Monthly Archives: October 2016
How the city manages to beat the cab services at their own game
IN most confrontations between the global and local, often times, the global brings a sweeping change too strong to resist, and the lo gets swept off. The first local response to a global trend – either a welcoming acceptance or a resisting reluctance – has no consequence on the outcome – the global wins, and the local gets incorporated. Well, almost. Despite it being a low percentage game, the Hyderabadi local does not mind having a go at the global; and treading a tedious and concocted path of argument, claims a win. One such Goliath we attempt to take on, in vain, is surge pricing of the taxis we so deeply love, but and during its surge hour, so strongly hate.
“It is really simple,” a little bird boasts. “Book a cab and if you see a surge, cancel. Try again. After three consecutive cancels, the surge will be off. I pay the fare while my friends pay a surge. I found the magical workaround the surge.” Then pit one cab service against the other. “Two smart phones in two hands – one books A, one gets price from B – and I keep cancelling the trip after exactly four minutes. No cancellation fee. As they both bring their prices down one bid at a click… I hop on after getting the lowest fare point that I create for myself.”
I am intrigued enough to check on it before I get derisive about their claims. The man who handles some key features of Uber’s surge pricing algorithm globally is an old friend; and sadly for little bird and big wolf, a fellow Hyderabadi. “Got those flaws checked and plugged first thing after I joined… lest Hyderabadi ingenuity beat us,” he responds, gleefully.
I decide to beat the cabbies in my own way and take an autorickshaw. I am sure though that soon autos drivers will be checking on the cab prices before giving us an offer, with the meter always being off.
TAILPIECE: If late Jack Kerouac, the American writer had visited Hyderabad, he would have revised his greatest work –‘On the Road’. Or singer Chris Rea – famed for ‘Road to Hell’. Here, roads are hell. At least for a while more.
(Sriram Karri is author of the bestselling novel Autobiography of a Mad Nation. He writes for international media including The New York Times and BBC besides organising debates at HydPark)
After rocking the music scene for the last six years, Bacardi NH7 Weekender is all set to debut in Hyderabad. The seventh edition of the music festival has an impressive line up of legends from the EDM industry. DJs Nucleya, Anish Sood, Django Django and many others will be behind the console as bands such as Dinosaur Pile Up, Indian Ocean, Farhan Live, The Ganesh Talkies, The Raghu Dixit Project and Parikrama among others play live. We find out what to expect from some of the big names who will be performing in the city.
As a precursor the musical extravaganza, a pre-party will be hosted at Olive Bistro – Hyderabad on Saturday night. On November 5 and 6 at the GMR Arena, Shamshabad from 3 pm onwards. Tickets at `2,500.
Things to do at the venue
Some of the most imaginative stage designs, exquisite art installations, diverse food options and an eclectic bazaar where artists, craftspeople, DIYers and hobbyist entrepreneurs from all over the country will congregate. Everything in the bazaar including food can be bought with tickets sold at the coupon counter. The event will also have participants from the Bacardi NH7 Weekender Periphery Art Project where they will showcase some of the most intriguing art works including elaborate installations, intricate stage designs and graffiti.
This Bengaluru folk/fusion band will perform on November 5. The group who describe their music ‘rooted, energetic and powerful,’ say they have had great responses from Hyderabad in their previous visits. Speaking of their gig, Vasu Dixit says, “We will be playing three songs that Hyderabad has not heard before.”
About their upcoming releases, Dixit who made the crowd in Bengaluru sing “Ee bhoomi swarga aaguthide nodu earlier this month, says, “We are working on the first single of our new album called Swatter Pehno and talks about parental pressures on youngsters. We have all suffered it at some point and we felt it was a powerful theme to sing about, in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way. We have composed a bunch of new songs that we hope to record and release in 2017.” The band with a social conscience has a huge following in the city.
The Ganesh Talkies
This four-member Kolkata band, which will be performing on November 5, describes its music as kitsch, Indian and pop culture.
Says Suyasha Sengupta who does the vocals and guitar, “The majority of our band members are 90s kids. So our music is inspired by the life that we saw while growing up and it is rooted in culture. That is what we are going to showcase in Hyderabad.” The band will be performing tracks like Rum and Coke, The Great Indian Freak Show and Fight Club. It will be travelling to Mumbai after their performance in the city.
Originally from Hyderabad, but settled in London, Alluri will be marking his first big performance in his hometown on November 6. The Telugu boy promises to offer the audience a ‘relentlessly loud gig.’ The DJ will be performing tracks such as All The Women, Man of Truth and Its With You. Speaking of his future plans, he says, “The album Man of Truth just released recently. I plan to record an album in Telugu. A song has already been recorded last month in London. The music video will come out early next year.” Alluri will be performing on the second day, November 6.
Stating their music as ‘honest, rooted and universal,’ Rahul Ram says, “The crowd can expect all of their favourites plus some previously unheard / unreleased stuff.” The band will be performing on the opening day, November 5, and will have Bandeh, Kandisa and the title track of their latest album Tandanu. Rahul adds that the band is currently working on a few new things for their next album, which he expects to be out by mid 2017. They will be touring across Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Belgaum, Goa, Dhakha before ending this month at NH7 Express
— Nishad Neelambaran
On the eve of Dhanteras and Diwali, homegrown brand Krsala that recently celebrated its tenth anniversary has launched the Luminesce collection. “The range boasts of meticulously hand-crafted jewellery with a combination of cut and uncut diamonds encrusted in gold using a relatively new technique of making jadau jewellery called open-setting,” says director Samarth Bajaj. The collection also uses many precious and semi-precious stones such as rubies, emeralds and pearls to further add colour to it.
Price: `5,00000 onwards
Silver Girl Sindhu has certainly made the white metal look more appealing than gold. If you are somone who would rather buy silver this season, the accessory range from Hyderabad-based brand, Doe and Deer by Raajitha Jupally, a certified diamond grader and jewellery designer, will be a great pick, be it at an evening out, or the office review meeting. The range of rings come in 92.5 silver with gold polish and studded with high quality Cubic Zirconia stones and the final packaging done in the US. These knuckle rings and Grape Vine Statement ring are all the jewellery you need to make a mark. They don‘t tarnish or lose colour and are hypoallergenic as well. Price: `7,200 to `9,900
When it comes to jewellery, why should only women partake of the beauty? So if you are buying some precious pieces for your significant other, the finely crafted couple bracelets in platinum from Orra can be your best bet. Also, fusing the traditional concept of ghungroos and reversing the idea that they can only adorn your feet, the 22-karat gold bangles with tiny metal balls making a lilting sound is a piece to watch out for. Exquisite danglers in pink and gold that are a part of its Lavanya collection, will make you feel like a Begum. They also have exciting offers to make shopping for precious jewels even better.
Price: `1,00,000 onwards, Details: 65139168
Subham, the pre-Diwali collection from Tanishq, has a repertoire of exquisite jewels by master craftsmen and they have been inspired by the marvels of temple architecture. The pieces boast of engravings that take a cue from chatris that decorate the pillars of the Hutheesing temple at Ahmedabad, intricate motifs that decorate the pillars of the Vittala temple at Hampi that exude old world charm. The pieces ooze grandeur in every detail. The beautiful earrings, resplendent neck-pieces et al are now available columns in the stores.
Price: `75,000 onwards
October 28 | Jubilee Hills
Pegasus Art Gallery is hosting a painting exhibition entitled ‘Amity.’ The exhibition will have paintings of 40 artists – Barun Saha, Chandana Khan, Rintu Roy, K.Majumber, and others from Kolkata. Details: 9700416357
October 29 | Somajiguda
Add a musical beat to your Halloween frights at Aqua, The Park for a theme-based party. Join DJ Kani as he sets the mood for the weekend with a mix of EDM and hip-hop. Details: 33165766
October 29 | Banjara Hills
The controversies are dying down and Karan Johar’s much awaited movie Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is finally releasing today. Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan starrer promises to be a saga on love, friendship, and broken and new-found relationships. Music by Pritam.Details: in.bookmyshow.com
October 30 | Kompally
Decathlon, the sportswear store in Ghatkesar and other suburbs, in association with the Traffic Police of Alwal is hosting a 10-km run on the occasion of its first anniversary. The run begins at Suchitra X roads at 6 am and ends
at Cine Planet. Details: 8095075600
October 31 | Sainikpuri
Love tennis? Head to Rama’s Tennis Academy for a three-day U- 15 Tennis Tournament for girls and boys. Watch a game or ask the coach to give you some tips that you can practice back home. Details: 9949466400
November 1 | Necklace Road
Head out for some fresh morning air with the Hyderabad Bicycle Club‘s upcoming ride. Participants can carry either their own bicycles or rent one from the HBC Bike Station. The event will be conducted at Necklace Road. Details: 9866502095
November 2 | Banjara Hills
Indulge in some gastronomic delights with Barbeque Nation’s Arabian food festival ‘Wahrabia Fest’. On offer are delights like Khabsa Laham, Samak Al Faham and more. Camel motifs, hookahs and purdahs are set to bring in a slice of Arabia.
November 3 | Malakpet
Reignite your passion for table tennis and display your skill set at the Stag Table Tennis Tournament. The tournament for boys and girls will be conducted at the Stag Table Tennis Academy, Malakpet. Details: 9666926167
Elahe fashion store, in association with Lakme Fashion Week, organised an afternoon of fashion and fervour. Eight top designers imcluding Gaurang Shah, Nikhil Thampi, Anushree Reddy and Divya Sheth came together and showcased their latest collection as their muse walked for them in an exclusive fashion show curated by Sonali Sharma. Actress Lakshmi Manchu, Rakul Preet Singh and Sonal Chauhan walked the ramp for their respective designers.
Elsewhere at Film Nagar, renowned artist Jaya Baheti and designer Sabiha Ali blended art and fashion. Art lovers were seen admiring the dextrous strokes of Jaya’s brush and Sabiha’s cuts on the ensembles on the display. Spotted at the do were Rangoli Garg, Firdaus and Sarah.
From fashion to fundraising, the city traverses the zones effortlessly. The Big Heart Diwali, a fundraising gala luncheon at OTM, Hotel Daspalla, had ladies visiting the do in their traditional best. The event was coordinated by socialite Gurleen Bagga. Designer Shilpa Reddy was the guest of honour.
Teach For Change recently had a video launch showcasing their work at Hotel Trident. IAS officers Smita Sabharwal and Pinky Reddy joined actress Pragya Jaiswal along with many dignataries and socialites of the city.
The Blender‘s Pride Fashion Tour event kicked off in style on Saturday night at N Convention Centre showcasing Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha as the showstopper of the evening. Duo designer Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna’s designer outfit highlighted her perfect silhouette in the figure-hugging full gown. Winter tones and textures dominated the collection with mist, ash and dark oak being the colours of the evening.
- Rina Hindocha
From motorcycle-themed voyages to sailing on container ships, the best cruise line packages this season.
There is nothing we like better than a good deal. More and more Indian travellers are now ditching their ‘land-based’ holidays—where they have to pay for visits, accommodation and food separately—to sign up for cruise packages that offer the best of all these essentials at a fraction of the cost. With Mumbai’s Port Trust facilitating an International Cruise Terminal, they don’t even need to fly out to join the cruises; they can hop on from Mumbai, the New Mangalore port or even Kochi. “We are observing a steady growth in demand for cruise holidays—about 15-20 per cent per annum. Though families and honeymooners form a large chunk, senior citizens and young solo travellers are also a strong clientele,” says Karan Anand, head of relationships at Cox & Kings, adding that his organisation is combining land and cruises packages for a more wholesome experience. With sailing season beginning this month, here are a few quirky packages that could inspire you to hop on board.
Do the blue
Costa neoClassica is making its maiden voyage from Mumbai to the Maldives in December. A luxury liner that can accommodate up to 1,700 passengers, it comprises a casino, discotheque, ballrooms and swimming pools. The ship also makes stops at Kochi, Mangalore and Goa. `43,000 onwards. Details: costacruise.com
Fancy a rock climbing escapade on the sea? Royal Caribbean Cruise’s Port Canaveral Roundtrip doesn’t just take you to the Bahamas, but also lets you try your hands at some vertical adventure with its specially-designed sea-facing walls, made to resemble a cliff. If you feel tired after the ascent, relax with a drink fixed by your personal mixologist at the retro-inspired bar and gamble at the 6,843 square-foot Vegas-style Casino Royale, with 190 slots. From `1.10 lakh onwards. Details: coxandkings.com
This one is for bikers, who don’t wish to let go of their rides, even while at sea. The only one of its kind in the world, the High Seas Rally is a complete motorcycle-themed cruise holiday. The seven-day Florida to Mexico (and back) cruise will let you take your motorcycle along, find you accommodation in bike-themed bunks and even organises rallies at every port of call. Special Halloween-themed biker parties, and 50s, 60s and 70s hippie nights are some of the added attractions. From `1.82 lakh onwards. Sailing in 2017. Details: highseasrally.co
Keep it contained
Not long ago, sailors hopped on freighters and worked their way to their destination, instead of paying fares. Reminiscent of this, select container ships are now accommodating passengers (up to 10). You can forgo work, of course, and for around `8,200 a day, you can join the CGM Bellini on a three-month voyage from Fos Sur Mer port, France, through Australia, Singapore and back. Enjoy the solitude of the seas while housed in luxurious captain-class cabins. Sails triennially. Details: freightercruises.com
Movie and TV buffs can opt for any of the themed cruises from the Norwegian Pearl. The Walking Dead cruise is for fans of the apocalypse horror-drama. With members of the cast, like Norman Reedus, Chandler Riggs and Michael Cudlitz, on board, the cruise will facilitate private interactions with them, besides a visit to the Pearl’s private island, the Great Stirrup Cay. For Star Trek fans, the cruise includes Holo Nights—where passengers can celebrate their favorite Holodeck characters—a Starfleet intergalactic gala and Star Trek chess tournaments. Sailing in February 2017. `86,500 onwards. Details: ncl.com/in
Virtually does it
Have seasickness, but love to go on a cruise? Tirun has introduced a virtual reality app, Tirun VR, which will allow users to virtually walk through a Royal Caribbean luxury liner with the help of a VR headset. The app is also useful for travellers who are booking packages for the first time. Free download. Details: tirun.com
Royal Caribbean has just revealed its 2016-17 adventure line of cruises, serving six regions—the Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada, Europe, Alaska and Australia. As an introductory offer, the cruise line has also extended a buy-one-get-one offer, where bookings for the second passenger will get a 50 per cent discount. Five-night Caribbean cruise from `20,500 onwards. Sailing in December. Details: royalcaribbean.com/cruise-deals
— P Peter
Diwali celebrations, Halloween parties, a martial arts workshop and more—your weekend is packed.
Spot the stripes
While the hunt for Jai, a seven-year-old male tiger who went missing from the Umred Karhandla wildlife sanctuary this April,
continues, you can spot some of the other famous big cats in the area by signing up for Beyond Wild’s upcoming safari. `13,500 per head. Pick-up from Nagpur on November 1, at 10 am. A train journey to Nagpur costs `560 approximately (aboard the Pondicherry-New Delhi SF Express).
Till November 3. Details: beyondwild.in
Catch the film adaptation of an 18th
century novel this weekend. Alliance Française de Pondicherry is screening the 2013 drama, The Nun, which premiered at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival. Based on Denis Diderot’s novel, La Religieuse, the Guillaume Nicloux-film follows the life of Suzanne Simonin, a nun who was forced into the religious practice and wants to break away from her vows. On October 30, at 6 pm. Details: pondicherry.afindia.org
There’s nothing like abstract art to spark the thinker in you. DakshinaChitra is currently showcasing a series of paintings by V Hariram, the city-based artist who specialises in printmaking. Called Stellar Memories, the acrylics on canvas highlight his love for the geometric. Till October 30. At Varija Gallery. Details: 0413 27472603
Gear up for a night of spooks and moves as Kasha Ki Asha is hosting a fun Halloween-themed party at La Casita. Called Footloose, the party will have revellers dancing to 80s disco rock ‘n’ roll music, while dressed up in their ‘scariest’ best. There will also be food and beverages available from the
in-house restaurant, Garden Cafe.
On Sunday. Entry at `100. From 6 pm onwards. Details: 9791944182
Enjoy the festival of lights at Sita Cultural Centre, where you can join the fun by lighting diyas and crackers.
For those who’d like a quieter evening, there are also games of chess being organised. Don’t forget to sample a range of regional snacks that will be on offer. Tomorrow, from 4.30 pm onwards. Elsewhere, at the Pondicherry Gujarati Samaj, a secondhand sale is also on. Details: pondicherry-arts.com
With their liquor license finally in hand, hotel Turyaa on OMR opens its doors to the public.
IF you have made your way down the busy OMR corridor in the past couple of months, you would have noticed the bright pink neon sign that says Turyaa. The newest boutique hotel in the city, it is owned by Sri Lanka-based group, Aitken Spence, and is their first five-star property in Chennai. More recently, the hotel got its liquor license, and expectedly, has noted a jump in numbers. It currently enjoys a daily occupancy rate of around 60 per cent).
Room for more
Checking in late on a Monday evening, I am welcomed by Vamsshi Krishna, head of sales, at the six-storeyed hotel. We flit through its various ‘pamper corners’ (rooftop swimming pool and a spa with aromatherapy treatments) before I call it a day. Settling into one of their Deluxe Rooms, which makes up around 112 rooms here (besides 24 Junior and four Superior Suites), I find the wooden flooring charming while I am grateful for the sound proof windows and the splendid view of the sea in the morning. The bed could have been a tad softer, but then catching up with television serials had me effectively distracted.
For a better view of the coastline, the next day I head to the rooftop fusion restaurant, Samasa, where I catch up with Arun Raj, the general manager. Dining with the magnificent waves in the faraway background, the menu here is another winner. Expect interesting fusion experiments like pasta served in butter chicken masala or other Indian curries, plus paneer bhurji lasagna. “The menu has been curated with the help of chef Sugath, an expat from Sri Lanka (he has worked in various properties of Aitken Spence for around three years) who was with us during the initial weeks of operation. He has since been replaced by chef Anand, who has worked in hotels like Ramada Chennai,” says Raj. We also find traces of Sugath’s Sri Lankan expertise in dishes like watalappan (baked coconut custard with spices and tea-poached fruits).
Best of the rest
If you prefer popular staples, then Svar, the 24/7 restaurant, is the perfect place to be, as it offers bestsellers like crumb-fried chicken balls and fish fingers to dishes like grilled jumbo prawns and kozhi veputhu. Elsewhere, items like pastries, muffins, cookies and more make their way into their bakery Mista’s menu, while Dao, the Chinese restaurant, is finally open after getting the license. Their watering hole, Twist Bar, is offering domestic labels presently, while promising an imported lineup soon enough.
Rooms from Rs 5,000 onwards.
— Karan Pillai
At Promenade’s Drunken Meats festival, the flavour combinations assure a high.
EARLIER this August, Le Dupleix Promenade hosted a special coastal festival with Mediterranean specials by Chef Sathish Rajasekaran, using fresh catch from the sea (think red snapper and rock lobster). Now, for its second leg, he has gone a step further by adding alcohol to the mix—as a soak, marinade or accompaniment to the meat and seafood dishes (served with generous portions of lemon potato mash, French fries and grilled vegetables).
Between a drunken chicken served with lemon and tequila, and a tenderloin steak soaked in beer, the options are plenty. Pork chops infused with whisky, grilled lobster with a Bloody Mary fettuccine and Vermouth-infused tiger prawns impress as mains. “They are our best sellers,” says Rajasekaran. However, the star of the menu is the beer-yani. The slow-cooked dish consists of chicken/prawns soaked in lager beer, and mixed with basmati rice fragrant with Indian spices. “While our meat is sourced from Pondicherry, we’ve got the beef from Bengaluru. For the beer-yani, the meat is usually marinated for 12 hours,” he explains. For the sweet tooth, pick their beer or red wine ice creams, or the champagne sorbet.
From Rs 280 onwards. Details: 2226999
— Karan Pillai
The two-wheeler division of Indian automotive giant, Mahindra, is set to resurrect BSA and Jawa.
It is great news for aficionados of classic motorcycles all over the world, as both BSA and Jawa are on the verge of a comeback. Mahindra & Mahindra—which is part of the upcoming Express Auto Expo—unveiled plans to refocus its two-wheeler business and target premium niche segments, beginning with the acquisition of Classic Legends to co-create a lifestyle mobility company that will make motorcycles under the BSA and Jawa names. Classic Legends will have access to Mahindra Racing’s facilities in Italy to design and launch these new products.
Wheels in motion
While Mahindra has acquired BSA, along with its existing global brand rights, and will be targeting markets like the UK and Europe, Jawa motorcycles will be brand licensed for India and its neighbouring countries in Asia. The plan seems to be simple enough—create a portfolio of products that are modern in terms of technology but still have that quintessential neo-retro feel that will instantly relate to the respective brands that have been icons of the past. The products to be launched under the two brands will have no frontline association with the Mahindra brand and will retain their own separate identities, including sales and service outlets. It will take about two years for the first of these to roll out, so expect Jawas built at Mahindra’s Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh plant, to hit showrooms in 2018.
— Muntaser Mirkar @BullSpeech
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