The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Four shots at life after Cup

For two months, it has been cricket, cricket, and cricket some more. But now the source of obsession has come to a close, and young fans have to find a new diversion. Here are Young Metro’s pointers on how to fill desolate evenings:

Study for those exams: With one eye on the telly, giving books 100 per cent may have been a tough ask. But for those who still have some papers left, here’s your chance to get cracking. If Parthiv Patel could be thinking about returning from South Africa to sit for the rest of his board exams in Gujarat having missed the first Class XII paper, students in Calcutta who have been watching a little less anxiously than the keeper-to-be can also hit top gear.

Tune in to the Big Battle: War cries for Team India are sure to be replaced by worries about the real war in the Gulf. With pictures of live bombings invading homes across the world, Iraq is hard to ignore. With reams of newsprint and hours on air dedicated to analysing the action, whatever be your stand, it is easier than ever to be in the know about this crucial face-off.

Hot-foot your way to the Maidan: If life after cricket has no meaning for you, you can always don the blue yourself. If the gallis filling with para cricketers during half-time on Sunday was any indication, the cricket bug has bitten hard. Make your way to the Maidan, specially during those post-exam holidays, and get together your own 11. But make it early, or you may be burnt by a sun stronger than the Australian attack.


Drown your sorrows in the silver screen: The Oscars may have been overshadowed by Operation Shock and Awe and Australia’s 359, but there is no reason to boycott good cinema like some of the stars boycotted the March 23 ceremony. Cinemas across the country have been going empty with viewers preferring the sporting action. But there is a lot to look forward to, with Chicago, which bagged six Academy Awards on its way to a hall near you. Let’s hope The Hours puts in an appearance, if only to find out how they made the gorgeous Nicole Kidman look so plain. If political statements are more your style, try to get a hold of Bowling for Columbine (no World Cup connection whatsoever). Even if you don’t like the film, it might be worth the watch just to find out what the gutsy Michael Moore — who made an impassioned anti-war speech at the Oscar podium — has to say.


Literary avenues

The relevance of the study of English was the theme at the annual international seminar organised by the department of English, Jadavpur University, on the future of English Studies. The H.L. Roy Memorial Auditorium played host to delegates from across the country, and even some international guests on March 20 and 21 for the meet, ‘W(h)ither English Studies'’.

After Prof Sukanta Chaudhuri’s keynote address, Niaz Zaman, from the University of Dhaka, took the dais to talk about ‘Changes in curriculum and pedagogical practices’, which explored in detail the changes that have taken place in curricula in Bangladesh, also comparing standards of education at private and public universities. Samantak Das of Visva Bharati spoke on ‘Learning literature, teaching English: The strange case of departments of English – a view from the village’. This was followed by a paper by Rimi B. Chatterjee, from the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, entitled ‘Teaching the techies: Notes towards a new paradigm’. The paper dealt with the speaker’s experiences teaching at IIT Kharagpur, imbibing the importance of effective communication in her students. Sarbani Chaudhuri, University of Kalyani, was next, with her paper, ‘Local readings and ground realities: Shakespeare in the PG classroom’ and ‘Futureless with (Old) English’ — a topic hotly debated by the students — by Prof Pradosh Bhattacharya, JU. The latter paper established that metrical patterns in English verse were indebted to Old English metrical patterns and therefore their study was not redundant. The first day ended with a panel discussion on ‘The ideal syllabus’, moderated by Dr Nilanjana Gupta, Jadavpur University, which drew participation from the audience.

The second day began with a paper by Susie Tharu from Hyderabad, ‘After the social: An India-centred cultural studies’, focussing on the need for integration of Indian cultural studies with the study of English. Ipshita Chanda, JU, followed with an interesting talk topically entitled, ‘Kar lo duniya mutthi mein’. Jayati Gupta of Presidency College spoke about the necessity of using technology in classrooms to teach English. Jadavpur University’s Ananda Lal spoke about ‘Re-searching research’. The importance of translation studies was brought up again in Jharna Sanyal’s paper followed by a thought-provoking paper by Himangshu Mohapatra on ‘Crisis and response’ in English studies. Brinda Bose read the final paper, ‘Let the mad woman out of the attic: Mainstreaming gender in English studies’.

A panel discussion on ‘Defining the discipline’ capped off the event, giving students the chance to ‘speak back’. The student panel felt a change in perspective on postcolonial and gender studies was called for, as well as broader changes in the current syllabus.

— Sreejita Deb,

Jadavpur University


Finishing touch

Communication skills from a celeb VJ. That is what Saturday has in store at a workshop organised by Aria Finishing School.

The grooming centre on Middleton Street, which opened shop in end-2002, will have Ruby Bhatia conducting the daylong course along with image-management expert Khalid Jamal.

The workshop will focus on grooming, etiquette, interpersonal communications, image building, dos and don'ts of different cultures, body language and presentation as well as public speaking. “These issues have assumed significance in the changed global scenario where more and more multinational companies are moving into the country with their business ventures. It has now become imperative to adopt good corporate etiquette along with other soft skills in the increasingly competitive arena,” said Rajiv Awasthi, business development manager.

And Bhatia with her pleasing personality and gift of the gab was a natural choice. “During my formative years, my parents taught me how to interact with people. I have also done a lot of reading on such skills, which my profession has helped hone further. The youth today, particularly women, have everything going for them. But many of them do not know how to present themselves in public, especially when they go abroad. I wish to share what I have learnt with people in Calcutta,” said the Canada-born TV anchor, who has been roped in as Aria’s brand ambassador.

Registration has started for the Soft Skills Workshop. Other than corporate executives and housewives, the main target group is students. “These days, only grades are not enough. The workshop should help students overcome shyness when they face job interviews after the exams,” adds Awasthi.

The workshop will be held on March 29, from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm at MBD Airport Hotel.


Old familiar faces

Jean Kathleen Dunklee, 81, is the oldest member of St Joseph’s Convent, Kalimpong, had been her home from 1927 to 1938. Now, the octogenarian resides in St Louis, Missouri, but keeps in touch with classfriends on the Net.

Like Jean, hundreds of thousands of others across the globe, have registered with the site that brings together ‘mates’ of all kinds — from schools and colleges, to the armed forces and business.

While Batchmates is not new, it has recently launched two services for its 2,100 paid members.

The Calcutta-based portal has just started a shopping facility, which allows all paying members to have gifts — from chocolates and mithai to flowers and toys — delivered across the country. “We will soon introduce same-day delivery to 175 places in India,” said Abhijan Nandy, chief operating officer, Allindia Technologies Ltd, which powers the site. So those who put birthday or Valentine’s Day shopping on hold will soon be able to log on to save their skin.

The portal, with over 580,000 registrations, has also started a matrimonial and dating section, where members can upload their profiles and the qualities they are looking for either in a date or in a life partner. There have been quite a few hits in this section, which cuts through the courtship, allowing members to streamline their search for a spouse.


Hi-tech art

FX 2003,the first-ever digital arts exhibition in the city, organised by training major Arena Multimedia, showcased the use of technology to create masterpieces at a two-day meet at the Asutosh Birth Centenary Hall in the Indian Museum. The best entries in the different categories — collage, landscape, portrait, light & shade, and abstract design — were awarded with prizes.

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