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A note on the issue: A toast to books and Delhi’s bars

Entrepreneurship and innovation are the main theme of the cover story, which raises a toast to Delhi’s discovery of cocktails

Sidecar in Delhi
Sidecar in Delhi (Pradeep Gaur)

The first time I met Gautam Padmanabhan, years ago in Chennai, he was busy preparing for the then legendary Landmark Quiz. He and fellow quizmaster Navin Jayakumar had been running the quiz for more than a decade and he was “very excited about the technology” they had introduced to turn what had been the domain of geeks into an annual event that drew a full house. He remains as soft-spoken, almost diffident, in nature as he was then but the trajectory of his career proves he’s anything but. 

Padmanabhan has taken his publishing business through four iterations—as a standalone distributor and publisher, as a subsidiary of the Tata group, becoming part of Amazon and then being shut down, and now, joining forces with Bengaluru-based digital storytelling startup Pratilipi to experiment with multimedia storytelling—and he tells Lounge what it takes to keep changing track in the book business.

Also read: Westland's Gautam Padmanabhan: The comeback man

Another small yet significant Indian brand that has evolved and grown is Kerala’s famous Paragon chain of restaurants. Its head, Sumesh Govind, tells us how he built the family business into one that recently made it to the World’s Most Legendary Restaurants list. Entrepreneurship and innovation are also the main theme of our cover story, which raises a toast to Delhi’s discovery of cocktails. 

In the city of car-o-bars—or drinking hard liquor while clustered around the trunk of a car—creative mixologists and entrepreneurial bar owners have come together to turn Delhi into the country’s cocktail hub. India is slowly evolving from a country that downed hard spirits to one that wants to experiment with tastes and flavours, as is evidenced by the cocktail culture catching on even in smaller cities such as Pune. 

But it is in Delhi and neighbouring Gurugram that a thriving ecosystem for bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts has sprung up. Our story also doubles as a great guide to the places you must visit in Delhi. And if that’s not enough, take a look at our lists of shows and films to watch, books to read and gadgets to buy. 

Write to the Lounge editor at

She tweets @shalinimb

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