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A tender look back into the past

Snakes and ladders — in a bullock cart to India By Kaushik Sircar Sircar Group, First edition (2014), pp. 159, Rs 250

The generation of ‘midnights’ children’ may love to associate their birth hour as a matter of pride since they could breathe in the free air upon a free soil.

A wide-ranging review of India’s defence and decision-making

Core concerns in indian defence and the imperatives for reforms By Vinod Misra IDSA & Pentagon Press, pp. 374, Rs 1,095

The matters that the title of this compendium covers, hinge upon civil-military relations, the very foundation of which, in India, is unfortunately, rotten.

‘Write, rewrite till it becomes second nature’

Shobha Nihalani

Do you know the people who live around you? Are they really who they claim to be? Unresolved is one such novel that adds layers to the seemingly ordinary lives of people.

Graphically haunting

An illustration from Ghosts of Kingdoms Past

A graphic novel about spooky thrills and how ghosts may not behave the way you expect them to, especially if the person looking for them is British

Fear and loathing, from Doon to 377

What does it mean to be gay in a milieu that vilifies same-sex desires? How do you love when such feelings can get you beaten up and put behind bars? Writer-activist Siddharth Dube’s latest book, No One Else: A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex, a memoir of a gay man growing up in India and the United States, graphically answers those questions.

26 dishes and the flavour of life

Alphabet Soup for Lovers
Rs 350

There is a way in which we are all part of each other’s stories and Anita Nair plays on this conceit in her slim hardback volume, Alphabet Soup For Lovers. It runs on parallel tracks telling us the stories of Komathi and Lena. Komathi is a cook on a tea plantation in the Annamalai hills who is working to pick up English letters.

Poetic allure of the number nine

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For Anupama Raju, inspiration can sprout from anywhere, even something as mundane and tiresome as a pothole on the road.

Write way to find love

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Preeti Shenoy’s latest non-fiction outing is a well-researched and balanced overview at how to tackle several issues in relationships.

Meet Soumitra, 81 India’s best actor

Beyond Apu: 20 Favourite Film Roles of Soumitra Chatterjee
Rs 350

Shyam Benegal likens Soumitra Chatterjee’s measured performance as a standoffish, socially awkward suitor in Satyajit Ray’s Samapti (1961) to “a fine Persian carpet, subtle and exquisite”.

  • Bandage that glows to show an infection

    Bacterial infection is a fairly common and potentially dangerous complication of wound healing, but a new “intelligent” dressing that turns fluorescent green to signal the onset of an infection could provide physicians a valuable early-detection system.

    Researchers in the United Kingdom recently unveiled a prototype of the colour-changing bandage, which contains a gel-like material infused with tiny capsules that release non-toxic fluorescent dye in response to contact with populations of bacteria that commonly cause wound infections.

    Led by Toby Jenkins, a professor of biophysical chemistry at the University of Bath, the inventors of the new bandage, which has not yet been tested in humans, say it could be used to alert health-care professionals about an infection early enough to prevent the patient from getting sick. In some cases it might even help avoid the need for antibiotics, says Jenkins.

    Jenkins’s group is collaborating with clinical researchers from a pediatric burn center at the University of Bristol, and the team envisions that one of the first applications could be burn treatment. Clinicians tend to overprescribe antibiotics for burn wounds, particularly in children, because they are concerned about infection. That can lead to antibiotic-resistant strains. An infection-detecting bandage could prevent this by reassuring parents and doctors when a wound is not infected. They would also be useful for monitoring surgical wounds as well as those that result from traumatic injury, says Jenkins. All wounds get colonised by bacteria, but small populations are generally not harmful. In some cases, a population of harmful bacteria grows too big for the immune system to handle, and clinical intervention is needed. “We believe that this transition normally takes several hours, if not longer,” says Jenkins. Early detection might give doctors time to head off the infection.

  • The rise of the lumbersexual

    While several established womenswear designers like Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahilani and Varun Bahl, who have dressed the best of Bollywood divas over the years, have started to explore the men’s line, what has caught everyone’s fancy at recent fashion weeks is the return of the scruffy and outdoorsy look of men on the ramp. Far from the manicured and clean-shaven metrosexual, the contemporary male model in India is instead the well-styled lumberjack, who prefers to flaunt a beard and be in touch with his rugged masculinity.

    Not just on the ramp, this breed — called lumbersexuals, defined by their facial hair — is the flavour of the season. From colleges to corporate houses and fund-raising events to theatres, lumbersexuals can be found everywhere. They are impeccably groomed yet have an unkempt side to them.

    They have beards, checked shirts and are more hipster than the dapper fellows we’ve seen in the last decade. Models believe that apart from staying in vogue with global trends, the bearded look also ensures they have an edge on the ramp, as well as when they go for auditions. Model Shaaz Rehan Khan, says, “A lumbersexual look has always been a favourite on international magazine spreads and platforms. Now, even our designers vouch for the outdoorsy look not just for its global appeal but also because it complements both Indian and western ensembles. It also makes you stand out at auditions.”

    While our B’town heartthrobs like Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor have been reflecting the lumbersexual look on screen with panache, the regular urban Indian male isn’t far behind either. Stylist Nithin Rao says, “With men’s fashion market booming, there is increasing awareness among men about their appearance and they are now more open to experimenting with changing trends. Typically, the lumbersexual style of appearance is more geared towards functionality and the rugged form which is what men prefer historically, and this is why it’s becoming popular and coming into the mainstream.” But it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. “Not everyone would be able to carry off this laidback lumbersexual style as it suits only a certain body type. Men with a slightly bigger frame and sharp features slip into the look and sport it with élan,” adds Nithin.

    While your body frame may be the most important factor to sport the lumbersexual look, styling is instrumental, say designers. Popular designer Sreejith Jeevan explains, “Even though some men might be taking the trend to a rather rugged extreme (like a typical lumberjack), the more sophisticated version of this seems very fashionable. Go well fitted with the plaids and avoid a sloppy fit. Get the beard trimmed right to suit your face shape and body type so that the result has a lot more finesse. Of course layering is the key. Keeping the staples of this trend the same but playing it to your taste with your individuality in tact, makes it a more unique interpretation of the trend.”

  • Spook-tacular sips

    Mulled ciders are the spirit traditionally associated with Halloween, but the weather here doesn’t yet permit a fabulous glass of hot mulled cider. So why not try a few cocktails that’ll transport you to a typical fall Halloween night back in the West? This was exactly the concept we wanted to create for our Halloween special cocktails at The Sassy Spoon.

    The techniques and ingredients that you’d use in a Halloween cocktail are different than those you’d use at any other time of the year — they’ve got to be a little sweet. For instance, your traditional whiskey sour would be just the whiskey and sour mix, but we treat our whiskey with spices to a point that it tastes almost like a big red chewing gum!

    The presentation of a Halloween cocktail is also important. For instance, the Hocus Pocus (see recipe alongside) is a layered cocktail. It looks a lot like what a vampire might want to drink — a layer of alcohol and a layer of red wine! Or take a look at the Grimm Reaper, which has charred cinnamon sticks and star anise as the garnish to give a feel of a typical fall night in the woods.

    So this weekend, dress as your favourite spooky character and raise a toast to Halloween with a spine-chilling cocktail!

    Pranav is the manager/ mixologist at The Sassy Spoon, Mumbai

    Hocus Pocus
    Ingredients: 
    30 ml tequila
    15 ml triple sec
    30 ml sweet-sour mix
    30 ml red wine (preferably Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz) 
    Some castor sugar
    Grenadine syrup, to rim glass
    Ice

    Method:
    Lightly rim a martini glass with some grenadine and then dip in castor sugar to get a red rim.
    Next, in a cocktail shaker, add tequila, triple sec, sweet-sour mix with ice and shake well. 
    Pour into the martini glass.
    Lastly, over the back of a bar spoon, slowly pour the wine onto the martini.

    Grimm Reaper 
    This recipe calls for infused whiskey. So in a mason jar, pour in a bottle of your favourite whiskey (preferably a Bourbon), add 4-5 cinnamon sticks and let it sit for a couple of weeks.

    Ingredients:
    60 ml infused whiskey
    60 ml fresh sour mix 
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 orange wedge

    Method:
    In a Boston shaker, add the whiskey, fresh sour mix and ice. Shake and pour over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with cinnamon stick and orange wedge.

    Dracula Cooler
    Combine white rum, dark rum, brandy, peach or apricot crush, sweet-n-sour mix in a glass, and layer it with grenadine, as per taste. Your Dracula Cooler is ready!

    Vampire Martini
    Combine vodka, triple sec, strawberry crush, sweet-n-sour mix, as per taste, in a Martini glass. Enjoy your Vampire Martini.
    Courtesy Copa

    H’El Diablo
    Ingredients:
    45 ml Anejo aged tequila
    15 ml creme de cassis
    10 ml fresh-squeezed lime juice
    75 ml ginger beer

    Method:
    In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, ginger beer and lime. Shake well and strain into a chilled, ice-filled old-fashioned glass.
    Slowly , pour the cassis over a bar spoon into the cocktail & watch tit slowly integrate. Garnish with two lemon wedges placed on either side like the devil’s horns!
    Courtesy Sante

    Brain Damage Shot
    Ingredients:
    22 ml peach snapps
    8 ml Baileys Irish cream
    Dash of grenadine

    Method:
    Fill your shot glass upto three quarters with the peach snapps
    Splash in Irish cream to make the “brain” (see pic). Lastly, pour in a dash of grenadine for the “blood” effect.
    Courtesy Radio Bar

Though the victory march of the Bharatiya Janata Party that began in 2014 was brought to a halt in 2015 with major setbacks in the Delhi and Bihar Assembly elections, there seems to be a reversal of t

The film Airlift is a commercial success. I was bewildered by its repeated attempts to suppress what is true and suggest what is false.