It’s my style
Jasmine Singh

‘Mirror mirror on the wall who is the prettiest of all?…if only our celebrity actors and models care to look into the mirror once before leaving for any award function or party, fashion critics would probably find it a wee bit difficult to zero in on their faux pas. Our Cannes brigade led by Aishwarya Rai seems to be in dire need of a wall size mirror!
Jesse Randhawa
Jesse Randhawa

Looking glass is one requirement, but what do these celebrities require to make a style statement? With a ‘strict’ fashion jury at Cannes ripping apart the styles sported by the actors, will the celebs build a place full of looking glass mirrors, sack their stylists or just follow their heart and go with whatever they pick to wear?

We ask actors? Do they think twice before stepping out of home for a social ‘muuaah muuah’?

Model-actor Jesse Randhawa does spare a thought about the fashion police; however, she wouldn’t let someone else call the shots when it comes to her styling. “The thought of my photo appearing under a fashion fiasco does bother me,” says Jesse. “At the same time, I can’t let a so-called fashion guru decide my wardrobe. What I wear or how I wear is totally my choice.”

Jesse opines that fashion critics trash the most pretty or elegant of creations just because they have to justify their job. “I liked Deepika Padukone’s sari that she wore at Cannes. It was subtle yet graceful. The lady is so beautiful that she requires no extra styling. However, the fashion pundits didn’t even have one good thing to say about it,” adds Jesse. “So, I think it is a case of ‘each to his own,’ an outfit could be appealing for someone and equally repulsive for the others.”

Sameera Reddy
Sameera Reddy
Tanushree Dutta
Tanushree Dutta
Ritu Kochhar
Ritu Kochhar

As for the sexy siren Sameera Reddy, “I wear whatever I am comfortable in.” Does she mean she gives two hoots to ‘on the vigil’ fashion brigade, ready to trash the extra length of ‘pallu’, a ‘mangalsutra’ worn as a bracelet, a bun done too high? “Can we afford to ignore the fashion pundits. Like any other celebrity, I am conscious about my dressing lest I am shown as a debacle.”

Ditto for Tanushree Dutta. “ I have my personal, favourite designers and I like to sport their creations. However, I would wear clothes that are comfortable because real style oozes through comfortable dressing.”

No matter how brilliant an actor is, if the hairstyle goes haywire or if the western dress is too frilly (Read Vidya Balan), he or she can be written off as a disaster in no time. Taking into account that ‘presentation’ is ‘the’ word of the glitz industry, can celebrities afford to go easy on fashion in public?

Ritu Kochhar, director INIFD (Corporate), doesn’t see any reason behind fashion police going overboard with their analysis of celebrities’ fashion statements. “Be it an actor, model or any public figure, the critics should not get personal about what someone should not wear.”

She adds, “Each one of us can have a good or a bad day, in fact, something definitely goes wrong. Paparazzi or fashion gurus can pinpoint a fashion statement gone wrong, but they shouldn’t dismiss the person and the style outrightly.” Says Ritu, “Malika Sherawat was looking at Cannes for a change, fashion critics should give her some credit.”

On the other hand, actor Kulraj Randhawa sees nothing wrong with fashion critics trashing celebs’ style. “A celebrity has fans looking up to them. They would want to try out the style that the actors sport. Thus we have to be cautious and cannot be casual with the approach.” She smiles, “There are times when I want to go out for dinner in casuals, but then I know someone might just click my picture, post it on twitter. The other day I had fashionistas writing how bad I was. Actors are constantly under scanner; whatever they wear is reported in matter of seconds. Which is why we have to be careful regarding our dress for an occasion.”

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Gul Panag on media as a career option
Breaking news!
Neha Walia

Most of our student life is exhausted in finding an answer to one question - What do you do for a living? And once we find that answer, the rest of our life is exhausted in wondering if it is the correct answer!

The 1,000-odd students gathered at ITFT Media festival at Tagore Theatre on Monday morning too were haunted by the same question. And helping them find the answers were actor Gul Panag and Rajiv Makhani, MD, NDTV, by introducing them to an industry with a market of 61,000 crores and an annual growth potential of 12.5 per cent!

“The media industry is offering six million jobs currently. It is a rapidly growing blanket industry, each layer having endless possibilities,” says Gul. With endless possibilities, she meant journalism, television and film industry, theatre, public relations and radio.

Sharing her experience, she compared her school time confusion to the one students face till date. “When I was in school, and that’s 12 years back, we had limited options. I used to get fascinated watching newsreaders like Komaljeet Singh and Rimmi Khanna, but never knew how to pursue a career in the media. It was only after I attended a counselling session that I realised that my calling was beyond the usual doctor, lawyer and engineer routine.”

To this, Rajeev Makhani adds, “Media, in particular television, is offering a great future for youngsters. Whether it’s on camera or behind it. But the only requirement is that you need to be aware of various channels it provides rather than just concentrate on the superficial glamour that it is known for.”

And the data he presented was good enough to convince his young audience. “We have 500 TV channels running 24 hours a day, which gives a you lot of opportunity in programming. There are as many as 501 radio channels on air, which offers enough room for you to script your success story in this field.”

Albeit Rajeev believes that not having a degree doesn’t exactly mar your chances, Gul begs to differ, “A degree is important as it adds a human resource value. You may want to become a writer, but it becomes easier to achieve when you have an IIT or IIM degree behind you.”

Apart from career counselling, another issue on their agenda was to promote Chandigarh’s potential as a cinematic tourism hub. “There is a symbiotic relationship between entertainment and tourism, and both largely depend on the cultural, natural and historical resources. Chandigarh has easy connectivity and is potentially strong serving base for film producers,” said Gul.

But Rajeev has his doubts, “I believe it’s difficult to entirely achieve cinematic tourism until you are either blessed by natural beauty around you or the government is very supportive. It is tough to get people attracted solely on the basis of your culture.”

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Flight of fancy

Karan Johar has extended his holiday in New York to attend the premiere of Hrithik Roshan-starrer Kites at Times Square on Sunday. "It's a big film for the Roshans who are very close to me and Shah Rukh (Khan). The success of Kites is also very important to the film industry. I've a release I Hate Luv Storys coming up in July. And if Kites works, it'd mean favourable things for my films," Karan said.

The Hindi version of Hrithik and Mexican actor Barbara Mori-starrer Kites will have its worldwide release May 21, while the crisp and short English version, edited by Brett Ratner, will hit the screens May 28. The film is produced by Rakesh Roshan and directed by Anurag Basu. Reliance Big Pictures is distributing the movie. Karan recently released the shortened version of his film My Name Is Khan in New York, and the edited version of Kites will also be screened there. "New York is an important venue for Bollywood. Shortened version of My Name Is Khan was released here last week. Now it's a shortened international version of Kites. So we are working towards the same goal of taking Bollywood to the West," said Karan.Shah Rukh, who can't attend Kites premiere as he's shooting for Ra.One, made sure his wife represents them both at this important occasion in the Roshans' life. Gauri travelled to New York with Hrithik's better half Sussanne and they shopped before the grand premiere of Kites. "Gauri (Khan) and Sussanne Roshan are here. We're having the time of our lives. I am not thinking about work at all. Just enjoying myself," said Karan.Incidentally, Karan had gone to New York with the express purpose of writing his next screenplay. But he has drawn a blank."At the moment I'm all geared for the Kites premiere. I can't wait to see it," he said. — IANS

Special effect
Dennis Quaid
Dennis Quaid

Hollywood actor Dennis Quaid hogged on fast food to gain extra flab for his portrayal of former American President Bill Clinton in a new film.

With southern drawl and mannerisms down pat, the 56-year-old actor piled on 35 pounds, shaved his eyebrows and wore a silver-gray wig for the upcoming HBO movie The Special Relationship.

"I used a wig and shaved off my eyebrows because Clinton doesn't hardly have any eyebrows. I also gained 35 pounds by eating McDonald's like Clinton. I ate a lot of Happy Meals, and I loved those 10 piece Chicken McNuggets," Quaid said.

The Special Relationship, explores the political rise of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, played by Michael Sheen and his relationship with then US premier Bill Clinton and what happened behind closed doors as both men dealt with problems in their respective countries and personal lives.


Big success

After the success of his blog, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan launched his voice blog "Bachchan Bol" and is glad to know that this service too has become immensely popular among his fans.

"The managers of 'Bachchan Bol' that was initiated last month inform me that subscribers are rapidly increasing in numbers. We now have 200,000 plus and they inform me that the state of Bihar has the lead in numbers followed by UP (Uttar Pradesh), Maharashtra and Punjab.

"The controllers of UP are upset that despite the fact that I was born there, the numbers of Bihar are greater and that they are now getting down to pushing the market to be able to outdo the numbers from other states," the 67-year-old Bachchan posted on his blog.

"Such a joy to learn of this sincere friendly competition. But all said, it is most humbling to find that the service is doing well and that there is a seizable clientèle building up," he added.


Guru Sherlyn
Sherlyn Chopra
Sherlyn Chopra

After actors Shilpa Shetty and Bipasha Basu, item girl Sherlyn Chopra is all set to feature in a fitness DVD. A content provider has approached Sherlyn to feature in the fitness DVD.

The workout regime is being designed by experts in a manner which will not only strengthen the body but also the mind. It will be a unique blend of weight training, functional training and yoga.

"Sherlyn is preparing for her new venture by participating in yoga sessions six days a week. It is the primary reason why Sherlyn loves getting out of bed early in the morning," said a source. — IANS

Believe it or not

Believing in your partner is the key for a happy married life, according to Spanish actor Antonio Banderas.Married to actor Melanie Griffith, whom he met on the sets of the 1995 film Two Much, the secret of his healthy, happy, and passionate marriage is 'to believe', Ok! "The secret is to believe. To believe that after a crisis for example, you're going to get stronger. To be passionate, believe me, is not a bad thing. It is a very underrated virtue. Very," Banderas said."But, it holds big virtues. If you don't have passion, all of these big virtues fall apart. But, if you do all of this can shine. So, passion with each other," he added.The 49-year-old actor, who has been with Griffith for almost 15 years now admits that the relationship with wife has only gotten better over time.

"You can start reading the other person in a different way. It's providing you with a totally different pleasure than the beginning of the relationship. People are looking for all the time, the sensation, the pink kind of world, well that changes. But the good news is that it can change for the better," Banderas said. — PTI

Daddy’s boy

Bollywood hearthrob Shahid Kapoor, who has just been seen in con film Badmaash Company, is extremely excited about his forthcoming film Mausam which is the directorial debut of his father Pankaj Kapoor.

"Will be off soon to Scotland...very excited about shooting under dad's direction...a year of learning this will be," the actor posted on his Twitter page. Mausam is an out-and-out romantic film. The 29-year-old is also elated about the success of Badmaash Company. — IANS

Tweaking, sharing & viewing
While sending photos to friends online, get sharp
Roopinder Singh

The very essence of taking a picture involves sharing it with others. After all, what are photographs other than memories immortalised. Even as we compose a picture on our viewfinder, or, more often, on the LCD screen of our camera or phone, we are already thinking of people we would love to share the moment with.

But before we share the picture, we would like to make sure that we put our best foot forward. Since photography, as we saw in the last article (available online at, is now largely digital, we often download the photographs we have taken from the camera to a personal computer.

The bigger screen of the PC helps us to view the pictures and it is not surprising that we can then find flaws. Often, the picture, especially if it has been taken with a cellphone or one of those smart, cute flat little cameras that you can slip into your purse or pocket, suddenly doesn't seem as sharp as it did on the dinky little screen of the device.

The most common reason for that is not technical, but simply physical — camera shake. Your hand shakes as you take a picture and the image becomes blurred. While they look good, these cameras do not sit well in the hand, since they are not ergonomic.

When I had to buy a camera for Jansher, our son, I bought something that was not absolutely flat, and sat well in the hand; an Olympus SP-600UZ had a body with a curved end and sat well in the house. It has a 12 megapixel sensor and has a 15X zoom. Really good specs for a camera that a 14-year-old is going to use!

Like this camera, most mid-range cameras have image stability facility that counters a camera shake. It is fairly effective, but still, the best thing to do is to keep yourself steady, and even control your breathing for a few seconds while you press the shutter. In fact, I often find that childhood hunting skills come is very useful during photography, but that's another story.

In the days of chemical photography it was practically impossible to fix a camera shake. When things get into the digital arena, like through scanning or directly uploaded from a camera, there are some software solutions, primarily the unsharp mask filter, which is actually a sharpening filter that emphasises the edges in the image, or the differences between adjacent light and dark sample points in an image. In expert hands, it is a tremendous tool, though a bit difficult to master. It is widely available in most image processing software.

Focus Magic, a photoshop a plug-in for Mac, and a stand-alone software for Windows, has quite a reputation for improving shaky pictures. Other plug-ins include Image Skill's Magic Sharpener and a freeware utility called Unshake.

The Rolls Royce of image processing tools, Photoshop, is well, like the car, expensive, and it takes a while to master. I have been using it since it was first released for Apple computers in 1990 and I love its capabilities. It has many features and the new Creative Suites from Adobe offer much more than you can ever imagine, or use.

However, much of my basic stuff like cataloguing and even some touching up is done using a free software called Picasa, which I mentioned in my last column. It is easily downloadable, simple, uses less computing resources, and is great at cataloguing. I upload my pictures from my computer and see them Picasa. I even do some basic colour balance and retouching.

To share pictures online, I often use Flickr an image and video hosting website, owned by Yahoo since 2005. When I got involved a lot in the Vivek High School Soccer League as a parent photographer, I would take the pictures with my camera, a Nikon D-200 for those who want to know, and post the pictures on Flickr so that our son and his friends could check them out. Many bloggers also use Flickr; thought I use Picasa's online version, Picasa Web Albums, to upload the pictures that I use in my blog, but it is a matter of personal preference, more than anything else.

Sometimes, we want to send photographs by e-mail. Most of the time camera generates really big files, which measure in MBs. Such files are of very good quality, but they take a long time to download, and are not convenient to see on a computer screen.

Most image processing programmes, including Picasa, allow you to prepare your pictures for the Web. By doing so, they decrease the quality and the file size, optimising it for sharing online and for viewing on a computer screen. Please remember that in case you want to print the pictures, you have to send the best resolution possible because the print shops need that resolution.

What happens to people who want the pictures for offline viewing? Well, as you walk into Mahijit Sodhi's house, you notice that while the ambience is traditional, in various nooks and corners there are silent displays of pictures, changing every 30 seconds or so. These are digital picture frames, in various sizes.

Digital frames can be as small as 1.5-inch keychain displays and the biggest ones are 32-inch wall-mounted ones. However, most frames are in the 5" to 15" range. Most digital photo frames have Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screens, and operate at a resolution of 720 x 480 pixels for a 7" frame, and 1600 x 1200 pixels for those 15 inches and larger. They accept USB drives, memory sticks, or memory cards and thus you can keep adding your latest collections for display.

Many people want to hold a picture in their hands and for them, all you have to do is to upload your picture at the highest possible resolution and take it to your nearest photo processing shop to have it printed.

When you enlarge a picture too much, you will notice pixilation, or graininess in the print. The number of megapixels of the camera and the size of the CCD, coupled with the quality of the lens, all work together to give you better quality. Thus my Nikon D-200 gives better quality of pictures even though it is 10 megapixels as opposed to Jansher's Olympus, which is 12 megapixels. Of course, the Nikkor 18-200mm DX VR lens helps a lot, too!

Photography is fun, but as you explore the world of pixels and computer algorithms, you learn much more and get involved in the technical aspects of picture taking, which makes it far easier to tweak your photographs, and share them with others, both electronically, as well as physically.

For people looking for ‘dedicated’ life partners, matrimonial sites are indeed a blessing in disguise
Jasmine Singh

This needn't be the first, but this definitely is the last resort. For people looking for 'dedicated' life partners, matrimonial sites indeed are a blessing in disguise and these have definitely grown over the years. An increase in the number of matrimonial sites is indicative of the fact that the web is the hub where the world meets and you might just find someone there!

As many as 20 million members for says a lot about the increase in the dependence as well as growing faith on such sites. Says Gourav Rakshit, business head, "This isn't a regular dating site, it is a serious site where people meet and also move towards a logical conclusion. The total number of couples who have met through our site and achieved success is 1.3 million. When we started in 1996, we were catering to 70 per cent NRIs and 30 per cent Indians, but now it is the other way around."

And,,,, are some sites have found umpteen members across the world. Earlier what was considered as frivolous dating sites are now a place where you can actually find life partners!

Sibhu Sharma (35) met hir wife (33) through one of these sites. "I was never too sure about the online sites, even when I posted my profile on it, I was thinking about having a little fun. When I was reading Shalini's profile and got talking to her, I realised how serious it was. We shared notes, our families liked our choices and we got married within five months."

Like other social networking sites, the question of fake identities also surround online matrimonial sites. Sunil Girotra, software developer of 'fromtheheaven' agrees to it. "We have a security process where we do not entertain any non-member. Besides, we also request the members to follow a given set of rules and regulations. Sharing personal mobile numbers is discouraged; we request them to leave landline numbers for further reference."

On an average, 5,000 members and 15,000 non-members log on to different matrimonial sites. Has god stopped making matches in heaven? Or for some reason our dependence on networking sites has increased?

Ankush Mehta, a technical support analyst with Gteck, narrates an interesting case when one of his friends met a girl through Orkut, dated her for three years, married and is now settled with a kid. "The entire world is virtually on the networking sites. As a result, the chances of meeting someone have increased, which is why every community has a matrimonial site. Technology is good, isn't it?"

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Haute pick

For crystal clear high definition video one needs a crystal clear personal sound system - the infrared (IR) wireless headphones. These headphones use infrared rays to operate and the sound is clear, as compared to the conventional wireless headphones that suffers from static interference caused by radio waves. The infrared headphones also afford true privacy because they work only in the line of sight

Incorporates recharge facilities for batteries; self-adjusting inner headband; volume control; nickel metal hydrid batteries; freedom of movement up to seven metres from audio source; power adapter; power supply headphone 2 x 1.5 V R03/AAA; power supply transmitter AC/DC adapter 12V/200mA

Smaller the better
Amitpal Singh Grewal

From the young to the old, more and more people in today's world are using computers. Nowadays the most common machine in every house after a television is a computer and why not? After all it has the capability of replacing each and every source of home entertainment, be it a music system, DVD player, television et al. A computer's sound system can match up to the latest technology, so can the digital video formats.

Computers have come a long way from the time of their birth in the mid-1930s when they were just a higher version of a calculator. Huge Almirah size computer stations were converted to a desktop and then a laptop and now a netbook!

Most people, who think a netbook is a mini laptop, need to get their facts correct. Netbook PC is more of an advanced palmtop than a mini- laptop. Netbooks are optimised for light computing tasks like word processing and heavy Internet usage. These devices are also much more portable than most laptops with sizes that are smaller than normal school books and weigh less than 1 ½ kg.

Manufacturers have tried to compress a traditional laptop into a Netbook and have done a pretty good job, but they are not high performers when compared to laptops because of a slower and smaller processor as compared with dual and quad core, which come installed in an economy laptop.

Netbooks are designed first and foremost for web-based computing; these gadgets are performers when it comes to USB ports, WiFi, WAN and Bluetooth connections. Basically, it's loaded with all kind of connectivity options and won't let you miss your mails on the go.

Earlier netbooks used to come with a 3-cell battery that would last a maximum of 2-3 hours, but the present upgraded battery is a 6-cell Li-ion battery that provides a backup of 4-6 hours if it is run on power-saving mode.

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Play safe
With parenthood comes a lot of responsibility, so here are a few ideas on how to make the house safer for babies

A baby brings a sea change in parents’ life — some sweet, some challenging. Although there is no guidebook that can prepare you for the testing times that parenthood brings, we bring to you some ideas on how to baby-proof your house.

The normal, comfortable house that you stayed in before the baby walked into your life can prove to be pretty dangerous for the little one. First things first, get a car seat to take the baby home. In fact in the US one is not allowed to move out of the hospital until one has a car seat for the newborn. Next, crawl around the house to get ‘baby’s eye view’. For a toddler there is a whole world waiting behind that couch!

Move around; remove all that shaky furniture that can make the child fall. Make sure your TV trolley (if you have not switched over to plasma yet) or workstations are solidly placed and don’t move by the kids’ pull or push. ‘Falls will happen in the worst-possible places,’ lays out Murphy’s Law, so remove all sharp edged furniture, throw a rug or foam rubber on the floor, secure corners with cushions and pillows.

Take away all that can be harmful for the kid — sharp objects or tiny ones that the baby can swallow. A normal white switchboard that holds no fascination for adults except serving the purpose is a great temptation for a baby for its push and sound. Plug all the switches in a baby’s range.

The next is to baby-lock the cabinets. To be doubly sure, place all the detergents, cleaners out of the reach of the kids. Also, be wary of water. Just a few inched of water can be lethal for babies, don’t let there be any water stored in tub or buckets (bolting door is not enough, kids love to unlatch the doors or bolt them, which in both cases is dangerous).

Kitchen and refrigerators hold immense attraction for babies for all the colours and smells they offer. Keep all electronics away from a child’s reach. Stove away all the knives, sharp cutlery and breakables in uppermost cabinets.

Dr Gaurav Gupta, who recently gave a talk on preventive paediatrics in the tricity, says, “A little care can go a long way in keeping kids safe.” Though the list is endless, he shares some of the common safeguards. “One can take measures depending on the age of the child. With babies less than a year, never have hot liquids like tea or coffee when around the child, use one-hand technique whenever the kid is on high surface, that is, to place one hand always on the kid to stop him or her from tumbling down (bed support is a good idea too) and do not to microwave food because its heating is uneven, which can burn the kid (if you have to, stir a lot).”

As for toddlers, Gupta says, “One needs to fix up the sharp edges around the house lest kid bangs their heads. Also, keep all the sharp objects in covers that are available in the market.”

If one is living on the first floor, he suggests safety gates. Another thing that is a strict no-no is walkers. “Walkers are the main cause behind head injuries. Every year over two lakh head injuries are reported in the US alone. Another important thing is to keep cords, toys with removable parts out of the reach of kids,” he adds.


Baby proof

  • Be wary of water and heat
  • Cover all electrical sockets
  • Never leave a toddler alone
  • Put handles and latches high up on the door
  • Feed important numbers in your speed dial

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Are you a genius?
Tribune News Service

Max New York Life Insurance, one of India’s leading life insurance companies, has announced an innovative photography contest under its I-Genius programme. Referred to it as I-Genius Photography Hunt, the initiative is primarily aimed at nurturing photography skills among children. The I-Genius Photography Hunt seeks participation from parents as well as children across the length and breadth of the country. The contest is open for children aged between 5 and 18 years and their parents.

Speaking on the occasion, Anisha Motwani, chief marketing officer, Max New York Life Insurance, said, “The I-Genius programme supports talent development of children by identifying and rewarding those who display all-round skills. The programme also supports parents in their quest to provide an environment for multi-faceted growth of their children. The hunt has been designed with the intention of providing a platform for children to discover their talent, groom as well as showcase their photography skills to the world. It will also promote greater interaction among parents and children as both could participate in one programme together.”

Registration is open till the June 30. Participants can log on to to fill the form and upload the entries.

A panel of judges headed by eminent photographer Dinesh Khanna, Satbir Singh, Mani Jayaram and Vishwajeet Singh Rana would judge the entries.

The winners of this contest will walk away with prizes such as SLR Camera, digital cameras and camera mobile phones while the grand prize for this contest is a Chevrolet Spark.  Additionally, the top 12 children’s entries will also be featured in the I-Genius calendar for the year 2011.

Mega deal!

Sun Direct Private Limited, the second largest direct-to-home service provider in the country, has gone one step further to fulfill the growing needs of its subscribers with the Mega Shine pack. The subscribers can avail a three-month subscription and choose from six free top-up packs of popular channels at Rs 1,750, which is inclusive of installation charges. On a steadfast pace to cater to the enhancing entertainment demands of the subscribers, Sun Direct has launched a new add-on pack loaded with top-of- the-line channels for a power packed experience at a never before price.

The Mega Shine pack is all set to gain popularity among customers on the lookout for unlimited fun, movies and latest news to suit the needs of every member of the family. It offers top notch channels including Colors, Star Plus, Zee TV, Sony TV, NDTV Imagine, SAB TV, Sat Max, Zee Cinema, Hungama, Disney, Disney XD, Aaj Tak, NDTV 24 x 7. Along with this tempting combo one can opt for six free top ups of popular regional channels in Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati and Punjabi.


Spade work
Take another look
Satish Narula

Nature has many surprises in its lap. Look around, you will find an amazing range of flora. Even within species there is an awesome diversity. Garden lovers are always on the prowl to supplement their collection with ‘something new’. This gives their garden dynamism. But a word of advice; there is still untapped flora which is old and forgotten.

It is desired to have a few plants in the garden that need ‘another look’. It is possible when you have a plant, whether in the pot or ground, that has some peculiar character. One such plant is Puff Ball, the Calliandra. There is nothing new about this shrub but it is forgotten. And I am sure seeing the picture you will go in for it once again. A very hardy shrub, it hardly needs any water which suits the present scenario. The plant is so drought resistant that you can find it growing in the central verge of the roads. The example is the GT road central verge, about 20 km short of Jalandhar. The flowers appear almost all the year round and are different from others.

The plant has variants in yellow and white Puff Balls. Being wild type it puts forth a good amount of growth but in the garden you can control its spread as per requirement. Now as they do so, the gardeners have also found the miniature version of this flower and the plant hardly grows to a height of two feet or so. It can easily be multiplied by cuttings.

Another such plant that needs mention is a vine, the Passion Flower. The lush green vine grows to cover any structure very fast. The shining leaves are lobed, a different type of character that also attracts attention. The flowers are amazingly beautiful. The purple flowers have a curious type of detail. The belief is that the pink spot at the base of the central plate is the blood drop of Jesus and hence the name, the Passion Flower. There are five protruding structures in the flower that are five ‘Angels’. The vine, needless to say is revered by Christians. Like it is expected, the enthusiastic gardener has found a blood red flowering species. Try your luck with some local nursery.

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Myth of the week
Unfruitful effort

The manure and fertilizers should be added near to the plant so that it is easily and readily available. This is wrong. The spread of the feeder roots is as far as the drip area of the tree that is corresponding with the spread of tree canopy. In case there is pucca floor around the tree trunk, then do not blame the tree for unfruitfulness at some time. There is a definite choking and starving. 

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