September-October 2014

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I am a Punjabi who was born in Chandigarh, a personal detail of my life I share with anyone who cares to listen. In the recent past, I spent six years in the same town: studying and working & revelling and living. It is the many facets of Punjab that (still) interest & intrigue me: ride on a single wheeler, bite of the cream-dripping Butter Chicken, darshan (visiting a place of worship) at the Gurudwara, charm of productively wasting time on a gedi (mindless driving: to flaunt one’s vehicle and meet/greet new people), passion in the words of the greatest poets & writers (Bulleh Shah, Khushwant Singh & more), warmth & sociability of the Punjabi clan, hues that would put the rainbow to shame, values and traditions that form the heirloom, art & artistes/s who are busy penning their own chapters, dancing and drinking that makes everyday a celebration of life, wedding festivities that are not limited by the days on the calendar, melodies that make Bollywood swing to its beat & Hollywood bow down in respect… So you can imagine that while making this edition not only did we had the dhol playing in the background but also Patiala Pegs on the house! THE TRUMPET BLOWERS EDITORIAL FIONA PATERSON KASHMIRA PATEL ART AVI GOEL

editor’s note


Rights: All rights reserved. The writing, artwork and photography contained herein may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of The Indian Trumpet. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of The Indian Trumpet. All efforts have been made while compiling the content of the magazine but we assume no responsibility for the effects arising there from. We take no responsibility of the availability of the products mentioned in the various sections of the magazine. Reprints as a whole or in part can be done only with written permission from The Indian Trumpet quoting “The Indian Trumpet magazine” for texts and pictorial material. Signed articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor. No responsibility can be taken for the loss of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or artwork. Contacts: Purva Grover, founder & editor All queries to be addressed to It can be read on the portal, absolutely free of cost.The readers can also purchase their own personal copies at a nominal price, details on the portal.


Needless to say that the making of the Punjab special edition was an experience best described as divine & delectable, poetic & pure and bright & blissful. It taught us that Punjab never fails to casts its spell. And if you are a Punjabi or know a Punjabi or have been to Punjab you’d know what I mean when I say: I carry my Punjab with me; all that I have ever observed and absorbed from its place & people lives on. This special edition is for my maternal (late) grandparents, who not only introduced me to the concept of selfless love but also to great Punjabi delicacies, values, writings and above all generosity. Thank you, both: two of the greatest & loveliest Punjabis I could have ever known: renowned educationists & divinest individuals. Have you had the chance to romance Punjab? Do share your tales with me, I’d love to hear. And here’s hoping that each one of you readers falls in love with Punjab, soon. Till we meet next, happy tooting.

Purva founder & editor


tale of punjab...

First of all, happy first to The Indian Trumpet. This e-reading material is by far the best that I’ve come across in a very long time. I have read and loved each and every issue of the magazine. The theme which you guys come up with in each issue is so refreshing and kudos to the writers as well for their efforts. Their write-ups make for a pleasurable reading experience. Cheers Humeirah Hassan, India ............................................................... Dear editor, From the first edition to the latest anniversary issue, this magazine, I feel, has taken readers like me on a wonderful journey of India like never before. As I flip through each page, it’s like the words come alive and tell the story. The magazine has enabled us readers to feel the joy of childhood, the exuberance of festivals, the anger of a nation rising against crimes against women, our fascination with number 1 and much more. Thank you. Pragya Singh Dubai ...............................................................

17600 +

likes on Facebook,

What a colourful journey! I was surprised by how much your team covered about the number one in 100 pages! Your editions always leave me amazed, especially the way you approach and talk of a theme. Wish you many more editions. Sameer Sharma, London ...............................................................

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We have been dreaming colours! After all, we were making the Punjab special issue. And yes, we sang & danced too. And ate. In the pages of our Punjab special we celebrate the uniqueness, beauty and values of the place: from the divine Langar to the lip-smacking Butter Chicken, from the Sardars on 70MM to the Punjabis in the world of music, from the colours of Phulkari to the frills at a wedding. The Indian Trumpet is inviting you to fall in love with PUNJAB.

Remember! The most easiest thing to do is : CRITICIZE!

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Criticism is most welcome!!!

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12 70mm BALLE BALLE: LAARI LAPPA TO DUNIYA PITTAL DI Bollywood’s love affair with the heartlands of Punjab: the silver screen continues to draw from Punjab be it the storylines, actors or songs. 18

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UTTERLY BUTTERLY CHICKENLICIOUS If there is a Rajnikant in food dishes, it has to be none other than Butter Chicken!

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THE RACONTEUR LIVES... No one churned out as many honest thoughts as did the turbaned boy: raise a toast to Mr. Khushwant Singh There have been many great artists, but there will only ever be one King: bow down in respect to Mr. Khushwant Singh SARDARS OF THE SILVER SCREEN

Which Singh is the King?


DIVINE BLESSINGS The poetry, piousness and purity of a gurudwara: as told by an artist

follow the noise




A TO Z OF PUNJABI Learn how to talk like Punjabis: a crash course


DIN SHAGNA DA CHADEYA… A bride relives the melodies & delicacies, rituals & ceremonies and hugs & tears that made her big, fat punjabi wedding memorable


LANGAR: A DIVINE MEAL Prepared against a backdrop of chanted hymns and prayers, the Langar is served with heart.



Inspiration for every little corner of your home


A few of our favourite things for your adorable angels


Transform from a simpleton to showstopper with these buys


idhar udhar


fashion fry



TO INDIA, WITH LOVE Lizzie Hobbs loves a good cup of chai with a plate of bhel puri. The London-based artist gives us a sneak peek into her works inspired by henna patterns & rangolis. PHULKARI: THE FLOWER WORK, A TRADITION Phulkari - a vibrant form of wearable art belongs to Punjab, now shared between India and Pakistan. The land may be divided, but the culture lives on across borders. We survey this colourful tradition.

horn OK please

RIDE LIKE A GIRL A Chandigarh girl looks back fondly at her ‘twowheeler’ days. Even though she now drives a car she wouldn’t trade anything for memories of zipping through busy lanes and mending scooty punctures. angry toot

The screaming headlines on gang rapes have got us fuming. Each issue, we bring to you our readers views on the topic of women’s safety, security & respect.



over a cup of chai


our shabdkosh


idhar udhar


bharat darshan


last word

GETTING ECLECTIC WITH HARI +SUKHMANI Hari and Sukhmani: two passionate youngsters from Chandigarh set to take on the world with their unique blend of timeless Punjabi music and electronica. We chat about work, life and the road ahead. THE LIQUID TRINITY It’s the liquid trinity of Punjabi gastronomy: Patiala Peg, Lassi and Ganne ka ras. We serve up everything you need to know. BREAK POINT, MATCH POINT Breaking Stereotypes: A campaign/service to create a space for singles to look beyond stereotypes and get to know each other, without any preconceived notions. GATEWAY TO THE GURU Embark on a soulful journey: A visit to the Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple. A Gurudwara in amritsar, that is visited by more than 1,00,000 worshippers every day.

follow the noise

PUNJAB: MY LAND My land, my love


t n e r e f f i D trokes ath S by Manoj N

Art | Graphics | Illustrations | +91 9341042598 |


THE PUNJABI BRIGADE: (Above, clockwise) Parineeta Chopra, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Anil Kapoor, Boney Kapoor.

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(Facing page, clockwise) Dolly Ahluwalia, Abhay Deol, Sidharth Malhotra, film poster: Alam-Ara, Priyanka Chopra, Vaani Kapoor, Mika Singh, Gulshan Grover, Dharmendra and Bobby Deol.


from laari lappa to duniya pittal di




Punjab is an inseparable part of Bollywood. Performers, directors, plots and music from the land of five rivers are cornerstones of popular Indian cinema. Scores of movies have woven quintessential Punjabi values and elements into the nation’s cultural heritage. And contributions from a host of Punjabis - directors, producers, musicians, lyricists, dancers, popular heroes, villains, vamps and comedians - have blessed blockbusters and cool, off-beat productions alike.

Punjab’s tryst with tinsel town began as far back as 1929 when Abdur Rashid Kardar laid the foundations of the film industry in Lahore with the release of Husn Ka Daku. He moved to Bombay in 1937 and eventually started Kardar Studios and Kardar Productions, credited with major crowd-pullers like Dard (1947), Dillagi (1949) and Dulari (1949). He also introduced many legendary artists such as Naushad, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Suraiya and Mohammed Rafi, who helped make Bollywood what it is today.

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Even before Kardar, there was the revered Prithviraj Kapoor, who moved from his home in Peshawar to Bombay in 1928. He played a supporting role in Alam-Ara (1931), India’s first talkie, after appearing in a couple of silent films. He established a dynasty in Bollywood, with sons Raj, Shammi and Shashi, grandchildren Randhir, Rishi, Rajeev, Karan, Kunal, Sanjana and great grandchildren Karisma, Kareena and Ranbir all leaving indelible imprints on Indian cinema. From the family of Raj Kapoor emerged the hugely talented Prem Nath, Rajendra Nath and Bina Rai, together with equally talented daughters-in-law Geeta Bali, Babita and Neetu Singh. Punjabi trio Anand-Chetan, Dev and Vijay overhauled the genre of Indian cinema, making it appealing to a global audience. The Chopra brothers, B.R. and Yash, enriched Bollywood with a number of quality movies evoking the essence of Punjab: pre-Partition serenity; modern day youth; Punjabis residing in villages; emigration to Canada and London. The list of Punjabi producer-directors is a mile long: Yash Johar, whose legacy is well-maintained by his son Karan, Raj Koshla, Prakash Mehra, David Dhawan, Ramanand Sagar, Shekhar Kapoor, Lekh Tandon, Subhash Ghai, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, and among the younger


generation, Aditya Chopra, Punit Malhotra, Shakun Batra and Mrigdeep Singh Lamba. Among those born on the banks of Jhelum and Sutlaj who breezed along Marine Drive in fancy convertibles were the likes of Surendra, first jubilee hero Rajendra Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Manoj Kumar, versatile character player Om Prakash, Balraj Sahni and many more. One-time national heart throb Rajesh Khanna hails from Amritsar, as does his son-inlaw, action hero khiladi Akshay Kumar. Other superstars - Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby Deol, Jeetendra, Vinod Khanna, Vinod Mehra, Anil Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor paved the way for today’s dashing young Punjab ke Puttar: Sidharth Malhotra, Arjun Kapoor, Varun Dhawan and Ayushmann Khurrana. The roll call of heroines begins with Malika-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan and Suraiya: both graced Bollywood with their beauty and nightingale voices. Then the list of Heers unfurls; Geeta Bali, Kamini Kaushal, Shyama (Khurshid Akhtar), the inimitable Madhubala (from Peshawar), Simi Garewal, Neetu Singh, Ranjeeta, Rati Agnihotri, Poonam Dhillon, Amrita Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Sonam Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, and, of course, Sunny Leone. Even most of the great Bollywood villains are Punjabi: Pran, Madan Puri, Anwar Hussain, Kamal Kapoor (of Narang fame in Don), Prem Chopra, Ranjeet, Shakti Kapoor, Amrish Puri and Gulshan Grover to name just a few. Punjabi comedians include Rajendra Nath, Dhumal, Manorama, Paintal and Rakesh Bedi, who’ve inspired many more. Perhaps the most noteworthy is I.S. Johar whose performance in Lawrence of Arabia won him acclaim. And the roster of fame would be incomplete without master

stunt and action choreographer Veeru Devgan, who has a huge hand in creating actors’ macho images. But it’s Punjabi music and songs that have had the most profound influence on Bollywood. Punjabi music was introduced into mainstream Hindi cinema with the song Laara Lappa, Laara Lappa…Addi Tappa from the movie Ek Thi Ladki (1949). Since then, great artists have masterfully blended Punjabi folk songs, wedding songs and sufiana kalams (Sufi poetry/music) into Bollywood’s musical outpourings. Numbers like Jawan Hai Mohabbat by Noor Jehan in Anmol Ghadi (1946), Ankhiyan Milake Jiya Bharmaake by Zohrabai Ambalewali in Rattan (1944), and Ichak Dana Bichak Dana by Lata Mangeshkar in Shree 420 (1955) are among the best early examples.

It was OP Nayyar who epitomised the music and rhythm of Punjab with his peculiar use of Punjabi theka (common tal of 16 beats) and clarinet in numbers like Boojh Mera Kya Naam Re (CID, 1956), Ude Jab Jab Zulfein Teri and Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawano Ka (Naya Daur, 1957). Other Punjabi hits include Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen in Waqt (1965) and Main Jat Yamla Pagla Diwana in Pratigya (1975). Much later in the seventies, it was Tere Haathon Mein Pehna Ke Chudiyan in Jaani Dushman (1979) that brought the flavour of Punjab back to Bollywood. Subhash Ghai used the soulful voice of Reshma from the other side of Punjab for Lambi Judai in Hero (1983). Songs accompanied by the dafli of the Sufis and fakirs’ ektaras dominated the 1980s. The 1990s brought liberalisation and cable television to India, starting a whole new chapter in


Bollywood has been enhanced by a starry array of singers like K L Saigal, Mohammed Rafi, Mahendra Kapoor, Shamshad Begum, Shailendra Singh, Bhupinder, Jagjit Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Kailash Kher, Hard Kaur and Yo Yo Honey Singh, musicians

like O P Nayyar, Madan Mohan, Jaidev, Uttam Singh, Sardar Malek and son Anu Malik, and lyricists like Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, Sahir Ludhianvi, Qamar Jalalabadi (Om Prakash Bhandari), Verma Malik and Gulzar.

More than half the movies made in Bollywood have Punjabi themes: legendary love stories, weddings, bonds of friendship, rural life, patriotism, partition, diaspora, war, extremism, NRI issues, sports and politics

Punjabi music. Popular NRI Punjabi musicians from the UK, Canada, Hong Kong and Kenya found recognition in India. Apache Indian mixed Bhangra with Reggae, at the same time Bally Sagoo and Baba Sehgal began gaining popularity among India’s youth, and thus entry into Bollywood, along with maestros from across the border like Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Gulzar used the soulful rhythm of Punjab in Chappa Chappa Charkha Chale in Maachis (1996) and revived the couplets of great Punjabi Sufi Bulleh Shah for Chaiyya Chaiyya in Dil Se (1998). In Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013) there’s a unique mix of Australian country music with Punjabi tunes in the song Slow Motion Angreza. It’s now believed that Punjabi dance numbers will ensure the success of any Bollywood film. The latest? Baby Doll Mein Sone De…Yeh Duniya Pittal Di in Ragini MMS 2. More than half the movies made in Bollywood have Punjabi themes: legendary love stories, weddings, bonds of friendship, rural life, patriotism, partition, diaspora, war, extremism, NRI issues, sports and politics. Legends like Heer-Ranjha, Laila-Majnu and Sohni-Mahiwal have been re-enacted in Bollywood. Waqt is about the Punjabi values faced by a family settling in India after Partition. The saga of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru has also been rendered on celluloid a number of times. Des Pardes (1978) is about the plight of Punjabis tricked by crooked immigration agents offering better opportunities in the UK. Govind Nihalani applied the nuances of Punjabi values in Vijeta (1982) and Gulzar when depicting the sensitive Khalistan issue in Maachis. It was Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) that recaptured the spirit of Punjab in Bollywood, leading to a number of movies like Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, Rang De Basanti, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Vicky Donor, Band Baaja Baraat, Patiala House, Jab We Met, Khosla ka Ghosla, Do Dooni Chaar, Love Aaj Kal, Singh Is King, Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year, and Namastey London, all dealing with Punjabi issues. The most recent additions to this list are 2 States showcasing the plight of a Punjabi hero and his Tamil heroine, and another love story, this time across the India-Pakistan border: Total Siyappa. Punjab and hearty, larger-than-life Punjabis are as close to Bollywood as the flow of the five rivers through the fertile land of love, mirth and faith. There’s no other community as lively as the Punjabis, and so….

I like dandiya, I like garba But, if you really wanna party Throw your hands up and twist ‘em around

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Do the bhangra everybody C’mon do the bhangra everybody (Hasee Toh Phasee, 2014)

Farhana Ahmed is a crazy nature lover. She is passionate about the blue sky, the wild ducks, the little finch, the silent rivers, the reeds and the orchids. Celluloid is in her blood and the black-n-white screen in her eyes. She is an eternal Dev Anand fan and loves to write about cinema. Besides having published two books on cinema, she is a fashionable interior designer who hates politics. She is presently working as a journalist in a prestigious daily from Assam.



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Punjab and Butter Chicken are something like Santa and Banta or Bunty Aur Babli – you can’t really imagine one without the other. No wonder then, as we celebrate the vibrancy of Punjab in this issue, we can’t help but rediscover the one dish that all Punjabis swear by – Butter Chicken! In a land where the people’s love for food is as bountiful as the range of delicacies, there’s one dish that has managed to capture many a hearts…or shall we say stomachs – the uber yummy Butter Chicken or Murg Makhani! In Punjab, it’s undebatably the most popular feature on restaurant menus and homecooked food wishlists. We play Sherlock to find out when and how did the recipe of the Butter Chicken originate. And not to our surprise, there are many versions, and a popular story goes such - What was hastily prepared by a Moti Mahal (located in Daryaganj, Delhi) chef post dinner time for a hurried VIP customer turned out to be a WOW dish. Liberal amounts of butter, tomato, and garam masala resulted into an amazing delicacy, which he was supposed to make for the ruler of Mareelun. His forgetfulness to buy enough ingredients gave the world a reason to lick fingers, every time! While the ‘Moti Mahal version’ is interesting enough to believable (or not?), one thing many would agree is certainly that the dish has Mughlai roots and is strongly influenced by Persian, and Turkic cuisines of Central Asia.

luv shuv tey chicken khurana

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Chef Sanjeev Kapoor shares a few special tips: •

Chicken should be tender. Do not overcook it in the oven or tandoor.

Heat dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) in the oven for sometime or broil kasoori methi on a tawa/griddle plate to make it crisp. It can easily be crushed to a powder with your hand.

Cream should be really smooth.

Use garam masala very sensibly, do not be tempted to increase the quantity.

And yes, honey does wonders in this dish!


We get onboard Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. His words reflect the Maharaja status of Butter Chicken.“One would think that the dish stands for chicken cooked in butter, but that’s far from the truth. Also called Chicken Makhni, the greatness of the dish comes from the immersion of roasted chicken in a curry that is as smooth as butter…this velvety smoothness, the mingling of the sour with the sweet, and the spices adding panache, is what gives it the name of Butter Chicken, and the rest is history! These reasons are enough to make it quite obvious for people anywhere around the world to drool over this very amazing Indian preparation. To say that Butter Chicken has made Indian cuisine globally acceptable would perhaps be repetitive but certainly not refutable.” Hmm, that sure does get many a mouths salivating!

chef sanjeev kapoor’s special butter chicken recipe Make incisions with a sharp knife on breast and leg pieces of one chicken around 800 grams in weight. Apply a mixture of 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and salt to the chicken and set aside for ½ an hour. Hang 1 cup yogurt in a muslin cloth for 15-20 minutes to remove extra water. Add 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder, salt, 4 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ½ teaspoon garam masala powder and 2 tablespoons mustard oil. Apply this marinade to the chicken pieces and refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Put the chicken onto a skewer and cook in a moderately hot tandoor or a preheated oven (200°C) for 10-12 minutes or until almost done. Baste it with butter and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove and set aside. To make the gravy, heat 3-4 tablespoons butter in a pan. Add 2-3 green cardamoms, 4 cloves, 6 peppercorns and 1 inch cinnamon. Sauté for 2 minutes, add 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste and 5 chopped green chillies. Cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups tomato puree, 1 tablespoon red chilli powder, ½ teaspoon garam masala powder, salt and one cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons sugar or honey and ½ teaspoon powdered kasoori methi. Add cooked tandoori chicken pieces. Simmer for 5 minutes and then add 1 cup fresh cream. Serve with naan or parantha.

And it’s not just this celebrity chef who’s smitten by this utterly butterly chickenlicious dish, we get another celebrity confess his love for Butter Chicken. RJ Aparshakti Khurrana, who is all set for his Bollywood debut with the movie Saat Uchake, shares candidly,”What do you mean by reasons for loving Butter Chicken? It is unconditional love! We all grow with it and hence I have no reason to quote how special it is for me. Saada Butter Chicken taa Punjab di National Dish hai. Bruaaaahh!”My my, that sounds ‘super buttery’! No wonder that Aparshakti blushes while mentioning that he calls his girl friend ‘Butter Chicken’! It’s not just celebrities, many a gourmands have their own little anecdotes to share in the context of Butter Chicken. Aren’t many of us guilty of having staked a

claim for that last piece of chicken lying in a bowl? Or pooled in pennies during college days just to get a taste of that oh-so-famous Murg Makhani on a faraway highway dhaba? Or endlessly pestered our moms to prepare the dish not just for special guests but also for us? (am sure they graciously relented!) To end the saga of Butter Chicken’s success with an incredible fact - it’s taste varies from dhaba to dhaba and restaurant to restaurant; yet all of them are so unforgettably delicious! RJ Khurrana quotes ‘Bawa’ from Ludhiana, ‘Jhilmil’ from Karnal and ‘Gulati’ at Pandara Road, New Delhi as the best. Which ones are your favourite? Do write to us if you are also one of those who if given a choice between Cuisines of the World & Butter Chicken, would opt only for Butter Chicken!


Anu M explains that the ‘M’ stands for Massakali, a name earned from friends for her lively spirit. She writes with passion: every piece is her flight of fantasy. She loves music & dance; food, fashion and fun are by default her forte. She can be reached at


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There may not be a god, but there was definitely a turbaned boy in a man’s body with a penchant for undisguised sarcasm, always ready to pull out one charming anecdote after another, laden with sharp, stinging wit. Generations of readers have loved and admired the works of the late Mr. Khushwant Singh, who sayonara’ed from this terrestrial abode on the 20th of March 2014... or did he? It’s fair to say that the Sardar of Sarcasm lives on in his writings and the almost cult-like following he rightly enjoyed. No one churned out as many honest thoughts over so diverse a range of topics with such instant mass appeal as he did. His candid style of writing, which often flirted unapologetically with issues and situations considered taboo, illuminates this colourful man who wasn’t afraid to pen his thoughts and experiences. His choice of words didn’t limit him in any way: unlike most of his contemporaries, who expressed themselves in one language, Mr. Singh used Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu phrases that instantly connected with the aam admi. As I see it, he was a keen observer of ‘what-is’


instead of ‘what-could-be’. And this was probably his greatest strength: he could flick the ‘keep-it-real’ switch anytime he chose, painting literary portrayals of striking beauty and honesty. This helped him accept the changes wrought by time and gave him access to an impressively large bag of ideas. He could turn out a novel in double quick time yet still have enough in store for another bestseller straight away. I’m sure his publicist had a ‘battees daant wala’ smile every time he got a call from Mr. Singh. Was Khushwant Singh a cynic? From what I can comprehend after reading a few too many of Khushwant Singh’s pieces, I don’t think so. Most of the works I’ve seen were statements of plain fact rather than fiction, or fiction based in fact, but even if he was cynical, I’d label that as just another colour he used sparingly to ideate on paper. There’s always the first time thrill of a Khushwant Singh paperback special. For me, the novel that started the journey was Train to Pakistan, a colourful yet tragic rendition of events during our struggle for Independence. Admittedly fictional, it was revealing

His candid style of writing, which often flirted unapologetically with issues & situations considered taboo, illuminates this colourful man about the price we paid for freedom. And beautifully worded, it had a profound, heart-wrenching effect on me.

agnostic was quite well-versed in theology. He was particularly known for translating the works of prominent Urdu poet Mohammad Iqbal into English.

Any fan of his works will tell you enthusiastically about Mr. Singh’s deep understanding of feminine thoughts and emotions, portrayed with an astute frankness only he could get away with. Book of Unforgettable Women and The Company of Women both share this amazing insight. I’m tempted to sneak in a ‘suspicious’ smiley at the end of this sentence and ask, Fiction? Maybe, maybe not.

Such were the vast realms of his thought, vision, experience and understanding, reproduced for all of us to enjoy and dream away through his timeless renditions.

A child of pre-independent India, Mr. Singh was born into a Sikh family, hailing from Hadali, Khushab district, Punjab, which is now part of Pakistan. I can only imagine how the parameters of that simpler time must have influenced the young man who went from practising lawyer at the Lahore High Court to Information officer in the Foreign Services of newly independent India, to journalist at All India Radio, to the Communications department of UNESCO to writing. Of all these vocations, it was writing that made him a household name. As editor of The Illustrated Weekly and Hindustan Times, he changed the face of Indian print media. His columns were outspoken and fearless; as the name of his HT column ‘Malice Towards One and All’ suggests, no-one was spared! He had an ardent love for poetry and the arts, Sufi music in particular, and despite being a self-proclaimed

Khushwant Singh received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest Civilian award for an Indian. And then, true to form, he returned it to the ruling Congress party he’d supported, as a mark of protest during the Siege of the Golden Temple. Only to be honoured in 2007 with the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award. Khushwant Singh found humour in everything, and we can see his mastery of self-deprecation in the epitaph he wrote for himself: “Here lies one who spared neither man nor God, Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod, Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun, Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.” I’m sure if Santa and Banta could, they’d be setting aside a third glass of the finest Irish whisky in reverence and respect to their fellow Sardar as they sat down for a fictitious evening drink. I wish mine could be the fourth to raise a toast. Cheers Mr. Singh! Cheers!


Manoj Nath is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Bengaluru. Currently, he is working with Hewlett Packard as a Marcomm Designer. He is an avid reader and a big fan of R.D. Burman, and can play his best tunes with his harmonica. A pinch hitter in cricket, this Bong loves punning with words as much as he loves his sweets and fish curry! Although he confesses that he is a die-hard fan of North Indian cuisine too! He can be found at

the rebel


“When you have counted eighty years and more, Time and Fate will batter at your door; But if you should survive to be a hundred, Your life will be death to the very core.”

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Did Khushwant Singh, having written the lines above, ever imagine he’d die at ninety-nine? Did God hear his words and recall Khushwant a year before his hundredth, so he wouldn’t face death to the very core? This intervention would have been confronting to a man who didn’t believe in God, thought all religions should be eradicated and saw dire need for renewed faith, without God. Maybe God was so pleased with Khushwant’s rebellious nature and dry wit that He wanted this distinctly secular ninety-nine year young man at his right hand. Maybe He was running low on laughs. Khushwant’s free spirit made him a poet, and, King of his own will, he did as he wished and wrote straight from the heart. While reading aloud from one of his novels - Delhi - he mentioned that he often used to go to the Nigambodh Ghat and watch the dead being set on fire, their kin wailing. Then he’d return home and down a couple of pegs of whisky. Which ordinary man would do that? And how many writers or artists would have the courage? I certainly don’t know many as crazy


as him. Having lived in Delhi for a decade now, I sometimes think only rebels can survive here, or, indeed, anywhere in today’s world. As Khushwant put it in his novel: “In Delhi, death and drink make life worth living.” And I don’t think this thought can be bettered. This was a man whose life spanned everything from All India Radio to Facebook and Twitter, who’d experienced almost everything anyone could wish for and well do without: India’s independence, Indo-Pak partition, riots and the siege of the Golden Temple. Some know him only as only a writer, others as a lawyer, politician or journalist. I view him as a man who spoke out fearlessly against what he felt was wrong: nonsensical societal norms, divisive religions and the physical borders he saw being drawn up before his eyes. A man who always believed that no human should harm any other in the name of God. In Agnostic Khushwant – There is no God, I found he’d read every single religious book in the world, from the Bible to the Qu’ran, Geeta and Adi Granth: only a man with this wisdom could speak so rationally about religion. Many know him as a historian also, and I understand from his interviews that he always took pride in being called one.

Controversy was always the first guest at his book launches, but nothing stopped him writing courageously to bring changes to the way this world thinks and operates. His acidic wit, mixed with brutal truth, shook people to their feet. He cared for the masses, not the accolades, proudly returning his Padma Bhushan civilian award in protest at the Union government’s siege of the Golden Temple in 1984. I often wonder what my life would be like as a writer; waking up every morning, performing my daily chores then realising the day has been all too short, as night falls around me. Then opening the lonely lock to my study, waiting to give way to freedom. The swinging doors offering light to the four dark walls, stood undivided in close coordination all day. Stepping inside, hearing the quarrels of my neighbours. Sitting on my writing chair, downing a few pegs of whisky and smoking a few cigarettes: marijuana, if there is any, to forget the world and its miseries. Right there, between the four walls: poetry and everything else to make my life worth living.

When I read work by men like Khushwant Singh, I think, “What is there to life if the heart and soul aren’t followed? What is there, if I don’t allow myself to speak brutal truth against the tide of society’s wrong-doings, to bring improvement to the world? I’m not a socialist, hell no: I’m plainly human. If we can’t draw inspiration from this great artist, how can we offer hope to the world? We’re all here for a purpose; we mightn’t live for ninety-nine years, but surely we can all be rebellious game-changers like him. As I write this article in memory of the great humanitarian, I wonder, is he sitting beside me, guiding my hand and writing his unfinished memoir? The truth is, I was afraid to create this piece so I looked up and asked him to pen the words through me. Whether he’s with me or not, one thing’s for sure: he’s inspiring me to express my genuine feelings for him, his courage and his contribution to literature and the world. There have been many great artists, but there will only ever be one Khushwant Singh.


Amit Gupta plays the corporate guy, but at heart he’s a poet, writing secretly for a decade and longing to be where all horizons meet. Right now he’s acting the auteur with three plays under his belt, and penning lyrics for a friend who puts them to music. He loves freezing time with his camera and dreams of taking his piano on a global recital tour.

trumpet lead (Top row) Gadar: Ek Prem Katha. Love Aaj Kal. (Middle row) Yamla Pagla Deewana. Love Aaj Kal. Jeevan Mrityu. (Bottom row) Singh Is Kinng. Fukrey. Rocket Singh:Salesman of the Year.


sardars of the silver screen WHICH SINGH IS KING? words ANEELA BABAR


While portraying ethnicity mightn’t be the forte of Hindi cinema, the ubiquitous Raj and Rahul have remained consistent in their ‘One Surname Fits All’ mission, playing the happy drunk Goan Christian, the ‘Kotha to Klashinkov’ Muslim, the Rotund Parsi and Jovial Sardarji. An increasingly ‘quick to take offence’ public complicates the issue when a plucky filmmaker wants to rock the boat. Even with all of dear departed Khushwant Singh’s machinations (to show that maybe Sardars Just Want to Have Fun... and a Patiala Peg at the end of the day), film actors playing ‘mainstream’ Sikh protagonists have had to go on a reassurance blitzkrieg to prove to the Sikh clergy that they dieted to make an ascetic proud and recited hymns as they put on the greasepaint.

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My first memories of a non-Rahul Punjabi is Rishi Kapoor and Kulbhushan Kharbanda’s Mangal and Triloka Singh from Sukhwant Dada’s Ek Chadar Maili Si. The movie was released in 1986, the screenplay adapted from Rajinder Singh Bedi’s Urdu novel. In another lifetime, I’d watched the Pakistani adaption of the same novel Mutthi Bhar Chawal directed by Sangeeta in 1981 (Sangeeta also played the firebrand Rano, the role taken by Hema Malini in Ek Chadar; Sangeeta being Punjabi herself was far more at ease with the part than Hema: Dharmendra ji Garam hain, Dharam bhi hai but Dialect Coach nahi). Rishi Kapoor as the lazy younger son who romances Poonam Dhillon’s Raji and Kharbanda who romances the bottle fared better. But digs at Hema Malini’s diction aside, Ek Chadar Maili Si is a beautiful and sensitive potrayal of Punjabi culture beyond dancing in mustard fields, and is particularly relevant today when we raise questions regarding Indian women’s agency and life choices. I recommend Diptakirti Chaudhri’s Kitnay Aadmi Thay - Completely Useless Bollywood Trivia - (published by Westland in 2012) for the brilliant chapter Jo Bole So Nihal: 12 Depictions of Sikhs, which shows there’s (screen) life to Sardars beyond Deol parivars, bless their dear Jatt souls. Chaudhri made me recall Dharmendra in Jeevan Mrityu (gulp... the paterfamilias of the parivar I just mocked... moving along... ) where he plays a ‘shrewd and calculating Sikh businessman’. And before Papa, Sunny and Bobby took over the Real Life Reel Life Pappiya Jhappiya Punjabis in the


Apne Yamlas and Paglas and Deewanas, Shashi and Kunal Kapoor played out the trials and tribulations of a Punjabi father / son relationship on screen. The film was Vijeta, the film maker Govind Nihalani: I hope you watch the DVD this weekend. Into the 90s and Sunny WAS the quintessential Punjabi. For the Sikh and Jatt watching public he seemed like ‘one of us’, without defying any of the conventions filmmakers held sacred for Punjabis on film. He was boisterous, seemed like someone who could murder a chicken tandoori, shouted a bhadak or two (hurling hand pumps when his throat failed him) across the Wagah when the Eastern Front acted up, and the famous hath was dhai kilo ka, ideal size specifications for a perfect Sikh male, so that

(Top row) Son of Sardaar. Heroes. (Middle row) Yamla Pagla Deewana. Border. Major Saab. (Bottom row) Dil Bole Hadippa.

everyone reached out for the popcorn and let their preconceptions about Punjabis grow. You know when they’re not dancing in Switzerland for Yash Chopra, you’ll find them on the Border. Even Anil Kapoor and Tabu took their turn in Biwi Number 1, it was so addictive. Although no hand pumps were hurt, I can’t say as much for the Swiss vales. The 90s also saw Daler Mehndi take over as the standard Singing Sikh in Hindi films.


When the other Punjabi, Akshay Kumar, made his foray into Singh-dom, he had to explain his sartorial choices to a very indignant Sikh clergy. Or maybe they were upset with the extra ‘n’ in Singh is Kinng. Now, ye extra kkkk

(L) Cover of Kitnay Aadmi Thay: Completely Useless Bollywood Trivia (R) Ek Chadar Maili Si

Enter the 90s and Sunny IS the quintessential Punjabi

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ki kahani tou chalti hai but why fob us off with just an ‘n’? Weren’t we good enough for a Kking? The ticket buying public (and pirated copy downloading diaspora) were delighted as their happy-go-lucky Punjabi checklist was filled out, and cash registers have been ringing for Anees Bazmee ever since. As for hatke Punjabis, everyone remembers Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (the Kapoor khandaan genes kicked in for Ranbir Kapoor; his portrayal of Harpreet Singh Bedi was quite accomplished for his early years) though opinion remains divided when it comes to Saif Ali Khan’s Veer Singh in Imtiaz Ali’s Love Aaj Kal. Parzan Dastur in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai had already beaten him to ‘Look Which Ethnicity Is Playing A Sardar Now’ and young Dastur was way cuter too. But as Khan faced less What The? than when he tried

playing a Dalit in Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan, we should let this go by too. But what can’t be forgotten is Abhay Deol and Paresh Rawal in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! Paresh Rawal had me riveted as he switched between West Delhi father, wily Gogi Arora and later a Dr B.D. Handa who swindles Deol’s Lucky of his savings: here was a smorgasbord of different shades of Punjabi. Oye Lucky also introduced us to Manjot Singh, playing the younger Lucky, who went on to star in Fukrey, Udaan, Shaitan, Student of the Year... somehow, even when he is playing ‘just himself’, young Manjot has a spark and I look forward to meatier roles. And no, I don’t mean Tandoori Chicken. So, what are you watching this weekend?

Aneela Z Babar divides her time writing on gender, religion, militarism, popular culture and telling people her boy is toilet trained, sleeping through the night. She is in Delhi for the year with her husband and a boy who is toilet trained, sleeping through the night.


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A Gurudwara can be identified from a distance by its tall flagpoles bearing the Sikh flag: the Nishan Sahib.


In the Langar of a Gurudwara, food is served to all visitors regardless of background, for free. At the Langar, all eat as equals.

Karah Prashad, a sacred pudding served to sangat at the close of a worship service. Made from flour, butter and sugar in equal parts, it’s blessed by the offering of ardas: prayer.


People of all faiths are welcomed in a Gurudwara.

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Paath: a religious discourse and reading of Gurbani from the Guru Granth Sahib ji, the central religious text of Sikhism.

Powered by vivid imagination and aesthetic vision Sonu Sultania uses her brush to experiment and put her thoughts on canvas. Colours and textures have always been her best companions. She works primarily in concept based and expressive paintings around the themes of women: their journeys and emotions. She has participated in many UAE exhibitions; at Pro Art Gallery, DUCTAC, e Dhabi Art Hub and so on. Her works can be found here: SonuSultania



Minimal Movie Posters India

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SPEAK LIKE PUNJABIS Let’s admit it...we, Punjabis, are known by the way we talk. Not because we are loud, simply because we have a lingo different from the rest. While all else will ask a formal how do you do; Punjabis would be hugging you to ask Haan vai kiddaa. The rest of the audience will give a standing ovation to an awesome performance; but trust Punjabis to give a compliment like Nazara hi leya ta! Their gallbaat sessions are famous for gossips about everyone, which end with the ubiquitous phrase, Saanu kee ! So when it comes to their lingo, there is a lot to explore. Get ready to talk Jama hi Punjabi style. And don’t forget to say all this with a smile... because we Punjabis are a happy lot. A: Aaho Yes, we are the YES people. Not the Yes Boss types but the ones who say ‘Yes to life’. Our yes is said in a typical manner. AAHO! Speaking tip: Even while Aaho is

spelt with two As pronounce the AA quickly enough and stress on the HO part. Trying already? B: Balle Balle Be it our generous nature or Bhangra moves or our worthy performance in every sphere of life Balle Balle is how we express it all: Bollywood too is smitten by it. Keep a close watch, the Indian film industry could be renamed Ballewood someday soon. C: Chak De Phatte Hey, don’t get ready to pick anything when you hear the phrase. Yes, while chak de means to pick up & phatte means wood: the phrase is a way to express the Chardi Kala of Punjabis i.e. to encourage an individual/ group to accomplish the task he/she/ they have set for. Undoubtedly, the whole country including Shah Rukh Khan loves ‘Chak De!’ D: Dangar No, it’s not danger misspelt. It’s Dangar with a g sound, literal translation being an animal. Often said in an affectionate manner

E: Enwe Hi Now this is truly authentically Punjabi because the very phrase means ‘nothing’. We go to market Enwe Hi or we text someone Enwe Hi and many emotional outbursts happen Enwe Hi. F: Fuddu Urban dictionary defines Fuddu as a moron; but then it’s more fun to call someone Fuddu than a moron. Why be intelligent and soft while abusing someone; that’s what Punjabis think. G: Gedi A joyful waste of time and petrol on roads that’s what a gedi is. Typically a Chandigarhian word, it is meant for a specific route where one can find the best dressed boys and girls driving the hottest cars and bikes. And of course, here’s where we check each other out. H: Haye O Rabba This is what Punjabis do best. We exaggerate any situation with our words and expressions. If a boy eve teases a girl, it’s a Haye O Rabba moment. And if the girl slaps back the boy, it’s all the more Haye O Rabba! Speaking tip: Try saying it with both hands around your head and see the effect.


Our conversations end with the phrase, Saanu kee!

by girls: this is how often Punjabi girls rebuke roadside Romeos.

I: Inj Na Kar That’s how we bargain or get done things our way. The moment someone says something that doesn’t suit us, we tone done our volume and say it with a sugared voice, Inj Na kar. J: Jatt/Jatti Now that’s the central point of Punjabi alphabets, Jatt and Jatti. Thanks to all recent movies, the whole world knows that Jatt can be associated with anything from James Bond to Airways. And Jatti is the new Juliet for all Punjabi girls. K: Kiddaa English speaking people take so many words to ask: How are you doing; Punjabis need just a Kiddaa to do the honour. Now, the beauty is that this word can be spoken in personalised style. Listen to a few Punjabi FM channels to create your own style. L: Lab Lab stands for ‘to find’. Oye, mera pen lab de, Ki lab di payi hai... (Hey, can you find my pen, What are you looking for?) Use it each time you can’t find a person or a piece!

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M: Mar Jaaneya That’s how Punjabi mothers express love. They call their sons like this and often scold them for getting up late or eating less or fighting with their sister. Aah, who won’t mind dying for such genuine pampering and care. N: Naale Hor Kuch Ni Punjabis don’t like the boasting mates. The moment someone tries to go overboard with their explanations, you would hear a Punjabi cutting short his inflated talks with a ‘Naale Hor kuch Ni’. This is again to be said with lot of confidence and tonality so that the other person should know that his lies have been caught. O: Oye Hoye Oye Hoye is just the opposite of Naale Hor Kuch ni... This is to be said when you are generally impressed with someone. No wonder, you often hear these two words outside girls’ college. P: Putar


We are sure you are very familiar with this one. In every movie with a Punjabi family or Punjabi home, the son is referred to as Putar! The word is also used to refer to anyone who is ‘like a son’. Q: Qaba A person who is too critical is called Qaba. He/she is someone who will not just analyse everything but also give his/her expert comments on anything & everything. Stay away from them: by the way, there are way too many around. R: Rola/Raula Ae ki rola macha ke rakha hua hai? (What is all the noise about?) The word stands for any kind of noise: happy, sad or angry. It is used both as a question and an expression. S: Siyappa When things are out of control, we call it Siyappa, Punjabi marriages witness a Siyappa over not being caring enough; street fights also turn to Sayapaand so do our unplanned journeys. In fact, the latest one in this category is Whatsyaapa. Siyappa stands for trouble: both serious and fun.

Attend a Punjabi wedding to experience almost all the phrases/words at one single event T: Teri Sorry for the blasphemy but Punjabis have to say Teri ... Di and Teri ... Di at least ten times a day to feel the zing of life. Often we don’t say it as an abuse but just as an addiction. In fact, Punjabis can coin a whole new dictionary just of their uniquely spelt and said abuses. Anyone, game? U: Ullu Da Patha This is most definitely not an abuse. Because if it were so, why would most of the fathers say this to their sons especially when the literal translation means ‘Son of an Owl’? Rather, this is just equivalent to Punjabi fathers calling their sons – dude. V: Vehle Thanks to KJo, the whole world knows the meaning of Vehle. Guys who happily waste, sorry, kill their time doing nothing are called Vehlas. Being Vehla is the new cool as such. You are highly in demand if you are

a Vehla, pun intended. W: Waadhu Don’t expect a Punjabi to do anything in a small number or quantity; everything has to be Waadhu: additional to be precise. That’s why we have Waadhu clothes, Waadhu food, Waadhu inches and Waadhu Pange as well. X: XL That’s the average Punjabi’s waist size as well as the size of their heart. But they won’t change their dil even if the bill burns a hole in their pocket. The XL size of their lifestyle is so very evident in all Punjabi weddings. And you must attend one to experience almost all the phrases written above at one single event. Y: Yo Yo Honey Singh The latest craze of the whole world: Yo Yo Honey Singh is a Punjab ka product, needless to say Punjabis love him to the core, both for his sarcastic raps and fantastic music. Seems like Yo Yo is now the unofficial mascot of Punjab. Z: ZumBhangra Punjabis are turning cosmopolitan with their love for Zumba and Salsa but the real challenge is to mix Bhangra in these Latin dance forms. Many fitness trainers in Punjab have introduced this as their latest cardio session - Zumba mixed with Bhangra. You may shake your hips Shakira style, but hands have to reach for the sky in Balle Balle style. That’s ZumBhangra. Now that was all about the 26 alphabets but there are certain phonetic sounds that need to be practiced to give a better flavour to your newly acquired Punjabi lingo. To practice that, watch out a few Jaswinder Bhalla movies and you would soon be beating us in our own game. Also, listen closely to the comments and phrases of Navjot Singh Sidhu. Chal guru, ho ja shuru!


Anu M explains that the ‘M’ stands for Massakali, a name earned from friends for her lively spirit. She writes with passion: every piece is her flight of fantasy. She loves music & dance; food, fashion and fun are by default her forte. She can be reached at

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The couple seeking blessings during the laava-phere cermony

Excited women of the house settled with a dholki (drum) churning out one wedding song after the other... a halwai (sweet maker) preparing oil dripping pakodaas (fritters) to go with the chai-shai and thanda shanda (hot / cold drinks) anxious relatives critically examining the preparations... cousins and friends planning the last minute details of a daru (drinking) party...


If this all sounds like a Bollywood setup for a Punjabi wedding then Bollywood has it right: every bit of it. Recently-married, I can vouch for the Punjabi wedding as being one of the most colourful, exuberant, emotional and opulent events you could ever experience. To be honest, weddings had never been ‘my kind of thing’ so I expected my polite smile to vanish as the D-Day neared, but the beautiful spectacle not only widened my smile but also brought moments to cherish for a lifetime.


Weddings are special occasions in any culture; what makes Punjabi weddings exceptionally memorable is all the peripheral paraphernalia. What constitutes the paraphernalia? Well... epic food, loud music... okay, let’s admit it, very loud music... bling clothes (read gotta and tilla (gold embroidery and lace work), bright lights, brighter smiles, lots of photography and wedding-centric jokes: a Punjabi wedding is all this and more. Much more, in every sense.

Punjabi weddings are seven day events at least, with each day having its own significance. The inflow of relatives a week in advance marks the onset. Some are almost total strangers; others who won’t believe the bride-to-be has grown up, even though they visit every month. Love them or hate them, they’ve arrived, to make sure that every day brings new advice: success mantras for happily married life.

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Once the well-meaning relatives have settled down, it’s time for the dhol (drum) and sangeet (music) that form integral parts of the shaadi vala ghar (wedding household). While the courtyard belongs to the women, with young and old singing and dancing to the beat of the dholki, outside the house there’s a tent for the sangeet: everything a leg can be shaken to, played by a DJ.


Besides the music, the other essential ingredient is, of course, the food. Calling it a major feature would be an understatement: most of the proceedings revolve around it. From the snacks turned out 24/7 from grandmother’s kitchen to the butter chicken and kebabs for parallel liquor sessions, and the endless variety of starters, mains and desserts on the day itself, everything edible serves to strengthen the bonds between participants. And every haldi (grooming and preparation) ceremony has its own special item: gulgule (sweet pakodaas) for one, khichdi (rice and lentils) for another; as a food lover, I found enjoying these great therapy for toning down wedding anxiety. While guests, music and food take up much of the wedding household schedule, endless shopping sprees account for most of the rest: the show of bling - clothes and jewellery - is essential. There’s the traditionally embroidered phulkari (flower work) clothes for the

bride; the gotta work and tille vali jutties (ornate bridal shoes); the designer lehenga (long, embroidered, pleated skirts) and matching stilettos; the big tikka (pendant) and even bigger nose rings; the necklaces, cocktail rings and branded accessories. Along with the traditional heirloom jewellery, no Punjabi wedding is complete without a show of all that glitters. And the perfectly accessorised clothes are accompanied by endless photo sessions. While some are clicked for the sole purpose of social media sharing, most are taken with a view to producing a seriously bulky wedding albums. Whatever the reasons, the full- and part-time paparazzi will be out in force.

(Clockwise) The lovely bride. The henna painted hands. The couple on the wedding day: Bhavneet & Naminder.

As D-Day arrives it’s finally time for ‘lights, camera, action!’ For those from the groom’s side, dancing to the dhol (drum) is pretty much compulsory. The day belongs to them as the hospitality from the bride’s family is sure to make them feel like they’ve acquired royal lineage. As for the hosts for the day, well, everything from the reception of baraat (bridegroom’s procession) to the doli (departure of the bride from her parental house) is a test of their event management skills. For the Punjabi bride, the day starts early as the laavaphere (vows and blessings) must end before noon. As a late morning person, the prospect of waking up at 5am to reach the parlour seemed unachievable, but on


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The bride-to-be during her haldi ceremony surrounded by the women relatives and friends.


the night itself, the last in my cosy room, I could barely sleep. No amount of bling and Yo Yo Honey Singh could change the way I felt as I stepped out of the house that morning: mixed emotions weighed heavy. But almost before I’d realised it, the dhol brought back the rhythm of life. A bride usually has to make do with second-hand commentary of all the groom-welcoming action as they wait, decked out, for the call to set off for the Gurudwara. Whereas the groom can enjoy every bit of the day: the sisters-inlaw make sure of that. From the ribbon katai (traditional welcome) to the famous jutta chupai (hiding the groom’s footwear: he must pay to get them back) the groom has a lot to do, distributing cash as he goes along in exchange for the sisters-in-law’s demands. Then it’s time for the laava-phere: a half hour ceremony with sacred vows that make the bride and groom part of each other’s lives forever. As I stepped out and said the final goodbye, tender moments raced across my mind: my first step, holding my parents’ hands; the fights I’d had with the siblings I love; and my grandmother’s warm cuddle. Superhuman effort was required to leave my old house and enter the new one, promising to make it my own. With the main events over, the Punjabi Wedding takes a day or two to wrap up. There are phajji - special sweets - to accompany the goodbyes, and lengthy discussions about just what makes big, fat Punjabi weddings such great occasions. (Bhavneet Bhatti tied the knot with Naminder Singh in December 2013. The couple stays in Chandigarh. We wish them a happily married life!)


If you love to eat then you’d do anything to be in the classroom of Bhavneet Bhatti. For this assistant professor at the School of Communication Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh is likely to reward you for your good performance with a lovely meal. Meals and capturing memories surrounding each is what she loves the most, followed by researching (she is a PhD) & teaching. Also, these days she is back to romancing the words and fall in love with one of her oldest passions, writing.

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langar a divine meal





In the age of Happy Meals, Combo Food offers and extra cheese pizzas there’s still one repast that tempts us beyond the fast food goodies. If you’re a Punjabi or have accompanied one to the Guru da ‘langar’ you’d agree that this basic meal brings a soul-satiating experience that outclasses even fine dining. A tradition that’s lasted for centuries, bringing people together one and all, the langar, or community kitchen, is a quintessential element of almost every Gurudwara (venue for Sikh congregational worship). The langar is embedded in the origins of Sikhism: the first Guru of Sikhs, Guru Nanak, introduced the concept of offering free food to people from all castes, creeds and communities to spread the message of equality and selfless service. Since then, the tradition has catered to thousands of devotees, transcending all barriers of religion, race and colour. While the food offered might differ slightly from one Gurudwara to another, the most savoured and popular langar items are ‘langar vali daal’ (lentil curry) and ‘parshada’ (flat bread). If you’re lucky enough to arrive during a guruparab (Sikh festival), you may also be greeted with special fare such as kheer (rice pudding) and lassi (buttermilk/yoghurt drink).

Visit the cooking area at a Gurudwara and you’ll find men and women, young and old, rich and poor, all participating in the preparations. While experienced hands take on the more significant chores, beginners tend to serve the food or wash the dishes. What makes their experience memorable and worthy is the joy of selfless service; those with staunch belief might also say that divinity and service are inseparable, making contributors part of the blessed ones. Encompassing the experience of dining with hundreds of others, enjoying delicious, soulnurturing food and overcoming the boundaries of religion, the langar is a must for everyone. If you haven’t attended for a while, it’s time to revisit, and if you’ve never been, now is the time to go.

(Images courtesy of:,, debranche)

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Despite the simple menus, what makes langar

food delectable is the taste that seems to quench the soul. It’s believed that this dash of divinity derives from the sacred hymns and prayers chanted throughout langar preparations. But there’s much more to the langar aside from the wonderful taste experience: it’s also about the service lent by hundreds of devotees to ensure that the tradition continues.

If you love to eat then you’d do anything to be in the classroom of Bhavneet Bhatti. For this assistant professor at the School of Communication Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh is likely to reward you for your good performance with a lovely meal. Meals and capturing memories surrounding each is what she loves the most, followed by researching (she is a PhD) & teaching. Also, these days she is back to romancing the words and fall in love with one of her oldest passions, writing.





words & images DIGVIJAY RAJDEV

Having arrived in the UK ten months ago, I’ve become a regular visitor to the Gurudwara - Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Sikh Temple - in Sheffield. Each time I enter the Gurudwara, I find myself transported to my home town in Chandigarh. Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Sikh Temple - in Sheffield

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The peaceful wordings of the Gurbani, men in colourful pagris, women in shimmering salwar kameez, and the aroma of freshly cooked Punjabi food and Karah Prasad all remind me of the days I spent with my friends at Chandigarh’s Gurudwara Nada Sahib. The Gurudwara is spotlessly clean like a fivestar hotel, and everyone eats sitting at a table rather than on the floor, as in India. It’s interesting to watch the England-born Punjabi youngsters taking part in the seva (service) without any inhibitions, and attempting to speak Punjabi in their suave British accents. Seeing them, I realise the power and purity of langar, the selfless service.

Every dish that’s presented is exactly like the food my mother used to cook for me back home. Even Sheffield’s best Indian restaurants can’t match up to the tasty food prepared and served at the Gurudwara. On Sunday, I skip my breakfast so I can consume the mouthwatering langar at leisure. On a few fortunate occasions, I’ve even managed to have the food packed up for my next meal.

Bigger UK cities like Birmingham and London have a number of Gurudwaras that prepare langar daily. Most of the Sikhs here have additional birthday and anniversary celebrations on following Sundays at the Gurudwara.

I make a point of taking my nonIndian friends to the Gurudwara to educate them about my culture. The sevaks (helpers) welcome my British, Mexican and Chinese friends with open arms, greeting them specially at

the Langar hall. In observing me, my friends have learnt how to pay obedience to Guru Granth Sahib ji in the Darbar Hall. They all love the finger-licking, ghee-dripping Karah Prasad.

The langar!

Initially, I went to the Gurudwara to indulge in the langar but now the visits have become a more profound part of my life, a window to my culture and roots. Few other places in the world can offer the serenity of the Darbar Sahib: my weekly visits set me up for the hectic University work schedule. The permanent sevaks at the Gurudwara know me well now, and even comment on my absence if I don’t attend for a week.

I’ll always cherish the memories of my ‘home away from home’ when I return to India.

(For more details on the Sheffield Gurudwara, see:

An architect by profession, Digvijay Rajdev is currently pursuing Masters in Sustainable Architecture at the University Of Sheffield, UK. Born and brought up in Chandigarh, he takes pride in his roots and lives by the Punjabi philosophy: living to eat. He confesses his day is not complete till he indulges in at least one spicy meal! Meditating, volunteering, trying out new beers and planning holidays keep him happy & occupied (other than studying of course) Other than owning a convertible, he aspires to live in a self-sustaining homestead where he can develop and consume his own energy and food, without compensating on natural resources.




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Saudi in a Nutshell (Image: Syaza Shakh)

idhar udhar




Lizzie Hobbs, originally from Derbyshire, UK, is an award-winning Londonbased artist. Particularly inspired by India and the Middle East, she collects ideas from architecture, landscapes, and textiles to create unique pieces reflecting these exotic cultures. Her freehand works, drawn to commission, are similar to henna patterns and Indian rangoli, an art form involving flour or coloured powders applied to the ground. The freedom and endless design possibilities add to the charm; each piece holds its own character and significance. Lizzie’s creations - ranging from decorative to thought-provoking, often portraying messages and stories - embrace

influences from cultures where patterns are evident and symbolic. We caught up with this innovative artist for a chat. To begin with, please tell us something about yourself. I’m a northern lass who gravitated to the bright lights of London where I’m currently studying for a BA in South Asian Studies and Hindi. I love to combine creativity with my passion for India and the Middle East through my artwork, which merges elements from their architecture and textiles. I like travelling and discovering other cultures, which puts me in touch with new people and their interesting stories. Films and books play an important role in my life, particularly if they’re about India. Settling down to watch a Bollywood movie with a cup of chai and bowl of bhel puri is perfect.

(Right, top to bottom) Universal Pilgrimage, An untitled work of the artist, Wedding Anniversary & In Arabian Nights


Can you walk us through the events or inspirations that led/lead to the inception of your ideas? The ideas for my freehand artwork have materialised and evolved slowly over a number of years. They began as doodles on paper during my school days, until I

(Top left) An untitled work of the artist. (Bottom left) Lizzie Hobbs

decided to experiment and create more detailed pieces using a fine-line pen. In terms of the designs, they just automatically flow from pen to paper, so I suppose I had somehow absorbed patterns from the Indian and Middle Eastern cultures without realising. I like to make up the patterns as I go along and they often change depending on my mood. It means they have a sense of spontaneity, and every single one is unique. Eventually, I began doing commissions, and as I created more pieces, I started including significant symbols and stories within them, requiring more research and travel. I now use other media as well, such as textiles and walls. I constantly look out for new materials and concepts, as well as orders to make tailor-made pieces for people.

idhar udhar

Could you provide a brief outline of the purpose, mission and vision behind your artwork? I think sharing art with others is really important: for it to be discussed, debated, and appreciated. Being creative makes me tick, and I believe that producing decorative artwork not only benefits the artist who experiences the thrill of the process but also the people who savour the end product. I also strongly believe that artwork is a great platform for self-expression and spreading social messages: it can be a form of politics. I incorporate stories and symbols in some of my pieces to touch on sensitive topics. Hopefully, the pieces make people talk, think, ask questions and take action. It’s intriguing how each individual interprets and is affected by the pieces differently. We all have different opinions about society, and I hope my work will contribute towards international dialogue and positive change. Can you provide us a sneak peek into your creative process? I begin by observing and taking photographs of buildings, textiles, mehendi, landscapes, and other elements during my travels. I then gather these patterns together and create my own, drawing freehand in fine-line pen. If it’s one enclosed shape I begin in the middle and work my way to the outer layers. For the more free-flowing pieces, I build up the shapes and join some of them together. With the latter, composition is really important, and this is what makes it more difficult. Sometimes my work is purely decorative, and at other times it incorporates symbols and pictures to convey meanings and messages. Basically I customise each one to suit its context and focus on personalising them for clients. For example, following my trip to Saudi Arabia, I created a geometric design as a decorative wall mural


for a domestic client. In London, for Stepney City Farm, I drew a wall mural which incorporated elements of the farm into it, and for Hackney Downs Studios my piece challenged the idea that boundaries restrict creativity. Finally, another of my statement pieces tackles the negative stereotypes of Muslims present in the West, and aims to take the viewer on a journey from a narrowminded viewpoint to a more positive one. Can you share something about your Jaipur craft workshops? When I worked in the travel industry at TransIndus, a company that specialises in tours to Asia, I helped organise holiday bookings for craft workshops held in Jaipur. The programme is run by Wonderful Workshops, and promotes the traditional crafts of India. This includes block printing, miniature painting, and embroidery, and allows travellers to have a hands-on experience while learning about Indian culture. The workshops run annually and are in connection with the Jaipur Virasat Foundation, who works with traditional artists in Rajasthan. Any other interests / hobbies you’d like to share with us? I’ve been trying to learn Hindi for a number of years now, which began when I decided to teach myself. I soon realised I’d bitten off more than I could chew, so eventually enrolled as a mature student at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London to learn it properly. It’s got to the stage where I’m dreaming in Hindi, which is a bit bizarre! About a year ago I attempted to learn Odissi, but the discipline required became too difficult compared to the contemporary dance I’m used to, so I gave up. I also enjoy Indian cooking and am lucky to have Indian friends to guide me, so at least my chapattis are no longer like cardboard. When I’m baking, I usually add an Indian twist, such as ground cardamom in cakes, or chilli to chocolate. Have you ever been to India? What do you like most about the country? Yes, I’ve been a handful of times, to Rajasthan and Gujarat. I really like the colours, the clothing and bustling markets, the people, the food, and the crazy (if a little scary!) tuk-tuks. I’m looking forward to visiting again and venturing into new places. India is all about colours, but your art is monochrome. Any specific reason?


Stepney City Farm

Domestic Wall


Lizzie working on the Hackney Downs Studios piece

Lizzie’s creations - ranging from decorative to thought-provoking, often portraying messages and stories - embrace influences from cultures where patterns are evident and symbolic.

idhar udhar

I like the contrast of black pen on pale surfaces. When I first tried using colour, it just didn’t feel right. I think the images stand out better without colour, even though this does neglect the wonderful colour-palette found in India. I’ve recently experimented - sparingly - with particular shades of colour which seemed to work okay, so I’ll consider doing this again with future pieces. Anybody you’d like to give credit for supporting or inspiring you? I’ve had a lot of support from my family. I come from a creative family, so they understand what it takes to work and thrive as an artist (it’s certainly not easy) and I’m grateful for the advice, praise, and criticism I receive from them. In terms of inspiration, credit’s due to many unknown architects and artisans, and also to the Indian and Middle Eastern women who draw rangoli and mehendi patterns on a regular basis. They all create such beautiful and inspiring artwork. Any breakthroughs or achievements you’d like to

share? I was lucky enough to win an international art competition with Arabia Offscreen which took me on an expedition to Saudi Arabia, and resulted in a couple of exhibitions at Canary Wharf in London. Following this, I was given the opportunity to talk about the expedition at the British Museum. This made me more pro-active, and since then, I’ve won the International Student House Art Award, been featured in Vogue Magazine, and have created a piece for the London Design Festival at the V&A. More recently I was runner-up in a surface pattern design competition with Tigerprint, who are linked with Hallmark and M&S gift products, and created a public piece of work for a long-term gallery at Hackney Downs Studios in London. What would be your message for our readers? That observing and appreciating the things around us is important. We should celebrate rich cultures and embrace traditional arts. To know more,

A 20 year old lad from India, currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Electrical engineering, Siddhant believes in the Gandhian philosophy of being the change you want to see. A vegetarian due to ethical reasons, he is very passionate about Mother Earth and writes mostly on topics related to the environment. Although an introvert, he loves interviewing people, whom he thinks are role models for the youth, and tries to bring their story out to the world. Apart from writing, he also loves quizzing. He also writes for an official UNESCO magazine.



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phulkari the flower work, a fashion fry

living tradition




In the Autumn/Winter fashion shows of March 2013, celebrated designer Manish Malhotra based his entire collection around phulkari, thus bringing this ancient, and previously non-commercial art form to national attention. So, what is phulkari? And what’s ironic about Manish Malhotra using it in his designs? Phul-kaari can be literally translated as ‘flower work’. It’s mentioned in ancient texts like Guru Granth Sahib, which dates it back at least six centuries. Its origins are obscure: some say it started in Iran, where it was known as ‘gulkari’; others say it was introduced to Punjab by migrant Jatts. Whatever its beginnings, it became intricately woven into the daily lives of Punjabi women. A girl’s trousseau was judged on the number of phulkaris she received as a bride, indicating the status of her family. Family elders would lovingly start creating phulkaris for a girl the moment she was born; as she grew older she would learn the art, and eventually contribute. There were no written instructions or patterns, just knowledge and techniques passed on from one generation to the next.

fashion fry

So, in its heyday, it was possible to identify the origins - family and region - of a piece of phulkari based on its patterns. And here’s the irony: they were made exclusively by women for their personal use in dupattas, shawls, kurtas and jackets. No males were ever involved in the creation of Phulkari, nor were the items ever marketed. And then Mr. Malhotra set about selling them to the fashionistas! Phulkari used to be worked in hand-spun cotton called ‘Khaddar’ using silk threads known as ‘Pat’ which were tinted with vegetable dyes. The colours of the base cottons were significant. Older women selected white, while younger women chose red, orange, and other, brighter hues. Darning stitch was mostly used, and the smaller the stitch, the higher the quality. Different shades were created by altering the length and direction of stitches giving the work amazing depth and dimension. The motifs were mostly geometric and usually depicted scenes from everyday life. Phulkari can be divided into 52 different types, but there are broad categories based on the type and density of the stitching:


- Bagh means ‘garden’ and is the most complex type of all. It covers the base cloth entirely, requiring work of the utmost patience and high levels of skill. - Darshan Dwar means ‘gate through which God can be seen’, and this pattern is used for religious purposes only. Widely used as a canopy for the Guru Granth Sahib, it’s also offered as a token of gratitude to God after the fulfillment of wishes. - Sainchi phulkari has figurative pieces depicting life in the villages of south eastern Punjab. Local animals (goats, cows, elephants, big cats, scorpions and peacocks) are represented among wrestlers, farmers, weavers and so on. This form of phulkari was restricted to a small region of Punjab and is hence highly coveted by collectors. - Suber and Chope work is related to weddings and is typically presented to the bride by her maternal relations on her wedding day as a gift. - Vari-da-bag, gifted to the bride by her in-laws on entering their house, her new home, on her wedding day. This ‘bagh’ was very special since it was gifted by new relatives, while other phulkari would be part of her trousseau. - Panchranga and Satranga work, done in either 5 or 7 colours, shows the colourful and lively nature of Punjabi life. - Meenakari Bagh or Ikka Bagh, often made of gold and white pat, this bagh is decorated with small multicoloured lozenges evoking enamel work (meenakari) or the ‘diamond’ playing card suit. - Nazar Buti features a patch or tiny corner sewn in dark blue or black, or sometimes intentionally left blank to ward off the evil eye. As times changed, the structure of families and daily routines of life changed too. Industrialisation and education for girls meant there was neither time nor need to make these intricate works of art at home. Eventually, though it didn’t disappear completely, phulkari work started becoming a rarity. But as the Peter Allen song says, “Everything old is new again!”: phulkari is making a comeback. Prime among artists still skilled in the requisite embroidery is Lajwanti Devi Chhabra (60) from Patiala, who received a Rashtrapati Award (1995) for her artistry, and efforts at keeping the tradition alive.

Snapshots from ‘Mela Phulkari’ by Concept 1469 and art historian and cultural theorist Dr Alka Pande

GET YOUR PHULKARI FROM… Punjab government emporiums

• Sat Guru Collections - Putlighar • Katra Jaimal Singh - Amritsar

• Patiala Dupatta House and Phulkari Centre -Adalat Bazar, Patiala

• Gullu Excusive -Amritsar

• Roopam Dupatta Centre - Adalat Bazaar, Patiala

• Singh Brothers - Amritsar

• Phulkari Works - Tripuri Town, Patiala

• Phulkari Dupatta House - Hem Bagh, Patiala

• Guru Nanak Phulkari House – Tripuri Town, Patiala.

E-shoppers, stop by: & (Information sources for the article:,,,


fashion fry

Snapshots from ‘Mela Phulkari’ by Concept 1469 and art historian and cultural theorist Dr Alka Pande


“I inherited the art from my mother and used to practice it while making things for myself. That’s what most girls in my time did! Gradually westernisation attracted the women of Punjab and they kept abandoning the art. But phulkari was still an important part of a bride’s trousseau. Neighbours and relatives started to approach me to create special pieces for their daughters’ weddings. With time, this turned into a full time venture which keeps me busy and has also played a big role in keeping the tradition alive.” Lajwanti Devi runs the Guru Nanak Phulkari House in the Tripuri region of Patiala, along with her sons, Amit and Ravinder, and daughters, Lovely and Varsha. It’s very heartwarming to see the younger generation being so passionate about maintaining their heritage. Amit mentions: “This is what our maternal grandmother taught our mother, who taught us, and now even my little niece is learning”. In spite of being government award winners, making this venture financially viable is difficult, with much competition from cheaper, machine made, lower quality products. Lajwanti Devi routinely makes trips to Delhi and other cities to find customers who still appreciate authentic art and are willing to pay true values. 1469, a popular retail brand that promotes Punjabi culture through its products, and Dr. Alka Pande, an art historian and writer, are working collaboratively to make Phulkari art and artisans known. Their recent exhibition ‘Mela Phulkari’ in Delhi, featured items over 150 years old, some of which belong to the brand 1469, with a few borrowed from the personal collections of royal families, for public viewing. Through its stores, 1469 has played a pioneering role in establishing Punjab and its artwork in youthful minds. Harinder Singh, the creative force behind 1469, becomes nostalgic recalling days when weddings would be incomplete without ornate phulkari work. It was customary for all married women to wear their choicest phulkari dupattas for all auspicious

occasions. The intricate work could even be seen on their batuas or pouches. Singh organised the elaborate exhibition in a bid to bring back that old glory. The south-eastern region of Punjab, known as Malwa, is the main hub of Phulkari. Bathinda, Patiala, Rajpura, Zirkpur, Bahadurgarh and Tripuri are among subsidiary regions where this work is still done in households. Although demand for phulkari products is on the rise, the profits mostly go into the pockets of middlemen while hard-working artisans receive a pittance. Lately, NGOs have started to correct this situation by organising sales and making sure artisans make a healthy living from their work. The Punjab government is promoting phulkari through its pan India emporiums. Gurpreet Singh, deputy general manager of Phulkari, Chandigarh Punjab Govt. Emporium says, “Our emporiums, pan India, make sure that this art work is promoted in its purest form. We sell only the work selected as per committee directives. We believe in making quality work popular and letting people connect to the artisans through us. Most of our customers are either art patrons or NRIs, but we’re also hoping to attract the younger generation.” Designer Madhu Sud of Aroma Boutique in Amritsar works with a passion to make phulkari popular. She believes it is the duty of younger generations to further develop this amazing ancestral work. Phulkari pieces, vibrant and versatile, can be used in traditional dupattas, merged into lehengas or Anarkalis, and styled to create stoles, bags, shawls, coats and sarees: the options are endless. “Eh phulkari meri maa ne kadhi, iss noo ghut ghut jhapiyaan paawan” : “My mother has embroidered this phulkari, I hug it tight again and again with love”. With so much emotion poured into each thread and tiny stitch, this art form is set to survive another five centuries. At least!


Puja Raina Mahaldar hails from the land of mystic beauty, Kashmir. When she was growing up, she surrounded herself with her father’s medical journals and huge collection of books. She loved to flip through one of her dad’s favourite books in particular, O Jerusalem! Known as a chatter box amongst her friends and family, these days she is busy playing mommy to her two boys, 6 and six-months old. When not running after them, she can be found freelancing for magazines, newspapers, portals and more.

horn OK please




horn OK please



Blue and Pink. Racing bikes and Barbie dolls. Sports and soap operas. No, we’re not heading for a piece on gender identity, but there’s surely some iota of ‘the girl thing’ and ‘the boy thing’ in the choices we make. It’s there from the start: buying our favourite toys, choosing wall paint colours and bringing home our first two-wheeled ride. If, like me, you’re from the generation that grew up riding mum’s Luna and dad’s Vespa, perhaps you also recollect your first bike or Kinetic. And if you’re a girl, maybe you remember selecting from the myriad choices the Scooty offered, even before Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma matched their helmets to two-wheel rides and claimed them as ways of having fun. Although the recent Ranbir Kapoor Scooty commercial challenges the girly stereotypes attached to colourful two-wheel rides, they still remain a popular choice for vast numbers of women across various age and socio-economic groups. The range of personal commuter vehicles for Indian women has undergone a revolution since the launch of 50cc mopeds like the Kinetic Luna (1972), and TVS 50 (1980s). Over the intervening decades, companies like Kinetic, TVS, Honda and many more have cashed in on the nascent female market, releasing countless stylish two-wheel rides. Intended as an ideal choice for the middle classes, the pioneering TVS 50 gradually became the preferred option for women. And about a decade later, when TVS launched India’s first indigenous scooterette (sub-100 cc variomatic), the ‘Scooty’ became a standard bearer for the girly ride, especially in Chandigarh. Joint venture Kinetic Honda also brought out a number of Kinetic models between 1984 and 2005 and they became so widespread that ‘Kinetic’ became a generic two-wheeler name. Today, the 109cc Honda Activa motor scooter is widely favoured by women commuters. As the two-wheelers for women market grew, the reasons to buy a ‘Kinetic’ also multiplied. For many, they brought independence: the freedom of reaching destinations alone. Others found joy in turning 18 and becoming eligible for a license to take on the ride. For everyone, the first trip was memorable. While the Scootys and Kinetics didn’t offer protection from sun and rain, they became perfect companions, making everyday moments special and beautiful.


horn OK please

A two-wheel ride: Author Bhavneet Bhatti (second from left) with friends.

These days I drive a car, but when I look back I can’t help but smile at the many journeys I made on my two-wheeler in Chandigarh: the first day at college, the transit from hostel to Department on the Panjab University campus, picking up friends on the way to tutorials and dropping them off again, the slow drives on the gheri route, the aimless campus rides, the bunk trips to popular spots, the ‘teach your friend how to ride the Scooty’ moments, the tripli rides (carrying three people), the puncture mending, the fuel finishing, the fuel bottle refills and many more. These trips brought my girlfriends and me immense

happiness. But I think there’s more to the success of the Scooty and Kinetic among Punjab’s female population than stylish looks and the spirit of fun. Being gearless machines, they’re simpler to drive than to their geared counterparts, and their lightweight bodies make them very maneouvrable in traffic. Then there’s the ease of parking, and the space to store the helmet, bags and purses. Most important of all, they help make us more independent and self-sufficient. And that’s why the women in Punjab adore and take pride in their two-wheel rides.

If you love to eat, make tracks for the classroom of Bhavneet Bhatti. This assistant professor at the School of Communication Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh is likely to reward your good performance with a lovely meal. She enjoys capturing dinnertime memories, researching (she is a PhD) and teaching. These days, she’s also returned to romancing words: writing is one of her oldest passions.


angry toot



Purnima Murali For hundreds of years in India, girls have been considered a burden to their parents. The birth of a girl brings no joy, no celebrations, only shame and curses for the mother who cannot bear a son. Women have had to endure superstitious rituals such as self-immolation (Sati), child marriages and dowry abuses among many others. As technology improved, the modern world brought new suffering in the form of cell-phone abuse, workplace harassment, cyber crime, image morphing and telecasting online, acid attacks, gang-rapes, murders, chain-snatching and many other offences that make women’s lives miserable. Women, who are also mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and friends are victimised daily and at each step of their lives. It’s said that: “Man has will but woman has her way”; amid increasing attacks today’s women stand tall with heads held high trying to establish their own identities. “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”.

Rajeev Sabharwal Although we’re living in an era where women are ahead in every field, from arts to science, Indian men still need to reframe their perceptions of Indian women. Urban women are very aware of their rights but rural women still suffer. If an incident like ‘Nirbhaya’ can still take place in the capital we need to focus on the situation in villages.

Sona Sharma

I’m angry. I’m confused. Who should I be angry at: men, society, police, government? I wonder if there’ll ever be an end to this sad state of affairs. Will we ever learn that the fault lies within each of us? If we raise our boys to respect girls from an early age will there still be such discrimination? Can we teach our girls to be courageous and fight for their rights? Can we as adults, especially as parents, take up the challenge of creating a safer society? I wish we could. I wish we could replace anger with responsible parenting. I wish we could take responsibility for our actions.


(Please note: The views expressed by readers in this section are solely theirs and don’t reflect that of the editor or the publication. These are original pieces/words sent by the readers, and are being ‘printed’ as ‘submitted’. We don’t edit these pieces to confirm to our views, writing styles, grammar rules & more.)

angry toot

There are seasons. Natureholics note the differences between summer, autumn, spring and winter. Fashionholics fixate on Winter, Spring/Summer and Fall/PreFall collections. And Indians have come to expect the scam season, the rape season, the bomb season and the murder season… these seasons, too, shall pass? Unresolved? Once upon a time everyone in India was obsessed about kids falling into pits. The whole nation prayed for a child stuck in a pit as troops tried to save his life. Did no one fall in a pit after that? Were all the manholes covered over? Who knows? We all moved on. The obsession moved to incest victims. The newspapers splashed gruesome tales. Did hands cease straying where they shouldn’t, after that? We don’t remember. We all moved on. A 23-yearold was gang raped. The rape continued: a 6-year-old, then a 45-year-old, and now a 22-year-old. Soon we won’t remember them, either. We’ll just move on. But now should be the season of anger, and action.


getting ec



over a cup of chai




clectic with





The duo merge melodious electronica with soul-stirring Punjabi folk music to deliver magical, uplifting sonic cocktails

over a cup of chai

Two individuals, one aim: to create echoes that resonate across cultural, racial and religious boundaries, transforming communities through happy, soulful music. Vocalist / audio engineer Hari Singh and trained Hindustani classical vocalist Sukhmani Malik describe their music as the translation of various cultural experiences into pure thought. Emanating from places deep within their hearts, the sounds are blissful. Drawing inspiration from celebrated Sufi poets such as Bulleh Shah, Baba Farid Kabir and Shah Hussain, they merge melodious electronica with soul-stirring Punjabi folk music to deliver magical, uplifting sonic cocktails. Described as an electronica folk duo, Hari and Sukhmani believe that, “Genres are overrated. It’s all about good music flowing straight from the heart: forcing it to produce something to fit a predefined


model never works.” Sukhmani defies the age-old mantra that the intensity in an artist’s work is solely from riyaaz, the honing of Hindustani classical music. While practice is essential, she says her energy and emotional depth “is from a place of love.” No amount of riyaaz could produce that. Hari Singh describes music as ‘soul food’ and his ‘true calling in life’. “After I completed my bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, I decided to become a sound engineer. One thing led to another, I began exploring the musical world and this is where I am now.” The maestro regards the direction he’s taken as an irresistibly enigmatic, never-ending learning process, “Even now, I’m taking vocal, and, in fact, life lessons from my Guru, Gursharan Singh.” Fusion music seems to be the norm today; with all the surrounding hoopla it’s unclear whether artists and


Hari + Sukhmani: At Hard Rock Cafe, Dubai

audiences really understand it. The pair share a snippet of ‘gyaan’: delving into the history of music revealed to them that there’s been fusion all along, often subtle, sometimes overt. But it’s always been there. For example, in the mid-19th century a group of French missionaries introduced the quintessential harmonium to India. It underwent further development, but remains undeniably French in origin.


Speaking about their own style of music, they emphasise that “Today, rather than questioning fusion, audiences are wholeheartedly embracing it, now that the electronic influence has been firmly entrenched

in music production for decades. People from all age groups and walks of life enjoy listening to us.” The duo relish the fact that the majority swarming to their musical shows are non-Indian or Hindu Punjabi speaking, yet they appreciate their music. They enthralled music lovers with their rendition of Challa at MTV Coke Studio. Is Coke Studio a venue artists long for to reach out to a bigger audience? “Definitely! We have vast oceans of unheard folk musicians needing platforms such as Coke Studio to show the world the amazing music mushrooming in the country.” How did MTV Coke Studio happen? “We had a call to perform one day and that was it. It worked wonders for us not

only in terms of popularity but also sheer experience.” The duo feels that MTV Coke Studio is one of the best things that has happened to independent music. It’s been a long trip from Coke Studio to performing live in New Delhi, San Francisco and Dubai, as well as collaborating with Morchang player Chugge Khan of Rajasthan Josh and Esraj player Arshad Khan. Their experience of working with ‘Arshad Bhai’ and ‘Chugge Bhai’ was overwhelmingly positive: “We consider ourselves lucky to weave music with such fabulous artistes. They’re truly inspiring. Working with them isn’t work, it’s a party!” There have also been cross-border collaborations with musicians such as Iranian percussionist Fakhruddin Gaffari, western guitarist Thu Le from Vietnam and Pakistan’s Noori. The music has nourished their souls and they’d like to help others experience the same joy.

over a cup of chai

As far as plans go for an album release, Hari and Sukhmani seem have something in store. “Keep your feelers out,” they say with a tinge of mischief. “We’ll soon be releasing singles from our website.” Contrary to perception, the composers are no strangers to films having created music for Deepa Mehta’s Videsh/Heaven on Earth. So how was it working for the exacting Deepa Mehta? Hari concedes that the filmmaker doesn’t settle for less when it comes to strumming the perfect chords for her soundtracks. “She’s very demanding and that’s the reason why her movies are amazing works of art. I was quite nervous when we presented the work to her because we did it in a very tight timeframe.” Happily, Deepa loved it and there was the immense creative satisfaction of pleasing someone who sets the bar so high.

So, are they dabbling with the idea of taking their music a notch higher and storming the cut-and-thrust world of mainstream Hindi cinema? Regarding music as a tool for self-expression, the duo believe that their creative work mightn’t mesh well with a format which is all about releasing mass market albums. “We don’t think Hindi films need any more music producers! We like to make music according to our own strengths and the demands of our songs. Mainstream cinema is purely a tale of pleasing the audience, of trying to fit in.” They scoff at the idea of fine tuning their music into a marketing gimmick, and express frustration that not many people are getting to know real Punjabi music. It’s not all about Mika Singh or gyrating to Yo! Yo! Honey Singh: if it were, it’d be a sorry joke. As NRIs, how do we tell the world that Punjab boasts a cornucopia of cultural richness inherent in its music? “There’s a need to identify and conduct in-depth studies of the culture, history and evolution of Punjabi music. Artistes like Surinder Kaur and Asa Singh Mastana dedicated their lives to the cause of Punjabi folk music and many in the younger generation are oblivious to that.” Hari and Sukhmani feel that this is where their music steps in, nurturing efforts to revive folk music among urban youth. The duo has played at Punjabi weddings; they say they enjoy shedding the burden of being centre stage artistes and have fun performing amid festive ambience. “It’s also huge exposure: we get to travel to various parts of the globe and play to whole new groups of people.” Having displayed their huge musical talent in the land of the Sheikhs, they spell out “Dubai rocks!!” as the outro to their musical adventure with The Indian Trumpet.

Vishal Bheeroo worked as a journalist for three years in an English newspaper based out of Mauritius. He holds a bachelor degree in Economics. He loves to write & blog about all things related to India. He loves Indian cinema and dreams of making a short film, someday. He is currently working on a rom-com novel and a script for a short film. He is a huge Amitabh Bachchan fan. He loves poetry, travelling and reading. He is currently based out of Mauritius but has plans of returning home, someday soon.



BOOHEY BARIAN Hari + Sukhmani have lent their touch to the traditional, magical Punjabi song, boohey barian... Boohey barian, Ena li kanda tap key, Boohey barian, Ena lee kanda tap key, Awaan gi hawa ban key, Boohey barian..hayee Boohey barian Ena lee kanda tap key, Awa gi hawa ban key, Boohey barian...hayee, Boohey barian Chand charayaan tey, Saray looki pey takday, Dongay paniyaan chey fer, Deeway pae balday Hoo..Chand charayaan tey, Saray looki pey takday, Dongay paniyaan chey fer, Deeway pae balday, deeway pey balday. Kanday lag jaa gi Kacha karaa ban key, Main awa gi hawa ban key, Boohey barian hayee, boohey barian Dil deyaan rahaan otay, Ghar naheen lagday, Mokadraan chey likhay howay, Meet naheen sakh dey Hoo..Dil deyaan rahaan otay, Ghar naheen lagday, Mokadraan chey likhay howay, Meet naheen sakh dey Meet naheen sakh dey Min no Rab ney Banaya teeray liy oyee, Min no rab ney Banaya teeray ley oyee, Mathay teera naam likh key, Boohey barian hayee, Boohey barian Boohey barian Ena lee kanda tap key, Awa gi hawa ban key, Boohey barian hayee, Boohey barian Bazi ishq di Jit loon gi soniyaan Bazi ishq di Jit loon gi soniyaan Main Rab ko dua mang key, Boohey barian hayee, Boohey barian, Boohey barian, Boohey barian hayee Boohey barian, Boohey barian Bohay barian….


Now that you’ve got the hang of the original lyrics, listen to their version here: watch?v=K6cH8cJwXwA To know more,



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As the joke goes: the national bird of Punjab is butter chicken. Other synonyms for ‘Punjab’ and ‘Punjabi’ include makki di roti, sarson da saag, chhole bhature, and ‘zest for life and all things grand and colourful’. The region offers vivid images of lush green villages, pretty girls in Patiala salwars, Punjabi jutti (‘gutt’ fashionably tied with a ‘parandi’), and gabru jawaans toiling in fields or driving jeeps. So does Punjab have a national drink/s? We introduce you to the top three!

our shabdkosh

(L-R) Ganne ka ras, Patiala peg & Lassi




patiala peg ...WHILE THERE’S ENDLESS DEBATE AS TO WHETHER A REAL PATIALA IS 90 OR 120ML, THE TRUE BLUE LOYALIST FORGOES THE MEASUREMENT MATHEMATICS AND FILLS HIS GLASS EQUAL TO THE GAP IN HEIGHT BETWEEN INDEX AND LITTLE FINGER... bordering state highways. While there’s endless debate as to whether a real Patiala is 90 or 120ml, the true blue loyalist forgoes the measurement mathematics and fills his glass equal to the gap in height between index and little finger.

Punjabis live for food, and apart from kukkad shukkad, peg-shegs too form part of their everyday lives: not just the ‘lovely little’ but the Patiala peg they swear by.

our shabdkosh

With its rich history of extravagance and hedonism (as exemplified by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Captain Amarinder Singh) the city of Patiala is considered a crown jewel in Punjab’s history, representing grandeur in every sense. The Patiala Peg, roughly equivalent to 120ml of alcohol (around 50% more than in a normal shot glass), has its origins in a tent-pegging match between teams fielded by the Maharaja of Patiala and Ireland’s ‘Viceroy’s Pride’. Legend has it that to ensure victory, the Maharaja’s players invented the first Patiala Peg to trick their Irish counterparts into drinking themselves silly the night before the game. Hence, shouts for ‘Ik Patiala banayeen’ are as common as the asthekhas or ahatas (drinking dens)


Over the years, Patiala Pegs have become the mark of a ‘real man’. There are anecdotes about how iconic Punjabi actor Dharmendra introduced his beloved Patiala pegs to his friends in Bollywood. The handsome man’s romance with alcohol is all too wellknown and it’s said he never touched anything less than a Patiala until he gave up drinking completely a few years ago. Nowadays, although everyone acknowledges that the Patiala Peg belongs to Punjabis, it’s cherished the length and breadth of the country. Alok Jariwala, a Gujarati by birth and habits says, “My weekends are marked with Patiala pegs of my favourite brand of Bachchus. I’ve seen my Punjabi friends drinking like fish on the small or large peg index without straining their brains. They’ve brought me over to their side.” The potency of the Patiala Peg can never be doubted. It’s only after ‘Patiala Peg laga ke’ that ‘Mallika Sherawat talli ho gayi! Burrraaaaaaaaa!’



Buttermilk, lassi or chhaas is the classic beverage to beat the Indian summer heat. The drink has as many names as regional variants but no one does it like the Punjabis: loud and robust, just like them. A massive portion of buttermilk curd is churned in a blender or ‘madhani’, and seasoned with roasted, salted cumin seeds, crushed mint and ice. The sugary version ramps up the calories with dollops of fresh butter.

But none produce quite as much lassi as the Punjab, whose villages are famous for their abundant supplies of milk products. In a 2008, an ad campaign for HSBC (written by Jeffree Benet of JWT Hong Kong), depicted a Polish white goods manufacturer’s representative sent out to discover why sales in India were so high. On arriving, he stumbled across a lassi parlour, where he was warmly welcomed, and shown several washing machines. The owner told him “I can now mix ten times as much lassi as I used to!”

Then there’s the real Punjabi lassi drinking ritual to contend with. The beverage is poured into a tall brass cup holding 600-700ml and presented, frothing, with beaming smiles encouraging a second, third, and even fourth helping. In the summer, lassi is a permanent fixture in most Punjabi households, at breakfast with aloo de paranthe, for lunch and in the evenings too, to beat the heatwave or ‘loo’ as it sweeps through the state. Almost all the roadside dhabas in Punjab insist that meals are finished with a sugared or salted lassi and it’s common to see truckers downing them by the litre in many places.

Lassi is also known to have an intoxicating effect, but unlike alcohol it just brings on drowsiness for a while: long enough for a nap on a sweltering afternoon.


Less grand variations exist in other states. Uttar Pradesh has its bhang (cannabis) lassi, while in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat the butter is removed and the beverage is diluted with water, a healthier option, and perhaps more cooling.


Whatever the season, Punjabis never shy away from glassfuls of the sweet heaven, seasoned with fresh mint, crushed ginger and black salt. For the more adventurous, there’s always the option of chewing on sugarcane straight from the field. Those unsure about the strength of their teeth can try ‘ganderis’ or sugarcane cut in small pieces by roadside vendors, pickled with chaat masala (a childhood favourite, outside school hours). High in glucose, ganne ka ras is an instant energy booster and ideal for fighting ailments like flu, constipation and general weakness.

our shabdkosh

ganne ka ras

Ganne Ka Ras or sugarcane juice or ‘ro’ as it’s known as in chaste Punjabi, is a popular drink in the state for its health benefits and easy availability. The wheat bowl of India also grows considerable amounts of sugarcane; a drive through any city is incomplete without sightings of juice machines precariously perched on motors, roaring like lions as they produce the sugary drink.

Thanks to its popularity among Punjabis, sugarcane juice has also found its way into several notable cocktails. Punjab Grill, run by the famous Jiggs Kalra, has its signature Ganne Ka Ras Margarita, comprising sugarcane juice, mint, black salt, ginger, lemon juice and tequila. In winter, the streets of Punjab are lined with complicated paraphernalia involving a bhatti or hot coal fire, and the same sugarcane that refreshed parched souls in summer is boiled and beaten into lumps of gur or jaggery, another winter staple in most Punjabi homes.

Chhavi Bhatia ventured into journalism early on life; after many years working on leading English dailies, she realised the profession is more about the proverbial nose for news than being creative. She now indulges in poetry, some serious blogging, music, cooking and buying books, which gives her a far better high than the yellow metal.


At Orange Kitchens we believe that children who are more involved in preparing food are more likely to try out new flavours on their plates, respect their food, respect where the food that they eat comes from and in the process wipe their plates clean. When we teach them “real� cooking we talk about where that dish came from (history & geography & learning about different food habits), we follow a certain method (science and following instructions), we are measuring (maths), we are trying to choose the right ingredients (lessons on nutrition and using fresh produce), we share how our elders would always make it or how each Diwali/Christmas/Eid our parents would eat this as a kid (getting to know their family and their traditions better) and of course each time we cook we encourage them to add their special little touch to it... replace that chive with basil, chocolate chips instead of vanilla, serve it differently (getting creative and adventurous)... now that is quite a lot of learning while putting together just one simple dish. While the kids think we are just here in for some fun! For all this and more, send your kidlets to become a part of the food lessons at Orange Kitchens.

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idhar udhar




Salwar kameez suggests a traditional outlook; a joint family set-up suggests a conservative mind. Sipping coffee at a plush café suggests dislike for the dhaba ki chai, eating beef suggests disrespect for religion. Pink suggests an incline towards all things feminine; Hindi suggests a desi and small town attitude.

individual through a different lens instead of bracketing them. With this objective we ran a social experiment speaking with people to find out how they’ve faced generalisations growing up. We wanted to appeal to independent singles who no longer believe in age-old categories: religion, caste or creed.

If such pre-conceived thoughts and judgements get you fuming then say hello to Sachin Bhatia, Rahul Kumar and Hitesh Dhingra from The trio lay stress on understanding people beyond labels, which is the driving thought behind their social media campaign: #BreakingStereotypes: aimed at challenging long-held beliefs about people from various backgrounds and encouraging personal interaction. And what is their goal? Well, to help you fall in love with a like-minded individual! Yes. So how do you find someone who would understand that your job in the NGO does not mean you can’t sport a H & M blazer or that you are thin yet can gobble down a whole cake? Or that you are from Bihar but can speak impeccable English or that you are an artist who is actually making money?

The whole idea was to debunk generalisation and create a space for singles to look beyond stereotypes, speak their minds, and get to know each other, without any pre-conceived notions. Ten fresh stereotypes were introduced each week, supported by photographs, articles and tweets using humour to refute common beliefs.

Well, you find your special someone through their matchmaking service that helps singles find lasting love through a proprietary, personality-based compatibility algorithm and stringent verification process. We chat up with Rahul Kumar from the team to know more about the unique matchmaking service, which has been created after working with a strong team of psychologists and technology experts.

Approach... Our approach was to target young singles using social media, to grow the brand and traffic organically. We knew that singles were very comfortable using Twitter and Facebook etc., so we knew we could reach a lot of our audience and make a big difference in the matrimonial space by providing a platform where people be who they truly are. Over 5 weeks, independent, like-minded individuals from all over India were introduced through the TrulyMadly blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Challenges... There are many taboos around online dating in India. People are scared of meeting strangers they’ve only contacted


Inception... believes in understanding people beyond labels. We look at every

The campaign has helped to differentiate from traditional matrimonial services that match people based on caste, religion and more. matches people based on who they are and what they’re looking for: instead of location or horoscope.

idhar udhar 94

(L-R) Hitesh Dhingra, Sachin Bhatia and Rahul Kumar

KNOW THE TRIO: Hitesh Dhingra: Serial entrepreneur and angel investor; also founder and ex-CEO of Letsbuy. com, a leading e-commerce player acquired by Flipkart. Sachin Bhatia: Responsible for establishing MakeMyTrip as a leading Indian travel brand, Sachin’s an active angel investor & advisor to internet & mobile start-ups. Rahul Kumar: A Senior Product Manager at technology companies in the US and India, most recently at and in Seattle.

in the virtual world, especially given the country’s current state regarding personal safety. Our challenge was to establish our service as credible and genuine. We achieved this with our stringent verification process, and after that, the #BreakingStereotypes campaign made people very comfortable using our services. Now it’s a lot easier to convince people to register and search for matches online.

Worst stereotypes... People like to be distinctive and strive to fit in at the same time, adding fuel to the fire of collective stereotypes. They become so locked into this vicious cycle that they forget to look at people beyond pre-conceived notions about caste, culture, looks or even occupation. We believe that all stereotypes are harmful and wrong. We hope we make a dent in the colourful array that infests our country. Strongest reactions to the stereotypes… Most of the reactions were as expected, but some were surprisingly strong, especially those relating to being Hindu and eating beef or being Kashmiri but Indian.


Motivation... The initial overwhelming response to the campaign was a big booster. We’re still receiving very encouraging feedback how members found their match; how secure they feel - with more and more people sending their photographs to participate. This positivity keeps us going and tells us we’re on the right track. Indian youth was waiting for a forum

like this to interact and meet the right person.

The breakthrough moment… The campaign had a grand reception across the country and became a massive wave online. We received over 3.1 million impressions on Facebook with more than 60,000 likes and shares on the photographs and over 10 million impressions on Twitter.

idhar udhar

The campaign also helped generate a lot of traffic on our website, with over 60,000 new visitors and a whopping 5,000 registrations. Our Facebook fan base also increased by 6,000 new members. Thankful to… Our families have been very supportive. And yes, the tons of singles we surveyed to build our compatibility system. In the future… Grow the service to different cities and towns in

We wanted to appeal to independent singles who don’t believe in age-old categories: religion, caste or creed India and make it more accessible by launching our mobile app. Last word… Spread the love! Keep an open mind! For more:

A 20 year old lad from India, currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Electrical engineering, Siddhant believes in the Gandhian philosophy of being the change you want to see. A vegetarian due to ethical reasons, he is very passionate about Mother Earth and writes mostly on topics related to the environment. Although an introvert, he loves interviewing people, whom he thinks are role models for the youth, and tries to bring their story out to the world. Apart from writing, he also loves quizzing. He also writes for an official UNESCO magazine.


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bharat darshan

words & images ANIS SHAIKH



bharat darshan 100

The jewel of Punjab through our lens. Soulful hymns, silent prayers. Splendid architecture, gorgeous view. Simple hearts, divine blessings. Scrumptious meals, countless devotees.


Anish Sheikh loves travelling in rural areas where life is hard and earning a crust is a challenge. His ‘IN PURSUIT’ series, including the image used here, was shot during three years of roaming by bike over 1 lakh km. He’s mastered post processing and editing, and has 1.6 lakh views on his 500px account. An instrumentation engineer by profession, he’s waiting to complete a design postgrad. Find him at: and

punjab: my land


O koi ashka di zuban pade, te munsif nu gwahi kare… (Someone should understand the language of tears, and be prepared to witness in front of the judge) Koi mainu kafir kahe, musta’min, koi harbi (People are alleging me of infidel) Aye Elahi! Bus main ta yaar-e-mehboobi da husn dekhya… (Oh god! I only saw beauty of my love, land of origin) Badalan de dage, sitaryan zari phulkari, usch usda sunheri mukh dekhya

(In my words, there was your song: evident in my eyes) Palak te ne usde naaz-o-ada, kisne mera zarkhez alfaaz na dekhya… (I am ready to take all your tantrums. Nobody noticed my fertile words suggesting this) Mere rom rom wich hai babasta… (You are present in every bit of me)

(Draped in a scarf with treads of clouds and golden work of stars, I saw her golden face)

Ohi waqar-o-iqbal mera, tere naal hi duniyan nu zehan-ezahab dekhya

Oh te hain hi kohe-e-aftab-e-chaman, usde jamal wich main zara zara roshan dekhya

(She is my self respect: with you my world is golden)

(She/it is an ultimate light, sun. I saw every particle enlightened under her influence) Main apne dar-libas-e-mashooq nu vekha, ya apna jalda hoya dil dekhya… (I saw my lover in her best outfit: hence the heartburns) Na Mahi, na main Ranjha, na main wich ena azaba, (I am not Mahiwal, I am not Ranjha. I am not doing anything wrong as they did) Ibadat wele band akhan naal bus mehboobi dekhya… (At the time of prayer with closed eyes I see my lover) Mere yaara, gulan to kuleya, baharan nalo sunkhya, (My love, you are a fragile flower, the bloomy spring)

last word

Mere lafzan wich bus usdi hi hai gazal, sub ne mere naina wich zahir dekhya

Gairan di mehfil te daad di kami na si, bus kuch ta si tadap-eyaar wich, jo khamosh kalama wich izhaar dekhya… (There was no dearth of praise in other’s meetings. But there would be something in memories of beloved, everyone noticed it in my silent prayers) Oh baadshah hai mera takht nasheen, usde kadama wich tutda hoya garoor dekhya (She is my supreme commander, my ego gets smashed in her feet ) Usde lafzan de wich gul-e-kausar dekhya (I have seen flowers from sacred lake in her words) Uhna wich zindagi hai wajib, unha nukteyan ne keda rang na dekhya

Koi mange, koi labda, koi tarse, us wich hi khudaya dekhya…

(In those words life is possible, those dots have seen every colour of life)

(Someone is begging, some searching, some aspiring, but I found my god in her)

Zamana denda hai lambe mainu fani de, usdi mehfil wich khud nu baka dekhya…

Je kade howe tarq-e-talookaat te… (If we ever discuss our relationship)

(Society laments that I am very intelligent, but in her company I find myself dumb)

Ki dassa kis tarah guzrda rah-e- ulfat, bus kisene nishan na dekhya

Badi kadoorat hai usto dori da, par kis ne ashka nu suk ke aatish ba-kasa na dekha…

(What should I say, what the route of love is? Nobody could find any trace as yet)

(I have a grudge that I am away from her. But no one noticed that my tears are slowly become inflammable)

Anilesh Mahajan is an avid reader & a compulsive writer. He earns his bread & butter by trading words. A journalist with an Indian magazine conglomerate, his profile allows him to criticise the government of the day. He has been writing for the last 17 years: his work spanning from plays to tele-dramas, comic strips to lyrics, and short essays to lyrics & poetry. He romances five languages: English, Urdu, Punjabi, French & Hindi.


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