India’s pride : Narendra Modi.

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 From the moment of the swearing in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, certain things have been clear. One of those things is an evident change in foreign affairs. With the PMO inviting premiers of neighbouring nations for the ceremony to the visit to Nepal within days of being sworn, Prime Minister Modi has set precedents that are being talked about. His meeting with Chinese premier Xi Jinping and his trip to the United States of America have been much touted. Carrying on with the responsibility of representing India in a strong and powerful nation on the global platform, PM Modi made his presence felt at the recently concluded, G-20 summit held at Brisbane, Australia.

In continuation with show of strength like last year when India did not concede to the scrapping of subsidies for farmers, India continued to put forth a confident front. Demands were made by Narendra Modi to actively take measures against tax havens. It is for the first time that a global leader has pitched a mechanism by which to curb the powers and immunity enjoyed by these tax havens. In an effort to flaunt the newly formed niche BRICS, he called upon the leaders of these countries to repatriate black money to their own nations.


NAMO at the G-2O Summit, Brisbane, Australia.

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Another issue that was raised by Modi was that of clean, renewable energy. Both at the summit and outside it, he reiterated his stand to work in harmony with other G-20 member nations for a better utilisation of resources. At the summit he said that fervent efforts are required to further the push in research and development of renewable energy. He also showcased India as a land of wonderful investment and opportunities in the field because of its high energy demands.On the sidelines of the meet, at the unveiling of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, he reiterated his stand to curb the injudicious use of non-renewable energy sources and make a shift to clean energy.

PM Modi seems to have added another feather to his cap by voicing the concerns of India not as a poor nation struggling with various issues but as a nation on its way to becoming a world power.




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Supporters of Kiss of Love at Marine Drive Kochi on 2nd November 2014.

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On the eve of a shocking incident in Kochi led an aspiring film maker to start a facebook campaign by the name of Kiss of Love Campaign. Several instances of moral policing have been witnessed in Kerala since the 2000s. From killing a boy in 2011 who was alleged to have an affair with a married woman to the recent news of mob attackers vandalizing a café has invoked frustration and anger in activists from all over Kerala. Rahul Pasupalan, an aspiring film maker from Kerala organized a non-violent public movement at the Marine Drive beach on November 2 in Kochi. The movement started after it got support from the citizens of India by giving the facebook page 1, 20,000 likes and showing widespread support against the evil actions of moral policing. Despite the Supreme Court of India and the Delhi High Court making it clear time and again that kissing in public is not an obscene act and no criminal proceedings can be initiated for kissing in public. The event which later took place in cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata faced severe objections from particularly Hindu organizations like Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha, SDPI, Vishva Hindu Parisha, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and the Kerala students union. The event saw around 50 arrested and around 100 charged for protesting in public by methods of kissing, hugging and holding hands.


Gourab Ghosh, the first declared gay candidate to contest in the JNUSU elections, kisses while surrounded by cameras. Kiss of Love campaigners kissed and hugged despite all the heckling and booing.

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Protesters question how could public display of affection and expression of love be against Indian culture?

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 The state police was criticized to show inefficiency by not being able to look after the activists who were continuing a non violent protest. The activists were attacked by stick canes and were humiliated through physical separation while trying to hug or kiss. Students trying to conduct events were suspended from college and administrators of the facebook pages and events were blocked from the social media website. Kolkata saw the protest start after a girl was refused to enter the Star Theatre because she was wearing a skirt.


Police trying to separate 2 protestors while hugging.

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If we keep the facts away and talk about legal issues, then it is to be fairly mentioned that section 294(a) of Indian Penal Code states that “whoever, to the annoyance of others, does any obscene act in any public place shall be punished for imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.” The problem which arises here is that the IPC has nowhere mentioned what obscenity is and what activities it includes, hence it is interpreted in many different ways by many different organizations. But Supreme Court, in the case of Richard Gere, said in response to the petition filed, that nothing could be made out of two people consensually hugging or kissing in public.

Getting to know Mr. Bass Guitarist – Jivitesh Kharbanda

When our generation thinks of “Sufi Music” the first thing that comes to our mind is the popular “Nasha Band”. Each one of us has been to Sufi nights at popular clubs where we have enjoyed the soulful music played by this band. However, little do we know about the much talented bass guitarist of the band, Jivitesh Kharbanda who likes to be called Jivi.


Luckily, I got to have a little interaction with this awesome self- taught bass guitarist. Here are the insights of our conversation-

Rhea Gupta (RG) : At what age did you start playing the guitar?

Jivitesh Kharbanda (JK) : I started playing when I was in school, I was around 12 years old.

RG : Have you taken professional training? If yes, then from where?

JK :  Nope, I haven’t taken any sort of musical training. I just explored my way through by checking out new practices and techniques on youtube and by imitating popular artists that I follow. It’s safe to say that I’m a self-taught bass guitartist 🙂

RG : When and how was Nasha band formed?

JK : Initially, we all used to play for different bands. We met at a competition named “Tata Indicom Ki Awaaz” where some positive vibes were exchanged between all of us and we started jamming together and became great friends.Our jamming sessions became quite frequent and we got selected for a show where people loved our music, and that’s how we formed Nasha. It’s been 5 years and we’re still going strong. *Touchwood*

RG : What was your parents reaction when you told them about your career choice? Were they supportive?

JK : They always knew that I was passionate about playing the guitar, and were happy for me when I chose this as a profession. They have always supported me and I am very very grateful to them. My mom always tells me that God made me to play the guitar.

RG : What does Nasha mean to you?

JK : Nasha means family to me.


RG : What does the bass guitarist have to do?

JK : Many people don’t understand what ‘bass guitarists’ actually do. We are the foundation of the band, we fill rhythm and harmony in the overall sound.

RG : Name one favourite song you love to play and why?

JK : I love to play “O Sajna” simply because it’s a self-composition.

RG : Why did you choose to become the bass guitarist?

JK : I had never thought of becoming a bass player, I used to be a guitar player initially. However, once we had a show in which we needed a bass guitarist and I tried my hands on it as we didn’t have enough time to look for a bass player. The show went really well and to my surprise I played the bass well and since that day I became a bass guitarist!

RG : Did you ever consider singing?

JK : Yes, of course I sing in the bathroom! Though, jokes apart, I like to sing for myself. Maybe someday in the future I will sing a self-composed song.


RG : Give one word to describe each member of your band?

JK :   Akhil Sachdeva (vocalist) – Performer
          Saurabh Jain – (acoustic guitar) – Sweet soul
          Ankur Bhandari (drummer) – Power
          Rohit Kulkarni (guitarist) – Talented
          Ritesh Prassna (flute) – Kind
          Gyan Singh (tabla) – Experienced

RG : What did you do before Nasha band was formed?

JK : I was with a different band back then.

RG : If you had to name one singer that you love, then who would it be and why?

JK : Arijit Singh. His voice is beautiful and touches the heart.

RG : What/who is your biggest inspiration?

JK : I’m my only inspiration. I am open to learning every time from new people and experiences. I believe that one always learns from their mistakes and every once in a while we should take chances.


RG :  Do you follow any bass guitarist? Do you have any favourites?

JK : Yes, I do. Jaco Pastorious, Nathan East , Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller are my favourites but the list is endless.

RG : What projects will you be working on in the future

JK : I will be working on an “Electro Fusion Project” in the future.


RG :  What all genres can you play?

JK : Sufi, rock, bollywood and blues

RG :  What are the perks and drawbacks of being with such a popular band?

JK : When you achieve some level of recognition it gets easy to connect with people, you get offers from various event companies which increases your popularity but to keep up to that level of popularity you need to compete with the new bands these days, you need to be updated and you need to be the best to be on top.

Getting To Know Kanishtha Dhankar – Miss India 2011

She was Miss India 2011, has represented India at the Miss World 2011 pageant held in London(U.K) and is a professional model now. Kanishtha Dhankar, a 23 year old super-model who’s career has shot up to new heights of success in literally no time, is one of the most sought after faces of the industry. She is bold, beautiful and confident in everything that she does and that’s what we love about her.

I was lucky enough to get a chance to have a small conversation with her. To know all about our little chat, read below :

Rhea Gupta (RG) : Did you always want to become a model or was it like a dream come true?

Kanishtha Dhankar (KD) : A little bit of both. It was something I always thought would be so much fun to do and equal parts a dream come true.

RG : How did you feel when you were crowned Miss India 2011?

KD : I never really did think I was going to win it, but I did and actually it was quite something. It opened up so many opportunities and such a large understanding for me. Also going to the Miss World pageant. What an experience.

RG : Your father is in the navy and your mother is in the education field, so what was their reaction like when you decided to enter the fashion industry?

KD : They were a little apprehensive as it wasn’t something they knew a lot about having no other friends or relatives working in the industry. But they trusted me to do the right thing for myself and that was super cool of them.

RG : You represented India at the Miss World 2011 pageant and were placed in the top 30. How was the experience?

KD : It was actually surreal in a way. Never ever did I think I’d be in a beauty pageant let alone the Miss World. But so many perceptions are broken when one is put in a certain situation and that’s the beauty of experience. I made so many friends, all the girls were so unique and different from each other, all so skilled in dance forms, music and were yet just normal girls at the end of the day.  It was a pleasure to just see everyone’s walls come down and eventually it made me realize there was no winner or loser just a whole bunch of unique beings that couldn’t be judged on the same platform as the other as it was humanly impossible in my eyes to judge an African girl against an Indian girl against a Russian girl and so on.

RG : You’re one of the few Miss India’s to have taken up modelling professionally, what made you take this decision?

KD : I was already a fashion model before I did the Miss India. And fashion has always been my passion, but the Miss India is a very prestigious platform for anyone in the country and it was this I was honoured to be a part of.

RG : You have walked for the biggest designers in the Indian fashion Industry as well as in the New York fashion week, do you have any favorites?

KD : Ok I know this will sound unrealistic or too diplomatic. But I don’t have one favourite. I have a whole bunch! It’s impossible to have just one with so much amazing talent in our country and well the rest if the world too. To name a few Sabyasachi. Manish Arora, Atsu, Am:Pm  to name a few and international designers- Alexander Wang, Stella McCartney, Emilio Pucci , D&G and the list can go on and on and on!

RG : You appeared in Madhur Bhandarkar’s movie ‘Fashion’ that exposed the reality behind the glamour of the Indian Fashion Industry. How much do you agree with what was shown in the movie?

KD : I have to say it is all not true. Actually personally I have never ever experienced any thing like that. And also I am a big believer of what you attract is what you get. So it’s also an individual’s approach to a situation. There’s many ways of going about a situation. Unfortunately the reality is that in any sphere of life, or say any professional industry, dodgy people exist. It’s upon an individual to decide what route works best for them.

RG : Who has been your biggest inspiration?

KD : I get inspired everyday. I have had so much inspiration and it’s changed at different periods of time. I think a few names would be Natasha Poly, Daria Werbiwy, Gisele Bundchen, Natalie Portman for the beauty aspect of it.

Kanishtha Dhankar in Marie Claire India August 2011

RG : What is the one thing you like to do in your free time?

KD : Nothing, I like to do absolutely nothing.

RG : When do we get to see you in Bollywood next?

KD : Aha! Well I don’t know when, yet!

RG : How was the experience of being a Kingfisher calendar girl?

KD : Brilliant. I went to South Africa for the first time ever and completely fell in Love! The team was just so calm and easy going and what a strong platform for a strong young woman.

RG : Any piece of advice you would like to give all the young fashion enthusiasts out there? 

KD : Yeah! Keep it real! And all the best wishes!!!



All our life we have heard “Beauty comes from within, it is skin deep”, however it may be a little contradictory in today’s day and age when photoshopping, digital alteration, image manipulation and other means of technology have literally taken over everything. We see it on the internet, the TV, in magazines, in videos and what not.

It’s astonishing how much images are altered using different software’s to fit some seriously unrealistic and inhuman ideals that we view over and over again. This has led to most of us believing a distorted body image to actually being an ideal average one. All of us want to be as thin as the models on the cover pages of magazines or have flawless skin like our favourite celebrities shown in movies and on the TV, but little do we know, these ideal body images are nearly impossible to achieve as they are nothing but cleverly photoshopped images.

Following are some examples that will make you wonder about the wonders of Photoshop:


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Well, the Kardashians are everywhere, even when it comes to being featured on magazines that alter their images through photoshop. Kourtney Kardashian was featured on OK! Magazine just after a week she had her baby. It looks like she dropped all her baby weight in 7 days. It’s funny how she was advertising QuickTrim in this issue but was photoshopped herself to fit into a body size she actually isn’t.


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 This one is probably one of the most popular images over the internet where superstar singer Kelly Clarkson was digitally slimmed in SELF magazine’s 2009 issue. Ironically, this issue was titled “The Body Confidence Issue” and featured an interview inside where Kelly explained how comfortable she felt with her body. People noticed this digital alteration in a minute as she looked way too different in the cover than what she looked on her recent television and news appearances.


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This example makes me so sad. Even our favourite Queen B has been a victim of Photoshop. Beyoncé, who’s known for being flawless in every aspect was “white-washed” using Photoshop for one of the L’Oreal ad campaigns.

Wait a minute, did you think only women have been digitally altered? Well, let me tell you that you’re wrong. Take a look at the example given below:

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Popular tennis superstar Andy Roddick was photoshopped to be featured on the cover page of Men’s Fitness May 2007 issue. Quoting his words, “I’m not as fit as the Men’s Fitness cover suggests…little did I know I have 22 inch guns and a disappearing birth mark on my right arm.”

Most of the times even these celebrities don’t know about the extreme digital alteration of their photos until they are published.


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This image made big news! These are 2 different images of Ralph Lauren’s print ads that were published in 2009. Here the same model was photoshopped in differing degrees. One image literally distorted the woman’s body completely.

These are just a few examples of digital alteration and manipulation through Photoshop. It has become so popular everywhere that now people working for magazines, media houses etc term it as “Normalization of Abnormal” which means, photoshopping images that was earlier considered irrelevant / abnormal, because people were appreciated for what they looked like and didn’t need any medium to alter their body image has now become so widely used and popular that it’s normal too see every image being photoshopped and published. Photoshopping plays a major role in marketing products like cosmetics and other beauty related products. Companies publish and popularize images of models with perfect skin/hair/makeup that are cleverly photoshopped , these are profit driven decisions and make their consumers believe that the hidden secret behind the flawless beauty of the model is the company’s product and thus consumers get wooed to buy them. They create a false ideal for women, as they start hoping to attain something that isn’t even real and is quite unattainable.


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This ever growing popularity of Photoshop has also led to a drastic increase in eating disorders, especially amongst girls. Anorexia, bulimia have become common amongst college girls and teenagers. These girls want the “ideal” body that is shown all over the tv, in magazines etc., want flawless hair and skin like their favourite celebrity on the cover of their favourite magazine. These fake ideals that the media has been depicting has also led to low-self-esteem and the fear of being fat among people. This is a serious issue as the reason behind all this illness is nothing but a fake ideal which is impossible to achieve.

It’s time we all open our eyes and recognize how unreal all this actually is. Beauty is and will always be skin deep. Self-comparison to unreal ideals will lead to our downfall. Real, natural, strong, and powerful beauty comes from within your heart. A confident woman is a force to be reckoned with! Nothing can stop her, and nothing can get her down!

Love Yourself, Love Your Body And Don’t Let Photoshop Alter Your Body Image!




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The Wrong Turn By Raj Shetye

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Mumbai based photographer, Raj Shetye’s editorial shoot, titled ‘The Wrong Turn’, which was uploaded on the website BehanWce on July 26, portrayed an Indian woman being harassed by a group of men in a bus. This photo-shoot went viral and caused immediate media uproar for glamourizing the NIRBHAYA rape case, the extremely sad and gruesome incident that took place in the capital on the night of 16th December, 2012. The incident where a lone Indian woman was brutally gang raped in a bus.

The images from Shetye’s shoot are strikingly similar to the incident that took place and thus, make everyone question his insensitivity. People all over the internet are outraged at this heinous act. Twitter feeds, Facebook statuses are filled with hate messages for the photographer. In his defence the photographer told everyone that he was just throwing some light upon the incident that took place and had no intentions of glamourizing it. Being a photographer the best way of communicating this was through a series of pictures. However, this was obviously not convincing enough. The message he tried to give and what his pictures portrayed were extremely different. Glamorizing a sensitive topic like this, in no way means throwing light upon it. Soon the images were pulled off from his personal site and other social media platforms, however the harm had been done and Shetye and his work received a lot of backlash on all social media platforms.

Here are a few reactions :



Tweets on the photo-shoot.

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