Author, Skunk Girl
1 Jane Eyre: I must have read this novel by Charlotte Bronte 20 times (though often skimming the part where Jane leaves Thornfield Hall). At its heart, it’s a story about a young, independent woman making her way in the world, guided by her own moral compass, and it’s also one of the greatest love stories ever written — what tugs at the heart more than Rochester’s voice calling longingly for Jane across those desolate English moors?
2 The Kitchen God’s Wife: This is my favourite book by Amy Tan. She is stellar at conveying the often divergent voices, perspectives, and histories of immigrant parents and their children. The story of Winnie’s life in China is particularly evocative. This is a book that’s hard to put down and stays with you for a long time after.
3 Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It: I globe-trot as much as I possibly can, and this is one of the best books I’ve ever read about travelling. This isn’t a novel, but a collection of travel essays. Whether it’s Thailand or Burning Man, Geoff Dyer's precise, sometimes poignant, and often downright funny observations hit the nail on the head every time. It also features one of the most apt and humourous drug scenes I’ve ever read, involving mushrooms, Amsterdam, and inside-out pants.
4 The Poisonwood Bible: Barbara Kingsolver’s novel about an American missionary family who moves to the Belgian Congo is a masterpiece of voice and setting. The narration is by the family’s four daughters, and Kingsolver does an amazing job of making each voice feel distinct and authentic, as well as portraying the complexities and injustices of colonial Africa in a manner that is natural to the narrative, which makes it all the more powerful.
— Manali Shah
1 Roja jaaneman (Roja): AR Rahman’s soundtrack of Roja (1995) and Thiruda Thiruda (1995) are the reasons I got into music. I picked up the keyboard after that.
2 Aaja meri jaan (Aaja Meri Jaan): RD Burman is a composer’s composer. He was way ahead of his time. So sometimes when you create a new harmony, you realise that he’s already done it, like Aaja meri jaan…, which is timeless in many ways.
3 Yellow (Parachutes): I think this is an ever-evolving band. Their songwriting never lags and always inspires, inspite of being ridiculously melodic. This is one pop-rock band that cuts across audiences. I have not met a single non-Coldplay fan.
4 All this time (Sting): I have fond memories of sitting with my friends, while his records would play in the background. His ‘All this time…’ dedicated to his deceased father is one of my favourite tracks. Even ‘The soul cages…’ is extremely moving. He is a brilliant vocal artiste.
– Sharin Bhatti
Owner, The Table
1 Trishna (Colaba): The freshness and sweetness of the crab and the flavours of the Hyderabadi dal are second to none. The familiar staff, fast service and consistently good food more than make up for the simple decor.
2 Wasabi (Colaba): The best sashimi and black cod in town! I also love the soft shell crab roll and Yellow Tail Carpaccio with Jalapeno. I enjoy sitting at the sushi bar and chatting with Nori san.
3 Royal China, (Colaba): The weekend isn’t complete without dimsum at Royal China. The standard order is Prawn Cheung Fun, steamed pork buns, aromatic crispy duck and Beef Ho Fun noodles. Service is excellent and the food is well-priced and never disappoints.
4 Thakker Bhojanalay (Kalbadevi): One needs to take the rest of the day off after pigging out on this Gujurati thali. Multiple helpings later, it’s still so tempting to ask for that one more bhajiya, kachori or bowl of srikhand. And of course, one needs to continue the meal at home with a take-away box of undiyo.
— Rochelle Pinto
1 3 Idiots (2009): This film presented a different perspective on the education system in India and it was depicted in an entertaining manner, so I laughed all the way through. The fact that education is not about mugging up but understanding things, struck a chord. I enjoyed it.
2 Jab We Met (2007): You can be high on life, love, laugh, and you may not need anyone to charge you up all the time. If you explore yourself, you will find all the reasons to be happy inside. That’s what I learned from this movie.
3 Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006): I had never read up on Mahatma Gandhi. I had only seen Baapu’s photos on currency and statues at bookstores. This film explained Gandhi’s philosophy in a fun way.
4 Main Hoon Na (1954): I loved the masala and dhamaal. When you are bored and depressed, all you need is to watch a masala film.
— Priyanka Jain