Shelter Baker

Laurie BakerLaurie Baker had quite a fan following among architects in the city of Italian marble and teak bungalows, as Parbina Rashid finds out

In a city where architectural grandeur is getting restricted to false ceilings, concealed lighting and French windows, one would presume that Kerala’s Brick Master Laurence Wilfred Baker exists only in Gautam Bhatia’s Laurie Baker’s Life, Works and Writings. But that’s not so.

Though the city cannot boast of an original Laurie Baker structure, there is a category of architects highly inspired by him. A few even went ahead and replicated his style, only to see those buildings pulled down by an administration that goes by the book.

Panchkula-based Siddhartha Wig, a firm believer in the low-cost technique, constructed the earlier building for Saupin’s School in Sector 32 using bricks with an inter-locking system. The building used micro-concrete roofing tiles and frameless windows with a separate ventilation system. “We used Baker’s rat–trap bond technique involving which a hollow structure with insular properties was built. The main building was pulled down and rebuilt to conform to the existing guidelines. Now, only the boundary wall remains,” says Siddhartha.

Baker’s rat–trap bond
Baker’s rat–trap bond

Siddhartha met Laurie Baker twice — once during a seminar in 1990 in Delhi and then in 1993 at Thiruvananthapuram. “He was a down-to-earth, humble person absolutely in love with what he did,” he tells us. Siddhartha, who has build a series of low cost buildings — Chitkara School, Sector 25, Sisters of Charity Jesus and Mary, at Rajpura — was inspired enough to try out a few tricks. “Baker worked in Kerala and it would not be wise to replicate his style here due to the diverse geographical conditions. But, yes, one could learn a lot from him about low-cost, environment-friendly houses,” he says.

Another Baker follower is Aditya Prakash, the former principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, here. “Baker was more Indian than most of us. He was the most practical architect we have ever had. He had perfected the art of no-frills construction and managed to bring down costs dramatically.”

Aditya, too, had met Laurie long back. “I met him in Sri Lanka but don’t remember the year. He was a wonderful person to be with. His passion and conviction is something one can emulate,” recalls the city architect. His creation Tagore Theatre, among others, is a fine example of low-cost building.

Prof S. S. Bhatti, also former principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, who won an award from the University of Roorkee for his low-cost house, admires Baker for his missionary zeal. “He left his own country to be in India. He not only worked on the folk architecture of Kerala with a missionary zeal, but also made low-cost building a movement,” says Bhatti.

Another city architect who used Baker’s rattrap bond and frameless windows is Jaspreet Thakkar. “I did it for the boundary walls of Mango Groove School in Panchkula and it turned out to be quite practical. In fact, I tried using brick jails too, a Laurie Baker trademark, but unfortunately it did not work out here due to the extremity in climatic conditions,” says Jaspreet.

Well, be it climatic disparity or a set of building bylaws as rigid and straightforward as the city creator’s squares and straight lines, there is little possibility that Laurie Baker’s style will be replicated here. But that does not stop our architects from relating to this master architect.

“Though I could never meet him, from whatever I read about him and his works, I could instantly felt a bond with him. He, too, believed in the philosophical connection with the elements and proved it to the world that design and aesthetics do not need money. One can achieve that with a little creativity and innovation,” says Jaspreet.

So true for a man who could build a house without marring a topography line or uprooting a tree! Baker proved that architecture is not just about building houses but giving the occupant a space in sync with the surroundings.

Man on a mission

It was Laurie Baker’s impulsive decision to join an ambulance unit at the start of World War II that brought him Bombay and subsequently to Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi sent him to see the concrete slums of the city and asked for a solution. “We need people like you,” Gandhi told him. Baker promptly came back to India as an architect and began to build treatment centres for lepers. He married an Indian, a doctor working in one of the centres. Unitl 1962, they worked in a remote Himalayan region and then they moved to Kerala, his wife’s native state. Baker made building of low-cost houses using local eco-friendly materials into a movement.

Laugh ’n’ Work
It’s Laugh at Work Week. So, beat the grind with a smile, says Purva Grover

The most wasted day of all is that in which we have not laughed.
— Sebastian Roch Nicolas Chanfort

Meeting with the clients, presentation at office, pressure of meeting targets and dealing with li’l tiffs at the workplace-that’s what defines ‘work’ for most of us today. Not only, has the ‘nine to five’ job surpassed all boundaries of working hours; stress has emerged as the new phenomena of modern corporate lifestyle. With remarks like, “I have been so busy this month” and “My job is very stressful”, being heard more than often, it seems that the workaholics have long forgotten to smile at the workplace.

And, perhaps that explains the need for an unusual week just to remind us that laughter is an important part of the workplace. With ‘Laugh at Work Week’ being celebrated all around the globe from 1- 7 April, the city too seems to be recognising the ‘business’ value of humour and laughter. Founded by Randall Munson, the week begins on April1, that’s right on the April Fools Day.

Says Dr.Sandeep Dhavan, a gastroenterologist who runs a private nursing home in the city. “When I first heard of the week, I instantly decided that we should celebrate it”. And, well this Wednesday, he treated his staff to the comedy flick Chupke Chupke. Smiles the doctor, “I know the value of being relaxed at the workplace”. Chips in Sunil Mahajan, a leading architect and interior designer, “We are deciding to hold a joke party over the weekend, wherein everybody will share a joke during the tea break”. In fact, joke telling is the latest plan by managers all across who try to get their staff to work better. After all, everybody loves a good joke and especially when burdened with work.

And when the entire city is taking a laughter break, the young brigade too can’t be far behind. Geared to set working in a month’s time, the budding managers from UBS, feel, ‘Just because its work doesn’t mean it has to be serious.’ “If one works hard for 365 days a year, its fair enough to relax one week,” they chorus. And, these fresh pass outs from the campus; say they will take the age-old tradition of imitating their teachers (on the Teachers’ Day) to their workplace. “We’ll dedicate one day of the week to imitating our bosses and colleagues,” they smile. Way to go boys!

Another young corporate who is excited over the idea is Simpy, an employee at the Dell, she says, “We are planning to go dressed on a particular theme to the office.” “It would be fun to relive the college days of ragging, we could dress up in a mix of three-four different colours or may be sport the era of sixties,” giggles her colleague.

So people what are you waiting for, make this week an excuse and add some humour to your stressful day!

Business value of laughter

Timely laughter sessions, increases communication at the workplace and helps decreasing stress levels. Humour can give every situation a positive spin; it gives a new perspective on teamwork. A good laugh increases productivity, employee retention and job satisfaction. Laughter helps cope with daily pressures in a pleasant and effective way.

Did you laugh at work today?

Five tips from Jacki Kwan, humor therapist and author of Almost Home...

  • Listen to a funny audiotape or CD on your drive to work. You’ll be reminded of the jokes you heard throughout the day.  

  • Clip a comic strip from the newspaper and post it on your desk.

  • Share a joke with a co-worker. It will keep you both in a good mood for the day.

  • Take a walk on your lunch break. Moving your body will lift your mood, get your blood pumping, and ease tension.

  • Get some funny props. A clown nose, a rubber chicken, an outrageous wig… whatever keeps you laughing.  Keep the props in a desk drawer and break them out when things get too serious!

Treasure Trove
World of tech-savvy Ganesha
Smriti Sharma
In Rajesh Kochhar’s house, Lord Ganesha reads a book and has a telephonic conversation

Lord Ganesha operating the computer!
Lord Ganesha operating the computer!

It’s a collector’s world. Everything right from the tiniest pin to the biggest art piece, they all find a place under the sun. Among such collectors, stands out Dr Rajesh Kochhar, Professor of Pharmaceutical Heritage, NIPER (National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research), Mohali.

He has a unique collection of about 200 dhokra brass craft items from East India that include animal figurines like elephants, bulls, birds to old diya stands, gods and goddesses.

What catches our fancy is Lord Ganesha in various forms. Though in total, there are only 32 permitted forms of Ganesha, but our man has Lord Ganesha reading a book, sitting in front of a computer and even talking on the phone. Out of the total 200 items, 75 are of Ganeshas.

So how did it all start, we ask him. “It all began in 1999 when we were working on a rural development programme to focus on rural technology and to help the dhokra shilpis in West Bengal, Orissa and Jharkand. So my professional interests expanded to personal interests and I started looking for these items in emporiums, shops, villages or wherever I travelled,” says the former director of NISTADS, New Delhi.

For those uninitiated, dhokra is a century-old craft of metal casting by the lost-wax technique. “Interestingly, India represents an unbroken tradition that goes back to 3000 BC,” adds Dr Kochar, who initially studied the art and crafts as part of his official duties and then started building a collection.

Some of the rare antique items have also found places in his collection, including two unique diya stands with a bird and elephant strung with it from Orissa, an idol of Varalaxmi from Bardwan district in West Bengal, a Bhankura horse from Bhankura in West Bengal and even a panchdhatu Ganesh from Swamimalai from down South.

A look at his collection is quite an eye-opener as each item comes with relevant information regarding a particular piece is documented and catalogued and even maintains a stock register which include minutest details like the date and day of procurement, the name of the artist and the place of origin.

“I will not mind parting with my collection for research’s sake and that’s why I take utmost care even to clean them myself,” he insists.

While we get ready to leave, he reveals his wish and that is, “My collection should grow and stay undamaged. But for anyone doing research, they are welcome!”

youth speak
Master your destiny
Sundeep Tyagi

Sundeep TyagiWhy would you want to work for someone else when you can work for yourself? Why answer to a grumpy boss or hear co-workers whine. Personally, I would rather work for myself and know that everything that I am doing is helping me.

People who work for themselves have the independence to make their own decisions. They decide what they are going to do and how they plan to do it. They can choose their own working hours. Self-employed people enjoy more freedom, flexibility, and control over their work schedule. Careful planning is fundamental to success. To be self-employed, we work with different plans like plan about the business, right time for business, how to manage the business and most important exit route. As James bond says, always have an exit plan.

Personal satisfaction is another reward of self-employment. Working for yourself can provide you with many rewards. Those who are self-employed list the rewards as independence, personal satisfaction, social recognition and control of their own income. So become the master of your destiny!

New Releases
Boom time for Kangna

Shakalaka Boom Boom
Director: Suneel Darshan
Cast: Bobby Deol, Celina Jaitley, Upen Patel, Kangna Ranaut

Filmmaker Suneel Darshan is known for his all-consuming passion to work on one film at a time. After Dost’, Suneel is ready to take centrestage with his new film Shakalaka Boom Boom, most part of which has been shot in South Africa. The locales of Johannesburg provide the perfect backdrop for the flick.

The film stars Bobby Deol, Celina Jaitley, Upen Patel and Kangna Ranaut. The cast has teamed up together for a manoranjan se bharpoor South African safari Shakalaka Boom Boom. Himesh Reshammiya provides music for the film, along with lyricist Sameer. Also, being looked forward is Bobby Deol’s performance in a negative role.

Showing at: Piccadily, Fun Republic and K.C.

Director: Jagmohan Mundhra
Cast: Aishwarya Rai, Naveen Andrews, Nandita Das

Provoked featuring Aishwarya Rai is the story of a woman who is driven to murder her husband. The flick will releases in English, besides dubbed version in Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Spanish. Robbie Coltrane, Nandita Das, Rebecca Pidgeon, Naveen Andrews and Veronica Scott play important characters.

Showing at: Kiran and Fun Republic.

— Dharam Pal

No longer toxic

Formerly puffy and washed-out pop star Britney Spears, has nowadays begun to look pink and fitter than earlier.

And the secret of the quick transformation is the body -friendly fitness regime that the singer has been following after her stint in Promises rehab in Malibu.

New York City dermatologist Jeannette Graf said that if the Toxic singer doesn’t get back to alcohol and continues her nutrient intake, she would begin to look like a different person.

“After about three weeks to a month of not drinking alcohol and getting enough water and nutrients into your body, you’ll easily look like a different person,” the dermatologist said.

Graf added that Spears’ healthy new habits would get the glow to her skin. Two days after leaving the rehab in the third week of March, the mum of two attended a hip-hop session at Millennium Dance Complex in L.A and an instructor Darrien Henning said that she looked really beautiful. — ANI

Combat the scorching sun-rays by going all natural this summer, says Purva Grover

Stunning like sunshine!

The sun is here and so are the li’l beads of sweat to spoil that striking look. Summer make up is all about protecting the skin from exposure to harsh rays and tackling the oily shine, say the city’s fashion gurus. “The natural look will be preferred this season,” they chorus. Lots of frosted colours in pink, beiges, peaches and browns is what the city will be wearing this season.

For eyes it will be the smoky look. “To get Kajol’s K3G look or Rani Mukherji’s smoky look, go in for eye liner, kajal and mascaras,” says Ritu Kolentine, Beauty Director, Cleopatra. “The liner look of the 60s and 70s will be back,” adds Raisy Chadha, owner of Iris. “And, to complement the effect try a blue or green eye shadow,” says Praveen, Senior Manager, Headmasters. Adding to the sensual eyes will be the shimmer touch in shades of silver and pink.

“This summer forget matte lipsticks and go for gloss in transparent pinks or fruity colours,” tells Raisy. “Experiment with pastel colours”, says Kajal Gaba, Manager, Tres Lounge. In fact, all the cosmetic companies have on offer a new range of lip colours for the summers. “Even the bridal maroon is now getting sidelined and giving way to pinks and light mauve”, says Kajal.

And as the heat takes its toll on all, the experts stress on water proof make up that settles well and stays for long. The idea for make up during summer is to let the skin breathe; the mantra to swear by will be a nude look. “Dewy face with the lightest veil of translucent powder is the right summer look,” tells Ritu. Also, skip the foundation and instead try using soufflé. “Heavy on the eyes, nude shade for the lips and a little shimmer under brows or across cheekbones will be the perfect summer indulgence,” tell the beauty experts.

De-tan in a spa near you

If you are time pressed the whole weeklong and work stress is getting you down, then a refreshing trip to the day spa center is what you need to indulge in. With ’unwind in style’ as the latest mantra with the city corporates, an increasing number of workaholics are stepping into the lap of luxury and coming out rejuvenated.

A whiff of aroma candles and natural oil invite you to Cleopatra. Offering a wide range of spas, it includes a parfango spa, which is a true French spa; La stone therapy; rich and creamy white ritual to take care of sunburn and tan et al. And, if it is chocolate that you love then the romantic chocolate body ritual is just the right thing, let cocoa butter and honey massage you. For an exotic experience, go in for Wine spa that will polish your skin giving you an instant glow. In pipeline, is also a champagne spa.

Go easy on make-up

  • Warm, sunny, bright blush should be used.

  • Use eyeliner pencil of slate gray, warm chocolate or navy shades.

  • Colours such as golden-green or mange green for eyes

  • Light shade of bronze on cheekbones and chin gives a beautiful suntan.

  • Nude natural look for the lips, even for evening parties.

Doubling up as a naturopathy centre is the spa at Planet Fitness. The regulars swear by its therapeutic ayurvedic treatments that cure common ailments like insomnia, hair loss, dandruff, arthritis etc. The most popular traditional therapy here is shrirodhara that works wonders in anti-ageing. This summer, Planet Fitness has in store a papaya treat, on offer is a range of body wraps, conditioning and polishing including the fruit that has a cooling effect on the body. With trained therapists from Kerala pampering your senses, 70 clients walk in to recharge themselves each month.

Another spa buzzing with frenetic activity is the recently opened Bourjois Spa, With an array of 14 different types of therapies to choose from, the most fave here is the Javanese (curd and butter based), Cussianis (vitamin gel based) and Thai-culpa ritual (mud pack based).

detox it!

Head Masters, Sector 8 
Rs 800 onwards

Vidya Tikari, Sector 10
Rs 500 onwards

Cleopatra, Sector 8 
Rs 1,000 onwards

Bourjois Spa, Sector 35 
Rs 2,000 onwards

Planet Fitness, Sector 8
Rs 1,50 onwards Taxes extra

The summer deal here includes a dermochill spa, where in packs and body wraps give you a detoxifying cool effect and a gel spa that uses gel instead of oil. For the bride and the groom, the place has exclusive customised spas.

If it is hair troubles that you are worried about, then head to Headmasters for their hair spa promises 100 per cent cure. A special massage that involves acupressure on the tension points is a must try. They will be soon starting with Spa One, ancient foot reflexology massage that was hugely popular last summer. A body spa with mind-blowing amenities is also in the pipeline.

Vidya Tikari Beauty Spa and Studio’s back purifying treatment already has many takers. The therapy takes cares of the pores that go blocked in winters and need to be exfoliated in summers. Promising a clean healthy skin this season, is tehr range of facial, hand, feet and body spas.

Well, all we can say that the romance with luxury has just begun!


Alone & independent
Joyshri Lobo

All the way from Tezpur in Assam to Chandigarh… it is a long journey for a tiny woman. Her father studied with the parish priest in Goa. Both went back to Assam and then Seema came to study at the mission school in the city when the priest was posted here. She has a sun burnt face, beautiful smile and the hands of an angel. She never stops smiling and her incessant chatter soothes as she massages oil into aching limbs and conducts physiotherapy on those who have wasted bodies that need to be coaxed into activity once again. Like all writers and storytellers, a little embroidering and poetic license, enlivens each tale and every patient drifts into a cloud of passive oblivion, imagining in their minds the details that accompany the soft toned narrative. In another incarnation, Seema was probably a wandering minstrel.

Her young husband died of some disease in 1990. The details are vague. A little girl was born of the union. A case was filed and the in-laws took all of Seema’s jewellery (endowed by her grandparents) and personal possessions. Sounds like a very normal, everyday, economically weak, Indian woman’s story. But the young mother had a guardian angel – a lady constable who spoke to a kindly SDM. He did a thorough investigation, decided she was innocent and let off the hapless girl.

Seema has had many guardian angels: The Sector 19 church; missionaries who have come to Chandigarh and many friends who have helped her negotiate life’s rather precarious ways. Her daughter has almost finished school thanks to the unconditional support of a disciplined mother who, come hail or rain, races through the northern sectors on an ancient bicycle. “Why don’t you buy a scooter?” I asked. “I don’t know how to ride one,” was the simple explanation given.

She changed jobs often. Switch assembler, biscuit cutter, soap packer, cardboard box folder — all added pennies to the kitty. She finally found her calling as a masseuse. The church sent her for training to a clinic in Delhi. For many years she lived with a family in Sector 18. Today, she cheerfully and joyously helps them when required. She moved out to build a tiny home in Sector 25, which she annually white washes and repairs.

Christmas sees Seema making fish curry and rice for the neighbours. Her compassion for those around her seems boundless. She has nurtured three stray dogs and the stories about them are most engaging. She is a tiny woman who hardly ever talks about herself or her troubles. She touches many lives through her profession and wit. Tilting at windmills is not her style. A bicycle ridden onto Chandigarh’s roads with energy, courage and conviction, is. I do salute such a woman.

Little Interview
Following his dreams

Lifestyle chats up with the Brit-born model-turned actor -Upen Patel, the heartthrob of the film industry. Upen set the ramp on fire by winning the MTV style award. He has also modelled for brands like Hugo Boss, Paul aSmith, Zegna, and the most recent campaign with Provogue. The macho matinee idol is now busy carving a place for himself in the tinsel world.

Do you miss your native place?

I am from UK and I miss my birthplace a lot. But, since I have been in Mumbai for the last five years, I am now a Mumbaikar for sure! Mumbai is the city of dreams and I am here to fulfill mine.

How different is modelling from acting?

Well a lot, both have their pros and cons. The silver screen is a more popular and accessible source of entertainment.

Do u believe in planning before execution?

It is important to think out everything. I believe in planning and rarely do anything on the spur of the moment.

What does success actually mean to you?

Success is achieving what you set out to and I am on my way to do it.

What is special about your third film Shakalaka Boom Boom?

I play my dream role of a rock star. The viewers will enjoy my work in the film.

What are your forthcoming films?

I have a handful of promising action movies with Percept Pictures Company, one each with Tips, Venus, Mukta Arts, Abbas-Mustan, Ramesh Sippy and Suneel Darshan.

— Dharam Pal

Season in the sun
Smriti Sharma

Tired of going to same old usual furnishings store. Well Seasons Furnishings, a home furnishing brand provides you with a solution. A one-stop shop, to end your struggle to get that particular beige for your upholstery you have been looking for.

In about two months time, our city will boast of a lounge store under the Seasons flagship. Giving details of the lounge store, Sonali Tandon, brand manager, said, “Chandigarh has a vast potential and is emerging as one of the most lucrative destinations for both retailers and shoppers.”

In store is an international shopping experience with the lounge offering an exquisite range of fabrics, rugs, bed covers, cushions and artefacts.

Well, for the upcoming hot summers, here are a few tips to keep your furnishings in sync with times.

Apart from the perennial shades of blues and beiges, tints of greens are in.

Instead of synthetic silks and other such fabrics, go in for cottons or polyester blended fabrics, as they are easy to maintain, long lasting and good in looks.

So, go ahead, ring in this summers with stylish furnishings.

STRINGS of hope
S. D. Sharma

The city saw all the leading practitioners of the art at the ongoing festival and exhibition of Indian puppetry organised by Sangeet Natak Akademy and Punjab Arts Council. A few participating puppeteer directors share their views with Life Style on puppetry traditions and emerging trends.

“Behind all artistic creations there exists an emotional urge among the human beings to express any perceived or felt experience in a certain specific form and a creative process,” echo the artists. “And, perhaps this led to the emergence of finer arts of music, dance, drama, painting, sculpture,” they maintain. Though, the complex art of puppetry existed much before, its existing form developed in the past few decades; since a master puppeteer has to be a connoisseur of all other art forms.

From primordial times, visionary Indian sages, seers and artists have been enriching the world community with their intuitive wisdom of philosophy and fine art. While, the grandeur of Indian classical music art reigns supreme, another form of ancient art - Indian puppetry has now surfaced to worldwide acclaim. Like all other art forms, puppetry too experienced reverse trends. Today, most of the puppet theatres are creations of the hereditary artists who had preserved its various traditional forms through oral transmission and practice from one generation to the next.

Glove puppets

A form of puppetry on the verge of extinction is glove puppets or Pava Kathakalli. A very popular form in Kerala, it surfaced in the 18th century. It is performed with no curtain or screen.

“No art form can survive and retain its vigour and verve for long unless kept enriched from other sources,” says Mahipat Kavi, an Ahmedabad based puppet maestro. “Its survival depends on its utility for the society and a source of financial help to its practitioner ’, maintains Kavi. Sculpting innovation for stylised presentations, he had staged Ramayna and Mahabharta in German, English and French to reach to the masses during his record 263 shows, seminars and workshops in India and abroad. Kavi is using the art for mass communication, children education, female foeticide and other areas of social concern. His disciples Ana Maria from Slovania and Bostjan Saver, son of a royal puppeteer from Slovania claimed that the puppet shows with Indian themes especially mythological are well received.

Shadow puppets

As per the experts, the realm of evolution of puppetry forms came with the emergence of shadow puppets, comprising leaves with painting thereon. However, Pandit Unnutur Chitambi Aiyer is said to be the pioneer inventor of a better form who painted on the soft goatskin and depicted the epics. The modern shadow puppets are subjected to beams of lights and mostly practiced and known as Togabe Gombayyeta in Karnatka, Tolpava Kuthu  in Kerala, Ravan Chhaya in Orissa and Tolu Bommalattam in Tamil Nadu.

Rod puppets

Rod puppets emerged in the tribal areas of Assam and West Bengal over 1000 years ago, where the adivasis created puppets using banana leaves and soft wood rods. Normally, built without legs the puppets are held by two rods attached to it and projected from behind the covered screen.  The folklore of the respective region had a greater influence on this form. It is known as Kathi Kundhei in Orissa, Daangur Putul in West Bengal, Bomalattam in Tamil Nadu and Salaki Gombetta in Karanatka.

String puppets

The most intricate yet the most charming form is a string puppet. Invented in Bassi village of Rajasthan, the form is also known as ‘Kathputli’.  The puppeteer uses a special ball whistle to delineate the dialogues during the show. The immaculate use of eighteen strings as displayed by Puran Bhatt amazed the audience. Coming from a family of puppeteers Puran, disclosed, “We were ‘Ghumantrus’ (wanderers), so I left the profession to work in a factory but returned to my roots when the academy promoted the art.” “Today, I am again a ‘ghumantru’ and puppetry is taking me globe trotting,” he smiles.

The art is known as Putla naach in Assam , Kathputli in Rajasthan, Sutrada Gombeyatta in Karnatka, Tarer Putul in Bengal and Gopalia in Orissa. Another Kolkata-based puppet maestro, Suresh Dutta, trained under Sergie Obraztsov of Moscow State Puppet Theatre says, “ The art gained tremendous respect and recognition after the west evinced a great interest in the Indian puppetry traditions and aesthetic potential of artists with family legacy.”


Arty facts
Parbina Rashid
The turbulence and peace of Vietnam comes alive on canvas

The turbulence and peace of Vietnam come alive on canvas
The turbulence and peace of Vietnam come alive on canvas

It’s time to look at art as an investment. This is what Gaurika Miglani, a Singapore-based art curator tells us. And to acquaint us with the international art scene, she brings us the works of seven Vietnamese artists to begin. “After Indian artists, Vietnamese artists are the ones to look out for in the South-East Asian market,” she shares.

As many as 100 works of all kinds, capturing the aura of Vietnam, both in figurative and abstract work at Art Folio give a glimpse of what Vietnamese art is all about—vibrant colours, bold and sure strokes; some showing a fusion with a hint of French and Chinese influence. The themes vary from Buddhism, animals of the zodiac, village scenes, mythical heroes or simply abstracts.

The seven artists are Haong Cong Hung, Nguyen Van Duong, Truong Quoc Bao, Tran Minh Loc, Le Phan Quoc, Truong Back Tuong and Bui Quang Huy. They all come from different provinces like Sai Gon, Hue and Da Nang. Informs Gaurika, “They are all established artists in their country.”

The name does not mean much, but the sneak preview of Hoang’s semi-abstract landscapes or Truong’s face-less women with trademark conical straw hats or Le Phan’s huts do look impressive. According to Gaurika, who is busy unpacking the paintings, these artists have lived through the dramatic changes that swept their country in the recent past and have captured Vietnam in all colour— both in peace and turbulence.

The exhibition will open for public on April 10 and 11.

We, the artists

It’s that time of the year when women artists of the city get together and showcase their talent. The banner is all too familiar ‘We’ and so are the faces of the artists. For, this is the fourth annual exhibition of this ‘non-political self-sustaining group of women, from various walks of life who are driven by their passion for art’.

But this year, even their art looked a little too familiar. Specially, Sadhna Sangar’s paintings what she describes as ‘moments of life’ in colour and Rozy Varinder Kaur’s sketches of the anatomy of a flower. Surely, Sadhana has shifted to bolder and brighter colours in her latest works and for Rozy she has changed her medium, from ink sketches to acrylic on canvas. But, since both the artists had exhibited their paintings on the same theme only last week for an exhibition at Punjab Kala Bhavan, one cannot help but feel that one has walked into the sequel of it.

This feeling apart, the exhibition at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, has a variety to offer to art lovers. For instance, Jaskanwal’s paintings of nude where mushrooms replace the head are appealing—both aesthetically and philosophically. For the artist, mushroom signifies that life and can grow anywhere, thus can be called a symbol of hope. Rajinder Pasricha has worked on women and girl child while Aradhana Tandon and Navpeet Kaur have revealed their inner-self in figurative works. Exploring the world of abstract art are Neenu Vij and Guneet Chadha. Neenu experiments with paper cuts and colours, Guneeta does it with ink to draw some motifs from West Bengal.

If Asha Sharma’s flowers in water colour, add colour to the entire display; then Anju Pasricha’s musical instrument lend a youthful look. Others who have contributed their bits are Kamal Sohal, Kiran Bala Sharma, Ambalicka Sood Jacob and Deepika Bajaj. —P. R.

On till April 8

Health tip of the day

Lowering intake by 250 calories and burning the same amount through aerobics effectively cuts down one pound weight per week.

— Dr Ravinder Chadha

What the cards say today...

ARIES: The Chariot drawn by four sphinxes brings light into darkness. Restless? Take a break. A need for support, a sense of security and continuity is accented now. Explain your issues to loved ones to avoid any misunderstandings. Lucky Colour: Metallic grey. Tip:Take things one at a time. LIBRA: The Fool infuses you with courage. You find ways to express your creativity and emotion. Disruption in business is temporary. Youthful energy allows you to look at new options . A business cum pleasure trip is on the cards! Lucky colour: Wine red. Tip: Listen carefully to words of wisdom.
TAURUS: The Ace of Pentacles leads to actualisation of personal and professional plans. At home make improvements before weather creates havoc. A desire to break downis part of the picture. Focus on meditation and exercise.Lucky colour: Blood red. Tip: Stick to decissions. SCORPIO: Nine of Pentacles reveal family pressure and responsibilities. Good fortune in business changes the quality of and brings luxury and ease. Family and friends gather to share hospitality and memorable times. Lucky colour: Coffee. Tip: Lack of caution can leave you in losses.
GEMINI: Your card The Hermit provides harmony. Work tempo increases and you achieve much more Wait before signing on the dotted line especially in money issues. Short vacation is on the cards. Lucky colour: Brown. Tip: Dare to accomplish those tasks, which normally take up a lot of time. SAGITTARIUS: The Princes of Wands spins gracious influence in your personal relationship. You are relaxed at work and content at home. Things begin to look up. Express yourself openely in a relation Lucky colour: Golden. Tip:  Allow a sick situation blow over before you start a new project.
CANCER: Tremendous energy you draw from The Hermit enables you to start professional ventures and new assignments. Matters at home begin to improve. Affair of heart will be discouraging.Tackle a difficult person with tact. Lucky colour: Cherry red. Tip: Time will heal all pains and wounds. CAPRICORN: The Five of Cups takes you through a difficult speculative situation. Emotional relationships are temporary as you come out of them. An array of mixed feelings overwhelm you. But you will win hands down whatever you aim at. Lucky colour: Yellow. Tip: Take one step at a time.
LEO: The Priestess infuses promise and commitment in personal relationship. Money is coming in again. Determination and persistence will help you make progress. Full Moon brings sunshine and laughter. Lucky colour: Chocolate brown. Tip: Don’t waste an opportunity by not exploiting a contact. AQUARIUS: You draw the Wheel of Fortune. Good times are just around the corner. Children, family and loved ones gather to celebrate. You fulfill a heart’s desire. Just watch out for bouts of emotions on Saturday. Lucky colour: deep red. Tip:Try to be active in catching financial opportunities.
VIRGO: The karmic Wheel of Fortune turns in your favour. You’ve got a strong sense of self . Now that you have overcome a cash hurdle, you will settle easily. Family celebrations and social events are in store. Lucky colour: Ebony. Tip : Do as many courses as you can  to get ahead of others. PISCES: The Queen of Roads brings love and romance back in life. There could be new career opportunities due to your past efforts. Spending quality time with your partner will be a priority for you. There could be good news on Tuesday. Lucky colour: Pink Tip: Take one step at a time and avoid being overanxious.

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