There is no other way to say this, but use a cliché. ForbesLife India is different. As we did with Forbes India, we did not benchmark ourselves by any of the existing players in the market, choosing instead to create, for better or for worse, a niche all our own.
We built ForbesLife India on the back of a fairly simple premise. We live in breathless times. It may seem counter-intuitive, therefore, to attempt something that slows the pace down. But, as Thomas Davenport wrote in Forbes India’s anniversary issue last year: “What the world needs now is deliberation, sweet deliberation.” It is a thought that found resonance with a lot of readers when the essay was first published, and it stayed with us. Taking this from light fancy to the solid block of — very high quality! — paper used in this magazine meant a couple of things.
The physical form, in terms of heft, size and quality of paper used in this production, is distinct from anything else you may have experienced until now. We believe this is the first in a series of reasons why you may want to preserve this lavishly produced book, as opposed to read-and-discard magazines. It is also the reason why we chose to bring in a design firm that, until this experiment, had no experience with magazine design. The outcome, I think, is avant-garde.
But timelessness isn’t about form alone. If we are to earn a place on your bookshelf, it will be as much — in fact more — about offering you a carefully curated selection of the finest our world has to offer.
To go about that in as structured a manner as possible, we split the book into four parts: Think, Live, Work and Play. They’re simple, self-explanatory words, and they gave us a set of lenses with which to view the world we live in.
Allow me a few moments to take you through some themes we intend to explore on these pages.
This edition starts with a path-breaking visual story by the celebrated graphic novelist Amruta Patil, on urban living. We think the graphic story is a narrative technique that hasn’t been explored enough by periodicals. We intend to start subsequent editions with artist-writers as accomplished as Amruta, who will challenge the boundaries of your mind.
We spend a good part of our waking lives in the pursuit of happiness. It made sense, therefore, to devote a few pages in every edition to explore the theme, to search for the ingredients of a happy life. We feel privileged to begin our quest with Asha Bhosle, one of the happiest people most of us have heard of.
I don’t know of a single human being who doesn’t like to stand and stare at beautiful people. That is why we thought it a good idea to ask photographers from across the world to capture notions of beauty in places they are intimately familiar with and we know little about. Our first outing is to war-ravaged Kabul.
Then there are the Curators of Interestingness, as we like to call them. You will find their voices in various parts of the magazine, sifting through ideas, experiences and things to give you the finest there is to be found. Not, mind you, the most extravagant or the blingiest or the most exclusive; this is about things that we believe you need a fine mind to appreciate, and no amount of money can buy you that.
From the 20-year-old archives of ForbesLife, we’ve picked a few stunners. My personal favourite is George Bush, the 41st President of the United States, writing at length on what it is like inside that presidential perk, Air Force One. Think of it as the ultimate insider account of a journey most of us would not otherwise have access to.
And, finally, there is our cover story, Dr. Vikram Sheel Kumar’s jaw-dropping personal account of his quest to live to be at least 120 years of age. The doctor, who trained at Harvard and MIT and serves as consulting editor to ForbesLife India, has finally convinced me to clean up my lifestyle.
Here's presenting a small sampler. Beyond the pages you’re about to read, there is a whole lot more. An eclectic collection of stories that we hope will satisfy your soul and stimulate your mind. That will bring you back for more. Which you will get, less than three months from now.
Meanwhile, your feedback will be deeply appreciated.