Facebook Trends, 2012: Select City Walk in Delhi the ‘Most Checked In’ location, and Tumhi Ho Bandhu from Cocktail the most Shared song on FB…

Facebook Trends, 2012 in India

Facebook Trends, 2012 in India

Facebook’s 2012 trends list for India reveals fascinating insights into India’s social behavior.

Chart showing most 'Checked In' locations on Facebook, in India, on 2012

Chart showing most ‘Checked In’ locations on Facebook, in India, on 2012

§  India’s Most Checked-in locations in 2012

Based on the list of most checked-in locations, it shows that people from India’s metro cities tend to check in more, in comparison to other Indian cities. Delhi-ites seem to be the more proactive, as most of the checked-in locations in the top 20 list belong to the capital city.

The Indian urban consumers’ love for modern day retail outlets is reflected in the fact that Select City Walk, a popular mall in south Delhi, is the most checked-in location on Facebook for 2012. Ambience mall from Delhi, Inorbit mall from Mumbai and The Great India Place in Delhi NCR are also within the overall top 15.

Café 1 Boulevard, a café in South Delhi, eclipses chains such as Hard Rock Café, Delhi, Leopold Café, Mumbai and Toit, Bangalore, to claim the top spot for cafes and restaurants, in the most checked-in location for 2012. Local north India favorite, Sukhdev Dhaba at Murthal, took number #4 spot, in the most checked-in location for 2012.

The top songs shared on Facebook in 2012 for India goes to reiterate that Bollywood continues to dominate the Indian music industry. The most shared song on Facebook was ‘Tum Hi Ho Bandhu’ from the movie Cocktail. That was followed by ‘Daaru Desi’ again from Cocktail and then ‘Pani Da Rang’ from Vicky Donor, at number #2 and #3 spots respectively. The results clearly showcase the fascination for the music from Cocktail.

Chart showing most shared songs on Facebook in 2012

Chart showing most shared songs on Facebook in 2012

SAKS in the City. Spa review


The festive season is here and I see everyone in a mad rush to get designer clothes, beautify their homes and keep mithai and gifts ready to distribute. But none of these will matter if you feel tired and worn out on the festival days itself. All the prep-ing can bog you down, snatching away that glow from your face. How do you get it back? Steal some ‘ME’ time in all this madness and head straight to a spa. Better still, head to Saks Salon and Day Spa, which has just opened its second outlet in Andheri, Link Road. The first one is in Bandra. You’ll be surprised at how just entering a serene space like a spa can calm your tired nerves. The biggest advantage that Saks has is its gigantic space. A lavish 6,000 sq ft area, the Andheri outlet is segregated into manicures and pedicures areas, facial rooms, hair treatments and the like. The first floor is for face and body related treatments, while hair care is restricted to the ground level. The second floor is for administrative staff.
Stark white interiors invite you to further calm your senses and indulge yourself. The spa and facial rooms have an attached steam room, so unlike in most other spas, you don’t have to parade around wrapped in a towel till you reach a common steam room, located in another corner of the spa!
Saks also gets full marks when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene. One normally assumes that international salons follow high standards of hygiene but it is not always the case. If I had a dime for every time my friends and I saw dirty towels lying around or almost threw up seeing masseurs rinsing used mixing bowls.
Saks, UK’s leading hair and beauty salon, thankfully, lives up to its reputation. The face tissues used are disposed off and the towels touching your face are warm, freshly steamed. Hygiene is a big concern with me and I avoid going to spas and salons that use cold towels and have equipment just lying around. I didn’t find myself worrying about nitty-gritties like these at Saks and that is a good sign.
The menu is crisp and designed keeping in mind what men and women want out of a spa outing. There is a separate section for Kerastase Rituals, which will take care of all your hair related worries, with their volumising and purifying rituals. The 90 minute Kerastase Rituals are priced at Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000. Next on the menu are youth specials, a variety of high performance facials and body wraps to rejuvenate tired senses.
I went for the Luminous C and Sea high performance facial. Its aim is to provide absolute radiance, reduce lines and strengthen elasticity. It also provides relief for sun damaged skin, Vitamin C and freeze dried sea weed are clubbed to give a smooth complexion and luminous glow… just what I needed to sail me through Diwali festivities.
The expert wasted no time in showing me to the facial room, adjusted the air-condition cooling to my comfort and started right away. A cleanse and then the faciaI, I could feel her hands swirling my cheeks, oddly in rhythm with the mellow sound of the music in the background.
A 75 minute ritual, the facial lasts till the very last minute. The spa therapist told me not to wash my face till the next morning, to allow the ingredients to work their magic on my skin. I abided and to be honest, there was a visible glow on my face the next morning. I guess the technicians at Saks know what they’re doing, after all. And I’m all set for a glowing start to Diwali celebrations.

Saks Salon and Spa menu and rates:
SAKS Salon and Day Spa Menu

All about Starbucks, Mumbai

For those wondering what the brouhaha surrounding the Starbucks store at Fort, in Mumbai, India is all about, here’s a glimpse into what the outlet looks like and what’s on the menu. Starbucks signature espresso-based beverages, Starbucks VIA Ready Brew and Starbucks Reserves are staples on the menu. The store also serves Tata Tazo and Himalayan mineral water. On the food front, you can choose from all of 42 items that includes western favourites and the local flavours are reflected in items such as Elaichi Mawa Croissant, Murg Tikka Panini and the Tandoori Paneer Roll.

Starbucks store in Mumbai

So, why is Starbucks serving Tata beverages, you ask? Here’s a little introduction that should clear all doubts: Starbucks, as most of you might already know, is a global chain of coffee shops and this is its first outlet in India. Delhi, rumours suggest is set to have its own Starbucks outlet in a few months from now. But that makes for another story… The Mumbai outlet is in collaboration with Tata Global Beverages. Tata Starbucks Limited is a 50/50 joint venture between Starbucks Coffee Company and Tata Global Beverages.

Dig in.

Pakistani designers showcase festive wear in Mumbai and Delhi

Indian fashion is being influenced by Pakistani designers. In fact, most of our designers are borrowing elements from Pakistani fashion to give a tweak to bridal and festive wear. The salwar kameez is now ankle-length and the silhouette is flowy, long at the back and slightly short in the front. The salwars range from fitted churidars to loose pant styles. The gowns also have lots of embroidery and gota work. The colour palette is rich and colourful, with ample shimmer and little scope for subtle and toned down and beaten hues.

Pakistani designers Umar Sayeed, Sana Safinaz, Nida Azwer and Maheen Karim among many others, part of the Soiree Boutique in Dubai will be showing their festive collection for the season at Hemant Room, Four Seasons Hotel, Worli, Mumbai. Today is the last day of the showing. Check them out.

Maheen Karim teams a jumpsuit with a rust jacket with embroidery on it for a festive touch

Umar Batul creation

On the other hand, two designers from Pakistan Fashion Design Council have just arrived in Delhi and will be showing their creations and guiding brides to be on their trousseau. Maheen Khadar of Karma and Khadija Shah of Elan will be in the Capital till October 26, 2012 and available for one on one interactions at The Boulevard, M4,  South Extension, Part II, New Delhi, in between 11 am and 8 pm.

Red gown by Umar Sayeed

Elan

 

Realities of Rajasthan

So, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say Rajasthan? It has to be either a ride on the camels or the pretty lehariya dupattas and saris famous there. The Sam desert on the outskirts of Jaisalmer is recommended for those who want to take a tour on the sands. In fact with winter coming up, Rajasthan in India will be on the top of most tourists’ mind. So, charges for a camel ride, did you just ask? The rates differ vastly during the off season and season months, which are typically from October to February, with November, December and January being the peak months.
Frankly, how much you pay for a camel ride depends on how rich you look!

Price for a camel ride:

The camel handler will typically charge Rs 250 for a ride that begins from the road where the owners are waiting for their camels to be hired till a point in the dunes. The handler will walk ahead will you are perched on a cushioned seat on the hump. Once he leaves you in the dunes, he will ride the camel back to the road and wait for more customers. The price for the same routine escalates to Rs 1,000 or even Rs 2,000 during the peak tourist season, in the months of November till January. One camel keeper confided that the rates are not fixed and are generally decided on the spot, judging the customer’s capacity to pay. So it’s usually charge anywhere between Rs 800 to Rs 1,500 while the rates for foreign tourists are Rs 1,000 upwards only.
Also, the rates mentioned above are only to drop you till the desert, or a few steps into it. If you want a full tour, you have to cough up more. The options are a full desert tour, a camel race or a ride back to where you started from. There are a number of entertainment options once you reach the dunes too. Groups of men and women put up a show, with the women dancing to folk songs that men sing. The twirling of skirts adorned with local embroidery and mirror work, with beige dunes serving as a canvas makes for a pleasant sight and more imporantly, excellent pictures.

Beware of the lehariyas

Next stop: Shopping. The one most common item found on almost everyones shopping list is: Lehariya duppattas, suits or saris. You get the same thing for about the same price in every other metropolitan city in the country, but I guess there is a charm to wearing one that you can claim to have picked up in Rajasthan itself. But here’s a word of caution before you, like many other always-in-a-hurry travellers, just pile on lehariya sets at the cash counter. Always open the suit or the dupatta to check the length of the chunni. Most of them are quite short and those who like only lengthy chunnis will be disappointed. Some dupattas come in ‘bada panna’ (increased width). It’s no magic, the shopkeeper attaches an identical chunni piece to the existing one, for a wider breadth causing it to look clumsy, to say the least. My friends were in for a rude shock when they saw dupattas with a joint on them, but only once they were back in the city. Luckily for them, good sense prevailed and they separated the joint piece from the real chunni and made a stole out of the extra piece.
Moral of the story: Always open and check the dupattas and even sari length before buying them.

Use the extra bit of the dupatta as a stole

For Jewellery Junkies:
The city of Jaisalmer has several stores where you can scout for typical Rajasthani bags, outfits and mirrored jewellery. But silver jewellery aficionados will be pleased to learn that tucked away in the bylanes of Jaisalmer is a house that specialises in silver items. Shri Charbuja Jewellers is a family run business, the bunglow which they operate from is their residence as well. Guests are ushered into a room and one of the men will come with boxes filled with silver pendants, bracelets, necklaces and earrings and they are priced according to the weight, design and stones used in it. I found some really cool designs of a whistle pendant (which you can blow into), miniature crocodies, turtle (both with moving limbs and head), etc. They’re primarily into manufacturing and exporting silver, gold and ethnic jewellery but they welcome tourists who drop by occasionally too.
You can call them at 9414206089, 9782583101 or check out www.shricharbhuja.com.

Cool cat and other silver jewellery at Shri Charbhuja

 

 

Dawn of the new age bride: Nari tells us what made him want to design for the Indian bride

Narendra Kumar Ahmed bridal

When designer Narendra Kumar Ahmed aka Nari announced his bridal line, it raised a quite a few eyebrows. Besides being a new territory for him, bridal designs were not something Nari’s design aesthetics were associated with. He is more known for lending luxury stitches to boring work wear clothes and stylised and structured women’s and men’s wear. But all that changed when the master designer attended an after-after party at 6 am at a friend’s house. He heard a lady play the piano with such intensity that it shook him up and he knew right then that he was ready to create a bridal line. True story! Read on…

Tell us, was a bridal line always on the agenda?

Nari: It was on the cards for a while but I felt that I couldn’t find the right idea to translate into a line. I was clear that if I get into the bridal segment, the product has to be different from what already exists in the Indian market. There are 10,000 designers already doing it, and I didn’t want to be just another one to join the bandwagon.

Nari all the way

So, what changed?

Nari: The lady playing the piano at an after party. I’ve never heard the piano being played with such intensity. Honestly, it was not the sound or the music that moved me but the intensity that stirred something in me to kick off a bridal line. It really got me going. She was playing Rachmaninoff – different, dark music. Rachmaninoff was a romanticist but it was his version of dark romance that lured me to do a bridal collection.

Dark romance for the Indian bride…

Nari: That’s the thing. If you say dark romance, no one will buy the outfits in India. So we looked at the musicians life and the time period that he lived in. We took elements from his era. That’s how we mixed the idea of Swan Lake and Rachmaninoff and came up with outfits for the new age Indian bride.

What do you mean by ‘new age’ Indian bride?

Nari: Yep. The new age Indian bride doesn’t want to stand pretty in a ghaghra that weighs 100 kilos while the guests dance and have the time of their life. She wants to be able to participate in the celebrations. It is that mindset that the collection will appeal to. The new age bride is also a woman who is an avid traveller, been to destination weddings herself and has seen the world, but still wants to connect with her roots on her big day.

Tell us more about your inspirations behind the line. What makes it so special?

Nari: The line blends classic West and modern India. It is for a woman who is strong yet fragile in many ways. I’ve drawn inspiration from ballerinas in Swan Lake who look so fragile but if you notice closely they have to be very strong to portray that very fragility. I’ve been watching a lot of films based on ballerinas in the fast few months and their movements require a great deal of strength, both mental and physical. Yet their actions on stage make us feel like they are more delicate than a butterfly. It is this paradox that is the collection.

The Nari groom

Describe the collection. What has the response been like?

Nari: I’ve used a lot of organza to portray the fragility of the garment and the structure signifies the inherent strength of the ballerinas. Women love it for two reasons. The first is that they can truly look different on their wedding day and second, they can actually reuse some elements of the ensemble. For instance, one lady picked up a sari with a jacket and said that she will definitely team the jacket with plain black pants or denims after her wedding day. She was already deconstructing the ensemble to see how she can make use of it later. I think all this signifies the dawn of the new age bride, just like the tone of new age fashion came into being about five years back, with young designers like Nachiket Barve and Rahul Mishra taking centrestage. These guys clicked because the market was tired of seeing the same 20 designers doing the same thing since decades. It’s the same situation on the bridal front too. People want respite from decade old trends.

What is the biggest compliment the bridal line fetched you?

Nari: When someone came up to me and said that for her, that all the designers’ are on one side and my creations on the other. Don’t ask me which designers she was talking about though 😉

Fair enough.

Narendra Kumar Ahmed aka Nari