This refers to the S editorial Powerful caste Panchayat.. .(Khap) (August II, 2009). “Who rules Haryana?: The law or the Khaps?” The answer is resounding: “the khaps”. From meddling into marital affairs to ostracising a family and lynching a young man for violating khap norms of marriage, the institution of khap panchayat in Haryana has traversed its hideous journey from the grotesque to the macabre. The khap panchayat has become a law unto itself. It has evolved a parallel judicial system. Kangaroo courts are held and fatwas issued.

The khap is a medieval institution when Jats were tribals divided into clans. It acted as an instrument of security in an age marked by lawlessness. In modern times, it has outlived its utility when various institutions to maintain law and order are in operation.

Secondly, the khap panchayat has no elective principle. Its so-called mukhias are self-appointed guardians of social mores. It has emasculated the electorally-constituted pancha- yats which give due representation to women and weaker sections.

Thirdly, it has no idea of symbiotic relationship between tradition and modernity. Fourthly, the observance of khap norms has become impractical with the changing complexion of rural society.

Rapid advance made by Haryana in the material fields is regressive in the face of growing moral decay and spiritual atrophy in the state, with a sizeable section of its population fast
lapsing into the dark zone of barbarity and depravity. It is like getting all the riches on the earth after selling one’s soul to the Lucifer.

– J. S. Acharya, Hyderabad.


I do not find a more suitable word than , Splendid to appreciate the article, Stay Together but Stand Apart by Suman Bajpai in WE August II issue.

Certainly a good space is required around any individual for him to enlighten his vision, to nurture his interests, and to develop his ideas, in short, to fortify his self. All the benefits of this go obviously to the spouse.

Who else will feel proud of the achievements other than one’s life partner? I have in my life actually felt the same, thanks to my husband who gave me absolute freedom to have some time for myself, choose my interests and develop the same.

Occupying the 24 hours of the spouse           can only         end in

misunderstanding. Instead of feeling good the other person will find himself as chained to someone. Each individual travels in a different path of life.

It is so narrow a path that two people cannot use at the same time. But the two paths can go parallel throughout. The space between the two paths bind them ideally together. And that is a beautiful frame of life as well as marriage.

– N. Muthu Lekshmi, Nagercoil.


In the Woman’s Era i of August I, 2009 I liked, read, and also enjoyed the article Love and respect yourself. This article made me relieve my career-life moment of my younger days.

The article by Leena Kundnani is


a very good one. Every worn– – India should read it and inct := – self-love in their female chi;c childhood.

Young women should nurture ~ love, self-respect and pride Y:_rc women should be made to eat—: only job satisfaction from we o: ne jobs and revel in their achieve-e-:: but also expect rewards for the r -ant work.

– Meera B. Rao.


**o*S«-s intimate


The artic e Healthy -Relattos Key to Happine;. Suman Bajpa August I 2009, is thou: provoking, informative and ec->:ir for married people, a most intirae a all human relationship in wh rr share life intellectually, socia a physically.

In my opinion a mutual standing, love, sharing and ca” trust and faith in each other and builds up a happy relat and that is the key to a su~ marriage.

– Anthony Sanders, A’_

The prize is awarded to: J. S. Acharya, Hyderabad

ON IN THE US AN INDIAN STORY Even in tough times life goes on. By A. K. Shyamala Shenoy

It was the time just before the US recession and the economy seemed to be booming. Many of my husband’s friends had started their own start-up operations and were doing very well. Our Saturday-night get-together discussions were centred on success stories starting from Sabir Bhatia’s Hotmail. We had enough savings and my husband decided to start a new software firm. We also decided to shift to a more spacious villa in the suburbs from the apartment we had in the city. From
the contacts he developed in his earlier employment, my husband got a few contracts and we seemed to be on the right track.

Then the downturn happened. First the real-estate prices nosedived. The property we purchased was worth only half the value we paid for it just six months earlier. We had taken a loan to purchase the property and we had to pay the installments at the original value of the property.
Our software firm was based in India and we had remitted most of the revenues to India. The dollar rate was hovering at Rs 38 and most of




the conversion took place at th a” We watched helplessly as recession deepened and sp-aa: Asian countries and the dol a- steadily climbed and even Rs 50.

Emotionally, we were ill-ec_ : to take on the vagaries o‘ business after being use: cushioned, well-paying jobs »- risk-taking is minimal. We middle-aged when our childre- born and it was difficult get: rc to looking after two kids in s. short span of time. Did we nee: more misfortune? My hus: = grandfather who was the pil =’ : strength passed away in Inc a a grand old age of 95.

How are we coping? Life is a teacher. Our dreams are sha- but we have learnt to take r -: our stride. We have enough -: by, a supporting family in \-z a friends here in the US who a i by us through thick at Recently, I was invited to ao: a: prestigious international con.a- on humanity in Europe. My and I are looking forward :: have decided to take a smal while attending the conve” :_ they say, life goes on


How is it that tea is healthy for the Chinese and they can drink enormous quantities while when we drink a lot of tea, we get acidity and heartburn?

It is true that tea is rich in anti­oxidants, helps fight cardiovascular diseases, reduces bad cholesterol, and keeps us young.

Overall, tea is good for our health, but the way we drink it in India – i.e. when it is processed too much, or has milk added to it – it loses its benefits. So, to get the best from tea, we should drink it the way the Chinese do.

What is vegetable stock and how can we make it at home?

In one litre of water, add a small quantity of all the vegetables avail­able at home together with an onion, 3-4 cloves of garlic, a small piece of ginger, a bay leaf and a few pepper­corns. Allow to boil in a heavy- bottomed pan till the water reduces to half the quantity. Cool and strain through a muslin cloth or a very fine sieve. This vegetable stock can be used in various gravies.

It is a most common question from all the health-conscious people these days: which is the healthiest fat?

The most important thing to remember is that we need a variety

of oils in our diet. Therefore, we must consider a rotation of oil types. This is because each oil/fat has some unique essential fatty acids. When we include a variety of oils in our diet we have a better chance of incorpor­ating the health benefits of a range of fatty acids.

We have heard that soya bean is very good for us. Kindly let us know the advantages and disadvantages if taken in excess.

It is true that soya is a very good source of proteins for us, especially for vegetarians. It is good for the heart and also brings relief to post­menopausal women.

But people will have a problem if they have soya in excess. Too much can cause hormonal imbalance which can even result in reduced hair growth. It can also lead to digestion problems. Soya beans have a high level of phytic acid more than any other legume.

Phytic acid may block the absorption of certain minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. So anything taken in moderation, however beneficial, is good and even a little in excess can cause problems for us.

What do the following terms related to ‘chocolates’ mean? Conching, chocolate liquor, cacao, cocoa butter and confectionery coating.

Conching means rolling or stirring chocolate to smooth out the particles during manufacture. Chocolate liquor is the thick, non-alcoholic liquid made

from grinding the nibs inside cacao beans.

Cacao is the tropical tree a*: bean it produces. Cocoa burre- = fat extracted when cacao bee: processed into chocolate tionery coating is made • vegetable fat, sugar, milk so c: flavourings. It’s used as a substitute, but isn’t chocolate

Chocolate burns easily, so wh® be the best procedure to me* t* Yes, chocolate burns eas must be melted with care chocolate is melted in a douc a over hot or barely simmering Nowadays, it can also be me ‘a: microwave.

Do let us know a few dos and 3 while baking a cake.

The cake batter shoulc r ‘sheet consistency’ – i.e. on into the cake tin a ribbon shea’ should form. Do not fill the ca more than half, as space is re for the cake to rise.

Do not open the door of tre in between as the tempera:. • fall and this will prevent the ca- a rising properly.

Do preheat the oven •: minutes before putting in the ca* –

Do not open the oven im as the cake will sink due : sudden change in temperature the draft of air enters.

Do not try to remove the when hot, otherwise the ca*e break.

– Savita Bha



Meher Sarid, another wedding planner says, “A wedding in a banquet hall is common. But with the middle-class getting richer, splurging on not-so-ordinary venues is getting popular.” She adds, “There was an NRI couple who wanted a traditional and yet unusual wedding. So we arranged it in the dunes of Rajasthan.” There was also a wedding on an island off Gujarat, with the venue being a jungle with lots of clearing for food and the mandap, she adds.

Jayraj Gupta of remembers a spa wedding he had organised in the Himalayan foothills. “People have started loving the whole drama behind wedding ceremonies The event has become larger than life,” he says. Marriages at these venues also have themes to match the decor. For a beach-front marriage, expect a swimsuit to be the dress code. A marriage in an abandoned church will have long white drapes, for instance. So, be it a wedding on a barge by the seaside or in a cricket stadium, the wilder the idea, the more memories it’s bound to leave.

With the mushrooming of skilled wedding planners all across the country, the common man is seeing a makeover of the traditional pocket- friendly marriages. Tying the knot is no longer about how many tents you
prop up or the pretty lilies a: -■* entrance. The holy matrimony ce* :* in a Roman ambience, a far.-3* castle, a tapovan or at the art • : a > created Niagara Falls with re a ax dress, headgear and food to rra : –

Generating awe amongst invitees, what with fancy deco a-1 fancier food, is making “a t extravagant and cosmopc *ar marriages a rage in cities >*« Ludhiana, Indore, Surat, Ka-: ■ Ahmedabad and Bhavnagar. – e the luxury wedding has bee- a metropolitan phenomenon for a : z time now, the smaller towns of -zm are now also witnessing extra, a:ax weddings. In one of the wedd ‘:: r Surat, I had the bride landing :* re venue by a crane,” says wee: c planner Vikas Guggutia. He o~e- b variety of themes ranging from rw low-budget floral decors to ha = * and palaces draped in ethnic ;ar * zm like zardosi and brocade fc- r* flexible budget.

Marriage bureaus and We:: tse are mushrooming, the _ i successful ones diversifyr:      r

event management. Surpr s – j* there’s a marriage burea. v Bangalore that matches waveie- rather than horoscopes! That s »’-«* is done at Marigold, locate; ar Kammanadhalli. It caters : * growing number of Banglorear: :w to inter-caste and inter-re ; m unions!

However, one really doesr: • -sac to be a king to organise a : * t wedding these days with c:: c technicians, lighting expen: sm

designers, fusion cuisine, er^ -ra­iment managers and on cn : J graphers available right o’ yc r doorstep. A capable p a-nsd promises a wonder wedding e.e- a a nondescript place. The options in small cities are fa’ : than those available in De * Mumbai.

Dancing at marriages, wh just for fun till now, is gettr: professional. Dance schoo s dancing their way to the ba-». relatives, friends even brice: grooms are approaching t~rlessons. The rate is Rs 20.: ::




While the entire extravaganza gets bigger and brighter for those with huge budgets the middle class still has the option to be subtle yet stylish. There’s no limit to a wedding expenditure, so what planners do is emphasise glamour only on the focal areas of a marriage. Compromising on a thing or two doesn’t matter to most small-towners who desire an exceptional ceremony for limited funds.

Marriage still holds pride of place in the Indian ethos, the more traditional and lavish, the better. Unsurprisingly, expenses incurred on weddings have been increasing steadily over the years, despite calls for restraint from some quarters. Right from the invitation cards to grooming the bride and the bridegroom expenses are out of this world.

The envelopes are, after all, the first things that the guests get to see and then gauge your socio-economic status. Designer invitation cards with a 24-carat gold embossed border or a Tanjore painting or even something as ornamental as a papier mache jewellery box studded with precious stones are the hot favourites, they’re meant to be cherished and preserved for posterity, for such invitations never see the light of the garbage can. One thing that remains unchanged, however, is the stoic Lord Ganesha on the cover of the card, though with some modifications.

In pandal decor, marigold time a la
traversed widely over the years to become an upwardly mobile phenomenon, in the sense that, from the hands it has gone up to the arms, the waist and also the naval and onto the back in the form of tattoos. From the feet it goes up to the ankles and the legs and maybe higher up which is best left to the imagination. Motifs with fish and other Fengshui symbols rule the roost. Exorbitant cost, of course, doesn’t matter. It’s the coordinated look that counts.

For the bride, it’s a torrid ritual of the pre-bridal package with 12 sittings that start 2 months before the big day, which culminate in the just- before-the-wedding make-up routine and the wedding day make-up and draping of the sari. The parlours are raking in lollies with this new way of making the bride look her best. For that enhanced glow and radiance, popular spa and yoga centres have introduced special wedding packages for the bride as well as the groom.

When it comes to dressing up for the D-Day, Indians like to follow tradition. But, over the years, one has seen the emergence of wedding outfits that mix modernity and tradition just in the right proportion. A traditional bride is slowly making way for a more modern bride in a number of ways. Here’s now:

  • Corsets are being liberally used


instead of blouses these days Ire are giving preference to. ha te- spaghetti blouses and e\e* t backless choli.

• Brides are no longer we= re dupattas in a traditional way. s: lift much more of crepe and georgette chiffons so that carrying them around becomes easier.