Page 1

23–29 December 2011

Vol. 1 No. 18  Pages 32  ` 7


{Inside} Design as Art


e focus this week on women designers whose work enlivens our living spaces. ...Pg 6

Know Your Gurgaon (KYG)


e take you to Garden Estate, a premier—in more ways than one— colony in the Millennium City ...Pg 9

Pet Hospital


nimals clinics we do visit, but an animal hospital? We bring you DLF’s CGS Hospital, a modern faciltiy equipped with all the medical care for our best friends – the pooches ...Pg 12



n this Merry Season, we meet up with members of the Christian community in the city; and discover their changing face ...Pg 13

Gurgoan’s Got Talent


he popular talent hunt, in its second season, gave many Gurgaon kids an opportunity to showcase their skills – singing, dancing, and drama ...Pg 19

The Realty Show


ealty in Gurgaon is top business. We focus on the players that make it all happen – the opportunties and challenges ...Pg 24

Regular Features Cinema Listings & Helplines ...Pg 7 The Week That Was ...Pg 7 Learn Haryanvi ...Pg 9 Realty Rates ...Pg 25

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319


A Web Of Life

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }


here was a time when people would write diaries to express their angst, to write about personal issues, and vent anger. Writing a diary was considered a cathartic experience, as it helped people unwind and de-stress. But it remained very personal. The advent of the Internet has changed it all – the personal is no more private. People prefer to write online diaries—called blogs—that can be accessed by anyone. These bloggers want their private thoughts to be read by more and more people – and hope to share comments, and even form communities, to drive an agenda. Blogs, and the advent of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Orkut, have helped merge the private and the public. People these days do not mind sharing their innermost thoughts with millions of folks out there. The kick is in the instant consumption/gratification of/from the information that they put out on blogs and social media, say bloggers. The Millennium City also has a number of such people, who write about personal and public issues. They have a good following in the online world; some of them have become celebrities in their own right. They are followed by hundreds of people on Facebook and Twitter. Not surprisingly, the women in the city dominate

the blogosphere – as they write with wit, style and panache – on issues as myriad as baking, homemaking, politics, and infrastructure. Deeba Rajpal, a popular blogger, who writes about baking on her blog Passionate about Baking says, “It took me some time, as blogging initially was very intimidating. Being a baking blog from India was somewhat unnerving, as most baking ingredients at the time were hard to come by – even though I had been baking for many years. The net can be quite frightening, yet quite empowering”, says Rajpal, while sitting in her kitchen at her Sector 23 House. Her kitchen is her laboratory, she says. She had fixed twominute wookies, and Orange Olive Butter Milk Pound Cake in the morning – all made from locally available material. Rajpal, who was kind enough to share the

Gurgaon Bloggers delicacies with us, believes in sustainable baking and cooking. “I believe in reducing the carbon footprint”, she says. At one time she worked with British Airways. While baking is her first pas-

The Blogosphere sion, blogging has become the second – as she has found a large fan following in the last couple of years. “The experience has been an immensely enriching and satisfying one. The feedback and connect with readers of my blog, and with fellow food bloggers, inspires me to explore common ground. I feel humbled when I get feedback in my inbox”, she reveals. The attraction of blogging, and connecting with people, is such that it forced Purba Ray, another popular Gurgaon blogger, to leave her job – and take to writing permanently. Purba, who was a top computer faculty with a South Delhi school, had taken leave for six months – as she was feeling bored, and wanted some change from the routine. During this break, she started to write on her blog ‘A-Musing’, and has never looked back since.

Her blog is funny and she loves to take potshots at every one – including herself. “My writeups reflect my state of mind, so one can expect anything – from a Malayalee’s fascination for lungi, to parenting (that parents seem to have outsourced to their maids), to even the pigeon menace that people staying in a high-rise face”, she says with a smile. Purba says that when she started her blog, she did not think anyone would be interested in reading it. “You can imagine my surprise when my blog gathered a steady stream of followers.  The appreciation I get from my readers inspires me. It makes me happy when someone from Hyderabad or Bangalore, or even Atlanta, writes to say that my posts cheer them up, and helps them de-stress. And of course the encouragement and support I get from my husband and daughter inspires me to do my best.”, she says. Contd on p 8 


23–29 December 2011

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 VOL.–1 No.–18  23–29 December 2011


Coming Up

NEW YEAR's EVE celebrations

Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Correspondents:

Hritvick Sen Maninder Dabas Shirin Mann

Sr. Photographer:

Prakhar Pandey

Sr. Sub Editors:

Anita Bagchi Shilpy Arora


Manoj Raikwar Virender Kumar

Circulation Head:

Prem Gupta

Circulation Execs.:

Syed Mohd Komail Sunil Yadav

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

Ankit Srivastava

Ad Sales Manager: Lokesh Bharadwaj Sr. Ad Sales Execs: Bhagwat Kaushik Design Consultant: Qazi M Raghib Illustrations:

Durgadatt Pandey

Photography Consultant: Jitendra Sharma Business Consultant: Sanjay Bahadur Editorial Office 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana Phones: +91 124 421 9091/92/93 Emails:

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

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


1 year subscription ` 364

Special offer price ` 200 Savings No. of issues

Date: December 31st Party at Fortune Select Exalibur with a variety of options. Take your pick. Zodiac: Performances by a fusion band, along with a lavish buffet spread. Price: Rs. 7,999 per couple (all inclusive) Time: 7.30 pm onwards

Earthen Oven

Classic combo of Ghazal performances with Indian food Price: Rs. 5,999 per couple (all inclusive) Time: 7.30 pm onwards

` 164 52

To get Friday Gurgaon* at your doorstep, email us at or SMS FGYES to 8447355801 *circulated only in Gurgaon


An International food spread with drinks Price: Rs.2000; Rs.2500 (Includes unlimited pouring of beer); Rs.2500 (Includes unlimited pouring of Sparkling Wine); Rs.4000 (Includes unlimited pouring of Champagne)


Chef Kunal Kapur presents a lavish Indian food spread with unlimited beverage in just Rs. 4,000 / Rs. 2,500 (food only)


The food theater, with a 14 course menu in 5 acts; and unlimited pouring of Champagne, in Rs. 5,500 (Includes 6 brands of Champagne) Taxes are applicable for all options.

The Oriental Pavilion

For bookings contact Amit Sangwan – 9818355998 Reservations – 96504969039

Price: Rs. 5,999 per couple (all inclusive) Time: 7.30 pm onwards For more information and reservations, contact festive desk: 0124-3988444 & +91 9818600786

The Pllazio Hotel

Club Vapour

Venue: Plazzio Hotel Price: Rs. 4,000 per person (inclusive of all taxes)

Festive flavours from the Far East, bringing in the new year!

Club Vapour is hosting Band Eka, to usher in the new year. Groove to retro, rock, Sufi and Bollywood beats. Added attractions will be Dhol Jamming, Laser Show and Pyrotechnics.

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.

Cover price

Fortune Select Exalibur Hotel

Venue: Club Vapour Time: 9 pm onwards Price: 5,000/per couple (all inclusive)

Leela Kempinski Hotel

Leela Kempinski Hotel is providing many options to live it up this New Year's eve. Time: 7 pm onwards Rubicon: Foot tapping music. Lip smacking Delicacies. Heady concoctions. Price: Rs. 5,000 for unlimited drinks and snacks till 2 am

292-296, Sector 29, City Centre Ring in the New Year with a gala dinner at Plazzio Hotel. Enjoy unlimited drinks, snacks at Melange and grooving music at Athena.

ION Club

12/14 UGF, JMD Arcade Mall, MG Road The party is on at Ion, with a Masquerade Ball as the New Year's Eve theme. Get geared for surprises coming your way. Besides fun and games, groove to foot-tapping music by resident and guest DJs. Venue: ION CLUB Time: 9 pm Price: Rs. 3,500 (inclusive of taxes) per couple


Celebrate New Year's eve with the family – all under one roof. Great music, a sumptuous

buffet, a full bar, a giant dance floor – all adding up to a fun filled festive evening. RJ Anant and Saurabh will be hosting the event, along with DJ Kandy. What's more, there's a separate kids zone with plenty of fun and games. Venue: Epicentre Time: 8:30 pm onwards Price: Family of 3 (2 Adults + 1 Child Below 12 Yrs); Rs. 6,500 – all inclusive Additional Child below 12 yrs. Rs. 1,500 Additional Adult & Child above 12 yrs: Rs. 3,000 For more information, please contact: Aditi at 9810059550


Udyog Vihar Enjoy the best of music and ambience with a delectable world cuisine buffet prepared by the chef. A live 5 piece band along with a DJ will be playing, while you select from a wide array of beverages. Venue: Cilantro Time: 7:30 pm onwards Price: Rs. 4,900 per person++

Striker Pub and Brewery Sector 43

A Rocking New Year Bash with DJ Ami spinning music all night long, along with DJ Mukul. Venue: Striker Pub and Brewery Time: 9 pm onwards Price: Couple-Rs. 6,000 ++ Contact: 0124 4040101

Power Play

The Sports Bar, MG Road Groove to the soulful sounds of Avi & The Uprising, India's only rebel yell band! Also playing would be DJ Hashback Hashish. Venue: Power Play – The Sports Bar Time: 7 pm onwards Price: Couple-Rs. 4,000 (inclusive of taxes) Contact: +919999903663

23–29 December 2011

Coming Up


New Year Weekend Package 30th Dec 2011 to 1st Jan 2012  Contemporary or Neo-Classic Rooms, on Twin-sharing basis only  New Year's Eve Gala Dinner  Gourmet Breakfast (by the poolside at the Roof Top on 1st Jan 2012)

One Night Package

Two Night Package

Rs. 10,000 per person (Rs. 12,000 with Mercedes Benz Pick up and Drop)*

Rs. 15,000 per person (Rs. 17,000 with Mercedes Benz Pick up and Drop)*

Ring in the New Year with us

Both options inclusive of all taxes

New Year's Eve Gala Dinner 31st Dec 2011 at Mélange, with unlimited drinks, snacks and DJ music at Athena

Rs. 4,000 per person (inclusive of all taxes)

For reservations, please call our Festivity Desk +91 124 4915055 +91 9711878509 (Duty Manager) +91 9711878531 (Asst. Manager-Sales) email: Children below 6 years with our compliments. Children between 6 and 12 years of age at 50% charge * Maximum distance cover from the hotel should not exceed 25 kms for a one way trip Specific brands

Christmas Celebrations

Galaxy Hotel

Where: Beanstalk When: Dec 22 – Dec 31 What: Special menu comprising of Plum Cake, Special Bread and Desserts; Christmas hamper-contains Plum Cake, 500 g Ginger Bread, Christmas Goodies and Chocolates. Price (Hamper): Rs. 2,500 plus taxes Where: Howzatt Bar When: December 25th What: Special X-MAS BEER (Premium Lager Strong) Price range: 550 ml mug – Rs. 200 + tax; 1100 ml mug – Rs. 330 + tax; 1600 ml pitcher – Rs. 470 + tax

Fortune Select Exalibur Hotel

Where: Fortune Deli When: Till December 31st What: Plum Pudding, Plum Cake, Mince Pie, Chocolate Yule Log, Assorted Chocolates, or the tasty Ginger Cookies and much more. Price range: Rs. 99 onwards Contact: 0124- 3988444 & +91 9818600786 Venue: Fortune Deli Date: December 24th Christmas Eve dinner: Rs. 799 per person (all inclusive) Time: 7 pm to 11:30 pm Christmas day brunch: Rs. 1,299 per person (all inclusive)

Time: 12:30 pm to 3 pm Live Music, DJ, a ginger bread house, along with delightful Christmas cakes and goodies – including plum cakes, hot cross buns, Yule logs, Mince Pie. For more information and reservations, contact festive desk: 0124-3988444 & +91 9818600786


Enjoy a lavish spread of cold salad, hot buffet and scrumptious dessert, accompanied with free-flowing house wine. Date: December 25th Time: 12 noon to 4 pm Price: Rs. 2,000 per person (inclusive of all taxes) For reservations, call the festivity desk at +919711878509 or +919711878531

Christmas Bazaar When: December 25th What: All day shopping, games, music, contests, films, food and more. Timings: 11 am to 8 pm

The Mozart Cafe

Christmas Jazz Brunch

Venue: The Mozart Cafe Date: December 24th Time: 8:30 pm onwards Contact: +91 9811006904, 0124-4069674

Enjoy the Christmas brunch as you listen to the bebop jazz trio – featuring Ruben Narain, Pranai Gurung , and Sahil Warsi. Venue: Drift Date: December 25th Price: Rs. 775++ Free entry


Enjoy a sumptuous Christmas feast with traditional Turkey, Mulled Wine, Egg Nog, and Apple Cider. There will be a variety of cuisines, traditional Christmas pudding, and Christmas carols. Venue: Cilantro Date: December 24th Time: 7.30 pm onwards Contact: 0124-2450505

The Pllazio Hotel 292-296, Sector 29, City Centre

Get grooving this X'mas with classic Rock, Retro and Reggae music at Mozart Cafe. Also enjoy a performance by Indo-German band, Simple Truth.

Bahi, 3rd Floor, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road David Baker brings together a variety of sounds—drums, guitar, flute—with a lot of jazz! Ring in Christmas with Baker's blues. Venue: Bahi Date: December 24th Time: 8.30 pm


1st Floor, Global Foyer, Golf Course Road, Sector 43 Ummami offers a lavish three course Christmas Eve Dinner, paired to perfection with wines from across the world. Enjoy the dinner with retro music, to usher in Christmas.

Date: December 24th Time: 7 pm Price: Rs. 1,500++ per person Or opt for the Christmas Day brunch, with live performances and a visit from Santa! Date: December 25th Time: 12 noon Price: Rs. 1200++ per person For bookings, call +91 99588 10000


Southern Comfort Aalok Wadhwa


he DLF Star Mall is not an easy mall to do business in. With a handful of shops and shoppers, survival can be tough. Among the few that soldier on here is Sankalp, an outpost of a successful Ahmedabad-based South Indian restaurant chain (which, incidentally, boasts of creating the Guinness World of Records’ certified biggestever-dosa). The interiors of this 120-seater restaurant are not striking. The place is well lit. After consulting Chef Kuldeep, a fair gent from Uttarakhand, I decide to start with the quintessential rasam (Rs. 60). Served in a soup bowl, it looks intense. It is spicy and sour, and has the great texture of grated coconut. While this rasam may not pass muster with the purists, it does make for an exciting start. The onion bhajji sampler is perfect, redolent of the lazy lingering memories of chai-bhajji with friends. The next dish I order is the humble idli (Rs. 85), a ‘simple’ dish that has been the nemesis of all NCR restaurants that have been brave enough to put it on their menu. None, however, have succeeded in replicating the softness and comfort of the home-

Beyond PR Manjula Narayan


n general, you don’t expect the recollections of one of the richest men in the world to be high on anecdote, or very revealing about the narrator himself. You expect the usual superb public relations job, that carefully leaves out the warts and all. And yes, Whatever The Odds, The Incredible Story Behind DLF by K.P Singh is a superbly executed PR job – but rather unexpectedly, it is also an interesting read. Especially so for the citizens of Gurgaon, which has been shaped by DLF, the real estate giant that Singh has nurtured. Like all conventional autobiographies – a word the book never uses to describe itself, preferring instead to stick to being a ‘riveting tale of how K.P Singh was able to make the impossible dream come true’ – it begins at the beginning; with tales from the narrator’s childhood in a village near Bulandshahar, and takes the reader through his time in England, his stint in the Army, and his foray into big business. Along the way, you are introduced to relatives who played a key part in the young Singh’s development, an early unforgotten English girlfriend, mercurial politicians and simple farmers, and his wife Indira’s near death experiences. And of course, the effort that went into creating modern Gurgaon. What really lifted the book for this reviewer, though, are the anecdotes – the behind-the-scenes stories, like the one about DLF nemesis and three-time chief minister of Haryana, Bansi Lal, who overnight went from being a well-wisher to a


23–29 December 2011

made idli; and this restaurant is no exception. The accompanying vada also lacks the crispy fluffiness that makes it so enjoyable. On the positive side though, the slightly grainy texture of the idli is bang-on, the accompanying sambhar is light and flavourful, and the five accompanying chutneys provide an interesting variation to every morsel I eat. The curiously named three barrel dosa (Rs. 160) has three mini dosas—plain dosa, pudina masala dosa, and Mysore masala dosa. While the plain dosa is good, the others are ordinary. The southern crispy fish fingers (Rs. 275) are a let down. Things change for the better with the main course though. The first to arrive is mutton milagu curry (Rs. 275), accompanied by set dosa. Very few restaurants can manage to deliver a well cooked mutton dish. This restaurant does it to perfection. A melt-in-the-mouth mutton, with a peppery yet mild gravy, accompanied by soft set dosa, make for a perfect combination. A bigger surprise is in store with chicken chettinaad (Rs. 275). It is undoubtedly one of the best I have eaten in a long time. The accompanying appam is as it should be – soft in the centre and crisp on the sides. I finish the meal with a perfectly brewed Mysore filter coffee (Rs. 45). Sankalp is a great option if you want tasty southern delights, especially the curries. I hope and wish it can survive the location, for it is a great addition to the Gurgaon culinary landscape. u

Sankalp The Taste of South Shop No. LG-03, DLF Star Mall, National Highway No. 8, Near South City 1, Gurgaon  Phone: 0124 4084061, 0124 4084062 Cuisine: South Indian Timing: 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM


Stunt Protocol Vijaya Kumar


om Cruise’s fourth installment in the Mission Impossible series, titled Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is fully deserving of a NFWH (Not For Weak-Hearted) certification. The only difference between The Temple Of Peril ride and Ghost Protocol is that, with the former, you know beforehand exactly how long you need to clutch your heart. In MI, when Tom Cruise dangles dangerously from the 130th storey of the world’s tallest building, you hold on to your breath, clench your fists, slide to the front of the seat, and open your mouth in wonderment – for an extended period of time. On the one hand, you want the excitement to continue, because it is thrilling you; on the other, you want it to end, so that your heart can start beating its regular rhythm. This magic gets repeated in a few other stunts —like the car chase in the sand storm, or the vertical drop of the car; and you actually don’t care about what happens in the rest of the movie. Easily the best of the MI series, this production has set new standards for stunts. This, in combination with Director Brad Bird’s excellence in animated movies (so successfully transplanted here), the wonderful background music, and the glorious photography, makes it a must-watch. Burj Khalifa—the world’s tallest building—looks truly majestic, from all angles. Such gloss is expected to hide the improbabilities and slips. Who, for example,


Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol Directed by: Brad Bird CAST: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton GENRE: Action will notice that the multi-storey car park, supposedly in Mumbai, has only cars with Canadian car registration numbers? Or, why would settings, supposed to be in Mumbai, feature name plates in Kannada? The movie’s biggest letdown is the character of Brijnath, played by Anil Kapoor. He is portrayed as a lecherous Indian businessman, with little thinking capabilities. I personally felt offended at the depiction, and the negative image it conveys. Gentlemen, it needs to change for the next MI. Make it possible! u

Inspirational Stuff

sworn enemy, all because Alka Gurha of a drunken guest’s faux pas at a party that Singh f you imagined that the hosted. Another enjoyable autobiography of DLF passage features former Chairman, Dr. Kushal Pal Haryana Chief Minister Singh, could be relevant Devi Lal’s barber: “Jats only for Gurgaon resiin Haryana have a great dents—besotted with real sense of humour, and a estate—you couldn’t be very distinctive style of narmore wrong. This book rating a joke too. On more is an inspiring read for than one occasion I found anyone. In a first-hand that Devi Lal’s barber, in the riveting account Dr. Singh course of his conversation, reveals his incredible would suddenly mention the journey, from a village boy kind of rumours afloat in the to the real estate tycoon market about what Bansi – who recently enjoyed a Lal was saying about Devi performance by Shakira Lal. This would immedion his eightieth birthday Whatever the Odds ately infuriate Devi Lal, who bash at Udaipur. Author: K.P Singh, Ramesh would shower the choicest In the initial chapters Menon, Raman Swamy Haryanvi abuses at his poDr. Singh reminisces how, PUBLISHER: Harper Collins litical rival. One day, I asked in the mid-seventies, he PRICE: Rs 699 the barber why he dropped was accosted by a group Bansi Lal’s name so often. of – dacoits who refused Genre: Non-Fiction/ In a matter-of-fact way, withto believe that he was not Autobiography out even the hint of a smile, a rich man. He was set he said, ‘It is very difficult to free only when he told give Devi Lalji a proper haircut, because he the dacoits that his father was Chaudhry has so little hair. But when I mention Bansi Mukhtar Singh. Dr. Singh goes on to Lal’s name, all the hair on his head stand up, narrate that he came close to selling his making it easier for me to do my job’!” shares in DLF, for a meagre Rs. 25 lakh. Passages like this one reveal the ra“But at that moment, there were no conteur behind the man, who has made an misgivings in my mind. The decision to sell indelible mark on the Indian urban developmy shares had been taken for me by my ment landscape; and ultimately, make this father-in-law. One does not even think of book an interesting read. u questioning the family patriarch; one simply


does what one is told to do. That was the culture in our families,” writes Singh, about his dilemma. As the title suggests, he faced several odds – on both the professional and personal fronts. While transforming a sleepy Gurgaon into a mega city, he faced challenges on account of land acquisition, archaic laws, decadent bureaucracy, and redundant policy makers. In fact, Delhi Land and Finance (DLF) was founded by Dr. Singh’s father-in-law, Chaudhry Raghvendra Singh, in 1946 but had been out of the real estate business for decades, because a Government-appointed committee decided that all urban development in the national capital would be carried out by a single agency, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). Defying all odds, Dr. Singh built DLF from scratch, and also persuaded his son-in-law to give up his career in the army – and join him. “I have cheated death on five occasions,” he says, in the opening chapter of this incredible memoir. The most moving and candid part is when Dr. Singh chronicles how he and his wife Indira survived a near-fatal helicopter crash. Later on, his wife developed lung cancer, and the couple fought against all odds, and overcame the impending tragedy. For some readers, the numerous photographs in the book can be distracting – but they provide an insight into the billionaire’s family ties, and upbringing. For me ‘Whatever the Odds’ is a stirring and insightful saga – of challenges and triumphs..u

23–29 December 2011

L ifestyle


Rajasthan Calling

Smart Serve


hey spun in circles, as their bodies swayed sinuously to the plaintive lament of the snake charmer's flute...This was truly 'Rajasthan Calling', as Kalbelia dancers, dressed in traditional black ghagras, entranced the audience at a three day roadshow hosted by the Rajasthan Tourism Department – at the Narsi Banquet Hall in Palam Vihar.


t the Ambience Mall, Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza handed over preordered phones to customers, at the Nokia Evo store. Nokia has unleashed its biggest-ever marketing campaign in India, for the launch of its Windows-based smartphone Lumia. Lucky consumers also got units of the X-Box 360 Kinect complementary with the Nokia Lumia 800. It was hard to tell if the consumers were thrilled at getting the much awaited smart phones, or meeting the tennis hottie.

Good Times Food Times

Dance LED Dance

t was an evening for food lovers, what with Vinod Dua, Vir Sanghvi, Ritu Dalmia and Suhel Seth heading for the Westin; where NDTV Good Times hosted the 2011 Food Awards.The event saw Karim's Hotel in Old Delhi win the Best North Indian Restaurant category; while Delhi NCR was voted the Best Foodie City by viewers' choice. Other highlights of the evening were the Highway on My Plate duo, Rocky & Mayur, who kept the audience in splits; and Sufi jugalbandi by Mekaal Hasan Band and Harshdeep Kaur.

ightlife in the Millennium City has a new entrant this holiday season. Zygo, the newest club on MG Road, got off to a rocking start with owner Nonu Chawla flying in a number of B'town celebs. The entourage included baddie Rahul Dev, and babes — Udita Goswami, Prachi Desai, Anjana Sukhani, and Miss India International 2011 Ankita Shorey — all ready to scorch NCR's first LED dance floor. DJ Suketa will spin the tables on Christmas day.





elhi’s best known choir, the Capital City Minstrels, rang in the Christmas season with a carol concert at the Epicenter. Conducted by Fiona Hedger-Gourlay, the group—comprising people from all walks of life— University students & Professionals, of all age groups, from nationalities across five continents presented some classical pieces like Beethoven’s ‘Joyful, Joyful’ and Leontovich’s ‘Carol of the Kings’ and ‘Ave Maria’.

The Christmas Ambience


ollywood hulks Dino Morea , Kunal Kapoor, Rana Duggabhatti and Vidyut Jamval, the B'town boys were here to walk the ramp, for clothing line Jack & Jones.If that was not enough, Ambience Mall also had seven time World Figure Skating Champion Richard Rowlands adding to the glamour this Christmas season. The 40 ft Christmas tree, and Santa's Grotto, was a big hit with shoppers and visitors alike.


23–29 December 2011

{ Srimati Lal }


is the Season to be Merry! As Christmas and the New Year ring in all manner of celebrations, what better way to enliven one’s surroundings than by enlisting the gentle assistance of some skillful women-designers? Women are blessed with an inherently fine-tuned eye for decor, design and couture – talents that are usually not showcased widely-enough to the public. Hence one is glad to see some very striking and lively creative experimentation from women designers, in Gurgaon’s studios and showrooms. Celebrating the festive palette and joi de vivre of the Christmas season this week, I am featuring three of these creative women stylists, as the definition of Fine Art has extended internationally to exclusively-designed Haute-Couture, Designer DecorAccessories, Art Furniture, and Fine Jewellery ~ such items of advanced design being included in FINE ART Auctions and Catalogs. Versha Vohra’s Interior-Decor showroom in DLF Phase 1, called THE YELLOW DOOR; Leenika Jacob’s homegrown AFRICAN-ART FURNITURE pieces; and Anita Dongre’s chic couture-label ‘IINTERPRET AND’  showcased at Ambience Mall’s exclusive array   ‘Designers at Debenham’s’, have specially caught my attention – for their style, originality and international appeal. In July 2009, Versha Vohra created her one-stop online home-decor store for uniquely-crafted Indian Interior Decor items, via her portal, www.theyellowdoorstore. com.  Vohra’s endeavour is to provide world-class Indian decor items­—beautiful and affordable Indian handmade products—to enhance sophisticated homes.


Enlivening Gurgaon

Versha Vohra at her interior-decor showroom, The Yellow Door

The draw of Yellow Door, aside from its fine designs, is its reasonable prices. I found this combination of high style and affordability very commendable; and, in a sense, a ‘first’ in its genre. My initial glance at Vohra’s stylish decor items—at a recent Aralias exhibition—reminded me of many high-end, coveted European Decor lines. Such exclusive lifestyle items were not available widely-enough in an organised manner in India – their time has certainly come. Vohra’s collections skillfully combine Europeanclassical, Renaissance and Gothic design elements, with distinctly-Indian embellishments, styles and motifs. The gilt and silver frames of her swirling mirrors, medievalinspired candelabras, elegant light-fixtures, carved wall-art, and finely-wrought interior accessories have an immediate appeal. Not surprisingly, when I asked Vohra about her styleinspirations, the very first name she alluded-to was Anthropologie. On probing further, I was told that she had worked for ten years in the export business with Christine Rai of Indian Inc, and had also worked closely in design development with the American company America Retold. She had thus learnt all about the importance of detail, and of contemporising traditional design.  YELLOW DOOR’s products are completely handmade, by Indian artisans from Moradabad, Jodhpur, Jaipur and Saharanpur – world-renowned for their skills in handcrafted brass, metal, glass, finely hand-painted wood and resin, intricately-carved wood, and inlay work. The only stumbling-block thus far, holding back Indian home-decor for decades, had been a very limited design-input; confining the artisans to repetitive and outmoded designs, and a complete lack

Leenika Jacob and her African Art Chair

Anita Dongre ‘IinterPret And’ Couture at Debenham’s


of experimentation. Vohra provided a new range of international designs for a variety of items, and has received a very positive response worldwide.  Most of her clients are in the 20 to 40s age-group, global, upwardly-mobile, independent – and keen on new lifestyles and decor. She also supplies personalised corporate gifts to a wide number of companies. Admirably, Yellow Door dedicates 3 per cent of all its sales to the development, upliftment and promotion of talented Indian craftspersons from humble backgrounds. As Yellow Door mementoes for my own artist’s environment, I selected a pair of tall Renaissance-inspired candlestands – with Moradabad’s famed flutedglass and metal work; and a large silver-finished hand-painted tray in a flamboyant contemporary leaf-design. And at her Gurgaon showroom, Versha enlisted my artist’s eye to specially install a unique ‘Indian Christmas Nativity’ display, utilising several special new pieces – such as a charming Rajasthani painted resin cow and calf, large mirrors framed in star-shapes and snowflake-shapes, multicoloured glittering glass lanterns, varied candlestands designed like Christmas trees and reindeer-sleds, delicate tea-lights and votive pieces – along with fresh flowers. Equally charming—but in a very different and radical contemporary stylistic—are the AFRICA-ART FURNITURE pieces designed by Leenika Jacob. Her mother, the painter Premila Singh, a businesswoman based in Johannesburg, creates prolific paintings, inspired by everyday African faces and native art. Growing up surrounded by Premila’s bold Fauvist art, Leenika felt an urge to ‘transplant’ her mother’s artworks onto unique items of furniture.  Leenika sets these vibrant electrictoned paintings into antique cabinets and chairs in a very dramatic fashion – that cannot evade notice. The contrast between the modernism of the art, inlaid within the retro look of antique cabinets and chairs, creates a startling impact. After being inset with bold African-inspired paintings, the antique furniture-pieces are further detailed with geometric painterly designs, and distinctive radical touches. They are thus ‘recreated’ completely, becoming like Gallery-level objets d’art – unique conversation-pieces that one can surround oneself and live with.  Leenika has an Advertising background, which she has applied well to her quirky African-furniture designs. Although she has showcased her cabinets and chairs at Ambience and Aralias, she has not yet embarked upon an extensive ‘line’ available via a store; designing instead from her Uniworld City apartment for the sheer fun of it. But her designs have been noticed, and one hopes to see a full-fledged range of her furniture soon enough. DESIGNERS AT DEBENHAM’S features the fashionista  Anita Dongre’s couture, well-displayed at Gurgaon’s Ambience Mall; alongside other exceptionallytalented Indian designers such as Rajesh Pratap Singh and Manish Arora. It’s about time Indian haute-couture became more readily-available, and extensively worn. The proliferation and distribution of attire by such cutting-edge designers can radically-evolve India’s everyday visual profile.  From high-street fashion to international red carpets, Anita Dongre’s designs have dressed-up some of India’s most celebrated personalities. Her clothes are now selling from over 120 retail points in India. Contemporary urban chic seems to be the forte of her line, called  IINTER-PRET ‘AND’. Dongre’s well-crafted, subtle, urban feminine dresscode – in muted sleek greys, charcoals, whites, creams, and solid Indian shades embellished with metallic handwork – would appeal to most women. In future couture displays, one would look forward to the actual presence of such women-designers, and more interactive sessions. Gurgaon has many more talented womendesigners lurking in its shades, like well-kept secrets within its high colonnades and quiet bungalows. Their impressive skills range from fine jewellery to eye-catching accessories, original art, and all other modes of creative expression. In my future columns I will do my bit to ensure that such gifted women style-pioneers are not “born to blush unseen.” u The writer is an Artist & Curator

23–29 December 2011


THIS WEEK Big Cinemas: Ansal Plaza DON 2 Time: 10.00, 10.40am, 12.15, 1.00, 1.40, 3.15, 4.00, 4.40, 6.15, 7.00, 7.40, 9.15, 10.00, 10.40pm Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (HINDI) Time: 11.30am, 4.55, 10.15pm Ladies V/s Ricky Bahl (U/A) Time:7.30 pm The Dirty Picture (A) Time:2.10 pm Address: 3rd floor, Ansal Plaza, G Block, Palam Vihar Website: PVR: Ambience Premier DON 2 – 3D Time: 10 am, 11.30 am, 1.05 pm, 2.35 pm, 4.10 pm, 5.40 pm, 7.15 pm, 8.45 pm, 10.20 pm, 11.50 pm DON 2 Time: 11 am, 2.05 pm, 5.10 pm, 8.15 pm. 11.20 pm ONE DAY Time: 4.10 pm, 10.45 pm Raja Pattai (Tamil) Time: 6.10 pm

pm, 1.50 pm, 4.25 pm, 4.55 pm, 7.30 pm, 8 pm, 10.35 pm, 11.05 pm PVR MGF: MGF Mall DON 2 – 3D Time: 10.30 am, 11.45 am, 1.30 pm, 2.45 pm, 4.30 pm, 5.45 pm, 7.30 pm, 8.45 pm, 10.30 pm, 11.45 pm DON 2 Time: 10 am, 11 am, 11.30 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 2.30 pm, 4 pm, 5 pm, 5.30 pm, 7 pm, 8pm, 8.30 pm, 10 pm, 11 pm, 11.30 pm Alvin & The Chipmunks 3 Time: 10 am PVR Europa: MGF Mall Alvin & The Chipmunks 3 Time: 5.05 pm, 9 pm One Day Time: 6.05 pm, 10.45 pm Raja Pattai (Tamil) Time: 10 am , 2.45 pm Rajanna (Telugu) Time: 12.20 pm Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Time: 10 am, 3.10 pm, 5.45 pm, 11.05 pm

PVR: Ambience Gold DON 2 – 3D Time: 10.15 am, 10.45 am, 1.20

DT City Centre: DLF Phase II Don 2 (U/A) – Hindi Time: 10:30 am, 01:25 pm, 03:10 pm, 04:20 pm, 07:15 pm, 10:10 pm, 11:05 pm Don 2 (3D) (U/A) – Hindi

Time: 11:40 am, 02:35 pm, 05:30 pm, 08:25 pm, 11:20 pm Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (U/A) – English Time: 11:00 am, 06:05 pm, 08:35 pm Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked (U) – English Time:10:00 am, 01:30 pm The Dirty Picture Time: 12.35 pm Ladies V/S Ricky Bahl Time: 8.20 pm Address: 3rd floor, MGF Mall, MG Road Ph: 0124- 4530000 Website:

Rajanna (Telugu) Time: 10.30 am Alvin & The Chipmunks 3 Time: 10 am, 2.25 pm, 6.20 pm Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Time: 1pm, 3.35 pm, 8.30 pm, 11.05 pm Ladies V/S Ricky Bahl Time: 8.05 pm The Dirty Picture Time: 11.45 am Address: 3rd Floor, Ambience Mall, NH-8 Website:

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (U/A) - English Time: 10:10 am, 12:35 pm, 11:30 pm Don 2 (U/A) – Hindi Time: 10:30 am, 01:25 pm, 03:00 pm, 04:25 pm, 06:00 pm, 07:20 pm, 10:15 pm Ladies v/s Ricky Bahl (U/A) - Hindi Time: 08:55 pm Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked (U) - English Time: 03:50 pm

PVR Sahara: Sahara Mall DON 2 Time: 11 am, 2 pm, 5 pm, 8 pm, 10.55 pm, DON 2 – 3D Time: 10 am, 1 pm, 4 pm, 7 pm, 10 pm Address: Sahara Mall, MG Road Ph: 0124- 4048100 Website:

DT Star Mall: Sector 20 Don 2 (U/A) – Hindi Time: 10:00 am, 11:25 am, 12:50 pm, 02:15 pm, 03:40 pm, 06:30 pm, 07:55 pm, 09:20 pm, 10:45 pm Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (U/A) – English Time: 05:20 pm Website:

DT Mega Mall: DLF Phase I Don 2 (3D) (U/A) – Hindi Time: 10 am, 12:55 pm, 05:35 pm, 08:30 pm, 11:25 pm

THE WEEK THAT WAS ♦ Cold, fog enveloping Gurgaon – temperature falls to almost 1 degree Celsius. ♦ Heavy power cuts in city - 5 to 8 hours. Very irregular supply. ♦ Demolitions by HUDA continue – Sector 18 (incl. Electronic City), Sector 56. As reported earlier, there has been a challenge in Court, for a Sikanderpur demolition. HUDA holds darbar also in Sec 56, to resolve pending complaints; second such initiative (in the first, about a 100 complaints discussed, many resolved). ♦ MCG demolition drive in villages. ♦ HUDA Chief fines residents Rs. 2,000 for throwing debris on road. ♦ IAF Depot related issue (of building/

construction) being discussed at State level. Options being worked on.

L istings


SCHOOLS IN GURGAON (O-z) Our Lady Of Fatima Convent School Address: Old DLF Colony, Sector-14; Ph: 124-2321744 Pathways World School Address: Off Gurgaon Sohna Road; Ph: 91 124 2318888/9 Rishi Public School Address: Sector 31; Ph: 0124-2381891 Rotary Public School Address: Sector-22; Ph.: +91-1242367780, 2369520 Ryan International School Address: Sohna Road, Opp B.S.F Camp; Ph: 0124 - 2266477, 0124-2266577 S.D Adarsh Vidyalya Address: Sec47, near Malibu Towne, Sohna Road; Ph: 0124-2320717 S.D. Memorial High School Address: H. No. 351, Sector 4 Urban Estate, Near Blue Bells Model School; Ph: 0124-2253185 Salwan Public School Address: Sector 15, Part-II; Ph: 0124 - 4886050-90 SB Public School Address: MG Road, Sikanderpur; Ph: 0124-2357075 Scholar’s International School Address: Behind U Block Dlf City-III; Ph: 0124-2356883 Scottish High School Address: Block- G, Sector 57, Sushant Lok II; Ph: 124-4112781-90 Sh. S.N. Sidheshwar Sr. Sec. Public School Address: Sector 9-A; Ph: 0124-2303158, 2254873 Shalom Hills International School Address: Sushant Lok I, Block E; Ph: 012 42573076 (MAIL) Sharda International School Address: Pataudi Rd Shiv Ngr; Ph: 0124-2321732 Shem Rock Convent School Address: 251/7 Urban Estate; Ph: 124-2301894 Sherwood Convent Senior Secondary School Address: Block C, Sushant Lok Phase I; Ph:  0124-4046471, 01244116471, 0124-4275820  (MAIL) Sherwood Convent Senior Secondary School Address: L Blk Ph IV Shikshantar School Address: J Block , South City I; Ph: 01244889100 (MAIL) Shiv Public Senior Secondary School Address: Old Alwar Road Sohna; Ph: 0124-2363042 South Town Public School Address: 794 Sector 4 Urban Estate; Ph: 0124-2300719 St Angel's School Address:

♦ Biker pillion shot by another biker, twice ostensibly for not getting directions when asked for; and other biker riding off.

♦ Anna visits Gurgaon – asks sarpanchs to ♦ Lover commits suicide in hotel, after lady develop model villages. ♦ City cleaning drive, by almost 1 lakh volunteers. refuses marriage. ♦ A bartender’s face is burnt, while giving a demonstration during opening of a new pub/restaurant ♦ Stalemate between NHAI and DSC, on Toll Plazas, continues; High Court stays any unilateral ♦ Town & Country Planning department has now action by NHAI. made it mandatory to get the building ♦ IFFCO Chowk being taken up as a special plan approved under self-certification, before traffic project – U turn, volunteers. starting construction – otherwise the building ♦ Sadar Bazar no entry for vehicles, started will be demolished. from Monday; 3 parking areas identified. This pertains to licensed plotted residential/ Implementation weak. industrial colonies. ♦ Autos have not put meters, as per directive of DC. ♦ NASSCOM presents Haryana Chief Secretary with a proposal for Manesar – asks for better ♦ Executive takes lift, is beaten up, looted, the connectivity to Gurgaon, to make the belt a leading ATM pin taken, and then he is thrown out of global IT and BPO hub. moving car.

Sector – 45 Nr Greenwood City; Ph: 0124-2064556 St. Lukes Educational School Address: 48 Lajpat Nagar; Ph: 0124-2328734 St. Crispin's school Address: New Railway Road ; Ph: +91-124-2321095 (MAIL) St. Johns Convent School Address: 2042 Sector - 4; Ph: 0124- 2321670 St. P.B.N. Public School Address: Sec17 B, New Railway Road, Behind Disco Colony, New Railway Road; Ph: 0124 2397397 Starex International School Address: Delhi- Jaipur National Highway P. O. Bhorakalan; Ph: 0124-2379990 /91 /92 Summer fields Address: DLF Qutab Enclave Complex, Phase-I; Ph: ++91-124-2353687 (Senior) ++91-124-2350941 (Primary), ++91-1242356537 (Nursery) (MAIL) Suncity World School Address: Suncity Township, Sector – 54; Ph: 0124 - 4845300 - 302; Fax: 0124-4140674 (MAIL) Tagore International School Address: W-10 Block, Site No. 3120, Opposite U - Block town houses, DLF - Phase III; Ph: 95124- 3292818, 95124 – 3292816; dlf_tagore@rediffmail. com (MAIL) The Banyan Tree World School Address: Plot 70, Sector 53, Near DLF Golf Course; Ph: 0124 3354451 The Happy School Address: G-3, Adjoining Water Tank, DLF City Phase-I; Ph: +91-124-4102229 The Heritage School Address: Sector 62; Ph:- 0124 - 2855124/25/26, 0124 - 2574320 – 21; info@ggn. (MAIL) The Pine Crest Address: B-11 Ashoka Crescent DLF City I; Ph: 0124-5055113 The Shri Ram School Address: V-37, Moulsari Avenue Phase III, DLF City; Ph: 0124-4784400 The Sylvan Trails School Address: Nirvana Country, S Block, South City II, Sector 50; Ph: 09818221350 Vaidik Kanya High School Address: Jakhempura; Ph: 0124-2320080 Vikas High School Address: Wazirabaad; Ph: 0124-23382020 VR Public School Address: Rajiv Nagar, Old Delhi Road, Air officers Mess; Ph: 0124-2325416 Xion International Convent School Address: Plot No :20 A Part-II Sec 5; Ph: 0124-2320080

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

08  Contd from p 1 For Alka Gurha, who lives on the Sohna road in Gurgaon, blogging frees her from the constraints imposed by editorial guidelines, and allows her to reach out to people on her own terms. Gurha cites an incident that prompted her to start her own blog, “I went to meet an editor of a leading national daily in Gurgaon, and he forgot the appointment. I was very disappointed”, she says. “Most of my writings on ‘Freebird’ are witty and humourous, a genre not liked much by newspapers”, she says; adding that she gets feedback from across the world, that motivates her. She also uses Facebook and Twitter to promote her blog, and connect with the readers. While Gurha wants to be a Freebird, Mohit Agarwal,

Seema Rao on Gurgaon It’s disappointing to see some Indian cities being claimed as theirs by those who have been living there the longest. What I love about Gurgaon is that it still belongs to India and all Indians. I hope this never changes. http://indianhomemaker. who writes on Telecom Circle, considers his blog to be an extension of his personality. “I wanted to convert my experience, of working with an operator and handset vendor, into something that would help the readers. The blog aims to delve into the opportunities and challenges facing the mobile and internet industry. I do a lot of research to write my articles, and hence I do not write everyday; but through my articles, I hope to provide critical insights to my readers”, he says. Blogging is a hobby for him, but it has also helped him forge an identity in the industry. “When I meet people, it is very heartening to know that many already know me be-

23–29 December 2011

C ivic/Social

Blog – A Web Of Life cause of my blog. It has helped me professionally as well, as it has forced me to read more on the industry, and develop a considered point of view”, says Agarwal. Social Media, he says, is probably the most important tool for a blogger, to reach the readers. “When I started to blog, I used Linkedin extensively, and 80 per cent of my users were coming from Social Media. However, over time, Google search started to give me more juice, and many people come directly to the site”, he says. Most of the bloggers say that they are happy with the facilities provided by Google Blogger and Wordpress, to host the blogs. However, many of them face technical difficulties in posting write-ups and photos on blogs, on promoting the blogs, and sharing and managing them – when the traffic is high. “I want to upgrade the blog to a website, but I don’t know where to get technical help”, says Purba Ray. While following their passion, the bloggers are also able to make some money – as they earn revenue from Google adsense, and writing advertorials on their blogs. But this is not much, and does not cover the opportunity cost of giving up a

The Personal Is No More Private

regular job, they aver. However, support from their families and spouses is helping them hold on to their passion. The lure of instant feedback, appreciation from across the world, mentions on Twitter and Facebook, and even interviews by mainstream media, is keeping them motivated. Seema Rao, who writes on the popular Indian Home Maker blog, says that blogs are a record of our time. “Sometimes blogs are a blogger’s opinions; they grow, they evolve, they become clearer, and sometimes they might change. Readers also impact the way a blog grows. When I started blogging, I meant to write about many social issues; I still do that, but now I write much more about gender issues”, she says. When asked about how the life of Indian Home Maker has changed in the past several years, with spread of education and affluence in cites and rural areas, she says that India lives in many centuries; and society can not be compartmentalized here.

Alka Gurha On Gurgaon Look at the Millenniun City, Gurgaon, where the insane obsession to build high rise offices and residential complexes has ignored basic concerns regarding water, power and environment. The result is a township with world class buildings without enough power, clean drinking water or good roads. The maddening pace of development has had scant regard for the environment and the outcome is that the city is enveloped in a dust haze for most part of the year.

Deeba Rajpal on Gurgaon Gurgaon {and the NCR} has been good to me. I get several calls asking me to teach baking. I wish I had a place to do so. Often readers of my blog call me for tips while baking, drop by to meet me, learn how to decorate a cake etc. I have begun to hear from more and more local bakers from Gurgaon of late. In the pipeline is an idea to begin a Gurgaon Bakers Club on FB ... a suggestion from a fellow baker from Gurgaon!

Purba Ray on Gurgaon In Gurgaon, most of us live in insulated enclaves that provide their own services - be it power backup, water or security. We prefer sticking to plush malls, choose our friends carefully and muse over sushi and wine. But step out and the bubble breaks. We turn a blind eye to the Gurgaon that exists on the other side of the highway. We rave about Chandni Chowk but prefer staying away from Sadar Bazar.  Most of us have yet to develop a sense of belonging to the Millennium City. But Gurgaon has been my home for the last seven years and it often features in my writings – high rise living, learning how to drive here, my far from exciting experiences with repairmen around the house...

“You can have a family still living in the eighteenth century, where everybody must fit into pre-determined roles, depending on their gender, age and marital status – where the wisdom or the whims of the more powerful family members decide the fate of the rest of the family members. And right next door, you can have another family where all the members are respected and valued equally, and each has a chance to grow, and find happiness and fulfillment” she says. Education and money make everything easier, but what’s truly empowering is the right attitude. Sometimes a domestic help, with no education, can have more control over her life than an educated and financially self-reliant homemaker – who is afraid

Mohit Agarwal on Gurgaon I think a lot needs to change in Gurgaon. Some of the changes like infrastructure need to come from the Government but more things need to be done by citizens themselves. We need to bring in higher level of civic sense to make this city a better place to live. On the professional front, I wish more individuals can come up to join and develop professional bodies like Mobile Monday so that Gurgaon can rival Bangalore.

to take responsibility of her own life and happiness, she opines. While most of the bloggers have been living in Gurgaon for the last several years, Madhav Mishra is a blogger who is new to the city – as he was transferred from Bangalore in December 2010. Mishra started in 2011, as he had no social circle in the Millennium City, and wanted to share his experience with people. Mishra ridicules the idea of censoring the internet, saying that India can either be ‘like China, or not like China’. “It is all about self-control, respecting people’s personal lives, and taking sarcasm the way it should be taken – with a pinch of salt”, says Mishra. His contention is supported by all the bloggers, who want to rip the society of its fake masks; but in a manner that is subtle, witty and stylish – like their blogs. u

Madhav Mishra on Gurgaon The whole idea of gurgaon centres around the idea that the national capital and the international airport are reachable within minutes. so it has real estate, malls, offices but no roads, no dustbins. its a perfect example of a city which was built in so much rush that they forgot the people.i call it the ‘contrast-city’ http://maniachunter.blogspot. com

C ivic/Social

A Premier Estate


23–29 December 2011


nately, the State is not competent enough to meet our demands and hopes; and so we have had to do everything ourselves. We have two tubewells insides the locality; and in order to make the water drinkable, we have a small treatment plant. We are also working to instal a small waste water treatment plant, which will be very useful in utilising the waste water for horticulture and gardening,” said Col (retd) Soi. Asked about how Garden Estate has coped with the unfathomable pace of the city’s growth, Bhargav said, “When construction for the Metro started, frankly saying, we felt like being encroached unnecessarily, for a not-so-useful thing. But later, once the Metro started, we felt great relief; and today the Metro has become another

PRIME PROPERTY: Garden Estate is sprawled over 24 acres of land

{ Maninder Dabas / FG }


n the last two decades, the metamorphosis of Gurgaon has sprung many housing colonies, where people’s desire and longing for a luxurious life have been satiated. Prime among them is Garden Estate, one of the earliest, and yet an estate of desire – for a bungalow or an apartment. It may arguably be the oldest such colony in the country, but it still holds the status of being one of the most comfortable places to live in. “Garden Estate is the first gated bungalow and apartment colony in India, and to me the best place to reside in Gurgaon. Its license was given in the year 1985, and just after four years people started to come in. It was the brainchild of Mr. A.N Haksar, the then Chairman of ITC group. At present, the whole Estate is sprawled over 24 acres of land, with a total of 373 apartments and bungalows,” said Jolly Bhargav, the president of the Garden Estate Residents Welfare Association. “Just step outside these walls, and you will find yourself in the Metro. What else do you want? We have all our daily needs available inside the locality premises. There is a grocery shop, beauty parlour, pharmacy shop, swimming pool, tennis court, gym, and a very good club – all inside the locality premises. All the residents living here consider themselves blessed by God,” added Bhargav. “When I came here in 1989, there were only 12-13 families. I have seen this locality, as well as the city, turned upside down in these two decades; and believe me, there is still no better place than Garden Estate to reside in. Initially this locality was sold by

ITC on an invitational basis; and some of India’s biggest bureaucrats used to live here. Many retired officers from the armed forces have chosen this place to settle down,” said J.K Madhok, a veteran resident. However, no locality, no matter how posh or elite it may call itself, exists without problems – and Garden Estate too has its share, “I have settled here a year back, and we have 24 hour power and water backup here inside the colony. But, as the citizens of the city, we have a right to get these services from the State (HUDA). Unfortu-

Laughing St

glittering feather in the cap of Garden Estate. Initially, the name of the metro station was supposed to be Garden Estate Station; but later politicians named it Dronacharya. As far as coping with the rise of the city is concerned, we have all the modern facilities inside our locality. Our security too has been beefed up. Overall, Garden Estate is better than any other so called modern or comfortable highrise of the city. We are happy here.” u


Q. What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus? A. Claustrophobic. Q. Why does Scrooge love Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? A. Because every buck is dear to him. Q. What do you get when you eat the Christmas decorations? A. Tinsel-itus. Q. If athletes get athletes foot, what do astronauts get? A. Missletoe! Q. Why does Santa Claus go down the chimney on Christmas Eve? A. Because it soots him. Q. What do the elves sing to Santa Claus on his birthday? A. Freeze a jolly good fellow . . . Q. Why does Santa Claus like to work in the garden? A. Because he likes to hoe, hoe, hoe! Q. Who delievers cat’s Christmas presents ? A. Santa Paws ! Q. What did Adam say on the day before Christmas ? A. It’s Christmas, Eve !

Haryanvi Made Easy Get a taste of the local lingo 1. I need to rent a flat Manne kiraye pe kamra


2. Where can I find an agent? Manne wo dalal kit milega? 3. Does he take money? Beech me payse lega ke?

4. Show me a 3 room house Manne teen kamre ka ghar dikha de 5. The rent is too high Kiraya booth ghanna hai 6. When can I meet the landlord? Main makaan maalik te kad mil

sakun hun?

10 { Hritvick Sen / FG }


he recent case of a child’s kidnapping by a housemaid in Sector-46 has certainly awakened security concerns. Thankfully, the city police ensured the safety of the child within a span of three hours. But what measures can the public take, to ensure that their home is serviced by trusted individuals? Normally, when a house requires a servant or a hired help, the modus operandi is to ask one’s neighbours/ friends for a suitable individual. This is a scenario true for most homes in India, where word-of-mouth reigns supreme. “Recommendation is the number one job-provider for servants and hired help,” says Viren, who runs an agency for hired help. “If Anil has to get a servant, he’ll ask his neighbours and colleagues and friends for advice. These people will ask their maids and drivers, who will forward their friends and relatives for the job.” “It is only now that agencies, such as mine have started to provide hired help. You just need to call a number,” he says. How does he get the people? He says that they come from far-off places such as Midnapore and Dulduli. Plus,the people already working with him bring referrals. But the question remains. How safe is word-of-mouth in a city like Gurgaon nowadays? The household that suffered the botched kidnapping in Sector 46 had also gone on word-of-mouth, to get their servant. The city has over five lakh people who work as housemaids, drivers and servants, say the police. In the past, the city had seen a massive verification drive under the previous police chief SS Deswal during the Commonwealth Games. At that time, an agency, Hamari Suraksha, collaborated with the police and the RWAs for servant verification. The agency sent people to every home in the city, to find out details about servants and tenants. DLF City RWA Secretary Sudhir Kapoor says, “I was there at the meeting when this plan was launched. We had

23–29 December 2011

Home Security

pledged full support to the Hamari Suraksha agency, along with the police. At first, there was work at full swing as the verification process went ahead. We had provided people to help the agency in their work; but somewhere along the way the drive weakened; and eventually ran out of steam.” BD Pahuja says, “At that time, there was a rush to get things done. We had given our Community Centre to the agency, and informed every household in our sector to get their servants and tenants registered and verified.” But even he agreed that the process died off slowly. It is not so, says Ankit Trikha, the Regional Operations Manager for Hamari Suraksha. “When the drive was set up, the police needed our help for the verification drive, and we were only too happy to provide our assistance. On an average, we do 20,000 registrations a month across the National Capital Region (NCR).” On the subject of registration of

servants and tenants, Trikha says, “No one can better stress the importance of verifying who’s working for you. Just an identification proof is not enough to assure the antecedents of the person about to work for you. If you can spend tens of thousands on hiring a servant, you can surely spend a few hundred rupees to ensure your peace of mind about the reliability of the individual.” Referring to the Sector-46 incident, he says, “People have to take the extra step.” Just word-of-mouth is not going to be enough now. “When the records (including biometric records such as fingerprints, photos and scanned ID proof ) are stored, it becomes that much harder for people to commit crimes. We can provide vital information and whereabouts to the police. Plus, the cloud-processing system means that information-sharing is now at the fingertips of the authorities.” A police official, painting a normal scenario, says, “Imagine a situation like this. You have a maid who calls herself Nyssa. She says that she has come from 24 Parganas, and has no identification. She looks trustworthy and you hire her. Then, some time later, you have a spat with her and she leaves off in a huff – with your jewellery and possibly more. We get so many complaints saying ‘please track down our missing servant who has looted us’. How can we do that? People take photos of their family members, their car, their dog, but not the hired help. So we have a name – but no photo, | no location or address, no relatives to track down. When it is available, more often than not, it is falsified data. The


use the remote control to switch off the TV. But this keeps the TV on, in a stand-by mode, where it may consume 6 watts per hour. Even when you turn the TV off, and do not switch off at the mains, the TV consumes 0 .5 to 1 watt power. We need to switch off cell phone chargers and electrical mosquito repellents at the mains, after charge/ use - so that they do not consume power. The cell phone charger utilizes 3 watts per hour, when it remains plugged in. An energy saving of 27-40 per cent is possible, in a typical commercial building, with an annual energy consumption of 200 KWh/sq. meter, if a building is constructed with energy efficient building designs/concepts. The Energy Conservation Building Code sets a minimum efficiency standard for commercial buildings, having a connected load of 500 KW or more. There is energy wasted in: Agriculture, with inefficient water use; Old buildings, which guzzle power through inefficient lighting, cooling and pumping devices; Widely dispersed small and medium enterprises, many of which use

police can’t track down ghosts, can we? And by the time the verification process comes back, saying that the given address doesn’t exist, the hired help has long gone – and is working in another household.” A relative with the Sector-46 family, that suffered the kidnapping says, “It is only due to the efforts of the police that we have our child back with us. Otherwise, who knows what would have happened. We gave information of the maid’s sister to the police. They grilled her, and got the whereabouts.” Shweta, who works in a PR agency, says, “We verified the identity of the servant working with us ourselves. The agency who provided the servant said that they could do it, but we took the forms and submitted the details of the help to our nearly thana. In a time and age as this, I can’t put my family at risk.” Shweta is one of the few who have taken the onus of servant verification on themselves. Acoording to servant verification agencies, almost 70% of Gurgaon’s families haven’t verified their servant’s antecedents. Anirudh, a software engineer who has settled in Sector-46, Gurgaon with his wife, admits, “We’ve had our maid for well over a year. We haven’t verified her details, but one of my relatives recommended her to us. I know we should have done it earlier, but we didn’t have the time. Plus, it would have looked as if we didn’t trust her (the maid).” Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Maheswar Dayal was the officer in charge of the servant/tenant verification drive. What does he have to say about the current situation? He is forthright. “We request the public to come forward and verify who’s working for them. It is important, and should be followed.” He admits that the police doesn’t have the manpower to scour every house in the city, to verify every person working as a driver or a maid. “But if we have the support of the people, we can achieve the target. Please be sure of who you are hiring to take care of your child and house. Alertness and caution are a must in this matter.” u

Traffic Challans

Conserving Energy onserving electricity is quite critical. The largest contribution of carbon-dioxide and other heat-trapping ‘green house’ gases into the ambience, is due to electric power generation; and also, shortage of electricity retards the economic growth of the country. Coal and oil constitute more than 80 percent of the fuel used to generate electricity. Coal combustion leads to the highest contribution of CO2 per energy unit, of any fossil fuel. Every kilo-watt hour of electricity saved, means 750gm less of carbon dioxide out in the ambience. The present shortage of electricity in Haryana can be met by way of conservation of electricity, as there is a potential of saving over 25 per cent of the present availability of power generating capacity in the State. One watt saved at the point of consumption saves about 1.5 watts generated. It costs about Rs. Five crores to create 1MW of new generation capacity    Some smart electricity saving tips to conserve electricity can help tackle the problem of climate crisis, as well as shortage of electricity at the grass-root level It’s a typical practice for us to

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Wrong Parking Driving Not Using Seat Belt Driver W/O Helmet Driver W/O Driving Licence Driving Fast Vehicle W/O Registration Certificate. Violation Of No Entry Vehicle W/O Valid 3rd Party Insurance. Violating Pollution Standards Violation Of Traffic Signal Wrong Side Driving Drunken Driving Lane Change W/O Signal Disobeying Signal Of Police Officer. Dangerous Driving Triple Riding On 2W Number Plate Not Ok Under Age Driving Mobile Use While Driving Disobeying Police Orders Failure To Stop In Accident Pillion W/O Helmet Unauthorized Beacon Light

2010 39,442 23,849 14,277 13,191 11,347 10,177

2011 67,509 37,721 44,846 19,477 21,648 17,546

3,081 4,439

11,171 9,838

4,156 8,809 7,015 6,285 10 5,931

9,335 8,468 17,305 12,938 5,936 1,694

4,240 5,013 820 608 1,907 4,459 19

5,387 6,238 7,792 1,902 3,521 3,420 140

1,125 20

1,382 101

Use Of Dark Tinted Film Smoking And Driving Use Of Pressure horn Front Passenger W/O Seat Belt Vehicle W/O Number Plate School Bus Violating SC Dir.



118 167 259

478 1,706 289

928 11

2,071 2,626

(Select Challan List from Traffic Police) For period Jan1 to Nov 20, in both years. Some Observations 1) We seem to be habitual in the following: Wrong Parking Driving without fastening the seat belt Driving without helmet (2 wheelers) (Of concern is also a large number driving without a driving licence). 2) The following have escalated seriously in the last one year (or maybe the police were not as vigilant on these last year): Violation of No Entry Lane change without signal; zig zag driving (definitely a new initiative) Number plate not ok Use of pressure horns School bus violating Supreme Court directive 3) There is control on the following, either due to police, or self : Violation of traffic signal Disobeying a police order Use of dark tinted film

23–29 December 2011

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{ Manjula Narayan }


Tamil Sangam

gal, a pundit from Palam Vihar, who is popular with Gurgaon’s South Indian communities. Registered in February 2002, the Sri Siddhi Ganesh Cultural Society built the temple at a cost of Rs 2 crore – money that came entirely from devotees. “HUDA gave the land for the temple to the Kanchi Mutt, which, in turn, handed it to us for the construction of this temple,” reveals the Air Vice Marshal. “Before the temple came up, we just went to someone’s home or to the Maruti Vihar community centre, and recited japams and mantras – and held Ayappan and Ganesh pujas there,” he says. Maruti Vihar, apparently, has a large contingent of Tamilians, who are enthusiastic participants of the activities hosted by the temple, and the Gurgaon Tamil Sangam. The Sangam itself is a younger organisation. “It’s quite remarkable. We started with five people in December 2009. We got the organisation registered on Pongal day, and then started rolling out programmes,” says Rajagopal. Today, about 300 Tamil and other South Indian


tep into the Siddhi Ganesh Mandir complex near Galleria Market in DLF Phase 4 — with its pretty black stone idols and ornate southern architecture, executed by hereditary craftsmen from Chennai’s Shilpakalanilayam — and you are immediately transported to Tamil Nadu. This isn’t surprising, considering the temple is the fulcrum of all the activities of the Tamilian Hindus of the city; and has also spawned the Gurgaon Tamil Sangam (GTS), which currently has about 200 members. “The GTS is a body for all Tamils, regardless of religion; and we give a platform for people to demonstrate their hidden talent,” says Ganesh Rajagopal, president of the Sangam that regularly organises events for Tamilians here. One of those is the New Year’s Eve trip, for about 120 families, to a farm in Bhondsi – details of which have been scrawled on the temple white board. “We’ve organised a bus to take us.


Once we get there, we’ll have friendly games of cricket, kho-kho and antakshiri, enjoy a vegetarian lunch, and come back by evening,” says Rajagopal, who works for Dupont. “Then, on January 14, for Pongal, there will be pots of both sweet and spicy pongal, and we’ll have a get-together here at the temple,” he says. “We use the Delhi Tamil Sangam as a model, and have also jointly organised programmes with the NOIDA Tamil Sangam,” he says. The Gurgaon Sangam recently hosted a Bhangra dance troupe and mimicry and comedy shows too. The ‘flameless cooking competition’ that they recently organised, had women from as far afield as Mayur Vihar and Dwarka, driving down to Gurgaon to participate. But it isn’t all fun and games. The Sangam also hosts a number of serious cultural activities. “Classes in Tamil language, Bharatnatyam, the Vedas, yoga, Carnatic music and instrumental music are held on the temple premises,” says retired Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) S Ratnam. He is the president of Siddhi Cultural Society, which oversees the affairs of the temple. “A lot of young people come here to learn religious chants, like the Rudrajapam and the Narayanajapam,” he says. The temple, which is being renovated with magnificent arches, also hosts sacred thread ceremonies, and regularly feeds the needy. “Devotees also come here during our annual functions for Ganesh Chathurti, Mahashivratri, and Navratri,” says Ratnam. Incidentally, the priests of the temple, who are from UP, have been trained to execute rituals the Tamil way – by Ananthanarayana Shastri-

families participate enthusiastically in the Sangam’s activities. “When people see that there is value in what an organisation is doing, they tell others,” says Rajagopal. He believes that the Sangam’s special emphasis on activities for women has made it more popular. “You know, when women participate, their families tag along too,” he says. All the Sangam’s office bearers are working professionals, who willingly spare time to help organise events, and conduct classes. The Tamil language classes, for instance, are conducted by S Subramanian, the organisation’s general secretary; who also happens to be the Deputy General Manager of Power Grid. Others like Bhaskaran, an active member of the temple administration, run Sarwana Catering Service. So what next for the increasingly enthused Tamil community of Gurgaon? “We need the support of the government, to develop community centres, so we can continue on a sustained basis,” says Rajagopal. He is keen to develop a separate space for the Gurgaon Tamil Sangam, whose executive committee currently has 15 members. “We can conduct independent social events there. And though it will continue to be a cultural organisation, we can also do some charitable work, like providing medical facilities for the needy,” he says. “We intend to keep conducting events very regularly and get more ideas, more members and more resources,” he adds. Considering how quickly the Gurgaon Tamil Sangam has grown, and how enthusiastically it has been embraced by Tamilians, it shouldn’t be too long before Rajagopal’s plans come to fruition. u


Mega Pooch-Care PET PRIDE: CGS provides state-of-the-art medical facilities to dogs

{ Hritvick Sen / FG }


ure, Gurgaon has Medanta, Artemis, Max and the like for you. But what about your precious pooches? The city has no dearth of dog clinics; but a dog hospital is a different matter altogether. DLF’s CGS Hospital is just that. A little off the Metro route, in DLF Phase-III, the CGS Hospital is a spacious dog hospital, that has just completed 14 months. It certainly measures up to what Gurgaon would want for its dog care.

That is more sensible for him. But a dog is like family. If you have a dog, and he needs the same attention, the chances are high that the dog will be saved.” Then, there is the professional side of things. “People have no idea how difficult it is to set up a medical site for animals. In Gurgaon, the land itself is the most difficult part. In any Master

treat a heart disease. Similarly, dog clinics are not equipped to handle every exigency. As a vet, I know it’s simply not possible to have every machine needed in a clinic. Somewhere, a line is drawn, and pet owners have to resort to other means. Twenty years ago, nobody knew about blood sampling for dogs. Or an x-ray. Dogs had to be taken for


23–29 December 2011

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such procedures, after usual working hours.” “I have been a vet for over 23 years now. I know the difficulties. The Singh family (K.P Singh) addressed this concern, and need of the city, by building a state-of-the-art dog hospital. And we have everything here that a pet needs for treatment,” he says. Dr. Shally Jalali says, “We have a staff of seven, in which there are six PG doctors, including myself. The hospital runs round-the-clock, and has several operation theatres, Out Patient Department (OPD), kennels to keep the dogs under observation, and even a dog grooming expert.”

So What’s New?

The CGS Hospital is best at what it provides, say the staff. The private hospital addresses the medicinal, grooming and boarding needs of the pets. With a covered area of over 17,000 sq. feet, the hospital

is fully-geared for surgery, computerised radiography, diagnostic endoscopy, dentistry, laser lithotripsy, ultrasound, CO2 laser surgeries, gaseous anaesthesia, micro-chipping and de-worming. Over and above, there is an in-patient boarding facility, grooming parlour and a good-sized play area. “We have a very capable and dedicated staff, and I’m proud of them,” Dr. Mahendran says.

Charity For The Four-Legged

What about charity work for strays? “If you mean do we house strays, the answer’s no,” Dr. Mahendran answers. “There are NGOs who take this issue up, and they receive government aid for doing what they do. This is a privately-funded enterprise and a hospital, and we do charity in what we do best – treating animals,” he says. “If we get information that any animal is injured, we treat it for free. The operation, the medicines and the

Why The Need For a Full-Fledged Dog Hospital? (Or A Dog?)

The Director Dr. Samar S. Mahendran, M.Vsc (Surgery), says, “Before we understand this need, we have to know why the city’s sudden need for dogs and pets.” According to him, “Traditional families are breaking up. Everywhere you see, there are people living alone, living in, married couples, old couples.” The family unit has decreased. “When you have just two people living in, or just one in a house, the need for companionship is always there. Therefore, the need for a pet,” he says. The other reasons floating about—like the need to flash an expensive pet—may always be there; but primarily, he says, this is it. “Then,” Dr. Mahendran continues, “The need for pet care. Take this situation. If a man has a buffalo with a marketprice of Rs. 50,000, and a doctor says that the animal needs medicine and hospitalisation worth Rs. 30,000, he’ll sell off the animal to a slaughterhouse.

Plan, there are delineations for residences, roads, hospitals – but not animal hospitals. It is just not a priority right now. If a vet sets up a clinic, the neighbours complain of the noise. More often than not, a vet is slammed with a fabricated notice of nuisance, so that he has to shut shop,” he says. But there are many clinics in the city catering to dogs and other animals. They may not have the space, but are certainly good enough for medicare. Dr. Mahendran agrees, but says, “Our profession is similar to what applies to humans. An orthopaedist will not have the skills or the infrastructure to

{ Maninder Dabas / FG }


IPA was established in the year 1983 in Chandigarh, for the purpose of training the young Class I officers of the State. Till 1993, it functioned there, and later it was shifted to Gurgaon. Here we train all the gazetted officers of the State, including the people selected by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) under the Haryana cadre,” said Ashok Vashista, Officer on Special Duty (OSD)(Training), and State Public Information  Officer (SPIO), who has been serving here for quite a while now. “The Haryana Chief Minister is the Chairman of the HIPA Board, and all the initiatives are executed under his guidance. It also has an Executive Council, which is headed by the Chief Secretary of the State, and the State’s Senior Financial Commissioners (FC) are the members of it,” added Vashista. He continues, “We train them here on how to

HIPA: Educating The State’s Bureaucracy build the capacity to cope with the work inside the HIPA premises. Our Director pressure. Rules and regulation of the var- General, Mrs. Rajni Sekhri Sibal also ious department of the State, the culture stays within the campus.” HIPA trains all and history of the State, stress manage- the Class I officers, ranging from the IAS ment, gender studselected by UPSC, ies, RTI, and comto the Tehsildars puter etc are various and Nayab Tehsilareas covered here. dars selected by the We have seven big Haryana Public classrooms, and an Service CommisAC equipped hostel sion (HPSC). We with a capacity of provide short term 80 people. We have (mostly two week) 14 members in our training to various faculty, and most Class I officers beof them have been TRAINING CENTRE : The Haryana Institute longing to different given houses here of Public Administration departments. IAS,

care is provided for by us.” Dr. Amarjeet Singh says, “Most clinics do not have complete and all facilities. We offer everything under one roof. And clinics can refer their patients to us in case they are not equipped to handle the case.” Pet grooming expert Tully sums it up, “We’re the Medanta of pet care.” u

The Name Of The Game CGS Hospital gets its name from Kavita Singh’s (daughterin-law of K.P Singh) three dogs Cuddle, Goldy and Spotty.

HCS, Executive branch, Tehsildars, Doctors, Principals, District Social Welfare Officers (DSWO), DSPs, District Attorneys, and officers related to judicial services are mainly given training here. We organise refreshment courses from time to time for the common people, and politicians as well. For example, this year we gave training to the 35 Councillors of the city, in June. We also trained the Sarpanchs of the various villages of Gurgaon district, under the Panchayat Raj Institution (PRI) programme,” informed Vashista. Later, Manveen Kaur, one of the faculty members of HIPA, also spoke about the institution and its ambience. “Here we train all the bureaucrats of the State for a short while. We have very good facilities and a peaceful ambience, which helps immensely in guiding the officers. After all, they are the ones who execute the policies made by the State, for the betterment of the masses,” said Manveen Kaur. u

23–29 December 2011


n the ‘50s, the Hindus would point out to us as ‘woh isai ja raha hai (there goes a Christian)’, says Danis Devender Lal, a resident of old Gurgaon. But now they call out the name.”. Lal should know - for not only is he a member of one the oldest Christian families in the city, but has also lived here all his life. While his great grandfather was one of the first to convert to Christianity, it is his maternal aunt that the city still remembers. “My maternal aunt, Miss Monica Mall, was the lady health visitor. She would travel across Gurgaon in a tonga, helping deliver babies,” says 65-year-old Lal. Like him, there are many who believe that the understanding between the two communities has improved over the years, as caste and religious barriers have come down. “Kuch families thé jo chua-chhoot karte thé. Woh humse door rahte thé. Par main jab sarpanch bana, to unhone apne haath se mujhe doodh pilaye,” says 65-year-old Michael Baljeet Singh of Kanhei Village. “Pehle woh meat machhi nahi khaate thé. Ab woh khaate hain, aur humse meat maang ke khaate hain. Limit se zyaada khaate hain!” A contractor by profession, Singh was the Sarpanch of Kanhei Village. Singh, who is clearly not too happy to see such a drastic change in Gurgaon, says that even though the differences have reduced, distances between individuals have increased. He says , “Earlier , people would come forward to help more easily. Today, no one wants to come forward.” An example of the lessening of differences in communities, is the increase in the number of inter-caste marriages. “Hamare kayi jaan pehchan walon mein Hindu-Christian ki shaadiyan hui hain. Meri beti Hindu se shaadi karnewali hai… hamein koi problem nahi hai, na hi unhe koi problem hai,” says Lal. Singh’s daughter too is all set to marry a Hindu Vashisth boy. Asked if the prevalent panchayat culture does not deter

Christians in Gurgaon


{ Irene Gupta }

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nity” for attending Sunday service. “They think we get a lot of money from foreigners. I have to keep telling them that if you look at how we live, you will realise that there is nothing much here. We are not lacking in anything, but we only manage to make ends meet, with what we raise. The Church does not pay me a salary. We live by faith,” adds Sunder. “For some local people, the concept of Christianity is foreign. We have had to face comments like – ‘you are getting money from the white people’; ‘why adopt a foreign culture’?” informs Cyrilla Varghese, social service worker. Dayalan feels that the misgivings are to do with “a warped understanding of history”. He says, “Christianity is linked with foreign rule. They don’t know that Apostle Thomas came to India 2,000 years ago. Christianity did not come with the British or the Portuguese.” The mistrust however, goes both ways. Most Churches in Gurgaon discourage conversion. “People have come to me to be converted, but I have declined. One really does not know who is genuine. I don’t want them to say that they were forcibly converted,” says Ghazan. There are others who feel that many convert simply for material gains. Other than the Lals, Malls and the Singhs, the first Hindu families to take up Christianity in Gurgaon were some Mukherjees, Messis and Rais. The first Church, the Church of Epiphany (see Box) was essentially a garrison church, set up in 1862. The first Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Immaculate Conception, was established in the Kanhei Village in the 1930s. Today, there are about 35 pastors of different denominations present in Gurgaon – indicating that the population and denomination of Christians has also seen an increase. Fr. Vincent Salvatore of the Church of Immaculate Conception, credits the influx of multinational companies for the increase. “It is a floating community. They are here because of

The Church of Epiphany: Oldest Church in Gurgaon

Christianity in Kanhei Village

The Church of Epiphany was built by the British in 1862, and consecrated by the Bishop of Calcutta four years later. The Church was built as a place of worship, for the few British civil and military officers, stationed in this outer line of defence for Delhi, called the Hadayat Chhavni. It was maintained by the government till 1942 – when ,as a war economy measure, it was handed over to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Cambridge Mission. In 1994, it was transferred to the Archdeaconry of Delhi. Upon the formation of the Church of North India in 1970, this entirely Anglican Church started embracing members from other denominations. Today, former Methodists constitute a large section of the Church. The first recorded baptism was of Cecil Harold Bhattacharjee on June 9, 1893.

In the 1930s, Capuchin (one of the chief offshoots of the Franciscans) priests visited Kanhei Village to see a resident Police officer. They came across some poor villagers, caught by the police constable, for some petty crimes. The Capuchins visited the families of these criminals, and other neighbourhood areas. They were requested to come back again, and continue speaking to the villagers. As a consequence there was a change of heart, and criminals of this area renounced their criminal way of life and accepted Christianity.

them, Singh says “yahan par khap panchayat nahi hai. Yahan Ahir log ka belt hai, Ahir maane Yadav.” Echoing Lal and Singh’s sentiments, Rev. Sunil Ghazan of Epiphany Church, who is originally a Delhiite, says that “local Hindus and Christians here share a very good rapport”. “We get a lot of people from other faiths also. They come for healing. There are many who just come to see what it is all about. They think its about having fun – to eat, drink and be merry,” says Ghazan. He is quick to add that, “Most educated people respect Christians, because the elite in this country have mostly been educated in Christian schools.” Not everyone, however, is as positive. While many feel intolerance may not be evident on the face of it, beneath the surface there is an underlying sense of mistrust. “No prejudices on the face of it, but landlords do not want to rent their houses, when they hear we are Christians. I had to scout the whole of Gurgaon. We are now at the Unitech Club – they have been nice and civilised. But even Unitech said no to midnight service,” informs Pastor David Dayalan of the Gurgaon Fellowship Church. Assemblies of God Pastor Sam Sunder says, “Unlike Delhi, the local crowd here is rich and ‘aggressive’. Though we have not faced any physical resistance, you can sense that you are not really welcome.” He gives the example of two local Hindu ladies, who “have been warned by members of their commu-

job opportunities.” HR executive Reena Gomas says, “The number of people coming to the Church has more than tripled – in the last five years. Today we have about 500 odd families. They are from various parts of India; some are Americans, Chinese, South Africans and Australians.” The situation is similar in most churches across the city. However, there has been quite a fall in the number of Christians in the villages. “Pehle Kanhei mein 50-60 families hua karte the. Ab bas 25-30 reh gaye hain. Kuch pariwaar chale gaye hain,” rues Baljeet Singh. The arrival of people from other states, and from other countries, made Gurgaon not just more cosmopolitan, but has wrought a great change in the local Christian population as well. Says Fr. Salvatore “Now even the villagers of Kanhei Gaon want their children to be educated. They had no access or ambition before, now they see the world. “ This change is evident, even in the way the community celebrates Christmas. Says Alyemma of Rajiv Nagar, “Christmas celebrations here have changed – just the way Gurgaon has changed. Earlier, we used to go Delhi for Christmas parties; now we stay here. We have more fun here. The hotels have a lot of parties, and we really enjoy ourselves.” Rev. Ghazan sums up this change rather well. “The complexion of Christianity has changed. Ab sirf khansama, naukar, darban hi Christian nahi hote. The first generation of Christians here was not so affluent. Our children are also doing well; so the economic status of Christians here has immensely improved. Today, Christians are no longer people only from the lower strata of society.” u


23–29 December 2011


2012 – Year Overboard

The Year We Wish To Leap The pundits—local and global—ask us to somehow navigate the coming year. The future will be bright, or shining – in 2013. 2011 has left much in its wake.


The world was anyway in turmoil. USA and Europe first downplayed the 2008 crisis, then stuck their heads in the sand, and finally tried to ease their ships through canals tighter than Panama (with powerful vessels QE 1, QE 2 …). Unfortunately, many economies have now run aground. We were not only not better; we lost our way. We sailed as if sunny weather was always our due. We spent as if we knew of some hidden treasure beneath our ocean. We continued to accommodate the land pirates – they continue to loot and plunder. The Lokpal Bill has been stilled at the harbor; an Anna clearly has no value in today’s denomination. We have managed the impossible. From India Shining, to India all at sea – from record revenues, to almost alarming deficits (of revenue, fiscal and trade); from a 100 billion dollar infrastructure plan, to no major infrastructure initiative; from a big FDI thrust, to a failure in the first (Retail) initiative; from a second green revolution, to the highest prices for food and essential items; from far-sighted reform and policy by minority governments (of Narasimha Rao and Vajpayee), to coalition excuses of UPA I and II. The stock market pundits are unusually quiet. The mirage of 25,000 has become the reality of 15,000 – and the head is still down. Bullish smiles are a year away, at least – a leap (year) away. The rupee has depreciated by almost 20%, in just a few months. This is supposed to only happen to banana republics! And this at a time when we have a worrying trade deficit, when we continue to heavily subsidize diesel (which now is a back up for power also), and when oil is getting no cheaper (and in fact may stop being available – when Iran is bombed, sometime in 2012). To cap the year, we have the piece de resistance –



uch a well written review of a remarkable show Subodh Lal, on ‘Picture Perfect’


ood work Rahul, on ‘Supreme Justice’

ongrulations Gaje Singh Kablana – Keep up the good work. Every one appreciate(s) the need of land for ammo depots. There are ammo dump depots built close to the heavily populated area and may be illegal. There are different scales of restriction for different ammo depots dumps. However, reasonable accommodation (should) be made by everyone. I understand that if a ammo

depot has (a)wall cemented wall around it, (the) restriction to built is 400 or 500 meters; but authorities keep enforcing 900 meters restrictions anyway. That is why more and more people have to look for justice from Supreme Court. In (the) absence of reasonable compromise, there is (a) need of people like Gaje Singh Kablana to protect people(‘s) properties and lifelong investment from being bulldozered Gurdev Singh Bains. on ‘Supreme Justice’


(am) also proud of Kulvinder Singh (who) won the Gold Medal. I wish he win(s) again Mahesh Chander, on ‘Gurgaon’s DCP makes the country proud’ Please send your letters to:

the floating of the Food Security Bill, an annual Bill of about Rs. 30,000 crores. It’s election time again ! The natives can be bought in all manner – never mind the sheer wastage, of decades, through various government programmes. This is new wine to be spilled. The Mahatma Gandhi NREGA (why do they drown the Mahatma so!) supposedly won the battle the last time. This (Food) Bill will win UPA UP this time. The Bill will be rushed through even before you can say Anna. Never mind that NREGA is in trouble – but will not be acknowledged. It is troubling not just in terms of money going to the wrong people; but for impacting the availability of a regular productive workforce. Never mind also that the NREGAs are an admittance—even after decades of analysis and blame— that we do not trust our official pro-poor schemes to deliver (but yet keep funding them); and that we do not believe that a massive infrastructure investment and industrial/agricultural initiative would be more productive – for both the poor and the nation. These investments are surely the better alternative to the easy, lazy choice of artificial throw-and-some-deserving-will-surely-get schemes like NREGA – made possible by the rich coffers of yesteryears. Unfortunately, 2012 will not be the year to help correct the follies of 2011. Already thrown overboard by poor statesmanship, world citizens need to swim well, in deep waters, and against the tide. Business will not be as usual. Our budget cup will not brim with revenue – in fact we would have to find means to finance colossal deficits. Having taken up the Food Security Bill (and at a wrong time anyway), planned productive investments will be difficult. Of course, small mercies, further popular politics (disbursements) will be impossible. The Direct Taxes Code (DTC), and the Goods & Service Tax (GST) Bills now seem a dream away. The Lokpal Bill will unravel slowly – prodded by another fast. It is going to be difficult. There is no magical cure. Don’t look for a leap of faith come Budget Day.

Famous Quotes I don’t paint things. I only paint the difference between things. Henri Matisse

Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming. Richard Branson

In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield. Warren Buffett

Creationists make it sound as though a ‘theory’ is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night. Isaac Asimov

I am not sure that it is of the first importance that you should be happy. Many an unhappy man has been of deep service to himself and to the world. Woodrow Wilson

If you get simple beauty and naught else, you get about the best thing God invents. Robert Browning

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. Voltaire

A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night. Marilyn Monroe

Kid Corner


Solutions Spot The Difference 1. Vacuum cleaner loses wheel. 2. Flower in vase. 3. Cushion gains stripe. 4. Letter missing from boy’s shirt 5. Pen vanishes from table 6. Housewife loses necklace. 7. TV knob vanishes 8. Stripe on mat. 9. House roofline (outside window) alters. 10.Fly on lampshade.


Sudoku Kids

Kids Brainticklers

Spot The Difference

23–29 December 2011


23–29 December 2011

K id Corner

23–29 December 2011

K id Corner


Top Quality Presentation


lue Bells Model School Sec 4 participated in the 14th International Convention on Students’ Quality Control Circles 2011 (ICSQCC). The event was held at City Montessori School & Degree College, Lucknow, and had 134 participating teams from several countries. Blue Bells won the First Consolation Prize, in Case Study Presentation, that was given by the Chief Guest Mr. Mahiepala Herath, Chief Minister of Sabaragamvwa Province of Sri Lanka.


MRIS Ta(e)ks the Trophy

anav Rachna International School (MRIS), Sec 51 organised an Inter-School Taekwondo Championship, that drew about 133 participants from various schools. The competition was organised to provide the students with an opportunity to showcase their abilities and techniques of the martial art - Taekwondo. MRIS Chairman Mr. Rajesh Kalra, Executive Director Mr. Gaurav Rai, and Principal of the School, Ms. Dhriti Malhotra were present, to motivate the students. The overall Championship trophy was lifted by Manav Rachna School.

Blue Bells shows Kalakaari


uruchi Sahitya Kala Parivar organized ‘Kala Utsav-2011’ at Bal Bhavan, Sector 4. Blue Bells Model School, Sector 4, lifted the ‘Overall Trophy’, that was presented by Chief Guest Shri. Rao Narender Singh, Hon’ble Health Minister, Govt. of Haryana. The Principal, Mrs. N. Bhatti congratulated the students who participated in various competitions – like folk songs, patriotic songs and the painting competition.

Literary Flourish

Artistic Strokes

DPS heads for Nationals


ix teams from Chandigarh, Bhiwani, Faridabad and Gurgaon participated in the Zonal Final Round of the CBSE Heritage Quiz 2011, that was hosted by DPS Gurgaon. The quizmaster, Mr. Pranay Mukherjee, quizzed the students on different facets of Indian heritage. The hosts won the quiz to qualify for the National Semi Finals. Also present at the event were Ms. Aditi Misra, Principal, DPS Gurgaon and Ms. Anita Sharma, Principal, Gurugram Public School.

Cabinet Outing


he Student Council members of Ryan International School, Sec 40 had the opportunity to visit the Rashtrapati Bhawan. This was part of the training of the Council members (Cabinet). Besides witnessing the ‘Change of Guard’, the students also visited the Ashoka Hall, Kitchen Museum and the Marble Museum.

My Favourite Companion My favourite companion A sapling of Banyan Which I had bought a year ago In sky it soared Was very close to me. For each problem he had the key Never fell sick in the rain And never expressed any pain What was his crime

Didn’t have enough time People took him away from me Didn’t even drink my tea Lost a precious friend He had no letters to send Please keep Gurgaon green Clean Gurgaon Green Gurgaon!! Vedant Shivpuri VII A, Sherwood Convent Public School

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



23–29 December 2011

K id Corner

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




Š 2011 Amar Chitra Katha Private Limited, All Rights Reserved


23–29 December 2011


Selection of land (part II)

It’s All In the Plot { V K Gaur }

regular shaped plots are not recommended for residential purpose. ‘Singhmukh / shermukh’ plot is unsuitable for dwelling, but suitable for commercial windfall. A plot of land higher in the South and sloping towards North and East, is highly desirable. It gives prosperity and health. Water should flow from South to North. There should not be any depression in the centre. Slope and depression in the East causes unhappy feelings from children, financial losses, and loss of wisdom. Higher North results in poor health and monetary constraints. A plot with roads on four sides is very good for commercial purpose. A plot approached by roads in North, East and West is also good; and comes only next in


alanced shape and size plots are desirable. Rectangular plots (with four right angles) are the best – they bestow happiness and property. Ideal proportion is 1:2. (Irregular shapes may be cut into a rectangular shape). A square plot is not auspicious. Circular plots may be accepted, provided the construction is also circular and not rectangular. Several religious monuments, pillars, parliamentary buildings are circular – and last long. Oval shaped plots do not provide harmony and stability. ‘Gaumukh’ plot is auspicious for tranquility and prosperity, and is only for residential buildings. It is unsuitable for commercial use. Triangular, pentagonal, hexagonal and ir-

Acceptable Plots (Premium choice) N







(Above directions are applicable to all plots)



Extended portion removed from plot



Plots 4 & 7 are acceptable for commercial use ony ROAD














 Alteration to a plot should be done before construction and Bhumi Poojan.

 Plot extensions in the NE direction are unfavorable. They bring unhappiness, avoidable litigation, losses and heavy expenditure.  Extension of plots towards East of SE; South of SE; South of SW: West of SW; West of NW; North of NW are inauspicious.

Unsuitable / Inauspicious Plots

8 is a properly oriented plot
















T Junction Plot







10 R O A D








Acceptable Plots (Medium / Low) N



14 9, 10 & 11 are medium category Plots 12 is a low category Plot

Shapes of Plots



Oval Circular




Hexagonal Irregular

Irregular Irregular

 If one intends to buy additional land for an existing plot it must be in the directions of : 1. East 2. North 3. North East.  Additions must be made to keep the plot rectangular. Any additions made to the South, West or South West are considered inauspicious.



provide abundant affluence, or cause financial disaster – if not made vaastu compliant. It is a good zone for communication business, dairy products and marine products. The best location for a plot is with roads on all four directions. A plot at the dead end of a road, blocks further progress and prosperity, Healthy surroundings are desirable. A small plot sandwiched between two large plots, or two massive buildings, must be avoided – as it causes suffocation and depression. High rise buildings, hills, structures in the East and the North, are harmful and must be avoided – as they block positive energy and growth. However, large buildings, hills in the South and West are excellent – because they prevent the effect of negative elements. River, water fall, stream, tank, pond in the North or East are auspicious; but give negative results if located in the West or South. A massive structure of a

Alterations / Extensions / Additions



benefit to a plot with roads on four sides. A plot approached by roads in the East and North is also acceptable. North East corner plots are considered auspicious for prosperity and sound health. It is the direction of growth. Plots facing roads in South East direction have excessive fire and energy element. They provide positive energy for business ventures. They are good for hospitality, electrical equipments, baking activity, generators and inverters. Plots facing roads in South West direction can be used for commercial purpose. However they are unsuitable for living purpose. Commercial activity should of heavy material like iron, steel and heavy construction material. It is the direction of Nairut (demon) – hence unsuitable for living purpose. Plots facing North are very good for business ventures, if they have a road on one side. North West corner plots can






Y TRI Junction

17 Road ending in West (13), Roads ending in 4 directions, or in N & E, E & S, W & S, or W & N are unsuitable for living purpose (14). Road ending with plot (15), T Junction at the plot-end, or Y trijunction are unsuitable and inauspicious



temple building, that casts a shadow on the plot between 9 am and 4pm must be avoided, for the sake of peace and prosperity. Similarly shadow of trees and high rise buildings should not fall on the plot. There should be no high tension wire, transformer or heat emitting engine at the entrance of the plot. A dead tree/stump in front of a plot brings sorrow and misery. A dwelling in a deep forest is not recommended. Dense vegetation obstructs light, and the free flow of air; a high moisture content brings ill health. Presence of wild animals is another reason for avoiding forest areas. It is meant for saints, sages and those who are dedicated to meditation. The location of a ruler/ highly influential personality in close proximity of common people generates an inferiority complex; and also disturbs due to loud celebrations. The struggle for power also at times disrupts peace. Human habitation needs peace, tranquility and silence during the night. Those living in close vicinity of the airport, railway station, tramway yard, busy railway line, firing ranges, and marriage resorts experience discomfort; hence we should not construct a house there. u (Drishta Vedic Astrology, Gurgaon)


23–29 December 2011

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

Sesame – Seeds of Choice { Jaspal Bajwa }


he word ‘seeds’ does not appear very often in neon lights. More often than not, we associate seeds with left-overs – after we have eaten a fruit or vegetable. Yet, the humble seed can be a nutritional goliath in disguise! Nature has reserved a critical role for seeds. We may have heard …”in the tiny seed, lies the mighty oak tree”. Nutritionally speaking, seeds are excellent sources of fibre, selenium and vitamin E – and fairly good sources of protein, zinc, and iron. Because they contain a concentrated source of fat and calories, it is best to enjoy them in small amounts (upto 1/4 cup, 3-4 times a week). Seeds, such as squash and pumpkin, can be eaten with or without their outer husk or shell. Others (safflower and sunflower seeds) have a tough coat, that must be removed. Seeds can be eaten alone as a snack, or added to rice dishes, salads, homemade breads and muffins, stir-fries, trail mixes, yogurt, granola, cereal and oatmeal. One such superfood seed is Sesame (sometimes referred to as gingelly or benniseed). In India, it is customary to

eat sesame seed(til)-based sweets during the winter month festivals such as ‘Lohri’ and ‘Makar Sankranti’. In a similar vein, sesame finds a place in festivals of various countries around the world. Sesame seeds were one of the first crops processed for oil, as well as one of the earliest condiments. As per an Assyrian legend, the gods—when they met to create the world—drank wine made from sesame seeds. Similarly, sesame finds a mention in ancient Hindu legends – as a symbol of immortality. Some believe sesame first originated in India, and was subsequently introduced throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Tip of the week

When purchasing sesame seeds, make sure there is no evidence of moisture, and they smell fresh. Since they have a high oil content, they can easily become rancid – especially when they have been hulled. Store seeds in sealed jars, bags or containers, to help ensure freshness.

The Chill Factor { Irene Gupta }


hile most of us take good care of our faces, we give little thought to skincare of the rest of our body. And while we worry about other organs, not many of us realise that the skin is our largest organ – the crucial barrier between our inner organs and our environment. With the onset of winter, we hide our skin under layers of woollens; and worry for our skin only when we peel off the layers, come summer. However, skin does get impacted in winter. A common problem during winter is cold Sores or fever blisters, says Dr. Hemant Malik, Temple of Healing. Believed to be an indication of stress, both physical and mental, cold sores are red coloured, small, painful fluid blisters – that appear on the lips or around the mouth. The swollen blister(s) often burst ‑ oozing a clear fluid. In many people, cold sores come up when they are unable to express grief or disappointment. Over-exposure to sun may also cause such blisters. While Natrum Muriaticum (Nat. Mur.) is the major cold sore remedy, Rhus Tox and Sepia are also recommended. Homeopathic medication is effective only when it matches other symptoms in the patient, warns Dr. Malik. For example, those prone to joint pains and stiffness are usually given Rhus Tox; whilst Sepia may be needed by those with hormonal mood swings – often feeling low and deflated. Another widespread winter problem

Most commercial sesame contains 48-52 per cent oil. The oil is very stable, and is known as the King of the vegetables oils. Sesame contains natural oil-soluble and watersoluble antioxidants. Over time, the usage of sesame has found its way in an ever-increasing number of products – in food as well as cosmetic products. Within the food system, frying in sesame oil can give a longer shelf-life. Sesame oil can often be found in cookies, crackers, pastries, dips and spreads, burgers, tempeh, granola bars, and other foods. Tahini is a butter made from sesame seed. The use of hummus is spreading into most deli counters in grocery stores. Gomasio is a sesame-based salt. Halvah is a sweet dessert often made using sesame paste. In Asia, the seed is also used as whole seed. In Japan, sesame is used as a garnish, as well as a table-top seasoning. Black sesame decorates light food such as fish, and light sesame provides contrast on dark foods. Similarly, in Korea, the whole seed is added to many sauces. In the western world, sesame is primarily used in confectionary. The seed is dehulled, and placed on top of buns and breads.

is chilblains – itchy, painful ­inflammation of the skin – which may ulcerate or crack in severe cases. Chillblains can occur in anyone, but normally the elderly and children—who have bad peripheral blood circulation—are most affected. Often confused with frostbite, the common symptoms include redness of the skin, burning and itching accompanied by pain. Usually idiopathic in origin, chilblains occur on the hands and feet, or very occasionally on the ears. They can become terribly painful when the affected area gets cold. To prevent chilblains, one should keep affected limbs warm and dry, and exercise regularly to improve circulation. One should not subject one’s feet/hands to extreme changes in temperature; like putting your cold foot into hot water, or exposing hands or feet to unnecessary cold. Agaricus Muscarius (Agar.) is the top homeopathic remedy for chilblains, where the symptoms are burning, itching and red. Petroleum (Petr.) is administered for chilblains on the feet, hands and toes, that become inflamed. The feet become cold and ‘fall asleep’ easily, and the hands become cold and chapped. Pulsatilla (Puls.) is another remedy applicable when chilblains on feet, hands and toes are inflamed and itching. Kali Sulph is given for broken chilblains that are oozing yellow fluid. However, it is always worth having a full consultation with a Homeopath before taking any homeopathic medication, maintains Dr. Malik. Dr. Malik is with the Temple of Healing, 36, Housing Board Colony, Sec. 7 Extn.u

W ellness

Unhulled seeds can be stored in a cool, dark, dry location. Once the seeds are hulled, it is better to refrigerate them (upto 2 months), or they can be kept in a freezer (upto 2 years).

Nature’s Wonder Foods of the week :

Sesame seeds are a good source of both dietary fibre and mono-unsaturated fats. The nutrient profile of one-fourth cup (36 gm) of roasted sesame seeds would yield approximately 185-200 calories, through 12-15 gm of fat, and 4-6 gm each of protein and fibre. Sesame seeds are a very good source of copper ( 1.45 mg) and manganese(0.9 mg). Although not conclusive, some research suggests that individuals with food allergy to peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, or cashews may also experience allergic response to sesame seeds. (For education purposes only; consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions.) u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition)

Dr. Ashok Raina

 Senior Consultant Eye Surgeon Honorary consultant to Honourable Vice Specialist in: President of india

♦ Intraocular Lens Implant Surgery, Stitchless Cataract
Surgery (Phacoemulsification)
 ♦ Excimer Laser (Lasik) Surgery for removal of Glasses
 ♦ Laser Treatment, Squint Surgery, Contact lenses
 ♦ Paediatric Ophthalmology

Visiting Consultant: Max & Paras Hospital,

Apollo Clinic By Appt. Umkal Hospital, Sushant Lok Clinic: E-7/23, DLF Qutab Enclave, Phase I, Gurgaon-122002 For Appointment - 9811081348

23–29 December 2011

{ FG Bureau }


unday was a day when Gurgaon drooled over the curves of 50 exotic beauties. Most of them were about 50 to 70 years old, demanding high maintenance, and had been buffed and polished to a fine sheen for the occasion. The Heritage Motoring Club of India, along with 21 Gun Salute, had organised a vintage car and bike rally, which culminated in Sector 29 for the city’s viewing pleasure. Over 50 vintage cars and 20 classic motorcycles participated in the rally – that was flagged off from Panchsheel Park. There were classic models such as a pristine AstonMartin, a silver 1958 Jaguar Mark-II with a behemoth of an 3,800cc engine, along with a 747cc ‘Baby’ Austin 7, a 1927 Chevrolet Tourer, and a 1966 Buick Skylark Convertible. Madan Mohan, the organiser of the vintage car rally, displayed a 1927 Chevy Tourer and a 1929 Dodge Phaeton at the rally. He said, “Vintage cars are always a passion for me. I saw a 1930 Packard when I was a kid, and I was hooked. Today, I have a fleet of more than 1,000 cars.” Umesh Dua, who was clicking pictures of the vintage cars, with his wife, said, “I didn’t know that a vintage car rally was going on in the city. When we were passing by and saw these beauties, I just had to stop. They’re so beautiful.” u


They Came, They Honked, They Conquered

P astimes 21



23–29 December 2011

Chilled Out Experience { Shirin Mann / FG }


s you enter iSkate from the glass door, you can feel the temperature drop; and the chill giving you goose bumps. And then you see Santa Claus appropriately, in the icy hall. Unveiled on the 18th of December, this one-of-its-kind ice skating rink, opened on the 6th floor of the Ambience Mall. It opened its doors to the public with a Christmas bash. Especially flown in for this grand opening was a Santa Claus from Finland. He was seen enjoying himself, taking pictures, and giving away bags full of goodies to the kids. India’s first ice skating rink and cafe, iSkate is spread over 15,000 sq.ft. It is an all-year rink, open all days of the week, from 10 am to 10 pm. It gives you an opportunity to experience skating on real ice, that is maintained at 2 degree Celsius; and to enjoy the thrill of ice sports – like curling, ice hockey or broom ball. This new concept of entertainment has been brought in by The Bird Group, under its

Birds Hospitality Services (BHS) vertical. They plan to open 10 ice skating rinks and cafes over the next five years; the second one opens in December 2012 at the Ambience Mall, Vasant Vihar. This unique leisure spot, has 500 skates on shelf, accommodating over 200 people – both kids as well as adults. Richard Rowlands, former 7 time World Figure Skating Champion, and the Operational Manager at iSkate says, “For the first time, we have penguin aids to walk on ice, for kids below 10 years of age. For adults or amateurs, we have a team of professional coaches and trainers, to assist and teach you. If you have earlier been on roller blades, you should have no problem skating on ice. Roughly, it takes people about 15 to 20 minutes to get used to being on ice; and then you are good to go. Also, we have marshals all around the rink, who are constantly looking out for you. And the large screens situated all around the rink have do’s and dont’s and great skating tips, that will help you learn better.” But if you are not on the ice while your

Run Gurgaon, G Run...

friends are skating, you will definitely not be bored. There are several other entertainment options available at iSkate. The ice skating rink is surrounded by lamp seating, where you can sit back and have a clear look at the skaters, from the seethrough barriers. You could also try your hand at ice curling or broom ball – which

{ FG Bureau }

urgaon’s Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bharti Arora, flagged off the latest edition of the Running and Living Marathon on Sunday. Over 1,000 participants—who included Gurgaon’s Municipal Commissioner Sudhir Rajpal—shrugged off the mist and the chills, as they ran in the various categories. Rahul Verghese, Chief Believer, Running and Living, said, “We recorded over 900 peo-

will definitely make you love the ice; or opt for a session of karaoke, at the karaoke lounge situated on the first floor. The first floor also sports a party room and an F&B corner, where you can have private parties – or throw yourself a birthday bash. With fancy laser lights and LED lighting, the skating rink can be transformed into a disco ice skating zone. And that’s not all! In a few months, you may find yourself rolling in foam parties at the rink. This fun and unique rink also has a cafe and bar, where you can pick from an extensive menu option. Soon to be opened is also the ice cream kiosk, to complete that chilled out experience. Also, if you want to pick up a souvenir or get that professional look, iSkate has its own retail outlet – featuring its merchandise and branded gear. “Besides the fun factor, ice skating also has health benefits. It’s a great stress reliever, and you can burn 400 to 1000 calories an hour – depending on the intensity. It also uses all the muscles of your body, and works on your core muscles. The only other sport I can compare it to, with its health benefits, is swimming”, informs Richard Rowlands. To add to your entertainment, and to encourage ice sports, the iSkate will soon be opening the Penguin Club – where kids can learn to skate on synthetic ice, before trying the main ice rink. This will enable them to gain stability and dexterity on ice. Ankur Batra, Executive Director, Bird Group concludes, “We are very excited to bring this unique concept to India. iSkate combines the aspects of sports, entertainment, leisure and well-being. It is a oneof-a-kind entertainment retail model in the country and through this project we wish to open avenues for people to enjoy ice sports in India – all year around. We are very confident that, in the long run, iSkate will contribute to India increasing its representation in the Winter Olympics. We are already getting a tremendous response, with many people wanting to take up ice skating and figure skating professionally. Also the Ice Hockey Federation and Ice Skating Federation of India are keen to practice on this venue. ” u

ple on this marathon. The participants varied from 5 year-olds to 50 years-old. Through these marathons, we plan to have a record 30 million people running.” “I had hoped to have the HUDA Administrator, Dr. Praveen Kumar, for this marathon. He’s a fine runner, and we missed him. DCP Bharti Arora has always been a staunch supporter of our movement. That’s why we wanted her to flag off the event. Managing 900 people on the city roads is no easy task, and we appreciate the traffic police’s assistance.” u

23–29 December 2011

P astimes


Gurgaon’s Got Talent { Shirin Mann / FG }


n recent years, reality talent shows have taken the entertainment industry by storm, creating a great platform for those who are talented but have no godfathers. These shows give the masses opportunity and space, that till now was only reserved for the influential lot. But paradoxically, the growing popularity of such television shows has the accessibility more difficult, as the venues are limited to only a few major cities. The travel, stay etc. make it difficult and expensive for ‘outsiders’. Fortunately, Gurgaon now has it’s own platform for kids. Children, from the age group of 5 years to 13 years, have now got the opportunity to showcase their skills – through Gurgaon’s Got Talent, hosted by G Bharti Channel. It was three days of music, celebrations, and cheer – in perfect weather. The Galleria market never looked more alive. With a high stage set up at one end of the market, where kids performed, hundreds of spectators and onlookers watched the show, and cheered and sang along. With confident kids, encouraging parents, and excellent support from the audience, Gurgaon’s Got Talent (Season 2) had Gurgaon dancing along. Prachi Singh, an 8-yearold participant says, “I couldn’t make it, but I am here today to cheer my friend, who is dancing for the finals. I had so

much fun on the stage, and will come better prepared for the next season. I did not take part in Season 1; and for Season 2, I went through the auditions. Now in the next season, I will come first.” As Gurgaon Got Talent commenced its second season, the stage saw a participation of over 700 children. Judged on the basis of auditions for acting, dancing and fancy dress, the semifinals took place on Friday, 16th December; and the finals on the 17th and 18th of December. After hours of acting and dancing, the results were announced on

the 18th evening, followed by the prize distribution by the Chief Guest, Dilbag Singh – the Punjabi singer famous for his songs like O teena teena and Tere jeha koi hor nahi hona. The children were divided into three categories, on the basis of age groups – Category A (age 5 to 7) – 1st place went to Harshita Yadav, 2nd place to Amisha Das, and 3rd place to Ragini Rajiv; Category B (age 8 to 10) – 1st place was shared by S.Janvi, Saima Qureshi and P.N Avinash, while the 2nd place was given to Ojasvi Garg, and 3rd place was

Season 2

given to Asmita Pandey; Category C (age 11 to 13) – 1st place was awarded to Amrita, 2nd to Agrima Saini, and 3rd to Harshit Rajput. All winning spots were won by dancers. The prize constituted a winning certificate, eating and shopping gift vouchers worth Rs. 5,000 and more, and a memento. Vidya Satish Kumar, mother of category B winner S. Janvi, who is a student of Summerfield School, says, “We are so happy , that words are falling short of expressing our happiness and joy. We definitely want to take it forward from here. Janvi has been interested in dancing since she was a child; but there was no platform to showcase her talent. And G channel has provided us with that platform, and we are so thankful to them. Whenever I used to watch these talent shows on TV I used to think, why can’t my daughter go for them; and I did not want her studies to get effected. And Gurgaon’s Got Talent was organised over the weekend, so it was perfect; and now that she has won it, the whole family is on cloud 9. We are looking for more of such opportunities.” Sanjay Chugh, Advising Director, G Bharti Channel says, “Such competitions are necessary to encourage the kids, and provide a platform where they can showcase their talent; and we will regularly provide that. Besides Gurgaon’s Got talent, that will be held every year, we also organise the One Minute game show, and several other entertainment shows for kids, families as well as the older lot.” u


23–29 December 2011

R eal E state

The Team at Investors Clinic

The Realty Show { Abhishek Behl / FG }


n Gurgaon, if you hurl a stone it is likely to fall on a property dealer; and it is possible that it hits two or three more dealers, before touching the ground. This is a popular joke in the Millennium City, where dealing in real estate has made many people rich beyond imagination; and lured thousands of others to aspire for similar affluence. One does not have to invest much, to become a successful dealer, says Rajan Chanana, a leading consultant in Gurgaon. Chanana entered the trade 25 years ago. The gift of the gab, lady luck, a mobile phone, and (if possible) a shop in a developing colony, is enough to cut teeth in the world of real estate, he says. The last twenty five years have been quite eventful as far as property, and real estate business, is concerned, he says. “When I started, my father was quite unhappy with my choice; but I knew that it was the only way to make money without major investment”, says the tall and handsome real estate dealer, who does not look his 45 years. Incidentally, Shahrukh Khan was his batchmate at Hansraj College; Chanana says he did not notice him much at that time! Even today he prefers Aamir. Back then, when he joined the business, DLF had bought land in Gurgaon, and was carving out colonies – to sell them to those interested in moving out from a crowded and polluted Delhi. The rate of land in DLF was around

Rs. 2,200 per yard at that time; and a five hundred square yard plot cost around Rs. 10 lakh. Prices in Connaught Place had peaked and a rent of about Rs. 30 per square feet was considered skyhigh. “It was very difficult to find a buyer then, as loans were difficult to get – and people did not have the kind of money they have today”, he adds. His friends joke about his profession even today, says Chanana. “Aur kee bech rahe ho badshaho”, they ask him, about his latest deals and wheeling dealing – in a profession where

you meet many people, but do not make friends. “In the last 25-years, I have made only 5 friends, while meeting thousands of people. The people entering the business are also not of top quality”, he says. He is also unhappy with the manner in which the government is trying to regulate this business, by asking a person to pay a registration fees, and fixing the commission of the dealers. “The lawyers are not asked to charge prescribed fees, doctors also fix fees according to their skills and ability, so why should

dealers be asked to charge a particular rate. Every one has his own ability and network, and should be allowed to earn what he can command”, he says. He however believes that some educational or professional qualification should be made a must, to enter the profession. In the last three to four years, he admits there has been a perceptible change, as people with professional qualifications (like MBA and Engineering) have entered the trade. Others, like Investors Clinic and smaller consultancies, have also led to the consolidation and corporati-

sation of the trade, he says. Perhaps it is people like Sanjay Sharma, MD of Qubrex, who are changing the perception of real estate consultants in Gurgaon. Son of an army officer, Sharma got an engineering degree from IIT Rourkee, and a Doctorate from the University of North Carolina, before entering the ‘big bad world’ of real estate dealing. Sharma says that when he came from the United States, he started a website called Gurgaon Scoop, as a forum where people would connect, and speak about important issues. Since most of the discussion happened about real estate, he realised that there was a big opportunity in this sector – it was growing, and needed educated people, who would understand the business and the science behind it. “It was lucky to have a presence on the web, as it enabled us to connect with people, and form a strong client base. Most of the brokers in Gurgaon were interested in making a deal and moving on. They neither understood the customer’s needs nor his preferences. Their only concern was commission”, he says; adding that this prompted him to become a consultant. The beginning, he says, was quite eventful. He was duped by his own mentor—who was also his father’s acquaintance—for a couple of lakhs. “At that time I realised that the lure of money is such that it can tempt anyone to commit a wrong. But I decided to stick to long term relationships, and forge bonds with clients. That too has pitfalls, but it is better than doing something wrong”, he says. Sharma’s website Gurgaon Scoop is quite popular, with thousands of people hitting it to get information about various properties in Gurgaon. He gets enquiries from across the country, as well as from NRIs who are interested in acquiring property in Gurgaon. His firm Qubrex also offers property management and rental services to NRIs; and this he says has been source of steady income. “A lot of NRIs are our clients, and buy property through us. We also manage their properties, and put these on rent”, says Sharma. He starts his day at 6 in the morning; from 6 to 9 am, he devotes time to reading emails and news papers, and deciding on what content would be put on the website. The office starts at 11 am, and it is the time to make site visits, meet clients, and discuss various issues with the builders. From 6 to 9 pm, the office becomes a research hub, and reports are prepared for High Net Worth Individuals (HNIs) and corporates. Unlike others, he is hopeful that the proposed Real Estate Bill will make things more transparent, and bring accountability to the system. There is need to fix responsibility here; whosoever errs, whether it is a builder, property dealer, buyer or seller, must be punished, he claims. “It is my inherent belief that making the system more Contd on p 25 

Rajan Chanana

23–29 December 2011

R eal E state


The Realty Show  Contd from p 24 accountable will make it more profitable for the stakeholders. This Real Estate Bill can make it happen, and it should be passed and implemented soon”, he asserts. While consultants like Sharma are using better education and skills to bring about a semblance of system in this business, it is companies like Investors Clinic that are changing the game in the industry. Experts

Anil (L), and Shankar Lal

opine that such companies are acting as aggregators, and are bringing together sub-brokers to deal directly with the builders. “By doing so they are managing to get higher commissions and discounts from the builders. They deal in original bookings only, and make money by bringing in large bookings”, says one of the dealers, who prefers anonymity. These companies have flourished by hitching a ride on the back of individual brokers, as they do not have the capacity to deal with large builders, he adds. Investors Clinic has a team of 90 people in Gurgaon, who are constantly looking out to service new clients in the city, and across the country. The company is also holding property camps in Dubai and Hong Kong, to lure the NRIs – who are more interested now, as the rupee has weakened. Sachin Sharma, Assistant Manager, Investors Clinic says that they deal only in original bookings, and provide every service to the buyer – from identifying a property, to processing papers, getting a loan sanctioned, and

Realty Test Regulating builders, brokers is fine, but who will regulate the buyers? Most of the real estate dealers Friday Gurgaon met with said that they were -unhappy with poor buyer behaviour. Dealers opine that even those who are rich and highly educated consider paying consultation fees and commission as something that is avoidable, and can be saved. “A number of people come to us, get free consultation, learn about the properties, get a feel of the market rate, and then vanish – to deal with other brokers, who offer to work for lesser commission”, says Rajan Chanana. In India, people think that consulting should be free, and one need not pay money to the broker, he says. Industry insiders say that the mental conditioning in India is such that sometimes even top industrialists and businessman refuse to pay commission and consultancy fees. “Once I was threatened by a leading industrialist, who refused to pay me Rs. 30 lakhs as commission. I could not say anything; what can one do in such a case. I was shocked”, says one of the dealer, preferring anonymity. Sanjay Sharma of Qubrex cites an interesting incident, where a top honcho of a leading Bangalore based IT firm, who was posted

in America, took him for a ride. Sharma says that for five years, he took care of the ailing parents of this gentleman – out of compassion, and his preference for long term relationships. When the person came to India, he asked Sharma to show top properties in Gurgaon. Sharma even provided him a car for a week. However, on the day when the booking was to made, the buyer disappeared; and despite several phone calls he could not be contacted. Later in the day, Sharma, much to his shock, found that the property had been booked directly through the ICICI bank, and he had been shortchanged. “This person and his family members later spoke to me, but the damage had been done”, he says. He adds that there is need for people to realise that property consultants are not wheeler dealers. Another real estate dealer opines that it is because of unscrupulous buyers and sellers that dealers have to indulge in strong arm tactics. “It is when we speak the tough language and flex muscle, that people realise it is better to pay”, he says with a twinkle in his eyes. Dealers also say that it would be difficult to bring transparency into the market through the Real Estate Bill, as there is a lot of black money in the system. It would be difficult to clean the stables.

Sanjay Sharma of Qubrex

delivery of property. “If the buyer is facing any problem with the builder, we help in getting it resolved. We have tie-ups with banks and help in getting loans. We also facilitate documentation, and other things needed for a property deal”, he says. While Investors Clinic is catering to the middle class, at the top end of spectrum are companies like Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), that cater to the corporates, High Networth Individuals (HNIs) and Multi-National Companies (MNCs). Ashutosh Limaye, Head of Research at JLL, says that real estate corporates like JLL bring a lot to the table in terms of – research, respectability, and transparency. “The role, responsibility and deliverables are very clear, as far as corporates are concerned, and this inspires confidence,” says Limaye. In North India, a large number of block deals happen through brokers, and they are the most important players in the industry, he says. “It is important to regulate and educate this community. The proposed Real Estate Bill will help in streamlining the industry and the dealers”, he hopes; and expects that customers will get a solid grievance redressal system through this bill. JLL also does consultancy, and brings out research reports on the industry. While companies like JLL cater to the top, no story of the real estate industry in Gurgaon will be complete without mention of the hundreds of individual property dealers. They offer properties

starting from a couple of lakhs to crores, properties in unauthorised areas to those offered by DLF in Aralias, acres of agricultural land in villages around Gurgaon – and earlier even flats in and around the ammunition depot, a prohibited area. It is the ingenuity of people like Chhatarpal Yadav, Shankar Lal and Anil that have made the real estate market tick. Some of them started on scooters and now own the latest SUVs, and plots in prime locations – just because they were at the right place, at the right time, and on the right side of the deal. Shankar Lal, who is a retired Navy official, says that he started dealing as a past time, but found it quite interesting and lucrative – and stuck to it. “This business is about networking. It is not an office-like job. We need to keep in touch with people, other dealers, and know what is available in the market”, he says. Anil, who hails from a village in Gurgaon, says he has invested in property, and prefers buying and selling, rather than being a dealer. “There are a lot of frauds and thugs who have entered the trade, to make a quick buck. The land deals are mired in false transactions; so it is important buyers and sellers go to registered dealers”, he suggests. He also wants the State government to implement the Real Estate Dealers Act in letter and spirit, so that people are not duped while investing their life’s saving – in buying a piece of land – that would be their hearth and home. u

Realty Rates

(in Rs. as of December 21, 2011)

Sector 22 3 BHK Aptt 4900/ sq ft

4 BHK Aptt 4800/ sq ft

3 BHK Aptt 5100/ sq ft

2 BHK House 6500/ sq ft

Residential plots 3400/ sq ft

Shops 21000/ sq ft

Residential Plots 3000/ sq ft

Shops 20,000/ sq ft

Sector-23 3 BHK House 3800/ sq ft

4 BHK House 4100/ sq ft

Sector-23 A Residential plots 44000/ sq ft

Shops 25000/ sq ft


23–29 December 2011

The Barn

T ime Pass Love is...

The Grizzwells

Arctic Circle

9 to 5

Animal Crackers

Dogs of C-Kennel

Pearls Before Swine

Star Fun

Baby Blues The Better Half Tiger Two Wise Men The Born Loser Ipso facto Solution Party hat 3. All the other hats have exactly the same number of ribbons and balls of the same color. The other ribbons match the color of the bill of the hat.

Daddy’s Home Andy Capp Zits 23–29 December 2011

T ime Pass



23–29 December 2011

Carlos The Jackal Gets Life In Prison

It’s Underdog Vs Superstar At The Golden Globes { Andy Goldberg / Los Angeles / DPA }


Peter Iovino

few weeks ago only the most ardent of US film fans had heard of Michel Hazanavicius. But that all changed recently, when the French director’s movie—The Artist—emerged as the leading nominee at the Golden Globes. It left in its trail leading superstar-driven films – with the likes of Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Meryl Streep in leading roles. Now considered a favourite for the Oscars, The Artist is poised to become the unlikeliest Hollywood success story – since the triumph of Slumdog Millionaire at the 2008 Academy Awards. It’s not only the relative anonymity of Hazanavicius - he’s 44, bearded and wears glasses, that makes his gatecrashing of the Hollywood party such an excep-

tional moment. It’s also that his film represents the apotheosis of the modern 3D movie blockbuster – of computergenerated special effects, alpha males and starlets that is endlessly promoted in our celebrity-driven culture. In contrast, The Artist’s cast is unrecognizable to the Englishspeaking world. Hazanavicius has made a comic melodrama without dialogue, shot in black and white, and utilised many of the techniques used 80 years ago – when the tale is set. It’s an ode to a bygone Hollywood, telling the story of an ill-fated romance between two movie stars – just as talkies were replacing silent films. The Artist was nominated for best motion picture, comedy and musical at the Golden Globes ceremony on December 15; and also yielded acting honours for the two leads, Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo. Hazanavicius, who spent years researching the old ways of Hollywood, and persuading modern film execs to finance his daring project, garnered n o m i n at i o n s for best director and best screenplay, and best score. “This movie is a love letter to Hollywood, and SUCCESS STORY: Jean Dujardin (left) and Berenice Bejo play the lead roles in the movie, The Artist

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it’s an indescribable joy to receive this news,” said Hazanavicius on learning of his haul. “I feel lucky, proud and excited to be included alongside such brilliant movies. Thank you.” Yet there is no guarantee that the intellectual French filmmaker will take home the Golden Globe glory on January 15 – especially with a voting body that in the past has embarrassingly pandered to Hollywood royalty. Last year, Angelina Jolie’s and Johnny Depp’s unremarkable caper, The Tourist, earned three nominations. At least this year’s homage to George Clooney was more worthy. Hollywood’s silver fox earned five nominations for The Descendants, a wry family drama in which he plays a low key lawyer, grappling with his wife’s death, his unruly daughters and a controversial land deal. Clooney was also recognized for his taut political thriller, The Ides of March. Despite receiving only lukewarm reviews, and being virtually ignored in the early awards season, the film yielded three nods for Clooney: best director, best actor and best screenplay. Many film fans will be hoping that Hazanavicius will be crowned by the Golden Globes; and that for once that choice is reflected in the Oscar voting. There is a precedent: The last time the two award shows united, was when they both recognized an ultimate underdog. It was 2008, and they chose Slumdog Millionaire. u

{ Clare Byrne / Paris / DPA }


French court convicted Venezuelan terrorist legend Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal, of carrying out a bombing campaign in France in 1982 and 1983; and sentenced him to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 18 years in jail before parole. A panel of seven judges at the special criminal court in Paris returned the guilty verdict, after deliberating for about five hours. The 62-year-old Venezuelan is already serving a life sentence in France, for the killing of two French police agents and a Lebanese informant in 1975. He has served 14 years of that sentence. Thursday’s additional sentence means he will probably die in jail. His lawyer and wife Isabelle Coutant-Peyre called the verdict “a scandal”, and said he would appeal. The attacks over which he was convicted, claimed the lives of 11 people and injured over 100 others. He has denied the charges. His six-week trial reopened a chapter in terrorism annals; when The Jackal, as he was nicknamed after a Frederick Forsyth novel, was the

world’s most sought-after fugitive – wanted for a string of high-profile attacks against Western targets in the 1970s and 1980s. The most daring attack, by the pro-Palestinian guerrilla, involved a mass hostage-taking at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in December 1975. Three people were killed in that operation. He evaded justice for years, until he was captured by French special forces in a Sudanese hospital in 1994 – and bundled to Paris in a burlap sack. French prosecutors believe Ramirez and three former associates carried out the 19821983 attacks, to pressure French authorities to release Ramirez’s German former partner, Magdalena Kopp, and a Swiss associate – after their arrest in February 1982. In a rambling five-hour address to the court at the end of the trial, the Venezuelan accused the prosecution of “propaganda against Carlos and the Palestinian cause.” Ending his speech with a clenched-fist salute to a few supporters in the courtroom, who replied in kind, the Muslim convert shouted “Vive la revolution. Allah O Akhbar (God is great).” Born in Caracas in 1949 to a wealthy Marxist lawyer, Ramirez studied in Moscow and then moved to Lebanon, where he fell in with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He later forged links with the German left-wing terrorist group, the Baader-Meinhof. He was also linked with the East German secret service, the Stasi, and spoke fondly at his trial of slain former Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi. u

{ Anna Tomforde / London / DPA }


hether in real life or on the big screen, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher seems to have lost none of her ability to divide opinion - as a passionate debate about a forthcoming film about her, The Iron Lady, shows. In what is tipped to be an Oscar-winning performance, Hollywood actress Meryl Streep portrays the former leader, now 86, as she is – a frail woman suffering from dementia; while flashbacks highlight the key aspects of the 1979-90 Thatcher era. A trailer of the film, scheduled to be released in Britain on January 6, shows Thatcher’s housekeeper – finding the Iron Lady alone in her kitchen over a bowl of porridge, exclaiming: “There you are.” “There we are,” replies Thatcher, in what is an allusion to her apparent belief that Denis, her husband of many

years —who died in 2003—is still with her. It is, in particular, that aspect of the film that has outraged supporters of Thatcher in Britain; who see the portrayal as an insult. Streep, meanwhile, has been adamant in her defence of the role, saying that growing old, and suffering from dementia, should not carry a stigma. “It’s life, it’s the truth,” said the actress in a recent BBC interview. “I wanted to make a movie about mortality and letting go of life ... and we found a story that we felt could tell that tale,” she told the Daily Telegraph. The film provided a “completely subjective” look at Thatcher at the end of her life; portraying the “ebbing and diminishing of her power,” said Streep. The actress, who spent months watching and listening to videos and broadcasts, so that she could get a sense of Thatcher’s body language and voice, said it had been interesting to talk to people about Thatcher

Albert Nieboer

New Thatcher Film Provokes Debate Ahead Of Launch

IRON LADY: Lady Margaret Thatcher attends the procession for The Most Noble Order of the Garter, at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, Great Britain – 14 June 2010

– because, “everybody had an opinion of her.” Her main aim in making the film, which is the work of Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd, was to “capture whatever it was that drew people to her, and whatever it was that meant people have a special venom for her,” said Streep. Making ample use of news clips, the film recalls Thatcher’s fight with Britain’s trade unions, the widespread protests against her rule, the 1982 conflict with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, and the bomb attacks of the former Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Britain - among other aspects of her 11-year rule. Thatcher’s relentless rise in the male-dominated world of politics of the 1970s and 80s, her juggling of career and motherhood, are given a retrospective appraisal. “Thatcher was an outsider in her world and in her party,” said Streep in the Daily Telegraph. “I guess I’m as passionate about my work as she was and,

like her, I don’t want what I’m trying to do to be misconstrued.” “We on the left didn’t like her politics, but secretly we were thrilled that a woman had made it,” Streep told the Times. “I still don’t agree with a lot of her policies. But I feel... they came from an honest conviction.” Michael Portillo, a former British defence minister and close Thatcher ally, said that despite Streep’s “magnificent” performance, he felt “uncomfortable” with the scenes exposing Thatcher’s infirmity. “I recognize that it is a tremendous piece of art, but that will be a controversial feature of the film,” he predicted. Thatcher’s children, twins Mark and Carol, are said to be “appalled” by the film’s plot, which they reportedly likened to a “left-wing fantasy.” But Lloyd, who describes the Iron Lady as an “ideological film,” said viewers would realize how much care and attention Streep had given to preserving Thatcher’s “dignity.” u

23–29 December 2011

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The Aztec “Great Temple” M

ore than five centuries after Spanish conquerors buried it, and the passage of time also helped cover it up, the “Great Temple”—an imposing architectural compound in what was once Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire—still holds some surprises. Archaeologists have, over the last five years, discovered a monumental sculpture, and a large underpinning structure that was a school for Aztec priests, and a temple. These and other findings had previously only been known about from documents dating back to the Colonial era. The most recent finding is the Cuauhxicalco, a large censer, that emerged in September. This container, in which incense was burned, is decorated with heads of serpents – having to do with adoration of Huitzilo-

Susana González

{ Itzel Zuniga / Mexico City / DPA }

IMPOSING EDIFICE: Archaeologist Raul Barrera has played a major role in recent excavations at the site of the Aztec “Great Temple”

GREAT DISCOVERY: Over the last five years, archaeologists at the Great Temple have discovered a monumental sculpture.

pochtli, the god of war. “It is believed that it was used to incinerate the ‘Tlatoanis’ (Aztec emperors). It might have served to cremate Axayacatl (1469-1481) and Tizoc (14361487)”, Raul Barrera, head of the Urban Archaeology program at

the Great Temple, told dpa. In order to verify such theories, archaeologists will need to find urns containing ashes. At the same time, experts fear that construction, and changes done at the site, have damaged those and other

Australian Survives Fall Of Eight Storeys { Sid Astbury / Sydney / DPA }


reveller survived a 25-metre fall, after losing his grip on the railings of his eighth-storey Sydney Harbour apartment, Australian police said Tuesday. The 34-year-old broke his pelvis, and sustained other injuries, and is in a “serious but stable” condition in St Vincent’s Hospital. Witnesses told police that the party host jumped over the balcony railing, and onto a ledge. He then lost his grip on the wet railing, and fell onto the grass below. Inspector David Zidal said the person was inebriated, in what is a timely reminder of the perils of drinking during the festive season. “It tends to happen a little more at this time of year, and that is generally due to people having Christmas parties on small balconies,” he said. “Quite often what happens is they either overload the balconies, or they consume alcohol to an excess – and do things that they probably wouldn’t do when sober.” u

valuable items, that could help put the historical jigsaw puzzle together. In fact, when archaeologists uncovered the Cuauhxicalco censer, they found that it had been bisected by a drainage system built by workers in Mexico City in the early 20th century. Those same pipelines may have damaged remains of the Panquetzaliztli festivity, which marks the end of a harvest cycle and the start of another; and in which the Aztecs burned flags and a paper serpent. According to Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun, who took part in the Catholic evangelization of the “New Spain”, the Great Temple was composed of 78 buildings. Today, a large part of the compound is hidden underground in Mexico City’s historic centre, through which thousands of people walk every day. It lies between the heavy

Colonial buildings that line the streets. That is why whenever excavations take place in downtown Mexico City, some relics are sure to emerge. That is exactly what happened in October 2006, when workers unearthed a monolith of the Aztec Earth goddess Tlaltecuhtli. The monolith was lying directly under the premises of the House of the Ajaracas (flowery decorative motifs), built much later. “Moctezuma II (1503-1520) had this headstone made for his predecessor and uncle, Ahuizotl (1486-1502)”, distinguished archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma told dpa. Near the place where the sculpture, measuring 4.17 metres by 3.62 metres, was lying, experts have found 31 offerings – with pieces of cloth, vases, adornments, and other objects dedicated to this

female deity. Half human, half animal, she has claws and curls, symbolizing terror and death. These findings led to the uncovering of a mortuary, and other evidence that points to the existence of sepulchres used for Aztec rulers. In the year 2006, when construction work began on enlarging the Spanish Cultural Centre in Mexico, workers came across what is now known to be part of the Calmecac – a building used as a school for noble Aztecs, to train for priesthood. The building dates from two periods: from 1486 to 1502 and from that year to 1521 – the year of the fall of Tenochtitlan. Young men aspiring to become Aztec priests underwent stringent training in this school – involving chants, astronomy, arts, writing and codex interpretation. Some metres from Calmecac is the temple to EhecatlQuetzalcoatl, the god of wind. This building was found in 2010, and is circular in shape – suggesting to archaeologists two possible explanations. “One could be that the circular shape has to do with the wind; or it could it be a coiled serpent, since according to the chronicles of the time, one entered the temple through the jaws of a snake with fangs”, Barrera said. Archaeologists are currently working to salvage a slab floor located to one side of the Cuauhxicalco, at the foot of the Great Temple. The floor tiles are carved with images of war shields, serpents, water elements, a captive, and a figure with a sceptre. These discoveries serve to corroborate historical sources such as codices and chronicles; but above all, to reveal interesting aspects about the Aztec cosmology – for example, how buildings were connected to each other, and how this layout was imbued with symbolism relating to their culture. u


23–29 December 2011

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IBM Predicts Mind-Reading Gadgets Within Five Years { Andy Goldberg / San Francisco / DPA }


omputers and smartphones will be able to read your mind within five years, IBM scientists predict – in the company’s annual list of five technology developments likely to become mainstream within the next half-decade. Other advances foreseen by the boffins at the leading technology company include the end of passwords, the demise of junk mail, the use of body motion to power gadgets, and the narrowing of the digital divide. “If you just need to think about calling someone, it happens,” IBM said of its mind-reading gadgets. “Or you can control the cursor on a computer screen just by thinking about where you want to move it.” The list was released on Monday. Mind-reading technology, known as bioinformatics, has already shown up in simple forms from toy makers such as Mattel; and engineers at IBM and other companies “have designed headsets with advanced sensors, to read electrical brain activity; that can recognize facial expressions, excitement and concentration levels, and thoughts of a person – without them physically taking any actions,” the report said. “Within five years we will begin to

see early applications of this technology in the gaming and entertainment industry,” IBM said. Another big change in the tech world will be the obsolescence of passwords – which will replaced by biometric data, the company said. Google has already shown the way in this, with its use of facial recognition technology to unlock the latest version of its Android operating system. “Your biological makeup is the key to your individual identity; and soon it will become the key to safeguarding it,” IBM said. “Imagine, you will be able to walk up to an ATM machine to securely withdraw money, by simply speaking your name or looking into a tiny sensor that can recognize the unique patterns in the retina of your eye. Or by doing the same, you can check your account balance on your mobile phone or tablet.” IBM also predicted that within five years those devices are likely to be powered by the slightest movements of your body.

Saudi King Calls For Gulf Union At GCC Meeting

{ Saudi King / Riydah / DPA }


audi King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz called Monday for the formation of a Gulf union, in order to confront growing threats facing the Middle East – in an apparent reference to Iran, the kingdom’s main rival. “You must realize that our security and stability are threatened, and we need to live up to our responsibilities,” King Abdullah said, at the opening session of the annual Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) summit in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of being behind an alleged plot, uncovered in October by the United States, to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al Jubeir. Iran has vehemently

denied the Saudi-US accusations. “Our summit opens in the shadow of challenges that require vigilance and a united stance ... I ask today that we move from a phase of co-operation to a phase of union within a single entity,” King Abdullah added. The Saudi monarch did not elaborate on the of the expected union. The GCC summit has convened just as the regime of Syrian President Bashar alAssad agreed to an Arab League proposal to send observers to the country – which has been gripped by a ten-month uprising that has killed at least 5,000 people, according to UN estimates. “Our duty is to assist our brothers in whatever achieves their hopes, spares their blood, and wards off the

“Anything that moves has the potential to create energy. In the next five years, advances in renewable energy technology could make it possible for us to draw on power generated by everything – from our running shoes to the ocean’s waves,” IBM said. “The water running through your pipes could power on the lights in your house.” It won’t only be the rich and technologically advanced who have access to technology within five years. By then the digital divide will have disappeared, IBM predicted. “In five years the gap between information haves and have-nots will narrow considerably, due to advances in mobile technology.” The company said that there would be 5.6 billion mobile devices worldwide within five years, covering 80 per cent of the world population. “As it becomes cheaper to own a mobile phone, people without a lot of spending power will be able to do much more than they can today,” IBM said. The technology pioneer was also bold enough to predict the perennially wishedfor end to junk mail; something that manages to outlive all the forecasts for its demise. “In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant, it may seem spam is dead. At the repercussions of events and conflicts, and risks of interference,” the Saudi King said, in a clear reference to Syria. The GCC summit will focus during its two-day meeting on the continuing unrest in the Arab world. Popular revolts have ousted three Arab leaders; while the Yemeni president was forced to hand over power to his deputy, in a GCC-brokered deal. The Gulf countries are expected to offer financial support to Yemen, whose economy was strained by months of unrest, Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi was quoted in remarks published Monday. The GCC leaders are also expected to discuss the crisis in Syria, and the US withdrawal from Iraq. u

same time, spam filters will be so precise, you’ll never be bothered by unwanted sales pitches again,” IBM said. “IBM is developing technology that uses real-time analytics, to make sense and integrate data from across all the facets of your life – such as your social networks and online preferences; to present and recommend information that is only useful to you. From news, to sports, to politics, you’ll trust the technology will know what you want, so you can decide what to do with it.” IBM has been making the annual predictions for five years now, and a glance back to 2006 shows an impressive track record. That year it predicted the rise of telemedicine, location-aware mobile devices, real time speech translation and nanotechnology – all of which have become prevalent to one degree or another. The only prediction that was inaccurate was its vision that virtual 3D environments would become a major vehicle for real world commerce.u

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Profile for Friday Gurgaon

Friday Gurgaon, December 23-29, 2011  

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