Getting e-BOOKed?
Albeit the trend of reading e-books is not as popular in India right now, the concept holds a lot of promise for the future
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

Every revolution that technology brings about creates that 'aha' moment in life! And books moving into the digital realm (read e-books) is one such moment. Trading ink for pixels, this is one technology that has changed the way the world reads and writes. However, e-books continue to get a lukewarm response in India.

With more than 15,000 publishing houses generating content in more than 24 regional languages, a report says India has a huge potential for e-books, especially post the IT boom, but lack of cheap e-readers and technological awareness among the people is hampering their growth here. We check out.

"India needs a technological revolution to take e-books to the masses," says Rohit Gupta, owner Pustak Mehal. "We are still a burgeoning market, people do download books that are for free but there is a general lack of transparency in the pricing of an e-book. Unlike printed books whose prices are verifiable at any store, the price of e-books is not verifiable on any website," he says. While the demand for e-books depends on factors such as increase in computer usage, Internet and mobile phones, as a publisher Gupta says e-books have eroded geographical barriers. His company is doing good business in foreign countries, but in India it will take a little time to pick-up. "Earlier we could not tell the world that we are doing well in writing too, but with e-books we are making our presence felt globally. Initially, we could not sell our books in countries like US, UK et al, as the cost of sending the books was three times the original price. But now, an e-book can be downloaded in any part of the world," says Gupta.

"Books will always have a market, but e-books are taking time to pick-up," says Christina Singh, deputy manager, British Library. She adds, "It's a new product line that targets a different set of audience (read youngsters). We recently launched the section of e-books in our library and people are taking to it fairly well."

With 45,000 plus e-books available in the library, Christina says, "With advantages of a wide database and easy availability of information, e-books are more popular with the youngsters." And the reason of popularity is, "A person who is technologically sound will find interest in e-books."

In plain words, e-book is an electronic version of a printed book that can be read online. And among the earliest e-books were those in Project Gutenberg, started by Michael S. Hart in 1971. However, it was in 1993 that Zahur Klemath Zapata developed the first software to read digital books - Digital book version 1 and the first digital book published is - 'On Murder Considered as one of the Fine Arts', an essay by Thomas De Quincey.

Says writer Yojna Rawat, "I am not an e-book reader. These can never be a friend of habitual readers, but are good 
for youngsters and especially for people who want quick information. Personally, reading onscreen does not make sense to me."

Ask her does she see a future for e-books and she says, "Definitely yes. Youngsters are the future and they are into e-book reading. Gradually people would take to e-book reading, but the joy and effort of finding a book and then reading it is invaluable. It cannot be compared to reading online."

Calling it a discouragement for creative writing, she adds, "We can't create passion for reading with e-books. These are good for quick information and professional knowledge, but in the end I have hardly come across people who say they have read a book on the Internet."

Although e-book will expand the universe of books at our disposal and transform the solitary act of reading into something far more social, in the end we would quote writer and futurist Kevin Kelly who says, "In the new world of books, every bit informs another; every page reads all the other pages."

Another BOUT
Jasmine Singh

Television, glamour, sports…any guesses what connects the three things? While you are at it, finding the link, we take an immediate shot at it - there is no getting away from these! When boxer Akhil Kumar jumped in for the dance reality show Jhalak Dikhla Jaa Season 4, the reason was obvious, and our man from Rohtak, Haryana, made no efforts to deck it up with fancy words.

"I wasn't doing anything, and when they approached me I kind of liked it," says Akhil. "I consulted my coaches, my physiotherapist. Only after a red signal from them did I give my approval."

The pugilist, an Arjuna awardee, is known for his open-guard boxing style, but never heard of his passion for foot tapping. He laughs, "Till date I have only seen people dance, I can't dance to save my life. With Jhalak Dikhla Jaa I want to test myself and just have fun." He continues to laugh, taking a dig on his dancing ability. "As I told you, I never had interest in dancing. Naturally, I was nervous. Then I devised a way to look at dance — it is a kind of workout for me. Whatever my choreographer Sneha Kapoor teaches I go on the stage and deliver it." For Akhil this is his first stroke with 'reality' on television and with glamour as well. The show is judged by Madhuri Dixit, Malaika Arora Khan and Remo D'Souza. "I like all of them. Please don't ask me to pick one."

The previous two seasons have seen many sportsmen participate, including Ajay Jadeja, Vinod Kambli and Baichung Bhutia. "Many cricketers have participated in this show. I wanted a ground level sportsperson to take part. In a way this show will also promote me as a boxer, at least people would know who Akhil Kumar is,” he signs off.

Glee-mpse of Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow

Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow has confirmed she is to reprise her role as substitute teacher Holly Holiday in hit TV musical Glee, but refused to give details on when she will appear on screen again.

The 38-year-old actor can't wait to reprise the role, describing it as the "best job ever", though it is not yet know when her return to the musical drama series will be broadcast.

In her first appearance, Paltrow's character performed two duets with Matthew Morrison—who plays teacher Will Schuester—and the actor gushed about how much fun he had singing Rihanna's Umbrella and Singin in the Rain with her.

"Gwyneth Paltrow is a genius. Who knew that she was such a triple threat? Great dancer, great singer, obviously a great actor-I just had the best time.

"We were just having so much fun like, splashing each other, getting each other wet. It was fun!" he said.

Production on Glee was halted on Friday when several key cast members fell ill with tonsillitis. Lea Michele, who plays Rachel Berry, Dianna Argon, who stars as Quinn Fabray, and Kevin McHale, who portrays Artie Abrams, have all been struck down by the throat illness. — PTI

Blink and miss

Freida Pinto Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto was surprised when nobody recognised her in a Mumbai slum recently. "People in the city recognise me as the girl from Slumdog Millionaire and inevitably they stare. But when I visited the slums with an NGO, nobody recognised me at all. I didn't mind," Pinto said. The 26-year-old star shot to fame after the Oscar winning movie and since then has featured on cover pages of a lot of fashion magazines and has bagged a few Hollywood projects as well. — IANS
Freida Pinto

Nuptial blues

Hollywood actor Eva Mendes says she finds the idea of marriage 'boring' and has no plans to get married to her long-term partner George Augusto.The Other Guys star has been in a relationship with the Peruvian filmmaker since 2002 but has no plans to tie the knot in the near future.

"No, no, no. I don't know if I want children, but the idea of marriage sounds very boring to me. I have to be honest. And no disrespect, because I think marriage is a beautiful institution. I am extremely romantic but I think there is that little rebel inside me that is anti- establishment. It's just one more fun thing I can rebel against," said the 36-year-old actress. Although Mendes has ruled out walking down the aisle, she loves going to other people's nuptials and simply can't resist the temptation of displaying her unique dance moves on the dance floor.

"I love going to a wedding. I do this thing —I call it wedding dancing. I don't know what happens to me but I just dance in a way that I've never danced before. I'm the best person to have at your wedding but I just don't ever want to be the actual person getting married," she added. — PTI

James’ Pride
James Mcavoy to play Darcy in zombie Pride & Prejudice

Scottish actor James McAvoy is reportedly set to star as William Darcy in a new horror adaptation of the Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice.

The new film, named Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, is based on Seth Grahame-Smith's book and adds flesh-eating monsters to Austen's period novel.

Hollywood actor Scarlett Johansson has been linked to the role of Elizabeth Bennet, and Wanted star McAvoy is in talks to play her leading love interest, reported Daily Record.

Austen's classic novel was previously revived in a 2005 version starring Keira Knightley, who won an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the leading lady. — PTI

Blunt talk

Hollywood actor Emily Blunt is not yet ready to have kids as she is completely focused on her career.

The Gulliver's Travels star, who married John Krasinski earlier this year does not want to toe the same line as her mother who gave up acting to have a family.

"I come from a big family and I've always wanted children, but not quite yet. Yes, mum gave up her career, but it's a different age now." "I'm lucky in that, hopefully, I will have established myself more than my mum was able to before she had children. I think it will be easier for me. But, honestly, I don't know what I'm going to feel until it happens", said the 27-year-old actor who has three siblings. However, the British actor laments that she could not spend more time with her parents.

"I miss being able to nip out and see a play with mum, or meet my dad after work. That was always fun; he'd come out of court and we'd go for a drink. I've been nomadic for some time, so I'm accustomed to being away, but I still miss everybody," she added. — PTI

Jack's misadventure

Actor Hugh Jackman injured himself while performing a stunt during the taping of Oprah Winfrey's Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure in the country.Jackman hurt himself while performing a stunt on a flying fox, a heavy-duty wire set with a harness and handle assembly that slides on wheels, when he hits the brakes too late and landed hard, the Hollywood Reporter said.

The Wolverine star was bleeding underneath his right eye after the stunt went wrong. Winfrey suspended the taping to ensure that Jackman received proper medication.The actor later returned for his scheduled interview with the chat show queen. He did the interview sporting an adhesive bandage over the wound and a black eye. — PTI

Move on

British actor Anna Friel's nine-year romance with Harry Potter star David Thewlis is over, months after she moved a young actor into their home.

Suggestions were made that all was not well when Friel was pictured kissing actor Joseph Cross, 23, her co-star in her West End play Breakfast At Tiffanys last December.

But the Pushing Daisies star, 34, who has a five-year-old daughter, Gracie, with Thewlis, 47, had denied that their relationship was on the rocks.

"Things have not been great for a long time and they have tried to keep this quiet to protect everyone. It certainly did not help that Anna and David have been forced to live apart for so long, but there are other issues at hand that have made them realise the relationship was over," a source close to the couple said. The pair got together in 2001 after meeting on a flight to Cannes. They divided their time between a converted ballroom in central London, owned by Thewlis, a house in Windsor owned by Friel and a Hollywood home.

"They do care about each other very much, and the most important thing now is that they both continue to be the best parents they can be for Gracie. They will have to see each other over Christmas at some point, but hopefully it will not be too painful," added the source.

Friel rose to fame 17 years ago playing Beth Jordache in the soap Brookside and shocking viewers with the first-ever lesbian screen kiss on UK television.

Thewlis has a starring role in the Harry Potter movie franchise as werewolf Remus Lupin and is currently on screen in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. — PTI

FLIGHT of fantasy
Jigyasa Kapoor Chimra

All art is but an imitation of nature, said Lucuis Annaeus Seneca and believing the same budding artist Renu Anand from Manimajra (currently doing her post-graduation and diploma in textile designing from the Indian Institute of Craft and Design, Jaipur) finds her muse in nature's prettiest thing - butterfly.

The girl, all of 20, from a humble background, is surely making a mark with her work. Having put up an exhibition at Art Folio-9, her creativity speaks for itself in the varied paintings, murals and tapestry that she has done.

Abstract, in neutral hues, her tapestry is a fine work of threads. Weaved in woollen threads mixed with silk, acrylic and cotton it's the colour scheme of a butterfly that she has tried to incorporate in her work. With colours like brown, orange and white predominant in her work, a close look at the tapestry work spells intricate weaves, systematic colour scheme and neat handwork.

Ask her about her muse - butterfly - and how she has included it in her work and she says, "Butterflies have always fascinated me and right from the colour scheme of my tapestry to the abstract forms created, it's the butterfly that finds a mention in all my work, including the colour scheme of the murals."

Before she started her work, Renu clicked various butterflies and then studied them closely. "I used to click their pictures and then zoom in and out to find various things about these species." After seeing her work we can say her research has done her good as the tapestry, murals and even a room divider clearly indicate her liking for the mollusc species.

Also on exhibition are kalamkari paintings, paper work and table murals. She started with her artworks some four years back. "I started working on these designs when I was in Santiniketan." And for the ideas, "they come automatically in an institution like Santiniketan."

Apart from these pieces of art, our lady also designs cushions though they are not on sale. Albeit Renu is doing her PG foundation course in textile designing her ultimate aim is to become a fibre sculpture. Ask her why a paradigm shift and she says, "Sculpting is where my heart lies. Though I would work as a textile designer since I have to earn the fees for the course I am doing, my aim is to become a sculptuor as there are no boundaries and limitations in this field of art."

Having reached here with the help of Mini Madam, an art teacher at Bhavan Vidyalaya, she says. "There are a number of people who have helped me achieve my dream an acting on their advice I enrolled myself in a school in the city, worked in the evenings and cleared my exams, not just Class 12th but also the entrance test for the Viswa Bharati University at Santiniketan."

Now at Indian Institute of Craft and Design, Jaipur, Renu comes from a broken family, has worked as a domestic help but at the end has indeed emerged as winner.

Music to the ear
Ashima Sehajpal

It was like a story-telling session. With one getting over, another one began. It continued in the entire half-an-hour interaction with the veteran music director Ravi Shankar Sharma, who shared interesting instances of his life. How he developed interest in music, how he entered Bollywood, his first break, successful films, why he didn't bag as many awards as he deserved and why he went on an exile in between a flourishing career…Ravi Shankar told it all.

Ravi Shankar has given music for hit numbers like Jab Chali Thandi Hawa, Nele Gagan Ke Tale, Chaudhvin Ka Chand, Chalo Ek Baar Phir' se et al. He began his career singing devotional songs in social gatherings and so wanted to be a singer. "Only when I entered Bollywood in 1950, I realised I didn't have the voice of a singer. I started assisting music director Hemant Kumar and composing music."

Surprisingly, prior to this he was working as an electrician in the postal and telegraph department. "I can still do electricity-related work," quips the 84-year-old.

Ravi Shankar takes pride in the fact that Mohammed Rafi made his debut with his composition. A high point in his career came with the music of Guru Dutt's Chaudhvin Ka Chand. "The film had a Muslim concept. When Guru Dutt asked me to compose music, people questioned him why he didn't ask a Muslim music composer for the same, as was the trend in those times."

Ravi Shankar was also the only director of his times who demanded lyrics before making a composition. "That brings out the essence of lyrics. If the wordings are not in sync with the notes, it won't make for a melodious composition. During the early 70s, when the lyrics in English came into fashion, he happily made a shift towards Malayalam music. "It was adulterating the Hindi music. I changed the language and made fantastic music for Malayalam films. People in Kerala started addressing me as Bombay Revi," he recalls.

Despite the fact that on compositions made by him several singers won the best playback awards and lyricists got their due, he could seldom win an award. "Several times, I was offered an award in exchange for money. I preferred to be appreciated by people instead by a panel of judges." It was very recently that he won the Lata Mangeshkar Music Award.

He doesn't rue that he couldn't become a singer. In fact, he was offered a role in films as well, which he refused. "Music direction has its own advantages. Singers have no choice but to approach music directors. In case of actors, two flop films and their career is over." Ravi Shankar stopped assisting Hemant Kumar after he insisted, "Hemant told me that I wouldn't be able to grow if I didn't start working independently. And then my own career began." It was indeed tough for him to compose music alone in the era of music duos.

As for present day's music, he regrets the drop in quality of lyrics, which in turn has affected the quality of music. "There are no censors on language. Words are used just for the heck of it and to render spice to songs. Wish lyricists were as sensitive as they were then." And in the background we hear someone's ring tone buzzing Sheila ki Jawani!

Only when I entered Bollywood in 1950, I realised I did not have the voice of a singer. I turned to writing and directing music

Ravi, music director

Timeless melodies
SD Sharma

Apne purkhon ki virasat ko sambhalo verna, Ab ke baarish mein yeh deewar bhi dheh jayegi." Quoting a Manzar Bhopali couplet, noted thespian, musicologist and film actor Kamal Tewari, who is also the chairperson of Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi (CSNA), praises the legends of the music world of yore.

"It is imperative to keep alive the memories of old masters for the next generation. With this in mind, the CSNA is here with their sixth edition of the annual Yaadon Ki Kasak programme in honour of senior citizens," he says.

Well known singers of the region led by veteran Bhupinder Singh will present songs of yesteryears sung by KL Saigal, Pankaj Mullick, Talat Mahmood, CH Atma, Noorjahan, Suraiya, Shamshad Begum as well as that of Muhammad Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar et al.

Eminent composer Varinder Bachan and Dr Arun Kant will provide the musical score. "Such programmes are especially organised to encourage appreciation of old melodies composed by great music directors and the poetry by great legends of that era," adds Tewari.

(At Bal Bhawan Auditorium-23 on December 16 from 6.30 pm onwards)

Gem of a design

Karigari is a designer concept theme jewellery brand that encapsulates exquisite contemporary brilliance as well as traditional Indian design in its collection.

Karigari has a vast yet exclusive range of theme designs ranging from modern to ethnic to suit every mood and occasion. Inspired by the modern woman of today, these are pieces of impeccable craftsmanship set in German silver.

Each piece is a head-turner with its eye-catching form and sparkle, yet at the same time very affordable, so that you can have a whole collection to match your wardrobe. The range exudes such richness and style that it matches the much expensive real designer jewellery and that too at a fraction of the cost! Just ideal for the wedding and party season, so that, one is not caught repeating the same accessory!

Karigari offer earrings in various ranges starting from Rs 500 to Rs 3,999. They don't just design but they actually create earring concepts. The last season Karigari came out with various theme collection like—Rajwaada, gold collection, fusion, Meenakaari, swarovski and metal was a big hit.

Designs range from subtle to over sized, yet are surprisingly lightweight. All the ingredients used are non-allergic and non-toxic as it is made from German Silver, so one can wear them to their heart's content. Karigari's latest collection has some explicit themes such as — Paisely collection, white and diamond collection, retro collection, peacock collection and the evergreen Victorian collection. — TNS

Milky way

The ITC Limited's trusted personal care brand, Vivel, announced the launch of its new variant, Vivel Milk Cream and Glycerin Soap. This unique soap is enriched with double moisturisers, milk cream and glycerin for irresistibly soft skin, even in winters!

Milk cream and glycerin are trusted and renowned skin moisturisers. Glycerin penetrates the skin to moisturise and makes it soft and silky. Milk cream forms a protective layer on the skin and locks the moisture in, thereby allowing the skin to re-hydrate and bring back the serum balance. Vivel's new variant combines the goodness of milk cream and glycerin and the special formulation — ActiPro N, to ensure total care which nourishes, protects and moisturises the skin.

Brand ambassador for Vivel soaps and Bollywood's reigning queen, Kareena Kapoor, says, "Milk cream and glycerin are amongst the best moisturising ingredients for the skin. Vivel's new soap, Vivel milk cream and glycerin is unique as it is the only soap available which is enriched with double moisturisers."


Kitty party

People for Animals, Chandigarh has the perfect companion for anyone who is ready to be loved unconditionally.

For adoption

  • Six beautiful simple breed pups, one-year-five-months old, white and brown colour are available for adoption.
  • Five female kittens, 25 days old, golden brown colour are available for adoption.

Lost & found

  • Found three-year-old male German Shepherd dog, black and brown colour, from Sector-11 Chandigarh.
  • A male, Bull Terriar dog, one year old, white and black spots went missing from 46-A.
  • A three0year-old male German Shepherd, black and brown colour has been missing from Phase 10 Mohali.

If any body has any information, contact the PFA office.

PFA-Chandigarh at 0172-2749080 or visit at # 1522, Sector 11-D, Chandigarh or email at

The year that was…At Panjab University
Manpriya Khurana

It's that time of the year again. Time to pause, look back, take a stock and move on. What all did we do, did not do, could have done, should not have done! The fests celebrated, the ruckus created. January to December on the campuses across the city unplugged.

What is college and varsity life about? The larger than life phase interspersed by mundane matters like lectures and examinations. Did violence remain a constant? Like each year, dotting the campus, even the calendar and then in between some sporadic progressive news such as community radio, UGC grants, redesigned website.

It all began with a huge commotion over teachers' evaluation by students, leftovers of previous session's winter student carnivals; Archo 2010, Cyanide et al. First things first - did the session begin with the euphoria of election fever? What painted a different picture was the presence of all pervasive colourful party posters all written in hand. The yellow and orange dominated but it was PUSU and SOPU inscribed by those calligraphic among the lot. Anyways, rain, low turnout and minor scuffles didn't ruin anything, neither the spirits, nor the turnout. One party unsettled, the other emerged. And so did the results indicating a mixed verdict also at the final sharing of seats into the council. Meanwhile the routine continued, freshers, farewells, geris, classes, holidays, syndicate meetings, research, everything else associated with higher studies.

If in between semesters, session exams and internal evaluation kept the students jittery than the last quarter of the year, zonal youth festival, Soch 10, PEC Fest and Aaghaz 2010 kept them jiving. One way or the other! There was damage and followed by simultaneous damage control. The incumbent student organisation in the PU student council held a press conference denying all charges levelled by the rival organisation about discrepancy in expenses of Aaghaz 2010. Unfortunately, the ripping off clothes and hurling of chairs 'tradition' resumed at the fag end of the year with reports of a clash over the president's post in PUSU at the Students' Centre.

Nonetheless, a couple of weeks before, red and beige much familiar, most-visited Panjab University website was replaced a newer greener version. Couple of changes, some rehash of icons, bit of rearrangements and advancements, then students visited a new address altogether. Did the last quarter become a little 'hapenning'? Last but not the least, Panjab University's very own community radio station going operational under the frequency of 90.4 FM, coordinated by the School of Communication Studies.

Nevertheless, the year's ended, not the session. There's just as much to look forward to, especially the festivals brimming with the youthful spirit. Think Lohri, Valentine's Day…need anybody prompt New Year's and a new term. As of now, all's well that ends well or at least begins well!

Christmas calling
With Christmas just a few days away, students at The varsity are all set to celebrate
Deepali Sagar

Jingle bell jingle bell jingle all the way - is the only song that echoes in Panjab University hostels nowadays. With Christmas round the corner, students are set to celebrate it with pomp and show. "My friends are desperately waiting for Christmas. As none of us would be going home, we have decided to have fun in the hostel itself," says Upasna of Savitri Bai hostel. Christmas celebrations? "Why not? It's not about celebration related to some particular religion. We live like a family in the hostel and celebrate everything. Christmas is one thing we wait for," says Kanika from Laxmi Bai hostel.

And they have prepared well for the festival. "We have divided ourselves into groups and taken up particular tasks," informs Monika from Mata Gujari Hall. "Almost everyday we have a meeting and see how things are going. We just don't want to leave any stone unturned," says Jessica, a student. "Everyday in the evening we go to the market for shopping and end up with numerous packets," replies Ankita. Any competitive feeling? "Yes, there is. Every hostel is planning to do something or the other on Christmas, so there is a real competition," says Ritu of Florence Nightingale Hall.

Funds must be a problem for sure. "We have collected Rs 50 from each person and it's from that money that we will arrange everything," says Raman, another student. An exercise in managing funds is always welcome! "Every time these festivals turn us into accountants. Keeping a track of money is really tough, but also a lot of fun," says Kamini, from Mata Gujri hostel.

"There is no in charge as such. But yes, unanimously we have chosen 3-4 persons who take the charge. We do have fights as well, but in the end we sort out everything," says Khusboo.

The shopping list includes the Christmas tree, decorations like bells, stars and, of course, chocolates. "But the Christmas cake tops the list. We will get all kinds of cakes; egg-less variety as well," says Priyam.

Last but not the least comes the bonfire. "Till now we haven't finalised anything. But yes, we would be getting some snacks and would party a bit. There would be no DJ. The authorities won't allow us plus we don't have that much funds. We have to be satisfied with just a bonfire," says Mannika.

Of size and statistics

A professor has indicated that women are always concerned about their weight and they keep looking into every possible option to lose few pounds. "In our interviews with women aged 16 to 63, we found that all ages wanted to be "skinny but shapely", and most wanted to lose half a stone irrespective of actual size," a publication quoted Professor Sarah Grogan, author of such books as Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction In Men, Women & Children, as saying.

"Women found it easy to tell us what they disliked about their bodies but much harder to think of what they liked. Most said that they would be more confident if they lost weight. None of the women who took part in our interviews (even those who were, objectively, very thin) said they wanted to gain weight," Grogan added. "We live in a culture where slimness for women is linked with all kinds of positive characteristics," explained Grogan, "including self-control, elegance, attractiveness and youth." Indeed, studies have shown that not only are slim people considered more attractive and likely to do better in job interviews and work situations, they are also less likely to be convicted of crimes, and, if convicted, likely to receive lighter punishments.

A study by the University of Florida found that women who weighed 25lb less than the norm earn around 9,770 pounds more than average-weight women. And, according to German research conducted over 24 years, how much we weigh affects our emotions more than our love life does. — ANI

Raising a toast

A new study has challenged the theory that lowering the minimum legal drinking age would help curb binge drinking on campuses. Richard A. Scribner, of the Louisiana State University School of Public Health, one of the researchers on the new study, and colleagues used a mathematical model to estimate the effects that a lower drinking age would have on college binge drinking.

The model, developed based on survey data from students at 32 U.S. colleges, aimed to evaluate the "misperception effect" emphasized by the Amethyst Initiative - that is, the idea that underage students widely perceive "normal" drinking levels to be higher than they actually are. The researchers concluded that the campuses that were most likely to see a decline in binge drinking from a lowered legal drinking age were those that had the poorest enforcement of underage drinking laws - being surrounded, for instance, by bars that do not check identification - and a significant level of student misperception of 'normal' drinking. If misperception levels were not present or were at the levels shown by the survey data, these campuses would likely see more binge-drinking if the legal age were lowered.

On 'drier' campuses, the study found, student misperceptions would have to be even greater. "The higher the level of enforcement of underage drinking laws, the higher the level of misperception would have to be for the Amethyst Initiative to have any hope of being effective," explained lead researcher Jawaid W. Rasul, of BioMedware Corporation. And without data supporting the existence of such high levels of student misperception, Rasul said, lowering the legal drinking age would be unlikely to curb college binge drinking. The study is published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. — ANI

For greener pastures

Indian school and college students are reportedly seeing the United States as a viable avenue to pursue higher education after acquiring their bachelor degrees in India. Higher education institutions in the United States are said to have flexible and diverse courses, besides hands-on experience in the subject of a student's choice. There is a view within the Indian student community that courses in the US offer practical experience, whereas in India, the syllabus is not at all flexible.

The younger population in India wants and says it can pay for better education, but they also know that in a country where thousands apply for each spot at a handful of top universities, the chances of securing admission are remote, a publication reported.

Indian students believe that a good foreign degree will land them better jobs and a better life. In interviews with students around India recently, it was reported that most of them said they wanted to strengthen their credentials outside of the country and voiced hope for growth in India after returning. They also spoke of the usual fears and concerns of students headed overseas.

A publication quoted Ruchika Castelino, the head of the Indian operations of Study Overseas, a company that advises students, as saying: "That's such a huge question that students have. Then everything else follows - "Where shall I go, what is the kind of course, placements, etc." She estimates that the number of Indian students going overseas annually has doubled in the past six years, reaching more than 200,000. — ANI

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