|SPORTS & WELLNESS|
It could be a giant leap for the uplift of cricket in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh. With the hosting of two Indian Premier League (IPL 3) matches in mid-April at the picturesque cricket stadium in Dharamsala by the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, cricket is sure to get a big boost.
Situated at 4,200 feet above sea level with the snow-clad Dhauladhar mountains forming the backdrop, the Dharamsala stadium has emerged as the country's newest cricket venue and undoubtedly the most enchanting one.
Cricket being played between two star-studded teams at a high altitude and a serene environment is an exhilarating experience. Deccan Chargers’ skipper Adam Gilchrist instantly fell in love with the place. M. S. Dhoni put it among the most beautiful venues he had seen, while Preity Zinta was simply in awe of the arena and its breathtaking surroundings.
The venue had played host to other matches involving international cricketers earlier as well. Pakistan team played a tour game against the Board President’s XI in 2005. South Africa A team having the likes of Dale Styen, Hashim Amla and J. P. Duminy played here even earlier.
Fans thronged the venue during those matches. But the enthusiasm that was seen during the April 16 and 18 IPL matches was infectious. Seeing some of the world’s best cricketers in action from close quarters in the stadium with a capacity of 20,000 was a rare treat for the cricket enthusiasts of the hill state.
Virtually the whole of Dharamsala and the adjoining McLeodganj was hit by the cricketing bug. Right from tea-stall owners to roadside vendors to Buddhist monks to people in the bylanes, the IPL was the topic of discussion.
Spectators flocked the stadium well in advance of the start of the matches. Before the start of the first game between the Kings XI Punjab and Deccan Chargers, iron gates gave way as an impatient fans, tired of standing in the long queues, forced their way into the stadium. While some over-enthusiastic fans could be seen perched atop a tree enjoying the action in the middle, those having tickets or passes had to wait for hours before returning home disappointed as the stadium was already overflowing with spectators.
Those who managed to get inside relished every moment as both the matches turned out to be high scorers. While in the first match Mahela Jayawardene and Rohit Sharma were in full flow, Shaun Marsh and M. S. Dhoni stole the show in the second match between Kings XI and Chennai Super Kings. The towering sixes an irresistible Dhoni hit off from a hapless Irfan Pathan, one landing on the roof-top of the spectator stand towards long on, while the other landing outside, provided the icing on the cake. The hard-fought victory, which fetched them a semifinal berth, triggered jubilation in the Chennai Super Kings’ camp. Though the Kings XI lost both the matches, the spectators had seen a lot of competition out there in the middle.
The Dalai Lama, spiritual head of the Tibetans, was the chief guest and the centre of attraction in the second match between Kings XI and Chennai Super Kings. Players, especially of Kings XI Punjab, sought his blessings by touching his feet. The Dalai Lama presented the players with the traditional robe of honour. He enjoyed the match in the company of Preity Zinta, co-owner of the Kings XI Punjab, Anurag Thakur, president, Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, and Bollywood actor Kabir Bedi. His Holiness spent nearly one hour at the stadium watching the Kings XI batting.
Members of both the teams, including Yuvraj Singh and S. Sreesanth, were earlier at the Dalai Lama’s abode at McLeodganj, probably seeking his guidance on how to stay calm. The players enjoyed being clicked with the Dalai Lama, while for those present in the temple it was a dream come true to see the likes of Yuvraj and Sreesanth. Desperately seeking some peace of mind and solace, a beleaguered Lalit Modi, former IPL commissioner, was also present along with the players at the temple.
The IPL matches being the first high-profile event organised by the HPCA, some glitches were bound to be there. These could be attributed to the lack of experience of the orgasnisers. Anurag Thakur, young MP from Hamirpur and son the Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, is credited with creating a state-of-the-art facility at such an unlikely place. A sum in excess of Rs 20 crore has been spent on creating the stadium, which promises to catapult Dharamsala on to the world cricketing map, besides giving a fillip to the economy and tourism of the state.
The heat is increasing day by day as the summer gets on and it brings along the usual problems like heat strokes, dehydration and listlessness. Cool foods help our body to rehydrate and replenish important electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. If we look around, Mother Nature provides us with all these ‘cool’ foods during the summer months. Technology has advanced so much that these seasonal foods are available the entire year. So, rejuvenate your immune system and stay hydrated with these ‘cool’ mantras.
Rehydrate: Water is a key ingredient in keeping the body cool. During summers, the body sweats in order to keep itself cool, so the necessary salts for the body, like potassium and sodium, are to be regained back to the body by taking liquid food items. The body gives its thirst signals more often in summer than in winter. Increase the intake of water regardless of your activity level. Instead of carbonated drinks (they actually cause dehydration!), have coconut water, buttermilk, lime juice, panna (made from raw mango, sugar, a little salt and mint leaves), have sharbats like khus, gulab and phaalsa that will not only keep you cool for long, but also energise you. It’s best to squeeze a lemon and add some mint leaves in your refrigerated water bottles to have an added advantage of Vitamin C, which is required to boost the immune system to fight summer infections.
Salads over spices: Greasy and fried foods can actually increase the thermal effect of your system, causing discomfort. So, summer is the best time to avoid junk and fried foods. Instead, have lots of fruits and vegetables in the form of salads and fresh juices.
Watermelon is more than 80 per cent water, so fruit is an excellent way to satisfy your thirst and keep you hydrated. Ways to eat watermelon are in slices and chunks. If you cut a watermelon in chunks and store in a covered dish in the refrigerator, it will be easier to grab and eat when you are hungry. Another delicious way is to drink your watermelon. Make watermelon juice by putting slices in the blender with a few ice cubes. You can go wild with your creativity with this fruit. Colour your nimbupani with the ice cubes made out of watermelon juice. Ummm`85 so refreshing for the body and the eyes, with red colour blending with the pale yellow of nimbupani.
Sattu (roasted and grounded barley or gram) is another effective way to keep your body cool. It can be made into a drink – just add cool water and sugar to the powder, mix well and drink it. Put tulsi for a cool refreshing drink.
Chilled soups can also account for your total fluid intake and can help you stay rehydrated and are great appetizers, too. So try cucumber-dill or gazpacho soups which are loaded with vegetables. Have you ever heard the phrase "cool as a cucumber"? Just puree the cucumber with tomatoes, green peppers and onions. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Summer squashes (lauki, ghia, kaddu, tinda etc) are prolific in summer gardens. They are full of vitamins and minerals and have lots of water content. So, they are a great vegetable to keep you hydrated.
Choose fresh herbs from your garden like mint, coriander, tulsi etc to season the salads and to make cool, refreshing chutneys to spice up the meals. These herbs act as excellent coolers when used in nimbu pani or other summer drinks.
Summer is season for mangoes. Mangoes are also loaded with beta carotene, vitamin C and fibre which is much needed for the body. So make the most of mangoes by eating them as such or making icecreams, shakes and sharbats out of them.
Dadima’s dos & don’ts
Soak the mangoes in water overnight to take the heat out of them before eating them.
Khus and gulab sharbats keep you cool and well hydrated in
The writer is a dietician, Department of Dietetics, PGI
Gearing up to protect your skin from the summer sun? Water, sunscreen, an umbrella and cotton clothes are not enough. Experts say to keep feeling soft and radiant, increase the intake of liquids, stock up on rose water and go for non-spicy foods.
Beauty expert Shahnaz Husain says a good skin toner is a must in hot weather. "Rose water is ideal, as it is a natural coolant. In fact, it is due to its cooling properties that it has become so popular in tropical countries. Rose water refreshes the skin and imparts a clean and fresh feeling," she said. "You can keep a small bowl of rose skin tonic, or rose water, in the refrigerator. This way, it is chilled and ready for use," Husain said. In summer, people with oily skin have a misconception that they should not apply moisturiser because it attracts dust and invites pimples. But Husain says this is a mistake.
"Oily skin can hold moisture better than normal or dry skin. But oily skin can also be short of moisture. This happens during the dry season, when there is a superficial dryness of the outermost layer of the skin. So apply light or oil-free moisturisers because they replenish your skin," suggests Husain. According to Ajay Rana, a dermatologist at Berkowits Hair and Skin Clinic, one should be properly covered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. because the sun rays are very harsh during these peak summer hours.
People often forget that a healthy diet is important for beautiful and healthy skin and survive on fizzy drinks and ice creams, saying they are not feeling hungry. "Summer is a time when one feels like eating less which can lead to many problems like heat strokes, dehydration etc. Youngsters also take cola drinks at frequent intervals in order to beat the heat, but one should not forget that these drinks consist of high sugar levels that make you fat too," explained Sonia Narang, senior dietician at fitness club Finesse.
"A perfect diet is a must to avoid skin problems that come packed with the summer season," she added. Narang also suggests that people should drink thandai (milk and almond-based cooling drink) as a meal replacement.
In summers, the body gets badly dehydrated and the dryness leads to skin that is wrinkle prone, less elastic and allergic to various problems.
So, it's a good idea to keep the skin and body hydrated with vegetable juices, watermelon juice, aam panna, coconut water, barley, chana, sattu, jaljira and lemonade.
Also one should avoid diuretics like alcohol, caffeine, tea, coffee, chocolates and cigarettes that deplete water from the body. Also, one should minimise the intake of spicy, hot and extremely salty foods as they affect the skin adversely.
Anup Dhir, senior cosmetic surgeon at the Apollo Hospital, suggests that one can go for chemical peels to treat acne, fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage.
"A chemical peel is a treatment process that will improve and smoothen the texture of facial nerve skin. A chemical solvent is applied on the skin and then finally peeled off. The reclaimed skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the older skin," said Dhir. "Chemical peels stimulate the production of new cells, tighten and tone the skin and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They also help in lightening acne scars and sun damage," he added. — IANS