From the desk of Jasleen Gupta (Chief Editor)
Even non-readers can't help but be tempted to sit cosy with a big book and a hot mug of cocoa in the rains. Here's three easy reads that have kept me engrossed on those monsoon weekends.
Sita by Devdutt Pattanaik
Janaki, Maithali, Vaidehi - Sita is known by many names, Ravana is a Shiv Bhakt and a man with immense knowledge of the vedas, music and Kama while Ram's dharma is above his love for his wife and brother. Full of interesting insights, Devdutt Pattanaik is an expert in the field of Hindu mythology. His retelling of the Ramayana is an amalgamation of untold stories, their modern day implications and stories we've heard as children but didn't know what to make of. Devdutt's Ramayana has a contemporary twist with every chapter ending in a summary that explains different perspectives through various eras. Divided into small chapters, Sita makes for an easy read.
What the Dog Saw and Other Stories by Macolm Gladwell
I fell in love with Malcolm Gladwell after I read his book 'Blink'. Gladwell is known for the most astonishing things he writes about - social observations, things people do, what makes successful people successful and so on. This book is a collection of his columns that talk about everything from small business success stories to hair dye and how the World War impacted the advertising of hair dye. If you are not much of a reader then this book is ideal for you as you read the essays on a myriad of topics that are filled with information and his analysis on the most bizarre things. In no particular order you can read through his theories on ketchup wars or birth control pills. An eccentric genius, this is the perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of coffee.
The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi
I first sought an interview with Ashwin after reading his book, Chanakya's Chant. We met at his plush home on Napeansea Road as the writer narrated his journey from being a hardcore businessman to a writer. The Krishna Key came soon after that. Part fiction, part mythology, part speculation, this mythology-meets-science thriller is a power-packed entertainer. For example, nuclear reactors being shaped like a shiv linga, or how the Taj Mahal is not actually a love tomb at all or how Dwarka could actually be the lost city of Atlantis. Fast-paced and thought-provoking, The Krishna Key simply sucks you into its own parallel world. This is one of those books that you can't get out of your head. I finished it over the weekend because once you start reading it, you just can't put in down.
From the desk of Faye Remedios (Executive Editor)
To say that I love shopping is an understatement. From scouring the malls to tracking down bargain pieces at local flea markets, I like the process of finding a great look even more than I like actually wearing the outfit. But when it starts pouring, the idea of venturing outside in the dismal weather hardly seems fun. So then, the only way to get my fashion fix is to turn to fashion apps. I can spend many a happy hour curled up in bed with a cup of steaming hot coffee and my phone, browsing through, getting inspiration from, and living vicariously through these virtual closets. Here are the top three I’m addicted to:
This app allows you to catch all the trends in fashion and if you are ever in two minds about what to wear and your bestie is not around, you can even post a photograph of your outfit and get feedback from other ‘posers’. Even better, you can follow other style moguls like Rachel Zoe, Coco Rocha and a host of brands, and get a glimpse into their wardrobes/collections.
One of my favourite new apps to keep up with fashion trends and happenings. The best part? They have launched an India edition, which means that I can actually buy the super-cool looks I fancy, sitting right at home. It doesn’t get much better than this!
The only thing better than trawling all my bookmarked blogs? Seeing the best looks in one go, which Chicfeed allows me to do. This clever little app curates the best looks from popular blogs such as The Satorialist, Face Hunter, Jak And Jill Blog and Cherry Blossom Girl, and allows gives you your fill of some gorgeous street style looks all in one handy lil spot.
From the desk of Nirati Agarwal (Executive Editor)
The monsoons are one of my favourite times in the year, when the wind chill makes hot, spicy food a must-have! Whether it is Indian classics like pakoras and chai, hardy Asian soups or cheesy curries from the northeast, here’s my take on culinary goodies best enjoyed during the rains.
Dadi’s Potato Fritters
One of my favourite childhood memories during the heavy monsoons back home in Hyderabad, were of watching my grandmother fry fresh potato pakoras. She would cut medium-sized potato slices, coat one side with spicy ketchup and another with fresh green chutney, and sandwich it with two more slices of potato, coat them in a besan and corn flour batter and fry them in sputtering oil. I would munch on these crispy wonders sitting in the patio with her and watching the rain fall on our garden. It is no surprise then that potato fritters will always encapsulate this perfect pocket of happiness for me. Today, I simply add a cup of hot masala chai, with a sprig of lemongrass, and call my grandmother! Try it—you really can’t go wrong with fried potato for dispelling those monsoon blues.
A bowl of Soup, Asian Style
Asian food—with its plethora of strong flavours, grilled and steamed meats and delicacy of preparation—has always enchanted me. I find that the perfect embodiment of monsoon happiness comes in the form of Japanese soups. With their hardy broth and addition of kimchi, noodles, grilled fish or chicken, miso and tofu, they are wonderfully comforting and pack in quite the flavour punch. Even if you are wary of eating Korean or Japanese food, try any kimchi or miso soup with meats and veggies of your choice and you’ll find your taste buds thanking you!
I first tried Bhutanese and Tibetan food at Yeti – The Himalayan Kitchen in Delhi’s bustling Haus Khas Village and went on to try more variants while travelling in North India. One of my favourite dishes from the Bhutanese cuisine is the datchi—a creamy, white sauce made with yak milk cheese and white chilli that contains the addition of spinach, potato or meat depending on your preference. Eat this heat-inducing curry with tingmo, a soft, steamed bread roll, and you’ll be in culinary heaven. The cheesiness of the curry pairs well with buttery Tibetan tea, making the combination perfect for those rainy mornings when you need something filling to get you going.
Photo Credit: Khusboo Rasaily
From the desk of Girija Naiksatam (Beauty Editor)
There’s nothing worse than the monsoon to put me in a crabby mood. It’s safe to say that I detest the rains, absolutely hate getting my feet dirty and if I’m not a room that’s brightly lit, I can make everyone’s life miserable. This obviously means that to get by in the monsoon, I have to do something that can take my attention off the grey skies and get my spirits (or adrenalin) soaring. And for me, nothing does that better than the great outdoors. Here are three of my picks for a monsoon weekend…
Long bike rides
There are very few things worth waking up for on a Sunday morning. A bike ride is one of them. After having caught the riding bug a few years ago, investing countless weekdays planning bike rides and weekends riding pillion with trusty friends, I’m convinced that (wind in your hair clichés aside) nothing can come close to the thrill of a bike ride. No matter where in country you’re located, find the nearest highway, plot your route via GPS, gear up with a helmet and a jacket and get going. Stop for a quick cutting chai and a bun omelette at the many stalls at the highways and start your ride back home at noon to reach just in time for lunch.
White water rafting
If you can no longer tolerate the humdrum of your boring desk job and are desperate for some adventure, I highly recommend signing up for a white water rafting camp over the weekend. Usually, there’ll be a custom-made program for you (groups of six or more are appreciated) with a dedicated guide who’ll train you over the course of one day and lead you into the water over the next. Most of these camps are usually overnight stays with tents pitched by the river or a guesthouse close by. It’s definitely not your regular weekend getaway but if you’re looking to for a rush, there’s nothing better than having water gush down either side of your raft as you and your buddies scream, curse and row as fast as you can to stay afloat.
All of us have played the ecologically conscious card every now and then but when the monsoon comes around, there’s no escaping our good intentions. A number of clubs like the Rotary Club and the Lion’s Club regularly dedicate their Sundays to planting saplings at nearby farms or irrigated spans of land owned by private companies. While this activity also involves an early morning and significant physical labour (you’ll have to dig with your hands, get them dirty, ferry soil from one end of the farm to your sapling and make sure it’s held in place) it’s an excellent change of routine, a great way to meet new people and go home thinking you’ve done your little bit for the environment.
From the desk of Nazneen Joshi (Lifestyle Editor)
With this season raining down on our parade there is merely one thing left to do which doesn’t leave you in the muck of a grimly puddle or stuck in an never-ending jam on the road. You guessed it: online shopping! And while shoes, accessories and cute crop tops always ace the roster, a little bit of home décor is what really brings that warm smile to my face. Here are three of my favourite picks to bring back that spark this gloomy season:
Krsna Mehta’s India Circus is a real delight and probably the mecca of all things Neo-Desi. I’m absolutely loving this take on a tea tumbler. The aqua hues make it perfect for the season and the glass makes it perfect to hold a piping cup of hot chai—a monsoon staple, through and through.
Vanilla and Lavender
A warm vanilla and lavender is so deliciously special for the monsoons. I’m all for getting rid of that moist, musty smell that the season brings with it and immersing myself in a warm, floral fragranced ambience.
As windy as the monsoons maybe, the humidity in the air certainly doesn’t begin to loosen its grip. Which is why this adorable old-school water dispenser from one of my favourite online nooks—The Home Label—makes for such a great accessory. Add in some delicious adult blue lemonade and invite some friends over to really enjoy this rainy season.
From the desk of Manasi Rawalgaonkar (Editor and Social Media Manager)
The monsoons are the perfect time to cosy up with marshmallow hot chocolate and video games – two of my favourite things. These are some of my favourite games that I love playing when the rain is pattering outside my window.
Mass Effect 2
The entire Mass Effect trilogy is quite an incredible saga and easily one of the best games I’ve ever played. But of all three games, Mass Effect 2 is my favourite. It’s got fabulous characters, good writing and voice acting and can be played for hours at an end.
Assassin’s Creed 2
Again, the Assassin’s Creed series is a fantastic experience that you just HAVE to play. Assassin’s Creed 2 was my introduction to the series and the character of Ezio Auditore and the game will always be a favourite.
This game is like playing a movie. You play as Wei Shen, an undercover cop in the nefarious underbelly of crime and triads in Hong Kong and the action sequences and attention to detail in this game are mind-blowing.