Page 1

20–26 April 2012

Vol. 1 No. 35  Pages 24  ` 7

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319

PRAKHAR PANDEY & JIT KUMAR

Who Should Maintain Gurgaon? {Inside} Yes, We Can

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hen citizens decide to take their responsibilities seriously, accidents can be averted. A resident, who also works as a Road Safety Officer, proves that. ...Pg 9

Culture Kingdom

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niquely featuring Culture Gully at the Kingdom of Dreams, and the person behind the concept and design – Omang Kumar. ...Pg 10 & 15

Tarot Cards

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n our third story on Tarot Cards, check out what the Royal Court Cards have in store for you ..Pg 18

{ FG Bureau }

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e are currently being maintained by a host of entities – HUDA, MCG, Private Builders (currently DLF, Unitech, Ansals primarily), HSIIDC, and the District Administration. In the March 30th issue, we had brought you the status in the HUDA areas. In the April 6th issue, and some earlier issues, we had checked out DLF and the private sector. In this issue (Page 6) we bring you the status in the MCG areas – specifically the Village Abadies. It is apparent that, despite about 6 months of the new ac-

tive HUDA Administrator, almost a year of the Mayor and 35 Councillors, and 3 years of the MCG, precious little has changed on the ground - for the common citizen. Be it in providing water and electricity, removing garbage, stopping the over-flow of sewage drains, ensuring better sanitation, or starting a regular city bus service – there is virtually no progress. Worse, there is no expectation of anything getting better. Whatever little has changed is in terms of some roads being repaired. To top it all, crime has increased. There is no better news from the private builder areas either. In fact, some are in

worse condition than HUDA sectors. And the list of RWAs wanting to take over from private builders is increasing – not as a wish, but in desperation. However, there is clearly one silver lining – and that is, DLF Maintenance. It is clear that, though maybe not shining, the DLF plotted colonies, and the condominiums, are maintained and run fairly efficiently and transparently. DLF has also set up enhanced capacity sub-stations, has undertaken water harvesting projects, is now involved in the renovation of Golf Course Road, and is also a partner in the Rapid Metro project. It is

already a mini-MCG, impacting lakhs of citizens. The MCG is planning to take over the private builder areas, despite its own house not being in order yet. It is shying away from taking over HUDA (a fellow state govt body) areas, and there seem clear financial reasons for the standoff. This is despite a clear mandate for HUDA to hand over its areas to MCG. HUDA has instead strangely commented on helping maintain private builder areas. As we covered in our previous issue (March 30th), HUDA residents are also quite dis-satisfied. Just a barrage of demolitions across the City has little meaning for them. u

It’s Time For An MCG-DLF PPP

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his Millennium City has come up significantly through private enterprise – Developers, Industry (esp. Auto), BPO, IT, Garment Exports, multiple MNCs. It is a City where many dreams are being fulfilled. This is all despite the civic issues. It would be fitting that this City set a trend, a standard, for India, in how it is also run. Public Private Partnership (PPP) is the buzzword in both government and private circles today. Why not have Gurgaon, the Mil-

Express Service at your Doorstep 

Ativa Auto Services has launched ‘White Xpress’, an auto-on-call service with the support of Bajaj Auto Ltd.  The autos are available from 6.30 am to 10 pm.  Make online bookings at www.whitexpress.in or call 0124-4811111.  Autos will charge Rs. 40 for the first two kms, and thereafter it would be Rs 8 per km.

Call:

0124-4811111

lennium City, run on a PPP charter? And the best credentials for running and maintaining this City clearly belong to DLF Maintenance – as an independent entity, with an independent Board. HUDA needs to move on to new development projects. It is not present in any of the new Sectors – 58 to 115. Perhaps it is time for it to launch Pataudi. An MCG – DLF Maintenance partnership for the City is the way forward. u


02

20–26 April 2012

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 VOL.–1 No.–35  20–26 April 2012

Editor:

WORKSHOP  THEATRE NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART

Art

Atul Sobti

Les petits temples de la route, by Alexis Boucher @ Alliance Francaise, Gurgaon Centre, S-24/8, DLF Phase III Date: April 25 to May 26 Time: 7 pm

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Correspondents:

Hritvick Sen Maninder Dabas

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

Anita Bagchi Shilpy Arora

Designers:

Manoj Raikwar Virender Kumar

Circulation Execs.:

Syed Mohd Komail Pankaj Yadav Sunil Yadav

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

Ankit Srivastava

Ad Sales Manager: Lokesh Bharadwaj Sr. Ad Sales Exec:

Bhagwat Kaushik

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

editor@fridaygurgaon.com letters@fridaygurgaon.com contributions@fridaygurgaon.com subscription@fridaygurgaon.com circulation@fridaygurgaon.com adsales@fridaygurgaon.com events@fridaygurgaon.com marketing@fridaygurgaon.com Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana.

painting Exhibition by artist Alexis Boucher. The theme of the Exhibition is "connection through art between the past and the present, between mundaneness and mythology".

Art Nightlife

Euphoria Live Performance @ Vapour, 2nd Floor, MGF Megacity Mall, MG Road Date: April 21 Time: 9 pm

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uphoria, a Delhi-based band that is known for playing rock music in Hindi, will rock the stage at Vapour. This will be the first performance of Euphoria in the City.

Nightlife

Astitva Live @ Pub Nirvaan, MGF Mega City Mall, MG Road Date: April 20 Time: 8 pm

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group Exhibition of paintings, drawings, graphic prints, and sculptures, by Sakti Burman, Paresh Maity, T. Vaikuntam, K. Laxma Goud, Trupti Patel, Sunil Gawde,Yusuf Arakkal, and many more.

Art

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Nightlife

Laal Band From Pakistan @ Attitude Alive, Supermart, DLF Phase IV Date: April 21 Time: 9 pm Entry Fee: Rs. 300

Workshop

Film Appreciation Workshop @ Samarpan, Arjun Marg, DLF Phase I Date: April 28 Time: 11 am Fees: 750 per person

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Workshop to help participants understand the elements of film making, and
learn about the different types of world cinema. Also, an introduction to 10 world famous directors.
The Workshop is organised by Truth School, an Institute of Innovation and Filmcraft.


Dance

Rudrani @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: April 27 Time: 7:30 pm

TO SUBSCRIBE

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Bharatnatyam Recital by Shashikala Ravi, dedicated to the all-pervading feminine energy.

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Special offer price ` 200 Savings

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No. of issues

52

To get Friday Gurgaon* at your doorstep, ask your newspaper vendor or email us at subscription@fridaygurgaon.com *circulated only in Gurgaon

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njoy the Sufi and classical music of one of the renowned bands of Pakistan.

Nightlife

Striker Anniversary Celebration @ Striker, Global Foyer, Golf Course Road, Sector 43 Date: April 21 Time: 8 pm

Theatre

The See Saw @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: April 28 Time: 7:30 pm Tickets: Rs. 350, 250, & 150

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njoy the live performance of Astitva, a multi genre Hindi band based in New Delhi.

Boozembly @ 7th Blue Bar & Club, Level 4, Gurgaon Central Mall, M.G. Road Date: April 21 Time: 12:30 J duo Akshit and Nikhil will spin popular Bollywood and Hollywood numbers. For more information, call 9268111049.

Group Exhibition @ Gallerie Alternatives, 102 Mega Mall, Golf Club Road, DLF Phase I Date: Till May 31 Time: 11 am to 7 pm

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Nightlife

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

1 year subscription

Mumbai. Their performance will be supported by an elaborate array of lights, sound and special effects.

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Printed at Indian Express Ltd. Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

Cover price

Coming Up

Celebrating Earth Day @ Biodiversity Park, Ghitorni Date: April 22 Time: 4:30 pm

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n Exhibition of handcrafted products, made by the special children of Samvedna Institute. This will be followed by a cleanliness and tree-plantation drive at the Biodiversity Park.


Music

Escape to Zorba @ Zorba, MG Road, Sultanpur Date: April 21 & 22 Time: 5 pm

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njoy the performance of over 10 bands from Delhi, Kolkata, and

Play directed by Bubbles Sabharwal. The story line hinges on the parable of The Scorpion and The Toad. The world was coming to an end and the entire landmass was scorched since a massive volcano had erupted, and every creature had escaped into the ocean for safety. The last two creatures to run for safety were the scorpion and the toad.

Gurgaon Book Festival 2012

Astitva Live @ Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI), Opp Huda City Centre Metro Station, Sector 44 Date: April 20 to 23 Time: 6 pm

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he City's first ever Book Festival, being hosted by FMRI, and organised by the National Book Trust (NBT).

Yoga Workshop

Yoga With Sapna @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: April 25 Time: 7:30 pm

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stage performance of traditional yoga with music, along with a lecture and a demonstration on Yoga.

Chef Vijaylaxmi TOP-4, MASTER CHEF INDIA-2

15% Discount for FG Subscribers

COOKING CLASSES

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

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or the first time in the City, a special fusion Band is performing – bringing together Chintan Kalra from Parikrama, Rohit Kulkarni from Think Floyd, Melino from Black Slade, Bismarc Pinto from Bizzy Bee, Aveleon Vaz and Shiv Ahuja from Five8. There will also be Stand-up Comedy by Rajneesh Kapoor, and a Magic Show by Tushar Kapoor.

Classes are scheduled only for the weekends

Limited Seats Only


20–26 April 2012

C eleb W atch

John Donor

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ollywood actor John Abraham visited Neelkanth Hospital to promote his maiden production “Vicky Donor”. The movie deals with the sensitive subject of sperm donation. Speaking on surrogacy, John said that it is a serious concern, that needs to be addressed. The film has been made responsibly. The movie stars newcomers Yami Gautam and Ayushmann Khurrana.

Chic Café

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ilan’s classy dining destination, Ipe Cavalli’s ‘Visionnaire Café, was launched recently at Paras Twin Towers. The Café, promoted by entrepreneurs, Neha and Priyanka Nagar, played host to several guests at the launch – including Naseer Abdullah, Reynu Tandon, Charu Parashar, Atul Waasan.

(L to R) Priyanka Nagar, Ramola Bachchan, and Neha Nagar

Mika’s Dream Concert

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Sanjana Jon

Divya Gurwara with Reynu Tandon

Baisakhi Nirvaana

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arty revellers had a great time as RJ Avinash rocked the stage at Pub Nirvaan, on the occasion of Baisakhi. The guests danced to the foot tapping Punjabi hip hop and latest Punjabi chartbusters, dished out by the RJ. He is popular for his show Sher-e-Punjab Express, on Fever 104 FM.

ika’s live concert at the Kingdom of Dreams provided great music, and a wonderful Baisakhi treat. His magical voice echoed loud, with some of his favourite Hindi and Punjabi numbers. After the concert, Mika said “I have performed at the Kingdom of Dreams earlier also, but today the crowd was just fantastic. It couldn’t have been better.”

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04 FOOD

Ramen Joy { Aalok Wadhwa }

As I enter, I suddenly feel like a traveller in a strange land. The menu, though written in English, has only Japanese words. I start with the first word I understand – sushi. The ebi sushi (Rs. 200) is made the nigirisushi way – where the chef presses the rice into a small oblong shape between the palms of his hands with a bit of wasabi, and drapes a topping of prawn (the neta) over it. The sushi is a manifestation of the precision Japan is famous for. The rice is cooked just right, and the prawn is crunchy. The extra wasabi sauce that I request for, is freshly prepared and pure dynamite. The first taste of it creates an explosion near the top of my head, leaving behind a teary, yet strangely satisfying, feeling. Daikichi’s Indian manager Sunil Pasotra (a vegetarian) helps

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n entering the JMD Regent Arcade Mall on MG Road, you feel as though you’re in an establishment in downtown Tokyo. Lots of Japanese are having a smoke outside, and then rushing in. Curious, to say the least, I follow them. They lead me right into the recently opened Daikichi restaurant. Daikichi means great joy. Daikichi has become instantly famous for serving the Japanese noodle soup, ramen. Chef Takashi Sato and his wife Juenko Sato are in charge.

Daikichi UGF 02, JMD Regent Arcade, MG Road, Gurgaon    Phone: 0124 4072727  Cuisine: Japanese Timing: 12 Noon to 3 PM, 6 PM to 10 PM

THEATre

Old Poison Too Is Gold { Ashok Sheoran }

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ritten by the American playwright Joseph Kesselring in 1939, ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ premiered in Jan 1941, and closed in June 1944 – after 1,444 performances. Originally conceived as a heavy drama, it is rumoured to have been based on actual events that occurred in Connecticut, where a woman took in boarders and allegedly poisoned them for their pensions. The producers ultimately convinced Kesselring to modify the play to a comedy, keeping in mind the trying times people were going through – with war clouds looming large then. Class Apart Productions and Lata Bhasin presented ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ at Epicentre, Gurgaon on

14th and 15th April. The Director, Prabha Tonk, says ‘All I wanted was to bring something humourous to Gurgaon. I love this place and the people; they are so cosmopolitan and fun loving’. The play is a farcical comedy revolving around the two Brewster sisters, Abby(Jacqueline Garewal) and Martha (Indu Ramchandani). The dear old ladies, all

FG

FIRST

Master Recipe

Vijaylaxmi – Masterchef (Season 2): Top 4

Fruits chuski Ingredients 2⁄3cup

30 pcs 11⁄3 cups 1cup 1 cup 2tbs 2 tbs

R eviews

20–26 April 2012

Method

 Fill 6 ice block moulds evenly with strawberry, mint, and black grapes. Fresh mint leaves  Stir together soda water, honey, water melon Black grapes juice and lemon juice gently in a measuring cup, until the honey dissolves. Pour the mixture slowly Fresh water over the strawberry, black grapes and mint. (Leave melon juice about 2 cm of space at the top of each mould, to Soda water allow for expansion during freezing. Adjust liquid Honey accordingly). Insert paddle-pop sticks into moulds.  Freeze for at least 4 hours. Lemon juice Strawberry, cut in chunks

me decode the rest of the dishes. Since the chef does not approve of the quality of Indian fish, the menu is limited to veggies, rice, chicken and pork, in various permutations. My next order is tonkatsu (Rs. 350), a breaded pork cutlet, served in small strips, laid out on a bed of chopped cabbage, onions, tomatoes and broccoli; and accompanied with mustard, mayo and a tonkatsu sauce. The crispness of the cutlet goes well with the crunchiness of the vegetables, the creaminess of the mayo, and the tang of the sauce. It is time for the chef d’oeuvre—the ramen (Rs. 350). It has a broth that combines miso, wheat noodles and chicken stock, to create a thick, nutty, slightly sweet and very comforting noodle soup. The soup is topped with chopped scallions, sea weed, a chunky slice of pork, sesame seeds, and half a hard boiled egg – that seems to have been boiled in soy-sauce infused water. This dish is a complete meal in itself; fulfilling, without sitting heavy on the stomach. It is easy to understand why ramen is the favourite food-on-the-go all over Japan. So, the next time you have the urge to experience something totally different from the mainstream, just go to Daikichi. The chances are that whatever you order will be good. And don’t forget to ask for their fresh wasabi, on the side. u a twitter in grace and lace, take to their form of ‘charity’, by murdering lonely old men who come to their house looking for board and lodging. Their potion is homemade wine, laced with arsenic, strychnine and ‘a pinch of cyanide’. The play has a delightfully eccentric cast of characters. There is Mortimer Brewster (Christopher Daruwala), their nephew, a drama critic – who deals with his crazy, homicidal family by considering a mental institution for them; a brother, Teddy Brewster (Manav Khanna), who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt, with a large moustache and pincenez – and who digs in the basement of the Brewster house, thinking it is a Panama Canal; and another murderous brother, Jonathan Brewster (Vishaal Sethia), who has received plastic surgery from an alcoholic surgeon—Dr. Einstein(Ranjit Mathur)—and now looks like a Frankenstein. Set in the tastefully done up period drawing room of the Brewster home, the story unravels when Mortimer discovers a body in the window seat of a car. Hilarious scenes and situations ensue, when Jonathan arrives along with Dr. Einstein, and another dead body. A particularly rambunctious scene unfolds when Mortimer is told by the aunts that he is adopted. Thrilled at being a ‘bastard’, he jumps with joy, as he can now marry his sweetheart – since he is no more a ‘Brewster’. On to a grand denouement, with the sisters offering wine to poor Mr Witherspoon, head of the mental asylum… Hilarious, outlandish and facetious, homicide could not have been treated in a funnier manner. Jacqueline, Christopher, Vishaal, Manav and Ranjit are naturals – as though born to their respective roles. Well and tightly directed by Prabha Tonk, the entire cast got a standing ovation from a large, very appreciative crowd. u

BOOK

The Adventures of Saqr { Alka Gurha }

‘T

he Merchant King’ is a debut novel by Shakir Husain, an Indian journalist who has spent more than a decade in the United Arab Emirates, working for Yahoo, The Gulf News and Gulf Today. The novel is a fictional account of a young king caught between the shackles of the past and dreams of the future. Given his extensive reporting experience in the Middle East, Husain skillfully transports the reader to a mythical Arab nation, as he narrates a fascinating story. Saqr, the prince of Balad, studies in London, and goes on to become ‘King Falcon’ for the natives of Neolandia – who hail Balad as their ally. Saqr’s dream of modernising his tiny island come crashing down, as The Merchant King Balad becomes a hub of war, Author: Shakir Husain and gets embroiled in turbulent PUBLISHER: Indialog Publications events. On one occasion, when PRICE: Rs. 195 Saqr’s close friend Leila, daugh- GENRE: Fiction ter of a wealthy newspaper owner, fears for Balad, he tells her, “This Island will be a brand new place. There is going to be money everywhere.” But when Scar, the Supreme Commander of the Arab Republic of Khaufistan, invades neighbouring Benzenistan, Saqr and his dreams get entangled in tumultuous drama. The narrative stays clear of any historical baggage. The prose keeps a good pace, liberally peppered with satirical humour, portraying the idiosyncrasies and ambitions of a young king’s tryst with bankers, doctors, scientists, models and militia. We have a beautiful Brazilian model, a gorgeous sniper, a crazy scientist and a mercurial queen, to complete the escapades of Saqr. u

CINEMA

Truly A New Dimension { Vijaya Kumar }

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pril 15th, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic, in the icy waters of the Atlantic. 1517 lives were lost in that disaster. James Cameron makes you fall in love all over again – with a 3D version. It is impossible not to like this beautiful love story, and the 3D visual excellence. James Cameron has another winner on

TITANIC 3D Directed by: James Cameron CAST: Leonardo Di Caprio, Kate Winslet GENRE: Tragedy/Romance

his hands; and will be more than amply rewarded for his $18 million and 60 weeks investment. How can one pen a review by highlighting just a few aspects, when everything about this new version is just perfect? Savour the enhanced excellence of – the scene in which Jack (played by Leonardo Di Caprio) and Rose (played by Kate Winslet) spread their arms outwards, standing on the bow of the ship; Rose’s acting, when she tells her fiancé, “ I would rather be his whore than your wife”; the sequence of Rose and Jack making love in the car in the cargo hold; the disaster scene of the flooding waters. Recapture the soulful rendering of the all-time favourite Celine Dion number. The 3D format enhances the feel and the sound – especially of the rushing waters. The detailing is perfect; and so are the performances. Cal is the perfect villain; and Jack and Rose make the perfect romantic pair. Kate Winslet’s acting assets are amply on display here. Before I conclude, here are some coincidences. The Titanic went down on 15/4/1912. The digit sum of this date (1+5+4+1+9+1+2=23=2+3) is 5; it went down 5 days after it had begun its voyage; and 1517 (digit sum 5) people lost their lives. u


20–26 April 2012

C eleb W atch

05

Girlcott at Galleria H

undreds of women, along with some celebrities like Singer Rabbi Shergill, Violinist Sharat Chandra Srivastava, and Drummer Satyajit Mukherjee, made their presence felt at the 'Gurgaon Girlcott' at the Galleria Market – to protest against the rising crime against women in the Millennium City. The event started with slogans, and was followed by a street play called ‘Dastak’ – performed by well-known theatre Director Arvind Gaur’s group, Asmita Theatre Group. The play was based on the theme of saving and protecting women.

Skin Rejuvenation Symposium D

ermatologists and plastic surgeons from all over the country - like Dr. RK Khazanchi, Dr. RK Jain, Dr. Vibhu Mendiratta, Dr. A.S. Bath, Dr. Niti Khunger, and Lt. Col. (Dr.) Ajay Chopra - visited Medicity, to participate in a symposium,“New Horizons In Skin Rejuvenation Techniques". Organised by dermatologist Dr. Shelly Kapoor, the Symposium touched upon areas like chemical peels, PRP therapy, and Intrademal Botox.

Retro Guvment

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J Golz threw a party at Guvment, based on the theme “1980s Back to The Future”. The ladies came dressed as yesteryears divas and boys were dressed in funky jackets and flared trousers. The disc boomed to sounds of retro hits, as Edwin Fernandes, The Blue Turtle, Simple Truth, Vikrant Pawa, DJ Summit, and DJ Golz played on.

A Magical Flute Recital

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amous Flautist Pandit Ronu Majumdar mesmerised the audience with an hour long performance at Epicentre. Ronu is famous for giving performances that juggle between eras. At one moment, it reminds the audience of the mythical Ras Leela of Lord Krishna and his Gopis; the next instance could be a jam session with ace guitarists Ry Cooder and Lary Coryell. The event was organised by Sangeetam.

Natural Food & Drink T

he City's food aficionados were in for a treat at the launch of Godrej Nature's Basket's new store at Ambience Mall. The guests enjoyed a multi-cuisine workshop conducted by noted Gastronomist Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal. This was followed by an exciting bartending session, hosted by mixologist Ajay Nayyar, from Tulleeho.com.


06

20–26 April 2012

C over Story JIT KUMAR

{ Hritvick Sen / FG }

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city’s true progress should be measured by its weakest link. Going by this benchmark, the city of Gurgaon would fare very badly. Heading towards a year since the election of the Councillors, a majority of the villages/colonies in this City have seen little or no improvement. Leaving aside the case of the ‘unauthorised’ areas (which are awaiting regularisation at the State-level), even the authorised villages have seen precious little of what was promised. The roads continue to be non-existent, sewage is out on the roads, and water and electricity come by chance. These areas formed the bulk of the winning Councillors’ votes, and the people are complaining that a year is too long a time for their candidates to be ‘settling down’ in their new roles, in the Municipality. Prime examples of the MCG authorities’ apathy are Basai village and Baldev Nagar. There is a vast garbage dump next to the village, separated by the main Basai Road. Originally intended as an auto market by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), the four-acre spread is filled with tonnes of garbage, collected from the City’s colonies. Hari Dutt Sharma, a resident of the village, says, “We have been complaining to the authorities for a long time, but have not seen any action. From the Deputy Commissioner to the MCG Commissioner, and even the MLA of our area, it seems no one can remove this landfill.” He says that all the authorities assure them of quick intervention, and have the area temporarily cleaned up. “Then the trucks come and dump the garbage again,” says a member of the Women’s Committee of the village. “The garbage dump is right in front of the village temple. People come here at all times of the day, and have to face the stench of filth and decay,” she says. And clinics and hospitals in and around Gurgaon have found a convenient spot to dump all their toxic waste – from empty blood bags, used syringes, to whatever hazardous material they don’t want to handle. “They come at night, when it is hard to catch them,” says the temple pandit. “All the waste from the City comes here, and then is picked up and taken to the waste disposal plant at Bandhwari, leaving this part of the City a stinking mess.” The village itself has problems of sewage disposal and street-lighting, but all of that pales in front of the problem of

Villages, Not Abadies the garbage dump. In the monsoons, the residents say that it is impossible to stop the water from the dump site flowing into their side of the village. The sarpanch of the village does what he can, but it fails to make a dent to the growing problem. “We’re constantly apprehensive of a disease outbreak in the village any time it rains. The Councillor, Virender, says “I have requested several times for the dump site to be removed, but the process is stuck at higher levels. Officials tell me that if this dump site is removed, how will the collection process take place? Unless an alternative plan is drawn up, the status quo will remain.” Poor roads and sanitation continue to be the bane of the villagers’ existence. Take, for instance, Tigra village. The village has received very little attention from the authorities. The narrow roads have been haphazardly concretised, losing the natural slope of the land, leaving drainage and storm water to lie in puddles in front of the houses. The drains on the main lanes are choked, with years of filth and garbage – forcing the dirty water to flow out. In spite of the villagers building big, lavish houses, the lane in front of them continues to be filled with muck and refuse. “The Councillor, Nisha Singh, has not even paid us a visit in over a year of her tenure. Whatever has been done for our village has been courtesy of the village panchayat,” says Raju Sarpanch. Anil, the previous village head, chips in, “ There is infrequent cleaning of the village. You can see the effect it has on the drains,” he says. Soni, a resident, complains

that there is no one who will heed their problem of monsoon flooding. “We have to build our houses high, otherwise the rainwater comes in,” she says, gesturing around. “We haven’t seen our Councillor since the elections. Our candidate lost, and perhaps that’s why our village will not see any development.” Village Samaspur is a fortunate beneficiary. The road leading inside the village has been metalled; and although the village has a high population density, due to the influx of migrant labourers, there is a better standard of cleanliness . “The labourers have settled here because of the new buildings coming up next to the village,” says Rajesh Mishra, a grocery shop owner. “The infrastructure we have in the village is old, and often fails, when faced with a sharp increase in the village’s population. It’s good that the roads have been laid with concrete; it was pending for a long time,” says Mukesh, “But the problem of sewage and cleanliness has not been addressed. We are worried with the number of immigrants living in this village; there is little police patrolling inside the village lanes.”

Haphazard Constructions

Fresh construction and renovation in the City’s villages is always welcome. But the rising storeys and construction in these areas is worrying, because almost no one has designed his or her building through an architect. “Why should we pay for an architect, when we know what we want to put up?” says Kalu Ram, a resident of Ullawas. He was busy supervising a third storey on his massive ‘bungalow’ in the village. “The contractor is known to us, and is competent enough,” he feels. When pointed out that any construction’s blueprints have to be verified by an architect, and signed by the Town and Country Planning officials before being built, the village residents have the same reply. They say they pay the contractor to authorise the new building plans, and ‘save the cost’ of going to an architect. ‘It’s a new fad of consulting an architect, and our houses are not that fancy to warrant spending on an architect,” residents say. It is another matter as to whether these buildings are disaster-resistant in any form – only time will tell.

Gurgaon village is the ace of the pack. Due to the presence of Sports Minister Sukhbir Kataria and Councillor Sunita Kataria, the village is the cleanest and the most wellmaintained of the lot. “Except for little problems like power shortages, the village is maintained scrupulously,” Suresh Kanda says. He has been living in the village for over 20 years, and vouches for the fact that both the Katarias have worked and achieved a lot for the oldest village in the City. The roads are clean and swept, and there is no visible filth and garbage lying around, expect for the small disused pond next to the Community Centre of the adjoining sector. The new Community Centre of the village is the new shining jewel of Gurgaon village. “You have to know how to get work done from the officials,” says the firebrand Councillor Sunita Kataria. “Everybody can howl and complain of the slowness of official work. I, along with the villagers, made sure that files reached the officials on time, and that work was assigned to the contractors as soon as possible. Secondly, I believe that contractors will do the work they have been assigned.” Going after them with hammer and tongs will not always make them work, and often hinder the work itself, she feels. As of now, the village is going to see drainage and water supply projects worth Rs 1.5 crore, “thanks to the Mayor Vimal Yadav”, says Sunita Kataria; as also the presence of more street-lights. Prempuri is a village where nothing has changed in a year’s time. The roads are still lined with muck, and open garbage dumps abound on each side of the village. It is a common sight to find the children playing under dangerously low-lying power lines, and pigs and dogs soaking the afternoon sun in front of houses. A member of the village committee says, “People and authorities give all sorts of excuses when faced with the question of why development work is not taking place as promised. So far, no one has been able to give us an honest answer.” Although falling in the same ward, Jharsa is slightly better off than Prem Puri in the matters of amenities, and the condition of the village. One of the biggest villages in the city, Jharsa lies in the shadow

of Unitech’s Cyber City, and therefore is flush with tenants and business coming from the tech-hub. The wide concrete road, going through the centre of the village, is rife with construction; and the small lanes inside are choked further with overhanging houses, which encroach on areas meant for storm drains. The resultant increase in sewage output has made the village a cesspit of filthy water, and refuse. Vinod, a resident who was supervising the construction of another house beside his own, said, “We are tired of overflowing drains. Sometimes the sweepers come to clean the area, and then they deposit the refuse in heaps – which disperse by the time the collecting vehicles make their rounds.” The sarpanch is a family member of the Councillor Poonam, and is reportedly a force in village renovations. Jagdeep, the husband of Councillor Poonam, says, “It’s true that the condition in the villages is far from satisfactory. And what’s more, the sanitation situation is fast degrading,” he says. Further, due to unscrupulous dairy-farm owners, who keep dumping their waste into the drains and clogging them, the condition of Jharsa and Prem Puri is becoming worse. It seems to be no one’s responsibility.

Officials Say

An MCG official says, “It is absolutely untrue that MCG has achieved little in the villages. If the Councillors come to us with approved work, we will get it done. We have relaid the roads in several villages, and crores of projects have been approved, and are ongoing. If the Councillors can get the projects passed, we can get it done.” Mayor Vimal Yadav is hopeful that the projects in 2012 will assuage the people’s feelings. “We have projects worth two to three crores prepared for each village. Each project, once passed, will improve the water, drainage and sanitation situation in the City’s villages. We have increased the House meetings, from once a month to twice a month, just for speeding up the approval process. From then on, it is the Councillors’ responsibility to ensure the project is implemented effectively in their Wards.” Nearly a year down the road, only a few villages like Gurgaon and Samaspur have seen anything resembling development. The other villages are still wallowing in apathy, from the Councillors and the officials – and waiting for relief and basic amenities. u


20–26 April 2012

CINEMA

THIS WEEK Big Cinemas: Ansal Plaza Hate Story Time: 10.30 am, 2.00 pm, 4.40 pm, 7.20 pm, 10.00 pm Vicky Donor Time: 11.15 am, 1.45 pm, 4.30 pm, 7.00 pm, 9.45 pm Housefull 2 Time: 11 am, 1.05 pm, 4.10 pm, 7.15 pm, 10.15 pm Address: 3rd floor, Ansal Plaza, G Block, Palam Vihar Website: www.bigcinemas.com PVR: Ambience Premier Vicky Donor Time: 10.00 am, 12.35 pm, 3.10 pm, 5.45 pm, 8.20 pm, 10.55 pm Mirror Mirror Time: 10.10 am, 2.30 pm, 6.50 pm, 11.10 pm 21 Jump Street Time: 12.20 pm, 4.40 pm, 9.00 pm Hate Story Time: 10.15 am, 12.50 pm, 3.25 pm, 6.00 pm, 8.35 pm, 11.10 pm Housefull 2 Time: 10.00 am, 1.10 pm, 4.20 pm, 7.30 pm, 10.40 pm Titanic-3D Time: 12.30 pm, 7.30 pm The Rat Race Time: 6.25 pm Battleship Time: 11.05 pm Bittoo Boss Time: 10.00 am Kahaani Time: 4.10 pm Address: 3rd Floor, Ambience Mall, NH-8 Website: www.pvrcinemas.com PVR: Ambience Gold Vicky Donor Time: 10.40 am, 1.20 pm, 7.50 pm,

L istings

07

10.30 pm Mirror Mirror Time: 8.30 pm 21 Jump Street Time: 10.45 pm Housefull 2 Time: 11.00 am, 2.10 pm, 5.20 pm Titanic-3D Time: 4.00 pm PVR MGF: MGF Mall Vicky Donor Time: 10.15 am, 12.50 pm, 3.25 pm, 6.00 pm, 8.35 pm, 11.10 pm Hate Story Time: 10.00 am, 12.35 pm, 5.45 pm, 8.20 pm, 10.55 pm 21 Jump Street Time: 10.10 am, 2.30 pm, 6.50 pm, 11.10 pm Mirror Mirror Time: 12.20 pm, 4.40 pm, 9.00 pm Cobra (MALAYALAM) Time: 6.30 pm Oru Kal Oru Kannadi (TAMIL) Time: 11.30 am Battleship Time: 3.10 pm Titanic-3D Time: 2.40 pm, 9.05 pm Housefull 2 Time:10.00 am, 1.10 pm, 4.20 pm, 7.30 pm, 10.40 pm Address: 3rd floor, MGF Mall, MG Road Ph: 0124- 4530000 Website: www.pvrcinemas.com PVR Sahara: Sahara Mall Vicky Donor Time: 10.00 am, 3.10 pm, 8.20 pm, 10.20 pm Hate Story Time: 10.10 am, 12.30 pm, 5.40 pm, 10.50 pm Housefull 2 Time: 12.50 pm, 4.00 pm, 7.10 pm Address: Sahara Mall, MG Road Ph: 0124- 4048100 Website: www.pvrcinemas.com DT Mega Mall: DLF Phase I

Hate Story (A) – Hindi Time: 10:00 am, 02:35 pm, 08:40 pm Vicky Donor (U/A) – Hindi Time: 11:00 am, 01:25 pm, 03:50 pm, 06:15 pm, 08:45 pm, 11:10 pm Housefull 2 Time: 11:10 am, 02:05 pm, 05:00 pm, 08:00 pm, 10:55 pm, Mirror Mirror Time: 12:35 pm, 11:15 pm Titanic-3D Time: 5.10 pm DT City Centre: DLF Phase II Hate Story (A) – Hindi Time: 10:00 am, 01:05 pm, 05:40 pm, 10:55 pm Vicky Donor (U/A) – Hindi Time: 10:35 am, 03:40 pm, 06:10 pm, 08:40 pm, 11:10 pm Housefull 2 Time: 10:50 am, 02:40 pm, 08:15 pm, 11:15 pm Titanic-3D Time: 01:50 pm, 7:25 pm

♦ PM inaugurates the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) at Manesar. IICA will be an autonomous body under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. It has been designed to function as a holistic, capacity building institution, and a think tank for corporate regulation and reform. It will endeavour to provide industry a non-cumbersome, customer friendly and transparent regulatory environment. It will help develop new oversight structures and enabling frameworks. ♦ IICA will have a network of 6 schools – the Centres of Excellence and fora for Corporate Law, Competition Law, Corporate Finance, Business Environment, Corporate Governance; and the ICLS Academy. The Ministry is also planning to introduce graduate and post graduate academic programs for these subjects. Certification will be a major priority, and revenue generator, for the IICA. ♦ The Haryana Health Minister, Rao Narender Singh, has said that Haryana is close to becoming a polio free State – no fresh polio case has come up after

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THE WEEK THAT WAS January 2010. The Gurgaon village Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) has been sanctioned Rs 7 lakhs, for repair work. ♦ Haryana Employment Department is organizing a Job Fair for the Physically Handicapped, at the premises of the Vishwas Vidyalaya and Resource Centre For All Disabilities, Sector 46 (near Unitech Cyber Park), at 10am on April 26th. ♦ Companies or individuals who put up display boards/hoardings in the villages under the Gurgaon Panchayat Samiti, will now have to pay a fee of Rs 100 per sq ft per month to the Samiti. A fixed fee would also be charged for mobile towers. ♦ Rs 3 crores provided by the State, for the development of 20 villages in the Gurgaon area. ♦ A few days old baby found dumped in garbage. ♦ A 1-½ year old toddler is left in a govt. hospital, by parents. ♦ An ASI (Police) is killed, and 4 hurt, in car accident. ♦ A Gurgaon teacher drowns at Pattaya beach, Thailand.

♦ Woman dies after fall from terrace. ♦ A factory worker is killed on a terrace. ♦ A student killed by friends, for not arranging funds for them. ♦ 2 bikers die in Pataudi in a road accident. ♦ Bouncers travelling in a car belonging to a hospital owner beat up an ASI Police, on the road – are held. ♦ 2 people held at Sohna for impersonating CBI officials, and trying to extort money. ♦ An auto is grabbed at gunpoint; 2 are robbed of their bikes and cash; taxi driver is robbed of his car. ♦ Girlcott at Galleria and MG Road – women stay away from malls, protesting recent crimes against women, in and around malls. ♦ Demolitions take place at farmhouses in Ansal’s Aravali Retreat. Residents say they are not violating any norms. ♦ Toll committee plans next agitation on 29th April. Meets Union Road Transport & Highways Minister, C.P. Joshi. ♦ Anna statue not allowed to be erected in City.


08

20–26 April 2012

White Knight

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

JIT KUMAR

U

says Sachdev. Every White Express Auto is equipped with a panic button; and in case a customer is facing any trouble due to misbehaviour of a driver, or a vehicle breakdown, the call centre can be immediately informed. “We have a team of 9 people manning the call centre, and they

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

L

and is a precious commodity in Gurgaon, and the root cause of a large number of legal disputes – that are often fought for generations. Poor management of land records has been the Achilles Heel of the revenue system in the entire country. Real owners often find their properties being occupied by those with power and influence. It is to reduce such land disputes, and ensure that government agencies plan infrastructure projects in a better way, that the Gurgaon administration has embarked on the digitisation of the land records in the District. Although this initiative is part of the exercise taking place across Haryana, Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner P. C Meena says that his District has taken a lead, as land has become a precious commodity here. “With prices skyrocketing, the land disputes are steadily increasing here – so we thought that digitising the records would help in a big way,” says Meena. Currently the land revenue records (called Mussavies and Shajras) are maintained on registers, and sheets of cloth – that get damaged with the passage of time. Under the current digitisation plan, Satellite imagery is being used to map Gurgaon district; and this will be geographically synchronised with the plot ownership. The digitisation of revenue records will also help the agricultural land owners, as they can obtain the historic records easily – with details of ownership made available since consolidation took place in 1967. The satellite images of the land in Gurgaon will be uploaded on the website, and same can be checked by the property owners once the process is complete. Under this plan, every tehsil will have a modern Record Room(s)/ Land Record Management Centre(s), for better storage and retrieval of records. Meena says that mapping will also help in proper demarcation and clear titles, putting an end to the manipulation in land records. Real estate experts

keep a continuous watch on the movement of vehicles,” he informs. Presently, the Company is getting around 400 bookings a day. “White Express ensures that vehicles reach the customers on time, as that is a basic requirement for on call services. In the near future

we are planning to expand the fleet,” he says. He adds that the local administration and traffic authorities have been quite helpful. The authorities understand that the White Express service is helping the people. “We are also planning to launch a taxi service in the NCR,

Land Owner Protection opine that this will also stop the misuse of Panchayat land, that happens quite often in the Millennium City. The District Administration has carried out a large scale exercise to identify and demarcate all the Panchayat land, says Meena. “Large chunks of land, that were illegally occupied in connivance with the help of unscrupulous officials, have been recovered,” he asserts. Value addition to the Mussavies will be done by linking of Records of Rights (RoR) data already computerised by NIC in the State. Besides this, other socio-economic data will also be integrated with geo-referenced cadastral maps. This integration of spatial and non-spatial information would also aid in village level planning, opine officials. S.K Joshi, District Information Officer, who is coordinating the project in this District says that this project will help citizens obtain records easily. “The property owners can obtain original records with geographical marking; it is done manually at present,” he says. This system will also enable quick updation of land records, as and when a transaction

S.K Joshi

PRAKHAR PANDEY

nhappy with the commuting options available to the denizens of Gurgaon, businessman Varun Sachdev decided to launch White Express, in order to make travelling easier for thousands of people suffering the ignominy of travelling in the cramped share-autos, or the non-existent bus service. The White Express was launched on January 30 this year, and owner Varun Sachdev says that the auto-service has met with positive response in the Millennium City – that is always looking for convenience options. “We do not have good intra-city transport options, and as such I decided to launch this autoservice in association with Bajaj Auto. Presently we have 50 autos on the road, and these are fitted with GPS systems – helping us to plan the system in a better way,” says Sachdev. The basic charges for his autos is Rs. 40 for the first 2 km; and subsequently Rs. 8 per kilometer is charged. Pick-up anywhere in Gurgaon is free. “We have recruited drivers who are well versed with Gurgaon. Proper identification and back ground checks have been made with the help of the police, to ensure no untoward incident takes place,”

C ivic/S ocial

P.C Meena

is registered by the authorities. Besides the preservation and permanence of records, this information can be used in land value assessment, field level soil health cards, smart cards for farmers to facilitate e-governance and e-banking, settlement of compensation claims, land acquisition and rehabilitation, crop insurance, grant of agricultural subsidies, community/village resource centers, precision farming etc. The new land revenue record system will also take into account the changes in the property ownership that take place due to inheritance of property, gift and lease deeds. Digitisation of land records in Gurgaon is being taken up under the centrally sponsored scheme called National Land Record Modernisation Programme (NLRMP). The digitalisation of Mussavies (Cadastral Maps) is being done under the guidance of Haryana Space Applications Centre (HARSAC), Hissar, that has developed the methodology and initiated this work. It is also the nodal agency for remote sensing and digitisation work, that is being carried out at the behest of the Revenue Department, Haryana. The digitisation of land records is however not an easy task, as a number

as well as an auto-fleet in Delhi. This will help us expand our reach to the nearby areas, and help serve Gurgaon in a better way – as there are chances that soon the authorities will give permits to autos to cross the interstate border,” informs Sachdev. The response to White Express service has been quite positive, as most of the autos are engaged. “There is a huge population in Gurgaon that commutes within the City. The lack of local transport service, and the unbearable nature of shared autos has helped our auto services,” he admits. These autos are also environment friendly, as they are based on CNG. The service is available in all parts of Gurgaon, and can also be booked online, says Sachdev. The autos are available between 6.30 am to 10 pm, and can also be booked through the hotline service, by calling at 0124-48111111. Sachdev says that since the White Express has an exclusive partnership with Bajaj, it helps him in getting the vehicles serviced and repaired in a short time – as compared to the competitors. “We have more vehicles on the road as compared to the others, and soon we will increase the fleet,” is his promise to the Gurgaon residents. u

of Mussavies are damaged, says Krishan Dev Sood of Pan Indian Consultants, who are doing this task in Gurgaon. “By 31st of July the entire records of the District will be digitised, and these will be thereafter linked with Right of Record or ownership details of the properties,” says Sood. The discrepancies in the data will be removed, and thereafter the digitised data will be overlapped with the satellite maps, to have updated records. As a pilot project, land records of a village in Farrukh Nagar tehsil have been digitised, and overlaid with satellite imagery. “The results have been good,” says Sood. To ensure that the digitisation work proceeds smoothly, revenue officials, including Tehsildars, Kanungos, Patwaris will be given training, so that they can implement the software effectively. Meena says that the vital link between revenue and registration authorities in the District will be strengthened by this digitisation. “We are keen to ensure that land revenue records are made foolproof, so that disputes do not arise,” he sums up. u

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C ivic/S ocial

20–26 April 2012

I

n the pursuit of a perfect life in this Millennium City, we are almost on the brink of forgetting our socio-civic responsibilities. With our focus on self and family, we are getting dangerously close to become escapists – content to live in our thousand islands. Fortunately, though we may have lost the battle on a few crucial fronts, there are still people who take their responsibilities towards society seriously. Rajive Nandwani is one such unsung hero who understands his responsibility, and tries to act accordingly. “A few days back, at about 10:45 pm, I was returning with my family, after watching a movie at Omaxe Plaza, Sohna road. I suddenly glimpsed fire at the top of Raheja Mall. I immediately stopped my car, and dialled 101; but it got connected to the Delhi Fire Service. They directed me, and gave me the number of Sector-29 fire station (0124-2392101). I called them,

Yes We Can as also the Police Control Room (0124-2316100/0124-2320100) and within 10 minutes, the fire fighters arrived, and started their job. A QRT team also reached. In the meanwhile I had tried to manage the people and traffic on the road, and the Malls’ entrance, so that the fire fighters get a smooth passage, and don’t get stuck in traffic,” says a humble Rajive Nandwani. Later, the fire-fighters controlled the fire within half an hour, and their timely arrival certainly prevented a big mishap. “It was a fire caused by a short circuit. Fortunately, we didn’t get any traffic, and we reached within ten minutes of receiving the call. A delay of 1520 minutes could have caused serious damage to the Mall. As of now, only one advertisement hoarding has got damaged. The

Handicapped in Gurgaon

{ Sujata Goenka }

G

urgaon is a new city. It grew in the last decade by leaps and bounds. From a sleepy old town to a bustling city, now famous for its night life. High-rise Gurgaon, with buildings shimmering at night, has emerged as the new entertainment and commercial destination. I have travelled outside India. Disability has never been a barrier. It seems strange to me that accessibility has not played a role in this new era City. The builders have not made provisions for disabled persons – like toilets for the disabled in public places, or special parking spaces . None of the shopping complexes have provided any such reserved parking space. I have visited many public places in Gurgaon, and none of them provide a wheelchair-accessible toilet. It is actually mandatory as per court order. At the Cineplexes in the Malls, the attendant kindly offers to carry you and the wheelchair. This is very painful to the person, and is a dangerous practice. The attendants are not trained for this. In such a scenario, a person on a wheelchair will think twice before going for a movie. It is sad that these modern planners forgot the rights of the disabled, of a life with dignity. The Kingdom of Dreams is truly an experience that I would recommend. Zangoora is a show that can be rated as one of the best in all of Asia. The place is grand, and makes for an excellent entertainment destination. However, it is also not disabled-persons friendly. If you have a mobility issue, yes, there are receptionists who come forward to offer a wheelchair. After all, the entrance to the auditorium is welcomed by some twenty steps, with no barriers for support. Throughout the area one does not see any ramps. On enquiry, one is informed that the wheelchair entry is ‘from the back’. Here one needs to be forewarned. It is not a ramp for a wheelchair, but a slope for the heavy equipment for the stage to be wheeled in. The slope is very steep; so steep that it needs two musclemen to push the wheelchair up to the entry point. Coming down the slope is a nightmare. One is left wondering if the journey is worth it. God forbid if someone slips. It is a tragedy waiting to happen. Reserved parking for the disabled is absent, nor can the car drive to the nearest entry point. Ambience is another popular mall. It is strange that only in the shopping area are carts available, for a person with limited mobility. Even this Mall does not think it imperative to provide parking spaces on the ground level for the disabled. It seems that the City and the builders are paying lip service to a law, and to the rights of a disabled person, to enjoy equal opportunity. A person with limited mobility is certainly entitled to entertainment without risking his/her neck. Without the proper accessible venues, the City is in effect keeping its disabled out of sight. The City, despite being ‘new’, has not adopted one of the most humane provisions that most cities of the world today offer – a disabled-friendly environment for the challenged . u

PRAKHAR PANDEY

{ Maninder Dabas / FG }

fire operation was led by our Station Officer (SO) Mahinder Singh, and I think he has done a commendable job,” said Mahinder Bhardwaj, the newly appointed fire chief of Gurgaon. Rajive works as a Director in a private firm, and resides at Sector-14 in old Gurgaon. Rajive also works as a Road Safety Officer (RSO), and tries to provide people a safe passage to their homes. “A couple of years back, the Haryana Police invited volunteers for the post of RSOs, and I submitted an application form at the head quarters in Mini Secretariat. After a year, I got a call and the then Police Commissioner S.S Deswal and DCP Traffic Bharti Arora invited us to their office, and instructed us about the job. Now it’s been one year and three months that I have been monitoring traffic on various traffic points in the City, on either Saturday or Sunday. Our main focus is on curbing the increasing number of accidents due to drunken driving. On the weekend, Gurgaon is a happening place for youngsters, who drink and then drive fast on NH-8. Sometimes we get harsh and issue heavy challans. We have issued a record 75 challans

for drunken driving in a single night. We need to protect their as well as the other people’s lives. The main traffic points where I, along with other RSOs, provide service are Iffco Chowk

09

has been very kind. Though we don’t get any compensation for our services, and we don’t demand anything either, there are people who live hand to mouth, and it would be good if the department does something for them. All our technical help, like walkie talkies, belong to us only; the department doesn’t provide anything. But it does provide us one vehicle, two challaning officers, and three to four traffic constables – which I think is a great help,” explains Nandwani. He also reminisces about Gurgaon, and his experience of staying here, “I was born here, and I have seen this City from the times when seeing a car in the locality was nothing short of an adventure; and now one can see thousands of luxury cars rolling like balls on the roads of this Millennium City. My experience of living here has been fascinating, and I love to call myself a Gurgaonite. Gurgaon can become a perfect city provided the administration takes serious

Don’t dial 101 from mobile

If you are living in Gurgaon, and you come across a fire break-out, don’t dial 101 from your mobile; it gets connected to Delhi Fire Service headquarters in Connaught Place, New Delhi. Gurgaon’s newly appointed fire chief Mahinder Bhardwaj, also acknowledges this problem. “Yes, we have come across this problem often, and I advise people of Gurgaon to dial 101 from their landline number, or use the Station’s number (01242392101). This problem has been there for quite a while now. Actually, the whole of NCR—including Noida and Faridabad—faces this problem. Gurgaon 101 belongs to BSNL, but unfortunately, there are no BSNL signals here; hence all the calls get diverted to Delhi Fire Service’s MTNL number. I have asked the Department to look into this matter seriously and I think this issue will be resolved soon,” says Bhardwaj. and Mahavir Chowk. The main reason why I have chosen to do this job is that I want to contribute to the welfare of society; and if I can save one life on the road, I would consider myself fortunate,” says a determined Nandwani. Asked about the cooperation from the department, he says, “The Police department

steps to uplift the already crumbling infrastructure; and people too start treating it as their home city, and not some adopted foster city. People who are from outside have not yet accepted this City as their home, as their own; and that’s where some of the real problem lies,” signs out Rajive. u

As of April 19, 2012 All Prices in Rs/kg.

Food Take Area/ Palam Sector 54 vegetables Vihar

South City 1

DLF City Sadar Sector Phase 5 Bazar 23

Safal Reliance Fresh

Potatoes (old/new)

18

16

12.90

14

12

15

15.90

13.90

Onions

16

15

11.50

16

14

15

10.90

11.90

Tomatoes

40

28

25

24

20

24

27.90

25

Cucumbers

32

32

27

20

28

30

11.90

16.90

Beans

80

45

48

60

40

64

70

60

Ridge Gourd Cauliflower

80

64

60

80

56

72

66

69

60

36

32

60

24

36

44

40

Ladies Finger

100

72

70

80

64

80

75

79

Mushroom

60

30

35

45

30

30

40

25


10

S pecial F eature

20–26 April 2012

15

JIT KUMAR

A Kaleidoscopic Culture~Kingdom! { Srimati  Lal }

O

n entering a massive, lotus-petalled 40-foot tall gateway swirling with crystals, one is reminded of Coleridge’s poem: “In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree... Where Alph, the sacred river, ran... Down to a sunless sea!” One of ‘Gurgaon’s Wonders’ is certainly this spectacular Culture Gully, nestled enigmatically inside its Kingdom Of Dreams (KOD). Culture Gully is jam-packed with a bonanza of sculpture, art and craft. This extraordinary installation, inaugurated in August 2010, is a kaleidoscopic, dizzying ‘culture-kingdom’, that seems to cross time and space barriers. In a towering zone, like a secret, air-conditioned sci-fi time-warp, fourteen of India’s 28 states are architecturally represented – along with their art, craft and cuisine. This is a flamboyantly-visualised maze of surreal, huge pavilions – a hypnotic fantasy-’gully’; or rather, an exclusive boulevard, aiming to encompass a panorama of India’s craft, cuisine and celebrations. With a Rs. 750 entry-ticket, redeemable on purchases and food inside, many visitors like to spend hours inside this haunting space. Stephen Wynn, the creator of Las Vegas, was mesmerised when he recently visited The Gully, and KOD. Wynn openly remarked that he was specially inspired by the dazzling visual splendour, achieved within such a short time-frame, at a mere fraction of the cost incurred when creating Vegas – so long ago. At a tentative budget of around Rs. 250 crores for its assemblage, one cannot exactly say that Culture Gully was made with Indian pin-money... but then again, the cost-effective genius and wizardry of Indian kaarigari is a phenomenon lauded worldwide. A joint venture of APRA Group and Wizcraft, Culture Gully is India’s first-ever high-end culture-park of this kind – taking public entertainment to a tangibly-new international level. In an exclusive scoop-interview conducted specially for FG readers, I spoke to the visual brain behind Culture Gully: Bollywood set-designer Omung Kumar Bhandula – who has designed and supervised its creation. Of part-Irani and part-Punjabi origin, Omung trained in Commercial Art at Mumbai’s LS Raheja School of Art, joining HTA as Creative Director in the early 1990’s. He began set-designing while hosting the Zee TV entertainment show ‘Ek Minute’,for ten years until 2003. In recent years, the fun-loving Omung has been spectacularly-designing such blockbusters as Saawariya, Black, Chameli, Fida. Jhankaar Beats, Shabd, Waqt – and several other Bollywood films. Omung is now working on his first directorial venture. In a detailed interview, the glitzy designer shed some interesting light on the multiple facets behind India’s most spectacular ‘cultural theme-park’. Srimati Lal: Omung, congratulations on quite a kinky visual achievement in Culture Gully! To begin with, how long did it take for you to set-up this ‘Indian Xanadu’, if I may name it thus. Omung Kumar Bhandula: Thanks for your appreciation! This Xanadu opened in 2010, and I took exactly one year and four months to complete whatever you see now. Sanderson’s had made the initial KOD structure in the 2 years preceding that – but I re-did its design, starting from 2009. It took four months to complete only the interiors, and one year to accomplish all the external structures.

SL: What was your technical process in executing such an ambitious boulevard – a mini- vintage city, chock-full of fauxbuildings, jam-packed with such a plethora of Indian design?

OB: I physically sketched-out several detailed set-templates,

delineating architectural and interior structures, representing 14 Indian states. These were then ‘conjoined’ on a CD. I researched all the Indian cultures—from Bengal to Chennai—so that their essence could be visually conveyed.

SL: Did you employ skilled craftspersons from all of India’s states, to create these varied marvels of construction and sculpting? The 30-foot tall recreation of an Ajanta Dev and Devi is particularly impressive – while many other constructions look quite filmi. OB: The exterior buildings and sculptures were actually constructed by my team of Mumbai set-designers and painters, from fibreglass, stone, and other materials – as they knew my specific demands. However, I also used artisans from Jaipur and Kashmir, to create details. Kashmiri woodwork and Rajasthani painting have been incorporated.

SL: May I confront you with my aesthetic dilemma concerning the overall ‘feel’ of your construct? I am concerned that we live in a time when Bollywood seems to have become the main referencecode for ‘Indian Culture’. Overall, culture Gully looks and feels like a Masala Mumbai set -- it doesn’t reflect the simplicity and grace of various other highly-cultured states that are so very different from Mumbai. One feels like an escapee, who’s strolled into Mughal-e-Azam or a ‘retro’ Sohrab Modi set, rather than experiencing the authentic, simpler, idealistic flavours of, say, South or East India.

OB: How does one convey a state within 30 ft by 15 ft... that was the space I had to work with, to recreate Bengal. I agree that the ‘look’ is basically kitsch. I was given free rein, so I just wanted to have fun; creating my kind of settings – ones that I would personally like to photograph.

SL: Aesthetically, as well as from the Vaastu angle, I found the interiors cluttered with too many clashing urban textures. On a surreal, Gothic staircase, afloat with winged sculptures, tomato-red floral wallpaper, and geometric Art-Nouveau flooring, I actually felt my head spin...

OB: Well, I intended to convey the ‘Khichdi of India’... our ‘Bazaar busyness’. Those zigzag patterns are seen in old Lakhnavi mahals. The Mumbai zone is a madly-mixed melange of matchboxes and movie posters. Yes, I basically went overboard. My design was meant to be over-the-top: larger than life. I agree that there’s too much seating in the middle now, all along the central path. I had actually intended only 20 tables to be placed there, on the peripheries. New hands tend to add clutter... there IS a lot going on!

SL: My other aesthetic concern is that, given the overpowering artificial sky, could you not have added actual greenery, and water-elements, within the sets?

OB: We initially had a water-spot for the kid’s zone; but due to practical issues of keeping it clean, we had to change it into a sandbox. Yes, we have set the whole Culture Gully space permanently in an evening light.

SL: Have you had your fill now, of enjoying your ‘25-year-old mindset’ – as you described yourself to me in constructing this fun Bollywood Gully? Do you want to experiment with a different manner of design?

OB: I loved this experience, and now hope to complete all 28 states – extending some of the zones. I am further designing the ‘Showshaa’ Theatre, soon to be opened in KOD. It has removable seating, and so can also be used as a conference zone, a disco, or a nightclub. In an elevator inside the Nautanki Mahal, I had a series of trompe l’oeil arches painted, that seem to be continuing into infinity. When I have some time to myself later, I might want to exhibit some of my own paintings. u Artist, Writer, & Curator


Kid Corner

11

Spot The Difference

Sudoku Kids

Kids Brainticklers

20–26 April 2012

6. Housewife loses earring. 7. Tree changes shape. 8. Man loses tie. 9. Drain smaller. 10.Hole in fence.

1. Chimney taller. 2. Dog loses spot. 3. Car gains side mirror. 4. Black can label. 5. Doorknob changes.

Solutions Spot The Difference

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

Solutions


12

20–26 April 2012

K id Corner

Blue Bells Baisakhi

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he harvest festival of Punjab, Baisakhi, was celebrated with fervour at the Blue Bells School, Sector 4. The students gave a foot tapping Bhangra and Giddha performance. The entire School was soaked in the spirit of festivity. Naman Yadav of Class X A spoke about the life and achievements of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the man who formulated India’s Constitution, the lengthiest in the world. The Principal, Mrs. C. Dhawan, congratulated all the students and staff members.

Ryan Best School Participant at NSTS

Parents’ Orientation @ DPS

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elhi Public School, Maruti Kunj, Sector 28 conducted an Orientation Programme for the parents of the new entrants to Classes Pre-Nursery, Nursery, and Prep. The Principal, Rachna Pandit, in her speech, stressed on effective communication between the teachers and the parents, and also sought their support and suggestions – so that the children could be provided the best. The welcome address was followed by a colourful power-point presentation for the parents, making them aware about the rules and regulations of the school, and the cocurricular activities that are conducted.

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yan International School, Sector 40 was awarded the Best School Participation Award, at the National Science Talent Search (NSTS) Exam 2012. Student Saakar Gangade secured the third position in Haryana, and the 209th position at the All India Level. Sajal Chhamunya and Lalit Chandra brought laurels to the School, by winning the 283th and 359th positions at the All India Level.

Chiranjivi Easter

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he importance of Easter was explained and highlighted by the Class XII B students of Chiranjiv Bharti School. The students were made to understand that Easter symbolises Christ’s resurrection, and is about being humble and overcoming adversities – and developing the ability to resist oppression peacefully. Arushi Labroo, in her presentation, emphasised on the offering of prayers and servings in the church. Class VII C prepared colourful eggs and stylish bunnies, decorated them in a basket, and presented it to the Principal, Sangeeta Saxena.

KR Science

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.R Public School organised a Science Exhibition. Over 50 students showcased their scientific models, prepared under the guidance of the Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research scheme of the government. The model of an automatic lighting system, prepared by Vijay of Class X, was given the first prize. His model uses a device that switches off street lights automatically in the day, with the reduction of sunlight.

Rishi Kalakriti

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ishi Public School organised ‘Kalakriti’, an exhibition of the practical work done by their students. Students displayed their projects and models related to all the subjects. The entire event was managed by the students only. The parents particularly appreciated the following stalls: Science, Geography, India’s contribution to the world, Vedic Mathematics, and Footprints of the Pandavas on Haryana.

Banyan Tree @ Science Museum

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he students of Class III to VIII of Banyan Tree School visited the Science Museum, New Delhi. It was a day of learning, inspiration, and fun. Exhibits, planetarium shows, presentations, and other science-related programmes inspired the students, and helped them gain a better understanding of the world.


K id Corner

20–26 April 2012

13

Literary Flourish

Red Coloured Apples Red coloured apples growing on the tree One for you and one for me One for mummy and one for deddy One for all yummy, yummy Yellow coloured mangoes growing on tree One for you and one for me One for mummy and one for deddy One for all yummy, yummy

Om First Week Shivay

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indergarten children of Shiv Nadar School celebrated the first week of school with story telling and a poem recitation ceremony. The Tiny Tots seemed exuberant while solving puzzles, and playing with puppets. They also learned about their roles and class responsibilities. The children also went on a school tour, and interacted with lots of teachers and other people, who would be helping them through the year.

Orange coloured oranges, growing on the tree, One for you and one for me One for mummy and one for daddy One for all yummy, yummy Mugdh, Class II-A, Swiss Cottage School

DPS Baisakhi

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PS, Sector 45, conducted a special assembly on the occasion of Baisakhi. The students, dressed up in Salwar Kameez, danced to the beats of Bhangra and Gidda. They also presented a short skit.

Everybody Has A Friend

Everybody has a friend To help and to mend To share and to be fair For someone to love For someone to talk to To have fun Everybody has a friend to run To feel the sun This fight will go on till you have sung a song Till you have shared your feelings and your secret talks to them It is like love that has come between you Everybody has a friend

ver 100 students of Lancers International School participated in a Kite Lancers O -making Workshop, that was conducted in the school premises. The students teamed up, and the teachers taught them to make kites. After a Kite-making quick demonstration, the place was filled with a vast array of kites. The enthusiasm was evident from the way the students churned out one kite after the other.

Siya Bhutani, Class V,  Presidium, Sector-57

Artistic Strokes

Akansha Jindal, I-C, Swiss Cottage School

Vansh, III, Ridge Valley School

Suryansh Singh Rawat, VI, Greenwood Public School


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K id Corner

20–26 April 2012

Hitopadesha is a collection of ancient Sanskrit fables written by Narayana Pandit. It is dated around 11th or 12th century AD. The stories chosen in this group have simple moral tales to tell. Lions, jackals, monkeys, cats, dogs and donkeys are protagonists who teach common sense lessons in how to judge for oneself; how not to succumb to rumourmongers; how to mind one’s own business and how not to be greedy.

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The Better Half

Star Fun

9 to 5

© 2011 Amar Chitra Katha Private Limited, All Rights Reserved

Animal Crackers

Baby Blues

Two Wise Men

Dogs of C-Kennel

– Atullya Purohit, V B, Blue Bells Model School


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20–26 April 2012

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The Crore Syndrome

e are a Crore Crores Economy. Yes, our GDP is Rupees One Crore Crores (a 100 Trillion Rupees, or $ 2 Trillion) – give or take some rupees, and a few dollars. Yet, for a 100 crore of our citizens, even a lakh is not visible. And for a third of them, even a thousand is a dream. Guess they should be happy that an average Indian earns about a lakh of rupees per year. Actually, over Rs 2 lakhs (as global citizens – based on Purchasing Power Parity - PPP).

EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

With so many crores around, a crore is the new number on everyone’s lips. We have beaten the West on this one, ten to one; they were happy with wanting to be Millionaires, we want to banega crorepatis. A crore used to be talked of in hushed tones; today it is the ‘entry point’. Many of us are fortunate to have lived our crore dreams – starting off with thousands.

would be if we can get a lakh and a crore institutionalized globally, as numbers after all, they are easy single words, for a hundred thousand and ten million. However, given our weak (or missing) spine, and our obsession to be fair (and lovely), we may instead end up removing lakh and crore from India. So where do we go next, is the Crore Rupee question ? One crore crores is a 1000 kharabs (we have passed the arabs long ago). Next step is 10 crore crores – a Padma, a Quadrillion – a generation from now. The Bad & The Ugly - It Comes With The Territory

Unfortunately, Gurgaon is not a microcosm of India; it is the El Dorado. It attracts one and all – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yes, we are also attracting criminals in search of their pot of gold – to take by hook or by crook. It is hard to make out the villains. Gurgaon is today a haven for crorepatis Hindi films no longer offer a clue. There are (even patnis). This City uniquely may boast of one lakh crorepatis – thanks to real estate, many in ties; some unfortunately are from the more than even the MNCs. The crorepatis fairer sex (with or without the cream). are in all fields – farmers to real estate Those who do not have, want it in a hurry. agents to MNC executives. They will not beg, but borrow or steal – We believe we are one in a Crore. We - even never to return. our babies - want to always look and feel like And that is why we will continue to have a Crore Rupees. Million dollars is so passe’ – crime as a regular feature; regularly on the up swing. like Delhi. And somewhere out there is an immigrant Unfortunately also, for most, this City is not waiting to be the Slumdog Crorepati. a home. It is a residence, till times are good. In this City, money talks; the crores talk. All that matters is the moment – for me, my family, and my guarded house. After all, this is Maha Bharat land. And yet we are most vulnerable. Snatchings started with necklaces and laptops, and Incidentally, a crore is not new to us - we have graduated to bikes and cars; lootings have 33 crore gods – still more than one started at ATMs, and have reached home; eve dedicated god per family, even with all the teasing and crimes against women started in population explosion. and near pubs, and have moved to highways and anywhere on any dark road. A measure of India’s economic clout

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

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ongratulations for putting together such a balanced paper for us ‘Gurgaonites’. Shefali Bhutani

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equest you to follow up with the HUDA officials and update with their vision. Aditya on the article, Shuttling between woe and apathy

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FAMOUS QUOTES Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. Maria Robinson There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction. Winston Churchill

xcellent article. Aptly captures the downfall of Gurgaon; it isn’t too late to save the Millennium City Phil on the article Aamchi Gurgaon

The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.
 Wayne Dyer

t’s really great... After Gurgaon, it’s Pataudi’s turn Nitin Tomar on the article, Ab Pataudi Door Nahin

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest

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Comment

you let other people spend it for you.
 Carl Sandburg People are very open-minded about new things — as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.
 Charles F. Kettering If you don’t think every day is a good day, just try missing one. Cavett Robert
 Happiness is an attitude.  We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong.  The amount of work is the same.  Francesca Reigler Victory is sweetest when you’ve

known defeat. Malcolm Forbes To state the facts frankly is not to despair the future nor indict the past. The prudent heir takes careful inventory of his legacies and gives a faithful accounting to those whom he owes an obligation of trust. John F. Kennedy You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible. Anton Chekhov Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. Steve Jobs


20–26 April 2012

{ Alka Gurha }

W ellness

Health Benefits

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s per recent studies, cherries are emerging as a major Super Fruit. The news is that the red miniature wonder is packed full with health benefiting nutrients, and unique antioxidants. Botanically, they belong to the family of Rosaceae, of genus ‘Prunus’ – which also includes the “drupe” family of fruits like plums, peaches, apricots etc. Although several species of cherries exist, two important varieties— wild or sweet cherry, and sour or tart cherry—are widely popular. Cherries are available dried, frozen, in juice and concentrate. Anthocyanins pigments give them their bright red colour. When you are selecting cherries, avoid those with cuts, bruises, or stale, dry stems. You’ll find stemmed cherries less expensive. Fresh cherries should be clean, bright, shiny, and plump – with no blemishes. Sweet cherries should have firm, but not hard, flesh; while sour cherries would be medium-firm. The darker the colour, the sweeter the cherry.

Though cherries are today one of the most popular dessert fruits, they have been recognised for their medicinal purposes for centuries. There are only 4 calories in a cherry, and a cup of cherries is only 74 calories. Cherries are low in fat, and have a highwater content. Research has shown that increasing water consumption boosts energy levels, and increases metabolism. Besides their high nutrition value, cherries are extremely diet-friendly. With these great attributes, it’s no wonder that many nutritionists, dieticians, and other health professionals often refer to cherries as a super-food. You would be surprised to know that a standard one-cup serving of cherries carries 4,873 antioxidants! Antioxidants are substances found in foods that may protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules – known as free radicals. Most health benefits in cherries come from a photochemical called anthocyanin. Cherry juice is considered a good choice for athletes and others who suffer from muscle pain. Gout is a painful type of arthritis, caused by a build-

Cherrio!

Join us now!

Cherry Storage

Store unwashed cherries in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, and wash before eating. Leave them out on the counter for a few hours, as the flavour is much better at room temperature. Fresh cherries should be consumed within two to four days. To freeze cherries, pack them in rigid airtight containers with 1/2-inch headspace, or airtight bags. Cherries will last ten to twelve months in the freezer.

For sunburn relief, a paste of turmeric, barley and yoghurt should be applied on the affected area.

up of uric acid in joints – often favouring the toes. A bowl full of cherries may help alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and gout. Tart cherries are one of the only known food sources of melatonin, helpful for those whose pain interrupts their sleep cycle. u

Vivafit 07838358788, 0124-4268-086 242, Second Floor, DTMega Mall, DLF Phase I, Gurgaon - 122001, www.vivafit.in

{ Jaspal Bajwa }

C

17

ontinual stress and environmental stressors have become a reality of the times we live in. As a result most humans live in a constant state of “fight or flight” – the age old recourse when facing external threat. This kicks in a complex set of mechanisms, to achieve a heightened sense of alertness. A great amount of energy is expended as the body readies itself for action. With the wailing of the body’s alarm sirens, the adrenals, that cover the upper surface of each kidney, swing into action. These glands synthesise and store ‘stress hormones’ – such as cortisol , epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and dopamine – which immediately elevate the breathing rate, the blood pressure and blood sugar levels. This results in diversion of oxygen-rich blood to the brain and to the muscles simultaneously, shutting down metabolic processes such as digestion, reproduction, growth and immunity. Chronic stress exacts a high price. In the longer term, the immune-system gets compromised, opening the flood gates to all kinds of chronic disease and premature aging. ‘Adaptogens’ are non-toxic herbs that help us adapt to stress, while enhancing our energy levels. These natural substances normalise our body’s processes. Adaptogenic herbs help regulate metabolism, balance adrenal and thyroid hormones, and strengthen the immune system. This helps the body maintain optimal homeostasis - nature’s ability to dynamically bring our bodies back to a new equilibrium, each time it is impacted by change in the environment. Adaptogens increase the power of resistance against multiple stressors, including physical, chemical, or biological agents. More specifically, they recharge the adrenal glands,

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

Nature’s Stress-Busters Ashwagandha lessen anxiety and strengthen the immune system – helping ward off infections. As a tonic they help faster recovery, increase stamina and performance, and engender a general sense of well-being. Adaptogens significantly accelerate the recovery process after illness. A multitude of other benefits exist for individual adaptogenic herbs. There are several adaptogenic herbs. The better known are the various ginsengs – rhodiola rosea( Golden root), ashwagandha, astragalus, licorice, schisandra and gynostemma pentaphyllum(jiaogulan). Some mushrooms (like reishi, shiitake and maitake) also have adaptogenic properties.

Tip of the week

As a nutritional supplement, Ashwagandha is available in capsules and powders. They can be found in many health-food stores specialising in natural remedies. Because of the large number of claims, which are not always easy to substantiate, it is always important to check the reputation of the brand. For people who suffer from insomnia and anxiety, having a cup of hot ashwagandha milk before bedtime is beneficial. Mix one teaspoon ashwagandha powder in one cup of water and milk.

Adding 3-4 seeds of cardamom is optional. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. When making cheese for strict vegetarians, Ashwagandha berries can be used as a substitute for rennet, to coagulate milk.

Nature’s Wonder Food of the week: Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha)

Sometimes referred to as dian ginseng’, Ashwaganda

‘Inhas

Only for Ladies Fitness Place

been used in Ayurveda for over 3000 years – to help patients fight stress, and as a cognition-facilitating, antiinflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-aging tonic. Ashwagandha in Sanskrit translates to “horse’s smell” (ashwa- horse, gandha-smell), as the odor of its root is said to resemble that of a sweaty horse. The flavour is somewhat similar to that of unsweetened chocolate. It contains many beneficial natural elements – including flavonoids, phytosterols, choline, amino acids, iron and sugars. Of these, as many as 12 steroidal alkaloids and 35 withanolides (steroidal lactones )have been studied in some detail. The species name somnifera indicates that it is a saporific (“sleep-inducing”) agent. In Ayurveda , Ashwagandha root extract has been recommended as an all-purpose health tonic that fights stress, boosts vitality, enhances sexual function, and bolsters the immune system. Being rich in fats and iron, the brain and nervous tissues are particularly susceptible to oxidative stress. This plays an important part in ageing, and in neurological conditions such as dementia. Ashwagandha helps scavenge free radicals, thanks to three different and powerful antioxidants - superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase. These antioxidant properties may explain, in part, the beneficial effects on the health of the brain and the nervous system. Although Ashwagandha is not known to carry a risk of significant side effects, women should avoid this herb during pregnancy; as should people on prescription thyroid medications or sedatives. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions


18 { Bhavana Sharma }

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eeting the Royal Court cards in a tarot reading is like meeting the master. Whether it’s the King or the Queen, the Knight or the Page, the Royal Court Cards represent the full attainment of skills and knowledge in their particular areas. The energy of the Kings and Queens is older energy; so when you look around in your life for whom they might represent, consider the elders. The energy of the Knight and the Pages is younger – but they nevertheless have something to teach you. The King of Wands is an inspiration for spiritual growth. He is committed to a purposeful life, and he has mobilised all of his energy to pursue it. He is willing to break old patterns, and remove all obstacles that might stand in the way of his vision. He is perceptive and insightful. When he appears in the reading, he often represents a mentor, guide or leader figure – who is ready to inspire you. The Queen of Wands has achieved self-mastery. She is self-assured, and has a lot of personal magnetism. The black panther at her feet serves as a reminder of the dark places she has traversed, and the growth she has experienced. When she appears in a reading she says, “ Dream big , then go for it” – in whatever direction your creative energies take you. The Knight of Wands is every artist’s best friend, because he’s all about fire, passion and inspiration. When he shows up in a reading, it means the creative process will flow. He is committed to helping you go through the process. The wild horse he rides leads the charge, with his tremendous energy. The Page of Wands is the liberated spirit of creativity, and he represents a new direction. He bring good news about your plans and ideas. He looks pleased, as he examines the sprouts, or wands, on his staff. When he appears in a reading,

{ Alka Gurha }

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fter a successful season of dance shows, Indian television is back with the tried and tested programs of singing contests. Strangely, in the battle for TRPs, if one channel sneezes, the contemporaries catch cold. So, soon after Star Plus aired ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Super Star’, others are coming up with singing competitions based on different formats. ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Super Star’, a reality series on Star, brings the winners and the runners-up from previous singing reality shows together, to compete for the ‘Superstar’ title. Running on a weekend primetime slot,

20–26 April 2012

B on V ivant

Tarot - The Royal Court Cards

you might anticipate hearing about an important matter in your professional or personal life. The King of Cups forgives and transforms. He is the embodiment of kindness, and exemplies trust. He has achieved such a level of mastery that he is able to reach out, unguarded. His

presence is spiritually uplifting. His appearance in any reading often represents someone in your life who has a calming influence – providing comfort and direction in times of emotional turmoil and upheaval. The Queen of Cups is the role model on how to handle one’s

feelings. She can express her feelings clearly, without blame or judgement. She’s compassionate, kind and nurturing; honest and congruent. She has integrity. The Queen is a quintessential nurturer. When she shows up in a reading, she is asking you to open your heart and trust in your dreams. The Knight of Cups wants love, and is willing to be vulnerable to receive it. He is a great encourager. He bids you to open your heart to love. He gazes intently, straight ahead, letting nothing distract him from his mission. He can appear in a reading when you have fallen in love with life itself – maybe also another person, a new job, a place, or a special interest. The Page of Cups loves without jealousy, without a controlling possessive heart. He knows how to create a relationship that can breathe. When you receive him in a reading, he’s telling you that it’s time for you to look beneath the surface of your emotions – to discover what truly motivates your feelings and interests. The King of Swords is exemplary in his way of thinking through and taking decisions. He’s the person to whom you turn for the most difficult decision, because he has the ability to examine the most intricate situations for truth, and find clarity. When he appears in a reading, his message is to examine your situation from all aspects. The Queen of Swords thinks logically, but with a wise heart. She sees all with clarity, because she has examined her emotions, and she has mastered them with objectivity and fairness. The Queen of Swords is the counsellor, the consultant. When she appears in a reading, she is telling you,“you know the best thing to do; do it now”. The Knight of Swords is ‘passionate thinking in action’. He rides forth with no

the series will be for 13 weeks – with a play out of 26 episodes. Singer Shaan, Music Director Shantanu Moitra, and renowned Lyricist Swanand Kirkire, are mentoring and judging the contestants. A perfect combination of melodious singing and affable screen presence, Shaan makes the show worth watching. Mandira Bedi, who hosted the first season of the reality show, is back. Yes, the noodle straps are back too! And she looks as gorgeous and effervescent as ever. “One of the main reasons for saying yes to this Endemol concept (faceoff between previous singing reality show winners and runnerups) was that I had great fun hosting the last time,” says Mandira. The show, aired on the eve of Baisakhi, had some superlative

performances of soulful singing. A ‘controversy factor’ was Mika, who engaged in a war of words with the judges. The altercation appeared scripted, as the verbal duel was advertised in a national daily. Or perhaps Mika and controversies go hand in hand. As I switch channels, I find that ‘Sony’ has begun airing promos for ‘Indian Idol’, as the show enters its sixth season. Indian Idol is an adaptation

of the American ‘Pop Idol’ format. The three judges - Salim Merchant, Anu Malik and Sunidhi Chauhan say that the focus this time will be on the power of the voice – and not on the looks. It is said that over 1.5 lakh participants have registered themselves online for this edition of ‘Indian Idol’. According to the promos, of melodious voices of the contestants, it appears that this edition might see many female

restrictions, no limits. When he comes up in a reading he’s going to get things moving. He will waste no time looking for the path of resistance, but instead will help you cut thorugh the most direct path. He tells you to analyse the pros and cons of the situation. The Page of Swords brings advice of caution and prudence. Particularly adept at detecting deception, and revealing secrets, he watches your back as much as he counsels your actions. When he appears in a reading, he’s telling you to be vigilant – especially in your dealings with other people. The King of Pentacles holds much wealth and abundance in his control. When he appears in a reading, he suggests a solid investment. This may be investment in a person, project or a situation. He often represents someone who is solid and secure. The Queen of Pentacles uses her resources to support and nurture prosperity in others. When she appears in your reading, she suggests abundance and wealth – both in relationships and in circumstances. She may represent a generous benefactor, who supports and encourages your efforts and endeavours. The Knight of Pentacles is calm and gentle, with infinite patience and tolerance. When he appears in the reading, he is telling you to buckle down and stay the course. The knight carries the energy of the facilitator; you will know that you have faithful earthy energy, to assist and nurture you. The Page of Pentacles investigates how things work. When he appears in your reading, he is telling you to study your situation before committing to a course of action. Maybe the actions you’re about to take are effective, but there are other approaches that can make your efforts more productive. u Author, Tarot Card Reader contestants. The show will be hosted by the previous hosts, Hussain Kuwajerwala and Mini Mathur. Though the dates for Indian Idol have not been finalised, it may replace ‘Comedy Circus’ which ends in May. MTV, the youth channel, aired its new show called ‘Intel MTV Sound Trippin’—partnered by Woodland—on 14th April at 8.30 pm. It is an unique way to acquaint ourselves with quintessential India, its charming locations, interesting stories, beautiful art forms; and quirky but endearing characters. For a change, the show is based on an original format, conceptualised and owned by MTV. The host, vivacious Sneha Khanwalkar, will venture into small towns and villages of India – backpack and recorder in tow. She is in pursuit of authentic sounds, amid the idiosyncrasies in the culture and music of that place. u


B on V ivant

20–26 April 2012

Bhola Ki Meena

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }

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hweta Gulati, best known for her role as Tia, in Remix, gets candid about her role in Jhumroo, a new musical theatre at the Kingdom of Dreams; and her stay in the City.

Q

How did you get the Jhumroo project? Have you ever performed at any theatre shows? I have been on television for over 10 years. I gave an audition in Mumbai, and then the team called me here. I have performed on stage during my college days, but haven’t had any formal training. Honestly speaking, moving to Gurgaon was a big decision. The City is completely new to me. But now, after spending around nine months here, and performing in the Kingdom of Dreams, I am glad that I moved in here.

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Q A

What sort of training did you get for Jhumroo? The entire team of Jhumroo has gone through rigorous training sessions. From the workout session in the morning, to dancing and acting sessions in the evening, and then again dance training at night, we all have worked really hard. Specialised trainers were invited from abroad, to train the team for aerial shots and various stunts.

Q A

Do you think, you were made for the role of “Meena”? Yes, the character of Meena is quite like me. She is a sweet, simple girl who works at an Ad Agency in Mumbai, and has a sense of humour. She is

6.

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but dreams of being a singing idol, to impress his love Meena. The entire show gives a feel of Kishore Da, with the usage of words like “Baangdu” and “Gadhau”. Also, the audience sing and sway with classic Kishore Kumar melodies – like “Om shanti om”, “Pag ghungroo”, “Saamne ye kaun aaya”, and “Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si”, to name a few.

Q

Have you ever had any embarrassing moments on stage? Yes, there have been a few. In a song, “Jane Jaan”, an actor had to pull me onto the stage. But my leg got entangled, and I fell down. It was quite embarrassing.

A

liked by everybody in her office. A certain charm and exuberance, her instant attention all around. She is fascinated by reality shows, and loves watching them on television. So does Shweta (smiles).

Q A

Does your character have to sing and dance? Of course it involves dancing. Choreographers from abroad were called to train the entire team of Jhumroo. However, I can’t sing. How would you compare Zangoora with Jhumroo? Both are different genres altogether. Zangoora is a fictional work, while Jhumroo is very real. People can easily relate to the characters of Jhumroo. It is a story that not only promises a good laugh and a happy experience, but also surprises everyone with its twists and turns.

Q A

Haryanvi Made Easy

Get a taste of the local lingo 1. Is there a sweet shop close by? Dhorre sik koi mithai ki dukaan

se ke?

2. I want 2 kg of barfi. Manne 2 kilo barfi chayise. 3. Have you just made it? Ibbey banayi hai ke? 4. Can you pack it for me? Mere tayi ghaal de 5. Make sure it doesn't fall out. Kheendni ni chahiye. 6. Will it last till the evening? Saanjh tayi ruk jaagi ke?

Q A

Does the show resemble Kishore da’s famous movie, “Jhumroo”? No. It is a different story, in which Kishore Da helps Bholenath Tripathi aka Bhola – who can’t sing,

Shweta’s Favourites

Theatre Artist: Naseeruddin Shah Pastime: I am a movie buff. I love watching romantic movies. Movie: Some of my favourites are, “A Beautiful Mind”, “Pretty Woman”, and “Closure”. Sport: Soccer Cuisine: Street food, especially Paani Puri – which in Gurgaon is called “Gol Gappa”. Also love Chaat Papri from Haldirams. Restaurant: Coriander Leaf and Pind Balluchi Night-out Destination: Love visiting Striker pub. Shopping Destination: Ambience Mall

Q

Is Jhumroo a nice change from Saas-Bahu serials? Well, working in a live show is, obviously, more challenging than a TV serial. There is no retake here, and we have to present our best every time. As of now, I am not looking at performing in any daily soap, because this requires 25-26 days of work in a month. But once I settle down, I can take up weekly shows.

A

Q

How has been your experience in Gurgaon?

Laughing St

ck

Physics Teacher: “Isaac Newton was sitting under a tree when an apple fell on his head and he discovered gravity. Isn’t that wonderful?” Student: “Yes sir, if he had been sitting in class looking at books like us, he wouldn’t have discovered anything.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It was graduation day and Mom was trying to take a picture of her son, posing with his father. “Let’s try to make this look natural,” she said. “Junior, put your arm around your dad’s shoulder.” The father answered, “If you want it to look natural, why not have him put his hand on my wallet?” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A professor was grading the essay finals he had just given his class and opened the exam book of a failing student, to reveal blank pages and a $100 bill. The only thing written in the book was “$100 = 100% - I get an A.” A month later, the student approached the professor. “I don’t understand,” he said. “I failed the course. Didn’t you read my final?” The professor handed the student the exam book. The student opened it to reveal – $50 and the phrase “$50 = 50% You fail!” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ One day Tom walks into a bar and the man next to him says – Hey, If you fall from the 10th floor, the wind will pick you up and you will live. Tom says, “That’s not possible, let me see you do it. So the Man in the bar does it, and lives. Tom decides to try it, and breaks his back. The bartender yells, “Superman, you’re a real jerk when you’re drunk!

A

Gurgaon is a clean and green city. Roads are wide and spacious here, as compared to Mumbai. I enjoy driving in the City, especially from my home to the Galleria market, which is one of my favourite hang-out places.

Q A

How about the people of Gurgaon? People are very kind and welcoming. So far, I have been freely moving in and around the City, shopping and having fun. Though I don’t have any relatives and friends here, I am enjoying my stay in Gurgaon.

QA

What about family? I miss my family a lot. Earlier, I used to visit Mumbai once or twice a week. But as the show has kicked off, I have not been to Mumbai even once, in the past one and a half months.u


20

20–26 April 2012

S ports

And Now...The Boxers Sandhu is not speaking anything unusual, as one can easily see kids playing Kabaddi and Wrestling in almost all the villages in Haryana. There is a clay Akhada in every village, where, right from childhood, a child gets wrestling practice. “The environment for sports is indeed one of the main reasons why Haryana has done well in contact sports. It’s villagers still have that required rawness and ruthlessness, which is required to built an iconic player,” says Rajkumar Sangwan, an Arjun Awardee boxer from Bhiwani, who is currently running a Boxing Academy in Gurgaon.

Vijender Singh

Sumit Sangwan

Manoj Kumar

{ Maninder Dabas / FG }

Sumit Sangwan and Vikas Krishan. The question is, what has changed in the last few years that has made Haryana such a force in the country in sports; including new areas like Boxing? Even Punjab, the prosperous cousin of Haryana, has failed to produce sports icons in recent times. “ The reason behind Haryana’s success in sports is the youth – which is raw, rigid, powerful, healthy; and more than anything else, committed to sports. In addition, there is a vibrant sports environment, sports is a medium to get government jobs, the youth are willing to stay in the State, and of course the government’s policy to promote sports in the State,” points out Sandhu.

W

ith the London Olympics scheduled for an opening on the 27th of July, and all the qualifying rounds having come to an end, debates have once again started on who will win medals for the country this time. The hopes are high, and the voice of 1.2 billion Indians is slowly reaching a crescendo, to support the dream of the Tricolour touching the heavens in the heart of Britain. Shooting and wrestling are two sports for which the medal hopes are well known; however, what has dramatically changed ever since the last Olympics (in Beijing, China) is Boxing – a game considered to be too tough for Indians. It has now become a potential source to satiate the hunger for an Olympic medal. With seven boxers qualifying for London, these hopes are not meaningless; and the country could possibly see one or two of these pugilists doing the country proud at the Olympics. “We have just come from the qualifying rounds in Kazakhstan, where seven of our champion boxers have qualified for the Olympics. Two days from now, we will again be in Kazakhstan, for a combined training with the players from other countries. This kind of experience will certainly yield fruit at the Olympics,” says G.S Sandhu, National Coach, from NIS, Patiala. Of these seven boxers, five are from Haryana, a state dominated by other contact sports like Kabaddi and Wrestling. They are – Vijender Singh, Jai Bhagwan, Manoj Kumar,

Environment for sports

“In the 80s, the Sports Authority of India established an Academy at Bhiwani; and to me, the credit for this transformation in sports goes to that iconic step. Now you can see that all the top boxers in the country have got trained from Bhiwani; and it’s proving very beneficial for the nation, as we are receiving a trained raw material to forge into something of worth. Villagers in Haryana still have that much needed rawness for sports. Almost all the kids work in the fields, from their childhood. They become rough and tough, and are to bear punishment and pain – a much needed quality in Boxing. Even their parents, I have seen, are very supportive, and take interest in their child’s development and progress in the given sport,” says Sandhu.

Haryana players who have qualified for the Olympics Boxing Sumit Sangwan Vijender Singh Vikas Krishan Manoj Kumar Jai Bhagwan

81 kg 75 kg 69 kg 64 kg 60 kg

Wrestling Yogeshwar Dutt Amit Kumar Geeta Phogat

60 kg 55 kg 55 kg Discus Throw Discus Throw Shot Put

Shooting Anuraj (Girls 10 metre Air pistol) Gagan Narang (10 metre Air rifle, 50 metre rifle three position, 50 metre rifle prone) Hockey Sandeep Singh Sardara Singh

Haryana is an agricultural State, and 70 per cent of the population is engaged in agriculture for their livelihood; and that’s the main reason why a child, right from childhood, gets to do physical labour in the fields. “Indeed it’s true, we work in the fields right from the age of 7 or 8. Our parents make us work in the fields, in the tough months like June and July, for the whole afternoon – and that is the reason we get tough. Food habits, like consuming desi ghee and milk, is another reason why most of us have good physique,” says Manoj Kumar, who hails from an agricultural family in Kaithal district.

Jai Bhagwan

Vikas Krishan

Athletics Krishna Punia Seema Antil Omprakash

Tough people

Want a government job? Join sports

“The lure of a government job is the main reason behind Haryana’s success in the field of sports. Haryana youth is not very fond of studies, and hence most of them either go to the Army, Police, or other paramilitary services; and now sports has become a quick medium for getting a government job. Once a player, no matter what sport he is into, wins at the national level, he is bound to get a government job. Be it Sushil Kumar, Vijender Singh, Akhil Kumar, or Yogeshwar Dutt – all have got government jobs on the basis of their performance in their respective sports,” explains Sandhu. It’s not the small jobs like a constable in the Haryana Police, or a TT in the Railways, that these sports personnel are eyeing now; some of them have already achieved higher posts – such as

DSP, on the basis of their performance at the national and international level. “Vijender bhai and Akhil bhai are DSPs; and this is not a small post. Indeed, in Haryana, a sports person wants a government job, so that in the later years of his life it can take care of his family. Now our government too is taking care of our needs and priorities, and I think that is the reason why Haryana has left other states much behind,” says Jai Bhagwan, a boxer from Hisar.

Encouraging government policies

“Indeed the state government has done a lot for the betterment of the players. Players have been provided state-of-theart training facilities, and of course offered government jobs when they excel. After doing so much for the players, I don’t see any reason why we can’t bring medals in the Olympics. Boxing and Wrestling are our best bets; and I think our players will make the country proud. We will send the largest contingent of players from Haryana. 15 players from Haryana, in various sports disciplines, have already qualified for the London Olympics,” says Surender Dangi, Secretary, Haryana Olympic Association (HOA). “Apart from jobs and state-ofthe-art training facilities, the Haryana government offers prize money, and has initiated many other encouraging programmes under which even the players’ villages will be benefitted. “Haryana CM Bhupender Singh Hooda has made sports an industry in Haryana – where players can earn class one jobs, prizes worth crores of rupees, and a sound and secure future for their families. The State government has initiated schemes by which the panchayat of a winner’s village will get Rs. 51, Rs. 31, and Rs. 21 lakhs (for gold, silver, and bronze at Asia level), for development. I hope our players will make the country proud at the Olympics. We are resting our hopes on Wrestling and Boxing; and I think the girl wrestler Geeta Phogat has potential to win the gold,” explains Dangi. u

When and why did Punjab lose out to Haryana?

G.S Sandhu

“Till 1980, Punjab was way ahead of Haryana in sports. The ‘terrorism period’ till the mid-90s did cost Punjab dearly on many fronts – including sports. Now, the youth in Punjab does not want to come to sports, neither does it want to stay in Punjab. Most of them go abroad for jobs. Kabaddi is one game that has held some interest, and the youth want to play it because it provides quick money. The NRI Punjabis come here and organise Kabaddi tournaments, in which an average player can easily earn Rs. 20 to 50 thousand in a week. Better players earn upto one Rs. 1 lakh. Haryana youth, on the other hand, is still ‘raw’, and has not been exposed to the lures of the outer world. I usually go to villages in Haryana, and I get to see the same old charm of rural sports, which once used to be there in Punjab. These boys from Haryana are hard working, and they know what they are capable of. Actually, Haryana and Punjab have no difference whatsoever; everything is the same, ranging from the race, to culinary habits. But now Haryana has gone miles ahead, and credit goes to its youth as well as its government – whose policies have encouraged sports in the state,” explains Sandhu.


G lobal 21

20–26 April 2012

Biters, Not Killers

{ Sid Astbury / Sydney / DPA }

Winkler, A

F

our fatal shark attacks on Australia’s west coast, in the last seven months, have fed the notion that there is a serial killer at work. It may be comforting to think that taking out a single rogue great white would restore the nation to its historical average of one shark death a year – but experts warn that this is delusional. It would make as much sense to regard mosquitoes that bite people as rogue insects, or snakes that sink their teeth into those who annoy them as rogue reptiles, they say. Andrew Fox, who runs Adelaide’s Rodney Fox Shark Museum, said after an attack on the south coast last year, that sharks do not develop a taste for people; and that going after ones who show signs of what we humans consider aberrant behaviour, is just pointless vengeance. “They normally don’t bite humans,” he said at the time. “And even when they bite, they don’t consume humans -

off, more than likely never to return. On March 31, crayfish diver Peter Kurmann bled to death, after being mauled by a great white; before his brother could get the 32-year-old ashore, and to medical help in Busselton. Inevitably, after such a grisly SHARK ATTACK: Experts say sharks do not death, politicians have develop a taste for people; going after ones come under pressure to suspected of attacking, is just pointless. do something. “These sharks that we don’t have the energy con- come in close need to be extertent of dolphins, whales and minated,” Busselton Mayor Ian snappers. But they kill people Stubbs said. “The state government needs to act, and they need with the test bite.” There have been 37 reported to act now.” Spotter planes were sent, afshark attacks on the west coast in the past 40 years, and only 16 ter Kurmann’s death, and a boat of them have been fatal. If one put to sea with baiting equipof the world’s best-equipped ment – to try to catch the shark predators was being serious, the and return with its carcass. But two tallies would almost match. the boat soon came back, with ofUsually there is just one bite, ficials saying the opportunity for after which the shark swims catching the culprit had passed.

Parahawking in Nepal { Pratibha Tuladhar / Pokhara, Nepal / dpa }

I

t is a busy time in the hills of Sarangkot, on the outskirts of Pokhara in central Nepal, as paragliders gather with their colourful wings – spotting the hills in blue, orange, red, and all the other colours of the rainbow. Kevin, a 6-year-old Egyptian vulture, is getting ready to fly with the paragliders. Perched on the fist of his keeper, he ruffles his feathers, preparing to join the men and women taking off – sometimes smoothly, sometimes clumsily, from the hilltop. It’s a short sprint before they jump off the cliff – Kevin joining them. With a yellow hooked beak, and pink head covered by spiky white feathers, Kevin is about 70 centimetres tall – Pratibha Tuladhar

SAFE PERCH: Scott Mason, with his 6-year-old Egyptian vulture Kevin. Mason invented the sport of parahawking.

and is one of the birds who navigate for paragliders in Pokhara. He and his fellow Egyptian vulture Bob, 4, seek out thermals, that keep the paragliders airborne. “We rescued Kevin from the forest, when he was a chick. He had fallen off the nest and injured himself,” explains Scott Mason, the 40-year-old British bird conservationist, who invented the sport of parahawking. “We raised him and trained him.” “The birds have a natural instinct for finding thermals, and they have better eyesight – so it’s easier for paragliders to just follow the bird,” says Damodar Parajuli, a Nepali parahawker. The gliders make their landing guided by the bird. Mason, originally a graphic designer and a bird trainer, arrived in Nepal a de-

cade ago, to do a paragliding flight. He was overwhelmed with the different species of birds found in Nepal. But he was also struck by how the number of vultures in Nepal, Pakistan and India was fast declining, due to the use of diclofenac – a drug used on livestock, which is fatal for the birds of prey, when they feed on animal carcasses. “As I was leaving, I was presented with an option to stay—and train two black kites to fly with paragliders—by a friend who owned a paragliding company.” Mason thought it was a good opportunity to use the birds of prey as ambassadors, to promote the issue of conservation. In 2001, he conducted the first parahawking flight, using one of the black kites. “What started as an experiment turned into a labour of love,” he says. The extreme adventure comes with an underlying objective of bird conservation. The money raised from the parahawking goes to running a rescue facility for birds, the Himalayan Raptor Rescue — which takes care of injured birds, before returning them to the wild. “Part of the money goes to vulture restaurants,” Mason says. Conservationists decided to start feeding centres for the birds - known as vulture restaurants - to protect them from carrion contaminated with diclofenac residue. The government banned diclofenac, in 2006, for veterinary use. But it is still available on the market for human use, and farmers get it and administer it to animals. As the vultures soar alongside, the paragliders hold out lumps of meat between their index finger and thumbs, for the birds to take. “It’s a different feeling, to have a bird fly and take food off your hand,” says Robert Dan from Alaska. When the birds aren’t flying, the trainers exercise them. “We don’t fly them during the moulting period, because we don’t want to compromise on the quality of their feathers,” says Taylor Guastella, a bird trainer from the US. They also avoid flying them when the birds are breeding. It was only after a film on parahawking, made by Mason and a friend, earned international recognition, that they decided to start in-tandem commercial flights. What started at the cost of 1,000 Nepali rupees (12.9 dollars) in 2006, now costs

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett called for calm, and tried to reason with those like Stubbs, who are calling for a cull. “While it’s still a rare occurrence, the ocean is the domain of the shark; and we go there with a risk always,” he said. Barnett has implicitly rejected the scenario of trying to hunt down and kill a giant fish that has begun to prey on swimmers – as in the 1975 horror film, Jaws. And, as West Australian Fisheries Department shark researcher Rory McAuley has pointed out, there is no way of knowing you have got the right one. “There’s no policy to hunt down a shark that may have killed someone - and how we’d go about identifying a shark, if we happened upon it today. I don’t know,” he said. The family and friends of victims rarely bay for more blood. Those taken on the west coast recently have been inveterate swimmers, surfers and divers – well aware of the risks they were taking. Local businessman

14,000. The two birds, Bob and Kevin, each do a daily flight from September to March. They live in the garden of a resort hotel run by Mason, with other black kites – Sapana, the first paragliding bird, now 11 years old; Goggles, Brad, and two recently res-

Bryn Martin, 64, who was killed while swimming off Perth’s busy Cottesloe Beach in October, had swum there almost every day of his adult life. None of his family demanded retribution. Former Navy diver Paul de Gelder, who lost a hand and a leg in a shark attack in Sydney Harbour in 2009, has gone on to be a passionate advocate for conserving the species. He lobbied at the United Nations in New York last year, for an end to commercial harvesting – that feeds the demand for shark fin soup. “Regardless of what an animal does according to its base instincts of survival, it has its place in our world,” de Gelder told the UN. De Gelder has not been frightened out of the water. Neither has 25-year-old Lisa Mondy, who nearly lost an arm to a great white, near Sydney, a year ago. “The ocean is a place that is so important to me - and the odds of it happening in the first place were so minimal,” she told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper. “Those odds haven’t changed.”u

cued chicks. “You can’t pat and pet a bird like you would a dog or cat,” says Mason. “But it’s a spiritual feeling to be in the air, see their expressions, observe their behaviour, and pass the passion on to the passengers.” u

Treats Making House Pets Fat

{ Lukas Ondreka / Washington / dpa }

D

uke weighs 43 kilos; a hefty amount for a dog, and a size that has earned him the nickname Sausage. The labrador-beagle mix is 13 kilos overweight, and this makes walking more difficult. The dog is out of breath only a few metres from the door of his owner’s house. Duke is hardly an exception. In the United States, where obesity is an acknowledged problem among people, a recently published study shows that it is also a growing problem among pets. The study estimated that 54 per cent of all full-grown dogs and cats in the United States - 88.4 million animals - are overweight or obese. The study also points out the dangers of having a fat dog or cat. “Of course Duke is not going to the fridge on his own,” says owner Horacio Artiga, while on a walk with the dog around a residential block in Washington, DC. “We have allowed him to become that fat.” The 35-year-old father and his wife are both professional dog sitters. Although the pair keep dogs that belong to other people fit, Artiga was never able to prevent his mother giving Duke roasted chicken wings at every opportunity. “Since our first survey in 2007 we’ve witnessed an increase in the percentage of obese pets,” said Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Using a formula similar to the body mass index for humans, Ward and his colleagues evaluate cats and dogs based on weight and size. While an index of 3 is in the green zone, an index of 4 represents an overweight pet, and 5 indicates obesity. “The most distressing finding in this year’s study was the fact that more pet owners are unaware their pet is overweight,” Ward says. “In simplest terms, we’ve made fat pets the new normal.” Sean Prichard, a fitness trainer for dogs in Washington, confirms the find-

ings of Ward’s study. He makes sure that dogs that need to trim their bellies, or otherwise slim down, get on a treadmill and work off their fat. Although his services are aimed at fat dogs, most of his clients are normal weight. This makes them a lot like people, Prichard said. “Most people at a gym are at a normal healthy weight,” he said. “The people that need to go to the gym the most are the ones who are least likely to go. The same thing happens with dogs.” The causes of obesity among pets in the US are food high in calories, and insufficient exercise, according to the APOP study. “Treats are the silent saboteur of slimming down,” said Ward. “Those tiny treats are often hiding a significant amount of calories.” Americans feed their pets so much, that Rene Carlson, President of the American Veterinary Medical Association, warned: “You’re killing your animals with love.” Duke’s extra weight, combined with his age, have led to serious arthritis. If Artiga was as overweight as Duke, he would be carrying around an extra 27 kilos. In addition to joint ailments such as arthritis, overweight pets also suffer more critically from diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney problems. The prevention of excess weight remains the same, as it always has been, says veterinarian Sarah Bowman. “We weigh our patients every time they come in. But it is quite difficult to convince pet owners to continually measure their pets’ meals, and increase their exercise.” More than half of the 5,800 cats Bowman weighs each year are overweight. It often is already too late when a pet owner becomes aware that their animal is fat. “Five years ago we could have done something,” says Artiga. “But now, at his age, Duke cannot exercise enough to lose weight.” u


22

20–26 April 2012

G lobal

The Olympic Grumble { Michael Donhauser / London / dpa }

W

ith 100 days to go to the Olympics start in London, there is some unhappiness in the British capital. While the organizing committee, LOCOG, is well on track with almost all venues ready and tickets all but sold out, the City of eight million is complaining. People fear traffic chaos, terror attacks, and believe that money is being wasted. Taxi drivers say they have too little work, tube drivers say they have too much. Hyde Park residents have gone to court fearing that public viewing in the park would be too loud. Most pubs will have to close at 11 at night during the July 27-August 12 Games, as police fear criminal elements. “It is difficult to find somebody who is looking forward to the Olympics,” says Tim Reder, who lives in East London in Wanstead, close to the main Olympic venues in Stratford. All of this has prompted David Randall, who writes editorials for The Independent, to make an appeal: “Come on Britain, stop grumbling.” “We are experiencing difficult times in Europe, and have been doing so for a few years. That stifles the pleasant anticipation a bit,” says Jonathan Edwards, an ex-goldmedallist. “However, once the Olympics start, the country will rally behind them - totally and wonderfully.” A recent poll showed that some 10 million of the 60 mil-

lion Britons will be leaving the country during the Olympics – with the majority of those naming the Games as the reason for leaving. Many are really worried about traffic chaos in London at that time. The International Olympic Committee has managed to secure some 30 miles of innercity lanes that only the Olympic family are allowed to use - to the detriment of bus and taxi drivers. Forty per cent of the 25,000 taxi drivers say they will not work during the Olympics, unless they are allowed to charge the higher nightly rates during the day; this in compensation for lost fares during traffic jams. Olympic officials are petrified of terror attacks, and the horror of the attacks on the underground and a bus on July 7, 2005 - one day after

Beijing Diplomacy { Bill Smith / Beijing / dpa }

“C

hina used to consider itself as a regional big power with international influence,” said Cheng Xiaohe, an international relations specialist at People’s University in Beijing. “However, it now seems improper to still consider China as (merely) a regional big power,” Cheng told dpa. “I think it might be more suitable to regard China as a growing global big power.” He cited China’s “positive effect” on regional issues like North Korea, and international issues such as Syria. China attracted strong criticism from the United States and other nations when it joined Russia in vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria in February. It said its veto, invoked as one of five permanent Security Council members, was in accordance with its standing opposition to “external intervention to achieve regime change.” But China held several meetings with Syrian opposition delegations around the same time as the February Security Council meetings, and later gave strong support to UNArab League envoy Kofi Annan’s mediation efforts in Syria. This week it called on the Syr-

ian government and opposition to respect the agreed ceasefire, withdraw troops from conflict zones, and support the “hardwon chance” for peace allowed by Annan’s mediation. Cheng said China’s recent support for Western diplomatic efforts on Syria came because of the negative reaction to its veto of the Security Council resolution. “China’s dissenting votes on the Syria issue were a sign against the US; saying that it will not allow the US and other Western countries to do whatever they like,” he said. “However, the Syria issue is a little bit special; China has shown an unusual activity, which is mainly diplomatic support and co-ordinated action with Russia,” Cheng said. “Because China benefits little from that area directly, but (Syria) is a vital country for Russia.” But on Iran, China’s differences with Western powers are largely to protect its own economic interests, especially its fast-growing oil trade. “So, on the Iran issue, China will vote for its own interests, rather than for Russia’s or America’s,” Cheng said. North Korea is perhaps the most difficult issue for China’s increasingly visible diplomats to handle. China has hosted sev-

being awarded the Games – remains. Policemen have twice managed to smuggle explosives through Olympic controls; and a recent protester, who managed to interfere with the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, has given rise to heightened alarm. Although Scotland Yard has said that the Games will not be “Security-Games,” they are gearing up for it. A warship will be stationed on the Thames, Eurofighter jets stand ready in a hangar close to London, and ground-to-air missiles have been readied. 23,000 security personnel, 13,000 of them soldiers, have been deputed to ensure a safe Games. Although the government and organizers are budgeting for 9.3 billion pounds (14.7 billion dollars), critics are expecting costs to be higher. u eral rounds of six-nation talks, aimed at persuading its communist neighbour to give up its nuclear weapons programme. After positive momentum, following bilateral talks between the United States and North Korea in Beijing last month, North Korea’s rocket launch was another setback to the negotiations – which also involve China, South Korea, Japan and Russia. US and European officials had urged China to use its influence to persuade North Korea to cancel the launch, following similar Western calls for China to pressurize North Korea into giving up its nuclear programme. Yet many Chinese analysts believe the Western calls are misplaced. “I think the international community has often overestimated China’s influence on North Korea,” said Yang Xiyu of the Beijing-based China Institute of International Studies. “Some (Western) politicians have simplified the problem,” Yang said. “Even if China stops all the aid to North Korea, they will not change their national strategy and national policies, because that means political suicide,” he said. “People always say China has leverage. But that leverage will only harm ordinary North Korean people,” Yang said. “And in terms of China’s diplomatic principles, China never applies sanctions as a main political tool.” u

First Commercial Flight To Space { Anne Walters / Washington / dpa }

T

he first commercial spacecraft due to dock with the International Space Station, looks ready for an April 30 launch, the US space agency NASA and commercial firm Space X said Monday. Space X’s Dragon spacecraft is to take a three-day flight to the ISS, and undertake a series of complicated docking manoeuvres and tests, designed to prove it can safely latch onto the orbiting station. “This will be one of those historic launches, with the first commercial vehicle coming to the station to provide supplies,” ISS programme director Mike Suffredini told reporters. The move is seen as a landmark in the development of a commercial spaceflight industry, that is to eventually carry astronauts aloft in the coming years. The planned launch date has slipped several times in recent months; but NASA  said there was a “good chance” the launch would happen this month. u

Harry Potter Author Reveals New Book { Andy Goldberg/ Los Angeles / dpa }

H

arry Potter author JK Rowling has announced details of her new book – to be released in mid-September. In a posting on her website, the bestselling author has said that her first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, would focus on the social and political conflicts that divide the seemingly idyllic English town of Pagford. Described as “blackly comic, thought-provoking, and constantly surprising,” the book will focus on the conflict unleashed when a respected member of the local council dies unexpectedly. “Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems,” the announcement said. u


20–26 April 2012

Storming The Bastion

{ Maria Luz Climent Mascarell / Madrid / dpa } Sebas Romero

M

otorcycling has a masculine face. It is mostly male riders who risk their lives, or lose them, as they ride on tight curves at the edge of a precipice – or defy gravity on a two-wheeler. But Laia Sanz, a 26-year-old Spaniard, has become the only woman to twice finish the Dakar rally astride her motorcycle. Motorcycling does not get that much media attention; and that a woman should stand out in this sport is even more noteworthy. The tenacious Sanz was born in Corbera de Llobregat in Spain in 1985. She found out very quickly, as a young child, that two-wheelers were her passion. Sanz has earned 11 world trial titles, and 10 European trial titles – something she began to do when these motorcycling rallies virtually did not have a women’s section. They used to look at her like an “odd creature”. “(Nowadays) for me it is something completely normal. I’ve been in this for so many years that I feel like one of the guys; and I think they also see me as one of them,” she says. “To me it seems even stranger when there are women’s competitions, than when I ride against men. When I began to take part in motorcycle events, as a six year old, the women’s trial did not exist; and so I

majority of cases,” she adds. Sanz said that the sport has changed dramatically in the 20 years. She says that she went through many different kinds of experiences, but that mostly “I have been treated well.” There was never any other choice of career for Sanz. She goes out every morning for three or four hours, depending on the season. If the Dakar competition is coming up, training takes up more hours. In the afternoons, she does other sport and physical MAKING A MARK: Laia Sanz, a 26-year-old Spaniard, training activities, to be in shape. is the only woman to have twice finished the ParisThis turns into a grueling 12-hour Dakar rally. 
 routine on most days. Sanz’s weak point is her lack always rode with boys, and I trained with of skills as a mechanic. In order to be a boys.” Sanz says she first hopped on to top Dakar rally rider, “one needs to know a motorcycle when she was four – it was more about motorcycle repairs than I do ... because if you have a problem halfher brother’s motorcycle. Perhaps without even realizing it, Sanz way through a stage, you need to be has been knocking down gender barriers able to solve it yourself.” Sanz, sometimes called “Desert all of her life. “There is machismo,” she says, using the Spanish term for Rose,” realized her dream of taking male-dominant attitudes. “Yes there is, part in her first Dakar rally, and comas in all fields, and in all professions. But ing in first among the women riders— it is not something that prevails in the and in the 39th spot overall—out of

Jumbo Circus At Goushala Ground

G lobal 23 200 competitors. That was in 2011. A year later, although Sanz’s goal had been to be among the first 20 places, she held on to the earlier performance – even though she had changed motorcycles from a Honda to a Gas Gas. Sanz was proud and happy at the end of the navigation event, on public roads from Mar del Plata in Argentina, to Lima, Peru – because she had to overcome a number of obstacles, including a penalty that significantly lowered her position in the classification. Her petrol tank was punctured, and then both she and her assistant suffered accidents,.He had to withdraw, and she finished the race alone. “As much as we might like it, there is a physical limit,” Sanz says, describing the Dakar rally as a truly fatiguing event. There is hardly any rest at all, since competitors are given the road-book only after finishing each stage – so that no rider will explore the terrain beforehand. “You risk it all in 15 days – a whole year’s work.” Much as she enjoys the Dakar rally, Sanz wants to continue to win observed trials, and wants to try and nab her first world Enduro title. Despite her awareness of the limits of being a woman in motorcycle riding, Laia Sanz, who was awarded the Queen Sofia Sport prize in 2006, has shown that in some fields gender is inconsequential. u jit kumar


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20–26 April 2012

G -scape

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Friday Gurgaon_20-26 April, 2012  

Gurgaon's own weekly newspaper

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