Molecular gastronomy is all about conserving the natural flavours, including the texture, of the food...
Cooking a new story!
Jasmine Singh

Other than fashion and Aamir Khan, who manage to redefine themselves (read the growing number of fashion shows and Aamir Khan’s sizzling item number in Delli Belly) each time, there is another category that works on the similar funda of offering something new. Please take a dip into the scientific and tantalizing world of chefs and their new offering - molecular gastronomy.
Dussi Reny Manohar, executive chef, Bella Vista
Dussi Reny Manohar, executive chef, Bella Vista
Sanjiv Verma, partner Khyber-35
Sanjiv Verma, partner Khyber-35

If your mother or grandmother out there is wondering about the new ingredient - ‘molecule’ - then this is what chefs in the city have to offer. As we switch on the burner, here is a quick run on what the word means. Molecular gastronomy, a discipline practiced by both scientists and food professionals, studies the physical and chemical processes that occur while cooking.

The term, coined in 1988 by late Oxford physicist Nicholas Kurti and Herve, also seeks to investigate as well as explain the chemical reasons behind the transformation of ingredients, as well as the social, artistic and technical components of culinary and gastronomic phenomena in general. However, in the modern format, molecular gastronomy refers to a modern style of cooking, which takes advantage of innovations from the scientific discipline. Some chefs (probably the ones who couldn’t do well in chemistry) like to use the term ‘culinary physics’ or experimental cuisine for the same.

So, what’s cooking in the kitchen in all the molecular gastronomy style?

Keep it natural, Sous-vide

The term can take a while to settle comfortably on your tongue, but it is sure to go down well when it comes to healthy cooking. Sous-vide is known as under vacuum cooking of food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath at an accurately determined temperature, which is much lower than the one normally used for cooking.

Executive Chef Duddi Reny Manohar from Bella Vista describes it as form a cooking that conserves all natural flavours, including the texture. “In this modern kind of cooking, the value of the food is retained. The food is steamed slowly and flavours are added. The bags, especially designed for this purpose, are more than 80 microns thick,” says chef Duddi, who adds that the idea is to cook the item evenly, not overcook the outside and also to keep the food juicier.

Novel idea: Cooking inside a vacuum bag
Novel idea: Cooking inside a vacuum bag

Metal touch

Good health is the guiding principle behind molecular gastronomy, which is why chefs the world over are coming up with healthier and efficient options of cooking. Allied metal craft cooking is yet another style where all natural flavours and nutrient value of the food is maintained. Says Rajeev Kakar, group general manager, who is introducing this method in their kitchen. “In this process, food is cooked in a special metal-like steel machine that has no moles in its composition. Food cooked in allied metal cooking is done on low flame and the flavours are evenly distributed.” Rajeev is sure that this German technology will find favour with the people in Chandigarh.

A strange combination

Technology is changing, but molecular gastronomy is still very unique way of cooking. “Hopefully, if the technology is available to everyone and is simple as well as manageable, then we get this at all hotels,” says Sanjiv Verma, partner with Khyber restaurant, who has done extensive research on molecular gastronomy. “It is an unimaginable way of presenting dishes, something like a carrot cavier. Through molecular gastronomy, chefs combine physics and chemistry to change the demography of the food - something like adding an enzyme to change fish protein into gelatin along with fish protein. This is a pretty advanced style of cooking, which would soon get popular,” he adds.

Wine and Dine
From holding the glass to sipping it, drinking wine demands a certain level of sophistication. Here are some points that will add up to the whole experience of wine drinking
Manpriya Khurana

Are you the kind who thinks Sauvignon Blanc was a French dictator? Yes, we’ve all heard the rule that red wine goes with red meat, but that isn’t all about it. Getting through the wine and fine dine evenings can be a tricky business, especially if you haven’t been around the entire town attending wine and cheese soirees. Wine etiquettes are no big deal, till you get them wrong! This should be more than enough to last your date with the swirl of sophistication.

Order order!

How to order the perfect wine can be quite a task. However, do not feel intimidated with the long list of complicated wines. Ask around; Sommelier (wine steward) will tell you what wine goes well with what food. Nods Chef Anuj Raj Singh, executive chef at a city based hotel, “Generally for reds: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. For whites: Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. However, prior to dinner, a lighter white wine is appropriate.” Proper wine etiquette requires that you should offer the sommelier/waiter a taste after he opens and pours the contents. Generally, wine should go with the food you have ordered. If the food is too varied then you can consider the option of ordering by the glass or purchasing splits.

The subtleties

Ernest Hemingway, put it right when he said, “Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.” You can infer a lot by just looking at a wine. There are subtleties of aroma, colour and flavour. Wines in good condition appear clear and bright, not hazy. The best way to observe a wine’s appearance is by holding the glass at shoulder height, tilted at a 45 degree angle against a white background.

Says Rajnish Wattas, wine aficionado, member of Chandigarh Wine Club, “Wines also need to be stored the right way. They should be kept in aligned position so that the cork is wet. Inexpensive wines don’t have a cork.”

Serve it right

Remember, to keep it gentle! Sparkling wines should be poured gently, so that the bubbles are preserved. When you pour wine for your guests, leave the glass at least half empty. Red wine is served in a large glass with a bowl-shaped bottom, while white wine is served in a small egg-shaped glass. “Another thing to keep in mind is how to hold the glass. The right way is to hold the stem with your fingers. Your hand shouldn’t come in contact with the wine glass lest the body heat gets transferred and affects the temperature of the wine,” shares Vivin Kuriakose, food and beverage director, JW Marriott, Chandigarh.

Taste time

When the wine is poured in your glass, you swirl it and only then do you smell it before tasting it. Shares Dheeraj Thakur, bartender at TAO, “Before the first sip, you take in the aroma. Generally, if the aroma is good and it attracts you, the wine will be good. The best of wines have a smooth fragrance and taste.” Before serving, always allow wine time to breathe at room temperature. Never pour wine for guests immediately after opening the bottle. He adds, “The best way to have wine is to take it slow, have it sip by sip.” Swirl, sip and soak in.

Food and wine

“Red wine with fish? Well, that should have told me something,” says James Bond in ‘From Russia with Love’ on being surprised by the double agent Grant…now did that tell you something? Serving a wine too cold could mask its flavours while serving a wine too warm will make it seem dull, flabby and hot with alcohol. Shares Rajnish Wattas, “Strong reds go well with Indian spicy food and snacks. For light coloured wines, stick to light coloured food or fish.” Likewise, sweet wine goes well with desserts.

Last but not the least, remember it’s no big deal! As Rajnish Wattas sums up, “Wine is a cultivated taste, it’s an art and it’s got nothing to do with snobbery. Wine is like any other agricultural farm produce. Like you first smell mangoes before slicing them, there are certain ways and rules to savour it well. If you get the basics wrong, at the most you wouldn’t be able to derive maximum pleasure out of it.” 

Right ACT
SD Sharma

Enacting a kidnapping scene as the duplicate of Kareena Kapoor during
a four-day shooting schedule of the film ‘Bodyguard’ at Bahadurgarhfort  a few months ago, actor-model Harmanpreet Kaur Bhatia, who is from Patiala, won appreciation of the film unit, especially Salman Khan and Aditya Pancholi. And it all happened because Kareena could not make it to the shooting venue on time and the crew had to find a replacement.

A graduate in computer science from BBS Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib, Harman participated in various youth festivals for three years. In 2007, she played the lead role in a play ‘Apna Apna Hissa’, which won a gold medal at the inter-zonal level and secured the third position at the national level meet in Kanpur. She has also acted in the plays ‘Ikk si darya’ and “9 12 10”.

Thereafter, Harmanpreet won applause for her role in the play “Kanjkan”, which was staged for the Indian Reserve Battalion and other organisations. She won the supermodel of Patiala contest in 2010 and later the Miss Super Model Punjab competition held at Moga in 2011. Harmanpreet was felicitated by state cabinet minister Sucha Singh Langah on Independence Day at a ceremony held in Patiala.

Mountain of desire
Mont Blanc gives emphasis on paying a tribute to its patrons

It was a bespoke evening for patrons of Mont Blanc in Ludhiana. The celebrations started with drinks at the boutique, followed by dinner and dance at Champs, the night club at Majestic Park Plaza.

The Saturday evening had its quotient of fun, though the accent was on Mont Blanc. Snow-capped mountains too were the talking point, which was not surprising as the Mont Blanc collection is inspired by Europe's highest mountain peak. Mont Blanc is a 4,810-mt high peak of eternal ice and snow that seems to touch the sky brilliantly.

Isabella Jain, one of the visitors, said, "The evening was put together in a very classy and chic way by Mont Blanc. All the guests seemed to have a lovely time. I met up with many of my friends. It was a wonderful social evening."

Ritu Handa, retail head, north Mont Blanc, who had specially traveled to Ludhiana for this event, quipped, "The evening started with cocktails at the boutique, followed by a large spread of scrumptious dinner. It ended with a celebratory dance at Champs. This was a tribute to all our patrons."

She added that it was all about "timeless rock in the river of time." Another visitor Divya Oswal said, "The event saw the who's who of Ludhiana enjoying the evening. A few of them were also seen making purchases. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and hosts from Mont Blanc took good care of each of us. I look forward to more such events." — TNS

Stars on the Fast lane

The auspicious month of Ramzan is almost ending and our busy television stars have been keeping rozas despite hectic schedules. Here a few of them talk about their belief and managing shooting and fasting, and what they eat post their fast.

Sara Khan

Sara KhanIt gets hectic during shooting. Despite the odd working hours, I manage to fast. If we can diet and stay hungry then we can keep rozas too. This is a way to thank God for everything and do something for Him. It isn't about showing off that you can fast all day long, nor is it to prove you are the true follower. One shouldn't lie, eat or fight, simply purify your body and soul. I don't eat much post iftaar as I don't like heavy food. I am very particular about what I eat and stick to healthy and light meals.

Sanjeeda Sheikh

I am not fasting this year as I have been shooting non-stop but at home everyone is fasting. Last year I did fast though. Keeping rozas is like connecting with God, it is about prayer and paying gratitude. I offer my prayers daily. Even when I am not fasting, I enjoy being with family when they break their fast. I try to avoid oily stuff and stick to healthy diet.

Ali Asgar

Keeping rozas is now a habit and frankly speaking I wait for this holy month. During this time, it is about fasting and praying. My opinion is this is a great opportunity to give something to God. We always ask for endless things but what do we give God in return? The prayers, fasting are all proof of our love and faith in Him. But it is more than fasting and praying -it is also about staying away from bad things, thoughts and deeds. Cleansing of body and soul actually. Ramzan increases your will power and post first two days, I don't even miss food during the day that much as mentally you are prepared to fast. I feel good after fasting. I break my fast with dates as it is done and need my cuppa chai first. That is the only thing I miss during the day. I avoid kebabs and fried food and stick to usual food for iftaar.

Anjum Faroki

Anjum FarokiI have been keep rozas since childhood. We fast, pray and break our fast in the evening. As mostly I have been working this year, I ensure to take time off during iftaar and break my fast properly. Fasting during Ramzan is not just about not eating but also about self control. One has to stay away from all vices, dishonesty, anger, ill speaking, fights, smoking, drinking. Basically, all negative things in life, including bad habits and desires. I love eating pakoras, corn cheese kababs in the evening.

Adaa Khan

It is a compulsion for all Muslims to keep rozas and those who can't keep it for health or other reasons, should do charity which is Kufaan. The maulvi tells you what to donate. Usually when I am shooting, it gets pretty hectic so I don't keep rozas. But this year as I am on a break, I am keeping rozas. I feel wonderful during Ramzan as I feel closer to God. I stick to healthy food as opposed to fried stuff that usually everyone eats. I prefer to eat cooling stuff like watermelon and falooda. I also love this month as this is the only time when the entire family is together for one meal at least otherwise you are always busy with work.

Rakshandha Khan Rakshandha Khan

It is not easy to shoot and observe a fast yet I do it because I want to. It is all about your belief and faith. I have been keeping this fast since childhood. On the sets of my show, we all eat together but I don't sit in my room during lunch as I am fasting because I feel it shouldn't matter if others are eating while you fast. I am mentally tuned to fast so I don't feel hungry. 

In the evening when I break my fast as my home is close to my set, my mom sends a huge tiffin and everyone in the unit joins in. We have pakoda and loads of non-veg stuff for cast and crew. As I am a vegetarian, I stick to fruit custards which I love and vadas and dahi bhallas.

Eye to eye
Sunglasses are a huge hit with Ludhiana men and showrooms here offer them in many brands
Gurvinder Singh

Aviators or ovals; the sleek straight ones, the skinny little ones or the old round ones - men's craze for sun-glasses in Ludhiana is at an all-time high. Little wonder then, Cartier, Chrome Heart, Prada, Police, Mont Blanc, Armani, Okley, Diesel and of course, the all-time favourite Ray Ban showrooms can be found in various city malls and high-end markets.

Nikhil Vassan, faculty member at INIFD, says that youngsters today experiment more with the eyewear. "Coloured frames like blue and tones of brown are in; both metal and plastic frames are popular these days. Tints and gradation are also in vogue," he says. He adds, "Eyewear must be in accordance with the contours of your face. If your face is round, sharp or pointed eyewear is advisable. For square-shaped faces, more fluid and round frames are recommended. Almost all kinds of shapes go with oval-shaped faces."

The brands are, of course, priced high. For Tommy Hilfiger, one needs to spend Rs 5,000 while Armani and Versace start from Rs 10,000 onwards. Prada, Tag Heuer and Cavalli range between Rs 12-15,000, while Police, Vogue, Guess, Benetton would cost anywhere between five-seven thousand. Mont Blanc costs Rs 20,000, while Cartier will be nothing short of Rs 40,000! Chrome Heart is priced at a whopping Rs 60,000. Says Rohit Mittal, a businessman, dons a Cartier, "These are really easy on my eyes. Everything seems less striking to me; you can call it quality or whatever."

According to Arvind Mathur, a fashion consultant, "The trend for the broad, big sunglasses from the '70s is here to stay. Mercury-tinted shades are not in fashion anymore and unisex eyewear will gain popularity."

"Aviators are an all-time favourite. Earlier they were available in Ray Ban only, but now quite a few brands have these in their collection," says Sudhakar Mishra from Himalya Opticals.

"Aviators go very well with my turban. So I have them in Ray Ban, Armani and Police" says Atuljeet Singh, a student. Ritesh Thukral has been hooked to sunglasses ever since he started wearing them. "My doctor advised me to wear sunglasses while going out to protect my contact lenses. Ever since, these are like an extension of my eyes whenever I'm out" he says.

Bond that matters 

The style of parenting is one of the strongest influences on how much alcohol a child will drink as a teenager and young adult, a new study has found. Think tank Demos found out that bad parenting made children eight times more likely to become binge drinkers at 16 years, and twice as likely to drink excessively when they were 34.

Researchers analysed data from more than 15,000 children born in Britain over the last 40 years as part of the study, The Independent reported. They found the "tough love" style of parenting, which combined warmth and discipline, was the most effective in ensuring against children developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

Less effective styles were "authoritarian", where parents set high standards and employ strict discipline, "laissez faire", where parents are emotionally engaged but do not set rule or boundaries, and those who are "disengaged" with their children. The think tank recommended that parents should develop a warm and loving relationship in the early years of their children's lives and assert discipline and supervision at the ages of 15 and 16. Parents should also set firm boundaries, avoid getting drunk in front of their children and not take a relaxed attitude to under-age drinking, the think tank said.  —IANS

Mirror on the wall

Things we all hate about shopping are the queues for the change-rooms, and having to juggle between hangers, clothes and bags, once inside. Which is why Britain's biggest department store chain is preparing to unveil a 'magic mirror' that can superimpose new outfits over your reflection.

John Lewis is working with technology firm Cisco on the equipment, which it hopes to introduce across the country following a trial in its new Exeter store next year. The 'mirror' is actually a sophisticated computer screen with built-in sensors and cameras. When shoppers stand in front of the machine, it scans their body to determine their exact dimensions for sizing garments. The customer then waves his or her hands in front of the screen to bring up a range of menus in order to select from thousands of items in the chain's fashion ranges.

Once selected, the clothing is superimposed on top of the reflection. The machine is even capable of projecting several items over a shopper at the same time, to show how a complete outfit might look with shoes and accessories. — ANI

The bunker shot

Once we are able to make a consistent impact with the sand approximately two inches behind the ball and get the sand to fly out to the green we should be able to get the ball on to the green in our first attempt. This itself removes the fear of the bunker and allows us to play more freely. To get better at bunker shots there are some subtle changes in technique.

To stabilise the body we bend our knees a little more which in turn slows the hips while turning. The hands come closer to the legs and are lower which in turn creates a cup in the left wrist. This helps us get the ball out higher. The cup in the left wrist must be maintained in the backswing which helps in opening the face and keeps the club outside the hands in the takeaway

(picture 1). The takeaway with the club going slightly outwards creates a steep path and gets the club to come steeper into the sand (picture 3).

The clubface is to be preset open and with the cupping of the left wrist opens more which lets the bounce work through the sand. If we take the backswing inside and bow the left wrist (pictures 2 & 4) the clubface would shut and the club would dig into the sand and loose speed.

The stance is slightly open to cater for the open clubface and we therefore align our feet a little left of the target (for right handed players) with the clubface pointing to the target.

(Grewal has coached several national champions and professionals apart from being coach of the Indian golf team for the Eisenhower Cup (World Cup) in 2008. He is currently Director, National Golf Academy of India and CGA Hero Honda Golf Academy.)

Mood of celebration

Master Strokes, a three-day exhibition of works by the Masters of Fine Arts students at Government College -10 brings together some interesting works.

Creative expression: Paitings and sculptures on display
Creative expression: Paitings and sculptures on display

From canvas to metal, wood to wool, these budding artistes have rendered their creativity in a range of mediums. Part of college's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, this one has works from applied arts, paintings, graphic and sculpture departments.

"By the time the students do their masters, they have evolved their own style. This exhibition brings forward the students' signature styles," says DS Kapoor, principal, GCA-10.

Nature, humans, ceremonies are some of the themes that these 40 students have worked on. Depicting women in varied moods is the dominating theme, followed by child in the womb, it seems. Payal Dar's print Power of Light has two women in a room, with light from windows putting one of them in focus. "I work on human behaviour. Picked from my routine experiences, I try to bring in the psychological perspective, and, also a silent relationship between humans and the superpower. Next to hers are Bhawna's works that explore spiritual quest. Her works tilted Moksha, My Reflection and Her Desire are rich in water imagery with lotus being major part of it.

Then there are Posters from Applied Arts students that deal with varied social themes. Sculptures bring variety of shapes into play. Payal Dar who works on women in labour, depicting their painful-pleasurable experience, has worked with one mm wire to create a voluminous work.

Wine Tasting Ceremony, Pyramids, Nature in its glory are the some of the other themes in this exhibition.

It being a diamond jubilee year for the college, next in line of umpteenth events is another exhibition Retrospective of Sunirmal Chatterjee, a tribute to the late professor from the college.

On at the Exhibition Hall, Government College of Art-10,

Shaun Kens

Eggy bread with spiced bananas


8 1 ½" thick slices of French loaf

2 eggs

100 ml milk

30g sugar

A little vanilla

Sugar and cinnamon powder

2 large bananas, chunkily sliced

1tbs butter

2tbs gur

An adequate quantity of rum and ¼ tsp of garam masala

2 meetha paan, shredded


Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk the milk, sugar and vanilla. Bring it to the boil and pour over the eggs. Whisk thoroughly and pour over the slices of bread and allow it to soak for 20 minutes. Coat the bread with sugar and sprinkle the ground cinnamon.

Heat a non-stick fry pan with a little butter and oil and place the bread slices into the pan, four at a time and cook for three minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and place two pieces on each of your serving plates.

For the bananas, in a non-stick pan caramelise the butter and gur. Toss in the bananas, add the rum and cream and cook for around 2 minutes. Don't cook for too long as the bananas will become a mush. Finally throw in a pinch of garam masala and the shredded paan, cook for 30 seconds more. Sprinkle a little icing sugar and serve with a small pot of mishti doi.

(Shaun Kens is the chef with Metro Cash and Carry)

(As told to Poonam Bindra)

Rescue ranger

Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt saved the life of a woman on the sets of his upcoming film World War Z. The 47-year-old was filming a scene for the movie in Glasgow, Scotland when one of the 700 extras stumbled to the ground and was nearly trampled, reported a magazine.

Pitt scooped the woman up and brought her back to her feet. The woman wasn't the only extra who was injured during the intense World War Z shoot.

"Lots of people hurt themselves and Brad came to the rescue of one woman who slipped. I don't think she could believe it when Brad picked her up. He didn't have time to speak to her as it was mid-shoot. But she said afterwards how grateful she was, despite having a badly grazed knee," a source said. — PTI

And then there is a reunion... 

Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock are going to team up once again — but this time it will be for a small screen project. The pair, which was seen together in the Proposal is expected to make a comeback to lend their voice to an animated comedy titled, And Then There Was Gordon, reported a publication.

The upcoming project is being produced by Reynolds, 34, and Allan Loeb's production single, Dark Fire, and the 20th Century Fox TV.

Bullock, 47, is also in talks to join Reynolds, Loeb, Steven Pearl and Jonathon Komack Martin as executive producers.

The Green Lantern hunk meanwhile will write the script of the project along with Loeb. 'And Then.....', has received a presentation order from Fox. — PTI 

Debut dreams 

Tollywood actor Paoli Dam, who made her Cannes debut this year, is all set to star in her first Bollywood film to be produced by Vikram Bhatt. The 31-year-old actor, who came into prominence with her 2009 Bengali film Kaalbela directed by Gautam Ghose, will star in Hate Story to be produced by Bhatt’s company. 

“Met Paoli Dam, a very accomplished actor from Bengal. Stunning! She will star in Hate Story... produced by my company ASA,” Bhatt tweeted. Paoli is the first actor from Tollywood to be linked with Bhatt’s production house. The Bengali beauty dazzled on the Cannes red carpet in May with her film Chhatrak which was the only Indian feature entry.—PTI

Moving in…

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux are reportedly renting a two-bedroom $3 million property in Hollywood and are planning to move in together.

"One bedroom is the master and the other is currently furnished as a guest room," a website quoted a source as saying. "It is a really romantic house with great views and a warm feeling in every room. If they decide and like it, it's up for sale as well," he added.— ANS

HEART talk
Parvesh Rana

Balancing act

I am 27 and recently got married. My problem is a bit strange. I am divided between my parents and my husband. My husband doesn't approve if I visit my parents regularly. But they have no one else to look after them. Can you please suggest a way out?

Manpreet Kaur, Mohali

Try explaining things to your husband. I am sure he will understand. Hope you are not going to the extremes. Maintain a balance between the two ends. Sadly girls do have to go through such problems.

I am 25-year-old girl, engaged to a man who is 12 years elder to me. I don't have any problem with him because he is very caring and a thorough gentleman. However, my relatives feel the age difference will create problems. What do you say?

Ruchika, Patiala

It is up to you how you handle this age gap. At the same time, you can't afford to be immature. You should share this doubt with him before marriage, and see what he has to say to it.

Chatter box

One look at the cute, lovable Delhi-born actor Khyati Mangla and you know this smart girl from Ranchi is full of confidence. She was last seen in serial Baat Hamari Pakki Hai. Now, she is one of the female protagonist on the Sahara One's and Creative Eye Productions social drama Neem Neem Shahad Shahad. This television star is a product of Kishore Namit Kapoor's academy in Mumbai. Khyati Mangla is riding high on this show and sure seems to be enjoying herself because the team of Creative Eye is happy with her performance. She talks about the show and more.

ALL FOR WORK: Khyati Mangla
ALL FOR WORK: Khyati Mangla

How did television happen to you?

I am from Ranchi. I got a scholarship from Kishore Namit Kapoor's academy in 2009. Someone suggested I should try my luck in television. I dropped my portfolio and pictures in production houses and I started getting calls, so here I am.

Tell us about your first show…

My first show was Baat Hamari Pakki Hai. Then I did a promo for Sab TV with actor Gaurav Khanna and now finally Neem Neem Shahad Shahad.

Tell us about your role in the show?

I play Nirali who is scared at the thought of a joint family and wants to have a nuclear family.

How does it feel being Nirali?

I am excited. It feels great to be such an important part of the social drama. I just hope that I am able to make a place in the audience's heart as Nirali. It is a big challenge for me.

How has it been shooting for this show?

Exciting and huge learning experience. The entire star cast like Deepak Prashar, Abhishek, Anas Khan, Vidya Sinha and crew has gone out of its way to make me feel welcome. I do not feel like I am just two shows old.

With a few episodes on air already, how has the reaction been?

I was very nervous when the first episode was aired, but just a few minutes after my appearance the compliments started pouring in. I know that it is early days for me and I have to really prove myself as Nirali.

What do you think about the television scenario now?

It is a competitive scenario now but with lots of opportunities as well for an actor. There are lot of different genres to experiment with and if you are a good actor, you will always get work. —Dharampal

It's complicated

It has been a difficult week in the love lives of TV's Gilbert sisters, with both women enduring breakups of their long-term relationships. Melissa Gilbert, who became a child star in Little House on the Prairie, has filed for divorce from her husband, actor Bruce Boxleitner.

Earlier in the week, the 47-year-old actress's younger half-sister, Sara Gilbert of The Talk, ended her 10-year relationship with Allison Adler, a writer-producer of Glee. —Reuters

The year ahead
Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is August 30...

Your birthday on August 30 endows you with artistic expression--writing, painting or music. You will freely express your inner feeling and obtain more enjoyment from life. You also dream of being more popular and appreciated. Strong in your opinions, you tend to think you are on the right side of an issue. The high point for this year is about emotional security, love and happiness. Be careful though, that you are not treated like a doormat or a martyr but, you must understand the occasional need for sacrifice. Business: You may get a promotion. Expansion in your business after January 2012 is on the card. Career: You are not adverse to learning and are a natural student of human nature. Cultural, religious or political differences make the world more interesting to you. Education: Your interest in occult and mysterious sciences will increase. Encouraged by the results of your constructive actions, you will take on as many assignments as possible.

Family: Cooking, cleaning and other domestic chores will probably be more appealing. Your desire for a harmonious environment could cause you to make special purchases. Finance: Finance and career are important to you. Many of the people you meet at the functions you attend are involved with your business. You need to be thinking about your long-term financial plan. Many of you are at the pinnacle of success and achievement now. Friendship: When god closes a door, He always opens a window. Your window may open in December with a brand new friend that can be exciting and deeply fulfilling in the coming time. Health: Follow a diet of low calorie food and take herbal tea. Try not to worry too much about a minor problem. Love: If you do have a lover, try getting a little distant. Go on a holiday by yourself. Don't worry what your family will say. You shouldn't have to justify being good to yourself, especially when you're so nurturing towards others

State of mind: Emotional, vulnerable and down right prone to 'mini-depression'. Compatible signs: Leo, Aquarius. Lucky colours: Light grey, royal blue. Lucky days: Saturday and Sunday. Lucky numbers: 2, 4, 14, 24, 42.Lucky Flower: Camellia. Lucky gemstone: Tourmaline

Shobha Khote , originally Shubha Khote, (born August 30) a famous movie personality of the yesteryear, is daughter of Nandu Khote, a star on stage and in the silent movies. Durga Khote was her aunt. Viju Khote (of Sholey fame) is her brother. Her daughter too is in serials. Seema, which starred Nutan and Balraj Sahni was not the run-of-the-mill Hindi movie, and Khote was pitted against two highly sensitive and intelligent artistes. She did another film, Dekh Kabira Roya, Chhoti Bahen. And her famous pairing with comedian Mehmood began. Shobha is still active in serials and stage shows.

P Khurrana Astro turf
P Khurrana

ARIES: A day when dreams come true. That may seem exaggerated but if you believe in something, it just might happen. You are in a position to move and motivate others. Tarot message: You will not get away with wrongful doings, so don't even try. Lucky colour: Saffron. Magic number: 30.

TAURUS: Career can be reaching a triumphant climax. You are in an ideal job, showing the world just how capable you are. Loved ones will be difficult to handle later in the day. Tarot message: There are times in a relationship when it is wiser to be silent. Lucky colour: Silver grey. Magic number: 27.

GEMINI: You face problems with a lot of courage. Romance takes a turn for the better. Be thankful for a beautiful partner and all those kind friends who offer devoted companionship. Tarot message: Spend time meeting experienced people. Lucky colour: Rainbow pastels. Magic number: 63.

CANCER: You need to have more clarity in financial matters. It is important that you get expert advice to sort out a problem. Creative work is favoured over mundane jobs. Tarot message: Don't waste an opportunity by not exploiting a contact even if it is from your past. Lucky colour: Brown. Magic number: 51 .

LEO: Extra money is likely to come. You will start off in an optimistic mood. Life is not likely to run according to a plan. Personal dreams, hopes and wishes are up for review, especially who you will be doing it with. Tarot message: Take time before reacting. Lucky colour: Deep red.

Magic number: 40.

VIRGO: There is a breathing space, so get your act together and clear your mind. Family members are co-operative. Romance could lead to much turmoil and upheaval. Get some rest. Tarot message: New offers must be put on hold as their outcome is uncertain. Lucky colour: Creamy white. Magic number: 29.

LIBRA: Reckless spending will be a cause of regret. So, no matter now tempting or urgent the purchase may be, think twice before pulling out your credit card or handing over the cash. Tarot message: Consolidate your gains instead of throwing security to the winds. Lucky colour: Purple.

Magic number: 52.

SCORPIO: Though you have sufficient funds but stick to window shopping. Arrangements you made to meet with friends can change at the last moment. Expect a degree of chaos and mayhem in traffic and at airports. Tarot message: Minor official pin-pricks are better ignored. Lucky colour: Ebony.

Magic number: 26.

SAGITTARIUS: You will enjoy sorting all your paperwork into order which may involve paying bills or arranging for extra credit. Romance will be happy. Tarot message: Be positive; you can make things happen even in the most unlikely circumstances.

Lucky colour: Crimson.

Magic number: 32.

CAPRICORN: Do not bottle up emotions and become agitated. Plan some fun and relaxation with loved ones and leave stress behind. Influential people will like your style. Tarot message: Look at the overall cost of things and try to balance your budget.

Lucky colour: Orange.

Magic number: 42.

AQUARIUS: Your personal skills and style of working are likely to shine. There should be no problem at the home front. You may receive a romantic proposition and you should be very careful about how you respond. Tarot message: Don't be dismissive of advice. Lucky colour: Peach.

Magic number: 28.

PISCES: Your partner could talk you into indulging in some gym or dance classes. Business will tick over smoothly enough. Hobbies are occupying. Read a good book at bed time. Tarot message: Take one step at a time and avoid being anxious. Lucky colour: Pink.

Magic number: 64. 

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