C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Tribune in Education
Ill effects of sleep deprivation
Dr Prahbhjot Malhi

The day of most high school students, especially those aiming for admissions to professional courses, starts early. They stumble out of their beds between 5 and 6 am, merely 6 to 7 hours after they have gone to bed, and rush to some tuition, and then to school by 8 a.m. In contrast to previous belief that adolescents need less sleep than they did as children, recent evidence indicates that teenagers in fact require considerably more sleep than young children and adults. Research indicates that adolescents need about 9.2 hours of sleep each night, at least 1 to 2 hours more than adults.

Survey data reveals that nearly one-fourth of high school students routinely sleep for less than 6.5 hours and only 15 per cent sleep for 8.5 hours or more. To make up for lost sleep, most teenagers snooze for an extra couple of hours on weekends, a habit that is associated with poorer quality sleep.

Since adolescents are biologically programmed to sleep longer and later than adults, the effects of sleep deprivation over a period of time may be an important factor influencing their mental as well as physical health. Sleep deprivation has been found to be associated with several negative outcomes, including poor concentration, lack of attention, sleepiness in class, emotional and behavioural difficulties and even road accidents. Sleep deprivation has been shown to impair the adolescent’s level of abstract thinking, resulting in poorer performance on abstract cognitive tasks, particularly mathematics.

Researchers today recognise that sleep serves many functions, including providing an opportunity for the body to rest, facilitate metabolic and endocrine functions and also enables the individual to consolidate the learning that took place during the day. Evidence indicates that recently learned material is “replayed” and “rehearsed” during sleep and helps the brain to literally make the memory circuits stronger. Sleep, today, is considered a creative learning process that allows the individual to extrapolate and look for novel connections of events that took place the previous day. Even a single night of sleep deprivation short-circuits the memory consolidation process.

In addition to needing more sleep, the adolescents also experience a “phase shift” during puberty, that is they fall asleep later at night than do younger children. This shift is due to biological factors which influence adolescents’ changing sleep patterns and not because of increased TV viewing or academic pressures as many parents believe. Changes in brain’s circadian time system, which results in later sleep time for adolescents, combined with external pressures such as the need to awaken early in the morning for tuitions and school, produces a destructive pattern of early– morning sleepiness in teenagers. Nearly half of the adolescents who start their active day around 6 am or earlier have been found to be pathologically sleepy and unable to concentrate.

Given the new evidence of widespread prevalence of sleep deprivation among adolescents and the risk it poses, many experts have made a strong case for a late start in the morning for the youth. In other words, early-morning tuitions — which many teenagers attend — are a definite risk factor for day-time sleepiness and poor cognitive performance throughout the day. Hence, it is important that parents and teachers understand the importance of a good night’s sleep for the youth and understand that teenagers require considerably more sleep to perform optimally.

The writer is Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, PGI.


Benefits of technology displayed at exhibition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
From using technology to improve crops to using solar energy to cook food to fingerprinting, students of the city displayed the many advantages of technology at the state-level science exhibition, which began at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 23, here yesterday.

Spread out on the campus, the exhibition saw models on the theme of “Science and Technology in the Changing World” housed in 80 tents, each displaying at least five exhibits. About 440 students and 160 teachers of secondary and senior secondary schools from urban as well as rural areas participated in this annual event.

The exhibition comprised six sub-themes of “Food and Health”, “Energy”, “Information and Technology”, “Industry”, “Transport and Communication” and “Bio-technology”. The best exhibits of the exhibition would be displayed at the Jawaharlal Nehru National Science Exhibition for Children 2004.

Earlier, the Adviser to the UT Administrator ,Mr. R.S. Gujral, inaugurated the exhibition organised by the State Institute of Education (SIE), Sector 32, in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, UT, Chandigarh, and NCERT, New Delhi.

The cardinal purpose of the exhibition is to inculcate scientific attitude and give training in the development and understanding of the latest scientific concepts and application of the scientific methods to budding scientists of this cosmopolitan city.

While taking a round of the exhibition, Mr Gujral appreciated the innovative and indigenous techniques used by the students in preparing their models and said such exhibitions provided opportunity to uphold their creativeness and stretch their imagination.

Dr Saroj Saini, Director, SIE, said the exhibition provided an opportunity to experiment without any restriction and translate knowledge and curiosity into action. She further emphasised that the basic mission of the exhibition was to popularise science and enhance public understanding.

For the evaluation of the exhibits, to be done on November14, 70 per cent weightage would be given to their technical skills and 30 per cent to presentation and educative value. The exhibition would remain open for general public and the schools on November 12 and 13.

The exhibition was also attended by Mr Dilip Kumar, Joint Secretary, Finance-cum-DPI (Colleges), Mr Vivek Atray, Director, Technical Education, Mr D.S. Mangat, DPI (Schools), and Mrs Rajesh Chaudhary, District Education Officer.


Number of Indian students in Australia ‘growing’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The number of Indian students in Australian educational institutions is growing at a fast pace. In future, they may become the largest group studying in Australia.

This was stated here today by Mr Greg Gallaugher, the chief operating officer of IDP Education Australia Limited. IDP is an organisation that represents more than 200 Australian institutions including universities, vocational education and training institutes, English language colleges and schools.

Mr Gallaugher said in 1995, there were only a few hundred Indian students in Australia. Today, their number had grown to more than 14,000, he added. He said the maximum foreign students in Australia were from China, followed by Singapore.

Most of the Indian students heading for Australia opted for business studies, information technology and engineering, he added.


Hamara School
Philanthropy is hallmark of Sector 40 school
Tribune News Service

Arvind Kumar, Class VIII-F

Rohit Singh, Class VI-G

Sandeep, Class VI-A

Chandigarh, November 12
Philanthropy has become the hallmark of Government High School, Sector 40, which is running a number of educational projects to benefit slum children with a special focus on the girl child.

While the school caters to students staying in and around Sector 40 and nearby villages and colonies, it has gone out of the way to give back to society whether it is by way of "Bori se Basta" started in 1995 to educate rag-pickers from adjoining slums or the "Chalo Beti School " project aimed at imparting education to the girl child.

These projects, along with Aasra, whereby students collected donations for the poor, were pioneered by Mr Bahadur Singh, Headmaster of the school for over 10 years when the school evolved into a centre for such activity and carved a niche for itself.

Started as a primary school with 1,100 students in 1984, the school was upgraded to a middle school in April 1994. Next year, more classes were added and it acquired the status of high school, with 2200 students on roll. Computer education is given to students from Class VI onwards.

With a campus not big enough to accommodate all classes, the school works in two shifts. Classes for the senior section are run in the mornings while students of Classes I to V attend school in the evening shift. A night school, started in 1999, is also run on the same premises and has 45 students.

The school has an enthusiastic lot of students who participate in all activities ranging from painting and quiz to debates, declamations and sports. The school also boasts of students who have represented the city in the national games.

Mr Nand Lal ChawlaWith 28 years of teaching experience behind him, the Headmaster of the school, Mr Nand Lal Chawla, is clear on how he has to run the school. Emphasising on discipline, he wants the school to strive for academic excellence as well after making a mark in other activities.

* On what education means: Education does not necessarily restrict itself to books. Rather, wide in scope, it means developing the all-round personality of children. It also means that the schools have the additional responsibility of enabling a child to evolve as a better human being.

* On the tuition menace in schools: There is a growing need to check tuitions, especially since these have become a status symbol for the well-to-do. Tuitions are taking a toll on the classroom culture and students are losing respect for their teachers. In my opinion, if students are attentive in class and go through their books regularly and thoroughly, there is absolutely no need to dole out money for these extra classes.

* On the role of co-curricular activities: While academics are important given the present set-up, a student needs to be active as far as participation in co-curricular activities is concerned. We send teams for every contest and encourage participation of one and all. In sports, too, we partonise kho kho, volleyball and kabaddi.

* On the future plans of the school: We want to organise programmes on de-addiction and educating slum children on the ill-effects of alcohol and cigarette on a large scale and on a regular basis to ensure that they give up their habit. Besides, the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan is likely to get under way shortly.



Principal favours long-hour schools with sports activities
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, November 12
Long hours at school, accompanied by an emphasis on sports, can help in developing the personality of a child. This was stated by Air Cmdre S.K. Sharma (retd), a former principal of Yadavindra Public School, SAS Nagar.

Commodre Sharma, who is presently the Principal of Shemrock Senior Secondary School, SAS Nagar, and has more than two decades of experience of working in various schools, said in today’s world, children needed to develop all aspects of their personality through sports, dramas and hobbies. He said there were three types of schools — residential schools, day schools and long-hour schools. He said in the residential schools, students had enough time but there, the children do not get a shoulder to cry on when they face a problem or are emotionally hurt.

The day schools have the advantage of parents being with the children, but they cannot complete all activities in the limited time. The number of obese as well as weak children is more in these schools.

Long-hour schools, he said, were the best alternative. In such schools, children remained with their parents, at the same time, getting sufficient time for sports activities within school hours. He said taking part in sports activities while in school must be made mandatory in each school. 


Engg students present cultural show
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 12
A cultural programme was organised by students of Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dera Bassi, to mark the annual function, LAMHE-2003, at Tagore Theatre here this evening. The function started with a “shabad” that was followed by a solo dance and song presentation.

Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of the Tribune Group of Publications, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said literacy and technology were the foundations of the prosperity of a nation. “Technology helps a nation to develop and the nations lacking in technology lag in development,” he added. Mr Dua gave away prizes to the students for their performance in academics.

Mr Avtar Singh, chairman of the institute, welcomed the chief guest. Mr I.M. Soi, Principal, proposed a vote of thanks.


Cultural programme by DC Model kids
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 12
A colourful cultural programme was presented by students of DC Model School, Sector 7, here today.

The performance began with the reciting of shlokas. This was followed by a skit presented by the tiny-tots of pre-nursery.

The item titled “Jag Utha Pyara Vatan” lent patriotic fervour to the show. The programme concluded with a dance item depicting the emotions of life.

A synchronised yoga display was also presented by the schoolchildren. The ADIG (CID), Ms Bharti Arora, was the chief guest.


Justice Sodhi transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
Mr Justice Nauvdip Kumar Sodhi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been transferred to the Kerala High Court. He will be administered oath as the first puisne. He is likely to be elevated as the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court in January next year.

Known for his high integrity and for administering justice without any communal or parochial bias, Mr Justice Sodhi is also the Executive Chairman of the UT State Legal Services Authority and the Chairman of the Preventive Detention Boards set up by the Punjab Government under the Preventive Detention laws .

Mr Justice Sodhi, before his elevation as a High Court Judge on March 15, 1991, was a senior lawyer practising exclusively on the civil and the constitutional side, particularly in labour, company, tax and transport laws.

Mr Justice Sodhi was also a part time law lecturer in Panjab University for almost 13 years and was teaching labour and tax laws. He was also the Editor of Indian Law Reports, Punjab and Haryana series, for over 10 years. 


Chowhan asked to deposit court fee
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 12
In a recovery suit filed against former Chief Minister of Punjab Parkash Singh Badal and 14 other persons by Mr Jagdip Singh Chowhan, Pu him was under valued and suit filed by him was liable to be rejected.

Pleading that Mr Chowhan was required to affix the court fee on the whole claim of Rs 2.143 crore with the suit, the counsel argued that therefore a direction may kindly be issued to Mr him was under valued and suit filed by him was liable to be rejected.

Pleading that Mr Chowhan was required to affix the court fee on the whole claim of Rs 2.143 crore with the suit, the counsel argued that therefore a direction may kindly be issued to Mr Chowhan to make up the deficiency in the court fee, failing which the suit may kindly be rejected. After hearing the plea, the court has adjourned the case for filing of reply in the case till December 2.

Mr Chowhan, former Additional Director, Information and Public Relations Department, filed a civil suit against Mr Badal and 14 others, including the Punjab Government, claiming damages of Rs 2.143 crore for falsely implicating him in the case.


PGI Director moves court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
The Director of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Prof S.K. Sharma, today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The petition has been filed in less than two months after he proceeded on leave.

According to sources, the petition is likely to be taken up for hearing on Thursday. Professor Sharma was not available for comments, while his counsel refused to divulge the details.


Walking the path from inebriation to sobriety
Alcoholic Anonymous conference opens on November 14
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

The conference

Al-Anon convention and the AA Conference will be held on November 14 and 15 at Indira Holiday Home and Park View, Sector 24. Al-Anon delegates will talk about “courage to be me”, “courage to change” and “emotional violence”. Members of Alateen (children of alcoholics) will also attend the convention.

AA delegates will make plans to spread their message: “When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.” A self-supportive fellowship, AA demands no fee. The only requirement to join is the desire to stop drinking. Anonymity is honoured like religion.

THEY have been through it all — the sinking feeling of discomfort that precedes the drinking bout, the uneasy rising at dawn that brings another alcoholic day in its fold and the fear of having created ugly scenes at night....

Having put a dishevelled past behind them, members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the worldwide fellowship that helps alcoholics beat the habit and counsel other alcoholics on the road to sobriety, hate to be labelled as saviours. This because they have themselves been part of the recovery process that took ages. Once slaves to the disease, they are now busy honouring their avocation of helping other alcoholics get over their addiction.

As the 32nd National General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous and the fourth All-India Convention of Al-Anon, the fellowship of friends and families of alcoholics, gets ready to open in Chandigarh on November 14, it is time to revisit some alcoholics who have successfully consigned the baffling, all-powerful alcohol to the bin, and also members of their families who, through Al-Anon, have learnt to see alcoholism as a disease, besides shaking off their dangerous obsession with alcohol.

Narrating their experiences, two members of AA and Al-Anon reconstructed their traumatic past that is thankfully “bygone”. For 17 years, Namrata (name changed) went through hell her alcoholic husband gave her. Drained by his habit, she nagged him, worried for him, protected him in society, unconsciously “enabling” him further. At Al-Anon, which she joined later, she learnt that he was not bad but sick and needed counselling.

“Al-Anon which has over 26,000 groups in 115 countries helped me undergo a paradigm shift in attitude. I learnt to leave him alone with his mess. I diverted attention to my emotionally undernourished kids. The fellowship stresses three Cs — You did not cause the disease, you cannot control it, you cannot cure it.” Having understood this, I stopped making excuses for Arun. He hit the rock bottom and then emerged.”

For his part, Arun, now an AA member, began recovering by avoiding excuses to drink. “When Namrata stopped making excuses for me, I was left alone to handle my mess. She no longer protected me. One day she allowed a foreman into my room, while I was dishevelled. I stood exposed to society, ashamed to bare myself. That was when I joined AA, learning first to reject denial of the problem. The moment I reposed faith in a greater power to heal me, life changed.” Namrata and Arun now help others get over alcoholism.

Inquiries reveal that Chandigarh alone has over 50,000 confirmed alcoholism cases, with fresh registrations common at the three main drug deaddiction centres at the PGI, GMCH-32 and Government Hospital, Sector 16. Medical experts suggest that treatment forms just 10 per cent of the recovery process. No wonder the local AA chapter has a growing membership, the youngest member being a 19-year-old. Social acceptability of alcohol is catalysing the mess further. More and more youngsters are now discovering specious excuses for drinking.


It’s my life
God is my best friend

Simrit Jagdev
Simrit Jagdev
MBA-Human Resource Centre for Management, Training and Research, SAS Nagar

“If I believe in a yes, there’s got to be a no.

If I believe inlight, there’s got to be darkness.

If I believe in heaven, there’s got to be hell.

Believe and you will achieve”.

Life has treated me well and with god on my side, I have been lucky to be blessed with a beautiful family. I was born in Chandigarh, completed my schooling at St. Kabir’s and Vivek High. Throughout my schooling I have been an active sportsperson and a brilliant speaker, and I continue with these activities.

Since I had an inclination towards business, I chose the commerce stream and completed my B.Com from Panjab University. Thereafter, I went to Bangalore for a masters in journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism and News media. But life had something else in store and I came back to my hometown and under the guidance of a close friend, applied for an MBA course. At present I am in my third semester of MBA under PTU, Jalandhar specialising in human resource.

Besides academics, my interests lie in reading all kinds of books and writing for magazines such as Teens Today and daily newspapers.

On the social side, I am the Secretary-cum-PRO of my School Association named KROS (Kabir’s Roll of Old Students) and am actively involved in its various activities.

It’s not enough for a man to know how to ride; he must also know how to fall. I too have had my share of sorrows. But I believe in god and he being my best friend I know that he would always be there for me.

In life nothing matters more than relationships with people who stand with you through thick and thin. Being an MBA student, I always quote Henry Ford who said, “You can take my factories, burn up my buildings, but give me back my people and I’ll build the business right back again.” 


Home Decor
Blending traditional with modern
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

The drawing room (above) is a blend of the traditional as well as modern architectures; arched niches (below) with glass shelves to keep decorative items. —Tribune photos by Parvesh Chauhan.

The Sahni house in Sector 2, Panchkula, breathes life. Be it by using the elements of air, light and earth in the house, or through the numerous family portraits and paintings of flowers that adorn the walls.

The most striking feature of this house is the use of traditional, conventional and modern styles, both in structural design and home accessories. From fire places to airy arches, old grandfather clocks and chairs to the upholstered sofas with bright tapestries, the blend is perfect.

While the aspect (outer appearance of the house), including the architecture, has been designed by Mrs Poonam Sharma, the lady of the house, Ms Seema Sahni takes full credit for doing the interiors. “I personally believe that the aspect gives the first impression of the house. So we took a lot of interest in getting a ‘different’ aspect by using brick tiles with wider crevices — which give it a more earthy appeal. A balance in design was also created by creating a balcony in the centre and two windows overlooking the front lawns, “ she says.

Though the covered area is only 3000 square feet, the element of space has been given by using diagonal and vertical lines and arches. The staircase from the ground floor uses horizontal lines , which adds width to the lounge. The curtains and tapestry on the sofa have vertical lines. Arches have been used to create wider openings in the lounges.

Effort has been made for blending the traditional, conventional and modern pieces of furniture in the drawing room. The walls have been painted pearly white, the room is brightened by using rust and green tapestry. The heavy teak sofa set with a polished centre table, and fully upholstered sofas, with a backdrop of a mock fire place have been combined to give a formal look. The spaces between the sofas have been filled by using side tables with wood polished tops, adorned with crystal vases filled with fresh flowers.

Though the master bedroom is simple with a minimal use of furniture, care has been taken to make the children’s bedroom look more cheerful by using brightly coloured bedspreads, rugs and cushions.

The use of mirrors, perched atop mantlepieces, in most rooms of the house, including the bedrooms, create an emphasis on the walls. Arched niches in most rooms for keeping accessories in the two lounges, on the ground floor and first floor, also add charm to the rooms. 


Acting instructor dwells on intellectual past
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
Dr Braj Ballabh Mishra’s endless zeal to venture into areas never touched hitherto have placed him in an uncommon yet celebrated league. Although best known as the acting instructor to Bollywood hearthrobs like Hritik Roshan, Akshaye Khanna, Vivek Oberoi, Kareena, among others, who regularly attend his acting classes at the Kishore Namit School of Acting in Mumbai, Dr Mishra loves to mention his intellectual past more than his apparently glamorous present.

A scholar of Sanskrit and Hindi, Dr Mishra’s greatest contribution to the world of performing art has been his immensely appreciated magnum opus — a Hindi translation of Bharat Muni’s extensively quoted treatise, “The Natya Shastra”. The only scholar in India to have attempted the challenging translation which took him 22 years, Dr Mishra was recognised for his priceless contribution and was nominated one among the six National Professors on Performing Art by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Thanks to him, the Natya Shastra stands delineated for those who do not understand Sanskrit. Apart from a full-fledged translation of the treatise, Dr Mishra has also offered the first ever “Reference Dictionary of Specific Words of the Natya Shastra” and “Ras Bhava Darshan”, another significant work that details rasa (feeling) and bhava (expression), two main elements of acting, covered in Chapters 6 and 7 of the Natya Shastra.

In an interview with The Tribune, Dr Mishra explained why he ventured into something that took away 80 per cent of his vision, “I spent 22 years reading the Shastra, trying to understand its nuances, interacting with scholars. My work is thus not a literal translation, but an insightful account of acting elements, as prescribed by Bharat Muni, whose genius is unparalleled across the world. The need of translation arose because as a student I was confused by varied interpretations of Bharat Muni’s verses by scholars. Everyone offered contradictory explanations of his words, creating confusion. I pledge to translate the treatise and end the reigning confusion forever.” Dr Mishra went on to honour his commitment. His work was funded by the UGC and published by Siddharth Publications.

Talking about his eventful childhood, which forced him to work in nautanki companies to earn money, Dr Mishra said, “My father expired when I was 12 -years-old. There was no alternative than to seek employment in drama companies. It was later when I was exposed to the literature of writers like Nirala that I realised what I was missing in life. I then studied Sanskrit, took masters degree, PhD and D Lit in Hindi.”

Balancing his life between his urge to write, now curbed by a limited vision and his role as a teacher of acting to stars of Bollywood, Dr Mishra finds time for scripting mythological plays. He earlier wrote Brahma, Vishnu Mahesh, which was telecast on Doordarshan. These days he is bust scripting “The Bhagwad katha” for Doordarshan. Ask him which is his best role and he quips wittingly, “Bharat Muni has blessed us to play several roles at a time. All my roles are my best.”


Shilpi dances to eight-beat melody
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 12
A disciple of guru Thankamani Kutty, Shilpi Baruri enthralled the audience at Pracheen Kala Kendra, SAS Nagar complex, with the sheer grace of her dance. After being trained by guru Thankamani in the age-old tradition, she came under the guidance of Padmashri Chitra Visweswaran and then matured as one of the most sought-after Bharat-natyam dancers of the country.

She began her performance with an invocatory item “Meera bhajan” followed by a Tamil Padam depicting the love and affection of Yashodhara for her son Lord Krishna. With this piece based on raga Kapil, adi taal, Shilpi mesmerised one and all.

The next item was the tillana in raga Dhanasri, set to adi taal. Tillana originates from the North Indian vocal tradition of tarana, a form of song which came to South India from the North and was absorbed into the Carnatic tradition. In this piece Shilpi performed variations to the eight-beat melody.

The dancer concluded her recital with a dance drama item titled “Bish kanya”.

This piece was about a court dancer, Bishakha, with whom King Chandragupta falls in love. The king’s affection for the woman does not receive the royal approval. Apprehend-ing banishment, Bishakha decides to take her life in the presence of the king and his court.

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