May 20, 2015

My White Wrists

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My White Wrists (Chitiyan Kalayan) is  the translation of a chorus of a Bollywood song that has been in the top ten in the BBC Asian Radio Charts and on radio loops in India non-stop.

Songs like this make me want to scream: is there no hope of evolution in the South Asian community’s mentality about skin Continue reading

May 18, 2015

Dispatches from the Kabul Cafe with Heidi Kingstone

Dispatches-Kabul

As the Asia House Lit Festival draws to an end, A personal highlight for me was to hear Heidi Kingstone in conversation with Jemima Steinfeld. Both women have written accounts of working abroad and in this conversation we were treated to Heidi’s memories of being a war correspondent in Afghanistan and a reading from her new book, Dispatches from the Kabul Cafe.

Heidi began by explaining the phenomenon, Kabubble, which arose Continue reading

May 9, 2015

An Evening With Xue Xinran

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The opening night of the Asia House Literature Festival started off tonight with a wonderful conversation with the acclaimed author and journalist, Xue Xinran, who has a new book, Buy Me the Sky, out now.

Xinran has an incredible talent of explaining Chinese culture through her many books and she spoke very frankly in conversation with Continue reading

May 5, 2015

The Ninth Asia House Lit Festival

UK writer Hanif Kureishi in conversation with Razia Iqbal about new book 'The Last Word'Razia Iqbal is BBC Special Correspondent and presenter of Talking Books. Headline event for opening night of Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival @ Asia Ho

Hanif Kureishi in conversation with Razia Iqbal from last year’s festival.

London’s incredible Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival begins this week – don’t worry, you still have time to get a ticket as it runs from 7 – 18 May.

The line up is as impressive and diverse as ever and launches on 7 May with the acclaimed author Xue Xinran who will be celebrating the release of her new book, Buy Me the Sky. Xinran will be discussing the new generation of China which is such a fascinating topic, we can’t wait to attend. Continue reading

April 12, 2015

Hey Pretty Eyes!

thandie-in-violet make up

We all have a tried and tested ‘face’ that we can slap on to trundle through a regular day. Of course ‘regular day’ is an elastic phrase if, like me, you’re of South Asian origin.  Once upon a time my regular day face consisted of what most women would consider full bridal makeup. As I’ve gotten older my makeup has become significantly lighter and more sparing yet I still haven’t often been quite daring.

nars guy bourdin

About a month went to the amaaaazing Guy Bourdin exhibition at Somerset House just before its final curtain call. The gift shop had an amazing Nars makeup range commissioned especially Continue reading

April 12, 2015

Indian Summers Addiction

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There a few ingredients on TV that rock my boat: period drama, excellent fashion and style, architecture and politics. Mix all of these ingredients together and the outcome is INDIAN SUMMERS on Channel 4.

From the opening scenes of a sprawling villa in the Indian hills with indulgent hanging flowers and vines, you could almost inhale the heat and fragrance from the screen. After making me sickeningly envious of this property, we are slowing introduced to the characters who will keep us company at 9pm on Sunday evenings.  Continue reading

April 11, 2015

Jihadi Brides

jihadi brides

BBC2 ran a programme rather late on Thursday night called Jihadi Brides. I happened to see it after reaching saturation point with Question Time on BBC1 so it was an accidental yet intriguing insight into these young girls and women as well as their ideology. I’m a Muslim woman (selectively practicing), too old/wild to be groomed but quite bemused by these holier than thou Muslims. These are some of the opinions raised from the programme:

1. Professional: These young women are not stupid, they are intelligent and educated.

2. Professional: The young women may lack an ability for critical thinking. Continue reading

March 29, 2015

A Military March and A Risky Affair

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Pero by Aneeth Arora, AIFW AW 2015

This season péro by Aneeth Arora lent her attention to military uniforms and the clothing and accessory items that have become staples over the decades, such as aviator sunglasses and khakis. She continued her exploration of Scottish checks (hand woven in the Himalaya region) and block printed textiles from Gujurat. Continue reading

March 29, 2015

A Voyage of Discovery and The Goddess of The Night

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Sanchita, AIFW AW 2015

This season Sanchita showcased a collection inspired by ‘A Voyage of Discovery’ influenced by multiple stimuli, from gentle contemplation to upbeat, vivid experience. It wasn’t in the show notes but clearly there was a hint of Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty in the moulded feather headwear. Continue reading

March 29, 2015

Photo Diary from Amazon India Fashion Week

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Bodice, Vogue India Fashion Fund Winner AIFW AW2015

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Bodice, Vogue India Fashion Fund Winner AIFW AW2015

Continue reading

March 27, 2015

Divine Diversity at Amazon India Fashion Week

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Samant Chauhan, AIFW AW2015

With a female population greater than the whole of Europe, the Indian customer is as diverse as her social calender. This means that Indian designers can indulge in tried and tested traditional silhouettes and Western twists simultaneously. Continue reading

March 26, 2015

An Early Frost

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Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna, AIFW AW2015

Melancholy show notes accompanied the press and buyers only presentation by Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna titled An Early Frost: ‘And some times the frost visits early. Not just in the temperature but in life and existence seem fragile and cruel…This special collection is together  a lament and a celebration of a life.’ Continue reading

March 26, 2015

JJ Valaya and his Bolshoi Bazaar

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JJ Valaya, AIFW AW 2015

With a toe, or sewing needle, dipped in India and the other in Russia, JJ Valaya’s Bolshoi Bazaar collection was an ode to regal indulgence.

India is of course JJ’s True Love and each season the designer merges Indian cultural inspiration with a foreign heritage as long as Continue reading

March 26, 2015

Kavita Bhartia’s Magical Milestone

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Kavita Bhartia, AIFW AW 2015

Celebrating 25 years as a designer, Kavita Bhartia showed a retrospective of her designs with a collection that cemented her place as a veteran designer. The collection wasn’t so much a celebration of her greatest hit as it was a big cheers to the future. Beautifully crafted in flattering silhouettes and tones, her Ogaan Continue reading

March 25, 2015

Catching the Winter Sun

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Nikasha, AIFW AW2015

No drib, drab colours usually associated with Winter on offer by Nikasha, Payal Singhal or Anju Modi!

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Nikasha, AIFW AW2015

Nikasha referenced the much loved muse of Yves Saint Laurent, Continue reading

March 25, 2015

Doctor’s Orders at Rajesh Pratap Singh

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Rajesh Pratap Singh, AIFW AW2015

There wasn’t an ode to the NHS and the London Olympics opening ceremony in Rajesh Prarap Singh’s accompanying show notes. This is surely the most eccentric grand opening of Indian Fashion Week that I have seen: a catwalk filled with hospital beds and drips together with a live band.

Rajesh Pratap Singh is known for his innovative outlook in fashion Continue reading

February 24, 2015

Oscars 2015: Beauties and The Grease

The gowns were all pretty meh this year so I thought it might be more interesting to concentrate on the hair and make up. After all, how many of us will ever wear a couture gown but we can all afford even the most expensive lipsticks and contouring powders!

Jennifer Lopez

The cold undertones of the bubblegum pink lippie is such a beautiful contrast to the nude dress and really flatters JLo’s skin tone.

2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter - Arrivals

Thandie Newton and Kerry Washington both demonstrate a perfect classic smoky eyes and rose lips look. Continue reading

January 14, 2015

Charlie, Muslims & Me

paris protests

Well, I hardly need to explain the title and the background news story. Shocking on so many levels for so many people.  24 hour rolling news, debates across current affairs programmes had almost every angle covered.

In homes and offices over the world the general public debated the meaning of freedom of speech. What does freedom of speech mean to you? The freedom to offend? Standing up for the rights of other people you disagree with to offend? Why should all Muslims apologise for the crimes of crazy people or reassure others that we are not terrorists?

I’m part of a Muslim family in Britain so what was our reaction? Continue reading

January 3, 2015

New Year, New You…Whatever!!

meditating pose

Happy New Year from The Chatterjis!! Wow, I can’t believe it’s 2015 already, blink and it will be gone.  Have you stopped over eating yet or are there still boxes of bread sticks and unopened chocolate boxes that need munched?

Undoubtedly many of us would have spent at least 60 seconds Continue reading

December 1, 2014

Baby Name Trends, What to Avoid

muppetbabies

Besides Christmas, December means endless lists summarising the year that was and we begin the reflection with a look at popular baby names.  Personally I’d want to know in order to avoid them, just like fashion trends sometimes it’s best to go off piste although perhaps not as much as Gwyneth Paltrow!

Reflecting the diversity of Britain, Muhammad shot to the number one spot as the most popular baby name, perhaps Wills and Kate can consider it for little No.2 next year? I’m a Muslim and this is the Continue reading

November 14, 2014

More or Less Asian?

more or less asian event

Earlier this week, Bunty and I had the pleasure of going along to a wonderful and lively discussion at Asia House about stereotypes in Asian literature.

The panel was formed of leading figures in the creative arts: Yasmeen Khan (writer and broadcaster and shoe-horned to unofficial BBC Representative for the evening!), Daniel York (actor, director and writer),  Anna Chen (first British Chinese comic to take a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Niven Govinden (author) and Bidisha (author, journalist, broadcaster and Booker Prize Foundation trustee) who was the delightful chair for the evening’s enthralling discussion.

A capacity audience listened intently to the questions, answers and anecdotal experiences giving an insight into a world that many of us Continue reading

October 21, 2014

Rohit Bal’s Spectacular Grand Finale at WI Fashion Week

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Rohit Bal @ WIFW SS15

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Rohit Bal @ WIFW SS15

Wow!

So much beauty, luxury, indulgence, fashion and history all in the most stunning historic Mughal ruins in one of Delhi’s top tourist sites, Rohit Bal raised the bar to tremendous heights for Indian fashion. Even the moon and the weather obeyed the designer’s ode to beauty. The moon shone brightly to the right of one of the tombs at Qutab Minar and the outdoor temperature dropped from Sweaty to Serene. Continue reading

October 21, 2014

Day 3: Blue Blood, Plumage & Fancy Shower Gels

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Rajesh Pratap Singh @ WIFWSS15

Day 3 at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week featured a couple of unmissable designers, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Ashish N Soni. These brands consistently produce collections that would seamlessly fit in to a woman’s wardrobe anywhere in the world being both sophisticated, exceedingly wearable whilst maintaining traces of their Indian DNA.

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Rajesh Pratap Singh @ WIFWSS15  Continue reading

October 9, 2014

A Dream and an Ode to Master Artisans: Day 2 at WIFW

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Samant Chauhan @ WIFW SS15

Continuing his Rajputana theme this season designer, Samant Chauhan was inspired by romance and illusion and thus ‘dream’.  Samant has a loyal band of followers and stockists sprawled across India and the Middle East and I’m sure they loved the intricate antique-look thread embroidery which is turning into a bit of a trend for next season.

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Samant Chauhan @ WIFW SS15 Continue reading

October 9, 2014

Day 1 WIFW SS15: Tarun Tahiliani & The Singh Twins

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Tarun Tahiliani @ WIFW SS15

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Tarun Tahiliani @ WIFW SS15

One of India’s most coveted coutouriers, Tarun Tahiliani, collaborated with the Singh Twins for his ready to wear collection.  Tarun is known for his grand Continue reading

October 9, 2014

Countryside Chic: Day 1 Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week SS15

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Pero @ WIFW SS15

Aneeth Arora had the honour of the opening show for her still young fashion brand, pero, at WIFW SS15 igniting the buzz for the week ahead.

The catwalk was covered in faux grass and planted with real flowers that looked adorable. The gift for us in the media side included cute little herbs planted in teeny pots, I pinched a tulsi – thanks, Aneeth I’d been meaning to get one for ages!

Pero is a brand quite known for its cottons Continue reading

October 7, 2014

Film Review: Pride

pride

You have to watch this film while it’s currently on general release.

It has been several years since I came out of the cinema and felt this good about a film and it is even better that the story is true. Continue reading

September 15, 2014

Million Dollar Arm

Million Dollar Arm

A few weeks ago I had realised that there were no Hollywood in Bollywood films on the horizon. Could it be? Could the Slumdog Millionaire franchise actually fail to produce another saccharine feel-good Hollywood blockbuster? Are there no more Americans that need to travel to India and “find him/herself” and return a changed human being for the greater good?

And then just like buses, three films come at once. One I’ve forgotten about already. I couldn’t face the Helen Mirren cooking one. But the baseball one seemed palatable, not least because the hunk (haven’t said that for a while) from Mad Men was in it. Enter… Million Dollar Arm. Continue reading

September 15, 2014

Brown Girl

Dear Chatterattis, it is time to embrace bronzer.

A lot of you will instantly say OompaLoompa and a lot of you (tut tut) will say why would I want to look darker??

Bronzer will not make you darker. If applied correctly it will not make you look like you’re wearing war paint either. Apply in a Number Three over your face, i.e. across your forehead, under your cheeks and finish across your jawline. Use the biggest brush you can get to avoid stripes and never ever use the wee brush that may come with the powder. You will still need your usual blusher on the apples of cheeks.

My skin colour is described fair for an Asian (not so fair that I look Italian, I am definitely brown) but my undertones are yellow and that is not a good look.

I have started to experiment with bronzer and I do not look darker, I look healthy. And, quite frankly, I will not be dictated to about what level of colour is deemed beautiful by a backward culture in South Asia when I live in London. Give me a break.

Loadsa Money!!

estee lauder aerin beauty bronzer

If money is not an issue you need Estee Lauder’s Aerin Pretty Bronze Illuminating Powder (about £35).

So subtle, this just kisses the edge of your face to make you glow. Level 2 for Asians skin and darker, Level 1 for white.

Hmm, can I try something a little cheaper? Continue reading

September 15, 2014

Veggie Heaven in Primrose Hill

manna

Ok, so I am a veggie but I don’t like vegetarian restaurants, certainly not vegan ones. Lettuce munchers, allergic to good taste. It’s just something about the atmosphere in them that turns me off. A room full of veggies, a crazy night does not make.

Ah, Manna. Primrose Hill. Beautiful people. Warm evening. Ice cold prosecco. Continue reading

August 27, 2014

Get Lippy

bably lips maybelline

Maybelline’s lovely lip balm, Baby Lips, has been released with a lip tint, in both subtle and neon colours.  They are, simply, amazing and dirt cheap to boot.  My favourite is Pink Punch which will suit all Asian skin colours, especially if you’re a bit darker.

If you’re very pale, I suggest this colour might look a little chavvy but if that’s your look, then go for it. Continue reading

August 27, 2014

Cafe Below

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God, I love living in London.

Where else can you eat lunch in a crypt made by Sir Christopher Wren? Cafe Below is an exquisite cafe under St Mary-Le-Bow Church on Cheapside. A hop and a skip away from Bank tube station. Continue reading

August 18, 2014

Fantasy Bobs

Bob Michelle-Pfeiffer-Scarface-bob-haircut

The 90s are still riding the trend wave and so now it is the turn of hair…the bob! Of course bob haircuts have regularly enjoyed a comeback as they are so cute but they are a hairstyle I fantasise about having but will never actually get as I am a chicken and love my long curly wurly princess hair.

Soooooooo……. here are my favourite bob haircuts to inspire you (including gorgeous Michelle Pfieffer’s Scarface bob above) if you are braver than me and can handle their high maintenance : Continue reading

August 18, 2014

Disobedient Objects

disobedient objects

One thing I have in common with my 2 year old nephew is a need to be constantly entertained. One thing I should learn from him is that I can do this by myself.

London is awash with free and cheap “things to do” and I am guilty of losing sight of this.

On a boring Sunday, a day I have recently resigned to a tube-free day, I broke that habit and headed to the V&A Museum in South Kensington.  Continue reading

August 17, 2014

The Honourable Woman

the honourable woman

Summer is fun but you are invariably saving up for a holiday or have recently spent over your budget on one. This is how my sister and I came to find ourselves one evening in London. Water water everywhere and not a drop to sip. (Change “water” to “champagne” and you will have our general mood).

“This looks a bit shit,” one of us murmurs “but shall we watch it?”. Yah, we have nothing better to do. Enter episode one of the Honourable Woman, which I have to admit did not really impress me. Yet I found myself returning week after week to watch it.  (I have not religiously watched a weekly series since Twin Peaks and I’m not exaggerating).  I believe it was because of the women.

When was the last time you saw a tv series filled with older women in strong roles with excellent dialogue? Continue reading

August 17, 2014

Nish Kumar at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

nish kumar

A few evenings ago my sister reluctantly dragged me to see Nish Kumar, the stand up comedian, performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  I’m not into stand up comedy but I laughed from beginning to end whilst sipping my delicious pear cider.

If you’ve never made it over to the Edinburgh Festival then put it on your bucket list it really lives up to its reputation as the biggest arts festival in the world.  Continue reading

August 1, 2014

A Tale of Two Indian Brides

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Manish Malhotra IICW 2014

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Manish Arora IICW 2014

A tale of two Indian brides and two very different Manish’s!

Indian designers, Manish Malhotra and Manish Arora have a cult global following for their distinctive designs, demonstrating the diversity of bridal fashion in India, a segment often overly saturated by lazy embellished designs. Continue reading

August 1, 2014

Highborns Inspire High Couture

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Monisha Jaising IICW 2014

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Monisha Jaising IICW 2014

Mumbai based designer, Monisha Jaising unveiled her  most recent couture collection with some gorgeous designs that stood out from the week’s shows.  The inspiration behind the collection was a little too broad and the result was a confusing to watch but nevertheless there were some real gems. Continue reading

July 31, 2014

Temples of Va Va Voom with Anju Modi

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Anju Modi Couture Collection 2014

Anju Modi’s couture collection for 2014 was inspired by Varanasi ghats, a city dedicated to the gods.  Bold embroidery motifs reminiscing the temple-laden skyline adorned heavy bridal lehengas in a beautifully balanced colour palette of royal blue through to cherry tones and frosty pastels. Continue reading

July 31, 2014

The God Complex Delusion

Richard-Dawkins

Deluded

It is important to have crushes. A fantasy one (Hulk, Brazilian), a real life one (a new friend), an intellectual one (Richard Dawkins) and sometimes, I even fancy my husband!

But I’m here to talk about the sacking of my intellectual crush, Richard Dawkins, who turned from excellent biologist (superseded only by Stephen Jay Gould who wrote in a more “for dummies” way) to monster raving loony.

Since his book The God Delusion concluded that the reason my mother is religious is because she is intellectually inferior, he has continued to offend for Continue reading

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