Ashley allure
Meet the man behind the Kambakht Ishq look. In the city, designer Ashley Rebello gets talking of couture and celluloid
Manpriya Khurana

Poor passing-out kids are going to have a tough time! Ashley Rebello, for 'the early age men' not connected to even the F of fashion, we'll just introduce him. For the rest, the star designer was here to judge the collections of the students to be displayed at Designer Medley '09, the annual passing out fashion show. The stylist talks of what'll he give scores to students for and more; as he catches up at INIFD-8 campus, before the show.

Bebo & beyond

He's designed Amrita Arora's wedding gown, has styled Kareena Kapoor, sent Mallika Sherawat to Cannes, then Sushmita Sen, Karishma Kapoor, Yana Gupta, Katrina Kaif, Salman Khan, Shahid Kapur…The list wasn't exhaustive. Yet, did we leave anybody out? Who's the best among the current crop? "I think Genelia and Asin are really good. Because the entire breed is very fashion conscious. They're very there, very aware. The life of a designer becomes much easier."

"I think the criteria would be the overall look of the show, the conceptualization of the whole garment, the style, because that's very important," he gets down to business. Very few in the industry have a curriculum vitae that reads like his. A stylist, a designer, films, countless commercials, events, so what does he enjoy the most? "I guess, that would be films only, though I enjoy styling too, because that's a one day job. Movies though are a long process. A decade-and-a-half in the industry and quite a journey from his first film, the very high school-ish Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander to Kambakht Ishq, London Dreams. "Oh, we've come a long way from the shirt and salwar days. Now, it's more about styling. For instance, while we were working for London Dreams, we explored what the people in London wore and worked accordingly. Kambakht Ishq demanded a very vivacious looking character, you go by the complete look of the film."

And looks like all the screens in multiplexes will have actors in his clothes. "Among my upcoming movies there's Wanted, Jaane Kahaan Se Aayi, Main Aur Mrs Khanna, Happy Birthday, London Dreams, Ekaant which is a small- budget film." Huh! That's five already, no six. So what makes him say yes or no? "At times, it's purely the glamour part of the film, sometimes the story is completely character driven, which is challenging," adds the designer who began with films before going on to do a course from a fashion institute in Manhattan.

One fashion commandment? "Don't follow trends blindly, just wear what suits you. Most of the designers are busy making money, so they just recycle trends and garments. Go by what you can carry well and suits you." The first time in Chandigarh? "No, I was here three months back, while we were shooting for London Dreams, stationed here for a month, eating lachcha paranthas, kulchas, chana masala." Some tasty memoirs!

Dummy returns!

What of the Hollywood experience? Of making Nicole Kidman dress up? By the way, he's done up international television actress Hunter Tylor. "I must say, those guys are very professional, not to say, people here are not so. But, while I was to do clothes for her, she met with an accident back in Australia and I hadn't even taken her measurements, so they sent me the entire dummy of hers. They're really particular." And yes, he's yet to and would love to dress up Julia Roberts. 

Neil art
In the city for promoting his new movie, actor Neil Nitin Mukesh bares the fact and fiction…
Neha Walia

"Terms like offbeat, parallel cinema, alternate films don't exist for me. Why should one put movies in a genre? Films are just films, and I treat them as such," Neil Nitin Mukesh clears himself of any tags. The latest showstopper in Bollywood believes in his audiences' and his own sensibilities to make a film work. "I think the gap between alternate and commercial cinema has been brigded. Filmmakers are not compromising with the scripts and the audience too has grown smart. It was much needed and now it's happening," says the dapper actor who's managed to give notable performances in movies like Johnny Gadaar and New York.

Lake it or not

The actor, who took a brief geri on his first visit to the city, spent some time at the Sukhna Lake. "I like the city, it has its own  character and charm." 

In the city, for the promotion of his latest movie Jail, along with Madhur Bhandarkar and Mughda Godse, Neil looked as much enthusiastic about the movie as the probing journos. The calm actor suddenly turned live wire the moment you mention Jail. "It is obvious to have high expectations from every movie you work in. But more than that the hard-hitting realities shown in Jail should strike with public to make it work," he says.

Coming from a cult of young actors who are trying to break mould and shed inhibitions, Neil too has his share of bare-truths. "I think wherever Madhur Bhandarkar goes, controversy follows. So, obviously with Jail, the whole nude scene- hoopla is being publicised out of proportion. The movie has far more real issues to write about," he replies, looking a little tired of the 'sensational' issue already. "I prefer Madhur answering to it because I am done and over with it," he says. Not casting himself in stereotypes, he wants to satisfy the greedy actor within himself. "I want to explore myself with every movie I do, and anything that's good."

His other projects include films with Ken Ghosh and Abbaas-Mustan. Game for action? "Sure, I like action. I think that'll be superb," he signs off excited as ever.

Suit-able for the role
Hillary back to conservative roots with the trademark colourful pantsuits she's sporting in India
Madhusree Chatterjee

BEATING THE BLUES: Hillary waves upon her arrival at the airport in New Delhi
BEATING THE BLUES: Hillary waves upon her arrival at the airport in New Delhi. REUTERS: B Mathur 

In May 2009, Hillary Clinton watcher and former editor of Vanity Fair, Tina Brown, wrote in The New York Times, "It's time for Barack Obama to let Hillary Clinton take off her burqa." But that does not seem likely.

The 61-year-old US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has returned to her conservative Illinois roots with her trademark colourful pantsuits that she is sporting in India---a far cry from the show of cleavage in the US Senate in July 2007, where her black top with a low neckline created a virtual flutter.

"It was startling to see the small acknowledgement of sexuality and femininity peeking out of the conservative --- aesthetically speaking --- environment of Congress," wrote Robin Givhan in The Washington Post.

Sense over style
RED & TAILOR: Hillary in Mumbai.
RED & TAILOR: Hillary in Mumbai. REUTERS: Arko Datta

But the "huh!" factor that sets the earthy and driven Hillary Clinton apart from the rest of the American power women, is curiously amiss this time. In her place is a woman who has eschewed high fashion in order to be taken seriously as an ambitious and no-nonsense policy lady, with facts on her fingertips.

Hillary took on the Indian capital on Sunday in a bright turquoise business suit, buttoned to the neck; matching it with a slim platinum-and-gold necklace.

A day earlier, she won over Mumbai in a red business suit and two strands of red beads. Later, she appeared in a beige suit. Her blonde hair was shorter than usual and was brushed back from her face.

Never mind the girth of advancing years, Hillary Clinton walks the thin line between being sexy and businesslike. The smile is cherubic; but the shrugs flash the tenor of ruthless steel behind that youthful facade and open demeanour.

Hillary's sartorial statements over the years have been kind of quixotic, reflecting the different phases of her life. The skirts, short frocks and denims of early youth made way for smart business suits of her professional years.

She promotes organic, natural clothes and traditional crafts. The booty worth Rs 44,000 (a little over $800) that she picked up at SEWA outlet in Mumbai included a red stringy corset for daughter Chelsea

Yellow, yellow…

But as the first lady of the USA, former President Bill Clinton's wife, she exuded a regal and defiant aura with off-shoulder evening gowns designed by Donna Karan and elaborate Oscar De La Renta ensembles with long sleeves, high collars and jewelled necklines at inaugurals.

A great believer in importance of clothes, Hillary once told a US magazine, "My puffy-shirt white wedding gown gave Jerry Seinfeld the idea of Seinfeld Puffy Shirt."

But she has always been critical about her clothes. She shudders at the thought of her long white and blue striped dress, which she wore in 1982 at a mini-golf tournament, and a magenta-and-white checked skirt suit, which she teamed with a blue hat in 1983.

"I will never forget that day," she said later.

Her favourite colour of clothes is yellow as her website says.

"I am great believer in recycling of clothes," Hillary says.

Organically yours

She promotes organic, natural clothes and traditional crafts. The Rs 44,000 (a little over $800) worth of booty that she picked up at SEWA outlet in Mumbai on Saturday included a red stringy corset with mirror for daughter Chelsea, an orange organic dyed kurta from promegranate skin and a bandhni dupatta dyed with natural colours. She has been associated with SEWA for a long time.

Hillary is unlike Michelle Obama, the clothes-savvy wife of President Barack Husain Obama, who graced her cover of Vogue in February-2009 in a stunning magenta silk dress by Jason Wu, the designer who created her white inaugural ball gown.

"I think Hillary could wear the shift or the sheath dress that is so American. One can carry it off even if one is size six or size 20. Somehow, pantsuits do not convey the authoritative state," Delhi-based designer Amit Agarwal of Morphe said. — IANS

Bangalore beckons
Designers Parvesh-Jai to showcase bridal wear at the upcoming Bangalore Fashion Week

Designer duo Parvesh-Jai, known for its resort wear collection, are all set to showcase their bridal wear line at the upcoming Bangalore fashion week (BFW) from July 23-26.

The duo will showcase their label "Raasleela", that caters to Indian ethnic and bridal wear, on the inaugural day of the BFW.

"The collection is targeted at brides hence the line has a delightful range of saris, lehengas to cater to every occasion. The wedding season is just a few months away and this is the right time to come up with this colourful yet elegant range," Jai said.

Terming his collection 'different', Parvesh said: "We have blended international colours with the intricate craftsmanship of India. This makes it very different and very special at the same time."

"You will see colours like purple and beige in our line. People normally don't wear such colours at weddings but we believe in doing something different. We are sure people will appreciate our attempt as well as our collection," he added.

The duo has used a lot of georgettes, chiffons and nets with intricate designs and loads of embellishments in their bridal wear line. — IANS

Wardrobe that works
What holds back many professional women from draping that six-yard wonder to work? And why some swear by it…
Shilpa Raina

The traditional sari is making a stylish comeback in the wardrobes of young women in cities, with corporate honchos, politicians and actresses inspiring the new generation to drape it not only as evening wear but also to office.

"Most of the young generation wears saris to parties, evening get-togethers because you stand out and it is a most sensual attire. It looks great on every woman, irrespective of their body type," ace designer Ritu Kumar, known for her ethnic Indian saris, said. Kumar feels the sari will remain special because of its elegance.

"There is a lot of mobility in the young generation, so they prefer to wear salwar-kurtas or western dresses at their workplace, but the sari is still worn by many urban women. It will never disappear from the fashion circuit," she said.

Puneet Nanda, the owner of well-known sari brand Satya Paul, agrees. "Young working women are not accustomed to wearing saris to the workplace. But that doesn't mean saris are not selling. You would be surprised to know that in the past few years, the sale of saris has gone up by 20 per cent," he said.

Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee has earned a name for himself by experimenting with the six yards. The same goes for Anamika Khanna and Bollywood's favourite style guru Manish Malhotra.

Young girls are making sure their wedding trousseau has an impressive mix of designer and ethnic saris.

"I wear saris for special occasions like Diwali or for a formal dinner party. I wore the sari for my court marriage. Saris are elegant and make me feel feminine," said Sunaina, who got married recently.

Canada-based Indian filmmaker Deepa Mehta wore a tissue sari that was part of her mother's trousseau for the Oscar night in 2007 when her Hindi film Water was nominated in the best foreign film category.

Many are not yet comfortable using the sari as office wear. Akankasha Sharma, 25, a media professional, says the sari has two drawbacks, first, it is difficult to wear and second, it's not practical, especially if one is using public transport.

"I find it very difficult to manage the sari because I'm not used to wearing one every day. Jeans and shirts or even the salwar-kurta are fine but the sari is a big no, no for me," she says. But well-known and extremely successful corporate leaders like Chanda Kochar, Naina Lal Kidwai and Kalpana Morparia are often seen in saris and are an inspiration for young office-going women.

The youngsters can also emulate screen divas like Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif who are often seen looking sensuous and graceful in georgettes, chiffons and net saris.

In fact, Priyanka's sex appeal in the hit song Desi girl was enhanced by a Manish Malhotra-designed sari. —IANS

Just a second! 
The market for second-hand mobiles in the tricity is expanding. We find out why…
Jasmine Singh

Your mobile conked off suddenly leaving you in a fix, and two options to choose from — one, you can shell out money (appreciable amount) from your pocket and buy a new handset, or go in for a second-hand one. What’s this, it’s got you thinking. Didn’t like the deal? Is money a problem or the secondhand mobile set? Probably both. Well, here is some good news that comes from people who deal in mobile phone business in the tricity.

“Secondhand phones are pretty popular,” they offer. Despite the hiccups regarding the battery problem, people don’t mind buying a two-month-old mobile rather than blowing money on a new one. We find out what makes these secondhand mobile sets popular.

Devinder Kumar of Sweety Digital and Telecom Centre-22 finds low price of secondhand sets as the sole reason behind their popularity. “The same Nokia phone which costs Rs 20,000 is available for Rs 10-11,000 in the secondhand category. Similarly, a Samsung handset for Rs 10,000 can be bought at a secondhand price of Rs 3,000. However, the re-sale value of Samsung and LG phones is pretty less than Nokia,” he adds.

“When you are getting a secondhand phone in perfect condition, that too at a price three times less, than the original why wouldn’t anyone go for it.”

However, it is not only the low cost that lures. According to Rajeev Kapoor of Kapsons Electronics-22, “Sometimes people don’t have an option. For instance if someone has misplaced a set for Rs 25,000, he or she wouldn’t want to buy a new one. A second hand set at a much less price wouldn’t certainly be an obvious choice.” At the same time, not all second hand phones are popular. Says Rajeev, “The new ones are popular as compared to the old ones.” Not going with the popular myth that secondhand phones come with a defect, Rajeev tells us that those in the warranty period are always popular. “Even if there are some minor defects, they can be rectified by the company.”

Hear it from Sachin Dhir, a student of biochemistry, who has bought a second hand HTC 3450 and can’t stop flaunting it. “I got it for Rs 4,000, much less than the original price, and it is still in the warranty period.” A word of advice though. “Be careful while buying a secondhand phone. Make sure it is not an old make. It is always advisable to buy it from a dealer than exchange it with friends.”


* Check the IMEI number. IMEI is a code, which identifies a mobile phone. Each mobile has its own IMEI and no two mobiles can have the same IMEI. The IMEI number on the phone must match with the number on the box. This is important because if the numbers aren’t the same then either the mobile is stolen or it had its main board replaced. Both situations represent a problematic mobile.

* Carefully inspect the exterior, as it will give you an idea of how old the phone is. You might notice signs of wear and tear. Make sure that the condition is what you expect to pay for the phone.

* Test the keypad and repeatedly press every button on the phone

* After the exterior, it is time to check the internals. Try every function and make sure they work. Another mobile might be handy in this case.

* How long is the battery life? Batteries drop in efficiency as they age. This is hard to check and it is best that you take a personal warranty from the seller in order to check the battery life.

Auto Mode
Bet on Yeti
John Simister

Here’s a comment entered in my notebook during the presentation of Skoda’s new Yeti. It suggests it is not abominable at all. “An SUV I really warm. This newspaper is no fan of the conventional SUV, but I can see the appeal of smaller, gentler, nimbler and greener incarnations. The Yeti is one of those, and sufficiently MPV-like to be considered a “crossover”, albeit further towards the mud’n’rocks end of the scale than rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and the new Peugeot 3008.

What converted me to Yetiphilia, then? The design, for a start. It gives the required impression of ruggedness without looking aggressive or overbearing, thanks to a short nose, a happy face and the bulk-reducing trick of blacked-in pillars for the windscreen and rear corners while the centre pillar, slightly backward-raked, ties roof and body together.

First impressions on climbing aboard are of a quality once unimaginable in a Skoda. It’s almost Audi-like in the surface textures and in the fit and finish, and luxurious leather trim is available towards the top (around 22,000 pounds sterling) of the price list. There’s plenty of room, and the ‘Varioflex’ rear seats can be slided forwards or back, reclined, folded flat, tipped forward in that folded state or removed. Just like you used to able to do in most MPVs, in fact.

You can also remove the middle seat and reposition the outer seats nearer to each other, creating more shoulder and elbow room. The boot is deep and capacious, with optional bars on each side incorporating sliding hooks , and there’s a clip-on, semi-circular ‘wall’, which can corral smaller items against the right-hand wheel hump.

The engine range shows welcome downsizing, starting at a mere 1.2 litres. A turbocharger gives this little motor a big heart and 105 bhp, just as it does in the new Volkswagen Polo, recently praised in these pages. It has a harder job hauling the heavier Yeti but it’s lively enough and likely to be frugal.

This could be the optimum Yeti for many. I like the Yeti a lot. It’s all the SUV most people could ever need, and a very fine MPV too. In some ways Skoda is the cleverest Volkswagen brand of all. —The Independent

Geek Speak
Guessing game
Amitpal Singh Grewal

Are you making yourself a target for fraud? I often hear stories of people who have had their accounts hacked. They have had money stolen, lost sleep, spent hours setting up new accounts, or had their credit ruined. Don’t let this happen to you.  

Are you making these dangerous mistakes?  

Mistake 1: Using the same password for all your accounts.  

Please don’t do this. Use different passwords for every email account, and definitely use unique passwords for shopping websites where you’d enter your credit card details.  

Mistake 2: Short passwords  

The risk of someone guessing your password is increasingly difficult the more characters are in it. So, go for the big words or combine two words and make your passwords long.  

Mistake 3: X-men, Barbie, Superman, Harry potter, Honda and so on.  

Do not use kids’ names, pet’s name, nicknames, names from characters in books or movies or celebrity names. Even if I didn’t guess it in my list, someone who knows you could.  

Mistake 4: Easy to remember English words  

Easy to remember is also easy to guess. Passwords should not contain English words found in a dictionary. English words or any words in any dictionary are a high risk as well. And, for goodness sakes, if your password is “password” or “test” then it’s a wonder you haven’t been hacked yet!  

Mistake 5: Numbers are no-no’s.  

Stay away from birthdays, anniversaries, addresses, your four / two wheelers number or telephone numbers. They are all too easy to guess.  

Choose random passwords for banking sites. Combine letters both uppercase and lowercase and numbers.  

It’s never a good time to find out that someone has stolen money from you or locked you out of your own email account. It’s a waste of your time and money. Please protect yourself.

Haute pick
Solar guru

This phone here is a stunning surprise for the Indian market The Samsung Guru E1107 is the first solar powered mobile to be sold here. It has been a while since it came into reckoning but it didn’t create the uproar it should have and probably the pricing of about INR 2,799, The E1107 can provide 5 to 10 minutes of talk-time with an hour of solar charging which sounds good enough to help you in emergency situations. All that is required is to place the phone in the sunlight with the rear atop (it bears the solar panel). To fully charge the phone, the battery requires 40 hours of solar charging.

Features: FM radio, torch, alarm, mobile tracker 2.0, SOS message and an 800mAh Li-ion battery. 

Second opinion
Would you like to go in for a second-hand mobile phone? Here’s what some tricity geeks’ first reaction was…

Second to none

 Jeet Jagjit, SingerAn expensive mobile phone is more of a style statement than anything else. People like to flaunt hi-end sets without knowing much about its features. For me, a second-hand set is equally good as the brand new one. A phone, after all, is used for calling and taking calls. As long as these two purposes are fulfilled, I am okay with it. I prefer easy handsets as compared to the complicated ones.

— Jeet Jagjit, Singer

Couldn’t care less

Dr P.P. Ghuman, Medical officer,  Civil Hospital-MohaliWhy would not I go in for any mobile set, which is available. Personally, I look at a mobile phone as a means of communication. Whether it is a secondhand or a brand new, does not make a difference, as long as it is in the working condition. However, I don’t believe in keeping two handsets at one time, one, swanky-looking and the other kaam chalau.

— Dr P.P. Ghuman, Medical officer,  Civil Hospital-Mohali

Quality counts

Zahid Khan, HairstylistI wouldn’t compromise on quality. It is better to go in for a cheap handset rather than going for a secondhand one. My experience with secondhand mobile sets has been very bad. They don’t last long, no matter how good they look. A mobile phone to me is an investment. So, I wouldn’t go in for just about any brand. One, it has to be a first hand, and second branded.”

— Zahid Khan, Hairstylist

Launch Pad
Safe & secure

K7 Computing, has crossed a milestone by acquiring 9 million customers world-wide. To commemorate this, the company has announced ‘Buy, Register and Fly Program”, for customers purchasing K7 antivirus products.

To participate in the contest, one needs to purchase K7 TotalSecurity and register the purchase details online at www.k7computing .com/bnp. Based on the contest entries, every day one customer will be selected as winner for the all paid 4 days and 3 nights trip to Bangkok and Pattaya. The “Buy, Register and Fly Program” is valid for registrations till July 31  K7 TotalSecurity Antivirus software protects computers round-the-clock against latest Internet security threats.


Stree shakti
Anuradha Pal enjoys her status as the most sought-after female tabla artiste and percussionist in a male- dominated field 
S.D. Sharma

The world-renowned star tabla virtuoso and percussionist Anuradha Pal is reigning supreme as the only female percussionist to have represented India to major festivals. She has emerged as a colossus on the percussion firmament as a tabla soloist and accompanist with top Indian and foreign classical musicians and dancers in major festivals in the UK, USA, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Africa.

Born and raised in Mumbai, Anuradha holds a master’s degree in English literature. She is the foremost disciple of tabla wizard Ustad Alla Rakha and Ustad Zakir Hussain. She had the distinction of performing at the world-class festivals like the Woodstock, Womad, Voices of the World, Young Wizards Festival and many more.

In the city on the invitation of the Pracheen Kala Kendra for a music concert, she shared her views and experiences as a performer at the international level. She is the founder and music director/composer of two distinct Fusion groups “Stree Shakti” (Asia’s much acclaimed, all-female percussion-based, instrumental and vocal fusion ensemble) and “Recharge” (a unique fusion group combining various elements of Indian, African, Latin and Jazz music).

How did you storm into the male bastion of tabla performers?

As you know I come from a Punjabi musical family of Mumbai. Many of the stalwarts of Indian classical music used to visit us. As a child, I took up classical vocal music. But when I was just six or seven, Ustad Zakir Hussain saw me playing the tabla and thought I had talent. Thereafter, I fell in the blessed tutelage of his revered father Ustad Alla Rakha sahib and also Zakir Hussain. During my studies, I kept performing in functions. Being the only female percussionist, I became immensely popular with the blessings and taalim imparted to me by guru Alla Rakha sahib under the scared guru-shishya tradition.

Gharana patriarchs normally impart better taalim to their progeny even under the guru-shishya tradition?

It is basically reciprocal between the teacher and the taught, but I have been lucky that my gurus gave me their best. They liked my curiosity to perform the most complicated taala patterns. Artistes are not made but blessed by the Almighty for their calling in the respective realm of performing art. The guru plays a vital role in shaping the career of a disciple by awakening his dormant aesthetic potential.

You have fusion with world-class musicians. How is their percussion pattern?

In Indian scene, everything originates in purely intuitive feeling and is spontaneously expressed through creative measures and techniques. Thus with this improvisation an Indian musician is a creator and performer. Our rhythmic patterns have 360 cycles while the western music has only 34. But nevertheless they are perfect percussionists. I remember an American drummer Tony Thunder Smith who worked with me for a fusion as an amazing artist.

The most memorable moment of your career…

My performance at the Woodstock Festival, the most prestigious in the world last year is the crowning achievement of my life. The very flash of me performing before 4 lakh strong audience still rejuvenates me. It was in 1969, when Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Alla Rakha performed there. Such was the crowd that they both had to be brought on the stage through a helicopter.

The saddest moment…

Last year, I enquired about a DVD from a musical store at Haridwar when I was delivered a pirated copy of my own DVD on Learning of Tabla. There are very few takers for classical music DVDs but the piracy practice hurt me and at the same time it was a compliment to me that my DVDs get such a treatment. 

Food for caution
Can the coming solar eclipse cast a shadow on the food you eat? Here's a slice of views from tricity folks…
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

As astronomers and amateur stargazers stare heavenwards to witness the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century on July 22, we in our country will witness a frenzy of all kinds, where people will turn to age-old beliefs and practices to safeguard themselves and the family from the ill-effects of a total solar eclipse. While the celestial event has already been drawing a lot of debate, from spiritual to scientific, we at Lifestyle ask the tricity folks- Is this day a rare opportunity to witness the grand or a day to dread the unknown?

Number game

City-based numerologist, Khetra Pal says, "This eclipse falls on July 22, this number is formed by two two's and two is the number of moon, so there will be some affect on people's emotions, but according to numerology, nothing bad will happen on this very day." Lending some tips of do's and don'ts he says, "It is advisable not to eat during this time. If your are awake, meditate, it's the best thing you can do for your good." Ask him why and he says, "Some things are beyond logic, so one should follow theage old advice like a good disciple."

Old wives' tales

Whatever the world might say or science prove, people of the past generation have their set beliefs. Says Manorama Sood, homemaker from Sector-28, "One should not eat during an eclipse, as it is said the food gets spoilt during this period. A journey should be avoided and while having a bath one should put a few drops of Ganga jal in the water, as it purifies it of the ill-effects of the harmful sunrays. And for pregnant women, they should be extra careful."

Doctor's advice

It's common to hear-one should not have food in the eclipse, so we ask Dr Geeta Joshi from Sector 44, to sift fact from fiction. "It's a scientifically proven fact that the sun's rays during an eclipse are harmful. Relating it to food I would say, if direct sunlight falls on the food, then definitely one should not consume it, otherwise there is no harm in eating during an eclipse." She further adds, " If your kitchen is facing the sun, then one should avoid cooking or eating stale food, but if the food is kept in a refrigerator, there is no harm in consuming it."

About old wives' tales she says, "People were more scientific in olden times, in fact we have become unscientific. These old sayings have logic in them, as in ancient times we had open houses and open kitchens. There were no refrigerators and food was cooked in the open, there was no way to safeguard the food from harmful sunrays, so these theories were created. But today, we have all equipments 
and appliances to make our lives easier, so why create unnece-ssary fuss."

Careless whispers

Says, Gaurav Gupta, third year student of biotechnology at UIET, Panjab University, "Though my parents are going to list a number of things that I'm not supposed to do or eat, I don't believe in these old beliefs. I would be doing things the way I do daily." Ask him, are his friends also of the same view and he says, "No, some of my friends have been saying that we will not eat out or see the eclipse but for me, there are no special plans for the day. This will be a normal day for me, like any other day."

Total eclipse of the heart

"I don't believe that solar eclipse will have bad affects on our country, political stability or will cause another war or natural catastrophe, but yes, I do believe that these kind of celestial events cause some bad radiation and one should avoid looking at the sky with naked eyes," says Pranav Kaushal, an employee of a telecom company. Ask him does he believe in not eating during an eclipse or travelling. "We live in a country where faith is bigger than knowledge, and when your mother or your grandmother advises you to do a certain thing, though you know its not scientific, you end doing it because you have faith in what your elders say. And when you are doing something in faith then one need not look 
for logic."

Wait and watch

For DJ Rohit, from the band Chakarvu, these kind of celestial movements make a difference. "I don't believe something extremely bad is going to happen, but yes, something will surely happen, otherwise why would our elders have so many stories about it and make everyone conscious of what to do and what not to do."

He adds, " Though it's going to be a normal day for me, as our city would not be witnessing anything, but yes, I am keen to watch out for things that will happen in the areas that will witness a complete solar eclipse."

Spade work
Monsoon menace
Satish Narula

Most of them were hiding somewhere, like what most of us wanted to do during the summer months. Now, when the weather is good we want to move out to enjoy, they are out too, as this is the time for them to feed and breed. Yes, I am talking about insects that become active at this time. But why particularly this time?

It is the nature. With the onset of the monsoon, the plants start recovering from the assaults of the heat and put on new growth. It is like the treat time for insects too that feed on it. But it is like a nightmare for the gardener. The damage in the vigorously growing trees is somehow tolerable as the damage is camouflaged by growth but any damage to an indoor plant is visible because here every leaf counts. It hurts more when the kitchen garden gets damaged.

For a gardener, however, it is important to understand about the symptoms that reveal the presence of insects in the garden. They are not easily visible due to the advantage, the mimicry. In kitchen garden, the effect of insects is felt fast as the vegetable crops are short lived. The insects not only affect the plant growth or render the fruit unfit for consumption but also spread virus that shortens the plant life besides affecting the quality of fruit. Most of the insects found in vegetable crops are either sucking type or the borers. The small insects like aphids, jassids, thrips etc live at the back of the leaf sucking the sap. The crops frequented by these insects are cucurbits, brinjal, tomato etc. Their presence is revealed by the cupping of the leaves upward or downwards. Whitefly is another tiny insect, which frequently appear in the kitchen garden and is visible if one disturbs the plants. Both aphids and whitefly spread virus, causing curling of the leaves, especially in chilly and capsicum.

During the rainy season, the plants should be sprayed with rogor or metasystox, dissolved at one milliliter to a liter of water. As in case where the plants are bearing flowers, it is better to spray thiodan, dissolved at two milliliter to a liter of water. The fruit, ready for consumption, should be removed before spraying and the rest should only be eaten at least 10 days after the spray, after thorough washing. The spray should be repeated after a fortnight.

Guava guide

The winter guava is mostly insect infested. Not many people know when the insects enter the guava fruit and how. The fruit looks normal from outside. With the onset of rains, the fruitfly, almost the size of a housefly, becomes active and lays eggs in the fruit, which is just about to ripen and in which case the skin is loose. The fly has a saw like structure at its posterior end with which it punctures the fruit to lay eggs just below the skin. The maggots emerge in no time and enter the fruit to feed on the flesh. They weaken the fruit within and it falls on the ground.

The insect enters the ground and spends next stage of its development under the soil. With the onset of the monsoon, the adult fly comes out of soil to damage the fruit and complete the cycle. It is better to avoid rainy season crop as the winter crop is free from insect and is of better quality.

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