City’s women addicted to alcohol come together as each other’s strength for a cleaner future 
Parbina Rashid

Hi! I am Meera and I am an alcoholic. No, it is not the confession of Sidney Sheldon’s heroine. It is, in fact, the admission of a city-bred lady who has dared to defy the social stigma attached to drinking and come out in the open to tell others that yes, she has this “disease” and is now willing to get rid of it.

Symptoms of addiction
When someone becomes dependent or addicted to alcohol they:

  •  Develop a strong sense of compulsion to drink
  •  May drink shortly after waking up to reduce feelings of alcohol withdrawal
  •  Develop a reduced capacity to control how often and how much they use
  •  Organise their lifestyle around drinking

One success story of Anne (all names changed on request) who has been sober for the past 27 years now, another of a woman who has the strong will to give up the habit and yet another who has been struggling for the past seven years to quit, makes for the women’s wing of Alcoholic Anonymous that came into being on November 17.

The venue is Carmel Convent School-9 and the setting is quite informal. Anne, who is of Irish origin, starts with her story — “I started drinking at a very young age. Not because I liked the taste, but because I loved the way it transformed me from a shy, introvert teenager to an outgoing person. My drinking binge went on for 18 long years. It was during that time I had this opportunity to attend the world convention of Alcoholic Anonymous in Toronto. It was my first but firm step towards a cleaning act.” And as for her Indian connection it was during that convention that she met someone from Mumbai who left a lasting impression on her about the country. Now, she practically spends at least six months in the city.

And while Anne is taking the role of a leader for the women’s group, Meera, Surbhi and Radhika are becoming a regular at the AA meets. “My husband too has a drinking problem and when he joined the Chandigarh chapter of the AA, he insisted that I come along with him too. But it was awkward for me because it was a men-dominated group, except for Radhika, who had been on and off the group for a long time now. Now, that we have a separate group, it is much more easier to talk about our problems,” says Meera, a regular since the group formed.

What is it about this four-member team that rekindles her hope for a cleaner future? “We talk and talk about ourselves without restrain and listen to each other without being judgmental. Listening and identifying with each other does help,” says Meera.

And lending an ear without being judgmental comes easy to the group because they don’t believe in social stigma that comes with alcohol. “Alcoholism is a disease like any other diseases. In fact the World Health Organisation recognised this as the third killer disease after cancer and heart disease way back in 1956,” says Anne. And, as there is no medicine, self-healing is the only way out. The objective of the AA clearly states that — “It is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.” And the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.

Having the desire to quit is one thing, but is it an easy thing to urge these women to admit their problem, especially in a city like Chandigarh where women hesitate to even pick up a glass in public? “No it is not. When the AA was first started in Ohio in 1935, there was only one woman. But if you look at the US scene now more than one third of the AA are women,” say Todd, Randhir and Sanjeev, three old members of the AA and also the brains behind the women’s group.

The cultural divide may prove as a hurdle in bringing our women alcoholics out of their closets, but the group is optimistic that once the concept gets popular and success stories travel either through media or by word of mouth, they would not hesitate to join in. Now, this is something that time will tell, but we are almost tempted to say ‘Cheers’ to this positive bonding!

Call AA’s 24-hour helpline at 9417037358

How much is too much?
Here is a short questionnaire to evaluate your use of alcohol. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test or AUDIT has been developed by the World Health Organisation and is used by doctors.

* How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?

Never (0)
Monthly or Less (1)
2-4 times a month (2)
2-3 times a week (3)
4 or more times a week (4)

* How many drinks containing alcohol do you have on a typical day when you are drinking?

1 or 2 (0)
3 or 4 (1)
5 or 6 (2)
7-9 (3)
10 or more (4)

* How often do you have six or more drinks on an occasion when you are drinking?

Never (0)
Less than monthly (1)
Monthly (2)
Weekly (3)
Daily or almost daily (4)

* How often during the past year have you found that you were not able to stop drinking once you had started?

Never (0)
Less than monthly (1)
Monthly (2)
Weekly (3)
Daily or almost daily (4)

* How often during the past year have you failed to do what was normally expected of you because of drinking?

Never (0)
Less than monthly (1)
Monthly (2)
Weekly (3)
Daily or almost daily (4)

* How often during the past year have you needed a first drink in the morning to get yourself going after a heavy drinking session?

Never (0)
Less than monthly (1)
Monthly (2)
Weekly (3)
Daily or almost daily (4)

* How often during the past year have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?

Never (0)
Less than monthly (1)
Monthly (2)
Weekly (3)
Daily or almost daily (4)

* How often during the past year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because you had been drinking?

Never (0)
Less than monthly (1)
Monthly (2)
Weekly (3)
Daily or almost daily (4)

* Have you or has someone else been injured as a result of your drinking?

No (0)
Yes, but not in the past year (2)
Yes, during the past year (4)
Has a relative, friend, or a doctor or other health care worker been concerned about your drinking or suggested you cut down?

No (0)
Yes, but not in the past year (2)
Yes, during the past year (4)

How did you do?

If you scored between 8-10 or more, it may be worth consulting your doctor or an alcohol advice and information service to talk about your drinking. 

Be a smart broke
You are trying to save for the New Years’ eve big bash, but the universe seems to be conspiring to tempt you into spending. Worry not, help’s here!
Purva Grover

It’s not even the middle of the month and your ATM card reads low balance. The moolah that came in on Diwali went away as easily as it came in. And now, your buddies are planning a big bash on December 31, for which you have to make a contribution. Plus, there is the “ideal” designer outfit that you spotted in a window last week.

Hmm… now the issue is, as always, to save money. And, you are quite good at it. For, you do it every time there’s a birthday, a holiday or a party to attend. So, you decide to get back to your diet of noodles and sandwiches to save bucks. Wait, what if we tell you that there are smarter ways of living on a shoestring budget. Don’t believe us? Well, take a clue from smart tips here and see the content of your piggybank grow each day:

* You are bankrupt and that’s leaving you sad. Now, we all know that a retail therapy works wonder when it comes to cheering you up. But, it lightens both your mood and your wallet. So, here’s a way to indulge without spending. Hunt for outfits, shoes, belts, shades and everything else you wish to have in your best pal, cousin or neighbours’ wardrobe. With her permission of course, and a promise, that you’ll let her do the same when she is penniless and is dying to buy a new dress.

* Each time your mom and aunt talk about how they picked up a dozen of oranges for Rs 2 less, you label it as silly conversation. But well, here’s your chance to gain from the bargain talk. Pick on easy tips from them and haggle for the best deal. Don’t be embarrassed to fight for a rupee. After all it’s your hard-earned money.

*Your idea of celebration is to drink in a fancy pub, but then it costs huge bucks. So, keep your eyes wide open and enjoy a drink at places that offer discounts. Say, pay a little more and change your cola for a chilled beer. Or order two vodkas and get a peanut salad free. Or, buy a bottle of Old Monk, preferably from CSD, grab a packet of wafers, troop into a buddy’s place, make a bonfire and have a splendid low-budget evening!

* Hate waking up in the morning to wash your car? But paying 200 bucks to the cleaner also pinches. Strike a deal with your friend or the cute-guy in the neighbourhood and take turns to wash it or maybe do it together.

* And see, if you are an Indian, a true Indian, then the word FREE should be enough to lure you. So grab all those samples that come with magazines, products and even the ones that are distributed in the local market. Trust us, the orange juice tastes best when it comes absolutely free and the detergent too cleans the better when the salesman gives it as a free gift.

* Okie, now this may sound unexciting, but not all freebies are sub-standard and boring. Buy a shower gel that gives a loofah free or denims that give branded pair of socks free. Or subscribe to magazines that promise an electric kettle or trendy handbag.

* Take advantage of the free checkups that your organisation or the private clinics arrange. But, of course, use your judgment when you go in for these.

* Are you a movie-freak? Now, if all you need is an outing for three-hours and popcorns to munch on, then lookout for free movie screenings in the city. If you are lucky, you might actually get to watch a good one. And what’s more, if you don’t mind walking into the theatre rubbing your eyes, then morning shows are just perfect. They let you park yourself on the best of the seats for almost half the price.

* This one is for all you foodies. If one or two servings are too little for you, then place an order for an eco-thali, a combo meal or still best gorge on a buffet. Check out the happy hours at many eateries and place your order to get a heavy discount. Eating at a dhaba or getting yourself invited for dinner to your bhuas, chachis, boring landlord, colleague or friends’ place is a good idea.

* Shopping from wholesale markets or from stores like Subhiksha, Reliance Fresh, Six Ten, Dollar Store is definitely a budget-friendly idea.

* You thought you were jinxed when it came to winning at Tambola, scratch-n-win cards or writing a slogan or SMS contests. So you stayed away from them. Well, try your luck, for it might just work in your penniless days. From scanning the papers for contests to playing lucky dip in the college fetes, do it all.

* Tele-callers chose to call you either when you were searching for your car keys or when you were in a meeting. So you shout at them and hang up. Well, this time dial customer care and take note of all the money you can save with an SMS pack or a Friends-Family pack and more.

* Want to save on fuel? An ideal fitness option is to walk and enjoy the pleasant weather. Or become a hitchhiker (at your own risk) or make sure that the innocent ‘you’ is at the gate looking for a rickshaw when Mr Sharma takes his car out of the parking. He’ll be happy to offer a lift (of course, till he discovers your plan) Now, this last one is for those who would go to any extent to save the precious source of energy — SMS or call for a free test drive and step out at the superstore from a swish car.

So, here’s wishing you happy saving!

Planting a bright future

He is a senior research fellow at the University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences Centre for Advanced Studies at Panjab University and has recently won an award at the 3rd Global Summit on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants at Chiang Mai, Thailand. Meet Panchkula-based Jai Malik, who has accomplished all this at just 30.

Malik, after completing his B. Pharmacy was looking for admission into masters but he got into Phamocognosy, a field that deals with medicines made from plant extracts. Explains Malik, “There are different plants under the name shankhpushpi, but no one knows the real one, the best memory enhancer.”

Surfing the website of American Society of Phamocognosy he got information about the event and a motivational push by his guide to explore the relevance of his research encouraged him to go to Thailand and he was chosen from among 300 delegates for the “Bioactive Marker of an Indian-Memory-Enhancing-Drug- Shankhpushpi”.

— Aman Minhas

Do men consider teaching a lacklustre and underpaid profession? We find out ...
Aneesha Sareen

EVEN as the career of the modern women has witnessed a sea change in comparison to what it was some decades back, there is one vocation that primarily has been the women’s domain all these years and continues to be. With the career of women as teachers blossoming all through the years, today the fairer sex has become a dominant force in the teaching community.

Despite a host of avenues, ranging from call centre jobs to news channels to defence services, available to women their zest to become teachers has remained unaltered all these years.

The figures of the UT run colleges speak for themselves - Government College for Girls, (GCG)–11 has merely 22 male teachers as compared to a whopping 124 female teachers, Government College–42 has 64 women and 25 male teachers, Home Science College-10 is no different with 28 women teachers against two male teachers and Government College-11, which has a total of 3,309 male students as compared to 205 girls, has 29 female teachers against 28 men.

Why is it that teaching which started as the Gurukul system and was initiated and carried forward by men, hardly has any in the profession? Why is it that men shy away from the profession which continues to don the mantle of being the noblest of all professions?

“Suitable timings that ensure a balance between home and work, secure atmosphere and work culture and good number of holidays round the year – where else can you avail all these benefits together?”, says Seema Sharma, a teacher at Government Model Secondary School-16. Adding, “Women study harder and get more merit, which enables them to acquire more teaching jobs than their male counterparts.”

Women have a tender heart full of love and patience. They are more receptive and compassionate to the needs of the children. They can persuade with love and can be strict without frightening the children. “The fact that women are gentle, kind and tender has also a lot to do with them dominating this profession,” reiterates Kanchan Bhatia, a science student at D.A.V College-10, adding that students, especially small kids, relate to a female teacher far better.

Moreover, majority of males consider teaching to be a dull and boring profession that lacks excitement.

As Ankur Tandon, a senior manager with a multinational avers, “My father is a teacher, but with so many other avenues teaching was the last thing on my mind, so I never opted for it.” Teaching is less rewarding in terms of pay scales and families find it difficult to sustain on the small package in today’s expensive times.

And, with reports of child abuse by male teachers also pouring in, some institutions prefer to employ women. Parents too feel more secure if their child is in the company of a female teacher.

youth speak
Shameful Act
Sudeep Bhatia

Common Admission Test (CAT) is the most important test for all those who aspire to make it to the top B-Schools of the country. It is the gateway to the seven IIMs and 99 other B-Schools in the country. The rising craze for pursuing MBA has led to an increase in the number of candidates appearing year by year. And, the proportion of engineers appearing has been high from the very beginning.

Last week, the test was held at 10 centres in the city and was followed by a controversy. Students from Punjab Engineering College (PEC), Chandigarh tried to make a fool of the IIM’s administration. But, theyforgot that it is not easy to get away in the light of the strict scrutiny of forms and cross checking of the candidates. They had filled in a number of forms with the same photo and signature but with different addresses.

The case illustrates how youngsters put their mind to wrong use. It is a serious setback for all those who appear and administer important examinations like these. But, the cause of worry is the mindset of the youth. Questions like — What is the youth up to? Why do they want to go in for shortcuts? Why are they running after short-term success and ignoring the long run of life? Obviously, the career of these students has come to an end. They will never be able to achieve professional success and have themselves put an end to their career. This should serve as a lesson for all those who wish to adopt illegal short cuts in life.

Feel strongly about something? If you are under 25, this is the forum for you. Mail us your views in not more than 300 words along with a passport photograph at

New releases
And the curtain goes up...

Director: Anil Mehta

Starring: Madhuri Dixit, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kunal Kapoor, Ranvir Shorey, Vinay Pathak

AFTER nearly a decade, an unexpected phone call shakes Dia (Madhuri) out of her dance rehearsal in New York. Makarand (Darshan Zariwala), her teacher and guru, is dying and she must return to Shamli town.

The town where she grew up, the town where she learnt to live and to dance. Also the town she left on an impulse, severing ties with her parents and her people.

It is a poignant and troubled return, not only has her guru passed away but the institution that he so lovingly nurtured is in decay and under the threat of demolition.

Ajanta Theatre, once the vibrant hub of the community, the place where Dia’s fondest memories are embedded, must now be brought down because the local political authorities feel it a waste of prime land.

With the help of Doctor (Raghubir Yadav), the caretaker of Ajanta, Dia sets out on a mission to prevent the destruction and resurrect the spirit of Ajanta. In an atmosphere of mistrust, ridicule and active hostility, Dia picks up the gauntlet and agrees to achieve the near impossible task of putting together a theatrical production.

She must also ensure that every member of the production is from Shamli town. She has only two months to prove her point or the bulldozers will be waiting.

In this context begins her tumultuous journey of dealing with small town prejudices, encountering the resentment of the powerful contractor, the cynicism of the local political powers, resolve the tensions of inter-personal relationships and rally her motley team of non-starters — a low level muscle Imran (Kunal), the local tomboy Anokhi (Konkona), local ex-MLA Chaudhary Om Singh (Akhilendra Mishra), a vulnerable tea stall owner Mohan Sharma (Ranvir), a responsible government official Mr Chojar (Vinay), a struggling insurance agent Sanjeev Mehta (Jugal Hansraj), the town vagabond Dhankuber (Nowaz) and a host of others.

She must create in this chaos in order to save Ajanta, in order to preserve what her guru so lovingly nurtured. She must create art in order to preserve what she believes is the soul of society.

The stage is finally set... Will it work? Won’t it?

Lights dim, crowds go quiet, curtains rise on Ajanta.

Showing at: Piccadilly, Fun Republic 

Scaling new heights 
Overload of energy & the courage to chase her dreams, that’s city-based entrepreneur Anupama Arya, who has now won international recognition
Purva Grover

The world was there to be seen and explored, and that’s what fascinated Anupama Arya. A city entrepreneur, her journey towards the exciting technology-driven world reached new heights this month with the India Athena Awards awarded to her at a function in Pune.

“It’s always nice to be encouraged,” says Anupama, the co-founder and director of Mobera System.

The first Indian edition, Athena Award was first presented in 1982 in the USA and is supported by Infosys here in its mission to encourage, honour, and inspire women entrepreneurs. And, Anupama fitted the bill exactly, be it for her professional accomplishments, leadership qualities or her work for the community. Also, in her kitty is the year’s Woman Entrepreneur award from central government’s Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council. In addition, she is the co-founder and member of Chetna, an NGO which works for the economic empowerment of women in the city and Punjab.

After her schooling in Chandigarh and graduation from Thapar- Patiala, she worked her way to a scholarship to pursue her M.S. in Computer Science from Arizona. After that there was no looking back. “I was right there experimenting, teaching, participating or simply observing the world change,” she said recalling the time spent in the Silicon Valley.

Her 15-year stint in the USA, which she refers to as her evolving times, gave her an opportunity to work with many software development and architecture groups there.

In 2003, Anupama and her husband, Puneet returned to the city and set up Mobera Systems in a garage with a team of six people. Today, they are a team of 70 with offices in the USA, Silicon Valley and France. A core product development company they serve clients all over the globe in industries including bio-informatics, embedded systems, networking, wireless, logistics and transportation.

Ask her why she chose Chandigarh and she says, “It’s a global industry, it really doesn’t matter where one is. And, then sitting here we are creating global solutions.” Now, we may not exactly understand the bits and bytes that go into her work, all we can say is that we are proud of her.

Is he man’s best friend?
Joyshri Lobo

WE have been spending the past few nights at Sector 8 as beta no. 1 has gone out of the country and does not want DIL (daughter- in- law) to be alone. It is hard to sleep in a new place. I wake up frequently, sensitive to every sound. As 8 is a very quiet sector, crickets and warring cats rule the night. Except for the occasional howl of a pariah out in the cold, there is no barking at all.

There is an awesome variety of pooches in the area. Basset hounds, Alsatians, Retrievers, Cockers, St. Bernard’s, Labradors, Pointers, Dalmatians, Mastiffs and Dachshunds. All roam the streets, doing their business at the end of expensive leashes, firmly held by servants. As children, we were not allowed to keep a pet unless we cared for it. We learnt caring and sharing through our animals. Today the caretaker often holds a switch.  From the behaviour of the animals it seems that training and manners is the switch’s prerogative not the master’s.

Last night was a particularly disturbed one. DIL received many calls from the hospice and walked around agitatedly, as some of the patients seemed on their last gasp. The handsome golden retriever, undisturbed, gently snored under her bed. Day before yesterday, Purva came with her wedding invite. Chino went towards her, wagging his tail and coughing up a friendly bark. Purva screamed and the pooch fled the scene, tail between his legs, ears flattened. He was the picture of undignified retreat in the face of ear shattering decibels.

Bonzo, the Basset next door, is like a handsome ham roll. He waddles along, sniffing every bush and trail.

Occasionally he marks his territory. That is the only instinct left from his hoary past. When I see a dog marking a Honda, Skoda or trousered leg, I wonder if this instinct is on its way out too.

Our neighbour, has made a huge wrought iron bird cage and placed it near the gate. I went looking for exotic feathered friends but found a black and brown, depressed dachshund instead.

Have his ears ever been scratched, or a kind word whispered into them? Money not being a restraint, the house is shaped like Rapunzel’s castle.  I soon expect to see a long tressed damsel hanging out a thick plait from the top window for her prince to climb. A designer wedding in the making?

Most dog owners have miniscule knowledge of their pets. I have often been asked, “Aunty, why is the puppy tearing socks and destroying our slippers?”  It is like asking, “Why is my baby sucking his thumb?”

There are many houses with “Beware of Dog” signs.

Obviously they have never seen the tail or paw of a canine. The signs ought to read –“Welcome all. The dog is in.” There will be more visitors. We have mutated our best friends into porcelain pieces, decorative and fragile. Hardly anyone knows how to love or be loved by them. A sad commentary on a consumerist society that goes by designer labels and breeds! 

Backdrop Melody
It’s the accompanists who create the background for a performance, yet they are overlooked by both audience & reviewers 
Parbina Rashid

Mehmood Khan on tabl
Mehmood Khan on tabla

THEY come as part of the stage set up, at least to us, audience. A brief bow and then they get down to work. They take cue from the main artiste and play quietly, backing him or her up to create the right background for melody to unfold. And, while we go gaga over the performance, we spare very little thought about them. Yes, they are called the accompanists, who are forgotten as soon as they are introduced and at the most get a two-liner coverage in reviews that appear next morning.

Vinod Pawar
Vinod Pawar

Reminds us of the song Wind beneath my wing. But then, are they really happy being part of the set? Not really. Ask young and upcoming tabla player Avirbhav Verma who has accompanied biggies like Salamat Ali Khan, Mannu Kumar Seen, Rizbi and Mahommod Dholpuri and his reply touches a chord, “We enjoy creating music with the artistes on stage, without disturbing or overshadowing the main artiste. But, it would be nice to be written about.” And by being written about he does not mean a one liner that reads ‘so and so accompanied Pt. so and so on tabla’, but a review on how good or bad were the accompanists in that particular concert.

It was perhaps a wish to be evaluated by critics that got Mehmood Khan, another tabla player of the city, all excited when he heard from us. “It’s high time some one wrote about us too. Being an accompanist has its perks, we get to create music with the best in the field, but the fact that we are almost non-existent as far audience is concerned is disappointing,” says Khan. He has played with Asfaq Ullah Khan, Pervez Mehdi, Reshma and Salochana Virhaspati.

“Being an accompanist is a tough job for one has to adjust to someone’s bol and alaap, and sometimes even without a rehearsal,” says sarangi player Vinod Pawar. His grievance, just like the rest, is the same — the audience doesn’t get into the nuances of the music created by the accompanists. “Of course, the main artiste is the focus, but the role of the accompanists is no less,” says Pawar.

Pawar who has given music in shows that featured artistes like Shubha Mudgal, B.S. Narang and Zila Khan, also admits that it is difficult to survive in the city as an accompanist. “The city does not have many classical musicians and whoever comes here to perform, has their own group of accompanists,” he says. So, on an average, Pawar does about two to four concerts a month.

Then what is the solution? “It’s important to educate the audience on the role of an accompanist and this can happen only when he is given the same amount of respect as the main artistes,” comes from Avirbhav. Another piece of advice comes from founder director Pracheen Kala Kendra M.L. Koser, “It’s time the organisers understand that a concert will be a big zero without the hard work of the accompanist team. So, first it’s their duty to treat these performers at the same level as the main artistes, and also they should be paid more decently. Secondly, media has to be a lot more responsible when it comes to writing reviews, they should describe the role of the accompanists in detail, so that the audience gets educated.” All we can say to this is — Amen!

In love with kathak
S.D. Sharma

All Indian classical dances, especially kathak, are an aesthetic blend of music, poetry, a theme-based drama and a complete repertoire of musical art,” feels Zhaxybayeva Miez Orazgalievna, a Kazakhstan national. Presently learning the finer nuances of kathak from Guru Shobha Koser at Pracheen Kala Kendra under the ICCR scholarship, Miez’ association with kathak has come a long way.

A graduate in Kazakh literature and an accomplished in Bojrova and
Kujhbek folk dances and a kathak dance student from Almaty city, known as the cultural hub of Kazakhstan.

Sharing her obsession for Indian dances, she disclosed that she relished filmy dance numbers and was crazy for Bollywood movies since childhood.

“I used to copy film stars and enjoyed dancing to the tunes. An ardent lover of Indian fine and performing arts, I was completely enamored by a spectacular Indian classical dance performance by a Kazak maestro, Leila Omarova who had learnt Kathak dance for five years in Delhi from Guru Rajender Gangani. The day was a turning point in my life and I saw Kathak dancing as my chosen career,” she said. Having learnt the rudiments of the art under the tutelage of Lei Omarova at the India Cultural Center Almaty, zeal to delve deep into the intricatecomplexities of the divine art inspired me to strive hard to win the ICCR scholarship. “To be in India and especially learning under the blessed tutelage of revered Guru Shobha Koser is a dream come true,” she gleams.

“The compositions are rooted into the religious traditions and weaved around the deities which accord sanctity to the dance form and I relish performing the Chakradhar and Ganesh parans,” says Meiz before singing Om jai jagdish hare. An ardent fan of actor Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Rekha, she learns classical vocal music and plays harmonium.

Meiz will give kathak dance recital tomorrow at the PU Law Department auditorium at 6.30pm in a programme organised by the ICCR in collaboration to commemorate the Foreign Students Day.

Burning passion
S.D. Sharma

Eulogising and singing Punjabi poetic creations of his own and others is the obsession of California-based Pashaura Singh Dhillon, a passionate poet and an architect by profession.

In city for an interaction at Randhawa Auditorium, the poet delighted the literary elite with his mellifluous rendition of verses from his latest book Deeva Baleh Samundron Paar and other prominent poets. Sharing his love for literature and music with Lifestyle Tribune, Pashaura Singh opined that the vision, impulse, voice and command over language are the essential merits of a poet.

The poet rendered a classic ghazal by Sukhwinder Amrit. He was at his best as he voiced the anguish of a tormented soul, depicted in poet Sukhbir Sandhu’s ghazal Eh sochda hi sochda kabbe ton mud pya, teri dehleez ton bina sajda karaan ke naa. Because of its felicity of the composition, people often credit this creation to Shiv Batalvi.

The poet asserted that the urge to create is born out of involvement with life in all its manifestations.

“During my childhood in Bhasin Dhilwan, near Lahore, our family turned homeless following the Partition and took refuge in the village of great patriot Sohan Singh Bhakna, hero of Gadar movement who was a messiah for us,” he said. “After securing a degree in agriculture, I d started esigning landscapes for City Beautiful. Later I went for Masters in Landscape Architect from London and took up UN assignments in Nigeria, Tanzania, UK, Dubai and finally settled in California,” he added. But the passion for poetic creations and the invariable adulations from the Punjabi lovers abroad kept me rejuvenated,” he further said.

“While sculpting poetry I am never lost in the world of fantasy rather its capturing the sordid realities of life with honesty and courage which are reflected in the social and intellectual content of my verses, very close to the pulse and heart beat of a Punjabi” claims the poet.

What the cards say today...

ARIES: Aries: Emperor brings out leadership qualities. Stick to yourself on Monday. You can turn your dreams into reality. Hanging around with your beloved or someone attractive will make you a star on Tuesday. Avoid serious discussions on Wednesday. Lucky colour: Royal blue. Tip of the week: Question the value judgment, which help in shaping your money aspects. LIBRA: Knight of Discs supports through a busy and turning week with healing energy.  You focus on different projects this week.  Remember that perseverance is key to success. Use your intuitive powers. Don’t lose hope. Being belligerent could spiral into a power struggle. Lucky colour: Green. Tip:  Play your cards close to your chest.
TAURUS: Hanged Man indicates changes at home and work. You are blessed with spiritual insight as you move into the future. Visitors and overseas communications are positive. You are good at working in groups and supporting institutions. Don’t have great expectations. Lucky colour: Crimson. Tip: Don’t take risks. SCORPIO: Chariot brings light into darkness. Restless? Take a break. Indulge in sporty activities. Need for support, sense of security and continuity is accented now. Explain issues to loved ones to avoid misunderstandings. Learn a lesson from past mistakes and get on with life. Lucky colour: White. Tip:  Do not expect too much from others.
GEMINI: Princess of Swords brings you face to face with truth and clarity in personal and professional situations. You network and mesh with others but feel touchy or neglected. A business cum pleasure trip is expected. You are mentally strong and win any debate. Lucky colour: Midnight blue. Tip: Don’t reveal your plan of action to anyone. SAGITTARIUS: Universe opens new horizons in career and personal relationship. Be light and playful. Reinforce a romantic relationship with tender loving. A Taurean supports you emotionally and financially. Start a new fitness routine to rejuvenate. Lucky colour: Golden yellow. Tip:  Plan your life to avoid delays.
CANCER: Queen of Pentacles blesses with quiet and subtle qualities. Influential people are drawn to you. A Taurean influences your decision on Monday. Negotiations can be strained and awkward. Direct confrontation is unlikely. Lucky colour: Green. Tip: Adapt to new technology to keep pace with changing times. CAPRICORN: Star says your dreams and wishes have partly come true. You may not understand why you feel stuck or discontented. See where you can nudge your ambition, at work or in community. Physical energy will soar, you are less impatient at home and will be enthusiastic. Lucky colour: Purple. Tip: Watch your action at work and polish public relation skills.
LEO: Princes of Cups infuses romantic and dreamy moments. The successful phase continues. You attend to pending issues to avoid lose ends. Employed people plan for forthcoming vacations.  After a week you will get exclusive time with your beloved. Lucky colour: Orange. Tip: Be grateful for what you have than longing for out of reach things.  AQUARIUS: Queen of Cups shows you are poetic, tranquil and imaginative in loving relationships. Use your sense of humour. Luxury shopping may burn a hole in your pocket on Wednesday.  You are graceful and amiable in family and social matters. Look for depth and character when choosing a partner. Lucky colour: Silver gray. Tip: Be confident.
VIRGO: Wheel of Fortune spins good fortune. Your sense of humour and willingness to help puts you in the spotlight. Unrealistic expectations about financial dealings could result in disappointments. Those in unconventional relationships interfere in their mate’s decisions, denying them freedom of expression. Lucky colour: Lime green. Tip: Don’t let anyone get advantage over you. PISCES: Star promises name, fame and recognition.  It is hard to find companions with same interests and ideas. React only when you know what is happening. A Taurean or Scorpio will give you optimistic advice. Meditate to get in touch with inner silence. Lucky colour: Brown. Tip: Concentrate on projects with reliable outcomes.

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