Tag Archives: culture

Renee Zellweger? Is it possible?

Last night a star re-emerged. Renee  Zellweger. Looking a tad, alright, to be honest way different. “Is it possible?” a friend asked. Unfortunately, his timing was off.

Let’s recap. A few minutes prior to that a link appeared at the bottom of a news article I was reading online — “21 pictures of celebrities with cellulite that you would wish you hadn’t seen.”

Curious about what this horrid cellulite was I clicked on the link. You know what it is? Maybe not? Well, I have been informed. It is a disease. It is not just ‘A’ disease, it is the worst disease a person woman could ever have.

You see, while we were growing up there were a few make or break beauty factors. Fat or thin? Thin? You got that one right. Good skin, bad skin (with acne, possibly scars and some uneven skin colour). Good skin? Well done. And oh yes, good hair. The rest was moot.

But turns out you can never have enough wrong with the human female body. You can’t  be too short. Tall. That’s what you have to go for. But, hey, not too tall…you won’t find a guy who’d want to date you.

You have to be thin but again not too thin, you need curves see? But hey, hey, hey that thing in the middle? Your belly? That isn’t a curve, God damn it! That is fat. Get that flat. NOW. You hear me? And now you have done it! It is too flat, woman!! Now it looks ripped! Look, some of the muscles show. Make that feminine right this instant! Same goes for your back. we don’t want to see any of those soft layers of adipose tissues! Toned, get them toned! But no knotted muscles! Na ah…that’s not feminine.

And, oh, those bums. Nice melons, girl. Now let’s see if they are firm too! Which melons, you ask? Oh, both the top and bottom. *snigger* Uh huh. We like them perky and firm, not saggy and ummm wobbly(?) Gravity shouldn’t have any meaning for you. Physics? Don’t bother about that. You are God’s best creation. Beat physics already. Good girl.

Let’s move down, now shall we? Ah. Those legs. Now that you’re the right height (not too short not too tall, remember?) let’s get those lovely long (not too long) legs fixed, shall we? Those legs they are supposed to touch and not touch just at the right places. Let’s have a gap at the top of those delicious thighs, where the legs meet. Then let them fill out. Hey! Wait alright? Go easy on the pizza already! It is supposed to thin down again. and leave a gap just above the point where the knees meet and then below them too!

Calves…nice and firm. Not too tight like sportsmen…very good. And…further down…na ah! Those cankles just won’t do. (Cankles being the term where your ankles are simply not adequately and acceptably bony and thin.)

Feet pedicured. Nail paints freshly done today and those hands nicely manicured. Even coloured skin all over the body. Very good.

You think that’s the end? You forgot cellulite, didn’t you? Ah, now cellulite.  That is the mystery I stepped out to solve today. You see cellulite is apparently the little dimples you sometimes see in your skin. Look  at your thighs maybe? Can’t see them? Stand in front of the mirror, turn around, lift that skirt high over the now firm bums and look again at the back of your thighs? Still don’t see it? Adjust the light in your room (this is so exasperating. Sigh.). Ah…see that? Yup. That’s  the latest criminal in your body. Dimples for the cheeks, not your thighs or stomach. Yuck! That’s disgusting, really. Get that sorted, will you?

Now going back north. Clear skin, check. Even colour, check. But what about those cheek bones? Get them higher! Do it! You know you can. Those lips don’t pout enough. How on earth are you going to get your boyfriend to give you that diamond necklace you want? Pout, pout, pout. All  the time. Yes. Pout. That chin is too big, yours eyes too narrow…no no…for you…the other lady…yes, you in the black shirt… Your eyes are just way too droopy. Also, pull those eyebrows up. Make that nose smaller. Get that skin stretched. Lose that flesh. Where you ask? Everywhere! But no, no, no. Not in your lips! Pout, remember? Fill those cheekbones out. No, your cheeks are way too round, girl, lose some of that flesh. Also, look like you are constantly sucking a really really sour lemon. Or that you are so hungry you need to constantly bite the inner flesh of your bottom lip.

And what the hell are you…yes, you in the white top, doing here? You are over 30 and have at least 5 of these points unchecked…just in your face. GET OUT! No. You aren’t  allowed to age. Nope. Nope. You get to age, when I tell you you get to age. Capiche?

Change yourself, look different. Change till I can’t tell the difference between you and the person next to you. That’s when you would have achieved perfect beauty.

And, now I am slightly out of breath. Maybe we’ll continue this lesson another day.

But, for now, what do you think? Is it possible? Renee Zellweger?

PS: I was asked which criteria I have checked. Ummm…well, I kinda lost the battle at tall.

A lip-smacking world tour

(This article was published in the Business Line on June 15, 2012)

May 21, the World Day for Cultural Diversity, came and went almost unnoticed. A few companies did try and do their bit to promote diversity at the workplace. But the Hilton group has gone to town with a special menu — dedicating not one day or one week but an entire month to cultural diversity at one of its newest properties in Delhi. In keeping with the theme, a carefully selected five-course menu gives guests at Infinity restaurant at the new Mayur Vihar Hilton an opportunity to take a culinary trip across three continents.

The Infinity welcomes guests into an airy and light atmosphere. White walls, pale wood and white marble flooring, and mirrored pillars with delicate motifs come together to provide a pleasing ambience. Windows running along the length of two walls of the high-ceilinged restaurant add freshness.


‘Culinary Flights’, as the special menu is called, begins with Italian delights — an Olive and Tomato Crostini topped with Parmesan Foam, which is rightly called a teaser, followed by the appetiser — Stracci al’ Aragosta. Crostini, which translates into ‘little toast’, is said to have been peasant food in medieval times when bread, which was topped with cheese, meat or veggies, served the function of a plate. This crostini was bright, fresh and simply delightful. The fresh basil set off the zing of the tomatoes, while the black olives just gave it a hint of saltiness and flavour. The appetiser consisted of succulent pieces of lobster poached in wine and lobster broth, covered in lasagne sheets, topped with blanched spinach leaves and saffron reduction.

Stracci al’ Aragosta

The two dishes were complemented by an Italian white wine — Carpene Malvolti Prosecco Brut. Setting aside a personal bias towards white wine, this Italian sparkling wine floored me. It naughtily played on the palate, while its freshness and lightness gave the appetisers a gentle kick.

In a not-too-old Hindi film, the protagonist compares food with artistic masterpieces, namely paintings, and deduces that food is the higher form of art because it draws every sense towards itself. The Creamed French Onion Soup with Poached Scallops looked simply elegant. Fresh thyme and a few drops of olive oil added colour to the ever-so-pale pink soup. However, the scallops and the creamy aroma was enough to distract any foodie. The tender, succulent scallops added a beautiful flavour to the rich soup, which, despite its creaminess, was surprisingly light on both the palate and the stomach.

The soup was complemented by a French white wine from the famous Burgundy region, Domaine Laroche Petit Chablis, served at room temperature so as to not shock and confuse the body — more specifically the stomach.

A non-vegetarian’s delight

Fresh and hearty, sweet and salty, the main course — Roasted Australian Lamb Loin with Crash-hot Potatoes, Apple Confit and Fried Goat Cheese — was characteristically Australian. So, how many times have you heard Michelin star chefs rave about that perfectly pink lamb? There really is a reason behind it — it makes the lamb flavourful, juicy and tender. This dish really packed a punch with its variety of flavours and textures! The salt and pepper-coated crust of the lamb complemented the juicy centre; the meaty taste blended with the pungent flavour of the cheese fried in crumbs to give it crunch, which combined with the versatile boiled and roasted baby potatoes.

And all of this was balanced with the sweetness of the apple confit and Australian red wine — D’Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz.

The temptation of the colourful plate of fusion Indian dessert was hard to ignore. The quintessential light Bengali Rasmallai was served with a layer of chocolate mousse, rabri and raspberry coulis. The slight bitterness of the chocolate mousse lifted the Rasmallai, while the tangy raspberry coulis helped break the monotony.

Surprise of all surprises, the dessert, too, was served with white wine — the Indian Sula Late Harvest Chanin Blanc.

Sous Chef Mayur Thapa said their combined global experiences have been pooled to make the dishes innovative. “They aren’t traditional. We have added fusion elements to the dishes. For example the traditional French onion soup is a clear soup,” he said.

However, though the menu can take one on a gastronomically delightful journey, it does not do justice to the huge population of vegetarians in India.

Chef Thapa said this menu gets more attention from international tourists while Indians tend to give it a miss! Do we need to get a little more adventurous?