Off The Cuff—Umesh Jivnani

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Wendell Rodricks is smiling endlessly these days. Post the Padma Shri, he has been once again recognised and awarded for a cause very close to his heart. Along with gay activist and founder of Humsafar Trust Ashok Row Kavi, Wendell was awarded the Kashish Rainbow Warrior Award for his support and work in furthering the LGBT rights.
Both these outspoken winners were emotional yet positive. While Kavi said that he wasn't relying on politicians to change laws and insisted that the fight for change and acceptance would have to be fought by members of the LGBT community, Wendell was more optimistic and said, "It's been a good year for the LGBT community. Despite the Supreme Court's verdict on section 377, the transgender community got sexual status recognition, a bearded drag queen won the Eurovision contest and back home, an openly gay man received the Padma Shri." Later, an ecstatic Wendell posted on his Facebook profile, "Part of that award goes to Shobhaa De, who outed me in style and made me strong enough to speak out." May his voice get stronger along with their 'Dost'ana...

Actress Smita Jaykar is known for her on screen persona. This talented Marathi actress recognised for her roles in theatre, TV and films including 'Sarfarosh', 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' and 'Devdas' has another side to her personality which a few people know about. In her off-screen persona, Smita is a professional spiritual healer and has conducted over 700 energy healing and personal enhancement workshops till now. "My quest for a deeper understanding of peace and happiness has led me to experiment with various natural therapy techniques and practices like Chakra Healing Workshops, Chakra Dhyana Meditation, Oneness healing, Micro Cosmic Orbit, Inner World & Outer World connection amongst various others. Being largely religious, my quest for inner happiness has made me gravitate to these forms of holistic healing. I did training courses, read a lot and my search led me to the Oneness ideology. The message was simple, to tap universal energies and balance internal body chakras. Today, I feel I have transformed and healed my inner self. Life is smooth and there is no stress. And that is why I decided to share my experiences with all those looking to balance their inner energies." Spreading peace, calm and happiness through her Oneness ideology to one and all, this actress has found her own path to spiritual bliss.

As one of the best models in Indian fashion, Alesia Raut's life story is both inspiring and heartwarming. Born in Brazil to an Indian father and a Russian mother, Alesia grew up in Mumbai and started modelling in 1999 after she became a finalist in a beauty contest. In no time, she became one of the most established ramp faces but gave up her buzzing career at its peak for the man she loved. A fairytale romance followed by marriage to Alexander Yanovski, made her leave Mumbai and settle in Moscow. But what began beautifully ended in pain as Alesia's marital life was filled with violence and abuse and despite a baby soon after marriage, the discord refused to go away.
With immense strength, she returned to Mumbai with baby Mark, and re-started her modelling career. Alesia's second innings as a ramp model was even more successful and in the last few years, she's been a part of every major show and fashion week in the country. On top of her game, Alesia recently started grooming and training Miss India contestants and is currently in talks for a reality show on TV. "I want to give back to the profession that's given me so much. In the future, I will take up grooming new faces professionally because that's my forte. This year, I taught the Miss India girls to walk the ramp and it was an enjoyable experience. I made a lot of changes in their training and it should help them," she informed of her fashionable plans. This go-getter sure believes in galloping ahead in life, taking successful strides just as she did on ramp.

Suburban Mumbai is all set to get a chic new restaurant from the same team that runs some of the finest eateries in the city. Ashok Datwani (Shatranj Napoli, Polpo Cafe) and Hitesh Keswani (Siver Beach Café, Nom Nom, Jantar Mantar and Copa) have teamed up to launch 'The Treesome Bistro', a hip new eatery on the seven bungalows bustling beach stretch. They've roped in chef Rohan D'Souza, who trained under legendary chef Marco Pierre White, to design an eclectic menu with local flavours. Scheduled to open in the first week of July, this all day bistro and bar should add some more spice to the already buzzing food scene in Mumbai.

One of the world's premier shoemakers John Lobb arrives in India. This week, John Lobb will launch in conjunction with Regalia Luxury Retail LLP, the same brand that brought Made-to-measure luxury suiting brand Kiton down to India. This historic brand started making shoes for men in 1866 in London and till date is known for its bespoke shoe-making tradition that involves a 190-step manufacturing process for each pair of shoes. Epitomizing true luxury, the UK-based brand is offering the "By Request" service that allows Indian buyers to customize their personal pair of John Lobbs as per their style preferences. But owning one of these beauties comes at a price. With rates starting from Rs70,000 and going up to a whopping Rs6 lakhs for a pair, its footwear for the discerning man with deep pockets only.

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