Harvest of debt
Once a symbol of the Punjab farmer’s prosperity, tractors have now become a debt trap. Shveta Pathak visits the roaring tractor mandis of Moga and Sangrur and wonders whether the proposal to waive farm loans of around Rs 26,000 crore will help those struggling with reduced outputs and high costs of cultivation
ime was when while standing amid the vast acreage of lush green fields Sukkha’s heart swelled up with pride.

In the tractor mandis, even a few months’ old tractors are put up for sale by cash-strapped farmers. — Photos by the writer
In the tractor mandis, even a few months’ old tractors are put up for sale by cash-strapped farmers

A fund for art’s sake
International art funds have under performed and not fulfilled their potential because they are led by financial and not art institutions. If knowledgeable experts were to invest, the returns could be higher, writes K. D. L. Khan
lthough the stock market has gone down abysmally this year, the art market in India is booming. From merely a Rs 5 crore turnover in 1997— the current year itself will see the size of India’s art market expand to— hold your breath—Rs 2,000 crore. When the industrialist Guru, Swarup Srivastava daringly offered last year, Rs 100 crore for 125 paintings of Maqbool Fida Husain’s “Our Planet Called Earth” and other works, even before he had laid eyes on them, he signalled the growing trend of art as an investible commodity for future returns.

A Sikh warrior displays his skill during the Sikh Shastar Vidyaa competition in Delhi

After bhangra, West takes to gatka
The marital art, which helped Sikhs defend themselves against Mughal invaders, has evolved into an exhibition sport, says Arvinder Kaur
he traditional Sikh martial art of gakta is finding many takers in the USA, the UK, France and Germany where it is being taught as a science of combat for self-defence.

A Sikh warrior displays his skill during the Sikh Shastar Vidyaa competition in Delhi.—  Photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Spider vampire
Antarctic sea spiders are weird-looking animals. They look like spiders, but are not
esearchers claim to have discovered an unusual Antarctic sea spider that literally sucks its prey like a vampire and boasts of five pairs of legs. The weird-looking sea spiders, some of which are even blind, have a large protruding proboscis that is used as a straw to suck prey. One has also been caught with a 70-cm leg span.

Last meeting with Julia
Prabhjot Singh

boarded the train to Kronach with mixed feelings. Once the train started moving, my last trip to Kronach in the late 1990s flashed before me. At that time, Julia, my friend, had insisted that I must visit her mother, Amma Willner. And now I was going to visit Amma, 84, to share her grief as Julia left us for ever in 2003.

Berry fine Mahabaleshwar
Gagandeep Kaur

f you have had enough of hill stations where the mall looks like the shopping mall in your city, then Mahabaleshwar is just the place for you. Small town in the western Maharashtra, Mahabaleshwar was the summer capital of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency.

Arthur’s Point has formed the backdrop for many a film sequence. — Photo by the writer
Arthur’s Point has formed the backdrop for many a film sequence

Right as rain
The beauty and ferocity of rain has fascinated many a film-maker across the world, writes Vikramdeep Johal

lessing or curse, boon or bane, there’s no denying the power of rain. No wonder it has been used in umpteen films as a dramatic element or a backdrop for song-and-dance sequences.
Some of the most poetic images of rain appear in Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali (1955).
Vasundhara Das (the bride) and others in Monsoon Wedding

Vasundhara Das and others in Monsoon Wedding

Of human bondage
Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna dwells on the theme that complexities of married life can test one’s patience, beliefs and loyalties to the utmost, writes Randeep Wadehra

e live in turbulent times. The rock solid superstructures of the past are giving way to social and economic upheavals of today. Doubts about the relevance of age-old belief systems are impacting the very foundations of that sacrosanct social institution called marriage. Self-gratification or commitment, compromise or self-assertion?
Maya and Rishi lead a passionless married life Dev and Rhea find their marriage in the doldrums

Maya (Rani Mukherjee) and Rishi (Abhishek Bachchan) lead a passionless married life

Dev (Shahrukh Khan) and Rhea (Preity Zinta) find their marriage in the doldrums

Splashy numbers
The spectacle of rain-drenched lovers has been an old cliche in Hindi films. Bollywood or Hollywood, it boils down to comin’ alive in the rain
sn’t it a lovely day to be caught in the rain... sang Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the classic musical Top Hat (1935). Seventeen years later, the sprightly Gene Kelly sang and danced his way into immortality with the title number of Singin’ in the Rain. This is easily the greatest rain song to come from Hollywood — unmatched for its joie de vivre and romantic exuberance.
                Raj Kapoor and Nargis in Shree 420

Raj Kapoor and Nargis in Shree 420


TELEVISIONOne for the Emmy’s

Food TalkKebab sans meat
by Pushpesh Pant

CONSUMER RIGHTSOur very own black holes
by Pushpa Girimaji

HOLLYWOOD HUES: Bagful of gags
by Ervell E. Menezes

by David Bird

ULTA PULTAPrincely slip
by Jaspal Bhatti


OFf the shelf
A gentle colossus
V .N. Datta
Gopal Krishna Gokhale: His Life and Times.
by Govind Talwalkar. Rupa. Pages 507. Rs 575.

Search for meaning of Hinduism
G.V. Gupta
Imagined Hinduism: British Protestant Missionary Construction of Hinduism, 1793-1900
by Geoffry A. Oddie; Sage. Pages 274. Rs 450.

Lady with the Potter wand
Publishing wizard Liz Calder, recently on a visit to Kolkata, is much more than the face behind Potter-mania, finds Sujoy Dhar

Into the mind of a terrorist
Himmat Singh Gill

Understanding Terrorism in South Asia  
ed. Imtiaz Ahmed. Manohar and Regional Centre For Strategic Studies,Colombo. Pages 418. Rs 900.
Responding to Terrorism in South Asia
ed. S. D. Muni. Manohar and Regional Centre For Strategic Studies,Colombo. Pages 542. Rs 1,095.

Bangalore unplugged
Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu

Bangalored: The Expat Story
by Eshwar Sundaresan. Pages 328. Rs 350.

Wharton wars
P. K. Vasudeva

The Running of the Bulls
Nicole Ridgway. Penguin Portfolio. Pages 283. Rs 450.

Punjab treasurehouse of Hindi literature
S.P. Gupta

Glimpses of people and history
Surinder Singh Tej

Sajan Des Videsare by Tarlochan Singh
Lokgeet Parkashan. Pages 176. Rs. 180.

Bond book after 40 years
Back of the book
Books received: