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13-19 June 2014

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

Vol. 3 No. 43  Pages 24  ` 10

Getting the Builders to the Table PRAKHAR PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

A

t perhaps the fag end of its tenure the Congress government in the State has come to realise that there is a significant number of residents and buyers – of all backgrounds - in Gurgaon that is suffering at the hands of the builders. The recent drubbing of the ruling party in the Lok Sabha polls has also set the alarm bells ringing. This has forced the government to despatch its top Chandigarh-based officials to the Millennium City – an insignificant political place that most of them stay away from, though continue to milk dry. They come now in the hope of finding some quick-fix answers (with elections just a few months away), but the problems here are basic and structural and their resolution would need significant time, effort and resources. The recent intervention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which asked the government what steps it was taking to alleviate the sufferings of the residents in Gurgaon, has also

Pooja Aganpal

forced the District Administration to act. It was for this reason that the DC, Gurgaon (Shekhar Vidyarthi) invited several RWA Heads, representatives of builders and officials of the Town and Country Planning (TCP) Dept. He has formed an RWA Grievances Committee, to help resolve the recurrent issues being faced by the apartment and plot owners and residents. However, activists and RWA members opine that this could be merely a preelection ‘stunt’ and a means to ‘satisfy’ the High Court. RS Rathee, President of the Gurgaon Citizens Council (GCC), which is one of the bodies that had filed the case in the High Court, says that the Administration here will have to act sincerely if it

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

A

Amit Bansal

fter a longish stint at HUDA, where he ruffled several feathers, Dr. Praveen Kumar was given charge of MCG, to make things happen in an organisation that hardly has any operational freedom, and has all the responsibilities but precious little delegation (from Chandigarh). The Commissioner, true to his ‘style’, has raised a storm by ordering demolitions at Sadar Bazar and Nathupur Village, setting up structures at the Bio-diversity Park, getting into a spat with the Mayor and his team of Councillors, assuming charge of the Raahgiri Day event and unsettling longtime employees and systems in the Corporation. More than his decisions, what sets Kumar apart is his ‘handson’ approach to the problems at hand. Critics however say that his approach is hasty, he has a preset agenda and believes in a 'my way or the highway' philosophy. Kumar denies the allegations and says that most of the oppo-

Dharamvir Yadav

RS Rathee

DC Shekhar Vidyarthi wants to genuinely resolve the problems - which have been caused by the failure of developers to deliver on their many (legal) obligations. In his opinion, there is a large amount of pending work in all the colonies of Gurgaon, and particularly those that are going to present their

Kapil Aganpal

case in the first meeting of the RWA Grievances Committee on June 18th. In this Meeting the residents of Ardee City, Parsvnath Exotica, Uppal Southend and Mayfield Gardens will discuss their issues (already sent by them to the DC on June 5th, as per procedure) with the builders in the presence of the DC and TCP. Representatives of Gurgaon Citizens Council (GCC), Joint Action Forum of Residents Association (JAFRA) and Federation of Apartment Owners Association (FAOA) will also attend the meeting. In an earlier meeting the representatives of various RWAs had submitted details of noncompleted internal and external development works, including the absence of vital community facilities, in various private

...You Can't Ignore Him PRAKHAR PANDEY

sition comes from people who have vested interests and want the system to remain at a perpetual status quo level. In a day long interaction, during which the MCG Commissioner addressed a press conference, took NGO workers to search for dogs, organised a lunch, visited the Sadar Bazar area and undertook an inspection of the revered Sheetla Mata temple, Friday Gurgaon tries to reassess what the Commissioner really stands for and why he invokes such sharp reactions from various people – some of whom (including FG) had earlier hailed him as a ‘hero’. It may be recalled that Kumar had been eulogised by all sections of society for taking on the encroachers on HUDA land (though most now believe that it was a smokescreen for a ‘real estate’ exercise). It seems that Kumar has now come under strong fire because he has moved his ‘demolition focus’ to the urban vil-

builder-licensed colonies, with a request that these pending works be first compared with the lists submitted by various developers to the Department of Town and Country Planning (as part of their project plans). This information should be readily available with the Department of Town and Country Planning, but this is Gurgaon and TCP needs to check this with the builders! Perhaps files may soon even go missing, depending on the election outcome. Meanwhile, the High Court directive has at least made the DC and TCP agree to a meeting with RWA Heads and builders together. Commander Dharamvir Yadav, President, of Sheetal RWA of Mayfield Gardens, and a key member of JAFRA, alleges that the Millennium City is not a city of joy either for its residents or the Haryana government, as both are in a state of constant tussle, with the builders taking the maximum advantage. Yadav says that Gurgaon residents have been forced to litigate against the poor condition of infrastructure, the nonperformance of their statutory Contd on p 6-7 

lages. Interestingly, a recent survey conducted by MCG reveals that almost 700 acres of municipal land has been encroached by vested interests. Kumar says that they have initiated a process for its recovery, and utilisation for the benefit of the City. Further, seemingly unfazed by the challenges posed by the Nathupur Village protesters, who have even approached the State government and demanded an FIR against him, the MCG Commissioner reiterates that he is on a strong legal wicket, and all actions have been taken on the basis of maps and data that are available with the MCG. "Those very people who have encroached on the municipal land have started this campaign against me, as they have vested interests. In several villages the local strongmen have made constructions on MCG land, and this is the reason for the tirade", he says. When asked about the ‘midnight demolitions’ strategy preferred by him, Kumar says that the reason for this is that the roads are empty at that time and there is no Contd on p 9 


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13-19 June 2014

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–3 No.–43  13-19 June 2014

Editor:

Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Correspondent:

Barnali Dutta

Sr. Photographer:

Prakhar Pandey

Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh

Circulation Execs.:

Sunil Yadav

C ontents

Global...

Oceans’ Ten: Spectacular Dive Sites Here’s a longtime Diving writer’s selection of the finest spots to explore below the waves:

Manish Yadav Manager Sales & Marketing: Sunil Kumar

...P 22

Dy. Manager A/cs & Admin:

Shiv Shankar Jha

Editorial Office 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana, Phones: +91 124 421 9092/93 Emails:

editor@fridaygurgaon.com letters@fridaygurgaon.com contributions@fridaygurgaon.com subscription@fridaygurgaon.com adsales@fridaygurgaon.com Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018, Haryana. Printed at Indian Express Ltd., Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

...P 13

Spritual... Be Deeply Mindful

Wellness... Cooling Herbal Teas

There is power in concentration. It is a skill that enables us to fix our attention on one single thought or subject, while at the same time excluding everything else from our awareness. When we focus our mind, we conserve our energies and do not dissipate them on irrelevant thoughts or activities. This is why developing concentration is vital for anyone aspiring to be more efficient; this skill is vital for success in any ...P 14 endeavour.

Is extreme heat or extreme cold more difficult on the body? Depending on the context, both can prove daunting. At such times is there a simple way to keep the body, mind and spirit together? Proper hydration of the body can not only quench our thirst, but also provide a vitality boost – making us feel refreshed and energetic, under a glowing skin. Our body depends on water for survival. Every cell in the body needs water, to function.

G Scape....

...P 15

Plus Other Stories.... Social

The Second Innings.................................................P 10 Social

World E-Day @ Biodiversity Park.......................P 11

Notice A company called Anisa Media Ventures is not, and has never been, authorised to represent, in any manner, Friday Gurgaon or Arap Media Ventures. Any transaction with them is at your own risk and cost.

Prior to stepping out of the very first of her teenage years, Malavath Purna, the daughter of poor farmers from Nizamabad region in the newly formed state of Telengana, had created a record. Literally making a molehill out of the mighty mountain, Purna had scaled Mount Everest becoming the youngest mountaineer to achieve this rare feat.

Ganga has been a source of inspiration for ages to millions of Indians. Emperors and sages, farmers and the common men, have all been its beneficiaries. It is so much a part of our life that we feel we know all about it. But, to the contrary, the more you read about the Ganga, the more you realise how little you really know about it. Because Ganga is not just ...P 12

Sohna Road,

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.

Bon Vivant... A Bird’s Eye View!

Social... From Heaven To Earthly Pollution

Consulting Art Editor: Qazi M. Raghib

Comment

Decoding the Namo-nama................................P 16-17 Bon Vivant

A Dancer’s Expressions.........................................P 19 Global

...P 24

‘Waiting’s the worst part’.................................P 20-23


C oming U p

13-19 June 2014

Workshop VIVO First Aid for Kids Date: Jun 13 Time: 2:00 pm Venue: DLF City Club 4, Phase-IV

Music Sufi Rock Night 'Aanch Unplugged' now gives Sufi mixed with Rock. Date: Jun 13 Time: 9:30 pm Venue: The Joint - An Addiction

Epicentre

Wordsmiths on Stage Theatre comes calling this summer…….. children develop their speaking and vocabulary skills and gain confidence in an amazing fun environment devoid of the pen and paper style of learning. 
 Ages: 5 to 8 years, 8 to 12 years (separate batches)
 Date: June 16, 17 & 18 Time: 11.00 am to 12.30 pm Venue: Club- Nirvana Patio, Sector- 50, Nirvana Country, Sector 50
 Cost : Rs 1,200 National Conference on Electronics & Communication Technologies (NCECT 2014) Date: Jun 19 2014 Venue: ITM University, Sector-23A, Gurgaon, Gurgaon, India

Delhi's

Culture-Scape

Discovery Tour : Parle Factory There’s nothing quite like seeing how some of our favourite stuff is made! Kids get behind-the-scenes glimpses as they go on a tour to the Parle Factory, to see the manufacturing of their favourite brands of biscuits, potato chips and candies. 
 Ages: 7 years & above
 Date: June 14
 Time: 9.00 am to 2:00 pm Venue: Parle Factory
 Cost : Rs 1,500 (pick-up & drop from a central point in Gurgaon) To register call 9810703890

WBD – BPO Night Date: June 15 Venue: Moon Shine, Hauz Khas Village World BPO Day (WBD) was conceptualised by World BPO Foundation, to help build a sense of belonging and celebration among the global BPO Community. For 2014-15, the events will take place in 9 cities, starting from Gurgaon-NCR (the global hub for BPO activity) - followed by Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Chandigarh and Vizag. The events calendar features: WBD - BPO Nights (starting from Gurgaon in June); Inter-BPOs’ Beauty Pageants - city-wise (starting September 2014); Mr. & Miss BPO India competition for the National title, on World BPO Day – which will be celebrated on February 16 2015, in Gurgaon. World BPO Foundation was founded by Deepak Kapoor.

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Goodricke Teapot invites you to Jazz Up Your Summer with Soulful Music & Nicey - Icey Tea Coolers Date: Friday, June 13 Time: 4.00 pm onwards Venue: Goodricke  Teapot, 2nd. floor, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road RSVP  Mamta Dhingra 9818000668 Medha Gupta  9899326576

Smart Art Cart Date: June 11 to July 31 Venue: 16 Community Centre, New Friends Colony A group show: Amit Ambala, Rajendar Tiku, M F Husain, Owais Husain, SH Raza, Jai Zharotia etc. Social Media 101 by Social Samosa Date: June 14 & 15 Time: 10 am to 6 pm Venue: Clarens Hotel, Gurgaon

Stand Up Comedy Date: June 13 Time: 7:30 pm Aisi Taisi Democracy (Hindi/English/90mins), by Sanjay Rajoura & Varun Grover A no-holds-barred look at the idea of India. Tickets at Rs. 400, Rs. 300 & Rs. 200 available at the Venue. Suitable for 16 years & above Dance Date: June 14 & 15 Time: 7:30pm 5th Annual Summer Dance Production (Musical/60mins) Production Danza Performing Arts; Concept, Choreography & Direction Swati Mohan; Mentor Dilip Shankar; Asst. Choreography & Teaching Supriya Babbar & Jahnvi Sreedhar Voice Over Kristen Jain; Concept Input Jahanara Rabia Raza & Simrat Duggal; Video Deepak Kattar; Light Design Milind Srivastava; Production Design Virkein Dhar. Inspired by the poem, The Seven Selves by Kahlil Gibran. Performance based on movement, text, music, chairs, objects, film and poetry to find ourselves. Tickets at Rs. 250 available at the Venue. Suitable for all age groups Theatre Date: June 16 Time: 7:00pm Culmination of Theatre Workshop conducted by Barry John Acting Studio. Entry Free

If you wish to be featured in ‘Coming Up’ (for listing your forthcoming events in Gurgaon), please mail us at fridaygurgaongallery@gmail.com Art Show Art for Earth organised by Kala Care Group Date: June 10 to 20 Venue: Navya Art Gallery


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13-19 June 2014

THE WEEK THAT WAS  Violence – allegedly communal - breaks out in Tauru, after a road accident. Curfew is declared. A CBI probe has been ordered.  Girls outperform boys in the Haryana Board exams; students from rural areas do better than their urban counterparts. Gurgaon District does not put up a good show (versus others). Anita is topper in 10th Boards (with 98%) and Pratibha tops 12th Board (with 92.6%).  Animal Welfare Board of India plans a dog sterilisation drive in Haryana – estimated 6.5 lakhs dogs, with a pilot project in Gurgaon (est. 60,000 dogs).  A boy drowns in a pond in the golf course behind Ambience Mall.  A burnt body is recovered from Ghata Village.  A body with head injury is found near Ansal Univ.  A man is killed in a hit and run case near Ghata Village.  An alleged dowry harassment victim hangs herself in New Colony.  A speeding truck overturns on the e-way near Narsingpur Village – 2 are killed.  A 34-year-old cyclist is mowed down by a Haryana Roadways bus near Sector 14.  2 people die of heatstroke.  3 boys are arrested for the gang rape of a girl from Bilaspur; a 19-year-old domestic help is gang raped by her uncle’s friend and 2 other men.  3 sisters living in Islampur Village are kidnapped; a property dealer is kidnapped.  A 25-year-old man is arrested from Sadar Bazar, on charges of sexual harassment.  Bikers rescue a driver from a burning car near Bijwasan.  A man wanted in 11 cases of theft is nabbed.  3 bike thieves are caught – were selling the stolen bikes in MP.  2 youth forcible take away the gold ornaments from an elderly woman, on the pretext of taking them for polishing.  A woman is cheated of Rs 10 lakhs over the purchase of a shop in a mall.

 A person is caught in a Rs 5.5 lakhs cheque fraud.  A guard is robbed of Rs 15,000 after taking a lift in a car.  A man is duped of Rs 33,000 over a ‘VIP’ car number.  A woman loses Rs 18,000 in a lottery fraud.  An NRI’s laptop is stolen from his locked car on MG Road.  Nathupur villagers want an FIR filed against the MCG Commissioner, for the recent demolition.  Many parts of the City witness no power for at least half a day for the entire week! Protests lead to a 3-hour jam on NH8 on Wednesday.  South City 1 and Greenwoods residents protest on the road against Unitech, over lingering issues relating to basic civic services.  Rapid Metro gets notice from HUDA over branding of stations and installation of a mobile tower – allegedly not as per Agreement.  2 hospitals are sealed, after it is discovered that they were employing fraud doctors.  HUDA says that a committee will now monitor the provision of free treatment to the weaker sections by private hospitals that have been allotted land in HUDA sectors.  Civil Hospital operates without power for almost a day.  Sector 23 residents are upset with HUDA over its lack of support to their RWA for sanitation work; a HUDA engineer is transferred.  Villagers protest and block the erection of a wall in Sector 17C (near Sukhrali).  32 wholesale liquor shops in the City will be monitored by CCTV by the Excise Dept.  The Excise & Taxation Dept. moves to a new office building in Sector 34. MCG, which had identified part of this location for itself, is still undecided.  MCG plans to use the services of a Goabased animal expert for tackling the monkey menace.  The City records a 62-year high temperature of 46.5 degrees.

- A ‘bird-feeding cage’ put up by MCG Commissioner in the Biodiversity Park is removed, after strong protests from environmentalists and bird experts. MCG Commissioner asks the ‘private’ organisers of Raahgiri to suspend their activities, despite the High Court having told MCG they can operate citizen activities without any need for permission(s). - How conveniently does this Administration ‘play’ with the residents of this City. Now MCG says that it will conduct a survey (including videography) of civic amenities and development projects that should have been functional by now in various colonies and complexes! Sushant Lok I and South City I and II are to be taken up first. It’s taken MCG 4 years to wake up…for a task that is the job of the Town & Country Planning (TCP) Dept.! MCG says it will now instruct TCP to take action against the defaulting private builders (HUDA, as part of the Administration, is exempted). After which TCP will want to verify by itself…one day. And the game will go on… -

The Haryana govt. has got strict! Now a penalty will be levied on those builders who have delayed or not completed construction of flats/plots for the Economically weaker Sections (EWS). The fine – a maximum of Rs 2 lakhs!

Friday Gurgaon is also available at: Indian Oil Petrol Pump (Opp. Neelkanth Hospital, M.G. Road) Paritosh Book Stall (Sikanderpur Metro Station) C.S.P. - Kanchan (Opp. Vyapar Kendra - C Block Sushant Lok-1) C.S.P. - Swamy (Sector-14 Market, Near Mother Dairy) Deepak Book Stand (Bus Stand) Nagpal News Agency (Bus Stand) C.S.P. - Madan (New Railway Road) Jain Book Stall (New Railway Road) Rojgar Point Book Stall (New Railway Road) C.S.P. - Sector-14 Market (Near Mother Dairy) C.S.P. - Dharampal (Sohna Chowk) Karan Book Stall (Railway Station) Shashi (Fuwara Chowk) Raw (Sohna Chowk)

Watch and listen to

'Hai Ye Gurgaon Meri Jaan' a ballad on Gurgaon, based on the legendary song... 'Ye hai Bombay Meri Jaan'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHKm54U913g OR View it at the FG Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fridaygurgaon

IF YOU ARE NOT GETTING FG COPIES REGULARLY SMS NR to 08447355801


H appenings

13-19 June 2014

05

ÍndiMix at MTV Splitsvilla Breezer introduced IndiMix - a global beverage with truly Indian flavours (Aam Panna and Nimbu Paani). Sunny Leone was the special guest.

Team F*UGLY

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he starcast of the upcoming film F*UGLY - four fresh Bollywood faces: Vijender Singh, Arfi Lamba, Kiara Advani & Mohit Marwah - set up a Press Meet in the City. The Film is directed by Kabir Sadanand & produced by Akshay Kumar. It is a comedy drama and features Jimmy Shergill also. Vijender Singh shared his experience and said, “I have always liked Bollywood films and their heroes. I have realised that acting is also a tough job. I am playing my real life character in the film (that of a boxer). The Film also gives a strong social message." 

Rastafari in the City Raasta - The Caribbean Lounge @ Cyber Hub offers the cheery colours of red, green and gold, recreating the vibe that made Raasta @ Hauz Khas Village a cult brand

If you wish to be featured in ‘Happenings’ (for coverage of your events in Gurgaon), please mail us at fridaygurgaongallery@gmail.com


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13-19 June 2014

C over S tory

The four RWAs whose problems will be discussed in the June 18 meeting are: Mayfield Gardens, Parsvnath Exotica, Uppal Southend, and Ardee City. Their lists of problems have already been submitted to the DC before June 5th., as per procedure: PRAKHAR PANDEY

Mayfield Gardens

T

he residents of Mayfield Gardens allege that the developers have deserted the Colony, leaving the residents in the lurch. The present condition of the Colony is very bad. Despite the licence agreement clearly stating that the maintenance of internal services is the responsibility of the developers, nothing is working. The matter has been raised with the DG, DTCP, the Lokayukta and even the courts - but there has been little progress. Dharmvir Yadav says that the Colony's sewage system is clogged, and the proposed SWD line in front of plots N267 to 269 does not exist. The sewage lines of Haryana Housing Board and HUDA plots have been connected with N Block of Mayfield Gardens, which has aggravated the problem. The Colony does not get supply of treated water from the canal, and 3,000 flat owners are getting their water through borewells or tankers. The internal roads in NCJ Block are in very bad shape, and parks and green belts are virtually non-existent. The developers have not installed the requisite electricity infrastructure, and whatever is there has not been handed over to DHBVN. Even the NOC from Chief Electrical Inspector, Gurgaon has not been obtained by them, which is a matter of serious concern, asserts Yadav. The developers have not deposited the cost for the installation of a 66 KVA substation, as per their obligation. They were also so directed by the Administrator, HUDA – but surely a builder/developer in this City is more powerful! As a result, DHBVN has stopped releasing power connections to the flat owners. Mayfield Garden is a large colony, and the developers were required to build 28 Community Centres - but none has come up (nor is there any roadmap in sight). Yadav further states that all the construction is in violation of environmental norms, and no environmental clearance certificate has been obtained. Status of Work as submitted to the DC: n Water Supply: Hundred per cent of plotted, multi-storeyed and commercial plots are dependent on ground water. n  Sewerage: Main sewer lines are not complete. n  Solid Waste Management: Not Done n  Drainage: Main lines not corrected properly. n  Road Network: Main sector roads are encroached by builder, not interconnected with internal sector roads n  Parks and Green belt: Green belts are not developed along sector roads n  Rain Water Harvesting: Not Done n  College and Hospital: Not Done n  Sports Complex: Not Done n  Power Grid System: 220 KVA sub-station yet to be completed

Parsvnath Exotica

E

xotica, an apartment complex on the Golf Course Road, was launched in 2005, and the developer, Parsvnath, promised delivery within 3 years. However, says Amit Bansal, President of the RWA, even after 8 years the project is not complete. Despite paying 95 per cent of the cost for their apartments, the buyers are still waiting, and they still don't when they will get their dream homes. A major point that the RWA wants to take up is the recent offer of 'fitment' by the developer, by which it has asked buyers to accept a payment of Rs 7.5 lakhs and take possession of their bare-shell flats; the kitchen and bathrooms would have to be finished by the owners themselves. Bansal says that this is totally wrong and violates the sale

agreement, as people were obviously promised finished apartments at the time of sale. Bansal adds that despite handing over the maintenance to the RWA, the builder has not returned the Interest Free Security Deposit, which amounts to almost Rs 8 crores. "If this money is returned we can reduce the cost of maintenance and also carry out some additional development work, such as improving the greenery and the park,s" he says. The RWA also complains that while half of the condominium gets piped gas, the other half has to remain dependent on cylinders. Lawyer Pooja Aganpal, who lives in the Complex, and has also filed a case in the court, says that when the project was launched the Towers D4, D5, D6 were within the same complex; but now, these buildings have come up in an adjacent plot of land, which is connected through a revenue road of Sarasvati Kunj Colony. "The residents of these towers have to come all the way to the main complex to avail the common facilities," asserts Nagpal. Recently the RWA has filed a case in a Gurgaon court after a new tower was set to be constructed in an area meant for EWS Housing. During the court proceedings, Nagpal says, they were surprised to discover that there was no sanction for this tower, and that plans for Tower C4, B5 and B6 had also not been obtained! This is telling…on how the buyers, and even some authorities, are being hoodwinked. Bansal further alleges that there were 16 water-bodies shown in the original brochure, but not even a single one has been built; and the club has still not completed, despite many families having moved in. The RWA also wants the commercial shops, which were not part of the original plan, to be removed from the Complex. Ardee City

A

nother large township, Ardee City, is suffering because of the apathy of the developer. The residents are faced with the spectre of poor roads, lack of a community centre, inadequate power infrastructure and poor sanitation facilities. These long-standing issues have even forced the residents to come out on the streets to protest. Lack of security is another important issue that has been bothering the residents, as thefts are common and guards are few in number. TN Koul, President of Ardee City RWA, says that this new process initiated by the District Administration has rekindled hope in the residents, as they have got no help from the developer in the last several years. Status of Work as submitted to the DC: n  Community Centre: Not constructed n  Sports Complex: Not Constructed n  Club: Being used as office by builder n  Dispensary/Hospital: Not constructed n  Post Office: Not constructed n  Middle School/Senior Secondary School: Not constructed n  Religious Site: Not provided n  66 KV Power Substation: Land not provided/not installed n  Drainage: Improper, not connected to main line n  Sewerage System: Undersized capacity of pipe n  Sewerage Treatment Plant: Not constructed n  Water Harvesting: Not implemented n  Parks: Not maintained properly n  Water supply: Undersized capacity pipes and underground water tanks n  Construction/Re-carpeting of Roads: Due since 1990 n  Electricity line: Serving only 30 per cent of the population


13-19 June 2014

C over S tory

07

Getting the Builders to the Table  Contd from p 1

Uppal Southend

U

ppal Southend on Sohna Road has 1,300 families living in the Colony. They are suffering because of a lack of infrastructure and basic maintenance. Despite repeated requests the developer has not taken any action. The Colony has inadequate electricity infrastructure, no community centre, no post office and no dispensary. The RWA says that the as per the licence the builder is required to set up a 33 KV sub-station, but despite a missive from DHBVN nothing has happened. In the proposed meeting with the DC the RWA will raise these issues, as also the poor condition of roads, the lack of maintenance of parks, and poor amenities. Status of Work as submitted to the DC: n  Community Centre: Not provided n  Sports Complex: Not provided  n  Club: Not provided n  Hospital: Not provided n  School: Partially constructed n  Post Office: Not constructed n  66 KVA substation: Not Provided n  Drainage System: Improper, not connected to main line n  Sewerage: Under capacity, not connected to mains n  Sewerage Plant: Not Constructed n  Water Harvesting: Not constructed n  Parks: Not maintained properly n  Water Works site: Boundary wall not constructed n  Re-carpeting of roads: Due since 1997 n  Electrical Infrastructure: Under capacity

How conveniently does this Administration ‘play’ with the residents of this City. Now MCG says that it will conduct a survey (including videography) of civic amenities and development projects that should have been functional by now in various colonies and complexes! Sushant Lok I and South City I and II are to be taken up first. It’s taken MCG 4 years to wake up…for a task that is the job of the Town & Country Planning (TCP) Dept.! MCG says it will now instruct TCP to take action against the defaulting private builders (HUDA, as part of the Administration, is exempted). After which TCP will want to verify by itself…one day. And the game will go on. Meanwhile the DC is chairing the RWA Grievances Committee...

duties by the officials of TCP department and the callous attitude of private developers. "The colonisers violate every rule and statute of the Haryana Apartment Owners Act and the conditions of the licences with impunity - without any fear of prosecution. There are delays in possession, non-completion of internal development works, commencement of work without the sanction of the project, increase of FAR mid way, deviation of building plans, and colonies are set up without obtaining DPC and Occupation Certificates. The residents continue to suffer because of lack of even basic civic amenities," alleges Yadav. In Mayfield Gardens, despite their fighting for years against the apathy of the builder(s), nothing has moved, he rues. He also opines that this new move by the State government is unlikely to help find any answers as the model code of conduct would be implemented within the next two months. This is just a preelection exercise to show the people that they are now becoming sensitive. Where was the government for the last 10 years when allegedly every law in the book was violated by builders, with impunity?  JAFRA, as a representative body of multiple RWAs, has pointed out that no coloniser has obtained a completion certificate to date - 30 years from when the first licences were granted! They charge that the co-ordination and co-operation among various law enforcement govt agencies is poor, resulting in delays and many avoidable mistakes.  DTCP has initially granted licences for the development of colonies in Sectors 1 to 57 to many private builders under Rule 12 of the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Rules, 1976. As per the Act, till Feb 2010 the licences were valid for an initial period of two years and could have been extended for a period of one year, during which period all the development works - including  external and internal works in the colony - were to be completed. In 2010, the initial validity and the renewal period were extended to four years and two years respectively; and in Mar 2014 the initial validity has been further enhanced to five years. Yadav alleges that the licences of the colonisers have been arbitrarily extended for years, without any regard to the problems and the consequences that are being faced solely by the buyers.   A major issue that JAFRA wants to raise is the failure of many builders to create the neces-

sary power infrastructure in their licensed colonies, as per the loads mentioned in their Agreements. The rule states that, for electricity loads upto 15 MVA, a 33 KVA substation must be set up; for loads between 15 to 75MVA, a substation with capacity of 66 KVA is required; and for loads above 75 MVA, a 220 KVA substation has to be set up by the builder. Yadav adds that electrical transmission and distribution infrastructure, commensurate with the load requirements, and approval from DHBVN, has also to be installed by the developers. Notably, no developer other than DLF has set up the requisite power infrastructure in their colonies, and this has caused many problems to the residents - many of whom have been denied power connections, by DHBVN. This matter also reached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which issued a notice to sixteen colonisers, who between them either have to deposit Rs 1465 crores in total to DHBVN or themselves install the required power capacity. Kapil Aganpal, a resident of Parsvnath Exotica, whose RWA will present its case in the meeting scheduled on June 18, says that multiple violations committed by the colonisers are condoned by the government authorities under one pretext or the other. He says that in the case of Exotica the builder has grossly violated the original plan and built three towers outside the complex - which were earlier shown to be inside, in the brochure. Shops have been built without any sanction. The coloniser has committed several zoning violations. Of course this is also why the colonisers are able to get building plans approved

but cannot get the Occupation Certificates – small mercies? Yadav of JAFRA alleges that the TCP department accords building plan approvals even after the date of expiry of the licences; they are allegedly renewed even if the builder applies for their renewal much later than the expiry date. The builders easily give possession of built up units to buyers, to reside in, without even obtaining an ‘official’ partcompletion, for laying out the colony and completing the internal development works. The builders’ accounts are never inspected by the Director (TCP) or any other officer authorised by him, under the provisions of Section 6 of Act 1975. The TCP department and the builders connive with each other and builders are let off even after committing cognizable offences. “Why is the provision of Section 10 of Act 1975 not invoked against these erring developers,” questions Yadav?  Pooja Aganpal, a City-based lawyer who is fighting a number of cases on behalf of the RWAs in Gurgaon, says that builders are in default for almost everything: the payment of EDC/IDC, enhanced EDC and labour cess, renewal of licences (applying even after the expiry dates), revalidation of expired bank guarantees, and not complying with provisions of Rules 24, 26, 27 and 28 of Rules 1976. Some have allegedly submitted false/forged revenue documents to obtain their licences. Several related issues will have to be looked into by the newly-formed RWA Grievances Committee, and special efforts will be needed to correct years of defaults, she says. u


08

13-19 June 2014

True Blue

S ocial

Model School has endeared itself with many parents, who have found that their children have developed a PRAKHAR PANDEY good temperament and { Sri Bimal Mohanty} have ‘grown’ well. It is not { Barnali Dutta / FG } surprising therefore that The innocent child, confused and bewildered looked up to God the School has bagged nuuhani Seth (18), the ‘Why have you sent me here my Lord? merous laurels in the fields girl topper in this And gave me this task so great of Culture, Fine Arts, Literyear’s CBSE (Class ature, Sports and Science at 12) in the City, is a bubbly To spread your message to make your omnipresence felt? the State and National levyoung lady….and confiI am so frail and small els. Cherishing its goals of dence personified. She is alA hapless bundle of flesh and bones, depending on all versatility and excellence ready approaching her next The task so big, you expect much, methinks it is wrong in all spheres, the School big step with exuberance. At least could have made me bigger and strong.’ today ranks as one of the What makes Ruhani tick? best educational instituShe forthrightly says, “My The lord smiled: ‘my son dear tions in Haryana. Another School. I think the foundaYour innocence is your strength, you are un-spoilt and pure important aspect of Blue tion that my School laid for My message you will carry for good of all Bells’ success has been its me has enabled me to scale Whenever man’s eyes on you may fall ability to develop an apthese heights, and practice Packed with the power of purity, innocence and love propriate relationship with too makes a difference”. the parents. “If you have Ruhani is a good example You are the gift of faith I send from above built trust with the parof how Blue Bells Model Every child I send down to the earth each time ents, you can better deal School is successfully apCarries my message with love sublime with delicate situations proaching education in a To the world to learn and remember – like discussing fairly unique manner. The My faith in every one each so dear disciplinary acSchool is a co–educational The School has tions that someEnglish-medium school Delving into the look of the child he will discover also kept a sharp times need to located in the heart of the The fathomless trust, the freedom from fear focus on safety. Every be taken. The (‘old’) city. Founded on Let the grip of your little hand school bus has a support same holds Nov. 10, 1980, the Teach the power of kindness that flows from a friend to friend staff travelling along with the true for reSchool is a rare Education is a I speak through that endearing smile of yours lations with children. There are regular blend of tradisocial process; a the commution and mocheck-ups for drivers and they The great gift of my weapon to conquer all the chaos school is primarily nity,” says dernity. The are constantly monitored. When you will fall many times and rise again and again a social institution. Ms. ChatterD.R. MemoThey are advised on how to Man will learn, you may fail nine times, but succeed in ten A school is a form of jee. The modrial Bal Shikbehave with children and Through all your inquisitiveness, your never- quenching wonder community life where ern world looks sha Vikas parents. multiple agencies help Man will discover the quest of life, my indomitable power more to the acSociety, comempower the child to share quisition of some prising emiYou my child are my message for all the inherited resources of the skill or knowledge to nent personFull of all my grace, though you appear so small further a career; it thinks alities from race, and thence to use his Until I have not lost my faith in my creation more of the product than the all walks of or her own power of My messages will flow, through every child born.’ process. Blue Bells Model life, is the apex knowledge for social School has tried to balance body of the School. ends. bimalmohanty@ahwan.org From a humble bethat Life-skills the two – and it seems to have ginning, this versatile inprogrammes are indeed worked well.u stitution has today grown into an integral part of the a full-fledged Senior Second- education. We believe that ary School. It got affiliated to this approach is imperative and C.B.S.E. up to Class X in April helpful for every child. Read1986 and was upgraded to Class ing programmes, circle-time XII in July 1990. programmes and other interSo what is the magic behind esting activities have also been the success of the School’s included in the Curriculum, to wards? Simply, it is the ap- awaken and sustain the interest proach to education and learn- of children to always want to ing. Unlike most schools, learn something new. I believe Blue Bells Model School does that while ‘bookish’ knowledge Emptiness questions me that what should be its will? not adhere to a particular can perhaps assist the children Answers are far away, but I will find them still. time table of examinations. in scoring good marks and even Emptiness questions, when will it matter? The stress is on making stu- becoming graduates, it won’t I answered when far away someone’s life will shatter. dents understand concepts, teach them important life skills. Emptiness questions then what shall be its place? learning to implement them Kids need to be able to move in projects, and then being out of their comfort zones, exI answered that every heart that will lack happiness and grace. reviewed on that. Regular cel in handling peer pressure Emptiness questions that who will be its friend? project work and assessments and learn to say ‘No’ to cerI answered every broken heart that would be difficult to mend. are customary here; they are tain temptations. Progressive Emptiness wants to know that would it ever be left alone? aimed at imparting knowledge, schools like us strive to take I answered not as long as even a single person moans. and not on trying to ‘stuff’ the the best from both worlds children or burdening them – marrying a traditional apEmptiness questions me that who will be its mate? with course material. There are proach with international I answered that everyone who will always love to hate. remedial classes for students methodologies.” Referring to Emptiness asks me whom will it never know? studying in the higher classes. the students’ profile, Ms. ChatI answered all of those on whom god’s benevolence will bestow. The School is committed to its terjee adds, “Blue Bells schools Emptiness asks me what will happen when it will die? prime aim of developing the are for the masses, not the classoverall personality of students es. We are not a ‘world school’. I answered that would be the day from when no one will ever cry. in a healthy and congenial at- The choice of course rests with mosphere. The Principal, Ms. the ‘inclination’ of the parents.” Written by Mallika Ahuja, Illustrated by Shivani Ahuja (The Shri Ram School, Aravali ) Sharmila Chatterjee, says, Because of its approach “Our School has ensured and its openness, Blue Bells

A Child Is Born

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Literary Flourish

An Emptiness


C over S tory

13-19 June 2014

...you can't ignore him  Contd from p 1

ent from what the NGOs are stating. The Bio-diversity Park project, which is also being run by an NGO, has need to rush. In Sadar Bazar area, where he had re- also been a bone of contention, as the MCG Chief wants cently ordered demolitions, Kumar says that MCG can to undertake some ‘projects’ within the Park, but these take a compassionate stand and offer the affected peo- have been vehemently opposed by environmentalists ple a share in the proposed multi-storeyed commercial and local activists. While Kumar had to shelve some of building, as also residential accommodation - provided his plans - including a concrete cage for bird feeding, a they co-operate with the authorities. He admits that herbal garden and an ayurvedic garden - after a recent the actions initiated by him against illegal encroach- meeting with the NGOs, he reiterates that his focus ments are dangerous work, and there is constant threat would remain the development a Bio-diversity corto his life. However, he believes that if he is able to re- ridor on Delhi’s border, and the creation of water cover even half the encroached land, he will consider bodies in the Park. He believes that the Park can act as it a major achievement. "If the intention is right, then a green lung of the City. He is critical of the work that the process and systems become responsive and start has been done till date. functioning," he asserts, while standing in the middle of The expansion of civic infrastructure in the MCG Sadar Bazar under the hot blazing sun, with hundreds areas and the resolution of traffic woes at Hero Honda of onlookers gazing at him. The MCG Commissioner Chowk, IFFCO Chowk and Rajiv Chowk is also at the top evokes strong reactions: the entire market (Sadar) of the municipal agenda. Kumar says that MCG has degoes into a huddle, and even roadside vendors run cided to set up two U-shaped underpasses at both ends of helter-skelter to ‘save’ their wares. A few days earlier the IFFCO Chowk flyover. "Our officials studied all the Kumar had ordered a four plans submitmajor drive against ilted by the consullegal vendors and untant and discussed authorised extensions the same with in Sadar Bazar, which NHAI. We have semet with both support lected the most feaand opposition from sible plan,” he says. the trader commuHe adds that the nity.  Referring to the consultant was told recent spat over demoto consider the traflitions with the Mayor fic increase in the and Councillors, durnext 50 years and ing the special meeting of the House, also the likely expansion of Delhi Kumar says that people oppose Kumar says that he always listens to Metro through this area. MCG also him because he questions the elected representatives of MCG. "I plans to construct a drain near the the established systems and listen to them but it is not possible that Hero Honda Chowk to check the I call them every time a decision has to waterlogging problem, which is a practices. There is inertia in be taken. The MCG has to function in major concern during the monsoon. the system, and people don’t a certain manner, and the system canThe NHAI has to approve the dewant to learn and/or change. not be held hostage to the whims and sign; the project cost is Rs. 17 crores. Criticising his own department fancies of a few Councillors. The ComThe MCG also plans to build a multiofficials for lack of knowledge missioner has to address numerous islevel parking facility in the vicinity and skills, the MCG Chief sues in his day to day functioning," asof Sadar Bazar. An important projserts Kumar. He also points out that ect that will begin in the next few recently recommended a it is not right to expect reciprocity months will be a remodelled saniskill test for engineers in the when the Councillors are belittling tation and garbage collection Municipality. Those who fail this and mocking him at every forum, system for the MCG areas. Kumar test might be sent back to their and opposing every decision taken says that MCG is getting only 20 per parent departments. It is another by him. Pointing to a recent protest cent results despite spending almost decision that has ruffled many against him, in which some miscreRs 2 crores a month on these efforts. feathers – this time within MCG. ants had brought a donkey, Kumar "We plan to segregate the garbage says that instead of mocking him the and waste by marking separate bins people should learn from the qualifor organic and inorganic waste, and ties of the animal - which works diligently and without a major drive will be launched for this purpose. Dresses any fuss or complaint. "I would wish to imbibe these would be issued to the cleaning staff and they would be qualities so that I am able to better serve the society," held accountable for their work," he says. Asked when he asserts. Another issue that has put the spotlight on the Waste Treatment Plant at Bandhwari would the Commissioner is his decision to abruptly take over become functional again, the MCG Commissioner says the Raahgiri Day, an event that was being organised that efforts are being made to somehow get it started, by some local NGOs. Despite a High Court Order that but he admits that it will take some time before somehas allowed the NGOs to ‘operate’ their social activities thing happens. MCG is meanwhile trying to find out without permission, asked the MCG to take the NGOs in alternatives for treating the waste, he says. The MCG confidence, Kumar did not allow them to do so – rudely Commissioner also takes credit for the major efforts beejecting them instead. Kumar says that civil society is ing made by his Department to promote rainwater harwelcome to organise the Raahgiri event, but it needs to vesting, and to plant trees in the Aravallis. "We have consult the MCG and take the requisite permissions un- built a large number of natural structures, cresentder which such an event can be performed. He does not moon like structures and rain harvesting wells, to deny the HC Order but reiterates that the NGO will have ensure that water can be harvested. Large natural to co-ordinate with the Municipality. "There are sever- ponds have been created in the hills, and these will al issues involved. If tomorrow an untoward incident go a long way in improving the water table," astakes place, who will be responsible? If the MCG cannot serts the MCG Chief. He believes that these initiatives handle the functioning of the City, then who will do it? would resolve the problem of drinking water supply in Tomorrow some other NGOs can come up and say that the coming year. Meanwhile, for now, he agrees that ‘old’ we are going to conduct activities and want no interven- Gurgaon is suffering severe water problems, for which tion from the government. Civil society needs to work an emergency meeting has been called. Kumar admits with us and take joint decisions," says Kumar. He that problems in most areas are genuine and he is trying adds that his interpretation of the HC Order is differ- to resolve them by sometimes taking an unconventional

09

Kya Baat Hai! { Ashok Lal} Biwi ke sang 'shopping' karne ki Baat hi kuchh aur hai. Unki haan mein haan milane ka Aur bhari 'bag' uthane ka Saari duniya mein daur hai Sabzi ke bazaar mein 'Variety' itni zyada hai Par 'guess' tumhen yeh karna hai Ki unka kya banane ka irada hai Aloo aur pyaz tak hi Bas chalta tumhara zor hai Biwi ke sang 'shopping' karne ki Baat hi kuchh aur hai Super Bazaar mein chalte chalte Agar koi cheez dikh jaye nayee Tum dheere se 'suggest' karo Woh zor se kah dengi ‘nahin’ Bas tumhara bhala isi mein hai ki dekho Unki nigah kis ore hai Biwi ke sang 'shopping' karne ki Baat hi kuchh aur hai Sab se mushkil kaam hai sang unke 'Matching centre' mein jaana Ek sari ke sang beesiyon Blouse piece ka rang milana Aur teen rang ke kapde lekar Bahar 'natural light' mein jaana Jo bhi unko theek lage Use maan-ne mein hi Bas tumhari khair hai Biwi ke sang ‘shopping’ karne ki Baat hi kuchh aur hai Bas tumhen chhoot hai 'meat shop' se Chicken aur mutton laane ki Par 'instructions' hain ki piece jaise woh kahen Waise hi katwane ki Machhli ke bazaar se to Woh chal deti doosri ore hain Biwi ke sang shopping karne ki Baat hi kuchh aur hai Jab saari shopping ghar par aayi Aur tumnen chain ki khair manayi Par bazaar se laana kuchh bhool gaye Uske zimmevaar tum ho Doosra nahin koi aur hai In chhoti chhoti baaton par ‘Lal’ Bas rakhna tumko gaur hai Biwi ke sang 'shopping' karne ki Baat hi kuchh aur hai! ablsl1971@yahoo.co.in approach – but the status quoist mindset of the people inhibits the acceptance of any innovative solution. He says that even the issue of unauthorised construction in the restricted area (900 meters) around the IAF Ammunition Depot can have a humane solution, but none of the stake holders wants to act in a manner that can help end this dispute. "We have the technology, engineering skills and even the land, to find a far better answer, but the people need to be flexible and open to fresh ideas," says the MCG Commissioner. As we speak, an owner of a sweet shop requests him to open the road block at the entry of Sadar Bazar; to which Kumar replies, in his usual style, that the area would be video-graphed for a few days before a decision is taken. u


10 { Anita Jaswal }

13-19 June 2014

The Second Innings

‘Not always, but sometimes life gives you a second chance, or even two! It’s what you do with those second chances that counts’. When people leave the workforce permanently, they lose one of the most obvious ways to ‘measure’ their place in society. In addition they are faced with the decision of what to do with the remainder of their life. People who retire often go from a routine that fills much of their day to one with lots of free time. It's a time when they are also freed of ‘worldly’ responsibilities. They have earned the ‘rest’ and the ‘freedom’, and so this period should rightly be seen as an opportunity to pad up for a new innings.

a double-check system, planning or co-ordination - I learnt it all there. The Army taught us how to manage people - seniors, juniors and peers, which comes in pretty handy everywhere. I have however realised that, in civilian life, persuasion works better than authority. Today many officers from the Armed Forces, of varied backgrounds, experience and expertise, are polishing their managerial skills at premier B-schools, readying for their launch into a ‘second career’ - in the corporate world.

Col Ashok Soi (retd.) left the Indian Army after serving 23 years in the Army Air Defence. “Once I entered the ‘civil’ world, I realised that the emphasis on discipline, punctuality, planning, camaraderie and team spirit - the traits that the Army ingrains in you - is quite different in the civilian way of life. One needs to ‘shed one’s rank’ to adjust to civil life. Respect here comes not from just rank but from being an achiever. In the second innings that life has given me, I have gained vast experience by working in many projects – the Commonwealth Games, the telecom sector and the management of estate. I give credit to the Army for helping me make a success in all these fields. Be it management, supervision,

Col V K Suri (retd.) is presently working as Senior Vice President, Operations, Nutek India Ltd., as VP of the Devinder Vihar  (AWHO Society) RWA ,  and as a co-opted Member, Skill Development Training and Placement Committee (SDT&PC ), IETE. Col Suri believes that embarking on a second innings is a personal choice governed by professional and socioeconomic factors. He had retired from service in 2002, after having served in the Army for 30 years, but had the desire and vision to foray into the corporate world. He says that he had aligned himself for this crossover well before calling it a day in the army, by academically equipping and mentally preparing himself

{ Krishan Kalra }

I

magine the plight of a young man from the minority community, with a month long stubble on the face and different names on his ticket and college ID, trying to board a flight home. The man was a ‘soft’ target for our ‘security-obsessed’ CRPF jawans. That they also found a Swiss knife in his handbag only added to the ordeal of the guy who had just finished his exams. Students often don’t shave (and definitely not at or after exam time) and the travel agent, perhaps hard of hearing, had put a similar sounding name on the e-ticket. The knife was the result of a prank played on him by his classmates. Thankfully, the intervention of a senior who happened to know the youngster’s father – a much-decorated police officer - saved the day & he could board the flight - instead of having to cool his heels in jail. But, what about the hapless passengers who are denied carriage of even eye-drops & nosedrops, unless in possession of a prescription? My wife & I were made to discard an expensive gel toothpaste – hurriedly put in the handbag - before a

for the journey ahead. Hailing from the Technical Arm of the Army (Corps of Signals), the Telecom sector seemed to be the ideal choice to him. “God had been kind to provide me a befitting opportunity in the Telecom sector just the day after my retirement. I have now gracefully served for more than 12 years, with no break in service for even a single day! The transition from the first to the second innings was seamless. I could gradually climb the (civilian) ladder to assume higher senior management responsibilities,  working with many prestigious Telecom related companies. The second innings has also been very satisfying, and my success is mainly attributable to the managerial skills and leadership qualities learned and honed during the challenges faced while I was in the Army. The  corporate world welcomes ex-servicemen of any rank, because they have seen their disciplined persona and their dedication, loyalty and integrity. A major difference of course is that performance and output is generally measured in terms of revenue. It is important to be of a flexible bent of mind and to sacrifice any ego – and definitely any expectation of respect just because of rank and heirarchy - to survive in the corporate world. Now, I believe that there may be an option to look for the third career, to play a third innings! Depending on my health and

other capabilities, I could look to offer consultancy in the field of my expertise, or conduct teaching/training/ audits for a few hours every week, or undertake some social service. However, one must know when to step back from ‘work’ when age finally does come calling,” signs off Col. Suri.

Shrikant Kapoor retired as an Intelligence Officer from a cushy government job in 1994. “In 4 months I will be 80. I retired 20 years ago from my full-time position, and I finally gave up the fee-earning world at 70, when I couldn’t find anyone still willing to pay me! The first two shocks of retirement were entirely unpredictable. For years my wife, children and I had wallowed in domestic luxury, and then I had suddenly been unceremoniously dumped on the sidewalk. Retirement clearly wasn’t working for me. Just three months post-retirement, I found my days endlessly boring, spent mostly sleeping or watching television. I don’t like golf, gardening is too hot, and my wife has her own activities - which don’t include me. And then my daughter came to me and said, ‘Pops, what you need is a road map - a plan of action. Get out of the house and stay active! Go work out an exercise regimen, and volunteer’. I realised that by taking part in regular physical activity you gain countless health benefits,

Security Obsession flight to Port Blair recently. Ten ml. of eye or nose drops – vital for some passengers – surely can’t make an explosive device! Saying ‘bye’ to the good old days of ‘no-checked-in-baggage travel’ hasn’t been easy but I know that a can of shaving foam

S ocial including lower body weight, greater strength and endurance, increased flexibility and balance, and better mental health. I also gained by volunteering my time and expertise. Volunteering offers a way to exercise the skills, talent and experience gained throughout a lifetime of working with a corporation, being a homemaker, serving in the government or in the military. It also offers an excellent opportunity to pursue goals and delve into areas of personal interest. So, instead of sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, volunteer your time and make optimal use of your years of experience and your wisdom, to help fulfil your need for accomplishment and recognition. Whether you find an opportunity to act as a docent for one of the local libraries or to help teachers evaluate new curriculum, there’s always something useful you can do. Work is often a crucial part of our identity, but I  found out when I stopped working that I had been a slave to procedure rather than purpose! Half our retired life is spent trying to find something to do with the time that we have rushed through life trying to save! The average person has roughly 20 years of life remaining after retirement – it is time enough to write a masterpiece, run a marathon or mentor hundreds of youth. There’s even time to do nothing, discover the beauty of grandkids or rekindle the romance with your wife! Tomorrow itself can be the beginning of new adventures, new joys and greater successes – how you spend the rest of your life is up to just you.u

in the handbag would be a sure recipe to make one miss one’s flight. And what about the casual immigration guys in India – and Singapore - who let an NRI infant (based in Singapore) make two trips to India on an expired passport? The parents, blissfully ignorant that the child’s passport had a five year validity as against the usual ten, learnt about the grave error only when vigilant officers at Bali refused to let the kid in, despite fervent pleas about confirmed, non-refundable hotel bookings. Mercifully the Singapore brigade was again gregarious & let them back in. However a luxury hotel in the same country – Singapore – where I stayed recently was so obsessed with security that their smart key permitted you to stop the lift only on your room floor. Though we often were able to manage between ourselves, some times help was needed from the concierge. Of course the grand prize must go to the pad-locked and sealed first aid kit – actually a steel trunk – on board the First Class compartment of an Air India flight (photo clicked despite the risk of the camera being confiscated!). I suspect that, in case of a real need, this First aid may be a little too late!u


S ocial

13-19 June 2014

World E-Day @ Biodiversity Park

11

Erase the e-waste

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n World Environment Day, PLUSS Polymers, a material research and manufacturing company, in association with Advit Foundation arranged an environmental sustainability session at IKEA’s office in Gurgaon. The focus was on Electronic Waste (ewaste) Management, its impact on our health and environment, and the need for its safe disposal. “Our earth is turning into a dump zone; it is important for us to take up the responsibility of relieving Nature of this dump. We have been working with Advit Foundation to collect e-waste from across the City and have set ourselves a collection target of 5,000 kg for the year,” said Samit Jain, Managing Director - PLUSS Polymers. Pluss Polymers has erased 102 kgs. of electronic waste from its office and from the Rajiv Gandhi Renewable Energy Park. The e-waste was later sent to a reputed and authorised recycler in Gurgaon. “Items included in e-waste are: non-functional monitors, CPUs, keyboards, mouses, laptops, printer cartridges, UPSs, printers, scanners, CDs, cassettes, cable wires, telephones sets, mobile phones, chargers, tube lights, batteries, etc.”, stated Chandramouli, Programme Manager, Advit Foundation. u

{ Prabha Prabhakar Bhardwaj }

D

ronah Foundation since its inception has been organising ‘green’ activities on this Day. This year the Foundation carried out a rigorous activity of cleaning a portion of the Aravalli Biodiversity Park, Gurgaon, as part of iamgurgaon’s ongoing MillionTreesGurgaon program - a public-private initiative that has an ambitious goal of planting and nurturing a million trees in the City. ‘Plant a Tree’ has unfortunately been reduced to a cliché, a standard ritual asked of school children and VIPs. Little thought today goes into the choice of the tree sapling, and it is mostly forgotten once planted. It is important to ensure that the tree is native to the region, and is nurtured well after the planting. Planting and ensuring the survival of a million trees over a five year period is an achievable goal, especially with the involvement of many people and organisations. The benefits are truly worth the effort: A million trees planted over 3,500 acres would sequester 8,750 MT of CO2 annually; a million trees would intercept 3.7 billion litres of rainwater per annum; one million trees will provide enough oxygen for 2 million people, the current population of the city. This initiative would be an extraordinary gift to posterity. Dronah Foundation conducted a leafmoulding activity in the Park last year; leaf-moulding is the process that converts dry leaves into manure. This year the Foundation’s clean-up drive in Biodiversity Park was aimed at clearing the dumped marble/stone rubble that has collected over the years. Debris deteriorates soil quality and its nutrients and causes hindrance in plantation. Latika Thukral, co-founder of iamgurgaon, initiated the drive. Tata Consultancy Services undertook a cleaning drive for a day. Khwahishein Foundation, a voluntary youth organisation that works for the education of underprivileged children, joined the volunteers from Dronah. Latika Sharma, one of the young founders of Khwahishein, headed her team with great enthusiasm. The group of 30 people dedicatedly cleaned a patch. The youngest volunteers were Adit and Advay, the nineyear-old twins from Dronah. u

Give us this day your e-waste...

E-waste is recognised as one of the most perilous components of the world’s waste stream. Effective disposal of e-waste It is all the more vital as the market for mobiles, laptops and other consumer durables is expanding exponentially and the shelf life of electronic gadgets has reduced drastically. Attero has actively spearheaded and executed e-waste collection drives along with prominent corporates such as Tata Consultancy Services, Cairn India, Carrier India, Siemens  and NASSCOM Foundation.


12

Holy Ganga

{ Col TS Dalal (retd.) }

anga has been a source of inspiration for ages to millions of Indians. Emperors and sages, farmers and the common men, have all been its beneficiaries. It is so much a part of our life that we feel we know all about it. But, to the contrary, the more you read about the Ganga, the more you realise how little you really know about it. Because Ganga is not just a river…it is the story of our civilisation. It has been a constant witness to time and history; it has witnessed the rise and fall of great empires. Ganga is integral to our culture and an aspiration for millions of Indians. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in ‘Will & Testament ‘…beloved of her people, around which is intertwined her racial memories, her hopes and fears, her songs of triumph, her victories and her defeats. She has been a symbol of India’s age long culture and civilization, ever changing, ever flowing and yet the same Ganga’. Ganga is known by 108 different names. In heaven it is called Mandakini, in hell it is Pataal Ganga and the other names include Alaknanda, Kali Ganga, Ganga Mata, Bhagwati, Padma and Bhagirathi.

G

Legend on the descent of the Ganga

During the Ashvamedh ceremony by King Sagar, Rishi Kapila’s meditation got disturbed, and in anger he reduced Sagar’s sons to ashes. However, he told the King that his sons would attain heaven if they could be purified with Gangajal, which then flowed in heaven. After many generations came King Bhagirath, who pleased the Gods with his meditations and asked

S ocial

13-19 June 2014

From Heaven To Earthly Pollution for the Ganga to come down to earth. Lord Shiva agreed to catch the river as it fell from heaven into the Mansarovar Lake. The streams from there flowed through Bhagirath, down mountains and across plains, to Kapila’s ashram and then into the ocean. References of this and other legends propounding the greatness of Ganga exist in the Ramayan, Mahabharat, Veds and Upnishads. The legend in Mahabharat, about King Shantnu marrying Goddess Ganga, and the birth of Bhishma Pitamah, is well known.

Sources of Ganga

Mount Kailash, situated at 20,000 ft., is considered to be the home of Ganga, which flows from its slopes into the Mansarovar Lake situated at its feet. The Gangotri Glacier, situated at 10,000 ft. in the Himalayas, is considered as the origin of the Bhagirathi River. The Glacier is 30 kilometers long, and between 2 to 4 kilometers wide. Onwards, at Devprayag, the River acquires the name Ganga - where Bhagirathi meets the Alaknanda. Mandakini, another small river originating from Kedarnath also joins Alaknanda before Devprayag. Alaknanda originates from Vasundhra Falls, a few miles north of Mana, at 18,000 ft., and flows east of Badrinath. Badrinath is famous for its copper-plated roof temple established in the 8th century by Shankracharya. As per tradition, the Chief Priest is always a Nambudri Brahmin from Kerala. Rishikesh is the last Himalayan town and Haridwar (Gate of Vishnu) is the gate to the plains.

The Gangotri Glacier is the origin of the Bhagirathi River. The Glacier is 30 kilometers long and between 2 to 4 kilometers wide. This is considered to be the precise source of the Bhagirathi River, the main channel that forms the Ganga along with some other rivers. Onwards from Devprayag It acquires the name Ganga where Bhagirathi meets the Alaknanda.

History

The known history of the Ganga runs parallel to the Ganga Valley Civilisation, which came up before 1200 BC - immediately after the Indus Valley Civilisation. Hastinapur is the earliest known settlement on the banks of the Ganga, and dates before 1200 BC. From 1200 to 700 BC the Ganga saw the advent of Aryans and witnessed the formation of the Veds and early scriptures along its banks. During 700 to 400 BC, the Upnishads came up along its banks; and 600 to 500 BC was the early Buddhist period. The cities of Champa and Magadh flourished during this period. 400 BC saw the rise of Patliputra. Mahabharat is also believed to have been written during this period. 322 to 183 BC saw the emergence of Ashok and the rise of the Maurya dynasty. In subsequent years many more empires and dynasties - like Guptas, Delhi Sultanat, Mughals and Britishers - flourished along its banks. It has been said that those who control the land of the Ganga control India. Modi seems to have understood this

Ganga flows 2,525 kms. from its source to its confluence at the Bay of Bengal. It covers an area of 9 lakh sq. kms. and irrigates 13 lakh hectares of land.

well and planned accordingly! Abul Fazal wrote in the 16th century, ‘His Majesty Akbar calls this as the source of life, the water of immortality. Both at home and on travels he drinks only Ganga water’. The story of Ganga is incomplete without reference to the Kumbh Mela, this most colourful, religious carnival and the biggest and greatest human gathering on earth. The first written evidence of the Kumbh Mela can be found in the accounts of Chinese monk Hsuan Tsang, who visited India during 629–645 BC, during the reign of King Harshvardhan. The samudramanthan episode (churning of the ocean of milk)

Gangajal

Ganga water has a unique property of ‘self cleansing’, by destroying almost 70% of its harmful bacteria. Its water was examined by great scientists like Dr FC Harrison of McGill University, French physician Dr D Herelle, and Dr CE Nelson - but none could give any clear explanation to this unique ‘electro-chemical’ property of Gangajal. It seems that Ganga, the Goddess, had foreseen the pollution even before coming down to Earth. When King Bhagirath requested Mother Ganga to come down from heaven, Ganga was apprehensive and replied, ‘I do not want to come down to Earth, because people will wash their sins in my bosom. Then where shall I wash these sins, Bhagirath, think yourself about this aspect’ - Shrimad Bhagvad Gita. This great River, which personifies India, its culture and civilization, and remains the holiest of holy rivers, on whose banks great sages and saints have meditated, is today one of the most polluted rivers in the world (5th most polluted as per a 2007 survey). The River contains the germs of Cholera, Typhoid, Hepatitis and Gastroenteritis. It receives the polluted water and domestic sewage of 100 towns. Varanasi , a city of one million people alone, releases around 200 million litres of untreated human sewage into the River each day, leading to large concentrations of coliform bacteria. According to official standards, water that is safe for bathing should not contain more than 500 coliforms per 100ml; at Varanasi’s ghats the river water contains 60,000 coliform bacteria per 100 ml.!

is mentioned in the Bhagvat Puran, Vishnu Puran, Mahabharat and the Ramayan. Legend goes that the devas (gods) had lost their strength due to the curse of Durvasa Muni, and to regain it they approached Lord Vishnu, who instructed them to churn the ocean to receive amrit (the nectar of immortality). This required them to make a temporary agreement with their arch enemies, the asuras (demons), to work together with a promise of sharing the wealth equally thereafter. However, when the kumbh (urn) containing the amrit appeared, a fight ensued. For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the devas and asuras fought in the sky for the pot of amrit. During the battle Lord Vishnu (incarnated as Mohini-Mürti) flew away with the kumbh of elixir, spilling drops of amrit at five places: Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain, Nashik and Chatardham. The Kumbh Mela is therefore celebrated every twelve years at Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. The Maha Kumbh Mela, which comes after 12 ‘Purna Kumbh Melas’, or 144 years, is held at Prayag (Allahabad).

Recent History

In 1996 a 30-year Treaty was signed - India and Bangladesh would each receive 50% of the water. However, within a year, the flow at Farakka fell to levels far below the historic average, making it impossible to implement the guaranteed sharing of water. The dispute on water sharing remains a bone of contention between the two neighbours. In 1984 the Govt of India constituted a Central Pollution Control Board under the Ganga Action Plan. Between 1985 and 2000, more than Rs 20,000 crores have been spent on the Ganga Action Plan, without any tangible results. It has been the largest single attempt to clean up a polluted river anywhere in the world. The Plan has been a disaster, mainly due to faulty environmental planning, corruption and a lack of technical knowledge. Over its journey through the plains, the Ganga is polluted a million fold. Even a river that meets 25% of India’s water requirements cannot absorb so must filth. A plan should involve every village, town and city that falls on Ganga’s banks. PM Modi’s govt has now created a separate Ministry of Water Resources & Ganga Rejuvenation, under Uma Bharti. Let us see how far they are successful in cleaning the dirt of centuries and restoring the Holy Ganga to the Nation.u


13-19 June 2014

B on V ivant

13

{ Barnali Dutta / FG }

P

rior to stepping out of the very first of her teenage years, Malavath Purna, the daughter of poor farmers from Nizamabad region in the newly formed state of Telengana, had created a record. Literally making a molehill out of the mighty mountain, Purna had scaled Mount Everest - becoming the youngest mountaineer to achieve this rare feat. Her brave deed has provided a fillip to Adventure Sports in India. Apart from mountain climbing, the other activities in this recreation include skydiving, paragliding, hang-gliding, hot air ballooning, surfing, canoeing, kayaking, skating, skiing, rock climbing, trekking, bungee jumping, zip-lining and cross country rallies (on bicycles and automobiles both 2 & 4 wheelers). Natural geo-physical phenomena, such as topography and climate, play a key role in Adventure Sports. For instance, few would dream of mountaineering or rock-climbing on bald stretches of land. Closer home, there is no scope to pursue and practise the thrills of skydiving or hang-gliding in Gurgaon. Skydiving is not possible due to the absence of a high cliff or a vast stretch of tall ridges; further, the aerospace of this City overlaps both the landing and take-off flight paths of the IGI Airport. Thankfully, however, this City can offer a choice of other Adventure Sports. Thanks to some enterprising outfits engaged in promoting outdoor recreation and organising mini to mega events, the dreams of Adventure buffs - to experience the thrills of the outdoors - have come true. Among the pioneers is a dental

A Bird’s Eye View! surgeon-turned- entrepreneur, Dr. Aanchal Khurana, the owner and Managing Director of Kakini Enterprises. She has been the live wire in mobilising the interest towards Adventure Sports, and skydiving in particular, among the citizens of Gurgaon (for experiencing elsewhere, of course). She is the winner of numerous national awards. She recalls her first experience in Skydiving and how thrilled she was to take on the sport from the very first day. “My first jump was after a long wait, well after I finished my rigorous training. Up there, at 4,500 feet, there was a different kind of feeling. Was it fear? Probably not, but my heart was beating very fast. I heard the jumpmaster’s voice saying ‘Go’. Something inside me kept moving me forward and to the ‘exit’…something that was stronger than the gush-

In a Tandem Jump the participant is connected via a harness to the instructor. The instructor guides the participant through the whole jump, from exit through free-fall, piloting the canopy and landing. The participant needs only minimal instruction before making a Tandem Jump. The training may take a maximum of two hours. It is a leisure jump where the instructor remains primarily responsible for the safe and timely parachute deployment. The Jump is carried out at 10,000 ft. In a Static jump the participant jumps alone with his/her parachute, and the parachute is deployed by itself immediately after the person leaves the plane - regardless of any action taken or not taken by the parachutist. An instructor in the aircraft assists in the ‘jump’ from the aircraft, and another instructor on the ground helps with the landing - by giving instructions through radio. The Jump is carried out at 4,000 ft. In Accelerated Free-Fall (AFF) two instructors jump with the participant during their first three AFF jumps. On these jumps the instructors hold on to the participant until he/she deploys his/her own parachute. The AFF instructors are not physically connected to the participant, other than their grip holds on the participant. Once the participant’s parachute is deployed the instructors fly away and deploy their own parachutes. To maximize safety, sport skydivers wear two parachutes - one main and one reserve. Additionally, skydivers use a variety of altitude-sensing devices in order to know when to deploy their parachutes.

ing wind, stronger than the fear of heights and stronger than any reasoning. I do not know what I muttered. They were the longest five seconds of my life. Those five seconds taught me about real adventure and real fear, and inner strength - which all of us have, but are seldom aware of. And then I jumped. That jump gave birth to Skyriders (part of Kakini Enterprises). Kakini is an Indian conglomerate holding company that operates five major segments: Skydiving and Aero Sports (Skyriders), Non-Scheduled Aircraft Operations (Skyriders Aviation), Aqua Sports, Trading and Education. Skydiving is flying in the air like a bird, using your limbs to manoeuvre. It is real flying. Skydiving is an extreme sport. Till quite recently it was practised only in the armed forces. In United States alone this sport is enjoyed by at least 3 million people every year. There are more than 1,200 drop zones in the US.

Summing up, Dr Anchal says, “Skydiving is not just a sport; it is a fundamental change in the way you experience life. Every skydive comes with a promise of being a different experience and bringing along a whole new perspective. It is a shorttime event, but it will give you skyrocketing energy, a boost of confidence and a revitalisation of your senses. It is unadulterated, intoxicant energy drug that makes you high on Nature! India is blessed with a geographically diverse terrain, which holds promise for thrilling adventures. Be it a glacier or a frozen river traverse, extreme skiing or snowboarding, alpine summits, water sports of varying types and degree, sky diving/base jumping or simply nature trails, there is tremendous potential across India for every adven-

turist – be he/she an exploring wanderer, a hardcore Nature enthusiast or a raw adrenaline junkie. We did bring the skydiving experience to the civilian population of this country and have been working tirelessly to get India on the world map of skydiving.” She would one day like to be airborne in the open, along the skyline of Gurgaon. Most of the skydiving adventures are organised by Dr. Anchal in parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal. Speaking of a recent event held at Mysore, she recalls, “To my surprise I saw a lot of people from Gurgaon; they had travelled all the way to Mysore to experience this thrilling sport. Seeing this enthusiastic and encouraging response I have started offering attractive deals and packages to Gurgaonites.”u

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14 Be Deeply Mindful

S piritual

13-19 June 2014

{ Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

T

here is power in concentration. It is a skill that enables us to fix our attention on one single thought or subject, while at the same time excluding everything else from our awareness. When we focus our mind, we conserve our energies and do not dissipate them on irrelevant thoughts or activities. This is why developing concentration is vital for anyone aspiring to be more efficient; this skill is vital for success in any endeavour. Without it, our efforts tend to get scattered. Various thoughts claim our attention constantly, wasting our time and energy on unimportant and useless matters. In fact they often come to rule our life. We have become so used to this condition that we regard it as natural – like breathing. While breathing we do not need to pay attention to each inhalation and exhalation; we become conscious of the process of breathing only when we have some difficulty - such as when our nose is clogged due to a bad cold. It is the same with thinking. We become conscious of the constant onslaught of our thoughts and of our inability to calm them down only when we need to concentrate, solve a problem or study. We are also acutely aware of them when we have worries or fears. Examine this familiar situation. ‘You need to study something for your job or for an exam. You sit comfortably on the sofa with the book in your hands and start reading. After a while you feel hungry and go to the kitchen to eat something. You return to the book, but a few moments later you hear people talking outside. You listen to them for several moments and then bring your attention back to the book. After a while you feel restless and switch on the music. You continue reading a little while more and then remember an incident that happened just the day before…and start thinking about it. When you look at your watch you are amazed to discover that an hour has passed and you have hardly read anything’. This is what happens when you lack concentration. Imagine what we could accomplish if we could control our attention and focus our mind. The rays of the sun, when focused upon an object by means of a sunglass, produce a heat many times greater than the scattered rays of the same source of light and heat. This is true of attention too. Scatter it and we get but ordinary results; but centre it upon one thing and we secure far better results. When we focus our attention upon an object, our every action, voluntary and involuntary, is in the direction of attaining that object. If we focus our energies upon something to the exclusion of everything else, we generate a force that can bring us what we want. Though the concept of mindfulness or concentration originates in ancient Buddhist, Hindu and Chinese traditions, when it comes to experimental psychology, mindfulness is less about spirituality and more about concentration: of the ability to quiet our mind, focus our attention on the present and dismiss any distractions that come our way. Mindful thought could lead to improvements on the measures of cognitive function and even vital functions. Daily meditation could shift frontal brain activity towards a pattern that is associated with what cognitive scientists call positive, approach-oriented emotional states - which make us more likely to engage with the world than withdraw from it. The greatest difficulty we come across in attaining concentration is in controlling a horde of thoughts that endlessly rush into our minds.

We may try to quiet our minds, but the most heterogeneous and irrelevant thoughts will persist in assailing us. Time and again the mind will stray away and has to be brought back. It is only through practice that we can control the wavering mind, hold it and keep it where we want. Try to become absorbed in one thought at a time. No one can do many things at once…effectively. For the moment, leave every other issue except the one on which you have decided to focus your attention. Do not strain. Be relaxed. Be interested in what you are doing. Become absorbed in it. The curse of modern work culture is in multitasking - often leading to our wasting (unfocused) energy on trying to do tens of things together. Mindfulness thankfully can help even here (there is more to it than helping us regulate our emotions). We would like to believe that our attention is infinite, but it is not. In multitasking we shift our attention rapidly from task to task. Two bad things happen as a result. We do not devote as much attention to any one thing and we sacrifice the quality of our attention. In recent years mindfulness training has been shown to improve connectivity inside our brain’s attention networks, as well as between attention and medial frontal regions - changes that save us from distraction. Mindfulness, in other words, helps our attention networks communicate better and with fewer interruptions than they otherwise would. (Increased meditation practice has been associated with enhanced connectivity between the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain involved in attention monitoring and working memory, and the right part - an area that is associated with how well we can monitor our own feelings and thoughts). Not only could this increased connectivity make us better able to switch between tasks and monitor our own attention, but it also is indicative of more effective overall management of our finite attention resources. Mindfulness training has even been shown to affect the brain’s default network - the network of connections that remains active when we are in a ‘resting’ state. With regular meditation, practitioners exhibit increased resting state functional connectivity, and increased connectivity in general. After a dose of mindfulness the default network has greater consistent access to information about our internal states and an enhanced ability to monitor the surrounding environment. Successful people have learnt that results can only be produced by untiring, focused, dedicated and concentrated effort. Miracles in life rarely happen. The successful get used to getting things accomplished and always feel sure of success. Many inventors have even been misunderstood by relatives and friends. Very often they did not have the bare necessities of life; yet, by sheer determination and resolute courage, they managed to cope and kept perfecting their work. While everyone wants to do something, there are few that will put the needed effort and make the necessary sacrifices to ensure a positive outcome. Have a big heart and the obstacles will begin to look smaller. Of course this is also true in the reverse. Persons who fail often get used to seeing failure, expect it…and get it. Do not expect that you will always have easy sailing. The way you weather the storms will show what material you are made of. Concentration means inner vigilance and alertness. There are thieves all around us and within us. Fear, doubt, worry and anxiety are inner thieves that are trying to steal our inner poise and peace of mind. When we

learn how to concentrate, it becomes very difficult for these forces to enter into us. Concentration is the mind’s dynamic will that operates in us for our acceptance of light and rejection of darkness. Concentration is the surest way to reach our goal – whether it is of self-realisation or merely the fulfillment of human desires. An aspirant acquires the power of concentration through either constant practice or the use of modern neurological techniques that increase the brainpower. Modern research shows that the brain does not improve overnight - we have to work at it consistently. We are literally reshaping our brain every moment. We can start by building habits that lead to increased brainpower in our daily schedules. When it is time to study or remember something new, we need to switch our breathing to a slower and deeper level. Deep breathing actually changes the way our brain works, by inducing the brain’s electrical pulses to switch to Theta waves. To activate our Theta waves, we should switch our breathing to our lower abdomen. We should start breathing deeply from our stomach, consciously slowing our rate of breathing too. After a few moments we should feel calmer, the Theta waves should be flowing in our brain, and we should feel more receptive to new information. Many studies confirm that 20 (and above) minutes of meditation per day improves our concentration and attention span. Focusing on our breathing, known as mindfulness meditation, is one of the simplest ways to meditate. Start with ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes before bedtime. In addition, proper sleep, the intake of vitamins and other supplements, eating healthier and stimulating the brain through brain games, are also very conducive in increasing our brain’s concentration. Concentration has great spiritual power. Of course there have been cases of ‘negative enlightenment’ also, which led to persons becoming megalomaniacs. Concentration is one of the paths for attaining self-realisation – the attainment of Nirvana (Buddhism) and the achievement of unwavering intelligence (Bhagvad Gita). Both these states of consciousness lead to the attainment of everlasting bliss. u Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 25 years. He can be contacted at rabhola@yahoo.com

Weed ‘em out { Shobha Lidder } Weed out hate, weed out anger Weed out malice, weed out rancour Weed out laziness, weed out procrastination Weed out delays & hesitations Weed out resentment & discontentment Weed out expectations from near & dear Weed out doubts & fears Weed out boredom & disappointment Weed out low self-esteem Weed out depression & inferiority complex Weed out dependency, grape wine tendency Weed out false pride and self-conceit Weed out envy, weed out disease Weed out panic, phobia & rife Weed out desire to lead someone’s life Then your garden Will be full of love, peace & power pure Joy, bliss & wisdom clear You will be the flower of delight See light, be right. Writer, Journalist, Teacher, Trainer, Social Activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer


W ellness

13-19 June 2014

Health & Vitality... Naturally! { Jaspal Bajwa }

I

s extreme heat or extreme cold more difficult on the body? Depending on the context, both can prove daunting. At such times is there a simple way to keep the body, mind and spirit together? Proper hydration of the body can not only quench our thirst, but also provide a vitality boost – making us feel refreshed and energetic, under a glowing skin. Our body depends on water for survival. Every cell in the body needs water, to function. When the delicate balance of electrolytes - such as potassium and sodium - is upset, all bodily functions can be impaired, because of the disruption of important messaging between cells. Water, which is two thirds of our body, is critical for transporting nutrients, sending electric signals and providing lubrication, while also helping excrete waste and toxins. Dehydration risks in hot climates are well known. Less common is the knowledge that extreme cold weather dries the skin and lays us open to fatigue, colds and flu. It takes as little as a 2% decrease in body water to impact our sports’ performance. A 3-4% decrease can increase the heart rate, BP and body temperature. Serious complications such as kidney

Cooling Herbal Teas Tip of the Week

failure and loss of consciousness, coma and death can follow in extreme cases of dehydration. Particular care should be taken by the vulnerable segments – those who live in weather extremes (both hold and cold) or at high altitudes (8000 feet +). Other ‘at-risk’ populations are women, children, the obese and those undergoing severe medical treatments like chemotherapy. Although water can be found in fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, tomatoes and lettuce, by far the best hydration option is clean (ideally spring) water. This is followed closely by alkalising beverages like Herbal Teas -

also called ‘Tisanes’ (Greek for barley water). Milk and yoghurt drinks (like lassi, kefir) and unsweetened fruit or vegetable juices are good too. Up to a point even coffee, tea and soda count towards adequate water intake – however, these are often laced with dollops of sugars. Replacing caffeinated beverages, sodas or sweetened juices with nourishing herbal infusions or tisanes can unleash a powerhouse of nourishment and energy. By choosing these alkalising beverages, we are tilting the balance towards healthful nourishment without consuming extra calories - and at a very modest cost.

Fermented Fundas { Alka Gurha }

I

n our daily life we use several fermented foods and beverages - like cheese, pickles, wine and beer. Fermentation is also employed in the leavening of bread and in preservation techniques. Simply put, fermentation is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and organic acids using micro-organisms such as yeasts or bacteria. The science of fermentation is also known as Zymology. Various cultures have been eating fermented foods for decades - like Sauerkraut in Germany or Kimichi in Korea. Evidence indicates that early civilisations were fermenting beverages (making wine and beer) almost 7,000 years ago - in Babylon around 5000 BC, in ancient Egypt circa 3150 BC and in Sudan circa 1500 BC. There is also evidence of leavened bread in

ancient Egypt around 1500 BC. Most fermented foods are easily digestible. Natural fermentation of foods is said to preserve the nutrients in food and help break the food down to a more digestible form; fermentation pre-digests the foods, making

the nutrients more available. The fermentation process increases certain nutrients, like the Vitamin C content. When we eat fermented foods like yoghurt or drink fermented drinks like wine, we introduce beneficial bacteria into

Start and end the day with a glass of water. Keeping a reusable non-plastic water bottle handy can be a smart way to imbibe the required 8-10 glasses in a day. A zesty option is to add a slice of lemon or lime. Another option is to brew Herbal Tea at home and carry it, iced, in a thermos. A flavourful, crisp and aromatic herbal infusion can help keep us perked up through the day. A little Stevia leaf can be added for a touch of sweetness. Herbal infusions or decoctions can easily be preserved as syrups for a year, by adding an equal quantity of honey or unrefined sugar and then gently heating - while stirring - to thicken the syrup. They can be stored in a cool dark place, in small glass jars. Nature’s Wonder Food(s) of the Week: Cooling Herbal Teas, Tisanes & Infusions Just as celery, watermelons and cucumbers have cooling properties, certain refrigerant our digestive system. This, along with the probiotics created during the fermentation process, improves digestion. Probiotics are said to improve bowel health, aid digestion and improve immunity. Having the proper balance of gut bacteria and enough digestive enzymes also helps in absorbing more nutrients from our food. Fermentation also helps in the preservation of certain food products. Have you noticed that homemade salsa lasts a few days in the refrigerator, but that fermented salsa lasts much longer? The same goes for pickles and other garden foods like olives. Since milk is extremely perishable, many methods have been developed to preserve it. The earliest and the most common was fermentation. Milk can be fermented by inoculating fresh milk with the appropriate bacteria and keeping it at a temperature that favors bacterial growth. As the bacteria grow, they convert milk sugar (lactose) to lactic acid.  The lowered pH caused by lactic acid preserves the milk by preventing

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herbs too can help us remain cool as also help balance the ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ energies of our bodies. In addition to being delightfully nourishing and tasty, these beverages are also naturally alkalising for the body. Several herbs like Lemongrass, Peppermint, Chrysanthemum, Lemon Balm, Lavender, Spearmint, Chamomile, Rose petals, Basil, Ginger and Hibiscus flowers are particularly high on the ‘cooling index’. In addition, there are several other interesting Herbal Teas – including Stinging Nettle for energy, Red Clover blossoms to prevent cancer, Comfrey leaves for aiding memory, Linden blossoms to counter inflammation and Raspberry leaves for uterine health. Any of these herbs can be enjoyed separately or combined in an endless array of creative mixes. Adding in some Green Tea can always be an interesting way to spike up the catechin (antioxidant) content. Some examples of interesting summer blends are: Green Apple, Peppermint Lemon Basil, Lemon rind, Basil with a hint of Stevia leaf Lavender, Rose petals, Borage blossoms with a touch of Rosehips Lemongrass, Ginger, Hibiscus and Calendula Hibiscus and Chrysanthemum.u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition). For education purposes only; always the growth of pathogenic bacteria, which do not grow well in acid conditions. Techniques like ‘lacto-fermentation’ were discovered out of the necessity to preserve foods for long periods of time without the use of refrigeration or canning. According to microbiologists, lactic acid – a byproduct of fermentation - is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of putrefying bacteria.  Side Effects: When food ferments it produces certain byproducts like alcohol, carbonic acid and ammonia, which can be harmful. Moreover, fermented foods are usually processed and preserved over a period of weeks (or even months). The longer a food is held in storage, the lowe Try to purchase fermented foods (yoghurt, cultured buttermilk, fermented cottage cheese, kefir, sauerkraut) from stores that specialise in natural foods. Make sure to purchase products that are raw and unpasteurised, as the pasteurisation process kills the good bacteria.u


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Decoding the Namo-nama EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

Letter To The Editor Dear Editor, This week two articles made a very interesting reading. ‘The New Social Contract’ gave a deep insight into the CSR activity indulged in by the corporate houses in Gurgaon and NCR. Another article ‘Kick that habit’ on the de-addiction centre by the name ‘Life skills’ run by Meena Iyer also focused on the pioneering work being carried out on alcoholics and drug addicts in Gurgaon. The millenium city is getting infamous for liquor vends at every street corner, luring the vulnerable youth and labour class into the addiction. What is not pointed out in the article is the increasing number of well to do females getting sucked into addiction via social drinking. Never the less the effort of ‘Life Skills’ is laudable. Thanks and regards, Ashok Lal ablsl1971@yahoo.co.in

- Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas: To come good on the hopes & aspirations of every Indian by setting the right environment for development - Ek Bharat – Shreshtha Bharat: building a united, strong, self-reliant and self-confident India; a resurgent India - 5Ts: Brand India: Tradition, Talent, Tourism, Trade, Technology - 3Ds: India’s Opportunity: Democracy, Demography, Demand Enabled by: - Minimum Government, Maximum Governance: rationalising and converging Ministries, Departments and other arms; practicing good governance; exhibiting and ensuring no tolerance for corruption; building confidence and morale of the bureaucracy - Co-operative Federalism: reviving the Federal spirit in a Federal polity; building Team India – Centre + States - Applying Learnings/Best Practices from individual States across the Nation: working on State-specific development models (eg different for coastal, hilly or desert areas) Specific actions on: - Food Inflation: increasing supply (domestic & imported), cracking down on hoarding and black-marketing, reforming PDS; preparing a contingency plan for a poor monsoon; modifying MNREGA with a focus on the creation of assets and improvement of basic infrastructure - Agriculture: reviewing and reforming endto-end (infrastructure, scientific practices, technology, pricing, procurement, crop insurance, post harvest management); sharply focusing on irrigation and water harvesting; promoting Animal Husbandry & the Food Processing industry - National Land Use Policy: undertaking a scientific identification of non-cultivable land and ensuring its strategic development - Digital India: preparing a National e-governance Plan; introducing Broadband Highways to every village; e-enabling all schools; developing e-Bhasha (Indian languages) content; setting up a National e-Library - Social: ensuring that by 2022 (75 years after Independence) every family has a pucca house

with water connection, toilet and power; working towards poverty elimination…not just poverty alleviation; helping improve the quality of life of the people, esp. in rural India – through a Rurban life (ending the urban-rural ‘divide’); launching the Swachh Bharat Mission – ensuring there are no homes without toilets and no litter is strewn in public places; bringing development to the doorsteps of STs, with the Scheduled Tribes Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana and building Tribal hamlets -Youth: Involving youth in development moving from thoughts on Youth Development, to Youth-led Development; making the youth employable - har haath ko hunar; working towards a Skilled India There seems to be a Water/Jal (Vaastu or Gujarat?) fixation: For the first time India’s long coastline has been seen as a gateway to prosperity. Modi talks of Ports-led Development – modernisation of ports; new world-class ports; the Sagar Mala project - rail/road/river connectivity of ports with the hinterland; inland and coastal waterways; the Ganga Project; and a National Maritime Authority. Even in Agriculture, Modi seems quite obsessed with irrigation and water. The only PM-named Mission is the ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana’ – offering ‘har khet ko paani’; then there is ‘J al Sanchay and Jal Sinchan’ (water harvesting & irrigation), and the micro irrigation initiative – ‘per drop - more crop’.

- Women: ensuring 33% reservation in Parliament and all Legislatures; exhibiting and ensuring zero tolerance to violence against women; saving and educating the girl child Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao - North East and J&K: improving intraregion connectivity and border infrastructure; preventing infiltration and illegal immigration; ensuring the return of Kashmiri Pandits - Economic: working on Tax rationalisation & simplification; introducing GST; making it easier to do business; allowing flexibility in FDI, based on creation of jobs & assets; promoting tourism; developing global manufacturing hubs for labour intensive industries – through Skill, Scale and Speed; setting up world class investment and industry regions/corridors and a network of freight corridors; ensuring PPP/innovative financing for infrastructure development; modernising railways and setting up a Diamond Quadrilateral high speed


13-19 June 2014

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Namo-nama train network as well as an agri-rail network; modernizing ports, setting up new world class ports and providing them good connectivity to the hinterland; allowing private investment in the coal sector; ensuring that no discretionary powers will be used for the allocation of scarce resources; looking at the burgeoning urbanisation as an opportunity – developing 100 now cities focused on specialised domains and offering world class amenities and integrated infrastructure - Environmental: The Ganga River Project; conserving the Himalayan ecology; setting up a Central University of Himalayan Studies Tourism: preserving National Heritage sites; developing 50 theme-based Tourist circuits; encouraging Pilgrimage Tourism - Defence: allowing FDI and privatisation in design and production of Defence equipment; developing India as a global Defence base for manufacturing and software; setting up a Veterans’ Commission; constructing a National War Memorial; approving the One Rank One Pension policy - Security: modernising the infrastructure and equipment of the Police and security forces and providing them better working conditions; tackling narco-terrorism & cyber threats - Foreign Policy: focusing on SAARC, Japan, China and US; exposing and utilising India’s ‘softpower’ potential – the Spiritual, Cultural and Philosophical heritage. January 2015 – special Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas – 100th anniversary of Gandhi’s return to India By 2019, say with confidence and pride: ‘We have done it’. Comments It is clear that PM Modi understands English very well indeed. He has already warned Parliamentarians of a heavy legislative agenda. Can he do justice to both Agriculture and Industry – time and resource wise? It seems difficult. The answer may lie in the Food Processing Industry. IITs & IIMs in every State? AIIMS-like institutes in every State? A bit too much? Is there no need for the new Direct Taxes Code? What is the big idea on Solar Energy?

Ek Bharat – Shreshtha Bharat Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas Minimum Government, Maximum Governance Poverty elimination…not just poverty alleviation Youth Development to Youth-led Development Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana Swachh Bharat Mission Har khet ko paani Jal Sanchay, Jal Sinchan Per drop - more crop Har haath ko hunar Skilled India Digital India Skill, Scale and Speed 5Ts – Tradition, Talent, Tourism, Trade, Technology 3Ds – Democracy, Demography, Demand India’s ‘softpower’ potential – Spiritual, Cultural and Philosophical heritage

National Priorities National Education Policy National Multi-Skill Mission National Sports Talent Search System Swachh Bharat Mission National Health Assurance Mission National Energy Policy National Land Use Policy National e-governance plan National e-Bhasha Mission National Mission on Himalayas National Mission on Pilgrimage Tourism National Madarsa Modernisation Programme PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana National Maritime Authority National War Memorial

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13-19 June 2014

A Dancer’s Expressions { Meenu Thakur Sankalp } Communication is the first thing we really learn in life. Funny thing is, once we grow up, learn our words and really start talking, the harder it becomes to know what to say. Or how to ask for what we really need’ - Meredith Grey

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here is an intriguing similarity in the spectacular communicative skills of two known faces on television. One of them is a cricket commentator and politician, who admittedly fumbled for words in press conferences during his playing days; the other is a musician-singer turned reality show judge, a self-confessed motor mouth, who was not much of a communicator during his early days in the film industry. The unbelievable turn-around of

both is self-evident, as the gentlemen are today more than a match for their respective co-hosts and have gained immense popularity, thanks to their newfound ability to communicate effectively with a television-viewing audience. This leads us to ask two questions: Is communication a substitute for talent? Has entertainment become a PR exercise? Though there is no substitute for true talent, it is quite clear that today it can often be dwarfed by an inability to communicate. There are many extremely talented performers who do not get their due because they cannot ‘showcase’ their skills - much like the talented Indian performers of the pre-Independence era, who suffered from the handicap of not being able to converse in English during their overseas trips. The English press often overlooked their achievements, and instead jeered at the appear-

{ Sureena Dalal }

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enice’s weather is like a moody teenager, happy now and then grumpy the next moment sunshine one minute and rain the other. I see a group of 40-odd people of different nationalities standing on a deck in Piazza S Marco, waiting to board a water bus that will take us to the glassy Murano…yes, glassy, not classy…and lacy Burano Islands. These islands are located towards the north of Venice and come under its territory, mainly for trade and political issues. The water bus arrives and I soon realise that no matter where they come from - be it the boisterous States or the cultured Japan- they all behave like the bustling youth of our nation at the Rajiv Chowk metro station in Delhi. Speaking in different languages maybe, but with the same goal Grab The Seat! As we start the journey I see that there is water everywhere. Yes, everywhere, because it’s raining and we are in the middle of a sea. Since there is nothing to admire at this point of time, I think of catching up with my sleep. About half an hour later we reach Murano Island, which is off the shore of Venice (Venezia). This Island has only one building – the Murano Glass Factory - which looks more like a factory abandoned in the 70s. We are then taken inside the working area of the factory, where a man, looking a 100 years or more, is demonstrating a glass horse and a flower vase to anybody who comes to meet him. We are again forced to make a line (flashback: School

ance, colour and dress of the ‘dumb, naive natives’. One can draw a relevant parallel from the field of dance. It was once aptly remarked that the best dancers were never great (verbal) communicators and the best of such communicators never were great dancers. Indian Classical Dancers, to be more precise, have not been very good verbal communicators. Though they are genial in expressing themselves on stage through their craft, it cannot be denied that an audi-

ence that is not well versed with the technical aspects of regional dances cannot identify with the dancers’ performances if the nuances are not explained in a language that they can understand. Also, most of the dancers who are classically trained belong to the socially deprived strata of society; these artistes often live in small villages and towns, practising craft that has been passed down for generations. They learn dance as a passion, with no thought for monetary gain. Many are afraid to leave their towns, and are not even aware of any organisations that promote art and culture. These simpleminded dancers are ‘exploited’ by ‘established’ organisations and ‘connoisseurs’ of art and culture – ‘educated’ in ‘top’ public schools and universities, able to talk ‘smoothly’ and dress ‘suavely - who ‘corner’ the sponsorships on behalf of these hapless dancers whom they claim to represent. Scouting for dancers and singer-accompanists from far away villages and towns, these exploiters often present group performances and ‘innovative’ choreographies, using the services of these ‘voiceless’ dancers. The grants that were intended to promote endangered

The Murano-Burano Islands

assemblies) at the factory outlet, wihch showcases their works. It is a twostoreyed building, where I can see myself everywhere. It seems that they got too serious about their work and embedded mirrors everywhere - be it the corridor, the staircase, the doors and the walls. The work is amazing, but you cannot take any photos because the authorities think that you may copy their creations (bah!). I mean, how sad

B on V ivant

is that! Little do they know that ‘India’s Got Talent’ – but I do manage to sneak a few shots. They themselves have made imitations of Picasso’s paintings in glass; and then they have a glass globe, which is stunning (as is the price). There is glass jewellery, crockery and cutlery. Everything pure, clean and shiny glass – I am mesmerised. Back to the boat, and we now head for the world heritage Burano

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art forms and ‘struggling’ dancers are usurped by these frauds. These ‘event organisers’ pay a pittance to the performing artists. Only a few artists are able to find their voice and demand their due. However, computer literacy has come to the help of many ‘mute’ dancers. Social networking sites have contributed to bringing dancers and related people in the performing arts closer. Artists have now begun to make themselves heard, have formed networks and even a ‘friendship zone’ between musicians, dancers and the organisers of art and cultural events. They now often liaise with one another directly - without intermediaries. All dancers must introspect and make a concerted effort to communicate freely, not only in their native tongue but also in Hindi or English. Talent should never be allowed to lapse into obscurity due to the lack of communication skills. Apart from their expression in theatre performances, dancers need to be able to effectively express themselves verbally too.u The Writer is a renowned Kuchipudi Danseuse and Choreographer

Island. It is a small island located in the Venetian lagoon, approximately 7-8 kms from Venice. The moment I get down from the boat there is the very welcoming sight of brightly coloured buildings, which somehow remind me of my dry pastel box back home. This Island is famous for its lace work and heritage buildings dating back to the 15th Century. I go to one of the shops and see a lady nicely dressed in lace garments, sitting and making a handkerchief, and murmuring under her breath. From what I can understand she is saying, “See, you spend thousands just to look at me.” In that shop you can find masks, dresses, table cloths, mats, aprons, gloves, etc. - all made with lace, in beautiful, intricate designs. Some of them even have glitter. There is also a Lace Museum. Stepping out of the shop you will see many typical trattoria Buranella (restaurants of Burano where you can eat fresh fish). Then there is The San Martino Bishops Church. There is of course the Town Hall, where every Wednesday morning a street market is set up. I spend a good hour there, just looking and drooling over those pretty things, completely intoxicated by the showcased designs. Later I visit another island called Torcello. Here, the very old church of Santa Fosca has a unique octagonal frame and beautiful 15th Century sculptures. Torcello is one of the oldest inhabited islands of Venetia; there are about 100 people staying there. I finally decide to call it a day and head back to Venice. It is pitch dark on arrival but thankfully it is no longer not pouring. Now that I am surrounded by water again, I think of catching up with my sleep.u


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‘Waiting’s the worst part’

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arc’s second heart weighs more than 10 kilograms and is mounted on wheels. It goes wherever he does; and though it keeps him alive, it also gets in the way of a 15-year-old boy’s life.
“I’d like to ride a bicycle or play table tennis. Or go on holiday,” Marc said. “But I can’t.”
Marc Vales is from the Bavarian town of Amberg and has been waiting for a donor heart for over a year. He has had six major heart operations, and since his kidneys don’t function properly any more either, he has dialysis treatments three times a week. But he is not giving up. While the dialysis proceeds, his external heart - the size of a small trolley bag - does its pumping, nurses monitor the data and Marc concentrates on his mathematics’ exercises. In just a few weeks he plans to take his exams for graduation from Marc has secondary school.
 a ‘congenital cardiomyopathy’, a weakness of the heart muscle. Though very rare, “it’s the main cause of heart transplants in children and adolescents,” remarked Sven Dittrich, Head of the Department of Paediatric Cardiology at the Erlangen University Hospital in Bavaria.
“Cardiomyopathies are killers,” Dittrich said, noting that the symptoms often went unrecognised at first. Who expects a child to have a heart problem?
At the age of 9, Marc got his first heart pacemaker, and it served him well for five years. But in November 2012, his heart’s weakness showed up with a vengeance. During a traineeship with the company where his father works, Marc continually felt nauseous. Initially everyone suspected influenza, but when his condition worsened a paediatrician examined his heart and sent him straight to a hospital.
Upon hearing the diagnosis, “our world fell apart,” said his mother, Claudia Vales, 43.
 Marc underwent several operations, one of which went very badly - his liver and kidneys failing and his entire body turning blue. Since then he has required dialysis. “We’ve been told four times that he wouldn’t make it,” his mother said.
“The disease’s course has been extreme,” Dittrich said. Marc not only needs a new heart, but will also need a kidney transplant at some point.
He was in the intensive care unit for 11 weeks and spent nearly a year at the

Tubes inserted in the abdomen of Marc Vales, 15. Marc has a congenital cardiomyopathy and is being treated in the children’s cardiac ward of Erlangen University Hospital.

Daniel Karmann

{ Catherine Simon/Erlangen, Germany/ DPA }

The artificial heart machine used by Marc Vales, 15. Marc has a congenital cardiomyopathy and is being treated in the children’s cardiac ward of Erlangen University Hospital.

Marc Vales, 15, with Doctor Sven Dietrich (right). Marc, who has a congenital cardiomyopathy, is undergoing dialysis at the children’s cardiac ward of Erlangen University Hospital in Germany.

she adds.
“It’s tragic, really, that he still hasn’t got a heart.” said Dittrich, who pointed out that the number of donors had plummeted since a scandal broke in Germany in 2012 - over doctors alleged to have falsified patients’ medical files to push them up on organ transplant lists. The number of transplants fell by 40 per cent last year, he said.
“We clearly notice that. Waiting periods for new organs have lengthened dramatically - in some cases unbearably so.”
Nineteen children in Germany up to the age of 15 were on the waiting list for a doMarc Vales, 15, with his father, Andre Vales (right), in the children’s cardiac ward of Erlangen University Hospital. hospital. Losing patience one day he burst into tears and said, “Mama, I want to have a new heart.”
 A 5-year-old girl with an artificial heart was sharing his hospital room. “He saw that he wasn’t alone,” his mother said. In January 2013 Marc was put on a waiting list for a donor heart. Meanwhile he received an artificial heart, to bridge the time until transplantation with a real one.
“I’ve always told him that he’s got to see the machine as his best friend, because without it he wouldn’t be around any more,” his mother said. In November, Marc was allowed to go home. “That,” his mother said, “was a ray of hope” - and quite unusual as well. “A child with an artificial heart has never been at home before.”
Dittrich agreed that it was unusual. “After long discussions we entered some uncharted territory with Marc,” he said.
The move seems to be working. “At the moment,” Marc said, “I’m doing well again with the device.”
Several times

a week he has to lie quietly for hours, and the complicated contraption consisting of a pump and tubes is attached to his midriff, 24x7. The strapping makes it hard to take a shower, and going to a swimming pool is out of the question. “I can’t simply visit friends,” Marc said. So they come to see him.
 He stopped going to school a year and a half ago. Teachers have been giving him lessons in German, mathematics and English at home and at the Hospital. When he is at home, either his mother, father or a nursing service staffer has to be nearby. Every day he has to take “a whole boxful of medicines,” said his father, Andre Vales, 45.
“You’ve got to adjust,” he said in describing the situation. He no longer takes business trips and his wife has quit her job for the time being.
 “Day-to-day life is madness,” she said, as the family, every evening, awaits ‘The Call’ - the news that Marc’s donor heart is ready. “Waiting’s the worst part,”

nor heart at the end of last year, according to Eurotransplant, the organisation responsible for the allocation of donor organs in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovenia. Until age 16 the patients have an elevated priority. Thirty-two children in Germany up to the age of 15 received a donor heart in 2013. Meanwhile, Marc is for preparing for his exams. He wants to do well, graduate from school and celebrate his 16th birthday with a new and healthy heart.u

Indian kids outsource homework assignments { New Delhi/ DPA }

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chool children in the Indian capital New Delhi are hiring ‘holiday homework providers’ to do their assignments while they take it easy during the summer break. Teachers may be appalled at the new form of outsourcing, but many such ‘experts’ are in the market to help kids who despise holiday homework. “Leave Holiday Homework Worries. Get Holiday Homework for all classes done by Experts,” a Report cited an ad. on OLX, an advertising portal. The providers do the projects, write articles or poems, prepare Power Point presentations and design working models for competitive prices. Abhishek Sharma, who says he does “good quality holiday homeworks,” gets upto 25 orders every summer. Sharma, a pupil in the final year at school, charges 1,000 rupees (17 dollars) for simple projects and up to 3,000 rupees for complicated ones. Some homework providers talk about the pressures in this niche business.”There is too much competition. I am thinking of giving up. Also, since many students do not iinvolve their parents, they can’t afford the service,” says Deepika Verma, who runs a coaching institute. Another homework supplier, Leher Raj, blames schools for burdening the kids with difficult assignments, which force them to outsource their work. “The kind of work that schools give for holidays could almost be targeted at their parents!” she said. Schools are trying to keep pace with these crafty students. “We make students write a journal about the holidays. Any project that is not undertaken by the students is not assessed at all, and the students know this,” says Ameeta Mulla Wattal, Principal of Delhi-based Springdales School.u


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e have a lot of customers for whom money is no longer so important,” says Norbert Wolf, Managing Director of the Steyler Bank, and pauses a moment to let it sink in. Which bank boss can say that about his customers? Then he adds, to further emphasise the point, “Between 30 and 40 per cent of them donate a portion of their interest to a good cause.” In fact Steyler Bank is a genuinely unique financial institution. The Bank, located in the town of St Augustin near Bonn, is a small one. It has all of 55 employees and about 17,000 customers. But by its own account, it is ‘Germany’s oldest ethical bank’. It was founded in 1964, in the middle of then West Germany’s post-war economic miracle era, by missionaries of the Catholic Steyler order, who aimed for a financial institute that put ‘morality before filthy lucre’. But bank boss Wolf doesn’t see any contradiction. “Money is a good servant and enables us to help

US returning 21 sites to hosts in Europe

{ Washington/ DPA }

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early 70 years after the end of World War II, the United State plans to continue its military divestment from Europe - but this time it will be mainly recreational sites. The Defence Department recently said that it would return 21 sites to the host nations - including 12 sites in Germany and the rest in Italy, Denmark, Greece, Britain and Belgium. The sites include a golf course and hotel in Garmisch, Germany; a recreational site at the US Army garrison in Vicenza, Italy; and a barracks at the US Army garrison Benelux in Belgium. The US has removed hundreds of thousands of troops from across Europe in the last 25 years. In 2012 there were still 80,000 US troops based in Europe, with plans to bring the number below 70,000. The Pentagon said the 21 sites were ‘minor, non-operational’ parts of US military infrastructure in Europe. Giving them up will save the US government about 60 million dollars a year. “None of these adjustments affects existing force structure or military capabilities, and the efficiencies will further enable US European Command to resource high-priority missions,” said Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman. u

Can this really be a Bank? people immediately - on the spot,” he says. The former Chairman of the German Bishops Conference, Karl Cardinal Lehmann, once described the Steyler Bank as being “exotic and at the same time a thorn in a world of banking, where often profits stand above all else.” The Bank doesn’t try to lure customers with opulent interest rates. Rather, it makes it easy for them to do without money - in order to do something good. For example, there’s an Africa savings account where half of the interest automatically goes towards aid projects. The Bank’s promise is that the customers’ money will go exclusively into ‘clean investments’, where the Creation is preserved and human rights are respected. Weapons companies are just as taboo as pornography distributors; nor does the Bank tolerate child labour or medical experiments with animals. What is truly unique about the bank of the Steyler missionary order is that the entire profit of the Bank goes

{ Andrew McCathie/France/ DPA }

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he larger-than-life figure of US Director Quentin Tarantino strode into Cannes to declare “the death of cinema”, as traditional celluloid film-making falls victim to the digital revolution. “As far as I’m concerned, digital projection ... is the death of cinema as I know it,” he told a press conference marking the 20th anniversary of the year his film Pulp Fiction won the iconic Palme d’Or. “The fact that most films now are not presented in 35 mm means that the war is lost,” said Tarantino (51), whose films include Reservoir Dogs and more recently a Nazi wartime drama, Inglourious

Oliver Berg

{ Erich Reimann/St Augustin, Germany/ DPA }

Steyler Bank, founding in 1964 in Germany, by missionaries.

Caption
Norbert Wolf, Managing Director of the missionaryfounded Steyler Bank. A missionary’s pictured in stainglass stands behind him.

to support the work of 10,000 male and female missionaries who are carrying out aid projects for the poorest of the poor in 70 countries. The money goes towards financing the construction of schools and medical stations, for the digging of wells, as well as for building churches - in Asia and Africa.

Quentin Tarantino declares the Death of Cinema Basterds. “Digital projection is just television in public. And apparently the whole world is OK with television in public, but what I knew as cinema is dead,” he said. While he added that he’s given up on current moviegoers, he insisted that “the next generation will want the real thing.” Irrepressible as ever, Tarantino said that he was considering a Cable TV mini-series of four one-hour segments of his American slave drama, Django Unchained, which incorporated 90 minutes of unused footage from the film. The movie won him the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay last year. Tarantino acknowledged

that the digital revolution has its advantages; most importantly, of giving young filmmakers a better opportunity to enter the the movie business. But added, “Why would established filmmakers shoot on digital? I don’t get it.” A former head of the Cannes jury, Tarantino once famously described the Festival as the Olympics of Cinema. This time he again heaped praise on the world’s leading film festival. “Winning the Palme d’Or to this day is still ‘the thing’; as far as laurels are concerned, it is my single absolutely positively greatest achievement,” he said. “Of all the trophies that I have won, it’s the one that has the

New Zealand Kiwi not from Australia { Washington/ DPA }

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ew Zealand’s diminutive national bird, the Kiwi, is most closely related to the extinct Madagascan elephant bird - a three-metre-tall, 275-kilogram flightless giant - and did not originate from Australia as previously thought, according to research recently published. An analysis of ancient DNA also suggests that the birds shared a common flying ancestor. The finding was “bizarre,” said Alan Cooper, the Director of the University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, in Wellington. The Professor has been trying to track down the origins of the Kiwi for over two decades. The DNA was extracted from the bones of two elephant birds, estimated to be between 1,000 and 3,000 years old, housed in New Zea-

land’s national museum, Te Papa. The latest research corrects a controversial finding, also by Cooper, in the 1990s that the Kiwi came from Australia. “It’s great to finally set the record straight, as New Zealanders were shocked and dismayed to find that their national bird appeared to be an Australian immigrant,” Cooper said. “We found that the Kiwi is still closely related to the emu and cassowary, but by far its closest relative was the Madagascan elephant bird. It is bizarre because it looks nothing like it and it is on the other side of the world, which has never been connected directly by land.” Cooper said that recent advances in genomics finally enabled him to ‘fish out’ tiny fragments of elephant bird DNA from the bones. The research apparently solves a 150-year-old evolutionary mystery about the origins of a group of

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Since its foundation the Bank has generated more than 91 million euros (120 million dollars) in donations and banking profits for the Order’s good works, Wolf says. The average customer of Steyler Bank is a practicing Catholic, over 50 years of age, and affluent. But any customer is welcome at the Bank, Wolf stresses.The financial crisis six years ago created an upswing for Steyler Bank. “Ever since then we have noticed that more young people have come to see us as an alternative,” the Bank boss says. Customer assets have grown steadily now to about 410 million euros. Such confidence does not even require a great deal of faith in God. According to a study by the corporate consulting company, ZEB, which specialises in the financial sector, millions of customers are interested in offers that promise more than just profits. “Socioecological Banks, which take into account sustainability aspects in their investment decisions, are acting according to the growing need of consumers for ‘responsible money deposits’,” ZEB expert Christof Jauernig says. u biggest place of honour inside of my house. It’s the one I want another one of - maybe someday before they turn out the lights. My joke about the Palme d’Or is that the only thing more prestigious than the list of directors who have won the Palme d’Or is the directors who haven’t!” he said. Tarantino also expressed his admiration for Italian cinema. “I have always responded to Italian cinema; it has the flair of the operatic. I like that kind if boldness,” he said. “It might be my Italianesque speaking to me,” he added. He also felt sorry for directors who can’t watch their movies again, because they see the flaws in them. “I watch my movies all the time,” he said. u

flightless southern hemisphere ‘ratite’ birds - including the Australian emu and African ostrich - which share a distinctive palate and are known as palaeognaths (or ‘old-jawed’). Scientists previously thought that the birds shared a common flightless ancestor and were separated when the southern super-continent Gondwanaland broke apart 130 million years ago. But after using the elephant bird DNA to estimate when the species separated from each other, Cooper said that there was no relationship between their dispersal around the world and the separation of the continents. “Clearly they were flying, which changes our traditional view.” Cooper believes that the Kiwi and the elephant bird shared a common ancestor about the size of a partridge, which existed between 50 and 70 million years ago and made its home in Antarctica - at that time free of ice and the centre of Gondwanaland. u


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13-19 June 2014

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Oceans’ Ten: Spectacular Dive Sites

{ Arnd Petry/Hamburg/ DPA }

Torroella de Montgrí / Torroella de Montgrí-L?Estartit Municipal Photography Archive

Papua Diving / Papua Diving

Here’s a longtime Diving writer’s selection of the finest spots to explore below the waves:

The waters where Europe’s fascination with Diving began: the Medas Islands of Spain, where Jacques Cousteau and Hans Hass dived in the 1930s and 1940s. A Diver enjoys the astonishing diversity at the Raja Ampat Archipelago off West Papua, Indonesia.

Waterproof Expeditions / Waterproof Expeditions

Really Hot - The Raja Ampat Archipelago (Indo-Pacific, Indonesia) In terms of bio-diversity the coral reefs of Raja Ampat are right up there. Nowhere can more species of fish (around 1,300) and coral types (around 550) be found. There are many habitats - inshore and offshore reefs, shallow lagoons, deep cliffs and mangroves - abounding in a small area. Top spot - Cape Kri. (www.papua-diving.com) 



An Oasis in Time - The Medas Islands (Mediterranean Sea, Spain) Modern diving began here when pioneers like Jacques Cousteau explored this underwater world in the 1930s and ‘40s. It’s easy to see the appeal of these islands, off Spain’s Costa Brava; there is clear blue water containing a wide variety of fish, octopuses and lobsters, red and yellow coral, sea grass meadows, caves and shipwrecks. (www.visitestartit.com)

A Diver’s dream: diving under the pack ice of the Antarctic, in freezing waters. Magical World under the Ice (Southern Ocean, Antarctica): Under the ice, off the coast of Antarctica, is a world that few get to see - a place of unique fauna, unlike anything seen in other seas. Diving through a hole in the ice into the semi-darkness of the polar seas is an experience that will delight any Diving enthusiast despite water temperatures being around the freezing point. (www. oceanwide-expeditions.com, www.waterproof-expeditions.com)


Children swimming in the lagoon of Rangiroa atoll, the second-largest atoll in the world The Highlight - the Rangiroa Atoll (South Pacific, French Polynesia): The barren coral islands of the Rangiroa Atoll offer nothing but sky and sea - the latter in abundance. The most famous Dive site is the Tiputa Pass, a channel connecting a lagoon with the open sea. Here can be found grey reef sharks, hammerheads, manta rays, dolphins, turtles and colourful fish in large shoals. (www.raiemantaclub.com) 




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Diving off the coast of British Columbia in Canada, one of the world’s best temperate zones for underwater exploration.

The Saltstraumen, near Bodo, Norway. Divers can encounter the world’s strongest tidal current. Generating a speed of up to 48 kilometres per hour, more than 375 million cubic metres of water are pushed through a narrow strait every six hours. Dramatic Scenery - Norway (North Atlantic): In Norway, the land of the fjords, the scenery is as stunning underwater as it is above. One exceptional Dive is Saltstraumen, near Bodo; this location has the world’s strongest tidal current. Generating a speed of up to 48 kilometres per hour, more than 375 million cubic metres of water are pushed through a narrow strait every six hours. (www.saltstraumen-dykkecamp.no) Waterproof Expeditions

Everything extra large - British Columbia (Northern Pacific, Canada): The best Diving sites aren’t all ‘tropical’; one of the best cold-water sites is off the coast of British Columbia in Canada. A strong tidal flow brings plenty of food, and the kelp forests of the North American Pacific coast are unparalleled for global biodiversity. A top spot is ‘Row and Be Damned’, a steep wall near Quadra Island. (www. best-scuba-diving-vacations-in-british-columbia.com)


Vebjørn Karlsen / Saltstraumen

Destination British Columbia

13-19 June 2014

Lost World: Galapagos Islands Darwin’s Dream Islands - the Galapagos islands (Pacific, Ecuador): The Galapagos, made famous by Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, is rated by many as the ‘ne plus ultra’ of the Diving world. As well as offering hammerhead, tiger and whale sharks, where else can you also Dive with sea lions, penguins and marine iguanas? (www.scubagalapagos.com) Roland Mauz

Spice Island, Grenada is indisputably everyone’s idea of tropical splendour. Easy Diving - Carriacou (Caribbean, Grenada): On Carriacou life moves slowly, but at the Sister Rocks, the dive site, it’s all activity - underwater gardens of coral reefs and sponges, schools of violet fish, lobsters and sharks. The sister island of Grenada is ‘home’ to one of the most impressive shipwrecks in the world - the 180-metre-long cruise ship Bianca C, which sank in 1961 and lies 55 feet under water. (www.grenadaexplorer.com)

Two divers approach an enormous but peaceful shark while diving in South Africa’s Protea Banks. Sharks and billions of fish - South Africa (Indian Ocean): Most of the Dive sites off the South African coast are not for the faint-hearted - in particular the Protea Banks. Here you can see a wide variety of shark species, maybe even a great white. But that’s not all: once a year there’s the sardine run, the greatest fish swarm in the world, which is pursued by sharks, whales, seals, birds and tuna. (www.proteabanks.co.za)

For one of the new episodes, the SciTech film crew went to Dahab on the south-eastern coast of Sinai and met with researchers and workers at the Red Sea Environmental Centre

Desert Mountains meet Coral Reefs - South Sinai (Red Sea, Egypt): Some of the finest diving waters in the world can be found off the Sinai Peninsula. The Ras Mohammed National Park has a unique character, with barren desert mountains contrasting with colourful coral reefs offshore. At Shark Reef and Jolanda Reef the steep reef walls fall away almost vertically to a depth of almost 750 metres. (http:// en.egypt.travel/attraction/ index/ras-mohammednational-park)



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13-19 June 2014

G -Scape Asha PANDEY

Friday gurgaon 13 19 june, 2014  

..be the change you want to see

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