Page 1

27 April–3 May 2012

Vol. 1 No. 36  Pages 24  ` 7

It Must Be Right

P3

{Inside}

Private Property

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t seems Gurgaon is private property – the riches need to be guarded. Though part of the NCR, it sees no role for the NCR Planning Board initiatives in the City.

Sector Watch

...Pg 9

I

n our Sector Watch series, this week we feature Dharam Colony.

Club Service

...Pg 9

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otary and Lions are well known for their many social activities. We bring you the initiatives of their Gurgaon chapters.

A Vision

...Pg 10

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iramaya Charitable Trust has provided exemplary service in the area of eye care for decades – across Gurgaon District. It is the vision of Dr. Ahooja.

...Pg 10

Let the Adventure Begin

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ith summer holidays nigh, we bring you adventure up close. Time to set up camp just outside of the City.

...Pg 19

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319

{ Maninder Dabas / FG }

“Education is all a matter of building bridges” Ralph Ellison o many, social egalitarianism is a myth; and this ever increasing gap between the masses and classes, the haves and have-nots, will one day become unfathomable – beyond human imagination. But despite such pessimism looming over the horizons of reality, optimism always manages to peep in, for the better future of the human race. Education is believed to be the great equaliser; and in a country like India, where illiteracy and inequality have become synonymous, it assumes greater significance. According to the Opportunity for Action report, by the International Youth Foundation (IYF), there are an estimated 270 million Indians, aged 15 and older, who are illiterate; while young women, aged 15 to 24, are twice as likely as young men of their age to be illiterate. Among the working youth, approximately one in four is illiterate, and fewer than one in five completes a second-

The Right To Education (RTE) Act is a revolutionary step taken by the government, to bring social parity into India’s diverse social set-up; and the recent judgement by the Supreme Court, that upheld the constitutional validity of the Right To Education Act 2009, further cements the government’s effort to bring a new social order in the country. But will this ‘Magna Carta’ of education yield the desired fruits? Will it be able the bridge that unimaginable gap, wider than the collective distance of the seven seas, that has bifurcated this country into an almost-developed and progressive India, and an illiteracy-ridden backward Bharat.

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ary education, says the Microsoft Corp. commissioned report. India has come a long way since independence, and in the field of education too it has made remarkable progress. In

The Right to Education Act, 2009, mandates 25 per cent free seats to poor children, up to the age of 14, in government and private aided and unaided schools (but not in unaided minority institutions) – uniformly across Contd on p 6 

Time To Stop The Rot PRAKHAR PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }  Chriopractice (Alignment Correction)  Joint Pain Relief 99%  Best Physiotherapy Centers in India  World Class Facilities Available  Special Treatment for Golfers-Sports-Computer Professionals

RTE: An overview

the British India of 1947, India had a literacy rate of 12 per cent; now, after 65 years, almost 74 per cent of India’s population is literate. But, unfortunately, this praise-worthy increase in the state of literacy has failed to bring social parity.

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apoleon once said that if you want to be successful in life then make promises, but deliver nothing. While saying this he must have foreseen present day Gurgaon, where builders have become a law unto themselves, as they parcel the City into small fiefdoms – making promises they never mean to keep. Such is the clout of these modern day Napoleons that neither the executive nor the legislature is able to coerce them to follow the law of the land. And the citizens, lured by the promises of world class living, green spaces, exclusive clubs and a bevy of

other claims, often spend their hard earned money in buying dreams that rarely come true. B.K Dhawan, President of the Haryana Apartment Owners Association, attributes the dominance of the builders to the failure of the Haryana government to implement the Haryana Apartment Ownership Act 1983. “To protect the builders, the government had to re-notify the Act in 1997, which makes a mockery of

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the rule of law. The Act in itself is complete; but what is required is the will to enforce it in letter and spirit,” he says. With a large number of developers reneging on their promises, questions are also being raised on the functioning of the Department of Town and Country Planning (TCP), that is responsible for issuing licenses to builders and regulating their work. “The Department of Town and Country Planning

(TCP) is meant to monitor the work of real estate companies, but it seems to be working in collusion with them, and against the interests of apartment buyers,” alleges Dhawan. He has been involved in a long-standing struggle to safeguard the interests of apartment buyers. Whether it is a 20-year old housing society like the Oakwood Apartments, or the latest like the World Spa, the tussle between the apartment owners and the builders is threatening to unravel the real estate boom in Gurgaon. Dhawan says that TCP here is like a post office, whose job is to ship documents between Gurgaon and Chandigarh – as all the decisions are made in the State capital. Contd on p 21 


02

27 April–3 May 2012

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 VOL.–1 No.–36  27 April–3 May 2012

Editor:

WORKSHOP  THEATRE NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART

Nightlife

Atul Sobti

Shiva Squad Festival Promo Party @ Guvment, The Bristol, MG Road Date: May 6 Time: 8 pm

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Correspondents:

Hritvick Sen Maninder Dabas

Sr. Photographers: Prakhar Pandey Jit Kumar Sr. Sub Editors:

Anita Bagchi Shilpy Arora

Designers:

Manoj Raikwar Virender Kumar

Circulation Execs.:

Syed Mohd Komail Pankaj Yadav Sunil Yadav

Sr. Ad Sales Exec:

Bhagwat Kaushik

Design Consultant: Qazi M Raghib Editorial Office 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana Phones: +91 124 421 9091/92/93 Emails:

editor@fridaygurgaon.com letters@fridaygurgaon.com contributions@fridaygurgaon.com subscription@fridaygurgaon.com circulation@fridaygurgaon.com adsales@fridaygurgaon.com events@fridaygurgaon.com marketing@fridaygurgaon.com 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.

Nightlife

Darpan Dua’s Soulful Band Live @ Cafe Delhi Heights, 1st Floor, Cross Point, DLF Phase IV Date: April 27 Time: 9 pm

Music

Tagore’s Melodies in Bollywood @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: May 3 Time: 7 pm

Music

play featuring sixteen contemporary life sized puppet characters, enacting the story of how a little rag girl saves the world from untold peril. It is a fantasy-scifi-thriller suitable for adults and children.

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njoy the live performance of Darpan Dua, a musician, drummer, percussionist – and a follower of Sivamani.

Nightlife

Fat Boy Slim Live @ Leisure Valley, Sector 29 Date: May 5 Time: 5 pm

An Evening Of Classical Music @ Deerwood Chase, 251, Nirvana Country, Sector 50, Gurgaon Date: May 2 Time: 7 pm

n Odissi dance performance by Sharon Lowen at Delhi Public School, Sushant Lok I, and a Bhatarnatyam recital by Rama Vaidyanathan at Delhi Public School, Sector 45. The events are organised by Spic Macay. For more information, write to: shilpa.sonal@gmail.com.

Art

Sree Art Exhibition @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: May 4 to May 5 Time: 11 am to 7 pm

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vocal recital by Sarathi Chatterjee, Arun Chatterjee, and Shiv Shankar Ray.

Music

Dance

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Gurgaon Utsav @ Amphitheatre, Biodiversity Park, MG Road Date: April 28 Time: 7 pm

Odissi Dance Performance

Exhibition-cum-Sale Spring Summer Exhibition @ A-40/21, DLF Phase 1 Date: April 27 and April 28 Time: 12 noon

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Jewellery and Apparel Exhibition by India Jewellery Store, and Tiramisu Clothing.

Chef Vijaylaxmi TOP-4, MASTER CHEF INDIA-2

C

atch famous British DJ Norman Quentin Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, live at Leisure Valley; with opening acts from DJ Arjun Vagale, and Dualist Inquiry.

` 364

Nightlife

Special offer price ` 200

New York to New Delhi Karaoke @ Mojo's, DLF City Center Mall, DLF Phase 2, MG Road Date: May 5 Time: 6 pm

` 164

No. of issues

A

group painting Exhibition by Aditi Prakash, Aayushi Nevatia, Anushka Manchanda, Kriti Jain, Muskan Bajaj, Nishta Sawhney, Shrishti Gultati, Taara Khar, and Urvi Khanna.

1 year subscription

Savings

@ Delhi Public School, Sushant Lok I, and Delhi Public School, Sector 45 Date: April 30 Time: 10 am

A

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n evening of Rabindranath Tagore’s melodies and songs in Bengali and Hindi by a troupe, followed by a Dance Drama, Radha Ki Abhilasha, based on Tagore’s Bhanusingher Padavali. The choreography is based on Odissi, Manipuri and Bharatnatyam dance forms, presented by – Shukla Banerjee, disciple of Dibakar Khuntia; Arup Mitra, disciple of Dibakar Khuntia; Chandra Moitra, disciple of Guru Dibakar Khuntia; Sanjukta Panigrahi in Odissi and Manipuri style; and Thankumani Kutty in Bharatnatyam style. The event is organised by Global Cultural Foundation.

Theatre

Into The Box @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: May 5 & May 6 Time: 7:30 pm

TO SUBSCRIBE

Cover price

njoy the soulful country music with Bobby Cash, and the famous band Rodeo Cowboy.

hiva Squad, an independent record label founded in India, presents an evening of music and dance at Guvment. For more informations call: 9873908088

Ankit Srivastava

Ad Sales Manager: Lokesh Bharadwaj

E

S

Accts. & Admin Mgr: Deba Datta Pati Head – Sales & Marketing:

Coming Up

52

*circulated only in Gurgaon

 Baking  Italian cuisine  Continental cuisine  Master Chef Kitchen’s selected recipes

njoy the sunday evening with karaoke music. Come and sing your heart out.

at your doorstep, ask your subscription@fridaygurgaon.com

COOKING CLASSES

E

To get Friday Gurgaon* newspaper vendor or email us at

15% Discount for FG Subscribers

S

onam Kalra, a vocalist whose skill spans both Western and Indian musical traditions, will perform at the newly opened Amphitheatre. For more information, write to: artsindelhi22@yahoo.in.

Nightlife

Country Music Night @ Roadhouse Bar & Grill DoubleTree By Hilton, Sector 56 Date: April 27 Time: 8 pm

Classes are scheduled only for the weekends

Limited Seats Only


C eleb W atch

27 April–3 May 2012

03

Astitva @ Nirvaan

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riday night turned out to be a musical treat for all the rock lovers at Pub Nirvaan, as the famous rock band, Astitva, churned out its unforgettable hits. The performance kickstarted at 8:30 pm, and went on till the wee hours of the morning. The crowd grooved to the beats of the band, to rock the floor.

Vapour Rocks Euphoria

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ne of India’s leading music bands, Euphoria, rocked the stage at Vapour. The crowd gathered hours before the show. After making a secret entry to the stage, the band launched its upcoming international release, “C U later”. From “Maayeri” to “Ab Naa Jaa” and “Dhoom Pichak Dhoom”, the band made the crowd swing to its chartbusters. “It is our first ever pub gig in North India. Very rarely do we get to play at events where the crowd enjoys both our originals and the covers. This truly will be marked in our hearts as one of our memorable gigs,” said Palash Sen.

Book Festival At Fortis

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Accor Jhooms On

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hweta Gulati and Gaurav Gera, lead cast of Jhumroo, the new Bollywood musical at the Kingdom of Dreams, celebrated Earth Day with the underprivileged children – who planted trees at the Accor hotel. After a cake-cutting ceremony, the actors also made the children, hotel employees, and guests do the ‘Jhumroo’ signature dance step. Accor launched Planet 21, the group’s green initiative – involving all Accor hotels, employees, and customers.

ewly opened Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) hosted a four-day Book Festival at its premises, in association with National Book Trust. Inaugurated by acclaimed author Gurcharan Das, it was the first ever Book Festival held in the City. The Festival, that culminated on April 23, on World Book Day, saw reading sessions, panel discussions, and workshops for children with special needs. The Festival boasted of distinguished names, such as Vatsala Kaul Banerjee, Publishing Director Hachette; Paro Anand, Author of Books for Children and Young Adults; Advaita Kala, Novelist and Film Writer; and M.A. Sikandar, Director of National Book Trust, among others.

Canon Drive

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s a part of Corporate Social Responsibility, Canon India, in association with “i am Gurgaon”, has adopted 700 saplings in Biodiversity Park, near Guru Dronacharya Metro Station. Present for this green drive were Mr. Kazutada Kobayashi, President & CEO Canon India, along with employees who came with their families to teach the under-privileged children of Pragati School (an NGO). The initiative is aimed at creating an awareness about environmental issues, by involving the people of the City to make a difference.

Strike One Pakistani Laal Rock

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he first anniversary celebration of the Striker pub turned into an impromptu jam session, as singers, models, and sportsmen walked in to wish the Pub. The City, first time, saw the performance of a unique fusion band – featuring Chintan Kalra from Parikrama, Rohit Kulkarni from Think Floyd, Melino from Black Slade, Bismarc Pinto from Bizzy Bee, and Aveleon Vaz and Shiv Ahuja from Five8. The Magician, Tushar Kapoor, stunned the audience with his skills. Model Sanjana Jon, Shooter Shimon Sharif, and India’s first French-certified Wine Sommelier, Magandeep Singh, were seen enjoying beer and some good food.

akistan-based rock band, Laal Band, performed for the first time in the City, at Attitude Alive. The revolutionary poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Habib Jalib and Ahmed Faraz, quotes of Karl Marx, and a song dedicated to Lenin, were the highlights of the day. The band encouraged the audience to sing along, occasionally stopping to quote Karl Marx, and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.The band is famous for singing the poetry of progressive poets such as Faiz and Jalib.


04

27 April–3 May 2012

FOOD

A Delightful Walk { Aalok Wadhwa }

BOOK

{ Alka Gurha }

S

uncity is a shining example of a good Gurgaon neighbourhood. It is a lush, clean, well-laid out microcosm, of what the rest of our City could be like. And in its neighbourhood market is the popular eatery, Spice Walk. It is easy to be deceived by the small size of the restaurant—but this 500 square feet space not only caters to the demands of the neighbourhood, but also delivers food to far flung areas of Gurgaon. I am greeted by its rather young owner, Saptarshi Ghosh. A management graduate, he has found his calling in serving homely staple food. I order the restaurant’s nonveg tandoori sampler (Rs. 300). A good while later, out comes a beautifully laid out tray of samplers – of chicken

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Spice Walk Shop No. 108, Suncity Arcade, Sector 54, Gurgaon Phone: 0124 4222355, 9990074419 Cuisine: Indian, Chinese Timing: 11 am to 3:30 pm, 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm menu, and order the obvious—dry chilly chicken (Rs. 155) with veg noodles (Rs. 70). The noodles retain their original colour thankfully, with no onslaught of soy sauce; and the chilly chicken is competent. The food at Spice Walk is unpretentious and delightful. Where the restaurant excels is in its staple Indian dishes. I can picture myself ordering from here for lazy weekend dinners. And whatever I order, I know the dal makhni will be a part of it. u

tikka, malai tikka, lasooni tikka, chilly chicken tikka, and mutton seekh kabab. The chilly chicken tikka stands out. Now here is an innovation that should have happened a long time ago. Two of the most popular Indian recipes (chilly chicken and tikka) come together, to produce an intriguingly interesting taste. The kababs are a little dry. For the main course, the first dish that I order, on Saptarshi’s recommendation, is rahra meat (Rs. 160 for half a plate) – accompanied by roomali roti (Rs. 10). This mutton dish has been cooked in a mutton keema based gravy. It is a meaty mouthful, cooked well. It is with the dal makhni (Rs. 90) that the restaurant starts exhibiting its true prowess. Here is a dish straight from the heart of Punjab – and it not for the calorie conscious. The combination of a comfortingly cooked urad dal, with all the masalas, cream and ghee, is a rich, flavourful journey into the balle-balle land. Chef Gopal Singh reveals the secret. He buys the dal himself, because only the right grain size gives the taste; and then he soaks it in vinegar-infused water, to give the dal the perfect consistency. Happy with the mains, I go on to taste the Hind-Chini side of the

He’s Different

R eviews

FG

FIRST

Master Recipe

Vijaylaxmi – Masterchef (Season 2): Top 4

Roti Sandwich Ingredients

5 pieces Chicken Salami 1 Green pepper (diced) 1 Onion (chopped) 1 Garlic clove (minced) ¼ tspn Dried rosemary (crushed) 4 (6 inch) Flour or wheat flour rotis 1 Red tomato (diced) ¼ cup Fresh sliced mushrooms 1½ cups Mozzarella and cheddar cheese mixed Oil (for cooking)

Method

 Cook salami in a pan till it becomes a little brown. Slice it into thin strips.  Heat oil in a large pan. Sauté peppers, onion, garlic and mushrooms until tender. Sprinkle rosemary on top of the vegetables.  Place 1 roti at the bottom of the pan. Lay out a layer of the mixed cheese (about ¼ cup). Add about half of the sliced salami as the next layer. Then, add a layer of the sautéed pepper mixture. Top with tomatoes and another layer of cheese. Add another roti on top. When the bottom roti is lightly browned, and the cheese starts to melt, flip and cook on the opposite side. Cut into wedges and serve with salsa sauce, or any other sauce.

’ll Do It My Way: The Incredible Journey of Aamir Khan is a filmography by Christina Daniels, and presents Aamir’s evolution as an actor – focusing on twentyone landmark films. It chronicles Aamir’s rise to stardom – as an Actor and a Director with a difference. Author and Film Critic Christina Daniels says, “Among contemporary Indian actors, Aamir Khan’s work stands out, because he attempts to do something different with every new film.” I’ll do it my way: The Christina has been working Incredible Journey of on the book for the past year. She Aamir Khan kicked it off with extensive research, Author: Christina Daniels that took her to FTII archives in PUBLISHER: Om Books Pune. She has covered Aamir’s jourInternational ney from Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak PRICE: Rs. 495 to 3 Idiots. GENRE: Filmography The book opens with ‘Early Years’, where Nasir Husain, Aamir’s father, gives the reader a glimpse of Aamir’s childhood. The rest of the chapters track the progression of Aamir Khan as an actor; and are narrated through the words of the various Directors he has worked with, in his eventful career. There are many behind-the-scenes amusing stories, from Dil to Raja Hindustani to Rang De Basanti. For instance, Dharmesh Darshan reveals that the kissing scene in Raja Hindustani took three days to shoot, under artificial rain and thunder. And it is endearing to note that Aamir fell in love with Reena, daughter of an Air India official, for her sense of humour. The book provides an insight to Aamir’s relationships with contrasting Directors – from Mansoor Khan to Indra Kumar to Mahesh Bhatt; and how they created great cinema together. Aamir’s personal life, and its ups and downs, are off the radar – since the book is not a biography. But there are remarkable anecdotes, and some rare personallife photographs. Though Aamir is a relatively young actor, he already has an interesting body of work behind him; and most of his films over the last decade have had a significant impact on Indian cinema. This book brings forth the various facets of Aamir, who has evolved into a multidimensional contributor to our Cinema. u

Yog Sadhan Ashram A 38, Grand Mansion,Rosewood City , Sector 49,Gurgaon 122016, Phone :0124 4266169 About Ashram : Yog Sadhan Ashram Gurgaon has been opened for Yogic Cures and Adoption of Yoga – for character development and promotion of Human Religion and Values. Services are free for all. Yog Sadhan Ashram Gurgaon has been started for the benefit of Gurgaon citizens. Yoga helps in curing illness and chronic diseases and is also beneficial for character development and cultivating better citizens. The Ashram provides services Free to all, irrespective of caste and religion. It is supported by Social Reforms Org., an NGO.(www.cosro.org) Learn shatkarmas – the cleaning of nasal system and stomach. Warm saline water is used to clean the nasal path called jal neti. Warm water is used for cleaning the stomach; the process is called Vaman. This is good for acidity problems and problems of indigestion. Come to the Ashram in the morning, on an empty stomach to learn Vaman. One can drink milk through the nose. This gives better eye sight and improves memory. Mission: YOGA FOR CURING ILLNESS YOGA FOR CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT FREE TEACHING Timings: 7.00 to 8.30 am and 4.00 to 6.00 pm. All days of the week. Place:

A 38, Rose wood City, Grand Mansion, Gurgaon, Ph 0124 4266169 Also at : Yog Sadhan Ashram 17/32, East Punjabi bagh, New Delhi 110026

Website: www.ysaindia.org, www.yogsadhanashram-usa.org Contact: Ramesh Kumar, Ex DRDO Scientist www.rameshkumar.co.in


27 April–3 May 2012

C eleb W atch

05

Usha’s Striking Notes { Shilpy Arora / FG }

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ndia’s pop queen Usha Uthup, who recently performed at the Striker brewpub, speaks to Friday Gurgaon about her musical inspirations, and her experience in the Millennium City.

Q A

Was it your first performance in Gurgaon? How does it feel performing in the City? No, it was not my first performance in the City. I performed before as well, during Durga Puja. It was absolutely fantastic to perform in Gurgaon, as it has become a happening city now. The first thing that took me by surprise, when I got into the car, was that the driver asked me “Gurgaon jana hai ya Delhi jana hai”. I was so surprised because I never realized Gurgaon is out of Delhi. And while going back to Delhi, the lights and buildings near the highway gave me a feel as if I was abroad. I think Gurgaon is an eyeopener for our country. The City is an ideal example on how a place can develop.

Q A

How was the response of the audience at Striker? The response was quite unbelievable. It was a chock-abloc house. The audience were ready to enjoy themselves. What surprised me was the fact that the audience knew every song of mine, and they sang along.

and joy that I am somehow bringing happiness and peace of mind to people. I would like to thank Chevrolet, McCain, and Wizcraft, for putting this concert together – and giving me a chance to perform in the Millennium City.

Q

How did you develop interest in Western music? What was it about Western music that attracted you to it 42 years ago? Well, I think it was the kind of upbringing I had. I was born to a middle-class family in Mumbai. My father was in the police. I did my schooling from a convent school, so the whole atmosphere was conducive to the kind of music I finally took up. It was radio that brought me closer to western music. In those days, the western music played on the air proved to be a great source of inspiration for me. Also, my two elder sisters inspired me to take up western music. I took up singing 42 years ago; but I have never attended any music school. I never went through any formal training in music. I was inspired totally by the radio. The encouragement from the family and audience also inspired me a lot.

A

Q

You started your career with live performances in pubs and nightclubs. It was rare to see women in nightclubs at that time. Do you see this mindset changing in the cities like Gurgaon, where even women party hard over weekends? In 1968-69, when I started singing, there was in fact no other woman who performed in the nightclubs. There was nobody like me at that time. Also, you couldn’t find many women in the audience. Gradually, the things have changed. I still remember I used to joke that women are my biggest supporters, as they know that with a body and a face like mine, I am no danger to their husbands! (laughs). But the truth is, women started relating to me because I looked so much like a girl next door. I don’t have any glamour attached to my personality. That is why people started coming to listen to me, and the nightclub culture has become quite a family thing. Of course, the mindset of people in Gurgaon has also changed. Women have really come into the scene. I am glad I helped wiping off the stigma attached to the nightclub culture, even

A

Q A

Can you recount any memorable moment? The most memorable moment was when a beautiful couple, right in front of me, said that they feel really happy, and are at peace with the world, when they listen to me. It was a great compliment. No matter what problems they have at home or work, when people come to listen to me, they forget all their worries, and get along with me very well. It gives me immense satisfaction

though it was a small drop in the ocean.

Q A

You sing in over 17 Indian languages. Do you know Haryanvi?! Unfortunately, I don’t know Haryanvi. But if somebody would teach me or give me a song in Haryanvi to sing, I will be extremely happy to sing it.

Q

Would you like to perform in the City again? Do you have any other concerts planned for the future? I would definitely want to perform in the City, especially at the Striker pub, which is an amazing place. I just love the ambience and the entire set up. To put it in a quote, I would say, “If you are at Striker, you really strike right.” My music just struck the right note, and the audience over there enjoyed every single moment. u

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06

It Must Be Right

 Contd from p 1 the country. “A child who is denied the right to access education is not only (being) deprived of his right to live with dignity, he is also (being) deprived of his right to freedom of speech and expression enshrined in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution,” the Court said. By a majority view, a three-judge bench of Chief Justice SH Kapadia, Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Swantanter Kumar said the Act will apply uniformly to all schools.

Gurgaon’s scenario

Gurgaon, the Millennium City of India, is believed to be the City of the rich and high class people – where poor have no place to reside; and the cost of living, touching new highs with each passing day, further makes it difficult for the poor to survive here. Can RTE bring some solace to their already sabotaged lives? Indeed, it’s a question of great debate and discussion, and when we go a bit deeper into the scenario, the situation looks grimmer. Gurgaon City has about 70 big private schools, along with 115 government Primary and Middle level schools. So, as far as infrastructure is concerned Gurgaon has no dearth of schools, and it should be able to embrace all its kids upto 14 years of age. “It’s a revolutionary step, to achieve the egalitarian society that intellectuals have been talking about for centuries; and I am very happy to do all things possible to get

ghettos, where the real target population resides. Hence the onus of fulfilling the promise of education will fall back on government schools. In Haryana, there is a primary school and a middle level school, at every few kilometres,” says Manoj Kaushik, the District Education Officer, Gurgaon.

An avant-garde step

“Indeed it’s great step taken by the government, and now even the SC order has made it mandatory for the private schools. These laws existed earlier as well, but no private school would give them a heed. Now, these school-cumeducational business houses will have to give admission to 25 per cent Economically Weaker Section (EWS) children. The very concept of education itself states that the prime objective of education is equality; and RTE is one step from which this goal can be achieved – if not sooner than later,” says Snehlata Devi, Director, State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT). Premlata Yadav, the District Elementary Education Officer (DEEO), who is the key person to implement this law at the grass root level, says, “Yes, this law will certainly help in improving the education-

A bridge or another bay?

Some Acts are a two edged sword; and sometimes in pursuit of reaping proper benefits of the Act, people find themselves in another dimension – which they don’t anticipate at all. RTE, too, instead of bridging the gap between the different poles of the society, may further deepen the already existing bay. “Everybody is talking about the law and how it would change the scenario. But nothing will change overnight in the first place; and secondly, has anybody ever thought about the impact it will have on the minds of the under-privileged kids? Till now they are habitual of going to small schools, where they meet other children of the same status; but suddenly such a sea change could leave them flabbergasted – and one should also think about the acceptability factor. We can only make them sit in the same class, but we can’t force kids from different stratas to accept each other. This may leave these underprivileged kids with a very painful inferior complex, which could last throughout their lives,” says Jakhar. Harshita Mann too spoke about it, “We can make them sit in the same class, and provide them the same guidance. However, the rich child will have a good uniform, and a high quality bag and stationery, whereas the poor student won’t be having the same. To some it may not mean anything – but the child will see, and notice the difference,” says Harshita Mann. each and every child of Gurgaon an education free of cost under RTE. Gurgaon has a population of almost 20 lakhs, and almost 3.5 to 4 lac kids are under the age of 14. Private schools may call it an untoward step, because it will certainly hamper the commercial gains; for them, education is primarily a business. Unfortunately, this law has some complications, which may allow private schools to get away easily, and government schools to again take the responsibility for implementation. According to the RTE law, any child below 14 years of age is entitled to a free education in a school (government or private) within a one kilometre radius of his/her house. Most of the private schools are in well-located posh areas, miles away from

C over Story

27 April–3 May 2012

al standards. Private schools, against their will, will now be forced to give admissions to poor kids. It is indeed a great step to achieve social equality in the long run. However, the laws in India often succumb at the altar of implementation, and I won’t be very surprised if these so-called private education distributors find some potential way of getting away from this law. The Education department will try its level best to get any Gurgaon child, who is under 14, to get admission in a school,” she says. Private schools too have not drawn swords to criticise this ruling by the Court. “As an individual I admire this step to a great extent; it looks great, with an amazing potential to bring parity in the society. If

Separate schools would help!

“Well, on a personal front, I am quite happy about the Court ruling, and the government’s sincere effort to raise the bar of education. But when it comes to pragmatic implementation, many Acts constituted by the State fall short. This one too won’t help a great deal. I would advocate the implementation of this Act in a slightly different way. The government should open separate schools for such underprivileged children, and that can happen on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model – where nongovernment institutions can also chip in and help to build a new order in society,” says Neeru Sharma. it gets implemented effectively, by keeping the welfare of both the sides in mind, it indeed can be a remarkable success,” says Neeru Sharma, Vice Principal, GD Goenka World School, Gurgaon. But at the altar of pragmatism it may find itself in jeopardy; and the situation can go from bad to worse.

not all about sitting in a class and seeing a blackboard. The government needs to take care of our well being as well. We are running school buses, and the state increases the fuel prices every two months; let them provide schools some subsidy on the fuel. There would be several other things that the school shares equally with all kids – irrespective of who is paying more. Implementation of this law will create an inequality of a different kind – where the rich would be suffering more than the poor,” says Col (retd) C.R Jakhar, Principal, Swiss Cottage School, Palam Vihar. Harshita Mann, the Director of Lancers International School, also spoke about it candidly. “This is indeed a great step taken by the government, but it should also find some way to give small private schools some respite from this sudden burden. 25 per cent of seats in any school is not a small number, and the institution would have to compromise on many fronts. The big established schools may easily afford it, but for small educational institutions like our, it would be tough task,” says Harshita Mann.

A burden on institutions

“RTE is government’s way to provide an equal education platform to the haves and havenots, so that an equal and egalitarian socio-economic order can be formed in the years to come. Indeed it’s a revolutionary step, and as an Indian and individual I appreciate it from the core of my heart. But education has become a business now, and people have vested interest in coming to the field of education. It’s not a cake walk to build schools and colleges, and run them. In this law, the state has only taken care of the poor; it has not given a single thought as to how private institutions will manage such a huge share to be given to poor kids. The government has talked of reimbursing some of the fee, but education is

State gearing up for RTE implementation

In order to implement the Court’s guidance under the RTE, the State government has decided to recruit 25 thousand teachers, to enhance the educational set-up in government schools all across the State. The Board would soon initiate the process for the selection. Fifteen thousand teachers would be recruited for school education, and ten thousand for elementary education. The State government would spend Rs. 8,245.58 crores in the current financial year under plan and non-plan schemes for education. This is Rs. 1,369.59 crores more than the previous financial year.

Food Take

People’s view

Although RTE is an Act made for the benefit of the poor, it will also make a serious impact on the lives of the middle class and the elite. “Indeed, it is going to be tough to adjust. I don’t want my child to sit with some labourer’s kid who is there just because the government has forced the school to give him or her admission. It is a good step for society, and it may produce results in the longer run, but most of the parents who are spending fortunes on their children In the course of time, all the dust will settle; and from then onwards there would be an inception of a new era – an era of equality and harmony,” says Mahesh Sharma, whose son studies in a private school in Sector-46. in Public Schools won’t like this step at all,” says a parent on the condition of anonymity. However, there are people who believe that this step will change the fortunes of this country, with both the poor and the rich coming to a common platform. “Initially one may find it hard to gel with underprivileged kids, but in the course of time, all the dust will settle; and from then onwards there would be an inception of a new era – an era of equality and harmony,” says Mahesh Sharma, whose son studies in a private school in Sector-46. The real beneficiaries of this law would be the poor, whose kids would get education free of cost, and that too in a reputed private school. “The other day we were discussing this law, and I hope my children too will get educated, so that they don’t have to work as labourers. Our kids are working with us now, because we can’t afford to educate them; but if they get education free of cost, it would be great for our, as well as their, future,” says Suresh Kumar, a labourer living in the ghettos near Kanhai Village in Sector-45. u

As of April 26, 2012 All Prices in Rs/kg. Sector Safal Reliance 23 Fresh

Area/ vegetables

Palam Vihar

Sector 54

South City 1

DLF City Phase 5

Sadar Bazar

Potatoes (old/new)

16

16

15

15

12

15

15.90

13

Onions

16

15

12

15

10

16

10

10

Tomatoes

22

32

16

30

20

24

26

16

Cucumbers

32

24

10

15

16

30

7.90

8

Beans

80

70

60

60

50

64

58

60

Ridge Gourd

60

60

50

60

48

60

48

60

Brinjal

40

32

30

30

28

32

40

30

Ladies Finger

60

64

60

70

54

64

56

60

Mushroom

70

70

60

65

50

60

50

-


27 April–3 May 2012

CINEMA

THIS WEEK Big Cinemas: Ansal Plaza Tezz Time: 10.45 am, 1.45 pm, 4.30 pm, 7.00 pm, 9.45 pm Vicky Donor Time: 11.40 am, 2.25 pm, 5.00 pm, 7.30 pm, 10.00 pm The Avengers Time: 11.00 am, 2.00 pm, 7.45 pm, 10.30 pm Housefull 2 Time: 4.45pm Address: 3rd floor, Ansal Plaza, G Block, Palam Vihar Website: www.bigcinemas.com PVR: Ambience Premier TEZZ Time: 10.20 am, 11.40 am, 2.15 pm, 3.30 pm, 4.50 pm, 6.05 pm, 7.25 pm, 8.40 pm, 10.00 pm, 11.15 pm Vicky Donor Time: 10.00 am, 12.35 pm, 3.10 pm, 5.45 pm, 8.20 pm, 10.55 pm THE AVENGERS 3D Time: 10.40 am, 1.45 pm, 4.50 pm, 7.55 pm, 10.55 pm HATE STORY Time: 12.55 pm Mirror Mirror Time: 7.00 pm 21 Jump Street Time: 10.00 am, 9.05 pm Housefull 2 Time: 12.10 pm, 11.10 pm Titanic-3D Time: 3.20 pm

L istings

07

Address: 3rd Floor, Ambience Mall, NH-8 Website: www.pvrcinemas.com PVR: Ambience Gold The Avengers 3D Time: 11.45 am, 3.00 pm, 6.15 pm, 9.30 pm TEZZ Time: 12.00 noon, 5.20 pm, 10.40 pm Vicky Donor Time: 2.40 pm, 8.00 pm PVR MGF: MGF Mall TEZZ Time: 10.00 am, 1.15 pm, 3.10 pm, 5.10 pm, 6.25 pm, 7.45 pm, 8.20 pm, 10.20 pm, 11.35 pm Vicky Donor Time: 10.40 am, 12.35 pm, 3.50 pm, 5.45 pm, 9.00 pm, 10.55 pm

The Avengers 3D Time: 10.00 am, 1.05 pm, 4.10 pm, 5.10 pm, 7.15 pm, 8.15 pm, 10.20 pm, 11.20 pm Dhammu (TELUGU) Time: 10.40 am, 6.15 pm Oru Kal Oru Kannadi (TAMIL) Time: 10.00 am Mirror Mirror Time: 4.10 pm 21 Jump Street Time: 9.05 pm Hate Story Time: 12.25 pm Life Ki Toh Lag Gayi Time: 10.15 am, 3.00 pm Titanic-3D Time: 1.30 pm Housefull 2 Time: 1.05 pm, 11.10 pm Address: 3rd floor, MGF Mall, MG Road

Ph: 0124- 4530000 Website: www.pvrcinemas.com PVR Sahara: Sahara Mall TEZZ Time: 10.00 am, 3.00 pm, 5.35 pm, 8.10 pm, 10.45 pm The Avengers - Angarrey Bane Sholay 3D Time: 10.30 am, 7.10 pm The Avengers 3D Time: 1.35 pm, 10.15 pm Vicky Donor Time: 12.35 pm, 4.40 pm Address: Sahara Mall, MG Road Ph: 0124- 4048100 Website: www.pvrcinemas.com DT Mega Mall: DLF Phase I TEZZ – Hindi Time: 10:20 am, 12:50 pm, 03:20 pm, 08:45 pm, 11:15 pm Vicky Donor (U/A) – Hindi Time: 10:55 am, 01:20 pm, 03:45 pm, 06:10 pm, 08:35 pm, 11:00 pm Housefull 2 Time: 5:50 pm DT City Centre: DLF Phase II TEZZ – Hindi Time:10:30 am, 01:00 pm, 03:30 pm, 06:00 pm, 08:30 pm, 11:00 pm Vicky Donor (U/A) – Hindi Time: 10:45 am, 01:10 pm, 06:25 pm, 08:50 pm, 11:15 pm Housefull 2 Time: 3:35 pm Titanic-3D Time: 4:35 pm Website: http://dt-cinemas.com DT Star Mall: Sector 30 TEZZ – Hindi Time:10:50 am, 03:40 pm, 06:00 pm, 11:05 pm Vicky Donor (U/A) – Hindi Time:01:15 pm, 06:05 pm, 08:30 pm, 10:55 pm

THE WEEK THAT WAS

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♦ Suraksha, Sewa, Sehyog - The passing out parade of the 76th batch of women police constable recruits was organized at the Recruitment Training Centre, Bhondsi. Of the 438 women, 34 are postgraduates, 122 graduates, 32 professional graduates, 1 B. Tech., 1 MBA, and 248 school pass outs. ♦ Recruit Parmila Devi bagged the overall first position, and was presented a laptop, a camera, and a First Class Commendation Certificate. Meeran Devi and Rajni Bai were adjudged second and third resp., and received a camera and certificate each. ♦ The CM was the Chief Guest. He said that Haryana would create 100 new posts of the rank of DSP. Rules for promotion have also been revised. The ranks of in charges of police stations have been raised, from Sub-Inspector to Inspector. 3% of seats have been reserved for outstanding sports persons. The next of kin of a policeman who sacrifices his life while on duty gets Rs 10 lakhs. He also announced funds for construction of police schools and residences. ♦ 10% of the seats in police recruitment have been reserved for women; and to date 2,203 women have been recruited.

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♦ Another few days old girl found in a garbage heap. This is the third such case in just a few weeks. ♦ A headless body found near railway track. Head recovered later. Agitated society stops trains. Police take 3 in custody. ♦ There has been a spate of suicides - a BBA student found hanging in her hostel – family has filed FIR against her private college; woman found hanging in a DLF Phase III guesthouse; man found hanging from hotel room fan; girl found hanging at her residence. ♦ An auto driver is shot dead. A mechanic kills his wife, 2 daughters and then hangs self. ♦ Girl consumes poisonous material at Mini Secretariat premises. Is in hospital now. Claims that she was only paid token advance by the buyer, and so wants registered sale deed cancelled. FIR has been filed against her, for attempted suicide. ♦ 5 apprehended with illegal weapons – plotting crimes, or having committed crimes. ♦ Domestic help, a minor, is rescued from Sushant Lok. ♦ A boy alleges abduction and molestation;

father retracts FIR 2 days later. ♦ Fire in a garments factory. ♦ A woman loses almost Rs 5 lacs in a private bank fraud. ♦ A man is cheated of Rs 35,000 in ATM fraud. ♦ 2 policemen’s rider bikes stolen. ♦ Milk spilt on road by milk suppliers, as protest for low prices paid for their milk. ♦ Patient’s relatives create disruption at a private hospital. Claim that a lady patient not being taken care of, despite her being operated 5 times, and them having paid Rs 80 lacs to date. Hospital says Rs 18 lacs outstanding, but is still treating the lady. Hospital files FIR against the relatives, for being unruly, and misbehaving with security staff. ♦ City bus service to start soon. 50 buses, on 4 routes. Rates from Rs 5 to 15. Operating from 6 am to 10pm. Monthly passes will also be issued. ♦ MCG Budget for 2012-13 passed – Income Rs 1016 crores; Expenditure Rs 533 crores - over Rs 400 crores for development and equipment.


08

27 April–3 May 2012

Update: ‘Unauthorised’ Colonies { Hritvick Sen / FG }

T

he process to get Gurgaon’s unauthorised colonies regularised is turning out to be a long, hard road for the Councillors and the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon. Despite the Team Mayor’s optimism, officials feel that the regularisation process is going to be a lengthy one. In our last report on the status of unauthorised colonies, the MCG had drawn up a revised list of colonies, because many of them were failing the regularisation parameters. In spite of this, the Councillors and MCG maintained an upbeat view, saying that ‘we can start work on those villages and colonies that fulfill the norms’. In the latest MCG meeting on Wednesday, when the topic of regularisation of the unauthorised colonies was raised, it was drowned in a sea of rhetoric. “There was no one who could give a definite date as to when this would happen,” says Nisha Singh, Councillor for Ward 30. “We have forwarded the list of colonies for regularisation from our end,” says a senior official of the Corporation. “However, when it will get passed is not in our hands. This is a decision to be taken at the Chief Secretary level, and has to be ratified by

the Chief Minister himself. Presenting a date will not help. However, we have been told that the process would be completed soon.” MCG’s Chief Town Planner S.C Kush sheds some more light on the situation. “The file has already been prepared and sent from our side,” he declares. So why is it not happening, despite the months passing? “Because there are several factors that have to be considered before such a motion is passed. For one, it is not only Gurgaon’s unauthorised colonies that are to be regularised,” he says. There are numerous colonies in Faridabad, Rewari, Rohtak, Hissar and each city of the State. “This decision has state-wide implications. The senior administration at Chandigarh has asked for a list of unauthorised colonies to be regularised from each town and city, and the decision will be made together, he reasons. Further, to bring each of these areas into the ‘controlled limits’ of the Municipal Corporation (so that they can be then included for development work), a development charge has to be set by the senior administration, for each of the areas. “When an area is regularised, basic amenities like water supply, power lines, sewer

network has to be set up, as a part of the process. There is a cost to everything,” says Kush. The file on the unauthorised colonies has the details of what is present in these colonies, and the cost of what is needed has to be calculated. Earlier, the cost was around Rs. 250 per sq. yard, sources say. Now that figure has to be revised, because it will no longer cover the development charges as of this date. A Councillor remarks that the people in the unauthorised colonies would not understand the issue of fairness to the state’s other cities. “What is needed is an MCG delegation that would appeal to the CM directly, to speed up the regularisation process. The meeting on Wednesday has given us the right to have a corpus fund, in which we can fasttrack development projects for our (authorised) villages – without having to get everything sanctioned from the Committee. By the time the unauthorised colonies get regularisation, the villages would have far more amenities than them. This will bring up new issues,” says the Councillor. As of now, the promise of Team Mayor to get the regularisation process fasttracked seems to be dead in the water. u

GRM Meets CM Gurgaon Renewal Mission members, led by Lt Gen Rajender Singh and Ambassador RP Singh IFS (Retd.),  met up with the CM in New Delhi on Sunday. They submitted  a memorandum, that stated that the City has some serious issues that need to be tackled. These include – the deterioration of law & order, esp. with respect to the security of women; the mushrooming of liquor vends in residential areas, and near to schools and religious places; and the repairs, maintenance and lighting of roads. GRM members also asked for more decentralization of financial authority to the Gurgaon administration.

Haryana Lokayukta in City Haryana Lokayukta Justice Pritampal, a retired Justice of the Punjab & Haryana High Court, enlightened the citizens on the Haryana Lokayukta Act. Enforced in 2004, the Act aims to curb corruption in govt. offices. All public servants (govt. officers, elected representatives – including former and present CMs) come under the ambit of the Act. The institution of the Lokayukta is an independent body. Justice Pritampal has suggested the following amendments to the Act: The Lokayukta should be empowered to take suo motu action on the reports of corruption published in the newspapers, or anonymous complaints. Also, the Lokayukta should have powers similar to that of contempt of court; so that any officer not obeying a Lokayukta directive could be prosecuted. Finally, a Lokayukta’s recommendation should be considered as sanction for criminal prosecution, when cheating by an officer is proved beyond doubt. Exhorting the public, he said that anybody can file a complaint against an officer, if malafide intentions are seen in administrative orders; or the orders are unfair and discriminatory. Unreasonable delay in the movement of a file can also be a justified reason to be aggrieved, and based on this a complaint can be filed against the concerned officer. The complaint should be filed alongwith an affidavit from a Public Notary, stating that what has been stated is true and correct to the best of his/her knowledge and belief. The fee is Rs 1,000 (and can be exempted for those who can’t afford it).

MCG BUDGET 2012-2013 Total Income: Rs. 1016 crores  Property Tax & Fire Tax: Rs. 500 crores  Stamp Duty: Rs. 350 crores  Advertisement Tax: Rs. 30 crores  Income from Investment: Rs. 40 crores  Misc: Rs. 96 crores (Rental Income, Vehicle Tax, Parking Charges, Tender Sales, Trade Licences) Expenditure 2012-13  Total Expenditure: Rs. 533 crores  Development Works: Rs. 322 crores  Sanitation Works: Rs 31 crores  Sanitation machinery: Rs. 25 crores  Fire Safety Equipment: Rs. 25 crores { Hritvick Sen / FG }

T

his year, the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) has proposed to (again) open its purse strings for the city’s cleanliness. Over valid claims of the Corporation underutilising its corpus for development and maintenance, the Councillors are happy with Wednesday’s Budget meeting; some promises can now be kept. The Corporation has earmarked Rs. 322 crore for development works across the City. Out of this amount, about Rs. 175 crores has been set aside

for repair and maintenance of the MCG’s current assets. This will include building and maintenance of roads, sewerage and storm water drainage, water supply channels, street lighting, traffic signals, and some other items. The big hike is in sanitation services. The MCG will be ordering for automated sweepers, and other machinery, to spruce up the City – with an increase of Rs. 10 crores, from its previous budget of Rs. 21 crores. Apart from its current safai staff strength of 430 workers, the MCG will be hiring 3,000 more workers.

It is of interest that while MCG did not make any real big investments in 2011, it accrued interest worth Rs. 40 crores from the bank. A Councillor said, “The reason why we couldn’t spend the money was that every little expenditure had to be verified and cleared from the Finance Committee. Then there was the red-tape surrounding the contractors, and the contract procedure. Everything added up to a long wait, even for a simple case of putting up a street-light. Now, we have big budget investments lined up. Once they start getting off the ground, we hope that our voters will feel that their faith in us was justified.” Councillor Mangat Ram Bagri sums it up, “Why was there so much dilly-dallying in the first place? If we have been put in place for the improvement of the City, then we should be allowed to have some freedom in prioritising the development work needed in our Wards. Instead, we had to go to various officials, trying to get our files passed. The Budget has certainly been raised to accommodate the expectation of the City’s public. But we can only hope that this year, the Councillors would be seasoned enough to aggressively push the development works needed in their Wards.” u

C ivic/S ocial

6.

Haryanvi Made Easy

Get a taste of the local lingo 1. My phone has got spoilt. Mera phone kharab ho gay se. 2. Where can I repair it? Phone kith sik theek karaun? 3. Is the shop close by? Dukaan dhorre sik se ke? 4. Do I have to leave it there? Wade dharna padega? 5. How long will it take? Kitnak tayim laagega? 6.Call me when it is repaired. Manne khabar kar diye jab

theek ho ja.


27 April–3 May 2012

C ivic/S ocial

09

In Search of Salvation { Abhishek Behl / FG }

D

espite the Supreme Court stay on demolition of houses in Dharam Colony, adjacent to posh Palam Vihar, the residents turn wary as soon as they hear a police siren – or see a JCB machine (that is nowadays called the ‘Peela Panja’). Residents of the Colony, that falls in the 900 meter disputed area, say that they are caught between the devil and deep sea, as neither the government is giving them basic facilities nor allowing them to create these from their private funds. They are worried about their future, and want the government and defence authorities to take a humane view of their ‘transgression’. “We have invested our hard earned money to build houses here, and if the government does not shift the ammunition depot somewhere else, we will be uprooted,” says Bunty Yadav, a shopkeeper, who lives in the Colony. Yadav says that he has a proper registry for the land, which he bought for Rs. 8,000 per square foot from a local farmer turned agriculturist. Neither he nor the government officials told me that this land was disputed, and my house could be demolished, he rues. However, unlike him, a large number of people

DHARAM COLONY in the Colony admit that they knew about the dispute, but still preferred to invest here – because building a house in HUDA sectors, or buying flats in builder colonies, was out of reach for them. Most of the residents in the Colony are from the lower middle and working class, who are manning the factories and offices that power Gurgaon’s economy. With the government not undertaking any development work here, the people say that at least they should be allowed to use their own funds for civic work. They are now requesting that till such time the Supreme Court issues the final order, the government should at least  repair, or let them repair, kuccha roads, street lights and sanitation pipes. “With no water supply system in place, all the houses in this Colony are dependent on personal tubewells. Many people have not been able to live in their houses, as boring is not being allowed here now,” says Santosh. He owns a plot in the area, and wants to construct a house, if the Supreme Court order is in favour of the

Too Big For The NCR { Abhishek Behl / FG }

I

t is common knowledge that despite being flush with funds, both MCG and HUDA have failed to upgrade the civic infrastructure of Gurgaon. But you will be surprised to know that while these authorities are not ready to help themselves, they are also averse to take help from outside agencies ready to fund the civic needs of the Millennium City. Recently a proposal put forth by the National Capital Region Planning Board, that wanted to set up a pilot project for improving the walkability of roads in Gurgaon, was cold shouldered – like some other proposals put forth by this agency. Naini Jayaseelan, IAS, Member Secretary, NCR Planning Board (NCRPB) says that the authorities in Haryana are not very receptive to initiatives for Gurgaon. Officials at the NCR Planning Board opine that Haryana government is ready to take its help for improving

infrastructure in smaller towns, but does not want it to enter the Millennium City. “We would like to help Gurgaon, as it is likely to face multiple problems due to weak civic infrastructure,” says Jayaseelan. She identifies water, sewage, and first and last mile connectivity, as three critical issues that will have a major impact on the City’s future. The water table is going down, the Metro has come but there is no provision for first and last mile connectivity,” says Jayaseelan. Indiscriminate issuance of building licenses also worries her. “Too many building complexes are coming up in Gurgaon without a serious thought to the necessary infrastructure required to sustain such a large population. The much hyped NCR water channel, that is being promised to be the panacea for the City’s water woes, has also been funded with assistance from NCRPB. The channel is ready, and water can be lifted – but the authorities in Gurgaon have not built adequate

National Capital Region (NCR) is one of the first experimental regions in the country, meant for inter-state regional development – with Delhi being at the core. The NCR comprises an area of about 33, 578 sq km, falling in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan. The four constituent Sub-Regions of NCR are given below: The Haryana Sub-Region comprises 9 districts—Faridabad, Gurgaon, Mewat, Rohtak, Sonepat, Rewari, Jhajjhar, Panipat and Palwal—40 per cent of the NCR. The Uttar Pradesh Sub-Region comprises of five districts—Meerut, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budha Nagar, Bulandshahr, and Baghpat—32 per cent of the NCR. The Rajasthan Sub-Region comprises of Alwar district – 23 per cent of the NCR. The NCT of Delhi constitutes the fourth sub-region—1,483 sq. Km—5 per cent of the NCR.

colony residents. The roads are kuccha in most part of the Colony, there are no street lights, and people have been forced to take illegal power connections – as legal connections are banned. “We are somehow surviving in this hellhole despite no facilities. The private builder who sold land to us has not built a road, although he had promised to do the same,” alleges Gajender Yadav, another resident. Yogesh Agarwal, who own a house in the Colony, alleges that plots were sold with the complicity of revenue authorities. “Many people have power connections issued by DHBVN. They also have voter I-cards and ration cards, that prove that the Administration knew about the existence of the Colony,” he says. Residents allege that while the government is bent on demolishing colonies in the 900 meter area, they should also take action against HUDA and Maruti, for building in the disputed area as well. Interestingly, off the records, storage facility for the water coming all the way from Panipat, says a senior official. As such, the project remains in a limbo. Jayaseelan says that the NCR Planning Board is ready to help Gurgaon, but the authorities there need to understand the importance of working together. “I am afraid that if things do not move in the right direction this City will likely turn into an oasis of gated communities – that are first signs of a decadent society,” she asserts. When Friday Gurgaon told her that a hospital built in Sector 10, with the assistance of NCR Board, was lying idle, she expressed surprise. She immediately asked her subordinates to issue a letter to the concerned authorities asking why such a major project had failed to take off. With Gurgaon’s sewage treatment plants and water supply schemes not being able to serve the City adequately, the NCR Planning Board’s offer of help needs to be taken seriously. “We would like to take up some projects, but firstly the Gurgaon authorities must be ready to accept help and involve us. Whenever we propose a scheme they do not accept it on the plea that they have enough funds,” states Jayaseelan. To ensure that the entire National Capital Region becomes a single economic zone, where people and commerce can move seamlessly, the NCRPB has made functional and regional plans, that aim to combine the strengths of the constituent units. “We have ensured that taxis in the NCR region can move seamlessly. In the near future the autos will also be able to move across the region,” says Jayaseelan. She admits that state authorities and boundaries can not be wished away. u

the government officials also agree that parts of Sector 14,17, 18, and even the head office of HUDA, fall in this zone. Not only this, parts of Maruti factory and some industrial units in Udyog Vihar, managed by another state agency, the HSIIDC, are also believed to be in contravention of the law. With the matter being taken up in the Supreme Court, the locals say that the authorities have assumed a very strict posture. “Earlier, power connections were issued, and people could dig for underground water. Now this has also been completely stopped,” says Lekh Raj, who lives in the Colony, and works there as well. Locals also say that they had voted in the recent MCG elections, and therefore should be given some benefits by the municipal body. “At least some streetlights can be put in the area, to make it safer for women moving about in the evening. There are thousands of people living in the Colony, and the government cannot just simply deny their presence on legalities,” says Bunty. He is angry over the manner in which things have turned out. Even as efforts are being made to find a legal solution, local residents are keeping their fingers crossed, and praying for the Supreme Court to take a humane account of their ‘violations’. Right now they want that, till the judicial process is over, their Colony—despite being illegal—should be given the basic facilities. Otherwise, the ensuing summer would be harsh on them. u

NCR 17 Class 1 Cities; About a 100 towns, and 7500 rural settlements – with a total of about 4 crores population Vision – Develop the entire NCR as a Region of global excellence. Regional Plan for NCR Lay down Land Use – after a careful examination of natural features, including susceptibility to natural disasters and socio-economic activities Develop Metro and Regional Centres as powerful growth nodes, to attract major activities Provide Regional Transport linkages and Mass Commuter System Construct Peripheral Expressways and orbital rail corridor around Delhi Develop Core Urban infrastructure (transport water, power, sewerage, drainage) Develop Model Industrial Estates, SEZs, outside NCT Delhi. 6 tier Settlement System 7 Metro Centres/Complexes outside Delhi – including Gurgaon-Manesar, 11 Regional Centres, Sub-Regional Centres, Service Centres, Central Villages, Basic Villages. 3 types of infrastructure requirements Regional level large investments in power, highways, railways etc.; Inter-State connectivity, and environment investments; City level investments. Project Priorities 100% sewerage development; solid waste management; integrated water supply; new townships; road networks; Regional Rapid Transit System; power transmission and distribution system.


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27 April–3 May 2012

Club Service

A Vision

{ Hritvick Sen / FG }

I

f seeing the world is the true meaning of living, then the gift of sight is nothing less than the Gift of the Magi. Working quietly in the background, for the less fortunate, is Niramaya Charitable Trust, a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) that provides free consultation and operations to cataract patients. More importantly, it signs up people for cornea donation, retrieval and transplantation; giving a chance to people with failing eyesight to see again. The Trust operates out of nine charitable eye centres in South Haryana, besides setting up weekly eye camps all over the District. R.S Jain, an active member of the Trust, says, “We have sessions where we educate people on eye-donation, and sign them up. We tell them how their gift will allow a blind person to see the world through their selfless gesture.” Since its inception in 2004, lakhs of patients have come to the Trust for eye care. From January to March alone this year, the doctors associated

PRAKHAR PANDEY

S

Rotary Public School

also adopted two jhuggi schools in Palam Vihar and Malibu Towne, and O.P Pahwa is helping them with books and stationery. In addition to education, the Lions Club has been working to promote eye care for several years in the Gurgaon district. The Club has been carrying out regular eye checkup camps, where cataract operations are carried out in routine. The Club now runs two regular centres, once a week, in Kasan village in Manesar, and another at Sidheshwar Temple in the City. People visiting these centres are treated free of cost; and in case of operations they are referred to Lions HospiSandeep Kumar tal in Delhi.

with the Trust have performed over 326 cataract operations. Social worker O.P Bhutani says, “I’ve been working in this field since 1987, and I got in touch with Dr. T.N Ahooja (the founder), and have worked with the Trust on a Consultant basis. We have people who go to societies like the Arya Samaj, and the Jain Sabha, and educate people on the virtue of eye-donation.” Dr. T.N Ahooja, the founder of the Trust says, “I’ve been practising in Gurgaon for over 42 years. Over time I saw so many people leading their lives in darkness, when they could be living heartily with a simple eye transplantation. Together with a few of my friends and supporters, we got the necessary licensing from Dr. T.N Ahooja

who are suffering from congenital heart diseases. “Twenty five youth from South Asia will be operated in Gurgaon free of cost, if they are referred to by any of the Club members. The operations will take place in Gurgaon,” informs Pahwa. They have associated with Rotary Club Gold Coast in the United States, to fund these operations. In addition, the Rotary Club runs the prestigious Rotary Public School in Sector 22 Gurgaon, where 2100 plus students are getting the benefit of quality education. “Almost 30 per cent of the students get free education in this School; and the beauty is that not even the teachers know of the identity of these students,” says Tribhawan Kumar Parnami, Chairman of the Trust that runs the School. They are also given free transport, books, dresses, and whatever help is required to ensure that they don’t miss out The Club also orgaon education. nises 4 to 5 blood donaParnami says that the funds generated tion camps every year. In Tribhawan Kumar by the School are ploughed back, to imaddition, several other Parnami prove the infrastructure, and serve the such activities to help under-privileged – by providing them betthe poor and the needy are carried out by ter education opportunities. the Club, says Kumar. In addition to the School, polio immunMembership to Lions Club is by invi- isation is another cause that has been tation only, and a person needs endorse- strongly taken up by the Rotary Club – ment from an existing member to be part both at the national level, and by the local of the Club. However, if twenty people chapter in Gurgaon. Pahwa says that durcome together, they can get their own ing polio immunisation week, the memClub registered. bers of the Club visit slums, and motivate Several such Lions Clubs have come the residents to participate in the drive. up in the City, says Kumar – but they “The Club has donated a cooling cabiwill need a lot of commitment to emu- net to the Gurgaon mortuary. We also late the Lions Club, Gurgaon City. “We regularly organise blood donation camps, also organise leadership meets, semi- and are now planning to set up our nars, and get-togethers to know each Blood Bank in Gurgaon,” says Parnaother well, and motivate the mem- mi. He was inspired by his father to get bers to work towards a better society,” into social service. says Kumar. The Rotary Club Gurgaon, he says, The Rotary Club Gurgaon is one gives a very good platform to concerned of the oldest social service organ- citizens, to help the weaker sections of isations in the City. It was started the society. The membership to the Club in 1972 by a group of committed is by invitation, and before becoming a social workers, who wanted to cre- member a person has to attend meetings, ate a platform to serve the society, to understand the culture and spirit of says O.P Pahwa, President of the the organisation. Club. This year the theme is to “EnFunds are generated by both the joy while we serve”; and as part of Clubs in-house, as the members prefer to this the Club is undertaking a major serve the society silently – away from exercise to help the kids and youth the spotlight. u

Chandigarh for an Eye-Bank, and set up the Niramaya Charitable Trust in 2004.” Since eye-donation is something that departs from the traditional norms, how does the Trust convince people to donate their organs? “We have set up ‘grief councillors’ in every part of the City – like R.S Jain in Sector-14. When a death occurs, these volunteer go and console the families, and request them to donate the person’s eyes.” Describing the process of eye-retrieval, Dr. Ahooja says, “Once we get the go-ahead, we have a team on stand-by at all hours. The team consists of an eye-technician and a driver.” The eye must be harvested in the space of a few hours,

Centres:

JiT KUMAR

{ Abhishek Behl / FG } ervice that is rendered without joy helps neither the server nor the served. All other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before a service that is rendered in a spirit of joy. This was once said by the Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi, who also exhorted us to serve others less fortunate. It is with the same zeal and fervour that members of Lions Club Gurgaon and Rotary Club Gurgaon City are serving the needy and the underprivileged, in the Millennium City. Club members say that their goal is to serve the society, do good, and to be of some use to those who want to gain control over their life and destiny. Towards this goal, both the Clubs have established schools in Gurgaon, that are imparting quality education to the children. Sandeep Kumar, President, Lions Club Gurgaon, says that the motto of their club is “We Serve” – and to this end the members contribute from their personal funds, to run charitable activities. Lions Public School in Sector-10 Gurgaon is one such institution, established by the Club, where 30 per cent of children are given education free of cost. Kumar says that these kids are also given free books, stationery, dresses, and whatever else is required to ensure that they are not deprived of education because of lack of resources. Not only this, even other students do not have to pay exorbitant fees, that has become the norm in public schools of Gurgaon. “We charge reasonable fees from the students, but give them the best quality of education possible,” says Kumar. Soon the school will be upgraded to a higher secondary level. Since education for the kids is a primary concern for Lions Club, the school also runs a second shift in the afternoon session, called Chetna School – where 150 under-privileged students are imparted education. “To ensure that these students do not leave the school, and to motivate their parents, we give them 10-kg flour every month, under a scheme called Ek Mutthi Anaaj,” says Kumar. The Club has

Civic/Social

 Niramaya Eye Care Centre, Jacobpura, Gurgaon  Himgiri Niramaya Charitable Eye Care Centre, Kadipur, Gurgaon  Nambardar Bhawani Dass Dhaluram Sadana, Niramaya Eye Care Centre, Farukh Nagar  Lala Maman Chand Niramaya Eye Care Centre, Jhajjhar  Rotary Dispensary Niramaya Charitable Centre, Bhagat Singh Colony, Bhiwadi  Manav Sewa Samiti, Niramaya Centre, Pataudi  Niramaya Charitable Eye Care Centre, Circular Road, Arch Hospital, Rewari  Radha Krishna Gopal Gaushala, Niramaya Eye Care Centre, Nuh  Dr. Prem Susheel Niramaya Eye Care Centre, Ram Nagar, Tauru otherwise everything comes to naught. Once the cornea is taken out, the organ is kept in cold storage until it is brought to the Lab., where we test to see whether it is fit for transplantation. Once verified, we notify the patients on our list that a suitable cornea is available for them. With the help of a few other

NGOs and institutions, even the cost of surgery is not borne by the patient,” he claims proudly. The Trust’s Eye Bank is set up in Gurgaon’s New Railway Road, and it has centres in Farukh Nagar, Jhajjar, Bhiwadi, Pataudi, Rewari, Nuh, Tauru – and two in Gurgaon. Besides this, it sets up regular eye camps in various parts of the City, on a weekly basis. “What we want is people to come forward and donate their eyes. There are so many people who can be helped. All they need is a small gesture from the sighted,” Dr. Ahooja says.u

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6. Lampshade loses stripe. 7. Kitchen cupboard vanishes. 8. Clock changes time. 9. Newspaper changes. 10. Man’s nose shorter.

1. TV sportsman loses ball. 2. Glass on table. 3. Beercan disappears. 4. Bush (in picture) black. 5. TV gains leg.

Solutions Spot The Difference

Fill in the grid so that every row, column and coloured box contains ALL the numbers from 1 to 6. Bonuas clue: which number should go in the circle: 1 or 4?

Solutions

Sudoku Kids

Spot The Difference

Kids Brainticklers

27 April–3 May 2012

Kid Corner

11


12

Shalom Paper

T

he students of Shalom Hills International School took part in an activity related to paper folding, on the first day of the new session. Teachers taught the students the art of paper folding. Class I students learnt to make a bus, while the students of Class II learnt to make beautiful butterflies. The activity was thoroughly enjoyed by the students.

27 April–3 May 2012

K id Corner

Kamla Fancy Dress

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iny tots at Kamla International School had a great opportunity to act as they felt. The children dressed up as fairies, butterflies, teachers, policemen, and priests, and brought creativity into their character, by presenting various acts on the stage.

APS observes Earth Day

A

merican Public School celebrated the World Earth Day. The students planted trees in the school premises. Teachers stressed the need for the involvement of the younger generation to protect Mother Earth, so that the coming generations would be able to sustain and live a better life. The students also participated in a painting competition, and the topics covered were – green house effect, ozone hole, global warming, atmospheric instruments, sustainable use of natural resources, afforestation, etc.

MRIS wins Robot Trophy

M

anav Rachna International School, Sector 46, organised a felicitation ceremony to congratulate the students who won the Best Robot Design Trophy at the First Lego League (FLL) recently. The theme was Food Factor challenge, in which students showcased their concern for food safety. A group of nine students of Manav Rachna International School—Sheryl Agarwal, Sanket Goyal, Sreekar Voletti, Prikshit Rao, Aashwin Shrivastava, Mayank Jain, Anees Shaikh, Sparsh Mishra and Prakhar Goyal—had been preparing for the competition since December 2011.

UNSW Gold for Ryanites

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wo students of Ryan International School, Sector 40, Sajal Chhamunnya and Aditya Raj, made the school proud, by securing high grades in the UNSW, Macmillan exam held by Educational Assessment Australia. Sajal secured the highest grade among all participating students from India, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, and U.A.E, in the computer skills category. He was awarded the UNSW Gold Medal for his laudable performance. Aditya Raj achieved the State topper’s medal in the Maths test. The efforts put in by the students were appreciated by the School Head, Peeya Sharma.

Project Search @ Chiranjivi

T

he students of Chiranjeev Bharti School were felicitated by Robert Swan, at the launch of Phase IV of Project Search – a joint initiative by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Tetra Pak, to promote environmental awareness and sustainable lifestyles. Phase IV will reach 1,70,000 children in 170 schools across seven cities. Robert Swan is one of the world’s leading environmentalists and polar explorers. As an Ambassador for Project SEARCH, Swan said, “I am very energised and enthused to hear about young adults in India spreading the message of recycling, and making “Project Search” a nationwide movement.”


K id Corner

27 April–3 May 2012

Featuring

Curriculum

Swiss Cottage School

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }

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he Principal of Swiss Cottage School, Col. C.R Jakhar, puts forth an entirely different perspective. He focuses on a simple approach to teach students. Teachers in the School are not only trained to deal with kids, but also told to attempt perfection in the simplest of tasks. After serving around 35 years as a trainer at the National Cadet Academy, National Defence Academy, and Army Cadet College, among others, Col. C.R Jakhar took up the position of

Principal of DPS Mewat, and then Swiss Cottage School. The latter gave him an opportunity to teach children in his own City. Recounting his journey as a teacher, Col. Jakhar says, “My objective has always been to enable the child to discover his/her own unique potential, nurture his/her talent, and help him/her evolve into a physically fit, academically sound, and emotionally mature human being.” Col. Jakhar adds, “Children learn what they want to learn, and not what they have to learn. It would be my sincere endeavour to create a

Literary Flourish

Aastha Is My Name Aastha is my name, Tennis is my game, I love to dance, I love to write, With all glitters and shine, My dream is big, My pet’s name is Nick, I always hope to grow, As you know, Aastha is my name, Tennis is my game.

stimulating environment, that will ensure optimum growth of the child in both academics and co-curricular activities. In this pursuit of excellence, the role of faculty members is vital. A teacher must not be merely an instructor, but a helper and a guide too. The dedication and commitment of our teachers, in a harmonious work atmosphere, would go a long way in building a strong foundation for the Institution.” The warmth and love for children is evident in his gleaming eyes. He feels there is a need to shift focus from accumulation of knowledge to critical thinking, and giving the children the joy of hands-on activities. “Committed to uphold the highest standard in education, we, at Swiss Cottage School, help to enrich lives across all sections of society.
Our focus is not just to make money, but to give quality

MRIS Earth Day

Aastha Teotia, Class V A, Blue Bells Model School, Sector 4

PathBreakers’ Interactive Session Building on to the Counselling session organized earlier for commerce students, this week PathBreakers organized a visit of Practising CAs with over 15 years of experience, to give students (who aspire to be CAs) a flavour of Industry.

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The School has three educational stages: Ananda (The Joy of Learning) Nursery to Class II: At this stage the natural learning desire of a child is encouraged, by thematic, experimental and play-way methods of education.

Jigyasa (The Spirit of Enquiry) Class III to VIII:
At this stage a scientific temper of enquiry, assignmentCol. C.R Jakhar – Principal based education, and continuous and comprehensive evaluation system is adopted.

Sadhana (The Career Path) Class IX to XII: At this stage, the emphasis is on building a career.
Each child is encouraged, and facilitated, in discovering his/her potential, and inspired to excel in his/her respective field.

Extra-curricular Activities

The School has a world-class swimming pool, a basket ball court, tennis court, badminton court, and also offers soccer/hockey, skating, along with indoor games like table tennis, chess.

education to the children living in this part of the City.” Considering the changing face of society, there is a need to develop an ever-evolving education system, so that children get a balanced and com-

plete education. Keeping this in view, the Swiss Cottage School empowers students with a solid foundation of knowledge and life-skills, and helps them evolve into socially conscious and responsible individuals. u

T

he students of Manav Rachna International School, Sector 51, had taken out Save Electricity, Save Water, Save Earth processions, on the occasion of the World Earth Day. The students also made posters and participated in painting competitions; this was followed by a visit to a recycling unit at Literacy India, a non-profit organisation.

Banyan Earth Day

T

o mark the World Earth Day, the Banyan Tree World School organised a tree-plantation activity. While students planted saplings, teachers taught them about the recycling of plastic material.

Many students got their doubts cleared related to and around Chartered Accountancy, and others got motivated with CA Ashok Chhabra interacting and sharing his experience. Similar session on Articleship Process is planned for the coming week.

Ajanta Orientation

A

janta Public School organised an orientation session for the parents of Classes Nursery to XII. The orientation was conducted in two sessions – one for the junior classes, and the second for the senior classes. In both the sessions, parents were apprised of the rules and regulations followed in the School curriculum. The little ones thrilled the audience by their mesmerising performance, along with an informative skit on ‘How to save our Environment’. A vivid description on the latest guidelines on CCE was given, along with a detailed list of annual activities – those that have already been executed, along with those that will be taken up this year. Both the sessions were addressed by the Chairman, Mr. Ramesh Kapoor, M.D. Vaibhav Kapoor and the Principal, Dr. Roopa Bhalla.

Artistic Strokes

Painting_, .tif

Krish, V B, Delhi Public School

Diksha, I (Poppy), Ryan Global Montessori

Saloni Dhingra, V E, Delhi Public School


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K id Corner

27 April–3 May 2012

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.

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3

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5

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© 2011 Amar Chitra Katha Private Limited, All Rights Reserved

Animal Crackers

Baby Blues

Two Wise Men

Dogs of C-Kennel

– Atullya Purohit, V B, Blue Bells Model School


W ellness

27 April–3 May 2012

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

Gotu Kola – ‘The Fountain of Life’ { Jaspal Bajwa }

I

f legend is to be believed, a herbalist Li Ching-Yuen lived for more than 200 years – thanks to Gotu Kola. Little wonder then that this little herb has been nicknamed ‘the fountain of life’. Gotu Kola is also called Brahmi (this name is shared with Bacopa monnieri), Centella, Hydrocotyle, Indian pennywort, Luei gong gen and Marsh pennywort. The triterpenoid saponins, the primary constituents of Centella asiatica, are mainly believed to be responsible for its adaptogenic and therapeutic actions. Gotu Kola is a creeping vine found in Asia, Africa, South America, and parts of the United States. A member of the parsley family, it has no taste or smell. It thrives in and around water. It has small fan-shaped green leaves, with white or light purple-to-pink flowers. Gotu Kola occupies an important position in Ayurveda, and in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Many herbalists consider it to be the finest of all herbal tonics. It is considered to be a revitalising herb for the body, brain and nerves. However, despite the similarity in the name, it is not related

Join us now! { Abhishek Behl / FG }

“B

ut who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind” wrote Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid’s Tale. This, however, does not apply to thousands of computer and corporate professionals in Gurgaon, who slog long hours, poring at their computer screens, while working for companies across the globe. Almost 99 per cent of this workforce is prone to diseases of the joints, neck and other related medical conditions – as per Dr. Ridwana Sanam, a leading physiotherapist, and Head of KRV Physiotherapy. Sanam says that her chain of physiotherapy clinics has treated almost 25,000 computer professionals, suffering from pain caused by work related issues. Pain in any part of the body is an indication that something is wrong with the system, and it should be immediately checked with a doctor or a physiotherapist. “The majority of computer professionals in Gurgaon come to us for treatment of backache, carpal tunnel syndrome, and pain in the joints caused by poor posture or repetitive use of body parts,” she says. The situation has come to such a pass that even youth in the age group of 21 to 30

and mind, and there is a low potential for skin irritation. Gotu Kola is also available as dried herbs, teas, tinctures, capsules, tablets, and ointments. The dosage varies, depending on the form of the herb being used, and the condition for which it is being consumed. Hyperactive people should avoid having it in the evening.

Nature’s Wonder Food of the week

to the Kola nut, and does not contain any stimulants or caffeine. This herb has been used for thousands of years, for conditions as diverse as hepatitis, stomach ulcers, mental fatigue, epilepsy, diarrohea, fever, syphilis, cholera, and asthma. Its most common use is to treat wounds and skin conditions such as leprosy and psoriasis, and as a tonic to stimulate hair growth. In the West, it is commonly recommended for varicose veins; and also as an ointment, to treat psoriasis.

Tip of the week

The fresh form of the herb is best, as it avoids the over heating of the body

Apart from wound healing, this wonder herb is recommended for the treatment of various skin conditions – such as leprosy, lupus, varicose ulcers, eczema, psoriasis. It is also used in cases of diarrhoea, fever, amenorrhea, female genito-urinary tract disorders; and for relieving anxiety and improving cognition. In recent years there has been increasing interest by researchers. There seems to be strong clinical evidence that supports the use of Gotu Kola in treating venous insufficiency, wounds, and pregnancy-related stretch marks. Centella asiatica has been traditionally used as a sedative agent in many Eastern cultures. The role of brahmoside and brahminoside constituents is attracting attention. People with liver or kidney disease, or who take medications like sedatives, diuretics and cholesterol lowering drugs, should not take Gotu Kola. Large doses may lead to drowsiness, elevated blood sugar, and elevated

Potato is excellent for lightening dark patches on the skin. Cut a potato into thin slices, and place them on the affected area for 20 to 30 minutes.

blood cholesterol levels. People taking the herb for an extended period of time should take a 2-week break after every 6 weeks. Gotu kola is not recommended for children. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions

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Managing Pain years are suffering from degenerative conditions, that could lead to serious problems if not treated properly. “We recently organised a camp for a company in the City, and discovered startling facts. Most of the employees, even the youth, had pain in some part of the body; but they were tolerating it, or just taking pain killers to treat the symptoms,” says Sanam. She claims that her Company is different, in the sense that they treat the basic underlying cause. “We have expert physiotherapists who can diagnose the problem using manual techniques. We do not just rely on X-rays and MRIs, but use manual physiotherapy for complete correction of the problems in our body,” she reveals. KRV has expertise in treating neuro-musculoskeletal conditions that contribute to the majority of neck, shoulder and back pain – often the result of long hours spent in front of computer screens. Dr. Sanam says that their goal is to help people understand the medical condition; that allows for optimal healing, and prevents future occurrence of pain. “When a patient comes to us he/she naturally wants to know whether this treatment is painful. The short answer is no. People later realise that the fear of the unknown is the rea-

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son behind their uncertainty. Secondly, these are time bound treatments, depending on the severity/complication of each case,” says Dr. Sanam. The underlying basis of treatment at KRV is that every individual is unique, and should be treated as such. Sanam says that her team members are highly trained in the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injuries, and abnormalities common to the spine and extremities. “We work on the spinal column and its intimate relationship with the nervous system-the major controller of bodily functions. By working on the spine and its biomechanics, not only is physical pain taken care of, but stress and irritation are also checked,” she claims.

Her chief advice to the Gurgaon residents is that they should visit the physiotherapist as soon as they have some indication of pain. “New injuries can be diagnosed and treated easily, as compared to conditions that have been present for 3 or 6 months. The longer the problem remains, the more visits it will take to have it treated,” warns Sanam. She came into this profession as she was more of a practical person wanting to understand the reasons behind a malady, rather than studying them in tomes. When asked how KRV could help the increasing number of senior citizens in Gurgaon, Sanam says that manual physiotherapy can be extremely useful for maturing and elderly adults, because of the dramatic changes that occur in the spine with increasing age. “Through the use of gentle adjustive and mobilisation techniques, physical therapies, and by incorporation of stretching and exercise programmes, the spinal pain is reduced, spinal stress decreased, and degeneration minimised,” asserts the doctor. Back pain or arthritic back pain is the most common ailment experienced in an aging population, says Sanam. “This is the result of years of uncorrected spinal stress, and injuries that accumulated to become symptomatic,” she says. Manual physiotherapy is also helping a number of sportsmen – they suffer from

Only for Ladies Fitness Place

injuries due to excessive physical activity, and use of particular body parts. “We help the athletes improve their biomechanical functioning and overall health, which has a direct impact on their performance,” says Sanam. KRV Physiotherapy is also associated with the national golfing body, and provides on field and off field care to golf professionals across the country. Sanam says that she has a dedicated team working with golfers, to ensure that the chances of injury are reduced; resistance bands are used for stretching and strengthening the muscles, and taping is done to prevent injury to ligaments. “Injury can severely affect the career of a sportsperson, and so we work with them keenly to ensure that these are prevented,” she says. With prevention of pain her key aim, Sanam wants people, especially in Gurgaon, to chose their physiotherapists with care – as choosing a wrong professional could give negative results. Check the qualifications, reputation and facilities at a clinic before treatment, is her suggestion. Sanam also wants people to understand that this profession is backed by scientific methods and techniques, and is not based on some vague theory about wellness. “We want to assure people that they are dealing with healthcare professionals who are responsible, and know the art of healing,” she concludes. u


16

27 April–3 May 2012

I

The President

t’s time to choose a new President. Seen as a largely ceremonial role, it is surprising how some have enhanced the status, while a few have defiled it. We have had 12 Presidents, starting with Dr Rajendra Prasad in 1950. He is the only one who was appointed for 2 terms. A few of our recent Presidents left indelible marks, for being more ‘engaged’ in their role. KR Narayanan and APJ Abdul Kalam come to mind. They were never seen as acolytes of the ruling party. And they held their office with dignity. President Kalam of course ignited the youth as none had done before.

EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

In today’s globalized world, and esp. today’s India, a President can contribute much beyond ceremony. He/she can be our best Ambassador, our Country Chairman, and of course the Lord Protector of the Constitution and the Realm – the Rashtrapati. There is no dearth of good men and women in our country – even for the post of President. What should we look for? Of course personal integrity, a personality that commands respect, good communication skills, a vision for India, a feel for India and all Indians, a world view. And of course someone who has made a mark, achieved some excellence, in his/her work to date. There are the ‘standard’ candidates, whose names are now being discussed. Maybe it is time to think out of the box here too. What is holding us up today? What is holding up our potential? Especially over the last few years. It is inaction, lack of decision-making, on so many fronts. It is fear of coalition politics and partners. Yes, from an excuse it is now a fear – freezing the UPA on every front. A bold step, maybe half a gamble, may well be worth it, if it even partially resolves this issue. What if, instead of always looking over their shoulder as to which small “ally” would trouble them next, the UPA could pacify or neutralize the big adversary – the BJP. Coalition politics would not be fearsome, if the BJP can be

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

B

ravo. A call to action would be appreciated and respected by foreign travelers and those who aspire to conduct more international business with India. Mark A Mynhier USA on the editorial, 10 Concrete Actions

V

ery good work done by you. B.K Prasad on the article Supreme Justice

Comment

FAMOUS QUOTES It is only those who never do anything who never make mistakes. A. Favre

Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward. Vernon Law

The feeble tremble before opinion, the foolish defy it, the wise judge it, the skillful direct it. Jeanne Roland

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. Anais Nin

I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today. William White Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. Will Rogers

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet. James Oppenheim Health is not just the absence of a disease. It’s an inner joyfulness that should be ours all the time; a state of positive well-being. Deepak Chopra

‘assimilated’. It may be better to find a solution with the largest adversary, than continuously be held hostage by multiple troublemakers, having varied interests – and little time for national foresight. With this, the Congress may gain BJP support on some key issues and bills. They should try and win a few battles, to position themselves better, as they prepare for the war in 2 years. So who in the BJP can help deliver what the UPA needs? Who should UPA propose as the next President of India? Consider LK Advani. Yes, rationally please. Here is a politician, a senior statesman who began political life long ago in Delhi. He has been a Deputy Prime Minister. Yes, he is today seen as the ‘hardliner’ face in the BJP, due to events past. The past, unfortunately, scars many in top positions today. Yet he does not seem a rabid communalist – probably more a nationalist. He has even written fairly on Jinnah, much to the consternation of many in his own party. Being a parliamentarian of long standing, he well understands and respects the Constitution, and the institutions. This is a person who could add good value on most subjects or bills. He is well read. He is still fairly active, in mind and body. He is lucid in communication. Even his detractors agree that he is a man of integrity. Importantly, he is a man with his own mind. He has no future in active politics - age is not on his side. In fact it would be better even for the BJP if he were to step aside – to let ‘new blood’ take charge. He probably longs for a national role of some substance, as a swan song. Given the responsibility of a Presidency, he would probably discharge it with humility and strength. He might even be the best bet for rapprochement with Pakistan. The BJP should feel pleased, honoured even, with such a proposal – if proposed with grace. It would also open up the space in the BJP, just in time for the 2014 elections. And while cooperating, they can appear magnanimous, yet extract some quid pro quo. The UPA would benefit from showing large heartedness, for the benefit of the country. And also stop the drift, that seems to be only getting worse. Now even the rating agencies are starting to downgrade us. There is really no big negative. First, no President is now needed for any solid political help – and it is anyway difficult, in a coalition scenario. And no President can really stop any bill – he/she can only delay a little, and send back for review once. Finally, even if the BJP/ NDA would come to power in 2014, Advani may surprise the BJP – by being anything but a rubber stamp. The decision may lead to a new chapter in the relations between the national parties. Petty mudslinging may also reduce. Economic matters/bills should definitely be easier to decide on. It is well worth a shot. The country would stand to benefit immensely. u


27 April–3 May 2012

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Art Brut: Urban Observations { Srimati Lal }

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ontinuing my extensive interviews and analyses of emerging Gurgaon painters in their studios, this week I meet Gurgaon-based artist Vallery Puri – for a preview of her solo exhibition, ‘One Billion Plus’, at South Point Mall’s Quill and Canvas Gallery (27 Apr.~16 May). Puri paints a series of Gurgaon mindscapes in a style that I would describe as an extension of ‘Other Art’ or ‘Outsider Art’. The lexicon of Contemporary painting would be incomplete without an understanding of the role played by ‘Other’/ Outsider Art’ – the Naive, and Kitsch. ‘Outsider’ or ‘Other’ Art was coined by the art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972, as an English synonym for the French ‘Art Brut’, (notably ‘raw art’) – a term created by the French artist Jean Dubuffet, to define Art that is created outside the boundaries of official culture. Before the 20th C., ‘Naive Art’ was viewed as that done without formal artistic training. In current times, however, there exist Academies for ‘Naive Art’ – as a genre reflecting a credible psychological mirror of our milieu. The Naive has been applied in many manners by 20th C. Modernists. In India, senior artists such as Madhvi Parekh, Naina Kanodia, Bhupen Khakkar and Jogen Chowdhury have applied the Naive-Folk idiom in a uniquely-Indian manner to their contemporary oeuvres. As an act of rebellion against Classicism, Naive Art is characterised by an apparent simplicity in content and technique; the use of illustrative devices, as in Folk-art; a discarding of ‘academic’ parameters of painting; an application of distorted perspectives and symbolic colour-schemes; the repeated use of pattern-making; and a subjective absorption in one’s own inner mindscape. The Naive is often a visual realm that illustrates extreme mental states, elaborate fan-

tasy-worlds, and unconventional notions. Pune-born Puri, now domiciled in Gurgaon, tells me that she “painted ever since she can remember, and was a caricaturist through school and college”. I asked Puri – “What provoked you to completely reabsorb yourself in painting, after an aviation and hospitality career?” She explained, “I re-started painting on the morning of 8th January 1996, after a dream that literally ‘told me what to do’. My artworks fluctuate from busyness to blandness, depending on the mental state I am in. Sometimes I use colours opposing what I am actually feeling: bright tones when I am really in a dark space.” Clearly, there is something within the painter Vallery Puri’s ‘Other Oeuvre’ that wants to break free of claustrophobic constraints – to re-enter a ‘naive’-ly happy world where raw, un-blended colours can perhaps ‘simplify’ the darker, complex codes of life’s more tragic experiential realities. Beneath Puri’s ‘seemingly-bright’ paintbox, the troubled outpourings of yet another entrapped urban voice

seem to cry out. In ‘One Billion Plus’, the segment ‘Urbanesque’ visualises cramped, breathless, multi-religious Indian cityscapes. By mirroring the painter’s own turbulent mindscape, despite their overall ‘comic-book’ illustrativeness, they formulate a credible visual metaphor. Tangles of dangerous electric wires frantically criss-cross Gurgaon streets, disturbingly enmeshing entrapped trees, skies, and buildings in a jostling, neurotic environment. Here, cows must tussle with cars; and humans, piled upon each other en masse in impersonal crowds, must bear the added burden and pressure of box-like buildings – enclosing them even further within their inescapable urban confines.  These storybook-cityscapes – titled  Bursting,  Cows Cars & Condominiums,  Huts & Highrises,  Grilling, Wired, and Traffic Jam – express Gurgaon’s anxious urban claustrophobia, with a Naive neon palette. They mirror the Millennium City’s frenzy of a multitude of forms – documenting a kitschy, mad mayhem. In manic detail,

17

Puri incorporates shop-signboards, bus number-plates, tiny tilting auto-rickshaws, and crash-helmeted motorcyclists – along with lost, plaintive cows and striped road-markers. Puri’s contrasting pastoral segment entitled ‘Dreams’, with Birds, Butterflies And Bees, echoes a Fauvist wildness, expressing a soul that longs for release from Gurgaon’s urban grime – into an imaginary but elusive Eden. Here, peacocks, parakeets and domestic cats co-exist with solitary women in fairytale Pagan gardens. The painter’s hallucinogenically- detailed palette transports one from the ominous, neurotic urban entrapments of her previous sharp-edged urban paintings.  In Puri’s last segment, ‘Gods And Goddesses,’ who are more caricatural than divine – seem to struggle and cavort crudely, within frames too densely-crowded to achieve higher meditative realms. Are divinities, too, then entrapped by Gurgaon’s urban nightmares? Comicbook-like distorted figurations in this ‘Divine’ series seem to merge into their background, like design-elements, rather than stand-out as transcendent Divinities. The ‘Divine,’ here, becomes ‘Design’! The flippancies of Cartoon, Caricature and Commercial Art tend to deflect here from the more introspective, sublime and intellect-driven requirements of high Art. Figure-drawing and portraiture are an advanced and specific skill, involving years of classical training and practice. The grace and depth of the physical face and form fall woefully short here, in quick cartoonish modes. In summation: Puri has embarked upon an unusual series of urban visualisations. However, evolving these towards a higher Art-form requires greater ideation, thought and study. The artist remains enmeshed in an ‘overly-busy’ language of breathlessly-crowded, caricatural illustrations. What we will expect from Puri is the evolution of a more mature, refined and sophisticated  ‘IndianNaivist’ idiom. u Artist, Writer & Curator

Learning from Ordinary Lives { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

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ast week, Raghu, a man living in the neighboring town of Sohna told me of the terrible burdens he was labouring under. His wife had died ten years earlier, leaving behind Vijay, a child who was spastic. Not only that, his second child, Jyoti, developed a degenerative physical disease – leaving her confined to a wheel chair for the remaining part of her life. Fate cannot be bargained with. He felt exhausted. He had given up his business, to dedicate himself to his children. In consequence he was now impoverished, to a level that this year he was unable even to deposit Rupees five hundred, for the renewal of the annual health insurance of his children. This man was at his wit’s end.

His afflictions were real enough. Though, objectively, the situation had been just as bad for many years after the death of his wife, he had never felt so helpless. He had been hopeful that the children would get better and lead normal lives. He had held on to the belief that ‘the situation’ would change at a certain date – and he would then be ‘free’. Now it was becoming rapidly obvious that fate was not going to keep its side of the bargain. A similar kind of thinking often occurs in the minds of parents of such special children. They think: If I am good,

this should not have happened to me. If God is good, and God has made this world, why did he make it so full of suffering? Why do these special children suffer? We are believers in God; we may well ask, ‘does he not care’? The planet on which we live is beautiful, a kind of paradise; yet in the midst of the most amazing blessings, sorrow falls like an unexpected hailstorm – or like a winter of unexpected severity. Nor is it just the moment of injury that hurts. The pain goes on. The mother, who is told by the doctor that the child born to her is afflicted with cerebral palsy, and may not be

able to walk or even sit throughout his life, may lead a life of suffering. No religion seems to have the ‘right’ answer to the question of suffering. At times, the guardians of these children despair, and lose faith. Actually, it is this moment of despair when we have the greatest opportunity for real enlightenment. This is the moment when reality breaks through our self-deception, and gives all of us a chance to enter the real world. The struggle of the human heart is addressed only when we learn acceptance, and start living meaningfully for others in this afflicted world. u Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 20 years.


18 { Bhavana Sharma }

S

ymbols have fascinated mankind through the ages. From mathematicians to poets, political parties to governments, and from seekers to sages, all seem to use them in one form or the other. They have also been employed in many cultures and religions as a spiritual persona, to invoke the divine forces and reach a higher level of consciousness. Whether you are a seeker or a guru, there is an inborn urge to connect through the symbols. The Tarot cards are full of imagery - lots of animals, celestial objects, fruits, flowers and mythological symbols. The images are often narrative—they tell a story—as in both the major and minor cards. All the imagery is a strong underpinning to the fundamental meaning of the card; and this helps to make the interpretation much stronger. The powerful symbols of the major arcana and the minor arcana cards basically reflect the principal events in our lives – circumstances and our experiences, as well as the direction in which we may be heading. It is easier to remember the messages of the Tarot in universal symbolic form. The symbolism depicted in all the cards evokes spontaneous feeling and insight that can be readily grasped by the intellect and the subconscious mind. The symbols depict the power of the soul at various stages of life. Taken at face value, the Tarot cards often draw us to their colourful symbolism – ranging from lunar symbols associated with the High Priestess to the Chariot that is being pulled in opposite directions by two different coloured horses; from the figure seen fighting a lion on the Strength card to the skeleton with a scythe that is the traditional image of Death. As we learn to read the Tarot, we come to understand ourselves better,

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Symbolism Of The Tarot as well as the different aspects of our personality traits which are expressed in symbolic form. Starting with the symbols, every bit of information has a meaning.

The Animals

Amongst the animals, the Lion stands for courage, stamina, strong heart, fortitude and confidence. The cards with these symbolic forms are Strength, Queen of Wands, King of Wands, Two of Cups. The Horse symbol stands for moving closer, or forwards; and the cards with these symbolic forms are the Kinghts, Death, Six of Wands, Nine of Pentacles. The Birds symbolise scarlet Ibis in the tree of the mind, a message from heaven, the Eagle, a sign of Scorpio, the Dove, the Holy Spirit. The cards with these symbolic forms are the Wheel of Fortune and the Ace of Cups.

The Dog symbol stands for a happy and carefree soul and the tamed. The cards with these symbols are the The Fool and the Ten of Pentacles. The Wolf is the untamed, and is represented in the Moon card. We have the Fish symbolising emotions, imagination, and playfulness; and this is apparent in the Page of Cups. Angels in the Tarot are symbolic of divine messages. They are messengers of important information. In a reading, their appearance indicates that a message (relating to the card) could be coming to the queerest in the form of inspiration, divine intervention, or subtlety. Angels also symbolise higher thought and ideals. We find the depiction of angels in many of the major arcana cards.

Flowers, Fruits, Spiritual Symbols and Celestial Objects

The Tarot cards are lush with the beauty of the earth – filled with images of roses, pineapples, lilies, celestial objects and more.

Spiritual Symbols

The Holy Cross is the symbol revered by Christians. They use it to pray and connect to the Lord. The Sikhs revere Onkar, and the Buddhists meditate on the Mandala. An Egyptian cross, known as Ankh, symbolises a mythical eternal life, and the life giving power of the Sun. It is also considered a symbol of rebirth. There are many more symbols, but these are the universally accepted.

Colour my World

Colour does have the power

Symbol

Meaning

White Rose

Promise, Banner of Life The Fool

Red Rose

Passion

The Magician

White Lilies

Thought

The Magician

Pomegranates

Fertility

High Priestess

Palms

Intuition

High Priestess

Symbol

Meanin

Card

Sun

Vitality, Renewal, Rejuvenation

Death, Temperance, Moon, Lovers

Moon

Intuition, Emotional undercurrents, Psychic powers

Moon, Priestess Two of Swords, Eight of Cups

Stars

Hope, Spiritual truth Enlightenment, Protection, Truth

The Hermit, Chariot, The Empress

Lemniscate

Potential beyond limits, Unlimited space and time

The Magician, Strength, Two of Pentacles

Cards

Thrillers And Suspense Sagas

{ Alka Gurha }

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hriller, suspense and mystery shows have their own target audience, who are fascinated by the surprise element of the story. Many would remember the carrot-nibbling detective Karamchand, played by the inimitable Pankaj Kapoor. Karamchand was a popular TV series telecast in the 1980s, on DD National. Sony revived this serial in 2007, though the second version failed to create the same magic. Cashing in on this segment, and steering clear of the feudal rustic sagas, Sony is presently airing two shows – C.I.D. and Crime Patrol. The grimacing protagonist of C.I.D., Shivaji Satam, and his team have garnered high TRPs – catering to

Red is about passion and desire; and in the Tarot it symbolises divine love and courage. White is purity of mind and heart. In the Tarot it is associated with innocence. Yellow is about joy and vitality; and in the Tarot it is the source of life. Green is about life, growth and harmony; and in the Tarot it is the colour of life. Blue is about trust, wisdom and truth; and in the Tarot it is about faith and contemplation Besides the above mentioned colours, some of the Tarot decks will have more colours; these will help you put the whole message of the Tarot together. u Author, Tarot Card Reader

Celestial Objects

The Flowers and Fruits

the viewers who are captivated by ‘whodunit’ stories. In order to introduce a fresh twist, this week’s episode of C.I.D. saw a sense of mistrust creeping in between Assistant Commissioner of Police Pradyuman, Senior Inspector Daya, and others. The police discover that ACP Pradyuman is a suspect in a murder case, and a deadline is set to capture him. Rumours are rife that this could signal the end of the longest-running detective series. Crime Patrol, another television series on Sony, is presented by the well known Indian television actor Anoop Soni, of ‘Balika Vadhu’ fame. The episodes hold your interest, since

to evoke certain responses in us. They are called visceral responses – meaning they are intuitive and emotional, rather than intellectual. In the Tarot, colour plays a very important role as it can have an immediate impact on our senses. The colours work together to inform the message of the cards.

the show dramatises real-life crime events. One episode had kids discovering the battered body of their mother, lying in a pool of blood. Since the show has a repeat telecast at 4 pm, when most children watch television after school, some discretion is imperative. For those who are intrigued by thrillers, there is an avalanche of crime mysteries, legal thrillers, suspense dramas, and supernatural shows on Star World – Criminal Minds, Missing, Person of Interest, Supernatural and Castle, to name a few. Person of Interest is an American television crime drama, based on a screenplay developed by J. J. Abrams and Jon-

athan Nolan. The series revolves around a former CIA agent (Jim Caviezel), recruited by a mysterious billionaire (Michael Emerson), to prevent violent crimes in New York City. John Reese, the CIA field officer, is living as a derelict in New York City, after an unspecified incident that left him presumed dead. He is approached by Harold Finch (the billionaire), a recluse, who is also presumed dead and living under an assumed identity. Finch explains that after 9/11, he built a computer system for the government that uses information gleaned from omnipresent surveillance, to predict future terrorist attacks. He discovers that the computer is predicting ordinary crimes as well; and tries to ensure that the crimes that are predicted are stopped. He hires Jim to act as the muscleman, and conduct surveillance. Without knowing what the

crime will be, when it will occur, or even if the person they’re after is a victim or perpetrator, Jim and Finch must try to stop the crime from occurring. Watch it for some brilliant acting, and a flawless, tight script. For the first time, Star World is bringing in a new show named Missing, prior to its launch in the US. It is an exclusive opportunity for Indian viewers to watch a big Hollywood Show before its global launch. ‘Missing’ is internationally acclaimed as one of the biggest espionage dramas of 2012. It has Rebecca Winston, who loses her husband in a bomb blast. She is a secret CIA agent, and resides with her son Michael. Her son visits Rome to finish his studies, but is kidnapped there. ‘Missing’ explores the finest moments of love between a mother and a son. And of course there is Castle, that makes for compulsive viewing – for its refreshing protagonists, gripping narrative, and riveting drama. This week’s hostage crisis had me glued. ‘Whodunit’ shows – go for them! u


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19 RoofNRide

Let The Adventure Begin! { Shilpy Arora / FG }

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f you are looking for adventure, head to the camps near Badshahpur. Trek on hills; search for a clean patch of land and pitch a tent; or lie down to watch the sweeping clouds.

Camp Hammock

While adults were busy riding a zorbing ball, kids were enjoying wall climbing and commando crawl. This was the slice of adventure at Camp Hammock last month, when over a 100 people turned up for adventure activities. Located just 14 kilometres from Rajiv Chowk, Camp Hammock is close to the Sohna highway, on a link road. It is surrounded by lush green fields. The Camp offers rock climbing, wall climbing, rappelling, zorbing, hiking, commando net, and commando crawl. Asha Dua, who experienced Zorbing ball and rappelling for the first time in her life, says, “It was a pretty nice experience, as it takes you out of your comfort zone. I didn’t know such adventure activities are offered so near to the City.” “The adventure camps at Camp Hammock draw huge crowds. Last summer, we organised two camps. Surprisingly, the scorching sun did not dampen the spirit of the people who had come. What draws crowds here is the fact that this part of the Aravallis is still unexplored; and the camps offer affordable deals,” says Sonali Goenka, who runs a travel agency in DLF Phase II.

Other than adventure

Also aimed at outbound training programs for corporates, Camp Hammock offers two conference halls, one dining room, volleyball court, and a yoga and meditation centre. The main attraction of the Camp is a well laid complex of 20 luxury Swiss cottage tents, with attached washrooms. Besides a bed and washroom, the tents have sitting areas. Upto 40 people on twin share, and 60 people on triple share, can easily be accommodated here.

Camp Tikkling

Located 10 kilometres from Sohna Road, Camp Tikkling is surrounded by the rocky Aravalis. It offers a nature camp, an adventure camp and a village camp, all rolled up in one place – and away from the bustling City. Moreover, the Camp has a dance floor that has fixtures for a rain dance. The main attraction at Camp Tikkling is the artificial rock climbing wall, and rappelling wall. This is one activity that can be done by the physically challenged as well. Sixteen years old Namit, affected by polio,

took his plunge in adventure activities by climbing the 20ft high artificial rock, during his last summer vacation. “We have trained personnel for special children. They can enjoy the artificial rock and wall climbing, without caring about the risk involved,” says Rohit Bakshi, who has organised over four camps at Camp Tikkling last year. The potters hut provides kids an opportunity to show their creative skills, after experiencing a series of thrilling adventure activities. The Camp also houses a 1.4 km track, for the Camel Cart and Tractor Ride. “Apart from adventure, Camp Tikkling helps create awareness among children about natural resources, and the flora and fauna,” feels Rachna Pandit. She took her three kids to the Camp on Republic Day.

Camp Mustang

To camp out in Camp Mustang is to experience the joy of living in a quasirural space near the Millennium City. Spread across seven acres of land, it is the only Camp that provides onenight family campouts in a completely rural setting. “Here, most camps prefer to have groups rather than a family. But

Camp Mustang provides private space to families,” reveals one of the reservation executives at Camp Mustang. Surrounded by an exposed ridge of trees on the western side, and the Aravallis as the backdrop, Camp Mustang offers a host of activities – like powered flying, glider flying, skydiving, hand gliding, ballooning, microlight flying, and parasailing.

How to go about it?

As camp operators in the City are expanding their palette of destinations this summer, there are a lot of options for the adventure buff. Adventure Expedition – The Zahir, for instance, is planning to take people to Camp Hammock. “One doesn’t need to spare a weekend to camp at the Aravallis. The proximity of these camps to Gurgaon has also made adventure affordable,” says Reema, owner of Adventure Expedition – The Zahir. Other companies such as Roof N Ride, and Ashek Tourism, are exploring the relatively untouched Aravalli range for wildlife safaris. The Aravallis have multiple location options for people to choose from. “People seek unexplored destinations and new activities every year,” says Raj, an organiser at Roof N Ride. However, these camps are not all about adrenaline-heavy fun and games. “We ensure that people experience something they wouldn’t find anywhere in the City,” promises a Managing Director at Camp Hammock. “It’s not onlyabouthavingfun.Itisabout experiential learning. ”u


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Let Your Hair Down { Sarita Sharda }

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here is a time when you want a new hairstyle – something to give a lift to your looks. Does your parting seem to be getting wider? Are the ends of your hair continually split? Are your bangs falling in your face? Has the gray taken over? When your hair looks obviously outdated, and ties you to a period in the past, it is time for refreshment. It is time for a new style. Now, the next question is, ‘what style is right for me’? Remember that even a wellexecuted hairstyle, performed on a ‘wrong’ face shape, may result in disaster. Hairstyles are also subject to fashion trends – just like clothes and cosmetics. A good hairstyle must:  Promote and complement positive attributes. Minimise non-pleasing ones. The most important points to remember, when choosing

the perfect hairstyle for yourself, would be; your hair type, the shape of your face, and the colour of your complexion. Think about the following points: Hair and its texture. It is always better to choose your hairstyle depending on your hair type, as this helps you avoid spending too much time with your hair. Fine and thin hair looks better when cut in a short bob. Such hairstyles only need some blow-drying after shampooing. If you have thick and wavy hair, you can keep it long or short, and be able to dry your hair without the help of any blow dryer. The shape of your face. It is very important and handy for you to understand face shape. It will help you understand what does and does not work for you. Hairstyles are predominately about shape and geometry. It’s all about putting the perfect frame around a person’s face, to balance and

‘ An Old woman and the Horseman’

bring perspective to the overall shape. Generally you can wear any style you like. It is a matter of rearranging the length and width, in proportion with your face. There is a general rule

that applies to face shape balancing; and it is that you should try to achieve an oval shape – which is the most perfect shape. A short or cropped style will help a short

neck look longer, as will long hair piled up. Hair close around the face will help camouflage a double chin. A short cut will look good on a person with a well-formed neck, delicate features, firm jaw, and/or a well-shaped head. Long hair will look good on a person with very healthy, shiny hair. Layered cuts can soften facial features. Bring to life with colours. People with pale complexions should choose brunette shades, to look younger; while women of any age, having a light complexion, will look great with auburn hair. Women having olive or dark complexions are the luckiest, as they have maximum choices for their hair colours. They look good in most colours – including blond, brown with red highlights, and burgundy. Your hairstyle plays a great role in making you look as dazzling as ever. A hairstyle that fits your colour, face, personality, hair texture and lifestyle can make you look best in any dress – and during any part of the day. u

Gurgaon Book Festival 2012

An aged woman trudging her weary way, since morning walked she, it was noon of the day A bundle of belongings she bore on her head, and this had made her tired dead. A horseman on the path passed by, She called him to stop near-by. she wanted him simply to tell, to take her bundle to the village well. The horseman to her curtly told, was in hurry and won’t her bundle hold. Little gone ahead something he thought, Instantly which him back brought. He thought he would her bundle away take, As she was too slow to him overtake. “Give me the bundle, I will take So as your journey to easy make” The woman told him nothing doing about it. “Changed your mind?” “Yes , as you did !”

Aditi Bhola

Asstt Professor (English Literature), Delhi Univ.

Laughing St

ck

An absent-minded professor was on board a train and he was unable to find his ticket. The conductor said, “Take it easy. You’ll find it.” 

When the conductor returned, the professor still couldn’t find the ticket. The conductor said, “I’m sure you bought a ticket. Forget about it.” 
“You’re very kind,” the professor said, “but I must find it, otherwise I won’t know where to get off.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A father was trying to teach his young son the evils of alcohol. He put one worm in a glass of water and another worm in a glass of whiskey. The worm in the water lived, while the one in the whiskey curled up and died.”All right, son,” asked the father, “what does that show you?””Well, Dad, it shows that if you drink alcohol, you will not have worms.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Mary,” asked Dawn thoughtfully one day, “what would you do if you caught your husband with another woman?” 

“Another woman with MY husband?” Mary thought it over. 

“Let’s see. I’d break her cane, shoot her guide dog, and call a cab to take her back to the institution she escaped from.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The doctor’s office was crowded as usual, but the doctor was moving at his usual snail’s pace. After waiting two hours, an old man slowly stood up and started walking toward the door. “Where are you going?” the receptionist called out. “Well,” he said, “I figured I’d go home and die a natural death.”

JET KUMAR


27 April–3 May 2012

Time To Stop The Rot  Contd from p 1

Major issues

Shoddy construction, delay in delivery of apartments, failure of the builder to set up health centres/clubs/shopping facilities/primary schools, change in building plans, security of the condominium, sewage, water supply, control over common areas, and transfer of maintenance to the Residents Welfare Associations are some of the grave issues common to all the Group Housing Schemes in Gurgaon. Unitech Harmony Residents Forum, that recently went to the police to file a complaint against the builder, says that quality of construction is not what was promised, the security system is below par, and the club house is yet to be completed. An interesting facet that was revealed by one of the residents is that this building complex does not get power from the city grid; instead, generators are being used to power the facilities and apartments. “There is no connectivity with the HUDA sewage system. Trucks pump out the sewage daily, and this is causing a lot of problems – including sound pollution,” alleges one of the residents. Earlier, similar problems had forced World Spa residents to launch an agitation against the builder, asking for handover of the maintenance to the RWA. Major General (Retd.) S.K Bahri, an executive member of World Spa Board of Managers says that most of the promises have remained unfulfilled. “The maintenance has been very poor, the security men were not paid regularly, and the lift contracts were not renewed. What is the builder for, if he is not ready

and Internal Development Charges (EDC/IDC). In contravention of law, Dhawan says, builders sell parking lots, shops, run schools in condominiums, set up clubs – and earn revenue from these. He says that, all this happens in contravention of Section 6 of the Apartment Act. The law does not allow sale of anything except apartments.  

The Issue of Maintenance

The World SPA West

“The government itself is abusing the Act. It was legislated in 1983, notified in 1986 – after much pressure from the public, and renotified in 1997 – on a specious plea solely aimed to protect the interests of the builders. The authorities need to be sincere in implementing the law, otherwise there is no hope for buyers,” he asserts. The majority of the RWAs are of the opinion that the contract between the builders and the government, on the basis of which licenses are issued, should be made public. The apartment buyers should know what has been sanctioned in the contract, says Dhawan. The brochures shown by builders just show the positive side of the story; the problems are hidden.

R eal E state 21

Park View Residency

Unitech Harmony

to do his duty?” asks Bahri. He further says that the license for the World Spa Condominium was issued in 2003, and the building was to be completed in 2006. “There was provision for a community centre, health club, cigar room, squash court, and a primary school, in the brochure. There was accommodation to be built for service staff. Most of these facilities have not come up, and whatever has been built is either half-baked or poorly maintained,” asserts Bahri. Unhappy over the prevailing conditions, the World Spa RWA took over the maintenance of the complex, and is fighting a case against the builder over the issue of maintenance and control over common areas. B.K Dhawan says that the government has become a mute spectator in the battle between powerful developers and hapless buyers. “While real estate companies have a bat-

B.K Dhawan

Sanjay Sharma

tery of lawyers and ample time, the people do not have the resources or the time to fight long battles against them,” he says. This is what the apartment owners of Belaire and Park Place are facing, while they battle real estate major DLF. In the initial phase the apartment owners were in a jubilant mood, as Compat took up their cause; it is now being felt that DLF—despite facing a penalty of Rs 640 crores—might wriggle out of the situation, using legal loopholes. With neither the executive nor judiciary proving an effective check against the builders, most of the apartment owners are resigned to their fate, says Dhawan. Sanjay Sharma, Managing Director of Qubrex, opines that there is an urgent need for an independent regulatory body that could monitor the working of real estate projects. “There are various aspects, like Common area, Super Area, maintenance of building, lock in agreements with service

providers, and preferential access to them. Several such issues are becoming a bone of contention, and need to be resolved,” says Sharma. He often has to assuage his clients over delay in projects, or lack of proper response from the builders. Another major issue cited by Dhawan is the faulty registration of apartments happening in Gurgaon. He says that builders are supposed to file a deed of declaration with the competent authority, before the sale of the first apartment. “There is no deed of declaration filed, and properties are registered through Transfer of Property Act – that is against the law. The Group Housing Schemes are social welfare measures, but they have become social exploitation schemes,” he asserts.

What the Law Says

According to Sec 13 (2) and Sec 13 (5) of the Haryana Apartment Ownership Act 1983, a declaration has to be filed with the Director, Town and Country Planning, Chandigarh, before the sale of the first apartment. The declaration brings the complex under the provisions of the Haryana Apartment Ownership Act, 1983. B.K Dhawan, President of the Haryana Apartment Owners Federation, says that an apartment owners association is to be formed once this declaration is filed. “It is the exclusive right of the apartment owners to fix and levy maintenance charges,” he says. However, for the first five years the builders are charged with maintaining services like water supply, roads, open spaces, and street lights, after obtaining the completion certificate. As per the existing law, the builders demanding maintenance charges from day one are violating the law, asserts Dhawan. R.S Rathee, President of the Gurgaon Citizens Council (GCC), says that Haryana Apartment Ownership Act gives the buyers the right to earn income from common areas and facilities, to meet their expenses. The Act also grants not only the ownership of apartments, but also a percentage of share in all common areas and facilities, as appurtenant to every apartment. But the problem arises when builders keep control of the income generating areas, although the flat owners have made payments for the same – as part of the sale price, as well as External

Maintenance of apartments is another issue that has become a bone of contention between apartment owners and builders. With builders finding maintenance a lucrative source of income, they have floated their own companies, and refuse to handover the complexes to residents. Gautam Gulati, President of World Spa RWA says that they had to fight a battle with the builder to take control of their residential complex. “The residents were quite unhappy with the quality of service, so we decided to step in and take control of the situation,” he says. While World Spa residents might have the resources to pull a coup against the builder, there are many who can not fight the system. “Builders generate profit in violation of this Act and

that is in the offing, would of great help in regulating the real estate industry in India. “Presently the Agreements between the buyers and sellers are totally in favour of the latter. The buyers have to sign on the dotted line, if they want to purchase a property,” says Limaye. He is positively hopeful that the Bill will help in balancing this relationship, and buyers will get cushioned. “Once the Bill comes in, proper information at the time of booking will have to made available to clients. The source of funds will also have to be revealed by the builders,” he says. There is also a proposal to set up a tribunal to settle disputes under the proposed Bill. Limaye feels that not only buyers, but builders can also seek action against those with malafide intention. Raman Sharma, President of Gurgaon Progressive Forum, says that an independent regulator would ensure time bound completion of a project. “The present norms are too flexible, and give too many loopholes to the builders to escape responsibility,” he says. He further suggests that the booking amount and other payments to builders should be deposited with the regulator; rath-

Oakwood Estates: Oakwood Estates, on the Gurgaon Faridabad road, is one of the first apartment projects of DLF. The residents of this condominium have fought a protracted battle with the builder, seeking control of common areas and transfer of maintenance role to the RWA. This RWA has compiled a fairly comprehensive list of what a builder has to do, but has not been done in their case. Given below are some of the important points. 1. Filing of Declaration under Apartment Act ensures implementation of this Act. Sole owners or all the owners are to execute this Deed of Declaration: Not done by the builder 2. Conferring Heritable and Transferable Ownership Rights under the Act, with its undivided share in the common areas and facilities: Not done 3. Categorization of common areas: Not done 4. Declaration of shops, parkings, community centre, primary nursery school as common area: Not done 5.    Own Exclusive club and health centre, exclusive cable and master antennae connection, cable connection: Not provided 6. Formation of Apartment Owners Association: Not done 7. Board of Managers to be elected in first meeting: Not done siphon off the profit that should have gone to owners,” alleges Dhawan. All this is happening under the nose of the authorities. “The builders role should be to construct and then hand over; but this is not happening in Gurgaon,” he says.

The Need of the Hour: An independent Regulatory Board Most of the activists, RWA members and real estate consultants are of the opinion that an independent Regulatory Body for the real estate sector should be set up in Haryana. The regulatory function of the Town and Country Planning Department should be divested from it, and given to this independent body – as the former has failed to keep any check on the builders. Ashutosh Limaye, Head of Research at Jones Lang Laselle is of the opinion that the Real Estate Regulatory Bill,

er than being paid to the real estate companies. In addition, the construction of common facilities should be made mandatory, and no one should be given possession without setting up these. “The TCP department in Gurgaon is very lenient to builders, and no action is taken against them. Till date not even a single builder has taken a completion certificate,” he alleges. A case has been filed by him with Haryana Lokayukta, againt the irregularities being carried out by the builders. R.S Rathee is of the opinion that till an independent regulator is set up, the powers of the Town and Country Planning Department should be delegated, and officials in Gurgaon should be empowered. “Right now buildings are being built here, but licensing and monitoring takes place from Chandigarh – giving rise to an anomalous situation,” he says. u


22 { Daniel Schnettler / New York / dpa }

The Flip Side Of Wall Street lergies, lapse into alcoholism, or can function only by taking drugs, according to Alexandra Michel – a former banker who spent three years working on Wall Street before putting the brakes on that career path. She now lectures at the University of Southern California, and she recently published her study on the work and life of people on Wall Street. “I was a young banker working 80 or sometimes even 100 hours a week,” says Michel, who studied banking before moving from Germany to a job with Goldman Sachs on Wall Street in the mergers and acquisitions department. She later was assigned by the company to study the work habits of her colleagues, before she finally ended up in research. “My husband and I hardly ever saw each other,” she says, recalling her three years in investment banking. “I simply wasn’t able to predict when I would get out of the office.” The study she has published is one of the most intimate looks into the world of high finance; and interest in it is huge. Michel currently is on a media tour in

Gero Breloer

F

ast cars, penthouse apartments and glittering parties might well be some of the benefits of life as an investment banker, but a look behind the scenes reveals how many financial wizards ruin their health in the pursuit of riches. The image of the men and women who work on Wall Street, and in financial centres like Frankfurt, Paris and London, is well-known. In addition to cars, apartments and parties, their high bonuses help them afford perfectly tailored suits, and even more perfect hairstyles. At least that is the cliché played out in books and movies. An extensive study by a German-born woman, who started her career working as a banker ,reveals some less appealing features of the profession. The truth is that the global financial elite typically work from early in the morning until late at night, and hardly ever have free weekends, let alone time to do more than shovel down their meals. Ultimately, the constant pressure to achieve takes a toll on their health. After a few years on the job many investment bankers suffer sleep disorders or al-

27 April–3 May 2012

the United States, doing numerous television and newspaper interviews. The study has confirmed the experiences of many people in the investment banking field, although hardly any banker is willing to publicly comment on it. “Work changes a person even more so when you slog away at it for 100 hours a week,” said Michel in an interview with dpa. Over a period of nine years she accompanied more than two

dozen bankers with the permission of their employers. “I moved into empty cubicles and observed the people around me,” she said. Then she conducted quarterly interviews. “In the first three years the bankers worked their tails off. When they were young their bodies could take it,” says Michel. “People would boast about not having slept for two nights. A spot of blood on their shirt proved that they didn’t make it home, and had to shave in the office restroom.” Michel observed that after four years the health of the bankers went into a steep decline. “Many suffered breakdowns, got sick or developed nervous ticks such as nose picking or nail biting. I heard from one man who held his meetings lying on the conference table, because his back pain was so bad,” said Michel. Despite all the health issues, 60 per cent of bankers continue on the same course, according to the study. The remaining 40 per cent listen to their bodies and pull back from work, be-

G lobal cause they simply can’t do it any longer. Ironically, these are the ones who end up being the most valuable employees at the bank. “They are more at ease, and therefore more creative, and possess keen judgment.” But why don’t bankers recognize that their jobs are destroying their health and livelihood? “A bank is like a social cocoon,” says Michel. Amenities such as free food and fitness studios in the building keep the employees in the office. The borders between work and home blur. The conveniences make it easy for bankers to stay at work, although family and friends are neglected. “I know of an Indian whose family flew in for a day to have lunch with him, and he had no time because he had to work,” said Michel. Most investment bankers can’t handle the stress after age 35. Then they look for a job with a financial investment company, or in politics, or they withdraw completely from the industry. “The bankers want to earn enough money to fulfill their dreams,” says Michel. “But the truth is that, after spending all those years in the bank, they no longer know what to do with their free time.” u

Un: Global Crime Generates Some 2.1 Trillion Dollars Annually { Albert Otti / Vienna / dpa }

G The World’s Nuclear States { Berlin / dpa }

I

n addition to the five official nuclear powers - the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China - four other countries are known or believed to possess nuclear weapons: India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. According to estimates by the Federation of American Scientists, there are some 19,500 warheads worldwide, of which 4,830 are operational. Country Warheads Operational Russia 10,000 2,430 United States 8,500 1,950 France 300 290 China 240 unknown Britain 225 160 Pakistan 90 to 110 unknown India 80 to 110 unknown Israel 80 unknown North Korea fewer than 10 unknown. u

lobal crime proceeds are worth some 2.1 trillion dollars per year, comparable to the nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of leading economies like Britain or Italy, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said Monday. This corresponds to 3.6 per cent of the global GDP, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov told reporters in Vienna. “It is clear that what was considered a crime is now a global threat to health, security and sustainable development,” he said after the opening of the annual UN conference on crime. Corruption in developing countries amounts to 40 billion dollars per year, while traffickers of human beings make 32 billion dollars globally, according to UN estimates. u


G lobal 23

27 April–3 May 2012

Berlin’s Wacky Hotels { Merle Schmalenbach / Berlin / dpa }

L

overs of quirky hotels need look no further than Berlin, where it is possible to spend a night in a former East German prison cell, an open-air swimming bath, or even a coffin – with a history lesson also sometimes thrown in for good measure. Visitors to the Propeller Island City Lodge, near the famous Kurfuerstendamm shopping district, are given operating instructions for their room when checking in. No two rooms are the same, as the Lodge promises unlimited diversity in what it calls a habitable work of art in the heart of Berlin. Repeating nothing and copying nothing are the guiding principles here. Lion cages on wooden stilts can be found in one room, other guests can spend the night in a coffin in a crypt, while there is also the option of the upside down room where the bed hangs upside down from the ceiling. There is even a prison cell with the toilet sitting in the bedroom. Christian Taenzler from the Visit Berlin tourist authority says there are between 10 and 15 hotels in the German capital that offer a completely different experience to the usual fare. “The most entertaining ones have only opened up in the past two or three years,” says Taenzler. He believes the reason for such diversity is economic. “Berlin is one of the most challenging hotel markets in the

world; so anyone who discovers a niche certainly has better survival chances,” he explains. Many tourists travel to Berlin with the expectation that the city is exceptionally creative, unusual and a little wild. Hotels like Propeller Island fit that image perfectly. Another unusual hotel is Ostel, which is situated in a GDR pre-fabricated building near the Ostbahnhof train station, and tries to give its guests a taste of life in the Communist East Berlin of the 1970s and 1980s. The hotel is kitted out in original GDR furniture, while the walls are adorned with pictures of former Communist leader Erich Honecker. While Ostel playfully remembers design life in the GDR, Das andere Haus VIII deals with the more serious side of living under a dictatorship. The hotel is situated in a red-brick building, that used to be a medical ward in the former GDR prison in Rummelsburg. Each cell was bugged and locked with a heavy metal door, while there were also cells with no light. Political leaders such as Honecker and Minister of State Security Erich Mielke were held here briefly,

Flobi The Robot Coach

{ Beate Depping / Berlin / dpa }

“K

eep going, you can do it.” Coaches the world over urge their athletes on to greater heights, through words of personal encouragement like these. Now sports scientists at a German university are testing whether a robot could have the same effect. “You’re doing well. Just another 200 metres, and you’re home.” Flobi’s voice may be a little monotonous, but it makes little difference after 7 kilometres, and two mountain climbs on a bicycle, and with your pulse going at 175. The robot head, with its big round eyes, pouting lips and tiny snub nose, provides the motivation for the last spurt over the hill. “People tend to attribute human characteristics to robots,” says Franz Kummert, of the University of Bielefeld in Germany. This is something the professor and his team are making use of in developing a robot coach, which currently stands in a laboratory-cum-gym at the Technical Faculty. Flobi has already coached a number of the professor’s subjects over the 10-kilometre cycling course. The researchers have

embedded the necessary technology – miniature cameras and speakers, tiny electric motors and processors – in an attractive doll’s head made of plastic. Flobi ended up with blue hair and feminine facial lines after the subjects looked at a range of male and female heads with varying skin colours and mouth shapes, hair lengths and colour – and chose the one that exuded the greatest sense of competence. What looks like a great deal of effort being put into a pointless academic game is in fact aimed not at replacing the fitness coach in the gym, but at helping astronauts keep fit during long periods of weightlessness. Space flight leads to loss of muscle strength and endurance. Astronauts have to work out for two hours a day to stay in shape. “But we’ve noticed that they lack the motivation,” says Rupert Gerzer, head of the Institute for Space Medicine at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) in Cologne. He points to Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers, currently the sole European on the International Space Station, who has an earth-bound trainer who provides moral support to

following the collapse of the Berlin Wall – but now tourists travel to Rummelsburg voluntarily, in order to spend a night in the former prison. There is a “Silent Room” in the basement, to remember the building’s grim history. The hotel boat Eastern Comfort is anchored beside the historic Oberbaumbruecke bridge, which was once a border crossing point between East and West Berlin. The internationally renowned East Side Gallery, which is also the longest stretch of Berlin Wall remaining, is also nearby. Tourists travelling on a limited budget can bring their own sleeping bag, and spend the night on the ship’s deck. The boat’s engine does not work, and non-swimmers, animals and children under the age of six are not allowed on board. The Scube Park uses space at an open-air swimming pool, and will open this spring in the Neukoelln district. The accommodation consists of 40 wooden blocks positioned on a 2,000-square-metre space, which can be lived in all year round. Each block can fit up to four people, but swimming in the pool is not allowed during the hours of darkness. It is also possible to camp on the production floor of a former vacuum cleaner factory in the heart of Neukoelln. The Huettenpalast offers wooden huts and restored caravans dating back to the 1950s. u him during his workouts. “Future long-term flights with communication times of 20 minutes and more will make this impossible,” Gerzer says. A robot as motivation coach could be a useful aid, if a decision is taken to send manned probes to Mars. Before that happens, Flobi has a lot to learn. She is the first of her kind after all, and there is some way to go in her development. Work is going into improving the way she speaks, says linguistic expert Luise Suessenbach, who has conducted research in gyms to investigate how coaches and athletes interact. “A real-life coach reacts emotionally, and you can hear this in their voice. Changes in their gestures and facial expressions also provide important cues to their subjects,” she says. Flobi is able to move her eyes, (which contain miniature cameras), her eyebrows, eyelids and lips. And when she gets really worked up, small lights behind her skin can make her cheeks glow. “But this is only a rudimentary imitation of human expression,” Ingmar Berger, an IT specialist working on the project, acknowledges. The capacity for personal dialogue is also still limited. Once the last climb is over, Flobi asks solicitously,“How do you feel?” But she is unable to respond to the answer when it comes. u

World’s Oldest Man { Takehiko Kambayashi / Tokyo / dpa }

J

irouemon Kimura, Japan’s oldest person and the world’s oldest man, celebrated his 115th birthday at home Thursday, local media reported. Kimura, who lives in Kyotango city in western Japan, spends more time on his bed these days, but eats three meals a day with his family, Mainichi daily reported. Born April 19, 1897, Kimura

worked at a local post office for 38 years. He turned to farming after his retirement, and continued until the age of 90. Kimura has seven children, of whom five are still alive, 14 grandchildren, 25 greatgrandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren, the paper said. The previous oldest living man was Walter Breuning of the United States, who was born on September 21, 1896. Breuning passed away on April 14, 2011. u

Dream: ON { London / dpa }

A

British psychologist is conducting a mass-participation experiment to see if a smartphone application known as Dream:ON can positively influence people’s dreams. Developed by a team led by Richard Wiseman, a professor at the University of Hertfordshire, the app is said to monitor sleep patterns, and play a special “soundscape” when the sleeper is likely to be dreaming. “A good night’s sleep, and having pleasant dreams, boosts productivity, and is essential for psychological and physical well-being,” Wiseman was quoted as saying. “Despite this, we know very little about how to influence dreams. This experiment aims to change that.” A phone using the Dream:ON app is placed next to the bed, before the person goes to sleep. It registers the sleeper’s move-

ments, and when they indicate REM sleep (the sleep phase of vivid dreams) the phone plays a pre-selected soundscape such as Ocean View, Space Shuttle or Relaxing Rainforest. The recordings are supposed to unconsciously evoke pleasant situations – such as lying on a beach, being able to fly, or walking through a forest. When the app senses the sleeper leaving REM sleep, it sounds a gentle alarm signal to wake the person up, so that he or she can describe the dream in a “dream catcher database.” The dreams can be shared on social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook, where people who appeared in the dreams can be tagged. Wiseman and his team are hoping for thousands of participants. So far the app can be downloaded to Apple’s iPhone and iPad. A version for other smartphone systems is to follow later this year. u

Lindsay Lohan To Play Liz Taylor { Andy Goldberg / Los Angeles / dpa }

L

indsay Lohan is to play Elizabeth Taylor in a high-profile TV movie about the legendary Hollywood star, according to US Weekly magazine Monday. Her role in the movie, Liz and Dick, will be her first major acting job since she ended her protracted troubles with the law over drunk driving and drug offences a few weeks ago. The movie will focus on the tempestuous relationship between Taylor and actor Richard Burton, which scandalized audiences. They left their respective spouses to marry, after meeting on the sets of Cleopatra in 1963. “I have always admired and had enormous respect for Elizabeth Taylor,” Lohan said in a statement. “She was not only an incredible actress, but an amazing woman as well. I am very honoured to have been asked to play this role.” Lohan’s last leading role was in 2009’s Labour Pains. Taylor passed away at the age of 79 in March 2011. Gladiator star Russell Crowe is set to play Noah in a Darren Aronofsky epic about the Bible figure. The film will

begin shooting in Iceland and New York in July, and will represent a close adaptation of the Noah’s Ark story – portraying Noah’s mission to build an ark to save creation from the impending flood, according to a Paramount Pictures press release. The screenplay was written by Aronofsky, producer Ari Handel and Hugo screenwriter John Logan. Taylor Swift, the 22-year old crossover country star is set to make a splash in the film world. She will play singer songwriter Joni Mitchell, in a film about some of the most famous singers of the 1960s - Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Carly Simon, according to trade paper Variety. Also lined up for the movie is Midnight in Paris actress Alison Pill, who is set to play King. The role will be Taylor’s biggest film role to date, after she appeared in the romantic comedy Valentine’s Day in 2010. She soon stars in the Dr Seuss animated project, The Lorax. The Academy of Country Music’s entertainer of the year for the past two years also made a cameo appearance in 2009’s Hannah Montana: The Movie. u


24

27 April–3 May 2012

G -scape

Stage Performance By 'Yoga With Sapna'

JIT KUMAR

April 27-May 3, 2012  

April 27-May 3, 2012

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