The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A list to wish upon a star

We may be mere muggles (in Harry’s world, those without magic), but there will be a little bit of sparkle in all our lives in 2003. Here are a few events that GenY is rooting for round town, and a few more, slightly further away, that may alter the way we live our lives in even the smallest of ways…

To call it a craze is to trivialise it. To call it an obsession seems inadequate. The magical world of Harry Potter has cast a spell over Calcutta – along with the rest of the world. Our city is still waiting for the latest movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, though the world premiere was on November 3. And it is just as impatiently biding its time for the fifth instalment of the novels, Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. “Thirty-eight chapters... might change... longest volume... Ron... broom... sacked... house-elf... new teacher... dies... sorry…” These are the only snippets Madame J.K. Rowling has revealed thus far.

The other blast of fantasy fare that gripped the world is also back for its second appearance. After The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, it is the turn of The Two Towers, which released worldwide on December 18.

There will soon be more to do till the wee hours, with Calcutta’s two newest hotels opening watering holes shortly. Though Hyatt’s Club K has gone back to the drawing board, it is still scheduled to open by the middle of 2003. The fun-pub at the Salt Lake hotel promises dining, dancing and drinking. Dublin at ITC’s latest offering, Sonar Bangla, will also open its doors later this month, and the antiquated look and Irish pub feel should make it a destination to look forward to.

With the World Cup lined up, many could prefer staying indoors. Hopes were running high that Sourav and the boys would bring home the Cup. That’s before the crash in Kiwiland. With the richest cricketers in the world playing their poorest, the only Cup in sight seems to be the one carved out on Kareena’s shapely back or behind Shah Rukh’s fidgety head… But trust the Indian cricket fan to forgive failure fast and forget the flops once the action begins on the African pitches from February 8. So, here’s to the die-hard cricket fan glued to his LG or whatever, this spring.

Another box may captivate Calcutta kids like never before. If broadband takes off — as it is threatening to — surfing the Net will be easier than ever, provided speed and quality live up to expectations.

Downloading MP3s, which takes ages now, will be that much quicker. Online software updates will be more do-able. Watching movies online may become a possibility, with three players boasting connectivity packages.

Though the price tags sound formidable at the moment, convenience may outweigh cost in the minds of new-gen Netizens..


Open window

Knowledge is power, and a right for all, say Young Metro readers. Here are the final letters received in response to this month’s ‘Time to Talk’ poser, “Should AIDS education be introduced in classrooms”.

lSex education is still considered taboo in India. When programmes discussing the issue are broadcast on television, children are discouraged from watching them. Kids feel hesitant to speak to their parents about this. So, information is mostly gathered from friends and peers who know no better. It is essential to have correct information on a deadly disease like AIDS. If schools take the initiative to start sex education, it would do everyone a lot of good.

Anna Rozario,

J.D. Birla

lIt’s time AIDS education is formally introduced in classes all over the country. These days, courtesy the global media, young minds are aware of the causes and consequences of this disease. But educational institutions should also take on the responsibility of providing a disciplined outlook towards what is still taboo in our society. Sex education will not only create a healthy and hygienic society, but also build more responsible and mature citizens of the future.

Joydeep Chakraborty,

IInd Year, Jadavpur University

lWith AIDS spreading like wildfire, there is only one way of stalling it — by creating awareness and highlighting preventive measures. Ignorance will only fuel a disease, which has assumed alarming proportions in many areas.

Enakshi Biswas,

IInd year, Presidency College

lAIDS education should be imparted in schools as this will help students learn more about a disease that is gripping the world. If the future generation knows more about preventive measures, the disease may be checked.

Aakash Kamal Misra,

RCC, Calcutta

lTeenagers may find themselves in sexual situations they don’t necessarily know how to handle. If schools take up the issue of AIDS, they will at least know how to stay safe from the disease.

Sugata Pyne,

Class XI, Better High School


Cutting a figure

There were almost as many mothers as there were contestants at Aban Mahal on Sunday. For, the All Bengal Open Championship for Yoga included participants as young as three. And the parents had come armed with water bottles, towels and tiffin boxes. The day-long contest, organised by Sivananda Saraswati Institute of Yoga of Jodhpur Park, drew participation from as far off as Hooghly, Nadia and Birbhum, other than near-by North and South 24-Parganas and Howrah.

“There are seven groups from age three to 35. A 10-member panel of experts will judge them on the basis of anatomy, appearance and the asanas,” said Madhab Nag, secretary of the institute.

During the inauguration, there were tots running around in white vests, shivering in the cold. Though they were soon put on stage and made to stand still, quite a few like G. Manoj, of Nursery II, South Point, kept tugging at the number tag stuck to their vests and craning to check those of the others even while the anatomy check was on.

Those slightly older were aware of the importance of the occasion. Akansha Mohanty, of Class IV, St Thomas Girl’s, who took to yoga a year ago, had practised all the asanas “two times” in the morning. But Ankita Ganguly of Class VII, AK Ghosh Memorial, went cycling as she was too tense thinking of the yoga contest.

Some did not have the option of a last-minute tone-up. A group of 18, including Soumya Kumar Mandal and Nazmul Hasan, had come from Birbhum by the morning’s Visva Bharati Fast Passenger. Soumya, 15, who had been training for two years, had ranked fifth in a meet at Dum Dum in 2002. “Let’s see what happens here,” he smiled. As the meet progressed, the asanas grew tougher. The day that started with the toddlers doing Padmasana soon had more intricate exhibits like Hasta Shirshasana and Byaghrashane Brishchikasana. In the end, a contest was held among the 12 winners of all the age-groups. Shishir Ghosh of Howrah was adjudged champion of champions, and Tapas Dhibor the runner-up (both from the nine-to-12 group).


Play time

Delhi-Dramatics Society of Indraprastha College for Women was in town recently to put up a couple of productions – Katha Mudrarakshas and Main Sochta... Main Hoon. On December 25, the plays were presented at the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad, organised by Disha, the youth wing of the organisation. The group also performed for streetchildren from the Park Circus area at Apeejay School’s children’s library. Both plays, conceived and directed by the Calcutta-based Parnab Mukherjee, revolved around the themes of communalism and identity.

Sreyashi Ghosh,

La Martiniere For Girls, Class XII

lSt Michael’s Academy observed Fundamental Duties Day on January 3. Local councillor Provakar Mondal talked to us about the duties laid down for citizens by our Constitution. Our teachers and headmaster continued the sessions.

— Masira Zaman,

St Michael’s Academy

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