This debut rallyst found his calling in a desert
Storming success
"Taking part in it was like getting on the job training. We got the first-hand of experience of driving on sandy and muddy tracks." 
Ashima Sehajpal

Certain things in life cannot be prepared for. They have to be tackled head on as and when they come. And in such a case, the sole option left is to resolve stronger and determine better. So, when we asked Jagmeet Gill, the first-time participant in the Desert Storm about his planning and preparation, the youngster gave us a prudent reply, "We didn't have the exact picture of what lay 100 mts ahead of us from a certain point. All we could do was be careful every moment, so planning was virtually not possible." The track maps were provided a day before which made driving even tougher.

His presence of mind did pay as he stood second in the 'endure' category at the rally but that isn't an achievement this boy from the city rejoices, "Mere experience of participating in the rally was thrilling enough. Not being a professional rallyist and still getting an opportunity to compete with participants, who has earlier participated in the extreme category was a complement in itself."

It was also the first time for his navigator Mayur Acharya's but that did not hold him back. Jagmeet adds, "The most important thing to do before going on a rally is setting the priorities right. Winning certainly wasn't the top most in our case which, in fact, made the rally easier for us." The next obvious question was on their motive. "We were there to learn about the nuances of rallying. We didn't shy away from the fact that we might not win at all, as some of our competitors had some 10 years of experience."

He feels covering the rally stretching up to 3000 kms is another confidence boosting achievement. In his corporate style he adds, "Taking part in it was like getting on the job training. We got the first-hand experience of driving on sandy and muddy tracks." And learning yielded results too. "In the first two days, we took our time to get the knack of driving and navigating. It was the last three stages that reflected all that we learnt and hence we bagged the second position," he signs off.

Far in the Thar

If you plan to be next participant of Desert Storm, then you drive on some handy tips home.

w Drive your vehicle in a certain momentum so that it doesn't stop in the middle of the sand.

w Navigator can take a chance to drive, if the driver is dead tired.

w A good co-ordination between the driver and navigator is mandatory.

w The driver should not perturbed even if the navigator gives wrong directions.

w A driver should be able to convert the wrong calls into the right ones.

w Some amount of yoga and meditation helps in building concentration.

Desert Rangers
Desert Storm 2009 is over but the rallyists from Team Thunderbolt are still high on the dose of adventure, danger and thrill that the rally offered
Jasmine Singh

Passion does not look beyond the moment of existence, and if it did we wouldn't have the winners of Desert Storm 2009- Suresh Rana (overall first), Varun Davessar, Sandeep Sharma (overall third) and Harpreet Bawa and Yogesh Lakhani (overall fourth) come back with stories of adventure, fun, danger and adrenaline dripping.

All in all 170 rallyists, tough, off road terrain, highways, connecting roads, the six-day rally, transversed approximately 2,600km through the interiors of Rajasthan and along the Gujarat coastline before touching the finishing line at Udaipur.

And it was at the finishing point that these boys realised that they had won yet another challenge, dodged danger, and managed to conquer beautiful desert. For Suresh Rana of Himachal Pradesh, first -time winner of Desert Storm 2009, this is not his only daring task. Shy and simple looking Suresh, is the winner of Raid-De-Himalaya for five consecutive years now. Experience, we know it. "Probably," he smiles back. But, driving on sand is different from driving in the mountains. Here, you cannot afford to let your concentration flicker for a moment. Nevertheless, success at Desert Storm depends largely on the navigator."

Talk of unavoidable, and here he is. Varun Davessar, the navigator, who gleams at his mention. "Of course, I am happy, he tells us, posing with his trophy. "They say 75% of a rally's success depends on the navigator. At the same time, the driver too has to be alert enough to follow the directions. Otherwise, you know the outcome." Agrees Yogesh Lakhani, navigator for Harpreet Bawa, who bagged the fourth position at the rally. "I made some wrong calls, but, Harpreet didn't yell at me." Yogesh tries to explain the need for a good camaraderie between the driver and the navigator. And these two needn't worry on this front. As for the driver, Harpreet Bawa, winner in the T-2 category (consecutively for the fourth year), victory at a rally depends on luck, a good vehicle, equally good navigator and driver. For instance, last year, I was running second, but due to the penalty, I had to settle for the fourth position."

"Every time there is a change in the route, so, a driver cannot mug up any route. And sometimes, it is just not your day. All the same, I am happy with the performance."

For a competitor, 'position' at a competition matters the most. However for these guys, there is nothing compared to the joy of following their passion. Tells Varun, "Rallying is an expensive sport and equally challenging and dangerous. We could have quit this, had it not been for the passion for speed." Agrees Harpreet, Suresh and Yogesh. "There is a dearth of sponsors. Preparing the vehicle, participation fee, and other formalities dig a hole in the pocket. Thankfully, we have Thunderbolt as our sponsors. What about youngsters who have it in them to make as the best rallyist and don't have anyone to back them?"

Do we see the need for intervention of government or MNCs? "We haven't got any support from the government," they echo. "Look at Suresh. He has won Raid, INRC (Indian national rally champion), Desert Storm. The next step would be rallying at the international circuit. But, who is looking at it?" Anyone out there listening to the speedsters?

No culinary tour this!
They may call themselves Masala Dosa and are on an Electro World Curry Tour, but this French band eats and breathes only one thing - music
Manpriya Khurana

Naming the band Masaladosa is like being a question mark, a source of constant queries, no wonder, even before we could, a fellow journo obviates the inconvenience; what's with a Masaladosa? The three-member band, currently on an Electro World Curry Tour 2009 in India, probably must be explaining for the nth time. So answers, Pierre Jean Duffor, the sitarist, "Well, there are many reasons for that. Just like masala dosa, our music stands for fusion, eclectic mix. It's the same way you cook, it's important to keep the same mixing philosophy in mind."

The Indian connection does not end at the nomenclature; with the Pierre having moved to Varanasi in 1997 to study sitar and Indian music. Brice Duffour, on the bass, even sporting a green tee with Indian God's symbol on it and of course the name of their previous album Chill Aum (2004). What explains the connection? Answers Pierre, "Indian music is very, very deep. I desired to get a bit of knowledge about it. I personally liked Sitar, even tabla." Adds Franck Lemoine, on the drums, "We are attracted to folk music." So, what if they couldn't learn Hindi and the only words Pierre can barely spell are a stammering Kaun Banega Crorepati, Bhangra."

Talk music and you are talking (to them). Universal language, for sure. "We've heard of Ravi Shankar, our tracks have been used in movies. Sitar sings the blues." Meanwhile, someone even mentions Anoushka Shankar.

Out with the latest album, Electro World Curry, they're not just into making music but taking music to places. Says Pierre, "We've performed at Bangalore, Delhi, Pushkar (from where they are now coming), Chandigarh and headed to Chennai, Goa and Pune. "We'll be doing ten gigs in all."

Shuttling back and forth between India and France, where Pierre founded the band in 2002,'s with musician friends from the Jazz music schools, Pierre recalls, "Once we were to be at the Delhi railway station for nine hours, we recorded, experimented there itself and came back to France and put it all together." Where-ever there's music, there ought to be influence or inspiration. He adds, "There are just such different cultures, how can I say. Good that music's trying to bridge the gap between our cultures." Here's hoping they are able to fuse as eclectic a mix of peace and harmony between different cultures as the amalgamation of traditional and contemporary influences with various genesis in their music!

They'll be performing on Thursday at the Plaza.

Rewards of Awards
Post-Oscars, Irrfan Khan, Freida Pinto and Dev Patel bag Hollywood projects

Slumdog Millionaire actor Irrfan Khan, who's riding high on the Oscar success of the film, is up for a part in the movie version of Life of Pi, according to reports. Ang Lee is being lined up to adapt the novel into a Hollywood movie.

The director is in talks over the adaptation of Yann Martel's novel. The Man Booker prize-winning book tells the tale of a lone shipwreck survivor who shares his lifeboat with a hyena, an injured zebra, an orang-utan and a tiger.

Life of Pi is the best-selling Booker Prize winner of all time and became a global phenomenon after its 2002 win, translated into 40 languages.

Following the film's success, the Indian actor has become a hit in the international film circuit.

Following his league are Freida Pinto and Dev Patel, who have been offered roles in Woody Allen and M. Night Shyamalan's next fims respectively. — ANI

Birthday bash
Shahid's birthday a close-knit affair 

Bollywood actor Shahid Kapur, who turned 28 on Wednesday, celebrated his birthday by hosting a party for family and close friends.

"Shahid was pretty excited about the party and has been planning it for months," said a source close to the actor.

The guests at the party included his father Pankaj Kapoor, his second wife Supriya Kapoor, their children Rohan and Sana, Shahid's brother Ishaan, his close friend from Bangalore Shriram, designer Sabina Khan, Ken Ghosh, Shahid's trainer Abbas and a few others from the film industry.

The Jab We Met star is currently shooting in Jodhpur and flew down specially to celebrate his birthday, the source said. — IANS

Like mother, like daughter
Hema Malini, Esha Deol team up for television show

Bollywood diva Hema Malini and daughter Esha Deol have often teamed up to perform on stage, but this time they are all set to enthrall television audiences with their moves.

The mother-daughter duo are set to perform together at the grand finale of dance reality show Dancing Queen on entertainment channel Colors.

The two actors have mostly performed Indian classical dance forms together, but this time they will shake a leg to some Bollywood numbers. The show will be aired in March. — IANS

Politically correct 
I don't see myself as an able politician: Manoj Bajpai

Bollywood actor Manoj Bajpai, who will be seen in Prakash Jha's political drama Rajneeti, says although he often gets invited to contest elections, he doesn't consider himself an able politician.

"During elections, most of the political parties send me invites to contest elections as their candidate. I'm immensely thankful to them for visualising me as their candidate. But so far, I have not been able to see myself as an able politician," Manoj posted on his blog.

Manoj, whose recently released film Jugaad, about sealing drive in Delhi went unnoticed, says it would be tough for him to take a break from acting and take up politics in the near future.

"I don't have the courage to disown the actor inside me and take up politics. Acting and family claim most of my time, and thus how will I be able to give time to politics?" he said.As of now, Manoj is busy shooting for Rajneeti, which also features Ajay Devgan, Arjun Rampal and Katrina Kaif in key roles.

"I'm enjoying every bit of the shooting experience. There are a lot of artists in the film and that's a reason I have shooting on certain days and no work on the rest," he said. — IANS

Street smart
Madhur Bhandarkar loves to binge on dilli ki chaat 

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar has become highly conscious of his weight after making Fashion, but whenever he visits Delhi, he can't stop from gorging on street food.

"Whenever I come to Delhi, I forget about eating right and watching my weight. I become shaitaan (naughty) because I can't miss out on the chaat (street food) at Bengali Market. I just love the golgappas, paapdi chaat and all that. Even while I am speaking about these things, I am wanting to go there," Bhandarkar said.

Besides Bhandarkar, even actor Sonam Kapoor is a big time fan of Delhi's street food, something she gorged on while was shooting for her much-hyped film Delhi-6.— IANS

Mind on moods
After dyslexia, Bollywood to focus on mood disorder
Subhash K. Jha

After Aamir Khan's much feted take on dyslexia in Taare Zameen Par, Bollywood is putting the spotlight on bipolar disorder, a psychological illness that causes extreme mood swings in a person.Being made by Prawaal Raman, known for his earlier thriller Darna Mana Hain, the film is tentatively titled Happy Teachers Day and will star versatile actor Farooq Shaikh."It's a story tracing the relationship between a professor and his student. When I read about bipolar disorder I wanted to make a film about it. Not too much is known about this psychological disorder. And it can go undetected for a lifetime because the mood swings are often taken to be just over-moodiness in an individual," Raman, who has worked with Ram Gopal Varma, said. The brain disorder causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function. The extreme mood swings can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide.

While Farooq Shaikh has been finalised to play the professor, a hunt is on for a suitable actor to play the student. On parting ways with mentor Ram Gopal Varma, Raman said: "The other day a producer was trying to instigate me into talking against Mr. Varma. I told him if it wasn't for my tenure at the Factory (Varma's production house) I wouldn't be doing the work that I'm doing right now. But whatever happens, happens for the best," the filmmaker said. — IANS

Toast to life 
SAB Miller India, the brand behind Foster’s, launches its drive on safe driving 

Manpriya Khurana

It’s a classic case of irony—when a friend gives you the same advice your ‘mommy’ preached a week ago, it’s taken. So when a liquor company deflates its lungs screaming, ‘Know your limits’, ‘Don’t drink and drive’, ‘Underage driving isn’t cool’ we appreciate the gesture and sincerely hope it finds takers, whatever the ‘true intentions’ behind the campaign; image, philanthropy or just whatever!

SAB Miller India, the brand behind Foster’s, Haywards etc, launches a one-month campaign to promote responsible drinking. Sandeep Kumar, director, corporate affairs and communication, SABMiller India Limited, talks of the initiative, the corporate social responsibility, drinking and of course drunk driving.

Just a week ago, Lifestyle, carried a write-up on Corporate Social Responsibility, how the concept remains unaffected by recession (fortunately so!). Corrects Sandeep, “As far as FMCG, beer companies go, we are not affected by recession as much as taxation and political problems, including Andhra Pradesh not increasing prices, Punjab increasing taxes.” And doesn’t forget to add, “We had planned it for a while now, moreover this is something that we believed in.” Surely, the company’s too old in the industry to be taking up an initiative for the first time. Nevertheless, need to ask, first time? He says, “We have been involved in several such activities, but they were at a localised level, for example in a particular area. This is for the first time we are doing it at a large scale.” The month long community initiative will cover cities like, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Hyderabad among others. “Our research that involved organisations like media, government and NGO’s, said these are the cities, which are aware and concerned most about the cause.” The tools and activities include, the very usual radio announcements, jingles, to slightly offbeat hoardings, street plays and interactive mobile van carrying the message where people would be asked certain questions pertaining to responsible driving. He adds, “We are open to suggestions too, want people, organisations, society at large to come together and work it out.” “We have even launched a website where myths, facts, information regarding responsible drinking have been dealt with.” Does he feel the campaign is going to be effective and reach where it needs to? He says, “I know I am not going to change people, society and those few careless souls that give a bad name to the whole community, altogether. I am aware of the limits.” He doesn’t forget to mention, “When a liquor company says drink less it’s likely to raise skepticism in the minds of people, but when we say drink responsibly, it should be taken seriously.”

“Not drinking is just not the solution, it’s just like saying ‘don’t have sex to avoid AIDS,’ there’s nothing wrong with beer, with driving, or drinking, but drunken driving, yes it’s wrong.”

They plan to keep the plan rolling in future and also wish the initiative catalyses the process and so do we. Anybody attentive?

Weaving creativity
There is a world of colourful paraphernalia waiting to be explored at this handicraft exhibition 

The exhibition at Lajpat Rai Bhawan is every inch what you’d associate India with. The crafts have come from every part of India—Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kashmir and the list is endless. Quiet a, ‘you name it and you have it’ scenario the exhibition also has an endless number of handloom items at display. Pick and choose from; innumerable colours in countless designs, suits, kurtis, bed sheets, table ware, linen etc.

There’s Lucknow chickan, Chanderi, Maheshwari, Bhagalpur silk, chickan prints, some special duppata’s from Bihar, handloom kurtas from Chennai. The speciality of each place might not be perceptible, but what is apparent is the popularity of the knick-knacks, among the women folk. Expect to bump into groups of enthusiastic homemakers out for afternoon shopping. The paisleys, flowers prints, the fabric, colours and designs, each spell home and comfort. Handmade quality of display, further adds to the personal touch. Says Shail, a representative, at the organisation, “All the crafts on display are made by rural artisans. Our society was started in the year 1999 with the main aim of marketing, promotion and training of those artisans who, all by themselves, do not have the appropriate platform to market to sell their wares and works.” Quite a refreshing change from the synthetic, suffocating, mechanical brands and tags. —TNS

On till March 1 at Lajpat Rai Bhawan-15.

The note collector

The hobby of collecting currency notes might not be new but the way Krishan Garg goes about it is certainly unusual. He collects currency notes according to their serial number. Physically challenged, he spends his whole day at the gate of Sai Baba Temple in sector 27. And what’s more to it, he nurtures his hobby from the donation he gets. “I have been following this hobby from the last eight years and have been successful in collecting notes of all denominations with series of 100, 200, 300 to 1000.”

About his source of inspiration, he says, “I once read in a newspaper about people who get recognition for their currency collection hobby. I too thought of doing it and over the years have been able to gather a good collection.”

He has also collected currency notes of denomination 10 having serial number from 1- 100. With no family or work, it is the only thing that keeps him occupied. —TNS

Mathematics of matrimony
How frequently does the green-eyed monster raise its ugly head if the woman of the house brings back a fatter pay package? 
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

When she makes more then him, life takes a 360-degree turn. For good or worse, you decide. Though we don’t want to sound feminist, but the reality is girls are outshining boys in academics and taking charge not only of home but of the office too. And with this changed scenario where increasing number of women are getting into full-time employment some even earn more than their spouses. Well, taking this into consideration, we ask people if this is a reason enough for marital discord or is the concept of ‘men wearing the pants’ changing in a pleasant way?

“Independence in any way causes a change in relationship. And when we talk of women bringing home the money and that too a fat package, it sure causes sourness in the relationship and in some cases leads to divorce,” says Amar Singh Chahal, divorce lawyer at the district courts. He further 
justifies, “Discord of any kind leads to an unpleasant situation, but when money is concerned, it is sure takes a toll.”

Betty Nangia, an electropath, says, “We are in a transitional phase where all things are changing fast, but here we are talking about an issue which is related to a man’s ego. However, there is a difference of mindset in different generations. The younger lot accepts it in a positive way, in fact feels proud of his wife’s achievements. But I must mention here the case is not the same with the older generations, as they are still not ready to accept the change.”

“Not all husbands are insecure. But the fact is, men do feel green when their wives have a successful career,” says Ritika Gupta, an employee with a private bank in Sector 9.

She adds: “We are in the midway. Men are accepting a few things but when it comes to traditional roles of breadwinners, ego gets in and they are still not ready to be sidelined.”

Women are never jealous of their husbands. Dr Geeta Joshi from Krishna Clinci-44, says, “By nature women are the nurturing type and it does not make a difference to them who earns more. And it’s the men who instigate such feelings in them.” She adds, “Men can never take women as superior to them. They always feel they are better off and I have seen so many cases where women suffer from depression, hair loss, stress and lot many problems just because of these petty things.” Citing another example she says, “Nowadays girls and boys are getting the same education and doing the same degree courses and parents encourage that. But when it comes to marriage, parents would never choose a girl who is earning more than the boy. Reason, how can a girl be superior to the boy? Whatever we may say, the scenario is still the same where a man cannot tolerate a woman to be his superior.”

Rajshree Sarada, marriage counsellor and psychologist, says, “For a man it is a Herculean task to accept this change. It is an extreme change and challenges a man’s role of being a breadwinner. Conventionally, men have been brought up in a way that makes them the sole authoritarian of the house, but with woman earning more it challenges his position as the head of the family and they don’t take it easily whatever they may say. And it sure leads to a bad flavour in marriage.”

Positive step
Secure mother-child relationships lead kids to make closer friends

Preschoolers tend to form closer friendships in the early grade-school years if they are securely attached to their mothers, according to a new study.

“In a secure, emotionally open mother-child relationship, children develop a more positive, less biased understanding of others, which then promotes more positive friendships during the early school years,” said Nancy McElwain, University of Illinois assistant professor of human and community development and study co-author.

Scientists have known about the link between attachment and friendship quality, but they haven’t understood the reasons it exists, she added.

The study included 1,071 children from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Researchers assessed mother-child attachment at age three. They also assessed how openly mothers and children acknowledged and communicated about their emotions when the child was four-and-a-half.

“We found several ways in which the early mother-child relationship may affect later friendship quality,” McElwain said. She noted that a number of measures were used. At four-and-a-half years and again in the first grade, children were assessed for what the researchers called a hostile attribution bias. The child was given a series of hypothetical vignettes in which a peer did something negative to the child, although it wasn’t clear if the peer had meant to hurt or antagonise the child.

For example, an interviewer might say, “John throws a ball and it hits you in the back.” The child was then asked why his peer had acted in that way. If a child interpreted the peer’s behaviour as intentional (for example, “He meant to hit me in the back”), it indicated a hostile attribution bias.

Child language ability was also evaluated at four a half years and again in first grade. Finally, mothers and teachers were asked to report on the child’s general peer competence in first grade and the quality of the child’s relationship with his or her closest friend in third grade.

Several pathways led from close early mother-child attachment to later friendship quality. In one pathway, children who were securely attached at age three showed more open emotional communication with mothers and better language ability at four and a half, she said, according to a U-I release.

“The preschool years are an interesting period to study because the child’s rapidly growing language skills allow parents and children to share in ways they haven’t been able to before,” McElwain noted. — IANS

Relatively speaking
Family ties vs work bonds
We can manage both the worlds

Today’s scenario is witnessing changing trends. While in rural areas women are content to be a homemaker, it’s no more true for women of urban areas. Today’s woman is educated and confident. She is sure of achieving her dreams. When we say men and women are equal then why shouldn’t she be as conscious as men when it comes to career? As regards family life, if the couple is supportive of each other’s ambitions, it works fine. In a way it’s better because the child also gets to spend quality time with the father.

Rashmi Anand, Homemaker

Individual identity is key

While I agree, for most women family comes first, career is getting more and more importance nowadays. Because, everyone, be it a man or a woman, is looking for one’s own individual identity. Schooling and home atmosphere play a significant role in shaping one’s priority. Yet, seeing the social fabric of society, women somehow adjust and adapt. For them getting ahead in career comes only when they ensure smooth sailing for the family.

Ritu Sandhu, Media Person

Money’s taken over family ties

Today our priorities have changed. Money comes first and then the family. And that’s what’s true for both men and women. Even while entering matrimony, generally, the look out is for a ‘good family’, which is characterised by money and status. This is how important materialism has become. And women’s increasing interest in career is largely because it gives them financial independence and liberty to pursue their dreams. But in such a scenario, family ties get depleted. Parents being the role model, the progeny is likely to perpetuate the vicious circle. Only striking the right balance between career and family can save the future generation.

Harinder Mohan Singh, Businessman and freelance writer

Lifestyle invites responses from readers on the following issue:

With exam time approaching, how can parents help to reduce stress and pressure on the children?

Please email the responses to or mail on Relatively Speaking, Lifestyle, The Tribune, Sector 29, 
Chandigarh. Only the best few responses will be published. 

Violent circle

People who play violent video games become insensitive towards the pain and suffering of others, according to the new research. Detailing the findings of two studies conducted by University of Michigan professor Brad Bushman, and Iowa State University professor Craig Anderson, the research fill an important gap in the literature on the impact of violent media.

Past studies demonstrated that exposure to violent media produces physiological desensitisation-lowering heart rate and skin conductance-when viewing scenes of actual violence a short time later.

However, the current research has shown that violent media also affects a person’s willingness to offer help to an injured person, both in a field study as well as in a laboratory experiment.

“These studies clearly show that violent media exposure can reduce helping behavior,” said Bushman, professor of psychology and communications and a research professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research.

He added: “People exposed to media violence are less helpful to others in need because they are ‘comfortably numb’ to the pain and suffering of others, to borrow the title of a Pink Floyd song.”—ANI

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |