Saturday, June 27, 2015

More than Just Six Evenings

IT professional Tanmay Dubey who is an author by night, speaks about his debut novel Just Six Evenings which highlights the yuppie India – achievers at the cost of personal chaos.




One can state that it’s raining young writers in India. Most are bringing in their experiences in writing and creating stories, which probably touch you in some ways. Joining this set of young writers is Tanmay Dubey, a first time author and IT professional based out of Gurgaon.

His debut novel, Just Six Evenings, seems to have all the elements of the upbeat storytelling of an upbeat India. It is a tale of high flier Atul Shukla, who wants to go beyond the small town. He dreams big and has the gift of the gab. A train journey introduces him to Priya Arya, an MBA graduate with equally high dreams for her family. Six days brings them together and throws them away just a dramatically. Few years down the line, they meet again under different circumstances. Individually successful but emotionally scarred, it’s again six days which changes things for Atul and Priya. What happens ahead is the crux of the rather interesting & young novel. Atul who is a part of the yuppie generation himself, speaks about the book and his journey through it. 

The premise is quite interesting and entrenched in Indian corporate world & youth. Was it intentional to begin with, something that might be popular or it just came to you?
When I decided to write my book, I had a couple of ideas in my mind. I was unable to decide which subject I should begin my first book. Then I thought, “let me begin with a subject which I would be most true to while writing, since I am working in the corporate world”. Nothing much has been written about the aspirations of young Indians who are willing to join the bandwagon of Indian IT industry, which is instrumental in changing the landscape of Indian middle class, and has become the biggest job provider for youth in our country in last 15 years. I decided to write on this subject and be completely sure about the truthfulness of the soul of the story.
As a writer, not only do you want to write substance but also the aim is to make your story enjoyable and subsequently popular. Since the story was inspired by real events in my life and the corporate world in general, I implanted some fictional twists in the storyline to make it interesting for the readers.

As an IT professional from Gurgaon, has that world influence you in any way? 
Tanmay Dubey

Living in Gurgaon has influenced me as a writer, inspired me as fitness enthusiast and has helped me evolve as a human being; For Gurgaon is a city which is mostly populated by ‘outsiders’ or working class individuals who are not necessarily born and brought up here. There is no legacy culture in this city, it is deeply influenced, and very accepting of new ideas, whether it is Raahgiri, Cycling Groups, Breweries, and international schools. Everything has a forward-looking, fresh, or a western centric inclination to it. Gurgaon, to me, served as a perfect dreamland for an aspiration filled eyes of a young man like Atul Shukla in Just Six Evenings.

The setting is an obvious crowd-puller. However, there is a fear of getting lost, due to other writers coming up with books with slightly same base.
As a first timer in any industry, you often don’t have the courage to do things completely differently. While as a writer no matter how different your story and setup is, you tend to follow a proven path. Having said that, I believe competition is good for any industry and is advantageous for the holistic growth of publishing industry as well. I am not afraid of getting lost. The success of my book has made me more confident and I am now ready to give readers a tangy taste of my writing style.

How has the response been until now for the book?
The response is phenomenal. I have received appreciation from the media, critics and readers. I am very excited, happy and satisfied.

How does the writer and reader in you perceive today’s Indian Literature aimed at the youth?
Indian literature is divided into two parts – Hindi and English. While the market & content for Hindi literature is big & deep, the youth is not reading them. Similarly, for English Language, the market is expanding for Indian English authors alongside western authors but content-wise, there is lack of depth in what they write. I personally like to read western authors. The Indian authors I admire are Amish Tripathi and Chetan Bhagat.

What brings you to writing? Is it easy, tough, bit mind-boggling or something else?
I simply love to tell stories. Had I not been a corporate Person and a part-time writer, I would have been directing films. Who knows I might be some day. For me, writing is fun. It’s like taking the reader to a journey into an imaginary world with the help of my words. For me, it’s magical to be able to tell a story and make someone happy.   

Are you on your next book or are you planning to take things slowly?
I am almost half way through in my next book. It should be out in 8-9 months’ time. As I said earlier, I am prepared to give some tangy taste of my writing to the readers in my next book!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Event Listings

T.G.I.FRIDAY’S PUNE PRESENTS BIG RIB EXTRAVAGANZA THIS MONSOON
 It’s always fun to dine at TGI Friday’s, which comes up with something unique. For the rains, they have a unique menu of ribs for your taste buds. Available for a limited time-period, the menu consists of handcrafted finger-licking' Briskets Of Crusted Ribs, Tangy Mustard & Rosemary Herbed Ribs, Caribbean Ribs with Jerk-Inspired Tropical Spiced Rum Sauce, Hot Fired-Grilled BBQ Ribs with Crispy Seasoned Fries and Coleslaw. Once done with a sumptuous dinner, head for the sweet with T.G.I. Friday’s Cookies N Cream, a dessert made with rich truffles dipped in semi-sweet chocolate. 
 WHERE: 3rd Floor, Seasons Mall, Magarpatta City, Hadapsar
WHEN: Till June 30
HOW: 020 67237985/67237988

‘LINEN LOVE’ COLLECTION @ EITHER OR, PUNE
For something unique in clothes and lifestyle in Pune, Either Or, Pune is the place to be. it has come up with “LINEN LOVE” – Signature styles in the purest of linen fabrics. Designed by Kaveri Lalchand (k clothing), each range is a comfortable experience of the aesthetic with an understanding of natural flow & texture of linen. The Bali Ha’i Collection is all about contemporary styles combining beauty and flow of the fabric in vibrant colours. You will see angular cuts in soft folds, flowy tops with long dresses and wrap pants. The Monsoon Collection contains comforting styles in soft, textured linens in colours of the monsoon.
WHERE: Sohrab Hall, 21 Sassoon Road (Opp. Jehangir Hospital)
WHEN: June 27– 30
TIME: 11 am-8pm

MONSOON WEEKEND GETAWAY @ COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT PUNE CHAKAN
It is the perfect season to get a short weekend getaway. One of the places to go to is Chakan with friends and family. It is but natural you check out Courtyard by Marriott Pune Chakan. They have a special Monsoon Getaway Package. Applicable from Fridays to Sundays, get it at Rs 5299 + taxes, which includes breakfast and dinner buffet for two, a complimentary bottle of wine, and free meals for kids less than 5 years of age.
Adventurous souls can go trekking around the Chakan, while on the hotel premises, one can enjoy varied recreational activities like pool volleyball, table tennis and X-Box. The food includes delicious Indian & global preparations at the all-day restaurant MoMo Café. The pastry shop MoMo 2 Go has salads, pastries, sandwiches, juices, teas and coffees, and provide packed food while exploring Chakan. More amenities include a fitness centre and a lap sized pool.
Where: Plot P-7, MIDC, Chakan Industrial Area Phase-1, Talegaon Chakan road, Khalumbre
Contact (for reservations): 21 35666666 or visit www.courtyardchakan.com


LIVE SATURDAY NIGHT @ THE FLYING SAUCER SKY BAR
Get ready to party this Saturday as Oysterz Entertainment Pvt Ltd Presents India’s best DJ Paroma Live Saturday Night at The Flying Saucer Sky Bar. DJ Paroma is known for her varied music from Club House, Hip Hop, Bollywood Remix, Deep & Tech House, Retro and various genres of Electronica.
WHERE: The Flying Saucer Sky Bar, Lunkad Sky Vista, New Airport Rd, Viman Nagar
WHEN: June 27
PRICE: Rs 1000 (STAG) & 1200 (COUPLE)
TIME: 7pm Onwards
Book Tickets from oysterz.in 


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Kick of Coffee at Le Meridien Pune


Get the taste of different coffees with Le Meridien Pune at their caffeine infused journey called ‘Around the world in 7 Days’ till June 28. They are celebrating International Coffee Week.

A tea-loving country like India still enjoys a good cup of coffee. Just look at the rising number of coffee places. Pune’s very own Le Meridien, a five-star establishment to reckon with, is making sure its patrons gets a taste of coffee magic. They have come up with a caffeine infused journey called ‘Around the world in 7 Days’ and they will be celebrating the International Coffee Week. This special event is being held across all Le Meridien properties the world over till June 28th.

Everyone gets involved in the Destination-Inspired Caffeine Infused Content and Activities. Coffee is the world-renowned chain’s vital aspect which is represented with the 7-year long connect with celebrated brand Illy Coffee. Last year, Inspired Brewed Here began with Global Latte Artist Esther Maasdam. Later, Franz Zauner came in as Global Master Barista and with him, the new Master Barista programme.

In the coming days, you will see the following regions and their coffee specialties being served – Middle East, South-East Asia, Africa and Southern Europe. Notice the region’s information along with other activities. Some of the coffee cocktails prepared by Franz to wow everyone are Mexican Chilli, Spice Trail, Vienna Symphony, Arabian Sunset, Thai Breeze, African Queen and Southern Fusion.


Just on June 22, Le Meridien Pune celebrated the World Éclair Day with some spectacular & diverse éclairs, along with the coffees. On that day, one could also get to view the latte art and an éclair making session.

It is quite interesting to know that the signature éclair programme came from the last year’s programme by pastry chef Johnny Luzzini who took it across the world in his ‘éclair diaries’. When in New Delhi, India, he created a local flavour called Darjeeling Express that was served on World Éclair Day here. What a perfect way to start the caffeine infused week – with sweet éclairs. Be there at Le Meridien Pune to get your coffee kick of a different kind. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Event Listings

DJ ABHISHEK MANTRI @SIN ENVY PRIDE’S EDM SATURDAY NIGHTS
It’s party time, as DJ Abhishek Mantri gets you grooving to funk & Tech house courtesy the happening rooftop party at Sin Envy Pride. Be prepared for a mix of latest & a few original EDM tunes for all party lovers. Add the cool weather and the mood is set. Combine it with unique cocktails & delicious food.   
VENUE: Sin Envy Pride, Kapila Matrix, Koregaon Park
DATE: June 20
TIME: 8pm Onwards
CONTACT: +91 7770010897/8 


FATHER’S WEEKEND AT ATMOSPHERE 6
For the most dazzling rooftop place with a fantastic view, Atmosphere 6 is the place. Fathers, be ready to be treated on your day. Apart from the family having a gala time, the fathers & grandfathers have the mixologists give complimentary mocktails. Have a fun family time with Bollywood & tech house tunes.  
VENUE: Atmosphere 6, Skymax, Viman Nagar 
DATE: June 20-21 
Contact: 9960700734

INDIA TALENT SHOW WITH DJ NASH @ CLUB MIAMI
Let DJ Nash set the dance floor rocking at JW Marriott’s Club MiAMi this weekend on June 19th from 9pm onwards. He will mix interesting music videos with eclectic music beats.  Burn the dance floor
VENUE: Club MiAMi, JW Marriott, Senapati Bapat Road
DATE: June 19
COVER CHARGE: Rs 1000 (Couples)
Free Entry for Ladies & College Students with Valid College IDs (Min. age 21 & above)
CONTACT: 020 6683 2223

MONSOON FOOD FEST @ DECCAN HARVEST
It’s food galore at Deccan Harvest with combo offers. In non-veg, choose dishes like Chicken Misskaki +Tawa Murg Masala; Mutton Kakori Kabab + Mutton Kheema & Pathri Tawa Fish + Prawns Masala. Veg combos include Tawa Veg Sashalik + Kurggi Paneer Masala Combo, Tawa Paneer Capsicum + Veg Kheema Tuk Tuk Combo. Book a table now.
Venue: Deccan Harvest, Magarpatta City
DATE: Till June 30 
CONTACT (For Reservations):  020- 26899696/67225882 or +91-9822000348

CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA FEST @M RESTAURANT COCOON HOTEL
@M Restaurant Cocoon Hotel has the food festival – Chandni Chowk to China. Get unique combos in Paratha apart from main course cuisines like Rasilla Rajma Curry with Paratha /Pickle & Lasssi and Mutton Sali Kheema/Pav. The Chinese inputs include Momos, Spring Rolls, Singaporean Street Fried Rice/Noodles, Garlic & Veggies & Tofu Fried Rice. Finish with desserts.
VENUE: @M Restaurant, Cocoon Hotel, South Gate Magarpatta
DATE: Till June 30
CONTACT: 8412900032

WELCOMES MONSOONS @ APRIL RAIN
Celebrate the rains at April Rain, with its delicacies. Feel happy with delicacies like Raan Buzaki (Whole leg of lamb, on a sizzling platter flambéed with rum), Sizzling Pashto Chicken (Bhuna chicken served flaming on a sizzler) and more.  Check it now at April Rain. 
VENUE: April Rain, Ground Floor, Centriole Mall, ITI Road
DATE: Ongoing
CONTACT: 8805310001 

INTENSELY INDONESIAN @ SEASONAL TASTES, THE WESTIN PUNE
It’s time you discovered the flavours of authentic Indonesian cuisine at Seasonal Tastes, THE WESTIN PUNE Koregaon Park with guest Chef Ridwan Hakim from Jakarta. His exciting culinary style will be seen in the scrumptious selection of signature Indonesian delicacies.
VENUE: Seasonal Tastes, The Westin Pune Koregaon Park
DATE: June 19–28
TIME: Lunch & Dinner
CONTACT (For Reservations): 9158882124 or Email taste.westinpune@westin.com





VENUE: Bottlerock - Restro & Lounge, Sus-Pashan Road 
DATE: June 19
TIME: Gates Open at 7PM 
CONTACT: 7875604064 


FATHER’S DAY @ FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON PUNE
Celebrate Father’s Day at the special celebration at Four Points by Sheraton Pune. Enjoy interactive cocktail making & anti-hangover drinks session with Master Bartender Abhishek Shevade – finalist in Diageo World Class 2015. Session includes two complimentary classic cocktails & delectable appetizers.
VENUE: The Eatery, Four Points by Sheraton Pune
DATE: June 21
TIME: 12.30-3.30PM (30 Minute Session) 
ENTRY: Rs. 500 per Participant 
CONTACT: 7709006688



STAND UP MONDAYS - AMIT TANDON BY THE AWKWARD FRUIT &INDEPENDENCE BREWING COMPANY
Be prepared to laugh courtesy “Family Tandoncies” – a hilarious stand-up comedy show by Amit Tandon where you go through his journey of growing up in an Indian middle-class household. From why Indian men are brought up like dogs to how does our education system teach us to lie, he has answers for all in his story telling.
VENUE: Independence Brewing Co.. 
DATE: 22nd June, 2015
TIME:  9:30PM 
ENTRY CHARGES: Rs 250; Book tickets on Book My Show
CONTACT: 8888168886



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Feel it personally!!!

Author, attorney & human rights activist Rafia Zakaria speaks about her book The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan, about Pakistan in the 80s affected by Islamization and its effect on her family, especially her aunt.



Indian Subcontinent is filled with stories old & new, considering its history. The partition between India & Pakistan was such event, which changed lives forever individually and together. Many books around it have been written about how each country developed & changed along with its citizens. Author, attorney and human rights activist working for domestic violence victims Rafia Zakaria has come out with The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan – a look at Pakistan via her family’s eyes.
Based on Zakaria’s family, which shifted to Pakistan from Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1962, they came against odds when the military powers brought in Islamization in the 80s to retain power. Sohail, her aunt’s husband takes another wife (allowed by new laws). Rafia sees the internal & external turmoil & anger. The book speaks about how personal life & political changes mingle to change things forever.

At what point did you realise that this personal tale must be told? How did the title come about?
The past few years have been incredibly difficult ones for Pakistan and as a columnist, documenting the vast catalogue of tragedy has been a daunting one. Like all Pakistanis, I feel a sense of terrible loss. It is not that things were beautiful before but there it is hard not to be baffled by the darkness of now. I wanted to trace the beginnings of that as best that I could. I believe that the most excluded characters; the most marginalized are the ones that have the most poignant stories to tell. For me, this was my aunt and her story. I wanted the title to tell the story of the division of affections, emotions and land that is the center of the book and so I chose this title. 

It’s not easy to share something personal, though connected to a larger picture of Pakistan’s struggles.
I think Pakistan in the global imagination and even the Indian imagination as a very monolithic place; synonymous with danger, terror, and violence. My basic goal was to humanize Pakistan, to show how ordinary people’s lives are within this landscape. I think it is difficult to get the world to empathize with any Pakistani character, and to try to accomplish that I had to lay bare the story of my family. It was also important because I feel that the narrative of Pakistan in literature has been largely been dominated by elites. The lives of ordinary people are hence unrepresented and I wanted to represent them.

How do you look at Pakistan’s journey & things that happened, during the time you have mentioned?
Well, the hardest portions to write were the ones that take place in India before my grandparents came to Pakistan. I have never been to India or Mumbai (then Bombay) and so I had to combine their recollections with as much historical research as I could manage. Another challenge was writing about the portions that relate to the ethnic conflicts that took place in Karachi, or episodes under martial law. All of these are politically contested in Pakistan and it is difficult sometimes find accurate death counts.

How has your family taken to the book?
I think it’s been a gradual process for them. I think they knew the sincerity of my intent and larger than that the importance of the idea that if we are to have a description of what life is like for ordinary Pakistanis, someone has to begin that task. I think our story is representative of many families; the unanswered questions in the book are the ones confronted by generation of Pakistanis today. What can be done, how does our past determine our future and more than that, how does the violence in the public sphere infect the private? You cannot pose those questions without making the private public. 

When it comes to women & their issues, they have to really struggle anywhere. Writing a book
Rafia Zakaria
on them and intertwining it with politics is double whammy. What was the reaction in Pakistan about it?
It is certainly true that we live in a patriarchal world. My desire through this book, however, was to reclaim Pakistani history for Pakistani women. I think the lens of Western feminism limits itself to only those stories that feature an individual disavowal of tradition and culture; I wanted to underscore the value of resilience and endurance. I think the women of the subcontinent have borne more than perhaps women anywhere else in the world. In both India and Pakistan, nationalism and patriotism has often been interpreted as the ability to control women and this is reflected in our history. 
They say of course that history is written by the victors... I want women to be the victors but they aren’t as yet. And my hope is that the reverse; that those who write history become victors, is also true.

As an attorney and human rights activist, is it a struggle to fight for what one sees as basic rights? What makes you cringe and want to shout aloud to be heard?
Of course, I think one of the most cringe inducing realizations is how much women growing up in male dominated cultures learn to sabotage and hurt each other. One of the biggest curses of this is that they spend all their time manipulating and hurting one and another rather than challenge the men that make the system and insure that women are refused the power to make their own decisions. So if I could shout out one thing to all the women of the world, it is to stop hating each other, to stop subjugating and sabotaging each other’s success and believing each other to be the enemy. 

Did the situations around you while growing up reflect in the choice of your career?
Definitely, I think what I saw in my aunt’s marriage. What impressed on me as a young girl was its inherent injustice; and that no one had the power to undo it. That was the beginning of a realization that unless I speak out & devote my life to this, there would be no change, just new tragedies.

Are you working on any new book?
I am working on several projects; one is focused on my own life and the choices I had to make as a woman. I felt it was necessary to write this book first because you cannot really understand the path you take unless you engage with the paths of those that came before. I am also working on a project that deals with women and terrorism and particularly the tactics used by extremists to recruit women.


The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan is available at Rs 599 trade paperback. 

Photo Credit: www.salon.com & www.dawn.com