Shoot at site
A combination of wander-lust and shutter-happy fingers of a few city photographers has yielded in a few memorable picture travelogues
Ashima Sehajpal

Some travel for self, some for people around. For those, who perceive wandering around as a legacy that's bound to be passed on, travel means far more to them than mere sight seeing. It is sharing their experiences with others, making them sense the ambience of a place, understand its culture and traditions, bringing them closer to people who they've never met. They brought out travelogues but of a different sort, not in the much-expected encyclopedic form, instead through pictures that seem alive, tell tales of every city, town or village that they captured.

"Every place has something unique and different about its people and culture but still there are various factors common to all. I have tried to capture these contradictions and similarities," informs Ashok Lavasa, a bureaucrat, who during his posting in Chandigarh held an exhibition of photographs that he clicked on his visit to Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Thar Desert and several others places of India.

A sculpture shot by Gagandeep Saini in ParisA source of information for many, pictures clicked by him and his wife Novel Lavasa usually showcase the lesser-known facts of a place. "It inspires me when after seeing my photographs, people tell me that they are planning to revisit the place," he says. He has also put up exhibitions of pictures from his visits to Greece, Tunisia, Maldives and New Zealand in the city but didn't complement them with captions. "Caption binds the imagination of a viewer and at times becomes a distraction. I wanted people to perceive the photograph as they wanted to," he explains.

For Sanjay Kumbkarni, a geologist with the Geological Survey of India, art is the perfect medium to reach out the maximum people at one point of time and impart information. "How else I would have been able to tell people about picturesque North-East, architecturally rich Rajasthan or nature's haven Kinnaur district?" Till date, he has held nine exhibitions of his travel photographs in the city featuring various states and landscapes of India. "We at times don't realise how varied landscape India has. We have in here the snow-clad mountains, lush green meadows, rocky plateaus, serene beaches… My photographs aim at stimulating people so that they can also see the beauty of the country and visit various places." More of a nature's photographer, he prefers to keep his art in the abstract form to avoid any bias.

Subhash SapruIn his travel photography exhibition, In Passing, Subhash Sapru, a government employee by profession and an amateur photographer aimed at depicting the place as it is. "I didn't take pictures from an angle that would make a place look quaint. Rather, important for me was to project the reality, so that people don't get disappointed when they visit it," says he. He believes, any manipulation can take away the essence of the picture, something so evident in the pictures he has clicked from Ladakh to Kanyakumari, North-East to the Grand Canon in the US.

Be it Pyramids of Egypt, Pots Pammer Platz of Berlin, Atomium of Belgium, Park Guell of Barcelona or monasteries of Ladakh, Gagandeep Saini, a student of Chandigarh College of Architecture, clicked these places after visualising a place as a localite would do. "I clicked pyramids in Egypt standing in the lanes of villages near by, with children playing around, for whom pyramids were just another building. I wanted viewers to realise the splendour of every landmark monument that sustains even with the very usual sites around." He treasures every compliment he has got for his picture but the one really special is, "We too wish to visit the same countries and view monuments just the way you have." And we hope this legacy is too passed on. Because, nothing stands still ever!

Call of the valley
SD Sharma

Reining supreme as a colossus musical genius on the world music scene for over six days, Padmabhushan Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma is regarded as an intuitive seer who not only transformed the Kashmiri folk instrument santoor worthy of Hindustani classical recognition but also international appreciation.

Both nature and man seemed to have collaborated to shape the aesthetic temperament of Shiv, disciple and son of acclaimed musicologist Pandit Uma Dutt Sharma. As a boy Shiv had a deep appreciation and love for nature as he spent his formative years in the panoramic ambience of Jammu. This feel of celestial peace and tranquility is still retained and eloquently perceptible in his music.

Having only learnt santoor and tabla and not mastered it, as he claims, Shiv Kumar made his debut album in 1960. But it was his hit album Call of the Valley with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia on flute and Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra on Hawain guitar won the Platinum disc.

Meanwhile, his astounding musical score for V Shantaram’s film Jhanak Jhanak Paylia Baaje established him in all genres of music. Scores of hits like Silsila, Chandni, Faasle, Lamhe, Darr and many more followed after he teamed up with Churasia and still they are known as Shiv-Hari, the maverick music directors.

The musical legacy of Pandit Uma Duitt Sharma blossomed to eminence under Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma who performed extensively in India and abroad and now his son and disciple Rahul Sharma, internationally acclaimed santoor maestro, is all set to embellish the family tradition with modern musical concepts.

In the city on the invitation of the State Bank of India for their annual day concert, Shiv Kumar shares his views with Lifestyle.

How do you feel about the changing trends in Indian classical music?

Change is inevitable and bound to affect any realm. See music once was limited to royal courtyards only, is now beamed directly to your bedroom through TV, radio and other mediums. Besides the trends in music, choice depend largely on lifestyles, socio-cultural and economic conditions. There used to be full night concerts and now the paucity of time is the bigger constrain for a man to relish classical concert music, the obvious traffic hazards, costly tickets sometimes, but nevertheless his interest remains.

Despite advancement and facilities, the golden era of Indian classical music is not happening!

Not true. The coming generation is doing well. In those golden times, however, our music brought a revolution on the world music scene. Stalwarts like Pandit Ravi Shanker, Ali Akber Khan, Alla Rakha Saheb, Hariprasad Chaurasia and many more are doing their bits. There is a receding trend but our musicians have opted for more experimentation. See my son Rahul, a known santoor maestro in the West, has done credible fusion works which, being a purist, I could never do. The great Paris-based pianist Richard Clayder plays compositions by Rahul.

What makes a good artiste?

Simple but complicated question indeed. As a beginner in my field, my personal opinion is that a few chosen ones by the Almighty can have all the gems from the ocean of music. Learning from the same guru with equal passion, riyaz, dedication along with His blessings make the difference. Drawing from my experience with scores of disciples they are of three types — one who listen to the guru with reverence but do not follow while other become a photo copy of the guru in imbibing music and presentation style. There is the third one who, in addition, ventures to add their personal innovations and experience to embellish the guru ‘s creations.

What is your contribution to preserving Indian classical music and its propagation?

While through performances and lecture demonstrations organized by Spic-Macay, we all do a lot. But to taking it on a war-front, all senior musicians from Hindustani and Carnatic music, we have formed a society the All-India Musicians Group. We are talking with the government, media and corporate houses to help us in our endeavour. For example the SBI, which has arranged this classical music concert at Tagore Theatre on July 1. 

When love and hate collide
The much-hyped romantic comedy Kambakkht Ishq, will see Akshay and Kareena in a love hate relationship

Akshay The box office is on a roll after a long lull thanks to Kabir Khan's New York that got a good opening at the box office. Now the Hindi film industry is pinning its hopes on Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor's much-hyped romantic comedy Kambakkht Ishq to keep the cash registers ringing.

This Bollywood extravaganza also has much publicised cameos by Hollywood stars like Sylvester Stallone, Brandon Routh and Denise Richards.

The movie's highlight is the Akshay-Kareena chemistry and mind-blowing actions. The 41-year-old actor, who plays a swashbuckling stuntman in Hollywood in the film, has gone whole hog and done death defying stunts himself.

"This is a film for the masses but with a rich international feel to it that would break the mass versus class barrier. We have the best of both the worlds in the film with Kareena playing a supermodel. The Akshay-Kareena combination is the one to watch out for," Nadiadwala said.

Kambakkht Ishq explores the relationship between two individuals who are completely opposite in nature. Viraj (Akshay) is a stuntman in Hollywood who detests women, while Simrita Rai (Kareena) is a part-time supermodel and doesn't believe in love.

The two meet but they love to hate each other especially because of Simrita's waspish tongue. But the turn of events forces them to be together as Simrita's best friend Kamini and Viraj's brother Lucky decide to get married.

Simrita and Viraj try to stop the wedding, but they end up falling in love with each other instead.

Kambakkht Ishq is an important film for Akshay as his much-publicised last two releases - Chandni Chowk To China and 8X10 Tasveer - turned out to be duds.

"I'm expecting great response for this film. Though I had worked very hard in Chandni Chowk... , the response didn't turn out to be as expected. Some people and critics didn't like it and 8X10 Tasveer was more like an art film, which has a niche market in India. Kambakkht Ishq is a complete entertainer and I hope the audience appreciates it," Akshay said. —IANS 

Lara goes Simpson’s way
Lara Dutta to endorse the Indian adaptation of Pizza Hut's, Cheesy Bites

Lara Dutta beauty Lara Dutta is set to do what American actor-singer Jessica Simpson does - endorse the Indian adaptation of popular food chain Pizza Hut's campaign for its new dish called Cheesy Bites.

Lara will don a red dress teamed with red boots just as Simpson did in a series of hugely successful Cheesy Bites commercials in the US.

"The Cheesy Bites ad is totally fun just like the pizza where you can twist, pull and pop, cheese filled bites into your mouth. I am aware of the success that the campaign got in the US and I hope it is even more successful here in India," said Lara.

In the US, these were made popular by Simpson, who played a sassy waitress in the TV commercial. The Indian advertisement will have Lara in the same avatar. — IANS



Prince of hearts

Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi will be seen romancing three heroines in his much-awaited action thriller Prince, which will hit the screens December 11.

Though the names of the female actors will be revealed later, a press statement has confirmed the number of actors. The thriller is being produced by Tips Films.

"The experience of making Prince has been truly amazing. We are very confident that the movie will appeal to all audiences and will perform well at the box-office," said Kumar Taurani, managing director of Tips Films. — IANS

Net issue
Priyanka Chopra latest to catch the Twitter bug 

After many celebrities, Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra is the latest to have taken to social networking website Twitter in a big way.

"Priyanka has recently taken to Twitter and she is quite regular as she updates her account at least once a day," a source close to the actor said. The Twitter page of the actor, who created waves with her performance in Fashion and Dostana, can be found on

The latest updates by Priyanka also include her feelings on pop icon Michael Jackson's demise Thursday.

"I cannot believe it! MJ no more... He was the reason I started loving music. Thank you MJ the inspiration for all of us. The true king of pop," wrote Priyanka, who is a good singer herself. — IANS

Board-ly speaking
Kapil Sibal's decision to make Board exams optional, finds favour in the city
Manpriya Khurana

Vipul Joshi Religion, cricket, Class X Boards…quite a few things Indians are sentimental about. Like we said, utter Boards and everyone has an opinion, even the neighborhood grocery seller! Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal favouring a single school Board, doing away with marks, making Board exams optional, might have opened a string of 'Would it work' discussions. Leaving the logistics to state boards pen pushers, national boards bureaucrats, MHRD stiff necks; here's asking the ones to whom it matters the most, who are going into tenth, are in tenth and just out of tenth.

No one's complaining, save for the envious soul who are a year late! "Of course, I'm jealous, envious, green whatever else they call it. I mean c'mon, we burnt the midnight oil, took so much of pressure, gave up so many activities, why couldn't it be done during our times," laughs Amitesh Dhull, a Class XII medical student. Understandably, hard to forget the rigmarole of pre-luminaries, pre-Boards, Boards. Harman Virk, a non-medical student, recalls, "I can't enough explain how messed up we were. Especially with the cut-offs sky rocketing for admission to government model schools. Add to it tuitions to juggle. Anyways, at least it's good for the future generations. These guys wouldn't have long faces and blank eyes because anything less than 90 is a crime."

Vipul Joshi, a student from St. John's High School, plays a leveler and laughs, "I don't think I'm repenting. See, otherwise also we used to study only during exams. Under this excuse at least we would study, now boards being optional no one would study that much also." Not to forget the happiness that accompanies with the 'torture' being over!

Winks Amitesh, "Yes, the current lot of students would not be able to experience the ecstasy or relief that comes at the end of the Boards."

Bygones! What of the current brigade? Surbhi Suri, a Class IX student from Carmel Convent School, at first is apprehensive, like is the case with things true good to be true. "That's great, but would it be functional from the next year?" Suppose it is. "Then that's wonderful, it'll be really good there'll be no pressure, will probably spend the time doing things that interest you." One more in the common celebratory mood gives a little different rationale.

Angad Bhullar from Class IXth shares, "I mean now we would be able to enjoy more our last days in school. And even pursue some extra-curricular activities and represent our school in various tournaments. Earlier, this could not be possible. Also, when we see our seniors so screwed and so nervous, it's taxing. Now, we hope we are spared the horror called Boards." Did you hear? He just said, the 'horror called Boards.' 

New Boys on the block
Manpriya Khurana

ADBoys? The guys have got to be from the UK. Doesn't the name suggest it all?Jazzy B, Juggy D…haven't we been brought up on staple crossover music diet? But wait! ADBoys, the two brothers, Aditya and Diwakar, have already sent the music lovers reverberating with two hit singles and have everything else to their credit to take on the league with the just-released Jhoomo Re Jhoomo and Punjabi Munde from Kisaan. Lifestyle catches up with the two young brothers over the phone from Mumbai.

Back to the beginning. The addictive Nagara Nagara from Jab We Met has quite an accidental twist to it. Yeah, sang it too. "We were vacationing in Mumbai and ever since childhood we've been crazy about music. We met music director Pritam, he really liked our voice and after one month or so we were doing the song," Diwakar, 19, sets the frame for a string of queries and adds "Bhootni Ke from Singh is Kinng just followed." He continues, "We were brought up in the UK, but basically we're from Amritsar. Used to come here often, then on one of the tours we visited a lot of studios, also sang with Bappi Lahiri."

Well, their music doesn't seem brought up in UK having Sufi influence, bhangra beats, melodies. Chips in Aditya, 17, "We can't forget our roots, from the beginning only we would listen to a lot of Indian music, you name any singer from Punjab and we would've heard him. Rather, you meet anyone from the UK and they are into Indian music." Did they just emphasise enough the excitement of having recorded a song with Bollywood singer Asha Bhonsle in Dev Anand's new offering Chargesheet? Exclaims Aditya, "It's like we brought the two legends to work together after 28 years, after the hit Dum Maro Dum," before requesting us to 'do' mention it.

Surprising, the discussion yet hadn't moved onto the snazzy looks, spiky locks, wacky hairdos et al. Is that style inherent or just attention grabber? "Well, no that's our style and that's how it has always been," says Aditya in his accented tone. As for studies, they are just going to pursue it further, meanwhile it's acting stint and an album keeping them busy. Says Aditya, "We launched our album ADBoys, wherein we've compiled classics, melodies, Sufi music and all that." As for acting? He mentiones, "Well, the movie's called Ayesha and yes, we're doing an acting cameo in it." Watch out, for the youngest addition rendering explosive beats.

sms lingo, LOL!

I dnt kno wt r u sayn - does it ring a bell? Yes, well then you must be a youngster. The growing trend of SMS language among teenagers has paved the way for a new type of language, say linguists. Language experts are of the opinion that SMS has led to a creation of a new form of language and way of communication.

Macquarie Dictionary editor Susan Butler suggested that the SMS language has found its way into everyday English.

"A few terms have come across into standard English like LOL (laughing out loud) which is an abbreviation people will actually say," a publication quoted her as saying.

"Everyone uses their mobile phone so much that there is a slight spill-over of SMS terms into standard writing," she added.

In fact, 'LOL' has even been included in the latest edition of the Macquarie and also a list of the common abbreviations features at the back of the book.

However, youngsters do not mind it, yet they believe that there is often confusion.

Emily Steele, 17, said: "Sometimes I find with my essays I will include some of the abbreviations like 'u' instead of 'you', especially if I am writing quickly." Some parents are also joining in, student Jarryd Harding, 18, from Sylvania, said: "My mum tried to go through my phone and she couldn't understand a thing, but my mum has just started texting herself and she's picked up some of the abbreviations. She even sent me a smiley face."


Sad statistics

Only three Malay-Indian students in Parek have applied for Dermasiswa or education aid for further studies in last four months. A publication quoted state executive councilor Dr Mah Hang Soon, as saying that the state government was concerned about the low education aid requests from the Indian community against 205 Malays and 170 Chinese students' requests.

Dr Mah said the low figure could be due to poor publicity about the aid programme for Perak-born students. "I believe many in the Indian community do not know about the aid programme. But, this can be rectified. The state government will work with Tamil newspaper organisations and others to publish information about the aid scheme," he said.

A total of 378 students applied for, and received, aid to pursue certificate, foundation, matriculation, diploma, advanced diploma and degree courses, Dr Mah said.

The Parek government doles out: 300 ringgits for students pursuing certificate, matriculation and foundation courses, 500 ringgits for diploma courses, 1,000 ringgits for advanced diploma and non-professional degree courses, and 1,200 ringgits for professional degree courses. Since the aid amount is nominal, students are not required to repay it.


Don’t feel safe? Carry blade!

One in ten teenagers living in Britain's knife crime hotspots carries a deadly blade to feel safe, finds a new survey. A majority of the respondents also admitted to tooling themselves up to gain respect from mates or for protection.

Two-thirds of the teenagers polled claimed that it was to buy a knife, despite the Government raising the legal age from 16 to 18.

And only 30pct believed that longer sentences would cut knife crime in hotspots like London and Manchester.

Conducted by ComRes, the survey also saw a quarter of 500 teens saying that they knew a stabbing victim.

About 50pct believed that the Government would not stop attacks.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said that the Government's 12 million-pound Tackling Knives Action Programme launched last June was working.

"It will take longer than eight months for teens to feel safe," a publication quoted him as saying.

However, the number of teens treated for stab wounds in hotspots is going down but 17 teens have been killed with a knife so far this year. — ANI

Of matrimony ‘n’ melodrama
Rakhi Sawant and her 16 wooers provide quite a few laughs to the reality show audience
Neha Walia

She's done it again. When it's Rakhi Sawant, bizarre, sensational and shocking only make an understatement. So, when she announced to the world that she would enter into matrimony the grand way— (read) reality show, we rose from our graves to know who would be the future Mr Sawant. Her exact words were, "If Kareena Kapoor can set a trend of size zero, why can't I start a swayamvar." So, the selected 'lucky' grooms (they looked more like dysfunctional clones of Raj from DDLJ) made their royal red carpet entry on Monday night.

We had 16 contenders wooing a rather 'puffed-up' Rakhi, who seemed to be playing the part of a demure and subtle bride-to-be, too seriously. With 
wedding dresses, kangans and teddy bears, to top it up we had an unbelievably forced mush overdose, thanks to the cheesy one-liners and mugged up shayari. The list itself is interesting- police officer from Srinagar, a stunt artiste, an advocate, a choreographer, engineer, marriage consultant (so, he is not new to the business), small-time actors, not to forget a student from Haryana, all ready to shout- Rakhi tum sirf meri ho from rooftop. "It looked a bit scripted, but it was surprising to see guys from good backgrounds trying their luck in love. "For me, the stand-outs were Elesh Parujanwala, the NRI businessman and Luv Khanna who impressed Rakhi instantly," feels Meenakshi Handa, a homemaker.

Calling her the most beautiful girl on earth, some fighting for her attention and some even shaking booty for it, the mushiness could almost kill even a Yash Chopra.

"I thought it could have been much more dramatic than it already was, more spicy and a little more dramebaazi could have added to the spice of Rakhi Ka Swayamvar. But, I was disappointed to see a sharif and nice Rakhi Sawant, so unlike her. On other hand, this shows that the girl is actually serious about and genuinely out to find her Mr. Right," says Mehak Uppal, media consultant, CYP Asia Centre.

While the audience is thrilled and shocked at the same time, some of our stars are not sure about this real drama on reel. "Is she really going to marry one of those guys?" the question followed ours when we asked Heena Khan about her reaction to the show. The darling Akshara of Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, is all praise for Rakhi's daring move. "Choosing to do something like this on TV needs real guts and hats off to Rakhi if she really pulls it off. But one needs to wit and see for the outcome. If the wedding actually happens, nothing better." As for choosing her Mr. Right, "Well, I'd rather stick to conventional way. Selecting from a limited choice of 16, I mean not my cup of tea," she makes things clear.

Anoop Soni from Balika Vadhu though begs to differ calling it a typical reality bite, "It's just another reality show, and so we should treat it as such. Whether or not it comes with any seriousness attached needs to be seen, but one things for sure, where there is Rakhi Sawant, there has to be entertainment." As for the treadmills, he has a message, "Matrimony is too serious a business for reality TV. I don't see any follow ups happening here."

launch pad
Mane news

Clothes define fashion but did you know that you can accessorise your dress with your beautiful hair? If no then, Sunsilk Thick & Long Shampoo and Conditioner is an answer to the above question. Girls with short hair often complain that they cannot do much with it. So girls, long hair is back in vogue. One can be absolutely innovative and experimental with long hair as it can create variation on the different looks one would like to carry.

Sunsilk Thick & Long Shampoo and Conditioner nourishes and conditions thin and scanty hair strands right to the tips, boosting strength and making them look thicker. Especially formulated with rich creamy yoghurt that effectively boosts strength, replenishes moisture and nourishes hair, making it strong and supple. —TNS

Lapping up luxury?

We've lost count of schools that provide luxuries in the name of AC, hi-tech facilities, remote controlled devices and everything else under the sun. While that's good in certain ways, but is it turning our youngsters into 'touch me not' fragile generation rather than toughies who never learnt to rough it up? Let's ask the ones a little senior

Luxury less

Akhilesh Kumar, Medical science student If they are things like air conditioners and cushioned benches and such addictive unnecessary luxuries then they need not be provided. Students must be conditioned to be tough and face the life. But if there are things like computers and other equipments that carry any educational value to them, then certainly they should be provided.

Akhilesh Kumar, Medical science student 

Strike a balance

Sanjay Jaiswal, Ph.D studentNot at all. Children should not be brought up in feathers and butterfly kind of environment. Our rugged conditioning since childhood is what sets us apart from other cultures. If the students need to be given comfort at a very early age, then there should be at least some balance.

Sanjay Jaiswal, Ph.D student

Feel comfortable

Neha Nanda, Research scholarIf we can make things easy and comfortable, why not? There's no harm in it. Otherwise, if children need to be made tougher, there are many things and ways in which they can be made stronger. One can be extremely strict and demanding in sports and studies.

Neha Nanda, Research scholar

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