C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cricket teams leave the city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Pakistan cricket team captain Inzamam ul Haq had a tough massage done on him. His teammates, along with some Indians, dipped themselves in a hotel pool, and Sachin Tendulkar, after days of abstinence, finally ordered a big meal on the last day of the stay here.

The two teams took their respective buses after lunch for the airport minus any farewell ceremony. The crowds were conspicuous by their absence as the two teams left by a flight for New Delhi en route to Kolkata for the second Test beginning March 16.

The Indian team was the first to leave at 2.15 pm. The visitors vacated the hotel half an hour later. Saurav Ganguly and three other players of the team, including Virender Sehhwag, Ashish Nehra and Gautam Gambhir had taken a flight out yesterday immediately after the match.

Earlier in the morning, Pakistani stars had fun in the hotel’s swimming pool for more than one hour. Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan also spent some time in the pool. Mr Cool Rahul Dravid and Balaji, on the other hand, sweated it out in the hotel gym for about an hour before going in for lunch.

“Sachin Tendulkar did not eat much at the hotel during his stay but this day he placed a largish order for lunch. He asked for dal makhani, paneer masala, murg tikka, butter masala (boneless), curd and tandoori rotis,” said the captain of the hotel.

The last day’s menu of cricket stars varied from Italian pasta to the indigenous paav bhaji. Rahul Dravid and his wife preferred pasta, while light meals like butter toast with tea, masala omelette and paav bhaji were the pick of Abdul Razzaq, Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan, respectively.



Cricketmania ends as teams, guests leave
Arvind Katyal

Chandigarh, March 13
The euphoria generated by the Test match between India and Pakistan in the area was finally over today when both teams left for their next destination Kolkata. This was followed by Pakistan guests, who also started leaving by special buses arranged for their return journey to Wagah. The city and Mohali witnessed a great deal of activity all these days and Pakistan was the talk of the town.

The fake tickets which were in circulation all these days have put the organisers Punjab Cricket Association to shame and caused them loss of lakhs of rupees. One does not know how many of these were scanned and printed, and then smuggled for the smooth entry of fans. This reporter was able to procure one pavilion terrace ticket worth Rs 3000 (season) from a student at Gate I-C on Saturday, who was later refused entry by the PCA officials. Narrating his bad experience, the boy said, when he entered through I-C, the cops did not object, and it was only at the second check-point near stairs that he was refused entry by a YPS girl volunteer and a PCA official, who said the ticket was fake. The boy had purchased this ticket on Friday at Gate 14 for Rs 500. Interestingly, the ticket is quite similar to the original one with hologram colour changed and dull printing.

Monika, a housewife, thanked God that the match is over. I hope my son would now devote more time to prepare for his final examinations of Class X. She said earlier also this region played host to cricket matches, but this time there was more craze among youngsters. She said may be next time, the organisers also take into account the students exam schedule into consideration.

Harish Khanna, a bank officer, said it is good that India wants to improve ties with Pakistan through cricket. The media hype created during this match was unprecedented. He hoped that Indians also get similar welcome when they go to Pakistan.

Sandeep Moudgil, a Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyer, said since the two Punjabs have same cultural ties, it helped in striking an instant rapport. Moudgil played host to two Pakistan guests at Panchkula, who did not want to stay in hotel.

Another cricket lover Dinesh said the PCA stadium, Mohali, has world-class infrastructure. The PCA management must organise matches in a more professional manner by not entirely depending on the police. He said that in future, volunteers should be appointed at various gates and policemen should be kept for emergency requirements.

Meanwhile, before leaving today, some cricketers, Dinesh Kartik, Shahid Afridi and manager of Pakistan team Arshad Khan visited a beauty clinic in Sector 11 and were mobbed by fans. Harbhajan Singh ‘Bhajji’ also paid a visit to a fast food chain in Sector 8.



Slum kids strike a chord with ‘Bhajji’
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The smile on their faces narrated a story. It conveyed a lot of happiness, and awe. It was Theatre Age’s slum children’s day out and dream date with cricketing star Harbhajan Singh. And of course, it came packed with a lot of cricketing action.

A day that will be etched in their memory for all times to come, the children had a ball — getting bowling tips from none other than the turbanator himself, playing cricket on a make-shift pitch in complete cricketing gear and freaking out on burgers and french fries.

They waited anxiously for the hero to arrive as minutes ticked by. Finally, half-an-hour later, Harbhajan Singh, made his entry at a flood joint in Sector 8. Immediately, he was “mobbed” by the exciting kids wanting to get close to “their” star, looking for autographs and wanting to be photographed.

Speaking for the 14-odd boys, 15-year-old Rahul summed up their sentiments, “It is unbelievable that Harbhajan Singh is among us. It seems he has walked right out of the television set. It feels good to just shake hands with him and be photographed”.

Sporting a t-shirt and a cap, starry-eyed, Ashish, all of seven years, could hardly contain his excitement when he flicked the ball to a corner of the hall, amidst a round of applause from those present as also the bowler, Harbhajan Singh.

“I was facing the man who has set many a cricketer packing to the pavilion with his superb spin. Getting the opportunity to bat against that kind of bowling is a big thing in itself. I was happy just being able to nick the ball. It feels great to be a part of the moments spent with Paaji,” he says before taking stance to face the next ball on the “greens”.

The joy of the kids knew no bounds when the entire cricketing gear, including a green pitch, bats autographed by Harbhajan Singh, wickets and ball were presented to them by a mobile company.

After the match which lasted for just about an over, the kids were treated to coke and burgers, chicken and french fries. But like all good things, the meeting with Harbhajan Singh ended and the kids were left with sweet memories and a few photographs which captured their moment of joy.



Plight of bat-maker stirs Harbhajan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Today when spinner Harbhajan Singh, who came to Sector 8 to interact with slum children, was asked about the much-talked about 21-foot long bat and the indifferance on the part of Indian players and the PCA officials, he pleaded ignorance.

“We had no intimation of any such bat or fan who wanted it to be autographed. Had we known about it earlier, things would have been different”, he said.

“Moreover, all the players were in a hurry. Saurav Ganguly left for Delhi last night. This could be the result of a communication gap. Otherwise, it was a great honour for us to give due respect to this unique creation of the craftsman. Our fans are our lifeline. Without their support, we are nobody. We would have surely obliged them with autographs on the bat”, he clarified.

It was the passion for the game that inspired the craftsman Vishnu Prajapati to make a gigantic 21-foot long bat. The PCA authorities did not give a damn to it and he had to take the bat back home with a heavy heart.

Somewhere in his heart he was craving for the players’ attention and hoped they would spare some time to sign his bat. But nothing happened the way he had presumed. Caretakers at the PCA seemed too busy to talk to him, let alone honouring his creation.



Callous handling of postal bags at railway station
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Careless handling of postal mail at the Railway Station here could have cost the CBSE dear. On March 10, at least four sealed postal bags containing answer sheets of the ongoing board examination were damaged after being run over by a diesel locomotive engine. The engine was being shunted on a track at the Chandigarh Railway Station.

The mail bags, sent through the speed post service from different cities of the region, were scheduled to reach the secrecy centre of the regional office of the board in Chandigarh. According to a CBSE official, had the answer sheets been mutilated, the board might have had to go for a re-examination.

According to an eye witness account, on March 10 the Kalka Mail containing the postal bags arrived on the platform No.2 at 5.45 am, two hours behind schedule, and it was raining. The train, which handles 85 per cent of the RMS traffic, left for Kalka after about 20 minutes. On an average around 400 mail bags are loaded and unloaded from the Kalka mail.

As there is no passage between platform no.1 and platform no.2 for the movement of hand trollies, the postal employee unloaded the bags on the railway line before putting them on platform no.1, which is easily accessible for the truck of the Department of Posts. Suddenly, the diesel engine arrived and ran over the bags damaging them.

The overbridge here cannot be used for moving a hand trolley carrying mail bags. The incident took place due to the non-availability of proper space for the truck carrying mails to facilitate easy loading and unloading of bags a fact admitted by the officers of the Department of Posts.

It may be mentioned that on March 5, the Tribune had highlighted the fact that the mail bags were being exposed to security risk and vagaries of weather. At times, the postal bags are stacked in the open by the postal employees while waiting for the arrival of a train.

However, the Department of Posts in a rejoinder contradicted the story stating that the facts were baseless. The rejoinder was sent on March 10, the day the incident took place at the railway station.

The Director Postal Services (Headquarters) in the rejoinder said that the staff faced the problem of the non-availability of a proper parking for the mail van to facilitate easy loading and unloading of bags for which the department was pursuing the matter with the railways.

The Tribune again visited the station on different occasions. On March 12, at the time of the departure of the Kalka Mail around 12.40 am, the truck carrying mail bags had to cross a railway track to reach the platform No. 1. It being an extended part of the platform No. 1, there was no light.



Overcoming odds to get educated
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
No one in the family of Mukesh Kumar ever went to school. He wanted to study but had neither the financial nor the moral support of the family to do so. He only had a bank of strong determination. Son of a poor farmer from Jhallian village in Fatehabad district in Haryana, Mukesh is appearing in BA II examination of Kurukshetra University in April. He did his matriculation from Government School in the village in 2000. His father wanted him to quit studies and look for “some job”.

His father had sold two acres out of the total three in name of the family. Dire straits in the family did not offer him any console nor suggest any other altenate way. He did not want to be a burden on his family. He was, however, determined to study. He came to the city to his maternal uncle Pappi, a cobbler.

“My uncle sits on the pavement of Sector 17 and repair shoes for the past nearly 18 years. I enrolled in Kurukshetra University as a private student and have cleared my BA I. I also started repairing shoes. After a few days the anti-encroachment authorities took away my tool-kit.”

Mukesh was never disillusioned. He said he wanted to study “to at least get a chance to compete with lucky ones who had all facilities for education”. His uncle spent about Rs 2000 and set up a small kiosk opposite their house in Kumhar Colony, Sector 25. He sits there from morning till late into the night selling small eatables, ‘beedis’ and cheap brands of cigarette. While sitting idle he is preparing for his examination.Mukesh Kumar said, “I always knew that I wanted to be educated. I want to do MA (English) because English language will help me get better jobs and also learn basics in computer which will help me find a decent job.” “I worked as a ‘munshi’ with a lawyer in Fatehabad. I was told Chandigarh would offer me better opportunities. I will complete my education and then make all efforts for a decent job”, he said.

“I keep reading about different voluntary organisations engaged in welfare of the downtrodden. I hope someone finds me and helps me with my education. In case, I get a decent job I will always remember my past and try to help the deserving and the down-trodden”, Mukesh Kumar added.



ST Dept raids 4 caterers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Getting tough with the sales tax defaulters, the Sales Tax(ST) Department of the UT Administration yesterday carried out raids on some caterers here to check the evasion of sales tax.

According to a press note issued here, four caterers, M/s Ambrozia, Mani Majra, A One Caterers, Sector 40-D, M/s Kartar Caterers, Sector 27, and Moti Mahal, Sector 17, were checked by three teams of the department.

It was found that M/s Kartar Caterers had been working for quite some time without registering with the department. It had been paying the income tax on the annual turnover of about 20 lakh but not the sales tax. Certain documents along with the current bill book have been impounded for verification.

M/s A One Caterers was not registered under the Punjab General Sales Tax Act,1948. Certain documents and about 100 loose papers were seized for verification and the dealer has been directed to appear in the office on March 14 for working out the tax liability.

In case of M/s Ambrozia, certain documents pertaining to the sale of food by the firm have been taken into possession for verification. Though the firm is registered under the Sales Tax Act, its tax liability would be worked out after proper verification.

In respect of Moti Mahal, four bills have been taken into possession for verification.



Waiting to be healed, he needs help
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Gopi Chandra
Gopi Chandra

Chandigarh, March 13
The dream to earn riches took him to Saudi Arabia, but the destiny had willed otherwise.The wealth earned abroad exhausted rapidly.

He was found suffering from an uncommon disorder, which made him penniless. Ten months ago twentynine-year- old Gopi Chandra, discovered that he is suffering from aplastic anaemia, a rare disease which leads to an acute shortage of blood. Gopi looks pale with his hemoglobin dropping to five. The platelet count and white blood cells are also below the normal.

“I left the city three years ago for Saudi Arabia where I worked in a fast food joint. I earned a lot of money but on my return I was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, which doctors tell me, is an uncommon disease. I have already spent my entire earning, close to Rs 4 lakh on the treatment, but still the medicines worth Rs 6 lakh are required so that I can survive,”says Gopi, who had served as a waiter at the Press Club here a few years ago.

His physical condition has not allowed him to work for last one year but the responsibility to support his wife and two children continue.

Hailing from Nepal, Gopi earlier went to the SGPGI Lucknow, before knocking the doors of the department of internal medicine at the PGI here, where he is currently getting the treatment.

Head of the department Prof Subhash Varma, too agrees that the exorbitant cost of the treatment is extremely taxing for the patients of the disorder.

“The disease is uncommon and in PGI here, where the patients from several states come for treatment, we do not get more than 40 to 50 patients a year of Aplastic Anaemia. The disease can be controlled by medicines in 50 to 70 per cent of the cases,” says the doctor. Apart from the genetic causes, the infections in the bone marrow result in the disease.

The doctor says that bone marrow transplant, which is yet to be started at the PGI, is the cure for the younger patients below the age of 40 years provided the donor's bone marrow matches with that of the patient's.

But for Gopi Chandra, the immediate task is to arrange the amount of Rs 6 lakh for his life saving treatment, which involves giving antithymocyte alobulin (ATG) and cyclosporin medicines.

Samaritans wanting to help the patient can send in their cheques and drafts in the name of the Director, PGI through the Public Relations Officer Ms Manju Wadwalkar. (Telephone - 0172-2756003.).



National Archives showcases supreme sacrifices of martyrs
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The latest project of the National Archives of India recreates the era of revolutionary nationalism in the history of Indian freedom struggle.

Already presented in Delhi, the unique exhibition titled “Immortal martyrs” featuring documents related to the life of freedom fighters, is now heading further northward. It will be based at the Punjab Kala Bhavan, Sector 16, Chandigarh, for a week beginning from tomorrow.

In the city today to supervise the arrangements on behalf of the National Archives, Mr J.B. Balani, Senior Archivist spoke to The Tribune about the sacred purpose that inspired the exhibition in the first place.

“The exhibition touches upon emotive moments connected with the martyrs who sacrificed their future to give us our present. The show is our attempt to acquaint the youngsters with the nuances of hard-earned freedom.”

In Chandigarh, the exhibition will be held in collaboration with the Punjab Archives Department which has sent letters to all educational institutions, requesting for students’ participation in the exhibition.

Unique by all standards, the show is, indeed, our best opportunity to enter the real world of martyrs. It has exclusive extracts from proscribed publications like “Kakori Shadyantra”, Fauji Elan”, “Tarana-e-Azad” and “Phansi ke Shaheed”, besides classified intelligence reports on the activities of revolutionaries like Madan Lal Dhingra, Udham Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad.

The most overwhelming feature of the show is the last letter which Bhagat Singh wrote to his brother Kultar Singh from the jail. High on spirits, the indomitable Bhagat wrote: “Aaj tumhari aankhon mein aanso dekhkar bahut ranj hua; tumhara dukh mujhse dekha na gaya…”

Consoling him, he winds up, “Use yeh fikr hai har dum nayee tarz-e-jafa kya hai…hame yeh shauq hai dehken sitam ki inteha kya hai…” Bhagat’s last words to his family were “Anand se rehna…” The show offers insights into the events that marked the freedom struggle between 1907 and 1947.

Admitted Mr Balani, “The idea was to bring before the people the countless sufferings of martyrs and the significant events related to their lives. We have presented everything that matters, from the excerpts from the interview of Jatindra Nath Das by P.D. Tandon and Dr G.C. Bhargava to the extracts from the report of Home Secretary, Punjab Government, on the death of J.P. Saunders, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Punjab, January 1929.”

For its part, the National Archives which is the sentinel of vibrant documentary heritage of India, has honoured the memory of martyrs who died unsung. No wonder it regards the exhibition as the most prestigious assignment ever undertaken.

The show will gradually travel to all states. Said Mr Balani, “The states will witness condensed forms of the original show which had 153 exhibits. We are also working to preserve the rich historical data lying with individuals in the form of manuscripts.”

Currently the Jain manuscripts are being procured from religious and social leaders of the community. “We are undertaking this project with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts,” said Mr Balani, adding that another mammoth task at hand was the provision of entire archival data online.



Passing Thru

Kawaljeet Singh
Kawaljeet Singh, Senior Tennis Coach, ITF

What have been your recent tennis coaching assignments?

Last year I was chosen by International Tennis Federation (ITF) to coach the Vietnam team. I will be again going later this year to coach the young tennis players in Vietnam.

How was your experience in Vietnam.?

When I landed there I was surprised to find that the Vietnam Government was giving a big thrust to tennis in the country. It has a number of synthetic courts and youngsters are coming up well.

You were also given a role in Delhi State Lawn Tennis Association? What is its status?

I am still the coach at DLTA courts and of ITF also. I will be helping in the conduct of the South East Asian Tennis meet in sub-junior section to be held at New Delhi.

You were also once coach of CLTA courts, Sector 10, and which were your trainees who did well?

It was Sunil Kumar whom we picked up in the rural area scheme and was nurtured and polished under my guidance. He later represented Indian Davis Cup team and even now was playing in various international tennis tournaments.

What do you think of future of tennis in India?

In my opinion it is the most popular sport in the country. Today majority of the private schools in the country have their own tennis courts and the interest in the sport is immense.

— Arvind Katyal



Rich haul for ex-miner at Guldasta
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 13
Last year, 69 year old Mr S.S. Gill and his wife took up gardening as a hobby. Something almost every household in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula takes rather seriously. But what the couple managed to achieve in two years is something many others can just dream of.

Today Mr Gill won 44 prizes in the various competitions at Guldasta, Mohali’s flower festival. He also won 4 prizes at Panchkula’s flower show today. Another 17 prizes came his way at the Chandigarh Rose Festival that took place last month. “This year I have won over 60 prizes. Last year, I had won 30 prizes. But at that time I had just started,” said Mr Gill.

A retired mining engineer, Mr Gill and his wife now devote their entire day caring for over a thousand potted plants at home. But for the couple it is not just about flowers, pots, gardens and prizes. “We have no children. And these flowers are like our children. Every plant gets the love and affection that parents would give to a blooming child. And on days like this we are both overjoyed that our children have brought us laurels,” said Mrs Gill.

Mr Gill has a whole time mali to help with the plants. “Other than this mali I have two expert malis coming every day in the evening for an hour. I pay over Rs 5000 a month to these three,” explained Mr Gill. Sometimes the whole day is spent in watering the pots. Every pot has to be shifted through the day through sun and shade. Every plant is personally taken care of. “I use the Internet to consult about some plants. For example I interact with a person in Kalimpong to know more about my germaniums. And the advise and sharing of notes help,” he said.

And the various categories that he won prizes for says a lot about the variety of potted plants that he has reared. “I have every possible potted plant at home that can grow in the given whether conditions. Cacti, palm, bonsai you name it and I have it. And my plants are blooming with health,” he says proudly.

Mr Gill started participating in flower shows last year. “I sent many entries to the Rose Festival in Chandigarh last year and won over 10 prizes. This encouraged me and I participated in the Mohali and Panchkula shows also. This year I have 86 entries here. Out of the 49 entries in the cut flower category, I have won prizes in 36. But I am feeling bad that the Panchkula show was on the same dates as Mohali I could not send my cut flowers there,” he said.



Winners of Guldasta contests awarded
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 13
Winners of various competitions held during the two-day flower festival ‘Guldasta’ were awarded on the concluding day today.

Organised by Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) in collaboration with the Municipal Council, Mohali, the festival remained a crowd puller. Other than the commercial stall put up on the Phase X main road, Silvi Park had been decorated as the venue for various competitions.

Other than the exhibition of various prize winning potted plants, various entries in the dried flower arrangement and artificial flower arrangement were displayed.

An exhibition of the paintings of renowned painter Satwant Singh Sumail, who is a PUDA employee, was also held. Photographs by Ms Namrita Kalsi and Mr Ashok Kaushal, both PUDA employees, were also exhibited.

Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, Secretary, Urban Housing and Development, was the chief guest for the afternoon and he gave away prizes to the winners. The winners include:

Painting: Ankita Sharma, Varinder Kaur, Mainak Paul.

Potted Plants (open to amateurs):

Perennial foliage and ornamental: Jaya Bhadwaj, SS. Gill, H.S. Sra Seasonal flowers in pots: Shiv Balan, S.S. Gill, Gurbaksh Singh, Jaswant Lal.

Potted Plants (open to all):

Perennial foliage and ornamental: Regional Director, Regional Institute of Cooperative Management, Sector 32, Chandigarh, DSOI, Sector 36, Chandigarh.

Seasonal flowers in pots: Continental Device India Ltd., Industrial Area, Mohali, Delton, Industrial Area, Mohali, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, Sector 17, Ranbaxy Labs Ltd, Industrial Area, Mohali, DSOI, Sector 36, Chandigarh.

Cut Flowers (open to amateurs):

Anil Srivastava, S.S. Gill, T.L. Easwar.

Cut Flowers: open to all: Regional Director, Regional Institute of Cooperative Management, Sector 32, Chandigarh, Ranbaxy Labs Ltd, Industrial Area, Mohali, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, Sector 17, Continental Device India Ltd., Industrial Area, Mohali.

Floral display: Japjeet Kaur, Tejinder Kaur, Rupinder Kaur

Vegetable and fruit carving: Sukhbir Pal Kaur

Florists and Nursery categories: Shristy Verma, Amneet Kaur and Parwinder Kaur, all from the Punjab Institute of Arts and Crafts, Kumbra village, Mohali.



Flower fest concludes
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 13
The curtains came down on the colourful flower fest at Yavnika in Sector 5, here today, amidst the presentation of folk dances and folk songs. Attracting big crowds, today being a holiday, the fest was marked by various contests held all through the day.

With drums beating in the background, notes of rustic music filled the air, lending an air of festivity to the two-day celebrations. The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), the organiser of this annual festival, had made elaborate arrangements and done up the Town Park in a very aesthetic way.

The rangolis made by students of various schools for the rangoli competition adorned the open air theatre and the pathway. Classic cut flowers and flower arrangements were also still in place at the specially crafted tents.

Various traditional folk performances of Punjab like martial art form gatka, bhangra, giddha and the traditional tadh sarangi as also performances by the Kala Chetna Manch marked the occasion.

Baazigars, stick walkers and ragini singers from Karnal, entertained the crowds which grew as the evening set in.

The winners of today’s contests were honoured by Mr L.S.M. Salins, Financial Commissioner, and Secretary, Town and Country Planning. The winners are as follows:

Healthy baby show: age group 6 months to 1½ years: girls — Vasudha Arora (1) Sanvi Sharma (2); boys — Pranav Vashist (1), Harshil Shaina (2).

Age group 1½ years to 3 years: girls — Ananya Dahiya (1), Ustatt Anand (2); boys — Mayank Bhatnagar (1), Arnav Parti (2).

Age group 3 to 4 years: girls — Shreya Seine (1), Vaishli (2); boys — Shivam Mittla (1), Parth (2).

Solo dance competition: under 10 age group :Suchitra Mitra and Gurukul (1); Bawneet Gujral and Shikha Chaudhary (2).

Above 10 age group: Sheweta (1), Kanchan and Aishwarya (2).

Open category: above 10 age group : Animesh Sharma (1), Swati and Akanksha Chaudhary (2).

Below 10 years age group: Kalambi Gulati (1), Anisha Garg and Ashi Bhat (2).

Mono acting competition: age group below 10 years: Prabal (1) and Nitin Rana (2).

Age group above 10 years: Jyoti (1) and Dhananjay Saini (2).



Jazzy B, Sardool Sikandar entertain
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 13
Jazzy B and Sardool Sikandar lit up the centrestage here to conclude the two-day flower show, Guldasta, as thousands thronged Silvi Park to be a part of it. And who better than Satinder Satti, the most versatile compere of them all, to control the unprecedented crowd.

Brimming with people, the park proved too small for the event. The organisers, Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority and Municipal Council, Mohali, were obviously not expecting a rush like this. With less than 40 per cent of the crowd getting any chairs to sit on, the place was converted into a big dance floor. The park too shone like one with lighting that made the place visible from a distance. And it was not just the light that attracted Mohali residents to the park.

Every song that Sardool Sikandar sang could be heard well beyond the park and being versatile and high pitched helped. Starting with “Ik charkha gali de vich da liya” to “Munde kehnde titli titley” Sardool Sikander fulfilled every demand of the audience. His rustic number ‘husna de maliko staya na karo’ and ‘Ishq brandi chardh gayi’ set the mood for the foot tapping numbers of Jazzy B that followed. Jazzy B arrived a good three hours late. But the crowd was ready for him and the wait worthwhile.

He began with his latest chartbuster ‘yaari nahin nibhdi’ and continued to regale the audience well into the night.



Khare set to realise ‘mission happiness’
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Anuj Khare
Anuj Khare

Chandigarh, March 13
He’s striving to find the perfect world within himself and transform the outside world to make it a happier place. Anuj Khare, 26, comes across as an earnest man, working wholeheartedly for “Mission Happiness” all over the globe.

All of 26, this IIT passout knows he has taken on a great responsibility and he’s game for its challenges. “I want to be a catalyst of change, initiating it in minds of individuals independent of where they stand in life and introduce them to quality living, enable them to dream big and realise it. It’s all in the mind,” he says.

A masters in computer engineering from the University of Texas, Austin, Khare has worked in top notch companies but, it seems, he had his calling elsewhere. “As a computer engineer in IBM, success meant only being able to create a software and nothing more. Setting up of my own company XIRS Ventures, Austin, seemed the ultimate. I was moving up the success ladder at a fast pace until an accident in Austin which resulted in my friend Amit’s death,” he recalls. He was in the city for a seminar organised by the Chitkara Institute of Engineering and Technology here yesterday.

This one accident proved to be the turning point in his life. From then on he realised the futility of planning for the future. “There’s no ‘10 years hence’ like Amit planned. Whatever you have is today and you must follow the dictates of your heart while you can. When life ends, it just ends. There is no tomorrow,” he philosophises.

He found courage to kick a lucrative job to pursue his heart’s desire of finding answers to the key for quality life. “Along the way, I met my mentor, Anthony Robbins, the world’s peak performance coach and my quest began. I am still learning but now I am teaching people to search this path to happiness as well. It’s all about shutting your mind to all negativity, getting into a state of certainty and perseverance,” he contends.

“A small shift in the thought process has a significant bearing on the results and life. I am only an instrument to rewire people’s beliefs. Despite a background of science, I believe that it makes people narrow-minded, teaching them not to believe in themselves. That’s where foundations of inabilities are laid,” he opines.

Breaking boards, bending spoons, walking on fire without being hurt might sound incredible but Anuj Khare has tried it and so have participants at his various seminars. “This is not magic or a stage shore. Its reality and it happens by tuning the mind to believe it can. However, this is not what my talk shows are about. You have to read between the lines. There’s a lesson to be learnt, a lesson that says when these incredible things are possible, there are many other things which can be done,” this Delhi-born Austin-bred youngster believes and wants the people of the world to believe so.



Promising singer lays bare life’s realities
Swarleen Kaur

Panchkula, March 13
The evening at Osho ashram at Industrial area, Panchkula, was special. It was a meditation session. But the mood was not sombre. At least 200 persons who had gathered there today to experience peace and inner bliss were rewarded with soulful yet festive moments.

A promising singer, Ravinder Kaur, happily offered them devotional numbers which were soothing as well as spiritually uplifting.

Beginning with ‘Ganga ki kasam…….zamana badalga, she laid bare the eternal truth that death takes away everything.

The awakened gathering was reminded not to chase momentary pleasure with the soulful ‘Bhulne wale se’.

Her full throated “main teri ho ke…” was an apt reminder that no relation except that with the supreme power is truthful.

But it was the ‘kook papehe wali’ which enchanted the audience. It was followed by Punjabi ‘Chal jindua’.

Her devotional renderings included some self-penned songs and some drawn from Punjabi folklore.

This talented young girl is who is based in Jalandhar all set to make her mark. Her album, “Har kiyan katha kahaniyan” based on gurbani will hit the market soon.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune she said as a child she always yearned to sing. Learning classical music in her school modulated her voice.

Though her romantic numbers draw equal amount of admiration, it is songs with spiritual connotation which give her fulfilment.



Little euphony in life of bandwallahs
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The strident sounds of the trombone, clarinet, tuba and the trumpet all clash together, celebrating the arrival of the groom, the sound of a dazzlingly raucous Indian wedding.

Belting out pulsating rhythms, dressed almost comically in exaggerated costumes of deep velvet reds, banana yellows and cobalt, the bandwallahs ferreting the lilting tunes straight out of the movies, spew out a medley of reigning excitement.

But, the story of the bandwallah — contributor to the noisy joy of weddings — is one of penury and slight.

The quintessential wedding season in India lasts five months, from October to end-February. The musicians, taken on contract for the season, are paid a daily wage of about Rs 200. The lightboys who carry the fancy lights or tubes are paid a pittance, about Rs 50 for the long hours of hauling these candy rays.

Pankaj is 26, plays the drums and hails from a village in Uttar Pradesh. He says that after standing for more than 12 hours at a stretch he normally sleeps on some grassy patch nearby. According to him, band owners provide just a basic tent-like structure or a tiny room to sleep in. However, he laments that it is winter that affects them adversely. The biting cold of Chandigarh is not easy to face particularly at night without any cover.

In addition, lifting musical instruments like the bass that weighs up to 18 kg and the strain on the lungs with blowing at instruments like these take their toll. Tota Singh, also from Uttar Pradesh, has just finished a 10-day stint in the city and is headed back home to his village. He says his lungs hurt after playing at a wedding. He cannot even eat.

Phool Singh, proprietor of one of the oldest bands in the city — Krishna Band — claims that most of the people who gravitate to this profession are landless migrant labourers. Most of the performers come from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and to a certain extent from Punjab. This trend is, however, changing. Young people want to leave their villages and live in big towns and cities hoping to get a share of the goodies that life in the city offers. Many of them leave behind family land, small shops or family businesses in their villages to seek new horizons — prospects which may or may not work out.

The hope of a better, bigger life is one part of the picture. Learning an instrument for a few months enables you to pick up certain basic Hindi movie tunes and modify them. Most of the youngsters believe that learning a musical instrument is the road to becoming a DJ, or playing in an orchestra or at jagratas. When this does not happen the only alternative is to perform at weddings. At the end of the day, it is existence that emerges above all other issues.

The remainder of the year, which comprises almost seven months, may be spent selling fruit and vegetables on carts, working in fields or moving from state to state in search of work.

Kaka, as a stately octogenarian is referred to, has been playing in wedding bands for almost 40 years. He has a cart in his village on which he sells chilly chips, popcorn or masala peanuts through the rest of the year. Kaka says he knows nothing except to play the “baja”. Most of them are attached to bands and so they come back year after year hoping to bargain for some more rupees and hoping to get that elusive meal at the wedding to which their brand of music is essential in creating bonhomie.

Gregory Booth, who has written an authoritative book on Indian wedding bands and bandwallahs, maintains that since there is no audience, the band music is marginal to the wedding just as the musicians are.

So does it matter what the band plays?



Consumer mela opens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The 17th Consumer Awareness Mela 2005, organised by the Consumer Forum Chandigarh, was inaugurated by Mr Rajesh Kumar, Inspector General of Police, at Parade Ground, Sector 17, here today.

In his inaugural address, the chief guest appreciated the activities of the forum in spreading the message of consumerism to the general masses and redressing the complaints without charging anything from the consumers.

Earlier, Lt Col Sarwan Singh, Chairman of the forum, spoke of the various ways of spreading the message of consumer awareness to the grass-root level by organising awareness camps in villages in and around the city.

Mr H.S. Ahluwalia, general secretary of the forum and director celebrations, gave a brief description of the consumer day celebrations, including the other activities undertaken by the forum during the year.

An on-the-spot painting competition was also held at the venue. It saw participation from 40 children participated, the examination season taking a toll on the participation. A seminar on medical services was organised in the afternoon session in which eminent doctors including Dr Lt Gen Ahuja, Dr N.S. Tiwana particiapted.

Ms Aruna Khanna, president, Youth Activities, organised an event for women pertaining to consumerism in the shape of a quiz on consumer awareness and musical chairs.



Forum to rescue of migrant labourers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The Consumer Protection and Grievances Redressal Forum has come to rescue of the migrant labourers whose money orders were not delivered.

Col Angad Singh ( retd), General Secretary of the Forum, said after reading a news item in The Tribune on the problem being faced by poor persons in sending their money orders to their native places in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the forum has decided to assist such people.

He said some of the people who sent money through money orders were daily wage earners who had borrowed money from money lenders.

“In the past, the forum intervened in the cases where money order had not been delivered”, he added. The affected persons can contact Mr SS Goraya or Col Angad Singh at telephones No: 2262557/ 2225254.



Renu wins Maruti contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Renu Tiwari was declared winner with 193 penalty points of the Maruti Suzuki Women’s fun drive contest organized by Maruti Udyog Ltd. here today. The rally was flagged off jointly by Mr Kiran More, Chairman, All India Senior Selection Committee, BCCI, and Mr H.S.Brar, Regional Manager, Maruti Udyog Ltd. The conditions of the drive were that the navigator could be of eithersex, who would help the woman driver to chalk out the route and adhere to the speed limits. To ensure safe driving the maximum speed limit was restricted to 40kmph. A navigation chart describing the route directions and driving speed was provided to every participant. The winners were decided on the basis of the least number of penalties.

More than 200 enthusiastic women, along with their friends and members of their families participated in this fun-filled rally. The ideal time to cover the 52 km stretch was 2 hours. The top three contestants of the event were given Maruti Genuine Accessories worth Rs 15,000, Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000, respectively, apart from other consolation prizes.

The results: Renu Tiwari: 1 (193 points), Anita: 2 (253 points), Shelly: 3 (261 points). 



Saluja is Central Club president
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 13
The general election of the managing committee of Central Club, Sector 9, were held today. Mr A.S. Saluja has been elected president of the committee. The other office-bearers are vice president — Mr D.R. Malhotra; secretary — Mr Vinod Khanna; joint secretary — Mr Ashok Kapur, treasurer — the Ramesh Manocha and the executive members include Mr Rajesh Chuadhari, Mr Sarbans Singh, Mr Vinod Kaushish, Mr Manjeet Singh and Ms Anju Menon.



Protest rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Members of the Punjab State Electricity Board Joint Coordination Committee said that employees of the board would be organising a massive rally on March 15 in protest against the move to privatise the board.



Vendor strangled in Mubarikpur village
Our Correspondent


Dera Bassi, March 13
An agarbati vendor was strangled to death by his unidentified associate in Mubarikpur Camp village about 2 km from here. The badly decomposed body of the vendor Jagdish was found in the room of the unidentified person in the village this afternoon.

The murder came to light when Jagdish did not return home after about three days last night.

The family members of the deceased raised a hue and cry about the disappearance of Jagdish. Since Jagdish used to go to his unidentified associate’s quarter and consume liquor, the family members got suspicious and the room of his “partner” was opened.

The family members and owners of the house where the unidentified person had been putting up on rent were surprised to notice Jagdish’s mutilated body. They subsequently informed the police.

According to Mr Amarjit Singh Ghuman, Station House Officer Dera Bassi, there was a string around the neck of the body, which indicated that Jagdish was strangled. The police also found a liquor bottle and some eatables from the site.

According to residents of the area, Jagdish developed friendly relations with the man some time ago and got one room rented accommodation in a house owned by Mr Ajay in the village.

The unidentified person reportedly mingled with Ajay’s wife Santosh and daughter and looted them of gold jewellery and cash after offering them laced kheer three days ago. He then disappeared from the locality. The victims has already lodged an FIR against the absconding person at the Mubarikpur police post.

The police suspects that the man and Jadish might have consumed liquor and later he strangled the former to death. The police has also been working on other theories in the murder case.

After registering a case of murder, the police has sent the body to the Civil Hospital Rajpura for post-mortem examination.

Jagdish who was found murdered at a house in Mubarikpur Camp village near Dera Bassi on Sunday.



Youth crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Lalru, March 13
A physically and mentally challenged youth, Jaiveer, was crushed to death by some unidentified vehicles on the busy Kalka-Ambala highway in Lehali village, last night.

Jaiveer was a resident of Lalru village and was crushed to death late last night. Some passersby noticed the accident and informed the police.

Sources in the villages said that the family cremated the body this afternoon without seeking registration of any FIR in the police station.

Theft in gurdwara

Thieves struck at a gurdwara in Ramgarh Rurkee village and decamped with goods and cash worth thousands of rupees near here, late last night.

According to the police, a gang of thieves broke into the gurdwara and took away a sum of Rs 3000 in cash and goods, including a blanket, 1 kg of ghee, 20 kgs of sugar, a harmonium and some other items.

This is the third incident in the same gurdwara in the past 16 months when the thieves have targeted it. The miscreants had also decamped with goods and cash from the gurdwara.

The police has registered a case on the complaint of gurdwara manager.



Scooterist killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 13
One person was killed and another was injuried in two separate accidents, here today.

A scooterist Ajay, a resident of Sector 21, died on the spot when a Haryana Roadways bus (HR-68-0637) rammed into his vehicle (PB-02K-0777) near Sector 21 Shiv Temple, this afternoon. The police has sent the body to General Hospital, Sector 6, for post-mortem examination.

A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered against the bus driver at Sector 5 police station in this regard. The police has also impounded the vehicles involved in the accident.

In another accident, Manoj Kumar was critically injured when some unidentified vehicle rammed into him from behind. The injured was rushed to local General Hospital and was later referred to the PGI in Chandigarh after his health started deteriorating.

The police has registered case against the drives of the unidentified vehicle.



Body found along rail track
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, March 13
A mutilated body of an unidentified man was found along with Kalka-Ambala railway line in Dhakauli village, this afternoon.

A team of the railway police personnel from Lalru reached the spot and removed the body from the track. According to Mr Rampal Singh, in charge, of Lalru railway police post, the man was crossing the railway track when Ambala-Chandigarh (4231 Up) train mowed him down.

The body has been sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for postmortem.



3.4 kg cannabis seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The Mani Majra police today seized 3.4 kg of cannabis from a Mauli Jagran resident. According to sources, the cannabis was seized by a police party from a Tata Estate vehicle (CH-03-S-4084) during a special search operation. While the vehicle was impounded, the vehicle owner, Vinod Kumar, has absconded. A case has been registered.


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