C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


What after engineering?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
The Society for Students’ Education and Career Planning will provide career counselling to those students who have already completed engineering degree. Engineering graduates who want to know about various career opportunities after BE or other engineering courses can call at phone No. 9417307292 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 17 and 18.

The president of the society, Mr S.M. Sardana, said though the society was running a 24-hour career counselling helpline, these two days would be dedicated to helping engineering graduates to improve their career profile. 


MA II (Punjabi) results declared
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Panjab University has declared the results of MA II (Punjabi) and MA II (Political Science) today.

The exams for the two classes were conducted in April this year.

The students can see the result gazette at the new enquiry counter at the PU on all working days between 10 am and 4 pm.

The results would also be available at the university website www.puchd.ac.in.

The university officials have, however, clarified that no telephonic enquiry of the results would be entertained. 


Summer workshop ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
A three-week summer workshop organised by the Maharaja Jassa Singh Ramgarhia Public school Sector 27 concluded at the North Zone Cultural Centre Kalagram, here in which more than 140 children from various city schools took part.

The workshop included various activities like pot making, Punjabi folk dance, classical and Western dance, drawing and colouring, soft toy making and spoken English.

An exhibition of eye-catching pots, soft toys, glass painting, fabric painting was also prepared by the children.

On the concluding day, a presentation of classical dance with Sarasawati Vandana, followed by Hindi and English numbers was made.

The ceremony concluded with traditional folk dance bhangra and jago performed by the participating children in the camp.


Activities galore at summer camp
Tribune News Service

Children participate in a summer camp, being organised by Little Wonders in Swastik Vihar, Panchkula
Children participate in a summer camp, being organised by Little Wonders in Swastik Vihar, Panchkula. 

Chandigarh, June 16
To develop the overall personality of children, Little Wonders, a pre-nursery school in Swastik Vihar on the Mansa Devi road in Panchkula, is conducting a summer camp on its premises.

The camp, being conducted by experienced professionals, will conclude on June 19.

The camp is providing the children an opportunity to cultivate and enhance their hidden talents through creative and educational activities, including theater activity, glass and fabric painting, pot decoration and folk and western dances.


Raj Babbar: winner all the way
Aditi Tandon
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Raj Babbar knows the art of winning, irrespective of the backdrop in which he fights his battles. Famous for capturing political pitch as well as the box office, the master of two trades says victory is all about humility and service. In fact, his re-election to the Lok Sabha from the Agra parliamentary constituency justifies his statement of success which came to him after he fulfilled many of his election promises.

In Chandigarh today to shoot his new film, "Dil Humko Dijiye", Raj Babbar reflected on his past with a great deal of contentment. Facing a question on whether actors made great politicians or vice versa, Raj Babbar replied, "Anyone who has attained a certain degree of credibility can become a front-runner for a political post. Politics and fame complement each other. A revered person can convince people easily. Even in India, political power has shifted from the hands of writers and lawyers to those of actors. It's all about being in the public eye."

A seasoned actor and a seasoned politician, Raj is under no delusion about the kind of roles people want him to play. He has long been associated with the rehabilitation of drug addicts and cancer patients in his home constituency to which, he says, he still owes a lot. "There is a long way to go. But I am committed to Agra, which sent me to the Lok Sabha twice. Also I favour reservation for women in politics, but not at the cost of backward classes. They must also be protected, " says Babbar, who had wife Nadira and Aryan campaigning for him for the recent elections.

Even while discussing the schedule of his film with son Aryan, Raj Babbar does not fail to mention the significance of discipline. Aryan nods, "Dad is my greatest pal, but he is exceptionally stern. That's why we did not grow up into glamour-struck party animals. We saw our parents struggling. From them we learnt that victory belonged to those who had the heart to face rejection."

Raj Babbar cannot agree less. He adds, "There have been moments of trial for us, but we have managed to turn the tide in our favour. In politics you have a larger family. I consider my public life private also. I never take up anything unless it has a "personal" connotation for me. That's why even today I remain rooted in Punjab."

Through his campaign, Raj Babbar has succeeded in getting the portrait of Shaheed Bhagat Singh installed in the Parliament House. His concerted campaign continues, as he clarifies, "I'll be happy when I see the portraits of all freedom fighters adorning the walls of the Parliament House. I am also for a greater share of Punjab in the industrial growth."

As an actor too, Babbar is involved in capturing the richness of Punjab's history. He is working on a film on Maharaja Ranjit Singh. This film will be directed by Babbar's favourite Chitrarth Singh, who is also directing "Dil Humko Dijiye", which addresses the issue of immigration among Punjabis. Aryan explains, "The idea is to tell that the grass may appear greener on the other side, but there is no matching the green expanses of Punjab." The film is being produced by Kuku Babbar and Bina Shah.


Bending “filmi” rules for courting success
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Gracy Singh is in no hurry to make hay. At peace with herself and at ease with life, the lead lady of the Oscar-nominated film, "Lagaan", is making her own rules for courting success in an industry so hostile to newcomers. She has declared her own terms and conditions in which there is little scope for frivolity and absolutely none for crude portrayals. And the magic is that her contract is still working!

As always, the Delhi-bred Gracy appears in a casual outfit when you ask her out for an interview. Sans makeover, the actress manages to make a style statement underlined with simplicity. And as you strike a conversation, Gracy makes a trivial remark about herself, "I am still a newcomer. In fact, sometimes I feel I am too conservative to be an actress."

That may be true, but at the end of the day it is this very conservatism that worked well for Gracy. Mighty impressed with her earthiness, Aamir Khan went ahead to cast Gracy in his film that was to make history. For Gracy those moments of glory are sealed in the expanse of memory as she admits, "I identify myself with "Lagaan". There is so much I learnt from that experience that it is difficult to really say what it meant to be a part of the "Lagaan" team. I enjoyed playing the village girl because the role required me to behave simple and straight, as I am. I cherish every moment spent with the villagers in Kutch."

Trained in bharatnatyam from Hema Malini's guru Deepak Majumdar, Gracy does not mind admitting that she would have frequented the classical dance concert circuit had she not forayed into films. "I was never really prepared for films. I began with tele serial "Amanat", which was a virtual acting institute for me. But I had now known destiny would surprise me so," says Gracy, who now has three projects at hand, including "Dil humko dijiye", the one with Aryan Babbar, for which she is in Chandigarh.

The other two are "Vajah" and "Yehi hai zindagi". Gracy says, "My roles in both the films are different. Also, I believe in taking up few projects at a time so that I can put in my best. As of now, I am concentrating on my faculties. I am looking for interesting, challenging roles. The present film with Raj Babbar and Aryan Babbar is also close to my heart for the sheer connection it has with Punjab."

Being a Sikh herself, Gracy feels rooted in Punjab, as she says, "This film is very Punjabi at heart. It is all about directing displaced people back to their roots. I play an impetuous girl, in love with the hero." Gracy is also looking forward to "Yehi hai Zindagi" in which she gets to do what she knows the best - classical dance.


Manch Tantra looking for talent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Manch Tantra, a young theatre group, is back after a successful year of work. The group is looking for young talent for both on and off the stage for which auditions will be held on June 18, 2004, at 10 am in the DAV College auditorium, Sector 10.

For registration of names contact can be made on the following numbers:- 01723251265, 9872661403


Food Festival
Feast on traditional Kashmiri wazwaan
Harvinder Khetal

Talk of Kashmiri food and images of a wazwaan in the backdrop of graceful pin-topped mountains conjure up. Or, of a dastarkhaan which is a traditional feast with the family and friends sitting on the floor around a platter on which is served piping hot khana that’s an antidote to the chilly white snow capping the hills on the far horizon.

The aroma of saffron tinged with typical herbs and spices dressing the lamb or nadru (lotus stem) and the heart-warming kehwa (saffron tea flavoured with nuts) seems to invade your senses.

All this and more is on offer at Hotel GK International, Sector 35, Chandigarh. Giving an authentic touch to the ongoing Kashmiri Food Festival are Atul and Prerna Nanda, a couple from Pathankot who specialise in this cuisine.

Since delicacies from the valley are a finished product, with each dish being distinct from the other, the menu lists a select few savouries only. “This is not like some other cuisines, where with one gravy you can dish out a number of items. Also, we want to give our guests a few but traditionally best fare during the festival,” says Mr Anu Bansal, General Manager.

But that does not mean that you are left with little choice. You can have a five-course meal, beginning with starters, going on to soup, main course, dessert and finishing with the cuppa that cheers.

Lending a lyrical touch to the spicy creations is Kamal with his soulful rendition of old Hindi film melodies as well as the latest hits from popular movies. The replica of a shikara made by local students of arts in the middle of the restaurant is a constant reminder of the Dal Lake. The antique samavar and other vintage pots on display also serve to transport you to the Paradise on Earth.

Particularly appealing is gushtaba which is aptly called the jewel of Kashmiri cooking. The spongy minced meat balls floating in yakhni (dahi) gravy that come to your table all tantalising have a story behind them. The meat is pounded on stone for a couple days till it is reduced to a fine pulp and then the tennis-sized lumps are made acquire an elasticity that the product springs back on being pressed between fingers. Of course, nowadays, electric mixers and grinders have taken over the manual job.

In fact, you are left marvelling at the richness of the mustard oil based dishes that are invented without onions and tomatoes. Yes, it’s basically a play of ginger powder (sonth), degi lal mirch saunf powder and other spices and herbs in yoghurt.

Another exotic ingredient is guchhi. Costing around Rs 8,000 per kg, this mushroom-like item is soaked in water till it fluffs up and then cut into pieces that can be blended into a gravy to make dish or studded in rice to make pulao.

While rogan josh is the traditional favourite of non-vegetarians, the vegetarians can dig into the evergreen dum aloo, rajmah or nadru yakhni (lotus stem in dahi gravy). Try their tsok wangun (spicy and sour brinjals) if you are looking for a pleasant surprise.


Home Decor
A house that blooms with flowers
Monica Sharma

The centre table and the corner lamp have been carved in the shape of leaves and flowers out of wrought iron.
Flowers all around: The centre table and the corner lamp have been carved in the shape of leaves and flowers out of wrought iron. — Tribune photo

YOU will be impressed by the innovative ways in which advocate Amar Singh Chahal and his family have used floral theme to perk up the living space at their residence in Sector 8.

As you stand in front of the imposing house with striking pillars spread over four kanals, you see charming flowers bordering a lush green lawn covered with carpet grass.

But that is not the end of it. After you push open the heavy teak door leading to the lobby, you see wrought iron candle stands in shape of leaves hanging on a pleasantly painted wall. If you pause a little and look around, you see flowers cut and nicely placed in vases decorating the corners. You can also admire bouquets all over the place.

Right above an antique cane sofa set — placed in the middle of the lobby illuminated by a skylight — are two paintings hanging side by side. They capture flowers in full bloom. Hanging from the first floor railing is another vase with synthetic bloom in different hues. On a bureau, is an artificial “plant” made out of shining crystals.

As you enter the living room, you see more of the floral theme so predominant in the house. Bang in the middle of the room is a centre table — the leaves carved out of wrought iron support a thick glass.

In one corner is a lamp with at least five glass flowers illuminated by electric bulbs inside, creating a festive atmosphere in the home. Sitting on the sofa set, you realise that the floral designs actually relieve stress by providing a calm moment in otherwise hectic life.

Another thing which strikes you is the presence of a fire place in the room. Again on the top of it are artificial flowers and other decoration pieces, enhancing the personal surroundings.

After you move out of the living room, you climb marble stairs leading to four bedrooms. You see sunflowers made out of sawdust pasted on a cardboard with bamboo border. The piece, hanging next to the stairs, has been prepared by Mr Chahal’s daughter.

Inside the spacious bedrooms you again see real and artificial flowers all around. As you peep out of giant windows, you witness flowers in the garden smiling back at you. All rooms have dressing rooms and toilets attached. They are connected through a balcony which goes all around the house. 


Beauty is all about presentation: Jyoti

Dressed in crisp sunshine yellow dress, designed by NIFD students, Jyoti Brahmin, Miss India Earth, impressed the audience with her simplicity and a ravishing smile at the National Institute of Fashion Designing in Sector 8 on Wednesday.

Impressed by the creativity of NIFD students, Miss India promised to take their collection at Miss Earth contest at Manila in October this year, where she will be representing India and try to win the title of Miss Earth. She firmly believes that the most important thing is how a person presents herself and how well she is dressed up.

She discussed the theme and mood of their designs which would be sashayed by top models of the country including all the three Miss Indias at the Annual Fashion Show of the National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD), Chandigarh, to be held in July.

On this occasion she was honored by the center director, NIFD, Chandigarh, Priyanka Singh, by presenting her a memento, a beautiful card.

Jyoti also had a chat session with the students of NIFD, where the students asked her a lot of interesting questions about the various aspects of her success. And the most interesting question was about her dream man. She said her dream man is the one who can make her laugh and could bring smile on her face in sad situations. She encouraged the students to take positive steps in life to be successful.

She said with a heavy heart that when she got the crown of Miss India earth that day her grandmother passed away that day. But she will always cherish all those moments spent with her.

While sharing the secret of her success she said all the contestants were hard working and had almost the same qualities. But what matters is how one carries oneself in the final round. She believes that it was the mental strength and hard work and, of course, luck. — OC


Striving for the crown was fun, says Jyoti Brahmin
Swarleen Kaur

“When I won the crown, I was not so happy.Rather it was the journey towards the goal which was more interesting,” says Femina Miss India Earth, Jyoti Brahmin.

“Winning the crown demands a lot of hard work, sacrifices and there are a lot of responsibilities also that go with it.” Jyoti had never dreamt of becoming a beauty queen but she used to like watching the beauty contests on TV. As a child she was enchanted by the beauties and used to think that they were angels.

A complete foodie, she loves to eat momos and steamed corns. She loves to interact with media as she feels one can communicate with the people through the media alone and reach out to them. A level-headed girl, she feels that minus the crown she would have been like any other ordinary girl.

Her cherished dream is to have a loving family. She believes in marriage and feels that relationships last forever. Reading books is her hobby and her favourite book is “Pride and Prejudice”. Guess who was her first crush? Salman Khan, and she feels that he is the last one too.

Modelling has given her a lot of opportunities, “especially if you want material gains in a short time but at the same time this profession is shortlived, too, so the basic education is a must,” she says.

When asked why for the past few years Miss Indias had not done well in international events, she said that final decision depended on the judges. “But we Indians do not lack anything.”

Talking about her future plans, she said she would be concentrating on international pageants while other plans had to wait .

When asked about her favourite designers, she said with a smile that it was definitely the NIFD designers. She admires Ritik Kumar and Satya Paul.

On Lakshmi Pandit’s crown controversy, she said she was not married and returning the crown was her personal decision.

When asked about her inspiration, she said nobody could inspire you totally. But her mother and Sushmita Sen stirred her to do something.

She said, “To win the crown, you have to have confidence in yourself. Without believing in yourself, you cannot reach the top.

With 5-7 height, she also has a perfect figure to flaunt. She does not go for special programmes to tone up her skin.

She will represent India and will compete for the title of Miss Earth in Manila in October this year. She will undergo rigorous training for this event.

She has no plans to join the Bollywood.

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