Never say die!
Our Jassi oozes confidence, chutzpah and a sixth sense when it comes to grabbing roles
Parbina Rashid

WHAT happens when one becomes a larger-than-life-image overnight? A dream comes true, one would say. But there are pitfalls that usually follow such humongous success. And who knows that better than Jassi, aka, Mona Singh? Well, right now, she doesn’t have much to boast of except for a show Naya Roop Nayi Zindagi she would be hosting for Sony. No, not for the want of offers, but for the benchmark she has set for herself as Jassi in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin.

“It’s difficult to get any bigger than that,” she smiles. So, she is cooling her heels at present by reading a lot of scripts, considering offers and trying to make the right moves. And one of the right moves she thinks she made was when she participated in Jhalak Dikhla Ja and went on to win it. “Before I took part in the show, I could not shake a leg to save my life. I had never danced, not even at a birthday bash. My father made fun of me when I told him that I was going to take part in a dance show. But luckily I had a good choreographer. He taught me the right moves, and made me shed excess weight,” she smiles. “The show helped me to get rid of my Jassi-image to a certain extent,” she adds.

But the struggle behind her first big break still haunts her. “I gave 30-odd auditions to finally get that role. I used to travel from Pune to Mumbai, give auditions and go back.” But what stopped her from giving auditions for films, considering that she was already walking down the ramp with big names and had become a familiar face on TV via Godrej, Coke, Pizza Hut and LG and Asian Paints? “Familiarity. TV seemed within reach, so I just tried. And for sure, I’m never going to give up the small screen even if Bollywood happens,” she says.

But no run-of-the-mill-kind of parts are going to satisfy her. “It has to be different, something unique like Jassi. Or, something like the extreme makeover show I am hosting.” And our lady has a sixth sense when it comes to accepting the right offer. “When I agreed to be Jassi, I knew it was either going to be a disaster or a big hit. And after seeing the Spanish version of Ugly Betty, I was almost certain of its success.” So what if she felt like Superman, living a double life, er, double look, for days on end? After all, no risk, no gain.

And looking at her right in person, promoting Kipling bags and oozing out optimism and hope for even a better role in future, it is easy to connect her with Jassi and the character’s never-say-die attitude. 

Meet the Monkey

Kipling, the Belgian brand of women’s casual bags, makes an entry in Chandigarh. A brand known for its playful attitude, trendy designs and girlie colours, is for those who are looking for cutting-edge design combined with hi-end quality and comfort. It comes with the trademark monkey of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book.

Kipling as a brand originated in the fashion city of Antwrep way back in 1987 and soon became a worldwide name.

It is said there are more Kipling bags than women in Belgium. Every minute about 16 Kipling bags are sold across the world. And going by the statistics it is the world’s best brand for women’s casual bags.

The bags that ‘ooz personality and individuality’ come with plenty of utility value. Though most are for casual use, some can be used in formal occasions if matched with appropriate attire. Made of machine washable nylon, the bags are for a lifetime with an easy-maintenance feature.

While red, blue and black are standard colours, contrast is brought out with second colours depending on the theme to suit the season. Depending on your taste, you could thus pick a pink and red piece with batik and rangoli-inspired prints. Or you could pick a Vintage multi-purpose bag, complete with the grunge look in wrinkled nylon.

The bags start at Rs 2,000 and go up to Rs 7,000.

Keeping alive & how!
City singer on jury conducting auditions for forthcoming Indian Idol
Parbina Rashid

CALL it versatility or going with the flow of life, Gagan Singh does not mind what form of music he is doing, as long as it is a good composition. So, what brings this guy suddenly into media focus? Well, he is a part of the jury that is conducting auditions for Indian Idol’s next season. And Gagan, originally from Nurpur, has a city connection too. He spent nine years of his life at Panjab University. ‘Nine years?’ as our gulp is audible even over the phone (we catch him in Varanasi), he corrects our thoughts with a hearty laugh, “No, I didn’t flunk. It took me that long to complete a master’s degree, an M Phil and finally my Ph D in film music.”

He is a hard-core classical guy with years of training in Agra and Gwalior Gharanas. But he does not mind breaking into a Ya Ali or Maujan hi Maujan at the drop of a hat. Or melodious, old Hindi numbers for that matter. Since his doctorate was on film music, the natural progression for Gagan was to live in Mumbai and get a feel of the music industry first hand. But the new scenario got him involved with a band called Keep Alive and he started doing old Hindi numbers. “It was courtesy the brand mentor Manohar Aiyer that I got in touch with the Midtech people and they took me in the jury for the first round of auditions for Indian Idol.

So whom does he identify with — Simon Cowell of Randy — from his American counterparts? “No Simon style. Though we are giving a lot of emphasis on sur and taal besides their receptiveness, we are quite easy with them — give them a chance to sing at least three or four songs,” says Gagan who has conducted two auditions, one at Amritsar and another at Guwahati. From his observations, he tells us how different the participants of Punjab are from the North-eastern state, “Punjabis are bold singers, robust in their choice of music but the Assamese are a little shy and though we found quite a few with great voice, their pronounced accent comes as a handicap.”

As for the singer in him, Gagan is ready with his debut album Pahle Kabhie. And he promises us an album with strong compositions and a wee bit of classical touch. 

Bits & bytes
Order chips with desktops or cappuccino with notebooks!
Saurabh Malik    

Cool cafés are now offering more than just steaming cappuccinos and veggie burgers on a platter full of scrumptious pleasure. After rebooting to an all new concept, the joints have added doohickeys and gizmos on their menus. Come on guys, don’t confuse the joints with cyber cafés you so often visit for sharing emotions over a cup of hot coffee with faraway pals brought near by the Internet. It’s different!

Push open the impressive glass doors that lead you to a new world of gadgets and gizmos, and you find yourself enjoying bits and bytes in an inimitable environment. You have computer mags and animated games. And, you have desktops and I pods — all up for grabs.

To top it all, you can make your voice heard over the din of routine by singing the tunes of changing times with karaoke microphone in your eager hands. What more can you ask for, fellows? Okay, free e-mail check? Well, you have that too.

And you don’t have to travel to the foreign lands for the still-so-alien concept. For, it’s right there in your friendly neighbourhood Mohali. Drive down the road cutting its way to Sohana. As soon as you reach Sector 70, you find a glittery board on the first floor. Powered by Hewlett Packard notebooks, desktops, printers and accessories, it is aptly christened Gizmo Cafe.

Informs information technology pro IP Singh, the man behind bringing you the experience, “We’ve added the ingredients of technology to come out with perfect recipe for delight that you’ve never tasted before in a lounge environment,” he asserts. “You can buy yourself strong coffee by asking for Cafe Core 2 Duo. Or else, you can go in for Turbo T++. That’s hot masala tea. You even have Visual Java Irish Coffee and blue-tooth baby. By the way, that’s blueberry spread sandwich. AOL Spread is an all orange layer sandwich. And as you bite into bliss, read some of the latest gizmo magazines.”

There is something for the game freaks too. In fact, the joint makes you live through the happiness of playing XBOX 360 free of cost on a giant 27-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) screen. Then, you have Hindi, English and even Punjabi ‘hip hop’ karaoke numbers to help you in your endeavor to emerge as the voice of India! 

Nay, this is not the end of goodies. You can shop for HP Notebooks, Apple I pods, Compaq desktops, printers and other gizmos. The stuff contains world famous card-scan, gaming consoles, karaoke equipment, home theatres, high-end headphones, laptop cleaning kits and even tough drives.

Folks, don’t be surprised if someone comes to you and asks, “Sir, would you like to have some chips with your computer, please. As you look at the stuff awestruck, IP says, “It’s the first of its kind in the country. Initially, plans were to open up the first one in Bangalore, but it didn’t happen. The idea behind setting up the café here is not just to present a great shopping experience to residents, but also to make Mohali a happening place.” Looking at the bits and pieces, you can’t help, but agree.

Memorable Moments
Parbina Rashid

An Intimate Act it is, but not the kind the name suggests. The exhibition is more of a nostalgic trip down the memory lane for artist Jaskanwal. It’s all about childhood friendship and games that the Gen Past played. The dominant factor in each of her frames is nature, suggesting how attuned one used to be with nature during those growing-up years.

                     Photo by Pradeep Tewari

When the theme is nature, one expects brightest of colours. But Jaskanwal, in most of her frames on display at the gallery of the State Library-34, plays with a ballpoint pen and comes out with amazing forms in monochrome. Her other medium of expression is oil pastels — bright but easy on the eye. “I love playing with texture and when I do that, forms automatically come out,” says the artist, who teaches art in a city school.

And her forms help us travel back in time and experience the ecstasy and agony of childhood days, the joys that one’s friends bring and the pangs of loneliness. Each one comes with a well-balanced composition and lyrical figures. Her work belongs to the semi-abstract genre, figures without a definite face, motifs giving out hidden messages.

“My human forms come without a face because I don’t want them to be visually restricting and draw them bare feet because I want to establish the link between man and nature,” she says. A statement that reminds us of Edgar Degas’s famous quote, “Drawing is not the same as form, it is a way of seeing form.” That’s exactly what Jaskanwal has done.

On till April 23

First Day First Show
Sighs & tears
P.S. I love you

Holly Kennedy (Hillary) doesn’t know how lucky she is. She is beautiful, smart and married to the love of her life - a passionate, funny, and impetuous Irish limo driver named Gerry (Gerald Butler). So when Gerry’s life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. The only one who can help her is the person who is no longer there.

Nobody knows Holly better than Gerry. So it’s a good thing he planned ahead. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of letters that will guide her, not only through her grief, but in rediscovering herself. The first message arrives on Holly’s 30th birthday in the form of a cake, and to her utter shock, a tape recording from Gerry, who proceeds to tell her to get out and “celebrate herself”.

In the weeks and months that follow, more letters from Gerry are delivered in surprising ways, each sending her on a new adventure and each signing off in the same way; P.S. I Love You. Holly’s mother and best friends begin to worry that Gerry’s letters are keeping Holly tied to the past, but in fact, each letter is pushing her further into a new future.

With Gerry’s words as her guide, Holly embarks on a journey of rediscovery in a story about marriage, friendship and how a love so strong can turn the finality of death into a new beginning for life. Inevitably Holly comes in contact with other men - from Harry Connick Jr’s bartender, who works in her mother’s (Bates) bar, to Gerry’s childhood friend William (Dean Morgan), who she bumps into on her Irish jaunt. Unable to commit to either, it’s only as Holly comes to realise that her friends’ lives have moved on - Sharon has a baby, Denise gets married - that forces her to wake up to the fact that she’s remained emotionally static since Gerry’s death. Tissues please! — TNS

Showing at: Fun Republic

Fragrant Affair
The campus gets its very own rose garden
Purva Grover

WALKING by the university campus just got more fun, interesting, scenic and oh-la-la rosy! Nope, this has nothing to do with endless useless gehris, stunning kudis or deafening music courtesy graffiti-painted gypsies. In fact, the rosy walk is courtesy a team of dedicated nature-lovers on the campus. Wondering where is this rosy land? It’s right opposite the vice-chancellor’s office. Can’t place it? Okie, rack your brains, especially all you Panjab University alumni. Remember the huge piece of barren land, a few steps away from the administrative block? The one that had just a few unwanted shrubs and jhaadis to boast of. Yes, the barren land has been transformed into a rose garden and is called Prof R.C. Paul Memorial Rose Garden, named after a former V-C.

Well, the work for this garden began in March last year, but what’s caught our attention so many months later, is the fact that the garden is in complete bloom even during this part of the year. So, while all the rose shrubs in the city are looking exhausted, the roses here are smiling. “ Most of our species and variety in roses is from Kolkata and they are their best during February-March,” explains SDO horticulture Anil Thakur, the man behind the show. Chips in head mali (gardener) Amra, “These roses will bloom all round the year, just the size of the flower will shrink a bit.”

Okie, now this campus garden is indeed set to give competition to our good ol’ Rose Garden, for, it has 71 varieties planted artistically in neat flowerbeds. Tells Thakur, “We even grabbed a few prizes in the rose category of the competitions held at the recent Rose Festival.” It even has plans to compete with Rock Garden! How? Says V-C Prof R.C. Sobti,” We are using red stone and debris that was lying waste after the demolition of the Kumhar Colony at Sector 25 to create the path here.” Well, so in a few days from now, the 810 metre parabolic path will be ready to have more visitors, specially joggers for on the path are boards with the distance markings.

Soaking in the beauty and freshness of the garden at present are morning and evening walkers, joggers, and of course admirers and curious ex-students, like you and me. So what are you waiting for people, it’s time for a gehri to the rose garden!

All for a cause
Meet the university’s help brigade that’s making a difference to the lives of many
Purva Grover

WHAT’S life like at Panjab University? Graffiti-painted jeeps playing Dil luteya gaya at deafening volume, garam garam sams and nimbu pani at huts, bunking classes and catching flicks, juicy gossip sessions over a plate of rajma chawal, and more. Simply put — unlimited masti, minimal studies and zero responsibility.

But well, there is more than this to this masti ki pathshala — their sensitive side. They may dance the night away at pubs or swing and whistle at Law audi, but their heart melts at the sight of an unhappy lone stranger. We met a few young crusaders to find out what drives them to invest their pocket money and time to do their bit for the society or to bring a smile on somebody’s face.


IT started four years back when five students of the UIET department came across an ad in the paper for the heart surgery of a girl child Khusboo. They emptied their piggy banks and asked one and all to donate, and did their bit for the girl. In September’04 Mitr—Touching Lives was formed. And well, the juniors are carrying the flame lit by their seniors quite well. The annual fund-raising Diwali mela, where they sell candles and greetings brought from orphanages and blind schools, still gets a heartwarming response. The 25-member group recently celebrated Lohri at the old age home.

Besides social work, they aim to sensitise the youth towards environmental issues too. Regular campaigns and screening of documentaries are a part of their regular activities. Keeping them busy at present is the Earth Hour campaign. Says a member Shailini, “Around 28 countries will be observing a one-hour electricity cut from 8 to 9 pm on March 29, we want to spread the word at least in the campus.”

Call for unity

IT’S their own betterment that unites the 100 members of Youth United. Be it in career, health, sports, social responsibility or even fashion, they hope to make a difference. Their mission is to live in an India of their dreams and their group comprises of students from city colleges and university departments. Formed this January, it has three wings — Publication, Events and Community Services. The monthly magazine called YOU is the youth’s forum for expression. Talk events and the last they organised was a Rock n’ Roll dance workshop.

And well, these two wings via sponsors and donations serve as fund raising exercises for their community service activities. This month, they provided a creative platform to underprivileged children under the program Smiling Future. On International Women’s Day, they came together at Sukhna and raised voice against female foeticide. So what else is in the pipeline? Tells Saloni, a founder member,” We’ll hold a talent hunt for the youth.” Well, this hunt is for sure one that will brighten the lives of many.

On a cleanliness drive

THEY rightfully call Stu-C the heart of the university and it pinches them when they see one and all litter their favourite hangout zone. And this is what motivated them to form Sankalp. A six-member group of the students of the Department of Bio-Technology, they work on a motto — Cleanliness by us and for us. So do they expect each student to pick up the broom and join them? “No, any illiterate can also do that job, we want these educated students not to litter the campus,” says Nitin, one of the members.

Their modus operandi is simple, interaction with students, adorning Stu-C with posters to spread awareness and requesting the authorities to place more dustbins and washbasins at Stu-C. Their recent concern is to see that students do not leave the plates on the ground post-eating as it encourages the animals to lick and get their share of food. As for their dream of a ‘no broom Stu-C’, they ask you to be determined too.

Nut case!
He talks to himself, peeps into the minds of cows & has made us fall in love with Gajodar bhaiyya
Parbina Rashid

HEARD of the ol’ saying, ‘people who talk to themselves are borderline nut cases?’ If you believed in it, then hear out Raju Srivastav —“When I was a child, I used to talk to each and every object in my house in Kanpur. Every time we used to go for vacations, I would apologise to the house for locking it up. On returning I would feel the furniture to let them know that I was back.” Naturally his strange behaviour invited scoldings from parents, but the imaginative mind of Raju refused to be cowed down.

And guess what, his mind is still as over active as it used to be then. “Even now when I see two or three cows sitting in a field, I try to read their minds — is the Kashmir issue troubling them or are they planning a date with the neighbourhood bull?” he says. We are trying to control our laughter for after all we have Raju Srivastav on the other end of the line, when he says, ”This year has been particularly good for me.” We stop laughing and carry on. NDTV Imagine’s Raju Srivasta Show, an annual contract with Time Star News Channel for entertaining at all festivals, a show on Big FM, celebrity entry at Great Indian Laughter Challenge-4 and innumerable stage shows. Could anyone ask for more?

And all this is thanks to one smashing hit show. “I was a runner-up in the Laughter Challenge, but for the audience I was the winner,” he gets a little emotional and shares how he made it as a participant. “Before Laughter… happened I had done about 35 films (Mein Prem Ki Deewani Hoon, Amdani Athanni, Kharcha Ruppaiya, Wah Tera Kya Kehna to name a few). So when the director producer approached me, I turned them down. It was below my dignity to be there as a participant. My friends and family though so too. Then, I thought of my idol Amitabh Bachchan who had given KBC a new dimension. I said to myself Jo dikhta hai, who bikta hai. That decided for me. And the rest is history.”

The show made him a household name. Now he wants to give back to the society and the art that made him so big. And he has found a way to do so. He has joined hands with a few artistes of his genre and formed an association called Mimicry Artists Association of Maharashtra. This will serve as a platform for all the struggling artists. 

Gems of Wisdom
Anandita Gupta

WHEN was the last time you opened your locker to take out that gold ranihaar? Or visited your jeweller to get custom-made silver ornaments? Chances are, not recently. For, yellow gold is fast loosing its sheen. Silver is popular, but just as sleek, casual-wear jewellery. It’s rather the glittering gemstones that are ruling our hearts, be it for making a grand style statement or helping us change our destinies. Today, most of us are eyeing these dazzlers, thanks to their royal look and affordability, in comparison to diamonds.

However, aren’t most of us at sea when it comes to picking up the right pukhraj (yellow sapphire) that pandit ji recommends or a ruby necklace for a friend’s cocktail? To help choose our gems right, The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) organised a presentation in town this Saturday. The seminar included guest lectures by gemology instructor Amit Kapoor and INIFD director Ritu Kochchar. Besides, city’s young gemologist Soli Sethi spoke on how to choose the right gems.

For all those of you who want to get their diamond and gemstone basics right, Kapoor informed about GIA’s short-term courses conducted in Mumbai and Delhi. These range from a five-day-programme to six-month courses with the fees between Rs 10,000 and 35,000.” Expensive of course, but then it will save you from spending lakhs over a fake diamond or gem?” said Kapoor. Ritu Kochchar offered some interesting style tips. “Team up rubies and garnets with blacks and navys, and topaz, emeralds and sapphires with earthy tones. Gem stone-studded chandeliers and cocktail rings remain hot for evenings while chokers and ranihars are ideal for weddings.”

Meaningful Muse
Parbina Rashid 

Manjul Bhardwaj in action.

HE does not belong to the category of visiting artistes who come, talk and go back, leaving just the memory behind. Mumbai-based theatre artiste Manjul Bhardwaj prefers to leave a legacy behind — the legacy of experimental theatre. In city to unleash the movement, which he has already done in 11 other states, Manjul talks passionately about theatre of relevance.
Manjul Bhardwaj in action. — Photo by Pradeep Tewari

“Theatre is not just for entertainment but a platform for expression. When we act, it becomes a process of self-realisation. We want to help the youth find the hero in themselves” says Manjul, who is working with students of Government Model Senior Secondary School-35. The production is Laadli: A voice of countless unborn child. And citing the production as an example, Manjul explains, “The children who are taking part in the production will stand against female feoticide for a lifetime.” Having driven the point home, the theatre artiste promises us to keep up his ties with the city in coming years. “We will make sure that the movement of theatre of relevance spreads in the entire North.”

Manjul and his group has performed more than 28 plays all over the world at all possible venues. “Theatre is everywhere. Auditorium is not theatre, neither is an actor. It’s people’s participation and what they absorb that makes for a play,” he adds. And so it is not just acting he has in mind when he orders his students to take their positions. He is asking them to be their body and soul for their own sake.

On a glam wicket
We plunge into the city’s accessory hubs and scoop out the season’s best baubles
Anandita Gupta

The sun’s blazing away in its full glory and most of us are already thinking about coiling up into our air-conditioned cocoons. However, it’s the razzle-dazzle brigade’s month out. For, summers may be merciless, but it definitely sees the style quotient going up by a few notches! And what else can instantly perk up your stylometer than fun, funky accessories? We bat for some extra innings in the fashion circuit and help you get your style quotient right, just before the opening overs of summer 2008.

Rose Fest

The floral motif has returned yet again, but this time, it’s concentrated mainly around the rose. Printed, embossed, embroidered or in cutwork, roses are blossoming everywhere. The motif’s found favour with rings and earrings. Jewels-11 has cutesy plastic earrings for kids and teenagers (Rs 35-275) resembling lil’ roses. Besides, there are wooden bangles with flowers as prints on them (Rs 30-50) and interesting wire neckpieces with big flower brooches. But, the must grab here are the chic cocktail rings that look like chunky roses (Rs 150-875). Shelly’s-8 even has elastic bands and metal bracelets with satin roses on them (Rs 50-100). Micky Chhabra-10 stocks chunky plastic bangles with big flowers on them (Rs 45-345).

Bindaas Bangles

It’s spinning heads this season. And yet, ironically, it’s moved on from being conventionally circular this year. Sparking a new fashion trend this summer in its plastic,wooden and metallic versions, the bangles and bracelets are now available in clean, strong hexagonal, square or oval shapes. While the metallic pieces mostly follow the dark nickel, lacquered black and brass colour palette, the plastic ones come in feisty colours like lime green, yellow, bugglegum pink and oranges. Another hot pick are oxidised bracelets-cum-anklets with stones (Rs 50-100).

Offbeat Neckpieces

A bold necklace paired with a simple tank top or a rugged belt worn with your favorite jeans adds a lot of zing to your look. City stores are brimming with neckpieces with large wooden beads. These add a carefree, boho touch to your wardrobe. Check out Tits-bits-19, Pink n’ Peaches-19, Shelly’s and Sparkles-9 for multi-string malas and single string neckpieces with brooches shaped like sun, moon, hearts and bows (Rs 250-1,100). Polka-8 has metal strings, with a large shell-like jewel at one side. You can also grab a snake choker (side-bead necklace in threads) from Suvasa-8.

Footsie Fetish

Since our feet need to breathe, peep-toed wedges are a rage. Unlike those ridiculously high stilettos, wedges are open-toed, so you can show off your polished toes. Ballerinas too are still going strong. Check out the cutesy ones with polka prints and satin bows at Zeox- 9 and Polka(Rs 400-700). For more glam, get strappy metallic flats that wrap all the way up to your knees!

Bold & Beautiful

The scarf headband was a totally hot hair accessory back in the ‘70s, and it’s become trendy again for 2008. Available in plastic, velvet (with a silver brooch) and even in denim, these over-sized bands come in polkas, florals, stripes and other funky prints. You can grab interesting variations like bandana scarfs and hair bands in chiffon, net and satin (Rs 395) from Micky Chhabra.

Low-Slung Belts

A chunky leather woven belt is one accessory that you have to buy this season. Buckle these beauties over a long tank or loose tunic top, these will perk up your outfit in no time. Polka has some high-waisted, elasticised corset belts, while other city stores have broad and slim belts in beads, metal coins and leather (Rs 300 onwards). Belts with chunky square and round buckles shaped like sun, moon and flowers are available at Sparkles-9, Ten West-10 and Micky Chhabra.

Hippie Bags

Slouchy bags in suede leather are embellished with lots of embroidery and fringe. Here, colours like shocking pink, leafy green and deep blue are very in. The size is still big, though, clutches in smaller sizes (Rs 650-1,400) are also hitting the stores. 

Frothy feast
Who needs bottled fizz to beat the heat when the humble lassi is going through such exciting transformation!
Purva Grover

ONE sip of this thick chilled frothy delight and you get transformed into a different world altogether. Add to it a little malai and oh-la-la, the feeling is close to heaven! Yes, nothing can beat a large glass of lassi, especially when the sun is shining bright and harsh. Our gift to the country and perhaps the world too, lassi is undoubtedly summer’s best drink. So, for all you lassi lovers, here’s a round up on the thirst quencher.

The desi foodies still call it lassi, while the hi-fi have graduated to fancy names like a yoghurt drink or buttermilk. What’s more, the good ol’ lassi has made to the menu cards of some of the city’s swish restaurants too. It has found itself a secure place in between mocktails, cocktails and fresh lime soda. Okie, now whatever they might call, what remains intact is the way the delight is churned out. And who can enlighten one better on its authentic preparation then Swami Sitaram Joshi?

The man behind Shiv Mishthan Bhandaar, his exclusive sweet lassi has been reigning over people’s tastebuds for more than 22 years now. And what makes is so special? “We use seven fat milk and boil a quintal of milk at least 20 times till just 80 kg of it is left,” he says. Strictly made under his supervision at the Satsang Bhavan canteen, it’s from here that it is sent to the shops. The kesar sharbat garnishing lends it aroma and flavour. Priced at Rs 15 a glass, over 1,200 glasses are sold a day. They have also namkeen lassi on the menu here.

Whether it makes you feel sleepy or energetic is not the consideration when one sips the drink. You can enjoy it as an alternative to lunch by spicing it up with jeera, pepper and lal mirch. Or, how about gulping down a glass for dessert? At Moti Mahal -17 you can sip into kesar lassi for Rs 45. If it’s the earthen aroma you wish for then head to Gopals. For, lassi here is served in kulhars. On it’s menu are sweet/salty and kesar lassi for Rs 20 and Rs 25, respectively.

At Sagar Ratna, while the menu offers just the usual sweet and salt lassi, but the chefs do prepare a special banana lassi on request. Rs 40 for a glass, the special request comes from mostly foreigners, tells general manager Srinivas. Looking for still more exciting flavours? Visit Khyber-35. On their menu is vanilla and litchi lassi for Rs 45. And of course, the seasonal mango lassi. Or, how about mint, strawberry and almond lassi? These exciting flavours are churned at Coffee Needs Company–8.

Okie, now if your favourite hangout spot happens to be the shake-juice shops on the geri route, then you must have sipped into the extraordinary elaichi lassi there. At Madan Confectionery here you get to sip this flavoured lassi for just Rs 15 a glass. So go ahead, beat the heat!

Write to Renee
at or Life Style, The Tribune, Sector 29-C, Chandigarh 

n I am 27 and have been married for three years. I was born and brought up in Delhi and moved to a small town to Punjab after marriage. Though, it was difficult for me, I managed to survive. I thought my husband was caring and thoughtful and felt guilty throwing tantrums. Now, I have discovered that he has been involved in an extra-martial affair for years. This relationship was a part of his life, before he married me. I am extremely hurt and would like to leave him. Help.

Sumitra Raheja, Bhatinda

When one is hurt, one takes a decision on an emotional impulse without really realising the rationalisation of the action. I’ll suggest you to stay calm and weigh the pros and cons of the situation. May be you are misjudging the situation. On the other hand, even if it is the truth you can easily take him to task for it. Ask him to come out with the whole truth, he could even be sorry and give up on that relationship or give you an honest answer. Marriage is not a child’s play, so weigh the situation objectively and think wisely.

n I am 42, married with two kids. Since I am in the merchant navy, it’s my wife who looks after the children. This time when I returned home I found her full of strange feministic ideas. I have two daughters and don’t want them to grow up with an unbalanced view of life. I feel a woman must maintain her feminine qualities even if she wants to partake in a man’s world. But each time I give my viewpoint, my wife overrules it. She is not a good influence on my kids, what should I do? Should I send the girls to a boarding school?

Shamsher Sandhu, Panchkula

As a father, it is natural for you to be worried about your daughters. Children are very impressionable and need to be protected from strong one-sided views. A balance in life is essential. Your wife could be going through her own level of rebellion that needs to be looked into. I don’t think sending your girls to a boarding is a good idea. For, they will return to her, during holidays, and as a mother, the daughters are obviously important to her too. Take up the matter seriously with your wife and ask her to review her feelings. Try making her see reason, I‘m sure she will. Don’t worry she’s probably under the influence of feministic sermons by some friends.

n I am 27 and seem to have found a girl with whom I want to have a permanent relationship with. Before this, I would keep running away from my girlfriends and this is for the first time that I have the urge to hang on. The problem here is my friends. All of them move around with lots of girls and are unable to believe as to how anyone can want to be with just one person. But I am content and don’t wish to change the situation. It’s just that I hate being laughed at, by my friends. They feel that my girlfriend will leave me and not respect me if I don’t behave like a real man. Help.

Michael, Patiala

I am glad to know that there are still some decent guys around who want to love and cherish a woman. Trust me, you are on the right track. Don’t worry about jealous friends instead count yourself lucky to have found true love. People think it’s hip to hang around with many partners, but I think relationships are the most steadying factors in our lives. Once we have found the right relationship everything falls into place. Who cares what the world says as long as one is convinced of what one is doing.

(This column appears weekly)

Matka chowk
Tree Tales
If there was a tree appreciation class available in town, I would be the first to sign up 
Sreedhara Bhasin

NOW that we have had a brief spell of spring, Chandigarh truly looks like a beautiful bride dressed in her finest flowers. Before I came here, I was quite self-assured when it came to identifying flora and fauna. The city’s variety and richness of trees and flowering plants have made me eat a humble pie. I have looked at many majestic trees here and have failed to put a name to them. I have often stopped at the sight of a mali digging away glumly at the foot of a tree leaning low with flowering branches and asked for a name only to be told something that I am sure will not find a Google match.

If there was a tree appreciation class that was available in town, I would be the first to sign up. After all, people pay dear money for art appreciation classes! Why not identification of trees and vines with genealogy and age determination lessons? Why does the Bahunia bloom in winter and not in spring? Why are the Shimuls that bloom for a short time in February only clustered in one sector? Who takes care of the flowers and plants on the chowks? I have never seen malis work on chowks! Who decides on what is to be planted in public places? Why are there so many amaltas trees on Jan Marg and mostly bougainvilleas on Madhya Marg?

I often ponder on these ‘tree’ topics while driving around the city with no one to ask. A lot of people have told me about the famous and legendary Dr Randhawa but Chandigarh is still alive and continuing on his vision. I see new beds being dug for fresh seasonal flowers every year. Carefully selected annuals and perennials adorn the lakesides and the chowks. Neatly trimmed vines and hedges show off their fresh blooms in delightful shades of lavender and canary yellow.

All this is not an accident and a residue of a vision implemented forty years ago. Like the French who show good taste even in the selection of everyday drinking jugs, city tree people have exhibited exquisite taste and great devotion. They are an invisible force still standing tall. We complain a lot about many things in the city – bad traffic, long queues and vehicular emission. Somehow, the tradition of trees and flowers has carried on jubilantly.

There are so many ‘have’ and ‘have-not’ divides that abound in our city. We compare inequity by mapping variables like money, access to information, technology, language and lifestyle. But, when it comes to flowers and trees, we are all equal.

(This column appears weekly) 

Love bites

IT seems there’s trouble brewing in Beyonce and Jay-Z’s marital paradise already. The newlyweds had a lovers’ tiff in Los Angeles . The couple allegedly married in a private ceremony in April, fell out during a party after Jay-Z pulled their No. 1 hit Crazy In Love off the decks half-way through play. The rapper was hosting a gig in support of US presidential candidate Barrack Obama but when the crowd began to groove to Beyonce’s song, he grabbed the mike and shouted, “Let’s play something else.” This enraged Beyonce, who immediately stalked off. — ANI

Health Tip

THERE are certain myths regarding the first aid measures to be taken post- injury. It has been a practice since old times to apply hot fomentation and analgesic ointment after an injury. Hot fomentation increases swelling by enhancing circulation to the injured part.  In order to minimise the extent of tissue damage, pain and bleeding, the following measures should be taken:

Rest, compression and elevation helps in controlling blood circulation and consequent leaking from the damaged blood vessels. Ice therapy for ten minutes reduces bleeding and swelling. Heat, alcohol, running, and massage should be avoided during the first 48 hours. Heat therapy increases the blood flow to the injured area, improves the flexibility of tendons and ligaments, and reduces the muscle’s spasm. Heat can be applied for 5 to 20 minutes.

 — Dr Ravinder Chadha

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