Balle, Balle Baisakhi

This Baisakhi, city residents are sending e-cards, planning picnics and sporting traditional jewellery, finds out Saurabh Malik

You have danced to the tunes of merriment on the college grounds during Baisakhi celebrations and even tasted the traditional makki di roti and sarson ka sag. But, still revelry for you has always remained confined to formal, rather than customary celebrations. And, the reason behind the phenomenon is not very hard to see. The day is passionately associated with the harvesting season in this part of the region, and your familiarity with the field of agriculture is limited just to geography books.

But, this time let the festive spirit bloom. Savor fun along with sarson ka sag by cooking up excitement with the ingredients of ethnicity on the big day. Slip into the festive mood and pound the ground with vigorous steps to the thumping beats of bhangra music; or else break into revelry with your chums by performing gidda. If you do not know where to head for celebration then attend one of the Baisakhi special parties being organised at the colleges.

Cultural yield

If you want it all traditional, then go in for the three-day Baisakhi festival organised by the UT authorities.

Beginning today, the rhythm and sound mela will feature a food festival and plaza carnival, along with cadenced performances by musical groups and singers all the way from Bhopal, Lucknow, and even Pakistan.

And, before you hop on the celebration bandwagon, remember to wear some nice traditional jewellery. Dazzling the glass shelves of jewellery shops across the city are Baisakhi-special ornaments. Exquisite, yet not expensive; you can pick up a necklace and pair of earring for just Rs 500.

“And, if you do not wish to buy the trinkets then take them up on rent,” says Yogender Kumar, proprietor of a jewellery store in Sector 11. “You just have to handover nominal security, pay reasonable rent and wear the stuff on the big day”.

Destination celebration

Drive away from the city to the villages along the riverbanks. The brooks have their sacred import and have myths and legends woven around their origin and names. You can capture moments of joy or even play a part in the celebrations, by driving along the canal in Ropar. All along, you will find youth clubs making merry at local-level functions. Or else, drive uphill all the way to Himachal and grasp the depth of festivities by looking at the peach blossom rushing in torrents. There you will come across natives waiting at the temple gates.

Also, you can download ring tones to set the mood; rediff mobile is offering monophonic and polyphonic ring tones along with picture messages and logos.

Wish a friend who may have forgotten all about rejoicing the occasion. Go to a gift shop and pick up the cards. And, if you wish to blend tradition with technology, then log on and forward an e-card.

Harvesting history

For all you city-bred teenyboppers, here is a peep into the history of the day. In the plains of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh; Baisakhi is time to harvest the winter crop of wheat. The festival also stands for the dawn of new year in northern India, especially Punjab. It also commemorates the founding of Khalsa. The occasion is celebrated with great gusto at Talwandi Sabo, where Guru Gobind Singh stayed for nine months and completed the recompilation of the Guru Granth Sahib. The Sikhs celebrate the day by visiting gurudwaras; kirtans and recital of passages from the Granth Sahib are also organised in gurdwaras. The day begins with a ceremonial bath followed by prayers. A little later, the first ripe ears of wheat are offered to the family deities.  [email protected]

Grand entry
Smriti Sharma

Celina Jaitley
Celina Jaitley — Photo by Parvesh Chauhan

She is an eyeful who can manage a great item number as her movies like No Entry proved, she can fit in well with super hits. Clad in an ice blue saree with shortened tresses, Celina Jaitley, who was in town to inaugurate Daffodils Study Abroad, a consultant for education and migration to Australia, looking every inch unspoilt. After a one and a half hour long wait, finally when the dainty star arrived amidst a huge gathering of people, conversation flowed naturally after a little reluctance from her side. This NCC cadet who studied all her life at Kendriya Vidyalayas across the country that too in Hindi medium wanted to be either an Army officer or a pilot, thanks to her family background. It was her friend and cousin, Heena who actually sent in her entry into the beauty pageant without letting her know and she bagged the Miss India crown in 2001. But her passion for flying high still burns deep. Apart from flying which is a hobby, she dotes on reading everything from an Emily Bronte to even Asterix comics. “I have a collection of over 7000 books”, she states proudly. Born to an Afghani mother and a Punjabi father, this lady also has a huge collection of something, she is well known for. Yes, a whopping 486 sarees and even has a label of her own, ‘Celina Jashn’. So what do the nine yards mean to her? “Sarees are the perfect outfits for every occasion”.

But sarees apart she also wishes to collect good films hence her decision to do just five films this year. “ I want to do big films, with well known directors. Nevertheless, Pakeezah and Umrao Jaan, are two movies if given a chance, she would love to be a part of. As of now, Celina is busy penning a family memoir based on the experiences of her grandfather who was in Burma during World War II. While we scratch our heads at all that which keeps her going, Celina shares her mantra with us, “ Never say die. Its all in the mind.” Way to go, pretty lady! [email protected]

Legacy of faith
Gayatri Rajwade

A city-based author narrates Guru Nanak’s message in a simple and contemporary way

He grew up surrounded by the teachings of Baba Nanak but when he finally sat down to write his book, ‘Guru Nanak: His Life and Teachings’, it was a bindaas author approaching his typewriter!

Senior journalist and writer Roopinder Singh has come a long way since then. Today, at the launch of the Hindi translation of the same book, it was an emotionally overwhelmed author who took to the dais. The memories engulfing him were of his father, the eminent Sikh scholar Giani Gurdit Singh, who passed away in January this year. “I am grateful to my father who put me on this path and to my mother who shaped me into what I am today,” he said.

The book which first came out in English in 2004 has gone in for a second edition and after the Hindi translation that was released today, a Punjabi translation is on the cards next. However, the book actually happened quite by chance, “I had just finished writing a biography on Marshal of the Indian Airforce, Arjan Singh, DFC, when the publisher, R K Mehra of Rupa came up to me and said I was to do a book on Baba Nanak for them,” he recalls.

The rest as they say is history, but not before Roopinder’s mother looked disbelievingly at the enormous task that had been undertaken. “She went to her library and took out 32 books from her personal collection and told me do the basic reading before discussing anything with her,” he laughs.

While the ‘compulsory’ reading was not too difficult, it raised more questions than it answered. The quest was simple, to communicate Guru Nanak’s message to a contemporary audience in a simple way. But, was there a need for another book? “Guru Nanak’s message is eternal and it is as relevant to the world today as it was then; but the message needs to be told and retold a 1000 times and that is the only reason why another book on His life is needed,” explains Roopinder.

He choose English as a medium of writing primarily because Roopinder felt what could he possibly tell Punjabis about Guru Nanak? However, the book has found its audience with the release of the second edition in English.

“I have made some changes but they are largely stylistic; certain concepts needed to be explained more clearly and now the book does not take anything for granted,” he says. These changes have also been incorporated into the Hindi translation and Roopinder is quick to point out that no real corrections were needed except for a misplaced apostrophe in the English edition which he trusts the readers to find!

But, the real treasures in the book are the visuals. “It was important to have a visual element in the book to bring home the message more clearly and this is where the Janam Sakhis came in,” explains Roopinder.

While, the line sketches are courtesy the museum in the city (‘of Nain Sukh who work is most powerful’) the other coloured Janam Sakhis belong to Bagrain, a private collector.

Today, with reprints, translations, and the works in the offing, this author is working hard to keep two valuable legacies alive—one of the path his father put him on and the other of his father’s passion for this faith. [email protected]

Life begins at 60

Amritpal’s out to enrich society with retired Sikhs’ experiences, writes Purva Grover

Amritpal SinghEach time Amritpal Singh (37) would be at his home in Mohali, he would wake up to the same sight every morning; his father’s retired friends would be seated at a bench in the neighbourhood park reading the newspaper. Well, on returning home in the evening, the scene would still be quite the same; for even now they would be at very much the same place and this time re-reading the paper.

The eyes of this Singapore-based entrepreneur would be moist each of these times and that’s when he decided to work for the retired Sikh community. He found that IAS officers who changed the face of the city, Army officers who spent their lives protecting the nation, managers who increased the profits of their companies’ manifold, and many more professionals were sadly fading away into obscurity, just because they had retired from their jobs.

The very thought that these experienced men were now looking for means to fill long empty stretched hours got Amritpal thinking. “A retired person has around 20 years of active life ahead of him, then why should he retire and rust,” he questions. And, in August last year he launched a platform for the retired Sikhs worldwide. The site called, allows the experienced senior citizens to post their work profile and work preference on to it. Next, the employers scan the profiles and makes job offers. One can opt for a part time, full time, income based, home based and even a voluntary job.

Working on the venture, for a number of years, before kick starting it, he says, “It is the call from Wahe Guru to do something for my community that has got me so far.” The personal savings of Amritpal funds the project. And, if you have doubts about the feasibility of the venture then a look at the numbers is a must. The site already has Sikhs registered from 102 cities in India and 26 countries that include IAS, IPS, Ambassador, Air Vice Marshal, brigadiers, engineers, bankers, and teachers. Over 20,000 companies, HR placement consultants, NRI’s contact these experienced men and browse the database regularly.

“I wish to create a strong sense of unity and bonding in the community”, says Amritpal. So, not surprising his portal also serves as a platform for the retirees (that’s what they call themselves) to discuss problems and seek advice on issues like provident fund, health and pension. In addition, the site allows them to place free advertisements for real estate, taking tuitions and selling off old items.

So, if it is the experience of an educated and practical man that you are looking for - be it for work, guidance or advise; then just go clicking. “And, for all those who care to gift their grandparents something more than the ‘retired tag’, upload their profiles”, says Amritpal. [email protected]

Gear up for work again!
If you too want to be a part of this growing community then write to Amritpal Singh at [email protected]  or call him at (91) 9876625076

Brownie point
Parbina Rashid

Colour has different connotations—spiritual, physical and even political. But colour as a reflector of one’s inner-self? Yes, that’s what Franck Pavloff’s Matin Bruri (Brown Morning) does to you. A nicely woven story that starts with an extremist state oppressing the locals and gently leads one to do a little soul searching – are you the one to stand up and fight for your right or are you the one to find comfort in surrendering your mind and soul?

Looking at the phenomenal success this 11-page-book had made in the recent years (over 5 lakh copies have been sold in Europe only and translated into 25 languages, including Hindi, Bengali Tamil and Malayalam), it looks like there are too many of us in this world who need to ask this question—are we actually the victim of oppression, be it social or political or are we the ones responsible for it?

“In fact, the story is so powerfully self-evaluating that my publishers in France asked me to put one mirror at the end, so that a reader looks at himself and realises what he stands for,” comes the interesting input from the author who came to take part in a story reading session organised by Alliance Francaise.

Franck of French and Bulgarian origin speaks halting English but the conversation gets spiced up as we meet Dolma Pathania, education co-ordinator of Alliance Francaise de Chandigarh and Yojna Rawat, reader, Correspondence Studies, Panjab University, who has translated the book into Hindi titled Bhoori Subah.

The story is the state imposes a rule that everything should be in brown, houses, names of the newspaper and even pets. So people having black and white cats or digs gets arrested. Since it is easier to go along with the flow, most of the people just give in. Even the protagonist, who surrenders in the end in a fine brown morning!

“It’s political, yet not very political as it is not about party politics or anything,” says Franck explaining how people give scientific justification for any political action and just drifts along with it rather than opposing it. He cites George W. Bush as an example who used the concept of weapons of mass destruction to attack Iraq.

Basically a psychologist and children’s right activist, Franck took inspiration from the changing scenario of European politics in the late 80s. The book was published in 1999 but the phenomenon success came only after 2002. He has written 23 books altogether, including a few children’s book and poetry, but “nothing had become such a huge success as this Brown book, though I wish they all were” tells the author with a shy smile.

So how come the drift from children’s book to poetry to a hard-hitting political one? “I write poetry to release my inner tension. My books are mainly windows of life. So remaining within the context I just play with words to suit the target group,” he says. But what reflects in all his writings is his non-judgmental attitude. “Even in Brown Morning, I did not say this is good or this is bad. It is for a reader to see and judge wherever he is has been an active member or passive taker in the whole system.” A ‘brown’ logic indeed! [email protected]

A beautiful mind

Penning lyrics gives free play to thoughts and feelings of this city-based composer,
finds out Purva Grover

S. Rakesh  — Photo by Parvesh ChauhanIn between numerous files, papers and books that lie on his desk, a small tape recorder finds its place too. A senior accounts officer at Accounts General, Punjab, S. Rakesh switches on the set each time a person or a situation touches his heart; and then humming to himself he transforms the moment into beautiful words.

A lyricist, composer and a poet, music allows Rakesh to reach deep within the man’s soul. His journey in the world of swar and taal began during his college days at Abohar. His maiden composition was Saun baar janam lenge, jai hind ki naaro se aakash goonja denge in 1966. Later, even with the job he continued writing and in 1978 penned Pal pal shamo seher, tera khayaal aata raha that won him the first prize at a competition of central offices. He was to collect his award at a function six months later, when on his friend’s insistence he composed a song to sing at the function. And, his duet, Shama ke khata kya had the audience at PGI auditorium in awe. And, well as they say rest is history.

Next, Delhi Doordarshan approached Rakesh for a recording and soon after he began writing on a regular basis. A way to the city of dreams followed soon, and he made his debut in the tinsel town in 1984. Melodies packed with intense lyrics like, Badi door door Padoin ke tale and Aah bharte nahi shikwa karte nahi were amongst the few numbers that helped him carve a place in Mumbai.

His biggest hit came in 1986, when the ace ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas gave his voice to lyrics penned by him. Rakesh penned the ghazal, Thodi thodi piya karo in a time period of six months. A much-loved composition till date, he narrates an incident that happened in 2005 which further confirms it’s popularity. “ I was in America and when I switched on the TV, the ghazal was being aired on Asia TV,” he smiles. Well, that’s not all; he shares with pride that in 1990 the unparalleled maestro Jagjit Singh sang his composition, Yeh peene wane bahut ajeeb hai.

Though he loves to sing, he now concentrates on writing; both in Hindi and Punjabi. And, one of his favourite Punjabi compositions - Dil mangda, o methon jaan mangda was sung by Usha Uthap in 2000. In March this year, Rakesh was honoured as a poet by the Punjab Urdu Academy, Malerkotla.

A true lover of art, Rakesh believes in encouraging others to explore the varied forms of art. In 1989, he formed a club called Swar Saptak club to give a chance to the young talent to sing his compositions. The club’s 33rd programme on Monday at Punjab Kala Bhawan will see many artists from the city lending their voice to his words.

A force to reckon with
S. D. Sharma

Sunil Kumar does things many able-bodied persons cannot

Yakeen ke noor se roshan hain raaste apne, ham voh chiraag hain tufaan jinhe bujha na ska.. Wazahat Ali’s couplet seems to be apt to describe the courage and conviction of Sunil Kumar, an inmate and plus one student of Saket Institute for Orthopaedically Handicapped. As the melodious Hothon se chhu lo tum.. emanating from a synthesizer captures your imagination and guide you to a solitary room wherein the artist Sunil is lost in his routine endeavor, you are stunned and shaken the next moment.

Sunil starts playing the instrument with his feet and your heart goes out in compassion without mustering enough courage to inquire about the unfortunate amputation of his arms.

Even Sunil does not like to talk about it. Instead he keeps you engaged with another captivating dhun from film Gangster Tu hi meri shab hai… and move on to Mere vatan ke logo...

Meanwhile, warden Darshan Bhatia with moist eyes briefs you about the unfortunate incident when at the age of three Sunil got electrocuted and had to be operated upon at the PGI. His life was saved but not the arms. Sunil lost track of his parents since his childhood and the inmates of the institute is his family. He reveres the institute director Dr Jaspal Singh Bhatia as his mentor and guide and Darshan as his mother.

Having established his credentials as a musician, Sunil springs another surprise. He can work in the Microsoft word on a computer operating the keys with fingers of his both feet. Sunil with his myriad traits is the most popular student and a hostel inmate every one is proud of. He enthralled the people at the ABILYMPICS meet at Mumbai with his electrifying speed on computer and as a gifted painter he won a gold medal and cash prize of Rs 3,000 last year.

He plays cricket too, with his feet substituting for a bat. He performs all the duties himself except for while eating.

He is an icon of courage for many and looking at his youthful enthusiasm one can not help but relating him to Hamdani’ s couplet Takaaza hai dil ka, ke tufaan se juujho, Kahan tak chalo ge kinaare kinaare..


Arzoo UpadhyayaThe two hours captivating solo Kathak dance performance at Tagore theatre by eleven-year-old Arzoo Upadhyaya had the audience in awe. The danseuse, a seventh class student had the spectators all in praise for her matured sense of observation and grasp of the minute intricacies of the dance form.

Arzoo made waves at the All India DD Metro’s, ‘Mini Super Star Dance competition- 2001’ at Mumbai when she was just six. Her immaculate execution of the patterns, syllables and compositions of the dance brought her a sliver medal then. Later, she was chosen to give a solo Kathak recital at the inaugural ceremony of Doordarshan, Chandigarh and also at the NZCC, Kalagram.

A winner of the Bal Shree award, Arzoo recalls the pride moments when she had participated in a group dance and cultural programme on Republic day last year. The performance gave her a chance to interact with the President of India. The boost that she has got from numerous awards and adulations, further inspires her to learn and accomplish more. Training under the tutelage of her mentor and guru, Yogesh Sharma of Jaipur gharana, she says, “Many a times, I have missed family functions to carry out uninterrupted riyaz of four hours a day.” Though initiated into the particular dance form by her parents, after they noticed a spark of abundant talent in her, this little danseuse now looks up to Kathak icons like Shovna Narayan, Shobha Koser and Mahesh Gangani. — S. D.

Parbina Rashid

I have been collecting rocks ever since I was a child, Prof Anant Rajwade breaks the ice as we approach him to show us his rock collection.

“What kind of rocks?” we ask him, unable to believe that one can sustain his hobby for so long when the object in question is something as dead as a rock.

“You should see for yourself before we get on with this conversation.” With this he leads us to his first floor den. And what we see is beyond our wildest expectation. All three walls of this small room are lined up with shelves that showcase his treasure — purple amethyst, a green and white Australian celenite, a shiny Fool’s Gold from Spain, a pink Brazilian dolomite, a green mica from Pune and much more. One loses track of the names because the colour and sparkle numbs all other senses. One feels one has ventured into a well-kept garden where all plants are in full bloom.

“My collection may be of much geological value. But while collecting rocks, I go for aesthetics rather than scientific value,” says Rajwade. This retired professor of mathematics has a reason behind this deduction. His collection has many admirers, none of them geologists. His hobby started with collecting pebbles from the beaches of India. And though mathematics is nowhere connected to rocks, his profession did help him carry on with his rock collection. Conferences and seminar abroad got him in touch with people dealing with rocks and minerals and that’s how his collection grew over the years — reaching up to about 300 rocks. One wall is dedicated to rocks in their natural form while the other to the curved ones.

“I have not counted them as such but that should be the rough number.” Rajwade seems a little detached from his treasure. “Yes, I derive the greatest pleasure from the process of collecting them and then displaying them. After that I lose interest.”

Does that mean that he does not spend much time in his rocky den? “In fact, I come here only when someone like you comes to have a look at it,” he tells candidly.

How much he enjoys the collection process is evident from an incident he recalls. “I was in Pune a few years back. I was taken to a mine where I saw this huge 30 feet wall of milky crystal. I paid one of the workers Rs 50 to break three huge pieces for me.”

Another incidence he remembers is when he picked up a geode from a stream in Aurangabad. “I was searching in the stream for a rock and then I came across this one which I knew would be a hollow inside. I got it home and cut it into two halves, it was full of milky quartz.” Looking at the rough exterior of the stone as he holds it out to us, we know it’s only an experience eye can tell that such a beauty would lie inside.

However, not every piece has come with this cheap a tag. “India is not the right place for rock collectors. Whatever little choice is there is in the Maharashtra belt, but now sellers have hiked prices. They are becoming aware of the demand in the international market. Abroad, most of the rocks would be out of reach,” he says, pointing at a tiny pink Brazilian dolomite and telling us how he would like to acquire a bigger piece of that beauty. The problem: It would cost a fortune!

However, looking at Rajwade’s collection, one can safely say he is a person who would not mind giving his right arm to acquire a rock that catches his fancy. But then again, if there is a will, there is a rock! [email protected]

— Photos by Manoj Mahajan

If you too collect unique things and wish to be featured, write to us at [email protected] or Lifestyle, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh

Cottony Summer

— Photo by Parvesh ChauhanWhile the summer swelters on, keep cotton cool! No deliberate alliterations here, we promise, just a spry collection of fluttering fabrics au natural that bring with it whiffs of tradition, colour and cheer.

If breezy is your mantra and earth your divination then riffle through Sohni’s exhibition that brings traditional blocks and weaves on fresh cottons with striking prints and pert embellishments right into your ‘covet’ category.

The buzz in this summer collection is maheshwari and kalamkari that find its way into suits, tops and kurtis but there is a bit of everything as well. Bandhini,Kutch patches, kalamkari-eque blocks on tissue and even kantha work is well represented in this treasure-trove.

Motifs ranging from tribal (think warli!) to geometric, vegetable dyed block-prints, sequins and tiny mirrors ‘garnish’ haldi yellow, leafy green, candy-floss pink, lively ginger, mud-brown and beige and white combinations.

The detailing is intense. Zari and brocade pattis, pleats, fabric buttons and of course the ari-work which is in revivalist mode here, runs and peeks out of most outfits.

Do look for the ikat and kalamkari combinations in the elegant and striking dupattas (a Sohni special!) with ambis, peacocks and traditional embroidered patterns festooned all over.

Appliqué work pooled in with crochet, block prints with embroidery and earthy hues, styles and patterns make for lots of fresh tops and tunics to indulge in. The outfits range from an economic Rs 950 to Rs 3,000 for the more detailed work.

Check it out at 1018B, First Floor, Sector 27-B, from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm on Friday and Saturday April 13 and 14. — G. R.

To Ash, with love

Young Patna fan hand-embroiders red saree for her fav actor’s special day

While Aishwarya Rai may be getting ready to don glitzy designer wear at her wedding, a young girl in Bihar is toiling away at an exquisitely embroidered red sari for the actress to wear on that special day.

Joyti Kumari, a 17-year-old college girl from Sipaya Tola, about 250 km from Patna, is a diehard fan of Aishwarya. And she is very busy these days. For, the actress is getting married to actor Abhishek Bachchan in Mumbai on April 20, and Joyti hopes she will finish the sari in time to present it as a gift.

“She has been working day and night for nearly a month to create the finest embroidered sari for Aishwarya to wear on her wedding day,” a close relative of hers said.

The relative said that Joyti selected a bright red sari keeping in view the beauty and fair complexion of Aishwarya. The sari, it is estimated, would easily sell for around Rs 7,500 if sold in the market.

Designer Neeta Lulla is reportedly designing embroidered saris for Aishwariya. But Joyti has her fingers crossed. “I plan to visit Mumbai next week to personally hand over my gift to Aishwarya,” Joyti said. But she was not sure whether Aishwarya would meet her. “I will try my best,” she said.

She was in Class X when Aishwarya was crowned Miss World in 1994. “Since then, I have been a diehard fan of her and want to share my joy with her,” she said. A BA I student in Mahendra Das College, Joyti is quite well-known locally for designing women’s clothes, particularly embroidered saris and salwar kameez. She trained in embroidery and stitching at a local institute a few years ago. — IANS

Black Beauty
Joyshri Lobo

She was sometimes referred to as Black Beauty and sometimes as The Hearse. It all depended on how she behaved. Like an aged Duchess, she was temperamental to the core. If it was cold she refused to move. If it was hot, she boiled over and crawled to the verges. Spring found her in her element. She welcomed people and was generous with her space. She beat every bus on the road and as we sped past, ancient, bulbous, rubber horn honking, people looked out and waved joyfully, surprised at what they saw.

Black Beauty was cheap, that’s why we bought her. She was a Ford 1933. Her shape was like a large rounded hat with wheels. Her stygian body with chromium trimmings shone when polished. Her owner found she had a gluttonous, unaffordable appetite for petrol and was hard to maintain, so she came to us (economic limitations kill all love for antiquities!) As a young Army officer, with a pauper’s pay, my husband decided Black Beauty could run on kerosene, a commodity flowing through the barracks. She had only one eccentricity: We had to put in a glass full of petrol before she sparked into action.

The early days were hellish — BB guzzled many glasses before starting. She would cough, splutter and become silent. A platoon of jawans would push us till BB decided to liven up again. Finally, we learnt the knack of working the starter just at the right time to create that life-giving spark. The platoon heaved a sigh of relief, as BB was very well- endowed and could make anyone sweat.

In winter, BB was invariably parked on a slope so that she could sail down and get her arthritic bits and pieces going. On long trips we went to the bus station to pick up passengers, two moorahs were kept in the huge space at the back. At half the ticket rates, we would pick up villagers and drop them at their homes. Urchins took a free ride on the running boards while our two sons slept peacefully on the commodious back seat. Those were the good old days when people were friendly and did not slit your throat from behind or rob from the friendly hand  that was extended.

Two years later, BB became The Hearse. She coughed and spluttered more than usual. Roop Singh, our skinny but muscular batman would push her but she would not respond. Roop Singh would hang on the huge crank and sometimes succeed but BB was proving very difficult. I would give the batman tea and biscuits as he seemed drained after each Herculean effort. Like the Blood Bank, I had to feed our scavenger to save him for another day!

Kerosene had eroded BB’s innards. Reluctantly we rang the owner. BB had done us proud. Batman, sons and wife pushed with all their might. Like the Duchess, she roared into action, rushed into her allotted space and died. She never moved again. If anyone took BB from the Sector 19 petrol pump, do contact me. I’d like to meet her again.

New Releases
Action-packed treat

Life Mein Kabhie Kabhie

Director: Vikram Bhatt

Cast: Dino Morea, Aftab Shivdasani, Anjori Alagh, Sameer Dattani, Nauheed Cyrusi

Vikram Bhatt’s next offering after Red is likely to be a hit at the box-office. The flick is a journey of success and tribulations, hope and despair, and happiness and sadness. It can be easily labelled as a complete thriller. Sameer has penned the lyrics for the film and Lalit Pandit has composed the music.

Showing at Fun Republic

Big Brother

Director: Guddu Dhanoa

Cast: Sunny Deol, Priyanka Chopra, Farida Jalal, Danny

Sunny Deol’s keenly awaited film Big Brother, earlier titled Deodhar Gandhi is making its way to the theatres after months of delay. Guddu Dhanoa develops the idea of a one-man army against the evil and that every family has a hero. An action packed movie, Guddu has high hopes from it. He has experimented with a different genre of music and given Chameli fame Sandesh Shandilya and Anand Raj Anand a chance to compose music for the film.

Showing at Kiran and Fun Republic

Bheja Fry

Director: Sagar Bellary

Cast: Sarika, Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Milind Soman, Bharti Goswami

A small budget film, Bheja Fry is a stress buster. An off beat flick, Sagar Bellary tries to recreate magic with this comedy. Rajat Kapoor helms the cast and Parzania fame Sarika plays his wife.

Showing at Fun Republic

— Dharam Pal

Adnan’s mystery woman revealed

The wait is over, Adnan Sami is back with his new album Kisi Din. In true Adnan style, the first video is a melodious track that portrays the pain and grief over the loss a dear one. In Teri Yaad, Adnan reminisces about a woman whom he loved and lost, just after professing his love to her.

Adnan’s previous albums had popular faces from Bollywood like Rani Mukherjee, Amisha Patel, Mahima Chowdhary, Raveena Tandon, Namrata Shirodkar, Bhumika Chawla and Aarti Chabaria. And, for this album too, there was a lot of curiosity about the new face.

The mysterious woman is a newcomer Avanne. She said, “I was very excited and happy when I was told it was Adnan Sami’s song.” “I had a lot of fun on the sets and even though Adnan is such a big star, he went out of the way to make me feel comfortable,” she said. —Dharam Pal

youth speak
A night @ the call centre

Tapasya Puri
Tapasya Puri

The charm of working in a BPO is attracting the city youth and they are all falling for it without knowing the real story. The country is now realising that the famed success from business process outsourcing is coming at the cost of a generation’s mental well being.

No doubt, it is good for the economy as it creates employment but work in a call centre is stressful, repetitive, and tiring.

Employees of call centres face various problems at work like having to travel at odd hours, pressure to perform above standard day after day, strict supervision, unhealthy food habits, and long working hours in night shift. This cup of woes, which is already full is now overflowing with the abuse from callers.

It is high time that the BPO’s do something beneficial for its employees, which helps them mentally as well as socially. If something isn’t done then there will be a huge turnover of staff, which is inevitable because of the toll taken by this demanding job.

Relaxation and meditation are good tools for getting through stressful periods.  Workshops covering stress can be refreshing for all staff members.

Health tip of the day

Placing a pillow behind the lower back while sitting helps to lift the chest and improve the head and neck posture.

— Dr Ravinder Chadha

What the cards say today...

ARIES: Your card The Princess of Cups manages to maintain clarity in complicated situations. For future plans it is time to think the unthinkable. Tread carefully in romantic affairs. Lucky colour: Yellow. Tip: You have to realise that even offbeat ideas can be put into practice. LIBRA: The Knight of Discs supports you through a busy week . You are focused on different projects and you bring them into order. The emphasis is upon short trips, your home, and connecting with your roots. Lucky colour: Pink. Tip: Take limited risks while speculating.
TAURUS: The Ace of Pentacles sends an indication that this is the moment to achieve family happiness. Buying or selling will go well. Partner problems are a result of both people not living up to promises. Lucky colour: Cherry red. Tip: Dare to achieve tasks which normally take a lot of time. SCORPIO: The High Priestess reveal family pressure. Be careful, as you are distracted to run into trouble if you don’t pay attention to what you are doing. Do not get tangled with an idle and superficially attractive person. Lucky colour: Ebony. Tip: Set the unpleasant set of events into motion.
GEMINI: The Ten of Pentacles bode extremely well for relationship and romance. Your inner light and wisdom shine but you repress your vitality. Travel may come up on Tuesday. Put relationship on a more intimate basis. Lucky colour: Silver grey. Tip: Take little risks while speculating. SAGITTARIUS: The Four of Wands advices you not to have any truck with a Gemini or Libra. Children discuss important situations to gain advice . A business opportunity is likely to fall in your lap by Thursday. Lucky colour: Cherry red. Tip: A positive attitude heals old wounds.
CANCER: A bright start to the week. You’re a highly functioning member of social group and will have new responsibilities. The journey you embark on is one you will not regret . Lucky colour: Rust. Tip: Watch your action at work and polish your public relation skills. CAPRICORN: The Seven Golden Cups full of lightgreets you with happiness. A journey for business or holiday is likely. Focus on investment on Wednesday and Thursday. Lucky colour: Black. Tip: Business problems must be solved without anybody getting hurt.
LEO: Love, romance and surprises are on the cards. If you’re looking for investors, this is an ideal week. A Taurus person brings joy. Go over accounts carefully. Accept benefits coming your way. Lucky colour: Jade green. Tip: Listen carefully to words of wisdom. AQUARIUS: You may lack the trust in expressing your creative abilities. A work activity can cause frustration. You might have difficulty in situations, which require you to use tact and patience. Lucky colour: White. Tip: Don’t allow others to interfere in partnership.
VIRGO: The Magus blesses you with sensitivity and creativity . You are ready to shatter old patterns that blocked you. Monday is best day to express plans . Short journey likely for some. Lucky colour: Lime green Tip: Allow a sick situation blow over before you start a new project. PISCES: The Devil reveals that you will be running late on everything you do. Domestic unrest can be avoided if you watch your step. Some career choices have to be made before an important opportunity passes you by. Lucky colour: Red. Tip: Lack of confidence can leave you in losses; so be confident.

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