The Good Life2020-09-12T08:40:35+05:30

Column: The Good Life: for Mint Lounge

211, 2021

What luxury means in 2021

November 2nd, 2021|Columns, HT Media, Mint Lounge|

If you ask your mother or grandmother what their idea of luxury is, you will probably get an answer that’s a variation of one of these: “A double ikat Patan patola.” “A diamond addigai (necklace).” “A Kashmiri silk carpet or a shahtoosh.” “A Mughal miniature painting. Or a Srinathji pichwai.” “Listening to Sawai Gandharva on a full-moon night on the banks of the Ganga.” Indians of earlier generations know luxury in a visceral, sensual way. Every product I have mentioned above is hyper-localised, linked to region, personal history and provenance. Often, each of these luxury objects is made by an artist or craftsperson who has worked with the family to custom specifications. It is purchased for a high price by an aesthete who has been following the sector for generations. If that isn’t luxury shopping, what is?

1909, 2021

Raj Parr profile/Mint Lounge

September 19th, 2021|Drink, Mint Lounge, Profiles|

Some time ago, I drove three hours from San Francisco down the coast of California to a picturesque town of Cambria-- to meet iconic winemaker, Raj Parr. As you will read my profile of him here, Raj Parr can identify wine varietal, vintage and producer by simply smelling the wine. Which to me is the thrill of tasting wine. The nose is an under-used organ and wine-tasters have figured out how to make it work for them. Read about how Raj Parr does it.

1109, 2020

Karma yoga and the need to negotiate

September 11th, 2020|Columns, HT Media, Mint Lounge|

Karma yoga and the need to negotiate 5 min read . Updated: 16 Jul 2009, 09:20 PM IST The Good Life | Shoba Narayan Karma yoga and the need to negotiate   What’s the best negotiating strategy you can use in a job? Ability, credibility and the willingness to walk away. Not my words. Strategic HR adviser Hema Ravichandar’s. Last Sunday, I called Ravichandar, who cut her teeth as HR head at Infosys Technologies, to get tips on negotiation. During our interview, I observed that E. Sreedharan, whom I admire unabashedly, must be a master negotiator. He reads the Gita for 45 [...]

2407, 2020

The filch factor in rating hotels

July 24th, 2020|Columns, Hotels, HT Media, Luxury, Mint Lounge|

The filch factor: : Mint Lounge 4 min read . Updated: 01 Feb 2008, 12:06 AM ISTThe Good Life | Shoba Narayan I have a somewhat unusual method of rating hotels. I call it the filch factor. If I feel like filching something from the hotel, I consider it worthy of my esteem. I hasten to add that I haven’t actually filched anything from hotels (okay, maybe some toiletries) but the filch factor is what makes a hotel memorable in my mind. I still remember the crisp asparagus-green linen napkins at the Ritz-Carlton in Santiago de Chile; the spa robe at the [...]

2307, 2020

Twenty ways to do offbeat luxury

July 23rd, 2020|Columns, HT Media, Luxury, Mint Lounge|

Twenty ways to do offbeat luxury in 2010: for Mint Lounge   4 min read . Updated: 02 Jan 2010, 02:33 PM IST The Good Life | Shoba Narayan Twenty ways to do offbeat luxury in 2010 Happy New Year everyone! The recession is over, according to no less a source than the top White House economic adviser Larry Summers. Resoundingly over, report trade pundits in India. As we pick ourselves up from the debris of the last decade, it is hard not to feel optimistic about this one. It’s time—about time—for some cheer and celebration. Time to live and love; celebrate [...]

2207, 2020

About hotels and service

July 22nd, 2020|Columns, Hotels, HT Media, Mint Lounge|

Leave me alone, I'd like to be invisible please: for Mint Lounge 3 min read . Updated: 04 Jan 2008, 12:21 AM ISTThe Good Life | Shoba Narayan Ok, folks. I might as well get ready to take it on the chin. I am going to come across as a real snob here. But please, before you dismiss me altogether, let me explain that this piece was written with the “lofty goal" of making the hotel industry re-examine its notion of service. Like every Indian idealist, I wrote the following in an attempt to change the world, albeit a world inhabited by [...]

2107, 2020

Bangalore’s underrated restaurants

July 21st, 2020|Columns, Food, HT Media, Mint Lounge|

Bangalore’s most underrated restaurants 4 min read . Updated: 22 Jul 2010, 07:57 PM IST Shoba Narayan | The Good Life Bangalore’s most underrated restaurants Some weeks ago, I was at a food and wine tasting, put together by Food Lovers, a Bangalore-based magazine with a self-explanatory name. I read the magazine for its restaurant reviews and foodie news. Occasionally, the magazine invites me to be part of its free tasting panels. A group of us sample food and wine and offer written opinions. Like foodies everywhere, we talk in obsessive and excruciating detail about things that might make a technocrat’s eyes [...]

1907, 2020

Why naturalists are happier people

July 19th, 2020|Columns, HT Media, Mint Lounge, Nature|

Being surrounded by trees, rivers and animals can add years to your life; and life to your years Welcome to my office," says Arpita Dutta. As lines go, this one is not particularly original. Except that we are sitting in an open-topped Jeep at the entrance to the Chitwan National Park, in Nepal, which, as it happens, is Dutta’s office: the place she visits every day. Dutta, 33, is an amazing woman. Born and raised in West Bengal, she has worked in forests all her life. She has done research on the Sundarbans and currently works at Taj Safaris’ newly [...]

1807, 2020

Do your parents embarrass you?

July 18th, 2020|Columns, HT Media, Mint Lounge, Relationships|

When your mamma rocks the floor Have you ever been embarrassed by your parents? I confess that I have.  The time when I was 18, for instance, and my father came searching for me at Mardi Gras (IIT Madras’ annual cultural festival).  There I was, acting cool around those IIT guys.  When my Dad showed up to take me back home, the smoky independence that I affected came crashing down.  Now, of course, my kids are embarrassed by me. The last time this happened was this past New Year’s Eve.  We were three generations—my brother’s family, mine, and my [...]

1707, 2020

Weaving a revolution

July 17th, 2020|Columns, Handmade, HT Media, Luxury, Mint Lounge|

I did something recently that gave me more satisfaction than a vacation. At the Sampoorn Handicrafts fair held at Chitrakala Parishad in Bangalore—similar to Dilli Haat and Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda festival—I spotted a beautiful khadi salwar kameez swaying in the wind. It was off-white, simple and beautifully cut. I had to have it. Unfortunately, they didn’t have it in my size. “All these are cut to Italian sizes, madam," said the volunteer manning the stall. “Why don’t you go next door and buy the fabric?" This was how I discovered Malkha cotton, which brands itself as the “freedom fabric". At [...]


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