Aarish Chhabra

Aarish Chhabra

Aarish Chhabra is an assistant news editor at Chandigarh. He handles the regional online portal and social media team, besides reporting and writing primarily on politics and socio-cultural markers.

Articles by Aarish Chhabra
‘La Main Ouverte’, 1954: The Open Hand monument in Chandigarh defined as ‘Open to Give, Open to Receive’. Not all of the city’s architecture carries that spirit, or maybe the fault is in its interpretation.(Image: FLC/ADAGP)
‘La Main Ouverte’, 1954: The Open Hand monument in Chandigarh defined as ‘Open to Give, Open to Receive’. Not all of the city’s architecture carries that spirit, or maybe the fault is in its interpretation.(Image: FLC/ADAGP)

Chandigarh, the city that’s not elsewhere

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON JUL 14, 2018 11:58 PM IST
Is Chandigarh not the land of opportunity? The place that has jobs, wide eyes and roads; money, and big cars and houses, and all that jazz! At some point, that’s not enough.
The government has time and again told the public that drug abuse is a complex problem.(HT File)
The government has time and again told the public that drug abuse is a complex problem.(HT File)

Who’s afraid of viral videos on the drug menace in Punjab?

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON JUL 03, 2018 12:10 AM IST
Are you not filled with dread every time another video of a young man ravaged by drugs surfaces on social media? In the last two weeks, videos have been emerging from all corners of Punjab.
Having debuted in 1992, he is perhaps the only bona fide anti-hero with a not-so-clean image among all Indian comic-book heroes.(Photo: Raj Comics)
Having debuted in 1992, he is perhaps the only bona fide anti-hero with a not-so-clean image among all Indian comic-book heroes.(Photo: Raj Comics)

Of Doga in the dusty season, and hoping to find Chacha Chaudhary again

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra
PUBLISHED ON JUN 17, 2018 10:16 AM IST
If you don’t know who Doga is, you should be ashamed of yourself, particularly if you know Batman and claim to be patriotic. Doga, as the name suggests, is no ordinary human being.
This protest was vulgar at one level, and ironic at another. No, I am not blaming the students, though some sentences in the subsequent paragraphs may appear that way.(Getty Images/iStock)
This protest was vulgar at one level, and ironic at another. No, I am not blaming the students, though some sentences in the subsequent paragraphs may appear that way.(Getty Images/iStock)

BTW: This protest by Chandigarh students over Class-12 score sucks

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON JUN 03, 2018 12:32 AM IST
The students had got less than perfect marks in English, and they said it’s not their fault but of the evaluation. So, they held a protest at the CBSE office.
If there is heaven on earth, it is here, indeed here, if you live in the right parts of the city, though.(HT Photo)
If there is heaven on earth, it is here, indeed here, if you live in the right parts of the city, though.(HT Photo)

By the way: Chandigarh’s north is heaven on earth, and I don’t live there

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON MAY 25, 2018 07:31 PM IST
I have got into the habit of driving around in Chandigarh after midnight and looking at the beautiful houses in the northern sectors. I tried calling it a hobby, but, to be honest, it’s an addiction
Kapil Sharma has touched such dizzying heights that there is no dearth of people who are simply bored of loving him, and want to hate him instead.(HT File)
Kapil Sharma has touched such dizzying heights that there is no dearth of people who are simply bored of loving him, and want to hate him instead.(HT File)

BTW: Can we bring laughter back to Kapil Sharma?

Hindustan Times | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON MAY 07, 2018 07:13 PM IST
From being invisible at a function in Chandigarh, to being so successful that people love to hate him, Kapil Sharma is the forever star of Indian comedy.
Sukhna Lake seems to relive her birth every monsoon, and thereby tells you that nothing is permanent. Not even your sadness.(HT Photo)
Sukhna Lake seems to relive her birth every monsoon, and thereby tells you that nothing is permanent. Not even your sadness.(HT Photo)

BTW: The charm of being sad in Chandigarh

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON APR 23, 2018 07:08 PM IST
Being sad in Chandigarh is a comfortable thought. The wide open spaces are swept in all months by a constant breeze that makes it seem possible to just float; float, not swim.
What did the cops have to do with my fundamental right of having waffles at will?(Shutterstock image)
What did the cops have to do with my fundamental right of having waffles at will?(Shutterstock image)

By The Way: Of waffles for munchies and the cute cops of Chandigarh

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON APR 08, 2018 03:16 PM IST
After committing some herbal sins, four of us had landed at a nightly store in Chandigarh’s Sector 35 with case of the munchies! At the door, some cops were blocking our way to mandatory salvation.
The law says protective headgear on two-wheelers is mandatory, except for turbaned Sikhs; but there is scope for further exemptions.(HT File)
The law says protective headgear on two-wheelers is mandatory, except for turbaned Sikhs; but there is scope for further exemptions.(HT File)

BTW: Of helmets for women, and true meaning of words

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON MAR 26, 2018 06:49 PM IST
Apparently to avoid getting into wrangles over identifying Sikhs among women, Chandigarh administration simply exempted all women from wearing helmets. Now there are reports that the admn may finally take away that exemption altogether.
Back in Chandigarh now, where candy comes in several shapes,(Amazon)
Back in Chandigarh now, where candy comes in several shapes,(Amazon)

By the way | A trip through time, and candy as souvenir

Hindustan Times | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON MAR 10, 2018 11:54 PM IST
A trip to a semi-Punjabi town in Rajasthan, as far removed from Chandigarh as from Jaipur, about 350 kilometres in opposite directions. And inside a single-storey structure painted a pale, endearing yellow, looking like a nostalgia shop
In a photo clicked using a drone, 'bonjour' (or 'good day' in French) as artwork and 'Chandigarh' written in Hindi by a human chain as part of a project of street art at the Sector-17 bus terminus in Chandigarh on Friday.(Photo courtesy Pranav Gohil/Street+art India Foundation)
In a photo clicked using a drone, 'bonjour' (or 'good day' in French) as artwork and 'Chandigarh' written in Hindi by a human chain as part of a project of street art at the Sector-17 bus terminus in Chandigarh on Friday.(Photo courtesy Pranav Gohil/Street+art India Foundation)

Bonjour, Chandigarh: Franco-Indian street art in Sector 17 ‘embraces’ Corbusier, with a twist

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2018 01:10 PM IST
French connection: Artists collaborate as part of a Franco-Indian govt project to ‘tell cities their own stories’ through art that is ‘for the people’
His arms folded in front, inspector Gurmeet Singh (standing seventh from left) saying sorry in Jaitu, Faridkot, last week.(HT File Photo)
His arms folded in front, inspector Gurmeet Singh (standing seventh from left) saying sorry in Jaitu, Faridkot, last week.(HT File Photo)

By The Way: On the sorry road of moral policing from Faridkot to Chandigarh

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON FEB 11, 2018 05:05 PM IST
As a police inspector accused of moral policing finally apologised at the cost of two deaths, it’s time to wonder what triggers this behaviour, and why people say sorry at all, especially when they don’t mean it.
The three main stars of ‘Padmaavat’ — Shahid Kapur as Ratan Singh, Deepika Padukone as Padmavati, and Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji
The three main stars of ‘Padmaavat’ — Shahid Kapur as Ratan Singh, Deepika Padukone as Padmavati, and Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji

Disclaimers of ‘Padmaavat’ and the politics of slogans: Now showing at a Chandigarh theatre

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON JAN 30, 2018 08:22 PM IST
There are times when you absolutely love the fact that you live in Chandigarh, the headquarters of a part of the world that often goes against the grain. This was one of those times.
Old Monk lost its market leadership at the turn of the century.(Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint File)
Old Monk lost its market leadership at the turn of the century.(Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint File)

By the Way: Of Old Monk, old flames, and broken promises

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON JAN 14, 2018 08:57 PM IST
‘The man behind Old Monk is dead,’ said a headline. Moving from one weblink to another, I landed on an analytical report about the fall and fall of the iconic brand. Just then, John Mayer confessed through the car stereo: “I’m a bad boy for breaking her heart. And I’m free, free fallin’, fallin’.”
Tibetan activist-poet Tenzin Tsundue in Chandigarh last weekend.(Photo courtesy Rahul Sharma)
Tibetan activist-poet Tenzin Tsundue in Chandigarh last weekend.(Photo courtesy Rahul Sharma)

By the way: When Tibet comes to Chandigarh, and freedom follows

Hindustan Times | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON DEC 31, 2017 02:12 PM IST
Four nights, five days, before he was caught by the Chinese and sent back after three months in a jail there. “I think they found out that I was no warrior. I was harmless, they must have thought.”
(Getty)
(Getty)

Skits at a school function, and the lessons learnt

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON DEC 17, 2017 12:52 PM IST
The writer wonders if we are just too cynical, exaggerating a situation in which the politics of exclusion wants to redefine a culture of compassion.
In the latest, Kirron Kher has faced a barrage of criticism for purportedly finding fault with a 21-year-old woman’s decision to board the auto-rickshaw whose driver and two other occupants gangraped her last month.(HT Photo)
In the latest, Kirron Kher has faced a barrage of criticism for purportedly finding fault with a 21-year-old woman’s decision to board the auto-rickshaw whose driver and two other occupants gangraped her last month.(HT Photo)

By the way: Kirron Kher’s fault? She is the next-door aunty

Hindustan Times | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON DEC 03, 2017 10:21 AM IST
It appears that Kirron Kher is just another person of her times, as confused as your next-door aunty about how to deal/live/fight with patriarchy.
Street vendors at the plaza in Sector 17, Chandigarh, who are now being blamed for all that’s wrong here.(Karun Sharma/HT)
Street vendors at the plaza in Sector 17, Chandigarh, who are now being blamed for all that’s wrong here.(Karun Sharma/HT)

By the way: Heart of Chandigarh needs a big heart

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON NOV 19, 2017 12:00 PM IST
Shopkeepers here are losing sleep and raising slogans over the presence of street vendors now, blaming them for the market’s decline.
Gurbaksh Kaur, back from Saudi Arabia, at her home in Fateh Garhi Khan village near Rahon in SBS Nagar district.(Keshav Singh/HT)
Gurbaksh Kaur, back from Saudi Arabia, at her home in Fateh Garhi Khan village near Rahon in SBS Nagar district.(Keshav Singh/HT)

Arabian nightmares: How women from Punjab end up in ‘Gulf of slavery’

Hindustan Times, Nawanshahr/Jalandhar | By Aarish Chhabra, Nawanshahr/jalandhar
UPDATED ON NOV 12, 2017 12:32 AM IST
Women from Punjab’s Doaba taken to Saudi Arabia to work as maids fall prey to dubious travel agents, end up as slaves
Chandigarh’s architecture carries boxes and brutalism, sitting well with the Born-And-Brought-Up (BABU) syndrome. In the photo is the Government Press, Sector 18.(Ravi Kumar/HT File Photo)
Chandigarh’s architecture carries boxes and brutalism, sitting well with the Born-And-Brought-Up (BABU) syndrome. In the photo is the Government Press, Sector 18.(Ravi Kumar/HT File Photo)

By The Way: Chandigarh has a BABU syndrome

By Aarish Chhabra, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON NOV 05, 2017 09:55 AM IST
This is a conversation with Chandigarh’s Born-And-Brought-Up (BABU) lot that calls this city its own but disowns us, the outsiders who are surely the reason of all problems here.
Lighting a cracker on Diwali night(Keshav Singh/HT)
Lighting a cracker on Diwali night(Keshav Singh/HT)

By The Way: A cracker of a lesson on Diwali

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON OCT 21, 2017 09:06 PM IST
What do firecrackers have to do with ‘manning up’ a kid? On Diwali, a lesson in how we associate loud and brash with merriment to celebrate the festival.
Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar (Left) and his father Balram Jakhar (Right)(HT Pho)
Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar (Left) and his father Balram Jakhar (Right)(HT Pho)

Will Sunil be Balram now? After Gurdaspur win, Jakhar family is back to the Centre stage

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON OCT 16, 2017 05:27 PM IST
The Jakhar clan, a Hindu Jat family, is quite at home in central politics as Sunil’s father, Balram Jakhar who died last year at 92, had the rare distinction of being Lok Sabha speaker for two successive terms from 1980 to 1989.
A blind student at the head of a line of people who volunteered for an awareness walk in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Thursday, October 12, which was World Sight Day.(Ravi Kumar/HT)
A blind student at the head of a line of people who volunteered for an awareness walk in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Thursday, October 12, which was World Sight Day.(Ravi Kumar/HT)

When the blind led Chandigarh: A few steps in the dark, a lifetime of meaning

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON OCT 13, 2017 11:10 AM IST
No, nothing can prepare you for this. You tie the blindfold and the world disappears. Sounds amplify. Touch gets pronounced. You are on your own. Until someone holds your hand and puts it on a shoulder. We are in a single line of 10 “normal” persons led by a blind boy, we are told.
Gurdass Singh will turn 91 in January, 2018.(Ravi Kumar/HT)
Gurdass Singh will turn 91 in January, 2018.(Ravi Kumar/HT)

By The Way| The tuck-in man of Kasauli: He who guards the Litfest, a club

Hindustan Times | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON OCT 08, 2017 11:26 AM IST
Fellow employees call him ‘daadu’, the grandfather, and he decides whether you get to enter Kasauli Club or not, no matter if you’re a special invitee to the Khushwant Singh Literature Festival that’s held here every year in memory of the ‘Sardar in a Light Bulb’.
(Shutterstock image)
(Shutterstock image)

By The Way: How buying a new car revealed a coin’s worth

Hindustan Times | By Aarish Chhabra, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON SEP 24, 2017 09:17 AM IST
When I told a dealer I wanted a car with a manual drive, not the semi-automatic that is peddled as automatic in our country. “No, you don’t!” he snapped. Scared of his powers to read my mind, I disconnected and blocked his number.
Varnika Kundu with friends at a Sec-26 club.(Ravi Kumar/HT)
Varnika Kundu with friends at a Sec-26 club.(Ravi Kumar/HT)

Meet DJ Varnika Kundu, back on the console, being ‘normal’

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON SEP 14, 2017 10:47 AM IST
The resident DJ has just made way for Varnika Kundu, DJ Miracle Drugg, the 29-year-old woman who became a symbol of resistance against misogyny last month when she got her stalkers arrested while she was returning home at night from Chandigarh to Panchkula.
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh(HT File)
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh(HT File)

Why die for Ram Rahim? Read the MSG in the mayhem

Hindustan Times | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON AUG 28, 2017 10:23 PM IST
Who is this man for whom these people die? A man who breached the trust of his followers, and raped them, repeatedly. A man who dresses like a joker, spouts inanities as sermons, and makes movies that revel in stereotypes
At the ‘Bekhauf Azaadi March’ on Friday, August 11, in Chandigarh.(HT File Photo)
At the ‘Bekhauf Azaadi March’ on Friday, August 11, in Chandigarh.(HT File Photo)

Chandigarh’s Geri Route to turn Azaadi Route? A name-change drive seeks to change mindset

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON AUG 14, 2017 10:23 PM IST
“The new name comes from ‘bekhauf azaadi’ or fearless freedom, the title of last Friday night’s march to ‘reclaim the streets’, which saw women, with men and children, walk in solidarity on the route,” says city-based teacher-storyteller Deeptha Vivekanand, who has started the drive on Facebook.
Ain’t I cool?(Shutterstock)
Ain’t I cool?(Shutterstock)

By the way: I am just another guy on Geri Route, and I don’t get what’s wrong in stalking

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra
UPDATED ON AUG 13, 2017 09:37 AM IST
How could she have not liked the chase? Worldly wisdom passed on to me cannot be wrong. I know. She secretly enjoyed it. At least she did not mean for it to become so big. She’s said that. Read the papers. Actually, don’t. The papers, the channels, they’re all enjoying the hoopla anyway, deluding themselves. We’ll come to that later.
Varnika Kundu, 29, the victim of(Aarish Chhabra/HT)
Varnika Kundu, 29, the victim of(Aarish Chhabra/HT)

WATCH | They wanted to get in or get me out, says Varnika, the woman stalked by BJP leader’s son

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Aarish Chhabra, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON AUG 07, 2017 07:13 PM IST
“I have been told by friends that people are trying to say things about me; make it out like I am wrong. For instance, if you put up a picture of me with a guy online, is it suddenly going to make it okay for these guys to try and kidnap me?”
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