Vol 36, Issue No. 843


Founder: Vishwa Nath





Sachin Srivastava

Anju D. Aggarwal


Our Correspondent


S. Mazumdar

Vikas Kumar Jain Kalpana M. Naghnoor





Smrithi Poornachandra Nee Rumdali Rai

Our Correspondent

Ameeta Sharma Ameeta Sharma

Vidhyalakshmi Rao


● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Kasturi Rangachari

Susheela Menon

A. C. Tuli

Adapradamanmousse Alleppey prawn curry Appam Baked gulab jamun cheese cake Banana flower cutlet FROM RECIPES Kerala Chakka kuru ularthiyathu Karimeen pollichathu Konchu roast Kuttanadan duck roast ● Vegetable biryani Meen vevichathu ● Curd rice Vegetable puttu ● Chicken peralan
Adaprad amanmo usse Alleppey prawn curry

size) (medium 1 raw mangochilli red 5 whole iri chilli r 5 Kashm ic powde 1/ tsp turmer 2 ginger 5 gm sliced garlic 5 gm sliced fenugreek 1 pinch fennel 1 pinch shallots sliced 100 gm rd seeds 5 gm musta leaves curry 1 pinch nd juice 10ml tamari t oil 25 ml coconu salt to taste

radaman: extracts) recipes from For Adap t milk (3 Enjoy these ml coconu Michal of Chef Subin Resort DAMAN 200gm rice pasta 25 y sauce ADAPRA E m Lake to taste 50 gm jagger powder Kumarako t is cardamom to taste MOUSS The resor powder dry ginger in Kerala. TS: nut its authentic INGREDIENg cream 10 gm cashew cookin known for 10 ml ghee most of 50 mlegg yolk and add METHOD yolk, sugar and Kerala food have been 3 no sugar into a Mix egg 25 gm . Make it g cream gm gelatin ng cream the recipes 15 hot cookin consistency. the Executive 100 gm whippi daman custard adapra created by elf especially 100 gmam) Chef hims h (Payas ) 2009 Roma Ghos January (Second Era for you. By Woman’s

METHOD fine paste of grated red Make a , whole raw mango and fennel coconut, iri chilli chilli, Kashm add aside. and keep in a pan, curry and Heat oil musta rd, fenugr eek, crackle. , garlic, leaves to sliced ginger brown ; till Then add then saute t masala shallo ts, pasted coconu then add five nd juice. and tamari gravy for about the into Cook the prawns and add Cook it minutes to taste; it with Add salt gravy. a and finish well in masal ring. and add the tempe Heat oil , Tempering: musta rd seeds ts, chilli. sliced shalloand whole red Appam , leaves curry panim ent: Rice. Accom Steamed Cook ing Kerala rice, and Appam Prepa ration s. minute Time: 30 milk is secon d t of Once the the first extrac om add n and reduced, the cardam d gelati t milk. Add to it for taste. Add melteand mix it well. TS: ing coconur and ginger nuts INGREDIEN w rice cashew Adapradaman with whipp powde rice flour/ra mix with fried 500 gm Again , Finish it na (rawa) t strips. 25 gm semoli refrigerated and small coconu cream. mixture 5 gm yeast Keep the : s. 1 tsp sugar milk for 45 minute of adapradaman t ½ coconu Preparation pasta in water. mix the rice water to Boil the well add cooked salt to taste After it is d, the sauce. all reduce jaggery METHOD the raw rice, soak TS: water is ut INGREDIEN prawns 20c Once the extract of cocon If using 45 tiger third 400 gm add the coconut d, add the 1/ 2 grated milk. 2009 is reduce (Second) Once that t of coconut milk. Era ● January Woman’s second extrac








Subhra Mazumdar





Cover Courtesy: Model: Shaheera Khan Make-up & Hair: Omkar Photographer: Aadish Raikwar

Editor, Publisher & Printer PARESH NATH
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he Union Cabinet’s approval of two major schemes of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry in the first week of the year is welcome and, of course, a New Year gift to the country. Under these schemes, the Government has sanctioned Rs 20,000 crore for Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) to universalise access and improve quality of education at secondary stage and a Rs 4,600-crore National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to expand the reach of higher education. In fact, the RMSA scheme seeks to achieve a General Enrollment Ratio (GER) of 75% for classes IXX within five years by providing a secondary school within a reasonable distance of every habitation, upgrade about 44,000 existing secondary schools, open 11,188 new secondary schools, appoint 1.79 lakh additional teachers and construct some 80,500 additional classrooms. Moreover, Universities and Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) across the country can design and develop new courses for their academic curricula from this year without prior permission of the Government. This was disclosed by Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Arjun Singh last December. The HRD Ministry's nod will allow the IITs to introduce courses on Nuclear Technologies from the 2009 academic session. This will enable India to meet the demand for skilled technicians and hopefully, one day, there will be also a team of engineers, not only scientists, working on the nuclear power. The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi has also started the Sun-IIT Delhi Centre of Excellence in E-governance, in collaboration with Sun Microsystems India Pvt Ltd, for the provision of e-governance solutions. E-governance, which means the use of technology to make governance better, involves the development of technology and research in topics such as making the public-private partnership better and coming up with new business models. So, Indian government needs to support for making e-governance a reality in the future. As another initiative, the Union Cabinet on 2nd January had on its agenda the launching of the Rs 5,000-crore ‘National Mission in Education in ICT’ project, which envisages the creation of a National

Knowledge Network across institutes through a 15 Gigabit broadband connectivity. A key recommendation of the Sam Pitroda-led National Knowledge Commission (NKC), this project first mooted in 2007 envisages networking across some 15,000 colleges and universities, putting learning material online and sharing the expertise of centres of excellence with institutes spread across the country. With the Cabinet nod for the project, this will be one of the few NKC proposals which has found favour with HRD Ministry under Arjun Singh. Of course, with globalisation Indian education sector has a challenging task ahead. Moreover, the economic progress of a country is strongly linked with the quality of education. It is therefore, necessary for our technical education to undertake periodic review of the curriculum and subject content of the technical programmes to ensure that they are up to date, not outmoded or obsolete and effectively fulfil the technological requirements of the country. Highlighting the requirements to foster a research environment in the Universities, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, while inaugurating the 96th session of the Indian Science Congress in Shillong on 3rd January, “It is teachers and researchers who inspire new generations. The Government can, at best, ease the supply-side constraints on teaching and research. The demand-side stimulus must come from institutions and industry. Our universities must do more to foster a research environment. We need strengthening of institutional leadership in universities and research institutions. We need a new generation of role models and teachers.” Therefore, it is time to have a full cooperation between government and institutions. Only then education sector would move at a fast pace. Subsequently, many brilliant and intellectual scholars would come out with flying colours. As the entire outlook of the youths towards education has undergone a sea change, it is therefore the need of the hour to revamp the education sector of the country in a big way beginning from elementary schools to higher education. While improving the higher education in hi-tech way, the Right to Education and Integrated Education schemes of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan need to be running in a successful manner. By doing so, we can say that Indian education sector has a bright future and would help in nation-building.
write to: letters@womansera.com We

Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009


How to handle kids when they are losing their hearts at an earlier age than before.
By Sachin Srivastava


een romance is not a new phenomenon. In fact, many of our grandparents were married quite young and began their own families in their latter teenage years. But nowadays it seems like even little kids are having crushes on both peers and celebrities, and tweens and teens are more actively engaged in the “hunt” for a partner. Being “single” at the ripe old age of 15 can be seen as abnormal by many kids, especially those who hang out with peers in the fast lane and aspire to be, act and look like the celebs on MTV. Although tween and teen romance is normal, it’s not without some pretty heavy ups and downs. Let’s take a gander at a few: ● It’s certainly risky business and a good way to get the first heartbreak! ● Some tweens really do fall head over heels in love, and can continue a relationship throughout middle school and even into the high school years. ● Generally, this type of relationship narrows the child’s interests and involvement with others (sports, clubs and even academics). Hours spent on the telephone or chatting on the Internet with a boyfriend or girlfriend may be better spent with a more balanced approach to a relationship. What’s a parent to do? Well, try to keep a cool head yourself, make sure that the lines of communication with your child remain open, and that you are not judgmental (at least until you see the boy or girl friend’s rap sheet!). Also, try the following with your child:

● Discuss the benefits of finding a balance in a relationship, especially if your child is getting too involved or obsessed with the relationship. You may have to set some limits on telephone or Internet time, or suggest that activities and time are spent with a variety of friends. ● Caution your child to not spend too much money on gifts for the other person – it’s expensive, and may not be received well. ● If the relationship is relatively new, suggest to your child that he or she shy away from buying a gift that is to be worn on the body (jewellery, clothing) – that’s very personal and may be viewed by the recipient (or their folks!) as too intimate. Safer choices are CDs, books or cool cards or candy. And, feelings can be easily hurt if the gift is not received well or reciprocated. Guys should keep it simple – a card, flower or small box of candy is usually a safe bet. Girls – too sentimental may come across as smothering – keep the gift simple, cute or perhaps even humorous. ● For kids in more lengthy relationships, more personal gifts can be given and are often valued as treasured possessions.


How should parents handle the tween or teen relationship? ● Whatever you do, don’t ridicule your kid – no matter how unrealistic the crush or inappropriate the relationship. Your child’s feelings are real and should be respected. ● Communication is the key. If you make fun of his or her feelings, your child may become secretive about this one as well as future relationships.

● Try not to be judgmental. Discuss with your child what is important, in your family, about dating, sex and the bottom line when it comes to who your kid can become involved with. At the minimum, I would suggest that the significant other must still be attending school, close to your child’s age, not have a history of legal problems, not be involved in substance use or abuse, and be reasonably polite when in your presence. ● If the kid at least meets these requirements, let your child lead the way. Unless the relationship

becomes obsessive or interferes with other life activities, try to enjoy your kid’s involvement and new interests, of course with a watchful eye regarding curfew violations and honesty in terms of the ol’ who, what, when, where and why of where they are going and what they are doing. Use the “relationship” as a jumping-off spot for communication. Get to know your child’s interests, friends and how he or she wishes to be perceived by others via the boyfriend or girlfriend. Kids love to talk about their loves and infatuations – have fun with it and respect your child’s feelings. If you really like the boyfriend or girlfriend, let the kids know it – take them out to dinner or to the movies with you, praise the way that they treat each other and are respectful of feelings, and also show that you know when to back off and give the couple some privacy and time to themselves.


Five small words that speak volumes: Let the small stuff go! I’m sure that if you look back over the past 12 months you’ll remember lots of arguments and fusses that really amounted to nothing or very little. A rule of thumb that I’ve tried to use with my own family as well as my clients is that “If it won’t have a lasting effect beyond a few days, let it go.” Sound too simplistic? Perhaps in some cases, but most of the time it’s a sanity saver. I’ve never heard of a kid being harmed by skipping the tooth brushing for a few nights, or by not using soap in the shower, or by the bed actually being made only on sheet-changing days. Or, if your son is too tired to complete the homework once in a while, you may let him get up early the next morning and finish the math problems. What is important, though, is that your focus is upon the important things, which may be different from your neighbour’s list of priorities. In your house having dinner together at least three or four times a week may be important as it helps keep communication cooking and children eating some nutritious foods. Your family code of values (what’s major, not minor) may involve sticking with rules about cell phone usage, not sneaking around and actually being where you say you will be, abstinence from substance use, etc. It’s different for everyone, but try to focus upon issues that involve education, safety, avoidance of illegal activities and hanging around decent kids. If your daughter wants to try blue streaks in her hair, perhaps that’s a possibility in the summer when it won’t be so embarrassing if it’s a disaster. Roll with some of the requests, compromise when possible, but stick to your guns on the big stuff.

parents and spouses who send each other service messages rather than truly communicating (pick up the cleaning, walk the dog Ö not “How was your day?”). That’s normal, but not nice. And, you can do a better job just by “assuming” that your associates and friends will see your home videos and get a real look at how the family treats each other. Being “on tape” is a great motivator for watching your language (knocking off the negative tone of voice, requesting rather than demanding, cleaning up the four-letter words and just being more polite with your spouse and kids). If you don’t believe the power of assuming you’re on tape, actually set up a camcorder for one evening when everyone’s at home and you’re trying to negotiate dinner, homework chores and who gets first access to the remote control. Then, take a look at your family’s production. Is it something that you’d like Margaret at the office to see? How about your mother-in law – would she approve or go into “I told you so Ö” mode? At the very least, it’s a fun activity, but hopefully you’ll see where some improvements in common courtesy, politeness and body language need to occur.

Assume your home is wired to a nanny-cam Trust me; I know how easy it is to forget about gratitude, politeness and manners at home! On a daily basis it’s often a drama including short tempers, difficult kids, demanding
8 Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009

Put guilt in its place – generally in the trash can! Guilt can be a handy and useful motivator when necessary – “If your friend finds out that you’re gossiping about her, she may not want to play with you again” makes sense, and helps to teach your child that there are consequences attached to her words or behaviours. Go for guilt, when it’s being used for a teachable moment. However, parents tend to fall too quickly, too deeply and too often into the guilt mode when kids are involved. Parents hate – yes, hate – to disappoint their children, and we’d probably be able to uncover an evolutionary basis for that feeling if we were to take the time to analyse it. But, just as we no longer really need our gallbladder, tonsils or last year’s fruitcake, many guilt moments We are no longer of value either.

Making short work of delaying things.
By Anju D. Aggarwal



rocrastination can lead to many problems – tests failed, weight gained, relationships weakened. But you can change your ways. Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday: Don Marquis. Here are some tips to get you going!

● Look at the effects of procrastination versus not procrastinating. What rewards lie ahead if you get it done? What are the effects if you continue to put it off? Which situation has better effects? Chances are, you will benefit more in the long term from facing the task head-on.

● Count up the time you spend on activities while procrastinating. You may be shocked by the amount of time wasted simply watching TV. ● Set reasonable goals. Plan your goals carefully, allowing enough time to complete them. ● Break the task down into smaller parts. How can you approach it step by step? If you can concentrate on achieving one goal at a time, the task may become less of a burden. ● Get started whether you "feel" like it or not. Going from doing nothing to doing something is often the hardest part of overcoming procrastination. Once you start, it will be easier to continue.

● Ask for help. You don't always have to do it alone. ● Don't expect perfection. No one is perfect. It's better to try your best than to do nothing at all. ● Reward yourself. The reward that lies at the end of a long road to a goal may be great, but while you're on the way, it may not always be enough to motivate you. Remind yourself – with a break, a movie, some kind of treat you like – that you are making successful progress. ● Don't let yourself be distracted by taking control and saying "no." By picking up the guitar, playing a DVD for entertaining your friends, you build confidence in your ability. ● Other time traps to avoid: saying yes when you don't have the time, studying when you're tired or in a distracting location, not thinking ahead, not curbing your social time, and finally, taking on too many tasks and projects.

● You may want to take a course in time management. ● Several books have been

written on procrastination. Here are the titles: Procrastination: Why You Do It, What to Do About It by Jane B. Burka, Lenora M, Ph.D. Yuen, The Now Habit: A Strategic Programme for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil Fiore and for students, Beat Procrastination and Make the Grade: A Life-saving Guide for Students by Linda Sapadin, Jack Maguire. These are highly recommended. ● Of course, not everyone enjoys 12 Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009

reading. A very good audio CD/cassette is, Make Your Mind Work for You: New Mind Power Techniques to Improve Memory, Beat Procrastination and More by Joan Minninger. ● If you hate to read and begin to procrastinate, think of it this way. If you have to read a 276-page book, divide it into the amount of time you have. If you have about 2 weeks, reading about 21 pages a day is much less overwhelming. We ● Just start working.

When a widow and a widower, each with a 10 year old son, marry, what prevents the sparks from flying? By Kasturi Rangachari Part-I
hink about it,” said Akshay persuasively. “You’re still young, my little sister, and this could be a second chance for happiness for you.” Ramya shifted uncomfortably. “But, anna,” she protested. “a…a second marriage?” “And why not?” countered Akshay. “You were so young, when you were widowed – just 21! And nine long years have passed since then. How long will you live a lonely life?” “I’m not lonely! I have Saketh! And I also have amma and you and Shailu Manni and the kids.” “I know…but a husband is different. Only a husband can give you true companionship. And amma says that she will be able to die in peace only after she has seen you settled down again. That’s why I advertised in the matrimonial columns without telling you!” Akshay cleared his throat before continuing more slowly. “You must have a life of your own, Ramya. I know that you work, but you aren’t really the career sort – and how long will you just help Shailu run this home? No, you need a home of your own to run.” Ramya didn’t reply and Akshay added hastily. “It’s not that you’re a burden on us or that Shailu doesn’t appreciate your help, of course. It’s just that…” “I understand, anna,” said Ramya. “Then you’ll meet this man? This Pranesh?” “All right.” Akshay’s face brightened. “Good!” he said heartily. “And, Ramya, I went and met Pranesh when he responded to our ad and I have a feeling that you will like him. He’s 35 and he’s got a terrific job. He’s also good-looking, smart and very charming. He lost his wife eight years ago and his son, Kiran, is the same age as Saketh.” “The man sounds almost too good to be true!” said Ramya a trifle dryly. “Why would such a man want to marry someone like me?” Akshay bristled. “I’d say that he’s the lucky one – to get a sweet, hard-working, soft-spoken, pleasant person like you!” he exclaimed. “Thank you for all those compliments, anna, said


Ramya with an affectionate laugh, “but I know that I’m nothing special. Besides I’m 30. He could get a much younger girl – and one without any encumbrances.” “Saketh isn’t an encumbrance! He…” “But you understand what I mean, don’t you?” Akshay hesitated and then nodded. “Yes, I understand,” he said heavily. “But perhaps Pranesh is a mature man who wants the companionship of a mature woman.” “Perhaps. But don’t get your hopes up too much, anna. We may not take to each other, you know, and the marriage may not come off well: Besides, I must speak to Saketh before I take a decision. If he doesn’t like the idea, it’s all off.” It was decided that Ramya and Pranesh would meet in a restaurant and talk things over. Ramya felt nervous and self-conscious as she got ready to go for the meeting. Was she being stupid? Was she too old for this marriage business? Could she adjust to having a man in her life after so long? She sighed. Before she thought about all that, she had first to decide what to wear and how to do her hair! Should her sari be a special-occasion silk or a business like crisp cotton? Should she plait her hair, do it up in a jooda or leave it open? Should she use any makeup, jewellery?


fter a lot of thought she decided to wear a tussar sari with a string of pearls. She’d be neither dressing up nor down with that. She then used just a touch of make-up and twisted her hair into a neat bun at the nape of her neck. Pranesh was already at the restaurant when she got there. Both of them recognised the other from the photographs they had exchanged. They ordered coffee and then began to talk. At the beginning the conversation was stilted, but later, it moved along smoothly as the two found several topics of common interest to chat about and they both relaxed. Some time later, they moved on to more personal matters.

“My mother was with me when Kiran was a child and so the boy was well looked after. But since her death three years ago, things have been difficult. But we’ve somehow managed, mainly because I have a couple of trusted servants who have been with me for years and Kiran is an independent, self-sufficient boy.” “My Saketh isn’t, I’m afraid. He’s a rather dreamy bookworm. But I’ve had no problem because I’ve been living with my mother and my brother and his family.” “I see. Will Saketh miss all of them?” Ramya looked at Pranesh in slight confusion. Did this mean that Pranesh wanted to go ahead with the marriage? She suddenly felt weak at the knees. “I…don’t know,” she confessed in confusion. “Does that mean that you will marry me?” asked Pranesh abruptly. Ramya became even more flustered. For a moment she avoided Pranesh’s eyes and then she straightened. She was really too old to behave like a simpering, coy 20-yearold who was meeting a man alone for the first time!

“I’d like to discuss a few things with you first,” she said firmly. “Fine!” “Well, first of all, why do you want to remarry? I mean why have you decided to remarry now?” Pranesh didn’t hesitate. “It’s mainly for Kiran’s sake,” he said. “The boy is growing a little wild and he’s neglecting his studies. He needs more care than I can give him.” “I see. And why do you want to marry a woman like me? An older woman with a child of her own – and not a young thing?”



ranesh smiled briefly. “I want a woman who’ll be nearer my age than Kiran’s,” he said. “And as for your being widowed and having a child – you have obviously been through a hard time and have been lonely. Me too. So, I thought that we’d understand each other and get along well.” Ramya nodded. “That makes sense,” she said, but she stared uncertainly at Pranesh. His words had brought back memories of her past and all the old doubts resurfaced. Was she doing the right thing by deciding to remarry? “But,” Pranesh stared at her and hesitated and then went on. “I think that both of us should enter into this marriage without any expectations.

Pranesh may have good looks and charismatic personality but Ramya wants more from marriage than a business relationship.

Personal expectations, I mean. I think that it’s better that we don’t behave like romantic youngsters. So let us keep our relationship at a practical, businesslike level. Kiran needs a mother and probably Saketh needs a father figure in his life. We’ll see that both boys get what they need and we’ll be partners in this endeavour. That’s all. What do you say?”


amya eyed him warily. It was a good thing that this cold, self-contained man who could speak of marriage as a practical business relationship, couldn’t see into her heart! If he could, he would see what havoc his devastating good looks and charismatic personality had already caused! Should she tell him that she wanted and expected more from marriage than a business relationship? But something told her that if she did so, he’d just get up and walk out of her life – and somehow she didn’t think that she wanted that! She took a deep breath. “All right,” she said. “It’s a joint venture. No personal demands! But I have to talk to Saketh before I take a final decision. Have you talked to Kiran?” Pranesh threw back his head and laughed. “Spoken to Kiran?” he asked. “Marrying again was Kiran’s idea!” Ramya laughed with him. Her heart beat fast. Her life was changing so quickly that it seemed a dream. Would things work out all right for her and Saketh? But first of all, she hoped that Saketh would approve of the idea of her remarrying! Ramya spoke to 10-yearold Saketh the next Sunday. Everyone else was having a post-lunch siesta and she took Saketh out into the back garden where she could be sure of not being disturbed and spoke to him about marrying Pranesh. “But only if you agree,” she told him taking his hand and holding it tight. “I mean that. If you don’t like the idea, just tell me.” Saketh stared at his mother through his specs but didn’t say anything. Ramya put her arm around him. He was so thin that she could feel every bone in his body. She felt her heart melt with love. “Saketh,” she began. “Talk

to me. Tell me how you feel about this matter.” “Mummy, mama has already spoken to me about….about…this.” “Did he? When?” “Remember he took me with him when he went to buy vegetables last Sunday? He first took me to the beach and we talked there.” “But you never said anything about it to me!” “Mama told me to wait till you spoke to me.” “I see. What did he say?” “He said that this…person…this gentleman…is very nice and that we’ll be very happy with him.” “I think that too.” “But we’ll have to leave this home! I like it here. I’ll miss patti (grandmother) and everyone.” “I know, darling. But we’ll come to see them often. And whatever happens, whatever changes, they’ll always be your grandmother, uncle, aunt and cousins. So there is nothing to be afraid of.” “All right then.” But Saketh’s eyes were wide with apprehension even as he said the words and Ramya gave him another squeeze. “Do you know that you’ll have a new friend in your new home? A brother? His name is Kiran. And he’s exactly your age.” “Will…will he …like me?” “Why won’t he? We’ll be a family. You, me, Kiran and your new father.” “But…I already have a father…in heaven.” “Yes, your father is in heaven looking after you from there...but this father will also look after you.” “Will I have to call him Daddy?” “Only if you want to.” “All right.” And mother and son sat close together, each brooding in silence over the future. “Hm! So, he wants an impersonal business relationship, does he?” he voice that asked the question in a light, slightly mocking tone, belonged to a plump and pretty woman with dancing eyes. She was Daisy, Ramya’s friend and colleague and the two of them were in the company canteen having lunch. “In that case forget him, Ramya,” Daisy continued. “Who wants an impersonal, emotionless marriage? Or is it that you are afraid of involvement in a relationship because it’s painful
Extrovert Kiran flexing his muscles.



just a week after that, the baby had died suddenly as he lay asleep. “It’s called a crib death,” the doctor had said. “Babies just die sometimes and it’s difficult to give an exact cause.” Ramya had begun to sob. “My baby!” she wept. “My poor baby! And I’ve had a tubectomy!” “That can be reversed.” But it had never been reversed. There had initially been no hurry to have it done and later, after Mahesh’s sudden mouth and tragic death days later, there had been no point in having the procedure fell open and performed. aisy’s mouth fell open and she she stared Daisy now put her hand on her stared dumbfounded at her friend’s arm and pressed it. “You can normally reserved and selfdumbfounded have it reversed,” she said echoing the contained friend. “Oh my goodness!” doctor’s words. “Do it. Let me put it this she exclaimed blankly. “You’ve got it at her normally way. You have a child. He’s yours. that bad!” reserved and Pranesh has a son who is his. But you “I have! So, I’ll marry Pranesh on his need a child that belongs to both of you. terms! In fact, I’m ready to marry him self-contained Think of it as the Mine, Yours and Ours on any terms!” friend. Project. ” “That’s all right now, but do you Ramya stared at her in silence. “All think that the kind of relationship he right,” she said finally. “But I can’t do it wants will satisfy you later? Love is demanding, you know, and you’ll want emotion and now, because I could never explain it to anna. It’ll have to be after I’m married. And, by the way, I’ll be passion in return for your own love. So, if Pranesh resigning.” sticks to his ‘business deal’ stand, you’ll end up “What? Gosh! Don’t tell me that Pranesh is one of feeling frustrated.” those men who believes that a Ramya’s face fell. “Well, I suppose you know woman’s place is in the home!” more about these things than I do…” she said in a Ramya smiled. “He isn’t. But miserable tone. we both feel that there are “I certainly do!” going to be a lot of “And you think that I shouldn’t marry him…” adjustment problems for all of “Did I say that? Of course you should marry us and that it would be Pranesh, but you should break down the barriers he better if I was dealing with intends to put up against you.” them full time.” “How can I do that? I really don’t see myself as a “That’s okay, but a job sultry seducer who will set Pranesh aflame and tempt would be a safety net if him into making passionate love!” things don’t work “Then you’ll have to do something else…” out.?” “What?” “ Daisy, I “Bear his child.” don’t intend to “Daisy! You know that I can’t!” start off by “Because you have had a tubectomy?” planning for Ramya nodded, her face twisted with pain as she went back to that nightmarish time. Saketh had been things not just months old when she had found herself pregnant working out. Things will work again, but Mahesh and she had decided to go through with the pregnancy. Saketh for “But you’ll have a tubectomy as soon as the baby a change in is born,” said Mahesh. “No more accidents like this jovial mood one, please!” – seen A little baby boy had been born and two days there later, Ramya had had a tubectomy performed. She without specs. had gone home with the baby a few days later, but when you lose it? I understand that, but…” “No, it isn’t that. The last 9 years have healed those wounds. That’s not to say that I’ve forgotten either Mahesh or that poor little baby, but I’m ready to go on with my life now.” “Then what is it?” demanded Daisy. “Oh, Daisy, don’t laugh. I know that I’m 30 and that I should know better, but I’ve fallen in love, at first sight! Pranesh is…is…is so incredibly wonderful! And when he smiled at me, I felt as if my heart had Daisy’s stopped beating!”

out. I’ll make them work out! My commitment to this told you we would – you couldn’t attend because the marriage is hundred per cent. I’m not even going to company had its AGM that day, remember? – and, think of things going wrong!” of course, we didn’t go for a honeymoon!” Ramya Daisy’s eyes moistened. “That’s the way to go, exclaimed with some irritation when Daisy pounced girl!” she exclaimed. on her demanding details of the wedding. Ramya Pranesh brought Kiran over one day a week had gone to office a couple of weeks after she had before the wedding. The boy was tall and well built got married, in connection with getting her PF dues. for his age and had an air of self-confidence about “We have two 10-year-old sons! Where would we him. He gazed at Ramya with open curiosity. leave them when we went? And besides…” Ramya’s “This is Kiran,” said Pranesh. voice trailed away. “And this is Saketh,” said Ramya pulling her son “Besides? Oh, you mean your no-personalforward gently. She knew that Saketh, shy at the involvement pact. So, Pranesh is still set on that – best of times, would be feeling almost terrified now even though you’re his wife and you are living in the and so she kept her arm around him. same house as he is? And does that mean no sex?” Pranesh looked at Saketh in surprise. “I thought Ramya looked around in embarrassment at the that Saketh was 10 – like Kiran,” he blunt question, but there was no one said. within earshot. “Yes,” she said. “No “Saketh, we’ll “He is,” said Ramya stiffly. Saketh’s sex. But things are fine otherwise – in a slim build and low weight were a sore business like, unemotional way!” And talk about that point with her. Daisy groaned as she heard the words! later,” said “I see. Hey, you boys should be able Pranesh had begun to treat Saketh Ramya hastily. to get along fine. You’ll be in the same just as he treated Kiran, right from the class, for one thing. By the way,” he first day. In a brisk, no-nonsensical way, “Why don’t you turned to Ramya, “we’ll have to change he included Saketh in all his talks and take Kiran to Saketh’s school. His present one is just games with his son. But unfortunately your too far away from my house. But, no this treatment did not suit the bookish, problem. I’m sure that Kiran’s principal sensitive Saketh who was already room and show will give him admission, even though it drooping more than he usually did him your is the middle of the year.” because he was missing his old home books?” “Ma!” wailed Saketh, “I don’t want and family. to change schools!” “Do I have to go?” he protested in a “I’m afraid it will be difficult to send you so far…” whisper to Ramya one day when Pranesh called him began Pranesh, but Saketh interrupted him. for a game of football in the garden as soon as he “Ma, please!” he pleaded. “Don’t make me came home from office. “I hate football!” change schools!” “But, darling, playing and running about are “Saketh, we’ll talk about that later,” said Ramya good for you. And you now have Kiran to play hastily. “Why don’t you take Kiran to your room and with.” “I thought that you’d understand,” whined show him your books?” Saketh and he scowled at her as he ran away. “I’d rather go into the garden and climb that tree,” observed Kiran pointing to a chiku tree with amya swallowed hard as tears threatened to invitingly low, spreading branches that stood to one fill her eyes. This was the first time Saketh had side of the garden. scowled at her and accused her of not “I don’t like to climb trees,” announced Saketh. understanding! She went over to the window and “Let’s go to my room.” watched the trio. Pranesh was acting as the “I’m your guest here. So you should do as I want goalkeeper and the two boys were shooting goals to,” said Kiran firmly. as Pranesh shouted instructions. Shailu, Ramya’s sister-in-law, had been setting the Kiran’s kicks winged their way goal-wards and he table that stood in front of the French windows. often managed to angle them past his father, but “You certainly can do whatever you want to,” Saketh fumbled repeatedly and missed the goal she now said soothingly. “But first have something to completely time and again. Kiran howled with eat.” Ramya gave an inward sigh as she led their laughter whenever this happened and, though guests to the table, which was groaning under a Pranesh did not, he began to concentrate more and load of goodies. It didn’t look as if things were more on Saketh. Unfortunately, the additional going to be easy – but then Pranesh was certainly attention only made the boy more nervous. worth a little trouble! Ramya moved away from the window, telling “We had an ordinary registered wedding as I herself firmly that she should be glad that Saketh



Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009

was being forced to play games. The boy had really become too much of a bookworm! But her heart was heavy at the thought of her little boy’s nervous fumbles and Kiran’s howls of laughter. Saketh luckily had less trouble settling down in his new school. He had been a topper at his old school and seemed all set to do well here too. “But the boys aren’t friendly,” he complained to Ramya. “But surely Kiran has introduced you to his friends?” she asked. “No, he hasn’t.” “That’s odd,” said Pranesh who had come into the room just then. “I’ll tell him to.” “No, please, don’t!” said Saketh looking embarrassed. “But, why not?” asked Pranesh.”


aketh just shook his head but Kiran was blunter later on. “How do I introduce him?” he asked his father. “How do I explain a new brother? The boys will…will…ask questions.” Neither Pranesh or Ramya had any answer to that and they kept quiet. “Saketh will find his feet by himself and make friends,” Pranesh said to Ramya later. “He’s good at studies and that will help.” Ramya nodded, but her heart went out to her little boy. All the problems he was facing were because of her decision to remarry. Had she been selfish, she wondered. Kiran could laugh at Saketh’s football, but the tables were turned every night when the boys sat down with their books. Kiran was not a good student mainly because he was restless and distracted. Pranesh did not seem to take it very seriously, though Ramya remembered him telling her that one of the reasons he had decided to get married was because Kiran needed more supervision in his studies. She herself was totally taken aback by Kiran’s poor performance. She had the typically middle-class attitude of considering education the main road to success in life and thought that bad marks in the lower classes meant a poor grasp of basic concepts and skills and that this in turn meant problems in the higher classes. “Kiran,” she said for the time that evening, “please concentrate. All these sums are wrong.” Kiran cast a sidelong glance at Saketh and scowled when he saw him grinning. “Tell him not to grin!” he complained to Ramya. “Why shouldn’t I grin?” retorted Saketh. “You laugh when I play football badly!” “You look foolish then…” “And you look foolish now!” Kiran gave a growl of rage and launched himself at Saketh. The chairs of both the boys fell over and

in a moment they were rolling on the floor, wrestling with each other. “Ma..aa..aa!” wailed Saketh who was getting the worst of it. Ramya flew to the rescue of her son. “Get…off…him, Kiran!” she begged pulling at him. “You’ll kill him!” Two strong arms reached out from behind Ramya and lifted Kiran off Saketh. Ramya glanced around and saw that it was Pranesh who had come home unnoticed. She gathered Saketh into her arms. “Oh, my poor darling!” she exclaimed. “Are you hurt?” Saketh clutched at his head and glared at Kiran. “I want to go home!” he shouted. “You are at home,” said Pranesh firmly. “Now, boys, tell me what happened.” “He started it!” Saketh was angrier than Ramya had ever seen him. “No, he did! He laughed at me!” “But he always laughs at me! So what if I laughed once?” Once Pranesh understood what had happened, he sipped the tea Ramya had brought him and eyed the boys thoughtfully. “Kiran, one extra hour of studies the whole of next week is your punishment and Saketh, you’ll start karate classes tomorrow,” he announced. After the two sulky boys left the room – Saketh to go upstairs to his room and Kiran to go out into the garden to practise shooting balls into the basketball hoop put up there – Ramya sat down in front of Pranesh. “Why karate classes for Saketh?” she asked. “Kiran already learns. Do you want the boys to fight out all matters?” “No, I don’t. But Saketh has to become physically stronger and more agile. He has to learn to stand up for himself and not just shout for you whenever he is in any trouble.”


amya could not fault that, though her heart went out to Saketh and the trouble he would have with karate. But she checked herself. After all, she should feel as much for Kiran, for whom an extra hour of studies would be as much torture! She sighed. Married life was certainly turning out to be complicated! But she also felt a warmth in her heart when she thought of the casual but firm way Pranesh had told Saketh that he was at home and the equally casual and accepting way in which Saketh had not repeated his angry words. No, things certainly didn’t look totally bleak – but perhaps it was time she did something. Something that Daisy had suggested. And that was to start working on the Mine, Yours and Ours Project! Yes, the time had come for her to try and reverse her tubectomy! She put the problem of getting Pranesh into her bed out of her mind for now. That would come later! – (To be continued)


Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009

A man walks past an image of a cup of coffee in a lifestyle billboard fronting a new building’s construction site in Beijing. China’s President Hu Jintao warned the preceding month that the country faced a grim job situation in the new year as Asia’s second biggest economy continues to slow down.

Enchanting beauty

Cup doesn’t cheer always
Miss World 2008 Kseniya Sukhinova of Russia poses for fans on her arrival in Moscow on 17 December, 2008. She was crowned Miss World 2008 in Johannesburg in the middle of December after beating 108 other international beauties in a glittering African extravaganza.

A railroad man cleans a window of Siemens AG-made Velaro series high-speed train named Sapsan before an inaugural ceremony in St. Petersburg on 26 December, 2008. Russian Railways will get eight trains by the end of 2010.

The baby swims
The baby hippopotamus swims beside its mother “Kati” at the zoo in Berlin on 16 December, 2008. The hippo was born in November.

Hannah, the Mermaid dives beside dugongs (unseen) in the Mermaid Lagoon Exhibit at Sydney Aquarium. The 1.7 million litre tropical water habitat features two of the herbivorous marine mammals which normally live in Australia’s northern coastal waters. Sea pirates and sailors started the mermaid myth after sighting dugongs.

Mermaid myth

Space-look train

Ice Bear
People visit an ice sculpture gallery in Rovaniemi.

Underground wonder Rise of Chandrayaan

Writing sea lion
Five-year-old sea lion “Jackie” writes the word “Ox” in Chinese character as part of a preparation to welcome New Year of the Ox at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise Aquarium in Yokohama in Kanagawa prefecture, suburban Tokyo.

Visitors on a boat take a ride past huge drapery rock formation on the underground river at Jeita Grotto cave complex, north of the Lebanese capital Beirut. Lebanese are lobbying for the grotto to be named one of the new Seven Wonders of the world in an online competition that has drawn natural attractions from the globe. The grotto comprises a lower cave through which an underground river runs, and sports spectacular rock formations.

Minister of Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi (2R, sitting) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G. Madhavan Nair (2L, sitting) pose with members (standing) of Chandrayaan – 1 team during felicitation in New Delhi. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) felicitated officials of Chandrayan - 1 team.

A great way to literally look better – at no cost.
By Vikas KumarJain



ace reveals everything. It is said that face is a mirror which reflects a person's personality, feelings, and emotions. Experts in face reading can even say what you are and what sort of personality you possess. Face tells if you are happy, sad, worried or stressed. For many people, their face reflects years of stress, pent-up emotions, habitual expressions and an unhealthy lifestyle, which have all left their collective marks. It’s as if each muscle has its own storage bank and holds the emotion, which outwardly reflects on the face. The aches and pains point towards tension in our muscles and emotional stress. Through facial rejuvenation, you can release the emotions and stress from the facial muscles and tissues. As a result, face feels fresh and light. Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009

How does it work? As we think, particularly when we worry, we tense our muscles, particularly those of the face, neck and shoulders, which often result in chronic aches and pains, especially around the eyes, jaw and neck. Tense muscles can reduce the vital supply of oxygen as well as constrict the blood vessels. This hampers the free flow of blood and other fluids to the tissues, thus reducing the flow of nutrients and preventing the removal of waste products, resulting in pain or discomfort. That’s why facial muscles need to be toned up. Which can be done by sweeping, pressing, ironing, stretching and concentrated acupressure movements in a series of repetitive, tightening and relaxing massages. These stimulate energy centres around the face and tone the area while reducing muscular tension


and increasing blood and lymph flow. It is an effective treatment for puffy, dull, lacklustre complexions, often resulting from a build-up of toxins in the area. Our lymph system is like a waste disposal system, draining and transporting waste products out of our tissues. Some of these movements are designed to encourage lymphatic drainage, helping to counteract the effects of lack of exercise and poor breathing habits.

procedures emotional and physical releases can be brought about, which is good for our overall well-being. As workouts work wonders for our body, so do daily exercises for the facial muscles. Spare five minutes a day to do the exercises. You could do them while travelling or when sitting at your desk in the office.

simply pull apart towards your eyebrows.

Ageing: For those who worry about the changes brought about by the ageing process, these are a valuable tool. Our skin contains a component called connective tissue. Connective tissue is partly formed from collagen and fibres. Fibres weave together to form a flexible weblike structure. In younger skins, these fibres resemble a springy elastic band, giving suppleness and flexibility. Over time, the fibres lock together and the skin loses much of its mobility, much like a thick, inflexible elastic band. During facial rejuvenation, the therapist identifies by touch any restricted muscle or connective tissue and focusses on these areas. Facial rejuvenation helps to restore the skin’s suppleness by toning the collagen and fibres. Thus, it allows the connective tissue to regain its freedom and elasticity. In addition, facial rejuvenation works on releasing blockages in the body's subtle energy field, bringing about emotional and physical releases, thereby having an effect on our complete well-being. In the Indian philosophy of healing, there is a belief that each of us has a life force, an energy that is both within and around us. This universal energy is called prana. It's believed there are centres throughout our body, called chakras, which act as transformers, enabling us to benefit from this energy. Stimulation of specific energy centres on the face through accessing and manipulating acupressure points help to release blockages in the energy field. By following the energy-balancing

For the eyes ● Trying not to move your head from the vertical, look up, then look down. Look out of the corner of your eyes, first to the left, then to the right. ● Place the index finger of one hand and the middle finger of the other on either side of a crowsfeet wrinkle (corner of the eye) and press carefully and gently. Repeat up to 10 times, holding for five seconds each. For the mouth ● With your mouth slightly open, bring the corner of the left side of your mouth out as far as possible. Now do this with the right side of your mouth. Repeat five times. ● Puff up both cheeks and hold for a few seconds. Repeat this 10 times. This helps to reduce laughter lines.

For the forehead ● Place your thumbs on your temples and your index fingers at the top of your hairline. Push your index fingers up and your thumbs outwards to give yourself a stretched look. If you gather any skin you are doing it incorrectly. Hold to the count of 10 and repeat five times. ● Using the index fingers of both hands placed on the inside edge of your eyebrows, gently pull apart the frown lines. Be careful not to pull up or down in an unnatural direction,

Chin and jaw area ● Use the back of your hand to tap or gently slap under your chin. Repeat with the other hand and increase the speed. ● Place both thumbs under your chin to provide gentle resistance and push your chin down. Continue this symmetrically around your jawline. This will tone up your chin muscles and help reduce a double chin. For the nose ● Gently hold your nostrils between your thumb and index finger to offer gentle resistance and flare your nostrils as you slowly breathe in. Now slowly breathe out. Repeat this five times. ● Using your index finger, push the tip of your nose up and hold it firmly in place. Now pull your upper lip down over your teeth and hold for a second before releasing. Do it and see for yourself the changes brought about by these facial exercises. These exercises cost you nothing but bring immense benefits to your facial health. It makes you look younger, more cheerful, happy and stress-free. We

Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009

Hot ideas for your winter wardrobe.
By Kalpana M Naghnoor


inter is here and it is time to switch your wardrobe. Purple would be the key colour this season – and most leading fashion houses are throwing the colour into almost anything. Winter isn’t about only shawls and sweaters; we need to co-ordinate the colours to cheer us up.

During winter, volume is becoming. The army style, doublebreasted coats as well as navy widecollared dresses are in. The volume needs to be controlled, so keep it less at the hips for those who are broad in that area. Volume can be created with pleated skirts. Even worn short, have the skirt layered. Long woollies too will make magic this winter. But keep the stripes vertical if you are a plus size.

The thought of winter is a warm snuggle, and steaming beverages – yes, the picture comes on easy! The snuggle can be cosy when it is thick. Therefore, clothes this winter ought to be layered. A pair of black stockings will go a long way and, for the more adventurous, an array of colours will make it hot! The stockings can be worn with a short, layered skirt, and knee-length boots with a short, hooded pullover. You could colour scheme that with brown boots, black leggings, bright pink skirt, yellow top and a purple hooded short pullover. You could accessorise with yellow earrings and a heavy thick bangle and brown fluffy tote bag. The layers will give you the warm look apart from feeling it. These colours can be used in any scheme and clothes, even Indian wear. Even the salwar-kameez can be layered stylishly. A deep-neck pink kameez with a purple camisole worn in such a way it shows well, with of course a pink salwar would be a good combination. A light, dark- pink sweater with a floral purple yellow and pink dupatta will give it the layered look. Alternatively, a black, long-sleeved sweater worn on the inside and a deep neck bright- pink kameez and a black salwar accessorised with purple earrings, bag and shoes, a heavy stole of mixed hues of black and purple worn more like a shawl, will give a perfectly layered look. For a more chic evening wear, gold, black and purple can dominate. A woollen midlength purple dress with black stockings and black shoes will be fetching. Accessorise with chunky gold, a layered necklace, thick gold bangle and earrings. Hold a black and gold clutch. Earrings will complement the look, so wear them big. Bold coloured rings in dangles and clusters will be in. But

watch out! No excesses please – if so, you will end up looking like a Christmas tree. Especially while adding volume to the attire, and too many frills in the ears may seem odd, go bold, yet geometrical styles to be more certain of the choice. Please keep florets and ornate designs out of the ear this season. Bangles – as goes for the earrings – keep them bold and junky but not ornate. Keep the colours metallic and match them with the earrings if you are going for single hues. Geometric again and blend with the dress. Bags and shoes too should speak of the winter. Fluffy totes and fake fur may stir up the style. Match the shoes and the bag, coordinate with the earrings and bangles. Here is the

stones, wear them large as studs, in western patterns over pants and evening dresses. Totes rarely complement a salwar ! Go for the clutch when wearing a salwar, or a handbag made from brocade. The stripes, if you are a plus size, keep them vertical. That adds height to your stature since horizontal stripes make you look broader. But, if you are an XS, go for the horizontal stripes which are extremely smart and remember you are the few lucky ones! You could choose a broad horizontal striped sweater, purple and pink over a fullsleeved white T on white pants. Match it with a pink tote bag and shoes. Wear bold metallic grey earrings and bangles. The tartan checks are a classic pattern during the Christmas season; they traditionally come in red and green. They look beautiful. These look great worn as skirts and jackets. But the checks are available in other colours too. Plain-coloured whites go very well with these checks. Do not crowd the tartan checks with other designs. They are worn best highlighting the original pattern. Dress shirts over tartan checked skirts look great. Brown boots and a matching bag will be perfect. Winter is here – let’s We dress it up!

challenge. Check the styles. If the shoes and the bag are western, then go for western earrings and bangles as well as the dress. A lot of women do wear large, dangling earrings made from stones, which will suit Indian clothes over western cocktail dresses, or even pants. This is a style disaster! If at all you want to wear


successful couple is not the one that never fights but the one that has been married for a few years and husband still thinks his wife – especially if she is the typical homemaker – is still beautiful and they love each other to distraction. A sexy housewife is not the one who gets ready and looks like a Diva for a party, but the one who seems HOT to her husband even on an ordinary weekday. How does a woman become the best homemaker who keeps the house clean, everybody well fed and cared for and still looks like a million bucks without spending a fortune on herself?

The housewife is sexy not only in facial complexions, but mainly in mutual understandings and responsibilities towards each other.
By Ameeta Sharma


Is it even possible for a housewife to feel and look sexy? Or is that label of ‘sexy’, ‘fashionable’, ‘desirable’ and hot meant only for women who work in high-profile jobs with menfolk in the offices? Ask any psychiatrist, gym trainer, make-up technician, photographer, fashion designer and you will get a similar response – a woman does not automatically lose any attribute that makes her ‘sexy’ after she is married, unless she decides to be unsexy. Well, there – the result has been declared, now it is up to every housewife out there to become as sexy and desirable as she wants. Here are some shared nuggets from different professionals and successful women who are as sexy as any office-going woman or an entrepreneur of the world. These are marked as useful tips but remember, every woman is different and every home is unique in itself, so the principle behind the suggestion can be adapted to suit your situation best. You are a homemaker, a housewife, you have all the tools you need to feel as you desire. Go ahead...

bilities. Just acknowledge the power of responsibility that you have as a housewife. You are making a home for which your husband is earning and slogging. If you were not to make a good home, his earning would be useless. Recognise your power and your responsibility towards realisation of that dream for which you are working as a team. Useful Tip: Do not allow anybody to belittle the fact that you are not earning monthly cash. Your contribution is more important than just earning money. As a homemaker you are shaping the entity of your home and nurturing your family, and that is the biggest role a woman gets to play. And saving money is as good as earning money!

Respect your responsibility: Often, it is the sense of her power that keeps an office woman feeling important, this powerful feeling translates as her confidence and she exudes this successful aura that emanates from her due to the awareness of her power and responsi -

Nagging is not desirable: Most husbands find their wives to be nags; and in response most wives say that they nag because their husbands do not pay attention to what they say. A solution might be hidden in the detail of how a thing is being said and not what is being said. When men are told to do things in the office they do it without question because it is part of their job profile. So, the earlier you can define their responsibility for their profile as a husband and a father the better is the chance that they will do their portion of desired work without your wifely nagging. Sanjana says, ‘I was becoming a book-style nag and always telling

Ankit what he was doing wrong until one day he said that whatever he did I never seemed happy, so he did not want to bother doing anything I told him to do. I responded positively and made a long list of what he was to do when I stopped nagging him. For a party he was to get the cold drinks and ice which he forgot because I did not nag, and we had warm beer and no cold soda for the party. I just shrugged my shoulders and asked him to think of an alternative. He called up the friends we had invited and they brought the ice and cold soda. I did not nag and he has never forgotten to do his share for any entertaining evening, or other odd jobs after that! Useful Tip : Instead of accusing and confronting your husband as a nagging housewife, be the cool woman in his life who just tells him once and then lets him do it in his own time. If there are repercussions, then he has to take the brunt of the resulting failure. Don’t just keep adding to the list, if something additional has to be done by him, discuss well in advance and ensure that he has understood his responsibility. Remember the new Airtel advertisement? A good sexy wife is always prodding, never nagging.

Feel sexy about yourself: If you do not feel ‘sexy’ and ‘glamorous’, how do you expect others to perceive you as one! Analysis of what is deemed sexy by you would be the right step in that direction. Once you understand how you want to impose your personality on those who meet you, it would be simpler to achieve it. Whatever you do, and however difficult it might seem at times, avoid greeting your man in the evening with greasy hair, unmade face and the same clothes that you have been wearing since the morning. It would be smelling of all the cooking you might have done and other
Besides looking physically seductive, it is basically the positive approval towards feeling oneness, mutual trust, understanding each other’s responsibilities, which make the marital bondage strong.

Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009


household chores. If you like your husband to freshen up when he comes back from work, he too would like to greet a fresh and pretty woman when he returns home. Your husband is the most important man in your life – show him that and he will love you that much more for your effort. And remember, no piling of the boring housewife duties details on him the moment he asks. When somebody asks you ‘How are You’, it is polite to say – Fine Thank you. When your husband says How was Your Day, what he really means is that he hopes you had a good day but it would be routine so ask him how his day was instead. Of course, it does not mean you never share the burden of your problems, just find the right time and place for it. In the recent movie Sex and the City a very telling moment was when the husband and wife are making love and the husband wants variety of posture while the wife tells him to ‘get it over with’. Little wonder that such a husband finds a sexier woman outside the marriage. Useful Tip : Just because you are a housewife does not mean you forget to dress sexy. Get that new lingerie, acquire that heady sexy perfume, keep your hands and feet feeling un-calloused. Learn how to enjoy the thrill of sex with your man. Initiate the odd sexual contact, don’t just want for him to make the first move. A satis factory and varied sex life is very important to you feeling sexy and desirable. Take charge. 34

Keep the mystery alive: Sugar and spice and all things nice – that is how men are expected to view women. It is this mystery about how women are so soft and always smell so nice that first attracts them to the opposite sex. Why should we spoil the dream by letting them know the painful and ugly details of waxing and threading? Monica says, ‘I never brush my teeth, colour or streak my hair, wax my legs or put my face pack when my husband is around. We have been married for almost 6 years now but he has never known how I manage to remain so “smooth and sexy” as my husband calls me. At times, it is difficult because you share the same space and he has seen all the ugly patches of my life but he does not need to know how I slogged in the gym to get my figure back after our son was born and I was 11 kilos heavier. Useful Tip : Be the mysterious woman who is worthy of constant pursuit, not quiet acceptance. Think of your husband as a man first and husband later and he will reciprocate by thinking of you as a sexy woman first and a housewife later. Worship your body: Before marriage when you see a perfect dress, and find that it is just a bit tight, you do some serious dieting and exercises to fit into that dress. After marriage, such dresses and outfits, even if purchased or gifted, are kept at the farthest corner of the wardrobe and there is hardly ever a regime that women follow. Food is often piled on the plate with the concept of ‘better eaten than thrown’ and this ends up as inches on our waist and thighs – basically all the wrong places. While yo-yo dieting is not recommended at any age, it is particularly destructive as a
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more mature woman who is responsible for her whole home and family. ‘My husband’s attitude towards me changed when I got really serious about being a seductive girlfriend again rather than a comely housewife,’ says Megha who is today back to her college figure. She finds it amusing that Mukesh, her husband, has started behaving like a boyfriend again, surprising her with little gifts and singing romantic songs for her. Be it Malaika Arora Khan or Madhuri Dixit Nene – these girls are maintaining their figures with a lot of hard work and effort. Getting a loving and rich husband is a lot easier than keeping him interested in you after marriage. A good sexy silhouette definitely is the right step in the correct direction. There are expensive classes being run in countries like Russia for women to practise being a sexy housewife. Everywhere in the world it is important for a woman to be able to keep a body that makes her feel good and allows her to wrap her man around her shapely little finger. Useful Tip: It is not an easy job if you have let your body take a natural course and piled on weight but make that first step and the rest will follow. Dieting does not ever work on its own as it might lead to binging later on. Follow a sensible diet and make your body work to a regime that is suitable to your lifestyle and budget. Even if you feel you are not ‘fat’ or ‘obese’ it is good to start early rather than wait for problems to show up. Physical fitness if also about energy and toning your body – select from a bevy of possibilities including but not limited to Gym, Yoga, Dance, Walking, any other sport of choice. Remember, it is your right to feel and look sexy as a woman. Nobody but you can take that right away from yourself. Your being a housewife will work in your favour for feeling ‘sexy’ as you can manage your sleep and food much better than a working woman. The Sexy Housewife is not a dream – it just needs some effort, but the results will be yours forever to We enjoy.


Q & A

I wonder how to use neem in my home remedies, I would hate to pay exorbitant amounts for something that grows in my backyard. I have normal skin and reasonable hair. How can I use neem? Yes, neem’s curative and beauty qualities have been recognised and are being celebrated the world over. The easiest way is to collect the leaves and boil them, strain the water and use that as the last rinse after a bath. Alternatively, you can soak the leaves and then grind them. Mix with oatmeal powder, add a few drops of honey and use as exfoliation or mixed with papaya in a face pack.

Is there a way to hurry up the bursting of a bad pimple after it gets a head? The yellow head looks very ugly. You can take a bit of cotton, soak it in warm salt water and hold it on the blemish for five minutes. The white head should dissolve. However, it is best to do this in the evening rather than morning as the raw area would then need to be covered in some anti-inflammatory and antiseptic ointment to avoid infection.

I have a very uneven skin tone and want to learn how to use the concealing stick for maximum benefit. For an even look the concealer should be used only on imperf ections. Never use it around the eyelids as that gives a flat, heavy look. Always blend it well before applying your foundation which should be the correct shade and again blended well with either a wet sponge or with a good brush.

I work in a centrally-heated office and wear make-up. However, when I feel dryness on my face I want to use a moisturiser but cannot because it harms the make-up. What do I do? Change your make-up to suit the season. Instead of a matt finish foundation use a moisturiser that is tinted. Use a cream blush and cream eyeshadow. The areas that feel the stretch of dryness the maximum are around the mouth. Use a lip balm before applying lipstick and when you wish to apply a moisturiser, go to the bathroom where you may remove the lipstick. Apply balm on mouth and moisturiser around it before reapplying the lipstick. Also, around your hairline on the forehead use a light lotion formulation to avoid any shine. Drink a lot of water to keep the skin glowing in winter. We often reduce the water intake when we actually need as much, if not more than what we drink in summer.

My husband wants to use a face scrub but finds that after a shave his skin is too soft and before a shave it scratches his own beard. How should men exfoliate? Why not pamper him with a spa facial at least once so he gets used to the movement of fingers on his face. Men need to focus more on the forehead, nose and cheeks where there is no facial hair. After a shave the skin is a bit sensitive and it is wrong to exfoliate at that time. He can soften his beard in the morning by placing a towel dipped in hot water to soften the beard. Even then, the movement need not be against the hair growth. Also, he can do his facial regimen in the evening when the skin is not so soft and there is a beard but not hard.

My younger sister who studies at night is beginning to get dark circles. She also spends a lot of time in front of the computer. Can there be something remedial at her age so her dark circles do not get worse? She is 17 years old. Unless dark circles are a family trait, if she is getting them due to reduced sleep they should disappear when she gets full rest. However, she can use a home pack of potato juice and cucumber juice in equal amount, applied around the eyes and left for 15 minutes before washing off with plain water. If she does not have oily skin she can also apply some olive oil or almond oil at night before going to bed. Just a drop that is dabbed with a finger rather than rubbed in like cream.

Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009


How an Indian in India has to prove she is an Indian to Indians – and to foreigners as well!
By Smrithi Poornachandra nee Rumdali Rai



week ago I was visiting one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal. I bought a ticket and stood in line to enter, only to be told very rudely by the person at the gate that I had taken an Indian ticket and was to have taken a foreigner ticket. I told him I am an Indian. He looked at me in utter disbelief, and said, “NRI... You NRI,” in whatever context he meant. My husband, an officer of the Indian Army, lost his temper and asked the person what an “Indian” would look like, and whether he can prove his Indianness. The man stared at us. Yes, we make a strange pair. My husband is a short, dark Telugu from Hyderabad and I am a stocky, “chinky” Gorkha from Darjeeling, which is in West Bengal. (And no! I am not a Bong.) This is a common thing

that keeps happening to us whenever we go visiting any place of interest like a museum or heritage site. The funny thing is that people with what one calls “Aryan” or “Dravidian” features are never questioned even if they take an “Indian ticket.” One could be from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or the Persian Gulf, and never be asked annoying questions. Seeking entry into a museum in Chennai, I had to produce an identity card before the lady gave me a ticket. She had asked me if I was from Russia! Hanging around any tourist spot is dangerous for me. “Madam, this Indian Art Madhubani painting you want?” “Interesting book, Kamasutra, you look?” “Want to buy? Indian god Ganesha, brings good-luck?” (Ganesha, by the way, doesn’t look too happy with the guitar he is carrying. Talk about Indian designer gods!) “This, Mughal Art...” and a picture

of some scantily clad females “No, I am not! I am an Indian cavorting in a pool with a male is Gorkha,” one protests. thrust under my nose. The weary day Then follows a long discussion goes on. over Darjeeling, whether it originally No! I don’t want anything. I am just belonged to Nepal or to Sikkim. Or here to see the sights of my country – was it No Man’s Land? okay? And no again! I am not a weird “Look, I don’t know and I don’t firangi who would want to lug home care. As far as I am concerned, I am some cow or yak bells, ghungroos, an Indian – okay? Generations of my conch shells or a peacock-feather family have lived and died serving the fan. I support wildlife country as armymen since conser vation, and am the British times. And I against any wildlife A brief silence, can boast of an MC and and then product being bought or Bar (Military Cross won begins the sold. Of course, I don’t twice), an IDSM (Indian want any other “Indian” Distinguished Service hostility, “Oh stuff that no decent Indian yes, all Indians Medal) and an MM would be seen dead in a are crafty. They (Military Medal) in my ditch with. And I definitely family. My great-grandma claim our don’t know what I would was also given a medal by do with those leather people as their the British for having sent whips... I am a practicing own. Why, they all three of her sons into even claim that war for British India. Buddhist! It is easy to laugh it off the Buddha is Neither my parents nor my after the incident, but it’s an Indian! He grandparents were from not funny when it is was a Shakya Nepal. So there, I am an happening, and one’s Indian.” Prince, temper is already frayed A brief silence, and meaning a by the heat and the noise then begins the hostility, Nepali.” and dust. This is because “Oh yes, all Indians are I come from Darjeeling, a crafty. They claim our cool hill- station, and like all hill people as their own. Why, they even people I find it difficult to bear the claim that the Buddha is an Indian! heat of the plains. It is not because I He was a Shakya Prince, meaning a live in a phoren land with air- Nepali.” conditioning everywhere. Tradesmen “They even claim Mount apart, it is a crying shame that places Kanchendzonga as theirs!” visited by scores of Indians and Umm... well let’s not get into foreign tourists are manned by such arguments here. Not with friendly ignorant people: people who have no neighbours with whom we share idea of the various dimensions of more than just borders. One changes “Indian.” All in the name of serving the subject, and steers the the tourist trade. Atithi Devo Bhava! conversation to an uncontroversial Hey, hang on a minute. The topic. identity crisis transcends borders. Let us move to another place. Hmm... Let’s not go very far. We’ll stop by at our friendly neighbourhood Nepal. A change of scene again, this time The first lines they say when we to the Tribhuvan International Airport, meet, “Oh, you are a Nepali.” Kathmandu. The immigration officer “No, I am an Indian.” is glaring at this impudent “Nepali” “What?! How can you be an who insists she is an Indian, and has Indian?” even committed the sin of holding an “I come from Darjeeling, you Indian passport, that too issued by know! And it is in India.” the Indian embassy in Bhutan. “Ah, Darjeeling! Darjeeling was a “Your passport is Indian.” part of Nepal once upon a time, you “Yes. That’s because I happen to know. So you are a Nepali.” be an Indian.”


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“Your husband is an Indian, you mean.” “I mean I am an Indian and so is he, but I was an Indian before I even met him.” He scowls furiously, scribbles something on a piece of paper and tells me that I have to get a letter from the Indian embassy. A letter telling him that the embassy does not have a problem with me visiting my sister in Brunei. All my papers are in order. I have never heard of such a rule. Just too bad, I guess. The plane takes off for Bangkok without me that day. My sister is mad at me for having missed the flight, as it meant I missed the connecting flight to Brunei too.

“Did you say you were an Indian?” “Yes, I did.” He looks incredulous, “India! Which part?” I decide to get smart... “Hyderabad.” “Hyderabad?” “Yes, Hyderabad. What about you?” “Chennai. Adayar. But you are from Hyderabad?! Where in Hyderabad?” “A place called Malkajgiri.” There are no words to describe the look on his face. I decide I have had enough fun. So I tell him, “My husband is a Telugu from Hyderabad.” “Ah!” he looks relieved. “So, where are you from? Thailand? Philippines?” “No. From Darjeeling in West Bengal, and no, I am not a Bengali.” I land up at the Indian embassy, He looks at me suspiciously, “Can where thankfully the staff is intelligent you speak Hindi?” enough not to ask stupid questions. “No, I don’t speak Hindi, because They have no problem with me going where I come from we all speak in to Brunei – why would they? They the local language, which is Nepali.” ask rather indignantly. The helpful His eyes light up, “Oh! So you are embassy official says I can sue the from Nepal then!” Here we go again, immigration officer when I return. with the existential question: Who am Very sweet of him, but I have to re- I? schedule my flight and hope like hell This time around I am at a jungle my sister has cooled off. resort in the Royal Chitwan National Let me go a little further, this time Park in Nepal, working as a guest to Brunei. Here, I am in a swimming relation officer. There are many pool in a hotel. It is a beautiful guests from all over the world, but a country with a great ambience and large number of them are from very nice people. England. I brief them about The Bruneian the dos and don'ts in the lifeguard talks to me in jungle and on the safari. Let me go a Malay. I shake my head After the briefing is over one little further, and say, “I don’t nice young lady asks me, understand. Me Indian.” “Are you from England?” this time to He smiles angelically “No, I am from India?” Brunei. Here, and winks, “Me British.” “India! You mean to say I am in a He laughs and then you are an Indian?!” There’s swimming asks seriously, “You that look again! pool in a from Thailand?” I let go this time. “No, “No, I am an Indian ma’am. I only live in India. I hotel. It is a from India.” am a brown Baarvaarian beautiful He looks back with from the high altitude country with the same disbelieving Tibetan plateau of Mustang. a great look that follows this When the Shangs attacked statement of mine. He is my tribe, my mother ran all ambience not alone. A nice looking and very nice the way to India. There I South Indian man was born in a yak-herder’s people. splutters in the pool shelter in the mountains. beside me. The cold snows of Maagh in


January killed her, and a kind Indian man adopted me. He took me to live in Darjeeling where I have lived ever since. That’s the only home I have known.” “Oooooooohhhh...Darjeeling! Isn’t it where the tea comes from, Janet?” “Yes, it is indeed. Did you know it was the British who set up the tea plantations in Darjeeling, when they ruled India?” “No, ma’am, I do not. I don’t know much about Indian history. I am a Baarvaarian you know.” “But you were born and have lived in India all your life. And that means you are an Indian!” Yippppeeeeeeee! Someone said it at last! I am an Indian! I can die a happy woman now! I am an Indian, a Gorkha from Darjeeling. Darjeeling is a hill-station in West Bengal and the local population essentially consists of Gorkhas with a sprinkling of Tibetans. The local language is Nepali, but a brand which is a little different from that spoken in Nepal. The second most popular language is English. This is due to the strong British influence from the days of the Raj and not because we want to “ape the West.” A few people do understand and speak Bengali, because Darjeeling is politically a part of West Bengal. The local language, however, is still Nepali as every Gorkhali tribe has its own language. There are the Khumbus, Limboos, Magars, Gurungs and Newars, to name but a few. What is called the Nepali language (recognised by the Indian constitution in 1986) is actually called Parbatae Bhasha (meaning language of the hills) by the locals. It serves as a link language to a race that has more than 16 tribal languages. We are of Tibet-Mongoloid stock and hence we are short, stocky and flat-featured, and “chinky.” People may want to dispute the finer points of language and race and origin but one thing stands firm. We are all Indians and proud of it. So give us a We break here.


Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009

at hyderabad march 2009.

102 Nations, 76 National newspaper associations,. 1500 Plus esteemed Owners / Editors …More than18000 publications.

62nd World Newspaper Congress 16th World Editors Forum Info Services Expo 2009


Enjoy these recipes from Chef Subin Michal of Kumarakom Lake Resort in Kerala. The resort is known for its authentic Kerala food and most of the recipes have been created by the Executive Chef himself especially for you. By Roma Ghosh

For Adapradaman: 200 ml coconut milk (3 extracts) 25 gm rice pasta 50 gm jaggery sauce cardamom powder to taste dry ginger powder to taste 10 gm cashew nut 10 ml ghee METHOD Mix egg yolk, sugar and add hot cooking cream. Make it into a custard consistency.

INGREDIENTS: 50 ml cooking cream 3 no egg yolk 25 gm sugar 15 gm gelatin 100 gm whipping cream 100 gm adapradaman (Payasam)
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1 raw mango (medium size) 5 whole red chilli 5 Kashmiri chilli 1/ tsp turmeric powder 2 5 gm sliced ginger 5 gm sliced garlic 1 pinch fenugreek 1 pinch fennel 100 gm sliced shallots 5 gm mustard seeds 1 pinch curry leaves 10ml tamarind juice 25 ml coconut oil salt to taste METHOD Make a fine paste of grated coconut, raw mango, whole red chilli, Kashmiri chilli and fennel and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan, add fenugreek, mustard, and curry leaves to crackle. Then add sliced ginger, garlic, shallots, then saute till brown; then add pasted coconut masala and tamarind juice. Cook the gravy for about five minutes and add prawns into the gravy. Add salt to taste; Cook it well in masala and finish it with the tempering. Tempering: Heat oil and add sliced shallots, mustard seeds, curry leaves and whole red chilli. Accompaniment: Appam, Kerala rice, Steamed Rice. Preparation and Cooking Time: 30 minutes.

Alleppey prawn curry


Add melted gelatin and Adapradaman and mix it well. Again, mix with whipping cream. Keep the mixture refrigerated for 45 minutes. Preparation of adapradaman: Boil the rice pasta in water. After it is cooked well add the jaggery sauce. Once the water is all reduced, add the third extract of coconut milk. Once that is reduced, add the second extract of coconut milk.

Once the second milk is reduced, add the first extract of coconut milk. Add the cardamom powder and ginger to it for taste. Finish it with fried cashew nuts and small coconut strips.


INGREDIENTS: 400 gm tiger prawns 20c 1/ grated coconut 2
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INGREDIENTS: 500 gm rice flour/raw rice 25 gm semolina (rawa) 5 gm yeast 1 tsp sugar ½ coconut milk water to mix salt to taste METHOD If using the raw rice, soak the

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rice for 2 hours and make a fine paste of it without adding too much of water. If using the rice flour, mix with water (make sure that you don’t make a very thin batter, you have to maintain the consistency of the batter. Heat little water and cook the semolina, without forming lumps. Allow to cool a little and mix with the rice flour batter, add salt, sugar and yeast Keep for a minimum of 6-8 hours to ferment. Once it is properly fermented, add coconut milk and keep for another half an hour. Start making Appam in a non-

stick Appam Kadai or in a traditional Appam Kadai.

INGREDIENTS: 250 gm cream cheese 75 gm sugar 2 eggs 6 gulab jamun 25 gm maida vanilla essence few drops 50 gm Butter

For short cut pastry: 100 gm refined flour 50 gm butter 25 gm sugar 1 egg white METHOD: Sheet the short cut pastry and put it in a tart base. Mix the cream cheese and sugar and cream it well. Add egg, refined flour, butter, vanilla essence and mix well. Add the crushed Gulab Jamun. Put the mixture in a tart base O and bake it in 180 C for 20 minutes.

INGREDIENTS: 1 banana flower 15 gm chopped ginger 2 medium-sized onions, chopped 2 green chillies chopped 5 gm cumin seeds coriander leaves chopped ½ tsp garam masala ½ tsp powdered cumin oil for frying 2 boiled potatoes 200 gm bread crumbs a small bunch of curry leaves salt to taste METHOD Heat oil. Temper the cumin seeds and add chopped ginger, green chillies, onions, curry leaves and coriander leaves. Saute. Add the chopped banana flower, powdered turmeric, garam masala and powdered cumin and mix well. Remove from heat and check seasoning. Mash potatoes and add to the mix, and blend well. Make round and flat patties from the mix and dip the patties in bread crumbs. Deep fry till golden brown. Garnish with fried curry leaves. Accompaniment: Tomato sauce Preparation time: 1 hour

Baked gulab jamun cheese cake Banana flower cutlet

2 green chilli sliced 1 pinch garam masala salt to taste METHOD Remove the outer skin of the jackfruit seeds and clean it properly. Cut them into strips. Heat the coconut oil in a pan. Crackle the mustard seeds and put sliced coconut and make it into golden brown colour. Then add ginger, garlic, green chilli, onion and saute well. Add masala powders and curry leaves. Then add the jackfruit seed. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes in a closed pan with salt. Correct the seasoning, add a pinch of garam masala. Serve it hot. Cooking Time: 25 Minutes Accompaniments: Kerala rice

Chakka kuru ularthiyathu

INGREDIENTS: 2 sliced onion 5 gm julienne ginger 5 gm julienne garlic

1 pinch curry leaves 200 gm jackfruit seed 10 gm sliced coconut 10 ml coconut oil 5 gm mustard seed 1 tsp coriander powder 1 tsp red chilli powder 1 pinch turmeric powder

Karimeen pollichathu

INGREDIENTS: 1 whole karimeen (pearl spot fish) of 250-300 gm 150 ml fresh coconut milk 1 pinch curry leaves 1 banana leaf salt to taste For the marinade: 10 gm ginger-garlic paste juice of one lemon ½ tsp crushed peppercorns 1 tsp vinegar 3 tsp red chilli powder 1 tsp coriander powder ½ tsp turmeric powder ½ garam masala salt to taste Mix the ingredients of the marinade together to form a paste. METHOD Clean fish. Make lengthwise cuts on either side and apply the marinade all over the fish. Keep aside for 30 minutes. Pour a few drops of oil in a wok or kadai and

Konchu roast

heat it. Place the banana leaf on it. Gently lower the marinated fish on to the leaf and top it with a few curry leaves. Add a portion of the coconut milk and salt and cover the fish completely with the ends of the banana leaf. Allow the fish to cook on one side for about 5 minutes, then turn it around and repeat the same procedures, cooking for 5 minutes more. Allow the milk to reduce to
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required consistency. Check the fish with a pointed pick and if it comes out clean, remove the fish from the fire and serve it on a plate still wrapped in the banana leaf. Garnish: Onion rings and lemon wedges. Accompaniments: Steamed rice, Kerala rice or Appam. Preparation time: 30 minutes marination time and 20 minutes to cook.

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INGREDIENTS: 400 gm jumbo prawns (Scampi) 1 tbsp red chilli powder 1 tsp coriander powder ½ tsp turmeric powder 5 gm julienne ginger 5 gm chopped garlic 1 sliced onion 2 tomato chopped 1 kokum (julienne) 1 pinch fenugreek a pinch methi powder ½ coconut milk 100 gm sliced shallots 5 gm mustard seeds 1 pinch curry leaves 25 ml coconut oil salt to taste METHOD Clean the scampi and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan, add fenugreek, mustard, and curry leaves to crackle Then add julienne ginger, garlic, onions and then sauté till brown; then add the masalas and tomato and cook for 3 minutes more. Add the kokum and cook the gravy for about five minutes and add prawns into the gravy. Add salt to taste; Cook it well in masala and add the coconut milk and methi powder. Finish the gravy with the tempering. Tempering: Heat oil and add sliced shallots, mustard seeds, curry leaves and whole red chilli. Accompaniment: Appam, Kerala rice, Steamed Rice. Preparation and Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Kuttanadan duck roast

1 tsp julienne garlic ½ cup sliced shallots few curry leaves 2 tsp coriander powder ½ tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp crushed pepper 5 gm mustard seeds 25 ml coconut oil 1 coconut milk a pinch garam masala salt to taste METHOD Heat oil and crackle the mustard seeds, put ginger, garlic, shallots and curry leaves and sauté till golden brown. Add the masala powders and put the duck pieces and water and cook well. Then add coconut milk and make the gravy to a thick consistency. Put garam masala and correct the seasoning.
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Finish it with the tempering Tempering: Heat oil and add sliced shallots, mustard seeds, curry leaves. Accompaniment: Appam, Kerala rice, Steamed Rice.

INGREDIENTS: 300 gm seer fish/seabral fillet (cubes) 5 gm julienne ginger 5 gm julienne garlic 1 sliced onion 1 pinch curry leaves ¼ tsp fenugreek 10 ml coconut oil 5 gm mustard seed 1 tsp coriander powder 3 tsp red chilli powder

INGREDIENTS: 250 gm boneless duck pieces 1 tsp julienne ginger

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1 pinch turmeric powder 2 pieces kokum 1 cup water salt to taste METHOD Crackle the mustard seeds and fenugreek in hot oil and add ginger, garlic, curry leaves and sliced onion. Saute till it gets a golden brown colour and then add the masala powders, again sauté for 2 minutes more. Add water and kokum and cook for 6 minutes more. Add fish cubes and salt and cook for 10 minutes more. Once the fish is cooked, check the salt and check for the consistency of gravy. Serve it hot with Appam or Kappa Cooking Time: 25 Minutes

METHOD On a slow fire, fry the rice flour for 5-8 minutes. Allow to cool a little and add salt. Mix with lukewarm water and make sure that it is added little by little. Without forming the lumps mix nicely and check by holding it in hand, whether the rice flour is binding together.
Meen vevichathu

Keep aside. Make a very thick roast masala of vegetables with the above ingredients. Take the puttu vessel and place the strainer at the bottom and start filling the rice flour mixture, grated coconut and the vegetable mixture layer by layer till the top. Once it is done properly, cover the vessel and place it on top of

INGREDIENTS: For Puttu: 500 gm rice flour 1 grated coconut salt to taste For Vegetable: 15 gm chopped ginger 2 onion chopped 2 green chilli chopped 1 small bunch curry leaves 5 gm mustard seeds ¼ tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp coriander powder 1 tsp red chilli powder salt to taste 15 ml oil 1 potato 1 carrot 2 beans 50 gm cauliflower a pinch garam masala a pinch cumin powder
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Vegetable puttu

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Vegetable biryani

the puttu vessel and let the steam to through the filling. Steam for a maximum of 10 minutes and have it hot. Since there is vegetable mixed with the rice flour another curry is not required to eat the puttu. Garnish: Fried Curry Leaves Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes N.B Also instead of vegetable mix, this can be made with a prawn mix or even a meat mix

2 tsp of ginger paste 2 tsp of garlic paste 2 onion sliced into thin strips 2 tsp of raisins 2 tsp of cashew nuts salt to taste METHOD Wash the rice and soak it in water for 15-20 minutes. In a thick-bottomed pan boil two cups of rice and add salt to taste. Add the soaked rice (without the water) and cook on low fire till all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked. To prepare the vegetables: string the beans and cut into oneinch pieces. Scrape the carrots and cut into pieces. Finely grate the cabbage. Parboil the vegetables till tender but not overcooked, in a microwave or in a cup of salted water. Drain out all the water and keep aside. Heat the ghee and fry the onions. Lift out from the pan and keep aside. In the same pan fry the cashews and raisins. Lift and keep aside. In the same pan add
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the mustard, curry leaves, chillies, garlic and ginger paste and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring all the time. Lower the heat and mix in the vegetables and fry for 1-2 minutes more. Add the rice and mix gently and cover with a lid or secure with aluminum foil. Place the pan on very low heat or on live coal. Just before serving garnish with the cashew nuts and raisins and serve piping hot.

INGREDIENTS: 1 cup of Basmati rice 2 cups of water 2 cups of vegetables which will include beans, carrots and shredded cabbage, peas or any of these 3 tbsp of ghee 1/ tsp of mustard seeds 2 2 green chillies split into two halves


INGREDIENTS: 2 cups of cooked rice 1/ cup curd 2 1 cup of milk 1 tsp of butter 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing) fried in oil and powdered salt to taste For seasoning: 2 tsp of gingelly oil 1/ tsp of mustard seeds 2 2 green chillies sliced into halves

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Curd rice Chicken peralan


2 tsp of ginger cut into small pieces or in strands 1 dried red chilli curry leaves


METHOD Mix together the rice, milk, butter, hing and salt Heat the oil and add all the ingredients for the tempering. Allow to splutter and pour over the rice mixture. Serve with chicken curry.

INGREDIENTS: 1 kg chicken cut into 12 pieces or 700 gm of boneless chicken cut into medium pieces 2 tsp of ginger strands 2 tsp vinegar 3 tsp of chilli powder or less as per taste 2 tsp of coriander powder
Woman’s Era

3 tsp of ginger-garlic paste 2 pinches of fenugreek powder 1 cup oil 1 tsp of mustard seeds 1/ tsp of haldi powder 4 2 tomatoes cut into quarters or pieces 1 tsp of vinegar and half tsp of sugar mixed together salt to taste METHOD Boil the chicken in two cups of water, vinegar and salt to taste. Cook till the chicken is half tender and one cup of the gravy remain. Mix together the chilli powder, coriander powder and the ginger garlic and the fenugreek powder . Keep this paste aside. Heat oil and add the mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Add the onions and fry till light golden brown. Remove the onions and keep aside. In the same oil add the tomatoes and green chillies and saute for 2 minutes and keep aside. In the same oil sauté the half-cooked chicken pieces till it turns golden brown. Now mix in the gravy obtained while boiling the chicken, haldi powder, browned onions, vinegar and sugar mixture, tomatoes and green chillies and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes more and remove when the chicken preparation is neither too dry or wet. We Serve with curd rice.

January (Second) 2009

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Q & A
I am 40 years old and suffer from aches and pains in my body. My doctor has diagnosed it to be osteoporosis. What should I do? Osteoporosis means less calcium in your bones. Unfortunately, many women do not take enough of this mineral in their diet when they are young. Women who have drunk milk in sufficient quantity leading an active physical life do not suffer from this malady. When osteoporosis has already developed then taking enough of calcium (800 mg per day) along with vitamin D (both from diet and sunlight) as well as leading an active physical life is important. I am 28 years old and married. Recently, I noticed excessive growth of hair on my breast round about the areola and nipples. I am worried. Please advise. Growth of hair round about the nipples and areola is normal and is present in many women. This has to be seen in relation to hair growth in other parts of the body. If this is excessive then it only means a hormonal imbalance for which certain tests have to be carried out. This will be done by your doctor.

I am 16 years old. My problem is that I get unbearable pain during my periods. Previously, I used to take two tablets of aspirins but now these also do not have any effect. Please advise. Pain during menstruation (before and during) is quite usual in young unmarried girls. This is a result of hormonal changes which are released during this period. It would be better if you increase the dose of analgesics and take it twice or thrice a day. If the problem is still not solved, you better see your doctor. Many times oral contraceptive pills help.


I am 30 years old and on oral pills. But now I want to conceive. What is required as far as drugs are concerned? If you are wanting to conceive, then you will obviously have to stop taking the pill. It is wiser to use another method of contraception after stopping the pill for three months. Then only should you plan to conceive. This is important since it will give you body time to react to its natural rhythm. Some women who do not follow this precaution are likely to suffer from an increased risk of multiple pregnancies and its associated complications.



premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It is due to a hormonal imbalance in which too little progesterone is available to counteract the increased amounts of oestragon in the body. In addition there is water retention as well as changes in chemicals in the brain. It would be better if you see your doctor in this regard who will be able to advise your accordingly.

I am 30 years old and pregnant. There is a case of measles in the neighbourhood. I am very worried. Should I go for a vaccination? Please advise. Getting measles in a pregnant woman is fraught with great risks of miscarriage or premature birth. At the same time, it is not advisable to go for live virus vaccine because of various complications associated with it. At this stage, I would not advise you to go for a vaccination.

I am 20 years old and have developed genital warts. I have taken treatment many times but they recur again. Please advise. Genital warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and are most commonly a result of sexual contact. In some cases spontaneous resolution takes place but since you are getting it repeatedly, this requires looking into. There is always the danger of these warts resulting in a cancerous condition of the genitalia.

I am 20 years old and unmarried. I have the habit of sleep-walking and I have injured myself many times. I am going to get married soon. Please help. You should see a doctor in this regard because sleep-walking may be a sign of epilepsy or of a condition called sleep apnea. Only after relevant tests can you be treated. In the meanwhile do not sleep at night without a companion who should be able to keep an eye on you so that you do not hurt yourself. Marriage can be planned once your problem is under control. — Dr S. N. Khosla, MD.


Readers are invited to send in any health and medical queries they would like to be answered. Woman’s Era will provide answers to your questions and offer solutions to your problems. Individual replies cannot be sent. Address your letters (neatly written on white paper) to:

I am 28 years old. Before the onset of menstruation, I get very irritable and depressed. I want to get out of my problem. Please help. What you suffer from is called


E-3, Jhandewala Estate, New Delhi-110055. Womansera.com






1Q 2Q

To deal with the pain that your ex-boyfriend left behind, you did this to ease the pain...
a. Just kept to myself. b. Jumped into a new relationship. c. Hung out with friends.

While in a new relationship you would talk to your ex-boyfriend behind your boyfriend’s back and talked about a future together or a whole lot of “what if’s”...
a. We talked only for closure, to set each other straight. b. Yes. c. We talked but not necessarily about us.

When it comes to ex-boyfriends we can’t completely shake them off as well as we’d like, even when we are in a new relationship. How normal is it to think of an ex when you’re with someone else?
the ent will Selected ingriesue of be published inLook out Woman’s era. iss forthcom for the 28 February 2009 issue


When you are in your ex-boyfriend’s surroundings you think of him...
a. I think of our good times together. b. I think of him only because his surrounding is a sore spot for me. c. Sometimes, not really.

Answer the questions win a grand prize...


Last date for sending entries: 15 February 2009
your ch Attance aofphotographinofWomafriend n’s era turing fea cha for a better

Win a Grand
Woman’s Era

January (Second) 2009


4Q 5Q 6Q 7Q

I talk to – even after me and him broke up...
a. Classmate b. An old friend of his that became a mutual friend. c. His best friend.

8Q 9Q

Do you use your ex-boyfriend to make your present boyfriend jealous?
a. I do to get back at him, but I use an ex who didn’t mean a thing. b. Moderately, only if he brings up his ex-girlfriend however. c. Yes, and half the truth comes out with it.

What parts of your relationship with your ex do you think most about?
a. Our sexual experiences. b. Just the summary of the relationship without going in depth. c. Good times.

What part of the relationship with your ex hurt the most, and you still recall with that little pang of pain?
a. Feeling that I got nothing out of it and I’m missing something. b. Not getting the proper closure I needed. c. Not being with him any more, seeing him any more.

How do you react when someone speaks of considering dating your ex again.
a. I look at the pros and cons. b. I think about trying again after I’m done with this boyfriend. c. I think I’m better off not knowing.

Scoring Terms and Conditions:
Don’t you hate those artificial quizzes that only have one obvious right answer? Since we don’t know about your personal life, these questions could work out, depending on one’s personality and interactions. And you could probably come up with better answers!

To this day can you still find the love you had for him, how do you feel now that you aren’t together any more. Can you still remember the love that is lost?
a. I remember it and it still sends butterflies through my tummy. b. I acknowledge it as love, but have no feelings any more. c. I feel good knowing that I have experienced love and can check that off my list.

Prove that you are aware of this trivia. Send us the coupon with your photo along with the correct answers.
Name Age Address PIN E-mail

Winner of Friendship Quiz Contest - 67
Dr Atma Ram Bansal C/o Hari Dutt Bhatt (infront of Rajdhani Wedding Hall), Danda, Dharampur, Haridwar Road, Dehradun-248001

Phone: Occupation

Don’t forget to attach a photograph
1. Mark the answers and send us the cutting of this quiz along with this coupon. The last date is 15 February 2009. So hurry up and post it now. 2. The decision of the editor will be final. 3. Depict your true self only. 4. Send a photograph of your own. It may be printed in Woman’s Era, along with the results. Send to: Woman’s Era, Delhi Press, E-3, Jhandewala, New Delhi-110 055.


I am a 17-year-old girl, intelligent and good-looking. I have no boyfriends. For some years now, I have been masturbating. I was horrified when a friend mentioned that self-abuse, as she called it, could lead to insanity. I am terrified about what I have been doing. Please let me know how I can save myself from the consequences of my foolish behaviour. Your friend has misinformed you. Masturbation is a safe and perfectly harmless method of sexual release, and it has no ill-effects on the body or mind. If it becomes an obsession, and precludes you from other healthy social activities, it is not desirable. So, stop worrying. You are not going crazy! In the olden days, there were, indeed, myths about masturbation leading to insanity, impotency and even blindness! This has all been discredited by doctors. If you want to lessen the habit, get involved in other activities, play games, join clubs, and keep busy.


Q & A
Four years ago, when I was a 16year-old schoolgirl, a boy in our neighbourhood became very friendly with me. He even seduced me one evening after lacing my soft drink with alcohol. I stopped going out with him after that. Now, my cousin confided in me that she is going out with this same rogue. When I tried to tell her in a roundabout way that he was not a good sort, she refused to listen to me. Then I contacted him and entreated him to leave her alone. Instead of listening to me, he threatened to tell everyone of the past sordid episode if I interfered. What can I do? Should I leave my cousin to her fate? He may not really carry out his blackmailing threat of revealing your involvement with him, for it will show him up as a rapist. But then again, he may make you look like a girl of loose morals who willingly had intercourse with him. If you are really keen on saving your cousin from this unsavoury character, you will have to take her into confidence and tell her about how badly he has treated you. Hopefully, she will thank you for warning her. In case she thinks you are simply being jealous and refuses to break off from him, there is nothing more you can do about it. You must first decide if she can be trusted with your disclosure, and she will not talk about it to others. If she is an irresponsible person, just lay off. You have anyway warned her adequately. The rest is up to her.

My boyfriend is a congenital liar but he is a very charming fellow. I can forgive him anything. People, however, warn me that I could end up disillusioned and weeping after he cheats me. I love him to bits and can never even dream of giving him up. What do you advise? Since you are continuing with the relationship with your eyes wide open, you are evidently prepared for what could happen. So, the let-down, if it comes, will not be entirely unexpected and you will not feel so very unhappy. On the positive side, your staunch loyalty and love could make him become truthful in all his dealings with you at least. Who knows? Your influence could make him change. Don’t count on it, though! Liars can mess up family lives, run up debts, be unfaithful and do many things which a woman will find hard to live with. All things considered, it is difficult to understand why you want to invite trouble like this. It is clear that no one trusts this boy. You seem to be simply taken in by his charming ways. Think again before deciding on this issue. Woman’s Era

I am an attractive, 17-year-old girl. The only thing is that I am plump, but everyone assures me that I am pleasantly rounded and do not look ugly. The only one who is nagging me to lose at least 10 kg is my boyfriend. He is very trim and spends at least two hours in the gym. He threatens to ditch me if I do not slim down. I am laid back and do not want to diet and exercise a lot. What should I do? If your boyfriend wants to ditch you because you are 10 kg overweight, he is not worth having! His values are very shallow. You will be very stressed all the time with his expectations of you. Even if you lose 10 kg now, what if you gain a bit later on? You must be comfortable and secure in a relationship, not on tenterhooks all the time. If he wanted you to lose weight because of health reasons, he could be commended, but this is not the case. If you do not want to give him up even with this attitude, join a slimming clinic, which will help you slim down with professional methods. With your laid-back attitude, you may not be able to do this on your own. 67

January (Second) 2009

Trendy outfits for the tweeny boys...

Style icon

Casual look: Leather jacket with a fur collar and oblong patchwork in different colours over a mustard tee is teamed with blue jeans.

Sporty fun: Having fun of scating dressed in striped pullover matched with brown jeans.

Leisure times: All set to enjoy the showers of the season in beige-coloured jacket worn over a striped shirt and coupled with camel-coloured trousers!

Little wonder: The lad in a pink striped shirt matched with dark brown stylish trousers and the jacket, is certainly going to be a trendsetter!

Picture perfect: Strike a pose in a stylish chocolate brown top with double- coloured sleeves paired with blue denim jeans.



hose who think that filmfolks live in their own ivory towers and don’t worry about what happens in society at large would better think again. The film fraternity extended full support to the peace march taken out from the Gateway of India to protest the terrorists’ attack in Mumbai. yesha Takia and Farhan Azmi who were scheduled to get married on 25 December 08 postponed the marriage to the middle of next year because of the loss of almost 200 lives and damage to the hotel.

fretting and fuming about it. Instead, he has given a new dimension to his career by getting into the hotel business with Crepe Station and at the same time turning a film producer. Good luck, Dino.



ollywood is not only earning a lot more in foreign exchange for the country. It seems to have come of age as far as subjects are concerned. Earlier, a film revolving around a gay relationship between two grown-up males (as shown in Dostana) would have drawn protests, but the film has done well, particularly in multiplexes. And people have responded favourably to the chemistry between Abhishek Bachan and John Abraham. mitabh Bachchan cancelled his visit to Hong Kong to participate
Dino Morea: giving a new dimension to his career!


f Dino Morea has not yet made it big as an actor, he is not


Ayesha Takia: marriage to Farhan Azmi postponed.

Priyanka Chopra: on cloud ring these days.

in a programme supported by former U.S. president, Bill Clinton. Big B said, “I don’t think it would be right for me to go and sing or dance in a show-biz when my city and country are bleeding.”


bviously being one of those who see the better side of any situation, Siddarth Roy Kapoor, CEO, UTV, hopes something positive will emerge from this recession too, and the bubble of unrealistic prices will burst. n addition to reducing prices, filmmaking will have to be streamlined and made more disciplined because raising funds for unrealistic projects will be more difficult as banks are facing a liquidity crunch.


hah Rukh Khan said, “It is not mentioned anywhere in the Quran Sharif that those engaged in jihad will go to jannat (heaven).” Religion, he said, teaches us to be tolerant rather than kill innocent people. ith global economic recession staring us in the face, filmdom cannot remain unaffected. Keeping the harsh economic realities in view, producers are bound to tighten their purse strings. And many stars will have to willy-nilly agree to reduce their fees or prices.



Amitabh Bachchan: cancelled his visit to Hong Kong.


emulated by a galaxy of Bollywood stars, as well directors and technicians.

ith her six starrers having been released in the last six months, and her performances in Fashion and Dostana acclaimed, in addition to the films doing well at the box office, Priyanka Chopra is right in describing the current phase of her career very ‘exciting’.


n this context, Sanjay Dutt’s statement (“when the going was good, I took a handsome price, but now I am prepared to face a pay cut”) is laudable and deserves to be


t’s not that this is the first time that the question of stars reducing their prices has been raised. It has been raised many a times. But now the situation is far more grim to get into the groove of situational reality. Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009


ostana may well do for Abhishek Bachan what Drona failed to do – i.e. give his career a big push forward – more so since Abhishek’s performance takes the lion’s share of the

Deepika Padukone pairs up with Akshay Kumar in From Chandni Chowk to China.

most memorable role, is a little too much and too early to say. Let’s see the film. ‘The proof of the pudding is in eating,’ an adage says.


hen one’s film career is not going great guns, it’s prudent to do something else on the side. So, Fardeen Khan has ventured into a real estate project in the UAE. Wishing you good luck, Fardeen. We are happy that you’re delighted to be involved in an ‘exciting project’.

credit. And it hardly needs any reiteration that Abhishek needs a hit badly.


he dawn of the New Year, will understandably see many new star pairs. While the Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone starrer From Chandi Chowk to China is already being canned, Vipul Amritlal Shah has decided to pair Akshay with Aishwarya Rai in a film titled Action Replay . Hopefully, the chemistry between Akshay and the former Miss World will be worth watching.

here are ways galore for grabbing roles. Katrina Kaif went to Subhash Ghai’s house to explore the possibility of getting a role in a Ghai film. Told by Ghai that there was no scope for a heroine in the film, Katrina said she didn’t care about the scope. All she wants is to work with him. Ghai was pleased with her earnestness. And so a role was created for her in Yuvraj – and a romantic role to boot opposite Salman. See, where there’s a will there’s a way.



hile Indian cinegoers may have to wait for seeing Ketan Mehta’s biliuqual film Rang Rasiya, the film is doing the rounds of the world’s film festivals. Recently the film revolving around Raja Ravi Varma and his paintings was ‘superbly’ received at the London festival. rithik Roshan has donated Rs 25 lakh to Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital for a state-of-the art electrophysiology and electro-acoustic centre where underprivileged parents will be treated at subsidised costs. Laudable indeed. ilm director Madhur Bhandarkar performed an ‘uphill task’ (literally) when he went to Vaishno Devi to thank the deity for the success of his film Fashion . Everyone knows that 72

Hrithik Roshan working for the cause!

visit to the shrine marathon ascent.





elina Jaitley may not have yet made it in Mumbai’s filmworld but, surprisingly, she has gone international with her starrer Love has no language in which her costars include an Australian, Ben Mitchel, and New Zealand’s rugby star Monty Beetham. Wow! artiality for a brother is understandable, but when Arbaaz says Salman’s role in Dabang to be produced under the Arbaaz Khan Productions which will be Salman’s Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009

t’s good, nay, damn good news that Prasad Productions, headed by the redoubtable L. V. Prasad which has in the past made many socialoriented films, is going to start making films again after a long gap of many years. Some of the films made by the banner include Sharda, Chhoti Bahan, Sasural, Milan and many other neat and tidy entertainers. It’s a measure of the quality of films made by the company that when L. V. Prasad died in 1994, the Government of India released a commemorative postage stamp honouring the life and achievements of this ‘Man of Cinema’. Great! nil Kapoor (who has over 100 Hindi films to his credit) and the mast mast girl of Hindi cinema – i.e. Raveena Tandon – are all set to make their debut in Bhojpuri films. Raveena has already worked in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films. Obviously, Anil’s and Raveena’s entry will give Bhojpuri films another boost. – Deepak Puri




Katrina Kaif: The role in Yuvraj especially created for her by Subhash Ghai.

The Suitable Boy
Renu’s parents looked high and low for a match that fit their criteria — till Arjun came up with an answer. By Susheela Menon


hy don’t you use your contacts in finding a The parents then turned to Renu for her opinion. “I suitable match for Renu?” Shanta chided leave the decision to you,” she replied and left the her brother when he visited her on a room. holiday. “I’ll do that,” smiled Ashok, a Ashok, standing nearby, then advised, “Didi, public relations officer in a bank. A don’t let a good proposal for such a trivial reason fortnight later, Ashok rang up his sister and go. Instead, count the boy’s plus points. He is tall, said, “Didi, I have a wonderful proposal handsome, well educated and well placed.” for Renu. But the boy and his parents wish to see the But Shanta and Anand stuck to their views. And girl tomorrow itself since they are leaving for Kolkata when the boy’s father approached Ashok after a the day after.” week, he had to cook up some stories to wriggle out “Let me have a word with Anand and then I’ll call of the situation. you back.” A few minutes later, Shanta gave him the green few days later, Shanta again requested her light. brother to find another match for Renu. Ashok Renu worked in a software company in Gurgaon. reluctantly agreed to help her. A couple of She usually returned home around 8 p.m. That day months later, he brought another proposal. The boy, when Renu said, ‘bye, and was about to step out, tall and fair, worked in an MNC and drew a her mother said, “Remember to come home early. fabulous salary but he hailed from a poor family. The guests will be here by 7 p.m.” When Ashok asked Shanta and Anand’s opinion, Renu, escorted by her mother and carrying a tray Shanta replied without lifting her head, “We want to of sweets, slowly entered the drawing room where send our only girl to a reputed, well-settled family.” the guests were seated. After offering sweets to “What’s wrong with this boy’s family?” asked everyone in the room, as she turned to go, the boy’s Ashok in an irritated tone. mother gestured to her to come and sit by “His family’s status and standing in her. A few minutes later, Shanta said to society are not very impressive. How can You pester me the boy’s mother, “Let me get some tea for we send our girl to such a household?” day and night to you,” and walked to the kitchen. replied Anand. find a match for As the men became busy discussing the Ashok suddenly lost his cool. He turned your daughter boy’s and the girl’s family backgrounds to his sister and spoke angrily, “You pester and when I and allied matters, the boy’s mother me day and night to find a match for your bring you utilised the opportunity to find out about daughter and when I bring you proposals, proposals, you the girl’s culinary skills and her interest in you simply turn them down on flimsy simply turn household work. The boy sat quietly grounds and put me in an embarrassing them down listening to the elders’ discussion and in situation.” He then sighed, “Enough is on flimsy between stealing a glance at the girl. enough,” and stormed out. grounds and As soon as the guests left, Shanta turned After that, Renu’s parents gave ads in put me in an to her husband and whispered, “The boy prominent Hindi and English dailies embarrassing is a bit dark, isn’t he?” Anand nodded in seeking a suitable match for their situation. affirmation. daughter. Out of the six proposals



Woman’s Era

January (Second) 2009

received, they zeroed in on a single proposal that appealed to them the most. The boy was tall, fair, well placed and earned a good salary. He also hailed from a good family. After glancing at the boy’s photograph Shanta commented, “This boy is the ideal match for our Renu.” “At last, you have found a suitable boy for your beautiful daughter,” joked Anand. Renu’s two-bedroom apartment bustled with relatives and friends as the day of her wedding drew near. In addition, an adjacent building was also taken on rent to accommodate some more guests. Anand had also engaged a couple of cooks and servants to prepare food and take care of other requirements of the guests and family members.


fter spending some time with her friends, Renu was returning to her room that day. As she reached near the drawing room, the words, “The boy’s parents are demanding ten lakh rupees in cash,” fell on her ears. There was a trace of anxiety in her father’s voice. Renu suddenly became alert and attentive. “Ten lakhs is a big sum! And that too they’re demanding it at the last moment,” replied her mother in a concerned voice. “We have to somehow meet their demand. Otherwise, they might create a scene and walk out of the marriage pandal,” replied Anand. “We shouldn’t allow that to happen. It would ruin our daughter’s life,” replied Shanta. Then she asked, “But how are you going to arrange such a large amount at such a short time?” Anand let out a deep sigh before he replied, “We

may have to mortgage the house.” “Mortgage the house?” repeated Shanta in a shocked voice. Anand worked as a superintendent in a government office and had already taken loans and advances from different sources to meet his daughter’s marriage expenses. Hence, when the boy’s side demanded ten lakh rupees just a couple of days before the marriage, he became extremely tense and worried. After listening to her parents’ conversation, all happiness vanished from Renu’s face. “I’ll not allow them to mortgage the house,” said Renu to herself and barged into the drawing room. “Papa! I heard you talking to mummy while passing this way. Please don’t mortgage the house, the only asset we have,” pleaded Renu. “We have to, beti, otherwise the boy’s side might call off the marriage.” “That’s far better than mortgaging the house.” “You’re too young to understand the repercussions of calling off a wedding,” replied Anand glancing at his wife. Shanta then explained, “It’s easier to break an engagement or call off a wedding but to find a match after that will be a Herculean task because whenever something goes wrong in an engagement or wedding, the blame usually falls on the girl.” “But I don’t want to go to the family of such greedy people,” announced Renu and left the room. Her parents sat wondering what to do. Renu sat on her bed and pondered for a while. She then got up and dialled the boy’s cellphone


number. She told the boy point-blank that it would not be possible for her parents to give the ten lakh rupees demanded by them. “Only father will be able to take a decision in this matter. I’ll speak to him,” replied the boy tersely and switched off the phone. A few minutes later, Anand received a call from the boy’s father. “I heard that you have some difficulties in meeting our demand.” ‘How did the boy’s father came to know of our problem? Except Shanta, Renu and myself, no one else knew about it,’ wondered Anand but he soon collected himself and replied politely, “Yes, sir. If you could just...” but before Anand could complete the sentence the voice on the other end said rudely, “I don’t want to hear any excuses, Mr Anand. I just phoned you to say that we’re calling off the marriage for the reasons best known to you,” and put the receiver down.


ext moment, Anand slumped into a nearby sofa. “What happened?” asked Shanta moving to him. Hearing her mother’s worried tone, Renu came running from her room. Anand sat still for a while and then slowly turned to Renu and said, “Beti! Why did you talk to the boy about our problem? Do you think they’ll have some sympathy or consideration for us?” “I was feeling bad for you, papa. So I thought of explaining our position to the boy.” Shanta then said, “You should have consulted either your papa or me before speaking to him. We would have advised you properly.” Then she drew a deep breath and continued, “You know how difficult it was for us to find a boy who met all our requirements. And with just

one phone call, you spoiled everything.” “I didn’t say anything to irk the boy’s side, mummy. Rather, we should be the ones to feel offended for their last-minute demand,” replied Renu. She then paused for a second and added, “I know they are doing it just to harass us. Such heartless, indecent people should be taught a lesson.” “What is there to teach when they have already called off the marriage? Except shame, disgrace and unnecessary expenses, we have not gained anything,” sighed Anand. “This is what happens when you give a girl enough rope,” commented Renu’s aunt who stood nearby. “What can we do when the boy’s parents demand a hefty sum at the last moment?” Shanta wondered aloud. “Such incidents do happen at weddings. You should have somehow overcome the obstacles and moved forward instead of giving them a chance to call off the marriage,” replied Renu’s aunt in a stern voice. Anand, Shanta and Renu heard several such comments and criticisms from relatives and friends who called on them to enjoy the tamasha. However, the trio just remained calm and composed. “Don’t take it to heart, dear,” consoled Deepa, Renu’s friend, when they met at the office cafeteria during the lunch break. “Not at all. Rather, I’m thankful to be saved from such a marriage.” “That’s true. Otherwise, your parents would have spent their lives meeting the demands of the boy’s family. And if they had failed even once in fulfilling their demands, you would have faced the music. The innumerable dowry deaths and self-immolation cases that we hear and read about in the newspapers are the results of such ill-treatments.” “You know, Deepa, my parents have already spent a buying lot of money in ornaments, clothes, utensils, furniture and electronic goods. In addition, they had also planned to gift a Santro car to the groom. Since my parents are giving these items on their own to their daughter and to their prospective son-inlaw, I just kept mum. But when the boy’s side asked for ten lakh rupees in cash, I lost my cool.” “I’m happy you talked to the boy and made your position clear,” said Deepa. Then she added, “It is time we girls resisted such unreasonable demands


so that we could curb, at least to some extent, this “I’m prepared to help you in whatever way I can.” dowry menace. And I think today’s girls with their “How?” asked Renu inquisitively. education, well-paid jobs, economic independence “Leave the modus operandi to me,” smiled Arjun. and self-confidence are well equipped to do so.” As fixed up by Renu’s parents, the boy and his As days passed, Renu became quite busy with a parents arrived at Renu’s home around 5 p.m. After new project her company had undertaken recently. seeing the girl, they discussed matters pertaining to Since it was a big project her company appointed the marriage and then they got up to leave. Just an additional project manager to share the work. then, a motorbike came to a halt in front of the gate With Arjun’s technical expertise and job experience, and a young, handsome man got down from it. As the work progressed as scheduled. The prospect of soon as the young man saw Anand he said, “Good completing the work on time brought great relief to evening, uncle. I’m Arjun, Renu’s friend.” Then he both the project managers. And, as days passed, glanced around and added, “Renu told me that she Renu started enjoying working with Arjun, a very would accompany me to the town library.” co-operative, helpful individual with a pleasing personality. nand’s face suddenly turned red with One day, while having coffee, Arjun said to embarrassment. Shanta, standing nearby, Renu, “I heard about your daredevil story. You did gazed at him with a worried look. The boy’s the right thing.” mother who stood watching the scene, threw a “But my parents are unhappy.” scornful glance at Renu’s parents and left the place “Why?” in a huff. Her husband and son followed. “They say that my outspoken nature has As soon as the guests left, Anand “I appreciate led to the cancellation of the wedding thundered, “Renu, come here.” A shiver your concern because boys’ parents usually prefer softran through Renu as she heard her father’s and regard for spoken, docile girls as their daughters-inoutburst. Leaving the cups she was your parents. law. And they also feel that it will be very washing in the sink, Renu hurried to the Yet, there is difficult to find a suitable match for a girl drawing room. nothing whose engagement or wedding is once “You know this boy?” Anand demanded wrong in called off,” explained Renu. pointing to Arjun. expressing “But the search is on, isn’t it?” Renu’s eyes widened with surprise and your views and “Yes. In fact, someone is coming to our happiness when she saw Arjun standing in opinion in an home this Sunday itself.” the doorway. important “How’s the boy?” “Yes, papa. We’re colleagues,” Renu “Just plain, as per the photograph.” replied in a trembling voice. matter that “Must be well placed?” Anand then asked in a harsh tone, “You concerns Renu’s face turned gloomy as she pretty well know the way to the town your life. replied, “Works as an accounts assistant library. Then why did you ask this boy’s in a private firm.” help to go there?” “You sound quite indifferent. Are you not happy “Since he was to pass this way, I requested him with the proposal?” Arjun asked in a concerned to...” replied Renu nervously. voice. “And this guy landed up exactly when that boy and his parents were present,” said Anand throwing enu turned her face to hide the tears from him. an angry glance at Arjun. Arjun watched her for a while and then said, Shanta then spoke in a concerned voice, “After “Why don’t you talk to your parents before the turning down many proposals, we finally okayed boy comes to see you?” this proposal. And this boy spoiled everything within “That might upset my parents. Already they have a second!” had plenty of problems because of me. I don’t wish Arjun who stood quietly listening to their to add more,” Renu said wiping her tears. accusations then spoke in a clear, respecting tone, “I appreciate your concern and regard for your “Uncle, aunty, please excuse me for coming at the parents. Yet, there is nothing wrong in expressing most inappropriate time and spoiling the whole your views and opinion in an important matter that show. But it was done for a cause to... to stall this concerns your life. After all, marriage is a lifelong alliance.” bond and it is your prerogative to choose your life “To stall this alliance? Why? For what reason?” partner,” Arjun advised. Anand demanded indignantly.” “I wish someone could speak on my behalf to my “Because your daughter is not happy with this parents,” sighed Renu. alliance.”


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January (Second) 2009


Anand immediately turned to Renu and “No. He works in a software company,” asked, “Why did you then agree to meet replied the boy’s father. Don’t worry the boy?” “But... we are middle-class people...” about status Renu remained mum. said Shanta a bit hesitantly. and position. Arjun then explained, “She agreed out The lady then moved towards Shanta We’re not of respect and concern for you people. and said with a smile, “Don’t worry about after that. She did not want to upset you further.” status and position. We’re not after that. Nor are we Then Arjun added, “When Renu Nor are we going to demand anything. going to mentioned her dilemma to me the other We want only your beautiful girl.” demand day, it was I who hatched this plan to save Overwhelmed by happiness, Renu’s anything. her from this alliance. Renu is absolutely parents did not know what to say. Then the innocent in this matter.” boy’s father said to Anand, “Since our boy We want “What have you gained by scuttling this likes your girl and had already visited your only your proposal? Would you be able to arrange place, we can, if you agree, fix the date of beautiful girl. such an alliance where the boy is ready to marriage.” marry without any demands?” asked “Boy had visited our place...?” said Anand furiously. Anand in a surprised tone and then pondered for a “I shall try, uncle. Just give me a fortnight’s time,” while. Then he asked, “Are you talking about Arjun?” replied Arjun in a sincere tone and left the place. Arjun’s parents just smiled. Shades of guilt and Two days later, a swanky car stopped in front of embarrassment appeared on Anand and Shanta’s Renu’s house. A middle-aged couple got down from faces as they recalled their conversation with Arjun. it and strode towards the gate. As soon as they were But they soon collected themselves and okayed seated, the lady said in a soft voice, “My husband is Arjun’s father’s suggestion. a businessman, running a garment factory in Okhla, The following week, Arjun and Renu became man Delhi. We have come to seek your daughter’s hand and wife. for our only son.” “You have kept your word, son. I’m extremely “Your son is also in the business line?” asked proud of you,” said Anand as he hugged his We Anand inquisitively. son-in-law.
Poonam embroidered saris of green, red, blue, pink, violet and orange colours.” My wife started to explain, “Akkamma, choose one colour only. Uniform means a particular colour...” But Akkamma categorically said, “No... who will wear the same-colour sari daily, madam? My six sets of uniforms must be in six separate colours.” We had no option but to concede her peculiar request. Now when we see uniformed women their so-called ‘uniform’ reminds us of Akkamma. – S. Palanisamy, Madurai. madam. I’m an illiterate and I know nothing about education.” As it was for educational purposes we gave Rs 3000 as a loan. Soon, on receiving it, Akkamma categorically said, “Sir, madam, though this is a loan, you should not recover this from my salary in instalments. This will be repaid by my son in full when he gets a decent job after completing his college studies.” We were stunned — what else could we do? A few days later a boy came to our house on a half-size bicycle and said, “Sir, I’m the son of Akkamma working in your house. I’ve come here to give my Amma a death message.” We immediately asked whether he had any elder brother studying in college. He replied, “No, sir, I’m her only son studying in 4th standard.” My wife at once shouted, “Akkamma, your college-going son has come.” Even today we refer to school children as ‘college-going students’ and laugh. – S. Palanisamy, Madurai.

Strange ‘Uniform’
In the eighties there was a heavy deficiency for maids at Mettur Dam and therefore all gave much leniency to their maids. Similarly, we too gave Akkamma a wide berth. One day, Akkamma asked my wife, “Madam, nurses are wearing uniforms, school teachers are wearing uniforms, police personnel are wearing uniforms — then why not me? I’m also an employee. So provide me a uniform.” We were shocked. Akkamma added, “I need six sets of uniforms to wear in a week, one every day.” If we had flatly refused this strange request she could have stopped coming for work. So we agreed to provide the uniforms. My wife asked her to choose the colour of the uniform sari. We thought that she would choose sky blue. But to our astonishment she said, “I need

College-going child
In the eighties there was shortage of maids at Mettur Dam and therefore we were very careful in handling our maid Akkamma. One day she pleaded for a loan of Rs 3000 to pay college fees and buy books for her only son. We were surprised to hear it as we did not expect Akkamma to have such a grown-up son. When my wife asked her the name of the college, she immediately replied, “I do not know,

“My paintings establish a direct dialogue with the viewers and say that life is too precious to be lost in melancholy,” says the artist.
By Our Correspondent




he young and charming artist Prenita Dutt has a firm belief in positive thinking. A glimpse of positive energy can be seen at her studio in Shahpur Jat near Khel Gaon, Delhi, where she has mapped out her personal haven, surrounding herself with music, art materials, paints and positive thoughts. Prenita was initially working as a psychotherapist. While experimenting with colour therapy on her patients, Prenita discovered her passion for art. For some time, she tried to strike a balance between her Woman’s Era

works as a psychologist and a artist, but eventually, she decided to drop the psychotherapist career in favour of art. Since her debut with ‘Shri Ganesh – her first solo show, some six years ago – Prenita has never looked back. She aims to fill the abodes of all art lovers with the radiance of her positive energy. Excerpt from an interview:

When did you realise that you should be an artist? I have a formal education in psycho therapy. I had been working as a counsellor and was experimenting


January (Second) 2009

The artist’s inner feeling of serenity has a soothing effect on the viewers.

Woman’s Era

January (Second) 2009


Who were your mentors? I would name Dinesh Baduni and Neeraj Bakshi. They are well-known landscape artists. All along my journey towards perfecting art, they have provided me with much-needed guidance and all that is required to become an artist. I frequently visit their studios and learn a lot of things. What subjects do you choose for your artworks? It is women and nature. Being a woman myself, I strongly feel that a woman is the epicentre of the entire earth. Woman and nature are intertwined and inseparable. They have a close connection, depicting two sides of a similar coin. That is why I depict nature in the backdrop intermingled with woman power. In most of my paintings, the viewers will observe various facets of women. Is there any particular choice regarding colours? I prefer to work with vibrant colours. A lot of things are happening around us. Unfortunately, most of them have a negative impact. Recently, we were all shaken by the Mumbai attacks. Of course, we had no direct relation with those who succumbed in the attacks, but we at least can feel their agony. That incident shook me

beyond any limits. In short, there is a lot of gloom, a lot of sorrow and if we use dull and heavy colours in our paintings, they will make the onlookers sadder. I don’t want to aggravate their sorrow through dull colours. So I use bright and vibrant colours. Even if I begin with some dull shade, eventually I gravitate more towards the vibrant shades in order to make my paintings livelier.

with colour therapy on my patients when I realised that I like to play with colours. I think it was during that period that I discovered my passion for art. Slowly, I began to lean more towards art. In the beginning, I thought I would perhaps manage both the fields. But eventually, I discovered that it was well nigh impossible, for as a woman, I had to look after my family and my kids too, besides doing artwork. So I took up art.

What do your paintings communicate with the viewers? My paintings are the outward manifestation of my deep inner self. An artist draws what is there deep within him. All this nature, flowers, butterflies and all those innumerable colours are part of our inner personality. What we depict on canvas is an expression of that inner feeling. I am an optimistic person, always nurturing positive thinking. As such, I feel that my paintings establish direct dialogue with the viewers and say that life is too precious to be lost in melancholy. Always harbour a positive attitude. Once you do so, the entire world will begin to appear positive. Your opinion about the increasing commercialisation of art. I think with increasing commercialisation, the boundary line between true art and commodity, gets blurred. I personally feel that an artwork should also go to the homes of true art lovers, who wish to enjoy fine art. But most of them are unable to afford artworks due their high prices. Indeed, an artist deserves a decent life. And there are so many great artists; their art is great and they are free to quote high prices for their paintings. But this tendency limits the spread of art and confines it to a few rich ones, who can afford it. Also, when you create art as merchandise you begin to compromise with the quality and create art like a factory. For me, art is passion. I do art for my pleasure, and I want my artwork to give the same pleasure to those who really want to We enjoy it.

Did you then gain some formal training in art? No, I learned art through constant devotion and practice. And I feel art is the best medium to discover your inner self. I was very much excited with the success of my first solo show titled ‘Shri Ganesh’. Was the show devoted to religious paintings? Not exactly. I basically belong to a Sikh family and I have heard when you start something new, it is proverbially named, Shri Ganesh. Success of that show gave me much needed encouragement. Since then, I feel, my artistic talent has evolved to a great extent.

Woman’s Era

January (Second) 2009

“The upward look is an indication of positiveness and striving towards perfection,” says the artist.
By Subhra Mazumdar

and interested group of pupils, finding that their creative energies have given rise to a new learning experience for her. Excerpt from an interview:


he everyday world that we live and work in, is shrouded in a cover of mundanity according to most of us. Artist Priyanka Dua, on the other hand, has found her greatest source of inspiration from keeping a close tab on her own surroundings. Thus what others dismiss as ordinary, Priyanka perceives as extraordinary and inspirational. A graduate of the Delhi Women’s Polytechnic, Priyanka was, till recently, a member of its faculty. Currently, she is teaching art at Daly College, Indore, where she is imbibing the techniques into a young

What do you find inspirational in the everyday life around you? I find that existence all around me is a tremendous source of inspiration because when I see people, I begin to look inwards. I try to imagine what their desires, their motives and their struggles in day-to-day living must bring on. This feeling for others gives me a new way of understanding life and that in turn gets reflected on my canvases. How has this stimulation from your surroundings affected you as an artist? It has made me a better person in general. I have learnt to keep a tab on my emotions, not by checking them to the point of suppression, but by shaping their course to help me become understanding and insightful.

The painting reflects the confluence of human forms in a pure state of existence with contentment.

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January (Second) 2009


I have learnt to accept challenges as a part of living and realise that acceptance of limitations is the best way forward in life.

These are ennobling thoughts, no doubt. How can these ideas be reflected in a painting? I would like to tell you about a painting that I have titled ‘Full Stop’. In this painting the red dot against a white backdrop takes on a character of its own, but is based on my experiences of interacting with my surroundings. The red circle, being looked at from above, creates the vision of a silent observer. The black line below the circle is like the dividing line of separateness between the inner and outer worlds of an individual’s life. I want to highlight the situation faced by a common man. His life is spent within his circumstances helping others, understanding them, living a better life and also tackling negative emotions. Since your works have a public face to them, what do viewers have to say about the feelings expressed through paintings? It’s a great feeling to interact with people and share my experiences with them. This is best done at the time of an exhibition of my works. I was privy to such a sharing with the public at my last exhibition, held in Indore. The manner in which they viewed my works became a sort of

of the human living below, at ground level. The upturned posture is the manner in which humans struggle to overcome their circumstances. The free forms of red dots floating uncontrollably and descending groundwards, is a coming down into the realm of reality.

communication along artistic lines with them. I was keen to note the onlookers’ perceptions on seeing my works, as none of them are realistic depictions.

Which painting in this exhibition got the most public response? It was a work entitled ‘Confluence’. In it the face is not fully visible. It is a half face and its mirror image, with two arms and in a sitting pose. When people viewed the faces in this fashion, some commented that it took them on a higher spiritual level. Others understood that a face reflected the human capacity to understand a psychological and emotional presence. Others said that it suggested that humans are open to all sorts of ideas. All these comments find a space within my subconscious mind and at some point of time in the future, there will be a splash-up, born of this event, and will translate itself into a painting that comments on these reactions. In this respect what can the colours, such as red or black, define in your artwork? In the context of a painting, I would like to draw your attention to the red used in the ‘Salvation’ painting. It is like a full stop and in that way a symbol of salvation. So if the red is salvation personified, then the black base or space, would define the fact that we are mortal and temporary and one day, will be dissolved into nothingness or shunya. The face in the work is upturned and with enlarged nostrils , as if the viewer were taking a bird’s eye view

Your colour palette is both muted and daring. How do you combine these opposites with your unique thought process behind each painting? For me, a colour does not stand for its visual connotation alone. Just as a face is a treasure trove of several human emotions, a colour too, is a source of many ideations. Their application, placement and demarcation, is what makes them appropriate for that particular use. What is the significance of the upturned look in a human form in your painting? The upward look is an indication of positiveness and striving towards perfection. The figures are only visible till the torso and it is not gender equated. So anyone, male or female, can be linked to this form and also takes away from my earlier paintings where the human form in it was a nude figure, suggestive of the most pure state of human existence. What is your unique learning experience teaching youngsters? I find younger children very creative and unrestrained in their capacity to express their thoughts. They are brilliant at creating their own forms and are quick to interpret them for you. Their originality makes me realise how deep down is our conditioning. I therefore prefer to tell them techniques of painting, but never interfere with their creative process. I suggest to them the intricacies of shading, to bring out translucence or transparency and try to ‘train’ their eyes to see beyond the clearly visual. That is my way of ensuring that the next generation of artists have the ability to fine-tune their originality and make it visible We through their art.

Praveen D. Upadhye Born in Shedbal, (Belgaum Distt) Karnataka on 31December1965. Qualification: Art Master Diploma in Paintings, Govt. Fine Arts School, Dharwad. Participation: Banan Smith School of Fine Art Belguam Lalit Kala Mela "state" Bangalore, Govt. Fine Art School "Camp" "College Annual Exhibition *A.I.S.F of Karnataka Mysore Dushera A.I.F.A.C.S. Annual Exhibition Mussoorie Camp. Gallery Freedom Camp, Varanasi. Group Shows: Benan Smith School of Fine Art Belgaum. Govt. Fine Art School Dharwad Aurobindo M.C, *Art Konsult, New Delhi *Shridhararani Mardhav Art Consult * Gallery Freedom, *Llalit Kala Akadami. Art Today Their Story 2000, I am Gallery, * Krishna Collection, *Classic Resorts 1999, *Birla Academy (Bombay) 1999. *Nehru Center (Bombay). India with Art (Washington DC). Solo Show: Gallery Aurobindo. Art Consult. Lalit Kala Akadami. Awards: Govt. Fine Art School Dharwar 1st Prize 1987 *Shanti Sagar Janam Jayanti 1st Prize, 1987 *A.I.S.F of Karnataka 2nd Prize, 1987.

“While painting monks I make sure that they are filled with emotional content and don’t wear deadpan expressions,” says Praveen Upadhye.
By S. Mazumdar


t is not always that a childhood association lingers on as an art statement throughout one’s creative journey. But that is what has given Praveen D Upadhye’s paintings their unique, one-of-akind style prerogative in the art world. Known for his enormous capacity to depict the life of ascetics on his canvases, his works are sought after through out the world. Today, this highly successful artist has an inexhaustible affiliation to this theme, and has held numerous group

and solo shows, wherein his steadfast approach to his subject matter, through many mood depictions and numerous techniques, have won acclaim among critics and art lovers alike.

How did you first get interested in painting sanyasis, monks and the like? As a child, my home was located next to a Jain ashram premises and all day, I would watch the child monks, the elderly ones and the others in the ashram, going about their daily tasks,

silent and stoic features. Although we feel that they are beings who live on a different plane from most of us, as we are caught up in a rat race of trying to exist, the serene monks are like an oasis of calm in this turmoil. They provide a rare inspiration and become the anchor to which I can attach my moments of peace and find that by the end of the painting, the subject matter begins to draw a strange calmness even into the minds of the viewer. I make sure that my monks are filled with emotional content and don’t wear deadpan expressions. from the windows of our home. Their lives, their expressions and their gestures, particularly those of the child monks living in the hostels, seemed to have a special meaning.

All of us have special childhood memories but with the advancing years, those images and associations become distanced. Why has this image lived on? Curious that you should ask me…I suppose that the monks’ image would have passed under normal circumstances. But when I went to study art at the college at Dharwar, I took up lodgings in the city. Strangely enough, my rooms faced an ashram in the town and the first sounds I would wake up to each morning, was that of the temple bells ringing on their premises. The memories of childhood flashed back at once.

Such a memory was a reminder of home, no doubt. How did you transfer it into art? In college, as students, we were asked to paint a subject of our own choosing and I found the subject of the monks come flashing into my mind there and then. It felt as if I had a readymade subject before me. I at once began to paint a composition of five brahmacharis and submitted it as my assignment. It was liked a lot and that work and the appreciation it had got me, lingered on and even today, even if I will myself to paint on other subjects, the draw of the monks becomes impossible to change. What do you try to depict through the image of the monks? I am fascinated with the smoothness of their expressions and the honesty that I find behind their
Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009

Besides doing your own art, how do you work with fellow artists? It is good that you asked me this. Besides being an artist, I also run an art gallery. It is called Gallery Pioneer, located at Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi. It is a popular gallery as several visitors to the Village, drop in to see the paintings on display and on sale. More than its commercial merit, running an art gallery keeps me in constant touch with fellow artists and they often drop by, at the gallery, to share their thoughts on art matters. What was its USP? There are paintings on very different styles. There were sculptures and even works in abstract. The variety and originality of the works make a huge art We statement.

Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009


No mocking of monks. Factually, they bear the expression of serenity, honesty laced with the sense of fulfillment and salvation, behind their stoic features, are class apart from this tumultuously maddening world.


An artist with single-minded devotion to art. By Subhra



he learning advantages of being a self-employed artist has been fully realised by the young artist Anita Singh. That is why there was no indecision in her case after finishing her school studies. Her brother was a reputed sculptor and lecturer at the Benaras Hindu University Arts Faculty and Anita was bent upon following a course in Fine Arts. So when she was admitted as a student for the BFA at Patna University, there was no looking back ever since. When she came to live in the capital, Anita took up further studies, and opted for a postgraduate degree (MFA) at the Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi. To augment her understanding of Fine Art even further, Anita joined the Art Appreciation Course of the National Museum and came in contact with a host of fellow art lovers, from all walks of life, including a group of Woman’s Era

interested diplomats posted in India. Since then, Anita has continued to make her mark at a number of group shows. Excerpts from an interview:

What is the advantage of exhibiting in a group, for an artist who works independently? I get a chance to see different kinds of work from a number of artists. Sometimes, the same theme is on display, but the artists treat the theme in their individual way and that makes for an interesting angle for me. What exactly do you look for, when viewing the works of other artists? I try and understand the thought and the mindset of the artist when he has executed a certain kind of work. The fact that the same subject has been represented in a way that is different from my own, really

January (Second) 2009

Woman’s Era

January (Second) 2009


The plight of a destitute woman, after her loved ones migrated to new greener pastures for livelihood, leaving her behind to fend for survival.

fascinates attention.





Why have you chosen to be a full-time artist and that too, without any links with an art body? Yes, it’s true that it is rather unusual for a young artist like me to decide to work independently and not even join fellow artists in any association of artists. This is because I want to know my subject thoroughly. Working alone, without the distraction of holding a job at the same time, gives me the privilege of acquiring a thorough command over my subject, and space, to create a painting that is born of this commanding advantage. Who in your family, including the joint family, is your strongest supporter? My husband, of course. He supports my efforts morally, and even financially. It is he who has shown full trust in my abilities, whereas the other family members, at times, have urged me to make a hobby interest in art, and take up a salaried job for earning a living. What is the theme that you like to paint? It is the theme of immigration and its impact in human terms. I am not speaking of international immigra tions, but that of migrations from the villages to the big cities. My canvas also depicts the plight of those who have been left behind and their feelings of emptiness and longing for their children, who have left them, to work in the cities. How do you prefer to depict this theme? Well, it is not through columns of humans walking across rugged terrain. It is through the nebulous form of a single crouching figure, or a ghost-like form, and a letter in the foreground. The hazy backdrop and the figure in it are that of the family in the village who are longing for a letter from the son who has left for the city, and the writing of that letter runs like a stream meandering across the surface of the canvas. Is there any other theme, apart from migration, that you like to depict in your paintings? I have often shown the manner in which these people have to scrounge and save their money in order to support families dependent on them in the village. For this purpose I have stencilled on the canvas backdrop innumerable tiny ‘gulaks’, those childhood piggy banks in which we as children stowed away all the change we were given by our elders. In the foreground of this painting is a giant gulak, formed like a transparent, glass-domed gulak, in which are seated a child and his toys. The oversized money container and the toys are symbols of the desires that consume the minds of the individual, who is struggling in the city, to fulfil his dreams.
Woman’s Era

As you paint migrations with such originality, do you also paint on cities where the migratory population usually arrive? I do paint cities, in particular Benaras, because I feel this is one city in India where people from all parts of India arrive. I have been fascinated since childhood by the magnetic draw of this city, not just for its religious angle, but also for its visual opportunities. In this place there appears to be perfect harmony and coexistence and I have used the commonly seen sights of this city in an original form. What are the original touches you have provided to this cityscape? Instead of painting the riverfront and boats, I have shifted this to the backdrop and stencilled fine lines of innumerable boats so that my entire canvas begins to represent the river Ganga. Then I have moved away from depicting the many narrow lanes and side streets of this ancient city and looked at the perspective of the ghat, and not the city as such. The painting has no strong architectural lines, but contains more of the emotional attachment in individual minds, with the city of Benaras. As a woman artist, are you drawn to depicting the lives of women in India? Yes, interestingly, my theme of migration and recall of the life left behind, takes on a new turn in the painting entitled ‘ A Leaf from My Mother’s Existence’. In this painting, I have again used the stencil technique to create a jaali of chulhas, those earth – baked cooking fires of her time. There are other household objects and those used by the men of the house to make a living outside the domestic threshold. I refer in particular to the black umbrella in a corner. It is symbolic as a shading device from the weather as well as a comforting recall, for it is used when leaving the secure environs of the home to step into the bigger world. We


January (Second) 2009

“My work celebrates life. I usually work on positive subjects,” says the artist!
By Our Correspondent



eema Jindal, a former lecturer and a woman, who eats, sleeps and breathes art has carved a niche for herself on the mental canvas of art lovers. Seema, an eternal optimist, reflects her own personality and psyche through her work. This close relationship, between art lover and its creator necessarily builds an umbilical cord among the human beings. She chats about her work and passion with our correspondent. Excerpts: Why are you an artist? Art is one of my prime reasons and purpose of existence. It helps me to express myself. It is a proof of the fact that I am alive and doing what gives me true happiness.

been using art to express myself since childhood. But yes, I started exhibiting my works a few years ago.

Could you tell us some more about your work? My work celebrates human life. I usually work on positive subjects. My endeavour is to tap the positive energy of the viewer. It urges me to create and explore different sources of happiness. I have embarked on a path which has not only given me positive energy and happiness, but others feel it too. My colours are usually bold and basic. My paintings make one question. They are not just decorative pieces. One forms a sort of relationship with them. You use a lot of ultramarine blue, and sunflowers have become your trade mark… Sunflowers to me symbolise happiness and brightness of life. The

When did you first realise you are an artist? I don’t remember that because I have
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What lies behind or before us are nonetities, as compared to what lies within us – determination to survive to bring happiness all around.

‘Sunflower’ series explores the sources of happiness . The blue colour shows that the figures are above normal humans having realised their source of happiness. They no longer need to bother about colour, caste, creed or clothes. The closed eyes depict that one has to just look within to find this absolute happiness. The serenity on the faces 94

is the result of this finding. My painting ‘Together but Lonely’ evokes an important emotion – compassion – which if felt, can lift one from normal life conditions to a higher one.

What is it that inspires you to paint a particular subject? It is only when the subject touches my soul and stirs me to the extent
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that I cannot keep it inside me any more, that a painting comes into existence. To me painting is like poetry. It is a subconscious expression of the self… I see my dreams in colour and can visualise the painting on the canvas. I can arrange and rearrage colours on the canvas in my mind. It is Nature’s gift and indication that I have to keep

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painting to keep in touch with my inner self.

What are the mediums you use? I usually work in oils, but love to play around with different mediums. I have experimented with oils in a few of my works, giving highlights using the white of the canvas instead of using tints of white. In ‘Seeking the Sun’ radium paint has been used, making it glow in the dark. Inner Energy’, ‘Cord of Life’, ‘Oneness’ and ‘I exist’ which were conceived in a state of semi – conscious sleep, are all my experimental works in mixed media. You seem to be a very prolific painter, and your works seem to be filled with intense emotion. Is painting like a release for you, or is it emotionally draining? When there is a turmoil, the subconscious looks for solutions to balance things out. In my paintings the subconscious becomes one with the conscious. It is a kind of release for me. It is my meditation …my peace. What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio? The urge to live this life inspires me to paint. I just need to look within, when the going is tough, and most often, I find the answers there. Similarly, when I get stuck in somewhere while painting, I just let it be for some time, till it reflects upon my inner eye…..

What do you think of the contemporary art scene in India? Finally, the concept is selling in India. The Art Summit in Delhi in 2008 was proof enough of that. It’s great to see India doing well globally, in all art forms. Postmodern Art is yet to find acceptance here. I am lucky to be in the era when so much action is taking place. How have you handled the business side of being an artist? Frankly, I still find it difficult since I tend to think from the heart rather than the head. What artists have influenced you, and how? Since I am a self-taught artist, I was never in the danger of following or copying the style of any artist. I have my own distinctive style. From Van Gogh to Husain Saab and Gujral Saab, all are my favourites. But more than the names, what draws me to a work is the passion, emotion and the idea behind it. Despite not having painting as a subject, how did you educate yourself in it? I am a voracious reader. Books have been my teachers. I have never been afraid to experiment. I sketch on a regular basis. There are a few very close artist friends with whom I can share and exchange ideas. I have done Masters in English Literature. Now I am pursuing PhD in an interdisciplinary subject, in Art and Literature. Soon I will be called formally educated in Art! What do you do for fun (besides painting)? I write. Currently, I am working on a children’s novel. Besides this, I love to cook and try out new recipes. Watching movies with the family is also one of the favourite times. My husband Aditya and I, love to travel and explore new places…
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Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Still painting and writing… What are you working on at the moment? I have recently had an exhibition at Epicentre in Gurgaon and the response was heart warming. I am giving myself space before I plunge into painting my next series. What's the best and worst parts of being a full-time, artist? The best part is while painting, I live every moment of my life, I can be myself. It is my world and I can do what I please. The worst part is handling the business side. How do you manage kids, home and a career? My kids, Dhruv and Tara, are 9 and 5 years old. They too, love to paint and recently had their solo exhibition in Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur. They understand the importance of my work to me. I have my husband’s unstinting support. I make sure I am around the family when they are back home. Clever time management and hard work is the key to keep all the fronts balanced. What advice would you give to an artist just starting out? Listen to your heart. Don’t get bogged down by the demands of the We market. Just be yourself.

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An artist who has no particular themes, just paints horses, landscapes, seascapes and abstracts.
By Vidhyalakshmi Rao

pursue it. It was after college that she took up painting. But she has been practically self-taught. She has not been formally trained. She had an excellent childhood, with loving parents. Since she was an only child, she was pampered a lot, but not spoilt. Her speciality is horses! Horses, like M.F. Husain. But, she begs to differ, her horses are in her own style. Over to a very humble artist, who has had almost complete sell-outs during her previous exhibitions. You took up art much later in life. How is life now that art has happened to you? I took up art, probably, around 20 years ago. I started painting, I think, in 1990 or 1991. My first exhibition was four years after that and it was a complete sell-out. Then, I had a gap for 12 to 15 years, as I am the only child and I have to look after my family business.


he is into the chemicals business and she is an artist. Surprised? Yes, there is a woman, who is a businesswoman as well as a painter. That’s Reena Patel for you. Born and brought up in Bombay, Reena is a commerce graduate. Her father is a Gujarati and her mother was a Bohri Muslim. The chemicals business is her father’s. Her parents were very supportive. She had her first exhibition in 1995. She started drawing when she was in school. They encouraged her to Woman’s Era

Why did you choose painting as a career? From childhood I was interested in painting and drawing. It is my natural talent. I haven’t had any formal training. I chose to pursue painting as I enjoyed it and it is a form of relaxation for me.

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The symbol reflects the great zest for life.

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How did art happen to you? I was doing drawing and painting in school. I kind of enjoyed doing it. It actually, started as a hobby and I started gifting away paintings to everybody. Everybody said I must get into it professionally. In school, there would have been some training? There was, but, I never took it up. What inspired you to become an artist? Well, as I said, it started as a hobby. As I started doing it, I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. It gave me a lot of peace and it relaxed me, and I felt very happy when I was painting. That is why I decided to pursue it seriously and professionally now. One of your major subjects is horses. Even M.F. Husain paints horses. Once people find similarity to a senior, they start comparing. How do you take it? Well, my paintings are different. I use varied mediums in my paintings. I use sequins. How are your paintings different? I do my horses with texture. I accessorise it. I use beads, sequins. I use a lot of knife work. Well, his paintings are fabulous. I would be nowhere near him. My style is different from his. What are the mediums you work with? I basically do oil on canvas. I use oil paints, texture, beads, tinsel, glitter and shells to create different effects on the paintings. Would you explain ‘what is texture’? Texture, actually, is a white thick liquid and it gives a raised effect as opposed to a flat look. I basically use it for the horses. What are the techniques used in your paintings? I have no fixed techniques. I use brush, oils and do some knife-work
98 as well. I do oil on canvas and I use different mediums to add variety to the paintings. To place the beads etc., I use my hands a lot.

on the horses as I feel browns are a neutral colour and can blend well anywhere. Some of my horses are multi-coloured and some are black and white. I use a lot of bright colours as well as they are very vibrant and add a lot of life to certain paintings.

How many exhibitions did you have till now? This is my third exhibition. I had my first show in 1995 at Baba Art Gallery, Warden Road. My second exhibition was in Marine Plaza Hotel in 2007 and my third exhibition at Art Desh, Filmcenter, Tardeo. Both my earlier exhibitions were 70-80 per cent sell-outs. I’ve had all my exhibitions in Mumbai. There was a long gap between the first and second exhibition because I was involved in my business and didn’t have the time to pursue my passion for paintings seriously. Does mood have anything to do with the paintings an artist creates? Oh yes, it absolutely does. If I do a painting when I’m not in the frame of mind to do it, it may not turn out the way it is expected. But, sometimes, when I get into the mood to paint I can like finish, probably, four to five paintings in a week. So the mood plays an important role while painting. What do you think about the current art scene in India? Is it good? It’s booming. Why is art in India booming? There must be some reason. Well, there are a lot of artists in India. Weren’t they there before? They must have been there before as well, but now since the industry has picked up so much, I guess, it’s been pretty easy recognising these artists. Any future projects? After this exhibition, let’s see. Probably I might go on to the Rajasthani Art, since I’ve hardly We explored it much before.

To which genre of artists do you belong? I think my paintings are more of fusion art. I experiment a lot in my paintings, to create different effects. How would you describe your paintings? What are the themes of your paintings? I paint horses, landscapes, seascapes and abstracts. I have no particular themes. I just do what I feel like doing. I have absolutely no theme. I don’t set out and say ‘okay, this is my theme for my exhibition’. I have varied themes. I don’t stick to one particular theme. How important is colour scheme in paintings? Do you have any set rules? I use a lot of browns, especially
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R. S. Prakash

that, continues to keep company in this too. Anuya is the other leading lady. ACTOR Arunkumar, who is the son of character actor Vijayakumar is a talented youth but somehow or the other, success has always evaded him, though he had been a part of some good movies. He even changed his name to Arun Vijay, around the time of his marriage but even then, no big break came his way! Likewise, Vedika is one such similar star who couldn’t get a good break, though she is good looking and sports a slim figure. She has played lead roles in films as Muni Kalai and Chakkarakatti but she just couldn’t join the big league. Malai Malai featuring these two in the lead has just been launched and the schedules are on. Arun Vijay has reportedly subjected himself to rigorous workouts and has also trained himself in marital arts as the project is an action-packed thriller laced with romance, made on a big budget. Prakashraj has also been roped in to play a vital role in the film.

Initially, Pooja was to play the female lead but for reasons undisclosed, Vedika has replaced her. A. Venkatesh is the director. MGR, the ever-green matinee idol of Tamil cinema, passed away in 1987 and yet he continues to stir emotions among cinema audiences. For his fans, there’s reason for cheer. Mayabimbham Media, the makers of Inimey NaangathaanV4, are readying for their next project, Puratchithalaivan (leader of revolution). It will feature MGR and Soroja Devi (MGR’s co-star in a number of films). The 3D animation film will be handled by Venky Baboo and a trailer is expected to be ready by 17 January, MGR’s birthday. A big-budget project, it is expected to be packed with all elements of a typical MGR entertainer. FANS of Rajinikanth, who are desperate for some heartening news from their hero, especially after the debacle of Kuselan and his ambiguous political amibitions, have something to

OF late, many movies are being made in and around the temple town of Madurai in Tamil Nadu and most of such films have showcased themes that are set around gang wars and group – clashes. Madurai Sambavam is the latest flick that is actually based on a true life story. The scene of action is the town of Madurai and hence the title. Eureka, a former deputy of acedirector Vikraman is making his debut through this. Suresh Balaji, son of veteran producer and actor, K. Balaji is producing this flick under the banner White Uncle Creations. According to the sources from the film crew, the film deals with gang-wars in a semiurban area in the proximity of Madurai. Harikumar, the choreographer – turned actor who won acclaims for his performance in the film Thothukudi is the hero. Karthika who played his pair in 100 Woman’s Era

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It is his first directorial venture. Besides Nadiya and a few others, the film has a lot of children playing vital roles Jessie Gift is the scorer. Sheeba Rohan is the writer. CAPITAL Film Works India (p) Ltd is currently busy producing Aaranya Kaandam in which popular Hindi actor Jackie Shroff is playing an important role. Ravaikumar, Sampath, Somasundaram Ajayraj and many others are in the cast. Mumbai model Yashman is the debutante heroine. Ad film-maker Thiyagarjan Kumararaja is making his debut as the writer-director. Vinod is the cameraman. Yuvan Shankar Raja is the scorer. This is the fifth offering from the banner. AVM Production Aa Aaa e Ee is a remake of the Telugu hit Chandamama made on a very big budget. The film has Navdeep and Monika in the lead roles. Prabhu is playing an important character in the film. Manorama, Arvind Akash, Saranya Mohan, VMC Haneefa, Livingston, R. S. Sivaji and Kanja Karuppu are also in the cast. Vijay Anthony’s songs have already turned chart-busters. Aruldas has canned the shots. Krishanavamsi has penned

the story and screenplay Sabapathi is the director. R. KAY, who has already made a couple of appearances on the big screen in character roles, including the latest film Thoondil takes on a swash buckling role in Ellam Avan Seiyal the actor has enacted the role of a criminal lawyer who takes pains to defend the criminal at the court and after ensuring their release renders justice on his own verdict and again ensures that proper punishment is meted out to them! R. Key is certain to go places as a character actor.

KAVAREE Maanyal is the latest and newest offering from Jaya TV and the serial is being telecast from Monday to Friday at 8.30 p.m. Prabhu Nepal has produced and directed the serial and the screenplay has been penned by Devipriya. The cast includes Sithara, Uma, Nirmal, Birla, Raja, Suhasini.
THE music of Abirami Mega mall’s Panchamirtham was released recently on a lavish scale during a function held at the Abirami theatre complex. Ms Kanimozhi, M.P. released the first CD which was received by Ramesh Prasad. Film personalities like Rama Narayanan, K. R. G. Kalaipuli Thanu, Sekaran, Vaalee, M.S. Viswanathan, S. A. Chandrasekaran, Shobha Chanda sekaran and many others were present on the occasion. The album composed by Sunder. C Babu for the lyrics of Vaalee had five songs. The film Panchamirtham is based on the popular serial Mayarvi Marisan which was produced by Abirami Eswaran. The version has also been directed by Raju Eswaran. The film is about how the mythological characters – Irumban and Maarisan experience the Chennai of the contemporary times amidst non-stop laughter. Nasser, Jayaram, arvind, Saranya Mohan, Karunas and many others are in the cast besides the director himself who play a baddie. It is a film full of fun ad frolic which provides wholesome entertainment to the We whole family. 101

look forward to soon. Sultan – The Warrior, the animated film, is almost complete. Portions involving the superstar have been wrapped up and the film is set for release on 14 April, next year. Produced jointly by ocher Studio and Adlabs, the film has brought together some of the best technicians in the country. With A. R. Rahman as the music scorer and Thottatharani as the art director, it has taken nearly two years to get things for the film to open globally in 12 languages including Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and English. Sultan... is supposedly laced with characteristic punch lines and mannerisms of Rajni. According to daughter Soundarya, who is the director of the film, the production values will be on par with those of Pixar or Dream works. DIRECTOR N. Lingusamy, who produced hit film Deepavali made under his banner Thriupathi Brothers, has now come up with his next project Pattalam in which Nadiya is playing the lead. Rohan Krishna, s student of the film institute, is the director who has worked under Priyadarshan and Santhosh Sivam.

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S P E A K !
R. Prakash



tarting his screen career about six years ago, Srikanth has acted in over a dozen films, most of which have been successful at the box-office. Then there was a small lull in his career, his marriage which actually brought in some problems along... but the that’s all about the past: out to the present...the sensitive yet sensible star is all set for a solid innings now with his latest release Poo directed by his mentor, Sasi (who gave him the first break with Roja Koottam which was Srikanth’s successful launch pad). Though Poo is a heroineoriented subject basically Srikanth had no reservations about playing a part in the movie that has been made by his mentor. Moreover, his character was very vital in the movie, around which the whole screenplay was woven. He only makes a belated entry in the film but Srikanth asserts that only after his arrival does the screenplay takes a twist, facilitating a flashback. Srikanth remarks that his marriage has brought in better sense of balance in him. ‘I pay more attention to the quality of roles that come my way’, he explains. So far, Srikanth has appeared in roles that were urban by way of backdrop. Poo is my first-time

romance with a rural setting, says Srikanth who accepted the offer at the instance of Sasi who suggested that Srikanth should take up and try out different subjects. Srikanth is quite confident that Poo will pave the way for a new phase in his career. Srikanth has high regards for Sasi, who, according to him, is a tough taskmaster when it come to getting the right expressions that he exactly wants from his artistes. Actors turning directors and directors turning actors seems to be the order of the day... how about Srikanth. As of now I am holding a bagful

of assignments on hand and I am fully focused on giving my best to all the projects. Apart from acting, nothing else is on my agenda, as at the moment. After a disastrous release of Kizhakku Kadarkarai Salai almost two years ago, Srikanth hasn’t had a release at all. Whatever the reasons be, Srikanth claims that he was actually waiting for good projects to come by. He adds, Sasi and I were to do a project together but I had to back out owing to personal reasons. Moreover, that project never took off. Srikanth is visibly very happy to associate with Sasi again as he jubilantly recollects the memories of his memorable debut film, Roja Kootaam Srikanth speaks specifically about another significant factor “While doing Roja Kootaam with Sasi, everyone excepting me were known faces. In Poo I am the only familiar face, while all the others were new!” Srikanth speaks about his ground work for Poo. For the first time, my image moves away from that of a metroman. I have put in extra effort to portray the role of a rural youth going to town to study. I did a bit of research too while preparing for the role. Indira Vizha, Rasikkum Seemane, Maa, Police Police, Manavan Dinam, Drohi, Srikanth has good number of films on hand. Looks like he is certain to have a good time this time!



he sixth edition of the Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) was held at Chennai recently for a period of 10 days.

Organised by the Indo-Cine Appreciation Forum, which has been holding this event annually since 2003 has come a long way. For the Woman’s Era

first time, in its history, the state government has extended financial support for the festival by offering a sum of Rs 25 lakh. The best aspect of the Chennai Festival is the fact that it offers quality films and this year, it showcased 110

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films from 35 countries. More so, 25 films screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) at Goa recently were also screened here And for the first time, 10 films by students of the L.V. Prasad Film and Television, Academy are also a part of this year’s package. The Tamil films that were screened Subramanyapuram, included, Anjadhe and Poo. The package also includes films that have won awards in other international film festivals. Tulpan was the opening films, the first feature by the Kazakhstan director Sergei Dvartsevoy which bagged the Best film and Best Director awards of IFFI’ 08. Films under the ‘Tributes’ section had packages from the Japanese film-maker Keisuke Kinoshita, C. V.

Sridhar (Tamil) and Youseff Chahine from Egypt. Flowers of the Sky from Sri Lanka by Prasanna Vithanage looked deeply at a once-celebrity star, now living in seedy obscurity Vithanage and actress Malini Fonseka (who won the special Jury Silver Peacock for subtle acting at IFFI’08 were also present during the screening. I served the King of England by Czech wizard Jiri Menzel, was a prized entry which spoke of parallel stories taking off from a Prague hotel. The entry from the Philippines Bet Collector narrated the story of Hard Luck with a stylish elan. Old favourites like Guernica Muriel Mon Amour, etc. were also a part of this year’s package. The American film-maker Alexis

Krasilovsky tracked the lens towards women of different nationalities on land and under water, war zones and film sets in Women Behind the Camera. The list of films under World Cinema included Behind the Glass, The Tour, Palestine, etc. while the Italian package had classics as Letter from Sahara, Katyn, Double Portrait, etc. While the Russian focus was on contemporary cinema, Thailand brought in legend and adventure. The retros were no less exciting. Aki Kaurismaki’s Those Were the Days was certainly a case in point. In all, this year’s festival was far better in the selection of films as well as the projection facilities. Moreover, it was organised better this time, much to the pleasure and privilege of all film lovers.



ailed and acclaimed as one of the most realistic films of the times, the recently released Poo is being talked about for one more reason – the presence and performance of Parvathi, a newcomer to Tamil films, who has simply walked away with all the honours. Parvathi is the latest addition to the list of leading ladies from the God’s own country, (Kerala) all of whom have created a big impact on Tamil cinema. For a beginning in Kollywood, Parvathi has really been bold. Not many would have dared to don such a deglamourised role in a debut film, in total contrast to how she looks when you see her in person. Not in bits and parts, but through the entire length of the movie, has this Kerala queen, appeared without make-up, appearing darker addedly, to lend credibility to the character. ‘I don’t believe in skin-show and I care only for meaningful roles’, says she while disclosing the reason as to why she decided to do the film “I am basically a city-bred girl and I have never come across anyone like my

character Mari in the film, who is the main protagonist’, she elaborates. When I reached the actual village locale, I took some time to do a bit of research on the environs as well as such girls form real-life, that I could get into the skin of the character in the reel-life,” she goes on. Parvathi has been one person who has been very passionate towards acting right from her early days. Shabana Azmi, Tabu, etc. were her favourite heroines and like the way they do, Parvathi looked out for roles with substance. To get her expression right, he Woman’s Era

was tutored by a person who taught her Tamil, especially the local slang, in order to get the lip sync in perfect order. This teenager was absolutely thrilled when her own voice was dubbed by a dubbing artiste about which Parvathi has no complaints. After all, the director knows what is best for the film, she reasons out. For this young beauty, the script and the director matter most but she doesn’t mind commercial roles if it were like the Kannada film, Milana opposite Puneet Rajkumar. But will it not prevent her from reaching the heights scaled by the likes of Asin and Nayanthara in glamorous roles? Parvathi opines: “My priorities are different. I don’t want the audience to go gaga over me. Acting is my passion and I prefer to keep a low profile. That’s it.” Presently, Parvathi Menon is planning to take a break from Tamil films as she has to complete her studies. She should then be in a position to take up films in Tamil. With an humble attitude and disarming smile, Parvathi is certain to go places. We 103

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A peep into the fascinating world of decorative needlework.
By Kusum Mehta



n the field of ornamentation, perhaps embroidery alone can match jewellery in splendour. People seem to have a craving for embellishing a given material or object to make it more decorative. In India embroidery has a hoary past, for there is mention of needles in very ancient books. Excavations have revealed bronze embroidery needles dating back to 2300-1500 BC as also figurines wearing embroidered drapery. Similar embroidered textiles can also be seen in the ancient Buddhist stupa sculptures. Indians use all the embroidery stitches known to the rest of the world but with local variations and innovations. In India embroidered fabrics still retain the old social values, for they are amongst the treasures given to the bride at the marriage. Though certain basic embroidery stitches are common, each area has its own special styles largely determined by the environmental designs. The Haryana phulkari is of a spectacular nature. The word means “flowering” and it creates a flowery surface. Strangely enough the stitch itself is simple darning like the damask, done from the back, either


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by counting the threads or with the help of a thread line. This has to be done with unusual care for a single miss can throw out the whole pattern. In the traditional phulkari , the patterns are dispersed at intervals over the cloth. The bagh (garden) style has the entire surface ornamented by a connected pattern, with skilful manipulation of the darning stitch, numerous varieties of intricate designs are contrived through horizontal, vertical and diagonal stitches, each with its own character based on the motifs it represents, as also tonal variations in colours. There are several kinds of baghs like shalimar bagh, chand bagh, mircha bagh, duniya bagh as also satranga (seven coloured), panchranga (five coloured) and so on, each splendid in its own way. The third kind is chope where the edges are embroidered with stylised motifs of flowers, fruits and birds, along with geometrical patterns.

Originally, the designs seem to have been predominantly geometrical but the phulkari now being produced for sale has often a lotus for the centre and stylised animals and birds worked harmoniously with flowers. Like other embroideries, some jewellery patterns are also included. The stitching is done with silk

thread, though occasionally cotton threads in white and green are introduced, and sometimes even woollen. A peculiarity of phulkari is that the fabric itself is used geometrically as an inner decoration so that the medallations, diamonds, etc., are not just patterns sewn on but become an integrated combination of colours yellow and madder brown. This is only possible where absolute accuracy in thread counting is observed. In bagh work the stitch is so refined that the embroidery becomes the fabric itself. The quality of the workmanship is measured by the smoothness at the back that can only result from the evenness of the stitches.

Such a demanding craft can only be a leisure occupation, done with devotion and earnestness. As phulkari was part of a girl’s trousseau as also worn at a particular wedding ceremony, she had to work on it from a very early age. In fact, her proficiency in this seems to have added to her eligibility as a bride. Madder brown, rust red or indigo are the usual background colours. The stitches are mainly in golden yellow or white or green. A few bright colours are introduced in the borders. The best work in phulkari is found in Gurgaon, Karnal, Hissar, Rohtak and around Delhi. Embroidery done in metal wires by kalabattu – or zari as it is popularly called – is in class by itself. The manufacture of real zari threads was once a big and important industry, which has declined with the advent of synthetic material. Haryana also produces crochet items, but they are more pronouncedly local in designs like elephants, horses, flowers, trees, We swastiks, etc. 117

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Count sheep? Play mind games? Wash your feet? There are many things you can do to try and fall asleep, but first, find out why you can’t sleep!
By Dueep J. Singh




t's true that even the healthiest of people occasionally have "white nights" when it is quite impossible to get to sleep. I recently had a night like this because my peaceful slumber was interrupted by a wrong number at midnight when a lady called Raj wanted to speak to her daughter, Pushpa. What Raj had been doing all the hours of reasonable ringing-up-yourdaughter time, I do not wish to conjecture upon. Anyway, it had hit me for six. Ten minutes had been spent trying to explain to her how to dial a number properly. The next night I was interrupted by someone who wanted to know at 11 o'clock, why I had given her a missed call at seven

o'clock! I had to waste 15 minutes persuading her that she had dialled the wrong city code. As trying to get back to sleep after such a discussion was futile, there followed another white night. Sleep is the cheapest beauty treatment one can give oneself but go 48 hours without sleep and, instead of looking bright, fresh and relaxed, you look like a wet sponge — haggard and irritated. You do not look your age, for you immediately gain 10 years of distinguished maturity without make-up. Your skin, looks like a used tissue paper, wrinkled and dry. Above all, because your resistance level is so low, you find yourself falling prey to small infections like a cold or slight fever. Forty-eight hours without sleep and I had to get a medical check-up done to get my driving licence renewed. So I took the opportunity to ask the doctor about insomnia, and how to get a good night's rest. Excerpts from interview with Dr Anjana Mehta, MD. Doctor, what is a sleep disorder? As far as I know, insomnia means difficulty in sleeping, doesn’t it? As the name suggests, a sleep disorder means that you have some difficulty in sleeping. Falling or staying asleep, going to sleep at unusual times, sleeping much longer than what is normal and other such abnormal behaviour related with sleep, all come under sleep disorders.

How many types of insomnia are there? There are different types of insomnia, Transient or temporary insomnia: Transient insomnia is a disturbance in sleeping patterns which continues for a few nights only. The cause can be jet lag, excitement, stress, illness or a change in sleep schedule. Those with transient insomnia soon return to normal. If you have a crying baby around or some construction work going on when you are trying to sleep, you will suffer from temporary insomnia. The second type is short-term insomnia. This can be a bit more serious because it continues for two to three weeks. Here, the main causes are mental and psychological, like worry about finances, change of location or job, and, in India, worry about children! Sadness about an emotional loss can cause you to lie awake at night and grieve. This will lead to short-term insomnia. The most worrying type of them all is chronic insomnia. But this is very rare!

Here, you do not sleep for weeks and weeks. I want to tell you that there is often an underlying cause for chronic insomnia. For that you have to check up with your doctor to see if you suffer from depression or anxiety. The long-term use of sleeping pills and alcohol, or a very heavy meal loaded with proteins before going to sleep, can also lead to insomnia. Sometimes, shift work also disturbs one’s sleep pattern and one becomes a chronic insomniac. Medical problems such as chronic pain or an overactive bladder and the ageing process can also disturb one’s sleep pattern.

Since falling asleep is a passive process that requires the body and mind to be relaxed, strategies which calm both the mind and body are very helpful in managing insomnia.

Can you please tell me, how many hours of sleep I really need to keep healthy. Eight hours is what an average adult needs. But some of us need 10 hours (“Me!” I squeak. I like my sleep...) Children need eight to nine hours and babies need even more. However, there are some people who are perfectly healthy, sleeping for about six hours.

Can insomnia be caused by diseases? Insomnia is often a symptom of another condition rather than a condition on its own. If insomnia is caused by medical or psycholo gical conditions, its treatment will have to focus on those underlying conditions. Only a doctor can tell you if your insomnia is due to such conditions as heart disease, epil epsy, pregnancy, menopause or arthritis. It is not advisable at all to medicate yourself with your own gharelu nuskhe or some herbal medicine because you can get addicted to them. In addition, medi cations prescribed for certain health condi tions such as high blood pressure and even asthma may adversely affect sleep. You should also identify any psychological factors standing in the way of your rest. Since falling asleep is a passive process that requires the body and mind to be relaxed, strategies which calm both the mind and body are very helpful in managing insomnia.

If I do not get my daily quota of relaxed sleep, how will that affect my health? The important word here is “relaxed”. You might have eight hours of sleep interrupted by waking up with a jerk and dropping off again. That is not healthy, relaxed sleep. Relaxed sleep is dropping off in seven minutes after your head hits the pillow and waking up the next morning at your regular time. Doctor, sometimes, sleep just doesn’t come. Can you give me some tips. I tried counting sheep, but I had to give it up, because it was making me feel even more tired. I don’t think it’s stress and there is no question of my suffering from heart disease, arthritis, etc. But I am still am deprived of sleep. What can I do? Well, if you have been sleeping badly, and you do not know any obvious reason for this, like a major change in your life or some serious disturbance and worry, it is necessary to begin to look at your lifestyle. Are you eating late? Are you stressed out? Are you missing your meals? Are you hurrying around in a chaotic manner? Well, remember not to eat much after nine o'clock. If you want to have something, have a drink of warm milk.

My grandmother advocated that we wash our feet before we go to sleep. How does that help? Apart from the fact that the sheets remain clean longer, washing your feet before you go to sleep is a sort of sleep-inducing trick. Absolutely no coffee or chocolate before going to sleep. In fact, insomniacs should stop drinking much tea or coffee. In a day, your quota should be not more than five cups, do not drink either of these beverages within three hours of your bedtime. So no consuming caffeine, nicotine or alcohol too close to bedtime. Do not watch television right before going to bed either. Is it better to rush to bed and try to go to sleep or is there any tire-yourself-out routine, which can make sleep easier? (Anjana shook her head). In fact, both of us know that anybody who is not completely tired out before he or she goes to sleep, is going to have quite a whale of a time, counting sheep. Actually, there should be a presleep routine, which we call unwinding. That is, you need about half an hour to 45 minutes to get ready for sleep. That is a time when you can go through your nightly beauty routine of moisturising and cleaning your face, having a bath,

brushing your teeth, and getting into bed with a relaxing book. The moment you begin to feel sleepy, switch off the light, and forget about your book. No three pages more! Stimuluscontrol therapy is what is needed here. The bed is for sleeping and not for preventing yourself from going to sleep by keeping awake to finish your book.

How about going out for a walk after dinner? A gentle walk is always recommended after dinner, but no vigorous exercising! Exercise has a direct, beneficial effect on several factors that affect insomnia. It reduces the effects of stress, improves mood and deepens sleep. Regular daily exercise completed at least four hours before bedtime usually improves sleep performance. Sometimes, even if my bed is very comfortable, I cannot get to sleep. What should I do then? Buy a mattress which is not too soft. Discard lumpy mattresses. See that your pillows are plump enough to support your head. Sometimes, my back aches when I go to sleep. How do I prevent this? That is a common problem. Sleep with an extra pillow supporting your back where it aches. It should be hard and not spongy. If you have a lot of back problem, try sleeping on a hard surface. With an extra-firm mattress. No wonder our ancestors were so straight-backed, sleeping on the ground or on wooden planks! Try it out, it helps. The nawaar or rope charpoy bends itself to the contours of the body without giving it support when and where necessary. So you need a plywood phatta! Sometimes, it happens that there is something very important scheduled for the next day and it is absolutely essential for me to get some sleep. And my brain chooses that time to begin acting

Relaxed sleep is dropping off in seven minutes after your head hits the pillow and waking up the next morning at your regular time.


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thoroughly active and not relaxing at all. What do I do then? For a long time, we doctors advocated mental relaxation tricks but you can try some physical relaxation tricks. Close your eyes and tell yourself that you are not going to open them at all. Breathe in very deeply, counting up to 10. Hold your breath to a count of five, and then breathe out, up to a count of 10. This is a simulation of deep sleep and you will drop off very soon. You can also begin to relax all your muscles by clenching them and then letting them go loose. Start with your feet, clenching them, and then relax. Then work up your body, then your arms and hands and last of all your shoulders. That should loosen up any tense muscles. Sometimes, I am so tired that I cannot sleep. What do I do then? Try relaxation techniques and if they do not work, get up and wash your face with cold water. Drink a glass of water too. You can also brush your hair, if you want to. Sit up for a while, go back to bed, make it afresh and then try to go back to sleep again. What do you think of sleep medications? Definitely no-no! These medications have side-effects like high blood pressure and nausea and suntans. It has happened that doctors have prescribed them for a

patient who is in pain, only to find out that he or she has become addicted to them even after the pain has disappeared. It also happens that continuous use of these medications make the body build up resistance to them, lessening their efficiency, due to which some people begin to take higher doses in self-medication.

So I got my medical certificate, saying I am fit to drive. But I am just this teensy-weensy bit sleepdeprived. So what's new, pussy cat? What I have found out from this exercise is that before trying to go to sleep, I must exercise a little, not take

naps, not drink coffee, make sure that my bedroom is calm and quiet and dark, no alcohol or smoking at all at night, (not that it applies in my case!). and eat some light carbohydrates before going to bed. That all right in the general sense. So let us see what homoeopathy has to say about insomnia. Excerpts from the interview with Dr (Captain) Siddhartha Garewal. BHMS. Hey, even the Indian defence forces believe that Homoeopathy is a genuine medical science! First of all, doctor tell me, before we get to insomnia, how does homeopathy cure a person naturally? Actually, homeopathic remedies are prepared from natural substances so that they can stimulate the body's own power of healing itself. Do you mean that I can be cured permanently by homoeo pathy? Yes, homeopathy has a better record of offering long-lasting to permanent cures, because the disease is being treated from its root. Actually, we believe that there is some affliction of the mind and body which disturbs the whole organism. So we have to provide one constitutional remedy. Instead of treating all the body parts separately, the disturbing force has to be treated. We

Many a times I have come across this question. Who is an ideal match for you? Or how will you describe an ideal match for yourself? Parents search for "An ideal match" for their daughter. So, who is an ideal match? The simple answer to this question is that there is no ideal match for anybody. Surprised? But it's the truth. The only existing ideal match is "U" and nobody else. If you can make yourself an ideal for someone, then automatically any person will become ideal for you. I had learnt this from my past relationships and my marriage that the person with whom you are related/married to, can be very different or simply opposite of you. Then after having a relationship, if you discover that this person is not your type, life can become horrible because it's not easy to break relationships. The simplest way to solve this problem is to give time to your marriage/relationship, and have patience. You have to make Woman’s Era

yourself an ideal person – and be compatible to your partner – and then you will slowly notice that your partner is also changing accordingly, and will become an ideal match for you. Don't load yourself with bundles of expectations, because coz it will only lead to depression. So, to have a healthy relationship – and an ideal partner, become an ideal partner and understand your relationship and I can assure you, you will have a wonderful life. – Shilpi Signodia 121

January (Second) 2009

The Bridge that United Hearts
It was not a material connection but a Faltu child that brought them together. By Nalini Sharma


riven by intense desire to witness the don’t you sleep quietly and let others do so?” gorgeous snow-clad mountains Nandini was “That is what we have been doing since we prompted to take a fortnight’s leave in the arrived here... sleeping and eating,” she retorted. month of January from her college where she “You can sleep as long as you wish. For your was working as a lecturer. Braving the chilly information, it is nine o'clock. time to get up...” cold of winter she joyfully undertook long saying which she jerked her shawl free from his arduous journey from Agra to Fakhruhi, a grip. small, hilly place nestling in the valley among the “I won’t allow you to go out in such inclement treacherous terrain of Himachal Pradesh where her weather...” he growled. husband’s eldest brother was recently posted. “Inclement, weather?” Nandini shot back. “I Since her arrival there, severe blizzards kept came here only to enjoy such weather and...and to raging forcing her to remain indoors. The white witness snowfall and picturesque bewitching natural snow flakes rained incessantly from the heavens beauty. Remember?” above. Even windows could not be opened He began to wriggle out of the loads of for fear of them getting inside. quilts. Before he could, she quickly made Hardly had Occasionally, she would peep out through her exit. The moment she stepped out the Nandini scaled a narrow chink in the window pane and sky above greeted her by showering white a hillock when marvel at their pure white ethereal beauty. flowers upon her. The whole atmosphere she heard How she longed to go out and bathe under exuded a divine aura, serenity and the snow shower! But that was not to be. tranquillity that held her spellbound. In Rahul’s voice, Aware of her intense longing to enjoy such awe Nandini gazed at the snow-clad “Wait, freakish weather, Rahul, her husband, kept peaks that outlined the horizon far away, Nandini, I am a strict vigil on her movements thinking that magnificently giving her a mute, irresistible coming. You she was bit queer. He would lie snug call. Though it was a time for hectic won’t find buried under quilts smiling smugly at her morning chores with people running your way back. errands all over the place, not a soul was discomfiture while she listened greedily to the sound of the snow storm howling All the hillocks visible save one or two orderlies or outside lashing against the window panes maidservants who scurried past her look alike...” that was sheer music to her ears. hurriedly hidden under woollens with their Eight days departed one by one leaving eyes peeping through headgear. her short of precious time that she had wished to spend on sightseeing. Weather still hostile, giving ardly had Nandini scaled a hillock when she her no respite, was a great hindrance in fulfilling her heard Rahul’s voice, “Wait, Nandini, I am mission. As the ninth day dawned, she peeped out coming. You won’t find your way back. All the as usual. To her wonder there seemed to be a lull in hillocks look alike...” the howling of the chilly wind though the snow flakes Nandini turned her head to see Rahul hurrying still poured in profusion. Promptly covering herself towards her.She called back, “Rahul, you need not from top to toe in woollen garments, she decided to come. I won’t lose my way back. Rest assured...” steal out quietly before her husband woke up. But, unheeding he bounded up beside her in As she unbolted the bedroom door, Rahul woke leaping strides with bouncy steps. Dusting snow up. Catching hold of her shawl, he cried, “Why flakes off his body, he looked around. Shrugging his



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shoulders indifferently, he asked, “What is there to see here? Only bare tree stumps devoid of leaves and flowers! Dry twigs and pale leaves groaning under our feet! Just hear the crunchy sound with every step you take. This uninhabited, dry stretch of land and ugly mounds give me the creeps. I don’t see any beauty here. If I stayed here for a few seconds more, I would either go berserk or suffer from depression...surely...” Saying it in mock depression he twisted his neck sideways in a dramatic manner. Nandini burst out laughing at his antics. “You have the gift of the gab,” she taunted, “You will go on orating non-stop and...and I am well ware of your concept of beauty. The green colour of bank notes is the most beautiful sight for you, their scent is the sweetest fragrance and nothing is more melodious to your ears than the sound of crispy, new currency notes.” Letting out a hearty guffaw he looked deep into his wife’s eyes before commenting, “Had I not been a lover of beauty, I would not have married you.” His compliment made Nandini blush adding to her joy in that charming surrounding. Shivering with cold, he took hold of her right hand and began to drag her down the hillock. At that very moment the sun emerged from behind the range of mountains producing a star-like effect lighting up the horizon. An unusual sight greeted Nandini’s eyes – the shadow of the hills silhouetted in the clouds created by the morning sun. The sunlight began to filter through the hills and through the thick growth of bare trees in its purest pristine glory. Standing in awe of the majestic panorama, she drank in the beauty of shimmering sunbeams

greedily playing hide and seek as snowflakes melted slowly into dew drops. The icicles hung like pearls from the bare branches of the trees sparkling in the golden glow of the morning sun. Feasting her eyes on colours, she stared at their beauty as if in a trance. It seemed that nature was adorned with pearly white in obeisance to divine power. The ground under her feet lay littered with pebbles, potato-shaped, small, smooth stones and big boulders – reminder of landslides long ago. Nothing could ever fill her heart with so much joy. “Beautiful! Marvellous! What a magnificent sight!” she exulted.



ahul stopped short on hearing his wife’s exclamation. But looking around, he cried in dismay, “Where? I don’t see anything beautiful...” Pointing to the branches of trees adorned with exquisite white icicles glittering in different hues in the sunlight, Nandini exclaimed exuberantly, “Look here! Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder...” She turned his face with both her hands in that direction. Crosshead: Appaling discovery Hardly were the words out of her mouth when something soft struck her toes. Instantly, she bent down to see what it was. One look at it made her shriek in horror, “Faltu! Bhaiji’s son? Here?” Both of them were violently jolted at this sudden turn of events and cried in unison as if asking the mute trees and hills, “How did he come here? This year- old tiny tot could not have tottered up there on the hillock on his own!” But their voices reverberated in the hills. Instantly picking up the wrapped tiny bundle, Nandini cradled it in her arms. Faltu’s lips had turned blue in the freezing cold and he looked deathly pale. He lay still with no movement. Putting her fingers to his nostrils, she checked its breathing but she could not feel any. Then, holding him close to her bossom, she began to rub his tiny feet to warm its frail, limp body. Man’s evil designs had
Rahul slapped Nandini so hard that it sent her reeling against the wall. “How dare you teach Bhaiji”? he shouted at the top of his voice.


Sobbing hysterically she hiccupped incoherently, “Nandini...er... Nandini found... him... on ...on the hillock...” With fear-stricken face and tear-filled eyes, Lata silently implored Nandini to tell him where she had found Faltu. In response, Nandini gestured to her husband to divulge the truth, but he kept mum as if he had lost the power of speech. Nandini was aware of the fact that Rahul, being the youngest one was in awe of bhaiji, his eldest brother, and never opened his mouth in his presence. Not succeeding in evoking any response from him, Nandini gave ack home, Rahul joined his two brothers in the him a nudge but she failed to make him open his drawing room while Nandini went straight to mouth. Lata, Faltu’s mother, in the kitchen. Putting the Crosshead: Truth unforheads tiny tot in her lap, she asked, “Where did you leave Unable to contain herself any longer, Nandini him, bhabhi? I found him lying on the top of the blurted out the truth, “We found Faltu lying hillock under a tree... in this freezing cold...” unconscious on top of the hillock under a tree when “On the hillock?” Lata repeated like a moron not we went for sightseeing... a little while ago...” comprehending. After a few seconds, as the impact Again she looked at her husband to of Nandini’s words hit her mind with back her statement up but he averted her tremendous force, she let out a highStunned gaze. pitched painful shriek. Stunned, she looked at this Stunned at this revelation, bhaiji asked up at Nandini in utter disbelief with her revelation, in a rasping voice, “On the top of the big beautiful eyes swollen due to long bhaiji asked hillock? How did he reach there?” crying. Rahul’s silence was getting on Nandini’s “He was missing since morning,” she in a rasping nerves. On top of that, bhaiji’s silly hiccupped between sobs. “He was not voice, question irritated her no end. “This oneasleep in his cot when I went to feed him. I “On the year-old,” she spoke up bluntly, “would not searched for him everywhere in the house top of the have walked up there, would he? but he was nowhere...” hillock? Obviously someone had taken him Lata’s face was washed with tears and there...” her kameez wet with milk. She looked a How did he ”Why?” he barked. perfect picture of sorrow. Instantly, she reach There was grave silence. No one dared squeezed the limp body of Faltu under the there?” answer his question. Anyone with a little kameez to her breast to feed him. The intelligence could deduce the ulterior warmth and scent of his mother’s body motive of the person who left Faltu in the desolate made the tiny tot snuggle closer to its mother and he place in the freezing cold but not bhaiji. Only a fool began sucking milk that made Nandini jump with could ask such a silly question. joy. Lata kept wailing loudly while feeding the little Since her arrival there, Nandini had been one. immensely grieved to see the ill-treatment meted out Soon, the sound of her wailing reached the ears to Lata and her son. She was already seething with of her husband whom everybody addressed as rage. Now, bhaiji’s silly ‘why’ fuelled her anger all bhaiji. He arrived at the kitchen door with his two the more. younger brothers in tow – Raman and Rahul. Seeing her husband, Lata’s wailing pitch rose even higher. xasperated no end, her suppressed fury erupted When bhaiji saw his son at his wife’s breast, his in words all of a sudden, “Bhaiji, Lata bhabhi face lit up with joy. didn’t come to this house on her own. You But puzzled out of his wits at her non-stop crying, brought her here and... and you brought Faltu into he asked, “Lata, where did you find Faltu? Didn’t I this world. You should protect them from... from...” tell you that he would be here buried under some Even before Nandini could complete her quilt?” sentence, her husband standing like a mute statue so But in reply Lata kept sobbing hysterically. He far, suddenly turned mobile with a jerk and slapped repeated his question again and again but met with her so hard that it sent her reeling against the wall. the same response. Unable to control his mounting “How dare you teach bhaiji?” he shouted at the rage, he thundered, “Cut your miserable melodrama top of his voice. “What he does is none of your and answer me. Where did you find him?” marred nature’s beauty. It was evident that someone had thrown him there not without some ulterior motive just before Nandini and Rahul reached there. Had Nandini not gone to that hillock that morning, Faltu would never have been found. The euphoria of sightseeing evaporated in an instant. Rudely awakened from her blissful reverie to ugly reality, Nandini’s spirits sagged and, with a heavy heart, she quickly retraced her steps back home while Rahul trailed behind her dejectedly.



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business. Just eat two meals a day and sit quietly in a corner with your mouth shut... till you are here a few days more... or else... I would...” He left the sentence unfinished menacingly. Tears welled up in Nandini’s eyes with humiliation and righteous indignation. Rahul’s sudden aggressive behaviour towards her shocked her immensely but more shocking than that was the vulgar display of his manliness in the presence of his mother and brothers. Yet her husband turned into a coward and developed cold feet in dread of them. How she despised his craven behaviour! The pain of being the wife of a coward was more than all the humiliation heaped upon her. Even at the age of, 38 he didn’t have the guts to relate a simple fact he had been witness to – to speak the truth.


his incident revealed the ugly facet of his character – that he was a man of straw, a mere puppet and a puny weakling under the thumb of his elders but could fly into a nasty temper to subdue his morally correct wife at the slightest provocation. A feeling of emptiness engulfed Nandini distancing her from her husband. She no longer felt the same warmth for him in her heart. This incident turned her into an unemotional robot – cold and detached from him. She loathed being his wife and didn’t feel a sense of belonging to his house. Totally detached, she withdrew to a corner. Cross head: Papa’s warming Her father’s words rang in her ears, “Nandini, for goodness sake, forget Rahul. He is not worthy of you

in any respect. There is a great disparity between you two. You will never be able to bridge the intellectual and cultural chasm. You are highly refined with great aesthetic sense. Your life will be sheer misery with this...man. You have only seen his handsome exterior but you don’t know the real man behind that charming facade. He has charmed his way into your heart with his fluent, smooth and persuasive talk because he is shrewd businessman and... and a glib salesman. He never reads the books he sells. Being an avid reader, you are well informed but he is an ignoramus. The moment you see the seamy side of his life, you will repent your decision of marrying him. He is uncultured and highly materialistic. A man is known by his roots and he can’t shake off its influence. “Seeing you hell-bent upon marrying him, I paid a quick, surprise visit to his parental home without your knowledge. I am sorry to say his people are uncultured brutes lacking taste, refinement and manners. Their language and manners are crude. I have seen their seamy side. What a sordid life they lead! Their ignorance and crudity will make you run away in disgust. Coming from different backgrounds, you will not be able to interact and adjust with each other. Don’t get carried away by his deceptive appearance. You are inviting disaster. I will die of shock if you come to any grief. It is not love but mere infatuation that will soon evaporate like camphor...once his true character is revealed. “It beats me how you, an intellectual girl with tremendous reasoning power, got influenced by...that man... Strange are the ways...” he added stifling a sigh and left the sentence unfinished. Crosshead: The nightmare begins


ut Nandini had refused to heed his sane advice and stood her ground. She was smitten with Rahul so much that she married him much against the wishes of her parents. The very first night her father was proved right. She had shock of her life when Rahul had pounced upon her body like a beast saying, “I was waiting for this moment for long...” Miffed by his crude approach, she had wriggled free of his grasp. Annoyed, he had snapped at her, “Nandini, what is the matter? Come on. You are my wife, aren’t you? Let us celebrate our wedding night...” With tear-filled eyes, she had managed to mumble, “Yes, I am your wife, not your
Nandini was shocked to see the ugly facet of her husband’s character, which pained her more than the humiliation heaped on her.


aman’s wife, burdened with the Herculean task of managing the house and two spoilt brats all alone after the death of bhaiji’s first wife heaved a sigh of relief on the arrival of Lata and promptly washed her hands of the whole responsibility and retired cosily to the sanctum of her bedroom. Lata would get up at dawn when everybody was asleep. She would do the cleaning, wash clothes, prepare tea and breakfast, tiffin for school, lunch, and then the evening meal. After slogging hard the he remembered just three days after her whole day like a slave, at 11 p.m., she would drop marriage, bhaiji first wife, Rama, had died of dead tired on the mat on the kitchen floor. That was meningitis leaving two sons, Suresh and not enough; bhaiji was there invariably on the dot Mukesh, in the hands of Raman’s childless wife. seeking her service in bed. Daily, this inhuman Their grandmother doted on them. She pampered routine was repeated. In addition, she and her two and indulged them so much that they became spoilt sons suffered indignities and torture at the hands of brats – aggressive, self-willed and wayward. After family members. She was made to pay for the sins of remaining two years without a wife, bhaiji secretly bhaiji. She suffered silently and never complained to married Lata, a young widow of exquisite beauty and a mother of two sons, Amit and Sumit by her fist her husband about the ill-treatment meted out to her for fear of incurring their wrath, further aggravating marriage, without consulting his mother, brothers her suffering. She bore her misfortune courageously. and sons. Everybody was aghast at this behaviour Bhaiji, blissfully oblivious of her plight, and hated him for his remarriage but enjoyed heavenly bliss of marital life. nobody dared to oppose him openly. If she was ever Nandini’s heart bled to see Lata’s Bhaiji was a dictator who ruled the house seen doing so, unending misery. with an iron rod by creating a fear her mother-inOne day, she asked her, “Bhabhi, don’t psychosis. Consequently, Lata and her two law would scold you think that you are paying a very heavy small sons had to bear the brunt of their her angrily, price for wearing a pinch of sindoor on anger. Suresh and Mukesh were “Woman, my your forehead? Widowhood was much aggressive, ever ready to fight while Amit better than this living death, wasn’t it? and Sumit were meek, humble and always son brought Weren’t you happier then?” on the defensive. Suresh and Mukesh you here not to Hearing her question, Lata’s fair face despised Lata for taking their mother’s sleep with but clouded over. Letting out a deep, place, refused to call her mother and to be a mother anguished sigh, she replied, “Nandini, you always addressed her in a derogatory to these two are educated, earning and self-reliant. You way – ‘that woman’ – and invented motherless can’t imagine the agony and hellish imaginary excuses to bash her sons up. children. suffering of an illiterate young widow with They considered the trio as trespassers
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prey. I don’t like your beastly approach. You should be gentle...” “Pooh!” he had exclaimed in disgust. “That is what happens if you marry a teacher. Instead of making love, she gives me a sermon. Serves me right!” Something had snapped inside her at that very moment. She felt a deep void in her heart. His rough, unsophisticated, brutal approach had completely put her off and turned her cold. She had gone into silent mode after that. At that very instant he had labeled her frigid. On another occasion, he had jeered at her, “You are like a beautiful statue with no life – fit to adorn a museum...not a home.” Her marriage was an utter fiasco from the very start but Nandini kept up the facade before the world of happy married life not to cause pain to her parents. How hard she tried but she could not be normal towards Rahul. His crudity repulsed her. Their turbulent marriage was a love-hate relationship. But now his behaviour in bhaiji’s home had revealed an even more unbearably ugly facet of his character so far unknown to her. Nursing her wounded psyche, she began to travel down memory lane. Crossroad:Bhaiji’s background

who had wrongfully usurped their home and father. The house, no longer a sweet home, was turned into a virtual battlefield. Savage fighting took place between the two warring parties – one of Suresh and Mukesh, the other of Amit and Sumit. Suresh and Mukesh would go to any length to cause the others injury or humiliation and promptly hide in the protective arms of their loving grandmother ever ready to cover up their follies and nasty deeds. Hapless Lata was too terrified of her mother-in-law to even hug her own sons, wipe their tears or heal their wounded psyches with a kiss. If she was ever seen doing so, her mother-in-law would scold her angrily, “Woman, my son brought you here not to sleep with but to be a mother to these two motherless children. Keep away from those lazy parasites you brought with you...”


January (Second) 2009


became extremely tense. No one dared to no support and means of livelihood seeing One day, she complain to bhaiji. After all, he was solely her kids starving. And...and it is a man’s asked her, responsible for the spoilt home world, isn’t it? Without a man around, a “Bhabhi, don’t atmosphere. For the first time, Nandini had woman’s beauty becomes her worst you think that you are paying dared to speak the truth in the presence of enemy. Wily wolves in sheep’s clothing a very heavy bhaiji, but in return she was rewarded with hover about ever ready to pounce upon price for a slap. her, taking advantage of her misfortune. wearing a Crossroad: Back to the present She needs a roof over her head and a pinch of Shedding tears, Nandini sat brooding husband to protect her from other lecherous sindoor on your over the events since her marriage. guys. My life may look burdensome to you forehead? Suddenly, her chain of distressing thoughts but I feel safe here and earn my living Widowhood was disrupted by the voice of the respectably by doing household chores...” was much maidservant, the silent spectator of this Nandini stared at her speechless. Lata better than this living death, family melodrama, “Saab, on my way to was right in her own way. She slogged wasn’t it? Arora’s house, I saw Suresh and Amit hard like a slave for a living and a holding Faltu in the cold outside...” respectable roof over her head. Bhaiji was Hardly were the words out of her mouth, there her meal ticket for life. Nandini’s educated, was a thunder that shook the whole building. independent mind was in utter confusion. She “Suresh...Amit...!” cherished nothing more than freedom and selfAll hell broke loose. Nandini feared the worst. respect. She would have preferred widowhood, an Bhaiji’s eyes were red like live coal. He was frothing independent life, rather than getting chained to at the mouth with uncontrollable rage. Hardly had abominable drudgery for selfish brutes. the echo of his voice died down when Suresh and Amit shot out like a bullet from inside the house and year after her marriage, Lata gave birth to a running at top speed, began to scale the hillocks. baby boy – bhaiji’s son – thereby adding to Rahul had no nerve to stop them. Raman made a her misery. The news was a bolt from the blue futile bid to go after them but bhaiji bellowed, “Stay and came as a terrible shock to all the members. here, Raman. No need to go. Hunger and thirst will They were completely taken aback by the drive them back home... then I will give them a bit of unwelcome surprise. Nandini’s mother-in-law my mind...” spewed venom in a loud, angry voice glaring at the And he left for work as if nothing had happened, newborn disapprovingly, “Faltu.” Nandini’s mother-in-law wailed at the highest pitch “The house is already teeming with unwanted beating her breast in the most disgusting manner children. Throw this faltu worthless fellow away this very moment, for you have already burdened us with and hurling choicest obscenities at Lata and cursing Faltu, “Why don’t you die, both of you? Bad luck two good-for-nothing brats,” she commanded Lata. will befall us if you stay here... any longer...” The name faltu stuck. Thus the newborn was Hungry Faltu began to cry. Hardly had Lata named Faltu by the old hag with beady eyes who picked him up for feeding when the old woman was as autocratic as her eldest son. Hapless, Lata thundered, “No! You won’t. Let it die...” dared not give the newborn a proper name. The little one had inherited the beauty and ata dropped on the floor in a dead faint with irresistible charm of its mother. Soon, it became the the tremendous shock. When became conscious centre of bhaiji’s attention. He doted on him like a she resumed doing her chores like a robot while man possessed, ignoring his two sons by his first Faltu sobbed to sleep. Unable to bear the cruelty, wife. Before going to and after coming back from Nandini put a milk bottle to the lips of the sleeping work, he was seen pampering the baby. baby. The two warring parties stopped fighting Her mother-in-law glared at her and roared, suddenly as if a ceasefire had been declared, and “Didn’t you have enough for the day from your got united against a common enemy – “Faltu the husband for poking your dirty nose into our affairs?” newborn tiny tot. They would sing in unison Keeping mum, Nandini stared at her angrily. The derisively, Faltu, Faltu, Faltu,” causing intense agony whole drama had made her brazen. No more afraid to his mother. They took delight in pinching and of these uncivilised brutes, she prepared to depart pushing the little one. They would snatch the milk from there as early as possible, cutting short her bottle from his mouth or drop it roughly on the floor visit. from its cot while the old woman smiled smugly with The hours ticked by and the day wore off but evil glee. She mounted her tirade against Lata and Suresh and Amit had not returned. It was dusk when cursed Faltu all the time. The home atmosphere


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bhaiji came back from work. As he picked up Faltu in his arms he remembered the boys. He commanded Raman to summon both of them to his presence – pronto! Only then did he come to know that Suresh and Amit had not returned. His forehead creased with worry lines, he sent his younger brothers to search the boys in the pitch dark of the thick jungle on the chain of hills. Three hours’ search bore no fruit. After 12 hours, at 9 p.m., the police were informed. It was too late. They combed the entire area, but the boys had completely disappeared. They could not be found dead or alive. A grave-like hush fell on the house. Occasionally, it was broken by the heart-rending wails of Nandini’s mother-in-law cursing Lata and Faltu. Rahul hissed in Nandini’s ears, “It is just because of you... Had you not gone there for sightseeing we wound not have come to this grief...” His words befuddled Nandini. Shocked at his blame game, she kept quiet. The mental impotency of Raman and Rahul, their inability to think sanely, blind obedience to their elder brother and refusal to see things in the right perspective, had cost them two lives. Weary of Rahul’s false accusations against her again and again, Nandini shot back angrily, “Had I not gone there for sightseeing, Faltu would have died...” “So what?” he cut her short, “His mother Lata bhabhi is alive. She can produce another Faltu again but Suresh was the son of our dead bhabhi... He will not come back...”

contention with you and turn him into an educated, cultured, self-reliant person like you...” Crosshead: Faltu rechristened In reply, Nandini picked up Faltu, and hugged him lovingly to her bosom, deliberately ignoring Rahul’s disapproving glance expressing her silent but firm consent. Then she asked, “bhabhi, What about bhaiji? Will he allow it? He dotes upon him...” “Oh, that is no problem,” replied Lata.


rue to her word, she succeeded in persuading her husband, who was completely bowled over by her bewitching, irresistible charm to let Nandini take Faltu with her for his proper upbringing. In spite of Rahul’s repeated vehement protestations, Nandini stood her ground and brought Faltu with her to Agra. The very next day after her arrival, she arranged a namkaran samskar ceremony and named him Praveen. Keeping a fulltime ayah to assist her in child-rearing, Nandini resumed her duty at the college and the rest of the time she devoted to Praveen distancing completely from her husband. She was happy with the tiny tot while Rahul was seething with anger. One day, erupting like a volcano, he snatched Praveen from her arms and cried, “Enough, Nandini, enough. I have had enough of your wilful behaviour. You are too obstinate, determined to have your own way. I can’t allow this bone of contention here in my house any more. He is creating a rift between us. You have drifted apart from me since you brought him. It is high time that we pack him off to the place where he belongs...” mit, Lata’s son was not mentioned. Rahul’s “This tiny tot is creating a rift?” retorted Nandini, senseless reply horrified Nandini. Only an “You are an expert at blaming the wrong person. imbecile could think of such an answer. You are making me drift away from you, not this tiny Nandini cringed in fear from him. Her father was tot. Your ignorance, your cowardice, your right. They had reached an impasse. There was no thoughtlessness and your uncultured behaviour are congeniality in their relationship as she and her creating a rift between us. You don’t have the guts to husband were as different as chalk and cheese. They had no compatibility with different interests and speak the truth. You are incapable of sane thinking. Your timely action could have saved two dispositions. It was impossible to live with precious lives....If you wish to win me him. Rahul was an ignoramus. His lack of Weary of again, set your thinking right...” knowledge, education, experience and Rahul’s false “How dare you find fault with me?” he culture became evident with every accusations cut her short rudely, “And how dare you sentence he uttered. His brothers and against her teach me? I am not your student. Don’t try mother were all barbarians. Their thinking again and to be a teacher at home...” was frighteningly primitive and uncultured. again, Exerting control over his anger, he came They were incapable of sane thinking. near her. Holding her chin up, he looked Each hour passed like an era in that Nandini shot deep into her eyes and asked, “Am I not house. Days dragged by. Nandini heaved back angrily, the same person you loved once? Nandini, a sigh of relief when the day of her “Had I not just say yes or no? No sermon...” departure dawned. As she bade goodbye gone there for “No,” replied she, “Not the same to Lata with tear-filled eyes, she put Faltu at sightseeing, person I loved...” her feet and implored in a voice choked Faltu would He pushed her aside gruffly. An eerie with emotion looking at her beseechingly, have died...” silence pervaded the house. Nandini “Nandini, please take this bone of
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feared that her marriage would finally fall apart. But the little one kept the house warm and alive with his innocent pranks. His sweet smile erased the frown lines from their faces. At some moments, he made them laugh together at his antics, thus taking away the blues. Time flew in the joyful company of Praveen. Crosshead: Realisation dawns Seeing Nandini devoted to Praveen, a child born not of her own flesh and blood but of his eldest brother, a sudden realisation dawned upon Rahul’s mind that he had been most unfair to her, his gem of a wife. A feeling of remorse engulfed him. He set about mending his ways in earnest, hoping to redeem her love and respect.

Seeing Nandini devoted to Praveen, a child born not of her own flesh and blood but of his eldest brother, a sudden realisation dawned upon Rahul’s mind that he had been most unfair to her.


radually, a change came over him. His attitude towards Praveen turned positive. He began to help Nandini in looking after him by carrying out various small chores like a responsible father. To Nandini’s immense satisfaction he seemed to be completely transformed into a new man exuding superb confidence no more in awe of bhaiji. A doting husband, Rahul now often gave her an adoring look that set her pulse racing. He had won her love and respect by winning himself over. Looking forward eagerly to a heart-warming reunion with him, she nursed a secret desire to settle down peacefully in the bliss of marital life. But a nagging fear kept gnawing at her guts that, thrown in the company of his elders, he would revert to his old, natural craven behaviour that she despised. Since Rahul was not yet put to the test Nandini dared not vouch for his total transformation.

One day, their phone rang early in the morning. bhaiji was on the line. He said in a whining tone, “Our mother is laid up sick in bed since you left. She can’t get over the loss of my son Suresh. I am afraid we might lose her too... Your wife’s foolhardiness will cost us her life. Had she not gone up the hillock for sightseeing that day, things would not have come to a sorry pass...” Nandini had picked up the parallel line by accident to listen to what was being said. Now, her heart began to beat wildly with fear. She waited with bated breath. After a few seconds of silence that looked like eternity, she heard the cool confident voice of her husband, “Had Nandini not gone up there on the hillock that day, your son, Faltu, would have died. Bhaiji, rejoice in the fact that she saved his precious life. And... and that day we lost not only Suresh but Lata bhabhi’s son Amit too because.... because we made no effort to stop them. Had we seen the thing in their right perspective and taken prompt action, we could have saved two innocent lives. Not Nandini’s, it is our foolhardiness that has cost us dearly...” Nandini heaved a sigh of relief and quietly put down the receiver in the other room. Rahul had emerged the victor. He had won over himself – his fear and diffidence. He had spoken the truth. Success had rewarded her courage, endurance and perseverance. She had won the losing battle. With the victory of her husband over his weakness, she was victorious. She realised that Praveen was not a bone of contention but the bridge that had united hearts torn apart. We

● Clean burnt pans by coating bottom with baking soda and covering with water. ● Add a generous amount of baking soda to your hot dishwater to help remove dried foods. ● Make stainless steel sinks clean with a little rubbing alcohol and remove spots with white vinegar. Get a shiny stainless steel sink by buffing with a little baby oil. ● To deodorise your garbage disposal, drop in some lemon and orange peels. ● Use a little toothpaste to remove black scruff marks from appliances. ● Use a soft cloth dampened with white vinegar to remove water spots from stainless steal and wipe dry. ● To remove grease from inside a oven, put a small pan of ammonia in the oven over night with the door closed. ● Clean your blender by filling it halfway with water and adding a few drops of dishwasher detergent. Turn the blender on and let it clean itself. ● Clean a microwave quickly by filling a bowl with water a squirt of lemon juice. ● It’s also important to thoroughly clean cutting boards, which trap in bacteria and germs. Sprinkle salt on the board. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze half of the lemon onto the board. Scrub and clean. ● Give your counter tops a new shine with club soda. – Anju D. Aggarwal

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woman as his muse. Through her representation on the canvas she becomes a paragon of the modern Indian woman in magnificent colours. One notices that the artist is inspired by feminism. In almost all his artworks there is an element of male chauvinism. His false pride is depicted in the form of an earthen pot which is prone to be broken at any time. Biplab’s paintings come together as a well-drawn narrative, one that is resplendent and extremely enigmatic. One notices the element of uncertainty and ambiguity in them. A tete-a-tete with this artist who is more of a philanthropist, always eager to help people.

through my work. Since the days of yore, she has always been exploited. Still, the pschye is unchanged.

Any message for the up-andcoming artists? Sure, they must actually learn to make paintings while understanding the basics. They should not become part of the rat race in order to gain a quick name, fame and bucks. The beauty of art must be retained without letting cheapness and vulgarity seep into it. I would ask young artists to be focussed on their art and work hard without being distracted. In the making of artist Biplab, the credit goes to...? First of all, to my mother. She used to do exquisite kantha work with her hands that was so intricate, and later my wife Aruna – whom I lost 10 years ago. She was my source of inspiration and – last but not least – Sunit Paul, a renowned artist who guided me into seeking admission to the art college. Your source of strength? My only son Deep (means depth) who is a choreographer. He is studying business management. In fact, he is my source of strength and keeps on encouraging me a lot by giving positive criticism. After reaching this state, do you feel satisfied? I have not yet done anything. The best is yet to come. Art is an unending process and we all keep on We moving on and on...

The significance of colours in your art work? I don’t have a liking or disliking for any particular colour. Within my work, I aim to distil ideas and processes into richly nuanced artworks that evoke the image, mood, substance, concept and beauty, which I want to convey. But yes, I don’t use much of mixing in colours! There’s a touch of feminism in your creations. Why? I hold women in great esteem. She is an epitome of strength and power for me and fills life with happiness with her presence. So she should be respected. How do you develop a concept on the canvas? No hard and fast rule for that. While walking or wandering many a time, I see a particular thing, perceive it in my senses, then sketch it and

improve and manifest it into an art piece.

The concept of modern art according to you? It’s just a matter of a time-period. Whatever is modern today won’t be tomorrow. The impact of time is reflected in the artist’s brushstrokes also because of the thinking process of the artist that keeps on varying. How do you choose the subject for your paintings? Everywhere. I take inspiration from the world around me, from various situations as well as interactions with the common people. In most of my paintings you’ll observe woman as my muse. She has been taken as an allegory, who is so powerful, but is still not is getting the desired respect, and prone to exploitation by man. I have tried to bring out this very sensitive issue
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About the Artist Puja Sharma Date of birth: 24 November 1959 Qualification: M.Phil (English), MA (Drawing & Painting) Diploma in Art and Craft E-mail: freezingnight82@gmail.com Mobile: 9871577808 Exhibition: AIFACS – Greater Noida, Wisdom show, LKG, ‘Kala Kumbh’ – Aifacs & Bikaner, Creative artist group, Bhagidari Mela New Delhi organised by Delhi Govt, Wisdom – Annual Show 2004, All India woman exhibition at AIFACS Delhi and Hyderabad by Wisdom Society 2005, All India Senior Artist Exhibition at AIFACS; 1st Exhibition Wisdom show at PSK Delhi, May 2005, 2nd and 3rd Wisdom Show at PSK Delhi Nov. 2005. Group show at Lalit Kala Academy, 2006. Group show at Greenwood Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2006. Group show at Army & Navy Building Art Gallery, Mumbai, Nehru Art Centre Mumbai-2006. Art Mall. Camps: Tricolor Colman, AIFACS, Artist day camp at the Platinum Jublee at AIFACS 2005, Senior Artist camp at Amritsar, 2005. Rani Jhansi Road, 2004; organised by AIFACS 77th Annual Art exhibition at AIFACS, March 2005. All India Woman Artists Camp at Kud, Jammu, Tourism Deptt. J&K 2005. National Art Camp, Hyderabad 2005, Maharani Bagh New Delhi, In Bhusawal Maharashtra,06. Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi, Asoka Hotel, New Delhi, Art Mall 2007. Conducted summer childrens’ workshop of Sahitya Kala Parishad as an ‘expert’. Dhoomimal city gallery 2008. DPS Srinagar 2008, Orissa LKA, 2nd National Arts camp 2008. Awards: Award at 71st Annual Exhibition Amritsar 2005.

The painter depicts on the canvas the varied swings of nature which directly impact on our lives. By Subhra Mazumdar



ver the past few years, artist Puja Sharma has been continuously pushing her artistic frontiers, merging the visual with the cerebral, the homely with the heart rending. Her paintings have thus become narrative state ments, of calamities that have shattered lives, as well as the happier sides of human existence, amidst flowers, in the sunshine, surrounded by family and friends. All these diversities of human existence are vocalised through a visual of strong abstracts, where every colour is a language of expressiveness, and tonal shades mark the nuances of pain and pleasure that characterise human existence.

my colour palette by studying the different ways in which Nature manipulates colours. I do not mean a flat application of blue for water and yellow for the sun. It is the moods and tonal differences that nature creates, through its influence on the mind and the body, that I exploit for my canvases.

As a painter who is a colourist par excellence, what are your sources of colouration? Nature is my best teacher. I pick

Then let us take a colour such as red. What emotions does it create in you, and which you thereafter transfer onto the canvas? Red is a very apt colour for expressing my thought process and even my mindset at that moment. Putting it simplistically, I would say that red for me denotes anger. So when I am in an angry mood over some happening in my surroundings or circumstances, I pick up the brush and dip it into a squeeze of bright red. Of course, red also means a way of creating warmth in a painting and

Nature’s marvel.

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picture of raw pain, total chaos and disaster. But within this scene I remembered to include a beacon of hope in the form of a pleasing colour from my palette.

for that purpose I sometimes paint the sun in red, to explain its fiery content as well as suggest that it is the source of warmth in our lives.

Going by that logic, black should have little or no place in your paintings and yet I find that you have used black very judiciously in some of them. The black colour is a technical input in my paintings. I use it to create a linear space demarcating the lower portions of a canvas, where the colour above the black base gives off its true import, through this device. The contrast between, say a vivid red, or a sunshine yellow, becomes more meaningful when it is contrasted against a black base below it. Just as you express joy, togetherness and warmth in your work, do you also pick up your brush and create the vocabulary of pain through your art? Your query brings back memories of the earthquake that struck Chamoli, in Uttaranchal. I was a witness of this calamity and I was so moved by this incident, that I immediately began a painting, depicting my feelings on first seeing the destruction caused by this calamity. I saw first-hand, the mangled homesteads, the avalanche of destruction rolling down the hill slopes in the form of a mass of debris, and the cries of the helpless, who were survivors of this tragedy. The pain and despair of this scene took the form of an abstract painting, in reds, blues and ochre, making it a

What is your favourite painting? It is a little removed from all the others because it is a painting that was not done from an outdoor inspiration. In fact, the seed idea of this painting on conjugal bliss is recessed in the personal, for me. The only link in this painting with my body of works is the choice of a delightful pink overlay, where the colour is suggestive of a caressing togetherness. It is a convoluted and fantasy-filled painting, where human and animal bodies are conjoined into a fluidity, creating a free flowing thread of sensuousness and warmth, born of a shared happiness and togetherness. With such an enhanced sensitivity, that reacts acutely to pleasure and pain and then translates it into art, how do you look at the works of fellow artists? When facing another artist’s work, my critical faculties tend to see the painting from both the technical and the emotional angle. On the technical side, I assess the style of his strokes, and that helps me realise the potential of his art calibre. On the

emotional side, even the dullest painting becomes a spark of inspiration for me. I like to search out the positive elements in the work and spend time trying to understand the thought process behind the work. That makes me study the paintings of other artists at close quarters. In the case of self-portraits I can gauge the individual’s future potential and many a time have been able to spot relatively unknown talent and seen how, through the years, the same artist has risen into the limelight.

How do you plan to contribute towards the betterment of the art fraternity in your personal capacity? I am a school teacher by profession. So I plan to open a school of art for school students, in the future. It will be a sprawling campus where young minds will be free to exploit their creative abilities and where artists will guide them through giving them technical inputs to realise and express their creative thoughts. I have often come across very talented children with a liking for art, and who could easily be coached into making very creative paintings under proper guidance. It is this untapped source of talent that I want to showcase before the art fraternity We at large.
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Abstraction is close to the heart of this artist.
By P. Sharma

Anand Goswami E.mail: anandgoswami_30@yahoo.com Mobile: 9810672496 nand Goswami was born in Damoh (M.P.) in 1970. He did his schooling in Sagar. The artist within him surfaced in the early formative years itself and he did a couple of murals in temples and privately commissioned works during schooling itself i.e. even before joining the Art School in Indore. The present series of paintings reflect various turning points and stages of his life, some open to everyone and a few of them partially/fully closed, to be left within. Colours inspired from Jupiter and Mars are closer to his heart in various tones and hues and have been used to imbibe the spiritual aspects of life. According to Anand, “These paintings make me relax within and in the world around me, whether working on them, or viewing them again and again. There has been nothing between me and my canvas. Sometimes it has been me and sometime it has been the canvas, controlling the form and shape of the works.”

which is an exceptional experience for him, reflects the introspective and serious reflective mood of the artist, becomes an exceptional experience for the viewer also – “It blesseth him that gives and him that takes” as Shakespeare said. Anand has expressed his deep feelings with remarkable ease as can be seen from the serenity that pervades his rendition of the Sakyamuni. The colours that he has used are also in tune with the feelings that he is depicting and the philosophy of his ideal. The greens and golds transport us into a stress-free world of tranquillity, simplicity, and well-being. The best way to understand his painting is to sense their vibrations with our heart by tuning into the consciousness behind the works and to feel their effect on our consciousness. I would not be exaggerating if I say that his paintings have a healing touch says Promilla Shankar (I.A.S) She continues: “I have been closely appreciating Anand Goswami's canvases for the last few years whereby I marvel at his smooth transition from a highly gifted and


His works, even after a number of viewings make one take a journey on an unexplored path with him to demystify oneself and the world around. And I am sure, new vistas of life will open up for everyone as this journey continues. Anand Goswami is also a man of dedication—an artist who listens to his inner voice; an artist equally at ease both in abstract and figurative paintings. His present series, which is based on Sakyamuni, the ascetic of the Sakya tribe, effectively combines both forms. A good work of art is a medium of uplift, of creating positive vibes, of realising the higher self. To create a good work of art, an artist has to have a positive message to convey, should himself be aiming at realising his higher self and has to produce a work of art after listening to his inner voice. These attributes are clearly essayed in Anand’s present series. Anand has been quite taken up by the philosophy of the Sakyamuni – the preacher of the Middle Path of ahimsa, peace and renunciation, qualities which he has tried to portray. The process of painting Woman’s Era

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“Glorious Sunshine” An abstraction from Anand Goswami. (oil on canvas 48” x 60”)

talented abstract artist capable of fascinating exploration and rendition.” Anand Goswami’s art reflects his personal quest and religion – an ongoing discipline immersed in divinity which gives him immense satisfaction. Greatly inspired by mythology he often painted Lord Shiva and scenes from the Ramayana as a child. He then went on to study at Indore School of Art where he honed his passion into academia and immersed his creative sensibilities into paintings. The inspiration for all his art is “spirituality and worship of the divine”. Being ritualistic himself he transfers all the symbols , forms and colours of Hindu (poojas) into his abstract canvases. Anand who mainly works with oil as a medium very deftly blends his religious ethos onto his art with 110

generous hues of yellows, reds and greens which he considers auspicious and mandatory in all Hindu rituals. His colours though effectively vibrant are never meant to jar but merge effortlessly with one another. His new body of works comprise the culmination of a long spiritual journey where he finds solace in his depiction. A fascinating and mysterious form several of Anand’s canvases are enveloped by a shroud of mystery. Anand’s very original treatment of the theme highlights the visual mastery of the formless and the form in the same painting. He is draped behind a veil of intensity and fervour which grips the viewer immediately. The mystery of life is hidden by this veil of struggle. The formless frenzy in his strokes Woman’s Era

which intertwine the form highlight the intensity of turmoil. A closer look exposes the artist’s preoccupation with colour and rituals in the smooth golden tones , the turmeric yellows, saffron reds and greens interspersed with each other highlight the formless and make him appear as an entity to reckon with . The area around the forms play with the vibrancy of colours and demonstrate Anand’s skills in texturing with the oil paints. “For me my works are not just for the sake of art but it is the joy of creation which I cherish the most,” says Anand. He most definitely lives by this motto. Though abstraction remains close to his heart, Anand Goswami finds peace at last with his series. His works almost certainly have the blessings of the divine! We

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ABOUT ARTIST Name: Manoj Aggarwal Born in Delhi – 1967 EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS B.F.A. in painting from Delhi College of Art, Delhi, 1991-92 Three year Diploma in Fine Art from Sarda Skill School of Art, Delhi, 1988 SOLO SHOWS Gallery Beaux, Delhi, 1995 Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2006 Pioneer Art Gallery, Delhi Mishi Art Gallery, Delhi, 2007 GROUP SHOW All India Fine Art and Craft Society, Sahitya Kala Parishad Gallery, In Search of Telent, Vadhera Art Gallery Dhoomimal Art Gallery Town Hall, Dehradoon Jehangir Art Gallery Rabindra Bhavan Full Circle Art Gallery, Delhi India Art Gallery, Pune Mystic Art Gallery, Delhi Art Farego Art Gallery, Gurgoan Haryana Alliance Francais, Delhi, Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Center Rashtrapati Bhavan AWARDS College of Art, Delhi Sahitya Kala Parishad, Delhi Delhi Art Teachers Association, Delhi CONTACT e-mail: amannu@sify.com www.manojaggarwal.com

“The colours are the art devices to showcase the dreams and aspirations of the people” says Manoj Aggarwal.
By Shahana


rtist Manoj Aggarwal is a keen observer of the current urban agglomerate. Being a Delhiite from his very birth, he has not lost his fascination for the many facets of this city and makes it the centrepiece of his artistic endeavour. A graduate in painting from the Delhi College of Art, he had earlier done a diploma course in fine art, at the Sarda Ukil School of Art, Delhi. With a feel for the ordinary, everyday existence of this city, Agarwal has made its mundanity the leitmotif of his canvas. The result, therefore, is that his art rises beyond the ordinary and becomes a visual narrative, relating through the pigments of the canvas the many vicissitudes of the life of its citizens. He is, therefore, not a silent observer, but a keen participant in the dreams, hopes and aspirations of the individuals who people the city. Excerpt from an interview: Though you choose to use a realistic subject to paint on, you have a restricted approach to the use of colour on your canvas. Why? I don’t do too many colours on a single canvas, but I am in the habit of playing with colours on the canvas, nevertheless. For me, colours are art devices to be used judiciously. By this I mean that, though I use all

colours, I do not put all the colours of my choice on one canvas only. At any given point of time, I choose a certain palette, to match the mood depiction of my subject. Then, the entire canvas is painted around the particular choice of colour. The ultimate result is a monochromatic work, where each canvas has a separate palette.

Do you find certain colour palettes being used often, for their aesthetic merit, on your canvases? Yes. My favourite colours are the primary colours and often, I find myself choosing a certain primary colour as the starting point for my canvas.

An aesthetic expression of the nudity of a woman does not reflect any inclination towards vulgarity.

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central figure of the painting a largerthan-life figure. They become a statement of their lifestyle. Take for instance my portraiture of a man riding a bicycle. I have shown his bike perched against a full-grown tree in the middle of a road taking a little rest it seems, during a long, tiring ride. The gesture, the parked vehicle, and the comforting look of a giant tree, brings solace to the mind of the viewer at once.

Since you are fond of cityscapes, do you like to paint realistic depictions of them? The city realism that I like to depict is not totally realistic, as in a photograph. The figures in my work have a semi-abstract feel. They are placed within their surroundings and the surroundings themselves become an immediate link in my painting. Indeed, the composition of the painting is thus a direct outcome of my immediate surroundings. What is the latest aspect of city life that you have been painting? Interesting that you have asked me that. I have just exhibited in a group show and there I had works that showed the artist as an observer. My details on the canvas included a street vendor hawking his wares on a cart, the gardener watering a roundel on the road crossing, a bored housewife looking out of her apartment window, and a gay couple in a statement of identity. All these depictions are infused with flesh and blood in my art and if you stand and listen closely, you can almost hear the tinkling of the cycle bell, or the honking of a car, or even the unspoken thoughts of the silent, in this city. How do you make sure that your painting does not become a linear depiction of your keen sense of observation? In my paintings, I am not mentally

You have participated in several group and solo shows over the years. What is your experience? First: Participating in group shows. I like this method of reaching out to the art lovers of Delhi. Recently, I exhibited in a group with four other artists, organised by Gallery Pioneer and held at the Visual Art Gallery, Delhi. My feeling was that the collective effort of our group at this exhibition was less strenuous and more rewarding. With only a few works on display, I was able to reach out to a wide audience of buyers, viewers and even gallery owners, who had come to see the display. What was its negative side? I had to share media attention with my fellow artists. The critics could not devote an entire column to my work alone, and my coverage in the press was therefore reduced. But I feel even a small mention in a group show coverage creates the right impact and draws media attention to my art. Why then, do you also work for a solo show? In a solo show, my individual effort at producing quality art is very visible. I have to produce and exhibit works of similar standard and that is demanding as well as satisfying. For a solo show, therefore, I have to produce fresh works and that means thinking out a new line of creativity and expressing it aesthetically. Media attention, too, comes like a spotlight shining on my work and brings with it the satisfaction of a job We well done.

at the same grounded level as the subject of my painting. In other words, my mind soars above the city’s everyday concerns and seems to float in a world of self-assessment, searching for a self-image to project this awareness. The noise, crowds and lights, are but inputs and not the whole picture. There are deep-set emotions embedded in each canvas, that speak of the city’s soul.

What are the most common objects that you like to depict in your works? I like to paint the life of an ordinary man. I like to place figures in the forefront to make them prominent. I also do not draw and paint my figures to scale, and prefer to make the
Woman’s Era

January (Second) 2009

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About the artist Name: Kalpana Mohanty Rai Qualification: 1988 – BFA with gold medal from Faculty of Visual Arts, BHU, under Dilip Dasgupta. 1999 – MFA from College of Arts, New Delhi. Group exhibitions 2004 – Nehru Centre, Mumbai. 2003 – Group Show at Artist Kala Dham, Greater Noida, UP. 1996 – ABC Art Gallery, Varanasi. 1993– Shridharani Art Gallery, New Delhi 1991-92 – Regional Art Centre, Bhubaneshwar. 2004 Dec – An art show on women representing legends of India, at Radisson Hotel, New Delhi. 2008 at legends of India at Ravindranath Tagore Centre ICCR Kolkata. Solo exhibitions 1988 – Varanasi. 2003 – Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. 2004 – Conventional Hall, India Habitat Center, New Delhi. Camps 1996 – Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi. 1996 – All India Women Artists, New Delhi. 1988 – All India Artists and Writers’ Camp, Allahabad. Awards 1999 – Orissa State Award; Lalit Kala Academy. 1991– State scholarships from Lalit Kala Academy, Orissa 1987 – Young Artists Art Exhibition by Orissa State Lalit Kala Academy. 1983-88 – Merit award, Faculty of Visual Arts, BHU. 1984-85 & 1984-88 – Annual art exhibition, Faculty of Visual Arts, BHU. 1984-88 & 1991 – State Scholarships from Orissa State Lalit Kala Academy. 1985 – Youth, Bombay art society. 1986 – 16th Annual Art Exhibition, Lalit Kala Academi, Lucknow. 1990 – All India Exhibition, Lalit Kala Academy, Lucknow. 1991 – Talent Exhibition of young and upcoming artist by Vadhera Art Gallery. New Delhi. Her works adorn many private collections in USA Los Angeles, Germany, Australia, Japan, several other institutions and hostels.

Why does a dragonfly feature in all her paintings? By Subhra Mazumdar




hen Kalpana Mohanty Rai was growing up in her native town in Orissa, the members of her large joint family were quick to spot the sense of discipline and singlemindedness she displayed, when given some art materials. While the other siblings and cousins

were spending their time at play, little Kalpana found immense pleasure sitting in a quiet corner and drawing, colouring and painting. So when her father took up a teaching assignment at the Benaras Hindu University, she accompanied him, much against her mother’s wishes. Later, when she obtained admission for the bachelor’s degree in painting at the BHU, it was her mother who had become her arch supporter. Kalpana did not disappoint. She topped in her batch and was the recipient of the gold medal as well. Having worked under the guidance of masters such as Dilip Dasgupta and Prof K S Kulkarni, Kalpana has now exhibited extensively at home and abroad. Her notable moment was when she was a participant at the Vasudeva Kutumbakam display held globally, at centres in New York, Usten Starton, Ireland and Los Angeles. Excerpts from an interview:

What are the most important awards that you have received in India? This year, I was particularly lucky as my painting was displayed at the lifetime achievement awards function for fine arts, organised by the Indian

It is not just only the woman’s coquetishness, but her true inner persona, revealing the reservoir of strength to combat struggles all her life.

Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). It was a great honour to be exhibited alongside the greatest artists of India at this venue. Just four years ago, I participated in the Canvas 2004 exhibition, where the theme was Woman . This organisation is a paramount body for promoting Indian art forms of various kinds.

thoughts often ruminate on the struggles that are a part and parcel of every woman’s life. I feel struggle is a constant companion for a woman throughout her life. And these become the sources of my painting.

Did you get support from your dear ones? Yes, I dedicate my achievements to my parents, my husband and whole family or friends. Without their support I would not be able to stand where I am today. What about the theme of motherhood? As a woman and an artist interested in the theme of womankind, do you not paint on this theme? It is interesting that you ask me this. My best painting, I feel, is one in

What is the womanly angle that you like to depict through your paintings? I have studied and worked on the various aspects of a woman’s life. My

Is there any incident behind this angle? It is the relationship that we, mother and son, share all the time. As a son, he is constantly asking after my welfare and sharing his childlike ideas with me. That nature has drawn us close to each other.
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January (Second) 2009

which I have painted the mother and child theme. The child in the painting is my own son Shinichi, named after a famed Buddhist monk. He is depicted in the symbolic form of Ganesha sitting in the lap of a female figure, a modern woman, much like me. You can almost call it a self-portrait because it is not my physical appearance alone in that painting, but also my dearest self.

the symbol of hope and peace, rising from the ashes symbolically. What the painting is trying to say is that there is always hope in the most dire situa tions. Our immediate surroundings make us angry and fiery but when we sit back and calmly retrospect, then peace descends and the helping hand of hope guides us to a better life.

Are there other symbolic figures that you include in your paintings? Yes. All my paintings have a dragonfly in them. This tiny insect has very happy associations for me. Its gossamer structure expresses the feminine essential in my painting. Then, as a child, I used to be very fond of watching these little creatures flying about the garden. When I paint them on the canvas, memories of my happy childhood come rushing into my mind and give me a spurt of excitement. Besides motherhood, what other theme do you like to paint? I always paint nature in some form or other. Painting tensions, war, revolutions and action, is against my nature. I shy away from such subjects. I like to paint serene feelings on my canvas. The colours are those that depict nature. Even if the painting is that of a woman, there is always nature in the background. I paint inner peace through the language of nature in my art. Have you ever painted on the current problems around our world? As a matter of fact, I have. The incident of 11 September in New

What are the techniques you use in your painting? I use graphic lines to define parts of the work, particularly in depicting details like the folds of drapery, the curly strands of hair, outline of facial features and so on. Drawing is important in my art and I sketch on the canvas before I paint. The colour is applied layer by layer on the canvas, but the lines are deliberately drawn with acrylic. So, while oils form the fluid content of the painting, the acrylic is my deliberate mind working on the theme I want to depict. I also give special attention to merging the colours, so that the effect is not forced, or looks artificial.
York stirred me tremendously. As soon as the news was flashed on our TV screens, I went to my studio, pulled out a fresh canvas and began painting. The uppermost thought in my mind was the sayings of the great Buddhist monk Daisako Ikeda, who advocates world peace. My painting is called Ten Worlds.

Can you describe the symbols in the painting? The background of the work is a brilliant blue, like the sunny morning of the incident. The towers are depicted in running lines of white acrylic, but, instead of standing tall and erect, they are blurred behind a criss-cross of acrylic lines and smudges. The lines are random and deliberate, expressing hell, hunger, animosity, so to speak. There are sparks and flashes of crimson on the canvas, expressing the obvious. But, instead of ending at that point, if one looks closely, there is a phoenix-like form rising out of this chaos. This is
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What are the many aspects, other than motherhood, that you like to show in your painting? It is the silent woman in all of us. It is not the outwardly dressed-up form, for that comes out of a beauty kit. It is the inner persona, revealing a level of sincere feeling, where she has one finger pointing towards herself, meaning thereby that when one points the finger at another, one finger is always turned towards oneself. Besides the woman and nature what other theme have you been drawn to? One that evokes humour and expresses some of my frustrations. It is a chair and that is the politician’s chair. It is a symbol of the leader who aspires to his public position for personal gain and becomes a nuisance for the ordinary being. In all my art exhibitions, I always carry a painting on that theme and like to explain the reason for its inclusion, much to the delight of the visitors. We


January (Second) 2009

With the strokes of his brush Mukesh Parth builds a bridge between nature’s most subtle creations and those beings who arise from it.
By Our Correspondent




front running artist of the country today, Mukesh Parth uniquely distinguishes himself by his vision, acumen and insights that have laced the world of art for over twenty years now. Despite the many stumbling blocks that he faced throughout life, Mukesh Parth continues to hold sunny outlook for life. He was drawn to the magic – and possibilities – of the canvas early in his life. A natural artist and a relentless dreamer, he found life, and all its ‘miracles’, mesmerising. A man of reasonable wealth, Parth still retains that hundred-rupee note he received from his first painting (it was a sketch of a family at the zoo). His Nature and Life series – an ongoing exercise – has found wide acceptance amongst the ‘knowing

audience’. The moods and silhouettes here are both natural and surreal; with withered trees informing a parched landscape that lies earnestly craving the first drops of monsoon. Characters – desiccated, pensive and poignant – complement the ambience perfectly, even as disparate elements from nature and the man-made world lie scattered all over the rest of the canvas. It’s easy to lose yourself in this fantastic and bizarre universe, till this soft-spoken and reclusive artist invites you back to reality. With that signature smile, and a very, very unmistakable twinkle in his eye. You can almost sense it. The brush has come alive, the man is back. Excerpts: In one sentence: What drives you to create art? Art features right after eating and sleeping on my priority list in life… Woman’s Era

January (Second) 2009

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January (Second) 2009


Out of sheer reverence, a woman is called mother earth. She is even hailed as divinity at home, much taller than those worshipped mythological deities. Yet, she is subjected to utter subjugation, in favour of gender bias.

The feminine form seems to hold a special place in your art. Would you like to elaborate on that? Subject: Nature, woman, birth. We are born from a woman’s womb, so one feels a fundamental connection with women and feminity across its many manifestations in nature. A mother’s lap is the first school where some of life’s most defining and lasting lessons are learnt. As a creative individual, I feel this affinity towards the form and concept of women and feminity stemming naturally from within me. In a sense, I have felt this bonding with womankind it all my life. Why do you choose the medium that you use? I work in a variety of media – be it oil, acrylic, watercolour, pencil drawing, others. If I were to choose, I would probably vote (albeit reluctantly), oil, as my medium of choice. While, admittedly, oil takes longer to dry during winter, it is a phenomenal and rhapsodic medium to work with, during the summer. Acrylic, however, dries quickly in both the seasons. It is for this reason that sometimes, I use both the media simultaneously (in such cases, the first layer is that of acrylic, while oil features in all the other layers). This fusion results in both speedier work, and longer life (for the painting). ‘Texture white’ (on acrylic) and ‘knife work’ (on oil) are techniques that I employ to instil a signature 3D effect on the painting.

What can you tell the readers about your unique art statement? My art is semirealistic. As we grow, we imbibe the various faces and facets of nature, and the world we live in. In time, we mould and ‘align’ the realities and concepts we accost every day in tune with our own personality. In looking at the planet through our own eyes, we create a world of metaphors and images that, in time, get to be identified as our signature. Nature, woman power (naari shakti), the underprivileged and society–in its many forms and shades – are the items that dominate the canvas as create. It is informed by honesty, intensity and a deep sense of poignancy. It responds to the rhythms of life that surround us. And it reflects the many urgencies, tragedies and joys of life and living. Every canvas has a different story to tell, and every story has a lesson to teach. This is how I look at life, and how I feel through my art. How has society influenced your art? What are the social implications in your art? An artist is a part of society. As such, I believe, all art is intrinsically social. My art is infused with feelings of transformation and regeneration. It tends to celebrate the natural form. It is aligned with the Indian look – a sensibility and silhouette that I have ‘honed into’ after working on a myriad themes and series, which were researched painstakingly over the years. Social issues close to my heart are female foeticide and AIDS among others. Currently, I am working on the themes of Inner Inspiration, Desire, Life and New Life and, my latest theme: Life and Nature. The latter (Life and Nature) is an infinite universe of images, metaphors and themes (indeed, as infinite as nature its and will, by all accounts, continue as a longstanding exercise and fetish. By its very
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nature, it has endeared itself to everyone – including kids.

What were the toughest points of your career? Have you ever hit rock bottom? When I began my Shakti series, it got mixed reactions from society. Many were mildly humoured, many didn’t understand the significance, and many scoffed openly. I myself had moments of self-doubt when I wondered about the feasibility, topicality and public acceptance of a subject of this nature. There were even days when my morale nosedived, and I hit rock bottom. When the exhibition opened, I performed a little prayer and invoked my inner powers. As it turned out, my show was a super hit, and I sold all my paintings. My ‘perceived weakness’, or moments and months of pain, had turned into my greatest, and most inspired triumph. As it is said, the night is never endless. So someone must take the first step. What was the subject of the painting in this winning entry? The winning entry was roughly titled Life and New Life. It depicted a mother trying to commit female foeticide, simply because she was acutely aware of the gender bias associated with a girl child. Indeed, so deep rooted is this curse that despite being a woman and mother herself, she is keen on having a son and not a daughter. The painting also depicted – in what has been described as a chilling rendition of a stark reality – the timeless yearning of the newborn to be accepted and loved, as if she was entreating her parents to love her, instead of destroying her. She seemed to be saying to them: ‘Don’t kill me and don’t try again’. The painting tries to give out the message that we should not forget that women are the creators of the universe in their role as mothers. My painting was thus a humble gesture aimed at making a statement coaxing all citizens to come forward and prevent this dastardly act We prevalent in our society. e-mail: amp3001001001@gmail.com

January (Second) 2009

The great way to reach great art with great ease.
By Sukhu



very now and then art news becomes the talk of scores of homes across the country for its very profitable reasons. The mounting returns from investments in Indian art has made it a very hot-selling item, not just for its financial gains but also for the personal satisfaction that it incorporates. Collectors like to acquire a work not for its price tag but for its intrinsic art pleasure. But alas! When one is in the mood to buy art , or one feels the urge to study market trends before investing in art, there may be no exhibition on, for viewing. More importantly, there may not be an auction of art due on the art scene, pushing back one’s dreams of possessing a work, into the back burner. But the establishment of online auction facilities, a growing trend nowadays, has given art a decided boost in the right direction. That such a manner of exhibiting contemporary art has caught on, is vouched for by Sarika Batra of Emami Chisel. This Kolkatabased art auction house claims that it holds the record of the highest online sale of a Husain, in ’89, when the work went for Rs four crores. The auction can be viewed and bid for, in the comfort of one’s own home. All one has to do is to log on, book into the auction site and view the works. Finally, after due deliberation, one can decide whether or not one would like to bid for any particular work. In case the works do not suit one’s pocket or style of art preference, there is no restriction about quitting the site. Thus the auction does not restrict anyone from bidding,

viewing, or just browsing through the exhibits. Even when the auction is over, one can still contact the website and ask for details and view more works, as these sites have works in stock that can be viewed and bid for, even when an auction is not in progress. An online auction also de-links the need to be in the same city or place during the days of the auction. One can book or bid for a painting while being miles away from the city as deals are transacted via the Internet. Thus collectors from all over the world have access to the painting, giving both exposure to the artist and a better sales climate for the auctioneer. Being on the Internet, the site is open all through the day and night. So, when bidders in India are asleep, those in the USA can avail of this option and file their offers. Even the busy executive, after a day’s work can come home and log on to the site, without taking the trouble of physically travelling to the auction

destination. For some sceptics, the idea of viewing a work of art on a computer screen suggests that the reproduction might be flawed. An oftheard grumble about online auctions is that the images on the screen rob it of its truism or its perspective. This may be a valid point for the experienced collector, who likes to see art in full form before placing his money on it. For such collectors, the auction house also holds a preview of the works on auction and even follows it up with a one-day physical viewing of the work at their gallery or at a five-star location in the town. Outstation bidders are thus able to send a local agent to see the painting and assess it for themselves before the final bid. As works in the Indian art mart become more and more dear, collectors are becoming more protective about their identities. Online auctions take special precautions to preserve the bidder’s anonymity, restricted to a one-to-one bidder-auctioneer relationship. From a nascent start made by the auction house Saffron Art in Mumbai, this form of sale and viewing is becoming a part of almost every gallery’s portfolio, and services and facilities are extended with enthusiasm to the potential collector by every We gallery they wish to patronise.

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Onkar Singh Born: 1963 Delhi Qualification: B.F.A. Painting, JMI, New Delhi M.A. Painting Jiwaji Gwalior (MP) Phone: 9811811898 E-mail: onkar_art@yahoo.co.in Group show 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 & 2005 LKG, New Delhi 2002 – India Habitat Centre, New Delhi 2005 & 2006 Lokayata 2006, 07, 08 – Travancore Art Gallery, New Delhi 2006 – Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi 2006 – Tatav Art Gallery, Indore 2006 – LKG, New Delhi 2006 – Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai 2007 – Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi Participation Exhibition of Perfect Health Mela organised by Heart Care Foundation of India, 1998, 99. Attended workshop of Creative Art organised by N.T.R.C. Bal Bhawan Society India, New Delhi, 1989. Camp: 2006 – Khajurao (MP) 2006 – Indore (MP) 2007 – Gwalior (MP) 2007 – Bhimtal (Uttarakhand) 2007 – Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi 2007 – Art Mall, Delhi 2008 – Citi Art Gallery (Dhoomimal) 2008 – Rai Foundation Awards Prizes in poster competition by Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi, 1987. Merit Award in ‘On the spot Painting Competition’ by Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi, 1986. Collection: London and many private collections in India and Abroad Sahitya Kala Parishad, Delhi Rashtrapati Bhawan, Delhi Pepsi India Delhi.

The artist focusses on the maddening rush of ordinary people to eke out a living in a metropolis. By Puja




nkar Singh is an artist who has made the world around him, in all its everyday delights, his own special canvas. Unlike the conventional painter who finds inspiration in the quiet recesses of the mind, or in the silence of the studio, for Onkar Singh, the canvas is like his cinematic device, where the many facets of living from day to day becomes the subject of inspiration. Thus it is the crowded parts of the metropolis which excite his imagination and what other artists dismiss as diurnal tedium, Onkar Singh embraces as glimpses of the Muse. The viewer as a

recipient of this panoramic spread suddenly realises that when face-toface with Onkar Singh’s canvases it is not a realistic depiction of city life that is on view but alongside, and on another plane, the pictures carry deep glimpses of the burden that life imposes on its subjects. Behind the pleasant symphonies of recognition that strike as we view a portrayal of a balloon seller with her two children in tow, we also find that peeping from behind that visage is a woman of substance, who is trying to come to grips with her status in society. She is capable of standing on her own and is no pliant subject that can be blown away by the next gush of negative wind.

Inducing the other... painting by Onkar Singh.

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What steps do you take to add a bit of cheer to your works? There is always a tinge of humour in my works. For instance in one of the paintings, where the crowds are milling about with earnestness, there is one figure sitting in the midst of this rush. The figure is resting his head on the palms of his hand, giving the impression of complete relaxation amidst the turmoil. The rigours of city life affect men and women alike. How have you dealt with this aspect in your paintings? I have shown this common experience by using the technique of creating mirror images where one part represents the male and the other the female. In one of them, the man wears a Brahmin’s knot and on the other side there is a single earring. The two parts have a single body, symbolising the unified difficulties faced by either of them in a city. What about the way people cope with their circumstances and make the best of their opportunities in the city? Is this also a subject of your paintings? Absolutely. The city is a very positive factor in the life of its citizens. There is irony in the fact that though everyone is aware of the problems of city living, yet the lure of city life never ceases to attract people to itself. Even the poorest and most deprived among its citizenry find something to cherish in it. Onkar is blessed with two children daughter Shivalika and son Jaisurya. Though awards and opportunities for participation have come his way often, it was when one of his works was selected for display at Parliament House that he felt really gratified. It was none other than exPresident of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam who did the selection and he felt he had struck upon a timeless moment in his art, with that choice.We

to leave behind the security and safety of their own homes and step out into that crowded and somewhat hostile world beyond their doorsteps.

What is your favourite urban subject for your paintings? It is the sight of hundreds of people pouring out of a suburban train, during rush hour. I like to observe and then create the stream of figures just flowing out of the exit doors, as if it is an outpouring dictated by some unknown force. In the same way, I also like to capture bazaar scenes as my subjects, and ‘crowd’ my canvases with people and goods to such an extent that one gets the feeling that there is no space left to even get a foothold. Such paintings make good pictorial content. What about the aesthetics behind such a painting? These works are not meant to describe just the present condition of traffic jams or overcrowding. They are meant to provoke viewers into thinking of the circumstances that have forced people, specially women,

What do you think about the woman plight? I have shown her stepping out of the compartment of the train, bag slung from her shoulders and walking or riding towards an office in the early part of the day. It suggests what lies in store for her for the rest of her day. The hard day ahead is not one of her inner choosing, for given a chance, most of them would prefer to stay at home and make their private spaces a heaven on earth. This is the silent message which tells it all. The woman, I find is the most affected by the hustle and bustle of city living. You have painted on the working class. ...Say? As a matter of fact, I have done a very representative work on their condition. In that work there is a balloon seller, a woman, who has her two children alongside. The passersby are oblivious of her plight. In other paintings I have chosen the cycle commuters that one sees on busy streets. They run the risk of accidents every moment on the streets. I have brought attention to their plight by their placement in a canvas full of crowds and traffic. Even the rickshaw pullers who eke out a meagre living from driving people around, find a place on my canvas.
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Q & A
I would like to know how many caesarean section operations a woman can have. Usually, the maximum number of Caesareans that can be done in a woman are three. In special circumstances when there is no living issue, one can undertake a fourth caesarean section after exercising great caution. This involves frequent visits to the hospital, reporting of any untoward symptoms and undergoing a planned operation at an appointed date. I had undergone treatment for infertility that included a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy and endometrial biopsy. It was found that I had TB of the genital tract and took a treatment course for the same. To our joy I conceived after a gap of six months only to learn that it was an ectopic pregnancy on account of which my right tube had to be sacrificed. I am in a state of depression. Please tell me why this has happened. Will I be able to conceive again? Can such a situation recur? It is indeed unfortunate that you had an ectopic pregnancy but such a situation can arise occasionally when the tubes are diseased, as in your case. The medicines you took for TB, remove the active disease and kill the TB bacteria but the scarring of tissues remains. The tube is not just a rigid pipe but a dynamic organ that actively pushes the fertilised egg into the uterus for

implantation. This is done by peristaltic movements of the tube and with the help of fine, hair-like processes in the tubal lining called cilia, that sweep it forward. The fertilised egg remains in the damaged tube and implants there. As the tube has a very narrow lumen and cannot possibly accommodate a growing pregnancy, it bursts leading to pain and internal bleeding that can lead to shock. Ectopic pregnancy is known to recur in a small percentage of cases when the other tube too is diseased though quite a few patients go on to deliver a full-term baby. So do not lose hope.

baby. Treatment consists of a highprotein diet, bed rest in the left lateral position to increase the blood supply to the foetus, blood thinning agent, etc. Serial monitoring by ultrasound, colour Doppler and a non-stress test (NST) keep the doctor informed about the well-being of the baby. If its condition is improving, the pregnancy is allowed to continue till the baby attains maturity after it is delivered by artificial pains. If, on the other hand, the baby’s condition is not improving despite treatment it is delivered sooner and kept in the nursery.

I am seven and a half months pregnant. The doctor suspected that my baby was not growing as well as it should and asked me to get an ultrasound done. This has confirmed that my baby has intrauterine growth retardation. What are the implications of this condition and what precautions should I take to improve my baby’s health? I am very worried. Please advise. When the internal environment is less than ideal, the blood supply to the baby is reduced thereby reducing the supply of oxygen and nutrient to the baby, resulting in intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR). The cause is usually not known though PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension) can be the culprit in some cases. There is a narrowing of blood vessels in high blood pressure which decreases the blood supply to the

I am in the seventh month of my pregnancy and have developed slight bleeding from the vagina. Is this normal? Do I have to visit the doctor for the same? You should visit the doctor as soon as possible for bleeding in pregnancy, especially at this time can be due to placenta privea or placental abruption, both of which are serious complications of pregnancy. In placenta privea the placenta is situated lower down and during painless uterine contractions that occur throughout pregnancy or after sexual intercourse/internal check-up, can cause bleeding. In placental abruption, a normally situated placenta comes off its attachment to the uterus leading to a collection of blood between the placenta and uterine wall, part of which may trickle out. In either case, you need an immediate ultrasound and hospital admission.

Can I have an X ray done during pregnancy? Though X rays are best avoided during pregnancy, a lot depends upon why it is needed and how beneficial it is to you at this point of time. The further the area to be X rayed is from your baby the less likely is it to cause harm. On the other hand, in case you have inadvertently got an X ray during pregnancy, do not panic or think of an abortion on this account. – Dr A. K. Bajaj, MD.

Woman’s Era ● January (Second) 2009


About the contemporary artist Name: Bijan Paul Birth: 1st January 1958 in Calcutta Solo shows 1981: Paris, 1986: London, 1981: Home Stores (Art Division) (Telok Karau, Singapore) 2007: Art in CANAN Road, New Mexico, 1982-2008: Taj Art Gallery, Bombay, National Expo 86, Redenation Border Bombay, Invited by the Govt. of India, Ministry of Textiles, Jehangir Art Gallery Bombay, Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Group shows 1980: London, 1982: Canada, 1983: Japan, 1985: Germany. 2000-2008: First International Conference South Asian Artist, focusing on “Capacity Building of Marginalised Women and widows in February 2002. July Art Forum, Sadhna Enclave Delhi.

An artist’s history enriched with nature, plants, banjaras. By Our Correspondent


ijan Paul is born with the proverbial silver spoon, having opened his eyes in this world in the culturally vibrant city of Kolkata. Ever since, though he has visited many parts of the globe and exhibited in a number of prestigious platforms worldwide, his inspiration is not from these places alone. It still continues to spring from life on the bustling streets of his home city, or for that matter, any city, and his canvases capture this essence with artistic skill. But what one sees on the canvas is not a truism of city living but a constant interaction with what lies beyond the visual inputs provided by one’s surroundings. It is complexities of city living and an understanding of city ways while at the same time exploring the richness of plant life, nature on the whole, and even tribal existence, such as the life of the Banjara community, that demarcates a Bijan Paul painting from the rest.

Knitting together these divergences – nature, plants, Banjaras – are the use of symbolic motifs, in the form of a female figure, set amidst pastoral grandeur, who shares thoughts and relationships with the surround of plant life, birds, arboreal grandeur and even another woman. For Bijan Paul therefore, a painting is never complete unless it is ‘peopled’ by his favourite leitmotifs and bring forth the message that living the simple life is the best alternative for survival. Excerpts from an interview: As you always do paintings around the theme of nature and women, it must be easy to compose the subject matter of your paintings on the canvas. Do you agree? Surprisingly, the dictates of a blank canvas continue to intrigue me when it comes down to putting paint on it. For that matter, every single line put on that space reaches out to an intent, based on my experiences, gathered from my surroundings, both

The artist conveys through portrayal the message that living in simplicity is the best alternative for survival.

Woman’s Era

January (Second) 2009


present and past. I am thus confused by a host of images striving to find space on the canvas and am transfixed into a state of near impasse, caught in contem plation between space and content.

How do you then begin to reconnect with your work once again and go on to complete a painting? I would like to give you an example in answer. I was once looking at this canvas that I had before me. It was late in the night in the studio. Gradually, I began dipping my fingers into paint and started smearing it on the waiting surface. After a while, the forms began to appear. In time, the conviction of life and living began to peer through the colours and the forms and a painting was set in motion. Are all your works experimental journey of this sort? I like to experiment with the medium, be it working in line, with the fingers, or even with an abstraction of thought. When doing a painting, the experimental angle is confined to the tools and the technique. The spirit behind each painting suggests my inner urge to go on, to grow, to progress and not stagnate, as stagnation of any sort is not a good sign for any artist. How did you get fascinated with the subject of the Banjaras? It was some thirty years ago that I first came across this group. I found their lives surprisingly removed from

modern complexities and though living in the city, they had continued to improve their traditional craft skills without taking to other more urban lifestyles. I was drawn to this fact, as a painter and this gave rise to a series of works, titled ‘Secrecy of Life” and ‘ The Beauty of Nature and Life’. Both these sets of works underline my prime philosophy of living the simple life even within a cosmopolitan world.

Your latest works are in the abstract form. What has inspired this change? The abstract is a very good form to express one’s desires and feelings. The theme behind each abstract format becomes the unveiling of the various notches that society has climbed, or slipped into. It is the ideal way for a painter to expose the insincerity of today’s socialite lifestyle, where taboos are imposed on innocent thoughts and satirical comments are glossed in acceptable ways. The abstract format gives me the power to communicate with people who want to unearth the truth, who understand, but remain clandestine and suppressed, by the goings-on. The theme helps people to peep into forbidden closets and unfasten truths that lie buried in its depths. What is the reaction of society folk to such exposures? Not so favourable, but they know that what I expose through my art is the truth.
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How can such ideas be made known to the larger public? I would urge the media to educate people through their columns. By and large people do not know the hidden power of colours in our lives. So here is a way that the media can come to the fore and take on the responsibility of educating its readers and listeners about art, culture and above all, the message that can be conveyed through art. It is the best way of spreading the true message of art to the common man and until the common man begins to understand art, there will be no visible impact on society,. The falsities and untruthfulness of higher society will remain at large and painters will be working harder than ever, trying to expose these practices through their art, but without success. What part can art institutions play in educating the common public about the power of art? A system must be put in place to create awareness in the marketplace. This will help people know the relationship between art and everyday life. We artists are ever ready to play a role and institutions should step in the fray, as well. As a senior artist what is your message to junior artists? I would say that they always follow the basics of art and live their art through their hearts and minds. Thereby a good creation will blossom for appraisal. Keep growing in yourself; there is no short cut to this aim. We

January (Second) 2009


Q & A
I have been married for a year and live in a joint family. I really crave for time alone with my husband and although I appreciate the advantages of joint family, how do I steal this private time with my husband? It is good sign that you are able to appreciate the advantages that come with a joint living family. Yes, private time becomes a luxury not easily found in such a situation but you could speak to your husband about it. If you are not able to take time off for a long holiday together, how about a weekend, or even one night in a hotel? If that is difficult to work out because of time or finances, you have to make a routine where something is private – like a mutual relaxing massage on a weekly basis, or having a shower together on a Sunday morning? Light a candle for romantic ambience after you’re in your bedroom. Communicate with your husband and you would be able to work something out within your living style as well. I was born and brought up in Europe and came to India after marriage. I am settling in fine with my husband and his family but my problem is that I am unable to visit a public toilet and hold my bladder, which leads to frequent urinary infections. How do I overcome this mental block? Your problem might not seem serious but could lead to lasting health problems for you. So it is best

if you try to find a solution at this point in time. Most often, when women want to avoid going to the toilet, they drink less water and that creates its own set of problems. Why don’t you begin to carry some antiseptic wipes and disposable seat covers with you? Being from the Western world upbringing you might not find it so abhorrent to clean a toilet seat and use a seat cover which can then be disposed of. Carry your own hand wash too if you desire and you could deal with the problem.

Both my husband and I were divorcees when we got married and now we have a 3 year old son. My husband wants a divorce as he says he is in love with somebody else. I don’t want to go through a second divorce but he has already left home. What can I do legally? It is often said that divorcees find it difficult to settle in the subsequent marriages and your husband is proving such fears right. Maybe he is just irresponsible and is addicted to the freedom of divorce and marrying somebody else. Legally, you can do very little if he decides to leave you and live with the other woman. You can ask for maintenance for the child and alimony for yourself but it is often a tedious process which eats time and money. What is your husband’s stance on caring for his son is important. Sometimes, you have to give a spouse a long rope and hope he will see sense before real harm comes to his family life. Woman’s Era

I am a working mother and my husband always takes small-time jobs and works from home. He has cared for our two children. Now he is threatening to take away the children if I don’t give up my job. I know we cannot manage in what he earns but I am unwilling to go through a divorce. What do I do and can I get legal custody of our children if I am a working woman? If your husband was fine with your working and caring for the children, what has changed in your life for him to threaten to take away the children? Giving up the job might not be the answer if your problems lie else where and needs to be addressed. If you are sure about your inability to manage financially, ask him how he plans to make ends meet without your salary. Divorce and custody of children becomes an issue when a marriage breaks down irretrievably which somehow does not seem to be the case in your marriage. But you seriously need to address the issues before it reaches that situation.

Mine was an intercaste marriage and I tried to live with my MIL. However, my sister-in-law never liked me and eventually my MIL asked us to move out. Now she is very unwell and wants my husband to live with her but not me. While I feel bad for her I feel why my husband should live with her and I live with our children away. It will increase our expenses plus I feel my sister-in-law will take my husband also away from me. You are totally justified in wanting acceptance from your in-laws, especially as your children need their father as much as your MIL needs her son. Your best bet is to speak with your husband and he has to stand up for you. Your husband is not a commodity that your sister-in-law will take away but you should voice your concerns to your husband and say that when he visits his mother he should take either you or the children along and you are not being stubborn but have genuine concerns for your children and for your own relationship with your husband.

January (Second) 2009

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