Jan - Feb 2014
Vol 01 : Issue 02
Tamil lifestyle magazine from Great Britain
BASICS OF BEAUTY & SKINCARE…
Exclusive on Tha Lifestyle Ashanti Omkar interviews
Tamil Harvest Festival
the British Tamil Songstress
ULTIMATE TAMIL WORKOUT PLAYLIST
Designer Sarees at afforable prices!
Tamil Uni Student Societies
Hot Tamil Apps in the market
Recipe Prawn with Eggplant
Also in this issue.......
* Credit scoring: How do they calculate? * A family break to Marrakech * The diabetic foot: A podiatrist’s advice * How can water help us achieve a healthy life?
LOOK INSIDE FOR MORE!
HAVE YOU READ OUR
NOV-DEC 2013 EDITION ?
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‘THAI PONGAL AROUND THE GLOBE’ The modern age Tamil harvest festival which was celebrated around the world last month
05 31 32 35
Latest on Lebara Mobile’s expansion in branding of football sponsorship
ULTIMATE TAMIL WORKOUT PLAYLIST
EDUCATION BEGINS AT HOME!
THA READERS’ PAGE Your submissions and appreciations
HOT TAMIL APPS List of Tamil Apps available in the market for various platforms
PRESENTING BRITISH TAMIL SONGSTRESS ABI SAMPA
A FAMILY BREAK TO MARRAKECH
TAMIL VIRTUAL MOBILE GIANT STRIKES DEAL WITH BORUSSIA DORTMUND FC
CREDIT SCORING: HOW DO THEY CALCULATE?
Exclusive interview by Ashanti Omkar
A guide to plan a family holiday to the Moroccan city
Picture gallery by Tha Photographers
TAMIL SUDENT INITIATIVE
Introduction of a new Tamil University Student group
BASICS OF BEAUTY & SKINCARE…
CHANGING THE LIVES OF WAR AFFLICTED CHILDREN - TSU
“SERENDIP TO THE RESCUE”
Tamil Student Union’s actvities helping students in Srilanka & in Great Britain.
UK based chairty helping kids afflicated by the war.
THE DIABETIC FOOT
HOW CAN WATER HELP US ACHIEVE A HEALTHY LIFE?
COOKING TIME & JOKES FOR KIDS
When we raise our head and smile….. As we meet you again for a second time, I speak to you with an overwhelming feeling of what our magazine has achieved in its first two months. We have been noticed, welcomed, commented on and appreciated by the thousands of people we reached out to! We met many people from all walks of life who enjoyed the magazine, from university students to intellectuals, from journalists to artists , from City workers to charities, and many more people through social networks, who opened new horizons for Tha Lifestyle. We also met little angel Beverly Ariyaratnam, the cover page girl of the first issue with our very first issue! As I watched her enthusiastically playing with her pet cat, running around and having fun, I briefly saw my life through her eyes. I deeply enjoyed the world that my ‘pet’ magazine is creating. The magazine continues to provides a platform for new amateur writers and artists who are looking for wider recognition. Tha Lifestyle carries the Tamil community spirit and has begun to represent the evolving Tamil community in our modern multi-cultural world. It also has registered the Tamil community’s many contributions to modern Britain. As a big leap, in this edition professional journalist Ashanti Omkar has interviewed Abi Sampa, a finalist of ‘The Voice - UK’ of BBC exclusively for Tha Lifestyle. I believe the participation of such celebrities in our magazine should inspire a generation of Tamils and appreciate such achievements. As we step into 2014 , the month ‘Thai’ the first month of the Tamil Calendar, which begins with ‘Pongal’ the ceremony of Thanksgiving to the Sun god, we look ahead with the great Tamil saying, ‘Commencement of ‘Thai’ paves the way for everything’. As our fledgling magazine continues to grow, I compare it to the early life of a baby, the stage of trying to raise its head with a responsive smile. As a baby begins to respond to the smiles of others, her smile brings a smile to others. Tha Lifetsyle magazine is also at same stage of growth, responding to your smile and we hope to keep you smiling. We seek your blessing on ‘Tha’ way to success.
ANN ARIYARATNAM THA CO-EDITOR
THA MARKETTING MANAGER
THA IT MANAGER
FEATURED WRITER ASHANTI OMKAR
CONTENT REVIEWER ROB DOW
THA CONTRIBUTORS OF THIS EDITION Gajanthy Gobiraj Parthy Nithian Bharathan Ariryaratnam Theepz Theepthakumar Jananni Balaskandan (TSU) Anujan Thavakanthan
SPECIALIST WRITERS Make-up Artist Vithya Podiatry Vinusha
Abbirami Shanmugam Anthuriya Rajan Prapalani Jenna Shan Vani Thavapalan Vara Varathungan
GJ Arts Gajinaath
Sina Bartley Mathuran Karunalingam Ganesh Premkumar(TSU) Anton Gangakumaran Trisha Selvaratnam
| BUSINESS & FINANCE
TAMIL OWNED VIRTUAL MOBILE GIANT LeBARA
STRIKES DEAL WITH BORUSSIA DORTMUND FC Did you know that LeBaRa was a combination of their names ‘Le’on , ‘Ba’skaran, and ‘Ra’theesan ? Lebara Mobile reported a turnover of more than £500 million last year.
ebara Mobile , a Virtual Mobile Network Operator founded by Tamil entrepreneurs, announced last May that it has signed a sponsorship deal with the German football club and Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund that will see its branding displayed in its home stadium. The agreement, which went live in July 2013, was Lebara’s first ever sponsorship of an international football team which expands its horizons of branding. Lebara said as a central hub linking Western and Eastern Europe, Germany is an important destination for migrant communities. CEO of Lebara Group, David Moffatt said, “Our partnership with one of the world’s top international football clubs provides a valuable platform for our business to further extend its reach into the migrant community in Germany – our fastest-growing region, but also to tap into other migrant hotspots elsewhere in Europe.”
RATHEESAN YOGANATHAN Born on 6 December 1975, he founded Lebara at the age of 25 with his two fellow Tamil friends Rasiah Ranjith Leon and Baskaran Kandiah. He received his education at Havering College, Hornchurch and went on to complete his BsC in aeronautical engineering at Kingston University, London.
AYNGARAN INTERNATIONAL’S PARENT COMPANY
EROS TOPS UK BOX OFFICE WITH £5.4m IN 2013 Eros International plc , the Parent Company of Ayngaran International , a leading global company in the Indian film entertainment industry, topped the British Box office for Indian films in calendar year 2013 with four out of the top ten films released by the company. Eros earned £5.47million at the UK box office last year capturing a big share of 33% of the British Film market share. Out of the 130 Indian films (Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and Punjabi) that hit the theatres in 2013, 42 films belonged to Eros and its subsidiary Ayngaran, which distributes Tamil films overseas. In a further enhancement Ayngaran International is set to produce a new Tamil film, with Director A R Murugadoss on a movie where one of the South Indian leading actors Vijay is acting. The movie is believed to touch the highest ever budget for a Vijay film.
| LANGUAGE & CULTURE
THE HARVEST FESTIVAL OF THE THANKSGIVING TRADITION CONTINUES IN THE WEST
‘THAI PONGAL AROUND THE GLOBE’ The long traditional Tamil event of ‘Thai Pongal’ a harvest festival, was once again celebrated around the globe by the well spread Tamil community. The event which is celebrated on the first day of the first month ‘Thai’ of the Tamil calendar normally falls on or between the 13th and 15th of January every year, the Tamil equivalent of Thanksgiving. The event is a big celebration for 74 million Tamils living around the globe.The ageold tradition of thanking the Sun is globally practised in multi cultural cities where Tamils reside. “Thai “ is the first month of the Tamil Almanac, and “Sakkarai Pongal” is a dish of sweet concoction of rice, moong dal, jaggery and milk. This festival is celebrated by all Tamils as it is not restricted to any particular
religious faith. Therefore it is widely known as “Tamil Thai Pongal” or the “Harvest Festival of the Tamils”. In South Asian countries, the festival of Thai Pongal is a thanksgiving ceremony in which the farmers and their families thank the forces of nature, especially the Sun at dawn, outdoors. Pongal also connected with cleaning up the old, setting a light rubbish, and welcoming in new crops. The next day they hold another event called ‘Mattu Pongal’ or ‘the Bulls’ ceremony’ where farm animals are given a feast for their assistance in providing a successful harvest.
The rest of the people celebrate the festival to pay their homage to the farmers for the production of food for the community. Overall, it is a festival to encourage social cohesiveness and unite people by bringing them together in a common celebration. In the modern multicultural world, Tamils continue to celebrate Thai Pongal as a tradition and serve traditional food to people of other nationalities and their community. Thai Pongal is also an occasion for family re-unions and get-togethers. Indeed, Thai Pongal is a festival of freedom, peace, unity and compassion. Thus, love and peace are the central themes of Thai Pongal.
| LANGUAGE & CULTURE
TAMIL UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN RUSSEL SQUARE LONDON 15TH JAN 2014 Pictures courtesy of Tamil Student Initiative
KOLAM A form of painting that is drawn using rice powder often using naturally/synthetically colored powders is one of the main feature of Thai Pongal Event. Kolams are thought to bring prosperity to homes. Every morning in South Asian Tamil villages millions of women draw kolams on the ground.
SAKKARAI PONGAL Rice boiled with milk and jaggery forms sweet rice called “Sakkarai Pongal” which is an integral part of the Thai Pongal Event. In Tamil the root word ‘pongu’ means to “boil over” thus it’s known as ‘Pongal’. Sweet pongal is made specially in earthenware pots with a wood fire in South Asian Tamil Villages.
MULTI CULTURAL MODERN THAI PONGAL HELD IN LONDON 15TH JAN 2014 Pictures courtesy of Tamil Student Initiative
HARROW COUNCIL CELEBRATED MULTI CULTURAL THAI PONGAL
18TH JAN 2014
Pictures courtesy of Harrow Tamil Association
| BUSINESS & FINANCE
any people wonder what the so called “Credit Rating” is and why it is so important. In many ways we all depend on external financial sources like a mortgage, car loan or even a personal loan. People get their loans approved based on their “Credit Score”. So who gives us this score and how do they calculate someone’s score? Well, it’s a long and complicated process but let’s look at it step by step.
Who is giving these scores? There are a few firms called “Credit Referencing Agencies”. The UK’s major credit referencing agencies are Equifax, Experian and Call-Credit. Their job is to collect almost every adult’s financial data in this country. They are regulated by Data Protection Act 1998.
CREDIT HOW DO THEY Parthy Nithian
BA(Hons), ACMA, CGMA
How are they giving the score?
IIt’s like a jigsaw puzzle where they try to create a picture of you by collecting a small amount of data. These include simple information
Again based on the information collected, credit referencing agencies assess the risks. If you have not paid some bills on time and missed some credit card payments, you will be seen as high risk and eventually get a lower score. As you might expect, people with lower credit scores will most likely be rejected even
like paying bills on time, how many times you have missed a payment dead line, how much you owe the credit card companies etc. Apart from financial data the agencies also collect your electoral register records such as how many years you have been living in one address and if you are continuously registered in the electoral register etc.
for a mobile phone contract. Vice versa, a person with a higher score will more easily get higher levels of credit like mortgages and car loans. Although it sounds very straight forward credit referencing agencies use highly complicated computer generated models to produce one’s credit score and they periodically review the activities and revise the scores.
How are they collecting someone’s financial data?
SCORING: CALCULATE IT? Almost all lending agencies and banks are linked to these credit agencies’ computer systems. For example when you apply for a mobile phone contract or credit card you might have experienced a wait of a couple of minutes. Then the sales person or personal banker would have told you whether you’ll be getting the phone or credit card. Basically once you have given your personal details, the phone sales person’s computer connects to the credit referencing agency’s computer and checks your details. Then it assesses your risk criteria based on the information already in the credit reference agency’s system. Nevertheless credit referencing agencies do not say whether someone should or shouldn’t get credit but they will inform the risk category you are in so the lender’s computer programme will decide to accept or decline the application.
So are these credit rating companies always correct? It seems not. They do make mistakes but those mistakes are at your expense! The most horrific thing is that all these agencies are collecting and analysing data in different ways so there may be three different scores for the same person! Sometimes they make mistakes by adding irrelevant data or incorrect data to your file which affects your overall score. There have been many instances where people’s lives have been ruined because of incorrect information on their credit file. It is the credit reference agencies’ responsibility to keep and maintain accurate information but if you find that your credit request has been turned down, then it is worth taking the details of the particular agency and requesting for more information.
If you find any incorrect information it’s very important to write to them with evidence (if applicable) and make sure to correct the file they hold concerning you. You can also take this matter to the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) to make a complaint. More information is found on www.ico.gov.uk. You can now see how vital it is to keep the credit records in a perfect order and maintain it for the rest of your life, Here are some top tips to keep your score high. • Pay your bills monthly. Even if you can’t afford to pay them in full, make sure to pay at least the minimum payments. • If you have missed even one credit card payment, call your credit card company and apologise for it and ask them to waive the charge. This means the missing payment detail will not be sent to the credit referencing agency. • If you are a student or don’t have a permanent address, make sure you include your name in the electoral register with an address which can be of your relatives’ and keep that as your main address. So wherever you move temporarily, you can use that address as your address for correspondence. • Even if you don’t need a credit card, have one! Use it regularly and pay the balance off monthly. Remember, having no credit history is also equal to having a bad credit history! • Obtain your credit files at least once a year and check them carefully. Please note obtaining credit reports more often will also go against your score so an annual review is preferable. If you find incorrect information, contact the agency directly and get them to rectify it immediately.
| BUSINESS & FINANCE
it ref Cred in UK
r 8000 o 1 8 4 844 ian: 0 k Exper perian.co.u 83 or x 5 e www. : 0870 010 0 ax Equif uifax.co.uk 414 or eq 01 www. it: 0870 06 k ed Callcr llcredit.co.u ca www.
• If you have been rejected credit, don’t apply again for another couple of months as every time you get rejected, it’ll stay in your file for another six years. If you believe you have a good score then contact the particular agency and check what is causing the refusal. • Don’t have too many credit cards at one time. Have a couple and use them sensibly and pay the balances off regularly. Close one card account before you apply for a 3rd or 4th card. • Keep one bank as your main bank. Bring your salary, mortgage and direct debits to that account. Don’t change your main bank very often. Sometimes, even if you have a bad credit score, your bank is likely to offer credit (often at a higher rate) if they see you as a long term and perhaps a more valued customer. • Avoid having County Court Judgements (CCJ) against you. If it’s a small amount, try and settle it before it reaches legal proceedings. Any judgement against you means no credit for you later. • Finally, make sure who is using your address. If somebody is living or virtually living at your address and has a bankruptcy, it’ll be shared in your file even though you have nothing to do with it!
| INTERNET & TECHNOLOGY
HOT TAMIL APPS IN MARKET
iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch Free iOS 5.1 +
iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch Free iOS 5.1 +
iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch Free iOS 5.1 +
iWrite Tamil is a great and easy way to start reading and writing the basic alphabet that are the foundation of the Tamil language just by tracing over them.
Tambura Radio is a Bollywood Desi Radio for Hindi, Tamil, Telugu & Punjabi music. Currently Tambura caters these major Indian languages
Thirukkural with meanings All Adroid Devices Andriod 1.6+
The app provides Thirukkural with meanings in both Tamil and English with interpretations of authors M.Varadarajan, M.Karunanidhi, Solomon Pappaiyah & The Pope
Learn Tamil All Windows Devices Windows 8,0 + This app â€œLearnTamilâ€? enables you to learn the Tamil language easily within an hour. It contains Basic Tamil Words for beginners.
Tamil Calendar 2014 All Adroid Devices Andriod 1.6+
Tamil Calendar 2014 provides all astrological times of a day,dates and their corresponding English calendar dates for the year 2014.
South Indian Recipes
All Windows Devices Windows 8,0 + South Indian cuisine includes the cuisines found in the four southern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Rhymes presents a collection of beautiful, educational and entertaining nursery rhymes in Tamil.
Tamil Karaoke All Adroid Devices Andriod 1.6+ A comprehensive library of Tamil karaoke songs. This is for anyone who likes to sing tamil songs which Includes more than 500+ songs in the latest update.
Tamil Radio All Windows Devices Windows 8,0 + An ultimate streaming radio for indian music lovers. Includes streaming stations like Raaga Tamil,IBC Tamil, ILC Tamil, Kalasam, LankaSri FM, , Thaalam FM etc...
| FEATURED PROFILES
THA FEATURED PROFILE
Ashanti Omkar is an award winning London based multi-media persona, whose work in the publishing, TV and radio world has gained her a huge fanbase the world over. She is the Bollywood and Indian cinema editor for UK’s leading cinema chain, Cineworld cinemas and is Bollywood expert for BBC London and BBC West Midlands, while also being an ethnic culture commentator at the prestigious Monocle Magazine Radio. Raised primarily in Europe and Africa with Tamil heritage, she is a Croydon Music prize winning Carnatic (South Indian Classical Music) vocalist and she comes from a stellar corporate background, working at places like Credit Suisse, Pepsi, Oracle, O2, Hilton Group, and then transitioning into the British media scene in 2003. She communicates with over 50,000 supporters across her social media networks, from Instagram and Facebook, to Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace, Google + and Tumblr. She also runs her own social media consultancy firm, Omkari consultancy. She has interviewed the likes of double Grammy and double Oscar winner AR Rahman, Aamir Khan, Mani Ratnam, Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor; Tamil cinema icons like Sridevi, Raadhika Sarathkumar, Khushboo Sundar, Vikram, Dhanush, Arya, Simbu,
W: AshantiOmkar.com Follow @AshantiOmkar facebook.com/ashantiomkar facebook.com/omkariconsultancy uk.linkedin.com/in/ashantiomkar instagram.com/ashantiomkar
Jiiva, Shriya Sharan, Madhavan; musicians like Hariharan, Shankar Mahadevan, Jay Sean, Akon, John Legend et al, Her relaxed interview style has had many a top Bollywood actresses like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif and Sonam Kapoor speak openly to her, for publications and websites the world over. She was responsible for Kolaveri Di, the viral phenomenon from the film Moondru (3) having its first British radio play on BBC London and has since spoken about Tamil and South Indian cinema and its emergence in the worldwide and British box office on many platforms, most recently, The FT. Ashanti is also seen on stage regularly, compèring, curating, and leading Q&A’s at places like the London Mela (as co-curator of the Classical Stage), The O2, BAFTA and the South Bank Centre. She compered dancer and actress Shobana and singer P Unnikrishnan at the London International Arts Festival in 2013. She has also worked with top Tamil stars like Kamal Haasan and Ilayaraja, for their 2013 show at The O2, she met with Superstar Rajinikanth in London in 2012, and is a consultant with the London Indian Film Festival, which is Europe’s largest independent cinema festival, affiliated with the BFI and the BAFTA.
| FEATURED PROFILES TAMIL STYLE |HEALTH & WELL BEING
British Tamil Songstress, Abi Sampa Exclusive interview for Tha Lifestyle
By Ashanti Omkar Share your background and heritage and what forms the basis for what you do musically and professionally.
Musically, you are a melange of East and West - share some details about how your style comes about.
I am Sri Lankan Tamil, but born and bred in London. As a child, my parents took a special interest in music with me. I guess they saw something in me running around as a kid singing Kylie Minogue songs and then KJ Yesudas within moments of each other. I studied Carnatic Vocal lessons, Carnatic Veena, Bharata Natyam, I also learned the saxophone and piano. Growing up in London, we’re exposed to so many different styles of music, and it felt natural for me to mix my two key styles.
I studied Carnatic music from a young age, but also my influences growing up on the western scene were big female artists such as Mariah Carey. I also am a massive Sufi music fan. I love singing and performing with my Qawwalli group, ‘Rehmet’. Mixing these three styles is just something that happened by accident really, but these days as an artist, its important to have your own style and uniqueness, so I suppose it was something that was always coming.
What and who served as a set of inspirations, that you have based your work on?
The Carnatic music tradition is one of the most complex and ancient forms of music in the world - tell us about your journey in this space.
I would say my favourite Carnatic musicians are P Unnikrishnan, Bombay Jayashri, Veena E Gayathri, and a recent favourite of mine, Rajhesh Vaidhya. Funny enough, Rajhesh was recently shown some of my Youtube clips playing the veena, and has asked to meet with me, which is so exciting. Western idols would be the late Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Brandy, and of course Pop-Queen Kylie Minogue.
Yes, Carnatic music is ridiculously complex! I don’t think anyone could ever be classed as an ‘expert’. I’ve always said that Carnatic music is more maths than music! Although I’ve always been too much of a free spirit musically, to abide by these rules, I tend to take what I like, and the equations that I simply can’t work out, I change to suit me. My poor Carnatic gurus had a frustrating time with me I’m sure!
| FEATURED PROFILES
has been performing on stage and enthralling audiences, for most of her life and is one of the emerging shining stars of the music scene in Britain and beyond. Proudly fusing her solid Classical music training, with what she has gleaned as a Tamil girl growing up in Britain, like pop, rock, RnB and soul music, her unique voice stands out. She has been on TV, amazing the judges of BBC One’s ‘The Voice’; featured on radio stations like BBC London, BBC Asian Network, BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra and has a bright future ahead, both as a fully qualified and practicing dentist, and as a musician. As a songwriter, she has written poignant lyrics like, “I was an open book of questions. Always searching for an answer. Till I found you... I was losing my way... I was going nowhere... Lift me up. Take me where I belong. Let me lay in a place you call home. Lift me up, take me where I am strong. To show you what my love can do. O re piya (Oh beloved)” She speaks to Ashanti Omkar candidly, about her life and plans, in this exclusive interview for Tha Lifestyle. You also perform Sufi and Hindustani classical music - are you trained in these styles and how does it form a part of your ever growing repertoire?
Dentistry is a great profession and I’m so proud to have it, and I have my parents to thank for both. Never underestimate Tamil parents - they will I met my Tabla player Amrit Dhuffer, make sure you have all bases covyears back, and he heard me singing ered (laughs). Music is of course at an event, he instantly knew my my main passion and the dream.
Describe your fashion style. I love my jewellery. My outfits are planned around the jewellery I wear, more than anything. Quirky jewellery is definitely my key style.
voice was suited to Sufi. I absolutely love Qawwali music - there’s nothing like it - the energy and power from it is amazing, and trance like.
Speak about the rare instrument, the veena, the instrument of the Hindu goddess Saraswati, and how it is a part of your musical career. I learnt the veena from the age of 8 and it’s a beautiful instrument, I love the clarity you can get from the veena, the sitar its younger sister, which has many other frills, but a veena played well, can sound much more like a voice than any other instrument I know. I now play the electric veena more than anything. I absolutely love experimenting with different sounds and different styles, especially with something as unusual as a veena. Your high profile TV performances on The Voice were appreciated by all - tell us how this came about and how it has marked a pivotal moment in your growth as a musician. Were you disappointed not to win? I happened to go to the audition by chance, I wasn’t really thinking about what I was doing, but it was brilliant as it really gave me a platform to showcase my style and get feedback from the general public in a way that is not possible as an ‘up and coming’ artist. These days its so hard to get noticed, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not the biggest fan of ‘reality’ TV, but I felt The Voice UK is particularly is one of the few tasteful shows about, and really showcases genuine artists.
Your day job, as a dentist, took many years of training. Is it as much a passion as your music and would you one day move into music alone? Dentistry is a great profession and I’m so proud to have it, and I have my parents to thank for both. Never underestimate Tamil parents - they will make sure you have all bases covered! Music is of course my main passion and the dream I continue to pursue.
| FEATURED PROFILES
Where do you see the world of music going, in terms of the global marketplace, where it is more easily available? Yes definitely, music is so much more accessible these days than ever before. Social media is key in promoting it, and there are so many tools available to artists to get their music out there. It’s a great time, and hopefully it will continue to bring us fresh and new styles. Do you think that live music is an important art form to carry on, when most music that is out there, is created in the bedroom of a producer, who is not musically trained? Yes, for me live performance is everything! I would say real music lovers will always judge an artist by seeing them live. A piece of music is transformed into something else when you see it live, it’s more honest and that’s what I love about it. As a British Asian, and Tamil, how had your heritage and upbringing moulded your career to date? As a British Asian and Tamil, I suppose I was lucky to have even more on my paint palette, we have so much more to bring to the table that is unique. I’m so excited about what our generation has to bring to the music industry. We’re slowly trickling in all genres and it’s only up from here.
What’s in the future of Abi Sampa as a musical force to reckon with? I am currently working on an EP which incorporates my style of Carnatic/Sufi/Folk. I would say my sound is a mix between Florence & The Machine, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Mumford & Sons.
Music is so much more accessible these days than ever before, social media is key in promoting and there are so many tools available to artists to get their music out there.”
The idea of mixing South Indian Classical music with Soul, something that Sid Sriram (who sang for double Oscar and double Grammy winner AR Rahman in the 2013 Mani Ratnam film Kadal), British singer from Karnataka, India, Ambika Jois and you, perform quite a bit, and live - is this a type of music that you see taking off in a big way? Well it’s down to personal taste really, but I definitely think it would be a shame if there wasn’t some of that in the industry. It’s too beautiful to remain boxed into classical and world music only, in my opinion.
| FEATURED PROFILES
In terms of that elusive cross-over music artist, something that ex Miss World and Bollywood actress who starred with Vijay in Thamizhan her first film, and international singing star, the face of GUESS clothing, Priyanka Chopra, for example, is being groomed to do - is this something that record companies, who struggle to put in a ‘genre’ box, will warm to, in your opinion. Yes I think so, because this sound is new to pop music, they won’t always get it bang on, or to all tastes, but as the industry becomes more experienced in Indian and Asian music, I think, or hope that we will see a much more honest cross over. But I guess that’s just my opinion. How do you hone your voice with practice, for example? Well I wouldn’t say I practice much these days. I just love singing and playing, so whenever I have that urge to do so, I will. I think every artist is different in how they hone or train. I have always been quite free with how I practice or evolve. I like to let things happen naturally, rather than to force it. You’re not only gorgeous and articulate, on top of all your many talents, but you also juggle a wonderful work-play-life balance share some of your secrets (Laughs) Thank you. I would say surround yourself with good friends. I feel blessed to have the people I do, in my life. They have been my rock and would do anything for me. As an artist it’s hard, and there are many ups and downs, and sometimes you need that extra push or pep talk from people you trust. Your beauty secrets I really don’t have any! I’m far too impatient to see any beauty regimes through. Sorry girls! Your favourite city London!! where else? (Laughs) Your favourite scent and designer My favourite scent is Jasmin Noir by Bvlgari, my favourite designer is Alexander McQueen. I love a bit of flamboyance in my clothing (smiles). A message for the many fans you have and are going to draw with your talents. I just want to thank all my fans for backing me, and the many lovely comments they’ve written to me. I can’t always respond to them all, but just know I read them and they mean so much to me.
THA LIFESTYLE | TRAVEL & LEISURE
THA TRAVEL BLOG
A FAMILY BREAK TO MARRAKECH
Anton Gangakumaran Enthusiastic Travel Blogger
As a family of four we have been fortunate enough in the past years to travel extensively throughout Europe, but this year we were looking for a short haul holiday with a difference. It is difficult to agree on a location that will satisfy everybody’s needs but we settled upon Marrakech in Morocco Northern Africa, which is about three and a half hours away from the UK.
Pre-Trip Catch up
We booked a custom-made package through “Travel Republic” and were met at Marrakech Airport by our pre-booked taxi and taken to our hotel.
We left from Gatwick on Easyjet having met-up first for lunch at Cafe Rouge in the Terminal .Since we all work in different areas and opportunities to catch up are few and far between, this proved to be an excellent and relaxing start to the holiday in a really good setting. www.caferouge.co.uk ‘Taste of France’
www.operaplazahotel.com Page 12
In planning the holiday we made extensive use of “Trip Advisor” and downloaded the Trip Advisor City Guide together with information on local attractions, restaurants and a variety of tourist information. Travel Packages
Affordable Hotel Marrakech has a great variety and choice of hotels ranging from “Backpacker” to “Boutique”. We chose the Opera Plaza Hotel in Marrakech new town principally because of its location, its sports bar and restaurants.
THA LIFESTYLE | TRAVEL & LEISURE
TRAVEL TIPS !
One of the beauties of Marrakech is that it is relatively small and so is all on a human scale. The old town is not to be missed and the Medina of Marrakech is a major landmark as well as being a UNESCO World Heritage site which serves as a commercial centre for much of central Morocco. Marrakech itself is built round the beautiful historic mosque of “Koutoubia”, which remains a central attraction as local planning rules do not allow any building to be taller than a palm tree thus allowing it to retain its pre-eminence.
Download a city guide either from Trip Advisor or city maps 2go
A visit to an Ethnic Berber village in the High Atlas is something not to be missed. A day trip to the Ourika Valley can be booked for €40 per head (lunch included excluding drinks), with a travel company or at the hotel reception. It was interesting to see how differently this community lived compared to their urban compatriots in the towns. This trip also gave us the opportunity to see the wonderful landscape and in particular the beautiful waterfalls which were definitely not to be missed!
Airport transfer: Direct buses to hotels or can take taxis.
Restaurants: Rates vary from €10 to €25. Alcohol is available at hotels. A 330ml beer can is usually €4 and a local bottle of wine €20. Taxi: €3 could get you to the downtown area from the new town.
Observations: Rates for tourists are higher than locals and are almost equivalent to Central London rates.
Download offline Maps for your travels on your smartphones and tablets prior to setting off and save money on roaming charges! www.mapswith.me www.citymaps2go.com www.besttravelapp.org www.offmaps.com
Bon appétit! The main square area is known as Jemaa el-Fnaa; it is very colourful and has plenty of restaurants to meet anyone’s budget with both local street vendors and more expensive formal meals. Morocco is an Islamic country and a former French and Spanish colony but its food has a real French influence. Indeed, there are numerous local bakeries offering French favourites. Tea We had tea at Patisserie Amandine, which is located in the upmarket area of Gueliz (www. amandinemarrakech.com). The atmosphere was very relaxed but formal and we loved every item on the list, especially the macaroons. Mint tea is very popular in Marrakech and is worth tasting.
Moroccan dinner Al Fassia is one of the most wellknown Moroccan restaurants in Marrakech. It is run exclusively by women. The service and food were excellent. Note: it is advisable to book in advance for a table at the hotel reception (www.alfassia.com/). French Lunch While walking around Medina we wanted a relaxing lunch and the roof terrace of Un Dejeuner a Marrakech served our needs.
MARRAKECH TOURIST ATTRACTIONS The Trip Advisor City Guide for Marrakech was invaluable in enabling us to get the most out of the City in the time we had available. It was great for directions, restaurants and general tourist information and from this there are a number of sites that I would recommend visiting:
Sunset captured at The Royal Landscape, Virginia Water, Surrey, England © Bharathan Ariyaratnam fb.com/Ariyam.Photography Canon EOS 60D • 1/50s • f/18 • ISO 100
Enchanting Maternity Shoot Windsor, London facebook.com/velvetdreamsphotography © firstname.lastname@example.org Canon • 1/6000 s • f 2/8• ISO 100
Longleat,Warminster,Wiltshire © Theepz Theepthakumar facebook.com/theepzphotography Canon EOS 400D • 1/400 s • f 4.0 • ISO 200
THA LIFESTYLE | ENTERTAINMENT TAMIL STYLE | ENTERTAINMENT
A GUN & A RING
‘DRAMA IN REAL LIFE’ A Gun & A Ring uses an interwoven montage of characters to explore the harsh realities faced by different generations of Tamil Canadians who try to re-build their lives in an adopted land but are unable to let go of their past framed by violence, death and conflict in Sri Lanka. “I was moved by “A Gun & A Ring” and the interweaving of the script. It’s really heartening to see Lenin Sivam tackle such a complex subject, the huge cast and the many locations with dexterity. The racial memory of persecution takes generations to heal. And perhaps that’s a good thing - not to forget , be aware and create that awareness in others.”- Legendary Filmmaker Deepa Mehta ,Director of Fire (1996), Earth (1998) -India’s Official Entry to the Oscars, Water (2005)
LATEST TAMIL MOVIES
ARAMBAM Director Vishnuvardhan Starring Nayantara, Arya, Mahesh Manjrekar, Ajith Kumar, Genere Action comedy
INGA ENNA SOLLUTHU
ITHU KATHIRVELAN KATHAL
Director Vincent Selva Starring VTV Ganesh, Meera, Santhanam Genere Comedy Music Dharan Kumar
Director Prabhakaran Starring Udhayanidhi, Nayantara Genere Comedy Music Harris Jayaraj
NAAN SIHAPPU MANITHAN Director Thiru Starring Vishal, Lakshmi Menon Genere Action Music G V Prakash
NAIYAANDI Director A. Sarkunam Starring Dhanush, Nazriya Nazim Genere Comedy Music Ghibran CINEWORLD
THA LIFESTYLE | UNI LIFE
Tamil Student Initiative
So what is TSI? The Tamil Student Initiative is a Tamil student union – with the one aim of uniting Tamil societies in universities across the United Kingdom. Our goal is to be the voice of the Tamil students, representing each and every one of them and providing them with a platform to advance themselves. But this also breeds another question – who do we mean by ‘Tamil’ students? Do you have to be able to speak, read and write the language in order to be Tamil? Do you have to be into Gaana dancing and Kollywood music? Do you have to act and speak in a certain way, and only associate yourselves with other Tamil people? The questions
can go on and on and our answer will always be NO. It is truly impossible and incredibly ludicrous to even contemplate restricting the Tamil identity into such categories. Indeed we believe it is fair to say that our culture is one of the most genuinely diverse, and this is due to the constant evolution of our people. This diversity can be clearly seen in the above, with students taking the initiative to run and host numerous events which promote
our students. One major example includes the ‘True Potential’ Personal Statement and Mock Interview workshops. This saw Tamil students coming together to pass on their experience to help aid and develop the upcoming generation. Even in university, this concept of developing the youth can be seen in the successful ‘Life after University’ series, where graduates come in to teach those willing about how to rise up into the best positions they can in the working world, and the skills they
THA LIFESTYLE | UNI LIFE
facebook.com/tsiuk follow @tsiuk email@example.com www.tsiuk.org
need to learn to succeed. Alongside this, TSI has also done a lot to promote our vast traditions, seen in our recent ‘Thai Pongal’ celebration. Taking place at SOAS university in front of a statue of the legendary poet Thiruvalluvar, students celebrated the coming of a prosperous new year by making their own Pongal, teaching others of this tradition, and distributing food to the masses. A great celebration of our extensive culture, it is also a clear showing that even while being brought up
in the UK, students have not lost touch with their roots. Our institution also finds it important that while we develop ourselves, the dire situation of our fellow people in Sri Lanka is not washed over and forgotten. The ‘#BreakingTheSilence’ saw numerous societies host exhibitions, discussions, and various events in order to raise awareness of the atrocious human rights crisis which is occurring in the island, taking solidarity with our fellow
This combination of education, culture, and unity are all crucial contributors to what TSI is. Being quite a new union, we are truly inspired by the dedication shown by the students currently involved to ensure that our organisation helps as many people as it can. We have many events lined up, all of which are focussed on boosting Tamil students and promoting our identity. Make sure you keep your eyes on everything we do in the coming months. If there is only one certain statement we can make about our future, it is this – TSI is here to stay.
THA LIFESTYLE | FASHION & BEAUTY
THA BEAUTY PARLOUR
BASICS OF BEAUTY & SKINCARE…
Hair and Make Up Artist www.vithyhairandmakeup.com facebook.com/vithyamakeup
efore people ask me about make-up and inundate me with questions on what is the best product out there, and what high street brands I like, I always begin by asking “What does your skin feel like?” I think knowing your skin is the most important step; and also knowing how to look after it and nourish it, are equally as important.
If you still have no idea what I mean, then let’s begin with simple questions you can ask yourself such as ‘Does my skin feel dry?’ ‘Does my skin feel oily?’ ‘Does my skin feel both dry and oily at times?’ You might not even fit into any of these categories. I myself suffer from oily skin, but it gets extremely dry at night. I still regard my skin as oily skin and treat it accordingly. Once you know what your skin feels like most of the time, it is about understanding why your skin is that way. People with oily skin have larger pores hence they are more prone to getting blemishes. The large pores easily get clogged up. People with dry skin have smaller pores. The next question to ask yourself is what skincare routine you follow. What products do you use to tackle these problems and balance your skin’s moisture? For example, people with oily skin should use oil-free products. I myself use oil-free products as well as keep my regime very basic. The more products you use, the more you block your pores. I would then analyse the texture of your skin; is it smooth or rough? Sometimes this particular element is to do with genes, or not enough exfoliating, or maybe even your diet. Lastly, I would look out for pigmentation. Most Asians suffer from darker pigmentations around the eyes, the mouth, and the forehead. Again, these are either genetic, or through other factors. Unfortunately I do not know how to reduce the appearance of pigmentations, but I do know how to hide it with the use of make up! Colour Corrector is the secret
THA LIFESTYLE | FASHION & BEAUTY
ingredient here! The darker areas on our face can look rather grey or dull, and a colour corrector warms that area up, and once you apply a concealer over the corrected area, your entire face will look even-toned. Now, once you have analysed your skin, I would suggest investing in some good products. Your skin is something you should most definitely invest in (instead of buying designer shoes or bags, may I add!). Pop into a department store, get some advice from the beauty assistants, and take home samples. I would try out a good face wash, maybe a cleanser if you wear heavy make up in general, a day moisturiser, and a night cream or serum. Please remember, that your skin will not show any improvement until at least two weeks. So if you react instantly, or break out in spots, do not be discouraged, your skin is just getting rid of all the bad stuff. However if you do continue to experience rashes or any other allergic reactions, please stop using the product and seek professional help. Once your skin is happy, the next step is learning how to apply make up which I’ll be writing about in the forthcoming issues; so keep reading!
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THA LIFESTYLE | UNI LIFE
www.uktsu.org For those who know of us and for those of whom this will be a first meeting, our name is UKTSU and this abbreviation simply stands for UNITED KINGDOM TAMIL STUDENTS UNION. We are a nonpolitical registered charity that comprises solely of Tamil students and graduates from various parts of the United Kingdom. Regardless of the differences in our chosen career paths, hobbies and locations within the UK we all share an undeniable moral belief “To better the lives of those children who did not have the opportunity to do so themselves”.
UKTSU is hosting one of the biggest, and unique Careers Fair on Friday 11th April 2014 in central London in order to expose Tamil undergraduates and graduates to successful companies in sectors they are interested in, along with careers advice and networking opportunities. UKTSU took on this initiative after coming into contact with many Tamil undergraduates who were unsure of the career path they want to take and graduate students who were unsure on how to pursue their chosen career path and network with companies they are interested in. UKTSU will be providing unique opportunities for driven undergraduates and graduates to find out more about the requirements and work experience needed to obtain internships and have face-to-face contact with representatives of established companies in sectors they are interested in. Moreover, some of the exhibiters will also be offering work experience placements to individuals they are impressed by. This event also aims to support students with CV writing, advise them on writing an effective cover letter and provide them with interview skills to secure and progress into their chosen career field. Additionally, there will be the opportunity for entrepreneurial students to pitch their ideas directly to investors. Students and graduates who are interested in attending this event can register online at www.uktsu.org. Jananni Balaskandan, UKTSU
Changing the lives of war afflicted children firstname.lastname@example.org
UKTSU is not in any way disillusioned by how much commitment and work is required to change the lives of thousands of war afflicted children. We are also very much aware of the resources, privileges and endless support we have in the UK that can aid us in making a true difference. It is because of these very things UKTSU has been able to create steps towards reaching our vision and we call these steps “Mini projects”. Please do not misconstrue the use of the word mini for anything related to small or insignificant because this would be far from the truth. Rather than write a lengthy paragraph attempting to tell you about the mini projects, we would prefer for you to look through these pictures as words will not explain enough the importance of our projects and just how many items we may take for granted that could lift a child’s spirit.
THA LIFESTYLE | UNI LIFE
The positive contributions these projects bring direct to children in Sri Lanka stems much further than these pictures portray. Older children in Sri Lanka that have helped deliver these resources and bridge the gap of communication with schools and families that are hard to reach receive a contribution towards the cost of their education. We have been told by many that without this contribution they would have no foreseeable future. We are constantly looking out for new ideas or inspiration and we are always happy to see a new face to the team. We believe that everyone has something unique to contribute, we fully appreciate the commitments of a student so all members of UKTSU put themselves forward at their convenience to help out whenever and wherever they can and it has helped create something truly amazing. Just one of the projects we have under discussion is the construction and running of a community centre.
Time, Money & Power Anujan Thavakanthan Undergraduate Faculty of Business with Finance University of Hertfordshire Time, Money & Power: Trying to count the stars, drinking in the bar, wondering about your dream car, I mean is this all worth it? Is it going to get you far? Think for a second how much time you wasted in your life so far. Like me you might also have so many scars but is it the reason to smoke all these tars. This society we are in is like an artificial functioning machine. It’s buried deep down in your brain that money is some sort of vaccine. We all believe that it’s going to save us from all these unwanted scenes. Time is the resource that all human beings consume and still we live in that four sided life, wishing we could pause and resume. Every second you craft for your value and as humans we’ve buried the value in papers and we worship it as money. As the money piles on top of each other, the person thinks he grows in strength hence he thinks he gains power.
UKTSU members have the opportunity to get involved from anything from the design & construction of the centre all the way to the chance to create their own workshop which we will run at the community centre. If you have an idea, a vision, a desire within you to help those that so desperately need it in Sri lanka please come forward because without individuals like you we would not have begun to change lives and because without you we UKTSU would not have a foreseeable future. We would like to leave you with a simple thought for the day: ‘May our hard work, devotion and perseverance to our beliefs allow us to truly help and change peoples’ lives for the better. Let us be the one’s that remain defiant against defeat and that not only our minds but our hearts give us the strength when others need it the most.’
At this point, an average man’s entire emotions clash and his greed takes him over within a flash. He begins to compete to take over everyone and eventually starts climbing the ladder to be number one. When he learns that God is on top of him, he begins to fight, thinking he’s one of the kings, that’s why our ancestors said money leads to the evilest things. Eventually God strikes and the average man finally falls and in the split second he realizes who he really was. Because time, money or power isn’t going to come with you when you are down in the grave, all on your own.
THA LIFESTYLE | INTERESTS & HOBBIES
A CHARITY WITH FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE IN VANNI
“SERENDIP TO THE RESCUE” Trisha Selvaratnam
An accountant by prfession & Founder of “Serendib Childrens Home Charity” email@example.com
As you are undoubtedly aware the guns which so recently tore the beautiful island of Sri Lanka apart in a bloody civil war have now gone silent; tens of thousands of displaced people are at long last returning to their homes, attempting to rebuild their lives. However once there they are greeted by shattered communities, lost livelihoods and looted possessions.
In this context the major concern is clearly children, particularly those who have lost both parents. The inability of relatives to meet the needs of such orphaned children who are now in their care not only highlights the difficult plight of adults but also points to the large number of children who remain in acute distress. Their most basic needs – clothing, food and shelter – are not always being provided, particularly in the northern and eastern provinces, there is heart rending evidence of hardship and suffering.
Faced by this, and aware that neither national or local government authorities were prepared to do anything to help, The Serendip Children’s Home Charity (Reg. Charity No. 1133461),was set up to do what it could under the inspired leadership of Ms Trisha Selvaratnam . As Trisha said at the first meeting of the charity “To stand by and do nothing in the face of such suffering is not an option……Let us do what we can to make the children smile once again.” Over the years Serendip has involved itself in many grass roots ventures such as raising and distributing aid through an orphaned child sponsorship scheme which provides these children with food, clothing and the equipment needed to continue their education. It also finances “fun days” for seriously sick children whilst helping amputees to be fitted with artificial limbs and blind children with essential aids and equipment. Furthermore it funds locally based co-operatives where widowed women manufacture a range of high quality products which are then sold and the profits paid as wages or ploughed back into the enterprises. Serendip has also sponsored a number of nursing students and training for vocational skills in the North and East of Sri Lanka.
In the past year Serendip has moved into yet another field. It now directly helps some thirty five nursery schools by training and paying their teachers, providing essential educational equipment and supplying a daily hot meal for each child. Some 972 children are benefiting from this initiative but let me tell you about just one of them. Her name is Kaviya; she is 4 years old. Both her parents were killed in the war, a traumatic experience which has left its mark on her in the shape of frequent nightmares and panic attacks. Despite this Kaviya loves school and will not miss a day. Slowly but surely through the efforts of her teachers and Serendip – not to mention her disabled grandmother who walks a mile every day to bring her to school - she is doing really well; it would seem that one little girl’s nightmare is drawing slowly to a close. Serendip has achieved so much over the years and with your help this essential work can be continued and extended. If you are interested in assisting the charity in its work or you simply want to make a donation please contact them at trisha@ serendipchildrenhome.com. Together we can heal the wounds of war and help make the suffering children of Sri Lanka smile once again.
THA LIFESTYLE | HEALTH & WELL BEING
THE DIABETIC FOOT
iabetes is a common condition affecting millions of people around the world and this disease costs lives and irreversible complications.It is a lifelong condition caused by high levels of glucose (sugar) as the body fails to use it properly. The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone to help the glucose enter the cells in our body and to be used as energy so that we are able to lead a normal life. However, in a diabetic the pancreas fails to work properly. Diabetes is classed as Type 1 and Type 2. In a Type 1 diabetic the pancreas is not producing any insulin and in a Type 2 there isn’t enough insulin being produced, or the insulin being produced isn’t working properly and therefore the glucose entering the cells is reduced or absent. This abnormality causes long term and short term complications which can affect the body in many ways including the heart, eyes, kidney, the nerves and the feet. The nerves in the body of a diabetic are often affected as the blood vessels which supply the nerves can be damaged due to the high blood glucose. This reduction, or the loss of sensation in one’s feet can lead to the individual not being able to feel any trauma to the foot. A diabetic who presents with a reduced neurological foot may stand on a sharp object and fail to feel it. This may then develop into a wound, which may or may not heal depending on the blood supply to the affected area. The chance of getting an infection is also a great risk to a diabetic and they may go on to need long term ulcer wound care management, lifestyle changes, surgical procedures or even amputation.
A Podiatrist’s advice
foot check then any signs of discolouration or altered sensation should be assessed by your podiatrist or your general practitioner as soon as possible so that the correct advice can be given and further complications can be prevented. Not all diabetics develop
Senior Podiatrist Vinusha who works for the National Health Service for 12 years shares some key facts in this article which may help prevent any diabetic foot complications As with any person, diabetic or not, a diet high in fats and those who smoke significantly increase their chances of their arteries becoming narrowed. It is vital that a diabetic person adapts a healthy lifestyle such as exercising more, reducing weight and maintaining a well balanced diet to help prevent complications such as ulcers in the future. It’s easy. Simple steps are required. Be well informed of what is happening to your feet. What can you feel and what can’t you? Do you have circulation problems or not? Ask your podiatrist or your practice nurse at your GP surgery to carry out an annual diabetic foot check. An annual foot check will involve painless neurological assessment requiring you to tell them whether you can feel a 10g monofilament, a sharp and blunt neurotip, a tuning fork and cotton wool to different areas on your foot. A vascular assessment will also be carried out and a doppler will be used to listen to your pulses and the systolic pressures will be obtained to determine whether there is arterial disease. The diabetic foot assessment will also include a general foot check to look at the general health and the viability of the skin and any abnormalities, which may require attention. If you are however, unable to attend a clinic for a diabetic
complications, however if there are complications such as reduced sensation in your feet or narrowing of the arteries then it is vital that the correct steps are taken to prevent further complications, which may lead to amputation. It’s very crucial to know the importance of good foot health if you are a diabetic. Prevention and protection are key elements to maintaining good foot health in the presence of diabetes. The chances of an ulcer developing when you are a diabetic are greater and simple preventive steps can be taken; * Not allowing bare feet to come into contact with the ground will significantly protect them from damage so wear slippers around the house, * Creaming your feet as dry skin cracks easily. * Check your feet daily to prevent further problems. * Try not to cut your nails too short. * Don’t pick your skin, callous or corns. * Don’t use sharp instruments in self-care. * Don’t use medicated ointments or corn/callous removal pads. Picture this. If you have numb feet you may fail to feel an injury and this allows microorganisms to enter the injured site and cause an infection. Without adequate blood supply to the injured area, healing may be delayed or not be possible. The longer a wound stays unprotected or untreated the less chance of it healing and this may cause tissue death, which is also known as gangrene. This may need surgical debridement or amputation to prevent further infection or to minimise further tissue and bone complications.
THA LIFESTYLE | HEALTH & WELL BEING
t is fair to say that most of us prefer to live a fit and healthy life. The main focus is always on the physical aspect of fitness when health is discussed – be it with your doctor or casually with friends and family. It is a well-established fact that to achieve a healthy life, we have to live on balanced nutrition and perform reasonable physical activity. However, when we think more seriously, it becomes apparent that there are many more vital ingredients other than weight and fitness that make up a “healthy life”, such as, taking enough rest (sleep), having a clear and calm mind (ability to handle and overcome workplace/other stresses of life without breaking down) and many more. Mind controls the body and therefore we need to take very good care of our mind to start with. Now to include this additional “mind” parameter we ought to redefine the health-formula; Healthy life = healthy body + healthy mind. Visiting the gym or playing physical sport can help us lose weight and gain physical fitness. But will it help the mind (in gaining mental fitness)? Or will sport help us sleep well at night? Will it help us concentrate and perform efficiently in the workplace? Will it help us live longer and healthier? If so the next question is, what is the best form of exercise to help us achieve what we want? From personal experience, I can answer a positive “yes” to all of the above questions bar the penultimate one because I am still in my mid- 30s and by no means yet been put through the longevity test. I have played and still continue to play a lot of sport including squash, badminton, cricket and golf but one sport I enjoy the most is swimming because it has been and continues to be the most rewarding.
HOW CAN WATER ACHIEVE A HEALT
Vara Varathungan Chartered Engineer at London Underground & Swimming enthusiast I seriously took up swimming only around 6 years ago, when at the time, I could barely manage to swim a single length of a standard municipal swimming pool (25 meters). I hired a trainer at the local leisure centre for 8 lessons and have never looked back since. Within the first month I lost 6kgs (13lbs/1stone) in weight and by the 2nd month I had dropped two suit sizes (42 down to 38). I have now improved so much that, for the past 3 years on most mornings I swim 2 miles (130 lengths of frontcrawl) in just under an hour. I would love to spend more time in the pool but I am afraid it is all the time I can squeeze out before I run to catch a train to work. To put it very simply, if spending a moderate 3 hours a week can be so rewarding, imagine what you can achieve once you put your mind to it? Don’t worry about the body; it will cope and will improve
immensely. The difficult bit is getting out of bed during the cold weather – again this boils down to the “mind” factor! Taking a look at the physical health benefits of swimming: 1 hour of fast front-crawl swim can help to burn up to 800kcal and all this comes with little or no damage to the joints (low impact sport) and muscles – now try and compare that with most other popular exercises like jogging/running on the street or tread-milling – you know the answer. More than the physical fitness I have gained, I am very glad to say that after a swim in the morning, my mind appears very clear and fit too – this is mainly because of the high levels of concentration required in maintaining good rhythm throughout the swim-hour. If you take up swimming two things require courage to overcome; shyness and fear of water. The fear of water is the main thing that puts people off swimming. You don’t need big muscles or a shapely figure (for ladies) to be an efficient swimmer. Don’t be embarrassed if your BMI is off the scale because hydrostatics will dictate that the fatter you are
| HEALTH & WELL BEING
Learn to love the water:
R HELP US LTHY LIFE?
How to love the water? It is unfortunate that we all have a natural fear of water especially in the deep end or when we cannot ground our feet and keep our head above the water to breathe freely. But for once if we can control this fear we will have overcome the biggest hurdle to swimming. In a sport centre swimming pool they will never let you drown, so why worry?
Develop the technique:
Try and find a group lesson or a personal trainer and learn the correct technique using “floats” to start with.
Efficient swim technique is all about developing and maintaining good rhythm of the arms, legs and most importantly a steady breathing routine. To achieve steady breathing it is essential to overcome the fear of water. the better you float so there may be an advantage of carrying the extra pounds in the initial days & months. The keener you are the sooner you shed the unwanted fat. Swimming gives a fantastic cardio-vascular and a full body workout – I am not a specialist in this field of science so I will not profess to know all about it but based on what I know and experience daily it has been worth the while. In the modern age with the assistance of advanced medical science do we still believe in “Survival of the fittest?” Regardless of the sport, (according to studies published in the BMJ), athletes in the world are indeed among the healthiest as well, thanks to their rigorous training regimes. Swimming is a sport you can enjoy throughout your life – good for both mind and body and is sure to offer improved probabilities of longevity. So what are the alternatives if you cannot bring yourself to take up swimming? From time to time the fitness fanatics come up with new and entirely novel fitness fads like spinning, aqua-spinning (very slowly catching up in the UK), zumba, aqua-zumba and the like which are all great forms of exercise because not everyone can fit into popular sport. If you think swimming is hard work, try “Extreme-zumba”, GST or “Insanity”. On my way to the local sport centre for my early morning swim, I see an
An important aspect of maintaining shape in the water is to keep kicking from the waist-down and maintain the body horizontal so efficiency and good propulsion are achieved. Imagine if you raise your head the legs will sink and whilst they tire the kicking will also not give a lot of propulsion.
Control the urge to panic and instead breathe out into the water steadily take-in a breath when your lungs are almost empty. Try and use the lungs efficiently so you are only taking a fresh breath every 2-4-6 or even 8 strokes.
enthusiastic female group going hard at advanced zumba sessions pumped up by high-wattage bass music: the amount of energy on display though is frankly frightening but very motivating nonetheless. I was told that admittance to this advanced group is only upon passing a compulsory rigorous physical test and to date no man has ever managed it! I may give this a try and if I am admitted and do survive one of these sessions – you can expect an article in the near future on my Zumba-experience! So, those of you who can, get off the couch today and change your lifestyle!
PRAWN WITH EGGPLANT FRIED RICE
y s r n e n Fu nsw A
»» Eggplant 100 Grams »» Prawns 200 Grams »» Grated Coconut 1/4 Cup »» Chopped Coriander 1 Bunch »» Green Chilly 3 Number »» Onions 2 Number »» Curry Leaves 2 Number »» Olive oil/ghee 4 Tablespoons »» Peppercorns 4 Number »» Rice 2 Cup »» Ginger & Garlic Paste 1 Tablespoon »» Turmeric 1/4 Teaspoons »» Chilli Paste 2 Tablespoons »» Coconut Milk 3 Tablespoons »» Salt to taste
»» Heat oil in a pan and add pepper corns, onions, salt.Lightly fry onions till golden in colour. »» Add green chilli, curry leaves, grated coconut, ginger, garlic paste and turmeric then mix well. »» Cook eggplant for a few minutes in a slow flame. »» Add prawns, chilli paste & coconut milk. »» Put the lid on, cook for 5 minutes, then add cooked rice, toss it and put the lid on cook it for a minute in a slow flame.Add the remaining soy sauce, crushed red chillies, chicken stock and remaining cornflour dissolved in quarter cup of water. »» Add chopped coriander, squeeze lemon juice. »» Serve hot
Year 7 Pate’s Grammar, Cheltenham
Why didn’t the skeleton go to the dance? Because he had no-body to go with! What did one plate say to the other?
A He said, “Lunch is on me!” How many tickles does it take to make a octopus laugh? A Tentacles/Tentickles
What do you call a fake noodle?
A An impasta!
What happens if you eat yeast and shoe polish? Every morning you will rise and shine!
Vani is passionate about food processing and homemade recipes, Nature Lover, Philosopher by qualification.
What do you get from a pampered cow?
Why did the picture go to jail?
Because it was framed!
Where do bees go to the bathroom?
INGREDIENTS: »» Condensed milk 1 tin »» Egg yolks 2 »» Gelatine 2.5 sachets »» Sugar 2 tablespoons »» Jelly diamonds (jujubes) Few »» Roasted cashew nuts ½ packet »» vanilla essence Few drops »» green colouring Few drops »» Hot water 1 tin METHOD: »» Mix condensed milk and hot water together. »» Add egg yolks and beat well. »» Add sugar and beat until it dissolves. »» Dissolve gelatine according to the instructions given on the packet and add to the mixture then mix well. »» Then add the essence and colouring. »» Pour to a bowl and refrigerate. »» When half set, sprinkle with jelly diamonds, cashew nuts and leave until fully set. »» Heat the remaining ghee and add powdered rava, cashew nuts, raisins and cardamom powder »» Mix them thoroughly. »» While it’s warm, mould into small sized balls.
What’s the difference between a guitar and a fish? You can’t tuna fish!
At a BP station!
Why is England the wettest country?
How do you make holy water?
Why did the computer go to the doctor?
Why did the banana go to the doctor?
Because the Queen has been reigning there A for years!
A You boil the hell out of it! A Because it had a virus! A Because it wasn’t peeling well! What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire? A A frostbite
THA LIFESTYLE | HEALTH & WELLBEING
ULTIMATE TAMIL WORKOUT PLAYLIST Type of Training Mental Preparation - 5mins
Yen Peru Padaya/Padayappa
S.P. Bala/A.R. Rahman
Ellaappughazhum/Azhagiya Tamil Magan
A.R Rahman/AR Rahman
Run for your life /Briyani
Phsyco.unit, Bala/Yuvan Shankar
Nangaai Nilavil/Engeyum Kaadhal
Hey Vetri Velaa/Padikathavan
Ranjith, Naveen /Mani Sharma
Kalasala Kalasala /Osthi
LR.Eswari,T Rajendar,Sola Sai/S Thaman
Machi Open The bottle/Mankatha
Google Google Panni/Thuppakki
Vijay, Andrea, Joe, Krishna Iyer/Harris Jeyaraj
Stretching - 5mins Aerobic Warm-up - 5mins Cardio - 20mins (4)
Strength - 20mins (4)
Cool down - 5mins
1 Download the app “8Tracks” from the appstore 2 Login with your preferences, either by signing through GooglePlus, Facebook or Signing up to 8Tracks
3 Click on the Search tab at the bottom 4 Search for ThaLifestylePlaylist 5 Select the Playlist 6 Enjoy the workout
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GUN & RING PRIMIER
VENUE IndigoO2 TIME 5.300pm onwards
VENUE Cineworld Wembley TIME 5.300pm onwards
VENUE Beck Theatre TIME 5.000pm onwards
DETAILS- The most
DETAILS- Exclusive UK Premiere of A Gun & A Ring, Directed by the Award-Winning Lenin M Sivam. TICKETSCineworld CONTACT
DETAILS- Chairty event to launch MS Star boy’s ‘Maru Piravi’ audio music album TICKETS
MEGA MAALAI XIV
anticipated and popular student show in London presented by Imperial Tamil Soceity
TICKETSStalls £20 - Balcony £22 - Kings Row £25
CONTACT Ray of hope theROH.org 07539692452
FACEOFF 2014 VENUE TBC TIME Evening DETAILS- Face Off
is an inter-university university music and dance competition, and one of the largest of it’s kind. Each year
TICKETS Call for info CONTACT
| FAMILY & PETS
n expectant mother would read or sing to her unborn child showing just how early one could facilitate the learning of their child. Learning and development continue in a more evident form following birth; milestones are achieved, physical and mental development rigorously monitored.
Every Child is Unique One of the guiding principles of the Early Years Framework in the UK (ages 0 – 5) is accepting that every child is unique. This ‘uniqueness’ should be celebrated and nurtured to maximise their capabilities and enhance their personality. Comparison, therefore can often lead to the discouragement of parents concerning their child’s abilities and achievements.
You are your child’s most influential educator! Until your child commences formal education, you are your child’s sole educator. Children learn and pick up many skills such as speech, motor skills and social interaction from their parents or caregivers. Therefore it is worth making every second count! Learning at this stage can be quite broad and includes every single interaction that takes place between you and your child. Daily chores such as feeding, bathing, dressing up, visiting the outdoors, interaction with peers and extended family members may not seem important but they are great opportunities for your child to broaden their understanding. Parents could make use of these situations to enrich the knowledge and understanding of their young children. For instance your child may seem to be making a right mess by ripping up some paper; but in reality, he is broadening,
BEGINS AT HOME! However the urge for most young parents to kick start formal learning can be quite strong given the highly competitive nature that exists in education among the migrant community in the UK. To make matters worse, parents tend to compare their children’s capabilities to that of others, often wondering ‘Am I doing enough?’ or ‘Is my child behind?’
This could also lead to low self esteem amongst the children themselves when their parents are constantly comparing them with their peers. If any concerns do arise about their child’s social, physical or psychological growth, parents/ guardians should always seek professional help first.
Ann Ariyaratnam Early Years Practitioner his understanding of how things work, how he could manipulate his limbs to create changes, working on his hand/eye coordination and is indulging in an invaluable leaning experience!
| FAMILY & PETS
Choosing the Right Provision When the time comes for your child to venture out into a nursery, playgroup or any childcare setting, it is wise to consider what is best for your child. There are many cues to watch out for when making the big decision. Ofsted (The Office for Standards in Education) should primarily help you. You can always request for a copy of the Childcare Provider’s Ofsted Inspection Report. Ofsted are an independent and impartial body who assess the quality and standard of childcare providers such as nurseries, schools, and childminders in the UK. The outcome of their report generally analyses all aspects of the provision. A conclusion is reached at the end of the report and a rating is given. Other factors you would want to consider include the availability of resources such as play things, outdoor facilities and physical space of a setting. Making a visit to the setting by prior appointment could help you see things for yourself. Some questions to ask yourself are ‘How friendly were the staff?’ ‘How were they interacting with the children?’ ‘Was it a multicultural environment?’ ‘How do they celebrate festivals of different cultures?’ ‘How do they record observations and the development of the children’s learning?’ ‘How qualified were the staff?’ ‘What was the staff/ children ratio of the setting?’ Another important factor to consider is if the childcare setting caters to children with Special Needs. Consider how accessible the setting is to a child with Special Needs. Was there a ‘Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator’ at the setting
Tips to help your child enjoy books •Encourage your child to pretend to ‘read’ a book before he or she can read words. •Visit the library as often as possible take out CDs and DVDs as well as books. •Schedule a regular time for reading perhaps when you get home from work or just before bed. •Buy bi-lingual books as Tamil would be your family’s first language.You can talk about books & stories and develop a love for them, in any language. •Look for books on topics that you know your child is interested like dragons, insects,dinosaurs, fairies or a certain sport. •Make sure that children’s books are easily accessible in different rooms around your house.
who is specialised in working with children with learning disabilities? Although your child may not have any Special Needs, this would help you decide if the setting has an inclusive approach.
The Early Years Curriculum in the UK Every childcare setting may opt to follow their chosen method to deliver learning experiences and knowledge to children, for instance the Maria Montessori method. However let’s have an overview of what the Department of Education has outlined about the education of a child. There are seven areas of learning and development which all childcare settings adhere to. Three of them are known as prime areas. They are, • Communication & Language • Physical Development • Personal, Social and Emotional Development The rest are specific areas, namely • Literacy • Mathematics • Understanding the World • Expressive Arts & Design All activities carried out at a nursery or other childcare setting should revolve around these seven areas of learning and development. It is important for parents to keep an eye out for how your childcare provider delivers learning opportunities for your children. Just as everything else, learning and development in the first few years of a child are crucial. Your support can make a paramount contribution to your child achieving his potential.
Tha’s Monthly Brain Fodder By Sina Bartley
Talking about sacrifices….
Did you know that the deep sea Angler fish is one of the most fascinating and possibly ugliest fish known? The female is at least ten times larger than her partner and can have jaws that reach up to half the size of the body. As she may not be very pretty, she uses her rod to light the aura around her and attracts her partner with an infusion of her unique scent. The male lives solely to find his one and only, and when he finally finds her he bites into her skin and his body tissues and blood vessels fuse with hers. He loses his eyes, most of his internal organs and practically becomes a living organ on/for her, providing her with a lifetime’s supply of sperm!
Top 10 Finalists of 2013 show Singing Sensation 2013, ended with a bang at the Grand Finale held LIVE on 15th Dec 2013 @ the Nakshatra Banqueting Hall, London. Special Judge for the Finale was popular South Indian playback singer Krish who was indeed impressed by the talented top 10.
Yarlinie Thanabalasingam Sathya Sathyadas Shifan Stefeja Vasantharasan Ramprasad Devarakonda Karthika Dharman Sheroon Roozy Naveena Pranavarooban Aditya Nidamarthi Arunkumar Baskaran Gnanamayi Gunabalaratnam
In the meantime if you have missed the show or any of the episodes you can watch them on YouTube by searching for Singing Sensation 2013 or to keep up to date on the latest news “Like” their facebook fan page or
The Independent film with no cast, no money and very little time
‘The Rajini Effect’
by London based Tamil directors ‘The Rajini Effect’, produced and directed by the Barking, London based brothers Nelson and Kuvera Sivalingam, has won the audience award for Best Film at the prestigious 10th Stuttgart Indian Film festival. The film, a quirky comedy about a Japanese Brit who wants to be an Indian movie star, brought down the roof at the screening – with the German audience loving the Rajinikanth inspired comedy and its affable hero.
The film has music by Charles Bosco, cinematography by Krshna Naganpillai and stars Jonathan Truong, Ramesh Vethanayagam , Mandeesh Gill, Paul Dudley and Akiko Motomura. With no cast, no money and very little time, can they make the film and win the competition? Can a Japanese guy become the next Superstar Rajinikanth? We are all about to find out!!! Currently selected to be showcased at more festivals worldwide, it is set to be released in 2014.
| READERS SECTION
THA READERS PAGE! I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first issue of your magazine, and felt you have already covered a wide variety of different and relevant topics. It looks like a fantastic platform to help people from Tamil areas to integrate into life in England. I would even go as far as saying I’m sure it will become a must read for people coming into this country from many other countries too. I even found articles in there about British life which even I was unaware of. Congratulations to you and your team on a great first issue and I look forward very much to reading issue 2 when it comes out.
I am pleased very much to see the beautiful magazine Tha – Life Style. It is reflecting the rich culture of Tamil people, bearing greater significance of living in harmony with nature. Respecting nature is the real worship of God. This was known well in the past. To have a prosperous and happy life they gave importance to respecting nature. To inculcate this wisdom into the society, our great thinkers brought in this truth into the ceremonies related to various aspects of life so that everyone learns to live in consonance with it. In this regard, I like to add further in understanding about “Kanni kaal planting (Tree Planting)”. The motto behind it is to grow more plants and enrich nature. With the same aim, in Tamil Nadu, Tamil people have similar habit of having a small ritual at the start of the marriage ceremony. Years back, at the days where the marriage was taking place, we can see two decorated mud pots with water. In the middle a sapling, with a support stick, of a tree adapted to that environment is kept. The sapling is also adorned with flowers and red ribbon. The marrying couple is seated in front of these arrangements. The Marriage Ceremony starts with offering of worship to the plant. Before the concluding the marriage ceremony, the married couple takes the sapling and the decorated water pots, with great reverence, to their garden and they plant it by swearing that “we will raise this sapling carefully to its flourishing so as it makes to flourish our family”.
This ceremony is called “Arasu Aanai Kaal Naduthal”. The name of the ceremony itself implies that “It is the Order of the King”. In those days, the rulers were well-wishers of people. They were well aware of the importance of maintaining the bio-diversity through maintenance of forest. So, they ordered that anyone entering married life should give assurance that he will plant a tree and maintain it. As the king, he himself could not be present at everyone’s marriage; this swearing is taken in the presence of the society (those who have gathered to wish the couple) on behalf the king. Then only the next steps of marriage are performed. Nowadays, the meaning, the nobility and the importance of the ceremony “Arasu Aanai Kaal Naduthal” is lost. It has become a very meaningless ritual as follows. In most marriages, this first ceremony of taking the pledge of growing trees is performed simply by tying mango leaves, grass and red cloth and offering worship. The group of words conveying the meaning of the ceremony “Arasu Aanai Kaal Naduthal” are also got eroded to “Arasaani Kaal Naduthal” and lost its significance. The richness of Tamil culture to live along with nature can be revived by bringing in the true meaning of such ceremonies. The magazine “Tha-Life Style”, I am confident, will bring out further and further the richness of our Tamil culture.
Dr S Letchoumanane
Chee Chong Lawrence Arthur I loved reading Tha, eclectic,educational, engaging! Great range of timely topics. The business Q&A advice was super sound! Loved learning about Yoga and Tamil wedding customs too. I’m excited of what ‘Tha’ has in store in the next issue!
"It's always a treat to my eyes and mind to find a magazine filled with multicultural articles, bringing communities closer and sharing beautiful and valuable knowledge. Thank you Tha lifestyle for your integral contribution to the society."
Hertfordshire Tamil Society Members University of Herfordshire
Cllr Sasi Suresh Harrow Council
Uma Kumaran Parliamentary Candidate Harrow East
Cllr Suresh Krishna Harrow Council
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