It’s wedding time folks...
Punjabi ishtyle!
Murga-shurga, dance-shans,
daaru-vaaru, Punjabi weddings are simply the best & unbeatable. In case you haven’t attended one this season, just do it!
Purva Grover

IT was my chachi’s cousin’s son’s best friends’ wedding and I was invited. Now, before you wonder why I was on the invitee list, let me tell you that we are Punjabis and when we attend weddings, we believe in arriving with the whole jing-bang. Also, this rather long list of friends, family, friends’ friend, cousins, padosis ... is just a small, yet lovely part of Punju weddings. Well, well, you need not feel jealous thinking of all the ghee dripping pinnis I gorged on or the bhangra beats I swayed to, for I’ve got for all you people who haven’t yet got an invite to attend a wedding this season, a trailer of punjabi shaadis.

To begin with, don’t be surprised if a Punju uses two words — Punjabi shaadi and simplicity as opposites, for it is true. And if you are asked to take ten days leave to attend one wedding consider it normal, for the ‘eat, drink and dance’ mania continues for that duration.

Okie, let’s start with what we love the most… Food. Now, for all those health conscious, gym-going people, it’s a no nakhra time, for what stands apart at our weddings is the sumptuous ‘Butter Chicken’. Now, c’mon apna murga is quite an international dish. Isn’t it? Drenched in makhan, we believe and you’ll agree that an extra dollop of butter only adds to the taste!

Buraaah, you can’t possibly forget this. No shaadi here is complete without the ‘Patiala peg’, known by the quantum of liquor consumed in one drink! And, we confess we love to drown ourselves in liquor, literally. A few pegs down and two things happen, one we transform into master dancers and two, we lose control. Now, the latter results in something we can’t really say cheers to — a brawl, but then our wedding don’t really culminate without these. And the reason for picking up a fight? Who needs one? A leg piece, a not-so-perfect bhangra step, a soni kudi or just nothing at all. As for the master dancer bit, we just take to the floor, with or without alcohol. Nah, we don’t shy away neither do we wait for someone to invite us. And, trust us, our filmi steps can make you forget Madhuri’s Aaja Nachle jhatkas too. While we love to dance to the dhol, we do a good job on other numbers as well. Our favourite though is Pare hoja soniye, saadi rail gaddi aaye, where we, regardless of our size and weight, form a train and go berserk, marauding anything in the path! Now, this Balle Balle is incomplete without our brigade of relatives and friends from Kaneda. Once our NRI brothers’ land, they get draped in colours of celebration, they bite into rich Amritsari kulcha and push it down with only mineral water.

And yes, when we talk colours, its purely magenta, red and maroon. We don’t think beyond these tones and we complete our gaudy outfits, rather complement them, with gold ornaments studded with diamonds. Some call it heavy, but we don’t really agree. Now, didn’t we say in the very beginning, that simplicity and Punjabi weddings don’t do together?

Well, so I’ll just stop here for now and as for more on the grandeur of our wedding celebrations, I hope you get an invite or tie the knot soon!

Take it easy
Are trial sessions, salon appointments, meeting relatives and more leaving you nervous by the day? A few handy tips 
Aman Minhas

YOUR mommie daddy, masi, bhua, neighbour, cousins, hairdresser all are jumping with joy. Why? For, you are formally betrothed or shall we say hooked, booked and ready to be cooked. And even though the feeling may have not really sunk in, the whole world is already preparing for your D-day. Phones won’t stop ringing, measurements have been taken, parlour appointment is fixed, invites have gone, the menu is set ... the entire family is in frenzy and its giving you the jitters.

The laddoo sessions and encouraging smiles are also not helping you keep calm. The wedding advice from unmarried and married friend, chachi’s and mami’s too is not helping control the hurricane that is building inside. We’ve got for you few simple tips that will help you deal with the cold feet. Read on.

* Meet the mehndi artist before hand. If you have a particular pattern in mind, explain it to him.

* Prefer a salon that’s closer home. Flip through magazines to check on bridal make-up pics. See if the salon has packages to offer, squeeze in your mom or sis and avail of discounts and feel free to ask questions. Plus, carry your make-up kit if you have a sensitive skin.

* Be systematic. Make a checklist and put down everything that you’ll need right from safety pins to bindis to footwear. Keep separate bags for each function and refer to the checklist.

* Plan your days. Make a note of all the important things you need to buy and do. Refer to it each day to ensure that you are on the right track.

* You obviously can’t avoid shopping. But remember to wear a sun block, scarf and shades each time you step out. And once home, clean your skin properly.

* Plan your meal. Don’t succumb to laddoo sessions. Drink lots of water and juices, and yes fried is a big no-no.

* Want to change your hair colour? Get it done two weeks prior the D-day, for best results. Match your hair colour with the attire. Go in for a hairstyle that goes with your height. A high bun helps add a few inches.

* Choose the correct footwear. Fancy or simple, wear them to get comfy before the D-day. This will not leave you tired and also save you from a shoe bite.

* No doubt, preparations are important, but what is equally essential is to de-stress. Meditate, get proper sleep, exercise or do yoga.

* Enjoy the sangeet ceremony for it’s your chance to loosen up. Add spunk to the celebrations by holding a theme party.

* Delegate work. Don’t get caught up in every little detail, just take it easy. 

Time is Money
Marriage season is the busiest time for the friendly-neighbourhood punditji 
Aman Minhas

THE wedding season is here and before you jump to any conclusion, let us assure that this story is not a trend watch that tells what to pick from where. Instead, this time we spot a man with some religious books in his hand hurrying towards his next destination — talking on the cellphone, giving lucky ones appointments for next week, refusing others altogether.

Yes that’s punditji who chants mantras in Sanskrit and assures that the rituals, which he just performed, will bring peace and happiness to all concerned. This is one busy time for the saffron-clad holy men. Being the most auspicious time for weddings, it means loads of business and big bucks. From matching 50 to 100 kundlis a day (this service costs anything between Rs 35 – Rs 100) to deciding the mahurats and then performing the ceremony, his time is money.

Don’t have the patience to sit through a never-ending ceremony? Pay your pundit another Rs 500 and have a shorter one. From a 10-minute ceremony to a two-hour one, your punditji can do it all for a generous dakshina which can be as much as Rs 5,000. And one pundit can easily manage three weddings on a busy day.

Well, his hectic schedule does not actually start with the wedding season. This in fact is the last phase. The race against time starts as soon as the tara rises. First come the sharadhs. This time is the busiest for priests as the prayers are of an extensive nature. But thanks to efficient pundits, the mantras are chanted in a jiffy. After the chanting is done, he is all set to sample the ghee-dripping food that the saas and bahu of the house have prepared. But to the dismay of the duo, punditji only eats a few spoons of that sweet kheer, the delicious looking seasonal veggie and cholas and just half a puri. Quizzically looking at each other, the saas and bahu wonder what must have gone wrong with the preparations. It’s not the food, but that the punditji has other appointments to keep. For families that pray for the souls of their forefathers, they act as mediators. They get dakshinas from a meager Rs 500 to Rs 2,100.

So, next time you complain about being too busy this time of the year, you could be facing stiff competition from punditji!

Telly Tales
I do. & do.. & do...
Getting married and remarried to the wrong person(s) for the wrong reason(s) is synonymous with our leading ladies 
Aman Minhas

EVERY time I try to catch up with the soaps that rule the small screen, I end up being confused. For the regulars, it may not be all that difficult to understand the need of the leading ladies to get married several times. But for people like me, it leaves us baffled.

Death of the present husband, a villain in the scene, to save the family property or the supreme sacrifice for a sibling are the reasons that push our sobbing women to marry and remarry. Take for example, Prerna in Kasauti Zindegi Ki. As if her becoming an unwed mother was not shocking enough for us middleclass viewers, she did it once again by getting married to the villain Mr Bajaj, even though her red dupatta and her heart still swayed for Anurag. And god knows how many times she oscillated between Bajaj and Anurag before making the decision to sacrifice her love on the altar of responsibility. And after so many weddings and a whole lot of children and 20-year leaps, she must be over 60. How does she manage to remember who is her current husband? Maybe she has a secretary who reminds her all this when she wakes up in the morning.

Wonder what the conversation would be like? Maybe, something like this — “Good morning ma’am. Your husband for the day is Mr Bajaj. You have a meeting with your son from your first marriage at 10 and then you have to discuss the land deal with your second husband and later you have a lunch appointment with your current husband’s son from his second marriage and in the evening you have to attend your adopted daughter’s store launch. And then …”

Phew. Ok, now how can we forget Kashish in Kahin To Hoga? When she was on TV, she gave stiff competition to Prerna. The men she was associated with either died or met with an accident or just went bankrupt. God knows what would happen to a woman with such an illustrious track record in real life. Even the dialogue writer of the soap got so sick of the sloppy plot that the characters were constantly heard making fun of the lady’s midas touch. And finally it had to be taken off the air.

But the producers and directors would not learn a lesson. In their desperate effort to settle the super woman, who can juggle husbands, work, take care of the children and even colour their hair jet-black, they churn out the most unbelievable plots and circumstances. And the trend of sabotaging the sanctity of the institution of marriage is just not about to die, for the next generation is following suit, i.e. marrying the wrong person for the wrong reasons. Krishnatulsi of Kyunki… and Sneha of Kasautii… are following their mothers.

It’s the same old story — be it Kahaani or Kyunki or the recent Dil Mil Gaye. The men, who are shown as understanding lovers, suddenly turn suspecting husbands. And the ladylove, who till the wedding confide in her man, suddenly starts to confide in another man for the fear of hurting her husband, giving rise to misunderstandings that finally breaks up the marriage. And though their marriages fail, they walk away with all the sympathy, a prospective husband who has been eyeing the damsel in distress since ages and even an award.

But is not it the high time that the production got over with their obsession with marriage and came out with fresher ideas that would actually take the plot forward and make it interesting!

(This column appears weekly)

Mix of love
Aman Minhas

AS an old legend goes, nuts in the classic fruit cake for Christmas should be marinated in liquor for around a month or 20 days. Each family member should mix the nuts in rum and make a wish, for it brings good luck. And more the people, better the year!

The tradition is being kept alive by the Taj, Chandigarh. “We want to revive the age old tradition of Christmas by making the cake,” said the general manager Anil Malhotra. Chefs, head of departments, executives and the chief guest for the event Jean Rodrigues got together to mix 12 kinds of nuts including, pistachios, cherry pie and lemon pie, beautifully displayed in heart shape and waves. Lined with rum, whisky and brandy, the nuts were waiting to get soaked and give the eater an ultimate high on Christmas.

The gaiety began with Rodrigues spreading gold and silver coins on the nuts. Then as many as 12 bottles of liquor were generously splashed and some 60 staff members started to mix with fervour and enthusiasm. Chef Neeraj Chaudhary, who has recently joined here, says, “This is a good time for all the staff members to come together and it adds joy to work.” The happiness with which everyone was mixing the nuts sure revealed that! After the mixing, the nuts were put in a stainless steel container where they stay for the rest 20 days. And then will be baked using the classic plum pudding or cake reciepe that every Christian loves (so will we).

Well, we did have a distinguished Christian amongst us, and we asked her what she felt and planned ? “This always makes me feel at home. I will bake rose cookies, cakes and prepare turkey. But I think we tend to forget the main aim behind the day. We must gift something to the lord by helping the needy. A gentle word, a smile, a soft touch is all that is required to make the world a better place,” says Jean. 

Not just medicines

Wouldn’t it be great that your hospital not just did check ups but even provided you with a complete health care programme. Fortis Hospital, Mohali has done just that by announcing a total holistic health care programme catering to different age groups. Medical Director Dr Ashok Chordiya said, ”It is based on the idea that one should take care of the whole body and mind rather than just treating a part of the body that is ill.”

To keep all age groups mentally fit and rejuvenated the packages would include yoga, health and wellness management. Keeping stress levels in mind the packages even include people specific programmes like health and wellness for students, for school and college students; corporate health and stress management, manage the risk factors of stress and yoga, health and wellness for elderly.

Taking its first step towards the programme, an interactive session on Yoga was conducted by Yogi Buddhadeva, a post-graduate in Yoga Philosophy. Highlighting the innumerable benefits of yoga, he said that yoga is the science of health and it should be incorporated in daily life. It is instrumental in improving the condition of the brain and the nervous system. Attended by over 50 people, the objective of the session was to de-stress. — TNS

Cool Stuff
Fun On The Go

Nokia Nseries launches the N81 and N81 8GB devices. Designed for the best in music, video and gaming capability, they come with large screens, wireless LAN, high capability cameras, dedicated music/game keys with customisable user interface and are loaded with large flash memory so you can store more. It can incorporate a full-length movie. It comes pre-loaded with Top 10 English music videos, 10 best-selling Bollywood and Hollywood songs and 10 all time hit comedy scenes from Bollywood movies. It has a preview of the N-Gage games including playable demos of EA Sports FIFA 07, Asphalt 3. 

Skin Care 
Clear Up 

Vichy Laboratories introduces Normaderm Claerer skin renovating system, the concept of complete skin renovation to treat advanced imperfections in just 3 weeks. After adolescence women get affected by problems like dilated pores, granular texture and unclear skin, that may evolve and result in advanced skin imperfections. The skin is resurfaced in 8 minutes and renovated in 3 weeks. It is priced at Rs 2,490. Vichy products offer unique hypoallergenic formulations combining exceptional properties of Vichy thermal spa water with active ingredients and innovative technologies.

Wrap Up 

To celebrate winters Ahujasons has come up with exquisite wraps in aesthetic designs and lovely hues that make an impression. The array of hand-crafted stoles are magnificently designed, feather-soft to touch and cosy to the core. The stoles are made from fabulous pashmina, cashmere, silk, pure wool, silk and other exquisite blends. The unique creations like jamawar designs to delicate hand-embroidery, zardosi, cutwork and sequin work spell artistic excellences. The intricate details and multitude hues make them most treasured among the connoisseurs of class. Price starts from Rs 750 onwards.

Stay Soft

Lotus Herbals has introduced Nutramoist, a luxurious non-greasy moisturising crème for daily use. For all skin types, it contains extracts of cherry, plum and alpha hydroxy fruit acids, which provide lasting moisturisation while enhancing capability of skin cells to retain moisture for a long time. Nutramoist protects from harmful UV rays with a SPF of 25 and prevents tanning of skin and other forms of UV rays induced damage. The 50 ml jar is priced at Rs 245 and is available at select premium beauty and department stores across the country. Now your answer to smooth and silky skin is here. — TNS

Wanted: Love, attention 
The root cause of your upset tummy or the nagging headache may not be lie in your stomach or your head, but your heart. Read on... 
Purva Grover

DOES the pressure of deadlines, targets and meetings leave you with no time for your partner? If yes, then wait and watch, it is likely that your appointment diary will soon see the two of you spending a lot more time together. For, while you blame a busy schedule for lack of time, the brain in your stomach is consciously at work to get you two together, only the venue may be a clinic. Yes, you read it right, in the stomach. We trace the working of the city minds (mostly women) that is re-scheduling the appointment diaries of our workaholics, and all this at a rather big cost (names changed on request).

Stressed out

What’s it: It is a situation when the mind increases the body’s susceptibility to some disease, i.e. reduces your body’s immune system.
Cause: Predominately stress, work or family.
It can happen to: Professionals, businessmen, retired people, loner individuals.
Symptoms: Insomnia, breathlessness, chest pain, body ache, diarrhoea, sweating, vomiting, constipation.

Twenty-nine-year-old homemaker Seema would complain of stomach pain every morning. She would whine of pain like a child each day and her husband would have no choice but to take her to a doctor. Innumerable tests suggested nothing wrong with her system. Surprisingly though, she had begun to feel better. Reason, she was now spending time with her hubby, courtesy the trips to the docs. From days when she could give a count of the minutes she spent with him in a week to today, she is certainly happier. “I did not plan all this. The pain was real,” she confesses.

Justifies her doctor Sandeep Dhavan, a gastroentrologist, “All her tests were normal and the pain was genuine, that’s when I began to question her on her lifestyle. And then I came to the conclusion that it was a psychosomatic case.” He explains, “This is caused by mental processes of the sufferer rather than physiological causes (see box).” Says Dhavan, “The brain in our abdomen sends certain signals and one develops some kind of physical ailment.” Now, we had heard of a left and right brain, but a brain in the stomach is definitely news. And the symptoms can be seen from head to toe.

And Seema is not the only one going through this. Meet Shruti, a MBA who complained of pain in the chest every few days. The only time she would meet her husband was on the breakfast table. “Work had become our foremost priority and we had begun to take each other for granted,” says Shruti. Thanks to the hefty medical bills and forceful drives (that they confess to have enjoyed) to the doctor, their love blossomed again. “The pain was a result of the growing distance between us,” she says.

And surprisngly it was such signals from the ‘brain tummy’ that made Rohit to visit a psychiatrist. He would throw up each time he took a meal and blamed it on the food served in his BPO cafeteria. He kept popping pills. Says his psychiatrist Parmod Kumar, a consultant at Silver Oaks-Mohali, “The problem was odd working hours that kept him away from his friends and hobbies.” He adds, “Most of my psychosomatic pateints are career-oriented, educated and settled upper-middle class individuals.” And, they visit him after all medicines fail to cure them. So, is it that medicines don’t help? “They do provide immediate relief, but do not cure,” he says.

Well, so where does the solution lie? In meditation, yoga, exercise or walk, say experts. And what works the best? “Spending time together,” they say. Not only will it do good for you and your partner, but also you can invest the doctor’s fees in a much-needed holiday. 

High on fat & pleasure
Chocolates, ice-creams, burgers and pizzas may be high in calories, but are still popular, says Saurabh Malik 

YOU may find it hard to digest, but high-calorie food is still hot amidst teenyboppers savouring life in fast-food joints, café bars and restaurants across the city.

And, chocolate with fruit, nuts and ‘loads of fat’ continues to be the ‘great demanded gift’ as Christmas and the New Year are approaching.

This is not all. Treats still revolve around pizza containing on an average up to 1050 calories, and having a good time in the afternoons even now means sipping pleasure out of mugs brimming with scrumptious cold coffee laced with ice-cream.

Your pastry puff may contain 500 calories, and peanuts worth Rs 5 may contain as many as 600 calories. But, the very idea of spending winters without sitting in the sun on hard-iron benches at Panjab University’s Students’ Centre for munching the delicacy is tough to assimilate.

Ask Neerja Gulati, and the under-grad will tell you how she and her gang of four miss classes every now and then just to enjoy seasons in the sun on the campus in the company of groundnuts. “Call us nuts about groundnuts, but the feeling of fulfillment evades us until or unless we give the stuff a fair share,” he asserts. Calories…? Well, she and her pals are just not bothered about it.

Oh yes! No matter how figure-conscious she and so many other city femmes are, they just haven’t started counting calories while seeking excitement in foodstuff.

Look at Priyanka Sharma. The young varsity student goes to gym five days a week, one hour each, for burning those loathsome calories. In fact, she does aerobics and other cardiovascular exercises for keeping herself fit and attractive. But, she just cannot keep her hands off a nice big fat burger.

Every time she pushes off to Sector 17 with her friends in the evenings, burger is on her to-do menu. For, it has all the ingredients that go into making her mood just right for a nice gossip session. After all, classroom politics need thread-bare discussion.

Alright, it contains approximately 460 calories — maybe it’s equivalent to the amount she burns while dancing to the tune of hit numbers in the gymnasium. But then, burger with mayonnaise oozing out is something she craves for. In any case, calories have nothing to do when it comes to enjoyment.

Talking of mayonnaise, approximately100 gm of ‘donner kebab’ with mayonnaise contains as much as 600 calories. But it still is Deepak Malhotra’s preferred snack. The young executive with a call centre makes it a point to order the stuff every time he goes to Sector 8 on a drinking spree with his pals.

They sit in the car parked in the lot and savour the stuff, but not before washing off all apprehensions of gaining weight with beer. His answer’s to your query is simple: “Well, I do not eat ice-creams and chocolate biscuits.”

By the way, just 100 grams of chocolate digestive biscuits have nearly 500 calories and the same quantity of your all-time pet mango chutney has approximately 460 calories. And the cashew nuts you have been chewing, since the dry fruit boxes landed in your house on Diwali, too are high in calories. Approx 100 grams contain 600 calories. But then guys, some people eat to live, others live to eat. So forget all your apprehensions and keep munching all the way to pleasure. 

Exhi Watch
Whiff of Rajasthan 

Everything about their state is rich and colourful. Craftsmen and artisans from Rajasthan are back in town at Lajpat Bhawan-15 with Jaipuri prints, hand block suits, bedsheets, fabric and jewellery to choose from.

Tribune Photo

You can pick gift items in white metal brought all the way from Jaipur. There are candle stands, dry fruit trays, jewellery box and wall hangings, all in the affordable range of Rs 150 to Rs 500. Colourful metal pieces in meenakari work are priced from Rs 120 onwards. One can also take home a meenakari chowki (stool) for Rs 1,200.

Washable comfy slippers in jute with mirror and metal adornments are priced at Rs 100 onwards. Trinkets in silver with semi precious stones are also on display here. Suits in bandhini, kundan work, gotta pati and kalamkari prints, with duppattas, are priced between Rs 650 and Rs 850.

As for your home, pick the block printed bed sheets made using vegetable dyes, kathai stitch and gold prints. There are also Jaipuri rajais (quilts) in flower prints, khadi gold and block print, from Rs 650 onwards. The ones in velvet or satin silk can be picked up for Rs 750 (single) and Rs 1,500 (double). —TNS

On till December 20

Gem of a world

If you are in love with stones, there is this one-stop shop you should be heading for. There is a wide variety of trendy, snazzy jewellery in gems that greet you at Mamta Stores in Sector 44.

Photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Opened recently, this jewellery store that targets the youth, has over 100 varieties of stones from across the world and set in intricate design with a contemporary look. Here one has the privilege to pick up their choice of stone and get it molded according to one’s preferred shape, design and metal.

So, get creative. Blend one stone with another, get it embedded in your bracelet or necklace and charm one and all. While the glow of the stones will bowl you over, the huge variety will puzzle your choice. The choice include the dazzling moldavite, a special stone derived from a meteorite, jet black lava, grey turquoise, evil’s eye, golden rotile, lemon quartz, leopard skin jasper, butter jade, slow fleke, fossilised corale, bronzite, crazy lace, red jasper, rainbow moon and bamboo leaf to name a few.

The price starts from Rs 100 and go up to Rs 5,000. The most expensive ones are golden rotile and moldavite.

“All stones are genuine and a good number of these come from South Africa, Brazil and Czechoslovakia. They are available in countless colours ranging from snow-white to gold to jet black,” said Reen, manager of the store.

— Aneesha Sareen

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