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Akshata Murty: Who is Rishi Sunak’s wife?

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Rishi Sunak’s rise to power has attracted attention in India – and not just because he is the first British Asian prime minister.His wife Akshata Murty is the daughter of Indian billionaire Narayana Murthy, one of the country’s best known businessmen who has been dubbed the Bill Gates of India.An heiress to a fortune worth billions, Ms Murty came under the spotlight when it emerged earlier this year that she held non-domiciled status, meaning she did not have to pay any tax on her earnings from outside the UK. She later agreed to pay UK taxes on her worldwide income.Despite her family’s immense wealth, Ms Murty came from more humble beginnings.

In a letter to his daughter, published in a 2013 compilation, her father recalled how he heard the news of her birth in Hubli in April 1980 from a colleague because the family could not afford a telephone.

“Your mother and I were young then and struggling to find our feet in our careers,” he wrote.

When she was just a few months old, Ms Murty was sent to live with her paternal grandparents as her mother, Sudha Murty, and her father advanced their careers in Mumbai.A year later, Mr Murthy co-founded Infosys, an IT services company which would make him one of India’s richest individuals.

Ms Murty’s high-achieving parents also instilled a focus on education and hard work on their two children. Mr Murthy said there was no TV in their home to make time for “things like studying, reading, discussions and meeting friends”.She went on to study economics and French at the private liberal Claremont McKenna College in California. Ms Murty then earned a diploma at a fashion college before working at Deloitte and Unilever and studying for an MBA at Stanford University.

It was at university that she met Mr Sunak. The couple married in 2009 and went on to have two daughters.The 42-year-old began her career in finance in California before starting her own fashion label, Akshata Designs, which launched its first collection in 2011. She told Vogue India she worked with artists in remote Indian villages to create her designs, which were about “authenticity, craftsmanship and protecting a rich heritage”.

However, the Guardian reported that the business collapsed within three years.One of her main business interests is the London-based offshoot of Catamaran Ventures, which was founded by Ms Murty and Mr Sunak in 2013 and invests in start-ups.On Companies House, Ms Murty is also listed as a director of Digme Fitness, a pay-as-you-go gym chain.

The company was put into administration in February this year after revenues dropped during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite receiving furlough funds.Ms Murty’s LinkedIn profile also lists her as a director of New & Lingwood, which sells high-end menswear.She owns a 0.9% stake in Infosys, according to the company’s latest annual report, which is estimated to be worth about £700m.

Her shares in the company became a subject of controversy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when the firm was under pressure to halt its operations in Moscow. In April, the BBC was told Infosys was closing its office in Russia.More broadly, the couple’s huge wealth has led some to question whether Mr Sunak is out of touch with ordinary people, particularly during a cost-of-living crisis.

In the past, some prime ministerial spouses, including Theresa May’s husband Philip May have kept a low profile.Others, like human rights lawyer Cherie Blair, who continued her high-flying job after her husband Tony entered No 10, attracted much more attention. Mrs Blair often made the headlines in her own right for her charity work and book contracts.So far, Ms Murty does not seem to have sought the media spotlight but has instead been thrust into it by recent controversies.However, her husband’s ascent to the top job in British politics means the interest in Ms Murty will only become more pronounced.



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Purest food on earth?

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Ghee had fallen out of favour as saturated fats were considered unhealthy. But now, Indians are finding their way back to this ingredient that’s so integral to their cuisine.

Indian food author Kalyan Karmakar is making up for lost time. Today, he enjoys the subtle touch of ghee in many of his favourite Bengali dishes, adding it to steamed rice with fried kaatla fish (Indian carp) for ghee bhaat, and swirling it into phyaana bhaat, a one-pot rice dish cooked with its own starch, mashed potato and a boiled egg. Even his khichuri (also spelled khichdi), a comforting rice and lentil porridge Karmakar associates with rainy days, is incomplete without the ubiquitous fat.

But it wasn’t always like this.

“I belong to the set of people who grew up under the impression that ghee is unhealthy and [I am] now making up for it,” he said, “It’s [essentially] the purest food on Earth.”

For millennia, ghee has been a venerated staple of the subcontinental diet, but it fell out of favour a few decades ago when saturated fats were largely considered to be unhealthy. But more recently, as the thinking around saturated fats is shifting globally, Indians are finding their own way back to this ingredient that’s so integral to their cuisine.

For Karmakar, a renewed interest in ghee is emblematic of a return-to-basics movement in India, which was years in the making but fast-tracked during the pandemic, when “people started being more mindful about their food”, he explained. This movement is also part of an overall trend towards “slow food”. In keeping with the movement’s philosophy, ghee can be produced locally (even at home) and has inextricable cultural ties.

Making ghee is a labour of love for Nitin Ahir, co-founder of GirOrganic, a dairy farm and ghee producer in the city of Surat in the west Indian state of Gujarat. Instead of using imported cow breeds like Jersey, Holstein and Friesian like mass producers do, he gets his milk from his herd of Gir cows, an Indian-born breed native to the Gir hills and forests of the Kathiawar Peninsula. He allows his cows to graze openly on grass and makes sure that calves have their rightful first share of their mothers’ milk before milking.

His A2 ghee, a type of ghee that is considered nutritionally superior, is made via the “bilona method” in which a small motor-operated machine moves clockwise and anti-clockwise mimicking the traditional motion of a handheld wooden churner, a process that he admits “isn’t the most cost-effective and resists large scale production”. Nevertheless, he estimates he’s witnessed a 25-30% increase in demand for his ghee since the pandemic began.

At a basic level, ghee is a type of clarified butter believed to have originated in India as a way to preserve butter from going rancid in the hot climate. Churned cream or butter is simmered slowly until the moisture evaporates and any browned milk solids are removed, resulting in a sumptuously rich, fragrant and nutty fat.For many Indians, however, ghee is historically something more sacred than just a cooking fat.

“Ghee is the final and purest form of milk – the last extract,” said author and food historian Pritha Sen. “It was considered the purest offering to the gods and the medium by which prayers were carried to the heavens.”

Its history dates back millennia. “Paeans to ghee are found in the Rig Veda, a collection of ancient hymns and prayers dating back nearly 4,000 years,” explained Colleen Taylor Sen, a Chicago-based food historian and author of Feasts and Fasts: A History of Food in India. “According to legend, Prajapati, lord of the creatures, rubbed his hands together to create the first ghee, which he poured into flames to create his children.”

Ghee is also deeply woven into the fabric of Indian culture. Traditionally, Hindus pour ghee into fire at marriages, funerals and other ceremonies as it is believed to be auspicious. In Ayurveda, a traditional Indian system of medicine, Ghee is considered a virtual panacea. And its wholesome qualities have been embraced by generations of mothers and grandmothers.

For US-based food author Sandeepa Mukherjee Datta, who runs Bong Mom’s Cookbook, choosing ghee when it was time to introduce fat and oil to her babies was a no-brainer. “[It’s] good fat, to give the young bones and brain nourishment and vitamins,” she said.

Her mother took things a step further, insisting on nothing but homemade ghee. “She would make small jars of ghee and send it for her granddaughters with anyone who was flying across the Atlantic,” said Datta. “That ghee was pure and tasted like a gift from heaven.”

“That ghee was pure and tasted like a gift from heaven.”

“Ghee is not only a medium to cook and fry food,” said Datta. “Before the advent of fancy cereals and oats, every Bengali child was unified by the same breakfast dish on school mornings.” The dish, ghee-alu sheddho-bhaat (ghee-mashed potatoes-rice), she explained, is almost Bengal’s unofficial state food. “In those days, before carbs and fat got a bad rap, mothers felt this dish was the right balance to fortify their children throughout the day.”

That “bad rap” – due to claims that saturated fats are bad for heart health – affected ghee, which has up to 50-70% saturated fat. For a few decades, consuming ghee fell out of favour in India. In the 1980s, vegetable oils were heavily promoted by the industry, and as vegetable oil consumption went up, ghee consumption went down. “The advertising would really shake you up,” he said. “The urban and Western exposed population began looking down on traditional oils and using the vegetable oil.”

With time, the neutral flavour of refined vegetable oil became the norm – and ghee the exception.

“The whole fat conversation from the 1980s onwards was out to make saturated fats [the villain] – fortunately, we understand the fat and cholesterol space better now,” said celebrity chef Ranveer Brar, an author, restaurateur and MasterChef India judge.

While experts still advise against a high-fat diet, some have begun to mellow their stance on the overall risks of saturated fat. And thanks partly to the high fat keto diet craze, ghee’s popularity has soared in countries like the US.

However, the West’s newfound interest in ghee may be somewhat misguided. For one thing, much is made of ghee’s high smoke point, which passionate advocates extoll for its ability to withstand higher temperatures than butter. But according to Brar, the objective of cooking with ghee “isn’t to get to smoking temperature in the first place; [it’s] just to a point of extracting the flavours.”

Furthermore, in India, ghee is not consumed in copious amounts for a quick-fix or to help stick to lower carb macros (due to the fat’s satiating effect). Instead, the traditional approach to ghee is one of moderation, harmony and grace. Here, the pale yellow, crumbly fat isn’t just blitzed into coffee; it stars as a final touch to dishes, moving slowly as small dollops of it are transformed by heat into a molten gold liquid, settling into every mouthful.

So how is ghee best used? Brar recommends using ghee with lentils or in dishes with pronounced lactic notes, such as yoghourt-based curries, like korma. “Start with a light smear on your soups in winter, on your pita or flatbread. [Then] you can use it for marinating and tempering. [Eventually], it becomes an essential part of the [overall] bouquet that you inhale,” Brar said.

Chef Manish Mehrotra, culinary director of Indian Accent restaurants and part of the Old World Hospitality group for the past 22 years, said it was important to him when setting a menu to include recipes paying homage to the unique flavour of ghee. He is confident the world is coming to understand his country’s cuisine and recognise its “authentic” tastes. One of Mehrotra’s signature dishes is ghee roast mutton boti (savoury chunks of flavourful meat), “The ghee imparts this smoky-sweet flavour. It’s one of our best-sellers,” he said.

Chef Nikita Rao of Mumbai’s Ekaa restaurant believes in celebrating the distinctive nature of each ingredient. “It’s ingredient-driven fine-dining,” she said. With such concerted focus on the food itself, she explained how the ethos behind using ghee in a recipe is allowing it to assimilate and let other components sing. Her Morning Glory salad with tamarind dressing, for instance, is topped with homemade creme fraiche and a tempering of ghee, curry leaves and fiery resham patti chillies. “The tempering is less than 10% of the entire salad, but people absolutely love it, and buffalo ghee complements the entire dish.”

Ultimately, understanding ghee means understanding a collective Indian identity, an approach to food that is cohesive, holistic and balanced – and one where ghee isn’t a piecemeal part or overpowering presence. And when ghee is understood for its true essence, good things are sure to follow.

Brar always has ghee within arm’s distance of his stovetop. As he said, “I’ve grown up with my grandma’s chunni [scarf or stole] and the whole house smelling of ghee. When I reach for ghee, I’m searching for more than just a fat. I’m reaching out for my childhood.” – BBC

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What you feel best is the best look for you

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Realistically, yes – ageing and style changes can go hand in hand, but this doesn’t have to always be the case, as fashion was – after all – made to cater to everybody. To simply believe that anyone can dress the way they wish regardless of age isn’t enough, as this is yet to become a widespread belief in the industry. Certainly, fashion styles change over the years. And we do too. But does our individual fashion style really change all that much? It’s a question worth asking, especially now that we are being released from the most extreme restrictions of the pandemic and want to ditch our sweats to step out into the world.

There’s a misconception that ageing and fashion don’t go well together: that as we get older, somehow all our interest in looking and feeling our best disappears. Well, it doesn’t. While our tastes may change over time – at least, they do for many of us –, the fun and creativity of fashion and the importance of self-care never goes out of style.

However, there’s no denying that we do look different as we get older. As a result, many people fall out of love with fashion simply because they don’t know how to best dress for their changing features. Not only that but for years, older people were neglected by the fashion industry. Thankfully, designers and high street brands are finally waking up to the fact that people of all ages are interested in having a beautiful wardrobe at their disposal that is truly tailored to their tastes.

That last point is really important because our list of style tips is only intended as suggestions. After all, clothes should be about having fun and feeling good. Ultimately, whatever you feel best in is the best look for you, no matter what your age. With that said, here are some tips you may find useful when it comes to dressing for any season.

Buy clothes that work together

One of the main mistakes anyone can make when buying clothes is purchasing them as individual pieces rather than considering whether they go together. This means we often have an overwhelming amount of nice separate pieces but a complete lack of cohesive outfits.

When you’re shopping, it’s vital to asses not just how much you like an item of clothing but also how well it will go with your other pieces. There are several ways of doing this effectively. One way is to buy an entire outfit at a time. Alternatively, you can shop with your existing wardrobe in mind and find pieces that match with it. Another method is to pick quite neutral clothes which you can then spruce up with more statement items, such as jewellery or jackets. This really allows you to be creative and keeps things simple.

Most of us have probably been guilty of this from one time or another. Over the years, you end up accumulating a small mountain of clothes: none of which goes together, and none of it being particularly exciting. This is even more likely as we get older and that mountain gets bigger and bigger and bigger.

Imagine if you took all the time and money you have spent on clothes you didn’t really want and instead only bought pieces that you feel really great in. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend more on clothes – in fact, being pickier with your purchases should end up costing you a lot less overall. It does mean though that we’re suggesting you give a lot more weight to what gets in your closet. View it as an exclusive club: not just any garment can get in.

Don’t be afraid to give unwanted clothes away

Remember that overflowing closet we mentioned? Well, if that sounds like yours, then it’s time to part ways with some of your unloved clothing. Not only are those neglected items taking up vital space in your soon-to-be very exclusive wardrobe, but it also could be something that someone else would wear and enjoy. On top of that, decluttering is a great way of getting everything organised, which can make choosing what to wear so much easier.

When you put on a new piece of clothing, consider how it will feel to wear over the course of a whole day. At times, what we think is tolerably comfortable for five minutes in a changing room might not be as comfy over the course of several hours.

Comfort is often ignored in the fashion world, but the fact remains that it is a very important factor. While designers might only care about looks over the practicality, it’s ultimately you who has to bear the burden of the latter. So, shop with comfort in mind to make sure you can enjoy your day and look amazing while doing it.

A lot of people are put off by the image that the fashion world tends to present. It’s actually quite funny when you think about it, because they don’t always make themselves look good. It’s an industry that can come across as only being worth bothering about if you fit certain demographics and as a result, older people can feel like they aren’t welcome to the party.

However, that is changing and it’s important to remember that fashion is all about how it makes you feel. Getting older doesn’t mean you have to miss out on enjoyable and meaningful activities. So, be creative, wear whatever makes you happy, and yes, have fun with it.Society is changing, and so, as a result, is the world of fashion. For decades, there have been strict sartorial boxes to tick, dictated by your body type, gender and age. But the rule book has been thrown out the window, in a bid to reflect the current demographic.

Genderless fashion—whereby the lines between masculine and feminine fashion have been blurred—has been widely embraced both by designers and the high street

So too, has size-inclusive clothing, though this has yet to be broadly reflected on the catwalk. And yet another big change is happening, one which the Business of Fashion has aptly named “greynnaissance.”For a long time, women have been expected to fade away into the background once they’ve reached “a certain age,” usually 40, in which they are suddenly deemed undesirable by society. And thus they aged out of mainstream fashion, forcibly steered away from trend-led pieces, towards more sensible knitted two-pieces. It was no surprise that as a result, many women suffered from the so-called “invisible woman syndrome.”

Over the last four or five years, there has been an industry-wide shift towards including women of all ages. Designers who have long prioritised millennials and Generation Z are turning to baby boomers to model their clothes, both on the catwalk and in advertising campaigns—no doubt recognising the influence and spending power of a neglected clientele.

Healthy aging encompasses more than just physical health and wellness. Focusing on purpose, connectedness, security, and autonomy are also important for quality of life. These areas of quality of life can contribute to a positive aging experience. However, there may be various factors that can become barriers for people to have positive views on aging.

Ageism

Ageism, or stereotyping and discrimination of individuals based on their age, can negatively affect physical and mental health and wellbeing, affecting overall mortality Ageism and negative views towards aging are associated with poor cardiovascular health (heart disease, heart attacks, etc.), declining physical function, and Alzheimer’s disease. Alternatively, those with positive views on aging are at lower risk for cardiovascular events, have a greater likelihood of recovery from disability, and perform better on memory tests

Some ways to have a positive outlook on aging include participating in activities you enjoy. This can include maintaining an active lifestyle, staying socially connected, learning something new, and being involved in the community ( the form a hobby or volunteer activity that is interesting, fulfilling, and utilizes special skills, knowledge, and/or experience can help promote a healthy lifestyle .

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Maris Stella celebrate its 100 years anniversary

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The Old Boys Association of Maris Stella College,Negombo, will present ‘Maris Fantasies’ at Suriya Resort, on Nov. 26, at 7.30 pm, to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the College. The bands Black and Cold Sweat will provide the music,while Faizal Bongso will handle the evening’s proceedings.

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