Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Career Hotline
No bar on spirited choices
Pervin Malhotra

Q I am really keen to become a bartender as I feel I have flair for mixing drinks. What are the prospects in working for good night clubs/ five-stars hotels / pubs etc in places like Chandigarh?

— Vaibhav Malhotra

A Besides mastering the trick of juggling bottles, booze and glassware with a flourish and shaking/stirring up your own version of the perfect Molotov Cocktail or Singapore Sling, you need to be familiar with the terminology and lineage of French wines, champagne serving techniques, classic cocktail recipes and the correct posture. Yes, balance and posture are the key to mastering that perfect 360-degree swing without spilling a drop! But flair in bartending is not just about flipping bottles.

With some practice, you’ll learn to slot your client and instinctively guess what would tickle his/her taste buds. Once you know what goes with what, there’s no end to experimenting. A dash of this and a splash of that in reverse proportion — and you may well have a great new concoction to your credit!

Nobody can teach you to be a bartender. You have to learn from the pros who know the business. The rest comes with experience, say the pros. “Keep mixing and keep tasting, that’s the only way to get it right”, urges a seasoned drink jockey. And cheers to that.

Apart from metro cities like Delhi where there is a demand for 300 new bartenders every year, bartending as a profession is fast gaining popularity in satellite cities like Chandigarh, Jaipur and Pune as well.

This is one career where you get paid for getting people drunk. Bartending can be a long-term career or a casual part-time job. And the money’s not bad either. Starting out at about Rs 12,000 p.m. at a star-rated hotel (Rs 6,000 salary, rest in tips) you could end up making Rs 3-4 lakh p.m. once you’ve built yourself a reputation. And thanks to the explosive growth of bars and pubs in the country, there is a growing demand for skilled bartenders.

Essential bartending skills form part of full-fledged Food & Beverage courses taught at Hotel Management colleges.

A choice for gifted persons

Q I have a natural talent for gift- wrapping. Using odds and ends lying around the house, I can transform an ordinary gift into a piece of art. Can I possibly take this up as a profession?

— Neelam Khanna

A Why not! Have you ever seen the look of sheer delight and inquisitiveness on a child’s face as she excitedly tries to ‘judge her gift by its cover’?

Part of the joy of receiving a gift is the element of surprise and it’s something even adults don’t grow out of. The wrapping is a part and parcel of the whole gift experience. Haven’t we felt ever so often that a package simply looks too exquisite to open!

And the market is full of an exquisite array of paper, boxes, cloth and accessories like dry flowers, ribbons and pearls ... you’re spoilt for choice.

For those of us who get our fingers tied up in knots while wrapping gifts, help is at hand.

The demand for designer gift-wrapping has given rise to a whole new breed of professionals called gift-wrap stylists. These designers often sit in consultancy with their client and take down details like the recipient, the budget and the occasion – of course a corporate gift-wrap is very different from a birthday gift.

The festival and wedding season spells boom time for gift stylists and you can charge anything from Rs 35 to Rs 5000 per wrap. Designers charge a lot more for theme-based trousseau gift-wrapping.

So, if you have a gift for gift-wrapping you can certainly take up this profession. Beginners can start out from home or join designers or stores that specialise in gift-wrapping to hone your skills.

The Japanese are masters of this art form (even their vegetables and eggs are so artistically packaged! There are some excellent books in the market, to inspire you and get you going.

There is no end to innovation. Just keep experimenting with different materials and colours, and you’ll never have a dull day.

More on microbiology

Q I would be very grateful if you could list the universities offering microbiology at the M. Sc level and the eligibility criteria?

— Pallavi Dhaundiyal

A M. Sc Microbiology is offered at the following universities:

Panjab University, ( Chandigarh; Eligibility: B.Sc in the relevant subject (50 pc)

  • Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, ( Hisar; Eligibility: B. Sc.

  • Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, Duration: 2 year Eligibility: B. Sc (55 pc)

  • Maharshi Dayanand University, ( Rohtak; Duration: 2 year Eligibility: B.Sc (Hons) with 45 pc marks in aggregate and in the subject concerned or B.Sc with 50 pc aggregate marks.

  • Ch. Sarwan Kr Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya, Palampur, (HP), Duration: 2 years. Eligibility: B.Sc.

  • Himachal Pradesh University, ( Shimla, (HP), Duration: 3 years. Eligibility: B. Sc Admission is made through written test

  • Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar (

  • Punjab Agricultural University, ( Ludhiana (Punjab)

  • Delhi University, ( Delhi, Duration: 2 year Eligibility: B.Sc with 60-65 pc marks Admission is based on entrance exam.

Playing music as work

Q For the last two years I have been handling the music for all the parties hosted by my friends. Now I am thinking of taking up deejaying as a profession. Is this a good option?

— Gautam Senan

A A DJ is a performing artiste who remixes various kinds of music at discotheques, clubs, parties live shows.

The trick of making people literally “dance” to your tunes lies in assessing the mood of the audience, putting the music seamlessly together in a perfect blend — the right track at the right time.

You must be innovative enough to experiment with sound effects and invent something different and interesting each time. Keeping up with new trends and sound tracks released internationally is part of the job. Personality, attitude, grooming, hard work and technical savvy are the qualities needed to be a successful DJ. Above all, you must be passionate about music, love interacting with the crowd. Moreover, you’ve got to be something of a showman — flamboyant and energetic.

As part of this hip, hop, happening job you’ll perform in discos, clubs, pubs, lounges, music stores, musical and entertainment events and parties — outdoors or in hotels.

In the new job scenario, where 9 to 5 jobs have ceased to exist, professional DJs say that theirs is that last remaining 9 to 5 job-only it is 9 pm to 5 am! So, be prepared to work odd hours against your body clock.

There was a time when having a deejay host your party was a prerogative of the rich and famous. Today, no college bash or neighbourhood pub, or even a pre-marriage sangeet or private party can do without one.

The money? Not bad at all. Starting out at a club for Rs 5000-10,000, you can fetch a lot more with some experience — anywhere between Rs 60,000 –70,000 a month if you’re good. Interestingly, even in this relatively new field, hierarchies exist and private party DJs are still considered infra dig. They may earn quick bucks –Rs 15,000 per party—but they lack creative freedom and have to play songs demanded by the host. Meanwhile, a club DJ usually commands star status by playing a certain genre of music like trance or electronica while maintaining creative control.

Celebrity DJs earn in lakhs, and if you start young, your career could span over 15-20 years.

A chance to bloom

Q I belong to a farming family in HP and would like to branch out into horticulture. Is this a feasible option? Can I get any government assistance?

— S Thapar

A After the green revolution, horticulture is being widely promoted by the HP government as the ‘golden revolution’. It has sponsored a Rs 80-crore Horticulture Technology Mission through which horticulturalists like yourself will be eligible for assistance of 50 per cent of the cost of cultivation up to a maximum limit of Rs 13,000 per hectare.

For irrigation facilities, assistance of up to Rs 10 lakh per 10 hectares is available. If you are interested in constructing a tube- well and face financial constraints, you can approach the HP government for financial aid. It will bear 50 per cent of the cost up to a maximum of Rs 12,500. Since drip and sprinkler irrigation is a very important aspect of horticulture, Rs 28,500 and Rs 15,000 is being provided respectively.

Green thumbs interested in herbal gardening, can get assistance of up to Rs 1.5 lakh. Similarly, there is help at hand for those who have the requisite know-how to adopt tissue culture for crop propagation. Aid worth Rs 10 and Rs 20 lakh is available for private and public sector institutions, respectively.

Organic farming is also set to get a major boost. A sum of Rs 10,000 per hectare of converted land is being offered as an incentive. If you are interested in setting up eco-friendly vermi composting units, the government will back your good intentions with Rs 30,000 as aid.

Commercial horticulture enterprises can also visit the website of the National Horticulture Board ( for information on subsidies and support schemes.

Indian Idol beckons

Q My friends and family members tell me I have a great voice. I am keen to participate in one of the popular TV music shows. Can you please give me some handy tips?

— Hira

A So what if you were eliminated in the first round? Remember, winning is not everything. Think of it as an opportunity to learn and showcase your talent.

If you want to be the next Indian Idol or the next Lata, Abida Parveen, Kavita K or Jaspinder N, nothing can stop you. Provided you have the three Ts: talent, training and tenacity. It’s important to groom yourself well.

However, as you must have seen and of course heard in every sphere of music — be it vocal or instrumental, classical or light (non-classical/semi-classical or pop), stage or playback — the competition is very keen. For every one Abhijeet Sawant, Ujjayi or Himani there are thousands of aspirants just waiting in the wings for their chance at fame and success.

To launch forth as a professional vocalist, you need proper training and regular riyaz (practice).

Here are a few guru mantras that should help you.

On the day before the recording, do some of your favourite things like sleeping, reading, meditation, etc so that you are completely relaxed. You must not strain your throat with excessive riyaz or might end up with a sore throat. And when your chance for 15 seconds of fame arrives, be prepared to feel the heat of the arc lights, the pandemonium on the sets and the heart-stopping moment of actually meeting some of the stars like Sonu Nigam, Shaan or Mandira Bedi who host shows like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa or Fame Gurukul and interacting with top composers and singers like Himesh Reshamiya or Ismail Darbar. But the idea is to block all that out and concentrate on the show. If it is a contest in which you need to identify the song, do your homework well in advance and keep a close tab on hints that hosts drop now and then during the seemingly endless banter.

The most important thing, and I cannot stress this enough, is the choice of song. Most contestants believe that they will floor the judges with a song that best showcases their ability to effortlessly take any scale or tenor. Trust me, it is better to pick on a melodious, popular song rather than struggle through a heavy-duty classical raga. If you plan to participate in a team event, don’t hog the mike. Team spirit in this case is crucial for winning the contest.

Best of luck!

Picking up Punjabi

Q My family recently migrated back to Punjab after spending 10 years in the UK. Since I have been away for so long, my Punjabi speaking skills are very poor. Can you suggest some short-term or online course that I can pursue?

— Duljeet Singh

A You are in luck. Punjabi University, Patiala, offers interactive online audio-video coaching in Punjabi language. The website has a pictorial vocabulary of over 2000 words along with their pronunciation, games, tongue twisters.

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The writer is a noted career consultant

Please send in your query, preferably on a postcard, along with your full name, complete address and academic qualifications to: Editor, Jobs and Careers, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160030, or at [email protected]