Early risers
Thanks to the encouraging nod from publishing houses, penning down a book is a lot more easier for freshers
Manpriya Khurana

Janhavi Malhotra
Janhavi Malhotra

It's literally the freedom of script and expression; the one that every novelist seems to be practising. With the explosion of first-time authors on the literary scene, with multiple distributors, plethora of publishers, equivalent writers, needless to say, just as many readers; looks like signing that first copy has become all the more easier. Calling it a good/bad, either/or phenomenon depends on the fence that one's looking from. Meanwhile, there's a literary boom and the banker, the student, the engineer, the programmer are accessing their way to publishing houses.

"My first book of poem Aloft on Wings of Grit was released in 2008 in Chandigarh when I was 15. It's a collection of 28 poems on death, separation, poverty and similar themes," recalls Janhavi Malhotra, Class XII student, Vivek High School. It was neither an uphill task nor a beginner's struggle for breaking that first book barrier. "I did not face any difficulty at all. I used to write these poems in my diary and never thought I'd publish a book. But when everybody did encourage me to try get them compiled, they were published by a non-profit charter." She adds, "In fact, I'm currently working on my next book on poems and short stories." Poetry need not be only dumped on blogs, an act that, by the way, got Aayush Gopal Dawra his collection of poems Playing Flipside out at high school age.

Just like solo exhibitions no more remain a prerogative of artists of experience and repute; writing doesn't fit into the stereotypical 'salt and pepper' image. Where people quote pages of resume, list of achievements, years of experience before being out with a debut novel. "Surprisingly these first timers have the writing skill. And, the boom is mainly due to publishers and distributors who are daring to give a chance to young and even first-time authors," Azeem Ahmad Khan, production manager, Mahavir Publishers, shares. He adds, "There is this one publication that prints minimum three titles per month and together they may have sold 10 lakh copies till now. As far as we are concerned, we are looking for young teen stories that can sell."

While the final decision with many a house rests on in house reviews, there's no escaping the beginners daring to knock at publishing doors. Though Pushpinder Singh, currently studying programming in London, had it easy with his first book; courtesy his mentor. "I started writing at the age of 19 and finally had my book on poems Jinna Handhayian Peeran, released early this year at the age of around 23. It's actually based on human sufferings in today's materialistic world." He adds, "For me, it wasn't tough because I was lucky enough to have Kanwaljit Dhudike as a mentor. Generally it isn't that easy as debut writers have to pay publishers and distributors."

While some even concede that where authors pay, it's their endeavour to market the product, get reviews and sell. Nods Azeem, "A lot of publishers do this, take money and many young authors don't mind paying. But in the end, it's also a risky game. Because publishing is easy, it's the selling that's difficult. Such books don't get reviews in the media." He adds, "It's all a reflection of the circuitous phenomenon; people from all fields are taking to writing and whosoever writes wants to become an author." Guess, that sums up!


Note worthy
Jasmine Singh

We conclude it as a case of 'been there done that'. As the conversation flows, touching various chords, hitting at cymbals, producing notes in the background, we quite go with what Akbar Sami, DJ, remixer, composer cum music producer has to say about the changes in deejaying, and how remixes are being remixed to death.

The Bollywood remix king raises the temperature as he frisks remix numbers at the Kingfisher Ultra-The Emperor Presents party at Score on Saturday night. As he belts out one foot-tapping number after another, Akbar snatches time for a chat session with us.

A flashback for those who haven't heard about him - one of the first DJs to introduce the profession in the country in the mid eighties, Akbar shot to fame with his first remix album Jalwa. He has produced a string of hit albums like Jadoo, Jalwa II with popular remix numbers like Raat Baaki and Pardah Hai Pardah. Over to the blender…

"All these interviews look so strange, because when I started out with deejaying there wasn't anyone talking, forget writing about it," shares Akbar. "Everything is different now. People write about DJs and there are so many of us. The credit goes to the computer age."

Technology, it sure changes the world. "Not for good really," he almost shoots back. "People who don't understand music are making tunes, thanks to the readymade material on the computers. All one needs to do is pick up a software, readymade loops and paths, and create music. This is so damn simple. Where are the creative inputs? In the long run though, only the good ones will remain, and rest will fade."

This comes straight from the man who created numbers out of passion, never drawing inspiration from hi-end technology! Passing is the buck is easy; something we all master in, what we need is a solution to sift out the good from the fake. "The answer lies with the training institutes for deejaying. Ironically in India we don't have many. So, someone interested in this profession gets up one morning and starts playing. This is pathetic," says Akbar.

And they come back with a nose stud, chin ands lips pierced, a weirdo hairstyle, and a 'you can't ignore me, I am a DJ' attitude. He laughs, "Ya, I know that. All this 'style' is to make a statement. If you can a make good music, all this is not required."

Akbar waves to the crowd who is 'lovin' his music that is sans any blatantly evident international touch. "Numbers that are not meant to be touched are being remixed without a thought. All tracks sound the same because of everyone remixing the already remixed numbers. I wanted to do something for Anu Malik, Sajid Wajid, but I want this 'remix phase' to die down a little so that I can introduce something fresh," says Akbar, who has a couple of projects in his kitty. "I am working on Bollywood movies Malika, Jannat 2, and an album Voices, which by the way is not remixes, but unheard of original tracks."


Arts' sake

The National Art Week of New Media will bring artists like Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra (L).
The National Art Week of New Media will bring artists like Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra (L).

This never before event brings together art students, lovers, critics and historians to view, discuss and understand the concerns of the contemporary artists

The National Lalit Kala Akademi in collaboration with the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi is organising National Art Week of New Media in Chandigarh from September 21 to 26.

This six-day event aims to view, discuss and understand the concerns of the contemporary artists, exploring new avenues, mediums and possibilities in visual arts with the discerning art lovers, critics, historians and students.

Some of the most important signatures of the Indian Art, with presence in the prestigious and well-known Museums, Biennales, Triennales and other International platforms are getting together at this platform. There will be lectures-slide shows, panel discussion and exhibition of art works from the collection of Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

Participating artists, art critics, historians, editors of art journals are-Bharti Kher (artist), Sudarshan Shetty (artist), Thukral and Tagra (Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra, artists), Raqs Media Collective (Deebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, artists), Alka Pande (art historian and curator), Rahul Bhattacharya (editor, Arts & Deal), Sheba Chhachhi (photographer), Vibha Galhotra (artist), Awadesh Misra (editor), Kala Dirgha (International Journal of Visual Arts), Rajesh Kumar Vyas (art historian).

On the first five days till September 25, there will be lectures and slide shows at 5.30 pm daily at the auditorium of Govt Museum and Art Gallery-10, by the most well known New Art Media practitioners namely—Bharti Kher, Sudarshan Shetty, Thukral and Tagra, Raqs Media Collective, and art historian Alka Pande.

There will be a panel discussion on the last day of the workshop, September 26 with Alka Pande, Awadhesh Misra, Rahul Bhattacharya, Rajesh Kumar Vyas, Sheba Chhachhi and Vibha Galhotra.

There exhibition of art works will be at Gallery of Government Museum and Art Gallery-10 from 10 am and 7 pm. — TNS

Game point

Kabbadi -the traditional, rustic game is the theme of this new Punjabi flick being produced in the region called Kabbadi Ik Mohhabat. The cast of this movie released the music at Press Club-27 on Saturday.

A lot of known Bollywood singers have given their voice of the movie, Oscar award winner Sukhwinder Singh, Uditya Narayan, Mika, Labh Janjhua, Sadna Sargam, Mamta and Shipra. The lyrics of the film are written by Upinder Pal Wariach, Manpreet Tiwana, Sham Balkar and Garry Grewal. With five songs in the album, Hausle buland is the theme song sung by Sukhwinder Singh, Kabbadi khed hai Punjabiyan di is by Mika.

The screenplay and dialogues of this movie are written by known Punjabi actor and comedian Rana Ranbir.

The film revolves around the game of Kabbaddi with romance, comedy, action and drama woven around.

The film's main cast includes Dev Kharoud, a known theatre artist, Hashar fame Gurleen Chopra, Punjabi cinema's known face Guggu Gill, Deep Dhillon, and Punjab's one of the favourite comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi. Kartar Cheema, Balkaran Brar, Rajesh Sharma and Gagan Gill are some of the new faces introduced by the film.

The film is produced by a new young team under the banner of Jattitude Entertainment, a new venture of Patiala's young producers like Bobby Sidhu, Avneet Kakku, Vikas Puri and Gaurav Sandhu. The movie is being directed by Gurinder Dimpy, a well known Patiala based experienced director. — TNS

Holy walk
SD Sharma

‘Visionary gurus, saints and sages had been influencing the lives of the people and society with their inspiring utterances as enshrined in holy epics or books. But it is imperative to know, analyse and imbibe those ideals for leading a peaceful life," observed author Harsimrat Kaur whose fourth book Parvar-e-Sarbans Dani was released at Punjab Kala Bhavan under the aegis of Punjabi Lekhak Sabha.

The city-based author Harsimrat, a postgraduate in Punjabi and History, like any aspiring poet, started her literary voyage with poetry book Koonaj de Bol and later Sandali Dhaghe… But the urge for meaningful literary creations aimed to serve the society you live in grows as one grows in life. That holy spirit of commitment inspired her to sculpt a book Darghah Parvaan Darvesh documenting the life history of 36 saint poets and guru sahiban whose divine words are enshrined in the holy Guru Granth Sahib.

Her latest book, released by Punjab Arts Council vice-chairperson Harvinder Singh Khalsa, is dedicated to the eternal glory of Guru Gobind Singh whose supreme sacrifices must be emulated by young generation lost in drugs. 

Fun unlimited

The International Institute of Fashion Technology (IIFT) Mohali organised a fresher's party at Chandigarh Ashok, near open hand monument, Zirakpur road on Friday. Students from different streams like fashion designing, garment manufacturing techniques GMT, apparel merchandising AMM and post graduate students had a ball of a time dancing to glory.

Students showcased their talent and innovation through fashion show on the theme Bollywood 1960's and played different entertainment games like treasure hunt , talent round and solo dance performance. —TNS

Fad & fat
Fast food is one major factor responsible for obesity among children in urban India
Ashima Sehajpal

It's a vicious circle where the first negative factor leads to the second, and so on till the circle is complete. If the child is obese, he will find it difficult to participate in any physical activity for long, resulting in more weight gain and thereby making the child prone to lifestyle diseases like hypertension, increased levels of cholesterol and diabetes at an early age.

The situation is grim in the urban areas, since children's intake of junk food is more and physical activity is far less. A survey recently conducted by Edusports, a sports promoting company, claimed the same. It asserted that 25 per cent children above the age of eight in urban India are obese.

Says Sunita Malhotra, senior dietician, PGI, "The number of obese children in the next few years will increase further if necessary lifestyle changes are not introduced in time. We can't shut down the fast food joints operating in the city and that leaves us with the only choice of planning children's diets."

She holds junk food responsible for obesity in children. It's a fad to have a pizza, pasta, sandwich or Chinese cuisine. "For children, it's a status symbol to get some international dish in the tiffin box. They certainly don't want to carry a chapatti with some vegetable. Thus the mindset needs to be changed to develop healthy eating habits in kids."

Made of refined floor and trans-fats in huge quantities, junk food do not provide enough energy to children to aid them participate in rigorous physical activities. Informs Madhu Sharma, senior dietician, RD, GMCH-32, "Children love to have soft drinks. These empty calorie drinks do provide energy for some time but don't have any nutritional value. Instead, in some cases they may even cause osteoporosis (weakening of bones)."

Aggressive marketing by food joints and option of home delivery make children prefer junk food to home-cooked meals.

Packaged food is as good or bad as the junk food. "Though on every packet of potato chips, it's mentioned that they don't contain any trans-fat, it isn't true. Trans-fat is a chemical reaction that the oil undergoes after cooking food in the same oil. It's not feasible for manufacturers to cook a packet of chips in fresh oil," informs Madhu.

She adds that children devoting a lot of time to TV viewing and playing games on the computer are at a higher risk of gaining weight. "Junk food is also known as the convenient food because parents need not cook to feed their children. Also, they get so addicted to TV and computer that they don't seek parent's attention, both factors lead to weight gain. Parents' role is thus indispensable," she says. Madhu suggests that parents from time to time should meet dieticians to know what should comprise their child's diet to maintain the required weight.

The increasing number of queries in gyms about weight loss programmes for school- going children also indicates that obesity is on the rise. Says Gaurav Sanotra, manager, Elemention Club, "There are no such programmes for kids but we do offer them the option of indigenous activities meant for children to burn calories the healthy way." He adds that joining a gym can lead to the weakening of joints in children, which means the only way to counter obesity is right diet and a lot of physical activity.



Weekend was once considered to be an outdoor fun break from a stressful week, but a recent study has revealed that the sedentary lifestyle is taking its toll on outdoor activities. The research talks about children spending excessive time in from of a TV or computer screen rather than indulging in outdoor activities.

"A sedentary lifestyle has become one of the major public health problems in developed countries", said Juan P. Rey-Lopez, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Zaragoza (UNIZAR). "During the week, one-third of teenagers said the watched more than two hours of television per day. At weekends, this figure exceeds 60%", he added further.

The study analyzed the prevalence of sedentary behaviour in 3,278 adolescents (1,537 boys and 1,741 girls aged between 12.5 and 17.5) in 10 European cities. The teenagers indicated the amount of time they spent in front of the television, computer and games consoles, the amount of time spent connected to the Internet and the amount of time spent studying outside school hours.

The researchers also studied the availability of computers, televisions and consoles at home and in teenagers' bedrooms, and their impact on whether they watched too much television (more than two hours per day). "Our findings support the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics not to put televisions in teenagers' bedrooms, in order to reduce the amount of time they spend watching the television", says Rey-López.

He said that keeping a games console or television in the bedroom triples the risk of exceeding the health recommendations to not spend more than two hours per day watching television. The results are published in the July issue of the journal Preventive Medicine. — ANI

Work it out

An Australian study has revealed that the longer someone stays away from work, the worse his or her health becomes. The report presented in Adelaide by the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine said the biggest health risk posed by workplace injuries is not returning to work quickly enough. The tendency towards a sedentary lifestyle after a workplace injury, and the loss of identity and social status produced by long-term worklessness, massively increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and suicide.

The risks associated with not working were higher than working in the most dangerous construction or forestry occupations and were equivalent to smoking multiple packets of cigarettes daily, contributing to elevated mortality rates. "Not working for long periods of time is one of the greatest known risks to public health," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted the co-author of the report Dr Robin Chase.

"It reduces life expectancy to a greater extent than cardiovascular disease. For example, suicide among young men out of work for more than six months increases 40-fold. It increases six-fold among the population more generally," Chase said.

Conversely, workers who return to work soon after suffering an injury have far better health. The authors of the report found that many people with mild to moderate musculoskeletal problems, such as back pain, were being wrongly certified unfit fit for work for long periods.

This was despite the fact that most of these health conditions could be accommodated in a willing workplace with the right support. "When doctors give people a script for medication they'll weigh the side effects against the benefits," the other co-author of the report, Dr Mary Wyatt, said.

"But we don't do that when time off work is proscribed. After all, people take holidays all the time right? But there are side effects and they are quite profound. "We need a community approach - it's the guys down the pub who need to say: 'What do we need to do to help you get back to work mate?' and the doctor working hard with workers to figure out a solution," she stated. — ANI

Straight from the heart

Deposition of fat in the arteries of the heart is the principal reason of coronary artery disease. Presently, state of the art treatment facilities are available for the cure of the blockage caused by this deadly disease. However, these methods are not only invasive and costly; they do not prevent its recurrence. A very common inquiry from the cardiologist treating the patients of coronary artery disease is regarding the reversal of the obstruction of the coronary arteries. Patients wish to know if the disease could be reversed by any therapy or if there is any treatment.

Most of the patients who suffer from this dreadful disease are not aware of its presence. In one study, it was found that as many as 60% to 85% patients who die of a sudden heart attack did not get any warning sign or symptom. Another significant inference had been that the majority of the heart attacks occur in patients who suffer from mild atherosclerosis. Most of these fatal events are caused by rupture of these mild fatty deposits. Such mild atherosclerosis is extremely common. By an estimate, 20 to 40 per cent of United States middle-aged population is suffering from mild atherosclerosis. Discovering methods to detect early mild atherosclerosis or stabilizing the fatty deposits to avoid rupture would be the best solution of this disease.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle by quitting smoking, effective stress management program, regular exercise and eating heart healthy diet help in reversing atherosclerosis. In recent years, it has also been observed that atherosclerosis could be reversed by keeping blood cholesterol at an acceptable level and lowering intake of refined sugars as well as saturated and trans fats. Drugs, which help in reducing the atherosclerotic burden on the vascular system, are available. These drugs are known as statins and many angiographic clinical trials have demonstrated their effectiveness in reducing the fatty deposits in the arteries of the body. The salutary effect of this is not only reduction in the risk of heart attack, but also of stroke, peripheral vascular disease, eye disease and kidney dysfunction.

The key to reverse heart disease is restraint. It is important to curtail those calories rich snacks with high content of saturated and trans fats. Lipid lowering drugs do have an important role to play in this regard and must be taken with recommendations from the doctor. The good news is that coronary-artery blockages are not irredeemable and a healthy diet, drugs and a good exercise programme can reverse the atherosclerosis.

(The writer is a city based cardiologist.)

Spice up
Lock kiya jaye

Looking good is not just a female prerogative. Men also know the importance of the appearance…that looking one's best imparts self-confidence. Men's grooming products and salon care have grown at a phenomenal pace over the last decade. Men are going in for salon facials and are as conscious of the latest hair trends as women.

Men are probably more preoccupied with their hair than their skin. The look of the hair is not just determined by the hairstyle, but also the condition of the hair. Healthy, well- groomed hair requires regular care, with appropriate products. The air pollution and grime in urban air means that the hair needs frequent washing to maintain its look. The hair can be washed daily, especially in humid weather, provided one uses very little shampoo and rinses well with water.

Dandruff is a common hair problem, while hair loss is more common among men than women, progressing to balding in many cases. In many cases of hair loss, hormonal factors are considered responsible. Herbal hair tonics and clinical treatments have helped to check hair loss and dandruff. It is also essential to be selective about the hair grooming products one uses, like gels and creams.

There is no doubt that the hair makes such a tremendous difference to our appearance. In fact, finding the right hairstyle is probably the first step to good grooming.

Recently, very short hair was in fashion for men and is still "in." Short hair is easy to care for, especially during the summer months. Men have found that short hair helps in cases of hair loss, or a receding hairline. It makes thinning hair look less obvious. Some celebrities have even gone for the totally bald look. As far as short hair styles are concerned, crew cuts were also in fashion for some time. The crew cut suits people with an oval face shape. If you have big ears, or long nose, or a very large head, avoid crew cuts, as these features will seem too obvious.

Among short hairstyles, the spiked look is still popular, especially among younger men. It is worn short at the sides and the back. The top layers are left long and are then styled with gel or wax into a spiked look. It can also be styled into a textured look, which is becoming popular.

A trend that is catching on in short hairstyles is also with the hair worn short at the sides and back, while the hair is long on top of the head. The hair on top has a layered cut and is all brought forwards towards the forehead. The texture is rugged and it suits men with wavy hair. The style is reminiscent of the Regency era.

Among the trends in men's hairstyles that are predicted is the fringe, also worn with short hair. The fringe may be worn in varied lengths and not just long or sparse. Another trend that is predicted will be taking us back to the 60s, with the hair worn in the classic style. In this, the hair is worn short, with a side parting and slicked back neatly. It's a very traditional style worn by the Hollywood stars of the 60s, like Cary Grant for instance.

Another look that one can have in men's hairstyles is the slightly tousled look. For this medium length hair is better. The hair does not look obviously gelled and "set" into a style, but has a slightly careless look about it. Of course, it is not really natural, but styled to look that way. Hair styling products are used to achieve the look.

As far as hair colour is concerned, streaked hair has gone out of fashion. Subtle, darker and more natural hair colours are the trend. Finally, one has to find the style that suits one's looks. 

Body wise
How much is too much?
Sachin Kalra

Even healthy foods taken in excess can lead to health problems. If we eat only healthy, fresh, whole food but consume more than the body needs (in terms of our energy requirements), we'll get fat and thus unhealthy. What food we eat is a problem, but for many of us, how much we eat is a bigger one. Here is a list of healthy foods we can go wrong with. So take care.

Fruit juice (natural/no added sugar): Fruit juices are often consumed for their health benefits. And yes, they are much better than the sugar-laden soft drinks available in the market. But they are only good in moderation. We need to keep in mind that a lot of fruit goes in making one glass of juice and in the process all the fibre is lost. So basically fruit juices have a higher concentration of sugar and calories. So, do not substitute juice for water and gulp down gallons of it thinking it is healthy. An occasional glass is a good idea, but too much is an absolute no.

Seeds and nuts: Healthy, yes! But not if you're eating a bucket of cashewnuts before lunch! Nuts are a quality natural food, but they are also very high in fat (good fat) and calories. When it comes to eating nuts, weigh or count what you're putting in your mouth. Unconscious eating of nuts is not a great strategy when it comes to creating and maintaining optimum health.

Salads: Good health, vitality and full of goodness, right? If only it were true. Salads can be tricky. As a rule, the only salad you want to eat is the one you make yourself with fresh ingredients and little or no dressing. Not all, but many salads that you buy are laced with high-fat dressings and high-sugar sauces. A super yummy Caesar salad can easily contain 50-60 gm of fat! Be aware of the hidden ingredients. Just because its salad does not always mean it is healthy.

Pre-packed yogurt: Generally this is a food that people consider "healthy". However, unless you choose the plain flavour, or make it at home, you'll be getting a lot of sugar. Check the label and you'll find on average about 20 to 25 grams of sugar in a measly 6 ounces. Avoid any yogurts with over 10 - 15 gm of sugar per serving, and if sugar appears in the first 3-5 ingredients, then choose another brand. If you want to have the sugar variety, remember it's more like dessert than a healthy snack.

Cereal: Here's a food that someone can easily overeat. A serving is often only ¾ cup, which means most people tend to have at least two servings at breakfast. Plus, cereal is often eaten as a snack as well, and a few handfuls can quickly add up. Many cereals that tout themselves as being healthy have more sugar in them then a candy bar. So choose carefully and opt for

Low-fat and fat-free food: When fat is eliminated from food, often the flavour disappears too. To prevent a low-fat food from being too bland, manufacturers regularly add extra sugar to ensure a good taste. So, while the fat grams may be low, there are plenty of calories because of the extra sugar.

Sports drinks: Basically coloured water with sugar. Unless you're an athlete who needs to replenish your depleted glycogen stores because you've just completed a massive training session, drink some water instead. A once in a while is okay, but don't over do this.


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