Still single?
Anandita Gupta

Glowing with confidence and chutzpah, the new-age single woman is on a roll, redefining the age-old equation married woman= happy woman

Just why my head’s not bowed
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud

— Phenomenal Woman
Maya Angelou

Vandana Maini with her son
Vandana Maini with her son

Sherry Sabbarwal
Sherry Sabbarwal

Not long ago, all she evoked was suspicious glances and raised eyebrows. Today, she’s convincingly debunked the myth that every woman needs a price charming to complete the fairytale of her life. As she raises the bar for herself, the city’s new-age single woman has finally earned what she deserved most — awe and respect.

They may not respond to the same carrots and sticks that motivated their moms. Nonetheless, remaining single — by chance or choice — hasn’t stopped these feisty women from leading well-adjusted, successful and happy lives. We chat up some of these steadfastly single and happily house proud ladies.

Zest personified

Vim and verve — two words that perfectly sum up what Vandana Maini’s all about. Having taught commerce for 14 years now, this accounts and business management lecturer in Panjab University’s department of evening studies has her finger in many pies. From representing the country at Rotary International’s cultural exchange programme in the US, pursuing her Ph.D, starting a counselling cell for students and starting a woman’s cell, she’s done it all.

Having walked out of her marriage at 28, Vandana’s anything but bitter. “Marriage is a beautiful institution wherein two arcs join to form a circle. Personally, I’m very much for marriage. But, being in a marriage for the stamp is not right. I gave it my best, but when things didn’t look up, I decided to call it quits,” she says.

And ever since, she’s never looked back. “I have a wonderful extended family, a sensible 14-year-old son and my work. I find my life very fulfilling — teaching, reading, gymming, music and pillow fighting with my son,” she smiles.

Thirtyfive-year-old Geetanjali Gill also feels single no longer means lonely. “ Nobody frowns upon a single woman anymore; more so as women are financially independent nowadays. Single women are living life to the fullest,” beams this consultant with Nabha Foundation, an NGO, who’s also into jewellery designing, social service, travelling and lots more.

At peace with herself

Displaying drive that is tough as walnut wood, Sherry Sabbarwal has rewritten the age-old equation — married woman= happy woman. Heading Panjab University’s sociology department, this travel freak, animal lover and avid reader believes that marriage has nothing to do with happiness. “Single or married — happiness is all about being at peace with oneself.” Staying with her mother, 49-year-old Sherry is at peace. “Reading, travelling, philanthropy and feeding stray dogs — I manage to indulge in all my passions as my money and time is my own,” she chips in.

Creative nirvana

Bharatnatyam dancer Suchitra Mitra is another one quite happy with her single status. “Not getting married wasn’t a conscious decision, it just happened due to my over-involvement in dance. However, I’m really at peace with myself. My dance has totally fulfilled me and I feel I’ve achieved my creative nirvana.”

“And guess what? Most of my married friends ended up as workhorses saddled with more than they can handle. They had to leave dancing post-marriage and one even had a nervous breakdown.”

Against all odds

Fate may have been harsh on her, but 43-year-old Suprita Gill never gave herself a chance to fret over it. After losing her husband at a young age, she started her own company in Singapore and ran in successfully for 16 years. For the past six years, she’s been empowering impressionable minds. After qualifying as a professional in speech and drama from London’s Institute of Creative Learning, she conceptualised the idea of Magic Minds. Today, she conducts communication workshops in Sanawar, some other schools and aviation institutes.

“I live with my father and 13-year-old son. Besides dabbling in designing jewellery, collecting wall pieces and travelling, I keep myself busy all the time,” she avers.

Armed with pedigree and polished by perseverance. Or simple pizzazz combined with promise — these single women are definitely seeing and striving for a fulfilling life as their birthright.

— Photos by Manoj Mahajan, Vinay Malik & Malkiat Singh

Get Animated
Parbina Rashid

Amarjit Virdi recreates Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s heroic tales in animation

It takes a team of 15 artists to make one single character to shake his leg, even if it is for only three seconds. They are systematic in their work process – an art direction team doing the conceptualising, an In-Between team taking the drawings step further, followed by a clean up team, making the drawings ready for the computer and finally a post-production team, giving final shape to Amajit’s Virdi’s dreams.

And his dream is big—as big as Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Though Amarjit, who has made his name in Punjabi animation scene with his own production house in Sector 38 called Studio Finelines, is not so happy about the framing he is giving to his historical idol in his forthcoming production Maharaja.

“Ever since my childhood, I wanted to make a full-fledged film on Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It has not happened so far due budget constraints. So I decided to project him through animation,” says Amarjit. He is starting his project in the DVD format to start with, but keeps the option open for big screen too. “In fact, I even have a Hindi script ready,” says Amarjit, switching on his laptop that gives us a glimpse of what to expect—and as Gurpreet Ghuggi’s voice fills up the space, one cannot help but feel proud of this race called the Sikh and also this animator who is all poised to give us something which is no way inferior to the animation series we are used to see in our small screen. The vigour of Maharaja Ranjit Singh is complemented with robust background music as well as songs composed by Brijesh Ahuja. Surinder Pal Sarau’s script comes in form of a narration in Gick Grewal’s voice.

Animation is not a easy thing to do, says Amarjit who after dabbling his hands in various art forma like painting, sculptures, interior design and finally set designing, has for the past four years devoting his time to only animations. “It all started when someone approached me to try out making an animation film on Sahibzadas. I learnt what had to be learnt on the job. Then The Rise of Khalsa followed, again in DVD format. This is the first independent production of mine,” he says pointing at the two huge posters of Sahibzadey and The Rise of Khalsa that adorns his studio.

Books on animation supplement his working knowledge. So what is wrong with our animators, for even now by animation we understand Tom and Jerry or Spiderman? “We are trying. Hanuman was a fine example of our progress in this direction,” he says. But a piece of advice for animators – try out 2-D animations before you leap towards 3-D ones. Hanuman in 2-D animation was success but Krishna in 3-D failed, for most of the images were a blur.

Amajeet started working on Maharaja last year in June. “So far we have completed only 40 minutes of the total film,” says Amarjit. The film is on one hour duration.

Looking at the team’s dedication and the final outcome, which we got to see in bits and pieces, it looks like Amarjit’s childhood dream of becoming a successful film-maker is just about to come true.

Make an impression
Parbina Rashid

10 pet cv peeves

  • Spelling errors and poor grammar
  • Too duty-oriented vocabulary
  • Inaccurate dates or none at all
  • Inaccurate or missing contact information
  • Poor formatting
  • Functional CVs
  • Long CVs
  • Long paragraphs
  • Unqualified candidates
  • Personal information unrelated to the job

A corporate head scans a bunch of resumes of hopeful applicants for a senior position. Amongst them, three stand out, not because of the applicants’ outstanding achievements, but for the familiarity all three bear. The aims and objectives of all three applicants are the same. So are the spelling mistakes and the grammatical errors. Needless to say, all three are rejected.

A classic example of ‘comedy of errors’. But there is a tragic side too, for it shows how poor our youngsters are at marketing themselves. After all, the saying ‘first impression is the last impression’ still holds good in the job market and a curriculum vitae is ‘the tool’ to make that impression.

And this comes from the job gurus themselves. “One has to package himself well if one wants to get a job in today’s cut-throat competitive world. So a bio-data should not be treated casually,” says Arjun Khanna of Zeus Consulting. And going by the observation of this job expert from Delhi, who’s made the city his home, our youngsters are making a lot of mistakes while preparing their resume.

“Most of the job applicants are so casual about their CV that they do not even run a spell-check while typing it. What’s more, they are even using sms language, which is really off-putting. Even in most resumes, the layout is a mish-mash of Times Roman, Arial and all types of fonts, which reflects a person’s whim rather than a clear thought process,” says Arjun.

Sanjeev Bikhchandani, the ‘job guru’ who started in 1997, assures us that half the country is going wrong when it comes to preparing that clinching resume. “The general perception is that a resume should be long, giving all the details. In fact, it should be short and precise, not more than two pages with the focus on job objectives and highlighting the achievements of the applicant. And the most important thing — do not lie or exaggerate about your abilities,” says Sanjeev, an IIM-Ahmedabad passout who gave up a brand manager’s post to start

Exaggerating indeed is a major sin the applicants commence, says an insider of “So many candidates state their hobbies as reading or traveling but during the cross-examination at the interview table, one finds out that the last book the person’s read was an Archie comic or a Harry Potter. It makes a poor impression on the interview board,” says the source.

Arjun’s observation brings out another funny mistake that candidates in city tend to make—giving answers like ‘never married’ for the married column or outrageous e-mail identity like “Slang or over smart answers are okay when it comes to communicating among friends, but it doesn’t cut any ice with the bosses. So be sober and straightforward while giving out your personal details,” advises Arjun.

So, if you are planning to make your resume or even if you’ve already made one, it’s time to revise it and follow the tips of the resume experts. And once you do, don’t forget to sign your copy before submitting it to your potential boss and always with a duly signed covering letter. Remember, the boss is always watching you!

Colour me Wild
Anandita Gupta

From Buddha to Spiderman, from Power-Puff Girls to pink roses—getting funky motifs etched on their backs and arms is the latest craze among the kids

— Photo by Manoj Mahajan
— Photo by Manoj Mahajan

For most shoppers frequenting this fashion store in town, it’s a hot and sticky Sunday. Humidity seems to have skyrocketed, rendering the air-conditioning ineffective. Everyone is hissing except ‘them’. Sitting cross-legged in a corner of the store, ‘they’ seem to be having the time of their lives—yelping excitedly, flaunting their taut, glowing skin and taking in all those happy colours. While a boy among this happy bunch has a Buddha’ curling around his left forearm, another one has a Spiderman spreading across his back. And, as soon as a young girl gets a pink rose discretely inked on her ankle, her brother takes off his shirt for getting etched a samurai wrestler skirmishing with a dragon.

Summers might have put us adults in a forever-fretting gear— leaving us cribbing about the endless electricity cuts, burning mosquito bites and the tans that never seem to go away— but the weather’s surely put some cheer (or colour, do we say) in the lives of the kiddie brigade in town. Yes, the horrid heat has actually given city kids reason enough— not just of showing off their ice-rink smooth backs and cherubic arms in off shoulders, spaghettis and halters—but adorning them with tantalising tattoos too.


So you’re thinking kids’ tattoos are all about funky figures? Well, it’s not just that. For, the town’s tatted set is bringing a little more forethought and artistic value to the otherwise youthful and impetuous world of tattooing. Says Harveen Kathuria, Clinic Manager at Cleopatra, “The days of walking into a street shop and picking the hearts or the star designs off the wall are numbered. It’s all about the intricate custom work that clients help design tattoos of phrases etched across body parts in simple fonts. While funky tattoos are in great demand for picnics and birthdays, elaborate, ethnic patterns are hot for weddings and fests.”

Tattoos are the teeny-weenie brigade’s latest fad in town. Right from vividly decorating their forearms to getting funky motifs etched on their wrists and backs, kids are doing it all. The city may not have the likes of Mumbai’s Funky Monkey-like tattoo parlours, but individual tattoo artistes are catering to the town’s tattoo freaks. Like Delhi-based Prem Kumar frequents birthday parties in the city for adorning these little ones with fancy tattoos.

Besides, there’s tattoo artiste Randhir Singh, who’s presently doing tattoos at Meena Bazaar, every Sunday. With an impressive client list extending to Panchkula, Panipat, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jallandhar, this 24-year-old lad, has his fingers literally in many paints. “I don’t do the permanent tattoos. I use washable water and poster colours instead. These are easy on the skin and last just for a month,” he informs, adding, “I make funky tattoos like and jazz them up with glitter-dust in bright colours. Charging Rs 1000 for a party, this tattoo-maker is already flooded with offers. Retail hubs like Ebony, Gokuls, Vishal Mega Mart and V-Mart have approached me for tattooing their clients. Eateries like Yo China, KFC and Wah Dilli are also on the look out for tattoo artistes,” avers Randhir, who learnt tattoo making in Goa, four years back.

And what makes all these chains eye the tattoo market? “The potential in tattooing is great. The painless and skin-friendly tattooes encourage kids to go for it,” reasons tattoo artiste Prem Kumar. On demand are famous cartoon characters—Power Puff Girls, Micky Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pickachu, Winnie the Pooh and Tweety. While flowers, butterflies, birds, snakes, scorpions and even skeletons remain forever favourites, current hot choices include Superman, Batman, Krish and Spiderman. And guess what, even a Taj Mahal tattoo is a rage nowadays!

Bear(d) with me

— Photo by Malkiat Singh
— Photo by Malkiat Singh

It started as a religious duty when Harbans Singh started growing his beards, but over the years when it grew to an unusual length of 132.5 cm, an idea struck him—why not enter the Limca Book of Records? And then it became a conscious decision to nurture it.

“For the past 10 years I have been oiling them regularly with pure mustard oil and wash frequently with Nirma soaps,” says Harbans pointing at the serpentine trail it makes once he lets them flow free.

This 47-year-old employee of the Punjab Mandi Board does spend a lot of time taking care of them. “It is not all that difficult once I tie them up. But yes, it does take a lot of time to maintain the hygiene,” he says.

Though Harbans is not fully aware if there is such a category as ‘longest beard’ in the Limca Book of Records, he is determined to have a go at it. In fact, after trying out in the Limca Book of Records, he would like to go for the Guinness Book of Records too.

And is it genetic, we ask. “No, I believe in the Almighty and when one does pray to Him regularly, He does reward one with something unique.” And in Harban’s case we know what it is! — TNS

Voodoo child

Actor Nicolas Cage is releasing a new line of comic books with his teenage son, Weston Cage.

The six-issue illustrated series Voodoo Child will be released on July 11 through Virgin Comics.

Cage revealed when he was approached with the idea of launching his own animated series books, he decided to take his 16-year-old son on board too. “I said I didn’t have any ideas, but I told them my son might. He has been drawing comics since he was three. He was a natural to do it,” he said.

Voodoo Child is set in the post-Hurricane Katrina period in New Orleans, Lousiana. It revolves around a detective who investigates the disappearance of several young girls. — ANI

Get campus wise

— Photo by Manoj Mahajan
— Photo by Manoj Mahajan

Mommy running after you with a glass of milk or dad scaring the lizard out of the room will now only be a sweet memory. Welcome to the real world of wardens, rules, mess food, hostel timings and self-management. You’ve probably read the rules in the prospectus and also know that the campus has a post office, a health centre, a guest house, a library, a temple et al. Suggestions must have flowed in from all — mingle with your roomie, become independent, learn to value time, blah blah… Well, we don’t want to lecture you on hostel life but want to ensure that these are indeed the best years of your life. Fasten your seat belts and get ready for the tour with Purva Grover

You’ll miss...

Uninterrupted sleep: People tend to snore, come in the room at all hours and turn lights on and off anytime. Solution: Sleep during lectures.

HBO, Star Movies:`A0Cricket or sob soaps rule here. Don’t panic if hostellers pull each other’s hair when channels are flipped.

Solution: Gossiping, messaging and bird watching.

Home: Mom, dad, dog and bros/ sisters. The familiar tring tring of the landline, your dog, friendly Sharma aunty, your dhobi.

Solution: Friends are family.

Hungry Kya?

It will not be long enough before you get tired of babaji’s mess food or Maggi at the hostel canteen. Here are the few favourite eating out options at the campus.

Stu-c: From chaat papri to fresh juice to amritsari kulcha, a paradise for foodies, be it, day scholars or hostellers.

Where: Next to the main library.

Tandoor & Ginza: This slightly expensive joint serves Chinese and Indian cuisine. Dine in a group and split the cheque.

Where: SCF 40

University Sweets and Punjab Sweets: Rasmalai for Rs 10 and a glass of meethi lassi for Rs 15. Over 800 samosas are prepared here in a single day.

Where: SCO 13, SCO 14, respectively.

Kathi King: Bite into mutton, egg, chicken and veg roomali rolls.

Where: Next to Ginza.

Survival Kit

Did you know that some clothes leave off colour each time you wash them or that a bulb can get fused at anytime of the night? Nay, but don’t worry, here’s where to go for all your needs.

Sukhvir Studio: Need a passport size pic immediately.

Where: SCO 3

Navyug Medical & General Store: For Disprin, toilet paper, toothpaste. Where: Shop no. 15

Anand Electricals: Right from a tubelight, a multi-plug point to a heating rod.

Where: Shop no. 32

Bazzare: For chic, trendy and affordable fashion.

Where: SCO 37

Rakesh Traders Department Store: From a safety pin and Cup-o-Noodles to a new connection to recharge your mobile.

Where: SCO 38

Mohindra and Venus: For xerox, typing, lamination, STD and stationery needs.

Where: SCO 41

Campus Corner: Wrapping sheets, li’l gifts, cards — a complete gift shop.

Where: SCO 57

Modern Stationery Mart: Courier, stationery, books and papers.

Where: SCO 7

Mondeo: Surf the net from 9: 30 am to 9:30 pm.

Where: SCO 50

Thesis centre: Courier services, Rs 31 to Delhi and all major cities in Punjab.

Where: SCO 44

What’s missing: Tailor, beauty parlour and a travel agent. Walk down to Sector 15 for all these needs.

What you can’t do without

  • Wrapping paper to paste on the recoated walls of the room.

  • An alarm clock, alarms on mobile don’t work well.

  • Water camper, to fetch water from the cooler.

  • Pics of friends and family.

  • Lock, cloth clips, bucket, room freshener, a heating rod etc.

  • Instant food, biscuits, tea bags, chocolates, anything that you can munch on.

  • An ATM card, there are two ATM counters in the campus

— SBI and Canara Bank.

Do Remember

  • Carry passport size pics.

  • A good number of photostat copies of your migration certificate, admission form and hostel form.

  • Save numbers of local guardian, hostel warden, roomie and parents in your mobile.

  • Acquaint yourself with student councilmembers, DSW. Or, for starters, even a hosteller pursuing PhD.

Matka chowk
The Golden Goose
Sreedhara Bhasin

I have been talking to a lot of people in the software industry here in Austin, Texas, and have learnt a great deal more than I could ever imagine about outsourcing to India. Someone used the term ‘Outsourcing King’ when referring to India’s stranglehold on the BPO growth. Another pointed to an article called new faces of the Silicon age and showed me photos of young Mumbai programmers who are doing a fantastic job! Someone enquired if tailoring too has been outsourced! Someone commented on virtual nanny services and executive assistants – apparently that business in flourishing from Bangalore! I found myself quite inept in the face of their torrent of queries. As I talked to more people, it became quite apparent that I have a lot to learn from my fellow Americans.

Besides, the much known IT services, I found people telling me about some rather new and innovative things that are going on. They told me about the banking services that are being executed by Indian companies, including data entry, payroll and encoding. I desisted from asking if the right number of zeros are being added to the numbers! Are they checking?

So is the case for medical software – a lot of that is being programmed in India. Well, if the CAT scan machine just acts up and tries to strangle the patient, they can always blame it on too many tea breaks they took in Pune!

Then, there is writing, editing and publishing outsourcing. It took me a long time to drop my article differences when I started writing here. Maybe, now we can reverse the trend and teach the Americans the convention of sticking a ‘u’ in color and a ‘s’ in utilize! And maybe, that will teach us to refrain from using a paragraph when only 10 words will suffice to describe the content!

I was told about the emerging trend of companies executing language labs in India, equipped with professionally qualified technical translators, linguistic editors, and proof readers. And I thought all the languages taught in the schools were merely there to satisfy board regulated stipulations!

I also learnt there are geographical information services (GIS) outsourcing providers in India. These companies work on map digitising, aerial readings, geo-referencing and host of such other things. Next time, Brad Pitt is lost while driving to his current wife’s new residence late at night – he might be using the genius of a Priya Sharma from Chandigarh and little does he know!

write to Renee

at or C/o Lifestyle, The Tribune, Sector 29-C, Chandigarh

I am 21-year-old girl with a resentful nature. I am always angry and jealous of my own siblings. I try hard to sort out my feelings but each little incident flares up the whole thing again. I have two brothers and I am the middle one. I feel my brothers can get away with whatever they want and I am left with my negative feelings. I wish I could have a better rapport with my parents and brothers. I feel I am missing out on life because of my attitude. How can I change myself?

Nimrit Mohan

Dear girl, why are you putting yourself through so much suffering unnecessarily? I’m sure more than half of your angst is imaginary. We all have petty fights and arguments with our siblings when we are growing up, but to be carrying so much anger and resentment within you is really uncalled for. You are only harming yourself by doing so. And if you are constantly emitting enraged and jealous vibes, how do you expect any better from your siblings? Just change your attitude and learn to reach out with love. Everything is in abundance, why limit yourself to negative feelings? Try to create a good life for yourself. Send out some positive feelings and watch other peoples attitudes change towards you.

I am a 19-year-old, but I am bogged down by my own fears and phobias. I have seen my family going through many financial ups and downs and I feel insecure. I had to change many schools as a child and now I wonder if I will ever find the right match. Although now life does seem fairly settled, yet I get nightmares and even through I am a good-looking girl, I feel that no nice boy will ever be interested in me. How do I to get rid of these crazy thoughts?

Guneet Chabra

You have been focusing on a stressful and fearful pattern for far too long at this tender age. It’s about time you stepped out of your circle of negativity and stepped forth into a beautiful, healthy and mature relationship with life. It is normal that if faced many hardships during your childhood, they leave an indelible impression on your mind but now it is up to you to change your attitude. You understand your own problem fairly well, so why don’t you make an effort to attract positivity into your life? Start by making some good affirmations. “I am free, healthy and happy” repeat this everyday five times. It works.

I am a 32-year-old Army officer, just back from a non-family station posting. I have a three-years-old daughter and my wife lives with my parents while I go out of town. Recently I got an anonymous letter saying that my wife in my absence was having am affair with my neighbour’s son who is a bachelor. This has disturbed me and I have spent many sleepless nights in trying to figure it out. Every time I look at her I wonder what is the truth. In the process I have become cold towards the entire family, including my daughter. Should I ask my wife directly?

Romie Manchanda

Young man, for all your disciplined training you seem to be rather lost on the personal front. Of course you should lay all the cards open in front of your wife. I am sure this is a prank or the work of some nasty person. Nobody has any business to write anonymous letters to people. If shows a very sleazy attitude. Tell her the whole story and see how she feels about the whole thing. Maybe she just has an innocent friendship with the boy next door. That’s the way the twisted minds think. Nevertheless, I feel you must put your heart and mind to ease so that you are comfortable with yourself. If there is more to it than meets the eye, well I feel only your wife and you can work it out. All the best to you.

First Day First Show

My Friend Ganesha

After commercial flicks, action movies, love stories, it is time for animated movies. The flick’s target audience is children. The kids who loved Hanuman will like this animated movie as well. The flick reaches the acme of perfection with its story, sterling cinematography and excellent direction. Music is superb. Child artiste Ahsaas Channa and Kiran Janjani create a strong impact. Overall a treat for children.

Showing at: Fun Republic


Bombay to Goa

Comedy is serious business and not all films-makers can pull it off. But debutant director Raj Pendurkar shows a flair for comedy in his flick. He manages to hold the viewers attention, specially the masses throughout. It is overall a fair attempt, but the length of the movie could go against it. Some scenes could have been chopped off for better impact. The story line is nothing new, but few sequences and the well-written dialogues are enjoyable. The climax is inspired from Phir Hera Pheri. Photography and music score are satisfactory. The Great Indian Laughter challenge finalists steal the show. Raju Shrivastava is excellent, and other comedians like Sunil Pal, Sudhir Pandey and Vijay Raaj too pull of their roles quite well.

Showing at: Piccadily, Fun Republic

— Dharam Pal

Health tip of the day

Low back pain of long duration can cause muscle weakness, pain due to less ability to hold up the spine. Therefore, people undertaking regular exercises are less prone to chronic back pain. Don’t sit too long in one position when watching TV or a movie in the theatre, move around in your seat.

— Dr Ravinder Chadha

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