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Men are from Mars


Year 2000
It's Bugging me
Music Review
Recipe for success

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Year 2000: Six months to go and yet…

We are now 6 months into 1999. By this time next year (if there IS a next year), we will have known whether the messengers of gloom, doom and social disorder were right. But we needn’t wait till then. If they are, by now we will have started feeling the effects of the failures from our global trading partners and the international war of words will be in full swing with fingers pointing in all directions as blame is shifted further and further up the supply chain.

Clearly, power is a fundamental requirement to keep all the world’s economies ticking. Venezuela and Saudi Arabia together account for 30% of the world’s oil production, yet both countries are giving severe cause for concern over their lack of preparation for New Year 2000. Imagine what would happen if 30% of the world’s oil supply stopped overnight! How long would the reserves last, how quickly could production be increased from other sources to make up for the shortage? Would Iraq suddenly find a market for its oil? What would be the death toll in, say, Northern Canada if severe power outages happened at this time of the year, when much of the country suffers from sub-zero temperatures?

Let’s take a stroll around the world to assess the key issues being reported in some of the major economies.

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Let’s start with good old US of A. I take great delight in tweaking the tail of great old Uncle Sam and let’s face it, no country makes a better ‘fall guy’.

The US is still caught up in fear of litigation so there appears to be that much effort going into finding ways to protect against lawsuit as there is in dealing with the real issues. Those of you who have seen the film Wag the Dog (here I go again) will have some idea how Spin Doctoring can work. Now no country is immune from that practice, but the US Electricity Industry has been caught trying to dupe the public. A scheduled Y2K drill by the Industry on April 9 appears to have been rigged to produce 100% certain positive results. The plan is apparently designed to engineer a ‘success story’ and to instill ‘public confidence’.

The Federal agencies continue to miss their deadlines- from Sept.30 to Dec.31 and then to Mar.31. Dates have been juggles around for completion of the tests and now the predictions are that the next date will be June 30.

From the Government’s point of view there is a slow shift in attitude from being totally against stockpiling to now advising the American people to prepare as though a hurricane was to hit them i.e. stock up on the essentials, assuming some degree of disruption.

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So we are not yet in a confident position in USA, but how are we on the other side of the world? In both Australia and New Zealand, it is evident that efforts to introduce co-operation and co-ordination between parties are starting to pay off. The power industries, in particular, in both countries, have taken the lead and formed a coalition to develop a national contingency plan in the event of power failure.

It is interesting to note that the coalition also includes Telstra, the main Telecommunications Company.

At the end of January 2 separate working groups were formed. One to develop end-to-end testing of the National Electricity supply chain and the other to identify risks that could lead to partial or total power failure.

The detailed findings of the working groups will be made available to the public over the next few months. This looks like a sensible plan here!

In New Zealand, a gentle reminder of the potential effects of Y2K has already been issued- Telecom has recently announced that it’s card phones will be unusable due to the Year 2000 problem. New Zealand will be one of the first countries to see in the New Year2000, so has special reason to make sure that its ready in time.

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Little information is available on the supply chain activities in Russia, one thing that has emerged is that Washington and Moscow are in discussion about the nuclear danger stemming from Y2K problems with Russia’s arsenal.

Russia has now acknowledged that it’s military may be affected by the Millenium Bug, but it is unclear where the financial resources will come from or indeed what can be done in just eight months!

In short, no country examined is yet confident about it’s state of readiness- the interesting thing will be to watch how the different governments handle public concern which is bound to grow as the date draws nearer.

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Q: I need to download utilities available on the Internet for checking ‘Y2K compliance’ and also utilities for ‘fixing the bug’. Could you let me know the best 2 site? – A.G

A: There are many sites available on the Net, which has downloadable software available, but the best by far is uses the best-tested software. Another is where you should search for Year 2000. Hope this will help you in your search.

Q: I am a bit curious. Wasn’t there any problem during the 1800’s and 1900’s ? They end in zeros as well. Why then is the Y2K problem applicable for the Year 2000? Also, is it right that Bill Gates has already found a solution to this problem?- T.T.

A: To your first question, do you know how many computers existed in the 1800’s and 1900’s? To the other, well, Bill Gates (Microsoft) continues to find and solve problems. You can visit their website at .

If you have a question concerning the Y2K Problem or computers in general, send them to the usual postal address or e-mail me @

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The Kargil Crisis- what can we do?


The Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee took a bus ride to Pakistan for talks with Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif in February, and the rest of the world sat up and watched. The reason? Here was the leader of one of the world’s emerging powers, choosing to take a rather unusual mode of transport for an important foreign visit. At another level, the Prime Minister of the world’s newest nuclear power was trying to hold talks with the Prime Minister of a rival nuclear power in the background of an almost carnival-like atmosphere. But the larger picture contained much seriousness. That’s why many Indians and Pakistanis have welcomed Vajpayee’s trip as historic. Besides this, the 2 countries even went to the extent of exchanging prisoners. 50 years after British rulers divided the subcontinent into independent India and Pakistan, the 2 nations remain locked in rivalry rooted in that very division. This rivalry took a grave turn last May, after the 2 nations exploded nuclear devices. In over half a century, Indo-Pak tensions have taken the form of 3 wars and countless military raids along their border. Now, as we all know, the tensions have only become worse what with India trying to flush out infiltrators in the Kashmir mountains and bombing militant bases and headquarters on one hand and Pakistan trying to kill every Indian they can get their hands on. The situation turned for the worse again with the shooting of 3 Indian jets and 1 helicopter and the capturing of the pilot. But things have become very serious indeed with the murder of Ajay Ahuja (RIP) , the Squadron Leader who was shot whilst searching for his mate. The Vice-Marshall branded this incident "a cold- blooded murder". And, so it is. Now, all Indians (and maybe, Pakistanis) live in fear of bomb blasts, war and other gruesome consequences of these encounters. The shelling of the Indo-Pak border has forced the residents of the area to take refuge in the interior parts of the Indian subcontinent. It is very easy to make controversial comments sitting at the top and the politicians seem to be either ignorant or unconcerned about the outcome of their careless actions and cool manner in which they treat the situation. Moreover, it is nothing short of appalling to hear comments like "everything is under control now" and " no, we have only lost 2 of our jets and not more" while it is perfectly obvious to the Indian politicians themselves that nothing is under control. And, all of them are very well aware that 3 of their jets were gunned down. What do the common people do in such a crisis? What, in their power, can they do to help relieve the tension? How, as citizens of India, can they possibly contribute to the well-being of their country and fellowmen? Nothing much except raise slogans and spread awareness of the situation at hand. They can only watch silently while the 2 rival parties, Congress and BJP fight it out among themselves- abusing and mocking each other. When there is no unity within the country, how can the country fight back against the enemy? The Pakistanis are not to be blamed entirely- they are only doing their best to get what they want and what better time to do it when there is chaos and confusion within India due to the lack of a stable Government. And, come to think of it, isn’t it ironical that the very same Pakistani and Indian leaders who scorned the Nato actions are themselves in the middle of the equally gruesome Kargil crisis? What these leaders don’t realize is that, showing off their nuclear strength is not going to help either, it will only lead to further problems and maybe, even a nuclear war which no citizen of either country desires. So, it is only practical that both countries resolve to settle their differences through peaceful talks. While they are at it, they better not be over-diplomatic and pave paths between the borders which will make it easier for the enemy to infiltrate past the border. That’s one mistake Vajpayee needs to learn from. Well, let’s hope for the best and continue to elect such thoughtful leaders and representatives. Jai Hind.

Radhika Gopinath

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Music Review- Radhika.G


Music: Sandeep Choutha

Ladies and gentlemen! Ramgopal Verma presents his most original music score (yet) in the form of Kaun! Well, Kaun has a sum total of …well, 1 track. Surprised? Sure, everyone will be. And, what’s more, this track is nothing but a medley of the various dialogues in the film by Urmila Matondkar and Manoj Bajpai. But, let me tell you, this song can very well scare the daylights out of you all by itself. Debutante music director, Sandeep Choutha has done a good job with the brilliantly composed Kaun Hai?(Who’s That?). And, if you didn’t have enough of it, the track is repeated once more in the album. Kaun is actually an eight-track album but the other songs are from Verma’s previous venture, Satya (Sapnon Mein Milti Hai and Goli Maar) and from Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se (Dil se, Jiya Jale, Satrangi re and inevitably, Chaiyya Chaiyya.). The Dil se part is not much of an attraction as, being undeniably, popular and quality stuff, the radio and TV shows have made them lose their charm by playing them over and over again. All in all, it’s average fare.


Various artistes

HMV has delved deep into it’s pockets and come up with some of it’s top-grossing chartbusters. Though not all the choices are impressive, you can still listen to them without losing you head. Standouts include such popular numbers as Aa Ab Laut Chalen (AALC), Sanam Hum Thum Pe Marte Hain (Wajood), Arre re Arre, Dholna (Dil To Pagal Hai), Hum Yahan (Zakhm) and Chitti na Koi Sandesh (Dushman). In a nutshell, a pretty interesting compilation.

Have A Nice Day


Swedish pop duo Per Gessle and Marie Frederikkson are back with a bang. The two, who are better known as Roxette have been the inspiration for latter-day Swedish bands, Ace of Base and Aqua. Their recent album, Have A Nice Day definitely calls for a celebration. It combines Frederikkson’s enigmatic vocal power and Per’s brilliant songwriting making it sound like a ‘Greatest Hits’ album. This infectious album is yet another example of harmony in thought and performance. Standouts include the scintillating You Can’t Put Your Arms Around, What’s Already Gone (check out the expert guitar fretwork) and Anyone. Roxette have truly evolved into a mature music duo and this album showcases this fact. Quite brilliant, it is; the same cannot be said of the cover design though, - IT’S AWFUL!



Game for some freaky, funky pop creations? Cartoons, that weird music outfit with a 50’s hangover shift gears to transport their listeners to an era when pop was sacrosanct, when almost every singer wannabe was worshipped and content was all important. So don’t be appalled by the 2 female Elvis impersonators and the weirdo hairstyles of the rest of the band members. Despite their image as pop’s new-found lunatics, Cartoons have a more profound message- to let your hair down and enjoy life. While some of the numbers are popular hand-me-downs, the rest are boisterous anthems that are ever so ‘cool’. These include Doo Dah, Witch Doctor, Let’s Go Childish and Listen to my heart. Don’t expect anything philosophical here- Cartoons are out for a good time.

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Recipe for Success!

Sanjeev Kapoor is India’s No.1 chef. He has reached this position because he dared to be different….because he dared to give wings to his talent. PU spoke to the super-chef who was in Dubai, a few days ago…

PU: You are a well-known personality in your field. You have brought gourmet cooking within everyone’s reach with your television programme Khana Khazana. Were you always interested in this field?

SK: I can’t say it was my passion. I always believed to be different. At home, my mom, being a vegetarian, did all the vegetarian cooking. My father cooked the non-vegetarian meals whenever needed. I, too, dabbled in the kitchen. So, I come from a family where men entering the kitchen is not unusual.

PU: When did you discover this talent for cooking? When did you decide to enter this field?

SK: When I finished schooling (class 12 Science from Delhi), there were amny options open to me. I had excellent marks, and I was on the National Merit List. I actually wanted to qualify to become an architect., especially from the school of Planning and Srchiecture, Delhi. In fact, I got admission into it. I even joined Delhi College of Engg.

PU: Then, what made you change your mind?

SK: As I told you, I could pick and choose from various options. It was the year 1981. Plans for the 1982 Asian Games were underway. 9 new hotels were coming up in Delhi. Someone suggested to me that it would be a good idea to join a catering college. It seemed interesting. It was not the in-thing then. Only those who could not get admission anywhere else joined catering colleges. But I did not bother about it. I wanted to be totally different.

PU: What did you do after qualifying?

SK: I completed the 3-year course. Did extremely well, in fact. It was time for specialisation and training. Everyone was hankering after the front desk and high-profile jobs. Not many opted for the kitchen. I was curious to know why. Besides, I had done extremely well in Food Production. So, I chose to specialise in the kitchen.

PU: What else prompted you to train to be a chef?

SK: I cannot be part of a crowd. The desire to stand out is high on my priorities.

PU: Did you face any pressures from your family when you opted for this career?

SK: None at all. My parents had faith in me. They knew that whatever I would do, I’d do well. I’d never let them down. I had no misgivings. I was sure of myself.

PU: How did you plan your career?

SK: I appeared for campus interviews, took up offers which seemed the best. A good chain of hotels and a good starting point is important.

PU: Is there any scope for diversification?

SK: Yes, apart from working as a chef for hotels, which is lucrative, working as a chef in a hospital or a ship is also a possibility. It is a challenging and a dynamic position.

PU: Any regrets?

SK: No! Definitely not. I enjoy my job.

PU: What is your advice to those who are trying to figure out what they want to do?

SK: The profession is very demanding. The glamour you see comes only after you reach the top. On the way up, it is hard work both physically and mentally. You should be prepared to work for 18 hours. If you have determination, (are) willing to work hard and give up your social life in the initial years, then go for it.

Courtesy- Young Times

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