CHANDIGARH INDEX

Fashionably furnished

Branded furnishings raining in Chandigarh have added a new dimension to the city’s upwardly mobile segment’s penchant for classic interiors, says Anandita Gupta
Remember how different our North Indian homes looked a few generations ago? Unlike the typically styled European houses, our home decors were an interesting mix of many things— flea market finds, souvenirs collected while travelling abroad, family hand-me-downs and treasures from friends.



Magic in the air
Can a beautiful girl change into a ferocious bloodthirsty beast? No, this is no tirade we are launching against women, it is a real, live act we are talking of by magician O. P. Sharma whose wonders range from making elephants vanish in the blink of an eye to reviving mummies and even transforming snakes into real people! In the city for the first time with this entourage of 150 magicians big and small, O. P. Sharmas—senior and junior—are all here to regale the people with an act that they promise will be full of razzle-dazzle, “music, dance, circus, drama and comedy.”

Abracadabra: Magician O.P. Sharma is ready to zap you. Photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Magician O.P. Sharma is ready to zap you.

Monsoon makeovers
Finally the arrival of rain Gods has offered some respite from the scorching sun. Whilst chefs of the household may be busy dishing out ‘kheer-pura’ and ‘pakoras’, let’s throw open the windows and bring life back into the home.

CAMPUS CAFE
Fair winds of change

The last established wall of yet another male bastion has crumbled. Much to the astonishment — and of course amusement — of the old-timers living life on the hard track of realism, Sector 10 D.A.V. College has now a “fair” number of girl students. Right guys, much more than you could have hoped for five years ago.

Mammik: A true Mumbaikar
His enthusiasm and energy are reflected in his acting. His macho, matinee idol looks are the result of his long experience in silver screen and small screen. When one talks to ‘ Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar’ and ‘Kya Kehna’ fame Mammik, the gentle, soft-spoken actor is remembered for his acting skill.

FILM & FASHION
Honeymoon hangover

Is it the honeymoon hangover or is she genuinely hurt? Newly wed Nicole Kidman left the guests bemused at a Hollywood party when she appeared with a deeply bruised left leg. According to the Mirror, Kidman, who was wearing a beige dress and was looking even curvier, had made no efforts to cover the leg, thereafter sparking speculation that she and Urban had had a rather remarkable time on their honeymoon.

NEW RELEASES
Vishal recreates Othello this time

Another much-hyped director to look out for this week is Vishal Bhardwaj who had made a great impression with ‘Makdee’ and ‘Maqbool’. Vishal’s work was appreciated for his deftness in storytelling in ‘Makdee’ and ‘Maqbool’. His ‘Maqbool’ has got the kind of acclaim few films have enjoyed in recent times. The most anticipated movie ‘Omkara’ will hit the theatres today all over India. This one is Vishal’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic ‘Othello’, a play that has been made four times in Hollywood.

Ajay Devgan and Saif Ali Khan in Omkara

Ajay Devgan and Saif Ali Khan in Omkara

Art for art’s sake
Art for art’s sake is this young girl’s enthused mantra. “I just want to bring my art to everyone’s notice, that is all,” smiles 19-year-old Shweta Sanawar whose solo exhibition is up for a dekko in the city. Abundant visuals exploring diverse mediums celebrate this young artist’s creative journey.

Memory magic
It is the funny, the ridiculous and the innocuous images that are the real memory binders—now that’s a lark, is it not? No laughing matter this actually, when you realise that Karnal-based Krishan Chahal has set an amazing record recalling the mathematical constant ‘pi’ up to 43,000 digits after the decimal point from memory alone!

All for charity
‘Pause for a cause’ is a small attempt by Ms Madhu, Concern India Foundation, Delhi. Delhi landed in Chandigarh with gigantic varieties. The Monsoon Verve is organised to lend a helping hand to helpless people with a display of women attire. A three-day-long exhibition is being held in The Aroma Premium, Sec 22-C. People from different places have come to have a look at the exhibits— handloom suits, saries, accessories and fine things with kundan work and tiles inlay on wood etc.

Small is beautiful
Dr Devinderpal Singh Sehgal, a Mohali-based forensic expert whose peculiar hobby of creating the smallest kites in the world has fetched him numerous awards and recognitions, is in the news once again. Adding another feather to his cap is the upcoming trip to participate in an international games event to be held in Germany.

A legend in the making
“With the prevailing craze for glamour, limelight and crave for money, artists have prospered much more than the ‘art’ itself,” professor Harwinder Kumar Sharma, undeniably the most accomplished Sitar virtuosos of the region.

YOUTH SPEAK
Navneet Kaur HundalWhy go abroad?

If you ask a student what is his or her future plan, most of the time the answer is that he or she would like to go abroad. The reason is money and glamour. Not only students but also middle-aged people want to find a future, which is bright and rosy in the foreign shores.








Fashionably furnished

Branded furnishings raining in Chandigarh have added a new dimension to the city’s upwardly mobile segment’s penchant for classic interiors, says Anandita Gupta

Designer Decor: Custom-made furnishings available in the city are all about luxury and comfort
Designer Decor: Custom-made furnishings available in the city are all about luxury and comfort

Remember how different our North Indian homes looked a few generations ago? Unlike the typically styled European houses, our home decors were an interesting mix of many things— flea market finds, souvenirs collected while travelling abroad, family hand-me-downs and treasures from friends. However, due to the deluge of information on interior décor in the last decade, the region’s tastes started getting seeped in brand consciousness.

No longer were the City people’s furnishings relegated to old hand-me-downs of silk sari curtains and bedspreads. And so came those frequent trips to Delhi (and even Bombay, Chennai and Bangalore in some cases).

The Home Stores, Fab Indias, Westsides and Bandhinis at Delhi had Chandigarh couples trooping in at the capital city, hunting for branded home furnishings. However, not any more. The city denizens no longer need to hotfoot to the country’s capital for top-of-the-range home furnishings. For, most well known brands in this arena, have set up shop in the City Beautiful itself.

Aladdin’s luxury

Your marble floor surely looks chic, but how about some pampering for the feet that walk on it? And when it comes to indulging your footsies, the feeling of a soft, snug carpet under your feet is far more comforting than the cold floor. Luckily, the city people have quite a variety of rugs and carpets to choose from.

Informs Diltaj Grewal, Zonal Manager, Fab India, Chandigarh, “Our floor coverings include Daris in cotton, jute, wool and stone wash, ranging from 2x3 to 9x12.Accordingly, their prices range from Rs. 100 to Rs. 15000.Their advantage over carpets is that they come in innumerable colours and sizes, are affordable and yes, very rustic.”

Adds Amit Kapoor, Manager, Krishna Carpets, Sector 17, “The range we have in carpets is almost magical. I mean we have extra luxe (silk and pure wool) ones in the range of 4 to 5 lakhs and then, others, that are between Rs. 2000 to Rs. 15000.We import them from Iran, Egypt, Belgium, Turkey, America and Kashmir. We also stock designer area rugs by brands like Balta, Shawrugs and Osta.” Beams Archana Malhotra, an ardent home décor shopper from Panchkula, “My trips to Delhi have replaced a drive to Fab India or Kashmir Emporium and the carpets I now get in the city are exquisitely beautiful.”

Sleep like a baby

There’s nothing more comforting than snuggling under the covers on a rainy morning. And especially, when the bed spreads and pillows are full of fluff comfort and bright colours( read retro graphics, photographic prints and florals mixed with multi coloured stripes and multi sized polka dots), the temptation to snuggle up in the bed is irresistible. Making this luxurious experience a reality are stores across the city, specialising in designer bed linen.

Avers Sunit Singh, Marketing Head, Ebony, “We are stocking every brand in bed linen, right from Bombay Dying and Portico, to Swayam, Elements and Spaces. We also have geometrical cushions and floor cushions that can be thrown in for an added drama.”

And how abut the price range? “Well, most of these are in the range of Rs. 800 and go upto Rs. 2000,” she concludes. Adds Amit Kapoor of Krishna carpets, “Besides brands like Portico and Devtara, we have Aura Homes, the designer bed linen in silks, satins and laces.” Royal luxury. Isn’t it?

Totally floored

If you’ve always wanted a rustic, wood finish floor, but could never put up with the maintenance, there’s much on offer for you now. Beams Umesh Ghai of Paradise Decorators, “Our wooden flooring gives the place a rugged, yet classic plank-like finish. We use wooden fibre planks coated by Aluminium oxide, which make it heat and water-resistant too. So our wooden flooring is in great demand.”

Adding class

Whether it’s sinking into a fluffy sofa bed after a tiring day, swinging languidly on an antique rocking chair or even having a dinner with your guests at your revolving glass dining table, furniture remains indispensable in a home. And stores in the city are increasingly stocking imported, designer furniture.

Reasons Maharaj Sodhi, owner, The Furniture Mart, Chandigarh, “We have furniture from Thailand, China and Malaysia. What’s really selling well is our chester drawers, cabinets, home bars and Ruicheng sofa-beds.” And their USP? “ Designer furniture at affordable prices, the price range being roughly from Rs. 5000 to 35,000,” he smiles.

Adds Dinesh Kakkar, Manager, Spacio, “Though we import everything, ranging from coffee tables and side tables to wall cabinets and wardrobes, from Italy, France and Malaysia, our antique mirrors and Consoles (Rs. 17000), are a rage.”

With their array of bedspreads, curtains, pillowcases, exotic thematic fabrics, custom made designer furniture and antique artifacts, these lifestyle-cum stores in the city hold the promise of a chic home décor. No wonder, city denizens are frequenting them more than their doctors and beauty parlours!

Magic in the air
Gayatri Rajwade and Smriti Sharma

Can a beautiful girl change into a ferocious bloodthirsty beast? No, this is no tirade we are launching against women, it is a real, live act we are talking of by magician O. P. Sharma whose wonders range from making elephants vanish in the blink of an eye to reviving mummies and even transforming snakes into real people!

In the city for the first time with this entourage of 150 magicians big and small, O. P. Sharmas—senior and junior—are all here to regale the people with an act that they promise will be full of razzle-dazzle, “music, dance, circus, drama and comedy.”

The promise is of 9000 seconds of illusionary magic that will begin on July 28 at 11am when Sharma’s son, O. P. Sharma Jr. will ride blindfolded on a bike through the streets of Chandigarh.

Completely self-taught Sharma first shot to fame when in 1971 he had himself chained and locked in a box, which was then thrown into the sea, off the Gateway of India in Mumbai. He emerged out of the water unharmed in 15 seconds flat, bounding straight into the abounding magical lore in the country.

The bug struck when he was in class II in a little place, Baliya in Uttar Pradesh. “The very first tricks I performed were changing a piece of paper into a currency note through a machine I had made and joining up pieces of cut up rope.” He never looked back and in 1971 after his boxed up feat in Mumbai, he started holding commercial shows popularising his brand of magic.

It is a mini industry he runs. Apart from educating his son, Satyaprakash Sharma into the art (that includes renaming him O. P. Sharma junior although he prefers to refer to himself as Abhimanya, learning the craft from the time of his conception!), Sharma Sr. has dozens of truckloads of gimmicks, props, sound equipment and lights, an up and coming magic academy, Maya Mahal in Kanpur, an office with a library, workshop and a fully equipped research staff that keeps him updated on new magical innovations from around the world.

Magic does not come from ghostly beliefs and superstitions he insists, instead they are “illusion shows, an art to fool the eyes, a combination of science and technology. The trick is to perform the act faster than an eye can comprehend, then it appears like magic.”

Next on target is the fabled Indian rope trick which first finds mention during Mughal Emperor Jehangir’s reign and which despite several efforts over the years has never been successfully done by any magician. “We are not only ready with the trick we are also going to present it to the International Brotherhood of Magicians in the USA at their next meeting,” affirms Sharma Sr. An act he says took his son and him more than 15 years to perfect. The trick: throwing a rope up in the air and climbing up into thin air and disappearing at the point at which the eye can see no longer. Perhaps Jack and Beanstalk inspired this one!

Monsoon makeovers

Finally the arrival of rain Gods has offered some respite from the scorching sun. Whilst chefs of the household may be busy dishing out ‘kheer-pura’ and ‘pakoras’, let’s throw open the windows and bring life back into the home.

The monsoons are the perfect time to incorporate a seasonal touch to your interiors. Enjoy the fragrance of ‘rajnigandha’ mingled with the smell of the earth immediately after the fresh rains. Let the bright colors or fresh flowers counter the grey skies and create a welcoming look.

The appeal of monsoons is that entertaining can be casual, yet infused with elegance and style. Savour that steaming cuppa with a roasted ‘bhutta’ whilst you have your feet up on the matching ottoman of your Rattan Queen Anne Chair.

Think light and airy when preparing your home for the monsoons. This is the season to create a habber-dashry feel in your non-formal areas. Opt for light colored pieces of furniture paired with bright accessories. Given the short duration of rains, it’s not necessary to follow a theme strictly to brighten up the dreary dark days. Potential ideas include floral, country, nautical or tropical. However, be as unpredictable as the weather, but as soothing as the pittar patter of the rain!

Hang full length transparent bright coloured raincoats on hangers from your window grills instead of sheers. Use children’s bright umbrellas as light shades. Hang them upside-down to throw colourful light across the floor of your patio. Get rid of the rugs unless they are cotton or natural fibres.

An umbrella and coat hanger with shelves to keep freshly laundered towels, is an immensely indispensable piece of accessory furniture to keep in your front porch. Those colourful and inflated seats would look perfect in children’s rooms whilst nothing beats white painted cane chairs in the safety of your verandah to check on who’s enjoying the rain out on the road.

Do some restyling around the house. Replace dark colors with lighter, brighter ones. Light window drapes and bed spreads are pleasant to look at and practically easier to wash and dry. A wicker table and chairs can replace heavier, darker pieces, and dark accessories, heavy drapes and velvet pillows, should be substituted with light-colored ones to help create a cheery color scheme.

When planning for an evening with friends, greet guests with a mix of bright-colored place settings on a plain, white tablecloth. Put fruits with basket of fresh cheese baguettes and corn for dining table centre piece. Flickering candles on the tables in a dark room will embalm many a heart on a rainy evening.

Revive your home by tossing out old, brown plants and bringing in fresh new ones. Place fresh flowers in the guest bedroom or as a centerpiece on a table to brighten up a room. Place the bouquet in a simple crystal vase to let the flowers’ color stand out.

Swap heavy drapes for light, airy ones that can blow in the breeze on a summer day. Painting rooms in pale yellows, greens and blues will be perfect but usually avoided in the monsoon weeks. Just hang chiffon sarees or lightly embroided duppatas on the walls in light wooden frames.

Use natural twigs or bamboos for framing if you wish. Add white wherever possible to open up a room. Lighten up wooden bookshelves by covering each shelf with bright white paper. Accent the white shelves with a colorful bowl or picture frame. Place scented candles throughout the bedroom or bathroom to add a breezy, freshness to the room.

Change the smell, the colour, the look and the feel of the home to create a tranquil atmosphere for those rainy times. Courtsey: A.P. Singh Besten & Co.

CAMPUS CAFE
Fair winds of change

The last established wall of yet another male bastion has crumbled. Much to the astonishment — and of course amusement — of the old-timers living life on the hard track of realism, Sector 10 D.A.V. College has now a “fair” number of girl students. Right guys, much more than you could have hoped for five years ago.

Traditionally a boys’ college, the gender tag has become a misnomer. After opening its gates for girls in B.Sc medical and non-medical streams way back in 2004, the college now accommodates “moderately good” number of girl students in so many other graduate and post-graduate courses. And their presence has brought about a positive transformation, needless to say.

A different look

Go to the college in the mornings and you will find it all so different from what it used to be a decade ago. Oh, yes, when the original songs were more popular than their remix versions.

Right folks, you will hardly find guys sitting on the scooters and bikes around the college grounds cracking loud jokes and laughing plainly.

The generation next of the college is indeed much more refined and polite. You can safely say the change has been brought about by all those damsels carrying manners, along with the books, daily to the college campus.

In fact, seeing them there talking to each other reminds ex-student-cum-Army officer Neeraj Gupta (name changed to protect identity) of the mid-80s. “Those were the days when even the road meandering its way through the male ego before passing in front of the college was practically out of bounds for girls,” he asserts with a smile.

Changed complexion

Well, the presence of so many blooming faces in and around the college has also changed the complexion of the Sector 10 market. “Just trot down the dingy corridors of life in the arcade and you will find less number of guys blowing their free time away in smoke,” says first-year college student Raman Sharma (name changed). “Look around and you will see so many young pals exchanging more than just notes and books”.

No wonder, the arcade is climbing up the popularity charts, steadily. “You will be pleasantly surprised to know that students from all over the city, including young Sector 11, are now converging in for a taste of excitement in the restaurants and quick food joints in the market,” smiles Raman. “The area after all these years is once more blinking on the geri route map”.

So guys, what are you waiting for? Just hop on your bike now. And ride down the road leading to the Sector 10 market. See how it is swept daily by the winds of change steadily covering the conformist past under the dust of time. Happy cruising! — Saurabh Malik

Mammik: A true Mumbaikar

His enthusiasm and energy are reflected in his acting. His macho, matinee idol looks are the result of his long experience in silver screen and small screen. When one talks to ‘ Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar’ and ‘Kya Kehna’ fame Mammik, the gentle, soft-spoken actor is remembered for his acting skill. That is one reason he has been selected to play the character of Sameer in Sahara One’s “Suno Har Dil Kuch Kehta Hai”, while talking about his character Mammik discuss about his role in the serial and about his 20 years experience in Mumbai .He is already thinking ahead. And he promises to keep the surprises coming.

Be it comedy, drama, romance or action, Mammik has proved his voracious acting talent in a varied gamut of genres. Mammik shares his strengths and opportunities about the character Sameer that the viewers are going to see him as.

Which part of the country do you hail from? Do you miss your native place? How have you or Mumbai adapted you?

I am basically a North Indian. From Bangalore too be precise. But I have been in Mumbai fort he past 20 years and so now I am a Mumbaikar for sure. I do at times miss Bangalore, but then Mumbai is the city of dreams, my dreams and I am fulfilling them here. With passion and enjoyment my work defines me and overall I am happy to be here.

How different is the silver screen from Bollywood, in terms of professionalism, traits and functioning?

Well a lot. Both of them have their own pros and cons. The industry is definitely vast and meant for mass production, thus loads of professionalism and quality standards. At the same time, the silver screen in terms of reach is more popular and accessible source of entertainment. But it has only grown over the past years and thus is becoming more sophisticated and quality oriented.

How did Sameer happen?

The producer of Sunno… happens to be a good friend. He had a change in mind and saw me fit the character. Thus Sameer happened.

How similar or dissimilar is Sameer from Mammik?

Well a lot, the character is a challenge to me as the personality traits and point of view is completely different. But I see it as a challenge. Being a professional, I enjoy such challenges and time and again try to go that extra mile and achieve that potential, which also serves as a source of motivation to me.

A few lines for your viewers and what can they expect from Sunno in future?

The audience has always appreciated and received me well in my films and other TV entertainment projects. I ask my viewers for the same love and affection in future

— DP

FILM & FASHION
Honeymoon hangover

Nicole KidmanIs it the honeymoon hangover or is she genuinely hurt? Newly wed Nicole Kidman left the guests bemused at a Hollywood party when she appeared with a deeply bruised left leg.

According to the Mirror, Kidman, who was wearing a beige dress and was looking even curvier, had made no efforts to cover the leg, thereafter sparking speculation that she and Urban had had a rather remarkable time on their honeymoon.

The celebrity couple had gone for a secluded honeymoon on the golden sands of the South Pacific.

Doherty for addiction free life

Babyshables frontman Pete Doherty had revealed that he ruined his rehab stint in a Portugese clinic when he yet again consumed heroin.

“I went to Portugal to detox and got clean ready for the implant. Things just kept going wrong with the implant, it was like, some public holiday, then customs cut it open”, the Mirror quoted him, as telling NME.

“After Sweden, it was so bad I had to have a nasty, dirty old hit as soon as we got back to London.

He has now reportedly pulled out of the July 26th Ibiza Rocks bash to have an opiate-suppressive implant fitted in an effort to bid adieu to his drug addiction.

Doherty further said that he is now seriously working towards kicking his addiction, and is looking forward to an addiction free life.

Cage in sense deprivation tank

Academy award winner Nicolas Cage claims that he spent numerous hours in a sense deprivation tank in order to go through the same experience that his character had to go through in his up coming movie World Trade Centre.

The movie, being directed by Academy Award winning director Oliver Stone tells the true story of the heroic survival and rescue of two Port Authority policemen John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, who were trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001, after they went in to help people escape.

Cage, who plays Mcloughlin’s character in the movie said, “I focused on getting Mr MCLoughlin’s New York accent right.” “I spent time in a sense deprivation tank to get a hint of the fear and claustrophobia one might experience after hours immobile and in pain in the dark. I also spent some time with MCLoughlin and his family,” Contactmusic quoted him as saying.

The film also follows their families as they try to find out what happened to them, as well as the rescuers who found them in the debris field and pulled them out.

Chris bags Casino Royales theme tune

Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell is reportedly going to record the theme tune for Daniel Craig starrer James Bond flick Casino Royale.

The singer is said to have informed Finnish tabloid Ilta-Sanomat about his plans of joining the league of pop stars as Madonna, Garbage and Sheryl Crow in recording a song for the fifth installment to the 007 movie.

“I have seen several clips of the film and it’s amazing, “Contactmusic quoted Cornell, who used to be frontman for Soundgarden, as saying.

It would be the first time in nearly 20 years a man has recorded the tune. The last male act to perform a 007 song was A-HA in 1987 with The Living Daylights.

Janet to tie the knot

Rumours are rife that singer Janet Jackson is planning to walk the aisle with her rap mogul beau Jeramine Dupri on September 26 this year.

The couple sparked speculation after Dupri was overheard at the ESPY awards, telling his friends about the planned nuptials earlier this month.

But Jackson denied to any fixed marriage plans, and said that though Dupri has proposed to her, no definite date has been finalised.

“That’s what he says... I don’t know. If it’s meant to happen, it will happen”, Contactmusic quoted her, as telling a Choice FM reporter in an interview.

The Black Dahlia vies for the Golden Lion

Lost In Translation star Scarlett Johansson’s latest flick The Black Dahlia is to open the Venice Film Festival.

The thriller is based on LA Confidential writer James Ellroy’s novel, inspired by a real-life murder of an actress in 1940s Los Angeles.

The film also stars Josh Hartnett, Hilary Swank and Aaron Eckhart. It will be among those vying for the Golden Lion award.

The 63rd annual festival runs from 30 August to 9 September.

The Black Dahlia was the nickname given to actress Elizabeth Short following her brutal murder in 1947.

NEW RELEASES
Vishal recreates Othello this time

Another much-hyped director to look out for this week is Vishal Bhardwaj who had made a great impression with ‘Makdee’ and ‘Maqbool’. Vishal’s work was appreciated for his deftness in storytelling in ‘Makdee’ and ‘Maqbool’. His ‘Maqbool’ has got the kind of acclaim few films have enjoyed in recent times.

The most anticipated movie ‘Omkara’ will hit the theatres today all over India. This one is Vishal’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic ‘Othello’, a play that has been made four times in Hollywood. After remaking Macbeth (Maqbool), Vishal Bhardwaj is ready to take centre stage with ‘ Omkara’, that opens today at Piccadilly, Chandigarh and Fun Republic, Manimajra. Omkara stars popular actors like Ajay Devgan, Kareena Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Vivek Oberoi, national award winning actress Konkana Sen Sharma and Saif Ali Khan. Naseeruddin Shah also plays an important character.

After a lot of passionate debate, the title of Vishal Bhardwaj’s film has been decided through a poll. Kumar Mangat has produced this film. The promos have already created a curiosity among the audiences.

Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan and Bipasha Basu are excited about with the story telling style of Vishal Bhardwaj. He has also composed the music for ‘OMKARA’. The film is riding squarely on the shoulders of this promising director. — D.P.

Art for art’s sake
Gayatri Rajwade

Art for art’s sake is this young girl’s enthused mantra. “I just want to bring my art to everyone’s notice, that is all,” smiles 19-year-old Shweta Sanawar whose solo exhibition is up for a dekko in the city.

Abundant visuals exploring diverse mediums celebrate this young artist’s creative journey.

From dining décor—juicy red melons in oil pastels, cut fruit and bulbs against a backdrop of olive green and brown, a spry orange jug with luscious grapes ripe for the picking in a realistic relief in paper mache—to oils bursting forth in blossom with a riot of sweet pink flowers scattered around a tree also in relief, peachy white flowers in soft water-colours to tribal art on rich earthy tones of rosy red and sunflower yellow, the works span a gamut of styles, forms and mediums.

Murals of faces mounted on bamboo frames interspersed with Plaster of Paris and then tinted to a fine bronze shade, a charming landscape in zinc white and Fevicol that comes alive through subtle textures, the hues of autumn vibrant in this verdant representation, the reflection on the water, the little wooden bridge all looking appealing enough to seep into.

An interesting work using Plaster of Paris, M-seal and clay is one of an embracing couple near a door in lovely copper and earth tones with flowers made of macaroni on one side, depicting their joy.

Even Shweta’s mirrors with the frames made from ply and clay, shells and stone chips and marbles are fun. Replicating an aquarium, her mirror has her fishes smiling in glee entwined around waving watery ferns, blue bubbles and lively undergrowth in an aqua world made enchanting with shells.

Art for this second-year student of sculpture at the Government College of Art, Sector 10, has been a constant companion since she was a child but it was not easy to find a creative outlet in her hometown in Singahi on the Uttar Pradesh and Nepal border with no formal training possible there.

It was only six years ago when her family moved to Panchkula that she found a teacher in Ram Kumar Sharma at the Bama Academy of Fine Arts. “He taught me the right techniques, how to sketch, faces and proportions,” she explains.

Despite working through such a wide range of forms, oil colours remains a favourite but she believes studying and playing with different mediums was the only way to understand the various nuances of art. “Why do people say this field or that medium has no scope? One should concentrate on ones’ own work and getting that right,” she insists defending her own choice of specialising in sculpture over painting. After all, exploration is the key.

The exhibition is on at the Indusind Bank Art Gallery till July 31 at SCO 53-54, Sector 8-C, Madhya Marg from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm

Memory magic
Gayatri Rajwade

Krishan ChahalIt is the funny, the ridiculous and the innocuous images that are the real memory binders—now that’s a lark, is it not? No laughing matter this actually, when you realise that Karnal-based Krishan Chahal has set an amazing record recalling the mathematical constant ‘pi’ up to 43,000 digits after the decimal point from memory alone!

This is not all. The feat which was carried out in front of the Limca Book of Records officials in Delhi on June 19 this year was done without a single error and recited in five hours and 21 minutes breaking Japanese Hiroyuki Goto’s Guinness Book record for the same at 42, 195 digits!

Considered to be the great challenge for the human mind because of the cent percent accuracy required, Chahal says it was difficult but not impossible. “I used a grid method which I have invented. In this method not only do I associate two successive pieces of information to each other, they are also associated with other random numbers in the middle of the sequence. To all this I attach a correlation to the five senses of hearing, seeing, touch, taste, smell and feeling.”

He insists his memory is no greater than anyone else’s. “There are no quick results. My memory is as ordinary or normal as the man next to me. But I have worked a great deal on hypnotism and mnemonics and have done a lot of meditation and yoga. It is peace of mind which helps in the overall increase in memory power,” he claims.

All this started in the year 2002 when after graduating in mechanical engineering he decided to do something different. With a keen interest in mind research he decided to pursue a Masters degree in Psychology to continue researching the memory coupling it with a certificate in Food and Nutrition to accelerate his study.

The first record he tried out was on March 1, 2004, where he recited the order of a pack of 52 playing cards, well shuffled, in 85 seconds.

On March 13, 2006, he managed to recite 32,000 digits after the decimal point of ‘pi’ or the value 3.141, setting a national record.

In June this year, he broke the world record, which has been in existence since 1995 when Goto set it.

So how does it all work? Think Bulgaria and its capital Sophia. Chahal recalls these using the visual “bull gir gaya ek sofe par (the bull fell on a sofa!). “Think of the visual, is it not funny? Will you not remember it then?” he asks.

The example is given, simply because, apart from setting records, Chahal also wants to spread his memory techniques amongst students for which he has set up the Mastermind Global training organisation which conducts memory improvement workshops all over. This is no mathematics, he tells us. “The difference is between a trained and an untrained memory. I have a trained memory.”

Chahal believes memorising is an art quite like learning how to swim or paint or even drive. Get your swimming gear out. We may just learn how to swim this season if we put our minds and memory to it!

All for charity
Navneet Kaur Hundal and Rachna Nehria

Charity begins at Hotel Aroma.
Charity begins at Hotel Aroma. — Photo by Parvesh Chauhan

‘Pause for a cause’ is a small attempt by Ms Madhu, Concern India Foundation, Delhi. Delhi landed in Chandigarh with gigantic varieties. The Monsoon Verve is organised to lend a helping hand to helpless people with a display of women attire. A three-day-long exhibition is being held in The Aroma Premium, Sec 22-C. People from different places have come to have a look at the exhibits— handloom suits, saries, accessories and fine things with kundan work and tiles inlay on wood etc.

The 18 stalls showcase the items. The entrance welcomes with Yuvraj’s designed zardozi lehnga. “Swarvskhi, the best among all the studs, is embedded here. This adds to the beauty,” says Yuvraj. He has even designed silk ties and men’s shirts. Ms Rohini shows her fusion wear by experimenting with all fabrics. She has designed attractive tunics and tube-top tunics for women. The shrugs add glamour to the beauty.

Ms Kamini Tankha’s stall shows the wonders she has worked out. She is more worried about dying traditions. To keep it alive, she has incorporated the embroidery differently—am amalgamation of modern with the traditional. She has kundan and zardozi embroidery on brocade. Ms Ruchi’s ethnic bags using chattaies are worth a look. Beautiful wallets with batik prints and other handicraft accessories are appreciable. And everything comes at a reasonable price. The block prints and screen prints are also in abundance.

Ms Usha Pasi from Ahmedabad has pure cotton suits at a reasonable rate. Mr M. Rashid specialised outfits in Mussoria Kota and Doria has added attraction to the show. Ojjas with fabulous suits and Akhilesh with machine made bed linen are appealing.

Shibori is really doing well. She says, “We are the only one in the country with such art.” She employs village women for the work. This is how the village women can earn livelihood. Mr Pradeep from Bihar deals in hand-made variety of silk.

Ms Reshmi Dey is specialized in Studio Glass. Amazing colours of vases and other adornment pieces in different shapes and sizes are embellished with chemical colours. They are all too eye-catching. Mr Iftekhar from MP, Mr Tambray from Kolkata, Mr Muzaid Ali and Ms Surinder Gill from Delhi have various items. Ms Vinita Gupta’s Pintuck and Dhagai embroidery is highlighted with machine and handwork.

Ms Minakshi’s block printed suits and jewellery are amazing. Ms Nandini deals in silver coins and semi precious stones with brass.

Ms Chetna with ‘Chitih’ title compacts with semi precious stones and beads. Mind boggling strings and marvellous bracelets leave us confusing. Chandler-like earrings and delimited with striking studs make one looks gorgeous. The tumbles and large oval-beaded necklaces are astonishing. Ms Chetna said, “ I can change the silver into gold on request, which adds to splendour”.

Small is beautiful
Chitleen K. Sethi

Dr Davinderpal Singh Sehgal passing one of his miniature kites through the eye of a sewing needle.
Dr Davinderpal Singh Sehgal passing one of his miniature kites through the eye of a sewing needle. — Photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Dr Devinderpal Singh Sehgal, a Mohali-based forensic expert whose peculiar hobby of creating the smallest kites in the world has fetched him numerous awards and recognitions, is in the news once again. Adding another feather to his cap is the upcoming trip to participate in an international games event to be held in Germany.

“Other than the world’s smallest kites I have also created many innovative educational kites which have fetched many International awards. I believe that I have skillfully succeeded in reviving this dying art of Panjab,” he says.

Dr Sehgal figures in the Limca Book of Records and also got the Panjab State Award in 2003 for making fancy kites on environment protection. Earlier, he had been awarded a diploma by the authorities of Impossibility Challenger Games, Germany. He has also been awarded by Drachen Foundation, Seattle, Washington, for miniature kites. “I am aiming to get my name in the Guinness Book of World Records for which I work on miniature kites trying to reduce their size even further. The main challenge is to ensure that the miniature kite also flies,” says Dr Sehgal.

The smallest kite that Dr Sehgal has made is sized 1.50 by 1.65 mm. “And it can be tied to thread and flown. Also there are a host of fancy kites in all shapes and sizes which carry a social message,” he said.

Dr Sehgal has now been invited by the International Impossibility Challenger Games, Germany, for participation and representing India. “I am looking for sponsors now since with a government job it is impossible to go for such trips. I would be exhibiting the various kites he has made, including the ones, which carry social messages in Germany.

A legend in the making
S. D. Sharma

Harwinder Kumar Sharma“With the prevailing craze for glamour, limelight and crave for money, artists have prospered much more than the ‘art’ itself,” professor Harwinder Kumar Sharma, undeniably the most accomplished Sitar virtuosos of the region.

The foremost disciple of legendary Sitar wizard, Padmabhushan Ustad Vilayat Khan Saheb, a patriarch of Imdadkhahni gharana, Harwinder has scaled new horizons of eminence at both national and international level.

But the irony is that the performer backed with an experience of teaching music for 28 years in government colleges, honoured with prestigious awards, including the Surmani award and an ‘A’ grade of All-India Radio and Doordarshan since 1979, is the better admired in other states than his own region. A post-graduate in Instrumental and vocal music Harwinder merited for gold medal in Sangeet Bhasker.

Gifted with musical veins, Harwinder was brought up in the company of musical instruments and the soulful strains of sitar. He imbibed the rudiments of sitar from his father Megh Raj Sharma before going in for advanced training under Prof. Jitender Kumar and Dr R.D. Verma which eventually enabled him to seek the blessed tutelage of Ustad Vilayat Khan Saheb. Harwinder was thrilled at his dream coming true and to be the elite Shagirad like Sujat Khan, Zile Khan and others, realising little about the strenuous riyaz with its rigid codes.

“The special riyaz session under the care of Ustadji at his Dehradoon residence, was scheduled between 10.00 pm till 4.00 am besides the routine homework. We revered Ustadji as a celestial musician and an institution unto himself who propounded Indian classical music as a holy mission,” says Harwinder.

A strong proponent of Guru-Shishya Parampora, Harwinder, without prejudice, maintains that the very concept of the tradition has suffered a substantial change, especially in the academic level. The music students take only the passing interest in view of the limited patronage and opportunities of a career in classical music and the comparative demanding sadhna in this realm of art. Surprisingly, there is no full-fledged regular radio station or Doordarshan in the City Beautiful. However, the promotion of classical arts by Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi, Triveni Sangeet Sabha, Indian National Theatre and others seem to be a redeeming perspective.

On his four years long teaching and performing experience in Russia at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Centre in Moscow and the alien lands Harwinder rates his disciples as disciplined and dedicated while the audience is hardly inquisitive. However, they are the most receptive but the lofty clapping or adulation, the Indian listeners bestow on a performer is really rejuvenating.

YOUTH SPEAK
Why go abroad?

If you ask a student what is his or her future plan, most of the time the answer is that he or she would like to go abroad. The reason is money and glamour. Not only students but also middle-aged people want to find a future, which is bright and rosy in the foreign shores.

The common grievance is, “We are not paid sufficiently.” A B.Ed teacher of Ambala complaints, “ I have not been paid my salary since the past three months.” Ms Monika, an institute owner says, “I opted to have my own institute instead of relying upon any private organisation or any government job, as I know how people toil to overcome the plight, even when not paid enough.

People have a low opinion regarding payments in India. They want to come of the delusion. Weak government system is blamed for it. They want to come out of this dismal and dilly-dallying situation as they feel it as a noose. Citizens, unfortunately, see their bright future in abroad instead of India. So the situation today is, most of the Indians are moving abroad. Working hard is not a big deal for Indians but they want to paid for it.

It is not that they don’t love India but it is that they don’t like the systems being followed regarding payments in India.

Not only the government sector but the private sector too has failed to meet their expectation. It is the dream of earning, and earning with respectability, that has fuelled their dreams.

Navneet Kaur Hundal

Health tip of the day

Prolonged bed rest in acute low back pain can lead to more pain and loss in strength for physical activities when compared to people who stay active. — Dr. Ravinder Chadha

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

ARIES: ARIES: “The Princes Of Cups” offer you an opportunity to make new beginnings. You’ll succeed in convincing even those people who are most stubbornly opposed to you. Visitors may arrive  without any notice on Sunday. Love and friendship are a major support. Watch your diet during social occasions. Lucky colour: Sea green. TIP OF THE WEEK: Don’t reveal your plans to anyone as people may try to beat you to your targets.

LIBRA: “The Chariot” drawn by four sphinxes brings light into darkness. Restless? Take a break out indulge a sporty activity. A need for support, a sense of security and continuity is accented now. Try and explain your issues to loved ones to avoid any misunderstandings. Lucky Colour: Red. TIP OF THE WEEK: Outline your goals ahead of time then make a plan for achieving them.

TAURUS: “The Moon” brings light into darkness. Progressive changes are on the cards.  Loved ones will be openly critical of new friendships or social triangles. If you have been considering a job overseas, then this seems to be a favorable period to send your resumes.  Lucky colour: Ebony.  TIP OF THE WEEK: You shall prevent a lot of trouble by taking timely action.

SCORPIO: “The Ace of Swords” invoke mental power to achieve professional goals. Keep an eye open for a financial disagreement on Monday. Your motivation to work for the benefit of all concerned could result in major financial gain. A Libra person influences your decision and moves. Lucky colour:  Pink. TIP OF THE WEEK: You have well-wishers around at the time who will give you sound advice.

GEMINI: You make an impact and shine like “The Star” as you are seen, noted and heard. Allow others the necessary amount of time for venting or emotional discussion. On Monday avoid a financial debate with loved ones. A Taurean friend is positive and supportive. Meditation and spend time in natural surroundings to rejuvenate your energy.  Lucky colour: Brown. TIP OF THE WEEK: Use your instinct to get into the top circle of power.

SAGITTARIUS: “Nine Golden Cups” greets you happiness. Your heart centre is now open for healing, loving and sharing. Connect with people who are involved in the arts, music and poetry may play a significant role at this time. You may feel drawn into someone else’s drama on Wednesday. Lucky colour:  Red. TIP OF THE WEEK: Rather worrying; infuse your efforts into decisive action and professional achievements.

CANCER: “The Priestess” ushers in a pure, exalted and gracious influence in this week. Spread your wings be free and take a quantum leap. Visitors and houseguests can be expected on Wednesday. A Libra person is unable to make a commitment ; don’t depend on him. Lucky colour: Rusty red. TIP OF THE WEEK: There is price to pay for over indulgence. Emphasis on spiritual needs.

CAPRICORN: “The Magician” conjures up some travel and business opportunities. There will be hectic activity at work on Monday. A residence or office is redecorated to infuse fresh energy. Try and study all aspects of the situation before making any commitments on Tuesday. Be gentle and caring when expressing hard truths of life. Lucky colour:  Crimson. TIP OF THE WEEK:  Extend your circle of friends as people are your best bet against a hostile situation at work.

LEO: “Ten of pentacles” bode extremely well for relationship and romance. You have to attend more duties at work place. Your inner light and wisdom shine but you repress your vitality while trying to meet demands of others. Put your relationship on a new and more intimate basis. Lucky colour: black. TIP OF THE WEEK: Dare to accomplish even those tasks, which normally take up a lot of time.

AQUARIUS: “The Universe” opens up new horizons in career and personal relationship. Be light, playful and remain free. A romantic relationship needs to be reinforced with tender loving care. A Taurus person supports you emotionally  and financially. Give yourself a new fitness routine to rejuvenate energy. Lucky colour: Burgundy. TIP OF THE WEEK: Don’t  involve yourself in more than one activity at one time.

VIRGO: “ The Emperor” gets you in touch with your leadership qualities. Your mind will be very alert, clear and quick, enabling you to find immediate solutions to the problems that may arise. Keep other people’s secret well guarded with you. Meditate to taste your inner bliss and silence.  Lucky Colour: Sea green. TIP OF THE WEEK: With clients cause a breakthrough in a relationship; not a break-up.

PISCES: The Prince of Pentacles” infuses financial stability. Be honest with yourself before getting involved with someone. Try not to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Someone you care about may not be too pleased with you. Be prompt with your work as you are inclined to take it a little easy. Check your diet chart. Lucky colour:  White. TIP OF THE WEEK:  Remember; your inner voice is your best friend at home.

 




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