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Meet Sonam’s guiding light

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After giving small surprises throughout the week, actor Sonam Kapoor on Thursday has posted a lovely birthday wish for husband Anand Ahuja, who turned 35 on Thursday.

The Neerja actor penned an adorable wish on Instagram to mark his day special, and cred- ited him as her “guidi n g l i g h t i n everything”. “Your childlike enthusiasm and age-old wisdom is the most lethal combination of what a man should be. I love you the most in the whole world. Everyone says they are lost before they find the one. But I only found you once I knew who I was and found myself,” the 35-year-old star wrote.

She also shared two throwback cake-cutting photographs, which seem to be taken during one of Kapoor’s birthday. The Aisha actor had kept the surprises throughout the week as she used to post a video clip on Instagram where she would guess some of Anand’s top favourite places, cuisines, music genres, and so on.

The actor also gave a glimpse of today’s celebration by posting pictures and videos on her Instagram stories. She had organised an outdoor picnic in London’s Notting Hill, as per a picture shared by Ahuja on his Instagram handle.

Earlier in the day, father-in-law, actor Anil Kapoor also extended warm birthday wishes to the ‘Bhaane’ fashion label owner. Sonam tied the knot with Delhi-based businessman Anand Ahuja on May 8, 2018, in an Anand Karaj ceremony.

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Film matters to Aditi, not film industry

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Mumbai: Aditi Rao Hydari has appeared in several South Indian films over the past couple of years but her release count in Bollywood has been rather low. The actress insists says it is not the language or film industry, but the film that matters most to her. “More than often I am told that now I am focusing on my career in South and have left Mumbai. But I have not gone anywhere. Scripts and opportunities took me everywhere. Why should I say no to a film if the story is exciting? I think we are a generation of actor for whom the length of the role does not matter but substance does,” Aditi told IANS. Her last assignments in Bollywood were in Padmaavat and Daas Dev. Both films released in 2018. In roughly the same amount of time, she had done five films down South, across Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam languages.

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Aftab launches his own production house

Uday Pratap Singh

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Bollywood actor Aftab Shivdasani and his wife Nin Dusanj Shivdasani launched their production company, Mount Zen Media, which aims to tell good stories and make quality content high on entertainment

Speaking on his new venture, Aftab said, “We are very excited to announce our company as we have been wanting to get into production for a long time. These are exciting times to develop content that is cutting edge, contemporary, and appealing. Being in the industry for over 20 years has given me a great deal of experience in front of the camera and valuable insight into filmmaking.”

 Nin said, “Coming from a creative background from Art, Design, Advertising and Branding it’s interesting to be involved in a new medium of production, where all areas of my experience will be in use. I am excited about this new endeavour as there are so many fascinating stories to be told on this creative journey. Always intrigued by the art of storytelling, I look forward to working with a multitude of talent across various projects.” Mount Zen Media was formed under the ideology of Zen, which tries to free the mind from the slavery of fixed notions and ideas and instead focuses on the intuitive process of creativity. One hopes Aftab and Nin achieve what they wanted to with their new endeavour.

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Big B bids adieu to close friend Amar Singh

Priyanka Sharma

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Amar Singh passed away on 1 August. He was undergoing treatment in Singapore for kidney-related ailments. While his demise evoked reactions from political circles, his close friend Amitabh Bachchan was also deeply impacted. The 77-year-old actor, who on Sunday was tested Covid-negative and discharged from Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital, shared a picture of him with his head bowed down. In the 1990s, Amitabh Bachchan and Amar Singh were regarded as inseparable. Amar Singh helped the actor when he had hit a financial slump. He later introduced Jaya Bachchan to politics. However, their friendship turned sour after Amar Singh was expelled from the Samajwadi Party. While he expected Jaya Bachchan to follow the suit, the latter decided otherwise and it deeply hurt him.

Post the “political betrayal”, Amar Singh went on to make some controversial statements about the Bachchan family, which put the final nail in the coffin. However, Amar Singh reached out to Big B in February this year and apologised on Twitter for his “over reaction” against the Bachchan family.

Along with Big B, actor Anil Kapoor also mourned the politician’s demise. He wrote on Twitter that Amar Singh was a “doston ka dost” as he was always there for somebody who needed him. He passionately loved films and its music. The actor also extended condolences to his bereaved family.

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Friends are often critical about my work, says Ayushmann

Uday Pratap Singh

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From Chandigarh to Mumbai, from highs and lows, one thing that has remained constant in actor Ayushmann Khurrana’s life are his friends.

On this friendship day, Ayushmann opens up on his friendship. He says, “I haven’t developed many new friendships over the years. I have non-judgmental childhood friends. They love and treat me just like they would before my stardom. For them, I am the same old Ayushmann and they keep me grounded by giving me honest feedback about my work. For instance, my friend Nishchay Trehan, we watched a lot of films together since childhood and he is very critical about my work, so I appreciate his opinion.”

Rochak Kohli, who is a successful composer in Bollywood, is one of Ayushmann›s oldest friends and he shares the strongest bond with him. The actor says, “I have known Rochak since my 8th grade. We went to the same school, St. John’s high school in Chandigarh. We became friends in school when we discovered that both of us are crazily passionate about music. There were other students also but we shared the common talent of composing and writing songs which were rare for students in the 8th grade.”

Ayushmann and Rochak were always inclined towards creative arts. He says, “Rochak and I have done a lot of plays together and Rochak primarily gave music for all of the plays.” The star says he is regularly in touch with all his friends, especially Rochak. “We speak almost every second day. I met him a day before the lockdown.” Staying in touch with his friends has helped him through the lockdown. Ayushmann says, “Human connections are very important. We›ve been in touch virtually during this period. I am blessed to have great friends because such connections can help people deal with adversities like the current coronavirus pandemic.”

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4 ways to luxuriate rakhi this year

From alcohol-infused laddoos to rakhis made from precious stones, The Daily Guardian lists incredible gifts you can give to your sibling.

Anshu Khanna

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Rakhi is that one festival that brings families together, ensuring that the sister races across town, tying rakhi to all her brothers. However, in 2020, this festival too promises to be celebrated long distance. Making it even more imperative for siblings to make their gifts special, well thought out and unique. Not to forget luxurious. The Daily Guardian lists four incredible gifts to give your sibling. From alcohol-infused laddoos, to a pair of matched up pocket squares and cufflinks; from vegan rakhis to those made from precious stones, here’s your list of indulgences this rakhi. Not to forget elegant trinkets that a brother must gift his lil sis.

Tvisha: Trinket tales

Tvisha Jewlz, a brand born in Jaipur and retailed in Mumbai, as well as online, presents trinket tales—a collection of fantabulous, elegant ear studs made from the finest stones. Says designer Himanshu Khunteta, “In these pandemic times women are buying understated, elegant trinkets that they can wear with their mask. Or when they are chatting with their office online.” For them he has created a collection of sharp ear rings, studs and danglers in the finest Columbian emeralds, marquis diamonds, Burmese rubies and syndicated polkis. “So many brothers who can’t even meet their sisters are trying to compensate by buying them something special.” Are all the brothers listening?

Nihira: Luxurious sweets

Most Indians plead guilty of having a sweet tooth. Even the bard from Bengal, Sir Rabindranath Tagore, was accounted to have a weakness for sponge rossogullas in ‘Antaranga Rabindranath’. And sweets are integral to rakhi, not just to make the occasion more auspicious, but also to give a gift to brother dear. Fanning this indulgence and taking the craft of ‘mithai making’ to the level of art is Nihira, steered by the mother-daughter duo, Subha and Arshya Aggarwal. They make traditional mithai meet a patisserie experience. But what they are best known for are their alcohol-infused mithais! For Rakhi they propose sisters to gift their brothers the iconic motichoor laddoos that get kneaded in whiskey, champagne or red wine. The heady mix of luscious bourbon and grainy motichoor is rarest of rare. As is the arrival of the bubbly and the red wine in the realm of sweet making. Or their barfi that has a shot of campari added to it. What emerges out of the Nihira rakhi festive box this season are sweets and savouries, Indian in origin and global in their flavours and finish. The sweet toothed can discover panjiris packed with whole nuts and blueberries; barfis that combine khoya with the most flamboyant notes and rich flavours like cheese cake, blueberry, tiramisu and irreverent ingredients like bubble gum and tulsi.

Accessories from House of Badnore

Near ethereal collectibles, fashion knickknacks, travel jewels and art objects, House of Badnore presents a capsule collection of matching accessories to gift to the brother. While the inspiration is one, the interpretations are many: From buttons embellished with precious stones, to embroidered stoles with falcon motifs, photo frames polished with silver, silk kerchiefs matched with hand painted cufflinks, each of these ‘one of gifts’ are made for those with taste. “These are perfect gifts for the brother. Something he will actually enjoy and cherish,” says Archana Kumari, the creator of the brand. Last but not the least, how about tying a rakhi made from precious stones or even one that is strung with vegan leather. What can sound more uber luxe?

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Best ways to release happiness hormones and change your mood

Noor Anand Chawla

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Over the last week or so, a WhatsApp forward explaining different hacks for achieving happiness through the release of certain hormones, has been doing the rounds. The forward categorises the following chemicals— dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins, as per the activities that lead to these hormones being released in one’s body. The post touches on some universal truths, yet made me think of my pick of activities when I need mood enhancement. Here are the seven best ways to release happiness hormones and change your mood:

QUALITY TIME SPENT WITH FAMILY/LOVED ONES

Loneliness is often the biggest cause of unhappiness. Sometimes, even though people live with family members, the lack of communication makes them feel disconnected. A simple way to combat this is to eat your meals together as a family and shun technological devices for that time. You should also call up long-lost friends or cousins for an instant dose of happiness.

QUALITY TIME SPENT WITH ONESELF

 Even though family time is important for general well-being, sharing space with others can be a cause for strife. It is important to make time for oneself by doing things we love. Something as simple as listening to music and drinking a cup of tea. You should prioritise making time for yourself every day.

WAKING EARLY AND STICKING TO A SCHEDULE

The earlier you begin your day, the more time and energy you have to be productive, which in turn releases happiness hormones. Even if you are a night owl, following the same schedule on a daily basis makes you more productive. Hence, try to fix hours for work and breaks at the same time every day.

GETTING SOME FORM OF EXERCISE

Physical exertion of any kind has many benefits. It keeps you slim and healthy along with regulating your sleep habits and intake of unhealthy foods. The most immediate benefit of exercise, however, is the quick release of happy hormones to lift your mood. Exercising outdoors has even more benefits than working out in a gym, as you feel connected to nature. Go for a walk or a jog, cycle around your neighbourhood if possible, and if exercising outdoors is not an option for you, then break a sweat by dancing to your favourite numbers.

EATING HEALTHY YET INDULGING ONESELF OCCASIONALLY

Eating a clean and green diet with fibre-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, makes you feel lighter and more energetic. Cutting down on carbohydrates also contributes to that feeling. However, it is important to balance out your food intake by indulging in your favourite cheat meals at least once a week. This ensures you never feel deprived, which may lead to unhealthy binge-eating!

READING/WATCHING SOMETHING LIGHT AND FUNNY

 Mild forms of entertainment such as reading an engrossing mystery novel or watching a comic television show are guaranteed to brighten your mood by releasing happy hormones. Be mindful, however, that you do not bury yourself under the covers reading a book, or watch TV all day long. Any act performed in moderation brings the most equanimity, which is the secret for long-lasting happiness. Further, avoid distressing subjects that may give you more stress than you need!

 MEDITATING

Meditation is a proven relaxation and stress-release technique. No matter your personal situation, putting away all devices and zoning in to a quiet inner space, has numerous self-care benefits. You can set the mood by playing soulful music in the background, or following along to guided meditation through an online teacher or app. Of all the points listed above, this one is the easiest to perform and has universal application, as it can be done at any time of the day. Simply ten minutes of focussed meditation before going to bed will help you.

Though sometimes it feels difficult to achieve, happiness is not far from your grasp if you make an effort toward achieving it. Try incorporating these simple steps into your daily routine and observe the changes in your mood.

The writer is a lawyer who pens lifestyle articles on her successful blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be found on Instagram @nooranandchawla.

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