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    He has no qualms talking about his humble origins though Brijesh Shandilya has come a long way since the time he first entered Bollywood. The affable singer has the runaway hit Banno tera swagger from Tanu Weds Manu Returns to his credit, along with chartbusters from movies like Jai Ho, Airlift, Shubh mangal Savdhaan and Golmaal Again.

    In a freewheeling chat with Rajitha Menon, Brijesh talks about his journey from a school dropout to rockstar.

    When did you know that you wanted to be a singer?

    When I was around 20 years old. I had failed in the tenth standard thrice and everyone felt that I was useless. More than family, society had a problem with me. One day my father scolded me a lot and dejected and crying, I left my house, more to figure out what I wanted to do in life than because of the yelling. I went to stay with my uncle and later, I met a friend who asked me to try my hand at music as I was a good singer - something I hadnt even thought myself till then.

    What happened after that?

    The same friend helped me out. He was preparing for the civil services exam in Allahabad. He made me accompany me to the hostel and enrolled me in music classes. I learnt for two years; in fact, my first public performances happened in the hostel when the other inmates would get together during the evening to listen to me.

    There are so many singers in Bollywood right now. What sets you apart?

    I have figured out that playback singers are always on the lookout for a unique voice. One needs to listen to other singers to grow but you shouldnt ape them. I have followed this policy and that is what sets me apart.

    Most memorable moment in your musical career till now?

    When I sang Banno tera swagger. It was memorable because it was the one chance that I was waiting for. Though I had sung in good films before, this was the song made me famous. My voice has become my identity.

    You have sung in 10-12 languages till now. Wasnt it difficult to perfect the pronunciation?

    I think artistes have a natural ability to pick up things that others may find difficult. I always used to pay attention to the words of other languages. Around five years ago, most of the movie songs that were dubbed from Hindi into other languages were mine. I did it for the money then but it helped me in diversifying my vocal range.

    What do you listen to in your spare time?

    I listen to old songs. Lata Mangeshkar, Yesudas, Asha Bhonsle, Kishore Kumar - I listen to all the old greats in an effort to learn from them and imbibe the feel the create within the listener. Among the new singers, I like Arijit though I feel most of the new songs are too much noise and chaos.

    Future projects?

    Couple of things are lined up, among which is Happy Bhaag Jayegi 2. My audience will get to hear more dance numbers from me. They have become my USP now though I like soulful songs more.

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    With many celebrities seen sporting an outfit by Anita Dongre, the designer has definitely become one of the most sought-after designers in the fashion industry today.

    Having worked in the industry for 20 years now, she has created a space for herself. Her love for animals reflects in her attempt to make designs that are cruelty-free. A connoisseur of craftsmanship, Anita Dongres designs showcases Indian aesthetics for the global woman of today. In a chat with Surupasree Sarmmah, Anita talks about her journey in the fashion industry.

    You have been in the fashion industry for two decades. How has it changed over the years?

    A lot has changed in India. Fashion has finally come of age and I have been part of many fashion shows and its very interesting to see how things are changing. It definitely is more interesting fashion than it was in the past.

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    My inspiration comes from nature or architecture. Indian heritage and craft always has a special place.
    In fact, this time, we have created beautiful cotton weaves in Banaras.

    One of your favourite outfits that you have created so far...

    It is very tough to choose one after designing hundreds of outfits. Having said that, the outfit that I remember is the one Kate Middleton wore. Till today we get orders for that.

    How would you define your style?

    Feminine and simple.

    Which according to you is the most fashionable city in the world?

    Though every city has its own vibe, Milan, is definitely on my list.

    Three must-haves in your wardrobe...

    A vegan sandal, handwoven dress and a vegan bag.

    Any word of advice you have for young designers?

    Be prepared to work hard and understand the woman, who you want to be your consumer.

    Tell us about your Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2018 collection?

    It is called Songs of Summer, which is inspired by gardens and flowers. The outfits are all made in light weight, handwoven silk and cotton. The collection is perfect to wear for a destination summer wedding. The ready-to-wear and easy-breezy wear is what my collection is about. I have used gentle pastel hues like blush, sage, powder blue, yellow and pure white in soothing prints.

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  • 01/31/18--23:54: Free Wi-Fi a flop
  • Since 2013, governments and private companies have baited Bengaluru with announcements of free Wi-Fi hotspots at public places.

    The announcement is accompanied by much fanfare, and then… sorry, you are not connected to the Internet.

    "The earlier projects were experimental. Bengaluru doesnt have free Wi-Fi provided by the government now," Priyak Kharge, Karnatakas minister for information technology, told Metrolife.

    The pilot project provided "a lot of learning", he says.

    "Drawing from our experience, we plan to provide 40-50 hotspots in the city by mid-February. By the end of March, we will provide 300 free public Wi-Fi hotspots in the city," he says.

    Most citizens are unaware the free Wi-Fi is scrapped.

    "I used it when it was announced initially but later on I was asked to download an app. We need Wi-Fi for five or so minutes we spend at the station. Who has the time to download an app and log in?" says Laekhaa Eswarraj, a final year degree student.

    Others have simply given up. "We mostly use our mobile data as it is faster and much more convenient," says student Nandini Reddy.

    As Metrolife went around looking for a Wi-Fi signal at the station, Nandini was browsing with her friend Rashika on the steps.

    The customer service and ticket counter staff at the station pointed at each other when asked about free Wi-Fi.

    Varun Hemachandran, founder of NGO Talking Earth, says he is not surprised the state government stopped free Wi-Fi without any intimation. He believes the government would have boasted about it if it had worked.

    "I have seen ads for free Wi-Fi all over the railway stations where it is provided. It does work brilliantly there, but I guess thats because Google is also involved in it," he says.

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  • 01/31/18--23:56: At home with family
  • Though there is nothing called as a weekend for me, whenever I have a long weekend, I mostly just take rest and stay at home. Catching up on sleep is my favourite thing to do whenever I have an off.

    My family is very important to me and spending as much time as possible with them is what I look forward to. So weekends also mean being with them because when I am shooting, I cant give them enough time. Reading books is another way I spend my time. It is an interest that I have picked up very recently. I am currently reading the book Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, a biography by Michael Schulman.

    Watching movies that I have missed is also something that I like to indulge in. There are also many interesting web series airing on Netflix, so catching up on them is a fruitful way of spending my weekend. Fitness plays an important part in my holiday plans. My fitness routine involves yoga and jogging. I usually avoid gymming and rather focus on dancing and swimming.

    My friends are like my family. Weekends are not complete without spending time with them. Meeting them is a great way to release my stress. We mostly meet at coffee shops.

    I also cook during the weekends. Sometimes I cook for my entire family. It is a stressbuster and a fun pastime.

    I am a foodie and love relishing Chinese food. There is a restaurant called Dashanzi in JW Marriott that serves amazing Chinese food. Having said that, whenever I crave for Indian food, I head to The Dhaba.

    Travelling is a huge part of my life and I love long drives.In fact, we as a family are very fond of travelling. We head out to Lonavala or Mahabaleshwar for a day or two during weekends.

    I am an adventurous person too. And whenever I go on a holiday, I trek with my parents or do parasailing, paragliding and river rafting. Snorkeling and scuba diving are other adventurous
    activities I have tried and I am now aiming to try bungee jumping next. For me, a perfect weekend is all about lots of sleep, spending time with family and indulging in some kind of fitness activity.

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  • 01/31/18--23:56: Fly away in a balloon
  • One of my biggest fears has always been flying. My husband wanted me to come out of that, so he kept pushing me to be part of different flying experiences, apart from normal flights, like roller-coaster and helicopter rides.
    So we decide to experience hot air ballooning in Cappadocia in Central Turkey. We flew from Bengaluru to Istanbul by Kuwait Airways. After spending two nights in Istanbul, we took a flight to Bodrum, a city in Bodrum peninsula, stretching from Turkeys southwest coast to the Aegean Sea.

    The city has twin bays and offers a view of the Bodrum Castle. This medieval fortress was built partly with stones from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, completed in 4th century BC.

    After spending two nights here, we took a EuropaMundo coach tour. We visited different cities like Marmaris, Dalyan, Fethiya, Antalya, Konya, Avanos and reached Cappadocia by road. Cappadocia is known for its distinctive fairy chimneys which are tall, cone-shaped rock formations clustered in Monks Valley, Göreme.

    This is a modern city with a lot of markets.. Our guide informed us that we have to start at 5.30 am the next day for the once-in-a life-time experience tour.

    We woke up to a freezing morning. After a 20-minute-drive, we reached an open area. Our guide took us to the hot air balloon. Before entering, they served us hot tea and snacks. A hot air balloon is a lighter than an aircraft and consists of a bag called an envelope which contains heated air. Suspended beneath is a gondola or a wicker basket, which carries passengers and a source of heat, in most cases, an open flame. In that big basket, there were four partitions, each accommodating seven passengers.

    All of us got in and the captain briefed us about how it works. The balloon took off smoothly. The next one hour was amazing. The landscape was something that one had never witnessed before.

    We saw yellow, red, purple, black, white and different layers of sedimentary volcanic rocks. I was hypnotised by the spectacular landscape below me. We gently drifted over the fairy chimneys, through valleys scattered with pigeon houses, over orchards and vineyards. Our captain also flew between the mountains. It was also great to see 100 balloons flying high in the air.

    A hot air balloon can fly up to 800 ft only. After one hour of flying, it was time to land. Wow! I should say that was an art. Our captain got us down close to his truck and landed it on the trailer without any difficulty. After landing, the crew served us champagne and some snacks. They handed each one of us a flying certificate.

    Now after this experience, I think I can manage my flying fear. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has a fear of flying to overcome the same.

    (The author can be contacted at

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    Vishnuvardhans performance in Simhadriya Simha has inspired the script of Rajasimha, releasing across the city today. Director Ravi Ram watched all of Vishnuvardhans films and was impressed the most by the character of Narasimhe Gowda in Simhadriya Simha (2002). In Rajasimha, Vishnuvardhans son-in-law Anirudh plays the son of Narasimhe Gowda. Bharathi Vishnuvardhan plays Anirudhs mother. Ambareesh makes a guest appearance.

    One of the highlights of the promotions is an 11-foot statue of Narasimhe Gowda. It will be taken out in a procession from Anand Rao Circle to Anupama theatre in Gandhinagar on Friday morning. "Made with fibreglass, it will eventually be placed at a Vishnuvardhan memorial coming up in Mysuru," Anirudh told Metrolife.

    Stepping into the shoes of Vishnuvardhan hasnt been easy for Anirudh. "In the film, I carry forward Narasimhe Gowdas legacy of helping the poor and empowering women. This is what Vishnuvardhan did in real life," says Anirudh. The audience will see many similarities between Vishnuvardhans reel image and real life, he explains.

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    Somya Jain Gupta (26), who broke her back attempting a rope activity, had to undergo surgery. Soon after emerging from the operation theatre, she spoke to Metrolife about her painful ordealI was looking forward to the long Republic Day weekend. My husband Divyansh Gupta and I had signed up online for Nature Adventure Camp at Kanakapura.

    My younger sister Shreya came from Indore and my friend Shweta and her husband came from Hyderabad to take part in the camp on January 28.

    Five activities were looped one after the other. Shweta, Shreya and Divyansh went before me. I successfully completed my first rope activity and reached a tower.

    I had to cross a Burma loop bridge. I took two or three steps but felt exhausted. I was balancing with one foot on the front rope and the other on the back.

    I didnt have the strength to move forward. I asked one of the organisers to pull me back. He was clueless. I was in ducking position.

    After 10 minutes of being stuck mid-air, he asked me to let go of my hand and hang onto the rope in front of me. The moment I held this rope, he pulled another rope. My rope snapped. The next thing I remember is that I had landed with a thud on my back.

    Shweta saw this. Divyansh was in the middle of his activity and was helpless. I was conscious. My back was aching terribly and I couldnt move it. I was wearing a helmet, or I would banged my head on a granite wall.

    Fellow campers and organisers quickly gathered around me. I couldnt move. Divyansh was perhaps the only one who knew it was a back injury, and a serious one at that. The boys hired by the camp organiser were all between 12 and 19 years, and stood around helplessly.

    When Divyansh asked for an ambulance or doctor they had no answer. They offered to lift me and put me in a car. But Divyansh insisted I be moved only on a stretcher or a wooden plank. The organisers didnt have either at hand.

    The only first aid they provided was Move, a pain balm. It was of no use. We had to find a way to get to hospital. The staff were not trained in first aid or safety and didnt know what to do in an emergency. It was a nightmare.

    I have just undergone surgery and been advised bed rest for two months.

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  • 02/01/18--16:42: The beauty spot
  • Q: A runners got to run, and sweat, no doubt. The feeling is great but for the hair (medium length, straight, not-too-oily scalp) that demands a wash every day! Which hair-care routine would you recommend for me? Please suggest some gentle hair-care products. - A runner

    Congratulations on running daily. Running helps in a rush of fresh blood that contains oxygen and nutrients. This also helps flush out the toxins, so the running itself is helping you. But the hair could get sweaty, damp and give rise to dandruff and non-shiny hair due to the dust and grime on its surface.

    Since you wish to shampoo every day, use a shampoo from a reputed company labelled as frequent wash. In a frequent wash shampoo, the chemical component of the cleanser is mild so the hair damage is less. The sun, the wind and other environmental factors also have a drying effect on the hair. So conditioning your hair before wash with coconut oil or after wash with a conditioner will also help.

    Q: Im 23 and have dry skin on my feet. I workout regularly and eat healthy. I have tried moisturising, but it hasnt been of much help. - Sam M

    You are only 23, so this seems to be a hereditary problem. Most probably, the palms will also be dry. Deep moisturising agents that contain urea and lactic acid may be used frequently. But the one thing that will help you a lot is a cream that contains salicylic acid component that can be applied at bedtime on the dry skin covered with cling film. Do this every night, followed by soaking your palms in warm water every week to remove the dead skin. Do apply a good amount of moisturiser after soaking in warm water.

    Q: I have straight hair, but it is really dry. Im 26, with a wheatish complexion. I also tend to have a dry scalp and skin. - Nira Malik

    Since your skin, hair and scalp are really dry, you may use coconut oil on your scalp and leave it overnight. Coconut oil works well on the skin too. Our aim here is to flatten the cuticles of the hair that have got lifted due to blow drying, sunlight, chemical products etc., so a good conditioner will really help. On your skin, if you dont have pimples but have dry skin, you may use an oil-free moisturiser.

    Q: I have acne-prone skin. Its also very dry and starts to peel the minute the weather changes. I just apply a good moisturising cream in the morning and dont use a lot of make-up. What would be a good cleansing ritual for me? Should I invest in some specialised acne products? - Varshini Iyer

    Try to first find the cause of your acne and get it treated. Since you have dry skin, your daily cleansing routine should be, first cleanse your face with cleansing milk, followed by a good face wash. Because the skin is dry, do not use a toner, but finish this routine with an oil-free moisturiser while the skin is still damp.

    Q: I am 18 and suffering from PCOS. Though I am recovering from it, my face, especially my cheek and chin areas have worsened with acne marks and tiny pimples. I have tried a lot of creams and home remedies, but I still have dark spots. How do I get rid of them? - Pallavi Sreenivas

    Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition that needs proper medical treatment and daily regime. Please visit your nearest dermatologist/gynaecologist/endocrinologist. Meanwhile, you can use a cream with glycolic acid in it.

    Dr Jamuna Pai is a cosmetic physician and a beauty expert.

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  • 02/01/18--16:44: Reflect your sole
  • What do your favourite pair of shoes, the ones you gravitate towards time and again, say about you? According to numerous studies on fashion and footwear as a means of expressing ones personality, a lot more than you think! In fact, studies go as far as to state that a persons personality can be accurately assessed to an extent of 90% by just looking at his or her shoes.

    Although the heel takes centre stage in such discussions, fit and shoe quality also plays an important role. High-end, well-polished shoes show attention to detail, but quality shoes, if not well maintained, dont necessary translate to sloppiness. It could mean the wearer is comfortable in his own skin, busy, confident and lets his success speak for itself.

    Designer shoes

    Youre rich! Duh. And if there are no obvious logos on display, you have good taste. According to Ranjit Kale, a consultant psychotherapist, "If you are under 24 and brand-conscious, youre trying to say Look at me and look at me now! When youngsters sport brands they cannot easily afford, with names they cannot pronounce, and have no knowledge of the history of the brand or what it represents, it is often a cover-up for deeper issues. They feel complete when they don items with a visible brand. When it comes to the older generation however, logo overload is common amongst the nouveau-riche. The message theyre giving out is I have arrived, and how! These are the people who didnt have a lot of money while growing up, and now that they have it, they want to flaunt it."

    Unless you want to look like a walking-talking advertisement hoarding, keep logos to the minimum. If your shoe is sporting a logo, stay away from another one on your bag. You dont need visible branding is all over your bag and shoes and sunglasses and belt and t-shirt and jacket… phew.. We get it! Youre rich! Now get over it!

    Ballerina flats

    Youre a laid-back, practical person and most likely lead an active lifestyle. Chances are, you have some running around to do and prefer not to do it in heels, much as you love them! You also choose comfort over fashion, and prefer casual dressing. Then again, maybe you just have a weak back, in which case, youre smart to stay as far away from high heels as possible.

    Aneesha Goenka, curator and founder, Smitten Shoes, says, "Women who love flats are considered relaxed and easygoing, while high-heeled lovers are considered to be high-maintenance."


    Theres something about well-made pencil heels (especially those with the tell-tale red sole), which screams sexy. A high-end, well-designed shoe is cut in a way to make legs look endless and calves look toned.

    Though there have been arguments that women who are willing to put up with discomfort to look good would in all likelihood be frivolous and insecure, numerous studies have shown this is not the case. In fact, the opposite may be true. A host of uber-successful women have often been seen donning the towering heel.

    High heels enhance the posture by repositioning thigh muscles, lengthening calves. It forces the wearer to walk straight and has a perceptible positive influence on her confidence. "Stilettos, to me, signify femininity and self-assurance. It brings a certain polish, sophistication and sexiness to an outfit, and this reflects in the wearer," adds Aneesha.

    Staid, sensible shoes

    Women who regularly opt for sensible shoes with no regard for fashion or how they pair them with a certain outfit are likely to be unconcerned with their appearance. They may be too busy and occupied with a host of other pursuits, possibly academic or intellectual, which have little to do with their appearance.


    There are platforms, and there are Lady Gaga platforms. Wedges or platforms with modest heels show youd like the added height without the hassle, and have a grounded personality. Ridiculously high platforms shoes are a tell-tale sign that you crave attention.

    Flip-flop flats

    Youre in flip-flops that have no platform. Youre not at the beach, and youre not in your teens. What you are is a little too laid-back! Its obvious you slipped your feet into the most convenient option, and youd likely make similar choices in life.

    Bright shoes

    Although the general impression is that youngsters gravitate towards brighter choices, this is misleading. Nupur Nagpal, co-founder and design head of Chalk Studio, reiterates that shoe choice has more to do with personality than age, as she recalls an incident when a mother-daughter duo were perusing her shoes. "The daughter leaned towards basic colours like black and tan, whereas her mother preferred bolder options like marsala, olive green and canary yellow, and actually ended up picking more colour than her daughter!" Not surprising, given that confidence increases with age.

    "Theres no doubt that bright shoes are eye-catching and draw attention, and when you wear them it goes to prove youre not afraid to stand out. You could be dressed casually in a basic denim and white t-shirt, but as soon as you put on a bright yellow pair of heels youre ready for anything; a day at work or a party! You lead a colourful life!" concludes Nupur.

    Sporty shoes

    This is pretty straightforward. Always on the go, you lead an active, sporty life. Youd rather walk short distances than take the car! You go girl!

    So there you have it. The next time you get dressed, consider what message youre sending out with your shoes. Choose wisely. Inject some zing into your swing and put those flip flops away!

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    Cancer is a chronic condition and can be emotionally and mentally overwhelming for those diagnosed with it. While timely detection and treatment are critical to combat this disease, there is another aspect of managing cancer - palliative care. Medication, radiation therapy and surgery focus on the curative part of a disease. However, palliative care is given to improve the quality of life by addressing the symptoms in a cancer patient.

    Palliative care starts at the time of diagnosis and continues till the end stages of cancer. It is built around identifying, assessing and treating pain, and the patients physical, psycho-social, and spiritual problems.

    Palliative care entails therapies to alleviate cancer-related symptoms, addressing emotional concerns such as depression and fear; helping the patients and families understand the course of treatment and terminologies; and come to terms with what is ailing them. When integrated with other treatment options, this approach can help cancer patients live longer with acceptance and respond better.

    The aim of this kind of care is to support the patients and their the families when diseases such as cancer do not respond anymore to curative treatment. Not only does it alleviate pain and other symptoms, but also relieves the patient of mental distress.

    There are about 0.3 million cancer deaths in India per year and about 80% of those with this condition get diagnosed only in the last stages. What exacerbates this condition is that most patients may not be able to afford standard and institutionalised treatment.

    This and the fact that many people would be happy to spend the remainder of their lives surrounded by their family indicates that a home-based palliative care is effective for cancer patients.

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    A diet high in fibre, low in fat, particularly animal fat, and the one that includes generous portions of fruits and vegetables is key to preventing cancer. It also minimises or excludes alcohol consumption and nicotine intake.

    Dietary recommendations

    Emphasise on plant-based sources. Eat five or more servings of vegetables and fruits. This food group is not only low in fat and high in fibre, it also contains many cancer-fighting substances.

    Carotenoid, the pigment that gives dark colour to fruits and vegetables, has been proven to prevent cancer. Cabbage, broccoli, sprouts, carrots, yellow-coloured fruits and vegetables and turnip contain flavones and indoles, which have anti-cancer properties.

    Food high in phytoestrogens, particularly soy, or high in precursor compounds, such as grains and vegetables with woody stem that contain lignans, can lower the risk of cancer.

    Vitamin C found in citrus fruits and several vegetables may lower the risk for cancer of oesophagus and stomach. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant neutralising cancer-causing chemicals that form in the body.

    Food preparation

    Studies have shown increased cancer risk posed by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and heterocyclic amines, which are formed when cooking methods like grilling, boiling, barbecuing and smoking are used. These toxic substances are formed during combustion of carbon fuel and hydrolysis of proteins. Research has found mutagenic activity in foods after frying and charcoal broiling. Healthier cooking alternatives for meats include boiling, poaching, steaming, stewing, bracing, baking, microwaving and roasting.

    (The author is HOD - Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital)

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  • 02/01/18--16:52: Little survivors
  • Statistics indicate that one out of eight men today has the possibility of developing cancer in his lifetime (0-74 years). One out of nine women has the possibility to develop cancer in her lifetime (0-74 years).

    Most of us assume that cancer affects only adults. But the truth is a large number of children in India and around the world are also being diagnosed with this disease. What exacerbates the situation is poor awareness and diagnosis of common symptoms such as pain in the joints, fever and headache, due to which, diagnosis and treatment may get delayed, eventually leading to death.

    According to latest findings, about 5% of patients suffering from different types of cancer are below the age of 18 years. Every year, there are about 45,000 new cases of cancer patients under 18 in the country.

    The types

    Cancer in children is different from that in adults, with the most common difference being that in children, it can be completely cured if diagnosed on time. Some of the common types of childhood cancer include the following:

    * Leukaemia: This is the cancer of the bone marrow and blood, and accounts for about 30% of all cancers in children. Symptoms of leukaemia include bone and joint pain, fatigue, weakness, pale skin, bleeding or bruising, fever, and weight loss. It is important to diagnose and treat acute leukaemia at the earliest, as it can grows fast.

    * Brain & spinal cord tumours: These account for about 26% of childhood cancers. Most brain tumours in children start in the lower parts of the brain, such as the cerebellum or brain stem causing headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurred or double vision, dizziness, seizures, trouble walking or handling objects, and other symptoms.

    * Neuroblastoma: This starts early and develops in the nerve cells found in a developing embryo or foetus. Neuroblastomas account for about 6% of childhood cancers and develop in infants and young children. The tumour usually starts in the abdomen as a swelling and can also cause bone pain and fever.

    * Wilms tumour: Also called nephroblastoma, this type of cancer starts in either one or both the kidneys. It is common in children younger than six years of age and can manifest as a swelling or lump in the abdomen. Other symptoms include fever, pain, nausea, or poor appetite.

    * Lymphoma: This type of cancer begins in the immune system cells called lymphocytes. It also affects the bone marrow and other organs. Depending on the location of the cancer, symptoms can include weight loss, fever, sweats, tiredness and lumps under the skin in the neck, armpit or groin.

    * Rhabdomyosarcoma: This can start anywhere including the head and neck, groin, abdomen, pelvis, or in an arm or leg. The symptoms include pain, swelling (a lump), or both. Rhabdomyosarcoma accounts for about 3% of childhood cancers.

    * Retinoblastoma: This occurs in the eye. It is common in children below the age of six. When light is shone in a childs eye, the pupil looks red because of the blood in vessels in the back of the eye.

    * Bone cancer: These start in the bones and account for about 3% of all childhood cancer cases.

    Stay alert

    It is important to look out for the following warning signs. If any of these are recurrent or prevalent, consult a doctor immediately.

    * Eye: A white spot in the eye, new squint, blindness and bulging eyeball

    * Lump: Abdomen and pelvis, head and neck, limbs, testes and glands

    * Unexplained: Fever, loss of weight and appetite, pallor, fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding

    * Aching: Bones, joints, back and easy fractures

    * Neurological signs: Change in behaviour, balance, gait and milestones, headache, enlarging head

    Causes & risk factors

    Although the causes for childhood cancers are mostly unknown, a lot of them may be due to genetic mutation. These lead to uncontrolled cell growth and eventually cancer. It is difficult to point at one particular factor as cancer is a rare condition in children. This is also because, one may be unsure of what a child may have been exposed to during the developmental phase. About 5% of all cancers in children are caused by an inherited mutation.

    Childhood cancer is curable if it is diagnosed early and treated. Additionally, good hygiene and balanced nutrition are also important.

    (The author is an oncologist at Lybrate Platform)

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  • 02/01/18--16:54: Battling the big 'C'
  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are on the rise today. Statistics indicate that NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer are leading causes of mortality globally and responsible for about 70% of deaths worldwide.

    Some of the factors responsible for this are an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle, exposure to high levels of pollution and various co-morbid conditions. The incidence of cancer-related deaths is particularly on an upward swing. Studies have indicated that as many as 10 lakh new cancer cases are added to Indias patient pool every year. About 7 lakh people die of the disease and its complications. It is expected that there will be 17.8 lakh cases of cancer in India by 2020.

    Cancer is a collection of related diseases caused due to an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body, which eventually form a tumour. Such tumours could be benign (which do not spread into, or invade, nearby tissues) or malignant (those that invade nearby tissues). However, it is possible for an individual with cancer to lead a healthy life if diagnosed in the early stages.

    Of the various kinds of cancer, the ones that affect the breast, cervix, prostate and bladder have increased in incidence and women are likely to precede men. The answer to preventing and detecting these cases is regular health check-ups and making some necessary lifestyle changes. Periodic health check-ups can go a long way in detecting any early warning signs of a developing tumour. Some examples of such tests include a simple complete blood count (CBC), mammogram, pap smears, and other annual checks. Results such as a higher white blood cell count in successive blood tests or blood in stool can indicate some underlying health condition.

    Lets take a look at prevention and early detection of various types of cancers:

    Breast cancer

    This is one of the most common types of cancer among women. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, about 1.5 lakh new cases of breast cancer were registered in 2016. The most important screening test for breast cancer is the mammogram or an X-ray of the breast. This test can help in the detection of cancer even two years before its diagnosis by a doctor. Women who are above the age of 40 or have any of the risk factors for breast cancer should get a mammogram done once in a year.

    Cervical cancer

    This is the most common cancer among women, second to breast cancer. Cervical cancer causes about 67,477 deaths in Indian women every year. This type of cancer can be detected using the pap test (or pap smear) and the HPV (human papillomavirus) test. These can help in detecting a pre-cancer symptom and thus facilitate early treatment to stop the cancer from developing at all. A yearly pap test is recommended for women above the age of 30. An HPV test can be done on the same sample of cells collected from the pap test.

    Prostate cancer

    Prostate cancer is the third leading cancer in Indian men after lung and mouth cancers and accounts for 7% of all cancers. Estimates suggest that this incidence is expected to rise rapidly by the year 2020. Two of the most common screening tests for prostate cancer are the digital rectal exam and the prostate-specific antigen test. Men over 50, with symptoms of lower urinary tract infection, should go for annual PSA testing. Urinary infections, frequent urination, retention of urine, incontinence and even erectile dysfunction are all symptoms of prostate cancer.

    Bladder cancer

    Nearly 50% of all bladder cancer cases are due to smoking. This cancer affects about 330,000 people globally every year. Some tests that can help in the early detection of bladder cancer include cystoscopy, biopsy, urine cytology and urinalysis. Men with certain risk factors and those who smoke should get these tests done on an yearly basis for timely detection.

    What else can you do?

    While the thought, "it could be me next", is scary, what is scarier is not getting preventive health check-ups done on a regular basis. These tests can help in the timely detection and prevention of not just cancer, but also various other health problems. It is also imperative to make certain changes to ones lifestyle. Some of them are as follows:

    Quit smoking and drinking immediately particularly if you have any risk factors associated with cancer.

    Filter tap water properly, as this can reduce the exposure to possible carcinogens such as lead or other chemicals.

    Get vaccinated in a timely manner. For example, the HPV vaccine can help in preventing cervical cancer.

    Drink plenty of water, as this can flush out toxins from the body and dilute the concentration of cancer-causing agents in urine. This is especially true for bladder cancer.

    Consume a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and help in prevention of many chronic conditions.

    In conclusion

    A healthy lifestyle and regular screening are the two pillars of combating the onset of cancer. Awareness of the signs and symptoms of various kinds of cancer is also a must. All these can go a long way in reducing the number of cancer cases and related deaths in the country.

    (The author is head of the Clinical Advisory Board, healthi)

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  • 02/01/18--16:58: Fit n fab
  • Q: I am 22 years old and I weigh 120 kg. I love binge eating and I end up consuming oily food most of the time. I try and make up for the overindulgence by exercising on alternate days and walking for at least an hour. Can you please suggest a fitness routine that will motivate me to stick to it? - Mehul P

    If your goal is weight loss, then you must say goodbye to the kind of food you have been eating, and exercise six days a week. A fitness routine that will motivate you would be the one that you enjoy the most. For instance, if zumba is what you love doing because its dance, its fun, stick to just that, and walking for a month. Here are three must-dos:

    * Mix your workouts to achieve your goal faster.

    * Do 3 to 4 days of cardio, 2 to 3 days of weight training, and 1 day of yoga for sure.

    * Eating healthy is a must. Have one cheat-meal a week to satiate all your cravings, but the rest of the time, it HAS to be healthy food.

    Q: I am a 52-year-old slim man suffering from type 2 diabetes. My current weight is 68 kg. I wish to build my muscle mass. What kind of workout
    routine should I follow to bulk up a little?
    - Shekar R A

    Before you start your fitness regime, please consult your doctor and get a list of dos and donts. Always carry a small carbohydrate snack, like a fruit, in case your blood sugar drops. Strength-train twice a week and then you can gradually increase the frequency. Lift weights or do body weight exercises. This will also control your blood sugar. To build muscle mass, you can weight-train. If you lose muscle mass, you will have a hard time maintaining your blood sugar. So, do deadlifts, back squats, front squats, bench press, push ups, pull ups. Please do all these exercises under supervision.

    Q: I am a 30-year-old new mother and my baby is just two months old. Although I havent been too keen on exercising before and during my pregnancy, I want to go in for a post-pregnancy fitness programme that can help me shed the excess weight that I have gained during this time. Can you suggest a routine that is fun? - Naisha R

    Congratulations on motherhood! If you werent active during your pregnancy, or tapered off your fitness routine as the weeks went on, check with your doctor before you begin. If you had a C-section, check with your doctor first and expect to wait until you recover from your operation before beginning.

    Normally, it takes around six months before you can start. However, walking at an easy pace is encouraged because it promotes healing and helps prevent blood clots and other complications.

    Water-based activity is also safe, else some simple stretches will suffice. After six months, you can start yoga or zumba-like activities and then gradually start weight-training.

    Fitness expert Shwetambari Shetty specialises in zumba, cross-fit, functional and kettlebell exercises.

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  • 02/01/18--17:00: Dads with a difference
  • A few days ago, New Zealands Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced she is pregnant with her first child and her husband Clarke Gayford, an avid fisherman and host of a TV show on fish, will be a stay-at-home dad. Mr Gayford stood next to her looking mighty chuffed about it all.

    And why shouldnt he be. In this era of #metoo campaigns, women solidarity marches and the constant tumbling out of dirty secrets from famous mens closets, they looked like the perfect poster couple of the future - the happy stay-at-home dad and his happier leader-wife.

    Not picture-perfect always

    But being a stay-at-home dad is not always as dreamy as the photo of the New Zealand power couple projects it to be; though it is heartening to see the trend picking up, not just in highly developed societies, but also in much less advanced countries such as India. Unlike in the West, there are no real statistics here about such fathers despite it being a legitimate phenomenon, albeit a slow-rising one.

    It is not too difficult though to fathom why dads staying at home while moms go out to work looks much more doable today. As jobs (and office cultures) have become more flexible and women are keener to etch out an independent life with a solid career, it is somewhat inevitable to treat child rearing as a shared venture. This not just means one partner being physically present for the child always, but also involves the equal division of household chores - often, a sorer point of contention than changing nappies.

    Role switch

    All change comes with its own conflicts and this switch in traditional gender roles is no exception.

    Stay-at-home dads (SAHDs) arguably have an even deeper mire to wade through than their female counterparts. If stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) have to deal with being asked what do you do all day and many other such ugly questions, SAHDs have to battle suspicions of living on their wives income, being somehow less masculine, or worse, generally being good-for-nothing sloths. Author and stand-up comedian Suman Kumar says in a system that believes a job is something that you do in an office, theres no point in yelling from rooftops about dreams. "People love conformity, and really, thank God for that. But the occasional bro, I wish I had your life!, So lucky! does irritate. But I have learnt to never be bothered by people," he says.

    Suman became a SAHD when his doctor-wife wanted to pursue her super-specialisation in Endocrinology in Kolkata. This was in 2011 and his daughter was then two years old. The family moved to Kolkata and Suman quit his IT job and started writing his book, a dream he had been nurturing from long. Comedy came later, after they moved back to Bengaluru, by which time Suman had successfully seen through what it really means to constantly be on call for a little person, battle the insecurities of not getting a regular salary and keep his relationship with his wife smooth. "The most difficult part of being a SAHD for me was getting over the addiction of the pay check. But on the brighter side, I got the best seat in the room to watch my little girl grow up," he says. He adds being a SAHD has taught him to appreciate and respect women more. "We actually ought to write about how SAHMs are the real heroes!"

    Tough but rewarding

    But child-rearing is a job that does not discriminate. It will continue to be a constant whirl of feeding-changing-washing-singing-cleaning-soothing-crying-sleeping-rinsing-repeating, irrespective of gender. As Rohit Nair says, the transition isnt easy by any stretch of imagination, but the rewards are many. "It is the oldest cliché but a childs joy in little things is infectious; I find immense pleasure in teaching my boy Rudra small stuff like hanging upside down like a monkey or spinning a new story during story time - every day is a new experience," he says.

    Allan Jorgensen agrees. An IT support consultant and a Danish national, Allan has been working out of his home in Aarhus in Denmark while also being a stay-at-home dad to his two boys. In Scandinavian countries like Denmark, being a SAHD today is nearly par for the course; as Allan puts it, it is now "quite normal". Apart from the difficulty of concentrating at home while the kids are around, Allan believes being there for the kids greatly helps in their development. "Both parents always have to help out equally with the kids and being a SAHD is the best way for dads to realise that," he says.

    For Rohit, becoming a SAHD was more out of need than choice. An experienced HR professional, Rohit had just relocated to Bengaluru from Pune and finding a nanny was proving to be difficult. His son was only three at the time and since his wife had just joined a new job, Rohit decided to stay at home as a temporary arrangement, while he looked for a new job for himself. But unexpected turn of events meant he extended his stint - something Rohit does not regret at all. But about managing the household and the child, Rohit has this to say: "Being at home full time is far different from what one imagines - your time is built around your kids schedule and no matter how much you love them, they will drive you nuts!" He advises would-be SAHDs to be open to picking up skills related to caregiving and spending a large part of the day dominated by the world view of a child, rather than that of an adult.

    Keeping it natural

    Rohit got his share of adverse reactions from friends and well-wishers. His father was especially worried that he might not be able to return to a full-time career - this particular fear was not unfounded. "When I was ready to get back to work, I had people tell me what I was doing was good and different, but they were not sure if I would culturally fit for their organisation. But perceptions are changing and there are organisations that dont judge people for their parenting choices," he says. Another funny but real hurdle Rohit faced as a SAHD was breaking into mommy circles in kids hobby classes or even at the local park. "Women are often suspicious of my motives - they doubt whether I want to set a play date or ask them out!" he chuckles.

    Children though, as long as the parents dont make a big deal out of it, get used to anything quickly. Suman says, quite like the insightful comedian he is, that no matter what, children have a stronger bond with their mothers while Rohit believes his son Rudra understood that his parents shared responsibilities as well as household work and it was, after all, quite cool. "For Rudra, it was all quite natural and if he does grow up into a well-adjusted respectful young man, I hope I can claim some credit for it," jokes Rohit. In a more serious tone, he says if we expect our kids to grow up to be fair, honest and open-minded adults, we have to show them how instead of lecturing them about it.

    Perhaps this is indeed the best bit about SAHDs. Parenting is already the hardest job in the world and navigating through established narratives and gender stereotypes in these changing times, makes it only more demanding. But by being a SAHD, if fathers can show, not tell their children, what could indeed be better than that!

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  • 02/01/18--16:32: Oh so corny!

    Ingredients: A cup of maize flour; 1 tsp of cumin; salt to taste; 1 green chilli chopped fine; chopped coriander leaves; half cup of dil/methi/palak/mint chopped fine; 1 tbsp of coconut gratings and oil for shallow frying.

    Method: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and add sufficient hot water. Stir and leave for about 5 minutes. Knead this into a soft dough. Divide into 6 to 10 portions and roll out the rotis and shallow fry on a tawa on both the sides, till brown. Serve with a dash of ghee or a blob of butter and any chutney or tomato sauce.


    Ingredients: One cup of maize sooji; 1 cup of mixed vegetables (cubed/boiled beans, carrot, cauliflower, potato peas, etc); 1 finely chopped onion; 1 finely chopped green chilli; a sprig of curry leaves; juice of a lime and salt to taste; 1 tbsp of sambhar powder; 2 tbsps of coconut gratings; chopped coriander leaves and 2 tbsps of crushed cornflakes for garnish. For seasoning, 3 tbsps of oil; 1 tsp of mustard seeds, 1 tsp of urad and gram dal; pieces of cashewnuts and a pinch of asafoetida.

    Method: Heat oil in a pan and add the seasoning ingredients. Once they start sputtering, add onion and sauté till light brown. Add sooji and fry till light brown. Add salt and 3 ½ cups of hot water and cook till the sooji softens and has absorbed all the water. Now add the boiled vegetables and cook for a few minutes. Add coconut gratings, lime juice and sambhar powder. Mix well and cook for a minute more. Serve hot with a dollop of ghee and a garnish of crushed cornflakes and coriander leaves.


    Ingredients: A cup of maize flour; 1 cup of coconut gratings; 1 cup of sugar; ½ cup of crushed pedas; 3 tbsps of ghee and ½ tsp of cardamom powder.

    Method: Heat ghee in a pan and fry the flour till it turns light brown and keep aside. Mix sugar, coconut gratings and pedas and cook till well blended. Add the fried flour and mix well. Cook till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Add cardamom powder, mix well and pour on a plate. Cut into desired shape, when still warm; then store when cool.


    Ingredients: A cup of tender sweet corn kernels; salt and lime juice to taste; 1 tbsp of coconut gratings; 1 tbsp of pomegranate seeds and 1 tbsp of carrot gratings. For seasoning, 1 tsp of oil; 1 tsp of mustard seeds; ½ tsp of tomato and chopped coriander leaves.

    Method: Blanch the kernels. Mix them with the rest of the ingredients, except tomato. Season with mustard seeds. Cut the tomatoes either vertically or horizontally into two. Scoop out the pulp to get dry cups. Fill the cups with corn stuffing; garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

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  • 02/01/18--16:34: Tales from a teppan
  • Twirling whole raw egg on a narrow steel spatula seems pretty dim-witted. Doing it on a 1,068 ft long, 146,566-tonne ship sailing on the Baltic Sea is absolute barmy. But in the Teppanyaki restaurant of Norwegian Getaway cruise liner, chef Jackson S Punu was juggling three eggs with a spatula in one hand and a cooking fork in another.

    Chef Punu was dangerously agile, threw one egg into his red hat and pulled out a mechanical hen chick out of the hat. Sailing on an eight-day Copenhagen-Berlin-Tallinn-St Petersburg-Helsinki-Stockholm cruise, I was not plonked on a table watching magic. Chef Punu was doing what Teppanyaki chefs do best - grill/broil on an iron plate. With a hint of drama.

    Magical griddle

    Derived from the Japanese word teppan (iron plate) and yaki (grilled, boiled or pan fried), teppankayi was born in Japan in 1945 when Japanese restaurant chain Misono introduced the concept of cooking Western-influenced food on a teppan. With a solid griddle-type cooking surface, the teppanyaki is more suitable for smaller ingredients, such as rice, egg, and finely chopped vegetables. The teppan is different from a traditional Japanese hibachi barbecue grill that has an open-grate design. Due to its small size, hibachi is popular as a portable barbecue, sometimes even used on the dining table.

    The Japanese cooking methods vary from one region to another. However, it can be mainly categorised into agemono (fried food, e.g., tempura); mushimono (steamed food, e.g., chawan mushi, an egg custard containing chicken and vegetables); kimono (boiled food, e.g., shabu shabu, a one-pot tabletop cookery in which the ingredients are simmered in a lightly seasoned broth); yakimomo (broiled food, e.g., yakitori, teriyaki and teppanyaki).

    "For teppenyaki, the teppans temperature is set according to the ingredients cooked. Chicken is cooked at a higher temperature than seafood, while the temperature for vegetables hovers around 140 °C," says Tyson Pinto, executive chef of Norwegian Getaway cruise liner that serves nearly 25,000 meals a day. In the Wasabi restaurant, Tyson rustles another Japanese favourite, the yakitori (skewered chicken), in which bite-size chicken or vegetables pieces are marinated overnight in ginger, garlic, soy sauce, grilled and then slathered with sweet teriyaki sauce. Typical ingredients used for Western-style teppanyaki are beef, shrimp, scallops, lobster, chicken, and assorted vegetables. Soybean oil is usually used as the cooking medium. In Japanese-style teppanyaki, noodles (yakisoba) or cabbage with sliced meat or seafood (okonomiyaki) is also used.

    Historical influences

    Jingisukan is a grilled mutton dish prepared on a convex metal skillet. Gourmand believe that it borrows its name from Genghis Khan - in pre-war Japan, lamb was thought to be the meat of choice among Mongolian soldiers and the convex skillet is meant to represent the helmet of the soldiers.

    While chef Pinto ladled the tricks of making the perfect yakitori at home, chef Punu broke a few eggs on the teppan, scrambled and browned them into an omelette, tossed a handful of garlic butter, a bowl of boiled rice and cooked them all into a scrumptious plate of fried rice. Then he diced steak on the griddle and served it medium rare. Soon the entire Teppanyaki restaurant was resonating with the rhythm of spatulas and the sizzle of egg yolks turning brown on teppan. On the Baltic Sea, the teppanyaki was served best.

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  • 02/01/18--16:38: Give facials a miss!
  • A facial is something most of us have enjoyed at some point in our lives. The reasons for getting a facial can be multiple, either to prepare for a special occasion or to help fight stubborn blackheads. It can also be to retain the vibrancy of youthful skin or as an anti-ageing regime. Whatever the reason, it is an occasion to relax and be pampered. However, the problem most of us face is that we cannot do it as often as we would like - were always restricted by time, money or other responsibilities.

    What if there was a comprehensive solution that does not require frequent visits to the beauty salon? Today, we have more than 90 essential oils, each with its own unique efficacy. Whatever your concerns are, there is an essential oil that is just right for you and when blended with the right carrier oils, the possibilities become exponential to suit every need.

    Heres how you can incorporate essential oils into your daily facial regime:

    During the day

    * Cleanse: Begin the day with an organic natural cleanser. For normal skin, a foaming cleanser with lavender or tea tree essential oils will help revive your skin. Dry skin requires a mild cleansing lotion, with a few drops of chamomile or sandalwood essential oils that lubricate the skin to make it plump and supple. For oily skin, a cleansing gel is the best option combined with neem, cypress or peppermint essential oils. These oils will balance the skin without stimulating the glands that produce more oil.

    * Tone: Use an alcohol-free toner that has essential oils such as jasmine or geranium for cutting the excess oil from the skin for the oily skin and for dry skin, look out for myrrh, patchouli or rosemary essential oils for firmness, toning and reducing fine lines.

    * Moisturise: Use a natural moisturiser with different combinations of essential oils, depending on your skin type. Organic shea butter with myrrh or cedarwood essential oil would work wonders for dry skin and help retain the moisture. People with oily or combination skin can use a moisturiser that is oil-free such as an aloe vera gel. A few drops of blueberry or orange essential oil in the gel will give it a protective layer to prevent water loss and keep the skins vibrancy intact.

    For the night

    * Cleanse: Cleansing the skin to remove dirt, impurities, make-up and excess oil that gets accumulated on the face during the day, is a must. Missing out on this can lead to clogging of pores and accumulation of dead skin that also results in the occurrence of black heads.

    * Moisturise: Moisturising is equally important as cleansing. Use the moisturiser as the one used during the day, depending on the skin type. Using a moisturiser closes the open pores and the skin feels rejuvenated.

    * Face oils or serums: Applying a face oil or serum at night allows the oils to seep deep into the skin and get completely absorbed to protect, renew or repair the skin cells. For dry skin, serums and facial oils are better for the night use as it penetrates better into the skin.

    Oils to look out for are evening primrose oil, rosehip seed, or kukui nut oil combined with carrier oils such as jojoba, almond or argan oil. These are high in anti-oxidants that protect the skin from collagen damage in the night.

    For combination skin, face oils work wonders. Lavender, orange, bergamot and geranium essential oils, to name a few, combined with hemp seed oil or almond oil work effectively to restore and regenerate fresh cells for a smoother complexion.

    Essential oils can also clear acne-prone skin, blemishes, ageing skin, dark circles, eczema, blackheads and the like. Including essential oils in your daily regime is not only fun and innovative, but also makes it personalised. No more desperate waiting for the monthly facials to look youthful and vibrant.

    (The author is co-founder, Naturma)

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  • 02/01/18--22:50: 'Governance is an art'
  • Upendra rewrote the grammar of Kannada cinema with his high-voltage movies like A and Upendra. He is now out to do the same in politics, launching a party and vowing to work for the people.

    His latest tweet, PRAJAAKEEYA is art of governance which is accountability, responsibility and transparency, is grabbing eyeballs. Asked to elaborate on his tweet, Upendra says, "Governance is an art. I would like to work towards bringing in more accountability, responsibility and transparency into my style of governance. And going about achieving this is an art in itself."

    His tweet has caught the fancy of a lot of people and the actor has also invited his fans and followers to share their thoughts and put forward their suggestions on it. However, Upendra feels that it is impossible to radically overhaul the existing system but wishes to bring in modifications. "The responsibility has to start trickling down from the top. If the leader is accountable, responsible and transparent, then the people will follow suit," he says.

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    Theres really no role that actor Sunder Raj hasnt played in his three-decade-long career. The actor has proved through his films like Ondu Muttina Kathe, Kaliyuga, Mathadana and most recently Aatagara and Liftman that he is capable of taking up roles that are dramatically different.

    The actor, who recently celebrated his 67th birthday, confesses that he yearns to work on roles that are different from what he has played before.

    "Whenever my birthday arrives, I turn into an excited child because I have so many people calling me on that day. My teachers, schoolmates and my siblings come together to make the day very special for me. Every birthday, I remember how hard my parents have struggled to help me get to where I am today. I am grateful to my parents for their support, blessings and encouragement," says Sunder Raj.

    Ask him what contributes to his humility and he is quick to reply, "It is certainly my upbringing. My parents have always led a simple life and never yearned to have more than what they already do. This is something that they have passed to their children. My father always taught me that people become rich not by making more money but by lifes experiences," adds Sunder.

    Looking at his journey so far, Sunder, says that he is fortunate to have worked in some interesting projects. Drawing a parallel between cinema during his time and now, he says, "When it came to fashion in films we had actors who wore bell-bottoms and sported sideburns. Todays actors try to reflect lifestyle and experiences as it exists in modern times. There is a lot of difference between the work culture of today and what existed back in our time," he says.

    He also feels films of today try to weave in themes that are relevant to present times. "Issues like environmental conservation, the citys changing landscape which has led to the disappearance of playgrounds and open spaces find place in the films of today," he adds.

    Sharing his thoughts on the young breed of actors of today, Sunder, says, "The young actors of today are smart, committed and know exactly what to deliver. They are aware and have a clear understanding of what comprises filmmaking."

    When asked what kind of films he would like to work on now, Sunder, says "I would like to explore themes and subjects that affect a large section of society. I would like to focus on subjects that touch the lives of a lot of people," he adds.

    On acting with his daughter Meghana Raj, Sunder, says that it has always been a pleasure to work with her. "My daughter is far more intelligent than I am and she has an in-depth knowledge of what goes on behind the camera and in front of it," he sums up.

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