C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Students on mission to serve leprosy patients
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
It’s a service driven sojourn that is taking a group of seven students of Vivek High School, Sector 38, to Chennai. Full of beans and raring to go, the mission entails building homes for the leprosy-afflicted in a small village, even giving them a lesson or two in community work and a peek into the lives of the underprivileged.

Their excitement is almost palpable as they gear up to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Guiding them to deal with the unexpected are classmates who have been to Bhuj during the quake and to devastated Orissa after the cyclone.

“The project involves sheer hardwork, a lot of manual labour and we are game for it. From what we have gathered, besides the service bit, the project is going to provide a great learning opportunity, help us in broadening our horizons,” says Harsharan Kaur, sports captain of the school.

“I volunteered for the Round Square project because I love interacting with people, knowing their problems and contributing my bit to make them happy in whatever way I can. In Chennai, we are going to practically labour, lift sacks, lay bricks and help in the construction of houses for the leprosy patients. It is going top be tough but we have to learn to make do with the bare minimum,” adds Aprajit Singh.

With his first “assignment” under the service project at Bhuj, Rattan Amol S Johal, the most experienced of the lot, explains,”We worked on a sanitation project in Bhuj, educating people about the need for maintenance of hygiene. I have volunteered all over again for Chennai since such projects greatly contribute to developing the personality and, at the same time, sensitising our minds to human suffering and the plight of the have-nots.”

Another participant chosen for the trip, Sukriti Gupta, informs,”This being an international project, we will be jointly working with students from other countries who are members of the Round Square International comprising 49 schools. Divided into small groups, we will strive towards the common goal of building houses. I am eagerly looking forward to working there.”

Selected for the project, Simran Negi and Avneet Kurmi, can’t contain their excitement over being chosen. “Students are selected on the basis of their adjusting nature, their attitude towards suffering and pain. Only the sensitive are picked for such missions. We have never been on such an exercise before and are hoping to make a few people happy,” they add.

Accompanying them is Mr WO Kuku, a teacher from the school. “I took three boys to Orissa after the cyclone. We were given the task of setting up two schools. The students enjoyed every bit of the work that went into that project. Every year, we have more and more students volunteering for the Round Square International projects where the school contributes by providing service through students,” he holds.

The students will leave for Chennai on December 7 under the Round Square project, an international body involved in service, and will be back after three weeks of work in the colony for the leprosy afflicted. 



Cultural extravaganza marks St Xavier’s annual function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
A cultural extravaganza awaited the audience on the annual day celebrations at St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, here today, as tiny tots whirled and twirled in colourful attires.

The programme began with the “Last Ketchup song” which saw the tiny tots, dressed as tomatoes and chillies, shaking to the peppy beats of the English number. The “Japanese Bonanza” saw 500 dolls from the land of the rising sun, carrying multi-hued fans, enticed the spectators with their graceful movements.

A whole lot of Santas danced to the tune of Christmas bells to herald the festive season while the vitality and vigour of Bhangra, the essence of Punjabi culture, came alive on the school premises. Performed by boys of senior classes, the bhangra item showcased the farmers celebrating the advent of the harvest season as the dhol beat filled the air.

From down South, various mudras of bharatnatyam and kuchipudi were displayed to perfection by students, especially trained in art of classical forms. Away from the humdrum of city life and to the serenity of the hills, the audience were transported to Garhwal where nimble-toed damsels danced to the melodious folk music, celebrating the full moon night. Enthralling the audience, girl students from senior classes, dressed in vibrant ‘lehngas’ performed dandia as Gujarati music played in the background.

The grand finale marked the end of the programme which saw students of Class X and XII, in school dresses, converge on the stage waving colourful flags, coming together to make formations.

The chief guest, Mr Arvind Kumar, Regional Passport Officer, was full of appreciation for the cultural programme presented by the students. The Principal, Mr Mervin West, was also present.



Jharkhand Speaker opens school
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 30
The town acquired a new school today, having the Chief Khalsa Diwan in Amritsar as its parent body, with the inauguration of its building in Phase IX here by the Speaker of the Jharkand Assembly, Mr Inder Singh Namdhari.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the SGPC, who presided over the ceremony, lauded the efforts of the prominent Guru Gobind Singh Educational Society, Bokaro, in setting up Sahibzada Ajit Singh Public School for the benefit of residents here.

The society, set up in 1979, already runs a school in Boaharo city. It has completed the construction of three more schools apart from the one opened here today...at Chas, Dhanbad and Daltonganj. It plans to open three schools in Punjab, named after the other three sons of Guru Gobind Singh.

The Phase IX institution, which has modern educational facilities, will be up to the primary level to begin with. To ensure that the students who join it are able to continue their education, the management will soon be starting a new institution up to the 10 plus 2 level.

Among those present were Mr Bhag Singh Ankhi, honorary secretary of the Chief Khalsa Diwan.



Programmes mark school function
Our Correspondent

Zirakpuri, November 30
As many as 100 students from junior and senior wings of Tagore Public School, Saini Vihar Colony, near Bartana village, participated in varios cultural events organised to mark the annual day function of the school today.
Dr S.K. Punia from Department of Paediatric Surgery, PGI, Chandigarh, was the chief guest. 



This school gives firm foundations to child’s character

GOLDEN Bells Public School was founded in March 1984 at House No 413, Sector 35-A, Chandigarh. In the first year, the school had just about 30 students on its rolls. In 1985, the school was registered under the Societies Registration Act as the Golden Bells Schooling Society. In the 1997-98 session, senior classes were shifted to Sohana. The Mohali branch is now affiliated to CBSE New Delhi, for secondary school examinations. Presently the school has about 750 students on its rolls at Mohali and Chandigarh and has well-qualified and experienced staff.

From the 1992-93 session, computer education was introduced in the school. Recently, the school updated its laboratory with the latest multimedia computers networked and with internet facility. The Mohali branch of the school has its own land spread over 4.25 acres allotted by PUDA in Sector 77.

The school provides hostel facility for the students from all over India and abroad. The school has a splash pool and swimming pool for the students in its complex. It has installed a toy train and multiple play station for tiny-tots.

The school has a fleet of eight vans/buses for the transportation of students and staff members. The ground floor of the main building of the school is under construction and will become functional very shortly. The new building has spacious and well-ventilated classrooms.

In the session 2002-03, as many as 43 students appeared for CBSE board examination and six students got more than 80 per cent marks. Rupinder Bedi topped the school with 87 per cent marks while Megha came second with 84.4 per cent marks. Ankit Dhawan got 83.6 per cent marks while Shanu got 82.2 per cent marks and Rupinder Warraich scored 82.2 per cent marks. 



‘Truth, love, efficiency is our motto’

Mrs Gurjit Bawa, PrincipalAccording to Mrs Gurjit Bawa, Principal, at Golden Bells Public School here, we believe in the motto “truth, love and efficiency”. Various competitions of educational and cultural importance are organised in the school for the overall development of the children. Last session, the school organised a fete and baby show for the students, parents and general public which was a great attraction for everyone.

The school is proud of its students. Varun Vaid bagged the first position in National CBSE Sports Skating Championship held in October 2003 while Ambika and Rubinderjeet Kaur got first position in the inter school essay writing competition organised by the Environment Protection Society.

Parampreet Singh got the fifth position in a painting competition organised by the Environment Protection Society and Manpreet Saggu got first position in inter school painting competition conducted by Pidilite Industries Ltd.



Lok Adalat comes to city residents’ rescue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
Victims of the whims and fancies of the UT’s Estate Office, Chandigarh Housing Board and BSNL unite! You have nothing to lose but your grievances.
City Beautiful’s first permanent lok adalat for public utilities (PLAPU) which came into being earlier this month, is now fully functional, dispensing “natural justice” to whosoever approaches it.

The permanent lok adalat for public utilities is different from similar bodies operating in the Union Territory.

A lok adalat deals with the pending court cases while a consumer court confines itself to the cases filed by consumers.

The scope of a permanent lok adalat for public utilities is, on the other hand, much wider.

It deals with cases relating to public utilities services like transport, post, telegraphs, telephones, electricity and water, sanitation, hospitals, dispensaries and insurance.

Recently, the UT Administration added Estate Office and the Chandigarh Housing Board to the list of public utilities to be looked after by this lok adalat.

This is good news for the local residents because there is hardly a house in the city which has not been at the receiving end of the Estate Office and its various wings at one time or another.

Although the functioning of the PLAPU is judicial in nature, no court fee is charged from the complainant.

Anyone who has a complaint or a grievance regarding the functioning of any of the specified public utilities in the union territory, can approach the PLAPU for relief.

A unique feature of the PLAPU is that it first tries to promote reconciliation between the opposing parties. The order is also passed with their consent. However, when there is no consent, the order passed by the PLAPU has the force of a court degree against which there is no appeal.

The three-member PLAPU is headed Mr R. P. Bajaj, a former District and Sessions Judge, Hisar, who also remained president of the District Consumer and Disputes Redressal Forum, Chandigarh, for five years.

The other members are Mr K.C.Jaggi, who has served as a power engineer in the Haryana State Electricity Board for 37 years and retired as Engineer-in-Chief of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), and Mr J.S.Kohli, former Chief Engineer and Secretary, Engineering Department of the UT Administration who also remained as Chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board.



Dancing their blues away
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
More than 100 children from slum areas participated in a dance-cum-fitness programme organised jointly by the Durga Das Foundation and the Shiamak Davar Institute of Performing Arts, Mumbai, in Bapu Dham, Sector 26, and Hallo Majra colony. For children who had watched their screen idols sway to the rhythms of film songs it was a dream come true to be trained and choreographed by the very people who had created chartbusting, award winning Bollywood sequences.

Dancing to Davar’s ‘Mohabaat kar le’ number the children, according to Dilshad Patel and Shardul Sharma, ‘‘responded with amazing deftness. With just a nudge here and a gentle push there, they were moving with an electrifying energy’’. Untutored in so many ways, they brought a freshness and an innocence to their interpretation which was so different from what children from more privileged families demonstrate.

According to Dilshad, ‘‘maybe working round the clock, doing odd jobs their bodies are used to being put to use. The resultant elasticity and flexibility made them pick up the technicalities of the dance regimen faster than expected’’.



Audience wants something new, says Sharbani Mukherjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
“Aanch”, (Burning Egos), is a hard-hitting look at the lawlessness and the “rule of the gun” in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. This was said by Raajesh Singh, the director, while addressing a press conference at the Press Club here today.

He said the audience had started liking experimentation in theatre and even on screen as was evident from the response to certain off-beat films.

B.L. Saboo, the producer, said the film had been shot in Varanasi and adjoining areas which form the core of the “land of the gun”. The film is an attempt at portraying hard-hitting reality which should be seen as its unique selling proposition (USP).

The audience wants something new. It is fed up of the grand family settings in grand mansions and too much of ‘saas bhabhi’ shows on the television. “Aanch” is a presentation for the masses, said Sharbani Mukherjee, the lead actress.

“Set amongst the Gangetic plains of crime-infested northern India, “Aanch” is a story of blooming love between a newly married couple. The love tale criss-crosses across the rural Uttar Pradesh where egos are larger than life and corruption and nepotism are rampant, where guns and hand grenades are toys and where a man is a pawn in the hands of politicians”, the film brochure reads. Nana Patekar and Paresh Rawel are the two giants who provide the backdrop for two different interest groups.

The film has music by Sanjeev Darshan, cinematography by Damodar Naidu and is written by Kamal Pandey.

Suchindra Bali, the lead actor, said he was impressed with the storyline when he was approached. The co-stars and the sense of commitment of the team were added attractions.

Bali, son of Vijayanthimala who was one of the most glamorous heroines of her times, gives full credit for his coming into films to his mother. He earned a law degree before he decided to join films following deliberations with his mother.

Bali went in for crash courses in acting in Chennai and dancing at Mumbai. “I am proud of the fact that my mother is my guiding light. Her films, including “Madhumati”, “Ganga Jamuna” and “Sangam”, have become milestones of Bollywood cinema. I don’t imitate her but would like to follow the standards set by her”.

Sharbani Mukherjee also has a long association with the film industry. Joy Mukherjee, a famous actor, is her uncle. To top it all, Rani Mukherjee and Kajol, leading actresses of the silver screen, are her cousins. “It was very natural for me to tread the line of cinema. I am also busy with amateur theatre.Theatre is the test of a good actor because there are no retakes and even the response is instantaneous,” she said.

Sharbani started her career with “Border”, a super hit. She also has a couple of hit videos to her credit. “God only knows”, an English comedy, is slated for release in January.

She is of the view that working with great actors like Nana Patekar and Paresh Rawel in this movie gets the best out of an actor. “They are inspiring”, she added.

Saboo, the producer, is closely associated with the city.

He has the Asia’s biggest cylinder-making plant at Kala Amb near the city. He also has a house at Panchkula.

His entry in Bollywood has a long list of side stories. He studied at Lucknow University. After his studies, he set up a hotel at Basti in UP.

Saboo then went into coal business at Phusro in Bihar. “Not succumbing to the coal mafia, he decided to change his line, instead, and moved near the City Beautiful.

“I always wanted to be an actor. I did get an opportunity as a child. However, the family objected. So, when I made money, I plunged into the film industry whole-heartedly”, he added. 



Dark shades reign in men’s fashion
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 30
Suits of dark shades and a combination of pastel shades with warm colours still reign in men’s fashion.
This was indicated at a fashion show organised by Amartex to launch its exclusive range of men’s wear here tonight. Black, navy blue, steel grey, camel and dark brown suits with three buttons were showcased by the models, as they sashayed down the ramp.

Five men models and three women models showcased the range of clothes, which also included casual wear. Ms Parul played the compere.

Punjabi pop singer, Karan Jasbir of “Dhai Lakh Di” fame also enthralled the gathering with his songs.



Cultural events mark close of carnival
Tribune News Service

Stalls put up all over the Leisure Valley, Sector 10, were witness to a range of cultural activities, fun games and artistic creations as the two-day Carnival concluded here on Sunday.

The day began on a slow note with thin attendance which started picking strength towards the noon and the numbers swelled up towards the evening. The stage for cultural events located near the main stage witnessed dances and songs throughout the day.

The floats made by students from Arts College, Sector 10, were big crowd attraction. Motorcycles and cycles designed like birds and animals could be seen ‘floating all over the Leisure Valley”.

The food corner of CITCO was a big attraction, particularly for its North Indian delicacies like ‘Sarson ka saag and makki ki roti’.

The corner of the Chandigarh College of Architecture was also an impressive counter. Youngsters got an opportunity to give a form to their imagination with the blocks at this counter. The results were interesting and often humourous. The counter of the Chandigarh traffic police was innovative methods to send instructive messages.

Clowns, wearing costumes of cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse, attracted children in large numbers who shaked hands with these cartoon heroes.

The show, however, lacked professional unity with scope for improvement in the management aspect. However, the casual setting was a nice backdrop for a relaxing holiday.

Joy rides

The corner of joy rides witnessed big crowd during the entire day and towards the evening, in particular.” Although priced a little high at Rs 40 per ride, the electronically-managed cars were one of the biggest attractions”, Sherry, a Class III student, said.

The swinging boats, the giant wheel and toy trains also attracted immense crowds. Anshu, a Class V student, said she had taken umpteen rides since morning and would carry on.” The list of my friends had multiplied on my journeys today”, she added.

Fun teaching

‘Jodo gyan’, a Delhi-based non-government organisation has designed very interesting toys to aid students learn concepts of geometry and arithmetic. The idea behind the concept was to mix pleasure with learning.



Sukhbir regales audience
Tribune News Service

Punjabi singer Sukhbir lent warmth to the Leisure Valley atmosphere charged with beats and befitting dance numbers on a rather cold evening. The show was the final event at the two-day Chandigarh Carnival which concluded here today.

A lesser heard version of the ‘gur naalon ishq mitha’ set the tempo for the evening. The crowd in the stands at the rear of the venue could be seen clapping and dancing to the songs.

Sukhbir started the show with ‘nachdi saade naal’ and the response was rather mild. This was followed by ‘aaja nach le sohniye’. ‘Mundeyan te kudiyan di gal ban gaye’, one of his popular numbers, evoked a huge response from the crowd.

‘Balle balle tor Punjaban di’ and ‘dil kare bhangre ch tere naal nacchan’ were also well-received by the audience.

The evening started with a dance by a local resident on a foot-tapping number by Michael Jackson. The artist impressed with his hold on steps to suit the break dance. This was followed by a dance by Zenith group from Delhi. The group performed a fusion of Western and classical dance forms.

Mohini Singh, featuring for the first time on a city stage, began by attempting to get close to the audience by speaking in Punjabi. Her presentation was rather average and it was largely a medley of popular Hindi songs. A few important songs included ‘Aao na gale lagao na’, ‘Pyar mera Dilli ki sardi’, ‘tan par sitaare lapete hue’ and ‘Mohabbat hai mirchi”.

Satinder Satti, a Punjabi compere, was a hit with the audience with her instant rendering of Punjabi poetry and humourous ‘tukbandi’.

The show was organised by the Chandigarh Administration and the Citco for the “young and vibrant” carnival.



Customers evince interest in new Zen
Tribune News Service

The newly launched model of Maruti Zen has generated a good response from the public besides excitement. Mr H.S. Brar, Regional Manager of Maruti Udyog Ltd, said the company had unveiled a redesigned all-new Zen, its premium compact car. The car had been designed in India with a contemporary European design and was targeted at the youth.

He said the company had decided not to raise the price of the new Zen. The innovations and modifications included an all-new bonnet, a fashionable new grille, fenders, a new set of multi-reflector headlamps and front as well as rear fog lamps. It also had a redesigned gear shift lever, a central console and rear head rests for safety and comfort.

Expressing satisfaction over the price of the Zen, some of the customers felt that the Zen would have attracted better response had the company increased its height besides providing more space for luggage. Said one of the customers, present on the formal launch of the model in the Press Club: “The Maruti has so far remained leader of the market, but it would have to make extra effort to keep its dominance in the B and upper segments, where other competitors were giving it a run for their money.”

One of the dealers in the city claimed that though it was too early to gauge the public response to the new model, but as per the queries and excitement in the market, “we are confident that it would gain the faith of the customers.” 



Food Festival
Punjabis devour South Indian delicacies
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Women prepare Kerala noodles at South Indian Food Festival organised by the Orthodox Syrian Church Society
Women prepare Kerala noodles at South Indian Food Festival organised by the Orthodox Syrian Church Society in Chandigarh on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

ST Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church in Sector 46, Chandigarh, wore a festive look on Sunday. The Sunday morning prayer was extended to a different plane, so to speak. Members of the Orthodox Syrian Church Society had organised a South Indian Food Festival, the proceeds of which would be donated for a noble cause.

The lawn facing the church was a hive of activity from 10 am to 4 pm, with people from all religions — Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and, of course, Christians coming, eating and going. In fact, some items were sold out by 2 pm.

That’s because the food from Kerala, God’s own country, was being temptingly steamed, fried and stewed fresh for the visitors by the members, their wives and friends. The huge tawas, karahis, patilas and special cooking devices were kept burning hot to whip up dosas, fry vadas and bananas, steam putte and Kerala noodles and keep the sambar warm.

Father Saj Yohannan, feeling happy by the response to the festival, said, ‘‘The proceeds of the sale will go for charity. We were encouraged by the good turnout at the same programme held last year. It seems Punjabis just love to eat.’’

Mr Verghese, an active member of the church, said some ingredients and raw materials like tapioca, bananas and coconut had been specially brought from Kerala to give the authentic touch and flavour.

Women selling typical stuff at the home-made items stall said they had been busy preparing the goodies according to their grandmas’ recipes and packing these in polythene bags and bottles for two or three days. Neyyappam, unniappan, ginger curry, pickle, vettu cake and namkeen mixture were among the hot-selling delicacies to be taken home. Plates of warm dosas, vadas, noodles, biryani and parothas with chicken and fish curry and oodles of coconut chutney were the most preferred to be devoured on the spot.

A visitor enjoying panir dosa in the warm sunny afternoon said, “Since the traditional fare has been prepared by South Indians themselves, I am assured of just the right taste. It is not everyday that one gets such good food at such nominal rates.” Another one sipping narial pani said, “The joy is doubled when you realise that the bite is not just that but also a small mite towards charity.”

The two umbrellas at the entrance gate welcomed one to the world of the mainly rice and coconut-based cuisine even as the Carnatic music blaring from the speakers added a melodious touch to the gay ambience.



It’s my life
Chandigarh has best sports infrastructure

Barkha K.C
Barkha K.C. National-level table tennis player

I was born and brought up in this beautiful city only. But I noticed the real importance of the city after my first posting with AG, Delhi. In this small period, I could anticipate the real value of staying in Chandigarh.

I really feel privileged to live in the city which has got everything. I began playing table tennis way back in 1991 as a student of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16. Later, when I joined Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, and won silver medal in the National School Games. Then as a student of Government College for Girls, Sector 11, I helped Panjab University TT team win bronze medal in the All-India Inter-Varsity Table Tennis meet. I have also helped my present employer AG, Punjab, in winning Inter-AG TT tournaments.

I strongly feel that Chandigarh has the best of sports infrastructure. In metro city like Delhi, players have to waste lot of time, money and energy in reaching a sports centre. But here every sports facility is within eight or 10 km so players can concentrate more on improving their game.

The only drawback is that here corporate sector does not come forward in a big way to provide job-security cover to outstanding sportspersons. In table tennis, a number of juniors of the city are all set to prove their potential at the national level.

As told to Arvind Katyal


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