C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Indo-Pak match gives nightmares to parents
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, March 3
Annual examinations of education boards of different states are in progress and it is also the period of anxiety both for parents and students. But, what has made the parents more anxious is the Test match between India and Pakistan which will begin from March 8 at Mohali.

In the region, the annual examinations of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Indian Certificate of Secondary Examinations (ICSE), the Punjab School Education Board, the Haryana School Education Board have started. Barring March 8, which is a holiday on account of Mahashivratri, rest of the match days from March 9 to 12 clash with examinations for Class X and XII as well as that of junior classes in all schools.

Sanjeev Khanna, whose son is appearing for Class X examinations, said he was too scared on the likely performance of his son. On March 9 the most crucial Mathematics paper will be held, Mr Khanna said, adding that his son needs at least a day to prepare but with match mania already gripping the region I am a little pessimistic about the result of my son.

Though my son says he will prepare well in advance, it is the divided attention and loss of concentration which is the actual cause of worry, he added.

Ayushman, a student of DAV Model School, Sector 15, says thank God their maths paper is on March 14 and the match ends on March 12. He said though his business studies examination is on March 10, definitely the telecast of match and the hype created about the series would certainly hit his studies.

Another parent, Ms Kuljinder Kaur, whose son is appearing for Class XII examination and daughter for Class X examination, said the match had vitiated the atmosphere in their house. She said in the past few days, my son had been trying to be a hurdle in the study of my daughter who does not have interest in cricket.

She said her son repeatedly asked her to arrange a ticket for match as he wanted to watch the match after 1.30 pm, after his examination finished.

Mr G. S. Ahuja said cricket nowadays had become a corporate sport and with its increased commercialisation, no one bothers about studies of children. He said in every part of the country the annual examinations were being held and the Test series would hit the studies of lakhs of students.



CBSE Class X exams begin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
The Class X Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) kicked off on a positive note, here today. As many as 80,000 students appeared in today’s examination from all over the region. It was conducted at 32 centres of the city. Happiness was writ large on students face as they came out after giving their Social Science paper.

The scene outside the examination centres during morning hours, however, was complete contrast. This being students first experience to sit in the board exam, they were seen waiting anxiously outside the centres. Parents looked on as children did last minute revisions and teachers gave tips to students. With butterflies in their stomach, they were seen going through the Social Science books for the last time before entering the examination hall.

However, when they came out, they could hardly hide their excitement. A student of GMSSS, Sector-35, said the Social Science paper was simpler than what they had attempted during the pre-board exams.

The paper was neither lengthy nor confusing. “In fact, this was a high scoring paper and good students could even score up to 97 per cent marks,” a teacher commented after discussing the paper with her students at DAV Public School, Sector 8. Parents waiting outside examination centres, too, were seen listening to remarks being made by teachers while discussing the paper with students.

While the Class X students got a good beginning unlike their Class XII counterparts who got tough Physics paper, the next paper of Mathematics is giving them the jitters. Mathematics paper is slated for March 9. Though the students have a number of days at their disposal for preparing the maths paper, most of them said they wouldn’t be able to relax and have to start studying right away. 



School gives Rs 20,000 for relief fund
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
Saint Soldier International School, Sector 28, here today presented a draft of Rs 20,000 to the Additional General Manager of The Tribune, Mr O.P. Arora, as contribution towards the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

The students who presented the draft were accompanied by the school’s director, Mr Jagwinder Singh Hayer. Meanwhile, the HIG Flats residents Welfare association, Sector 47-C, also collected Rs 3,400 for the victims of tsunami.

Prize distribution: As many as 291 prize winners were honoured at the annual prize giving function of Government College, Sector 46, here today. While most of them were honoured for meritorious positions in the annual examinations conducted by Punjab University, 11 students were awarded for library prizes.

They had been actively involved in library activities like quiz, book review writing and book hunting contests throughout the session.

The Roll of Honour went to Diwakar Sharma, Pratha Sen and Satbir Singh for academics, Supinder Singh of BA I received the honour for his participation in activities of the NCC naval wing.

Twentynine students were given the college colours for excellence in cultural activities. The chief guest, DPI (Colleges), Mr Dilip Kumar, congratulated the prize winners.

Awarded: Mehak Kanwar, a student of Class III, St Anne’s, Sector 32, won the first prize in the third SN Memorial examinations of maths and science conducted by the school.



400 students examined
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 3
An eye camp was organised by the Lions Club (Nightingale), Chandigarh, at Dashmesh Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Phase IIIB1, here today.
Nearly 400 students were examined. Mr S.S. Rekhi, a lawyer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, inaugurated the camp. The Principal of the school, Mr Tarlochan Singh Sidhu, thanked the members of the club.



On a smile forever
Aditi Tandon

Nature has its own ways of escorting people to where they belong. Why else would a law graduate at the threshold of his career land on the sets of “Garam Hawa” and evolve into one of the finest actors of India.

Farooq Sheikh is indeed a classic product of “chances” well taken. Given to law but taken by cinema, he is our quintessential performer with a zest for life but none for law.

Farooq could not agree less. And as he unfolds his life’s story for us at the Durga Das Foundation-run Strawberry Fields, Sector 24 this evening, several interesting bits surface, yielding to a refreshing conversation.

“I did not practice law even for a day. I chanced into cinema and lived its joy bit by bit, accepting offers that stimulated the actor in me. I don’t like working too much, hence the pace and the productivity. I have anyway not done satisfying roles though I have done some very satisfying films. When I watch “Umrao Jaan” today, I feel quite at loss. I have made no contribution to the script. I like Naseer better,” gestures the man in white, a familiar, reassuring smile playing through his face.

After several enactments as Zulfiqar Haider of the Indian theatre classic “Tumhari Amrita” which ran to full houses for 13 years, Farooq is back to bring home its sequel. “Aapki Soniya,” written by Javed Siddiqui and directed by Salim Arif, will be staged at the Tagore Theatre tomorrow, courtesy The Tribune, Durga Das Foundation and Spice Telecom.

The production is close to Farooq’s heart as it spells a transfer of emotion from one space of performance to another. Farooq tells, “Tumhari Amrita” was about love, this one is about hatred. The mother production was very strong. One could play a constant role through 13 years because it facilitated novelty, taking audiences as the third character. With every presentation, the audience changed so did the perspective of performers. “Aapki Soniya” is equally splendid as a production. It is outstandingly comfortable for the performers, and it celebrates the glory of Urdu.

As such theatre has been Farooq’s favourite commitment from IPTA days. Though he terms amateur theatre a “satisfying extra curricular experience”, cinema for him has been a wholesome meal. “Cinema is a medium for the perfectionists. It won’t let you be unless you are the best. Television was all fun, so was “Jeena isi ka naam hai”, he says.

The challenges of cinema are indeed most infectious and the medium most addictive. That’s perhaps what endears cinema to Farooq, but unlike many actors Farooq is not a big dreamer as he admits, “I never took up acting because I had to. It came along and I chose to follow it. Fortunately I could work with legends like Muzaffar Ali and Hrishikesh Mukherjee but I still miss the histrionics of Balraj Sahni. He was a class apart”.

For his part, Farooq regards any facility in any department of the arts as a great advantage for any actor. He learnt acting through observation and reading. But he still believes he is more of a director’s responsibility than his own. As a parting bit, Farooq even shares his secret wish with us, lest the conversation ends sans laughter, “I wanted to act with Madhu Bala but she went away before I came. Now I am stuck with Sonali Bendre”. TNS



‘Aapki Soniya’ unfolds Urdu’s magic to Sonali

Thanks to Salim Arif’s “Aapki Soniya”, Sonali Bendre has emerged as a fine theatre actress. Waking up to the hidden talent has been as enjoyable as experience for Sonali as it has been for her viewers across India, who have seen her evolve on stage, act by act.

In Chandigarh today along with director Salim Arif and producer Lubna Arif, Sonali poured her heart out in reactions to “Aapki Soniya”, a production which she calls surprising. “It was a major challenge to act in a production with a history as illustrious as “Aapki Soniya’s”. But the play literally surprised me. The audiences reacted overwhelmingly to my presence in the production and I emerged a better person after living so much of hatred on stage,” says Sonali Bendre for whom the first date with theatre has brought much adoration and appreciation, the kind which cinema never bequeathed her with.

But the actress does not regret the bygones. In fact, she stresses the significance of films, stating, “I earned my bread and butter from films. They also gave me an identity. It is thus much easy for me to look ahead into the future than brood over the past. Also, I don’t measure my success by the number of box office credits I got. I did some great films like Amol Palekar’s “Anahad” and “Sarfarosh”. I was anyway not driven into filmdom for passion”.

But Sonali would have sure regretted her absence in “Aapki Soniya” which acquainted her with the nuances of Urdu language. “Some words have such beautiful meanings in Urdu that they seem so meaningless otherwise. It has been a privilege to be a part of this production.” Sonali however is unsure whether she would pursue theatre as a serious profession. “I have never planned anything seriously. I may work in plays, I may not,” she says, bursting into many smiles while referring to marriage and to expected motherhood.

For now, she is concentrating on Salim Arif’s “Aapki Soniya”, which is sure to have Chandigarh hooked tomorrow evening. TNS



Tiny tots create wonders with brush, colours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 3
Sliced melons, a lively garden, gamboling aquatic creatures and vivid pink candies festooned the walls of Citigold Center, Sector 9, here where an exhibition of paintings done by children between two and a half and six years of age concluded today.

The exhibition was put up by the children of The Mango Grove School, Panchkula. All 20 exhibits were sold out. The proceeds would be donated to the Royal Blood Bank Resource Centre, Chandigarh.

The paintings were the handiwork of 25 tiny tots who interacted with noted artists R. M. Singh and Anju Pasricha while creating these works of art. R. M. Singh was full of wonderment for his little students, “One cannot make out whether these paintings have been made by adults or kids. In fact if one did not know that young children had made these, one would not know the difference.”

Ms Kanta Saroop Krishen, who founded the UT Blood Bank Society in 1964 and is still involved with its activities, inaugurated the exhibition on Wednesday. She was “astounded” at the exhibits and seemed tempted to buy a painting herself. Mr M. L. Sarin, a lawyer, said the “presentation was superb and it is a wonderful effort to promote good artists and a worthy cause”

The young ones were present in force, some standing next to their paintings and some playing with each other. Each one displaying all enthusiasm and confidence that Lieut-Col Karan Thandi (retd), Chairman of the school, believes their children have due to the freedom they get to work in a happy environment.

Armaan, young artist of “Basant Sky” a cheerful painting with bright kites and a startling orange backdrop, has never flown a kite. He says, “Once I am 20 years old, I will start flying kites. Lots of them.”



New Release
Another ‘jat puttar’ makes debut

Abhay Deol and Ayesha Takia in ‘Socha Na Tha’
Abhay Deol and Ayesha Takia in ‘Socha Na Tha’

‘Socha Na Tha’ is a Vijeyta Films (Dhaarmendra Production House) venture that produced ‘Betaab’, ‘Ghayal’, ‘Barsaat’ and ‘Dillagi’. The film introduces another jat puttar from the Deol’s family — Dharmendra’s nephew Abhay Deol. Abhay is finally launched by brother Sunny Deol in this refreshing and different love story. With a diploma in acting from Los Angeles’s Tesedena University, Bobby Deol’s carbon copy Abhay Deol promises some really big things. ‘Socha Na Tha’ will be released today at Piccadilly, Chandigarh, and Fun Republic, Mani Majra.

Abhay stars opposite glam doll Ayesha Takia who has made good appearances in ‘Tarzan — The Wonder Car’ and Anant Mahadevan’s ‘Dil Maange More’. Shot in just 68 days ‘Socha Na Tha’ also stars Ayesha Julka, Suresh Oberoi and Apoorva Jha.

The film is being promoted well on different satellite channels. Promos are good, looks different and have generated a lot of interest.

It will be interesting to see what the combination of debutant director Imtiaz Ali and Abhay Deol brings up. The star cast itself is so impressive and on top of it there is young music director Sandesh Shandilya. It will be a good combination of ‘Chameli’ fame lyricists Irshad Kamil together with Subrat Sinha. The musical score is melodious.

The director of popular TV serials ‘Imtihaan, ‘Naina and Duhushketra’ Imtiaz Ali’s directorial debut ‘Socha Na Tha’ can make a mark in the Bollywood. — D. P.



Sharing joys and sorrows through art
S.D. Sharma

TO the young Mumbai-based Kathak dancer and actress Nandita Puri, art is a means of addressing humanity and sharing their concern of joys and sorrows alike. She is in the city on the invitation of the Triveni Sangeet Sabha for a dance recital at Tagore Theatre on March 6 at 6.30 p.m. for raising relief fund for the tsunami victims. The funds generated will be presented to the representative of India Today group by General V.P. Malik (retd), chief guest on the occasion, disclosed Premila Puri, the sabha secretary.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Nandita said: “I indeed felt honoured for being associated with the noble and virtuous cause , especially for a charity performance in the City Beautiful to which I belonged.” Despite a hectic shooting schedule and engagements of Kathak teaching and performing assignments, I am here for a magical performance. Despite portraying the character roles of Bhabi and mother in over a dozen TV serials and films, the latest being “Madhhoshi” in which she plays mother to Bipasha Basu. “More offers are pouring in,” says Nandita, maintaining that “Jaipur gharana classical Kathak dance is her first love.”

About her tryst with the small screen, she reminisced of a choreographic contract for a dance number for Bina, a character in TV serial ‘Upanayas’. “The serial management complimented my versatility at dance with a role of the protagonist Bina’s younger sister. Then followed a spree of roles, including ‘Campus’, ‘Sailab’, ‘Chattan’, ‘Milan’, ‘Karz’, ‘Sanjivani’, ‘Kareena’, ‘Sathiya’ and more under production. She feels that though every dance form has its own aura, the Jaipur kathak tradition has the compatible technique for executing the fundamental syllables, ‘Chakradhars’ and the ‘abhinaya ang’ with an immaculate perfection. Being the hybrid offspring of vastly different cultures of the North and the love child of Moghul Hindu union, it retains more zest for life and sensuality.



NRI’s gesture to tsunami victims
Gayatri Rajwade

Navneet Singh NarulaDespair is inescapable in Campbell Bay, Great Nicobar. With the earthquake’s epicentre off the western coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia, just 80-90 miles from Campbell Bay, the devastating tsunami followed within minutes.

The place lies in ruins, water everywhere. Despite the largest humanitarian drive launched for a natural disaster of such a magnitude, the affected areas of the country are still struggling to cope with the destruction caused.

According to aid, agencies very little aid has reached the people who need it on the islands, with some communities still waiting. With foreigners not being permitted to work on the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, help must come from the community within.

Twentysix-year-old Navneet Singh Narula, born and brought up in Chandigarh, is now a senior management consultant with a distinguished firm in Atlanta in USA. With his family settled here, he is deeply attached to his roots. Profoundly affected by the desolation caused by the tsunami on December 26, he flew to Tamil Nadu on January 8 bringing along with him aid in the form of support from an international non-profit human development NGO, UNITED SIKHS. Navneet and his colleagues traversed the affected areas and witnessed the anguish of the survivors first hand. As part of a relief project called “Ghanaia”, which stands for “Giving Humanitarian Aid Necessities Assistance Impartially To All”, these young people are attempting to meet the challenge head on.

After adopting a village in the district of Cuddalore - Muzhukkhuthurai, the all Indian team of UNITED SIKHS then moved onto Campbell Bay where no relief agency apart from the government and the defence services has been permitted.

Great Nicobar offers a huge challenge. With transport and communication almost non-existent as the tsunami and subsequent mudslides have destroyed the island’s only road, relief work has to be intense and unremitting. It takes four days to get to Campbell Bay from Port Blair and Navneet believes that it will take at least two years before life creeps back to normal.

As the only non-governmental relief agency, the UNITED SIKHS has resolved to provide water from a spring in the mountains 8 km from the town to almost 2,500 persons everyday. Towards this, it has bought four large capacity water tanks for cartage and two local persons have been appointed to facilitate this on a daily wage of about Rs 200 per day. In addition, the local gurdwara has been rebuilt and free langar sewa has started feeding almost 100 persons a day.

Education sponsorship programmes, a community centre providing free computer education, language classes, vocational services and a day care centre for little children are all in the offing. A sawmill is also in the pipeline. Some of these plans are on the verge of being implemented and five children have already been adopted by the agency.

However, much more needs to be done by individuals and the government. With little relief material going past Port Blair and the monsoons in a few months from now, healing efforts need to be doubled and fast.

Gurmeet, a 10-year-old survivor, saw his mother lean down from a tree to pull his sister up and topple into the water, his younger sister jumped trying to follow their mother. He clung to a tree. Today he lives fraught with the trauma of what he saw. He has been adopted by a relief worker from the UNITED SIKHS. The difference can be made.

If you want to contribute or volunteer with them please log onto unitedsikhs.org


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