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Saturday, 18 Sep 2021
Your weekly guide to an intelligent lifestyle
By Shalini Umachandran

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Good Morning

Few things snap us out of routines, cheer us up and prove as transformative as travel. Or as Albert Camus wrote in his essay ‘Love of Life’, “…what gives value to travel is fear. It breaks down a kind of inner structure we have.” Though most of us put a stop to travel during the pandemic months, not everyone has been staying home. Some have chosen to travel, planning long road trips to smaller, less crowded destinations and taking care to follow precautions to prevent contracting or transmitting the virus. Those are the journeys we are following this week—and maybe you’ll be inspired to hit the road too, fully vaccinated and wearing a mask of course.

A year of (not) travelling

Lounge writers spent this past week meeting those who have travelled throughout the months of the pandemic, and have created new routines, and in some cases, even lives and families, for themselves on the road. These travellers planned more experiential, immersive journeys that allowed them to take it slow, connect more deeply with people and cultures, and truly relax. Some set themselves goals and challenges, others simply travelled for the sheer joy of discovery. These trips have been as much about satisfying the itch to travel as they have been about healing, or to borrow from Camus again, about “restor[ing] to every being and every object its miraculous value.” Read more.

Why sommelier Rajat Parr turned farmer

Once you figure out how to make wine, it is not rocket science,” master sommelier Rajat Parr tells Shoba Narayan “I want to go deeper now, be a farmer.” It seems like the logical next step for a man who has experienced a meteoric rise in the rarefied echelons of the US wine world. A self-taught sommelier-turned-winemaker and now a farmer-producer, Parr is known for having one of the finest palates in the world. The Kolkata boy who moved to the US in 1994 is now creating his own wines with minimal intervention at his 12-acre farm in Cambria, California. Read more.

Nikkhil Advani on the making of Mumbai Diaries

Set against the backdrop of the attacks on Mumbai in November 2008, Mumbai Diaries 26/11 (Amazon Prime Video) follows doctors, interns, nurses, ward boys and administrators as they face one of the greatest challenges and the most harrowing days. Director Nikhil Advani tells Udita Jhunjhunwala about the research he did to get the details right for the gritty medical drama, understanding the lives of first responders, creating a realistic set that stretched across 2.5 acres, and working with a stellar cast that includes Mohit Raina, Konkona Sen Sharma and Prakash Belawadi. Read the interview.

What designers wear

They dress celebrities and world leaders, industry heads and brides, but what are the clothes that India’s top designers love to wear? Pooja Singh asked some of the country’s leading couturiers—from Manish Malhotra known for his Bollywood flash to the elegant Neeta Lulla to menswear specialist Kunal Rawal—and found that their go-to clothing ranges can be as simple as a black tee and fitted pants to stylish yet simple clothing that fits with equal ease into a karigar’s home or a cocktail party. Read more.

The joys of chasing BTS and clouds

Whether you’re part of the BTS Army or just a member of the cloud appreciation society, meeting a fellow fan is to double your enthusiasm. What does it mean to be a fan—whether of a celebrity, a football club or a brand of stationery—and to meet a fellow traveller even in passing? It can be such perfectly calibrated happiness—the pain, the pleasure, the briefness, the unlikeliness, the head-rattling beauty. It can make you cut off the strings attaching you to this boring earth and float off in search of fellow cloud-watchers, the inimitable Nisha Susan writes. Read more.

Are you ready to date offline again?

As cafes and bars open and the world limps back to normal, it’s not unreasonable to expect in-person dating to resume full swing after months of online chatting, flirting and sexting—but it might not be quite the way it was in 2019, writes Preeti Zachariah. The last two years have changed the way we meet people, fall in love or make friends—texting and video calls replaced real-world meetings, and now, many young people looking to get out again are finding that they have to relearn the rules of dating and physical intimacy. Read more.

Nalli’s 90-year sari business goes digital

Thirty-seven-year-old Lavanya Nalli misses her office. The vice-chair of the 90-year-old apparel business has been taking her family business digital, focusing on merchandising, ecommerce and digital retail without losing sight of the heritage brand’s values. She takes Aparna Piramal Raje on a tour of her offices —both at home and in the workplace—and talks about competitiveness, retaining customers and missing the camaraderie of the office. Watch a video.

Shalini Umachandran is the Editor, Mint Lounge.

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