Breaking Barriers
They take pride in ‘phoren’ bride
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 8
True to the fact that we have cut across all barriers, here lie the perfect examples reflecting the changing mindsets of people representing modern India.

It is perhaps because of opening of more job vistas outside the country for the youngsters and more students moving abroad for higher studies that they also find their soul mates there and bring home foreign “bahus”.

The acceptance of such marriages bridging the cultural, linguistic and international divides also seems to have increased over the years with parents rather taking pride on the issue.

“Our Chinese bahu, Dominique, is much more affectionate than many Indian girls. She has been here twice since our only son Neeraj Gupta married her. Till the time she was here and when we went along with them to New York where they are settled now, Dominique touched our feet every morning,” exclaims Major B.D. Gupta (retd) of Chandigarh.

“The twosome had met each other there during their studies. We were somewhat apprehensive to begin with but then we thought ‘jab miyan biwi razi to kya karega kazi’. But luckily since day one, she has mingled with us so well that we have never felt that she is an outsider. In November 2007, they were blessed with a daughter. Since then our daughter-in-law stopped working and is at home taking care of our granddaughter. Though the little one partly resembles either of her parents, Dominique told us over the phone just the other day that she has a liking for paranthas just like Neeraj,” laughed Major Gupta.

Even more interesting is the chemistry between Navjot Sandhu (29), whose family resides in Model Town here, and Jamie Keller (32) from Michigan, USA. Both of them are into music.

While Navjot, who is currently in India under a Fulbright Scholarship award in musical instrument training, specialises in playing tabla, Jamie has learnt trumpet. Together, they have created a symphony as part of a fusion group called “Jaan” in the USA.

Jamie, in her reply on email, said, “Ever since I have met Navjot in 1999 and got married in February, 2008, we have discovered that there are rather more similarities than differences between people of two cultures.”

“We agree that there are differences as well. I like having a Christmas tree in home during December even though I am not a Christian, and Navjot finds it to be hypocritical. We both love the same kind of food, except for mango pickle. He loves it and I cannot stand the taste,” she quipped.

Similarly, Chetan Anand, originally from Phagwara, and Maria, a Japanese, had met each other during their studies in Melbourne, Australia.

“While I was studying a hospitality course, Maria was doing an English speaking course. I found her to be too innocent and understanding. During that same period, she had come to India to spend her vacation when we got to know each other more closely,” said Chetan during a telephonic conversation from Kobe in Japan where he is continuing his studies. He is learning Japanese, while Maria is working as a teacher there.

This couple also got wed in February last. They are scheduled to be in India some time next year for a formal Indian wedding.



Helping Hand
NRI aid - Turning dreams into reality
Kusum Arora
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 8
He aspired to enjoy a blissful school life but poverty restricted his way. At an age when a majority of his counterparts were going to school, he worked hard to make both ends meet. Though he remained illiterate, yet luck paved the way for him to lead an honourable life in society. And today he is an asset for them.

Meet 91-year-old NRI Madho Singh Nambardar, a resident of Nagar village, near Phillaur, who is helping the needy children in availing quality education. And it was during his visit to a government school that he took the initiative of providing financial assistance to children.

The philanthropist said the visit to the school was an eye-opening experience and a big turning point for him. “I was surprised to see that students were forced to study in a dilapidated building with no infrastructure. They were forced to sit on worn out rugs without proper infrastructure. This made me realise a need to provide monetary help to such educational institutions. Moreover, being an illiterate I was aware of the kind of problems one has to face”, he said.

Initially he started providing monetary help of Rs 5,000 each to the schools in his own village. And within no time he became a name to reckon with. Last year, he donated Rs 8 lakh to government schools in the surrounding villages. And till date he has given more than Rs 12 lakh to the various educational institutions.

“Earlier he used to donate money but due to reports of misuse of the cash now he had started donating necessary equipment. This includes books, notebooks, stationery items, school uniforms, sweaters, furniture and much more,” said his friend Hartej Veer Singh Sandhu.

Living all alone at his ancestral village with his grandson, the octogenarian spent his time in public service. “At this age all I can do is to help others in realising their dreams. Every child has a right to educate and lead a healthy life but it hurts to see many of them failing to get a chance due to poverty,” added Madho Singh.

Despite being an illiterate he was lucky enough to get a chance to join the armed forces. Though he took voluntary retirement but destiny played its role and he went to England in 1963. “Never ever in my dreams had I thought of going abroad. My life changed for the better and within no time I became financially sound. And with the grace of Almighty today I am able to fulfil the dreams of others as well,” said the philanthropist.



SBI organises NRI meet
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 8
The State Bank of India organised an NRI meet on Wednesday. More than 100 NRIs took part at the meeting, of which 50 were the existing customers, while the remaining were non-customers.

Deputy manager of the SBI A.K. Palit asked the NRIs to avail benefits of various customer friendly schemes.



Know Your Artiste - I
His music brims over with character
Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 8
It’s a misty afternoon. The first ray of the smoky sun kisses the windowsill of the room of the legend just as we enter it. He’s recently had a heart surgery but sitting in a quilt, his face lights up with an amiable welcoming smile. He rings the bell lying next to his pillow to ask for tea.

On a warm note, we begin our conversation with Ustad Puran Shahkoti, puritan folk singer, Niranjan Das’s proud son and Saleem’s proud father.

Born at Shahkot in a family of Marasis, Puran as a newborn was sung for by his Taaro bhua (aunt) as part of a tradition among Marasis. “The first thing that one asks when a child is born into a family of Marasis is ‘kan ch taan marti?’ (have you sung the taan into the newborn’s ear?),” he says.

This son of Niranjan Das, was much of a hero at Shahkot as a kid. Singing for school functions, the people were proud of his voice and presented him to whichever big artist happened to come to the town. “We had created Durga Bhajan Mandli at Shahkot and even got a mata ka mandir built. I used to get Re 1 for singing at the jagrans.”

“After completing my matriculation I came to Jalandhar. By 1970 I started performing at Ramlila in Model Town. I used to present songs as filler when they would set the stage for the next scene.

“In those days I used to try a lot to enter into the radio station, but they never let me in. When they’d ask ‘do you know someone here?’, I would be left without an answer.”

Talking about his big break, Puran says, “It was during one of my performances at the Ramlila that then station director of AIR Jalandhar Narinder Mohan Bhatia came to the venue and told me to meet him at the radio station the next morning. I was overjoyed,” the teary-eyed ustad says.

“I was taken to the big studio and so many instruments were played along as I sang for about three hours.

“I sung ‘Doonghe painde thalan vale mukde nai’ and ‘Kitthon sikhiya fakiran nu satauna’. They said they did not have such songs in the literature available with them. I was given the B-high grade that very day.”

The journey had begun. Once singing for AIR, he regularly started singing for DD. “Babu Shankar Lal Mishra at DD and his elder son Santosh Mishra were great supports to me.”

Puran, who has sung for serials like “Adh Chandni Raat”, “Toori Vala Kotha” and “Chitta Lahu”, says he has never accepted a project which would require him to compromise on quality.

The teacher of singers like Hans Raj Hans, Sabar Koti and Jasbir Jassi, he says he never taught anyone and still doesn’t. “It was their resolve. They wanted to stick around and learn.”

A man of principles, he’s just cut one album titled “Dard Kehan Darvesh” for the North Zone Cultural Affairs Society, Patiala, in which he has sung two kafis. “When there was a trend in the entire state for duet singing, I stuck to solo singing and survived.”

Proud of his son Saleem (himself an established singer now) as his song “Maa da ladla” tops the Bollywood charts, Ustad Puran Shahkoti has everything he could ever ask for and given the man that he is, he deserves every bit of it.



She finds her voice in literature
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 8
She has been living in the USA for almost four decades. Even after getting used to the ways of the West for such a long time, she could not forget her roots in Amritsar where she had spent the larger part of her life.

Having migrated to the USA after her marriage with an NRI in 1972, Kamlesh Chauhan has now discovered a way to connect to India - literature.

She started writing poems and novels in Hindi. Having already penned several poems, she has also written two novels depicting the plight of Indian women married to NRIs.

While her first novel “Saat Samunder Paar” has already been printed, her second novel “Saat Phero Se Dhokha” is being published.

Sundri is the main character in “Saat Samunder Paar” which is the story of three generations, including the one which migrated to the USA in the seventies and the other two generations which were born and brought up in the USA itself. “No, this is not my story,” Kamlesh said. Rather it was based on different experiences about NRI women who she had come across during her work with an NGO, Jagriti, founded by her for women empowerment.

The issues of domestic violence and pre-marital as well as extra-marital relations have also been portrayed in the novel. Indian women who migrated to the USA in the seventies could not even look outside the window, whereas constantly changing partners seems to be a routine affair for the present generation, she added.

“Most of the Indian women of the present generation are a mix of both the cultures picking up habits like drinking and being die-hard fans of Bollywood at the same time,” she said. The plot of her second novel “Saat Phero Se Dhokha” is based on a true story about a family settled in the USA.

Apart from this, several of her poems have been displayed on websites and

Presently, she is writing an English novel “Castle in the Sky”. Settled in California, she has produced and acted in several plays, including “Anarkali” and “Mirza Sahiba”.

Kamlesh also got the chance to act in a couple of Hollywood movies, including “Rita Hay Worth”. She played the role of the second cousin of Aga Khan in the movie.



Cold wave continues in Punjab

Jalandhar, January 8
Despite a clear weather in Punjab, there was no relief from the ongoing cold wave as the night temperatures continued to stay low with Amritsar and Adampur turning out to be the coldest places in the state.

Both Amritsar and Adampur were cold at 2 degrees Celsius, two degrees below normal. Halwara was cold at 2.6 degrees.

The minimum temperature at Bathinda in the Malwa belt was 4 degrees Celsius, while in the border town of Pathankot it was 5.4 degrees.

The minimum temperature at Chandigarh remained more or less the same and was recorded at 5.8 degrees Celsius.

The Met Office has forcast mainly clear weather with the possibility of fog or mist tomorrow morning. — UNI



DC holds meeting on R-Day function
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 8
Deputy commissioner Ajeet Singh Pannu today held a meeting with officials of the Army, the BSF and the CRPF and principals of schools and colleges for the Republic Day celebrations. For the purpose, various committees were formed under the supervision of the district officials.

Pannu said the rehearsal for the Republic Day parade would be held at 9 am from January 15.

The final rehearsal would be held on January 24. He added that the troops from the BSF, the CRPF, the Punjab police, home guards jawans, NCC battalions and scouts and guides from schools and colleges would take part in the parade.



Young World
HMV girl is best speaker
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 8
The National Council for Cooperative Training, New Delhi, organised a national debate on “Loan waiver scheme of the government of India is beneficial for cooperatives” at the Institution of Cooperative Management (ICM), Madurai, Tamil Nadu, in which Surbhi Jyoti, a student of Hansraj Mahila Mahavidyalaya (HMV) College, Jalandhar, bagged the first position as the best speaker.

As many as 26 universities from across the country participated in the event.

Meanwhile Sakshi Saggar, a student of the local Prem Chand Markanda SD College for Women, also brought laurels to her institution by clinching the runners-up trophy in the competition.

Birth anniversary

Students of the St Soldier College of Education behind REC observed the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh and organised a religious function on the occasion. The students participated in shabad kirtan.

Sports day

Students of Seth Hukam Chand SD Public Senior Secondary School, Kapurthala Road, Jalandhar, celebrated the annual sports day of the pre-primary wing.

The tiny tots participated in various sports events on the occasion.

The winners were awarded with prizes.



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