Game plan
More and more Bollywood flicks are based on sports now. Are the directors sticking to the theme sans the masala? Jasmine Singh finds out

It is not fair to dismiss Bollywood by calling it all fluff; whimsical world that thrives on frivolous themes - young college girl falls in love with a poor guy, father resists, love birds elope, parents track them and wipe them of the face of earth for Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak or two seemingly happy couples staying in posh localities one fine day discover the flaws of their partners, end up finding love outside, endless sobs, heart-rending songs expressing undying love and they vow to Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna!

Better still, a firang-looking Indian boy falls for a 'real' firang girl, exchange of a few Greek or god knows Spanish dialogues and their goes a Kite in the air, never to be traced again. Let's admit that Hindi movies do find solace in bhoots, murders, wars, epics, love triangles, underworld, memory lapses and a lot more. But is anyone talking about the flip side? Off late, Bollywood has taken fancy to real stuff, which according to the film critics is closer to life, be it 3 Idiots or Iqbal. And the current roll out sees an increase in movies based on sports. Got to do anything with FIFA. Hmm… well, not really.

Chak De India, the movie based on hockey, got money trickling in and others were more than glad to follow suit. Goal, Iqbaal, Striker, Lagan, Bend It like Beckham, Aaryan, Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikander, Apney…wow, quiet a number for an industry smitten by Love, sex, dhoka and Fashion.

Now, for the real question — How much of actual sports do these flicks show, as most of them end up as love triangles, and do they relate to the sports fraternity? A senior coach at the Chandigarh football academy Tejinder Kumar dismisses the reality element in sports-based movies. "Actors can never play or act like real sportspersons. Whatever is shown in the flicks is hardly close to the on-field scenario. Besides, in movies whether it is Hollywood or Bollywood, the makers tend to deviate from the real issue, which is sports and bring in the masala, which gives the movie a commercial touch. For instance, the Hindi movie Goal dealt with an issue of racism in sports, which is true to an extent, but they could have justified by showing how the actual game is played in flesh and blood."

As for boxer Akhil Kumar, who is giving tips to actor Randeep Hooda for an upcoming movie on boxing, feels that the only movie on sports that he finds close to reality is Rocky 6. "The treatment of the movie is amazingly real. Right from the training sessions, the bouts and competition, the movie is factual and 'actually' the correct portrayal of boxing." Akhil, however, finds Bollywood movies playing up the 'drama element' irrespective of the theme. "As a boxer and an audience I cannot understand how their actors become world champions overnight; how they are allowed to play with a fractured hand. If the movie-makers want to promote sports through their movies they should research on the subject, talk to sports people and see how they play on field."

Chinkash Tiwari (16), an under-19 football player from the Chandigarh team cannot fathom how movies underplay the sports angle and play around drama. "Movies focus only on hero. In Goal the entire focus was on John Abraham whereas a game is the collective effort of the team, which wasn't highlighted. Then, the hero leaves the game due to injury and later comes back as per his whims and fancies. Aisey Kabhi Hota hai," he laughs. Agreed, Bollywood cannot do without the lenient use of masala in movies and sports-based movies are no exception. Nevertheless, directors like Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra, in his upcoming venture Bhag Milkha Bhag, promises to do complete justice to the legend Milkha Singh and to the theme of sports.

Ditto for debutant Punjabi director Dimpy, whose soon-to-be released movie on kabaddi titled Kabaddi captures the true essence of the sport. Actor Deep Dhillon, who acts in the movie, rules out the possibility of any frills or spice. "Two of our lead actors are trained kabaddi players. We haven't given any second angle to the movie and tried to highlight challenges of the game," says the actor who also feels that movie-makers have shifted their focus to rural sports and are doing a great job. "Most of the actors are trained kabaddi players and the director has tried his level best to validate the theme."

On the other hand, actor Randeep Hooda, who will be acting in the movie based on boxing, has a different take on the entire issue. "If you want to see real sports why don't you see ESPN or any other sports channel? What you call masala is the other aspect. Sports people also have a private life and we try to show that as well."

Anchoring right

Jainendra Singh
Jainendra Singh 

Jainendra Singh is one man who witnesses almost all important occasions that matter to India. Be it Republic Day Parade from Rajpath, or Independence Day Celebrations, Surajkund Mela or our own Mango Festival at Pinjore, you are sure to listen to the deep, sombre voice of Jainendra, who has made anchoring his forte.

Euphoric after Queen's Baton Relay at Wagah Border (he is also on panel of announcers for All-India Radio for Commonwealth Games), Lifestyle caught up with at the recently concluded Mango Festival at Pinjore Gardens."Though my work takes me all over the country, its Haryana that I call my 'karam bhoomi'," says Jainendra who has anchored almost every Mango Festival in its close to two-decade journey.

"This is one festival that bears the flavour and fragrance of mango, and it is only getting bigger and better with each passing year," says Jainendra, whose favourite fruit is mango.

As for his profession, anchoring was not an intentional decision but a journey that Jainendra, who holds a postgraduate degree in three subjects — Political Science, Hindi and Mass Communications — enjoys the most. "In anchoring, response from the public is immediate. It acts as a great motivator," says Jainendra, who started his career as a casual announcer with AIR in Chandigarh in 1989.

With a number of TV serials and four films as lead to his credit, it's anchoring that matters most to Jainendra. And what is the secret of his success in a field where women get preferential treatment? "Anything done with sincerity is bound to succeed. Yet there are tricks of the trade that one masters over a period of time," he adds. "To speak less…is one of them," he reveals. And he gives all the credit to his family — wife Poonam and daughters Swati and Tanya. "They are my best critics and help me get better each time," he says.

Fruits of passion
With a collection of over 500 plants, including some rare varieties, Manorama Garg truly defines what gardening is all about
Neha Walia

Manorama Garg
Manorama Garg

Sometimes, something that you do to kill your time becomes the only thing you do whether you have or don't have time! Hobby will be an understatement and passion doesn't qualify either. A gradual learning experience may be the answer. "For me its just a way to connect with my surroundings," says Manorama Garg who found her way to stay busy while developing an interest in nature.

Her collection of over 500 plants, out which she has eight to ten varieties of rare ones, is the topic of discussion here. Spread over her front garden and backyard, these plants are a living example of Manorama's efforts over the last nine years. "I started growing plants partly as a hobby and partly because I wanted to do something interesting. Since, I am a homemaker, time was no issue and so I spent quality time in knowing about plants, soil and optimum conditions for specific varieties," she shares.

And that prompted her to expand her collection whenever possible. Her garden is a mini-orchard with mango, peach, anjeer and pineapple trees. "Pineapple is generally not found in this part. It is a rarity," she says. Other than these, she has seasonal flower blooms like almanda, usopia and more. The rarities include plants like Bismaria palm, Sontal Palm, Adnvien plant, Chamelia, Abelia etc.

But more than her collection it's her dedication that is impressive. "Most of my rare plants are ornamental. I make it a point to take note of the plants and local blooms wherever I travel. But I bring only hard plants as they can survive the climatic change." Like a trip to Singapore had Manorama adding to her rare palm collection with Travellers Palm.

And then what drives her are the compliments that her prized possessions receive. "I have a number of people asking me to grow plants for them as well. They have become a part of life now and are my best companion."

But all the hardwork and admiration has not motivated her enough to participate in competitions. "It's by choice. I do it for my own satisfaction and not for publicity. It's my own private quality time activity. And competitions anyways are not my cup of tea." 

Pen drive

The Montblanc Meisterstück has been regarded for over 85 years as a timeless icon of design and craftsmanship. Montblanc has now taken its icon product to new heights of beauty and exclusivity with the launch of Meisterstück Montblanc Diamond.

Montblanc Diamond is prominently featured in the dome of the writing instrument. Hand-crafted in the best European tradition, the black precious resin writing instrument is adorned with platinum plated fittings and a handcrafted 14K gold nib with a rhodium-plated inlay. The idea behind the new writing instrument was to not alter the shape of the Meisterstück, but to actually enhance the object with the addition of a precious stone, the iconic Montblanc Diamond as well as the style element on the clip ring to enrich the overall design of the instrument. The distinctive traditional white resin Montblanc star as the Montblanc emblem on the top of the writing instrument now shines as a beautiful diamond. — TNS

Mane attraction
Jasmine Singh

Take a look at this irony. God made us equal and now we try to do strange things to look and sound different. One look at what hair stylist Naved Ahmed from Shakeel's-17 does validates the point. The hair stylist trains in cutting hair with fire, piece of glass, papercutter and even blindfolded. Now, that's something really whacky to look different!

What is the need to look different? "I want to make a mark in life like Sachin Tendulkar. I thought of doing something other than what normal hair stylists do," shares Naved, who has been doing this for almost eight years now. "Most hair stylist do the same thing with little improvisations here and there. But, I wanted to do something that nobody had ever done before."

Jitters, butterflies in stomach while performing this feat for the first time? "Yes, I wouldn't deny that I was dead scared for the first time. Then, I reminded myself, practice makes a man perfect," says Naved, who believes that he has grown in experience and confidence. "Earlier, my clients were also skeptical about getting a fire or a glass cut, now I guess they have got used to getting it done on a regular basis."

On cutting hair with a blindfold, Naved says this has a deeper meaning behind it. "I am doing this for blind people. I want to show that even blind people can enter this profession." The hair stylist has recently won Bharat Ke Kohinoor award in Jaipur for his contribution. "I plan to teach my art to blind students now." Naved has also given Gurdas Maan fire cut and treated actor Katrina Kaif once for her skin allergy. He has also won Global World Record for different hair cutting methods. 

Cake walk
 Rajiv Bhatia

Residents of Zirakpur now don't have to go Chandigarh for savouring soup or even dim sums. This satellite city is now offering on platter delicious dishes like corn cake, tom yum soup and dim sum.

Hotel Shagun-Zirakpur is proud to present its newly renovated restaurant Vyanjan-a fine multi-cuisine dining restaurant and bar centrally located on Zirakpur-Kalka highway.

Vyanjan means a condiment or a seasoned article in Sankrit.

"Traditional and the unique style of preparing those dishes using a variety of natural ingredients, colours, taste, textures smells is Vyanjan's specialty," says Pradeep Aggarwal, managing director of the newly opened restaurant.

Pradeep Aggarwal, who had done a hotel management course from Chandigarh, says, "Our aim is to provide different kind food that would attract customers." Besides the traditional Indian food, the menu also includes Thai curries, tandoori kebabs, Oriental and Chinese food," Aggarwal added.

He adds, "In appetizer, a special corn cake and dim sum is in main menu. From soups bowl, Tom Yum soup which has been made with Chinese cabbage, broccoli, poches, mushroom, lemon grass and lemon leaves, high ginger is really a fiery. "We are offering verities of dishes like Tiranga kofta, diwani handi and Lackhnavi murg biryani to customers," he adds.

He sums, for non-vegetarians chicken Taipai, murg akbari and Hyderabaddi dam ki biryani are other yummy dishes which remind you flavour of different countries.

Spade work
Multiple theory
Satish Narula

The wait is over. This seems to be the first of the series of raining spells in this region. It's time for the gardeners to re-enter the 'laboratory' and start with the gardening operations. The most important operation of this time of the year is to multiply plants. What? The spell may not continue? Then get prepared to do the operations in the near future. What matters, however, is the humidity and that 'nip' in the air and that definitely is there.

By preparations we mean getting ready to multiply plants and more importantly understand the process so that there is little chance of failure. Before understanding the process of multiplication, it is important to understand what are the mediums used to multiply plants. Most of the plants are multiplied by way of cuttings. The other methods of multiplication are layering (both the earth and air layering), leaf sections, slip method, multiplication by division etc. The propagation media normally used include pure sand, soil, sphagnum moss grass, coco-peat, roots of some aquatic plants, ordinary water and in some cases some pellets.

Sand: One of the most widely used media in plant propagation is pure sand and both of these types, the coarse sand and the fine sand. It is one of the most naturally sterile media too, a character, which is valued the most while propagating the plants. One of the biggest advantages of using sand is that being porous, there is no stagnation of water, a factor that otherwise is responsible for rotting of cutting or drying due to chocking of conduction channels. In some cases where such medium is required for specialised propagation the sand is also heated or treated with chemicals. But in your home garden, you may not need to do so. In case where sand is used as media, it should be kept moist by watering at least twice in a day as due to porosity, the water drains down fast. In case there is rain then you can skip watering.

Moss grass: Another very important media that is used for the propagation of plants is sphagnum moss, the one that you use as a stick for supporting indoor plants. The advantage with this naturally obtained grass is that it can soak water equal to eight times its own weight and can sustain it for many days. Another advantage that is not surpassed by any other medium is that it gives chemicals that have fungistatic effects. It also adds nutrients.

Water: Not many people know that water itself is a very good medium of propagation. Most of the indoor plants can be propagated by keeping them in pure water. However, make sure the water you use is stored water and not from the fresh water supply. You can also add some fungicide in the water to keep the rot away.

Soil: In many cases, the soil is used as a medium of propagation. This is mostly done in case of cuttings and seed propagation. Care, however, should be taken to give rotations and not use the same soil for long. It may also be sterilized before using.

Myth of the week
Drain it out 

One must keep the planting media wet and that will help multiply plants fast. After all, it is the water that helps in multiplication and that is why we wait till the rain starts.

No, it is not the wet or water logged media that helps. The drainage in such cases is of utmost importance. Water logging or excess of moisture is the sure killer of cuttings and jeopardise any other method of multiplication leading to cent per cent failure.

Net solutions
The rise in cyber crime has spawned the need for more IT professionals to handle hackers
Jasmine Singh

Who can deny there are always two sides to a coin? So, while on one hand technology is moving at the speed of light, giving us state-of-the art methods, on the other it seems to be working on busting these methods. If on one side tech gurus are working towards hi-end technology, the cyber team is active in playing havoc on it. Everything exists in a symbiotic relationship. Now, here's the twist - IT professionals are benefiting from the rise in cyber crime. Interesting? We find out how and why?

"Cyber crime has been on the rise. Online criminal activity of nearly every variety has been surging. It is fuelled by an increase in software security flaws and the number of home computers being used against their owners' wishes to distribute spam, spyware and viruses," says Amit Nath, country manager, India & SAARC, Trend Micro. "Cyber crime has been a growing threat and as more and more people are getting connected to the Internet, this threat is bound to go up," he adds.

And getting connected on the Internet is not the only reason for the increase in cyber crime. Phenomenal growth of social networking sites in the last five years is also the reason," adds Nath. "Social networking is one of the hottest trends in IT and while it has the potential to improve communication between a company and its customers, the security risks of co-opting social networking are non-trivial. Since social networking sites are so user-friendly, it makes them all the more dangerous. While e-mail, attackers only had a limited number of ways to harm a computer, social networking sites provide a much broader range of options."

Companies nowadays leverage sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter in order to connect with their customers and disseminate information about their products and services to the target audience, thereby exposing themselves to spam attack or data leakage.

The damage is done, and now how the other group, the IT professionals, are benefiting from the same. Sneha Girohtra, data analyst with an IT company, shares that growth in the IT sector has created space for technically skilled people. "I doubt if people are aware of this. With security threats growing, the requirement for skilled IT security manpower is on the rise." As per Deepak Kaishta, director and managing partner Planman HR Pvt Ltd, a leading consulting firm, "Cyber crime has become a stark reality threatening everyday transactions of financial institutions, banks, the IT sector and individuals. Sensitive data stands in danger of being hacked and used by unscrupulous elements, and organisations are looking to hire IT professionals to protect the security of their clients. Sensitive critical data, financial information and trade secrets are all under danger of being hacked by cyber criminals. The demand for protection of data gives this field huge prospects."

So there is no denying the fact that cyber crime is on a rise and to counter this, private and government sectors are working to produce skilled manpower. Also, in a recent announcement the Government of India (Ministry of Communications and Information Technology) informed that in order to address the growing threat of cyber crimes in the country, Cyber Crime Cells have been set up by state police and Central Bureau of Investigation.

Says Nath, "The opening up of Cyber Crime Cells will certainly drive the need for more manpower. In addition, private sector has also started taking measures to curb information systems security threats. All these initiatives are going to increase the demand for skilled IT manpower."

Children and the cyber world
Parents must keep an eye on their children’s online activities
Roopinder Singh

Exploring a new world is certainly going to fill us with excitement, trepidation, thrill and a whole bouquet of emotions. For many children, the latest frontier is the cyber world. They explore it, discuss it, use it, share their feelings online ... it is the world which they are totally a part of.

Often, I am called when people want to buy a computer, or discuss something about their children's behaviour on computers. This summer vacation was also a similar situation, another time when I made myself somewhat unpopular with the children.

Where should a computer be in the house? "In a public area," is my answer, one that often displeases children. I am among the parents who advocate placing the computer in a family room. Thus, the child is aware that he should not do anything, which he does not want his parents or siblings to know about.

When this is not possible for some reason, if the computer has to be kept in a child's bedroom, make sure that the door of the room is kept open while the computer is on. This helps keep chatting and browsing activities in check. This simple advice is something that I believe in, and have advocated in my writing for many years now.

When children complain about privacy issues, my answer is simple: "Are you doing something that is wrong? If not, there's nothing to worry about. No one's going to be reading your letters or whatever, just keeping an eye on you overall activity."

The Norton Online Family report, which has been released recently, says 70 per cent of Indian adults are in favour of giving children control over their own online activities. I disagree. The control should be in the parents' hands and online usage must be governed with rules.

Naturally, being a computer-friendly parent helps, since you can share your experiences and understand what a child wants. To get back to the report, around 68 per cent of Indian parents say they have house rules in place surrounding their child's use of the Internet, but only 34 per cent have actually set parental controls on their family computer. As many as 500 adults and 200 children, between eight to 17 years, were surveyed in India.

While 76 per cent of Indian children say they are more careful about their online activities than their parents, the report says: "Most Indian kids do not follow common sense rules while online." That's where you come in. Please sit down with your children and tell them that they should not give their e-mail IDs, addresses and telephone numbers to strangers on the Net.

Today, social networking sites and chat are a major part of online behaviour. You must encourage your children to let you know if they feel uncomfortable about the behaviour of anyone they are in contact with through their Facebook, Orkut or other accounts. Of course, they should not make an appointment, or talk to someone they have met on the Net without the parents' approval.

The Norton report says that 77 per cent of Indian children have experienced some negative situation online but only 50 per cent of the Indian parents thought their children had such experiences. What are these negative experiences? Violent images, pornography, threat from strangers on social networking and other form of harassment on the Internet is seen as negative content for kids between eight years and 17 years.

While 92 per cent of Indian children say they follow their family's rules for the Internet, remember, this is what they say, not what they do. Also, 24 per cent have done something online that they have later regretted. A shocking 83 per cent of the children said they "downloaded a virus".

Specific software that warns parents if sexually explicit words etc are used can also help, but it is not a substitute for keeping a watchful eye. In any case it is a difficult balancing act. You want to keep an eye on your child, and at the same time you really don't want to snoop.

You may feel that the Internet grants anonymity to its users. You often tend to go overboard if you feel that you cannot be identified. This is an illusion as most of the Internet users can be accurately pinpointed.

Sometimes, children feel that they can communicate better with anonymous persons rather than those who see and judge them everyday—their parents, peers and teachers. The elders have to make the effort to communicate with the children so that they do not feel the need to find empathy in cyberspace.

Chatting on the computer has become common, and it needs attention from both parents and children. The written word often has more importance than the spoken one, but somehow people think that if they write online, their words don't matter much. Thus, you have mangled expressions, which can be tolerated, and also mangled thoughts, which are far less tolerable, and can come back to haunt those who expressed them years later.

What goes into cyberspace has a surprisingly long life, which can be embarrassing. Thus, you need to be careful. A website that educates both the parents and the children about chat room perils is

The Internet opens the world—parents and children must work together to ensure that a can of worms is not served along with the rich diet of information, communication and entertainment that is a staple of the Net.

Viral fever
With the growing use of Internet, your mobile phones are no longer safe from virus attacks
Amitpal Singh Grewal

Mobile phones are no more phones now; they are like important family members! In case your phone is not working, the first thing you do is get it fixed or else the entire day is spoilt. And it's even worse if a deadly virus freezes your phone, turning it into a useless brick!

A majority of people who are affected by a phone virus get it because of their own fault. It's something like curiosity killed the cat! And these days the most fertile ground for a virus is the Internet, which is being used by one and all.

Mobile phone viruses

Almost all new phones are more like a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) these days. Actually these gadgets are not merely mobile phones; rather they are palmtop computers with an inbuilt phone option. These machines offer nearly all the features a computer provides - web browsers, downloadable games, cameras and much more. Today mobile phones run operating systems similar to those used by your PDA or home computer, but on a smaller scale. But it is only a matter of time before hackers and developers target us. And with one virus attack on your mobile phone you could lose all your contact information; the phone could be directed to dial random numbers (even expensive international numbers), used to relay SPAM, or worse, replicate a virus by sending itself to all your contacts.

Cell phone viruses

Presently, cell phone viruses are hidden in some of the most common applications we've come to use and appreciate. Have you not sent someone a text message from your cell phone ever? If you think about it, a text message is no different from e-mail. And programmers and hackers are discovering newer ways to send unsolicited e-mails and messages on your phone. As far as text messages are concerned, some mobile phones give you the option to define an approved list of numbers. This way you can only receive messages from people or organisations you know.

Here are some signals that reveal that your phone has been attacked.

l Frequent restarting

l Slower functioning

l Locking up of keypad

l Blocked applications.

l Unusual error messages

l Attachments with dual extensions.

l Battery exhaustion

In these cases one needs to get the phone repaired immediately. Alternatively, there are free antivirus options available on the Internet.

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