No holds barred

The trend of having a custom-made bar in homes is fast catching up with city residents, finds out Angad B. Sodhi

Walk into a newly constructed house in Chandigarh and the people showing you around will lead you to the drawing room, living room, dining room and the bar… wait a minute, the bar?

That’s right the bar! A trend, that some may feel has been around for a while, is catching on like wildfire among the current generation—to incorporate a separate bar area in the house. Yes, small cupboards hidden away in little corners of drawing rooms have always existed and, yes, these cupboards have often contained collections of the finest bottles of alcohol the world has to offer. Yet these have always lurked in the shadows, opening only on special occasions and never displaying their full range of contents to outsiders. Gone are the days of the discrete closets, stocked with alcohol, that once substituted as so-called “bars” in people’s homes. Welcome to the age of custom-made, custom-fitted display cabinets, counters and bar stools, all in the comfort of your own home!

What is it that has caused this evolution from the well stocked, but hidden, cupboards of yesterday to the bold-display cabinets and elaborate bar counters of today?

“There is no longer a social stigma attached to drinking. Till as recently as a few years back, most people would not want to show off their collection of alcohol for the fear that that they maybe deemed sharabi or alcoholics,” replies Jasbir Singh, owner of Mohali-based Karan Interiors and Kitchens By Choice. “People today just want to have a bar and they want others to know that they have a bar”, he says.

So drinking is now an ‘in’ thing (as if you didn’t know that!). Capt Sharma, furniture exporter and owner of interior store Uma’s, agrees, “Drinking was a social taboo and although it was going on behind closed doors, hardly anyone wanted to publicly confess to the (now) trivial fact that they enjoyed their drinks.” He also attributes a lot to the five-star culture that is seeping into our lives and homes. “Today’s generation feels that if you’ve got it, flaunt it.”

Oh and how they flaunt it. A bar counter and cabinet sans stools (and alcohol) can set one back anything from Rs 60, 000 for a basic bar to a whopping Rs 3 or 4 lakh if you have an eye for something unusual. Each stool can also cost anything between Rs 3, 000 to Rs 8, 000, again depending on how creative you want to get.

So what are the ‘trends within the trend’ of bars in homes? “The typical bar in a house seats between two or four people. Most people prefer a wooden bar, with a very rich look and loads of display space. And a lot of light to highlight their crystal decanters and bottles of Chivas or Grey Goose”, says Jasbir. He does say, however, that more and more people are now beginning to ask for something unique and exquisite. People have tried to incorporate certain other interests and passions into their bar designs to create different themes for the bars. There is a journalist in the city who has a laminated collage of old newspaper cuttings as his bar top. Another local resident, a passionate horse lover, has given his bar a very western theme and has bar stools that have real saddles for seats! These stools were custom built for him using saddles he ordered all the way from Allahabad.

With creativity seeping in, bars are becoming works of art, using wrought iron, stained and painted glass and ornately carved wood. At this rate, it does seem that they will soon become part of the normal set-up of a house, with the ‘show-off’ element graduating into the uniqueness of the bar as opposed to just having one. People with bars in their houses find that they make excellent places for men to gather around and socialise. Even people who don’t drink are starting to incorporate bars into their set-ups because they make great places to entertain guests. So it does seem like the bar is going places. Not only has it come out of the shame closet, it has arrived in society and is becoming a matter of pride for its owners, with an increasing number of people wanting their bars to remind people of them!

Mad about shopping?

Ever wondered what is it that makes most women’s conversation, in fact lives, centre around shopping? Anandita Gupta talks to some shopaholics

Shopping—a serenely satisfying act for every feminine soul in the cosmos. A therapeutic hobby, an investment that guarantees good photo opportunities and even, for most women, a sacred way of life. But then, there are those—mostly men (read fathers, husbands, brothers and boyfriends) for whom their woman’s indulgence in shopping seems an incurable disease, a misuse of money or even a destructive cycle, too vicious too be broken. In case, we’ve left you wondering whether to embrace this delightful indulgence or dismiss it as a forbidden sin, lets delve deep into the shopping bags of the city’s shopaholics to let you decide.

Craft craze

“The sheer pleasure associated with shopping, finds takers in all women, everywhere, anywhere. It’s like a glue that binds us all,” laughs Nimisha Gupta, Manager INIFD. An alumnus of prestigious institutes like Lady Irwin College and NIFT, Delhi, this young lady gets a high by shopping anything that’s traditional, colourful, intricate. “Silk smooth textiles and exotic embroideries have always fascinated me. So I’m spending all my leisure time at Fabindia, Khadi Gram Udyaog, Chandigarh and the emporiums at Baba Kharag Singh Marg, Delhi.”

Fashionable finds

And for those of us, curious to know the hottest buys our uptown girls are grabbing fast, a meeting with Manpreet would serve as enough food for thought. A fashionista to the core, the girl nurses a fierce love of shopping. “Crisp shirts, chic capris, stylistic watches with black dials, strappy belts and paunchy, leather bags—I love shopping it all. Shopping drives away my blues.” But isn’t she blowing mega bucks in stocking all these luxury buys? “Nah, for a majority of my shopping sprees are need-based. After all who doesn’t need a pair of purple stilettos or stone-washed denims,” she hastens to add.

Instinctual indulgence

However, are shopping-sprees always need-based? Chips in jewellery collector Dr Chinka, “Not at all. In fact, most women shop due to instinct rather than need. Whether a woman’s out on a business trip or holiday, there’s always something she spots instinctually—somewhere.” Yes, there’s of course, always a find waiting to be lovingly held in a shopaholic’s arms, to be cherished and appreciated. And maybe, discarded two months later, occasionally without ever having been worn!

Perfection’s call

Reasons designer Vandana Worrell, “Women are perfectionists and want to have the best of everything. So, it’s not just instinct that we spend hours shopping, but the need to find the best of things. I remember how badly I wanted a pastel woolen poncho about three years back, and I scoured every nook and cranny for it,” she gets nostalgic.

Well, whatever the reasoning, the fact remains that women are gifted with extra sensory shopping powers. For, don’t we catch the very smell of shopping delights, sitting pretty on a shelf, somewhere around? And aren’t we the first ones to frantically offer our credit cards, for that apricot Pashmina stole which may soon get sold?

So rush! The Statue of Liberty is going nowhere, but the latest shade of Street Wear nail paint may soon disappear. For all those who agree…read on and nod on. For those who don’t…try dabbling in the delightful shopping experience, before trashing it…

Rough ride for motorsport
Sukant Deepak

One can almost hear the heart beat at breakneck speed. The lazy November afternoon is all set for a rude shock and would soon rise from its lumber. Exhaust fumes would rule the air after the event concludes.

Participation is from around the country. The sport boasts of all the hair-raising excitement, nail-biting finishes and yes, its fair share of controversies. Still, why is motorsports so jinxed that it fails to get its due with regard to government aid, corporate backing and excellent organisational assistance? Let’s get down to some serious talking and that too in the fifth gear!

Suresh Rana from Manali, Himachal Pradesh may have created a history of sorts by winning the prestigious Raid de Himalaya thrice in a row, but the same hasn’t translated into sponsorships or other benefits. “Leave the Indian Government, even the Himachal Government which boasts of excellent terrain and exceptional talent is doing absolutely nothing to encourage motorsports. The game has a very limited scope in North as opposed to South. People who have links here get financial aid and sponsorships. There has to be more participation from the private sector, better facilities from the government and transparency in all decisions pertaining to this sport,” he demands.

It’s high time that sponsors recognise that cricket is not the only game played in India. Well, that’s what Sunny Sidhu from Chandigarh who has to his credit two wins in the ‘Desert Storm’ rally and one in Raid de Himalaya wants. “Corporate backing is desperately needed to ascertain a bright future for motorsports in India. Why isn’t this sport and the Motorsports Association of India (MAI) recognized by the Indian government? Well, there is a silver lining too. Car manufacturers are slowly getting more directly involved- Mitsubishi India for example. When this happens, things should improve. Well, at least we can hope for that!”

Calling for a multidimensional approach with regard to taking corrective measures, Hari Singh, Asia Zone Rally Champion-2000 and Indian National Rally Champion (1993-97) states that the time has come for MAI and FMSCI, in their roles as central bodies to encourage clubs at all levels. These bodies should be strong enough to support clubs with the requisite funds when the latter needs the same,” he emphasises.

When asked about corporate support, Hari fumes, “What are you talking about? Look what has happened to INRC this year, two events have been cancelled—Hyderabad and Coimbatore, and not because of any natural calamity! Do you think corporate houses will come forward in face of such inconsistencies? They will get involved only when we can deliver. Media too has an important role to play in this. It’s high time to get our act together—we have the talent, the terrain. Let’s act!”

Tuning-In with Hardeep S. Chandpuri

In simple words a radio jingle is a slogan, set to an engaging melody, mainly broadcast on radio and sometimes on television commercials. An effective jingle is constructed to stay in one’s memory (colloquially, ‘ringing a bell’). People often nostalgically remember jingle even decades later even after the advertised brand has ceased to exist. Nowadays, the most common form of a jingle is a radio station’s on-air musical or spoken station identity. And guys, let me remind, you that the first known jingle was produced for Wheaties in the year 1926.

The jingle was used on radio from the very beginning, and the art of jingle writing was well honed by the time television became widely available. The golden age of the advertising jingle was during the US 1950s economic boom. The jingle was used in the advertising of branded products such as breakfast cereals, candy and snacks (including soda pop) and other processed foods, tobacco and alcoholic beverages, as well as various franchises and products that might reflect personal image such as automobiles, electronics, personal hygiene products (including deodorants, mouthwash, and toothpaste) and household cleaning products, especially detergents.

In India private radio is still at a nascent age but the future seems bright. The cost of making a jingle is pretty high. The main reason being the number of specialised people doing what they know best. One has to hire the services of a producer, scriptwriter, music director, musicians, studios, singers and voice over artistes and the result is a jingle that packs a fat punch and of course, makes a big dent in your pocket.

Today, we have some very big international companies that specialise only in this field like Thompson Creative, Wise Buddah, Jeff Laurence Productions etc. Closer home, we have people like K.K., Kailash Kher, Kunal Ganjawala who have made it big on the film music scene but, their first initiation into singing was through jingles only. And whenever one thinks of a popular jingle, the first name that pops up is Nirma….washing powder Nirma or Hawkins ki seeti baji….. which have for sure, stood the test of time.

We have to remember, that jingles generate great impacts on people - jingles like TV theme tunes make people remember the product or a service name. Think of a TV show from years ago, you’ll be able to recall the opening theme tune like it was yesterday.

Jingles and creative jingle tags on radio make the world turnaround. They sell products, services and people. And don’t forget that hot jingles make the message work.

Casino Royale fails to bond
Rajiv Kaplish

It is more realistic, darker and grittier than the earlier James Bond movies. It is a tragic love story”, claimed Eva Green, lead actress of “Casino Royale” (Fun Republic, Piccadily) in an interview. That’s the tragedy, Eva, of the latest Bond flick. Who would like the secret service agent 007 to be a romantic lover? Or, a loner who does not get involved with people?

Guns, girls, glamour — only a Bond who has restricted his vocabulary to the three words can be the darling of the audiences. Sadly, Daniel Craig, the new James Bond, shows his expertise only in inanities. Whether he is wooing Eva or engaging in a high-stake poker game in Casino Royale to outwit a banker to most of the global terrorists, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), Craig lets his imagination run riot. A womaniser, not a tragic lover, will jell well with the viewers.

Ditto for the heroine. A sizzling siren is what everyone wants and not a plain Jane, which Eva Green looks like while playing Vesper Lynd , a British Treasury official, attached to Bond to prevent him from squandering the money given to him to beat the money-launderer.

But the film traces the early career of James Bond and his first mission when he hadn’t got the licence to kill and Bond was not as he is perceived today, may argue director Martin Campbell. That is the greatest weakness of Casino Royale.

The persona of 007 unleashed over more than four decades would be too difficult to be dwarfed by a peep into his past. Your movie should have been made about 50 years ago, Mr Campbell.

Motherhood by choice

I have a daughter and I always wanted one child. But all my friends and family feel that I am selfish. Is it really selfish to have just one child? They think that one must always try and have two kids. Also my husband’s family keeps making remarks about my not being a responsible mother and daughter-in-law. I don’t know how to tell them the truth about the way I feel. I value my freedom and the way I live and I am not prepared to sacrifice these to make others happy. How do I deal with this issue, it is beginning to get to me.

Sheena Soman, Ambala

Relax and do not allow other people’s opinions weigh you down. Having a choice in life, is an absolutely wonderful feeling, but allowing other people to make the choices for you can be a little hard to deal with. Of course your having another child is absolutely your own concern, but your well wishers do have a point when they see it as a healthier option to have more than one kid. Bringing up a single kid I feel is a greater responsibility, as you have to fulfil many needs for the child, which naturally get taken care of on a sibling level. As far as freedom is concerned, you’ll have it only when you feel it within yourself. Give it a careful thought and then choose whatever makes you happy.

My 37-year-old brother has been suffering from depression for many years. The first few years my mom and I tried very hard to get him out of it. Being over spoilt by the grandparents he had picked up all sorts of bad habits and became good for nothing. He did his B.A. and M.B.A. After investing some of his money in a business he took to drinking and other bad habits. Now he is constantly either brooding around, has no friends and lacks in self confidence completely. I have tried talking him out of this but it does not seem to work. I have started feeling very frustrated, as I cannot cope with this situation. My own life is getting affected. Should I seek professional counselling for him I want to really help him?

Mandeep Rastogi, Panchkula

I think your brother is a fortunate guy to have you as a sister, but I do understand, that living with depressed people can be physically and emotionally exhausting you probably end up feeling demoralised, resentful and many times even confused. But this is only natural as it is really challenging to love and to live with someone who is depressed. Thinking that you alone will be able to deal with this situation or even your mother can, is actually a Herculean task. This situation definitely needs professional help and seeking a counselor or a therapist would be the best choice. Once you relieve yourself of your seemingly impossible goal of fixing the situation you will actually manage to deal with it at a better level. If you are feeling balanced, happy and at peace only then will you be of any help to your brother Psychotherapy aims to help and understand deep rooted issues. Seek professional help and it will all work out for the best.

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

She has designs on stars
Anandita Gupta

The magic of rural Punjab
FOLKSY & FILMY: The magic of rural Punjab is being captured for the Hollywood venture Partition

It’s a starless night. Not dark though, as a full moon shines bright — a diamond pendent on the bare-necked darkness. The quiet of the hours seems still, heavy. And then, as the night leisurely tick-tocks into midnight, lights come on. Stardust pours into Mumbai’s Film City. Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta, arrive and prepare to celebrate the Punjabi harvest festival of Lohri for celluloid in fancy traditional attires.

The glittering set, which bears a rustic setting replete with reticent cows mooing about, suddenly pulsates with vigour. Cameras roll and Javed Akthar’s playful, staunch Punjabi words resound—“O aa gayi lohri ve, bana le jori ve…..”

You must have guessed by now. For how can we forget this delightful song from Yash Chopra’s cross-border romance Veer Zaara. But, what most of us wouldn’t have guessed, is that our own Chandigarh-based kudi was behind the swift canning of this, and many such scenes.

Yes, at 21, she concentrates on the lighting and ambience of film sets, animatedly discusses the dance movements of the extras, and yes, even fixes up things like the unpinned pleats in Preity’s Fluorescent green and magenta, zardosi embellished Veer Zaara ‘kurta lungi’ outfit. Already the Associate Production and Location Manager with Darshan Aulukh Productions, Neetu Grover handles everything from locations and sets to dresses and production.

Veer Zaara, Yaaran Naal Baharain, Dil Apna Punjabi, Shahid –e- Muhabbat, Shahide Bhagat Singh, Wrais Shah, Namaste London Hollywood’s Partition and serials, including Sony’s Aisa Desh Hai Mera—the repertoire of films and serials she’s worked for is extensive. “I had been choreographing, designing costumes and sets for school and college functions since I was a class X student. So I was offered this job by Drashan Aulukh productions,” she beams.

And how’s the journey since then been? “Full of fun and challenges. Constructing mud houses, arranging havelis, dhols and cows for shoots,” she laughs an infectious laugh. “We spend sleepless nights, thinking and conceptualizing sets, locations and dresses of extras. It’s fun, lucrative and very challenging.”

And what does she see, looking into the crystal ball? “My future lies in designing. I’m doing fashion designing and want to drape buttery satins around Bollywood girls,” she chides in a dream-drenched voice. No wonder, she’s planning her own fashion show with Ameesha Patel and Aisha Takia very soon. Hey girl, you’ve already done us city denizens much proud. May every dream you spin, becomes a reality. Every set and fabric you touch, bloom!

Matka Chowk
Lady in Town
Sreedhara Bhasin

I had not fully realized the advantages of being a ‘Lady’ till I arrived in Chandigarh after years of living abroad. True – I have memories of ‘Ladies Special’ buses and trams in Calcutta and men getting up to free the ‘Ladies Seats’ in public vehicles. But, after coming to Chandiagrh, I found many new directions in which my ladyhood came quite handy.

One winter morning while waiting at the end of a long queue at the RTO’s office, I was nudged by my fellow-queuer –“Aap samne jake khare ho jao” – ladies first.” After a brief pang of guilt, I did so with as much grace as I could.

While driving into my regular petrol-pump, I found a new sign next to one of the pumps – ‘For Lady Drivers.’ This time I hurried to make use of my gender. It’s a pity, they did not employ this policy for filling air as well.

In a city where double parking has become the norm, the parkingwallas always accord special treatment to me when I am trying to get my car out of impossible geometry. I am often assisted by lads who encourage me with chosen words like “chalo, chalo, left kato, sihdhi karo, pura ghumao.” They have full faith in my ability to take the car out by making most of their gratuitous directions.

In extreme moments of anger, when I have screamed at drivers who have double parked me for more than thirty minutes and that too in the sweltering heat of June, I have had the benefit of them not throwing me into the dustbin, and even defend themselves against my Hinglish harangue.

Of course, I can avail of the ladies hour in most gyms where I don’t have to dodge men who think I am transparent while running on the jogging track in the lake. I can also venture into the ISBT and buy a ticket to some obscure Himachali village, just to make the most of the ladies only ticket counter!

The bus conductors in Calcutta have a pet stopping slogan – when the buses, filled like tins of Sardines – come to a halt and lady passengers need to disentangle themselves and disembark, they let out a full throated – “Rok ke – ladies hein.” The sound of that always brings me home.

Now we need a ladies line at the ATMs, in the supermarkets and in British Library. And what when I become a senior citizen? Shouldn’t my benefits double?

Fun With Fashion
Of threads and colours
Anandita Gupta

Just when we thought November wasn’t getting cold enough, a surprising change crept in. The air around us got chillier, heavier—exhaling the subtle scents and whiffs of winter. Little wonder, you’ve been left wondering what to wear for those chilly social-do evenings. Perhaps, you wouldn’t have been in this dress-dilemma, if you’d known Vandana Worrell.

Vandana—the lady behind magical, lush mosaics of Rajasthani designs. Every cloth she touches with her needle blooms. No, she’s no local tailor, mind you, but a chic designer based at Chandigarh. And the spell she creates with her designs sways to the weather’s rhythms.

And so this Rajasthani designer has in store—something sizzling yet snug to tuck in your wardrobes this winter. Using exotic embroidery, patchwork, block printing and quilting on khadi, Worrell’s offering a treasuring trove of quilted kurtis and swish jackets, for the hip-hop in town. The colour palette is equally exotic too, brimming with colours that are dust from a butterfly’s wings. Satin-soft turmeric, vermillion-red, thunder-blue, emerald-green and bride’s-luck red.

Having worked with prestigious organisations like APJ College of Fine Arts, KVCI and INIFD, the designer’s also crafted creations for ramp models Rahul Dev, Arjun Rampal, Madhu Sapre, Nayanika Chatterjee and Tara Sharma. But the closest to her heart is spinning magic with gossamer fabrics for different fashionistas and export houses. “Freelancing lets the fountain of your creativity come out with all its force,” she beams.

So all those of you craving to look chic, yet remain snug, this lady’s silk and khadi quilts and jodhpuri harem pants with Russian motifs are just perfect for you.

Dancing diamonds

Buoyed by its success in the city beautiful, Tanishq the jewellery brand of Tatas is soon coming up with a new boutique for the city to mark the completion of nine years in the city. The city is way up in jewellery tastes as it is ranked among the top ten cities in the country for the highest sales of jewellery recorded here. Keeping up with the tastes of the new age women the boutique has launched a range of chandelier earrings. The range has multiple layers of gold earrings in contemporary designs, which are worn without the necklaces for the party circuits. Designs of earrings range from Paheli, Sobhagya, colours, lightweights in gold, dancing diamonds, every day diamonds, royal colours and much more is in the offing at the exhibition.

Regional Business Executive, Mayank Kampani, says the expansion plan include coming up of second boutique in the city and opening of new boutiques in Bathinda, Ambala and Shimla in this financial year while boutiques in Patiala and Ludhiana are likely to be opened in the next financial year. With branded jewellery occupying the imagination of jewellery hunters in the region, the company rates the shift of people from the unorganised market to the certified jewellery market as a healthy trend, which has got impetus with the hallmark jewellery specifications promoted by the government, says Mayank.

— Anuradha Shukla

A mania called cricket

Cricket is my religion, reads the bold statement on the back of a young fan, captured on camera wearing nothing but the painted shades of the tricolour. This one statement sets the mood for the ‘Cricketmania!’ exhibition held at the Alliance Française. The passion and love felt for this sport, it seems, is the one factor that transcends all divisions and boundaries in our nation and binds us together as nothing else can. This exhibition is concrete proof of the fact that cricket is not just a sport; it is a sanctimonious activity, which can bring our entire nation to a standstill.

Looking around the room, one can see the spell that this sport has cast over our people. The sea of different emotions that are frozen in these images, all tell a story, some tell a joyful one, while others a sad one. But the one common element among all of these is the sincere passion that can be seen on the faces of all those who have been immortalized and framed up on those walls. Whether it is the winning entry by Navneet Saxena titled ‘I just can’t wait’ depicting a little boy sitting padded up in anticipation for his turn to play or it is the excited expression on the faces of an Indian and an Aussie fan in Nereraj’s ‘High on passion’, that received a special mention, every picture captures the significance that cricket has in our lives.

The 41 pictures displayed at the exhibition are all part of a contest presented by Moser Baer, aimed at capturing the spirit of the game on camera. One look around the room can dispel any doubts as to whether the aim of the exhibition has been fulfilled. The contest was announced during the ICC Champions trophy and received an excellent response in the Chandigarh area, with the organizers receiving over 300 entries. Navneet Saxena’s ‘I just can’t wait’ bagged first place, Neeraj Sharma’s ‘Sheer Indulgence’ was judged second and Maninder Singh’s ‘Fans know no borders’ was third. Nereraj’s ‘High on passion’ and Sanchay K’s ‘Beyond limits’ received special mentions.

The exhibition at Alliance Française, in sector 36, opened on November 18, with a small humorous skit on cricket by two local radio jockeys and a speech by the chief guest Mr Vivek Attri, the Director Tourism UT. It closes on November 19.

—Angad B. Sodhi

Thai carving
Gayatri Rajwade

It is the mother of all knives. Beautifully lacquered, delicate and yes small but what a peeler it is! There is a famous saying in Thai that goes: when you eat, you do not just eat with your mouth, your tongue and your stomach, you also eat with your eyes and that is precisely what this deceptively modest knife is doing.

At a traditional Thai Fruit and Vegetable Carving show held at the Taj-17 for spouses of Rotarians who are in the city for the annual Rotary Asia Zone Institute, the fruits and vegetables literally bloomed under the deft touch of Thai specialist Chayanit Prampate.

The art of fruit and vegetable carving (Kae-sa-lak in Thai) is performed in Asian countries like Korea, Japan and China, but Thai culinary carving is really something special.

Apart from balancing their cuisine with contrasting flavours, sweet and piquant, subtle and sharp, Thai people believe a rose made of their watermelon makes all the difference while eating!

And this artistic display proved just why.

Using the carving knife, Chayanit adroitly carved away at pieces of cucumber and carrot which emerged a few minutes later looking like a leaves straight off a tree!

Grooves were carved out within the vegetables to make stems and leaves and the edges were patterned in a jigsaw manner to create a leaf within a leaf—truly beautiful.

The cucumber also underwent a spectacular transformation to surface as a lotus complete with its numerous layered petals—overlapping and alternating—just like the real flower and finally playing with a water-melon, Chayanit ‘extracted’ a Dahlia and even a rose out of the soft juicy fruit, driving the ladies watching into ecstatic delight.

And as the camera cell phones were whipped out and frenzied photographs taken to preserve this moment for posterity, we managed a quick tête-à-tête with the lady herself.

20 years of experience in teaching fruit and vegetable carving at the Rajamangla University of Bangkok as lecturer Chayanit has perfected the art that she picked up in ten days as a student. “Learning it is no problem, perfecting it is,” she smiles speaking of this ancient revered tradition.

But it all has to do with whether it is to be used as an adornment on the table or it is to be eaten. “If it is to be consumed then one should not attempt too many complicated carvings on the fruit so as to preserve its freshness, otherwise of course, you can make a whole bouquet of roses on a water-melon!” she smiled.

As for her carving knife, well that is sacrosanct and she has been using one for over 20 years now. It is the lucky knife, you see!

Fruit and vegetable carving is a venerable tradition which has been passed down from ancient times and is considered to be one of the ten traditional Thai crafts and is used in making food offerings for monks, entertaining guests, ordinations, weddings even in royal funerals.

The art of fruit and vegetable carving is believed to have originated in 1364 in Sukhotai when Lady Nang Nopphamat who was the chief royal consort, decorated the floating lamp for good luck (Krathong) for the royal festival of Loy Krahtong celebrated on a full moon night in November every year, with a profusion of flowers and birds, swans, rabbits and many other animals carved from fruits and vegetables making it look like a huge water lily flower. When King Phra Ruang saw what she had created, he appreciated this innovation and decreed it would be an art heritage of Thailand. Since that date, the ladies of the Royal Court have performed the art of vegetable and fruit carving.

A Rocking Friday
Gayatri Rajwade

Muscled bouncer standing nonchalantly by the entrance, ‘I love you dear Athena’ scratched in the lift, voluble film songs jangling with psychedelic lights and bopping youngsters having the time of their lives—we have arrived at the ‘Friday Rocks’ party at Athena, Fun Republic, organised by Popcorn Event Management Group.

21-year-old Akash Deep, owner of Popcorn, is mingling in happy surrender as youngsters, dressed to kill, throng the bar for their ‘poison’! Two years of organising parties and events, social dos and masti and Akash Deep knows what makes the city youngsters groove.

For starters, couples can enter free, so can young ladies but it is a complete no-no for stags (read single young men!) on the prowl.

The place is dark. Couples line the sofas on the sides guzzling beer. For Abhishek from DAV—10, “what better way to chill out,” but yes he admits parties at night are so much better! His lovely companion is more reticent but agrees that since girls are not allowed out at nights, this is the next best option to dive into and “no, my parents do not object to me going out in the afternoon and having fun,” she smiles.

And that is the whole point of it all. The city’s conservative stand stays but there is an openness not witnessed until a few years ago. “This is not Mumbai. We have to remember where we are from and whatever it is, this city rocks,” says 20-year-old Akanksha brightly.

Akash Deep says the key to a successful party (and he is expecting at least 300 couples to come in and out!) is the security it provides to the women and that is one aspect he will never compromise on. “We have a record that we have never had a fight at our parties till today,” he says confidently and to prove that good things are about to get even better he announces that ‘Friday Rocks’ will now be a weekly event starting this very moment!

But that was not all. Apart from resident DJ Surya’s funky ‘Beedi’ mix from Omkara, spiffy action was provided by Shamsher Singh, aka Sam, Athena’s fire-juggling bartender. Throwing vodka into the air, Sam stoked the flames to dance in his hands. Was he any good? You bet he was, what with raucous hooting and cheering accompanying the act. Parties sure are swinging these days!


New Hindi Releases

1. Dhoom—2

2. Don—The Chase Begins

3. Woh Lamhe

4. Umrao Jaan

5. Himesh & Emraan—The Music Mafia

International Music

1. Shakira—Hips Don’t Lie

2. 2006’s top 20 version 2

3. 2006’s top 20

4. Enigma—Posteriori

5. Club Pasha


1. Lehmber Hussainpuri—Chalajian

2. Imported Music across


3. Dr Zeus—The Club Remixes

4. One in a Million Blockbuster


5. Harjit Harman—Mudari


1. Koi Baat Chale

2. Nusrat—Tujhsa Koi Nahin

3. Abida Parveen—Dard-e-Dil

4. Love Moods—Unforgettable
Geets and Ghazals

5. Jagjit Singh—Jazbat

World Music

1. Indian Ocean—Khandisa

2. Love

3. Elements

4. Hope

5. Prem Joshua—Tiranga

Hindi Instrumental

1. Rahul Sharma—Time Traveller

2. Shiv Kumar Sharma –-The Valley Recalls

3. Call of the Valley

4. Percussion of India

5. Bismillah Khan—Shaadi Ki Shehnayian

Health tip of the day

Women suffering from osteoporosis of the spine get shorter in height and have trouble in reaching high shelves, driving car etc. Due to decreased curvature of the spine intestines have no space to go except to move forward. Therefore, such women get fat which cannot be treated with diet control.

— Dr Ravinder Chadha

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