CHANDIGARH INDEX


Scene from Bade Bhai Saheb. Let’s eat, let’s go to theatre

NOBODY came by scooters, few by Maruti 800s and a majority by latest luxury cars, limousines and red light-fitted government vehicles. They all looked well-fed, well-dressed and well-endowed. None of them approximated a starving person. So, it was a surprise when three young girls came and sat to the right of us. They were representative of the gathering at Tagore Theatre watching Naseeruddin Shah’s “Katha Collage” on Thursday evening – rich, upwardly mobile and wielders of the latest gizmos. The moment the first of the trilogy of plays began, the girls began munching Kurkure, a packaged snack, popular among the young and not so old. It is spicy and has virtually zero food value. What bothered us was the crackling sound the munching of Kurkure made.


Scene from Bade Bhai Saheb. — Photo by Manoj Mahajan

Photo by Parvesh ChauhanTale of a T-shirt
If you have it, flaunt it and we mean the attitude! Imagine your whole stance is out there waiting to be picked, for nobody tells it quite like a T! Cheers to the t-shirt for the right one can wire out statistics galore on you. Apart from the obvious dimensions, your cultural affinities, what’s on your iPod, your witticism and even your age (the slang, it’s a dead giveaway!) is on parade! What is more, this is one fashion statement that never seems to go out of style, so do not scoff at this ubiquitous garment as mere or simple.

Teachers assessed
“Examinations end with school and education with life.” Like all other things in life under the sun, even this statement has a contradiction –“Life is an examination.” and the Punjab Engineering College professors can answer, why? After assessing thousands of students all their life, now it’s their turn to face the tune. What more, their assessment is being done by none other than their students. After all they are the ones who know them best.

COOL STUFF
Shoe tree is here now
LLOYD, a strategic retail marketing venture of Tata International and Europe’s top lifestyle footwear brand as part of an aggressive marketing and distribution strategy will now be available at high-end speciality stores and multi branded outlets across the country. As part of this foray, Lloyd footwear will be available at the Gabbana, Shoe Tree, Inc.5, Rocia and Regal retail outlets. The multi branded outlets will now retail Lloyd footwear through their network of outlets in the cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh.

Romancing the ramp
All of 20, with the ramp (if not the world, as yet) at his feet, Raj Chauhan is all smiles at the thought of his first ramp appearance. True, this 6 footer is no longer unnerved by the cameras and flashlights staring at his face. But that was the time when facing a live audience had him in jitters! Today, however, striding down the ramp is no walking the tightrope. Rather it’s a cakewalk, a passport to his dreams.

Where is the party?
Film-maker Sunil Babbar is back and tailing him are several dozen aspirations! To put it more clearly, Babbar announced the launch of his new Hindi film The Party today and is scouting around for as many as 80 fresh faces, young lads and ladies, from this region to feature in the film.

The big bang
Forget all about mouth refreshers and pan masalas, go in for chewing gums. Some of the gums bubbling in the city markets are actually good for health, says Saurabh Malik
Bubble gums are back with a bang. And if you think the residents are chewing just peppermint and clove gums instead of pan masalas and tobacco, eat this: Sugar-free gums are adding sweetness to the lives of so many people across the city.

Sinfully sweet
Deliciously audacious and mouth-wateringly delectable sin has a new destination—the midnight dessert carnival at Café 17 at the Taj Chandigarh in Sector 17. Here is where pure indulgence blends creamily with choices galore from hot puddings to cold settings, from gooey chocolate delights to egg-less, low cal, low fat selections.

A whiff of USA
Nischal Anand Singh, the city resident selected to represent India as a part of a five-member group study exchange delegation from Rotary District 3080 India, is back from the USA. And he brings along a whiff of a different world. “I always wanted to meet new people, know about their culture and traditions be a part of their household and for me it was dream come true,” he says.

An ode to Odissi
“Of all art forms, dance is most attuned to the infinite, having its essence in the nature itself,” says Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, the doyen of Odissi dance. The worst eclipse of Indian classical arts came with the Mughal invasion and the consequent foreign cultural aggression led to the neglect of our traditional arts resulting in a love of alien cultures to the detriment of our own, he lamented.

Sour vs sweet
In this world of highly priced items, how can one afford to pay more for food but it is a necessity. I can remember the day when I was strolling around with my friend on a fine cloudy day and doing some window-shopping. Though we were munching popcorns but it did not satisfy our hunger instead it aggravated our thirst. We were looking for something, which would quench our thirst and also gratify our taste buds.

Go mushy over mushrooms
Mushrooms are very popular among the Chandigarh population. If you have doubt, then ask Rohit Gaveri, Manager, Peshawari. “Mushrooms are very popular among our customers,” he says. Mushrooms are available through out the year. Their supply and demand is consistent. But during the marriage season their demand goes up and the prices go up in summers. “Button mushrooms are most popular throughout the year. But during the marriage season oyster, black and chine’s mushrooms are also in demand,” he adds.

Bidding for luck
Plush leather sofa set in pristine white with arms carved out of glistering teak at one fourth the original price; an array of side tables with intricate carvings at 90 per cent discount; and blooming bed sheets in broad floral prints at throwaway price — its sheer luck to the highest bidder.

FILM & FASHION
Travolta’s brotherly act
Director Gurinder Chadha found actor John Travolta such a big help on their upcoming movie Dallas that she has elevated him to the status of her “big brother”.








Let’s eat, let’s go to theatre
A.J. Philip

Scene from Sankraman.
Food for thought: Scene from Sankraman. — Photo by Manoj Mahajan

NOBODY came by scooters, few by Maruti 800s and a majority by latest luxury cars, limousines and red light-fitted government vehicles. They all looked well-fed, well-dressed and well-endowed. None of them approximated a starving person.

So, it was a surprise when three young girls came and sat to the right of us. They were representative of the gathering at Tagore Theatre watching Naseeruddin Shah’s “Katha Collage” on Thursday evening – rich, upwardly mobile and wielders of the latest gizmos.

The moment the first of the trilogy of plays began, the girls began munching Kurkure, a packaged snack, popular among the young and not so old. It is spicy and has virtually zero food value.

What bothered us was the crackling sound the munching of Kurkure made. Even the cover made a rustling sound when it was handled. Trying as we were to follow not just the dialogue but the nuances in the acting of Naseeruddin Shah’s son Imaaduddin Shah in the first of the plays, “Bade Bhai Saheb”, with our limited knowledge of Hindi, the Kurkure-eating was indeed annoying.

We wished the announcer had advised the assembled against eating Kurkure or other kinds of snacks while the play was on just as he did so on the use of mobile phones. We could only fret and fume as the girls had an endless stock of Kurkure.

“Could they have brought it from home? Did they not have their lunch? Did they come to eat or to watch the play?” These were questions that nagged us while our neighbours supremely enjoyed munching Kurkure.

Then the youngman, who was accompanied by an elderly lady who sat to the left of us, took out his Nokia Communicator, flipped it open to check his e-mails. To be fair to him, the instrument was on silent mode and even when he punched the keys, it made no sound to distract me from “Bade Bhai Saheb”.

It was apparent that he wanted to show off his acquisition. He was busy drafting a letter when Jameel Khan, the “Bade Bhai”, was wondering why the Brits were so short of names that they called their kings Henry I to Henry VIII.

Little did the gentleman know that his Communicator distracted at least this writer as its screen had vivid colours and emitted a lot of light in the darkness around.

Less than an hour later it was interval time. Nearly half the people rushed out. “Did they get so tired sitting for one hour?” There was no clue. Soon they began trooping back. Each of them brought several packets of Kurkure and “Lays” for themselves and their “dear and near ones”. Some of them had also brought glasses of Coke and other aerated drinks. “Could they not drink it outside the hall and avoid the risk of spilling it on others?” That was just a thought that did not seem to bother anyone.

Our neighbours had also gone out to replenish their stock of Kurkure. So by the time the much-awaited “Sankraman”, the third play in which thespian Naseeruddin Shah played the role of a senile, old father began we could hear only the kur-kur of Kurkure. All around, people were munching the irritating stuff.

Just then the Nokia Communicator man returned to his seat clutching proudly what I would call the “owner’s pride, neighbour’s envy”. He seemed to be very sad as he loudly told his elderly companion, “Sorry, I could not get coffee for you as it was exhausted”. The lady consoled him, “Don’t worry. It’s all right”.

I had no idea whether it was the urge to have coffee or something else that made the two to leave the hall even before Naseeruddin Shah was reduced to a photograph on the wall of his house. They were not alone.

Some others also followed them, even before the curtain finally fell. Surely, they were not rushing to catch the last bus. Could they not have known that the show would last two hours and they disturbed others when they got up and left before the play ended?

On a more profound level, gluttony is considered a sin. Eating Kurkure in Tagore Theatre when a play is on is even more sinful. After all, going to a theatre is not the same as going to a restaurant. Alas, in Chandigarh the dividing line between the two is so thin that it is almost indistinguishable.

Tale of a T-shirt
Gayatri Rajwade

THE ORIGIN

The idea of the t-shirt came during World War I, when US soldiers noticed the light cotton undershirts European soldiers were using while the US soldiers sweated it out in their wool uniforms.

During World War II, the t-shirt became standard issue to wear under the uniform in both the US Army and Navy. Soldiers often used it without a shirt and as an example the cover of the July 12, 1942 issue of Life magazine features a picture of a soldier wearing a t-shirt with the text, ‘Air Corps Gunnery School’.

If you have it, flaunt it and we mean the attitude! Imagine your whole stance is out there waiting to be picked, for nobody tells it quite like a T!

Cheers to the t-shirt for the right one can wire out statistics galore on you. Apart from the obvious dimensions, your cultural affinities, what’s on your iPod, your witticism and even your age (the slang, it’s a dead giveaway!) is on parade!

What is more, this is one fashion statement that never seems to go out of style, so do not scoff at this ubiquitous garment as mere or simple.

For a reiteration of faith we climb the steps to Sins!

Bang in the middle of the Sector 10 market, this funky little niche looks like a cross between a tattoo parlour and a gaudy punk at first glance! But this funky first floor outlet, the brainchild of city-based 22-year-old arts graduate Karan Sharma, is full of fun t-shirts and whacky bits and bobs (think psychedelic belts in mithai pink, hookahs and Che Guevara wall hangings!).

“I was not sure of what I wanted to do so I thought why not give this place a try and present it so well that people cannot deny it,” he smiles. (And indeed the colourful drums serving as a table, aerosol cans holding up shelves and rubber tyres, as display stands cannot be denied!)

The aim was to have an atypical place where you can get madcap t-shirts without having to scout the by-lanes of Delhi or Mumbai states this t-shirt aficionado.

Currently churning out as many as 25 designs for guys and 20 for girls to choose from, the t-shirts range from risqué to artistic and what is more the designs are never repeated. “If the stock finishes, it’s done with. We will not bring it back,” says Karan.

Eagles, text, symbols, silver flowers on pink, blue motifs on green, a man standing with his head a bubble from which spray out blue butterflies, in short, no definitions and no limits to what the creative mind can generate!

What is hot?

According to Harmeet Singh, co-owner of Urban Rootz—10, halter-necks, off-shoulder and backless T’s are the rage this season with chunky patches, gold lettering and sequins as trimmings.

Tarun of Ten West—10, lists mirrors, shells and beads along with funky embroidery as the zany adornments for the season. His sleeveless t-shirts are flying off the shelves and the colour buzz is bright though earthy tones. “Designs and motifs are big right now,” he adds.

What is rocking?

Cotton is, as it does year after year and apart from a splurge of colours it is the ever fresh white combined with a pair of faded blue jeans that screams ‘style’ in a loud voice!

Quirky one-liners are! Smriti Sharma a budding journalist in the city believes tongue-in-cheek messages on t-shirts are her patented attire. “Of all the things that I have lost, I miss my mind the most,” she laughs insisting this line on her t-shirt epitomises her best!

The lines are hilarious, spoof-ridden, charming. ‘Harry Pothead’ on the boy wizard made famous in J K Rowling’s books, ‘Ganesha: 50% Elephant, 50% God, 100% Cute’ and finally this great one to sign off with, ‘Beer Makes You Smarter, It Made Bud Wiser’!

Teachers assessed
Akanksha Bansal

“Examinations end with school and education with life.” Like all other things in life under the sun, even this statement has a contradiction –“Life is an examination.” and the Punjab Engineering College professors can answer, why? After assessing thousands of students all their life, now it’s their turn to face the tune. What more, their assessment is being done by none other than their students. After all they are the ones who know them best.

After the end of each semester students are given a Performa to be filled by them constituting objective type questions to be answered, on a scale of 1 to 5. The Performa include questions regarding their course, instructor, and tutor apart from the basic information, such as course name, numbers of lectures attended etc.

Introduced last year by PEC Director Vijay Gupta, it has come as a surprise to one and all. But this is not at all new for him. He has experienced this while he was a student and also during the course of his career as an educationist. Ask him the reason for such a step and he answers, “Students form an important constituency in any educational system therefore their feedback does hold importance. In fact their assessment has helped me to know my teachers better.”

Ask the students and even they are all game about this role reversal for obvious reasons. It’s rare that one gets a chance to reason the authorities. “This indeed is an effective program and certainly a benefit to all of us. The teachers get to know about their shortcomings and can always improve upon it for the future.” says Diwakar an electronic engineering student. And what if a teacher minds it, especially if the rank is low? “It’s the truth which comes out. And moreover there’s no badmouthing.” says Dipankar, also an electronic engineering student.

But what if someone tries to be nasty and use this opportunity to take out his personal grudge against the teachers? “Not all students are like that. The result is taken out on an average and it has always matched to the teachers’ reputation. ” Clarifies the director himself. This is the second time when such an evaluation has been done and everyone seems to be satisfied with the results.

The whole system is very clear. The OMR sheets are collected by the respective HODs and handed over to the director. The evaluation is done with the help of a computer and the results are ready in a very short time, which are then discussed in a meeting with the professors. A report, regarding the same is also sent to the senate every time.

This time, Aklesh Manna, of mechanical engineering department, bagged the first position. Well this is not new to him as he was the winner last semester also. Sounds like a habitual winner! “It is just like an actor’s performance judged on-screen. When viewed, lots of mistakes comes to our notice”, reveals the topper himself. Also Professor M.L. Gupta stood second.

Well all those rankings and fears have returned for these people but with a good reason for sure.

COOL STUFF
Shoe tree is here now

LLOYD, a strategic retail marketing venture of Tata International and Europe’s top lifestyle footwear brand as part of an aggressive marketing and distribution strategy will now be available at high-end speciality stores and multi branded outlets across the country. As part of this foray, Lloyd footwear will be available at the Gabbana, Shoe Tree, Inc.5, Rocia and Regal retail outlets. The multi branded outlets will now retail Lloyd footwear through their network of outlets in the cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh.

Known for its 150 year heritage, LLOYD, signifies perfection and is meant for the discerning and traditional of the country. It is determined by three factors: quality, fit and design - the proverbial attributes, which make LLOYD shoes so special. LLOYD shoes are recognized all over the world by their signature trademark - ‘the red stripe in the heel’.

The product portfolio of LLOYD includes formal, casual & semi-formal men’s shoes, unisex leather articles and accessories that include designer bags, purses, wallets and belts. LLOYD footwear ranges from Rs. 8900 to Rs. 18000.

Water smart washing machine

Adding more magic to washing clothes, Whirlpool of India, a subsidiary of the Whirlpool Corporation, a global manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, unveiled the Whitemagic Splash, a fully automatic top loading washing machine, here today.

Whitemagic Splash washing machine is available in 5.0 kg capacity with four wash programs namely Normal, Heavy, Delicate and Speedy at an MRP of Rs. 10490/-. It shall be available across all retail outlets selling Whirlpool products.

As the name indicates, Splash has the “Water Story” built in – it is a “smart” washing machine that is a miracle worker with water. Not only does it help the consumer save and store water, but, more importantly, ensures better wash performance because of Aqua Shower.”

“Aqua Shower” is a unique and differentiating feature of Splash, which results in better wash performance. This allows for the proper mixing of detergent solution across the height of the wash basket, and friction of water showers with clothes improves the wash quality.

New range of towels

BSC an international brand and part of SAHA Group, Thailand, has entered into the India market through a strategic partnership with Indian based Pierre Sumer Overseas Pvt. Ltd. The company has introduced their new range of BSC super soft towels in India. 

BSC super soft Towels are world-class towels and are the only best selling towels in the entire premium stores worldwide. These towels are marketed in India using the best of technology and are available in multiple colors, prints, designs and styles. To boast of its exclusive range, BSC company has developed and launched its new range of BSC Organic Towels using natural fibers and yarns. The unique feature of these organic towels is that they are environment friendly since the fiber used in the towels is organic and this facilitate in protecting the skin from the side effects of synthetic fiber.

The price of these towels starts from Rs. 150 onwards and are available at all the premium and home furnishing stores in India and to name a few among them are Jagdish store, Big Jo’s, Ritu Wears, F&F & CTC Mall- in Delhi, Bulchand Exclusive in Hyderabad, Jainsons, Krishna Garment and Krishna International in Chandigarh.

Car Stereo USB Interface

Now carrying your favourite music becomes easy as Kenwood – the Global player in Car Entertainment industry has launched KDC-MP 5033 U - a new car stereo system with an USB interface which helps in storing & compilation of your favorite music and brings them in the car to enjoy a   crystal clear, streaming music on the road.

“KDC-MP 5033 U – is a great system for those who are always on a run and like to enjoy their favourite music while driving. It gives an electrifying experience of freedom too as there is no need to carry those bulky CDs or suffer due to absence of an FM radio station in the remote places of the country, It is also a perfect gizmo   for today’s  tech savvy generation  who love to download and play non stop music. “Added Mr. K.S. Goindi, Managing Director, Nippon Audiotronix- the India partners of Kenwood

Other than the USB interface, it comes with a security code function and jog control knob for easy operation, 24 FM/AM stations, multi-session disc playback and folder name manual search function without stopping, automatic memory entry and selectable channel spacing etc.

Of all the systems available in the market what makes KDC-MP5033U outstanding, the connected USB device has a rechargeable battery it can draw power via the USB allowing longer playing time without the risk of running the battery flat.

Priced at Rs.11, 990/-, KDC-MP5033U is widely available all over the country through a wide dealers-distributors’ network backed by 71 service centers of Nippon Audiotronix.

‘Bed-Buddies collection

Bombay Dyeing, the country’s leading home-textile brand, has tied-up with the number one kids’ network of India, Cartoon Network to launch a special kids’ bed and bath linen collection, aptly titled “Bed Buddies”. Featuring iconic Cartoon Network toon stars such as The Power puff Girls, Dexter, Dee Dee and Johnny Bravo, this brand new collection offers over 48 eye catching designs, across bed sheets, towels and napkins, to match every child’s fantasy. The ‘Bed Buddies’ range is available across all Bombay Dyeing stores in the country as well as at all multi-brand outlets.

Specially designed, each collection is fun loving and reflects the ‘DNA’ of Indian kids’ favourite characters.  The Powerpuff Girls range signifies girl power, while the intellect-led Dexter, will be targeted at young kids and the adorable resident Cartoon Network hunk Johnny Bravo is targeted at teenagers and young adults. To ensure that kids across the country enjoy this exclusive new range from Bombay Dyeing, the ‘Bed Buddies’ range has been very competitively priced keeping all pockets in mind.

Romancing the ramp
Anandita Gupta

Raj Chauhan
Raj Chauhan. — Photo by Parvesh Chauhan

All of 20, with the ramp (if not the world, as yet) at his feet, Raj Chauhan is all smiles at the thought of his first ramp appearance. True, this 6 footer is no longer unnerved by the cameras and flashlights staring at his face. But that was the time when facing a live audience had him in jitters! Today, however, striding down the ramp is no walking the tightrope. Rather it’s a cakewalk, a passport to his dreams.

Standing tall at his 6 feet and 2 inches, with a body that makes you want to hide under covers, he has that no-nonsense attitude. “I hate to mix up personal with professional life and never let anything interfere in my work,” he declares. Having started modelling at the tender age of 14, this young lad is already going places. Besides doing ramp shows for branded biggies like Tommy Hilfiger, Koutons, Black, Wardhaman and Allen Cooper across Punjab, Haryana, Kangra, Palampur and Chandigarh. Besides, he has a couple of album songs in his kitty, including album songs sung by Punjabi singers like Bobby Chauhan and Harpreet Randhawa.

Off the ramp, Chauhan spends a major chunk of his time playing competitive sport. Since infancy, when most boys were busy playing with toy cars and video games, he was learning to ride a horse and hitting the swimming pool. “I’ve always been madly into horse riding, basketball and swimming, as feverishly as if preparing myself to be a world player,” he laughs, fully knowing that destiny had chosen ramp over sports for him.

And how about those tedious hours of hardcore sweating that one has to go through for a fit physique? “Yes, my profession demands a perfect body and I work at the gym 3 days a week for that,” he informs. But is it sufficient? “Oh yes, since I do it properly. I don’t want to make gymming a monotonous chore and so replace it with theatre and dancing the remaining days of the week,” chirps the youngster, who hates monotony.

Featuring next in his agenda is a trip to Mumbai and landing into a few lucrative film contracts. But isn’t it a tough nut to crack, minus the hotshot contracts? “My entry into modelling seemed tough too. Initially, when I came to Chandigarh, it seemed almost impossible. But under the 6-month training course of Jeet Brar, I groomed myself perfectly and won several modelling contracts. So, even films will happen if I work hard enough,” he replies.

Destiny—he does not believe in. Hardwork, he never shirks. No wonder, this dreamy-eyed boy is bound to land in the stars.

Where is the party?
Gayatri Rajwade

Ishaan Kakria and Akshita Agnihotri.
Ishaan Kakria and Akshita Agnihotri. — Photo by Vinay Malik

Film-maker Sunil Babbar is back and tailing him are several dozen aspirations! To put it more clearly, Babbar announced the launch of his new Hindi film The Party today and is scouting around for as many as 80 fresh faces, young lads and ladies, from this region to feature in the film.

Coming back after a gap of three years, he first sailed through the arc lights in 2002 when his Indian-English feature film Ants got him the Best Foreign Film award at the Yellowstone International Film Festival at Montana, USA. Ants, a quasi-travelogue featuring Babbar in the lead role also got him the Producer of the Year award in the same year which probably explains why he has chosen not only to produce this film but direct and write the screenplay as well!

The movie plays out in a single night of partying amidst lots of dance, masti, camaraderie and gaiety until something terrible happens at the party and the veneer of celebration slips to reveal the hypocrisy of the evening.

Woven around a real-life incident and interspersed with fictitious situations, Babbar hopes to send across an “intense message” of right and wrong through the film. “The medium of films is so powerful that it can change mindsets,” avers Babbar.

While the lead actors, newcomers Ishaan Kakria and Akshita Agnihotri, both from Chandigarh, have been finalised for the film, the comic relief will be provided by laughters Khayali Saharan and Pratap Singh Faujdar (both from the Indian Laughter Challenge on Star).

Khayali is understandably excited about his upcoming role. While he attributes his success to the television, it is the film industry that he is looking towards for his continuance. “Have patience,” he smiles when we ask him what else there is in the offing for him. However, he does let slip by names likes Ram Gopal Verma and Abbas Mustan as some of those he is in talks with!

As for the main lead, they come across quiet, nervous. Ishaan sporting a funky beard has come back from Australia where he was studying, having moved there three years ago. “Acting has been a dream ever since I was born” he says echoing the desires of a million others like him. As for Akshita, this 18-year-old was spotted at a party by Babbar who asked her to star in his film at that precise moment.

What struck Babbar about her was her ability to jiggle her booty and since The Party is about a party, the ability to dance can only be an added benefit!

The music by Atul Sharma is scheduled to start recording in a few days from now and he promises a “contemporary sound albeit with flashes of sensitivity thrown in” for as Sharma puts it, “even though this is a mainstream film, it will not be a nonsense one!”

With the film shooting expected to begin in the second week of September and a schedule planned at our very own Warehouse at Chimney Heights, this is your chance to send in photographs and a resume at sunilbabbar2000@gamil.com and who knows you might just strike lucky at ‘The Party’!

The big bang

Forget all about mouth refreshers and pan masalas, go in for chewing gums. Some of the gums bubbling in the city markets are actually good for health, says Saurabh Malik

Bubble gums are back with a bang. And if you think the residents are chewing just peppermint and clove gums instead of pan masalas and tobacco, eat this: Sugar-free gums are adding sweetness to the lives of so many people across the city.

Right guys, sugar-free formulations are fast bubbling their way to popularity not just among the school and college students, but also the elderly. Statistics are not readily available, but shopkeepers across the city insist that the sugar-free sector of the total chewing gum market has been steadily increasing across the city over the past few years.

And the reason for this is not very hard to see. “To begin with, the gums are non-cariogenic. In other words, they do not cause dental caries,” says Chetan Kumar, owner of a shop in Sector 11. “In fact, they do not contain sugars which can cause an increase in acid levels in the mouth. Otherwise also, they are longer-lasting.”

Ah, guys! There is another reason. Sugar-free gums are supposed to stimulate saliva production in the mouth. Also, the stuff helps in keeping the surface of the teeth clean. In any case, studies show chewing gum with or without sugar improve memory.

All these statistics and studies do not interest Nisha kapoor. The young fashion designer putting up in Sector 47 blows the bubbles of excitement because she “simply loves doing so”. And also, because chewing gum gives her “something to do” in her spare time.

Until a few years ago, the bubble-gum babe was getting the stuff from her uncle living life in the US. For, the variety here was limited. You could pick up gums that promised to blow big bubble, but hardly anything else.

But now, she get almost all of them from her friendly shopkeeper. No wonder, the gum hops from one side of the trap to another as Nisha walks the floor of her studio, thinking of new ideas and designs.

So folks, if you haven’t picked up a nice little pack of bubble gum for taste, or for health benefits, just drive down the road leading to the arcade. You will find glossy wrappers glittering in poly-jars tempting you to buy the stuff.

“Besides sugar-free gums sweetened with Xylitol, you have ones in strawberry, mint, double mint, pineapple and vanilla flavours,” says Sector 35 shopkeeper Ghansham Verma. The ones with a soft-centre are Class X student Neeru Sharma’s favourite.

“When the B-G simply melts in the mouth, I simply love the effect,” she chirps. “I can chew it for hours together. Do not know why, but it gives me some kind of confidence also. Maybe it’s got something to do with all those cricketers and actresses. Chewing gum on the television screens, they inspire me to catch the fad.”

Flashing a broad smile, she says: “The stuff changes your face-look, lends a style of casualness and declares a ‘damn to the world’ attitude. Chew gum and you just won’t feel alienated when alone in an indifferent crowd”. Well what are you waiting for!

Sinfully sweet
Gayatri Rajwade

Deliciously audacious and mouth-wateringly delectable sin has a new destination—the midnight dessert carnival at Café 17 at the Taj Chandigarh in Sector 17.

Here is where pure indulgence blends creamily with choices galore from hot puddings to cold settings, from gooey chocolate delights to egg-less, low cal, low fat selections.

Sample the exotic kiwi fruit, the seasonal mangoes and the genial banana in a variety of avatars all the while sloshing through a gaudily done up icy chuski or spooning into a fudge slice and even biting into a perfectly baked lemon tartlet all at the same time.

Sumptuousness unlimited is the defining mantra for it is an all-you-can-eat ‘buffet style’ array of desserts at Rs 199 per head every Friday and Saturday starting at midnight no less!

The ingenuity of Executive Chef, A. N. Mishra aims at gratifying the palate and sending you back satiated silly! “Our concept is really very simple. Party as hard as you want but finish your meal at the Taj with a sweet tooth, for all parties end here,” he smiles. And ‘desire’ here comes in 25 exciting forms from continental to Indian to an on site gola or chuski stand, which includes the tangy kala khatta, the sweet-sour kacchi kairi, the lime-green khus, kesar ilaichi and even fruity delights like mango, lemon, orange, pomegranate and black currant and a live dessert counter where feisty orange jalebis come straight out of the pan and deliciously warm chocolate brownies allure.

The continental savours are ripe for the picking. From fresh fruit gateau to the Swan with Custard (a German delight where a profiterole takes the shape of a swan!), Sesame Cone with Mint Crème, Morello Cherry Cream Roulade (akin to a Swiss roll, filled, rolled and cut and garnished with cherry dipped in sweetened mozzarella cheese!), Brandy Snap with Marquise Sauce or a divine peach cake with butter frosting, this is just the tip of the ice-berg.

For if it is the good old Indian that you wish to round off with before you jump into bed, then sink into hot gulab jamuns, malpuas, gujias and even the unusual pineapple halwa. Of course there are ice-creams and kulfis to keep those taste buds tingling and coupled with a piping hot cup of cappuccino or a cold coffee or even a thick milk-shake and you could forgo your breakfast the next morning!

Sinning just got better, what say?

Blueberry Cheesecake (serving 10 portions)

Most of Chef Mishra’s desserts come from thinking “out-of-the-box”, a pinch of this and a dollop of that, combined with some lovely fresh fruit. We ask him to share a popular dessert recipe with us, so here goes.

Ingredients:

200 grams Philadelphia Cream Cheese

200 grams fresh cream, whipped

300 grams Blueberry Compote

5 leaves of gelatine

100 grams of castor sugar

Method:

Mix the cream cheese and sugar into a creamy texture. Add the blueberry compote. Soak the gelatine leaves in warm water for ten minutes and dissolve and then add the gelatine to the cream cheese and sugar mix. Fold in the whipped cream and mix thoroughly. Set in a glass bowl and refrigerate for an hour and a half. Served chilled garnished with fresh blueberries.

 

A whiff of USA
Chitleen K. Sethi

Nischal Anand SinghNischal Anand Singh, the city resident selected to represent India as a part of a five-member group study exchange delegation from Rotary District 3080 India, is back from the USA. And he brings along a whiff of a different world. “I always wanted to meet new people, know about their culture and traditions be a part of their household and for me it was dream come true,” he says.

Out of nearly 3000 applications that the Rotary received from all across the region for the programme four were selected for a preliminary interview followed by the final round, which included a written test, group discussion and a personal interview.

Only two persons were selected from Chandigarh, one from Shimla and Dehradun each and the team leader, who is a Rotarian (team members are supposed to be non-Rotarians) Ramesh Bajaj from Panipat.

“The programme aims to bring about cultural and social exchange and for all those people who never believed that one to one people contact can bring about a tremendous change in our perspective about a country, it’s people, it’s custom’s, think again,” says Nischal.

Nishchal along with his group made presentations at local Rotary Clubs about India, its rich cultural heritage, economic progress etc.

“People would come to us after the presentation and tell us that their next destination would be India. During the programme we visited 12 cities across the four states in our Rotary District and got to stay with American families. We got to study the city as a resident and not just a tourist,” he adds.

“The Americans too found stories about our culture very interesting, our system of arranged marriages, joint families, eating habits and of course cricket. It was obviously a two way learning process.

It was a pleasant surprise to realize that they too love their families like we do and are as conservative as much as we are. They love their independence and privacy and the reason most kids leave home by the time they are 18 is not because their parents want them to but only because the American society lays so much emphasis on a person being independent.”

An ode to Odissi
S.D. Sharma

“Of all art forms, dance is most attuned to the infinite, having its essence in the nature itself,” says Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, the doyen of Odissi dance.

The worst eclipse of Indian classical arts came with the Mughal invasion and the consequent foreign cultural aggression led to the neglect of our traditional arts resulting in a love of alien cultures to the detriment of our own, he lamented. The Odissi guru, Ratikant Mohapatra is in city to present Odissi dance recital by his troupe Srjan at the Tagore Theatre under the aegis of Pracheen Kala Kendra as a part of its Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The present Odissi dance form holds a record in terms of emerging as one of the most popular dance form in India in the shortest possible time of 50 years, claimed Guru Ratikant. The foremost disciple-son of legendary Padma Vibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra disclosed that the patented Odissi dance form had been evolved from the short repertoires of original Mohari and Gotipua Naach performed by devdasis in temples and Gotipuas (boys disguised as girls) outside. 

The living legends Sonal Mansingh, Madhvi Mudgal, Indrani Rehman and upcoming Esha Doel and Ahna Deol (daughters of cine star Hema Malini) are a few to name disseminating Odissi dance. Since every art form has to be compatible with contemporary forms we too have ventured to incorporate new concepts.

As our cultural traditions are enmeshed with religious themes, the classical dance compositions are weaved with divine deities like Radha Krishna.  

Besides, for the usual Odissi dance music, the item has been weaved in Carnatic music for a change by Aruna Sairam. Besides more innovative dance compositions with relative themes on Mother Terresa and Gautam Buddha, Rubiya and our fusion works with western classical dances had been appreciated the world over during our 100 performances abroad by my troupe at all leading international venues. 

The whole new vision, ideological concept and blending tradition with modernity in a structured format had scored over the multicultural and cross border forms of dance and oldest Indian dancing forms, Rightfully decorated with various awards, Ratikant has a long way to go to sustain and enrich the Odissi classical dance form.

Sour vs sweet

Photo: Parvesh ChauhanIn this world of highly priced items, how can one afford to pay more for food but it is a necessity. I can remember the day when I was strolling around with my friend on a fine cloudy day and doing some window-shopping. Though we were munching popcorns but it did not satisfy our hunger instead it aggravated our thirst. We were looking for something, which would quench our thirst and also gratify our taste buds.

The rush near the kulcha and lemonade vendors distracted my attention. Astoundingly, the thought of having this combination excited me as stuffed kulcha for Rs 5 will satisfy hunger and a lemonade for another Rs 5 will help digesting the piquant food. Unbelievably in Rs10 I had the delicious, to my content. Now I could get the reason of the hustle near those vendors.

On asking the kulcha vendor about the preparation of his dish, he smiled and answered, “I bring baked kulchas from the bakery and prepare salted chanas by boiling them.” Then he added, “I prepare chutney to add to the taste.” He prepares chutney by boiling tamarind in plain water. On asking if any kind of adulteration is made, he revealed with a shy smile, “I do not do it but some vendors do by adding tatri- a substance to make the thing more sour.” This water-like chutney, he pours a little, after mixing the chanas with black-salt pepper, red-chilly, diagonally cut green-chilly, chat masala and of course squeezing lemon over it. The luscious delight was ready.

The lemonadewala had his own story. He said the preparation of sugar mixture was ready with him by dissolving sugar in plain water. He said some added screne to the mixture for more whiteness. He prepares the lemonade by adding black-pepper-salt in the glass, squeezes lemon by chopping its top then adding sugar mixture and ice. Now he shakes the glass well and serves it. It is your wish if you want to go for sweet lemonade.

One can beat the pleasure of this weird and wonderful foodstuff without burning holes in one’s pockets. If not too conscious of one’s image, one can try it standing on the roadside near Sec-17. It’s the right blend of the tangy with its digestion.

— Navneet Kaur Hundal

Go mushy over mushrooms
Simran Dhatt

Mushrooms are very popular among the Chandigarh population. If you have doubt, then ask Rohit Gaveri, Manager, Peshawari. “Mushrooms are very popular among our customers,” he says.

Mushrooms are available through out the year. Their supply and demand is consistent. But during the marriage season their demand goes up and the prices go up in summers. “Button mushrooms are most popular throughout the year. But during the marriage season oyster, black and chine’s mushrooms are also in demand,” he adds.

Says Dharminder Kumar, manager, Kewal stores, “we have a great demand for mushrooms throughout the year.”

Cookie Marwah, who is well known for her cooking classes, supports the popularity of mushrooms, “amongst vegetarians, mushroom dishes are second to paneer in popularity. In non-vegetarian continental cooking mushrooms play a very important role. Some very popular mushroom dishes among my students are — mushroom in brandy sauce, mushroom risotto, Alfredo (mushroom sauce) tossed with pasta, burnt mushroom soups and in Muglai mushrooms and corns cooked in spinach sauce.”

Says Rajiv Verma, Senior Manager, Salad Bar, “mushroom dishes are made in our restaurant every day because of the demand. In Muglai mushroom, Aachari is very popular, Malai Tikka, Mushroom Tikka and Palak Mushroom are favourite Tandoori items. In continental we have the baked mushroom cheese.”

Mushrooms are also heralded for thousands of years as longevity tonics and immune boosters. More recently an extract from mushroom coriolus versicolor, called PSK has been found to be potent cancer fighter.

Says Richa Sharma, dietician, “if taken in adequate quantity mushrooms are good for the human body. In a high protein diet mushroom must be included. Being high in magnesium they can be consumed for a rich magnesium diet. Daily consumption should not exceed 300 to 400 gms.”

Apart from their culinary and medical uses mushrooms also have an important part in astrology. Neerja Tanya an occult scientist sums it up as follows, “mushrooms are represented of mercury (Budh). They signify intelligence, speech and green colour. So next time if you are confused about what to cook for lunch or dinner mushroom are the way to go.

Crushed Mushrooms in Breadcrumbs

30 mushrooms
1 clove garlic
2 tsp parsley
200 gms butter
Black pepper, 2 tsp lemon juice
3 eggs, beaten with little milk flour
Breadcrumbs
Oil
Wipe the mushrooms and remove the stems. Crush them properly. Add garlic and parsley into butter, salt and lemon juice. Mix the beated egg. Now mix the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil and fry the crushed mushrooms until golden brown. Sprinkle some masala according to taste

Mushroom Paneer Bhaji
(Fried mushrooms with Paneer)

225 gm button mushrooms
2 large onions
1 clove garlic
220gms paneer
25g butter
3 tomatoes, chopped
½ spoon turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp chilli powder
Salt according to taste
1 tsp garam masala
Wash mushrooms and cut into half. Slice paneer into thin layers. Slice the onion finely and fry in butter for a minute until they look little roasted. Crush garlic and add to the onion along with the chopped tomatoes. Keep turning. Mix in turmeric, ground coriander, chilly powder and salt. Add mushrooms. Cook for two minutes. Now add paneer. Cook for another two minutes. Switch off the gas. Now let it be cooked on steam. For a tasty mushroom bhaji sprinkle garam masala and serve as a side dish.

Bidding for luck
Saurabh Malik

Plush leather sofa set in pristine white with arms carved out of glistering teak at one fourth the original price; an array of side tables with intricate carvings at 90 per cent discount; and blooming bed sheets in broad floral prints at throwaway price — its sheer luck to the highest bidder.

Right guys, the concept of “bid `n’ buy” is proving to be a complete sellout in the city. All you have to do is to bid farewell to the conventional style of shopping and walk into a showroom with just Rs 100 in your pocket.

You just have to select the furniture of your choice and scribble the amount you are willing to pay for the stuff on a coupon before inserting it in a box lying nearby. Guys, if you are the “best bidder”, the piece of furniture will be yours forever maybe at much less than the original price.

In case lady luck prefers to looks at the other side, you still have no reasons to worry! For, your crisp Rs 100 note will soon be back in your pocket. Nothing to lose and everything to gain, sounds like good bargain!

Launching the concept perhaps for the first time in the city, Vikram Gupta of Glass Palace in Sector 7 says the draw will be held after every 15 days. “So if at first you do not succeed, you can try again, and again, without losing anything”.

Flashing a broad smile, Gupta says: “Each piece of furniture has a minimum reserve price. Just like in any other auction, you offer a bid. In this case, the bid is kept a secret. So no one knows anything about your bid amount and vice-versa. The amount you have filled may be unreasonably low, but it is the highest among the other bidders, the product is yours”.

So folks, what are you waiting for! Try your luck now! Who knows in less than 15 days you may be lucky enough to take home a nice comfortable seven-seater sofa set, costing Rs 38,500, for as less as Rs 2500.

FILM & FASHION
Travolta’s brotherly act

Director Gurinder Chadha found actor John Travolta such a big help on their upcoming movie Dallas that she has elevated him to the status of her “big brother”.

Chadha, who has cast the Grease star in the role of oil cad JR Ewing in the big screen version of the hit TV series, said that she had been floored by the famous movie star’s behaviour when she met him to discuss the role.

She now thinks of him not only as a part of the cast, but also as her elder brother.

“I met Travolta to discuss the role and he was so nice about it.

He said, ‘What can I do to help you?’ He was like a big brother to me,” Contactmusic quoted him, as saying. 

Health tip of the day

Individuals suffering from severe back pain with inability to walk should rest intermittently but individuals with ability to walk should continue normal activities.

— Dr Ravinder Chadha




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