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Classic Joke 2

11 Oct

Why do men chase women they have no intention of marrying?
For the same reason dogs chase cars they have no intention of driving.

Japanese Tourist (07-28-00)

A Japanese tourist hail a taxi at Orchard Road and asked the taxi-driver to send him to Changi Airport. On the way, a car zoomed by, the Japanese tourist responded,”Ohhhhhhh !!!! TOYOTA !!!! Made in Japan !!!! Very fast !!!!!”.

Then another car zipped by, he said,”Ohhhhhhh !!!! NISSAN !!!!! Made in Japan !!! Very fast !!!!!”

And another speed by, he said,”Ohhhhhhhh !!!! Mitsubishi !!!! Made in Japan!!!! Very fast!!!!!”

At the meantime, the taxi-driver is getting very frustrated and sick of the Japanese tourist.

Upon reaching Changi Airport, he said ” please!” The Japanese tourist was shocked and argued,”Why so expensive? it’s only a short distance” in which the Taxi-driver replied,”Ohhhhhhhh !!!!! Taxi-meter !!!!! Made in Japan !!!!! Very fast!!!

What is a Cat (07-08-00)

1) Cats do what they want.

2) They rarely listen to you.

3) They’re totally unpredictable.

4) They whine when they are not happy.

5) When you want to play, they want to be alone.

6) When you want to be alone, they want to play.

7) They expect you to cater for their every whim.

They’re moody.

9) They leave hair everywhere.

10) They drive you nuts and cost an arm and a leg.

Conclusion: Cats are tiny little women in cheap fur coats.

Top 10 reasons why TV is better than WWW (07-06-00)

10. It doesn’t take minutes to build the picture when you change TV channels.

9. When was the last time you tuned in to “Melrose Place” and got a “Not Found 404” message?

8. There are fewer grating color schemes on TV — even on MTV.

7. The family never argues over which Web site to visit this evening.

6. A remote control has fewer buttons than a keyboard.

5. Even the worst TV shows never excuse themselves with an “Under Construction” sign.

4. Seinfeld never slows down when a lot of people tune in.

3. You just can’t find those cool Health Rider infomercials on the Web.

2. Set-top boxes don’t beep and whine when you hook up to HBO.

….and the number 1 reason TV is better than the Web:

You can’t surf the Web from a couch with a beer in one hand and Doritos in the other.

Men are like (07-14-00)

Men are like…..Coffee. The best ones are rich, warm, full-bodied, and can keep you up all night long.
Men are like…..Chocolate Bars. Sweet, smooth, and they usually head right for your hips.
Men are like…..Blenders. You need one, but you’re not quite sure why.
Men are like…..Coolers. Load them with beer and you can take them anywhere.
Men are like…..Copiers. You need them for reproduction, but that’s about it.
Men are like…..Curling irons. They’re always hot, and they’re always in your hair.
Men are like…..Government bonds. They take so long to mature.
Men are like…..High heels. They’re easy to walk on once you get the hang of it.
Men are like…..Horoscopes. They always tell you what to do and are usually wrong.
Men are like…..Lava lamps. Fun to look at, but not all that bright.
Men are like…..Laxatives. They irritate the poop out of you.
Men are like…..Mascara. They usually run at the first sign of emotion.
Men are like…..Mini skirts. If you’re not careful, they’ll creep up your legs.
Men are like…..Noodles. They’re always in hot water, they lack taste, and they need dough.
Men are like…..Plungers. They spend most of their lives in a hardware store or the bathroom.
Men are like…..Popcorn. They satisfy you, but only for a little while.
Men are like…..Place mats. They only show up when there’s food on the table.
Men are like…..Used Cars. Both are easy-to-get, cheap, and unreliable.
Men are like…..Weather. Nothing can be done to change either one of them.

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Powers Of Darkness

17 Aug

Powers of darkness
 

Skulls, bones, incantations, spells, magical powders, chicken, lime… These are ingredients for magic with a sinister connotation. Something lies just beyond that closed door, beyond the physical world we know, understand and live in.

In each society and civilisation, feared and revered, shamans, priests, tantriks and witches have all claimed contact to the spirit world. Good they might do, but in essence, black magic has been a tale of practicing evil – an apparent reflection of the dark side that lurks within each human being. You might want to cast a spell on a lover, or ruin a rival’s business, or settle scores.

Sounderajan Swamigal of Chennai has been practicing Siddhi since he was eight. He reveals that one simply has to take the name of the rival, repeat his/her parents’ names and the date of birth and say what he wants to do to the person. Siddhas like him perform certain rituals to make the wish come true.

“Siddhis are intrinsic powers. The intentions are different for practicing Siddhi and black magic. The power that is worshipped is the same. When you offer milk, fruits, flowers and coconut to God and worship with devotion, it gets converted into positive prayer. When you worship the same God with liquor, fish and meat and with the intention of doing harm to someone, the power gets converted to negative energy,” Sounderajan says.

Which brings us to the distinction between Tantra and black magic. Delhi-based astrologer Pandit S.P. Tata says, “Tantra comes from the words Tanoti Trayate, which mean to expand our inner consciousness and bring about liberation and oneness with God. Just as there are certain decibels beyond our audible range, there are powers that only the spiritually evolved can perceive. Such people can easily learn about the future, cure illness, bless the childless with children etc.”

Where there are believers, there are also skeptics.

Sanal Edamaruku, president, Indian Rationalist organisation, dismisses all religious beliefs as baseless superstitions that exploit gullible people. He says, “It is not just simple villagers who give credence to black magic. Urban educated people do too. Turning to black magicians doesn’t get you out of the situation but you get more deeply entangled.”

Which actually sounds innocuous when compared to news reports of horrifying crimes in the name of witchcraft like ‘teacher sacrifices teen girl for son’, ‘a villager beheads and carries around the severed head of an elderly woman whom he believed to be a witch, little children killed in abstruse rites’ – these incidents justify Sanal’s concerns.

He has quite a task ahead of him, as believers in sorcery are from pretty much everywhere. For instance, Shahid Afridi shocked some, when he confided to a close few that his poor performance on field is due to a black magic spell.

Film choreographer Saroj Khan told a Mumbai-based tabloid a few years ago that her family was reeling under the effects of black magic. “someone has done some jadu tona on me as a result of which I am undergoing problems,” Saroj reportedly said then. When asked now, she did a volte-face. “Where did you hear this story? I have never suffered due to black magic, neither do I believe in it.”

The deep sway that sorcery holds on people is often reflected in films. Ram Gopal Varma’s latest film, Phoonk is based on black magic.

Says Varma, “I am not a staunch believer in God. But a few incidents occurred around me that compelled me to seek explanations. A few years ago, we had a guest with a kid. My mom and sister told me that this kid has been empowered with the force of some baba and whatever he writes happens to be correct. I do not believe in any such powers but others do. Being a storyteller I am attracted to this subject.”

Students of the occult have complicated rituals that have to be religiously practiced for years before they can lay any claim to success. Tantriks worship Shiva and Shakti, with specific rules for abstinence, offerings, mantras and homams. Says Pandit Tata, “Shiva as Dakshinamurthy was the original tantrik, and Sri Chakra is the king of tantra. Patanjali’s Yog Shastras, Atharvaveda and many other ancient scriptures contain details of tantrik worship, which are meant to be positive.”

Kerala actually has a school that teaches Tantra, the only one of its kind. The state is also home to the belief in Kutty Chatan – a demi-god who is often turned to for malignant intents. Krishna Kumar is the head of a family near Calicut that has worshipped the deity for generations. Firmly asserting that they have never entertained any malicious requests, Krishna says, “Kutty Chatan is like a family God and is actually a manifestation of Durga Devi. Sage Parasurama gave the mantra to my ancestors, and we are one of the few families of Kerala worshipping him ritually.”

The mantra is given only to male members of this vegetarian Brahmin Namboodri family. “We chant it everyday and should have the will power to withstand the power. People come to us with a lot of requests for success in business, marriage, children and lawsuits. However, the family’s motto is to use the power only for good.”

All believers of voodoo, witchcraft, tantra, straddle the grey areas between good and evil, the physical and metaphysical, the living and the dead. They worship Satan, Kali, Hanuman, Durga, djinns and spirits of the dead. Startling similarities, in fact, can be found between what a tribal in Ghana might do and what an amil might do in a remote village in Pakistan. Each would use body fluids, hair or nails of the one to be harmed, make a rough doll using dough and straws to depict him or her, and chant incantations. The victim would often have no clue of the cause behind a sudden turn in his/her fate.

A housewife in Kolkata recounts such a tale. “I was 12 when a man fell in love with my sister. He resorted to black magic when she didn’t reciprocate.” Unwilling to be named, the lady adds, “I tasted the tainted food by mistake and then I had marks like blade cuts appearing on my body. My clothes would develop burns and tear on their own. We called a priest for help and the evil power threatened him too. Finally he was able to overpower the evil after all night prayers.”

Practices are bizarre, often macabre. It is not a faith for the faint. The Aghoris of Varanasi, for instance, are an ultra-secretive cult that eats half-burnt corpses from cremation grounds, in the belief that it will grant them longevity and supernatural powers. They lead lives not too different from the cavemen, for whom every sunrise and starlit night was a mystery fraught with danger.

Though we have unraveled most of what perplexed these cavemen, there are certain things that are meant to remain at the periphery of our perception. Perhaps it is just as well, for these are darknesses that we cannot fathom.

Are you a Victim?

Watch out for these symptoms

*ῠYou display a changed personality. * You feel depressed, angry and irritable. * Memory loss and temporary blackouts. * You dream of dead bodies, snakes and people who want to harm you. * You experience sudden chills, goose bumps and fatigue. *l Relationships suffer.

Spirit activities are believed to increase 2-3 days before the dark moon nights and the full moon nights. Check if your condition worsens then.

In tune with almighty
 

According to Indian philosophy, all art forms are somehow related with spirituality or have a connection with the Supreme. Legend says that music has an age-old association with all the established religions of the world, and for eons it has been looked upon as a tool to bridge the gap between deities and their devoted disciples.

So, can music really bring one closer to God? If so, then why isn’t everybody using it as an instrument to connect with the divine? Is playing a musical instrument or listening to one’s desired music enough to experience the Supreme, or is there a “rigid” process that one needs to follow to accomplish that goal? These are a few questions that pop up every time one talks about experiencing divinity through music. Elucidates Swami Ullasa from the Isha Foundation, “Yes, music can get one closer to a higher consciousness. We can use sound as a medium to create a meditative state of mind, it is the science of mantras and vibration. Satguru defines this whole existence as nadha brahma (meaning sound), which Einstein termed as energy through which one can experience a greater power within oneself.”

So, is there a definite process to utilise sound for higher consciousness? “There is definitely a process (might not be a rigid one) to attain nirvana through music. In terms of Indian classical music’s tradition, first of all you need to have a guru to help you attain that state. You can learn the mantras by yourself, but only a guru can transfer the right energy to you, and this applies to all the art forms, when learning is concerned,” says Sangeet Natak Academy awardee, santoor player Abhay Rustam Sopori.

Flipping through the pages of history, one will find that right from the days of the Sama Veda, music in the form of hymns and chants have been sung to please religious deities, and are considered sacred. Much has been written on the musical Riks of Sama Veda, and how music itself can bring forth the blessing that rites and rituals intend to bestow on one. Similarly, Sufi saints from time immemorial have been advocating for music as the ultimate medium to feel closer to the Almighty. So, is there a particular genre of music through which one can experience God? Answers Swamijii, “It can be any genre of music. One has to be open and receptive to experience the divine. In simple terms it is about one’s limit of involvement.”

Unlike musicians in other parts of the world, here many consider religion synonymous with music. One will find many Indian classical maestros referring to their gurus as God, and music as meditation. Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar was once quoted as saying, “In our culture we have so much of respect for musical instruments that they are like parts of God.” So, is Indian classical music the only genre through which one can attain religious wisdom? Answers Abhay, “In my opinion, I would say it’s about individual choice. Being a classical musician, I think Indian classical music is very meditative in nature. It has a kind of crescendo that can elevate the listener to a divine level, and help him feel delighted. However, it will vary from person to person depending on what kind of musical genre he thinks can offer him the right ambience and space to attain religious wisdom.” Swami Ullasa, however, gave an alternative view saying, “There are many different genres of music through which one can experience a divine level, but unlike other cultures, in India classical music is used as something more than just mere entertainment. It is more of a spiritual tool, its sound and vibrations are scientifically articulated and this makes it a meditative medium.”

If you know how to live a moment you can plan your life
 

The problem with the mind is, it starts living in the future. It starts thinking of beautiful golden days that are coming. That is not planning; it is daydreaming. I can understand planning, but remember, planning for the future is not equivalent to living in the future. Planning is a present moment activity. And the more you are present, the more you have clarity and transparency. Mind cannot exist in the present and when there is no mind there is clarity, and with this clarity you can see into the future; then something of immense importance will happen to you.

Postponing living, in the name of planning

You should live, not postpone. You should live the moment and while you are living the moment, you can visualise. It is not mental activity. You can visualise a better moment that is coming to you. You have lived this moment, you know you can go even deeper, you know you can rejoice more. And when the next moment is coming you immediately go deeper into it, more rejoicing, more playful.

And you have only one moment at a time. So if you know how to live one moment you can plan your whole life in that very living. But there is no need to plan for it, because in planning you will forget to live.

Live the future through the present

To the man who lives spontaneously two things happen: one, he never postpones; second, his future is lived through his present, through his experience of the present. Then planning is not a mind activity, but an expansion of consciousness, an understanding of life that goes on deepening every day more and more. And the deeper you are, the more beautiful, more human, more fulfilled will be your actions.

Your mind wants to know where the wind is blowing, because your mind has its own plans against existence. It wants the winds to blow towards the west and they are blowing towards the east. Then the mind is frustrated.

Be spontaneous like the weather vane

The man who is spontaneous, just like the weather vane – the weather vane never worries whether the wind is blowing south or north or east or west – wherever the wind is blowing the weather vane simply turns towards that side. It shows in what direction the wind is blowing. It has no resistance. It is absolutely free to move in any direction. It does not fight with the wind. It is absolutely spontaneous and never lives in the past, nor in the future. It simply represents the present.

Courtesy Osho International Foundation/www.osho.com

Tales of men and ghosts
 
By Veenu Sandal

The arguments of ghost critics and skeptics and the beliefs and activities of ghost believers and ghost-hunters were categorised in the last column. There are other groups too such as those who have an open mind about the existence or non-existence of ghosts. The starting point for this group seems to be the innumerable ghost stories that have been published down the years and told by word of mouth – surely they can’t all be fiction. Then there is the group of die-hard ghost believers who were once die-hard critics or skeptics and were converted by actual, first hand encounters with ghosts or ghostly happenings at haunted places or other very personal paranormal experiences. Most accounts of this last group appear to have enough substance to provide meaty answers to many of the questions raised by ghost critics and skeptics. The case of Ann Walker, for instance, is well-known, and I have written about it several times before, but since it is a documented case and most interesting, it is always worth repeating for new readers. It seems that late one night in 1681, a miller, James Graeme, of County Durham, England, was accosted by the hideous ghost of a young woman. She was drenched with blood and had five open wounds on her head. She told Graeme that her name was Anne Walker and that she had been murdered, with a pick axe, by one Mark Sharp acting on instruction from a relative of hers, also named Walker, by whom she was pregnant. She made it clear to Graeme that unless he gave the information to the local magistrate she would continue to haunt him.

Refusing to believe what he had experienced, Graeme did nothing. But after the apparition appeared, pleaded and threatened twice more, he went to the authorities with the grisly story. A pit identified by the ghost was searched, and Anne Walker’s body was found. Sharp and Walker were arrested, tried, found guilty and hanged. Anne’s spirit, thus avenged, did not appear again.

Then there is the case of the Ghost Bus (Frank Smyth, Ghosts and Poltergeists, p.60). “I was turning the corner and saw a bus tearing towards me,” the motorist testified before the police. “The lights of the top and bottom deck, and the headlights were full on but I could see no sign of crew or passengers. I yanked my steering wheel hard over, and mounted the pavement (sidewalk), scraping the roadside wall. The bus just vanished.” The motorist who made the report to the local authorities in North Kensington, London, in the mid 1930s may have been drunk, hallucinating, or dreaming at the wheel when he had the accident. But if he was, so were hundreds of other motorists who complained of being forced off the road by a phantom bus careening round the corner from St. Mark’s Road into Cambridge Gardens, near the Ladbroke Grove underground station. After one fatal accident, the local coroner took evidence of the apparition and discovered that dozens of local residents claimed to have seen the spectral double-decker.

In fact, there had been many ordinary accidents several of them fatal, at the notorious junction. Eventually the local council straightened the road there, and the accident rate was greatly reduced. Thereafter there were no more reports of the ghostly red bus.

There are other similar cases on record and in my travels into the interiors of India, I have been told about many instances when justice was dispensed due to the intervention or revelations made by a spirit. In several cases, panchayats, unaware of a crime, were made aware of it by the spirit of the person who had suffered, and taking note of the spirit’s testimony, carried out investigations on their own and were able to nail the culprits. In all such cases, the disclosures were made voluntarily by the spirits concerned.

To be continued

‘Failure brought me closer to God’
 

Maine apne irradon ke tootne se allah ko pehchana.” These words are the inspiration of my life. They taught me how to live with acceptance of things around me. And I have lived each word of this quote over the years. It all goes back to those days in 1987 when I started making Rumi.

The film was my dream, it still is. It all seemed so easy back then. I invested all that I could in the movie. Be it infrastructure, funds, music, craftsmanship, technicians and all that it takes to make an excellent film. We had to complete the movie in four sequences, two of which were already shot. The government supported us and everything was available for the movie’s release until 1989.

When we started shooting the other two sequences during that year only, serious problems clouded over Kashmir. The destiny of Kashmir changed, so did the fate of my movie. The government withdrew its support because of the conditions in Kashmir, and my life changed. It didn’t take me away from God, but brought me closer to him. I started believing in destiny.

It felt like everything you plan is not bound to result as you charted it. Suddenly, in that year, everything came crumbling down to pieces. Only a filmmaker would realise the pain. It was more than shattering for me. It felt as if in a fraction of seconds, life turned the other way round. All the support, by the government, and various other areas vanished. No one encouraged the idea of the movie anymore, just when we were half way through.

I have been very attached to Kashmir. I always found God in the silent beauty of the place and wanted to bring forward its plight in front of the world. I still believe that if the movie had been successfully completed, it would have created history in the Indian film industry. With each failure in my life, I came closer to God. I feel whatever God does, it’s always for the betterment of mankind. Even though the failure of not completing Rumi defeated me in a big way, it wasn’t the end. God gave me the courage to move on. This incident brought me close to Sufism and I feel blessed.

My tattoo is a mark of commitment
 

I DON’T believe love happens only once, you can fall in love more than once. It’s because as you grow, love means different things to you as a person. It’s not the same fluffy idea of romance that you once had as a 16-year-old when you grow up. The intensity of your love may vary, but you cherish all your loves equally because they mean a lot to you.

The idea is not to give up on love; no matter what stage of life you are in, and how many unsuccessful relationships you have been in. You never know when love can knock on your door again. And yes, I am talking from my experience because I found love with Bebo when I was least expecting it to happen. The funny thing is, I have worked with her in the past, but we never saw each other from a romantic point of view. So it hit me like a bolt from the unknown but I must admit, it’s been a pleasant surprise.

The sign of a good relationship is that it brings out the best in you, something that you probably don’t even know existed in you. Kareena is way too mature beyond her age, contrary to popular belief and perception. What’s great about her is that she constantly keeps me on my toes. There is not a single dull moment when Bebo’s around, she’s extremely motivating and pushes me to work harder. I think it’s her ambitious nature that is rubbing off on me now, because I have been guilty of being laidback in the past. But Bebo always wants the best and that sort of inspires me to give everything my best too. I always wanted to start my production company and grow in that respect, but Kareena, I have to admit, has been the charging force behind to an extent.

We’ve not had it easy in the initial phase of our relationship because of the constant speculation around us, and Bebo was very affected in that period. But we had to make peace with the fact that it’s a part of our profession and it has not only made us stronger but brought us closer. You know when you are facing a trial right at the onset, the rest seems like a cakewalk. Touchwood, it’s been smooth sailing and I have to really be grateful to have someone like Bebo in my life – she is very understanding and not overtly worried about my past.

We understand that we need to give each other space and take our individual needs into consideration. Bebo is at the peak of her career and things are only getting better for her. In such a scenario I only have to be supportive of her. We are very clear that we won’t let out professional and personal lives come together and she doesn’t have to be a part of all my productions. She doesn’t expect to or have time for them either.

There are no insecurities, professional or personal between us and we’d rather keep it that way. The only issue is, since we spend so much time apart shooting in different parts of the world, it becomes imperative that we make adjustments and take time off to be with each other. We have successfully managed that so far. And there’s no need to rush things. We aren’t thinking about marriage, but there is a sense of commitment from our sides.

Getting my tattoo was entirely my decision, and in a way it’s a mark of commitment, it’s something I wanted to do. But honestly, I don’t expect Bebo to do the same, because firstly I am aware of her feelings for me and I don’t want to be burdened with expectations because they can be spokes in the wheel. And why would I want that when it’s all smooth sailing now?

The big Brazilian adventure
 

Sitting in sociology class, I was wishing I could just meld into the furniture as the professor continued his lecture on Henry Ford (which isn’t the least bit interesting when it’s in Portuguese!). Just then the office secretary of my school, Col
gio Londrinense, walked in with the results of the Vestibular. The Vestibular is a test that every Brazilian has to take to get into college. This test is extremely difficult and passing it means you get to go to a public university, which is much better and free – the private ones are not as good and are also very expensive. The number of seats being extremely limited, it is considered great if one passes the Vestibular.

As the students waited with eager anticipation, it turned out that there was one lucky boy this time – Philippe. Only one from our class of 80. Exams and results are almost a part of everyday life for us Indian students, and success is celebrated by distributing sweets, or a party with close friends. But that is not enough when it comes to the Vestibular. Passing not only means a huge party to which probably your whole class, family and neighbourhood will have to be invited, but also a custom, the Trote – that I would never imagine to be a form of celebration – began in class.

Seeing my shocked expression, my classmates Luana and Guilhereme, explained what was happening. The Trote is a custom where if you are a guy who has been accepted at a public university, then your friends, as a sign of congratulations (a bit of jealousy at your good luck, I guess) get to shave your head there and then – wherever you may be at the time of your result.

They even go to the extent of autographing your scalp and creating artworks on your head. The girls though are spared such similar gestures of “affection”.

The next 20 minutes were total chaos. Poor Philippe’s head was being shaved by his friends in the worst possible fashion. The whole class was in splits. As for myself, I was speechless. We would never dream of doing that to someone in India if we wanted to be on speaking terms with that person ever again.

After all the noise had died down and everyone had returned to their places (and the “lucky boy” had disappeared into the men’s room), I looked up to see the professor was still very engrossed in giving his lecture to the few first-benchers who had not been able to escape into the madness behind. Had something like this taken place during a lecture back home, the professor would immediately stop his lecture and call for disciplinary action against the students. Or he would probably also have a seizure!

But this is Brazil. And as every Brazilian believes, a little “fun” never killed anybody.

I smiled – this is one sociology class I would never forget!

Suddenly single? Stages of overcoming a breakup
 

Litres of champagne, boxes of Lindt Chocolate and many a one night stand have been had in trying to overcome a break up. And no matter how many times people may tell you that “everything happens for a reason”, or that “there’s someone infinitely better around the corner” or that “you’ll meet someone else when you least expect it” (does this ever truly happen?), breaking up is never easy.

No matter how bad or toxic the union had become and no matter how much gumption it took to finally make the break, the prospect of never again being able to sleep with, speak to or confide in the other person is a gigantic shock to the system.

Ask someone that’s recently been separated or divorced and with gentle exasperation, they’ll tell you they’re “doing fine”, when you know all too well that underneath their facade, they’re crying out like an injured animal desperate to get back to their matrimonial cave quickly.

By the reckoning of authors Marni Kamins and Janice MacLeod of The Breakup Repair Kit (Canari Press), there are eight stages of a breakup which can affect the newly single. The authors also dictate that in order to move on from the whole ordeal and come out alive on the other side without too much baggage or resentment we need to let the stages simply run their course instead of battling against their elements.

So with the rising divorce rates, the prevalence of affairs and the toxic break ups abound, we proffer up to you the eight stages of a break up in hope you can identify what’s coming, where you’re at and know that you’re not alone but that if you ride it through, you will survive.

Stage 1: Shock: “Did this really happen?” Aside from the inevitable question of what the heck you’re going to do on Saturday night, let alone how you’re going to find a date to your cousin’s wedding or work out who is going to share the rent, the realisation that you’re alone again and have to traipse the single’s scene is enough to send anyone running for the Britney Spears’ loony bin. Thus instead of focusing on what was, why not go for what I like to call a jubilant “breakover”? It’s a makeover most common after a break up that sees a change in your hair colour (red signals you’re having a vibrant new sex life while blonde declares you’re out to have more fun); hit the gym and tone up (with a very real prospect of meeting your future soulmate on the treadmill) and treat yourself to an entire new wardrobe. Your new mantra? “Hello world, I’m back!”

Stage 2: Denial: “They still love me, right?” After the initial shock wears down and you’ve realised your breakover isn’t getting as noticed as you’d have liked, your head will start denying the break up. You start to torture yourself over what went wrong, conning yourself into believing that things can be resurrected if only you put in a little more effort and encouraging you to stalking your ex just in case they catch a glimpse of you and decide they’ve made the biggest mistake of their lives. In this stage, make sure to always wear dark glasses and a baseball cap when you’re out in public.

Stage 3: Fooling yourself: “I’m okay to be alone…, I think?” Just when you think you’re doing fine with the break up, authors Kamins and MacLeod tell us that our mind is actually playing tricks on us. In fact we’re not fine at all, but rather we’re numbing out the pain of losing the love of our lives. Apparently during this stage, a good long nap is the best remedy. Stage 4: Depression: “I’ll never meet anyone again” These are the first thoughts that will pop into your head during the stage of fear. Fear that you’ll wind up an old maid with a house filled with cats and a life of meaningless sex fills your mind as you go on one failed date after another.

Stage 5: Resentment: “Screw them!” Fears are suddenly transformed into anger as you blame your ex for everything from your weight gain to crappy job to not allowing you to follow your goals. Now is a good time to change your life around without having anyone to blame on the way.

Stage 6: Depression: “I want the world to swallow me whole” Sadness seeps in and suddenly you find yourself in a deep black hole that is only threatening to swallow you up with each day that passes. Keep a tub of ice cream on tap and go easy on the vodka. Drunken phone callsῠ to your ex aren’t going to bring them back.

Stage 7: Understanding: “Okay, so maybe I am better of without them” Finally you’re out of the black hole and into the zone of understanding that certain people come into your life at certain times to teach you important lessons and then it’s time to move on.

Stage 8: Regaining confidence: “I’m single and fabulous” Now you’re ready to accept the fact they weren’t “the one”, that there are other fish in the sea and that the world is your oyster filled with eligible singles all desperate to meet you. Get out there and start dating again and show the world how fabulous you are.

The writer is an author, columnist & dating expert (You can mail your responses toῠ asksambrett@gmail.com)

Nurturing my soul
 
By Ayush Maheshwari

In my last article I shared with you my own experience of how I was sexually abused as a child. It has been a tough rollercoaster ride since then.

I didn’t even realise I was being abused till my late teens. I knew something was going on but wasn’t sure what it was. Often the pain and damage follows later. When I was around 18 I started to realise that something in my life had really affected my self esteem. I was always willing to please, always checking if what I did was ‘good enough’, trying to get affirmation all the time.

A couple of years later I went to the US to study. A lot of my realisation happened during my college days. My first reaction was that I was wronged and that I am responsible for it. I hated myself for a long time. The question which kept coming to my mind was why did I allow myself to be victimised. I went through several relationships at that time and they were all very unstable. I would constantly doubt the guys I would date. I would always try to make sure that they ‘loved me’. This put way too much pressure on the relationships. I wanted to get to the root of the problem.

After doing a lot of research and reading on this issue I realised I have to ‘make a conscious decision’ to heal myself. I convinced myself to stop holding myself responsible for what had happened and stop referring to myself as a ‘victim’. My mom is a very understanding, unconditional supporter. I am very grateful to her for actually listening to me without asking too many questions and most importantly not judging me. It was tough for her too.

Also, I started to talk to a professional therapist. This was very difficult as well. You sit there in front of this third party and suddenly you have to talk to them without holding anything back. It took multiple sessions for me to actually get comfortable to even begin talking about it. However I knew it would help me and hence I kept going back. There were sessions where I would just stare at the wall and cry. Gradually I started talking to my therapist. Each session was like another step closer to a ‘stronger’ mind. Along with this I started a journey of falling in love with myself, to tell myself I am worthy of being loved, to tell myself I am thankful for the life I have.

Nothing changes over night. After years of adopting these techniques I feel I am at a much better place than I used to be. My professional and personal achievements reflect that. There are times when I feel upset and angry. It’s very human. But what is more human is to actually turn those negative thoughts into positive actions of nourishment.

You can email your experiences to ayush@bigindian.in

A guide to what’s new in the audio, video world
 
By Naresh Sadhwani and Deepak Jhangiani

DISH TV

Enabling, interacting and engaging the viewer is the name of the new game and the DTH channels are not far behind in introducing newer and more innovative services for their subscribers. Yes, the TV invades the most sacred and private spheres of your life, marriage.

Matrimonial services which were earlier the secured domain of pandits and community matchmakers soon became public domain by websites offering partner details in alluring colour. Some even introduced interactive chat platforms for prospective partners. Now coming to your comfortable sofas is this same service courtesy the two DTH providers, the Zee DISH TV and the Tata Sky Ltd DTH platforms.

DishTV is launching the interactive Shaadi Active in association with the matrimonial portal Shaadi.com. The new service boasts of a large inventory of profiles which can be viewed on your TV screens. There is even a search mechanism in place by which the subscriber can define the parameters of selection and search by the criteria of age, community, caste, profession and complexion. The trials are on and the service will soon be on air. Following suit is the Tata-Sky platform with their Active Matrimony launched in association with Bharatmatrimony.com. This service is expected to feature 1,000 new matrimonial listings every week and can be accessed on a 24×7 basis.

Questions of the week

What is the difference between a CD burner and CD writer?

Both are related phrases and both refer to a CD recorder. The CD recorder can record data on to your CD disc if the data recorded is a sound file. You can playback the recorded sound when played on your CD player. So also if it is a video file you can view the picture when played on your VCD player and if it is a data file you can read the data.

In the recording process the data is actually etched on to the disc with a laser. Hence the nomenclature of burner. Presently the term used for the same is CD writer. However, today the CD writer is practically obsolete and replaced by DVD writer, which can record both CDs and DVDs and are termed DVD writers.

Though I have recorded songs on my digital audio player it displays a message “no data” and I am unable to playback my music. What could be the problem?

All the digital players are software driven, and have to be formatted before you can use them. At times the software gets corrupted and players start malfunctioning.

If you reload the software, your problem could be solved. Use the Driver CD which comes along with the original package and reload the CD on to your player and your problem may be solved. Most digital equipment like cameras, printers come with their specifics driver CDs. It is always advisable to preserve these CDs since they are very useful when the software of your digital device gets corrupt and when you need to reload the software.

Readers are invited to email their queries/suggestions/comments to sadhwanis@vsnl.com

Animation industry gains steam
 

After the BPO, the Indian animation industry is going global as overseas giants like Cartoon Network, Warner Brothers and Turner Entertainment Network are flocking the country for budget-friendly, but world-class services. According to Nasscom reports, the country’s Rs 1,200 crore animation industry is set to grow to Rs 4,200 crore by 2009 with its revenues projected to double up to almost $1.5 billion by 2010. The industry is riding on two factors: low cost of production and talented labour. For example, the total cost for making a full-length animated film in the US is estimated to be $100 million to $175 million whereas in India, it is $15 million to $25 million.

According to Vineet Bakshi, head of graphics, News X, “The future is bright for the country’s animation industry. Apart from the cheap services, the talent that India offers interests the international firms. The advantage also lies in the fact that the country has specialised professionals for specific branches of animation.” As of today, the country has about 200 animation centres, 40 VFX and 35 game development studios and more workstations are expected to come up to make the best possible use of the potential that the industry has.

Filmmaker Ketan Mehta, who is at the helm of the Maya Academy of Animation Cinematics (MAAC), Mumbai, agrees that in spite of being in its infancy, the industry is growing tremendously. “India is taking a fast stride though the animation industry which is only about a decade old. Apart from producing an independent film, we at MAAC have several international projects in hand. We are also providing services to international television channels like BBC,” informs Mehta. Even Bollywood is quickly adopting the animation fad. The industry was recognised as a full-fledged genre after the first animation blockbuster Hanuman of Percept Picture Company and Sahara One. Encouraged by its huge success the company is geared for another epic titled Hanuman 2. The success of the animation movies has even lured the “masters of melodrama” Yash Raj Films to take up the international venture. Their much-awaited Roadside Romeo, produced in collaboration with Walt Disney is set for release in October. “Yash Raj has a first-of-its kind tie-up with Walt Disney to produce one animation film a year of which Roadside Romeo is the first one,” said a spokesperson of the Yash Raj Films. The film will feature the voices of Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, and is expected to be released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Since animation seems to be the order of the day, the superstar of South, Rajnikant’s big budget Sultan the Warrior, is being produced in collaboration with Adlabs. According to industry insiders, about other 80-90 animation releases are set for the next year.

“And as a career option, even those kids who have grown watching animations are taking it up as a serious profession. Going by the rate with which the industry is expanding, India will need 25,000 more professionals by the close of next year. The industry currently has only a little over 10,000 professionals working in this techno-creative field. Many aspirants are attracted towards it for the creative freedom that the industry offers,” says Mehta.

An extra affirmative change that the industry has witnessed is that several leading Indian animators working abroad have shifted their base back home. For instance, Chetan Deshmukh, who worked as an animator and special effect expert for the Hollywood films Chicago and Shanghai Knights, shifted from the US to Pune. Jesh Krishnamurthy, after working for 13 years with several leading animation companies abroad, returned to India to float his own company.

UK-based Turner Entertainment Network tied up with three Indian production houses – Miditech, Graphiti Multimedia and Famous Studios to produce local CG animated feature films and television series.

Walt Disney Studios collaborated with Yash Raj Films to produce a film annually.

Pritish Nandy Communications (PNC) has stuck a Rs 180 crore ($45 million) deal with DQ Entertainment (DQE), one of the world’s leading animation and gaming production companies, to co-develop and co-produce six animation movies over the next three to four years.

PNC had also signed a five-movie deal with Motion Pixel Corporation (MPC), a Florida-based animation company that has its animation studios, Estudio Flex, in Costa Rica.

MTV has added India to its outsourcing hub.

Love is spontaneous but one must maintain it
 

Kapoor scion Ranbir is getting into the sway of things in Bollywood with a bagful of films and a gorgeous girlfriend, Deepika Padukone, by his side. So how has the journey been so far?

“I’m confident but at the same time there is a little anxiety. It can get scary too because the expectations are so high, and if I fail, the fall will hurt even more. I am working very hard, hoping that people will appreciate my films. Give me a chance and not compare me to anyone, treat me as an individual. I have not tried to copy or mimic anyone so far. I am still learning,” says Ranbir.

Both his films, Saawariya and Bachna Ae Haseeno, have portrayed Ranbir as a romantic hero. Even his parents, Rishi Kapoor and Neetu, thrived on the image of a romantic pair in their heydays, but Ranbir doesn’t want to get typecast yet. “I do not want to stick to a particular genre. I am 25 years old and want to pick the best of whatever comes my way and suits my age. My parents were youth icons in their prime. They were very spontaneous actors and developed their own style. In today’s times, there are many successful romantic pairs. I am just two films old, it is too early for me to decide what kind of films I will be comfortable doing since I neither have the time nor inclination to sit down and analyse. However, I must say I am a great Rishi Kapoor fan. I would love to share some screen space with him,” he says.

Bachna Ae Haseeno is the first film that Ranbir and Deepika have done together, and is obviously special. “This film is special to both of us. Deepika and I fell in love during the shooting of the film in Sydney. We had a great time shooting together, away from the madding crowd. We got to know each other very well. It’s also the second film for both of us. I was a little nervous in the beginning because Deepika was already a big star thanks to the box office success of Om Shanti Om. But she was very helpful, supportive and made me comfortable,” he says, praising his lady love.

What’s his take on relationships in today’s scenario?

“I am part of today’s generation. I have also been in relationships; some of which worked, some did not. You just cannot forget them. They are a part of your life, and memories often linger in your heart. I value every relationship that I have had in the past. For me love is spontaneous – it just happens in a moment but one has to maintain it. You have to work hard towards building the relationship. You cannot take it for granted. You have to give a lot and adjust a lot too to maintain it,” he says.

His debut venture Saawariya may not have been a success but Ranbir begs to differ. “Saawariya will always be a special film. I owe my existence in the film industry to that movie. Besides, every film is a challenge. All actors want their films to do well. Today, if I am being offered great roles and big banners, it is because of Saawariya,” he says.

Ranbir’s interest in cinema is not restricted to just being in front of the camera. “I take a keen interest in the recording, the costumes and the sets. I like to get involved right from the beginning. It is a great experience. I would recommend that every budding artiste should work on the sets,” says the actor who wants to revive his family’s banner, RK Films.

“We are working on scripts for the time being. If something interesting turns up we will definitely make a film. Right now I am looking forward to some great films ahead. There’s Rajneeti with Prakash Jha, Karan Johar’s next tentatively titled Wake Up Sid, Rajkumar Santoshi’s Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani for which I have already started shooting, Shimit Amin’s Rocket Singh, Sajid Nadiadwala’s next to be directed by Siddharth Anand along with Saif Ali Khan and Vikramjit Singh’s Mera Jahan,” he rattles off.

Ash livid with Bipasha
 

Bipasha Basu is a self-proclaimed Katrina foe, but in a bizarre twist Aishwarya Bachchan is seething with rage towards Bipasha, giving her something in common with Kats after Salman. Bollywood being a small world, friends and foes switch sides before you bat your eye and the same happened to Ash, who considered Bips a friend after working with her in Dhoom 2.

But recently, while trying to justify her age difference with Ranbir Kapoor for Bachna Ae Haseeno, Bipasha dragged Abhi-Ash into the picture commenting on the age difference between them. Bipasha should have known that if she didn’t take too kindly to being referred to as the older woman, neither would Ash. Sitting far away in the US of A, for her Unforgettable Tour, Ash was livid when she was told that her name was being unnecessarily dragged by Bipasha into the picture. What makes matters worse is that Bips is a friend of Abhishek and he’s the one trying to keep Ash calm on the matter.ῠ And knowing the non-confronting Ash nature we aren’t surprised that she’s keeping mum but be ready for the famous Scorpion sting sooner or later Bips.

Kareena to sell designer brands

Kareena Kapoor is busy looking for a space in Mumbai to open her dream designer boutique, something she’s been aspiring to do for a while now. Mom Babita and sis Karisma have been supportive of her dream and in fact it’s Karisma who has been meeting with realtors to look for a spacious pad for the store. Bebo as usual wants everything done in style and is aiming at bringing some of the high end luxury brands to India. Although there’s been an onslaught of foreign designer brands making it to Indian shores, the high range products have still eluded our subcontinent, and Kareena is hoping to set things straight. She’s been having meetings with agents of various fashion houses as she is in LA shooting for her next film. She has asked for services of her designer friend Manish Malhotra to source products that will cater to the jet setting clientele of South Mumbai and Manish himself will be making some exclusive designs for the Kapoor kudi. From movies to fashion, Kareena does things in style.

Yes, the awards are a sham
 
By Vikram Bhatt

It’s a beautiful evening in the cold months of the beginning of the year and the whole film fraternity has gathered in their evening best. There will be performances by the who is who of tinsel town on stage. There will be media and razzmatazz but most of all there will be hopes and dreams. There will be the hope that since you are one of the nominees your name will be hidden in an envelope ready to be announced on the stage. The spotlight will fall on you. There will be a thundering applause. You will walk up on stage and another star will hand over a statue to you. Then you will get the chance to read the speech that you have been saying to yourself in the loneliness of your dreams a million times. The moment comes῅ the envelope opens and the award goes to῅ someone else!

You are devastated. You realise that you are still not good enough and you hang your head but clap gleefully lest the media catch the dejection on your face. When you lie in bed that night you wonder if you will ever get nominated again and if that speech that you have said to yourself in the mirror will ever get heard at all. And the award for the best director goes to…

Then the next day you start with a whisper that awards are a sham and that they are unfair. By the evening that whisper has become a scream and there will be a lot of people who will agree with you till of course the next winter months and the next nomination῅

The question is then that are awards a sham?

I must tell you a story. In the year that I was nominated for Ghulam as best director Karan Johar was also nominated for the best director. Then there was also the category of best debutante technician where Karan was nominated again being a debutante talent and so was my friend Tanuja Chandra for her film Dushman.

Now Tanuja is someone I have a very old friendship with and so this is not about her at all but a certain logic or a lack of it for that matter. The award for the best debutante technician was announced and it went to Tanuja and this was great and then when it came to the director it went to Karan for Kuch Kuch Hota Hain, which was also great but if he was the best director then by default was he not the best debutante also? How can he not be the best debutante but be the best director? I asked around and someone said that since Karan was getting the best director they decided to give Tanuja best debutante. Not that Tanuja did not deserve the award but this was like a-keep-everyone-happy scenario!

Yes, the awards are a sham!

All the awards are usually hosted by huge media entities and they have to nominate the big stars or else no one is coming for their show! So it does not matter how good your film is but what matters is how successful your film is! The hit film gets nominations and the flop good film with some good performances will go unnoticed! Such is the way of Moviedom!

I was on the jury of an award function once and made it a point to see every film that I was asked to see but I saw that many jury members had not seen all the movies that were on the list.

Award functions are about glamour, they are about television rights, they are about stars making their way to the stage, they are about everything that you think they are about but they are not about promoting that unknown yet great talent. Have fun and watch the awards but don’t think even for a moment that anyone on that stage is the best. They are only the most noticeable.

Truth and Beauty? Only in Afterlife
 

When John Keats died in February 1821, just 25, his friends believed that it was the reviews that killed him. In truth the critics could hardly have been less kind, especially about Keats’s second book, Endymion. “We venture to make our small prophecy that his bookseller will not a second time venture 50” (pounds) “on anything he can write,” a reviewer for Blackwood’s Magazine wrote. “It is a better and wiser thing to be a starved apothecary than a starved poet. So back to the shop, Mr John.”

There was a political agenda here – Keats was a liberal, and Blackwood’s was stuffily Tory – as well as class condescension toward a poet who was the son of a stableman, a prejudice shared years later by Matthew Arnold, who found in Keats’ writing “something underbred and ignoble, as of a youth ill brought up”.

The reviews stung, but what really killed Keats, of course, was tuberculosis. He had been sickly for months when in the winter of 1820 he coughed up blood. Keats, who had trained as a junior surgeon and whose mother and brother Tom both died of TB, recognised the blood as arterial and knew immediately that he had been sentenced to a premature death. He said to Fanny Brawne, his fianc
e, “If I had had time, I would have made myself remembered,” and a year later, on his deathbed in Rome, he dictated a seemingly self-piteous epitaph, “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.” The measure of poetic greatness then was epic verse, and by that standard Keats had failed; he may have hoped, but couldn’t really believe, that he had reinvented the lyric with something like epic grandeur.

Yet as Stanley Plumly points out in Posthumous Keats, his moving and perceptive book about him, there is something elusive, mysterious and attention getting about the epitaph, which is after all inscribed in stone in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome; it’s as if Keats were stage-managing his reputation from beyond the grave. Keats’s publisher, John Taylor, thought the inscription could be the basis of a great publicity campaign until, 25 years later, he sold Keats’ copyrights for next to nothing, and he was virtually out of print.

Plumly’s book is, in part, a study in the vicissitudes of poetic reputation. Keats’s friends and contemporaries, Plumly points out, cherished the idea of him as a fragile blossom, too sensitive for this world, and the image was elaborated on by the Victorians, who rediscovered Keats, and loved the ballads and romances, The Eve of St. Agnes especially – the luxuriant, almost treacly Keats. They saw him as a sort of tragic Tim Burtonish figure, pale and languid, and wasting away in feverish reverie. This was the Keats that Arnold and, later, Yeats turned against, with Yeats cruelly comparing him to a schoolboy mooning outside the sweet-shop window, and for good measure repeating the bad-breeding slur. The Keats we revere, the Keats of the great odes, some of the most nearly perfect poems ever written, didn’t fully emerge until the 20th century.

Keats composed those poems in one amazing burst from April to September of 1819, and then he pretty much fell silent, unless you count an outpouring of passionate, tortured, jealous and sometimes abusive letters he wrote to Fanny Brawne. That he couldn’t live with her – literally, because he was dying – made him crazy.

Mr Plumly, himself a poet, has carefully chosen not to tell Keats’s story in linear or chronological order; his book is a series of interlocked essays that circle (sometimes repetitiously) around certain themes. And he keeps returning to Keats’ other posthumous life, the one he had while still alive, and about which he wrote in November 1820, “I have an habitual feeling of my real life having past, and that I am leading a posthumous existence.”

It took Keats a year to die, and though there were moments of seeming reprieve, of false hope, it was mostly a long, dwindling fall into darkness. At the end, barely able to lift himself from bed, he was subsisting, on doctor’s orders, on a single anchovy.

Plumly writes beautifully and very movingly of these last months: the sea voyage to Naples, the journey to Rome (during which his companion, Joseph Severn, stuffs the carriage with wildflowers, as if Keats were riding in his own hearse), the final days on the second floor of 26 Piazza di Spagna, the room filled with the sound of vendors, the golden light of late afternoon. Art and life seldom imitate each other, but in Keats’s case they really do seem inextricably linked, and in those last days, Plumly suggests, it’s as if he were living out the last movement of one of the odes, To Autumn especially, with its sense of a lingering moment prolonged, before transpiring into mist. Those poems promise the eternity of art, the permanence of truth and beauty, but what they describe is the poignancy, the bitter sweetness, the fleetingness of mortality.

Write stuff, right stuff
 
By Sunil K. Poolani

Though I have written – and continue to write – for several national and international print and electronic journals, I have never received the kind of responses I get from the readers of the paper you are now holding in your hands.

The responses have been a torrent, if not mind-blowing, and they are of all kinds: prospective authors trying to send their manuscripts, criticisms (reiterating that my writing is pretentious), overwhelmingly patronising.

But I was touched when, last week, a Chakravarti from a small Andhra Pradesh town, wrote to me, requesting, I should bestow on him tips to improve his writing skills, and tell him which all books would eventually ensure that. He wanted to write a “good manuscript”.

I, a college dropout, am hardly a person to help him, I told him as much, but promised I would share some thoughts that had cropped up while delighting in some good writings that I have come across in my short life.

For me, George Orwell is God; he will always be. Apart from his 1984 and Animal Farm, those great political expositions in literature vivifying the traps of both capitalist and communist hegemonies, I was really fascinated with his non-fiction, which talked about the English language and its use.

For any writer worth her or his salt, Politics and the English Language, Why I Write and Writer and the Leviathan are must-reads that should be imbibed into the system. When I compiled the above three essays for a volume one year ago, Ramachandra Guha wrote in the Foreword, “(Orwell’s) clarity of language, his moral courage, and his principled independence from party politics set him apart from the other writers of his generation, and from those who have followed since.”

Orwell was always consistent with his claim that prose degenerated into purple passages whenever it lacked political purpose. And as Orwell once said, “(English) becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.” He died an untimely death, and that is a pity.

Now, many readers may think this is a devious digression – from someone as meticulous and marvellous as Orwell to, well, a carefree and iconoclastic Hunter S. Thompson. But Thompson, mainly due to his irreverence to everything around him, shaped the way I thought and wrote. And I was particularly in awe of the company (of the New Journalism ‘movement’) he kept.

A great collection that I still admire is The New Journalism, edited by Tom Wolfe and E.W. Johnson. This comprised the best “literary” journalistic pieces I have ever read, written by – apart from Thompson and Wolfe – Rex Reed, Norman Mailer and Truman Capote. Fully doped, Thompson wrote The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, a seminal sports article; it still remains a marvel in both journalism and literature – a rare achievement.

Thompson’s much-publicised work is the Fear and Loathing series. Nevertheless, his short works, published mostly posthumously, really stand out. In The Mailbox he talks about his confrontation with the FBI and he sums the article thus, “Never believe the first thing an FBI agent tells you about anything – especially not if he seems to believe you are guilty of a crime.”

If you are in the august company of Orwell and/or Thompson, who needs to dope? Or a stiff drink?

Tailpiece

I used to work with a national weekly some years ago. We were bringing out a special on Orwell on his 50th death anniversary. A trainee sub-editor was asked to make the page in which we were reproducing Politics and the English Language. When I was checking the page before sending it to the press I realised there was something amiss in the Orwell classic. What happened, I asked the scribe. His reply, “Well, the whole article did not fit in the page, so I had to edit it.” Now, that is what I call guts.

The writer is the publisher and managing editor, Frog Books, an imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd, Mumbai. Write to him at poolani@gmail.com

‘I like action, intrigue in a plot’
 

I am always surrounded by books. I often read two-three books at the same time. I always need to have a book around me, even if I don’t get time to read it, I just can’t stay away from books.

I like fiction and but I do read a little non-fiction too. I am very particular about action and intrigue because only then the plot is engrossing enough for me and allows me to forget everything that’s going around. Then it’s not just reading, it becomes an effective stress buster.

The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye is one of my favourite books till now. It beautifully chronicles the life and times during the British Raj and ends with the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel is another book I can read again and again. It has a simple almost childlike narrative and yet it is so profound. Its style has made it one of my most loved novels. While reading it, I had to put the book down every few pages and had to ponder on what I just read. Selecting one author as my best is a tough call, but probably Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the one I’d select. In his writing, there is a magical realism. He also has an extreme visual-graphic quality in his narration. His writing is so descriptive that you can almost touch and feel it.

When I read, I always associate with the protagonists of the novel. Our lives are so complex, one could easily relate to all the things the protagonist is going through and it is a unique experience.

A Sri Lankan rendezvous
 

The minute my plane touched down at the Bandaranaike Airport, Katunayake, the one thing that stuck in my mind was (of course, besides the picturesque island) the Sri Lankan air hostess Melissa’s sexy sari. She told me it was the Kandyan way of draping it. Interestingly, this three-piece wonder has a wraparound skirt, a pleated middle and a slim duppatta that is pinned in front. It is a heady mix of comfort and luxury and the sari’s bold peacock print further accentuated its appeal.

Well, I did manage to see a lot of saris in my seven-day stay in Sri Lanka (Sri for paradise and Lanka for island, so paradise island), but the thought of wearing and walking around in one deterred me from buying these three piece beauties. It can be a logistical nightmare for the inexperienced as the wrap is a complex garment to flaunt and carry around if you are not a professional at handling it.

Sri Lanka decoded

The worst time to go Sri Lanka would be the time I went, that is when the SAARC summit is on. So most roads were blocked, traffic diverted, a zillion check posts and (you can’t deny that the Air Force officers look rather dapper) most good hotels booked. So we had to make do with Brown’s Beach hotel, a little away from Colombo.

But the view was spectacular from my window, with the raging sea (I could also see lovebirds snogging at the beachside). That’s why they say – sun, sand and sex. We could not see much of Colombo, but the little that I saw I noticed that it was a bit upmarket and hugely expensive. And my driver Mohammed Rafi (no, not the famous singer) from Walkers Tours told me that house rents can go up to Rs 20,000 for an apartment and to keep your head above water you must earn at least Rs 50,000 (you won’t believe it that a kilo of rice costs Rs 150, so let us not even talk about veggies).

Rock climbing Sri Lanka style

Only attempt Sigiriya if you have nerves of steel, trust me I am serious. Sigiriya or the Lion’s Rock is an ancient rock fortress. Interestingly, the steep steps don’t challenge some but for me I gave up half way through after seeing the stunning frescoes, which they call the “Heavenly maidens of Sigiriya” (these are painted in earth pigments). There are “almost 2,600 steps” and as it was raining that day it made my climb more difficult.

Most of the steps have no railing on the sides and with the dangerous climb you are left to your own devices.

But when I saw a group of 60 plus women challenging the rain god I rolled up my jeans and told myself, “Never give up”. Well, my enthusiasm did not last long and neither did my breath so after lots of huffing and puffing, I called it quits, much to the amusement of my guide, Shane who was a major motivating factor.

Coming back to Sigiriya, it is a popular tourist destination and was built during the reign of King Kashyapa (477-495 AD) and is one of the seven World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka. The most fascinating part of this destination is the mirror wall, at a crazy height where it is said that the Kings’ servants used to write love messages for each other. The wall it is said gets its texture from a mix of egg white, lime and bee-wax, which is applied and left for 21 days for the final effect. The rock has a height of 200 metres and at the bottom you have the most spectacular man-made fountains and can you believe it they are still in a working condition.

As I walked out of the premises, I thought to myself without any new-age instruments or machines how did they manage to carve a huge rock 1500 years back.

But then the thought of having the chilled Three Coins (local) beer overtook everything else. And trust me when I tell you, the label at the back of the beer says, “A refreshing quencher, a tasty relaxant and a wholesome lubricant for social intercourse.” I was truly in Sri Lanka.

Satiate soul with Hainanese chicken rice
 

If you want to start World War III in Singapore, just ask a group of Singaporeans where to get the best Hainanese Chicken Rice. You will soon have to duck for cover at the furore that ensues. Hainanese Chicken Rice is something like the national dish of the tiny island state, and is said to be of Hainanese origin. Hainan Island, part of China, is where many Singaporeans trace their ancestry (the other two places are Hokkien and Teochew.

There is absolutely no food court either in a shopping mall or in the open air that does not offer Hainanese Chicken Rice. It consists of a pile of steamed chicken, a portion of flavourful rice that has been simmered in chicken stock, a serving of pounded red chilli sauce and one of chopped garlic. Most places add a couple of other things too: chopped cucumber, a sprig of coriander leaves, a bowl of soup that is supposed to contain chicken stock. Some add a tiny serving of Kecap Manis, the quintessential Malaysian sweet ketchup in addition. Because it is such an elemental dish, you would actually have to search for a place that serves a poor version. The trick to do is to find somewhere that is run by people from Hainan itself: not a particularly difficult task. I have my formula down pat. Because my trips to Singapore are usually short, I usually take a cab to Bugis Junction, one of my favourite hang-out places in Singapore. Air-conditioned walkways that lead off from the InterContinental Hotel, shopping malls for the young and trendy (where I shop for my teenage children’s clothes), a covered market for fruit, vegetables, food products, slightly ethnic restaurants, an extremely ethnic food court, foot reflexology and feng shui accessories, one leisurely stroll around this fascinating wonderland and you’ll know what I mean.

Then, I head to Purvis Street. It is where I have my favourite Hainanese Chicken Rice joint. Yet Con is not the only place on Purvis Street that is famous for its Chicken Rice, but it is the one that I always go to. Somehow, I trust places where I am the only foreigner: it makes me feel that the flavours are authentic. Plus, the elderly troupe who man the counters are from Hainan.

With so many places shiny and new in Singapore, it is almost a relief to enter the ever-so-slightly precincts of Purvis Street, which is two minutes away from the InterContinental Hotel. None of the many restaurants in this tiny street have encroached on the broad covered verandahs, and though there a few trendy restaurants, they are outnumbered by the traditional ones. My last port of call in this fascinating area is a pilgrimage to a slightly run-down building near the Chinese temple where I have a Chinese foot reflexology massage. The authentic experience can cure ailments and point out future problem areas, while being relaxing and comfortable: just what you need after a hard day’s shopping and dining.

marryam08@gmail.com

Fundamentals
 
By Senjam Raj Sekhar

Where would the romance of football be if it were not for club rivalries. Lazio and A.S. Roma or closer home, between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, all add to the excitement and thrill. This week we take a look at some of the most famous football derbies across the world.

Quiz News: Barasat Quizzards’ Forum is organising its inaugural quiz contest – “Quiz Olympiad-2008” on 24 August at Subhash Institute Hall, Barasat in both school and open categories. Open to two member teams. Contact Partha Gupta (9830318721) or Selim Ahmed 9231664533 for more details.

Write with your suggestions, questions (with answers) to D4/11 (GF), Exclusive Floors, DLF Phase- V, Gurgaon 122 002 or email at senjam@gmail.com

Football Derbies

1. The city of Birmingham in England features a traditional rivalry between two football clubs in the city. One of them is Birmingham city FC. Which is the other? 2. It is said that price of Hilsa fish in Kolkata goes up when East Bengal wins. Which food is linked to a Mohun Bagan win? 3. In Buenos Aires, the club rivalry is supposed to represent two clubs divided along class lines – working class and upper class. Boca Juniors is the working class club. Which is upper class one? 4. The Uruguayan city of Monte Video has one of football’s greatest rivalries between two club teams. Name the teams. 5. One of the biggest club rivalries in the world is also divided along religious lines – Catholics vs Protestants. Name them. 6. The Merseyside Derby, also called The Friendly Derby, features which two football clubs? 7. In Italy, the two biggest derbies are the Rome Derby and Genoa Derby. The Rome one features Lazio and AS Roma. Which two teams play in the Genoa Derby? 8. The derby in Sao Paulo in Brazil features two clubs, one of them founded by Italians. Name the two clubs. 9. Los Indos (The Indians) and Los Blancos (The Whites) are bitter rivals from the same city. Name the two clubs. 10. Persepolis FC and Esteghlal FC are two famed rivals from which city?

Anything goes

1. Whose army was considered to be the first to have used a regular uniform? (U. Narasimha Murthy, Secunderabad) 2. Who is the only cricketer to win World Cup both as a player and as a coach? (Selim Ahmed, Barasat) 3. In the 15th Asian Games at Doha, 2006, China dominated the medals tally. However, China did not participate in two of the 39 disciplines. One of them was Karate. Which was the other? (Dr Ravi Bhatia, Udaipur) 4. Whose production company is called Simian films? (Shovan Karmakar, Kolkata) 5. Who in 1901 became the first Indian to own a car? (Sushil Kumar Poddar, Kolkata) 6. Which was the first painting from an Indian artist to cross the Rs 10 lakh price tag in 1987? (Rajib Roy, Burdwan) 7. Which was the only film in which Marilyn Monroe played the role of a mother? (Probir Mitra, Kolkata) 8. Rajasthan Royals is not the only team where Shane Warne played the role of coach cum captain. For which other team did Warne don this role? (Partha Gupta, Barasat) 9. There is no Nobel Prize for Mathematics. Which prize is regarded as the Nobel Prize for Mathematics? (Sanjay Nair, Noida) 10. Vestas from Denmark is the number one company in which sector? (M. Sharma, Gurgaon)

Answers

Football Derbies 1. Aston Villa 2. Prawns 3. Atletico River Plate 4. Nacional and Penarol 5. Celtics vs Rangers in Glasgow. Rangers is identified with Scottish Protestant community and Celtics with Catholics. 6. Everton and Liverpool FC 7. Genoa and Sampdoria 8. Palmeiras and Corinthians. Palmeiras (earlier named Palestra Italia) was founded by a group of Italians in Sao Paulo.  The Italians used to be members of Corinthians. When they formed the new club, they became the betrayers. The derby started since then. 9. Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid 10. Tehran

anything goes 1. Oliver Cromwell’s during the English civil war. 2. Geoff Marsh (as a player in 1987 and as a captain in 1999) 3. Kabaddi 4. Hugh Grant 5. Jamsetji Tata 6. Safdar Hashmi by M.F. Husain 7. We’re not Married (1952). Marilyn plays the role of a young mother on the beauty pageant circuit 8. Hampshire county 9. Fields Medal 10. Wind energy

Funda of the week Taiwan. ‘Formosa’  means beautiful

 

 Features of the Week

 

 

Deccan Chronicle

Looking Back With Love

16 Aug

Looking back with love
 

I share a wonderful relationship with my brothers. I love and respect them and I have gotten back their love and respect in equal measure.

Let me tell you, nothing can come in the way of our relationship, especially because I know where to draw the line between our personal and professional lives – that’s very important.

I am the sixth in the family, among the 11 children. I don’t know why I got this nickname, but they all call me ‘Chinnamma’. maybe because of my tongue-twisting name, I guess (laughs). Or perhaps, it reflects the love all my brothers have for me.

Priya dutt, MP, Congress I have the same sentiment towards the celebration of Raksha Bandhan as any sister would have for her brother. We have grown up celebrating Rakhi ever since our childhood, so it will always remain special.

As we grow older, the meaning of celebration changes for everyone but the sentiment remains the same no matter how old you are. I will be tying Sanjay a rakhi this year too.

Riddhima Kapoor Sahni, Fashion designer I am excited about Raksha bandhan though I won’t be able to meet Ranbir. I plan to celebrate it by watching his movie Bachna Ae Haseeno. Ranbir looks amazing in the film and I consider the film as his rakhi gift for me. I have always been excited about this festival as it is all about the love between a brother and sister. And in my family, like any other Indian home, we have been celebrating this festival with enthusiasm. As a a kid, Ranbir would gift his entire pocket money to me as rakhi gift.

Even after all these years, there’s no difference in the bond we share. Perhaps the only new thing is that we don’t live in the same house anymore. I sent him a beautiful rakhi and a small gift through my cousin Natasha Nanda. I will go and wish him personally in a few days. We always manage to take time out for each other and that is what matters.

Sajid Khan, anchor We have a unique way of celebrating Raksha Bandhan – we always do it over a special lunch, usually whipped up at home. But now that Farah lives at her place with Shirish, I plan to take her out for lunch. I cannot tell you the name of the restaurant. If I tell you that, then you will ask me for the menu too. (laughs)

Rakhi or not, brothers are expected to do everything and anything for their sisters. That’s what brothers are there for. I even sing Phoolon ka taaron ka sabka kehna hai῅ ek hazaaron mein meri behna hai for my sister. We have fought a lot as kids, we love each other and I have even made a special appearance in Main Hoon Na and in return she choreographs my movie songs for me.

Farah Khan, filmmaker/choreographer

We have always celebrated Raksha Bandhan together till the time I was at home. After my marriage, last year I had gone to his house to tie him rakhi.

My best remembrances about Rakhi are about holding myself back from beating up my kid brother for his wisecracks. We always tried very hard to stay away from fighting, at least on this special day.

Long distance love
 

The saying “Distance makes hearts grow fonder”, holds true for siblings who are not together to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Raksha Bandhan. As time and distance play a spoilsport everybody isn’t lucky to spend this special day with their loved ones.

Says TV actor Sonia Kapoor, “I don’t have a real brother, but I tie a rakhi to my cousin brother Kushal (Kaku) who is more than a real brother to me. He lives in Punjab, and I am based in Mumbai. I send him a Rakhi every year. We don’t meet on rakhi, but we make it a point to meet once a year and that is when I make him spend the most on me for both Rakhi and Bhai Dooj. As a kid, I remember, we used to book trunk calls to speak to our cousins, but now technology is superb.”

TV actor Raj Singh Arora said, “I haven’t met my younger sister on Rakhi for many years now. But it isn’t that my love for her is only for that one day. My mother sends me a rakhi on her behalf and Anjalika herself sends me a rakhi, but it is the emotion that we share that matters the most. Whenever she visits me in Mumbai, I pamper her and take care of her a lot.”

Singer and composer Shibani Kashyap will not be able to celebrate rakhi with her younger brother Ashish. I will be away in Mumbai due to work. Ashish and I are very friendly, we generally don’t spend an entire day with each other, but in the evenings, we go out for dinner with the family. As for gifts, there is really no surprise in store for me. He knows I love perfumes and will gift me one of those to be on the safer side.”

While for some it is work that broadens the gap, for filmmaker Anu Malhotra, it was a family decision that has forced her to spend Rakhi alone for more than two decades. Her younger brother Arjun lives in Philadelphia,

US. She said, “It has been many years since I met Arjun on Rakhi even though I send him rakhi every year and make sure to speak to him on that day. I tie him a rakhi whenever he visits Delhi.” Anu fondly remembers Arjun, she

said, “He is a year younger to me, till 13 years, I used to bully him a lot.”

The festival surely brings siblings together, no matter where they are, they always know they will be there for each other

Thread of commitment
 

Raksha Bandhan comes around every year. But how many of us know the origin of this festival even though it is mentioned in most of our great epics.

The origin of the festival goes back to Puranic times. However there are many variations of the legend. One of them tells of a war between the Gods and the Demons. The demon King Brutra it is said gave the Gods such a fight that they were on the verge of defeat. It was then that Indra, the King of the Gods approached Guru Brihaspati to find a solution. Brihaspati suggested that Indra tie a sacred thread on his wrist which was made powerful by some sacred mantras. Queen Indrani empowered the sacred thread and tied it on Indra’s hand on a decided day – Shravan Purnima. The thread’s power helped the God to victory. It kept them protected which is the translation of Raksha. Since then the tradition of thread tying still continues.

Yet another legend tells of the Demon King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi. Bali was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. It is said that once Goddess Lakshmi – who wanted to be in her home with her husband, Lord Vishnu, who had left Vaikunth – went to Bali disguised as a Brahmin woman to seek refuge till her husband came back. During the Shravan Purnima celebrations, the Goddess tied a sacred thread on Bali’s wrist. When she eventually revealed who she was and why she was there, Bali was so touched that he sacrificed all he had for the Lord and his devoted wife. Legend has it that since then it has been a tradition to invite sisters (in Shravan Purnima) for the thread tying ceremony or Raksha Bandhan.

Yet another legend has it that the Raksha Bandhan ritual was followed by Yama the Lord of Death. It is said that when Yama’s sister, Yamuna tied a sacred thread on his wrist bestowing him with immortality, Yama was so moved that he declared that whoever wore a rakhi tied by his sister – and promised to protect her – would become immortal.

Raksha Bandhan finds mention in the Mahabharata. To provide protection from the dangers of the war, legend tells us that Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas tied a rakhi on the wrist of her grandson Abhimanyu and Draupadi tied a rakhi on the wrist of Lord Krishna.

Lokesh makes his entry
 

Nara Lokesh, son of the Telugu Desam chief, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, gave ample signals of a future political career on Friday. The only son of the former CM hoisted the national flag at NTR Model School in Gandipet in the presence of media persons.

It is usually Mr Naidu who performs the ceremony and the symbolism of replacing him with his son was not lost on anyone. Also, it is normal practice for scions of political clans to take their first step into the arena of power on an auspicious day and Lokesh is no exception to this rule.

Lokesh, who did his MBA in Stanford University in the US, and worked as a junior professional associate in the World Bank, is now back in India for good. “I am back for good. I left for the US at a very young age to pursue higher studies. But I missed my country and I am now very happy to be back here. I want to do good to society,” he said.

His focus in the future would be on rural people. “I want so serve them through my business,” he said. When asked how it would be possible to do that through business activities, Lokesh quipped, “I will show you.”

Lokesh, however, was not ready to ascribe a political meaning to his first public function. “It is just Independence Day,” he said.

However, the TD chief’s son gave enough hints that he was not dismissing the possibility. But he shied away from questions on the present political system. However, when asked about his philosophy of life, Lokesh said, “I always follow the footsteps of the legendary N.T. Rama Rao who is popularly known as Telugu Simham. I will try to implement the ideology of Anna Garu.”

He also has a message for today’s youth. “As my father always says῅ dare to dream and strive to achieve,” he said. “This should be the motive of every young person. We should also strive fill the gap between haves and have-nots.”

Lokesh is not all about serious stuff. There is also a lighter side. He likes fast cars, the music of A.R. Rehman and considers his mother Bhuvaneswari to be his best friend.

Live Life kingsize
 

Life begins at 40 for a good number of us. But are the next 30-40 years viewed with as much anticipation? Turns out, they are. Optimism is the key emotion that emerges when you talk to people who are well past their 30s, but are young and intend to remain so for a long, long time.

Hollywood actress Penelope Cruz revealed a few months back that she is looking forward to growing older. The 33-year-old said, “I want to experience things; I’m looking forward to having backaches and using that in my work.”

TV actor Ram Kapoor has long been playing roles that show him as a much older man. Happy with his image, he says, “I look forward to my older age and know I won’t do much to look younger. Life begins at 40. In your 20s and 30s you are too busy in the rat race of life. Life slows down a bit when you are 40 or 50. I look forward to that time when I can take a whole month off to travel.” Expecting a second baby early next year with wife Gautami, Ram longs to spend quality time with her. “Getting closer to your partner again, rekindling the romance – there’s so much to look forward to”, he says. Just imagine such a lifestyle, filled with recreational and social activities, and being healthy, independent and active – all the hallmarks of happy ageing. If such is the case, even the aches and pains don’t bother you.

Actor Alok Nath at 52 looks forward to 10 more years in movies, and intends to embark on an even more strenuous job – running an exotic farm in the mountains. “If you feel low physically and your mind also shuts itself down, then you are done for. Your mind has to push the body into believing what it can do,” he avers.

The way we perceive ageing is primarily determined by two things -our parents, and the media. The former are usually wonderful role models, but the media is a different matter altogether. Stereotypical images of crotchety or senile old people are common. Even cheerful, seemingly able people are shown as sitting at home while youngsters do their shopping and travelling for them. In reality, older age is the do-it-yourself age.

Delhi-based business person Raseel Gujral finds her parents to be wonderful examples of graceful ageing. No wonder, because she is talking about architect/painter Satish Gujral. “My father at 83 is up every morning at 7 and starts painting at 10, breaking only for lunch. My mother has her hands full just keeping up with him. They socialise every evening, meet people and get stimulus from outside”, she says, adding, “Ageing is just a natural progression of the present. As long as you have a trouble-free health, I don’t see what is there to be apprehensive or anticipatory about.”

Whether or not growing older is growing better, it is definitely about living life completely. A heartwarming advertisement showed two very old women stumbling along with a package in their hand. They stop at a house and ring the bell, singing “Happy Birthday” to their equally old and thrilled brother as he opens the door. Now that’s positive.

Actress Apara Mehta quotes the example of her own mother and Kokilaben Ambani, who “don’t show a single grey strand at 70 plus. My father was the most positive human being I know. My mother was very active in theatre till recently, understands cricket in and out, follows current affairs and serials diligently, and remains deeply interested in everything around her. She’s a person who is very much in today.” So Apara herself looks at her life in a very progressive, positive way. “I look forward to growing always and yet remain true to myself. I am a full of life at mid 40s and intend remaining that way even 20 years from now. I’m still busy and learning new things, and I’ll still be following fashion. Age does make you wiser, but it need not necessarily make you dull.”

Job portal for senior citizens launched
 

The single belief that you are contributing more to the family and society than taking from it, keeps you young well into your 70s and 80s. A joint initiative between ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and Dignity Foundation ensures just that. Called ActivAge, the venture launched http://www.dignitysecondcareers.org, a job portal dedicated to providing second career counselling and placement services exclusively for senior citizens.

The portal aims to encourage retirees and individuals in the 50 plus segment to lead a more fulfilling and active post-retirement life. Second career options are available for both part-time and full time jobs in the corporate sector as well as in the NGO segment.

All you have to do is log into the website and register yourself as a prospective employee, choosing options of cities and industries and uploading your resume as you go along. These resumes can be accessed by both ICICI Prudential Life and other prospective employers, who will offer the unique opportunity for senior citizens to explore second career options.

It works very much to mutual advantage, since companies benefit from the experience and expertise of senior people, and retirees get an opportunity to put their skills to good use and work again the way they want to.

Besides, the portal also offers facilities like upgradation of computer skills and soft skills in select cities in the country. Voluntary organisations can also register.

Dignity Foundation is a non profit organisation promoting the concept of active ageing amongst senior citizens. Set up in 1995, Dignity Foundation is present in seven cities across the country.Its founder president is Dr Sheilu Sreenivasan.

ActivAge is a joint initiative between ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company and Dignity Foundation, launched on October 1, 2007. Activities have been designed to bring senior citizens together on a regular and more productive basis.

For further information, email: sharma.anuja@iciciprulife.com

‘Money is not everything’
 

How often have you heard of a practising advocate who is also an author and public speaker? Meet 33-year-old Aditya Sondhi, an alumnus of Bishop Cottons Boys’ School, Bengaluru and National Law School of India University, who also holds a Master’s degree in Political Science. He is the Secretary of the Karnataka State Unit of the Indian Law Institute and Convenor of the General Thimayya Memorial Lectures.

After passing out of law school, Aditya enrolled as an advocate with the Karnataka State Bar Council and joined the Chambers of Mr Udaya Holla (present Advocate General of Karnataka) where he worked for six years. Side by side, he also authored Unfinished Symphony which was published by Penguin in 2003. Sheer love for his 143-year-old school and the fact that not enough had been done to document the history of its distinguished alumni, some of whom are Dr Raja Ramanna, Nandan Nilekani, General K. S. Thimayya and Colin Cowdrey, inspired Aditya to write the book. “It took me two whole years to put the book together. The title Unfinished Symphony is because the tradition of students’ achievements will continue through the years and will require to be documented from time to time” says Aditya, who was school captain in 1993 and among the top achievers in academics throughout.

At a time when most law students prefer corporate jobs as they are initially high-paying, Aditya decided to set up an independent law practice in 2004 in Corporate and Constitutional law. As a first generation lawyer he had to struggle to build a clientele and generate a steady stream of revenue, but has several high profile corporate and individual clients today. He also represents many welfare/civic groups in public interest matters relating to roads, town planning and other public interest litigation.

“Setting up an independent practice from scratch without any backing requires one to be well informed, well prepared and a risk-taker. It comes from a vision of achieving a greater objective than just providing for one’s immediate needs” says Aditya.

He maintains a rigorous 9 am to 9 pm schedule daily and often works seven days a week along with three other lawyers and three support staff who work for him. He hopes to build up his practice in the Supreme Court in the near future.

How does he manage to pack in so much everyday? “It’s all about prioritising one’s work and working fast, that makes the difference in how much one can accomplish in 24 hours” said Aditya. Why did he not join his father’s retail business? “I was always encouraged to do what I loved most and there was absolutely no pressure for me to join Dad’s business” said Aditya.

To unwind, he reads biographies and military history, attends talks on eclectic topics unrelated to law, teaches Constitutional Law and Arbitration at National Law School, and speaks at forums.

His mantra for success is: Compete with yourself alone and let your conscience be your judge. “I am especially grateful to Dr Iqbal Ahmed, my Hindi Master from school for teaching me the meaning of integrity and encouraging the spirit of knowledge and sacrifice in me” he said.

His advice to Gen Y: Seek a career that challenges your faculties and helps you realise your full potential. As far as possible, lean towards public life and try and serve the national interest. Money is not everything, it is ancillary.

Insure and be secure
 

I don’t need insurance. I don’t think anything will happen to me. Isn’t this what one feels when that irritating insurance advisor contacts one with offers for products ranging from life insurance to medical insurance to insuring one’s homes? The insurance company will probably come up with an insurance solution for anything you hold dear.

Let’s talk of life and medical and travel insurance here. Many financial experts consider insurance as a cornerstone of sound financial planning citing some of the following reasons for purchasing life insurance – (1) Insurance creates a source of savings. (2) It replaces income for dependents if the main bread-winner dies. (3) Life insurance can pay the insured person’s funeral and burial costs, probate and other estate administration costs, debts and medical expenses not covered by health insurance. (4) Insurance helps create an inheritance for heirs. (5) It can help make charitable contributions by making a charitable organisation a beneficiary of the life insurance policy/ies.(6) Most life insurance policies help in tax planning within certain limits and conditions, and (7) in case of a ‘quasi-government’ company such as LIC, the premiums that one pays help in nation building – LIC lends the money to companies and national and state governments.

In India, healthcare is expensive, medical insurance can help in reducing the financial burden. Tax benefits are also available within specified limits and conditions for premiums paid. Medical expenses are higher if one falls sick abroad – travel insurance can be availed of at very low cost – a few hundred rupees for periods as low 14 days and sum insured (SI) amounts of US $100,000 and more. Consult your insurance advisor.

-The writer is a qualified insurance and financial advisor. Reach him at tarachand.w@gmail.com

Megamart finds a fine fit
 

Behind the swish of the skirt or the rustle of the silk, there is a lot of technology. Not just in design, but also in helping garments reach the stores on time, predicting trends and streamlining other business processes.

So when textile maker Arvind’s retail venture Megamart wanted to expand its value apparel stores, it needed an enterprise resource planning solution that could provide it with a backbone – a scalable platform to manage its processes, from supply-chain to stores. There were several vendors to choose from. After evaluations, the firm gave the thumbs up to Oracle Retail. This solution, Megamart believes, can support its plans to establish more than 250 large and small format stores across the country over the next four years. The solution has cost the company Rs 15 crore and will be implemented in several phases over the next 24 months.

In a way, the partnership is a big deal for both the firms. While the solution will ensure that Megamart’s customers ultimately find the right brand, style and size in time, perhaps makes the firm more profitable, Oracle also gains a big Indian name in the retail space – globally, the firm is already big in the sector – it counts the world’s top 20 retailers as its customers.The retail chain found Oracle attractive on many counts. First was its merchandise management module that would now allow Megamart to spot trends in customer behaviour, price points, buying habits and any regional bias among other trends.

Second was a pricing module that helps in tracking profitability and an inventory module that would aid the retailer in gaining stock visibility, besides efficient warehouse management. The chain’s officials were impressed by an in-store unit meant for better customer experience as well as a planning suite for demand forecasting. In short, with this deployment, Megamart may now increase its inventory turns, improve forecast accuracy, enable shorter replenishment lead times while boosting service levels.

Sweet like chocolate
 

That melt in your mouth, piece of happiness is something we all crave for now and then. If you want chocolate, be prepared for lots of it because as we look around for the perfect gift, chocolate is some happiness money can definitely buy.

Which is why these days, it finds itself on the top of peoples shopping lists more often now than ever before. According to the international market intelligence provider Euromonitor, the relatively small Indian chocolate market (with volumes of about 55,000 metric tonnes of chocolate and compound per year), is expected to grow on average per year by around 17.8 per cent between 2008 and 2012. Chocolatier Zeba Kohli, who runs one of the most successful chocolate businesses in the country, says that it is because of the media awareness that the market has grown so much. “Earlier chocolate was completely a novelty. It was something special, which was not available in all the cities,” she says. And Zeba would know since she was the first to bring Swiss chocolate brand Lindt, to India 12 year ago. Zeba feels that this new awareness about chocolate coupled with experience has excited a lot of people. “Now, the market has grown by leaps and bounds. Awareness encourages people to try our new products and flavours,” she adds.

Dark, milk or white chocolate – we want to try it all. Though Zeba says there is a big demand for dark chocolate in India, Darshit Shah, of Premium Pralines, which brought Belgian chocolate brand Leonidas to India recently says that Indians prefer milk chocolate.

Another testimonial to this market spurt is the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy, which recently opened a branch in Mumbai. They hope to refine the skills of small chocolate entrepreneurs and local chefs by teaching them about the details that go into making a world-class product. “We’ve realised that India has a very large percentage of ladies who make these chocolates at home. This is quite a large market. There is also a significant growth in the hotel industry,” says Paul Halliwell, director sales and marketing, Barry Callebaut, Asia Pacific.

Coming down to you and me – the consumers – we certainly know that we want quality in every product we buy. Chocolate is no exception. Premium brands are tapping this need and providing the customer with ingredients we never imagined could be available locally. Darshit says, “Chocolate is an industry in itself in India. For an Indian consumer, chocolate means a candy, toffee, peppermint or a lolly. However, companies in India have done quite a remarkable feat to give variety to the consumers in the above types of confections. A lot of people from India are travelling all over the world and are always looking out for the best quality chocolates for their loved ones,” he says.

And festival season is one of the biggest reasons that people splurge on sweet somethings for their families. Instead of opting for the more traditional gulab jamuns and ladoos, people are turning to chocolate. It is for this reason that sweet shops are getting more innovative by fusing chocolate with local sweets. “Some make gulab jamuns but instead of using the sugar syrup, they put it in chocolate mousse. Everybody is stopping to enjoy chocolate,” says chef Abhiru Biswas, technical advisor for Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Mumbai.

Zeba only sees this chocolate trend going up. “Indians are extremely intelligent and curious people. They do not like to be told what to do. Very soon, India will have the best chocolate under one roof. That’s why I keep encouraging housewives to make chocolates. It will enable us to be among the best in the world,” she says.

Myths about chocolate
 

Chocolate is bad for your teeth: Cavities are formed when bacteria in the mouth metabolise sugars and starches from any type of food that contain fermentable carbohydrates (FCs) to produce acids. Although FCs are found in chocolate, the cocoa butter in chocolate coats the teeth, making it less likely to cause tooth decay. While chocolate may be high in sugar, it melts quickly in your mouth. This leaves little time for bacteria to attack your teeth and cause cavities.

Chocolate is high in caffeine: Sometimes, chocolate stimulates you as a cup of coffee but the amount of caffeine in a piece of chocolate is a lot lower than a cup of coffee. A regular cup of coffee has 65-135mg of caffeine, while an ounce of milk chocolate contains only 6 mg.

Chocolate is addictive: There is no scientific evidence to prove that chocolate is addictive, although many people experience cravings for chocolate. There is nothing in a chocolate which can possibly cause an addiction.

Sugar-free chocolate is for people on diet: Even though there is a lot of market awareness towards sugar-free chocolates, people have the wrong assumption that these are good to eat while dieting. On the contrary, these are meant more for diabetics people than to assist in keeping the weight under check.

Chocolate gives you pimples: Real chocolate contains anti-oxidants, which can actually help your skin look better. However the milk that is often mixed with chocolate can cause acne.

Chocolate lacks any nutritional value : Chocolate is a good source of magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. It also contains polyphenols that have been associated with a decreased risk of coronary disease.

City ushers I-Day in style
 

Independence Day celebrations aren’t restricted to schools anymore. Pubs in the city went all out to celebrate August 15. Each pub had planned a different theme. F Bar organised a bhangra performance to liven up the ambience in a typical desi style. Youngsters, many of whom were sporting tri-colour stoles and dupattas, were seen tapping their feet to catchy numbers. Spotted Bharat, Raj, Veenu, Venkat, Sarvan, Dipin and others.

Youngsters at B&C danced to the lively music. Spotted Daina, Kapil, Sagorika, Kanna and others. In another corner, Antra, Sneha, Sahil, Khalid and Shounak were seen enjoying Sneha’s birthday bash.

Corporates get into the groove

The corporates too were in a mood to celebrate. Broadridge Financial Solutions, Sierra Atlantic and NetXcell Limited all had interesting programmes lined up as a part of Independence day celebrations. The corporates also extended a helping hand to the needy. Convergys organised special cultural activities and lunch for children of the school adopted by them. Delloite gave out awards to those involved with community development projects. They also organised a special dance number by eight differently abled kids and a patriotic song performance by a blind children’s musical band.

Friday was a busy day with many ladies deciding to celebrate Varalakshmi puja. They organised huge lunch/tea dos asking over 60-100 women to come anytime during the day to take prasad. According to legend, invitations to pujas should not be refused. So all the ladies turned up, dressed to kill.

 

 Features of the Week

 

 

Deccan Chronicle

Shilpa'S The Bigg Boss On Tube

16 Aug

Shilpa’s the Bigg Boss on tube
 

Q What kind of people come on such shows? No, I don’t think so because I think that the people who go in would only go for two reasons. One that they don’t have anything to fear from the world and they’re very confident. The other is to become famous. I went in with the thought that I have nothing to fear. I had spent my whole life in front of the camera and I had nothing to hide. I felt that I’ll be eliminated in the first week itself but I lasted.

Q What does one learn from shows like Big Brother? You learn a lot from such shows. There are highs and lows but it’s a learning curve for each participant and through the show the actual colours of a person are revealed.

Q Do you think the voyeurism bit works? I think that’s why reality works because people want more gossip. And here you get to see it. I think it’s entertainment at other people’s cost and so it’s sickening.

Q Why did you say yes to Bigg Boss then? The reason I said yes to Bigg Boss is because I’m familiar with the format. I can safely say that I’ve been there done that. It would be easier for me to empathize with the housemates, since I’m going to be the only other voice they hear apart from each other’s for the 85 days that they’re going to be in the house. I’m going to try my best to make it easier for them. Davina Mccall was our only connection to he world and we used to be so happy to hear her voice. I am happy to be the same for these participants on Bigg Boss 2.

Q Will you get into Bigg Boss or Big Brother again? Absolutely not! Because when I first said yes for the show I didn’t know it would be that difficult and trust me it’s as difficult for the contestants as it is entertaining for the audience. And it was more difficult for me because of the culture clash. Here all the participants are Indian so there won’t be any culture clashes. There I was the only Indian. The participants have to live without their families for 12 weeks! It’s truly very difficult.ῠ It starts sinking in only after the first three days. But I’m sure they’ll get to learn a lot about themselves. We’re so dependent on things like phones and television, in our daily lives that we really don’t know what we’d do without all these things. You’ve to cook your own food and wash your own clothes. That’s the reason why I can’t go in there again.

Q Would you advice your sister Shamita to go in? She won’t take any advice from me. She will not go anyway. (Laughs)

Q Any advice to the participants on how to win the show? I would only say that you need to be yourself and it’s about who the audiences find entertaining and endearing. That cannot be faked. So be real and don’t do things only for entertainment. I think people want to see another side to you and you also get to know about a completely different facet of yourself in that house.

Q If you get a chance which is the one person you would like to lock in the Bigg Boss house? Good question. I don’t know actually. I never really thought about it. Any suggestions?

Q As a host will you be able to make a difference in the functioning of the Bigg Boss house to prevent the kind of stuff that happened at Big Brother when you were there? I want to and I will try to. I’ll be able to empathize with the people in the house because I’ve been through it and I know what they’ll be going through. We’re all human beings so I think I’m going to try and make it entertaining but with a human touch.

Q Do you still remember the time you spent in Big Brother? Yes I do because nobody let’s me forget it. (laughs)

Cover girls uncovered
 

Bollywood is getting bolder where you would least expect it. On the cover of the latest issue of a men’s magazine, the otherwise demure and coy Vidya Balan is seen wrapped in a white sheet, looking very unlike a Vidya we’ve come to know. The tagline very daringly says, “In bed with Vidya Balan”. Her photograph has generated curiosity among readers, but she’s not the first actress to shed her good girl image on the cover of the magazine.

Earlier there were only a handful of actresses like Pooja Bhatt and Mamta Kulkarni, who dared to portray a sexy and sensuous public image. Pooja got her body painted over a two-piece swimsuit a la Demi Moore for a film magazine years ago. Mamta posed semi-nude for the same magazine just months later.

It was not surprising when Mallika Sherawat wore the sexy black leather swimsuit for the cover of a men’s magazine. The magazine had even mentioned that it was one of the boldest shoots they had ever done. Kareena Kapoor, Bipasha Basu or Katrina Kaif also posed in a similar fashion for them.

The so-called good girls on the cover pages wearing the bare minimum clearly show a shift in what is selling these days. The very sexy Shriya Saran, who posed in a blue bikini for a men’s magazine was reportedly paid a huge amount for the hot photo shoot. The question that comes to one’s mind is why the actresses are ready to dare and bare for cover pages when they already have a platform like films?

Vidya herself felt that there was nothing wrong with the shoot. She was recently quoted as saying, “I think what we shot for the cover was interesting. It’s just that there is a great sensuality to it. There was nothing vulgar to it.”

Soha Ali Khan threw a curve ball when she posed for another men’s magazine. Soha has her own explanations for doing this. “I didn’t want to do it in films because I take my films seriously. I have done bolder scenes in Antarmahal. You have to convince me hard to do it.” But what made her want to pose for a men’s magazine cover? “It was a tongue-in-cheek shoot, which was fun and not meant to be taken seriously. It was not an image makeover. I don’t think I did anything shocking because it was not raunchy,” she says.

Amrita Rao also outdid herself by wearing a backless red Ferragamo dress on the cover of a fashion magazine, Amrita didn’t mind since she saw the classy side of it all. “The concept and reference is classy and high-end, representing fashion. I was very comfortable and I have got an overwhelming response,” she says.

Even the small screen actresses seem to have taken the bold step. Mandira Bedi had given up her usual six-yard saris to look her sexiest on the cover of a men’s magazine. The cover shows Mandira in a golden bikini and with a jacket and pants.

TV actress Shweta Salve did not lag far behind. She has gone bolder than the actresses of the silver screen. “Wearing a bikini is not new for me. This is how I am in real life also, I enjoyed doing it for a magazine and they have definitely made me look sensuous,” she says.

‘It’s cool and sexy to play a deity’
 

Jaya Bhattacharya now invokes divine blessings to lay off that “garrulous shrew with garish makeup” stance from her profile. “Saas-bahu soaps tend to make you feel stagnant and suffocating at some point of time,” she confides.

So, getting herself cast into Kali’s mould in Jai Maa Durga was a big relief indeed. Currently being aired at 7 pm every Saturday on Star Plus, this weekend serial is already drawing in high TRPs.

Jaya in her complete Kali look never showed signs of buckling under pressure whatsoever. The actress has always paraded her perfect 10 professionalism. “Well, doing the fighting sequences with the asuras (demons) wasn’t an easy feat for me. And though I had a stunt master to continuously assist me in the action scenes, I just once hurt myself only to rebound after nursing the injuries for a couple of days,” she reveals.

Incidentally, this is not her maiden attempt at a mythological roles on the tube. Earlier, Jaya portrayed the goddess Laxmi in a serial tilted Jai Hanuman. “One path-breaking genre comes in and the rest follow suit. The bottomline is to keep flowing with the tide and ensure a good viewership on the whole,” she says.

Is Jaya a pious lady? To this, the high-pitched voice retorts with a whine, “Not at all. I’m not a God-fearing person. I’ve an uncanny fondness for celestial denizens like Durga, Kali and Shiva, since they are inspiring to me.

This time I was offered to play Kali and I thought of sticking to that. Can you handle this – It’s cool and sexy to personify a divine avatar.”

Did the Kapoors refuse Ambani’s offer for buyout?
 

There was a rumour that the RK banner was up for sale as the Kapoors were not keen on making more films. Earlier there were talks about the Kapoor brothers planning to make a film with Karisma, Kareena and Ranbir under the RK banner but it has been quite a while since the Kapoors made an official announcement.

Recently, a senior representative of Anil Ambani is believed to have made an offer to Randhir Kapoor, which any other person would have lapped up. But that’s not the way of Kapoors.

The offer was made over a few drinks and Randhir got pretty worked up. His pride was hurt.

The first part of the offer was a huge five film contract for a huge sum. The offer was to make five films in association with Anil, who would have then bought the films. The second part of the deal, however, must have hurt Randhir’s ego. According to a source, the Ambani representative offered to buy a stake in RK Films stating that he had heard that the Kapoors wanted to sell off the rights of the films that they had made earlier. This upset Randhir and he retorted, “We three brothers, Rishi, Rajeev and me are competent enough to run the company and take the banner ahead. We are united enough to not let go off the banner”. It seems he didn’t like the way the offer was made, said the source.

Randhir was unavailable for comment. But his brother Rishi was rather upset with the query. “What nonsense. There is no deal. We are not selling anything to the Ambanis.” was what he had to say before banging the phone.

Katrina has the last laugh
 

Katrina Kaif is on cloud nine. She has been chosen to be the brand ambassador for Nakshtra diamonds, replacing Aishwarya Rai. This has ofcourse not gone down well with the Bachchans, with Abhishek jumping to wife’s rescue saying she refused the contract, hence Katrina bagged it. The beautiful actress however remains unfazed. “People love creating controversies. All I can say is that, right now I am the brand ambassador for Nakshatra diamonds. The company feels I am the right person to endorse their product,” she says.

Katrina feels there is no need to feel insecure about competition. “There is no competition in films or ads. There’s room for everyone. Some 20 big movies are made every year. And if I get four to five of them, I am happy,” she says.

But what about her ouster from Shah Rukh Khan’s Temptations tour? The actress clarifies, “The Moranis (the organisers of the show) have themselves said that if the dates work out, we will do it. I love doing stage shows but right now I will be leaving for the US for a month-long schedule for a Yash Raj movie,” says Katrina.

Deepika, a favourite of the Chopra camp
 

Though Deepika Padukone lost out on Aditya Chopra’s directorial comeback Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi with SRK to another newcomer Anushka Sharma, it hasn’t stopped her from keeping her good offices with the director intact. She’s always been in touch with the production head honcho with whom she has finished the soon to release Bachna Ae Haseeno.

Looks like all that PR has borne fruit as according to insiders, Deepika is the new favourite of the Chopras, who will soon be signing her for another project. In fact, even though it’s for a short span of time, she will share screen space with SRK once again in Adi’s film, where she is doing a cameo. She was recently spotted at the Yash Raj office working out details for the same, and left the office with promises to keep for the future. If anyone knows how to be at the right place at the right time, it’s Deepika.

Ranbir’s passion for bike irks Neetu

Like John Abraham, Ranbir Kapoor too is passionate about fast cars and bikes. He has a group of biker buddies and this gang of guys loves to go out for some dhoom on the streets of suburban Mumbai, whenever the actor is in town.

Interestingly, Deepika too is a part of the all-boys-club and wants to be more than a pillion rider in the near future. But it’s mom Neetu Kapoor who is not happy with her son’s adventurous activities and has told him in no uncertain terms to stop playing with fire and go easy.

When Ranbir expressed his desire to buy the latest fast paced superbike when in the US, his mom thumbed down the idea saying there was no place in her house for another bike.

She even goaded the usually indulgent father Rishi Kapoor to support her and he too is now against Ranbir’s passion for bikes. Ranbir has since been sulking with his folks about the issue.

Ash is the perfect bahu
 

While the Bachchans are touring North America for the The Unforgettable Tour, the home front too needs to be looked after. And bahu Aishwarya has taken over the responsibility from mum-in-law Jaya Bachchan, who can now put her feet up and have a good time while travelling. So every morning Indian time, Ash rings up the office in Mumbai and supervises the work that needs their attention. Then it’s time for the briefing on all the press writeups about the tour that she discusses with the touring party later in the day.

Says a family source, Ash has taken to the functioning of the family matters like fish to water and she even speaks to Shweta who is in Delhi and the kids, just checking on them and simple things like that. This has made life so much easier for Jayaji and she can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief at things being in safe hands for now.

Rani in a man’s role

We saw a man moving around Yash Raj Studios in cricket gear. He wasn’t a cricketer. A bad moustache is what he was sporting. A closer look revealed that this man in question was being called Raniji!

Yes, it was Rani Mukherji. The film directed by Anurag Singh also stars Shahid Kapoor, Sherlyn Chorpa and Rakhi Sawant. Called Hidaba, sources tell us that Rani who is playing a cricketer in the film dresses up like a man.

SRK who was shooting next door in the same studio saw Rani as well and found her look hilarious. “She was roaming all over the studio displaying her moustache proudly. She was looking very funny,” King Khan said.

We last saw Sridevi do a wonderful Charlie Chaplin act with her wee little moustache in Shekhar Kapur’s Mr India. Let’s see what Rani will look like in Hidaba.

A mystery full of twists and turns
 

Eight different strangers with eight different stories try to unlock one truth behind the assassination attempt on the president of United States.

Thomas Barnes and Kent Taylor are two Secret Service agents assigned to protect President Ashton at a landmark summit on the global war on terror. When President Ashton is shot moments after his arrival in Spain, chaos ensue and disparate lives collide in the hunt for the assassin. In the crowd is Howard Lewis, an American tourist who thinks he’s captured the shooter on his camcorder while videotaping the event for his kids back home. Also there is American TV news producer Rex Brooks, who is relaying the historic event to millions of TV viewers across the globe. As they and others reveal their stories, the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place – and it will become apparent that shocking motivations lurk just beneath the surface.

The political thriller Vantage Point is one of the more exciting and original gut-busters that Hollywood has produced in a long time. It’s virtually all action, but the action is never mindless and it is full of marvelous surprises every step of the way.

It definitely makes its “Rashomon”concept work. First-time director Pete Travis – coming off a string of TV hits in Ireland – has put together a scary, endlessly surprising and very satisfying movie that keeps our intellect engaged and our butts well on the edge of our seats for 90 gripping minutes.

Do not miss out on this nail-biting thriller that will have you hooked to the screen.

VANTAGE POINT Director:: Pete Travis Cast: Denis Quiad, Forest Whitaker, Sigourny Weaver Gener: Crime/Thriller Runtime: 1hr 30mts

Karan does a Rajni
 

TV actor Karan Mehra, by impersonatingῠ Tamil film star Rajinikanth on screen, has enraged Rajinikanth fans in Mumbai. Karan Mehra is known for his role as Karan in the TV serial Pari Hoon Main, and was seen playing a character called Rajni Swami on the show. To play this role, he even took training from the South Indian production unit and crew. “I wanted to practice the language well, because it should not look like a spoof,” says Karan. Despite Karan’s hard work, diehard Rajinikanth fans have been hard to appease. “I have watched Sivaji ten times over to follow Rajnikanth’s style and mannerisms, manner of speaking and his trademark style of wearingῠ glasses. It is tough. I don’t know how these mimics manage to do it,” he says.

Chunky gets candid

Chunkey Pandey, who is busy with films like Khalbali Hai Khalbali, Mira Nair’s much awaited Shantaram starring Johnny Depp and Amitabh Bachchan, Sankat City where he has a double role, Daddy Kool and Paying Guest, is now happier on TV. Or, he is at least enjoying his arguments on air. Talking about his spat with Malaika Arora on the sets of Zara Nachke Dikha, Chunky confessed, “Yes, I had a disagreement with Malaika. But I don’t blame her. The format of the show is such that men and women are bound to bicker. After all, it’s the war of the sexes, literally,” he says.

Manjrekar to act in a telly serial
 

Film director Mahesh Manjrekar, who has some hit films like Vaastav to his credit, was seen shaking a leg on Jhalak Dikhlaja before becoming a judge for Ekta Kapoor’s show Kisko Milega Bollywood Ka Ticket, is all set to make a grand entry into a telly soap. Mahesh is not directing any new project right now, but he will be acting on a TV show. While Mahesh hasn’t been available for comment, sources say the director cum actor has previously acted in Marathi serials and will be doing a Hindi serial based on the life of a lady cop called Monica Mogre on Zee Next. Yash Patnaik’s company Beyond Dreams is producing the show with Parakh Madan in the lead role and Abhijeet Satam, the son of Shivaji Satam, paired opposite Parakh. Yash Patnaik as well as Parakh Madan refused to talk about the serial at this juncture.

Gaurav draws co-workers’ ire
 

Gaurav Chopra was seen yelling and muttering expletives under his breath the other day when he was shooting for Zara Nach Ke Dikha.ῠ Gaurav’s behaviour has not gone down well with the production team of the show or the people dancing on the same team as him. “We are finding it tough to deal with him. He had promised to mellow down but hasn’t,” says a source from the production.

His behaviour “could also perhaps be due to the presence of his ex-girlfriend Narayani Shastri on the show, he is trying to grab her attention,” adds the source. The boys’ team is upset as he reports late on the sets and does not cooperate with them. The best dancer on the men’s team, Bakhtiyar Irani, and the choreographers are disappointed with Gaurav’s attitude, especially since choreographers find it difficult to make him work on his steps.

Yash Tonk’s cameo in Kyunki

Kyunki is a show where several actors have walked in and out. Now it’s Yash Tonk’s turn to play a cameo in Kyunki. He plays Ganga’s ex-lover Shiv Singhania who has come to get her back in his life once again. “Shiv is very passionate about Ganga and wants to win her love again,” says Yash, admitting that it’s a negative role that will last for two months.

“I have had a great time playing the lead in Karam. But Kyunki is giving me an opportunity to play something different. It’s just a two-month job and I had no problem saying yes to the role because it’s the same production house I am working for. Besides, Kyunki is also a hugely popular show,” he adds.Joining him in the serial is also Rahul Vaidya who won the Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar title.

Making his acting debut,ῠ Rahul plays the role of a chief guest who is a celebrity and who inaugurates a restaurant.ῠῠ Gaurav will join the serial a little later.

Roopa unhappy with Balaji

Roopa Ganguly is best remembered for her Draupadi act in B. R. Chopra’s Mahabharat. But after doing the mythological serial and a few Hindi flicks, Roopa settled down in matrimony. Two years ago, she resurfaced again on television in Balaji’s Karam Apna Apna and since then serials have kept her busy.

\Till a week ago, she was doing Ekta’s Kasturi which she has quit now and has joined Creative Eye’s Waqt Batayega. Ask her the reason for quitting Kasturi and she says she wasn’t quite happy working for Balaji. “Everything was fine for some time. But some how I felt the respect was not there. I am a very sensitive person and as a senior actor I expect respect,” she explains.

She is happy with her role in Waqt. “The character in Waqt is important in the story. Besides, I am being treated well by the production company that gives me the liberty to interpret the character in my own way,” says Roopa.

The paani puri war on telly
 

A new heady mixture of entertainment is to hit the tube soon. Star One is launching a sitcom called Paani Puri that brings the Paani and Puri families together under one roof. Both families have different cultural backgrounds. Vikas Puri, a middle class 28-year-old can’t do without 25-year-old Divya Paani, daughter of a retired bureaucrat.

The two lovers push their luck by tying the knot and making their parents deal with each other. The over-talkative middle class Punjabi Puri family is pitted against the sophisticated Paani family, resulting in an explosive blend.

Sumeet Raghavan and Smita Bansal play the young lovers in the sitcom which goes on air from August 30. The show’s other cast includes Sudhir Pandey, Shagufta Ali, Homi Wadia and Bhavna Balsaver.

Cross-dressing gets krushna good marks
 

Krushna Abhishek, like his uncle Govinda, is an excellent dancer and has been participating in many dance shows lately. But more striking than his dancing is the fact that he has been cross-dressing a lot during these shows. In the two reality shows that he is doing currently – Kabhi Kabhi Pyaar Kabhi Kabhi Yaar and Comedy Circus – he has cross-dressed even when the theme didn’t require him to do so. Only one episode of Comedy Circus was themed ‘role reversal’, giving him a good opportunity to dress like a woman. The benefits of his cross-dressing is, however, that every time Krushna comes in female avatar, he gets good marks from judges. No wonder Kashmeera Shah is taking Krushna’s cross-dressing in good spirit.ῠῠ

Jatin Shah joins Kuch Is Tara
 

Jatin Shah, better known as Adi of Kahani, has been out of the show for the past five months, because the second generation has been kept out of the current plot. So it was Kabhi Kabhi Pyaar Kabhi Kabhi Yaar that kept him busy for some time. Now that he has been eliminated from the dance show, Jatin has joined Kuch is Tara as Ranbir’s friend.

“I am playing a doctor who Ranbir calls from London to diagnose Kanya/Natasha’s split personality disorder. I can’t talk much about the role but my character has a connection with Natasha,” says Jatin who is also looking forward to his entry in Kasturi. “It is tentative and I might join the show in some time,” he says. He has also been told that he might be back in Kahani. So after sitting idle for a few months, Jatin is all set to get busy now.

Smart Shrimati’s back

Smart Shrimati, the game show for homemakers, is back for a third season. In the show, the middle-class housewife has a chance toῠ play the game that is based on the Chausar from the epic Mahabharat where the husband is trapped in a giant wheel and the wife uses her intelligence to release him.

The show has a new set and there is a change in format.ῠ Now, there are 16 contestants from four zones. Each zone will have two finalists from which one will be chosen by viewers. The finalists from each zone then play in the finale for a prize of Rs. 10 lakh.ῠ

“The show sends a message that being a housewife is no ignominy, but deserves appreciation and recognition. It celebrates and salutes all homemakers who have always risen to the challenge of managing their home and family,” says host Anu Kapoor.ῠ

(Snippets by A.L. Chougule)

In studio with Swarathma
 

If you look from outside, it surely won’t appear to be anything like a recording studio (of course not for those who are regulars). We waited for 20 minutes after ringing the doorbell, and when there was still no response, we decided to find the action all by ourselves. Two minutes later, we found it in the basement.

Finally, we were in Khitiz, hoping to watch a recording session with India’s “best Hindi band” Swarathma.

We were the first to tell you that the only reason why Swarathma competed for Radio City’s hunt for the best Hindi band of the country was the record deal with EMI Virgin records. Now that they have got it, they are recording their debut album in the basement of house number 99, Anand Lok, New Delhi. Vasu confesses that it is their first time in a studio, and they are enjoying every minute of it.

“Until now we have finished recording eight songs. The ultimate challenge is to get the same sound as that of our live shows (those of you who have witnessed Swarathma’s energy on the stage, will swear by it). We have been recording here for 10 days, and we will probably take another five or six days to complete it.”

He informs us that except for the instruments, most of which are their own, their record label (EMI virgin) is supposed to take care of the whole process with the help of Indian Ocean’s drummer Amit Kalam, who according to the band “is very interested in working with us”.

“I think in the next few months, we might tour with Indian Ocean in the United States,” added Vasu.

All this while, Shubham, the assistant recordist, was busy going through the timelines of a song on the monitor.

We asked him how much they charge per recording. “We charge Rs 1,000 on an hourly basis,” he answered. Later, Vasu calculated the expected cost of recording the entire album to be somewhat close to Rs 4 lakhs (they will feature 11 songs on the album).

He also said that Vijay Nair, who has an experience of managing Raghu Dixit (Vasu’s brother) and Groove Supa, is still negotiating the deal with the label, and it was on his request that Amit decided to help Swarathma.

However, it was a mystery to us why Mysore-based Swarathma, with most of the band members staying in Bangalore, decided to come to Delhi to record their album. Is there a dearth of good recording studios in Mysore or Bangalore?

Speaking for the first time, Montrey, the drummer said, “We wanted to record the drum sequences live, and as this option is not available everywhere, we decided to come to Delhi. Most of today’s bands use programmed drum sequences, but we thought live drums will accentuate our sound.”

So how long will Swarathma fans have to wait for the album? “It will take some time. After the recording, we will do the mixing and mastering in different studios. It is a long process,” Vasu informed.

Montrey added, “Amit wants everything (recording, mixing and mastering) to be done at different studios. So, after recording here, we will probably do our mixing at Ramoji Studios in Hyderabad.”

Vasu also informed us that they might do the mastering of the songs abroad, citing a dearth of good engineers in India as the reason behind that.

Before we finished, Shubham played two tracks from the self-titled album (Sur Mera and Pyaar Ke Rang) that they had recorded that day.

Re-discover fusion with guitars
 

EMI Records must have waited for the right time to re-master and release this album. Considering Jerry Garcia’s birthday on August 1, full marks to EMI Virgin Records for releasing the album now. Sanjay Mishra’s Blue Incantation featuring Grateful Dead’s frontman late Jerry Garcia is one of those albums that tried to rediscover a sound, which is today commonly known as “progressive” fusion. Originally recorded in 1995, Blue Incantation is a sincere effort by Sanjay to offer an interesting insight into the sound of guitar within the purview of Indian ragas and style.

A compilation of 10 tracks (all produced by Sanjay), Blue Incantation, as the name suggests, is a ‘charming’ amalgamation of different styles of guitar playing (from flamenco to trademark country blues, and also with a tinge of Indian ragas).

Jerry contributed to three tracks (mostly with the electric guitar) strumming his characteristic blues tones (remember Truckin by Grateful Dead), and adorning the background of Sanjay’s compositions.

Right from the first track, My Meditation, any listener with an ear for “fused” guitar would to be able grab the technicalities and complexities of Sanjay’s compositions. Slowly as the album progresses into the third track For Julia (also my personal favourite from the album), its sound starts to grow on you.

Sanjay’s love for quavers and semi-quavers is well exhibited in the compositions, and George Thomas’ and Steve Zerlin’s bass coupled with Samir’s timely laggis maintain an incredible tempo in tracks such as Allegro, My Meditation and Monsoon. Considering it is an album dedicated to the guitar, exhibition of harmonics, arpeggios and processed tones go without saying.

Mom makes the best Parsi ravo
 

I love to eat and enjoy different cuisines, though I am basically a rice-dal-curry person. However, there are few eatables which I won’t touch. One such item is pizza, which has gained a lot of popularity. I am also not too fond of burgers. On the other hand, whenever I am very hungry or feeling low, I turn to sandwiches as my comfort food.

Though I try to steer clear of street food, I can’t resist the vegetable sandwiches and chaat on Mumbai roadside. Salads and kebabs are my other favourites, and at parties, I always stick to these two things.

Once in a while, I eat out too. Even though I am not fond of oily and extremely spicy food, I like to frequent Four Seasons for their flavourful biryani and snacks. Hyderabad can indeed boast of its non-vegetarian snacks like kebabs. Ohris’ also dishes out delicious tandoori cuisine.

Though I can cook just basic meals, my mom makes the best ravo. This dish is basically sooji ka kheer with dry fruits. Hers is simply out of the world. It’s one of our typical Parsi sweet dishes. I also like the Parsi dhansak. I would like to mention another tasty homemade food that I ate at a friend’s place – appam with chicken stew, a Malayali dish. Among sweet dishes, I have adored the kala jamum of Kolkata since childhood. But I haven’t found elsewhere.

In world cuisine, I prefer Thai food. In Singapore, there’s a restaurant called Steamboat. I really enjoyed eating the fresh seafood cooked right before me. The food was a bit bland, but it tasted good.

In South Korea, however, I had an unpleasant experience. I accompanied Saina Nehwal there as her personal trainer for a badminton tournament. The smell of the semi-cooked food was horrifying. Sandwiches came to our rescue, and we survived just on sandwiches for all the 20 days that we stayed there.

I have been to Dubai and quite liked the Lebanese food. The Belgian chocolate and ice creams in Dubai are awesome. I found Australian food too fattening, but their steaks and vegetables are yummy.

Finally, I would advise foodies to keep their calorie intake to a minimum. Binge as little as possible on deep fried food and potatoes. It’s also not a healthy habit to almost starve yourself six days and gorge on all goodies on the seventh day. Caution is the keyword in diet. So, enjoy eating with moderation.

Here you get all, from snacks to sweets
 

Hangout@Eat World, Dharam Karam Road, Ameerpet

Who all frequent: Rohit Sehgal, Prayag, Fawad Khan, Sheetal Iyer and Arun – students from Malla Reddy Engineering College, Icfai, LFJC, St Francis and CSIIT college.

Cost: Rs 5-Rs 30.

What’s hot: Chaat, samosa, paani puri, pav bhaji, sweets like rabri, jalebi, gulab jamun, fresh fruit juices and cold drinks.

What’s the catch: “The chaat and paani puri are amazing and a big hit with us. That’s why we come all the way from our college to gorge on the food,” says Sheetal. “The eatery has good indoor and outdoor seating arrangements and service is prompt. From snacks to sweets, we get everything here,” says Rohit Sehgal, a student of Malla Reddy.

Gold is pass
, try costume
 

Gold prices have shot skyward, and if you are wondering how to fit jewelry into your wedding budget, we have a solution for you. Try out costume jewellery, which isῠ glamorous yet affordable. It also matches your attire perfectly or can be modified to match it. Some of this jewellery even looks like real gold but can be worn without fear because it is less valuable.

Suhani Pittie deals with jewellery that’s reasonably priced, yet extremely elegant andῠ sophisticated. She mostly uses gold plating on silver to make the piece of jewellery appealing. Uncut crystals, semi precious stones, wires, glass and wood all form a part of her work and create a magical effect. Her shop in Banjara Hills has a beautiful collection of earrings, kadas, necklaces and rings. Earrings range from Rs 1500 to Rs 4,000. Neck pieces are priced from Rs 4,000 onwards. Bracelets range from Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,500. Cuffs are priced between Rs 3,500 and 4,500. Pendants range between Rs 300 and Rs 1,500 and rings between Rs 800 and Rs 1,500.

Also in Banjara Hills stocks costume jewellery from different designers from across the country. Silver jewellery studded with crystals creates an illusion of white gold and diamonds. They have an exhaustive collection of neck pieces, earrings, bangles, finger and toe rings, and armlets. The exclusive jewellery pieces range from a paltry sum of Rs 500 and go up to Rs 11,000.

Do check out the kundan sets in Shri Satyanarayan Jewellers and Pearls on M.G. Road. They exude elegance and charisma. Prices for the sets start at Rs 2,500 and go onwards. You can also take a look at the beautiful silver jewellery embellished with precious and semi-precious stones.

Amarsons Pearls on M.G. Road has exquisite pearl jewellery done on gold plated silver. A lot of crystals and stones are combined with the pearls to give the jewellery a splendid look. Do check out the pretty jadau sets Addresses: Suhani Pittie Road No.1 Banjara Hills

Also Road No.8 Banjara Hills

Shri Satyanarayan Jewllers & Pearls M.G. Road

Amarsons pearls M.G.Road

Get stylish with trendy belts
 

Belts are a rage this season and can be used to make a fashion statement, so make sure you are fastened in a stylish one.

Feliz in Somajiguda has a wide range of fashion belts. There are belts of different fabrics like canvas, linen and lycra to choose from. On display are some leather belts embellished with coloured stones that look very interesting. However you can try out the broad belts available at the store. Prices begin from Rs 250 onwards.

Passion N Style, behind Lifestyle Building, has an interesting range of imported belts which are available at a price range of Rs 695 to Rs 1695.

Do also check out the hip and trendy belts available at Wardrobe on Banjara Hills and Vogue in Nagarjuna Circle.

Party all night
 

The road outside Krishna, Ekta Kapoor’s bungalow, was a sight for celebrity spotters as Ekta’s whole khandan joined her to celebrate herῠ an award that she had won. TV and theatre personalities came looking their best but when Ekta’s car pulled in, she looked somewhat under-dressed. Jeetendra, Sakshi Tanwar, Makrand Deshpande, Vikas Sethi, Dolly Thakore, Ali Asgar, Rakshanda Khan and Tarana were all spotted outside Ekta’s house.

 

 Features of the Week

 

 

Deccan Chronicle

March Of The Bachelorette Brigade

3 Aug

March of the bachelorette brigade
 
By Narayani Basu

In just the last one decade, the Indian woman has come of age. She now toasts her freedom, revels in her sensuality, commands her finances, chooses her wines, lives life on her own terms, and flaunts her singlehood.ῠ When Sex and the City premiered on television back in the 90s, everyone sat up and took notice – particularly women. The series tackled topics like sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), safe sex, multiple partners and dozens of other issues that helped women emerge out of the shadows and into the light of changing societal traditions. And when the series came to India, it met with mixed reactions. There were groups who waved the flag of women’s independence and individuality. And yet, underneath it all, the old stereotypes were, and are, still alive and kicking.ῠ

There is, more so in Indian society, a tremendous pressure to find a man and settle down. Despite progress in nearly every sphere, there is still a belief that without a man, nothing can be achieved or accomplished. You’ve made it if you marry into a good family. However, a closer look shows that even though the change is slow, it is steady. The new Indian woman is all about exploring the various facets of her personality. She isn’t just able to afford holidays to London, or own designer clothes, but she’s able to actually make decisions about her life – when, what, and how – all without the help of a man. The change isn’t only restricted to the younger generation either. Women in their late 30s and early 40s are breaking out of the conventional mould into which they were so carefully sculpted – all with the support of the dreaded ‘traditional Indian family’.ῠ

As a result, men have had to force themselves to change as well. It’s no longer enough to be a man – you need to be proficient on both the professional, as well as the domestic front, especially if you’re married to today’s modern career woman. As a result, divorce rates all over the country are shooting up. According to the Tribune, there was a 150 percent rise in the divorce rates in conservative states like Punjab and Haryana in 2007, while in New Delhi there were 8000-9000 cases in the same year.ῠ

So it’s obvious that marriage is no longer the low-risk option that it once was for a daughter. Take the case of Anita Sahgal (name withheld on condition of anonymity). Sahgal, who was married for 15 years before she got a divorce, manages her own media consultancy. Though she started her company while she was married, Sahgal says that her job did not mean much to her husband. “I was working out of home initially, but as my job gained momentum and there was hardly any support from my husband, I had to think of a way out.”

The only way out was a divorce and Sahgal admits that it was the most painful decision she had to make. By this time she had two children and the going was hardly easy. Besides, at this time, Sahgal had entered what she calls a “professional plateau”. She was hardly paying attention to her work as a result of trying to manage her personal front and it was taking its toll on her. “It took me 15 years to come around to the decision,” she says, “but the kids were grown up by this time, and though it was very hard, I decided to go ahead with it.”

The good thing about it all? “Undoubtedly, my kids and my family. My kids were completely non-judgmental and my whole family gave their support unconditionally,” she says, “My work is now back on track and so is my life. In fact, I’m taking a break and going abroad for a holiday with my mother and daughter.”

However, being a single woman isn’t all happiness and light. Consider, for instance, the fact that you have bills and there isn’t anyone to settle them but yourself. Sunita Jain, 56, a former employee with the Bank of Tokyo, who now works as a freelance investment consultant-cum-lecturer, agrees, “Being single at any age for any woman in Indian society is difficult, but you need to accept the situation as you find it and adjust accordingly. If you can do that and take each day as it comes, you’ll be fine.”ῠ

Jain, who comes from an orthodox Jain family, was married and divorced at an early age. That, she says, surprisingly wasn’t a problem. “I, along with everyone else, was a critic of divorce back then, but it wasn’t something I could prevent, and surprisingly, when I told my family of my decision, they were behind me all the way,” she says. “I knew life would be better without him and no one in my family would have had me believe otherwise. A divorced woman used to be ill regarded and divorce was a stigma, but my family, especially my sister, showed me off as proudly as they would a single daughter. Whether it was at parties or family gatherings, I was never left alone for a minute. I can’t thank them enough for that.”

But what about financial support? Though Jain was working at the time of her marriage, her husband wanted her to give up the job. She remained adamant on the issue, but when the divorce came through, she was left to fend for herself. Here again, her family turned up trumps. “My father and my brother were more experienced than I was back then,” she admits, “and they guided me wonderfully. I began to learn more from the job I was in, and invested my savings wisely. Now I can stand on my feet, financially and otherwise.” The issue of companionship is another monster that often rears its head. Some women may worry about being alone for the rest of their lives. Jain says that that is just a question of one’s state of mind.

“I have plenty of friends, male and female,” she says, “Life doesn’t stop because you’re a single woman, nor should you expect it to. And if it boils down to the issue of sex, then it all depends on how you play.” Radhika Sachdev, 40, who works with a publishing house, quenched her need for companionship in another way. She adopted a child, Aarzoo. “I would have adopted even if I had been married,” she says, “It was a decision I had been working towards as I grew older. I don’t feel the need for a man, just to have kids. Kids aren’t the only basis of a relationship.”

Sachdev wasn’t worried about raising any eyebrows either. “All that mattered to me was that my parents would accept my decision and my child. Luckily for me, they did without any questions. They helped me set up the infrastructure that I needed to get Aarzoo into my life.” But hurdles presented themselves in the form of schools. “Most schools that I applied to were biased because I was a single mother and because she was adopted,” says Sachdev. “It was a very tough period for me, because I don’t believe that you discriminate against children who are adopted or women who are raising them single-handed. It’s not anyone’s fault,” she says. Innumerable rounds, and a letter from Sheila Dikshit later, Aarzoo was accepted into Somerville School. “I’m happy that they accepted her,” says Sachdev, “It’s a good school and she’s very happy there. That’s all I want.”

Being single isn’t exactly a joyride. There are ups and downs to every side of life, but that comes even if you are married or in a relationship. For now, most Indian women, be they young or old, are embracing a lifestyle that, while it is independent, in no way cramps their style. An online blog post says it all: “Then there’s the deep contentment of turning the key in your own front door on a Friday night, slamming it behind you, pouring a glass of wine and settling down to watch a favourite movie with no one else commandeering the remote control and channel-flicking during the breaks.”

Bipasha Basu When in a relationship for a long time, it feels like you are already married, because you are leading your lives as married couples would – sharing responsibilities and being together. What matters is whether you can maintain your identity even after marriage. There are couples who’ve been together for 10 years and then decided to tie the knot. And what happens? Soon after they get married, they split.ῠ They say, people’s expectations change.ῠ Although I do want to get married eventually, I would want to be independent.

Advaita Kala (writer) For me, per se, there is no set guideline. I think it’s really about being with someone who gives you the space to grow and evolve. I read once a long time back, and in fact used it in my book as well, that, “Marriage is like one long conversation.” I agree with that. To be with someone who mentally invigorates you and keeps you aware and invested is great. I think when and if I do decide to marry, it will hopefully be to someone who is not afraid of change, is kind and cares about the world we live in.

Sushmita Sen: The idea behind marriage is age-old – to find happiness, a sense of security given the norms of the society then. Of course society and the times have changed now. Is it then right to carry these age-old traditions and beliefs forward? Why is it so bad for a girl who is 30-something to not be married? I have girls writing to me saying families, usually distant family, get on their nerves, hounding them about marriage. Why can’t we just let people be? I want to know how many married people are truly happy? If marriage doesn’t guarantee happiness, is there even a point discussing this?

Brides who showed the door to grooms
 
By Amita Verma

Four young girls in Uttar Pradesh proved this month that it doesn’t take education or financial strength to stand up for women’s emancipation – it just takes mettle, and the strength to put one’s foot down. Meera, Soni, Raman and Renu are young semi-educated girls, belonging to the lower middle-class. They have never met each other, yet these girls created a furor this month when they stood up for their rights and refused to bow to social pressures.

Meera, who lives in Badaun district, sent her groom back because he did not bring a band with the wedding procession. “If the girl’s family is made to spend money in decorating the venue, why can’t the groom spend money on the band?” she demands. Soni, in Farukkhabad district, refused to marry when she learnt that the groom lisped and stammered. “The boy’s parents hid his speech disability and it was this that made me revolt,” she says in protest. In Mahoba district, Raman found that her groom was a middle-aged man and not the boy she had been shown earlier. She stormed out of the mandap and refused to go through the marriage rituals. In Maharajganj district, Renu found the groom groping around with his hands and discovered that he was partially blind. She stood up and told the elders in the family that she would not marry the groom. The baraat had to return without the bride.

Sway to the rhythm divine
 
By Neha Rathi

Letting your body sway to the rhythm of musical beats isn’t just pleasure. It also helps relieve physical ailments, fosters mental peace and gives rise to a feeling of contentment. Throughout the ages and across cultures, dance has been a medium to express a plethora of powerful emotions. Some dance in celebration, some to let go of bottled feelings, some for fun while some dance in devotion. Dance is energy in motion, and when infused with devotion, it becomes a way to reach out to God.

Indian mythology reserves a special place for dance. Shiva’s Tandava Nritya, the most famous dance in the pantheon of Hindu deities, is considered to be the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. The dance of Krishna with gopis, known as Raas Leela, is symbolic of the harmony and bliss of love. The dervishes swirled and swayed in an ecstatic love of God. The bauls of Bengal strummed their dotara, tapped their feet and twirled in praise of the Almighty.

Besides expressing joy and devotion, dance can also bring the mind, body and soul in perfect harmony. Dance therapy is a treatment in which choreographed movements of body are used to treat social, emotional, cognitive and physical problems. With the premise that emotional anxiety results in muscle tension and constrained movement, the therapy works towards healing in a rhythmic manner. Conceived as a marriage of sorts between modern dance and psychiatry, the therapy was pioneered by Marian Chace, a dance instructor who established her own studio in the US in the 1930s. Since Chase’s dance classes provided unique opportunities for self-expression, communication and group interaction, psychiatrists began sending patients to her. Later she founded the American Dance Therapy Association and became its president.

Dance therapy treats patients suffering from diabetes, stress, hypertension, cervical spondylitis and migraine headache using the communion of the body-mind factor. Says A.V. Sathyanarayana, a Bangalore-based dance therapist who has founded the Shristi Institute of Dance Therapy, “Dance therapy is founded on the premise that the body and mind are interrelated entities and the state of the body affects the mental and emotional wellbeing of a person in diverse ways. It helps bring out the inner feelings of the participants and helps them develop a healthy personality. The joyful rhythm invokes positive emotions and visualisations of the beauty of nature.”

About the benefits of the therapy, he adds, “This therapy benefits performers without them even realising it. All types of classical and folk dances, right from Bharatnatyam to the Gujarati folk dance Dandiya, have body movements that can be used in this therapy.” The music is a blend of Carnatic, Hindustani, jazz and folk, focusing on specific beats. And the dance steps include Bharatnatyam steps, snake and peacock movements. “We try to show the participant the positive aspect of a creature or an object. He or she should be proud of enacting the creature, like the curvaceous body of a snake or the beauty of a peacock. The snake dance in particular helps in curing respiratory problems,” he says.

If you do something, go the whole way
 

Commitment brings energy. If one wants to live an intense life, full of energy and power, one needs deep commitment. If you are not committed, the energy is not challenged. Everything is just okay, so-so; one continues in a lukewarm way, and one lives just on the periphery. So make this insight a tacit understanding in you. Life is a commitment, because only those who commit themselves, live. Others simply drag. They are born and die but they never live. Only people of commitment rise to high peaks of energy, rise to their climaxes.ῠ

Each moment has to be a commitment Then the energy will flare up and will become a bigger and bigger flame everyday. The more you bring it out, the more it will become available to you, and deeper and higher will be the sources that are available to you. Man can have as much energy as he needs. But if you don’t need it, there is no point in having it. If you have decided to crawl on the earth, it is up to you. If you want to fly in the sky, that too is for you to decide. Your energy is already ready to do what you want to do, but the first thing is that you have to want to do it.

Experience everything fully Whenever you want to experience something, do something, go the whole way. Either it is useless and you understand it, or it is useful; then too you have an understanding of it. Either way you are profited, benefited. Make this a rule for everything; let it be a golden rule. If you love a woman, then love. Go all the way so that you can come to an understanding of whether love is worth-while or just foolishness. And whatsoever the conclusion, it will be good for you. If you come to realise that it is a very significant experience, then you can open many doors. There is no other way than experience.

Love unconditionally Ordinarily love is a relationship, and when love is a relationship you breathe only towards a certain person. You breathe him or her, but the passage is very narrow. The universe is so vast and love gives so much; why make it so narrow? Let it expand and be unconditional, because whenever there is a condition, love becomes ruined. When it is unconditional, it becomes divine. And love is never satisfied unless it becomes divine because that is the deepest urge in every human being: to be so full of love that whatsoever the condition, the love goes on showering.

Courtesy Osho International Foundation/www.osho.com

At home with ghosts
 
By Veenu Sandal

Critics cite instances of some so-called paranormal groups that mimic the methodology of a traditional ghost/demon hunting team. However, their primary goal is to frighten the homeowner/client into a belief that they are in danger and that immediate action to cleanse the home is imperative. These groups will act quickly to confuse the homeowner/client by pointing to certain items in the home as being “possessed” and will then offer to remove said items to make the home safe. Typically, these items are antiques, relics, or family heirlooms that will later be put on display in a paranormal museum hosted by the said group where a charge is incurred for admission to view such articles.

Yet, despite criticism, the fact remains that ghost-hunting groups around the world are swelling with members – their popularity fuelled by television shows, the Internet and the increasing availability of high-tech equipment and detailed books like Ghost Hunting: How to Investigate the Paranormal. A common sense approach toῠ investigating ghostly happenings, including apparitions, hauntings and poltergeists are avidly read by many ghost-hunters. This particular book, written by Loyd Auerbach, director of the Office of Paranormal Investigations, covers the investigative process from the initial call and assessment to the on-site investigative techniques and technology.

ῠIt explains how to come up with solutions and resolutions and ways to get rid of the phenomena and goes on to discuss fraudulent cases besides looking at other non-ghostly happenings with paranormal explanations. The book also includes use of technology and the use of psychics in paranormal investigations and explores if anyone can prove the existence of ghosts. Finally, the book covers information resources and organisations that the new ghost-hunter and the person who encounters a ghost can find to learn more about the subject and for help with cases they’re investigating or phenomena they’re experiencing. For obvious reasons, new ghost-hunters find this a very useful book.

According to encyclopeadic sources, individuals engaged in ghost-hunting and paranormal investigation have varying motives for their activities.ῠ

* Some ghost-hunters consider themselves hobbyists whose primary motivation is the excitement of the hunt and the thrill of possibly experiencing something supernatural. Many of these individuals enjoy spending significant time pursuing their hobby.

* Others consider themselves serious researchers who follow a number of scientific protocols and share documentation of their research with other groups in an effort to discover proof that ghosts exist. They often go about their pursuit in a prescribed manner in order to gather evidence of paranormal activity at a given location, or debunk false positive reports of hauntings. Many established groups fall into this category.

* Still others consider themselves to be providing a service, and focus their investigation on offering comfort and assistance to individuals who feel they are experiencing unexplained or paranormal activity at a home or other location. These investigators approach a location with the goal of alleviating the fear and discomfort of the occupants by listening to their experiences and providing advice and reassurance.

Generally, ghost-hunting groups are a mix of several differing outlooks and motives. These days, most advertise their services online, but the majority do not charge for investigations in hopes of finding new and interesting places to explore. Summarised by other groups, there are four basic classifications of ghost-hunters, though many groups can fall into one or more categories. 1. Scientific, generally out to either prove or disprove paranormal phenomena such as ghosts through the use of scientific protocols. 2. Interactive, using both science and practiced beliefs to form an answer about phenomena. This group can include students of crptozoology, UFOs and conspiracies. 3. Chasers/Busters, avid believers out to prove by any means that a phenomenon does exist, even regardless of evidence. 4. Religious/Spiritual believers who specialise in religious beliefs or occult beliefs and who fight against the practices of negative forces, such as demons and evil presences. There are other groups too such as those who have an open mind about the existence or non-existence of ghosts. The starting point for this group seems to be the innumerable ghost stories that have been published down the years and told by word of mouth “surely they can’t all be fiction”. Then there is the group of die-hard ghost believers who were once die-hard critics or skeptics and were converted by actual, first hand encounters with ghosts or ghostly happenings at haunted places or other very personal paranormal experiences. Read about their fascinating, gripping experiences in the next column.ῠ

Learning through seeing
 
By Ranjan Kamath

Whenever a student enrols for speech and drama training, I can anticipate the parent introduce the youngster saying, “My child just doesn’t read῅ it is cartoons, cartoons all the time!” The refrain has become so distressingly constant that it persuaded me to understand my own cultivation of the reading habit to suggest solutions.

The Calcutta I grew up in was a paradise for the poet, artist, book-lover and the cineaste. but in the ’70s, aged under ten, I was none of these and certainly no cineaste. The famous Metro Cinema held morning shows on Sunday, for which my father took me zealously. Whether it was 101 Dalmations, Cat Ballou, or Hatari – at the sound of the first bark or, gunshot I was under the seat, looking askance at a censored vertical frame from between Dad’s legs.

On Thursdays – our weekly school holiday -we were shown films at school. Tom and Jerry always preceded the main attraction, which included Flipper the Dolphin, John Wayne’s westerns, Lawrence of Arabia and Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace. During the scary bits, ‘under the seat’ was not an option in the company of peers, so eyes were kept shut.ῠ Pa never explained why he persisted in taking me to the movies when I made his life utterly miserable but with those faltering beginnings, my future transformation into a filmmaker confounded us both. To add to his misery I insisted he read the same fire-engine story at bedtime (ad nauseum). Every night a new ‘film’ premiered in my imagination, with the variations Pa brought to the story.

It took me four decades to realise that my dad and my school had unknowingly initiated me into visual literacy, expanding the visual vocabulary of my imagination. While reading 101 Great Lives, Enid Blyton, Conan Doyle and Alistair MacLean, my imagination was assisted by the visual imagery of the movies. I conveyed the movie contagion to my children, exciting them with films about flying like Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines and Battle of Britain. Films aroused a curiosity about Montgolfier’s balloon and Supermarine Spitfires which hooked them onto reading.

Rounding off the story-telling experience, I had preserved my fire engine storybook that I read to my sons at bed-time. Inspired by Pa, I too adopted circuitous narrative routes to realise that they too were enthralled more by the story-telling than the story.

In retrospect, I had not realised the importance of visual imagery in encouraging reading, till I began teaching speech and drama. When reading poetry or prose, words remained text on a page; not triggering cinema in the imagination. Reading was associated with the tedium of studying rather than the enjoyment of learning.

If we want our children to read, we have to read stories to them; read with them. Television, cinema and the internet are resources that complement the reading habit, not marginalise it. To view programmes or a film together with our children fortifies them against the subliminal shock and awe of visual bombardment – creating the curiosity to ‘find out more’ through reading. Every weekend, my children and I travel across continents and centuries from the Rome of Ben Hur to the Japan of the Last Samurai; from Lawrence of Arabia to Saving Private Ryan on the Normandy beaches. In two hours a lesson in history, geography, art and culture has been accomplished offsetting a lacklustre school syllabus.

In a world abounding in knowledge resources, it is tragic to hear a young mind say, “I am bored!”ῠῠ Wouldn’t it be gratifying if we inspired the young mind to curl up in a bean bag at the library, consumed by the ‘cinema paradiso’ of his imagination, lost in a book?

ranjan.kamath@gmail.com

Sexual seduction comes back to haunt you
 
By Ayush Maheshwari

Iῠ want to thank all my readers for sharing their experiences with me. It has been an unbelievable learning process. Recently, one of you shared with me your experience of being sexually abused as a child repeatedly and the immensely negative impact it has had on your life. My heart goes out to you and I can completely relate with you: You are not alone. I was sexually abused as a child as well and till date, it haunts me.ῠ Hearing your story has given me the courage to talk about mine. I know while I am writing this week’s column, some child somewhere in this world is getting abused. and it just has to STOP.

Here is what happened: I was around 13 years old when I visited my aunt’s house during my summer vacation for two months. My aunt lived in a joint family. My uncle’s younger brother, Ravi, who was in his late 20s at that time, was always very friendly with me. Touching me, holding me, and making me feel very special. He gave me a lot of attention which I normally wasn’t used to. Being an overweight child people would often make fun of me. So here I am getting all this super star treatment from an adult. It felt nice. My aunt had a big house and we all had our own rooms to stay in. One weekend, however, she had some guests over and Ravi had to move into my room.

I remember every moment of that night. Talking about it till date (this was 18 years ago) shakes me up. It was the darkest night of my life. I was lying on the bed when Ravi came in. He closed the door and said that he does not want anyone to see the surprise gift he is going to give me. But before that I need to sing him a song. Ravi said, “Ayush, can you please sing Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko” (he knew I loved singing.) I started singing. Slowly he came closer to me and started kissing me. I immediately stopped singing. He said, “You are so sweet, keep going, don’t stop.” He said, “Everyone calls you fat and ugly but I think you are the most beautiful person I have ever seen. I just want to be close to you. Nobody loves you Ayush, but I love you.”

What followed is something I would rather not talk about right now῅ even thinking about it is very painful. This incident was not an exception. It happened over and over again in that trip. Since then for years to come, I would look for this false affirmation to know that I was ‘good enough.’

Then why didn’t I tell someone? Why didn’t I try to stop it? Didn’t I know that I was being wronged? Looking back, I did not understand what was going on. It was all very confusing. At that time, it made me feel wanted and cared for. But the reality is – it made almost permanent damages to my self-esteem. The closest I have come to understanding what was going on is when I heard Oprah talking about child abuse on some of her shows. She calls it ‘sexual seduction’ rather than sexual abuse. As a child, you don’t know any better. children who are abused are often seduced to believing that they are being ‘loved’.

The thought of this fact of my life is like a hen which keeps pecking at my soul. With time and a lot of healing, this pecking has become less frequent. Next week we will discuss more in detail the multiple techniques I adopted to start my healing process. It started with the realisation that even though I am not responsible for what happened, it’s my responsibility to heal my soul. I cannot help but wonder if there is anything more powerful than empowering the self.

You can email your experiences to ayush@bigindian.inῠῠ

Ayush Maheshwari, more popularly known as ‘Big Indian’. He is an IT wizard, motivational expert, pop singer, TV performer and a social worker.

‘Those 3 magic words’
 
By Samantha Brett

Je t’aime. Ti amo. Ani Ohev Otah. I love you.

When the famous Polish pianist Arthur Rubinstein mused that we should “love life and life will love you back… love people and they will love you back”, he was obviously unfamiliar with the modern dating game. Tell the object of your affection those three magic words and you run the risk of the quizzical stare, the nonchalant “er … thanks” (without any sign of reciprocation), or worse – them explaining to you that they’re enjoying the no-strings-attached casual liaison ‘wayyy’ too much to shift gears into mushy couple territory. “Why ruin a good thing?” they muse while your heart crumbles.ῠ Back in high school, I found myself making the crucial mistake of declaring my love a little too prematurely for comfort. “Love? Pfft! You don’t even know the meaning of the word,” scoffed my boyfriend at the time before giving me the flick – via a text message nonetheless.

“Love is complicated,”ῠ he wrote. “I just don’t think I’m ready for the words.” (He certainly seemed ready when I caught him canoodling with his ex-girlfriend the following weekend, but that’s a whole different column.)ῠ I suspect a similar gut-wrenching experience is to blame for the fact that so many of my fellow singletons stick to the mantra that the ‘L’ word is not something to be uttered unless the question has been popped, the rock’s been purchased and both parties are fully aware of each other’s bathroom, belching and belittling habits.

“Unless I know he’s right for me and that I’m prepared to accept his ways -foibles and all – only then will I proclaim I love him,” says one single femme, vociferously opposed to any lovespeak until there’s a ring, a white dress and a picket fence firmly in sight. “Even when he says it to me, I gush ‘thank you baby’ and then quickly change the subject. And I stick with ‘luv’ or ‘loving you’ in texts or emails.”

E! News presenter Giuliana Depandi (http://www.giulianadepandi.com) says she’s doing just the right thing to lure in a bloke for good. In tip #47 in her tome titled Think Like A Guy: How To Get A Guy By Thinking Like One, she jettisons the idea that women should never say the “L” word first, let alone initiate the kids, marriage and move-in-together conversation. (Oops!)

Male portal AskMen.com advises its male readers similarly, chastising any bloke who declares his true feelings for a woman. It says those three magic words are “evil words that have brought generations of clueless men worldwide to their demise”. Ouch!

But I wonder this: in a time of mass communication with more gadgets, gizmos and whiz-bang widgets that enable us to tell someone we love them in more ways than ever before, surely it’s time we were able to express our feelings freely? Be unafraid to open up our hearts?

Or are we simply too afraid of rejection to take the plunge… even if it means getting the “L” word in reply ῅

The writer is an author, columnist & dating expert

(You can mail your responses toῠ asksambrett@gmail.com)

Vernacular rock on a roll
 
By Debarun Borthakur

If you are a die-hard rock music fan and are cribbing why Led Zeppelin didn’t sing in Hindi, don’t worry; the times are changing. Bridging the linguistic gap to popularise rock among desi music lovers are a bunch of rockers who swear by distorted guitar riffs, and are determined to express their thoughts in their mother tongue. Though “hind-rockers” (singing in Hindi) are common in the country, vernacular rock is what’s sweeping the Indian janta off their feet. Today one will find many Indian rock outfits singing in regional languages, and are slowly but steadily gaining ground in the contemporary Indian music scene.ῠ “If you ask me, music doesn’t have any language. Whether it is Tamil, Kannada, Bengali or any other language, the priority for a musician is to put across the right message, even if it is in some African language,” says singer Usha Uthup.

There are a number of names in contemporary Indian music scene who follow the same ideology. They believe music to be a universal unifier, and don’t consider language as a barrier in this context. “Just like any other college-goer, initially, I too started singing in English.

But eventually I realised how difficult it is to connect my people to it. Singing in one’sῠ mother language helps a singerῠ connect to his roots which I feel is a very important factor to put across the desired message to your audience,” says Raghu Dixit, who recently launched his multi-lingual debut album in English, Hindi and Kannada. So, why did he choose to sing in different languages, is that a rational decision or is it something that came naturally to him? “It was in Belgium where I first sang a few of my own compositions, and you won’t believe the audience there went crazy. Their overwhelming response instigated me to come back to India and be a musician. In fact, the whole experience changed me as a human being,” says Raghu, who has also composed for a Kannada movie Psycho.

Punjabi rocker Rabbi Shergill too believes that music doesn’t have any language. “Composers generally depend on what comes naturally to them. I think in Punjabi, so I prefer penningῠ my thoughts in the same language. It’s about presenting the right expressions to the audience,” adds Rabbi.ῠ

So, how do the record label companies respond to this? Do they consider promoting vernacular music a safe bet in Indian contemporary music scenario? Says Raghu, “Not really. I got lucky because Vishal (of the composer duo Vishal-Shekhar) appreciated my compositions and asked me to come up with an album under their banner. However, everybody is not that lucky. Market is the first priority for established record labels. They are hardly concerned about the sensitivity of music. Though I won’t name any label, many of them turned me down saying I am not good-looking enough for them to promote my music.” Rabbi, however, thinks vernacular music has a great future in India. Though he restrained from commenting anything on the record labels, he believes vernacular music will bring about a new wave in the Indian music market.

So, if you are trying to figure out which language you should choose to pen your thoughts in, don’t think. Just write down your thoughts in any language as it’s not the language that will make your music a hit, but the perfect blend of music and expression.

Unplugged
 
By Naresh Sadhwani and Deepak Jhangiani

A guide to what’s new in the audio, video world

The channel slugfest is on My programmes are better in quality, in content, in the stars that we attract, etc. These are the claims being bandied about by all the channels tom-tomming about their superiority over the other channels. The sad truth is that there is still no clear winner and the discerning Indian viewer is asking for more and the channels are scrambling to find that ‘new’ niche which will attract more eyeballs. From bigger and better the new claim is International, so while UTV World Movies features international movies with English subtitles, NDTV is working on their own world cinema channel, NDTV Lumiere. Now Indian viewers will be able to see cinema from as many as 160 countries. Now globalisation of the Indian viewer’s sensibilities.

Viacom18’s GEC Colors has been launched amidst much fanfare and controversy surrounding the much-heralded Khatron Ke Khiladi, the Indian version of the Fear Factor on AXN. The channel is eager to be unlike the others and is calling its content strategy “disruptive and differentiated”. Whether this will work or not, only the third “d” i.e. demand will tell. ῠ From Oil to Air? Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), the country’s second largest oil marketing company, plans to diversify into the already crowded DTH business. With crude oil prices putting a dent in their bottom lines the company is now looking to the other avenues to make it good. BPCL has always been a distribution major. Earlier it was oil, now it will be TV programming.ῠ ῠ Question of the week Everyone is talking of 3G mobile phones. What is that?

Akshay

Presently wireless technology used in India and most other countries for mobile phones is GSM and CDMA which are still evolving. they fall under the 2G or 2nd generation technologies. however, newer technologies are now being employed which are faster and can add on more utilities. 3G therefore, is the generic term covering the range of these future technologies namely: cdma2000, UMTS, GPRS, WCDMA and EDGE. The new I-phone 3G from the Apple farm which has been creating sales history in the USA delivers the best of the 3G world namely these advanced technologies which in layman’s language this means faster speeds, wider bandwidths resulting in better reproduction of sound and picture.

Readers are invited to email theirῠ queries/suggestions/comments toῠ sadhwanis@vsnl.com

My hasty decisions have been my failing: Zayed
 

As I watch Zayed Khan getting ready to play a rich, spoilt brat on the sets of Subhash Ghai’s Yuvraaj in Film City, I can’t help but think aloud, “You seem to slip into this character quite easily!” to which he laughs and says, “Yeah, I identify with the character, Danny Yuvraaj Singh. He’s like Main Hoon Na’s Lucky on steroids. His life is a big party, having everything money can buy. Danny’s got this whole vanity-insanity groove going on.” The young actor has worked with Shah Rukh Khan in Main Hoon Na earlier and now, with Salman Khan in Yuvraaj. His eyes light up as he says, “It was a dream come true to work with SRK so early in my career. He came across as an institution to me and I’ll never forget what he’s done for me. Salman is like an elder brother and I always knew I would have a great time working with him. He’s the ultimate cowboy and I admire his supreme confidence. Both of them are fantastic human beings.” Even though Mission Istaanbul, where he played the role of a journalist, hasn’t exactly set the bar for successes to come, his optimism is unfazed. “I’ve learnt over a period of time that you must take what’s yours. Never be too subservient because you never know when the rug might be pulled from under your feet. After Main Hoon Na, Mission Istaanbul was my big one. I worked very hard on it last year and I am very proud of the film,” says Zayed. Do you regret any career decisions? “I have taken hasty decisions in the past which has been my biggest mistake. Also, I have realised that working with good directors makes all the difference. I don’t really have regrets regarding what I have done. But I think my hastiness and inexperience has been my failing and that is something I have rectified now. I am going to be more careful from here on. A film’s success has got a lot to do with the right team, with people who can extract the best from you. Film is a director’s medium, you have to get along with the director to pull off the character – otherwise you can always be Zayed Khan. In fact, I have been partying more on screen than off screen now,” he says, but not before adding, “But parties follow me wherever I go. I reckon it’s my charm! But it’s my son Zidaan whom I like to spend most of my free time with. In fact my wife Malaika and he accompanied me to my Bahamas outdoor for my film Blue. It was such a joy to have him around.” The new daddy is going the whole hog – feeding and changing diapers and acting silly around his baby. “There are plenty of bloopers too like when he barfed all over my tee shirt at the airport and I got all messy. Zidaan can stare for hours without blinking, expressionless, and I find that amazing. I want to support his personality when he grows up rather than force mine on him,” he says. When asked about brother-in-law Hrithik Roshan, he says, “Hrithik is a perfectionist. When we get together, we work out as we both love to exercise. We talk about our kids. Sometimes he talks about my film performances and I talk about his. I share a warm relationship with him and I am proud to have this wonderful guy in my family,” he says.

Mads back to Mumbai soon
 
Film news

Madhuri Dixit who is a part of the Unforgettable Tour for the US leg, will soon be returning to India according to sources. No, she has not finally said ‘yes’ to another Yash Raj film that Yash Chopra has been insisting her to do. She will be in India to launch a clothing line for a major international brand that is coming to India. The brand will be catering to the working Indian woman and the styling is modeled over Mads’ jackets and pin striped pants wearing character in Aaja Nachle. Mads has also been busy with the designing team in the US, personally looking into the designs and giving inputs for clothes that she thinks would cater to an Indian market.

It is also said that she will stay in Mumbai for three months after the round of shows to promote the brand and she is putting her kids in a nursery school in Mumbai. With Mads all set, the city can’t wait to welcome its favourite aamchi mulgi, and needless to say neither can Bollywood.

Jiah Khan vs Aamir Khan

Jiah Khan is one unhappy lady. After having finished shooting for Aamir Khan’s remake of Ghajini, she isn’t too excited with the final cut. From what we hear, her role has been extensively chopped from the first narration of the film that she has seen and Jiah is feeling disillusioned about it and has addressed her grievances to Aamir. But what has got this sassy actress most upset is the fact that her voice has been dubbed for the film. Aamir wasn’t too happy with her heavily accented dialogue delivery and has dubbed it in spite of Jiah’s requests to let it remain. She defends that if her voice wasn’t a problem in Nishabd, why should it be now. But perfectionist Aamir is having none of it and asked Jiah to stay nishabd on the subject. But knowing fiery Jiah, she won’t keep mum and there could be another Khan vs. Khan battle on the cards. Shiney seeks divine help

Once touted as the next big superstar, Shiney Ahuja has found the going tough with no backing in the industry. He is currently banking on Har Pal with Preity Zinta and Hijack to bring him back into the horizon. And it looks like even Shiney knows he needs divine intervention to bail him out of his bad phase. Shiney is currently not signing films apparently at the behest of a family guru, who has asked him to go on a pilgrimage to seek blessings before taking up new work. Taking the guru’s word to heart, Shiney set out on a temple tourism expedition, a la the Bachchans. He has been seen hopping from one temple to another across the country. But Shiney has also managed to be discreet about the fact that he is fretting over his current box-office status. Even his wife Anu has kept away from the holy tour at the pretext that she’s looking after their baby daughter, but according to close friends, she doesn’t believe in all this and despite Shiney’s insistence, has preferred to stay at home. But the industry believes that if Shiney sorts out his attitude problems, it would be the answer to half his problems. Priyanka to turn producer

Priyanka Chopra is soon turning producer like many other actresses who are taking the baton in their hands. After Vidya Balan and Katrina Kaif, it is Priyanka’s turn to start producing films she believes in.ῠ Priyanka was apparently having long discussions with friend Karan Johar on the sets of soon-to-release Dostana about the nitty gritties of producing films and Karan has promised his complete support to her new ventures.

Although the thought is still in its nascent stages, Priyanka has started hunting for a suitable location for the office of her upcoming company. She is equally enthusiastic about a couple of scripts that were narrated to her but didn’t find any takers with producers in the past. She has summoned those young directors and writers to bring their projects out of the bins and start adding finishing touches to them.ῠ Her friends however, hope Priyanka is moving in the right direction, because post Love Story 2050, she sure needs damage control.

it’s all about work, chance and luck
 
By Vikram Bhatt

So Shah rukh Khan and Salman Khan have had a fight, well at least at the time of writing this piece and by the time you read it they might have even kissed and made up. but as I write this there is a war going on. The media loves it and the people love it.ῠ What better than two super stars slugging it out? One magazine even called me and asked me how this would affect the film industry. I thought for a moment and then could not think of one single way that it could.

They are not doing films together or are in business together. They have their own set of directors and banners. So where was the conflict? Sorry, no tragedy here and no loss to filmdom. It might be sad that they fought and all that but there is nothing that the collective will suffer for here.ῠ Tragedy is when great productive teams break up. That is a great loss.

Salman’s father Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar ruled the film industry with their gritty writing. They were the ones who put writers on a pedestal and rightfully so. Sholay, Deewar, Trishul to name just a few was surely part of cinema history and yet they parted ways. No one knows the real reason except for a few, I suppose, and yet this was a tragedy.

Not that they did not do good work after they parted ways. Salim Khan had Naam and Javed Akhtar had Betaab, Arjun and Dacait to name a few of their films but yet it was no Salim-Javed. More recently music composers Jatin and Lalit who I had worked with on my films Fareb and Ghulam parted ways.

Lalit worked with me on Life mein Kabhie Kabhiee and I did try to ask him once what went wrong between the brothers and what I got was a really lukewarm excuse of an answer, certainly not the true story but again such talent and such tragedy. This place is filled with such examples – people who do great work together and then go their separate ways for reasons best known to them or some that we may guess. I remember the time that Laxmikant-Pyarelal almost broke up their team. It was all over the media and the industry mourned and yet if I remember correctly it was Subhash Ghai who brought them together within days and did not allow the split. The industry owes him a huge one for that.

What makes these teams go their separate ways? It would be silly of me to guess because they might all have their reasons but the most common reason that I have seen is success.ῠ It might sound odd but success has one problem and the problem is called, a part of my homemade theory book, spotlight theory. The spotlight theory is that people feel that there is only place for one under the spotlight.

After the spotlight hits you, you want to elbow out the other person to be in that glow alone. I don’t mean to say that the teams I have mentioned here are a victim to this theory but I have seen enough here that are. I remember this one incident very clearly. I have mentioned Waman Bhonsle in a previous article. He was the most brilliant editor I have met. He was the editor to Gulzar, Boney Kapoor, Shekhar Kapur, Mukul Anand, Raj Khosla. The list is endless.

Prolific and brilliant, he worked in a team with his editor partner Guru Dutt Shirale and it was always Waman-Guru. Everyone in the industry saw Wamansaab, as I call him, toil away more than Guru.ῠ One day someone asked him if he felt like breaking away from Guru since he did all the work at which he smiled and said, “who knows, it might be my work and Guru’s luck!” I can never forget that because in a place where it is all about talent and chance, work and luck, we will never know who the top gun is really!

The Young Turks of cyberspace
 

ONCE YOU’RE LUCKY, TWICE YOU’RE GOOD:

The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0 By Sarah Lacy, Gotham Books, $26, pp 294

The drumroll leading up to the publication of Sarah Lacy’s book about the 20-something entrepreneurs who brought us such familiar websites as Facebook was certainly impressive. For months, Lacy demurred when asked to reveal the title yet talked up her project at every opportunity, causing the prepublication buzz in Silicon Valley to build. By golly, it was as if the author herself had created the next YouTube.

With the stance of an insider given unparalleled access to her subjects, the starry-eyed Lacy tells the stories of a half-dozen or so young entrepreneurs who started websites like Facebook and YouTube, all driven by user-generated content. Together, those sites created a post-Google version of the “participatory” Web known as Web 2.0. Lacy has chosen to include, among others, Mark Zuckerberg, the 24-year-old founder of Facebook, the wildly popular social-networking site; and Max Levchin, 33, a co-founder of PayPal, the online payment system that eBay bought in 2002.

This disjointed grab bag of gossip has its elucidating moments, but as the definitive tale of the rise of Web 2.0, Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good serves as a reminder that the latter-day equivalent of Tracy Kidder’s 1981 book, The Soul of a New Machine, the gold standard for technology nonfiction, has yet to be written. The title promises an incisive, illuminating examination of just what it is that engenders serial success. Indeed, Lacy delivers on that promise with her profile of Marc Andreessen, who helped build one of the first Web browsers and made millions with Netscape, the browser company. He then started a software company, which Hewlett-Packard bought last year for $1.6 billion. Now 37, he has Ning, a social-networking company for which he has high hopes. Lacy draws a fascinating portrait of Andreessen and his need not just to best himself but to equal the successes of his mentor, Jim Clark, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur who financed Netscape.

Otherwise, the title seems to bear little relevance to the book. For Lacy’s other subjects, repeated success has yet to be determined. For example, it is unclear whether Levchin’s new company, Slide, which makes “widgets” – small, single-purpose applications for websites like Facebook and MySpace – will end up making him more millions. And Mark Zuckerberg is still firmly entrenched in his first company. Yet Lacy seems hesitant to dwell on these points.

The writing is, at best, informal. For instance, the last time I checked the American Heritage Dictionary, in spite of how computer trade journalists might choose to use the word, “architect” was not recognised as a verb, to say nothing of “rearchitect.” And Lacy’s fifth-grade teacher would no doubt wince at the profusion of incomplete sentences. (“Probably a good thing few women work there.” And “The time Jay and Marc were chatting when Sumner Redstone sauntered up.”) Then again, everything happens so quickly in Silicon Valley that perhaps there is no time to write a proper sentence.

Some of the reporting is impressive in its sheer detail. Lacy obviously spent a great deal of time with these celebrated entrepreneurs. Her descriptions of their business meetings come complete with snatches of you-are-there dialogue, † la Bob Woodward. The reader also learns who wears boxers, who cuts his hair in a hip style and who shucked his nerd-wear in favour of jeans and Pumas.

But the details don’t add up to much. The reader hears a great deal about Levchin’s fear of swimming but surprisingly little about what has driven Levchin, who is from the former Soviet Union, to start companies. And rather than following a straight narrative arc, Lacy jumps from one story to another, then doubles back again – to confusing effect. Paradoxically, it is when Lacy gets impersonal, and dispenses with her name-dropping tone (she refers to Zuckerberg throughout as merely “Zuck”), that she is at her best. Her explanation of how venture capital works is instructive and clear, perhaps one of the best yet written for a general readership.

And she skilfully describes a tension intrinsic to the Web 2.0 world: thanks to low start-up costs, the newest entrepreneurs don’t need venture capitalists, and even view them with disdain for the role they play in diluting individual wealth. Yet Lacy offers vivid descriptions of meetings between entrepreneurs who eventually wind up strapped for cash and of the venture capitalists with the means to help.

A columnist for BusinessWeek.com and a co-host of Tech Ticker on Yahoo Finance, Lacy has a tendency to throw out numbers in too cavalier a fashion. For instance, she describes “the mighty $195 billion Google juggernaut” that bought YouTube in 2006.

Lacy’s book is an outgrowth of an article she wrote for Business Week in 2006. The unfortunate headline on the cover – “How This Kid Made $60 Million in 18 Months” – proved an embarrassment to the magazine. The cover photograph was of a young man sporting headphones, a T-shirt and a 5 o’clock shadow, smiling broadly and giving two thumbs up to the camera. It was Kevin Rose, who would become one of Lacy’s principal subjects in this book. Rose, 31, is a co-founder of Digg, a website that allows its users to collectively decide which news accounts on the Internet deserve top billing.

As it turns out, the $60 million referred to the estimated value of Rose’s stake in the company. He didn’t make 60 million of anything, and until the company is sold or goes public, the $60 million in question is as good as Monopoly money. One of these days, perhaps by the time Kevin Rose does indeed become wealthy, someone will write a richly textured book that chronicles with insight and acumen the rise of the most recent crop of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Sarah Lacy’s Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good is not that book.

‘I prefer reading intellectual books’
 
By Milind Soman

I am not a very devoted reader, but I read whenever I have time. Though my reading habit is totally dependent on free time, I manage to read almost 600 pages a week. I like reading fantasies or science fiction. I also like to read historical stuff. But I prefer reading books that are intellectual and stimulate me from within. Reading gives me a lot of perspective and insight into various aspects of life. It also gives me a general perception about the people I meet and a certain vision to approach them. Sometimes an experience attained by reading a book helps me take major decisions as well.ῠ Though I don’t have any favourite book in particular, Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham is one of the books I like the most. It’s a fantastic book and very realistic in its approach.

My favourite authors are John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, Iain Menzies Banks, Isaac Asimov and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I like their writing because of their unbridled imagination. They have a certain understanding of human emotions. They also have a deep knowledge of social psychology. Being humane and practical in their approach, they have written masterpieces of literature. Reading these authors gives me immense satisfaction.

Worthy additions you will cherish
 
By Sunil K. Poolani

Since talking and cribbing about the foggy world of publishing week after week, I thought I should take a break – and, yes, you readers, too, would get a respite. So, this week I thought it is better to discuss some good books that haveῠ hit Indian bookstores recently. So here they go:

With the Tiger One who grew up with classic storytellers like Somerset Maugham, this impressive volume leads you on a trip down nostalgia lanes. For, With the Tiger (Harper Collins; Rs 295) is a graceful retelling of Maugham’s classic The Razor’s Edge. Where Baranay succeeds is the way she intersperses Maugham’s characters in Indian context with such brave and unwavering way, without losing the girth and grip of the narrative, cogitative most of the times. Baranay, as she admits, has followed Maugham’s structure exactly and named her characters for his. Brief: The charming young Larry (along with a host of other characters) returns as Australians; his life-altering occurrence is not as an underage enlistee in WWI, but during a teenage backpacking trip to India, where he converts himself into a mysterious hermit. A racy read, this is a worthy addition to your literary vocabulary.

Guardian of the Dawn Unlike any other year, the last two years have seen a gamut of historical novels set in India. After Rimi B. Chatterjee’s The City of Love, here comes Richard Zimler’s Guardian of the Dawn (Penguin Books; Rs 350), equally rich in talking about the atrocities and vengeance of colonial India. Zimler, nevertheless, takes a daring turn: he vivifies the Catholic Inquisition in Goa (we Indians, fearfully, never discussed this before, to remain politically correct), and how Hindus or immigrant Jews were strangled by executioners or burnt alive in public. Zimler presents a wide canvas of devotion and discrimination, peppered with lots of historical research and passion.

A veritable treat (the beginning may put many readers off, but as the novel progresses it becomes unputdownable), this novel is an enchanting and authoritative retelling of Othello. Zimler, an internationally-acclaimed author, has absolute command over the language which drags the readers into the realms of a barbaric system that we conveniently try to forget. Impressive.

Devil May Care: A James Bond Novel After Ian Fleming’s death, and when Hollywood is still regurgitating the Bond movies to charm the secret agent’s aficionados, Sebastian Faulks comes as a saviour to millions of Bond admirers across the world. Faulks, you will realise, is the best person, as you savour Devil May Care (Penguin India; Rs 395), to recreate the magic created by Fleming. One may argue why Faulks set the story of the present-day Bond (in this post 9/11 terror attack days) in the former USSR days. In this page-turner’s case the plot unfolds in the Cold War days.

But, as you would know most of the old Bond stories were set in the fifties, sixties and seventies – and Faulks, too, follows suit. Hello, there is nothing wrong in it, as one should realise Bond is not an evergreen hero, let alone immortal. To be frank, after a long time Devil May Care is one book that hooked me from page one. Seriously. And I get a feeling that Faulks, if he hones his skills further, which I am sure he will, can be a better writer than Fleming. Blasphemous it may sound, but it is the truth.

The writer is the publisher and managing editor, Frog Books, an imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd, Mumbai. Write to him at poolani@gmail.com

Sun, wine and dance in Auckland
 
Celeb Travel: Saif Ali Khan

Iῠ think when you are young you want to travel to the more happening places, the ones your friends tell you about or where all the buzz is. And I also think the meaning of travel changes at different times. If it means exploring the worldῠ in your youth, as you start growing up you understand yourself better during travels. That’s what my recent travels have done for me, and although I do visit all the happening and trendy places for film shoots and shows, there is always a place that calls out to you because you find yourself there. And for me that place is Auckland, a dream holiday destination as it has everything for everybody and yet, it is underrated as far as tourists are concerned, which in a way helps preserve its natural charm, and untainted beauty.

Auckland is a one of its kind geographical miracle, as the city is situated around 50 volcanoes, which are of course extinct but lend character to the city. Most people go to Auckland only when they have relatives living there or if they are in Australia and go to Auckland for the weekend or something. But I like going there for at least a week at a stretch if I have time. I usually rent a car for that duration and that is the best way to see the city, because it is not really known for its public transport and most locals have their own cars. Also it is a vast city and if you want to walk to the important sites, you end up losing a lot of time. Instead of hiring cars from rental services, look for locals renting out their cars during the season as that works out cheaper.

Auckland is an interesting mix of the old and the new world. The ancient Maori culture is preserved by the locals – try saying, ‘Kia Ora’, which means good day to a local and see their face light up. They instantly warm up to you.ῠ Waitakere ranges are the hidden treasure of Auckland, you just don’t expect to visit such beautiful ranges with stunning waterfalls, rugged treks in the heart of a big city. Not very far is Potiki, the area where you can get a taste of the Maori traditions, the war dance you see the Black caps perform before rugby matches can be seen done by kids in the neighbourhood. But it is advisable to have a local or a guide with you when you get into this district because the locals here might tend to keep a distance from you. If you are an adventure lover, take a jump from the sky tower and feel the adrenaline rush.

Everyone talks about the wine that the French or the Italians make. But try wine made here and take a ferry to Waiheke island close by. Spend the day soaking in the sun, and walking through the wineries, tasting some of the best wines in the world. A good evening can also be spent at the Caluzzi bar, where you can have a seven course meal while you watch floorshow and award winning acrobats perform Of course no trip to Auckland is complete without a ride up the imposing sky tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world. The view of the city from there is spectacular if you can be patient or beat the queues to get up there. If you are travelling with family, there are a few entertainment parks, which the kids will enjoy, or you could take them to the aquarium.

There are underwater tunnels, where you can see sharks swimming around you. If you have the time, take a trip to the museums, but do not miss the Saturday flea market. Also visit Made, the one of its kind supermall in the world that houses practically every clothing brand you can imagine, along with the couture of some of the local talents. The prices might be high but it’s worth every penny.ῠ But remember, do respect the traditions of the locals and don’t do or say anything inappropriate that might hurt someone.”

Echoes of Dharamsala
 
By Christine Pemberton

Last August, as I weepily counted down the days till my first fledgling flew the family nest, to go off to university in England, we received a message from a friend who works in Dharmsala. His Holiness the Dalai Lama would be in residence during the first three days of September. If we could be there during those exact days, we would be almost certain to get a few minutes alone with His Holiness.

There wasn’t even a moment’s hesitation. I stopped crying. Hari stopped excitedly packing, and the four of us drove all the way to Dharamsala through the fag end of the rains. As we drove up through the picturesque Kangra Valley, spirits soared, as we saw the famous railway, the picturesque station, and the ridiculously perfect views over lush valleys. Even the rains couldn’t dampen our spirits and we arrived in Dharamsala, feeling refreshed. The little town was damp and wreathed in cool mist, and crowded with Tibetans and foreigners alike, who had gathered to hear His Holiness preach.

We explored the main sights of Dharamsala, including the cemetery of St. John in the Wilderness, where the second British Viceroy, Lord Elgin, is buried. We wandered up and down the narrow, crowded streets, which were full of pilgrims who had come to attend the Dalai Lama’s sermons.

We went through several efficient, but extremely courteous and friendly security checks, and suddenly there we were, inside the compound. We would meet His Holiness just for a short time, we were told, when he walked from his home back to the hall where he was giving his discourses. Despite the friendliness of everyone around us, we all admitted later to feeling a little nervous. There were the four of us, two Singaporean Chinese and a young French man who was hitch-hiking around the world. Thrilled to hear us speaking French, the young man asked me to take a photo of him with His Holiness. Yes, I replied, just so long as you take ours. Avec plaisir, Ludovic agreed.

His Holiness’ ADC came to meet and brief us. We were to stand here, Ludovic was to stand there, and the two Singaporeans over there. His Holiness would stop and talk to us first, then Ludovic, and then the Singaporeans, who were busy lighting incense sticks. Suddenly there was a frisson of excitement, and a small group of people walked down the path towards us. First came armed policemen, looking rather incongruous amidst all the Buddhist robes; then a group of monks; then the tall, elegant ADC, and there was His Holiness, instantly recognisable and with his trademark beaming smile.

The Dalai Lama greeted us with the same huge smile that you see on every picture of him.ῠ The ADC explained who we were, and then we chatted for a few, precious moments. I told him I had just come back from Tibet and His Holiness asked what I had thought about his country. Beautiful, I replied, and was rewarded with another beaming smile. He then held my hand for the photo, and after a last smile, moved on down the receiving line.

We compared notes afterwards, and everyone – cynical teenagers included – said they were on a high, and we all agreed when my husband said that there was most definitely an aura surrounding His Holiness. The joy and euphoria of those few precious moments stayed with us during the long drive back to Delhi. Hours into the long wet drive back to Delhi, my daughter said “Mum, I still feel all happy and excited inside.”

Those few minutes of peace and blessing were beyond special. They were inspirational.ῠ And if you have to let your child fly the family nest, what better way than with the blessings of the Dalai Lama?

 

 Features of the Week

 

 

Deccan Chronicle

Gutsy Gals Court Khatra

2 Aug

Gutsy gals court khatra
 

After the Indian audience lapped up spine chilling action and dare devil stunts on AXN’s Fear Factor, now it’s time for some desi action. Khatron Ke Khiladi, Akshay’s Kumar first TV show has the calibre to set the adrenaline rushing.

Indian television’s first stunt reality game show, KKK, which started off with 13 top names from showbiz has just entered an exciting phase with eight gutsy lasses – Yana Gupta, Vidya Malvade, Aditi Govitrikar, Anita Hasnandani, Anjana Sukhani, Nethra Raghuraman, Pooja Bedi, and Urvashi Sharma – fighting it out now for the grand prize of Rs 50 lakh.

The stunts involve jumping from a 17-storey building to performing dare-devil tasks, while spiders and cockroaches are crawling all over you.

So what led dainty these ladies to take on scary feats? Nethra Raghuraman, fashion model and a leading competitor on the show, says, “The show gives me an opportunity to perform tasks that I would otherwise shirk from. I wanted to experience how it would be to deal with creepy crawlies as I am petrified of them.” But this brave girl did put her fears to rest as she fished for a key in an aquarium full of cockroaches. “The show has helped me get over my phobias. I don’t know what came upon me and how I did it,” says Nethra.

There’s no room for chickening out. Tupur Chatterjee was shown the door when she refused to crawl down on a rope from a 17-storey building. The model says, “I have a phobia of heights and it was impossible for me to do the stunt.”

This reality game show has proved to be different from other reality shows in the conspicuous absence of bickerings, back-bitings and bitchiness. On the contrary, the show has helped the women bond better. Aditi Govtrikar, Mrs World 2001, says, “The show put me with my colleagues on an entirely different platform and this helped us develop a different kind of bond. We stood by each other.” Nethra agrees with Aditi on this account. “This show helped me understand my colleagues better, I got to know their strength and will power,” says Nethra. This bonhomie was the best part of the show according to Tupur. “There was no groupism or negativity,” she says.

All the ladies have been unanimously lavish in their praises for the host Akshay Kumar. “He has a great sense of humour and is very down to earth,” quips Nethra.

Iqbal averse to reality shows
 

An intense lover in Kaisa Ye Pyar Hai, a patriot in Choona Hai Aasman, and now actor Iqbal Khan is geared up to portray an underworld don in the serial Waaris on Zee TV.

So, what attracted him to a role like this? “I am a competent actor and doing something different is always good for one’s career. Moreover, there are a few characters that I think I can pull off nicely. The role of Shankar in Waaris is one such character,” said Iqbal.

And is it true that the serial is inspired from Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar Raj and his character from that of Abhishek Bachchan’s?

“A daily soap can’t be inspired from a two-and-a-half hour movie. But it might be possible that there is some influence of the movie’s characters in our roles. Besides, working in a production house headed by Smriti Irani, who has successfully produced serials like Viruddh, is in itself reason enough to choose this role,” said Iqbal.

The actor, who recently quit Choona Hai Aasman despite having a strong character, thinks that the channel was not promoting the show well. “There’s no point sticking to a show that is not doing well among the audience. When I first read the script, it fascinated me, but things became worse with time,” he said.

So, isn’t he planning to participate in any reality show with his wife Sneha? “If you participate in a reality show, your personal life becomes public. I want my private life to be my own,” he said.

And does he want to do any saas-bahu drama? “First of all, I want to do only one serial at a time. Moreover, I’d really like to maintain distance from the regular family drama on television. Male actors rarely get to play meaty roles in these typical saas-bahu shows,” he said.

Shaan ready to play host
 
By A.L. Chougule

Well known playback singer and host of Star Voice of India Shaan feels talent hunts began with noble intentions but have become commercial properties. However, he still finds them as good platform for deserving singers

Eight months after he anchored the first season of Star Voice of India (SVOI), Shaan is back on television with the show’s second season which went on air recently. While post-SVOI Star Plus immediately launched Chhote Ustaad, Shaan preferred to stay away from the competition for kids and decided to enjoy his break with his family besides doing playback singing. “I don’t like to work like a robot. I am a singer first. Anchoring is just an extension of my singing talent and it comes and goes. So I decided to take a break,” he says.

While he has nothing against talent hunts for kids, Shaan doesn’t like shows that feature children on a competitive platform. “We are living in a commercial world. If channels want to do shows for kids to increase their business, so be it. But I find competition between children bit odd. It’s too early to expose them to pressure of competition and limelight. Kids need time to learn and grow,” he reasons. He adds, “They start seeing success and failure too early and if they are successful then parents also start expecting better results from them. I think it’s wrong to use children for the purpose of entertainment.”

Nevertheless he was impressed with the young talents on Chhote Ustaad. “Anvesha and Aishwarya are very good singers,” says Shaan who can also easily sit in the jury’s chair on talent hunts instead of only hosting them. After all, singers of his age and experience are doing precisely the same. But Shaan says he is comfortable hosting talent hunts. “I don’t think I can make a good judge because I am too conventional in my thinking and have a narrow perspective. I don’t understand today’s trend in music,” he says. He adds, “I know what is good but I can’t say who is better.”

He also doesn’t find any fault with the way contestants are judged on talent hunts. “There are no pre-set parameters for judging singing. It’s very subjective. Each one has his own perspective. There can be differences and arguments. My job is to keep things together,” he explains. He also doesn’t get emotionally attached to the participants. “I do help them. Before every performance I talk to them but I keep myself detached,” he says. According to him, talent hunts began with noble intentions of giving platform and opportunity to deserving talent. “But somewhere down the line the whole thing became commercial,” he regrets.

However, he feels talent hunts are still of great help for deserving singers. “If my son wants to become a singer he will have no problem in meeting the right people. But the same is not true for someone who lives in a far away small town or city. Talent hunts at least open doors for deserving talent. Some get break in playback singing while others get busy with stage shows,” he concludes.

Sajid-Riteish spat on show
 

Anything new always draws attention and the freshly launched channel Colours is no exception. They do have a pretty decent range of shows. In fact the serial Balika Vadhu is already quite popular with viewers as it deals with child marriage. While one might assume that child marriages are no longer prevalent in the post-modern world, the serial provides an eye-opener to a practice which continues to be prevalent in rural India. The story which is set in Rajasthan explores this age old tradition even as it tries to educate the viewer on the de-merits of child marriages. One hopes that the villages where this custom exists have access to this serial for it sure is a great way to educate the masses.

On the same channel, Sajid Khan hosts his rather pompously titled chat show, Sajid’s Superstars and the latest episode feature Riteish Deshmukh. Considering that Ritiesh career is nowhere close to that of SRK, wonder how he qualifies to be called a superstar? It’s obvious that his proximity to Sajid coupled with the fact that he is doing another film with the director after Hey Baby is responsible for his being there.

But to be fair to Sajid, the show is interesting and he also has the courage to ask uncomfortable questions on television. When Sajid asks Ritiesh whether he is gay, the actor looked upset and even attempted to walk out. Sajid apologised and placates him. But once Ritiesh is back on his seat, Sajid promptly asks him whether he is gay and both burst out laughing. So one is not quite sure whether the anger was stage managed. One thing’s for sure, this show seems to have filled a gap left behind by Koffee with Karan as Sajid has managed to rope all the top stars to make an appearance on the show.

Speaking of shows, yet another fun song and dance show is Zara Nachke Dikha which pits female TV actors opposite their male counterparts and is being judged by Chunky Pandey and Malaika Arora Khan. The actors are all having a blast as they perform to different Bollywood numbers and the whole atmosphere is healthy and non-political. Credit must go to both Chunky and Malaika who are both fun and have not allowed any politics to creep into the show. The recent episode featuring a Jeetu-Sridevi dance number performed by Delnaz (looking cute in her pattu pavade) and Ali Asghar was a riot. The two actors brought the house down with their splendid imitation of the original song. They are both good artists and Ali is known for his mimicry skills and one could sense that the entire set was having a blast. This is such a wonderful change from reality shows filled with negativity and an overdose of ‘crying’ sessions. Let’s have more fun on TV please!

‘Ram is the ideal man’
 

Q. How did you bag the role of Ram in Ramayan? The Sagars offered me the role after they saw me in Mayavi on Jaya TV. They had auditioned several actors but were not satisfied with the result. But when they saw me in Mayavi they asked me to give an audition. I am lucky that I got selected to play Ram because I am a staunch Ram devotee and it’s a dream-come-true for me.ῠῠῠ

Q. How did you bag the lead role in Mayavi? I was a stage actor and have done theatre for two years in Jabalpur before I got to play the lead role in Mayavi which I had to quit when I was selected to play Ram. I didn’t think twice before accepting the role.

Q. How did you prepare yourself? I had several meetings with the channel’s programming team and the Sagars. Anand Sagar who was involved in the making of Ramayan for DD is also part of this project. He made me understand the character and his mannerisms. It took me almost a month to prepare for the role.

Q. Don’t you see the danger of getting typecast in mythological shows? The days of typecasting are over. Arun Govil lived with the image of Ram for a long time because in those days there was only one channel. Today there are many channels and many shows. A good actor can easily come out of any image.

Q. Does the character give youῠ scope to prove your versatility? Yes, it does. Ram is called Maryada Purushotam. He was not only an ideal man and King but also a warrior. The range of the character is huge and has many shades.

Shilpa smitten by Raj
 

Raj Kundra is one lucky man. This UK-based NRI entrepreneur is currently dating the sexy Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty. After months of claiming that they are just good friends and share only a professional rapport, Shilpa recently admitted that she is indeed in a relationship with the London-based businessman.

The much-in-love Shilpa confirms that in Raj she has found a very supportive partner. “He is proud of my achievements and he encourages me in all my endeavours. In turn, I learn so much from him every day. I have grown as a person,” says Shilpa.

The actress, who will be soon starting her production house, says that she is in a state of bliss. “Professionally, this is a rewarding phase of my career and I am looking forward to upcoming ventures. Personally, also I am very happy with Raj,” she says with a smile.

Singh on a roll
 

Even before its release, the film, Singh Is Kinng, has caught the fancy of the nation. Be it for creating a positive impact or for attempts being made to sabotage the film, the movie has so far managed to be in news. Though his clean-shaven look created a controversy, Akshay Kumar’s pagdis have become quite a rage. Shopkeepers in Ludhiana have been busy selling the neon pagdis that Akshay wears in the film and especially in the song Ji Karda.ῠῠ But while the film seems to head towards a good opening, attempts are being made from certain quarters to sabotage it. Allegedly, senior executives of a music company, which was refused the music rights of this film, have been sending SMSes rubbishing the songs.

No more Sarkars for Ramu

Ram Gopal Verma will not make any further sequels of Sarkar. Putting rest to rumours that the next film will even have Jaya Bachchan, Ramu says that he has no plans of making a Sarkar 3.

“I am done with Sarkars and I am not making a Sarkar 3,” says Ramu. “Sarkar Raj is technically a better film than Sarkar and it was a thrilling experience to make the movie. But I am not doing any more sequels of this movie.”

But even as Sarkar Raj got rave reviews from critics and audiences, RGV’s latest film Contract fell flat. But Ramu does not regret making the movie. “Many people expected the film to be something like Company and Satya. But that was never the intention,” says Ramu. According to the director, he tried to make a film that would be both entertaining and realistic with a strong message. However, the film failed to connect with the audiences and Ramu agrees that there were flaws in the promotion of the movie too, that resulted in its poor show at the box office.

Though he accepts that Contract didn’t live up to the expectation of Sarkar Raj, Ramu is not the one to be put down. The filmmaker is now looking forward to Phoonk, his next venture, which falls in the ‘horror’ genre. After his movie Darling last year, did he feel it was time to make another horror movie? “I don’t make films deciding on a genre. It’s the story that is most important and I only make films when I want to tell its story,” he explains. He goes on to add that is the why he never made another Rangeela.

While Ramu has no doubt endeared himself to the audience with his versatility, his poor show lately at BO – barring a Sarkar Raj – is what is worrying the critics and movie buffs.

A proxy war?
 

Veteran actor Shatrughan Sinha is all set to star opposite Bollywood’s ultimate diva, Rekha in a film to be directed by Ramesh Talwar.

But trouble has brewed between these two experienced actors which has set tongues wagging in tinsel town that this cold war has impacted Sinha’s relationship with Amitabh Bachchan too.

If sources are to be believed, Big B’s ex-flame, Rekha didn’t turn up for the shooting of the film in which she is acting opposite our bihari babu. While Sinha has been shuttling between the shoots of a comedy-based reality show and this movie, Rekha has been absent from the sets, staying behind at her bungalow Basera.

This meant the unit had to wait endlessly at ND studios. Talwar, a former Yash Chopra associate, is close to many actresses including Rekha and Jaya Bachchan, but chose to cast Rekha in the film opposite Shotgun. Rumours have it that Bachchan’s recent problems with Sinha, where the latter has been going hammer and tongs at Big B, has something to do with Rekha troubling Sinha who in turn troubled the Bachchan senior. This sure is interesting.

Vivek Oberoi makes amends

While Salman Khan is still to be trying to get over his feelings for Aishwarya Rai and fought with Shah Rukh Khan over the issue recently, Vivek Oberoi seems to have learnt from his past mistake.

The actor admits that he has gone through some difficult times, but is content with his personal as well as professional life now. “I have overcome everything,” he says. The actor even agrees that his behaviour has been at fault in the past and he is doing his best to undo the wrongs. “I have apologised to everyone whom I have hurt in the past,” says the actor, who has publicly apologised to Salman Khan and also showed his support for the Bachchans when Teji Bachchan expired.

“My attitude towards my work has changed now,” says Vivek and also expressed a desire that his fans will give him a second chance too.

Modern day fairytale enchants audience
 

This film is a live-action story about a fairytale princess from the past who is thrust into present-day Manhattan by an evil queen. Soon after her arrival, Princess Giselle begins to change her views on life and love after meeting a handsome lawyer. Tale follows the beautiful princess Giselle as she is banished by an evil queen from her magical, musical animated land and finds herself in the gritty reality of the streets of modern-day Manhattan. Shocked by this strange new environment that doesn’t operate on a “happily ever after” basis, Giselle is now adrift in a chaotic world badly in need of enchantment.

But when Giselle begins to fall in love with a charmingly flawed divorce lawyer who has come to her aid, even though she is already promised to a perfect fairy tale prince back home, she has to wonder: can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world?

One of those rare pieces of “all ages entertainment” that will actually work for all ages, Enchanted succeeds most of all as a showcase for its superb leading lady. This is the kind of movie that will be around for a while, and it just might earn a place of honour next to the fairy tales that inspired it. This is an out and out family entertainer. Don’t miss out on it.

The Enchanted Director: Kevin Lima Cast: Amy Admas, James Marsden Genre: Adventure/ action/ comedy

Big Boss 2 ropes in Sherlyn Chopra
 

Sherlyn Chopra and Shakti Kapoor will be a part of the second season of Big Boss 2. After fiery Rakhi Sawant in the first edition, they needed a similar character to spice up the second edition as well. The controversial actress, who acted in Vinod Pande’s Red Swastika seems to be the right choice. The subject of India TV’s sting operation Shakti Kapoor too has a very controversial record till date and we are sure that this sequel is going to be a humdinger with Shilpa Shetty being the host on the show.

Abhijeet stays, Kishen quitsῠ

It was rumoured that Abhijeet Bhattacharya,ῠῠ judge of Ek Se Badkar Ek, had decided to quit the show because he didn’t approve of Pakistani singer Mussarat participating inῠ the show. However, the channel claims otherwise. They say that Abhijeet was sacked after he raised an objection to Mussarat’s entry in the show. But, thanks to the contract and its legal implications, the playback singer is back on the show after apologising to Zee. However, host Ravi Kishen is quitting the show on mutual consent with the channel.

Column inpires Oolta Chashmah
 

The humorous column Duniya Ne Undha Chashma, written by eminent Gujarati writer Taarak Mehta in the popular Gujarati magazine Chitralekha, has been the inspiration behind Sab TV’s new show Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah.

The show, which was launched on Thursday, is about the fun side of life. Asit Modi, owner of Neela Telefilms, who has produced famous comedy shows like Hum Sab Ek Hain and Meri Biwi Wonderful is the brain behind this show. Modi remarks, “Forty years ago, a chawl came into your imagination from the pages of Chitralekha, now we are bringing it to your house through the television.”

The show revolves around Jethalal, who is an uneducated Gujarati businessman and Taarak Mehta is his neighbour, in whom Jethalal finds a friend.

Barkha turns tapori

Life has become a little tough for actor Barkha Bisht these days. The lead actress of Doli Saja Ke on Sahara One is struggling to learn the tapori language to portray her newly introduced double role in the serial.

“Portraying two characters at the same time and on the same show is great fun. I’ve been enacting the character of Anupama for a long time and suddenly adapting to this roadside character Tia is a bit difficult. The language she uses is the most difficult for me to learn,” says Barkha.

However, she enjoyed the scene where Tia, a character influenced from Sridevi’s role in Chaalbaaz, enters the serial. “I had to perform a dance sequence on a song from Chaalbaaz. I was too scared, but the energy of Aroona Irani, director and choreographer of the song, took away all my fears,” she says.

Reshmi walks into Kayamath
 

Reshmi Ghosh is well known for playing negative roles, thanks to her Bhumi act in her debut show Kyunki, which made her a household name. Keeping with her image, Reshmi is essaying yet another negative character in Kayamath. Her entry in the show as Mallika will cause some ripples in the relationship between Prachi and Milind. “Mallika is an ambitious and cunning business woman who achieves everything she sets her eyes on. Brimming with attitude, she is glamorous and uses her power and personality to lure Milind into a relationship,” says Reshmi. While she says Bhumi of Kyunki has shades of grey, Mallika is outright negative and self-centered. “Bhumi can differentiate between right and wrong but Mallika has no qualms about doing anything for her personal gain,” she adds.ῠ

Dance to win a dream wedding
 

Onscreen love birds Ronit Roy and Shweta Tiwari along with Apara Mehta will play love gurus on screen and help couples have a dream wedding in a new reality show Aaja Mahi Ve where they play judges.

There is no dearth of dance-based reality shows on television. But Star Plus believes that they can get it right with one more reality show because Aaja Mahi Vay is a dance show with a difference – it promises a fairy tale wedding to the winning couple.

The show offers real life couples with a penchant for dance, a golden opportunity to make their dream come true. The stage is set for 11 real life couples to battle it out on a dance floor week after week from August 1 onwards. “We believe in putting the best foot forward. We are quite confident about the show, it has good content and will provide wholesome entertainment,” says Star’s executive vice president Keertan Adyanthaya. According to Abhimanyu Singh of Contiloe Entertainment, lot of hard work went into finding the real life couples.

“We held auditions at several centers over a three-month period to showcase 11 unique love stories. They all are great dancers too and more importantly, each couple has an interesting story to tell. Viewers can look forward to some fabulous dancing, compatibility games and loads of emotional content, apart from lots of fun and tears too.”

ALC

Karnvir bares it all
 

He was Manoj Bohra before changing his name to Karnvir Bohra. Now once again he has got a new name for himself and this time it’s not him but his colleagues on the dance reality show Kabhi Kabhi Pyaar Kabhi Kabhi Yaar who have christened him. Karnvir’s costumes on the show have plunging necklines that reveal his well-toned body. Ever since judge Sameera Reddy paid him compliments on his well-toned chest, Karnvir’s co-contestants have nicknamed him ‘Cleavage Kumar’.ῠ Going by the blush he has on his face, we are sure Karnvir is certainly not complaining.

Jas in Singapore with new soap
 

After small roles in Monsoon Wedding and Chalte Chalte, former model and actor, Jas Arora, was appreciated for his acting in the television serial, Dharti Ka Veer Yodha – Prithviraj Chauhan. But, it has been quite some time now that he hasn’t been seen on the small screen.

So, what’s keeping him busy these days? “I’m doing a show for Singapore television titled Aachar. It’s a story of a Chinese girl married to an Indian guy and the trials and tribulations they face in that marriage. I’m really enjoying it and it has a refreshing theme and a great storyline,” said Jas. Does that mean he doesn’t have time for domestic projects? “Of course, I do. But it’s my commitment towards Singapore television that’s stopping me from taking up work anywhere else. It is a three-year commitment out of which I have completed two,” he smiled.

So, how does it feel to be a part of an international project? “It’s amazing. But more interesting is that I’ve been selected as the ‘Face of Singapore Television’. It’s a huge achievement for me. I feel like a conqueror when I see my face among so many Chinese faces,” he said.

Dhoni, Yuvi on Chak De
 

They didn’t win the IPL trophy for their respective teams but the swashbuckling and stylish big hitter Yuvraj Singh and poster boy of one-day and Twenty20 cricket Mahendra Singh Dhoni are all geared up to rock the stage on the concluding episode of Chak De Bachche this Saturday. The stage is set for a grand finale between the Metro Rockers Varun and Loria and Desi Dhuranders Deepak and Nishtha. As the two jodis battle it out in the three-hour final episode, the little kids will have the cricketers rooting for them. While Yuvraj will lend his support to the Metro Rockers, Dhoni will back Desi Dhuranders.ῠ

Ayub turns bhai on sets too

Ayub Khan who plays Bhai Raja in the afternoon show Rakhi takes his screen name quite seriously. Not only is he playing big brother act to the hilt to his onscreen sister Nupur but also to the entire production team as well. The unit members keep pestering him for sweets and Ayub obliges them by ordering ice cream on the sets. Says a unit member, “Ayub is a nice guy. Given his age, he is like an elder brother to everyone. All of us respect him and whenever he is in mood he treats us to ice cream.” However, the actor modestly says, “It’s not a big deal, just a small gesture for my team members.” Snippets by A.L.CHOUGULE

Snippets by ALC

Chowta loves to play jazz
 

For those who remember Satya, Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya and Dum, the thread that brings these films together is the music. And the man behind it is Sandeep Chowta, the Ghana-born, Nigeria raised and Chennai-based musician, who is making waves not just by composing music, but also with music videos and a short film. He was in the capital for a brief recording stint. In an interview he spoke on making music, the changing music scene in Bollywood and more.

In most of the films (Satya, Dum, Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya), your compositions are quite unlike the run-of-the-mill potboilers in Bollywood. How did you determine the music for that?

Well, that’s the director’s call. He’s the one who decides what theme the music should be set to. Most of Ram Gopal Varma’s films have explored the darker aspects of life. So the music had to be somewhat on the same lines, although not entirely. Yes, you also need to break the monotony if there’s too much of emotion. The other thing is, in Bollywood, there’s a hierarchy you have to follow to determine what kind of music the film has. It has to be approved first by the director, then the producer, and now I think even some actors are trying to throw in their two cents. So you have all these factors working for or against you.

You draw your musical style from a smattering of genres. Which one is the closest to your heart?

I follow, play and love jazz. But that’s strictly a personal thing and if you’re about to ask me whether I incorporate it in the music I make for films, no.

You were planning on collaborating with FatBoy Slim. Will it be a experimental exercise, a meeting of jazz and African Rhythms with electronica?

This was a long time ago when I was in London. Yes, we discussed some projects and had plans of collaborating. But somehow it never took a concrete shape.

What do you think about the transition of music in Bollywood, from playback singing to OST-like scores?

Yes, playback singing days are over. I think it all started with Himesh Reshammiya, when suddenly the nation was obsessed about this nasal-singing chap with a cap. You don’t get to see lip-synced songs in any movie, it’s become more like a background score, not unlike Hollywood.

Don’t you think it’s easier to be a musician in Mumbai, owing to Bollywood as a potential buyer? What should bands in Delhi do to make it big?

Of course, which producer or director would want to fly back and forth to Delhi to use a band’s songs for a film? Even for the music composers, it doesn’t work like that. When you have a baby, you tend to be always around it. You can’t do long distance projects because of feasibility issues. And making it big can be a very ambiguous term.

Do you mean the money they make, or the success that comes when your work is recognised by the audience? If it’s money, I think there’s a market for every genre, every musician. You just have to keep at it and not worry about the outcome.

You’ve donned many hats as a music video director, short filmmaker and music composer. How do you find time for all that?

Whatever I’ve done is just an extension of music. Santosh, the choreographer once told me that if ever I was doing something for a long stretch, it pays to take a break and do something totally unrelated to it. So I thought of making a music video and a short film. I’ve found that this re-approach works wonders in boosting your creativity.

Reality shows fascinate Javed
 

Javed Ali may not a very well-known name in the music industry, but his songs Ek Din from the movie Naqaab, Nagada Nagada from Jab We Met and Jashne Bahara from Jodhaa Akbar speak highly of his talent. Javed who has made a niche in Bollywood with his amazing songs was in the capital recently to perform at the Kamani Auditorium.

Talking about his journey as a singer, he said, “I used to sing since the time I was a kid. My father is my mentor. Observing my keen interest in music, my parents enrolled me in a professional singing course. Later, my hard work and love for music made me who I am today.” And, how did his first interaction with Bollywood happen? “Kalyanji (of composers, Kalyan-Anand duo) noticed my singing a few years back and took me to Mumbai. My first song was for the movie Beti No.1,” said Javed.

Though Javed has sung for many movies, it is only recently that he got recognition. “I always wanted to be slow and steady. With every song, I tried to improve my performance. Though fame came to me a bit late, I never had a paucity of assignments,” he said.

And does he have a godfather in the industry? “Many people have appreciated my singing and I respect many of them, but whatever I’m today is because of my talent. I try to give my own touch to every song I sing. I don’t have any godfather in the industry,” he said.

Moreover, Javed thinks he is lucky that he has a different voice. “It’s an advantage for me that my voice is different, at least after listening to my songs, people can distinguish between me and the other singers,” he said. The trend of choosing singers from reality shows fascinates Javed. “I think it’s a good trend. At least, it gives a chance to talented people to show what they are best at. Moreover, no matter how well a person sings, it takes a lot of time to become a playback singer, and get recognition at the same time,” said Javed.

Has he ever thought of composing music? “No. And I even don’t intend to give it a try. Singing is my first love and I want to stick to it. I want to concentrate fully on my singing so that I can give my 100 per cent to each and every song,” he concluded.

On Song
 

Its Impossible Bul Its Possible῅ Its Impossible Bul Its Possible Its Impossible Bullshit῅.

Mission Mission Mission Istanbul ( 4)

Yeh Mission Nahin Aasaan Yeh Mission Istanbul Jaayegi Is Mein To Jaan Yeh Mission Istanbul Hai To Yeh Dariya Aag Ka To Par Karenge Isko Lekin They Say Its Impossible We’Ll Make It Possible Oh Ya We’Ll Make It Chaaho To Rok Na Yeh Sochna Bhi Hai Na Mumkin And That We Cant Do All We’Re Gonna Blow Some Balls And Turn In On Them

Its Impossible Bul Its Possible (3) Its Impossible Bullshit῅. Mission Mission Mission Istanbul (4) Now Its Getting Deeper With All These Secrets That I Keep On My Mind..What The Ffff (2)

Kar Le Tujhse Jo Ho Sake Aaj Nahin Bach Paayega Tu You Say There’S No Way Out Without A Doubt We’Re Gonna Bang Our Way Through Go Go Go We’Ll Surely Go We’Re Gonna Blow Your Heads And Then Right We’Ll Kick Ya Aaja Tum Saamna Zara Dekhne Hai Dum Kis Mein Kithna

“I ate ice cream Dosa”
 

My friends consider me a foodie (thankfully not a glutton). I take a lot of time savouring every dish that I order. So, often I am the last one to finish when it comes to dining out with friends.

I believe in the power of foods to alter mood, so when I feel dull and depressed, I munch on fruit and nut chocolates, garlic bread, pizza and dosa.

I also sometimes experiment with strange combos. For in-stance, I have tried curd rice mixed with mango juice and ate ice-cream dosa (dosa dipped in ice-cream).

I also experiment with cooking. Besides tomato-spinach dal, my mother makes the best alu fry and it inspired me to come up with carrot fry, (don’t be sceptical, it really tastes better than alu fry and healthy too).

I am also fond of sweets, especially rasgullas and Baskin Robin’s banana flavour ice cream with strawberry toppings. At Melting Moments, Jubilee Hills, I ate the yummiest chikoo flavour ice cream.

When it comes to eating out, I prefer going to Ohri’s at Raj Bhavan Road, Pizza Hut, Pizza Corner and Chutneys. Chutneys prepares excellent varieties of dosa, like the fluffy oil-free Cheeranjeevi dosa, with different types of chutneys. At Quality Bliss, Nampally, I also ate a rare dish, geena lola brigitta, made of white wine and various herbs and vegetables.

I had also eaten a rare kind of samosa (stuffed with fresh vegetables, curry, tomato and cucumber on board a flight.

At Nellore, I ate dosa at hotel Padmavati. The dosa was laced with layers of masala made of mirchi powder and onion. I miss it dearly in Hyderabad.

Although our city has come up with global cuisine, it doesn’t have enough standard hotels catering to cuisine from other districts of AP.

Among other Indian states, I love traditional Rajasthani and Gujarati thali of Vaishali, in Ahmedabad. The dal makhani at Pappaji ka Dhaba in Bangalore, the rasam at Sangeeta restaurant in Chennai and the bisibele bath I ate at Mysore deserve special mention.

Our canteen caters to all taste buds
 

Hangout@the canteen of Marri Laxman Reddy Institute of Technology

Who all frequent: Students of MLRIT – Harika, Shalini, Neeraja, Sweta, Ravi, Rajsekhar and their friends.

Cost: Quite pocket-friendly – Rs 5-Rs 30 approx.

What’s the catch: From Chinese to South Indian, our canteen caters to a wide variety of taste buds. Whether it’s during tiffin break or at lunch, or evening snacks, there’s something new on the menu everyday.

The seating arrangement both inside as well as outside the canteen is quite comfortable. Healthy and tasty fruit salads, mixed fruit juice, grape juice, badam milk, Manchurian puffs and samosas are a big hit with students, says J.Shalini Mudiraj, a fourth year B.Tech student of the college.

Try This
 

Grilled paneer kebabs

By Seema Khandelwal, Businesswoman

Serves four, preparation time 20 minutes. Monsoon makes us crave for fried stuff. The health conscious can try this delicious paneer recipe, which uses just two drops of oil.

Ingredients 100 gms paneer (cut into small pieces) 50 gms thick curd (properly hung, water drained out) 1 capsicum 1 onion 1 tomato (The vegetables are cut in triangle shape 1 tsp cooking oil)ῠῠ Chaat masala to tasteῠῠῠῠῠῠῠ

Method Soak the paneer in hung curd for 10 minutes. Take the vegetables and cut them in small triangular shape. Put two drops of oil on a kadai and fry the vegetables for about five minutes till light brown.ῠ

Take a tawa. Put a little oil and place the paneer on the heated oil. Cook till it’s reddish brown in colour. Take a toothpick. Arrange capsicum, onion, tomato, paneer on it followed by the vegetables once again. Add a little chaat masala to the colourful kebabs to make them tastier.

Munch on yummy Italian brunch
 

If you believe in spending Sunday in a holiday mood, then make your way to the Deccan Pavilion at ITC Hotel, The Kakatiya. The brunch here starts at 12:30 pm.ῠ Tantalise your taste buds with a perfect symphony of foods grilled to your liking, ranging from Au bleu to Biencuit and fresh fruit cocktails.

One can try the most traditional dishes from world cuisine. Italian dishes like bruschetta, involtini with smoked chicken, gnochetti with pesto, marinated artichokes, North Indian cuisine like kebabs, dal makhni, with world’s best wines to complement the gourmet.

Besides, exotic and exciting flavours of ice creams and toppings make the brunch a truly memorable one. One can have desserts ranging from sugar free to eggless desserts and also fresh cut fruit platter with more than 30 such selection of desserts. Chocolate mousse and Gwalior kulfi are other must-have desserts. Round it up with pomegranate martini.

Raksha Bandhan
 

Rakhi, the celebration of the unconditional love and bond that a brother and sister share, is on August 16. If your brother is out of station its all the more reason to start shopping for it now so that your rakhi reaches him on time. City shops have a wide range of options.

Passionate on Kharkhana Road has rakhis for all age group. Rakhis with cartoon and fairytale characters are apt for your kid brother. These rakhis are reasonably priced in the range of Rs 10 to Rs 50. Heavily embellished rakhis made of silk threads and stones are also available. These rakhis priced at Rs 50 onwards.

Check out the rakhi stalls on Ma Kali Street. These small stalls sell rakhis of different hues and shapes. They are made of a variety of material like foam, wood, plastics etc. The prices start at Rs 5. Also on display are flower rakhis, made of mainly silk or plastic flowers. These rakhis come in different sizes.

Madan Fancy Emporium, near Charminar has some interesting rakhis in stock. Especially the lumba or the Rakhi for bhabhis. These rakhis symbolise the beautiful relationship that exists between a bhabhi and her sister-in-law. Prices start at Rs 20 onwards. Also on offer are minute pooja thalis and shagun items like small plastic coconuts that can be easily mailed to your brother staying at a distant place. These items are priced at Rs 10 and the thalis at Rs 45. Also take a look at the beautifully decorated rakhi thalis of different sizes to suit your needs.

If you want to pamper your brother on this day then do take a look at the silver rakhi studded with precious stones available at Dinesh Jewellers in Abids. There are exquisite rakhis to choose from.

Store with an EYE for fashion, comfort and style
 

There’s a bit of good news for people who shipped eyewear from elsewhere due to lack of enough options in the city. Odyssey India Ltd, owner of the retail brand Odyssey, has launched an end-to-end eye solutions store called the Eyewear Store. Not only does it take care of the fashion quotient but also offers the best in eye care facility.

The store offers a plethora of prescription frames and sunglasses; from popular brands to the some of the biggest names in fashion. The products on offer are suitable to every conceivable taste and budget.

The store also has a state-of-the-art eye testing machine, highly trained staff and advanced contact lenses clinic to take care of your needs.

You can pick and choose from over 600 designs from brands like Ray Ban, Fastrack, Poloroid; to the sporty range from Levis, CAT, Vogue; as well as the designer range from Ferrari, Versace, Mont Blanc, Bvlgari. Prices range between Rs1,500 and Rs 35,000.

The interiors of the shop have been designed by keeping in mind the comfort of the customer. There are strategically placed mirrors on the wall units, which allows a wearer of the frame two views of his face – one view from the mirror which is placed at the eye level and the other inclined at the top. This helps the customer decide which frame suits him/her better.

The customer friendly staff is well versed with the brands they handle and offer the right advice to the discerning customers.

The store also has a dedicated eyewear unit for kids. On offer are glasses in funky shades that would appeal to tiny tots. There are also a series of reading glasses by some of leading brands in the segment.

As part of the inaugural offer, the store is offering attractive discounts on brands like Ray-Ban, CAT, Speedo, Manish Arora, and Bausch & Lomb.

Eyewear Store 8-2-686/K/1/2, Kimtee Square, Near ICICI Bank, Road No. 12, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.

Sales & Exhibitions
 

*ῠTake a look at the Assam cane and bamboo furniture exhibition at Lepakshi Show Room at R.T.C crossroads. Items on display include sofa sets, center tables , dining tables, baskets and lamp shades.

* Check out the end of season sale at Kappa store in Begumpet. Avail up to 60% off on the merchandise on display. Kappa shoes now start from an affordable price of Rs. 999

* Check out the Furniture fair in Hitex Exhibition ground Starting from August 8. Also on display are home accessories.

A Lazy Sunday brunch
 

Hot and cold – these are the words thatῠῠ well describes the ambience at the brunch held at Zenzi on Sunday. It was hot in the outdoor section with the flames from the stir-fry wok adding to the heat. Inside, it was a different story, with the AC on full blast. Holding a conversation was next to impossible with the trance music blaring so loud that one had to send out texts to communicate with friends.

Making their presence felt was the model brigade of Bhavna Sharma, Carol Gracias and sisters Pia and Binal Trivedi. The fashionable crowd also included Narendra Kumar Ahmed who was recounting his fond memories of a recent visit to a farm in Croatia where he chilled out and drank the local brew. Others spotted at this Sunday beer brunch were Sameer Malhotra in a hat and Zenzi’s Matan Schabracq back from opening a Zenzi in Mexico and Vivek Chhabra of Asia Pacific Breweries in Singapore. After the long beer brunch, a relaxing foot massage was the perfect way to end an indulgent afternoon before stepping out into the rain.

All for charity

The Indian Cancer Society completed 57 years of service to those afflicted with cancer and living below the poverty line. To gather support for its “Care To Cure” initiatives, it organised a mega charity dinner at a hotel on Sunday. Child cancer survivors showcased a special dance performance, which was followed by some splendid musical performances. Some of the guests present at the event included Sabina Chopra, Simone Tata, Vivan Bhatena, Divya Palat and Sikander Kher.

 

 Features of the Week

 

 

Deccan Chronicle

Mahu Ke UM Macam Aznil

2 Jun


BAKAT cilik ini begitu menyanjungi Aznil Nawawi.

Aznil Nawawi berjaya mengikut jejak ikonnya, Sudirman untuk melanjutkan pelajaran di Universiti Malaya. Adakah Haziq berjaya mengikut langkah Aznil pula?

TATKALA menyaksikan filem genre komedi Nujum Pak Belalang yang diarahkan oleh Allahyarham Tan Sri P.Ramlee, kita pasti terkenangkan keletah pelakon cilik Bad Latif yang memegang watak Belalang.

Gayanya yang bersahaja dan bijak memainkan karakter membuatkan nama Bad Latif atau nama sebenarnya M.H. Ali H.A. Latiff antara pelakon kanak-kanak yang popular pada era P. Ramlee.

Justeru tidak hairanlah Bad Latif merupakan kanak-kanak Melayu pertama dinobatkan, Pelakon Kanak-kanak Lelaki Terbaik pada Pesta Filem Asia di Tokyo menerusi filem, Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup.

Kini industri seni tempatan diriuhkan dengan kehadiran pendatang baru yang cukup terkenal di kalangan kanak-kanak menerusi program, Tom-tom Bak dan Macam-macam Aznil, Muhammad Haziq Mohd Hazem.

Menurut pengacara nombor satu negara yang menjadi individu bertanggungjawab mencungkil bakat Haziq, Aznil Nawawi, Haziq seorang kanak-kanak yang begitu istimewa berbanding kanak-kanak lain. Dia begitu jujur dan tidak bersikap hipokrit ketika bergaul dan berhadapan dengan orang ramai.

AZNIL menganggap Haziq seorang kanak-kanak yang begitu istimewa dan jujur.

“Apa yang menarik mengenai Haziq ialah meskipun berusia sembilan tahun, tetapi corak pemikiran dan kelakuannya sungguh matang. Ketika mengacara dalam segmen Borak, Tom-tom Bak, Haziq begitu berhati-hati menuturkan kata-kata supaya tidak menyinggung perasaan orang lain.

“Dia juga bersikap terbuka dan tidak malu beraksi di hadapan kamera serta spontan tatkala mengacara. Rasa berbangga juga apabila pihak produksi iklan dapat mengesan bakat Haziq menerusi program di Astro,” ujar Aznil ketika dihubungi selepas menjalani proses rakaman Tom-tom Bak.

Keletahnya yang bersahaja tatkala berhadapan di hadapan penonton, membuktikan dirinya seorang kanak-kanak yang berani dan yakin.

“Haziq nak jadi macam uncle Aznil. Uncle bijak, kelakar, bergaya dan baik dengan kanak-kanak. Haziq pun nak belajar rajin-rajin untuk masuk ke Universiti Malaya. Sebab uncle Aznil pun pernah belajar di universiti tu.

“Peluang bergandingan bersama uncle Aznil sememangnya impian Haziq. Sejak menonton rancangan, Macam-macam Aznil, Haziq terus meminta mama menghantar ke sesi uji bakat program tersebut,” luah bakat cilik yang begitu menyanjungi pengacara itu.

Aznil melahirkan rasa terharu apabila Haziq bercita-cita untuk mengikut jejak langkahnya, terutamanya menuntut di UM. Tambahnya: “Impian Haziq itu membayangi diri saya sendiri. Ketika kanak-kanak, saya begitu meminati Allahyarham Sudirman sehingga menanam hasrat untuk belajar di UM sama seperti Sudirman.

“Akhirnya hasrat tersebut tercapai kerana saya berpendapat untuk berjaya dan terkenal seperti Sudirman saya perlu mengikut langkahnya. Kini Haziq pula ingin mencontohi saya.

Bakat kanak-kanak berdarah campuran Melayu Arab yang bijak berhadapan dengan audiens dan bercakap tanpa bantuan skrip, menyebabkan dia terpilih sebagai pengacara dalam beberapa majlis. Antaranya Konsert Merdeka dan Festival

AZLIN sentiasa menasihatkan Haziq supaya mengutamakan pelajaran.

Astro bersama pengacara dan pelakon Zoey dan Zizan (Raja Lawak).

Bukan itu sahaja, tawaran demi tawaran iklan dan drama juga diterimanya. Namun begitu, setiap tawaran yang ditawarkan perlu dikaji terlebih dahulu oleh ibunya, Aqurina Azlin Azizol, 34.

“Buat masa ini kami hanya menerima tawaran berlakon iklan berbanding drama. Ini kerana proses penggambaran drama memerlukan komitmen dan tempoh yang lama. Perangai Haziq pula tepat sahaja pukul 9 malam adalah waktu tidurnya.

“Lagipun saya dan suami tidak mahu, Haziq keletihan pada keesokkan hari untuk ke sekolah. Bagi kami pelajaran perlu diberi keutamaan terlebih dahulu,” kata Azlin mengenai Haziq yang pernah berlakon iklan Streamyx, Singapore Tourism, Carera Bingo (alat tulis) dan Kinrara.

Tambah Azlin, sejak kecil lagi Haziq sudah mula menunjukkan minat dalam bidang seni. Di rumah selain membaca buku cerita dan bermain permainan PS2, dia akan menyanyi dan menari.

Boleh dikatakan setiap kali ada perjumpaan keluarga, Haziq pasti menghiburkan saudara-maranya dengan menyanyi lagu-lagu hit, bermain gitar dan menari.

“Haziq memang suka bidang ini kerana dapat jumpa artis dan masuk televisyen. Namun begitu, Haziq nasihatkan kepada kawan-kawan yang ingin menghadiri uji bakat Tom-tom Bak supaya lakukan yang terbaik.

“Buat apa yang uncle Aznil minta. Jangan buat uncle Aznil sedih sebab dia suka kanak-kanak periang dan sporting,” kata Haziq yang teringin berlakon di samping Aznil dan Awal Shaari. – IZYAN LIYANA MOHD. DARIF

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