Quadrush 2010, a quad bike challenge spread over more than 15 km of testing trails, will kick off on November 27
Jasmine Singh

If you thought you had already seen the adrenaline rush full throttle, here’s your chance to see it go on for hours…to see it go off road, wheelie, maneouvre a little, get back on the track, revv it up again and shoot for the finish spot. Here is your chance to catch the adrenaline action at Kikar Lodge, as they host the first Quadrush 2010 - a quad bike challenge over more than 15 km of testing trails on November 27.

The game play of man and machine and how best they can gel with each other in a nasty terrain will be a different adventure altogether. The Kikar Lodge, a private forest reserve spread over 1,800 acres, will for be the host for the event where ATVs will raise a cloud of dust for motorsport lovers. The organisers Kikar Lodge, Adventure Wheels, Himalayan Motor Sports and the Only Network, map the route in detail for adventure sport.

“This is the first time that such an event is being held in India and we plan to make Quadrush a permanent feature on the adventure sports calendar,” shares Amarinder Singh Chopra, CEO, The Kikar Lodge. “We have participants from Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat and Bengaluru who would race across three different trails called Chilli 1,2 and 3. All safety instructions will be followed and the participants would also go through scrutiny before the competition.”

Sounds exciting? It sure does, as the participants will try to control their ATVs, which are believed to have a mind of their own. Who knows it better than the two guys who know the machine in and out – Ashish Behl, CEO, Adventure Wheels, and Rahul Soni from India. “In addition to the skill, participants will need to focus on tactics and strategy as the overall competition is based on time and trail difficulty,” they echo. Do you read anything between the lines? Of course! “Burning rubber, and grinding the engine at full speed is not the idea, getting the machine to finish the track is,” smiles Gobindar Chopra, owner of the The Kikar Lodge. You now know why motorsports is fun!

Being a first-of-its-kind competition, The Kikar Lodge is all equipped to handle the fun, excitement and adventure. For those who don’t have an ATV, the organisers rent it for Rs 10,000. As Gobindar Chopra says, “we see how much people enjoy motorsports. This event is an initiative to popularise it. So much so, we would want to develop Quadrush as a regular feature by trying to hold two competitions a year.”

At a registration fee of Rs 30,000, which includes a two-night stay at the lodge, participants will compete in four classes based on the type and power of Quad bike. Group 1 will comprise two-wheel drive bikes spilt into classes of 150cc to 200 cc, and 250cc to 400cc. Group 2, on the other hand, being a four-wheel drive bikes splits into 300 cc to 450cc, and 500cc and above.

A shy-looking Raj Singh Rathore observes everything from a distance. It is only when Amarinder tells us that he is the first ATV rider to have driven the vehicle in a competition that we know what makes for those glittering eyes!

Blue Print
Parbina Rashid

What can tick an artistic mind—landscape, cityscape, people? For Robert A Schaefer Jr, a freelance photographer and architect from New York, it can be anything—concrete, surrealism and hold your breath, even horror flicks.

Robert A Schaefer Jr
Robert A Schaefer Jr

Junior explains how. Much before concrete happened to him during his architectural studies first at Auburn University in Alabama, his native state and than Technische University at Munich, Germany, Robert was an avid film-goer, especially horror films. His fascination for the surrealistic world continued and still gets reflected in bits and pieces in his frames, like the interplay between light and shade comes with a mystic allure and the layering lends the infinite depth.

All set to exhibit his photographs, 39 frames in total, at the Government Museum and Art Gallery-10 which opens on Thursday, Robert sums up his artistic journey in two phases—post-visualisation and pre-visualisation. “Post-visualisation was the period during late 70s and 80s when I introduced lots of tricks to the print in the dark room. Like switching on a bright light in the dark room for about three seconds to get mistiness in the film. But I have outgrown that phase and now it’s all about pre-visualisation, touching up happens at the spot,” he explains.

For his Chandigarh series, which is being exhibited along with a few frames from Germany, especially Munich in the 70s (the exhibition is being sponsored by Gothe-Institut, Max Muller Bhavan-New Delhi), Robert has chosen his all-time favourite cyanotype process to capture The Open Hand, Capitol Complex and Secretariat building in Chandigarh, and Jantar Mantar and Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. Cyanotype process, he explains, is the process of placing the negative on top of a paper with a sheet of glass to weigh it down and put under ultra-violet light such as the sun or black light. The result is a monochromatic, Prusian blue photograph.

“It’s an old process invented in 1842 by Sir John Herschel in England. I am using it for this India series, which I call Architectural Blue because of the resultant colour, blue, holds for India—it’s role in mythology, the indigo textiles the relationship that India has to the 19th century process (as visible in the collections of the Alkazi Foundation in Delhi.),” he gives his reason for the blue prints. It takes us a little while to grasp it, specially the mythology part, but then it does make sense.

The seed for this exhibition was sown by his friend Elizabeth Rogers, based in Delhi, a year back. “We struggled to take permission to shoot the landmarks here in Corbusier’s city, a city I was dying to city ever since I studied Corbusier during my college days,” he answers.

Needless to say he marvels at the use of concrete to build a city as organised as any world-class city, it’s straight lines and would like to come back again to do some more shooting. As far as this visit goes, his four-day visit is action packed—an inauguration of his exhibition in the morning, a talk on cyanotype process at the Government College of Art in the afternoon, a workshop at the Chandigarh College of Architecture the next day, followed by the screening of a film by Manu Rewal titled Le Corbusier in India on Friday evening at Government Museum and Art Gallery.

Lights, camera…cut

Actress Neha Dhupia is seen in an insignificant role in director Vipul Shah's just released Action Replayy, but the actor dismisses it saying the part wasn't that bad when it was offered to her. She is more excited about her next release where she plays a dacoit. "It happens. May be it wasn't so bad when it was offered to me. But in any case it was a guest appearance. Vipul is a friend and I did it for him. It was a very friendly appearance," Neha, 30 said.

The former Miss India is now looking forward to the release of Phas Gaya Re Obama, slated for a Nov 26 release. Neha has donned the role of a dacoit, Munni Madam, in the film directed by Subhash Kapoor and believes doing such challenging characters gives a new dimension to any actress.

"I never imagined playing the part. It was only his faith. It's a very challenging role and I thought there are so many actresses who have the potential to play the part. It gives a new dimension to any female actor. "But he (the director) wanted me to do it and then we got into rehearsals. I think that I am very urban, a city girl. Once I got into this, I started thinking apart. I don't know what started playing in my mind," said Neha.

Phas Gaya Re Obama is a comedy film set against the backdrop of global recession that originated in the US. "I am not the heroine of the film. I am one of the boys, the hero of the film. It's literally like that. I played a male part in a female form," she added. Apart from acting, Neha also makes her singing debut with the film and she doesn't rule out the possibility of lending her voice in future. "I had to just rap four lines. It was blown out of proportion by the media. I had said no to this song, but my director was insistent as he wanted a husky voice. And so it happened. I took six hours to finish it.

"I am always a kind of person who pushes the envelope. You will never see me doing the same thing. So if it's a rap this time, that doesn't mean I will sing; and just because it's a rap, it also doesn't mean I won't sing," said Neha.

Would she cut a music album too? "I don't have patience to scratch a CD. I think my biggest struggle in being a musician would be sitting in a closed studio." After her crowning as a beauty queen in 2002, Neha donned the grease paint and forayed into movies with 2003 Ajay Devgn-starrer Qayamat: City Under Threat. After that she was seen in controversial films Julie and Sheesha as well as commercial hits like Kyaa Kool Hai Hum, Garam Masala, Singh Is Kinng and Shootout at Lokhandwala.

She also tried her hand in non-commercial movies like Delhii Heights, Mithya and Ek Chalis Ki Last Local. The actor, who has experimented with both mainstream and off-beat movies simultaneously, believes one should not miss any opportunity to show one's acting skills. "The fun part of being an actor is that I get different roles. I am lucky. And most importantly, I feel I should attempt everything now. You have one life, one career and very few choices," said Neha. — IANS

Alternative theory

Hollywood heartthrob Robert Pattinson has found an alternative profession if his Twilight fame dries up. The actor would love to present Antiques Roadshow in which experts value heirlooms. The British hunk, who shot to fame as Edward Cullen in the vampire franchise is a fan of the BBC Sunday night programme currently hosted by Fiona Bruce and would jump at the chance to present it.

"I don't think there was a kid back home who didn't watch Antiques Roadshow with their parents on a Sunday night... I used to love it, I think secretly every kid did, but it's not the coolest thing to admit. I love the faces of the posh people when they think that something is going to be valued at more than it is, and when it's under they are gutted (disappointed)," said the 24-year-old actor.

"I also love the faces of the genuine people who have found something in their loft. When they find out what it is worth they are genuinely delighted and you know it's going to change their life." "I would love to be presenting the show when some little old dear from Burnley (in Lancashire, England) comes in with a genuine Picasso or Rembrandt worth 5 million pounds," he added. — PTI 

Picture imperfect

Hollywood actor Natalie Portman hopes to give an 'imperfect' performance as she believes the characters she portrays onscreen are rarely perfect.The Star Wars actor feels her job as an actor is not to be perfect but instead the opposite as the people she portrays are not well-rounded individuals.

"I just wanna do the best I can. I'm demanding of myself. But perfection in acting is very different. It's imperfection you're looking for, because you're portraying people who are far from perfect," said the 29-year-old actor.

Portman credits the time studying psychology at Harvard University which helped her get into the skin of the lesbian character for her upcoming Darren Aronfosky movie Black Swan.

"I think university taught me how hard I can work. You know, the first time you get your reading list for the week, and there's, like, a thousand pages to read in four days, your stomach drops. But then you see that you can do that amount of work, and take what you can take from it, and create your own things from these other materials," she said.

"And that's really helpful when you're doing something like Black Swan, to have all these resources, and work that hard, and throw yourself into it that much. It gave me the confidence that I could do that," she added. – PTI 

Million dollar babes

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey

Despite youth trumping experience, Oprah Winfrey has again been named the highest-grossing celebrity of last year.

The chat show queen Oprah Winfrey earned 203 million pounds to keep her place at the top. According to the annual Forbes list, Beyonce was second on the list with 56 million pounds, while 28-year-old Britney Spears was third with 41million pounds.Lady Gaga was fourth on the list with an income of 40million pounds, pushing Madonna, into fifth.

Additionally, Cyrus, 17, is the youngest star in the top 10, earning 30 million pounds. Here's is the list of Hollywood's top ten rich women: 1. Oprah Winfrey-203m pounds 2. Beyonce-56m pounds 3.Britney Spears-41m pounds 4.Lady Gaga-40m pounds 5.Madonna-37.5m pounds 6.Sandra Bullock-37m pounds 7.Ellen De Generes-35m pounds 8.Miley Cyrus-30m pounds 9.Taylor Swift-29m pounds 10. Judge Judy-29m pounds. – ANI 

Shaadi, Break ke Baad

Bollywood actor Imran Khan will wed his long-time fiancee Avantika Malik in January next year.The marriage will be a very private, court marriage in the second week of January, sources close to the actor said."Everything about the wedding has been kept under wraps," they said.Imran took inspiration from his Break ke Baad director Danish Aslam to make up his mind on how to solemnise his wedding.Danish had a court marriage with actor Shruti Seth that took place last month.

When contacted, Imran said, "I am from a Muslim family and Avantika belongs to a Hindu background and I personally didn't want to commit our wedding to one religion or another.We felt the best way for us was that we would keep it neutral and have a court marriage. Even Danish, my director of Break Ke Baad was in a same situation and had a court marriage."Break Ke Baad starring Imran and Deepika is a romantic comedy and Danish's debut directorial project, releasing on November 26. — PTI 

Glorified presence

Veteran actor Harrison Ford, who has teamed up with Diane Keaton for the first time in Morning Glory, is overjoyed to finally get a chance to work with her.The two acting legends "never met" in the 40 years they've worked in Hollywood.

"I had not met Diane before, strangely enough, although we'd been in the same business for about 200 years, we had never met. So, I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with her," said Ford.

"I really have admired what she had done in the past, and it was a real pleasure to work with her, she's very quick, very smart, very willing," he added. — IANS

Model moves
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

In a fashion-conscious world where everyone is trying to make a mark, modelling has become an obvious choice for a career. And helping youngsters achieve their goal are event management companies who are hosting modelling talent hunts left, right and centre!

Sanjay Kapur (middle) with his team
Sanjay Kapur (middle) with his team

On a balmy Wednesday noon we met another set of winners from the recently concluded Geetanjali India International Model Hunt 2010 (Rishika Shukla, Pranav Mishra, Aditya Varma and Pankaj Siwach from our city beautiful). While the USP of this model hunt is the tag of 'International', managing director of Riya communications Inc (the man behind the show), Sanjay Kapur says, "Our model hunt is not for the Indian ramp, our winners will be trained to walk the international ramp."

On the advisory board of Couture Fashion Week, New York, Seattle, and Nova Fashion week, Sanjay started his journey of talent hunts with a Bollywood star in the US and Canada some four years back. He was also the man behind Indian International Fashion Week-2009 and now will host the second season of India International Fashion Week in New Delhi. And how is his fashion week different? "The fashion week we have is on international lines. Last year also I had just two Indian designers showcasing their line, rest were all international designers. Our models too were from abroad and I had no Indian model walking the ramp, but this year we will include the winners of our talent show." On why didn't the show have Indian designers, he says, "I want only those designers in our fashion shows who can present the pure Indian craft, not the westernised Indian clothing."

Presenting the models was not his only aim of coming to the city; he was also here to announce an entertainment privilege card, ClubRuby. "This is a club for the elite where we would be hosting events for the members that would include artistes from the field of art, music, fashion and entertainment." And what would be the membership fee? "Approximately Rs 10,000 for a couple."

When he talks about all things international, ask him what's the difference between Indian and international models and he says, "For the males, Indian model industry wants a masculine figure but internationally they need to have a fit body and a chocolate face. For females, 5'8'' is the minimum height and again a fit body rather than a lean structure."

Model talk

Rishika Shukla got to know about the talent hunt from Facebook. Says the former Miss Delhi, "It's a great learning experience." Has she walked the ramp for any known name? "I am still being trained, but yes I have bagged a small role in the latest movie Band Baja Barat, where we have Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma in lead."

Adds our boy from the city Pankaj Siwach, a final-year B.Tech student, "It was through the Internet that I got to know about the talent hunt and I was the only one selected from the city." And how was the learning experience? "From October 16 to 22 we had the finale in Delhi and from walking to eating in style, we learnt almost everything that is needed to survive in the world of fashion." Having bagged the title of Mr Chandigarh 2010, our boy now wants to walk the ramp for some known international and national names.

For better climes
Ashima Sehajpal

Left,Henrik Valeur and Right Nitin Das

To each his own, if Ramninder Chowdhery prefers to work at the grassroots level, there's a Nitin Das who uses modern technology and popular mediums to reach out to people with the same message. The league also includes names of Ram Boojh, who raises a demand for increased participation of the corporate sector, and Henrik Valeur, who promotes the concept of green buildings. In between, what remains constant is the ultimate goal to have a cleaner and greener environment.

The green campaign continued with the same zest on the Day 2 of the 'Global Environmental and Climate Change' seminar being held at MCMDAV College where we had lectures from Nitin Das and Henrik Valeur on Wednesday.

Green warrior

We have this tendency to take the path of least resistance, but the same doesn't apply to the young management postgraduate from IIM, Lucknow, Nitin Das. Corporate sector or a lucrative package didn't lure him, instead he aimed to be, what he terms as, a creative entrepreneur. Standing true to the term, Nitin has to his credit several documentaries that focus on environmental issues, the most popular being 'Enchanted Lands and Fables'. "The series targets children as audience. The short films are made on the lines of Harry Potter. You first generate interest and then inform," he says. The documentaries have in the backdrop fragile ecosystems recognised by the UN. Released on the Internet, the films enjoy a huge audience. "The last film uploaded on the Net received more than 27,000 hits."

Besides directing films, what keeps him busy is conducting seminars on environmental issues in schools around the world. "India has a smaller carbon footprint as compared to countries in the West but that doesn't mean we limit our concern as per geographical boundaries. Global warming affects all individuals and a worldwide campaign is the only solution." He is also taking up the cause of environment through popular social networking sites. "Last week, we created a Facebook page that already has 150 members. It updates information on problems people are facing in different parts of the world due to climate change, and initiatives takes by individuals and organisations to fix them."

Nitin feels that more than the traditional media of books and TV, new media has more impact, "In the former case, you just sit and watch what is happening around but in the latter you interact with people who share your interest and work on solutions." And the process has already started!

Future tense

A water-harvesting plant inside a building gives it the tag of green building and same goes for the structure that has a few solar plants fixed on the roof. Even any glass building that lets in sunshine qualifies as a green building. But Ask Henrik Valeur, an architect and curator from Denmark and he terms these buildings as mere 'green wash'. "Just as we have our houses white-washed, these have green components in bits and pieces." He cites the example of Mastar, the green city of Abu Dhabi to explain the point, "People call it green because of the solar plants, water-heaters and other such factors but they forget that it's made up from funds generated by selling oil. Will you still tag it green?" he questions. Henrik believes that an eco-friendly building in real context is one that from the very raw material, construction, use and even disposal doesn't cost anything to the environment. "We all should start following vernacular architecture, where we use material that is readily available." As for the City beautiful, the architect has mixed reactions. "It's the best city in the world because of greenery. It gives the feel that nature and urbanisation are integrated perfectly. However, the roads of the city are designed in a way that support car traffic, which means discouraging bicycle use and pedestrians." Which is so true!

Pollute less

After the Copenhagen conference on climate change, a lot has changed for India. It's in the list of countries that adds maximum to world pollution levels. In fact, what's most challenging for the country is striking balance between development and minimum pollution levels at the same time. "Still 40 per cent of our population is below the poverty line. If we apply breaks to our industrialisation, it will further affect the figures," Ram Boojh, Programme Specialist at UNESCO, India, shares the concerns. The solution is in corporate responsibility. "The government sector, due to its own compulsions, can't reconstruct eco-friendly buildings. The corporate sector, however, should ensure that they tap the solar energy and have water-harvesting systems in place." The shopping malls, he adds, should de-carbonise and by that he means that they should generate electricity by using solar power.

Treasure trove
SD Sharma

Tere khat ko mulaqaat-e-mukkamal kyon na mein samjhun/ Teri tehreer mein bhi toh lazzat-e-taqreer hoti hai. The essence of this Urdu couplet from poet Sahir Sialkoti finds true reflection in Ludhiana-based Amarjit Singh Hayer's latest book Chitthian Mitran Diyan. 

The book is a compilation of letters from his friends from all walks of life and covers a span of 60 long years.

Veteran academician Amarjit Singh Hayer has been former professor and head of department of mass communication at Punjab Agriculture University at Ludhiana. After editing many books for PAU, including Maker of Modern on MS Randhawa, he wrote a short story collection titled Dabbi agg da sek in Punjabi before this compilation of letters.

The 172-page book includes Punjabi translation of letters from Raymond Griffith, Joan Moss, Sonia Bathla, Mulk Raj Anand, besides other friends. "The content is on a wide variety of subjects," says Hayer. 

Bond with the best

A recent UK survey has found out that one-fourth of Britons are still in contact with their best buddies from primary school. The survey by snack maker Pom-Bear revealed differences in friendship patterns across the United Kingdom.

It also showed that the average Briton counted only five of their current acquaintances as 'close friends'.

Women are more likely to keep the same friends as they went through life, with three in ten still close to their first best friend, compared with two out of 10 men.

But they also appeared more selective when it came to who they counted as friends, with men averaging one more close friend among their immediate circle than women.

Four out of ten in the North East are still close to their first best friend from school, compared with just two out of ten in the North West and the South West.

Londoners claimed to have the largest circle of friends as adults, with more than six each, compared with fewer than four for those in the South West. — ANI

Cheers to misery?

A new study from the Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University has revealed that children who are unhappy at school or home are much more likely to turn to sex and alcohol. "As young as 13 years old, children who drink alcohol are much more likely to have had sex. The more they drink, the higher the risks of early sexual behaviour. However, here we have looked at the relationships, not just between alcohol consumption and sexual behaviour, but also at how these behaviors relate to their feelings about school and home life," said Mark Bellis.

The study found that children stating a dislike of school had 2.5-fold higher odds of having any sexual relationship. Dislike of school also strongly predicted alcohol use.

"Such children can become disengaged from both family and educational support and risk progressing to sexually transmitted infections, teenage pregnancies or becoming an alcohol related casualty at an accident and emergency unit," Bellis said.

"This study paints a clear picture that the children we most need to support are often the hardest to reach through conventional educational and parental routes." The study is reported in BioMed Central's open access journal Substance Abuse. — ANI

Don't worry, you're just 30
According to a recent study, you are busiest when you hit 30
 Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

Remember the advertisement where Jumping Jack (read Jitendra) of Bollywood promoted 30+ pill—a medicine that energises the body and mind? But have you ever wondered why an energiser at 30? Well, as they say, 30 is an age when the mind stabilises and body starts to destabilise; a survey also suggests that 33 is the age when we are the busiest in our lives, with hardly any time to balance our work, family and social activities. So much so, a third of 33-year-olds say they get an average of only five hours sleep a night, reports The Daily Mail.

We confirm the facts from some 30 plus folks in the city.

Says, Betty Nangia, naturopath, "It's a fact that 30 is the busiest stage of our lives. The family is growing, career can't miss out, you want to achieve more and well this is the age to prove yourself. When all spheres are so demanding this is sure the busiest time of life."

Calling it a mid-life crisis a colleague says, "This is a stage when you don't know what you want from life. You are doing what you wanted to do, or maybe not, but you keep yearning as you know you are not getting any younger."

Says Dilpreet Dang, a lecturer at a private university, "It's true that we are more occupied in the mid-thirties than before. And I guess the simple reason is increasing social and family responsibility. But I must say we must organise ourselves during busy periods in our lives to ensure that we can enjoy life and get the balance right. Too much work and no play should not be an option, but yes this age is a catch as your are neither young nor old to let things go."

Back to the survey, it counts 66 percent people claim that they spend more than 38 hours a week in the office and 60 per cent are forced to double bookwork and social appointments to try and squeeze everything in.

Ninety per cent of 33-year-old women in the survey said they thought they were busier than men of the same age. And agreeing to this, Ritika Malhotra a banker, says, "Working women are busier than men. They have the dual responsibility of home and work. And since most of the women decide to have babies during the thirties these days, the responsibility grows. For me, 30 has been a milestone since I have been shuttling left, right and centre."

But there's some good news too…once we hit 55 the pressures on our lives get easier - largely because our careers have peaked by then and children have left home. At that age, we have an average of one hour and 23 minutes to ourselves each day! 

Sext savvy

A research has found that teenagers who send more than 120 text messages a day are more likely to indulge in sex, drugs and alcohol. Excessive texting among teens - dubbed 'hyper-texting' and defined as sending more than 120 messages per school day-is linked to a higher occurrence of smoking, drinking, fighting and sexual relationships.

Researchers from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio found that compared to non-heavy texters, hyper-texting teens were 40 per cent more likely to have tried cigarettes and 94 per cent more likely to have been in a fight, the research showed.While researchers say they aren't suggesting that 'hyper-texting' leads to sex, drinking or drugs, the study concludes that a significant number of teens are very susceptible to peer pressure and also have permissive or absent parents, said Dr Scott Frank, the study's lead author."If parents are monitoring their kids' texting and soial networking, they're probably monitoring other activities as well," the Daily Mail quoted Frank as saying.The study found those who text at least 120 times a day are nearly three-and-a-half times more likely to have had sex than their peers who don't text that much.Frank presented the study at a meeting of the American Public Health Association in Denver. — ANI

Renee Writes
Self comes first

I am a 24-year-old girl sharing my flat with another girl of my age. We both come from small towns and have good jobs in the city. However, I feel my roommate is very jealous of me as she is constantly commenting on me. She is not attractive and also overweight. I feel my presence irks her, as she is all the time picking on me. My friends tell me to change the flat, but I seem to enjoy her company in some way as she indulges me with some good cooking and funny conversations at times. I feel sorry for her and think her negative remarks are from a complex. Yet I am not comfortable with the situation. I am confused, what should I do?

Ritika Khurana,Chandigarh

Life is all about living and that too on your own terms. Why should you be so confused? You should never hang on to a bad situation because of convenience. Your sense of self-worth is not good enough; you do not seem to have enough faith in yourself. If you enjoy her company it is a good reason to be together but beyond that if you are uncomfortable in your environment, it is not worthwhile to carry on living together. It seems you have outgrown the relationship and you are just hanging on to a situation, which is negating your self-worth. Please step out of this, as you will be happier. Anyone who is critical of your behavior is eroding your self-esteem in some way. We do not need such people in our lives. Gather the courage and just move on.

Healing touch

I am 27 and married for the last three years. Just recently I discovered that my husband is into drugs. It initially shocked me and I was wondering how to deal with it. Although he is very nice to me and his behavior is not offensive in any way, still I do not feel comfortable with the situation. When I tell him to stop, he asks me to join in! He says he gets a wonderful high and it helps him deal with stress. When I confront him, be threatens to leave. How should I deal with the situation? I am extremely disturbed and cannot concentrate on anything.

Suneeta Chauhan Shimla

It is very important that you sort out your situation. Drugs are not very pleasant; what begins as a stress-relieving habit later becomes a major addiction and a habit hard to break. It is very difficult to change. Try to understand the reason behind your husband's stress, why must he need the support of drugs in order to feel good about life and himself? Hear him out and don't join him in smoking. Please do some affirmations like - 'I want us both to be joyful human beings'; when we are happy with our lives, smoking and drugs do not enter our thought-stream', we are always on a natural high etc. Stop your negative thought-process and things will be sorted out.

Follow your heart

I am a 42-year-old single woman. I was married for a few years, but have been living on my own now since the last five years. I have a daughter who is eight-years-old and staying with her grandparents. I work in a bank and so far been fairly happy with my life. Recently, on a holiday to my cousin's place in Dubai I met an extremely good-looking man who showed a keen interest in me. We have spoken a few times over the phone. I am back in India and he wants to come and see me here. I would really like to meet him, but am very apprehensive as he is much younger to me. Please advice.

Alka Bhanot Ambala

Sometimes it is good to put our logical mind to rest and allow instincts to take over. Confusion only comes in when our logical sense says one thing and our heart says another. But there are some situations where we must not allow the head to rule over the heart. Pray to God to give you the right answers and then just follow. You are single, if a man is showing some interest in you and is decent give him a chance. Just because you have had one bad experience you cannot write off men completely. Let go of all apprehensions and meet him with an open mind. I am sure you can develop a healthy friendship initially. Even if it develops into something later, it will be good for you. Do not let age barriers hold you back. 

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