When Orkut Strikes
They fell in love byte-by-byte & clicked. We logged on to find out more about them. Read on...
Purva Grover

Falling in the net?

Orkut and other SNS have been in news for many wrong reasons. Keep these simple precautions in mind and your eyes open before you commit in the virtual world:

  • Screen names, identities can be fake.
  • You can never be sure that the person on the other side is a guy or a gal.
  • Be careful of not letting strangers extract useful information out of you or take advantage of you.
  • It’s advisable to meet your virtual date in a group and in a public space first.
  • If you’re being stalked or see trouble, inform your parents, friends or seek help from the site itself.

Forget spending huge bucks on red roses, fixing your hair for a date, blowing kisses or giving tight hugs, love in today’s technology-driven world has come to acquire a different meaning altogether. Social network sites (SNS), fancy profiles, web cams, emoticons, chat rooms, e-mails and more, Gen-Y is falling in, and out of love, at the mouse’s click.

These are the times of cyber love, where SNS are playing Cupid. But, then do love affairs that blossom in the virtual world last or do they fade away as flings? ‘They last,’ believe and hope these city’s love-struck, whose relation blossomed in the dotcom planet. We speak to them (names changed on request) and find out more about falling in love, online that is.

A distance of more than a thousand miles and a time zone gap of a few hours between them, yet each time Smriti sees Rahul (online) she gets butterflies in her stomach. It began with Smriti sending scraps from here to Rahul, studying in Australia, on what was happening back home. “We would talk about his friends, family, geri route, CCD, FR and all that he missed about Chandigarh,” says Smriti. Soon, their chat sessions and e-mails became more about likes and dislikes. Six months later, they spoke to each other for the first time, and two months later met. “I would go mad thinking what if we don’t click when face to face,” recalls Smriti. “But then, at the same time I was sure about ‘us’, for we’d come to know each other so well over the past one year,” she adds.

Hmmm… so is it that meeting in the real world doesn’t count at all, we wonder. “It does,” say Kriti and Arjun who met each other after almost a year-and-a-half after they had met on Orkut. “We behaved like strangers on our first meeting,” says Kriti. “It was easy to chat for long hours, but very different face to face,” chips in Arjun. And, what was it that prompted him to get talking to a complete stranger? “We were members of the same Orkut communities like rock bands, dog lovers and Bollywood,” he says. So do common interests still hold true? “Yes, of course,” they say. Kriti and Arjun are now busy working out a plan, online again, to disclose their relationship to their parents. And till then Kriti, working in a city BPO, and Arjun, a CA in Bangalore, are happy meeting on Orkut.

Now, while most of these Orkut struck stories have characteristic scripts that begin with a friendly Hello scrap and is followed by exchange of e-mails, digitalised pics, long hours of chatting and finally a meeting, this one comes with a twist. One look at Neha’s profile on Orkut and Vikram knew love had arrived. “I began by sending scraps to all her friends and found out everything about her – hobbies, favourite colour, nature and more,” says Vikram. Five months later, he sent her a mail that included her portrait and a poem penned down especially for her. “I was caught unawares, so was both shocked and scared, it was almost like being cyber stalked,” says Neha. “It was only after a while that I agreed to speak to him,” she adds.

Another happy ending is that of Supreet and Rajiv, a city-based teacher and bank employee respectively. “Our friends still find it hard to believe that we met on Orkut,” they smile. Six months back, Supreet dropped in a message to Rajiv asking him to help in a school project, and well, as they say, the rest is history.

But, what if you don’t click in the real world? “The heartbreak is as real,” says Aakriti, who broke off with her guy after a year of online relation. “We are still friends, but guess we mistook the excitement to see each other as love,” she shares. So, will she invest her time and feelings in a similar relation again? “Why not, it would be wonderful to meet Mr Perfect online,” says Aakriti.

So does cyber lover come with a warning then? “Yes”, say these couples in unison. “After all it’s sightless love, where your imagination and words rule,” they say. “But then, on the other hand, cyber love is all about inner beauty first, then the rest,” they log off!


When Dan met Puri
Saadi kudi Nandita Puri ties the knot with the charming Dan Dhanoa
Parbina Rashid

— Photo by Pradeep Tewari
— Photo by Pradeep Tewari

Who says love at first sight is a myth? Or how do you explain our homegrown actor Nandita Puri and ‘once upon a bad guy’ Dan Dhanoa’s short and whirlpool love story which just culminated in marriage? We catch the couple on their wedding reception to know how it all started. After all, there is nothing more interesting than a love story that has all the masala — boy meets girl, falls in love and live happily ever after!

“We met on July 5 this year when I was in city and I felt something special towards this man, but I told myself — this cannot be happening to me! But when the feeling persisted even after the second meeting, I knew he is the man I want to spend my life with.” They took the plunge on December 5.

Dan confirms — “Yes, it was love and the similar background that drew us to each other.” While Nandita is the familiar mother of small and big screen (Mayaka being her latest), Dan had played character roles (read villain) in films like Mard, Karma and Vishwatma.

Does that mean that we will get to see them both on screen together? “Have not thought about it,” says Dan, who is now working with a company here. It is going to be a shuttling kind of life for a while. But Nandita has chalked out her life more or less. “I do have some commitments in Mumbai, but I will gradually lessen my commitments there to give more attention to my new life,” she tells us.

Besides teaching kathak at Sangeet Mahabharati in Mumbai, she is committed now to play the mother’s role in Dil Ke Mamla. But now she refuses to accept serials that go on and on.

“If it is of short duration, then definitely I am game,” she says. But her main commitment of teaching classical dance will keep her busy for a while. After all, she is now quite a name after she trained Soha Ali Khan for the latest flick Khoya Khoya Chand.

How was the experience teaching someone like Soha who did not have a background in classical dance? “Her dedication and hard work made up for her lack of knowledge and it was amazing how she shaped up just in three months,” she says.

“I am planning to continue with my teaching there, but slowly I want to cut down to be a visiting faculty.”

She is adjusted to the idea of a shuttling kind of a life for the time being. After all, it will take a little time to untie bonds with Mumbai after spending 27 long years!

So what is her long-term plan? “I want to start my own classical art institute here and do choreography for ballets,” she says. “Her last dance-drama on the architectural heritage on Agra made quite an impression on the performing art circle. “I want to try out unusual subjects and present them as ballets,” she adds.

Well, as we leave the newly-weds to get on with their party, we smile to ourselves — it looks like Dan’s gain is city’s gain too!


Exhibition sans
Parbina Rashid

Bollywood’s success mantra of the year — multi-star cast — seems to have made an impact on our art curators too. The year saw a lot of group shows in the local art galleries, with Punjab Kalakar Utsav organised by Creativity Connect Foundation taking the cake. The foundation brought together works of 34 artists from the city — of both established and upcoming ones.

The number definitely impressed us, but what did not was the totally deserted look of the gallery with a lone figure I.S. Oddaru, a participant among the 34, to give us company at the empty-looking Punjab Kala Bhavan, Sector 16.

The collection too is of mixed lot — some outstanding works by both the old and a new generation, but we felt a little let- down as we had already seen some of the works at different exhibitions.

To start with Malkit Singh’s goat series made a reappearance here, after we saw it at Alliance a couple of months earlier at an exhibition organised by the same Creativity Connect. But there are paintings by artists like Shiv Singh, Ravinder Sharma, Prabhinder Lal, Subhash Shorey, Viren Tanwar, Jatinder Kumar Verma, Jaskanwal, Bheem Malhotra, Aditya Pande that made it a worthwhile visit.

Jaskamal’s women figure in black and white is thought provoking, comparing her with fertile land while Shiv Singh’s ink drawings on the same subject are executed with maturity. Ravinder Sharma’s ruins and cityscape are quite charming. Green dominates his canvas and his bold strokes are effective enough to capture the nostalgic allure of the countryside. There is Satwant Singh, exhibiting his woman and nature series in his trademark vibrancy. Sharing the same space is his daughter Kavita Singh, whose works show a marked influence of her father.

An exhibition that aims well, but then one cannot help but wish that the organisers were a little more organised! At least, put the name of the artist along with his works so that one does not have to bodily lift the painting to look at its rear to find out if it bears the artist’s signature.

Artist, young at heart

After 50 years of clicking people and places, 73-year-young shutterbug Satya Pal Handa is all set to showcase his works at Government Museum and Art Gallery.

“I have done commercial photography all my life, but the 55 pictures I am planning to exhibit are artistic shots of people’s lifestyles,” he says.

One of the oldest citizens of Chandigarh, Handa came to city from Jammu and Kashmir as a freelance photographer way back in 1953. “Later I opened a studio called Chandi Studio in Sector 22. But about 10 years back I took retirement from commercial photography and now solely concentrate on the artistic genre,” he says.

Most of his photographs are in black and white. “It’s only for the past 10 years that I have been clicking coloured ones,” he informs.

The exhibition will be inaugurated on December 11 and conclude on 13. — TNS

Paris HiltonParis no different from parents

Paris Hilton’s parents once snorted cocaine off a floor with ‘Village People’ cowboy Randy Jones. Jones claims that he shared a table with Paris’ parents Rick and Kathy Hilton at New York’s Studio 54 club in 1977. “There was one rock of cocaine left, and it rolled off the table. They didn’t even bother bringing it back up, they crushed it into the carpet and snorted it off that,” said Jones. “Whatever Paris Hilton is, she came by it honestly,” he added. Rick and Kathy both dismissed Jones’ claims saying, “It never happened. We didn’t move to the city until 1979.” — ANI

First Day First Show
All smoke, but no fire
Rajiv Kaplish

Khoya Khoya...

Director Sudhir Mishra says his new movie Khoya Khoya Chand is a tribute to the movies of the 50s and the 60s. We have to correct him. It is reminiscence stuff dished out by a man lost in thoughts. So busy is he in his recollections of an era gone by that he unabashedly steals scenes from Guru Dutt’s Kagaz Ke Phool and yet has the temerity to describe the classic as an indulgent film that wallows in despair. But think of our desperation, Sudhir, when we bear your ode, which is at odds with those exciting times.

Instead of recreating the magic of the dream factory of yesteryear, you explore its supposedly dark underbelly. Your imaginary world is full of greed, ambition and lust and the protagonists, Soha Ali Khan and Shiney Ahuja, are caught in a web of deceit and lies. Soha is an 18-year-old starlet who is a pawn in the hands of her ambitious mother. She later achieves the status of a superstar and then falls a victim to alcoholism before finally regaining her lost glory. Shiney is an ambitious writer who manipulates Soha and goes on to become a successful director. So much in the name of a tribute!

Where you falter, Mishra, is in your inability to connect with the audience which does not get any sense of involvement. In your tearing hurry to prove that you are a master storyteller, you reduce the period flick to a melodramatic tale of passion, love and betrayal.

Instead of making it a piece of serious and introspective cinema, you turn it into a vehicle of private and personal expression. You mould Soha, Shiney and Rajat Kapoor into characters divorced from reality and so engrossed in their own fantasies that the “turbulence and pathos” in their lives looks farcical. Soha looks ravishing but is too young and innocent to play a complex role. Shiney does not shine in any manner. Rajat is too wooden to play a consummate actor. The only demonstration of your prowess is in the treatment of the role of Saurabh Shukla who, as a boisterous Punjabi-speaking film producer, is the sole saving grace. Vinay Pathak and Sushmita Mukherjee are pathetic.

At times, it looks like a documentary made for the students of a film institute. “I am sure one day Sanjay Leela Bhansali will make a great film — when he has more confidence and does not want to prove what a master he is,” Mishra recently told an interviewer. After watching “Khoya Khoya....”, that is precisely our refrain about you, Mr Director.

Showing at: Nirman, Fun Republic

Dus Kahaniyan

You can call it an anthology of 10 short films. Or, in director Sanjay Gupta’s words, a thali where one can choose from sarson ka saag, makki ki roti, aloo, biryani, dal and gobhi. But sitting in Sanjay’s dhaba, we find that the thali in quite thandi.

Whether the dishes are prepared by Sanjay Gupta, Sudhir Mishra, Meghna Gulzar and a few other directors and served by the likes of Sanjay Dutt, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and Nana Patekar, they are all stale. There is even a common thread running through them — their meagre nature. That makes our job much easier. We can savour any or none of the 10 dishes and exit the dhaba.

Showing at: Fun Republic, Batra

Little Interview
Man of many talents

He debuted on the small screen with Koshish … Ek Asha, in which he played the character of a mentally retarted boy. Then you saw him playing the love interest of the troubled babe Pammi in Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand and then as a young man in love with a woman more than his age in the path-breaking Astitva. That’s Varun Badola, who is selective, likes to experiment and does not want to stick to the same monotonous rag of the mill roles. His experiment with comedy has led him to do Ek Chabi Hai Pados Mein on Star. We caught up with the serious and focused actor. Talking about his success rate, he was in the finals of Nach Balliye 2 and now is in the top four of Jhoom India.

How did you come across Jhoom India what made you participate?

I love reality shows. It has been 11 years since I sang; Jhoom India gave me a chance to revive my interest.

Now that you are in the top four, how does it feel and what are your preparations?

- It definitely feels good. This competition is different; I’m learning to sing now. My partner is working hard to teach me the basics of singing. I’m not a trained singer. Initially on the show also I didn’t learn too much, for everything was haphazard and we were trying to complete the episodes. But now I have started learning.

You participated in Nach… and now Jhoom India and excelled in both. Which is your favourite?

I like Jhoom India better, for singing is my interest. And I don’t consider myself lucky, I didn’t know how to dance at all and just went all out. I do know a little about singing so I’m enjoying this more.

Your father is a singer. Did you learn from him?

Yes a lot. But that was 11 years back and now I have forgotten most of what I learnt.

You are working with your father in Ek Chabi... How does he rate you?

We are not critical of each other’s work in any way. In fact, it is a gospels law at home not to discuss work. He never criticises me and gives me creative freedom.

— Aman Minhas

Write to Renee
at lifestyletribune@gmail.com or C/o Lifestyle, The Tribune, Sector 29-C, Chandigarh

I am a 26-year-old guy in the merchant navy but feel like a mess these days. I make enough money, have all the luxuries of life but do not feel happy at all. Whenever I am on leave I am short tempered and just laze around the house doing nothing. Even my girl friend of 5 years wants to desert me, as she cannot cope with my tantrums. I seem to take pleasure in feeling sorry for myself. Is it general job dissatisfaction or a feeling of restlessness that has settled within me? Please advise.

Subhash Chopra

You have created a web of unhappiness around you. You are young, healthy and spirited but need to discover that extra spark. Without the zing in life, is it really worth living? Step out and embrace life. Perhaps you grew up thinking that if you have lots of money, happiness will come naturally. Now you have discovered this is not so. Find yourself a focus, a passion; there must be something you enjoyed doing, start indulging in it. I’m sure your listlessness towards life has put off your girlfriend also. Let the thought of having her back into your life inspire you. Look for acceptance within yourself. Your temper will settle down as you start finding satisfaction in your life. 

Me and my girlfriend, who is 30, have been through thick and thin for the past 8 years. Except for a few trivial matters there has been good understanding between us. Now she has developed a relationship with one of her students who is one-and-a-half-years younger to her. I had objected to it and she promised abandoning him but still hasn’t. She has started ignoring me and stopped seeing me altogether. I am very puzzled for I love her dearly and can’t do without her. Please help. 

B.L. Sachdeva

My sympathies are with you but I would be better equipped to answer if I knew the age difference between the two of you. Also whether you are married or willing to offer marriage to your girlfriend. After all in our society every girl, no matter how dearly loved, looks for security of marriage and kids. Love alone cannot suffice. If you approach her with mature attitude and do not try to force your opinions on her, things might get better. Even if you object to her new relationship, do so tactfully. Force aggravates rebellion. Make her feel loved and understood. If you will send her some positive friendly and loving vibes things will work out better.

I am a 29-year-old girl getting married to a 31-year-old guy. He has a habit of going for stag parties all the time. We have been dating for two years and he still parties with his guy friends. I do not approve of this as neither my father nor my brothers have done anything like this. We are a close-knit family and feel that husbands and wives must entertain together. I tried to discuss this with him once but got upset. He feels I am suffocating his life. I feel apprehensive about marrying a man who treats his wife like an object. I like him very much but don’t know how to deal with it. 

Nirmala Jha

Women no longer want to take the back seat and want to stride along their man in every sphere. I personally do not see any harm with a man having an evening out with his friends once in a while. If it becomes a regular occurrence then it is a problem. Do not compare. That is asking for trouble. If you want to change him do it slowly and subtly. Do not make him feel stifled in the relationship. Let him know that these stag things are getting outdated and people have started partying as couples.

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