Polo, seen as an elitist game, was played and nurtured by tribesmen. It is once again witnessing a revival in the city of Patiala, reports Anuradha Shukla

Rajput princesses playing polo, known as chaughan, in medieval times
PLAYFUL MOMENTS: Rajput princesses playing polo, known as chaughan, in medieval times.

Let people play at other things—the King of Games is still the Game of Kings’. The sentence is inscribed on a stone next to a Polo ground in Gilgit in North Kashmir ever since the game arrived in these hills thousands of years ago. To get your facts right, the sentence is about the rustic men of the hills as the kings took to the game only later.

The game, seen as elitist and exclusive for the high and mighty, was played and nurtured by tribesmen of Gilgit, Chitral, Ladakh and Manipur regions and later the Rajput and Moghul kings in India till it caught the fancy of Joseph Sherer, a subaltern in the British Indian Army who is called the ‘Father of Modern Polo’, in 1859. Then on the game spread in Europe like wildfire within 10 years only. British colonies of Spain, France, Portugal, Australia, South America, Africa, Canada, and Asia took to the game soon. Royalty in India was not far behind as Polo played by the name of chaughan in the medieval times by Rajput kings became the royal passion of families of Patiala, Kashmir, Jodhopur, Alwar, Bhopal, Ratlam, Baria and many more.

The ancient Aryan tribes of Central Asia came up with the idea of putting their horses to good use and soldiers fighting fit when not in war by way of the game. From Aryans to the tribesmen and the kings, the sport has traversed time and is once again in the reckoning. Becoming the next big thing, the polo circuits are witnessing a revival in the royal city of Patiala.

“From the famous polo ground in the heart of the city on the Mall Road, where polo can no longer be played because of the construction of a gymnasium hall and other sports paraphernalia, the city has hosted international-level tournaments over the past four years at the two new polo grounds on the Aviation Club premises. It also houses a plush clubhouse for the players and guests”, says the secretary of the Patiala Polo and Riding Club, Patiala ADC, Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon. 

The Patiala Polo and Riding Club affiliated to the Indian Polo Association was formed in 2004. It aimed at reviving the game in Patiala as well as Punjab. In its first year, it hosted the Army Polo Championship, the Patiala Cup and the Punjab Cup in December 2004. The 55th FIP Ambassadors Cup Polo Tournament was hosted this year in March. The equestrian games were brought to the city alongside the Patiala heritage festival in 2003 and have now become a regular feature. 

It’s no news for the old-timers who swear by the polo tradition of the city. “Maharaja Rajinder Singh patronised the game and the Patiala Tigers team of the Patiala Army won the Viceroy’s Cup and Beresford Cup. Captain Mahinder Singh (retd) says, “The city produced the only ten handicappers India has ever produced, General Joginder Singh, popularly called Jaggo, and General Jaswant Singh, known as Jasso, of the formidable Patiala team, known as Patiala Tigers, formed under legendary General Chanda Singh of the Patiala Army. 

From Patiala Tigers representing the city, now it is the Patiala Sahgal Studs team. The all-civilian team has members of the Patiala royal family also as its members. The team is named after Sehgal Studs, owned by Rakesh Sehgal. “The polo grounds in the city compare to the best grounds in the country like the Jaipur Polo Club grounds in Delhi or that of the 61 Cavalry grounds in Jaipur, putting the city firmly on the polo map of the country,” he says. “Besides the grounds, the increasing interest of the youth in equestrian activities is adding to the charm of polo,” he says. “The only thing we need to do is to encourage more local participation.” Well, with players like Dhruvpal Gutara and Bashir Ali, who have played for the country, playing on behalf of the city, there is not much to worry about that. 

The Commander of 61 Cavalry, the only mounted regiment, Col J S Virk, known in the polo circuits as Pinka Virk, also the secretary of the Indian Polo Association, credits the revival of the sport to the two beautiful grounds and to the hosting of events like the 55th Ambassadors Cup where flags of 22 countries fluttered. “Riding as a passion is part of the culture and ethos of Punjab and the region is a storehouse of riding talent. With the Patiala Polo Association into buying horses and schools like Punjab Public School, Nabha, doing its bit, the game is going to expand in another three years and what we require is more stables and horses”. 

A better bet
The Center for Education and Voluntary Action (CEVA) has come up with alternative classrooms for children, increasingly under pressure, reports Angad B. Sodhi

A throng of people walking around, splashes of vibrant colours, stalls of everything from authentic Punjabi food in Pind da bulava to the exotic food and hospitality of the Sing Song Singapore stall and the sounds of various traditional instruments. These are the sights and sounds that greet you, as you walk into the Chandigarh Carnival, in Leisure Valley.

Amidst all this hustle and bustle there is a certain stall sporting a huge banner that reads Friends of Children Corner. This name stood out among the stalls of food and well-known mobile phone brands. Curiosity got the best of me and I walked up to the stall to find out what was going on. The first thing that struck me was the wall of people brimming the perimeter of the stall. Standing on my toes, I strained to get a look inside the large tent and got a glimpse of some brightly coloured banners with slogans like 'Make friends with children' and 'talk to us'. By now I was really curious but moved on ahead to see what else the carnival held in store. After taking in the sights and getting my fill of the diverse cuisine available, I saw a slight opening in the tent. Grabbing this opportunity I rushed to find out what the tent was all about.

As I walked into the tent I saw that there were a number of different tables spread out across the area with children and adults crowding around them. Everyone was busy playing some kinds of games or making baskets and origami with their hands. After making a few queries I was directed to the lady in charge of the whole show, Harleen Kohli. So what exactly was going on?

"What we are offering here is an alternative to textbook learning", starts off Harleen "With school teaching becoming more about rutta (mugging things up) and exams and less about learning and understanding, what we offer is activity based learning where children and teachers can actually understand things while enjoying themselves."

The Center for Education and Voluntary Action (CEVA), as her organisation is called, has been conducting community theatre workshops and alternative classrooms for a "long time now", as Harleen puts it. "When my children were growing up I got fed up with schools and that was how CEVA was born."

The organisation uses educational games that they adapt from the Internet, to make things like geometry and fractions more fun for children. Dreaded concepts of maths and science can put a fear into the minds of children, especially in the way they are taught in schools, but if these activities are made fun through games and creative activities, children will understand these things better.

They also encourage a concept called craft meditation, which involves doing things with your hands. Sukhmani, a regular volunteer with CEVA, explains the essence of craft meditation. "It teaches you how to do things with your own hands. To come up with something you have made gives you a sense of satisfaction that is very therapeutic in itself." But that's not all, "with the readymade culture that we live in, it teaches people to value work done by hands and hopefully it will ease the social stigma of doing manual labour and people like farmers will regain their dignity."

So, will people opt for this form of education as an alternative for their children?

"School will remain important for my son, but I think a combination would be ideal." Says Anju Mittal, "The knowledge gained in schools is very bookish and I would definitely like to see my child doing some craftwork with his hands. It will make him a better person to not want everything readymade."

"We would definitely like our son to learn more this way, but he will keep going to school", agrees another young couple that were very keenly participating in a fraction game with their seven-year-old son.

In today's stressful world, where the simple joys of childhood have been almost completely killed off by school, tuitions and homework, it seems alternative education could offer a happier alternative. 

By kids, for kids
The city is finally ready to acknowledge child artists and Government Museum and Art Gallery is the one to take the lead, reports Parbina Rashid

V N Singh's love for children is getting stronger by day. After adding that much-adored dinosaur section for children, he has hit upon the idea to add something new which will be entirely by the children, for the children and to the children. Yes, the Government Museum and Art Gallery is going to have a brand new section to showcase the talent of younger lots.

The first step towards this was an exhibition, which was inaugurated November 22. The exhibits are by the school children, who took part in the Traditional Indian Embroidery Workshop conducted by the museum authority. Under the guidance of master embroider Joginder Singh Sekhon, few select students of Government Girls Senior

Secondary School, Sector 23, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 32, Government Central Craft Institute for Women, Sector 11, explored nature through needles. Another aspect of this workshop was to teach traditional Phulkari art to such children.

As one gets to learn the names of so many bird species from Sekhon's embroidery in fine threads that look like paintings, one marvels to hear from the director that this kind of workshops and display is going to be a regular feature of this children's section which according to V. N. Singh will be ready before Baisakhi next year. "We are converting the old canteen for this purpose," says Singh. And the blueprint for the child's section shows that this 40 feet by 60 feet hall will have all modern facility, including state of the art lighting technique which Singh is borrowing from Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

"The concept is to give children to learn art as well as encouragement them by giving them a platform to display," says Singh. The best part is that it will have a sub-section for special children.

So in concept, this section will display art by students who fall into the age group of three to 15 years. And yes, the exhibitions will be on rotating basis to accommodate as many child artists as possible.

The subjects that Singh has in his mind are clay modeling, painting, paper-craft and western embroidery. So kids, if you have it, there is someone to flaunt it for you! 

Sreedhara Bhasin

Cultural nuance is a tricky thing. What is bizarre to one is perfectly acceptable to another. When I was in my first few days of familiarising myself with my new American professors in the USA, I respectfully addressed them as ‘Sir’. One sandy haired young professor of Political Science made his eyes like Circuit in Lage Raho.Munna Bhai and guffawed, “What do you think? Am I your granddad? Just call me Jim.” It took my tongue a lot of straightening to roll his name off.

When I first was introduced to the Punjabi culture I was blown away by the fact that even children are addressed as aap.” In Kolkata, where I grew up, ‘aap’ is reserved for strangers, very old people and avoidable neighbours. Then I learnt the all pervasive –‘hanji’ which can work to mean, yes, no, alright, don’t care and whatever the progression of conversation is leading to. When I visited Kolkata the last time – I was saying ‘hanji’ to folks in reflex action for everything.

I learnt that when you say “Ki haal hai?” it does not mean what is your state, but really how are you? I was told by the electrician that an IO box for the Internet cable is really a ‘dabbi’. Now I too use that nomenclature. I learnt from the furniturewalla that a ‘phatta’ can be a shelf, a wooden plank, a counter top or a support for the CPU. I learnt that when the PCs are down and customer service says –‘Banda abbhi a jayega’, it means he might come tomorrow.

I also learnt the flavours of “koi nahi.” It really does not mean “No one” as I first thought. In my limited experience, I have seen the phrase being used to mean a multitude of things – like, ‘no problem’, ‘don’t worry, it cannot be fixed anyway’, ‘don’t ask and we won’t tell’, ‘I am assuring you but I mean not a word’ or ‘its going to be alright’.

I also learnt “ji” – as in sirji, mamji and okayji. I have heard many variations of ji. But, the best is what I have been recently called. There are a lot of drivers working for various government departments who inhabit the footpath below my office. They are usually seated in long benches all day long, contemplating, maybe, the day of retirement and pension. Some of them have come to know me and even approached me on behalf of various candidates who would like to apply to our office. They are a very courteous and gentle bunch and they have taken to calling me – ‘Madamsirji’. I find it rather charming. Why be a Madamji when you can be a Madamsirji?

Tuning-In with Hardeep S. Chandpuri

Friends, on the international radio map, rock music really rules the roost. And there are thousands of radio stations in the world that are playing music from this genre. We all know that Chuck Berry invented rock and roll in 1955. Berry was a black man playing black music. But times had changed: white kids were listening to rhythm and blues throughout the Northeast, and white musicians were playing rhythm and blues side to side with country music.

The music industry soon understood that there was a white market for black music and social prejudice, racial barriers, could do nothing against the forces of capitalism. Rock and roll was an overnight success. The music industry promoted white idols such as Elvis Presley, but the real heroes were the likes of Chuck Berry, who better symbolised the synergy between the performer and the audience. The black rockers, and a few white rockers, epitomised the youth’s rebellious mood, their need for a soundtrack to their dreams of anti-conformism.

Their impact was long lasting, but their careers were short lived. For one reason or another, they all stopped recording after a brief time. Rock and roll was inherited by white singers, such as Presley, who often performed songs composed by obscure black musicians. White rockers became gentler and gentler, thereby drowning rock and roll’s very reason to exist. Buddy Holly was the foremost white rocker of the late fifties, while cross-pollination with country music led to the vocal harmonies of the Everly Brothers and to the instrumental rock of Duan Eddy.

The kids’ malaise returned, with a much taller wave, when folksingers started singing about the problems of the system. Kids who had not identified with Woody Guthrie’s stories of poor people, identified immediately with folksingers singing about the Vietnam War and civil rights. Bob Dylan was arguably the most influential musician of the era. He led the charge against the Establishment with simple songs and poetic lyrics. A generation believed in him and followed his dreams. Music became the expression of youth’s ambitions.

In the early sixties, veterans of that scene, led to the formation of bands such as the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds and the Animals. The Rolling Stones became ‘the’ sensation in London and went on to record the most successful singles of the era. Liverpool did not have a great underground scene but had a more commercial brand of rock bands. Very soon ‘Beatlemania’ stole the momentum from the blues scene and understood how to turn that music into a mass-media attraction. Rock music as a major business was born. 

The mileage mantra
Sukant Deepak

Get more kms/ltr

  • It’s paramount that the bike is regularly maintained and serviced timely to ascertain decent fuel efficiency.

  • Remember that sticky brakes mean more friction and less mileage.

  • Fuel tap and connecting hoses are areas to watch out for.

  • Never ignore proper carburettor tuning and the air filter.

  • The right tyre pressure ascertains that you go a long way in a litre of petrol.

Did you know that India is one of the few countries in the world where most of the times fuel efficiency gains precedence over power when it comes to choosing a motorcycle? Forget that riding is like finding a certain rhythm (and not necessarily on the road). The proverbial wind in the hair and excitement synonymous with untamed power may not really stand a chance against the number of kilometres clocked in a litre.

Well, we know that for we hitch-hiked in the city and were frowned upon many a time when we asked youngsters why didn’t they choose a more powerful vehicle instead of the punies they rode? Of course, a powerful bike in the true sense of the word isn’t manufactured in India (Yamaha RD-350 and BMW F-650 are no longer in production). Anyway, we simply try to enjoy the numerous rides and also try to find out what the young are driving—more importantly what drives them!

Hero Honda’s latest offering, Glamour, seems to be a rage among those wanting to own a machine that costs around Rs 45,000 and promises a mileage of 60 km/ltr under city-driving conditions. And yes, the machine seems to be moving fast from showrooms across the region. It is available with disc brakes and self-start options. Vidhur Mahajan, a young executive who recently bought this vehicle, smiles, “In the first place, I wasn’t looking for power or merely looks. I don’t mind the body graphics too.”

Leaving behind the snail-speed traffic on Chandigarh’s Madhya Marg with Ashish Sandhu on his TVS Fiero F2 is like a re-introduction to decent pick-up despite the fact that the machine doesn’t constantly beg to be treated at a fuel station. “There were several other vehicles offered at this price but they didn’t really offer that right mix of power and fuel efficiency,” insists Ashish who states that his vehicle easily covers 45 km from a litre of petrol. “The dependability factor of this bike is that it’s a favourite in the motocross circuit,” Ashish states.

Now, is it possible to ignore Hero Honda’s Karizma? Considering that the bike’s designers seem to have been heavily inspired by Honda’s old model VFR 800, the legendary selling Japanese super bike, let’s talk about it. Priced at more than Rs 70,000 and boasting of around 35 km/ ltr, we cruised on this bike with Subash Singh, a PU student. “This can easily go from 0 to 80 in six seconds.” After being discouraged from doing so (for his own good!), he laughs, “ It’s not that I don’t care about fuel efficiency; it’s just that for me and many youngsters, this bike’s alloy die-cast wheels, peculiar silencer unit, the fairing and instrument binnacle are really a gift to the Indian two-wheeler industry.”

Bajaj’s Pulsar-150, which in a way set the ball rolling for many other bike manufacturers to follow, definitely delivers. One may, of course, disagree about the weight-to-power ratio of this bike, but then, in many ways, it does justice to its owners with low maintenance and consistent fuel efficiency.

Vaibah Goel, a medical representative, chose this vehicle although he’s “virtually on the bike.” “It’s comfortable, stylish and not expensive to maintain. Yes, fuel efficient too.” Of course, how could he have missed the last line.

There are several other bikes in this category which we missed riding—Honda Unicorn for example.

So, take over and get on some hot wheels. So long…

Saturday night fever

One night full of music, two floors illuminated by psychedelic lights, six disc jockeys behind the console and scores of revelers celebrating an occasion called life! Its Saturday night fever in the city, folks! For partygoers who have just tuned in, Chandigarh rocks as star DJs, twinkling on the international horizon, descend on the city of beautiful for cutting some cool funky music for the young crowd at Antidote and Warehouse. Among the contemporary music maestros in tune with the latest are DJs Jazzy Joe, Saaz, Rafsy, Dale, Tatva and Gaurav.

Catching up with them is not a rhythmical job. For, tight schedule leaves them with little time to lose. Finally, you track Joe, Saaz and Rafsy at the Taj in Sector 17. Their black coffee loses some of its steam as they croon about remixes and different versions of age-old songs. Also about the disadvantages of coming out with too many copies of an album in the age of music piracy! But chatting with them is nothing less than music to your ears.

Guys, DJ Saaz, aka Sorabh Chopra, boomed his way to popularity after performing in sizzling clubs and gigs in London. He is adept in playing all genres of club music right from Rhythm `n’ Blues, hip-hop and bhangra to House and Trance.

With his residencies and experience in London like Club Boulevard, Zoo Bar, Rouge, Bar Bollywood and Ministry of Sound, Saaz has now established himself as a versatile entertainer. He plans to come out with a music album, but for himself. “The number of copies will be limited. For, I know people will be downloading the pirated versions from the Internet even before it is released.”

His album (mercifully) will not be loaded with old songs mingled with new beats. “I do remix numbers in clubs while performing live, but coming up with a whole album of such songs just does not make sense,” he asserts.

Sitting next to him is another DJ. Jazzy is the name! Jazzy Joe! Just in case his name is not ringing chimes, the DJ is among the country’s hottest music mixer. He has already won top awards including ‘Best DJ of India’ and `Number one DJ of Delhi’.

He has been performing to crowds all over India. Known for his music and unique concepts like ‘Hip-Hop Hurray’ and “Mixmasters”, Jazzy is versatile and comfortable with Club House, rock, retro and commercial pop.

Jazzy believes remix numbers are in tune as long as they are blended with creativity and not just new beats. “I will not do a remix until I am sure of bringing out something different,” he asserts. But does ‘different’ mean bizarre like playing with gazals?

“I love the genre, but have no intentions of remixing gazals just for the heck of it,” he says. “I was among the first ones to come out with a new version of Jagjit Singh’s gazals, but did not release it”. Sounds interesting like their music, folks!

— Saurabh Malik

Small-town wonder
Parbina Rashid

MimansaIf you are an avid news watcher, you couldn’t have missed her. Thanks to a long stint with Zee News, Mimansa has become an important part of our daily lives. She is savvy, confident and more importantly viewer-friendly. Above all, she is a perfect example of a small-town girl making it big in the world of media.

Honoured with half-a-dozen of awards by various organizations—the Haryana Gaurav Puraskar, the Madhab Jyoti Alakra Purashkar, the Rajdhani Ranta Award, to name a few— for best anchoring, Mimansa loves what she does. “The high of my job comes from meeting different people,” says Mimansa. Well, it’s not just meeting celebrities, but meeting ordinary people and children that gives her equal pleasure.

Since our wonder girl hails from Sonepat, the question that comes naturally to the mind is how difficult it was for a small-town girl to join a channel like Zee TV, especially when she did not come from an institute like the Mass Communication Research Centre in Jamia Millia Islamia?

“I did face problems at the entry point but not because of my small-town status,” says Mimansa. She has a towering kind of a family background (a Sahitya Akademi Award-winning mother and an academician for a father). “I was an active student who took part in all sorts of extra-curricular activities,” says the confident girl who was a colour holder for Guru Jambheshwar University at Rohtak while doing her mass communication degree.

Seven long years in this profession and Mimansa has come out as a seasoned anchor and newsreader. “One should have a good pronunciation and an overall pleasing personality and be knowledgeable about his or subject matter for news-reading, not just about reading it out with the help of a prompter. One has to look convincing and to do that one should have the knowledge base,” is what Mimansa’s advice is to youngsters who want to follow in her footsteps. But before you jump to any conclusion, here is a word of caution, “Before you zero down on any career, identify what sort of a talent do you have. Once you do that, give your best to you chosen profession.” 

Label statement
Smriti Sharma

Photo by Parvesh ChauhanChandigarh, it seems has finally arrived, at least on the fashion scene. Last week the city came crashing down by the designers, each of who came with a bagful of their collection’s and models to flaunt them as well. Once again the city is gushing about the luxurious designer range but this time it’s not our desi (read Indian) designer stuff.

On display are apparels, accessories and footwear from Ferragamo, Aigner and Rossetti. What makes this exhibition unique is line of accessories both for men and women that are available under one roof. “The idea was to bring the brands to the fashion conscious city as we believe that the people here not only have the dough to pull out but also have the taste for it” opines Kareena Rajwansh, one of the organisers. May be this can be of a little help in explaining the price tags to the visitors!

So men can take their pick from business suits, shirts, trousers, jeans, shoes and of course cuff lings, shades, belts, wallets, neckties to accessorise the outfit and the oh–so pretty damsels can grab the tops, jeans, handbags, watches, footwear to make a fashion oops! Label statement. But wait before all of you jump in to be there at the exhibition, for the price tags are a little bulky. Rosetti, Ferragoma or Aignor shoes can cost you anywhere between 12 grand to 80grands and so will the other stuff. But for the designer doused individuals who want to wrap themselves from head to toe in labels, showing off comes for a price!

The exhibition is on at Hotel Aroma till November 26.

Watch out that wardrobe
Anandita Gupta

Our inherent urge to look good manifests itself in various shapes and forms. Sometimes, it’s visible in our need to deck up with make-up incessantly, while at other moments, it reflects in our eyes as we stand—facing a mirror. But most of all, it makes itself felt when we stop till we drop, hunting for that perfectly fitted shrug or guava pink top.

However, though most of us blow mega bucks on shopping, we always end up feeling—there’s nothing good enough to wear. The fault, as we ought to know, does not lie in the clothes we possess but in the way they are arranged.

So fashionistas, before the winter hits head on, enveloping the days with thick fog, and the arsenic-red sunset skies with smog, hit the city stores and buy some stuff to beat the winter in style. But before that, make a resolution to clean out and organise your closet. We give you step-by-step instructions on how to make space for your newest buys.

  • Cleansing that cupboard can give you a totally new attitude towards fashion. And what better time to do this than now. The top resolution on any fashionista’s list should be to get that cupboard organised – before the shopping spree for the year’s new, must-have pieces. This is a fairly easy process and sounds more complicated than it actually is. Start by making a pie chart of your life.

  • Armed with your pie chart, turn to your wardrobe and pull everything out. Take a good look and check if your cupboard reflects your lifestyle. If not, write down what you have too much or too little of. Now, when you shop, you will know exactly what you need. When attacking the latest winter collections, make sure you buy the pieces that fill the gaps.

  • Also, do buy and stock the basics any swish wardrobe must have—black and white leather handbags, beige and black stilettos, a silk and a woolen scarf, a croshia shrug or poncho, two designer saris, a cashmere stoleand shawl for the girls and some designer shirts (how about the Louis Philip’s latest ‘Don’ collection?), black and brown formal shoes, some snug sweatshirts and a track suit for the boys.

  • Next, put your clothes into five piles…

  • Things you love and wear all the time.

  • Clothes that don’t fit you anymore.

  • Clothes you have not worn in si months.

  • Clothes that just need simple alterations and can be worn again.

  • Clothes that you know will increase in value – a Chanel jacket is a must keep. A Satya Paul, Tarun Tahilani or Abu-Sandeep couture design should also be stored and never be given away. These are fashion heirlooms.

  • Lastly, remember that the advent of Christmas and the New Year, as far as fashion is concerned, means the start of new trends. Stores will be unveiling their spring lines in the next couple of days and hoping to tempt you into buying an entirely current wardrobe. Shopping is the easy part it is what you do afterwards that proves whether you are a true style diva. You need to make sure you buy the pieces that you really need; this shows fashion intelligence.

No Barbie this one
Smriti Sharma

Gauri Thukral At her age when girls are busy playing with their barbie dolls, 11-year-old Gauri Thukral is busy mugging up scripts and interviewing veterans such as Lt-Gen B.K.N. Chhibber, Administrator, UT, and the Governor, Punjab, M.M. Puri, former Vice-Chancellor, Punjab University. And that too with so much aplomb and confidence.

A student of class VII at the local Little Flower Convent School, Gauri is already a rage among her friends and schoolmates. She is currently anchoring for the show “Khattiyan Mitthiyan Yaadan” aired by Channel Punjab, a UK-based Punjabi channel being telecast in 100 countries, including Europe, Australia and South America etc.

The serial is about those senior citizens who have made a mark.

“During one of the shoots when she happened to interview Lt-Gen B.K.N. Chhibber, she was so moved by his field accounts about Army personnel that she started crying in the middle of the shoot,” recalls her father Vikas Thukral.

“It all started as a chance encounter with the channel’s crew who were looking for a child anchor. Surprisingly my daughter auditioned for it and also did the first episode of the show there and then,” recollects her father. Besides being an anchor, Gauri is an dancer, actor, choreographer and all this while being good at her studies as well. She is grateful to her teacher Geeta Basu, who has always encouraged her in school and her mother Anuradha Thukral.

Dhoom at box-office

A scene from Dhoom: 2
A scene from Dhoom: 2

The sequel of Dhoom, titled Dhoom: 2 is appealing in its technical finesse. Director Sanjay Gadhvi has proven his caliber with Dhoom: 2. Breathtaking action sequences breezy twirling dances exotically choreographed visuals, drama are main attraction of this movie, which opened to packed houses at Piccadily, Kiran, Chandigarh, Fun Republic, Manimajra and Suraj, Panchkula.

Yashraj Films’ most spectacular presentation of the year glorifies the power packed star power of Bollywood. Dhoom: 2, holds you with its stylish story telling. Cinematography is excellent. Pritam’s music is just fine in its own way.

The performances to watch out for are of Aishwarya Rai, to be seen in totally different style from her earlier films. She looks her hottest best in her role as a small time con woman. Abhishek Bachchan revives his character of Jai Dixit. He has given his best. Hrithik Roshan plays notorious thief Aryan who plans a big robbery in Mumbai. Uday Chopra and Bipasha Basu are equally good.

Dhoom: 2 is a good, action-packed entertainer and the industry would surely gain from its box-office success.

— D.P.

Live beyond your empty nest

I am 52-year-old and both my kids are grown up and working out of the country and happily settled into their careers. I lost my husband about 10 years ago but up to now I was happy looking after the needs of my children. Now with the kids on their own, time has started weighing heavy on my hands. The past few months I have been contemplating doing something independently. I have a house in the hills, which was our vacation house and I have been considering turning this into a business project perhaps into a guesthouse. This way I will be busy and also make some money. I am very sociable by nature and many times feel that working with people would give me immense satisfaction. Being too much on my own depresses me.

Anita Malhotra, Chandigarh

A challenge is always an adventure and that’s the way life should be. We can not allow our circumstances to bog us down. Life if definitely very full when you are running a home and caring for kids but once you are on your own, you must have a niche for yourself where you can feel the joy of life intrinsically moment by moment. Starting a whole new venture at this age is like getting a new lease to life. Definitely your holiday home can make a great guesthouse, where you can give your creative genius a free hand and also allow your business skills to flow. You seem to have it all laid out. Just step out of your shell and make a go of it. Your sociable nature will enjoy this tremendously. Alternatively of course you can join a social workers organisations or if you feel you would like to work in a corporate scenario, you can even join a short course in whatever you enjoy doing and take up a job somewhere. But I feel just start out with your new sense of identity and soon you will learn to fly high have the confidence in yourself and it will happen for you.

I am all of 35-year-old and have been working in a fashion house in Delhi for the last 10 years. Now that my husband has moved to Chandigarh. I am at an extremely loose end, the fashion industry here is really not that developed some how. I am not so keen to go back to it either. All my life I had dreams of being a painter and setting up my own art school. Now I feel suddenly God is perhaps giving me an opportunity to do so. Although I do not have any formal art training but I have always had the flair for painting. I have some savings I could invest but all my friends think I am crazy. There is so much competition out there, why would I want to risk my money. Should I go for something more stable or should I go for my passion?

Rashi Jain, Chandigarh

If you have a passion for something you have every right to indulge yourself in it. Don’t worry about what people say or think, if you are sure about yourself and your talents and abilities that is what really matters. End of the day life is about making your dreams happen. In fact you are blessed. You at least have a dream, which you want to fulfill. Most people are so caught up in the rat race that dreams are really of no consequence to them. I think that opening an art school is simply a wonderful idea. You could start small with a few students and slowly allow it to grow. Now times have changed, it’s your talent that has to speak for you not the letters after your name, so brace up your confidence boots and start working at it. Sometimes a new city and a new work situation brings, out the hidden best in you. We each come to perform a duty o the planet. Let this he your opportunity to get started on one. The Gods will surely bless you.

Health tip of the day

With age feet not only increase in length but the forefoot tends to widen. Therefore, old shoes should be changed with new ones that does not cramp or squeeze the foot.

— Dr Ravinder Chadha

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