C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Syndicate to reconstitute selection panels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Selection committees would be reconstituted to examine left-out cases of 10 Readers for promotion under the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) in accordance with the decision of the Syndicate.

While the promotions of 14 Professors, 16 Readers and 22 Senior Lecturers, made over three months, were approved at the last Syndicate meeting, some members pointed out that the selection committee had been unjust to a handful of Readers who had been left out despite being eligible for promotion under the scheme.

The members, giving names of candidates who had been deprived of the designation by the committee, were in favour of promoting all eligible candidates. However, this was not accepted by the Syndicate.

Prof P.P. Arya said the university should generate a system where the incentive to work and commitment increase. “The CAS was delayed for more than three to four years for some faculty members. Another year’s loss would put them behind by five years. So, anybody selected should be given back-dated promotions,” he said.

Mr Dharender Tayal even suggested that the university should divide the promotion policy. While senior scale should be given to teachers without the formality of interviews as was done in colleges, he said the university should hold interviews for promotion to Reader and Professor only. This suggestion, too, was rejected.

Prof M.R. Aggarwal said the recommendations of the committee should be honoured, adding that the cases where promotions had been denied, should be reconsidered. “We must not undermine the importance of the selection committee. So, these teachers must go through the proper procedure for selection,” he said.

Finally, it was resolved that the committees would be reconstituted and the candidates would be given a second chance to present their cases. Though no time-frame for holding of interviews and selections was fixed, the Syndicate directed the university to give promotions to all candidates selected in the second round of interviews from the original date of eligibility.



Schools organise summer workshops
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 23
A workshop for parents was organised at St Annes Convent School in Collaboration with Readntick.com, an educational website for classes 1 to 5 today.
Ms Rose George, Principal of the school, welcomed parents and Mrs Anita Tayal, creator of the website.

Another workshop in Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Sector 23, uniforms books, shoes and stationery was distributed to needy students out of the PTA fund in the presence of the Principal, Mrs Prem Lata Malik. The PTA president Mr Harbhajan Singh, the PTA vice-pesident, Mr Ravinder K Garg, the PTA general secretary, Mr Manmohan Pathak, an Honorary member of the PTA, Mr Nanda, and the PTA in charge, Mrs Manjinder Kaur, were also present on the occasion.

DAV Public School, Mohali, also launched a summer workshop today. It was inaugurated by the Principal of the school, Mrs Jaya Bhardwaj. A Havana was also performed on the occasion. Mrs Bhardwaj, while addressing students, enlightened them about how they could widen the sphere of knowledge and enhance different parameters of their personality.

She also laid stress on interactive learning. Activities planned for the workshop include personality development, self defence, art and craft, dance, music and computers.

In personality development, the students will be taught how to participate in debates and group discussions.

Sri Satya Sai Seva Organisation, Haryana and Chandigarh unit, is also organising a short-term summer course on the Indian culture and spirituality at DC Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 7, Panchkula, from May 26 to 30. The course contents include talks and seminar on glory and essence of the Indian culture and personality development by spiritualism.



Rendering ghazals in pop style
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
After managing record sales in Canada, a group of seven singer-performers has decided to share their musical talent with Indian listeners. Under Aura Entertainment, a motley group of people — music- makers, dancers and film-makers — are all set to offer something novel to the market here. They claim they will enter the saturated Punjabi music industry with a splash.

Being managed by six Punjabis, Aura Entertainment boasts of two full-fledge music bands — Mantara and Signia that launched its maiden Punjabi music albums at the Chandigarh Club this evening. The albums have sold well in Canada. Called “Jawani” and “Signia…Yours for the Taking”, the albums have been enriched by Punjabi singers based in Canada.

While Mantara marks the coming together of four talented singers, Taz, Jag, Pip and Kam, Signia features two strangely named people — LV (pronounced love) and San-J (pronounced Sanjay). Ask them why they chose such names, and they say, “Our names are just like our music — refreshing and new.”

Mantara has changed the contents of “Jawani” to cater to Indian sensibilities, while Signia has stuck to the original tracks. The singers have experimented to the extent of rendering ghazals in pop style. San-J says “Our music combines western and oriental elements. In some tracks we have a huge sound base, in others we have an amazing range. We have exploited harmonies to the hilt.”

Mantara, for its part, provides a song for every mood, for every person. The foursome will perform with Jazzy B in Jalandhar next week. “We have concentrated on traditional Punjabi numbers. We are not just singers, we are performers,” they say.

Accompanying the bands was the soloist Sukhjit Singh, who holds promise in the world of Punjabi music. Even film-maker Puneet Sira, one of the promoters of Aura Entertainment, swears by Sukhjit, “Sukhjit will sing in my next film which has Fardeen and Zayed Khan in the cast.” Sukhit’s maiden album “Pipli Peenghan” was also launched in the city today.

Discussing the film, Sira, who directed Sohail Khan in “I — Proud to be an Indian”, said, “My next film “Maidaan” is about the coming of age of a boy. It’s about his journey through the teens, in the backdrop of sports.” A former head of Channel V, Puneet added that establishing something as active as Aura was always a dream for him. Along with him, the company has five other directors, including Jasdev Singh, Gurbachan Singh, Talvinder Batth and Vikram Dhillon. Apart from films and music, the group also plans to diversify into radio and television.



‘Gaj mukta’ an enigma in a mystery
Ruchika M. Khanna

Ravi’s latest acquisition is a ‘gaj mukta’ or ‘gaj moti’, a three-inch long and six-inch in diameter cylindrical object, which he claims is found in the forehead of an elephant. The ‘gaj mukta’, it is believed, is found in one in a lakh elephants and is known for its aphrodisiac qualities. Just as snakes are sought after for ‘mani’ and musk deer for ‘musk’ (kasturi), the ‘gaj moti’ is obtained from an elephant.

This egg-shaped black object has been examined by various geologists, but it remains a mystery. When shaken, it seems that it is filled with fluid. Mr Ravi says he bought it from a sadhu a few days back.

For over 40 years, Ravi Bhasin, a property dealer from the region, travelled all over the world and collected antiques. Little did he know that his passion would one day come to his rescue and bail him out of financial woes, especially in sickness.

Ravi, one of the best known antique collectors in the region, has been suffering from renal failure for the past five years. During this period, his business collapsed and he was forced to turn his house into a curio’s shop, selling antiques he had collected during his visits to different countries. “I need at least Rs 20,000 a month for medicines alone. After my savings began to dwindle, I was forced to sell off my collection to provide for my family and pay medical bills,” he says.

Ravi is now collecting ancient coins, artifacts, earthen statues and metalware. He claims that his collection can help rewrite certain aspects of ancient Indian, British and Chinese history and help historians understand several undiscovered historical facts. In his hard days, he is now looking upto connoisseurs to bail him out of financial woes.

“I remember telling my family that I had to attend to some business out of station, and would visit various countries, including China, England, the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, Pakistan, besides different places in India, in search of antiques, coins, watches, weapons, furniture items, musical instruments, paintings, ‘shammadaans,’ bravery medals, silverware and crockery,” he reminisces.

His vast collection of antiques is visible right from outside his house in Panchkula. In fact, the outer walls of the house are adorned with terracotta sculptures of Shiv and Parvati, Ganesha and Kuber, belonging to the 7th century BC. Three rooms in his house are stacked with rows of these antiques. “ I had never thought of parting with this treasure, but it is of little interest to my family. The hobby has now become my biggest asset when my health is failing. This is my ‘jama punji’ which will see me through,” he says.

More than 1,000 years old Chinese trade dollars, each weighing about 27 gm, with emblem of Chinese emperors and cidarwood chests with Chinese paintings carved on all four sides and top give an insight into centuries-old Chinese culture. A set of three original Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings, valued at several lakhs of rupees, are also a part of his priceless collections.

Other than this, he has several other original paintings, which give insight into ancient Rajasthani and Punjabi culture. ‘Shammadaans’, made of blown glass, which he had bought from junk dealers in Old Delhi, and original ‘farmaan namas’ (used for issuing punishments) are reminiscent of the Mughal period.

Several ancient watches also adorn walls of his house. Ancient manuscripts, including hand-written Ramayana and Mahabharata in ‘Gurmukhi’ also form his prized possessions.

Ravi says he started pursuing the hobby at the age of 18 when his grandfather gave him some ancient coins. Now, he has hundreds of thousands of ancient coins ‘damris’, ‘damras’, silver coins (‘asharfi’), and gold coins (‘mohar’). The coin collection includes handmade coins, dating back to the first century BC, besides several Indo- Greek coins, lead coins of Marathis, silver and copper punch-marked coins from the time of great battle of Mahabharata, copper coins of Ujjaini and silver coins from the second century A.D.

He now sells these coins to students. Ravi has tied up with various boarding schools in Shimla, Mussorie, Dehra Dun, Sanawar, and Delhi and visits each of these once a month to sell coins to students. 



A one-stop furnishing store

The three-storey home furnishing store in Panchkula, Infinity Unlimited, has a good range of home furnishings, linen, garments, handicrafts and home decorations. Having a floor area of 4,500 square feet, different floors in the store have been earmarked for home linen and furnishings, women’s garments and mensweer and kids wear, besides a small cafe and a corner for exhibitions.

The store has been conceptualised by Ms Sucheta Kundu, designing home linen for the past nine years. A former sociology lecturer, she had given up her job to start her line of home linen. Her label was being sold through Spell Bound Creations in Chandigarh and she was a supplier for Jagdish Stores in Delhi. “I decided to expand my business by setting up a shop where shoppers could buy things for all family members and their house under one roof,” says Ms Kundu.

She says she plans to hold regular exhibitions at her store and has earmarked space for the same. “Handicrafts, jewellery, paintings and handlooms from different parts of the country will be showcased in the exhibition corner each month,” she says.

The store has opened its basement and ground floor while the top floor is being done up. The basement deals with home furnishings. The ground level is the women’s section and stitched and unstitched suits are available, besides home decorations and cushions and cushion covers. The top floor will have the men’s and kids section. — TNS



Savour summer fruits

Summer fruits like watermelons, muskmelons, litchis, mangoes and grapes are flooding the market. With the prices of fruits coming down as supply increases, city residents can hope for fruit feasts.

If litchis were priced at Rs 70 a kg last week, the prices were now between Rs 40 and Rs 50 a kg. The reason for the enhorbitant price of the fruit last week was that the litchi sold was the early variety from Muzzafarpur.

The supply of mangoes has decreased this year owing to less rain. Due to the decrease in supply, the king of fruits is available at Rs 30 a kg, Rs 10 per kg more than last year. — TNS



Teaching royal grace and charm

If you wish your child to learn royal grace and charm, and enhance his overall personality, a crash course at the Kutlehar Institute of Protocol and Etiquettes is the place to send your child to.

Founded by the princess of Kutlehar estate, Ms Omkareshwari Rajya Laxmi, early this year, the institute in Sector 23, ensures that the children are taught good manners from an early age. The 10- day crash course offered by the Institute, says Ms Omkareshwari, will help your child feel good about himself by helping him form basic good manners and habits that will last a lifetime.

She is a daughter of Ranti Dev Singh Ju Deo, erstwhile ruler of Nagad state in central India, and is married to Rupendra Palji Saheb Bahadur of Kutlehar. She says from the day she was born, she has been taught social graces, which have traveled down from generation to generation. “These days, with neutral families being in, parents tend to give a lot of leverage to their children. As a result, the children have forgotten social grace and good manners. At the Kutlehar Institute, we aim to inculcate these in our children,” she says.

Ms Omkareshwari, mother of two, says she has always enjoyed a good rapport with children, and had tried her hand at teaching children at a private school. “Though I was at the school for a brief period, I was taken aback by the children’s lack of etiquettes, and thus came up with the idea of teaching good manners to children, which would become an inherent part of their personality when they grew into adults,” she says. aDuring the course, the children are given a session on social behaviour, basic manners conversation, introduction, correspondence and telephone manners by conducting interactive classes. Practical classes for table manners and table settings are given by Ms Omkareshwari. At the end of the course, the children are taken to an eatery in the city, and taught restaurant manners. “ I follow the traditional method of teaching by giving personal attention to each child, and thus, prefer to take small batches of five or eight students,” she adds.—TNS



Lovebirds take refuge in the comfort of AC
Saurabh Malik

Heat is forcing bubbly teenyboppers to cool the burning desire for togetherness in air-conditioned food joints, discotheque and ice cream parlours, instead of gardens and other happy hunting grounds. No wonder, the venue for public display of affection has shifted from behind the bushes to eating hangouts all over the city.

If you find it hard to believe, just shift the car’s gear out of neutral and accelerate down to any joint in the afternoon. You will see pretty damsels squeezing their way into single-seater sofa sets, along with guys, before tracing the contours of their stubbled visages with fair translucent fingers.

Oblivious of the stares, the flappers of the world slip their tender arms around their guys’ broad shoulders after leaning against them, relentlessly. Pushing back their golden brown highlighted tresses, they order lime ice, but not before flashing broad smiles.

“A few days back couples would have billed and cooed in Sukhna Lake or else in Sector 10 Bougainvillea Garden. But the blazing sun has forced the young lovers to take refuge in the cool breeze of air-conditioners,” says regular frequenter to a Sector-11 coffee bar Tarunima.

That is perhaps the reason why they chill inside as it steams outside. As lesser mortals settle down for grilled vegetable sandwiches with white sauce trickling, along with iced cafe mocha, the “haves of the world” savour heavenly hugs and soft caresses.

As the latest hip-hop numbers boom out of overhead speakers drown their giggles, they drink “Arabian Night” together — one sparkling cut glass, two straws and three cheers.

Fine with them, but it makes 76-year-old retired public servant R.L. Sharma mutter: “Oh, now I wish I was born scores of years later. In our not-so-good old days, girls used to just smile with their eyes and that also after engagement, before marriage. Being private in public was something unheard of.”

Sitting in a corner with pages of a finance magazine fluttering obstinately in front of him, the still young-at-heart gentleman says: “Well, all this public display of affection leaves women feeling undesirable and men inadequate. Me? Well, it kills me with jealously.”

Explaining the trend, young psychologist Raveena Pandit says: “Things have changed, indeed. There was a time not long ago when love was a secret affair and being private in public was considered a taboo. Little wonder, the lovers would meet at street corners, or else in parks away from the prying eyes of the world. Others would negotiate the sharp curves of life on their way to Timber Trail or other hill stations, lest people spinned tales.”

She adds: “But now Chandigarh has grown. Even if you ride down the street sitting pillion on a bike with your arms around his waist, no one from the family comes to know about it. And you see, everything is justified in the dark of secrecy.”



‘Crocodile’ gallery opens at Mohali

An exclusive store of Crocodile Products Private Limited opened at Mohali on Saturday. A 60:40 joint venture between Shivrams associates of Coimbatore and the Singapore-based Crocodile International Private Limited Company, the store called the Crocodile Gallery, is the first concept store to be opened at Mohali.

Spread over 700 square feet, the gallery will display the entire range of Crocodile products, which include shirts (formal and casual), T-shirts, trousers, jeans, undergarments, socks, ties, leather accessories, sun glasses and watches.

Mr Venkatesh Siva-raman, managing director, CPPL, said, “We are consolidating our presence in India. Crocodile is a complete lifestyle brand which will provide our customers with lasting value in terms of quality, style and price”.

Crocodile also launched its latest collection — the sweat management system T-shirts called Moman. The SMS T-shirts are designed to improve moisture control. These T-shirts are treated with special wash, where the fabric absorbs five times more sweat than any other regular T-shirt. TNS 



Ayurvedic cosmetics launched

A new range of ayurvedic cosmetics under the name of Just Herbs was launched in Chandigarh on Sunday. It was launched by theatre artiste Neelam Mansingh Chaudhary.

Ms Neena Chopra of Apcos Naturals, the company that launched these beauty care products, said the range of skin, hair and body care products were natural.

Her range includes cleanses, powders, lotions, gels, exfoliaters, moisturisers, face packs, shampoos, hair oils, hair conditioners and body lotions. —TNS


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