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Youthful Hues


Dev Samaj College for Women's annual fest 'The Imprint 2k17' packed in a whole lot of fun

The grounds of Dev Samaj College for Women in Sector 45, Chandigarh were beautifully decked up in the colours of spring to celebrate the college fest 'The Imprint 2k17' that rolled out on Wednesday morning.

Photo By: Life in Chandigarh

Photo By: Life in Chandigarh

Photo By: Life in Chandigarh

Photo By: Life in Chandigarh

As many as 16 colleges from the tricity participated in the fest that saw a line-up of events ranging from RJ Hunt, debate, extempore, power point presentation, rangoli to photography and slogan writing. The college principal, Pankaja Vashist, welcomed everyone and encouraged the students to give it their best.

Photo By: Life in Chandigarh

While RJ Manav from 94.3 My FM raised the entertainment quotient through his witty exchanges as he judged the RJ Hunt, the melodies of Punjab resonated in the songs of Ekam, Amrinder Amry, Saggu and Preet Judge.

One for all


This new store in Sector 7 will delight not just kids but their parents too

The exams are over and soon a new school session will be upon us. To make it easier for parents to shop for new uniforms and also offer stationery and other needs in one place, Fancy Uniforms has opened up shop in Sector 7.

The store, which happens to be the authorised reseller for prominent international brands, has also introduced special discounts for children from economically weaker sections, besides also introducing learning kits to the underprivileged girls under a special project, ‘Beti ko Kamyab Banao’.

Speaking about the concept, Raghav Garg of Fancy Uniforms informed that the store is unique because it stocks uniforms of all major schools in the vicinity. “We also offer toys for children in different age groups and will soon be introducing learning kits which are otherwise not available in city.”

The store is authorised resellers for complete range of Disney, Wildcraft, American Tourister (Kids) and Genius, to list a few. “We have a complete range of uniforms for kids and accessories as well. We offer school uniforms for St Johns’ High School, Sacred Heart, Carmel Convent, St Kabir, and KB DAV School, to name a few,” said Garg.

As part of its special initiative to encourage underprivileged children, the store is offering them 25 percent off on uniforms. Also with special focus on the girl child, the store has decided to provide learning kits for girl students in batches. As of now, 10 girl students have been shortlisted for the same. These learning kits are internationally recognised and help in learning with a fun element. “We will be providing these kits free of cost to girls from underprivileged families and are tying up with schools to provide us the list of such children so that they can be taken up in a phased manner,” said Garg.

Another unique concept introduced by the store is the play zone inside the store where kids can be kept occupied while their parents shop for them. “We will shortly be introducing a complete range of products and accessories for newborns,” said Garg. A special 10 percent inaugural discount is also on offer for all customers visiting the store.

Sparkle and Shine


Arvind Singhal, COO, Bluestone.com talks of the reason for the rising trend of online jewellery shopping and why chandelier earrings won't go out of fashion anytime soon

The launch couldn’t have been more aptly timed. The wedding season was in full flow and for most of us that meant a reason to go shopping and be a little indulgent.

Recently Bluestone.com, one of the country’s leading online jewellery brands came to Chandigarh to showcase exclusive designs culled from five limited edition collections launched as part of their Design Week 2016 initiative.

Just like a fashion week that’s showcased on the ramp, Bluestone curated an online showcase of precious jewellery that can be viewed in the comfort of your home or office and at prices points that don’t take your breath away, as that should really be left to the jewellery designs.

Photo By: Sumit Kumar

Chandigarh as an emerging market

Post demonetisation, online shopping, that too for certified precious jewellery seems like a boon. The city has been receptive to the concept and the figures speak for themselves. “Chandigarh has emerged as a very strong market for online shopping. In fact, with the onset of the wedding season we have seen a phenomenal rise. In the months of October and November last year, we had as many as one lakh visits to our website,” said a visibly pleased Arvind Singhal, COO, Bluestone.com.

In Chandigarh for the very first time, Singhal, who has previously steered TaxiforSure as CEO and worked with leading companies like McDonald’s and Reliance Communications, is well aware of the potential Chandigarh and Punjab offer in the space of online shopping. “People are well aware of the global trends and appreciate the latest styles. They are fashion conscious and like to buy well designed jewellery. In our experience, the customer age group shopping for jewellery online is between the ages 28 to 35 years,” informed Singhal.

While he admits online jewellery industry is in a nascent stage, the growth has been on the upswing and that too in a short period of time. “Overall, the Indian precious jewellery online market is worth Rs 400 to 500 crores. The traditional set-up of precious jewellery selling is far bigger but things are fast changing. At Bluestone, we have seen 100 percent growth and we are just five years old,” informed Singhal.

Photo By: Sumit Kumar

Why online is better

Traditionally, precious jewellery buying means a visit to the local jeweller or a family jeweller with no less than an entourage (your mother or mother in law in most cases) to accompany you. Then comes the experience – the embarrassment of defining a budget, the salesperson getting restless when you turn up your nose to the seventh ‘tray’ of designs he has put forth you and the uncertainty of the final price. Even when you finally decide on a product, say a pair of earrings, customisation is frowned upon and the price is explained to you on a flimsy chit of paper.

“There’s not much transparency in the sale and for many customers the pricing structure seems gibberish,” says Singhal. It’s these points that the team at Bluestone kept in mind when they launched the online precious jewellery portal. “While online shopping for imitation and semi-precious jewellery has been there, precious jewellery is picking up only now,” adds Singhal.

The advantages are many – shopping in the comfort of home or office, certified purchase, transparency in pricing (making charges to cost of gold, diamonds and gemstones are clearly marked), customisation is an option and one can ask for a home visit to try out the jewellery before you purchase it. “Also there is no pressure to buy the jewellery should you not like anything that you have asked to be brought home. The ease of shopping is maintained all through,” points out Singhal.

Photo By: Sumit Kumar

Jewellery Trends

The first edition of the Bluestone Design Week comprised of five collections including those featuring colourful gemstones. “Gone are the days when women invest only in heavy jewellery. The modern bride has shifted to minimalistic designs and lightweight jewellery that doubles up for various occasions. Chandelier earrings and cocktail rings are still very popular. There’s a growing popularity of white gold and rose gold as well,” informs Singhal.

Another arresting collection, which was part of the showcase, is the Florentine collection. It comprises of marquise-cut tourmalines in myriad hues set in floral clusters. “Tall earrings are another global trend,” adds Singhal who is looking to roll out more such showcases in the city in the coming months.

Sari Splendour


'Nari in a Sari' is back with its second edition and exhibition by Rehwa

For women, the sari evokes different feelings. It could be nostalgia, a fond memory, feeling confident, beautiful et al. To make sure the sari is not reserved for special occasions only, Chandigarh-based entrepreneur Seema Sharma started a unique initiative last year called ‘Nari in a Sari’. The idea, as Sharma puts it, is to encourage sari wearing among all age groups of women. She organised a fashion show last year and is now ready to roll out the second edition.

This year’s edition that will be held on March 3 (at Kingdom of Beer, Microbrewery and Wine Cafe, SCO 28, Madhya Marg, Sector 26, Chandigarh) looks to celebrate the silent achievers, women who diligently support their families while taking a backseat themselves and their personal ambitions. “It is to celebrate and honour the everyday diva, who embraces tradition in the midst of modernity with ease. It also aims to promote the sari in association with Rehwa,” informs Sharma.

The 2017 edition of the fashion show will also exhibit different weaves and ways to drape a sari. Coinciding with the fashion show will be a two-day exhibition of saris, starting March 4, by Rehwa Society that works with rural women and has been instrumental in reviving Maheshwari weaves.

The venue for the exhibition is Ronnie Grey store, SCO 26, Inner Market, Sector 8, Chandigarh.

Leading the Way


One of the city's leading professionals-turned-entrepreneur couple, Raman and Anju Aggarwal take us through their new workspace and mantra for success

If there ever was a manual on how to do business in the IT industry in Chandigarh, the credits would go to Raman Aggarwal and his wife Anju. And if there was to be a book chronicling the success stories of professionals-turned-entrepreneurs, this couple would fit right in. Wait, there’s more. If there was a looking back series on Chandigarh, especially focussing on its work life three decades ago, then such an article would be incomplete without quotes by the Aggarwals.

Photo By: Vikram Joy

While Raman, a chartered accountant, has more than two decades of experience in accountancy, tax, corporate law, international taxation, and business management services, Anju is an architect who specialises in corporate architecture and has many projects in the city to her credit.

Today, the two spearhead Aeren IT Solutions Private Ltd, a company that has leading international names like Google, Yahoo, Hult Business School as its client. Apart from software development, the company offers KPO (knowledge process outsourcing) services specialising in legal services, accounting and other high-end processes.

Incidentally, Raman Aggarwal who is a super-specialist of sorts in setting up IT operations, was instrumental in setting up Quark Software in Mohali in 1998. “When I look back to the early 1980s when Anju and I came to pursue higher education in Chandigarh, it seems so much has changed. Back then, this city hardly offered any work opportunities as it does now,” reminisces Aggarwal as we meet him in his swanky new office in IT Park.

The credit for the artsy interiors, the vibrant green environs and the cool vibe of the place goes to Anju, an alumna of Chandigarh College of Architecture, who has been instrumental in giving corporate interiors an offbeat look. “While I do homes and private spaces, over the years, corporate interiors have come to be my specialisation,” says Anju who has also worked on cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s home.

Complementing each other in the work space, the couple tells us that the journey this far hasn’t been easy. “We had to carve out our own niche. Also we realised each other’s strengths and worked accordingly. The hard work followed and that paid off in the long run,” says Raman who spent a great deal marketing Chandigarh as an IT hub to companies overseas. Spreading wings, he also acquired a US-based IT company in 2005.

“The mantra to success is simple. Learning never ends and one must put it all the hard work and do it with sincerity,” feels Raman as Anju adds, “It’s good to take on challenges and despite setbacks, it is important to keep at it. Being an architect, my focus has been to think out of the box using easily available and affordable materials.”

Having worked on umpteen projects, the two share their latest endeavour called myconsumerforum.com. “It’s a one of its kind online consumer dispute resolution and redressal platform that provides total integrated dispute resolution solutions right from follow up with merchant, to complaint to police/regulatory agencies, to complaint to consumer court as a ‘one stop shop’ to assist Indian consumers to get their disputes resolved,” informs Raman. The solutions are offered free and the aim, as Raman adds, is to guide consumers who get intimidated by the various legalities.

The Beauty Brigade


Bir Kaur Dhillon, Director of Mrs India Beauty Queen pageant introduces the winners in Chandigarh

The poolside at Hotel Taj Chandigarh on Tuesday afternoon was overtaken by the shutterbugs as a bevy of beauty pageant winners preened and posed for them. Leading the way was former beauty queen Bir Kaur Dhillon (winner of Mrs India Globe 2013) who is currently the director of Mrs India Beauty Queen (MIBQ) pageant. 

Photo By: Vikram Joy

Dhillon, who is based in Vancouver, Canada, also steers the Mr India Manhunt International contest (formerly led by Maureen Wadia) and was in Chandigarh to introduce the winners for 2016 and their future plans. 

“Ludhiana’s Aditi Swaraj Sharma is the winner of the Mrs India Globe 2016 title. Subsequent to her winning the title, Aditi went on to represent India at the Mrs Globe 2016 finals held in China last year,” informed Dhillon.

Mrs India Globe 2016 saw Shalini Sood of the US being crowned first runner-up. “She was also crowned Mrs India United Nations International 2016 and will be going to Jamaica in May this year for the international competition,” informed Dhillon. 

Photo By: Vikram Joy

Delhi’s Sushma Bharti is the second runner-up at the MIBQ 2017 pageant while Hyderabad-based Abhimanika Yadav clinched the third place and would be going for the finals of Mrs Asia Pacific Universe later this year.

“I have always felt that such competitions aren’t just about winning. It helps give a platform to the talented and being married shouldn’t be a road block. In fact, we have always got an overwhelming response for the Mrs India auditions,” said Dhillon.

The winners who were present for the event admit that more than the exposure it’s the grooming, training and overall experience that they are looking for. “For me it was a chance to pursue modelling in India and also explore my roots,” said Shalini Sood, the pageant’s international contestant from US.

Photo By: Vikram Joy

Chandigarh’s Gurmehar Grewal who has won the Mr India Manhunt International 2016 admits to harbouring dreams in modelling while first runner-up Eklavya Sood from Solan in Himachal Pradesh is looking at a career in Bollywood. Also present was Sunny Mehrotra from Lucknow who has won the title of Mr India Men Universe 2017 and will be representing India later this year at the world finals to be held in the Dominican Republic. Madhav Sharma from Hoshiarpur will be representing India at the Men of the World 2017 pageant to be held at Philippines. 

“We will be conducting auditions in north India for this year’s edition of MIBQ and Mr India Manhunt soon,” said Dhillon. For more information, log on to www.mrsindia.in and www.mrindiamanhuntinternational.com

Whos That Girl?


Aspiring singer Simran Raj, a student of class nine, on what it takes to balance studies and being a participant on a reality music show.

The first thing you notice about Simran Raj is her sweet smile. As she breaks into a song, ‘Jeete hain shaan se’ when someone asks her to sing her favourite song, you realise her real talent. A student of class nine – she’s studying at Guru Nanak Public School in Delhi’s Rajouri Garden – Simran is among the top eight contestants on ‘Dil Hai Hindustani’.

A singing reality show, ‘Dil Hai Hindustani’ airs on Star Plus and is being judged by a panel which comprises of music director Shekhar Ravjiani, filmmaker Karan Johar along with singers Shalmali Kholgade and Badshah.

Photo By: Vikram Joy

“It’s like a dream come true. I am the first girl in my family who has appeared on Indian television,” said Simran as she addressed a room full of journalists at a press conference held in Chandigarh on Tuesday afternoon. Coming from a family of musicians, Simran admits she’s been singing since the age of four. “I would attentively listen to my grandfather giving music lessons to my brother. I love to sing and I am lucky to have got such a huge platform at a young age,” said the singer who has previously won a singing reality show on PTC Punjabi.

Considering her chock-a-block schedule and never-ending training sessions along with promotional tours, how does this student of class nine manage it all? “I have exams going on and it is not easy to focus on studies and be ambitious about a career in music. But discipline and following a schedule has helped me tremendously. I make sure I find time for everything and my teachers and school have been very helpful as well,” informs Simran.

Photo By: Vikram Joy

Incidentally, she dreams of becoming a Bollywood playback singer. And while the journey’s just begun, Simran feels hard work and luck have an important role to play. It doesn’t help that her strongest competitor on the show happens to be her best friend, Ankita. “We really are good friends and I love her voice but there can be only one winner,” sums up Simran.

The show airs every Saturday and Sunday at 8 pm on Star Plus.

Korea Comes Closer


Did you know that there's a Consul General office of South Korea in Chandigarh?

The Consul General office of South Korea has opened doors in Chandigarh. The Southeast Asian republic has made automobile-sector industrialist Jagdip Singh its first honorary Consul General here.

The office situated in Sector 9 will cater to the needs of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, Korean Ambassador Cho Hyun has said. Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore and many other dignitaries were present at the opening of the new office recently.

Photo By: Sumit Kumar

“As an honorary Consul General, Jagdip Singh will work towards strengthening collaboration between the two countries and promoting cultural, educational, industrial and commercial relation. He will facilitate investment and enhance goodwill. The office will provide limited consular assistance in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh and support the Korean citizens within these states,” the Korean ambassador said.

“Korea’s investment in India has increased by more than $4 billion (Rs 27,134 crore). More than 450 South Korean companies operate in India and an increasing number of their products are becoming familiar to Indian households. Korean companies are also building highways, subways, and major power stations,” Hyun said.

Photo By: Sumit Kumar

Jagdip Singh said Korea was India’s most important trading and strategic partner in Asia. “I have a deep professional and cultural bond with Korea and so look forward to expanding its business, educational, and cultural relations in the prosperous states assigned to me,” he said. Jagdip Singh is chairman of the Sigma group of companies that makes automobile components for Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche, Audi, General Motors, and Ford.

Clowning Around


CEVA Drama Repertory Company and Purple Mangoes collaborated once more to present fresh clown acts in the play 'Atkal Pachchu'

Monday evening (February 27) saw the clowns take over the stage at Tagore Theatre with the staging of their play ‘Atkal Pachchu’. A Hindi term, ‘Atkal Pachchu’ means ‘randomly imagined’. And this is how the clowns live their lives. According to the play’s director Sukhmani Kohli, the clowns don’t see the world like us; they have a weird way of going about things which often creates problems for them. As clowns like to find solutions to these problems, they end up creating more trouble for themselves and so starts a never ending cycle of hilarious fiascos for the poor clowns.

Photo By: Vikram Joy

Photo By: Vikram Joy

The play started with an introduction to Buggi, an alien who is set to visit earth for the first time. He loves his spaceship which also happens to be a washing machine. When he arrives on earth, he meets some clowns who show him their world. Buggi walks through a series of comic occurrences with the clowns who take good care of him.

Photo By: Vikram Joy

The show was devised by the clown cast of the CEVA Drama Repertory Company and Sukhmani Kohli, who also was one of the clowns in the play. As a director, designer, facilitator and a clown performer, Kohli uses theatre and clowning to help people discover and accept who they really are and learn to play and perform.

Photo By: Vikram Joy

The clowns on stage included: Rinku Jain, Chainis Gill, Jasvir Kumar, Jaswinder Singh, Gagan, Jaspal Singh, Pragati Sharma, Kamana Lakaria, Vinod Bharti, Lakhwinder Singh and Paran Duggal.
The music was by Chainis Gill; lyrics by Gagan and lighting design by Gyandev Singh.

Photo By: Vikram Joy

Whats New at Nandos?


Nando’s, the Afro-Portuguese restaurant has reopened in Elante Mall with a new look and plumper menu.

When it comes to international cuisine available in the city, popular choices has been Italian and Chinese fare. It’s only in the last few years that international restaurant chains have set up shop here with an aim to introduce world flavours like Mexican and Mediterranean to the local palate.

Nando’s, the international Afro-Portuguese chain of restaurants and home to flame-grilled ‘Peri-Peri chicken’, arrived here more than five years ago. Last year, their outlet in Elante Mall downed shutters to go in for a revamp. After a long wait, the shutters are up and there’s brand new look and menu on offer.

Photo By: Sumit Kumar
Step inside the restaurant that occupies a prominent place on the third floor and you are taken in by the colourful and inviting ambience. Mode African inspired geometric patterns dot the ceiling discs along with decorative lighting, new chairs and leather upholstery. “Chandigarhians have shown a lot of love for Nando’s. So we decided to reciprocate the love. We have put together a display of original artworks which are a beautiful and constant reminder of the Nando’s heritage,” said Sumeet Yadav, CEO, Nando’s India at the formal launch.

Photo By: Sumit Kumar
The new customer experience now includes services like limitless soft drinks at the cost of one and also refilling of yoghurt to one’s delight. The popular Nando’s sauces that can also be bought and carried home have been retained.

Photo By: Sumit Kumar
For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, Peri-Peri or the African Bird’s Eye Chilli was brought to Africa by the Portuguese way back in the 15th Century. It is fiery and at Nando’s they have various heat options – from the mild to the very hot. The new menu brings in Peri-Peri chicken burgers, wraps and platters to share along with salads, nuts and new desserts. While the non-vegetarians will relish the dishes more, those looked for greens won’t be disappointed either.

Photo By: Sumit Kumar
We particularly like the appetiser platter that makes it easy for you to share the meal in a group. The grilled chicken cataplana that is served in a copper dish is for those who are looking for familiar flavours.

Meal for two: Rs 1,200 (approx, without alcohol).

Where: 3rd Floor, Elante Mall, Chandigarh

For reservations:  0172-4346109