Puja Countdown I

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  • Published 15.09.11

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With the biggest festival of the year fast approaching, it’s time to hit your favourite shopping destinations and pick up the trendiest finds on the racks. from ethnic wear and fusion outfits to western wows, t2 brings you four different looks for this Durga puja

beauty & fitness

Priscilla corner’s tips for you to spruce up for the FESTIVE days.

Durga Puja is the time when the divine female energy, grace and femininity is celebrated. It is but natural then that during this time one would want to look her empowered and luminous best. Beauty rituals and certain salon ceremonies can go a long way in helping you ready yourself to greet this festival. Here’s a beauty strategy which you can adopt as per requirement.


Most of us are plagued by dark circles. In addition to cutting down on random time spent in front of the computer, get some sleep. Here’s a mask to help alleviate the problem — take two tbsp of cucumber pulp mixed with four tsp of rose water and apply under the eyes. This can be done twice a week. If this doesn’t prove sufficient, try an organic range of bottled product.

The neck is the most neglected part of one’s skin — little wonder that it is often the first area to show signs of ageing! There are neck serums available which are sometimes more effective than creams and form a neat, non-greasy barrier to the environmental forces.

While on the subject of bypassed areas, can the hands be left out? Often a quick application of cream, a rushed file and nail paint job is all they are treated to. Mani-spas leave the hands soft and smooth, and shades brighter than you may have grown accustomed to seeing. If you can’t spare the time to go in for one, here’s a home treatment.

You will need oatmeal scrub mixed with milk, any gentle face wash, fuller’s earth mixed with rose water and hand moisturiser. Soak the hands in diluted face wash. Rinse. Gently scrub with oatmeal and milk mixture. Wash. Apply fuller’s earth and rose water mix. Leave till dry. Wash off. Apply moisturiser.

Ever tried a petroleum wrap pedicure? Ask for it at your nearest salon/spa. In this kind of pedicure, the feet experience both luxury and relaxation, perfectly primed for all-night pandal-hopping!


Keratin treatment: This salon service is ideal for those who have an important month of events ahead and are plagued with frizzy hair. In this treatment, pure hair protein along with nourishing Argan oil are ironed into the hair under high temperatures. The hair stays straight and shiny for close to four months. All this without having to go through an intense chemical process.

Extensions: Bored of having your hair at a particular length and of a certain thickness only? Try a new look this Puja with hair extensions or tufts of hair attached to your own with a little wax or clip-ons. Extensions can be done with hair to match your own colour or with hair that is a totally different shade.

A NEW STYLE: Pluck courage and go in for the big snip. Shorter, bolder styles can be yours in 15 minutes flat. What better time to be fearless than now?

PERMING: Everyone is going for hair straightening, why not flirt with the opposite and go in for a perm? Powerful, strong-out-there hair that makes for compelling viewing. The in-salon procedure takes two to four hours depending on the length and thickness of your hair.

COLOUR PLAY: Try a non-ammonia hair colour that shifts the basic colour of your hair up a notch or two, making for an interplay of hues while giving the hair depth and shine. All this achieved with minimum aid of chemicals!

Here’s to the new emboldened you.

Happy Pujas!

Preetom Mukherjee-Roy’s regimen to get in shape

With about three weeks to go for the biggest festival on the Calcutta calendar, it’s time to work hard towards looking your best. You can’t miraculously lose kilos in such a short span of time. What you can definitely do is firm and tone up those extra inches. Here are a few tips that will see you in better shape for the Pujas.

Do something fun and exciting and watch that extra weight vanish. try spinning or even zumba


Sign up for zumba classes and attend three-four times a week. This form of Latin dance can burn up to 500 calories per session.

Personal training

Join a gym or hire a personal trainer for a month to achieve your goals quickly.

Circuit training

Combine weights, cardio, strength training and freehand in a quick succession of exercises for two-three cycles, doing one set of 15 repetitions for each exercise and adding one minute of cardio in between each exercise.

Interval training

Get on the treadmill or out in the park and walk moderately for two minutes, then jog for one minute. Do this 20 times. This form of cardio training will help lose weight and inches fast!


Work out with weights and on your abs thrice a week, for around 30 minutes. Then go in for swimming or some sort of sports activity on the other three days for about an hour.


Hardcore indoor cycling in a disco-type ambience burns calories and if coupled with weights, will show great results.

Numbers game

Try getting on a 1,000-calorie diet programme!

Go easy

Skip carbs at dinner to lose the tummy. Or try having only soups and salads after 6pm.


Conceptual jewellery designer eina ahluwalia picks five timeless trends for the goddess called woman


No, no, we’re not talking about breastplates and bibs. Yes, they were in, but how practical are they? What’s interesting is jewellery with a tough luxe edge. Spikes and studs, knives and daggers. These motifs have moved beyond the leather-studded, dominatrix style to beautiful yet edgy pieces of jewellery. Plus they’re good for self-defence.

Timeless because: Every now and then, a girl needs to wear her strength on her sleeve, or her neck, fingers, wrists.


Shilpa Shetty pins her sari with a stone-encrusted brooch

Badges of honour or bejewelled bugs, pop art in perspex or message buttons, brooches are a great way to wear your attitude and speak of who you are. It’s not worn to adorn any body part; classically, it’s been worn to communicate status, position, money, ideology, and attitude. Brooches also score for their versatility and can be worn on scarves, saris, jacket lapels, tees, hats, bags, and recently have been spotted on the waist. They can be worn by men and women without causing much of a stir. And when you’re in the mood for overdose, try a collage of brooches for a more personal and interesting look.

Timeless because: They are the ultimate jewels of personal expression.


This one is a useful and easy trend. Layer your chains and stack your wrist wear. What’s hard about that? Having chains with favourite pendants at different lengths is great because you can wear them individually or in twos during the day, and stack them together for an evening out. The same goes for bangles, cuffs and rings. Thin, stackable rings can work on one finger and big rings can be worn on different fingers for a knuckle-duster effect, which, by the way, is another big trend currently.

Timeless because: It’s total value for money. And can be separated and worn as per mood.

(Disclaimer: Layer your chains, not neckpieces. This trend does not entitle you to load on your entire jewellery box at once and any resulting Christmas tree look cannot be ascribed to me.)


There’s a reason why the images of Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Jackie and Maharani Gayatri Devi are embedded in our consciousness. They were the ultimate symbols of grace and elegance and if there’s one thing we can learn from them, it is to love our pearls. Pearls don’t have to be mommy-like and boring. They can be fun-ed up with contemporary stringing, offset with something contrasting and worn in extreme volumes.

Timeless because: Need I repeat?


Metal lace jewellery can cover you on trends like vintage, feminine, fretwork and filigree. In its modern-day look, it can even cross over to gothic and medieval. It’s intricate and beautiful and if it’s handmade, it takes several days of labour and love to make.

Timeless because: It looks fragile but is strong, just like us…

fit food

15 tips to make you trim
Nutritionist hena nafis on fighting flab in the run-up to durga puja

1 Say no to junk: Banish sweets, chocolate, fried and junk food, and cola completely. It will cut down calories and consequently, a couple of kilos. To stop yourself from yielding to temptation, avoid stocking unhealthy, fattening food at home. When you need to get in shape, every calorie counts.

2 Check your cuppa: Cut down the number of teaspoons of sugar in your cups of tea or coffee. Use sugar substitutes such as sucralose, stevia, agave syrup instead of sugar but refrain from using aspartame as it can have adverse health effects.

3 Have naturally-rich sugar foods: Stave off sugar cravings by having foods naturally rich in sugar, like fruits, raisins, dates and prunes. These foods are a good source of fibre too, which will keep you full and satisfied longer.

4 Avoid speed eating: Some women tend to eat very fast because they have to pack in increased household work, like spring cleaning, shopping and cooking before the festivals. Speed eating can fool your body into consuming more calories than it needs, so try and eat in a relaxed state of mind.

5 Eat wholegrain foods: Substitute white rice with unpolished or brown rice. Add millets, ragi, bajra to your diet because wholegrains make your body burn more and fire up your metabolism. We need to meet our nutritional needs but at the same time consume fewer calories. Wholegrains do just that. They keep nutrients intact in their whole form unlike refined grains such as maida and polished rice.

6 Pack in protein: When pressed for time, quick food remedies like toasting bread slices or making Maggi may seem more practical than proper meals. But compromising on protein intake can thwart feeling of satiety, which inadvertently leads to overeating. Instead, go for a chicken or cottage cheese sandwich, a glass of skimmed milk, protein bars or protein shakes to keep in shape.

7 Include essential fats: Good fat also known as omega-3, found in nuts and oily fishes, is known to rev up metabolism. Sprinkling seeds (flaxseed, pumpkin and sunflower) or nuts (walnut and almond) in your salads, cereals or yoghurt will do the trick.

8 Glow and shine: Eat foods rich in antioxidants such as berries, dark coloured vegetables and fruits for a shining mane and glowing skin.

9 Fill up on fluids: Fight cravings and hunger with easy sips like green or herbal tea, nimbu paani, coconut water and even clear soups. Keep off excessive amounts of coffee, tea, aerated and energy drinks. If hard drinks are your poison, becoming a teetotaller for a few days till the festive binge can save you plenty of calories.

10 Keep portion sizes small: Eat from smaller plates. Also, 50 per cent of your plate should consist of salads or veggies, which will cut down your appetite for extra helpings of rice and chapati.

11 Use a pedometer: We should be walking 10,000 steps every day. However, most of us manage to take 4,000 steps or even less. While shopping, use a pedometer to count the number of steps and increase it by 1,500-2,000 a day. Studies have shown that wearing a pedometer, enthuses one to be more active. This way, you can also justify spending more time window-shopping at the mall than tucking into grub at the food court!

12 Stand, don’t sit: In addition to walking, sit less often. It is a proven fact that the act of standing burns more calories than sitting or lying down. Try standing while talking on the phone. You might just be surprised at the results!

13 Pick up weights: Go in for strength training. Building muscles might increase your weight a bit but will get you in shape.

14 Sleep well: Preparing for any festival can be stressful. Tossing and turning in your bed mulling over what to wear or buy can even make some fashionistas lose sleep! But watch out, because inadequate sleep can add to belly fat. So, plan ahead, make a to-do list and catch up on snooze.

15 Slow and steady: You should aim to drop not more than two to four kilos in a month as slow weight loss ensures you lose fat permanently. So next time, start 10 weeks before and not three.