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Vol. 1 No. 14  Pages 32  ` 7  25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

The New Millennium


A Guarded Life



he Indian Art market is buzzing. An in-depth article on appreciation of art, and also what’s in the market for art lovers and buyers. ...Pg 5

{ Maninder Dabas / FG }


ccording to Thomson Jefferson, “For people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.” He said these words, keeping in mind the uncivilised side of a civilised race—’humanity’. The moment caution and distrust, the gatekeepers of security, fall asleep—insecurity prevails. Till not so long ago, the police and the army were considered to be the only purveyors of security; but now the scenario has changed, and private security has come up as a trusted (?) option. It is also a lucrative business. India has over 50 lakhs of its population working as private security guards; and Gurgaon, a city much anticipated as a city of prosperity, has over 30 thousand (more than 10 times the number of policemen). Be it malls, offices, residential buildings or plotted bungalows—everywhere we get to see private guards

Clinical Advantage S

potlight on the role clinics play, in bridging the gap between public hospital services and the medical megapolises. ...Pg 9

Know Your Councillors


ouncillors Deepak Indora (Ward No. 15) and Seema Pahuja (Ward No.11)— both from ‘Old” Gurgaon— reveal their assessment of what ails their wards, and how they are coping/delivering. ...Pg 12

Transforming Lives


he success story of Literacy India. Started in 1996, the organization helps children and women; teaching not only basic literacy, but also vocational skills and creative expression through theatre, painting and other forms of art. ...Pg 13

Act Out Your Dreams


urse your acting bug with the Gurgaon Theatre Group. Both professionals and learners— who have a passion for acting—can join, learn and perform with the newly formed group. ...Pg 19

Realty’s Reality Show


ubstantial oversupply, rising structural vacancy, prudent investors and buyers, coupled with economic slow down, rising costs, and stringent financial policy have cast a shadow on Gurgaon’s hitherto booming commercial real estate industry. A report on where the industry is headed, and what it needs to do to bounce back. ...Pg 22

Regular Features Cinema Listings & Helplines ...Pg 4 Food Prices ...Pg 6 The Week That Was ...Pg 8 Sector Watch ...Pg 10 Learn Haryanvi ...Pg 12 Realty Rates ...Pg 24

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319

keeping an eye; for the well being of the people. Our property, and if exaggeration be permitted, our mortality—is protected by these guards. “Yes, no doubt, these private security guards are useful in maintaining a secure environment in the city. The whole commercial and residential set-up of the city has been covered by these guards. The police has its limitations, in number and reach. These guards also help us in managing the traffic. In fact, we are working on some method/process, by which we can use them in a more productive way,” said Bharti Arora, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Traffic. Let’s discuss the various aspects of security in the city, and whether these private security guards are capable enough, to meet the rising demands of this everexpanding city.

Who needs a security guard, and why?

Prosperity, and concern for security, go hand in hand. In the last twenty years, Gurgaon has been bestowed

with prosperity, and the muse of destiny seems to continue her blessings on this city for the next few decades. There is a belief that this city has the potential to eclipse the horizons of success set by the famed cities of the first world. “A dynamic change has come in the last two decades here. Gurgaon is no more a suburb of Delhi; it has gone beyond expectations. You see hundreds of MNCs operating here; along with malls, big residential apartments and a huge industrial base. They bring with them concerns of security. Since the police of the city is way short in numbers, to provide that much desired and sought after sense of security, these private security guards have come up as a relevant option,” said Vishal Swara, the Chairman of the Haryana Executive Board of the Central Association of the Private Security Industry (CAPSI); and the CEO of SLV private security agency. The political instability in South Asia, and India’s not-so good relations with some of the failed Contd on p 8 

House That, For Living It Up! { Shirin Mann / FG }


uxury living! Waking up to a panoramic view of the lush green Aravali mountains, from your golf— course facing, high rise apartment. Not only this. You can barely hear the noise of traffic; instead your ears are blessed with the soothing sound of the wind, while you sip coffee in the garden of your 17th floor condominium— while you take a dip in a pool right beside it. Yes, that’s luxury living re-defined. The luxury of not only living in a regular condominium or those several others; but of the premium condos or penthouses of svelte new shapes, that form the ‘uptown’ part of the Millennium City. High-rises like DLF Aralias, Laburnum — and now the upcoming Magnolias, have not only redefined high living; but Contd on p 6 


25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 VOL.–1 No.–14  25 Nov–1 Dec 2011


Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Correspondents:

Hritvick Sen Maninder Dabas Shirin Mann

Sr. Photographer:

Prakhar Pandey

Sr. Sub Editors:

Anita Bagchi Shilpy Arora


Manoj Raikwar Virender Kumar

Circulation Head:

Prem Gupta

Circulation Execs.:

Syed Mohd Komail Sunil Yadav

Accts. & Admin Mgr: Deba Datta Pati Ad Sales Manager: Lokesh Bharadwaj Sr. Ad Sales Execs: Bhagwat Kaushik Design Consultant: Qazi M Raghib Illustrations:

Durgadatt Pandey

Photography Consultant: Jitendra Sharma Business Consultant: Sanjay Bahadur

Editorial Office 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana Phones: +91 124 421 9091/92/93 Emails: Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana. Printed at Indian Express Ltd. Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

The views expressed in the opinion pieces and/or the columns are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Friday Gurgaon or Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd.


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Kingdom Of Dreams Keeps You “Delhi Belly” Safe


ingdom of Dreams, the magical and mystical live entertainment destination, houses the iconic Culture Gully an exciting entertainment boulevard of culture, arts, crafts and cuisine—under India’s first ever skydome. The grandeur of Culture Gully is enhanced by over 20 amazing food and beverage destinations, where you can savour authentic cuisine from various regions and states of India. Six restaurants and six show kitchens serve over 250 regional dishes, cooked by over 140 chefs brought in from various culinary destinations across India. Certified under ISO 22000:2005, Kingdom of Dreams presents the visitor with an unforgettable cuisine experience. To ensure this memorable culinary experience, Culture Gully follows a scientific discipline in handling, preparation and storage of food—to prevent food borne illness. Kingdom of Dreams is equipped with a dedicated microbiology lab—high on technology— operated by a team of highly-qualified and trained professionals. Food samples are checked on a daily basis. All Chefs involved in the production of food follow the process of washing hands with soap, and sanitizing to avoid bacterial growth. They wear gloves, masks and headgear to restrict transfer of bacteria, as well as crosscontamination of the food. The gloves worn by the chefs are changed every 30 minutes. In-house RO plant supplies clean water for the preparation of food, and for use in the bar. In the kitchens, the hygiene standards are stringent. An internal and external hygiene audit is undertaken every month, to check the compliance with the international standards. Standard auditing formats, followed by all outlets, ensure that food is kept safe through measures like temperature regulation, cleanliness, hand swab, equipment swab, water testing and linen swab. Day tagging system is used to check the freshness of food. The required storage condition and temperature of food undergoes a constant check. Since the launch in 2010, Culture Gully has become synonymous with delightful dishes and mouthwatering cuisines. Unlike other modern day eateries and restaurants, which use ‘Dalda’ as a cooking medium, food at Kingdom of Dreams is cooked in the healthier option of pure ‘Desi Ghee’ sourced from local villages. Free of essence, preservative, stabilizer and emulsifier, the purity of this cooking medium helps rustle up delicious, mouthwatering, crisp and tempting snacks and dishes. The Delhi counter uses semolina for the fried food items, as it soaks very less oil and ghee. A few of the famous Delhi street food items are Chaat Papri, Dahi Bhalla, Khatte Mithi Tikki, Ram Ladoo, Jalebi with Rabri and Matka Kulfi. High quality of raw material is procured for preparation of food. Vegetables and eggs used are organic.

There is no use of any kind of stabilizing agent, food colours and preservatives, in any of the food preparations. Curd used is pure, and measures are undertaken to ensure a thick consistency—which makes the dish more palatable, and preserves the taste. Double bull lentils are used, which give the best texture and smoothness to the final food product. The Mumbai pavilion uses authentic homemade Maharashtrian spices for Vada Pao, Pao Bhaji and Kachi Dhabeli, which retains the authentic taste. Fresh Pao is made in the in-house bakery every 4 hours. No expense is spared in the procurement of authentic and quality ingredients for food. Food served in the Rajasthan pavilion is made in pure ghee, with ingredients like Ker, Sangri, Tithe, Gwarfalli, Rajasthani Papad, Jow Atta, Jodhpuri Mirch, Rajasthani Hing etc procured from the local markets of Jaipur. Indeed a haven for the vegetarians, all the food prepared is No Onion No Garlic. A few of the famous dishes served are the Jodhpuri Gatta Curry, Aloo Methi Lipatma, Bedmi,

Bikaneri Parantha, Khichadi, Chene Ka alpua. The delicious Dosa and Idli, made with self fermented batter, and the heady aroma of homemade spices in Sambhar, beckon and tempt the visitor at the ever popular Karnataka and Chennai pavilions. Different and interesting varieties of Dosa, suited to the taste of the local palate, are served. Gun powder, Idli, Avial, Coconut Payasam, Rasam, handmade coconut chutney, Dosa House special chutney, Khorma with Dosa are a few special choices in the menu. The mouthwatering dessert section has a healthy choice of a honey flavoured dessert Dosa, for the health-conscious. All the South Indian ingredients are specially procured from their own region, to give the authentic flavour to the dish. The Goa pavilion dishes out the local coastal flavour cuisine. A few of the famous dishes are Rawa Fired Prawns, Komdi Masala, Goan Prawn Curry, Gawti Komdi Curry with Steamed Rice or Goan Parantha. The Hyderabad kitchen uses authentic ingredients procured from the local market of the erstwhile region, in all the dishes—which gives a unique flavour to the delicacies. A few popular dishes of Hyderabad section are Haleem and Kache Gosht Ki Biryani. For the dessert, a must is Khubani ka Meetha and Double ka Meetha. The authentic and unique flavour of Awadh is presented in the Lucknow pavilion. Ingredients are procured from the local villages of Lucknow. Giving the regular medium of ‘Dalda’ a pass, dishes are prepared in pure ghee and vegetable oil. A few popular dishes from Lucknow are Galouti Kebab, Rajma ki Shammi, Nihari, Daal Sultani with Ulte Tawe ka Parantha—and not to be missed Khamiri Roti, finished by mouth watering Phirni. Luscious Bengali cuisine is served cooked in mustard oil. A few of the popular Bengali dishes are Laal Murgi, Machar Jhol, and the not to miss, Luchhi. The Assam Tea Lounge is manna from heaven for tea lovers. Flavours and aroma of different varieties of tea from Assam tempt the visitor, who can choose from 11 flavours on offer in the tea selection. Not to forget the famous Filter Coffee at the Madras Cafe. The authentic flavour of Filter Coffee can be enjoyed with the local munchies of South India. An alluring and complete Bollywood experience, the IIFA Buzz Café adds to the excitement of this distinctive destination. Interesting props, music, special effects and décor add to the Bollywood experience. An extensive bar menu, with a choice of continental starters, is served to the dining guests. The Maikhana bar and lounge, with its stunning ambience, off-set by soft lilting Indian Ghazals, completes the Indian experience at Kingdom of Dreams. Maikhana has an extensive bar menu, with a wide variety of alchoholic beverages and Indian Starters on offer.

25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

L ifestyle

The right 'art'itude


Countdown for Christmas Bakes


rt connoisseur Gopa Kumar gave a delightful visual treat to art lovers—and a platform to amateur artists— as she opened an art boutique, Renge, at DLF Aralias Club on Sunday. Famous TV personality Neena Gupta, along with her daughter Masaba, inaugurated the boutique. “It’s a brilliant platform given to emerging artists to exhibit their work. I’m positive this will get them the visibility they deserve,” said Neena.


ive star hotel Fortune Select Excalibur, Sohna Road, ushered in the Christmas spirit early this year, by hosting a traditional cake-mixing event on Saturday. Guests, along with General Manager Sandeep Joshi and Executive Chef Inder Dev, had a ball, getting their hands dirty, and mixing the fruit and nuts with a variety of spices and wines. The mixture will be kept for 25 days, and used for preparing Christmas puddings and cakes.

ART SMART: TV personality Neena Gupta (C), her daughter Masaba (L) and Gopa Kumar (R)

Beyond A Genre


n unusual blend of Kailash Kher's soulful renditions, and Lesle Lewis' rock and pop, enthralled the audience at the relaunch of The Fox, First India Place, MG Road. Sufi music beautifully merged with techno pop beats, and had the audience asking for more. The Fox, that had been closed for a short duration, is ready to serve the city once again.

HIGH SPIRITS: Chef Inder Dev, and guests pour nuts and wine for a Christmas cake YIN N YANG: Kailash Kher and Lesle Lewis at The Fox, First India Place

An Energy Boost


ndian rock band Parikrama and the New York-based band Solar Punch, along with classical singer Kabul, gave a powerhouse performance at HUDA Gymkhana Club, Leisure Valley on Wednesday. Solar Punch play environmental rock, and use solar powered instruments and sound systems. The aim of the concert was to spread awareness about environment conservation, and peace in society. It was organised by Routes 2 Roots and Advit Foundation, in association with Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

ECO-FRIENDLY BEATS: Solar Punch performs at HUDA Gymkhana Club

Emraan's Promo Ride


he Delhi Metro seems to have become a favourite film promoting destination. After Ranbir Kapoor, it is the Kissing King of Bollywood, Emraan Hashmi, who took a ride in the Metro towards Gurgaon—to entertain fans at the Lucia Club in MGF Mall. It was a promotional event for his forthcoming movie, “The Dirty Picture”. Starring Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Tusshar Kapoor and Emraan Hashmi, the film is due for release on December 2.


25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

Coming Up



SPIC MACAY Heritage Series @ Amity International School, Sector 46 Date: Nov 29 Time: 11 am

Music Concert

Overhung Live @ Cafe De Rock, Hong Kong Bazaar, Sector 57 Date: Nov 25 Time: 9 pm


live concert by a famous rock band from Mumbai—Overhung. The band has four musicians—Howard Pereira, Sheldon Dixon, Krishna Kumar Venkitachalam, and Sujit Kumar—who have played with various established bands.


Mharo Pranam @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: Dec 2 Time: 7:30 pm



Freestyle Moto @ Leisure Valley, Sector 29 Date: Nov 26 Time: 5 pm


Tokamachi Natsumera Alkokai (Enka Banso) @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: Nov 27 Time: 7 pm

two-hour long freestyle motocross event. Renowned international bikers—Mitch McHardy, Trent Garton, Callum Shaw, Mitchel, Brett, Liston Borrie, and others— will perform some stunts and air-tricks.

Stand Up Comedy


industani vocal classical recital by Meeta Pandit, disciple of Padma Bhushan Pandit Krishna Rao Shankar Pandit. The event is organised by SPIC MACAY (Gurgaon Chapter), in collaboration with ICCR.


Tumsa Nahin Dekha @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: Nov 28 Time: 7:30 pm



musical evening by Srikant Narayan, in memory of the late actor, Shammi Kapoor. The event is organised in collaboration with Sangeet Smriti, a nonprofit organisation.


kathak dance performance, conceptualised and choreographed by Jayashree Acharya, disciple of Pt. Birju Maharaj. The performance is presented by Rasik Performing Arts.

Costa Laughaccino @ Costa Coffee, Cross Point Mall, Opp. Galleria Market, DLF Phase IV Date: Nov 26 Time: 8 pm Ticket: Rs.250 (including a free hot or cold beverage)


laughter show featuring leading stand-up comedians— Neeti Palta, Gursimran Khamba and Sanjay Rajoura.

Love Yourself, Heal Your Life @ G-106, Oriental Villa, Sushant Lok III, Sector 57 Date: Nov 26 & Nov 27 Time: 9 am to 5 pm Fee: Rs. 6,000 per person


Japanese show by the Indian singer Chadha, and a Japanese band. Chadha is the first non-Japanese Enka singer in the world. The event is organised by the Chadha Foundation and NPO Society, to promote Indo-Japan Cultural Relations.


THIS WEEK Big Cinemas: Ansal Plaza Desi Boyz (A) Time: 10.15 am, 11.30 am, 12.40 pm, 2 pm, 3.10 pm, 4.30 pm, 5.40 pm, 7.00 pm, 8.10 pm, 9.30 pm, 10.40 pm Rockstar Time: 10.30 am, 1.35 pm, 4.40 pm, 10 pm The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (3D) Time: 7.45 pm Address: 3rd Floor, Ansal Plaza, G Block, Palam Vihar Website:

pm, 4.30 pm, 5.30 pm, 8.00 pm, 8.45 pm, 10.30 pm, 11.15 pm The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Time: 10.00 am, 2.15 pm, 6.30 pm Rockstar (U/A) Time: 11.00 am, 7.40 pm, 10.40 pm The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (3D) Time: 12.15 pm, 4.30 pm Address: 3rd Floor, DLF Phase II, Opp. Beverly Park, M.G Road Ph: 9810421611 Website: DT Star Mall: Sector 30 Desi Boyz (A)

DT Mega Mall: DLF Phase-I Desi Boyz Time: 10.30 am, 11.45 am, 1.00 pm, 2.15 pm, 3.30 pm, 6.00 pm, 8.30 pm, 11.00 pm The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (3D) Time: 10.30 am, 6.55 pm The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Time: 12.35 pm, 4.40 pm, 10.50 pm Jack & Jill Time: 2.50 pm, 9.00 pm Rockstar Time: 4.55 pm, 7.55 pm, 10.55 pm Address: 3rd Floor, DT Mega Mall, DLF Phase-I Ph: 0124-39895050, 9818545645 Website:

Time: 10.15 am, 12.45 pm, 2.00 pm, 3.15 pm, 4.30 pm, 5.45 pm, 7.00 pm, 8.15 pm, 10.45 pm Rockstar (U/A) Time: 11.00 am, 9.30 pm Address: DT Cinemas, DLF Star Mall Ph: 9650599777 2nd Floor, Opposite 32nd Milestone, Sec-30, NH 8 Website:

DT City Centre: DLF Phase-II Desi Boyz Time: 10.00 am, 12.30 pm, 2.00 pm, 3.00

PVR: Ambience Premiere Desi Boyz Time: 10.00 am, 10.50 am, 12.35 pm, 1.25

workshop on teaching life skills and meditation techniques. The workshop will be based on the philosophy of Louise L.Hay, who has authored several self-help books, and the bestseller of 1984—You Can Heal Your Life. The sessions will be conducted by Asma D’souza, a Hay House certified trainer from the U.S. For registration, call: 9910572000

pm, 3.10 pm, 4.00 pm, 5.45 pm, 6.35 pm, 8.20 pm, 9.10 pm, 10.55 pm, 11.45 pm Jack & Jill Time: 12.25 pm, 7.10 pm DAM 999 (3D) Time: 10.00 am, 4.45 pm The Help Time: 2.15 pm, 11.00 pm The Muppets Time: 10.20 pm, 5.05 pm The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Time: 1.30 pm, 4.00 pm, 6.30 pm, 9.00 pm, 11.30 pm The Ides of March Time: 9.00 pm Rockstar Time: 10.30 am The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (3D) Time: 2.30 pm, 7.00 pm, 9.15 pm, 11.30 pm Happy Feet 2 (3D) Time: 12.15 pm Address: 3rd Floor, Ambience Mall, NH-8 Website: PVR: Ambience Gold Desi Boyz Time: 11.20 am, 2.00 pm, 4.40 pm, 7.20 pm, 8.00 pm, 10.00 pm Jack & Jill Time: 6.10 pm The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Time: 10.00 am, 12.35 pm, 10.40 pm Rockstar Time: 3.10 pm Address: 3rd Floor, Ambience Mall, NH-8 Ph: 0124-4665543 PVR MGF: MGF Mall Desi Boyz Time: 10.20 am, 11.50 am, 12.20 pm, 1.00 pm, 2.30 pm, 3.00 pm, 3.40 pm, 5.10 pm,

5.40 pm, 6.20 pm, 7.50 pm, 8.20 pm, 9.00 pm, 10.30 pm, 11.00 pm, 11.40 pm DAM 999 (3D) Time: 12.15 pm, 11.30 pm Jack & Jill Time: 10.00 am The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Time: 10.30 pm, 1.00 pm, 3.30 pm, 6.00 pm, 8.30 pm, 10.55 pm The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (3D) Time: 10.00 am, 2.30 pm, 4.45 pm, 7.00 pm, 9.15 pm Address: 3rd floor, mgf Mall, mg Road Ph: 0124-4530000 Website: PVR Europa: MGF Mall Desi Boyz Time: 1.20 pm, 7.00 pm, 9.40 pm Jack & Jill Time: 3.35 pm, 9.30 pm The Ides of March Time: 7.30 pm The Help Time: 12.45 pm, 11.20 pm Rockstar Time: 10.20 am, 4.00 pm Address: 3rd floor, mgf Mall, mg Road Ph: 0124-4530000 Website: PVR Sahara: Sahara Mall Desi Boyz Time: 10.00 am, 12.30 pm, 1.45 pm, 3.00 pm, 5.30 pm, 6.45 pm, 8.00 pm, 10.30 pm Mayakkam Enna (Tamil) Time: 10.55 am The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Time: 4.15 pm, 9.15 pm Address: Sahara Mall, MG Road Ph: 0124-4048100 Website:

Police..........................100 Fire Station....................101 Ambulance........................102 Railway Enquiry.................139 Women Helpline..............1091 Children Helpline.............1098 Senior Citizens Helpline..1291 LPG Helpline........011-155233 Weather Helpline..................... ..........................18001801717 Car Breakdown Helpline.......... .........................011-43676767 Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway Helpline................................... .......... 0124-4787828/817/853 DMRC Helpline........................ .............................011-155370 Disaster Management Helpline...........................1077 Municipal Corporation (MCG).. ..........................18001801817 Ambulance Service for Animals................9873302580

25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

{ Srimati Lal }


e are living in the golden age of an active international re-appraisal of contemporary Indian Art. To be informed and educated on Indian Art today, is to know the social alphabet. In my weekly columns, therefore, I will try to enlighten readers towards a better understanding of Art. It is a vital subject  that goes way beyond page-3 conversation – to invaluable national intellectual property, and serious international investment.  From the beginning of this millennium,   India has been acknowledged as the venue of one of “the world’s most dynamic art movements.” The portal ‘Artprices’, in 2008, ranked Indian contemporary art very high – third in popular demand on the international art market, directly after the genre of English Pop Art. And in the 3 years since that estimation, Indian art’s international reputation has progressed to a point where it is now in the highest bracket in terms of demand. Any good painting, sculpture or installation  by an Indian artist can now comfortably fetch several lakhs – and some, several crores.  The size of the Dedicated Auction House Market for Modern Indian Art boomed from $ 5 million in 2003 to over $ 200 million in 2008 – with the subsequent years breaking higher records. This is regardless of the economic recession; because the fact is, the value of great Art always escalates with time.  Exciting, isn’t it ... enough to make you schedule time pronto for a quick browse at the nearest gallery? But remember the adage: ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’ ... To begin with, one must develop a taste for good art. How is one to identify, understand, and live with good art? And—for that matter—aside from its status symbol value, what really is the need for art in our daily lives? How do we understand Art’s irreplaceable value? “The creation of Fine Art is nothing but the force of Nature, or Prakriti. As an artist, I use energy from the same universal source that humans had used, to write the Scriptures and the Vedas. Prakriti is the sole principle, the creator of everything in man’s mind – from Gods and Devils to Art. My Religion is Nature and Art.” Significant words indeed from Souza, a founder of India’s urban art movement. By way of explaining art’s raison d’etre (reason for being), he powerfully hits the mark by stating that Art can, indeed, effectively replace religion in a troubled society. Can any price really be too high for infusing spiritual wellbeing, beauty, truth, depth and meaning into today’s frenetic, frantic, often soul-less living? Believe me, Art can fulfill that tall order today. As an old hand in the field, having held a brush before I could even write— and then having been an international Art Analyst, artist and Curator ever since my teens—I promise to show you the way. Art has quietly, formidably, stepped-in, to fill a void. Art has challenged the turmoil of today’s society, simply by expressing it – but in a form that converts that turmoil into Beauty; and Truth, too. The expression is delivered to you upon a stretch of canvas; to be with you, forever.  Silently adorning a wall, a meaningful painting conveying truth can comfort and soothe – as little else can. Further, as a famous artist had once said, “But for Art, man would die of boredom.” Is it not obvious, then, that the very aspects one should look for when acquiring Art are Beauty and Truth? When acquiring any artwork, select only that which pleases and uplifts your soul. Do not go by ‘names’; thus blindly picking-up an image

ART 24~7 that depresses, disturbs or pulls you down – not even if that image is by Picasso! Be true to your own individual taste. Remember that a relativelyunknown artist today, whose work you feel an instinctive pull towards, could well become the Amrita SherGil of tomorrow. Stylistically too, go with your taste. If you prefer abstract forms, look for them in art. But if faces and figures appeal to you, search for those that speak to you. If you prefer muted sepia-tones to electricbright colours, choose subdued palettes. But if you are inspired by the magic of vibgyor kaleidoscopes, pull out all your visual stops and only buy art that employs a full-spectrum palette, Always follow your inner eye and gut instinct. Let the art that you select and live with, be a mirror of yourself. And now for some names, to educate those that may be lost in the Indian art-labyrinth. India should be proud that it has generated scores of brilliant artists, who are now viewed on the international art market with awe. The art of our radical pioneer artists—Jamini Roy, Tagore, Amrita SherGil, Nandalal Bose, Raja Ravi Varma, Ramkinkar, Sailoz Mukherji, Abanindranath, Gaganendranath, Gopal Ghosh, Chittoprosad, and Debiprosad—is now beyond a price. They are ‘National Treasure Artworks’: or, in simpler language, national assets that belong to India, and must not be exported or bartered away. Such art, ‘non-

L ifestyle


exportable’ items by law, is at a similar level of value as ancient Mohenjodaro art, Chola bronzes, or fine antique Miniature paintings. Families may exist who possess personal artworks by such masters. A majority of these National Treasure Artists belonged to the revolutionary Bengal School of Art—with its seat in Tagore’s Santiniketan—creating a new modern Indian art-idiom. This National Treasure group is followed by the valuable and historic ‘Urban Pioneer Artists’. Some have passed away - Souza, Husain, Gaitonde, Nirode Mazumdar, J.Swaminathan, Paritosh Sen, Manjit Bawa, Tyeb Mehta and Bhupen Khakkar; some are still among us - Raza, Ram Kumar, Padamsee, K G Subramanyam, Krishen Khanna, Ghulam Sheikh, and several others. The Progressive Artists’ Group was established in 1947, in then-Bombay, by Souza, along with Raza, Husain, Padamsee, Bakre, Ara and Gade. This flamboyantlyurban Indian art movement grew into a formidable visual genre, noticed around the world and actively emulated by all urban artists to come. Its artists are soon to become National Treasures. Some spanned careers outside India as well. Today, India also boasts brilliant senior artists like Jogen Chowdhury, Sunil Das, Paramjit and Arpita Singh, Shobha Broota, Anupam Sud, Baiju Parthan, Atul Dodiya, Neelima Sheikh, and several others. It is always a good idea to browse the works of leading artists in major galleries, in order to acquire a cultivated eye. You will find that Indian art displays a skill and language uniquely its own – that is not imitative or derived from the west. From Tantric inspirations to India’s vibrant folk-art palette, contemporary Indian art has evolved a style that incorporates every nuance of our uniquely-evolved ancient aesthetic heritage. Today’s lesser-known younger artists often display formidable talent, and will soon become tomorrow’s great masters. Always pick up art by younger artists that appeals to you. In my subsequent columns, I will identify and describe some such works and artists. I will also continue explaining what specific aspects to look for in identifying great art. One must also be aware that Fine Indian Craft, too, is an extension of our Fine Art. This includes religious sculptures such as Devi-murtis of Durga or other divinities, intricately-crafted artefacts, tribal jewellery, textiles, decorations or carvings. All such forms belong to our most ancient and invaluable ateliers or art-gharanas. One should constantly keep an eye open for all these brilliant treasures, and make it a point to visit crafts centres such as Dilli Haat, Emporiums and crafts melas regularly. Viewing such artistic marvels soothes, nourishes and inspires the soul; and acquiring them is far easier on the pocket than making bids for national treasures! To begin your art collection, surround yourself with the beauty of your Indian folk art heritage – which includes folk paintings and other objects of beauty, made by Indian hands. You will thus be supporting and encouraging the humble home-grown Indian artistic genius. As a last word for this Friday, please be aware that today’s Indian gallery-climate is fervently active, and contains endless treasures. The Indian art scene today is not unlike the ateliers that secretly harboured Gauguin, Van Gogh and Matisse in the Paris of the previous fin de siecle (turn of the century). The sky’s the limit – every possible Art-form is available in India. So until next week, happy art-searching! u Writer is also an Artist & Curator


25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

Lifestyle jit kumar

House That, For Living It Up!

HIGH LIFE: Monika Lauridsen, resident of Aralias, relaxing with her daughter Maya in her spacious living room

 Contd from p 1 have also created the niche of exclusivity — attracting scions of big business houses, CEOs, MD of Multi National Corporations, and successful entrepreneurs. Ranging in price from over Rs.10cr for a 5,800 sq ft Condo, to as high as Rs. 22cr for a 10,000 sq ft one, the prices of such exclusive property pretty much spell the profile of who resides in them; or the facilities that they offer. As you approach the gates of DLG Golf Course, your car and you must go through a security check, to further reach the gates of the Aralias. Passing the lush green field on either side of the driveway, with a few players putting holes—and some dog walkers, walking some of the most expensive pets, on the side of the road—you would feel the exclusivity. We are here to meet a Polish graphic designer, residing on the 11th floor of the Aralias. We are stopped at the front gate. After enquiry, and a call made to the resident to confirm our arrival, we are let through the gates. The beautiful sound of

the large fountains, large green patches of parks, and a few ladies sitting at the gazebos stationed in the park, is a sight not familiar in India. The exteriors are off-white in colour, with designs of large beautiful flowers, and, have an earthy texture. The entrance to each block has an automatic door with a few guards at the reception, and a beautiful lounge for guests. As we reach the apartment, the shiny marble flooring and a motif design made of mother-ofpearl and a red colour stone, catch our attention. The interiors are tastefully done, with pas- LUXURY LIVING: A view from the balcony tel and earthy colours of white, beige, gold and rose; with daughter and I moved to India complementing fine carpets. It in 2010, when my husband took looks better than the suite of a charge as the Managing Direcseven star hotel (of course, as tor, Carlsberg India. Initially seen in pictures!). we were living in a hotel for a Monika Lauridsen, graphic month. We saw places in Vasant designer and a resident of Ara- Vihar, saw some farm houses, lias says, “My husband, my over 20 apartments; till we found

Food Take

As of November 23, 2011 All Prices in Rs/kg.

Area/ vegetables

Palam Vihar

Sector 54

South City 1

DLF City Phase 5

Sadar Bazar

Sector 23


Reliance Fresh





8 / 15

































100– 120

80 – 120

60 – 100

60 – 100

60 – 100

100 – 150


80– 130










Ladies’ Finger



















280 – 300

280 – 300


280 – 300






150 – 160

140 – 150

160 – 170







this apartment in Aralias. We saw this at the very end; and at first sight just fell in love with it. The rent of this place was more than our budget; but this apartment, its location and facilities wouldn’t let us go anywhere else. So we took it immediately. Also, most of the apartments had been empty; while this was full, furnished, and beautifully done.” The apartment has a large modern kitchen, an attractive living room, grand dining room, a bar section, and four bedrooms— each done up in earthy colors, except Maya’s (her daughter). Maya’s room blooms in pink, and various other colours. The apartment also comes with a maid’s room, located just behind the kitchen area. The main living room – overlooking the golf course, the swimming pool and the Aravalis – enclosed in large windows, and is divided in three parts. The extreme right is the dining area, with a 14 seater rectangular, grand dining table; and with furniture chests in dark wood, and ceiling adorned beautiful chandeliers. The middle section is a coffee area, useful for guests. At the

extreme left is the TV lounge, where the family spend the most time. Just outside the living area is a beautiful terrace, sporting several planters and wooden chairs- a perfect place to spend your evenings. Giving company to the Lauridsen’s were a bunch of love birds, chirping away. Walking through the Buddhainspired interiors, sporting his various statues and paintings of the tree of life, the apartment feels definitely serene. “This apartment is more beautiful than most premium apartments in Europe. What I love about this apartment is that it has modern, beautiful colours; it is wide and airy; and there is loads of natural light— the best part is that it has all the facilities within its premises; so we really don’t have to go anywhere else. It is also great for my daughter, as it has many facilities for the children,” gushes Monika. The DLF Aralias Club House offers a modern fitness centre, several recreational areas— like the three swimming pools, spa, squash and billiard room— ATM machines, a fabulous restaurant, and several kids areas. Maid services (Speaking in Hindi as well as English, making it convenient for the expats) are provided for your child. Rajiv Kapur, Independent Consultant and owner of a penthouse on the 17th floor of Aralias says, “I lived in a villa for nine years before I moved here. The area of a pent house is much larger; you can get the same facilities– such as a garden or a swimming pool; and the maintenance and security is excellent; I find it much better than living in a villa. Most people who live in the so-calledhouses in Delhi, also stay on floors— so if you are on the first floor, it’s like living in an apartment, without the benefits of a condominium. Living in villas can’t provide you with as good a security system and maintenance as a condo. Here the plumber, electrician etc are on call; and no one can enter the area of Aralias without consent. Whereas in independent houses, the security and maintenance can be a huge issue. Living here is like living in a house on the seventeenth floor, with the best of facilities.” Monica, sums it up, “Everyday I feel so lucky to be living here .My guests think that we live in a palace and I agree.” u

COSMIC BEAM THERAPY Without Surgical Operation treatments:

   

Kidney – stone/transplant Heart – bypass/ballooning/stunt Gall Bladder – stone/removal Reproductive Organ – infertility/cyst/fibroid/prostate

{ Distance Healing }

Cell: 98110-56357

Website: E-mail: Sector 39/310, Gurgaon-122001 INDIA

25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

L ifestyle



FOOD Gunjan Prasad


on’t get put off by the road to The Oriental Pavilion, the new South-East Asian eatery at Fortune Select Excalibur, Sohna Road; you could be missing out on a host of authentic yet fresh flavours. A glass walled elevator whisks you to the roof-top restaurant, far away from the bustle of the road below. While the décor is essentially contemporary, with unique starshaped tables, the cognac leather upholstery—interspersed with deep maroon velvet cushions— gives it a warm ‘Oriental look’.The softly lit, dining room is a visual haven; accentuated with coloured silk hangings, Japanese fans, and Balinese masks. The menu emphasises South East Asian cuisine, albeit with distinct Japanese influence— possibly to satisfy the growing population of Japanese residing in the hotel and its vicinity. Having spent close to 15 years in the Far East, my companion and I are fairly critical of food served under the garb of 'authentic Oriental’ fare. But, at “Oriental Pavilion’, we are pleasantly surprised. The restaurant caters mainly to businessmen during lunch—and has an express lunch menu. It also offers a range of bentos (at Rs. 899)—a single-portion takeout, or home-packed meal—common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables—usually in a boxshaped container. The restaurant

Fortune Cooking offers a sushi and tempura option; as well as one with onigiri and vegetable tempura. The restaurant manager, Lal Mukund, is an import from Monk, a speciality restaurant at Galaxy, that is best known for its ‘meals in a bowl’. The Oriental Pavilion offers a similar concept—where diners can enjoy a selection of street food delights—from Bangkok, China and Hong Kong—all in a bowl (Rs. 699). While the above options are for lunch only, dinner is more about leisurely dining. The menu is comprehensive, displaying both hot and cold appetisers, soups, a range of fish and meat dishes, and dessert. We could not quite decide what to order, so left the decision making to the manager. Served piping hot, the miso shiru, a classic Japanese broth, was a good way to clear the pal-

ate, for other delicacies. We could see the dishes being stir fried, steamed and curried to perfection—in the restaurant’s show kitchen. Our unanimous vote for the appetisers had to be the fresh prawns— steamed in Thai chilli, and then pan-seared in a chilli plum sauce. Each morsel was succulent. When we reached the mains, our tastebuds were screaming for more. We started with Cantonese steamed fish with mushrooms. We were expecting it to be a bit bland; but the light soy and chilli oil dressing brought out the subtle flavour of the sea-

RAW POTENTIAL: Flavours are packed tightly into the sushi rolls

bass well. Another pleasing dish that we had was stir fried lamb in chilli bean sauce. The lamb was cooked to perfection— a rarity as mostly it is overdone to the stage of being chewy—and braised in a pungent chilli bean sauce. Vegetarians should love this restaurant, if the crunchy Oriental greens with sesame and garlic are anything to go by. We had reached a point where another bite would have been the breaking point; we were happy to end the meal sipping jasmine tea. But we found ourselves slurping on tab tin grob or Red Rubies—sweet water chestnuts, with crushed ice and coconut milk. It was nothing short of being ambrosial. The service was excellent. The

staff was warm, hospitable and well-informed. It is a pity, though, that due to architectural constraints, the hotel hasn’t been able to leverage “Oriental Pavilion’s” roof-top location. It needs a terrace or at least some picture windows, to give the diners a feel of being on top of the world. u The Oriental Pavilion 11th floor, Fortune Select Excalibur, Sector 49, Sohna Road, Gurgaon Cuisine: Oriental Timing: Lunch :12: 30 p.m. 2:45 p.m. Dinner 7:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.



Outlook Of A Boy

Comic Meets Spielberg Fantasy And Tech

Alka Gurha

visible when a candid Mehta reveals that he published a book on Sanjay Gandhi, without ever meeting him. Another piquant he formidable writer, Outlook’s Editortidbit is the revelation that Jawarharlal in-Chief Vinod Mehta, launched Nehru played an important role in his much-awaited memoir—after four breaking the Indira-Feroze marriage, decades of his tryst with journalism. simply because Panditji detested Feroze. From Sonia Gandhi to Meena Kumari; According to Mehta, seeing the massive Sanjay Gandhi to Protima Bedi; crowd at Feroze’s cremation Panditji and from Arun Shourie to Shobha meanly remarked, De—Mehta casts a wide net, laced with “I didn’t know he had so many friends.” gossip and scandal. When Mehta rivetingly narrates his The book begins with Mehta’s childDebonair days, the memhood, as a staid Lucoir becomes a delectable know boy; and goes assortment of Bollywood on to chronicle his gossip. He recalls how destiny as the editor Kabir Bedi admired Deboof the controversial nair, and said that the magazine, Debonair. nude female was a form The salacious dose to celebrate. Yet, when of scandals begins Mehta was about to pubwhen Mehta reveals lish Protima Bedi’s nude that the renowned pictures, Kabir threatened Urdu poet, Firaq Mehta—and they had to Gorakhpuri, was pull out the centre-spread a self-confessed at an enormous cost. compulsive Since the book is a homosexual,The inememoir, it tends to be briated poet would self-congratulatory; and ask boys to come we only have Mehta’s and sit next to him. version of the stories. The book When he says that Dileep provides entrancing Padgaonkar singlebehind-the-scenes handedly opened the accounts of the Lucknow Boy: A Memoir door for the decline of famous mole in GENRE: Non-fiction/Memoir the editor as an instituIndira Gandhi’s Author: Vinod Mehta tion, or Shobha De will cabinet, the matchPUBLISHER: Penguin/Viking travel to Mars if a photo fixing scandal, opportunity existed there, and the Radia PRICE: Rs 499 the reader may reserve tapes. Shades of PAGES: 325 judgment. u earnestness are


Vijaya Kumar

captured on a movie camera, with digital mapping of each of the movements f the phrase “billions of on 2 D or 3 D animated bilious blue blistering images), that facilitates the barnacles” sounds like a filming of impossible semere alliteration, then it quences. A mere animation is likely that you haven’t (like what we see in other heard of Tintin and his comic/films) brought to the exploits. In that case, big screen would have demy sincere suggestion prived the audience of the would be to rush to your quasi-real experience. nearest book seller, and Tintin is no great start reading the comic Superhero like Batman, book series. Allow yourself Superman or Phantom. the luxury of soaking— He possesses no great in a world of fantasy, physical skills. In fact, adventure and farcical The Adventures Of Tintin: despite being an intelligent escapades. You will love The Secret Of The Unicorn personality, he portrays the experience. Directed by: Steven Spielberg a lost look—most of the And if Captain HadCAST: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, times. However, it is ironical dock’s swear words bring Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, that the lead artiste comes on the nostalgia of school Nick Frost across as bland; and the days, then it certainly will GENRE: Animation, Adventure, supporting character, be worth your while to Mystery Captain Haddock is the watch the latest directoone who steals the show. rial attempt by Steven The scene in which Captain Haddock refuels Spielberg. Herge, the Belgian (writing in the aircraft with his whisky-laden breath, is French), who created the character Tintin, top class, as is the chase sequence on the and other characters—like his faithful terrier streets of Morocco. The scenes featuring Snowy, the fumbling cop pair of Thomson the Thomson and Thompson pair, and the and Thompson, and the whisky-loving Cappickpocket, are remarkably shot. This is tain Haddock— would have certainly been perhaps the first Hollywood movie that has pleased with this effort. been released all over the world (except in It required a genius like Steven Spielberg the US, where it will be released a month to realise that, for the real impact of the later). The Americans may love it too; if they fantasy world to be felt, the technology of are told that the hero is Captain Haddock, film-making had to advance a remarkable extent. It is this technology of motion capture and the movie has been renamed: The Adventures of Captain Haddock! u (in which the performance of live actors is



25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

A Guarded Life  Contd from p 1 states of the world, have also contributed towards the inception and rise in this business. “Gurgaon is full of MNCs; and these companies—especially American—are very conscious about security. The terrorist attack in Mumbai, on 26 November 2008, heightened concerns. Malls in Gurgaon also draw lakhs of people daily; and to maintain a secure environment in the presence of so many people is indeed a tough task. People often say security is just an illusion; but it takes thousands of security guards to create this so-called illusion,” added Vishal. Commercial is not the only sector most concerned about security; the residential sector too has these private security guards in large number. Gurgaon has more condominiums then any other city in the NCR; and that makes it further vulnerable to any mishap. “Gurgaon has around 60 apartment complexes; and almost each of them have hired around 50 guards from different agencies of the city. “This city hungers for security; and people have kept guards in plotted houses too, to secure their family and fortune. However, these guards still have not won the confidence of the masses, and the credibility of the state police,” said Major (retd) T.C. Rao, the founder of Skylark security agency, that is providing its services in 20 states of the country.

From where do they come?

“Most of the guards come form UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. Some have started coming from the prosperous states like Punjab as well. This sector provides great employment opportunities to the unskilled labour of the country. We provide them training, and then they guard the city,” said Imtiaz Khan, the CEO of Vigil 24X7, a private security agency. Asked about the people from Haryana in this profession, Khan said, “In security business, the people of Haryana are considered to be the best— because of the physical leverage they have over others. However, the locals don’t want to work as security guards as the pay is just Rupees 7-8 thousand per month. They instead work as Private Security Officers (PSOs), or bouncers in clubs and bars.”

Are they capable?

Wherever we go in the city, we get to see a middle-aged man (most of the times), in a uni-

form, and with a small wooden stick (sometimes empty-handed) at the gate of a building. Is it enough to give one a sense of security? Well, if not fully, then to some extent indeed. “Yes, these guards definitely provide a sense of security. They monitor the entry of the people in the apartments, and this certainly gives a sense of security and satisfaction—that somebody is there at the gates, to guard our well being,” said Narender Malik, a resident of the Power Grid apartments in Sector-46. “People living in plotted houses also have kept these guards for security, but the level of trust they have in these guards is not that high. “Over all security is not that bad here, as we see guards at all major points; but sometimes even one incident of theft and snatching is enough to make us feel insecure. Many times, we have found that the guard himself is involved in the incident of theft or burglary,” said Jagdish Kaul, a resident of DLF Phase-1. Apart from apartments, these guards give their services to malls and other commercial and industrial establishments. “These guards are the backbone of the security of commercial establishments. Gurgaon has a huge number of malls and MNCs, and these guards provide them a safe environment to work. On an average, a footfall of 30 to 35 thousand people daily takes place in a mall (especially on weekends); and to control and monitor such a huge population is a daunting task These guard ensure the safety of the mall, along with the safety of the visitors. Indeed Gurgaon banks upon them for a safer environment,” said a security incharge of a famous mall on MG Road. The capability of a guard in curbing any type of unfortunate incident has often been questioned; and this is one of the reasons why the masses are quite apprehensive about having a security guard. “Most of the guards are above forty or around fifty (years of age). If something happens, I don’t think they will be able to do anything. Security requires young men with good physique, to take on burglars,” said Sadhna Singla, a middle aged woman. This trust deficit not only signifies their apparent incapability to perform or deliver the desired security; but also their unwillingness to do their duty properly. “A few days back an inverter was stolen from my neighbour’s house. Our locality has enough guards; but still incidents of theft and snatching happen often,” said Rajesh Jain,

List of agencies operating in Haryana (Licence holding) ♦ QRT 24 X 7Security Pvt. Ltd. ♦ Golden Ray Services ♦ CIS Bureaus Facility ♦ CISS & Security Services ♦ Reliable Guards & Allied ♦ S.D.S. Security Pvt. Ltd. ♦ Virat Security & Manpower Supply Agency ♦ Paramvir Security Services Pvt. Ltd. ♦ Jugal Security Services. ♦ ARC Security Solutions Pvt. Ltd. ♦ Frankfinn Aviation Services Pvt. Ltd. ♦ Longia Security Cover ♦ Rest Assured Services, ♦ Sentinels Security ♦ S.S. Security

♦ Jupiter Administrative Security Services Pvt. Ltd. ♦ Proman Security tech. Pvt. Ltd., ♦ Shree Balaji Security Services ♦ New Generation Security ♦ Secure Services Pvt. Ltd. ♦ Zoi Multi Speciality Security Services. ♦ Skylark Securitas Pvt. Ltd. ♦ Eagle Eye Security ♦ Gaze Infinite Security of India Pvt.Ltd. ♦ G.I Group Network Security ♦ Lion Manpower Solutions Pvt. Ltd. ♦ Sh. Ravi Kapur Absolutes Security Services ♦ Sh. Sanjeev Paul Scientific Security Management Services

Unorganised sector

“This sector is highly unorganised, and there are hardly any rules for recruiting a security guard. In the police, there are certain rules to recruit a constable— such as education, physical fitness—and of course age. The private agencies recruit anyone—be it a sixty year old man, or an 18 year old illiterate boy. That is the main reason why they have not been able to win the trust of the people. Every human being needs proper education, skill and training—for providing any service to the masses,” said Major (retd) T.C. Rao, the founder of Skylark security agency. “Many security agencies in the city, or elsewhere in the country, don’t care if they recruit any untrained or illiterate men. They don’t even verify them. This is a lucrative business, with no rules and direction—a potential security issue!,” added Rao.

Private Security Agencies Regulation Act 2005: a great respite

“Private Security Agencies Regulation Act (PSARA) was passed by the Parliament of India in 2005. I made its syllabus, after the Home Secretary asked me to do so. According to this Act, every agency dealing in the business of providing private security guards needs to have a licence. They need to give the men training for 15 days, before sending them on duty. The training not only includes the basics of being a guard, but also training guards in the field of technology—such as managing the CCTV camera, and other electrical gadgets. A guard should have an education till matriculation, and posses good physical and mental condition. A full verification of the guard should also be carried out by the agency, with the help of the police, before recruiting him for the job,” says Rao. Acts and regulation often remain in the confines of drawers in this country; and this Act is no different. “Only 10 per cent of the agencies follow the code of conduct of this Act; because nobody President of the Oriental Villas Resident Welfare Association in Sushant Lok Phase-3. B.S. Parmar, the security manager of Ansal’s housings, did not buy this theory. “We have a total of 160 guards hired from different agencies. We always keep them on alert; and I think they are doing their job well. Yes, instances have happened—but that doesn’t mean that the company is not serious for the security of the residents,” said Parmar.


Gurgaon is no more a small town adjacent to Delhi. Now the city has a population of around 20 lakh people; and such a huge population needs a much larger police force (than now), to ensure a secure environment. But the city has only a few thousand policemen (3000 approx.); which means that there is one policeman for over 500 people. Delhi has a strength of 83,000 approx. policemen and its population is, according to the 2011 Census, 1,90,00000. (1 policeman for 228 people on an average) This would have led to serious repercussions, were it not

THE WEEK THAT WAS ♦ HUDA, personally led by the Administrator Dr. Praveen Kumar, undertook demolition of unauthorised structures in Sikanderpur;other locations too on list. MCG followed up with demolition in Nathupur. ♦ DHBVN suspended 11 officials, including senior officers, on finding a nexus between them and contractors. ♦ Youth Against Corruption (YAC) movement, Bharat Sankalp Yatra, held concluding rally at Gurgaon. ♦ 2 cars were stolen at gunpoint, from a hotel parking lot in Sector 29; A parking attendant was taken hostage, but he managed to escape. ♦ Hayatpur sarpanch murder case solved. Accused held; sizeable weapons and ammunition seized. ♦ Hero Honda Chowk was flooded again;

C ivic/Social The Inside Story wants to waste time in providing training etc. They straight away put them on the job—making them less effective in preventing thefts, and other unfortunate incidents,” added Rao. Gurgaon has a total of 76 agencies; but only 28 have the licence to provide guards. According to the new rule, any agency who has applied for the licence can start operations; but if it doesn’t get the licence (within 3 months), it will have to stop its services.

Bouncers and PSOs

Apart from 30 plus thousand security guards, the city has over 2000 bouncers and Private Security Officers (PSOs). “Apart from guards, we also provide PSOs and bouncers. They certainly cost more money. We pay around Rs. 17 to 18 thousand to each. The bouncers help maintain a secure environment in the bars and pubs of the city,” informed Vishal. Both PSOs and bouncers certain carry more responsibility on their shoulders, as compared to a normal security guard; but most of them enjoy their job. “Here, we are responsible for the peaceful environment in the bar. People often say that the job of a bouncer is not good; but we also play an important role in safeguarding people’s lives,” said Kush Kumar, a bouncer at one of the citiy’s famous bars.

How technology helps

“We have security guards who are expert in handling the modern technologies used in big residential and commercial buildings—like CCTV, ACS etc. Technologies certainly helps maintain a secure environment; and despite all the arrangements, if something unfortunate happens, it is of great help in nabbing the culprits. Other technical equipment we provide to our guards are metal detectors, and undervehicle search mirrors,” informed Vishal.

for the private security guards. “Of course, they have helped in maintaining the security of the people,” added Bharti Arora.

The plight of the guards

and their belongings—but we too are humans, and can’t guard them beyond a point. We always try our best; but if someone has a weapon, we try to keep a distance and not aggravate the matter. After all we too have families behind us,” said a guard in DLF Phase-1 market, on the condition of anonymity. “Numbers are of no use. If something happens we can’t stop it by having one small wooden stick in hand. We are nothing more than a show piece, to give an illusion of security to the people,” said Sanjay Kumar, a guard working in one of the malls on MG Road.

“Six months ago I came here in search of a job. I am just a matriculate, and can barely read an English newspaper. I got this job of a security guard; but I just get Rs. 6,500. This is nothing, if we factor in the inflation, and the cost of living in a city like Gurgaon. Sometimes I think of going back to my home in Bihar,” said Sujeet Kumar, who works as a guard in a commercial building on Sohna Road. Sujeet Kumar is not wrong, when he feels ‘underpaid’. According to the Private Security Agencies Regulation Act (PSARA), a guard should get at least get Rs. 8,000 as salary— a rule that is seldom followed by any of the agencies. “Many small agencies don’t pay the guards well. A guard should get at least Rs. 8,000 for standing 12 hours daily on the job—but most of the guards merely receive Rs. 6 to 7 thousand only,” informed Rao. “Our salary is low, and the agency owners don’t treat us well. People expect us to guard them

“ The Security business is on a high; and cities like Gurgaon further take it to a new destination, because security is a basic Maslow necessity. In India, over 50 lakh people have made it their source of earning; and this number is bound to rise to over 1 crore people, in the coming three-four years. In Gurgaon, the security business is worth Rs. 300 plus crore annually; and it is rising at a rapid pace,” sai Swara. u

this time due to a pipeline burst. HUDA and a local college lay blame on each other. ♦ Haryana Public Health Minister Kiran Choudhary announced the approval of 3 Projects, amounting to about Rs. 110 crores, for improvement of water supply and sewerage facilities in Gurgaon District - specifically for Farrukh Nagar and Pataudi; this was approved by the NCR Planning Board. ♦ Haryana Education Minister Geeta Bhukkal inaugurated the 40th Annual Conference of Council of Boards School Education (COBSE); the aim of the current Continuous and Comprehensive Education (CCE) system is the all-round development of children. ♦ An anti-Sirhol Toll Plaza movement, by local people, is taking shape - to ask for closure of the Toll Plaza. ♦ A total of 10 exclusive mega parking centres have been identified across Gurgaon. Work on 3 will progress shortly; they will be built on a minimum of 1 acre of land - and will be able to handle car parking from hundreds to thousands.

♦ Socio-economic Census 2011 is under way. ♦ A Rock Show was held at HUDA Gymkhana Club. An American band, Solar Punch performed - accompanied by Parikrama; the show was to promote conservation of energy; all the instruments of the band run on solar energy. ♦ The Third Festival of the Arts and Culture was held at HUDA Open Air Theatre, Sector 29, over 4 days. It was organized under the auspices of the Haryana Govt., Sangeet Natak Akademi, ICCR, and Ram Niwas Mirdha Foundation. Haryanvi folk artists, dancers and singers; as well as those from Rajasthan, enthralled the citizens, especially the youth; A memorable performance was of Satyawan-Savitri, a historical (saang) play. The festival marks the 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. ♦ Industrial units in Udyog Vihars, and in Sectors 18 to 20, may not have to pay EDC. ♦ Fog has started early this year.

A lucrative business

09 The Medical Bridge 25 Nov–1 Dec 2011



{ Hritvick Sen / FG }


urgaon has some of the best hospitals in the country. The city is host to a booming medical tourism industry. Thousands of foreign nationals come from all parts of the world to avail Gurgaon’s affordable; (in dollars), yet quality healthcare. But what about medicare for the city’s public? Where do they go for treatment of their ailments? For Gurgaonites, there are affordable public hospital services at one end, and a medical megapolis like Medanta at the other. Bridging the gap are Clinics and Nursing Homes. They offer better hygiene and care-giving than public hospitals; and are not as expensive as the bigger, multi-specialty hospitals. At the moment, “there are over 200 clinics in the city,” says a medical official. In a clinic, there is a doctor (or a panel of doctors specialising in different streams). Some may just be consultation-specific; and others have beds for admitting patients. As one doctor puts it, “Everyone can’t go to a hospital. The queues are long; and/or the fees are high. Clinics offer some form of ‘screening’, for patients. If the ailment can be cured on the spot or easily, there is no need to go to a hospital.”

A hospital is capable of all kinds of medical intervention. A clinic is more suited for specific procedures. In a way, it is ‘different facilities for different needs’.

Rajat Goel CEO and co-founder of Eye Q Super-Specialty Hospital

It’s been a year since I opened my clinic in South City-II. My reason for opening a clinic? Personal touch. People want to connect to their physician.

he suffers an attack in the midst of a procedure, I don’t have an emergency care unit to give him survival care. In those situations, multi-speciality hospitals are better-equipped.” Dr. Chesta Yadav, who has opened a dental clinic ‘Care For Smile’ five months ago, on Jharsa Road, says, “If I were to name a positive trait of clinics, I’ll have to say affordable medical services. A big hospital would charge twice or thrice the amount, for the same procedure.” And some patients recognise this fact. Anil Bhatnagar, a mall manager, says, “I was persuaded by my relatives to go to a large hospital, for a mild tummy-ache

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go anywhere except my neighbourhood doctor.”

Joining Hands..

Nowadays, it is a practice of doctors to become ‘consultants’ for big established hospitals. As a doctor says, “You can either become a ‘referrer’, or a parttime consultant. You can refer a patient to a big hospital; or, you can treat a patient at the hospital itself—in either case, you’ll be compensated. You can also give a specific amount of time to the hospital, and even get a ‘fixed’ remuneration for that.” Dr. Arora says, “I had joined a hospital earlier; but I left it almost immediately. I was asked

Dr Sumit Arora Maxillofacial Surgeon

Paediatrician Dr. Suresh Keshan opines, “Clinics have the advantage of helping form a bond with the patient. When they take treatment from a hospital, people complain of getting brusque and impatient answers; undergo too many tests for a single ailment, and pay a tidy sum. When they are not explained what is the ailment, and why the tests are required, there is also some loss of faith in the care-giver.” Continuing, Dr. Keshan says, “We, on the other hand, have to create trust in the patient. Otherwise, why will he come back? And that is even more true in our speciality. Children are very finicky, and have to be handled carefully.” Maxillofacial Surgeon Dr. Sumit Arora says, “It’s been a year since I opened my clinic in South City-II. My reason for opening a clinic? Personal touch. People want to connect to their physician. Yes, there were times, at the start, when I was idle for weeks.” Now, he has assistants to manage his schedule. Dr. Arora says, “Our hard work, and the trust of our patients, paid off when our clinic (Stoma Dentals) received the Arch of Excellence for being the Best Dental Clinic in the city, for this year.” “I can say that some big hospitals are fleecing the patients in the name of treatment. They are cashing in on the fear of the patients. Why else would they charge so much for paltry operations?” In that case, are clinics better than hospitals? “Both are needed. We can be good in certain parameters, we can be the best in others—but we cannot cover all. The advantage of clinics over hospitals is that people know the doctor they’re going to. There’s the vital element of trust. We carry out ‘planned procedures’ . Aside from that, I know that there are some things for which I have to refer my patients to a hospital. For example, if my patient comes for a tooth extraction, and I see that he has had a dialysis or a heart attack three months earlier, it would be foolish of me to treat him. If

Clinics have the advantage of helping form a bond with the patient. When they take treatment from a hospital, people complain of getting brusque and impatient answers; undergo too many tests for a single ailment, and pay a tidy sum. When they are not explained what is the ailment, and why the tests are required, there is also some loss of faith in the care-giver.

Dr. Suresh Keshan Paediatrician

that had been bothering me for a few days. I took their advice. Even before entering the premises, I was charged Rs. 50 for the parking. Imagine, that is more than what our mall charges for weekend shoppers. Then, as soon as I told my problems to the doctor, he quietly handed out a list of tests to be carried out. I mean, would someone tell me what’s going on? Then, when the test results came, I was told that I also had a skin ailment; and was subjected to another battery of tests. The whole episode cost me Rs. 20,000. I swear I’ll never

Clinics, Hospitals and Post-Graduate Institutes (PGIs) form primary, secondary and tertiary levels of healthcare. If every person were to go to Hospitals and PGIs for coughs and colds, it would be anarchy.

Dr N.K. Jain Haryana’s ex-Director of Health Services

It’s been a year since I opened my clinic in South City-II. My reason for opening a clinic? Personal touch. People want to connect to their physician.

Dr Chesta Yadav Dentist

to perform an operation outside my specified hours, cutting into the clinic time with my patients. I kept getting calls from them, that I had to ignore. That was when I decided to concentrate on one thing; and that was my own practice.”

Loss Of Faith

Haryana’s ex-director of Health Services Dr. N.K. Jain puts it in perspective. He says, “Clinics, Hospitals and PostGraduate Institutes (PGIs) form primary, secondary and tertiary levels of healthcare. If every person were to go to Hospitals and PGIs for coughs and colds, it would be anarchy. Clinics play an important role; they ‘screen’

serious cases from the run-ofthe-mill cold, cough and fever.” Why has the ‘family doctor’ of the earlier decade vanished? The veteran paediatrician answers, “It is the public’s loss of faith in the healer. Earlier, for any ailment, the whole family used to go to one doctor. He represented the medical profession, and everything good in it. When I was posted in Bihar, I have performed procedures outside my expertise. I’ve delivered babies, attended to gynae problems, and treated various diseases. There was no one else to do it. And when the patient’s family trusts you, you feel a huge responsibility. Even now, I get calls from Patna and other places, asking my advice on medical problems. That was the value of a doctor.” “Now,” he says, “There are ‘specialists’, and there is more choice. The public is also more educated, more aware. They want second opinions. The credibility of the doctor is, in a way, being undermined. Would you really blame the doctor is he asks for more tests, when superficial examination is inconclusive? It is better to be safe than sorry. Being wrong would cost the doctor and the Institution heavily.”

The Big Boys Say...

A spokesperson for a multispeciality hospital says, “Clinics complement us. We can handle everything; but would someone stand in line for just a cough and cold ailment? Obviously, he’ll call his local doctor and ask for advice.” CEO and co-founder of Eye Q Super-Specialty Hospital, Rajat Goel, says, “A hospital is capable of all kinds of medical intervention. A clinic is more suited for specific procedures. In a way, it is ‘different facilities for different needs’.” u


25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

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{Sector 7}

Well Located; Good, Getting Better Abhishek Behl

{ Maninder Dabas / FG } What’s good ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Two good schools Sewage system One good Government dispensary Market

What’s not so good

♦ Broken inner colony roads ♦ Need for private garbage collection Sector-7 is one of the most lively sectors; and is considered to be one of the better places to live, in old Gurgaon. Being centrally located, it is in close proximity to Sadar Bazar, and the Bus Stand. “This Sector is good to live in. It is in the heart of the city; and almost everything around, except the roads, is in good shape,” said Chander Arya, a resident of Sector-7, and Vice President of the Federation of Resident Welfare Associations (FORWA). This Sector is situated on the main Railway Road; making it indispensable as far as public transport is concerned (autos are always available). It also has a good market developed by HUDA; and the opening of the Spencers Mall has added footfalls. But Sector-7 has its share of problems. It has a large cluster of inner roads that need to be rebuilt. HUDA has started working, and stones for the reconstruction of the roads have been placed in

HEART OF THE CITY: A local market in Sector-7

various parts of the Sector. “Bad inner roads are the main problem of the Sector. You can see that not a single road is in good shape. Now they have started work; let’s see how long they take. Besides this problem, the Sector is more or less OK,” said K.C. Sharma, a resident of the Sector. Most of the residents of old Gurgaon are frustrated with the pathetic state of the sewage system; but in this Sector, people don’t have many complaints in this regard. “The sewage system is

not that bad. It works,” said Surender Singh, another resident. However, garbage collection is another issue, the Sector is battling with. Contractors hired by HUDA, for maintaining hygiene and removal of garbage, do not come daily. “As garbage is collected only once a week by HUDA personnel, we have hired private garbage collectors, who charge Rs. 50 per month from each house,” rued Arya. The Sector also has a good number of parks, but unfortunately they are not managed

Living & Loving Gurgaon JIT KUMAR

{ Irene Gupta / FG }


he dewy fresh breeze caressing your skin; the expanse of the lush green fields; the chirping of the birds; the warmth of the tea—sitting in the balcony—as the city slowly awakes…this romantic scenario played quite a role in Nita and Samarjit Das moving to Gurgaon. “We moved to Delhi from Ahmedabad in 2000. For three years we lived in Vasant Kunj. But then we decided we had enough of cramped spaces. We always wanted some place with a lot of green. We wanted to enjoy our morning tea sitting in our balcony, surrounded by greenery, close to nature. We wanted it calm and quiet,” says Nita. And so the hunt began. There were the options of Dwarka or Noida. But eventually, Gurgaon emerged the winner— thanks to the city’s wide open spaces. “Dwarka was a concrete jungle; there was no greenery, and the societies were not half as good. The apartments here have much better space planning,” contends Samarjit, who works for a commercial refrigeration company. As for Noida, the UP city did not come up to their expectations. “Though I took up a job in Noida, I continued living in Gurgaon. I was happy to cross Delhi to go to Noida everyday; but the thought of moving there was out of question. Though I must say that lately Noida has improved a lot,” he adds. The Das’ moved to Gurgaon in the beginning of 2003, and are presently staying in Park View City 1, on the Sohna Road. Going back to their first year in Gurgaon, Nita recalls, “We were then living in Uppal’s South End, behind Omaxe Mall on Sohna Road. Can you imagine, we were just three families in that whole complex; and we were the only occupants in the front row? And beyond our com-

COSMO GURGAONITES: Samarjit and Nita Das in their Park View apartment

plex it was just open fields,” recalls Nita. “All these structures hadn’t come up. There were green fields all around,” she adds, gesturing towards the high-rises across the road. Asked if they were scared, she agrees “it was a little daunting.” But she is quick to add that it did not deter them from staying on. “I would not have returned to Delhi. The security system was so good here; we were not really that scared.” Security is a high priority for the Das’. Says Samarjit: “I am out a lot on tours. For me it’s important that when my wife is alone, she feels secure. They have a high level of security here. So I really don’t worry much.” For his wife, however, facilities like 24 hours power back-up and non-stop water supply also score high. “I am a stickler for cleanliness. I need a lot of water; I like my space washed and clean. Delhi mein paani bhar bhar ke rakhna padhta tha. For some reason or the oth-

er, there was always a water crisis.” She grimaces at the memory of buckets and drums of water stacked in the bathrooms. The cleanliness factor, however, does not remain confined to the four walls of her apartment. With fewer slums and bastis, Nita says, “Even today, Gurgaon is far cleaner than Delhi; maybe dusty because of all the construction, but still cleaner.” Even though the Das’ cannot imagine moving to any other city, Nita, a teacher with Ryan Public School, does not give full marks to Gurgaon. For her, one of the main drawbacks is parking. “Parking is a big issue here. There are malls, but parking is a chore. Cars are lined up in queues. It is very irritating.” She also points out that residents are being charged exorbitant rates for an extra parking in the residential complexes. “We get one parking in the basement. For our second car parking we have to pay Rs. 1.5 lakhs!” She agrees that the number of

properly. “The parks are quite small as compared to parks in other Sectors. They are not maintained by the authorities on a daily basis,” said Ashutosh Verma, who owns a house in front of a small park. Security is always a concern. “There are not many incidents of theft, snatching etc.; but people still feel a bit insecure, especially after sunset. The Police watch needs to increase inside the Sector,” said Kavita Mishra, a middle-aged resident of the Sector. u cars have also increased phenomenally in the last few years, as has the traffic. “The traffic has increased manyfold. But then, with the opening of the Golf Course (Extension) Road, traffic is now better,” she added. Samarjit says that vis-a-vis Delhi, it is still easier driving on Gurgaon roads— especially since distances are much shorter, from one corner of the city to the other. However, it not just the issue of increasing private transport and the ever decreasing space for parking that worries him; it is the lack of good public transport. “When we came to Gurgaon, there was hardly any public transport. If you didn’t have a car, you were not able to move about. Even now, there are just the tuk-tuks, and some buses are also plying. With the Rapid Metro coming up, and taxi/auto services, hopefully things will get better; otherwise the city cannot function.” There is yet another downside they feel that needs to be seriously addressed. Says Samarjit, “For a Millennium City, Gurgaon has a very bad drainage system. And during the rainy season it gets really aggravated. Roads too are in a pretty bad shape. Sohna Road is supposed to be a major thoroughfare. Do you see the condition? At the rate the population is increasing, I doubt if the infrastructure will take the load.” If the situation is as bad as he says, why not move back to Delhi? As though anticipating my question, his response is immediate: “No way! For the same amount of money, the quality of life here is much better. Besides, Gurgaon also has a lot of potential. With corporate firms shifting here, the crowd is very cosmo; and they brought in a good, cosmo culture.” “We really love it here,” chips in Nita, supporting her husband. The Das’ are going to move though. No, not out of Gurgaon. They have recently booked an apartment in Crescent Park, Sector 92, and they hope to move there as soon as it is ready. One more in the family—Cosmo Gurgaon coming up! u


25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

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Know Your Councillor

Feeling Responsible

Ward No. 15:

Acharya Puri, Adarsh Nagar, Anamika Enclave, Gopal Nagar, HUDA Market Sector 12A, Lajpat Nagar, Mahavir Pura, Mianwali Colony, Old DLF, Prem Nagar 2, Rajiv Nagar West, Sanjay Colony, Sector 12A

{ Hritvick Sen / FG }

Deepak Indora


s he supervises work in his sweets shop on New Railway Road, Deepak Indora says, “I’ve spent nearly 35 years in this neighbourhood. The local people have wholeheartedly supported me, and elected me. “Now,” he says, “I need to deliver.”He adds, “Almost all sections of my Ward are in dire need of municipal aid— whether it is Mianwali Colony, Rajeev Colony or Adarsh Nagar. People come to me throughout the day with their complaints, that I forward to the Junior Engineer (JE) and the Executive Engineer (XN)—but

it’s such a slow process.” Gesturing towards the drooping power lines on New Railway Road, Indora remarks, “One can almost touch the power lines in some sections of the colonies. I have forwarded repeated requests for their proper maintenance; but nothing has been done. I had submitted an application for 100 street-lights over three months ago; but the

officials say it is in the pipeline. When will my people get to see some development?” Two men come up on a bike, as he speaks. One of them asks for his assistance in getting a power line for his house; and he notes down the details. Indora

Settling Well In Her Role Seema Pahuja


{ Abhishek Behl / FG }


eing accessible to people— whether they are her supporters or opponents— is the reason for the popularity of Seema Pahuja, Councillor of Ward no. 11. “Anyone can come to my house at any time to meet me, and discuss their problems”, says Pahuja, whose husband often has to accompany her during the late night meetings with people. Pahuja says her family has been quite supportive of her public innings, and this is perhaps one of the reasons that she has been able to get some development work done in her Ward. She is one of the rare Councillors who appreciates the work being done by the Municipal Council Gurgaon (MCG), and the support given by MCG officials is also not forgotten. “We are getting help from the officials, and sometimes even the Municipal Commissioner goes out of his way to help us”, says Pahuja, whose Ward has all the problems ailing other parts of Gurgaon, particularly the old city. The roads in her Ward are in a shabby condition, streetlights are mainly absent, and the drainage and sewage systems are age old. “Water supply is inadequate, and the quality of water is very poor. This problem needs to be handled on priority”, says Pahuja She recalls that improving water supply was one of the promises made to the electorate. Although she had promised to urgently resolve the problems faced by the people, she says that this will

enquires about the cleanliness in the other person’s locality. The man says that the contractor has assured that workers will come daily, to take away the garbage. “Cleanliness is a big issue in our Ward. In Sector-12A, the garbage collectors dump the trash in an empty plot— creating health hazards and attracting pigs. The situation is the same near the Bus Stand. The people living near that area have also complained to me about monkeys being a nuisance. For all of them, I am now accountable.”

What is he planning for his Ward in the next six months? “For now, roads, sewerage, drains and community centres. I have submitted an application for renovation and reconstruction of the whole stretch—from Mianwali Colony to the Sector-12 road. It is worth Rs. 19 lakh, but will bring much relief to the people of that area.” “My Ward is in the heart of Gurgaon, and the least developed. There is a lot of work that needs to be done on priority,” he says. u

Haryanvi Made Easy Get a taste of the local lingo Ward No. 11: take some time. Being close to the ruling party, Pahuja partly excuses the MCG, and says that it will take some time for it to become fully functional and deliver the goods. “It is just four months, and people expect miracles. It takes time to make estimates for works, submit the tenders, and get these passed”, says Pahuja. Mentioning the work done in the last four months, Pahuja says that streetlights have been fixed in some areas of her Ward. The water pipeline in Krishna Colony is being relaid, and the streets are also being built using inter-locking tiles, she informs. “The main nullah in the areas has been covered by the MCG”, she says. She adds with pride that the municipal officials have reduced the rate of a community centre usage from Rs. 11,000 to Rs. 1,100 only. Pahuja wants a large number of dairies in her Ward to be relocated outside the city. Both the local residents and dairy owners are facing problems, and this often leads to quarrels. “The municipality had allotted land to these dairy own-

Jyoti Park, Krishna Colony, Sector 7, Sector 7 Extn, Sector 7 Housing Board, Shivpuri

ers, but the same was not handed over to them, despite 10 per cent of the payment being made”, alleges the Councillor. She wants the MCG to take immediate action in this regard.The presence of dairies in residential areas can also lead to health problems, she warns. She avers that the responsibility lies on the MCG and government authorities—should anything untoward happen. The MCG officials often challan the dairy owners. Aware that this is not a permanent solution, she says, “I want these people to get their land and move out, so that they do not lose business and friends”, she adds. Her main grouse is the fact that House Meetings do not discuss the issues concerning the problems of the people; whereas matters pertaining to money are given a priority. “I want the House to discuss the problems of the people— particularly in Old Gurgaon— where the situation is not good”, says Pahuja. u

1. I need a telephone connection Manne phone lagwana hai 2. How many days will it take to get connected? Kitne din laagenge phone

chalu hon mein? Chalu - Cha+loo 3. What documents do I need for it?

Iss tahin kun se kagaj chahiye?

4. Do I need to take my passport? Passport lena hain? 5. Where is the telephone exchange? Phone ka daftar kit sik hai 6. Where do I buy the instrument from? Phone kit mile gaa

25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

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Captain Literacy { Irene Gupta / FG }


er father probably had never known what an engineer is. But Mansa Saroj, born to a poor uneducated vegetable vendor in Palam Vihar, is in her 2nd Semester of B. Tech, at Allahabad University. The very talented Monuhas shared screen space with veteran actor Pankaj Kapoor, in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Blue Umbrella. A former drug addict, he passed his 10th, and today works in a recycled paper making unit—while waiting for other roles to come by. A class 3 drop out, 14-year-old Gaurav is an orphan. He took to the streets to escape his elder brother’s thrashings. Soon, he was into substance abuse‑ drinking ink-removing-whitener, smoking ganja and tobacco; eventually ending up in police custody on char…ges of stealing and snatching. After being admitted to a drug rehab centre, Gaurav is now on the threshold of a new life. He will soon start training to be a driver.

Married at 17, Rekha, like many Indian girls, was a victim of domestic violence. After returning to her parents’ house with her new born son, she went back to studies—and successfully completed school level courses. Today, she is studying for a Computer Application Course. Born to migrant Bihari labourers, life for young Rodhi was tough—what with his mother perpetually ill and father an alcoholic. But Rodhi passed 10th grade, and is now in completing his 12th, through the National Institute of Open School, (NIOS). The credit for the transformation in the lives of these five people, goes to Literacy India. This Palam Vihar based nonprofit organisation was started in 1996, by Captain Indraani Singh with the objective of “empowering underprivileged children, belonging to lower income group communities, with a broad based educational framework”. Singh knew one day that she had come to a point in her life “where one wants to do some-

Nine Commandents


he organisation has nine projects—which form the basis of holistic development that Literacy India envisages. “We use the ladder of learning strategy, to impart a holistic development to our beneficiaries,” says Yadav. The first step of this ladder is the Jagrukta (Awakening) project, wherein street theatre or films on important social issues—such as environment, health, hygiene and the importance of girl child education—are presented, to bring about awareness. “Since theatre is a stimulating medium, we have found that it is very effective to communicate social awareness issues to the rural populace,” adds Yadav. The second step is Pathshala. This project is about remedial classes for school-going children, and also children who do not attend regular school—like street children, or those who work as domestic help. It is a stepping-stone to the mainstream learning process; a child can spend just 2-3 hours a day to learn the basics. Even adult literacy classes are held here. Shiksharth is a unique talent program that helps slum children bring out their creative talent, in various art forms; motivating them to continue their academic education. This experiment has met with great success, and is one of the key elements of the holistic learning model. “Children under this programme have acted in films like Omkara, Blue Umbrella, and lately 3-Idiots. Many of our children have also performed for President Kalam,” says Yadav. A non-formal school, Vidyapeeth, is the core programme wherein “classes up to high school are run like any other school”. Children appear for their Board Exams through the National Institute of Open School. Interestingly, children of


Hub of activity: Literacy India Building, Village Bajghera

thing to make a difference in this world”. So she simply started with tutoring classes, for five young children from lower income groups in her area. She employed a teacher, and took up a garage basement in the underconstruction Celebrity Homes close to her house. “They were my dhobi’s kids, and my sabziwallah’s daughter. My idea was very simple. Whatever worked for my son should work for other children as well. Whatever I felt was right, I did it.

I just used my common sense. I had no clue of what an NGO was, or what fund-raising was. Since my childhood I had wanted to do something like this. All I knew was that once I have enough money, I would do this,” says Singh, who is Indian Airline’s first woman to commander the wide bodied Airbus A300. However, 15 years down the line, Literacy India has grown into quite an impressive organisation. What started with 5 students, has grown to

Vidyapeeth have their own Science Blog too, updated with their latest science experiments. Meritorious students who show an inclination for continued education, and desire to receive mainstream English education, are sponsored through the Gurukul programme. “We sponsor their education at public schools. This programme also supports students who wish to pursue vocational courses—such as fashion designing, interior designing, and even an MBA,” says Kaushik Bandopadhyay, Project Manager. Karigari, as the name suggests, is a vocational training programme for school drop-outs, or those not interested in formal studies. The programme offers O – level Classes in DTP, Web Design, Networking, Accounting, Spoken English, Retail Management, Paper Bag Making and Housekeeping—under DOECC (Reg). Project Indha, an offshoot of Karigari, is specifically designed to provide an identity to the women living in the villages. Handcrafted items made by women have found a lot of buyers, says Satya Prakash, Project Manager, “We are getting orders for bags and other products. It is a slow process, but the women are learning, and enjoying it.” Another Literacy India initiative which is very popular amongst the local populace is Health Post. Started in 2006, as health facilities were virtually non-existent around the village, Bajghera now has a doctor for six half-days; besides a Doctors on Wheels, wherein doctors hold camps in neighbouring villages. Encouraged by the results with street children, Literacy India tied up with the National Basketball Association (NBA, USA) and started the E-to-E learning project. Basically an Education to Employment model, this helps raise awareness on the importance of education as a key to raising the standard of living.

Transforming Lives: Indraani Singh (centre) with Literacy India beneficiaries

17,000—and the organisation is not restricted to the borders of NCR. It has taken flight, and reached West Bengal, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh. In Bajghera alone, nearly 700 students come in, for classes and other activities. Housed in an 18,000 sq ft redbrick structure, built on a half acre land parcel in village Bajghera—a few kilometres from where Singh originally started her school at a construction site—Literacy India’s office is a hive of activity. Teenage girls eagerly wait to display their science models, while young children wearing earplugs keenly watch their computer screens. Besides regular classrooms and computer rooms, this thirty room building also includes a mini auditorium, space for performing arts, a library, a tailoring room, and a Science &

Multimedia lab. “The three Es – Education, Empowerment and Employment—are our goal. We endeavour to meet this objective through imparting basic education, and through exposing our students to a variety of vocational skills—in performing arts, computer animation, and all kinds of futuristic vocations. We have recently launched a digital literacy programme called the Gyantantra: Digital Dost – an interactive educational programme, using a self-paced multimedia learning process. This is going to grow very fast,” says Sohit Yadav, Project Manager, Pathshala, pointing to the children seated at the computer desk. The NGO is no longer limited to children either. Providing education to adults, especially women, to empower them and help them find gainful employment, has also become one of Singh’s goals. “Women in villages in this part of the world had not stepped out of their homes. The female foeticide rate was very high. Women were told they are no good. Seeing me own this establishment, and drive and park my SUV, gave the villagers the impression that a woman can do more. Women themselves came to believe that they could do it,” says Singh. Besides, her turning up in uniform, from time to time, too helped a great deal. “I would go to the school in uniform,” adds Singh. Impressed with Literacy India’s stellar work, donations, sponsorships and partnerships have been coming in at a steady pace, says Singh. “Lot of people are getting involved. Earlier, I had to run from pillar to post to get funds. But now, Chairmen and CEOs are equally sensitive, and readily come forward,” says Singh. However, COO P.C. Nair does not think it is a rosy picture. “We spend about Rs. 7000 per beneficiary every year. The amount of funds coming in is much less than the amount of work that we intend to do,” says Nair. Nair may not sound upbeat, but there is no curbing Indraani Singh’s enthusiasm, or the dreams of those she has inspired. A taste of which is the reply one got from the young girls at the Science Lab, when asked as to what they wanted to become: “Pilot!” they answered in one voice. If Singh shows the way, these may not be mere flights of fancy; but dreams coming true! u


25 Nov–1 Dec 2011


It’s The Message, Not The Messenger


n this era of Page 3, we all are obsessed with “who”. Everything comes down to a person(s). It is so much easier to write about, think about, and judge. And so we get people solutions; the problem never gets fixed. In an era of teams and teamwork, the focus is still on individuals. In politics, sport and entertainment – our 3 loves. We are satisfied if the right person/our person wins; forget that our issue remains unresolved. We have our man; and now we will get deliverance.


Topically, look at Anna. There is no focus on the Bill; or on how to move urgently to root out corruption. It is on Anna, his aides, his/their past, the Congress and BJP view on him/them… The Empire has struck back. Slam the mover(s); smash the movement. Shoot the messenger(s); forget the message. Even the media is being taken for a ride – maybe some have just hitched on to the right ride. And are taking the people along. Our attention span is short; and personality, not issue focused We have unwittingly contributed to a regrettable delay in the passing of a historic Bill. Globally, look at Julian Assange. There is no focus on all that he and his team have unravelled. Surprising for an investigative and independent media world, just a few leaks have been reported – no dam really burst. The Empires have struck back. The focus is on Julian, and his peccadilloes. Slam the mover(s); smash the movement. Plug the leaker; forget the leak. Also look at the Middle East. So easy to hang it on the despots – keep it person focused. And unleash another Taliban, to come back to haunt someone else. The Middle East meanwhile will remain in crisis.

Caught In Municipal Tape T

he third House Meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) touched new lows, delaying decisions and development work. The Monday meeting of the Councillors and the Team Mayor was scheduled to approve some development items, and discuss others. But a sudden walk-off by the Mayor and few others put a spanner in the works. According to a Councillor, several items on the agenda were approved without even tabling them. “We had just started to discuss the problems in getting the works and the projects started, when our Mayor got up and went out. Now, this House meeting was being held after a gap of nearly three months, and therefore was important. In this space of time, some Councillors had not even got one development work off the ground, and were waiting for this opportunity to air their woes,” the Councillor said. Another Councillor, who was also present at the meeting, said, “I’ve submitted numerous proposals for my Ward, which have not seen the light of day. This meeting was very important for me, and now, I’ll have to wait for the next meeting—which will happen months later.” He continued, “Why were some proposals like the parking slot in Dundahera, and renaming of the Bio-Diversity Park, approved without due discussion? Evidently, some decisions must have been taken without taking the House in consideration. This is not in the spirit of the Corporation, and should not happen.” Also, some Councillors who had been selected for the Municipal sub-committees

complained that there had been no progress. “There has been no meeting in our subcommittee, let alone getting some work done,” a Councillor said. “If the Mayors won’t listen to us, we’re no better than toothless tigers. When people ask us what work have we achieved, what shall we say?” Councillor Deepak Indora went a step further, and said, “There has been little or no work in my Ward. I have talked to some of my colleagues, and we’ve decided that we’ll hold a Councillors’ meeting in a few weeks. If I don’t get to see the work that I’ve asked for in my Ward, I’ll simply resign.” “This has gone too far,” Indora says, “People ask me daily what I have done for the Ward. The meetings are important for us Councillors, and they need to be attended. Issues should be tabled and resolved, and not delayed till the next (God knows when!) meeting.” A source said, “Some Councillors who had been elected because of their family’s influence, were thankful that the meeting ended so abruptly. Otherwise, they would have been asked to give a report of their Ward’s development progress. How would they speak on such a subject, when they don’t know the basic needs of their Wards?” The Councillors, elected about 6 months ago, have been frustrated at not being listened to. Their major grouse earlier was with HUDA, an ‘external’ agency. Now, even their ‘home agency’, the MCG, seems to be ignoring them. Or maybe they need to learn the rules...or the ropes...better. u

Conversely, we also believe that whatever Anna says, on any topic, should be the right way or answer. And that all who associate with him, have been hallowed. And if that isn’t so, we begin to question even Anna and his agenda. Isn’t it enough that he almost single-handedly brought corruption and concrete action back on the national agenda? So what should we do now? For starters, let us use the remote effectively. There is no better way to choose what we want to see – or hear. That will lead to change–in content and style–in maybe 3 months. TRPs do rule ! And for the main course, we need to just start reading more. Yes, some things do come easy. The dessert is unfortunately not sweet. We have to chew on the uncomfortable fact that it is finally we who are to blame. We seem to enjoy being taken for rides. It is almost like a circus thrill ride. Only that we are the jokers; and it is not so comic. If we do not act as responsible citizens, we will be impacted – as people, as a country, as the world sooner than later. It is not always happening somewhere else, and to someone else. Let us not wait for it to hit home. On a lighter note, we do the same for Sports and Entertainment. The focus currently is on whether Sachin will get his 100th first class century; and not on India winning. Our movie reviews are about the stars, and what they do in the movie – or in general. Poor Director. The movie, the craft has very little significance. Maybe there is one person that we should focus on. As always, the Mahatma lights the way: Before you do anything, stop and recall the face of the poorest most helpless destitute person you have seen and ask yourself, “Is what I am about to do going to help him?”

Civic Authorities M

CG, till recently, was the more transparent, and working, body. HUDA had been stalling, especially on civic infrastructure and maintenance work. The tables seem to have been turned. The new HUDA Administrator, Dr Praveen Kumar, is showing he means business. With a significant area of Gurgaon still under HUDA responsibility, inaction by this Authority, for years, has led to significant civic infrastructure and maintenance shortfalls/issues. The recent accessibility, and more important, direct action by the new Administrator is a most welcome change. And he has started with the most sensitive and difficult area - of tackling encroachment; and ensuring subsequent demolition. He has followed up with a meeting with RWAs. Well begun, Sir. Meanwhile, the MCG remains understaffed; and the transfer of sectors from HUDA is still pending. It is now facing operational issues. Surprisingly, private contractors have struck work, complaining of corruption within MCG –in fact targetting the Chief Engineer (CE) directly. The CE and the MCG Commissioner clearly have another version – that their transparency and rigorous monitoring and review have upset the contractors. And MCGs transparency (including e-tendering) is being challenged under the garb of complexity. It will be interesting to see who get the new tenders, starting soon. Separately, the Mayor and Councillors are also now beginning to show muscle within the Municipality; while also exposing their differences. Will it soon become a case of too many cooks (within the Municipality)? Gurgaon anyway has one cook too many - with no head cook. With a new Police Commissioner, we also await the changes, if any, in the Police systems and priorities,and action. Clearly traffic management is being given top priority. u

25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

Kid Corner


Lancers International Celebrates Culture


ancers International School celebrated a week-long performing arts festival. American Excelsior and Scottish High International also participated. Creative and brilliant performances were the order of the week. Students, along with their teachers, presented vocal and instrumental music, as well as dance recitals. Vocal Group performances saw a mix of Indian classical music and fusion music. Kimishka of Lancers International, was the only winner in the dance category. In the instrumental music category, Scottish High’s Vivan Arora won in the 5-6 yrs age group, while Advay Awasthi won in the 6-7 yrs group, and in the 8-10 yrs Rohan Jain of Lancer International triumphed.

Blue Bells Ring Out The Lions



Teejan Bai enthrals at DPS Sec 45

ions Public School organised a science model-making competition and a Hindi Skit competition. The model-making competition was titled ‘Swapnil Rang—The World of My Dream 2011’; and the skit, based on adjectives, was called ‘Rangeen Visheshan’. Blue Bells Model School won both the competitions. The School Principal of Blue Bells, Mrs. N. Bhatti and Mrs. Anjali Napal, Senior Wing-in-charge, congratulated the students and the teachers.

o promote Indian art and culture among kids, DPS Sec 45 hosted Teejan Bai’s Pandavani performance, under the aegis of SPIC MACAY (Gurgaon Chapter). Pandavani, literally meaning songs of Pandavas, is a traditional performing art form of Chhatisgarh. The Padma awardee, accompanied by some accomplished musicians, mesmerised the audience with her soulful rendition of the Mahabharata tales. The show commenced with the traditional lighting of the lamp by the artist. Students from other schools of the city, and many art enthusiasts, were also present to watch the performance.

Odissi Class at Salwan


enowned Odissi dancer Sharon Lowen held students of Salwan Public School spellbound, with her command over the idiom, and her highly captivating stage presence—combining grace and mobility. The performance was followed by an interactive session between the students and the artiste. The event was part of the heritage series of SPIC MACAY (Gurgaon Chapter). Kunda Mahurkar, President of SPIC MACAY (Gurgaon Chapter) said the aim of such programmes is to promote Indian classical music and culture among youth.

Cosmetic Touch at Ryans


ellow, blue or red— it was a gamut of colours, as parents gently used the brush on the faces of their children, at the “Paint the Face Competition” for parents, organised by Ryan Global Montessori School. Interesting characters—like a colourful butterfly, a fierce tiger, and scary spiderman— ruled the day. The intriguing and vibrant face paintings were followed by a workshop for parents, on the ‘Process of Learning’. It emphasised the importance of practice, in effective learning.

Pathways Baskets the Tournament


he White team of Pathways World School (PWS)—Aravalli, won the Third Inter-School Basketball Invitational Tournament, beating DPS Sec 45, with a 67-56 score. In the play-off for the third spot, GD Goenka World School beat PWS Blue Team 37-19. While DPS had entered the semifinals beating PWS Blue, PWS White trounced Vidya Sanskar School 66-15. Vardaan Jain of Pathways won the Player of the Tournament and the Best-3 Pointer title Kshitij from DPS was the highest scorer. The tournament was hosted by PWS.

Recitation Contest in Swiss Environs


ressed up in colourful costumes, pre-nursery children queued up to participate in an ‘Animal’ themed recitation competition, at the Swiss Cottage School. Uchhista Yadav got the coveted first prize in the competition.

25 Nov – 1 Dec 2011

K id Corner

Solutions Spot The Difference 1. One less flower. 2. Drainpipe on side of house. 3. Another bubble. 4. Sponge bigger. 5. Striped blouse. 6. Wheelbarrow altered. 7. Window curtain vanishes. 8. Dog gains tooth. 9. Tree loses branch. 10. Butterfly vanishes.


Sudoku Kids

Kids Brainticklers

Spot The Difference


25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

Kid Corner


Artistic Strokes

MOSAICA AMERICAN SCHOOL, SEC 51 Mosaica American School is certified by the world’s largest independent accreditation commission—AdvancED. The curriculum of the school is based on the acclaimed Paragon® concept, which combines the Type of School: Day School Admission open for Pre-K to Grade 5 in the months of January and August, 2012 Extra-curricular activities: Music, dance, snooker, basketball, skating, yoga etc. Recognition: Accredited by AdvancED rigour of classical education with the relevance required by contemporary society. Part of the renowned Mosaica Foundation of the U.S., Mosaica American School helps students develop strong fundamental language, mathematics, science skills in a small classroom environment that does not exceed 20 students. Also, instructors are Americans trained to provide safe and positive learning environment to the students. Mosaica Education has served more than 45,000 students in the last 14 years. It currently operates over 90 elementary, middle and high school programs, in the US, Middle East, Europe and India. For more information, log on to Address: Block C, Mayfeild Gardens, Sec 51, Gurgaon Ph: 0124-4942155 Email:

Hey kids, do you have a painting or a poem/short story that you want to see published on this page? Send in your contributions to

Title: My Green Dream Gurgaon Eshaan Soni, Class III (Brishti), Shikshantar School, South City I

Literary Flourish

Giraffe Giraffe Giraffe, why is your neck so long? My neck is long so that I can eat leaves from high trees Lion Lion, why do you have so sharp teeth and claws? So that I can eat my prey Cheetah Cheetah, why do you run so fast? So that I can catch my prey Bird Bird, why do you fly? If I don’t fly other creatures will catch me as their prey Shark Shark, why do you live in the water? So that I can catch fish, as my prey Rayan Maisnam Class II F, The Shriram School

Melodious Flute Recital at DAV


tudents of DAV Public School, Sec 14, were treated to an hour-long flute recital by Pt. Rajengra Prasanna. A few students also accompanied the artists on stage. Pt. Rajengra Prasanna is the only Indian musician who excels in both the flute and the shehnai. The event was organised by SPIC MACAY (Gurgaon Chapter) with the sponsorship of ICCR.


25 Nov – 1 Dec 2011

K id Corner

In ancient India many teachers taught lessons to their students through stories, just as it is done today. In fact, a teacher called Pandit Vishnu Sharma wrote all the stories of the Panchatantra just to teach four young princes about kingship! Amar Chitra Katha tells you some of these stories that were written very long ago.





Š 2011 Amar Chitra Katha Private Limited, All Rights Reserved

25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

P astimes


Gurgaon Theatre Group

Play Out Your Passion

Scenes from plays directed by Ashutosh Shelat

Ashutosh Shelat

{ Shirin Mann / FG }


ou know those moments— when you walk out of a great play, and even after a while you can’t stop thinking and talking of the brilliant performances. And at times you wish you would be a part of that play. A wish that you could act; and hope it’s not too late. No, its not too late in Gurgaon. Gurgaon Theatre Group (GTG), formed five months ago by Ashutosh Shelat, a theatre instructor at the NGO, Search Years, provides a perfect platform for you. It is theatre enthusiasts, who are looking to try their hand at acting; even with no background in the field! Ashutosh Shelat, theatre instructor and founder of GTG says, “The idea came to me while I was instructing kids here at the NGO. And I thought, why can’t art, in the form of theatre, be offered to the people of Gurgaon. We had a place in the NGO, an amphitheater with a sitting capacity of 300 people. It was a perfect stage— for training, rehearsals and performances. And so was born Gurgaon Theatre Group (GTB). Then a few of us put it on Facebook; and we got a great response at a very early stage. GTC has about 20 regular trainees— and 55 Facebook members— and is growing by the day. Members of GTG are going through several scripts, and short listing— to be used for the final stage performances. “The themes of the plays will vary— from

classical, contemporary, social to several more— and the members can chose those they like. Once the members have made their choice of the kind of play they would like to act in, we will make relevant groups, and start the training. We have also picked up some difficult ideas, like ‘Gadhe Ki Atmakatha’, which we are converting into a play.” adds Shelat. Gurgaon Theatre Group is a non commercial group, where both professionals and learners (above the age of 18), who have a passion for acting can join and learn. The trainers will be acting professionals from Barry John Acting School and some others, and will guide the members through the process. After three months of training, the group will put up a stage performance. The membership to this group is free. The training workshop comes at a cost of Rs 2,500 for the three months. It is held every Saturday, from 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm, and every Sunday, from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm. Mukul Goyal, executive at Manford, and a member of GTG says, “In India people see theatre mainly as ‘nukkadh naatak’. Through GTG we want to give it a wider platform. Just like we express our emotions through songs, we can express emotions like love, hate, anger, sorrow in the form of acting and theatre— and that’s what we want to show and teach people. Gurgaon is cosmopolitan; like I am from Surat, but now

live here. Likewise, there are many people here from all over India, and many theatre enthusiasts, but there is no such platform where you can learn, and then perform on stage.” Adding to Mukul, Niharika Singh, faculty with Barry John Acting School says, “This hobby group is basically for people who are passionate about theatre. GTG is providing an opportunity for people to explore their passion. Even people who have never done theatre before are welcome; as we are going to teach the basics. People can come, explore, see, learn— and then continue from there, if they like. Basically, test the waters in our workshop, to see if you like it.” So if that acting bug has been buzzing you to let it free, this is the perfect opportunity and platform. Test your acting skills; and you never know. You might soon be able to live your dream. GTG also gives you the opportunity to volunteer with Search Years, an NGO working for the all-round development of underprivileged children. u

Are You Ready for Action?

To join GTG log on to Facebook and search for Gurgaon Theatre Group; or simply follow



25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

{ Jaspal Bajwa }

Health & Vitality... Naturally!


s it possible that nearly half the adult population might be at risk … and not even know about it? In America one in four adults suffers from Hypertension. A similar number flirt with threshold levels. In India, in a short span of 25 years, the incidence in urban centres has grown five fold—from about 10 per cent to over 50 per cent. Age, stress, and food choices contribute to high blood pressure. Yet, it can go undetected for years; as there are no overt symptoms. No wonder it is called ‘the silent killer’. It kills by contributing to coronary artery disease, and precipitating strokes. If we go by the numbers, chronic lifestyle disorders continue to have a vice like grip on the jugular of urban society. This does not have to be so. Living life constantly in high-gear is a choice we make. This invariably leads to living on a constant ‘high’ of stress hormones. The outcomes are familiar. It starts innocuously enough. A slight overweight rotundity around the waist soon progresses to recurring inflammation and allergies; one thing leads to another— and before we realise it, high blood pressure has surreptitiously entered our life. And from there on, the slope is slippery. Heart disease, and almost all other chronic disease which compromises our vital organs, follows. Fortunately, we can turn the tables on this ‘silent killer’. Hypertension responds very well to changes in lifestyle and diet. However, one must intervene early and upstream— closer to the root cause. The first thing is, regardless of age, to keep a close watch on blood pressure readings. Systolic pressure is the first number in the reading, and is an indicator of blood pressure when the heart contracts. Diastolic pressure reflects pressure when the heart relaxes between beats. Any reading above 140/90 is considered elevated. We can control hypertension by decreasing the

Silent Killer

Hypertension) diet, that was the outcome of a landmark study. This approach provides for 2,000 calories per day through whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts— and is rich in fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and lowfat dairy products. It’s also low in saturated fat, sugar, cholesterol and total fat; and higher in potassium, magnesium, and calcium. According to studies, adopting a DASH diet can reduce systolic blood pressure by 8-14 points.

Nature’s Wonder Foods of the week :

intake of sodium, increasing potassium, and by watching our weight. We must remember that just one teaspoon of table salt has as much as 2,300 mg sodium.This is already much too high! Potassium works with sodium to regulate the body’s water balance. Higher the potassium and lower the sodium in our diet, the greater the likelihood that we will maintain normal blood pressure. Many foods like bananas, potatoes, beets, brussels sprouts, yoghurt and raisins are high in Potassium. In addition, we must ensure adequate Calcium intake. It should never fall below 1000-1200

mg per day for adults. It is ideally taken together with Magnesium, as that helps relax the arteries and improve blood pressure. Pumpkin seeds, almonds, oats/ wheat bran, black beans and spinach are high in Magnesium. Especially good are green leafy vegetables—which are fatfree, rich sources of calcium and magnesium.

Tip of the week

Keeping active is an important part of the change protocol, to prevent or control high blood pressure. It is important to explore activities that one enjoys. Moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking

for 30 minutes a day, can make a huge difference. Blood pressure readings can be reduced by as much as 5-15 points. A high-fibre diet has been shown to be effective in preventing many forms of chronic disease. Of the greatest benefit to hypertension are the water soluble gel-forming fibres—such as oat bran, apple pectin, psyllium (sat isabgol), flax seed husk and guar gum. In addition to preventing hypertension, these fibres also help reduce cholesterol levels, detoxify the gut, and promote weight loss. A ‘package diet’ to consider is the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop

A number of common vegetables and spices have beneficial effects in controlling hypertension.‑ Garlic is a wonder food for the heart. Just one clove of garlic a day has been found to be of benefit against hypertension. Garlic is very versatile, and can be used in cooking, soups, and pickles. For best results, chop or mince, let sit for 5-10 minutes, and then add to the dish at the end of cooking. It can also be taken as a nutritional supplement. Like garlic, onion too has sulphur-containing compounds, which have been shown to lower blood pressure. Tomatoes are high in gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), a compound that can help bring down blood pressure. Broccoli and Carrots contain several active ingredients that reduce blood pressure. Traditional health practitioners have long used Celery for lowering high blood pressure. A compound found in celery, 3-n-butylphthalide, has been shown to lower blood pressure. Saffron contains a chemical called crocetin that lowers blood pressure. It can be used in cooking, or it can be added to tea or other beverages. Certain Spices such as fennel, oregano, black pepper, basil and tarragon too have active ingredients that are of benefit against hypertension. (For education purposes only; consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions.) u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition)

The Eyes Have It { Alka Gurha }


odern work culture has created new lifestyle health problems. The most common is computer fatigue or computer eyes syndrome. It is becoming more endemic, as most people spend several hours each day on their computers, PDAs and BlackBerrys—resulting in eye fatigue. Bad lighting, long work hours, and poor posture add to the problem. The fact is that pixels in a computer are brightest at the centre, and become dim towards the edges. Due to this, the ciliary muscles of the eyes constantly adjust—in order to maintain focus on the images. The computer can make the eyes focus nearly 25,000 times in a single day. As a result, the eye muscles work nearly three times harder, and the blinking reduces to almost fifty per cent instantly. Reduced blinking causes tears to evaporate faster; and the resultant condition is dry, itchy eyes. Some other symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, double vision, neck pain, and difficulty

in focusing .

Steps to protect eyes


It is advisable to use a larger font size, so that the strain on your eyes is reduced. Computer glasses with anti-glare coating also help in reducing the strain.


If you are working on a desk-top, place the monitor at least thirty five inches away from your eyes. Set the computer lower on the table, so that your eyes look down when you work. It reduces the opening between the lids, and so reduces the risk of dry eyes.


Every few minutes, take a thirty second break ,and focus on something far away—for the eyes to relax.


Blink frequently and periodically for a few minutes, and take short breaks. Avoid very fast movements between the screen and the keyboard.


Doctors recommend using artificial tears, that help in adding volume to the tear film in your eyes. u


25 Nov–1 Dec 2011


{ Abhishek Behl / FG }


ear of economic slowdown, tight monetary policy, rising input costs, and expensive home loans have all combined to cast a pall of gloom over the real estate sector in the country. The effect is more profound on commercial real estate, due to significant oversupply, rising structural vacancy, and circumspect investors as well as end users. Gurgaon—the darling of the real estate industry—is also suffering, due to the unplanned building spree of malls, office space and IT/ITES parks. There is also a change in how commercial real estate in the Millennium City is being viewed by end users – who primarily comprise of IT/ITES companies; Banking, Financial Services and Insurance companies (BFSI); and manufacturers. A report by Jones Lang Laselle (JLL) says that in order to cash in on the retail boom, the developers have built without much planning and research. There was no study of the demographic dynamics and socio-cultural preferences; and facility management practices are still primitive. Coupled with over-supply of commercial stock, this situation has become a major headache for builders, particularly those who are highly leveraged. Ashutosh Limaye, who is the lead author of the report, and heads the Real Estate Intelligence Service (REIS) at JLL, says that even in mature markets like Gurgaon there are areas needing services – that have the potential, but have inadequate malls and office facilities. What this means is that there are many areas in ‘Old’ Gurgaon that can be tapped, as a population with high ability for consumption, and good income also lives there. “The business model of IT and ITES companies is highly cost dependent; and wherever the rent is less than a dollar per square foot, these companies prefer to shift to that place. The competition is high, and slowing growth abroad is also motivating this shift”, says Limaye. This, however, augurs well for Gurgaon; as many city based majors are offering competitive rates to IT/ITEs companies that have made a comeback after the steep decline in 2008-2009. IMT Manesar is also emerging as a very good option for the IT/ITes companies as a number of IT parks have come up in Sec-

Commercial Property Hits Speed-Breaker

tor 8. The rents are lower though commuting is still a problem. Rajan Chanana, a city based real estate consultant, says that DLF is playing an important role in the commercial office space— as it offers office space at reasonable rent. The rate in DLF Cyber City is between Rs 65 to 75 per square foot depending upon the quality of construction and area being leased. The attraction of DLF Cyber city is such that many companies in Mumbai have shifted their offices here, due to the availability of good quality space at fairly reasonable cost. Since the home rents in Gurgaon, and the cost of living, is also less as compared to MumAshutosh Limaye, who studies development of commercial space across the country, also sounds a warning for Gurgaon. He wants the city to work on its civic infrastructure, and make drastic improvements within a year or two, else people will start moving towards Noida. “Gurgaon has a head-start of one to two years and the city bosses should utilise this advantage to the hilt”, he says. He also hints that the new Commercial District being developed by GMR, at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, could also give the Millennium City a run for its money.

bai, this is proving to be a succesfull shift, says Chanana. However, the retail shopping space, particularly the malls in the city, do not excite Chanana much. “There are no anchor clients in the malls, and they are not planned properly. Most of the malls in Gurgaon are virtually like local shopping centres; and a large number of shops are lying vacant”, says Chanana. He owns a large space in a mall on MG Road, that has been lying vacant for the last six months. Despite the huge vacancy, the paradox is that new malls are being constructed, and builders are managing to sell them to investors. Sanjay Sharma of Qubrex properties says that the promise of assured return is what is prompting the people to buy into these malls; but this can prove to be detrimental in the long run. What the builders are doing now is to ask the buyers to pay for the entire space upfront, and get assured rentals for the time the building comes up, says Sharma. After the building is operational, the builder promises to put it on rent on behalf of the buyers, and pay them the assured rent, he adds. A number of builders are using this method to sell the properties, but Chanana says buyers should be wary of these schemes. “What if the building is not completed. They should also look at the intrinsic value of the product they are buying”, he warns.


As per an industry estimate, the stock of commercial office space across the country will be 300 million square feet by the third quarter of 2011. In the fourth quarter, the supply is likely to slow, as many of the projects under construction have been delayed to 2013-14. In Gurgaon, experts say, vacancy will rise in the short and medium term due to uncertain economic conditions, and supply taking time to become operational. Interestingly, Mumbai and Delhi-NCR (Gurgaon in particular) are two areas where non-IT stock is more than one third of total office space.


Seventy five per cent of leasing transactions across the country take place in IT/ITES, BFSI and manufacturing sectors. However, since 2005,their share is decreasing. In Gurgaon, earlier US companies dominated the leasing space, but now the share of European firms has gone up to 19 per cent; while US firms are down between 39 to 43 per cent (as compared to almost 60 per cent earlier). The average size of leasing transaction in Gurgaon has also come down— to around 35, 000 sq ft, whereas the average was 58,000 sq ft in 2007.


Office vacancy in India has risen from 5.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2007 to 18.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2011; and the figures are touching almost 25 per cent in Gurgaon. This is primarily due to oversupply, as demand has remained steady in this period, say real estate experts. The mismatch between attributes and location of space offered by builders, and what is being sought by tenants, is leading to structural vacancy. Due to this, many buildings in Gurgaon have remained vacant even for 3 to 4 years. Another phenomenon being witnessed is rising natural vacancy— as tenants prefer select quality properties, while rejecting others. Companies are also moving to Software Parks and IT Special Economic Zones (SEZs) due to assured power supply, better connectivity and security. However, experts opine that the recent decision to bring these areas under the purview of MAT and Dividend Distribution Tax regime will have a negative impact on these zones; and companies might not plan to shift. Rising maintenance costs, lower leasing efficiency, and rise of Tier II and III cities is also a cause of concern for the mature cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore. Under pressure to cut costs, some of the firms are also increasing the employee density at work-places. Alternate workplace strategies are also being encouraged— like Work from Home, having flexible offices, booking hotel rooms as offices. “Developers in Gurgaon will have to focus on execution of projects, seek a strategic mix of tenants, experiment with new formats, and ensure that parking space is adequate”, says the JLL report. While the developers might be able to build better facilities, there are many problems ailing the malls, says, SC Khanna, a property consultant. “The malls in Gurgaon are suffering due to the lack of parking, high maintenance costs, and wastage”, says Khanna. He thinks there is more hope for shopping-cumoffice complexes like DLF Qutub Enclave, Sushant Lok and HUDA markets. His view are echoed by Chanana, who opines

that High Streets like DLF Galleria are likely to witness more footfall, and will be more successful in the future—as compared to malls. Construction of a large number of malls in Delhi and Noida has also hit the footfalls in Gurgaon. Most of the people in Delhi now prefer malls in Rajouri Garden and Saket, rather than coming here, says a local realtor. He says the real estate bubble can burst any day, hurting a large number of people—adding the authorities need to regulate the industry properly, and soon. While real estate dealers and consultants are unhappy with Contd on p 24 

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25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

It’s Customer Time Ramesh Menon, Founding Director of Gurgaon based Certes Reality, in an interview with Friday Gurgaon

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }


What are the factors that you think are holding the commercial real estate market in Gurgaon? Gurgaon currently has more than 30 million sq. ft of commercial real estate, under various stages of planning/development. The investment plans of most organisations, especially within the IT and manufacturing domain, are not that aggressive or robust, owing to the overall business environment. A large part of the blame can be attributed to two factors (a) Poor planning and execution ability, with some of the developers (b) Liquidity crunch and lack of capital for commercial real estate. The above factors lead to delays in completion of projects, thereby attracting cost overruns. The pricing strategy of commercial real estate hasn’t kept pace with the scientific methodology adopted in the residential sector.


There is a significant oversupply of commercial office space in Gurgaon? Is there any major correction in the offing? In this current market scenario, the larger players are saddled with more inventory, and they are willing to be more competitive on the pricing aspect. This puts more pressure on the smaller developers, whose offtake of inventory necessarily loses the premium. Most commercial projects in Gurgaon have no discernible differentiator (on product design, specs and quality), with the exceptions of a few. That takes away the attraction for prospective clients and tenants.


Tight money supply, and slowdown in the Europe and US, has led to fewer companies coming in to set base. What do you think will be the likely impact? During the pre-2008 era, organisations would pro-actively identify spare capacity for forward expansion; which is a casualty in these uncertain times. Most organisations are taking up space on a need basis, and aren’t reserving space for expansion; with the knowledge also that the supply is adequate. Also, the SME segment in

Commercial Property Hits Speed-Breaker  Contd from p 22 the prevailing oversupply, and structural vacancy that is almost 20 to 25 per cent in the city, the builders are confident of the demand—despite the weak fundamentals. Surender Bhardwaj, Vice President, Bestech, a leading builder that has recently launched the Brahma Bestech, says that the commercial and retail sector is soon going to pick up pace in the millennium city. “Good builders will have no problems in selling quality products. We are very sure of what we are doing”, says Bhardwaj on a very confident note; adding that there are good opportunities on Golf Course Extension Road, Sohna Road and parts of New Gurgaon. Dr Kunal Banerjee, president M3M builders also expresses confidence in the future, and says that the slowdown in the commercial sector is a temporary phenomenon. “People are waiting to invest in world class properties; and if they come up in Gurgaon, the sector will again witness growth”, he asserts. This optimism is tempered a little by Ashwani Sareen, AVP, Orris Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, who admits that there is a dip in the commercial space due to oversupply. Although rates will remain steady, they are not likely to go up in the near future. The demand will always be there for quality properties, asserts Sareen. Many operators in Gurgaon also believe that since commercial real estate in the city is driven by US and European firms in IT/ITES, they suffer when their mother economy

witnesses turbulence. Although Gurgaon has a healthy mix of commercial establishments; some of these firms catch cold even when the world economy sneezes, says Vineet Singh, Sr Vice President, 99, one of the leading real estate portals in the country. The Delhi-NCR market is slowing down, there are not many launches, and the number of monthly transactions is going south, reveals Singh. “This is also due to the Noida land acquisition issue, tight money supply, and expensive loans”, he says. All this has pushed the end-users as well as investors to a wait and watch mode—with every one expecting a major correction in prices. The commercial office space and retail have been under stress since the economic slowdown of 2008, says Singh of 99 Acres. The high vacancy in ready to move in offices, and even in malls, is a function of the growth deceleration he asserts. He predicts an imminent slowdown in the real estate sector, in the days to come. Anish Raghawa, CEO of is of the opinion that commercial and residential development in a city go hand in hand, and this is happening in Gurgaon also. “It is only after people came to live in and around Sohna Road that the commercial offices and malls have seen life here”, he says, sitting in his corner office in Spaze Edge Tower on Sohna Road. He is also unhappy with the unregulated construction of malls and office space in Gurgaon, as a huge inventory is still lying unused. u

Gurgaon hasn’t really had anything planned for them by the developers, who today aren’t planning beyond the next three months’ requirement. And, adequate inventory is available in the areas like Udyog Vihar, Sectors 30-31-32 etc. The buildings, though shorn of the glass facades and central amenities, are adequate for one segment of clients. The “Eurozone” crisis is also not helping the cause of Gurgaon, and then there are another seven cities which are giving stiff competition to Gurgaon; not just with real estate supply, but also with other soft benefits and incentives.


There is also a problem of structural vacancy, as many buildings in Gurgaon are vacant,

and tenants are not expected soon. What do you think is the solution? Many of the commercial projects in Gurgaon, especially by the smaller developers, have been sold to financial investors in smaller space denominations. The developers have either sold further on a rental commitment (assured returns), or have altogether washed their hands off the project, except for the maintenance. This situation does not augur well for the owner, or the prospective tenant. The rental expectations are based on the prevalent market price of the product. If the product has been sold on a higher price or on assured returns, the current rentals don’t support the expectations of the property owner. Either the consumers have to be offered lower rentals, or, the landlords would have to be more innovative—by shouldering a part of the capital costs for the furnishings/finishing. They need to offer such benefits to the end user. Certes research reveals that 65-68 per cent of the operating expense of a typical commercial office space occupier is towards power, amenities and

operations. The acute power deficiency, coupled with the infrastrucutre related costs in Gurgaon, compared to some other competing cities, is not helping either.


Which areas do you think are most promising for investors, as far as commercial real estate is concerned? The Delhi Master Plan MPD 2021, is also likely to bring in a large supply of land for commercial development. Coupled with the fact that Delhi contributes a substantial part of the work force in Gurgaon, the Delhi challenge cannot be negated. In the short run, the projects on the Northern Periphery Road (NPR) would see an offtake, subject to the work of the road over the next three years. Most developers who have projects farther away from Gurgaon city have to either offer very competitive pricing, or, would have to add value to their products, to attract quality customers. The recent labour and other administrative lapses, widely reported by the media, is also not helping the cause of Gurgaon. u

Evok: Value for Style { Abhishek Behl / FG }


o be the first choice of customers aspiring for ‘Value for Style’ home interiors, Evok Mega Home store is looking to expand its retail offerings across the country. Evok, a subsidiary of Hindware, was set up in 2008 to cater to the aspirations of the young and upwardly mobile crowd in the urban centres, informs Yashpal Manik, Head, Sales and Marketing Department—at his Park Centra office in Gurgaon. Evok sells a host of home interior products and services, ranging from home furniture, furnishings, bath products, modular kitchens, floorings, decorative lighting, home décor and lifestyle products. The company aims to create an amazing experience for the customer, and for that purpose a ‘Design to Build’ concept has been launched, says Manik. “As you walk into the store, you meet our designer, and explain to him

your idea—that is later converted into reality by us”, he says. The stores also have ready made rooms, where the customers can have a realistic experience of the products on display. Evok currently is the largest interior retail chain in North India, says Manik; adding that the company operates 12 retail stores and 2 super specialty stores. The company has also added stores in Bangalore and Pune, and it plans to offer its

Realty Rates

products across the country. Manik says the major challenge for the company is the rising real estate cost, as well as hiring of trained manpower. “Most of the people in the industry are not trained sales persons, and people have learned on the job”, he says. Evok puts special emphasis on training people, and ensuring that they stay for the long run, he adds. Gurgaon, he says, has been a great experience for the company, as one its stores on MG Road has been very successful. “Lifestyle ethos of the young crowd in Gurgaon matches with the ethos of Evok, and now we are looking to set up another store in New Gurgaon”, he says. Promising to be exotic, Evok will always provide personalised home interior planning and design services to the niche customers, who want ‘Value for Style’, says the sales head. The future, he says, is bright; and by 2014 the company is looking to set up 50 stores across the country. u

(in Rs. as of November 23, 2011)

Sector 33 1 BHK 3300/ sq ft

Sector 33 2 BHK Apartment 55,00/ sq ft

Sector 33 3 BHK Apartment 5600/ sq ft

Sector 33 Residential Plot 15,000/ sq ft

Sector 49 2BHK 5800/ sq ft

Sector 49 3 BHK 5700/ sq ft

Sector 49 4 BHK 5300/ sq ft

Sector 49 Residential Plots 6700/ sq ft

Sector 49 Office space 60,00/ sq ft

Sector 49 Shops 19000/ sq ft

Sector 37C 2BHK 3000/ sq ft

Sector 37C 3BHK 2800/ sq ft

S ports 25

25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

Callaway Junior Golf Tour 2011-12

Vani Kapoor To The Fore { Shirin Mann / FG }

I Leaderboard Category A (boys) Rohan Govil (36 points, winner); Abhishek Kuhar (34 points, runner up) Category B (boys) Piyush Sangwan (37 points, winner); Kartikey Vashisht (33 points, runner up) Category A & B (girls) Vani Kapoor (33 points, winner); Vidushi Sinha (28 points, runner up) Category C (boys) Apar Chaudhary (31 points, winner); Ribhav Kapur (29 points, runner up) Category D (boys) Aryaman Mahant (26 points, winner); Aryan Chopra (23 points, runner up) Category C & D (girls) Arushi Pandey (22 points, winner); Avita Khanna (19 points, runner up) Category E (boys & girls) Shubham Jaglan (17 points, winner); Jai Bahl (11 points, runner up)


What A Start!

ndia’s top amateur golfer, Vani Kapoor, was all smiles after winning the one day event of the Callaway Junior Golf Tour 2011-2012, held recently at the Golden Greens Golf Club. After the NCR, the Callaway Junior Tour will be travelling to Kolkata, Bengaluru, Pune and Chandigarh—the winner and runners up of these events will play the Tour Championship. The top two from this Tour Championship will proceed to play in the Callaway Junior World Championship in San Diego, USA, next year. Seventeen year old Vani etched her name in the record books, when she won a ladies professional tournament at the Golden Greens Golf Club earlier in September this year. There, the young golfer shone amongst some of India’s top professional golfers—like Simi Mehra, Sharmila Nicollet and Nalini Singh—and won by 10 shots; similar to the latest victory. After receiving the trophy, Vani said, “I have just played in Noida, where the greens are slower; so it took me a few holes to get used to the pace.” Starting slow—four-over after seven holes, with a threeputt double bogey—Vani bounced back to be oneunder, for the remaining holes. She clocked 33 stableford points—five better than runner up Vidhushi Sinha—in the combined girls A and B Category. Also seen swinging was Shubham Jaglan, from Israna village near Panipat. The seven-year-old dominates the toddlers category in golf these days. Shubham notched up 17 points from nine holes; followed by Jai Bahl, six years old, on 11 points. With perfect weather conditions complementing the enthusiasm from the spectators , the course accommodated over 100 junior golfers for the exciting event. Callaway goodie bags, sported by the young golfers, contained a Callaway cap, a sleeve of tourquality golf balls, and a golf ball and club cleaner. u

Heritage Beat Air Force 12-0 { Maninder Dabas / FG }


n an amazing display of football skills, Heritage School, Gurgaon beat Air Force School, Gurgaon 12-0, in the Mir Iqbal Husain Trophy at Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex on Wednesday. Heritage School held the reins right from the start, and humiliated the opposition with 12 glorious goals—with the help of three hat-tricks. Fourteen school teams are participating in the district level tournament, sponsored by Coca Cola, India; and the coach at Tau Devi Lal stadium, Jagdeep Singh, was quite excited with the way things were unfolding on day one. “What a start to the tournament. I hope, we will get to see some more good matches in the next two days. Winners of this tournament will participate at the Zonal level,” said an ecstatic Jagdeep. Air Force School players did not get a chance to score goals, because the ball possession was dominated by the Heritage School boys. While only 3 goals

were scored in the first half of the game, the Heritage players ran riot in the second half. Jagdeep saw it in a broader light, “It’s nothing to feel dejected or disappointed about. Football in the city is gaining momentum, and we should try harder to make it blossom further; because talent lies in schools, and not in stadia. We can only nurture it to the next level,” said the Coach.

Sports teachers get coaching

School sports teachers were also given coaching, on how to judge and analyse a live match, by the city sports department. “We want to nurture sports at the school level, and that’s why this training has been given to these school sports teachers. I hope this training will certainly help,” said Kulvinder Singh, the District Sports Officer (DSO). Apart from the on-going football tournament, scheduled to be played till 26th November, training for other games like

basketball, hockey, wrestling, and badminton will also be given to school teachers. 126 teachers from Gurgaon, Mahendergarh, Palwal, Faridabad, Rewari and Mewat have been brought here for the training, which will finish on 30th November.

Sports department to help private schools

In another attempt to nurture sports talent in the district, the district sports department has decided to help private schools, in terms of providing infrastructure for games like hockey and football. “Our main aim is to bring the hidden talent to the fore; and for that purpose, we have offered private schools our help in nurturing

the sporting talent. In most the private schools, there is no good football and hockey infrastructure. They can also take advice from our coaches. Our coaches will be available for any school—twice a month— and during that period, he or she will inspect and monitor the potential in the players,” informed Kulvinder Singh. u


25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

The Barn

T ime Pass Love is...

The Grizzwells

Arctic Circle

9 to 5

Animal Crackers

Dogs of C-Kennel

Pearls Before Swine

Star Fun

25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

T ime Pass 27


Andy Capp

Daddy’s Home

Solution Vu. Read each word like three sequential letters from right to left.

Ipso facto The Born Loser

Two Wise Men


Baby Blues

The Better Half


25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

Rainer Jensen

Germany’s Traffic Light Man Is A Souvenir Hit

four stores in Berlin. For people born in East Germany, the Ampelmaennchen is a part of their identity, believes Heckhausen. For tourists, it’s simply an amusing souvenir from the German capital. “Without Heckhausen and his company, the Ampelmaennchen would not have survived,” says 86-year-old Hildegard Peglau. Initially her husband was sceptical, when in 1996 he first met Heckhausen—who suggested putting the symbol on mugs and t-shirts. But Peglau was convinced, and Heckhausen brought him into his firm; where he received a cut of the profits. Heckhausen says Karl Peglau acted as a father figure for the business, until his death in 2009. The two men even remained united through a court case; that saw Heckhausen successfully protect his rights to the Ampel-

G lobal maennchen, against the traffic lights’ manufacturer. The many products that are today adorned with Ampelmaennchen have helped boost its popularity, and prevented its disappearance from Germany’s roads. Since 1997, Ampelmaennchen are being reinstalled on street corners; even muscling out their West German counterparts. In cities such as Cologne and Dresden, there’s even an Ampel-woman with a skirt and pigtails. The Ampelmaennchen’s popularity has spread far beyond Germany’s borders—and it can be found as far afield as Asia. Heckhausen says the Japanese are some of his biggest customers. They love the symbol “because it’s so cute”. Heckhausen is planning an Ampelmaennchen song, and an app for mobile phones. Hollywood has also taken interest. u

World To See More Extreme Weather { Henry Wasswa and Shabtai Gold / Kampala / DPA }

C TRAFFIC STOPPER: The Ampelmann’s head was a cause for concern: a parting in his hair sparked memories of Adolf Hitler, while curly hair was considered too south European. In the end Peglau settled for the hat.

{ Juliane Wienss / Berlin / DPA }


arl Peglau was not aiming to create a cult symbol when he designed the Ampelmaennchen, the figure used to mean stop or go—on pedestrian crossings at traffic lights in East Germany. Peglau worked as a psychologist in East Germany’s transport authority. Fast growth in traffic at the end of the 1950s led to concerns about pedestrian safety. “We had one idea guiding us: only when pedestrians understand and like a traffic symbol will they follow it,” recalls Hildegard Peglau, widow of the inventor. Karl Peglau designed the Ampelmaennchen in his spare time. It was meant to be more than just an illuminated line on a post, as was used in West Berlin in 1957.

It did not take Peglau long to create the rotund, little man— but the design of the figure’s head was a cause for concern, according to Hildegard Peglau. A side parting in his hair sparked memories of Adolf Hitler, while curly hair was considered too south European. In the end Peglau settled on a hat. The Ampelmaennchen was presented to the East German public on television in October 1961. However, it took another eight years of bureaucracy. The first Ampelmaennchen traffic light was installed in central East Berlin. After 1990, and German reunification, the Ampelmaennchen began to disappear from eastern Germany’s streetscape—as old traffic lights were replaced with new West German lights. But before the last Ampelmaennchen was turned off, a man from West

Germany rescued it. Markus Heckhausen is a designer who has managed to get the symbol a cult following. “I thought it was awful that such a charming figure was simply being replaced,” says Heckhausen. The 50-year-old went to Berlin, after completing his studies. He started collecting dismantled Ampelmaennchen, reconditioned them, and sold them to the public. That was in 1996. Today, Heckhausen is still selling Ampelmaennchen lights for about 110 dollars a piece. Last year, Heckhausen’s firm generated 9.5-milliondollars worth of business with Ampelmaennchen lights—and other merchandise based on the character. Tourists can buy Ampelmaennchen vases, swimwear, and even pasta in Heckhausen’s

limate change will cause more extreme weather in the coming years; making winter days colder, and summer hotter. There will be increased risk of floods and droughts in some regions of the world, according to a new UN report. The report, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says it is very likely that greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities—such as coal burning—are influencing weather patterns. Poorer countries’ economies will likely be battered the most, as food insecurity might increase—due to less stable production; and fishing capacities could decrease. Even tourism, a major source of income in developing nations, could be affected. Small island nations will face rising sea levels; the wind speed of tropical cyclones will increase; and hot days will become more frequent and hotter—the IPCC report estimated. “The report shows that risks of climate change are rising; and we need to manage this rising risk of disasters. So we need to be able to pro-actively help the people and regions affected by them,” said Maarten van Aalst; who works with the International Red Cross, and was one of the experts who contributed to the new report. A group of investors, insurance representatives and others working on climate change, stressed that the report backed up what they already knew about the risks to the global economy. “The IPCC report is further confirmation for investors; not just of the reality of climate change, but of the urgent need to hedge against the growing risk of devastating climate events,” said Kevin Parker, Global Head of Deutsche Asset Management. The report calls on governments to take “low regret” measures—or inexpensive ways to mitigate climate change—to help shield populations from changing weather patterns. It is being released just as 2011, considered a year with particularly extreme weather, comes to a close. The US state of Texas and the Horn of Africa witnessed particularly difficult droughts; while Thailand suffered more than 500 deaths due to flooding. u

25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

G lobal 29

{ Tatiana Rodriguez / Bogota / DPA }


Shakira: A Goodwill Ambassador “Full Of Grace” picture-alliance/dpa

he name Shakira has several meanings, and one of them, in Lebanese Arabic, is “full of grace.” The popular Colombian singer called Shakira has certainly tried to live up to that ideal. With her big eyes and long, blond mane Shakira, now 34, has spent the past 15 years promoting access to education for children and youth all over the world. Her achievements go beyond the two Grammy prizes and eight Latin Grammy prizes she has been awarded over the years, or sharing the stage with such famed musicians as Bono, Alejandro Saenz, Gustavo Cerati, Beyonce and Mick Jagger; or even selling more than 70 million records worldwide. That is because Shakira, through her “Pies Descalzos” (Barefoot Foundation), has been able to help more than 6,000 needy children, offering them free education, nutrition and health care. Born in Barranquilla, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll (her full name) has not only attained enormous success as an artist, but also has served as an agent for change, in a society marked by inequality, violence and underdevelopment; perhaps because she herself had firsthand experience with all of that as she was growing up in Colombia. In October, US President Barack Obama appointed Shakira to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. This distinction came because of her sustained efforts to promote “the democratization of education.” Shakira was also recently named the 2011 Latin Recording Academy person of the year, because of her commitment to social causes. She is to date the youngest artist to have received the award, presented during an event prior to the Latin Grammy celebration—at which she also garnered yet another Latin Grammy prize – Album of the Year – for “Sale el sol” (The Sun Rises). Just a couple of days earlier, Shakira became the first Colombian to be honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Shakira set up the Barefoot Foundation in 1997 following the wave of success she had with her second album by the same name. The singer had chosen the name in an attempt to draw attention to the hunger and poverty children faced in Baranquilla. From then on, Shakira decided to allot a share of her earnings to nutrition and education projects in Colombia.

SPREADING CHEER: File photo of Shakira’s visit to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Shakira became a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2003, to promote the expansion and improvement of comprehensive early childhood care, and education across the world. Her philanthropic work has covered countries such as Haiti—where, after the 2010 earthquake, she offered (through her foundation) to help children by rebuilding schools in a project, in conjunction with the Inter-American Develop-ment Bank. The Barefoot Foundation has funded 20 educational projects in Colombia, and has built six schools there, in the last seven years. These schools, supported by Shakira, provide food for the children, use the latest teaching methods, are bilingual; and include sports facilities, orchards and plots for produce cultivation. All of these endeavours provide employment and activities to more than 30,000 people. The artist, with 11 musical productions behind her, funnels a million dollars into the construction of each project, and 40 per cent of her earnings to maintain extra-curricular activities at the schools. Bringing in the private sector has been indispensable for each educational project, because only a few backers can really

continue to support school management. Shakira has forged alliances with powerful private donors. Among her allies are found some of the richest men in the world, including Mexican multi-billionaire Carlos Slim—also of Lebanese descent. Six years ago, Shakira became a founding member of Latin America in Solidarity Action, (ALAS, or WINGS, by its Spanish acronym), a coalition of artists and business leaders seeking to promote integrated early childhood public policies. For Shakira, engagements as an artist are no impediment in continuing her charity work. Not long ago, after a concert given at the Rock in Rio Festival, where she swayed her hips in her trademark style, Shakira launched a co-operation programme to protect early childhood. Also contributing to the project are Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, and Xuxa Meneghel, a well-known local singer and television host—through her own foundation. The goodwill ambassador—filled with Caribbean spirit and endowed with sensual hips, a magical glance, and a marvellous voice—plans to continue to “fill with grace” not only the world’s pop music stages; but also those places where the neediest are hurting. u

New Kaza Reserve Is World’s Largest Conservation Area

{ Christian Selz / Katima Mulilo, Namibia / DPA }


ntelopes graze among the ruined buildings of what used to be army camps; while young lions conquer territory once ruled by the gun. Five African states have joined forces to create the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Park (KaZa), Africa’s newest and largest conservation area. The morning sun glints on this section of the mighty Zambesi river, which flows for 3,540 kilometres into the Indian Ocean. Everything appears double—the trees, shrubs

and the rushes; including the two fishermen who are stalking Tilapia bream from a dug-out. The currents in the river, which is several hundred metres wide, blur the edges of this work of art - a gem of creation which now enjoys comprehensive protection. After years of preparatory work, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia finally agreed on the setting up of KaZa. The reserve stretches across nearly 300,000 square kilometres of territory. Big game is what lures the tourists, and as the area gradually calms down and returns to normal, the

animals are returning too. The best time to visit is between May and January, outside of the flood season. On the banks of the Chobe, which divides Namibia fom Botswana, a group of elephants gathers to feed. A few minutes further up the river a pride of lions can be seen repairing to the river, to quench their thirst. Buffalo and impala graze on the flood meadows, hippos cool down in the water, and enormous crocodiles warm themselves on heatbaked ground. The five KaZa countries can count 36 national parks and reserves between them— added together they cover an area as large as Italy. The vision is of a joint park visa for tourists, touring all five states. It’s likely that a lot of water will flow down the Victoria Falls waterfall before that stage is reached; for despite the official stamp of approval, KaZa is essentially a marketing idea. Russell Taylor and Chris Weaver of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have been involved in the gestation of the park from

the outset, following each stage as it unfolds. “When Chris visited the first villages in Caprivi in 1993 they chased him away,” recalled Taylor, planning advisor for international park projects. “Take what you’ve hunted with you, and clear off. We don’t want it,” the locals told Weaver. Today the director of WWF Namibia can laugh at outbursts like these. The American puts his trust in the responsibility of the people on the ground—since for him there is no alternative. “If animal conservation zones are to be operated efficiently, then this must be done via the people who live with the animals,” he said. For a long time this didn’t happen in Namibia. “This attitude has changed, and game is now seen much more as something belonging to the community as a whole,” said Taylor, describing the new mind-set of local people. Local citizens profit noticeably from participation in the lodges, the creation of jobs, the issuing of licences, and camping site projects for tour-

ists—after all, no safari tourist can get by without experiencing wild animals. The success of the new strategy is already evident. Large herds of elephant lumber along the Kwando river, a tributary of the Chobe—which runs right through Namibia to Angola and Zambia;while hippos grunt in the thick rushes. The African Elephant Database 2007 listed 133,000 of the pachyderms whereas the WWF and KaZa administration estimate twice that many. The population has grown so rapidly in Chobe National Park in northern Botswana that the vegetation has visibly suffered as a result. The KaZa project still has a full agenda, particularly when it comes to explaining to people what the work is all about, and its value. The principles of wildlife conservation are not always adhered to in these parts. Talking about the giant reservation, livestock breeder George Magwaza says “where we stand to profit, we support it. When there is nothing in it for us, we do not.” u


G lobal

25 Nov–1 Dec 2011

The Grand Palace Of Auction Houses: Vienna’s Dorotheum

{ Horst Heinz Grimm / Vienna / DPA }


awnshops are not usually high on the sightseeing lists of a city. But they are in Vienna. The Dorotheum, a fourstoried neo-classical palace in

historical downtown Vienna, is definitely worth a visit – especially if you are not really in need of credit. Established in 1707 by Emperor Joseph I, the Dorotheum is considered one of the leading auction houses in the world.

A spacious staircase leads to the exhibition and auction halls. “The Dorotheum has more than 40 sections,” including design, tribal art, antique rugs, coins and medals, historical instruments and much more, says

spokeswoman Doris Krumpl. The best-selling sections, according to Krumpl, are the paintings from old masters; 19th century, modern and contemporary art, as well as historical silver and furniture. Visitors can walk around the Dorotheum for hours, just like a museum. Those interested in an exhibited item do not have to wait until the next auction. “You can buy it directly here and bring it home with you,” says German collector Hagen Walters, who goes to Vienna regularly. This time he found candlesticks and lamps. “We also ship you the goods at our own cost,” says Gerti, a sales woman. Some rooms seem like a used furniture shop. Seats in 1920s and 1930s styles stand next to massive baroque cabinets, which would not fit in any modern apartment. There are chairs lined up for metres across the room, as also various tables—for the dining room, workroom or kitchen—from various decades from the past century. Women are especially attracted to the halls on the second floor, where dozens of glass cases hold jewellery—ranging from fashionable rings to precious jewellery. All of these items can be purchased and brought home immediately. The

department calls itself “Austria’s biggest jeweller” – and even brings its own new creations to the market. There are auctions nearly daily in one of the 13 halls. But not all of them are as exciting as in April 2010, when a 1633 painting by the Flemish painter Frans Francken got a world record price of more than 7 million euro (9.6 million dollars). “The auctions are public and onlookers are warmly welcome,” says Krumpl. “Your taking part in the auctions would make us even happier.” The Dorotheer monastery, which once stood here, gave the building its name. The Dorotheum itself has long become a synonym for a pawnshop in Vienna. Locals know that bargains can be found in these pawnshops – especially where there are few tourists. The Dorotheum has 14 locations in Vienna, and numerous more in other provinces—dealing with the daily, discreet business of selling high value goods. The Dorotheum would not be a Viennese institution, if it did not include a place for tired on-lookers and shoppers. There is a coffee house on the second floor. “Compared to other cafes downtown, it is not so full here,” Walters says. u

Bhutan: In Relentless Pursuit Of Happiness { Siddhartha Kumar / Thimphu / DPA }


isitors arriving at Bhutan’s Paro international airport are greeted by fluttering prayer flags, goldenterraced fields and smiling, weatherbeaten faces. “Happiness is a place!” government banners exclaim at the entry to the Himalayan kingdom. Official pride in the country’s wellbeing is apparent, as Bhutan lays much store in its innovative way of measuring its own development. Gross national happiness, or GNH, was designed more than three decades ago by then-king Jigme Singye Wangchuck to measure social and environmental progress, alongside economic development. The approach has gained considerable attention from Western development experts, and other developing countries, even if it has not convinced all of its intended beneficiaries at home. GNH progress is measured by 72 indicators spread across the four pillars of equitable and sustainable socio-economic development; promotion of resilient ecology; culture; and good governance. It is said to be based on the Buddhist value of caring for the community before oneself. In one of the policy’s more visible manifestations, children learn meditation at school morning assemblies. Officials travel the country, quantifying the nation’s happiness, by measuring such elements as inter-regional sleep deficit, jealously levels, or trust reserves. Authorities screen all new policies, projects or programmes; and only approve those promising to be net GNH contributors. The national culture is safeguarded by policies that require those in public office, including teachers, to wear traditional dress to work: the knee-length robe,

or gho, for men, and the longer kira for women. But some wonder if non-economic progress is adequate compensation for those who remain, financially speaking, as poor as ever. “(GNH) is now a world-famous concept, but people here are scratching their heads, wondering what it’s all about,” Thimphu-based builder Ugyen Tandin said. Around a quarter of the population still live on under 70 US cents a day, the country’s official poverty threshold. Inequality is growing, even though the economy posted growth of 11.7 per cent in 2010 alone, critics point out. Poverty rates have reached around 30 per cent in rural areas, while they have sunk to 2 per cent in the cities, they say. “The disparity could damage the very essence of GNH,” opposition leader Tshering Tobgay says. “It is a noble philosophy, but we seem more preoccupied preaching and talking about it than implementing it.” The government acknowledges that, even within GNH, economic considerations cannot be overlooked, nor be entirely offset by the documented improvements in other areas. “We are mindful of the challenges,” says Karma Tshiteem, secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission. “The overarching objective in our current plan is to reduce poverty from 23 per cent to 15 per cent.” Rural areas are receiving particular attention, with projects to develop road and irrigation networks, and other infrastructure, Tshiteem says. But the criticisms are not limited to the country’s economic achievements. With the exception of environmental conservation, standards have been slipping in many of the areas covered by GNH. In a blow to the good governance pil-

lar, an anti-corruption commission has found that no government office is free from graft. The national culture is also under assault. On the surface, many trappings of modernization have been successfully eschewed; daily life takes a leisurely pace; and the country’s fortresses, forests and natural beauty remain largely free of shopping malls, factories or tower blocks. But some people feel the national culture and Buddhist values are nonetheless being eroded. Dozens of Indian TV channels have swamped the sole Bhutanese one. Alcoholism has surged, and other substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and violent crime are also on the rise, according to media reports. Tshiteem defends the GNH approach and its success. Bhutan has been rated among the happiest countries in Asia in surveys, he says; an idyll in a subconti-

nent marred with strife and poverty. “We are promoting our language, festivals and film industry,” he said. “Our culture is flourishing, and it can co-exist with other cultures.” GNH remains the best way for Bhutan to measure its progress, says Karma Ura, the president of the Centre for Bhutan Studies, which is responsible for monitoring the elusive happiness metric. Other models of development are not sustainable, as they make countries compete for high growth rates and exhaust their finite resources, he says. “We must transcend other ideas and measures of progress. GNH talks about the inner aspirations of humans,” he says “Of course, its assimilation and practice is challenging, in the same way as search for happiness is challenging,” he said. “But it is not at all utopian to aspire to a society of GNH.” u

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