Why not consider bewildering Bollywood based giveaways as Diwali gifts?

If you are keen on incorporating glitz n glamour to your gaudy gift, why not try out brash Bollywood themes. If you do not know how, this is something just for you. Here is a young designer who will do the job for you…

Dazzling designer Nida Mahmood, who admittedly has been a hardcore Hindi movie buff, would always dream of cute little things that we could see only on screen. That set her thinking how those gorgeous elements, which light up a film set, could be incorporated in one’s daily life. She mulled over the idea and integrated with the concept of gifting. 

The unique blend has given rise to a venture called as New India Bioscope. She has set it up with her friend Raul Chandra. It has just been over a month ago and the idea has clicked. She has already been chosen to refurbish the Art Deco Theatre in New Delhi, Nida is also going work for a Hollywood production, designing the outfits.

Spice and variety is the essence of her eccentric gift offerings.  These are no ordinary items. As you would realize, the techni-color fun has subtly spilled over onto ubiquitous objects from totes to keychains. She has added dramatic touch to them, terming it as an unadulterated Bollywood touch. There are captivating tea cups and other kitschy items like diaries, bags and home décor elements.

Prices might deter you, if not the concept itself! Price tag of a Gabbar chair will ring in your ears for days together. It is tagged at Rs 45,000. If you are looking for more affordable stuff, go for umbrellas with rain songs like ‘Pyar Hua’ and ‘Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si’ from the 90’s to those from the 50’s etched on them. These cost just about Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000. A ‘Don’ notebook is just worth a few hundred rupees, while Bollywood keychains come cheaper at Rs 100.

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Shankar Ehsaan Loy celebrate Diwali with a musical gift

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Diwali indicates the victory of good over evil. To spread cheer, love and light, we celebrate Diwali. The festival is celebrated with diyas, lanterns and rangolis. It is an occasion to share joy and happiness. This is why we give special gifts to enlighten their lives with love and affection.

Make sure your gift this Diwali makes the person happy – be it your boss, your employee, your colleague, or your family friend. You may wonder if dry fruits, chocolates and sweets are among the only options when it comes to gift-giving on Diwali eve.

Well, it’s time that you try to go beyond those traditional symbols associated with Diwali celebration and do something unconventional, even strike a musical note. Look what the magical musical trio Shankar Ehsaan Loy has come up with this festive season. The three have chosen to get ‘musically’ innovative in their very own way!

The ‘breathless’ singer, Shankar Mahadevan gifted his dear friend and colleague Ehsaan, a Sennheiser HD series headphone. The latter was overjoyed to receive the present For him, this was among the most treasured Diwali gifts. Shankar was quoted as saying, “Music invariably brings a smile to one’s face, so this Diwali we thought of spreading happiness with it!”

Sennheiser’s quality sound equipment offers crystal clear sound level with noise cancellation. Loy also opted for the same gift. Even Ehsaan was to surprise with an unusual gift to his family n friends. “I didn’t want to give something they would expect.” Indeed, a gift gets special when it comes as a pleasant surprise. It’s the perfect gesture and truly serves its purpose!

Spread happiness and smiles with musical gifts instead of just chocolates and sweets, is the message from the musical trio of Shankar Ehsaan Loy this Diwali. Tune in to the real joy of Diwali…

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What special do you gift on Diwali to those who almost have everything in life?

In its special Diwali gifting series, The Mint focused on families giving away some unique Diwali gifts for friends and relatives. Anindita Ghose in an essay made mention of such off-beat gifting ideas. 

“What do you gift those who almost have everything they might need?” the writer asked, referring to the Sharmas – Jyotsana and Arjun – who decided to buy potted basil plants in lemon, camphor and tulsi varieties as Diwali gifts.

Their festive gifting plans reflect the austerity debate. But for them it’s more a practical option since the two increasingly find extravagant gifting a pointless exercise. Jyotsana testifies to the undesirable phenomenon of gift recycling. One gift she would though, never pass on is an orchid a friend gifted her. Nurturing it has become an engaging experience, which is why she chose to the green gifting idea.

She approached a local herb store to source their plants from a wide range of medicinal and exotic herbs. The couple opted for basil for its sociological ties with Indian tradition. In fact, the family has almost done away with the whole concept of gifting since the last couple of years. Instead it donates to charitable foundation.

Diwali is an occasion that prompts more donations, which would go to each family member’s chosen charity. Arjun supports Chintan, an NGO that is part of Project Arman. His mother, a doctor by profession, manages a charitable dispensary. Wife Jyotsana supports two animal shelters. A foundation named after Arjun’s father funds a hospital, temple and school in their native village. Every year, the dotting donors throw a party for the rag picking children after Diwali.

Instead of lavish gifting, the family tries to revive the tradition of get-togethers to strengthen the bonds of love. The message here is that, you can celebrate Diwali not just by splurging, but also by donating to charities, and going green. 

Have money, will spend, is the mantra for many this Diwali

It’s the ultimate festive time of the year when the wealthy and even the not-so-privileged open their purse. Diwali nights are lit up by Cartier blinkers and the air is filled with swish of satin fills. Elaborate card sessions, dazzling diyas, and crackers are the flavor of the season.

The party circuit perks up irrespective of economic conditions and recession. Every host wants to exude splendor. The venue resembles literally ‘mini-wedding’ scene. The food is served on shiny silver plates, and the gifts are hand-painted for that personalized touch. Invites with glittering gold-embossed logos are sent with beautiful boxes of choco-truffles. The guests are treated to an era and aura of royalty.

From designer kaftans to gazebos by the poolside, the pomp and extravagance reaches its crescendo. A touch of flamboyance is evident in everything in Diwali from designer playing cards to handcrafted boxes filled with pearl chocolates and edible diamond. This is the occasion when everybody who matters tries to ‘make a statement’. Baskets of imported Belgium chocolates, rare honey, gourmet snacks, and oysters for gifts are imported. The jazzier the offering, the better…

In gifting, giving and partying during Diwali, signature style is considered important as it is expected to reflect one’s personality. Those with exquisite taste and money in their pockets do things in a real classy way. There are Diwali melas that offer unusual stuff including Baklavas and Swarovski-studded candles.

Amidst all the ostentatious display and pomp, there are few who harp on tradition with old world décor and authentic Indian cuisine. For them celebrating Diwali is about reviving the spirit of Indian-ness. The hosts hence try to keep everything from the food and flowers to gifts traditional. On the other hand, glitzy glitterati gifts could comprise anything from a custom-made Louis Vuitton bag to a Cartier watch.

Have money, will spend, is the mantra this Diwali!

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What gifts did Salman and Aamir give to Kareena?

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Salman and Aamir, the two Khan, have been generous to Kareena Kapoor. First about Aamir,..Kareena Kapoor always had a desire to do a movie with Aamir Khan. When it happened finally with Rajkumar Hirani’s production 3 Idiots, her joy knew no bounds. She though had never wanted to forgo her birthday bash not once but twice!

During Kareena’s last birthday, the 3 Idiots unit was doing a shoot in Ladakh. Bebo was very much part of it. And this year, around the same time, the final schedule of the movie was all set to start. Kareena’s birthday was just round the corner. Being a hardcore professional, not even once did she raise a hue and cry over it. In fact, it was the glamour media that made all the noise. This time, though the starlet was to receive a pleasant surprise.

Aamir himself stepped in and presented Kareena with a lovely birthday ‘gift’ – a break. If reports are to be believed, the actor personally requested Rajkumar Hirani to postpone the shoot so that Bebo was able to enjoy her birthday celebrations with her loved ones (No prizes to guess, who.)

Summing up the gesture, a news report stated: “Kareena couldn’t have probably received a better gift than the one Aamir gave her this year on her birthday.”

Salman Khan was even more generous; he gifted Kareena a Dolce & Gabbana bag (hold your breath) worth Rs 2.5 lakh, while the two were shooting in Australia for ‘Main Aur Mrs Khanna’.

A source was quoted as saying, “Salman accompanied Kareena on shopping one evening. She loved a Dolce & Gabbana handbag. When she was to pay up for it, she was told that it was already paid for. Salman had paid for it…”

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Gift Yoga books, VCDs and cassettes

In the previous post, we suggested options for gym membership as an offbeat but highly effective mode to build a ‘healthy’ bond with friends and colleagues who really matter to you and to whom exercise matters owing to their hectic and stressed lifestyle.

You can help them in their quest to maintain themselves that much more with a ‘healthy’ gift. In this post, we shall consider an interesting Yoga-related gift idea. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is indeed a fine body of work.

In a short but sweet compilation, the magical personality offered insight into basic tenets of mysticism and various methods for experiencing altered states of consciousness; setting on a path to absoluteness.

Their website states: “Yoga stimulates the parasympathetic system and thus works against stress. Regular relaxation exercises help in developing the witness attitude and help one, to distance oneself from the apparent causes of stress.

Patanjali yoga, if carried out, true to its original spirit as mentioned in the yoga sutras, can truly calm you in body and mind. Right since 1918, the renowned Yoga Institute in the city of Mumbai (located in the serene suburbs of Santa Cruz) has been disseminating disciplined and graded lessons on

Yoga and has been publishing them in pocket editions. These act as a guide on Yoga and meditation practices. There are popular publications such as the ‘Yoga Asanas Simplified’.

It offers a perfect course of Yoga tenets for daily practice. The books, written by authorities like Shri Yogendra, have given a contemporary touch to the ancient science of Yoga.

The valuable offerings like books, VCDs and cassettes at the Yoga Institute present a balanced course of Yoga and techniques of rhythmic breathing during yoga. You can get books, VCDs and cassettes at the Yoga Institute, which make a timely gift under the circumstances.

A fitness-friendly gift

In a blog post, titled ‘Take a cue from Rani Mukerji for a fitness-friendly gift’ published in January 2009, Giftex had noted how the actor looked slimmer in a ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’ song sequence.

The blog mentioned: “She indeed has lost about three kilos. This is because she is religiously and regularly sweating it out in the gym six days a week for over an hour. Media reports also suggest that she does at least three days of weight training followed by three days of yoga to burn fat.

Working out is not the only thing that she is doing to get a leaner body. Also on her agenda is diet control,” the Giftex post mentioned. She has gone a step further, and lost several inches around her bulging waist, as we informed in last week’s post.

Payal Gidwani, her trainer, has been famous for another popular Bollywood start Kareena Kapoor’s size zero look in Tashan. When she began teaching her yoga, it was not easy. She had hardly any stamina and she would often develop get cramps owing to problems with her nerves.

Payal then conceived a special regime for her comprising an hour and 15 minutes of yoga plus 45 minutes of walking. Slowly, it started showing desired results. The key, of course, is to diligently stick to your schedule. In fact, Rani now very much enjoys yoga. If Rani can, why not you and your near and dear ones?

We suggest you may gift books on healthy eating or low-fat food recipes to them. They would sure like to take a cue from their favorite Bollywood star. You can instill that extra awareness about fitness and importance of regular exercising with such a meaningful gift. You can well consider gifting a gym membership. Isn’t it a genuine gesture of care and love?

Seek inspiration from Rani Mukerji, ‘gift’ a healthy way of life

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If you are wondering how Bollywood starlet Rani Mukerji managed to shed all those extra kilos and unwanted flab before facing the camera for her latest film ‘Dil Bole Hadippa’, the answer is regular yoga practice.

Apart from following a meticulously planned weight training module, she attended yoga sessions, which appear to have done the trick. It took the actress, according to industry sources, almost close to a year to do away with those extra 10 kg, which made her body look a little inflated in front of the camera.

Determined to lost weight in a systematic and natural way, Rani Mukerji approached a team of yoga and fitness experts to get herself a slimmer look. She had hired yoga teacher Payal Gidwani and fitness instructor Satyajit Churasia for ensuring a new slim, trim look.

Satyajit Chaurasia incidentally is the celebrity trainer, the brain behind Aamir Khan’s starting six-pack figure in super hit flick Ghajini. He was quoted as saying, ” It was in April (2008) that Rani (Mukerji) decided to tone up and lose the flab though she has been working out for a long time (with me).”

The duo chalked out a meticulous combination of cardio plus weight training. According to a news report, Rani Mukerji does weight training for half an hour and walks on the treadmill for exact 45 minutes five days a week. She underwent rigorous workout sessions as well, doing 300-500 stomach crunches and stretching exercises daily.

Why not seek inspiration from her, and ‘present’ your special friend or office colleague a healthy way of life. You may join them in the endeavor of trimming that extra flab and getting fit.

What are those offbeat but highly useful gift options, you sure would like to know! Await our next blog post to know more about them…

Gifts in kind to be treated as part of your taxable income from today

If your friend, relative or any other close family member had promised to present you a dazzling diamond studded wrist watch or a beautiful golden necklace worth Rs 3 lakh, it is going to cost you as well. Starting from today, the receipt of gifts in kind are going to be treated as part of your taxable income from now on.

The changes have been effected as per the revamped provisions of Section 56(2)( vii) that are introduced by the Finance Act, 2009. They are effective from today.  If you belong to the top tax-bracket of 30.9%, a gift of value mentioned above will draw straight income-tax of Rs 92,700.
Only gifts of any sum of money (and not those in kind) beyond the prescribed limit of Rs 50,000 currently are taxed in the hands of the HUF or recipient individual as income. This is subject to specified exceptions like receipts from relatives and also on the occasion of marriage or those given under a will.

Eight specified properties, comprising land and building, jewelry, shares and securities, archaeological collections, sculptures, drawings, paintings and any piece of art, that is received by an individual or HUF, either by way of gifting or for a purchase consideration treated by the assessing officer as not adequate enough, the market value of these gifts or the differential value worked out of such purchase (if it exceeds Rs 50,000) will be deemed as income from other sources.

A statement from CBDT stated: “The I-T Act 1961 has been amended to provide that any gift-in-kind will become taxable in the hands of the donor, being an individual or a Hindu undivided family (HUF), as income from other sources.” Receipt of any such gifts on or will mandatorily attract tax due on the value of the gift. The recipient will need to disclose their taxable value in the return of income from assessment year 2010-11 onwards. According to CBDT, certain categories are exempted from paying taxes.

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