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  • 01/22/18--22:26: Enchanting purple
  • Taking the New Year as an excuse to revamp their wardrobe, many fashionistas look forward to adding a new hue to their closet. This year, with Pantone Colour Institute announcing ultra violet as the colour of the year, designers and fashion enthusiasts are already prepping up to get their hands on this royal colour.

    Designer Parul J Maurya of label Parul J Maurya says, "Ultra violet is an enchanting purple which suits both men and women. It represents luxury and is a classic. The deep shade of ultra violet tends to make people stand out in the crowd."

    She suggests that incorporating this colour in a purple-knitted jumper, a pair of show-stopping ultra violet boots, a purple jumpsuit or a shimmery ruffled gown can effortlessly help steal the show.

    Designer Mitesh Lodha points out that this colour goes well with the Indian skin tone. And the fact that its not just women but also men exploring this hue, makes it more accepted. "It is a fresh colour out of the palette and is a dualist shade which can be used and adapted with anything. People can wear this colour by itself or add a pop by pairing it with lighter shades," opines Mitesh.

    Describing the Pantone colour as strong and powerful, designer Nikita Gupta of Label N terms it as an unconventional colour. She says, "This hue stands for sisterhood and feminism as it is bold and subtle at the same time. One can also keep this colour in mind for decoration or while deciding the interiors of ones house.

    Highlighting its versatility, Nikita throws light on how this colour is fast growing as a favourite for makeup artists too. She adds, "Apart from clothes, ultra violet is gaining popularity in beauty routine too. Makeup artists have started releasing tutorials and looks on the different ways a person can pull this trend off. Even hair coloured in deep purple looks great."

    Ultra violet is surely here to rule the year in a majestic avatar. Not just fashion, but people are also exploring this shade in other various areas of interest like food and photography too. Its time you get your hands on ultra violet!

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    Ramon Magsaysay awardee and Carnatic music exponent T M Krishna is known for speaking his mind and going beyond the set concert formats during his performances.

    Most of his renditions are an eye-opener because of his pluralistic approach to music in particular and art in general. And he blends the two perfectly well. There's something new for people to think about after every one of his concerts. Krishna, who was in the city recently, takes time off to chat with Nina C George, about his love for Carnatic music and his association with Bengaluru.

    How is it to perform Bengaluru?

    It's always a wonderful experience to sing in Bengaluru. I come here at least twice or thrice a month.

    How do you render complicated pieces with such ease?

    A piece is complex if you think it is. Exploring the technical complexity of the music is one thing and getting to its heart and soul is another thing. I treat every piece that I perform with the same amount of intrinsic depth.

    What is your take What is your take on collaborative music and the current pool of young musicians?

    Collaborative music of any kind has always existed in every society. I always wonder why people talk about pure music because the idea of pure music doesn't really exist. Honesty and integrity is what should go into making good music. I wish the young musicians of today spend time a little more time in understanding the idea of collaboration. Most of the music that I hear, which fall under the category of collaborative music, is just surface level jamming.

    What is the best way to learn Carnatic music?

    The one way to learn the music of any form is to do so with complete dedication and face all challenges head on.

    Are your children following in your footsteps...

    Our children aren't under any kind of compulsion to be musicians. What we have inculcated in them is the love and interest to assimilate all kinds of art.

    How do you always manage to stay outspoken?

    My home and school were very open environments. We could speak our mind and discuss the most uncomfortable subjects , without being worried about hierarchy or any kind of power structure. This is why, I don't feel inhibited to express my thoughts.

    How do you handle criticism?

    It depends on what the criticism is. If it is just attacks, then I don't give much importance to them. But if it is constructive, then I am open to them.

    What keeps you going…

    Music. Only after music comes everything else.

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  • 01/22/18--22:32: From grandma's kitchen
  • I learnt basic cooking when I was 15. I never took cooking seriously until we shifted to Zambia in the late eighties. We were staying in a place called Chingola, a mining town where no eateries of any kind were available. Even Indian groceries was rarely available. We would sometimes get it in some selected Indian shops. So we had to prepare all Indian food at home. This made me learn how to prepare Indian snacks like samosas, cutlets, mixtures and murukku. I then graduated to make pizzas, pasta etc. which we used to have on weekends.

    I always had a soft corner for South Indian cuisine and love to eat dosas and idlies. I also make a variety of dosas ranging from ragi, uttapam and those made from bread. Apart from South Indian cuisine, I am also a great fan of Italian cuisine.

    For me, cooking is all about homemade, healthy food prepared with lots of love and affection but no preservatives.

    My mother was a really great cook and I have learnt a lot from her. I dont like indulging in complicated cooking. So I keep everything I make simple and short. Jeera seeds is my favourite ingredient in the kitchen and I use it a lot as it is also a healthy choice.

    I like to experiment and try out different dishes and giving them my own twist.

    Today, I am sharing the recipe for Morappam. It is one of my grandmothers exclusive recipes and my mother too made it often.

    Usually, Morappam is made with urad dal but my grandmother used urad papad to make it and for the sourness and fermentation, she would use buttermilk.

    Morappam is a very traditional dish and is an instant snack that everyone would like. Hope you enjoy it too.


    Buttermilk - 1 cup
    Kerala papad or urad dal
    Papad - 6
    Rice flour- 1 cup
    Ginger- Small piece
    Green chilli- 1 or 2
    Hing- A pinch
    Salt to taste


    Soak papads cut into pieces in buttermilk for half an hour.

    Grind the above with rice flour by adding water if necessary. The mixture must have idli consistency.

    Add chopped ginger green chilli. Add hing and salt.

    Deep fry in Kuzhipaniyaram.

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    Photograph by Roopa Nagesh

    "I shot this photograph of my husband and my daughters while they were walking on Pangong Lake in Ladakh. It was an off-season time and the lake was completely frozen. We could see and hear the water flow below the ice cover. It was an amazing and an unforgettable experience."

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  • 01/22/18--22:38: Sheer is here
  • The start of a new year inevitably brings with it an entire collection of fashion trends to try out. With spring and summer our way, we are all looking at shedding those layers that we covered ourselves up for the last few weeks.

    A glimpse of the sun just brightens up our entire mood and makes us want to get up get dressed and just go flaunt to the sun. Here are few trends you should keep a watch this spring-summer.

    The trends are a fab mix of florals, pastels, sequins and evening glam. As pretty as ice cream, the pastels are going to be all over. So add on the burst of pastel into your wardrobe with pale hues of yellow, purple, pink and green. The prettiest of the pastels, to repeat over and over again, is lilac. From international designers to ramp, it is everyones favourite.

    To say sequins and sparkles will be a big deal next summer is an understatement. Style yours with a sweatshirt to give them daytime longevity. From classic gold and silver to rainbow colours, sequins will be in all shades -- from casuals to evening gowns this spring.

    It looks as if heritage checks are going nowhere for the season ahead. Summer shirts to dresses in checks of all sizes are going to be everywhere. Pull out the checks in your wardrobe as its going to be a big hit and will save you from burning your pockets as you sure are going to be buying more.

    From dresses and tops in asymmetric neck to ruching, this spring is going to be your go-to for the evening glam wear.

    Fringes are going to be your thing as they are going to be talking more sophistication than playfulness. Ruffles from last year is staying here -- ruffles top, dresses and evening trousers are a summer favourite.

    Bold colours! Whats spring and summers without the solid flash of colours? Pick a bold colour to match your skin tone and just get it rolling.

    Sheer is here to stay; they are going be the in-thing for the season, so dont forget to experiment with different styles and outfits for day or evening outfit.

    If coming seasons glitzy sequin ready-to-wear is too much for you, then perhaps a sparkling Cinderella shoe is an alternative. It should be noted that socks and shoes are making a comeback too. Make sure to experiment with fun socks and sequin pumps.

    One bag was never enough, lets all agree!? Multiple bags from Chanel to Dolce & Gabbana are going to be a thing. If youre one of those people who carries both a tote bag and a handbag, then youre ahead of the game.

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  • 01/22/18--22:40: That 'burden' of stardom!
  • Whats your status?. That sounds familiar, doesnt it? Well, thats where the social media stands today but I have been trying to figure out what my status is and where I belong to. What is my status about? Is it about my wealth? Is it about my current situation?

    I am a regular traveller on Bengalurus Metro rail. And my friends say that probably I am the only celebrity who travels by Metro and the government should consider making me the brand ambassador of Metro rail.

    So arent celebrities supposed to travel by Metro? Am I not a local person? I remember a fan of mine who recognised me at the Metro station and asked me, "Madam, how come you are here? Well, why not? I thought.

    "Madam, how come you are walking around so casually? Where are your security guards?" Am I not supposed to be alone anywhere?

    I dont remember anybody saying Metro rail is only for people of a particular class. I am just like any other person who wants to save time, not get stuck in traffic and avoid pollution.

    So why is it so surprising for people to see me doing these things? Being a celebrity is such a huge burden -- people consider you to be super humans, they want to know where you live, what you eat, how you dress up and which car you have, more than the kind of movies you are going to do next.

    I also came across this question, "Madam, why are you using this phone? Why not an iPhone? "When are you going to upgrade you car and buy a Merc?

    Well, iPhone or which ever smart phone it may be, all it is used for is to make and answer calls, to send and receive messages, and click pictures.

    Merc or Maruti -- it has four wheels, runs on fuel and ferries you. So, whats this so-called status people expect from us?

    At the end of it, we too have our bad days just like any other normal person. We cant live like a celebrity 24/7.

    There are certain simple things that makes me happy and thats how I would like to be. So when somebody asks me what is your status?, I would say Live it large, keep it simple and be comfortable.

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    Choose the right geyser

    There are few things that are as soothing and relaxing as a warm shower. If youre just moving into a new place or want to replace an existing water heater, deciding which one to choose can get confusing. Here are some points to consider when you are looking for a geyser:

    Energy efficient

    Geysers usually require a lot of energy and are one of the main reasons for high electricity bills. Hence, energy efficiency is one of the most important things to consider while selecting geysers.

    Auto Off

    When the water is sufficiently heated, the power supply gets automatically cut off and starts again when the water begins to lose heat. Of course, you still must switch off the geyser or else the whole on-off cycle continues through the day. The auto-off feature keeps the geysers inner part from burning out.

    Service & warranty

    Make sure to check the warranty period and how efficient the company is with after-sales services. Most manufacturers provide at least two years of warranty and some offer different periods for different parts of the geyser.

    Space & size

    The size of geyser mostly depends on your needs and the size of your bathroom. You will also need to consider where exactly you need the geyser to be fixed and consider the height and where the pipes are. Traditional geysers are huge and take up a lot of space while the instant geysers take up little room.


    Instant water heaters are more durable than the storage geysers because they tend to decompose. Also, instant heaters come with parts that can be easily replaced to give them a longer life.


    May not be as important but, in a new house or bathroom, we would want the geyser to blend with the tiles and walls. Most geysers come in subtle colours and have a glossy finish. Some of them have a rust-proof body.

    (Abhay Singh, appliances category head, Housejoy)

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  • 01/23/18--21:04: Bulletin Board - January 25
  • Merchandising internship

    Being Human Clothing is hiring interns for Visual Merchandising profile in Bengaluru. Students can apply by February 3. The stipend is Rs 15,000 per month. To apply, visit

    PG studies

    Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) invites applications for the following courses: ME Cloud Computing, MSc Medical Laboratory Technology, PG Diploma in Sports Communication and Certificate course in Sports Communication. These courses have been introduced for the academic year 2018-2019. For more details, visit

    HR internship

    Chumbak Design is hiring interns for Software Development profile in Bengaluru. Students with knowledge of MS Office and proficiency in English can apply by February 2. The stipend is Rs 8,000 per month. To apply, visit

    PG scholarship

    Newcastle University is offering 40 Vice-Chancellors Excellence Scholarships for outstanding international applicants who apply to commence full-time Masters studies. The last date to apply is January 31. For more details, email

    Public Relations course

    School of Communications and Reputation (SCoRe) has announced the commencement of applications of Postgraduate programme in Public Relations for 2018-2019. The admission process will entail an online application followed by an entrance test and an interview. For more details, visit

    Research assistant

    Applications are invited from eligible candidates to work as a project assistant (Research Assistant, Research Associate, Data Entry Operator) for six months in a major research project. Interested MBA candidates can apply by emailing their resume to on or before January 25.

    IT support course

    Coursera and Google have announced the launch of the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. For more details, visit

    Development course

    The University of Sheffield, UK is inviting applications for MA International Development course starting in September 2018. Students will develop skills and knowledge relating to development research and practice. For more details, email

    BVoc course

    Bhartiya Skill Development University, Jaipur invites applications for the Bachelor of Vocation (BVoc) programme in the discipline of Automotive Skills. For more details, visit

    Teach For India

    Teach For India invites youths and professionals for a two-year, full-time, paid commitment towards a fellowship programme to serve as full-time teachers to children from low-income communities in some of the nations most under-resourced schools. The last date to apply is February 4. For more details, visit

    Business scholarships

    IFIM Business School has announced applications for the Padode Foundation merit scholarships. The applications are available for students who wish to pursue PGDM, PGDM - Finance and PGDM International Business. The last date to apply is January 30, 2018. For more details, visit

    Talent scholarship

    The Centre for Cultural Resources and Training invites applications for Cultural Talent Search Scholarship Scheme 2018-2019 from students of age group 10 to 14 years. The last date to apply is January 31. For more details, visit

    Architecture scholarship

    The Delft University of Technology invites applications from students enrolling in TU Delfts MSc Programmes for Architecture and the Built Environment Scholarship 2018. The last date to apply is January 31. For more details, visit

    NCPCR competition

    The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) invites applications for NCPCR Short Film, Still Photography, Poster Competition 2018 from any Indian citizen above 18 years of age. The last date to submit is February 13, 2018. For more details, visit

    UG admissions

    Admissions to various BA and BSc courses at Ashoka University are now open. The admission process includes a personal interview followed by a mandatory on-the-spot essay and an optional Ashoka Aptitude Test. The last date to apply is April 2. For more information, email

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  • 01/23/18--21:10: Nurturing a love for books
  • A typical day in a contemporary students life is chock-a-block with activities. When the day ends at school or college, it is the beginning of a fresh set of programmes that the students are enrolled in. From sports to developing skills such as dance, painting and music, and gaining additional expertise in the math and the sciences, a student is running helter-skelter and is dead on his or her feet when it is time to call it a day!

    Any little time he or she can steal in the middle of all this chaos is spent on the smartphone. With this scenario, several fruitful hobbies that the students of the previous generations indulged in have taken a beating, the foremost being the habit of reading. But as Confucius rightly said, "No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or
    surrender yourself to self-chosen

    Many benefits

    It has been proven by various studies that students benefit immensely when they read a variety of books. Critical thinking, creativity and finding inspiration are some of the many benefits that reading can offer. Other benefits include:

    Increased cognition: Reading aids and enhances cognition. This is because while reading, the brain is wholly focused on the subject matter.

    Wider knowledge: Books also enhance the readers knowledge. Any good book is packed with several facts woven around the story line.

    Improved memory: Reading is a mentally stimulating exercise that helps in developing better memory.

    Better vocabulary: Reading books helps students improve their vocabulary. Whats more, the meaning of a word can be deciphered from its context.

    Enriching writing skills: A good style of writing is often a result of voracious reading. Thus, reading paves the way for enriched writing skills.

    Broadens imagination and creativity: Reading broadens the imagination of the reader as the words being read are simultaneously converted into images in the mind of the reader. This, in turn, can work wonders on the readers creativity and make one inventive.

    Students can reap many of these benefits by simply reading books from a variety of genres such as mystery, fantasy, autobiography and self-help. Doing so can help students widen their perspective and gain insights into their areas of interest. It is in this context that parents and teachers can guide them to relevant books that can enable students to gain further insights into their areas of interest. As a result, the chances that students will take to reading in their spare time are very high. Additionally, encouraging students to read books from less popular genres will go a long way in providing insights into some lesser-discussed areas.

    Traits such as respect, honesty, hard work, fairness and empathy are significant personality qualities needed in good upbringing of children. However, these qualities are not given the due significance they deserve.

    Besides, life skills such as self-confidence, good communication, pleasant etiquette, courtesy, temperate disposition, ability to work as a team, tolerance and tact, self-control and concern for fellow human beings deserve to be spoken about. Though some or all of these skills lie deep within every childs personality, they need to be tapped. Introducing students to books that highlight some of these desired skills and qualities is a significant step in this process.

    It must be remembered that adolescence is an intriguing period in the life of a person. Though a child gains understanding and knowledge, this phase leaves the child confounded between right and wrong, obedience and rebellion, responsibility and waywardness.

    Against such a background, adolescents turn defiant and in the absence of an absorbing habit, much of their focus gets lost. It is precisely for these reasons that one must encourage children to turn to books as these will not only keep students engaged but will also instil in them the habit of turning to books for knowledge, entertainment, enlightenment and insights.

    Cultivating the habit

    Book racks across the world are filled with a variety of fascinating books for students. Most students are not reading merely because they have not experienced the charm of the written word. As the practice of bestsellers being converted into movies is in vogue, students prefer to watch the movie versions to reading the hard copies. Yet, if they can be encouraged into reading the books, they will soon unravel the joys and benefits of reading.

    Some must-reads that students can turn to are Rudyard Kiplings Jungle Book, J K Rowlings Harry Potter series, Christopher Paolinis Inheritance Cycle, Eoin Colfers Artemis Fowl series and Anthony Horowitzs Alex Rider series. A good book to have with you is The 6 Most Important Decisions Youll Ever Make by Sean Covey. Through this book, Covey guides youngsters to make the right choices regarding the six most crucial areas they may have to tackle in their growing up years. Reading such books can help young people create positive changes in their lives.

    With reading, there are no limits as to how much you can learn and become. So, pick up a good book, sit back and let the pleasures of reading unfurl.

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    You cracked the CAT fairly easily. You also felt you did quite well on the interviews but for some reason you didnt make it into any top rung management institute. Bad luck, you console yourself. You spend the next year preparing for the UPSC as you now aspire to join the civil services. This time, you miss the cut-off mark by one point. Just one point! Youre dejected again. Friends and family try to cheer you up by saying youll have better luck next time. Even though you are sceptical by now, you try your hand at applying to foreign universities. Your GRE scores and college grades are impressive, and the consultant assures you that you stand a good chance. To your utter dismay, seven universities send polite refusals.

    In contrast, your best friend who has a more easygoing attitude, doesnt bother attempting the CAT. As he is unsure about what to do next, he decides to volunteer with an NGO that educates street children for at least a year while dabbling in other pursuits like trekking and sculpture on weekends. When he sees you assiduously applying to universities abroad, he shoots of an application to two colleges. When he gets accepted to both programmes, you simply cant help envy his good fortune.

    The chance factor doesnt seem to work in your favour. What can you do if Lady Luck repeatedly singles you out for rejections and disappointments while she smiles down upon your friend who doesnt seem to sweat it out like you? Well, according to Professor Richard Wiseman, luck isnt as chancy as we tend to believe. In fact, he has been researching what differentiates the lucky from the less fortunate.

    Noticing chance opportunities

    For The Luck Project, which he describes in an article published in the Skeptical Inquirer, he recruited 400 participants who felt they were exceptionally lucky or unlucky. His volunteers ranged from 18 to 84 years and represented an array of professions. In addition to interviews and reading diary entries, he also gave them personality and intelligence tests, and
    conducted experiments on them.

    He writes, "The findings have revealed that luck is not a magical ability or the result of random chance." Rather, he found systemic principles that differentiate the fortunate from their star-crossed peers. The first is that lucky people are more attuned to "noticing chance opportunities" that other people may miss.

    In one experiment, he gave people, who had identified themselves as either lucky or unlucky, newspapers and asked them to count the number of photographs inside. While the unlucky group took an average of about two minutes to complete this exercise, the lucky ones finished it in a few seconds. Were they more adept at counting? Turns out that the lucky group noticed a message that was printed in prominent font on the second page, which said, "Stop counting - there are 43 photographs in this newspaper." The unlucky group was so focused on counting that they failed to see information that would have aided them on the task.

    Wiseman also found that lucky people were generally more relaxed and open to experience, and, as a result, spotted more opportunities. The unlucky group were more anxious and narrowly focused on a particular goal that they missed what was out there, often in plain sight. Furthermore, many of the lucky ones also tried to inject variety into their lives, thereby
    increasing their chances of coming across unexpected windfalls.

    Adding a new dimension

    Another difference that separated the two groups was how they responded to misfortune in their lives. When presented with an imaginary scenario of being shot in the arm during a bank robbery, unlucky people interpreted this as proof of their bad luck. In contrast, the lucky ones were thankful that they were not shot in the head. By thinking of how things could actually be worse, the lucky ones were more resilient to lifes challenges.

    Interestingly, Wiseman also found that unlucky people dont have to despair that they dont have the personality traits that lucky people are endowed with. By recruiting unlucky people and putting them through a training programme, Wiseman found that this group could increase not only their luck but their happiness as well. The training focused on how people could create chance opportunities by trying out novel experiences and adding a new dimension to well-established routines.

    His results were quite dramatic. Eighty percent of the unlucky group were better off after the intervention in terms of their happiness and yes, luck. As Wiseman sagely puts it, "Much of the good and bad fortune we encounter is a result of our thoughts and behaviour." Good luck adopting a more lucky mindset!

    (The author
    is director, PRAYATNA, Bengaluru)

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    As per estimations, the population of the age group of 15 to 24 year olds in India almost equals the total population of 18 western Asian countries. Powered in many respects by digital media practices, young people are increasingly forming strong views and mobilising on various issues. In this light, studying public policy is one of the most effective ways for youngsters to help make a positive and impactful change. Doing so can enable them to act on the issues that need immediate attention.

    With the central government undertaking a slew of policy reforms, public policy experts are increasingly becoming crucial in facilitating the countrys transformation. They recommend effective solutions in overcoming issues of importance. However, there is a dearth of talented individuals in public policy. To address this gap, specific courses have come up to train the youth and transform them into competent professionals well-equipped in the intricacies of handling issues that the governments face. These issues can range from everyday hassles like lack of garbage pickup to critical ones like gender equality.

    Although most public problems are known, their solutions are not necessarily straightforward. In some cases, solutions offered may not be implemented. Or if implemented, these are bypassed by a few. Therefore, new laws, rules or norms may need to be created, implemented and enforced. Thereby, the well-being of society at large can be assured. Hence, public policy professionals need to study various domains such as law, psychology, policy research and analysis, economics and urban planning.

    Considering the disciplines complexities, universities are now offering specialised courses for students who aspire to become public policy professionals. These undergraduate and postgraduate courses help prepare them for careers as administrators and policymakers, equipped to actively participate in formulating and implementing public policy. Academic training ensures that these potential public policy experts are able to smoothly navigate the complex terrain of policies and public entities.

    In a public policy course, subjects like Economics, Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, Administration and Indian Foreign policy are taught. These will give students a complete overview of the field and prepare them for being successful administrators of the country. Public policy courses prepare aspiring candidates for a better career as policymakers. This learning is essential given the vast gamut of issues that needs to be handled and those that could arise out of the blue in a particular region.

    Multiple avenues

    Students pursuing a programme in public policy should explore avenues for practical learning. This may include:

    * Joining platforms that promote youth participation in governance.

    * Engaging in activities that foster community connections and collaborations.

    * Internship opportunities with relevant institutions or organisations.

    However, despite various career opportunities, some are still not fully aware of the fields scope. In fact, pursuing such a course opens up multiple avenues. For instance, if one is working as a public policy expert with a non-profit, one has the opportunity to work in areas such as education, environment and rural development. Other places that one can consider working with include government agencies, urban and regional planning agencies, think tanks and academic institutions. Additionally, there is a growing demand for policymakers in private consultancies, media and advocacy units.

    Apart from these, one can also consider working in the field of politics as politicians today have come to understand the importance of deploying professionals in public policy to boost their brand image. With Psychology and Sociology being some of the subjects taught, public policy experts could offer their expertise via varied means in driving winning political campaigns.

    Given the vast opportunities, a degree in public policy can clearly take aspiring candidates very far in their quest for personal and professional growth. At the same time, they can help facilitate societal transformation.

    (The writer is vice chancellor, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun)

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  • 01/23/18--21:30: Charming Chikamagaluru
  • The end of the calendar year promises many joys, one of which is holidays. A short weekend getaway was our pick as that would ensure genuine recreation sparing us the meticulous planning part. So, all we did was book a homestay in Chikamagaluru for a day and pack our bags, and from there on the paths escorted us as we went along.

    How did we get there?

    On a cold Saturday morning at around 7 o'clock, we leisurely drove from Bengaluru, had a brief breakfast layover at Adyar Anand Bhavan (near Channarayapatna on the highway) and headed towards Chikamagaluru reaching our homestay by late afternoon. Its enticing ambience offered a beautiful backdrop where one could hear even the hushed mountains and the whistling winds.

    What did we do?

    Lunch followed. Having already been to Baba Budangiri at our earlier trip, we decided to visit Mullayanagiri this time. En route, we stopped by Siri Coffee to catch a glimpse of the magnificent sculpture of a sleeping woman which curiously is quite gigantic and also intricate in artistic unison.

    A 40-minute drive led us to our terminus but vehicles were stopped two km before the foot of Mullayanagiri hills. A half-hour trek along the rock-strewn serpentine upward path took us to the base of the steps (450 steps) leading to the top of the hills. And in another ten minutes or so, we were on top of the hills. Although a bit exhaustive, it was an amazing experience I must say. After a quick visit to Mullappa Swamy Temple on top, we were right on time to view and capture the mesmerising sunset. Beholding the vermillion sun descend down those sublime hills in crimson-streaked twilight while basking in chill, I was persuaded that nature can never cease to blow one's mind. Later, we headed back to our nest to retire for the day.

    The next morning, after some discussion we opted to go to Kemmangundi which is about 60 km from Chikamagaluru. On our way, we took a small breather at Hirekolale Lake.

    The placid waters bounded by the mountains rendered a tranquil atmosphere and felt desolate serving as a modest picnic spot but we had to hit the road. At about two in the afternoon, we reached our destination. After having lunch at the Government guest house, we moved towards the hills. The beautiful hill top and the green gardens were welcoming but it was too sunny at the time, so we had to curtail our visit wishing we had come at some time in the evening.

    Last but not the least, on our way back, in our itinerary was Hebbe Falls (10 km from Kemmangundi) which is deep inside the forest and hence could be accessed only by trek or by four-wheelers. We settled down in the jeep (government owned with trained driver) that rode us through uneven terrains in the jungle through coffee estates.

    From where we were dropped, we had to cross some streams that ushered us to the falls. I hadn't heard much about this one, so didn't know what to expect. But when you hear the sound of the gushing waters from far beyond in the otherwise calm surroundings and on heading further you see the pure milky water cascading down through large boulders and lush green hills from over 500 feet that gives a refreshing drizzle as you move closer, you'll be taken by total surprise. This is what I could say - nature in its fullest glory and unblemished. It was a fulfilling venture worth all our time, effort and money. Having thoroughly revived ourselves, we drove back to Bengaluru in the evening.
    I guess I had quenched my thirst of exploring the world - well, at least until our next trip.

    (The author can be contacted on

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  • 01/23/18--21:44: 'I can be choosy now'
  • Sandalwood actor Iti Acharya cant thank her stars enough as the shooting for her latest film Kavacha is on. She still pinches herself when one asks her about the movie which also stars Shivarajkumar. In a candid conversation with Tini Sara Anien, the excited actor talks about her role in the movie and her journey so far.

    Youre back after a hiatus. How does it feel?

    Coming back after a break can be refreshing yet scary. One doesnt know what is lying ahead. This movie which is a remake of Oppam was a really exciting offer. The only reason actor Shivarajkumar agreed to be a part of the movie is because even though it is adapted from the Malayalam movie, it will not be a scene-by-scene copy. The director has given the film a twist and matched it to the Kannada audience. I couldnt have asked for more.

    From Dhwani to Kavacha, how has the journey been?

    I wanted to make a point through Dhwani. I wanted to prove that I wasnt just one of the pretty faces everyone sees around. I didnt want to be brushed aside as just a model or fashionista. I waited and worked on grooming myself. I feel that I have been rewarded for my patience and work. Earlier I would have to take up projects just for the sake of it. I have the luxury of selecting what I want to work with now. I can be choosy now.

    How was the experience of working with Shivarajkumar?

    I feel very blessed, elated and a little surprised. It has been a mixed emotional journey. To be cast in a film which has such big names is the best any actor could ask for. I was shivering when I walked to the sets on my first day and I had to shoot a scene with him that day itself. He was so comforting and helpful that I felt at ease immediately. He makes sure that everyone on the sets is at ease.

    What did you learn from him?

    He is the one who taught me that one should question the director if a retake of a scene is done. This is to ensure if it was a technical glitch or the actor had to emote or act the scene differently.

    Tell us a bit about your role.

    I play a Punjabi girl who is bold in her reactions and approach to anything in life. She knows what she wants. If she loves someone, she will cross any barriers to be with him.

    You were raised in Punjab. Did that help with preparing for your role?

    I did my schooling in Chandigarh. It was easier to slip into my character because of this as I know many people with the same mannerism. In fact if any of my old schoolmates get to watch the movie, they will easily relate to my role. I didnt have to think too much or research into my role. I knew how my body language and expressions would be for the role.

    With Kavacha in hand, how does 2018 look for you?

    I am at a very happy place. I have my hopes pinned on the movie and on Kontract. Hopefully I will be able to explore varied roles this year. I have my fingers crossed.

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  • 01/23/18--21:46: Flavour of nostalgia
  • This photo was taken in 1963 when I was in the last year of middle school at Sree Saraswati Vidya Mandira(SSVM), VV Puram.

    I was fortunate enough to study in the middle school there up to eighth standard (1963) and from eighth onwards to SSLC in their high school.
    SSVM was very popular at the time because of the dynamic leadership of the astute Srinivasa Sharma Sir and all lady teachers who were very affectionate with students. It had no branches then but had rented a few buildings in and around to meet the growing demand from parents of girl children.

    The school organised a lot of cultural events and sports and we had a breed of good debaters and sportsmen. We also participated in the inter-school competition held in Kanteerava Stadium. I remember few of our teachers -- Lalitha, who taught us Social Studies, Bharati (Kannada), Vimala (English) etc.

    Afternoons were a delight for us as we enjoyed the flavour of buns being baked in close by VB Bakery. Eat street was non-existent then. Except for Ramesh, Nirmala, Shyamala and C G Padma (women hospitality entrepreneur) of Athithya Hotel in Gandhi Bazaar, I have lost touch with most of my other classmates. I tried a lot to reconnect through social media. I later moved to BHS and National College where I completed my Physics (Honours) course and then to Hyderabad to work in National Institute of Nutrition. It would be great if my classmates could contact me through email or phone so that we could do relive those moments.

    (The author can be contacted at

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    Posters of actor Harripriyas latest film, Kanaka are splashed across the city and the first thing that draws your attention is her deglamourised avatar. She is paired opposite Duniya Vijay in film and the actor says she is enjoyed every moment of working on the film because of her strong role.

    Shooting in the rural ambience helped her get under the skin of the character. The actor accepted the offer because she has a prominent part in it and her role is decisive in taking the story forward.

    In an interview with Nina C George, Harripriya, talks about her role and the making of Kanaka.

    Whats your role in Kanaka?

    I go by the name of Sampige in the film. And she is a village girl. Everything, right from my body language, costume and expression, have undergone a huge makeover. It is not always that I get to play a character that is so simple yet complicated.

    Could you easily relate to your role?

    Sampige is a perfect match to Kanaka (portrayed by Vijay). The two are childhood sweethearts and their love grows stronger as they grow older. The emotions of love at different stages of their life has been effectively portrayed. Sampige is the most important person in Kanakas life and she plays an important part in every move he makes.

    How important is your character?

    I must reiterate that I dont appear throughout the movie, but I appear in the important portions. I have limited screen space but the scenes that I appear in are important. This is another factor made me accept the offer.

    What was the most challenging part?

    Getting the expressions right and making sure that the emotions for every scene werent out of place was indeed quite challenging. There were scenes where the emotions of love, sadness and joy had to be depicted in a particular way.

    How was it working with director R Chandru?

    Chandru has a good understanding of the life in a village and that knowledge comes from having lived and grown up in the countryside. I understood how passionate he is about the script at the narration stage itself. He has taken care of the smallest of details in the film.

    Is this your first film with Duniya Vijay?

    Yes this is the first time that I have worked with Vijay. Our roles complement each other perfectly well and our strong chemistry is what people will get to see. The strong script and impressive narration has strengthened our performance.

    How are Dr Rajkumars films connected to Kanaka?

    Kanaka is a huge fan of Dr Rajkumar and his films. He draws inspiration from his films and theres a parallel drawn to Dr Rajkumars films at every step in Kanakas life.

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  • 01/23/18--22:04: The test of time
  • After much controversy and struggle, Sanjay Leela Bhansalis Padmaavat has finally hit the screens. The interests are many -- while some want to know what the chaos is all about, the others are looking forward to the stellar starcast. There are also those who believe that every Sanjay Leela Bhansali film has something new to offer and they want to see what it is this time.

    The sale of tickets both online and at the counter are moving at a brisk pace. The online bookings for the film opened three days in advance at most of the multiplexes in the city and the rush hasnt died down since. Tarini Nagaraj, a stylist, is watching the film with her father. "We booked tickets three days in advance and it wasnt very tough for me to get it because I was among the first to book.

    The primary reason to watch the film is that I am a big fan of Deepika Padukone. I liked her character in Bajirao Mastani and I am looking forward to something similar in Padmaavat. I am a stylist by profession, so styling is another aspect of the film that I am eager to see," says Tarini.

    Ask her about the controversy surrounding the film and she says, "Social media has become a space for people to rant on just about anything and everything. Protesting is fine but it should not be done at the cost of the infringement of ones freedom."

    Kiran, a filmmaker, says that she is looking forward to watching the film. "The art direction is what I am looking forward to and that is more important to me than the story or the performance. The remarks made against the film were unnecessary. It is important to give importance to peoples sentiments but it shouldnt be done at the cost of ones creative freedom. Any objection to the content could have been debated and discussed, instead of creating an issue. This led to the postponing of the release of the film," says Kiran.

    There are a few others like Vrinda Neeshath, a project engineer, who doesnt want to rush to watch the film but prefers to wait till all the excitement dies down. "I was impressed with the trailer and I have been following the developments related to the film since. The costumes and creativity is what has impressed me the most. The grand scale on which the film has been made is something to watch out for," says Vrinda.

    Almost all the multiplexes and single-screen theatres that are screening Padmaavat have been seeing a steady increase in the sale of tickets. Lokesh Kumar, the manager at one of the multiplexes, says "The online sale of tickets is on the fast-filling mode. We have increased the number of shows because of the demand for tickets online and at the counter as well."

    The manager at the ticket counter at Rex Theatre on Brigade Road, says "People have been queuing up at the ticket counter since Wednesday morning. The tickets are moving fast. We havent hiked our prices. The tickets for balcony are priced at Rs 250 and the other stall is Rs 200."

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  • 01/23/18--22:10: On my pinboard
  • Bollywood actor Dino Morea made his debut with the film Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi. His second film Raaz moved on to become a hit and was the project that got him noticed.

    Among his other films, thriller movie Gunaah which also starred Bipasha Basu, worked in his advantage and got him many film offers. Plan where he acted with Sanjay Dutt and Aksar which starred Emraan Hashmi, got him a lot of attention. The actor was also a part of the multi-starrer movie Acid Factory, which also included Fardeen Khan, Irrfan Khan, Manoj Bajpayee, Aftab Shivdasani and Danny Denzongpa.

    He was last seen in the bilingual movie Solo as Col Raunaq Sachdeva. The actor was also seen in a short film called Maa, which was written by Niranjan Iyengar. Dino is producing the upcoming film Helmet and will be seen on screen in an untitled project by Satram.

    Amitabh Bachchan
    "One of my favourite actors in Bollywood is Amitabh Bachchan. I grew up watching his movies and the stories told during his time were really good ones. I thoroughly enjoyed movies like Deewar, Shahenshah and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar in which he ruled the screen. His voice, the way he conducts himself, his command over the language are some of the things I love about him. In Hollywood, my favourites include Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Brad Pitt and Denzel Washington."

    Warren Buffet
    "As I was growing up, I was touched by the rags-to-riches stories of many people around. I am deeply inspired by Warren Buffett. The fact that he started making investments at a very young age and one did not have to be an extremely intelligent person to make such choices inspired me. He did what he felt like and he followed his gut feeling. He invested in companies from a young mans perception of what a company would be like, without the kind of analysis that is done today."

    "The easiest and quickest getaway for me is Goa. I am a beach person; I love
    the water, the beachfront and the food there. Everytime one steps into Goa,
    one gets into the holiday mode instantly. Goa has that kind of ambience to
    it. I do not have a favourite place to go to as I like experiencing different
    things and want to see new places and new countries. I want to see most of
    the world before I die."

    Tuna Carpaccio
    "I am an absolute foodie. Be it Indian, Lebanese, Italian or Japanese, I thoroughly enjoy food. I can have Japanese food any day. I especially relish the Tuna Carpaccio, which is prepared well and is light. If its Italian food, I love Beef Carpaccio or Truffle Pasta. I am a health-conscious person but I eat just about anything. I dont care about calories. I just stay away from food that is not cooked in good oil."

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    "Music is an important part of my life. It uplifts me. A day without music is a day wasted. I listen to all good tracks and I like to mix it up. I love Nusrat Fateh Ali Khans music. His singing is outstanding. One of his songs which is my favourite is Mere Rashke Qamar. I also love Dub Qawwali, which is
    a mix by Gaudi and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Other artistes I enjoy listening to are M&M and Snoop Dogg. Rap and hiphop are my go-to music."

    Yuval Noah Harari
    "I read a lot of autobiographies and biographies now. I loved the Sapiens:
    A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. The book is a phenomenal
    rendition about evolution and how the different revolutions like the Agricultural
    Revolution and Industrial Revolution changed mankind. Yuvals way of writing
    is really interesting. I used to read a lot of fiction earlier but I get my dose of fiction from TV shows now."

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    Hindi (U/A)

    Cast: Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor

    Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

    Rating: **

    Sanjay Leela Bhansalis Padmaavat doesnt play it subtle. Its relentless, compulsive need to make you see shuts out your options to imagine. Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor), the ruler of Mewar, describes the Rajput valour in glowing couplets - "You can behead him, hell still fight on. Thats a Rajput," he says in one of them. Later, in another scene, Bhansali shows you how these men do it. Thats pretty much the tone the filmmaker sets for this retake on Malik Muhammad Jayasis epic poem. Padmaavat is all surface and holds no surprises. At 163 minutes, its indulgence gets cloying, its visual splendour progressively numbing.

    If Bhansali has a sense of irony, he wouldve already reflected on the pre-release clamour of hurt sentiments. This is, in fact, a film that extols the Rajputs; while venerating their honour and moral codes, it vilifies the invader/outsider (Alauddin Khilji, played by Ranveer Singh with manic flamboyance) as a depraved, one-note antagonist.

    In terms of the classic good-vs-evil tradition, the absence of sub-text could be a minor grouse but Padmaavat is also short on the one key element which makes these period spectacles work - drama. Ratan Singhs first meeting with Padmavati (Deepika Padukone), the princess of Singhal, is nicely set. Their romance finds an interesting contrast in interspersing segments that build Khilji up as this marauder on the loose. We do get a sense of doom as the Sultan sets out to seize his next big prize, Padmavati herself.

    The writing (Bhansali and Prakash Kapadia) lends some early sparkle, especially in portions establishing the new queens intelligence, that even impresses the rajguru. But by the time Khilji reaches Chittor, that easy playfulness has gone; what we have now are an overdressed king and queen, all stately and poseur-like. It all starts to get rather sterile from here, and part of it comes from Kapoors very affected performance. Singh, as Khilji, and his scenes with Jim Sarbh - who plays the Sultans slave - provide some amusement amid all this posturing.

    The film pushes its morality and politics in bafflingly simplistic imagery and word-play. The native hero lives and dies with usool, shaan and swabhimaan while the debauched outsider is reviled as the shaitan, the asur. Bhansali does whip up some drama with his staging of the climactic jauhar. But, its all still, staging and detailing, with no perspective to add, no new politics to explore, Padmaavat meanders on in all its designer pomp. Its textbook-tedious, with no footnote to divert.

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  • 01/24/18--21:28: On a patriotic path
  • Biking is fun, irrespective of the model of the vehicle one rides or the route one takes. With yet another Republic Day here, Bengalureans are celebrating the spirit of the day in their own way and biking groups and passionate bikers are not far behind. They are hitting the road on their machines to places near and far while showcasing their patriotism in their own way.

    The 'Road Thrill' community kickstarted its 'Republic Ride 2018' from Nelamangala, heading on the Hassan Road to Adichunchanagiri with different biking groups like 'Gixxer Club Bengaluru' and 'Highway Delite' today. "Rides like these can be really exciting as it brings different biking groups together," says Jacinth Paul, founder and moderator of 'Road Thrill'.

    The group has organised trips to Lepakshi and Ramanagara for Republic Day earlier and these trips have turned out to be great eye-openers, he says. "Bikers who are not very active join in these trips too. It's interesting to interact with them and know about different walks of life," he says.

    Republic day rides are different from regular trips planned by the group. "We follow dress codes, mount the flag on our bikes and our bikes are decorated with the tricolour for the day. It's like a festival," he says.

    Jacinth adds that he and a smaller group of bikers will be heading from Adichunchanagiri to Danushkodi. "We will be passing through the Sathyamangalam forest area when on this route. Apart from riding on the Pamban Bridge, which is one of the most sought-after routes by bikers after Leh Ladakh and Rann of Kutch, we also plan to go to Meenakshi Amman Temple, before heading back," he says.

    Members of the Dominar Owners Group Bangalore are participating in the 'Republic Ride 2018' and heading out to a nearby location of their choice after it. Tushar Gohil, founder of the club, says that the group will head to a nearby spot like the Shettihalli Church, Bellur or the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple.

    "The whole experience of meeting new people for the first ride will be exciting after which we would like to go to a location and be together with our own small bunch," he says.

    "Such rides are about exploring the freedom of riding and it's delightful to see how the group comes together as a family on such occasions. With proper riding gear, abiding by
    strict rules and the code of conduct of the group, each trip turns out to be a journey to remember," adds Tushar.

    Initiatives for a cause are often connected to bike rides today and this is where the Bangalore Bullet Club's charity ride comes in. Sunil Anvekar, founder of Bangalore Bullet Club says, "We plan to meet at Rajajinagar from where we will head out to a special children's school at Peenya. After joining in their Republic Day's celebrations, we will head out for a polio awareness drive to Jalahalli. The ride aims to bring back memories about Republic Day while giving one the adrenaline rush they have been waiting for."

    Unlike any other ride, Sunil says that Republic Day rides are different. "Most of our rides are meant for the thrill but these rides are for a reason and to express solidarity and brotherhood," he adds.

    With an untoward speeding accident that involved bikers recently, the group is extra cautious about safety measures while riding.

    Woman biker and racer Sonali Mukherji is travelling with Aditya Dora for 3,300 km and says that the ride holds a special meaning to the both of them. "My friend Aditya met with an accident in 2016 and was told that he would have difficulty riding again. Our trip is scheduled to cover places like Ooty, Kodaikanal, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Mangaluru, Murdeshwar and Gokarna," she says. "Like the spirit of the day, I wish to spread the word with Aditya that nothing is impossible. There is nothing that willpower cannot heal," she adds.

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  • 01/24/18--21:28: Away from the arc lights
  • Whenever I get a weekend to myself, I do things that I normally dont get time to do. Every weekend is spent in a different way just to break the monotony.

    I am a movie buff so the first thing that I do when I have some spare time is to watch movies and catch up on the television series that I missed out on. I select a good mix of films which include a few regional ones as well.

    Watching movies give me an insight into the technical side of filmmaking which also subconsciously helps me improve my craft. I also dedicate a lot of time to my PlayStation with FIFA and Ashes Cricket being my all-time favourites. I have my friends or my wife Dhanya joining me at the PlayStation. Dhanya is currently working in the US but whenever she is here, PlayStation, is our favourite pastime.

    Spending time with friends are an integral part of my weekend plans. I am very close to the handful of them from my engineering days and those from SAP, where I worked for a while. We catch up on weekends and sometimes go on long drives to Bandipur or Coorg. We also head to Mysuru and spend time at the Chamundi Hills. We go there just to climb up and down the 1000 odd steps. Most fitness enthusiasts do this, with early morning being the best time. These trips are truly memorable and indeed very refreshing. Fitness and training at the gym has been a part of my routine for as long as I can remember. I feel that my day is incomplete if I dont workout.

    I picked up the basics of cooking from my mother when I was barely 12 years old. I began making small things such as omelette, Maggi noodles and aloo palya. But as I grew older, I developed an interest towards cooking and began experimenting with making complicated dishes. Today, I make some delicious chicken biryani, Rava fish fry which I learnt from my mother and variations in chicken, especially the dry items. I am not a foodie and eat everything in limited quantity. I dont have a sweet tooth and thats precisely why I dont have a craving for ice creams and chocolates.

    Books are my favourite companion. I dont finish a book at one stretch and read it over two or three days. I enjoy reading Harry Potter and Game of Thrones series. I also have a sizeable collection of books by John Grisham and Stephen King. I like their style of writing and their stories are very immersive. I also read a lot of Kannada literature with S L Bhyrappa and Poornachandra Tejaswi being my favourite authors.

    I also make sure that I spend some time alone to reflect on my journey so far. This helps me shed negativity and develop a positive approach towards everything in life.

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