Stage of learning

Theatre is indeed a lesson in life. And with CBSE's pilot project offering theatre as an elective subject in class 11th and 12th, the lesson can be spread far and wide

Children from theatre age in action

Ek meri poocch

As VK took centrestage for Clown's Cry For The Moon one April evening at the Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh, the audience, right from six to sixty years, enjoyed the antics of characters on stage that have been a part and parcel of life. These included, among others, Humpty Dumpty, Spiderman to Monkey with his friend crocodile.

What followed post the production was even better as young kids (and some adults) enacted the scenes impromptu on stage. Theatre is an excellent mode of education has been said many times and even experienced a few times.

There has long been the demand to include theatre in the education system of the nation. While drama has been introduced in schools in different ways like clubs or annual production, The Central Board of Secondary Education's (CBSE) pilot project of offering theatre as an elective subject in class 11th and 12th is the first significant step in this direction.

"The prime purpose of education is to find and polish the talent of children. Those who are born artistes stand to gain from CBSE's move," says Rakesh Sachdeva, principal, DAV Model School-15, who is open to the option.

While it will still take time for schools and the education system to open up totally to CBSE's new move, city schools have introduced drama in their own right. "Theatre is an education in itself, right from speech to addressing people and life skills, one can gain all this through it. We have introduced this in Vivek High class eighth onwards wherein kids are actively engaged three to four days a week," says HS Mamik, chairperson, Vivek High School. "CBSE's move is welcome but to establish a new thing takes time. We have made a beginning in our own way," adds Mamik.

GS Channi, chairperson, Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi, who has extensively worked with children, voices his concern, "It is a good idea provided there are trained professionals to carry it out. It should be done in a manner that is fun and not just a cramming exercise."

When studies are putting more stress on students than preparing them for life ahead, theatre can definitely help establish the balance. "Theatre is complete in itself. History, literature and life in general is essential part of it," says theatre actor and director Sudesh Sharma.

Ramanjit Kaur, who is part of Neelam Man Singh Choudhary's The Company and running The Creative Arts at Kolkata, is all for the move. "We have been offering systematised courses in drama for students from age five to class 12 with a focus on developing confidence, leadership qualities, handling relationships and life in general," says Ramanjit who keeps looking for partnership in her programmes. "The CBSE taking it ahead is a heartening move and I hope that they introduce it from class 1," she adds.

Chakresh Kumar, Department of Indian Theatre pass-out who has been doing theatre with children for the last eight years, calls it a good step, "In a fast-paced life cluttered with cell-phones and social networking sites, theatre education can work wonders."

Known theatre director MK Raina sums it all, "It's a step that's been long overdue. No more are children reading literature or watching plays; parents are hardly taking their children along for musical performances. At such a juncture, theatre being offered as a subject can well fill the cultural void. Not only does it encompass all aspects of life, but also painting, design and music meet in this performing art."

Luxury on wheels
Modified cars are a growing rage among Ludhiana denizens
Gurvinder Singh

Cool makeover: Plush interiors of modified cars. Photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Pull a bottle out of a refrigerator, switch on the television and let the recliner unfold at the press of button …your 'living room' on the wheels makes any journey a 'pleasure voyage'. Yes, modified cars sure offer a peep into luxury. And it’s not only the interior, but also the exterior that gets a facelift.

Shares Bharat Siddeshwar Rai, MD of DC design, which recently opened their car design studio in Ludhiana, “Although the company didn't have any outlet in Punjab, yet 20 per cent of their orders were from the state, which is the reason why we bring the experience much closer.”

Car modifications are a rage in Ludhiana, where people love to make their cars stand out from the crowd. Known as the Mercedes capital of the country, people in the city are known to spend on luxuries especially when it comes to cars. Harvinder Singh, who got his car modified, says he often travels long distances, so luxurious recliners in the car fitted with LEDs and a living room-like ambience makes the journey easier. "I often watch movies on the way or read or simply relax,” he says. “Car companies make mass vehicles and creating customised cars is not practical for them. And that is where vehicle modification companies come in. We add luxury onto luxury,” says Rai.

Sumit, a businessman, shares that rather than going for a new car, he preferred an old one and got it modified. “The car has plush interiors and features, which you don't see in an average car. I spent slightly less than a brand new car, but the interiors and the design was something I simply adore,” he says. Some people are also using the cars as workstations. “I just pull out the table to make space for the laptop and work inside the car,” says another owner of a modified car.

Rib-tickling affair
Manpriya Singh

YouTuber Jasmeet Singh, part of upcoming Punjabi film 22g Tussi Ghaint Ho, believes in breaking stereotypes

Let alone spare themselves, they also roped in brown-skinned, white-skinned, Asians, Punjabis — whatever it took to make spoofs with cultural connotations. At the bottom of most of their hilarious content lied an attempt to break stereotypes. Canadian YouTuber Jasmeet Singh, popular as JusReign, set out to just have a good laugh and shake the negativity as well as racism surrounding his community post 9/11.

"I started making videos from home and uploading them on YouTube, thinking they would be watched at the most by two-three hundred people," he looks back at his journey, while now counting 50 million views on his Youtube channel JusReign.

Joining him in the comic crimes is his find Rupan Bal — yet another Canadian Punjabi actor. And together they have demonstrated Punjabi mothers, desi parents, things they like and hate about India, made us spell sayapa and what not!

It's over to some uncharted territories for the duo, latest being a Punjabi film. "Rupan plays a desi boy while I just play myself…it is a situational comedy with meaningful sarcasm thrown in," shares the duo, while in Chandigarh, having just wrapped up shooting for Punjabi film 22g Tussi Ghaint Ho. Together they promise good script, right casting and rib-tickling humour. "A lot of comedy, for me, is based on my personal experiences," he shares while confessing to a fair share of reflective and serious moments. "A lot of comedy comes through struggle and I have had my times of dealing with bullies, racism and group fights while growing up."

Not to mention over-ambitious set of parents, like any other. "They wanted me to be a doctor, but I just wanted to be myself." While DJing, he first kept a stage name that coincided with a Jamaican DJ. He laughs, "He called me up and I got so scared. Jus remained while Reign remained because it means to reign over things." Comedians like Dave Chappelle, Louis CK figure in his list of favourites as do Kapil Sharma and Bhagwant Mann.

Desi touch

Over to Rupan Bal, who too didn't want to be, "a doctor or an engineer. I didn't want to be what millions of people are already doing." To him, playing a desi came easy, courtesy his grandmother. "I was born and brought up in Canada; I got all the Punjabi touch from my dadi," he shares, having already made a film debut in Hanni. While he would like to 'continue doing some more films', JusReign promises an appearance only under certain circumstances. "I would like to concentrate on my fan base in North America…If any role that contributes to the culture and community, maybe," he says.

Being different

Presenting the duo together, on the big screen, is director Vishal Parashar, a Vancouver film school graduate, known in the 3D and VFX industry. "What's happening in the Punjabi cinema is that a lot of films have the same casting and similar plots, as a result they look like different episodes rather than different films. I am a big fan of Bhagwant Mann, I used to grab his cassettes eagerly. I approached him and requested him to write the story."

Pet passion
Two’s company
Poonam Bindra

The title of 'two inseparables' could well be bestowed upon the lady, Pushpa Mehra, and her pet Bruno, as he is constantly by her side. "I have nursed him since he was twenty days old," informs the nonagenarian.

The special bond the canine shares with her is more than apparent in its behavior as he allows no one to touch her chair!

Even meal times are together, for whatever she eats, Bruno gets a portion be a slice of mango, a piece of burfi or even a bite of a roti. Her son Arun shares an interesting fact, "Once my mom had to be taken to the hospital on a wheel-chair and now the moment she sits on that chair, Bruno keeps on barking till she sits on another one."

Pushpa reminisces "I have always kept pets since childhood whether it was a goat or a hen or a deer, but since seventy years we have been keeping only cocker spaniels."

"Not very happy in taking a bath, Bruno does not rebel but behaves like a sullen child," adds Kiran, the elder daughter-in-law of the family. Bruno seems to be very fond of small sojourns outside the house and all you have to say is chalo chalo, before he picks up the leash and is all ready to go.

Behaving like a perfect chowkidar, Bruno waits till she retires to her room and settles down. Then the canine settles in a special chair designated for it in her bedroom! "When Bruno is around me, I never feel I am alone and he actually communicates with me with the eyes," she says.

I have kept pets since childhood whether it was a goat or a hen or a deer, but since seventy years we have been keeping only cocker spaniels. — Pushpa Mehra

Deep insight

Canny Gogia's book Living Truly teaches how life can be lived to the fullest

Photo: S Chandan

Canny Gogia went through a maze of careers before she found her true calling. A motivational speaker and coach in life skills, she is out with her first book, Living Truly.

Her experience of life in general has found expression in her maiden book. Topics like The Power in a Hug, Levels of Awareness, Optimism Over Pessimism find mention in over 20 chapters of this 150-page book. Canny says, "There is no right or wrong in life, but yes, you can move to another level."

Canny had a stint as an anchor, teacher and voice-over artist when she felt she belonged to the motivation class. Some training and Canny was set to explore her newfound career. Years on, Canny is in a happy space, so much so that her experiences in such workshops get space in her book. Says Canny, "Life is to be lived. If a book, a course or even an interaction puts you on path of a better life, one must grab it."

Amongst her favourites, books by Deepak Chopra and Chetan Bhagat top the list. "I have read almost every book by Chetan Bhagat. Why I like him is because he uses simple language and his target audience is everyone."

For those going through a rough patch, here's the action plan by Canny:

  • Take responsibility of your life. Stop blaming others for what you couldn't achieve. See what's in your hand.
  • Create a balance. If your career is soaring but family life isn't, you wouldn't be at peace. Give due importance to very walk of life.
  • Make a plan and be unstoppable.

Published by Integrity Media, the book that's priced at Rs 200 would be available for sale online and in bookstores from June 1.

The city of dreams
Divya Dutta

Dreams, hopes, wishes…are what keeps everyone going in Bollywood! I hate using the word struggler, as I think it does not leave you the chance to go beyond it. Therefore, I'd say beginners. So right from newcomers, beginners to veterans, everyone hopes for a better tomorrow. An uncertain, unpredictable tomorrow, which turns into a today eventually, with those hopes being pushed to another tomorrow...but the interesting thing is everyone keeps moving or feels motivated here in search of that tomorrow that will change it all! For a few, it does. For many it doesn't, but then they hope for another tomorrow.

I was told 99 out of 100 people come to Mumbai to join the glamour world. Some go back eventually, the persistent ones stay on; a few make it the others get absorbed in this city of dreams, maybe doing something else. But dreaming, nonetheless, of a tomorrow. That's truly amazing!

Go to any gym and you'll see these hunks with well-sculpted bodies; the way they look at themselves in the mirror is like they are looking at a tomorrow where someone would just pick them up for a role in their film. That's the hope that brings them to the gym too.

At coffee shops, you see people indulging in meetings, some trying to find work, someone trying to coordinate it. The result is not known, but they are all at it with that never dying hope.

Many who came took to other related professions and it's intriguing to hear their stories. Some joined choreography; some became junior actors or stuntmen while some got married and went back to their native places. But yes, a few became success stories! And set an example for the rest.

Different faces, different people…this is a city of dreams for sure. It absorbs you by showing what it could possibly give you, but doesn't guarantee it! And we humans, full of stars in our eyes, keep following those in search of that one precious tomorrow.

(Dutta is a Bollywood actor)

Star track
Saif Ali Khan unplugged

Saif Ali Khan’s Humshakals is releasing in June. The actor talks about love, life, family and movies

Special film: I am planning to make a film on my father, the late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi someday. It will be in English and it will be shot in India and England. It will be set in the 1960s and will be the story of a man who lost his father at 11, lost his title in 1971, lost an eye at the beginning of his career but became India's youngest Test cricket captain who married a Bollywood heartthrob. I am too old to play the young Pataudi so maybe I could play the older version and get an Italian actor to play the younger version in the film.

Pataudi Palace: It's a twelve bedroom country house. My mum looked after it till Dad gave it to the Neemranas. Darshini Shah, who did my home in Mumbai, is doing it up. She knows that I like understated luxury and style as opposed to opulence. I am excited about renovating the library, fixing up my grandmother's fireplace and turning the ceiling into a Zodiac night sky. There is something spiritual about the place now. My ancestors seemed to have returned and even Kareena felt the same when we were there sometime ago.

Better half: Kareena Kapoor Khan is a beautiful woman with her own life and I don't look at any one else because of her. My mom pushed me to marry her and I thank her for that. We give each other space and celebrate our differences. She is fun and relaxes me. I miss her when she is away. We will have a family of our own later on when we get more time.

Humshakals is fun: I have seen the movie with my family and we had a great laugh. Some parts are absurd. I like doing different things and surprising people. Sajid and I will team up again for a movie that UTV will produce but it depends on the success of this movie. Making this movie was exhausting and it is completely commercial.

Vijender Singh, Mohit Marwah sweat it out on the sets

Shot in the picturesque foothills of Leh, Grazing Goat Pictures introduced their third track from the upcoming film Fugly, titled Banjarey. The song which talks about friendship and travelling is being greatly appreciated by music lovers internationally.

On the sets of Banjarey, since there were no gyms in Leh, the boys Mohit and Vijender used the rocks lying around for free weight training while shooting for the song. Banjarey has been composed by music sensation Yo Yo Honey Singh and is unlike any of his previous compositions.

Fugly, directed by Kabir Sadanand, is shot extensively in Delhi and the breathtaking locations of Leh. It is a story of four friends: Dev, Devi, Gaurav and Aditya and how this carefree bunch, at the threshold of their lives, get caught in a Fugly incident, which sucks them slowly into the big bad world.

Hrithik takes the plunge!

Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif have just returned from a three-week-long Abu Dhabi schedule of Siddharth Anand's action thriller Bang Bang after shooting some heavy-duty chase sequences. The scenes were choreographed by Hollywood action director Andy Armstrong who has the mind-boggling gravity-defying stunts of films like Charlie's Angels, Planet of the Apes and The Amazing Spiderman 2 to his credit. Bang Bang, produced by Fox Star Studios, is an Indianised adaptation of the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz starrer Knight And Day.

A source present on the sets said, "Hrithik is in prime physical form. Despite fears of aggravating the head injury that he sustained during the film's first schedule that led to a surgery and a long recuperation, Hrithik insisted on doing all the action sequences sans a body double. Such action will be seen for the first time in Hindi cinema."

It was a hectic schedule and the stars were shooting almost 12 hours a day. On the last day of the shoot, as soon as Siddharth shouted, 'Ok, Cut, Wrap', Hrithik, who was shooting on the beach, made a 100-metres dash for the ocean. "He plunged into the water, splashed around and then started swimming. Watching him chill out, the assistant directors couldn't resist the lure of the cool blue sea and joined in. It was an impromptu party," adds the source.

The actors flew in on May 19 and filmed across the Emirates, at the Corniche, Liwa Oasis, Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel, Qasr al Sarab, Emirates Palace and Yas Island. Bang Bang opens on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2.

Tiger Shroff, Kriti Sanon seek blessings!

Actor Tiger Shroff is quite happy with the positive response his debut film Heropanti has got. After a lavish success party, the actor and his leading lady Kriti Sanon headed to the Babulnath temple in south Mumbai to seek blessings.

While Tiger Shroff wore a dark blue shirt and black pants, Kriti Sanon was spotted in a salwar suit. Even prior to the release of his film, Tiger had visited the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, to seek blessings from Lord Shiva for his successful landing in filmdom.

Despite not so good reviews by the critics, the film managed to make Rs 21 crore in its first three days. Jackie Shroff recently hosted a star-studded success bash which included Salman Khan and Aamir Khan in to celebrate his son's success.

Check out

Take a look at the new poster of Villain starring Riteish Deshmukh, Shraddha Kapoor and Sidharth Malhotra. The movie releases on June 27.

First look

Here's the first look of Ayushmann Khurrana's next film titled Hawaizaada. He is currently shooting for the film. Directed by Vibhu Puri, Hawaizaada is based on the life of eminent Maharashtrian scientist Shivkar Talpade.

Shooting plans

Abhishek Kapoor is looking forward to shooting Fitoor with Aditya Roy Kapur and Katrina Kaif in Kashmir. He is also engaged to long time girlfriend Pragya Yadav and they are living together.

Value addition

Ananth Mahadevan made The XPose for Himesh Reshammiya in exactly nine crore. The movie has grossed nearly twenty crore and a sequel is being planned. Ananth wants a fee hike for the same and is hopeful of directing the sequel.

In happy space

Preity Zinta has revealed in a recent interview that she is dating someone though she will not reveal the name. She will also be seen in a couple of movies like Happy Ending. She is in a happy space.

Go, going, gone…

Remember Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone's "RK" tattoo — the symbol of her love and Rabir Kapoor's betrayal? It's not there anymore — at least in her latest cola advertisement. Her new soft drink commercial cleverly makes insinuations at her famous "RK" tattoo at the nape of her neck. Interestingly, the ad is directed by Anurag Kashyap who claims that he did not see any tattoo, but only the camera while shooting.

Second chance

Director Sujoy Ghosh has reportedly approached Kareena to play Durga Rani in Durga Rani Singh after Kangana Ranaut declined the role. Kangana is currently in US completing her scriptwriting course.

Chatter box
On similar lines

Sony's Maharana Pratap will soon see new characters. Popular actor Surendra Pal, who has played several mythological and historical roles will now be seen in the show as Jannat's grandfather aka Phool Kawar, who was a brave Rajput King.

Making a sacrifice

Puru Chibber's character will soon end in Zee TV's Do Dil Bandhe Ek Dori Se. He will help unite Raghu (Arhaan Behll) and Shivani (Mansi Srivastava). Accidentally, he gets a letter that Shivani writes to Raghu and realises her love for him. He will bring them closer and move out of the show.

Another year, another milestone

Dilip Joshi celebrated his birthday on the sets of his hit show Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah. Apparently he has been doing the same for many years and it has become a habit with him now. His daughter and wife too were with him.

Waiting for the li’l one

Manoj Bidwai and Raavi Gupta who got married in 2007 will soon become parents. The couple is expecting their first child. They recently shifted to a new home and are doing up a nursery too.

Kavita takes charge

Chandramukhi Chautala (Kavita Kaushik) will soon turn into a traffic inspector in FIR. She will fire Gopi (Gopi Bhalla) and Billu (Sandeep Anand), and will man a busy traffic junction. Kavita Kaushik who has won a lot of praise for her acting skills in FIR loves adding twists and new variations to her character.

All lies, no truth

Dimple Jhangiani aka Barkat from Beintehaa, is upset that she was misquoted. She said that she never had issues with co-star Preetika Rao. Dimple who gets along well with everyone on the show regrets that at times things are blown out of proportion and that might cause harm.

For the love of acting

Talented Mishkat Verma of Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya is making his way into the hearts of the audiences. He has made a mark with his debut show. Here he talks about playing a romantic hero and his inspiration.

How has your experience been on the show?

I feel lucky to be a part of Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya. I am grateful to Rajan Shahi, who is an established name in the industry and who gave me this break. So far things are going well and as a newcomer, I couldn't have asked for more. My directors are brilliant and patient with me and the audience response too has been good.

How did you get into the skin of the character of Raj?

It is a dream for any actor to play such a role. I wanted to be launched as a romantic hero.

How romantic are you in real life?

A lot. My parents' love story was similar to the storyline of 2 States. He's a Punjabi and my mum is a South Indian. And of course, Shah Rukh Khan too is a huge inspiration. No one plays romantic roles better than him

So, you always wanted to be an actor?

Yes, I always knew that I wanted to become an actor. After I took my tenth standard exams, I joined a gym and worked on my body. I wasn't too good at studies. People doubted me and questioned my career choice but I never gave up.

How is it working with Kanchi, your co-star?

She is a sorted girl. We have fun chatting and pulling each other's leg. It is great fun on the sets if the team is friendly and fun loving.

Astro turf
P Khurrana

ARIES: Be true to your ideals. Money issues could dictate what you need to concentrate on. A secret arrangement comes to light. In a public meeting, think before you speak. Tarot message: Allow a sick situation to blow over before starting a new project.

Lucky colour: Olive

Magic number: 58

TAURUS: The simple things in life will bring you joy today. Do not take on too much work today. A health issue could be worrying you now. Don't delay the diagnosis. Do not be rash or impulsive today.

Tarot message: Trust your heart and intuition.

Lucky colour: Pale green

Magic number: 46

GEMINI: A tough day, be alert, aware and dynamic. Postpone work that requires concentration and physical effort. Relationships can be minefield with all sorts of emotions surfacing. Tarot message: You need to act for yourself and not for others.

Lucky colour: Ivory

Magic number: 36

CANCER: Satisfactory day for working mothers. You will have difficulty getting along with associates. A strong need to please others might also make you vulnerable. Business can be mixed with pleasure most satisfactorily. Tarot message: Don't do anything at the cost of health. Lucky colour: Lavender Magic number: 55

LEO: Outcome of a lawsuit might be postponed. A word of caution for those suffering from abdominal problems. The employed will be given a special assignment with handsome incentives. Tarot message: Bury an old quarrel and prepare to make a compromise. Lucky colour: Sea green

Magic number: 32

VIRGO: If you don't expect the day to run smoothly, prepare yourself. If you are traveling all by yourself, be careful. Not a day for property deals or legal proceedings. At workplace, co-operation will result in success.

Tarot message: Do not be in a rush to spend extravagantly. Lucky colour: Red. Magic number: 45

LIBRA: Make sure you are carrying your purse or wallet before leaving home. A friend may need your support and you may need to put off your engagements to help him. No pain, no gain.

Tarot message: Do not leave things up to chance.

Lucky colour: Crimson

Magic number: 25

SCORPIO: Do not be concerned about your business deals. These probably won't be finalised right away. If a friend asks you for a loan, be cautions. Take care of your relationships.

Tarot message: Don't get involved in ventures that are risky. Lucky colour: Orange

Magic number: 30

SAGITTARIUS: Politicians or bureaucrats are in the limelight. Today, there are opportunities to increase your earnings. Keep your celebrations moderate. Bankers will give you the benefit of their advice. Tarot message: Do not swing away from the path you have followed so far. Lucky colour: White. Magic number: 63

CAPRICORN: Strange undercurrents at home can give rise to all sorts of drama. Students: Park your vehicle carefully and obey traffic rules. Contractors: You will gain new contracts. Expect excellent news concerning finance after 6 pm. Tarot message: Handle your projects carefully. Lucky colour: Pink. Magic number: 27

AQUARIUS: You definitely do not appreciate any interference. A neighbour has some gossip to share. Decide if you really want to hear secrets or rumours about someone. Property matters are highlighted. Tarot message: Watch your action at work and polish your public relation skills. Lucky colour: Brown. Magic number: 57

PISCES: You could wake up with a headache. Do not fear bad luck. Steer clear of business. Working women: Take proper care of your child's health. Tarot message: Don't let opposition faze you when you decide to walk the path you wanted to.

Lucky colour: Lime green

Magic number: 31

Master Chef
Magnificent mango
Kandla Nijhowne

Every which way you have them, mangoes are a delight. Also, loaded with vitamin A, its antioxidant compounds protect against cancers and lowers cholesterol levels. They help our digestion and prevent heat stroke. They are good for the skin and eyes too. A home remedy for diabetes is to boil mango leaves in water, let them remain soaked overnight, then filter and consume the decoction in the morning. Here's the recipe for a delightful sorbet, which is refreshing and light. Serve scoops of it with diced mango on the side or create an adult dessert by pouring some coconut liqueur over it.

Lemon Spiked Mango Sorbet

  • 2 medium-sized mangoes
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp coconut milk
  • Lemon juice to taste (1-2 tsp)
  • 1 cup cream
  • Mint to garnish
  • ¾-1 cup diced mango


  • Peel and roughly chop the mango flesh.
  • Tip into a blender and blitz along with the sugar till you have a smooth puree.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and some lemon juice.
  • Whip the cream until stiff; then fold into the puree.
  • Check the sweet and acid balance, adding more sugar or lemon juice if necessary.
  • Pour into a large tin or old ice-cream tub and set in the freezer for at least 6-8 hours.
  • Scoop into cones or into glass and serve.

(Nijhowne is a culinary expert)

The year ahead
Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is May 29...

Your aims this year are going to make you very strong. You are likely to have a financial goal that will prompt a do-or-die feeling all year. You're going to face a number of planetary influences that will help you measure your progress.

Generally year 2014 is good for those who are single. Young and eligible are likely to get married with the consent of their family and will lead a happy life. Some of you need to be very careful in handling your relationships this year. So do not take any decision without giving it much thought. Misunderstanding may cause disharmony. Now the time has come for some sort of settlement. People born under this sign shall be worried about the education and health of their children. You will feel more responsible towards your parents and elders.

Positive colors: White, blue, pink

Select days: Sunday and Monday

Favourable numbers: 1,4,2,7

Gems recommended: Pearl, Opel, White sapphire

Charity on birthday: Donate yellow items like bananas, papaya at any religious place.

You share your birthday with Pankaj Kapur (May29, 1954, Ludhiana), who has appeared in several television serials and films. In the 1980s, he became a household name with his TV series Karamchand.

From the heart of India

Madhya Pradesh is a much-loved destination for those who are fond of wildlife. The state is also known for its rich arts and crafts. The Madhya Pradesh Handicrafts and Handloom Development Corporation (MPHSVN) has made significant contribution towards conserving the traditional and non-traditional crafts of the state.

In order to enhance the productivity of the handloom and handicraft sector, various schemes and programmes have been formulated. Subsequently, to advance the income and socio-economic status of the artisans and weavers, concerted efforts are being made by MPHSVN. The aim is to provide them a sustainable livelihood. The products are available in the state emporiums popularly known as Mrignayanee, located in 21 various cities of India. Recently, Mrignaynee Emporiums got renovated across the nation offering a fresh shopping experience to costumers.

Some prominent and popular crafts of Madhya Pradesh include Bell Metal Craft, known as the original craft of regions like Betul, Saguja, Bastar, Mandala and Raiarh. White Metal Jewellery, the folk jewellery made of silver manufactured by the craftsmen of Tikamgarh, Jhabua and Sheopura - Kalan. Khajuraho Nakashikam, a form of carving on materials from brass to wood, draws inspiration from the Khajuraho temples. And then there are the world famous Chanderi and Maheshwari Sarees.

All these exclusive items have been showcased at the Lajpat Rai Bhawan, Sector-15, Chandigarh, from 11am to 8 pm till June 1. — TNS

It’s happening
Play act

Theatre forms an integral part of art and keeping this in mind, Fools' Paradise Theatre presents a four day Open Air Theatre Festival. The festival features several plays and short stories.

Shares Mohneesh Kalyan, the director, "The idea behind holding an open-air theatre festival was that this is the right time to be staging plays in the open during evenings. We also wanted quality literature to reach people in an engaging yet at the same time entertaining way."

He adds, "There is no point in getting them out of their homes during evenings and again thrusting them back to auditoriums and air-conditioned, comfortable halls."

The selection of plays has been carefully done to include various subjects and themes. "We have tried including an array of themes that address several issues, which are of utmost importance in modern-day life."

Check out

29th May: Gurudakshina (Deen Dayal Sharma) and Bade Bhai Sahab (Munshi Premchand)

30th May: Phandi (Shankar Shesh)

31st May: Court Martial (Swades Deepak)

1st June: Nayi Sabhyta Naye Namune (Shankar Shesh)

(To be held from 29th May to 1st June at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16) — TNS

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