CHANDIGARH INDEX

 


Darkness to light
As 200 members of Alcoholics Anonymous, who once couldn’t be trusted to bring home the pay packets, are gearing up to hold a three-day convention at Patni Top from June 15, Saurabh Malik talks to their families in Chandigarh to find out how they have cured themselves of their spouses and parents’ alcoholic illness
Rising from the grave of a dead family life, 15-year-old Dhruv (name changed to protect identity) is living again, lightheartedly.
Until a few years ago, the burden of breathing was suffocating him. Looking for steady existence amidst the rubble of shattered whisky bottles and smashed family life, he would often struggle hard to stop the tears from flowing, along with alcohol — the invigorating elixir that was killing his father slowly and ruthlessly.

Fling with Whosane!
This happening DJ started rolling stone who gathered a lot of musical moss on the way, says Gayatri Rajwade
Yes it’s confirmed, so please put that exclamation mark after his name! After all everything is in a moniker especially when you are Whosane! (from a simple Hussain) composer and DJ, consummate.

A taste of India
Burgers full of chanas, samosas stuffed with noodles and atta noodles in sambar flavour. Global cuisine is going Indian, says Saurabh Malik

Intercontinental cuisine, desi flavour — that’s the latest scream among city residents eager to pamper their taste buds with something innovative and atypical! And it’s not just Maggie’s atta and dal noodle with a hint of sambar that they are going in for. So many of them are leaving their dining rooms in the evenings to pick up burgers stuffed with chanas or the ones with topped with mint chatni, instead of mayonnaise, in the sultry summers of 2006.

Yummy Yogurt
Sure yogurt comes from milk but whoever would have thought of putting those cultures in milk in the first place? Legend has it that disgruntled residents of a village seized by Genghis Khan, the great warrior in the 12th century AD, put milk in a gourd he was carrying hoping to poison him when the milk turned sour. Instead, the curdled milk became delicious yogurt that greatly fortified the horseman to continue his journey of conquest.

COOL STUFF
Wah-Wah over a cup of tea
Brooke Bond Taj Mahal, the leading premium tea brand from Hindustan Lever Limited, was recently re-launched with an expanded product-range, new packaging and new communication across India. Over the years, the brand has been the choice of the discerning as a symbol of the Best of India. This recent move is aimed at giving Indian consumers, a range of premium products under the Brooke Bond Taj Mahal brand name with world-class design and packaging, and unique product experiences.

Junk the feel-good food
Junk food! Any food that is unhealthy and has low or poor nutritional value constitutes junk food. Pizzas, hamburgers, salted snack foods like potato chips and French fries come under this category. People are depending more and more on junk food these days. Suchitra a college student says, “I go to McDonald’s thrice a week to have burger and French fries which are my favourite.”

Replaying real-life characters
Indeed, when a film screening makes for a vociferous dialogue between the film’s two lead artistes, noted theatre personality Lushin Dubey and Canadian actor Anita Majumdar, you know the poignancy is overwhelming. ‘Murder Unveiled’ made by veteran film-maker Vic Sarin is based on the true life incident of the ‘honour killing’ of Canadian-Indian Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu (Jassi) six years ago for going against the wishes of her family in Canada and marrying a poor auto-rickshaw driver Sukhwinder Singh (Mithu) in a small village in Punjab.

A balm for moppets’ anger
The buzz is ‘making friends with feelings’ and these little moppets are all out to hug their anger and put a lid on blowing their curly haired tops! For, icky, tricky and sticky feelings can be uttered, articulated and soothed and the Calm Balm Club shows these tiny-tots just how!

FILM & FASHION
Audrey Hepburn still beautiful
Audrey Hepburn’s elegance is certainly timeless, as it has put her ahead of today’s Hollywood beauties Halle Berry, Scarlett Johansson and Catherine Zeta Jones. The ‘My Fair Lady’ star has been voted the most beautiful woman of all time by readers of New Woman magazine.

Bands of friendship
An artist is someone who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he… for some reason… thinks it would be a good idea to give them — Andy Wanhol

She treads on a road less chosen. While the majority of the young ones burn the midnight oil, aiming for the IITs and IIMs, hers is a unique choice. She is Aarti Varma. She uses simple embroidery threads to weave emotions. With magical fingers, she knits friendship bands. She has had a creative inclination since her formative years but was in Class XII, when she actually gave it a serious thought.

YOGA
Evolution along the spine
Yoga pays great attention to the spine, which is referred to, in yogic terms, as the express highway of human evolution. Charles Darwin put forth the same concept in his theory of evolution, from the supine invertebrate to the erect homo sapien; we have come a long way.

Enjoy your garden
Our childhood gardens became areas of fantasy. I sat with cousins under a droopy date palm and ate a memorable picnic. Our guests were stiff, horrendous looking dolls made from dry, chopped off fronds. On the tea estate my son often slept on the hammock slung between two old and leafy Kachnar trees.

Health tip of the day

 








Darkness to light

As 200 members of Alcoholics Anonymous, who once couldn’t be trusted to bring home the pay packets, are gearing up to hold a three-day convention at Patni Top from June 15, Saurabh Malik talks to their families in Chandigarh to find out how they have cured themselves of their spouses and parents’ alcoholic illness

Rising from the grave of a dead family life, 15-year-old Dhruv (name changed to protect identity) is living again, lightheartedly.

Until a few years ago, the burden of breathing was suffocating him. Looking for steady existence amidst the rubble of shattered whisky bottles and smashed family life, he would often struggle hard to stop the tears from flowing, along with alcohol — the invigorating elixir that was killing his father slowly and ruthlessly.

"My spirits would take a deep plunge every time dad raised a toast," he says in a surprisingly steady voice that comes from looking at things from a distance. "Those were the days when I considered my dad a culprit. He would hit the bottle on one pretext or the other. And I, on my part, would strike back with a punch of callous words and obstinate behaviour."

Drowned childhood

All this was eight years ago. Dhruv still recalls the time when he would argue with his father for hours and make him swear against drinking during the precious few hours he was sober. "But then he would forget all about it and come back home after drowning all the pledges in liquor," he says. "As he would scream and shout before fighting with my mother, I would sit huddled in a corner feeling cheated and betrayed".

How could his father swear upon him and forget all about it in a few gulps? The question would torture him for hours together and leave him embittered. After all, it is not easy for an eight-year old to reconcile with the fact that his father is lying to him especially when uncorrupted by the ways of the world he thinks truth to be the ultimate reality.

In any case sulking did not help. To worsen things, his practising advocate father started losing clients. "They would come to his office and leave without a word after finding him busy with the bottle instead of briefs," says Dhruv. "It goes without saying that the distance between the two ends began to increase incessantly."

Helping hand

It was then his mother came to know about Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon family group and Alateen — organisations cooperating with each other for the welfare of the alcoholics and their families, including the children.

Soon Dhruv decided to join Alateen and found himself sitting amidst strangers with familiar tales during the meetings. "Initially, I found it impossible to open up. After all, even a kid is taught not to wash his dirty linen in public and use social organisations as clotheslines to hang the yarns. But then I started to loosen up. And realise I was not the only victim of alcoholism. There were so many like me trying hard to live again. And there were others who had overcome the problem and were helping strangers to lead a quality life."

In the meetings, Dhruv realised that his father is not a criminal, but a patient. A sick man in need of love and understanding! He also realised that the disease of excessive drinking, like diabetes, can only be controlled and not cured. And with the realization came the feeling of sympathetic love and compassion.

"For the first time in so many years I was purged of the hatred I had for my father. I realised that I had to focus on myself and my immediate surroundings. I just could not stand behind my dad with a stick in my angry hands, watching life slip by. If dad wanted to go in for a cure, the feeling had to come from within him. There was hardly anything I could do about it".

As he talks you realise alcohol, that has destroyed his father and family, has also made a man out of this teenager. The fizz of childhood may be missing in his life, but it’s still stable and rock steady. The fact that he scored 89 per cent in the Class X CBSE examinations is nothing but a testimony to this effect.

"My only regret is that dad kept on raising a toast but did not join me in the celebrations`85. But I am sure he will be there by my side when I achieve the next milestone`85," he says. As the meeting comes to an end, you realise that Dhruv has started to live again.

Living life

Right, along with Dhruv, Sneha and Poonam (names changed) are also living, but for others. Sneha only recently lost her spouse to alcohol. But Poonam’s husband has stopped hitting the bottle with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. In any case, both are still the members of the Al-Anon family group.

Today they tell the families of so many alcoholics not to contribute to the problem by taking over all the responsibilities. In fact, they ask the members to concentrate on themselves so that they can improve their lives. "The families must realise that by taking care of themselves and their immediate surroundings, they are not acting selfish," asserts Sneha. Sounds sensible!

All for one

Just in case you know little about the Al-Anon family group, here is something about the organisation: The group is fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics sharing experience, strength and hope for solving their common problems. The group believes that alcoholism is a family illness. It has just one purpose: to help the families of the alcoholics. Alateen is a part of the Al-Anon fellowship designed for younger friends and relatives of alcoholics.

Fling with Whosane!

This happening DJ started rolling stone who gathered a lot of musical moss on the way, says
Gayatri Rajwade

DJ Whosane! is in the city to make the party goers swing and dance.
MUSIC MANIA: DJ Whosane! is in the city to make the party goers swing and dance. — Photo by Manoj Mahajan

Yes it’s confirmed, so please put that exclamation mark after his name! After all everything is in a moniker especially when you are Whosane! (from a simple Hussain) composer and DJ, consummate.

First a question mark after his name and now an exclamation, what goes? "I was going through transitional phases at that time in my life, too many questions but now I have accepted that no, I don’t know," he laughs sitting pretty (well, he is really nice looking!) in town and all set to play for the Seagram’s Fling party on Friday night.

There is so much to this deliciously irreverent man than meets the eye.

For starters, guess what inspires him? "Futility, for it all comes to nothing," this, despite having churned out some big alternative sounds.

19 years into the entertainment and sound business and he continues to be one of India’s most sought-after DJs, playing at some of the best spots in the country and around the world. "Surprisingly though, some of my best parties have been in Mumbai," says this pucca Mumbaikar who sashays back to 1987 where he played for the first time at a friend’s birthday party. "I realised then I had the best aptitude to do something like this," says this then engineer in the making.

The studies went for a toss, but his fascination for gadgets and technology held and here he is. So what makes for a good DJ? "Technical knowledge of equipment very important, a good know-how of music, willingness to experiment and of course a passion for music," he avers.

After having meandered through several phases, including a ten-year-old love affair with trance (not including his current love interest, model Diandra Soares!), it’s finally House music that he plays. "It is essentially dance music but the tempo is not too fast. It is groovy, funky and progressive, could use vocal elements too, but it has to shake the booty," he laughs.

"Today a majority of the DJs are forced to play all kinds of music because there are no specialised clubs but raising the consciousness level of the listeners is what music for a DJ is all about," he elucidates.

He should know for he organises the only ‘Dance Ganesh’ street parade during Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai, an affair that has now turned into an annual party, in its sixth year where people from all walks of life celebrate as one on the streets of Mumbai.

For this man who finds his harmony in music (incidentally Pink Floyd is his all time perk!) and who listens to anything that touches his soul, composing is another natural facet to his musical persona. His ‘Moksh’ brought in a new wave of sounds and today his album Abida Parveen’s songs remixed, titled ‘Euphoric Abida’ is something that has him very satisfied. "My focus was to make it into a more modern form from the live format that her music takes. It is an album I will cherish even ten years down the line because stuff like this comes by very rarely," he said.

Soundtracks, another album, Zindagi in the offing, some hush-hush big projects in the pipeline, Whosane! is also working on a "semi-live, semi-DJ performance thing with a percussionist, a vocalist and me, a sort of band" to play the kind of music where the "scene" is completely different. "People will be there because they want to listen to the kind of music I play, if they want to leave, they can, whatever—it’s their life," he smiles.

How is all this for futile effort?!

A taste of India

Burgers full of chanas, samosas stuffed with noodles and atta noodles in sambar flavour. Global cuisine is going Indian, says Saurabh Malik

This is samosa a la China which suits the Indian tastes.
MADE IN INDIA: This is samosa a la China which suits the Indian tastes. — Photo by Manoj Mahajan

Intercontinental cuisine, desi flavour — that’s the latest scream among city residents eager to pamper their taste buds with something innovative and atypical! And it’s not just Maggie’s atta and dal noodle with a hint of sambar that they are going in for. So many of them are leaving their dining rooms in the evenings to pick up burgers stuffed with chanas or the ones with topped with mint chatni, instead of mayonnaise, in the sultry summers of 2006.

The whiff of Indianization is unmistakable. As you cross the restaurants and quick-food joints dexterously giving native touch to global cuisine, the tang of onions spiked with sliced green chilies spread over paneer cubes lures you inside. As you push open the door to try “Paneer do pyaza” pizza, the heady smell blends with desi excitement to give you the taste of internationally native delicacy.

If you are hot for the stuff, just drive down to your favourite haunt and gratify your taste buds with an abundance of “Teekha chicken” pizza or chana patty flavoured with unique Indian spices. The choice is yours, entirely.

Earlier Undoubtedly you could order bun-tikki — the Indian version of hamburger — liberally laced with imli ki chatni, but hardly anything else in the category of globally-desi cuisine.

Now things are different. For, such dishes are more and merrier. In restaurants, just pick up the menu card and you will find a full section devoted to dishes from the distant lands prepared with solid indigenous touch.

Go to the markets and you will find even the dhabas offering you a platter full of cocktail and even Chinese samosas. Right folks, you can pick them up with delight for as less as Rs 2.50 a piece.

A word of caution here especially for the calorie-conscious residents: Also make sure you do not order stuff too spicy for comfort. Just look for those telling chilly marks against the dishes indicating the level of spiciness. The more the number of chilly marks, the spicier the dish will be. Order the ones with three chilly marks only if you are used to adding zing to your life.

You can have Chana crunch snacker at KFC. It is crunchy and full of chanas topped with salad and island sauce. The stuff is reasonably priced also. If you are going to Sector 19, remember to order Chinese samosa at Nanak Sweets. You will get a delicious samosa stuffed with yummy noodles, cabbage, peas, cashew nuts and other things, instead of plain potatoes or even cheese. It’s unique, inexpensive and good, a must-have if you do not mind eating deep fried stuff.

At Pizza hut, you will get pizza topped with cheese, tomatoes, onion and green chilies if you place an order for “Spicy India” pizza. You can also go in for Spicy korma pizza. It’s topped with lamb korma, cheese, onion and green chilies.

Just in case you are visiting Nirula’s, pick up Batata burger. It’s Indian to the core. So guys, just hop into your car and taste desi global dishes for that “different” taste.

Yummy Yogurt
Gayatri Rajwade

Sure yogurt comes from milk but whoever would have thought of putting those cultures in milk in the first place?

Legend has it that disgruntled residents of a village seized by Genghis Khan, the great warrior in the 12th century AD, put milk in a gourd he was carrying hoping to poison him when the milk turned sour. Instead, the curdled milk became delicious yogurt that greatly fortified the horseman to continue his journey of conquest. What is interesting to note is that written records on Genghis Khan do confirm that his conquering armies lived on yogurt.

So what makes our ubiquitous dahi quite so loveable is that it is versatility incarnate making it the perfect cool food to beat the city’s unrelenting summer. Here are some quick fix recipes that use yogurt as dips, garnishes, beverages and desserts to add to the perfect meal.

Cool Dip

Since low-cal is the buzzword for food, here is a healthy dip to dunk those chilli chips or even cucumber sticks into.

To hung curd add freshly ground pepper, red chilli flakes, salt to taste, four or five cloves of garlic crushed well, lots of sprigs of fresh green dhania finely chopped and a dash of mustard powder for flavour. Serve cold.

Thirst-Quenchers

Fruit lassi—mango, strawberry or rose water—are popular variations instead of milky shakes however, if a light chaas is what you are after here is a chilled option.

In a 1:1 ratio mix water to curd and mix well till all the lumps are dissolved. Add salt to taste, a dash of hing powder, roasted sabut zeera (cumin seeds), finely chopped ginger and garnish with mint leaves or dhania. Add lots of crushed ice and served chilled.

Refreshing Raita

Of course pineapple makes a delightful add-in while chopped cucumber, tomatoes and onions give an extra fillip and crisp boondi makes for a delicious chomp but here is a version with spinach tadka mar ke!

Beat half a kilo of curd well till it becomes smooth. Add 250 gm boiled spinach (or more or less depending on the consistency you want for the raita) and salt to taste and cool. Just before you serve make a quick tadka of a few sprinkles of rye, sabut red chillies and 10 to 12 leaves of kadi patta in a bit of oil and pour onto the raita.

Dreamy Desserts

Ah and here’s the best for the last and straight from the city’s ‘Bake Queen’ Monica Sood of Monica’s Puddings and Pies, Sector 8, who swears by cheesecakes and soufflés for the summer—cold and light.

While lime and lemony, fresh blueberry and even exotic passion fruit cheesecakes find flavour in the summer, Monica’s favourite option is a clean cheesecake topped up with seasonal fruits. As a special treat she gives us her recipe for her lemon cheesecake, guaranteed to melt in your mouth.

Lemon Cheesecake

For the biscuit base, mix 200 gm crushed bran biscuits and 50 gm of butter and press down into a mould.

For the cheesecake beat 250 gm hung curd and 200 gm condensed milk and add the gelatine (soak one tablespoon of gelatine in three tablespoons of water and heat till the granules completely dissolve) while the beater is on. Fold in 250 gm of whipped Soya cream and add two tablespoons of lemon juice. Pour into the mould with the biscuit base. Garnish with slices of candied lemon and serve chilled.

For the candied lemon, boil the lemon slices briefly to remove the bitterness. Remove the lemon slices, add fresh water and sugar to the slices. (Two serving spoons of sugar to ½ a cup of water). Mix till the sugar dissolves and the water has almost evaporated. Let the mix cool and use the glossy slices to garnish the cheesecake. So chase the scorching red of summer away — yogurt style.

COOL STUFF
Wah-Wah over a cup of tea

Brooke Bond Taj Mahal, the leading premium tea brand from Hindustan Lever Limited, was recently re-launched with an expanded product-range, new packaging and new communication across India. Over the years, the brand has been the choice of the discerning as a symbol of the Best of India. This recent move is aimed at giving Indian consumers, a range of premium products under the Brooke Bond Taj Mahal brand name with world-class design and packaging, and unique product experiences.

“In our continuing endeavour to bring the best proposition to our valued consumers, we are re-launching Brooke Bond Taj Mahal Tea with an expanded product-range, in all-new attractive packaging”, said Anand Ramachandran, Marketing Manager, Brooke Bond. “Our master-blenders and tasters painstakingly select the finest teas to create a robust, full-bodied brew with a lingering aroma that makes you say…Wah Taj!”

He added, “The innovation and freshness that comes with the new Brooke Bond Taj Mahal pack is an experience that builds on the brand’s promise of bringing the BEST OF INDIA to its consumers. The new design and packaging, inspired from the Taj Mahal monument in the moonlight, is simply world class!”

Brooke Bond Taj Mahal Tea has been loved by consumers for being the ‘Hazaaron Mein Ek’ brand of tea which is expressed by the popular ‘Wah Taj!” exclamation. With this relaunch, carried across multiple media, “Ustaad” Zakir Hussain, the brand ambassador for Brooke Bond Taj Mahal, expresses his admiration for the brand by announcing “Ab Wah Wah Taj!” a chant which will soon be taken up by millions of tea lovers across India

Designer furniture

The only national player in branded Wooden Furniture with showrooms across India, brings in an exceptionally elegant and stylish range of the Super Premium range all over India. The entire new furniture collection launched by Usha Lexus boost of the effort and creativity being put in to give customers the best of the quality and design.

Speaking on the launch of the Super Premium Range, Anupam Bharat, Managing Director, Usha Shriram Enterprises (P) Ltd. remarked, “Since inception we have been working with the single minded objective to provide designer wooden furniture at an affordable price to our customers. At our showrooms across the country we showcase a variety of trendy and stylish furniture at various price points.”

Created by designers from National Institute of Design (NID) who are well versed with international trends our latest offering, this new range of bed will give a modern and sophisticated look to your home”. Each piece has been polished with the best melamine stain-proof, scratch-resistant polish in the Wenge black, Walnut, Rosewood and Natural Teak shade; which is all the rage these days.

Vodka with Shilpa

United Spirits Ltd. today signed on the noted superstar and style icon, Shilpa Shetty as the brand ambassador for its vodka brand, Romanov.

Announcing this, Mr. Lala, President, United Spirits said, “United Spirits is committed to achieving a leadership position in the Indian and international vodka market. As a part of our brand building initiative, the Company is partnering with Bollywood actress, Shilpa Shetty as the brand ambassador for Romanov. Shilpa is an aspirational icon. Her innate style, energy and attitude highlight the core attributes of the brand. We will use her mass appeal to herald an enhanced customer experience.”

Said Shilpa Shetty , “It is a pleasure to be associated with UB which is the industry leader today. I look forward to partnering with Romanov. I vibe really well with the brand’s youthful attitude. The brand is definitely going places and I wish it all the very best. Now we will grow together.”

Romanov is one of the largest selling vodkas in the country, commanding nearly 30 per cent of the market share and is growing at over 30 per cent annually. Romanov’s new triple distilled blend is in line with international standards of vodka manufacturing. Keeping in step with the changing times, Romanov recently went in for a makeover. The new sleek and elegant quart bottle of Romanov with its red and silver labels comes with an internationally patented guala cap. Romanov has also introduced pint and nip look-alikes for the first time.

Thandi havaein

Ortem Royal – a new range of Decorative & classy ceiling fans. Ortem Royal is a perfect blend of international quality, state of the art technology, contemporary & elegant look with highly reasonable prices.

Commenting on Ortem Royal, Mr. Rummy Chhabra, Managing Director Metro Ortem Ltd. said, “Ortem Royal range is a perfect choice to give a royal touch to the interiors. Technology is the main highlight of Ortem fans. The technological exclusivity of Ortem ensures better performance at much less power consumption. All our Ortem fans are fitted with double ball bearing & the most powerful and robust motors for extra durability & high speed are some of the other highlights of our range. The wider blades of Ortem fans ensure better air velocity over a large area. Ortem fans are available in different colour combinations to suit every décor”

“Launched in 1992, Ortem is one of the youngest brand in the Indian fan market, but quality & technology wise it is second to none. Ortem’s quality is well established in the market & we offer value for money to our customers and that is what a buyer is looking for from any brand,” added Mr Chhabra.

Atoot bandhan

Godrej- Furniture & Interior Group is coming up with a scheme Atoot Bandhan on its home range of furniture to complaisant the newly wed couples. This scheme is valid from May 15,2006 to June 30,2006.

This scheme is offered on home storwel, bedroom sets, dining sets, kids furniture, modular kitchen and other home furniture items.

There shall be attractive cash discount, which is offered for the purchase of upto Rs 25,000.

Further, free gifts upto the value of Rs 7500 (Godrej DVD player, Microwave (20 litre.) & 170 litres Refrigerator) are offered to the customers on the purchase above Rs 25000.

Junk the feel-good food
Shazy Zia

Junk food! Any food that is unhealthy and has low or poor nutritional value constitutes junk food. Pizzas, hamburgers, salted snack foods like potato chips and French fries come under this category. People are depending more and more on junk food these days. Suchitra a college student says, “I go to McDonald’s thrice a week to have burger and French fries which are my favourite.”

Mrs Sinha, a housewife, tells us how her son, studying in class VI has replaced the intake of milk and healthy fruit juice by soft drinks.

But ever thought how these feel good foods are affecting your health? “Nothing is a bad food, just a bad diet,” says Dr D.P. Gopal.

Any food can be incorporated into a diet as long as it is in the right proportion. Junk foods are rich in sugar, salt and fat which is bad for health. Hamburgers, pizza, fried chicken and chips contain loads of saturated fats which can lead to obesity and in turn cause heart diseases. Salt, which is needed for water retention, in excess leads to weight gain due to accumulation of lots of water in the body. Likewise, sugar which is the main source of energy, in excess leads to the deposition of fats.

Dr. K.B. Kapoor says that junk food gives more calories which are depleted in nutrients required for good health. Often parents come and tell him that their teenagers are facing problems like tiredness, lack of energy, mood swings, loose bowels, pale skin, headaches etc.

Dr S. Malhotra, child specialist, practicing in Mohali, is of the view that it is probably ok to eat junk food sometimes because spacing between their consumption gives time for the burning up of extra calories.

Good Food

Look for foods that are low in fats, salts, sugar (fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods, non-fat dairy products can be preferred).

Choose grilled fish and chicken than fried.

Fish burgers instead of beef and grilled lean beef burgers.

Vegetarian pizza and pizza with seafood instead of fatty meat type pizza.

Make A Fish Burger

Ingredients

  • Bread crumbs

  • 750g fish fillets, roughly chopped

  • Eggs

  • herbs of choice

  • 1/2 cup tasty cheese

  • 2 tbspn fresh basil, chopped

  • 2 semi-dried tomatoes, finely chopped 

  • fresh bread buns

  • lettuce

  • tomatoes

  • mayonnaise

Method

Put bread crumbs, fish fillets, roughly chopped, eggs and herbs of choice in the food processor. When mixed take out. Make a hole to the center of the bread buns

And fill the mixture with cheese, fresh basil and semi-dried tomatoes in it. Put 1/6

Of the filling into each bun, seal over, toss in flour and cook. Med-high heat on frying pan, about 5 mints on each side, or till you can see they are cooked through. Serve hot.

Replaying real-life characters
Gayatri Rajwade

Lushin Dubey and Anita Majumdar.
REEL LIFE MOM-DAUGHTER: Lushin Dubey and Anita Majumdar. — Photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Indeed, when a film screening makes for a vociferous dialogue between the film’s two lead artistes, noted theatre personality Lushin Dubey and Canadian actor Anita Majumdar, you know the poignancy is overwhelming.

‘Murder Unveiled’ made by veteran film-maker Vic Sarin is based on the true life incident of the ‘honour killing’ of Canadian-Indian Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu (Jassi) six years ago for going against the wishes of her family in Canada and marrying a poor auto-rickshaw driver Sukhwinder Singh (Mithu) in a small village in Punjab.

A daughter denied

For young 20-something Canadian theatre actor Anita Majumdar, playing Davinder Kaur Samra, the young girl whose character is based on Jassi’s life, is something that has just become a part of her. “More than being an actor, I want to make a difference to the world. Acting can be so self-indulgent if you let it be. I feel almost guilty because I feel I could channel my skills into something more productive,” she says wryly.

However, Anita brings to her role, nuances and shades that bring her performance alive. “Vic trusted his actors to tell the story,” she says and this is best illustrated by the fact that Anita won the Best Actress Award at the inaugural Asian Festival of First Films for her portrayal of Davinder.

Melodrama is what she wanted to do until a stint at the National Theatre School in Canada made her realise acting is not what it looks like. “It is feeling the existence of the character through one’s being albeit subtly. I have wanted to be a Bollywood actor since high school when I fell in love with the stage,” she laughs.

Now everything that comes up does seem pale in comparison to playing Davinder but Anita remains upbeat. “My job is to make substance out of every role I take on and bring meaning to it.”

However her last words are reserved for the film itself. “I had led a sheltered life but playing Davinder has taught me how important it is to speak up as woman and to keep issues close to one’s heart, alive.”

A mother maddened

“It is like living in a pressure cooker. Of a focus that goes outside the realms of reality, the bonds of land that that get over-hyped when you go out of your country, when a parent’s exasperation manifests itself in these words—kill-her,” remarks Lushin volubly on her role as Davinder’s mother Kuldeep Samra.

Lushin brings to her character her tremendous experience on stage and it shows in the power-packed performance she gives. “I am an intuitive actor but sometimes you have to rely on method acting and on certain conditions like the story itself to give you that build up for a role like this,” she avers.

Explaining her point further she goes on to add that the fanaticism in Davinder’s father is in complete contrast to what actor Hassani Shapi who essays the role is like in real life, a Kenyan British with two earrings and shaven head, “but look at his accent in the film, his fury at being let down by his daughter, it is all so real.”

Lushin heard the real story from her younger daughter, “but a film like this drains you because you try and recap feelings but then comes the passion of an actor and you just do it keeping a description of the script within,” she says of her difficult role.

With lots of work happening—Muskan, a play on HIV/AIDS and the role of Lady Macbeth in Alyque Padamsee’s stage opus Macbeth—an NSD film “on the lines of Satya”, Dil Se Pooch Kidhar Jaana Hai and a spoof on Pavan Verma’s ‘Being Indian’ being worked on, this film nonetheless remains unforgettable especially since both actors visited Mithu in jail, languishing on charges trumped up.

“The film has ended but the story has not,” both echo, “for justice shall be served only when Mithu walks free.”

A balm for moppets’ anger
Gayatri Rajwade

Happy moppets at the Calm Balm Club.
ANGER DISSOLVING: Happy moppets at the Calm Balm Club. — Photo by Parvesh Chauhan

The buzz is ‘making friends with feelings’ and these little moppets are all out to hug their anger and put a lid on blowing their curly haired tops!

For, icky, tricky and sticky feelings can be uttered, articulated and soothed and the Calm Balm Club shows these tiny-tots just how!

Leading the balm-band is Shalini Sharma, a mother, psychology major turned HR professional, writer and this workshop’s designer all rolled into one, along with friend Shehnaz David who is an interior designer, illustrator and the workshop’s creative spirit.

The idea has a rather captivating origin! Shalini’s seven year old daughter Rasha had a mighty fit one fine day when the electricity went off depriving her of watching her favourite cartoon show on television!

“Anger is okay but there are various ways of expressing it,” smiles Shalini. The result was this 13-day workshop with nine children between the ages of 3 and 9 who delved into things that made them angry, sad, fearful and even happy.

No shrink on attendance here, no deep philosophical discussions on the wavering motions of emotions, just a host of fun activities and puppets prancing around helping children to put a band-aid on their hurt, restrain their anger and have a whale of a time expressing their opinions, beliefs and more importantly their feelings through drawings, stories, games and phrases. “The primary thing here is that my children wanted to come and not miss a single class and that was beautiful for me,” avers city-based dentist Dr Punita Menon, mother of Sanjana (7) and Sadhika (5) whose children participated in the workshop. For Micky Chawla, mother of 6 ½ year old Rabia, the workshop was a godsend. “After my little one came along I realised Rabia was feeling left out. I wanted to lay stress on those feelings that disturbed her and this workshop, I think, has helped.”

In fact, when Rabia saw Micky and her arguing over something she pulled out her ‘pause’ placard, something she has been taught to use if she feels angry, at them related a laughing Micky.

For advocate and mother of six year old Samkiti, Peeyushi Jain who ferried her neighbour’s two boys and her daughter to the workshop, the change is evident. “They are all happy children and they have become happier.” But tangible for her to see is the change in one of the boys Ramandeep (9) who when angry took it out on himself. This charming little boy, with a serious air about him told us this: “If one is angry one can do many things without hurting oneself.” What would he do if he felt angry? “I will sleep and go to Calm Balm Land,” he says.

The Calm Balm Land, the anti-thesis to the Land of Anger, a place which the children visited in their grand finale skit which they put up after their workshop got over, to show their parents how they have learnt to deal with their anger. And here is where their most meaningful message comes through, ‘Hands are not for hitting but for hugging’.

While Shalini and Shehnaz do not profess to make angels out of children, the awareness does seep through. The second workshop, tweaked to stress on assertiveness, shyness and jealously (a lot of the older children felt left out and angry when the younger ones came along) will start on June 15 at Shalini’s home in Mani Majra.

But, the final word belongs to Rasha though. What did she learn? “Nothing but I was the best swimmer at the pool today,” she grins. Now there’s a girl who knows her mind!

FILM & FASHION
Audrey Hepburn still beautiful

Audrey HepburnAudrey Hepburn’s elegance is certainly timeless, as it has put her ahead of today’s Hollywood beauties Halle Berry, Scarlett Johansson and Catherine Zeta Jones. The ‘My Fair Lady’ star has been voted the most beautiful woman of all time by readers of New Woman magazine. “When it comes to the most beautiful women of all time, head- turning full-on glamour wins the day,” Femalefirst quoted the magazine’s editor Helen Johnston, as saying. Other Hollywood stars to make into the top ten included Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe and Angelina Jolie. The late Princess Diana came in eight on the list by 5,000 readers of the magazine. (ANI)

Mommie Dearest

Forget for a moment, I f you can, the notorious wire hangers. Paramount Home Entertainment has marked the 25th anniversary of “Mommie Dearest” by issuing a new DVD, appropriately dubbed the “Hollywood Royalty Edition.” And it may finally be time to start to take the film seriously as well. Certainly, the late director Frank Perry (“Diary of a MadHousewife”) and producer Frank Yablans (the former president of Paramount Pictures who had segued into a producing career when he made the movie at Paramount) embarked on the project with the most serious of intentions. Faye Dunaway, who just five years earlier had won the best actress Oscar for her rapacious TV executive in “Network,” didn’t shy away from playing Joan Crawford as an embattled screen legend, fearful that her career was slipping away even as she terrorized her adopted children while trying to create a fantasy of the perfect family. But in 1981, audiences weren’t necessarily buying it. While the studio launched the movie with proper ads promising an indelible performance coupled with high drama, by the first weekend, it switched tactics. New ads were hastily ordered that carried such battle-cry slogans as “No wire hangers . . . ever!” — cementing the movie’s reputation as a camp extravaganza. Christina Crawford’s 1978 memoir was, in some respects, ahead of its time. It sought to explore child abuse, a subject that was just beginning to seep into the national consciousness. But because it did so within the opulence of a Hollywood setting, it was dismissed by many as a scandalous tell-all.

—(Reuters)

Bands of friendship
Pankhuri Sood

Aarti Varma with her magical bands.
Aarti Varma with her magical bands. — Photo by Malkiat Singh

An artist is someone who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he… for some reason… thinks it would be a good idea to give them — Andy Wanhol

She treads on a road less chosen. While the majority of the young ones burn the midnight oil, aiming for the IITs and IIMs, hers is a unique choice. She is Aarti Varma. She uses simple embroidery threads to weave emotions. With magical fingers, she knits friendship bands. She has had a creative inclination since her formative years but was in Class XII, when she actually gave it a serious thought.

Initially, she made bands only for her friends. The success goaded her to take up her hobby as a profession. During her seminary days, her bands sold like hot cakes in the college tuck shop and were in great demand. She narrates, ‘‘I had a brainwave one morning and went to Wardrobe-17 with 45 bands to see the reaction of the people and came back home without expecting anything. I was left enthralled when I got a call from them three days later that all my bands had been sold. That was when I got my first order.’’

In the beginning, a band would take as long as an hour but time has honed her skills and she can now rustle up one in 25 minutes. She comes up with new innovations every year and makes bands in many colours, embellishing them with a variety of beads.

Her friends keep her updated with the latest fashions and market trends. Her designs cannot be fabricated by machines.

Her family had apprehensions in the beginning, but her success and dedication won them over. Her mother says, ‘‘We are proud of her and I am sometimes amazed by her perseverance and intelligence. Her mind is always working out new ideas. We feel very happy when her work is appreciated.’’ Aarti does not wish it to be her main job, but would prefer to make bands on a small scale. Her aim is the travel industry. She has just finished with her post- graduation in travel and tourism and plans to pursue a career in this field.

She has now also started making handmade mobile kits, belts, rings, purses and many other accessories. Her stuff is available at Dewsuns-11 and Wardrobe-17.

YOGA
Evolution along the spine
Jyotii Subramanian

Yoga pays great attention to the spine, which is referred to, in yogic terms, as the express highway of human evolution. Charles Darwin put forth the same concept in his theory of evolution, from the supine invertebrate to the erect homo sapien; we have come a long way. “The end of the physical evolution is the perfection of the mammalian form. The end of the mental evolution is the perfection of the human intellect and the end of spiritual evolution is the full expression of ones natural enlightenment in samadhi,” says Himalayan master Yogiraj, in his book Wings to Freedom. Initiation into higher meditation techniques are all concentrated at opening the channel in the spine as preparation for the rising of the kundalini energy.

Relaxation technique

Lie down on a mat making sure you are away from any draught or cold area. Take a few deep breaths to relax. Every time you breathe out feel yourself sinking into the ground as if lying on soft earth. Let the gravitational pull of the earth suck your body into the ground. Stay like this till you feel rejuvenated. Then gently feel the earth releasing your body and get up.

Since the central nervous system is aligned along the spine, the attention to this area takes on more importance for the physical and mental bodies. Relaxing the spine and removing stress from the vertebra helps calm the nervous system, leaving one with a great sense of ease. The knots are removed from, the physical spine through the performance of asanas and pranayama does the same for the subtler pranic body.

In this day of turmoil and tension, people spend more time standing and sitting and do not get enough time to rest their back- literally. If attention paid to the quality of support- the bed or chair used- is lacking in attention, then the stress is multiplied manifolds. The reclining yoga asanas lend support to the back by relieving strain accumulated due to one’s lifestyle, while at the same time preparing the spine for further progress.

There are many reclining asanas, the most popular among them being the savasana, or the corpse pose. It is normally believed that this is an easy posture to perform but highly stressed people find this one of the most difficult to start with. The savasana is supposed to be done without falling asleep in the midst and most beginners either do this or find it very hard to follow the slow process of relaxing the body inch by inch. The savasana, when done properly, is credited to be more calming than deep sleep. The conscious relaxation technique works to release tension in the muscular physical body, and then moves deeper to calm the emotional and mental bodies. It does not stop there as the serenity penetrates deeper into the sub conscious mind to release seeds of old memories and karmic baggage to eventually free the practitioner.

Enjoy your garden
Joyshri Lobo

Our childhood gardens became areas of fantasy. I sat with cousins under a droopy date palm and ate a memorable picnic. Our guests were stiff, horrendous looking dolls made from dry, chopped off fronds. On the tea estate my son often slept on the hammock slung between two old and leafy Kachnar trees. I did the same thing as a thirteen year old, when my grandmother gave me rolls of old niwaar and I wove a machaan in the Taali tree. It was a safe haven from nagging aunts, disapproving grand parents and teasing cousins. My introduction to the classics was on that temporary, shady shelter, high above the ground. Sometimes my younger sister joined me there and we rolled on choppy seas into unknown lands. Your garden can become as personal as you wish it to be.

Recently I visited a friend who loves his weekend beers. Having collected sacks full of bottles, he went around scrounging for more and then dug them in, neck first, along all the pathways and flower beds. They look fantastic, are deep enough to discourage undisciplined grass from escaping and add neat, low borders to the garden.

Another family of bird watchers, had placed a miniature, wooden house and a large terracotta bath under the Frangipani tree. True to their suspicious nature, the feathered creatures initially avoided the house but enjoyed the bowl of water. Ultimately the bird house was hung among leafy branches and a family of Bulbuls took up residence. Each year my friends participate in the hatching and safe rearing of a new batch of vociferous chicks.

If any one has been to the scout camp at Taradevi, near Shimla, you will see log benches, stools, tables and even pallets to sleep on. All these can be incorporated in your very personalized garden and offer perfect seating arrangements. Include short lights behind bushes and the soft glow converts the area into a fairyland.

A friend in Bangalore has huge, rough hewn granite slabs placed in the garden as benches, tables and chairs. When we sit on them, thick, soft cushions make them extremely comfortable. These slabs are propped up with bricks, smaller slabs and pieces of wood. The whole effect is of Stonehenge or a Hobbit park. The surrounding area has fruit and flowering trees with flower beds at the base, all very conducive to an ethereal atmosphere. Get someone to play the guitar and sing and you have a paradise in the making.

As I said, personalise your garden to cater to your needs. Next week we’ll work out how to develop a special corner in the garden for your children.

Health tip of the day

You may be comfortable while doing a desk job but prolonged static posture is not good for your back. Therefore, one should stand, stretch and walk at least a minute or two every half an hour. This will make you stretching keep the joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons loose.

— Dr Ravinder Chadha

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 |