Wired love
A report on online living by Norton places Indians on top spot when it comes to flirting on the net. Lifestyle checks out what makes virtual relationships really click

Let’s face it. It’s difficult to find ‘love’ without a loaded wallet. And even if a miracle happens, getting hooked up to a sassy girl means a continuous credit crunch —exorbitant phone bills, lavish gifts and pricey dinners —in your life. But not anymore. Dating online is the new buzzword in the life of young Indian men and women, who are effectively warding off recession blues without compromising on their need for a partner.

A report on ‘online living’ by Norton places Indians at the top when it comes to flirting online. Close on the heels are Chinese at no 2. We talk to city crowd to know what makes online dating really click.

“Meeting a prospective partner in a club, disco or restaurant is a bygone in this modern world,” says Sonia Madaan, an MBA student. “Though my rigorous schedule leaves me with little time on the net, I find it really convenient to date online. It gives you access to many more people than one can find in real life. It’s fun and has an element of excitement,” she quips.

Saurabh Sood, a budding writer from Panchkula, is attracted to the very economics of web dating. “It’s very economical, especially in the current scenario. The youngsters need more choices, when it comes to choosing a girlfriend or a boyfriend. The traditional mode of dating doesn’t give you that,” he reasons.

For Rajneesh, a software engineer, the fear of no public or social outcry is one big reason for going online looking for a partner. “In India, still the society is not very open. If you like someone, say at a mall, it’s just impossible to approach and express. However, it’s just a question of a click on the net. Also, the rejection is less painful in the virtual world. In real life, if someone refuses your love, it might be very hard to take, but someone not accepting your friend request online is no big deal,” he says.

Priyanka Verma, a teacher, agrees. “It is easy to open up in an online relationship. Our society set-up is such that it’s hard to share emotions. A virtual relationship gives you the freedom to truly express yourself,” she asserts. But one needs to be careful of fake identities online, she warns: “One can’t really be sure who is at the other end. It could be a 40-year-old posing to be a twenty something.”

Virtual world presents a rosy picture, far from the realities of life, says Jaswant Dhillon, practicing psychologist: “Online, everyone puts forward a perfect image that might not be the case in actual life.” Also, ‘multiple options’ doesn’t allow individuals to settle down properly in a relationship. “Virtual world sets in unrealistic expectations from a relationship. In real life seeing a relationship through takes character and strength. Obstacles make the relationship grow and become stronger. But online date addicts don’t believe in the repair work. They don’t believe in sacrifices. Splitting up comes easy to them. They break up and look for another option,” she adds. mona@tribunemail.com

How it helped?

Recently, in the infamous Mumbai incest case, a girl, who had been sexually exploited for nine years by her father and a tantrik, confided in an Internet friend, who motivated her to expose the perpetrators.

Online advantage

n Unlimited options
n Cost-effective
n Lesser fear of rejection
n Parallel dating. Instant messaging with as many people as you like.
n Less emotional risk

A word of caution

n Beware of fake identities
n Don’t share pictures
n Make sure of your safety before you go meeting the online mate
n Balance your virtual life with ‘real-world’ activities

Hooked on books
Summer is the season when the sale of books surges
Parbina Rashid

Everything has been lined up. Travel planners are ready with various packages — adventure holiday, camping and chlorophyll baths. Pogo has an entire entertainment package called Oye Summer, Summer Oye ready for the kids. Of course, summer holidays are just around the corner and admit it, without that usual school and homework routine it is a tad difficult to kill time. Not just for the kids, but for those moms who equally chip in their bits in the homework front.

But well, it won’t do good to both mothers and children to shift their focus entirely from books to fun and frolic only. After all like any other good things, holidays too have an expiry date. And helping us to keep rooted, are our city bookstores, which know just what we need.

The market picks up during the summer holidays and it is generally the fiction and children book category we lay emphasis on, says Ajay Arora of Capital Book Store-17. According to him, while the young adults are waiting for the latest of the Percie Jackson series, for grown ups this season has a triple treat — Jaffrey Archer’s Paths of Glory, Robin Cook’s Foreign Body and John Grisham’s The Associate.

Browser-8 too is stocking itself up for the summer. “This is the time of the year when the number of our clientele really increases,” says Pankaj P Singh, chief executive, Browser Library and Book Store. And from his long experience, Pankaj knows what to store. “Light reading is the manta here. So, lots of romantic novels, thrillers and children books,” he informs.

While the concept of summer publications and winter publications, unlike those foreign countries, is still alien to Indian market, Harish Jain of city-based Unistar Publications feels it is only the English book segment, which witness a rise in the summer. “That too because of the vacations. Otherwise our writers do not particularly aim for the season,” he says. As an avid book lover Jain shares a little bit of history too. “Earlier in the 80s and early 90s when rental libraries used to exist in each street corner, the rise in demand for books and comics like Diamond comics, Amar Chitra Katha used to be tremendous. Those days we used to have a well-defined summer and winter sale season. But that culture is extinct now. These days, children from the elite class prefer to buy their own books and hence only the bookstores see an increase in sell during the summer vacation. Our vernacular section remains unaffected – be it summer or winter or autumn, says Jain. parbina@tribunemail.com 

Books to look out for

Pernguin’s collection of new releases this May begins with Obama: The Historic Journey, an elegantly designed and lavishly produced volume that tracks the remarkable story of a man whose spectacular rise and inspiring message have touched people the world over. This comprehensive book includes hundreds of photographs by New York Times photographers and also the full text of Barack Obama’s major speeches.

In the fiction list is The Hotel at the End of the World, a novel by Parismita Singh in which the author draws from oral story-telling and folklore traditions and The Strike by Anand Mahadevan. The third fiction title for the month is The Tale Retold: Selected Stories by Alka Saragi. For those who like thrillers there is The Orphan Diaries by Sashi Warrier.

Desirable bacteria
Bacteria-laden probiotic food can be the answer to stomach problems
Ashima Sehajpal

Who says there is no shortcut to keep fit? We do appreciate people who exercise, go gymming, jog, diet, meditate and do whatever is needed for a fit body. But those who cannot undertake these strenuous fitness regimes, needn’t worry. There are options available that would help us stay healthy and keep the body functioning well even without straining ourselves. One such easy way out is the probiotic products available in the market.

Probiotic products are rich in bacteria that are desirable by the body.

Sudha Khurana, consultant dietetics, PGI, encourages the intake of probiotic food products in daily diet. “Probiotic food is rich in Vitamin B complex and bacteria that is healthy for the intestines. Our intestines require a certain amount of microbial flora which is maintained well if we consume probiotics,” informs she. Probiotic products help in the absorption of nutrients in the intestines. “The bacteria helps in the digestion of food by providing bacteria that helps in the process.”

Some of the probiotic products available in the market are milk, curd, powder and ice cream. Sonia Gandhi, consultant dietician, Fortis-Mohali, says, “Probiotic milk and curd, rich in bacteria, are beneficial for people who have digestive disorders. However, the ice creams might not be a very healthy choice, since a lot of bacteria may die at a low temperature.” She suggests one should include at least one probiotic product in a day just to avoid deficiency of useful bacteria in the body. “Intake of such products are extremely useful for the people who take a lot of antibiotics to cure any infection. Antibiotics at times harm the useful bacteria in the body as well, which makes consumption of probiotics even more important.” She also warns against the consumption of unbranded probiotic food products.

The number of useful bacteria in a probiotic product usually ranges in millions. Further, letting us know about the benefits of probiotic products, Manju Mathur, chief dietician, GMCH-32, says, “Probiotic food has no side effect. In fact, some recent researches have proved that specifies doses of probiotic products if given to critically ill patients, can help in the early recovery. Also, the food is highly beneficial for those who suffer from mouth ulcers.” ashima@tribunemail.com

Vision accomplished
Dr S.P.S. Grewal, CEO, Grewal Eye Institute, talks about LASIK treatments for various eye problems
Anuja Jaiswal

If wearing spectacles or contact lenses is a pain, then LASIK is just the right solution, says Dr S.P.S Grewal. “People commonly suffer from refractive errors like shortsightedness, long sightedness and astigmatism. LASIK surgery shapes the cornea with excimer laser by using state-of-the-art computer technology with advanced precision. Corneal tissues are treated and reshaped, so as to reduce myopia (minus power), hyperopia (plus power) and astigmatism (cylindrical power),” says he.

How do you rate LASIK surgery as a remedy for patients suffering from poor eye sight?

Today LASIK is the best solution available to get rid of glasses permanently. It is fast, painless, precise and yields results. Moreover, it has been there since past 15 years and millions of people around the world have benefited from it; including some of the leading names from Hollywood and Bollywood.

There are certain misconceptions regarding LASIK. Can you explain?

Yes, there are a few misconceptions associated with it, such as, the laser rays may harm the eye, the ‘power’ will come back after a few years, the eye is not fit for any other surgery after LASIK , etc. However, it is interesting to note that the laser rays act only on the cornea, they do not enter the eye; hence there is no chance of the eye getting damaged. The ‘power’ once altered for better vision would never revert, as the cornea, which is reshaped has no capacity to regenerate, hence one would never need to wear glasses. It is a painless surgery; no injections or bandage is required. The patient has almost perfect vision the next day. Eyes undergone LASIK behave like a normal eye.

What is the success rate?

The success rate of LASIK is almost 100 percent. The machine we have, is very fast, accurate and precise. We even have the customized LASIK system available, which literally provides tailor made solutions to the problem of the patients.

Is it a life long remedy?

Yes, it is a life long remedy for glasses. However case selection has to be proper. Any individual above the age of 18 with stable power for the last one year is a good candidate for LASIK. Usually we all need reading glasses after the age of 40, therefore the patients who have undergone LASIK at a young age might also need the same. The distance vision however will remain clear always.

Benefits of LASIK

This is the safest option to eliminate use of spectacles and contact lenses. It’s a boon for professionals in sports, media, acting/modelling and those opting for the armed forces. One can freely indulge in sports like swimming; go on a holiday or to the workplace.


Body wise
In the swim of things
Sachin Kalra

Swimming is great fun and also a great heat buster. When you swim, you get a total body workout that combines cardiovascular and strength benefits. You work your heart and lungs as well as getting a strenuous workout for your upper and lower body. It is one of the best workouts you can give your body, because it works almost all of your major muscle groups at the same time. Since you’re floating in the water and not in contact with any hard surfaces, there’s less pressure on your joints and bones. And therefore you’re a lot less likely to suffer certain kinds of injuries than with other sports. It can also be therapeutic for particular conditions and injuries.

Regular swimming builds endurance, muscle strength and cardio-vascular fitness. It can serve as a cross-training element to your regular workouts.

Mostly everyone can benefit from swimming as a primary, secondary, or alternative form of physical fitness to complement their existing routine.

And the fun element is an added bonus.

Reasons to splash

Good work out: The cardiovascular benefits of swimming and aquatic exercise are similar to other aerobic activities such as running and cycling.

Toning effect: Water offers 12 to 14 per cent more resistance than air, so water is a good substitute for weights. In addition, all swimming strokes tone the muscles of both your upper and lower body, creating a long, strong, lean upper body.

Core issue: Swimming builds core body strength by using all of your muscles. While 70 per cent of a swimmer’s effort comes from the upper body, exercises with kickboards and fins can provide an incredible lower-body workout when done properly.

Improves flexibility: Swimming enhances joint flexibility more readily than with land-based programmes, especially in the neck, shoulders, hips and midsection. Much of this is thanks to the repetitive twisting movements, as your body turns from side to side during the crawl, backstroke and butterfly. Also, after intense lactic-acid-building endurance workouts (running, cycling, weights), an easy cooling down swim helps to flush out toxins preventing muscle tightness and soreness the following day.

Mobilises joints: In water you are 90 per cent lighter than in air and that makes your body buoyant. The water supports the body while providing a head-to-toe workout that puts joints through their full range of motion, even if they’re inflamed without the problem of gravity. So, swimming can be ideal if you are obese, pregnant, have chronic back or joint problems or suffer from a sports injury.

Increase endurance: With the right technique, a swimmer will be able to train for longer periods of time than if he/she were running and as a result, more calories are burned and overtime there is increased endurance.

Cross-training: Swimming not only boosts cardiovascular capacity while increasing muscle strength, but it also gives your body a break from higher-impact activities like basketball, running, and weightlifting.

Weight loss: Water workouts have a calorie-burning potential of 350 to 450 calories per hour. Combined with a healthy diet, swimming will help fat loss and increase muscle mass to give your body a lean, firm, well-defined appearance.

Muscle growth: Although not considered an effective activity for increasing bone mass and reducing the risk of osteoporosis, swimming does provides a stimulus for muscle growth because of the resistance working against the water.

Stress reliever: Swimming can be good for the mind as well as the body. The soothing aspects of water can help ebb away the day’s tensions.

Overall health: Swimming leads to a decrease in blood pressure, which reduces the risk of having a stroke. It reduces your resting heart rate and increases your cardiac input, which results in more blood being pumped by the heart to the rest of the body.

Pregnancy aid: For women who are pregnant, swimming can safely work abdominal and shoulder muscles that support your changing body. The water and the exercise also can reduce joint stiffness, improve high blood pressure and decrease the general discomfort pregnancy can cause.

Types of exercises that can be done in water:

Water walking and jogging: Walking and jogging in water have similar benefits to walking and jogging on land but with lesser injuries. Walking and jogging in water can be done when you are waist or chest deep in water.

Water aerobics: As mentioned earlier, this provides cardio-vascular movements. Aerobics normally involves rhythmic movement. The same can be done in water for about 20 minutes or so.

Flexibility training: Full body movements and stretches are done for flexibility training.

Water toning and strengthening: Movement of the upper body and lower body. Sometimes equipment is used, though water resistance suffices. It aids in strengthening, firming and sculpting the muscles.

Wall Exercises: The pool wall is used for support and separate parts of the body are exercised.

Stretching: Slow movements are done and held for a period of time after warm up and after each workout. This helps stretch the muscles that have been worked out and also helps in avoiding soreness

Lap Swimming: This is a common form of swimming exercise. Lap swimming can be done using different strokes and is an option for fitness exercise.


Fast and furious
The trio tries for the fastest drive from East to West to enter the Limca Book of Records

Three adventurers Bhalinder Singh Sangha, Karanbir Singh Bedi and Harinder Singh Sandhu are all set to attempt a world record for Limca book for the fastest drive from East to West. The drive will start in Tezu, Arunachal Pradesh (Eastern most tip of India) and culminate in Koteshwar, Gujarat (Western most tip of India).

The length of the drive will be approximately 3766 km. The trio is has been preparing for the big day by following a strict exercise regime to increase the overall endurance level of the body, going for regular endurance drives of 8-10 hrs and preparing their vehicle M&M Xylo.

They intend to cover about 1255Kms in 24 hrs time frame. This will ensure we complete the required 3766 Km in 90 Hrs with a 6 Hr break after every 1255 Kms covered. The current record stands at 119 hrs.

The three Musketeers who define themselves as the ‘adventurers and explorers to the core’ put their venture as an effort to triumph against all odds.

Believers in ‘If there is a will, there is a way’ are all set to take on the adventure courtesy sponsors Sangha Motorcraft along with Yokohama Tyers, Amaron Batteries, ABC Paper Ltd, Genuine Auto Spares and Bombay Motors. — TNS

His pehchan
Barsana aag ka, pathar ka ham ko yaad rehta hai
Duaaon mein bhi hota hai asr, ham bhool jaate hein

The couplet captures the soul of bureaucrat author Manoj Singh as he solicited blessings of the prominent litterateurs here on Sunday. The whole literary fraternity from the tricity converged at the PHD Chamber of Commerce to grace the release ceremony of Manoj’s fifth book Meri Pehchan.

He welcomed and introduced the chief guest D.K. Aggarwal, advisor, Telecom Commission, GOI, Ravinder Kalia, director Bhartiya Gyanpeeth, eminent litterateurs Sansar Chand, Romesh Kuntal Megh and Mamta Kalia. The speakers, while complimenting Manoj for his literary prominence achieved in a short span, offered the critical appreciation of the eleven short stories of the book and his four other literary creations.

Opening up the deliberations, Delhi-based writer Mamta Kalia remarked that Manoj’s writings bear the testimony of his imaginative intensity and genius to observe the happenings around minutely and pen down in a pleasing manner. His stories and earlier novels like Bandhan and Kashamkash deal with problems and issues in close proximity with life and eventually pulsate with potent realism.

All his works in varied genre has won rave reviews and the two forthcoming novel too will be a triumph, observed eminent literary critic Romsh Kuntal Megh. He, however, maintained that Manoj is yet to confront major challenges as his stories reflect the micro life themes.

D.K. Aggarwal said this is by no means a meager achievement for Manoj Singh, an ITS officer of 1986 UPSC batch, presently the deputy director-general, Telecom Enforcement and Monitoring Cell, Punjab, Born at Agra, Manoj gave an indication of the coming glory hitting the state merit list in Higher Secondary examinations. Holding a BE (Electronics) from REC-Bhopal, he secured an MBA degree later. Striking an amiable balance between his passion of sculpting verses and professional commitments, Manoj has been successfully translating his mundane feelings experienced in adolescent age and his matured thoughts observed during his formative years. Sansar Chand also spoke on the occasion and Arum Maheshwari of Vaani Prakashan proposed vote of thanks.

High on fashion
Neha Walia

The most powerful resource that is currently riding the nation is the youth. While the general elections proved the point, another area that believes in cashing in on youthful energy and creativity is fashion. “The future of fashion in India is defined by the young talent,” feels Nandini Bhalla, editor, Grazia. The fashionista along with designers Gautam Raka and Raman Vij were jury members at the annual design display of the NIIFT- Mohali. The event had budding designers at their creative best. From Pakistan-inspired collections to abstract ones like Vice- Versa, a collection that turned accessories like hats, bags, belts into evening gowns and cocktail dresses.

And, amongst the colours and glamour were short grilling sessions coming from our fashion gurus. “Most of the young designers fail to realise the importance of research,” says Gautam. While fashion thrives on change, is experimentation getting wild? “Fashion for me is what makes you look good. So, experimentation is much needed,” says Nandini. Talk of bringing fashion to the common man and she believes that fashion has many versions.

“The designs on the ramp are different kind of fashion whereas high-street fashion creates its own versions, so the wearability is not affected,” she says. Fashion doesn’t come without controversies these days. “Fashion shows are like drama. So, things are bound to happen,” she says. Ask her who is the next fashion icons and she is quick to name, “Freida Pinto is impressive, but Sonam Kapoor rocks.”


Art mart

Students of the department of Indian theatre, PU are conducting a theatre workshop in Punjab Kala Bhawan-16, Chandigarh and Bal Bhawan, Phase-4, Mohali. With a view that every child is a born star but need a little polishing Siddhant Verma and Harjeet Singh, Chander are going to cover art and craft, martial arts, body movement, guitar playing, dance, voice modulation, scene work improvisation, gatka, and personality development.

The workshop begins from 25th May to 14th June and classes will be held from 9am to 12am. There will also be a stage performance an the conclusion of the workshop. — TNS

Popular platter

The more the merrier. It isn’t as if we don’t have enough multi cuisine restaurants in the city, but who would mind another one. So, here we have, Voodoo’s Zaika, a fine dining restaurant offering a la carte menu, “We have tried to include as many popular dishes as possible to cater to people with different tastes and choices,” informs Alok Bharadwaj, GM, Zaika. The interiors of the restaurant are done in beige and other pastel colours.

From the salads to appetizers to the main course and even desserts, there is ample variety. Vrajesh Ghansiyal, chef, Zaika, lets us know more, “We have in here a Greek salad tossed in oregano basil dressing, Hawaian Chicken salad, Chowpati fruit chat salad. Also, we have over 10 starters that include Punjabi, Mughlai, Kashmiri Hyderabadi and Chinese dishes in the vegetarian and the non vegetarian category.” The tandoori dishes will serve the best bet in summers. “People generally avoid fried and spicy in summers, hence we introduces tandoori dishes. Bhuna gosht, murg methi malai, are the popular non-veg tandoori dishes and among vegetarian are dal chana palak, mirchi ka salan, makhmali kofta.”

The continental includes shephards pie, traditional English meal, thyme crested sole, which are the authentic food dishes. The buffet here is wholesome offering more of Punjabi and Mughlai dishes. Kashmiri pulao garnished with lots of dry fruits is a must have. The rich variety of desserts in the buffet includes mango moose, fruit cake, rum cake, phirni, gulab jamun and ice creams.

There is something on the platter for kids here too, “We have introduced the kids buffet that will include a little of various cuisines. Also, we have kept in mind to offer dishes that are popular among kids.”

— Ashima Sehajpal

Gisele's secret

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen is said to be expecting her first child with footballer hubby Tom Brady. According to sources, the 28-year-old beauty has told her close friends that she's pregnant.

Brady, 31, already has a child, John Edward Moynahan, with actor Bridget Moynahan whom he left for the supermodel in late 2006.

However, the couple's rep refused to make any comment. "Gisele is good at keeping a secret, but I think this time is a go," a source close to supermodel said.

Brady and Bundchen exchanged wedding vows in February and repeated the nuptials again in April in Costa Rica with family and friends. — ANI

Food for thought

Jennifer Aniston turns to comfort eating to make herself feel better when she is upset. The Along Came Polly star said she lets go of her control when she is left facing disappointment.

"I don't usually eat much, but I head straight to the fridge when I break up with someone," she said. "Then I go straight to my friends -- there's nothing like having your girlfriends one phone call away," she added.

The actor further revealed she remained grounded despite her overpowering fame, thanks to her pals. She said: "Even though fame came all of a sudden, it didn't come too soon. I had already worked as a waitress in the real world, so I already had my group of friends and I'm still in touch with the same people.

"Only a few of my friends are actresses. In my friends I find unconditional love." — ANI

Puppy love

Legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor has found love in Twittering. The 77-year-old actress' latest love is Twitter, spokesman Dick Guttman says, who added that the beauty has "entered the hospital for a routine visit and is doing fine." Taylor, who has been in and out of ill health for years, is thanking her well-wishers through the social networking site and is even asking to bring her puppy in the hospital. While writing to her pal Kathy Ireland, Taylor said, "Thanks darling for the beautiful flowers and all the prayers. Now can you just get my puppy past hospital security. Love..." — ANI

Sun Shields
A spot on her face worries Brooke

American actress Brooke Shields has revealed that she was left terrified after a spot on her face turned out to be pre-cancerous. The 43-year-old star, who used to love spending time in the sun, said the incident served as a wake-up call to her as she 'used to think it was the best thing in the world to be baking in the sun.' "I had a spot on my face. The doctor scraped it, and it turned out to be precancerous," she said.

"I was scared," she revealed.

The actor had the spot removed and said she was doing "fine".

She, however, could not help recall the time when as a teen, she would indulge in hot-weather rituals like "baby oil and tinfoil and lemon in your hair".

"All my girlfriends and I would go up on the roof in New York, we didn't have to be at the beach," said Shields, who stopped actively tanning a decade ago.

"You think that because you're not in the sun anymore, it's all in the past. And then something like that crops up and you're made aware of how dangerous it really can be," she added. — ANI

Beyonce's basics

Pop superstar Madonna might be vowing by the 'gym look' but singer-actress Beyonce Knowles believes that she is sexier when she is curvy.

The Deja Vu singer admitted that she runs up to six miles a day and eats healthily to stay fit but loves maintaining her curves. "To me, it's sexier when it doesn't look like you go to the gym. I feel best when I'm not really thin and not really heavy,” she said.

"I really believe everyone is supposed to be different, and whatever is a natural weight for you is usually what looks best," she added. — PTI

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