Page 1

24-30 May 2013

Vol. 2 No. 40  Pages 24  ` 7


RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319, Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014

Hot Air Again

ust what will it take for the Gurgaon Administration to wake up – to get it? Will it only be when the City is over-run by angry residents, demanding that basic civic (living) amenities – like water and power – are delivered consistently? Today we have the poorest delivery. And there has been no improvement in supply, year on year. The CM is oblivious - he is on a ‘Shining Haryana’ trip, at a new place every week. He has promised multiple Gurgaons – even Gurgaon plus – when even this ‘original’ city’s residents are denied their daily water. For 2 years in a row the Haryana Power Minister has been declaring “No Power Cuts this Summer’, well before each summer. The DHBVN Chief has joined the chorus, and believes that power supply is actually very good this year. They are clearly living in a different world. And will be brought down (or up) to earth soon.

The problem is not only in the MCG and HUDA areas. Recently DLF Phase III residents had to come out on the streets, demanding just regular water supply ! DLF III was not built yesterday. Even after decades, DLF cannot quench the thirst of its residents – it is more busy quenching that of real estate speculators. This prime developer is busy investing in Metros, and Highways (Rs. 500 crores +) that criss-cross its prime commercial and residential estates (with the help of HUDA), with just one objective in mind – to up the lease and purchase prices of its properties. It is the future sale that is important - the current residents be damned. Everything else has a higher priority than the delivery of water and power. Other private developers have of course just put their hands up, after putting on fat at their residents’ Contd on p 16 


24-30 May 2013

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–2 No.–40  24-30 May 2013




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Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Shilpy Arora Sr. Photographers: Prakhar Pandey Sr. Sub Editor:

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Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh


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Consulting Art Editor: Qazi M. Raghib Editorial Office 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana Phones: +91 124 421 9092/93 Emails: Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018, Haryana. Printed at Indian Express Ltd. Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

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An Evening Of Mushaira @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: May 30 Time: 7:30 pm


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n English Play featuring Dilip Shankar, Oroon Das and Rajesh Gandhi. Written and directed by Pramila Le Hunte, the Play is a political fantasy, where Dictators rise, and people must storm the streets to overcome them. The outcome is thrilling, and performed brilliantly by the actors. The Play is due to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2013. Tickets at Rs.350, Rs.250 & Rs.100


Qaid-e-Hayat @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: May 26 Time: 7:30 pm


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Mandavandalism @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: May 25 Time: 7:30 pm


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Wanko – The Story of Me, My Family and My Dog @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: May 28 Time: 7:30 pm


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24-30 May 2013

THE WEEK THAT WAS ♦ Gurgaon City sex ratio (847 women/1000 men) is lowest in District (854), and lower than the Haryana average (879) also. The All India ratio is 943. ♦ City MP Rao Inderjeet Singh meets the Defence Minister, to try and find a solution to the plight (due to non-delivery of civic services) of residents in the IAF Depot restricted area. ♦ A case has come to light of an 8-year-old girl who has been sexually abused by maids, in school, for 2 years. The School (Suncity World School) Principal is suspended. It seems nobody was monitoring the hundreds of CCTVs on the School campus. ♦ 3 youth booked for gang rape of 2 minor girls; youth held for raping maid; man booked for sodomy of 8 year old boy. ♦ A doctor is held for raping a patient on the pretext of marriage; an engineer is also held for raping a woman on a similar pretext; a woman is raped by her elderly kin; a constable is accused of rape. ♦ A 22-year-old student, a woman, is shot dead in her house. ♦ A woman is found killed in Dundahera. ♦ A Japanese working as a manager in a local firm jumps to his death from a high-rise. ♦ 3 carjackers are held after an encounter. ♦ Gurgaon Police asks for mandatory fitting of GPS devices in City cabs. ♦ An SHO is caught taking a Rs 1 lakh bribe; attempts to kill self thereafter. ♦ Over Rs 10 lakhs worth of goods are stolen from a house in Uppal South End. ♦ Gold bangles are stolen from a shop in Gold Souk. ♦ There is a massive fire at a godown of a large beverage company, in Udyog Vihar I. ♦ A special Industrial Security cell is proposed within the local police.

demolition of their gate and security area, allegedly by goons hired by a local school. ♦ Residents oppose setting up of a crematorium near Wazirabad Village. ♦ Aggrieved residents of HOPECO assured membership of society. ♦ Saraswati Kunj residents happy with High Court ruling. ♦ Japan will help build a National Institute of Design in Kurukshetra. The campus would be spread over 20 acres, and accommodate 500 students. ♦ City to get 7 bus shelters in a few months. ♦ Power cables will be shifted underground, along with the on-going Sohna Road renovation plan. ♦ A Hi-tech Greenhouse has come up in the City. ♦ Supply at the 5 CNG stations is disrupted for days; 50,000 users impacted; autos demand excess charge. ♦ NCR Water Channel to close in end May for maintenance. ♦ Rapid Metro now to start only in end June. ♦ Civic Hospital to get 4 new mini-ambulances. ♦ A petition has been filed against a BSP MP who walked out of the Lok Sabha when the national song was being played. ♦ Gurgaon girls top the ICSE exams. in the NCR; 2 girls from Shri Ram ♦ School get 98.75% marks in humanities. ♦ Kids from Kargil visit Millennium City. ♦ Temporary ‘respite’ from dust storms and rain is over; now the heat sets in; 45-degree heat wave claims its first victim – a 45 year old; a few children fall unconscious.

Master Recipe Masterchef (Season 2): Top 4 Vijaylaxmi

♦ National Media Centre residents protest HUDA demolition. ♦ DLF Phase V Exclusive Floors residents agitate against

Oriental Raw Papaya Salad

Haryanvi Made Easy Get a taste of the local lingo 1. It is so hot in the house. Ghar ke bhittar ghaniye garmi hai. 2. It is better outside. Bhaar mada sa badiya hai. 3. I like to sit outside under a shady tree. Manne ghannaye pasand hai bahar pedh

ki chaaa main baithna.

Small raw papaya, peeled Method  In a bowl mix all 3 tbsp. Bhuna Chana powder ingredients (except fried 1tsp.       Bhuna koota mirch onion, garlic, coriander leaves and roasted peanuts) 1/4         Peanut oil  Mix gently 3 tbsp     Lemon juice  On a serving plate, arrange 2 tbsp     Sugar the peeled papaya. Sprinkle 2 tbsp     Fresh coriander, chopped onion, garlic and coriander on top. Add the roasted peanuts. 1/2 cup   Fried onion  Serve immediately. 2 tbsp.     Fried garlic  Tip: You can add extra amount of  lemon juice, salt 3 tbsp     Roasted peanut  and chilli powder, according Salt to taste to your taste. 1

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4. My grandfather still sleeps there at night. Mera Dadda raat ne udeye soya kare. 5. I don't know how he doesn't feel hot. Manne na bera unne kyukar garmi

na laagti.

6. I tried to sleep outside once. Manne ek baar kosish kari thi bahar sone ki. 7. I was killed by the mosquitoes and the heat. Main garmi me margya udde aur

maachra ne bhi kha liya.


24-30 May 2013

C eleb W atch




iss California, JenniphaLauren Nielsen, visited the "Zimova - Dance for Charity Awareness" event, held at Sispal Vihar, Sohna Road. Jennipha interacted with the participants, and also shook a leg with Farha Kapoor, Founder of Zimova.

Dance Madhyam


ifty young dancers (between the age group 6 to 17) from the dance institute Madhyam, performed at the Show, 'Odissi ke Rang, Bachpan ke Sang', at Epicentre. The dancers, trained under noted Odissi and Seraikella Chhau exponent Shagun Butani, performed the Seraikella Chhau dance. Senior Odissi danseuse, Padma Shri Ranjana Gauhar, awarded the children with certificates of participation.

Healthy 'Pehal'


nited Technologies, with United Way of Delhi, launched a new healthcare centre, 'Evening Clinic', at Chakkarpur Village. The Clinic is a part of their community development initiative 'Pehal', that aims


to provide development support to over 2,000 families of migrant labourers living in makeshift houses. Doctors tended to a few families of the labourers at the launch. 'Pehal' initiatives also include periodic job fairs, to connect community youth with prospective employers, and apprise them of the skills required for the jobs they want.

Lorraine Music Academy’s Initiatives in Performing Arts

he LAMPSTAND initiatives in Music & Arts have been launched by Lorraine Music Academy in aid of LAMP Trust. The Academy offers a range of programmes and facilitates groups – that enable children and adults to discover themselves, learn to express and perform through the various forms of art. On offer are programmes on: Music, Performing Arts, Visual Art and Literary Arts – to build Leadership Talent in our next generation of potential global leaders. Children and adults can immediately enrol for the following programmes: n Children's Choir (Singing) n Musical Theatre (Music & Drama) n Theatre (Speech & Drama) n Nrityarpan (Dance, Music & Drama) n Little Performers (Instrumental / Vocal)

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Participants and students of the above programmes will get opportunities to

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06 { Abhishek Behl / FG }


C ivic/S ocial

24-30 May 2013

The Migrants' Tales

urgaon is in transition – a City evolving and growing at a fast pace. The residents of this Millennium City are also evolving – as they search for new identities, forge new bonds, and make this dusty outgrown bowl their new home. There are close to 20 lakh people who live here today; many have come from other parts of the country, but a large number of them have also shifted base from neighbouring Delhi. Better jobs, the growth of IT and IT Enabled Services, cheaper housing at one point of time, and more green and open spaces in the Millennium City acted as a magnet and brought people in large numbers. The private companies led the real estate development, which was very different from the controlled urban experiment of DDA. This helped in rapid urban growth, and the transformation of this town into a cosmopolitan City. To many residents what makes Gurgaon attractive is the rare combination of a small town setting with a metropolitan lifestyle. Flashy malls, world class condominiums, glitzy restaurants and a 'global' population act as a huge attraction for the majority of professionals working in the corporate sector. However, there are others who describe this City as having no soul; where people come to work, make large amounts of money and later on move to other pastures – that may be less green, but have more zest for life. A common trait of a majority of people who come to Gurgaon is that they are more aware and exposed to modernity, and possess a cosmopolitan outlook. “The majority of the people, even Delhiites, have settled here after having been to other places, and many have experienced world class living in cities abroad. There are few first time settlers. The population is more homogenous, as most migrants are corporate and IT professionals, with fairly similar backgrounds and expectations from life. Whether it is for solving a problem in the condominium or tackling an infrastructure issue, the thought process and action orientation of many Gurgaonites is aligned. Delhi is seen as a much more complex city, with several layers of experiences. At the same time, the diversity of thought, intermingling of cultures and the readiness to accept new and different things has opened new vistas for many. Jayaa  P. Nairr, a numerologist who stayed in Delhi for a long time before shifting to Gurgaon, says that the Millennium City is far more broadminded than the National Capital. “There are too many stereotypes in Delhi. People from different regions, cultures, religions and areas normally stick with their own – many times in exclusive localities,” says Nairr. “In Gurgaon we are global citizens living in world class condominiums, with modern facilities. There is more experimentation here. Gurgaon also has a current that sparks the entrepreneurial spirit. The IT/BPO industry has flourished here,” she says. For her the key differentiator is that people are willing to do business with women, and give them a chance to work with flexibility, which she says is not possible in Delhi. Gouri Nilkantan, a theatre professional, says that her shift to Gurgaon was largely due to the perception that it was more open to new ideas, as well as the greenery and space it offered to the residents initially. For her, the transformation in the last 5 years has been exceptional. “My production company has found acclaim here, and it would not have been possible without the presence of art lovers,” she says. She feels it is more difficult for new talent to break into the established set up of Delhi, whereas Gurgaon is more open to new artists and concepts. Like theatre, art galleries in the City have also flourished, as corporate professionals are not averse to patronising newer artists, says an analyst. Of course world class office buildings, condos and private colonies have also attracted the migrants. People from neighbouring Delhi are envious of the world class facilities in the malls, shopping areas, restaurants and clubs. Neeraj Kumar, a travel industry professional, who often visits cities abroad, is smitten by the


glass and chrome buildings of Cyber City, and the quality housing of top private builders. Having shifted from Patel Nagar in Delhi, Kumar says that he and his wife decided to shift here so that they would have to commute less. He recalls that Gurgaon was a dusty township in 2002, but housing was affordable. “Initially my parents also found it a difficult place to live in, but just look at how the City has evolved into one of the most cosmopolitan cities in India. We have great schools, good places to shop, and watching movies is a delight,” says Kumar. No doubt there are infrastructure issues but these were also present in Delhi. He sees Gurgaon as a shining symbol of India’s new found growth story. Advertising professional Manas Aravind has a less glorified view of Gurgaon as an emergent city, and in fact describes it as a hi-tech labour camp – where people come to work, earn a large amount of money, spend it fast and move on in life. Aravind spent many years in Delhi, and before moving to Gurgaon he had lived in Noida. He moved to the City in 2002, as his company shifted base here – but he then set up his own advertising company the very next year. After having spent around a decade in the Millennium City, he is still looking for his roots here. “Labour from all over the world comes here to work. These people are in transit, and still have not found their moorings. It would be wrong to say that the majority of them have settled here finally,” says Aravind. “The citizens here have no sense of belongingness, and each condominium is a city in itself. There is very little sense of ownership and civic responsibility among Gurgaonites,” he adds. When asked about Delhi, Aravind lights up and says that life was in a different zone in the national capital – with a better social circle, and great exposure to culture and art. However, there are also a large number of people who believe that this shine and gloss hides some very basic flaws. The worst-off are those staying in unauthorised colonies and 'old' Gurgaon. The growing disparity in the quality of life between the haves and have-nots is worrying many. They feel that a culture of consumerism binds the 'new' parts of Gurgaon today, which will be resented soon by people who have less resources and opportunities. The time has come to bridge the divide, or at least make it less – as has been done in Delhi, in terms of better housing for the less privileged, more public spaces which are equitable, and markets that are accessible to all, he observes. Anoop Rohera, who shifted to a condominium in Palam Vihar, Gurgaon after staying for a long time in

Dwarka —where most of the housing is spartan CGHS apartments—is disappointed. “We shifted to Gurgaon to enjoy a world class lifestyle – with modern apartment complexes, which had clubs and swimming pools in them,” says Rohera. But once the family reached here they realised that the Millennium City was at least 20 years behind Delhi in terms of governance, civic infrastructure and basic necessities. This is despite a larger numbers of migrants here being more educated and aware. The City clearly lacks the wherewithal to handle the massive expansion. In comparison, Rohera observes that the authorities are more accessible in Delhi, they are a lot more active, and responsive to citizens. Right now the main hope for Gurgaon is the evolving civil society movement, which has been drawing its strength from the increasingly 'activist' citizens of Gurgaon. There are proponents who feel that Gurgaon is on track to achieve its millennial aspirations. Software company owner turned professional photographer Sandeep Bansal, who used to live in Preet Vihar in Delhi, says that Gurgaon offers world class living – there are no power cuts, and security is adequate in the apartments. “I have seen this City grow, and feel that it offers unmatched growth to professionals, as well as supports entrepreneurship,” says Bansal. “In Delhi the switch would have been difficult, as people are not that willing to accept a change of careers and professions,” he admits. What Bansal does not like here is the paucity of shopping and eating options for both the masses as well as classes. “Despite a large number of restaurants here, there are very few that can match the quality, style, taste and price points of the outlets in Delhi. Recently I ordered a chicken dish from a local restaurant, and was billed for Rs. 700 – which is exorbitant,” asserts Bansal. A number of people who have migrated from Delhi agree that the shopping experience in the Millennium City lacks depth and richness of variety. Where Gurgaon scores over Delhi is in the opportunities to make money and cut business deals in a transparent manner. IT, Outsourcing and the Real Estate industry have given options to many first time entrepreneurs, to grow and make their mark in business; this would not have been possible in a more traditional Delhi. It is easier for a professional to think of a startup in Gurgaon, as more talent and opportunities are present here, they feel. The growth in industry has not only brought in migrants, but also a large floating population, which works in the City but goes back to neighbouring towns and Delhi in the evening. This, government officials say, puts additional pressure on the already rickety infrastructure of Gurgaon, as well as its security apparatus. Pooja Jha, who lives in Dwarka, says that more public transport, intra-city connectivity and better security is needed in Gurgaon, if it is to be compared to Delhi. “There is a lot more social life in Dwarka. There are parks where people can go, accessible markets and easy means of travelling, which I don’t find here,” she says. For her, shifting to Gurgaon is not a very promising option, as her company provides a cab for commuting. Unlike her, Shalini Arora Kocchar, who lived in Boston and GK II in Delhi before shifting to upscale World Spa condominium in Gurgaon, believes that the great quality of living and the security offered by gated colonies, the good shopping malls, and the presence of like-minded professionals makes Gurgaon an ideal location for living a world-class life. For her, Delhi had too many urban problems, such as lack of 24 hour power supply, inadequate parking space, and a population that called for more conformity and acceptability of norms. For the majority of the migrants, Gurgaon has proved to be a happy hunting ground, where people from all parts of the country—and even abroad—have prospered. It is time to integrate the community, and develop an inclusive society that takes care of all – the outsider and the local; the weak and the powerful; the poor and the rich. Only then will the City achieve its Millennial potential. u

C ivic/S ocial

24-30 May 2013


Farm Factory

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }

write to us at


arsat village in Gharaunda is located some 130 km from the City. The village comprises nearly 2,000 families, of which around 80 per cent have their own cultivable land. In the late 1990s the youngsters in the village started moving out to adjoining cities and towns for jobs. But the trend is changing now. In fact, those who left the village some 10 years ago are coming back. “Due to the declining water level and the rising cost of production of crops, most of the youngsters had moved to jobs in the cities. However, with the arrival of Hi-tech Greenhouses, people are again finding agriculture a lucrative business option. It has not only increased productivity, but also helped in yielding highquality plants, which require less water and less labour,” says 55-year-old Baldev Raj, who along with his two sons and a daughterin-law, works in his Hi-tech Greenhouse. Farmers can now earn throughout the year, as crops can be grown all-year in a Hi-tech Greenhouse. Besides, they get a good price for it, since greenhouses help in producing high-quality and diseasefree varieties of plants. Interestingly, a group of farmers is also selling its produce in the international market. The Hi-tech Greenhouses, which use 70 per cent less water, and deliver a better quality of crop in less time, are also seen as a boon for consumers. “To feed the growing population of the country, the ratio of food produced per unit of arable land must be increased substantially. Hi-tech Greenhouses are part of the solution. These Greenhouses have potential to bring down food prices, as productivity can be increased by three to five per cent,” informs Satish Mehra, ex-Horticulture Development Officer in the District. The State Horticulture Department has set up the first-ofits-kind Hi-tech Greenhouse in the City. Spread over an area of 2,056 square metres, it aims to improve agricultural production, as well as the quality of crops.

Why a Hi-tech Greenhouse?

Farmers across the world have been using conventional greenhouse technology; but a major problem with them is the

concentration of heat within the covered structures. This problem can be resolved by designing Hi-tech Greenhouses, where the temperature can be maintained at a desirable level. A High-tech Greenhouse protects plants from extreme weather conditions. Incorporated from various technologies, such as a drip irrigation system, and an automatic temperature controll system, it forms an artificial farming area that is insulated from the outside climate. The major advantage of a Hi-tech Greenhouse is that a farmer can grow any plant in any place at any time, by providing the required environmental conditions inside the greenhouse. The technology has been brought to Haryana under an ambitious project called Indo-Israel Agri-Technology Project. “In a state like Haryana, where many farmers are still dependent upon good climatic conditions for their produce, this technology can benefit many,” says

to get ready in a Hi-tech Greenhouse, while normally they are cultivated only after 70 days. The Hi-tech Greenhouse is equipped with a fogger, mist, fan, pad and a Drip Irrigation System, that is guided by sensors. The Greenhouse can be used by farmers for years, to grow highquality produce. These Greenhouses also help reduce the expenditure on pesticides. “Since everything, from the temperature and humidity, to soil moisture, is controlled, it is easy to ward off insect pests, which are carriers of viral and other infections. The problem of weeds can also be addressed. Besides, it is easier to maintain the moisture of soil for a prolonged period,” informs Dr. Kartik, an expert at Rajdeep Agrisciences. The Company helped the authorities to set up the Greenhouse.

High Nutritional Value

In a Hi-tech Greenhouse, the crop is covered with the help of a very strong external structure, made with high-quality material. It protects the crop from natural calamities. “Also, in a Hi-tech Greenhouse, the main branch of the plant is generally tied to the top of the structure, and other branches are cut so that all the nutrients of the plant remain in one branch,” says Satish. He also informs that some vegetables like tomatoes and lettuce lose half their nutritional value in the first 96 hours of their cultivation. With the help of the Hi-tech Greenhouse in the City, consumers can now have access to fresh vegetables – which are high in nutritional value.

Helps in Soil-less Farming

Pinki Yadav, Horticulture Development Officer. Pinki has attended a three-month special training programme in greenhouse technology in Israel. Moreover, with the help of Hi-tech Greenhouses, farmers in Haryana can produce highquality flowers like gerbera, carnation and rose; and vegetables like capsicum, tomatoes, cucumber and brinjal. The growth of these flowers and vegetables is otherwise difficult in the open atmosphere. Surprisingly, it takes about 40-45 days for tomatoes and capsicum

Hi-tech Greenhouses allow farmers to undertake 'hydroponics', or 'soilless farming'. Hydroponics refers to a modern farming technology, where the growth and productivity of plants can be controlled by water and the nutrient level. Instead of soil, a farmer can use inert mediums like sand, gravel, rock wool and plastic, to give support to the plant. Oxygen and other nutrients present in the soil are replaced by water and technology. While recounting the benefits of soilless farming, Dr. Kartik says, “Hydroponically-grown plants require much less space. Plants can be placed on even a multi-storied building. With hydroponics, one can produce ten times more crops than produced in a conventional field. Besides, the need for fertilizers and



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Hi-tech Greenhouses can be a major threat to the environment, as they require 24X7 power back-up. “As of now we are using a diesel generator to run the Greenhouse. About 3,0004,000 litres of diesel are used per month to run the generator. Round-the-clock power is required because a power cut of even an hour can destroy the whole produce,” says one of the officials. The cost of setting up a Hitech plant is relatively high. The Greenhouse that was inaugurated by the Horticulture Department has been set up at a cost of Rs. 76 lakhs. However, the government provides 65 per cent

subsidy to farmers who wish to set up their own Hi-tech Greenhouses. Banks have also come out with several loans and financial aids for farmers. Undoubtedly, Hi-tech Greenhouses have come up as a good option to improve the state of agriculture. Such technologies will also help in reviving the interest of youngsters in farming. But it is extremely important for farmers to understand the proper usage and application of this Hi-tech Greenhouse technology. Therefore, apart from subsidy and financial assistance, the government should also provide training programmes for farmers. “There is a need for agricultural scientists to work closely with farmers to bring about the desired changes in the field of agriculture,” states Dr. Kartik. u


24-30 May 2013

“I've Decided Old Age is a Gift” { Anita Jaswal }


n octogenarian, Shrimati Sarvkalyani Sharma, or Kalyani Aunty as she is known to all, has a love for life and adventure that is unparalleled. She is comfortable with everyone – from janitors to presidents. Her approach to life becomes all the more admirable when you realise it comes from a person whose life has been fraught with tragedies. Widowed a year after her marriage, she delivered her baby 3 months after her husband passed away. When her only son was 17, he was killed in a bus accident. She still did not let life bog her down. She talked of him whenever anyone or anything reminded her of him. She saw him in all children – especially teenagers. She cried openly. She has strong memories of the Partition. “My personal experience as a thirteen-year old child was neither tragic nor traumatic, but it left me with vivid memories of those critical months. My father was in the railways, and his foresight had us move to Dehradun weeks before the bloodbath started. We took with us as little as possible,

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

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ears of neglect by parents can either turn a teenager into a social misfit or prod him or her to achieve something larger than life. The lack of support, love and affection at a critical juncture of life can also lead to a bitter persona, and force people to take decisions that are tough on themselves and their families. Monty Agarwal, a Gurgaonbased youth aspiring to become the strongest man in the world, is living proof of how anger and poor selfesteem can shape or mis-shape a life. While Monty is focused on achieving his goal, it is clear that his decision is an outcome of the difficult transition that he made from childhood to youth. “My only goal in life is to prove that a strong will can achieve anything. The records I am setting need a lot of effort, but I am willing to do this as it will make me and my country proud,” says Monty, while breaking the 100th nail outside a shop in Sector 14, in pursuit of another record. Monty started body-building at a young age, to improve his personality. “I was angry and I poured my energy into building my body”, he says. The foray into body-building continued for a couple of years, before he realised that emulating Arnold Schwarzenegger would require large resources. Hailing from Delhi, Monty says that his parents went to Saudi Arabia and earned a substantial amount before shifting to Mumbai and setting up a business. However, his father’s business failed to take off, and he turned to alcohol – forcing Monty’s mother to return to the Middle East. The travails of the young man started then. Monty was denied

leaving behind land and possessions.” She remembers the challenges her family faced, when building life from scratch in a new city. Settled in Gurgaon after marriage, she began teaching the neighbourhood children, to keep herself busy. Once her son started going to school, she joined the women’s social movement, and campaigned actively for the emancipation of women. Her greatest belief is that accepting life as it is, is an art. Not to resist life, but to flow with it, takes a lot of courage. “Losing a child is the hardest loss – it takes a chunk out of your heart. It is a mother’s worst nightmare. I am working hard on healing…it’s going to be a lifelong project. But I know he is with his father, and probably happier than when he was with me.” Today, apart from travelling, she holds counselling sessions for youngsters and teenagers, hoping that even if she is able to shape one life, it would be worth the effort. Though her base is in Sector 17, with her loving nephews and nieces, she loves globetrotting and dabbling in pottery, painting or music – as her heart guides her! “I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have

always wanted to be. I sometime despair over my body - the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror... but I don’t agonize over these things for long. I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life and my loving family for less grey hair or a flatter belly. As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra aloo tikki, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly fountain piece for the courtyard

The Strong Monty school education, a comfortable home, and love and affection. “We had to shift homes. People did not talk to us. I turned extremely angry and bitter”, says Monty. “I live for my mother, but I did not tell even her about the multiple issues that I faced while growing up,” he says. When asked what got him into performing dangerous stunts, he says that he does not want to live very long, as there is little lust for life left in him. “I have seen so much greed, lack of love and friendship, that living has become a burden. I just want to be the strongest man on earth - and if I die in the process it is not a problem,” says Monty. Recalling the year he spent in Goa as the best period in his life, he says that there is free spirit in that city, which helped him to heal very fast. Monty worked as a bouncer in a nightclub in

Goa, and regularly performed his recordbreaking stunts, which were very much liked by the tourists. He also says that interacting with foreigners, especially girls, was an interesting phenomenon, as he had never spoken to even a single girl in his teenage years. “Lack of education is not a handicap there, and people respect you for who you are. They also like it if you are different; I was appreciated for my work and stunts there,” says Monty. After coming back to Gurgaon, Monty says that his energy is now focused on becoming the strongest man in the world. To achieve this he keeps working in the gym day and night, despite the several injuries suffered by him. The only handicap is that neither the government nor any other agency has come forward to support his initiatives. His mother’s income is not enough. Becoming the strongest man in the world requires a lot of resources, in terms of food, facilities and support structure. Monty Agarwal has christened himself Montystar Agarwal. He holds the record for the fastest 100 m light aircraft pull, in 29.84 seconds - achieved by him on the set of Guinness World Records – ‘Ab India Todega’ in Baramati, Maharashtra, on 23 February 2011. The record was achieved in a face-off between two contestants – Montystar Agarwal and Mahendra Joshi, both Indian 'strongmen' (strength athletes). Montystar achieved the record beating Mahendra's time by 0.82 seconds. He has performed several such stunts.

S ocial that I didn’t need. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon – before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. I know I am sometimes forgetful; but there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. I fortunately do remember the ‘important’ things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when a beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile, and will never know the joy of being imperfect. I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed. And I have made no foolish attempts to look younger, with face lifts and toupees. Even when I was younger I had never considered those; and though now balder and “jowlier”, I feel I am looking better each day,” she says with a twinkle in her eye! As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong! So, believe me, I like being old. While I am still here I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. I wish you a day of ordinary miracles everyday.” u  “This is like meditation - everything hinges on the mind. Controlling the mind is more important than having strength, and it is ultimately the control over your senses that allows you to perform remarkable feats,” he says. It is also important to ensure that the energy is not wasted in other pursuits. In his bid to conserve strength, and concentrate on his task, he prefers to have no friends (including girls), and does not hit the entertainment joints. “Gurgaon has too much traffic and too many distractions. There was peace and tranquility in Goa, which also allowed me to heal well after a major spinal injury”, he says. His back was badly hurt when he tried to lift a 200 kg weight on his head - for a minute. A firm believer in God, Monty says that despite facing so many troubles he has somehow recovered, because of his faith in the Almighty. This has also helped him control his anger, and direct the energy towards becoming the strongest man. He however cautions others who would like to emulate him, saying that performing stunts like stopping motorcycles with one’s limbs, or breaking nails/pulling trucks with one’s teeth, could result in fatal injuries. “I know this is madness, but who cares. I want to live life on my own terms, and leave this world in peace”, he says. He is only concerned about the happiness of his mother, who he says is the only reason he is alive today. “The only other goal I have is to earn some money and shift to Goa with my mother. I know I would be watched over by angels there, he says, while chewing on a nail. His agenda remains to challenge the record books, and etch his name permanently in them. u

C ivic/S ocial

24-30 May 2013

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he era of large software companies focusing on mega projects is coming to an end, as the consumerization of IT is taking place at a very rapid speed. The Indian software industry will have to re-invent itself, and focus on innovation and end-users, to survive the challenges that have come up due to the global economic slowdown, believes Manas Fuloria, Managing Director (Europe), Nagarro, a global software company with focus on smart projects. A serial entrepreneur, with Harvard and Stanford degrees to boot, Fuloria believes that organizations will have to focus on hiring bright people, adopting leaner processes and executing smart projects, to grow and profit. “We at Nagarro believe that growth will come to us if we are a smart and agile company. The environment has changed from ‘big infra’ to ‘smart applications’ that drive business. What is happening at the backend is not really important. The bigger players are no longer driving the industry, as the focus has clearly shifted to user experience. Big data is the last celebration of technology,” says Fuloria. Nagarro has developed expertise as per the changed dynamics, and is undertaking complex projects. “These tasks do not need an army; they need a team of guerillas with a different approach – and this is what we nurture,” he says. “I am pretty impressed with the entrepreneurial streak in Gurgaon, as a large number of new and interesting ideas are being groomed here. There is need to promote some good ideas in the infrastructure and development sector as well, which can be funded in Gurgaon,” says Fuloria, who has had the opportunity to interact with some of the finest teachers and innovators in colleges in India and abroad. His management style and vision has largely been influenced by the late Ramachandra Jayakumar, a professor at Harvard, who taught him how to look at the big picture, focus on solving problems, and think about what can be achieved - rather than looking at constraints. “I was amazed by his ability to think big and out of the box. It touched me, and also enabled me to look beyond the horizon,” he says. “I believe small organisations run higher risks; they should be run with a spirit of partnership - where every employee is treated as a partner. Unfortunately, as organisations grow and

IT Next find their feet, the individuality of employees is lost, and the roles start becoming smaller,” says Fuloria. The challenge begins here, as every company needs its employees to have the motivation levels of ‘beginners’. “To achieve this we need to set targets that motivate people, and force them to come out of their comfort zones. It is only growth that ensures jobs will be safe, and in fact more added,” he says. He has set an exciting target for Nagarro, of growing five times the present size – and the entire market, sales and organization plan has been designed keeping this in focus. “This is going to be a big challenge, but we are now planning to compete with bigger players; however, this will happen in our own way,” he says. A major share of the Company’s business comes from Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) offering products in areas such as accounting, automation, interior design, e-commerce and ERP. Nagarro also works directly with leading companies in the pharmaceutical, manufacturing, finance and retail domains. The primary business has been with the mid-sized ISVs in the US and Europe. “These companies appreciate our agility, quality and minimal red-tape,” he says. He adds that they want to be seen as trusted advisors to their clients. This means they have to look beyond technicalities, and focus on usability, the business context and being the brain that helps design winning strategies for their clients. Fuloria says that their primary strength is people. “On person to person we are hard to beat. Having good people makes it easy to move up the value chain, and play the role of advisor to even large clients. Our people are capable of understanding the business context, the user psychology and the functional challenges of the software we are developing. Some of the projects we have acquired recently are fairly sensational for an Indiabased company of our size,” he adds proudly. Coming back to his focus on entrepreneurship, Fuloria says that he always wanted to do his own thing. “Every budding entrepreneur must be aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses, so that costly mistakes are not made. I think that I am good at designing new things and visualizing them; so I work better with people


{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

Manas Fuloria is responsible for Nagarro’s European operations and leads global strategic business opportunities, including partnerships and alliances. He has driven technology and operations management initiatives for global companies such as New Balance, Gap, Umicore, Coca Cola Foods, Carrier Corporation and J&J Pharma. He holds a PhD in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, a Masters degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Stanford University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Manufacturing Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. who are good at running operations,” he says. The ability to see the patterns in chaos, and being able to develop strong interpersonal relations, also helps him in building on new ideas and turning them into successful businesses. Being an entrepreneur, and that too a manufacturer, is a difficult profession in this country, admits Fuloria, while recalling the early days when he had set up a factory in Bangalore. However, in software things are quite flexible, and this has enabled several Indians entrepreneurs to grow and make their mark,” he asserts. “Indian entrepreneurs are very flexible, negotiate with ease, and are always ready to act – but they must also learn to deliver on what they commit,” he says. He says that the challenges faced by the IT industry in Gurgaon are primarily the rising cost of real


estate, as well as paucity of power and infrastructure. “It is not only the office space, but also the ability of employees to afford a lifestyle. Right now not many people find it easy to buy a house in Gurgaon, which makes it unattractive for IT companies. We are also setting up a large office in Jaipur, which is likely to come up by September,” he says. “To ensure that the IT industry stays here, the State government needs to curb speculation in real estate, and keep the City competitive. Another aspect of the local IT industry is that Gurgaon is still seen as a tier II location – ‘below’ Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. We are trying to position it as a highend software destination, but it will take some time,” he adds. Fuloria has been staying in the Millennium City for the last five years, and has forged strong connections here. He actively participates in various citizen-led activities, which aim to improve living conditions – like sanitation and water, and most importantly air quality. He heads the local NASSCOM initiative on ‘improving the air quality in Gurgaon’. Nagarro has decided that community connection will be one of their top priorities. This means that to improve the City they are ready to invest their time, money and effort. “We had offered to switch the company cabs to CNG mode, if the supply infrastructure was ready - but it is not so yet,” he says. Another focus area is ‘to make Gurgaon walkable, and give importance to cycling and non-motorized transport’. “We are roping in e-cab rickshaws, a project that has become successful in Fazilka. We are also planning to organise a big concert, to popularise walking in the City,” he says. “There is also a need to develop a strong cultural space, so that a bond is developed among the people, and they can pursue multiple interests. The government must also create new playgrounds, parks and stadiums, especially for children. And we must also consume in a sensible manner – yes, especially we Gurgaonites,” warns Fuloria. He concludes on a positive note, saying that one of the best aspects of this City is that it has a fairly homogenous society, of like- minded, hard-working professionals. “The energy here is quite unique, and if the community decides to participate in city-building, then we can build a microcosm of a new India here”, he asserts – an India that would be more agile, lean and smart, like the company he is building in the heart of Gurgaon. u



Keeping in view the safety of working women, the District Magistrate P.C. Meena has invoked Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, under which it has been made mandatory for the BPO sector, Call Centres, Business Establishments and the Corporate Sector to equip their vehicles, which are used for picking up and dropping employees, with a GPS system within a month.

The District Administration and Air Force agree to jointly curb further illegal construction in the 900m restricted area around the Ammunition Depot. Houses already constructed have been identified and numbered; pillars will now be erected on the boundary; the demarcation map will be uploaded on the MCG website.

Further, the District Magistrate P.C. Meena has invoked Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, prohibiting the use of crackers in the party or celebration lawns or gardens, and on the roads, lanes and by-lanes passing through the 900 meter restricted area around the 54 ASP, Ammunition Depot, Gurgaon. Haryana Govt plans to issue closure notice to 1372 schools in the State (about a hundred in Gurgaon) due to non-compliance of RTE guidelines. The Gurgaon Administration has requested the State Govt to introduce Electronic Stamping (e-stamping) for property registration. Last year, out of Rs 1250 crores stamp duty collected, 40% was in cash. e-stamping will reduce the chances of ‘fake stamp papers’ and the carrying of excess cash. Stamp papers, and an appointment for registration, can be taken online.


24-30 May 2013

World Children Expo

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }


here were painting workshops, story-telling sessions, quiz shows – with a bonus of shopping and eating on offer. The World Children Expo (WCE) offered many activity-packed sessions, and showcased that there are several ways to learn – and still have with fun. For four-year-old Ashmeet, listening to a story is more enjoyable than reading one. He came to WCE to attend an interactive Story-telling session. Namit, 15, was excited to participate in an Intelligence Quiz, as it would help him during his college admission after Class 12th. More than 5,000 kids participated in the World Children Expo – each with their own aspirations and goals, and of course those of their parents. WCE aims to provide a platform for learning, entertainment and commerce. While the Expo allows top corporates and emerging start-ups to showcase their children-centric brands, various educative and fun activities are planned for the children, so that they can have a great time during their vacations. Namit says, “There was not a single dull moment at the Expo, as it offered many interesting activities and workshops and opportunities to meet and greet cartoon characters, besides various options for shopping.” Many companies today target children, especially teenagers, in a big way. It was apparent through the association of the world’s top companies - like Microsoft and ZeeQ with WCE.

ZeeQ Kid Zone

ZeeQ offered an array of interactive and engaging activities – Balloon Maths, Puzzle games, Larger than Life Scrabble, English Word Match, and Multiple Intelligence quiz – for kids as well as parents. “Children these days have little interest for simple educative games; they are extremely hooked-on to games that feature fighter planes and superheroes. I hope the ZeeQ session has helped them experience the joy of playing simple games,” said Radhika Chandra, a parent. Technology has impacted the children’s reading habits greatly; many of them do not have the patience to sit and read a book. ZeeQ has therefore designed a few educative programmes, such as Amar Chitra Katha Heroes, Sid the Science Kid, Teenovation, Science with Brain Café, Cyberchase and Weekly Wrap, to revive the children’s interest in books. “I used to narrate folklore to my children. However, today they have no place in any school’s curriculum. Children only seem to enjoy stories that involve violence and glamour. There is no better way than Amar Chitra Katha to introduce our folklore to this generation,” felt Shobha Bhatia, a 61-year-old woman, who attended WCE with her grandchildren.

For Parents

Parentune conducted a unique workshop for parents. Named as “Raising happy children”, the Workshop was conducted by a panel comprising a child

S pecial

24-30 May 2013


psychologist, and parenting and child development experts. It helped parents learn about the tools and methods for raising their children. Besides, with the help of various games and quizzes, parents were encouraged to understand the emotional needs of their children.

Xbox Gaming Zone

The official gaming partner for WCE, Microsoft Interactive Entertainment, had set up a special Game Zone for kids and their families. Talking about the positive response, Anshu Mor, the Business Group Head, said, “It was heartening to see the great response we got from the kids and their parents at the Gaming Zone. They experienced motion-sensing gaming, and really appreciated the wholesome family entertainment offered by the Xbox 360 platform.” From dancing to playing sports, and even getting some fitness tips, the Xbox Gaming Zone turned out to be a perfect fun destination for the whole family.

Fashion Show

A kiddie Fashion Show, organised by My Little Hanger, saw the tiny tots gracefully walking the ramp, and showcasing colourful dresses while flashing brilliant smiles. Owner and Designer at My Little Hanger, Akriti Arora, was so smitten with the performance of the little ones that she joined them on the ramp. “It feels so nice to see these tiny tots flaunting the ethnic and modern dresses so confidently. I want to thank WCE for providing us an opportunity to be a part of such a successful Expo,” said Akriti. Young parents, who usually go to lengths to dress up their bundles of joy in stylish outfits, were happy with the wide-variety of designer wear on offer by My Little Hanger. The Fashion highlighted the fashion needs of today’s kids.

A Creative corner

While having fun, the kids also had a chance to explore their creative sides, as Hallmark had organised a Designer Card contest and a Painting competition. The kids painted lovely green landscapes, crafted little greeting cards and made creative items with balloons - at the Balloon Twisting

Workshop, conducted by Party 1 World. The Expo was abuzz with all kinds of kiddie products - from healthcare, film and animation tools, gaming devices and toys, to board games, food and beverages, furniture items and informative textbooks and magazines. “Apart from seeing regular items like apparel and stationary, there are a number of books and CDs offering educative and interactive content for kids,” said Hema, who bought more than 15 books at the Expo. Children also enjoyed the special Carnival. The excited kids were awestruck by the images and characters displayed at the Carnival area. They danced with their favourite cartoon characters and were happy to talk to the volunteers about them. Garfield, coming for the first time, was a hit. “While we parents and teachers often discourage children from spending time on Facebook or playing video games, we do not provide them worthwhile alternatives. WCE has exhibited many other ways to have fun. We must have more such events in the City, that focus on children” said Sumit Dikshit, a teacher at Blue Bells. u See page 23 


24-30 May 2013

K id C orner


Kids Brainticklers

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

Artistic Strokes

Sonal Agrawal, V, MRIS

Alia Mahajan, V X, Pathways Aravali

Sanchita, VII C, Lions Public School

K id C orner

24-30 May 2013


Manali Mazaa


tudents of Classes IX to XI of Ryan International School, Sohna Road, were treated to a 5 day trip to Manali. Besides enjoying wonderful weather and amazing sights on the way, the students also got a chance to visit the Buddhist Monastery, Van-Vihar, Children’s Park, Nehru Kund, Hadimba Temple and the Rahalla Falls. Activities included trekking, skiing, river crossing and rafting.

Futuristic Manavs


APS Diary Delight


ontessori III students of American Public School (APS) visited a Mother Diary outlet in DLF Phase II. They were asked to identify the different fruits and vegetables at the store. The little ones thoroughly enjoyed the outing, and were delighted to spot their favourite fruits and vegetables at the outlet.

anav Rachna International School, Sector 46, was declared the 3rd Best Future Ready School at the School Summit 2013, organised by Engineering Watch, India’s most prestigious magazine dedicated to the engineering community. The best 100 Schools in India were selected from 9,000 entries. Chief Guest for the day was Salman Khushid, Minister of External Affairs. The criteria for judgment was STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), Future Readiness and Value Centricity. Of the 100 selected, 30 schools were shortlisted to give presentations on the mentioned categories in front of the prestigious jury, headed by Padma Bhushan Dr. Shayama Chona. Final winners were selected on the basis of the presentations made.

DPS Teachers Learn


elhi Public School, Sushant Lok, organised a Workshop for the Primary School teachers on ‘Accommodation and Intervention Strategies’, to meet the needs of the students with learning disabilities. The Workshop was conducted by Dr. Geet Oberoi, Founder of Orkid. The objective of the Workshop was to make the teachers understand the need and importance of accommodation and intervention in a classroom having students of varying abilities. The need for sensitisation of parents and peers was also discussed. Dr. Ruchi Seth, Principal, was present at the Workshop.

‘Excel’ling in Food Management


regular discourse on saving resources and food by the School Director became the motivational factor for Riya, Reet and Cindy, students of American Excelsior School, to reduce food wastage. When Director Shalini Nambiar spoke to the students about the importance of food, the three students decided to do something about it within the School premises. They noticed that because of some construction going on at the School, there were many labourers present on a daily basis. That was the starting point. The threesome started collecting the excess food from the School Canteen at the end of the day. This food was then distributed to the labourers and their families. This selfless act has inspired other students to reduce wastage of food, and utilise leftovers in a better way.


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24-30 May 2013

DPS Investiture


elhi Public School Sushant Lok celebrated its 7th Investiture Ceremony (for the academic session 2013-14). The 48-member Student Council was invested with duties to a higher office, in a solemn swearingin ceremony. The Chief Guest, Air Marshal Manjit S. Sekhon (PVSM, VrC, SC VM(G) retd.), along with the Principal, Dr. Ruchi Seth and Senior School Head Mistress Sunita Nagpal, congratulated the newly appointed Council. The Council took the oath and pledged to perform its duties with dedication. Head Boy Samvit Bhanot, Head Girl Onshi Jhakar and their core team took turns to elucidate their views on how to make a difference to the School.

Ryan International School, Sector 40 Honoured Help


n the occasion of Labour Day, a ‘Role Play’ competition was held for students of Classes I & II. Children dressed as different helpers – like a policeman, milk man, maid, gardener, nurse, teacher, principal, doctor and engineer. The students participated enthusiastically and spoke about how their character contributes effectively to society. The students made cards for the cleaners, drivers and maids of the School.

Karate Grads


he Karate Black Belt graduation ceremony of the students of Kaishogun Karate Do India (Shotokan), was organised at DLF Phase IV. Grading was done in accordance with the students’ knowledge of Kumite and Kata. The students were graded by Chief Examiner and Instructor, Sensei Sumit Virman.

The Holidays are here! Now is the time to discover/hone your creative skills...and Friday Gurgaon is happy to help.

Crazy Kiya Re


For children – write a poem, an article, a fictional story or even a real life experience. See it published in Friday Gurgaon – that way your teachers will know you’ve been productive in your holidays! For teachers/administrators/co-ordinators – here’s a chance to pen down your experiences, teachings and learnings. Send us your contributions (300-350 words). For information, Call us at 0124-4219092/93 Or email at

‘Crazy Hat’ competition was organised for the students of Montessori II. The tiny tots came wearing designed hats with unique themes – blue sea, shoals of fish, octopuses, bright corals, marine animals, a polar region hat complete with white snow, penguins and a snow man. There were also hats showing a village scene! The best five designs were given certificates.

W ellness

24-30 May 2013


Health & Vitality... Naturally!

Kokum Kool

{ Jaspal Bajwa }


uring the scorching summer months, a vibrant red refreshing sherbet is very popular in large parts of South Asia. Not only is it great for quenching thirst, it also helps prevent dehydration and sunstroke due to heat. The fruit that helps make this delicious cooling beverage is Kokum. The beverage can either be

{ Alka Gurha }


arotenoids are powerful antioxidants that enhance our immune system, and also help in preventing certain ailments. Essentially carotenoids are organic plant pigments. These precursors to Vitamin A are sometimes called pro-vitamin A. However, some carotenoids, such as lycopene, do not convert into Vitamin A at all. There are more than 600 known carotenoids – the most well-known is carotene, found in carrots and apricots. It is responsible for their bright orange colour. Lycopene, the orange-red pigment found in tomatoes and watermelon, is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants help the body reduce the inflammatory action of free-radical oxygen. Most of the time these free radicals cause inflammation and damage to the cells. Beta-carotene is another common carotenoid found in fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants (including carotenoids) have been studied for their ability to prevent certain diseases. Mixtures of carotenoids, or associations with

made by steeping the fruit in jaggery or sugar syrup, to make ‘amrut kokum’; or taken as a salted juice (agal). Once known only in its native region, the humble Kokum is slowly gaining new respect all over the world. In India Kokum has been traditionally used in the regional cuisines of the Western Ghats and several southern states. It is used as a souring agent in various dishes – especially in

fish curries, coconut-based curries, vegetable dishes or lentils. It is also included in chutneys and pickles. The sun-dried rind (amsul) can be used as a garnishing, and is a good substitute for tamarind in cooking. The dried rind is usually purplish black in colour; the darker the colour, the better the flavour. Kokum butter, obtained from the seed kernels, is used as an emollient – similar to shea or cocoa butter. It is finding widespread use in confectionery and cosmetics – especially in skin care products, as it softens the skin, heals fissures and restores elasticity.

A little jaggery, brown sugar or salt can be added to the drink. When making sherbet, a dash of asafoetida, cumin powder, parsley or mint leaves can also be experimented with.

Nature’s Wonder Food of the Week: Garcinia Indica or Kokum, Bhrinda, Brindonna, Cocum

In traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda, Kokum has been used to allay thirst, improve digestion and heal stomach ulcers, bleeding piles, dysentery and mucous

The shelf life of the fresh fruit is about one week. However, the dried Kokum rind can be kept in an airtight jar for about a year. Soak the dried rind overnight in a tumbler of hot water. Next morning the decoction can be drunk on an empty stomach. Leftover rind can be used in cooking.


Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables have high Vitamin A activity, because of the carotenoids they contain. Generally, a deeper colour of the fruit or vegetable is an indication of a higher

concentration of carotenoids. Carrots, for example, are especially good sources of beta-carotene. Green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach, asparagus, and broccoli, also contain large amounts of carotenoids. However, the intense green pigment present in spinach and broccoli is mainly due to the presence of chlorophyll.

Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions


Tip of the Week

SMS NR to 08447355801

Colourful and Healthy others antioxidants (e.g. Vitamin E), can increase their activity against free radicals.

diarrhoea. It is considered to be a good cardio and liver tonic. Kokum is also used as an infusion in skin ailments such as sunstroke, sores, rashes caused by allergies and the treatment of burns. The National Medicinal Plant Board in India has identified Kokum as one of the 32 prioritised species of plants for promotion and development. u


We all know that carrots are good for the eyes. Eating carrots alone won’t be able to rid of glasses, but carrots contain high amounts of beta-carotene, which is a precursor of Vitamin A. Beta-carotene present in carrots gives them their orange colour. Carotenoid consumption is said to decrease the risk of cataract and macular degeneration. You should eat carrots raw, to absorb most of the nutrients; however, if you’re planning to cook them, try doing so in as little water as possible – to help preserve the nutrients.


Spinach does not have the yellow or orange colour that is the hallmark of the other big beta carotene sources, but one halfcup of spinach offers nearly 570 mg of Vitamin A – and adds only 30 calories. Spinach is an excellent source of beta carotene when added to salads, or sautéed on a low fire. Spinach also contains a significant amount of iron and fibre.


What matters is the kind of lettuce. Dark colourful lettuce provides the most beta-carotene – with RedLeaf Lettuce providing the maximum amount.


The bright orange colour of pumpkin indicates that pumpkins are loaded with beta-carotenes. Extremely high in fibre and low in calories, a pumpkin packs an abundance of diseasefighting nutrients – including potassium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and Vitamins C and E. Pumpkin contains one of the richest supplies of carotenoids. Indeed, a half-cup serving of pumpkin gives you more than two times the recommended daily dietary intake of alpha-carotene. Foods rich in carotenoids have been linked to a host of health-promoting and disease-fighting activities. So go ahead and indulge in apricots, broccoli, turnip greens, tomatoes, cantaloupes and watermelon. u


24-30 May 2013

C omment

Hot Air Again sites (just a few set up, and then left un-maintained); the setting up and upgrade of sector wise power expense – first on purchase, then on change of sub-stations (no builder, except DLF, has taken any land use and common areas’ sale, and now on action, despite EDCs and IDCs collected decades maintenance. This has been made possible by a earlier for this, by TCP and all builders); nudge and a wink from the Administration – the the setting up of organized parking sites across Town & Country Planning (TCP) department the City (a few set up, and soon disbanded); this time. the approval of a fare/rate chart for autos (pending in Chandigarh, like almost every decision, Unfortunately the Administration and State for years !). agencies (like DHBVN) are not even willing to first A ‘new’ Civic Hospital has been lying as a assess the correct demand for resources in the City. museum piece for years too (meanwhile private They have actually been saved by tubewells (for hospitality hospitals have mushroomed – or water) and gensets (for power). The actual demand, maybe that was the plan). The Hero Honda Chowk if these were not present, would be FOB is a structure that has been DLF has at least taken close to double the current ‘estimates’. under discussion for over a decade some resident-friendly Clearly the future residents should (meanwhile hundreds have died actions in some of its be resigned to live on only water trying to cross the Highway). And of sectors. It can set a tankers and gensets. Diesel smog, of course the mega announcement was further example. In any the highest order in India, is here to of the MCG set up, and the election of its Phases, in flats stay. That will be our legacy to our of Councillors years ago (MCG has or houses, it should Millennial children. not been able to take over even the arrange for a specified water supply in its limited area - from quantity of water through Meanwhile the residents have been PHE, let alone taking over the City’s tankers, free of cost, forced to become activists. One by one, maintenance from HUDA and private where supply has been the maintenance of condominiums is disrupted. On power, each builder areas). of its residents should be being taken over by the RWAs, from Each of these ‘areas’ has been offered a full power-back the builders. The patience of the waiting for effective action and option, at a reasonable common resident has been tested to closure for years – actions that were cost – and within a the hilt, on all fronts. promised to be taken ‘immediately’, reasonable period. at a point of time. Even over the past Tokenism is the defacto answer few months there has been talk of the to any civic or social problem – and now even to NCR Water Canal now being open for Gurgaon, of street-protests. The Administration’s glib response a new Water Treatment Plant being ready for use, is to quickly promise resolution, take token action of huge investments in new power sub-stations and to placate the angry residents, and then ignore – the finalization of power purchase from private hoping that the same residents will not come out on suppliers. This summer was promised to be a water the streets so easily again. and power bonanza for Gurgaon residents. We are Tokenism can be seen in: again left facing the heat. the relocation of liquor vends (only 1); the setting up of public toilets (a few installed, It is time the residents of this City put up a since removed); simple charter to the local Administration and the construction of new EWS flats (one-off just the CM. Either deliver us water and power, and started – while the constructed ones have been pick up garbage daily, or stop all construction and deliberately kept empty, for ‘windfall gains’); development in Gurgaon II (new sectors 58 to 115). the increase in capacity of the Waste Treatment It is bad enough that we make the current families Plant at Bandhwari (nothing done yet, so waste is live in some last millennium conditions; why should lying all around, and seeping deep into the ground); future residents also have to face that problem from the building of bus stops (none yet, though the the first day? For a City that contributes half of City Bus service has completed a year); the State’s finances, it is pathetic that its residents the regularization of colonies, or at least need to take to the streets to get their basic civic providing their residents with basic civic services facilities/amenities/services. (recommendations sent to Chandigarh over What Millennium City/living is this? It's time to a year ago); let off steam...and make the Administration the constructing of hundreds of water harvesting feel the heat. u

 Contd from p 1


24-30 May 2013

{ Dr. Rajesh Bhola }


recently visited a very remote temple in Himachal Pradesh, that I had first been to some twenty years ago. It seemed that time had stood still. It is said that time is what prevents something from happening, and yet, time is what makes everything happen. In a sense everything does occur simultaneously. Scientists have tried to explain that time past, present and future does co-exist. We need to think of it as different places on a map – that we could see in its entirety if we were clever enough. Einstein, who revealed time’s relativity, said that the idea of past, present and future was an illusion. So many things point to the passing of time. Our face tells the time – look into the mirror and see how time is taking a toll of you. Look at the rings in a tree, the waves on a shore, the sun and the stars... Time is nebulous and invisible. Yet it is the driving force of everything we know, have and are. Time is the great sculptor of galaxies, and the juggler of genes. It turns the dust of creation into planets and polyps, comets and caterpillars – into consciousness itself. Though proverbially known to be blind, time keeps modelling and remodelling the clay of existence; and, again and again, stumbles on a new shape, a new form that can be fired in its ovens. Imagine a world without time - the frames would stop tumbling through the projector, the image would freeze and be destroyed. So while time, in time, takes everything away, it is still the author of that everything. 20th century scientific metaphysics argues that time, along with space, came into being with the Big Bang - and may end with the Big Crunch.

Time Is God

We often feel terrified by time’s ‘ n eve r- e n d i n g n e s s ’ , and by the corollary of eternity and infinity. We measure our tiny life against these unimaginable immensities, and are overwhelmed. It is at once numbing and exhilarating; the thought that our time would come to end soon - while eternity will remain stretched out before us. And behind us too: the realisation that our consciousness was just a spark in an endless darkness. You may not be able to see it, touch it or smell it but you feel it blowing through you like a wind. The older you get the faster it travels; until, finally, its wind blows us off our feet. Yet, from the age of five I had accepted the truth of it, because it was impossible to imagine a timeless existence, a timeless universe. I found that the only way to cope with the idea was to scale the great cosmic enterprise down to the provincial – the personal. Subjectively, at least, time had begun when I was born, and would end when I died. So, in a sense, I would live for all the time there was! This is the eternal truth, as spoken by Lord Krishna to Arjuna. To us, nothing is more precious than time – not even fame or money. Yet killing time seems to be our principal preoccupation. In what has to be the ultimate blasphemy, people waste time—precious, fleeting, insubstantial and allegedly illusory

A Coffee-Break { Archana Kapoor Nagpal } No one who does good work will ever come to a bad end, either here or in the world to come” - Bhagvad Gita had been going to the same coffee shop down the street for the past two weeks. Chris and Mark were the counter attendants. The authentic Spanish ambience was elegant and cosy. It was a trendy place to unwind and relax. Chocolate-brown walls,  decorated with Roman and Greek paintings, added a warm feeling. The blue tiles, sturdy black iron chairs, pendant lamps, and the floor to ceiling curtain comforted me. It was a simple coffee shop, but very well-designed. Chris always welcomed me with a big smile, whereas Mark was mainly busy maintaining the accounts. I would spend my evening hours there, sipping my favourite cappuccino while writing poems. Chris regularly served it to me, steaming hot, in a pre-warmed mug - with extra foam and a chocolate muffin. He always walked up to me with the tray in his hands and a flower in his pocket. After serving the cappuccino he would place the flower next to my laptop - and I always blushed in return. One day I asked Chris to listen to one of my poems - about friendship. He patiently listened. He looked all over my face, as if he was trying to read my sentiments. At the end he gave me a thumbs up, and walked back to the counter. I was glad he liked my poem. I began to narrate every new poem to Chris. He would sit silently, and patiently listen to me. Most of the times he would still look all over my face - but he never uttered a word. This continued for a while, until one day I saw Mark bring me


time—by staring blankly at television screens, or absenting themselves from life’s astonishments, or giving themselves up to the anaesthesia of habit. For me, that agonisingly evanescent phenomenon, which evaporates between the future and the past, between the two great deaths (the one that precedes life and the one that follows it) has to be used as an aphrodisiac for existence. We must use time to energise ourselves, to kindle our enthusiasm, to encourage us to experiment, innovate and take risk. There is a theory that states that, by and large, living creatures have about the same number of heartbeats. The theory suggests that the rapidity of a heartbeat is a measure not only of metabolic processes, but perception - so that a little creature with a heart that beats in a blur sees the world slowed to a fraction of what we, human beings, perceive. If this is true, it’s a bit like changing the speed in a movie camera. At 24 frames a second, the camera shows the world pretty much as we see it. Run it at a hundred or a thousand frames per second—it can be done—and you can watch the leisurely progress of a bullet from a barrel to its target. Take it at just one frame a second, and you can watch an entire day compressed into an hour. Most human beings seem to want to pack a lot into an hour, a day and a

my coffee. I thought Chris had taken a day off. I did not let it bother me much but did feel a bit concerned. I asked Mark hesitantly, “I do not see Chris. Is he fine?” Mark smiled and answered, “Yes, Chris is perfectly fine.” I stuttered and asked, “Has he taken a day off?” Mark answered, “No. He will now be working in the morning shift. He has started teaching some deaf and mute children in the evenings, and on the weekends. Chris is a deaf-mute; he wants to help deaf-mute children, through his knowledge and experience. He offers free classes, to help these children lead a ‘normal’ life. I was speechless - at a loss for words. I questioned Mark, “Chris used to listen to my poems… how can this be possible?” Mark responded, “You never noticed it. He never answered any of your questions. He used to look all over your face, to try and understand your poems. You can go meet him at his school.” On my way I tried to recollect some of the moments spent with Chris. He had always welcomed me with a big smile, but never spoken to me. He had never given me a verbal feedback on my poems. He had never asked me a question. At school, Chris was busy writing notes on the whiteboard. After a few seconds he noticed me standing outside his class. He walked up to me. I was speechless… overwhelmed. I just hugged him, and gave him a thumbs up. I tried hard to describe my feelings to him. He held my hand and took me to his classroom. He introduced me to all his students. He took a flower from the vase on his table, and gave it to me. I politely told him, “You make me feel so special. I will never forget you.” Chris was again looking all over my face. He just hugged me tight. “The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional  love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well” - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Internationally published author of ‘14 Pearls of Inspiration’ and the '12 Facets of a Crystal’ u

S piritual


life. That is why we have been driving time ever more relentlessly. There was a time when people guessed the time by the position of the sun or moon, and by the length of shadows. Then a clock appeared, a clock with only an hour hand – the minute hand would come later. And later still did the seconds hand appear, sweeping around the dial. We began to divide time into hundredths, thousandths and then millionths of a second; and, in doing so, pressed the accelerator on our lives and on the pace of our perceptions. Until a moment ago in time, prior to the rise of technology, we lived in a natural world, where moods were slow to change – unless we were confronted by a threat. The longer we live, the quicker we live – and the more rapidly we are bored. A corollary of our increasing tempo lies in our unwillingness to wait – in our demand for instant gratification. Consequently we are infuriated by the languor in our laptops or any sluggishness in our automobile’s performance. Whether we try to stop time in its tracks, or swing from pendulum to pendulum; whether we put our head in the sand or look up to the stars, the future will reach us at the rate of 60 minutes an hour. While I’ve never been persuaded that there is a God, I am persuaded that time exists – and in a very big way. Moreover, time has some of the qualities that we ascribe to God - of being eternal and omniscient. 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.

Silent Teachers So far I have reached drifting through life Thinking, reading voraciously, like a child; Looking at me are giant portraits of James, Twain, Hardy & Oscar Wilde, Famous scribes I grew up with such tribe. I look for answers in the silent books There is wisdom tucked in every nook, I gather them, this, that and those In my arms, and sit at the window Overlooking Chicago Avenue Street At Barnes & Nobles, sipping Starbucks coffee n tea On a bright spring morning. Oh, what a treat For an old heart who seeks an art; To live life yet again without disdain Lord help me pick the right one That will teach me to make life fun – For everyone. That will answer all my roles and goals And make life worth it Even as I am getting old. Shobha Lidder Writer Journalist, Social Activist, Teacher Trainer Reiki Master, Pranic Healer u


Simply Om world of Brahma.” Katha Upanishad I

{ Bhuvana Shridhar }


editation is a very powerful method of clearing our thoughts, and feeling inner peace and fulfillment. ‘Om’ Meditation is one of the unique methods to purify the subconscious mind through chanting – or ‘whisper chanting’. It captivates our entire being. Through positive thinking, the ‘prana’, the life force in the body, is balanced and harmonised, preparing the

{ Krishan Kalra }


B on V ivant

24-30 May 2013

way for a deeper state of serenity.

It is better to dedicate a whole room to unwind and meditate. We need to ensure that this space, and its ambience, is conducive for the purpose. As light is a symbol of purity, the use of a lamp or a diya, by the side, has always been advocated by

How does it work

“The goal... which all the Vedas declare, which all austerities aim for, and which men desire when they lead a life of continence … is Om. This syllable (Om) is indeed Brahman. Whosoever knows this syllable obtains all that he desires. This is the best support; this is the highest support. Whosoever knows this support is adored in the

gurus. The room should be well-ventilated and peaceful. We start by softly chanting the mantra Om, till we feel calm and relaxed. Even if our mind remains distracted, we should keep chanting the mantra; the mantra always ‘wins’ over our distracted thoughts. We should try and let go of any unwanted thoughts while chanting Om, and focus our mind on the Creator. While meditating, we must concentrate on the various ‘chakras’ of our body – starting from the base chakra, and focusing our energy till we reach the crown chakra (at the top of our head). As we chant the mantra Om, we should feel the vibration of this energy entering and healing our chakras. As the mantra frees us from one thought, and

Back to School

fter 30 years I was back at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, I was attending a “Top Management Programme”, and we – 40 over-pampered senior executives from all over the country – were lodged in the hallowed precincts of the KLMDC (Kasturbhai Lalbhai Management Development Centre). It is a beautiful brick-faceted, ‘Louis Kahn’ building, with its characteristic huge circular windows, large comfortable rooms, spartan furniture, central air-conditioning, wide verandahs, lush green lawns... The classroom is an amphitheatre-style auditorium, sporting all kinds of slide projectors, sound system etc. Here we were, 39 men and a lone brave woman, transported from our respective offices all over the country to this picturesque place, ostensibly for one week of ‘fun and games’. The spell was broken once I entered my room. There, on the bare, well-used desk, lay a huge pile of papers – with the bold slip on top politely suggesting that we read the papers before class the next morning. The euphoric mood was instantly spoiled. I had never seen so many papers (to be read) since college. Long office days are a song-and-dance compared to this, I thought. Anyway, many cups of coffee later—mercifully the wake-up brew was on tap till

late at night in the lobby—I had managed to browse through the awesome pile; only to discover—horror of horrors— more of the frightening stuff under the door! I just put the light off and went to sleep. It is another matter that the next day in class I sat like a dodo, while the more studious ones argued over BHEL case studies and Mahalanobis’ model of economic growth. The embarrassment lasted for a week. Breakfast was fine; first, because you had to hurry through it, and secondly, you can’t really spoil tea, toast and boiled eggs. Lunch was a long row of tasteless, unappetizing dishes, a pile of cold rotis, sour watery curd and the mandatory dish water for soup. Well, a guy has to fill his stomach, so we ate; the generous slice of ‘Vadilal Kesar Pista’ made up to some extent. That was the story of our life for one week. It so happened that I spotted an old friend’s son at the campus. This young man was doing his MBA at the august Institute, and lived— like 350 others—in one of the ‘Louis Kahn’ dorm’s rooms. Set amidst the splendour of Stanford ramp, Harvard steps and the awesome ‘Louis Kahn’ Plaza, these well-constructed airy buildings have about 20 single cubicles in each dorm. They have decent rooms, fairly clean community baths, generous patches of green….. everything good, till you reach

the Mess – which, you’ve guessed right, is a real mess! I asked the youngster to join me for dinner, apologetically adding that it was only hostel food. Promptly at eight he was there and we proceeded to the dining room. He was shocked when a glass of tinned juice was served; and by the time we approached the buffet table he was behaving like a man possessed. A quick ‘mind if I pile up Sir’, and he attacked the food as if he hadn’t been near any for weeks! “Why aren’t you eating, Uncle?”, was all he managed to say for the next half-an-hour. It was only after a double helping of the famous ‘Vadilal’ that he paused to tell me about the muck that was served in their mess. For him this ‘hostel food’ was a banquet, a gourmet spread. That night I suddenly found our food tasty; I had learnt my lesson. I have never understood why such hallowed institutes, that train the best of our managers, can’t manage their own affairs. What’s so great about ensuring that our top of the line students from all over India get clean, wholesome food twice a day? Why must they need to run out of the place at the first opportunity... only to eat? Perhaps, for the learned professors such mundane matters are infra-dig, and seemingly of little importance for their bright students. If only the faculty had to eat with the students. u

then another, it begins to reach the border of superconsciousness – where we learn to connect with the divine energy, the source.

Advantages of Om Mantra Meditation

Just a few minutes of this mediation can work wonders. Unlike other meditation techniques it is simple to practice. As we increasingly dwell in the self, the mind becomes calmer; our concentration, and our capacity to face the tribulations of life, increases. The mantra can be practised at least once every morning, or in the evening for about twenty minutes. It keeps us in touch with our inner being. We start feeling the difference in our thoughts at the subconscious level. We feel more responsible, and less stressed; we are no longer slaves to our negative thoughts. The power of our mind is used for more constructive purposes, and in the process we become happier individuals. We learn how to heal and love ourselves. u Author, Tarot Reader



by ShahnaZ Herbal Cosmetic Queen Padma Shree Shahnaz Husain is the CEO of the Shahnaz Husain Group – India’s leading company in the field of natural beauty and anti-aging treatments. Q. I used to have waist length hair and have recently cut them to


shoulder length. Ever since, I’ve noticed my hair has started falling a lot. What can I do? Cutting the hair shorter does not cause hair loss. Some of the reasons for hair loss are dandruff, oily scalp, stress, thyroid imbalance, illness, nutritional deficiencies, hair damage (caused by repeated dyeing, colouring, perming, straightening), etc. Hair loss after pregnancy and during menopause is also common. So, try to identify the cause in your case. We recommend the application of Shatone herbal hair tonic on the scalp daily, using cotton wool and leave on. It is non-oily. Avoid massage. Part the hair in sections and apply on the scalp. Apply oil once a week the night before shampoo. If you like, you can apply olive oil or pure coconut oil. Avoid head massage. If there is hair loss, the roots are already weak and massage may aggravate the problem. Diet is very important. Have a small bowl of sprouts daily and include fresh fruits, salads, leafy green vegetables, soyabean, curd, in your diet. Ask your doctor to prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements.


Shirin Mathews

Ask the beauty expert questions on skin, hair and beauty. The best question (picked by Shahnaz Husain) will receive a gift hamper from the Shahnaz Husain Group. Write to us at

24-30 May 2013

B on V ivant

Unusually Cool { Shilpy Arora / FG }


t is time to pack the travel bag and set off on a holiday. Various hill stations in India and abroad have been favourite the hotspots for tourists, especially during summers. But today, along with the cooler weather, people want to experience something unusual. Ranging from the historic city of Oslo, to wildlife safaris in Kenya, and the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, Gurgaonites are keen to explore some of the world’s unique destinations. A few Gurgaonites share their views on their favourite holiday destinations.

A journey to historic Oslo

activity has been river cruising in the Brahmaputra. A 10-day and 9-night cruise is the perfect way to immerse in the magical landscapes that surround the River. The trip covers most of the highlights of Assam, including elephant and jeep safaris, and searching for the majestic rhinos at the Kaziranga National Park. The cruise also takes you to the ruins of the Ahom Kingdom and the Neo-Vaishnavite monasteries of the famous Majuli Island. This time Neha is planning to camp in an isolated river island. She says, “I want to camp at Dhodia, where the locals are famous for living intelligently with floods. They have built small houses that can float.” Sukanya, a resident of Aralias, shares the same passion. Her favourite destination, however, has been the Rhône and the Saône rivers in France. “There is no other place in the world where one can taste the beautiful wines produced from fine pouillyfuissé and full-flavoured rosé. That’s not all. Visiting the medieval village of Viviers, Avignon and the fascinating 15th-century Hospices de Beaune will add charm to your journey. It is truly a wine lover’s cruise,” she smiles. Newly married Sukanya wants to take her husband for the cruise this time.

Swimming with dolphins


7,000 species of plants. “Unlike tigers, lions are more social,” feels Rehman, the 8-year-old son of Zubina, who was thrilled to see a young lion staring at them from about 10 feet away. He also recounts how a lioness was defeated by a group of giraffes when she tried hunting down a baby in their group. Such encounters with animals are part of the charm of travelling to Kenya. “It was fun to learn about some of the weird characteristics of white rhinos – how the dominant male drops his dung in the communal toilet. The dominant male also marks his territory on land with his dung,” recounts Zubina. “The animals seem to pose for you,” says Rehan.

Morocco: a Photographer’s Paradise Founded in 1048 by King Harald Hardråde, Oslo is an aesthetic mix of modern architecture and sumptuous open spaces. Barely a half hour’s drive from the city of Oslo takes you to thick forests that are famous wolf reserves. Talking about her experience, Sujata Mitra says, “A visit to these reserves provides one of the rarest opportunities in the world to observe and learn about wolves so closely. My son was amazed.” For an offbeat experience, one can also check out the Mini Bottle Gallery in Oslo. It is a one-of-a-kind museum, devoted to a collection of 53,000 bottles. It contains the world’s largest collection of miniature bottles. These bottles are stuffed with anything from fruits and berries, to worms – and even mice. The Collection belongs to a local brewery baron.  However, for Kapil, her husband, what makes Oslo different from the rest of Europe is its graffiti art, buskers and pop music – and plenty of kiosks, to hang out in with a bottle of local beer. “It offers a perfect nightlife for a couple,” says Kapil. He is impressed with the City’s mass transport systems. “All you have to do is hop onto any of the many bus lines, trams and the metro system – called the Tunnelbane (T-bane). Roads are great and the transport is absolutely safe,” he says.

River Cruising

For Rajeev, one of the most magical experiences of his life was when he got an opportunity to swim with dolphins. It happened at Kaikoura, a small coastal town situated on the South Island of New Zealand. Recounting his extraordinary experience, he says, “We had barely entered the sea, when a big dolphin came right up to us. I pulled out my camera, as I wanted to capture the beautiful moment. However, my guide made me interact with the dolphin, and then asked me to swim with it. I had never dreamt of having such a wonderful companion for swimming.” This time he is heading to New Zealand to see the Giant Weta, or the Tuatara, a reptile that is the only surviving member of an order that existed 200 million years ago. Found only in New Zealand, the reptile belongs to the era when dinosaurs were around. “I have been treated to abundant, joyful wildlife sightings. A glimpse of a penguin was exciting, coming within three feet of a seal was fun, and spotting whales during an under-water trip left me speechless. But I was not lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Giant Weta,” says Rajeev. Visitors can also spot fur seals, dolphins, sperm whales and albatrosses, and then indulge in a feast of fresh mussels, blue cod and crayfish. There are only a few places in the world that can boast of such natural wonders – offered by the land and sea in Kaikoura.

A Wild Safari A journey along the waterways of the Brahamputra allows visitors to experience some of the best sights in Assam. “Every river tells a story. You experience something that is just not possible on any other means of transport,” feels Neha Chandra, a teacher. Over the past three years her favourite holidaying

“Without his mother and siblings around, he was feeling a little shy. Yet, he wanted to come close to us and befriend us,” says Zubina, while talking about a two-year-old giraffe she met in the Solio Reserve in Kenya last year. Wildlife reserves situated over Mount Kenya and the Aberdare mountain range are home to more than 25,000 species of animals and

Morocco is truly a photographer’s paradise. An award-winning photographer, Rachna Malik, who lives in DLF Phase V, has been under its spell since her first trip in 2007. In one of the award functions, she was asked what had changed her photography the most; she answered, “Morocco”. “On my first visit to Marrakech, I was excited to see such colourful clothes, buildings, walls and windows. It seemed that there was a photograph everywhere. No other place in the world has so much colour and movement,” she says. Rachna doesn’t use any after-effects after clicking a photo, nor does she use a flash.  She illustrates the same by referring to a photograph of an old building, with light streaming through the shaded roof. She suggests that travellers visit Morocco with ‘an open mind’ and ‘an open heart’. “What makes Morocco beautiful is not just its colour and design, but its people. They are extremely

friendly and forthcoming,” she feels. Morocco has long been a source of inspiration for artists and writers. Now, it is attracting photographers from around the world. Prashant, a resident of Pinnacle, says, “My wife and I were drawn to Morocco primarily by the pictures we had seen on the Internet.” Fond of photography, the couple visited Morocco several times. One of their photos has received huge accolades at a photo exhibition in Goa. Talking about the photograph, Prashant says, “This photograph was clicked at the mosque at the Absolution Fountain, under the Horseshoe Arch. The Arch, inlaid with thousands of colourful tiles, made a perfect backdrop for three women seeking absolution.” u

20 { Alvise Armellini / Rome / DPA }


ormer Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi used to hold parties at his villa with women dancing around him dressed up as US President Barack Obama, or as “sexy nurses” or nuns, an Italian court was told last Friday. Moroccan-born dancer Karima El Mahroug, known as Ruby the Heart Stealer, was testifying in Milan in the trial against three aides to Berlusconi – who are accused of abetting prostitution, by recruiting women for his infamous parties. Guests would have dinner and then move into “a huge room”, that was known as the “bunga bunga,” El Mahroug said. It had a column for pole dancing, with armchairs around it. Berlusconi’s personal singer, Mariano Apicella, would play

Berlusconi’s ‘bunga bunga’ Parties “very sensual songs”, while girls would “dance around the pole” and approach a seated Berlusconi “in a sexy, alluring way,” she told judge Annamaria Gatto. Nicole Minetti, formerly a regional politician for Berlusconi’s party, would lift up her nun outfit “to show her legs” – and later remove it altogether, “to remain only in her underwear.” Other girls would dress up as celebrities – like footballer Ronaldinho, who played for Berlusconi’s AC Milan team, or as prosecutor Ilda Boccassini, who has

investigated the scandal-prone politician several times. El Mahroug, now 20, said she never saw any physical contact between the 76-year-old and his female guests. Berlusconi is being tried separately on charges of paying for sex with El Mahroug when she was still underage—which is a criminal offence in Italy— during one of the ‘bunga bunga’ parties. El Mahroug was not heard in the trial against the former Premier, as, after she twice failed to show up in court, the prosecution and the defence agreed to submit transcripts

Park Ranger Saves Girl From Lion { Shabtai Gold / Johannesburg / DPA }


South African park ranger saved a little girl from a lion attack, by shouting and throwing a coffee cup at the animal, a newspaper reported on Friday. “I realized I would have been in a lot of trouble if anything happened to the little girl, so I decided that it would rather have to be me,” Beeld newspaper quoted ranger Franco Kubile, aged 32, as saying. Kubile was accompanying a group of seven tourists on a safari drive at the Madikwe reserve in the north of the country. They got out of the vehicle at a clearing, so that some people could go to the toilet under a nearby tree. The ranger stayed at the vehicle, preparing coffee. “That was when I heard people yelling, and saw a mother and her toddler daughter running away from a lioness,” the ranger recalled. Still holding the coffee cups, the ranger jumped in front of the lioness, and shouted “Stop, Stop” – and threw the coffee cups at her. She eventually backed away. “There’s a 50/50 chance that a lion will run away when you take it head on. However, as soon as you start running, it sees you as prey,” Kubile said, noting that the young girl was “certainly prey.” The ranger told Beeld that the lioness likely had her cubs in the thicket where the guests went to relieve themselves, and was just protecting her young. u

No Room Service For Aussie Prostitutes { Sydney / DPA }


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otel owners have the right to tell prostitutes to provide their services elsewhere, an appeal court in the Australian state of Queensland ruled. In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in Australia, the Court of Appeal in Brisbane overturned a lower court ruling, that held that a motel owner in the town of Moranbah had unlawfully discriminated against a sex worker.   “I believe in justice, and I saw this as an injustice,” Drovers Rest owner, Evan Hartley said. “The law says you can’t allow someone to operate a business out of one of your rooms. If it was an accountant, it would be just the same.” The sex worker, identified only as GK, lost her initial court case but won compensation of 30,000 Australian dol-

lars on appeal to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The Court of Appeal has now been found in Hartley’s favour, three years after he banned GK from staying in his motel. “We’re not prudes,” Hartley said. “We understand it’s an industry that’s needed, but please don’t do it in our motel. Prostitutes have been getting away with dictating to property owners. We got ourselves into lots of strife, but you have to take a stand.” Queensland state Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie hailed the ruling as a “win for business and common sense.” Laws dealing with prostitution in Australia vary between states. In Queensland, certain kinds of sex work are legal, including licensed brothels and sex workers operating alone, but it is an offence to publicly solicit for the purposes of prostitution.. u

of statements she gave to investigators. Her testimony may influence the verdict against the conservative politician – it is due on June 24. Boccassini has asked for Berlusconi to be given a six-year jail term, and a lifetime ban on holding public office. El Mahroug said she told showbiz Manager Lele Mora—a defendant in Friday’s hearing, and who introduced her to the bunga bunga parties—that she was 19 or 20, and insisted that Berlusconi “thought that I was 23 or 24.” Prosecutor Antonio

Sangermano asked her about a wiretapped phone conversation, where she told a friend that she lied to investigators about “the fact that Silvio knows that I am underage.” El Mahroug said that she was talking “bullshit.” She also said that she was a guest at Berlusconi’s villa in Arcore, near Milan, five to seven times between February and May 2010, and stayed for the night at least on one occasion – but slept alone. After each visit, she would receive an envelope with at least 2,000 euros, El Mahroug said, adding that she was also given 30,000 euros in cash by a Berlusconi aide to help her open a beauty centre. El Mahroug, who spoke in court for about six hours, is due to continue her testimony at another hearing set for May 24. u

Wrestling Crocodiles Not ‘Fine’ { Sid Astbury / Sydney / DPA }


wo Australians who filmed themselves wrestling deadly saltwater crocodiles, were fined for interfering with protected animals, news reports said. Beau Greaves, 23, and Theodore Hewish, 21, posted pictures of themselves on Facebook, emulating the exploits of the late Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin in his wildlife documentaries. The Queensland State government took them to court, even though no harm appeared to have come to the crocodiles on Hicks Island, near Lockhart River in Cape York. “The footage of the capture of the first crocodile is quite disturbing,” Wildlife Officer Claire Bookless told the court in Cairns. “It showed Mr. Greaves in a death roll with the crocodile.” She conceded crocodiles were often more than a match for humans, but said that any human interaction could change their behaviour. “Those behavioural changes may put other members of the public at risk,” she said. Magistrate Joe Pinder said the offending was “spontaneous and unsophisticated.”u

Vanity Leads to Jail { Andrew McCathie and Irena Guettelv / Nordholz, Germany / DPA }


anity landed a 20-year-old in north-western Germany in jail, after he published photos of himself in an expensive stolen suit on the internet. The police traced the suit to a burglary of an apartment in Nordholz, in which the thieves made off with a mountain bike, a television, a computer and a slew of clothes. Several of the stolen items were found by police in the apartment of an accused associate of the 20-year-old. u

Postman Charged For Hoarding Mail { Alvise Armellini / Rome / DPA }


postman on the Italian island of Sardinia has been charged with theft, with over 400 kilograms of undelivered mail found at his home. Police discovered letters, magazines and packages in the man’s apartment and garage in the village of Mores, after residents complained they had not received mail for some time. Some of the items were mailed in 2009. The man failed to explain why he had hoarded the mail, the daily Corriere della Sera reported. The postman could face a prison term of up to three years. u

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Art, by 3D Printers A

student, and simulated them in three dimensions on a computer screen. Today he’s printing works of art. For Bitonti it’s a new method of artistic expression, “You see no trace of a human hand.” Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are also researching how 3D printing can be used in design and architecture. Professor Neri Oxman is experimenting with creating large objects in her laboratory. “In the near future we will be able to print buildings,” she asserts. Oxman says that by converting a robot’s arm into a 3D printer, it would be able to build a concrete wall layer by layer. One day it may be possible for everyone to

Jeff Meltz

{ Caspar Tobias Schlenk / New York / DPA }

A “squiggle” bicycle stand in Astor Place, New York City. It was created by the Francis Bitonti Studio, on a commission from the City government.

design their own home, and then print it! How are 3D printers influencing our lives today? The New York artist Josh Kline is trying to answer that question. Francis Bitonti Studio

s American burlesque dancer and model, Dita von Teese, entered the room, her audience was bowled over. “She was like something out of a computer game,” recalls Francis Bitonti. Bitonti is referring to the dress that von Teese wore, which was made from a nylon mesh material, embellished with 12,000 Swarovski crystals. The New York-based architect and designer created the dress in co-operation with Michael Schmidt. It was made using a 3D printer – making it the first dress of its kind.

Parts of the 3D-printed clothing designed by Francis Bitonti. The “fabric” is studded with glass crystals and the sections are sewn together by hand.

3D printers have the potential to mark the next industrial revolution, in the eyes of many people in the tech sector. Engineers are now experimenting on how to make replacement parts for machines. A “printed” gun was test-fired in the United States in May. Even heart valves may one day be “printable”. Artists and designers are also using the technology to create sculptures and jewellery. The technology works in a comparable way to a conventional inkjet printer. But instead of ink, 3D printers use nylon, ceramic and plastic. The material is laid in layers, to create a three dimensional object. Francis Bitonti has been working with 3D printers for the past six years. He has designed necklaces, belts and bicycle stands. He especially remembers a white chair that looked as if it had been woven together using tree branches. “It was such a complex design that it could never have been made using any other process,” says Bitonti. The 29-year-old began to take an interest in unusual shapes and patterns as an architecture

The dancer and model Dita von Teese, wearing a glass-crystal dress made in a 3D printer, by New York-based architect Francis Bitonti in co-operation with Michael Schmidt.

A complicated sculpted chair created with design software and 3D printing, by the Francis Bitonti Studio.

Emotionally Detached From Cars

{ New York / DPA }


ar-sharing is the answer to traffic problems in modern cities, says an award-winning US architect. He believes that the lack of “emotional attachment” to cars, shown by young people today, may help solve the problem of gridlocked cities. “Sharing has become part of our culture. We share music, videos emotions and experiences via social networks. “Many young people are prepared to share vehicles, since they have long ceased to have any emotional attachment to ‘their car’,” said architect Meejin Yoon, in New York. “For them it doesn’t have to be a particular car – as long as it is readily available and comfortable to use. It’s a similar thing with bicycles.” Yoon, 40, and her architecture partner Eric Hoeweler, won the 2012 Urban Initiative Prize, sponsored by German premium carmaker, Audi. Entrants were invited to submit their visions of future urban mobility solutions. “In a few years’ time, owning your car in a metropolis will be the exception. We will sacrifice some of our privacy, but win time and space. Typical urban problems, which today cost money and time, and fray nerves all over the world, will be a thing of the past,” predicted Yoon. u

He first scanned the hands of a few of his friends, and then placed a virtual bottle in those hands, on a computer. He filled the virtual bottles with fluids like Coca Cola, to give colour to his work of art. “I liked the idea of transforming real objects into information, and then creating real objects from information,” says Kline. Kline draws a parallel with our lives, where the Smartphone has become an integral part of our memory. “We are digitalizing our lives on Facebook by placing photos online,” he says. Kline’s hand sculpture, and other works of art made by a 3D printer, have been shown at the Museum of Modern Art. He believes more young artists will begin using 3D computers. Kline thinks the technology will change art “in the same way that Photoshop and digital cameras have changed photography”. u

New Blackmail Trojan { Cologne, Germany / DPA }


new Trojan designed for blackmail has been shocking victims with a combination of child pornography images and pictures taken with the computer’s webcam. But computer users shouldn’t be rattled by the tactic, urges Eco, the Association of the German Internet Industry. It is better to start combating the malware immediately, it says, offering programmes like HitmanPro to help in the fight. The Trojan usually accesses a computer via an infected website and security gaps – either in the browser or in plugins like Flash. It then locks down the computer, with a warning about internet access being blocked, because child pornography has been discovered on the hard drive. The message is made even scarier with four shocking pictures—and one of the user—taken with the infected computer’s own webcam. HitmanPro can do more than just get rid of the Trojan. It can also remove the pornographic images from the hard drive. However, HitmanPro first has to be booted up on a non-infected computer. Once that’s done, it creates a file on a USB stick, which the Trojan victim can use to clean up his computer. To avoid future infection, make sure important programmes like the browser, Flash and Java, as well as the operating system, are kept as up-to-date as possible. u

22 SFO’s Exploratorium

{ Barbara Munker / San Francisco / DPA }


an Francisco’s Exploratorium has moved into its newly renovated 300-million-dollar home at Pier 15, on the Embarcadero – not far from the popular Fisherman’s Wharf. At an open house earlier this month, curators at the experimental, hands-on Science Museum showed off 600 exhibits in its bright new 30,000-square-metre space – which is three times the size of the Museum’s previous surroundings. The Exploratorium had spent the previous 44 years of its existence in San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, which was constructed in 1915. The Museum was the brainchild of Frank Oppenheimer, a University Professor and Experimental Physicist, who was alarmed at the public’s lack of understanding of science and technology. Oppenheimer believed that adult and child visitors to the Museum, which opened its doors in 1969, could learn about natural phenomena, and also gain confidence in their ability to understand the world around them. “Please Touch” is still probably the best phrase to describe the Exploratorium’s ethos. In the East Gallery, with its stunning views over

San Francisco Bay, visitors can walk into the huge trunk of a 330-year-old Douglas pine. Nearby, 24 soaring columns display the San Francisco Bay tide heights for the current day, giving visitors the chance to see the rising and falling tidal pattern—and contemplate the significance of tides. Both exhibits are among the 150 new exhibits by 500 artists, scientists and engineers, on display at the expanded Exploratorium. Young High School students, called “explainers”, engage visitors at exhibits, lead demonstrations, and run many museum operations. The West Gallery, which deals with human phenomena, is home to the popular and now even larger Tactile Dome – an interactive excursion through total darkness, where the sense of touch becomes a visitor’s only guide. The questions that the Museum attempts to answer include how a tornado is formed, and what causes an optical illusion. Other new exhibits allow visitors to observe insects, track real-time positions of

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vessels in the Bay, touch their own upside-down floating image in the Giant Mirror, and pump air into a plankton chandelier. Geophysicist Sebastian Martin has worked at the Exploratorium for the last six years, and is ready and willing to answer any questions about the three-dimensional relief of San Francisco that he has developed. With a simple push of a button, visitors can see how fog and mist make their way across the Bay during the day, and where the City’s population is located. Martin is delighted that the Museum has managed to find a new home in the popular tourist area around the waterfront; he believes this will help result in the Exploratorium achieving its annual target of 1.5 million visitors. There is also a free Outdoor Gallery around the Museum for those tourists not prepared to pay the 25 dollars for an adult general admission ticket. The 50-metrelong Fog Bridge is particularly popular, while the Rickshaw Camera Obscura offers topsy-turvy City views on wheels.u

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S pecial

23 Prakhar PANDEY

Kids Expo-sed

Gram To City Millennium Plan


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