A fine balance
Despite early morning flights, events, fitting sessions, interviews, strutting the ramp, late night parties…models find out time to exercise and remain fit
Jasmine Singh

This is considered an unattainable combination - beauty with brains. Even though some beauty queens have managed to exhibit both in different capacity, the deadly combination is a tough thing to achieve. Off late, another combination is looked upon as a 'not so easy a thing' to achieve. Talking about the modelling industry, this is the combination that is the fulcrum of survival - maintaining the look while living out of the bag.

Early morning flight, straight to the event, fitting sessions, interviews, strutting ramp, late night party, countable hours of sleep, early morning flight…who the hell has the time to look after dry or oily skin, where is the time to do yoga or meditate and who's watching the diet chart. One helluva of a job! As for the models maintaining looks in this choc-a-bloc schedule is not a big deal. They know how, when and where to squeeze in time to apply a facepack or do pranayaam.

Model Candice Pinto, over the years, has learnt to keep her calm. The model is planning for a much-needed break. "I don't see any holiday till next year," she sulks, "But this is the part and parcel of my work. Besides, I enjoy my work, which gives me good time to visit new places, make friends and travel." Travel, here you are…models are the second most travelled people, after the pilots? Candice nods in approval. "Without doubt, I am headed to a new place every second day." What happens to the moisturising regime or early morning walk? "This again is not a big deal. Everything works in a computerised format," says Candice, who adds that she can never starve herself come what may. "I eat, but everything in moderation."

For model Lakshmi Rana, hectic trvaelling schedule is part of the profession. "Businessmen travel frequently and so do film or sports stars." Lakshmi has a clear-cut funda, "When I have to do a certain thing, why not do it with a smile." She laughs, "This is how I take care of my skin... by smiling, and keeping calm." It still leaves us wondering, nothing like a jet lag…who wants to hit the gymnasium after a four-hour flight? "It's easy because I have been following this for quite a while now. It has taken the form of routine now," says Lakshmi. "Fruit diet is something that I don't miss. No matter what time I wake up, the day has to start with a bowl of freshly cut fruits." In a profession like modelling, Lakshmi says she doesn't take her work so seriously that she loses her sleep. "I am an Army officer's wife and there are a hundred other things to do like social work, which gives me a sense of fulfillment. I also like to play squash," she says.

Why so much emphasis on travelling when every second Indian spends most of his or her time commuting from one place to the other? Sonalika Sahay, a model, feels it is necessary to look good in their profession. "Whether I am travelling every second day or once a month, I cannot afford to look dull and drab. I immediately remove my make-up after the shoot. I also use lots of moisturiser to keep the skin fresh" In all these years, Sonalika hasn't been able to make herself wake up on time for an early morning flight. "I am generally paranoid about the early morning flight. Even after boarding the flight I cannot put my mind to rest, thinking about things I have left back. Inevitably, I end up forgetting my phone charger."

As for her health regime, Sonalika never compromises. "Irrespective of the place , I have learnt to take out time for a walk at least." This she says comes mechanically to her. Ditto for Indrani Dasgupta who was boarding the flight, when we asked her how does she strike the right balance of looking good and healthy with the hectic travelling schedule. "Rest I'll answer once the flight lands"!


Sculpting success
SD Sharma

Mohammad Iqbal — Photo: S Chandan The work of renowned artist Som Dutt Sharma and sculptor Mohammad Iqbal has delighted visitors during the two-week camp at Kalagram. While Som Dutt Sharma (62) has brought to life the legend of Kavi Kalidas's Dushyant-Shakuntla, Mohammad Iqbal has created a wisdom incarnate sculpture, Gyan in stone.

"It was a big moment for me when way back in 1968 my first oil painting was sold in Chicago. I never looked back and most of my 3,000-odd paintings have been sold abroad,” he shares.

A specialist with oil and water colours, Som Dutt Sharma inherited the passion for the art from his father Jagan Nath. Strange are the ways of god; Som dropped out of the fourth year while studying at the Delhi Art College. He is nostalgic about his association with his old classmate, academician and artist Braham Parkash. "The instinctive urge for creation comes forth from the mind. Anything can fire my imagination and inspire me," says Som Dutt, now an established name in the region.

"The Kashmir valley has abundant wealth of beauty, which has been my inspiration for creating something that will at least match a fraction of its splendour," says Mohammad Iqbal (31), a decorated sculptor. Born and brought up at Srinagar, Iqbal graduated in commerce. But the artist in him remained suppressed due to family compulsions. "I even worked as a labourer in free time to generate funds for my admission,” recalls Iqbal.

But that was, as they say, the past. His sculptures have won him critical acclaim at the national level four times and many state awards. "Making quality sculptures in stone and painting in acrylic as well as mixed media is my passion. My themes range from the philosophical, social to the modern," says Iqbal.

On display
Umpteen varieties of traditional items at reasonable prices…exhibitions in the city sure have a lot to offer
Jasmine Singh

— Photo: S Chandan Any amount of planning is incomplete without sufficient funds. Whether it is planning to improve the condition of the roads or to provide better education facilities or planning to do up your house or even your wardrobe… everything boils down to 'money' and how it can be budgeted.

When it comes to doing up a house, which means getting in a new sofa set, expensive upholstery, bed-sheets, table lamps, brand new suits…the budget can really sky-rocket. In this case, exhibitions taking place in the city are the bait. Umpteen varieties of traditional items at reasonable prices is something that is taken hands on. People from the city tell us why the word exhibition has much fanfare attached.

Shares Rishi Popli, who assists people from various states organise exhibitions in the city, "The exhibitions are not that popular in Punjab, but Chandigarh laps up anything that is traditional." Popli, who is associated with North-East exhibition for a while now, tells us why exhibitions in the city are popular. "One, people here like traditional stuff and they also know that it is expensive. Exhibitions, whether it is North-East, Tamil Nadu handicrafts or Gujari, offer good traditional stuff at reasonable prices, which otherwise would cost a lot if someone were to pick it up from a showroom."

Block-printed suits, curtains, artifacts from Tamil Nadu, stone jewellery, carpets and rugs from Madhya Pradesh, sofa sets from North East make, Rajasthani murhas or chownki, wall paintings from a particular state, Lucknawi suits, Pakistani duppatas et al are some of the favoured items at these exhibitions. Add to it, a sofa set made of cane and bamboo for Rs 4,000- 50,000, traditional vases, home décor items ranging from Rs 50-500.

Kirat Rishi, a theatre artist from Zirakpur, boasts of how she has created a traditional décor with stuff picked up from various exhibitions. "A Jaipuri murha, which is originally for Rs 1,500, was for Rs 500 at the Rajasthani exhibition at Lajpat Rai Bhawan. Traditional lanterns for Rs 250, a curtain for Rs 100 is some of the stuff that I have picked up from exhibitions. I travel a lot, which is why I know that traditional items cost more than the regular stuff that we get at other home stores."

Reasonable prices entice, but one needs to have an eye for good things. And knack for bargaining too!


Freedom of speech
SD Sharma

The Haryana Urdu Academy delved into the past through an exhaustive and informative lecture on the topic - 'Role of Urdu writers in the freedom struggle of 1857' - by internationally acclaimed author and educationist, Professor Mushirul Hasan, at the Red Bishop complex on Tuesday.

Kashmiri Lal Zakir, academy secretary, welcomed Hasan, former vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, who is presently the Director General of National Archives of India. He is credited with over 100 publications, including twenty books, and has edited books, travelogues and other historical as well as literary works.

In an impressive lecture, Hasan gave an analytical view of the Independence struggle, which directly or indirectly involved all Indians, irrespective of caste, creed and religious allegiance. "The role of leading Urdu poets assumed a special significance, as they had initiated the much-needed awakening about Independence and provided all the inspiration," he said.

Other notable contributors were Fazal Haq Khan, Abdul Latif, Moin Ul Din, Hasan Khan, Syed Zahir Ud din, Moin Ul Khan, Mirza Ghalib, Syed Ahmed Khan, Zakaullah Khan, besides Hali Panipati and Pandit Kanahia Lal from Haryana, he added. "Mirza Ghalib remained indoors to complete his treatise Dasmboh in four months," revealed KL Zakir.

From the panel of chairpersons, Neeta Gupta from Penguin made a short comment while Dr Farooq Argali cited instances where Urdu writers had to bear the wrath of British rulers for their patriotic poetry. Participation of Dr Kamlesh Mohan, Wing Cdr HL Ratta, Md Mustfir and others made the discussions more lively. RK Taneja proposed the vote of thanks while poet Shams Tabrezi conducted the programme.

Women zone

Region's emerging group has launched a product specifically designed for cleansing female intimate area called Hygimate Femiwash in one of its division Espana Cura. The product was launched by the managing partners of the group.

Hygimate Femiwash, which is a minimal foaming daily cleanser contains lactic acid and natural lacto serums which maintains natural pH balance. It contains natural skin conditioning components that protects and keeps the tissues healthy thereby making it an essential part of a woman's personal care routine. It has tea tree extract which is a nature's way of removing bacteria.

Hygimate Femiwash is effective in the prevention of urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis (BV) and its related discomforts such as discharge, odour, itch, irritations, sensitivity and redness. It helps protect from infections during postpartum care (post delivery stage) and menstruation. A survey shows that chronic neglect towards hygiene and infections of reproductive organs may lead to cervical cancer. The organisation has announced to donate 1 per cent of sale's profit to the underprivileged patients suffering from cervical cancer. — TNS

News worthy

Kanwar Sandhu — Photo: Vinay Malik What decides the success of a channel? The mighty, the sleek and stylish 'remote control' of course! Whether it is a chic looking news channel promising first-hand news from the spot, or an entertainment channel giving a spicy dose of reality or a toon channel with Micky and Minnie Mouse talking in Hindi, it is remote control that decides the popularity quotient. So, when the much talked about launch of television channel Day & Night News was announced in the city on Tuesday, the game play of 'remote control' was the talked about thing.

An initiative of Kansan News Private Limited (KNPL), the channel is on air from August 11. As for the face of the channel, Kanwar Sandhu, managing editor, holding the interest of the audience is the main task ahead. "The way there is no control on the growing population, likewise there is no control on the increasing number of television channels. At the same, we would bring in our bit of difference by focusing on the region." Adds Sandhu, "We will hold the interests of the viewers by offering them credible stuff. We believe that it is okay to miss news, instead of reporting wrong news."

A multi-lingual channel (English, Hindi Punjabi), Day & Night News will focus on Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, J&K, Delhi, NCR, besides diaspora from the region in various other countries. The channel is the vision of chairman of the group, Jaspal Singh Kandhari. — Jasmine Singh

Winners take it all

The Chandigarh Lalit Kala AKademi has announced the names of the award winners for the Annual Art Exhibition 2010. The jury, Kanchan Chander and Manish Pushkale, both from Delhi, has recommended the following names for awards. In the professional category, the winners are Seema, Kanchan Verma, Som, Virendra Kumar Rana and Himanshu Mahajan while in the student's category the winners are Manmeet Kaur, Neha Sharma, Sonal Garg, Urmila Pal and Vaibhav Sharma. The winners in the professional category will receive Rs 25,000 each.

The annual exhibition will be in September. — TNS

Men in white
Our parents wore them, our leaders have always worn them … and kurta pyjamas are a hot fashion trend on the campus as well
Manpriya Khurana

— Photo: Vinay Malik What separates style from fashion? Fads fade away while customs remain. Doesn’t the ultimate trend traverse generations? Tune into campus and it’s dress code kurta pyjamas. The ethnic wear is more than a custom collectively followed by student population. The traditional wear gets clubbed into ‘what’s in’ category. It’s a mode of expression, a statement in aesthetics, a school of thought…reasons and remarks galore.

Wear it for official engagements, walk into any public office, may be for the lectures; the pristine white piece is as versatile as it gets. Gurpreet Singh, MA student, DAV College, lists some of the pluses, “The entire dress and the concept is different. Sport the garment, stand in a crowd and you can be spotted from a distance.” He adds, “Plus it’s a question of personal preferences also. I feel it suits my body structure, as I’m quite tall and well built. Such body types can carry the attire well.”

When the personal reasons overlap, there’s born behaviour that develops among a large population, is collectively followed by the crowd, and thereby becomes a trend. Fitted in between are tales of how it’s tailored by certain specific skilled workers. Some head to certain interiors of Punjab while others go all out; just to get the right fit.

Echoes Ekam Singh, BSc student, Government College, “It’s like taking pride in our roots. Is both traditional and trendy. Our parents wore it, our leaders have always worn it and now we better stick to the tradition at times.”

— Photo: Vinay MalikManmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Omar Abdullah…the list is not exhaustive. It’s what all the political leaders sport, starting from the suave to the ‘not so savvy’. Avers one, “It is obviously more popular and visible during the students election days. That’s because the wardrobe gels with the theme of the activity going on in the colleges and varsity.”

But what makes them special and stand apart is the combine of all factors, a bit of both - old world charm and a brand new approach.

Nobody, though, is discounting the comfort factor. Something, given the Indian weather, should have been listed first. Shrugs Harroop Sandhu, law student, Panjab University, “Of course, it’s comfortable. It’s such a better alternative to jeans, to be worn once a week. But why it’s visible on the campus? You can call it the election fever.” Which was the last clothing that combined cotton’s comfort and official purpose? He adds, “There are some boys who by nature prefer it. As it goes well and enhances their personality.”

Just like some can’t do without the basic white shirt. Just like the classic black dress is a culture. Just like the one traditional piece completes the wardrobe.

Meanwhile, the echoes, nods, whispers, there’s a chorus, “It’s a staple in some boys’ wardrobes. You just ought to have one.” And then there’s one more listing. Adds Gurpreet, “Spot the garment, walk into any office and you’re sure to be taken seriously.” Looks like the boys have all grown up!


Bonding over banquet

One way parents can keep up communication with their teenage children is to sit down together for dinner, finds a new study. The results show that while parent-child communication generally declines as kids go through middle school, eating meals together can help protect against this conversation dip.

Kids who frequently ate dinner with their parents when they were in sixth grade saw less of a change in communication with their folks over three and a half years than kids who rarely or never ate dinner with their parents in sixth grade. "Even if they're less likely to have meals with the family as they go into high school, if they're having them when they're younger, it's still a point of connection and it's a good thing and can have a lasting impact," Live Science quoted study researcher Jayne Fulkerson, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, as saying.

The results are based on surveys of nearly 5,000 middle school students in Chicago public schools. Participants were surveyed at the beginning and end of sixth grade and again at the end of seventh and eighth grade. Subjects were asked how frequently they ate dinner with their parents (never, hardly even, sometimes, a lot or all the time.). They were also asked how often their parents had a conversation with them that lasted more than 10 minutes, praised them when they did well, asked them where they were going and asked how they were doing in school.

The protective effect of family dinners held even after the researchers took into account other factors that could impact the results including race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status and who the child lived with. Family meals are a good opportunity to stay connected with children, Fulkerson said. "You might have a better sense of what's going on in their lives and be able to understand what they're going through," she said. Fulkerson suggests avoiding topics that might be a point of conflict for parents and children, such as grades and homework. — ANI

Not game anymore

Nowadays, kids are more often seen with a joystick in their hands than marbles or a hopscotch pebble. And a new UK study reveals that 75 percent of children have never even played hopscotch.

Almost 40 per cent say they have no interest in playing conkers, while 93 per cent say they will never play marbles (half have never heard of the game), 75 per cent have never played "tag" and 87 per cent have never heard of or played ring-a-ring o'roses.

Now, Nintendo Wii or a Nintendo DS is a favourite 'toy' and the only 'running around' game with enduring appeal appears to be football. The only traditional games they do seem to like are handstands, hide and seek and obviously, kiss chase.

"High-tech gadgets are overtaking traditional pastimes. But it's encouraging to see that games like hide and seek and football are still popular," a publication quoted Kelly Scorah of washing powder manufacturers Persil, which conducted the poll, as saying. — ANI

Mind the comp!

A new study has revealed that giving teenagers access to computers can weaken their reading and maths skills. The Sunday Telegraph reported a survey of more than half a million children revealed that technology is counter-productive in improving student achievement, reports a website.

It found that introducing children to computers from 10 years of age could have a harmful effect and was associated with "modest but statistically significant and persistent negative impacts on student maths and reading test scores." "Students who gain access to a home computer between 5th and 8th grade tend to witness a persistent decline in reading and maths test scores," said study co-author Jacob Vigdor.

"For school administrators interested in maximising achievement test scores or reducing racial and socio-economic disparities in test scores, all evidence suggests that a programme of broadening home computer access would be counterproductive." Vigdor claimed home computer access is damaging because students are easily distracted and end up using their time to socialise and play games. However, researchers concluded that if parents monitored use and ensured that downtime was minimised, computers could be beneficial. Federation of Parents and Citizens' Associations spokeswoman Sharryn Brownlee said she wasn't concerned with the findings. The US National Bureau of Economic Research published the findings. — ANI

What’s with accent dude!

Human brains imitate speech patterns of other people, even complete strangers, without meaning to due to an inbuilt urge of the brain to "affiliate" with them. Researchers say humans want to "bond" with others, even when a voice cannot be heard or, somewhat embarrassingly, even if another person is a foreigner.

Scientists from the University of California at Riverside, found the subconscious copying of an accent comes from an inbuilt urge of the brain to “empathise and affiliate," says a Telegraph report. The findings, reported in the journal Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, concluded this happens when we cannot hear what is being said but are simply lip-reading. "Humans are incessant imitators," said Lawrence Rosenblum, a psychologist who led the study.

"We intentionally imitate subtle aspects of each other's mannerisms, postures and facial expressions. We also imitate each other's speech patterns, including inflections, talking speed and speaking time.” "Sometimes we even take on the foreign accent of the person to whom we are talking, leading to embarrassing consequences," Rosenblum added. — IANS

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