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Mint Indulge | Editor’s Note

Mint Indulge | Editor’s Note
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First Published: Fri, Sep 09 2011. 10 51 AM IST

Updated: Fri, Sep 09 2011. 10 14 PM IST
Welcome to indulgence
Sidin Vadukut, Issue Editor
Is there any topic that the storied The New Yorker magazine hasn’t published about that makes you feel embarrassingly under-informed? If memory serves right, the magazine has made me feel utterly uneducated about ketchup, Osama Bin Laden, the acai berry, and even Gandhi.
But one recent, and brief, article in that magazine is of particular import in this edit note. In May, James Surowiecki wrote a piece about the role “venturesome consumers” play in the US economy. He talked about how important it was that the US had customers who were willing to experiment with young start-ups and risky products. (Click here to read full note)
• • •
The Callaway Razr Hawk Driver
By Sidin Vadukut
Callaway won a gold medal on the 2011 Gold Digest Hot List with this high-tech lightweight beast of a driver. If there is a material that can possibly go into a state-of-the-art golf club, the Razr Hawk has it somewhere. With a street price of around $400, this is a pricey, but essential, addition to any respectable bag of clubs. Also, there is no way anything can be this sexy and legal at the same time. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
The toughest cricket match of my life
By Aakash Chopra, Cricketer
In India, it seems, there are two classes of travel—“First Class”, and “For Cricketers”. And here, I talk strictly of the domestic cricketers—the poor pedigree, who scuttles from one end of the country to the other, sometimes packed in dilapidated roadways busses, or crammed between berths on good old hold-all bags on a train without a booking. Of course, it could get worse if your team happens to lose a crucial game. Well, none of us, the players from Delhi, had any such apprehensions, yet, since the season had just started in the November of 2007. We had assembled at the domestic airport at the outskirts of the city to board a flight to Dharamshala for our upcoming Ranji game against Himachal Pradesh. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
Indulge Review | Dom Perignon lounge, F Bar | Oye Bubbly
By Pradip Kumar Saha
Why, as I walked into the F Bar, I wondered, was Dom Perignon opening their first lounge in India in New Delhi and not Mumbai or Bangalore? Other cities to boast the format are Paris, Cannes, Sydney and Tokyo. Surely the cities of maximums or boiled beans were more worthy?
“Dom Perignon is one of the most desirable brands in the country,” said Gaurav Bhatia, marketing director of Moet Hennessy India. “Delhi has played a big role in making this happen. So it is natural for Dom Perignon to unveil its first lounge in New Delhi.” (Click here to read full story)
• • •
The making of Vertu
By Sidin Vadukut
The exact details are, of course, confidential. But several months ago, the teenage daughter of a prosperous Russian decided that she wanted to do something outlandish with her talent for playing the organ. She asked her father to somehow arrange for her to perform at a peculiar venue: the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
The 7,800-pipe Grand Orgues at the cathedral is a historical masterpiece with many of the pipes dating back to the medieval times. The cathedral employs three full-time organists. They are the latest in an unbroken line of musicians that dates back to 1392.
While guest organists are invited to play all year-round, the invitation is an honour and not easy to come by. Least of all, to a young Russian teenager.
Her father reached for his mobile phone, but not in the way most people do. With a press of a button purposebuilt into his Vertu phone he summoned up an exclusive Vertu concierge service.
Immediately, an international network of experts got to work.
“These are the kind of requests that are really interesting,” Mark Izatt told me over lunch at The Foresters country pub in Church Crookham, around 40 miles outside central London. Izzat is head of enrichment and engagement. It is his responsibility to build, nurture and diversify the push-button concierge and content service that the luxury mobile phone brand is perhaps best known for. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
• I like bags. Period.
By R Sukumar | Editor, Mint
There, I’ve said it and laid myself open to ridicule.
It isn’t easy to find bags, though.
I spent several years looking for the perfect work bag before giving up. I have a Mandarina Duck backpack and a Hidesign messenger bag and a Samsonite trolley backpack, but none of the three satisfies all criteria I look for in a work bag.
One: It should look elegant without making me look like a square.
Two: It should be large enough to accommodate things I usually carry with me—an iPad (it has replaced the netbook, which replaced the laptop I used to tote around); a pouch carrying chargers, cables, earphones and my iPod; another pouch carrying some personal care stuff and a few basic medicines; a couple of graphic novels that are usually hardcover ones; two pocket-size Moleskine notebooks; a chequebook and assorted papers. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
Case studies
By Pradip Kumar Saha & Sidin Vadukut
The frequent flyer must pack and unpack with consummate, almost instinctive, ease. Airports, checkpoints, and railway stations come in all shapes and sizes. But the platinumcard holder must navigate anything that is thrown at him with the aplomb of a Formula One driver.
And what truly elevates international business travel to the sublime is the perfect trolley bag. It is more than just a suitcase with wheels. Clothes stay perfectly wrinkle free.
Computers, ensconced sometimes in high-tech memory-foam chambers, last through the most seething turbulence without skipping a kilobyte.
There is a reason why some frequent fliers obsess about their luggage. What their bags contain is much more than just clothes, books and gadgets. Often it contains the distilled essence of their entire lives. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
The TripIt iPhone app
By Pradip Kumar Saha
Triplt featured in the 2011 ”Best Travel Websites & Apps” list by Travel + Leisure and ”Best 5 Apps for Business” by Fortune. The app keeps the travel schedule organized by email confirmations. When you receive a confirmation email from anywhere you book, simply forward it to plans@tripit.com. TripIt recognizes reservations from more than 3,000 booking sites including cruises, restaurants, concerts and more. They show flight and hotel information, which TripIt extracts. It then creates an itinerary, which you can access even when you can’t connect to the Internet. (Click here to read full stroy)
• • •
Life on the road as a cricket journalist
By Dileep Premachandran, Journalist
When you’re 27, life on the road is as good as it gets.
As soon as you check into your hotel, you dump your bags and head for the nearest pub to find out where all the action is. When you’re 37, you get in and check if they have all the sports channels you need, and if the room-service menu is adequate. When you’re 27, you stumble back to the room at dawn with wistful thoughts of the leggy Brazilian you were too shy to approach. At 37, you are back in your room before midnight so that you can be on FaceTime to see your little baby’s spit bubbles.
It’s a great life, and also an incredibly lonely one. For every amazing night spent on Darling Harbour in Sydney or the Waterfront in Cape Town, you have five others spent staring at the walls. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
The best test drive of my life
By Siddharth Vinayak Patankar, Auto Expert
Every child has dreams.
Fantasies even. As he grows up, those dreams start to get left behind and somewhat forgotten in the mad rush for good grades, jobs and what you have. But every once in a while, that child is reminded of his dreams, and, miraculously enough, some of them even come true! I was one such child once, and, I had to pinch myself to ensure I wasn’t still dreaming, as I stood at the portals of the Ferrari headquarters in Maranello, near Modena in Italy. A small, sleepy town, Maranello is world famous because of its prominent resident. A large part of the community is very much connected to the Ferrari car business in a direct or indirect way.
And the locals take pride in their beloved Prancing Horse—smiling and nodding in approval as one of the handcrafted beauties roars by. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
The microwaving man
By Sidin Vadukut
Most gourmets and foodies treat their microwave ovens like that harmless, semi-hippy uncle who lives in Goa that nobody in the family wants to acknowledge. The uncle has that wonderful cottage off Morjim, and is handy with electrical devices when executing the occasional family function, but, otherwise, everyone likes to think that he doesn’t exist.
And so it is with the microwave oven. One of the great inventions of the modern age is often reduced to doing nothing much more sophisticated than defrosting a hunk of meat, reheating leftovers, blitzing awful pre-cooked meals and—imagine the ignominy—heating cups of coffee. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
The basics of whisky
By Joel Harrison, Drink Consultant
Greetings!
Welcome to my column, an area of the magazine where I hope I can act as your sherpa up the mountain of drinks, your guide on the cocktail trail, your supplier of wisdom on whisky. Over the coming months, I shall be writing a regular piece covering various spirits from across the globe.
In my first piece, I shall start with some basics about whisky. Why? Because India seems to have a voracious appetite for the distilled spirit.
The country currently stands as the world’s largest consumer of whisky.
Congratulations, a gold medal in the Booze Olympics for India! Climb atop the podium and await your National Anthem. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
Game. Set. Watch
By Sidin Vadukut
Combine your passion for sports and your penchant for timepieces. Portfolios of several high-end brands contain pieces that are developed in association with some of the world’s top sportspeople and teams. These timepieces not only make good watchmaking sense, they also add a subtle personal dimension to your wrist. Mint Indulge picks a selection of the most worthwhile. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
Thierry Lamouroux | Selling luxury during uncertain times
By Sidin Vadukut
What is Cartier doing to manage economic crisis?
We have the world’s strongest network of boutiques in the jewellery watch business—around 300. Every month, we get figures coming from these boutiques. Therefore, we know, better than anybody else in this business, what is selling where and in what quantities.
Also, we are a large Maison. We have intelligent people working in our supply chain, marketing and sales. We know, to a large extent, what Japan wants, what China wants and what the United States wants.
We manage with all this information. We know exactly what to make for whom. (Click here to read full interview)
• • •
How to buy a serious watch
By Sidin Vadukut
Ever since taking over as the new worldwide head of watches for auction house Sotheby’s in August, Tim Bourne has been busy drawing up a new catalogue of watches, and organizing an exhibition in Singapore in advance of a major auction on 6th October.
The auction is expected to feature around 470 lots dating from the 1800s. And Sotheby’s estimates to net between $9 million and $10 million during the event.
Shortly before Mint Indulge went to press, we spoke to Bourne and asked him how budding collectors and watch aficionados should begin on their hobby: how do you buy a serious watch? (Click here to read full story)
• • •
Beg, Borrow Or Steal This | The Fitbit wireless activity tracker
By Pradip Kumar Saha
The Fitbit Tracker’s super-sensitive 3D motion sensor tracks how active you are, on average, on any given day. It uploads the data through a wireless base to the website, and organizes the information into pie charts and bar graphs tracked over time to give you an idea of your fitness level—steps you take, calories you burn, even showing you how active you are throughout a day. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
What is a luxury gadget?
By Sidin Vadukut, Issue Editor
In this inaugural issue of Mint Indulge, we’ve devoted considerable space to getting under the skin of an unarguably luxurious, indulgent brand such as Vertu.
But Vertu is, when you sit and think about it, something of an aberration in the world of gadgets and gizmos. An aberration in the sense that it is a rare “luxury” gadget brand that is actually taken seriously. Think, for a moment, about what it means for a device to be a “luxury” device.
What makes it luxurious?
For the purpose of answering that question, first let us consider what metrics we would use when evaluating, choosing and buying a watch by Vacheron Constantin, a suit by Brioni, a car by Porsche, or a piece of jewellery by Cartier or Harry Winston.
Your first metric could be the actual performance of the product: how well does it achieve its purpose in comparison with other similar, less-luxurious products? (Click here to read full story)
• • •
The bare essentials for a cutting edge
By Madhu Menon
I was 14 when I first saw famous chef Martin Yan pulverize garlic and ginger with his big Chinese cleaver on Yan Can Cook, his television show from the 1990s. My eyes grew wider as he then moved on to effortlessly slice his way through vegetables and meat, with the food seemingly offering no resistance to his cleaver. I, a kid who had just started cooking a year earlier, yelled at the screen, “I want one of those!”
That was two decades ago, but it started my obsession with sharp knives that carried on as I turned into a chef, and is in no danger of ever disappearing. To mangle a cliché, behind every successful chef, there is a sharp knife, though most of us prefer to have it in front of us. You know a man loves his knives when he is known for asking guests, “Hey, have you seen my knife set?” and show off his Japanese knives like some parents show off their newborns. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
The 10 commandments of a gentleman’s almirah
By Varrun Motihar
•Cut out all frills, thrills and decorative elements. The masculine almirah is crafted from straight lines.
• Use thick sections and structures. This will increase cost but exude a sense of proportion and strength. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
Shelf life
Love your whisky? Mint Indulge brings to you a range of best-selling books that will tell you all you want to know about your favourite tipple—right from storing to serving to tasting whisky, cocktails and pairing with food. (Click here to read full story)
• • •
Omar Abdullah | The greatest speech of my political career
I had absolutely no idea at the time that I would say something in that fashion, or that it would turn out to be something people will remember so much. Of course, it was an important debate and I was quite keen to put across my party’s point of view forward. But the way the day developed, one started to get the impression that I wouldn’t get a chance to speak.
I was really keen that I do. This whole perception had been created that the nuclear deal was anti-Muslim. And being a Muslim myself, being an MP (member of Parliament) from a Muslim-majority state, I thought it was important that I correct this perception. But I honestly hadn’t planned to speak the way I did or, say, what I did. (Click here to read full story)
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First Published: Fri, Sep 09 2011. 10 51 AM IST
More Topics: Mint Indulge 2011 | Mobile | Watch | Suitcase | Food |