Friday, September 25, 2009

Lakme Faces through the years Rekha Ash

Rekha, Ash, Bips, Lisa: Faces of Lakme through the years
Dozens of women have endorsed Lakme over the years. But some have stayed with us for the longest time. We look at 13 such women who have defined what beauty stood for and reflected the evolving desires of India.

Lakme was first established by the Tatas on the request of Jawaharlal Nehru, who was concerned with Indian women spending foreign exchange on beauty products. So it wasn't surprising that the classy and urbane Rekha became the face of a company that primarily catered to the elite class of the country. We are told that the ad, which was designed by daCunha Associates, catches Rekha at a moment when she was on the threshold of superstardom but not entirely there.

Sonu Walia
At 5'7" Sonu Walia was perhaps the obvious choice to become Lakme's fresh new face of the early '80s. The sexy Miss India was featured in many Lakme commercials even as the brand itself was slowly but surely exploring newer markets.Walia showed off her shapely legs in Lakme's cold wax print ad on the one hand and became the girl-next-door in their lip gloss campaign on the other. Clearly, India's rising middle class was growing to prominence and could not be ignored.

Shyamolie Verma
As the '80s progressed there was a clear need to dispel the myths that surrounded make-up and cosmetics so as to make the Indian middle class use the products. The idea was to tell them that there was no harm in using beauty products. The campaign featuring Shyamolie Verma did just that. Educating consumers and encouraging them to use makeup was the call of the day.Outside of being a Lakme girl Shyamolie created some ripples when she starred in Mira Nair's controversial film Kama Sutra. She also appeared in another film called Rog that starred Slumdog Millionaire actor Irrfan Khan. Ironically, that too ran into a good deal of controversy because of its posters.

Aishwarya Rai
And then came the '90s. The Liberalisation Programme opened up the markets. That's when the brand picked Aishwarya Rai as their new model. Indeed, times were changing and Ash, who went on to become Miss World became synonymous with modern India and its changing aspirations.It would be awhile before she would create some dent at the box office, but the young star was already creating waves in the ad world. Aishwarya also appealed to the new and discerning consumer who was getting exposed to a wide range of international products.

Bipasha Basu
Her dusky complexion notwithstanding, the Bong beauty was next in line. For a culture obsessed with fairness, Bipasha must've come across as an unlikely model. But a close look at the pictures will reveal that she isn't as dusky in these pictures.

Akanksha Mathur-Nanda
Our first thought on looking at these pictures was: "Hey this looks like Sonam Kapoor!" Akanksha Mathur may not be a face that many of us remember. Hell, she even disappeared soon after her successful Lakme ad commercial. Apparently the model got married and has settled for a quiet life, but makes her presence felt from time to time at social events.

Laila Rouass
Laila Rouass became the face of the Lakme in the late '90s. It was also the time when Indian diaspora had begun to find its voice in films and literature. Born in England to Moroccan-Indian parents, Laila Rouass was perhaps the ideal face that represented the crossover generation. Rouass, who is a known celebrity in the British television circuit these days has also acted in the television adaptation of Meera Syal's book Life Isn't all Ha Ha He He.

Lisa Ray and Yana Gupta
With international brands like Revlon, Maybelline and L'Oreal among others crowding the market, out went the Indian girls and in came the firangs. Yana Gupta and Lisa Ray became the faces of Lakme.Meanwhile, the perception of beauty was also changing. It was no longer about just looking good but looking healthy. Yana, for instance, endorsed a vitamin-enriched lipstick. Traditional parameters of beauty were changing too and Lisa Ray with her strong personality and chutzpah became the face of a generation that genuinely believed that beauty wasn't just skin deep.

Raima Sen and Katrina Kaif
With an increasing emphasis on celebrity endorsements in the first decade of the new millennium, Lakme decided to hop on the bandwagon. Raima Sen and Katrina Kaif became the new faces and stayed on for some time. But sooner rather than later, Lakme was to return to non-Bollywood entities.

Indrani Dasgupta
Indrani, we are told, had been a Lakme girl for quite some time. But it wasn't until a few years ago that we saw her being plastered all over the town and countryside. With her chiselled looks and oh-my-gosh vital stats, Indrani Dasgupta became the hot 'new face' to look forward to.

Amrit Maghera
Amrit came to the Indian shores only a couple of years ago. She featured alongside Indrani in some commercials but has also done a few on her own. Her father is English-Scot and her mother Indian. She has currently taken over hosting After Hrs, a prominent lifestyle TV show from model Nina Manuel.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tips to Make Wedding Guest List

Next to the seating chart, the guest list is a little detail most brides wish they could just snap their fingers and create out of thin air. Unfortunately, the guest list is something that you and your fiance will pour over, double check at least six times, and spend hours compiling addresses and head counts just to make sure that it's exactly right. You don't want to offend your great-aunt Sophie because she didn't get an invite, and with such limited space, you really don't feel obligated to invite your fiance's kindergarten teacher, but how do you accomplish creating the perfect guest list without offending anyone or leaving anyone out? Let these seven tips be your guide!

1.) Decide on the size of wedding you want to have. You will have to take into consideration the size of your venue for your ceremony and for your reception, as well as, how much you want to spend on food for your guests. If your unsure of how much of your budget will be going to food, perhaps you should book your caterer and select a cake to get an idea of the cost before you create your guest list. You should always have a number in mind before creating your guest list.

2.) After you get a number, feel free to start compiling a guest list. Don't be afraid to divvy up the responsibility either with your fiance or perhaps his mother if she is looking for a way to help.

3.) Remember family and close friends should come first, because these are the people who have shared in so much of you and your fiance's life and you want them to feel included on your special day! Choosing not to invite out of state family, because you really want the girls at the office to come, may end up being a decision you really regret. If out of state family declines your invite, then you should feel free to pass the invitation on to someone else.

4.) Be fair! You don't want to have three hundred people attend your wedding and only five percent of those people mean anything to your fiance. Even if your husband and his family don't know that many people, you should still give them the opportunity to invite at least half of the people on your guest list.

5.) Another great way to do your guest list is to write down all of your close relatives, your fiancé's close relatives, and your mutual friends. After you have that list, see how many spots you have available. You can either choose the remaining spots together or split them, however works best for you.

6.) Addresses are key! After you have a complete guest list, plan separate lunch dates with your mom and your future mother-in-law to pour through their address books. If they don't have an up to date address for a certain guest, you should have them call other guests that might know it. You shouldn't feel like you can't invite someone because you don't have an up-to-date address. If you do your homework, someone will have it.

7.) After you have your guest list and addresses you should store them in two forms on your computer: As an MS Excel spreadsheet and in label form on your MS Word program. A MS Excel worksheet will allow you to easily keep track of accepted and declined invitations when you start receiving your response cards back and having them in label form on your computer will allow you to easily print them to use them when sending out your invitations and your thank-you cards.

By using these easy tips, getting your guest list together will be a breeze! While compiling the guest list is often a tedious job, the sooner you get it done, the sooner you can move onto other things like actually picking your wedding invitations!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Human Life is Sacred

One way of looking at life is that man enters the world from one door and leaves it from another. Man enters the world when he is born, he grows up, get educated, obtains a job for his living, gets married, brings up children, gets old and leaves the world by another door at the end of his life span. Is this a correct way to describe human life. Those who believe in this way of living live mechanically from birth to death. The fact is that life is much more than a sheer mechanical living. Life provides plenty of adventure and opportunities to those who live every moment of it mindfully. So what exactly is life. We have a few options to describe human life as perceived by our men of wisdom.

All life is Yoga: Our great spiritual philosopher Sri Aurobindo says that all life is Yoga. Yoga is defined as the method of connecting individual soul to the Supreme soul or over soul. This concept is based on the Hindu ideology that human life should be utilized for God realization.

The soul inside a man is potentially divine and while living in the world we should direct our entire effort to unite the individual soul with the supreme soul to free ourselves from the cycle of birth and death. All life is yoga implies that whatever we do in life is done in a spirit of dedications towards God. It never means that we should discard the world and go into a forest to realize God. It only means that we live in world do our best to contribute towards world solidarity with the mind settled in God consciousness. This is in confirmity with what Gita says "Remember Me at all times and fight". Conduct yourself in the world while firmly established in God.

Life is a School: Sri Aurobindo further says that all life is a school where learning process never ends.In this process of learning earth is considered as a big class room. When we accept that life is a school, we accept that life teaches us if we keep our mind open. Rig veda says that let noble thoughts enter your mind from all sides. You can learn from any one, even from those who are younger to you in age. In Shrimad Bhagawat sage Dattatreya says that if we keep our eyes ears open we will find that everything that exists in nature around us, even birds and animals, have a lesson to teach us. Dattatreya talks about twenty four gurus from whom he has learnt. For example earth teaches fore bearance, tree is an excellent example of selfless service since it provides shade to all without any expectation of return. But why should we learn throughout our life. It is because Learning makes us gain both worldly and spiritual wisdom. Learning enables us to unlearn or weed out what is unwanted or undesirable in our mind. Learning makes us grow inwardly to find newer interest in life learning gives us freedom, learning makes us observe the reality and at the same time we become open to change our perceptions. Therefore be not a scholar but be a brilliant student. Develop sun like affection, river like generosity and earth like hospitality.

Life is a battle field: Dr. Radha Krishan says that life is a battle between spirit and matter, between knowledge and ignorance, between self control and temptation, between discrimination and sensual life. When we commence to fight this battle then our journey starts from humanness to divinity. Life is a battle because no one will give room for yourself, we have to create it for ourself. Human life is not programmed. We have a free will to be what we want to be. When we look inwardly we find that we are fighting the inner battle continuously. Fighting the outer battle of life means tackling our day to day problems relating to ourself, our family, our profession and our society. Since man lives in two worlds, outer and inner, simultaneously he as to fight both these battles firstly to evolve himself and secondly to become a useful member of the society while contributing towards its efficiency. Hardest battle you have to fight is the battle to be just you.

Life is a train Journey: Life could also be compared to a train journey where all are traveling towards our destination. We meet new people who enter our compartment and then there are those who leave our compartment at different stations never to meet again. This happens in worldly life where we meet some for the first time and loose some of our dear ones for ever. Our relationship in life is not permanent as people come and go from our life. Some time the train passes through green fields and some time later through barren ground, sometime through a tunnel. This compares with the pleasant and unpleasant situations which we meet in Life. There are some in the train who are traveling in higher Class while majority is traveling in lower Class. Those who are traveling in higher class are those who are spiritually evolved. There number is very small as compared to the worldly people who are in majority and are traveling in lower class in the train.

Life is a celebration: Sri Sri Ravishankar a spiritual teacher and humanitarian par excellence and founder of Art of living foundation call life a celebration Sri Sri Ravishankar himself is cheerfulness personified, He says that man has become too serious in life and forgets to smile. He ask human beings to smile and serve, to meditate and celebrate. Sri Sri Ravishanker says that sun rises and celebrate, rivers flow and celebrate, tree flowers and celebrate then why not man evolve himself and celebrates life. Spirituality is not seriousness but cheerfulness.

So what is human life all about and what should we do in life. The answer is simple. We should become a yogi, we should learn from every moment of life, we should fight the battle of life to undertake the journey from humanness to divinity. We should celebrate life as we celebrate any festival because life is a beautiful experience. While doing so we should listen to the advise of Lord Krishna. He gave to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita that or we should live life in spirit of Yajna or Sacrifice doing our best to look after the welfare of others. Do not cook food only for yourself because if you do that then you are a thief.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Generation of Cut And Paste

A couple of decades ago, the phrase cut and paste was obsolete from our vocabulary. Now, we may use it in daily conversation or we may physically use that phrase in our daily lives, from writing essays to sending e-mails to making notes. This generation has truly become dependent on technology.

As a result of our technologically advanced ways, we have criticized the younger generation about its lack of ability to spell or write properly. It seems that, while we have advanced through our means of communication, our actual way of communication (the choice of words that we make or the way that we put them together) has been left behind. Unfortunately, it seems that this was an inevitable consequence.

Literary Criticism
Young students today seem to be pampered by all of this technology. They have graphing calculators, computers that can do almost anything except walk, and they continually have earbuds or headphones stuck to their ears. While of this technology should mean that education should be improving and our knowledge should be growing, the opposite effect is actually taking place.

It makes sense that advancements in technology should make people lazier and less intelligent. For example, if a computer can do the spell check for you, doesn't it make sense to let it do that all by itself? Would you have the need to check the spelling yourself? The real question, however, may be: "Should we allow all of this technology to do things for us which we are completely capable of doing ourselves?"

Moreover, it seems that the school systems today are failing our students more and more. While we can see thousands of teenagers graduating from high school every year, we know that some of those graduates don't know how to spell simple words or finish basic math problems. Even though we can't ascribe the fault to the students alone, we know that the overall and general laziness of the younger generation has helped to create this problem.

If we want to improve the quality of our lives, we have to start teaching the younger generation today in a way that makes the most use of technology. Some colleges and universities have taken that step by using web communication and internet teaching with some success. However, if we are to really change anything, we should also start with the youngest of students. The earlier that they learn how to make positive use of technology, the better.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shrikhand Indian Sweet Dish

Shrikhand is a very popular sweet made of hung yogurt and sugar. This originates from Northern India especially in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Shrikhand is served as part of vegetarian thali in Gujarat in restaurants. This sweet is also popular in other parts of India. There are many variation of this dish prepared adding different fruits. Shrikhand is classified as sweet / dessert or side dish with puris. The creamy taste increases if served chilled after hot and spicy main dish. Shrikhand is often served in wedding celebration and festivals like Janmashtami. Shrikhand recipe take 25 – 30 minutes for preparation. It is full of fat.

Ingredients to make Shrikhand

Sour curd- 4 cups
sour cream- 1/2 cup
sugar- 2 cups
powdered Almonds and Pista- 1/2 cup
cardamom powder- 1/4 tbsp
saffron soaked little Luke warm milk - 5 to 6 strands

Procedure to cook Shrikhand

Strain all the water off the yoghurt. You can add all the yoghurt into a muslin cloth and let it drain all water overnight. Take the dry yoghurt and mix with all the other ingredients. Add the saffron at the very end. Knead it well to get the co lour evenly in the Shirkand. You can also add any edible artificial flavours as per your taste.

Shrikhand recipe is easy and interesting to prepare. You can eat with other sweets and desserts.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Positive Thinking Makes Life Better

My grandma was seriously ill and doctors had given up on her. But we constantly saw positive images of her returning home; we would always talk positive and this really helped. She was back with a bang! It was nothing less than a miracle,” reminisces Ria Khanna, a chartered accountant from Mumbai. She adds that ever since she realised the power of thinking positively, setbacks do not scare her any more. “As soon as I get a negative thought, I consciously try to replace it with a positive statement.” She reveals that she tries to try to construct statements without using words like ‘no’, ‘don't’, ‘won't’ etc.” Today, she swears by the power of positive thinking.

For ages, psychoanalysts, therapists and self -help writers have emphasised the power of positive thinking. “Hold an image of the life you want, and that image will become fact,” says Norman Vincent Peale, prolific writer and author of The Power of Positive Thinking.“You are the sum total of your own thoughts. If you think good, good will follow; if you think evil, evil will follow,” observes Joseph Murphy, author of The Power of Your Subconscious Mind.Truly, as a saying goes, “You are what you think all day long.” People who deal in this subject opine that while positive thinking does not guarantee success, negative thinking definitely guarantees failure.

So what is ‘positive thinking’?
For Ria, positive thinking is “looking for opportunity in every difficulty.” She feels that one has to constantly reinforce the mind with positive thoughts leaving no space for fear. “The positive image that you visualise helps you sail through life’s various tests,” she enthuses.Inharmonious thoughts or action definitely result in discord and limitations. Komal Dave, interior designer, Mumbai, believes. “Don’t let anyone rob you of your confidence. People who tell you ‘you can’t do this’ could never do things they dreamt of. Don’t get bogged down by such negative people,” she emphasises.

Dave feels that negative thinking exhausts the brain cells and brings extreme fatigue to the system whereas positive thinking charges your batteries to go on and tackle problems. “Eventually it’s all a mind game. You can decide to make your life richer and grander or dwell on the obstacles and attract negative energies,” she adds.

Positive thinking is an attitude, a state of mind, a way of life. It also contributes a great deal in stress management. Positive statements like ‘I can do it’, ‘I can manage it’, ‘I will succeed’ help to overcome initial doubt. Research suggests that reasonable optimism results in good health, longevity, job success and higher scores on achievement tests. On the contrary, pessimistic people are more vulnerable to depression, loneliness and other psychological, behavioral problems.

Aditi Chaudhary, clinical psychologist, Mumbai, endorses this view. “Positive thinking plays a key role in addressing depressed patients or motivating students or employees to achieve better results. It helps those battling mental illness as there is ambiguity and hopelessness involved,” she explains. She has observed that positive thinking heals patients directly and indirectly. In case of depression, instilling positive thinking helps individuals to regain self belief and composure.

Chaudhary gives an example from her own experience. “One of my patients was suffering from severe depression. Her marriage was on the rocks and she was completely shaken up. Her in-laws harassed her and everything seemed to be going against her. All she needed was a dose of positive thinking. Life is looking up for her today. Positive thinking controls stress levels and helps keep anxiety at bay.”

Another strong believer in positive thinking is Mumbai-based software architect Raj Chaudhari. “As humans, we are the only living creatures who have the ability to think, reason and improvise, so we need to respect this gift called ‘life’ and make the most of it.” He believes that not a nano second of one’s life should be spent on something which does not add value to one’s life. “This is my understanding of thinking constructively,” he says.

Chaudhari should know. He started his career with a meager 1,500 rupees a month. By his own admission, he battled numerous setbacks in his career. But today, the six figure paycheck makes him proud of himself. “I owe it all to the sheer power of positive thinking. I stuck to my guns when I was hardest hit,” he adds.

Megha Bajaj, writer, couldn’t agree more: “Positive thinking to me means 'better thinking'. It is the more pro-active, the better, the solution-finders’ thinking.” This attitude has helped her a lot. “From being someone whose predominant thoughts were negative, I have been able to change my life with positive thinking. When I think positive thoughts, I attract positive opportunities to my life,” she says. To her, it is the key to leading a life which is successful in the materialistic world and peaceful in the world within.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Three Common Mistakes Made on Dates by Women

First dates are more about not make mistakes because if he asked you on a date you already made a good impression. Women are often making mistakes on first dates and wondering why men do not stick around for a second date. Well here are some of the common mistakes made on first dates that drive that man away.

1. Not letting the man take charge of the date- Every women dread being asked what do you want to do? Women please do not jump to the conclusion he did not plan an evening for you. Most man just want to know your prefer and want to get to know you better. Most asks the question because they are worried about planning something you do not like. They instead choose to avoid rejection, rather than making a mistake. Ladies do not use this as your opportunity to pump the man pockets or go place you would otherwise go or afford to go. When asked what you want to do, just simply reply “I don’t know what did you have in mind?” This would make him feel like He the man, he is doing his job of pleasing you.

2. Don’t pay for the Meal- The first date is all about the man pleasing the woman. Men consider this an insult when you offer to pay for the first date. Paying for the meal is viewed by the man as a sign you are not interested. I know us women are equal in the workplace, school and other place, but ladies we must sometimes play the role of the woman. Just because we have gain equal roles next to men in recent years, dating is still the one area equal rights do not exist. Equal rights don’t exist in dating for good reason men enjoy the chase of courtship. Remember the first date is all about pleasing you, he don’t mind spend the extra money.

3. Last, but not least don’t have sex on the first date- Having sex is the quickest way to ruin a potential great relationship. Men are driven to prove their power themselves, they measure their by what or whom they conquered. Once men have conquered something they get bored and move on to something new. Women keep in mind the more a man invests in something, the more he values it. This may sound redundant but the more you hold out from giving the man sex the more power you have in the courtship. So women hold out on sex.