If you have a smartphone, and are looking for a health coach to make sure you don’t cheat on your workout or diet, the HealthifyMe app is your best bet. It helps track your lifestyle, diet, exercise and weight in an Indian context, setting it apart from others. Co-founder and CEO, Tushar Vashisht says, “Gyms, trainers, nutritionists, and physicians seem too far away and too expensive. We believe that healthy living should be a simple way of life. Our app nudges people towards healthy behavior.”
A panel of experts evaluate the health statistics of users in real time once your details are logged on the cloud. “HealthifyMe uses a combination of cloud-powered software (a smartphone application), hardware (wearable pedometers) and manpower (nutritionists, trainers and yoga instructors) to help people reach their fitness goals,” explains Vashisht, adding that premium users connect with their dedicated experts using in-app messaging interface and via Skype. “Like a 24×7 personal trainer in your pocket,” he says adding, “ only offline doesn’t work for everyone and purely online isn’t enough to keep motivation at a peak. Assisted online is the solution.”
“HealthifyMe makes tracking meaningful as an expert looks at the customer’s data, provides contextual plans, recommendations and motivation at a fraction of the cost it takes at a gym or slimming center,” he says of the human touch behind the app, crediting features of nutrient breakdown of your food and advice, including what to eat next as a plus point. “We also have a GPS tracker, to monitor your run, walk or biking trips. The integration with a wearable pedometer that syncs with the app over Bluetooth keeps track of steps, distance and calories.”
The young entrepreneur hopes to take the app to the entire sub-continent and sign on at least one lakh users before 2016.
Last week, the residents of Whitefield had finally had it. The angry townsfolk, sans pitchforks and flaming torches, wanted out from the BBMP’s jurisdiction, with a Thoreau-esque protest against property taxes, which they felt had done little to improve the infrastructural bottlenecks. While I can’t imagine this “secession” threat has South Block ordering the Mechanised Infantry Regiment to march in just yet (those tanks would have to battle Outer Ring Road’s serpentine traffic first), it has initiated a lot of nostalgia-tinted talk about the sleepy colonial suburb and its rich history.
Merits and de-merits of Bangalore’s changing landscape aside, I’ve been quite taken by start-ups like Unhurried, who preserve and share stories of Bangalore’s cultural heritage. Started by a group of dedicated cultural history wonks, their walking tours are an absolute treat for those who’d like to hear the stories behind the city’s old lanes, religious architecture and fabled administrators. I signed up to their “bungalow walk” a few months ago, which took a small group through Richards Town and Davis Road. Our guide took us through Cantonment’s old colonial houses, each antediluvian and in different stages of repair, but still heavy on old-world charm. Our master-raconteur guide kept the anecdotes coming, from stories about Holy Ghost Church’s bird-shaped facade to identifying an obscure conifer in the century-old Mizpah Church that was named after Captain James Cooke by the church’s Australian patron.
It isn’t just colonial history that Unhurried specialises in; the group also does walks through Bangalore’s old quarters—Malleswaram, Basavangudi and a mammoth tour of the Lal Bagh Gardens like you’ve never seen them before. Additionally, they also organise short trips to help discover local culture through cuisine, like a special food trek down Mosque Road during Ramadan, or a guide to VV Puram’s delectable dosas. And they’re not alone; check out Bangalore Walks and Jaunty Roads (ten points for the cricket pun!), who were also featured in a Wall Street Journal blog on Bangalore’s best walking tours.
Rather unfairly, I’m sometimes guilty of reducing Bangalore to a smörgåsbord of fine-dining options and Cubbon Park for traveller friends passing through, recommending that they take the next bus to Mysore. But there’s plenty of history and culture in our own backyards, even for born-and-raised denizens like me to rediscover. As Winston Churchill, an occasional resident of Whitefield himself, said: “the farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
Beyond the canvas
Aiming to make art both affordable and accessible, the lads over at Cupick (Rituraj Dowerah, Shaishav Todi and Justin Alva) started this enterprise because they were heartbroken. There was no damsel involved here but the sheer lack of exposure that local artists receive. “There are so many brilliant artists whose work never sees the light of day because it is very expensive to get exposure in the field. On Cupick, all the artist needs to do is upload a high-resolution file for all the world to see,” beams Alva. Originally a forum to help out Kashmir flood victims, Cupick was the facilitator when artists wanted to sell their work and donate the profits to the victims. “That is when Cupick came in and we made prints, tees and mugs of the paintings, photographs and graphics, to be sold for the cause,” shares Alva.
Essentially a platform for artists, designers, photographers and creative people working on visual media to host, promote, share and sell their work on canvas, art prints, posters, postcards and greeting cards, they hope to launch t-shirts, mugs, tote bags and other merchandise soon.
“The list is endless, so we’re hoping to add mousepads, iPad covers, cushions and table covers too,” they tell us. The website is kept simple and entertaining, thanks to the minimalist design. Art from over 300 artists is neatly categorised into sections such as abstract, animals, Bollywood, vintage, horror and even tree huggers. Their black and white section is ideal for those looking for minimalist interiors while the spiritual category has quirky takes on religion.
The Cupick team sets the base price and the artist decides the mark up. “Artists are provided with metadata, watermark and download protection tools to protect their work and copyrights,” assures Alva. And once someone buys the art to print on a product, Cupick prints, packages and couriers it to the buyer.
Be sure to check out the works of Micaël Reynaud, a French freelance designer who creates mind-bending Gif animations, Andreas Wieser’s interesting art and Prashanth RS’s art which experiments with mediums and lighting. Natalia Stuyk also stands out with GIFs from pop charts and illustrations in blue, pink, red and green. A new collection, in collaboration with Shilo Shiv Suleiman, for her The Fearless Collective, will be launched soon too. It will see art by artists and designers who’ve responded to the Delhi Gang Rape and India’s feminist wave in the form of posters.
Rs.150 upwards. Details: cupick.com
— Aakanksha Devi