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AUGUST (SECOND) 2010 ● Rs 35






Vol 37, Issue No. 881
Founder: Vishwa Nath


11 14 66
Jyoti Galada Ameeta Sharma

Bimla K.M. Sharma


Kasturi Rangachari
J. D. Sharma 72
Archana Painuly Gayatri T. Rao
Sudha Agarwal
Suman Bajpai Gayatri T. Rao
Suman Bajpai
Anil Merani
● Vermicelli Chaat LEMONY

Vermicelli chaat
1 cup boiled
or refined oil
2 tsp ghee seeds

Vermicelli Pulao
1/2 tsp mustard

1/2 tsp black gram
1/2 tsp Bengal
gram dal
green chillies
2 tsp chopped
5-6 curry leaves powder
1 pinch of turmeric
or ground nuts
cashew nuts
1 tbsp lemon

● Lemony Vermicelli
There is more
Vermicelli pulao For garnishin (fresh)
Fry some coriander
than one way cardamom
and bay leaf.
add the vegetables
, salt to taste
masala more. Now on METHOD pan and
to make 1/2tsp garam
puree. Cook
salt and tomato vegetables are Heat ghee
or oil in a
and dals till
3 tbsp tomato till the the fry the mustard seedsgreen chillies
vermicelli 1/4 cup mixed
nuts low flame Then add
half cooked. little water. Cook light brown.
Add the

Vermicelli Cutlets
salt to taste and the cashew

preparations. METHOD in a pan, fry
the vermicelli and
till done.
Sprinkle the
garam and curry leaves
nuts. Fry for
a minute and the
Heat the butter Then add the salt and
Try and find onions for a
clones, cinnamon,
masala and
serve hot.
mix in the
Serve garnished
lemon juice.
the difference. jeera, mustard
fresh coriander,
or grated coconut.


By Savita Bhargava
● Baked Vermicelli Meal LI
Boil the vermicelli
soft, drain,
in water till
peel and gratepress
Soak and
boiled potatoes. water from the
out the excess
1/2 cup roasted
1 cup mixed

● Eidi Seviyan
NTS: bread slices. three ingredient s (chopped)

1/2 cup vermicelli (boiled) Mix all the portions 1 onion (finely chopped)
Take small

ed potatoes with the salt. nut chopped green
2 medium-siz ginger, cashew 2 tsp finely
2 slices of
bread and using the filling, make into chillies
ginger as
1 tsp grated and raisin deep fry 2 tbsp butter
a little and
12-15 raisins into rounds, flatten 1/2 tsp jeera
nuts broken in hot oil. Cool. a little red chilli 1/2 tsp mustard
4-5 cashew
Mix the salt, jeera powder in Lemony vermicelli

Vermicelli Coconut

powder and
little in 2 clones cinnamon
oil for frying the fried cutlets a piece of
2 cups fresh
curd the curd. Soak garnished with (green)
powder 2 small cardamom
1/2-1 tsp red chilli the curd. Serveand the red chilli leaf
jeera powder sweet chutney
1 bay
1 tsp roasted
1/2 cup sweet chutney and jeera powder.


salt to taste ● August (Second)
Woman’s Era

Medha R. Bhatt Kasturi Rangachari ● Vermicelli Puri ● Vermicelli Floats
● Vermicelli Pudding ● Mango Vermicelli Kheer



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India. will be forums/tribunals at Delhi. publication.
The idea is to have fun rather than study. Attendance to
THE KID’S PARTY PUNE, PUSHES classes is abysmally low. When they wake up at the
BACK EDUCATION-MANY NOTCHES end of the 3rd year of college it’s just too late to get a

here is something wrong with the students skill set worthy of a job. And they regularly blame their
nowadays. Or, just maybe we need to blame own teachers, HRD and the Indian educational system
the baby bloomers of the yesteryear on this for faulty teaching. And lastly their addiction with
incident. The incident at Pune where a pack of girls phones, Internet and accessing matured content.
and boys were booked for being under the influence of Has the world order changed? Will the student of
alcohol, while celebrating the Friendship Day, is tomorrow not need any structured education, like the
shameful. But then again, it’s the usual scenario one which has been delivered for many-many centuries.
nowadays and that is how the new generation is Will they require a good Internet connection only? Has
partying. When the advertisers support MTV reality the student of today become a world citizen and is
shows, which show obscenity with no real remorse, oblivious of the immediate surroundings? These are
along with the dialogues, it has to become a cultural very hard questions and maybe we should consider a
trend. And it has. If one looks at the fashions in Delhi new world order in teaching.
University one realises why and how the plunging
necklines and hemlines contribute to late teenage J & K ON THE BOIL

crimes. And then the boys are blamed for date rape, &K is on the boil again and this time it’s different.
rape and stalking. The political party running the Kashmir state is in
Whatever happened at Symbiosis Pune, is not a dire straits since for the first time in so many years
one off-incident. It’s just that it has been reported and the agitation does not seem to be from across the
was carried in the media. Dirty border. A large part of it can be said to
dancing is now happening in all the be internal and fuelled by the Maoists
places- birthdays, clubs, Page 3 who are all over the country. A larger
events, fashion shows, IPL, mall part of it is from the home grown and
walks, cinemas, cafes and gardens. bred terrorists of Kashmir, India.
The 40+ will call it dirty and the teens Pakistan already has multiple problems.
will call it Kool. That of a collapsed economy and partial
So what do the parents do? Well, takeover by the Afghanistan’s Taliban.
quite literally they cannot do much, Then they are under the US guard and
except to remain informed about the US would not want to mess with
what their kids are up to. That’s the best bet for the Indian affairs at the moment. They already have an
parents, since intervention in these sensitive matters economic problem at hand and are trying to take the
will only acknowledge that there is a big deal attached military fizz out of Iraq.
with the upcoming society. What we saw in the 60s’ is What we should worry about that India for the first
probably coming back. time is getting into a situation where there are pockets
One of the biggest reasons for acts like in Pune is of terrorist organisation, which are not under one
technology and access to huge amounts of information. umbrella. They want separate areas of influence, more
The effect is magnified by the fact that social net - like the kingdoms of yesteryear and pre-British rule.
working is not just fast, but instant. Over and above Since the fractured mandate of the Indian public has
this, all the students are cellphone users. Most of the now been there for quite a few decades, this could be
educational colleges will swear by the fact that their the root of the problem. These organisations think that
Internet networks are mostly accessed for the social there is no cohesion in the governance of the country
network, adult content and voice or video over the and hence the central government will not support the
Internet. Students do not use the huge resources of state government. This is largely evident as the present
the Internet for information gathering. In a recent ruling UPA does not wish to tackle the Maoists in
speech by one of news readers, googling was the buzz Chattisgarh, Orissa and in the states where the
word. How can someone be sure that what’s been Congress is not in power. If the UPA is really serious
googled will be true and that too about news on about getting into another term they need to change
National TV, just to fill in the space because of scarcity their act. The inflation, rising costs of everything and the
of information. Coming back to the students, some of non-tackling of the Maoists or extremist groups will take
the better-known problems with the present under - them down. The only saving grace can be that there is
graduate students are: no clear consolidated and capable opposition.
They seldom respect the faculty, no matter who. We

10 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

Be level-headed
to strike a
between fighting
By Jyoti Galada

e are all surrounded by
close relationships. Ben
Stein, American actor,
writer, lawyer and
commentator on political
and economic issues
has said, “Personal
relationships are the
fertile soil from which all
success...all achievement in real life
grows.” All our relationships have a
special place in our lives and impact
us in different ways. They are all
important to live life happily.
Therefore, smoothness in relation -
ships is required, else they can steal
away the peace from our lives.
Stephen R Covey has said, “Our
greatest joy and our greatest pain
come in our relationships with
others.” To be happy in one’s
happiness and sad in one’s grief is
the proof of our attachment to our
relationships. As a result, the actions
of our close relationship affect us Kavita’s mother thought that she was instructed by their parents to stop all
deeply. getting closer to her mother-in-law contacts.
It may happen that despite being while her mother-in-law considered Meanwhile, Preeti got married and
good, our relationships with two or her a puppet of her mother’s. This Sweety and her parents did not
more people get strained due to was not true as Kavita was educated, attend the wedding. Sweety says, “I
tension between them. We may get independent and lived life on her own cried that whole day. I longed to see
sandwiched between them and its terms. Kavita says, “I miss the love my Jijaji and tease Preeti. Whenever
consequences can take their toll on and blessings from both the I am sad, I feel like talking to Preeti. I
our mental, physical and emotional mothers.” know she must have missed me a lot
health. on her wedding day. Our relationship
Loss of peace: Children of will never mend again, I know. This is
Loss of relations: Rani, Mita and constantly fighting or separated my biggest loss and the tragedy is
Parul were good friends. Due to parents go through a lot of emotional that I cannot complain to anyone
some misunderstanding Rani and stress in life that affects their mental about it.”
Parul severed all their relationships. development. Such children cannot
They joined another set of friends take the strain in any relationship If you get sandwiched between
and continued with life. Mita was easily. relationships, remember:
deeply affected due to this as she Likewise, when siblings fight with ● Don’t criticise one in front of the
suffered from loneliness and each other, they forget the hurt they other to make either side happy. In
depression for no fault of hers. “If I cause to their parents who would case both your relationships sort out
talk to Rani then Parul would not like have dreamt of a happy family life their problems and resume friend -
it and avoid me, and vice versa. Who and old age at their birth. ship, you will be in a fix for criticising.
will explain to them that both are Preeti and her cousin, Sweety, ● Never choose a side to agree
special to me?” says Mita. both grew up in the same home. The with since this will increase the
Mita tried to bring both Rani and bond between them was very strong. friction. Be indifferent and calm
Parul together by arranging her There was nothing in their lives that without making assertions and
birthday party and inviting both of they did not share with each other. assumptions.
them. When Rani entered the party Whenever Preeti asked for ● People just want someone with
and saw Parul there, she got something, Sweety would tease her whom they can share their emotions
displeased with Mita and quickly left and say that she would give it to her when they turn against other
the party after wishing her. Rani too on her wedding. relations. So do not get involved in
got upset with Mita. Mita decided to Sweety had planned many the fight.
concentrate on her studies and found surprises for Preeti on her wedding ● Stay quiet when things are
other friends. But the compatibility day. But before Preeti’s wedding, heated. For, in anger, a person’s ego
she shared with Rani and Parul was both their parents fought over is so high that one will not under -
missing. property matters and separated. The stand the situation and accept one’s
rift between them increased and legal fault.
Loss of love: It is difficult to avoid notices were also sent to each other. ● Instead of trying to please both
and continue with life in the case of a Both Preeti and Sweety were the sides together, just remain what
conflict within the family. The level of you were.
pain a person goes through is also
high. It is the man who suffers when
DON’T CRITICISE Never pass news of one side to
the other even if prompted. You can
his wife and mother fight. Both ONE IN FRONT OF be misunderstood.
women hold an important place in his ● If you have an idea for a
life and to make a choice between THE OTHER TO MAKE possible solution to the problem, offer
them is a difficult task for him. He
loses love from one side.
EITHER SIDE HAPPY. it while remaining neutral, else you
will be a part of the conflict.
The relationship between Kavita’s IN CASE BOTH YOUR In case your efforts to solve the
mother and mother-in-law was
strained from the very beginning.
RELATIONSHIPS problem do not work, remember that
you cannot change people but you
Whenever Kavita praised one in front SORT OUT THEIR can definitely change yourself.
of the other she would be taunted. ● Nothing is permanent and
Kavita was unhappy for she held both PROBLEMS AND problems work out themselves which-
mother figures in high esteem. Both
the women loved her, so it was
RESUME FRIENDSHIP, ever way. Accept it and continue with
difficult for her to talk negatively YOU WILL BE IN A FIX Instead of getting depressed,
about one in front of the other that
would make them happy. As a result, FOR CRITICISING. involve yourself in your work and
activities. We

12 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

It’s as bad as being on narcotics. By Ameeta Sharma

have friends who have settled all have over a 100 friends on line who Facing the problem
around the world – some out of stay in touch with me’. I was excited to meet Kamya who
choice of career, a few after their Over a hundred friends! I believe I came to receive me at the airport. But
marriages to NRIs and one who am a fairly likeable person but to fit I saw her before she saw me as she
finds the beauty of Italy difficult into my list of ‘friends’ I do not have was on the phone when I walked to
to leave! I like to stay in touch more than 20 candidates. I know her. “Just checking my alerts,” she
with them through long letters, e- hundreds of people but they are not muttered as I waited to be hugged
mails, short phone calls and my friends. My life does not influence and welcomed. We chatted on the
when they visit India, we end up theirs and they have little say in mine, drive home but once there, I was left
having meals and talking of yet we meet often and generally ask to take the food out and heat what I
various things in our respective lives. about each other. I thought my friend wanted to eat as she sat at her
However, a friend in England was Kamya was indeed lucky. computer with a smile. “Too many
slowly drifting away as she had Then I visited England and told messages to respond to. Be with you
connected with people through her I would spend a weekend with in a moment,” she assured me. Well,
Facebook and I could never find the her. “I am currently out of my job and I finished my dinner, yawned at the
time to teach myself. I would still you really should stay longer,” Kamya television screen and went to bed,
send long e-mails and sometimes wrote in an unusually longer e-mail leaving her with her computer screen.
letters (mail to UK reaches in four which at the end said, “And I could When I woke up in the night I
days) but she would always send teach you how to enjoy Facebook,” could see the neon glow of the
single liners, ‘get on to Facebook as I she ended her message. computer screen through the slightly

14 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

open door. I was not worried but, emphasis is laid on dealing with about your actions.
after the morning cup of coffee when substance addiction rather than ● You lose sleep if you have not
she switched on her computer, I was behaviour addiction. Studies have had your regular ‘fix’ of time over the
a bit annoyed. Why my friend had no been done for addictions to tobacco, internet socialising sites
time for me, I wondered. The next alcohol, drugs and how the affect the ● You think all the people on your
couple of days passed in a blur with lives of people. A Harvard study Facebook are your ‘real friends’
short visits to the shops and single found that an estimated 15.4 million ● Obsession with old love, ex-
trips to museums as she had ‘work’ Americans suffered from gambling boyfriends leads you to search for
and soon it was time to leave. addiction and more than half were information about them
“Wish we had spent more quality adolescents. ● A day without access to the site
time together,” I said. Kamya leads you to feel stressed and
surprised me by bursting into tears. Ways to combat addiction anxious
Between sobs the story she narrated For any substance abuse, there is ● You choose to spend time in
was horrifying. She knew she had a legal and reliable, healthy help. And front of computer screen rather than
problem and did not know how to get there are support groups like meeting friends for a cup of coffee
out of it. She had begun to spend too Alcoholics Anonymous. To wean ● At work, during the day, every
much time on Twitter and Facebook away from tobacco there are aids like spare minute you want to check
sites and lost her job when her work nicotine patches and chewing gums. these Internet sites even if at times it
began to suffer. Still unable to control But I have yet to hear of any de- interferes with your work
her behaviour she found support in addiction protocol for computer ● You go to a site if you are
her Facebook friends and Twitter dependence. Unnervingly, I found agitated and being online with
pals who told her it was okay. They some help on the computer navi - familiar names first calms and then
even told her to try not to tell her gating between sites in the USA and hyper-stimulates you.
“friend visiting from India”, as she Europe.
would not understand. Facebook Addiction Disorder Remedial action
No, they were right about that! I (FAD) is recognised in the USA. Some wise action is needed
did NOT understand. My only aware- “Every day six billion minutes are before the problem spirals out of
ness of tweeting was about the IPL spent on Facebook with four million control. Recognising your addiction

saga and then too it was mostly other status updates and two billion is not always possible but these

people’s problem. I wanted to help photographs uploaded,” says a UK steps would not harm anybody.

Kamya, but did not know what to say. publication. Psychologists and ● Set yourself surfing time limits

I postponed my departure. addiction experts are worried. We ● Differentiate between real

even located a clinic in London where friends and the virtual contacts on the
What is addiction? a Dr Graham specialises in sites
Historically, addiction has been technology addiction. ● Give yourself time off from
defined in connection with psycho- Well, Kamya is made of stronger visiting any site and see how it
active substances like alcohol, stuff when she declared that she affects you
tobacco and other drugs which alter wanted to go ‘cold turkey’, in the old- ● Do not respond immediately to
the chemical balance of the brain. In fashioned way and try to treat her contacts saying something – this is
more recent times, the definition has own affliction by removing herself to not a real conversation with real
been made to include psychological a remote place which allows her to people and it can wait
dependency on such activities like ‘feel normal and human again, ● Do not make unchangeable
gambling, food, sex, exercise, without the aid of Internet sites’. I was patterns about checking your sites at
shopping – and increasingly proud of her and helped her make regular intervals. The computer is for
computer usage. arrangements to come to India and your convenience and you should not
These addictions too lead to guilt, go to a remote village in Himachal be dependent on it
shame, fear, hopelessness and total Pradesh which has no Internet or I am sure my friend will be able to
dependence, and withdrawal from the mobile connections. She arrives next come out of this situation. She is
activity leads to depression and week and I have been making some essentially strong and has some
restlessness. The technical term to final arrangements. good friends and family support. Not
describe this kind of addiction is everybody is that lucky but we all
‘process addiction’. In the USA Recognising addiction have an inner monitor only if we will
‘addiction’ is recognised as one of the Often, there is a thin line between let it speak from time to time. The
most costly public health problems. your usage of a facility and your sites that allow you to freely make
It is a progressive synd rome and dependence on it. What are the signs friends and know more people are
unless treated, the severity and that you should not ignore? If you great if you control your own
dependence would increase. notice these creeping into your reactions. They can be deadly if you
Even in developed nations, more behaviour, then it is time to think let them rule your life. We

16 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

Here comes Lucille

An address book and a
photo of TV personality
Lucille Ball, part of the
“Lucille Ball
Memorabillia from the
Estate of Gary
Mortonwill” collection
will be auctioned soon in
Beverly Hills. Her
daughter Lucy Arnaz
wants to stop the
auction of Lucille’s
personal belongings.

Ancient artefacts

At Rome’s Colosseum 337 archaeological
artefacts dating from the 8th century BC to
the 4th century AD, valued at $19.5 million
were seized during the operation.
“Andromeda” involving Italian Carabinieri
and the Swiss judicial authorities.

Rupee’s new symbol ▼

Kitesurf world cup 2010

This is the new Indian rupee

Topshots kite currency symbol made of
surfers take part in Indian rupee coins beside
the kitesurf world the US dollar and British
cup 2010 in St. pound symbols, a depiction
Peter Ording, by the artist Shanti
northern Germany Swaroop, on display in
on 25 July. The Amritsar on 20 July. India’s
event took place new symbol of the rupee will
from 16 to 22 July. become as globally
recognised as the signs of
the dollar, the yen, the
pound and the euro.

You think it is soft

A young man slides

down from a greasy
pole as he tries to
catch the flag during
the ‘La Vela de
Triana’, traditional
summer fair in the
Guadalquivir river in
Seville on 22 July.
Behind the veil

A model presents
creation by
designer Manav
Gangwani during
the Pearls
Infrastructure Delhi
Couture Week
2010 in New Delhi
on 22 July.

Wait, Please!

Airport employees
Setting sails

wait for first commercial flight to
Crew members of
arrive at Indira Gandhi
Danish training ship
International Airport’s terminal T-
Georg Stage set sails
3 in New Delhi on 14 July. An Air
as they navigate out
India plane carrying more than
of Aaalborg Harbour,
200 passengers from New York
northern Denmark on
became the first commercial
24 July, heading for
flight to land at New Delhi’s new
$ 2.7 billion airport terminal. It
Norway, as one of the
tested the operations at the
84 training ships from
state-of-the-art facility that was
all over the world
inaugurated on 3 July by Prime
taking part in the Tall
Minister Manmohan Singh.
Ships Race 2010.

3D high-definition
Quince, the plasma TV

Rescue Robot ▼ A woman introduces

panasonic’s 3D
This is the crawler rescue
robot Quince during a
plasma TV set
demonstration at the college
incorporating a Blu-
campus of Narashino city in
ray 3D disc drive
Chiba prefecture in
and a hard disc drive
Suburban Tokyo. Japanese
during a press
emergency services are to
conference in Tokyo
try a small tank-like rescue
on 21 July. The TV
robot that can search rubble
will be in the market
for survivors and deliver
by 27 August.
water, food or cellphones in
disaster zones.
Endurance Record

Technicians prepare
a solar-powered
plane for take-off at
the US Army’s Yuma
Proving Ground in
Arizona on 9 July.
The British-built
Zephyr solar-powered
plane has smashed
the endurance record
for an unmanned
aerial vehicle (UAV)
on 16 July.

Overcoming Prejudice
Kamala takes up cudgels against an ancient evil.
By Aswathi

ear friends, today’s topic of our debate is a women who are always bent on snatching whatever
bit complicated. The protagonist of our they could from their parents even though their
theme is none other than the dowry demon, husbands or in-laws had not demanded anything.
who has become a headache to each and When daughters themselves have no compassion for
every society, and a villain to aspiring their parents, how can we blame others?” countered
brides,” monitor Nirmala initiated the Elizabeth.
debate. “As you all know, dowry is a great “There may be a few girls. But the majority of
menace which cannot be eradicated by legal women don’t belong to that category. Even the
measures alone. But who is responsible for its seeming selfishness stems from the indirect coaxing
survival? Is it due to the selfishness of today’s youth of either the husbands or in-laws. As long as the
or the hesitation of young girls to refuse to submit to MILs consider their DILs as milch cows, our society
a dowry-oriented marriage, or the cowardice of will not improve,” said Mira.
brides’ parents, or the exorbitant greed of grooms’ “There are parents of some girls who consider
parents? Who should take steps to wipe out this sending their girls sans dowry to their in-laws’
inhuman practice? That is the problem...” houses as a blemish to their prestige. If any young
“Hear! hear!” chorused the audience. The debate man comes forward to marry a girl without dowry,
in that girls’ college started to heat up. these people consider him below the mark or even
“I strongly believe that today’s young men can suspect some drawback in him...,” argued Hansa.
perform miracles which legal decrees cannot...”

Janak, the next speaker, continued. “But though hen Kamala declared, “Very few may think so.
today’s young men are self-opinionated in many I think girls should be determined not to marry
ways, in the matter of dowry alone, they seem to be any men who demand dowry directly or
very obedient to their parents and never argue with indirectly. They should live a virgin’s life rather than
them. It is this double standard of young men that bow before dowry-mongers. That is the only
fails to do away with the dowry problem,” Kamala solution.”
said. Some other debaters after her suggested to form a
“I can’t accept Janaki’s argument fully. There are ‘spinsters club’. If parents forced their daughters to
marry by offering dowry, the girls should be bold
enough to quit the house and live in the club or
hostel. Only then would the elders realise and
change their minds.
The debate ended in a draw with no side
winning, as every debater had some valid point.
Kamala walked towards the library. Coming
from the bright sunlight it took her a few seconds to
adjust her vision to the dim light inside the room.
The librarian’s chair was unoccupied.
“Is nobody here?”
“Oh, I’m here, Kamala,” Librarian Williams
emerged from behind a shelf and walked towards
her. “Your argument in the debate was quite
realistic, though one thing I could not agree with
fully. Can any daughter be so insensitive to her
parents’ difficulties?”

20 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

“They can. I quoted from my own experience in
my family,” said Kamala. She thought of her selfish
sister who even after becoming the mother of a two-
year-old child, pesters her mother for presents and
takes away whatever she could lay hands on
whenever she visits them.
“Okay, you said that girls should take an oath to
stay virgins rather than marrying dowry-mongers.
First of all, can you be courageous enough to fight
against your parents?”
“Why not? Definitely, I’ll...”
“Suppose not a single man in your community
comes forward to marry you without dowry. Then?”
“If need be, I’ll prefer an inter-caste marriage.
Sometimes, I even feel that the growing rate of inter-
caste marriages can be a deterrent to this dowry
“Is it? If you think so, it will be my good luck...”
“How is it, Mr Williams?”
“Kamala, in our society too, the dowry menace
has reached alarming proportions. But I’ve taken a
vow not to demand any dowry for my marriage. If
you have no objections to an inter-religious
marriage, why should I not ask your hand in
“But... Mr Williams...”
“I love you, Kamala,” Williams pressed her hand
softly. “I love you dearly...”

amala was stunned. Has she created a new
problem? The suitor and his party who had
interviewed her last month, had demanded Rs
40,000 in cash and 50 sovereigns of gold along
with the other presents as usual. As this enormous
demand had worried her mother, she had blurted
out her agitation to Williams, just like a friend. But
she had never expected that events will take such a
Williams was a good man. He was the only son
of wealthy parents. He need not earn his living.
After his master’s degree, he had acquired a
diploma in library science and accepted the job of
librarian, just to pass time. But could he adjust to her
lifestyle or her beliefs?
“Kamala, we have always lived amidst Hindus,
especially Brahmins. I am very familiar with your
practices and living modes,” Williams said, as if
reading her thoughts. “In fact, after we had
friendship with our Iyer neighbours, we have even
turned vegetarians.”
“But, sorry, Mr Williams. I’ve not yet decided to
marry. First, I’ve to complete my studies.”
“Okay, as you please, Kamala. If I have asked
anything wrong, please forget it.”
On seeing the child Navin playing at the portico,
Kamala sensed her sister Kalpa’s arrival. Her
metallic voice confirmed her presence. “Amma, education? It costs a fortune to become an MBA.
where did you get this flower pot? It will be Fifty thousand we ask for is just peanuts,” Kamala’s
convenient to take flowers to the temple. Let me have mother justified her stand.
it, ma. You can get yourself another one...” On “But did we spend a paisa for anna’s education?
seeing Kamala she asked, “Amma, what happened Is it not a fact that he studied throughout with the
to the alliance you had for this girl?” help of a scholarship?”
Her mother explained to her the greed of the “So what? But he is my son. Do you know how
groom’s people in a subdued tone. much I’ve sacrificed to make him a man?”
“Then you’ll have to reject this alliance also?” “But, Amma, did you not say in the past that
“Oh, not so quickly. You know, your brother akka’s MIL is greedy and you will never be like
Nataraj had been seeing a girl last week. I’ve kept her?”
a demand to that girl’s parents that whatever dowry “So what? We should move with the changing
we have to pay for our daughter, they recompensate times. What use is it for us alone being liberal? The
that. Then there is no problem for us.” world is not going to improve, you see.”
Kamala was stunned, “Amma, I can’t believe you

talking like this. We have already suffered due to amala realised there was no point in arguing
the greed of one family. Do you want to inflict the with her mother. Now she should approach
same suffering on others by being greedy?” her brother. That was the only way.
“How dare you say that? My in-laws demanded That night, after dinner, Nataraj was reading a
nothing extraordinary. You people have given my book in his room. Kamala approached him
man just 25,000 rupees and now your suitor hesitantly. “Anna, did you read your would-be
demands double that amount.” in-law’s letter?”
“So what? I’m not craving to marry that “Yes, I read it.”
suitor. If you feel so let down, tell me. I shall “What do you think of his request,
ask brother to give you the balance Ah! Kamala anna? Do you want to be an instrument of
amount, even if he has to take a loan...” sighed a long their suffering due to amma’s greed? I
“Look, Amma, how she lashes out at me. don’t want a prosperous married life just
Giving dowry to daughters is nothing new,
sigh. How by milking somebody dry.”
is it? Why should I be blamed for it?” right Janaki “Don’t talk rubbish. Every girl needs a
“Kamala,” their mother said, “will you was when she strong escort in life. What is wrong if her
just keep quiet? What Kalpa said is right. debated that parents try to buy it for her? Our amma
Even in those days, when dowry system today’s young knows the world. We should not contradict
was not so rigidly prevalent, my father-in- men are her.”
law had demanded thousand rupees as a Ah! Kamala sighed a long sigh. How
penalty simply because the wedding subservient to right Janaki was when she debated that
murukkus (an eatable) were just a round their parents today’s young men are subservient to their
smaller. My nuptials were conducted only in the matter parents in the matter of dowry.
after my appa paid the amount. In those of dowry. As he said, being a girl, she should
days, thousand rupees was equivalent to have protection, a strong escort in her life.
present-day currency of 50,000. You can’t If only she could get it without paying
change people’s attitudes in a trice.” through the nose. Kamala took a decision. Williams
has the best life partner for her. She need not live in

he postman delivered a letter. It was from some other girl’s tears.
Natarajan’s prospective bride’s father. He had Bangalore. After the tedious executive meeting,
pointed out that the terms of dowry asked for Nataraj and his colleague Prem were loitering in the
were a bit high for him, so had humbly requested to cool air of Brindavan Gardens.
lessen it a bit. “Hi, Prem! When did you reach Bangalore?” a
Kamala regretted being born a girl in such a sweet voice twittered from behind.
dowry-mongering society. Because of her, some “Oh, Jyotsna, is it you? I was about to ring you
unknown girl’s parents also had to suffer, she up. I don’t think you’ve any engagements tonight.
thought painfully. When will this vicious circle of Do you?”
getting dowry for giving dowry end? Somebody “So what? I’ll cancel those for you. May I know
must bell the cat, she sighed. who this gentleman is?”
“Hm... If they can’t afford it, they should not “Meet my colleague, Nataraj.”
desire a well-to-do suitor for their girl. Is it for “Oh, glad to meet you, sir.”
nothing that I have spent a lot for Nataraj’s After a while, she took leave of them, promising

22 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

to meet Prem in his hotel suite at night. educational qualifications, her sex appeal rather
“She is my lover in Bangalore. There is one than her intelligence, was preferred. She was fed up
Vandana in Hyderabad. Sumathi takes care of me in with searching for a respectable job and decided to
Chennai. So does Jasmin in Bombay,” Prem become a call girl, which sustained herself and her
explained. convalescing father.
“Are you not ashamed, Prem? Why can’t you Nataraj tried to figure out Latha, the girl he had
marry and settle down decently?” Nataraj asked. last proposed to, in Mallika’s condition. Shocked, he
“Hm! I’m in no position to even think of my came to a decision.
marriage for a long time to come. By the time I find “Amma, please inform Latha’s father that we have
suitors for my five sisters and marry them off, I’ll withdrawn our demand for dowry,” Nataraj told his
become an old man. So I decided to choose this mother.
way.” “Have you gone mad, my boy? Then how do you
intend to marry off your sister?”

hat night, Nataraj’s mind ruminated on Prem’s “I’ll marry her off decently with my own
words, “I decided to choose this way.” In fact, earnings.”
he had no hope of getting married in the near “That is easier said than done. You have started
future, surpassing all his mother’s greedy demands. earning just recently. Before you save enough, she
Latha was the sixth girl he had seen. Marrying her will become a hag.”
also depended upon his mother’s choice... Why “No, Amma. Please listen to me. I don’t want to
not? He was tempted by the thought. That restaurant give heartburn to an unknown girl for the sake of my
had a call-girl facility. He decided to have a try. sister.”
He was shell-shocked to see her when she entered Parvathi realised she could not change her son’s
his room. She was Mallika, his old college mate, the mind. “Okay, as you please. Don’t repent
college beauty. Once, she was called the Cleopatra afterwards.”
of their college. Any young man would crave to Nataraj informed Latha’s father his new decision.
have a few words with her. Or just a glance from

her. But she never cared for any man and just fter a few days, Nataraj received two letters.
treated them as dirt. But now — how come she has One was from Latha’s father: “Until now, you
turned so low, as a call girl? people were not prepared to budge even an
Mallika, being business-minded, started removing inch from your demands. But I can’t fathom why you
her dress. have done a somersault and waived dowry
“Stop, Mallika. Can’t you recognise me? I’m your altogether. I’m afraid there must be some fraud. We
old college buddy, Nataraj. We studied together don’t want to continue with this alliance anyway.
during the MSc course, don’t you remember? Wait, Please excuse me.”
let me talk to you.” The other letter was from Kamala.
“Come to think of it! Oh yes, I remember.” “My Dear Anna,
Her life story which she had revealed to him that “I don’t think it right to
night made him ponder. After she had completed trouble another girl’s father for
her course, her father had married her off to a my welfare. I understand that to
suitable young man. But soon, her father’s business search for a groom in one’s
went into loss and so he could not fulfil his promise own community is a costly
of giving a fat dowry to his son-in-law. Due to affair for a girl. So I’ve secured
the shock of losing his business, her father a lifepartner without ruining
became bedridden. Her husband strictly any other girl’s life. Mr
ordered her that unless she fetch the Williams, though belonging to
balance dowry, she need not stay with another faith, is having the
him. same principles and
So she started living convictions as me. We
with her father and have registered our
searched for a good marriage this morning.
job. But, wherever We solicit the blessings of
she went, her yourself and amma...”
feminine charm The letter fell from the
rather than stunned Nataraj’s hands.
her He felt the whirlwind
around him. We

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 23

No space is too
small for lovers of
greenery at home.
By Bimla


reenery is a stress-buster. wonders of the ancient world, was the gap of a little ground or space for
During my free times I the legendary garden that king plants in houses, especially in small
often spend my time Nebuchadnezzar II built around houses.
nurturing several odd tree 600BC. He built the famous gardens, If you love the idea of a hanging
pots on my terrace and, let so the story goes, to remind him of garden on your balcony or patio this
me tell you, it makes me the beautiful mountainous area that article will help you design and create
so happy. You too can try he had come from. The gardens were an overhead display of flowers and
to get over the depression built on a slope, in many step-like scented herbs in a favourite corner.
in your life... as greenery terraces, one above the other.
is always a relief. It was since then that Khalida Hang the baskets for the best
My friend Khalida is a great lover designs hanging gardens of her own display: Hanging baskets make a
of plants, I want to share her on balconies with the help of hanging great addition to any home, and you
experiences and some practical tips containers. can use them in a number of ways to
on the hanging containers and on She also imparts training on how create different effects. The types of
ways of grouping plants in them, with to propagate hanging gardens to fill plants you use make a lot of
the readers of Womanʼs Era. difference to the final result, so
There is a small story behind choose carefully and plan the
her success in becoming a contents of each one before
hanging plants expert. Being a you begin.
lover of greenery, she would It is also important to select
love to accommodate more and plants that are native to and
more plants on a balcony or lovers of the particular climate
patio that is already packed with in your local area. What may
luxuriant greenery but she is not flourish in one garden could wilt
sure where to fit them in. and die in another, so make
Khalida is a great lover of your own local garden if you
books on different subjects too. can.
While exploring an With practice you will soon
encyclopaedia, the Hanging be designing stunning hanging
Gardens of Babylon caught her baskets for your verandah that
attention. The Hanging Gardens everyone will stop to admire.
of Babylon, one of the seven And you’ll get lasting enjoyment

24 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

out of them too. Hanging baskets are
a delightful way to add presence to
entrance ways, walls and pergolas.
It’s a simple, unpretentious way,
together with window boxes, to frame
a window with beautiful flowers and
Hanging baskets are not restricted
to flowers. They can be a herb basket
or even a vegetable basket. Choose
plants for your basket according to a
specific colour theme or for boldness
of colour and texture. Let your
imagination run wild.
But remember, baskets need
more attention while watering than
other containers. This is because
they have air movement all
around them, so more water is
required to replace that which is
lost through evaporation.
Hanging plant-containers at
eye level look very effective with
a combination of different
shapes of growth. At eye-level
the upper, middle and lower
parts of the plants will all be
easy to see.
Hanging plant-containers
placed below eye level look best
with upright and bushy
overhanging plants. At this level, decide accordingly which plants to
only the upper parts of the plants grow in your hanging baskets.
and those hanging over the edge Different plants have different
of the container will be visible to requirements with respect to light,
the onlooker. temperature, wind and rain. The
Plant-containers placed special requirements of free-hanging
above eye level do not require planting container arrangements
any plants that send their flowers have also been taken into
upwards. Here, all shapes of consideration.
growth can be used, provided ● For the summer season:
they look decorative from below. gazania hybrids, Livingston daisies.
● For the autumn season: violets,
Kitchen herbs in the heather, chrysanthemums
basket: An airy position of ● For the spring season: pansies,
balcony or patio is the ideal daisies and bulbous plants such as
place to grow kitchen herbs and tulips, narcissi, crocuses, etc.
vegetables in the hanging baskets.
Kitchen herbs – like basil, mint and
HANGING PLANT- Living in crammed cities, it’s not
always possible to be close to nature,
coriander – can easily and CONTAINERS AT EYE but still, you can make your house
successfully be grown. These herbs
not only smell nice, but can also be
LEVEL LOOK VERY close to nature by making greenery
on your balconies by making season-
used to add flavour to food and EFFECTIVE WITH A wise hanging gardens on your
drinks. balconies.
COMBINATION OF Try it out – greenery on your
Plants for different seasons:
You know which conditions prevail on
DIFFERENT SHAPES balcony will certainly make the
environment of your house really
your balcony, patio, etc. So you OF GROWTH. soothing and appealing too. We

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 25

hy visit the Land of the
PART – I Dragon, China? You
really should, because it
is not only the world’s
oldest continuous
civilisation, but it is also
in the process of
becoming a dominant
world power and is
being watched by the
whole world. Yes, no one can ignore
China and that is why so many
people travel to see it for themselves.
When hubby and I decided that
our next sally across the seas
would be to China (and
Singapore on our way
back), we looked
forward to seeing not
just the Great Wall,
the Terracotta
Warriors, the
Forbidden City and
the Yangtze river,
but also the Bird’s
Nest and other
sports centres made
famous by TV
coverage of the
A delightful journey Olympics. We also
wanted to have a good
through the Chinese capital. look at the country which is touted by
the West as being, together with
By Kasturi Rangachari India, a future super power.
And what better place to start a actors sitting at tables outside the hall
tour of China than the capital city of putting on their make-up while
Beijing? We went in November when excited tourists photographed them THE GUIDES WE HAD
the weather was pleasantly cold. We and stalls nearby sold costumes and
needed to wear either sweaters or masks like the actors had on. This IN BEIJING AND THE
jackets but we didn’t need thermals. was the first time we experienced the OTHER CITIES WE
We left Chennai by a late-night way the Chinese “package” their
flight and reached Singapore about tourist attractions, milking tourists for VISITED WERE
four hours later. Changi airport took every yuan possible! India too should PRACTICALLY THE
our breath away. It is huge and learn to do this.
luxurious and extremely efficiently Our guide had bought us tickets ONLY PEOPLE WE
run. Our luggage had been booked for a table in front and so we not only MET WHO COULD
through to Beijing and we had a had ring-side seats, but we were also
couple of hours before our flight. So served Chinese snacks and endless
we spent our time wandering around
the airport and gaping at all we saw.
There are five gardens in Changi and
a number of lounges for passengers
flying business class and first class.
The amenities available include a
swimming pool, beauty salons, spas,

Our flight from India had landed at
one terminal but our flight to Beijing
was leaving from another terminal
and we took an inter-terminal train to
get there. We had breakfast at a
huge lounge there and then caught
our flight. And, six hours later, we
landed at Beijing.
Terminal three of Beijing airport,
at which we landed, was newly built cups of green tea as we watched the
for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and it opera.
is huge and very impressive. As we A screen on either side of the
exited the terminal, we were met by stage displayed a translation of the
the placard-carrying guide and driver dialogue and gave us the story line.
team who would be with us during But after some time I stopped trying
our stay in Beijing. to read and watch at the same time
Tourism is a big source of and just concentrated on the dancing
employment in China. The guides we and singing. The opera was quite
had in Beijing and the other cities we enjoyable.
visited were practically the only The next morning Catherine came Inside the Forbidden City.
people we met who could speak and picked us up and took us first to
English (the drivers couldn’t). the Temple of Heaven. The temple, interested in taking us around the
All Chinese guides take Western which consists of a group of halls, temple and more interested in
names while performing their duties altars and buildings, nestles in a 267- showing us senior citizens enjoying
in order to make things easier for hectare park. The main altar dates themselves in the park. She
their clients. Our guide in Beijing had back to the sixteenth century and the explained to us that the park was a
chosen the name Catherine. whole complex is an exquisite kind of club for retired people of
After coming to China, we example of Ming design. The ruling Beijing who came here every
definitely wanted to see everything emperor who was called the Son of morning and spent the whole day
worth seeing and that included a visit Heaven performed solemn rites and here.
to the 2000-year-old Chinese opera. prayed here for good harvests and Catherine told us that all these
After dinner we went for the opera, forgiveness for the sins of the people. senior citizens got good pensions
The Monkey King. We found the To my surprise Catherine was less and didn’t have a care in the world.

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 29

All they did was enjoy themselves been killed in the surrounding streets is so called because the general
and make sure that they remained while a well-documented slaughter public was not allowed into it for the
healthy! had taken place in Muxidi to the west. 500 years that it was home to the
Yes, if everyone could relax after In fact, the words “Tiananmen emperors of two dynasties, the Ming
a lifetime of work and spend their Square” still remain a blot on the and the Qing. These emperors lived
sunset years relaxing and enjoying image the world has of China. in the plush and luxurious city with
themselves with their contempo - Tiananmen Square is in the heart members of their families and
raries, it would be wonderful. The of Beijing and is the world’s largest servants and guards and didn’t go
more I thought about it, the surer I public square—bigger than even the out of the lavish pleasure palace
became that the whole thing was Red Square in Moscow. It was unless they had to.
stage managed! conceived by Mao to symbolise the The City is a cluster of the largest
enormity and power of the communist and best-preserved buildings of
party. It is laid out on a north-south medieval China. They are made of
TIANANMEN SQUARE axis and is breathtakingly impressive wood and have yellow roofs and
Our next port of call was and crowded all the time, mainly with scarlet walls and are covered with
Tiananmen Square. It was here that tourists, both foreign and domestic. blue and green paintings. The City is
the demand for democracy which had To the south is the Chairman Mao huge. Emperors claimed that it had
begun in 1978, erupted into a popular Memorial Hall, to the north, the Gate 9999.5 rooms (because god was
and noisy but non-violent rebellion by of Heavenly Peace and behind that supposed to live in a palace with
young students in June 1989. The lies the Forbidden City. There were 10,000 rooms and no one could have
government had quickly crushed the long lines outside the Memorial Hall. a bigger palace than god!) and no
uprising. As the world watched in Most of the people were loyal one then gainsaid them. But
horror, army tanks had rolled into the Chinese waiting to go and pay archaeologists and historians now
square and hundreds of students had homage at the tomb of their great say that there are about 8700 rooms
leader, Mao. in the palace.
THE FORBIDDEN CITY Catherine went on to crow about
IS SO CALLED the fact that the sex ratio which was
now heavily in favour of males was IMPERIAL GARDEN
BECAUSE THE changing the social scenario. “Now We entered through the Meridian
GENERAL PUBLIC WAS there aren’t enough girls and so we
can call the shots when it comes to
Gate, passed the Supreme Harmony
Gate, visited the Hall of Supreme
NOT ALLOWED INTO marriage,” she said. “We insist that Harmony, the Hall of Middle
IT FOR THE 500 YEARS we will marry only a man who has a
good job and who owns a flat and
Harmony, the Hall of Preserving
Harmony, the Palace of Heavenly
THAT IT WAS HOME car. Many of us girls even insist that Purity and the Hall of Union, passing
TO THE EMPERORS OF we will not do housework and that the through many lesser halls, exhibition
man will have to cook and clean after areas, buildings and rooms as we did
TWO DYNASTIES, THE marriage! And they agree!” so. We peeped into the palatial living
MING AND THE After wandering around the quarters of the emperors, which had
square for a while, we went into the libraries, temples, gardens, theatres
QING. Forbidden City. The Forbidden City and even a tennis court built by the
last emperor. If we closed our eyes it
was easy to imagine that we were in
the wondrous city shown in the movie
The Last Emperor!
We finally reached the last sight –
the 7000-square-metre Imperial
Garden with its fine landscaping,
rockeries, walkways and pavilions, all
of which are built in the classical
Chinese style.
After lunch we set off for the
Emperor’s Summer Palace, stopping
on the way to visit a tea house-cum-
tea shop-cum-factory. Tea is the
national drink of China and the
Chinese identify it as one of the
seven basic necessities of life—the
others being fuel, oil, rice, salt, soy
The monument at the centre of
sauce and vinegar. The Chinese Tiananmen Square.
were the first to cultivate, brew and
drink tea. This was in the Tang
dynasty (618-907AD). China has
many varieties of tea, the main ones
being green tea, black tea and
wulong or semi-fermented tea.
Besides these the country has many
flavoured teas and regional
During our trip to Beijing, besides
the tea factory, we were taken to a
jade factory, a pearl factory and an
enamel-work factory.


The Summer Palace is a huge
park consisting of palace temples,
gardens, pavilions, lakes and
corridors. This was where the royal
family took refuge during the OF THE
scorching days of summer. It is a
beautiful place and a cruise in
Kunming lake which occupies 75 WALL WAS
per cent of the park is a mandatory
part of the visit. So is a walk along
the main corridor of the palace THAN 2000
which the Chinese claim is the YEARS AGO,
longest corridor in the world. It has
beautiful paintings all along it. DURING THE
This Summer Palace was QIN DYNASTY
actually built after the original,
which dated back to the 12th (221-207BC).
century, was destroyed and looted
by British and French troops during world impressively, we couldn’t help thousands of workers laboured for 10
the Second Opium War. wondering about the plight of the years to do this, but the wall never
As we drove around the city that farmers and other people who had served its purpose of keeping
day, our guide showed us the Nest, suddenly had their river snatched enemies out. This was because it
the swimming complex, the tennis away from them and the was far too long to be defended.
complex and several other stadia in environmental results of this kind of But the wall served as an elevated
which the Olympics had been held. interference with nature. highway for men and goods and the
When we exclaimed at the greenery The next morning we left early for watch towers constructed at regular
we saw everywhere, she told us that the highlight of our visit to Beijing – a intervals along it served as beacon
in reality Beijing was very arid visit to the Great Wall of China! towers from which guards could send
because it did not have a river or any Construction of the original Great smoke signals to each other about
other water source near it. She said Wall was begun more than 2000 enemy movement.
that the Chinese government had years ago, during the Qin dynasty The emperors of the Ming dynasty
decided that this would not present (221-207BC). It was built over ranges (14th to 17th century AD) made a
an impressive picture of their capital of hills and mountains and was determined effort to strengthen the
and hence a river had been diverted meant to protect the kingdom from wall and, over a period of 100 years,
to bring water to Beijing for the attack. Separate walls had already lengthened the wall by 600 miles. But
Games! been constructed by smaller the wall failed to prevent the Manchu
Even as we marvelled at the independent kingdoms to keep out armies from storming the kingdom
determination of the Chinese to make marauders, and the emperors of the and imposing two-and-a-half
the 2008 Olympics one that would Qin dynasty decided to link these centuries of foreign rule over China.
showcase China and its might to the sections together. Hundreds of The wall was forgotten after the
Ming dynasty’s efforts and much of it one of the trails below it. We chose to numerous courtyards, while poor
fell down. In fact, it was only rescued walk along the wall which is about six families shared a courtyard and lived
by the modern tourist industry. Now, metres wide. It was cold and windy in rooms around it. Presumably the
sections of the wall have been rebuilt, on the wall but we soon became rich rebuilt their spacious dwellings
souvenir shops have been opened, warm as we trudged up and down the after Genghis Khan finished with the
restaurants have been started, mountain slopes. The watch towers city, while the hutongs, which
amusement park-type rides have had steps leading down to guard followed this same traditional
been set up and cable cars have rooms, toilets and to the paths below courtyard pattern, were built by the
been put into place for the the wall. On the wall itself hawkers poorer sections of the population.
convenience of visitors. Most tourists sold souvenirs and snacks. They were built opening into
go to Badaling, Simatai and alleyways that soon crisscrossed the
Jinshanling to see the wall. All these city and became part of its identity.
places are easily accessible from COURTYARD PATTERN Communist China however
Beijing. The wall was crowded but wanted to do away with every trace
We went to Badaling which is 70 extremely picturesque. As we walked of its past and replace it with
km northwest of Beijing. Here the on we were mesmerised by the view modernity. This resulted in the
wall snakes into the distance over on both sides. For a long time, destructions of even the city walls
undulating hills. There is a cable car people believed that the Great Wall around Beijing, the magnificent city
to take you up to the wall itself. You was the one man-made structure that gates, many other historical and
can then walk along it or take off on could be seen from the moon. But beautiful monuments – and the
this myth was finally laid to rest when hutongs – to build roads and high-
China’s first astronaut, Yang Liwei,
THE RICH LIVED IN failed to see it from space. The myth
rises in their place.
However, when they realised the
SPACIOUS was subsequently edited from error of their ways, the government
RESIDENCES IN Chinese textbooks where it had awed
generations of Chinese students.
stopped demolitions and the
remaining hutongs too were saved.
WHICH ROOMS WERE We came back to Beijing and went They have been declared to be
BUILT AROUND for a visit to the hutongs, which date “protected” and have become a
back to the time when the city was tourist attraction.
NUMEROUS razed to the ground by Genghis We rode through the scrupulously
COURTYARDS, WHILE Khan’s army in 1215 AD. clean alleyways of the hutongs in a
In China, through the ages, homes cycle rickshaw getting glimpses of
POOR FAMILIES were built in the “courtyard” pattern. the courtyards inside. This was
SHARED A COURTYARD The rich lived in spacious residences because the doors of the hutongs
in which rooms were built around have to be left open since several
AND LIVED IN ROOMS families live around the common
AROUND IT. A phoenix and a dragon in front of a hall
in the Summer Palace
courtyard and there is much coming
and going. The families that lived in
the hutongs were obviously poor
since we got glimpses of rusty
bicycles, broken cots and the like.
But even these were neatly stacked
in a corner.
We were told that most of the
hutongs are used as government
offices or as cheap housing for lower-
level government staff. According to
the hutong guide, modern Chinese
do not like to live in hutongs because
they do not have bathrooms.
Residents have to use common
bathrooms and toilets. Later, we went
back to the hotel and slept like logs,
exhausted by our walk up and down
the mountain slopes on which the
Great Wall has been built. The next
morning we left for Xian where the
Terracotta Army awaited us! We

32 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

QA &
QMy husband has only one younger
sister and she is in a good job.
While my husband and I are worried
about her marriage and dowry, she
squanders all her salary on rubbish
equal to boys they have to take
their responsibilities also seriously.
However, you have to approach it
carefully with your husband and
insist on her saving something from
stuff. How can I make her see that her salary for her own future.
she should invest in jewellery for List your demands as a wife and
herself? I want nothing but she say to your husband that you are
earns the same as my husband as much his responsibility as his
who has so many responsibilities sister is – in some ways even more
while she just has a good time. as you will be with him for life
You are absolutely right about whereas the sister will go away
your worry. When we treat girls after marriage.

chances and live beyond their I had an arranged marriage six years
earnings. ago and even though I do not love
Your husband too has fallen into my husband like I wanted to I have
the trap. Husbands and wife are made adjustments. Now at office I
supposed to be equal partners in a have met a man who says he loves
I come from a large joint family. All marriage. me and will marry me. Should I
my life my parents have wanted me Your husband should be proud consider divorce?
to do things so I could be ‘better than that he has a wives who is qualified Marriages are never easy and
my cousins’. Today, I am a doctor, and willing to pool in her efforts. You love is not the only emotion that
earning well and want to marry a girl should approach the subject gently takes a couple through all the years
who is simple and nice. and bring out the fact that your of marriage. While everybody wants
My parents feel she does not qualifications are being wasted. Do love in their marriage and you have
come from a ‘rich enough’ family as not make him feel that he has failed been married for six years, so there
compared to my cousins. I am tired of in any manner but emphasise your must be some understanding with
this competitive streak but do not desire to be part of your home- your husband. However, you cannot
want to oppose them. I love this girl. building team. be too sure if you will have the same
What do I do? equation with this new man. Once
It is good you have been a nice married he could turn out to be
and obedient son but now you have Although mine was a love marriage different to what you think and
reached a stage in life where his family accepted me. My parents expect! Make your decision after very
decisions cannot be ruled by the divorced when I was three years old serious thought as divorce is never
competitive streak your parents have and I hate broken families. I promised a good thought.
followed until now for you. If the girl is I would never go through a divorce.
nice and good natured, loves you and Now my in-laws who are both in their
would be able to live with your family fifties are planning a divorce and I I am a man married for 2 years and
then her father’s financial status feel shattered. Will my marriage also almost overnight my wife has
should be of no consequences. You end in a divorce? changed. If I make sexual advance
can tell your parents that whoever Children of a broken marriage she taunts me that maybe my
you will marry you will not accept any carry fears and grudges all their lives. colleague did not entertain me or she
dowry in principle and then they Yet, divorces and broken marriages will say she has a headache. Then
might see this girl also in a different can only be saved by a joint effort of she will want it when I am tired and
light. both – the husband and the wife. So, stop talking to me if I refuse. What
your promise to yourself of never has happened to her – I am 32 and
going through a divorce might be a she is 30?
I have never worked in my life but I bit unfair on yourself. Changes of this nature do not
am a qualified teacher. My husband If your in-laws have decided to get appear just overnight for no reason.
had taken out a lot of personal loans a divorce there is very little you can Be honest with yourself and try to
for a car and house and spent money do as a daughter-in-law. Yes, you remember what triggered this
on his credit card. I know he is facing can use this time to get really close to behaviour of your wife. Talk at length
a financial crunch. I want to help but your husband by offering him all the with your wife instead of expecting
feel that if I offer to take up a job he support. He must be shattered as the problem to sort itself out because
will be hurt. What do I do? well and this period could actually these problems never go away
Young people today do take bring you two together. without being addressed.

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 33

QA &
Obviously when you refuse her
she takes it as rejection and then
I am 22 and about to get married.
When I was 17 I was forced into sex
things do get settled once they are
married. However, as you are worried
refuses you and the whole issue gets by a cousin who was 27. I felt I will do consult a doctor who can organise
escalated. You need honest and get pregnant and he gave me some a regular blood and hormonal
direct communication to address the medicine which made me very sick. profiling to rule out any deficiency
problem. But I was okay after some time. I am and ensure you are eating healthy
very worried about my future, will my food. If a course of medication is
husband come to know about the decided by the doctor follow it and
I love my wife very much, we are tablets I ate to not get pregnant? see if it brings regularity to your
married for four years, and have a Premarital sexual encounters at a monthly cycle.
young baby. My wife always had low young age against one’s wishes are
sex drive and I find it very frustrating. never good and leave bad memories.
Also, she is very boring in bed and If your cousin gave you something I am 32 years old and had an
I am seriously thinking if she will not that made you feel sick it might have arranged marriage. The girl is more
mind my going to professional been some sort of after sex pill to qualified and very beautiful. We were
women for satisfaction? avoid pregnancy and you could not together for 6 months and I thought
You begin by saying you love your have become pregnant after that. If we were happy. She went to her
wife and end by asking if you should your periods have been painless and parents’ house and has now filed for
seek professional prostitution to regular and it has been five years, it a divorce. She has lodged false
satisfy your sexual desires. That is best to put the incident behind you. complaints against me and my
does not sound like love to anybody. While it is always good to begin a parents. I am very depressed and
With a young baby probably your wife relationship with truth but if you do confused as we did nothing wrong.
genuinely feels neglected and not wish to share your details with I think she expected me to be
overworked. your husband there is no need for richer but we never lied. What should
Instead of thinking of just yourself, him to know and no way for him to I do?
you need to look at the situation from find out. Marriages break up for different
her point of view. Try to be helpful reasons and it is always sad when
and share her burden instead of just that happens. It seems your wife
demanding what you think is her duty I am a 27 year old man, in love with a wants a water tight case about
to you. cousin who is same age. Our families getting her divorce and her reasons
feel we are brother and sister and are best known to her. In such
only we know we want to marry each divorce cases sometimes the
I am 22 years old and doing post other. It is not prohibited by law but lawyer/consultants also give wrong
graduation. I am constantly regretting our parents will oppose. What can we advice and they misuse the law
whatever decision I take. I want do? meant to safeguard women against
responsibility but when entrusted with You have not clarified the their husbands.
it I always mess up. I am always relationship with this girl but if it is It is understandable that you are
thinking of opportunities I missed. not in the list of ‘forbidden by law’ confused and depressed but you
What is wrong with me? Can I do relationships you can get married. must try to meet her or reach her
something to improve it? However, if you are so sure your through some common people to
What you are undergoing and parents will definitely oppose this convince her that if she wants a
experiencing is not that unusual for marriage you have to be very sure divorce she can have it and then start
your age, so stop feeling as though that you want to marry each other your life again.
you are abnormal. The first step for even if it means cutting off from your
you should be being assertive and parents. You can register your
not biting more than you can chew. marriage or get married under Arya Have you a personal
Moaning about lost opportunities is Samaj ceremony if the relationship is problem of any nature,
never constructive for anybody. legal. which you hesitate to discuss
Every time you find yourself doing
that, remind yourself of your last
with your family or friends?
achievements. I am 22 and my problem is my Share it with us.
Even when you are given irregular periods. I have never been WE will try to help you.
responsibility chalk out a course of intimate with a boy but my periods Address your letters to:
action and ask the person in charge if are not regular. Sometimes I get it in
you are on the right track. Read 17 days, sometimes after 30 days. Is WOMAN’S ERA
books on how to improve self something wrong with me? E-3, Jhandewala Estate,
confidence and things will eventually By the age of 22 many girls suffer
fall in place. irregular periods. In some cases New Delhi-110 055.

34 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

who after examining and investi - I am a 35-year-old housewife. I
gating you, will be able to find the recently read about the value of
exact cause and treat you fruits. How do they help the body in
accordingly. fighting disease? Please advise.

Fruits form an essential
component of any woman’s diet as
I am 22 years old, recently married. these have antioxidant properties
My problem is that I am getting pain which offer resistance against free
during urination. This is very radicals to help in not only improving
distressing. Please help. our body’s immunity against disease
It appears you are suffering from but also help to detoxify it. So use of
urinary tract infection which is quite fresh fruits is advisable. It is
common in newly wedded women. advisable to eat seasonal fruits.
You should see your doctor who after There is nothing like fruit being
examining you will be able to decide expensive. One can easily make a
the course of action after getting choice between common fruits like
urine culture, etc done. guavas, bananas, grapes, mosambis,
In the meantime drink lots of fluids papayas and other fruits too

so as to flush your kidneys. Do not numerous to mention.

hold the urge to pass urine. Never
have sex on a full bladder. Empty
your bladder before and after sexual I am 40 years old. Of late, I have a
contact and wash the private parts crop of pimples on my face which is
properly. very distressing. Please help.

Pimples or acne at your age are
I am 30 years old married. I get probably due to hormonal imbalance.
recurrent infections around my I am 35 years old and mother of two I am sure you are taking care of your
private parts. These are very kids. I have got persistent backache diet which should be full of green
distressing. Please advise how I can for the last two years. I have tried vegetables and fruits. Avoid
protect myself. many medicines but of no avail. chocolates and sugary things.
Infections around private parts are Please help. Moreover, take care of your skin by
common in women who are obese, Pain in the back can be due to washing it twice a day and using a
diabetic and whose immune system various causes. These include mild soap. Consult your doctor who
is low. Most commonly monilial/ spondylosis, osteoporosis and should be able to advise you further
candida infection is responsible. It is problems of bad posture. In many in this regard.

better to have good hygiene of the women a persistent vaginal infection
part by cleaning it properly while can also be responsible for causing

taking a bath. Avoid tight-fitting intractable pain. You have to be I am 18 years old. A few days before
clothes and underwear should be of investigated properly including a CT the onset of menstruation I get
cotton. Maintain proper sex hygiene. scan MRI to find out the cause of irritable and have mood swings.
If you suffer from any of the ailments your problem. There are not only cramps in my legs

mentioned then better consult your but my breasts also become heavy
doctor in this regard. and painful. Doctor says it is normal.
I am 35 years old, married with two Please help.
kids. Because of work at home and What you suffer from is called
I am a 35-year-old married office I often feel stressed out. It PMS (premenstrual syndrome) which
housewife. During the last six months appears as if I am going to break up. happens in many women, especially
I have lost more than five kilos of Please help. those who lead a sedentary lifestyle,
weight. It makes me feel exhausted Leading a fast-paced life does do not take exercise regularly and
also. Please advise. have its toll on one’s health but there their diet is poor.
Sudden loss of weight means that is nothing to get disappointed about. Best for you would be to cut down
there is something wrong with your Adopt a positive attitude to life. Have on sugar, salt and coffee in your diet
health. It could be diabetes, a a healthy lifestyle with a nutritious a few days before the start of
disorder of your thyroid glands low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet with menstruation. Add fresh fruits in
(thyrotoxicosis), an overt tuberculosis regular exercise for at least half an plenty to your diet and relax your
somewhere in the body and even a hour a day. Along with all these mind. Tension will further worsen
malignancy in the body. I advise you measures devote a little time daily to your problem.
to immediately consult your doctor, meditation. — Dr S. N. Khosla, MD.
Flowing tresses
Beauty comes into
prominence with a
befitting hairdo.
A befitting hairdo
follows with a lot of
thought and
planning. So plan
your hair to deliver

the effect.

al hairstyling
T he effect of origin pertise for a
is obvious. T he ex mes with
good hairstyling co n style will
practice. And your od time.

Combing with a slant

evolve in go

Suitably cropped hair

A throwback flourish

A graceful encirclement

An ennobling style
A perfect bun

A conical shape
QA &

behind your peers academically but
in the larger perspective, a year or
two are nothing to worry about. In the
husband and after we exchanged
pleasantries, he invited me to have
coffee with him. He works in another

west, students take “gap year” breaks city now but was in ours on work for a
simply to see the world or to buy time fortnight. Somehow, I enjoyed his
to make a decision about their future. company and when he asked me to
I really don’t know what to do! I am So, do not worry on that score at meet him again, I agreed. Now, I feel
an 18-year-old girl studying in a least. I am falling in love with him. He too, I
medical college in Karnataka. I joined think, is attracted to me. He has gone
this course on the advice of my I find myself in the most awkward back but has promised to keep in
parents who are both reputed situation. My elder sister went touch. What should I do? Is there any
doctors. As I did not have any other through a bitter divorce three years future in this or should I nip this in
alternative in mind, I agreed. Now, I ago. Most of the family feel it is the bud? I must mention that apart
find that I am like a square peg in a mostly her fault as she has a from my sister, the rest of our family
round hole! I simply dislike my course quarrelsome nature. Last week, I likes him a lot. But will they accept
and cannot think of spending the next unexpectedly bumped into her former him again as my spouse? I am 18
five years in it. I would much rather years old.
do a mass media course which I now I am a 17-year-old girl now. When I This is a really
think I had always wanted to do. My was 12 years old, a relative (much delicate situation which
parents are trying to persuade me to older) molested me constantly, but could cause much
continue as otherwise it will be a big at that time I did not realise that embarrassment, grief,
waste of my academic years. I am what he did was wrong. I know this resentment and stress to
desperate. Should I listen to them or now and am consumed by guilt different members of
quit and get admission in a mass and shame. I do not have anything your family. Even if your
media course? to do with that person. He is out of folks like their ex-son-in-
Your situation needs a lot of clear- this country. How do I stop hating law, you cannot expect them to
headed discussion between you, myself? welcome him back with open arms

your parents and your mentors. Molestation of young vulnerable as the husband of another daughter.
Some temporary setback in your girls is much commoner than you It is a highly undesirable situation
present study could have triggered think. Most of it is hidden or swept unless you are able to sever all family
off your discontent and you may have under the carpet as it creates too ties and lead a separate life of your
started thinking of the greener grass many rifts in relationships if own together far away from kith and
on the other side of the fence. Surely, revealed. The first thing you must kin.
you must have liked the medical accept is that you are the victim. It is also not quite ethical of this
course to a great degree to agree to You were very young and man to try to charm his ex-wife’s
it in the first place? Do not, therefore, innocent. The perpetrator bears younger sister. Could he not
take any step in a tearing hurry. the onus of the whole wrongdoing envisage the problems it will cause?
Do make an honest and deep as he was older, more responsible Is he trying to get back at your sister
appraisal of the situation and talk it for his action, and was guilty of in some devious way? You perhaps
over with your folks. Also, make a taking advantage of a minor. So, are overcome with guilt (due to your
survey of the mass media option and you can absolve yourself of all guilt sister’s role in the break-up) and a
decide whether it is really what you and accusation, and try to forget the feeling of sympathy towards this man
want. If you are convinced that the whole sordid episode. Put it all and this makes you think you “love”
latter is your definite choice, it is behind you like a bad dream and him.
better to quit. Medical studies like no face your future happily. If you find It is best not to pursue the
other, perhaps, demand dedication yourself unable to rid yourself of the relationship further but then, as an
and hard work which, if you are guilt and shame, you can consult a adult, you should make your own
unable to do, is perhaps not for you therapist for, these emotions could decision. Beware of hastily taking a
to pursue. cast a shadow over your future step which will could spoil your life
The change will definitely put you relationships and marriage. and family.

42 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

Vermicelli chaat

There is more
than one way
to make
Try and find
the difference.
NOTHING BUT By Savita Bhargava

Boil the vermicelli in water till VERMICELLI
CHAAT soft, drain, peel and grate the
boiled potatoes. Soak and press
INGREDIENTS: out the excess water from the INGREDIENTS:
1/ cup vermicelli 1/ cup roasted vermicelli
2 bread slices. 2
2 medium-sized potatoes (boiled) Mix all the three ingredients 1 cup mixed vegetables
2 slices of bread with the salt. Take small portions (chopped)
1 tsp grated ginger and using the ginger, cashew nut 1 onion (finely chopped)
12-15 raisins and raisin as filling, make into 2 tsp finely chopped green
4-5 cashew nuts broken into rounds, flatten a little and deep fry chillies
pieces in hot oil. Cool. 2 tbsp butter
oil for frying 1/ tsp jeera
Mix the salt, a little red chilli 2
2 cups fresh curd powder and little jeera powder in 1/ tsp mustard
1/ -1 tsp red chilli powder
2 the curd. Soak the fried cutlets in 2 clones
1 tsp roasted jeera powder the curd. Serve garnished with a piece of cinnamon
1/ cup sweet chutney
2 sweet chutney and the red chilli 2 small cardamom (green)
salt to taste and jeera powder. 1 bay leaf
44 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010
1 cup boiled vermicelli
2 tsp ghee or refined oil
1/ tsp mustard seeds
1/ tsp black gram dal
1/ tsp Bengal gram dal
2 tsp chopped green chillies
5-6 curry leaves
1 pinch of turmeric powder
cashew nuts or ground nuts
Vermicelli pulao 1 tbsp lemon juice
For garnishing:
1/ tsp garam masala cardamom and bay leaf. Fry some
2 coriander leaves (fresh)
3 tbsp tomato puree more. Now add the vegetables, salt to taste
1/ cup mixed nuts salt and tomato puree. Cook on
salt to taste low flame till the vegetables are
Heat ghee or oil in a pan and
METHOD half cooked. Then add the
fry the mustard seeds and dals till
Heat the butter in a pan, fry the vermicelli and a little water. Cook
light brown. Add the green chillies
onions for a minute. Then add the till done. Sprinkle the garam
and curry leaves and the cashew
jeera, mustard clones, cinnamon, masala and serve hot.
nuts. Fry for a minute and then
mix in the vermicelli, salt and the
lemon juice. Serve garnished with
fresh coriander, or grated coconut.

Lemony vermicelli
1 onion chopped
1 capsicum finely chopped
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup mixed nuts
1/ cup milk
chopped fresh coriander
1/ cup bread crumbs
1/ -1 tsp red chilli powder
2 potatoes boiled and mashed
salt to taste
Melt butter in a pan, stir-fry the
onion and capsicum till light
Vermicelli cutlets golden brown. Remove
from heat.
Mix in all the
VERMICELLI ingredients except the
potatoes. Place it in an
CUTLETS oven- proof dish. Cover
the top with mashed
3 boiled potatoes
Dot with butter and
1 cup mixed vegetables (boiled)
grill in a preheated oven
boiled vermicelli
till the top is light golden
2 green chillies chopped
1 tsp red chilli powder
Serve hot with
1 tsp soya sauce
1/ tsp garam masala tomato sauce.
1 tbsp cashew nut pieces
1 tsp grated
ginger Baked vermicelli meal
oil for frying
salt to taste
Mash the boiled potatoes and VERMICELLI 1/ cup boiled vermicelli
1/ cup moong sprouts
mix all the ingredients very well.
Take lemon-sized portions, shape
1/ cup fried potato pieces
1/ cup finely cut cucumber
like cutlets and fry them on a tawa INGREDIENTS 4
with little oil till crisp and golden 1 cup boiled vermicelli 1/ cup apple pieces
from both sides. 1 tbsp butter 2 tsp lemon juice
Vermicelli bhel

chaat masala to taste

salt to taste
Stir-fry the vermicelli in a little
oil. Mix all the ingredients well and 1/ the vermicelli on a low flame till
cup sugar to taste
serve immediately. 1/ light brown. Add water and cool
2 cup raisins
1/ cup chopped almonds till soft. Now add the sugar,
4 raisins and the almonds. Serve
cake icing and sprinkles
EIDI SEVIYAN 1 tbsp ghee
garnished with cake icing and
1 cup vermicelli Heat ghee in a karahi and roast

Eidi seviyan VERMICELLI

50 gm vermicelli
50 gm grated coconut
200 gm condensed milk
1/ cup chopped almonds
few strands of saffron
In a Karahi dry-roast the
vermicelli till light brown. Boil in
water till slightly soft, drain. In a
karahi or pan mix together the
condensed milk, vermicelli,
coconut and almonds. Cook on

50 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

lightly with little ghee on both
sides. Serve hot sprinkled with the
castor sugar.

1 cup vermicelli
1 tsp ghee
Vermicelli 1/ cup sugar
coconut delight
2 cups milk
2 tbsp hung curd
low heat till the mixture leaves the 2 tbsp mashed paneer
pan. Add the saffron. Spread on a 1/ tsp cardamom powder
greased tray. When cool, cut into finely cut pistachios, chocolate
desired shapes and serve. chips and a cherry for
VERMICELLI and cook it in a little water. Mix in
the mashed khoya, sugar, mixed
Heat ghee in a karahi and roast
the vermicelli till light brown. Add
PURI nuts and cardamom powder. the milk and cook on a low flame
Keep aside. till soft. Add the sugar and cool.
1/ cup vermicelli Make a soft dough of the Blend the curd and paneer and
1/ cup khoya
maida using water. Take small mix in the cooked vermicelli and
2 portions and stuff them with the cardamom powder. Garnish with
1/ cup mixed nuts
2 vermicelli mixture. Roll into finely cut pistachios, etc. Chill and
1/2 cup sugar (powdered) medium-sized chapattis and cook serve.
1 cup maida
ghee for frying Vermicelli pudding
1 tbsp castor sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
Roast the vermicelli in a karahi
Vermicelli puri

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 51

2 cups prepared custard
1/ cup mashed paneer
1 tbsp castor sugar
1/ cup boiled vermicelli
2 tbsp mixed fruit jam
Mix the castor sugar with the
paneer. The boiled vermicelli is to
be mixed with the mixed fruit jam.
Take small portions of the paneer,
flatten them on the palm of your
hand, place a little vermicelli
mixture in the centre and form into
a round. Place the custard in an
attractive dish. Cut all the paneer
rounds into two and place in the
custard. Serve chilled.

Mango vermicelli kheer

1 cup vermicelli
1 tsp ghee
5 cups full-cream milk
1/ cup sugar
1/ tsp cardamom powder
1/ cup mango pieces
Heat ghee in a karahi and roast
the vermicelli till light brown. Add
the milk and cook on a low flame
Vermicelli floats till soft. Add the sugar. Cool. Mix
in the cardamom powder and
mango pieces. Chill and serve
garnished with saffron. We

52 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

QA &
Any home remedy will only have half
the effect, so parlour straightening
will be better. However, make your
selection wisely as straightening iron
rods with extensive heat are used.
Also, ensure that you understand
how to care for your hair after
treatment to minimise any harmful
effect to avoid hair loss.

I have dark circles under my eyes

and it is a problem with my sister and
mother as well. Is there a surgical

way out as it looks very bad? Is there
any permanent make-up for this
Skin pigmentation or dark circles
are very often hereditary. You need
I have been told by my beautician to to consult a dermatologist who can
use an under-eye cream. I want to suggest ways to reduce its
know if they are of any use and how appearance, but do not expect
to use them. miracles. A good regimen of make-
Under-eye creams help in up with the right products can make it
providing nourishment to skin which good to an extent. Whether any
is most prone to ageing with fine surgical intervention will do any good
wrinkles. The skin under the eyes is can only be assessed by a surgeon
the thinnest and there is no automatic after close examination.
supply of necessary vitamins and
nourishment. The correct under-eye I am 30 and just had a baby. Now,
cream helps out but it should be my tummy is loose and huge and I
suitable for your requirement and not want to get back in shape. What
too heavy, otherwise it could make should I do?
your eyes puffy. Pay attention to the Yes, it is possible to regain the
literature or application instructions original body shape, sometimes even
rather than just trusting the salesgirl. improve it after the delivery of a baby.
You need to decide which form of

I was told that massaging with olive exercise is best suited for your
oil will make me fair and I used it for lifestyle. Begin with light yogic post-
a full year. But I am just the same ures and then think of joining a gym.
tone. How can I become fair? You also need to pay attention to
The tone of your skin colour your diet, especially if you are breast-
depends largely on genetic make-up feeding. Emphasise on calcium,
and lifestyle. Most ‘whitening’ creams vitamins and roughage but cut down
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Indian Women’s
By Archana Painuly

estled in northern Europe, migrated to, Indians have tried their If they spend their time in a
Denmark, the smallest and best to preserve their values and constructive way, they can contribute
southernmost Scandinavian cultural heritage. They are ready to a lot to society and have a fruitful and
country of several islands, accept the change and yet they never satisfying life. And also boost their
has a population of around lose consciousness of their origin. lifestyles.”
5.4 million (as per the The small and quiet city of Known for her dynamism, within a
census in 2006). Immigrants Copenhagen has several institutions week of her arrival in Denmark in
and descendants of the reflecting Indian culture — a temple, February 2006, Mrs Ray had invited
immigrants account for media centres, restaurants and a group of Indian women living in
about eight per cent of socio-cultural associations — Copenhagen for a get-together at her
Denmark’s population. Indians established by Indians living there. residence, India House. The group
contribute hardly 0.06 per cent (about The recently instituted included working as well as non-
4,000 in numbers). Copenhagen Indian Women’s working women. Mrs Ray greeted
Migration is not new to Indians, Association (CIWA) has become an everyone warmly. There was the
with a constant stream migrating effective platform to spread Indian usual exchange of greetings and chit-
periodically to every nook and corner culture in Denmark. Sujata Ray, wife chatting in the room. Ringing a prayer
of the world in search of new of the current Indian ambassador in bell to draw everyone’s attention, she
pastures. Economic aspirations and Denmark, took the unique initiative of posed a simple question to the
expectations of a better quality of life forming the CIWA, a ladies’ cultural gathering, “How should women
take them away from their familiar club. According to her, “Today’s socialise?”
shores to explore unknown territories. woman, no matter where on earth
But that is only the beginning of their she is educated, is much more aware
travails as they often need to traverse of her surroundings. And it is a well- THE RESPONSES
a long path before realising their known fact that women deal with Several responses came from the
dreams. What influences their new communication and socialise more gathering. Mrs Ray listened to them
life most is how much they are able effectively and accurately than men. attentively, and then said, “Women
to adjust to their new surroundings, And since they have more leisure play multiple roles as homemakers,
and how much of their past they can time compared to men, they should caretakers of children and caregivers
leave behind. assign a part of this for social to their elderly parents. They should
Irrespective of where they have activities. also allocate some time for social life.

58 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

Try to make your presence felt in the Indians joining the club. At the
society you live.” Thereafter she meeting on 10 August 2007,
requested everyone to introduce and Mrs Ray introduced a formal
talk about themselves for two to three structure in CIWA. Every
minutes. As the women spoke one woman interested in CIWA
by one about their education, family, filled up a form and paid a
jobs and interests, Mrs Ray took membership fee of DKK 20 to
notes. It turned out that they had a formally become a member of
variety of talents — some were good CIWA. Elections were
at painting, some at cooking, some conducted for the post of
at music, some at aerobics and some president, vice-president,
at yoga. treasurers, editorial team and
“Try to make your presence felt in decorations team for CIWA.
society,” Mrs Ray kept urging the Within an hour a committee
ladies. had been formed and office
One get-together was followed by bearers had been assigned
another, and the process continued. various jobs. The income generated
The number of women at the through membership fees and other CIWA IS
gatherings continued to increase.
They represent several states of
activities is planned to be used for
charity. Mrs Ray has a vision that
India — from the east to west and CIWA can contribute to the education WITH MANY
north to south. It’s not just meeting
and gossiping, but about learning
of girls in India.
It was unanimously decided that
new things from each other and each CIWA meet will be hosted by INDIAN ORIGIN
having a productive and fruitful time. six ladies. The embassy can provide
Each meeting is characterised by the venue and CIWA hostesses will AND OTHER
a theme — for example, one of the come out with a theme or agenda WOMEN WHO
meetings was on New Year and also make arrangements for light
celebrations at which women from refreshments. ARE MARRIED TO
different regions of India described
how the New Year is celebrated in
At the meetings that are held once
a month, CIWA members also
their regions. In the yoga session in a discuss the agenda for the next THE CLUB.
meeting, women who were good at meeting and upcoming events. CIWA
yoga took the other women on a is actively engaged in organising abroad, and, most importantly
spiritual voyage through discourse, Indian cultural programmes including educate children about Indian history,
demonstration and practical concerts and a variety of shows for traditions and values. By organising
teachings of yoga. Guest speakers international audiences. This also led Indian food and handicraft stalls on
from other countries were invited to to requests to CIWA by international special occasions, they earn money
some meetings. schools and other establishments to for CIWA.
Mrs Ray’s initiative has generated organise Indian folk and Bollywood The Copenhagen Post, an English
a feeling of warmth for each other dance performances. weekly newspaper in Denmark, gave
among Indian women in the CIWA ladies train Indian children a big coverage to CIWA in one of its
otherwise cold and misty climate of for dance performances and plays on editions recently. As a result, CIWA
Denmark. Several members of CIWA themes such as the Indian freedom captured the attention of several
are wives of Indian hi-tech whizz- struggle and mythology and organise other nationals living in Copenhagen.
kids, who have come to Denmark stage performances as part of the CIWA is becoming very popular
lately to work in multinational celebration of days of national day by day. Women who are
companies. These ladies are highly importance and festivals. On the proactive socially, find great
educated and talented and certainly occasion of events such as Asia acceptance in the society they live in.
needed a forum to put their skills and Pacific Day and UN Day some ladies It, however, requires confidence, the
talents to some use. CIWA fulfils this give dance performances and some ability to set goals for social activities,
need. organise Indian food stalls. By pursue them and enjoy the process.
socialising in this way they don’t miss A good knowledge of the
their country that much. They not environment in which they live is a
CIWA GROWING only have fun but are able to unite must for that. Women, after all,
CIWA is growing rapidly with and keep their traditions alive in an constitute about half of humanity and,
many women of Indian origin and alien land. They represent and therefore, should participate fully in
other women who are married to project India and Indian culture shaping society anywhere. We

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 59


Priya wonders how much a woman can sacrifice in her marriage.

By Medha R. Bhatt
he sat on the window sill and looked out at the preparing his breakfast, she went to wake him up.
rain. She could see the parking lot of the The doorbell was ringing. She looked through the
building. It was filled with cars and keyhole. It was the newspaper man. She went to get
motorbikes. Her eyes did not see any of this. Pratap. “I needed money for the newspaper bill,”
They seemed to have gone farther. Through the she said. Pratap went to the closet and took out his
faint light coming from the other room, she wallet. Then he went and paid the newspaper bill.
could see that the woman had been crying. He had his breakfast and was reading the
Tears were streaking across her cheeks. She was a newspaper when she asked him, “Errr, the electricity
very ordinary-looking woman with long hair. She and water bills are also pending. And, the money
wouldn’t get a second glance from anyone. for the doodhwala.”
It was not a big room. There was only one He looked up at her,”I will pay all of them. Now,
window. The bed was in the centre of one can I read my newspaper in peace?”
of the walls. On one side of the bed was She staggered off and disappeared in
the closet. And on the other side was the As she had the kitchen. She stood there wringing her
bedside table with a lamp. The walls were grown up, she hands together. After about five minutes of
completely bare. They didn’t have any had made a silence, Pratap called out to her
photographs or paintings. On the other lot of friends. again,”Priya, I am going to office. Don’t let
side of a wall there was a rocking chair. It But none of anyone in. Not even our pesky neighbour. I
was the only thing present on the other them knew mean that, Priya. I don’t want you to have
corner and looked ominous. There was a the situation anything to do with that woman.”
man sleeping on the bed. He had not at her house. Pronouncing this, he left the house.
stirred. That was a She let out a sigh. She could relax now.
The woman at the window looked at the part of her life He wouldn’t be back till lunch. Pratap
man. which she had always had lunch at home. He said he
Then she looked at the bottle of pills in didn’t want her to eat alone. He wouldn’t
never shared
her hand. They had stopped working a come before that, his boss didn’t like
long time back. Not even sleeping pills
with anyone. anyone missing work in between. He
were putting her to sleep any more. She worked in a private company in the city
was wondering what would happen if she ate all the was a junior engineer.
pills at once. Would she die? She might get peace

from her life. Pratap wouldn’t have to worry about he went and sat on the couch and tried to think
her so much. He would not be embarrassed because about what to prepare for lunch. She wished
of her again. Pratap would buy her a TV. After cooking, she
The man on the bed stirred. She shuddered and barely had anything to do at home.
leapt to her feet and slowly made her way back to From the time she could remember, her father had
the bed. She crept back under the covers and beaten her mother. Her mother had never said
pretended to be asleep. She stowed the pills under anything. She had meekly taken the beatings of her
her pillows. husband and taken care of her brother and herself.
She had caught a few winks by the time morning Her mother had managed to protect her and her
came. She got up and went on to do all her chores. brother from the physical impact. But both were
Pratap didn’t like to be late. She had to prepare emotionally scarred.
everything that he liked. Parathas were his favourite. As she had grown up, she had made a lot of
She hated parathas but that was what she ate every friends. But none of them knew the situation at her
day. Everything was cooked only to his taste. house. That was a part of her life which she had
Anything else was a waste of money. After never shared with anyone. She thought it was the

60 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

norm in all families. Never did she imagine that Priya with respect. Priya could not understand why
there would be love between husband and wife. Her Pratap hated her. He kept asking her not to meet
father had never allowed them to go over and stay Asha. This was her only rebellion against Pratap.
at someone’s place. He was probably afraid of the She met Asha almost every day.
things they might learn. “Priya, how are you? It feels so nice to be back
When she had finished her education, a lot of her home. Did you miss me? How is Pratap?” Asha fired
friends got into jobs. When she suggested that she questions without a pause. She was a 60-something
take up a job, her father had refused. He had said woman with gentle eyes. She and her husband had
he had looked out for a nice husband for her and gone to meet their elder daughter who stayed with
she was getting married in a month. It came as a her husband and kids in another town.
shock. She didn’t know how to deal with it. Her “I am fine, Asha. How is Raadhika? And how are
friends told her to speak to her father and make him your grandkids?” Priya asked.
see that she wasn’t ready for marriage. “Oh, they are all fine. You won’t believe how
Within a few months she had got married to much they have grown, Priya,” Asha said.
Pratap. When she met him for the first time, she was

bowled over by him. He had a charming hey started chatting about other things. She
personality. He had rugged features and could cooked lunch while Asha proudly told her of all
easily have become a model. That was five years the mischief that their grandchildren did while
before. Now, he had put on a lot of fat and that they were there. Priya was so busy listening to all
mostly in his belly. this that she didn’t notice that it was time for Pratap
to come back for lunch.

uring the first few years of their marriage, she The doorbell shook her awake and she looked at
had practically worshipped him. She still the clock on the wall with a shock. It was Pratap.
thought the world of him. But she had a sense She looked frantically around. Pratap shouldn’t see
of loss these last few months. Pratap had installed Asha. He wouldn’t like it. He really would hate it.
himself in every part of her world. She was not “Asha, you have to hide. Pratap shouldn’t see you.
allowed to take up a job. He used to tease her that He asked me not to talk to you.”
nobody would give an illiterate girl like her any job. “Why would he do something like that? And why
His taunts always haunted her. He knew that she should he tell you what you should do? Let him
was not illiterate, but he still said that to her come,” Asha said.
whenever he got the chance. He kept demeaning “Please. I beg of you. You have to hide,” Priya
her. He told her how she was a no-good woman. looked around frantically. The bedroom – he never
She couldn’t take care of money or the house. He goes to the bedroom when he comes for lunch, Priya
had totally convinced her that she was a waste and thought.
good for nothing. “The bedroom. You have to hide
She was jerked awake from her thoughts by the in the bedroom,” without waiting
doorbell. She opened the for her answer, Priya pulled
door to find Asha Asha by the hand and took her
standing there. Asha to the bedroom, “Please,” she
was her next-door pleaded. Asha was about to
neighbour. She was refuse but, seeing how
a very nice woman scared Priya looked
and always treated by this
confrontation, she
nodded and went
and sat on the
bed. Priya closed
the door and ran
out. Pratap had
rung the
doorbell for the
third time.
She was
gasping for
breath by the time
she opened the

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 61

door. Pratap looked angry. “What the hell is wrong “Priya, answer me. Does he always speak to you
with you? Why can’t you open the door the first like that?” Asha persisted as though Priya had never
time, you illiterate fool? Can’t, you do something spoken. There was anger in those gentle eyes. Priya
right? You can’t even open the bloody door when I had never seen Asha angry.
ring the bell,” Pratap started firing insults at her. She rushed headlong to defend her husband.
“Sorry,” she said and started laying the table for “No, of course not, Asha. He is a very nice man. He
him. She never ate with him. Even though he said was just a little upset because he works so hard at
that he came so that she need not have her food office. He loves me a lot.”
alone, Priya never had food with Pratap. Inside, “That is not what I saw and heard,” Asha
Priya was panicking. If Pratap went to the bedroom, continued. “You have to tell me the truth, Priya. I had
if Asha came out? She couldn’t stop herself from always thought he ill-treated you. But the way he
trembling. Pratap sat down for lunch and started was berating you today, Priya! I am shocked.”
screaming obscenities at her. He yelled at her for Priya broke down. She had no idea why she was
being an ignorant fool. She silently listened to him. crying. She was shocked to find herself crying in
She had got used to his shouting. Tears wouldn’t front of Asha. Asha, on the other hand, took her in
come to her any more. She hated herself for causing her arms and asked her to tell her everything.
so much pain to Pratap. If only she had been smarter Priya told her everything that had happened to
or better looking, she thought. her till now involving her father and then Pratap. She
was still adamant, though, that Pratap couldn’t help

ratap finished his food, and went back to office. himself. She was always messing things up. She
Her worst fears had not come true. He couldn’t blame Pratap for anything.
didn’t find Asha in the bedroom. Once “He is abusing you, Priya. You know
“Priya, answer
she safely saw him leaving on his bike, she that? No? This is domestic violence,” Asha
me. Does he
went to Asha. Asha was sitting quietly in told her.
always speak to
the room. When she saw Priya she smiled “He has never laid a hand on me Asha,
you like that?”
sadly and patted the place next to her not once. He just gets frustrated sometimes.
Asha persisted
gesturing to Priya to come and sit next to He has so much work pressure and all the
as though
her. tensions of running the household,” Priya
Priya had
Priya went and sat next to Asha. again started defending her husband.
never spoken.
“Does he always talk to you like that?” The doorbell rang and put a stop to their
There was
Asha asked. Priya grimaced. She hadn’t discussion. Priya opened the door to find
anger in those
wanted Asha to hear those obscenities. Amar standing at the door. “Priya, beta, I
gentle eyes.
She changed the subject quickly. “Pratap is am very hungry. Have both you and Asha
Priya had
gone now, Asha. You can call Amar. We forgotten me and the fact that I am
never seen
will have lunch now,” Priya said. She had hungry?” Amar smiled at her and entered.
Asha angry.
earlier invited Asha and her husband for They sat down for lunch. For the entire
lunch. lunchtime, Asha didn’t say a word and only
Priya had only her next-door neighbours as concentrated on eating her meal. This was not
friends. She had lost contact with all her friends. typical of her because of which the atmosphere in
Both her parents were dead. Her only relative was the dining hall was one of tension. Priya was glad
her brother who was a lawyer. She was proud of that Asha didn’t speak out any of her doubts to her
her brother. He had carved a place for himself in husband. Amar sensed that something was wrong
society. She rarely met him nowadays. Last raksha but didn’t voice his doubts.
bandhan, he had come to her house. Pratap was

very hospitable that day. He always treated her fter lunch, the couple went back to their
cordially when there was someone else at home. apartment. Even though her husband asked
When nobody else was there he would find only her a number of times to tell him what was
faults in everything she did – the way she cooked, or bothering her, Asha didn’t say much. She wondered
how she kept the house unclean. The house was what she should do. She worried about Priya. No
actually spotlessly clean. Asha always said that her wonder, she had always been so quiet. Pratap had
house was the cleanest. Asha’s house was a been torturing her for so long. Asha didn’t
complete mess at all times. She hated cleaning. And understand how to help her. Amar would be able to
her husband never had a problem with it. Priya help. But she thought that by telling Amar, she would
wondered if Amar also ill-treated Asha in private. be betraying Priya.
But she couldn’t imagine anybody treating Asha with Priya cleaned the house, washed all the clothes
anything other than respect. and prepared dinner and waited for Pratap to come

62 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

back. He came back at around seven and was Two months passed. Asha was worried about
already in a foul mood. He started blaming her for Priya a lot more. She had already told Amar all that
everything. Because of her he was not getting the had happened, but he too was equally clueless as to
promotion. She was the reason for everything. She how to help Priya.
listened to everything calmly. The fact that she was

worthless had already got into her head. She looked sha came to talk to her almost every day now.
at Pratap. Why did he enjoy torturing her? She But she always left before Pratap came. She
thought about Asha and her husband. He never didn’t want to see another encounter. She felt
blamed her for anything. terribly guilty about Priya and didn’t understand how
Pratap was telling her that she had cooked the to help her. One day Priya said to her, “When I was
worst food today. He told her she was a bad cook. getting married, my mother came to me and advised
In fact, she had always been a good cook. She me that to make a marriage work, you have to make
actually enjoyed experimenting. But Pratap had told sacrifices. I always assumed this is my fate, to
her that she couldn’t afford to experiment. She was accept all this without saying anything.” Asha
not earning anything but was a liability to him. So, thought about what Priya had said and thought of
according to Pratap, it was her duty to only to do as what she had told her own daughter. It was
she was told. somewhat similar to what Priya’s mother had said to

he was once again sitting on the window sill A few days later, Priya frantically rang the
and looking out. And she was again thinking doorbell at Asha’s house. When she opened the
what would happen if she ate all of the pills in door, she found Priya bubbling with excitement. She
the bottle. From the time of her marriage, Pratap had was pregnant. Asha was very happy for her. But she
made sure she was so busy that she never got time also saw the hard truth. Once Priya was a mother,
to contact any of her old friends. She thought how she would never be able to leave Pratap. She would
isolated she had become. There was nobody who then have a responsibility towards the child. But, for
could guide her and tell her what to do. Pratap now, Asha rejoiced with Priya.
controlled her life from morning to evening. She It was evening when Pratap came back. He
never got to do anything she wanted to do. She had looked at Priya and understood something was
more freedom in her childhood than she had now. different. He sat down on the sofa in the hall to
But what could she do? She had no other option remove his shoes.
now, did she? “I am pregnant,” Priya said. She
couldn’t keep the happiness from
her voice. She would have so
much to do now. And she would
bring up her baby very well.
Pratap looked at her and saw
what would happen when the
baby came. He wouldn’t be the
centre of her world. The baby
would take his place. And he
could not have that. Nor
could he tolerate her
happiness. “I’ll get an
appointment with a doctor
tomorrow. You will get an
abortion done. I will take
leave tomorrow,” Pratap
said. It took a full
moment for his words to
sink in. Her face paled.
She had been so happy
a moment ago. Now she
just gaped at Pratap.
“What?” was all that
could utter.
Pratap kept his shoes

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 63

by the door and then came back and sat down. He up a job. Pratap would cancel the appointment
did this without any hurry. He knew that Priya’s and she would start her search for a job tomorrow.
eyes never left him. He looked at her and smiled. She woke up feeling very happy. There was not a
Priya got even more scared. She thought back to his single doubt in her mind that Pratap wouldn’t agree.
sentence. It was not a discussion, it was a decision. He always said that he might not be so angry all the
“You will get an abortion done.” Done? He had not time if they had had kids. Now he wouldn’t get so
asked, “Would you get an abortion. It was not like frustrated again. He wouldn’t get angry with her too.
she ever got a say in things like these. But she was They would have a baby. And they would be like
not going to give up her baby. He was not saying Asha and her husband. She got up and prepared
anything. He just sat there looking at her. breakfast. Pratap woke up and came out to have it.
After a few moments of unbearable silence, she He sat at the dining table and started reading the
said, “What are you talking about, Pratap? You newspaper. Priya got him tea and sat down next to
always wanted a child. You have always taunted me him.
about my inability to give you a child. We want a “We have to go at 11. You remember, No?”
child. I want a child of my own.” Pratap said.
“Priya, I know you want a child of your own. But “We don’t need to do this, Pratap. I have figured
we cannot afford to bring up a child. I don’t earn out a way. We need money, No? I will take up a
that much,” he said. He gave her a few moments to job. It won’t be that hard. I have a degree. I’ll get a
digest what he had said. “We really don’t need a job. We don’t need an abortion. Everything will be
child right now. We have each other. And we are all right,” Priya said to him excitedly.
happy, right? We don’t want a child disturbing our

privacy now, do we?” He took a pause. “And you ratap put his paper down slowly and looked at
already have so much work in your hands, Priya. her. “Do you know how difficult it is to get a job
How will you be able to handle a child on top of in this age, Priya? You have just got a degree. It
that? You do a lot of work around here. is not a specialisation. At most you could
Who will then take care of our house? No, get a job as a secretary which would
we don’t want that child right now. I don’t After a few perhaps bring around 1,000 bucks. How
want a child, Priya. You don’t know how moments of would that help us? Nil. Do you think I am
difficult it is to bring up kids in this time unbearable so stupid that I wouldn’t have thought of
and age. You don’t know a thing about silence, she everything before deciding on an abortion?
our financial situation. I know what is right said, “What are I have told you that there is no other option.
for both of us. And I know you trust me to you talking I don’t want any other argument. Do you
do what is best for both of us. I will make about, Pratap? understand?”
an appointment with the doctor. Now, You always He had not raised his voice one bit. But
don’t just stand there. Get me the wanted a child. the message was loud and clear. She had
You have
directory. I will make an appointment for gone dumb with fear. She couldn’t afford
always taunted
tomorrow morning.” lose her baby. She wanted her baby. Her
me about my
Her legs moved. And she picked up the inability to thoughts raced far and wide. How to get
directory and gave it to him. Her mind had give you a more money, she thought frantically. Then
become blank. She made coffee for Pratap. child.” an idea struck her. “My brother. He will
While drinking the coffee, Pratap told her help us. He is a very big lawyer in the
that the appointment was fixed for 11 in city, Pratap. He has money. He won’t
the morning. refuse to give me money. We will ask Hemant. He
will help us. I know he will. I will call him right

t was at night and she was sitting on the window now,” saying this, Priya reached for the telephone.
sill. She didn’t want to give up her baby. She She started dialling when Pratap pulled the
already loved it. Pratap said their economic receiver her hand and put the phone down. “I am
situation was not good and she didn’t know about not going to beg from your brother for help. We
how difficult it would be to handle the finances. She are going at 11. No discussion.” Priya looked at
thought that maybe she could take up a job. Maybe him. He meant it. She collapsed on the floor and
that would help. She knew it would help. She would started crying. Pratap went into the bedroom to
tell Pratap that she would take up a job. She had work on his laptop. She continued crying. She
reached the bed when she stopped herself. He never didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know how long
liked to be disturbed at night. Thinking of this she she lay there crying. Then she found herself at
went into a peaceful sleep. Pratap also wanted their Asha’s door ringing the doorbell.
child but they had money problems. She would take (To be continued)

64 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

A retrospective of a legend of style.
By Maharaaj K. Koul
Fashion is not just to decorate
women, but to reassure them, give
them confidence.

– Yves Saint Laurent

ves Saint Laurent, one of

the most influential and
enduring designers of the
20th century, died recently
at his Paris home after a
year-long battle with brain
cancer. He was 71. He will
be remembered for
empowering women was so convinced whatever he
through his fashions. designed was the best, everyone
“Channel gave women freedom also believed it too. That’s why the
and Saint Laurent gave them most beautiful women in the world
power,” said Pierre Berge, Saint wore YSL,” declared Indian
Laurent’s business partner for four designer Rohit Bal.
decades. “Saint Laurent was a ‘true Saint Laurent exploded onto
creator’, going beyond the aesthetic constraints of corsets, colour and the world stage at the age of 21 and
to make a social statement,” said class. A revolutionary designer, he built up a clothes, perfumes and
Berge. “In this sense he was a redefined the modern woman’s accessories empire that resulted in a
libertarian, an anarchist and he threw wardrobe. Named by Dior as the only 1989 stock market flotation – the first
bombs at the legs of society. That’s one worthy to carry on after him, by a fashion house. During a career
how he transformed society and Saint Laurent very quickly came to that ran from 1957 to 2002, he was
that’s how he transformed women.” be known as the bad boy of fashion. largely responsible for changing the
Saint Laurent once said he felt He demolished every rule in the way modern women dress, putting
“fashion was not only supposed to fashion book to create his own free- them into pants both day and night,
make women beautiful, but reassure flowing designs. into peacoats and safari jackets, into
them, to give them confidence, to les smoking (as the French call a
allow them to come to terms with man’s tuxedo jacket), and into
themselves.” Saint Laurent was CREATOR OF CLASSICS leopard prints, trench coats and, for a
widely considered the last of a From the first YSL tuxedo and his time in the ’70s, peasant-inspired
generation that included Christian trim pantsuits to see-through blouses, clothing in rich fabrics.
Dior and Coco Channel and made safari jackets and glamorous gowns, Saint Laurent often sought
Paris the fashion capital of the world, Saint Laurent created instant classics inspiration on the streets, bringing the
with the rive gauche, or Left Bank, as that remain stylish decades later. Parisian beatnik style to couture
its elegant headquarters. Designer Tommy Hilfiger said he was runways and adapting the sailors’
Saint Laurent. The name evokes saddened by the loss of such a peacoats he found in Army-Navy
images of swirling chiffons, natty legendary talent. “He was a creative stores in New York into jackets that
tuxedos, heady perfume – and a man genius who changed the world of found their way into fashionable
who liberated women from the fashion forever,” said Hilfiger. “YSL women’s wardrobes around the

66 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

world. His glamorous evening clothes battleship that has been on the sea looked and wanted to look. Saint
were often adorned with appliques more than a decade. Laurent, essentially changed fashion
and beadwork inspired by artists like And Saint Laurent bid adieu to forever!
Picasso, Miro and Matisse. Above all, fashion on 23 January with a Hours before unveiling his last-
he was a master colourist, able to spectacular catwalk show that ever fashion collection, the innovative
mix green, blue, rose and yellow in chartered a glittering chapter in designer said his love affair with
one outfit to achieve an effect that fashion history and reduced many women wasn’t over yet and hinted he
was artistic and never garish. loyal supporters to tears. Some of the had other cards up his sleeve. “My
most memorable looks of the 20th life has been a love affair with
century flashed before the 2,000 women,” he told French daily Le
FASHION REVOLUTION guests gathered at the Georges Monde in an interview. “That dialogue
A fragile, bespectacled designer, Pompidous Centre in Paris for the isn’t over yet – I would like to think
prone to bouts of depression, he retrospective of a 40-year career that affair won’t stop here.”
revolutionised modern fashion with during which YSL built one of the His farewell collection was the
his understanding of youth, world’s biggest fashion empires. quintessence of haute couture –
sophistication and relevance. For As Saint Laurent took his final lightness, purity and line – like a
many years after he opened his own bow, haute couture lost its breath of air. “It’s a very sensual
couture house, his collections were flamboyant icon. More than any other collection, not one based on sex,” he
eagerly anticipated by fashion designer, he represented Paris as the explained, attacking the “porno-chic...
enthusiasts, who considered him the style leader. By putting a woman in a horrors produced by a small clique ...
final word on that season’s style. His man’s tuxedo, he came up with in the fashion industry that makes a
influence was at its height during the couture that set the way women lot of noise but is cut off from the real
’60s and ’70s, when it was still life.”
normal for couturiers to change
silhouettes and hemlines drastically
AS SAINT LAURENT “I finish the catwalk with muslin
dresses because no one knows how
every six months. TOOK HIS FINAL to make muslin dresses,” he
For those who have sat at the end
of fashion runways watching the
BOW, HAUTE explained of his swan song. “It’s the
hardest thing to do. It’s all about the
great Saint Laurent shambling COUTURE LOST ITS liquid fall of the material.” The Le
Monde interview was part of an eight-
uncertainly down the catwalk,
fumbling with his hands, a physical
FLAMBOYANT ICON. page tribute to the celebrated
wreck after showing a collection in MORE THAN ANY designer, who announced his
which 90 per cent of styles were
retreads from his earlier, halcyon
OTHER DESIGNER, retirement after four decades at the
pinnacle of fashion.
days, it came as no surprise when he HE REPRESENTED In those 40 years, Saint Laurent
announced his retirement on 7
January 2002 in Paris. It was like
PARIS AS THE STYLE revolutionised women’s clothes with
mould-breaking garments like trouser
decommissioning of a venerable LEADER. suits that matched the wearer’s
increasingly active lifestyles. He also
earned praise for his versatility, wit,
opulence and incredible cuts from an
industry known for its petty
jealousies. From Princess Grace of
Monaco to the French actress
Catherine Deneuve, Saint Laurent’s
creations adorned many famous
women but he was also the first
designer to make luxury labels
accessible to a wider audience
through innovative ready-to-wear
In the ’60s, women wearing Saint
Laurent’s tuxedos were barred entry
in restaurants. In the next decades,
the world gasped as he dressed his
women in transparent chiffons. A
national icon in France, Saint Laurent
was the first to introduce black

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 67

All about Fashion’s Pied Piper! Dior’s successor. He completed a
total of six collections for the house of
1936 Yves Mathieu Saint Laurent was born in Oran, Algeria, on 1 August
Dior, beginning with the highly
1954 Moves to Paris. Wins first prize in a competition sponsored by the
acclaimed Trapeze collection,
Secretariat International de la Laine, for a cocktail dress.
unveiling what came to be known a
1955 Hired as an assistant at Christian Dior.
the Trapeze Dress.
1957 Dior dies at the age of 21, Saint Laurent is appointed to the haute
It was at Dior’s funeral that Saint
couture throne.
Laurent met Pierre Berge and the two
1958 On 30 January, presents his first collection for the house of Dior,
teamed up in 1958. Quickly, they
La Ligne Trapeze.
became a couple and in 1961, with
1960 Drafted into the military, he suffers a breakdown; Marc Bohan
only 680,000 francs, established a
takes over at Dior.
haute couture company that would
1961 Back in Paris with Pierre Berge, sets up his own couture house.
go on to become arguably the most
1962 On 29 January, shows his first collection for the house of Saint
famous fashion empire in the world.
And Berge went on to become
1964 YSL launched its first perfume for women called Y.
Laurent’s lover, alter ego and
1966 Saint Laurent introduces tuxedos for women paired with
business mastermind of the future
transparent blouses. The first rive gauche pret-a-porter boutique
YSL empire.
Yves Saint Laurent officially
1967 YSL dresses actress Catherine Deneuve for the Bunuel film Belle
became YSL in 1961 when he split
de Jour.
with the house of Dior to set up his
1977 The perfume Opium launched.
own. The split invited much curiosity
1982 Celebrated his 20th anniversary at the Lido cabaret in Paris. Also
and his reasons for leaving remained
received the International Award of the Council of Fashion
under wraps. But by now, his logo,
Designers of America.
the three sinuously-linked initials, had
1983 The American edition of Vogue organised the first-ever
become synonymous with fashion
retrospective of a living designer entitled Yves Saint Laurent – 25
that was esoteric as well as truly
years of design.
1985 Awarded the Chevalier de la Legion dʼHonneur by President
On 29 January 1962, he
presented his first YSL collection in a
1992 On 3 February, celebrated his 30th anniversary at the Opera
mansion that formerly belonged to
the painter Forian on Rue Spontini in
1993 Brought out Champagne, a perfume which was later renamed
Paris. In 1964, YSL launched his first
perfume for women called Y. A year
1998 The designer celebrated 40 years of creation with a YSL photo
later, he unveiled the Mondrain Haute
retrospective. Also witnessed his fashion extravaganza at the final
Couture Fall/Winter 1965-66
match of the World Cup Soccer tournament in the Stade de
1999 Honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council
of Fashion Designers of America. The Gucci Group buys the pret-
a-porter division of YSL.
2002 Yves Saint Laurent retires as a couturier.
2008 The Pied Piper of fashion dies on 1 June in Paris.
models on the catwalk. portfolio of sketches. A student at the
Yves Mathieu Saint Laurent grew Chambre Syndicale de la Haute
up in the sunlit, chi-chi atmosphere Couture School, he got noticed when
of privilege house servants, carrasts his design for a cocktail dress won
parties, luncheons at the yacht club, the first prize in the Woolmark
summers at the villa in Trouville. Born competition. That was the time when
in Oran, Algeria, in 1936, to a high fashion meant only five
businessman father, Saint Laurent’s couturiers: Balenciaga, Shiappaelli,
childhood was one of glamour, very Dior, Givenchy and Channel.
much a part of his mother’s lifestyle. Soon, the recommendation of
At 17, he moved to Paris to seek Michel de Brunhoff, then editor of the
his fortune in the world of haute French Vogue, saw Saint Laurent
couture. He had entered the fashion working for Christian Dior. Four years
world armed with influential family later, when Dior died, Saint Laurent’s
connections and a sensational fortunes hit a high. He was named

68 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

Collection. That is when Saint YSL gowns, each one a delicately hemlines, it is a seismic event. Saint
Laurent proved that art is fashion and embroidered showstopper, were the Laurent was a giant astride a fault-
fashion, art. The New York Times perfect contrast to the Old Fort and line that runs from the birth of modern
called his geometric Mondrain the choreographer for the event was post-war design to the building of
dresses “the best collection”, and Harmeet Bajaj. YSL held a private designer empires and the ’90s revival
Womenʼs Wear Daily, America’s showing at The Oberoi the same year of his own styles.
fashion Bible, anointed Saint Laurent for a handful of wealthy Indian His clients included Nan Kempner,
the “King of Paris.” clients. For his show in Mumbai, a Paloma Picasso, Deeda Blair of
In 1974, YSL moved its couture French model in a catsuit descended Washington, Marie-Helene de
headquarters from Rue Spontini to by a rope from the top of the Rothschild and Catherine Deneuve.
Avenue Marceau, the heart of the Gateway India had never seen Sanit Laurent left his mark on the
Paris fashion establishment. YSL anything like it before. clothes women wore as no other
collections voyaged to Morocco, designer did during a period when
China, Japan and Spain. The design “names” emerged from the
perfume Opium was launched in A GREAT INNOVATOR obscurity of garment manufacturing
1977. Long before India had a An innovator in everything he did, backrooms to become international
Fashion Design Council or a Fashion Saint Laurent achieved the kind of stars. He epitomised an era when
week, Saint Laurent had made his fame reserved for a chosen few, due fashion, especially readymade
presence felt in a minuscule circle of largely to his consummate artistic fashion, was maturing into the sexy,
Indian jetsetters with his heady skills and flair for colour which can hyped-up glamorous affair we know
fragrance Opium. Typically, YSL the justly be said to have revolutionised today.
perfume was strong and made a the world of couture. He also brought Saint Laurent’s life and days
statement about Saint Laurent’s everyday wear onto the catwalk, before death remind one of the
alleged addiction to narcotics. revolutionising the concept of what tortured genius Vincent Van Gogh,
Old timers in the Indian fashion was and what was not fashion. It is a whose prodigious talent almost
industry must be remembering YSL’s tribute to his standing that even seemed responsible for his emotional
spectacular show in Delhi opposite people who had no idea about, nor and physical frailty. YSL and his
the Purana Qila, and in Mumbai at interest in, fashion at least knew his multi-million-dollar fashion, perfumes
the Gateway of India in 1989. Berge name. and accessories business, which
came down to Delhi with 20 French For fellow-designers, the reason continuously challenged and re-
models and a huge team of make-up for his success was his astonishing invented design, have inspired
artists, costume designers and versatility. generations of designers. And will
clothes assistants. The brief to the His absence from the fashion continue doing so for years to come.
choreographer of the show from the stage will not leave much of a As the icon himself said, “Fashion
iconic Saint Laurent was to celebrate creative void. But in the insular world dies, but style remains.” Yves Saint
India’s history and majestic of embroidered tunics, knife pleats, Laurent’s legacy, too, will remain with
monuments. peplums, crepe de chive and us for a long time. We

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 69

QA &
I am in the eighth month of my
pregnancy and have a peculiar
actively trying for a pregnancy, urine
for pregnancy test will be your best
problem. The fact is that I am unable bet. This test measures the levels of
to sleep at night. This makes me HCG (a hormone secreted during
irritable and sleepy during the day pregnancy) in your urine.
and I am unable to concentrate at It is advisable to test the first
work. I snap at people at home and morning urine as it contains the
have generally become a disa - highest concentration of HCG. How-
greeable person but I cannot help ever, most tests these days are so
myself. Please help me. sensitive that it is not mandatory to
Not being able to sleep is really use the morning sample of urine.
annoying. It comes in a couple of The test rarely gives false results.
forms: being exhausted and not able A negative answer that is later
to sleep but feeling fine. At least with revealed to be pregnancy is usually

the latter you can be productive. In the result of the test being performed
your case it is obviously the former. It too early. A woman who menstruates
Is the scan painful? Can it harm my will serve your purpose to try some after a positive test has usually had a
baby? form of exercise earlier in the day, very early miscarriage.
The scan is completely painless. It avoid caffeine after evening, and The hormone can also be tested
has no known side effects on relax before bed time try the old in the blood tests, which is very
mothers or their babies and can be standard of a glass of warm milk. accurate and gives the exact amount
done at any stage of pregnancy. Medicines for sleep are best avoided of circulating pregnancy hormone.
during pregnancy. Last but not least, an ultrasound
(transvaginal) confirms or rules out a
I have been advised to get a level 11 pregnancy even as early as one
ultrasound at 18-20 weeks. Please I have had irregular periods ever week after a missed period.
tell why it is done and what sort of since I started menstruating. Now However, in your case delayed
information is gained from it. that I have got married, how will I periods can lead to a delayed
By the 18th to 20th week the baby’s know that it is the usual delay or I conception, so you should wait for at
body parts are almost fully formed and have got pregnant? Please advise. least for two weeks after missing your
during a level 11 ultrasound, the There are many signs and period before you go an ultrasound.
sonographist goes over them one by symptoms of pregnancy like nausea,
one to see if each and every organ is vomiting, constipation, breast
normal. Though a majority of birth tenderness, frequency of urination I am two-and-a half months pregnant
defects are picked up, it is not 100 per and aversion to/craving for certain and have been experiencing head -
cent foolproof and certain conditions foods. Though these may lead to a aches off and on. Please let me know

can be missed out. All said and done, suspicion of pregnancy they are not if they are related to pregnancy and
it is a must at this period of gestation foolproof methods of diagnosing a what medicine I can take for them?
and if the foetus has major abnor- pregnancy. Moreover quite a few Headache is common in
malities, the option of an abortion can women remain fit and fine and pregnancy due to changes in
be offered to the couple. experience no untoward symptom in hormones or stress. If it does not go
early pregnancy. In case you are not away with rest or sleep you can take
using any contraception or are a tablet of paracetamol for the same.
I am pregnant and would like to visit
my parents’ place but my mother-in- I am 15 days overdue and a pregnancy test has revealed
law forbids me to travel during that I am pregnant. My problem is that I have soreness of
pregnancy. I am feeling very homesick breasts and cannot bear it when my husband touches
and would definitely like to go. Please them. He thinks that I am pretending and goes into a
tell me which is the best time to travel sulk. He says that he has heard of women vomiting
during pregnancy? during pregnancy but says that I talk of breast
The middle three months, i.e., the tenderness to avoid sex.
mid-trimester are ideal for travelling if Please let him know that many women do experience
one must during pregnancy. The breast tenderness both during pregnancy and prior to
nausea, vomiting, fatigue and weak- their periods. A properly fitting bra with good support
ness of early pregnancy are over and will help relieve the soreness. The good news is that it usually goes away
the problems of the third trimester during the second trimester.
like a bulky abdomen, heartburn, – Dr A. K. Bajaj, MD.
swollen feet have yet to come.

70 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

HAPPENS The army girl
who has exploded on
screen. By Gayatri T Rao

odel and actress Anushka Tell us about your parents. How was your life before
Sharma put her first step My mom is my rock and my father movies happened to you?
forward in Bollywood in is my sounding board. My mother is I was in college when I started
2008, when she appeared always there for me and keeps me modelling and soon was getting
with Shah Rukh Khan in grounded while I feel like I can calls to do shoots and walk the
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. talk to my father about anything I feel ramp in Mumbai and Delhi. I really
Anushka was born to Col like. enjoyed modelling and decided to
Ajay Kumar Sharma, and move to Mumbai to take it up more
Ashima, a housewife. Her Tell us about your brother. Do seriously.
elder brother was a state- you have a sister?
level cricketer and is now in the I have an elder brother but no You were initially more
merchant navy. She studied in Army sister. He is a bit protective of me interested in ramp modelling. How
School and graduated with and I count on his judgement quite a come you left it and joined
specialisation in arts from Mount lot. movies?
Carmel College, Bangalore. Anushka That's absolutely true. I enjoyed
wanted to make it big in the How was your childhood? modelling so much that I didn't really
modelling world but had no strong I grew up mostly in Bangalore. imagine life beyond that. But like the
aspirations for films. She has also Being an army kid I was exposed to a Beatles sang, "Life is what happens
done campaigns for Silk & Shine, lot of outdoor activities and sports when you're busy making other
Whisper, Nathella Jewelry and Fiat and now that I am in Mumbai, I miss plans", so also destiny had other
Palio. Excerpts from an interview: it sorely. plans for me.
How did you get your first Tell us about the latest movie were not shooting. We shot outdoors
movie – Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi? you are promoting. and abroad extensively and often
I had never seriously considered Badmaash Company is directed ended up playing sports or just
films even though the modelling by Parmeet Sethi and is my second checking out the cities we were in.
agency that represented me at the film. The promos are already on air
time had coaxed me into giving it a and I have heard good things about How was it working with
serious thought. Without my how people find the casting very Akshay Kumar in Patiala House?
knowledge, my pictures were sent to fresh and have also loved the music. Akshay Kumar is such a thorough
Yash Raj Films (YRF) while they professional that he has never been
conducted a nationwide search to How was it working with your late on set by even a minute. What I
find their Taani. After a couple of co-actors? enjoy most are the stories he has to
auditions and a meeting with Aditya Badmaash Company has a young tell from his many years in the
Chopra, I was given the nod and cast and we had a really great time industry. Make no mistake, it’s no
there has never been any turning hanging out together even when we boring lesson in history, but just
back since that day. sprinkled with a lot of humour.

How was it working with Shah What are your other future
Rukh Khan in your very first film? projects?
I have always been a Shah Rukh After Badmaash Company I have
fan, but before I met him I had so two more releases this year – Patiala
many preconceived notions of what House and another YRF film that is
he might be like. After working with directed by Maneesh Sharma. 2010
him, I must say that I am a much is an important year for me. I am
bigger fan of his now than I ever was. close to finalising certain other
He was the perfect co-star – patient, projects that you will know about as
encouraging, funny and so energetic! soon as they are ready to be
He's a true inspiration. announced. We

father was happy to see me and gave

money for us to eat something in the
restaurant over here. When they
heard about not telling my mother
about his visit, one of my friend
jovially remarked, Lo bhai beta bigrhe
THE AFFECTION OF FATHER home on weekends for two days to bap samjhaye, bap bigrhe to kaun
I was a day scholar during last where I stay with my mother and two samjhaye. That is, when son goes
few weeks of my final exams I used sisters. But before I could reach astray, it is the father has to guide
to go to medical college hostel for behind the tree, I heard my father him but if the father goes astray who
combined studies along with my calling me by my nickname. There will guide him?
three friends. One day, we four was nothing I could do but to face the – Dr C. B. Singh, Mumbai.
decided to go to an exhibition for a music. Timidly I went to him, my
change and a little relaxation. While friends watching helplessly from a
entering a stall from its gate, I noticed distance. My father affectionately
my father along with his friends going enquired about my welfare and asked
out from the exit-gate. me when my examinations were Do you remember
I was surprised to see my father starting and how were my any amusing, interesting,
exciting incident of your
there and also felt afraid that if he preparations. Then he took me to a college life? Why not tell Woman’s
sees me he will be very angry for side, away from his friends, gave me Era’s readers about it? All accepted and
wasting my precious time loitering in some money for entertaining my published anecdotes will be given books
exhibition. I told my friends about him friends at the exhibition restaurant worth Rs 200 each. Send it to:
and asked them to go round the and requested me not to tell my CAMPUS RUMPUS
exhibition and fetch me from outside mother that he came there to see the
a stall where I will be hiding behind exhibition with his friends. E-3 Jhandewala Estate, New Delhi-110055.
the tree. I returned to my friends. Seeing
My father is an advocate and me in a good mood they wanted to Name:
practises in a town about 60 km know as to what happened in the Mobile:
away. He stays there and comes father-son meeting. I told them that E-mail:

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 73

A handsome bracelet to wear
around your wrist. These are not bric-a-
brac, but valuable
and beautiful objects
of decoration, much
needed when you are
making presents
An all-inclusive
during the festive
handbag. season. You don’t
have to go far looking
for them.

A florally designed
utility box.
An art-piece
silvery vase.

Silver pots and a

chiselled tray.
Not only those born with a silver
spoon but you too deserve the spoon
plate, bowls, glass and the tray.

A brilliantly designed tea pot and mugs.

Reclining Ganapati
much in demand on the
special occasion.

Silver-carved the eternal lovers

Radha – Krishna.
The pedestal and
pooja pot.

The leaf-patterned tray, the bowls and the

water pot are ceremonial objects.

Exquisitely cut
fruit bowls.

The majestic jar and the glasses

are exhibiting grandeur.

The eye-arresting jug and the

glass are truly aristocratic objects.

Courtesy: Patel & Co.

Delhi. Ph: 91-11-23253697, Mob: 9810204275
How I Tried to Cope with
My Breast Cancer
Very moving extracts from a cancer patient’s diary.
By Anonymous
24th May my niece Vasantha and she was very reassuring.
The day started like any other day for me. But did I She wanted to come with me the next day. I told her
ever imagine it would be a day of great importance Gopal was good enough and if I needed company I
for me and it would change my life? If not totally, at would call her. Gopika too offered to accompany
least to some extent, it would never be the same me, but at that stage I thought I should face it by
again. I felt the ‘dreaded’ lump while having my myself.
bath. I would have liked to wish it away as an
imaginary fear, but something within me gave a 26th May
warning. I came out and called my husband Gopal I felt no anxiety, no fear. I was calm within. An
and he too felt it was something not to be dismissed. inner strength that has sustained me through my life
I called up my gynaecologist. “Sorry, no at times of crisis sustained me at this time too. I lit the
appointment today. I have 20 patients waiting lamps in the pooja room and prayed. I knew I would
outside.” come out of this without much problem.
“When is the earliest you can give an We were at the hospital at 8.50 am. I was asked
appointment?” I asked, trying to sound calm. to go up to Dr Mani’s consulting room. There were
“The earliest I can see you is on Wednesday.” quite a few patients waiting and the receptionist and
Now I was a little desperate. “Doctor, it’s an the nurse kept popping in and out of the rooms. They
emergency – can’t you see me earlier?” gave only half information to all my questions. After
She sounded kind, “Well, what’s it…tell me,” and an agonising wait of two and half hours, the doctor
I explained. came in. Even then I was not called in! When I went
“Come on Monday morning at 9.30 am.” in finally there were profuse apologies from her,
Two days of anxiety followed. I had to give my while all I wanted was to be examined and the
apologies for not attending the school meeting. I ‘verdict’ pronounced.
explained to my elder sister Chandrika, without too She took out some fluid samples for biopsy and
many details. Same thing I told my younger sister pronounced that I dreaded to hear. “Yes, it seems
Gopika, although I could see the anxiety on her that malignancy is there – but let’s not jump to
face. conclusions before further investigations are made.”
We sat down to talk. She was very pleasant and
25th May reassuring. ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘… this is not the end
Gopal was making an effort to appear calm. But I of the world. Whatever happens I’m prepared to
could see the suppressed distress on his face. fight.’
Although we know we are both mature and She kept talking, “With all the advances in
philosophical enough to face any crisis in life, the medical science CA (cancer) is no longer the
initial shock is always the worst moment to tide over. dreaded word it used to be. All that you need is lots
We spent the day in a kind of silent prayer that it of will-power – don’t let the disease conquer you –
would not be as bad as what we thought. We you conquer the disease.” I looked at Gopal's face –
thought we should wait until we met the doctor to wondered if he needed more reassurance than me!
inform our son Srinivas and daughter Ruchi. I told We reached home and immediately fixed an

76 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

appointment with CL Diagnostic Centre for further Vasantha was with me till the end. We wanted to
diagnostic tests. It was good to have Vasantha with collect the report. The doctor had already told me
me. I was much impressed by CL centre having very that the abdominal scan was clear. But the
systematic, clean and pleasant people. After a long mammograph was bad news. And there it was –
wait, the tests were done. when we saw the report. Luckily, it had not spread
The doctor who did the mammogram (I had been too much. Still, we had to wait for the final verdict,
told he was a ‘man’ – but who cared? – I only as it had to be correlated with the laboratory report.
wanted a good doctor) had a face from a classical
painting. He looked very kind, quiet and a man of 27th May
few words. I watched the monitor, which was above Dr Mani would be out of town from Wednesday.
my head slightly to the side – it was purely an She gave me an appointment for Tuesday evening.
academic interest. There was no fear or dread in my Another agonising wait for two hours at the hospital
heart – what is it going to reveal? I was prepared to to see her. She saw the reports and it did not take
accept anything. her long to tell me I had to see the oncologist Dr
After the initial distress, everything fell into place Gopu. We got an appointment at 7.30 pm. Another
and I only had to think of what’s to be done and long wait to see the doctor. Meanwhile I sat and
how I was going to fight. observed all the other patients. Yes, they were there
for the same reason as myself –
maybe some in the early stages and
some in the advanced. There was
one particular patient, a middle-
aged lady who attracted my
attention. She had come with
another lady – they were
neighbours who lived far away and
both at various stages of breast CA.
She looked quite spirited and talked
all the time with a smile as she told
me she had her surgery seven years
I was called in. I was quite
pleased to find the doctor a
pleasant and soft-spoken man. He
only confirmed what we already
knew. He explained with a detailed
drawing about how much it had
affected with a picture of the
surgery he was going to do. “It is
good that the right breast is
unaffected. There are two types of
surgery – total mastectomy, rarely
done these days as medical science
has advanced a lot, and breast
conservation surgery. The latter was
what he was doing to do for me.
“Don’t be afraid. The surgery
itself is simple. You may have to
take radiation treatment for 25
“What about side effects,” I
asked – the fear was natural.
“There won’t be any side-
effects,” he reassured. He fixed the
date of surgery – Saturday 31st
and I had to get admitted on

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 77

Dr Gopu knew my late brother-in-law. We felt 30th May
happy to know that he had a great respect for him Friday: I was calm and cool the whole morning. I
and considered him a legend in his lifetime. Dr felt no fear, no anxiety. There was total peace within
Gopu himself has a string of degrees and has a me. I prepared my bag as if I were going out for a
great reputation, we learnt later. His clinic has an day trip somewhere. In the evening my niece
ambience of spirituality. A sloka from Vasantha and younger sister Gopika came with us
Sankaracharya’s Narayaneeyam is put on the wall to the hospital. There was no single room available.
in all languages. “To be recited for 112, 32, 16 Finally they gave us a double room for myself.
times every day,” as advised by Kanchi Vasantha slept in the room. There were lots of
Sankaracharya, which will cure any disease. I wrote visitors. My elder sister Chandrika was feeling very
it down in my notebook. distressed. The hospital brought back unhappy
It was time to inform our children Srinivas and memories to her. Doctors came one after another –
Ruchi. We decided to do it the same night we came tests after tests – basically for fitness.
home from Dr Gopu’s clinic. Ruchi was at home. She I slept well. My daughter Ruchi and son-in-law
was too distressed to say anything as soon as she Sinha came at 11pm. I felt as if sunshine was
heard the news. It was the same with Srinivas who brought into my life when I saw Ruchi. She is such a
was in his office. But they both soon recovered and pet. So brave, so efficient and totally maintaining
were brave enough to face it. I spoke to them and her cool. It was a great relief to my husband too
reassured them that I was fine and had taken it all in who was very stressed out – physically and
the right spirit. emotionally – handling everything himself.
Of course, they know about my positive attitude
to everything and I’m not the type to give up easily. 31st May
They both wanted to come immediately. Anyway, The operation was done at 10.30 am, although it
Ruchi and her husband were to come on the 10th was scheduled for 8.30 am. My younger sister
and Srinivas and family on the 11th. Luckily, Ruchi Gopika was very particular that it should be started
could get tickets for an earlier flight. I knew her after or before Rahukalam and the doctor too gave a
presence would be a great support for Gopal and concession to my sentiment being a religious man
me. himself.
It went off smoothly. I had to be in the ICU till my
28th May room was ready as the other double room had to be
I told both my sisters about the test results and that vacated for other patients. I was shifted to the ward
I had to go in for surgery. Naturally, they were both by night. I would have hated it if I had had to spend
very upset but they all knew that they had to rally the night in the ICU. Ruchi slept in the room.
round me and giving me moral support was of Gopal kept popping in and out of the ICU. I was
utmost importance. I rang up Arti who agreed to somewhat semi-conscious and was vaguely aware of
work as a cook when I came home from surgery. things happening around me. Srinivas and Suchi
were in constant touch from the USA. Sinha too
29th May came and spent a lot of time in the hospital room the
All the close people knew by then and there were next day.
phone calls from everyone. My niece
Vrinda and her husband Nath came
to give me prasad from the temple.
She had decided on a pooja on
Saturday – the day of the surgery.
My son Srinivas kept calling every
morning and evening. He was
desperately trying to change his
ticket, but to no avail. I know how
anxiety must have been eating him.
Both my son and daughter-in-law
Suchi talked to me every day. It was
all so touching. I inwardly felt
grateful for having such a wonderful
family. So if I had CA, I was not
alone – I had my family to fight it

78 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

1st June what I wanted – comfortable and
Lots of visitors. I lost count of who all Ruchi looks so elegant. I enjoy relaxing on them. I keep
came. The room was full and it was the heat pad for my back pain.
enough to lift my spirits. The doctor said
tired. She has
everything was okay and I would be been working so 8th June
discharged on Monday. Fine. Ruchi looks so tired. She has been
hard at clearing working so hard at clearing the junk. The
2nd June the junk. The next programme is pest-control.
A lot of work had to be done on the Everything looks spick and span.
third party (medical) assistance (TPA), next programme
which was of no “assistance” really and 9th June
both Ruchi and Gopal are quite fed with is pest-control. The pest-control work is done. It was
the bureaucracy and the red tape. Ruchi Everything looks quite simple. The garage is now cleaned
finally managed to get me discharged up too.
on ‘word of faith’ – that the financial spick and span.
matters would be settled by us if the TPA 10th June
did not materialise. Home at last. The house is now set for our son’s family’s visit
from the USA. My appointment with the doctor went
3rd June off well. The only problem was the long wait. The
It’s wonderful to have Ruchi around – her very doctor told me to remove the bandage. There were
presence is comforting. Gopal is a source of comfort a couple of stitches left to be removed, which he did.
in his own way and Ruchi is a source of strength for
him too. I call up the cook Arti I’ve fixed up for the 11th June
period 11th to 18th and ask if she can start working Srinivas and family arrive from the USA. It’s a
right away. She is present at 11 am and I let her do wonderful moment of reunion. I’m overjoyed to see
what she wants. She is not a bad cook, we decide, them while making efforts to control my emotions.
and is very smart in other ways. So things fall into The kids give me hugs and kisses and they’re all
some kind of order. concerned about my health. Lots of visitors in the
evening…I feel quite tired. Srinivas and family get
4th June lunch invitations from relatives. I politely decline.
Lots of visitors and phone calls. Srinivas has been
calling twice a day. My cousin Damayanti in the UK 12th June
has come to know about my illness through her son. The day we had all been planning and waiting
She feels reassured that I’m quite okay after talking for has arrived. Gopal’s 76th birthday. Ruchi and
to me. Soon news has travelled around fast and Srinivas have ordered a big cake. Arti makes sagu
everyone is calling me to express his or her concern. under Gopika’s guidance. Ruchi and Suchi together
prepare rava idlis. There are lots of other items to
5th June eat. I have a little wine – that was bad! We have a
I settle down to some kind of routine. Painkillers lot of fun. I’m quite relaxed and happy to have my
and sleeping pills help to bear the post-operation loved ones around on a happy occasion.
pain. I manage to have my bath with Ruchi’s help.
Still, I don’t feel as disabled as I felt when I had a 13th June
fall and broke my left elbow last August. There are The house is full and I wish I were in better shape
so many visitors that I lose count. I manage to send to enjoy their company. I play rummy with my
some E-mail. First to Kamal, Ruchi’s boss, who e- grandson Vishu. In the evening is the appointment
mails back wonderful thoughts. with the doctor. Hesitantly I had removed the
bandage on Thursday morning. It was really no
6th June problem. Srinivas comes with me – as usual it is a
Ruchi is on a cleaning binge. She works tirelessly long wait. Both Gopal and Srinivas come to meet
to clean the “Augean stables.” At last the new the doctor. Now is the crucial time – the course of
cooking range is installed. I am happy with the treatment and medication. The doctor prescribes it
‘state-of-the-art’ kitchen! and describes the different types of the medicines he
is going to prescribe – Anabrez, which has no side-
7th June effects like the earlier Tamoxifin, which used to have
Ruchi has been at cleaning endlessly. Two new lots of side effect. In contrast, Anabrez (a brand
sofas have arrived, thanks to Gopal and Ruchi. Just name) has no side effect, but will cause osteoporosis

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 79

in the long run. The imported version 19th June
costs Rs 5,000 per month and the Indian The house is empty.
one costs Rs 1,500 per month. He says Last day with
there is no difference between the two. the kids. We just 21st June
Ruchi comes home and checks with We go to see BIO with a driver, and
her doctor friend Madhu in Pune about stay at home. visit Samaja on the way. Srinivas is quite
the drugs. She also confirms there is no impressed by the school. He’s surprised
difference between the imported and the Luckily Shanta to know that all my sisters and I studied
local makes and that it has absolutely no is out of her there! We had plans of visiting MTR, but
side effect. To counter osteoporosis I we shelved the idea as I feel that I should
have to take calcium supplements. The ‘cold’ bout – but be a little careful with my diet. Arti has
next appointment is on the 23rd. The come early and done the cooking, as
drugs are ordered immediately. They
it’s Vishu’s turn she is not coming on Sunday.
arrive the next morning – home to be sniffling.
delivered! So I am on Anabrez from the 23rd June
14th. I try to fall into a routine. Srinivas and
Ruchi call, first thing in the morning. Vishu is thrilled
15th June to have his dad back and eager to show him all the
It’s so lovely having the children around. Srinivas stuff he bought in Mumbai. Ruchi is busy – the
and family are busy going for lunches and dinners busiest time of the month for her as the magazine
but I have to decline all the invitations. Meanwhile issue has to be out. Doc’s appointment is in the
there is a stream of visitors. I’ve lost count of the evening. He has given a whole lot of new medicines
number of phone calls from friends and relatives. My – basically for acidity.
brother-in-law, Dr Suri from Chicago, phones every
six days. He is awfully concerned. All the reports 30th June
and the line of treatment are sent by e-mail to my Appointment with the doctor in the evening.
niece Dr Malati in Toledo, USA. Longest wait we’ve had! Vasantha spends time with
It is a masala dosa party upstairs. It’s a lot of fun. me. I feel bad that she’s spending so much time with
I have a little wine – not realising it may not be good me giving up all her work. When I go in, as usual
when I am on sleeping pills and painkillers. Had a I’m made to lie on the table, waiting for the doctor.
bad night! He has this habit of seeing four patients at a time –
each one waiting in different partitioned areas.
16th June Sometimes it’s annoying – but maybe he can’t help
Last day with the kids. We just stay at home. it. While I am waiting lying on the table, staring at
Luckily Shanta is out of her ‘cold’ bout – but it’s the ceiling, I have time to contemplate. Sometimes I
Vishu’s turn to be sniffling. He is made to swallow have all sympathy for the doctor – but I only wish he
some pill after a big drama! He just can’t swallow wouldn’t talk for hours on his cell-phone while
pills, it seems. We go one last visit to FAB for patients are waiting! Anyway, finally he comes in to
shopping. Ruchi buys two tops for me – she wants examine me and says everything is fine. He tells us
me to look ‘smart’. (“No more of those ghastly SKs,” to meet one Dr Sham at BIO on Wednesday, as he
she means the synthetic stuff). is not available on Tuesday. We come home late –
miss all the serials – not that we have missed
17th June anything! Meanwhile some glitch with the medical
Suchi and the kid leave for Mumbai – it’s quite insurance form has to be sorted out.
wrenching to see them off. Of course, there is an We get the supply of Anabrez for the next month.
anticipation of going to Tampa, USA, in 2009 for TPA is acting funny – they fail to understand our
Shanta’s graduation. stand. Finally I talk to Sumi by chance! She is very
18th June
It’s time for Ruchi and Sinha to leave. This is the 2nd July
worst part of having dear ones with you. I tell myself Went to BIO to meet Dr Sham. Cool guy. Not
that I should control my tears – I have to make it very talkative but made me feel comfortable. He
easy for them at the time of parting. If I get checked all the reports thoroughly, examined me
emotional, they’ll feel miserable thinking of me. So I thoroughly and explained the line of treatment while
put on a brave front as if all is well. Ruchi leaves reassuring that it would be painless. I suppose he
with the promise of returning whenever I need her. has talked to many patients the same way. He talks

80 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

to one Sunanda at the radiology centre to fix up a 7th July
date. While I’m waiting outside with Vasantha Gopal is still sorting the insurance business. The
whom do I see? Kanta who is working at the fine print reveals a few things are not very clear.
reception. She is very helpful and goes to the other Now we have to be clever, as we know the system
building looking for Gopal who is arranging the better!
medical insurance business. The whole hospital staff
is very helpful. Vasanatha jokes about the uniform – 8th July
the girls at the reception, in some ghastly polyester My friend Dr Raje stopped to talk to me while I
sari, they must be sweating to glory when it is hot. was walking in the morning. She made kind
Couldn’t they choose some nice cotton or even enquiries about my health. In her soft-spoken voice
polycot saris? she said, “If at all one has to get CA (cancer), one
Everything is done – Gopal meets Najma – the should pray it is BC (breast cancer) – because it’s
date is 14th. The earliest they say is 9th which being curable!” She was telling me how people have spent
a Wednesday Dr Sham won’t be there. Friday is just lakhs of rupees without any positive result. So should
before Saturday and Sunday – not sensible. So the I be thankful it is BC. Should I also be thankful I
date is 14th detected it early. Recall our friend Juhi’s case. She
Kamala comes to see me after calling. I send mail too had BC. But died in a matter of weeks! Finally it
to my children giving all details and Sheela in all amounts to que sera sera (whatever will be, will
Toledo, USA.. She responds immediately. Ruchi is as be). It has always been my guiding principle in life.
usual anxious to know what happened. Srinivas has It helps in facing up to challenges and hardships.
sent the address of a website where we can check Dr Raje also said another surprising thing. “One
up on radiation treatment. Gopal checks up and need not tell everyone about it – people talk and say
everything is just as our doctor Dr Sham has all sorts of things.” That got me thinking. Is it good
explained. So nothing extra needs to be done. or bad to talk to people about your disease?
Ruchi’s apprehensions about deodorant and talc are Personally I feel that if you talk about it to people
confirmed. So more deos! Let me be a stinkpot! you are close to, it is like sharing a concern. Yes, it
Some more visitors in the evening. is not something you talk about to all and sundry –
like I didn’t want to say anything to one of my
3rd July distant cousins. Yes, maybe there is some sense in
I’m in a dilemma. Is too much information good her saying that people talk thoughtlessly. Maybe
or bad – like too much advice too? Or should we there is some reason to be ‘hush hush’ about CA.
simply go by what doctor says, have total faith in
him. Neither Dr Gopu nor Dr Sham suggested blood 9th July
test – as the web doctor – but others are saying I Since the onset of CA and surgery, I seem to have
must have a blood test. So what’s a heightened sense of everything.
right? Gopal is also confused – Every little pain becomes
for now we’ve decided to simply worrisome despite assurances
go by what our doctor says. from doctor that these are all
More visitors in the evening. natural and ‘expected’ pains! I
Just now had a chat with Ruchi suppose that’s how it will be in
on the Skype. Computer is now future. I’m also aware I should
fixed but only for ‘chat’ no audio not behave like a hypochondriac.
yet. Ruchi says she likes chatting! But isn’t a little caution better than
Sometimes I get a little worried being casual?
about the pain in the surgery
area, although doctor has told 14th July
me that it will be there for some D-Day! All geared up for the
time. Instinctively I look for my radio therapy (RT). I don’t feel
swellings and lumps and any anxiety or fear. Dr Sham has
sometimes imagine there is a not come. There are a few other
swelling in my arm. But then I patients waiting. I’m called in.
should have faith in the doctor They have to do some ‘markings’
and also have a little patience. in the area where they have to
My medication has just started give radiation. It has to be so
and I should give it some time to precise that they measure with a
show results. scale and other instruments (a

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 81

19th July
No RT today. Had a long Skype chat with
Srinivas and Damayanti. We talked about children
and how it’s one’s luck to have good and caring
children. Children may have their compulsions and
they may justify their actions. At the same time we
have no business to comment – but we cannot
remain unaffected too. Of course, people look at the
same situation from different perspectives and there
is no absolute right or absolute wrong. I can’t be
grateful enough for such wonderful children –
children including a daughter-in-law and son-in-law.
I couldn’t have wished for anything better. It stands
curved sort of thing) to make the markings. After that to reason that it is because of Gopal’s support –
I have to go to the RT building and change again. emotional and moral – and the children’s care ands
It’s a strange feeling to be lying on the table with the concern that I’ve been able to fight this disease. And
weird instrument hovering over my head. There are I am quite sure I will come out of it a better person.
three or four doctors and technicians adjusting the
apparatus. Dr Sham comes in and gives some 21st July
instructions. I feel I’m part of some sci-fi movie. It’s all The routine starts all over again after R and R. It’s
painless, as they had told. Finally they do a ‘tattoo’ over quite fast. We are back at 9.30. Went to meet
mark as a permanent mark with a prick. I’m ready to Dr Sham. I ask him a few questions and clear all my
go. doubts regarding deodorant, talcum powder and
The TPI people are behaving in a disgusting medicines. He says everything is fine and the
manner – after coming home there is a call from BIO treatment is going on fine too.
that we have to give a copy of the new policy to be
faxed to the insurance people! Again it starts all 22nd July
over again – it looks like the TPI people don’t know The machine at BIO was out of order. It took four
their right hand from their left. Nobody knows hours to get it running again. We were offered the
what’s happening and they all act dumb! Until and alternative of going home and would be given a slot
unless this is settled there is no peace of mind. on Saturday. But we decided to stay and wait. It
was just as well. We made friends with Manorama,
15th July a sweet, young woman (31 years) who is taking
Thanks to my friend Saroj the insurance business both chemo and RT. She felt comfortable talking to
is settled. Once the RT has got going it’s no big me – she confessed that she was slowly going into
deal. The second day was smooth too. My one big depression. But I gave her a lot of encouragement
objection is to the dirty gown, which I think they and not despair – that having breast cancer is not
don’t change at all. I decide to do something about the end of the world. She told her story of how she
it the next day. postponed having a baby because she was having
Sent e-mail to my children and daughter-in-law. problems with her husband who was a drunkard
and a chain smoker. She tried her best to change
16th July him but his family was against her and harassed her
There is something wrong with the machine at at every step.
BIO. It takes nearly an hour waiting for the engineer She is from Maharashtra and was never used to
to come and repair it. It appears it is something very this kind of a set-up where she had no ‘space’ and
unusual. felt almost suffocated. But she bravely put up with
everything hoping that her husband would reform.
17th July She attributes her cancer partly to ‘stress’ (even her
Mr Ramu visits us in the evening. He tells us lots of doctor confirmed that). Being a fitness freak and
interesting stories and anecdotes. It’s nice listening very diet conscious, she wonders how she could
to the stories. I gave him a copy of my book. have landed with cancer – how she could have
neglected even when she discovered a lump. If only
18th July she had gone to the doctor in time she would have
Today we finish RT in record time! It takes just 10 been spared the anguish of chemotherapy! My heart
minutes! I decided against going to the Yoga went out to her – young, pretty, desperately wanting
Institute for the Guru Poornima function. to have a child – now it’s her obsession. At least one

82 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

good thing that has resulted from all this is that her wait till it is all over for socialising. I realise that
husband has reformed and is very supportive. She people are still not sure of how I’m going to react
had almost decided to divorce him! I told her not to and number two that they may be some way
lose heart – to face everything with courage. disturbing me! I have to reassure them that I’m
absolutely normal! But am I? That is a big question
26th July mark.
R and R day. It’s good to relax and not be rushing
around in the morning. The parcel of deodorant and 30th July
talcum powder sent by Suchi from the USA has Visitors galore. RT as usual. One of the patients’
arrived. It’s really good. We must explore the wives, Mrs Pandit, asked me suddenly how I got to
possibilities of getting these locally. know about my breast cancer – was it self-
examination? It was destiny that I should feel it and
27th July realise it was something not quite normal. Like so
Ruchi wants to take me by car to walk in the many others I’ve heard about. I too could have
nearby garden. But I get up late and don’t want the ignored it or even postponed going to the doctor. I
whole day’s programme to be upset. remember how in the two days between discovery of
the lump and going to the doctor, I would touch and
29th July feel it every few hours – particularly when I got up in
Ruchi drives us up to BIO. She meets Dr Sham, the morning – hoping that it was just a swelling
whom I have to meet every Monday. He examines which would have vanished. What wishful thinking!
me and pronounces that everything is going fine! I Anyhow it’s all history now. I’m deeply grateful that I
ask him about yoga and he says I can go ahead but discovered it at zero stage. Now if people look at
not give up the other BC exercises. me, they don’t even seem to know that I am sick!
RT has become so routine that there is no longer
any fear or dread attached to it. Now that I am 31st July
getting the sense that there are no side effects, I’ve I feel a difference in how I feel after the RT.
accepted it as an inevitable part of treatment like Energy levels seem to be rather low and much
any other routine medicine. I am thankful that I’m irritation in the area as if some pins are pricking
spared the pain and anguish of chemotherapy. I see inside. Otherwise everything else is routine. My
so many undergoing chemo in BIO and my heart brother-in-law, Dr Suri, called at night. He is one
goes out to them – it is not only the physical but also person who is genuinely concerned. Gopal did the
the psychological effects that bother one. When I’m talking.
completely out of this battle, I want to do something
for other victims of cancer. But what can I really say 5th August
to a young woman whose only desire is to have a Ruchi leaves early in the morning. Vasantha
baby and who is on the verge of going into comes with me to BIO. Missing Ruchi like hell. I
depression because of chemo? How can I fill her come out of the radiation room expecting to see her
heart with hope and optimism? At least one point in there. While entering the road to BIO I muse about
my favour is that I’m not sitting on the other side of how many times I used to pass that way and dread
the table, a healthy person preaching to the board – Institute of Oncology. But it
the other person to take heart and be meant nothing to me – cancer was
courageous! I know how it feels like Ruchi wants to something that was outside the realm of
when the doctor pronounces the my consciousness, until it hit me! Little did
dreaded word. It is something, which take me by car I imagine I would be going to the BIO so
cannot be experienced second-hand. to walk in the many times! We accept and come to
terms with so many things in life.
29th July nearby garden.
12th day of RT without any fuss. 6th August
But I get up late A fateful day! Middle of the night at
People in BIO seem to have dwindled –
at least in the morning slot. In the and don’t want 1.30 am I fell down from the cot
evening I have to shelve plans of visiting sideways – couldn’t get up because of
my friend because of various reasons. I the whole day’s excruciating pain. Knew something
suddenly realise that people still may not programme to serious had happened. Called out to
feel comfortable in my presence Gopal who tried his best to make me get
because of the RT – especially with be upset. up onto the bed but all efforts were in
babies and children around. So let me vain. Gopika and Ram came down,

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 83

called for an ambulance from the nearby hospital. 25th August
What a major problem to put me onto the wheel- 23rd day of RT. Dr Sham was busy so his junior
stretcher! What a nightmare! Next morning Dr Rajiv did the weekly check-up. On Friday he said they
saw the X-ray and said there was a small fracture, would review the treatment. Uma brought my cousin
no hipbone broken. Surgery done in the afternoon. Pallavi over, a pleasant evening with everyone.
Ruchi is highly distressed that it happened the
moment she left Bangalore. 27th August
Watched the movie Talk to her Couldn’t see fully.
7th to 9th August Somehow these days I find RT more tiring. When it
Knows how these days passed. Many visitors. started, more skin irritation. Maybe that’s the
Vasantha as usual was an angel – Florence pattern. Evening Vanaja is unable to come because
Nightingale reborn! She slept at night every day. of heavy rains. Ruchi slept in the room with me.
Gopika came with lunch and Chandrika or someone Somehow managed to walk up to the toilet on my
in the mornings. Somehow three days passed. I own, although Ruchi kept waking up every time I got
practised walking with the crutches. Learning to walk up, just to keep an eye. Such is her concern. I feel
all over again. Painful in the beginning. I must bad to give so much trouble to everyone.
muster all my will-power and inner strength. Vanaja
the ayah offers her services to sleep at night, I 28th August
engage her for a month. Discharged on 9th. Ruchi Ruchi’s day of departure. Already feeling
says she can come on 18th or 19th. That’s depressed. Gopal says he’ll do everything but it is
something to look forward to. not the same as having Ruchi around who can
anticipate my every wish.
11th to 17th August
As each day passes I increase my efforts to walk 29th August
with the crutches. I’m reluctant to give up the Dr Sham prescribes a cream for dryness and
wheelchair but I realise that later on it will be more darkening of the skin after radiation. Seems there is
difficult to wean myself from it. So try to practise a lot of irritation and pricking feeling, may be the
more and more with the crutches, wish to give a accumulated effect of the RT. Loss of appetite too,
surprise to Ruchi. can’t eat much.

18th August 30th August

Ruchi arrives at night. It’s comfortable to have her Lots of visitors. Chatting with them all makes me feel
around. That night Vanaja gives me a bath! better. Feeling more and more depressed at the
thought of Ruchi’s departure. Poor thing, how much
20th to 23rd August can she also do? I don’t want her to feel bad by
Am making steady progress. Kamala, from Delhi, showing my sadness. She has to go and work too. The
has sent a nice e-mail with music and pictures and whole night I have a queasy stomach, may be
wonderful quotes about life, friendship, hopes, joys, psychological or maybe I didn’t eat anything. I wake
and sorrows. Since my RT resumed on 18th, from up Vanaja in the middle of the night to wake up Ruchi
19th it was easygoing. Ruchi is there. I get into the and give me some cold soya milk. I start feeling better.
car here, get into a wheelchair at BIO, Knows how these
and the radiation table is lowered for me 31st August
to get onto it with ease. Not as days passed. My eyes swell with tears every time I
problematic as we thought. Dr Sham think of Ruchi. At least she has some
says, “You have to be careful,” when I Many visitors. company when she goes back. Other-
tell him how the accident happened. A Vasantha as wise, it will be bad for her too. I can’t
few extra shots have to be given to make expect everyone to spare time for me! I
up for the gap. usual was an should be grateful that they are able to do
angel – Florence at least that much. Another ten days of RT
24th August remaining. As I near the end of it, I seem
When I resumed my RT, I found that Nightingale to be getting more and more depressed.
there were a whole lot of new patients,
all the old ones had finished their reborn! She 1st September
treatment. Now I’ve got used to seeing slept at night RT, last day of the X-ray and from 2nd
sad, dejected faces, some even with a September the Electron treatment will
sense of hopelessness about them. every day. start. Dr Sham comes to the RT room to

84 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

give instructions about the new treatment. He is
going out for three weeks.

2nd September
The new RT has started. The apparatus looks
different and the procedure takes less time. Am back
home by 9.30 am. We do the pooja at 10.30 am.
Everything goes off well except that Gopika has
some problem in sitting down. Finally both of us sit
on chairs and keep the pooja things at a higher
level. Vasantha is of great help. I find the skin
peeling off. Ointment helps, of course.

5th September
When one continues to suffer we ask “Why?” for
which nobody has any answer. I’m able to walk with
crutches to the toilet during the night, although by myself. Only Gopal couldn’t sleep because of
Vanaja insists I wake her up. anxiety. He got up every time I went to the toilet
despite my assurances that I was okay. At the BIO I
7th September gave Rs 100 to the wheelchair man. He was very
A new person at BIO seems quite talkative and happy. Next day he served me like I was royalty!
cheerful. I ask her why she is loaded with jewellery Not that he didn’t look after me before.
when she comes to RT. She says she wears them so
that other people don’t make comments. She removes 13th September
them and keeps them inside her purse. And she comes Vanaja was in tears when she said ‘bye-bye’. She
alone! Not able to meet the doctor. Tomorrow may be. said I gave her much more than she expected and
was very happy to serve me. She liked the shawl
9th September and sari I had given her. She gave me an oil bath
Met junior doctor. Vasantha came with us even and cut my toenails and fingernails, changed the
though we told her to take a break. Feeling sheets and cleaned the bathroom. What a sincere
unusually tired with heaviness in the chest. Told the worker! Wish I had a domestic worker like her!
doctor about it, the answer is predictable, yes it End of the diary
happens. He told me to take Tricione syrup twice a It was a normal day on Monday 15th September
day. I feel this electron treatment is something for the writer of this diary. It was the penultimate day
different and is causing all the problems. Or it could of RT and a check-up with the doctor who
be the cumulative effect of all the RT treatments. pronounced everything was okay. Since she
Nobody knows what happens inside our bodies. So complained of weakness the doctor ordered a check-
many of the cells destroyed, maybe good ones too! up of a blood sample. She rested, had lunch and
Maybe the same adage is true here, “You have to was busy with the The Hindu newspaper’s
give something to gain something.” If in the long run crossword as usual. She got up at 4 pm, had a long
the gain is more than the loss it’s all fine. Today telephone chat with her cousin, and then switched
there were fewer people at the BIO. on the TV while sipping tea. In a few minutes she
called out to her husband who found her gasping
10th September for breath. She showed no panic but was so cool
Ruchi calls every day without fail. Her comfort and collected despite the fact that she was having
level is high only when she talks to me and I feel the some severe problem. Within minutes she became
same too. She’s busy with Jessy. At BIO the wheel- unconscious and collapsed while being taken to the
chair man hints that he will be on second shift from nearby hospital. It was a massive cardiac arrest
Monday. He is a good chap and deserves a good and nothing much could have been done. A quick
tip. Vanaja called up and said she was suddenly put and peaceful end to a glorious life full of concern
on the night shift and hence won’t be coming. for others while enjoying her own meaningful 72
Anyway it’s a kind of dress rehearsal for me! But years of life. The question, “How could she have
Gopal is unduly anxious. coped with the breast cancer in the long run?”
remains unanswered. But she was a born fighter, an
11th September optimist and with a religious and philosophical
Night without Vanaja went off okay. Had a bath outlook till the end. We

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 85

When you wear these
spectacle-creating spectacles you don’t
see optical illusions. On the contrary,
seeing your imposing personality others
will start getting illusive ideas.

ed glance
For the dignifi For creating pervading ambience

rrying ga
For a ca

For singularly slender appearance

ry spec For terrific impact
f extr aordina
A pair o

With an innovative design.

Beautifully circular
With a never-seen frame

For the keepsake

Floral crafting

A prized possession

Courtesy: Optique
Ph: 0120-4867896
Aamir Khan is espousing good causes.

H ow one wishes other actors also

have a penchant for espousing
good causes. Like Aamir Khan, for
instance. Aamir has been roped in by
the Indian Tourism Ministry for its
new cleanliness campaign. He must
be a believer in-cleanliness is next to

R anbir Kapoor deserves to be

congratulated for stealing the
politician and the rise to power of his
widow prompted people to say it’s
godliness’. Right, Aamir?

thunder once again with his

performance in Prakash Jha’s film
Raajneeti in spite of the presence of
Sonia Gandhi’s story. That must have
added to the appeal of Raajneeti.
The result? The film got a good
W hile the Tamil version of
Raavan had a good opening at
the box office, everything was not
such veterans as Naseeruddin Shah, openings. hunky dory with the Hindi version.
Ajay Devgan and Nana Patekar. In Amitabh Bachchan, according to
critic’s near-unanimous view, Ranbir
recalled to their mind
performance of Al Pacimo in
the K atrina Kaif’s hard work at her
dialogues also seem to have paid
off for her. She plays the young
report, blamed poor editing for
spoiling his son’s role. The reports
that the music of the film also left
Hollywood’s superhit film Godfather. widow of Arjun Rampal who’s killed much to be desired and senior
by his adversaries. Instead of fretting, Bachchan’s unhappiness didn’t augur

Inspired by the Mahabharat and

contemporary politics, the film
shows the games, nay, the dirty
fuming and crying, she rises to
political power, a la Sonia Gandhi.
Raajneeti may well be another
well for the film. But the question
arises why the tallest actor of Hindi
filmdom didn’t speak when the film
games, politicians play to come to feather in Katrina’s cap. was on the editing table?
power, and do everything possible to
stay in power. The murder of a young Everything was not okay with Hindi Version of “Raavan”.

Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif in an

intimate scene of “Rajneeti”.
makes her
debut with
A fter heading the cast of
Housefull, one of the recent box
office successes, Akshay Kumar has
world’s finest contemporary films
every summer.

added yet another dimension to his

achievements. In a film titled Khatta
Meetha he is seen playing a Marathi
A s far as Rakesh Roshan’s Kites
is concerned, Sanjeev Lamba,
CEO, Reliance Big Pictures, is of the
character singing Nana-chi-tang view that the real picture will take six
(which means Teri aisi ki taisi) in to nine months to emerge as the film
Hindi with his co-star Trisha who will be gradually released both in its
makes her Bollywood debut with the Indian and international edit versions
film. Akshay must have endeared in over 70 countries. He adds, “My
himself no end to Bal Thackeray, the name is Khan, Kites, Housefull and
Shiv Sena chief. Raajneeti have had openings that are
among the all-time highest in Indian

V ishal Bhardwaj has come quite a

long way in the past few years.
cinema.” Great! Manisha Koirala tied the knot with
businessman Sampat Dahal.
Now his film Ishqiya starring
Naseeruddin Shah, Vidya Balan and
Arshad Warsi, directed by Abhishek
W hen Abhishek was promoting
the film around the Wilson
college at Marine Drive, there was a
A talented actor, Manisha can well
be proud of her innings in Bombay
Filmdom. We wish you a very happy
Chaubey, has been selected to be virtual traffic jam. Those put to married life, Manisha.
screened at Munich International Film inconvenience in traffic didn’t hesitate
Festival. The festival attracts over
65,000 film lovers and showcases the
to hurl abuses at Abhishek for
causing the jam! M aking a good film is indeed
important, but distributing it
properly and making money from it

Ishqiya starring Vidya Balan and
Naseeruddin Shah has been selected for rjun Rampal (who plays is even more important. No wonder,
Munich festival. Prithvibhai in Raajneeti) has therefore, Aamir Khan is going to
reason to be both happy and excited concentrate on his production
at the success of the film and indeed company, particularly in Europe
appreciation for his own performance where he has been meeting topmost
in the film. This writer had always felt people in production and distribution
that this artiste who has been on the houses.
fringes most of the time deserves a
better deal. And it seems his good
time is just on hand. W hen an actor does well and his
starrers make money at the box
office, other honours and distinctions

B y the time you read these lines

Manisha Koirala, of Dil Se and
Bombay fame, will have tied the knot
follow. Latest example: Ranbir
Kapoor has been roped in as the
brand ambassador of Nissan Motor
with Sampat Dahal, a businessman. Private Ltd. He says “I feel really
Sajid Khan’s “Housefull” has turned good that such a big brand has given
out to be a major hit. me this responsibility. Nissan is truly
a good and comfortable car.”

It hardly needs any reiteration that

success spurs one to work harder.
Sajid Khan whose film Housefull has
turned out to be one of the major hits
recently is now busy working on more
scripts. Great.

D edication pays in every field, and

films are no exception. Ajay
Devgan worked the whole day in the
scorching heat at Panjim, Goa,
although he was having high fever.
No wonder, therefore, he has come
such a long way in the last two

90 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

A rshad Warsi has some reason to
be proud: he is the only actor to
have had the privilege of featuring in
status of women in politics.” She
plays a rich, well-educated girl who is
subjected to different things to get
television presenter Ian Wright’s new into power.
show, Invite Ian on Discovery Trends
and Living. The Globe Trekker
anchor followed the actor contin -
uously for three days from his home
R emember Mehur Kumar? A
journalist-turned film-maker, he
made Krantiveer with Nana Patekar
to the studio. and others. After a couple of years,
he has resurfaced and is making

S hiv Sena of Mumbai supporting a

Muslim? Isn’t that incredible but
it’s true! Sena’s paper, Saamna,
Krantiveer – the Revolution, a sequel
to the first film. One of his films had
Raaj Kumar too.
came out in support of script writer
and poet Javed Akhtar when he
criticised a fatwa issued recently by a
body of Muslim hardliners.
S onam Kapoor (of Sawariya fame)
seems to have her own distinct
views on relationships. She says, “I
don’t really care. Come on, I’m a

A rtistes are really men of moods.

Proof? Salman Khan’s recent
visit to Sri Lanka left him so excited
young girl and can have my share of
link-ups. It’s not like I am a nun.” Sonam Kapoor of ‘Sawariya’ says:
“I am a young girl not a nun”.
that he decided to shoot his next film
there and not in Mauritius, as
planned earlier. Titled Ready, it is to
L ong legged dusky lass of Hindi
cinema, Shilpa Shetty (of Main
Khiladi Tu Anadi fame) celebrated
be directed by Anees Bazmi. her birthday in style on 8 June in
Macan with hubby Raj. She took a

B elieving in the adage variety is

the spice of life, Shruti Seth took
a bold decision and accepted a
few days off from her TV show Zara
Nachke Dikha. The visit to Macan
was planned by her husband who
challenging role in Raajneeti. She wanted to give her a surprise.
says, “The role is symbolic of the
Shruti Seth accepted a challenging
role in “Rajneeti”. If Amitabh was unhappy with the
poor editing of Raavan, he has a
reason to be happy too. Reportedly,
he is all set to make a comeback on
the popular game show Kaun
Banega Crorepati in its fourth
season. The show will now be aired
on Sony rather than Star Plus.
Salman Khan will shoot his film “Ready”

Iyricist Sameer insecure? No one in

his senses will think so or entertain
that apprehension even for a
in Sri Lanka.
thing, sustaining is a totally different
ball game. My favourite song by
moment. Such a prolific song Sameer (whom I’ve met 2/3 times is:
writer who has been around ghoonghat ki aad mein dilbar ka
for 28 years wouldn’t deedaar adhura rehta hai.
and shouldn’t feel
threatened just because
one or two new writers
have appeared on the
I mran Khan (of Jaane Tu Ya Na
Jaane fame) seems to be a nice
and compassionate young man. He
scene. He is right is planning to build a shelter for stray
when he says animals on a plot of land he owns in
coming in is one Panvel near Mumbai. What’s more,
he is also planning to have a 24-hour
Amitabh Bachchan veterinary doctor to provide medical
will anchor Kaun relief for the homeless animals.
Banega Crorepati Laudable indeed. May your tribe
grow, Imran. – Deepak Puri

ge-old customs and
traditions still prevail
among certain sections of
orthodox Hindus where
marriage within the same
gotra or clan is considered
HOW VALID as an incest. According to
them it is just like develo-
ping a sexual relationship
Constitutional and legal aspects. with a real sister or aunt
who is the father’s sister. It is
By Sudha Agarwal believed that people of the same
gotra are the offspring of a common
The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955,
does not prohibit sagotra marriage or
marriage within the same clan unless
they fall within the sapinda
relationship. A sapinda relationship
is the relationship between two
individuals when they are not

92 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

separated by more than three effectively in a deterrent manner by
degrees when the individual is enacting a suitable law.
seeking a relationship through the It is felt that while dealing with
mother, or by not more than five such panchayats, Sections 302
generations when seeking a (murder), 108 (abetment) and 34
relationship through the father (common intention), IPC, provide
including themselves in the line of enough leverage to courts within
ascent – provided a common existing laws. Under Section 108,
ancestor or ancestress is traced IPC, the crime of abetment is
within those degrees or generations established against the participants
(Section 3 of the Act). According to of such panchayats when they
Section 5 of the Act, the parties must approve a resolution to kill individuals
not be sapindas unless their custom who had married. Since panchayats
permits marriage between them. are the local administrative and
This means in all sections of governing bodies such resolutions
Hindus, marriage between great- pass or send wrong signals to the
great-great-grandfather to a great- locals to kill without facing any legal
great-great-granddaughter is liability which is a clear-cut instigation
permissible as they are separated by and entails them guilty under section
more than five degrees from each 302 IPC with the actual killers.
other. It is another thing that the Further, the conditions of Section
great-great-great-grandfather will not 34, IPC, are proved as there is prior
survive to do so in his lifetime. meeting of minds in a panchayat
Anyway, it is just to show that which passed the resolution,
marriages within the same gotra are establishing common intention under
not prohibited under the Hindu that section. Hence, Section 108 read
Marriage Act, 1955. with Section 34, IPC entail penalty
under Section 302 IPC along with the any such panchayat as an unlawful
killers. To prevent Baghpat-Haryana assembly, command it to disperse
TIMES CHANGING Jat Mahasabha-type of threats, the and arrest participants who resist the
Educated youths with a broad law-enforcement authorities, acting police officers acting under Section
outlook refuse, at times, to abide by on some information, may declare 141 to 149, IPC.
the restrictions of gotra. But their Under Section 8 of the Hindu
orthodox parents may not approve of Marriage Act, 1955, there is a
a sagotra marriage. They regard it as provision for getting the marriage
an attack on their age-old customs, registered. It is useful in proving the
traditions and family honour. factum of marriage, migration of
Incidents do take place when spouse to another country and in so
khap-panchayats pass resolutions to many ways. Likewise, today in India
kill youths who dare marry against of the space-age there is need to
their approval. The absconding enlighten and encourage people to
couple are caught by the locals, opt for genetic counselling before
butchered and hanged at some their marriage to know about the
conspicuous place so that no one mental and physical health of their
dares marry within the same clan or THE HINDU future generations, should they
gotra. Visibly shaken by an episode MARRIAGE ACT, marry. The positive indications given
of this sort, a sessions court rightly
convicted all the accused under
1955, DOES NOT by an expert about good health of the
offspring would help the prospective
Section 302 IP for murder calling it a PROHIBIT SAGOTRA individuals enter into marriage even
case of honour killing. MARRIAGE OR on crossing the hurdles of castes and
This led to protests in the Jat MARRIAGE WITHIN religions. To give enough protection
Mahasabha, Baghpat and Haryana,
which passed a resolution to disrupt
THE SAME CLAN to such people the state must ensure
providing an effective security
civil supplies to Delhi on 20 June UNLESS THEY FALL mechanism. After all – Article 51-A
unless sagotra marriages are banned WITHIN THE of the Constitution of India throws a
under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. SAPINDA challenge to the people of India to
As a sequel to this a consensus was
reached to deal with such crimes
RELATIONSHIP. nurture a scientific temper as a
fundamental duty. We

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 93

Not to have a style can also
be a style of art. By Suman Bajpai

xperimenting with mediums his hair, Ravindranath Tagore had
and colours and using accidentally spilled a few drops on
various materials for painting the paper on which he was supposed
has always been a pursuit of to write something. The mixing of oil
artists in their escape from with the ink on the paper, created a
the boredom of using the strange shape that gave him the idea
same medium again and that this could be a new style of art.
again. In fact, the artistic Artist Sirish is full of ideas; he is
effects that are created by innovative every time. Whenever he
Shirish Kumar
the sudden mixing of holds a brush, he creates something
Qualification: Self-taught artist
unconventional substances have novel. He even uses his fingers to
Exhibitions: Held various
often led many people to try art. The get the desired effects, his medium
exhibitions in Delhi, Kolkata,
saying goes that while putting oil on is varied and materials extensive. He
Bangalore, Chennai, Goa,
feels that painting is a mode of
Ahmedabad and abroad.
documenting the numerous subjects
Collections: Taj Group of hotels,
on paper, canvas, wood, glass,
Oberoi Hotel, Air India, Air
lacquer, stone and concrete. It could
Lanka, IBM, Dubai.
be naturalistic or representational.
Prestigious art galleries in India
The way he imparts liveliness to
and abroad.
his paintings, the same zeal and
Mob: 9810264353
innovation can be seen in his
sculptures. He makes lamp shades
with cardboard boxes and terracotta
vases, which serve the purpose of
decoration and utility items. He
produces his own glass colours
which can be used in any surface
and strongly believes that creating art
sharpens his eye and makes him
look at the world through a new lens.
No formal training from an art
school, but his aesthetic appeal is
mesmerising. Most of Sirish’s artistic

94 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010


Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 95

development has been the result of We know your helps me to create a
his self-directed study of art books, obsession with horses centre, a space where I
magazines, websites and various and human figures, but can return to and regain
workshops. Curiosity and the excite- how did you interested in my balance; the process
ment to discover keeps him going. sculpture? of painting is energising.
Since search for Painting to me is not about
Excerpts from an interview: freedom is an eternal the colour and the
What is your style like? concern for me like other techniques. It’s about the
My paintings are realistic and artists, I was drawn to this life that I live and engage
abstract both. You can say that my medium to craft something in. The idea is not to
style is multi-purpose and I am more innovative and engage with the form of my
working with different mediums, satisfactory. Here also I chosen subjects, it is to
starting from oil to water, acrylic to am using different capture, to go into the real
pastel colours. I don’t use a brush mediums like plaster of meaning.
every time, instead I use visiting Paris, white metal,
cards, blades, and a knife, even terracotta, wood, sandstone, etc. Whom are you trying to comm-
paper and often my fingers become unicate with in your paintings?
my special tools. What sort of colours do you like I believe a work of art cannot be
to use? Do colours have an general. I don’t give any importance
You are known as someone important role in making painting to the general viewpoint. The thing
who likes to experiment with your impressive? that may bore one person may be
mediums a lot. Could you tell us I feel that colours play an very meaningful to another. It cannot
more about it? important role in making painting be perfect from all angles. Even if a
Yes, I often like to do that. impressive and lively. They give Western viewer finds it interesting, to
Currently I have developed a textured vibrancy which soothes the mind and an Indian viewer it may seem cliched.
style. To give the rocky effect that is uplifts the mood. I like using mono- I want my art to provide relaxation in
the traditional style I have used this chromatic colours. I always interplay today’s stressful life. I try to commu-
texture but with a little twist you with colours. nicate harmony through my paintings.
would find that simul - My work is self-explanatory thought.
taneously it is giving the What is art for you?
effect of wood as well. I An art or a painting for me is a Do you work for artʼs sake or
try to do many things. medium that allows me to commercially?
I react to many retrieve that which gets The commercial aspect attached
themes. I cannot distorted by everyday life. It to art is my livelihood. When your
be a painter who painting sells you get motivated and
has found a theme and that motivation plays an important
spends all his life painting it. role to evoke the desire to work more
Maybe after a few years I for oneself and for others as well.
would like this said of me
that not to have a style is Where does Indian art sell more?
my style. I explored a It is appreciated in all over the
certain subject matter and world but it sells more in the
my techniques have been American and European markets.
used according to the
subject matter. Does your work bring a smile to
your face?
Ganesha is your Well I smile just before starting,
favourite subject, when I recognise the idea and every
how did you develop time I feel I’m following the right
a liking for him? impulse.
I think he is one of the
flexible gods and one can What are your other hobbies?
depict him in varied moods Listening to and learning vocal
and shapes. You music.
can portray him in
dancing, reclining, If not painter then what would
five headed or you have been?
sitting poses. Definitely a painter. We

96 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

D.P. Sibal An artist
Exhibitions: Several solo shows
and the ones sponsored by India
International Centre, AIFACS,
influenced by the
NDMC, Russian Center,
Hungarian Information and
powers of nature.

Cultural Center, Institute of UN By Suman Bajpai
and UNESCO Studies and
participation in various shows eeply inspired by nature,
here and abroad. Sibal’s art has always been
Collections: Works in collection his interpretation of the
of NGMA, LKA, Bharat Bhawan, nature’s world around him.
UNDP, IFFCO, UN University for The artist is inspired by the
Peace, Costa Rica and several textures of leaves, flowers,
important collections in India and birds, wood and rocks and
abroad. Also in the collections of his art showcases these
private collectors of the subtleties of nature through would draw pictures of cow, crow,
corporate space. landscapes. He is strongly flowers, etc. on the wall. His father
Mob: 9811143818 influenced by the powers of nature guided him to draw things on paper.
E-mail: and how it in turn controls human Since then he had started expressing
beings, the way we think, the way we himself through art.
are and feel. These emotions spill out An environmentalist artist, Sibal’s
on his canvases in a way that is works have been a part of important
figurative, descriptive and bold at Art events in India and abroad as far
times and otherwise simple and as California and are in the collection
straight. It communicates the state of of National Gallery of Modern Art,
mind one is in. These colours, Lalit Kala Akademi, AIFACS, Bharat
compositions, and combinations are Bhawan, UNDP, and some other
simply a form of communicating the important collections here and
varied emotions one feels as life abroad. An artist of diverse talents
unfolds with all its twists and turns. and a Life Fellow of International
His aesthetic leaning is inborn Institute of Arts and Letters-
because before even going to school Switzerland for outstanding creativity,
he had started conceiving ideas and Sibal is the recipient of several

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 97

In unison.

98 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

erosion and air-pollution control,
shelter for birds and animals, besides
providing flowers, fruits and timber
and brings us closer to nature.

What challenges have you

found in your art work?
I wouldn’t have preferred a
smooth sailing in any kind of work I

You have used a lot of bird

forms in your paintings. How do
you relate them to your obsession
with nature?
Birds enjoy the freedom of space
which we and even they are lacking
to some extent now because of the
high-rise concrete jungles
encroaching on the space.
coveted awards notably
Adharshila, UNESCO Centre (India) We see a lot of horses painted
World Mass Communication, by you as well, what is reason
International felicitation at Global behind it.
Assembly of Educators for They remind me of the much-
Environment, World Peace and cared-for environment of the yester
Human Rights, and of course years which we are missing in
honoured AIFACS. Sibal also today’s time. Besides I am
represents Aotearoa New Zealand impressed by the equine grace so
Guild of Artists Trust – (Supporting much and for me painting horses
member Asia Pacific Cultural Center living in the space age and our lack is also an added environmentally
for UNESCO) and Janacia Trust of interest in nature and greenery oriented exercise.
Associates (a United Nations non- around us in the context of the
governmental movement of artists present-day life. What is it like for you to bring
working for environment and world painting to life? Is the artistic
peace). Where do your ideas come process always the same?
from? Would you tell us about To put life you need to bring about
Excerpts from an interview: your creative process? movement, colour balance, form and
What have been the favourite Most of my ideas come from my texture and the overall composition
projects to date in your career, and childhood days where one could find in a rhythmic balance.
why? nature in its purest form intertwined
Let the mountains speak. with our lives. One such painting of Is there a rationale behind your
Let the sky remain pure and blue. my childhood days where peacocks choice of colours?
Let the birds fly in joy and would often dance on our rooftops Colours and colour sense is a
freedom. won me a coveted place in the deep subject. However, choosing a
Let the flowers bloom and breathe ‘Osaka Triennale’, an exhibition held right colour for a right mood and a
fresh air. in Japan through a worldwide proper overall balance makes a lot of
Let the rivers keep their water competition. difference. One should be careful to
clean and transparent. select artistic painting techniques as
Let the mankind keep the earth What are you working on at per their own individual requirements.
green and clean, like they inherited it! present? Would you give us a In addition, colour and tone of a
These are the principles of preview? painting must also be carefully
environmental coexistence which are My work is always based on the considered as they have special
my recurring themes for a long time concept of nature which is very importance in art. Certain colours, it
and inspiration behind my work. extensive. Currently I am working on should be remembered, have time-
Some other facets which touched me the importance of greenery and tested mood-enhancing effects while
deeply are shrinking open spaces especially trees in our lives. A tree others have come to be associated
around us, though ironically we are generates oxygen, it provides soil with certain moments in life. We

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 99

Properties of water: Thirst like Lukewarm water has got curative
hunger is a natural urge with mankind qualities for the human body. Two
and its quenching is one of the glasses of lukewarm water kept in a
topmost priorities in human activity copper vessel throughout night if
as well as with the animal world. taken immediately after getting up in
Thirst is directly related to water. the morning, help to detoxify the
Water changes its properties body.
according to the vagaries of weather. In all sorts of stomach ailments
Water is the single most important Aurveda recommends lukewarm
nature’s gift to mankind and is a vital water as a panacea for swallowing
component for its survival. People, the prescribed medicine. But in
by nature and temperament, require summer, human beings invariably
cold water in summer and warm and require icy cool water which can be
lukewarm water in winter. had from several sources such as the

Transportation of a
surahi from Bhilwara to Delhi.
By K.M. Sharma
ubiquitous earthen pitchers, from
hitech refrigerators, water coolers
and from wells directly in rural areas.
Medical opinion is however
divided on the beneficial qualities of
refrigerated water over pitcher water.
Before the advent of the refrigeration
technology the only source to get
cold water was the earthen
pitcher or surahi. The degree
of coolness of water of any
pitcher depends on the
quality of soil used in its
making. The quality of
soil also varies from
region to region and
that is the reason that
pitchers or surahis of
some places are very,
very popular and always
in demand as a prized

Pitchers vs fridges:
Normally pitchers found in the
market are generally of red
colour while special types of
pitchers are of greyish black colour Simultaneously, it became a status one. The box being bigger in size
which are mostly available in the symbol for me being a 2nd A/C could not be pushed under the lower
Bhilwara region of Rajasthan, Agra passenger. But this elevation of berth. So it had to be kept between
and Lucknow regions of U.P. status of both the pitcher and me the space of the lower berths. It was
Lucknow surahis have their own brought certain problems. For going irritatingly causing inconvenience to
speciality. Firstly they are made of to the station from the place of my both the passengers of the lower
black soil with attractive designs. stay a three-wheeler had to be hired berths as they could not get sufficient
Secondly, they are usually covered to carry this big box of television space to keep their luggage. I
with jute which after being marked “Handle with care”. So the became a despicable passenger
moisturised, keeps the water cool three-wheelerwala asked for although a bonafide traveller with a
comparatively for a longer duration. additional charge for this box over valid reserved berth. Passengers
and above the metered charges for were fretting and fuming and raising
Trip to Bhilwara: During one of carrying the passenger. So I had to eyebrows.
my official tours to Bhilwara, I was shell out that extra money which In the meantime, The TTE came
asked by well-wishers in Delhi to unfortunately was more than the into the compartment for checking
bring a Bhilwara surahi. This tour by price of the pitcher. tickets. Passengers complained
the way happened before the onset On reaching the railway station, about the box. The TTE cast a glance
of summer in all its fury. After the the coolie asked for more fees than at the box and found it a troublesome
completion of my assignment and at the prescribed charges as a TV was item to others but at the same time a
the time of my departure back to a delicate item and had to be carried paying item for him. He immediately
Delhi, my manager at my request carefully and had to be adjusted asked me, why I did not book the
arranged one piece of earthen pitcher safely in the A/C compartment in television box in the luggage van and
of black soil of moderate size for a some corner. So I had to pay this advised me “either you move the box
family of four to five members. additional charge as well to the coolie at the next station to the luggage
The pitcher was properly tested to which was adding to the cost of the van” or else he would not allow it to
ensure its leakproof condition. But it pitcher. I preferred to carry this be carried like this in an A/C
was a real problem to carry such a additional financial burden rather compartment where it was causing a
pitcher in its naked form in the 2nd than disclose to anyone that inside lot of inconvenience to co-
A/C compartment where a berth was this prestigious box there was a passengers. He then asked me for
reserved for my return journey. Even simple low-cost surahi. the ticket which I immediately
if covered with a newspaper or a showed. He immediately grabbed the
designer paper or wrapper, the scene Bottlenecks in the journey: At ticket and asked me to follow him to a
would not have been less obnoxious. the appointed hour, I reached the lonely spot in the compartment near
I suggested that it should be nicely station to get into the train’s A/C the gate.
packed instead. Some suggested a compartment and occupied my berth He frankly and fearlessly told me,
jute bag carrier which I rejected which unfortunately was an upper “If you want to carry this TV box with
outright. Then the manager thought you then you shall have to pay Rs 50
of an ingenious idea.
MEDICAL OPINION to me, otherwise in between the
journey, it was not easy to book the
Transformation of the pitcher: IS HOWEVER TV box in the luggage van which
There was a shop nearby of DIVIDED ON THE again involves coolie charges, and
electronic goods, especially of
television sets. He immediately asked
BENEFICIAL booking charges, etc. and with no
safety guarantee for handling this
the shop proprietor to provide a big QUALITIES OF delicate item by the railway staff.
television box to pack the pitcher. REFRIGERATED After listening to the sane but
The cardboard box was provided and WATER OVER selfish advice of the TTE, I thought
this pitcher was kept in that box with
thermostat pieces all around for its
PITCHER WATER. that if I wished to enjoy the cool water
of this special pitcher I must pay
safety and it was also wrapped with BEFORE THE ADVENT coolly Rs 50 as the accommodation
newspaper. The whole packing was OF THE charges to the TTE and I silently paid
nicely done. It definitely looked
outwardly like a television set box
The TTE came back to my berth
with the bold brand television labels, TECHNOLOGY THE and told other passengers to keep
markings, etc. Tapes were used to ONLY SOURCE TO patience as he was trying to adjust
close the opening of the box. GET COLD WATER this TV set elsewhere. Thereafter the
In this way, this pitcher was TTE did not come there nor did he
somehow transformed into an WAS EARTHEN adjust the TV box elsewhere. The
imaginary television set. PITCHER OR SURAHI. grumbling of my co-passengers kept

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 101

on echoing in my ears as they were me with “okay, okay no problem —
overpowered by sleep. The train was
THERE WAS AN aisa bhi hota hai.”
moving at high speed leaving station ALL-PERVASIVE The train reached New Delhi
after station. There was an all-
pervasive sleepy atmosphere in the
SLEEPY ATMOSPHERE station. Passengers started getting
down. I called the coolie who again
compartment with complete silence. IN THE cast a glance at the box, found that it
Co-passengers forgot the box and
also the inconvenience it was causing.
COMPARTMENT was a TV box, and so asked for
higher charges than usual. I
The train was approaching Delhi. WITH COMPLETE ascertained from other coolies also.
Every coolie was speaking the same
As the day dawned, early morning
activities started in the compartment.
SILENCE. CO- language. So I had to pay this special
Every passenger was ready with their PASSENGERS demand of the coolie who helped me
luggage items huddled together. I
also came down from my upper berth
FORGOT THE BOX to reach a three-wheeler outside the
station. The coolie left the box at the
and profusely apologised to AND ALSO THE periphery of the waiting room and
everybody for the inconvenience
caused by this TV box. As it was
I was in a rather awkward position
parting time so everybody pardoned WAS CAUSING. to bargain with the three-wheeler
driver. Ultimately, I had to settle by
paying Rs 30 more over and above
the metered charges and somehow
reached my home. Ironically, all these
additional charges have gradually
added to the original cost of the pitcher
and made it an expensive item.

Surprise gift: The moment I

reached my home I called my wife to
help to take out this precious box
safely. Coincidently, a relative was
also present on that day. Both of
them helped to carry the box inside.
Even my wife remarked, “How is it
that you have brought a big TV from
Bhilwara when we already have a big
TV? “The guest also asked, “Could
you get a TV comparatively cheaper
in Bhilwara than in Delhi where sale
tax is lower?” I simply smiled after
listening to their innocent queries and
kept the suspense for some time
more but when they insisted to see
the TV set, I reminded my wife that
when I started on the tour to Bhilwara
“it was you who suggested to me to
bring the special pitcher of black soil
for cold water in summer, which I
have now brought ceremoniously.”
Everybody burst into laughter and
this incident automatically became a
good joke. Just see my magnanimity
that, as a prudent citizen, I preferred
to pay more for the pitcher than to
make this mysterious disclosure. No
doubt, this pitcher of black soil lived
up to its reputation in constantly
providing us with icy cool water in the
scorching summer of Delhi. We

102 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

Chit- C h a t
After the two countries, i.e. France including catering that have to be
FRENCH NATIONAL DAY and India, national anthem are selected well to provide satisfaction
Most of Delhi residents, socialites played, there is the service of food and oomph value. At the exhibition
and regular party goers, who have either catered or from the at Ashok Hotel there was one more
once been invited to the French ambassador’s kitchen. In fact, the service than the usual being
embassy for the annual national day, dessert always comes from the provided. An international school of
or Bastille’s Day, looked forward to ambassadorial kitchen and the result Etiquette with an impressive affiliation
the 14th of July when they celebrated is better than any bakery or fancy with a school in New York and
the French day with good food and hotel’s chef production in the country. finishing skills training centre in
beverage and like-minded party This year the noteworthy guest list Switzerland offers its services for
goers. In fact, crowd management included the artistic fraternity and of young brides. Then there are all the
becomes increasingly difficult. course the diplomatic circle in its full other frills of Indian weddings from
Invariably there is a long queue strength but most importantly. selecting all the heavy bridal wear to
outside which moves at a snail pace the jewellery – both real and more
as the Ambassador of France economically priced artificial to match
personally greets every person who BRIDAL OFFERINGS your clothes, bags, shoes et. al.
comes through. Those who know him Indian weddings never go out of Young bride to be Aradhna was
well enough always pose for a fashion. It is one occasion that the excitedly pointing out all she liked to
photograph as well and sometimes for bride gets to overspend without any her elder sister and a friend who
an air kiss as also few words of guilt feeling. As Indian weddings get were accompanying her. She was
greetings. To his credit, the smile does bigger and bolder, all aspects of busy collecting visiting cards and
not weaken right until the end of the wedding planning becoming more writing notes on them. When asked
queue or when the official Indian complex. The bride and her family what she was going to buy today she
dignitary arrives – whichever is earlier. have much to choose and select from seriously replied, “This is the first
H. E. Jerome Bonnafant, true to his – apart from venue and trousseau exhibition of the season. I have to
official expectations, greets everybody there are the back gifts, themes for make my purchases within a budget
with the same warmth and often a various occasions, decor, cards of and I will look for a deal after seeing
personal touch and a genuine smile. invites, and various other services what every exhibition is offering.

The French ambassador personally At the exhibition at Ashok Hotel all the frills of
greets every person. Indian weddings were available.

104 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

There is another one coming up for
home settings and because I know
my fiance well enough we will come
together and zero in what furniture
we want in our living and bedroom.”
It was amazing to see this
confidence in somebody so young
who wants to get maximum value for
her money. Such an approach from a
bride who knows her budget and
wants to spend wisely means that
service providers and bridal finery
sellers have to be on their toes to
woo this unusual customer.

A NEW DHABA OPENS A flagship restaurant called Dhaba.

The highway roads of India are
littered with roadside eateries, such an outlet. The day I went there housewife, working mother and a
officially called Dhabas. New ones for dinner the next table was a family successful career woman, the kitchen
keep opening all the time and most of parents and brother and sister activities get ignored. This often
truck drivers, their helpers and team. Between the four they could means eating out or ordering from
sometime fancy car owners also stop not decide which vegetarian dish they the nearest food outlet – dhaba or
at a select few. In fact, I remember a wanted with their chicken tikkas and Chinese style.
dhaba on the way to Nainital for its finally settled for baingan bharta and Indian market is ready for
non-vegetarian dishes and another daal. They ate in silence and seemed microwaveable ready-to-eat meals
one on the way to Agra that makes to enjoy the whole experience. The and the latest entry in the chain has
absolutely wonderful paranthas sister went away for a few minutes been made by Moti Mahal Delux
served with a quarter of Amul butter and came back to tell her family they Tandoori Trail restaurants.
for those who pay a little extra. must visit the toilet which is placed Much before all the fancy
However, here we speak of a five behind the big truck one sees upon restaurants opened in five star hotels
star hotel, The Claridges, and their entrance! and stand alone properties that
flagship restaurant called Dhaba. promoted Indian cuisine it was the
Now they have opened another likes of Moti Mahal that made Indian
property at Surajkund and it has a LIFE MADE EASIER food popular as an eating-out option
new restaurant Dhaba. The food With busy lifestyle and modern for families or for entertaining the
celebrates the dhaba style of Indian woman balancing activities of foreign visitor.
food, except this is much more The favou rites that have
expensive and definitely more been launched are Dal, Butter
hygienic. Moti Mahal food packets are perfect as gifts for Gravy (to mix with either
The decor of this Dhaba people living away from India. chicken or paneer), Vegetable
takes a leaf from the earlier Biriyani, Aloo Zeera and Pindi
one and one arrives at the Chana. These packets are
first floor landing to see a also perfect as gifts for
whole truck though with people living away from India.
smaller size wheels. The For the time being the
seating is wider as well and packets would be available
space is not a constraint only from the Moti Mahal
either. Astute use of fabric Delux restaurant outlets but
and rustic style backs of soon, depending on customer
chairs are beckoning and response, they will be
there is lot of use of wood launched in the regular retail
panels too. The menu cards market, making it far easier
have a metal plate with for families to enjoy Moti
alphabets and numbers to Mahal-style food – with a
look like the number plate of home twist and at a more
trucks. Waiters wear colours affordable price as well.
and dress style suitable for – Sona Sharma.

106 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

Julana lurkhasana and Naukasana. By K. Janakiraman
Waking up asanas The next step is to roll left to right and then go back to the original
There are two asanas, which not with the knees locked and three position.
only put zip into the body but also act times up and down. Do this three times and you derive
as waking up asanas. They are: This is one of the waking-up the same benefit as Julana
● Julana lurkhasana (rocking asanas and if done first thing in the lurkhasana – namely, a sense of
and rolling) morning, you will get a sense of well- well-being throughout the day.
Steps and breathing being throughout the day.
Lie on your back. ● Naukasana (boat pose) Other benefits
Lock your fingers on both the Steps and breathing This asana stimulates the
knees. Another waking up asana is the mus cular, digestive, respiratory,
Breathe in and bring the thighs to boat pose or naukasana. nervous and hormonal systems. It
the chest breathing out. Do this three Lie down in the base position. tones all the organs and removes
times with the right knee and three Breathe in and raise the head, the lethargy.
times with the left knee. It is now time trunk and the legs six inches above It is also useful for removing
to do the same with both knees the ground level. nervous tension and bringing about
locked with the same breathing. Hold the breath for 10 seconds deep relaxation. We

very individual without a
single exception adoringly
cherishes a desire to remain
physically fit, devoid of any
dreadful disease in the
present life span. Only
exceptionally fortunate
persons fall in this rare
category. This is a privileged
class indeed. But in the
present, most polluted and critical
atmosphere, the entire mankind
seems to be suffering from simple to
The scientific life-devouring ailments.
The unprecedented and
approach to unmanageable rush of patients in the
hospitals and nursing homes, the
remaining healthy. mushrooming rise of diagnostic
centres, the ever increasing number
By K.M. Sharma of drug manufacturing companies,
the presence of different pathies
professing hundred per cent cure of
all sorts of afflicting or susceptible
diseases confirm this statement.
Surprisingly every “pathy” is
finding ready acceptance by the

108 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

general public who is always in the sorts of diseases and are constantly diseases including their cure with the
frantic search of a quick-fix cure of a under treatment/ supervision of top patented medicines including Dadi
disease. Search is still on however doctors/surgeons, paying heavy Ma Ke Nuskhey. Doctors have been
for a cosy cure at cheaper and medical bills for high consultation seen assimilating the features of
subsidised prices by patients as well fees, cost of medicines and tests, alternate therapy in their own line of
as by doctors. The intensity of expenditure of operations and other treatment like yoga, nature cure,
suffering has not been drastically allied expenses. This family has a herbs etc etc. So the general public
restricted. But the reality is that tradition to consult the best cannot be treated as duffers
people are popping pills after pills or physicians/surgeons and anymore.
else facing the surgeon’s knife with a also to get two to three Every doctor differs
fight to the finish strategy. Our specialists’ opinions in their line of
random survey sensationally simultaneously. Our treatment. It is also
revealed that the medical budget of sympathy goes out to this observed that mostly
families is increasing enormously. It family, which has been doctors are unable to
was also found out that three out of bestowed with the divine correctly diagnose the
10 families have undergone surgery grace in the form of financial disease and thereafter
of a simple or complicated nature firmness. There may be in the realm of
involving heart or a developing various other families with uncertainty embark
cancer. Cataract surgery does not the identical existence. upon experimentation
spare any family. The degree of disbelief Dr K. P. Sharma with the drugs
During the survey we had a case orthopaedic surgeon.
between patients and because many
study of a highly educated and doctors is widening with each medicines react strongly and
enlightened family – i.e. where every passing day. Every test report of a adversely in the body constitution of
member of the family is highly diagnostic centre, the prescription of different patients.
educated with Ist class or Ist class a physician or surgeon, the Falling ill is in itself a curse in the
first degrees and are all highly placed discussion with the doctor, the trend present times. If one has a strong
professionally. With this background of taking a second opinion or third financial background then there is a
the family was very well off financially. specialised opinion are all creating possibility of fighting and finishing the
In other words, the status of the family wonderful awareness in the minds of disease with the best medical
as a whole as well as individually can the general public. Media with attention available. Death devours
be categorised as “rich”. medical columns tirelessly are poor patients. The doctor Knows it,
But unfortunately all the members educating the layman about the hospitals know it, society knows it but
are sick persons, suffering from all number and nature of different find themselves helpless to retrieve
the situation as poverty has no takers.
Consultation charges: There is
no uniformity in the consultation
charges by the doctors. They fix their
consultation charges arbitrarily on a
very high side – say Rs 600 to Rs
1,000 on the first visit – but repeat
the same charges on every
subsequent visit no matter if it is only
to show the test report or X-ray, etc.
Such high consultation is affordable
only by the rich. In other words,
money power purchases the medical
ethics which runs counter to the oath
taken by the doctors to serve the
ailing humanity with care and
compassion but without
But there are many doctors who
beg to differ from such greedy
doctors. Accordingly, we introduce
you to the profile of two such patient-
friendly prominent doctors. Dr K.P.
Sharma. He has served in the army’s
medical corps for 25 long years. He of the health condition of each such an unusual growth in the brain
saw action in the 1971 war in J&K. member of the family, especially the can be treated by administering
He is at the moment head of elderly and sick members as he suitable medicines. He happened to
orthopaedic department in M.G.S. properly maintains the health records be head of the neurology department
Hospital and is also a visiting doctor of the family. Any doctor running a of a reputable hospital and whose
at Vinayak and Sanatan Dharam clinic in the locality is usually consultation charges were Rs 700.
Hospitals Derwal Nagar and Model approached by the residents and He, however, started Mr G. Prasad’s
Town respectively. Dr Sharma their frequent visits create an wife’s treatment and prescribed
besides being a reputable intimacy and relationship between certain drugs. Proper treatment
orthopaedic surgeon has a the doctor and the family who started.
philanthropic attitude to treating the designates the doctor as the family As luck would have it, this doctor’s
patients. physician. If such a doctor is treatment proved effective. Mr
He is of the view that “medical intelligent enough he will treat the Prasad’s wife responded well to this
ethics does not in fact permit a patients with the best of his ability, treatment. After a period of 15 days
medical practitioner to irrationally otherwise he will refer the patient to a her hand’s movement started and
commercialise his practice with the well-reputed specialist physician or a face became free from the effects of
sole objective of minting money much surgeon. the paralytic attack on the face. She
much, beyond his reasonable Similarly his advice regarding could now speak and chew. But
requirement.” He further says that hospitals and nursing homes will also every individual can’t afford to have
medical treatment should not be such be sound. It is expected of him that such a costly consultation and
which makes it beyond the reach of a he may not be indulging in the medication due to financial
common man. Dr Sharma’s military obnoxious practice of charging/ constraints.
background has also infused a getting common consequent upon Coincidentally Mr Prasad himself
disciplinary trend in the civil practice. such a reference. But notwith - happened to be a sick person. He
His diagnosis in bone-related standing anything, every family must had to undergo surgery for removal
diseases is remarkable. Poor and keep close proximity with a nearby of stones in the gall bladder. He
average patients at Sanatan Dharam doctor who is usually approached as developed a prostate problem, a
and Vinayak hospitals look to Dr and when medical attention is disease normally associated with the
Sharma for a better and inexpensive required ordinarily or urgently. ageing body and thereafter as usual
treatment. Dr Sharma’s It is also a fact that he had to undergo prostate operation
objective is very clear – i.e nobody can certify as to also by a top surgeon of a reputed
“serve the poor and which is a good and expert hospital.
generate the goodwill.” doctor. Confusion Luck did not help him as the
Dr S.K. Mehta M.D. becomes more con - operation was not a success. The
(Medicine) is a consultant founding when it is problem persisted as before. He was
physician working in the observed that doctors however recommended a second
posh colony of Model always differ in their operation to rectify the inadvertent
Town since 1974. He is opinion and line of damage caused by the first
having a very busy treatment. Mr G. Prasad’s
practice. In spite of his wife all of a sudden
high-profile status he is suffered some problem in
Dr S. K. Mehta
very reasonable person. the brain. As a result, her
He is helping the middle and lower left hand movement became very
middle class. These days the medical restricted and there were certain
profession seems filled with greedy signs of a paralytic attack on the
doctors who have forgotten their face. This alarming situation declared
“oath”. This has resulted in an emergency in the house, Mr G.
decreasing respect for the medical Prasad consulted all the top
profession. Dr Mehta appears to neurologists in Delhi. The surprising
remember his “oath”. thing is that three neurologists after
seeing the MRI and scan declared
Family physician: First of all it is that there is some cancerous growth
very difficult to get a good doctor who in the brain, while two specialists
can treat the patient without any kind opined that though there was some
of experimentation whatsoever. growth in the brain but definitely it
Unlike the West there is no practice was not cancer and required further
prevalent in Indian society of keeping observations.
a family physician who is well aware But one neurologist declared that

112 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

operation. But a terrified Mr Prasad its possible side effects and the ill-
preferred to consult different effects of the interaction of various
specialists, whose opinion was drugs mentioned in the prescription.
divided. The majority of them advised In fact, he monitors the correctness
not to go for a second operation as or otherwise of a treatment given to
this may complicate the problem still his family members and friends if
further. they approach him.
Mr Prasad’s predicament Ashok Gupta is a potential source
continues. His sleep is disturbed as of guidance to his friends and
he has to go for urination 5, 6 times acquaintances. How many people
in the night. In the meantime Mr know the names of MIMS or CIMS? It
Prasad has acquired sufficient indicates his special interest in the
knowledge about doctors and the medical knowledge which
hospitals and advises his friends and distinguishes him from the general
relations where to go for best treat- crowd, who helps people to remain
ment. Now, he does self-assessment fit in the medical frame.
of his ailment. He has a list of best
doctors, their phone numbers and Preservation of old medical
their consultation fees etc which he records: Ashok Gupta and Mr
readly shares with the needy Prasad from their own experience
patients. coincidentally have prepared certain fraud in the name of charity as they
It is also observed that many do’s and don’ts on medical matters could dupe the government
people though they are not medically to be adopted by every family. authorities to get land at a throwaway
qualified, acquire sufficient According to them, every family must price. Their rates of treatment are
knowledge to understand various preserve every single paper horribly high and out of reach of
diseases and prescribe certain regarding consultation and treatment many middle class families who are
medicines. In other words, in the of any or every member of the family. not armed with any type of health
absence of immediate availability of a Such a step helps to prepare the insurance like Mediclaim, ULIP or
doctor, they can provide enough first profile of each member of the family CGHS schemes. Of late, many
aid or elementary treatment to be used for reference in mutual funds are offering schemes
to a patient till he is sent to any future medical with life insurance cover but there are
a hospital or attended to by treatment. many strings attached.
a physician if an Normally people in Here it will not be out of place to
emergency situation so general have a tendency to mention that both the patients and
requires. One such person throw away X-ray records, the doctors misuse or abuse such
I know is Ashok Gupta, a doctor’s prescriptions etc, medical schemes by raising false and
former lecturer of etc and as a result they do inflated bills. Those people who
economics, now leading a not even remember their happen to visit hospitals or nursing
comfortable retired life. blood group. Mr Gyan has homes for the treatment of self or
Being a literary person maintained such medical their family members and relatives
he is in the habit of reading Ashok Gupta. records and in fact created are asked one question, “Are you
a lot of medical literature, articles in a library where medicines, doctors’ covered under Mediclaim”? It means
papers and magazines and collects diagnoses, X-rays and all sorts of their medical bills for treatment can
useful information on various other test reports have been properly be manipulated and the state
ailments and their treatment from and systematically maintained with chequer shall be fleeced or
various sources. So much so he is a proper classification and cataloguing overcharged by such manipulation.
subscriber of CIMS, a monthly which he willingly displays to any This is patently an anti-social and
medical publication and also MIMS a visitor. Such record maintenance anti-national act. The factor called
monthly index of various drugs which goes a long way in creating and compassion must play a dominant
is a quarterly publication. These protecting family medical history. role which unfortunately is not the
publications give authentic case in the presently materialistic
information regarding various Charitable hospitals: Amongst environment. Otherwise, such
allopathic drugs. the categorisation of various charitable hospitals with their true
Ashok Gupta immediately consults hospitals, charitable hospitals do play character and pure intentions devoid
MIMS or CIMS the moment the a significant role in providing good of undesirable greed can play a very
doctor prescribes any medicine to treatment to needy and poor suffering constructive role in treating the ailing
him or to his family members to find humanity. But such hospitals have population, thereby restricting the
out the efficacy of the medicine and belied their existence. They are a dirty role of quacks.

114 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

The attitude of the people visiting Besides quacks these types of elaborate plan to popularise homoeo-
their patients in nursing homes and healers are no less dangerous than pathy and is progressively advising
hospitals has undergone a sea quacks who are practising throughout people to accept homoeopathy as a
change. They visit a hospital with a the length and breadth of the country line of treatment. Delhi Health
picnic-like spirit. They even carry in thousands. They are killers as they Minister Kiran Walia recently
their children who indulge in all sorts play with the lives of patients. But inaugurated the 82nd homoeopathy
of noisy activities without any control surprisingly our government has not dispensary in Delhi.
of their parents. Even parents/elders taken any effective steps to eradicate Delhi government’s health budget
indulge in loud gossip creating all this evil through proper legislation. is 1000 crore and out of which seven
sorts of disturbance for the serious per cent has been allocated for
patients who are fighting for their Different options: There are homoeo pathy. This is a good and
survival. They even party by sitting various ‘pathies’ professing the encouraging step. What is actually
in the staircases and open spaces in treatment of almost all the ailments required is the awareness. Campaign
front of patients’ rooms. Such a which are available to the patients as which may enlighten the public and
situation can be seen daily in a an alternate option to allopathy, like the doctors about the number of
reputable nursing home situated in ayurveda, unani, homoeopathy etc, ailments Homeopathy can treat.
Derawal Nagar, North West Delhi. etc. Out of these available ‘pathies’
Patients suffer tremendously ayurveda is the most ancient and No health policy: It is a
because the calm and serene time tested. It is a complete healing lamentable reflection that there is no
atmosphere of the nursing home is science and covers all the known ideal health policy of our government.
disturbed. But people don’t realise it. diseases. Indians by and large have Health does not seem to be a priority
Though visiting hours have been a faith in this system of treatment item with the Health Ministry,
fixed they don’t adhere to them, which is recognised even by the Government of India. It is also
except in major hi-fi hospitals. government. painfully observed that the
Patients’ visitors, on their own, will Even the West and the US are government follows a very unrealistic
advise to restrict the use of taking interest in Ayurveda but they policy on health matters. Many life-
medicines as prescribed by the evaluate the composition of all the savings drugs are charged with 12.5
doctor as they sometimes create ayurvedic medicines by their set per cent VAT. As a result their prices
adverse effects. They give their own standards. Some time back the US shoot up and they became expensive
prescriptions which may be nothing Drug Controller alleged that the medicines. In fact, drugs should not
but an admixture of all the “pathies”, percentage of lead is more and be levied VAT more than two per
strange compounds and quick-fix unregulated in ayurvedic medicines cent.
formulas. Sometimes it is some kind and this allegation was contested by The matter of spurious drugs
of medicine in a puria, some raw fish Indian ayurvedic drug manufacturing being sold in the open market
swallowing or fixing of fractured units. unchecked is really a serious issue.
bones by some pahelwan etc, etc. The unani system of medicine Expired drugs fall in this category.
In other words such quack type became popular during Muslim rule Their share in rural areas is 70 per
prescriptions run counter to the in India. But it was popularised by the cent approximately. The government
authentic established medical efforts of Hakim Ajmal Khan who in fact through its drug controlling
treatment. But they impose their established Hindustani Dawa Khana machinery does not exercise any
treatment which is unqualified. Many in the old city of Delhi. The unani effective control.
patients have lost their lines due to system is usually patronised by the Some time back spurious glucose
such unscientific treatment. Muslim community. But other water bottles took several lives in
communities also take advantage of Kanpur. Nothing has been heard
the unani system of medicine. about any action being taken against
Although homoeopathy was the suppliers. Who will explain to the
gradually becoming popular in the public about the steps taken by the
early years and competed with government in framing good health
allopathy quite competently, now it is policy just on the pattern of Cuba —
being widely used by a large a tiny country? The Sri Lankan
percentage of ailing humanity as a govern ment has blacklisted and
good option to allopathy which is banned for apparently supplying
proving quite expensive. The spurious drugs six Indian pharmaceu-
exponents of homoeopathy boast tical companies as the drugs were
that the treatment is one fifth of the found to be contaminated with glass
cost of allopathy. But this is not true. particles and plastic. They have
Still it is becoming popular. brought a bad name to the country. Is
Delhi government has an the Health Minister listening? We

116 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

Lost on the first day out!

By Chandra Subramanyam

tanding at the crossroads of I walked up to the first lady I saw very far away to a point of no return.
Plano’s sidewalk, I cursed on the street and asked her how I The best part here is that I neither
myself. Why did I ever listen could reach my street. She could not knew the correct address of my son’s
to my son’s pleading in the understand a word. I tried repeating place nor the phone number of his
first place? He wanted us to my words slowly. She answered me house. Moreover, I am not good at
come to the USA and stay in her broken English that she did not remembering numbers. One or two
with him for six months. know the street or the park which I passers-by offered me their cell
Now, I was completely lost. I was referring to. phones. I smilingly declined with
didn’t know how to return to I tried my luck with two or three thanks. How could I divulge my
our house. walkers like me. No one had a clue stupidity in front of them.
I told my wife I would be back by where the street was. They could not When I walked out of the house
an hour. Now, it was already two place the park’s name too. They were the weather was beautiful. I had
hours and she would be worrying asking me to give the big street or reached the nearby park. Kids
about me. I did not notice the time some landmark. To my amazement, I playing around the park and parents
when I had walked so long. I was just was not aware of anything, as it was guarding them were a site to watch.
humming my favourite songs and my first day in this country. I had not As I walked on green scenery pulled
walking on merrily without even bothered to register details in my me towards it and the humming birds
looking at the watch. brain. were singing to my tunes. Green
I wanted to walk nearby for some I tried and stopped a car to ask trees all around and the freshly
time to pump some energy into my the way. He graciously offered me a mowed lawns were inviting me to
brain. So, I got out of the house. My lift. He told me that he was not able walk even further. Without even
wife warned me, “It is our first day in to get the street’s name. But he watching the time I was walking to
this unknown country. Don’t take would drop me anywhere nearby if I these tunes. The smell of freshly
such risks. We don’t know anything showed him the way. I politely baked bread made my stomach
around.” I brushed her warning aside refused his offer, because I have growl. That is when I realised it was
by saying, “I can always find my way walked my way through. I knew I time to go back.
back. I am not a baby. I am a 70- wouldn’t be far away from the house. I turned back to find myself lost. I
year-old adult.” If I took the offer, I would be going was shocked. When I could not find

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 117

my way back I was very scared and
confused. I told myself, ‘I should not
have taken such a step on the very NEW FORM OF KIDNAPPING
first day.’
Please read this. This is very scary and could happen to any of us. It
I was upset with my son. My wife
seems that every nice thing people do for one another can be
and I were staying at home peace-
fully. Our chores and routines were
A new twist on kidnapping from a very smart survivor:
all marked and were going just fine.
About a month ago, there was a woman standing by a mall entrance passing
He wanted us to come and stay with
out flyers to all the women going in. The woman had written the flyer herself to
them for six months. With much
tell about an experience she had had, so that she might warn other women. The
hesitation we agreed and I am finding
previous day, this woman had finished shopping, went out to her car and
myself in this position! And such
discovered that she had a flat tyre.
catastrophe. Okay, it was my fault.
She got the jack out of the trunk and began to change the flat. A nice man
dressed in a business suit and carrying a briefcase walked up to her and said, “I
KEEP PARAPHERNALIA noticed you're changing a flat tyre. Would you like me to take care of it for
The woman was grateful for his offer and accepted his help. They chatted
I went back to the lady who was
amiably while the man changed the flat, and then put the flat tyre and the jack in
still strolling near the pavement and
the trunk, shut it and dusted his hands off. The woman thanked him profusely and,
asked her to take me to the park. She
as she was about to get in her car, the man told her that he had left his car
agreed and we started our expedition
around the other side of the mall, and asked if she would mind giving him a lift to
back. All through the walk I had no
his car.
clue where she was leading me.
She was a little surprised and she asked him why his car was on other side.
Panting and fuming I followed her.
He explained that he had seen an old friend in the mall that he hadn't seen for
She tried to talk to me in her broken
some time and they had had a bite to eat, visited for a while, and he had turned
English. I tried to do the same. I was
around in the mall and left through the wrong exit, and now he was running late.
in so much stress and tension. I
The woman hated to tell him 'no' because he had just rescued her from
could not do justice to the conver -
having to change her flat tyre all by herself, but she felt uneasy. (Trust that gut
sation. My real problem was that if
feeling!) Then she remembered seeing the man put his briefcase in her trunk
she did not take me to the park near
before shutting it and before he asked her for a ride to his car.
the house, what would be my next
She told him that she'd be happy to drive him around to his car, but she just
move. Or was there a move at all?
remembered one last thing she needed to buy (smart woman!).She said she
We both walked a long way and,
would only be a few minutes. He could sit in her car and wait for her; she would
at the end of our excursion, when we
be as quick as she could.
reached the park, to my amazement
She hurried into the mall, and told a security guard what had happened, the
it was the park near my son’s place. I
guard came out to her car with her, but the man had left. They opened the trunk,
was exhilarated. I thanked her a
took out his locked briefcase and took it down to the police station. The police
thousand times and rushed back to
opened it (ostensibly to look for an ID, so that they could return it to the man).
the house.
What they found was rope, duct tape and knives. When the police checked her
As soon as the door opened, each
'flat' tyre, there was nothing wrong with it; the
and everyone started advising me.
air had simply been let out. It was obvious
My wife had phoned my son and
what the man's intention was, and obvious
daughter-in-law and they had arrived.
that he had carefully thought it out in
All of them were arming themselves
advance. The woman was relieved to
to go searching in different directions.
have escaped harm.
My son thrust a cellphone in my
How much worse it would have
hand and warned me that I should
been if she had had children with her
not go out without that and my wife
and had them wait in the car while the
wrote the address and phone number
man fixed the tyre, or if she had had a
on a card and told me to take that
baby strapped into a car seat? Or if she'd
whenever I went out. So bombard -
gone against her judgement and given him a
ment started in all the directions and
lift? I'd like you to forward this to all the
it was on for quite a few seconds.
women you know. It may save a life.
I have a card as well as a mobile
Send this to any woman you know that may
phone in my hands now. How about
need to be reminded that the world we live in has
going for long walks now? Anyone
a lot of crazies in it. Better to be safe than sorry.
cares to join me? I promise not to get
– Anju D Aggarwal.
lost this time. We

118 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

QA &
I was married for 20 years and have
two children (14 and 11). My
husband was ill-tempered and used
to beat me and when I could take it
no longer I left as I was financially
independent. I did not care about
divorce and my husband visits our
children once every 10 days and
sometimes takes them out. He
behaves himself well. My mother who
lives with me now since my father
definitely an acknowledged problem died, always says I have made a
that people suffer. Normally, they mistake and tells my children I am

show all the signs you are talking of – responsible for my father not living
buying for the sake of it and the with us. I know that it will all change
momentary euphoria spending back to him beating me if we live
In an arranged marriage who should money gives. You have to take together. What do I do?
be my priority – my in-laws or my control of your life, take assistance You lasted long enough in your
husband? I am married for six from life style management personnel marriage and must have tried every
months and am unable to satisfy both if you need and start by making small possible way to make the marriage
– if I pay attention to my husband my savings and promising yourself last. Yet, it failed and you have
MIL says mean things and if I work in periods of time when you will buy moved out of the house. Your
the kitchen my husband feels nothing. When you go out shopping children are lucky that their father is
neglected. I am a working woman decide in advance the amount you staying in touch with them and while
and don’t want to give up my job, but will spend and what you want to buy he is visiting you, he also behaves
I also want peace. What should I do? instead of just mindlessly purchasing. well. Your mother might not be aware
In any marriage – love or arranged of your suffering as she would have
– your duty as a wife is to your only seen the improved version.
husband and as a daughter-in-law to However, your children might
your in-laws and, with time, as a I am almost 50 and remember the pain of the marriage
mother will be to your child. A woman come from a very you suffered. Your main concern
can never be just one person in a backward family should be your children and not to
family, she has to be everything to where I was not expose them to family violence. You
everybody that is needed at that time. allowed to even cycle have to take a more firm stand with
You should feel confident to first or wear western your mother.
approach your husband and divide clothes. Now I see my 17- year-

your time equally. As a working old daughter cycling and doing
woman you have limited time and if horse riding and I am full of I am 26 and working in a good job.
you do not sort out the problem soon, happiness for her and myself. First my boss was normal but slowly
your giving up the job will also not But have I done a wrong thing we came close and he is married. He
solve the problem automatically. List and will her husband expect her now says he wants to marry me
your MIL’s expectations and then see to be a virgin who bleeds. without divorcing his wife. He does
what you can fulfil without Sometimes, I am confused. What not want me to get married and says
compromising the time with your should I do? he will kill himself if I leave him. I
husband – being married is all about Breakage of the hymen is not don’t want to be second wife. What
juggling all your duties – and try to loss of virginity and you should should I do?
have fun as well. rightfully be proud of the You are making a big mistake by
upbringing you have been able thinking that he will kill himself if you
to provide to your daughter leave him. You are young and have
I am beginning to wonder if I am giving her the freedom that was your whole life ahead of you. Do not
addicted to shopping. I am 26 year denied you. Ensure that your pay for your mistake of getting close
old single girl and earning well, but I daughter is aware of sexual to him by further pandering to his
have no assets and no savings. I am activity to secure her from any ego. How can he marry you if he
constantly buying clothes and shoes wrong decision or taking a step does not want to divorce his first
and then regret it. My rented room is out of curiosity. Keep a watchful wife? It would be illegal and you will
full of clothes and shoes I never wear eye and enjoy your daughter have no rights at all. Your best action
but still buy more. What should I do? blossoming into a woman from a would be to start again somewhere
Yes, addiction to shopping is nice girl. else without the shadow of this man.

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 119

Lots more coming! By Anil Merani

hiladi superstar Akshay – i.e. Khatta Meetha and Action Comedy seems to be your forte,
Kumar is back. After the Replay, etc. The former is an who would you give credit to for
dismal performance in interesting comic film which deals your success?
Chandni Chowk to China, with the road mafia. How corrupt Charlie Chaplin and Mr Bean are
Kambakkht Ishq and contractors collude with district my all-time comedy idols. In
Blue, he has returned administration officials and make ill Bollywood I would name director
with the hit, Houseful. De prepared roads which don’t last more Neeraj Vohra (Khiladi 420 and Phir
Dhana Dhan has also than a few months. I play one such Hera Pheri) and Raj Kumar Santoshi
done good business. This corrupt contractor in my second for getting the comic timing out of me.
42-year-old Sindhi actor home production. The latter really helped my khakhi
from Delhi has seen both ups and Action Replay on the other hand is character. He actually told me how
downs right from the beginning of his not an action packed thriller, as the to enact each scene. Priyadarshanji
20-year- long acting career that title suggests but a sci-fi film about a has been another important film-
began with Saugandh, which time machine. This Vipul Shah maker with whom I have given a
incidentally had failed at the box produced and directed film will see series of hit laugher capers. (Hera
office. His first hit was Khiladi (1991). my character go back in time from Pheri, Garam Masala and Bhagam
Over the years he has given several age 62 to 27. Bhag). He is directing Khatta Meetha
block buster’s like Mohra, Yeh Dillagi, Then there is Patiala house as as well.
Hera Pheri, Dhadkan, Mujhse Shaadi well which will see me returning to
Karogi, Welcome, etc. His other sardar garb after Singh is Kinng. Last Most comedy films are multi-
major flops in the recent past have but not least is, Thank You along with starrers?
been Tashan, Jane Maan, etc. Sonam Kapoor and Suniel Shetty This is good, for the script is
Besides films, he has a successful among others. Action Replay will written in such away that we get to
anchoring stint in television as well. release later this year while the play different characters and not just
Excerpts from an interview: above Vancouver-based Aneez big leads. And with a multi-starrer the
After Houseful, what next? Bazmi laugh riot is scheduled for an responsibility for success also gets
I am working on a number of films early 2011 release. divided.

120 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

You have played around many You have done 90-odd films airport (London), for no one came to
sub-themes (buffoon, smart alec, what is the guru-mantra of your pick him up. But this scriptwriting has
flirt) of the comic genre. Which do success? been a one-off. I am quite content
you like the best ? Had we known that, life would be acting and producing for the moment.
Horror comedy. I really enjoyed a breeze – na? You never know what Some years down the road, I might
doing Bhool Bhulaiyaa, for we were works! I attempted to be different in toy with the idea of directing my film
not only making our audiences laugh 8*10 Tasweer, but we all know its as well.
but scaring them as well. I would love fate. It really was a good film. Such
to do another film along the same mishaps force people to stick to the We will not see you hosting
lines. tried and tested. Fear Factor 3.
I feel that one should move and
You have given so many Are you happy with your try out different things. I am already
different expressions for all your success? working on producing a new chef-
films, how do you mange? Yes, why should I not be? A large based reality show for a big channel.
I am a very keen observer of number of people would like to get It is modelled on the hit American TV
people. I pick up these quirky into my shoes. Having said that, I show Top Chef. I might anchor it as
nuances quite easily and try to use have had my fair share of struggles. I well. If all goes well it should start
them whenever possible. did not have any godfather in the airing around August.
industry. Now, the media hounds me
What went wrong with for interviews, but there was a time Is it true that you have not sold
Kambakkht Ishq and Blue? when I would beg journos for your first car?
If a film does about 75 per cent of interviews. Apart from hard work, I I don’t dump old things. I had
projected business, you can’t call it also believe that luck has also played purchased this 1958-model Fiat
a flop. This industry is cut-throat. Had an important role in my rise. (which opens ulta) years back, but
I been a flop actor, would producers even now it is in running condition,
have dared to repeat me? What made you switch to only thing is the A/C does not work . I
production with Singh is Kinng? have also not sold my first flat and
I feel that I have been around for bike as well. These things help keep
enough years to understand the me grounded and remind me of my
business of film-making. And tough days.
since I obviously cast my own
self, a lot of money is saved Can you tell us a bit about your
as well. I am also co- friends?
producing Tees Mar Khan Although I have many buddies in
with Farah Khan. I will the industry, I am most comfortable
work with a few outside with my old college gang. You can
producers as well who be yourself and say anything with
are my friends. them. We make it a point to meet at
Before turning least twice a month. They drop in at
producer, I have written my sets and we chat for hours on
a script as well. end.
Namaste London was
mine. I have a friend from How do you de-stress?
Punjab who was dumped I fight stress by spending quality
by an NRI girl like my time with myself. I get up as early as
character. He was left 4.30 and then spend the next two
stranded at Heathrow hours in quiet contemplation. It helps
me figure out things. I also go for a
swim at the neighbouring Juhu

You make it a point to go out

with your family every summer,
where to this time?
We might soon sail on an exotic
cruise. But don’t ask me where. I
don’t want paparazzi spoiling a quiet
time with my family. We
The End of an Affair
When illicit relationship confronts reality...

By Kasturi Rangachari

ara sat in the chair in front of the window and clients. Tara hated to go and play the boss’s
waited for Jatin. She was early for their gracious wife and so, though she had been married
assignation. But coming early was not unusual to Prasanna for six years, she had gone only the first
for either of them. For both of them these year. But the previous year, Prasanna had asked her
snatched hours together were so precious and to come to the party to meet a new client of his
eagerly awaited that often one or even both of called Sen, who was interested in doing business
them would be early. with the small PR firm Tara ran. She had of course
She grimaced at the noise and stench coming in gone and there, while doing the rounds, Prasanna
through the window. The hotel she was in was a had introduced her to, “My new VP planning and
small one in a crowded, run-down and rather development, Jatin, and his wife, Nivedita.”
unsavoury area of the city. She and Jatin had

selected it carefully – it was not the kind of place he must have greeted Nivedita and wished her,
they were likely to run into anyone they knew. but she only remembered Jatin. Jatin had smiled
She heard a noise in the corridor and jumped up at her, smiled that peculiarly sweet smile of his
and rushed to the door. But before she could open it, that lit up his face and she had laughed breathlessly
Jatin had come in and she flew into his arms. He and smiled back. Later, after she and Prasanna had
gave a small sigh of utter contentment and held her gone home, she had lain awake and wondered if
close. Neither of them spoke as they clung only she had felt her mouth go dry and it
together. was only her heart that had begun to race.
A long moment later they drew apart Silence had Had only she had that strange feeling that
and smiled as they stared into each other’s followed the everything was spinning around her? But
eyes. Both their faces were filled with words and they something told her that the same flame that
passionate happiness and love. The next had been lit in her had been lit in Jatin too.
had just lain
moment they were caressing each other After all, he too had looked dazed and they
with impatient, hungry hands. Both of there, both had spent the evening staring at each other
them felt as if their bodies were on fire. feeling closer from across the room.
Tara pulled Jatin towards the bed. Her to each other He’d called in the morning two days later
dupatta fell to the ground unnoticed. than they had when Prasanna had left for a week-long
It was as good as it was always for ever thought business trip and told her that Sen,
them. Tara remembered how, after they they could feel Prasanna’s new client whom she had met at
had made love the first time, as both of to another the party, did indeed want to do business
them lay sprawled on the rickety, narrow human being! with her PR company and that he wanted to
bed in a state of blissful exhaustion, she know when he could come and see her.
had asked in wonder, “Is this how sex is “Please tell Mr Sen to come to my office
meant to be?” at about 11am tomorrow,” she had said, but after
Jatin had stared up at the ceiling, his hands that, though the matter for which he had phoned had
clasped under his head. “Yes... yes, I think so,” he been dealt with, Jatin hadn’t thanked her and hung
had murmured. “This is how it is meant to be – but up. He had hesitated and made polite conversation
rarely is!” till she had suddenly said, “Why don’t you come
Silence had followed the words and they had just over this evening? I’m…alone…as you know…”
lain there, both feeling closer to each other than they “Yes,” Jatin had said at once. “I’ll come…will
had ever thought they could feel to another human about seven be all right?”
being! She had made the servants finish their work early
They had met a year earlier at the annual and sent them off to their quarters behind their huge
Deepavalli party Prasanna threw for his staff and house. Then she had bathed and dressed in a

122 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

peach-coloured designer salwar-kameez that she each moment of which they had desperately missed
had bought herself that afternoon and sprayed her each other!
favourite perfume on her. She had then sat in the What had they said to each other? Tara couldn’t
drawing room twisting her diamond solitaire ring on remember after Jatin had left hours later. The food
her finger restlessly. She had bought the outfit that that had been cooked and placed on the table,
afternoon with Jatin in mind and she desperately stood untouched. Neither of them had felt either
wanted him to come and see her in it tonight! thirsty or hungry – but a thirst in their souls had been
satisfied. Or had a fire been lit in them that would

fter half an hour of pacing the room she told not let them live in peace till they had given in and
herself that this excitement she was feeling was begun to meet in that small run-down hotel...and
madness. Why was she reading so much into make love...regularly?
a simple social visit? Jatin was a married man and She asked Jatin how he had come to marry
perhaps she was the only one to have all these Nivedita when it was obvious that they were
confusing feelings. Just then the doorbell rang and mismatched. She didn’t tell him that she thought his
she laughed out aloud. Jatin had come! She hurried wife to be a colourless, tongue-tied frump.
out of the room and half ran to open the massive, Jatin too told her that he had been surprised to
ornately carved front door without even putting on see the kind of woman his boss had married.
the chain or checking through the peephole to see “I wondered how on earth...I mean he’s a very
who it was. And then her heart stopped beating. capable and successful businessman...but he isn’t
Jatin came in and she devoured him with her exactly...exactly...your type!” he said one day when
eyes. How wonderful he looked! He was casually they had been discussing their first meeting. “He’s so
dressed in a short-sleeved check shirt and dark pants much older than you for one thing…”
that looked good on his slim figure. His hair was “Actually, he’s not,” Tara interrupted, springing
neatly combed but a lock fell on his forehead just as to her husband’s defence, rather to her own
it had at the party. She longed to run her fingers surprise. “I look younger than I am perhaps and he
through his hair, to caress his cheeks, to see that looks older – probably because he’s growing bald
sweet smile again. fast. But how did you happen to marry Nivedita?”
She could see Jatin’s lips moving. He was saying Jatin grimaced. “I didn’t even see her before we
something, but she could not hear the words. She got married,” he confessed. “Remember, I come
must have said something in reply because Jatin from a conservative family in small-town Orissa! My
nodded, but she did not know what she had said. mother went on and on about how I should get
With her eyes still on him she led the way into the married because my grandmother wanted to see me
drawing room and they stood there, gazing at each married before she died – what a reason and my
other. They finally sat down on the sofa and began grandmother’s still alive today! – and I finally got
talking, talking hungrily as if they were old friends fed up and said that okay, I’d marry anyone she told
meeting after an age spent apart, an age during me to...”

ara knew that she shouldn’t ask the next
question, but she did. “And when you saw her
and talked to her after the wedding? How did
you feel then?”
“That my parents should have understood their
son better and that I had been cheated by life!” The
words burst out of Jatin, but he at once bit his lips in
annoyance. “I shouldn’t have said that,” he
muttered. “Nivedita is a good woman…a marvellous
Tara hadn’t said anything more but she had
understood. She too was torn between honesty to
Jatin and loyalty to Prasanna when she talked about
her marriage. Her marriage to Prasanna had been
“arranged” the way many marriages are nowadays.
Her parents had heard of a person – an astute and
successful businessman – whom they thought that
their daughter could be happy with and a discreet
meeting had been arranged at a party. When she
and Prasanna had seemed to hit it off, they had giving me a hug first, sweetheart?” he said, with a
been encouraged to meet and to get to know each laugh.
other better and then marriage had been suggested The hug she gave him was perfunctory and she at
to both of them by their parents. And when they had once moved away and repeated her words.
both agreed to the match, there had been rejoicing Jatin sighed. “Tara, it’s just your imagination,” he
all around. said. “You’ve been saying this for some time now,
They had been happy in a calm and friendly but you were never sure, were you? You said that
manner after they had become man and wife. Their there was tension in the air, that he looked at you
marriage had been based on intellectual differently – but all that’s not proof, my girl! I mean,
compatibility and a common background and they he has never said anything, has he? Anyway, he’s
had talked companionably and been good friends. away in London now, isn’t he?”
If there was little romance and passion in their “He’s away, but I’m sure now! And so will you
marriage, well, they had both felt that they were a be, when I tell you what happened last night!”
bit too practical and mature for that kind of thing!

The sex had been okay, but when they didn’t have rasanna had phoned from London. Triiing! Tara
children, though the doctor had said that there was had reached out lazily and picked up the
nothing wrong with either of them, neither of them bedside phone. Was it Jatin calling to wish her
had really minded too much. goodnight, she had wondered.
It was only after she met Jatin that she understood “Hello, Tara! How are you?”
how wrong she had been to think that the milk and Tara had sat up in confusion when she heard her
water relationship she shared with husband’s pleasant, kind voice on the line.
Prasanna was all there was to marriage. Prasanna rarely phoned more than once a
No, this magic she shared with Jatin – this The old, care- day when he was away and he had
was how things should be! The fire that free ecstasy already called her this afternoon. So why
began to burn fiercely the moment they was he calling her now?
after that.
touched each other was how sex was “Hu…ullo, Prasanna! I didn’t expect to
Where they had
meant to be! The way she felt when she got once talked only hear from you again today!” she had
up these days was how you were meant to about stammered.
feel when you got up in the morning – full themselves and “Tara? You sound strange. Are you all
of excitement and longing! their love for right?”
“No! I mean, yes, I’m all right. It’s just

each other, they
he weeks and months had passed in a began to talk that I….I was asleep and the phone woke
blur and, almost before they knew it, more about their me up with a start.”
a year had passed. But then, like a spouses, “Sorry! But you don’t often go to bed so
serpent entering the Garden of Eden, adultery and the early. Sure that you are all right?”
doubts and fears had slithered into Tara’s outside world. “I’m OK, but are you all right? Did you
mind. She began to wonder whether call for anything special?”
Prasanna knew that she was being unfaithful to him. “No, nothing special. I just remembered that I
He hadn’t said anything but his behaviour had hadn’t asked you if you wanted anything from
changed. He asked Tara strange questions here.”
nowadays – was she happy, would expanding her “Oh, but you did! And I said that I didn’t!”
business make her feel more fulfilled and the like. “Come to think of it, I remember that now. But…I
And he had begun to phone her up much more – suddenly felt like talking to you. What did you do
almost as if he were checking up on her! today? Did you go to office? Is the CEO you
Tara paced the drab room in the run-down hotel appointed working out?”
restlessly. Several months had passed since her Her PR company had grown and Prasanna had
suspicions had first surfaced and today she had encouraged her to get a CEO for it while she
something disturbing to tell Jatin. She was now remained the MD. That way, she could be free of the
almost sure that Prasanna had begun to suspect daily running of the company and could concentrate
something. She shivered. What would her husband on getting new clients.
do? Confront her? Ask for a divorce? What would “I didn’t go to office today...”
she and Jatin do then? “But you weren’t at home when I called at about
As soon as Jatin came in she burst out, “Jatin, I’m 4 pm your time.”
almost sure that Prasanna has begun to suspect “I went out.”
something!” “For shopping? To meet a friend? Or has some
Jatin held his arms wide open. “What about business opportunity you find interesting come

124 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

along?” the story, but she had
“, no interesting business deal has come soon realised that
along. I just met a friend…” the husband of the
They had chatted for a few more minutes and interesting-looking
then Prasanna had wished her good night and hung female
up. protagonist was
“Why did Prasanna phone twice yesterday and having an affair.
why did he ask so many questions? He never does! I “She looked
think he...sus...suspects something!” she said once so sad,” she told
she had finished telling Jatin about Prasanna’s Jatin later when
phone call. they met again in
Jatin was calm and sensible. “No, he couldn’t their usual hotel.
possibly suspect anything. We’ve been so careful,” “There was this shot
he declared firmly. “He was probably at a loose end of her staring out of
between meetings and he thought of calling you.” the window silently
“Perhaps his intuition told him something, or he and she looked …
saw us together somewhere and began wondering. so…broken. And
Or perhaps it was just that he saw us looking at suddenly it struck me – I
each other at some party or other and smelt a rat. was doing that to
Perhaps he then had us followed!” another
“Tara, you are getting paranoid about this! You woman…breaking her
aren’t sure, so you could be wrong. Let’s just wait heart, causing her pain! And
and see,” said Jatin. then I felt so filled with guilt!”
Tara agreed after a long pause. Waiting was Jatin stared at her in disbelief. “You felt guilty
certainly better than trying to take a decision right after seeing one of those totally meaningless day-
away. It was only later that they both realised that time soaps?” he demanded.
they had just talked that day. They hadn’t made “Yes! And since that day, that feeling of guilt has
love! been growing.”
The old, care-free ecstasy disappeared after that. They sat in silence for some time.
Where they had once talked only about themselves “Would Prasanna divorce you if our affair came
and their love for each other, they began to talk out?” asked Jatin suddenly.
more about their spouses, adultery and the outside “I don’t know. What about Nivedita?”
world. “No, she wouldn’t want a divorce. Divorce is still
“Nivedita will never suspect me of being not common in our community. But she’ll tell my
unfaithful – even if the most compelling evidence fell parents and hers and I’d feel terribly humiliated.”
into her hands,” Jatin told her one day as they lay in “Do you ever feel guilty, Jatin?”
the narrow bed in the small room of the dingy hotel, “No. I just feel a great thankfulness that I found
after making passionate love. “How would she come you,” replied Jatin calmly.
to know anyway? She practically never leaves the “But my feeling of guilt is growing. Nowadays, it
house alone and she has hardly any friends here. is heavy in me when I make love to you, when I look
The housework and kids take up all her time.” at Prasanna, when I think of Nivedita or your kids.”
They changed the subject after that and parted

ara had kept quiet and Jatin had gone on. amicably about an hour later, but their brief
“You must get over this fear that Prasanna conversation about their spouses had left both of
knows about you and me,” he had said. “It them feeling unsettled and restless.
won’t occur to Prasanna to doubt you. He’s just not Later, at home, looking back on that conversation,
the kind of person to be suspicious.” Tara found it meaningful that though both of them
She hadn’t argued with him, but later, it had been had talked about the reactions of their spouses,
– of all things! – a TV serial that had increased her neither of them had suggested divorcing them and
fears and feelings of guilt. Tara didn’t watch much being together. It was as if they accepted that this
TV, but that afternoon she had had a cold and had could never be; that that would cause too much of
been feeling low and had surfed channel after an upheaval in their lives and in their families and
channel before she had settled on a daily soap that they weren’t ready for that.
because the main female character had looked an “I dream about it,” said Jatin abruptly when she
interesting kind of person. She had never watched discussed this with him one day. “I dream about
the soap before and did not know anything about living with you, being with you all the time.”

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 125

“But it’s only a dream, isn’t it? You and I both co-respondent in adultery and my marriage would
know that you could never leave your kids.” be finished too. I’d lose the respect of my family and
A part of her knew and accepted that, another Nivedita’s people even if she did not divorce me.
part of her longed to hear him say that he was ready And if she did, I’d lose my children as well. I
to give up the whole world for her sake. couldn’t stand that!”
“I couldn’t. But could you leave Prasanna?” Tara remained silent and Jatin went on, “It’s not
“I don’t know. I never thought about it because I as if I like this state of affairs, but I realise that we
always knew that you could never leave your have no choice! We cannot live without each other
children.” and we cannot tell our spouses either! Nivedita trusts
Her guilt grew and Jatin became more and more me completely. I’ve always behaved as if I were
disturbed by it. He had a feeling that soon Tara superior to her and now I know that I’m the one at
would say that she couldn’t see him any more. The fault. But I also know that I can’t give you up!”
very thought of that made his heart beat fast with “So you are unhappy too,” said Tara drearily.
fear, but he didn’t know how to prevent it. Things Soon after that Tara had told Jatin that they
were becoming just too confusing and painful! should break up and Jatin hadn’t been able to
Things came to a head when Jatin told Tara one convince her that they shouldn’t.
day that he could not meet her the next Friday as

scheduled because he had to go with Nivedita and he day they had decided would be the last time
his son Raja for the boy’s school admission they met, arrived. Tara felt a sense of unreality
interview. They had just made love and hadn’t even grip her as she went to “their” hotel. This was
dressed, but were lying intertwined on the messed- some sort of nightmare! How could things between
up bed. her and Jatin end like this? How could life be so
“Raja is so shy,” he had worried. “Suppose he unfair to them?
doesn’t answer when he’s asked something? We They met in their usual room and as usual again,
have set our hearts on this particular school for him. they fell into each other’s arms and made love. But
It’s a very good one and it’s near our place. Nive’s this time, they made love slowly, lingering on each
heart will break if he’s refused admission! We…” touch and kiss, knowing that this was the last time
Tara burst into tears. She wept and wept, and they would experience these emotions.
nothing Jatin said or did could console her. When Later, Tara dressed in silence as Jatin sat and
she had finally wept herself dry, she listlessly began watched her. He suddenly reached out and grabbed
to dress. Jatin watched her. her hands “Why are you so adamant that we stop
“Do you want to tell me what that was about?” he

nd because it was so easy to talk to Jatin,
because she knew that he would understand,
she answered. “It was your use of the pronoun
‘we,’ it was your calling your wife, ‘Nive’, it was
because you share things with her that I can never
share with you, it was because you have a life I can
never be a part of, it was because my life is seeming
more and more meaningless as each day goes by, it
was because I’m feeling more and more estranged
from Prasanna with every passing day. I can’t stand
this tension, Jatin! I think I should bring things out
into the open by telling him the truth!”
Jatin was stunned. “Tara, be sensible!” he
exclaimed. “You can’t do that!”
“Why? Are you afraid for your job?”
“No...yes… no… I don’t know! But I couldn’t
possibly continue to work for him once he knew
about us! Surely you see that? And if he divorces
you …”
“Divorces me?”
“He could, you know, if you went and confessed
to adultery! He would name me as your lover and
seeing each other?” he demanded. “If life has given he’d come in to see if she was feeling better. He’d
us a chance to find happiness, why shouldn’t we probably have a bottle of balm in his hand and he’d
take it?” insist on applying it to her forehead as he spoke
Tara melted into his arms. She buried her face in kind words to her. But there would be derision and
his shoulder and pressed herself against his strong disgust in his eyes!
young body. He held her close. Tara began to tremble.
‘This feels so right!’ thought Tara. ‘This is where I Jatin watched his wife set the table. The two
belong!’ But she broke away. children clung to her, making it difficult for her to
“Goodbye, Jatin,” she murmured and, grabbing carry the plates and dishes to the table, but she dealt
her handbag, she fled from the hotel room. with them with a patient smile. What a good mother
Once outside, as she strode along in her smart she was! And the food she was carrying to the table
pant suit towards where she had parked her car a would be tasty and cooked just the way he liked it.
good half a kilometre away, she looked around How lucky he was that she hadn’t come to know
numbly. Was this the last time that she would walk about his affair! Now, nothing would spoil the even
down this street which she had walked along so often tenor of his life and if – if! – Tara saw sense, they
the last year – either hurrying impatiently, every could start seeing each other again.
nerve tingling, to an eagerly-awaited meeting with “Nivedita, I’m hungry,” he said.
Jatin, or walking away from one, floating Nivedita at once became flustered.
on air, filled with the blissful feeling of total They met in “Ju…just a minute,” she stammered. “I’m
relaxation that comes only after really great their usual sorry…dinner will be on the table in just a
sex? Tears filled her eyes and blurred her room and as minute...!”
vision as she walked along. usual again, “Okay,” said Jatin pleasantly and he
they fell into picked up the newspaper and began to
“You don’t look your usual bright self,” each other’s
commented Prasanna a few weeks later as arms and made read.
they sat in the garden over their evening love. But this Tara tossed restlessly in her sleep.
tea. “Is anything wrong?” time, they made Prasanna, sitting up and reading in bed
Tara looked at Prasanna. Ever since she love slowly, beside her, looked at her in concern. He
lingering on
had stopped meeting Jatin, she had begun each touch and was sure that something was wrong. Tara
to feel slightly afraid of Prasanna. kiss, knowing was behaving quite oddly these days. She
Nowadays, it was as if he were playing a that this was was jumpy and nervous and she often
role, the role of a loving and caring the last time appeared to be lost in disquieting thoughts.
they would
husband, while very different feelings experience these Was she not feeling well? Could she be
lurked in his heart. Just now, for example, emotions. hiding some health problem from him?
he had spoken as if he was concerned and He flinched, not able to bear the thought
affectionate, but surely she hadn’t imagined the flash of Tara in trouble or in pain. How much he loved
of anger and hatred in his eyes as he spoke. No, her! He’d take her out for dinner the next day, he
she was sure that she hadn’t imagined it! decided and there was that light platinum necklace
“!” she stammered. “I…I just have a that he had seen, the one that was set with small
headache.” diamonds – he’d get her that for her birthday which
was just a month away.

he concern on Prasanna’s face appeared to Nivedita lay in bed staring up into the darkness
deepen, but hadn’t the slight smile on his lips and for the thousandth time, she relived the moment
become twisted and sly? Yes, she was sure that she had opened Jatin’s purse – on his instructions –
it had! But he began to fuss over her at once and to take money to pay the cable bill and had seen the
within 10 minutes, she was lying in a darkened receipt for a hotel room. A hotel room in the same
bedroom, a cup of hot tea on the bedside table next city! A hotel that she had found out was a third-rate
to her and the door closed. one in a run-down area of the city. A hotel in which
‘He knows,’ Tara thought to herself, her heart Jatin would definitely not be entertaining clients!
beating fast. ‘I am sure of it now! He is playing with And the bill was for a working day! She was the first
me like a cat plays with a mouse! Instead of directly to admit that she was not as brainy as Jatin, but one
questioning me, he is torturing me like this. He must didn’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to guess that the
have found out that our affair is over, but this is his hotel bill was for an assignation!
way of punishing me! Can I go on living like this?’ Jatin was being unfaithful to her! Jatin was having
She shivered and closed her eyes. She really had an affair! Would he leave her? She trembled at the
a blinding headache now. She could hear Prasanna thought, but deep in her heart, a small flame of
moving about in the next room. In a few minutes anger began to burn! We

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 127

A wealth of recipes for a

“poor man’s” food. By J. D. Sharma
rabi is generally considered Using your palms, flatten each 1 tsp amchur
a poor man’s vegetable of the arabis. Set aside. Dry-roast 1/ tsp green chilli
and is never served to a the besan till golden. 2 tsp ginger
guest. It hardly forms a part Add to this, the cornflour, 2 tsp ajwain
of the menu at a party and
breadcrumbs, salt, red chilli 2 tsp oil
except perhaps some
dhabas, no restaurant
powder, ajwain, cumin powder 2 tsp besan
serves its preparations. To and ginger-garlic paste. 1 tsp jeera
Coat the arabi with the above 1/ tsp haldi
some, its very look is 2
depressing, while others mixture. 1/ cup papad roasted
discard it because they think it is very Keep aside for 15 minutes. 1 tsp salt
difficult to work upon it and it is very Heat the oil in a kadhai and
sticky and greasy while cooking. But METHOD
deep-fry the coated arabi. Serve
all those objections are rather Boil arabi, peel and cut into 1”
with a sauce of your choice.
imaginary. This root vegetable can pieces. Sprinkle salt, red pepper,
Time required: 50 minutes.
be used to prepare excellent delica- chaat masala, dhania powder,
cies and give you a much-needed amchur, green chilli and ginger
change. and keep aside for 1/2 hour.
Here are some duly tried and
tested recipes:
ARABI TIKKAS Heat oil in a kadhai, add besan
and fry till it is pink.
1/ kg arabi (boiled)
Add ajwain, haldi and boiled
4 arabi.
ARABI 1/ tsp red pepper
1 tsp chaat masala
Stir quickly for 3-5 minutes in
a kadhai till the pieces are coated
AMRITSARI 1/ tsp dhania powder
2 well with masala. Serve warm,
INGREDIENTS: garnished with ginger,
300 gm arabi (colocasia) green chilli julienne and
50 gm besan crushed papad.
30 gm cornflour
50 gm breadcrumbs
20 gm red chilli powder
20 gm ajwain
10 gm cumin powder ARABI
30 gm ginger-garlic paste
olive pomace oil for frying. 1/ kg arabi (boiled,
salt to taste
peeled, cut into slices and
METHOD deep fried)
Boil the arabi and peel it. 1 tsp amchur

128 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

2 tsp dry ginger powder
2 tsp beaten curd
2 tsp panchphoron
2 tsp refined oil
1/ tsp red chilli powder
1/ tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
For garnishing:
1 tsp mint (Chopped)
juice of 1 lemon
In a kadhai heat oil and put
panchphoron and cook for 1
minute on a high flame.
Add arabi, curd and mix 1/
4 tsp coriander leaves (finely
well on a low flame. chopped)
Sprinkle amchur, dry salt to taste
ginger, red chilli powder,
turmeric and salt and stir on For roti:
1/ kg wheat flour (atta)
a medium flame for 10 2
1/ tsp ajwain (Bishop’s seed)
minutes. 2
Garnish with chopped mint 2 tsp ghee
and lemon juice and serve ghee for frying
1/ tsp salt
hot. 2
Sieve the flour. Add salt,
ARABI KA ARABI STUFFED ajwain and 2 tsp ghee, mix well.

BHURTHA ROTI Now knead well with water. Keep

it aside.
INGREDIENTS: Boil arabi. Peel and thoroughly,
INGREDIENTS: 1/ kg arabi mash it. Add onion, garlic, green
1/ kg arabi 4
2 1 tsp mustard oil chilli, coriander leaves, ginger,
2 tsp mustard oil 1/ tsp red chilli powder mustard oil, roasted cumin seed
5 cloves garlic chopped 1 tsp ginger (finely chopped) powder and salt. Mix well. This is
1 medium-sized onion chopped 2 green chillies (chopped) to be used for filling the chapattis
4 green chillies finely chopped 1/ medium-sized onion (finely (rotis).
2 limes chopped) Roll one roti rather thinly. Keep
1/ tsp coriander leaves chopped
2 2 cloves of garlic chopped it aside. Now, spread two tbsp of
salt to taste 1 tsp roasted cumin seed arabi mix onto it. Spread it evenly.
METHOD powder tsp You may increase the quantity or
Wash arabis thoroughly. Boil in decrease it according to your
a pressure cooker. Drain the choice and taste. Now, roll
water and leave it to cool. While another roti. Keep it on top of the
slightly warm, peel off the skin. vegetable mix below which there
Mash the arabi thoroughly. Add is already a roti. Press the ends
salt, mustard oil, green chilli, so that the filler do not protrude.
garlic, onion and turmeric powder. Now, put ghee on the frying-pan
Squeeze the lime, mix all the and place the roti. When done,
ingredients well. reverse the side, fry. When it
Garnish with finely chopped becomes light brown, remove it
coriander leaves and serve. and serve hot. We

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 129


Meeting a tiny threat is a huge challenge. Dr C. B. Singh
riya was very worried as her saliva of the fleas which they drop on 50 per cent eggs, 35 per cent larvae,
six-month-old baby was often the skin while sucking the blood. 10 per cent pupa and five per cent
crying and no cause could be More serious problems with unknown adults. While the adult fleas’ diet
found by several doctors till types of fever may occur. consists solely of blood, the larvae
one found the flea bites on Fleas are wingless insects that feed on various organic matter,
the body of the baby. live on the blood of their hosts. They including the faeces of mature fleas.
Rameshwari was having skin are so small that they cannot be seen The flea’s average life is three weeks
rashes under her breasts for by naked eyes on the floor or on the but many may live months.
three months. The itching body. However, on white wash-
was a nuisance. Many skin basins, they can be seen like small Diseases in humans caused by
lotions did not give her relief. It was brownish black curved thread pieces. fleas: Some well-known species of
finally diagnosed as allergic reaction With a magnifying glass they look as fleas are cat fleas, dog fleas, rat fleas
to flea bites. shown in the illustration. and human fleas. We have all heard
Sampat, preparing for his Their bodies are laterally of rat fleas causing the havoc of
premedicals, often complained to his compressed permitting easy epidemics of plague, a deadly
mother of mosquito bites on his legs movement through the hairs of pets disease causing millions of deaths all
under the table. No mosquitoes were or in the case of humans, under the over the world including India which
seen. When a neighbour suggested clothes. Their legs are long, the hind has faced many plague epidemics
that it could be flea bites, a more pair well adapted for jumping both in rural and urban areas.
vigorous search confirmed heavy vertically up to seven inches (18 cm), Cat fleas – typhus
infestation of the house horizontally 13 inches Rat fleas – plague
with fleas. (33 cm), around 200 Human fleas – itching, allergic
The fleas should be times their own body skin reaction of redness and swelling.
a cause of great worry length. Short fevers of unknown origin often
to women as they are a Adult fleas must feed thought of as viral fever.
great nuisance for small on blood before they Others – in some cases,
babies whom they bite can become capable of tapeworm eggs can be passed by
and suck their blood, reproduction. Fleas can some fleas.
their skin being so soft. start laying eggs about
The fleas can easily two days after mating in Management of fleas: The best
hop from the floor or the carpet to batches of up to 20 or so totalling approach to managing fleas is
your legs or on your pet or on the about 500. The eggs take two to 20 prevention. Fleas abound in the
hanging sheet to reach over your bed days to hatch. Their larvae are small house, verandahs and courtyards
and from there to your baby or on and without eyes. where they lurk due to unsanitary
you and your husband. Fleas avoid sunlight by staying in conditions, lack of sunlight and
Most of the time people are not sand, cracks and crevices and dampness. Within the rooms, fleas
aware that they are being bitten by bedding, and pass to the pupal stage are more likely to be found on the
fleas. Flea bites generally results in remaining in the cocoon till warm floors, particularly on carpets and
raised, itchy bumps on the skin. In temperature and mechanical rugs, beddings, under the tables and
more severe cases, an uncomfor - pressure, caused by walking on in bathroom and toilets.
table rash may develop. Fleas cause carpets, vacuuming and so on Their presence is felt only by the
allergic dermatitis as an allergic stimulate emergence from the pricking sensation accompanied by
response to chemicals found in the cocoon. There are at a time around itching with a small weal. The

130 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

redness and weal-like raised with chemicals immediately
area on the skin may be very well after vacuuming.
seen on fair skin and in small ● Putting carpets, rugs and
babies. beddings for a few hours in the
Usually, even hard scratching hot sun where feasible.
and squeezing between the ● Applying anti-insecticide
fingers is normally insufficient to creams like Odomos and others
kill the flea. They can be to the feet and legs and to
captured with adhesive tape, socks once or twice to protect
crushed between the finger nails, from the bite and for allaying
rolled between fingers, burnt or the itch of the flea bite.
drowned. Calamine lotion does not relieve
Pet owners have to face a big the itch.
problem of flea-infestation and ● Fleas thrive on pets and if
must take suitable measures to be periodically sprinkled all over the there is a pet in the house, or the
protect their pets and also their family expected locations of fleas. It is house is infested with rats, the flea
members from its bites. easily available with chemists and is population of that house will be very
a good household remedy for high and needs special measures to
Control to measures Combatting household insects including fleas. be taken preferably in consultation
the infection of fleas in the home ● Vacuuming the floor, the with the veterinary surgeon and pest
takes patience as for every flea carpet, the bedding, curtains and control specialists.
found, there are many more crevices and masonry joints all round ● When airconditioners are in
developing in the home. The the floor and walls, toilet, particularly use whether at home or in office and
measures are: around the washbasin and toilet seat. the places are found to be infested
● On-the-spot – insecticide spray Vacuuming catches about 96 per with fleas, use of a dehumidifier is a
– Hit, Baygon are the brand names of cent of the adult fleas. The sucked must. A combination of controlled
the commonly-available ones. dust and other material containing humidity and temperature and
● Boric acid or borax powder kills the eggs, larvae and adult fleas vacuuming should eliminate fleas
fleas by dehydrating them. It should should preferably be burnt or soaked from the environment. We

sorrows. In this one matter he refused he would have to give up his

to listen to his elders or his well- favourite drinks to help the family.
wishers, much to the despair of his Of course, I beamed with happiness
sisters and brothers. He had no kids of and told him that it would be a
his own either. double delight. To which he just
MIL (70) helps And when his younger brother smiled, pinched my cheeks and went
My younger son was down with suddenly passed away, the family went off.
chicken-pox and after a bath, my away to his wife’s parents’ place. Later Next thing we heard was that he
elder son and I got it also. On a close friend of my parents told me had stopped drinking and started
knowing about it, my MIL (aged 70) how the young widow and children sending a tidy sum regularly and
staying in Madurai booked tickets by were finding it difficult to live well as even went with his sisters to look up
tatkal and came by a day train sitting her father was also a retired and give gifts to the family. I did not
all the way, to help us, in spite of our government officer. mention this matter to anyone, not
advising her not to come, as she The well-wisher asked me to even to my mother-in-law.
might also get it. I was so grateful to persuade my uncle to send some After four or five years when I
her having offered her helping hand amount to his sister-in-law at least for met him with both my kids, he teased
in times of need. the children’s education. me saying that now, perhaps, he
– Preetha Rangaswamy, It was a difficult task for me, a could go back to his drinks as his
Tamil Nadu. young entrant into the big family. But sister-in-law had taken up a job. I at
the support of my parents and husband once emphasised that it was only a
Helpful uncle gave me immense self-confidence. So, part-time job and the family still
My husband’s eldest uncle, a at 25, I explained the situation to the required his financial and moral
well-known surgeon in Kerala, was uncle while he was playing with my support. To which he just grinned
also a wonderful human being. But baby son, and we were away from the and said he was joking just to watch
after his young wife’s early demise other family members. He seemed my reaction!
he had taken to drink to drown his pensive and disturbed, and told me that – Parvati V. Menon, Chennai.

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 131

New specialisation to deal with birth defects.

By Gayatri T Rao
hough the newborn baby is about these diseases I contacted Dr defects in metabolism) that may not
a fragile entity requiring Salil Dhamankar, MD (paediatrics), be immediately apparent. “Birth
expert care, neonatology has member of the Royal College of defect” is a widely used term for
come to be recognised as a Paediatrics and Child Health congenital malformation or a
specialised branch of paedi- (RCPCH). physical/structural defect.
atrics relatively recently. It The origin of congenital defects is
was only in the latter part of What congenital problems can myriad. It can be genetic, familial or
the 20th century that the newborn babies have? as a result of exposure of the
responsibility of newborn The term “congenital” is used to pregnant mother to certain harmful
care was shifted from the imply that the defect or disease is substances and/or infections. The
domain of obstetricians to the realm present since birth. These defects genetic/chromosomal abnormalities
of paediatrics. may be apparent at birth, or may be make up about 10 per cent of the
A newborn is vaccinated to protect detected much later in life because defects. However, the cause may
against many diseases and today either these problems cannot be remain unknown in a majority of the
most people are educated enough to diagnosed at birth or are sometimes cases.
know when an infant has contracted missed. So, though some of these The structural defects can be
an infectious or contagious disease. diseases manifest later, they can still malformations (defects resulting from
However, there are many diseases, be classified as congenital diseases. abnormal development of the foetus),
especially those known as the Congenital problems can be disruption (defects due to destructive
congenital diseases, that the people physical malformations recognisable process in the womb, for example,
are still not aware of. To know more at birth or functional problems (e.g. amputations of limbs due to amniotic

132 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

bands) or deformation (defects due chemicals or irradiation during best trained to predict the likelihood
to alteration of outside forces acting pregnancy. From the 6th to the 10th of your child being born with a
on the foetus, for example, scarcity of week of pregnancy, the organs of the genetic problem.
fluid around the foetus inside the foetus are being formed (known as Self-prescription of medicines
womb (known as oligohydramnios), the phase of organogenesis).This is should be avoided at all times,
can cause the baby to be cramped also the time when the developing especially in a pregnant mother,
leading to defects of hands and feet organs are most susceptible to since the medicines can affect the
or improper development of the lungs damage. unborn baby. In the late ’50s, a drug
(known as pulmonary hypoplasia). During this stage taking called Thalidomide was prescribed to
X-rays, for example, would be pregnant mothers for morning sick-
Is the term hypoplasia exposing the foetus to the risk of ness and to help them sleep. This
restricted to lungs only? malformation syndrome. Therefore, resulted in hundreds of children being
No. Hypoplasia means fewer when a woman goes for an X-ray, born with malformed limbs before the
numbers of cells. Therefore, it can she is asked if she is pregnant. So, if teratogenic effect of the drug was
affect any organ. Each organ required, the X-ray may be avoided discovered.
depends on the other for develop - at the discretion of the doctor. Apart from the limb defects some
ment. This concept can be developed Certain genetic problems run in medicines/drugs may cause cleft lip
further to explain a much more the family, so if you are aware of any or cleft palate.
complicated birth defect known as a such conditions in your family, it’s It is therefore imperative to consult
sequence where a single error results best to inform your doctor. Genetic your doctor prior to using any
in a chain or cascade of subsequent counselling is a valuable guide in medicines.
events resulting in a series of such cases.
abnormalities. For example, in the Certain genetic problems, which How do you diagnose these
Pierre-Robin sequence, the lack of may not always be hereditary, may diseases? What are the diagnostic
development of the jawbone leads to be detected before the baby is born. modalities used?
malpositioning of the tongue and cleft One such condition is called Down’s A meticulous clinical examination
palate. The posteriorly placed tongue syndrome. Advanced age of the by an experienced physician is
can keep falling back and cause mother increases the risks of giving mandatory.
obstruction of the airway. birth to a child with Down’s The diagnostic modalities used
syndrome. Tests like antenatal depend upon the type of congenital
Is this fatal? ultrasonography and Triple Antigen malformation that is being dealt with.
When the tongue obstructs the Test or Triple Marker Test can help These range from simple radio -
airway and the condition is not identify this chromosomal defect. graphic studies like ultrasonic exami-
attended to immediately, it can be nations (sonography) and X-rays to
fatal. Are there chances that, despite specialised tests like chromo somal
At the end of our list are malfor- the presence of family history and analyses and metabolic studies.
mation syndromes or associations, advanced age, a woman can give
which refer to instances where a birth to a normal child? Is surgery necessary in any of
number of defects are known to These conditions only increase the diseases?
occur together more often than would the chances of a woman conceiving a Many congenital defects require
be expected by chance alone. child with a genetic defect. However, surgery. For example, cleft lip and/or
Example of this is VATER a normal child can be born to such a palate can be effectively repaired
association which includes multiple woman. A geneticist is the person with surgery. However, surgery
defects of the vertebrae (spine), should not be considered the only
limbs and kidney. decisive treatment in all the cases as
THESE CONDITIONS a majority of these defects are
What causes birth defects? ONLY INCREASE THE associated with several other issues
As I said earlier, the cause that need to be addressed and a
remains unknown in a majority of
CHANCES OF A multi-disciplinary team-approach is
cases. Genetic issues are WOMAN CONCEIVING recommended.
responsible for a part of these
problems. The genetic problems may
A CHILD WITH A Can these diseases be
be single gene defects or GENETIC DEFECT. prevented?
chromosomal abnormalities. Not always. Nevertheless,
Sometimes, malformations can
HOWEVER, A NORMAL avoiding the known risk factors and
also be caused by drugs/substance CHILD CAN BE BORN TO judicious expert consultation can
abuse by the pregnant mother. They
may also be due to exposure to
SUCH A WOMAN. reduce the likelihood of these
diseases. We

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 133

Some of us eat to live and some of food imaginatively. I have an idea. ● Make a packed dinner and
us live to eat! But we all spend a lot Declare one day of the week – say have it in the balcony or terrace
of time on food. Food occupies an Thursday – as the Different Dinner ● Make crazy combinations –
important part of our thought process. Day. That day the family tries out a dosai with bharta! Roti with cheese-
So maybe changing food habits can new experience. and-boiled potato!
change our style of thinking! Here are some things you ● Serve an elaborate dinner in
There was a time when ghar ka could do on Different Dinner Day: your authentic, traditional style
khana – home food – was the only ● Try a vegetable you have not ● Get the family to decorate the
acceptable form of eating. had before dishes and lay them out in style
Everything else was a luxury or a ● Instead of usual daal-rice, ● Order a pizza and serve it with
painful need. But not any more! We serve a rich-tossed salad and ice some home food on the side
choose to go out to eat. cream Let change be acceptable. Let
Eating out has enriched our taste ● Switch off the TV and the the family expect to be surprised! By
buds. We realise that food different family has a candle-light dinner breaking the rules in this simple way
from ours can be tasty too! ● Insist that everyone comes you are allowing minds to become
So, we homemakers can make dressed up for dinner and make it more imaginative. Have fun. Think
our families more inventive by using an occasion different! – Ratna Rao, Delhi.

Pritam International‘s “Teddyy” Diapers Relaunched

Stainless Steel Encapsulated Bottom Nobel Hygiene established in 2000, by a group of
Cook N Serves and Sauce Pans professionals is a key player in the Indian diaper market.
Pritam International are manufacturers of world’s They have now relaunched their brand “Teddyy” –
finest quality Pressure Cookers and Cookware’s of world-class baby diapers especially designed for the
various kinds and sizes such as Stainless Steel Pressure Indian babies. Through “Teddyy” baby diapers, Nobel
Cookers, Hard Anodised Pressure Cookers, Aluminium Hygiene sets consumer benefit and pricing benchmark in
Pressure Cookers, Stainless Steel Cookware’s and Hard the baby diaper segment.
Anodised Utensils. Pritam International is the First Speaking on the relaunch, Kamal Johari, Founder
Company in India, who’s Stainless Steel Encapsulated Director and the MD of Nobel Hygiene, said, “We are
Bottom Pressure Cooker is ISI. Pritam International has excited about reinventing our brand and look forward to
got state-of-the-art technology manufacturing set-up, cater to the Indian market and showcase our product, as
conforming to best stringent quality control norms. Also, we are the sole manufacturers of baby diapers in India.
being an ISO 9001: 2008 company, it follows the best After observing the Indian diaper market closely, this
industry standard practices. year I concluded that to cater to the growing Indian
Pritam’s Stainless Steel encapsulated bottom market and to fulfil India-specific demand, it’s
Cookware’s are made from Salem 304 Stainless Steel grade imperative to start manufacturing diapers in India. And
and which are Fuel Saving, easy to clean, suitable for thus, we are re-establishing Nobel Hygiene.”
contamination- free hygienic cooking, Anti-Bulging, stick The vision for Nobel Hygiene has been to delight the
free, fitted with best quality heat resistant handles. The Customer by offering a superior range of diapers and
product comes with drop resistant glass lids through allied products at competitive prices and build a long-
which you can Look while you Cook. The product remains term sustainable competitive advantage.
young for years and years to come. Having so many The range of products manufactured by Nobel
features engineered in a small easily affordable product, it Hygiene includes Baby Diapers, Baby Nappies, Adult
has became a necessity of every modern house’s dining table. Diapers, Wet wipes and other related products.
134 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

After several uses, a tea strainer gets What is the use of baking powder,
choked with old tea particles. How baking soda and corn flour?
can we clean it? As the names suggest, baking
Yes, our tea strainers tend to get powder and baking soda, are both
choked after some time if not cleaned used in baking cakes, biscuits and
properly regularly. cookies. They help, or should I say,
We are confused while using Use an old tooth brush to clean make the rising process during the
preservatives. Please give us some them, but carefully because if you baking, happen especially in the
information regarding their names use a plastic tea strainer it might absence of eggs. So while baking
and uses. break. without eggs, baking powder and

There are two main permitted baking soda are a must.
preservatives which can be safely Corn flour, as such is available in
used in the preservation of various How can we make aaloo papad at the market, and is used to thicken
food items – potassium meta- home? soups and gravies and is also used in
bisulphite and sodium benzoate. Make aaloo papad at home is very a number of biscuit and cookie
Potassium meta bisulphite is used in simple. Boil potatoes, peel and grate recipes. It can also be replaced by
the preservation of all types of citric them. Now mix in the appropriate refined flour or maida.

juices like mango, orange, lemon and amount of spices of your choice like
pineapple, be it syrup or squash. salt, red chilli powder, garam masala,
Sodium benzoate can be used to mint powder, pepper powder or How can we keep our kitchen sinks
preserve tomato juice, tomato fennel powder. sparkling clean?

ketchup, pickles, chutneys, etc. But Mix them very well. Take small For a sparkling white sink, clean
you have to keep in mind how much portions and roll them out between with bleaching powder. Stainless
is to be used in a particular amount of two greased plastic sheets. Transfer steel sinks can be cleaned with
the product. them to a clean cotton sheet and methylated spirit, white vinegar or
spread in the sunlight. Remove when even club soda will shine it up in a
dry and store them in a clean and dry jiffy.
As this is the season of stomach container. Fry and eat when you – Savita Bhargava.

upsets, how can we prevent want.
diarrhoea-induced dehydration at
Yes, this is the season when our After cutting red pumpkin it is getting If you have any
bodies are very prone to stomach rotten after few days. How can we problem in cooking or
kitchen, write to Woman’s Era.
infections. To prevent dehydration, keep it fresh without freezing it? We shall try to help you
many types of rehydrating mixtures There is no need to freeze red sort it out.
Address your queries to:
are available in the market which can pumpkin, moreover it doesn’t remain
be easily dissolved in water and the same after freezing. The best E-3, Jhandewala Estate,
given orally to the patient. But at way to keep it for a few days is not to Rani Jhansi Marg
home you can dissolve about 20 gm store it in a plastic bag in the New Delhi-110 055
Click to
of sugar and 7 gm of salt in a litre of refrigerator. Also remember to lodge your queries.
clean water and use till you get the remove the seeds only when you are
ORT (oral rehydration therapy) ready to cook it and not before
mixture from the market. storing.

Cross 1
2 3 4 5 6

Tear along the dotted line and mail to Crossword No. 6 Womanʼs Era, Delhi Press, New Delhi-110 055.
7 8 9

d 11


12 13
14 15
16 17

18 19 20
21 22

23 24

1. Deviating from what is normal or usual,
typically in a way that is undesirable or
1. Descend from a train, bus, or other form of
transport (6)
worrying (8) 2. A distant planet of the solar system, eighth
7. The action of one object coming forcibly in order from the sun, discovered in
into contact with another (6) 1846 (7)
9. A member of a people that travels from 3. The solid mineral material forming part of
place to place to find fresh pasture for its the surface of the earth and other similar
animals and has no permanent home (5) planets, exposed on the surface or
10. The male ruler of an independent state, underlying the soil (4)
especially one who inherits the position by 4. Stay in a place longer than necessary
right of the birth (4) because of a reluctance to leave (6) Please accept my entry for the
11. A period of time equal to a twenty-fourth 5. The state of being known by many
part of a day and night and divided into people (4) crossword competition. I
60 minutes (4) 6. Tending to spend much time seated; subscribe to all the rules and
12. Cook (food, especially meat) by somewhat inactive (9)
prolonged exposure to heat in an oven or 8. An act of attempting to repair regulations of the competition.
over a fire (5) something (6)
14. The person who leads or commands a 13. The metal coverings formerly worn to
group, organisation, or country (6) protect the body in battle (6) Name
16. The chemical symbol for the gaseous 14. Jump or spring a long way, to a
element Helium (2) great height, or with great force (4)

17. A place, typically a private club, 15. State or assert to be the case (4)
providing a range of facilities designed to 18. Plural form of ovum (3) Address
improve and maintain physical fitness and 19. Used as a polite or respectful way of
health (3) addressing a man, especially one in a
18. Keep (someone) in subjection and position of authority (3)
hardship, especially by the unjust exercise 21. A unit of measurement, one thousandth of City Pin
of authority (7) a metre (0.039 in.) (2)
20. Soft, sticky matter resulting from the mixing 22. The chemical symbol for the gaseous
of earth and water (3) element Chromium (2)
23. A unit of length equal to one hundred-
millionth of a centimetre, 10−10 metre,
used mainly to express wavelengths and
interatomic distances (8)
24. The chemical symbol for the element

Bromium (2)

140 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010


Winners of Crossword - 3 Rs10,000 IN CASH PRIZES

ur. Raksha Hegde, ne.

lagopal, Kann Mangalore. Mallika Iyer, Pu
Anju Goel, Del
Dr Aparna Ba hi.

Answers to Crossword-3

Across: 1. Greenhouse, 7. Rinse,

9. Earlobe, 11. Bail, 12. Orient,
14. AU, 17. Simplicity, 21. Lie,
22. Game, 24. Yelp, 25. Yak

ety, 2. Enorm Be,
Down: 1. Gai e, 5. Sin, 6.
4. O gr
nt, Bangalore.
Balwani Sing Coimbatore. 3. Nepotism, lory, 13. Nil,
Dipsikha Jaya
h, Ludhiana. Deepak Raj, 8. Soar, 10. G
ccup y, 16 . Bi nge, 18. Isle,
15. O
Trick, 23. MB
19. Prey, 20.



Manju Aggarw
a, Noida. al, ng, Shillong.
Seema Sharm Faridabad. Cathleen Talla

Rules and Regulations

A prize of Rs 10,000 will be given to the person sending an all-correct
solution. In case there are more than one sender of an all-correct solution, the
prize amount will be divided among the first 10 competitors chosen by lot. The
decision of the management will be final and binding. Entries must be on the
crossword printed here. Photocopies will not be accepted.
Entries must be sent so as to reach Womanʼs Era by 15 September 2010,
by ordinary post. No correspondence in this matter will be entertained.
The contest is not open to the employees of Delhi Press. Every entry
should be accompanied by the sender’s family photo. If you are declared a
winner, your family picture may be printed in the oncoming issue. Please send a
signed declaration that you have no objection to printing your family picture.

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 141

IN MOVIES Balasaheb’s ex-bahu
expresses herself. By Anil Merani

mita Thackeray is a and Rajveer Singh. The film is about Your third film, Kaise Kahen,
multifaceted personality. 75 per cent complete and will be bombed?
This divorced wife of Shiv released soon. Yes, because I experimented with
Sena supremo, Bal a whole new set-up – i.e. new
Thackeray’s estranged son With so many established artistes, director, cameraperson, etc.
Jaidev, is a well-known TV names, will everybody get due As a result, the film became weak. I
and film producer. She is screen space? was not happy with the end result.
actively involved with social Rahul is a very talented director And to top it all, the film released
welfare through her Mukti and has manipulated the narrative along with Hey Babyy. I have
Foundation. As Smita was and script in such a way that he has retained Rajveer though he has
close to Balasaheb, she had lived in done justice to all concerned. He has grown as an actor.
Matoshree (the Shiv Sena family good relationships with Dimple and
house) for years after her divorce, Sarika (They had worked in What are the pressing issues
She recently created ripples in Parazania) among others, so they facing the film industry?
political circles when she expressed trust him as well. The entry of corporates had made
her desire to join the Congress Party. The issue of water scarcity is very the business uneconomical. But then
Smita’s has been the story of a girl contemporary and critical in most the recession forced actors to lower
who has risen up the ladder. She first cities of India. But we have presented their fees. Big stars nowadays take
worked in the passport office when it in a nice manner with lots of a share of the profit. But the prices
she met Jaidev. WE caught up with humour. There is also an attempt to need to come down even further. The
Smita for a chat on her upcoming film provide solutions but not in a preachy concerns of the distributors also need
and political ambitions. way. to be addressed.
Excerpts from an interview: Films need to work more on
What is your next film, Society Humour seems to be your content. Good marketing is essential,
kam se gayi all about? niche? but it can’t save a bad film – e.g.
This Rahul Dholakia (of Parazania Yes, my debut production, Kites. The audiences are very brutal,
fame) comic film deals with the water Haseena Maan Jayegi was a big hit. they will not be sympathetic just
crisis in a Mumbai housing society. Then I followed it up with Sandwich. because you have put in lots of hard
There is no hero and heroine, rather Although this one-man, two wives work. The prices of tickets forces
the film has an ensemble cast which film (with Govinda, Raveena Tandon people to pick and choose the films
includes veteran actors like Om Puri, and Mahima Chaudhary) was good, it they want to watch.
Javed Jaffrey, Dimple Kapadia and was not properly promoted. Aneez Another major issue which I feel
Sarika. They are supported by Bazmi (Singh is Kinng and No Entry is that there are a handful of really
relative newcomers like Reema Sen fame) was the director. good actors. A large number of

142 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

youngsters are entering the fray, but faced my hardships, but I had the Which womenʼs issues really
they don’t have the sincerity and the supports of my kid’s, father-in-law, affectly you?
desire to work really hard. parents and sister. I am actively involved in women’s
welfare thanks to my Mukti
Why donʼt you make a film on Why did you not join Shiv Foundation. There are two issues
womenʼs issues? Sena? which I would want to address
I am looking for a good subject Although I was part of the family, I immediately. In education, a lot
and a talented lady director to take was never made a part of the party. needs to be done at least in rural
over the baton. Sadly, woman- areas. I believe if you educate
oriented films don’t do well. Do you support Raj Thackerayʼs women, you educate a whole family
It would be nice if someone made anti-migrant plank? and society. Domestic violence is
a comedy with three ladies in the I know Raj on a personal family another concern which affects
lead. Our heroines – e.g. Kareena basis and don’t want to comment on women across class barriers. I have
Kapoor, Vidya Balan and Rani what he says. As far as I am set up a helpline to help such
Mukerji – are very good at the craft concerned, I love Marathi but I am battered women. I have also tied up
and would easily be able to do justice proud of others – be it UPites, Biharis with a number of NGOs to
to the concept. or Punjabis – for they are my aggressively take such cases to their
brothers. I don’t want to get into this logical conclusion.
Shiv Sena executive president dirty thing.
Uddhav Thackery wants you to The film industry folk have
give up the Thackeray surname? What is your view on the shied away from politics?
It is wrong to force someone to Womanʼs Reservation Bill which is Yes, it was earlier since politics
give up something which has been hanging by fire? was a dirty word. But today, thanks to
with me for years. I will argue my It is quite sad that, after 14 years the involvement of youth and
case. People should understand that when women finally seemed to be campaigns such as Jago, a new
when a girl gets married, she getting their due, the Yadav troika energy has emerged. Rahul Gandhi
abandons her identity and assumes (Mulayam Singh, Sharad Yadav and has also played an important role in
her husband’s family name. She Lalu Prasad) again brought up the this regard. I hope the government
obviously then gets accustomed to it sub-quota issue. It is not right to drag introduces a new course in
over time. In this situation, is it fair caste and religion into this gender universities which teaches politics.
on their part to suddenly get up one issue. Whenever anybody tries to do Major leaders should come and
day and say that you have had a good thing some people try to block address students to inspire them to
enough time to change (they had them. enter the field.
divorced in 2004), now revert to your I just hope that a compromise is
maiden name? reached (sub-quota or not) and Is it easy for a new woman to
women finally get relief. enter production?
What about the legal status? It is quite tough for anybody to
I don't know and don’t care what gather funding. Being a woman, the
the law states. My kids who carry the bar gets even higher. I would
same surname want me to fight on. advise all budding producers to
They tell me that “you have single- work out their budgets properly
handedly worked to build this and, most important, have the
reputation and the public will always entire project chalked out clearly on
remember you as Smita Thackeray.” paper.

Do you want to join Congress? We have heard that you had

I have worked transparently for approached Amitabh Bachchan
11 years in social service and now to play the lead role in your soon
want to join a party through which I to be launched special effect
can carry forward my work in a laden TV (Color) show on Kalki
bigger way. The ideology of the avatar?
Congress is similar to mine. I openly Those were all rumours. The
say that I am great admirer of Sonia budget of a TV show does not fit
Gandhi. If Prime Minister Manmohan the stature of Mr Bachchan. I would
Singh listens to her, then she must like to work with him but in a film.
be having something special. She is Ashutosh Rana who is essaying the
a single lady like me who has faced lead role is a very talented actor
obstacles without a man. I have also and fits the role to a T. We

Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010 143

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144 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010

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enjoying himself while he was lending watched him from the balcony.
me a helping hand. Just as I was about Luckily, a young girl on the road saw
to put my head on my pillow he said, the boy drowning and pulled him out.
“Goodnight, have a peaceful sleep, I Words cannot express my
have kept some milk for your morning gratitude towards the girl who saved
coffee in the last row of the fridge. my son’s life in time.
When you were preparing the kheer I – Savithri Viswanathan, Chennai.
Thoughtful hubby put away some milk because I knew
The first thing I do in the morning you would finish off the entire milk.” I
after brushing my teeth is to have a was extremely touched by my
cup of hot coffee. I am an addict to it husband’s consideration for me. Every one of us has,
and just can’t do without it. My – Padma Venkatesh, Orissa. sometime or other in
one’s life, received help,
husband often scolds me for my . guidance, sympathy, understanding
additction, especially because I suffer Saved in time and love from some fellow human
from acidity. I get very restless until I The following incident happened being. Can you recall any such event
have my coffee, that too all alone some 25 years ago. We were staying or occasion in your life, when you
without any disturbance. on a first-floor flat in Chennai. Those received such consideration and for
which you are grateful? Each
One day, it so happened that we days we had plenty of rains and roads published anecdote will be awarded a
had invited some guests to dinner and were flooded with water. There was a prize of Rs 200. Send your
by the time they left it was late in the pit in front of our flat which became contribution to:
night. The milkman had not turned full. My son, aged four, pestered me GRATEFULLY YOURS
up that evening, that meant no coffee to make paper boats to play in the
the next morning. As I was clearing water. I did so. Suddenly the boat E-3 Jhandewala Estate, New Delhi-110055.
up the mess, after the guests left, I
floated away and in his excitement, the
was continuously grumbling and also kid tried to retrieve it and fell into the Name:
abusing the milkman for not coming. water which was four feet deep. I did Mobile:
My husband was thoroughly not know what to do and helplessly E-mail:
tion. Apart
from the
to face and
follow all
nt AN ANCIENT boys are still considered the blue-
serious contempla areas have they are forced to
in the rural a result, for
apathy girls
EDUCATION types of social
taboos. As which have no scopetheir

blooded ones by most parents. They

PROFESSIONALyear too the girls subjects, apart,
fields. This finish 12th
GIRLS IN year this
and pursue traditionalprofession al
into once they

secondary the their going complete no choice
ike every in higher ns. On is considered they are left with
ed boys in education most BA. Then
outperform school examinatiobeing created
senior secondary a hype is or at the girls in rural
spread to get married. why these in
board results ent through to except is precisely the reasonto show their mettle
basis of thesethe women empowermcertainly belongs This some
media about and that the tomorroweducation is the first get a chance If by chance
areas never professional education. course, then they

as al
of education a matter to cheer, girls means and e on
educating , technical qualify for a profession concentrat
girls. Really society and generation in order to scares
uplift of a lot of next of them to urban area from the family drop
tool for the for a whole educated family. have to migrate of going away

are still in the ivory tower that sons

education an of them
girls at not many
ensuring mother means performance of Prospect
al studies. and more often
than Unless and
as an educated Does the better al course.
ce in profession it, such girls profession removed,
But hold on. performan g about of pursuing barriers are al
mean better start speculatin the idea and mental and profession
school level Before you over the
until such
girls in technical become a reality.
courses also? that the data gathered admission of promoting dream and never that
you common y dream remain a maintain
let’s inform different tale. In the of Technolog fields may
ists also
Education incentives from the
tell a totally Indian Institutes 1.13 lakh more and
for all the year there
appeared besides notions
test (CAT) nt, social be changed.
in the country, this only 1476 governme need to
s, among
Not only mindsets
also families can
candidate from the girls
make it through.

This refers to the are their saviours in their old age,

of IITs More support in promoting
girls could positions wonders al fields.
top three girls also work
this, in the girl. Where do all the and profession it is a seen
no go? in technical
there was boys in schoolsof 875 Indian families, e for
In typical atmospher
that outperformamong a total get better
Public that boys
Likewise, in Union more
s selected exams education. fed better, and
candidate on (UPSC) The are and their
Service Commissi only 195 meet their
demands they
there are with spent to priority. Naturally, and
this year, ourselves
money is needs are given
Still we muse

Power of
qualifiers. belongs to that as we al into technical are
that tomorrow the hard fact of education of getting other hand, but
the illusion close our eyes to presence better chances Girls, on the ts. It is

article though there are umpteen incidents

the girls and line of profession
al courses we stand al courses. make adjustmen
in the irony? Should the profession to quality of
move up not a great and asked e on the
rarer. Is it think about
improving expected to compromis whatever courses
girls becomes reality and for them with behind
up to the this natural and be content driving force support
not wake years make The main
boys education have to
situation? of a few
previous study in schools. that boys go to other
who outperform and get to is the notion
Board results apparent. Girls, girls would in the way
more rare in highersocio- this condition in old age while
irony all the indeed become
number of
their parents is the biggest barrier fields. The
levels, a al
at school Apart from lack of proper
a mentality into professionin school level
home. Such wish to go

National Language by
al education. ists hold well
profession le for this girls, who spirit
factors, education nt responsib courses of the they do extremely maintain
the same
from the
governme al result is: although unable to

that prove to be the contrary.

profession ns but are
incentives fact, almost all the ics. For a long examinatio al fields. can change
In and mathemat the situation for girls to
situation. of science not made in profession to these experts,
ics were
require study and mathemat According free coaching a special
nt provides and starts
time, science girls in school education.of report of the governme al courses there are a number
y for on the basis mathe - if the profession ly,
compulsor in 1968 that (1964-66) prepare for Interesting . But their
It was only on on Education y for the girls. as incentive. girls’ education ed
compulsor of scheme for promotingrequired will. If implement
Kothari Commissi were made with the studythe of schemes the great
matics and they had to be content before ation lacks may provide
implement schemes
two decades held on these same
Prior to that, It took another m We
exams were Madhya with honesty
home science.implemented and time in leverage. letters@wo

Smita Shenoy (July I). Nowadays, it is the daughter who

was for the first
of the report
the basis pace requires
Pradesh. move at snail’s (Second) 2010
the report Era ● June
What made Woman’s

Sanskrit is an ancient language cares more for the parents. It is high

with a glorious past. If I quote one time for the society to change its
example of “Geeta” which has been outlook and consider daughters as
translated in almost all world equal to sons, if not better and
languages and it would not be out of provide equal educational facilities to
what one
earlier than
his wife
Rama gossiping in BEWARE OF place to opine that Sanskrit is the the girl children. It is also true that the
men employ
to describe he found with the woman
they stand from their balcony few minutes
one words are doing when

what no and talk
about It took another finishing her
ossip is but they next flat.
like a pan shop
mood, as
a result come in after at the
Both around for her to was fuming
enjoys. boss’s current Subhash her for
everybody found their marital problems. it is gossip. topic. and admonish ed
women are of his ry gossip
men and of gossiping. do the same, n involving delay in unnecessa that talkative
If women
equally fond n that the Gossip – like informatio – was
her time
The assumptio has and infidelity to a far wasting

mother of all languages. It would lackadaisical attitude of the

of gossiping deception chatter
trivial art by woman ed and transmitted greater
woman. is the idle informal
been perfectedendured by remember extent and with friends Gossiping rumour,
n about s writing about
and is only wider
Informatio groundles
ed talk or
true. However, by details It includes
men is not agree when accuracy. closely followed are not
social incidents. and even
family people or
do not them and affairs and
of rumours
most men gossiping. For
of like of office home spreading
accused forgotten.
many synonyms n, to be reached
gossip has sharing
informatio When Subhash
talking shop, There are
politics etc.


GOSSIPIN This is in response

T therefore be in the fitness of things that authorities who delay the implemen-
to the article Gossiping
How about
men? By Padmin
i Singh

Sanskrit, English and Hindi must be tation of the schemes which greatly
Womenʼs Greatest made compulsory right from 10th Std. support girls’ professional education,
Stressbuster (July I) Over and above that out of 14 is also a hurdle. Let us hope that girls
2010. The dictionary languages, one language other than get their due share in the near future.
meaning of gossip is casual the mother tongue, must also be made – Sunanda Sankaran, Mumbai.
conversation or unsubstan tiated compulsory. – P. P. Mehta, Kutch. The prize is awarded to:
reports about other people’s lives. Sunanda Sankaran, Mumbai.
It is a derogatory word. Gossi -
pmonger is a person who likes talking GIVE GIRLS THEIR
studies are

l language
nternationa these days.
the buzzwords Spanish,
French, are being
German by students.
up eagerly languages
snapped n Indian
In compariso scenario
behind. The

about other people’s private lives. invites readers’

are lagging very bleak. Is there

appears to Is the
any hope? WE talked to two
Tara madam

teachers, madam
and R. Kalaivani the current
find out what
(Tamil) to
is. Excerpts: opinion on
Tara madam’s

LANGUAGE opinions and

studies: explain the

Apropos the editorial

just briefly

Often it is pointed out that if we all

Can you Sanskrit?
history of
rich cultural an ancient language
is is the
Sanskrit past. It
glorious , the
with a scriptures our
of our
k etc. One
The outloo
Puranas, used
Vedas, the
poets Kalidasa In
and epic poems.
for Sanskrit
to pen his spoke

reactions on
Sanskrit populace

Girls in Professional
India, the when
Tamil by two
olden-day Allegedly,
only in Sanskrit. rule India
started to

said to each other’s faces, without

foreign powers the supre
teachers. they wanted
to establish
their languages
in our
Shenoy macy of downplayin
they started
By Smita country. So e of Sanskrit. many
the importanc
rulers destroyed learning
ruthless Sanskrit
seats of books and

articles, short stories

rare SanskritBritish came
and burnt when the

Education (June II), it

texts. Finally, became the official
English started sinking
to India,

what we say behind each other’s

and Sanskrit
into oblivion.
to learn
you choose
Why did
the language? by the shlokas
I was fascinated

and features published

their unique
in the temples, I could not
recited melody but meaning. I
rhythm and
their profoundthe wisdom
understand by
was also
influenced I had to
Geeta. But

backs, society would be impossible. is a known fact that

in the Bhagwad
English translation -
look at the of the book to compre
at the back I decided
words. So stand
hend Krishna’s and under

in Woman’s Era. The best

to learn the in depth.
our scriptures
is very
But studying
hard, right? That is just a myth. is
Not at all. ri script, it

girls mostly backtrack

the Devanaga

It does not mean we should

one knows Again
easy to learn Sanskrit.

letter will be given a prize of

involve ourselves in gossiping which in professional education to boys. Rs 500. Address your letters by
is the idle chatter and groundless In many cases, even if girls opt for E-mail to:
rumour. According to C. C. Colton professional courses, such as, or by post to:
(1848-1908), ‘None are so fond of Engineering, Medical, etc., they AS YOU SAY
secrets as those who do not mean to rarely succeed in completing their
keep them.” studies. Even if they complete, after E-3 Jhandewala Estate,
New Delhi-110055.
Beware of gossipmongers. If you marriage, due to family constraints,
would wish another to keep your many of them find it difficult to
secret first keep it yourself, said Ad continue with their profession. Name:
Lucilium Seneca. Precious college seats are wasted Mobile:
– Beena Mathur, Pune. due to this trend. This is because E-mail:


He ordered one hamburger, one could tell they were thinking, 'That Again, the young man came
order of French fries and one drink. poor old couple – all they can afford over and begged them to let him
The old man unwrapped the plain is one meal for the two of them.' buy another meal for them. This
hamburger and carefully cut it in As the man began to eat his time the old woman said, “No,
half. He placed one half in front of fries, a young man came to the thank you, we are used to sharing
his wife. He then carefully counted table. He politely offered to buy everything.”
out the French fries, dividing them another meal for the old couple. As the old man finished and was
into two piles and neatly placed The old man said they were just wiping his face neatly with the
one pile in front of his wife. fine – they were used to sharing napkin, the young man again came
He took a sip of the drink, his everything. over to the little old lady who had yet
wife took a sip and then set the cup The surrounding people noticed to eat a single bite of food and
down between them. As he began the little old lady hadn't eaten a asked, “What is it you're waiting for?”
to eat his few bites of hamburger, bite. She sat there watching her She answered...
the people around them kept husband eat and occasionally (This is great)
looking over and whispering. You taking turns sipping the drink. “The Teeth” – Anju D. Aggarwal.

150 Woman’s Era ● August (Second) 2010