CHANDIGARH INDEX

 





BOLD & BEAUTIFUL
It is all about a nip here and a tuck there and the transformation spells allure! The domain of the rich and famous, cosmetic surgery is big business today translating into a quasi-religious trip down the path to physical perfection, reports Gayatri Rajwade
W
e, in India, are waking up to Botox and how and when a discreet face-lift can guarantee a second look then why not and of course if the B-job (breast augmentation) is the covetous envy of women and wondrous glances of men, then it is the ultimate lift! “Reconstructive and cosmetic surgery are like the body or the soul,” says, Dr R. K. Sharma, Head of Department, Plastic Surgery, PGI. “Reconstructive surgery is about both function and appearance so both are equally important.” “Reconstructive and cosmetic surgery are like the body or the soul,” says, Dr R. K. Sharma, Head of Department, Plastic Surgery, PGI. “Reconstructive surgery is about both function and appearance so both are equally important.”


PERFECT TEN: Anne Marie (left) and Toni Wildish (right). — Photo by Parvesh Chauhan
Anne Marie and Toni Wildish

Photo by Pradeep Tewari Romantic getaways 
With cops hovering over public places like the Rose Garden, revelers are flexing their muscles to paddle towards the far end of lake or drive down to attend farmhouse parties on the St Valentine’s Day, says Saurabh Malik
S
ailing against the wind of opposition in the gushing river of romance, they propose to steer the paddle boat away from the haunting eyes of nosey residents on St Valentine’s Day. You may find it hard to believe, but the two — Tanisha Sandhu and Bobby Shergill — have already chalked out the plan to meet at Sukhna Lake before plunging deep into the stream of passion and excitement on February 14. For them, the logic is simple to explain: Let the boys exchange hearts, and gifts, in fast food joints and restaurants across the city.

Lights! Action! Cartoons
Dead men resurfacing with facelifts or free-style wrestling matches between saas-bahus in television serials are hardly of any interest to the youth as cartoon channels play pied piper, says Saurabh Malik
S
he lives in a world of make-belief where cats brush teeth and mice seek the support of dogs to defeat it. No wonder, her ecstatic shrieks drown the din of racing cars as she watches Buggs Bunny zip down the rugged terrain of life leaving Daffy Duck behind in the animated race for ascendancy. As Buggs crosses the victory line in his jaunty jalopy, she jumps out of her seat, clapping excitedly….

A theme for a dream!
At an age where girls have their first brushes with flings, she’s had her date with fame. Anandita Gupta meets Chandigarh’s youngest Dream Girl—Shriya Singh.
I
f there’s one tag our City Beautiful likes to proudly pin on itself, it’s that of a ‘cradle for celebrities’. What else would explain a glam figure popping out of its womb every now and then? And, forget Box office divinities Poonam Dhillon and Kiran Kher. Get over ramp rages Anchal Kumar, Dolly Minhas and Manpreet Brar. What we are here referring to is the city’s youngsters, glittering and gleaming in the glam world, nationally and internationally.

Gifts from seven sisters
Gayatri Rajwade

Handicrafts and artefacts in bamboo, cane and grass; vibrant cottons and plush silks; quaint baskets and arabesque ‘Aladdin’ cane jars, bric-a-brac in jute —the exhibition of North-Eastern crafts at the Lajpat Rai Bhavan, Sector 15-B, is a brew of charming objet d’art showcasing the traditions of the ‘seven sister states’. Naga shawls, each one a unique testimony to the different tribal motifs of the region—Aao, Tunkhul, Sema, Gokhele— with distinctive nuances and patterns (Rs 500 to Rs 800), Manipuri cotton saris specially incorporating the temple design in muted pastels (Rs 650 to Rs 850), Assamese shawls and saris fashioned with resham thread in lovely hues, exquisite Muga silk saris (originally from Assam) draw attention to the exceptional cultural blends of India.
An artisan from the North-East exhibits a Naga shawl
BANDS & STRIPES: An artisan from the North-East exhibits a Naga shawl. — Photo by Pradeep Tewari

The Bird Man
Kuldip Dhiman
H
is world is full of birds and animals, but these birds and animals are of a different kind. Narinder Kumar Sharma makes cranes, alligators, swans and elephants by clipping and trimming shrubs. It is the art of topiary, and he is one of the leading experts in the region. You can see his creations at the Army Cantonment Chandimandir, HMT Pinjore, Canara Bank and in several parks.

Theatre costumes
The theatre in town is no longer renting out its costumes but tailoring them itself. Consequently, the costume hiring agencies are turning towards schools, reports Anandita Gupta
D
arkness all around. A sea of spectators sitting in silence. Awestruck art lovers waiting in anticipation. And as the curtains crawl off the stage, there’s revelation of a reality— rich in poetry and movement. Tangible electricity seems to have trooped inside the theatre. The hypnotic effect of the performers on stage transcends all, evoking sobs, tears, smiles and giggles. The audience is found smiling at the right times, thinking deeply, never forgetting to applaud. As the show goes on incessantly (theatre being quite unlike the medium of film where you have the luxury of the cut), one wonders what this magic is all about? What adds warmth and colour to this theatre experience?

Pashmina redefined 
Nagina Singh
T
he lines on his forehead are more than just reminders of his age and events. Each line tells a story of the man who believes in honesty and righteousness. Bshir’s life revolves around Kashmiri handicraft, especially Pashmina. In Bashir’s own words, “my art is my own expression, my story is mine alone, but it’s not for me alone.” There is an urge to communicate, to pass on a heritage, an unconscious search for some sort of bonding of thoughts and ideas, and of course to make his conviction gain interminably. Looks like the road from Jammu led only to Chandigarh as far as Bashir is concerned. “I came to Chandigarh when I was 20 years old, and it’s been 40 years and I feel I haven’t had enough. It’s a bond so strong that gets stronger with time. Looks like the road from Jammu led only to Chandigarh as far as Bashir is concerned. “I came to Chandigarh when I was 20 years old, and it’s been 40 years and I feel I haven’t had enough.

THE MAGIC FINGERS: Bashir gives the finishing touches to Pashmina shawl. — Photo by Pradeep Tewari

Bashir gives the finishing touches to Pashmina shawl

SPRINGING STYLE
I
t is an expansion that brings with it more verve, colour and textures! Think powder blue and baby pink for men, interesting khakis and mud hues for women, think funky knits and twills, think passion for a brand that has grown over 15 years! Uni Style Image, in Sector 17-D, just got bigger (from 450 to 1300 square feet), better (the complete range is now stocked here, including merchandise especially for the Chandigarh market) and newer (the launch of the spring collection).

Jazzy puppets
Parbina Rashid
J
azz and puppets together? No way, you would say. For, they are two very different artistic expressions with different levels of sensitivity. But watch this group of four, Espen Rud, Tore Brunborg, Terje Gewelt and Knut Alfsen have combined the two quite successfully to win the hearts of thousands of children all over the world. When Jazz Percussionist Espen Rud, Sexophone player Brunborg, Bass player Terje Gewelt and puppeteer Knut Alfsen, all from Norway, got together three years back, they asked themselves the same question and came up with the answers which proved everyone wrong.
STRINGS ATTACHED: Espen Rud, Tore Brunborg, Terje Gewelt and Knut Alfsen in city. — Photo by Vinay Malik

Espen Rud, Tore Brunborg, Terje Gewelt and Knut Alfsen in city

Dress it up for the occasion
V
alentine’s Day is a special day of the year to express your love and appreciation to your precious ones, who have added joy to your life. Bring Valentine’s spirit to your home with simple, inexpensive and tiny touches. Stick your loved ones’ toothbrush in a pretty fluted glass with single red rose. Put toiletries in a tray of rose petals on bathroom counter. Add a dash of lavender in the bathtub.

YOUTH SPEAK
Sky is the limit
T
he last time I interacted with some poor students, I felt that they needed more attention. Along with my friends, I went to a Government school in Bapudham and communicated with the children there as a part of the outreach programme undertaken by class eleven.

NEW RELEASES
Holiday in Goa

A
ctress turned producer and director ‘ Pooja Bhatt returns to centre stage with a love story which is an anecdote for twirling passions of lovers being synchronized on celluloid with a backdrop of fun loving city of Goa. All eyes are peeled on Pooja Bhatt’s directed new film ‘Holiday’ which is reportedly inspired from Hollywood blockbuster. ‘Dirty Dancing’ ! The promos park in a lot of romance, water surfing and sun and sands of Goa. It will be released today at Fun Republic, Mani Majra.

Tantalising the Tagore way
P
icture Sharmila Tagore, the Bengali tigress who stole millions of hearts with her glorious dimples and sassy smiles. Imagine delicate filigree work, wirework, fish motifs, intricate latticework, lac filled bangles (with a yali or elephant face) and the studded navrattan sets— reminded of something? Wondering where do the two connect?

  • Goodbye Gold

  • Classy Neckpieces

TAROT TALK
What the cards say today...
P. KHURRANA






BOLD & BEAUTIFUL
It is all about a nip here and a tuck there and the transformation spells allure! The domain of the rich and famous, cosmetic surgery is big business today translating into a quasi-religious trip down the path to physical perfection, reports Gayatri Rajwade

We, in India, are waking up to Botox and how and when a discreet face-lift can guarantee a second look then why not and of course if the B-job (breast augmentation) is the covetous envy of women and wondrous glances of men, then it is the ultimate lift!

“Reconstructive and cosmetic surgery are like the body or the soul,” says, Dr R. K. Sharma, Head of Department, Plastic Surgery, PGI. “Reconstructive surgery is about both function and appearance so both are equally important.”

So, in the case of cosmetic surgery what makes it to the most desired list? Tummy tucks, breast augmentations and Botox injections to iron away wrinkles believes, Dr K. M. Kapoor, Senior Consultant Cosmetic Surgery at Fortis Hospital.

PGI deals largely with facial blemishes, breast reductions, reconstruction of the breast after mastectomy, liposuction for young boys with breast enlargements in addition to the other forms of plastic surgery, Dr Sharma believes that “since PGI is a public service hospital so its primary responsibility is towards masses not the elitist cosmetic changes.”

With a waiting period of three to four months, it is the economically weaker sections of society they cater to for whom breast augmentation might not be a priority issue.

However, there are exceptions, which have to do “with social pressures”, believes Dr Kapoor.

29-year-old Anita Kapoor (name changed) got the B-job done as she was not getting married. Her mother blames herself, “I restricted my daughter’s lifestyle too much and that was the reason for her “poor physical development.”

Priya Nath (name changed) came for breast augmentation, three weeks after her wedding. Her husband wanted her to go through the procedure.

“But none will speak because, we Indians, do not cross unspoken lines to do with our physicality,” believes Shanta (name changed), a 22-year-old Indian-American visiting Chandigarh, who had a B-job done in the USA to look “hot”.

Unlike the west, there is a reticence in speaking candidly about cosmetic surgery. Bollywood celebrities galore seem to have had closet B-jobs, nose jobs, chin jobs even cheek jobs done—the most bandied about name being Sushmita Sen’s breast enhancement—but of course none will admit to it.

50-year-old Roopa Mehra (name changed), who had her breast size increased “just to look good” or then the case in point of Kavita Sood, a dancer, who wanted a similar procedure to enhance her appeal.

Looking good to feel great can, however, go horribly awry if the scalpel is held in the wrong hands as UK-based model Toni Samantha Wildish discovered.

Toni came to Dr Kapoor at Fortis in complete despair last week. A breast augmentation procedure in a dental clinic in Prague, Czechoslovakia, last year went completely wrong. “I was paralysed on the right side too. My whole life stopped, my career ran aground.”

An emergency procedure at home resulted in asymmetrical breasts as the implant from the right side had to be removed to prevent septicaemia from setting in.

Why come to India then? “I found India the best in cosmetic surgery” is the simple reply. As proof, she is coming back to have her breasts augmented further!

Despite her earlier trauma, Toni’s words echo the wishes of thousands of aspiring people. “It is the most fashionable form of cosmetic surgery. I want to be comfortable in my own skin.”

In another case 29-year-old Annie Marie, a paramedic from the UK also came to Fortis for treatment for excessive sagging of abdominal skin after giving birth to five children.

At 106 kg, she found simple acts like moving around a chore. In addition to a tummy tuck, liposuction of the abdomen and thighs resulted in the removal of 15 inches of skin (from the belly-button downwards) and 4 litres of fat. “I feel a lot better, I really do; it is fantastic.” Anne Marie plans to come back for breast reduction surgery soon.

What also prompts this form of medical tourism, (Fortis looks after you right from the time you come into the city to the time you leave with dollops of sight-seeing thrown in for good measure!) is the sheer affordability of treatment in India as opposed to the forbidding costs for cosmetic surgery abroad.

Sample this, Toni Wildish’s procedure with breast implants cost her all of Rs 1,125,00 whereas the same procedure in the UK would cost her anything between Rs 2,85,000 to Rs 4,35,000. The same surgery for those of us living here would cost anything between Rs 80,000 to Rs 90,000. (At PGI the costs are less but their emphasis is more on reconstructive and cosmetic than mere cosmetic.)

Whatever the myths surrounding these procedures, cosmetic surgeries are here to stay for a woman’s will feel good only if she looks good!

Romantic getaways 
With cops hovering over public places like the Rose Garden, revelers are flexing their muscles to paddle towards the far end of lake or drive down to attend farmhouse parties on the St Valentine’s Day, says Saurabh Malik

Sailing against the wind of opposition in the gushing river of romance, they propose to steer the paddle boat away from the haunting eyes of nosey residents on St Valentine’s Day. You may find it hard to believe, but the two — Tanisha Sandhu and Bobby Shergill — have already chalked out the plan to meet at Sukhna Lake before plunging deep into the stream of passion and excitement on February 14.

For them, the logic is simple to explain: Let the boys exchange hearts, and gifts, in fast food joints and restaurants across the city. They will bill and coo far from the madding crowd in a paddle boat shaping its course towards the other end of lake.

Well guys, if you think they are the only ones planning to whisper sweet nothings over the sigh of cool late-winter breeze, you are divorced from romance, actually. For, so many young professionals and students like them have already carried out surveys of the site, just to be on safe side.

The reason behind their resolve is not very hard too see. Last year they tried to chuck under the chin at the Rose Garden, but were driven away by ruthless men-in-khaki, bursting the cheerful red balloons of affection, heartlessly.

So guys, if you too wish touch the dreamy wind of warm love with your feet firmly on the ground away from the cacophony of affection, just hop into your jaunty jalopy and rush down the fast track of exhilaration all the way into seclusion.

If the romantic waters of lake do not excite a smile on your visage, allow tender emotions to bloom amidst the stony structures in the Rock Garden. Or else, grab your ticket to ride and enjoy one of those farmhouse parties organized all along the city’s periphery.

The crowd is classy and knows how to have a good time. No wonder, the sprawling farmhouses go from ho-hum to glamorous.  Otherwise also, there are few restrictions. You can have the time of your life with cool music and nice stuff to eat.

Try getting admission into one of those private farmhouse parties where only friends-of-friends-of-friends are invited. The crowd is generally permissive and you end up paying little from your pockets. At times organized with the help of event managers, these parties are generally held at privately-owned farmhouses in Zirakpur and Dera Bassi.

Driving down the roads meandering their way through the hustle and bustle of city life towards sleepy hamlets around Chandigarh with the stereo blaring good romantic numbers is another good option. As the security cover and moral policing is generally absent, you can actually relax and enjoy each other’s company on the big day.

Go to Pinjore or uphill only if you have no apprehensions of being “detected”. For, you are bound to meet someone your dad or brother knows while negotiating the sharp curves of life on way to Timber Trail or Kasauli. So guys, don’t drive too hard, take necessary precautions and let the flower of love bloom away from pollution of the world. Happy Valentines! 

Lights! Action! Cartoons
Dead men resurfacing with facelifts or free-style wrestling matches between saas-bahus in television serials are hardly of any interest to the youth as cartoon channels play pied piper, says Saurabh Malik

She lives in a world of make-belief where cats brush teeth and mice seek the support of dogs to defeat it. No wonder, her ecstatic shrieks drown the din of racing cars as she watches Buggs Bunny zip down the rugged terrain of life leaving Daffy Duck behind in the animated race for ascendancy. As Buggs crosses the victory line in his jaunty jalopy, she jumps out of her seat, clapping excitedly….

Oh no, guys you are wrong this time. She is not exactly a toddler uncorrupted by the ways of the world, but an undergrad enjoying her favourite Buggs and Daffy show right here on the small screen.

Tired of real-life performers playing their parts badly on the revolving stage of life, still-a-teenager Radhika Sharma prefers to spend her precious free time reposing on a sofa set, enjoying cartoon shows on the intelligent box. After all, her dreams are made up of sugar candies, Shah Rukh Khan, Barbie dolls and cartoon characters.

There was a time when she would go out and sit with the neighboring aunties, out to meet her mom, after enjoying a morning full of fun with chums in college. But then they would talk of nothing except neighborhood politics — how a young housewife managed to muster her husband’s support to propose a vote of no confidence against her mother-in-law, or how Ms X succeeded in expanding her ministry of social affairs by including defectors from the other sectors.

Well, Radhika, like so many of her friends, did struggle to watch sobbing operas on the small screen as well. Of course, to wile away the free moments. But same old story of dead men resurfacing after getting a face-lift tired them to death.

“Oh yes, we even tried getting used to the news channels, but Sonia Gandhi and Atal B. Vajpayee failed to arouse our interest, sadly,” says Radhika’s best friend Tamana Gupta living in the same sector. “It was then we decided to switch over to the Cartoon Network, Pogo and so many other teenage channels”.

Right decision at the right time, girls. After all politicians, like all those multi-millionaire characters in Ekta Kapoor’s serials, hardly say or do anything worthwhile. Anyhow girls, you will be glad to know there are so many others like you.

Cable operators in the city assert that most of the callers complaining of poor signal are youngsters unable to watch the Tom and Jerry or some other show on cartoon channels.

“Irate youngsters make life miserable for us if for some reason we are unable to air the cartoon channels,” says Raman Sharma, associated with a cable operator for past couple of years. Sounds bad, indeed! 

Anyway, heaving a sigh, he asserts: Popularity among the youngsters is, perhaps, the reason why the cartoon channels are now flashing advertisements of stuff other than just toffees and lollypops.

“Tune in Cartoon Network and you will find companies advertising iodized salt, tomato sauce and even 100-CC motorbikes,” says Sharma. “All this only indicates the interest of youngsters in cartoon channels”. Phew! It seems Ekta Kapoor will soon have to air animated sequences of her saas-bahu serials.

A theme for a dream!
At an age where girls have their first brushes with flings, she’s had her date with fame. Anandita Gupta meets Chandigarh’s youngest
Dream Girl—Shriya Singh.

If there’s one tag our City Beautiful likes to proudly pin on itself, it’s that of a ‘cradle for celebrities’. What else would explain a glam figure popping out of its womb every now and then? And, forget Box office divinities Poonam Dhillon and Kiran Kher. Get over ramp rages Anchal Kumar, Dolly Minhas and Manpreet Brar. What we are here referring to is the city’s youngsters, glittering and gleaming in the glam world, nationally and internationally.

The latest in the bandwagon is Chandigarh shahar di kudi Shriya Singh, declared ‘Miss Beautiful hair’ and ‘Dream Girl’ at the Miss Tourism International Malaysia Contest. We catch the 22-year-old petite collegiate getting her hair styled at her all-time favourite Tress Lounge, Sector-C, Chandigarh.

Dream Girl

Tresses twining and twanging with a mop of curls. A slight blush on lending a rosy hue to the glowing cheeks. And a perfectly chisled figure posing proudly in front of the cameras. Meet GCG-11 student Shriya. At an age where girls have their first brushes with flings, she’s had her first one with fame. A stint at Gladrags Mega model hunt followed Miss Tourism and she romped home with the twin titles ‘Dream Girl’ and ‘Miss Beautiful Hair’. Here’s a close up encounter with her personal style—

Your first three loves

My family, reading and playing Basketball. Next come bags, boots and watches!

Modelling for you

A short-time career. Wanna make the best of it while the sun shines and then switch over to something more serious, like an MBA in Economic Development.

Your asset My confidence

Best physical charm My height (5’8”) Your hair secret Deep conditioning treatment that I get once in a week from L’Oreal Tress Lounge and a vigorous oiling regime. Your fashion statement Anything I’m comfortable in (Clichéd uum…).But I enjoy getting dressed up in Hot Pink colour and accessorise a lot. Your idea of fun Grooving to Bally Sagoo remixes at discs, travelling with friends, reading, playing sports and yes, reading Archies! You love reading All kinds of fiction, Harry Potter and Dan Brown. More projects on the anvil Advertisements, modelling and acting. How about big banners and hot shot directors? I’m very open to the whole idea. Who wouldn’t want them.(You’re honest girl!)

Well, this ‘Dream Girl’ may not have set the entire nation drooling, but she’s definitely made heads turn. The temperatures may not be soaring yet, but the heat is on. What the destiny cards hold for her is still unknown. But right now, this chilled out babe’s just holding her triumph card very close to her heart!

Gifts from seven sisters
Gayatri Rajwade

Handicrafts and artefacts in bamboo, cane and grass; vibrant cottons and plush silks; quaint baskets and arabesque ‘Aladdin’ cane jars, bric-a-brac in jute —the exhibition of North-Eastern crafts at the Lajpat Rai Bhavan, Sector 15-B, is a brew of charming objet d’art showcasing the traditions of the ‘seven sister states’.

Naga shawls, each one a unique testimony to the different tribal motifs of the region—Aao, Tunkhul, Sema, Gokhele— with distinctive nuances and patterns (Rs 500 to Rs 800), Manipuri cotton saris specially incorporating the temple design in muted pastels (Rs 650 to Rs 850), Assamese shawls and saris fashioned with resham thread in lovely hues, exquisite Muga silk saris (originally from Assam) draw attention to the exceptional cultural blends of India.

All this, accompanied with graceful kanthas from Tripura—saris, stoles and dupattas—handloom cotton saris (Rs 350 to Rs 1,500) and kurtas for women with bright wraparound skirts.

Vivaciously colourful slippers in grass (Rs 125) and woven cloth (Rs 180), attractive bamboo and cane mats (Rs 100 to Rs 180 for a set of six), large decorative wall fans with vibrant oil paintings revealing their charm as the fans are splayed out (Rs 180), handbags, mobile covers, file holders even hats all make for a motley collection to choose from.

Powder blue and soft pink Paper Mache pots, showpieces (even one in the shape of a crib for Rs 120, to put your titbits in), funky envelopes with rococo designs, charming picture frames, tissue boxes and bangle boxes (Rs 160) even lively paintings are peppered on the display tables.

A couple of days into the exhibition and the niche ‘parading’ cane furniture are sure-shot winners! With affordable prices and quality finish to the sofas (Rs 12,500 for a whole set with side tables), wooden linked chairs and tables (Rs 13,00), oriental and bamboo mooras (Rs 150 to Rs 350), these lovely ‘room-fillers’ are the big picks!

Baskets of all silhouettes and sizes, pocket mirrors, ashtrays, mats, dolls even ‘curtains’ (Rs 200 for 12 pieces) and bamboo root carvings of gods (Rs 250) all make for atypical gifts.

And, finally if its sheetalpati craft (read chatai!) you are after, then national award winning master craftsman Ranjit Kumar Dey has a wide array of unusual designs on display in addition to several charming anecdotes of his travels!

The exhibition is on at Lajpat Rai Bhawan, Sector 15-B, till February 20. 

The Bird Man
Kuldip Dhiman

Narinder Kumar Sharma
Narinder Kumar Sharma. — Photo by Pradeep Tewari

His world is full of birds and animals, but these birds and animals are of a different kind. Narinder Kumar Sharma makes cranes, alligators, swans and elephants by clipping and trimming shrubs. It is the art of topiary, and he is one of the leading experts in the region. You can see his creations at the Army Cantonment Chandimandir, HMT Pinjore, Canara Bank and in several parks.

Narinder finished his training from Government College of Art in 1980 and was all set to make a career as a painter, but destiny had other things in store for him.“In 1985,” recalls Narinder, “someone enquired if I would be interested in designing and making topiaries for the first-ever Chrysanthemum Show in Chandigarh. I had no prior experience and was not sure if I should accept the assignment.”

“But, at the time I had already made some wire skeletons for a man who made topiaries. So although I was, in a sense new to the field, I thought of giving it a shot.”

“My training as an artist stood me in a good stead, though it was not plain sailing. My work was received well, and I have not missed a single chrysanthemum show since,” recounts Narinder.

The kind of material and logistics that are involved in making topiaries did not make it a easy job, but Narinder read books on the subject and taught himself to make and execute them.

“It was a sort of trial and error in the beginning, but I soon got the hang of it. More than twenty years on, I have perfected my work, and have also trained others.”

In order to make his topiaries life-like, Narinder studied anatomy of various birds and animals. “I began by making small birds and animals about two feet high. Gradually, I made huge figures like elephants, rhinos and dinosaurs.”His ‘Jal Pari’ or mermaid was a major attraction of the 1987 Rose Festival. As he gained more experience, his fame grew, and he began getting offers from other cities.

His topiaries for the Jalandhar ‘95 Flower Show were a great success. Later, he got an order from Municipal Corporation Chandigarh. “Their demand was for bigger figures. I wanted to do something different for them, so I tried my hand at human figures. I made a woman with pot for them. It became very popular. It was later used in their calendar.”

Unlike painting, topiary work requires a lot of material and manpower. Narinder usually has one or two helpers who assist him in installing wire frames, and in planting and maintaining the creepers. “We have to take care of the shrubs and creepers, so we visit the site regularly. Depending upon the size, a topiary could take about three years to fill up.”

To give his figures, which could be as high as eleven feet, a natural and realistic shape, rather than use a singer wire for the entire figure, Narinder uses one wire for each part. “Now I am confident enough to execute any kind of order. The harder the requirement, the more interesting the job becomes,” says Narinder.

These days he is busy making a huge peacock, and he is also negotiating terms for an offer from London. 

Theatre costumes
The theatre in town is no longer renting out its costumes but tailoring them itself. Consequently, the costume hiring agencies are turning towards schools, reports Anandita Gupta

Darkness all around. A sea of spectators sitting in silence. Awestruck art lovers waiting in anticipation. And as the curtains crawl off the stage, there’s revelation of a reality— rich in poetry and movement. Tangible electricity seems to have trooped inside the theatre. The hypnotic effect of the performers on stage transcends all, evoking sobs, tears, smiles and giggles. The audience is found smiling at the right times, thinking deeply, never forgetting to applaud. As the show goes on incessantly (theatre being quite unlike the medium of film where you have the luxury of the cut), one wonders what this magic is all about? What adds warmth and colour to this theatre experience?

What creates sheer wizardry in theatre (besides theatrical craft, that is) is the colourful costumes donned by the actors. Opines city-based theatre personality Neelam Mansingh, “Besides the body language and performance of an actor, what he’s wearing on the stage is of great significance. The costume helps an actor fit into his character.” Adds Chandigarh based theatre director Umesh Kant, “Costumes are as integral to any theatre as are acting, direction and lighting. They bring out the mood of the character. Like dull clothes make the viewers predict that it’s going to be a tragic character. Moreover, costumes bring out the symbolism in the theatre in a major way. Like we use a lot of checks as prints for the clothes of our split personality characters. Then there are shirts with lines depicting a smooth life,” he remarks.

Costume hiring agencies

So, are the costume hiring agencies a rage with the local theatre groups? Not really, it seems! Informs Mansingh, “Costume hiring agencies come in where a particular dress is needed. Like for a Bodo dance or some tribal jewellery. But otherwise, most grand theatres are making their dresses themselves.” Comments director Kant, “Every theatre has its own stitching department to cater to its specific requirements. Today, as the actors evolve as their characters, they, along with the director, decide the colour, texture, style and fabric of their dress.”

And how are the costume agencies taking this trend? Opines Chandigarh-based Honey, who’s started this business two years back, “Actually theatre is not our prime target customer now. No longer does it demand those shimmery satin or chemoi clothes that sparkle and shine on stage. The requirements of theatre are very specific now and most theatres in the city are tailoring their costumes themselves. So we cater mainly to the schools now.”

From theatres to schools

Opines Mr. Dhillon of 8 yr-old-Dhillon creations at Mohali, “We’ve been providing costumes for shootings and theatres which include dresses, sets, property, dresses, jewellery. But off late, more of our customers are production houses who frequent Chandigarh and Mohali for film shooting. Theatre productions only hire costumes that are region or period specific,” he laments, adding, “We provide all kinds of headgears, jackets, cholas, kurtas, shirts, achkans, dhotis and uniforms in rates ranging from Rs. 20 to 200.But now we also have costumes for kids as the schools are becoming our potential customers more than the theatre.

So, the romance between the theatre and the costume providers is coming to an end in the City Beautiful. What’s replaced it is a new love equation— Theatrical costumes are emerging as a dialogue between the director, actor and fabric!

Pashmina redefined 
Nagina Singh

The lines on his forehead are more than just reminders of his age and events. Each line tells a story of the man who believes in honesty and righteousness. Bshir’s life revolves around Kashmiri handicraft, especially Pashmina. In Bashir’s own words, “my art is my own expression, my story is mine alone, but it’s not for me alone.” There is an urge to communicate, to pass on a heritage, an unconscious search for some sort of bonding of thoughts and ideas, and of course to make his conviction gain interminably.

Looks like the road from Jammu led only to Chandigarh as far as Bashir is concerned. “I came to Chandigarh when I was 20 years old, and it’s been 40 years and I feel I haven’t had enough. It’s a bond so strong that gets stronger with time. I still recall my initial years here when I used to cycle everyday selling Kashmiri art to the residents of the city. Some accepted me, some shut me out, some gave me a patient hearing and some made me their family member. And I can say confidently that no matter what my reception was like but today after 40 years each one of them treats me like a family member. My name is synonymous not with profit but with ingenuity, and honesty. And that’s my reward.” Born in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Bashir lost his parents when he was a child, oldest of all siblings he nurtured all of them. Married at 17, his better-half Mehbooba has been his pillar of strength. “She has seen me growing from a cycle to a scooter and to luxury cars. From 5 craftsmen to over 100 employees who from sourcing the raw material from Ladakh to marketing it in Chandigarh, all work for SBI Industries. My sons today have taken over and also expanded the passion to export. I do not know how the first 40m years of my life have blown with the direction of the wind.” Mirza Ghalib, once recited that “mushqilen pari mujh par itni ki aasan ho gayi.” This seems most apt when Bashir’s eyes well up as he recalls his struggle.

Little did Bashir know that his penchant for drawing would see him designing shawls? “As a child, I used to love drawing in school, and my father had predicted that one day I will be a successful artist. Successful I don’t know, but content I am.”

The ongoing dialogue between man and technology has not shaken his faith in his skill. Technology only helps to reshape. Man has an urge to create. He uses different disciplines like dance, literature, painting, and sculptures. When there was no language, man still found a way and painted in caves to communicate. A true artist does not work according to people’s tastes. Most buyers concentrate on the pretty, the light, but if I do something with passion, even if it’s a black hole it will transfer itself on my creations.

But there is no black hole in Bashir’s life. His philosophy, as meaningful as his art, reveals his soul, which burns in the flame of creativity. He makes Pashmina looks like pure art. 

SPRINGING STYLE

Uni Style Image has also gone international and as its “trial” market has chosen Germany, “a greater challenge for the market is mature and saturated”, smiles Ashvinder who seems to loves a good face-off!

Represented by young German partner, KlaasKammholz, Ashvinder hopes to capture the “brand-conscious” German segment that buys that Ralph Lauren or Polo shirts!

The fits have been improved and the technology and quality spruced up.

“People are willing to pay good money for good clothes and our aim is to build a brand not target volumes. We want a tasteful customer base that will help build the image,” explains Klaas.

It is an expansion that brings with it more verve, colour and textures! Think powder blue and baby pink for men, interesting khakis and mud hues for women, think funky knits and twills, think passion for a brand that has grown over 15 years! Uni Style Image, in Sector 17-D, just got bigger (from 450 to 1300 square feet), better (the complete range is now stocked here, including merchandise especially for the Chandigarh market) and newer (the launch of the spring collection).

The onset of balmy, breezy, leaf-crunching days is off-set with “a confident style and colours,” affirms CEO, Ashwinder Singh.

“Soft yet bright” colours, different washes (bio to give a soft feel and look), diverse techniques like wax-coating on garments and the grunge crushed look on t-shirts is Ashwinder’s take on the spring fashion fever coupled with different technologies and processes, washes and designs making for a collection seeped in pastels, olives, navy blue, earthen shades.

Linen, cotton-nylon, herringbone in knits—the emphasis is on smart and comfortable, classic and tasteful.

So while the men can look forward to lots of new leg-wear—knit trousers, corduroys, woven canvas, twills (chinos)—cheery colours and their favourite CON-11 (Rs. 625), Uni Style’s fastest moving polo t-shirt, women can waft around in crew-necks (Rs. 225) apart from tops in pleasant lemons and blues, prints and v-necks with stylish fits.

So, a spiffy design team including a French free-lance designer, with an eye on fits and styling, utility products with “clear visibility of use of various things” like their treasure track-pants that even have a pouch inside the zip pocket for cell-phones, spunky accessories like socks in recyclable boxes replete with suggestions on how to reuse them, the brand is hoping to rock!

So, from supplying to multi-brand outlets to 12 exclusive stores around the country to 140 buyers and a foot in the global arena, this brand hopes to rock the seasons away! — G.R.

Jazzy puppets
Parbina Rashid

Jazz and puppets together? No way, you would say. For, they are two very different artistic expressions with different levels of sensitivity. But watch this group of four, Espen Rud, Tore Brunborg, Terje Gewelt and Knut Alfsen have combined the two quite successfully to win the hearts of thousands of children all over the world.

When Jazz Percussionist Espen Rud, Sexophone player Brunborg, Bass player Terje Gewelt and puppeteer Knut Alfsen, all from Norway, got together three years back, they asked themselves the same question and came up with the answers which proved everyone wrong. For them both jazz and puppeteering have developed from folk forms into art forms, and both demand the ability to improvise. And ‘improvise’ became the catchword when they formed Jazz Creature, not a band but a project. A project in which jazz creates the ambience and puppets teach important lessons in life, mostly for children.

Since their target audience is school going children (they were brought to the city by Spic Macay and Rikskonsertene to perform at various schools), improvisation they do to suit the audience, but without being preachy.

“We love working with children because we believe there is a child among all of us,” says Knut. Espen Rod, Tore Brunborg and Terje Gewelt agree with him wholeheartedly.

So when they pick up themes from folk tales, they do it ‘just for fun’ and if the storyline sometimes seems to be a little pedagogic, it is because everything in life has something to teach. “But as a principle we avoid talking down to the children. We treat them at equal,” they add.

Though they work in total sync, but jazz Creature is only a small fraction of their careers. Each of them has a full- fledged career in their chosen field. Espen Rud is one of the most experienced jazz percussionists in his country. Recipient of The Buddy Award, the highest award in Norway, Rud has worked with several internationally acclaimed jazz musicians like Pepper Adams, Karin Krog, James Moody and Chet Baker. Tore Brunborg, a leading saxophone player has several CDs and composes his own music, Terje Gewelt has more than 20 years experience in the jazz scene with four CDS to his credit.

Knut Alfsen has worked as a director, a puppeteer and actor for Riksteatret—the Nowegian Touring Theatre. Now head of the theatre group ‘Living Puppets’, Knut is regarded as one of the most experienced and sophisticated puppeteers in Norway.

Impressed with the rich heritage of Indian puppetry, Knut is open to experiment with the Indian touch. “Specially the way Indian puppeteers use strings to change characters using a single puppet,” explains Knut who is a friend of our own puppeteer Dadi Padamji.

Now that Spic Macay and Rikskonsertene has chalked out this three year cultural exchange programme between the two countries, Jazz Creature is all set with their 300kg heavy travel kit (they do not believe in travelling light) and even a heavier determination to win hearts of Indian children. 

Dress it up for the occasion

Valentine’s Day is a special day of the year to express your love and appreciation to your precious ones, who have added joy to your life. Bring Valentine’s spirit to your home with simple, inexpensive and tiny touches. Stick your loved ones’ toothbrush in a pretty fluted glass with single red rose. Put toiletries in a tray of rose petals on bathroom counter. Add a dash of lavender in the bathtub.

In the children’s room tie a red bow to their favourite stuffed toys and headboard of their cot or bed. Hang red ribbon curls from the ceiling fan.

Suspend varied sized hearts from your chandelier or other ceiling fittings. Use ribbons to hold your picture frames and hang them with bowties rather than hooks.

Stick simple red bow on computer monitor as a reminder all day long that someone loves them.

Welcome your loved ones with heart shaped paper strewn across the hallway. Use fragrant instead if you prefer. Gift-wrap lounge cushions with elaborately bowed red ribbons. A cupid figurine could add charm to your centre table.

String valentine garland over the chairs and along the sides of your dining table. Alternatively attach small heart-shaped ornaments to the ribbon and swag it on each chair. Use heart shaped red coloured ice cubes to chill the champagne.

Tie a balloon or heart to a stick and push it into the plant and wrap red ribbon around houseplant pots.

Place luxurious fluffy red pillows on a bedroom chair in the morning or on the bed at night for a doze of instant romance!

Nothing creates special ambience like candles. On the dining room table, bedside table, bathroom counters, along the edge of the bathtub. Put them everywhere!

—Courtesy: A. P. Singh, Besten & Co.

YOUTH SPEAK
Sky is the limit

Saurabh Gupta
Saurabh Gupta

The last time I interacted with some poor students, I felt that they needed more attention. Along with my friends, I went to a Government school in Bapudham and communicated with the children there as a part of the outreach programme undertaken by class eleven.

We reached the premises, and after meeting the Principal, we took up classes 6th,7th and 8th.We interacted with the students and discovered some of them were amazingly bright. These students were no less than the budding scientists, doctors, Gangulys and Beckhams. But they seemed to be aware of their biggest handicap—poverty. Poverty has created borders and limited the thinking process of these children. It has left no horizons for them but has waded them out into the seas of the underprivileged.

The need of the hour is to use these young and willing brains for the betterment of the nation. They also need to be assured that the sky is the limit.

— Saurabh Gupta, student, Chandigarh

Young and bubbling with creative vibes? Have something to say? Well, send your views on something you feel strongly about to lifestyle@tribunemail.com or Lifestyle, The Tribune, Sector 29-C Chandigarh. The best will find place in Lifestyle

NEW RELEASES
Holiday in Goa

Actress turned producer and director ‘ Pooja Bhatt returns to centre stage with a love story which is an anecdote for twirling passions of lovers being synchronized on celluloid with a backdrop of fun loving city of Goa. All eyes are peeled on Pooja Bhatt’s directed new film ‘Holiday’ which is reportedly inspired from Hollywood blockbuster. ‘Dirty Dancing’ ! The promos park in a lot of romance, water surfing and sun and sands of Goa. It will be released today at Fun Republic, Mani Majra.

‘Holiday’ comes from the maker of musical quasi — masterpieces like Tamanna ,Zakhm, Sur, Jism, rog and Paap. Not withstanding the commercial failure of Pooja Bhatt’s ‘Rog’ and ‘ Paap’ she is a filmmaker to reckon with . Her film ‘Holiday’ promises to be teenybopper’s delight and its baseline says, ‘‘This holiday, come fall in love with yourself’’.

Veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt has penned the story for ‘Holiday’. The film stars Dino Morea. Onjolee Nair makes her debut in Bollywood. Anahita Oberoi, Nauheed Cyrusi, Gulshan Grover and Kashmira Shah play important characters.

Mehboob and Neelesh Mishra has penned soulful lyrics. The film creates an ambience of romanticism with guest composer of ‘Main Hoon Na’ Ranjit Barot’s pulsating musical soundtracks. Shreya Ghosal and Vijay Prakash has sung brilliantly.

All in all,‘Holiday’ gives love a whole new meaning and takes you on a maiden voyage— full of romance and fun.

— D.P.

Tantalising the Tagore way

Picture Sharmila Tagore, the Bengali tigress who stole millions of hearts with her glorious dimples and sassy smiles. Imagine delicate filigree work, wirework, fish motifs, intricate latticework, lac filled bangles (with a yali or elephant face) and the studded navrattan sets— reminded of something? Wondering where do the two connect?

Well, it’s the Bengali jewellery of Rabindranath Tagore era that’s the common point. And Sharmila Tagore is endorsing this jewellery, designed by Art Karat’s designer AshaKamal Modi and displayed at Kidar gallery in Chandigarh. So what’s so hot about the collection? We checked out.

Goodbye Gold

Besides precious and semi-precious stones that sparkle and shine at you, there’s more to the collection. The glitzy Rubies, Sapphires, Turquoise, Emeralds and Amethysts, Ambers have been intricately set in a sterling silver base. There’s little gold plating on some pieces too, but the collection waves off a goodbye to chunky gold.

Classy Neckpieces

Kundan work, Aari work and bangles with Bengali artistry lend a richly royal antique finish to the jewellery. Though the collection has earrings, bracelets, pazeibs and necklaces, it is the necklaces that steal the show. Sporting Zircons, Pearls and Peridots as the strings, the collection indeed bedazzles and leaves one asking for more. The catch, however, lies in the affordable range (Rs. 600-35000).

For all those ladies who’ve ever dreamt of being a maharani, here’s a chance. The exhibition’s on till 11th February and one can always take her pick or just glance through all that glitter.

— A.G.

TAROT TALK
What the cards say today...
P. KHURRANA

ARIES : Your card “Five of Pentacles” so friends could get on your nerves. Mixing business with pleasure works well for you. Do not expect too much from your colleagues and friends. Hectic work schedule would require you to be on your toes most of the time. Don’t be afraid to lend a helping hand to others. Lucky colour: Silver. TIP OF THE WEEK: Your determination to succeed will pay dividends. 
LIBRA : “The Moon” takes you through a difficult karmic situation. Work will progress satisfactorily. You may be in an irritable mood on Saturday Watch your temper and do not let it overwhelm you. If the stress is too much, close your door and go it alone. On Wednesday give a little extra quality time to your loved ones. Lucky colour: Bottle green. TIP OF THE WEEK: Outline your goals ahead of time then make a plan for achieving them. 
TAURUS : Old financial records or past debts may now become a major issue. Watch newly revealed business or money information closely for indications of broken promises and past alliances. Late Tuesday evening watch for a quick proposal. Social and romantic relations may now become briefly complex. Lucky colour: Lemon. TIP OF THE WEEK: Avoid loose talks at work as someone shall carry tales just when you are building fences. 
SCORPIO:  This week’s scenario is highlighted by a feeling of being self-conscious or you may lack trust in expressing your creative and talented abilities. A weakly planned project or work activity can cause frustration or not reflect your true intentions, as mental confusion may cloud your good judgment. Lucky colour: Crimson. TIP OF THE WEEK: Don’t reveal your plan of action to anyone. 
GEMINI : It looks as though your life is in limbo because your situation is in the hands of other people. Love, luck and romance will be around for the next few days. Friendship is also indicated through happy working relationships. Health problems associated with overindulgence are possible — so try to avoid those rich, sugary or alcoholic items! Lucky colour: Cherry. TIP OF THE WEEK: You must share responsibility.
SAGITTARIUS : A superb week to make a fresh start. Sudden romantic encounters could lead to serious repercussions in the future. Don’t allow judgmental and critical people to influence and manipulate you on Sunday. Your may be feeling a little selfish on Monday. Deadlines are difficult to meet this week so you will have to be patient. Lucky colour : Sky blue. TIP OF THE WEEK: You need to think more about long term interests. 
CANCER : You’re growing more savvy and people around you respect your new boundaries. Do something for your brain in the middle of the week — like revive your memory power through training. Tuesday helps you work out friendship issues. Some good news will be received either by e-mail or phone. Lucky colour: Royal blue. TIP OF THE WEEK: Don’t lose out on the momentum plus the goodwill that you have built up. 
CAPRICORN : “Three Golden Cups” full of light and pomegranate flowers greet you wonderful feeling. You feel moody and easily moved by whatever is happening in your environment. You could move to a larger home. If you are trying to keep your weight down, then this astrological influence will bring one unwelcome tendency. Lucky colour: Green. TIP OF THE WEEK: Use your own resources to find solution. 
LEO : Mental interests, travel and communication with others are highlighted. Pleasure plans are made on the spur of the moment. You will have to deal with difficult situations regarding monetary matters. Stay away from casual flirtations as they will lead to difficulties. Concentrate on group activities. Lucky colour: Golden yellow. TIP OF THE WEEK: Do not be in the rush to spend extravagantly 
AQUARIUS : The third eye of Lord Shiva blessed you with inner power. It brings healing on all levels of consciousness. A get-together after work allows you to relax on Saturday. You may be travelling to visit friends or family that live a long distance away from you. You tend to “dream the impossible dream” in this week. Lucky Colour: Burgundy. TIP OF THE WEEK: Arrogance and pride will not be rewarded. 
VIRGO : Recent weeks have brought far too many changes for your liking, but at least it has left you philosophical, and able to look at life from a different perspective. “The Ace of Pentacles” sees the beginning of a very interesting development in your fortunes. Chance encounters may open new possibilities in relationships. Lucky colour: Brown. TIP OF THE WEEK: Make a deciding choice and then live with the outcome of your decision. 
PISCES: “The Emperor” gets you in touch with you leadership qualities. You are best to stick to yourself on Saturday. You will find yourself more than capable of bringing your dreams into reality. Running and playing with your beloved or one who is extremely attractive will make you a star on Wednesday. Friday, flirty romance puts you on top of the world. Lucky colour: Jade. TIP OF THE WEEK : Keep your tenancy to save money for rainy days.




HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |