At the movies
May 20, SPI Cinemas
Touted to be the conclusion of director Bryan Singer’s Marvel comics trilogy, X-Men: Apocalypse marks the awakening of the world’s first mutant, En Sabah Nur. With the powerful demigod hell-bent on global domination, it falls to Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) and Professor X (James McAvoy) to lead a group of young X-Men to save mankind from annihilation. Details: 42244224
Feast from the East
May 20, Hyatt Regency
Taiwanese cuisine gets its due at the food festival at Hyatt Regency.
From a green pepper seafood pie to Hakka salty dumplings, the specials on the menu in this debut edition also include mango shrimp balls, steamed prawns with garlic, bean paste sesame balls, and more. Starting today, at Spice Haat. More on P 9
May 21, The Leela Palace
With the aim to make whisky fun and non exclusive, World Whisky Day—founded in 2012 by Blair Bowman, a whisky industry commentator—is being celebrated tomorrow. We suggest you let your hair down, hit the nearest lounge bar and ask for the establishment’s finest. Head to The Leela Palace, where a classic 14-year-old Oban happens to be one of the oldest whiskies in the hotel. Known for its subtle hints of seaweed and wood smoke, it’s priced at Rs 750 plus taxes (30 ml). Details: 33661234
All about love
May 21, The Music Academy
Theatre artiste Amit Singh launches his new production house, Royal Flush Production, with a debut show comprising five short plays. Titled Love, This, That, Etc., they are adapted from the works of American playwrights like David Ives and Cherie Vogelstein, and offer a hilarious take on the subject of love. Tomorrow, at the Music Academy. Rs 300.
Keep it short
May 22, Taj Coromandel
Make time to watch some of the best short films from across the world at Taj Coromandel, which is hosting Pocket – Movies Night @ Chipstead. With Mumbai-based theatre personality Cyrus Dastur as the host, catch the films Time Freak and Lila. Sunday, from 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm.
More on P 19
May 23, Las Vegas
The 24th edition of the Billboard Music Awards will witness new artistes, like Fetty Wap (of Trap Queen fame), vying for top honours alongside the likes of Adele and The Weeknd, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Live performances by Rihanna, Pink and others will be followed by a special tribute to Prince by Madonna. From 5.30 am onwards on VH1. Details: vh1.com
May 24, Bengaluru
Back-to-back wins by Royal Challengers Bangalore have helped them stay in contention for the qualifiers, which start on May 24. Table toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad (who play Delhi today) have already booked their place, while second and third places are up for grabs—between Kolkata, Mumbai and Gujarat. On Set Max. Details: iplt20.com
May 25, UM Motorcycles
American motorbike manufacturer, UM Motorcycles, has opened bookings for the classic cruiser-styled Renegade Commando and the modern Sports S. Unveiled at the Auto Expo earlier this year, they will soon be followed by the Renegade Classic. Deliveries will start this August, with Commando at Rs 1.59 lakh and Sports S at Rs 1.49 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). Details: umglobal.com
Riding the waves
May 26, Surfing Covelong Point
Get your surf boards ready, as the final batch of the ongoing Surfing Covelong Point summer camp starts next week. Experts will demonstrate the basics of the sport and take you through introductory surfing lessons. A visit to the Marine Museum is also on the cards. May 23-26. Details: 9840975976
Technology is helping even neighbours in the same apartment connect better, not just family and friends abroad
last night I was listening to the melodious Hindi track Chitteee aayee hai Watan ki and it took me on a nostalgic ride. Quite an overtly sentimental song on distances, patriotism and missing loved ones, especially for a Hyderabadi like me who is on a holiday in Seattle. Not surprisingly it sounded a bit dated, not because people abroad don’t miss home anymore but because technology has conquered time and space.
Even a decade ago, we were worried when our kith and kin went to faraway lands to find work. Those were days when even a long-distance phone call would be a challenge. The time lag between sentences were enough to make the gap seem wider. Even an average call would be just a few minutes and to let home know that they are alive. Now things are different. There is WhatsApp, Viber and of course Skype is the limit. All these came into our lives a few years ago, but the way people have caught on to these modes of communication is quite amazing.
I know of a friend who sits in UK looking at the new paint on the wall back home thousands of miles away in India. In some sense it does not matter if it is United States of Ammuguda or America, everyone is Skyping away. A mother-in-law in India can even jolly well explain (nag?) her son and daughter-in-law the rituals of a family tradition elaborately on a video call. Plus the advantage of things not getting messy when either of the parties is cheesed off with the other. One of them simply needs to hang-up and walk away. Seriously this is good stuff. Students in the city, I am told, connect with inspiring NRIs to hear their story and get motivated.
Some friends I know have used technology for varied purposes like learning classical art-forms with teachers in home-country to match-making and interviewing prospects. All they need is good net-connectivity which is catching on in most towns and cities in India. Now obviously it is far better in our tech-hub called Hyderabad where ‘connect, connections and connectivity’ are only getting better by the day.
Does this mean that nobody needs to visit home anymore? Or that relationships are all getting virtual versus real? Obviously not. The fondness of going back home for festivals and weddings is still unmatched. The eagerness to hug family and friends, ruffle their hair lovingly, get into the ‘touch and feel’ shopping mode despite all the online shopping we do, relish homemade finger-licking food are still heavenly. But the time gap between these home visits has reduced in a way. It no longer feels like crossing the seven seas. Relatives and family are just a dial away. Even neighbours in the same apartment are Skyping it up instead of walking down a few sets of stairs. Chitti aayi hai is now a text message in your phone inbox and that too free of cost.
(The writer is a popular TV show host, radio jockey, professional singer… and most importantly, a hardcore Hyderabadi)
Four child-friendly destinations that can add some learning to your getaway time.
When you plan a holiday with your children, amusement parks and zoos need not take up the entire itinerary. No matter where you go, you can also incorporate some engaging encounters with art and culture. Like Anish Kapoor’s Bean sculpture at the Millennium Park in Chicago, Alexander Calder’s Eagle sculpture in Seattle, the Matisse at the Tate Modern in London, Subbodh Gupta’s metal tree at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, and Frieda Kaho’s home (now a museum), there are plenty of options out there. Sara Vetteth, the founder of Rainbow Fish Studio, suggests four kid-friendly vacation destinations that are her favourite—combining great learning experiences and a fun family holiday.
Palaces in Istanbul
If you want to visit a place that will keep both you and your children entertained, visit Istanbul. Standing for more than 1,400 years, the Hagia Sophia is an architectural beauty. Once a church, and later a mosque, it is now a museum. Show your kids the coloured marble columns and the beautiful Byzantine mosaics depicting the holy family, saints and emperors. This can lead to a fun mosaic art project when they get back. An interesting visit is the Topkapi museum, built by the first Ottoman sultan. The story goes that in the 15th century, when the palace was built, the floors were paved in gold and pearls were hung from the ceilings. Highlights include a golden replica of the Trojan horse to climb on. A child-friendly museum is the Istanbul Modern, with permanent and temporary collections of contemporary art and an interactive section for six to 12-year-olds. Also visit the Basilica Cistern, a large underground water structure containing 336 marble columns. Do not miss the wishing corner, the big carps and the giant Medusa’s head sculpture, whose origins are still a mystery.
Romance at the Taj Mahal
The Taj and its environs have a treasure trove of interesting themes to explore. Children can visit the tomb and try to pick out their favourite inlay designs. Use the clichéd photo ops (snapshots made to look like they are carrying the monument) to introduce them to perspective and optical illusions. Don’t miss the little horse-drawn buggy from the parking lot to the Taj—the horses have names and the drivers are chatty.
You should definitely visit the Red Agra Fort and climb up on the ramparts and observe the crenellations, jalis and other architectural details. Another less famous, but surprising, gem to visit is the Tomb of Akbar. This jewel box-like monument is covered with incredible inlay work that many consider are on par in quality (though not in scale) with the Taj.
Forty kilometres to the west of Agra is Fatehpur Sikri, the fortified city built by the Mughal emperor, Akbar. Whether your children had a history lesson or read one of the Akbar-Birbal comics, they will be impressed by the scale, the view and the red sandstone architecture. Not to be missed are the Buland Darwaza and the Gate of Magnificence (over 120 feet high). In the evenings, it’s always fun to shop in the colourful bazaars.
Cave adventure at Ajanta and Ellora
Ajantha is just an hour’s drive from Aurangabad. Leave early and, en route, don’t miss the hike up to the hill top Daulatabad fort. The views are beautiful, as are the gigantic sculptural metal cannons there. The Kailasanatha temple complex at Ajantha, carved from granite, covers twice the area of the Parthenon in Athens. It houses intricate carvings that encourage an Indiana Jones-style clamber around the cliffs, climbing through the levels to explore the interiors and terraces of the temple.
Ellora caves, a couple of hours north-west of Aurangabad, boasts murals with stories from Bhuddha’s life, which your children might remember from stories like the Jataka Tales. Try to go early in the morning or late in the evening to escape the heat. Let your children turn explorers, as they search the caves to find the stories they know. A bonus: the incredible rocks and minerals (found in the area) that are sold outside the caves. A wonderful opportunity for kids to learn about geodes and crystals, which might even get them started on rock collecting as a hobby. Also, the return from Ellora crosses a stream running through a narrow gorge and a beautiful forested path.
Giant dragons in Barcelona
Artist Antonio Gaudi’s Barcelona is a celebration of colours and shapes. The pavements are filled with mosaic patterns. A world to be fully explored by children is the Casa Batllo, which feels like a house of magic—the roof resembles a dragon’s back. Don’t forget to take the circular stairs to the rooftop to see it up close.
The Parc Guell houses Gaudi’s most beloved creation, Draco the mosaic dragon. The main gate is flanked by two gingerbread houses. The park also has a mosaic seating area with multi-coloured tiles.
The Sagrada Familia is a must-
visit. While you are looking at the stunning interiors and sculptures of the Catholic church, children can enjoy an audio guide designed for six to 12-year-olds. A highlight is the bell towers and, of course, playing on the windy staircase.
When you’ve had your fill of Gaudi, visit the Fundació Joan Miró museum. Situated on top of a hill, it is a lovely place to spend an afternoon enjoying the largest collection of works by the artist. There is also a Picasso museum, which houses more than 3,500 of his artworks.
Rainbow Fish Studio is an initiative founded to introduce children to the visual arts. They’d love to hear of your best vacations. Have your children email their favourite art. Details: email@example.com
This summer, give oily and spicy gravies a skip and instead opt for healthy options. Salads can be the best choice. Enjoy salads of crunchy fresh veggies in different at Syn, Taj Deccan. They are hosting a food festival of Salads and Satays. It begins today and will be on till May 31. Time: 7.30 pm. It is a la carte. Details: 66663939
ITC Kakatiya is hosting ‘Cuisine of Rayalaseema’ at Dakshin from May 20 to 29, Chef Sakala Sankara will curate the menu that will feature different delights from Rayalseema region. There will be a variety of pulusus and other delectable delights from this region. Details: 23400132
Tea for two
Want hot tea at your doorstep all ye bachelors? Chai Point is here. Order from their app or through Zomato. They have flasks of tea for as low as `103. It comes in flavours like ginger and apple and can serve minimum six people. They also have banana cakes, biscuits and sandwiches to go with your piping cuppa. Details: 60009777
A range of grilled preparations from forgotten recipes find place on chef’s table at ITC Kakatiya
Conversations become memorable when combined with kebabs. This is what is happening at K&K, ITC Kakatiya. Sous chef Aamer Jamal has prepared a selection of kebabs ranging from chicken, mutton, prawns and fish. In the vegetarian section, too, he has made a good selection. He has aptly named the entire affair ‘Guftagu Dobara’ that translates as ‘Conversations again’. He wants to bring nostalgia again in the city especially among the youth hence the event.
There are 11 varieties of kebabs that one can choose from. The names themselves are worth noticing such as Murgh Shikanja Kebab, Kagazi Kebab, Kunde Kebab, Mallika-E-Darya, Tirmizi Machhli, Kadak Seekh Kebab and more. To go with the kebabs are naans like Sheer Naan, Haldi Ki Roti and Cheese Naan. In the veg category are Khaasta Bhutte Ki Tikki, Tandoori Broccoli and Peshawari Paneer. Out of these varieties Shikanja Kebab might become the permanent in the menu.
Says Chef Jamal, “Some of these kebabs have been made with the British influence as they were frequently invited by Nizams for dinners. And the Englishmen would insist on their types of food. That’s how we see the inclusion of fruits in our cuisine.” Mallika-E-Darya was one example. “Scottish Salmon is marinated with yellow mustard, aniseeds and cream cheese. Since salmon can’t take sourness so it needs to be handled carefully,” elaborates chef. It is a la carte. The festival will continue till May 22. Details: 23401045
— Saima Afreen
Try unusual varieties of this juicy ripe fruit this summer and be prepared to be floored by the choice
Sample this: mangoes the size of a thumb or mangoes that can fit in you palms, mangoes named like some old tale; mangoes named Laila Kii Ungli, Gulab Khaas, Khasamkhas, Apple Mango and even Coconut Mango. We are not reading from some encyclopedia, the variants of this King of Fruits are here in Hyderabad. Not all at your local bazaar, but at the choicest organic markets and stores. This fruit which has a rich history of 4,000 years will stay in the markets even after the rains come – till August. We are not listing the 1,000 varieties that mango has we bring you the choicest ones. Read on to relish these golden fragrant summer companions.
Tennis ball sized ones at Kosagaram Organic Store
Yes. They are the size of a tennis ball and weigh something around 80 gms. Sweet and juicy they are sourced from East Godavari regions of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. These are better varieties of mangoes called Panchadara Kalishelu. Elaborates the owner Khushi Chand, “It’s Andhra variety fruit and available only in Rajahmundry market. It tastes best when it’s fully ripe.” He sells it for Rs 180 per kg at his shop in Manikonda. Details: 9949777709
Little Laila Ki Ungli
An anecdotal name and equally surprising size. It is the size of your thumb. And no it’s not named Thumblina. It’s known as Laila Ki Ungli because of its delicate-tender skin. And not many people know about it because of its rarity. You can get it directly from the farmer. With rarity comes the price, it is sold for Rs 250 per kg. And you need to buy it from select fruit-sellers at Moazzam Jahi Market.
Mallika variety at Sristi Naturals
These fruits look like Rasalu, but are bigger and taste like Dussehris. Owner Satya Kodali is not happy with the crop this year and has sourced it from different rural pockets of Telangana. He runs the store at Kukatpally. “The fruit is a combination mango,” he says. Price Rs 150 per kg. Details: 9866647534
Alphonso Kesar at GoodSeeds
It has the hue of faded gold and tastes heavenly. It is Alphonso Kesar. With a delicate thin skin, it tastes sweet with a slight hint of tanginess and is categorised as one of the juiciest fruits. Available at GoodSeeds, Film Nagar, it comes for `250 per kg. Says owner Narayan Murthy, “We also get varieties like Imam Pasand, Kothapali, Rasalus from farmers of Zaheerbad and Shamsabad. ” Details: 7207273337
Luscious Panduri at Sage Organics
Nestled in a lush green corner of Jubilee Hills, this organic store has choicest fruits the colour of jade. No they are not the common Banaganapalli mangoes, they can fit within your palms. These juicy small mangoes are called Panduri mangoes. A bit too sweet, they are brought to the city from the coastal town of Kakinada. Says the manager Afeef, “On Wednesdays, we organise the organic bazaar for our customers.” This dark green variety is sold for Rs 250 per kg.
Pregnancy is no longer about loose, unwieldy clothes. And baby bumps are not hidden treasures of the family anymore . Srividya in her baby shower function held at The Westin hotel was an example of the modern girl who believes in celebrating every phase of life. Dressed in a peach embroidered flowing outfit she wasn’t any less than a fashion model welcoming the new life with pride and love.
The city also witnessed the launch of Aptronix flagship store where the city’s who’s who came under one roof. Megha and Inder, the made-for-each-other duo, in denims with a casual air were seen full of appreciation. Kavita dressed in a red shirt with beige trouser was spreading her contagious smile in a corporate attire. Kamini, known in the social circle for her sartorial taste with a difference, stood apart in an indigo blue indo western attire.
Besides this, the gallery Café Jhalmuri band performance and the book launch attracted many Bengalis and the group of old friends in the city. Prakash in a printed kurta styled shirt carrying the blend of jovial and serene expression was all about living life to its fullest. Payal, in a striped dress, was bubbling with energy.
The art exhibition titled ‘Layers of Memory’ at The Westin curated by Furhung was all about creativity with colours on the canvas. Draped in striking pink, Furhung ensured that the art connoisseurs of the town are well taken care of. The IPL match in the city also kept the cricket younger enthusiasts engaged in the stadium.
In nutshell, the city kept doing its best to engage the wise, old, young. Monsoon Tip: Ginger with basil leaves in fresh green tea in the mornings will boost your immunity for a fitter you.
(The writer runs her own organic cafe, spa, salon Meghavi and is a people’s person with a pulse on the city’s happenings)
Summer showers may have cooled things down, but there’s still plenty of reasons for a dip in the pool.
WHETHER it’s the rain that has played spoil sport or all work that has kept you home this summer — hotels in the city believe a dip in the swimming pool should take the edge off. From thoughtful toiletries like coco gel to herb-infused cocktails and an aqua gym thrown into the mix, here are the top properties vying with each other to give you the best deal.
One of the first to offer an outdoor bar and dining by the pool, Aqua, on the eight floor, offers a spectacular view of the city. Noteworthy: With decks arranged by the pool, loungers and double beds give an aura of ease and comfort. Also, sign up for summer swimming classes for children and adults (Rs 7,500 for 15 days). COST: Rs 1,200 ++ (inclusive of charges for changing room). Details: 42676000
A trikini with a pareo made of silk — that’s just the Shivan & Narresh swimwear you’ll need to chill by the pool or dive into the water. The colourful print adds to the relaxed vibe. Available on order at Evoluzione. COST: Rs 15,000. Details: 28333627
Take in the sights of the city as you float in this rooftop pool, specially designed to give you an uninterrupted view. Do try their aqua gym and aqua jacuzzi on the lower level, if you want to add some workout to your routine. At Hablife, their fine dining restaurant, you can also indulge in Pan-Asian cuisine like pepper fish and pineapple chicken (additional charge). Noteworthy: A refreshing welcome beverage is served when you arrive. Cost: Rs 750 ++ Details: 40235555
Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay
Spoilt for choice with an Infinity pool and a Meandering pool, the waters at the Temple Bay resort are mesmerising at night as they glow blue, purple and green alternately.
Noteworthy: Being the second longest in the country, at 28,000 sq ft, the Meandering pool offers paddling boats and zorbing. Cost: Rs 2,800 net on weekdays and Rs 3,200 net on weekends for both pools. Sports activity packages start at Rs 650. Details: 27443636
How can any swimwear be complete without flip-flops? With colourful palm leaves and other vibrant prints, the Havaianas flip-flop, from their Flat Mix collection, adds the right touch of comfy. Cost: Rs 1,500. Details: havaianasindia.in
A view of the sunset from the hotel’s outdoor pool is a summer indulgence. The custom-made art installations and lush landscape add to the experience. Also pick juices of your choice from the pool menu (extra). Noteworthy: An ongoing summer camp for kids (at Rs 4,000++), till May 27. Cost: Rs 1,500++ Details: 61001234
Fringed with coconut trees, day access to this pretty swimming pool comes with a plethora of food and beverage options. Choose from Pan Asian, Indian and Continental dishes—like roast chicken and butter poached jumbo prawns—while drinks include cocktails like vodka-based Love of Daisy. Noteworthy: 20 per cent off on food and beverages. Cost: Rs 1,500++ Sunday brunch from Rs 1,999++ Details: 71720101
Relish dishes from the exclusive menu at Flying Elephant, while you soak in the serenity of the Park Hyatt pool. Sip refreshing cocktails from the Garden Bar, which stars freshly-squeezed fruit juices and herbs.
Noteworthy: The pool boasts the best view in the city, that of the lush Guindy National Park. Cost: Day pass at Rs 1,750 ++ Details: 71771234
The Leela Palace
Surrounded by lush gardens, you can sip on cocktails like the popular Piña Colada, while lounging by the poolside. Also nibble on snacks like crispy calamari and the Spectra club sandwich. Don’t forget to snap a selfie against the specially-designed peacock wall mural. Noteworthy: The welcome basket includes water, a sunscreen, coco gel and a magazine. Cost: Rs 2,500++ Details: 33661234
This Bodysculpt Bandeau swimwear by The Beach Company is perfect for your day at the pool. The polyamide-blend suit—in lively hues of red and blue, with intricate motifs—will definitely make heads turn. Cost: Rs 2,750. Details: thebeachcompany.in
The Gateway Hotel IT Expressway
The outdoor swimming pool is a big draw, especially when paired with their brunch buffet, which includes a juicy saddle of lamb, oven-fresh rolls and cocktails like the classic Mint Julep and Masala Martini. Noteworthy: Summer camps are being held for adults and children till July. Cost: Rs 1,000 ++ Details: 66802500
Text: Sonali Ravi, Regina Gurung & Payal Gangishetty
Learn to work with earth and bamboo or enjoy a weekend filled with water games. Plus, there’s some Chinese on the menu.
This weekend, get ready to binge on your favourite Chinese dishes like dim sums, spring rolls and chow mein at Waters Edge Cafe, Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay. Stop by their live counters for specials like Chinese meat and rice, and noodles prepared on a griddle. A pint of beer or a mocktail of the day is also on offer. Rs 1,750 plus taxes. Details: 27443636
Enjoy the rains with a quick getaway down the coast. Avail VGP Golden Beach Resort’s summer offer that includes free entry to their amusement park, Universal Kingdom, beach and swimming pool, besides access to all their indoor and outdoor games. At Rs 7,777 (double occupancy room), inclusive of three meals. Details: 24490050
Play with mud
At the five-day Earth and Bamboo Workshop, conducted by Auroville Green Practices, learn how to identify different kinds of soil and use them in construction. Also find out how to harvest, treat and work with bamboo to build structures. May 30 to June 3. Rs 15,500 (including materials and accommodation). Details: 0413 2622571
Bonds of love
Feel that you are losing touch with yourself and your loved ones? Head to the Science of Living workshop—organised by the Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Integral Management—where a three-day retreat will help you reconnect through experiential activities and reflection. From May 26-28. Rs 4,000 per person.
Details: 0413 2330256
Catch an award-winning film this weekend. Alliance Francaise is screening Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café. A political thriller about a spy dispatched to Sri Lanka to stop an uprising of rebels, it is based on the civil war and features John Abraham and Nargis Fakhri in stellar lead roles. Sunday, at 6 pm. Details: 0413 2334351
Shake a leg
Put on your dancing shoes as Kasha ki Aasha is hosting its Footloose Dance Party on Sunday. Move to the beats of jive, pop,
rock ‘n’ roll and 80s style disco
on the dance floor. Entry charges at Rs 100. From 6 pm onwards. Details: 0413 2222963
Two women in Auroville find a solution to our health problems, and that of our pets.
AUROVILLIANS Guidelma Grandi (60) and Margarita Correa (56) are known for their natural, organic products, like beauty bath bars and bath muffins, and household products like organic dishwasher soap and kitchen cleaning liquid. The duo is now offering probiotic supplements for both humans and pets, through their five-year-old company, MG Ecoduties. Correa, who was a chemical engineer in Colombia, South America, before she came to Auroville, explains the technology. “Our mission was to create bioremediation protocols to remove pollutants like heavy metals and chemicals from water using composting technology.”
Their new collection, Probiotica, includes a concentrate drink—made through the process of natural fermentation, with a blend of natural probiotics (herbs like fenugreek and fennel seeds, ginger, lemongrass, and juices like aloe vera and pomegranate). Meanwhile, the probiotic supplements for pets are made of rice bran and dry fish. “The drinks do not need refrigeration,” explains Grandi, adding that their supplements not only give energy but are also beneficial for the digestive and immune system of both humans and animals.
For the beauty bars and bath muffins, they use certified essential oils, along with coconut oil and herbs from their garden. Besides using natural glycerin, they also use natural extracts to add fragrances—like rose, lavender and lemon grass for the muffins and chocolate, cucumber and avocado for the bars. They plan to add a new shampoo line and shaving soap for men soon.
Probiotic drinks at Rs 750 (330 ml). Details: auroville.com