Tuesday, May 25, 2010

TRACK-ing it young!

DJ Prithvi, at the age of 12, is probably the youngest professional DJ in the country. He rocked the city audience on Saturday

His remix of the popular song Jai Ho has seen 14,000 plus downloads in 10 months! He made a world record gig for three hours and five minutes non-stop, mixing more than 100 songs. He is no ordinary DJ because Sai Prithvi, known as DJ Prithvi in the party circuit claims to be India's youngest DJ at the age of 12.

DJ Prithvi hails from Hyderabad and is going places, literally, as he is on an all-India tour. He performed on Saturday night at a city club and restaurant. The funds generated from his performances will go towards the betterment of the mentally challenged children. "I started DJing when I was 10 years old. I have learnt this art from DJ Ananth, a famous DJ based in Hyderabad," says Prithvi. The youngster has just passed his Std VII exams with flying colours, scoring 80% marks. "I generally perform only on weekends and find time in the morning to study," he says with a smile.

Music is his passion and Prithvi likes Bollywood house, hip hop and trance music. "I like playing Bollywood house music. I like bhangra too. People are curious about me and they like my music," he says. On this all-India tour, which started on May 8, he has performed in cities such as Chandigarh, Bangalore and Pune and will be performing in Mumbai, Chennai, Goa, Kolkata and Cochin.

"I will be on this all-India tour till my school starts. My parents and school authorities are very supportive. I generally have to perform late nights starting at 10pm. So my school timings are managed accordingly," he says. Earlier, Prithvi has toured the country to generate funds for the people affected with HIV/AIDS.

Marvels in marble!

The latest feather in sculptor and painter GL Narayan's cap is designing a Ganesh idol for Mukesh Ambani's dream home at Altamount Road in Mumbai

As a child, clay always fascinated GL Narayan, a sculptor and painter. He would go to the banks of a nallah, when in school and make figures out of it. From making small clay figures to making Ganesh idols in marble and exhibiting them all over the world, this 76-year old sculptor has surely carved a niche for himself.

But one of his best experiences till date would have to be a request to sculpt a five ft eight inches tall Ganesh idol for Mukesh Ambani's new home in Altamount Road in Mumbai. Talking about it, he says, "My friend and interior designer Varsha Desai approached me to do the project for the Ambanis. My other friend Malvika was also instrumental in introducing me to the Ambanis." The Ganesh idol is made from Makrana white marble and weighs over seven tonnes. "I used to go to Jaipur to work on the marble and the idol was done in around six months," says Narayan.

"As a child I would make clay figurines for a film-maker in my hometown Jeypore in Orissa and he would give me free movie tickets in return. The then Maharaja of Orissa, Vikram Dev Varma also appreciated my art and I was the first student in his art school," he says. He came to Mumbai in the 1950s to pursue arts and sculpture from the JJ School or Arts. "I used to do odd jobs at the film studios in Mumbai to fund my stay in Mumbai," says Narayan, a gold medalist at the JJ School of Arts.

He has sculpted figurines using clay, terracotta and bronze. But marble fascinated him the most. "I have been making marble Ganesh since the 1980s but I have stopped making them now, excepting the one for Ambanis. I am now focusing on my pictoral book titled Understanding Mahabharata," says Narayan, whose works have been bought by eminent personalities such as Indira Gandhi and Zakir Hussain. He has exhibited his work all over the country and abroad too. He was honoured in San Jose, USA by the North America Telugu Association.

He has studied astrology extensively. "I chose making Ganesh idols as he symbolises prosperity and wisdom. The idol which I have made for the Ambanis has an omkar in his stomach which represents that the lord is the saviour of the earth and its beings," he says.

Narayan made Pune his home ten years back after staying for over 30 years in Mumbai. "Life in Mumbai was becoming miserable due to the crowd and chaos. In Pune I found peace and tranquility. I can cook, paint and live in peace here," says Narayan.

Something for the winged variety

Vishwajeet Naik has set a perfect example by putting up water feeders for thirsty birds in his garden. As many as 16 varieties of birds visit his garden now

The mercury is rising like never before. While we humans might sit under the fan and sip on some juice, our winged friends have to suffer the sun helplessly.

Birds feel very thirsty due to the heat and their options of water such as the dew drops or ponds and streams of clear water are scarcely available in a city like Pune. Water feeders, which can be installed in a balcony or a garden, can act as a saviour for these thirsty birds. Vishwajeet Naik--a wildlife photographer and a painter has installed six such water feeders in his one and half acre garden at his residence in Camp.

"Every bird has a specific timing for drinking water or visiting a water-body," says Naik, who has also installed over 200 artificial boxes for the birds. He adds that the Indian myna visits the water-body all over the day, while pigeons flock around in the evening and the kites come around in the afternoon. "Small birds generally drink the water drops on the leaves of trees. Birds such as the tailor bird, Ashy Prinae, sun bird, white eye and bul bul come to my garden to drink water," says Naik, who has taken guidance regarding birds from his father and well-known ornithologist Satyasheel Naik.

Naik advises the use of a one to one-and-a-half inch deep tray made of cement to be used as a water feeder. "Birds not only come to drink water but also to have a bath. So the feeder should be deep enough," he says. He says that the water should be changed preferably everyday or at least three times a week.

"People who want to create such a facility for birds in their balconies can use saucers to store water," he says. The water feeders at the Naiks' residence have been made of mud with lotus and gappi fish in it. "White breasted kingfishers also flock my garden due to the fish," he says.

"During summer, many birds have their breeding season, so these boxes help in nesting and breeding," says Naik adding that the artificial boxes in his garden have seen 70 per cent occupancy.

(Pic courtesy: Vishwajeet Naik)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Time to hit the panic button

Taking up hobbies and making 'real' friends are the solutions to let go the addiction to social networking sites

From just pinging your friends online to being a part of e-campaigns to playing network games, the social networking sites have come a long way. Posting and commenting on pictures and status messages, is a common feature. But what if the dependency on these sites gets a bit too much and the only person who can help you out is a shrink?

Psychiatrist, Dr Suparna Telang says that many people look at such sites as an escape mechanism from the real world they live in. "First, people get curious about these sites, then they enjoy the variety of interaction they have to offer and subsequently, get dependent on these," she says. She adds that getting addicted to these sites is a sign that the person is not satisfied with his/her daily work and family life and doesn't have good friends to share stuff with.

Priyam Kabra, 26, a brand manager, was addicted to the popular social networking sites- Facebook and Orkut. "I would scrap my friends, update my statuses and comment on photos everyday. I had started liking my online life," she says. But when the sites were blocked in her office, she used to feel depressed at the thought of not being able to network online. "I used to feel depressed and left out when my friends would discuss Facebook. It took a few weeks to realise that it was good in a way, as my dependency on these sites lessened," says Priyam, who has stopped 'Facebooking' now.

Telang says that it can be considered as a good sign when people who are addicted to these sites, themselves decide to give them up. "Any type of emotional dependence is not good. One needs to nurture 'real' friends and take up worthwhile hobbies," she says. In case of Chanda Paliwal, 23, a housewife, pressure from the friends' side made her join Orkut. "I got hooked to it in no time. But then, I decided to keep away from Orkut and instead started calling up and meeting my friends," says Chanda, who originally hails from Rajasthan and now believes in calling up friends.

"If one is happy with his/her family and friends, there is no need for such crutches," says Dr Telang.

Myths about potatoes busted

Stop munching those potato fries, and start consuming them in boiled and baked form

Potato has always been tagged as the most 'fattening' food item on the plate and for years, there has been a misconception that potatoes make one fat. But studies have shown that it is not potato the villain, but the way we prepare it, which determines whether it is fattening or not.

Having carried out a revealing research, Suman Kumar Pandey, director of the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) in Shimla informs, "It is believed that potatoes are fattening, but in reality, potatoes contain less than 0.1% fat and are cholesterol free." He adds that potato absorbs considerable quantity of fat while frying. It is this added fat that could cause obesity if consumed in large quantities. Therefore, by itself, potato is not a fattening vegetable, however, preparing and serving potatoes with high-fat ingredients raises the caloric value of the dish.

Potato is a low energy food. It is not an outstanding source of energy, but is a very good source of high quality protein. "If potatoes are consumed in good quantity and on a regular basis, they could contribute considerably to our dietary fibre intake," says Pandey. Important minerals and trace elements such as phosphorus and iron are present in potato.

City-based clinical nutritionist and dietician, Aarati Pillai says, "Potatoes are a good source of starch. Boiled potatoes have enough starch and energy that is present in two chapattis." Instead of having fried potatoes in the diet, boiled and roasted potatoes should be included. "The intake of potatoes should be balanced with other vegetables," she says.

Pillai suggests that chopped potatoes if soaked in water for sometime and then baked in oven, sprinkled with salt and pepper can make a healthy mid-day snack. When on a fast, instead of frying potatoes, they can be boiled and sprinkled with masala and eaten with chutney. Potatoes can be added in a vegetable salad alongwith curd, honey, salt and pepper.

"Potatoes are also one of the best-tolerated foods in the world, which is good news for many people who suffer from food-related allergies," says Pandey.

So now while cooking, don't freak out at the mention of potato, but instead, prepare it in a healthier way.