Wednesday March 27, 2019

Urban Theka- Offering the vibrant tradition and culture rooted in Punjab

The store, ‘Urban Theka’ is an amalgamation of Punjab’s colourful, humorous and vibrant life

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Urban Theka, Chandigarh Source: Youtube

Chandigarh: This is one thing that Punjabis don’t mind wearing on their sleeves – ‘Punjabiat’. Even the younger generation of Punjabis, be it in India or abroad, are quite inclined to do so.

With the demand for traditional Punjabi things, which are packaged in tune with the times and latest demand, increasingly in the last few years, stores dealing with traditional items and even catchy Punjabi one-liners are creating business out of the demand.

In a leading mall in Chandigarh, where top brands vie with each other for maximum footfalls and selling trendy and latest stuff, a new store has taken up the challenge of offering the vibrant tradition and culture rooted in Punjab.

From the signboard at the entrance, which proudly proclaims ‘Theka Khushiyaan Da’ (Vend of happiness), the store, ‘Urban Theka’, is an amalgamation of Punjab’s colourful, humorous and vibrant life.

This ‘mini Punjab’ guarantees you a true and raw taste of Punjab. Located on the second floor in Elante Mall, this store can be spotted from a distance, thanks to its bright ambience, handmade figurines and ‘phulkaris’.

Related article: Punjab Grill: One stop for all Punjabi food cravings

“Our opening coincided with Baisakhi — Punjab’s colourful festival. The happiness surrounding Baisakhi goes well with the theme of ‘Urban Theka’,” I. P. Singh, an entrepreneur, who along with his wife, Sunny Thakral, has painstakingly put together the concept, told IANS.

The husband-wife duo say that the “idea is to merge Punjab’s age- old rural culture with its modernity”.

The trend was started over a decade ago by popular brand ‘1469’ which cashed on the demand for ‘anything Punjabi’. Its ‘Pure Punjabi’ brand of T-shirts have been a runaway hit among youth and even the older ones.

The ‘Urban Theka’ store reminds one of the Punjabi folklore and traditions with ladies weaving and embroidering dupattas in phulkaris, men and women doing the ‘bhangra’ and men with ‘dhols’, ‘chimtas’ and ‘sapps’ (traditional musical instruments).

“You get a feel of rural Punjab. One can see beautifully chiselled figurines of Punjabi women churning butter using ‘madhaani’ (traditional butter-making equipment), women using the ‘charkha’ and the like.

The store also takes you to the times of ‘Bhai Kanhaiya’, a Sikh sevadar who served water to the Mughal enemy forces injured in the war against the Sikh forces. Punjab’s history is highlighted through figurines and busts of personalities like ‘Mai Bhago’, ‘Banda Bahadur’, a life size statue of ‘Maharaja Ranjit Singh’ and many more,” Singh said.

Other items in the store like ‘bantey’ (marbles), ‘gulli danda’ and ‘gulail’ are sure to take you down memory lane and revive childhood memories.

To catch the fancy of the youth, the store sells funky T-shirts with quirky text like “Dheet (stubborn) by Nature” and “Installing muscles – Bass Vekhi chall”. The price ranges from Rs.500 to Rs.1,500.

The outlet has been curated with accessories that incorporate a good, humorous style, so typical of Punjab, which makes it a “must own”.

Miniature trucks have an authentic look with mis-spelt one-liners like ‘Use Diaper at Night’ imitating the ones to be spotted on the highways. ‘Drink Responsibly – Dullann na Deyo’ (Don’t let it spill).

Pre-stitched parnas and turbans make it one of the only shops to be selling turbans in malls. Also, phulkari dupattas, artistically embroidered by women in the villages of Patiala, are displayed. The store directly deals with the craftsmen embroidering phulkaris and designing juttis, eliminating the middlemen.

“Urban Theka is not only displaying the culture of Punjab in a unique way but is also helping in reviving the diminishing art and craft in Punjab. It is quite a refreshing store,” Anuradha Kumar, a shopper who happened to cross the store and got attracted to have a “look in”.

The statement outside the trial room says ‘Try Maar Lai’. A car sticker ‘Caution – Peg Lagga’ for the back-screen. Coasters are no less: ‘Aao Bhaino Chugli Kariye’ (Come sisters, let’s gossip).

The brand ‘1469’ has been the pioneer in promoting traditional items, especially clothes and accessories, to the youth in a big way through its stores and online sales.

In Chandigarh’s Sector 17, the ‘1469’ store attracts many customers who want to wear their ‘Punjabiat’ on their sleeve, literally!

The store and some other shops like this sell traditional ware in Punjab and Haryana.

While these stores have been around for nearly a decade, earlier it was the Punjab government-run ‘Phulkari’ stores which sold traditional items – from Punjabi juttis to phulkari duppattas and suits.

With bright, colourful items being sold, there’s never a dull moment in ‘Urban Theka’, ‘1469’, ‘Phulkari’ or other places with traditional stuff for sure. (IANS)

Next Story

Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s Exit Raises Questions Over AAP’s Future in Punjab

Though the damage done by the party to itself in the last three years will be known after the forthcoming parliamentary elections, it will be a sad day for people in Punjab who saw AAP as a third viable option but were let down by the party itself

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File photo: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Deputy CM Manish Sisodia.

The recent exit of politically outspoken leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) fold in Punjab, at a time when general elections are around the corner, has raised a question mark over the party’s political future in the state.

It is not that Khaira, who was elected on the AAP ticket in the February 2017 assembly polls, was indispensable for the party in Punjab.

His exit, however, has shown that the AAP central leadership in Delhi continues to be unaffected by the self-created crisis in the Punjab unit that began in August 2016.

Khaira, who was suspended from the AAP along with another legislator, Kanwar Sandhu, in November 2018 for “anti-party activities”, last week floated a new party – Punjabi Ekta Party (PEP) – and has given enough indications of splitting the AAP down the middle.

Six AAP legislators in the state were present at the launch of the new party even though they did not share the stage with Khaira.

The AAP’s Punjab unit is in complete disarray – be it the leadership crisis, lack of political direction or agenda or the complete disillusionment of its cadre.

Max hospital
Arvind Kejriwal.

It’s not the first time that the AAP central leadership has committed political harakiri with the Punjab unit. It has become clear now that the AAP central leadership, instead of letting the Punjab unit take on the ruling Congress and the SAD-BJP alliance, ends up shooting itself in the foot every time.

Khaira was earlier unceremoniously removed as Leader of Opposition (LoP) by the AAP central leadership in July 2018. He openly rebelled against the party high command by dissolving the the AAP’s Punjab organisational structure and seeking complete autonomy for the state unit.

The AAP ousted its then Punjab unit chief, Sucha Singh Chhotepur, on flimsy bribery charges in August 2016, just months ahead of the assembly polls.

Chhotepur, who nurtured the party right from the day of its conception in Punjab, was shown the door after the emergence of a video clip in which an AAP worker was shown giving money to him. Even before this, Chhotepur was being sidelined in Punjab affairs with Delhi leaders like Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak calling all the shots.

As the Chhotepur episode unfolded, AAP leaders at the constituency and district level rebelled. Chhotepur, who accused the AAP central leadership of corruption in allotting tickets for various assembly seats, finally exited the party and formed a new political outfit – the Apna Punjab Party (APP) that has practically remained a non-starter.

The AAP appointed actor-comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi, with no political experience, as its state convener in place of Chhotepur. Ghuggi left the party on a sour note just months later.

Two AAP MPs from Punjab, Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Khalsa, were suspended in August 2015 for questioning the AAP’s leadership style.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. Flickr

Gandhi, a cardiologist and known social worker, is the MP from Patiala constituency, while Khalsa, a former diplomat, represents Fatehgarh Sahib in the Lok Sabha. Gandhi was also unceremoniously removed from the post of leader of AAP in the Lok Sabha.

The AAP, which was completely rejected elsewhere in the country in the April-May 2014 general elections, won four Lok Sabha seats from Punjab – Sangrur, Patiala, Faridkot and Fatehgarh Sahib.

The AAP started the year 2016 on an upswing. Poll surveys and the party’s own political calculations gave it anything from 75 to over 100 seats in the 117-member assembly.

The party, however, finished second and managed to end up as the main opposition party with 20 legislators. One legislator, lawyer-activist H.S. Phoolka, resigned from the assembly seat recently and even quit the AAP.

Also Read- Actress Radhika Apte Feels Acting Like an Investigative Work

With Khaira’s exit, his status as a legislator and the future of the six legislators who seem to be in his camp, will be seen in the coming months.

The party, which is the newest entrant on Punjab political scene – dominated largely by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress over the decades – is facing as much a challenge from its implosion.

Though the damage done by the party to itself in the last three years will be known after the forthcoming parliamentary elections, it will be a sad day for people in Punjab who saw AAP as a third viable option but were let down by the party itself. (IANS)