16 models, 1 show, Saturday night... Phew, the ramp’s going to be on fire, says Saurabh Malik

Sashaying up the ramps of popularity, Carol Gracias slipped into a celebrity status after the halter neck top she was wearing came off, fortuitously. But all that was before she almost made it big in a reality show Bigg Boss, along with other bigwigs — Anupama Verma included.

As the two rising stars, twinkling over Bollywood’s horizon, descend on the city, along with glam dolls Amanpreet Wahi, Sakshi Gulati and Lakshmi Rana, on the eve of Inter National Institute of Fashion Design’s annual fashion show Kaleidoscope, we catch up with them for a tête-à-tête.

Wah (i)-Wah (i)

Amanpreet Wahi: photo by Pradeep TewariFor Amanpreet Wahi, ramps are not so glittery abroad. In fact, the internationally renowned beauty believes things are not as hunky-dory for the Indian models across the seas as they are projected on the silvery screen.

“You just cannot think of savouring success globally by walking on alien ramps simply because you are not offered opportunities on a platter,” she says. “You have to struggle for it. No wonder, you can count on your fingertips Indian models making it big internationally.”

Blame the society for it, or the taste of the people, the world still thinks in terms of fairness and height. No wonder, ferrying Indian models to a whole new world during shows abroad just does not work as taller, and even fairer, local models are already strutting their way to recognition, she asserts. “The cultural disparity too poses major hurdles in the path of Indian models abroad.”

Flashing an empathetic smile, tele-serial Krisshna Arjun gal says: “On one of my modeling assignments abroad, we were actually provided with male assistants to help us change. Phew! Psychedelic lights back home are better.  

 Limca girl loses her F.I.Z.Z.
Smriti Sharma

True to her diva reputation, the pretty and petite Riya Sen not only turned up half an hour late, but the moment she opened her mouth we knew we would have nothing much to write about.

Continuing to ride high on her oomph and style, the Limca girl was in town on Friday to announce Eidos Fashion Institute’s affiliation to the City and Guilds of the UK.

Brushing aside any possibilities of walking the ramp tonight, Riya, clearing the air, says, “I am here only as the chief guest for the fashion show.”

Truly a cause she has been very dearly associated with. A fashion graduate herself, Riya designs most of her outfits even on screen.“I was always interested in fashion designing and even now I end up doing my own clothes for films and commercials. I have designed my outfits in Dabur, Reliance and Limca commercials,” she avers.

Clad in a white shirt and a pair of jeans, Riya stood true to her definition of fashion. “Fashion is very individualistic nowadays. For me fashion is when I am comfortable in my skin. A pair of white shirt and blue jeans is safest yet classy.”

Accompanying the Bong bombshell was Vikram Chopra, the director of Fight Club. “Being a filmmaker I am always on lookout for fresh, young designers as clothes are an integral part of Hindi films,”he states. And coming up next from his kitty is a comedy film.“Being superstitious I can’t disclose the name right now,” he coos.

Well, but the case is not so with Riya, who has her hands full with films at the moment. Love Game directed by Srinavasan opposite Randeep Hooda, Mera Bharat Mahan and Mumtaz, directed by Subhash Ghai are a few to name. Lady luck seems to be smiling on her, finally.

 Boom-boom femme

Anupama Verma: photo by Pradeep TewariShe’s mixed videos and anchored live shows on the small screen before blasting into fame with acting abilities. So, Anupama Verma knows what she is talking about when she says the entertainment industry’s becoming safer by the day for the starters.

Flashing her characteristic charming smile, the enchantress in a simply gorgeous black and green salwaar-kameez says: You actually have talent agencies taking care of your interests. Oh, yes. They scan the work for you and make sure there’s just no harassment for the budding actors as they bloom into stars.

As of now she has ‘too much in her kitty’. But at a later stage, maybe when she is free from hosting and producing her own shows, Anupama can think of opening her own talent agency. But till then, it’s modeling and acting.

Guys, just in case you have deleted the files of classic songs from your limited memory, here is something that will help you refresh it. Enviously reed-thin and stunning fragile, Anupama made herself heard in Biddu’s music video Boom-Boom.

But that’s not all. After graduating from music videos, the ‘Silk Epil’ girl with silky-smooth charms created ripples in the industry with her not-so-usual screen presence in flick Grahan opposite Jackie Shroff. Impressive, that’s all you can say.

On a high
Yana Banerjee-Bey

 Tired of the rain? The beautiful & dry Ladakh is the place to be in 

During the monsoon season, it is a good idea to escape to Ladakh.The mountains separating Ladakh from Himachal are so high that the monsoon clouds cannot cross them. So, even if the rest of India is awash with rain, the high-altitude desert of Ladakh remains dry. Ladakh is the tail end of the Tibetan plateau and its spectacular cold-desert scenery makes for a trip of a lifetime.

You can go to Leh-Ladakh’s main town by three ways. If you fly into Leh, you will see K2, the world’s second highest mountain, and the distinctive three-pronged Trisuli massif from the air. If you go by bus or car from Manali (two days, one night), you will see the green Beas valley on one side of the mist-shrouded Rohtang Pass and the alpine meadows of Lahaul on the other, gradually giving way to stony, barren landscape and then the windswept “moonscape” of Ladakh along with lakes and some of the world’s highest mountain passes (one is over 17,000 feet) along the way. The third mode becoming increasingly popular is to ride by motorcycle from your home, wherever it is in India, to Leh. It is a marathon trip but memorable beyond words. You can also go by a mountain bike but for that you have to be an experienced rider.

En-route, you can stay in tourist tents (pay more for those with cots and electricity) or in the Ladakhi version of roadside dhabas (a giant tent made with a discarded parachute canopy and wind-buffering walls of flat stones). Food? Well, there is dal, rice, chapattis, vegetable curry, Maggie, thukpa, momos, soup, butter tea, and stronger beverages as well (inadvisable on the way up). If you are travelling directly from the plains, you could feel very cold. So, layer up. It is equally important to eat well and to hydrate so that your body makes blood to acclimatise to the lower oxygen level in the air as the journey takes you higher (Leh is at 11,000 feet).

For your first trip to Leh, and if you don’t know when you will visit again, it makes sense to go by road and return by air. You get to sample both versions of the journey and the road journey gives you time to acclimatise en-route. However, if you go by air, it is best to spend the first day resting. Leh flights are in the morning (when the weather is at its clearest) and this gives you time to acclimatise in the hotel on the first day.

The first sign that you are unacclimatised is lethargy and lack of appetite. There is nothing to worry about. Rest and have juice and soup if you are unable to eat. In some cases, a headache occurs but usually does not persist into Day 2.Spend the second day seeing the famous monasteries in and around Leh. You will be travelling by car and doing some walking up and down stairways in the monasteries, which will be the right amount of exertion for the second day. From the third day, even if you have never been exposed to such altitude before, you will be ready for adventure activities.

As winter nears, Rohtang Pass becomes a tricky crossing. Border Roads Organisation keeps the road open but even if it has issued its travel advisory indicating the end of the season, you can follow the locals’ rule — make the return crossing of Rohtang by Diwali. Juley. For those of you mystified by this term, it is the Ladakhi word for hello as well as goodbye; once you have been to Leh, it will be part of your vocabulary forever.

Next fortnight: Adventure activities in Ladakh

The writer has authored India’s first handbook of adventure sports and is available at

how to reach

By air: Delhi-Leh one-way costs Rs 8,145 on Jet Airways, Rs 7,995 on Indian and from Rs 3,100 to Rs 5,200 on Air Deccan.

By Roadways bus: Rs 525.
Buy tickets from Manali bus stand. Departure at 2pm, night halt in hotel at Keylong (Khandroling Guest House opposite the bus stand is clean; carry a tinned dish to spice up the dinner they serve), departure at 5am and arrival in Leh at 8pm. For return, buy tickets from Leh bus stand. Departure at 4.30a.m.

By private bus: Rs 1,200
Buy tickets from Pushpak Travels, Mall, Manali. Buses ply on alternate days. Departure at 7am, night halt in tents at Sarchu. Prices range from Rs100 to Rs 300 (dinner included). They also run a daily Sumo express service - price per head Rs 1,200. Departure at 2am and arrival in Leh by 8pm. For return by bus, book through any Leh agent. For return by Sumo, call Pushpak Travels’ Tara Chand Thakur (9418009575) in Manali and book for Rs 1,000 as the Leh operators charge Rs 1,600.

In Leh, there are homely guesthouses in the Changspa area for Rs 150 a night as well as many top-class hotels and all classes of accommodation.

A tip

Tea and milk both contain substances that prevent absorption of iron by our bodies. Since you need iron to help your body make blood to acclimatise, avoid tea or milk along with food. Drinking tea or milk an hour before or after a meal is fine.

If you need a doctor in Leh, call Dr Tashi Thinlas at (01982) 253134/255109/ 253629.


 Interpretation of malady
Saurabh Malik

He is good at diagnosing the ills of society. But that’s not the only reason why city-based, internationally acclaimed, neurologist Dr Jagjit S. Chopra  was honoured with a Parman Patra by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Independence Day.

The first neurologist to set up the Department of Neurology and a research laboratory at the PGI here in 1968, he is among the few international neurologists to be associated with the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) for over 22 years.

Ask him the prescription of his success, and the Dr B.C. Roy National Award winner says: “It’s all because of the Almighty. Without his blessings, my hard work, sincerity, honesty, and even ambition for rising in the profession with aim of doing good to the society would have come to a naught.”

True! But why isn’t the society producing more doctors like him? After all, he was the youngest Indian in 1969 to receive the Fellowship of Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, UK. And then, he was the first Indian neurologist to become the secretary-general of XIV World Congress of Neurology held at New Delhi in 1989.

“Well, things were different when we were students,” he asserts. “Those days we believed in hard work for succeeding in the profession.”

Awarded the life-time achievement award for his contribution to the field of neuro sciences by the Madras Neuro Trust, Dr Chopra says: “When I joined the PGI after returning from the UK, even the senior professors were riding cycles or scooters.

But now the infection of corruption has attained the proportions of an epidemic. And the disease has taken in its vice-like grip even the doctors.”

Well said. Only a specialist with over 235 scientific research papers and chapters in several books to his credit can say that. Hope the world benefits once again from your visit to Brussels for attending WFN’s golden jubilee celebrations.

 On the street
S.D. Sharma

No other form of performing art can make an impact like street theatre. It is the most vibrant form of theatre where performers make an instant rapport with the audience and debate issues of mutual concern,” says city-based theatre artiste Rajiv Mehta, advocating his passion for this genre.

Big budget is not required for a street play. But it has to be innovative in addressing the problems of the common man and give suggestive measures, adds Mehta.

Credited with over a thousand stage performances on diverse themes in India and abroad, Rajiv has directed over 20 plays for his Theatre Arts. His first stage performance dates back to his school days and later he honed his dramatic skill under the guidance of acclaimed directors like Harbux Latta, Umesh Kant, Sudesh Sharma and Parvesh Sethi.

His portrayal of the English General, Alexender Burns and Auranzeb in Harbux Latta’s plays brought him fame. Latta’s multi-media shows were staged extensively in North America and Canada consecutively for many years. In 2003, Rajiv had an opportunity to interact with Pakistani theatre artistes during the World Punjabi Conference held in Lahore.

Though Rajiv has portrayed various roles in both multi-media productions and experimental plays, it was his role in patriotic street play Shaheed Ki Wapsi is the closest to his heart. Honored with the 18th annual Balraj Sahni award for the year 2002, Rajiv vows fight for the rights of the poor through street theatre.

 It’s only getting bigger
The Dreamflower gal

Mega models descend on the city ahead of INIFD’s annual fashion show. Saurabh Malik gets them talking...

Sakshi Gulati is one beauty with brains. And is also Ponds next international brand ambassador. Guys, she has played her part before the floodlights in Bangkok and the ad is all set for release. But the globetrotter’s heart is not just into modeling.

Daughter of an Army officer, she has seen the country and now wants to travel the world and write a travelogue. Well, the brainy beauty is educated. In fact, she has an honours in economics. Guess it won’t be too difficult for her.

Ask her and she says: I love writing, and reading. You see, till my graduation it was all studies for me. And to all girls eager to join the industry, my only advice is complete studies first so that you are not swayed by fame and money. Well said, girl! 

Oh Carol!

She knows how to maintain her poise even in top-blowing circumstances. Little wonder, she smiles even as the crowd swarms from all sides. Actively back in the acting and modeling business after her return from Bigg Boss, she says reality shows in India have great scope. But, will never be able to push the soaps out of the small screen.

“They have their own audience,” says the ‘leggy’ ramp-walker. Well, she ought to know! The young graduate in psychology is deep in the industry. Winner of the Femina Look of the Year in 1998, she has featured in Stereo Nation’s version of ‘Oh Carol’ and has even starred in ‘Being Cyrus’. Oh, yes, she was also in flick Bluffmaster.

Well, Carol says she firmly believes in the policy of ‘never say never’ and is constantly exploring good acting and modeling assignments. Even anchoring a show is not a bad option for her. All the best, gal! With your poise, you can do it. 

 Tracking the Tutors
A website launched by two city students is a bank of information on tutors in the tricity

Trinnnnn…. It’s almost like some finger pressing the trigger, pumping all six bullets into you in one go. As the bedside alarm unleashes all its fury in the morning, hell breaks loose. There you were, lying all sprawled on your bed, dreaming about Shah Rukh Khan’s stubble or Audi A 4 limited edition, and here you are slipping into your jeans, grabbing your Nike bag, dumping that flotilla of books inside and rushing to your tutor on your car, bike or cycle (depending on what you’ve coaxed you parents to buy you). When it rains, you don’t mind that hissing roadways bus or even a rickety rickshaw to reach your tutor’s far away home.

After all, this tutor’s the one who’ll equip you to crack that IELTS, TOEFEL, PMT, CAT or CET. But what happens, when at the end of it all, you discover that all this effort simply wasn’t worth it? You feel unlucky for not been guided right. But wait before you lament not having the right seniors to guide you. For, Panchkula-based Agam Berry and Sukhnaar Singh Guran have come to your rescue with their website

Formally launched in June this year, the site is a tutor search engine and provides information about coaching classes in the tricity. You can find tutor’s for any subject (from class 5 to professional courses like PMT, CET or even CAT) on the network. The students can even discuss and rate the tutors they’ve studied from, and even vote for the teachers they feel are amazingly good or even horrifically bad!

Explains Agam, a UIET, PU student, “It was just another night before an exam. I’d had locked myself with my books in my room and was sulking hard, thinking how each year I wasted a lot of my time and effort on the wrong tutors, as I didn’t have any place to discuss our tutors before I actually joined them. It was at this moment that the idea struck.” And from then, there was no looking back. Sleepless nights, scanning unlimited classifieds and books for tutorials in the tri-city, visiting bookshops and teachers, floating requests on Orkut for tutor information, designing logos for the website and actually putting it all together.

Says Sukhnaar Singh Guran, partner in the venture, “I handle the technical aspects of the website, while Agam does the ideation and marketing part.” With their tasks clearly demarcated, these engineers-in-the-making have surely done well, “We have a good traffic on our website, last month it was around 7,000 and people opened 23,000 pages,” they chorus.

Lest we take these figures with a pinch of salt, the duo explains, “Students trust us for our unbiased opinion as we don’t take any advertisements from tutors. Also, we keep adding to our services. Like, we started the best and the worst Maths teacher poll seven days back. Already, more than 1,000 students have voted and we are expecting many more answering to the poll.” Now that’s what we call student power.

— A.G.

 Bold & Beautiful 
Happy colours, funky prints and a designer label tag — bedroom furnishings are the homemakers’ newest fetish
Anandita Gupta

Our bedrooms may have witnessed an onslaught of everything from seductive opaque glass to natural wood finishes, our wardrobes and chest of drawers may be flaunting expensive finishes and designer lamps may be lighting up our spaces. But, there’s one notion that remains firmly etched in the mindsets of city dwellers — throw in some exquisite furnishings and you have your bedroom instantly notching up a few degrees on the stylo-meter.

No wonder, many furnishing majors have set shop in city to cater to the discerning client’s need for designer furnishings. Available in town are brands like Seasons, Portico, Bombay Dying, Splash, Fabindia and Vista Home Furnishings, weaving a web of colour and style in their collections.

Brand bazaar

Informs Sarabjit Singh, department manager, Ebony-9, “Branded furnishings are a rage today. People not only look for jazzy furnishings, but designer labels too. No wonder, our home furnishings section is brimming with brands like Portico (Rs 750-3,500), Swayam (Rs 895-1,200), Carmichael House (Rs 495-1,300), Splash (Rs 499-1,499), Caleffi (Rs 1,200-1,800) and Shayan (Rs 550-1,300). Portico remains the most popular among these, offering bedroom sets (bed sheets, pillow covers, quilts) in fun prints and designer AC quilts (Rs 4,999) made with natural soybean shreds.”

Pleasing palette

Informs Arun Bhawsingka, business head, Bombay Dyeing, “Our brand is experimenting with a whole new world of colour. After launching Ebony & Ivory, Blooms, Country Romance and Sabyasachi Signature Line, we are now offering CMYK, a collection of dyed bed sheets in 100 per cent superfine cotton (Rs 1,999). The CMYK range will offer 18 colours to begin with, which we’ll extend to many more colours.”

While Bombay Dying’s CMYK promise a splash of happy hues — lemon squeeze, exotic olive, bubblegum pink, passionate red, intense indigo, black magic, orange crush and flaming ruby, Portico’s launched sheets and blankets in warm spices — ginger, pink peppercorns, bamboo shoot, lotus and fuchsia.

For hand-woven, hand-printed and handcrafted bed linen, we don’t need to visit Delhi any more. Having set shop in Sector 9 (and now in Panchkula), Fabindia provides bedcovers (Rs 299 to 5,000), cushion covers (Rs 75 to1,250), bed sheets (Rs 265 to 985), pillow covers, quilts (Rs 825 to 3,000) and bolster covers (Rs 105 to 200). “Our comprehensive range of bed linen in cotton and silk promises printed, woven, appliquéd, embroidered and many more styles in vibrant colours,” smiles Neelu Singh, manager, Fabindia.


Informs Navdeep Singh, merchandising manager, Vista Home Fashions, “Furnishings today are all about creativity and fun. Prints range from abstract art to polkas, computerised floral images, stripes, stars, dots and checks. Then, Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s eclectic ‘Art in the Bedroom’ line has bed linen (Rs 180-550) flaunts motifs from China, Japan, Turkey and Africa, that are coordinated with floral prints, polkas, stripes and checks.

Totally floored

Even the good old granny’s rug that graced our bedroom floors has been done away with. Avers Diltaj Grewal, zonal manager, Fabindia-9, “People today wanna step on an extra luxe rugs. So, our durris in cotton, jute, wool and stone wash, ranging from 2x3 to 9x12 (Rs 100 to Rs 15,000) are selling really well. Adds Amit Kapoor, manager, Krishna Carpets—17, “We have extra luxe (silk and pure wool) carpets in the range of 4 to 5 lakh and others between Rs 2,000 to Rs 15,000.We import them from Iran, Egypt, Belgium, Turkey, America and Kashmir. Our designer area rugs by brands like Balta, Shawrugs and Osta are also very popular in town.

 Playing mom with elan

Brad PittBrad Pitt simply loves playing the role of ‘Mr Mom’. The 43-year-old star has four kids — Maddox, Pax, Zahara and Shiloh with lady-love Angelina Jolie, whom he met while filming their blockbuster movie Mr and Mrs Smith. A source reveals that not only is Pitt thoroughly enjoying the role of playing ‘Mr Mom’, but he’s also extremely protective of his family. — ANI


Cool Stuff


Chic & Glamorous
A leading French beauty house Jean Claude Biguine confirmed its entry into India. The company is gearing up to set 45-50 salons and spas in the next four years in India, under two formats — spas and stand-alone salons. The investment per store is pegged at Rs 2.5–3 crore. The brand comes in with a promise of offering chic and glamorous hairstyles for everyday needs inspired and delivered by French expert stylists. The salon endeavours to provide modern and innovative solutions for hair, skin and beauty care all under one roof, while maintaining international standards of quality and service. 


Corporate Choice 
Excalibur has launched its new range of premium shirts and trousers — Royale. The collection for the young corporates has been put together by designers at the Excalibur studio. The designers have picked up classical signature work lines and have given a discerning yet contemporary twist making the range just the fine accompaniment for a board meeting or a glass of wine that you shall move on to hold. Ultra fine wrinkle free fabrics have been used to keep one looking fresh throughout the day. Priced at Rs 895 upwards, the collection is an ideal choice for corporates. It will help you discover the finer side of life and strike the right balance between life and work


Duracell has launched its sleek CEF20 mini rechargeable battery charger packed with strong features and superior performance. The charger comes with two Duracell rechargeable batteries and saves time and money for the consumers. Sleek and aesthetically designed, the charger can charge both AA and AAA rechargeable batteries in six to eight hours. It is priced at only Rs 650 for the charger and 2 rechargeable batteries. The batteries have been designed for use in technologically advanced devices such as digital cameras, flash cameras, high-end toys, electronic cameras, hi-tech walkmans and MP3 players. It is just perfect for technology-products that are dynamic in nature and require special specific power needs. 


Style & Sophistication 
Wrapped in diamond-perforated leather — resistant to almost everything from lipstick to suntan lotion, Vertu has unveiled its latest handsets for women. The strawberry and cream special edition comes in deep pink and cool cream. Each one uses only the finest leather and precious materials and is hand-assembled in England. Featuring brushed stainless-steel back plate that mirrors the leather design, the handsets exemplify style and sophistication. A Concierge key keeps you connected 24-hours a day with the spas, restaurants and bars of the world.A perfect accessory to carry at the fashionable events of the seasons, the collection is priced at Rs 3,07,000. 


Excessive alcohol intake increases the risk of bone loss leading to fractures (due to poor nutrition and increased risk of fall) — Dr Ravinder Chadha

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