Wine Makers

There are many win(e)some folks in the city who are well-versed in the art of making wine,
finds out Parbina Rashid

Architect Madhu Sarin holds a bottle of old wine from her cellar
GRAPEVINE: Architect Madhu Sarin holds a bottle of old wine from her cellar.

Think wine and images that flashes into mind are of well-dressed sophisticated crowd holding long-stem glasses, filled with sparkling liquids. Go a step beyond, think about wine making, and your mind runs into acres of land growing grapes in some exotic chateau in France (it comes easy if you have had an overdose of Mills and Boons romances during those growing up years) or those dark, mysterious cellars packed with bottles of vintage wines in Italy.

Now come back to our own City Beautiful. We may not have those sprawling vineyards with the Moorish looking tall, dark and handsome heroes working hard and playing hard, but we do have our own breed of wine makers, toiling hard at the local mandis to pick up the right variety of grapes and celebrating hard with family and friends if the fermented stuff, after almost six months of patient waiting, turns out to be red or white wine and not vinegar.

Meet Vijay Pal Singh Marwaha, with his cowboy gear and honey and peach complexion, he does fit into our imagination of a wine maker. Just retired from the Planning Department as a Research Officer, Marwaha is doing what he likes doing the most—making wines in his Sector 7 house. And he has an alley in his hobby, his wife Cookie Marwaha, who just does not help him to make it, but consumes a fair share of it too. Before you jump into any conclusion, she uses the homemade wine for her Italian dishes (she is an accomplished cook and has her catering business).

When Marwaha came to city in the early 70s, he also brought along this hobby, which he says had inherited from his father. He started it small but making wine every season is something he has religiously maintained over the years. Now he has also a name for his brew ‘Vino Rosso’.
Dalbir Singh loves to make his own wine and he has given his brew a name close to his own
BRANDED: Dalbir Singh loves to make his own wine and he has given his brew a name close to his own. — Photos by Manoj Mahajan

It’s takes a lot of patience and time to get what he wants, but he would not have it any other way. “It’s a pleasurable process right from picking up good quality grapes from the local mandis to crushing of the grapes to settle it for the fermentation process to siphoning out of the red or white liquid for bottling. It’s a labourious process that takes about six months but once you fill the bottles with the final product under the label Vino Rosso, its worth all that,” he says pointing at the wine stand which has as old as sever-year-old bottles.

A tip from the expert—its important to stir continuously at the beginning for this is the crucial stage, which will decide whether you are going to end up with wine or vinegar.

Dalbir Singh, a city-based journalist, is a new one to try out wine making, but going by his collection he already has picked up the threads of the trade well. This innovative wine maker is not limiting himself to just grapes but also fruits like jamun, ginger, lemon and kinno.

“I was inspired by two of my friends to take up this hobby, but now I am totally hooked. Its so much fun to entertain your friends with a bottle of wine, which is you have made so lovingly or for that matter gift a bottle to someone special,” he says. He enjoys it so much that he compares wine making to the art of raising a child.

Dalbir Singh believes in improvement. So he is reading a lot on wine making these days. Has he too picked up a name for his brew? “Oh yes! That’s the fun part. I call it Dalby’s,” he replies.

This story on local wine makers would perhaps remain incomplete if we do not mention Madhu Sarin’s name. As a globetrotter, she picked up the best from wine making countries like France and Italy and presented it to the city connoisseurs as early as in the first half of 80s.

“As a frequent visitor to London, France and Italy, I had the access to wine making equipments like huge glass jars as well as catalyst like yeast and for fruit we had two grapevines in our backyard,” says Madhu who lives in Sector 4.

Though her busy schedule keeps her away from her favourite hobby these days, Madhu loves reminiscing her days of a wine maker. “It was the time when my nieces and nephews were young, so we had lots of fun together dancing on the grapes in order to crush them to a pulp,” she remembers how she used to scrub their feet to maintain the cleanliness.

“Cleanliness is the key word for getting a good brew,” come the tips from the expert. “While making wine, we have to destroy the natural yeast which is present in the grapes and put yeast from outside to break the sugar content into alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 is made to escape but while doing so one has to make sure that nothing gets in, for if vinegar fly manages to get in, then you will have nothing but a barrel of vinegars in your hand,” she lets you in on her secret.

Has it happened to her? “A little disaster here and there, except for a major blast which happened once as one of my glass jar exploded in the middle of the night. It was kept the dining room, which had just a fresh coat of paint. More than my loss I was worried about my mother’s reaction to the mess in the room. Though my mother was initially had not taken my wine making too kindly, even she was all worried that all my wine had gone,” recollects Madhu.

So all you wine lovers out there, now you know one can get high not just drinking it but making it as well.

Brush with Transparency

Bheem Malhotra has done the city proud by making a mark on the national art scene with his evocative water colours, says Nirupama Dutt

As a schoolboy in Gohana, near Sonepat in Haryana, young Bheem Malhotra would pick up a pencil and sketch his Alsiatian dog as he took a nap on his floor cushion. Other times he would extend his gift of sketching to do portraits of his family or friends. “It was only when I completed school did I learn that there was actually an institution in Chandigarh that taught art,” says the artist. Passing out from the College of Art, Chandigarh, in 1986, he is today one of the foremost watercolourists in the country.

The reach of painting goes far beyond the harmonious combination of line, form and colour. That can be well achieved by a draftsman or a designer. The painter or artist is a class apart. While composing a work with line, form and colour, the artist is able to convey a wide gamut of emotions ranging from joy to sorrow to despair, camaraderie to loneliness, courage to fear. The artist thus presents a vision of life while making an evocative statement.

So it is with Bheem Malhotra who wields a magical brush and while he has painted in different media, his true love is water colours. This in itself is no mean achievement because these are times when most painters are working in oil or acrylic. Bheem, on the other hand, holds onto the purity, delicacy and transparency of water colours. In fact, even when he moves to more opaque a medium for a change, the delicacy is never lost. “I have artist friends telling me that even my oils have the transparency of water colours,” he says.

Now teaching painting to students of the College of Architecture in Chandigarh he has continuously remained in touch with his art. No artist’s cramps or painter’s paralysis for him. And this is his greatest strength for practice makes perfect. “I teach spot study to my students and this has kept me in touch with the outdoors. Sometimes I complete the painting on the spot and other times I bring home a sketch and the work on it,” says Bheem.

What attracted me first to his work were some eloquent paintings of stone crushers and road rollers with their smoky gray tones, making a comment of a society moving towards industrialization. The comment in its serenity and delicacy is always intense and the composition faultless; be it the bright blossoms of Amaltas in Chandigarh’s Leisure Valley, the Temple in Bikaner, Havelis in Jaisalmer, Vivekanand Smarak in Kanyakumari, Qila Mubarak in Patiala or Hall Gate in Amritsar or the clouds in the Himalayas.

Bheem is holding an exhibition of his paintings at Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi, from August 21 to 31.

Art of the matter

We at Kala Maitri, a new association of professionals from the field of art, are pained to read a write-up about us and our recent activities by Nirupana Dutt in the issued to Friday, August 18, 2006. At the outset, the article was in bad taste and smacked of vendetta by the writer. We fail to understand how someone who was not even present at the events had the vision to see everything so clearly. Or is it that the writer was seeing through someone else’s eyes?

Our is an association comprising alumni from the prestigious Government College of Art in its infancy. The write-up has tried to create an impression that we are just a bunch of people out to grab a few posts. The whole idea is far removed from reality and the same has been reflected in the way the write-up was coloured. The writer has termed this platform of artists a disaster in the beginning itself. Is this the way that The Tribune tries to run down an association when it is just trying to get up on its legs?

While starting the association, invites were sent to as many alumni as possible. There was no gender bias in inviting people or electing them to be office bearers. How does the election of office bearers push back art and artistry is beyond our imagination at least. If someone really wants to evaluate what we have or want to do, it can be done after at least one year.

Lastly, painting on a laid out canvas with the feet on the canvas itself is an accepted norm in the art world. To be with or without shoes is one’s individual perception and should be left to the artist. Shoes do not matter as long as they do not spoil the painting. By the same parameter, does the police arrest every girl who goes to the market wearing clothes less than the India tradition demands?

Our submission is that we have been shown in poor light through this write-up to serve certain vested interests. We invite the writer to join our association and give valuable suggestions to make things even better.

It will be appropriate if the real and our side of the story, as detailed in the letter, is published with as much prominence as the earlier article in the interest of justice.

D.S. Kapoor
President, Kala Maitri

Nirupama Dutt adds: I appreciate the sincerity of Mr. D.S. Kapoor and his team in setting up an alumni association and also organising events. In fact most schools and colleges in the city have such associations and it is a good thing to keep up the old student ties. As far as art and artists go, I would just like to repeat a quotable quote by the famous artist, A. Ramachandran: “When money came to Indian art in the 80s, artists lost much including their sense of humour.” One feels like adding that although the art market has yet to envelope Chandigarh into its fold, artists seem to have lost their sense of humour.

I also thank Mr. Kapoor for inviting me to join the association but I have to decline because I do not qualify for it. Also, it works better for a writer to stay away from associations, and use the tool of divyadrishti whenever required.

I would also like to tell my artist friends, though I am sure they know better, the importance of the Third Eye. Yes, the very same that Shiva had stolen from Kali but one hears that of late it has been retrieved!

Dance of the Russians
Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh is gracefully carrying familiar friendship with Russia a step forward. Not just on New Year Eve and launch parties, the city is shaking a leg in sync with the rhythm movements of Russian dancers during weekend bashes, gorgeously and glamorously.

If you are having any doubts about city youngsters tripping the light fantastic in complete harmony with their warm friends from across the border, just drive down to one of the discotheques in the city for twirling all around the dance floor during weekend bashes.

Among others, you will find Russian dancers in translucent long-slit genie pants helping the younglings in losing their blues. Right, the ones in dresses embellished with shimmering coins and tassels, complimenting those high-cut crop tops with twinkling stars cascading down the sheer fabric.

Guys, one such bash, organised by event managers Popcorn, is ready to set the hearts of so many youngsters on fire late Saturday night at X-Over in Sector 26. In fact, the organisers insist that the dancer in Chandigarh all the way from Russia via Delhi will gracefully throw the veil off her fair visages, and the new concept, as the beats get the crowd grooving in minutes.

Just in case you guys are wondering how the event managers succeeded in getting hold of her, well here is the answer: The poised dancer with absolute fluid movements was in Delhi for an invigorating show organised by a liquor bottling company.

The organisers here tied up with her for a dance session in the city. Right, to set the mood for the weekend evening by gently vibrating her whole self to the thumping beats of groovy music churned out by in-house disc jockey Bally.

The intention behind the entire show is to give the city residents something new, say organisers Akash Deep and Mohit Gupta. You see, the city is deadbeat and tired of simply dancing on the polished dance floors illuminated by psychedelic lights to the beats of music churned out by the disc jockeys. All the want from life, and the bashes, is something more.

Well folks, some of you may not be aware, but event managers have been deploying such exceptional tactics and marketing strategies since long. In the 90s, the hoteliers created singing sensation Chandni after a character in a movie with the same name for attracting crowd to a New Year Eve bash.

All that was long time back! Since then, they have been depending on disc jockeys from Delhi and international belly dancers to write the success script. Anyway, as long as the residents are having a ball, it is party time for the organisers.

Sale time is sale time
Anandita Gupta

BANG— the hawker drops that eagerly awaited bundle of rustling newspapers at your doorstep. As you rush and get hold of the intellectual fodder that accompanies your morning cuppa, your eyeballs get rolling. For, what’s all over the paper space is so predictable (its been there in the papers since long now), and yet, doesn’t fail to excite you. Vying for space with Gaganjit Barnala on one day, and the War Memorial on the other, are these huge adds shouting—SALE SALE….

One wonders why these brand bigwigs have to use the word sale more than once. Perhaps to draw attention, but isen’t the big adds enough to make our eyeballs pop out? Maybe, they don’t think so. Anyways, what we end up thinking as shopaholic customers is that here’s our chance of a lifetime (50% to a whopping 70%). What if they just accelerated the prizes by 60% before putting up the sale?

“Not at all,” reasons Suneet Singh, Marketing Head, Ebony, “We house most of the leading Indian brands and we can’t accelerate the prices whimsically. Like if we are selling an Allen Solly shirt that’s priced Rs. 650, we just can’t make it Rs. 800 before our sale is on. And yes, 50% off would mean that the customer gets it at Rs. 325, which is actually great. In fact our brands like Madame, Le Cooper, Pepe, Allen Solly and Black sold like hot cakes in our special four-day (12th August –16th August) sale, wherein we gave a whopping 59% discount.”

Adds Rajnish Jain from Meena Bazaar, “Value deals and great variety bring lots of customers during sale time. In fact, our showroom looks like a carnival in August, with 50% discount on offer. Many students and freshly employed youngsters shop in bulk for their wardrobes.” But how can the old stock, just meant for liquidation, tempt so much?

“The footfall is so much, that we bring in fresh stock. What’s a sale without variety?” laughs Suneet. So here comes another smart move—Bringing in the max stock during sale time. For, aren’t sales the time when a majority decides to shop?

Strike Tale
Sreedhara Bhasin

Friday afternoon I drove out to the streets to pick up my daughter from school. The minute I reached the first major chowk, I sensed a new dimension to the traffic flow. The cars seemed to have multiplied astronomically – overnight. The usual impatience has been overtaken by an uncanny ferocity and belligerence. Drivers came from left and right and it seemed like their lives depended on how quickly they could plow their way onto the chowk, irrespective of what is on their path.

Things got far worse by the time I got closer to Madhya Marg. By then I was convinced that I must have missed an announcement for some imminent national calamity. People must be fleeing from something – an epidemic perhaps or a killer earthquake. I would have asked a policeman if I saw one. All around me were vehicles – stampeding like a million rogue bulls all over the avenues of Chandigarh.

I braced myself and decided to follow the American proverb ‘if you cannot beat them, join them’. I plunged into the melee and went through an entire gamut of emotions that would fill pages of a ‘why not to drive’ manual. Cars came from the feeder roads to the left and clipped me in a truly harakiri style. Rickshaw-wallas scraped in through the tiniest gaps, cycle-wallas tottered around nearly falling over the windshield. Taking a right turn into the school road was the final challenge since the entire lane was jammed by drivers who thought it was perfectly okay to drive on both sides of the road. Forty cars behind were honking at me in unison. Men from other cars made furious hand signals at me, asking me to move on. But, the part of me that was Texan was not going to give up my saddle. I hung on and charged in, missing a Toyota Qualis by inches. The driver cursed me, in a language I was thankfully not very good at.

By the time I picked up my daughter, I was perspiring like a matador at the end of a round. I asked the parking attendant –Aaj itni bhir kyoon hai? He shook his head and said, Aapko pata nahi? Aaj school bus strike hai! He too, looked like he had been chased by the bulls of Pompeii.

By the time I reached home, I felt like Hillary Swank in Million Dollar Baby, except my neck was still in one piece and for what? The distance I travelled was no more than two miles! We often discuss how bad the traffic of Chandigarh is getting and how a little more hindsight would have helped! This was a perfect day to gain crystal clear hindsight. Add more years and more cars ferrying approximately 40,000 kids and you would get a perfect day of gladiator style driving! Maybe, we should start training – now!

Tuning-in with Hardeep S. Chandpuri

All of you will remember that last week, I had talked about the all-important radio formats and their role in shaping up the feel and the style of any radio station. I discussed the very popular AC, AOR, Classic and CHR formats which are more or less the most acceptable and popular. And now we will take the discussion forward and enlighten you about some more formats. And we shall kick off with the format which is less confined to the borders of North America.

Country music, also known as country and western music or country-western, is an amalgam of popular musical forms found in the Southern United States. It has roots in traditional folk music, Celtic music, blues, gospel music, and old-time music and evolved rapidly in the 1920s. The term country music began to be widely applied in the 1940s and was fully embraced in the 1970s and we saw a proliferation of many exclusive stations based on the country format across some of the biggest markets of the North America.

Next on my list is the more popular (again in the USA)—the Urban format. The explosive rise in popularity during the 1980s of rap music has led to a large number of radio stations specializing in rap/hip-hop and R&B music. This format is euphemistically referred to as “urban” due to the fact that the styles it represents are largely developed from the street and underground music of urban American blacks in the 1970s, though the music itself has considerable popularity (and controversy, due to its often nihilistic and hedonistic themes) among all ethnic groups and social classes.

The original formulaic music radio format was Top 40. In this format, disc-jockeys would select one of a set of the forty best-selling singles (usually in a rack) as rated by Billboard magazine or from the station’s own chart of the local top selling songs. In general, the more aggressive “Top 40” stations could sometimes be better described as “Top 20” stations. They would aggressively skirt listener boredom to play only the most popular singles and examples of that are WABC New York, KHJA Los Angeles, WLS Chicago, WRKO Boston etc.

The Easy listening format is a style which emerged in the mid-20th century. Around 1980, it was the most listened-to radio format in America, although it soon became scarce as a format, not because its listeners were too few but, because they were getting too old and therefore less desirable for radio advertisers. This type of music features simple, catchy melodies, cool, laid-back harmonies and occasionally rhythms suitable for dancing. While it is mostly instrumental music, some singers, such as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby Tom Jones, and Mel Torme were synonymous with this format. So friends, I am very sure that after reading these two articles on radio formats, it would have surely become clear in your mind as to how formats help shape up the station’s sound.

(The writer is a renowned Radio Personality)

Life is about being happy

Dear Renee, I am a young man who has been a PR executive for many years. I just want to give up this career as it really does not suit my temperament. My friends think I am really crazy but I feel stifled as I always wanted to be a fashion designer. I feel my creativity is not being exploited. My girlfriend is not excited about this change and wants me to hang on to my old job. She thinks I am going through some kind of emotional crisis. Since I am so handsomely paid, she cannot understand my desire to change a course at this age. I am longing to explore my potential and feel a sense of freedom. Should I take the plunge, please advise.

Roopak Chauhan, Chandigarh

Young man, just go for it. I think life is all about feeling a passion for what you are doing. You will only perform to the best of your capabilities when you feel strongly about what you are doing. When your heart is really not in your work, then your performance levels are not really great. Life is not only about making money, it is also about feeling happy. You are responsible for your own happiness. If you feel you are trapped in a job, you don’t enjoy, you must give it the chance you are required to . Ask yourself these few questions. Where do you feel energized? What has a dampening effect on you? And how far do you really understand your own personality? This is enough analysis of yourself to give you a go on. Even your girlfriend will be happy once she realizes that you are happier with the change in your career. Trust yourself. all will turn out good for you.

Dear Renee, I am desperate for some guidance on balancing of my life. I am a single mother in my 30’s, with two growing kids, a 16-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter. My self-esteem has hit an all time low since my husband walked off with his secretary. My children are my only emotional support. I feel I have become a recluse and do not like socializing at all. I am perpetually feeling tired and restless and do not seem to have any joy left in life. My kids try very hard to make me happy , like sometimes they bring a movie home to watch or they try to plan an outing with me but I feel too bogged down with enough problems. I have to financially secure myself and am looking for a job also. How do I start rearranging my life. Please suggest a way of having some clarity in life.

Renu Makker, Ambala

First and foremost, please start thinking of yourself primarily . This is not going to be an indulgence, it is a necessity. It you are healthy and happy, only then can you move on in life. Remember you have the responsibility of your children, please do not weigh them down with your problems. They are growing teenagers and need the comfort and support of a strong and loving mother. Do not allow them to feel that you are dependent on them, they must feel that you are their strength and support. Only you can help yourself. Just think that this as a new lease to life.

Rush in your queries to Renee at  or care of Lifestyle, The Tribune,
Sector 29-C, Chandigarh

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