C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Students impressed with Governor’s concern for city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
As part of their holiday homework, three youngsters of St John’s High School, Sector 26, arrived at the Punjab Raj Bhavan to interview the Governor, here today.

During the interview that lasted for 15 minutes, the students, oozing confidence, asked the Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, about his life and family, his inspiration and his concerns for the city.

Students of Class IX, Akshay Gakhar and Archit Gupta, were particularly impressed by Justice Verma’s concern for sanitation. “He said the beauty of the city could be preserved only if the problem of unsanitary conditions was checked. He regularly sought updates about the cleanliness drives launched from time to time,” they said. While the duo peeked into the family life of the Governor, how he spends his evenings at the Raj Bhavan and how he manages his work during the day, Shiven Tandon captured everything and every word on camera.

At the end of the day, the trio was elated with their performance. “We were satisfied with the interview. We had framed our questions well. A lot of thought had gone into the preparation. Since we had done our homework well, there was no cause for anxiety. There was only a lot of excitement,” they claimed in unison.


Chaos at PU enquiry counter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Chaos reigned at the enquiry counter of Panjab University this morning with the delayed arrival of gazettes of the MA II (English) and MA II (Public Administration) examination. The gazettes arrived by over three hours late.

In a repeat of yesterday’s confusion, the delayed arrival of gazettes from the printing press put the students to a lot of inconvenience. Gathered around the enquiry office, these students were up in arms against the authorities for announcing unconfirmed timings.

“The examination branch can’t seem to get its house in order. They give us specific timing for the gazette, get it published in all newspapers and then fail to show up. Every half an hour, we are told that it will take a little more time. The wait is unending and the anxiety is killing,” the students rued.

While the gazette for the Public Administration came after 12.30 pm, the gazette for the MA II examination of English had not reached the enquiry even after 2 pm.


Colourful dance show by school kids
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 23
Children presented different types of dances at a valedictory function of a summer camp organised at Bal Bhavan, Phase IV, here today. Mrs Shoba Verma, wife of the Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, was the chief guest.

Before the start of the function a lamp was lit by the chief guest. The function started with a presentation ‘Vandana’ followed by an item on aerobics.

Later, dressed in blue jeans and red coloured tops children gave an impressive performance dancing to the tune “Where do you go, I want to know”. This was followed by bhangra where children, dressed in white, presented what they had learnt at the summer camp dancing to the number “Rangle Punjab di sifat sunawan”. Later boys and girls danced to the tune of “Main wari, main wari meri samiye”. The last item of the function was a group song “We shall over come”. The function ended with the singing of the national anthem.

Ms Uma Ratra, Secretary, Child Welfare Council, Punjab, said that this year’s summer camp was much more useful as compared to last year and efforts would be made to bring about more improvements next year. She said that the aim of the camp was to inculcate stage confidence in children who were normally reluctant to take part in stage shows.

As many as 80 children in the age group of 3 years to 16 years participated in the camp which had been organised by the Child Welfare Council. The summer camp had started on June 1 and the activities offered were aerobics and yoga, dance, music and art and craft. A majority of the children were interested in learning dance, especially, bhangra.


SJOBA launches US chapter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
The St John’s Old Boys Association (SJOBA) today launched its American chapter by holding its first meeting in Menlo Park, a suburb of San Francisco, California. Twenty former students of St. John’s School, belonging to batches of 1964-2001, attended the meeting.

It was organised by Mr Pawan Tiwari, a senior manager with Goldman Sachs, from the batch of 1982. Most of the persons who were present at the meeting have been extremely successful in the Silicon Valley, working in the software industry. The most famous being Vivek Mehra, whose Cobalt Software Solutions was taken over in a multi-billion-dollar acquisition by Sun Microsystems.

The founding president of SJOBA, Mr Mac Sarin,addressed the gathering and made a presentation on the future plans of the SJOBA Foundation to produce a Nobel laureate or an Olympic medalist out of the former students of St. John’s.

It was decided to increase interaction between the students of St. John’s and the members of SJOBA in the USA. During the next vocational seminar for the students of Class 10 in school, a live video conference will be set up with the old boys in California.The members of SJOBA will be able to help and guide the students in school about the careers to choose from and the opportunities available in the USA.


Recreating Moliere’s sting in Punjabi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
Adapting a creation of Moliere, the French playwright rated among the best in comedy in theatre, is certainly not easy. But Amrik Gill’s Living Theatre Group did well to make a sincere attempt. Gill’s adapted version of Moliere’s “Scorpion” may not have fully matched the punch of the master craftsman but it did manage to reach close to it on several occasions.

“Thuan”, the play that marked Gill’s return to theatre after 10 years, was presented well in many ways. It had a strong storyline that, for once, aimed to idolise the commoner instead of the exploitative plutocrat. Romance remained in the root of the plot that went from one stage to another, culminating in a communion of the loved ones.

The venue was Tagore Theatre and the organiser the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi.

The sting of the original work is largely retained, though the portrayal by characters is not so convincing and authentic at times. Rupy Kamboj, who plays the maid of a household, takes time to get into the mould of balanced acting where her expression matches the requirement of the script. Towards the initial few minutes, the play seems sluggish, as if struggling to sell comedy. But after a while, Harnek Aulakh’s freewheeling manner begins to take the story home. In his role as Jugtu, the servant who empathises with his masters’ cupid-struck son, Harnek carries the play forward single-handedly at times. He is also assisted in his mission by Ajay Sharma and Harpinder Virdi, who play the characters of Makkar and Bhandari, fathers of two central characters Sunny and Tonny, respectively.

Literal plutocrats, the two fathers, refuse to acknowledge their sons’ feelings for the two girls. Wit and sting then come together to weave in a tale that turns out to be a virtual struggle for victory between power on the one hand and love on the other.

It is the less fortunate, the less affluent ones who appear grounded to the basic emotions of life. They make strategies to deliver the two lovers from troubles. And in the final race for supremacy, it is love that triumphs.

Other artistes were Karan (as Sunny), Simar Gill (as Simmi), Sandeep (as Tonny), Sukhbir (as Ghaint) and Vineel Sharma (as George).


Where Lord Ganesha is all-pervasive
Monica Sharma

One of the bedrooms of Mr Rajiv Amta Ram’s house
One of the bedrooms of Mr Rajiv Amta Ram’s house. — Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

RELIGION has nothing to do with it — at least this is what senior Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate Rajiv Atma Ram says. But even before you enter his palatial five-and-a-half kanal house in Sector 4 here, you can feel Lord Ganesha’s presence.

In fact, Lord Ganesha smiles back at you as you stand in front of the impressive teak door, waiting. As you walk past the icons — hanging on the walls — into the house, statues of Lord Ganesha on either side of the lobby greet you.

Standing in the lobby leading to the living room, you can see more of Lord Ganesha. Rather, you can find him sitting on an imposing bureau amidst dry flowers. His images can also be seen hanging on lobby walls.

As you make your way into the living room for sitting on the neatly arranged sofa sets, there is another statue of Lord Ganesha — on a high pedestal — illuminated by an overhead light.

“I must admit that I am biased in favour of Lord Ganesha. But it is not because of religion. I just like the way he looks,” says Ms Gopa, wife of Mr Atma Ram. “You will find it hard to believe, but we have over 60 Ganeshas carved out of wood, terracota and even silver.”

Pointing towards another set of Ganeshas in the dining room, she smiles, “We have been picking them up from wherever we can — from showrooms, even kiosks. It is just that we keep our eyes open for Lord Ganesha while travelling across the country, even abroad”.

But there is more that lends grace and sophistication to the house. The furniture, including bureaus and cupboards, have been tastefully designed to give that antique look.

This is not all. You have scores of attractive souvenirs, collected from all over the globe, hanging on a pillar separating the living room from the dining room. Otherwise, everywhere you look, you can admire paintings. In the dining room, you have six paintings hanging in a line brought all the way from England. As you ascend the stairs, there are more paintings.

Music systems and television sets are conspicuous by their absence in the rooms belonging to the young ones. In all, there are five bedrooms — three on the first floor — and a lounge where the family sits and enjoys programmes on the small screen. Under the stairs is a library. The living space has been perked up with flowers.

Another noteworthy thing about the house is that the Atma Rams have blended the traditional with the modern without changing the basic design. They have strived hard to preserve the original architecture. From outside, the house with red brick walls gels with the surroundings. There are no gables, panels and massive pillars. Inside, even the rooms constructed recently have floors with chips, instead of marbles. “The house was designed in the 60s. We have maintained its original character,” Mr Atma Ram adds.


An enriching visit for fashion design students

Students of fashion and textile design departments of the National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD) had a close encounter with heritage and spirituality after visiting places like Dharamsala, Kangra, Palampur and Buddhist monasteries in McLeodganj.

As part of their craft documentation project, the students surveyed and took inspiration from traditional monuments and work-manship, and incorporated these in their portfolios and term garments.

Students covered exclusive aspects of different traditional arts, including wood carving, wood painting, metal work, thangka applique and pottery making. They demonstrated a special slide presentation of the work they had done here today on the NIFD campus.

Students picked up ideas for the forthcoming annual fashion show in July and annual exhibition in August .The visit helped the students who were given the opportunity of designing for Miss World and Miss Earth pageants to be held at held at Buddhist-dominated cities Beijing and Manila. They will create modern outfits but with inspiration from a blend of Indian and Buddhist heritage to win the hearts of international audience.

The students on this craft documentation trip covered the technical areas by visually studying the basic craftsmanship of the karigars, traditional monuments, sculptures, dyeing and printing.

A detailed study of the arts and crafts was done by the students under the guidance of their faculty members Chanda Malhotra, Deeksha Suri and Simpie Bansal. Students visited different temples, museums and art galleries. They also visited cottage industries where they had a direct interaction with skilled craftsmen. In Sidhpur, students visited renowned Norburingka Institute — centre of arts and surveyed different units, including tailoring, wood carving, wood painting, metal work, painting and the famous doll museum.

The pottery workshop provided the students with first-hand knowledge of handling the clay on wheel. — OC


Eating Out
Chawla’s comes closer to connoisseurs
Harvinder Khetal

Good news for residents of Sectors 37, 38, 38 (W), 39, 40, 41, 54, 55 and 56: Now, they can order goodies from Chawla’s Chicken and have them delivered at their doorstep free of cost. For, on June 9, another outlet of this famous eatery was opened in their vicinity: in a Sector 40-D booth. Home delivery to other sectors comes at an extra cost of Rs 15 to Rs 25 per order, depending on the distance. Mohaliites also stand to gain from the new shop.

“We have branched out here specially on demand of our regular customers of this area. They found our Sector 22 restaurant a bit far off,” informs Mr Rajesh Chaudhry, a partner in the venture.

The small booth stacks up a whole range of Punjabi delights dripping with spices and sauces. The skewers holding tempting pieces of chicken, panir and mushrooms alternating with diced red tomatoes, green capsicum and white onions turning brown in the oven attract guests to the takeaway joint, specially during the late evening hours. The rumali roti making machine and a couple of tables in the lawn facing the booth complete the set-up.

Besides the kitchen in the basement, an equal amount of activity is witnessed on the telephone as well as the packing table.

That’s because the business is basically centred around home delivery and takeaways. So, dial 5086421-2 and enjoy the delicious dishes in the cool comfort of your dining table.

Their most popular item remains cream chicken. It’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it is cooked with a special blend of Chawla’s masalas comprising generous doses of black pepper, cream and milk. Red chillies, oil, ghee and spices are strictly kept away to make it a trademark dish. Small wonder it has won over the gourmets in all their over 50 outlets spread across the country as well as abroad.

Established in 1960, it has expanded into being one of the biggest food chains with over 50 outlets in all major towns of Punjab, Mumbai, Calgary (Canada) and Bangkok.

Mr D. S. Chawla, proprietor, informs that they have tried to make their butter chicken in this new counter a bit different from the routine. The dissimilarity lies in the use of tomato puree. Well, taste the two for comparison.

Food connoisseurs also go in for lemon chicken, karahi chicken, chilli chicken and chicken tikka masala. Snacky bites of tandoori chicken, tangri, reshmi kebab, kalmi kebab, malai tikka, and seekh kebab go well with drinks.

The vegetarians have the option of cream panir, tomato panir, cheese chilli, dal makhni and cheese karahi. Panir tikka, mushroom tikka and a combination of the two tikkas called Fifty Fifty are good starters.

Complement with rice and an assortment of naans, rotis and parathas for a rich traditional Punjabi meal.


Hero Honda SBI Credit Card

Hero Honda for the third year in a row has joined hands with SBI Cards to develop a credit card specially for its Passport Programme members in the city. Hero Honda SBI Co-branded Credit Card is the first payment card introduced in the Indian two-wheeler industry.

The Hero Honda Passport Programme members in Chandigarh will be able to apply for the credit card at any of the Hero Honda dealerships in the city. The passport programme members will get this card absolutely free of cost for the first year and will not have to pay any application fee.

On the occasion of the launch of the credit card, Mr Aneek Dutta, Area Manager, Chandigarh, Hero Honda Motors Ltd said, “A pilot programme was conducted in April, 2003, in the four metros and we are very encouraged by the response received in these cities. As a result, it has been decided to extend this programme to 60 more cities in the country”.

SBI Card CEO Roopam Asthana said “The Hero Honda SBI Card represents one more initiative in our strategy to drive differentiation through superior customer service. SBI Cards is pleased to extend some unique benefits to the Hero Honda Passport Programme members. These include waiver of petrol surcharge of 2.5 per cent for petrol purchases from IOC and IBP petrol pumps, besides a tiered interest rate going down to a minimum of 1.75 per cent per month”.

Store opened

“Samsonite Travel World” opened its store in the city in association with Classic Centre in Sector 17 on Tuesday.

While inaugurating the store, the Chief Operating Officer(COO), Mr Ramesh Tainwala, said the company had introduced its second brand, — American Touris-ter — at the end of the last year.The company had launched products like leather computer bags and Samsonite lady bags in genuine leather.

The company is also planning to launch a new brand — Saturn — at the end of this year.


Fun all the way for kids

FOR the little ones attending Cambridge Young Learners’ summer activity camp, it was fun all the way. They got the opportunity of enjoying multi-award winning children film on the concluding day.

The workshop, organised at British Library in Sector 9 in association with the British Council, was attended by about 35 children. Giving details, the library’s Education Information Officer, Mr Vivek Saini, said, “Earlier students could participate in the activity only through schools, but for the first time it was open for everyone”.

He added, “The activity covered four language skills including listening, speaking, reading and writing. This helped in encouraging the children to develop a positive attitude towards language learning”. — OC

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