Articles on this Page
- 12/13/17--21:12: _An ideal toolkit fo...
- 12/13/17--21:12: _The changing face o...
- 12/13/17--22:02: _US Architectural Le...
- 12/21/17--15:58: _This force is strong
- 12/21/17--16:00: _Hitting the wrong n...
- 12/21/17--16:18: _Some hits, many flops
- 12/21/17--16:20: _Here's what ruled t...
- 12/21/17--16:32: _Simplicity at its best
- 12/21/17--16:34: _Beyond conventional...
- 12/21/17--17:00: _Jolly good Christma...
- 12/21/17--17:02: _A merry meal
- 12/21/17--17:04: _Let your hair do th...
- 12/21/17--17:08: _Go minimalistic
- 12/21/17--17:12: _Amp your party look
- 12/21/17--17:16: _Try the humble mill...
- 12/21/17--17:18: _Everyday habits can...
- 12/21/17--17:20: _Weight loss can pre...
- 12/21/17--17:22: _Cut down stroke ris...
- 12/21/17--17:24: _Be bone-healthy
- 12/21/17--17:28: _Feast on right calo...
- 12/13/17--21:12: An ideal toolkit for your home
- 12/13/17--21:12: The changing face of home security technology
- 12/13/17--22:02: US Architectural League honours Karim Aga Khan
- 12/21/17--15:58: This force is strong
- 12/21/17--16:00: Hitting the wrong notes
- 12/21/17--16:18: Some hits, many flops
- 12/21/17--16:20: Here's what ruled the small screen...
- 12/21/17--16:32: Simplicity at its best
- 12/21/17--16:34: Beyond conventional clicks
- 12/21/17--17:00: Jolly good Christmas delights
- 12/21/17--17:02: A merry meal
- 12/21/17--17:04: Let your hair do the talking
- 12/21/17--17:08: Go minimalistic
- 12/21/17--17:12: Amp your party look
- 12/21/17--17:16: Try the humble millet for weight loss
- 12/21/17--17:18: Everyday habits can prevent cancer
- 12/21/17--17:20: Weight loss can prevent fatty liver
- 12/21/17--17:22: Cut down stroke risk this winter
- 12/21/17--17:24: Be bone-healthy
- 12/21/17--17:28: Feast on right calories
The wall clock is about to fall because the nail is loose, the doorknob needs fixing, and the kitchen faucet is dripping. Its difficult to go and look for a plumber or carpenter every time a minor fixing is required. So lets make a list of a few tools that will help you with these small projects:
Screwdriver & hammers
Screwdrivers will help you when you want to install light switches, tighten the kitchen cupboard, or open the lids of metal cans. As for hammers, make sure that you buy a lightweight hammer with a strong metal, which means the strength required to use the hammer shall not reverberate your arm. A hammer will help you with driving nails in the wall to hang pictures, assemble furniture, and also break apart objects when required.
Pliers & wrenches
Pliers give your fingers an extra grip to hold small things. You can use them for twisting wires, holding something that has a round surface like a rod or wire, and it can also be used a part of tasks which involves cutting a wire. All plumbing fixes require a wrench. From a clogged sink to a dripping faucet to stuck radiator valves, all of them require the strength of a wrench. Make sure you buy a large monkey wrench as you would need it in a situation where you need to turn off a jammed plumbing valve.
Utility knife & cordless drill
A utility knife helps you cut strong packaging, strip wiring, or scrap painting. Its also a better replacement for a kitchen knife. In a utility knife, you can also replace the blade easily, plus you need to keep separate knives for cutting your packages and cutting your vegetables. Aside from a utility knife and screwdriver, a cordless drill is a must-have tool in your kit. It is quite useful when it comes to hanging shelves and assembling DIY furniture.
Measuring tape & light
Practically, every household needs a repair or an upgrade periodically that requires measuring. May it be for painting a room wall or purchasing a new sofa or a bed. A 25-foot tape shall suffice; and when you are buying the tape, buy a carpenters pencil as well to mark your measurements. Emergencies that take place under the sink, back of the cabinet or in a dark corner of the basement are most difficult to solve without appropriate light. It is mandatory to keep a flashlight in the toolbox. It would also be really helpful when the electricity of the house goes out.
A broom will help you sweep dust and debris outside as well as inside your home. Many homes keep two brooms, the standard one which has stiffer bristles and a shorter base. And a wide broom that is equipped for cleaning debris outside of your home. A broom shall help you clean dry product spills, wipe the floor and also clean up broken glass.
If you have a tile or wood floor, you need to have a mop in the house. Ideally, keep two mops, a wet one and a dry one. While dusting, you can use a dry mop, and a wet one, along with hot water, and soaps especially designed for floors can be used for cleaning dirt and stains.
Baking soda is the oldest and best cleaning remedy. You can keep an open box in your refrigerator to diminish stale odour or to clean your drains, bathtub, pots and pans.
Bleach is absolutely necessary for cleaning white surfaces such as the bathtub, toilet and sinks and the white tile bathrooms. It is also required for sanitising these surfaces. The purifying properties of the bleach will disinfect germs, just make sure you keep these products away from the reach of the children. The best part about these is that besides being reasonably priced they are also DIY tools. Although, once in a while, get a professional cleaning done as they have the expertise to cover the areas that you might miss.
(The author is city head- Bengaluru, SILA)
The average modern homebuyer is a tech-savvy millennial marked by his or her need to be constantly mobile and connected. So, its quite possible that they hunted for the perfect apartment through their smartphones, took a virtual tour of the property and struck the deal with the builder online, eliminating the need for middlemen and agents. Clearly, homeownership is no longer the drudgery it once was. This new trend is sending the residential real market into a tizzy with annual property market sales projected for $462 billion by 2025. The new breed of homeowners will most likely earn double incomes and will not shy away from employing an entourage of domestic help, drivers and cooks. Majority of them now opt for shopping for their day-to-day needs online and have it delivered to their doorsteps.
What do the numbers say?
Builders must move beyond their plain vanilla properties and rethink their strategies for their apartments. Unfortunately, in most gated communities, there exists a gap between expected security and what is actually offered. Our research shows that 20% of domestic help and 30% security guards change jobs every month. There is a whopping 50% rate of annual decline among delivery boys.
Another layer of complexity is added when the quantum of inbound traffic is unmanageably huge. On a daily basis, a gated complex of about 400 flats is likely to experience 800-1,200 external footfalls driven by deliveries of all kinds, courier boys, cabs or autos and hundreds of maids, cooks, maintenance and other staff.
As a result, identity verification and security take a huge blow. Not only is the manual method inconvenient and inefficient, it is also a major guzzler of a communitys budget with a very little impact on crime prevention. Thankfully, rapid innovations in the home security space â€" both globally and locally - offer apartments and gated communities access to an array of hardware and software solutions to keep their premises safe and secure.
The most prevalent ones are:
Subject to where they lie in their spectrum of capabilities, home alarm systems provide the easiest protection against neighbourhood burglaries by protecting major points of entry on the premises. They are often connected to a cellular station for emergency contact. On the flipside, home alarms are essentially pieces of hardware that require the residents themselves to take responsibility for repair and maintenance. They are also suited for individual homes and can rarely be scaled upwards to gated communities with thousands of residents.
CCTV has been one of the earliest entrants in the home security market. Owing to the relatively low costs of installation, businesses and homes alike have been invested in the concept of monitoring and cracking down on crime in the vicinity. CCTV camera comes with a monitor to which it transmits recorded images. The monitor, in turn, sends these images to the videotape or DVR which are rich sources of information (and legal evidence).
However, the CCTV depends on hired monitoring. A growing number of residents are also opting for fake CCTVs just to keep potential perpetrators at bay. But we must not forget that an experienced thief will be able to differentiate between fake and authentic devices in as much as a glance. Therefore, CCTV cannot solely serve at the first line of defence. Even when viewed from an ethical perspective, the jury is still out on whether CCTVs are a violation of citizens privacy or a necessity to deter neighbourhood crimes.
Keypad access control systems
Keypads work on the principle that is most familiar to users - on a password. We
already do it while banking and logging into our emails, so taking it a step further with a four-or six-digit passcode for home security is as straightforward as it can get.
Keypad access works with minimal glitches until it is extended to multiple users. Like most passwords, the one in your house can also be compromised if it is predictable or remains unchanged for a long period. There are also chances of your employees or guests memorising the pattern you key in each time or tailgating on the sly. Therefore, users of this kind of security must be alert and responsible with their passwords at all times. In most cases, standalone keypad access control systems are deal-breakers for communities that have a heavy footfall every day.
Biometric authentication is catching on as one of the more secure methods of authentication in bigger gated communities. Technologies such as face recognition, iris scan and fingerprint recognition essentially record the unique patterns present in an individuals respective body parts, store them as codes and tag them exclusively to the individual they belong to for future use.
Keeping imposters off limits with biometric authentication can be all too enticing theoretically but it comes with its share of logistical challenges. Though biometric authentication systems are highly priced, they still suffer occasional lapses in their read rates. This means you could well be presenting your body part to the reader several times before it recognises you and lets you in. It is perhaps the last situation a resident would want to be in, especially in bad weather or emergencies.
While there are myriad technologies emerging in the home security marketplace, they only offer one piece of the jigsaw in the big picture. They are also capital-intensive and their benefits tend to decline over time.
Where do we go now?
There is a dire need for homes of the future to make way for simple, comprehensive and intelligent solutions that address modern gate management challenges. Read real-time domestic help management, digital validation of all staff, complete attendance management, stickerless vehicle parking management and much more in an affordable manner.
Take, for instance, mobile applications based on algorithms such as behavioral intelligence augmented authentication (BIAA). They can be downloaded instantly on the users and security guards smartphones with the assurance that all exchange of data is securely stored in the cloud. Wherever a resident may be, he or she will be updated in real-time on the whereabouts of visitors on the premises. Communities that have already jumped the bandwagon have witnessed substantial savings in the range of 10-15% in costs. In addition to automated and digital attendance, time saved on the manual registry and intercom communication and avoidance of car stickers.
The way we see it, the gate management of the future will no longer need expensive, standalone technologies that call for tedious installation and maintenance. Think touchless residential security where people and their vehicles move in and out seamlessly without manual intervention yet authenticated with unseen technologies running in the background.
(The author is CEO & co-founder, myGate)
The Architectural League of New York has awarded its Presidents Medal to Prince Karim Aga Khan IV on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The Presidents Medal is the leagues highest honour and is bestowed on individuals to recognise an extraordinary body of work in architecture, urbanism, art or design. Prince Karim Aga Khan is the current Imam of Ismaili Muslims. In the words of the medals citation, "for the extraordinary work of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the recognition, scholarship and investment it has catalysed and supported, which has raised the quality of urban and rural environments around the world."
The citation added that the Aga Khan "has demonstrated the capacity for architecture to be encompassing and inclusive, through his probing search to conceive anew the nature of cultural identity and continuity, his openness to innovation and experimentation, and his unwavering commitment to pluralism as a foundational principle of human community." The Architectural League of New York nurtures excellence in architecture, design and urbanism, and stimulates thinking and debate about the critical design and building issues of our time.
While they tell tales of Death Stars and daddy issues, the Star Wars movies are also stories about duality: how goodness and evil can coexist - on the same planet or inside the same person - and what happens when they collide on an intergalactic scale. These themes are revisited once again in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the eighth episode in the science-fiction saga that George Lucas started in 1977. The Last Jedi is the first to be written and directed by Rian Johnson. It follows the resounding success of The Force Awakens, directed by J J Abrams in 2015, about two young heroes, a scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley) and a renegade stormtrooper named Finn (John Boyega), caught up in the search for Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Here, Johnson, Ridley, Boyega, Hamill, Driver, Serkis, Isaac, Christie, Gleeson, Tran and Dern discuss their work on Star Wars: The Last Jedi and some of the questions it raises. These are edited excerpts from that conversation:
Audiences have a strong sense of what they think a Star Wars film should look like. But Rian, you make films that are personal and idiosyncratic. How do
you do that in a Star Wars movie?
RIAN JOHNSON: I dont think you try to. It would be bad news if you came into this saying, How do I make this mine? Youre just desperately trying to make a good Star Wars movie - to me that means that its a balance between opera and bubble gum. It should make you come out of the theatre and feel like youre 10 years old, and want to grab your spaceships and start flying around. On top of everything else.
As you make your way through Star Wars High, there are actors you were paired with and worked with closely on the last film. What was it like to have those relationships scrambled and rearranged on The Last Jedi?
OSCAR ISAAC: What Rian did so well was that he asked the really tough questions. Not only of the characters, but also about the themes that Star Wars brings up. What is it to be a Jedi? What is it to be a hero? What is it to be, in my case, a hotshot pilot? And then try to find the opposite of that - the hardest thing, the thing thats furthest away, and have that be what the character has to deal with. Even in pairing the characters, hes taking away what you know, and making you as uncomfortable as possible.
Was it bittersweet to have Finn and Rey, our heroes from The Force Awakens, split up?
JOHN BOYEGA: It was horrible when I read the script for the first time and I wasnt with her. We auditioned together. We went through this whole experience together. To be split apart was scary for me. But then I understood that is something that we could draw from - something that Finn really feels, and Rey really feels. And then I was like, Oh! Rian does know what hes doing.
DAISY RIDLEY: I felt the same. When I read the script, I didnt cry right away. I was like, Wobble, wobble, wobble, Im probably going to cry and I need to see Rian. Then I went into Rians office and I was crying my eyes out. Im not great with new people. I think Mark can attest to that.
ADAM DRIVER: No one says, No, youre great! Everyone else is like, Yeah.
RIDLEY: I find it really difficult to relax. And then thats influencing someone elses performance. You dont want to be the thing thats holding something back, when theres me, going, So ... howd you get into all this? Mark and I were lucky enough to have proper rehearsal time, and then we could talk through everything with Rian.
We were just getting to see the relationship between Luke and Rey before the curtain came down on Episode VII. In Episode VIII, were you able to pick up where you left off?
MARK HAMILL: We had no relationship in VII. Its left up to the audience to decide if he knows who she is. They established earlier that I had a telepathic ability with my sister - would I know whats going on now? Would I know I lost my best friend? Thats all left up to the audience, and thats in the great tradition of the cliffhangers that inspired George in the first place. Continued next week. Two years, in this case. But dont worry, its only five months until the next one. Great marketing there, Disney. What are they going to
do, fire me?
RIDLEY: To me, I was working with Mark, I wasnt working with Luke. I was nervous because I was working with a new person and I wanted to do my best, and I wanted the scenes to go well. Luke is regarded in this way, and Rey does understand that. We were able to pick up right where we left off, chronologically, and it worked very well.
Is it uniquely satisfying to play a villain in a Star Wars movie, where you get to be especially villainous?
DOMHNALL GLEESON: It was a delightful surprise, having people come up to me after The Force Awakens and say, You were so bad in that movie. It meant a lot to me.
GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE: Its always exciting to be bad, isnt it? Its particularly resonant at the moment, the idea of, what is a better use of human energy: to serve the group or to serve the individual?
Andy, you play Supreme Leader Snoke, one of your many motion-capture characters, so theres a whole other layer to your performance.
ANDY SERKIS: Theres a gold lamÃ© layer. The Supreme Leader as Hugh Hefner, thats something that I particularly grabbed onto. The luxuriousness of it all. The thing about Snoke is, leaders are fearful people, because when youre in a position of maximum power, you can only lose power. And that fear drives nearly all decisions. It makes you want to destroy others. But when youre creating a villain character, its about humanising - theres something important in the task of creating Snoke to find his vulnerability because that makes him even more dangerous and despicable.
This is the first Star Wars movie for Kelly Marie Tran and Laura Dern. What is it like to be initiated into this franchise?
KELLY MARIE TRAN: It is both horrifying and amazing. Obviously, I was intimidated, but I never felt intimidated, personally, in Regina George fashion. Every single person sitting here was honest and open. I was allowed to go to set when I wasnt working and watch them perform. I felt like I was in this epic acting school that I didnt have to pay for.
Someone just gave me the key.
DERN: I have to discredit you, Daisy, with your comments about yourself. When my daughter came to set, she said, Oh my God, Mom, do you think we get to see Rey? I was like, Oh, we dont want to bother people. And then your trailer door opened, and you went, Laura Der-rrrr-rrn, Laura Der-rrrr-rrn. My daughter was like, Shes the most welcoming person.
Either Bollywood is fast running out of fresh tunes, or like its favourite bwoy Karan Johar, loves its own work a little too much to bear. 2017 is the year of the rehash, no wait, year of the rehash with migraine-inducing rap thrown in as proof of having done some work in the music studio.
Run through any top 10 charts of the year and you will hear many of the songs that were your pet earworms while growing up. Remember those songs which dominated the Top 10 programmes on the mint-fresh Zee TV, Hungama and other channels in the 90s? Admittedly not as blameless as we 90s kids assumed they were, but treasured nevertheless, most of them have been snatched from our collective memories and rebirthed into pounding, grotesque versions.
Take the trippy Tamma. In the original, Sanjay Dutt, wearing a golden jacket and nothing inside (not joking), and a curly-haired Madhuri in an eye-hurting glittery outfit, danced ineptly on chairs to much cheering and clapping. One would think a song that already has so much bling (and Bappi Lahiri) needs no embellishments. But no. The new version, which has garnered over 250 million views on YouTube, has been blingified further with some Ameen Sayani impressions and Badshahs rap thrown in for extra headaches. The result is strident cacophony, but going by the number of views, it has nonetheless got its fans approval.
There is an anaemic Humma from Ok Jaanu; there is the unforgettable Tu Cheez Badi Hain Mast rehashed in a movie called Machine. The new version helpfully shouts at you in a deep baritone every now and then - change - just in case you wondered what happened to the original. Laila O Laila from Raees saw Sunny Leone swaying to the rejigged version of the classic Zeenat Aman number. Another huge hit of the year is the stalker-favourite Chalti Hain Kya 9 se 12 from Judwaa 2 (and 1). The second version does not sound too different from the original and thats not saying much, unfortunately.
Composer Tanishk Bagchi seems to be the (idle) brain behind most of these reappearances. But to give him his due, the peppy version of the Nusrat classic Mere Rashke Qamar is a winner. The Sufi number retains its essence thankfully, whether due to the soothing lyrics or the powerful voice of Rahat, it is hard to say.
All was not doom and gloom, however. There were some gems, however rare, that deserve a mention. Barfani, sung beautifully by Armaan Malik from Nawazuddins movie Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, is one of the nicest numbers this year.
Ik Vaari Aa from Raabta, though a typical Arijit Singh number, scores high on melody as does the title track from the same movie. Baarish from Half Girlfriend is a song that will probably stay in minds for longer than 2017. Both the versions (one by Ash King and another by Atif Aslam) are equally good and do make one think of all the joys and sorrows rains bring. A song from the sleeper hit Hindi Medium that got lost in the melee is Hoor, a sonorous afternoon number with a gentle lilt.
Better times may just be on the Bollywood music horizon though, considering the recent releases. Tiger Zinda Hain has some good numbers including the instant hit Dil Diyan Gallan, as does Padmavati. Ghoomar is already on the charts and if the movie manages to release anytime soon, its other songs might also sneak in.
Hopefully, 2018 will see Bollywood look beyond itself and create music that is not dug out of musty cupboards full of self-love. Karan Johar, take note.
Last week, a hotel in Mahabaleshwar (thats a hill station in Maharashtra) had a near-Bigg Boss situation. My aunt and mother had gone for a vacation and were retiring for the night, at least my mother was, when my aunt exploded. She had been surfing channels for a while and just at the moment she turned to her favourite weekend show, all channels went kaput. Mom says that watching my aunt crush the happiness of the hotel staff was much like watching any of those insane Bigg Boss contestants have a verbal duel. She was reminded of that Shakesperean line, Hell hath no fury like a TV addict denied her Bigg Boss.
Another year down, another roller-coaster adventure for television. Did you manage to sit glued to your television box or have you already buried it in your backyard after watching the shenanigans of the TV folk? In my case, well, lets just say, I am getting myself thoroughly examined considering I have had an overdose of headache pills this year. Yes, the bad far outweighed the good. So, let me warn you. If youve somehow managed to read up to here in the hope that this is a fun article, then stop. From here on, you enter dangerous territory, the sort of dark recesses from where there is no return. Heres bringing you, the worst (and some best) of television in 2017!
And the gimme mores areâ€¦
Where there is MasterChef, there is drooling! And its not just food we are talking about. Delicious and delightful dishes served with a pinch of drama are just what the doctor ordered for the battered soul. MasterChef Australia provided enough entertainment for entire households to become addicted - to food, to the contestants, and to the judges, of course!
Never forget who you are. The rest of the world will not. Game Of Thrones may have bagged just one nomination at the upcoming Golden Globe Awards for Best Drama, but this gripping tale about keeping the crown was the talking point of every TV series buff this year. Difficult to escape its mania, whether you were on this side of the GoT memes or that!
Epic channel is always my go-to when I am looking for sane content that doesnt drive me up the wall. And surprisingly, almost every show on this channel is worth watching. Watch Drishti, a series of documentaries exploring the diversity of India including stories of culture, unsung heroes and unusual traditions.
A movie star who actually talks very little and talks business when he has to? Now, isnt that a great premise? TED Talks India Nayi Soch by Shah Rukh Khan has just kicked off and, from what we see, it is going to be a cracker of a show. Keep your eyes on, and for a change, wear your brains too while watching Indian television.
For the love of an encore
You may have your reasons to hate the second outing of the very popular Sarabhai vs Sarabhai over a decade after its first part aired, but for me, it worked. Why? Just for that one character it put into our minds - Jasmine! Who else could stand up to Maya Sarabhai?
And the eyesore awards go toâ€¦
Bigg Boss Season I-dont-care
Sigh! Yes, it has the mandatory phoren model, a godwoman, an LGBT representative called Luv Tyagi (?!), screeching banshees, scheming commoners, and to top it all - Salman Khan, the man whose stubble looks so dreadful than going through the Amazon river would be smoother to navigate. The producers have realised things are looking so boring that they tried injecting some excitement by getting someone kiss someone else forcibly. So far nothing has managed to wake up audiences through this sleep fest. Cmon! The only thing consistent with this disgusting show is its disgustingness.
Its all in the family
Dynasty took us middle-class Indians by the story in the 1990s. The Carringtons and the Colbys, and their struggle to get a hold of not just their fortune but also their children had caught our fancy. No wonder when a reboot was announced, it was exciting news. But the plot isnt half as gripping and the actors are pale. Not even the wardrobe is worth talking about! No salvaging this.
An unsuitable boy
There is a 21-year-old girl. There is a 10-year-old boy. What do we do with them? How about we concoct a story and get them married? We could even show how much the young boy loves his angel, then we could pack them off on a honeymoon too. Somebody get me a dagger. Pulled off the air due to protests, but coming back in a new avatar is Pehredaar Piya Ki.
A drama queen
When Kangna Ranaut came on Rajat Sharmas Aap Ki Adalat, it was expected to be explosive. But it turned out to be on expected lines. A lot of Hrithik Roshan-Karan Johar bashing. Hmm, okay. Give me something else, please.
Heights of love
Every show takes a time leap. Kasam Teri Pyar Ki did too. Except that 30 years later, nobody had aged. The protagonist had a rebirth (of course) and just carried on with the romantic track with the same guy whom she fell out with three decades ago. Then, of course, she had to look the same as her pre-dead avatar, so somewhere along the way she had an accident and a facial surgery. Am I missing something? This show is currently topping the charts? Hullo, doctor, I am feeling a little delusional.
This year-end list is more a collection of the best international TV I was able to fit into my schedule than it is a Top 10. If a favourite show of yours isnt here, its entirely possible that I didnt see it, so please try to be understanding. (A few past favourites, like Gomorrah and Sherlock, were left out on the merits - still fine, but not quite as fine as before.)
The grittiest, tightest, most lived-in thrillers come from Israel, and Fauda, which came out at the end of 2016 before breaking out this year, is the current standard-bearer. A crack counter-terrorist team, outfitted in T-shirts and sandals and driving a beat-up van, chases a Hamas member around a hilly Arab-Israeli town, and while the outcome is predictable, the story ventures into the lives and minds of characters on all sides of the conflict.
To Walk Invisible: The BrontÃ« Sisters
Sally Wainwright, known for creating shows about tough female cops (Scott & Bailey, the terrific Happy Valley), wrote and directed this crisp, astringent two-hour film about three tough writers who revolutionised English literature. She tells the story of Anne, Charlotte and Emily BrontÃ«s struggle to publish through the lens of their relationship with their brother Branwell, possessed of lesser gifts and greater expectations. Finn Atkins (Charlotte), Chloe Pirrie (Emily), Adam Nagaitis (Branwell) and Jonathan Pryce (their father, Patrick) all excel.
Even more tense and moving in its second season than in its excellent debut, this drama about intelligent androids at odds with the (for now) dominant human society is the robot allegory you should be watching. Despite - or really because of - its pure science-fiction aspirations, its the clear choice over HBOs logy, portentous Westworld.
Some of the best shows around - Better Things, Insecure - are in the category of personal, if not autobiographical, comedies by female writer-actors. The most raucous and wildly funny is Michaela Coels Chewing Gum, about a very demonstrative young woman in a London housing project trying very hard to lose her virginity. Coel is a brilliant clown, and she also has the good sense to let the brilliant Susan Wokoma steal scenes as the main characters uproariously intense sister.
Nordic and noir but mostly uncategorisable, this nutty, blackly comic thriller concerns a surgeon who hides his terminally ill wife in an abandoned subway station (where he can give her illegal experimental treatments) and finds himself sharing space with a disgruntled civil-defense worker whos preparing for the apocalypse.
This Australian fishes-out-of-water comedy, created by its stars, Celia Pacquola and Luke McGregor, is about neurotic big-city best friends who find themselves running a family real estate business in a small town in Tasmania. Affable and human, its the mirror-world version of terrible-twosome shows like Youre the Worst or Catastrophe.
Call My Agent!
A show-business comedy about a boutique talent agency in Paris that seems to represent every French actor youve ever heard of, Call My Agent! is polished to a high shine and features the best as-themselves cameos - by a roster that includes Nathalie Baye, Isabelle Adjani and Juliette Binoche - since The Larry Sanders Show.
A deadpan spoof of bloody, bawdy historical-ish dramas like Vikings and Game of Thrones, the Norwegian Norsemen puts contemporary words and ideas in the mouths and brains of eighth-century marauders to hilarious effect. (A chieftain returning from a raid beats a newly captured slave, then sadly reflects on the limits of "fear-based leadership.") Theres some Monty Python here and a lot of The Office, with Kare Conradi marvelous in the role of the Viking villages pusillanimous Michael Scott.
Line of Duty
Hulu had a banner year for British shows with Harlots and National Treasure, but the fourth season of this perennial procedural favourite makes the list for Thandie Newtons tightly wound performance as a detective suspected of cooking evidence. The plot takes some typically wild turns but Newton is believable in the most unlikely circumstances.
The murder mystery Stranger has less of the usual awkwardness and obviousness of many South Korean dramas as well as another big advantage: It stars the immensely likable Bae Doo-na as a fearless cop.
On his first day at the shoot of the renowned TV series Chanakya way back in 1991, actor Sanjay Mishra took 28 takes till the exasperated director left him with an assistant director! Looking back, Sanjay says that he just couldnt understand the character from the point of view of the director. Then on, he has made it a point to not delve too deep into the script and blindly be a directors actor. "Thats why I never read a script but always let the director narrate it to me. I believe that a script is meant to come into my life, and that good directors can actually visualise a film beforehand."
As diverse as it gets
Over the years, Sanjay has dabbled with films (both commercial and offbeat), television and advertisements (remember the remarkable Apple Singh from Cricket World Cup 99?). "Whatever comes to me is like a dream role for me and every day is a new start. I am really fortunate to have portrayed such diverse characters," says the actor who has given power-packed performances in films like Masaan, Ankhon Dekhi and Phas Gaye Re Obama.
In his latest project Kadvi Hawa, a film on the battles of farmers made by Nila Madhab Panda (of I Am Kalam fame), Sanjay plays a 70-year-old blind man. "I played the part but I dont know whether I looked 70!" he jokes in his classic simple tone. Calling it a stark contrast from his award-winning role in Ankhon Dekhi, he exclaims, "While my character in Ankhon Dekhi believes only what he sees, the blind man from Kadvi Hawa can only believe what he hears."
Shooting for a range of good films has left him with little time to explore television, a medium that he started his career with. Remembered for his roles in shows like Sorry Meri Lorry, Hip Hip Hurray and Office Office, Sanjay is extremely saddened by the state of the small screen now. "We havent exploited television at all. We only offer saas-bahu serials and the poor viewers are helpless. They dont have a choice but to watch whatever is presented to them. Why cant we make intelligent programmes?" he asks.
Apart from working in acclaimed and award-winning films, Sanjay has also been seen in hardcore commercial films in which he has shared the screen with some of the biggest stars. Ask him to pick his favourite star and he is quick to say Ajay Devgn (with whom he has worked in the Golmaal series among other films). "He is a very nice human being and loves to eat, just like me!"
But jokes apart, Sanjay calls himself a thorough professional and is not really friends with any actor. "For me, the most important thing is good chemistry. For instance, while playing Ayushmann Khurranas father in Dum Laga Ke Haisha, I was more worried about whether I actually looked like his father."
In his free time, Sanjay loves to whip up culinary delights for his daughters, travel, and catch up with his friends from National School of Drama. He enjoys going to Uttarakhand in particular to visit his in-laws, where many people call him Uttarakhand ke damaad (Uttarakhands son-in-law)!
With a career spanning over 25 years, he is grateful to directors like Rajat Kapoor (Ankhon Dekhi), Neeraj Ghaywan (Masaan), Subhash Kapoor (Dum Laga Ke Haisha) and Adi Pocha (Sorry Meri Lorry).
"There was a time when I didnt have work for nine years and had to prove myself as the eldest son of the family. But I took it one step at a time and proved myself at each step thanks to these film-makers. Thats what people like me who dont have a godfather have to do," he signs off.
It can be said that it was Providence that brought Sharad Haksar in contact with photography when his father gifted him with a camera at the age of three (ironically, in most homes, thats the age we would hide the camera from the child). But it was when he was gifted with the added bonus of having the well-known industrial photographer R Krishnan as his neighbour and family friend that kicked off his interest in photography. Yet, Sharad considered it only as a hobby. But when he was on the threshold of choosing architecture as a professional discipline, he came in touch with celebrated and revered photographer Iqbal Mohamed, who inspired him to revamp his entire professional plan.
It was Providence once again that played a role when Sharad showed his amateur work to Iqbal. Seeing immense potential and promise in the work, Iqbal asked him to reconsider his profession. Sharad followed him to Bengaluru and Iqbal opened his mind to the creative world of photography. And soon, the fledgeling took flight slowly but surely from one assignment to another - small steps led to bigger leaps. Thus began his career as an advertising and fashion photographer in 1990.
But Sharad was never content with just taking photographs and creating ads for clients. He always worked keeping in mind the social cause. As a photographer, his mind was alert to pick up minute details that are seldom caught by the lens of the naked eye. It was this attention to detail and being aware of thoughts beyond lens that always encouraged him to be aware of societys ills and problems. He wanted to take pictures that would communicate his thoughts and speak out his innermost expressions. The most important things are often the most difficult to say. Yet, that is the time Sharad chose to speak up. And he did, in the only way he knew best: photography. He shot a series of photographs titled Irony. He worked on two series on this topic: Brand Irony and Divine Ironies.
Brand Irony communicated the message loud and clear. His creativity as a photographer combined with his sensitivity was communicated boldly and with a certain deliberation. He was young but it did not prevent him from spelling out truth as he saw it. Basically a quiet and unassuming person, Sharad rarely takes sides or voices his opinions strongly. It is even more difficult to make him talk about himself. The only way he communicates is through his photographs.
Sharad took on giants in the corporate world when he juxtaposed his thoughts with existing imagery to drive home truth - these photographs won him a lot of critical acclaim also because he had the courage of conviction to stand up to giants like David did against the mythical Goliath. The idea was not to create sensationalism but give out a clarion call to awaken people from their deep slumber to see the paradox of life in all its true colours.
In Divine Ironies, he once again encompassed the work of street wall artists who painted divine images and he juxtaposed them with images of the real world to create a new metaphor of his own. This not only helped in communicating his vision, but it also highlighted the fading scenario of street artists.
In 2009, when he realised that there was no good platform for photographers to interact and exchange ideas on, he created a grand portal called One Eyeland that helped create a
global community for photographers. Today, One Eyeland not only publishes the best pictures that find entries into the book annually, but it also has a panel that chooses the top 10 photographers in the world (based on several themes/categories), and each of the winners are awarded and recognised by One Eyeland.
Sharad is easily one of Indias most-acclaimed photographers having won several awards and recognition. In 2005, Popular Photography named him as one of the Top Ten Lensmen in the world. In the same year, Adobe Galgo called him the Photographer of the Year in India. Luerzers Archive in 2006 listed him as one of the 200 best photographers in the world.
He has over 200 regional, national, international and creative awards till date. His constant urge for learning from different people have honed his skills as an artiste with a keen eye for fashion, still life, travel, conceptual photography and advertising. To him also goes the credit for inventing the worlds first camera lens calendar (chiselled from a single block of aluminium and has dates running up to 2032), which he has patented .
When asked about digital photography and photoshop, he only has this to say: "The digital world is here to stay. But a gadget alone cannot create good photographs. While it is true that the gadget helps, it is most pertinent to observe how creatively the photographer has allowed his creative juices to flow, and how well he is able to ignite his imagination each time."
Sharad continues to move from one moment to another, always seeking, always travelling, literally and figuratively. He chooses places that appeal to his photographic lens - the history, the serene beauty wrapped in natures bounty, and he most consciously avoids tourist rush hours or tourist spots. It was his love for travel coupled with his love for photography in all his waking hours that inspired him to capture all the magnificent moments through his lens. His more recent exhibitions cover his travel where the photographer for all seasons found himself capturing the architectural splendour of Italy in summer and Iceland in winter, and Japan in autumn and spring.
Love for nature
Enjoying nature as he does, he made use of the little window (10 days) during spring in Japan when the trees come alive with the beauty of the cherry blossoms! Sharad was moved by the ethereal mood of the cherry blossoms ranging from white to a soft pink and when he captured the statue of Buddha enveloped in pink cherry blossoms, he also captured the mystery of the Buddha himself. The koyo leaves that spell the visit of autumn inspired him to capture the beautiful outpouring of red. He catches the spirit of Iceland in colours of blue - a neon-blue iceberg afloat a light-blue sea, an ice cave of blue and black, and shimmering crystals of ice dotting a velvety layer of water, thus bringing out the magic of a place through colours. The blues were symbolic of what winter has in store as man ages too looking for abiding peace. He thus uses colours (red and white for Japan, yellow ochre for Italy, blue for Iceland) to set the tone and mood for the subject and the place.
He signs off saying that he draws inspiration from everything around him and he competes with only himself as he seeks to evolve with each passing day. Another new land soon... another new exhibition with renewed zeal... and it will hold new promises of the creator to his audiences. His latest works are reflective of him as a photographer moving into a space beyond its realm - a place where one art weaves unconsciously into another, a place where he has transcended into the world of art and I had to ask the question: is this a painting or a photograph?
Ingredients: Around 2 cups of all purpose flour; ½ tsp of baking soda; 1 tbsp of ground ginger; 1 cup of brown sugar; 150 gm of butter; 1 egg (beaten) and ½ cup of icing sugar.
Method: Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Sift the flour, baking soda and ground ginger together and place in a bowl or food processor. Add brown sugar and butter and rub in with fingertips or pulse in food processor until resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and mix. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour and wrap this in a cling wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out on lightly floured surface or between two sheets of baking paper until 5 mm thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out the shapes and place on the trays. Bake the gingerbread men for 8-10 minutes or until cooked and golden. Remove from oven and cool on baking rack. Make the icing by adding a few drops of food colour and 1 ½ tsp of water to the icing sugar. Mix and pipe out designs of your choice.
Ingredients: Around 175 gm of plain flour; 250 ml of coconut milk; 200 gm of white sugar; 6 egg yolks; 200 gm of butter, 1 tsp of nutmeg powder and a pinch of salt.
Method: Preheat the oven to 180 °C exactly 15 minutes before baking. Grease a round tin or loaf pan with 2 tbsp butter. Combine coconut milk and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat this mixture with an electric beater till the sugar dissolves. Add one egg yolk at a time and beat until they all mix nicely. Now gradually add the flour, 1 tbsp of butter and salt. Beat well. Pour ½ cup of this batter and bake for 20 mins. Monitor frequently. Ensure the top layer is slightly brown but not burnt. Now brush some butter over it. Sprinkle little nutmeg powder.
Repeat the baking process after adding one layer of batter after another. Allow the bebinca to cool completely. Demould the pan gently with a tap on the bottom. Slice the bebinca and serve warm or cold with a dollop of ice cream.
Star-Topped Mince Pies
Ingredients: Around 240 gm of plain flour; 60 gm of shortening vegetable oil; 60 gm of butter (cut into small cubes); juice of 1 orange; a pinch of salt; 350 gm of mincemeat and icing sugar.
Method: Sift the flour into a shallow bowl, and add small mounds of shortening vegetable oil. Add the butter, shake to cover it and place in the freezer to chill for 20 minutes. Mix the orange juice and salt in a separate bowl. Cover and leave in the fridge to chill. Rub the chilled flour in between your fingers to form crumb-like pieces. Gradually add the chilled orange juice and bring the dough together. Add a splash or two of cold water and bring it together. Knead the dough together to a ball. Divide the dough and shape into three equal sized disks. Wrap each in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Remove a disk from the fridge and roll out thinly on a clean, floured worktop. Using a fluted pastry cutter cut out 12 circles just a little wider than the moulds of a 12-hole tart tin (or cupcake tin). Place each circle in the tart tin, and fill with about a teaspoon of mincemeat. Re-roll the scraps, and cut out 12 star shapes and place onto the pies. Place these in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the pastry is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust the cooled pies with icing sugar.
(Courtesy: Lejna Ramachandran, Ajeet Nayak & Nirmala Prem - Cookpad)
Among other merriments, Christmas evokes joyous celebrations around the family table with a sumptuous spread to feast on. Kitchens and commercial bakeries, work over time preparing some of the most celebrated treats of the season.
Distinctive food traditions have accompanied festivities of every culture and faith. Christmas is no exception. Cakes and cookies, marzipans and marshmallows, roasts and mince pies are some of the foreign delicacies associated with Christmas.
To this global cuisine, the Christmas food tradition in Karnataka is a lot more exhaustive with local influences and fusions, making the Christmas spread a smorgasbord of fine food.
Sweets and savouries aplenty roll out of the kitchens at least a week before Christmas to mark the celebrations. These treats are traditionally called kuswar in Karnataka (and some other parts of India).
This box of goodies is a collection of the finest delicacies and range from the dense fruit cake to other popular sweets such as kidiyo or kulkul, nevriyo or sweet puff, gulio or rice-marble, rose kokkisa or rose cookies and rice laddoo and includes savouries like banana chips and crisp chaklis. Distributing kuswar among friends and well-wishers is the most enjoyable and quintessential part of Christmas food tradition in Karnataka.
The tradition of preparing these dishes has influences both from international and local customs. The Christmas cake, for instance, is heavily fruit-laden and is the result of the influence of British plum puddings. Sweets such as the rose cookies are a result of the Dutch occupation in India, while a few other sweet dishes are the result of the influence of the Portuguese and French cuisines in our country.
To these global recipes, our Indian tradition of making laddoos and chakalis on festive seasons has been integrated to make the Christmas hamper ever so appetising and diverse.
The kuswar of Karnataka is thus a true melting pot of many cultures and traditions that were part of India both during colonial times and thereafter.
Moving from Christmas goodies to Christmas brunches and lunches, Karnatakas Christmas food tradition is deeply influenced by its popular and aromatic local dishes.
Chicken or mutton biriyani is thus a must in all homes on Christmas. Other accompaniments typically include pork curry, meat roasts, raita, salads and sautÃ©ed vegetables. This sumptuous meal is completed with a colourful fruit salad of the seasons fresh fruits topped with nuts and cream.
The next best thing to relishing this lavish spread is of course the tradition of sharing it with the extended family and friends who gather around the table of plenty on Christmas!
Heading out tonight? Bet this hairstyle will take you places youve never been. Get ready to zoom in five easy steps.
Step 1: Get set
Prep your hair with an anti-frizz leave in cream that works for all climatic conditions. Apply this to damp hair from mid-lengths to ends.
Step 2: Crank it up
Add volume to your hair by using a volumising spray. Spray this on the roots and be rest assured your hair wont fall flat.
Step 3: Divide and conquer
Divide your hair into two equal sections. Then, braid the bottom section upwards till you reach the crown.
Step 4: Get your act together
Group the loose hair into a ponytail with the braid.
Step 5: Bun-ready for take off
Twist the ponytail into a bun on either sides and youre all set!
Bring back the disco fever with red hot curls. Add some funky extensions to your curls and boogie the night away. Get the disco quickie look in four simple steps.
Step 1: Prep it
To really get your curls going, prep your hair with a high definition curl leave-in cream. For best results, use this product on towel-dried hair.
Step 2: Curl it
Time to get down to it. Divide your hair into sections and start curling each of them with a curling tong or iron.
Step 3: Raise the volume
Add extra volume to your curls by running a tail comb through them.
Step 4: Time for a quickie
Add a dash of red hot colour to your curls with a clip-on hair extension. Heat style the extension to match your curls and then secure it using the clip.
Feeling exotic? The merbraid lets you get your hair down and sparkle the night away. Here are four steps to help you ace that braid and groove with glitter.
Step 1: Prep your hair
Get that easy, breezy ocean vibe by prepping your hair with an intense moisture hair serum. Apply on towel-dried hair.
Step 2: Braid away
Take a section of your hair to start making the waterfall braid. Continue taking sections till you reach the other side of your hair.
Step 3: Get sparkly
Apply glitter by mixing it with a hair gel. Let it sit for a few minutes and youre ready to go!
(The author is founder and creative director, BBLUNT)
Clear skin, minimalistic eyes and nude lips are three trends that will set the skin mandate for you this season. A subtle no-make up look will set the order. Going minimalistic with her look for her wedding, actor Anushka Sharma has proved less is more for all brides-to-be.
Here are a few beauty and make up trends that will define the winter party look:
Eyes: Super long lashes with glossy lids are the flavour of the season. Use your imagination while applying eye liners and experiment with shapes. Making use of different colours will only add to the exaggerated flick. Creamy blusters will slowly edge out the powdery ones. The bolder the better, a big lash with an understated lip can make a subtle, but bold statement.
Face: For the dewy finish, use a liquid foundation to highlight and define your facial features. The finish gives an almost-wet look. Heavy bronzing and highlighting are passÃ©. Semi-permanent make-up and techniques like air brushing will help your make-up last long. A neutral blush and a pinch of highlighter on the cheek will help you sail through the day.
Lips: Glossy lips should take charge and add to the glow on your face. Keep your lips clear for the day look, but add a bold colour for a night out. Bold lips in dark colours, berry-hues and two-toned lips are the flavour of the season. Apply gloss for the perfect pout. In lipsticks, matte will be replaced by creamier counterparts. Chromatic lip gloss or a metallic one can be used over any lipstick of your choice to make your lips shine and glow in winter.
Copying the global trends blindly will just go awry if the following tips are not heeded:
* Keep your skin well moisturised and nourished. Thats the basic skin hygiene without major costs involved.
* Maintain a healthy and balanced diet with adequate water intake for that inimitable natural glow. Consume beans, bran, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables for a healthy digestive system and a clear skin.
* Exercise and practice yoga to keep the oxygen flow on and stress at bay. Remember natural glow stems from inner well-being. Stress is an unavoidable part of everybodys life. It elevates the stress hormones in the body leading to skin breakouts.
* Dont forget to stay away from smoking in all its forms.
(The author is the head, beauty & makeup VLCC Wellness Services)
The festive season has a habit of sneaking up on us out of nowhere. Even if youre a devoted minimalist, who only dresses in ruthlessly curated neutrals for the other 11 months of the year, all bets are off in December. Its a time when it suddenly becomes both socially and sartorially acceptable to wear as much festive sparkle as you can manage (with a bit of extra tinsel thrown in for good measure).
Trends of the season
A new year definitely calls for hot new looks. Asymmetric silhouettes in bold bright colours are all the rage. Well-placed cutouts are the perfect way to flaunt a little skin while keeping it classy. Another trend thats back with a bang is fluid drapes in gorgeous metallics. Chainmail, crystal mesh and full-look sequins in shades of dull silver, nude gold and of course, our all time favourite black, makes for the perfect fuss-free party outfit. Also consider hues like crimson, garnet, shades of rust orange and yellow.
Full-length dresses with delicate peekaboo sheers and a smattering of tone-on-tone embellishment is a look that transcends any age or occasion. The off-shoulder trend has certainly made its way to the Indian wear staples from sari blouses to crop tops with lehengas and high-waisted skirts; its here to stay this wedding and party season. Gorgeous printed separates; perfectly oversized shirts paired with a flowy knife-pleat skirt or shorts are also a great look. Lastly, an absolute must have this season is a statement pantsuit. Keep it sexy or keep it casual but definitely keep one in your wardrobe.
Dos & donts
Is my dress too short? Should I add a blazer? Are my earrings a bit much? Am I overdressed? These are just some of the questions that run through our mind when were getting ready for the party season. It should be that time of the year you look forward to for months - but it surprises us with wardrobe stress. Here are a few rules to follow:
* Try vertical stripes
* Dress for comfort
* Mix and match evening wear with denim
* Pair neutral-coloured basics with printed tops or vice versa
Here are the things to avoid:
* Too much colour blocking
* Too much skin show
* Over-the-top accessories
* Animal prints
* Tight outfits
Accessorising your look
Accessorising has certainly come a long way since matchy-match details reigned supreme. While clothes themselves are the first thing one notices, its the accessories that can really steal the show and take an outfit from good to unforgettable. From vintage specs, statement necklaces to the practical and popular belt bags, there is a lot to choose from. If you are minimal dresser in a monotone outfit; spruce it up with a pair of oversized hoop earrings, throw on a military chic cross body bag and add a little whimsy by slipping on some furry footwear and you are good to go.
Layering delicate, smaller pieces of jewellery is another great way to take your look from drab to fab. Minimal multi-length gold chains paired with a statement choker, worn over a cami top and an oversized jacket for the night or a breezy shirt dress in the day makes for a perfect party look.
Chunky or shoulder-length earrings is my favourite go-to accessory. There are so many options from tassels, chunky silver to the classics like the over-the-top chandelier earrings. Pairing your look with knee-high boots, boyfriend watches, oversized vintage specs are also a great way to give your style that added edge. Gold is clearly a winning colour when it comes to footwear this season. Heels, boots, loafers and sneakers all appear in the metallic hue.
Trends change fast, and its not always easy to know how to adapt them for our unique and beautiful body shapes. It can get really difficult to shop for your body types. The key is to understand not just what style suits your personality, but also what fabric suits your body.
Whether you are tall or short, if you are curvy with a tiny waist, your goal is to highlight your curves and not hide them. Crop tops, wrap dresses and fitted pencil skirts work beautifully. Off-shoulder outfits and shift dresses work really well for women who have a heavier upper body. Avoid large prints since they will over emphasise every area; instead opt for prints that are smaller and more detailed. If the widest part of your body is around your hips, try a fit-and-flare dress, highlighting your slimmer upper body. Embellished tops with boot-cut pants or an A-line skirt also make for a perfect complementary look.
If you are petite but love loose fits, define your waist and add some shape with a funky belt, be it a shirt or a dress. Find clothes that give you the illusion of height like vertical stripes or monochrome outfits. Layer your upper body with delicate ruffled tops or a closed-neck crop and pair them with high-waist pants or short skirts.
Party wear has the capacity to enhance our mood and our mindset. Call it a holiday miracle, but a swish of sequins can alter the very way we carry and present ourselves.
Have you ever wondered why doctors, dieticians and numerous websites on healthy living prescribe millets, the long forgotten traditional crop, as a panacea to battle weight loss? Well, thats because including this wonder crop in your diet is a sure-shot and an inexpensive way to lose weight.
Millets are a traditional staple food of the dry land regions of the world. In India, millets form 10% of the countrys food grain basket. These nutrient-rich cereals contain protein, essential fatty acids, dietary fibre, vitamin B, minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium. And whats more, they are gluten-free. Lets take a look at the ways in which millets can aid weight loss:
* Regular millet consumption reduces the incidence of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, which in most cases is one of the side effects of obesity.
* Millets can easily fill you up and keep hunger at bay, thereby reducing the risk of obesity.
* Sorghum and pearl millet play the role of a binding agent for cholesterol. They increase transit time and delay the absorption of carbohydrates, thus preventing and managing the lifestyle diseases like obesity, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
Today, millets have been diversified into different products, which can be a easy replacement for rice and wheat.
Here are some other health benefits of different types of millets:
* Can increase insulin sensitivity, good for diabetics (sorghum, pearl millet foxtail, kodo and barnyard millet).
* Act as anti-cancer agent (finger millet, pearl millet, kodo, barnyard and proso).
* Help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (sorghum, finger millet, foxtail and proso millet).
* Control hypertension (sorghum, finger millet, foxtail and proso millet).
(The author is principal scientist at Indian Institute of Millets Research)
Its a common belief that genetics plays an important role in cancer diagnosis. However, scientific research also proves that making some smart lifestyle choices can prevent or decrease the chances of developing cancer. Small changes in our everyday activities can bring down the cancer risk considerably.
Here are a few tips to reduce the risk of cancer:
* Quit smoking: If you are a non-smoker, who is exposed to passive smoking, steer clear of smoking zones. Quitting cigarettes decreases the risk of lung, laryngeal, esophageal, oral, pancreatic, bladder, and cervical cancer.
* Marinate your meat: When meats are cooked at a high temperature over open flame or coals, the heat tends to convert amino acids present in the meat into toxic compounds. Moreover, when fat in the meat is exposed to the open flame, it can even form carcinogens. The formation of these harmful compounds can be prevented by marinating the meat before cooking it.
* A daily dose of caffeine: More than four cups of coffee a day decreases oral and head cancers by 39%. Women who drink more than two cups of coffee a day have less chances of uterine cancer. At least three cups of coffee a day can prevent or delay the onset of breast cancer. The WHO recently removed coffee from the list of possible carcinogens.
* Skip the dry cleaner: A common solvent perchloroethylene, which is used in traditional dry cleaning, may cause liver and kidney cancers and leukaemia.
* Wear the right outfit: Scientists believe that the clothes you wear may protect may keep skin cancer at bay. They found that blue and red fabrics offered significantly better protection against the suns UV rays than white and yellow ones.
It is time you took that dull pain in your abdomen seriously. Chances are you are suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver. The condition is cause because of too much fat deposition in the liver. In the early stages, it wont usually cause any symptoms, but it can potentially lead to cirrhosis (final stage of liver damage) or liver cancer. High levels of fat in the liver can also increase the risk of stroke, diabetes and heart attacks.
Here are a few risk factors that could cause development of the disorder:
* A body mass index higher than 25, especially if there is lot of fat around the waist
* High cholesterol
* High blood pressure
The symptoms of this disorder are hardly noticeable in the early stages. Some may feel a dull pain in the upper belly, excessive tiredness and experience unexplained weight loss.
Lifestyle changes and diet modifications are the key treatment options, which can halt the progression of fatty liver to liver failure.
* Aim for a BMI of 18.5-24.9.
* Consume a balanced meals of fruits, vegetables, cereals and pulses but low in fat and sugar.
* Exercise regularly. Even 30 minutes of walking or cycling will help.
* Avoid excessive smoking and consumption of alcohol.
Heart diseases should never be taken lightly, especially during winters, as chilly weather can put extra strain to your heart and the risk increases for those who are already suffering from heart-related ailments, especially for people with high blood pressure and earlier strokes.
Winter brings down core body temperature, so the body tries to conserve heat by shrinking its blood vessels, resulting in high blood pressure and high oxygen requirements for heart.
Thus high BP and heart attacks are common in cold weathers and cases increase as the temperature drops.
This is more common among elderly, kids and those who have undergone angioplasty, bypass or have suffered heart attacks in the past.
Here are ways in which you can maintain your heart health in winters:
* Avoid strenuous activities: Winter sometimes causes us to overexert. Exertion increases the hearts demand for oxygen. Many of us have blockages in arteries, which we are unaware of. Hence one must go for less intensive physical activities and exercises.
* Watch out for influenza: A bout of seasonal flu can trigger heart attack in people who are already at risk for heart disease. Influenza and pneumonia are more common in winter months. Avoid coming down with flu by washing your hands often with soap and getting a flu shot. If you do get flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, or body aches, call your doctor and take antiviral medication if its prescribed. Drink plenty of fluids and fruits that are rich in water content.
* Avoid gaining weight: Cold weathers tend to make you lethargic. However, it is necessary to stick to your regular exercise routine. Put in the extra effort to warm-up before working out. Exercise helps weight loss and it can reduce blood pressure.
* Dont skip meals: During winter, people end up eating more than they are normally used to. Eating a large meal at one go can put an extra load on your heart. Instead, eat smaller meals at regular intervals. Dietary changes can reduce the probability of heart attacks by 40%. Avoid starving. Similarly, it is important to consult your doctors before winter and take the right kind of medications and getting your prescription filled on time.
* Keep warm: If you are heading out, keep your mouth covered with a scarf so warm air hits your lungs first when you breathe in. For those who are travelling from a warm to a cold climate, pack body warmers, as research suggests a dip in temperature from what youre used to may increase your risk for stroke by 7%, and heart attack by 12%.
With winter at its peak, it is crucial to take care of your bones. Bones form an important part of the body and they undergo several changes as we age. Winter often means lack of sunlight and chill in the air. Sunlight is the most important source of vitamin D, which is essential to maintain bone health. Winter also means lack of physical activity, since the body seeks warmth.
When we are young, new bones grow faster and the rate of fractures are lesser. This results in an increase in bone mass. Though the bone remodelling continues after we reach 30, the body tends to lose more bone mass. The first sign of bone loss is osteopenia, a condition that can lead to osteoporosis later in life. But with a balanced diet and exercise, bone loss can be reduced to a great extent.
Lets take a look at the factors that affect our bone health:
* Calcium intake: Calcium contributes to bone density. If a persons diet is low in calcium, it could result in bone loss at an early age and increase the risk of fractures. Leafy vegetables are an important source of calcium.
* Physical activity: Physically inactive people are at a greater risk of having unhealthy bones. Winters often force us to stay indoors in the warmth of our homes and heading to the gym is not on our list of priorities.
* Tobacco & alcohol use: Regular consumption of tobacco products can weaken the bones. Alcohol can stop the body from absorbing calcium.
* Gender: Women are at a greater risk of developing bone-related disorders, as they have less bone tissue compared to men.
* Size: People who are extremely thin (body mass index of 19 or less) or have a small body frame due to lesser bone mass, may have unhealthy bones.
* Age: The bones in a body get thinner with age, causing a lot of wear and tear.
* Family history: People of Asian descent are at a risk of developing osteoporosis. The disease can also be genetic.
* Hormone levels: Increased production of thyroid-stimulating hormone in the body can cause bone loss. Another reason could be a drop in oestrogen levels in women after menopause. In men, low testosterone levels also cause loss of bone mass.
* Medications: It is found that medicines like prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone can cause damage to the bone.
Keeping bones healthy
One should include plenty of calcium in diet. For women between the ages of 19 and 50 years, and men aged between 51 and 70 years, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. Women after the age of 50 and men after the age of 70 must consume 1,200 mg of calcium a day. Dairy products, almonds, kale, broccoli, salmon with bones and soy products like tofu are a good natural sources of the nutrient.
The body needs to have adequate amount of vitamin D to absorb calcium. Consume oily fish like tuna and sardines, egg yolks and fortified milk to supplement your body with vitamin D. Exposure to sunlight can also increase vitamin D levels. Exercises such as walking, playing tennis, jogging and climbing stairs can help build strong bones and reduce the rate of bone loss.
* Bone density test: This test is recommended to check bone health. The patients bone mineral density (BMD) is compared with a healthy 30-year-old and the bone density is measured in different ranges.
* Bone-boosting drugs: People diagnosed with osteoporosis may be prescribed a biophosphonate like actonel, boniva, fosamax, or reclast. The risk of fracture and bone mass loss reduces with these medicines.
* Estrogen agents: Hormonal change after menopause causes loss of bone mass. Women with weak bones may be advised to undergo hormone replacement therapy. Evista, an oral sedative, has bone-strengthening effects. A synthetic parathyroid hormone, forteo, can be recommended to some. This has to be injected every day.
* A biological alternative: Prolia, a lab-produced antibody, is prescribed to women whose bodies have not responded to other drugs. The drugs mentioned above must be ingested under your doctors guidance only.
(The author is a consultant orthopaedic, Fortis Hospital)
Irrespective of the country you live in or the festivals you celebrate, holiday weight gain is a real thing. The kilos start to pile on from October onwards, and can take up to five months after the New Year to shed. Those who are already overweight or obese are at a greater risk of tipping the weighing scales further.
People come together to enjoy food during festivals. While the eating habits are the major reason for holiday weight gain, there are other factors too. As the temperature dips during winter, people make beds and couches their best friend. This reduced physical activity adds several kilos.
According to several studies conducted over the years about peoples health during the festivals, the rate of heart attacks spike around this period. Poor eating habits, alcohol consumption, stress of travelling to different places with family, social and financial obligations can heighten the risk of heart attacks and cardiac complications. According to a University of Melbourne study, the death rate during this period increases by 4%.
While the festivities may give you ample reasons to consume endless rounds of your favourite food, the trick to enjoy the holidays, without suffering from the fall out of the carb fest, is moderation. Even if you just went on a diet, be prepared for it to derail, because going cold turkey is not a wise decision. Fortunately, there are several easy ways in which you can trick your brain and body to stay on track during the festive season:
* Catch enough sleep before the feast:
Get at least seven hours of sleep before a get-together. A recent study shows that both men and women tend to eat more after a poor nights sleep and can consume 300 calories or more of food and go for high fat and calorie options.
* A wholesome meal is the best appetiser: Load your stomach with a nutritious meal before you head out to a party. It will leave you little room to cram in platefuls of meat dripping in oil and butter or irresistible desserts.
* Never go to the mall hungry: Planning a shopping marathon during the holidays? Brave those huge crowds at the mall on a full and hearty stomach to avoid taking out your hanger at the food court.
* Battle that buffet: Buffets are easy snares for overindulgence. But, escaping them only takes a little effort. Pile up on the healthiest items first to satisfy the cravings. Research helpfully points out that people tend to eat the most of what they see first. So, go for the healthy choice of vegetables in hummus or salsa over chips in high-fat dips.
* Grab the smaller plate: Ditch the fancy dinnerware for the humble salad plate to trick your brain into thinking you have eaten more. You can slash nearly a 1,000 calories or more just by filling up a smaller rather than larger plate.
* Avoid chomping breaks: What are holidays but the rare occasions to catch up with some of your favourite people? Eating slowly and chewing generously through some interesting and long conversations is a great way to reduce portion sizes.
* Get inventive!: Bring the party to life with some interesting potluck recipes. Make it challenging for the cooks to prepare healthy yet tasty meals. This adds more fun to the cooking sessions and helps you consume the right calories. A little hard work in the menu planning does not hurt!
* Gulp down the H2O: Consuming adequate amount of water is more important during the festive season than any other time. Staying hydrated can control your appetite and help calm down an excited stomach.
* Work that body!: Try and get as much physical activity as possible. You could walk rather than drive, arrange indoor and outdoor games for guests to work off the calories.
Few things are more depressing that dampening holiday celebrations with worry of digestive issues or health risks you may inadvertently put yourself or your guests to. Following these few simple steps will save you a trip to the hospital or down the rabbit hole of sadness over your weight situation. After all, festivals are about getting together and enjoying peoples company rather than moan about health troubles.
(The author is head, culinary operations & food design at Eatfit)