I believe...
Purva Grover

WE’VE known her as an actor, a danseuse, a politician, a social worker and, of course, a doting mom. But, the Hema Mailni we met on Saturday, came across as a woman first, and the rest later. A woman with her own mind and eternal beauty, she shares her mantra for both with us.

“Believe in yourself. The conviction that you are right can take you anywhere. After all you live for yourself,” smiles the lady as she interacts with scribes at the Press Club. She is in the city to perform at the Chandigarh Film Festival.

Hmm... That takes us back to her decision to break rules and tie the knot with Dharmendra. “It was a difficult decision to make. But, I was sure and then both my family and my man stood by me,” she reminisces. Now, all that is history. Talk today, do we see her and Dharmendra on screen again? Well, very soon, for in the pipeline are two flicks with him. The second one will have Rekha too in it. As for her dream role of the dreamgirl, she says she’ll have to create one on her own.

Further, the Punjab di bahu as many like to call her, tells us that Dharmendra will soon be opening a studio in Punjab. “That’s his love for the state,” she says. So has Dharamji managed to teach her Punjabi? “Not much, though I’ve taught him enough Tamil,” she chuckles. Next, we move to the topic she loves the most — Esha and Ahana. Esha is becoming more selective about her choice of roles and Ahana is busy making a documentary and nurturing her dream to have an animal farm. She smiles, “I am not good at filmy dance, I am a classical dancer. But, Esha is good at both classical and filmy numbers.” As for Hema, her next ballad would be that on the Ganges. And as she talks more we realise what’s equally dear to her are the daughters of Punjab.

So, when asked to comment on the female foeticide scene in Punjab, she immediately offers herself for the cause. “I am here. Take work from me. I am ready to go to villages to spread awareness, but don’t expect me to be a part of a song drama function to merely talk on the subject,” she makes herself clear. Also, she wants to send across a message to all women to stand up for themselves as the law is with them. “A woman has to respect herself first, only when a mother giving birth to a daughter knows ‘her’ worth will she be able to fight for the rights of her child,” she says. And, what about the reservation of women? “Our party is doing its bit for it,” speaks the politician in her.

So, is she a good politician? “I am Hema Malini first and that’s what helps me attracts the crowd,” she confesses. And what if she was only a politician sans the dreamgirl? “People would come to see me anyways, won’t they?” she winks. Well, that they would and that gets us curious to know the secret behind her youthful beauty. “One can defy physical ageing with the magic of internal beauty and a romantic mind,” smiles the lady.

And, how does she manage it all? Movies, dance performances, social work, family, campaigning and more. “It’s all about switching roles. You are an artiste one minute, a mom the other, a politician the next and more,” she says. Well, we guess then that’s what makes her Hema Malini, the woman we admire. Right? purva@tribunemail.com

Benegal’s Ballad
Parbina Rashid

— Photo by Parvesh Chauhan
— Photo by Parvesh Chauhan

HE has all the qualities of a legend — intense, yet not so much that one cannot relate to him, analytical but to-the-point, and a person who has full respect for time, literally. So, it was not unusual for Shyam Benegal to reach the venue for the interaction session — Government Museum and Art Gallery –10, dot on time. Sadly, what was missing was the Chandigarh crowd to fill in the audience’s place.

But then fortunately enough, we had something to be proud of today. Two reference books to Indian cinema — Music in Traditional Indian Theatre by theatre person Rani Balbir Kaur and Gender Relations and Cultural Ideology in Indian Cinema by Indubala Singh. Both were released by Benegal and both got his attention. Music, for its an integral part of Indian cinema and portrayal of gender relations because the subject has been a concern area for this master story teller.

“We have been portraying women as victims and this portrayal takes away the strength that we intend to give them,” he says referring to Indubala’s book. Balbir Kaur’s book led Benegal to speak on what he was and what made him what he is today. “Unlike the West where they have different genres like romantic or thriller, we Indians have only a set form that has to have all the elements of nava rasas. And this form is so strong, that even if you try being different, you end up in the same mould. And this is why I made a conscious decision to be different,” he says.

So are we likely to see more flicks like Garam Hawa or Junoon in the future? “Films are like daily newspapers, what is here today will be out tomorrow. A film has to have topicality, which has nothing to do with the subject but the manner of presentation and which changes from generation to generation. And since a film is a creation of technology, its grammar and its idiom changes with time,” he says.

The two-and-a-half hour-long session with him also brought out interesting tit-bits like the historical facts which his Junoon did not show on screen, how the man Javed Khan, on whom Shashi Kapoor’s character was based, looted jaggery from a distillery when the its British owners ran away from Shahjahanpur and became rich. However, it was not such facts that goaded him to make the film, what got his cinematic antenna hooked to Ruskin Bond’s Flight of Pigeons was the fact that the Indians enjoyed an ambivalent relation with the British even when they were ruling the country. And as for Bose, the Forgotten Hero, it was the heroic deeds of one of his uncles, a recruit of Indian National Army at the age of 15, which inspired him. “I wanted to do a film on INA, Bose was only incidental,” he reveals.

But the amazing bit of information was how he made Manthan, a film that had its origin in a series of documentaries on Amul, called White Revolution. “The film had the highest number of producers. Ten lakh farmers contributed Rs 2 each to make the film and guess what the film recovered the cost within the first ten days itself, for they all came to watch it,” he recalls.

Hands kept raising in the air to keep him engaged, but as the organisers reminded him of the time of his flight and we got ready to leave, we realised this legendary story teller’s oratory skill is as gripping as his cinematic representations. parbina@tribunemail.com

Yo! India
Education, yoga or speaking Hindi, foreign students on campus love it all
Parbina Rashid

Revamp mode

DEAN International Students Shelly Walia tells us that to facilitate foreign students, the university is planning to introduce a remedial course in English and also upgrade the curriculum to keep pace with global standards. Apart from this, five rooms are being set aside for students in the international hostel.

A word of caution

INDIA may no longer lure Iranians or Yemenese students with its proximity or low fee structure. Malaysia may soon be an alternate destination for many students. One, its fee structure is not very high in comparison to Indian universities and second, it provides better infrastructure.

Teach us Hindi!

“THE language barrier is a major problem outside the campus and the authority shoud give us a crash course on spoken Hindi. Though Persian language and Hindi have some common words like aloo, piyaz and namak, they are not enough to deal with problems of day-to day life,” say the foreign students.

THE proposal to lure foreign students by reserving a few seats in that category may not have gelled well with the authority concerned, but looking at the ever-growing number of foreign students from nearby countries like Iran, Iraq and Yemen, Afghanistan and also Japan and Canada, one can say Panjab University has made its presence felt in the international scene and that too only by word of mouth.

Ask Mahmood Azizi, a research scholar at the Department of English, how he zeroed upon Chandigarh for his higher studies and he answers, “I heard about Panjab University from a friend and I just came, I saw and conquered.” Well, conquered he did, at least us, with his charming smile and honest approach. We show our curiosity to know what brings so many Iranians and Yemenese to the Department of English alone for pursuing their Ph.Ds and masters. Statistics show out of 100 foreign students in PU, Department of English alone has a share of 5 from Yemen, 30 from Iran and 10 from Iraq. He says, “For me the first choice was Australia but it turned out that studying there would cost me ten times more than what I have to pay in India. So, I am here doing my Ph.D and also learning to speak a little Hindi so that I can haggle with the rickshaw walas.”

There are others like Hamid Reza Fatemipour from Tehran who came here in 2004, once again by the word of mouth. “I was teaching at Islamic Azat University when I decided to go for my Ph.D. I was already nearing my forties and as the entrance test for Ph.D in Iran is tough, I did not want to take a risk and waste more time. This is when I started looking outside and a friend of mine suggested that I come to Panjab University,” says Hamid. Same is the story of Mushoor Abdul, Gabriele and Azaki from Yemen who too are pursuing their Ph. D from the department. “It was the money factor that made the decision for us,” says Gabriele who was teaching at Taiz University in Yemen before he came here.

Moving away from academics we ask them about their impression of the city and how they are adopting to its culture. And they chorus — “The city is really attractive with its clean environment and so are its people. But yes with language playing the barrier, we stick close to each other or with our families.” So where do they hang out? “The city does not have much attraction for foreigners, hanging out here becomes equivalent to eating out and for us, coming from Islamic countries, it poses a great problem too because there are no restaurants that offer halal meat here,” they complain. Well, the idea of exploring nearby areas holds its appeal, but the university organises only a single trip to Shimla.

And what do they do on a free day? “If it is a long holiday, we, five-six families get together and explore historical cities like Jaipur, Agra, Delhi or just spend time in productive activities like yoga, meditation classes or a game of football,” says Mahmood. Also, yoga is something they plan to take back home besides their doctorates.

Adrenaline on the track-4
Want to race?
Post-marriage, Sarika Sehrawat is raring to go
Sukant Deepak

“IT didn’t really take me long to convince male rallyists that motorsports wasn’t their exclusive domain. As I finished podiums, my mettle was immediately recognised, and not just by them,” smiles Sarika Sehrawat, the fastest Indian woman on four wheels and the nation’s first professional woman rallyist.

Married now (“What does motorsports has to with being married; I am still as fast… Want to race?”), this Gurgaon-based pretty Haryanvi is quick to add that wedlock has done her good, even on the track. “The year 2007 saw me as first in the 1300cc, SUV, open class (all ladies) besides the top category best performed car in the auto cross championship. And then you ask me about my marriage!” she says.

For someone’s who’s been a regular in the fast lane and won rounds of the Indian National Rallying Championship (INRC), decorated on the Raid de Himalaya besides frequently participating in the prestigious Desert Storm, life nowadays has been all about modifying her new rally car (which was also displayed in the recent Auto Expo). “The vehicle is a sexy Mitsubishi GT 3000, a monster of a machine, which my husband and I have modified.”

It doesn’t really take a second when you ask the fastest Indian woman on four wheels about not going international. “Are you ready to give me the money or arrange for sponsors? I think you’re acquainted with this aspect of Indian motorsports, something which just refuses to change. I’ve proved my mettle in the toughest of national rallies, still backers shun away from supporting me in the international arena. Don’t want to be over-optimistic but yes, I think I have the talent to take on some of the top rallyists anywhere in the world!”

All set to burn some track in top rallies in 2008, Sarika’s already preparing herself for the same. Not just preparing the vehicles, but am also concentrating on my physical abilities and mental prowess to deliver the best under pressure. Yes, you may witness a never-before Sarika.”

Talking about the so-called improved motorsports scenario in the country, especially after Narain Karthikeyan, Naren Kumar, Gaurav Gill and Karun Chandok have marked their international presence, Sarika thinks that so-called improvement in the scene can’t really be taken very seriously. “There may be a slight improvement but the same isn’t really representative of the overall scenario, especially in the rallying circuit. The most disturbing part is that absolutely nothing is being done to train new people. There are no rally schools. Sometimes I really wonder why the government and corporates can’t join hands to help budding drivers — maybe some kind of talent scholarship so as to give the enthusiast at least the initial boost.” Stating that most of the motorsports events are concentrated in the south of the country, Sarika elaborates, “There is no racing happening in Northern India, where are the karting tacks here? Believe me, no INRC rounds in Delhi now, no drag races. Is it being assumed that people in North India lack that peculiar streak which is a pre-requisite in motorsports?”

Sarika almost signs off, not before adding, “I am sure that no writer will now try to club the married Sarika with Sarika, the rallyist!” lifestyletribune@gmail.com

Enter their world
Purva Grover

BARELY six-months old, profits worth one lakh a month and among the country’s top 300 websites. “Mind you, all this after a big failure,” say Agam, Gunpreet, Gurinder, Nikhil, Saurabh and Sujit in unison. Failure followed by success, let’s trace their journey into the cyber world.

Students of UIET and PEC, they started working on a database of tutors in the tricity to help students, teachers and parents last year. “We called it www.tutindia.com and launched it in August’07.” Three months later, they ran into huge losses and had to shut it. Why? Tells Agam, “We realised that the use of Internet here was limited to mere entertainment. Nobody was actually shopping online or discussing education.” And well, instead of giving up, the youngsters took a cue from there and took off.

In September last year they floated www.myorkutworld.com. “Everybody was getting bored of Orkut and moving to other SNS like Facebook, Hi5 and MySpace. Our idea was to add freshness to Orkut,” says Nikhil. This site helps you to make your Orkut scraps more interesting by adding images. You can take your pick from images categorised under Hugs, Punjabi scraps, Insults, Festivals, Good Morning, Weekend and even video scraps. Ask them to quote their profits, and they say with pride, “Around a lakh a month.”

So with good money and good traffic, came the idea of expansion and were launched www.mysharingworld.com and www.mywallpaperworld.com in November. “It was easy to divert users from www.myorkutworld to these sites,” they tell. The former provides links for Hindi/English movies/ trailers, e-books, games, TV serials and even mobile movies. “We’re not doing anything illegal, just simply providing links for downloading,” says Agam. Mobile movies are an instant hit with students, for it lets you download and watch 90 MB movies on your mobiles. “They’re bored of playing games during lectures and are now watching movies,” laugh the budding engineers.

And on www.mywallpaperworld.com you can download wallpapers of Bollywood/Hollywood actors, movies, cars, bikes and more. So, where are they picking these from? “Be it filmmakers or car makers all put up wallpapers for promotion purposes, we provide those,” tells Sujit.

But how are they managing websites, flow of money and studies? “Eight hours of college and eight hours for our work. As for money we are saving it for the future,” they tell. And what’s in store for future? “To make huge money and have an IPO by 2011,” they sign off.

No men, puhhleese!
Purva Grover

THE fact that you need a new designer outfit each time you have to go out is no secret. And, that you’ve to visit ten different stores before picking up a dress is also both known and scoffed at. So, as you roam around all excited and eagerly looking for that perfect outfit — designer, latest, in-budget and inimitable, your husband or boyfriend sighs, bemoans and even threatens to leave.

Hmm...sounds familiar? Well, our sympathy for the man who has to sit for hours on the husband’s chair (the sitting area in a shop where a man sits as the woman shops), utter the right kind of comments like how a raddish red is a more charming than an orangish red (is there a difference?) and then obediently sign the credit card slip. So, for all you men, here’s a reason to cheer — women prefer to shop alone. Now, lest you mistake it as an oh-so-understanding decision by women, let’s see what the main reason behind it is — men’s bad behaviour during shopping trips including sighing, looking pointedly at their watches or refusing to come into the shop. Reveals a survey of 2,000 couples conducted by a designer outlet chain that 89 per cent of women prefer shopping alone or with children rather than with their partner.

Call it financial independence, ability to now drive on one’s own, or simply less patience level, women are now finding shoppingmates in children or friends or doing it just by themselves. Says Reeta, a mom of two young daughters, “My husband shows interests only when we shop for the girls.” Her complaint, he doesn’t enter the store at all. (The study also indicates insistence by 31 per cent of the men to stand outside the store.) His excuses, parking woes or phone calls. So, what do they do? The trio shops and the dad watches cricket.

It’s the constant stare at his watch that made Shruti opt for solo shopping trips. “I hate the expression on his face,” she says. “It’s perfect for him to ogle at a Playstation for hours, but not when I stand in front of the mirror,” she adds. Now, that’s quite a justification.

Okie, but not all couples are parting when it comes to shopping. A love marriage of five years, things haven’t changed between Deepa and Sunil. He still likes to shop for her, the only condition being time. Says Sunil, “I help her deicide. But then, I don’t have the patience to spend an hour at a store.” As for Deepa, she appreciates hubby’s choice and hurries up.

Is there any other reason, we wonder? Yes, see it’s only your gal friends who understand that an outfit that looked great in the trial room can actually look horrible when tried at home, so best is to shop with them. Sahiba is at ease with the idea, she says, “At least I don’t have to feel guilty looking at the bored expression on his face.” Plus, shopping for women is an opportunity to socialise and de-stress.

Now, not many can understand this, so we rest at this. And then, whatever be the reasons, the discovery is a welcome respite for both men and women. Right?

Death-wish Dhillon
Parbina Rashid

An eye surgery and a urinary-track infection may have pulled him down physically, but he is still the very much ‘Death-wish Dhillon’, as once known among his contemporaries. Strike a conversation with Sir Mohinder Singh Dhillon, and you know that beneath the tough exterior of this Ludhiana born, Kenya bred-photojournalist (who took a fall from a chopper flying at a height of 8,000 feet in the Rift Valley and lived to tell the tale), beats a heart, which cries for the poor and sufferers.

So, when we ask him how was the transition from ‘Death-wish Dhillon’ to ‘Sir Dhillon’ (he was knighted by the Order of Saint Mary of Zion in 2005 for his television footage that helped Ethiopian 1984 famine victims to receive world attention) he shrugs, “After seeing so much pain and sufferings, an honour like this does not hold much meaning. In fact, people of Ethiopia deserve it more than I do, for the dignity with which they accepted their sufferings, without being bitter about it,” he recalls.

The aftermath of Vietnam War is another landmark work of Sir Dhillon. “I saw the mutilated bodies, children born with deformity everywhere. Nothing was shocking after that. At least I thought so till I met a couple of Americans there and asked them why this war? The reply was ‘everything is fair in love and war’. Their casual tone disturbed me more than the scenes in the hospitals.”

Another war he shot from beginning to end was at Aden, in North Somalia, way back in 1967. “I shot the entire war which dwelt from stone-throwing to serious battle,” he recalls. But recalling all those moments do not do him much good. “As I have nothing else to do these days, I was going through my file of old photographs and I got into a depression,” he tells us.

So what was the high point of his career, we try to divert. “Meeting Mother Teresa when she came to bless my documentary African Calvary on Ethopian famine and told me, “son, God has chosen you for this,’ and I knew I had answered to my true calling.”

Sir Dhillon’s body of work forms a part of the BBC and National Geographic Channel archives, besides a number of international documentary libraries. He has travelled to 59 countries and all that happened when he served as the official photographer of Prince Philip Makonnen Haile Selassie of Ethiopia for eight years.

But life was not so easy for this ace photographer, who tagged along his father, a railway employee from Babbarpur village, to Kenya. “A school dropout, I took to photography, studio photography to begin with. Though I rose to the position of Prince Philip’s official photographer, situation was not so favourable at that time for us Asians. In fact, there were functions organised by the White where even a black waiter would not serve drinks to me. Things are different now though,” he signs. Rather, he made things happen for him. “Determination and hunger to do something different,” he agrees.

So is that hunger over now? “Not yet, I had started something on child prostitution in Philippines. I want to complete that project, but do not know if I will be able to, I am 76 -years-old now,” he says. And he is too proud a man and a concerned father to ask his son, who is also a well-known photojournalist, to help him out because of the risk involved. “I feel I have done my bit, and now it is up to the future generation to carry on the work with honesty.” A benchmark, difficult to attain in one life, but with a legacy like his as inspiration, there are sure to be followers!

Search ends here...
Parbina Rashid

HE may not be a Punjabi by birth, but his love for Punjabi folk makes him an integral part of the cultural scene here. So, when the star-maker became a star himself this Republic Day by becoming one of the Padmashree awardees in the music category, we rejoiced. After all, it’s Jawahar Wattal, who gave us star singers like Baba Sehgal, Daler Mehndi, Sujaat Khan, Shweta Tiwari and Shubha Mudgal.

“It came as a surprise because one would hardly expect someone working in this genre of music (Indi-pop) to be awarded with this prestigious award. Only three people from the music industry in the past have received this award and it feels great. Though, it turned out to be quite a humbling experience to join that elite league,” says Wattal. And the league he is referring to comprises ‘who’s who’ of the music world — Naushad, Ravi and A.R. Rehman.

To jog one’s memory, Wattal has directed more than 3,000 jingles, scored music for tele-serials like The World This Week, Himalaya Darshan and Ru Ba Ru among others, besides composing, directing and producing 73 music albums out of which 19 went multi-platinum.

And, the award has infused him with a lot more enthusiasm to deliver his best. Now, he is working on a new album, a fusion of North Indian classical music and French rhythm. “Playback singers like Vinod Rathore, Udit Narayan, K.K and Suresh Wadekar have sung for the album,” he informs.

A die-hard fan of Gurdas Maan, Asha Singh Mastana, Wadali Brothers and Surinder Kaur, Wattal’s plans to continue doing what he loves doing the most — provide a platform to serious talent. Does that mean getting involved with some reality shows? “Not really, I did that a long time back as the judge for the TVS Sa Re Ga Ma. I am not interested any more because now what we are doing is promoting the show rather than talent, as a result the winners go down into oblivion when the show is over,” he says.

So, what is his prediction for the music of this region — a region, which once boasted of a rich heritage like Patiala Gharana, which is now a fading glory? “It is a little difficult for hardcore classical music to make its niche, but Punjabi folk is a never-ending saga. One can create and recreate music taking folk as the medium. But a word of caution — do not create confusion in the name of fusion.”

And this is how he wants to spend the rest of his time — picking up elements from music of different genres and presenting it with all its aesthetics intact.

Stolen moments

The interaction session with Shyam Benegal at Government Museum and Art Gallery-10 was a double bonanza for us journos. For it saw the presence of M.S. Sathyu — in a relaxed mood, enjoying the morning sun. “I am enjoying the cold,” says Sathyu, after the introduction was made by city-based artist Viney Vadhera. And as this conversation unfolded we came to know of their association.

“We met on the sets of The Train to Pakistan in 1997 or 98 in Manaksharif village near here,” recalls Sathyu, how he said yes to Pamela Rooks and how he was given his dialogues written in Gurmukhi script. “ When I asked Pamela, she had told me that I was supposed to speak in Hindi but they were written in Punjabi. But lucky me, I found a girl who could write the Punjabi dialogues in Kannad.”

So what’s new? “A film on ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation).” ISRO, we express our surprise? Is this man known for socially relevant cinema now going to make science fiction? “No, it will be film with a social message. It will be called Nicha Asmaan, which will be based on issues like cast and religion about scientists who send people to the space, but down on earth they are caught up in their own boundaries.”

The shootings for the film would commence soon. He has found a big corporate house to finance. “It is a new trend, corporate houses financing films. Earlier, the financers would first cut their interest which would be almost 50 per cent and then give you the rest. You wouldn’t know what to do with it. Now with corporate financers taking care of the money part, it leaves us artistes to take care of the creative side,” he signs off. — P. R.

Matka Chowk
Chandigarh Graffiti
Sreedhara Bhasin

Chandigarh is relatively graffiti free. I haven’t seen too many walls in this city defaced by misguided literary and social zeal and unbridled creativity bordering on vandalism. However, I have seen quite a few sweet musings carved on tree trunks and etched on pillars and walls in places like the Sukhna Lake and Chattbir Zoo.

The one that I recently saw was on a lighthouse – a message proclaiming undying love for a sweetheart – in simple and almost childish words. As I walked on through the morning mist I pondered over the message. I thought it was sweet and fresh. Then I realised that the writing must be quite old – since the ridges made on the wood plank looked smooth and rounded. Then I wondered about the boy who wrote it, maybe, many years ago. Did his love find a happy ending? Did he ever come back to see his handiwork on a balmy evening when the waves are high and the bahunias are blooming?

Continuing on the same train of thought, I mused further. What if I wanted to leave my mark on the waterfront? Would I write ardent messages for the people I love? Would I thank God for all that he has given me and this beautiful morning by the water? Would I try my hand at poetry? Then my thoughts turned to cosmic changes. What was the probability that I would have read an emotional outpouring of a teenager who might now be living in a cold district of Canada? If I wrote a vignette today, will another fellow traveller read it years from now? Will the grass be frozen on the Matka Chowk that morning? Will people still take the trouble to wash and cook saag the real way? Will global warming take its toll?

As I thought on, I stopped in my tracks. I was sounding like some of those people who view change as an infringement – something negative. They do not realise that our city is a party to the monumental social restructuring that will change the face of our country forever! The walls are crumbling and barriers are being flattened.

My maid has a five-year-old daughter. Every morning she rides her cycle to take her child to the government school. She wants her daughter to have a real career. Twenty years later, she might be seen riding the metro to the IT Park armed with her laptop!

Maybe, some things will never change. Kids will leave for school after being fortified by hot paranthas made by a loving mother on a cold morning. Maybe, Diwali will still light up our lives. Maybe, cricket will still be an overrated sport. Young lovers will carve passionate proclamations on tree trunks – for shades of love, hopefully, will never ever change.

Write to Renee
at lifestyletribune@gmail.com  or Life Style, The Tribune, Sector 29-C, Chd

I am 35-year-old, working in Delhi. I have been in my present position for many years and quite trusted by my boss. However, I feel I am not being given my dues. Just that I enjoy this comfort zone in my job. Do you think I should ask for a raise? I do not want to send the wrong signal as already many of my colleagues think that I am having a relationship with my boss who is a married man. Should I look for a job elsewhere, though I would like to continue here with a better salary!

Ruchika Mehta

There is no need for confusion. The real problem is not people talking but the fact that you have been sitting in one position for far too long and have developed your comfort zone. The realisation of it is making you uncomfortable. Life is about taking chances and moving on. If you feel you deserve better, why not apply for a new position elsewhere? Otherwise have a frank discussion with your boss and explain the situation. After that you can weigh your options, whatever suits you, just make a go for it. Sometimes a new job in a new company can infuse a new lease of life. Perhaps that’s what you really need.

My daughter is about 23 and has just taken up a new job in a different city. She has a car and a flat of her own and a great salary. Till now we enjoyed a great relationship and I never really worried about her. But recently when she came home she seemed tired and withdrawn and ready to snap at everything that I say. She is not even friendly with her younger sister any more. She now has a new boyfriend and I wonder if that is the cause for her behaviour. How do I find out what is bothering her?

Samita Bohra

The more you push her, more rebellious she will get. Nobody wants to hear criticism about friends, and particularly boy friends. It can also be her job stress. Both factors are equally discerning. Sometimes dealing with a new job is definitely very stressful. Don’t worry, she will settle down into it slowly. Meantime, give her a lot of love and show her that she has an emotional anchor in you. And try not to be judgemental. I’m sure she will confide in you if you show understanding and patience.

I am 54-year-old and have just given up my teaching job to live with my family. I thought that after all these years of routine and discipline, I would be enjoying myself. But I have started feeling low and stressed. Also I have started suffering from headaches. Do you think this has to do with the change in lifestyle or is it age related?

Reeta Bhaduri

Change in routine does have an impact on our state of mind. If you have followed a routine for two decades and then everything changed overnight, it will generate a level of tension somewhere within. The headaches are the result of tension and can be alleviated by simple relaxation techniques. Sometimes just a long hot water bath is a great cure. A mild painkiller or even a hot flannel on the back of your neck is effective. Be kind and gentle with yourself. This is just a passing phase as your body is readjusting to a new life. Find an interest to focus on — social work or even may a craft you enjoy. Once the joy of having your own pace takes over, life will ease out in every way.

First Day First Show
Insufferable drama
Rajiv Kaplish

Rama Rama Kya Hai Dramaaa

Rama Rama Kya Hai Dramaaa? This is precisely the question we should be posing, not you, Mr Director. What is the hullabaloo over? Is it about transforming a midget into a matinee idol? Or, making a glam doll who once had an aversion to clothes into a draped- from-head-to-toe-in-a-sari nagging wife? Seems helmsman S. Chandrakaant has no answer to our query. He is a confused man. And a dreamer to boot.

Chanting Rama Rama, he dreams of a dramaaa and turns the screenplay into a farcical comedy which evokes yawns instead of giggles. Pint-sized comedian Rajpal Yadav makes desultory wanderings as a mainstream hero who is fed up of his wife, Neha Dhupia’s tantrums. Similar is the fate of his boss, Aashish Chaudhury, whose quarrelsome wife, Amrita Arora, has made his life hell.

The result: the imagination of Rajpal and Aashish runs riot and they start dreaming about dalliances with other women. In the process, they conjure up situations which are beyond the audience’s wildest dreams. There does not seem to be any end to our nightmares as the director who, by now, is almost in a state of stupor throws in an unbearable husband-wife team of Rati Agnihotri and Anupam Kher, who sometimes play matchmakers and sometimes peacemakers. They keep on barging into the lives of Rajpal and Neha to resolve their differences. Even while sermonising the estranged couple on the virtues of a happy married life, the two appear to be competing with each other in overacting.

By now, there are rumblings of discontent. Even the heroine beseeches the filmmaker and Rajpal to come out of their world of fantasy. But her implorings, Khwabon se nikal ke tu aaja (Come out of the dream world) fail to have any effect. It is almost three hours now and realising they it would be a pipe dream to wake the two out of their slumber, we make a hasty exit.

Showing at: Fun Republic

Little Interview
Can you make Makrand

IT’S a war of jokes, giggles and funny acts, and judging the comedy gang war is Makrand Despande. Known for his role in flicks like Swades, Lal Salam, Satya and Makdee, the artiste now plays a judge on Bindass’ Hasley India. And what is the task of the contestants on the show? To tickle the funny bone of the judges. But, is it that easy to make them laugh, let’s find out.

An actor, writer, director and now a judge. How did the latter happen?

It’s the youth that got me interested. It’s exciting to be judging this fearless generation.

What makes Hasley India different from other comedy shows?

This is different from stand up comedy shows, it is about a gang of people performing together.

What would be your criteria in judging the comedy gang?

Expressions, body language, use of props and accurate comic timing will be my criteria.

How has the business of comedy changed over the years?

It has become more relentless and less polite. Today’s youth is not scared to take names.

Any words of wisdom for the contestants?

Observe the situation carefully and then react. Be spontaneous and crazy, for that’s how Shekhar Suman and I are going to be.

— Dharam Pal

Britney in trouble

Troubled pop star Britney Spears has been labelled greatly disabled by the UCLA Medical Center. Healthcare professionals say she is in a "manic state" cause of her bipolar disorder. Spears, who was admitted to a hospital recently, is not able to take care of her basic needs like food, clothing or shelter and being greatly disabled is also the criteria for involuntary commitment, report says. She has arrived at the hospital and officials had to spend close to two hours because she was being difficult. Spears in an outburst had accused her mother of sleeping with her boyfriend and she had screamed, "The only reason she's admitting me is because she wants to be alone with her boyfriend. She wants to sleep with my boyfriend." But when she calmed down, Spears talked about how much she missed her kids and it was unfair that she could not have them. — IANS

Spiritual connect

Courtney Love is all praise for actor friend Orlando Bloom for introducing her to Buddhist chanting. Love claims Bloom’s lessons have helped her remain sober after having gone through years of struggles and rehab. She said: “We chant everyday. I love Orlando for this. It’s changed my entire life, changed everything; restructured my body, restructured my physicality.” —IANS


Individuals suffering from low back pain, knee or calf pain should be discouraged from wearing high heels. — Dr Ravinder Chadha

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