the restaurant.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With over 140 dishes, this is more than a house of plenty. But the sumptuous dimsum spread is unmissable with a range of stuffing, and several inventive casings—from potato starch and wheat flour to deep fried and baked rice. Prawn har gow bedecked with a gold leaf to truffle oil prawn sumai. But the taro dimsum steals a march in the most surprising way, reminding one of flavours and textures which are a curious blend of the classic and the evolved. "This dimsum is fried in a very specific way where it is inserted in the oil very slowly. Taro is first cooked like a mashed potato but a little bit more drier. While taro forms the casing, the stuffing is made of water chestnut. If taro is not cooked properly, it can burn your throat," says Chef Arun Sundararaj, director of culinary operations at the hotel.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Taro is an extensively used ingredient in Bangladesh and has been introduced in the kitchens of West Bengal as an act of cultural memory, enriching the narrative of "migrant seasonings". Think <i>maan kochu bata</i> (taro root paste) to <i>kochu shak</i>. The root vegetable from the colocasia family may not be very appetising to look at, but taro's breathtaking range as is now being realised in fine-diners across India, in tacos, crackers, dimsums and beyond.</p> Fri Jun 03 23:06:04 IST 2022 cycle-with-kochi-how-wnvironmental-initiative-empowering-women-follow-their-dreams <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Sindhu T. is in search of a new job now. She was working in a paint company in Mattancherry before, to which she had to walk around 3km daily. She lost her job when the company faced a shutdown. Sindhu, who is in her late 40s, is determined to find another job.</p> <p>“I will find a new job; I will cycle to my job place,” she said. “I do not have to depend on anyone else to travel now.” Sindhu is one among the many women—mostly in their 40s and 50s and are from economically weaker backgrounds—learning cycling as part of the ‘Cycle with Kochi’ programme. “I came to know about this programme from a neighbourhood group,” she said. “I always wanted to learn cycling. I got the chance only now.”</p> <p>'Cycle with Kochi' is an initiative to make Kochi the cycling capital of India,” said Prakash P. Gopinath, the bicycle mayor of Thiruvananthapuram, who is a mentor for the initiative. “We want to create a generation of cyclists who would make Kochi a greener city and would create a stronger cycling culture here. Also, this unique training programme would empower many women, who otherwise have to depend on a male member of the family for the commute.”<br> </p> <p>As part of the initiative, around 300 women and girls have already got training. The initiative by Kochi Corporation and Cochin Smart Mission Limited is supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). GIZ is a German organisation with the self-declared goal of delivering “effective solutions that offer people better prospects and sustainably improve their living conditions”.</p> <p>Stephen Fuchs, a diplomat and a spokesperson of the German embassy, said: “Germany has a big tradition in cycling. It is sustainable. [The initiative] would bring more cycles on the street and it takes cars away from the street. Millions of people die in India because of pollution, as also many places in the world. So, getting people off the cars and on the bicycles will help in reducing the death numbers. This training initiative in Kochi is attended by women who are working mainly as maids and fish sellers. Until now, they need to walk to their workplace, and it is a very cumbersome exercise. By learning to ride a bicycle, these women will have more confidence and they will be able to reach more places and generate more income. This initiative definitely will change lives.”</p> <p>'Cycle with Kochi' is one among the many GIZ-supported initiatives for sustainable urban development of Kochi. “GIZ is providing financial and technical support to Kochi Municipal Corporation for the procurement of 80 e-autos. Implementing physical and digital way signages, and a web application for travellers (Kochi Ithile), is another urban transport and mobility programme supported by GIZ,” Fuchs added.</p> <p>During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Berlin, India and Germany signed several bilateral agreements with a focus on sustainable development. As per the accord, India will receive $10 billion in aid by 2030 to implement clean energy projects. “India is a very important partner for Germany to fight climate change,” said Fuchs. German development bank KfW is providing 100 million euros as a climate policy loan for Kerala alone. KfW is also providing 170 million euros for rebuilding the Kerala roads that were damaged in the massive floods in recent years in the southern state.</p> <p>Kochi’s climate-friendly integrated water transport initiative, Kochi Water Metro, has received support from KfW to develop electric-hybrid ferries locally. These ferries will save 1.58 lakh tonnes of greenhouse gases in the next 20 years. For developing climate-friendly urban infrastructure in Kochi, GIZ is supporting three major projects. The organisation is supporting the corporation to introduce green-building certifications—based on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) framework—to make building designs sustainable and climate-resilient. GIZ has assessed Kochi’s climate action plan and has given support in identifying the major drivers of greenhouse gas emissions. It is also providing technical support for establishing decentralised sewerage systems in Kochi.</p> <p>Fuchs pointed out that a German university, the University of Stuttgart, has created a sustainability profile of Kochi and has proposed several projects with potential for GHG savings. Kochi is receiving German support for sustainable waste management, too. Based on the request of the city, GIZ undertook a pilot study for the collection and transportation of solid waste. GIZ is supporting Kochi in managing plastics and other non-biodegradable waste materials, too.</p> Mon May 23 15:05:25 IST 2022 digital-marketer-to-producer-sanjana-parmars-journey-in-the-entertainment-industry-is-creating-waves <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Shifting to another field isn't duck soup. But not following your heart is even tougher, isn't it? Thus, there are only a few people who take the chance to revamp their lives by turning over a new leaf, and we know of someone doing just that! Meet producer Sanjana Parmar. You might already know this young and exceptionally talented woman for adding lustre to the entertainment world with her intriguing work.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, did you know that Sanjana Parmar is also a digital marketer by profession? Yes, you read it right! She was an established digital marketer with a passion for social media management and a knack for content creation. And during the lockdown, when everything was knifed, Sanjana Parmar decided to venture into filmmaking and launched her production house called 'House Of Joy'.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But don't you want to know what inspired her to make this move? &quot;Being someone who relies upon movies to satisfy her entertainment keeda, I always wanted to be a part of this world. There are so many elements that go into making a movie, but being a producer is the best way I can use my skills to bring some truly outstanding stories to life, &quot; said producer Sanjana Parmar, who made her mark with her maiden project, 'Suraj Aur Saanjh'.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It was during the lockdown when her debut work fell into her lap and the producer helmed it with love, effort, and time. Addressing her journey, Sanjana said, &quot;In order to launch a production house, I had to learn the ropes of filmmaking. The process taught me the value of patience. However, the journey to date has been cherishable.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After this smashing foray, Sanjana Parmar continued to add one after the other super-hit projects to her resume, including Surprise, Online Girlfriend, 2 Square and Raja Beta. All of these are bathed in love and support from the viewers and are successfully streaming on Disney Hotstar.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Producer Sanjana Parmar has several trailblazing projects looming over the horizon, which include numerous short films; two rom-com feature films; a thriller feature film; a music video; and a web show. Needless to say, Sanjana Parmar is proving her prowess as a producer, and we hope all these upcoming projects are a huge success too.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Oct 06 17:56:21 IST 2022 makeup-artist-deepti-mohindar-on-the-initial-challenges-she-faced-in-her-career-as-a-beginner <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Deepti Mohindar is a popular makeup artist in India who owns a salon called Studio MeCHE. She is a media student who developed an interest in makeup during her college days. For 14 years, Deepti has become a trustworthy name, especially for bridal makeup. She worked hard, learned every brush technique and thoroughly understood how to blend everything perfectly.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Make-up artist Deepti Mohindar reveals that from a third-person point of view, doing makeup seems fun and easy. But to be the best and perfect with it requires a lot of patience. One has to be calm and patient while handling clients. Her patience, determination and zeal helped her become popular in 2007 when she introduced airbrush makeup. She was even hired as an airbrush makeup trainer by VLCC back then.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Deepti saw the works of some talented makeup artists and self-taught other important makeup skills. Being from a media background to a makeup artist to owning a salon has been quite a roller coaster ride. There were challenges, but Deepti’s dreams were bigger and stronger that every obstacle.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When asked what challenges she faced during her journey, in the beginning, Deepti Mohinder shares, “Thankfully, when I started my career as a makeup artist, there were few like me, and specially in Kolkata. So getting work was not difficult. But yes, handling clients and tantrums were definitely challenging. No institute teaches you how to handle such clients. But we learn to tackle them in our way.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Along with being a phenomenal makeup artist, Deepti is also a doting wife and mother. She has 2 girls, currently studying in school. Thanks to Deepti’s talent, her phone is almost always buzzing with messages and calls from clients for an appointment. She feels good to see how many people trust her work and want to collaborate with her for some special occasions in their lives.</p> Thu Jan 05 16:45:02 IST 2023 potsandpansin-presents-spacious-square-tawas-for-smart-cooking <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Why only have round tawa have best quality spacious square tawas for that edgy cooking experience.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It’s time for innovations. It’s time for the unique tawas launched by Meyer. Adhering to its promise of spoiling customers with choice, Meyer India proudly offers roti tawas and dosa tawas that are anything but round. Meet the super smart, functional and spacious square tawas by Meyer. These tawas are great to prepare your daily staple and break the old-set and never experienced norms. In fact, square tawas gives you the advantage of wider space (more breads to fit, larger dosas to prepare) then a regular round tawa. So, if you toast 2 bread loaves on a round tawa, you can toast 4 on a square tawa. The larger cooking space helps you cook more in less time and reduces your effort as well as fuel consumption.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Here are there top three bestseller square tawas that you certainly bring in your kitchen:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>1. Circulon Non-Stick + Hard Anodized Square Tawa, 28 Cm<a href=""></a><a href=""></a></p> <p><a href=""><u></u></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Your kitchen your rules. Infuse the best of tradition with a generous dose of innovation with this incredible tawa. Replace your regular round roti tawa with this unique and superior square tawa. This square tawa's 28 cm diameter gives you a generous surface area to cook more food. Therefore, you can prepare four sandwiches at once rather than just one or two. This tawa males cooking completely comfortable because of its innovative non-stick technology, raised and incredibly comfortable handle, and immaculate cooking performance. It is a terrific kitchen investment that will help you churn out mouth-watering flatbreads, sandwiches and more with ease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>2. Meyer Trivantage Stainless Steel Triply Cookware Open Square Tawa, 27cm<a href=""></a><a href=""></a></p> <p><a href=""><u></u></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A stainless steel tawa that is anything but ordinary. This stainless steel features unique square design and numerous convenient features that makes cooking fun. The strong triply construction of this completely nickel free tawa gives it the added benefit of providing unrivalled heating for fluffy rotis. For additional comfort, the tawa's handles are firmly riveted with silicone-covered stainless steel. Additionally, this tawa has lipping all the way around it. The stainless steel dosa tawa is compatible with all types of cooktops because of its highly magnetic conductive stainless steel base. So, go ahead and create culinary wonders with the help of this wonderful tawa in your kitchen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>3. Meyer Premium Non-Stick Square Tawa 28cm (3mm Thick)<a href=""></a><a href=""></a></p> <p><a href=""><u></u></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Here’s bright and beautiful cooking tool to help you prepare delicious flatbreads without any fuss! This is a great substitute for the typical round tawa. This non-stick tawa is ideal for cooking your daily staple with utmost comfort because it features a high-quality non-stick coating and a solid aluminium core for even heating. The tawa has a porcelain enamelled exterior with a scratch-resistant finish for easy and quick cleaning. With its flaming and brilliant orange colour and unique shape, this will undoubtedly be the star of your kitchen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Explore the widest range of Tawa , kadhai , frypan and casseroles and much more from this best quality cookware D2C brand . They believe in quality products to safeguard the health of their customers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Dec 10 18:19:04 IST 2022 3-super-cute-sassy-and-girly-instagram-captions <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In today's blog, we have compiled a list of 50+ super cute, sassy, and girly Instagram captions. Whether you need a caption for your latest selfie or an inspirational quote to keep you motivated, this list will help you find the perfect words to share!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Cute Instagram Captions for Girls</b></p> <p>- I'm the girl that can do both!</p> <p>- Life is an adventure, make it a good one.</p> <p>- You can't handle this level of cuteness.</p> <p>- Friday night vibes ✨</p> <p>- Sweet and sassy since birth.</p> <p>- When in doubt, wear pink!</p> <p>- Sparkle like nobody’s watching.</p> <p>- Shine bright like a diamond 💎</p> <p>- Keep calm and be fabulous 🤍</p> <p>- Pretty in pink and ready for anything.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Girly Instagram Captions</b></p> <p>- Who runs the world? Girls 💪</p> <p>- She believed she could, so she did.</p> <p>- Remember that every moment is a new beginning.</p> <p>- Always be independent and never underestimate your power.</p> <p>- Life is too short to wear boring clothes.</p> <p>- Today I choose joy - always!</p> <p>- Inhale the future, exhale the past.</p> <p>- Feeling beautiful, powerful, and feminine today 🦋</p> <p>- Beautiful things don't ask for attention.</p> <p>- A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. 👩‍❤️‍👩</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Instagram Captions for Baddie Girls</b></p> <p>- Bad girls club! 🔥</p> <p>- Turn that frown upside down ✨</p> <p>- I'm my own definition of beautiful.</p> <p>- Always classy, never trashy, and a little bit sassy.</p> <p>- She is sugar and spice and everything nice - with a dash of bad behavior.</p> <p>- Better to be strong than pretty and useless.</p> <p>- Live for today; plan for tomorrow; party tonight!</p> <p>- Baddie alert 🚨</p> <p>- Rules were meant to be broken! 😉</p> <p>- A sassy girl knows her worth - always remember that!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Sassy Instagram Captions for Girls</b></p> <p>- Take me as I am or watch me as I go.</p> <p>- I’m not gonna sugarcoat it - I’m not that sweet.</p> <p>- Find someone who loves you as much as I love myself.</p> <p>- No, my attitude hasn't changed - you're just seeing it for the first time.</p> <p>- Keep rolling your eyes; maybe you'll find a brain back there.</p> <p>- Don’t worry, I’ve got enough sass for the both of us!</p> <p>- Love me or hate me, either way, I'm gonna shine.</p> <p>- Do more things that make you forget to check your phone.</p> <p>- A wise girl knows her limits but a sassy girl will never accept them!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Instagram Captions to Empower Women</b></p> <p>- Women are the real architects of society.</p> <p>- I'm a strong cup of black coffee in a world that is drunk on the cheap wine of shallow love.</p> <p>- Women should never be afraid to speak up and speak out.</p> <p>- When women support each other, amazing things can happen!</p> <p>- A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.</p> <p>- Give her two wings to fly, one is hope and one is faith.</p> <p>- You have what it takes to be a victorious, independent woman.</p> <p>- She was powerful not because she wasn't scared but because she went on so strongly despite the fear.</p> <p>- The future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Super Girly Instagram Captions</b></p> <p>- Just a girl in love with glitter and sparkles.</p> <p>- Life is too short to not wear cute shoes!</p> <p>- Girls just wanna have sun ☀️</p> <p>- Strong things come in small packages.</p> <p>- Life isn’t perfect, but my outfit is!</p> <p>- I'm the kind of girl who can make anything look cute.</p> <p>- She has fire in her soul and grace in her heart.</p> <p>- No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up and never give up.</p> <p>- A sprinkle of fairy dust and a whole lot of sass.</p> <p>- Today I am choosing joy over sadness ✨</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We hope this list gave you some inspiration for your next Instagram caption! Be sure to show yourself and other women some love - spread positivity and never forget how powerful, unique and beautiful each woman is! 💖</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Looking for more captions? Checkout this list of 500+<a href=""><u>Best Instagram Captions</u></a>&nbsp;to get more likes, views &amp; followers!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Happy posting! 🤳🏽</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed Dec 21 15:35:25 IST 2022 dermatology-meets-technology-in-this-new-indianderma-start-up-clinikally <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The pandemic has brought an unimaginable change in not just our lives but also in the manner we approach or seek healthcare services. Telemedicine rules the roost today and digitisation has taken a giant leap, bringing even skin and hair industry in its ambit.</p> <p>Users can now opt for dermatology consultation experience right from the comfort of their homes and in quick time. High quality skin and hair consultation is now at your fingertips and is as simple as taking a personality quiz online.<a href=""></a><a href=""></a></p> <p><a href=""><u>Clinikally</u></a>&nbsp;is a digital dermatology clinic providing personalised consultations, prescriptions and Rx-grade medicines at your doorstep. The impact of digital dermatology consultation is such that people have begun prioritising skin and hair health and are actively opting for treatment plans for chronic conditions.</p> <p>&quot;Barring hair loss and chronic skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, skin and hair care treatments had largely fallen by the wayside during the pandemic,&quot; says Dr Guneet Bedi, a member of the Indian Association of Dermatologists (IADVL) and the head of Telehealth at Clinikally.</p> <p>Adding to this, Arjun tells FIT, &quot;Most people across the world, and especially in India, have inadequate access to dermatologists whether it is for consumer skincare, or like cancerous, more serious conditions.&quot;</p> <p>Clinikally handles issues of accessibility, waiting queues, time constraints and physical restrictions, which have helped it thrive. &quot;Professionals soon realised also that a lot of the conditions that they present to the clinics can be effectively tackled with a combination of telemedicine and product delivery,&quot; says Arjun Soin, ML Researcher and Co-Founder of Clinikally.</p> <p>Whichever part of the country you reside, you can have access to the best of skin and hair specialists from the metropolitan cities and with a click on your handheld device.</p> <p><b>The Process</b></p> <p>It’s simple! A patient is required to fill out a detailed 5-7 minute questionnaire with his or her skin type, medical history, concerns and requirements. &quot;That questionnaire encodes learnings from previous patients history and doctors prescriptions in a qualitative fashion,&quot; adds Arjun. He or she is then connected to a professional for an online consultation after which a prescription is handed out on how to move ahead on the skincare or treatment journey. The focus is on making tele-consultation thorough and accessible without compelling the patients to buy products if they choose not to.</p> <p><b>Artificial Intelligence is the key</b></p> <p>After patients submit the questionnaire, they receive a highly sophisticated treatment line. The idea of AI looking at an image is the future several people in the dermatology industry are looking towards. However, setting up the framework for that will require a lot more data sets.</p> <p>&quot;There is a huge lack of publically available datasets that are dermatologically approved, and biopsy proven.&quot;, says Arjun Soin</p> <p>&quot;You need to be able to look at if it's a pigmentation or eczema or a scoliosis, you want to make algorithms that are effective across races, across skin types and there tends to be a lot of bias in these algorithms in the skincare space right now,&quot; Arjun adds.</p> <p>Research is in progress on this area at Stanford University and we may soon witness Clinikally deploying AI, even better than it already is, for serving patients.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Oct 28 17:22:50 IST 2022