Hi to Heer
After 35 years, late S. N. Dar’s English rendition of Waris Shah’s Heer-Ranjha has finally been translated into English. The work will now take the rural magnificence of Punjab and the ultimate love story to a global audience, says Ashwini Bhatnagar

S.N. DarSome attempts have been made to render Waris Shah’s Heer-Ranjha into English but none of them could engage the reader sufficiently. Sant Singh Sekhon’s translation was published in 1978.`A0 It is clearly an uninspired effort that lacked fidelity to the spirit and soul of the original verse. Sekhon was apparently rendering into another tongue the dead letter of Waris Shah’s heart-wrenching poem.

Richard Temple attempted another translation of the love-legend but it was not Waris Shah’s Heer but the story as narrated by "some Jatts of Patiala state." The translation in verse had appeared sometime early last century. Charles Frederick Usborne’s narration of The Adventures of Heer and Ranjha—Recounted in Punjabi by Waris Shah follows the original text carefully and is used the world over as standard text on this poem. However, Usborne (died 1919) did not venture into verse. His translation is in prose. There are some other attempts too but they stop at transliteration of Shah’s magnum opus.

The problem with translating verse into another tongue is that the nuances of original metaphors, idioms or phrases are invariably lost and the earthy appeal of the work at hand is crudely mixed up with the ambience of another language. The translator has the unenviable task of transplanting expressions and phrases from a foreign tongue in place of the native usage and in doing so compromises with the spirit and, many a time, meaning of the original verse. This is especially true in case of complex texts whose literal meaning is different from the lateral connotations that the poet has in mind.

R.K. DarBut S.N. Dar’s rendition of Heer has the translator’s fidelity to Waris Shah’s original composition and it is with ease that he creates the ambience for an English reader to get under the skin of this "rustic epic of the Punjab." Sample a verse to have a feel of the rural heartland of Punjab:

"Lo! In the courtyardof the house

Are seen mud-plastered troughs of cows,

Hoof-marks and dipsand ruts galore

On an uneven dusty floor,

Which bring to mind the vast array

Of carts and herds of cattle (bay and black) by whom it has been trod.

The rooms commodious and broad

Disclose a medley trim of bare

And painted pots and earthenware.

Odd wooden swabs and scrapers mix

With glossy unused churning-sticks

On wall pegs. Scarlet quilts and sheets

And silken wraps and cotton seats

On hangers are displayed`85

The rural scene has been so vividly and effortlessly versified in a foreign tongue that one cannot but help marvel at Dar’s art. It seems Waris Shah himself is singing his song through the medium of the translator and Dar’s rendition is as lyrical as the original verse while it misses nothing of the detail.

Waris Shah’s task, though of a grand sweep and vision, was perhaps lighter than that of Dar’s. The artist lived during those times and sang the song as it came to him naturally and spontaneously. His images, metaphors and turns of phrases were the outcome of years of living in his own environment and the ‘feel’ of the land was native to him. Of course, the genius of Waris Shah lay in working with the material and forging it into a seamless whole that spun from one evocative song to another. His work therefore stands out as a priceless literary legacy though the story that he recounted had been in vogue two centuries before he was born.

A Hindu poet, Damodar, who claimed to be a witness to the ill-starred lives of Heer-Ranjha, had composed Heer di Var during Emperor Akbar’s reign. Another dozen poets or so sang of the unrequited love thereafter but it was Waris Shah who made Heer into a Punjabi classic.

Apart from the literary merit of the long narrative in verse, Waris Shah’s Heer meticulously documents anthropological details of that era, its fauna and flora, its science and arts and its language and customs. It is verily a mine of information for scholars from different spheres of specialisation.

The information is woven into the text and is its life breath. Any tinkering with it takes away much of the charm of Waris Shah’s composition, if not its soul. The pastoral expanse wherein the tragedy of the two lovers unfolds is barren without these local references whose unique earthy flavour gives the narrative its special appeal. For example, the poet mentions in detail the types of sweetmeats that were prepared for Heer’s wedding. Another instance is who wore what during the rituals.

Translating such detail with elegance and style is a good translator’s dream job and a nightmare for the lesser ones. Dar, as a full perusal of the work will prove, has more than fulfilled the requirement of being a master at his job. A reading of the pastoral renderings in their English version bring to mind the easy touch that the old masters of the language had when they painted word pictures of England’s rural heartland. Dar’s translation of a very rustic poem, replete with its archaic Punjabi words, phrases, invectives and endearments, loses nothing of its earthiness. It rather sings its song in an elegant and lyrical English voice. `A0`A0`A0

Perhaps the most quoted and sung passages from Waris Shah’s epic are those that relate to Heer’s departure from her father’s house in the bridal litter. Heer’s `A0heart-wrenching cry at being forced into marriage and her sense of loss of home and her lover were poignantly captured by Waris Shah. Whenever these passages are sung or recited they never fail to pull at heartstrings. The pathos is supremely and most lyrically captured in Shah’s work and it is faithfully communicated by Dar in his translation. It evokes the same images and feelings as the original work does and is never short on lyricism. It seems that he assimilated the feeling, imbibed the spirit and then sung his heart out a la Waris Shah, albeit in a different tongue.

Waris Shah’s long poem is chiefly known for the soul-stirring laments of the lovers, their passionate pinning for each other and their pathetic hopelessness. Given the mood of the story, Waris Shah consciously chose the classical dohara metre for its telling. The metre is a series of stanzas with a varying number of couplets. Every stanza has a uniform rhyme of its own which is used at the end of each line of its couplets. The rhythm of the metre is a rising one and the couplets are sung in prolonged notes. The structure of the verse is well-suited to convey the full extent of a lament as it mimics a human cry, which starts as a sob and ends as a wail.

Another surprising aspect is that Dar achieved a remarkable fluency over a difficult text, with its nuances and very Punjabi core, in just 17 months. He started the translation on April 1, 1966 and completed it on September 7, 1967. His engagement with the love legend and its writer, therefore, can be said to be intense and all-consuming, and as the verses flow in English, they seem to be born out of a natural artistic repose. Nowhere does the exercise appear laboured.

Dar died in 1971 at the age of 69. He was a bureaucrat with Defence Audit and Accounts Services. The masterly translation of Heer was his last but he could not find a publisher. The manuscript lay in a dusty cupboard for over 35 years. Every work has its own destiny and Dar’s recounting of the traumatic love-game of Heer-Ranjha now fulfills its fate through the scent of printer’s ink.

Waris Shah completed his re-telling in 1770. Nearly 200 years later (a strange coincidence for Damodar too wrote Heer di Var about two centuries before Waris Shah), Dar rendered the legend in his own immaculate style in an international language. Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubbayiat made Omar Khayyam a household name across the world. Dar’s effort too is similarly destined. The song of Heer will move and enthrall like no other in recent history. It is a classic that has at last been retold classically.

Heer’s lament

“As Heer did set her faltering feet

Upon the dhooly’s bed, her cries

Did echo through the solitude

Of the surrounding earth and skies.

The farmer heard the passing screams

In far off fields beyond the streams,

And stopped his work to breathe a sigh

In consort with each doleful cry…

…    ….      …

My game of love is at an end;

No more shall I come back for play.

A captive withered with dismay

In Saida’s house, I’ll moan and rend

The air with my distressing cries.

Behold I leave my childhood’s home,

Renouncing all emotional ties

And worldly fortunes, through the loam.

See the four corners of my scarf

Are empty. Lo there is no gold,

No jewellery, not even half

A coin tucked in between its fold.

I find no pleasure and no pride

In the pretensions of a bride.”  

Rain dance

It’s nice to see the sun shine after the prolonged rains. While it poured and water filled the side streets, I couldn’t help but observe the ‘rain behaviour’ of the citizens. In a city where it is sufficient to own only one umbrella, this was an unusual time marked by uncharacteristic deeds. While driving out in a steady downpour, even the most compulsive, obsessive honkers, decided to give honking a break. Many hesitated to turn on headlights during the day – although they have no qualms about driving on high beam all the time!

People who habitually bargain at every purchase, karelas and mulis included, decided to skip it rather than get soaked. Those who swear by low-calorie and health food queued up to buy pakoras and samosas. The birds that usually kick up a huge row in the Neem tree next to my bedroom actually settled scores and nuzzled against each other. The exceedingly long baraat dance at a wedding party was cut short.

I found libraries abuzz with people, for rain can be a good excuse for actually doing some real reading and not leafing through Good Housekeeping and cheesecake recipes. The fact that the library is centrally heated did not hurt either. Even the unflagging spirit of the most intrepid rickshawallas seemed dampened, for they neither indulged in road acrobatics nor did they invite death by leaping in front of a speeding vehicle.

Outside the office buildings some migrant beggars built a makeshift shack. The guards who are usually very prompt in chasing them away – gave in to the well-disguised benevolence in their hearts. The zealous parking attendant, who has made it his mission to never let any vehicle escape his hawk-eyed shift, was markedly absent.

One early afternoon, I was drinking tea while watching the fine drizzle fill the air. I looked out and saw a few street urchins. They had gathered at an empty plot outside. Soaked from head to toe, they took turns at ‘long jump’ across a rather formidable puddle. As each victor went on, the rest cheered. That the chill was turning their faces blue was of no consequence. In a world bereft of nurturing and amusement, this was an unusual gift.

As it poured, their game became only more challenging and inventive. Next, they decided to dance in the rain. One of the girls transformed herself into a Bollywood heroine giving a perfect rain sequence shot. All week I had wished for the rain to stop. While I watched the children dance in the rain with sheer abundance, I was not so sure!

Fit as a fiddle
Simmi, former journalist, now has stars exercising to her tunes
Smriti Sharma

 Simmi SukhijaAre you looking for ways to battle it out with your unwanted bulge? If yes, fitness trainer Simmi Sukhija is here to give you tips to get rid of that unwanted flab. A product of the Department of Mass Communication, Panjab University, being a fitness trainer was perhaps the last thing on this Punjabi Kudi’s mind, who was doing well as a reporter-researcher with Time magazine in the New Delhi bureau for South Asia. As luck would have it, marriage and kids happened that left her overweight and chubby.

“I was constantly boggled by the thought of getting rid of the fat,” says Simmi. What followed is anybody’s guess. After following a regular regime of weight training, balanced eating, things were back in shape. “After loosing those whopping extra kilos, I decided to be a fitness trainer,” she says.

After doing a six-months stint in fitness training in Mumbai, she became a trainer herself. From being a fitness trainer to celebrities like Pooja Bedi, Amrita Singh, cinematographer Sanjay Kapoor to homemakers, to answering all sorts of queries for Femina and Men’s Health, she has done it all. Currently a RJ with BIG FM with her fitness show called Jo Fit Hai Who Hit Hai, Simmi at 41 presents the picture of an energetic woman.

So what is it that put us Indians a bit on the higher weight scale? “Well, it’s the sedentary life,” comes the quick reply.

“Obesity is the first child of sedentary lifestyle and diseases come next,” she adds.

If Simmi is to be believed, keeping fit is not an impossible task. It involves simple efforts and one can achieve the ideal state of health. Here’s a quick list for simple tips to keep us healthy.

n For those in the sitting jobs and have to be seated in the same posture for long hours, can utilise space by walking every half an hour. Neck movements, shoulder shrugs; wrist movements can be useful to keep away spondilytis etc.

n To keep away those untimely hunger pangs between the meals, one should always carry seasonal fruits like apple, banana etc.

n Meals should strictly be taken in time and preferably home-cooked food for those in running around jobs. Switch over to skimmed milk and milk products instead of normal milk and its products.

And a brisk walk for 45 minutes, along with push-ups and sit-ups, is all it takes to keep fit.

Happy exercising!

Health Peg
CHOCOboost for your brain

Eating chocolate could do more than tantalising your taste buds for a new research has revealed that chocolate could help to sharpen up the mind and give a short-term boost to cognitive skills. A study led by Professor Ian Macdonald found that consumption of a cocoa drink rich in flavanols, a key ingredient of dark chocolate, boosts blood flow to key areas of the brain for two to three hours.

Increased blood flow to these areas of the brain may help to increase performance in specific tasks and boost general alertness over a short period. The findings, unveiled at one of the biggest scientific conferences in America, also raise the prospect of ingredients in chocolate being used to treat vascular impairment, including dementia and strokes, and thus for maintaining cardiovascular health.

The study also suggests that the cocoa flavanols found in chocolate could be useful in enhancing brain function for people fighting fatigue, sleep deprivation, and even the effects of ageing.

Flavanols are not only found in chocolate with a high cocoa content, they are also present in other substances such as red wine, green tea and blueberries. Professor Macdonald said: “Acute consumption of this particular flavanol-rich cocoa beverage was associated with increased grey matter flow for two to three hours.

“The demonstration of an effect of consuming this particular beverage on cerebral blood flow raises the possibility that certain food ingredients may be beneficial in increasing brain blood flow and enhancing brain function, in situations where individuals are cognitively impaired such as fatigue, sleep deprivation, or possibly ageing.” — ANI

This little star wants to be a teacher when she grows up 
Shreya’s andar ki baat
Smriti Sharma

Shreya SharmaShe comes across as vivacious and bubbly, just like her numerous television advertisements. Like any other nine-year-old child, she has dreams in her eyes and a song on her lips. Meet child artist Shreya Sharma who began her tryst with television when she was all of three years.

Since then, there has been no looking back for this little girl who has had lady luck smiling down at her from the word ‘go’.

Beginning her career with a toothpaste ad that never saw the light of the day, Shreya became a household name after she was seen rubbing shoulders with Sunny Deol in the ‘Lux cozi’ advertisement.

What followed was offers after offers for this young model and she moved on to share screen space with the likes of Rani Mukherji, Ajay Devgan, Kajol, Jaya Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Hema Malini, Konkanasen Sharma. The list goes on.

In city to inaugurate a new building of Small Wonders School, Mohali, Shreya had everyone, including the students and teachers, awestruck with her demeanour.

This ‘Favourite Child Artist Award’ of Star Parivar Awards—2004 and the Best Child Artist of the Indian Telly Awards, she had started her acting career with tele-serial Kanhaiya where she played the child Krishna. She has even played the role of Prerna’s daughter in Ekta Kapoor’s Kasauti Zindagi Ki. So what is it that this tiny wonder wants to be in life? “Teacher, like my dadi.”

Already a rage with the viewers, Shreya moves around with bodyguards in tow in Mumbai to keep the public at bay. “She has a huge fan following down south, owing to the Kannad, Malyalam and Telgu film she had done”, says Ritu, her proud mother.

Shreya was even approached by Deepa Mehta for a key role in Oscar contender Water, but the script demanded her to be away from school for long time. Now she will soon be seen in Yashraj production’s next flick Parineeta. A huge fan of Shah Rukh Khan, she hopes to meet him soon.

On that note we leave this child celebrity with her starry eyes fixed on her goal to teach children one day.

Sale, sense and sanity 
Chetna Keer Banerjee

One man’s bargain is another man’s pain. As the shopkeepers all over the city seek to maximise their footfalls with the end-of-season sales, it appears that not only is the entire citizenry out on a shopping trip, but tripping all over too.

For, it’s not just the bags and wallets that you’ve got to protect while navigating the crammed shopping floors, but also your toes. The way certain overenthusiastic label-lusting souls keep stepping on other peoples’ toes leaves some soles sorely in need of Band Aid rather than brand aid.

If it’s not the feet that are at the receiving end, it’s the arms. In a situation where it’s ek ke saath do, teen…and what not free, there’s bound to be a free-for-all in the Great Indian Annual Sale. And the winners of the event are undoubtedly the Grabbers, the breed of shoppers, to use KBC parlance, who use their ‘fastest fingers first.’ The other day, at a multi-tiered shopping stop, several hands dipped into a mammoth crate full of clothes, all up for grabs at 50 per cent off. And all of the fingers emerged from this huge basket of bounty tugging at the same piece of cloth. Needless to say, the object of desire became the object of ire.

The Grabbers may or may not be Hoarders, that ubiquitous tribe who head to the annual clearance extravaganzas purely with a futuristic attitude, of stocking up for the next season. These brand-builders stuff their bags with Madame and Monte Carlo tags not because they will be of immediate use, but for their next-season demonstration effect.

Sweating it out while trying on furry coats and thick woolies in the stuffy, human breath-laden air of showrooms is cool for these habitual hoarders. For some, it is actually child’s play, for their wards are left to play with ever-obliging salespersons as they pick up armloads of Pringle and Pantaloon. The problems arise when the toddlers are left unattended. A friend was busy trying out the selected apparel in the trial room when she heard her name being announced on the intercom among the ‘lost moms’. That her weighty self was bursting out of the fabrics she was trying to fit into became inconsequential when she had to burst out of the trial room in a state of half-dress.

All the Grabbers and Hoarders at these annual shopping pilgrimages are invariably accompanied by the people whose contribution is directly proportional to their cosmetic or credit quotient—-the Arm Candy. This breed comprises the dripping-with-cash dandy or the credit-worthy daddy. They generally habit the fringes of this yearly pocket-lightening experience and can mostly be found populating the cash counters where they pay the price for the indulgences of their dear ones.

Some sensible ones prefer to stand out on call, as was the case of a spouse who patiently waited outside a leading sari store as the women in his troop deliberated inside on the element of ‘drama’ in the folds of a sari.

After all, it’s inside these shopper’s paradises that the real drama unfolds.

The good in waste
Smriti Sharma

Use the better not seen kabaad into something useful by employing some jugaad. Yes, we are referring to the ongoing kabaad se jugaad workshop at Rock Garden. In one part of the Rock Garden, a film crew is in the middle of a shooting with actor Bobby Deol in action, littering the place with all sorts of filth, disposable plates, glasses, cartons, water leaking from the pipes kept to wash utensils on the spot.

Moving ahead to the other end is a motley crowd of 50 people, busy chopping vegetables and preparing dals, for an oil free menu. They are here as they share the same thought of managing waste and even these thinking minds are working on the concept of zero waste. But is that possible, we wonder? “Why not,” comes the prompt reply. “The Kachra is in our minds. As consumers, we just think of buying more and more without bothering about the waste it produces. If we plan in such a way that we can re-use the waste, we won’t have to go to buy at least some things if not all,” retorts Vishal from Jaipur. This workshop is the first of its kind in the city and the second meet under the Swapatgami, the first one being held at Faridabad last year, informs Sukhmani from CEVA in Chandigarh. “The idea is to come together and learn, share whatever ideas we have on the management and recycling of waste and find a way out,” she continues. So all of them have got together to find alternatives to non-biodegradable plastic waste. Shilpa Jain from Udaipur-based Shikshantar says, they are trying to find ways to avoid creating morewaste. It’s a class with a difference where no one is a teacher and everyone is there to learn and adapt. From making bracelets out of coconut shells to making sturdy tables and school furniture out of paper to jute wall-hangings to making oil-free food to making bookmarks from old wedding cards, they are learning it all under the sun.

Board Mantra
Be the pillar of strength

Dos and dont’s for parents

  • Never criticise the child.

  • Never ignore him if he feels he wants to talk to you.

  • Set time limits for particular study routines.

  • Check how much is done.

  • Ask questions on job done.

  • Check on what needs to be handled.

  • Congratulate him on his success.

  • Make positive suggestions.

A child’s first school of emotional learning is his family. In this intimate cauldron children learn about their own feelings and the choices they have in reacting to the people they interact. This emotional school operates through not only what parents say but also through what they offer as role models. So parenting is a responsibility and all must accept it seriously.

There are a lot of parenting fads people are catering to these days. In fact, now each parent is trying to outdo the other one through his kids. But parents must remember that by over emphasising on the intellect of the students, we forget their wants.

As a parent dealing with examinations at this point, stress is perhaps the commonest problem we face. A lot of parents get so worked up that they pass on this stress to their kids. Please remember you are the pillars of strength the child is relying on, allow the child the relief of depending on you emotionally during this stressful period.

Experience and statistics have shown that most parents who have taught the children to respect their own needs and the needs of others, are the ones who are successful in nurturing and creating children who know how to handle a stressful situation.

It is up to the parent to help children to abide by these “trying times”. Reach out to your kids in the following ways and see them blossom.

- Boost their self-esteem.

- Encourage them to get the best out of themselves.

- Make studies an adventure they love to embark on.

- Encourage them to be well organised.

- Teach them not to have mental barriers regarding subjects of any sort.

- Turn them into learners.

- Teach them time management.

- Organisation skills can be sharpened.

As a parent, we must not only encourage them but also teach them to become self-directed. There is a rhythm to every child’s day. It is up to the parent to discover it, plan a routine, which gives him an opportunity to go according to his own rhythm. If after a long day of studying your kid is tired, discover his energy booster – food, exercise, sleep or even a chat, just go with it.

Remember, children can immediately sense it if their parents are stressed. So please enhance your kid’s performance by keeping yourself de-stressed and available to the kid.Help your kids by taking out a time slot for them every evening and discussing the days events with them. You always support learning by a acknowledging success.

Harness your parenting power to the ultimate through: awareness, belief, decisions, friendship, imagination, learning, questioning, understanding, persuasion and organisation.

Also change food habits sometimes. This has great effect on performance – lots of fruits and vegetables do help – try it out.

Parent power is apparent in turning “can’t do” into “can do” through relaxation.

Practice various relaxation techniques with the kids starting out with a simple routine. Take a deep breath, in three seconds you let go of all the tension. Just notice all that is around you and harmonise with it. This will calm your mind immensely.

Be positive and keep your mind set and attitude strong. Your kids are an extension of you – allow them to blossom and grow with you and sail with them through this stressful time calmly.

Grounded performer

Abhay Vakil Abhay Vakil is part of the young brigade, making a name with the small screen offering them great opportunities. Saara Akash, Palki, Kehna Hai Kuchch Mujhko and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki serials under his belt Abhay has caught the viewer’s eye for his role of a passionate lover in Sahara One Television much-hyped soap Zaara.

In life he is the best example of enthusiasm. He is always a picture of happiness and his presence on the small screen lights up the atmosphere.

When you meet him for the first time he seems just another talented artiste on high ambition. But ten minutes into the conversation, you discover Abhay Vakil is an epitome of sincerity.

Talking to Lifestyle on the sets of Zaara, he says, "I have been extremely comfortable in Zaara production team in comparison to other productions. Everyone is focused here`85 the director, the producer, the actors, everyone in the team and that helps us perform well. I just hope everyone likes our work and appreciates our efforts into making Zaara."

Abhay began his career as a dancer and choreographer but later changed his tracks to acting. Simple and down to earth he may be but his acting abilities just cannot be ignored.

Thoroughly satisfied with his work on the small screen Abhay says, "Today television entertainment is very fast paced. We are on our toes. My belief is simple. I always try to act well."

Besides acting, Abhay is writing scripts for two reality shows for the small screen. These projects are already in pipeline. "I would first thank everyone for appreciating my character Samar. I hold the viewers’ in great regard and they are a source of encouragement to me as an actor. I am sure Zaara will emerge successful especially because of its real and strong storyline," concludes Abhay.

— D. P.

The master sings again

His voice has been so much a part of our sensibilities that it comes like a surprise that Bhupinder has not sung for the past one decade. Now there is news to cheer for ghazal buffs as the magical voice is making a come back in not one but two films. Shamir Tandon after having recorded legends like Lataji for Page 3, Ashaji in Corporate, living legend Manna Dey and Jagjit Singh in Umar, has Bhupinder recreating the magic of the Gulzar-RD era as he rendered his voice for Vinod Pande’s Red Swastik and Madhur Bhandarkar’s Traffic Signal.

Thanking his stars Shamir says, “I am blessed to have such subjects where I can use these rich voices and do justice to them. We have used Bhupiji’s voice for songs that are tailor-made and remind us of the 70s and early 80s when Bhupiji was a rage. Red Swastik track is called Yeh Jo Tera Shehar Hai Ajeeb Shehar and is penned by Vinod Pandey who is also the producer-director of the psycho-thriller.

The Traffic Signal track is called Na jis din teri meri baat hoti hai and is written by Sameer. The music for both these films will be released in the months of November-December and will be a melodious revival for fans of a beautiful voice that can never be forgotten. The new generation, which has been bereft of a voice that has sung evergreen songs like Kisi nazar ko tera intezaar aaj bhi hai can now have the melody work magic for them too, feels Shamir. The songs by Bhupinder are high on melody, rich lyrical value have used live instruments that sets the music apart from the hot dance numbers that play these days. We are confident that the youth today will love them too and it will be a breath of fresh air for them,” says Shamir. — D. P.

Ali in Masty

Ali ZafarAli Zafar is young, energetic and making waves with his new album Masty. He has an infectious rhythm when he talks about his music that influences the ones around him. He not only talks about his creations, he actually demonstrates it to you without any instrument.

The multi talented singer, former model, actor and surprisingly a painter also, Ali Zafar made his debut as a singer with his album Huqa Pani. Ali is all set to rock the world with his second album Masty from Frankfinn Music.

Ali started his singing lessons in his early childhood just by listening to his father. Later he joined Government College Nazir Ahmed Music Society, where in he discovered his singing potential for the first time. The passion to sing and to learn to sing grew more every day to a stage where he skipped classes just to sing sa re ga ma at the society. He took his basic training form Israr Chisti and is still learning. — D. P.

Open your heart

I am a 16-year-old girl, very open-minded and having a lot of friends, both male and female. I am fond of traveling, going out with friends on weekends, but my parents do not allow this. This has become a problem for me as all my friends have started making fun of me. I am not even allowed to wear western clothes. I am frustrated. Please help.

Vishaka, Delhi

This is what we call the generation gap. You must remember and understand that your parents are a product of a certain generation and a certain cultural environment. They probably feel that they are protecting you from certain social evils. It would be nice if you sat down with them and explained to them that as society is changing and the concepts of social acceptability are also changing. Gently coax them into understanding that just as they are learning to accept other modern amenities similarly it would be nice if they also opened up their minds to changing values and changing modes of behaviour.

I am 35-year-old single mother with a 10-year-old son. We live in a school campus and he goes to school where I teach. I have been very indulgent with him as I feel I am playing the role of a mother and a father. Recently, I have noticed that he is getting more and more demanding. If I am on the phone with a friend, he will come and cut the line and I have to tell him who I meet and who I don’t. If I am strict with him he threatens me that he will walk out on me. I feel shattered. Please advise.

Renuka, Shimla

Your child is trying to emotionally blackmail you because you have perhaps given him the feeling that you are emotionally dependant on him. You must change your attitude. He must learn to rely on you and not have you depending of him emotionally. Single parenting should give you the chance to bring out all your child rearing skills. A healthy balance in your relationship can only be made by you. So do not be over indulgent or over harsh. I’m sure your child will settle himself into better behavioral habits.

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