It takes grit and passion to enjoy riding and there are many among the new gutsy tribe who have the gall, says Anuradha Shukla

You need a horse yourself to catch up with the riding enthusiasts in the far corners of the city. Quietly galloping their way to live out their passion, are six-year olds along with their mothers and youngsters— all hooked to hoofed charm.

Not a sport for the meek hearted, the royal pastime of the brave, the city youngsters are game for the sheer challenge of riding, in the purest of all human pursuits. If you are a nature and animal lover and have the guts to take control of the reigns of the gentle steed you qualify to have the time of your life right said on the horseback.

You will find this new gutsy breed at hushed corners of the city practicing at the riding clubs being run by the connoisseurs of the sport and the glorious Indian Army. While Additional Advocate General J.S Toor started the Chandigarh Horse Riding School with 14 horses, the Indian Army has Shivalik Riding and Pony Club at Chandimandir, which has 22 horses and 20 ponies.

Special bond

It is a whole new feeling for Rupila Boparai who swears by the special bond she shares with her the animal. “Once I fell off the horseback and the horse just stood over me to cover me so that I was not trampled by other horses rushing from behind and I was so touched,” says Rupila whose favourite horse Lily feels jealous if she feeds sweets to any other horse. Major Nain on the other hand says “You are riding the horse against their wishes so the horses are rather happy when you fall off and walk away”, he says.

“Riding a horse requires josh and the attitude of learning”, says Major Arvind Nain and not everyone has it. “Ideally, a child should start at age eight because it only your grip on the horse that makes you a good rider.” Many pack up just because they haven’t got the grit and the passion.

In the family

Rupila and Kriti Kaur who both began watching their sons Armaan and Zorawar riding and they also took to it and got hooked big time. “It is not like working with a racket or a bat like in any other sport and is more fun doing it,” says Kriti Kaur. Rupinder Toor of the Chandigarh Horse Riding School says it was the dream of her husband that led to setting up of the school complete with jump sets, making it one of the rare ones in the region.

Young guns

For Rs 1500 a month, parents are happy sending their children here and this is how Jayanti of Sacred Heart, Arushi of Vivek High and Rishabh ended up here and love the sport for its adventure. Pukhraj (15) who has trained at two riding clubs in the city and also owns a horse says “There is a very special bond between the animal and you. Once you understand the fact it is a whole new feeling”, says Pukhraj.

Nawab, a Class X student of St Stephens finds horse riding most relaxing in the midst of his heavy study schedule and good fun time he and his younger brother Sultan can have together. “I like the easiness as well as the competition with my younger brother Sultan. The fact that we exercise control someone other than me gives me a high”, says Nawab, who also won a bronze at the Delhi National Horse Riding Show in December last and two silver medals at the Chandigarh Horse Riding Show in April this year.

Adhiraj is into riding just for the sheer energy bit they admit that, every fall makes them better riders the next time.

Trainer at the Chandigarh Riding School an ex-serviceman, Mahinder Singh says, “Injuries can occur only when you fall and a trained trainer doesn’t let that happen and goes one small step at a time”. “Most people come to the club to remain fit through horse riding”, he says.

Riding instructor Major Nain of the Shivalik Riding and Pony Club says a fall from a horse is normal and “every rider must accept at the beginning is that every horse is a different experience and the nature of the animal and level of difficulty will vary with every horse. And if you feel fear, every horse can sense it.”

Currently training more than seventy members from the armed forces and more than 90 members of their families, Major Nain says that with the holding of events like the third Chandigarh Horse Show in April this year there has been an increase of membership by about 20 per cent. “Our club has produced winners like Avinash who won silver at the Delhi Horse Show 2005 in Young Riders Show jumping and Nilay who won first Junior National Show Jumping competition, Kolkata. The instructor says: “This being largely a spectator sport the holding of prestigious events has given it an impetus.”

Dancing away to fitness
Dancing to the fitness tune with trained instructors teaching yoga, meditation and even Salsa, gymnasiums across the city are fast building up the reputation of being fitness centers, instead of just exercise rooms, says Saurabh Malik

Living in the thick of slimness, the walky-talky damsel carries a sleek mobile, and a slender figure. And to remain that way in good shape, Plus-One student Tanya Sharma goes to a gymnasium near Panchkula’s Sector 4 everyday. Nay, not for pumping iron, but to pump up the volume of the high-wattage stereo before twirling her way to fineness and fitness!

Right guys, the Sector 6 Panchkula resident dances on the polished floor of the gymnasium to the tune of latest Western numbers, even soft reflective music! Well, there are no psychedelic lights, but then who is bothered about it! For, the setting and the ambience are just perfect for a quick calorie-burning jive.

Five years back, the very thought of dancing in a gym would have made you sweat without working out on a treadmill. After all, dancing was strictly confined to ballrooms, discotheques and one odd nightclub existing in the city for youngsters flying high on the new found wings of freedom.

Gyms …well, they were for picking up weights for building up bodies after gulping all those high-protein supplements. Right, for guys eager to take part in the state and national-level body building championships held across the country. Girls were there too in the exercise rooms. But at the most for those 20-minute sessions in aerobics or some other light exercise!

But now go to a fitness studio and you will be surprised to see so many damsels in tracksuits and other gala dresses dancing to the tunes of trained instructors. For, gyms nowadays are not just for building muscles that ripple out of the sleeveless tees so ruthlessly, but to remain fit.

Fellows, you have got it right this time. The entire concept of has undergone a brawny change over the past few years. “After shedding their image of exercise rooms like loathsome kilograms off the body, the gymnasiums are fast acquiring the reputation of fitness centers in and around the city of beautiful,” says Ajay Chandhok of Panchkula-based Oxigen gym-cum-fitness Center. “No wonder, you have families, instead of individuals, coming to the fitness centers chanting the wellness mantra. Some dance, others do yoga, meditation and different cardio-vascular exercises. In our gym, we an 'Oxygen' bar, and a juice bar as well. The members can also get some good tips on diet management.”

Taking you around the recently inaugurated gym, his close associate Vinod Malhotra says: “And it’s not just any Western dance they perform for remaining in the pink of health. So many of them are actually learning Salsa to tone up! That’s perhaps the reason why the gyms are no more gloomy, but bright and cheerful with some relaxing music playing continuously”.

This is not the end of the fitness saga. The fully air-conditioned gyms have steam and sauna facilities. So folks, forget all about pumping the iron till you are exhausted. Slip into your track pants and dancing shoes for boogying your way to relaxation. Salsa or tango — the choice is yours, entirely.

Sreedhara Bhasin

We, Indians are very casual about asking questions – of utmost strangers. We think it is quite okay to ask a pedestrian directions, whether he is a resident of that area or not is of no consequence. We even think that anyone who is passing by ought to know intimate details of the area and the people. I have been asked on a few occasions, locations to a certain yoga centre and a Prachin Shiv Temple with a big Pipal tree in front. On both occasions, I have disappointed the folks. I have also been asked by people who are complete strangers – and have run into me in elevators, trains, walking tracks and parks – questions that would offend most Westerners. One lady asked me my age, another asked me if my hair was coloured and how much have I paid for my sneakers. One asked me – whether I have diabetes since I jog at the lake and another asked me if I needed a watchman for her nephew does not need his old one.

Anyone who is stationary at the road – for example, the parking ticket issuing boys – are of course, supposed to know everything! I find it extremely amusing that people who are driving in, ask them questions worthy of an omniscient. The poor guys are always on the edge, scrambling to stop runaway cars and then they have to deal with endless queries! They are asked the location to different offices. If they know the building, then they are asked about the right floor. They are asked about shops – if they made the mistake of answering – then they are asked if that shop carried printer cartridges, razor blades, cell phone charger, attendance registers and many other such things. They are asked about drop boxes for bills, CITCO cafeteria rates, instant passport photo shops, timings for the BSNL office, photocopy stores and Domino’s Pizza. No wonder, I saw a new notice written largely in bright red on the tin panels they keep to guard the opening – Yeh pooch-tachh Kendra nehi hei.

I see a lot of people in the stores – who think it is simply a waste of time to look for any item. They head for the first store clerk in sight and ask. When told of the unavailability of any item – they refuse to believe and simply take their query to another clerk. Some demand and some complain, some narrate and some order – but they all ask – freely.

I met an old man on my way out of a store – I was drinking a bottle of diet Pepsi. He looked at me earnestly and said – Aap to parhe-likhhe lagte ho! Phir yeh Zehr kyoon pi rahe ho? Rightly asked – I had no answer. Isn’t it great to be set right by perfect strangers?

Set for explosion!
Anandita Gupta

The grand Divali evening is slowly crawling nearer to you. Soon, the festivity would begin, setting the poojas and parties in full swing. The Champagne bottles would be fizzed over the fun and bonhomie. However, the evening isn’t only about getting high on music, wine and friendship. It’s also about lighting up this special night. Not just with diyas and candles alone, but also with your sparkling dress. So as you watch the cracker sparks electrifying a hundred kilometers in the sky, razzle-dazzle the night [by that jaw-dropping look] and watch the admiration sparks fly thick and fast.

Let that old sari come out of the closet once again and don you in a shockingly different avatar. The sari ‘palla’ can be draped and fastened at the chest like cloaks. You can even wrap yourself in a sari with lots of pleats like a lehenga. Take another ‘dupatta’ or stole and carry it along instead of the palla. Attitude wins hands down for such a sari!

Let your blouse go berserk! Get awesome by draping yourself in embellished saris with those sleek little things that spell sheer magic-Backless cholis, spaghettis, fitted bustiers, sleeveless tops, strappy blouses and the ‘angrakha’ style blouses. Sure shot attention-grabbers!

Bring out your inner drama queen. When it comes to mixing a palette of colours, you can have a mish-mash of gaudy pinks, fuchsias and oranges and inky indigos with the more sobre golds, browns and beiges. Bright coloured fabrics with rich work can definitely jazz up your subdued style quotient.

Layering is something that can add instant appeal to your dress-to-kill do. So go in for a layered effect by wearing one chiffon skirt over another, sequined Ponchos with clinging inners or wearing a frilly unbuttoned shirt over a skin hugging fitted top or a luxurious velvet or lace shrug.

Walk into that passage leading to sheer femininity. Go in for the hip cousin of the kurta-the flowing georgette-Kurtis in stark hues, shimmering with swarovskis and stones, sporting jeweled, beaded collars and embellished belts. They can be teamed with stoles, crushed dupattas or scarfs. Sure to make you the queen of glitz.

Let your outfit radiate with sparks of opulence and grandeur. Twirl around in long flowing, flamboyant skirts or gypsy skirts, teamed with halters in rich woven brocades, petal soft silks and georgettes embellished with ethnic embroidery. They can also be fitted satin skirts or lehengas in brocade, ‘banarsi’ or velvets, innovatively spruced with sequins, coins and gold loops.

Festive jewels

It is time for festive jewellery and the range of exquisite designs from Tanishq’s classic jewellery collection launched at the Tanishq store in Chandigarh on event of the festive Diwali season. The collection ranging from Colors of Royalty, inspired by the Victorian age, to Everyday Diamond especially created for working women were showcased by models sashaying the ramp at President Hotel on Friday evening.

In addition to the stone studded ethnic splendour, Tanishq had more to lure everyone-a unique ‘freeze your gold price’ scheme. A pre-booking scheme whereby consumers can freeze the rate of gold they wish to purchase by buying 25 per cent of the total purchase amount in advance( gold prices are expected to go up every year during the festive season).

So if you’re on a festive accessory-shopping spree and can’t resist the temptation this season, you know just the place to be.—TNS

‘Unkle Bhoot’ comes calling

With two successful films Makdee and Hanuman to fall back on, Vishal Bhardwaj has another of his ventures lined up for this Friday release. Specially, for children comes Bhoot Unkle released at Fun Republic Manimajra. This Jackie Shroff film has lots of masti, thrills along with a spooky element to it and shall be liked by kids and their families.

It is the fight of the good and the bad, in the world of magic, fun and adventure. Produced by Arjun Dev and Krishnan Chaudhary, Bhoot Unkle with its interesting plot, is a happening children’s film this week. Jackie Shroff plays the role of a friendly and loveable friendly neighbourhood ghost. He has come up with an interesting character and does his role well. Pop singer Baba Sehgal has penned the lyrics and composed the music. Title song Bhoot Unkle`85 suits the genre of the film. —D.P.

Accept your inner feelings

I am all of 48 years old but I think I am a love addict. I have had two failed marriages but I am still on the look out for the perfect woman who suits my temperament and who will keep me happy and also feel happy being with me. I feel I am searching for love and companionship. On my last visit to the U.S. I consulted a therapist who told me that I was living in denial of my true nature. I found that very confusing. All I am wanting is a comfortable level of understanding with a partner. Sometimes I feel very lonely and wonder what is life all about if you cannot share it from deep inside of you. Tell me if I am looking for too much or is this natural.

Swaroop Rai Chandigarh

It is good to know that people in our society have started accepting their inner feelings and have become vocal about them. It’s rather rare to find a person accepting that they are lonely. Also it is great to hear that you are looking for a meaningful relationship. Everyone has problems and dilemmas and some of them from time to time do require professional help, but it is good to accept yourself and then move on from there. Your therapist obviously is try is to suggest that you live up to your desires but you see the socio cultural environment in the US. is very different from ours in India. Try and choose a partner move carefully this time. If you must find someone essentially. Otherwise I would suggest you focus a little more on your other interests in life. Once all other aspects of your life are fulfilled you will just naturally attract the right partner. Someone who understands you and appreciates you for who you are and the way you are. Now would’nt that be wonderful.

I am a 19 years old college student who enjoys reading your column regularly. My problem is that I have hassles regarding communication. I don’t seem to be able to make friends easily and even if I do I feel I have not really been able to connect well. Even when I am in a classroom situation I feel a lack of connectivity to my teacher and even my peer group. In the process I feel I cannot learn very well & my level of apprehension always remains very high. My parents at home are very authoritarian and seem to correct me at every step I take. In the process I feel a total lack of confidence in myself and constantly look for dependency on others. Can you please guide me in some way so that I can learn to handle myself better.

Suresh Walia, Panchkula

Young man just relax, it seems to me that life seems like a constant struggle for you. Life is meant to be enjoyed, it is just plain and simple and at your age you have allowed it to bog you down. Take a yoga class to release your blocked energy and open the channels in you to allow your inner self to flow with more freedom. It is all about the mind body connection. When you learn to connect to your own inner self correctly your connection with the whole outer world will improve beautifully. Communication only feels comfortable when you are relaxed within yourself. If there is a constant level of tension with you, it becomes like a chore. You have to learn to shed the feeling that your parents are pushing you around, they are, from their view point doing their best. You must learn to discipline your own mind with you own effort. Take a deep breathe and exhale and then tell yourself. "I can learn easily and effortlessly and connect beautifully to the world around". All will turn out well for you. Connect with universe. Life will be great for you always.

Health tip of the day

Neck pain can occur while reading when the bed lamp is placed at one side of the bed. The reading light should fall directly on the book from overhead like a light that clips on the head of the bed or is attached on the wall or suspended from the ceiling.

— Dr Ravinder Chadha

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