Happy R-Day guys!
Kid Republic

On the eve of the 59th Republic Day, we spoke to some of our city kids and came back surprised, specially at Pakistan being stumped from the time-honoured position... 

BEWARE, the country has a new enemy — Australia. Get ready to attack them with your fighter plane, for, they cheat in the game of cricket. Forget illiteracy, poverty or unemployment, the problem with our country is bad people who abuse. We don’t like bad people. And, we also don’t like leaders who have not read the country’s book of rules. They don’t care for the poor. We are not even free yet. Why? Cos’ we can’t watch unlimited POGO nor can we chuck the girls of the class out of the school. Also, while mommie gives us Crocin when we fall ill, there’s nobody to give it to the boy who is selling flags on the street. But then, we like our comfortable country for all the fruits and festivals. Well, we are not saying all this. These are the views of the Indians who will shape the country of tomorrow. We probe more with questions like why they love their country, what they can do for it and why are they enjoying a holiday on Saturday and come back with the simplest and the sweetest of replies.

Purva Grover hears them out:

AamirWhat happens in school on Jan 25?

It’s a Sports Day. We will march.

Why is Republic Day celebrated?

I don’t remember.

You like India?

I am a proud Indian. I like India a lot.

I feel comfortable here.

Anything that you don’t like about India?

People who abuse. They are bad people.

What can you do for your country?

Ask people not to kill. They are corrupt.

What does corruption mean?

It means annoying.

If you were to choose one freedom for yourself what would it be?

I want to kick out all the girls of my class.

— Aamir, 11 Class VI, Strawberry Fields

AkritiWhy is Republic Day celebrated?

It’s the day when the Indian Constitution was framed and we attained Purn Swaraj.

What does the Constitution contain?

The Preamble and rules for proper functioning of the country and society.

Do you know anything about the freedom struggle?

Yes, my grandfather shares many brave stories with me. He doesn’t like the political scene of today.

Any patriotic song that you like?

Kar Chale Hum Fida...

If you were to choose one freedom for yourself what would it be?

To watch unlimited TV.

What do you want to do for India?

Provide medical treatment to everybody.

— Akriti, 15 Class IX, Sacred Heart

What happens in the school on 25th?

UtkarshWe take part in the drill, principal Ma’am hoists the Indian flag and gives certificates to students with full attendance.

What makes the day special?

It’s Republic Day, the day when the Constitution was made.

What is a Constitution?

My sister told me but mujhe nahi yaad.

Pakistan & Australia  are our dushmans.  Aussies cheat  at cricket!

What can you do for your country?

Dushmano se ladai.

And who are our dushmans?

Pakistan and Australia.


They cheat while playing cricket.

What do you like best about India?

Fruits— grapes and oranges.

— Utkarsh, 8 Class III, Bhavan Vidyalya

AanandiWhy do we celebrate Jan 26?

It’s the day when the Indian Constitution came into being.

What is a Constitution?

It’s a book of rules.

What do you want to do for the country?

Ask the political leaders to improve and give importance to the poor.

Any fave patriotic movie?

Rang De Basanti

Who were our freedom fighters?

Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, they fought against the British.

What do you like about India?

We live and celebrate all festivals together.

— Aanandi, 12 Class VI, Bhavan Vidyalya

— KarunpratapDo you have a holiday on Saturday?



It is Christian brother’s birthday.

What is 26 January?

Republic Day.

What is Republic Day?

Bhool gaya.

What is India?

The name of my country.

What can you do for your country?

Fighter plane chala kar Air Force station jaonga. Wahan se dushman se ladai karoonga.

— Karunpratap, 5˝, Class KG, St. John’s

Photos by Pradeep Tewari

The great Indian Republic Show

Youngsters need an excuse to celebrate. They gift on Valentine’s and party on Halloween. And when it comes to R-Day, they have no reason to hold themselves back, says Saurabh Malik

Tune in to patriotism

Keeping in tune with Republic Day celebrations BIG 92.7 FM will be spreading the message of peace and harmony on January 26. A joy ride on Hop on and Hop of open bus for achievers, felicitated by the UT Administration, will be organised during daytime. Special phone talks will be arranged for the soldiers of Indian Army who are on duty at the borders and their families who stay in the city. This would create a special bond between the soldiers of the country and the listeners. Apart from this, their RJs would talk to war widows on air and play their favorite numbers. The team would also walk the roads to speak to the people buying Tricolor and would play their favorite numbers.

Call it surge of patriotism or loyalty towards carousing; snail-mail and e-cards, along with flags, music cassettes and even buntings are laying the constitution of Republic Day celebrations.

Oh yes, Republic Day in 2008 is turning out to be more than just an occasion for nationalists. It is fast attaining the proportions of another gala festival. You may find it incredible, but a website “4to40.com” actually lists Republic Day along with Lohri and other great Indian festivals.

Alright, not many card companies have so far cashed in on the enthusiasm. So what? The residents are fast picking up cards printed during the Kargil War. That’s right fellows. So many cards printed by Archies to hearten soldiers fighting to regain every inch of Indian territory that were practically stacked away are now being pulled out and placed on glass shelves in card and gift shops across the city in the “light of great demand”.

“The Jai Jawan cards have no mention of Republic Day on them,” says Dewsun Greetings and Gifts Private Limited director Diwakar Sahoonja. “Yet there is practically a battle for them… Youngsters are pulling out crisp currency notes from their wallets to post or simply handover the stuff.”

Flashing a broad smile from his office in Sector 11, Sahoonja says: The demand for Republic Day stuff was never so great in the city. Looking at the crowd, it seems every one is stepping off the beaten track and looking for effortful way of greeting each other on January 26.

Young management student Jatin Malhotra has picked up two cards for his school-time chums in the US and Australia “They migrated some three years back and remember their country a lot,” he says. “I am sure they will love these cards.”   

Explaining the trend, young socio-psychologist Geeta Mahajan says: Younglings need an excuse to celebrate. Be it their own festival of Diwali or still-somewhat-alien occasion of Halloween, they forward short messages on mobile phones, send electronic cards and handover gifts. It’s nothing but an expression of love, care and affection. And when it comes to the celebration of the Constitution of India that came into force on January 26, 1950, they have no reasons to hold themselves back. Along with the cards, they gift flags.

Otherwise also, the youthful crowd — at least in urban areas — has hardly a reason to complain against the nation. Fresh out of educational institutes, a substantial number of them land fat pay-packages. And, have enough dough in their pockets to realise their dreams of donning good clothes and driving sleek cars. Whatever is happening to the country’s economy in real terms is actually not their concern.

No wonder, music cassettes of patriotic songs too are heralding celebrations. “It may sound like music to your ears, but people are actually asking for albums with hit numbers like Maa Tujhe Salam and Mera Bharat Mahan,” says Dinesh Goyal, working with a Sector 35 music store. He himself has picked up a cassette for playing it in his car stereo while on way to the shop from his house in Phase XI.    

The guy is waiting for roadside vendors to surface with small plastic flags. “Gotta present them to my nephews and nieces,” he says. “They are looking forward to it”.

Well fellows, after listening to them, you cannot help but salute. Happy Republic Day and many-many happy returns!    


Last ascent for Hillary
The pioneer of Everest departs on his final journey
Yana Banerjee-Bey

Photos by the writer
Photo by the writer

Sir Edmund Hillary, the grand old man of mountaineering – indeed, of adventure – has passed on to another world. When the golden jubilee of his Everest ascent with Tenzing Norgay came round in 2003, he had graciously borne the May heat in Delhi to attend celebrations by the Indian mountaineering community. And, addressing a gathering that included several Everest summiteers, he had said, memorably, “Many of you have done it and you will wonder what was so special about our climb. Well, mainly that we didn’t know if we could do it. We didn’t know if we would come back alive.”

‘Quiet satisfaction’

“There came no feeling of extreme pleasure or excitement, more a sense of quiet satisfaction, and even a bit of surprise. So many tough climbers had tried for the summit and failed. Now Tenzing and I were there: it seemed hard to believe.”

— Edmund Hillary

Himalayan Trust
You can read about Hillary’s work and make a donation at www.himalayantrust.co.uk

For nearly 55 years, Hillary heard the world discuss ceaselessly – and unnecessarily – whether he and Tenzing had been the first or had George Mallory and Andrew Irvine in 1924. Even if Mallory and Irvine made it to the top – and only Mallory’s camera lying somewhere on Everest can solve the mystery – Hillary and Tenzing were still pioneers, facing a psychological barrier in “boldly going where no man had gone before”. Mallory and Irvine’s attempt was on the north side of the mountain while Hillary and Tenzing climbed the southeast ridge.

It was the pioneering aspect that fired the imagination of the world. The ascent of Everest was matched only by the moon landing in the effect these events had on two generations in the 20th Century (http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20030529/edit.htm#4).

Also, the swarms of Everest summiteers at the 2003 celebrations in Delhi and Kathmandu were aware that Hillary and Tenzing accomplished the climb with relatively primitive clothing and equipment. It is said that the expedition’s success was partly due to the vital decision to use oxygen while sleeping. It was the first expedition to do so.

Hillary repeatedly said that his life’s greatest satisfaction was derived from taking literacy, medical care and employment into Sherpa villages in Nepal through his Himalayan Trust. (Those villages also benefited from the mountaineer-trekker traffic to Everest Base Camp that he was instrumental in starting.)

It’s coincidental but I love pointing out that Kiwi climbers Rob Hall and Jan Arnold met when she was working as a doctor for a Himalayan Trust clinic in a Khumbu village. In 1996, Hall famously phoned his pregnant wife to say goodbye as he crouched, frostbitten and dying, high on Everest during a killer storm that took nine lives.

The world’s favourite story about Hillary is the one relating how team member George Lowe rushed up to the two tired summiteers as they descended towards the camp. Nowadays, summiteers speak to their teams, families and sponsors via satellite radio from the summit of Everest but in 1953 there weren’t even walkie-talkies and Lowe had been waiting anxiously to know if the pair had succeeded. And Hillary’s famous (or infamous!) reply was, “Well, George, we knocked the bastard off.” Weeks later, when Hillary reached home, his mother asked sternly, “Edmund, did you really say that?” And Hillary replied sheepishly, “Yes, mum, I’m afraid I did.”

My own favourite Hillary story is about an incident many years after the conquest of Everest. The pilot of a flight in north India pointed out Everest to his passengers. A few minutes later, the airhostess came into the cockpit with a note from a passenger saying the pilot had pointed out the wrong peak as Everest and correcting the mistake. The pilot sent the note back with an abrupt sentence saying he flew this route regularly and knew which one was Everest. The note came back with a scribble and a signature: “I know Everest. I climbed it. Edmund Hillary.”

(This column appears fortnightly)

The writer has authored India’s

first handbook of adventure sports and is available at y.bey@excite.com 

An Arty Year

Talent needs a creative outlet and a platform for showcasing it. And thanks to the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi, our budding artists now have both. It came in the form of a calendar, incorporating 20 award-winning paintings that resulted from a workshop, organised as a part of the Rock Garden Festival last year.

Conceptualised by Aditya Prakash, president of the Akademi and executed by D.S. Kapoor of Government College of Art, the calendar opens with a beautiful quote by Pablo Picasso — “We all know that art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realise the truth, at least the truth that is given to us to understand” and a picture of Rock garden’s creator Nek Chand inaugurating the workshop.

Each leaf of the calendar carries two prints of the original paintings, one from a school-level winner and the other from a college-level one. Each painting carries the winner’s name and the educational institute the artist belongs to. The theme, of course, is Rock Garden in its different moods. An entire page is also dedicated to include the works of 20 other artists, who did a good job but could not make it to the top-20 list.

“This is the first in Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi’s history that a calendar of this kind has been printed. The idea is to encourage young boys and girls to participate in art-related activities,” says Kapoor.

A healthy attempt to counteract some unhealthy trends likes parents booking hotel rooms or galleries to hold solo exhibitions for their children, which happened to be the highlight of last year. — P. R.

First Day First Show
Ajay tries to be funny, but fails
Rajiv Kaplish



Exhaustion shows on Ajay Devgan’s face. He looks tired. Who won’t he be after belting out numerous action flicks that failed to create any ripples at the box office. He is desperate for a hit. Guess, whom he turns to for inspiration? Akshay Kumar, his contemporary and the Bollywood hunk, who effortlessly switched off from an action hero to a comic star and delivered four mega hits in 2007.

Taking a cue from Akshay, Devgan has teamed up with director Rohit Shetty in Sunday. Call it an action thriller or a comedy, the Shetty film doesn’t have a story that you will remember till Sunday. In fact, it is based on a Telugu hit Anukokunda Oka Roju. But it certainly tickles your funny bone while it lasts.

The body of a murdered woman is found floating in a lake. A girl, Seher (Ayesha Takia), is under the scanner. She has unexplained scratch marks on her neck. There is a taxi driver, Ballu (Arshad Warsi) who is hunting for her. Then, there is a bunch of goons who want to eliminate her. Kumar (Irrfan Khan), a friend of the taxi driver, cries bhoot everytime he sees her. Finally, there is corrupt cop Rajvir Randhawa (Ajay Devgan) and his understudy, Mukesh Tiwary, who help the ever-forgetful Seher remember where she was and what she did on Sunday when the woman was murdered.

It is almost settled now. The main protagonists are being repeatedly dwarfed by supporting actors in movie after movie. Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor were the real heroes of Welcome. In Halla Bol, Pankaj Kapoor matched up to Ajay Devgan. In Sunday, Arshad Warsi and Irrfan Khan carry the day. Though the fun element in Ajay ‘s role is woven into sequences where he ‘lightens criminals’ punishment by letting them off after taking bribes, laughter is written all over the portrayals of Warsi and Khan. There is no escape from their clownish antics. Their hilarious encounters with Ayesha and Mukesh Tiwary while driving the taxi or in the police station deserve special mention. It will be a while before Ajay comes out of the action hero syndrome and develops a natural flair for comedy.

Ayesha is happy with her role of a radio artiste. The director, or for that matter, we, too do not expect much from her and want to forget her. It is a pity that Tussar Kapoor and Esha Deol have been reduced to performing ‘item’ numbers. Ignore the ‘item boy’ and ‘item girl’, the needless car chases and the plastic fights and you can give it a try on Sunday.

Showing at: Nirman, Fun Republic

Telly Tales
Kahani fashion ki
Yoshita Sharma

Calling saas bahu fans & fashionistas: Now you can dress up
Star Parivaar style

Dutiful daughter, ideal bahu, devoted wife, perfect mother and empathetic saas, the complete homemaker who binds the whole family into one single cord of harmony and realises her identity inspite of performing so many roles simultaneously — Tulsi, Parvati, Kumkum, Prerna, Bani and more. Many cried with them, a few cried over this genre of tearjerker daily soaps, while the fashion conscious were busy copying these divas.

Markets were flooded with Tulsi sarees, Parvati bindis and Kumkum kangans. This was way back when Ekta Kapoor first set eyes on telly and made it as big as it is today. Eight years on, another milestone has been reached — merchandise from these serials has brought alive the Star Parivaar world at a Big Bazaar outlet near you.

The collection draws inspiration from the popular soaps on the channel and brings together colour palettes, designs and styles into an ethnic range.  To begin with, the range comprises 250 unique styles characteristic to ten of the channel’s leading ladies, including Tulsi and Nandini, Parvati, Kumkum, Prerna, Kasturi and city girl Roshni. You can choose from sarees, salwaar-kurtas and ready-to-stitch suits depending upon your style and that of your fave protagonist!

So what brought about this experiment (yes, it is the first effort of its kind at brand licensing in the country), we ask Star India CEO Uday Shankar. “In every consumer research conducted by us, our viewers expressed that they would like to have access to the fashion and lifestyle that they experience through our entertainment platform. This collection has been designed keeping in mind the aspirations of the Indian woman and empowers them with a choice of contemporary tradition,” he says.

An innovative catalogue at Big Bazaar will showcase the line, and a complementary fashion book will also be available.  Together, these will provide the Indian women with a complete fashion inspiration to create a look that is stylish and relevant.  The inspiration for colours will be provided by tarot card reader Manisha Khatwani with a full colour forecast for every star sign.

Says Nanette D’Sa, senior vice-president, licensing & merchandising, “Star Parivaar is a world that women across India experience through a host of shows with their loved characters like Tulsi and Parvati and culminating in the much-awaited annual awards show. This merchandise reflects the spirit of style and glamour that is unique to our channel.”

The range showcases a variety of styles and silhouettes with interesting embroidery embellishments, block prints and sequin work with innovative garment detailing. “The collection is fashion forward and highly embellished, combining the best of textile heritage and cutting edge fashion, at value price points. A team of design specialists and stylists at Star have put together the inspiration for the range, complete with a trend guide, style and silhouette directions, brand-packaging and a visual merchandising program,” adds Nanette.

The collection uses georgettes, chiffons and cotton blends and with prices starting from Rs 799, it could well be designer wear truly accessible for the masses.  But with no Big Bazaar outlet in town, all roads may well lead to Ambala this weekend!

(This column appears weekly)


Britney’s early start

Britney SpearsBritney Spears’ uncle claims that she started experimenting with drugs and drinks from a very early age. The 49-year-old William Spears spoke candidly about the troubled singer’s early problems. He said that Spears started drinking from the time she was 13 and indulged in drugs at 14.

She is also reportedly scared that she will follow in the footsteps of her grandmother who committed suicide at the age of 31. William said Spears went ‘buck-wild’ when she turned 18 and tried cocaine on her birthday. He believes her present problems can be traced back to her difficult past. — IANS

beauty studio
Miracles of Coconut

Pammy Kaul

Healing wonders

  • Ideal oil for dry, rough and wrinkled skin.
  • Excellent for people with Psoriasis and Eczema.
  • Crushed garlic, paired with coconut oil has the power to eliminate planter warts and athletes foot.
  • Great for hair as a conditioner as it softens the scalp and conditions the hair. As a pre-wash conditioner it helps get rid of dandruff, better than a medicated shampoo.

With all the latest from the West and new developed creams and moisturizers in India, it won’t be wrong to say that coconut oil remains a hot favourite and undoubtedly a best friend to our skin. Said to be the healthiest oil on earth with small molecules it allows easy absorption through the skin, lending a soft and smooth texture. It is a well known fact that dietary coconut oil reduces our need for Vitamin E, especially virgin coconut oil that fights free radicals as it is unrefined and hasn’t been stripped off any natural components .Most of the commercial creams available today are made up with refined vegetable oils which have been stripped off all antioxidants and are highly prone to free radical. This is where your choice of eating processed vegetable oils comes in question and deficiency of Vitamin E and other antioxidants are concerned. Bear in mind, if your choice of cream/moisturizer includes refined oil you are giving chances to your skin to age faster.

Skin has a ph of about 5, making it slightly acidic. Our sweat and body oils help in promoting this acidic environment. Infections result when skin’s defense breaks down. Antiseptic fatty acids in coconut oil help to prevent fungal and bacterial infections when consumed, and to some extent, when applied directly to the skin. The skin is more vulnerable to infection when bathing, as the soap washes off the protective layer of oil and acid. You can’t get rid off all germs by washing your hands and body as some hide in the skin’s folds and cracks. Coconut oil helps reestablish the skins natural antimicrobial and acid barrier.

I am a 33-year-old female and have a thyroid problem. Please suggest some home remedies for a healthy glowing skin.

—Tanya, via e-mail

A common problem with thyroid is dry skin. To have healthy skin you need to improve its texture and appearance. Commercial skin products absorb into dry skin as the water from these enter the tissues filling them up giving a smooth and the fading of wrinkle feel. But, as the water evaporates, the dry skin emerges again. Coconut oil can do wonders for your skin.

Avoid using soap more than once a day. Soak in the tub daily and make sure the water is not too hot. Immediately slather on moisturizer. Mix petroleum jelly with any cream as lotions and creams are too light on their own to hold moisture effectively. And also, drink plenty of fluids.

(This column appears fortnightly)

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